Maintain Health & Functionality of WordPress Sites

Some people opt to maintain their own website to save costs. However that doesn’t work for everyone as most people don’t have the technical skills or free time to take the extra tasks on.

These tasks may include:

  1. Website files and database – backed up
  2. Security Checks & Regular Checks for Malware
  3. WordPress Version Core Updates
  4. Plugin Updates
  5. Delete inactive plugins
  6. Check Hyperlinks
  7. Search Engine Optimisation
  8. Optimise Databases & Images
  9. Conduct a technical Audit to make sure your site ranks well and runs smoothly on the internet.

It takes time to properly take care of your site doing things regular plugin updates, backups and security checks. So if you’d rather let someone else take good care of your website then contact ACT Websites.

Or have a look out our WordPress Maintenance and Support Services page.

What A New Website Can Do For My Business

If you own a business but don’t have a website there are valid reasons why an online presence is essential. We live in a technologically advanced working society where computers and mobile phones are frequently used by people who mostly do their research and shopping for goods and services online for convenience.

A modern, crisp and great looking website is a justifiable business investment with accessible information about your business online. A good website will not only create more revenue by increasing positive conversation around your product and services, it’s social media integration makes your website a highly shareable and marketable product to launch your advertising campaigns from with a view to generating more business leads.

Do you have an outdated website?

Why you need to update – Business owners who keep an outdated website run the risk of losing potential customers by having the following features on their current site:

  • poor layout
  • restricted navigation
  • poor functionality
  • slow loading pages and images
  • not visually appealing.

All of these factors can contribute to make a business look unprofessional online.  The average time spent on a website is anywhere between 3-5 minutes.  If the audience’s attention can’t be grabbed immediately to entice them to navigate through your site to buy your products and services, they will move on fast to the next company who can.

ACT Websites develops beautiful WordPress websites.

WordPress has evolved to be the most flexible and versatile Content Management System with its vast array of available plugins to add complex business features and security to your website. The sky is the limit to your design imagination. There are literally thousands of professionally designed WordPress themes available as the skeleton which to fill with your business branding and content to present your products and services for attracting the right audience.  See our recent work page for a visual on what we have done for our satisfied clients.

Invest in your business future with a beautiful web presence or a buzzing online store.

WordPress is search engine friendly.  “WordPress automatically solves a ton of SEO issues.” Google Engineer Matt Cutts.

The free Yoast SEO plugin makes your website even more search engine friendly.

WordPress is mobile web ready with responsive theme designs that will work on tablets.

Contact ACT Websites for a quote

 

 

 

Want to Start Blogging But Don’t Know How?

There are literally millions of bloggers online telling their story, sharing news and writing about just about any given subject known to man.  Yet during its humble beginnings, there was nothing compelling me to write, much less publish my work online.  Today I’m sold on blogging for personal use and for business marketing. As a social media coordinator the value of marketing is well known to me.  However, I fell in love with the whole concept of communicating ideas online for building others up. There are some truly extraordinary blogs out there in cyberspace on just about any given topic by really talented writers. But don’t let that scare you off.  Your blog can stand out!

When I started blogging

If I’m going to be completely honest, the idea of other’s reading my blogs was really intimidating, knowing my work needed loads of improvement. But I didn’t let that excuse stop me. With practice my confidence has grown and the secret for getting better at it was simple! Keep writing, keep learning and keep growing.  The only thing we need to be afraid of is not giving it a go which is like quitting before we even begin.  Remaining stagnant is even more frightening to me. The only option left was to get started because blogging is also a great way to learn how to better express ourselves.

Blogging for a hobby

  1. Select your blog platform – You can create a free blog site at WordPress.com where they also provide support forums. there are many others that you can also try.
  2. Register a domain name – You might want to register a unique domain name for your blog which is the same as a website internet address for your blog site.  E.g. www.yourdomain.com 
  3. Choose a Web Host – Many out there to choose from.  Once you set up a wordpress site there will be options on offer.

Blogging for business or hobby

  • Topic – decide on what you want to write about.  Read plenty and research the topic of your choice.
  • Introduction – The introduction is no bigger than a 4 to 5 line paragraph explaining what you will be discussing in your blog.
  • Body – The body of your blog contains all the information you want to share pertaining to that topic.  Elaborate on your introduction covering everything youv’e mentioned in your paragraph.
  • Ending – The ending of your blog should go something like this:
    1. Sum up key messages
    2. Add a call to action
    3. Add a ‘Sources’ title with the name of Author, pages and hyperlinks to your resources.
    4. Ask a question or use quotes.
    5. Use social media share buttons.

