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Five Simple Tips to help manage your Small Business Website

It was once optional for a small business to have a website. Nowadays, having an 24/7 online presence is mandatory to remain competitive in a global marketplace.

But keeping a website current and up-to-date is often hard for a small business. Your employees often have little “spare” time for tasks such as site updates and, as a result, websites can easily be forgotten – left on the “do it tomorrow” pile. Without this required attention, a stagnant site will soon start to repel potential business customers, rather than attract.

Luckily, with a little planning during the development stage (and a regular dedication of time), these problems can be easily avoided and your website can become a strong marketing hub for your small business that doesn’t drain your resources.

Five Simple Tips to help manage your Small Business WebsiteIntegrate a Content Management System (CMS) from Day One

A user-friendly Content Management System allows site owners and managers the ability to update and create new content directly on their websites. By integrating a CMS as the framework for a new website, you are instantly putting yourself into the driver’s seat to control what goes on your site and how “fresh” it stays.

Learning a CMS is not hard either. The basics of WordPress CMS can be learnt in a matter of minutes, as the editing functions are styled like that of a Word Processor. As I often say to new clients – “If you can create a document in Word, then you can update your own website!”

Use a Content Calendar (and stick to it)

A content calendar (also known as an editorial calendar) helps to plan out new content for your website or social media feed and details when it will be created. This weekly, monthly or yearly calendar should be an integral part of your business’ overall marketing strategy.

By planning content in advance, you (or whoever manages your website) can commit to producing site-worthy information that is suitable for your target audience. By putting a due date on it and ensuring that date is adhered to, working on your site becomes part of your everyday business schedule.

Automate Site Updates and Customer Interaction

If it is possible to time aside for working on your site’s content, take advantage of tools such as the content scheduling that is built into WordPress. Create five blog posts or page updates at one time then use the schedule to program the dates that you want the content to be released onto your website.

Here’s the secret: this blog post you are reading was one of five that I wrote over a recent weekend. I have set the schedule in WordPress to release one every two weeks. Blog Posts for next 10 weeks – done!

Schedule a Post

Allow an Employee to take ownership of website management

Although small businesses don’t have employees to “spare”, it would be ideal to assign the maintenance and upkeep of the website to one person – a web-savvy employ who could take care of both website and social media posts.

Giving ownership of the site to an employee (with guidance of course) ensures that the site will be monitored and “fed” new content to keep your online customers, and Google, happy.

Five Simple Tips to help manage your Small Business WebsiteGet your Web Developer to care of updates for you

If all else fails and managing your website is just not possible in-house, look to a professional. Many web development companies offer a monthly plan which includes website content updates. Caution though, if you are taking this option, compare the plan price against the everyday (hourly) rate of the company to ensure that you are getting a decent offer.

You will still to need to provide content via email but a professional will get it online, make it look pretty and ensure that it gets the right sort of attention.

As discussed in a previous blog post, an out-of-date website that is uncared for will cost you business. Prospects visiting the site will get a poor first impression and Google won’t care for your site either. With the tips above, your site remains “fresh” and acting as a positive reflection of the small business that it portrays.

Google Loves a Fast Site – Five Simple Ways to Speed Up your Small Business Site

Five Simple Ways to Speed Up your Small Business SiteAs proved by 27% of all websites on the internet, the WordPress CMS is an amazing framework to build upon when creating any site. Not only is it simple to use and update, WordPress has a huge community of developers around it, consistently creating new plugins for use in the CMS. The base framework of WordPress itself is so popular, it is estimated to be used by over 70 million websites worldwide!

It’s so simple to use WordPress to add fresh content, plugins and imagery that sites can easily get slowed down by the shear workload. Today’s internet-savvy visitors expect a site to load its content in under five seconds – any longer, and they will start leaving in droves.
Luckily there are five simple actions that you (or your web developer) can put into place to ensure that your site speed is up there with the best.

#1 Optimise all Images

All website owners and operators need to ensure that images have been optimised before they are uploaded to a website. This means that PNG files should be run through an optimizer like TinyPNG to reduce them and JPG images files must be reduced to at most 80% quality. There’s plenty of free editors that can help with this optimisation including the very capable Irfanview.

