Cybersecurity for small business websites

All too often the media shares stories of large organisations and companies that have been hacked through their website. Customer data and private information gets stolen all the time. The unfortunate truth, however, is that it’s not just these large-scale companies that are being targeted. Small businesses are just as likely to be targeted. We’re just far less likely to hear about it. That’s why cybersecurity for small business is just as important.

Recovering from a security breach is expensive and can be catastrophic for a small business without the necessary cybersecurity measures in place. Read on for some of our quick cybersecurity for small business tips.

Keep your domain information private

If a hacker has access to your name, your email address or even your mailing address, they can use this information to hack into your website or worse. The more personal information they can collect about you, the easier their job is, and you could find yourself facing a case of stalking or identity theft. Employ domain privacy to shield all your personal details from hackers and identity thieves.

Invest in an SSL certificate

Many internet users now will not trust any website without an SSL certificate in the browser bar, and we know Google relies heavily on SSL certification for a good ranking. However, this isn’t just a good investment for business – it also protects your site from hackers by encrypting all the data stored on it. All of our hosting packages come with free SSL certificates as standard!

Automatic backups

One of the most damaging ways a hacker can destroy your business is to crash your entire website or cause such problems that customers can no longer access your site.

With an automatic backup, you can work safe in the knowledge that should anything happen, you know you have everything you need to get the site up and running again quickly and easily. Ensuring that the automatic backup updates itself on a daily basis is key to being able to restore as recent a version as possible should it become necessary.

Malware scans and removals

It sounds like something out of Doctor Who, but cybercriminals are now a very real threat to small businesses that work online. With access to coding that can steal data and allow access to your site at the click of a few buttons, cybercriminals can attack a site before you even realise it’s happening. That’s why automatic malware scans are so vital.

These malware scans perform regular automated scans on your entire site; identifying and removing any potential threats to your security. By investing in one of these, you can be sure that any vulnerable areas will be identified and fixed before a hacker can exploit them.

Domain renewals

Another thing worth investing in simply because it can be done automatically is domain renewal. After an allotted period of time, your domain will come up for renewal and if you don’t act quickly you can lose control of your business domain name. Not only is this bad for business, but it also leaves you expired domain open for exploitation and unregistered access, whereby any cybercriminal could find out yours and your customer’s personal data and email addresses.

This can be prevented with automatic domain renewal. It’s an easy way to register your domain name so it refreshes annually. This can generally be managed through the billing information on your domain registration account.

Automatic updates

Staying up to date is one of the best ways to ensure foolproof security. It ensures your cybersecurity is working on its newest and most effective version. Many updates that become available have been created to patch up the flaws left open in an old version. So, neglecting to update with them can mean that your site is still open to those flaws. And once a hacker gets in, it’s too late.

Set up WordPress and plugins to update automatically, to offer automatic protection.

Check your passwords

Creating a password is often a toss-up between choosing something easy to remember and hard to guess.  Trust us, the latter is much safer.

It’s important that not only you but anyone with access to your site uses a secure and unique password. Hackers can find a different way into the site even if your own password is super secure.

Login Forms

If customers can log in to their own accounts, you’re at risk of letting in a bot. Bots try thousands of login combos; allowing them into your site. Then they release malware to damage the business from the inside.

By adding protection layers to your login forms, this should be avoidable. Things like reCAPTCHA, are good examples, as automated bots are unable to identify these. It’s also worth enabling a tool that gives customers a set amount of login attempts before they become locked out. This annihilates the potential for trying multiple logins until one works.

These ideas are just some of the basis in cybersecurity, but they will ensure increased safety for both your business and your customers. And we think that’s an investment worth entertaining.

How to Earn More With a Side Hustle!

Most commonly known as the ‘side hustle’, there is a distinct rise in the number of people who are taking on a secondary business. Usually to supplement their salary and open up their professional opportunities to new avenues and adventures. There are loads of ways to earn more with a side hustle.

For many of these business-savvy individuals, what starts as a side hustle can often become their primary passion and main working focus. So, what makes for a successful side hustle and how can you make it work for you?

What makes a side hustle successful?

