Monthly Archives: July 2017

The 9 steps to perfect WordPress maintenance for your business

“Use WordPress” they said! “You’ll make a great looking site easily” they said! “You’ll feel a bit overwhelmed by trying to maintain your site” they said! Oh, no one mentioned that last bit? Did you think you were the only one struggling? Worry not, if keeping on top of WordPress maintenance is a becoming a bit of a headache then we’re here to help.

The key to the smooth running of a WordPress site is being proactive and keeping on top of the regular WordPres website maintenance. We’ve got 9 fairly simple tips that’ll make sure your site never gives you a headache again…

  1. Backup!

It might seem like a simple and obvious first step but backing your site up is really important and overlooked by a lot of people. The main reason it’s overlooked is because of how infrequently it’s used – but, like lots of other things, you don’t realise how important it is until you need it.

The first step here is to have some kind of cloud-based backup – but be aware, if your site is hacked there’s a chance your backup might be compromised too. The most robust way of backing up is to take 2 or 3 backups over a period of a week, that way you can work on a rolling basis, only ever overwriting the oldest file – meaning if you accidently backup a compromised version then you can step a couple of days further back and restore again.

Make sure you’re not just backing up your database too, get all your files covered. Tedious? Maybe. Will you thank us for the advice if something goes wrong? Definitely.

  1. Moderate comments

Another simple one – keep on top of any comments you have enabled on the site. These are prime real-estate areas for spam bots placing dubious links. It won’t take you long to moderate your comments and it gives the impression of a well-maintained site to legitimate traffic.

  1. Keep your files up to date

Keeping files up to date isn’t dissimilar to backing up, it’s not a glamourous task but as far as preventative measures go it’s one of the best. The priority here are your WordPress core files, this is where big security issues are patched – meaning the big steps toward keeping your site safe are done on your behalf. Most hosting companies will give you the option to automatically allow these updates, so it’s a good idea to opt-in if that’s the case.

If you prefer to keep your hands on the reigns of your site for everything then keep your eyes peeled for core file update notifications and get them manually updated as a priority beyond their release.

  1. Update plugins

Plugins are great at a few things – on the plus side they’ll expand your site functionality way beyond anything the base platform can offer, on the downside, if they’re not properly maintained they’ll be great at causing speed, compatibility and security issues!

Keep on top of updates. If you’re working with plugins from good providers then you’ll find they keep up with your core updates – a good reason to make sure you’re only using resources from reputable sources. If you’ve having problems or you’ve stopped using one, get rid of it.

  1. Update your theme

If you’re one of the millions of people who’ve adopted a third-party theme for your site then you need to be a little careful with theme updates. Chances are you’ve customised colours or layout to some degree – make sure that when you update you’re not overwriting your customisation with a generic scheme.

But, don’t worry if you do, you’ve got 3 rolling backups now haven’t you?! 

  1. Maintain your database

The more you update the more you’ll accumulate MySQL and PHP overheads – in layperson’s terms this is the mess that’s left when database functions are performed, updates are made and so forth. Whether you use the Optimize Table function or use a piece of third-party software to keep things tidy it’s well worth doing – slowing down database queries is to website performance what keeping your handbrake on is to driving! 

  1. Traffic analysis

The only way to know if your site is doing what you want it to is to look at what your traffic is doing. Only you know what your goals are – is it sheer traffic numbers? Time spent on the site? Conversions? Completed transactions?

As a website owner or developer it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture, which takes us on to our next tip…

  1. Live the user experience

Your user experience is where your site will live or die. The best sites in the world are those that are a dream to use, simple, intuitive, predictable and understandable. Research shows that people will vote with their clicks if your site isn’t up to par, bouncing somewhere else quickly – and potentially never coming back.

Having others use your site can help with your objectivity, if that’s friends and family then great – but don’t be afraid to get someone on board who’s a user experience professional for a totally objective view.

There are lots of technical things you can check that have a big impact on a visitor experience and can be measured with simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers.

  • Does your site work neatly and efficiently over all browsers?
  • Do your forms work as they should?
  • Do all your navigation functions work and deliver users to the right place?
  • Do you have any broken links? 404 Errors?
  • Is your page load speed reasonable?
  1. Maintain your on-page-SEO

There are few jobs on a WordPress site that will stack up like on-page-SEO. You’ve got a choice – do you want to commit a few minutes each time you post to staying on top of the job, or do you fancy a tedious few hours by letting them build up?! For each page:

  • Make sure your H1 tags are only around your title
  • Make sure keywords are in your page URL
  • Place keywords carefully in the first paragraph of content
  • Include the right kind of outbound links
  • Have the right meta description in place

Prevention vs. the cure

So, you’ve read through – what do you think? 45 minutes to an hour’s worth of work each week? If you’re working flat out you might find it difficult to justify taking that time out – but ask yourself this, would you rather factor in those minutes now? Or be forced to spend hours further down the line to remedy, restore or re-do all that hard work? The most optimal thing you can do if you are trying to save on time is to to search out a WordPress website maintenance service to take care of all of these 9 steps listed above.

How To Use Your Photography Skill To Make Money Online

Cameras are everywhere these days, aren’t they? What used to be a luxury accessory is now so common place that there are entire social media platforms based on sharing pictures.

With the popularity of sites like Instagram and Snapchat and the ease of access to cameras, it’s easy to see why people who take a good selfie think they are now a skilled photographer and can use those photography skills to make money online.

But let’s be honest just because you can take a good selfie doesn’t mean you’re a photographer. It might not always seem like it when you look at gossip magazines but photography is an art form and one that many people study for years to master.

That doesn’t mean you have to be a photography student to make money online using photography though, there’s a lot of natural skill and passion involved too. But you do need an understanding of photography and the right equipment for the job.

