Category: "WordPress"

7 Reasons You Should Be Using WordPress For Your Small Business

7 Reasons You Should Be Using WordPress For Your Small Business

WordPress is a ubiquitous blogging software and CMS that powers millions of websites around the web. It’s ease of use, flexibility and secure design make it a popular choice for nearly anyone looking to launch their own website. What makes WordPress unique is it can be quite simple to use for the beginner, while still being a powerful solution for developers and designers of all skill levels.

If you’re still on the fence about launching your website and either budget or lack of knowledge is holding you back, check out these 7 reasons why your small business should be using WordPress.

#1 WordPress is free.

This is a major plus for small businesses. With so many expenses to deal with throughout the year it’s nice to know you can get a powerful CMS and blogging software for absolutely free. All it takes is a simple download. Of course, you still need a domain and web hosting, but these are very affordable.

#2 WordPress is easy to use.

When it comes to updating your site, WordPress makes things simple. If you have ever used Microsoft Word you should have an easy time learning how to create and publish posts within WordPress. You’ll also find that uploading images are very simple as well.

The best part about WordPress is that it is easy to find an answer. A simple search on Google will uncover tons of tutorials for every experience level. This means you can save money by maintaining your own site versus hiring a webmaster for simple tasks. It also means you can update your site more frequently, which is necessary for building traffic and rankings in the search engines.

#3 WordPress makes it easy to have a professional presence.

WordPress uses themes to change its look to different designs. There are thousands of both free and paid themes, but the best part is that a real nice, professional theme will only cost about $35 – $45. You can find the perfect theme for your business through sites like Themeforest.

#4 WordPress is optimized for SEO.

Search engine optimization is the process of fine-tuning your website to appear in Google under the keywords your customers would use to find your business. SEO can be a very complicated and delicate process. WordPress makes the job easier by using clean code and highlighting information the search engines are looking for. You can expand these features through plugins like WordPress SEO.

#5 WordPress is simple to expand.

If you wanted to add extra features to a regular HTML website it can require an extensive amount of effort, depending on the task. WordPress can be the same way, but a lot of this can be sidestepped through the use of WordPress plugins. These plugins allow you to search for features to add to your site, add them, and customize to your needs. For example, say you wanted to add a review feature to your site — there’s a plugin for that. Do you want people to be able to share your content? You’ll find plenty of social sharing plugins as well.

#6 WordPress makes mobile easy.

Mobile is big online. More and more people are using their smart phones to search for local businesses, so if your website isn’t up to the task chances are they might click away before they walk through the door. What makes WordPress so great is the fact that there are a lot of themes that are responsive. Not only will you have a mobile site, you’ll have a website that displays good across multiple devices — from desktops to smart phones to tablets.

#7 WordPress is constantly being updated.

WordPress is a free, open-source project with developers from around the world contributing to make it better and more secure. This is important. You want a software that is constantly being updated as new cyber threats and vulnerabilities come out. You also want a system where user experience is at the center of development when it comes to new features and functionality. With WordPress that’s exactly what you get.

Read More

5 Best WordPress Plugins Which Encourage Social Engagement

5 Best WordPress Plugins Which Encourage Social Engagement

WordPress is one of the most versatile blogging platforms to date and it is all due to the plethora of free and convenient applications at your disposal. Add-ons and plugins make every WordPress site a truly unlimited customization platform for all web content. So here are my picks for the top 5 WordPress plugins available.

Every blog needs a Digg Digg

Digg Digg is a social media share bar that will display on the side of your page. If you have spent any amount of time reading online publications it is likely that you have already seen Digg Digg at work. The share bar stays in a fixed position on the left or right of the page as the user scrolls down the page. There are a variety of buttons you can add to your Digg Digg bar including basic share buttons for the most popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, TweetMeme, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, StumbleUpon, YahooBuzz, Tumblr, even a print button to quickly print the page.

One of the most handy features apart of this plugin is the “Buffer” share button which will automatically share the same message on the users Facebook and Twitter account simultaneously.

