Safety Tips for WordPress Sites

wordpressWordPress is the world’s most popular content management system (CMS). Thousands of websites have been created using this tool. However, in the past few years, there have been growing concerns about the security of WordPress sites. Many of these sites have been hacked and their security compromised. These attacks come mainly from the themes and from the hosting. Therefore, when creating your site, you need to take security into consideration.

Here are some tips which will help you keep your WordPress site safe:

1. Keep WordPress updated

Websites which use older versions of WordPress are more vulnerable to attacks and hacks. Every WordPress update comes with more enhanced security. This is why it is very important to install WordPress updates immediately they are released. It would also be advisable to conceal the WordPress version in the header tag.

2. Select a reliable hosting package

Selecting a reliable hosting package from a trusted provider will reduce the chances of your site getting hacked. Such reliable hosting is usually backed by quality software and hardware, as well as advanced technologies. In addition, it offers security features such as secure POP3, DDoS protection, sFTP, SSH and support for SSL.

3. Use a safe WordPress theme

A good percentage of hacks originate from WordPress themes. Therefore, besides making your site appear attractive, a good website theme should also enhance your security. When selecting a theme, you need to find out how safe it is. For instance, does it use the right APIs provided by WordPress.org? Verifying such details will make you less vulnerable to hacks.

4. Backup your files and database

A vital element of WordPress security is backing up files and databases. Before making any changes to your site, take time to backup your entire database. You should install WordPress plugins which will backup your files and databases automatically.

5. Alter your username and passwords

Don’t make the mistake of using the default WordPress username and password. This will only make work easier for hackers. Immediately you open a new account, you need to create a new custom login as well as password. Make sure you choose a strong password which contains a blend of numbers, letter and symbols. Avoid using names (even spelt backward) or birthdays which can be guessed easily.

6. Limit failed login attempts

WordPress usually does not limit the number of times a user can try to login. If there is no limit, hackers will make numerous attempts to crack your password. Therefore, to enhance the security of your site, you need to limit the number of failed login attempts.

7. Safeguard WordPress admin files

No unauthorized person should be allowed to access your WordPress admin files. You can use .htaccess to restrict the IP addresses which can access these files.

8. Use WordPress security plugins

WordPress offers numerous plugins which can enhance your security. Plugins such as Better WP Security come with great features which greatly enhance the safety of your site and lower the chances of hacking.

Guidelines for a Successful Ecommerce Site Design

ecommerce site designIn the past few years, many people have transitioned from shopping in brick-and-mortar stores to buying products online. Due to the popularity of increasing popularity of online shopping, numerous ecommerce stores are now emerging on a daily basis. As a result, the ecommerce industry has become increasingly competitive. Therefore, if you are planning to venture into ecommerce, you need to be a step ahead of your competitors. One of the things which can enhance your chances of success is a user-friendly site design. If the design of your site offers customers a pleasant shopping experience, you are likely to make more sales.

Here are some tips which will help you enhance the profitability of your ecommerce site.

1. Post testimonials

Before making a buying decision, some of your prospects might first want to read testimonials and reviews regarding your product. Sharing such information will help you win the trust of your customers, thus enhancing your sales. However, avoid the temptation of creating fake testimonials since this will eventually destroy your reputation.

2. Keep your pages clutter free

When people visit the pages of your site, they should know immediately what you have to offer. Therefore, it would be advisable to adopt a minimalist design with professional-looking photos and plenty of white space. Having too many elements on your pages will only confuse your visitors and result in lost sales.

3. Outline your unique benefits

Whatever product you might be selling in your ecommerce site, there are probably hundreds of other online stores out there selling the same product. Thus, you need to give your visitors sufficient reason why they should buy from you and not your competitor. What is unique about your offer? What additional benefits will prospects enjoy from buying your products?

4. Use promos

Having occasional promotional offers or special discounts can be a very effective strategy for attracting customers. For instance, offering free shipping on selected items can motivate visitors to make a purchase. Whenever you are running such promotions or discounts, you need to ensure that the details appear prominently on your homepage.