So, if you have the skills and knowledge, how can you use your photography skills to make money online?

Freelancing

The world wide web is full of freelancing opportunities for photographers, sites like Gumtree and Craigslist are great places to start searching for people looking for a photographer. You might have to do some traveling but there’s plenty of people out there who a need a photographer and these sites are great for finding valuable networking opportunities as well.

Edit Photographs

While freelancing sites are useful for photographers many people will already have the photographs they want to use, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a way for you to use your photography skills to make money. Photography is more than just taking the picture, it’s also all about the after work and editing.

Any professional photographer should know how to use photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro (to name just a few) and there are many people out there who will gladly pay for your editing services.

Freelancing sites like Peopleperhour, Elance, Toptal and Upwork are full of people looking for professional photo editing services. They might want you to simply remove the background on a few product pictures or might want the brightness and saturation altering or they could have a more complex objective in mind.

But by knowing how to edit photographs to a high standard you’ll be able to make a lot of money online.

License Your Photographs

If you take a great photograph it’s only natural that someone who sees it will want to use it right? So why not let them, but of course you don’t have to let them use it for free. Most photo hosting sites will have an option for you to license your photographs and set a price for use.

Your photographs will likely have to be checked first before you can license them but this is usually a simple straightforward process. And if you’ve got your own website (and I’d recommend any photographer serious about making money online as one) you can license them directly on your site and let people contact you if they want to use them.

Create Stock Photography

Let’s be honest outside of school PowerPoint presentations no one is really going to use clip art, are they? For everyone else, there are the more professional looking stock photographs. These photographs can be used on all kinds of articles and if they’re high-quality you could make a lot of money.

So how do you create and license stock photography? If you have your own site you can license it all on there but another great way to create and sell stock photography is to submit photography on stock photo websites.

Every time someone buys your photograph you’ll earn a commission, this will vary from site to site and the popularity of the photograph. If you have a large portfolio of photographs then you could make a lot of money online by selling your stock photography. Some popular stock photography sites to get started with are iStock, Big Stock and Shutter Stock.

The application process for each site will be slightly different and once again your photographs may need to be checked first. But once they’re uploaded you could make a lot of money using your photography skills online by creating and then licensing stock photography.

Photography Competitions

Now for something a little more fun! Photography competitions are held by lots of websites from small indie magazines to national newspapers like the Telegraph. While you’ll face some tough competition from other photographers even placing well could get you some money and it will be sure to boost your profile.

So even if you don’t win people might see your name and search you out, so if you ever find a photography competition looking for entrants why not give it a go?

4 Tips for Beginners Who Want to Start a Business

When you want to start a business, the first step people tend to take is to do research and find out what other people did. This is a good thing to do, but you shouldn’t always believe everything you hear or trust that what works for one person will also work for you. Today, I would like to share a few lessons learned by successful entrepreneurs.

Choose something you enjoy. If you start a business and it works, you will be doing it for years to come. Choose something you like and enjoy because you will be more likely to put in the necessary work and commitment than if you were doing something you hate.

Figure it out as you go. You won’t know everything when you start and you very possibly won’t know anything. Don’t let that stop you. Learn as you go. Most businessmen did not know how exactly to run their business or how to operate in the field they were in, but they learned as they went and figured it out.

Choose your partners carefully. If you want or need a partner for your business, choose carefully. Try not to have one because it is convenient, but rather because that person makes the business stronger. You need someone that will contribute, make smart decisions, and support you. If you choose the wrong partner, you will have a nightmare on your hands.

Ignore the statistics of failure. Many people will tell you about the high percentage of businesses that fail or how few of a certain niche succeed, etc. Ignore these stats as they are not necessarily true. If a high percentage of businesses fail, it’s probably because the owners didn’t commit or prepare well enough. Those stats just make people comfortable with failing or they use it to justify why they didn’t make it.

There are a few more lessons, but we will share them later. One other thing that is very important, however, is that your family and quality time should always be important. Obsess about your idea and go do it, but don’t forget the important people in your life.

Infographic by: bizhub.anz.co.nz

4 Top Ways in Which Technology Can Save Your Business Money

Technology is a wonderful thing and it is a great way to save your business money. If you are looking for small ways to cut costs for your business, then consider the following technology practices. You will be surprised at how easy they are and how much you can save. It’s so simple, you will laugh.

 

Telecommute

Telecommuting is something that is becoming more popular and obviously, employees love it many IT support companies are no implementing this technology for business across the globe. Statistics show that employees who are allowed to work from home, have increased rates of production instead of the expected ‘slacking off’ you may expect. Conferencing technology has made it so easy to telecommute and have conferences without the cost of plane tickets, gas, and the wasted time of travelling.

These simple changes in your business will save you a lot of money in the long run. This is the easiest and fastest way to cut costs through using technology in your business.

 

Mobile Payments

Mobile payment systems are a good way to save on banking fees. The fees won’t fall away completely, but most banks will offer a definite reduction in costs. There are different options for these systems and you can choose which one you prefer. Most young people, as well as their parents, will prefer paying with their phone rather than taking out a card or cash.

Electronic Receipts and Invoices

Gone are the days of spending money on paper, ink, and receipt printers. When you use online receipts and invoices, you are saving money and also helping to save the planet. Costs for receipt supplies add up over time and you can save so much of that money by going digital. An added bonus is that you now have email addresses of people who have visited your business or showed interest. They are possible leads for future sales.

Online Advertising

Online advertising and social media advertising are much cheaper than traditional advertising. This does not mean that you should throw out traditional advertising, but to save costs and reach more of your target audience, consider integrating social media and online advertising in your marketing plan. Online advertising enables you to reach your target audience more directly and you can track the effectiveness of your advertisements with stats.