#2 Minimise Website Code

Most websites are made of complex programming code, generating everything that you can see on the browser screen. This code is not usually contained in one single file, meaning that your site is “pulling” information from several places as it loads, slowly down the load time.
Adding a plugin to your site such as JCH Optimize helps to automatically compress and tidy up some of the code (specifically CSS, JavaScript and HTML) into one file on the server. This singular file is then accessed by your site visitors, effectively speeding up the load time on their browsers.

#3 Reduce call-outs to external sites

Whilst grabbing web fonts from Google and displaying Social Media on your site may be appealing and give you loads of instant content, they are responsible for a majority of site drag. When accessing information from external sites, your poor website not only has to load itself but it also needs to load content from these other sites.

To prevent this, use common fonts or fonts that can be stored on your own server and minimise your Social Media display – at least on the home page.

#4 Optimise your site’s database

Over time, site updates and usage takes a toll on the database which stores all the information for your site. Keep this data inline and optimised with the WP-Optimize plugin – it will automatically tidy the stored information on a set schedule and keep the background of your site neat and tidy for quick access.

#5 Use Online Tools to determine blockages

If you have tried all the tips above and still need to squeeze out a few seconds of load time, head over to GTMetrix and type in your website address. This online tool analyses your site speed using Google PageSpeed and provides a concise list of how your site is performing and where improvements can be made. Some areas may be too technical and need the assistance of a web developer however quite a few can be “fixed” by a novice user with a few spare minutes.

Conclusion

It’s important to note that not only is site speed essential to your visitors, it’s also important to your Google ranking too. Page speed is an important part of the Google Algorithm – slow loading sites will be penalised with low ranking in search results.

Need help getting your site “Up to Speed”? Rusty Mango Design are specialists in developing WordPress sites and we can tweak your small business site until it is purring like a kitten. Send us an email today and we’ll check it out on GTMetrix for you (free-of-charge) and we’ll let you know exactly what we can do to help!

How You Can Make Google Sit Up and Pay Attention

It’s time to dispel a myth.

The act of simply getting a website DOES NOT mean that Google will automatically sit up and take notice of your business.

Your small business website is an important portal to your business – not Google’s. They won’t automatically place your business at #1 on the search rankings just because you have a site.  And the truth of the matter is that Google will continue to basically ignore your business until you (and your web developer) put some plans into action to make them sit and pay attention.

Here’s some tips from the Rusty Mango team to help you in the right direction….

Mobile ResponsiveMobile Viewing is Vital

As of 2015, making websites mobile responsive for viewing on phones and tablets became a priority for all. This was thanks to Google, stating loud and clear, that sites that were not optimised for viewing on mobile devices would be penalised in search rankings or, even worse, not even appear in mobile search results.

Google aside, now that over 74% of Australians rely on their phones as much as they rely on their desktops (Galaxy Poll), it’s definitely time to ensure that your small business site is mobile-friendly. 

All new Rusty Mango Design sites are mobile-responsive from day one for this very reason.

Don’t Use a Generic Business Name

If you already have a reputable brand then this particular action is going to be hard to implement. When establishing your business name, be sure to select one that is not previously used by other businesses, particularly in your industry. Even similar names can cause issues.

Why? Two problems can arise online – one, you may find it hard to register the domain name that you want and two, most importantly with SEO, Google may show your competitor’s name when users are actually searching for you!

Back LinkingShare Site Links with Your Industry

Although nowhere as important as they used to be, inbound links still give your site credence in the eyes of the Google-Bot. In days gone by, sites would inherit “importance” or ranking from any sites that linked back to them – reciprocal links were very popular among web masters. That importance has been downscaled in recent versions of the Google ranking algorithm but it is still there to a lesser degree.

To take advantage of inbound links, ask that your industry contacts link back to your website and, in return, you will link out to them.

Use A Plugin to Optimise Your Pages

When it comes to optimising your site for SEO (search engine optimisation), ticking all the boxes to make Google happy is a difficult task. Luckily for those sites using a Content Management System – there are site add-ons (plugins) like Yoast SEO to help get the job done.

Yoast SEO uses a coloured “light” icon to indicate whether the SEO on a page has been done correctly. Red: Incomplete, Orange: Partially Done and Green: Optimised. As the user adjusts the SEO settings using the easy to understand Yoast recommendations (Page Title, Description, Alt Tags, etc.), the “light” icon changes. Aim for the green “light” and you have given your page a good chance of success with Google.