Encourage users to post comments with CommentLuv

CommentLuv is a friendly little plugin that will search the an author’s most recent blog posts as they type a comment to your blog. Once the user’s comment has been posted, it will then retrieve their last blog post and give the user the option of displaying it at the bottom of their comment.

The best thing about this app is that it not only encourages other authors to comment on your blog, but it also creates a tighter knit community of readers.

Cut out the middle man with Comments Evolved

This started out simply as a Google+ comment plugin for WordPress but it has expanded to Facebook, Disqus, WordPress comments, and trackbacks. This plugin is especially helpful for any blog that requires a user to register in order to comment. What it does is allow the user to instead use an existing account that they already own in order to comment, instead of having to register for a new one. After all, very few people will take the time to register for a whole new account that they may never use again to just comment on your blog. Your writing may be good, but not that good! This plugin will instead give them other options, which reduces the hoops they have to go through to comment, making everything easier.

Let your regulars introduce themselves with WordPress Author Bio Box

Author Bio Box will allow users to submit a bio in the WordPress account dashboard and display the bio at the bottom of their post. This is another tool whose goal is to encourage socialization between users. You can allow guest authors to submit a link to their own website if they want as well as information about themselves.

Invite readers to your social media pages on Social Stickers

Social stickers are thumbnail links you can include somewhere on your blog that link back to all of your social media sites. That way you can provide an easy portal for readers to follow you and further the conversation on your social media platforms. Much like Digg Digg, Social Stickers will enable you to include links to all the most popular places social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest or a Blogger account as well as other website links. There is also the option to display an RSS feed which is an absolute must.

Another great feature with this plugin is the ability to create a unique theme for the stickers which will match your website. You can also customize the order of the icons as you see fit. There is also an option to display how many Twitter followers or Facebook likes you have on your page.

Read More

Create Content That Gets More Shares On Social Media

Create Content That Gets More Shares On Social Media
Social media plays a big factor in online marketing. If you want your website to rank you need well written, engaging content. Good content is more important than an article overloaded with keywords.

Remember that.

It all boils down to two key aspects, call them your recipe for success. You need: 1) good content; and 2) social signals. In other words, people need to be reading and sharing your content.

Understand what slows a reader down

Throughout the 1930’s and 40’s there was a plethora of research on readability in the US to determine the most common reading level among the American population. The science behind these reading levels is a bit too extensive to include in this article, but the general consensus was that 8th-grade reading level was average among Americans.

In 1947 Donald Murphy conducted a study on how to make texts easier to read. He found that reducing the reading level from 9th to 6th on various articles caused a remarkable increase in people who read articles all the way through. (E.g., a 43% increase in an article about nylon and 60% increase in an article about corn).

A similar study conducted by Wilber Schramm showed that an article nine paragraphs long would lose three out of ten readers by the 5th paragraph. While a shorter story will lose only two out of ten.

To this day things have not changed much, The National Study of Adult Literacy has released  multiple studies between 1993 and 2008 which have consistently measured average literacy levels at a 7th or 8th level. One of the largest publications, Reader’s Digest (at 12 million subscribers), writes at a reading level of 9th-grade. Newspapers and online publications can range from college to 6th-grade reading levels.

How can I best engage readers?

Due to the increasing number of distractions, it is safe to assume that shorter sentences and shorter paragraphs will better hold our attention than longer ones. Overly complicated grammar and redundant sentences should be avoided as well.

Excessive punctuation is another no-no. Stick to simple commas and periods for the easiest readability. Avoid useless punctuation like semicolons. Some would argue that semicolons are useful to separate two independent clauses; I argue that the same thing can be accomplished with a period. Read that last sentence again and replace the semicolon with a period or comma. Does it read the same? Most people read semicolons the same way they would a period or comma, the only difference is that the semicolon slows them down.

