Redesign Your Small Business Website in WordPress

Your Website serves as the digital storefront for your business.

If it doesn’t look appealing, load quickly or even have a mobile version, customers are going to keep walking. Many small business owners rely on their Website to bring in a steady stream of leads and educate potential customers on what they offer.

However, when it comes to designing and developing a Website, most of those same small business owners think they can’t have all the bells and whistles that larger businesses have. But that’s not true. Why? Meet WordPress.

WordPress web design ted360

WordPress is a free platform that powers the back end of your Website. It’s commonly referred to as a “content management system” because of its ability to let you easily create and organize all of the pages and media you upload to your site.

Interested in learning why it’s the best option for your small business’ Website? Keep reading . . .

1. You’ll be able to start using your Website as a blog.

If you’re using a separate Website to host your blog or, worse, have no blog at all (at least yet), switching your site over to WordPress will quickly solve that problem. Not only is the software incredibly easy to operate (adding new pages/posts literally takes seconds), but it’s the perfect platform for blogging about your small business.

Simply set up a page on your site dedicated to your blog (just call it “blog” or some catchy name that plays off your brand). Then you can start adding posts to that page. A blog is your easiest and most effective way to continuously add new content to your site and keep customers up-to-date with your business.

2. WordPress constantly updates itself for safety and security.

Instant updates mean you can be confident your Website’s security is always up to date and aligned with the best, most current policies. While some other content management systems might require you to manually check for updates or may be slack on performing maintenance, WordPress does the work for you.

You can sleep soundly knowing that your site will automatically update, and knowing, too, that WordPress will keep working to better its system and make things more secure for users and visitors.

3. WordPress is open source.

“Open source” simply means that developers are able to contribute to WordPress’ software in the form of plugins, themes and updates. How does that benefit you? The system is constantly improving and getting better, and a new addition doesn’t cost you a cent. You can reap all the benefits of these improvements without paying for them.

4. WordPress is SEO friendly.

WordPress web design ted360

SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to the idea of making your Website more searchable by engines like Google and Yahoo. While mastering SEO can take some investment of time WordPress offers ways for business owners to optimize their site in the easiest ways possible. Check out the free Yoast SEO plugin, which shows you step-by-step how your content ranks and where there’s room to improve.

5. WordPress is no newbie.

This CMS is swimming in familiar water. It’s been around for more than ten years so it’s safe to say it’s a sure thing. While WordPress (like any CMS) isn’t perfect, it’s pretty much problem-free. Over the years, its engineers have had time to work out those little kinks and improve, aging the system into a timeless CMS that all levels of Web developers have come to love.

6. Coding for WordPress is standard for any Web developer.

A lot of small business owners hire a Web developer who then builds a complicated Website that no one else can manage. That’s all well and good if you never need to change your Website again — but that’s rare.

One of the reasons WordPress is so great is that it’s become such a popular choice any Web developer knows how to code for it. Whenever a problem pops up that you can’t fix, or you decide to redesign your Website’s look, any developer will be able to get the job done.

7. Having a WordPress Website puts you in good company.

Yes, WordPress is “every guy’s CMS.” That being said, its capabilities extend far beyond the basic ones; and some of the biggest companies in the world use WordPress to power their sites. How big is “big”? The New York Times, Mashable, TechCrunch, and Inc. (to name a few).

WordPress is great for small businesses because it has everything you need to create a visually pleasing, fully functional, scalable Website, and it also offers endless possibilities if your business or budget grows down the road.

Conclusion

Whether you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur or your small business is growing like a weed, you want a Website that grows as you do. WordPress gives you that option.

Small Business Owners Should Use WordPress

Everyone is using Internet for every small purpose, these days.

So, in this Internet addicted world, it is important for you to make your business popular online.

To do so, the very first thing that you need is a Website where you will share the necessary information related to your business. Now, here you need to choose the best platform for your business Website. From the existing platforms, we would advise you to use WordPress. So without wasting much time, let us inform you about the best and foremost reasons to choose WordPress for your business.