Fresh ContentFresh Content

“Content is King” has been a catchphrase for quite a while now and nothing has changed. Google still loves sites that keep their content fresh, engaging and relevant to the target audience. The Google-Bots trawl the web regularly and they will notice who is updating their sites and who isn’t.

Of course, the easiest way to get some Google “love” is to pay for some. The Google AdWords system is the way that their company makes the bulk of their income. If you sign up for pay-per-click, you will suddenly become a Google VIP and your business listing will appear in the Ads in search results.

Have a Search right now and see where your small business site appears. If it isn’t on that all important page one, look at the actions above and create your own Google SEO strategy.

Don’t get HACKED – Secure your WordPress Website!

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If your site has been built on the WordPress framework, you are in good company. With a calculated 25% of all websites built using this user-friendly CMS, WordPress is easily miles ahead of its competition. However, with this popularity comes an inherit danger – it is a regular target for hackers.

WordPress was born from an open-source project and remains free to everyone who wants to create a website. Open source means that the code that makes the whole system work is available on the internet with no restrictions. This factor is important in the whole WordPress “ecosystem” as it allows developers and coders to create the myriad of plugins and themes that make the CMS what is it.

Unfortunately, hackers can also look at the code and discover its weak spots, making it vulnerable to spamming and security breaches. For the small time user, this may never be a problem that presents itself. But if your site attracts the unwanted attention of a hacker, they can cause all kinds of problems for your small business website and its visitors.

To protect your site (big or small), there are some very simple measures that you can employ without the need for any programming knowledge (or outside help):

1. Update the WordPress Core.

To do this, access the Dashboard of your site. If a new (major) version of WordPress has been released, this information will be displayed on the main screen of the Dashboard with a UPDATE link. With the newer versions of WordPress, small incremental updates to are performed automatically

2. Update the plugins that you are using with your site.

In the main menu of the Dashboard, under the Home button, an Updates options will appear when updates for your plugins are available. Click on it to access the Updates page and select the updates that you want to apply. At the same time, visit the plugins page of the Dashboad and delete any plugins that you aren’t using. Even though they aren’t being use, these deactivated plugins can still provide backdoor access to your system.

3. Use a secure password.

A brute force attack, where the login for a site is attacked with a systematic password hack, is hard to protect against but with a secure password (one that used no common words and a mix of symbols, letters, numbers), the hacker will have to work harder to penetrate your system. Also, try to limit the number of users that have access. If someone doesn’t need access and will not be updating the site, don’t give them access.

4. Install the WordFence plugin.

This free plugin has so many features that I can’t list them all here. For a very basic explanation, Wordfence provides high-quality firewall and malware protection for your WordPress website and you must have it on your site. Setting this plugin up puts into place a huge roadblock to anyone or anything wanting to cause harm to your site. Get it here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordfence/

Don't get hacked - WordPress SecurityAll of the above options are accessible through the Dashboard of your WordPress site but only if you have administrator access. If you log into your site and cannot see or perform the tasks listed, contact your website developer and request an upgrade of your user access.

There is nothing worse that trying to regain control of a severely hacked website however, if it does happen to you and the above steps do not reverse the damage to a perfect state, it is not the end of the world. The server on which your site resides should be* backed up on a regular basis and can be restored by your server provider* to a previous day/week for a small charge.

As always, however, a pinch of prevention is worth a full pound of cure.

* If your web server provider does not backup at least three times a week, then it is imperative that you find a new provider. Security of your website is paramount.

* A server provider such as Digital Pacific, Netregistry, WebCentral, etc provides the space where your website lives. It is generally not the same as your Internet Service Provider (ISP) that connects your business to the internet.

 

If your brand image needs to be consistent, why doesn’t your website?

Be ConsistentAll business owners would (or should be) be aware of brand consistency – the practice by which the logos, colours and style of a company are shown in the same manner anywhere the business is seen. McDonalds restaurants are the kings of this consistency – wherever a McDonalds in located throughout the world, there is absolutely no doubting which brand is in operation. This is done through a stringent company manifesto that steadfastly lays out the strict guidelines that must be adhered to. Even companies such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – who allow others to use their logos in various applications – have these guidelines to protect their public image.

The process of consistent branding is so important to building a recognisable business.

A sense of consistency is important in many facets of business – processes, system, employment, discipline and even the layout of offices. So why do many businesses neglect consistency within their websites?