There are probably about 10% of you reading this who wondered why I didn’t use a hyphen in the word semi-colon. It is one of those words that some dictionaries list with a hyphen, some without. I choose not to use the hyphen because I felt that giving it a hyphen would give the word too much unneeded attention, meaning your eyes would be drawn to it before you reached the word in the sentence. Yet another thing to be avoided in order to create better readability.

Break your reading up into easy to read chunks. As an example you can take a look at this article here. Observe how each section contains around three to four paragraphs and is clearly marked with a header.

Look at the paragraphs themselves and observe how large they are. Most are no bigger than an inch. Each paragraph break is carefully chosen depending on the flow of the subject matter. Every new idea is a new paragraph and sentence size is generally small.

This is all done for you, the reader, to reduce what’s called “fatigue in reading”, which is another factor in the science of readability. Longer paragraphs, sentences, or words you are not familiar with will increase your fatigue and cause your attention to drift. If you want readers to be engaged and share your writing, keep things short and to the point.

Encourage shares on social media with buttons and special “tricks”

You could follow every one of the tips suggested in this article to increase readability and it is likely that those that find it will read it. But if that same article has no buttons for Facebook likes, tweet mentions, and +1s – no one will share it! Your chances of someone copy and pasting your link to their feed are significantly lower than someone clicking on a like button.

Twitter is one of the best social media platforms to focus on when aiming for sharable posts. But in order to capitalize on it be sure to use it correctly. Embedding thought provoking sentences in your article as a tweetable quote can really help your readability. As readers tweet the quote, traffic will be generated to the article from twitter.

In addition to these tricks there is one more super secret method that is guaranteed to get you the most social media shares.

Social Content Locker

I decided to let you slide on having to share the post to see the rest (however, if you’ve found it helpful a share would be most appreciated).

Content lockers may not be a secret and they’re certainly not guaranteed to get you more social media shares than other methods. Used properly however, they might.

In order to use content lockers most effectively it is important to begin with an interesting title and amazing introduction. Give them a few spoon fulls, enough to make them want to read the entire article, the content locker will block the last half or so of the post. Sharing the content on social media is the only way to unlock the rest.

Just be sure that you are rewarding your readers with good content when using the content locker. Don’t do anything that will make them regret their decision and “unlike” the content. Pretty sure bribing or tricking your readers into sharing like I might have done is a punishable offense, or at least is should be.

Read More

The Fundamentals Of Creating An SEO-Optimized Blog Post (For Noob Bloggers)

The Fundamentals Of Creating An SEO-Optimized Blog Post (For Noob Bloggers)

At this point, we’re all publishers. The web fuels the need for content, and that need is growing. There are more people accessing the internet today than at any other point in our history. As internet connection speeds increase, and internet access expands to more regions, people will be consuming even more content.

Obviously, competition is steep. Millions of domains are bought every day, websites are created, and new ideas are born. More websites, more content – more noise. As the search engines work to develop ranking algorithms to award sites with the most relevant content, the need for creating content that attracts readers is more important than ever.

At this point, you’re probably asking yourself how you can cut through the tape and see yourself in the top spot of Google. Granted, it’s going to take more than a few guest posts, but realistically, that’s where it starts.

That’s why you should make sure your post is optimized to appear in search.

It’s Not All About Google

Before we get into how to structure your blog post, you have to remember who you are actually writing for. You’re writing for people. A link is worth nothing if it has no chance of getting clicked on by someone with an interest. You need to shape your writing style and tone to match the people you are wanting to connect with, and the niche you are trying to target. This means two things:

  1. Know your target market. You should understand what motivates your target market. What do they want? What do they value? What questions are they asking? Knowing this allows you to deliver a message within your post that your target market will be receptive to.
  2. Understand the audience you are writing for. Choose a writing style that your audience will connect with. If you’re guest posting, take a look at the other posts to see what people responded to the most. This will help you craft a post that will get more shares and engagement.

