Web Design, Development, and Strategy For Your Client

goodwebdesignpracticesWeb design might seem simple for some folks, but it takes strategy, especially if you’re developing a website that needs to convert visitors to buyers or subscribers. When people go to your site, they need to know why is matters that they should be on your site. It takes a perfect balance of web design, development, and strategy.

If you can’t answer that, then you’ve failed. You can tweak your search engine optimization strategy and you won’t be able to come to a solution until you’ve:

  • Answer why people should visit your site.
  • Include a clear path of conversion elements toward your product, service, or whatever you want people to do while they’re on your website.

This is directed to both the client and the web designer. You can be a big shot in your niche, but for anyone that hasn’t heard of you, they won’t care on where you’ve been featured or how many awards you have. They want to know what you can do for them.

For example, while I have a lot of awards and have spoken at a lot of WordCamps and conferences, no one cares. You’d think I’d be hurt about that, but believe me, after learning how to strategically design and develop WordPress powered sites, I swallowed this pill not just for myself, but for my clients. People come to my site because I’m their t help them rock their websites out like rockstars. It doesn’t even matter to me if they hire me as long as they are reading my blog, learning, and applying that knowledge to their site.

For the website site, you really have to cater to your audience and feel them out. And for the designer or developer, they also need to know your niche. They need to know your background. The designer also needs to know exactly what the website is trying to do… like get someone to buy a product or service, or maybe even subscribe to the site’s newsletter.

No more excuses!

Just building a website without any thought to the visitor is a sign of a novice designer or developer. In this day and age of technology, there are no excuses as learning each niche is as easy as taking a 10 minutes to do a thorough search. You can even look up information to compare sites and how they match up to the goals that the website owner desires.

The biggest problem that designers and their clients have is coming to a solution that not just looks great, but also converts. The client isn’t there to spend money on just anything. It has to make them money or produce some type of return on investment.

As a designer and developer, are you paying attention on what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to website conversion? Are you listening to your client?

As a client, are you having problems getting people to subscribe or buy from you? Have you been able to properly answer why visitors should care about why they are surfing your website?

The Art of Blogging: Building A Sturdy Foundation

artofblogging-thumbnailSlow and steady – that’s what you need to build a good foundation for your site if you’re relying on blogging as a main drive for your business. People who brag about being able to post more than 1 a day will usually run into a lull and have to eat their words.

Even I can’t maintain that rate of blogging. It would take up a lot of time dedicated to blogging where I could be networking with people about needing web site design or consulting about their small online business.

You’re welcome to test the theory, but it will come back to haunt you. I’ve even had to eat my own words at one point for trying this… a very novice mistake when it’s solely my site and rarely allow guest blogging.

If you’re going to try to become a blogging machine, you’re going to have to find some type of balance and you might think about bringing on people to write. I don’t mean guest bloggers in particular. I mean people you may have to pay or do some revenue sharing, or perhaps as a business, hire interns for periods of 3 to 6 months.

If your trying to stay on top of trends and new information in your niche, bringing on more writers may be your best bet. Otherwise, you can get away with a 1 post per day or maybe 3-5 posts published per week.

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Yes, you want to rise to the top by pumping content out like a machine, but it’s not always the best as you have to maintain or increase that work ethic to keep pushing forward. You can easily lose rank just as fast for not maintaining or increasing your rate, and if you get too focused on broadcasting, you lose the vital engagement your website needs to succeed.

If you’re doing this to gain rank, remember that it can easily change with the thousands of new sites that are being created each day.

If you’re running your blog by yourself, and you want to write and publish multiple posts per day, and can handle it, go for it, but in the time you can’t publish, you may want to seek a better blog plan for your website. Don’t burn yourself out just to get to success.

How often do you blog? Do you have a blog plan? Have you contemplated bring other writers to your site to keep on top of trends in your niche?