Browsing the web in the past week for inspiration, I came across sites that clearly had been updated with absolutely no thought to maintaining a consistent look throughout the pages. One business in particular was so glaringly bad at this, its website inspired me to write this post.

It wasn’t the design of the site that was bad – it actually was quite attractive. The site was ruined by the fact that it had been handed over to the client and they had no idea about how to keep “the look” of the design flowing throughout the pages. On the front page itself, it was very clear to see where the professional designer had finished and the website owner/administrator had taken over. It made the company look unprofessional.

The sad part is that this problem is so easy to avoid. Here’s five tips to keep your site consistent with your original “vision”:

Tip #1: Fonts

Use the same fonts throughout your site. Resist the urge to try out every new font that you discover on your website’s Content Management System. Novels and magazines don’t generally change fonts half way through and neither should your website. This applies to both main text segments and the titling through the site.

Tip #2: Alignment

Centre Alignment has its place however it isn’t in a large portion of text. By centring text on a web page, you are forcing your viewers to re-adjust their eyes for every new line beginning. Think of other texts that you may read during your day, such as newspapers, and you will realise why left alignment is used on all of them.

Tip #3: Colour and Font Weight

As in tip #1, don’t experiment with colours and font weights throughout your pages. Sure colour can grab attention when required however try not to make your website look like a technicolour rainbow. Font weighting should be consistent too – use BOLD text in the same place each time, for example, on the subtitles within your content.

Tip #4: Image Presentation

If you insist on using borders and shadows around your images, make sure they are used consistently. Don’t apply styles to some and neglect it on others.

TinyMCE AdvancedTip #5: Use a Format tool

Luckily, for those of us who use WordPress as a CMS framework for our pages, we have some great plugins that will make the above tips really easy to implement.

The plugin TinyMCE Advanced has a formatting option. A dropdown menu (called FORMAT) can be quickly coded by your web developer to include all the styles that you need for your site. All you have to do is highlight or select the text/image for the style to be applied to and then select the style from the menu. You don’t need to search for font types, colours, weights or anything.

 

I have to admit that page inconsistency has happened on some sites that I have created – mostly after their handover. A warning: potential customers of Rusty Mango Design beware, I will ring you up and let you know if your styles are out of whack – nicely of course. I will also offer our full support to help you present your information in a consistent style. After all, it’s my job to help you look your best – a cohesive and constant appearance is vitally important to the overall success of your website.

If you would like the plugin TinyMCE Advanced installed and coded for your WordPress site, please get in touch with Rusty Mango Design.

Google’s “Mobilegeddon”

MobilegeddonSome small business owners may have noticed a change but the majority would not. Maybe the GoogleBot hasn’t swept by your site just yet. Even if it has, and your search ranking have taken a step backwards, it’s not the end of the world.

An unbelievable number of marketing bloggers have been all “doom and gloom” about the changes on April 21st to Google’s search ranking algorithm but it’s not the first time that changes have been made (it most probably won’t be the last either). Why are so many people excited about this one?

Let’s take a look at what is “Mobilegeddon”?

As of April 21st, 2015, Google will start using mobile friendliness as an integral part of their ranking calculations to determine search results. This means, in layman’s terms, that mobile-friendly sites will get a rewarded with a higher position in those results, while sites that aren’t responsive on mobile devices, such as phones and tablets, will “significantly” drop in ranking.

Just how much that drop will be is still up for debate.

Is your website mobile-friendly?

Google, being the very helpful “big brother” that it is, has conveniently created a mobile-friendly test that will quickly determine whether your site makes the cut or not. The test also generates a breakdown of the various mobile elements of your site so that you can see where improvements need to be made. To examine your site for mobile friendliness, click here to visit the Google Mobile-Friendly Test page.

What if your site is not mobile friendly?

First of all – don’t panic. You won’t be removed from results altogether but there are things you need to do.

To be regarded as “mobile-friendly”, Google looks at the following:

  • On a mobile device, is the text readable without zooming?
  • Does the content of the site resize automatically to fit the screen?
  • Does the site use Flash? (Flash is not available on most mobile devices)
  • Can a user click links and buttons with a fingertip or stylus? How do they navigate around the site?

If you answer NO to any of the above questions then you may have a non-responsive site.

What are the options with a non-responsive site?