Like many areas of business, there is no exact formula to making something work. Each business is individual, with its own recipe for success and growth. Obviously, time management is key when working a traditional job and a side hustle, and the more time you are able to channel into your secondary business – the more successful it will likely be.

The benefit of a side hustle is that it isn’t your main source of income (at least, not yet), and so you are free to give it as much time and attention as you wish. Once you’ve decided how much of your life will be run by the side hustle, there are a few things you can do to maximise your success.

Trial and Error

The first thing to do is ensure that you’re spending your time on something worthwhile. Whether it’s a product or a service that you’re offering, encourage friends and family to be your guinea-pigs and provide constructive feedback, so that you don’t end up spending your time on something that will become a flop.

Keep it on the side

It’s important not to jump in too quick. You may be loving the work you get on the side and may think that the more time you give it the more it will grow. But the reality is, it’s unlikely you will be able to switch your side hustle from a small idea to a full-time job overnight, and so giving up on your day job would be a risk too far. Ensure you’re still channelling plenty of energy and enthusiasm into your day job, as it can be easy to lose motivation and start turning in bad work once your priorities shift. Your day job is still important – both financially and professionally – and you don’t want to lose the great reputation you’ve spent your career building.

Work-Life balance

The age-old work-life balance is something some people really struggle to entertain, yet it is so important to your own wellbeing. Make sure that, even with your side hustle, you’re still allowing yourself adequate time for rest and personal activities.

Invest in what’s important

Don’t just throw money at your new venture in the hope that it will deliver a good return. Spend your money on what’s important – whether it be a website or a physical workspace in which to conduct your side hustle. Buying a brand-new laptop if you’ve already got one when you don’t yet know the value or anticipated success of your side hustle, is unwise and likely a waste of money.

Having said that, ensuring you have the right tools to maximise your success is important, and you should think carefully about which tools you need to progress your side hustle forwards in a positive direction. Do you need a website? Would an app help you to manage your time and keep a handle on the tasks that need completing? These are questions only you can answer.

Enjoy it!

If you’re going to be spending much of your spare time on a side hustle, make sure it’s something you enjoy doing and that you are passionate about. Motivation is everything when it comes to side hustles, and so choosing to progress with something you enjoy is vital. Having the right tools can help. We’ve got a great list here.

Set goals

Set yourself small and large goals and make sure you keep track of them. So many people write themselves checklists and goals, only to lose the paper they wrote them on and forget about them entirely. There is no point in having goals if you aren’t going to check in with them, so use it as an opportunity to start small and work your way up – and who knows, maybe one day you’ll look back and be proud of all the goals you’ve achieved!

Whether your primary reason for starting a side hustle was to earn some more money or to engage in one of your passions, a side hustle can be a great way to use your time to both a personal and financial advantage. Determine how you can earn more with a side hustle you’ve already started on. Or start fresh and pick something you enjoy and that you can envision growing – after all, there’s a chance that one day this may become your sole working commitment, and so you want to make sure it is as successful as it can be!

Are you looking for a side hustle? If so, why not check out our affiliate program. We pay a very generous commission of 50% recurring for each referred client that signs up and you earn every month they remain a customer of ours!  Click here to find out more.

Unpicking SEO: How to boost your SEO rankings

SEO is one of those buzz-words that floats around the online world, without much understanding behind it. Individuals claiming to be SEO experts will constantly inundate your inbox with offers to optimise your SEO and perform SEO checks – but what does it all mean? They all want to boost your SEO rankings and often at great cost.

The purpose of SEO is to make sure your website stands out for the powers of a search engine. Often what the search engine is looking for doesn’t even make complete sense to us, but we do it because it leads to good “SEO”. This guide to unpicking SEO is designed to simply help your website rank a little higher and perform a little better, without the need for outsourced experts and lengthy reviews.

Pick your Keywords and stick to them

When using WordPress, there are special plugins and accessories that have been created just to make your SEO life easier – use them. Yoast SEO is one of the best; rating your posts according to how well they have been written in light of your SEO targets. Yoast is a content creaters dream, engaging one simple tool that will change the way you write. It allows you to pick a keyword and it makes sure you stick to it.

By telling Yoast what the focus of your post is, in one word, the plugin will make sure everything you create is working to your advantage – from the post heading to the content body and image captions. Good SEO means tying everything together to one common focus, and Yoast makes absolutely sure that is what you do.

