8 Benefits of Having WordPress-Based Websites for Your Business

You have several options available to you when getting a new website. One of those options is to get a WordPress-based website. In fact, in most situations, this is the best option. Here are eight reasons why.

1. Robust, Free Infrastructure

WordPress is the most widely used website platform in the world. In fact, more than 50 percent of all websites in the world are a WP website.

One of the reasons businesses, website owners, and developers use WordPress is because it is robust. It has a well-tested infrastructure and all the tools required to create any type of website. Plus, it’s free.

2. Strong Developer Community

The above point is made possible because WordPress has a strong developer community who help to secure it, identify bugs, and generally support the platform.

In addition, this strong community means it is easy to find help whenever it is required.

3. Regular Updates and Patches

WordPress patches and updates are released on a regular basis. These can be to get rid of bugs, to enhance the functionality, or to make the platform more secure. This protects your website and keeps it working in the ever-changing world of the internet, website browser updates, new phone models, and more.

4. Extensive Plugin Library

You can find a plugin for just about any tool or feature you want to add to WordPress. Many of these are free, but even premium plugins are usually inexpensive. In other words, you can add functionality to your WordPress-based website without the need to write the code from scratch.

5. Faster Development Time Compared to Building from Scratch

As the platform provides the basic infrastructure of your website, and plugins are available for all common functions, development time is kept to a minimum on WordPress-based websites.

One other option you have available is to get the website built from scratch, but this takes much longer. WordPress gives your developer a head start. This means they can focus on WordPress home page design with a customised WordPress theme to ensure your website looks great.

6. With a WordPress-Based Website, It Is Easy to Add and Change Content

Another of the big advantages of WordPress is the fact it is super simple to add and change content. The user interface and text editor mean you can add attractive and highly professional pages and blog posts without needing to learn a single line of code.

7. WordPress-Based Websites Are Easier to Update When You Want a Fresh Design

The look and feel of a WordPress-based website comes from its theme. All the features (via plugins and other code), as well as the content of your website, are separate from the theme. This makes it much easier to change the design of your website.

8. More Flexible and Powerful than Website Builders

Finally, WordPress is a much better option than other common website builders on the market. Examples include Wix and Weebly. They do make it easy to get a website online, but the options you have for customisation and features are very limited.

WordPress-based websites offer a range of benefits over free website builders. This includes:

  • They are much more flexible and powerful
  • They look better
  • They are faster
  • They are more reliable
  • And more

Choosing WordPress

So, whatever business you are in, whatever type of website you want to build, and whatever your budget, WordPress is the best option.

Top 9 Mistakes When Choosing a Web Developer

You have a vision, you have a plan to make that vision into a reality, and you’re ready to invest in your very own custom-built website by getting a web developer in Auckland. This is a huge step for your growing business, one that is absolutely necessary for you to compete in today’s digital marketplace.

But you’ve heard horror stories about others who hired web developers only to get a site that crashes, bugs out, or that never stands a chance of ranking on Google.

How can you make sure this doesn’t happen to you? How can you guarantee you’re going to get a high-quality website that will give you a good ROI?

We’re here to help. We’ve gathered a list of the top nine mistakes to watch out for when looking for a web developer in Auckland. By being aware of these pitfalls and knowing how to avoid them, you’ll be well on your way to your perfect website.

1. Paying Upfront

If your prospective developer asks you to pay for the entire project upfront, watch out. Once they’ve got your money, there’s no telling what they’ll do next – whether they’ll skimp out on the quality, take forever and a day to finish, or even completely blow you off.

A reputable developer will take a deposit at the beginning, usually between 25 percent and 50 percent. They will then make payments on a pre-agreed schedule for the remainder of the project.

2. Not Getting Referrals

Sure, that developer might have plenty of anonymous testimonials on their website, but the only way you can truly confirm the quality of their work is by getting in touch with their past clients. If the developer refuses to give you their contact info, then you’re probably better off with someone else.

It is even better if you already know any of the companies the website developer lists on their portfolio page. Get in touch with them to get their opinion on the experience.