Achieving the parameters above is quite simple if your site is built on the WordPress framework.

Option #1:

You can download a free plugin called WP-Touch and configure it to display your site as a mobile theme. WP-Touch has a number of built themes that you can select to display your website. With some tweaking, you can achieve a decent variation of your main site.

Downside: Unless you are skilled in PHP and CSS (web coding languages), this option changes the on-screen appearance of your site and it will no longer match your branding from the desktop version.

Option #2:

Enlist the help of a web designer to alter your website at a foundation level to become a fully responsive website. A responsive site automatically detects the size of the screen and changes everything accordingly. A mobile menu appears, text and imagery resize and non-mobile necessary content can be removed to increase page loading speed.

Please note that this should not mean a complete site re-build. There are actions a web designer can take, at grass roots level, to improve the appearance of a site on a mobile screen.

Conclusion

As you can see from the options above, if you have found that your site has taken a tumble with the changes to Google, it is not a serious problem that can’t be rectified. Once action has been taken, you simply need to wait for the GoogleBot to sweep past your site again, detect your changes and you will be back in business.

Some internet marketing commentators are noticing the mobile changes SINCE 21st April are being detected by Google very quickly. You may be back in your desired rankings before you know it.

Four great plug-ins to enhance your Small Business Website

Wordpress PluginsI’ve said it time and time again – WordPress is ideal for all kinds of small business sites. That’s why it is the framework of choice for every single site that I design and build at Rusty Mango Design.

The reason WordPress is so perfect for a wide range of web development purposes is the huge range of add-ons (known as plug-ins) that are readily available for it. Mostly these plug-ins are free for commercial use (occasionally purchase is required) and they can be installed in no time – almost instantly enhancing the capabilities of a website.

Here’s some of the recent plug-ins that Rusty Mango Design has integrated into customer sites – along with the addresses of those sites so you can check them out for yourself.

WooCommerce

If you have been looking into building an online store using your WordPress framework, there is a very high chance that you have come across WooCommerce.

Currently the most popular e-commerce plug-in in the world, WooCommerce is open-source (this means the code is available for free) and runs online shops for all types of business – from the very small right through to the large corporate-sized stores. It has numerous add-ons that further enhance the shopping experience (shipping, shopping cart, etc) and has PayPal integration built-in saving the store owner the worry of collecting credit card information.

Setup time: Lengthy (depending on size of store)

Our Work: Check out WooCommerce in action on the Green Way Dance Festival’s site where it is used by competitors to register for the various dance genres. It is also being used in the framework for the soon-to-be launched Kaleido Kollection website.

Booking Calendar

The Booking Calendar plug-in enables online booking services for accommodation sites such as Bed and Breakfasts, Motels and Hotels.  Website visitors can check the availability of various accommodation types using an intuitive calendar style interface. Bookings are then registered through the site’s dashboard with the website administrator for approval. Once the approval is given, emails are automatically sent back to the customer confirming the booking.

Setup time: Two hours (approx.)

Our Work: See the Booking Calendar in action on the site for Cairns Gateway BnB.

Appointment Booking Calendar

This plug-in is fantastic for accepting online bookings from available times shown through an on-screen calendar.  Once a time has been set, the customer can then pay in advance through built-in PayPal integration, once again meaning no credit card information has to be stored on site.

You can use it to accept bookings for consultations, interviews, transportation and a multitude of other activities. The plug-in also allows the site administrator the ability to define the number of bookings that can be accepted.

Setup time: Two hours (approx.)

Our Work: We have just integrated this plug-in on the new site for Davidson Legal in the Northern Territory (coming soon).

Calculated Fields Form

The Calculated Fields Form allows the website administrator the ability to create forms that will dynamically calculate various fields of information and then display the calculated values. The setup includes a form builder with pre-set calculations or you can create your own from scratch.

The plug-in can be used for creating calculations for a variety of purposes including general calculators, weight monitoring and quotes for rentals of all types.

Setup time: Two hours (approx.)

Our Work: Rusty Mango used the Calculated Fields Form plug-in on the website for The Lock-up, Bowen. Site visitors can choose a self-storage size and select the time frame required. The plug-in then calculates the overall cost for the storage period.

If you feel that any of these plug-ins would add to the experience of visiting your website (or maybe some different ones), please get in touch with Rusty Mango Design. We’ll take a look at what we can do for you and provide a free detailed quote on the installation and setup of the plug-in for your particular website.