Customise the web address

How many times have you clicked through to a blog and wanted to send it to someone else, only to see that the link is a random string of numbers and characters that takes up half a text message? It’s annoying, unprofessional and renders your article potentially unshareable for the likes of LinkedIn and other social media.

Editing the web address is easy in WordPress, and by making sure that focus keyword we discussed is also in the web URL, your SEO will be even better – not to mention it will look better and allow readers to understand exactly what the post is about before they start to read it.

Divide your content into different categories

The best bloggers out there know how to divide their work into sub-divisions and categories; not only to make navigation easier for their readers, but also to improve SEO for your site. Search engines trawl through your content to assign an SEO rating – why not make it easy for them by dividing the content up and doing half the work for them?

Get rid of the junk

Bin any old, poor or duplicate content right away. If you don’t want to permanently delete it, then at least set the page to ‘no-index’ so that they cannot be found by the search engines, as these pages are likely harming your SEO and making search engines think your website is full of junk.

Make the images smaller

Large pictures can completely dwarf a great website, no matter how spectacular the content is. They damage your load time. A slow load time means a badly ranked site in the eyes of a search engine. They will subsequently be unlikely to position your site high up in their options for visitors. By reducing the size of your images, you will see a drastic change in the load time for your site. This will translate into better SEO ranking and more website visitors.

These changes are quick and easy fixes to help your SEO perform better and boost your SEO rankings. Everything you create no longer simply needs to satisfy your end reader. Search engines are your biggest judge, and if you don’t cater to their requirements, your website won’t even be found. Give yourself the best possible start by engaging these tips from the word go. Then sit back and watch the visitors flock to your website.

Want more tips? Click here.

The building blocks of a website

Building your own website has never been easier. With the tools now available, building a website today is easier than the building blocks we played with as children – with far fewer instruction manuals and trip hazards.

Whether it’s a small marketing site for your business, a blogging hub or an eCommerce online shop, we’ve compiled a list of the tips and tools you need to employ to safely build a website of your own.

Let’s start with the set up – what to do before the building begins.

The Foundation

First up you need to determine what route your website creation is going to take – on the assumption that starting from scratch is not the best way forward (unless of course, you are a technology whizz in which case this post probably isn’t for you!) The most obvious route is to start with a Content Management System or website building tool – populating templates with the relevant content and images of your choice.

By Content Management System (CMS) we tend to mean WordPress, so your choice here is between WordPress and an alternative website builder. WordPress is responsible for over 30% of all the websites currently available in the world, showcasing its popularity and ease of use. After all, if 30% of the website population can use it, I’m sure you can too. WordPress is ideal for everything from small blogs to large online publications and even online stores – all in a highly customisable and professional format.

If customisable and flexible isn’t what you’re looking for however, a website builder is the best option. These tend to follow similar designs and patterns and allow the user to input their relevant information easily and quickly. It’s simple to use and quick to customise, with no added dragging and dropping of different features and content blocks. Essentially you pick a template and you stick to it.

The Build

So, you’ve reached the build. The first thing you need to do is secure your hosting and a solid domain name. The host of your site is where all your online files will be stored so must be reliable with adequate space. The domain is what you will get your visitors to type into their browser to access your website. Typically, it’s easiest to purchase these as a package deal, as this saves technical admin further down the line, although you can get these separately if needs be.

To sign up for website hosting you need to select a plan through your chosen host site. These tend to start from a basic package to a more premium option, and which you opt for depends entirely on your requirements for the website you want to build. Ensure you read all the fine print before agreeing to any package. Once this is selected, you will be asked to enter a domain of your choice – if your first choice is taken, keep trying variations until you’re happy with the one that is also available.

Assessing the building site

Do research. What do your top competitor’s sites look like? Are they focussing on anything? How will you make your site stand out? What is the purpose of your website? Only when you know the answer to these questions can you start to build an idea of the visual aspect of your site and how it should appear to your visitors. This, in turn, will inform your template decision.

Once that’s decided, you need to create some kind of structure plan. Generally, these are not complicated – after all, we’re creatives, not techies. However, making sure you have an idea of which pages need to build will make your job easier down the line.

