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28 Things You Should Know Before Using WordPress

Relevance: 100%      Posted on: November 30, 2016

Non-profits and small businesses need to make smart financial decisions. This starts with your website. A from-scratch website can cost thousands of dollars and can take dozens of hours to build. You're much better off having your designer work from a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, Joomla!, or Magento. And with so many blogs and websites using content management systems for web publishing, the market for free content management systems is constantly growing and improving. The popular open-source blogging platform WordPress is the leader in this market as it currently holds 59.3% of market share. If you're considering…

The 7 Best Free WordPress Themes for Small Businesses

Relevance: 96%      Posted on: February 24, 2016

Many businesses struggle to maintain a high-quality website. There can be many reasons for this, but the most common problem we see with our clients is when someone else builds a website for them and the client struggles to update their own content. Sometimes nefarious web designers will even lock clients out of their own website in order to charge them per hour for updating content. To help clients get out of this content trap, we recommend WordPress. WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that allows you to build a range of websites, from simple blogs to full-blown e-commerce…

Complete Guide to Launching a WordPress Site: Part 2 (Pre-launch)

Relevance: 93%      Posted on: March 9, 2016

In Part 1 of our 3-part series on launching a WordPress site, we discussed hosting, basic setup, and design. In Part 2, we tell you how to tune up your website for optimal SEO and overall functionality before launching it. There are several elements you want in place before launching a WordPress site, including some plug-ins that will help ensure your site performs well in search rankings and doesn't drive you crazy with spam. What's a "Plugin"? If you're new to launching a WordPress site you may not realize that the basic installation of the software only comes with a…

Keeping WordPress Secure: 4 Things Everyone Should Do

Relevance: 93%      Posted on: March 15, 2017

If you run a WordPress website and have been paying attention to the recent data breaches that have affected millions of consumers, you may be interested in keeping WordPress secure. But if you're a small business or non-profit, you may feel ill-equipped to secure your data. That takes thousands of dollars and consultation with experts, right? Though creating the most secure WordPress website possible does require a lot of expertise, there are methods of keeping WordPress secure that anyone can employ. Do I Really Need to Worry About Keeping WordPress Secure? Occasionally, we get asked this question by a client and our…

Top 3 Ways to Optimize WordPress for SEO

Relevance: 91%      Posted on: July 20, 2016

So, you've taken our advice and built a WordPress website for your business, and your website is performing pretty well in search results. You Google keywords associated with your business, and it pops right up. This is because WordPress is naturally pretty great for SEO. As the months roll by, however, you notice it starting to slip down the page of search results. Then, pretty soon, it doesn't even appear on the first page of Google anymore. What happened? If you aren't actively optimizing your WordPress website for SEO, eventually it will stop performing well in search. Below are 3 of…

How to Maintain a WordPress Website: A Step-by-Step Guide

Relevance: 90%      Posted on: July 12, 2017

Are you a business owner or non-profit manager looking for tips on how to maintain a WordPress website? In this post, we will take a look at the website maintenance best practices you should implement on your WordPress website in order to improve its performance and functionality. Implementing the following tips can help you achieve higher ranking in search results and increased website traffic. Following these tips will also help make your site more friendly to both website visitors and the robots that run search engines. How to Maintain a WordPress Website: The 6 Essential Steps There are lots of things…

HTTP vs HTTPS: Do I Need an SSL Certificate on My WordPress Website?

Relevance: 84%      Posted on: February 15, 2017

If you've seen recent discussions online about the pros and cons of HTTP vs HTTPS and you host a WordPress website, you might be wondering: do I need to make the switch? The short answer is: yes. Google has begun rewarding websites for making the switch from unencrypted to encrypted addresses. It has also begun to mark websites that accept sensitive information like credit card info, but who don't have an encrypted address, as potentially dangerous to users. HTTP vs HTTPS: What's the Difference? When a website serves information to a user using a website address that is HTTP, third parties can…

Complete Guide to Launching a WordPress Site: Part 3 (Maintenance)