Five Essential SEO items that you can’t neglect

Five Basic SEO EssentialsAs you may be aware, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is crucial to the success of your website. Even if you have the most effective, well-designed and comprehensive website in the business, it won’t amount to anything if it can’t be found on major search engines. The statistics below support that if your site isn’t on that all important first page of results, your website could be practically invisible to most internet users.  In monopoly terms, the first page of Google is Mayfair and Park Lane, anything else is Old Kent Road.

Statistics courtesy of Chitika – Online Advertising Network

  • #1 in a Google search gets 32% of all the clicks.
  • #2 in a Google search gets 17% of all the clicks.
  • #3 in a Google search gets 11% of all the clicks.
  • 92 out of every 100 people who search on the internet do not go past the first page of their Google search.

Small business proprietors often hand over the reins of their SEO to outside agencies to take care of, some of which are expensive and over-rated. What these business owners don’t realise is that there is a lot that can be done without any outside help at all. In this post, we will look the essential items that must be attended to for successful Search Engine Optimisation.

Note #1: For the tips below, it is assumed that you have access to your site with a Content Management System. If you don’t, then you are already behind the times. Upgrade that site today!

Note#2: For WordPress owners, make sure you have Yoast SEO or All-In-One SEO installed in your plug-in. For other CMS, do a Google search and find out the equivalent for your system. There are dozens of options.

#1 Page Content

As has been discussed in previous Rusty Mango blogs, you must fill your pages with useful, appropriate and high-quality content.  The whole purpose of your site is to provide a service to your clients and prospects. Don’t lose site of that goal! To boost your SEO, you need a number of inbound links (people linking to you) and this won’t happen without content that is helpful and valuable to your visitors.

#2 – Page URL

This is actually name of the page that is used in the address bar of the web browser. If at all possible, use a couple of keywords in the URL that globally describe the content of the page. Don’t use spaces or underscores as these can confuse the Google bots, instead use hyphens to separate words.

If you are a WordPress CMS user, check your permalinks in the Settings section of your dashboard for this item.

#3 – Title Tags

A title tag is the small snippet of information that gets displayed at the top of a web browser. For your site, use your SEO plug-in (see above) and ensure that each and every page (and post) that you create has a relevant title tag that includes keywords from the text on the page.

#4 – Image ALT Tags

In the “olden” days, ALT tags (the text that pops up when floating a cursor over an image) were used primarily to help visually impaired users of the web. These days, in additions to this important role they still play; ALT tags can be used to boost SEO by including keywords in them once again.

Are you starting to see a theme here? KEYWORDS are everything to SEO!!

#5 Keyword Overuse!

Despite what I have “pushed” throughout this post, Google will apply penalties if the keywords you use override your content. This is to prevent the brazen old practice of loading a page to the brim with visible and non-visible keywords. Nowadays, the content relevancy has been added into the Google page ranking algorithm and key-words must only make up between 5-7% of the overall page information.

Conclusion

Once you take care of the above, you’ll need to wait patiently for Google to re-index your site so that you can see the benefits of your efforts. If you don’t get the results that you want, look over the list again, check your site statistics and ensure that you are using the terminology of your potential clients. The question to ask is – What are they typing into Google to find you?

 

 

 

 

Week 13 of 52 – Tired of being a needle in the haystack? SEO that you can do TODAY!

Help search engines to index your siteWith a title like that, I have to be upfront with you about this topic. Nothing you do today will be immediately effective in turns of search engine response. The three tips below will undoubtedly improve the SEO performance of your website but the effects won’t be seen until the search engine minions (known as bots) crawl through your site again and react to the juicy goodness we are about to leave for them. Once they have had taste of them, they will report back to their home base – “This site deserves more respect!”

To get that respect, it’s not overly hard to take action. The tips below don’t require you to be a rocket scientist (or even a web developer) but they will make a difference to the “findability” of your site.

Make sure your page is loading at full speed

Without going into too much detail, page loading speed has always been important to Google. The faster a page loads for them, the happier they are with your site. And the happier Google are with your site, the higher ranking they will give you. Can’t get any simpler than that!

From a marketing standpoint, a fast loading page is always a good idea anyway. With advent of faster internet, people just don’t have the patience to stick around anymore. Research has shown that if the content isn’t starting to be delivered within two seconds, visitors will click that back button and go somewhere else.