WordPress web design ted360


1. WordPress is User Friendly

By the phrase “user friendly”, we mean that you as a user will not face any issues related to its setup and updates. It is really easy to manage the various admin sections related to a Website through WordPress. Apart from this, you need not be an expert in HTML coding for making any kind of desired changes, as WordPress comes with a package of themes and plugins. Using themes you can design your Website as required and add additional features using plugins.

2. WordPress is Search Engine Friendly

For any business, small or big, it is really important to rank at the top of any search engine. To top in any search engine is not that easy as seems to, it requires your content to be perfectly optimized. As a new business owner, you may not be aware of every Do’s and Don’ts related to SEO. Here is where WordPress helps you more than any other platform. It solves almost every minute issues related to SEO and make your content a bit search engine friendly, which will increase the chances of your site to rank better. In addition to this, you can use any SEO related plugin to make your content friendlier to search engines.

3. WordPress is Mobile Friendly

Think again! Every visitor of your site uses a full-sized desktop? No, right? So, to convey the products and services that your business offer to every screen sized visitor, it is necessary for your site to be friendly to different screen sizes. Mostly the visitors that your site receives will be using a Smartphone or a Tablet. Keeping this in mind the WordPress designers help you by making your Website a bit mobile friendly, automatically or through plugins.

WordPress web design ted360


4. WordPress Offers Thousands of Professionally Designed Themes

The site design is the main thing that helps your Website to display each and every feature or service offered by your business. Being a small business owner, you may not have knowledge about HTML coding and all. So, how would you create a design or theme that will perfectly suit your business site? Keeping this in mind, WordPress provides you with pre-designed themes, which will make any and every business look professional and complete. Both free and paid themes are available here at WordPress, you just need to select the one that suits your business.

5. WordPress Makes Your Business Look Big

Apart from professional themes, WordPress provides you with a number of plugins that make your business look bigger. This is advantageous for small business owners, as they can give their small business a big and professional look. Usage of plugins help you in obtaining the desired results without having the basic knowledge of coding or without hiring a professional coder.

These were the 5 reasons why small business owners should use WordPress over other platforms. Hope that you are all set to start your business online using the WordPress platform.

10 Things You Need to Do After Installing WordPress

So you’ve just installed WordPress.

Exciting time ahead!

You may be eager to install a new theme and start creating content for your site, but it’s a good idea to take some time to change some of the default settings and to optimise your site before proceeding so that you start on the right footing. Below I’ve listed 10 things you should do after installing WordPress but of course, it’s never too late to do them, even if you’ve had your WordPress site for a while.

1. Change / remove the tagline

When you install a new WordPress site, the default tagline is left as “Just Another WordPress Site”. Doesn’t sound very professional, does it? Depending on your theme, it may not appear on your site and that’s why you may not have noticed it. But this tagline will still show up on Google search results. So make sure you change or remove it.

Go to Settings –» General.

2. Change the time zone, date and time format

These are also under Settings –» General. Date and time format will affect date/time display for your blog posts. Setting the correct time zone is particularly important for scheduling blog posts and other scheduled events such as automatic backups.

3. Delete sample content

Delete the “Hello World” post and “Sample Page” page that are created automatically. Go to Posts –» All Posts and Pages –» All Pages, hover over the titles and click Bin.

4. Delete the Hello Dolly plugin

I’ve never known why this plugin is included. It doesn’t serve any purpose. Just delete it and save some space. Go to Plugins. Find Hello Dolly and delete it. You may have to deactivate it first.

5. Add a favicon

A favicon (short for favourite icon) is a small icon that represents a site’s visual identity and helps people to easily and quickly recognise your website. Web browsers use them in the URL bar and/or on tabs.

Since WordPress 4.3, you can add a favicon easily from within the WordPress dashboard. Go to Appearance –» Customize. Then click on Site Identity. Below Site Icon, click Select Image to upload your favicon and click Save.