Relevance: 83%      Posted on: March 16, 2016

In Part 1 and Part 2 of our 3-part series on launching a WordPress site, we discussed hosting, basic setup, design, SEO, and overall functionality. In Part 3, we tell you how to maintain your new site post-launch. There are several things you'll want to consider as you continue to grow your website through WordPress, including regular maintenance updates, blogging, keeping content current, and social media. After Launching a WordPress Site: The Honeymoon Period After you first get done launching a WordPress site, if you're anything like us, you may find yourself checking our site over and over to ensure everything…

3 Tips for Converting Your WordPress Website to SSL for Free

Relevance: 82%      Posted on: March 8, 2017

As a follow-up to our previous post on SSL certificates, here we tell you how to convert your WordPress website to SSL. If you read the other post, or have been paying attention to online discussions, you know about Google's recent decision to mandate SSL certificates for all ecommerce websites. What you might not know is how to go about converting your website from HTTP to HTTPS in order to secure the coveted green padlock icon that will demonstrate to all your website visitors that your site is safe and secure. There are actually lots of ways to go about making…

Complete Guide to Launching a WordPress Site: Part 1 (Setup)

Relevance: 80%      Posted on: March 2, 2016

This is the first post in a three-part series called the Complete Guide to Launching a WordPress Site that will tell you everything you need to know to set up, launch, and maintain a great-looking and high-performing WordPress website. So, you've taken our advice and decided launching a WordPress site for your business's website is the way to go. Great idea! Now you need to be guided through the process of launching a WordPress site. With their famous five-minute installation, WordPress websites are relatively easy to launch... if you know what you're doing by the time you get to that point.…

4 Myths About Industry-Specific Digital Marketing Solutions

Relevance: 70%      Posted on: September 5, 2018

Industry-specific digital marketing solutions are often touted by their sellers as tailored to the needs of a particular industry. Over the years, we've seen them crop up in healthcare, education, massage/wellness, realty, and the non-profit sector. Sometimes, these solutions provide a necessary stopgap for clients who need additional functionality from their website. Quite often, however, these tools end up being more trouble than they're worth. Below we talk about the biggest myths we've seen with these solutions and what to ask before you buy. Myth #1: Industry-Specific Digital Marketing Solutions Are Cheaper Than Building a Website Solutions like these are often…

Do I Need HTTPS For My Website? The Lasting Impacts of Security-ageddon

Relevance: 65%      Posted on: August 9, 2017

'Do I need HTTPS for my website?' is a question we've gotten a lot since Google declared 2/3 of websites to be insecure in January of 2017. Not since "mobile-ageddon" has Google penalized so many websites in one fell swoop. During mobile-ageddon, Google started penalizing websites if they weren't mobile-responsive. Now, Google is doing the same thing with security. In January of 2017, they declared any website that isn't using the HTTPS protocol "insecure," and started penalizing certain types of insecure websites in search rankings. Do I Need HTTPS For My Website? Yes, You Probably Do If you're still on…

3 Tips for Setting Up Your Small Business Website for Success

Relevance: 51%      Posted on: July 26, 2017

Your small business website is one of your most valuable business assets. It is probably the first thing new customers will see before they even visit your store. Consumers will make judgments about your business based on your website, both consciously and unconsciously. If you are doing e-commerce, the experience people have while shopping on your website will likely determine if they buy from you again in the future. Are you setting up your small business website for success? Or are you building a website that will chase consumers away from your business? What Are Best Practices for Small Business…

3 Tips for Building a Small Business Website

Relevance: 47%      Posted on: October 18, 2017

If you're in the process of building a small business website, or have built one in the past, you know there are a lot of options available. Everywhere you go online these days there seem to be new tools available for building websites for little to no cost. You may also be wondering what option is best for your business. When clients ask us this question, we typically ask them about their goals and help them develop a website that will help them accomplish those goals. Not all website solutions are created equal, you see, and it's essential to find…

CMS SEO Comparison: Is Your CMS Hurting Your SEO? [Infographic]

