Posts tagged website
Larry Zevon: What's the Deal With Wordpress?
And in-depth review of wordpress websites and when you might need one for your business.

There are a lot of options for building your first (or next) website. If your needs are basic, meaning you don’t have a lot of dynamic content or functionality needs, then a static HTML website might suffice. If you need an online store and want to simplify the process of collecting funds, then Shopify might be your best bet. For a more dynamic website with the ability to manage content you might consider Sqarespace or WordPress. This article isn’t to compare feature sets of these solutions, or the total cost of ownership, but rather to provide a little background to help you ask the right questions when ultimately making your decision. 

Let’s assume you’ve been told (or arrived on your own) that you need a WordPress website. WordPress accounts for almost 60% of the content management systems (CMS) market-share and a lot of people have or know someone who has a WordPress website. Approximately 500 WordPress websites come online every day and with the next nearest CMS coming in with just 7.1% of the market-share, it’s easy to see why so many non-technical people have heard of it.

What is WordPress and who uses it?

WordPress is an open source content management system written in PHP, a popular general purpose scripting language focused on website development. WordPress started in 2003 as a blogging platform, this is much different from today’s WordPress, which powers approximately 26% of the web. Some of the world’s the largest brands use WordPress, such as The New York Times, Forbes, National Geographic, NFL, eBay, CNN, Sony Music and many others.

The Good: There are a lot of themes to choose from to align with your brand and plugins (over 44,000 of them!) that address almost any want you can conceive. There are a lot of people in the world who can help you with a WordPress website and out-of-the-box it does a decent job preparing your site for the search engines. 

The Bad: Hackers target WordPress because they get more ‘bang for their buck’ when concocting the next malware nightmare. Why write malicious code for Squarespace with only ~1.2% market-share, when you can potentially ruin the day of so many more using WordPress?! The fact is, many WordPress plugins are poorly written, either inviting attacks or conflicting with other software running on the system. It’s important to know how to select safe themes and plugins and how to protect your site from attack by way of best practices, as well as qualified website hosting.

What to look for when hiring someone to build your WordPress website

Find someone who has considerable experience building or customizing WordPress websites, whether or not they consider themselves an implementer or a developer. The difference is a developer has a better overall picture of the environment in which WordPress is run and knows the languages (PHP, XHTML, CSS, JavaScript) that power it. Whereas implementers offer varying stages of knowledge, some understand HTML and CSS better than others and can make modifications to a WordPress website outside of what’s know as a theme’s control panel.

If your website needs are simple by WordPress standards, an implementer might be more affordable than a developer. If you place a premium on functionality, need to tie-into other systems, or want to build a website from scratch (a custom theme) then you’ll need a developer.

Once your site is built you want to keep the site safe. Find a company that specializes in WordPress hosting and employs security measures such as dual authentication, firewalls, plugin security and login limiters. They should offer back-ups (ideally to multiple locations) that are quickly recoverable (typically snapshots of your site) and offer 24/7/365 support.

Summary

WordPress can be a powerful and effective option, or it might be either overkill or not ideally suited to your needs. Find out if it’s the best tool for your business and whether or not you need an implementer or a developer to help build it. If you do choose to have a WordPress website, consider a qualified hosting partner to keep your site safe, backed-up and up-to-date.

About the author

Lawrence Zevon is a web developer living in North Kingstown, Rhode Island and is the owner of Zevon Media, LLC and co-founder of The Hive. Zevon Media specializes in building ecommerce websites, as well as integration-specific, feature-rich and responsive websites for small to medium sized businesses. He has been developing websites since 1992 as a contractor to the US Navy. Zevon Media can be reached by phone at (401) 315-4637 or lzevon@zevonmedia.com

Sources

https://managewp.com/statistics-about-wordpress-usage

https://w3techs.com/technologies/overview/content_management/all

Why Your Website is the Foundation of Your Marketing Strategy.
Why your website is the foundation of all your marketing from Hub Digital

Wherever you live, think about the foundation upon which your house (or condo or apartment) is built.  It’s solid, it’s durable and it’s built to hold the floors above it. Right?  The same concept holds true when it comes to your website and your integrated marketing campaign.  Your website is the foundation upon which the rest of your efforts are built. 

Let’s think about what your marketing strategy/campaign might look like?  Integrated marketing as defined by the Direct Marketing Association (or DMA): “Integrated Marketing is an approach to creating a unified and seamless experience for consumers to interact with the brand/enterprise; it attempts to meld all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, and social media, through their respective mix of tactics, methods, channels, media, and activities, so that all work together as a unified force. It is a process designed to ensure that all messaging and communications strategies are consistent across all channels and are centered on the customer.” 

You get the gist…all of your messaging needs to be seamless so it’s super easy for your potential customers, and your referral partners, to ‘get’ what your brand is all about.  This all starts with your website and consistently refers back to it, sends back to it (those valuable links embedded in your posts, blogs, emails, etc.) and depends on (drumroll please) yup, you guessed it…your website being that firm and supportive infrastructure!!!  Once you have a solid website everything else you do can, will, and should point back or rely on it.  