5. Display contact details

Being easily accessible is one of the best ways of winning the trust of your customers. Make sure your ecommerce site has contact details such as an email address, telephone number, live chat and social media profiles displayed prominently in all the pages. You can boost your credibility further by displaying trust marks such as the BBB logo and SSL certificates.

6. Simple navigation

The navigation system of your ecommerce site should be simple and intuitive to enable visitors to move around easily. Make sure all your sections or pages are named appropriately. This will give prospects an idea of what they will find when they click on a link.

7. Understand your customer

When building your ecommerce website, take time to consider the needs of your customers. Understand their tastes, preferences and buying habits. This will enable you to come up with a design and content which will resonate with them, thus enhancing your conversion rate.

Tips for Building a Vibrant Online Community

online communityAn online community is very important for the success of your brand or business. Your online audience can help you build a strong online presence by supporting and promoting you. Here are some tips for building a vibrant online community.

1. Connect

Social media is meant to be just that – social. It offers you a great opportunity to build strong relationships with other people. However, this does not just happen automatically. You need to take time to connect with your followers, whether they are 50 or 500. Listen and respond promptly to their comments, grievances and compliments. Your followers will be happy to know that you are concerned about what they are saying.

2. Be authentic

When it comes to building an online community, authenticity is key. Feel free to share the challenges and failures which you have faced along the way. Being candid and transparent is one of the best ways of building trust in your brand. Your audience will become more convinced of your commitment to service and quality.

3. Be consistent

Consistency is very important. First, you need to be consistent in the messages being sent out regarding your brand. You can’t afford to say one thing about your brand today, and then say something totally different tomorrow. Making such a mistake can have a detrimental effect on the reputation of your business or brand. Secondly, you should be consistent in your posting. To retain the attention of your audience, it is vital to post as often as possible. However, don’t just post for the sake of it. Make sure everything posted is current and that it meets the needs of your audience.

4. Ask for help

Online communities are about sharing with each other and helping each other. Therefore, don’t be afraid of asking your followers for a favor once in a while. Whenever you share a post on your different social media profiles, feel free to ask your fans or followers to like it, repin it, +1 it, share it or retweet it. Many of them would be willing to spread the word, especially if you are providing great content.

5. Have fun!

Building online communities does not have to be all doom and gloom. Have fun while at it! If you keep bombarding your audience with information about your brand or business on a daily basis, they will eventually get bored and might lose interest. Once in a while, break out of the mold and share something different. This could be a funny quote, photo or anecdote. Engaging your online community on a lighter note is likely to enhance their loyalty to your business or brand.

Tips for Building a Successful Web Design Business

Web design businessThe web design industry has become increasingly competitive over the past few years. As a result, many web designers continue to struggle to maintain an adequate client base and earn a significant income. Here are some tips which will help you succeed in the competitive web design industry.

1. Specialize

Many web designers make the mistake of attempting to offer a wide range of services to many different audiences. However, such an unfocused approach is likely to result in insignificant results. To succeed as a web designer, it would be advisable to specialize in terms of the services you offer and the market you are targeting. For instance, if you are good at building WordPress sites, you might want to specialize in that aspect of design. Similarly, you could consider having a specific target market (for example, educational institutions).

2. Invest in sales and marketing

Many web designers are so busy working on their customers’ projects that they end up spending little time promoting their businesses. This is a big mistake. For any business to attract new customers, it needs to have a proper sales and marketing plan. However, such a plan does not have to be too complicated. All you need to do is set aside time on regular basis for promoting your services.

3. Price properly

Proper pricing is very important for the success any web design business. However, when starting out, many designers undercharge for their services in an attempt to attract more customers. However, after charging such low prices, most people find it very difficult to raise the rates later due to fear of losing customers. Even though it might mean losing some customers, it is important to price your services properly. However, you need to ensure that the quality of your work matches the prices you have set.

4. Control your growth

As you select your customers, don’t make the mistake of accepting more than you can handle. If you take on too much work, you might miss your deadlines and end up disappointing your customers. In addition, the expenses involved might end up exceeding your earnings. Therefore, as painful as it might be, you might have to turn away some work so as give your best to specific customers.