Relevance: 47%      Posted on: August 29, 2018

If you're a small business owner or non-profit manager with a website, you are probably using a CMS to run that website. CMSs help website owners to easily update their website and keep it looking sharp without having to know how to code. If you care about SEO, however, you should know that not all CMSs are created equal. And if you haven't done a CMS SEO comparison, your CMS may be hurting your SEO without you even knowing about it. What's a CMS? A Content Management System or CMS is simply a tool for managing all the content within a website.…

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Design Your Own Website

Relevance: 43%      Posted on: May 17, 2017

Before you design your own website, consider what is best for your business or non-profit. Do you have the time, expertise, and resources to do a good job? Do you know best practices for mobile-ready web design in a world where smartphone usage is currently higher than 75%? Do you have the necessary skills to maintain your website after you build it? If you answered no to one or more of these questions, you should read this post before you make the decision to design your own website. You owe it to yourself to know what you're getting into before…

Top UX Tools of the Trade: Prototyping, Usability, and Content Management

Relevance: 43%      Posted on: January 20, 2016

In a previous post, I described why UX is essential to think about for any business who has a web presence. In this follow-up post, I'll talk about some of the best, and most affordable, UX tools of the trade for helping you assess and grow that web presence. What UX Tools of the Trade Look Like for the Average Business: Prototyping, Usability, and Content Management If you're reading this and you're not sure what UX is, read my previous post where I define it. Essentially, the average business needs to think about three regular activities that involve UX: prototyping, usability,…

How Not to Get Locked Out of Your Own Website

Relevance: 39%      Posted on: January 18, 2017

Are you locked out of your own website? Did you sign a contract without really reading it and now you have to spend a fortune just to update your website? Did you pay for a website to be built and now it hasn't been updated in forever? Were you unaware you could be locked out of your own website? We are continually surprised by how many referral clients we get who have been locked out of their own website by another digital firm. Our first work for them typically involves digging them out of the contract they signed that granted…

AdWords vs AdWords Express: What Small Businesses Should Know

Relevance: 37%      Posted on: May 4, 2016

If you're a small business looking to advertise on Google, you may be considering AdWords vs AdWords Express. Google ads can be a great way to drive traffic to your website. They display next to search results related to keywords that you set up ahead of time. You might also be aware that Google recently rolled out a new version of Google AdWords, the system by which you run ads on Google, called AdWords Express. Though definitely easier to use than AdWords, AdWords Express takes some important choices out of your hands that you might not be aware of. Below…

The 6 Biggest Web Design Mistakes Small Businesses Make

Relevance: 34%      Posted on: February 28, 2018

You’ve built a website that represents your business well. You took pictures. You created content for multiple pages. You purchased a domain and server space. You made your website live. So, why aren’t you getting the customer response you expected? You might have fallen prey to common web design mistakes that small businesses make. Even a few of these mistakes can drive all but the most loyal customers away. Web Design Mistake #1: Slow Loading Website With the advent of high-speed Internet, customers are no longer patient about waiting for webpages to load. Most customers will wait no longer than…

5 Blogging Tips and Tricks for Small Businesses and Non-Profits

Relevance: 32%      Posted on: January 30, 2019

Writing a blog is a great way to advertise your business or non-profit. Industry-specific blog posts increase your chances of your website being found by consumers through search engines and social media. If well-written, blog posts can also enhance your credibility among customers, donors, and even competitors. To create quality blog posts that can generate a following for your business, try these blogging tips and tricks we use with our clients and on our own blog. Blogging Tip #1: Target Your Audience Your primary audience for your blog should be potential customers or donors. Remember that your goal in writing…

Do You Own a Website? Here’s What You Need to Know About Site Speed Optimization

Relevance: 31%      Posted on: January 27, 2016

When you launched your website, you likely put a lot of thought into your domain name and site design, but if you ignored your page speed, you’ve made a grave mistake. You need to think about site speed optimization, or tuning up your website to load as fast as possible. Website speed is not only factored into Google’s ranking algorithms, which means you’ll show up higher the search results, but it’s important for user experience as well. When you’re looking to please your site visitors, you’ll want to make sure your pages load fast. Below, I discuss why this factor…