Networking & Email campaigns…

Networking?  How and why does this have to with your website being so important?  We’re not going to lie here…we believe that even though we’re ‘digital marketing experts’, it always has been and always will be about people and relationship based marketing.  After all, what we really do is help our clients understand who their audience is, then we identify the best and most effective ways to communicate with them.  When you’re at a networking event and you make a solid connection (vs. shoving a business card at someone and/or having that done to you), you usually exchange business cards and follow up afterwards with a personal email or phone call. (At least you should!) Do you then go to their website, check out and connect with them on their different social platforms?  We’re guessing here that they’ll be doing the same with you.  Then, we’re hoping you add them to your email database/list, and that you’ll be consistently in front of them so you stay top of mind.  Well, a solid email campaign will be (hopefully) sending your audience back to your website for more!  That website that really speaks clearly to them about what you do and of your unique value proposition…

Blogging & Social Media…

We often blog, post and talk about the importance of a solid content marketing campaign, and we will most certainly be discussing this in more detail tomorrow on our weekly Facebook Live (every Wednesday at 1:00 we will discuss that week’s blog – among other things)!

So, to sum it all up, do you have a solid foundation?  Is your website agile and easy for you to post weekly blogs to?  Is it optimized for SEO with the appropriate tags and backend data?  Or…did your cousin’s friend at college build your website or maybe your retired uncle from IBM that used to write code?  We can’t tell you how many times people come to us with websites that are antiquated, not mobile friendly, not user friendly, not optimized for SEO (AT ALL)…and on and on! 

When it comes to investing in your business some things are truly worth the investment and well designed websites are definitely one of them!  

Some things to check out like a Q & A blog by Seth Godin on ‘What works for websites today?’.  He wrote it in 2013 but it’s timeless!  and another great (albeit extremely short and to the point) blog by Seth.

What is Branding?
 
Branding your company can help your customers recognize your business, product and service, and help with yoru marketing.
 

 

If you've ever talked to a marketer before, you've probably heard them throw around the term “branding”. Along with words like “engagement”, “synergy” and “hashtag” it’s probably one of our favorite things to say to current and prospective clients. But what does it actually mean? And how can you apply it to your business?

“Branding” refers to the colors, logos, tag lines and overall character that belong to a particular product or service. By “branding” your company, you are creating essentially a trademark that defines who and what you are. Having a strong brand presence is important if you want your customers to be able to recognize your company when they see your advertising, your signs, your printed materials, and your website.

Here’s a few tips to keep your branding consistent throughout all the various ways you promote yourself.

  1. Have specific colors, fonts and graphics for your brand, and use only them. It’s easy to say, “My company uses the color blue”. We’re on the right track here, but the color blue can come in a variety of shades from navy to robin’s egg to “cerulean" and “blizzard”. Picking a specific color (with a specific number attached) and font, and insisting that they be used on all of your marketing materials, can help ensure a uniform presence. 
  2. Say the same message. This one is pretty simple. Don’t publish a 20% off sale on your Facebook page, while an ad for $15 off a $50 purchase is running on a few websites. You can promote different products or services on different platforms, but make sure the messages meld together and don’t compete or else you’re going to get confusion among your customers (and headaches for your staff).
  3. Create your brand around your customers. This one can be a little tougher. Think about your prospective audience and what they may like and feel a connection with. As an example, a clothing line made for the beach, looks odd paired with a heavy, victorian font and dark colors. Your audience is fun, probably young and into the outdoors. Soft, fluid script that mirrors the ocean waves and light colors evoke a feeling of summer and sand with your potential patrons.

Branding may seem obvious, but it’s easy to get caught up in a variety of styles and messaging as your explore what works best for your brand. Don’t be afraid of trying new things, but make sure you aren't losing who you are, and confusing your customers in the process.

Do I really need to have a website?

    Your entire brand recognition relies on a positive first impression. In the digital realm, it is usually your website that provides it.With the average attention span online lasting only 8 seconds, it is super important that your website reflect quickly and efficiently all of the positive messages about your business. Those precious seconds should be visually appealing, comforting, and interesting.

    Step 1 of a successful website: Make it an attention-grabber without being too overwhelming. Use of graphics and images can pay dividends for your online traffic, but in excess it can also turn people away. Avoid large files and moving images that can distract the eye, annoy the viewer and slow down load times. Sleek and simple is my recommendation as the direction to head in.

    Step 2: Convenience is key. If people have to waste several of those 8 seconds to figure out the navigation of your website, they will become frustrated and use their time differently. Traditionally, we know to look for the navigation buttons on the top, or left hand side of a page. Straying from this format can cause confusion, questions and a high bounce rate. The goal is to keep people on your site because they want to learn about your brand, not because they can’t figure out how to.

    Step 3: Monitor your website and keep it up to date. Staying involved in your online community makes it feel personable and engaging. It also ensures people that you care about your product or business and that it will not be forgotten about. Respond to questions or concerns, add new content and delete outdated information. Hard work really pays off here. You will need to show dedication to not be left in the dust. 

    The moral of this story is that you not only need to have a website, but you need your website to cater to your audience. In this age of marketing, brand is everything. Take pride in your image and your website!