Facebook Ads And Fan Pages: Traffic Decline

facebook-failAfter Facebook adjusted its algorithms late November 2013, fan pages have been suffering traffic-wise. In fact, a study by Ignite said that the Facebook fan page traffic decreased by an average of 44%. Their study consisted of over 689 brands. In fact, brand reach is at 3%, and not the former 16% that Facebook boasted. In fact, brands are saying that Facebook is screwing their fan page presence.

I decided to try this out and compare to a previous ad that I did about 6 months ago. The article for both ads, prior to advertising them performed well.

The advertisement was a promoted post, and was for my Website Audit service. In fact, below is the screenshot of the promoted post.

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I paid $20. 22,567 saw the post. The post received 182 post likes, 1523 fan page likes, 2 immediate sales during the run of the ad, and 8 more within 2 weeks. I felt this was really a big success as I’ve run ads in the past that I’ve had to experiment with.

The same advertisement, at the same price in the first week of December 2013 produced:

  • 7551 saw the post
  • 78 post likes
  • 45 fan page likes
  • No sales

I’ve even run a straight fan page promotion and the results were just as staggering. I’ve experimented with other types of ads, like a promoted post to a public service announcement. The amount of likes to the post and page were worlds apart in numbers.

So, it’s a struggle for businesses get a better way to reach others, and social media marketers are looking for new ways. However, this change may have cut off a lot of people. If you want to reach more people, looks like you’re going to have to spend a lot more money. For bootstrapping businesses, that might be a problem, even for those wanting to target in local areas.

My take- Facebook really did get greedy and small businesses are going to feel that squeeze. I already had a problem with them before when they apparently rejected an advertisement in the past and STILL charged me. I reported this and heard nothing back from Facebook.

What are your thoughts on Facebook’s recent changes? Is your fan page reflecting a decline in traffic? If not, what did you do to get your fan page to stay afloat?

The Art of Blogging: Time Does Equal Money

artofblogging-thumbnailIf any blogger is telling you that it costs no money to start a blog and actually earn money, they need a reality check. In fact, if you’re reading this article and you’ve read articles like it, it’s good that stumbled upon this one.

“It takes money to earn money.”

I don’t know who originally said it, but it’s absolutely true. Investing isn’t just money, but also time and effort. You might not have a set wage when you first blog, but all that time invested could be money earned doing something else. You’re also paying for a domain, and hosting. You’re also taking time to customize your site and install the functionalities you need for it.

While you aren’t paying yourself to create your articles and set up your site, that does translate into money. Think about it. If you work 40 hours per week on your site, at the standard minimum wage of $7.50 US Dollar, that is $300 of work done in a week. In one month, that’s $1200. If you are bragging that you made $1000 in one month blogging, you’ve given yourself a pay cut. In the content creation marketing community, well written articles with 500 words individually sell between $15 to $50. So… that $1000 you made, starts looking like chump change.

Maybe it’s some marketing ploy, but anyone trying willing to blog and entice people to subscribe to their product or boost their image, it’s not impressive. If you are trying to put together an article about bootstrapping your blog or business, don’t be misleading. It might not seem so misleading to you, but for someone not business savvy or a total newbie at blogging, or maintaining any business… it really is misleading.

It’s great if you are making money, but think logically on:

  • Time spent
  • What your rate per hour or per word is
  • If your work is producing a return on investment

I’m not going to lie. You definitely shouldn’t be overestimating your blog work when you start. It might be hard to put a price on your work, whether it be per hour or per word. However, if you have a regular job and intend to hopefully work for yourself one day, you need to put together a business plan for your blog. You will need to justify your time spent versus how much money you really earned. In doing so, you can see if your blogging or your website business is the path to take in your career.

Blogging isn’t glamorous, and takes a lot time. It’s not a get rich quick scheme. If you believe it is so, you’re living in a delusional world.

Do you blog professionally? Do you give advice to bloggers? Have you seen articles misleading bloggers about making money while blogging?