5. Avoid distractions

Some of the distractions that negatively affect the productivity of a web designer include email, the telephone, family life and social media. These distractions can be minimized in several ways. First, you need to set specific times when you will be checking your email. This should not exceed three times in a day. When you are working, make sure your web browser remains closed, and that your Facebook and Twitter notifications are disabled. Similarly, avoid answering the telephone when working. If you work from home, it would be advisable to separate your family life from your work. If possible, work from an enclosed area where you can close the door.

6. Nurture repeat business

While promoting your services to new clients, you should also take time to nurture repeat business. Getting repeat business is less demanding compared to attracting first time customers. If you are able to convince previous clients to return, you can be guaranteed of a continuous stream of income for your business. The best way of winning back your customers is by exceeding their expectations. Here are some tips for doing this:

  • Offer value-added services – You could offer to include a useful feature on your client’s site at no extra cost. This will leave a good impression and will enhance their chances of returning in future
  • Offer useful suggestions – Instead of passively waiting for repeat business, you could approach your customers with ideas of how their sites can be modified. They might just like the suggestion and pay you to implement it.
  • Develop a personal relationship – You need to take time to connect with your clients on a personal level. Spend time with them and find out what they are interested in. When they see your sincerity, they are likely to return with more work.

Pros and Cons of Using Website Builder Tools

Website Builder ToolsNowadays, if you need a website, you don’t have to hire a professional designer to build one for you. Instead, you can create it yourself using a website builder tool such as GoDaddy, Volution, WordPress, Weebly, Squarespace, 1&1, Wix, Webs, Yola or Homestead. However, though such tools have their benefits, they also have their fair share of disadvantages.

Here are some of the pros and cons of using website builder tools.

Pros of Using Website Builder Tools

1. Reduction in cost

Before hiring a professional web designer, you need to ask yourself several questions. What will it cost to have the site designed? How long will the process take? What will it cost to maintain the site? In most cases, hiring a professional is a very expensive option. Using a website builder enable you to significantly lower the cost of building and maintaining a website.

2. No need for technical expertise

If you have little or no technical knowledge, creating your own website from scratch can be a very frustrating task. When it comes to using website builders, you don’t have to know anything about HTML or any other kind of coding. Website builders come with tools such as a WYSIWYG editor, a text editor, and a HTML editor which make it easy for anyone to build a professional website within no time.

3. Great features

Anyone would want to have a site with a unique design and great features. Most custom website builders out there offer professional templates with distinctive layouts. You can easily add guest books, forms, calendars, search boxes, maps and many other features to enhance your site’s functionality. At times, you might even get a whole suit of services such as analytics, search engine optimization, email marketing and hosting in one package.

Cons of Using Website Builder Tools

1. Rigidity

Many people would want to customize their sites according to their business needs. Though website building tools come with some great features, they are limited in terms of layout and design flexibility. For instance, the layout might consist of a menu at the bottom and a banner at the top. If you prefer having your menu on the left side, the website builder might not offer that option. The fact is that it is almost impossible to find a website builder which allows you to have all the functionalities and features you would want on your site.

2. Branding

Some website builder providers require you to have their logo or any other kind of branding on your site for marketing purposes. Such advertising tactics are common with free website builders. However, this ends up making your site look very cheap and unprofessional. As a result, customers are not likely to take you seriously.

3. Learning curve

A website builder will only benefit you if you learn how to make full use of it. The more features it has, the more you are required to learn. For instance, you might need to have a good understanding of interface design, color theory, information architecture, page design, and typography. If you are ignorant of such issues, making use of your website builder can be a very frustrating experience.

Conclusion

Before choosing any website builder, you need to take time to explore the options available. Consider the functional requirements of your site and find a tool which offers the necessary features and flexibility. Alternatively, you could hire a professional designer to do the initial work of setting up your site and creating a professional look. They could also give you an idea of how to maintain the site yourself in future.