3 Tips for Keeping on Top of SEO Trends

Relevance: 27%      Posted on: April 26, 2017

SEO trends change constantly. Whether you're a small business owner, a non-profit manager, or a member of a team within a large business, it can be difficult to stay on top of best practices. Search engines are constantly updating the rules they use to prioritize search results for users. Website technologies constantly change, as well, but not always in ways that favor SEO. What is effective one year might kill your rankings next year. How do you keep track of it all? The Necessity of Staying on Top of SEO Trends Though difficult to do, staying on top of SEO trends is…

3 Tips for Launching a New Website for Your Small Business or Non-Profit

Relevance: 25%      Posted on: December 7, 2016

Launching a new website for your small business or non-profit can be stressful. Whether the new site is a redesign of your existing website or a completely new website, there are a lot of decisions to make. In no particular order, these decisions include: Logo: Do you want a new logo for your new website? How will this affect your branding in other places (i.e. signs, brochures, business cards, stationary, digital displays in your office, etc.)? Color Scheme: Any competent designer can help you brand your website effectively by using an appropriate color scheme, but what do you want this…

21 Signs You Need to Switch Your Website Hosting Provider

Relevance: 25%      Posted on: February 21, 2018

While maintaining a website has become easier, thanks to the awesome CMS WordPress, ensuring that said website functions smoothly at all times is equally important and this is where choosing a reliable website hosting provider becomes crucial. A website host plays an important role when it comes to website security, speed and download time. It also makes your task of incorporating new technological features seamless. Thus, as one of the major investments in the online face of your business, you need to ensure that the website hosting company that you have chosen is able to provide you with all the…

What Features Should You Have on a Non-Profit Website?

Relevance: 20%      Posted on: November 2, 2016

Being a non-profit organization brings with it some special circumstances that are different from those of commercial businesses. The same goes for designing a website for a non-profit. In particular, there are four features any good non-profit website needs: A Donate Button A News Section or Blog A Description of Programs A Description of Volunteer Opportunities Why These Four? More often than not, users accessing a non-profit website will want to help the organization. Through donations, keeping up with the organization’s recent news, reading about programs that the non-profit runs, and considering volunteer opportunities, visitors to the site can immediately see…

How to Choose a Web Design Company for Your Small Business Or Non-Profit

Relevance: 20%      Posted on: November 23, 2016

If you're not in the web design industry, it can be difficult to know how to choose a web design company for your small business or non-profit. There are lots of businesses out there who make a lot of promises when it comes to web design: guaranteed visitors, mobile responsiveness, sites that never need to be updated, etc. The truth is that buying a website is a lot like buying a car: some cars are great and are exactly as-advertised. Some are pretty good, but are overpriced and not worth your money. And others are downright lemons. Some Other Questions You…

3 Things That Can Go Wrong With Your Website Migration Process

Relevance: 20%      Posted on: May 3, 2017

A website migration process can be needed if you're moving your website to a new domain, a new hosting provider, a new content management system (CMS), or if you're doing a complete redesign. If you are a small business owner or non-profit manager, however, you may find yourself confused by the various options available to you. Should you build a new website from scratch? Change your hosting? Change your domain? Change to a new CMS? In this post, we help you take some of the guesswork out of your website migration process. What Does Your Average Website Migration Process Look…

5 Website Must-Have Features for Small Businesses and Non-Profits

Relevance: 20%      Posted on: May 31, 2017

Website must-have features come and go. What is essential one year may be ineffective the next. If you are a non-profit manager or small business owner looking to build a website, or improve your current one, you may find yourself lost in the jargon of web design. Responsive? Single-page? CMS? Custom? Before you go chasing trends, read below to discover the 5 website must-have features that just about every organization needs. Won't This List of 'Website Must-Have Features' Be Outdated as Soon as It's Published? It's true that web design trends change on an almost daily basis, but when you're running…