WordPress 3.8 is Available!

wordpress-thumbnail3WordPress 3.8 is available! WordPress 3.8 was released on December 12, 2014 and was named after Charlie Parker, a jazz musician who was noted have developed bebop. This version came with a big change to the user interface.

In fact, the last major user interface change was in WordPress 2.7 “Coltrane” back in December 2008.

WordPress 3.8

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General User Interface
The biggest change is the interface look. The colors, font, and styling have changed, as well as the icons. This was inspired by the MP6 plugin that was already integrated into WordPress.com sites. The MP6 integration allows users to choose from 8 different color schemes for the backend.

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The user-interface is also more responsive. It does look wonky in smaller sized browsers like mobile, but fairly decent for tablets.

Themes Area

In themes ( Appearance> Themes), this section has changed. You will see all your themes, and if you upload a new theme, you can click on it to preview it and see more information.

wordpres-38-themes2-screenshot

wordpress-38-themes-screenshot

Widgets Area

The widgets area also got a bit of a face lift. Prior to WordPress 3.8, the inactive widgets took up three quarters of the screen. This time its nearly half and half. This helps for sites using a lot of widgets. Instead of having to scroll to drag and drop, or use the screen option feature in widgets to disable drag and drop, its a little easier. :)

wordpress-38-widgetarea-screenshot

Posts and Pages

The posts area got quite a few updates to the TinyMCE and the icons to the post format. Also, the styling on the Add Media button and the Text editor buttons changed a bit.

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There are a few more changes that you can see in the video below.

Video: A Walk Through WordPress 3.8

I’ve put together an 11 minute walk through of some of the features you can find in WordPress 3.8.

Upgrading to WordPress 3.8

WordPress 3.8 was a smooth upgrade. It’s been tested thousands of times. If you’re hesitant to upgrade, then give is a couple days.

Personal Note: I found the upgrade to be smooth.

However, if you are able to do the one click upgrade option, remember to do a back up of your site. Before clicking upgrade, to de-activate plugins and activate one of the default themes. Once you have successful upgraded your site, you can then start re-activating your plugins and theme.

For those doing a manual upgrade from WordPress 3.7.1 to WordPress 3.8:

  1. Back up your WordPress site
  2. De-activate plugins
  3. Set theme to a default theme
  4. Download the full version of WordPress 3.8 to your computer
  5. Unzip the file
  6. Via FTP, remove all files except the wp-config.php file and the entire wp-contents folder
  7. Via FTP, upload all files from the unzipped WordPress folder on your computer to your host account where your old install was, except for the wp-config.php files and the wp-contents folder.
  8. Load your website… you should be upgraded. Note: If you are prompted to click a button to update the database, then do so.
  9. Re-activate your plugins and your default theme.

If you come up with any problems, you may need to troubleshoot your WordPress site. In the case you are having problems, you can try the WordPress Support Forums or All About WordPress on Facebook.

Have you upgraded to WordPress 3.8? What do you think of it?

Announcing WPBeginner Glossary – Dictionary of WordPress Terms

wordpress-newspaper-thumbnailBy WPBeginner WPBeginner announces the opening of the WPBeginner Glossary, which contains common terms in WordPress that people use. This glossary is dedicated to helping new WordPress users learn common terminology in the community. Check out the glossary, and if you have any other terms to suggest, let them know.

Source: Announcing WPBeginner Glossary – Dictionary of WordPress Terms

Graphic: SEO Is Not A Game

I’ve said that SEO is not a same, many times. It really isn’t. If you know how to write unique and quality content, and engage with your readers, you’re definitely heading in the right direction.

A lot of people like to whine about why their website has either dropped in traffic or has dropped from good search results. All the answers to that can be found in whatever game they tried to play in order to get ahead. Google isn’t out to get you. They are trying to make sure the search alogrithms are as close to what a person may search for.

This is the reason you will keep reading and hearing from SEO experts that you should write for humans or strive to hae a more organic strategy when it comes to search engine optimization.

So… stop trying to game the system.

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