Bots Don’t Speak Our Language

Google (and search engines in general) use bots to crawl web pages and index content. Your web page is then filed away neatly within their algorithm, to be pulled up when the right search query triggers it at a later date. To put it simply, a bot cannot read a web page like you and I. It must scan the page and look for recurring instances of keywords, site content, and other variables to determine if the page is relevant to the search performed.

If you want the Big G finding your post when it goes live, you need to follow SEO best practices. Here is what you need to keep in mind when you write your blog post:

  • Put your keyword in your title.
  • Include the keyword in the url of your post.
  • Make sure you include your keyword is included in your meta description.
  • Use your keyword in all of your title tags (h1,h2,h3,etc).
  • Put variations of your keyword throughout your article.
  • Use your keyword in image alt tags.
  • Link out to authority sites to expand your post.
  • Link back to your old posts and other parts of your website.

That about sums it up. It goes without saying that this can be expanded on – but not much. If you are putting out content that is well written, serves a purpose, and is useful, the search engines will reward you. Just keep up the good work.

Read More

7 WordPress Plugins You Need For SEO & Conversion

7 WordPress Plugins You Need For SEO & Conversion

WordPress is the ubiquitous blogging platform and CMS that has driven blogging to the mainstream and made it easy as cake to get online. Of course, if you are fresh to starting out in the blogosphere, you’ll need to pay special care that you are not only putting your best foot forward – but making it easy to find you online.

SEO is a crucial ingredient to online success. In takes a few steps to build the foundation you need to get started online, but these free WordPress plugins were designed to do just that.

 

Here are 7 WordPress plugins perfect for building a solid foundation for good WordPress SEO:

WordPress SEO by Yoast

1) WordPress SEO

WordPress SEO is one of the most popular WordPress plugins for adding titles and meta descriptions to your posts. It’s also useful for those pesky themes that do not allow you to easily edit the title and meta description for your blog’s home page. The extra bonus for this plugin is it automatically creates XML sitemaps for you.

Google Analytics WordPress

2) Google Analytics For WordPress

Google analytics is the backbone of any SEO campaign. You want to monitor your progress and analyze the type of traffic you are receiving – this plugin will help you do just that. If your theme doesn’t have a default setting that allows you to embed Google analytics, this is the perfect solution.

W3 Total Cache

3) W3 Total Cache

Site speed is another aspect of good SEO. Google pays close attention to page loading times and a small part of the ranking algorithm relies on serving up web pages that load faster. This boils down to user experience. People hate slow sites. W3 Total Cache helps minimize loading times and increase server performance by caching your site.

ShareThis Social Sharing Plugin

4) ShareThis

Social media is just as much a part of SEO as link building in this day and age. You want to make your content as easy to share as possible. This plugin does just that. You can edit the configuration to work on posts and pages, plus select which social networks you would like to appear.

Hellobar WordPress Plugin

5) The Hello Bar

Chances are you’ve seen this handy WordPress plugin around the web already. If you want an example of it in action, simply look up. There you have it. This plugin is great for calling attention to specials or important information that you don’t want site visitors to miss.

Social Author Bio WordPress-Plugin

6) Social Author Bio

Bloggers are taking on the more of publisher more and more. Guest blogging is a very popular way to not only build links for your own blog, but it’s also a great way to get free content for your website, which in turn helps drive traffic and growth. This plugin allows you to easily add an author bio box to your posts and pulls the author’s image from gravatar. It also works with Google Authorship, which will help those posts stand out in the search results.

Magic Action Box Plugin

7) Magic Action Box

This plugin is extremely neat. There is both a free and paid version. It allows you to create a unique call-to-action on every one of your posts. If you don’t know how to code – or hate designing different forms all of the time – this allows you to easily create CTAs that will help you grab readers email addresses after they have read you post.

 

 

Read More

What is Managed WordPress Hosting?