3. Not Ensuring Mobile and Tablet Capability

Some web developers in Auckland will focus their efforts on creating a website that works for desktop computers. Sometimes, this is all they will build, ignoring mobile and tablet users completely. This is a no-go if you want to be successful on today’s internet.

To reach as many visitors and potential customers as possible, you need to make sure your visitors can access your site on all their devices. Therefore, check to make sure your developer gives enough attention to the mobile version of your website. In many situations, focusing on mobile first is the best approach.

4. No Background in SEO

Your developer doesn’t need to be an SEO wizard. That said, if you want the chance of ranking as high as possible, potentially reaching the front page of Google, then your developer should at least have a working knowledge.

After all, search engines are one of the main ways you’re going to generate traffic to your website. So, don’t shell out before you can guarantee your developer is up to snuff when it comes to SEO.

Of course, the ideal situation is to get a website developer who also offers SEO services. This is an indication they truly understand what is involved in making a website rank highly.

5. Going for the First Option

Hiring a web developer in Auckland is a big deal. Would you buy the first car or house that you came across? The same principle applies here: you need to get quotes from at least three web developers in Auckland before you decide to hire one.

This will allow you to compare their services, their expertise, their turnaround times, and their prices.

It can be hard to know what to expect before you start, so approach a variety of developers with your project. Let them know exactly what you are looking for and get as many details as you can from them, so you can make an informed decision.

6. Not Using a Content Management System (CMS)

A content management system, or CMS, will allow you to easily make changes to the website with a straightforward user interface. This means you’ll be able to keep your site up to date without having to hire another web developer.

Therefore, make sure the web developer you choose plans to build your website using a CMS.

The most popular and powerful CMS in use today is WordPress. It has an interface that is easy to use for the average person. This means you don’t have to be a tech person to run your website on a day-to-day basis.

7. Paying Too Little or Too Much

The adage “you get what you pay for” definitely applies when hiring a web developer. If you go for the cheapest available option, you can’t expect your site to work the way you want, especially if it attracts high volumes of traffic.

Think of it like buying a watch. Sure, you don’t need a Rolex to have a reliable wristwatch, but if you buy the cheapest piece of junk around then it’s going to break in no time.

The same is true for a web developer. Good web developers in Auckland charge a fair price for the level of skill, knowledge, and expertise that will go into developing your new website. It doesn’t need to cost the earth, but to get the best results, avoid cheap alternatives as they will always cost you in the long run.

8. Not Guaranteeing Volume

One big issue we hear about time and time again is a new website crashing because of traffic volumes. The client will then call their developer, who quickly starts to blame the hosting company. They do this because it can be difficult and time-consuming for the average business owner to prove the problem is actually with the developer.

Therefore, this point follows on from the previous one – you need to get a website developer who knows what they’re doing. Good website developers in Auckland will ensure your website is capable of handling whatever traffic you need, they will discuss this with you in advance, and they won’t shirk their responsibilities.

9. Finding a Deal that’s Too Good to be True

This is especially true if you’re hiring a developer over the internet, although it is always an essential point to remember. Therefore, go with your gut and if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Also, watch out for scammers and always make sure you choose a reputable developer.

By keeping these tips in mind, you will have a much greater chance of getting the right web developer in Auckland.

What Is Search Engine Friendly Website Design?

Search engine friendly website design means designing your website according to Google’s guidelines. This helps Google understand what your website is about, it ensures Google can find all the pages, and it helps improve your ranking on search results pages.

A good website developer and/or SEO agency in Auckland will look after all the elements below on your behalf. However, it is good to have an overview of the topic, so you can ensure you get a fully optimised search engine friendly website.

Here’s how you make your website search engine friendly.

Make Sure Google Can Easily Index Your Most Important Content

Website developers can add content to your pages in lots of different ways. This includes using HTML, the standard tagging system for most websites on the internet. It can also include other code such as Java or Flash as well as other types of content including images, video, and audio.

Search engines understand and use HTML more than any other type of content, however. Therefore, the most important content on your pages should be in HTML.

This means, for example, transcribing audio and video content into text. You should also use image alt tags for the images you include on your website. Image alt tags let you describe the image, so Google understands what it is.