The Design

Everything available to you both on WordPress and a website builder has been created by a professional website designer. They’re user friendly, easy to personalise and all already available. You’d be a fool not to use them.

With WordPress, you need to first install the app on your host. Once this is done you can add a theme – this will inform the design of your entire site. Spend some time going through the available themes. When you finally find the right one, click ‘Install’ and then ‘Activate’ to set it on your own site. Once selected, the theme becomes customisable through the settings. This will allow you to add new pages, changes the colours and fonts, alter the display of the menu and many more options. You can also add plugins to increase your cybersecurity and SEO, as discussed in other blogs.

A website builder is far simpler to use, with a multitude of potential themes available for all manner of industries. The theme you select will become the template for your site. Basically, what you see in the theme selection box is very like how your final site will look. Though perhaps, with different colours. So, choose wisely and make sure you play around to work out the extent of the changes you can make.

Building a website is as easy as it has ever been, and with our simple instruction manual, you should be up and running in no time. The choice between WordPress and a website builder should be made after considering the time scales. Plus, the ongoing time it will take to manage and update regularly.

Keeping Hackers Out – the Basics

Hackers are the enemy of the online world, and can destroy everything you’ve worked on with the click of a button. Whether it’s an entire website of content, or accessing and destroying your client database, a breach of your website is a horrible blow to your hard work and can often feel like a very personal attack.

Protecting your website from hackers is one of the most important investments you can make into your online security, and not all of them require a tech-whizz – some of them you can employ right now. So, without further ado, read on for our top ideas for keeping hackers out.

Security Plugins

We talk a lot about plugins – some can help improve your SEO and some may make your developers life easier. Security plugins do a different job; actively preventing hackers from breaking into your website.

Content management systems are designed with a number of built-in plugins that do just this, and each one addresses the most vulnerable areas of security on the different platforms; whether you use WordPress, Magento or Joomla.

Another thing you can do to further tighten your online security is looking into SiteLock, which acts as a daily monitor across your website; identifying everything from a virus to active attempts to break into the site. Picture the online version of a burly bouncer on the door of a nightclub – that’s SiteLock, and it’s well worth the time spent on installing it.

HTTPS

If you’re inputting personal information into a website, for example, payment details during an online transaction, chances are you know to look for the green padlock at the beginning of the website address in the browser bar. Next to the green padlock, you will see the letters HTTPS – these five letters show you that the website is safe from hackers and that you can safely input your personal details without risk of theft.

Historically it has always been important for eCommerce websites to hold an SSL certificate because it secures the transfer of important and private information and ensures the safety of your website visitor’s data. Since July 2018 however, Google has taken to informing website visitors of every site that doesn’t have an SSL certificate, no matter what your website provides or does.

If you want your visitors – and Google – to trust your brand and your website, investing in an SSL certificate is a valuable investment as it will ensure your site is ranked highly on Google and will make visitors feel safe when visiting your site.

Keep your content management system up to date

This applies to everything. From the content management system to your plugins, apps and any additional scripts. If any of these are left outdated for too long, a hacker can get in.

Checking that your website is up to date is easy enough on WordPress, by checking directly through the dashboard. The dashboard will instantly tell you if the version you’re running is up to date.

Keep your passwords new and unique

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as recalling the name of a favourite pet. Passwords are there for a reason, don’t make it easy. If it’s too simple, it’s going to lead the hackers straight to you.

When choosing a password, make it long and use a mixture of letters, characters and numbers to create something that really is unique.

And it’s not just you. If you work within a team who all have access to your website, making sure they all have strong passwords. This is just as important as your own. After all, the website is your business. Something as simple as a bad password can allow hackers in to quite literally destroy your business and livelihood.

Don’t take the chance!

Automatic back-ups

One of the worst things that a website hacker can do is erase all of your work. This is easy if you have no back-up.

Making sure you have a recent back-up of everything you do is super important. An automatic backup service will enable you to do this without even having to think about it.

There are a handful more ways in which you can secure your website from hackers. But these require a more technical skillset and understanding of how the backend of websites work.

For now, we suggest employing the above techniques in order to keep your site safe from hacker harm and will explore the more technical tips in a future post.

