How to plan for a successful website

How to plan for a successful website

website planningHow to Plan for a Successful Website

You’ve started a business and you are ready to tell the world you are here and how you can help them. You are now prepared for your own website to attract your customers, so where do you start…..?

This article is to help you ​plan for a successful website. It will reveal what I believe to be the crucial elements you need to know about if you are looking to build a website that is profitable.

What outcome do you want?

While this may not seem obvious to the new entrepreneur, this is really a vital component to your strategy. This is the place to start. By figuring out the website purpose, you clearly define what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it, ie it’s objective. I’ve mentioned this previously in my article I want a website, where do I start and I have seen it mentioned in many other articles as well. Here is one such article that I found that confirmed what I had learnt during my entrepreneurial journey.

The first and most important thing to figure out when you start a business, is what kind of business it is and who are you going to serve, ie What is the Purpose of your website? Who is your ideal client, and what problem do you solve for them? The answer to this will help you work out where to lead site visitors to their desired solution.

After all, a website is not just about showcasing you and your business, it’s really all about your prospective clients and providing them with a solution to specific problem (need). It is an important marketing tool.

​Important questions for an effective websiteplan

​There are 4 questions you need to answer to create an effective website:​

  1. Who is the website being built for, who is the target audience?
  2. What is the problem they are trying to solve?
  3. How do you solve their problem?
  4. What do they need to do?

Figuring out these key elements will make creating a money-making website a lot easier as they will help attract your ideal clients to you.

Who is your target audience?

Knowing who your target audience is important for getting the correct message across. If you know who they are, what the do, where the work, what income bracket they are in, what they do in their leisure time, what kind of problems so they have, then you will understand what your audience’s challenges. When you understand this you can then offer a solution in words that your audience relates to and understands. It builds rapport with your audience and is the beginning of your relationship with them.

What is their problem?

When you understand your audience’s exact problem/s, it makes it easier for you to offer appropriate solutions. What are the solutions people are looking for? Do they want to overcome their fear of public speaking? Or maybe they want a website on a shoestring budget. Clearly articulate what problem is being addressed and then go on to show visitors how you can solve it for them.

How do you solve their problem?

Here you need to clearly state how you solve their problem. It must be simple and action oriented. An example is to sign up for a free cheat sheet that provides tips or hacks that can be instantly applied to solve their specific problem.

​Avoid long explanations and lots of text. People ignore these. They want short sharp answers that they can find quickly and easily. The easier you make it for them, the more likely they will take the desired action.

What does your audience need to do on your site?

Your homepage should be simple and uncluttered. It must be easy for your visitors to understand what action you want them to take. It must also be very clear what action you want your visitor to take. For example, Buy Now, or Learn More. This is known as a Call To Action (CTA). Having a CTA above the fold and in a prominent location makes it clear what action a visitor can take.

clear path

Design and placing of elements assist in this area. Strategic placing of certain elements in certain locations helps the visitors to take the actions you want them to take. Remember, technology (ie your website) is only a tool, and it can only perform based on how you use it. If you are clear on its purpose before you build it, and the path you wish your prospects to take, building it will be easy, as you will know who you are addressing, what problem you are solving and how you can help your them.

​Another consideration is the type of website. Is it an ecommerce site, a brochure type site, a course/membership platform? Or is it a blog to share useful resources in a certain field? Whatever the answer is, it needs to match to all of the above if it is to be successful.

​Naturally, as is often usual, there are bound to be some overlaps of the types of websites, and that is quite ok. Just be aware of the overlaps and how each one has a specific objective. Make sure your website meets your business objectives.

How do I get a website?

Once you have completed this first step, you are ready to find the right person to design your website.

​Get in touch today if you would like us to assist you with your website design!

19 Essential Steps to Secure Your WordPress Website

19 Essential Steps to Secure Your WordPress Website

Secure your website

Secure Your WordPress Website with these 19 Essential Steps

Being a WordPress website owner, you may or may not be aware of the necessity to take some essential steps to secure your website against unwanted intrusions. In this post, I am giving you the 19 best security tips that I have found in my research to assist you in keeping your site as secure as possible.  These tips are for those business owners or blog owners who have their own website being hosted with a hosting company.

It is important to realise that website security is not a one-off event.  Rather, it is an ongoing practice to ensure that your website can do its job of attracting your customers.

1. Choose the best hosting service possible.

You will need to do your research to know what you need so that you are able to choose the best option for you. For example, if you are expecting to attract a lot of traffic to your website, like over 50,000 hits per day, you may want to avoid shared hosting and look at dedicated hosting or a service with cloud hosting.

2. Pick a good, unique username.

DO NOT use admin, test or your website name! Part of this includes using a good strong password as well. Use this link to check how well your password performs https://howsecureismypassword.net/

3. Install the Wordfence plugin.

This is hands down the best security plugin out there and one of the best tools to help you secure your website. The free version deals really well with such things as limiting login attempts, blocking unregistered users from trying to login and blocking random bot attacks. The settings are quite comprehensive and allow for customization as well. If you feel you need extra security, you can always opt in for the premium paid version. Check out all the necessary documentation here: https://docs.wordfence.com/en/Wordfence_Official_Documentation.