Important Tips

  • Use relevant images that will create interest.
  • When I start typing my ideas out the first copy is always saved as a draft that I can come back to and work on.
  • Having a little note pad around helps me record ideas as they pop into my head.
  • Always ask permission formally by email before you reblog or use another person’s material and wait for their reply. Cite authors and link back to their sites and give credit where credit is due.  Especially if the work is not your own and if you’re quoting someone.
  • Think of an engaging heading for your blog.
  • Add external links to help back up your story.
  • Consider using a video
  • Post your blog on social media.

I hope this helps you get started with your blog.  Enjoy!
To further help your writing skills consider taking a creative writing course.

Sandra Ciminelli.

If you’re after help with your personal blog or need a professional business blog ACT Websites can help. Contact Sandra on 0413 305 967 or email sandra@actwebsites.com.au to find out more about my business blogging services.

Some Excellent WordPress Plugins

Here’s a list of WordPress Plugins that I have found very useful in helping me to to add more features and functionality to my website and other sites I’ve worked on.  While some of these are free,  there are the paid Pro/Premium versions that enable more features.

Yoast SEO – A free plugin that is probably the best out there for Search Engine Optimisation. Feature packed, team Yoast have done a great job to make sure that users are able to take full control of their site’s search engine optimisation. They’ve even provided full instructions on ‘How To Use WordPress SEO by Yoast.

Slider Revolution – This slider is by far the best on the market. Paid version for single use is just $19 it’s jam packed with features. Developer license for unlimited sites is at $99.

Gallery by Supsystic – A fairly easy to use plugin to add images and make your website stand out. Free or Pro version.

Gmedia Gallery – Free and paid versions have loads of options and features. I have found this one easy to use.

Pricing Table by Supsystic – Easy to use free and or version with many custom design options. I’ve used the free version on my website.

WordFence – A free security plugin that offers a firewall, malware scanner, and many other tools.  A paid premium version is available.

Social Media Feather – Great for adding social media icons to a website to improve your sharing and marketing power.  Follow & Share features.

WooCommerce – Comes with a set up wizard to help you get started with your eCommerce site.  Follow the prompts!

WP Super Cache – A very fast caching engine for WordPress that produces static html files.

Disable CommentsGlobally disable comments on a WordPress website. Comments can be disabled according to post type. Particularly useful for business sites.  Multi site friendly.

Black Studio TinyMCE Widget – A visual editor that allows you to edit in WYSIWIG Style.

MailPoet Newsletters –  A free newsletter plugin to send newsletters, post notifications or autoresponders from WordPress easily capture subscribers.

WEN Responsive ColumnsCreate columns easily with this easy to use free plugin.

By Sandra Ciminelli

 

 

Where to Find Free Photos for Commercial Use

Free quality high resolution photos are hard to find requiring time consuming extensive research online. I’ve taken the hard work out by providing links to websites that I use regularly to loads of free for commercial use images that  don’t require attribution.

Not all images will be without some sort of restriction on the licensing.  You might be required to name the photographer and add a link to the website where the image was downloaded from.  So I recommend that you read all licensing before downloading images to avoid any legal hassles. Also I advise reading of all of the information on each website to make sure you fully understand what you are agreeing to before downloading.

IMAGE WEBSITES

goodstock.photos
Good quality images in an easy to use website.

Pixabay
A huge assortment of free for commercial use images that don’t require attribution.  *a favourite.

Stokpic
Quality high resolution images.

Pexels
Good business photos – Variety & quality!

Unsplash
Good for memes and other graphic projects.  Read terms of use.

realisticshots
Heaps to choose from.

Gratisography
Great images –  a large assortment.

Picjumbo
Heaps of images to choose from.

High Resolution
Images are large and take too long to load.  If you’re after massive images, this is the site for you!

fancycrave
Good for a variety of projects.

Visuals by Brain & Storm
Scenery and landscape images.

FoodiesFeed
Food images.

rgbstock
Heaps to choose from – read permissions.

visualhunt
A large assortment of images  *a favourite.

foodeverest
Food images.

goodfreephotos
Good for projects.

RaumRot
Nice images – click on the links at the top of the page.

freejpg
A huge assortment! *a favourite.

Morguefile – Heaps of quality and amateur hi-res images – read individual image permissions before downloading.

meeting-1453895_640

Before you download an image:

  1. Read the licensing.
  2. Know what size you’re after before hand so that you don’t clutter your website with huge images.
  3. Use images that are relevant to your business or blog.

I hope that these links to my favourite free photo sites will come in handy and prove useful for your business and personal use. More of these types of blogs coming in the near future. So keep an eye out for those.

If you’re after affordable web design & development, plus graphic design work, contact Sandra at ACT Websites for quality work that doesn’t cost the earth.