Back to Basics: Backup your WordPress

As a fairly new website ourselves, we know how important creating great content is. Gone are the days where every idea began as a scribble on paper, but in a world where everything is constructed directly onto a computer or other device, unfortunately, technology can still let us down. Don’t forget to backup your WordPress. We can’t say it enough.

Of course, this is something we’ve all learnt the hard way. Whether it was a dissertation draft back in your university days, or a company presentation that you were finalising for the next day. We’ve all experienced that drop in your stomach when you lose a piece of work and realise that it was never backed up. The mistake that so many of us make is believing this won’t happen when we work directly on a website build, such as WordPress. After all, it’s the internet. Nothing gets completely lost on the internet, right?

Wrong. If you strip your WordPress website down to the basics, it’s really just a jumble of characters and files and hyper-sensitive codes that link it all together. Mess with one of those codes, and you could well lose everything. You’d have to be very lucky for your site to get externally archived.

Our job is to make sure that doesn’t happen – and if it does, to make sure all your content is backed up safely and securely so that in case of a disaster you can restore your site easily. Without further ado, here’s our guide to backing up your WordPress site.

Download a plugin

In the technology world, a plugin (rather confusingly) is not something you actually plugin. Rather, it is a backup system you can download onto your device which is large enough to store everything you create. Key examples include Dropbox and Backup Buddy, which both sit comfortably on your desktop and allow you to arrange all of your content into different folders and areas for your ease.

The great thing with these plugins is that setting up an automatic back up process is super easy, ensuring that even when you forget to back your work up manually, your device will do it all for you without any prompt. We suggest setting the automatic back up to update at least once a week; sending an email to your own email address with a link to the latest version of your work.

That is not to say that you shouldn’t do a manual back up regularly, especially when making significant changes to the layout or formatting of your WordPress site. You never know when something could go wrong that just deletes everything, so ensuring you have the more up-to-date version saved before making any big changes could save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.

The manual back up

Backing up your WordPress site manually is no mean feat. We recommend investing in the plugin before playing around with the manual back up feature – just in case.

That being said, it is perfectly possible to perform a manual back up directly. Log into your server and delve into the developer tools of the site.

Logging in can be done either through cPanel or an SFTP program. The cPanel is all online and can be accessed through your web host. Navigate to the cPanel page and find your WordPress site folder in the file manager. Compress the WordPress folder into a small file (usually a zip file) and then download it for manual safekeeping.

Alternatively, you can use the SFTP program which requires downloading a file manager such as FileZilla. Once in your file manager, log in using your STFP details and download every item linked to your WordPress site. Pop it all in a zip folder for ease and save the file somewhere you can access easily anytime.

Backing up your work has never been easier – and it has also never been more necessary. Building a WordPress site takes time and your time is worth so much, that making life a little easier for yourself can only be a good thing. Now, go and back up your work immediately!

Theming your WordPress site

Theming your WordPress site is a big decision. Not only does it determine the colour scheme of your site, but it also impacts how user-friendly the site is both for yourself and for your website visitors. Your WordPress theme is essentially the template for your site with added bonus bits, including customised formats, fonts and backgrounds.

So how do you install a WordPress theme onto your website?

The easy route – from the inside

Using one of the built-in themes that WordPress advertises in its catalogue is by far the easiest way of installing a theme. Yes, your site may reflect the look of many others like it, but with quality content and some good marketing, you should be able to stand out from the crowd without too many problems.

If you’re brand new to WordPress and don’t yet have any selected themes to choose from, starting from scratch is simple enough. Click on ‘Add New’ in the menu under ‘Appearance’ and spend some time scrolling through the many hundreds of options available in the online library. A top tip we recommend is spending some time looking at all of the pages of themes – people in a hurry will often make their selection from the first few pages alone, making these themes the most frequently used. Make your site different by avoiding these most popular designs and picking something lower on the list.

Once you’ve selected your theme, switch to live view and explore. Once you’re happy with your selection, install the theme. Remember you can always return and change the settings as often as you like. And if you get bored with the theme you chose, the plethora of themes available will always be waiting on the menu.

Downloading an external theme

While WordPress offers a multitude of themes in its own database. Plus, the internet is full of creators who have designed and made up WordPress themes of their own to sell. Of course, this involves installing the theme from an external location; a slightly more complicated but entirely doable process.