6. Change the permalink structure

A permalink is the URL used to link to your content. It should be permanent, and never change. Hence the name permalink.

The default permalink structure in WordPress is

http://www.yoursite.com/?p=xxx

where xxx is an ID that WordPress assigns to your page or post. Now, not only is this ugly and not very user friendly, it’s also not good for SEO because it doesn’t contain readable words.

So, let’s go ahead and change that.

Go to Settings –» Permalinks. Under Common Settings, select Post name and click Save changes.

From now on, the URL will reflect the title of the page / post. For example, let’s say you’ve written a post called “10 Healthy Meals You Can Cook In 15 Minutes”. When you save the post, the URL will automatically be formatted as: http://www.yoursite.com/10-healthy-meals-you-can-cook-in-15-minutes/

7. Disable comments on static pages

Comments are for your blog posts, not for your pages. Unless you really want your visitors to leave comments on your About page? I know I don’t!

It’s easy to disable comments on your pages. Go to Pages –» All Pages. Hover your mouse over the desired page and click Quick Edit. Then uncheck the checkbox next to Allow Comments. Click Update to save.

8. Create a new admin user

This is an important step that most people don’t do. By default, WordPress creates an admin level user called admin. Why is this bad? Because every hacker knows this and it’s the first user name they use when they try to bust into your site. So I highly recommend creating a new admin user that’s not called admin.

Just after WordPress is installed, you’d be logging in with this admin account and since you’ll be the only user so far, you won’t be able to delete yourself. So you’ll need to create a new admin level user, log in as that new user and delete this default old one. It’s best to do this before you create any posts or pages to save headaches later.

Go to Users –» Add New. Fill in the details. Don’t use any user name that’s too generic or easily guessable.

Make sure that next to Role, you select Administrator from the drop-down. And make a note of the password because you’ll need this to log in with the new account.

Now log out of WordPress and login as the new administrator. Then go to Users –» All Users. Hover over the old admin and click Delete. If you’ve been blogging for a while and have old posts that were created using the old admin account, WordPress needs to know what you want to do with those posts. You’ll get the option to re-assign these posts to the new admin as shown in the screenshot below. Then click Confirm Deletion. Be careful not to choose “delete all content” by mistake!

9. Create post categories

If you’re going to blog, then you should create categories for your posts. If you don’t, all your blog posts will be assigned the “Uncategorized” category by default.

Having post categories will make it easier for you to organise your posts, and help your visitors find relevant content on your site.

To create post categories, go to Posts –» Categories. Create your categories to your heart’s content. Then, assign all future posts to one or more categories.

If you want to set a default category for all future posts, go to Settings –» Writing and select a category for Default Post Category.

10. Complete your user profile

Go to Users –» Your Profile. From here you can select an admin colour scheme, and choose whether or not you want to show the toolbar at the top when viewing your site while you’re logged in.

You can also fill in your details. Enter your first and last names, and then select a “Display name publicly as…” option. This will apply to places on your site where your name is shown. For example, author archive page and author name in posts. I recommend changing this to something rather than your username, as showing your username in public is not a good idea for website security.

Depending on your theme, Biographical Info may be shown under your blog posts so I’d fill that in too.

Essential Featrures for any Small Business Website

Your Website is the face of your business and an effective tool for generating leads.

It will help consumers discover your products and services, philosophy, and vision.

A poorly designed Website can result in a number of negative consequences, the most negative being a lack of business and sales. In fact, your Website can actually make the difference between your customers converting and moving forward or seeking alternatives, like reaching out to your competition.

With your Website carrying so much importance, the mere thought of building a new Website or re-designing your existing one can be intimidating. In addition to design considerations there are content needs and technical aspects that need to be well thought-out. The following infographic will help you address these considerations so that you can create an effective, efficient Website which will enable you to build your small business in the online marketplace.