Ways To Build Consumer Trust on Social Media

There are many ways to market your business on social media with books, videos, blogs and competitions.  The single most important thing to remember in business is that the foundation of all successful advertising is based on gaining the consumer’s trust and keeping it.  People simply want affordable quality products and services they can rely on.

WAYS TO BUILD CONSUMER TRUST

Here are some ways that can bring positive outcomes with social media advertising for both you and for your customers.

Know Your Business

  • Know your product and services
  • Believe in your products and services
  • Know your target audience

Present your business professionally.

  • Have a modern responsive website with integrated social media to launch your marketing campaigns from.
  • Assess the look, feel and  functionality of your website.
  • Maintain quality in all of your advertising. i.e, newsletters, blogs & videos.
  • Have a quality representation of your business on social media.
  • Use quality graphics and content that are relevant to your business.
  • Online marketing campaigns should run simultaneously with other campaigns you might have going at the time.  Like your radio and television advertising for example in order to gain maximum exposure.
  • List your business on some online business directories
  • When setting up your social media presence use your branding.
  • A consistant online voice helps to build trust no matter what avenue of marketing you take on social media.

Share, Promote & Engage

  • Sharing information about your products by blogging about topics within your niche market will not only help to  gain trust, but will continually increase the audience’s trust.  This can be done using blogs with quality, well written content using high resolution images on your website which can promoted on social media. e.g. Posting a blog link on your Facebook business page to be boosted in order to reach more people within your targeted audience and budget.
  • Keep the conversation going and your fan based engaged by monitoring all conversations and private messages and then responding to them in a timely manner.  People love having conversations, they like being heard and when they see brilliance, quality and value for money they can’t help but share it!

Plan & Monitor

You can monitor the performance of your advertising on social media using insights and analytics.  By measuring what works and what doesn’t you’ll be able to plan and deliver what your audience wants.

Develop a marketing strategy that won’t overwhelm your audience. e.g. posting the same advert too frequently can make some fans turn off your page notifications on Facebook.

Also Read: How to get people to visit your website?

Video Marketing – What type of Video to Make?

Video marketing provides informative entertainment to potential customers.  Videos are highly shareable when produced with content that delivers quality to give your audience value. When used effectively a good video can communicate to a wide audience about your products and services to build trust.

Videos can also be fun and can be produced in various ways. If you’re considering making a video but you’re not sure what type of video to make here’s is a list of the types of videos that can be created.

Video Types

Testimonials – Word of mouth is probably the best marketing as people quite often prefer to hear an endorsement from a person who has experienced a product or service as opposed to reading about it on a website. Testimonial videos put a face to words and are used to establish trust.

Interviews with Thought Leaders or Influencers – A video with a highly trusted thought leader can help start the conversation with your target audience and is great leverage to get you and your products and services noticed. Two or more people on the camera presented as news.   Google Hangouts or Skype can be used to produce these.

Holiday & Community Events – Everyone can relate to holiday events and special dates.  Holiday blogs turned into Video Blogs can be a fun way to share your experiences with others.  Targeting videos to coincide with important community events can also help to raise awareness for special causes and serves to market to a like-minded audience.

Call to Action– These types of videos can be really informative about a new product, service, course or event.  They can also request that people sign up , visit a website or take part in a competition.  A call to action is simply asking the audience to do something at the end of the video.  e.g. Charity may ask for donations.

A Talking Head – This can just be a “talking head” type .of video with a person just talking to the camera about their products & services. They can be used as a welcome on a home page or more personally as a self introduction on an ‘about me’ page of your website.

Video PowerPoint– A narrated PowerPoint is easy to make.  Add voice narration and there you have a video.  For Mac users – Keynote.  For Window users – PowerPoint.

Animated Video – You can create your own cartoons on video creation sites like Fiverr,  Nawmal or GoAnimate.  You may want to outsource that if you’ve never done anything like that before or have a go at making them yourself at PowToon.

Tips &  Industry Knowledge – A great way to add credibility to your business. Create video sharing tips about your niche market and upload to your YouTube channel. Talk about a subject that you’re passionate about to share and grow your audience.

Teaching/Recorded Webinar Video – These can be created at GoToWebinar for sale or distribution.  The webinar can be posted on YouTube or on your own site.

A Few Things To Consider

  • Content and quality has to be consistent with your brand.
  • Your goals should drive your direction to reach your objective.
  • Transcribing  scripts and conversations can help boost your video in search engines and extend the life of your content.  Add clear titles that are engaging, exciting and is relevant to what you’re promoting.
  • Publish and promote your video on social media as part of your marketing strategy.
  • Create an official YouTube channel to showcase your videos.

Whatever your goal is a good video marketing strategy can vastly improve conversion rates and audience engagement.

Does My Website Need An Upgrade?