First, you need to download the theme file and save it somewhere that’s easy to find. It’s likely this will come as part of a zipped file. (One which has been reduced in size in order to make download easy.) In order to access the contents, you then need to unzip the file.

Returning to the backend of your WordPress site, open your theme’s menu and click on ‘Add New’. Alongside the available options in the WordPress library, you will see an option to upload a theme from your computer. Click on this and then locate the file you just saved.

Once your chosen theme has been installed, it works much the same as an internal theme. This is in terms of editing the settings and formatting select areas. Make sure the theme you choose is compatible with the version of WordPress that you are working in. In a world where technology is constantly being updated and renewed, software updates are inevitable and regular. You need to ensure you keep on top of them when theming your WordPress site to keep your website looking great.

How to come first in WordPress site speed

The online world can sometimes feel a bit like the Olympics; jumping through hoops to please the search engines with excellent SEO, while racing to get the next blog post up quickly and overcoming the obstacles that are your competitor’s deals. But what about your WordPress site speed? With all the content and coding requirements we work to meet, it can be easy to forget that an increase in content means an increase in load time. And nothing is more likely to put your visitors off than an unreliable and slow website.

And it’s not just your visitors who will be unimpressed. Google has fast been increasing the emphasis it puts on site speed as a ranking factor, meaning that if your site isn’t up to scratch, you can rest assured Google won’t be recommending it in a hurry.

Here we unpick the best ways to rectify the situation before it does real damage to your website reputation in the online world…

The geography of your data centre is crucial

Your server is what pushes your site out to clients and potential website visitors, so making sure it is located close to that target market is crucial. It’s easy to find out the speed at which your site is being pushed out to Google at, from within your (webmaster tools) search console. Ideally this should be running to just a few hundred milliseconds at a maximum – any slower and Google will start to disregard your site.

geography

Dynamic Caching

Dynamic caching is one of those terms thrown around by online experts – but what does it really mean? Essentially dynamic caching deals with the problem created by page generation load time, as by default WordPress will load each page afresh every time a new visitor comes to your site. This obviously adds a delay to the load time of each page, which can cause a major problem for your overall site speed.

Dynamic caching deals with this delay by saving a copy of each page and then simply regenerating the copy to each visitor – rather than loading each page from scratch every time. This creates a more streamlined load time across your whole site by allowing the server to push content out to more individuals at once – more quickly!

In order to implement dynamic caching, users tend to opt for a plugin or by enabling it on the server itself via a user such as Hostgator. The latter option is easy for WordPress users who have optimised hosting as it is as simple as switching the feature on. For those who don’t, the plugin option is just as good and will perform the job to the same effect.

A Content Distribution Network (CDN)

A CDN allows your website server to find out the IP address of each visitor to your site, and deliver to them the recurrent content from a server nearest to them. By recurrent content we mean the things that never change – your images, backend coding and CSS to name a few. Engaging the use of the CDN through your hosting network means than users all over the world will receive content quickly and effectively, without long load times for those who live farthest away. Simply enable the CDN setting in the backend of your WordPress site and watch the visitors roll in – from all over the globe.

Understand Javascript and how to use it to your advantage

Javascript is great, and almost all the websites we can think of use it in some capacity. It enables your website to respond to the device it is being viewed on, resizing images and other content to maximise enjoyment. But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect, and it adds to page load time if you don’t optimise it to work in your favour. Essentially what you want to do is tell Javascript to start loading only after the page has loaded and is fully visible to the website visitor – and this requires help.

A plugin such as Autoptimize will enable you to aggregate Javascript. Then it only loads once your website visitor is enjoying the content. This means that by the time they get as far as the table of information you’ve included, it will have resized appropriately – without impacting on WordPress site speed.

The beauty of CSS

The point of CSS is to make your WordPress site look great. Loading CSS files take a while. In an ideal world, they would be delayed until after the page has loaded. But doing this would cause your webpage to look unstyled and unattractive. That’s why we turn to Inlining for CSS. It isolates the CSS rules that apply to the visible elements of your web page. Then applies them to every page of the website so that they load instantly.