Tools to help with your page speed:

  • In-depth analysis of the speed of your pages can be done here.
  • If your site is built on the WordPress framework, installing the W3 Total Cache plug-in is a must to increase site speed.

Make sure all your content is optimised for SEO

This is a topic that I could write about all day. There are so many elements to SEO optimisation and I continuously come back to them in these posts. But in the interest of keeping things to the point, I can’t break it down any better than this brilliant checklist from Salesforce.

Tools to help with optimising your content for SEO:

  • WordPress users can’t go past All-In-One SEO or Yoast SEO.
  • Not a tool as such but utilise a company that specialises in SEO optimisation to help get your content hitting those elements every time.

Make it easy to share your content

If you think you are making great content and want people to share it, make sure that you make as easy as possible to do so. The geeks over at Google love their social media and it goes to reason that that a strong social media presence now correlates with good rankings in Google’s index.

Tools to help share your content through Social Media:

  • The Digg Digg plug-in for WordPress places a floating bar next to your content with every social media option you could ask for.
  • Hootsuite is a brilliant way to post onto and keep track of all your social media from one dashboard.

If you implement the tools and tips above but you’re still hungry for more SEO action, check out Google’s own informative site on exactly how they use their secret algorithm to rank your page. For real beginners, BlankPoint also has a great site with the “ins and outs” of SEO broken down into layman’s terms.

If you have any internet marketing, WordPress, website design or SEO questions, leave them in the comment section below and I’ll try to answer them in a future post. I love a bit of feedback so all other comments are welcome too.

Enough blogging for today – get in there and give that site of yours an SEO boost. Go and grab that market share that you know it deserves!

Three plug-ins that will add bang to your website and they’re FREE!

PluginsIf you have a Content Management System installed on your website, there is a fair chance that it will be based on the WordPress framework. WordPress is a highly configurable backbone for an estimated 25% of all websites currently on the WWW.

One of the greatest features of WordPress is the thousands of plug-ins that can add functionality to any site with very little hassle. In this post, I would like discuss three plug-ins that can add great value to your site and get those all important repeat visits from your (potential) clients.

EventGeek is a calendar plug-in that allows organisations to easily add events to their sites in the form of a on-site planner. This plug-in is perfect for tourism organisations, festival organisers, schools and any other group that has scheduled events and activities throughout the year that need to be published. A bonus feature of EventGeek is a calendar widget which can be displayed in the sidebar of a site allowing it to be seen on every single page.

http://wordpress.org/plugins/event-geek/

Have you ever talked a business via an online chat window (i.e. Telstra) and thought would be great addition to your business’ site? With a plug-in called ClickDesk, you can add that functionality quite easily. Imagine a Helpdesk straight on your site, no phone calls involved, talking directly to your customers about issues or enquiries that they may have. A simple pop-up window appears when the site visitor clicks on the button and this activates the chat on your computer and the conversation begins.

http://wordpress.org/plugins/clickdesk-live-support-chat-plugin/screenshots/

Although the Clever YouTube is a premium plug-in (which means you have to pay for it), it has proved to be one very useful addition to a number of my clients websites. The plug-in lets a site operator to display YouTube videos in a style that is consistent with the branding and imagery of the website it is shown on. It allows intros and outros but most importantly, it will allow you to prevent further video suggestions from YouTube and removes those annoying advertisements from the beginning of each video. The last thing you want to do on a site is distract the visitor and send them elsewhere. With Clever YouTube, you can set up the size and style of a video and take ownership back from YouTube. My friend and good client, Steven Lizzio, uses this plug-in to great effect on the front page of http://www.liverpoolriverbananas.com.au/

https://clevergizmos.com/clever-youtube-plugin/

One of the best things about most of these widgets is that they are provided completely free of charge. Premium versions are available (like Clever YouTube) and most developers encourage donations for their work – but it is generally always try before you buy. If a plug-in doesn’t work for you, then you are not out of pocket and left with a product that you can’t use. All plug-ins are rated by other users allowing you to determine which one is the best for your purposes before you even download.

If you would like any of these plug-ins (or maybe something else you have found) and don’t know how to (or want to) install it yourself, contact Rusty Mango Design and we will do the hard work for you.

Rusty Mango Design

Rusty Mango Design