How to Spot a Bad Web Designer: 5 Warning Signs

Relevance: 19%      Posted on: May 24, 2017

Not sure how to spot a bad web designer? If you are a non-profit manager or small business owner, you may feel that you're dependent on the person you just hired to build your website or redesign your old one. You also might feel like it's difficult to tell the difference between a good web designer and a bad one. Below are 5 warning signs to look for before you sign that contract. Warning Sign #1: Offers to Work Without a Contract The first way to spot a bad web designer is that they frequently "offer" to work without a…

Digital Marketing Fundamentals Everyone Should Know

Relevance: 19%      Posted on: June 21, 2017

Digital marketing fundamentals are becoming important whether you're a freelancer, a small business owner, a non-profit manager, or a member of a larger organization. You need to know what's available to you and your organization, how digital marketing is different than traditional marketing, and what skill sets you might need to learn vs. which ones you might want to outsource. It's important to inform yourself on how you can reach new customers, donors, or clients using today's emerging digital tools. What Are Digital Marketing Fundamentals? Digital marketing fundamentals are very different than traditional marketing fundamentals. What works in media like tv,…

Top 5 Digital Marketing Myths: Smaller Organizations Beware

Relevance: 17%      Posted on: January 9, 2019

In an age when digital ad spending is overtaking traditional advertising, digital marketing myths are everywhere. Whether you are a small business owner, a non-profit manager, or even the head of a large company, you have probably been promised amazing returns for your investment in your website, social media, or online advertising. You may have encountered companies who guarantee such seemingly impossible feats as making you the #1 search result on Google for a low, low price. Like most things in life, it can be difficult to separate the truth from the hype when it comes to digital marketing, a…

Being the Top Search Result on Google: Local vs National SEO

Relevance: 16%      Posted on: July 27, 2016

In a previous post, we mentioned that being the top search result on Google is today valued at about $1,000,000. To back up this claim, we mentioned that all the research we've conducted, plus all the research of the smart people we follow, points to the fact that there's no magic bullet for SEO anymore. Gone are the days when you could just keyword stuff to trick Google into thinking you have the best content. Google has gotten better and better at delivering optimized content to its users, which means it's harder and harder to achieve real results in Google…

The Complete Guide to Content Marketing for Small Business, Part 1: Finding Your Niche

Relevance: 15%      Posted on: August 31, 2016

If you're interested in content marketing for small business, you may be curious how it's different than content marketing for larger organizations. Content marketing is all the rage these days, and for good reason. As Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, puts it: Consumers have shut off the traditional world of marketing. They own a DVR to skip television advertising, often ignore magazine advertising, and now have become so adept at online “surfing” that they can take in online information without a care for banners or buttons (making them irrelevant). Smart marketers understand that traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective…

The Complete Guide to Content Marketing for Small Business, Part 3: Improving Over Time

Relevance: 14%      Posted on: September 14, 2016

Welcome to Part 3 of our series, "The Complete Guide to Content Marketing for Small Business." To help small business owners learn how to employ content marketing, one of the best methods for attracting new customers online, we've decided to create a complete guide for small business owners. In Part 1 of the series, we discussed how to find your "content niche" as a small business or how to find a focus for your content marketing efforts that distinguishes your business as unique and valuable to target customers. In Part 2, we discussed how to create a sustainable plan for developing, publishing,…

3 Tips for Keeping on Top of UX Trends

Relevance: 14%      Posted on: August 17, 2016

Digital technologies change all the time. The websites that were fashionable and user-friendly last year look hopelessly out-of-date this year. If you're a small business owner, you may struggle, as many of us do, to maintain an aesthetically-pleasing website that continues to be relevant. Here's a little secret to make you feel better: everyone does. All kinds of organizations struggle with the pace at which technologies change. Hospitals. Schools. Corporations. Local businesses. Large, multinational businesses. Even experts in technology. Especially them. If you'be been paying attention to any conversation involving digital technology, you've probably heard about this term "UX," short…