4. Find out if a website username is hidden or not.

Type in a website domain and follow it with /?author=1 and hit enter eg www.yourdomain.com/?author=1 This reveals the username to log into the site if not properly secured. If the site is properly secured, the user is referred to a Page that says No Results.

5. Limit login in attempts to your website.

5 is a good number. Enough to still let you in if you make a mistake yet not enough to allow someone else to gain access. The Wordfence plugin has settings that allows you to do this. It also allows you to select how long the user has to try those 5 login attempts and then allows you to choose the time frame that they are locked out for. (See image below). This is a quick and easy step to secure your website.Wordfence login limits settings

6. If you are comfortable going into your website backend, hide the core WordPress file wp-config.php.

This is the main file to make your website function. It is typically stored in your WordPress installation directly. By moving it up to the public_html/ folder, it makes it inaccessible to hackers.

7. Select a good and reliable backup plugin.

The best plugin will depend on the size of your website. For smallish websites, free plugins like Duplicator or Updraft Plus are good choices. Updraft Plus is also a good choice for larger websites. You can store your backup files locally or in a location of your choice (see image for Updraft Plus choices). The settings in Updraft Plus means you can schedule backups at regular intervals automatically. A good practice is before making any changes to your site, always make a backup first.backup settings

8. Make sure the latest version of WordPress has been updated.

Before you do this, backup your site! Updating the WordPress version prevents hackers using out of date versions to gain access. Hackers can find this information just by viewing source code. It is best to remove the version of the WordPress file. The Wordfence plugin will remove this for you, you only have to tick the box to achieve this.

9. Consider your computer’s security to your website.

Run an anti-malware software program regularly on your computer to make sure it is safe.

10. Check if your website files are opening for public view

  • Go to your domain name and type it into the url followed by /wp-includes
  • If you are redirected to your homepage that is good.
  • Should you see a list of files on your web page that means you are not safe.
  • Add 2 lines of code to your .htaccess file to prevent folder browsing. Add it right at the beginning of the file.

   # Prevent folder browsing options
     Options All-Indexes

11. If you have multiple authors, regularly review what users are doing.

Doing this allows you to see if there is any suspicious activity. Make sure you set up new users properly with only the permissions they need to access your site. Remember to backup your site before adding a new user. Then, Pay attention to:

  • Who is logged in
  • When they logged in (at odd times)
  • What they add/delete/edit (ie what are they changing?)
  • You can use the plugin WP Security Audit Log to record activity if you are concerned about the activity you see.

12. Password protect your most vulnerable website files.

You can do this In your hosts cpanel by going to Password protect your Directories. DO NOT PASSWORD PROTECT YOUR MAIN ROOT DIRECTORY! However, It is ok to password protect the wp-admin folder with a username and password. Again, make sure you use a strong password. https://howsecureismypassword.net/

13. Choose your theme or plugin from a reputable source.

Do this by reading the reviews and doing your research.

14. Take note of when themes and plugins were last updated as there is increased risk if they are out of date.

This means you can see if changes were made to any files that were not part of the update. It also means if they are out of date (see item 14).

15. Make sure you always keep your themes and plugins up to date

Out-dated plugins and themes are often exploited by hackers to gain access to websites. Ensuring yours are up to date will prevent hackers from using this tactic to gain access to your site.

16. Uninstall any themes and plugins you are not using.

These take up space on your website and can contribute to slowing down your website.

17. Ensure you keep your WordPress version up to date as well.

Usually if the WordPress version is out of date it means it was updated because there was some kind of vulnerability detected in the current version. Keeping your WordPress version up-to-date ensures you are covered in this instance.

18. Back your website up regularly.

Having regular backups gives you peace of mind. Store the backups in several locations so that if one location falls over, you still have a backup plan to save your website.

19. Be active in your website security.

Gone are the days where you put up a website and you forget about it. Your website is a living tool, that adapts and changes to your marketing needs. Being active in your security is a key component to keeping your website secure and attracting your clients to your business.

While this is not a fully comprehensive list, it is a great start in keeping you safe. If you have any trouble with any of the steps you can contact us and we can implement them for you. We have great value maintenance plans on offer to make this easy for so that you can be assured your site is safe.Save

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Let Us Take Care of the Security For You

So you can focus on building your business!

So you have a website and you think your online work is done

So you have a website and you think your online work is done

So you have a website and you think your online work is done

Having a website requires more than just getting the content and having it professionally, or personally, developed and put out there in the world wide web. It is no longer the case that if you have a website everyone will find you. With the number of websites increasing every day, you need to find a way to stand out amongst all of those websites.