What Is Managed WordPress Hosting?
Managed WordPress hosting can be an invaluable asset to bloggers and businesses. According to the numbers from the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics unemployment has been hovering between 8.3 and 7.8 for the past year. That does not take into account the people who are no longer claiming benefits. They estimate that 12.3 million people are out of work. Again, they base these numbers upon reported cases. Add the unreported cases and you are closer to 20% of the population. One could argue those numbers up or down on any given month but the bottom line it this: the way that America is doing business these days is shifting.

Quite a few people have begun their own businesses. I’m not talking mid-sized corporations in buildings in the golden triangle. I am talking cottage industries. In the absence of traditional opportunities, resilient free thinkers are devising other options.

Anyone who has ever tackled a startup knows you have enough to do without managing your WordPress hosting. Keeping your product or service up to date and taking good care of valuable customers is challenge enough. Because an online presence is critical for reaching the savvy consumers in today’s market, a good hosting option is worth its weight in gold. For people with an established business or blog, managed WordPress hosting makes sense.

WordPress has become a household word these days. They have built and maintained an excellent reputation throughout the blogging and business communities. If you have ever used it, you know they have made their product simple. They even offer format-adjusting templates so your site is just as accessible on a smart phone as it is on your laptop.
In this article I’m going to focus on some of the reasons why managed WordPress hosting is a good idea.

The First Benefit of Managed WordPress Hosting

Managed WordPress hosting offers ease of use. If you are like my friend Jane, just the sound of the words “new technology” raises the hair on the back of your neck. It isn’t that Jane is technically challenged. It’s just that she’d rather think about other things—like reaching more customers and writing her daily blog. Happily, Jane is not stuck. Managed WordPress hosting provides a solution that leaves her no worries. You can expect top-notch service without the headaches with managed WordPress hosting. Besides, doing your own updates and backups suck.

The Second Benefit to Managed WordPress Hosting

Managed WordPress hosting offers security. When hackers are on the prowl, managed WordPress hosting providers are already on the job, filtering and scrubbing bad traffic and removing malware. That means peace of mind. You can focus on your business, and your customers can access your site without lockout problems.

The Third Benefit to Managed WordPress Hosting

Managed WordPress hosting offers speed. A managed WordPress hosting provider understands the impact of widgets, and knows how to best configure plugins on your site for speed and performance.

The Fourth Benefit to Managed WordPress Hosting

Managed WordPress hosting offers hassle free webpage ownership. That means that whenever software updates are needed, server maintenance or replacement become necessary, or when it is time to backup your site, specialists jump into action and you can do other things.

The Fifth Benefit to Managed WordPress Hosting

Managed WordPress Hosting offers painless startup. Whether you are looking to start a site or move your current site, managed WordPress hosting providers have clear affordable plans and simple step-by-step instructions so you can get started right away. They’ll even set up your site for you if you just don’t have the time or inclination—for free.
The idea of doing business these days without a website isn’t even a consideration. A good website gives potential clients and customers a clear picture of who you are. While managed WordPress hosting isn’t a panacea for the economic troubles in our nation, it is allowing people to get their websites running and their focus back on business.

Read More

SEO Tips for The WordPress Newbie

SEO Tips for The WordPress Newbie
WordPress is the way to go. Whether you are a blogger or business owner, WordPress is a blogging platform that will help you reel in the traffic like a fisherman. Of course, you can’t set up a blog and have the whole world wide web knocking on your door with a simple post. If it was that easy Google would come knocking with a Frankenstein creation made of penguin and panda parts (but that’s a discussion for another time.)

Today the topic is how you can actually get traffic to your WordPress blog. Search engine optimization may not be your strong point, but if your goals involve online success – get used to it. SEO has to be factored into every post and page on your website. Social media and offline marketing are great assets in your quest for blog domination, but search traffic is highly targeted, has higher conversions, and lower bounce rates.

Here are a few quick SEO tricks you should implement on your WordPress blog:

Newbie WordPress Tip #1

First things first – change your permalink structure. By default, self-hosted WordPress blogs use a permalink structure that is crap-ola for SEO. And it’s ugly.