Website design is as vital to present day business owners to compete in an overcrowded market. What a visitor takes away when they visit your website is vital to the success of your business.  Any website that causes confusion can undermine credibility and trust.  The site can invite and entice people or, by being too difficult to navigate, confusing. poorly designed or simply because it might not be work on digital technology can repel potential clients. For whatever reason, the goal of any business is to draw more people in, not to turn them away as opinions are quickly formed, taken away and often shared with others.   By providing others with a good experience online they are more likely to return.

Questions to ask yourself when considering redesigning your website

  • Do my pages take a long time to load?
  • Is my website responsive?
  • Are there features that could be added?
  • Are there features that are no longer used?
  • What do I want my site to look like?
  • Does my site represent my brand online?

What is a good website?

Any growth driven business has to stay competitive.  Staying competitive in today’s market means keeping up with internet and other technological changes.

A good website is a constantly changing platform to launch business campaigns from.  If marketed effectively it can used attract more leads and create opportunities.  A WordPress website has an easy to use and easy to learn CMS – Content Management System that allows you to make changes, publish content and keep up with technological demands to help your business stay competitive.

Mobile friendly sites are also ranked higher by Google.

A good website will integrate Social Media. Social media gives you opportunities galore when showcasing your goods and services.  Having your business on Social media can drive traffic to your website, generate leads and create a loyal customer following.  Social Networking has become a popular, is used globally as a sharing point for word of mouth advocates.  Today Word of mouth referrals have become high tech.  Social Media Integration will allow others to share your posts, pages, memes, blogs, videos and more while doing the advertising for you.

Fast loading pages are a must if you want to keep visitors interested. If they can’t access the information in a timely manner they will become frustrated and leave.

Traffic to your website should be measured to help you understand what you’re doing right and where you can make improvements.  Using Google Analytics you can clearly see what social media drives traffic to your website and where your leads are coming from.  Driving traffic to your website will help to improve your Google ranking.

A New Business Website

A good way to start a business website is by knowing your business first.  Doing some research in your niche market and then set clear goals will give you insight.  Then draw up a business plan to give you direction.  A website should be designed based on those goals and your business plan to present concise and clear content with optimum functionality to others online.

Compare a website to a restaurant

You’re compelled to look at what’s on offer because you’re hungry and need to eat.  Initially you’re enticed by the menu posted at the door but as you walk though the doors there’s so much more to look at.  As you look around and notice cleanliness of the place, the clientele, the quality of service, the decor, the atmosphere, the food, the grooming of the staff and all of this detail helps you get a feel for their attitude. If it’s a good place with a good feel service that delivers what you’re after,  your appetite is likely to increase.  On a return visit you will bring friends and family along.  The network of people that come on your recommendation will continually increase to visit that restaurant as they all bring others with them.  

In the same way, a website that’s easy to navigate through, is modern, provides clear and concise information, has images. functions the way it should and is easy to use can keep a person reading, searching and wanting to know more.  They tell their family and friends about their good find.  A good website is great marketing investment!

Sites are built to your specifications and your business needs in mind.  We keep your existing branding or can help with re-branding at a low cost.  Enquire about our services today to help your business come alive and be noticed online.

make an appointment   request a quote

Before You Hire A Web Designer in Australia

Before you start planning for your website there are some key elements that you will need to have set in place.  Start by deciding on a catchy business name that is marketable to suit what you specialise in, set up your ABN and register your unique business name.  Below are the links to help you get started.

Setting up a business first…

  1. If you haven’t already started your business but are thinking about starting one you will have to do some research.  If you cant decide have a look at the Australian Goverment’s Business Page. It has a lot of useful information.
  2. Before you can own a business website in Australia be sure to have an ABN.  If you don’t have one already you can register an ABN number here. 
  3. Decide on your business name.
  4. The next step is to register your business name and check that you’re not trespassing on someone else’s trademark.

…Now you’re ready what’s next?

If you’ve already done all the things mentioned above, then proceed.

  1. Now you can purchase a domain name which will be your unique website web address. e.g.  www.yourdomain.com.au or www.yourdomain.net,au or www.yourdomain.org.au.  Many other extensions can be used for your website depending on your business type and location. Then you’ll need to purchase web hosting.
  2. ACT Websites provides affordable Domain Name Registration and Web Hosting Packages.   Domain name registrations are renewed every two years.  The Web hosting packages come in 1 year, 2 year, 3 year and 5 year registrations.  The longer the term, the cheaper the monthly fee.
  3. If you’re not comfortable setting them up yourself,  I will be happy set those up for you.  All you have to do is have your ABN number & credit card with you at the time of appointment.  For ACT residents only.
  4. Now you need someone to put your website together for you.  I can provide affordable WordPress web design and development.  View the full list of Services here.  Contact ACT Websites using the Contact form or call Sandra on:  0413 305 967.