Tasks to help with your website

In order for your website to be working hard for you, getting leads and converting them to sales so that your business can grow, there are certain tasks that are required of you to help this process along. One of the main tasks is website maintenance. This involves:

    • regularly update content ie via a blog, or vlog or add content to clarify your offerings and provide more value
    • regularly back up your website
    • secure and monitor your website against attacks and or vulnerabilities
    • Have your site embedded with Google Analytics and monitor performance and use this to further adjust your offerings
    • have site optimised for Search Engine Optimisation so that your site is ranked high on search engines using your particular key words, this includes adding meta tags and image tags as well as descriptions
    • regularly monitor and manage any comments made on your site
    • use an optin form to capture emails
    • offer a free gift of great value to customers to obtain their email address
    • know your target audience
    • ensure your site is responsive so that you include the growing smart phone and tablet users
    • posting regular content in the form of videos or blogs
    • sending your clients regular newsletters or information

Today, having a cohesive website that attracts your ideal audience, nurtures them, solves their problems and makes it all easy to do, is what it takes to find your clients and convert them.

This can take time, as you become known, building your relationships and gaining the trust of your tribe.

Sales Funnels have become a well-known catch-cry and people are beginning to realise that without a sales funnel, converting your audience is extremely difficult.

So before you get all excited about getting a website, understand your marketing and have your sales funnel in mind so that your website can really do its work and help you serve all those people that you are looking for.

My business is a start-up and I want a website….. where do I start?

My business is a start-up and I want a website….. where do I start?

I want a website, where do I start?

So, you have your new business set up and you want to spread your reach and attract more clients to grow your business. You’ve heard that getting an online presence in the form of a website is the best option for you.

So, where do you begin?

The best place to start is to figure out exactly what you want your website to do for you.website startup

There are many purposes of a website. For businesses, it’s often about showcasing their goods or services. So the website could function as a lead magnet and its aim is to create more leads and sell more products/services.  These are usually dynamic websites that require interaction from the visitor, and the website is designed to entice users to look around and take up the services or products. For serious businesses, this also means taking into account scalability. This basically means that the business probably wants options that allow it to change and grow with their business.

Types of Websites

Some businesses prefer a catalogue type of website otherwise known as a static website that just provides information on the company and their products or services, but does not require the visitor to be interactive with the site. Other types of websites include ecommerce, events, services and social media.

These are just a few options of the available websites out there.

Where to start if you want a website

A good place to start is to do your market research and know your target audience. This involves working out and defining who your ideal clients are and what problems they are experiencing.  With this knowledge you can clearly define how you are able to solve your client’s problem. Once you have your content sorted, then it’s time to review various websites that you believe will appeal to your target audience, and take note of what you like about the website and what you think works and is appealing about the website. Keep in mind, the website needs to appeal to your target audience.

Next, think about the journey you want your website visitors to take so that you make it easy for them to show them how you solve their problem with your product or service and how they can access it.

Use this information to plan out your website design, making sure to provide all the elements required to solve your customer’s problem.

If you require assistance, contact us to chat about your website needs.

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9 Useful Resources for Free Images

9 Useful Resources for Free Images

links to free image resources

Image thanks to freeimages.co.uk

9 Useful Resources for Free Images

Have you ever struggled to find that perfect picture to go with your blog? I’m sure you have. It can be an endless search to find just the right picture that conveys the right tone and mood that you are looking for.

In order to help you with this, I have compiled a great list of websites that provide free images and most of them do not require attribution.

 

List of free image sites

First in the number 9 slot is MorgueFile. While they have beautiful photos and many of them are free, you still have to check with the authors as attribution may still be required. They also have a section of premium photos that are available for a fee.

In number 8 slot is Public Domain Photos. They have a wonderful selection of various photos from sunsets, to food and every day activities. They do require a link back to credit their website. Their pictures are easy to download and no sign up is required.

The number 7 choice is for those who love free png images, pictures, and clip art. It is png.img.com. The versatility of using the images, pictures and clip art in this format helps have great quality pictures without the bloated size using up valuable resources. These are all completely free with no attribution required. You can however donate to assist the designers to keep the images free.

Number 6 is freedigitalphotos+net. They have an incredibly large database of photos and images/illustrations. They operate with various licenses and under the standard license, free photos require attribution to the site and author of the image. Only the small sized images are actually free.

Number 5 is flikr. The photos here have no copyright restrictions. There are some amazing photos to see and explore.

Number 4 is Stock Free Images. Only some images are free, and they are clearly marked. You do have to sign up to be able to download images.

Number 3 is Animal Photos. A huge selection of all animal photographs free to use under the creative commons license.

Number 2 is SplitShire. A wonderful repository of images that would never have seen the light of day otherwise, all collated and offered here for free.

My number 1, and best choice resource in my opinion, is last, and it is Pixabay. They have a large assortment of images that are free and no attribution is required. You can download them without joining the site but there is more freedom for downloading if you sign up with them.

Please ensure you always check a site’s Terms and Conditions for licensing information regarding the images available. For further information regarding the different types of licensing, fotor blog have an excellent infographic that describes licensing in detail.

Please contact us so we can assist you in your website endeavours.