  • Standard issue: www.domain.com/?p=123
  • Optimized: www.domain.com/my-new-blog-post

See the difference? If you are using your keyword when naming your posts (which you should) it shows up in the url structure as well. This helps search engines display results based on relevance. This brings me to my next tip:

Newbie WordPress Tip #2

Install an SEO plugin. A good WordPress SEO plugin can pay off enormously for ranking in the search results. I’m sure there are countless ones available, but in my opinion there are only two that bear mentioning.

Basically, the WordPress SEO community is divided between these two. Personally, I prefer the Yoast plugin because of it’s features and simplicity. The major benefits of using this plugin for SEO noobs is the fact that once you enter the keyword you wish to target (“Focus Keyword”) it will give you tips on how you can improve the page based on accepted SEO best practices. Get it, use it.

Newbie WordPress Tip #3

When you structure your posts you should make ample use of your chosen keyword by including it throughout your post. Make sure your keyword appears in the following:

  • Post title
  • Meta description
  • In the first paragraph
  • Within the body copy
  • Image tags

Don’t take this to mean you should cram as many keywords as you can into every post you make. Write for people first. Optimization is only one part of getting more traffic to your WordPress blog. SEO will help visitors find your site, but good content is what keeps them coming back.

Newbie WordPress Tip #4

One often overlooked SEO trick is to optimize your images. Random strings of numbers add nothing for the search engines to pick up, so stop uploading images like this: 87u21oydkj9010.jpg. What you should do when uploading images for the page or post you are working on is rename your image using your focus keyword. Don’t forget to add this keyword in your image alt and title tags as well.

Newbie WordPress Tip #5

Don’t be stingy with old posts. Link to other pages and posts within your WordPress blog. This will help search engines crawl your site deeper and it will also keep visitors on your site longer.

Read More

Securing Your WordPress Blog

Securing Your WordPress Blog
WordPress has taken the world by storm. Since its inception, WordPress has had a phenomenal growth rate, with over 65 million downloads. It even powers over 16% of Alexa’s “Top 1 Million” websites. If you are not familiar with WordPress, you should be. It’s an open-source blogging software that allows easy customization through its template and plugin system.

Small business owners and bloggers have almost a love affair with WordPress. Its easy-to-use CMS, or content management system, makes updating changes on the fly a cake walk. The simplicity of its functions allows even noobs a fair chance at launching a great looking site, with a lot of unique features.

Of course, securing your WordPress install has to be on your radar. In fact, anyone with a website has to have these concerns, but WordPress in particular has its own set of rules to follow. Most “hacked” blogs end up this way because the site owner got lazy. Updates happen for a reason and if you’re not keeping your site up-to-date you’re waving the “come get me” flag. Seriously. There are a whole host of tools that are developed exclusively for sniffing out site vulnerabilities online.

Follow these simple WordPress security tips and you should stay out of trouble:

Update! Update! Update! I just mentioned this, but it deserves to be first in line as it tends to be the main reason a WordPress blog gets compromised. In the dashboard of your WordPress install you will receive a notification when either the WordPress software, plugins, or your theme version needs updated. When you get these notifications you need to act on it. For the most part, it’s just a matter of pressing a button. However, you’ll want to backup your files before updating WordPress itself. You should also backup your theme before updating as well (if you’ve done customizations).

Change up your password. Are you really using your birthday? Or a zip code? A simple password is a risky situation. A strong password should be over 8 characters and use a combination of letters, numbers, special characters, and caps. Choose wisely: avoid a password that can be easily guessed. Keep it random and change it every few months.

Backup! Backup! Backup! It’s easy to put off backing up your WordPress install when you have other “more important” things to do. We tend to all have the “it won’t happen to me” mentality. Those are actions that hackers know and understand – and capitalize on. Establishing a backup routine, and sticking to it religiously, have to part of your tasks as a site owner. Think of the hard work and time that goes into crafting your content and creating that perfect post.