Web design for small business. ted360

Five mistakes on your Website

Your Website is your company’s virtual storefront.


Digital & mobile solutions for small business. ted360
At its best, it presents your business to current and potential customers, showcases your products and services, and influences – or even facilitates – purchasing decisions.

[source: Tavanberg] But poor information architecture and content strategy can turn clients away. Here are five mistakes you might be making on your Website, and how to fix them.

1. Burying key information

A restaurant’s mission statement and glamour shots of the food might seem like the top priority. But most of the time, people are landing on such sites to find out one of four things: hours, menu, location and contact information. At best, it’s annoying to customers to have to click through several pages to find out if you serve lunch or take reservations. At worst, it might make them give up and go elsewhere.

Fix it: When planning what goes where on your Website, put yourself in your customers’ shoes and imagine the top things they’ll be looking for. This information should go in a prominent place: the home page or even a footer that appears everywhere on your site. (The CN Tower, for instance, has a very basic landing page that gives the majority of visitors exactly what they’re looking for – and lets those who want more click through and explore.) And don’t forget a place to post updates such as holiday hours or seasonal promotions, even if it’s simply a Twitter feed embedded into your site.

2. Forgetting SEO

Search engine optimization, or SEO, isn’t some dark-magic alchemy that requires a highly paid specialist. At its most basic, it’s simply a matter of having a Website that loads quickly and includes all keywords relevant to your business. If you don’t come up near the top in Google when people search for your company name (and city, if the name isn’t unique enough), you have a problem.

Fix it: There are two key things to think about here: first, ensuring people can find you when they’re specifically searching for you; and second, working toward your site coming up in search results related to your business. Make two corresponding lists of all keyword phrases someone might type into Google to find your business. For instance, if you’re a florist in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, the first list would include your business name together with words such as “hours” and “address,” and the second might include phrases like “Mount Pleasant florist delivery.” Ensure these keywords are included in your site copy in an organic way – i.e., not so it feels like a bot wrote them.

3. Letting information go stale

If you used to be open seven days a week and you’re now closed on Mondays, you’ll have some angry customers venting on social media if they show up to a locked door. And if your site updates are so infrequent that Halloween lasts until the end of November, visitors might wonder if you take your business seriously. As for broken links, they can make for a frustrating online experience.

Fix it: Ideally, have your site built with an easy-to-use content management system, so that a designated member of your staff can quickly update text and photos without having to depend on tech support. And whether you keep yourself organized with a paper calendar or a Web-based task management system, set regular reminders to review the site to ensure that it’s up to date.

4. Favouring flash over function

Auto-play music, animated splash pages and intro videos might have been cute in 2001. But this far into the Internet age, they’re just a distraction keeping people from efficiently finding the information they’re looking for. As for layout, we’re long past the time when the goal was to be mobile-friendly. Nowadays, it’s mobile-first, and if, say, your e-commerce site is clunky on iPhones, you’re likely to be missing out on sales.

Fix it: You don’t have to kill that fancy video – just don’t put it at centre stage, and make sure it works on mobile. Similarly, ensure that your whole site is at least readable on smartphones, and ideally uses a responsive design that sizes itself to browser windows automatically. (In most cases, a separate mobile site with limited information is a bad idea.) And kill anything that auto-plays. No one needs surprise audio blasting from their cubicle at an inopportune time.

5. Being uninformative

A bare-bones site is fine for launch, but at some point, it needs to be filled out with content to draw in customers and help them assess your business. After all, not everyone will take the extra step to contact you with questions. And for companies that might want media exposure, excluding facts such as the city in which they’re based and full names and bios of founders – not to mention, for some kinds of businesses, easy-to-download photos, logos and other resources – might mean getting left out of stories.

Fix it: Build up your site with informative content, be it FAQ pages, behind-the-scenes stories and photos, or profiles of staff. Give potential customers multiple reasons to do business with you, and encourage current customers to stay engaged with meaningful articles that help them feel part of your community.