This is a complicated one, but luckily online tools are available to help. Simply enter your URL into an online resource such as ‘SiteLocity.’ It will automatically generate the CSS for you. Copy the rules it presents to you and paste it into the Settings area of Autoptimize. (It’s something you should already have if you followed our tips for a successful Javascript!)

And voila! Beautiful web pages that load at the drop of a hat.

Images

We get it, images are vital to your website. Whether it’s photos of your work or images to supplement your content, you need them. But they’re also impacting WordPress site speed. They’re draining the web loading capacity and adding to your site speed.

That’s why we turn to lazy loading. By enabling this, images won’t be loaded until the visitor has scrolled down far enough to see them. This ensures that only viewed images are actually loaded. If the visitor leaves the page before they reach an image, no harm done as it didn’t load anyway!

Enable lazy loading from the settings inside your WordPress site. The images now appear by magic – as and when they’re needed.

Do you really need that smiley face emoji?

Emoji add a whole load of useless code to your website. These load fresh with every view. So your WordPress site speed takes a hit. Yet again we turn to Autoptimize to help us here. Simply selecting the option that removes WordPress’ core emojis from your CSS helps. And subsequently cleaning up your backend coding so that only the really vital information is being loaded.

Put this all together and you’re sure to place in the site speed race rankings. Don’t get lost in the world of site speed and allow your content to suffer. Online is all about balance and Google expects you to excel in all the relevant areas – not just one.

Need help? Talk to us.

 

Add Google Analytics to WordPress

Google Analytics is one of those tools that website developers throw at you as a tool you simply must use. You download it, you look at it occasionally, but you don’t necessarily understand exactly what it all means. All you know is that it’s full of graphs and percentages, and if the percentages are in green then that’s a good thing. To add Google Analytics to WordPress, you just need to follow a few steps.

Google Analytics is a tool designed by Google to look at the people visiting your website and then provide you with a breakdown of who they are. What did they search for in order to find your site? Which pages did they visit, and how long did they stay on our site? How many visitors did you have this week compared to last week?

By understanding this information, you have a great opportunity to tailor your website specifically for your regular audience, making sure the most popular pages are easily found and well optimised for different devices. You can also understand exactly which keywords are leading visitors to your website, allowing you to build your SEO around them.

When using WordPress, Google Analytics can be connected to provide you with seamless information at the click of a button – and here’s how to do it.

Get a plugin

Plugins are easy to use and highly regarded, especially in the world of SEO and Google Analytics. MonsterInsights is a popular one with both a basic package and a more premium option available, meaning no matter what level you are working at you will find a suitable analytics package. Once you’ve downloaded the plugin to your WordPress site, a menu called “Insights” will appear on your site.

Once you’ve completed the set up (through which you will be fully guided but the setup wizard) you can view analytics reports as often as you want, digesting the information into sections that work for you and are most applicable to your site and your audience.

Through Google itself

As a Google add-on, Google Analytics is, of course, available through the search engines own dashboard. To use this, you need to add a snippet of your site’s code to your google files, being careful not to destroy your own code in the process.

To do this, go into your WordPress theme’s manual code editing interface and find the header.php file. Paste the code from Google Analytics into this file after the ‘body’ tag and save the changes, before reuploading the file to your server.

Alternatively, you can update this through your WordPress functions file, which will automatically add the tracker to every page of your site. To do this, paste the following code into the functions.php file on your theme:

<?php

add_action(‘wp_head’, ‘wpb_add_googleanalytics’);

function wpb_add_googleanalytics() { ?>

// Paste your Google Analytics code here

<?php } ?>

This will then be live on your site, and you’ll be able to view your analytics reports as and when you need them.

How do I view the data?

We’ve referred a few times to the reports that will become available as a result of Google Analytics, but how do you view them? Give WordPress adequate time to update Google with your data before searching for the reports, as if you move too quickly the data will be out of date and useless.

To view the data, simply head to your Google Analytics dashboard and spend some time familiarizing yourself with what is available. You may find it useful to engage in different levels of activity week on week to see which is the most successful, before deciding on a long-term strategy moving forward. In the long-run, understanding your data can be a great tool for boosting sales and improving website traffic, so Google Analytics is well worth your time.