Tip – Keep multiple copies of your backup in case of file corruption or loss. Keep a copy on your server, on a physical hard drive (or your computer), and backup your files to Google Drive. Redundancy is a key component to keeping your data safe.

Get reliable WordPress hosting. This is one of the most important (and difficult) choices for a new site owner. WordPress requires PHP and MySQL, so most free web hosting solutions won’t cut it. Besides, if a problem arises you’ll want a human to talk to, and someone that can get it fixed quickly. Reliable WordPress hosting doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. You can view our web hosting solutions for WordPress and forums here.

Be careful with plugins. WordPress is so much cooler with plugins. You don’t have to be a code monkey to add a new feature to your website. That’s part of what makes WordPress rock! It’s also how nefarious evil-doers package their warez to infect your website. Be careful what WordPress plugins you install and stick to known developers. Check reviews and ratings and do a quick Google search before installing. The WordPress Directory (free)  and CodeCanyon (not free) has everything you can think of – and probably a few more.

Pay attention. If you run a WordPress blog or website you need to pay attention to industry news. This way you’ll know the latest threat before become a victim. Yahoo recently learned the hard way. If you want some more expert tips on how to protect your blog this will help you.

Do you have any tips? Have you ever been hacked? Let us know in the comments!

Read More

6 Must-Know WordPress Tips for Small Business Owners

6 Must-Know WordPress Tips for Small Business Owners
If you are a small business owner expenses and advertising costs are never far from your mind. Starting a business with a limited budget doesn’t mean you need to forgo a stand out web presence. WordPress is the answer small business owners have been looking for.

WordPress Is Easy To Use

One of the most challenging decisions to make when developing a website for your business is what platform to use. A custom design requires extensive programming knowledge, and for most small business owners, budget comes into play. Hiring a competent web developer can be costly. If you don’t shell out bucks for an easy to use content management system, otherwise referred to as a CMS, you’ll likely have to pay an ongoing monthly fee to a webmaster for site updates. This can be a costly process. Plus, you lose the ability to quickly update your site on your own. You’ll be stuck waiting for your webmaster to get around to it.

WordPress is the most popular blogging software on the market. It’s widely used around the world and has been adopted as the go-to CMS for countless small business and corporate websites.

Why Small Businesses Should Use WordPress

You’re looking for more online exposure for your business. You want to save money. The budget isn’t right. The list goes on, but the running theme is you want to save money, while still having an incredible online presence. When you want to update your website in a fast, efficient, and cost-effective way, WordPress is the tool you need. WordPress is the most popular blogging tool used today, but it can also be a powerful content management system for your website. Entrepreneurs are discovering peace of mind, security, and support by putting WordPress in their business toolbox.

Fast, Efficient, Cost Effective. Small business owners don’t have all the time in the world. In fact, they have considerably less. It’s true. If you’ve ever managed a business you know one thing for certain: there’s always a few more things that need done. WordPress gives you the ability to quickly upload images, post blogs, and add content to your website.

Easy To Have A Great Design. You can save money and still have a great looking website. WordPress relies on themes to transform its look. A simple search on Google will uncover countless free themes you can use for your website. If you’re looking for a more robust option you can purchase a premium theme for your site for as little as $35 – $40. Want to know where to look? Themeforest has the most extensive collection of WordPress themes and authors around. Developers sell their templates on the site and users are able to leave feedback, so you can have an idea of what to expect before you buy. Plus, the majority of WordPress developers on the site offer support either through email or via a forum.

Out-of-the-Box SEO. To drive traffic to your website, you need to attract potential clients. WordPress enables you to easily optimize your site for the search engines through the use of plugins. Most bloggers and webmasters recommend using WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast.

A Plethora of Resources. There are countless WordPress developers, bloggers, and forums offering advice and tips on customizing and maintaining your site. If you run into trouble or are having trouble with configuring your website an answer is typically a Google search away.

Easily Customize with Free Plugins. One unique feature of WordPress is it is an open-source platform with countless developers. There are many free WordPress plugins available that can add extra functionality to your site, like social plugins and banner ads.

Manage Your Time. WordPress gives you the option to schedule your posts. This can be a great timesaver, which lets you write your posts when you have time and schedule them for times when they need to go out.

Affordable Web Hosting Solutions. It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to get your WordPress blog online. Affordable WordPress hosting isn’t hard to find. It’s important to choose a reliable web hosting company that has a proven track record and understands the specific requirements needed for WordPress web hosting.

Read More

WordPress Hosting for High Traffic Sites

Wordpress Hosting for High Traffic Sites
WordPress is a good choice of platform to host a high-traffic website or blog because it was designed to be able to handle large amounts of traffic from the start. However, you will need to make sure your web server, caching system, and file sizes are actually able to handle high traffic volume. WordPress can handle only as much traffic as can be supported by the hardware it runs on and the two main obstacles to handling large volumes of traffic are processor limitations and network limitations. The processor limitations show up when a website’s traffic puts high demands on a server’s processor power and memory resources. The WordPress application depends on MySQL to store data for producing output and each request that WordPress makes to MySQL for data creates additional loads on the server. Although WordPress is optimized to reduce the number of different actions required to perform its functions, the plug-ins or themes you use in the WordPress installation can also affect in the reliance on MySQL.

When traffic to a site is extremely high, the number of simultaneous connections to the database put a big load on the server and some connections may not go through and will result in the “connection timed out” display on a visitor’s browser. Because WordPress is a web-server-neutral application, it can run on several different platforms, including Apache and Linux, but any server that fully supports PHP and MySQL can get the job done. As PHP interprets the WordPress code, it can also affect your server’s performance when it creates a new version of the PHP program for every PHP file that a visitor requests. This means you need to be aware of the demands traffic puts on your server. Network limitations become a factor when a server’s connection to the Internet is too slow to serve up the pages you want as fast as you like. Because your server’s network provider connects to their internal network with an Ethernet adapter at a specific designated speed (usually 10Mb/s, 100Mb/s, or 1Gb/s) the server cannot transferring files any faster than that speed. Actually, a server cannot really even transfer files at the maximum rate specified by the adapter because the server is constantly sending and receiving routing information and only part of the full bandwidth is actually available for transferring files.   Because your network provider has limited bandwidth that must be shared, your network provider’s capabilities will limit transfer speeds more than the server’s network adapter.

Some network providers also offer the ability to handle bursts of data that can temporarily exceed pre-set transfer speed limits in instances when demand is the highest. The bandwidth of a connection is important to high-traffic sites because if just one dozen people hit a site at the same time, and that rate is sustained over time, a site would need at least a 15Mb/s connection to keep up. The bandwidth of the connection is important to any high-traffic website because an adapter with a maximum speed of just 10Mb/s could be overwhelmed by just one dozen sustained visitors.   You don’t have to receive 100,000 hits a day to cause problems either.  If your visitors concentrate access to a particular time of day or automated spam tries to access your system multiple times, it could result in many dropped requests. A 100Mb/s connection could handle very high rates of simultaneous traffic, but most network providers won’t offer that level of speed without extra fees, and most current shared hosting plans like WordPress don’t offer it at all. Most hosting services provide a fixed amount of overall transfer and if your account goes over the limit, you will get charged for the extra data transferred. The general rule is that the higher the transfer limit is, the more your hosting plan will cost. There are hosting services that do offer unlimited data transfer plans, but they will obviously cost a lot more, although maybe not as much as paying for transfer overages on a high-traffic site.

One way to optimize the performance of your high traffic website and avoid extra transfer charges is to use a Content Delivery Network in conjunction with your site that will help you avoid expensive overages and the bandwidth limitations imposed by some of the more popular hosting providers. In the end, your server is only as capable as your network provider is, and if your provider cannot provide the bandwidth you need, you have two options. You can try to negotiate a better price for increased bandwidth, or you can simply find a different provider that does provide the resources your high traffic site requires.

Read More