Image alt tags look like this:

<img src=”YourImage.jpg” alt=”Description of the image”>

The Importance of Keywords

Keywords are crucial to SEO, so they are crucial to building a search engine friendly website too. Therefore, you should ensure you include the main keywords you want to target on the main pages of your website.

You should include keywords in the following locations:

  • Page titles
  • Page URLs
  • In H1 headers
  • In the first paragraph of a page, ideally the first sentence
  • A couple of times in the text on the page
  • In the image alt text of at least one image on the page
  • In the page’s meta description

You should also include variations of the keyword too. For example, if your keyword is “how to train your dog”, a variation of that could be “learning to train your dog”.

When structuring your website, there are two important things to avoid in relation to keywords:

  1. Don’t keyword stuff – this means adding keywords to the page multiple times in the hope it convinces Google your page really, really, really, really, is the best. This simply doesn’t work and can actually lower your ranking in search. Keywords should appear naturally and strategically on your website pages.
  2. Don’t cannibalise keywords – this means using a single keyword as the target keyword on multiple pages of your website. For example, having three pages on your website targeting the keyword “how to train your dog”. Doing this simply spreads the value of your content across three pages, rather than directing that value to one page.

Optimising Page Titles

Google uses page titles as a ranking factor, plus they appear in a number of important places. This includes on search results pages:

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Web browsers also use page titles on tabs:

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Follow these tips to optimise page titles for SEO:

  • Ensure your page titles are 70 characters or less. If you make them longer, Google will snip them on its search results pages.
  • Write readable and meaningful page titles that are useful to users. Remember, one of the objectives of page titles is to encourage users to click.
  • Make sure you include the main target keyword in the page title, ideally at the start.
  • Include your company/website name at the end of the page title.

Optimising URLs

Many websites use page titles to create the URL for the page. Therefore, following the SEO guidelines for page titles will ensure you optimise URLs too.

There is one additional point to consider, however. Research shows short URLs are more likely to rank higher than long URLs. For your most important keywords, therefore, you should look at shortening the URL.

So, for example, you could shorten this URL:

YourWebsite.com/blog/how-to-train-a-dog

To this:

YourWebsite.com/how-to-train-a-dog

Optimising Content

Optimising the content on your website will also make it more search engine friendly. Here are the main tips:

  • Make sure the content is well-written with no spelling or grammatical mistakes.
  • Write and present the content so it is easy to read. This means using short sentences, short paragraphs, bullet-point lists, sub-headings, and everyday language.
  • Include keywords in the content following the tips above.
  • Ensure the content is unique.
  • Make the content useful and engaging for readers.

Ensure There is a Link to Every Page You Want Google To See

Google follows all the links on your website to discover all its pages. This includes your menus, for example. There are often occasions when there are pages you want Google to index, but which Google doesn’t know about because it can’t find a link.

Here are some examples of when this situation might occur:

  • Pages that only display after a user completes a form. Google doesn’t complete forms when crawling your website, so will not find these pages.
  • Links in JavaScript, Flash, or Java.
  • Links blocked by your robots.txt file or Meta Robots tag. These two tools perform the same function – they let you tell Google’s crawler which pages on your website you want them to ignore. It is easy to make a mistake when doing this, however, accidentally restricting Google’s access to pages you want it to find.
  • Pages only accessible using a search tool. As with forms, Google’s crawler does not use search boxes on your website.
  • Pages that are linked by a link-stuffed page. Google’s crawler only follows a limited number of links on a page. Therefore, if the only link to a page on your website is from another page that is stuffed with links, Google might not find it.

Duplicate Versions of Content

Google does not like duplicate content, i.e. content that appears in multiple locations on the internet. This can be on different websites, but it also doesn’t like duplicate content on a single website either.

The problem is there are many legitimate reasons for having duplicate content on your website. For example, having a print-friendly version of a page.

There is a solution to this, though – the canonical tag, which you should add to all duplicate pages. The purpose of this tag is to tell Google there is a master copy of the page.

The canonical tag looks like this:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”URL”/> where URL is the website address of the master page.

Meta Description

The importance of meta descriptions to SEO is disputed. That said, Google does use meta descriptions on its search results pages:

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So, even if Google doesn’t use meta descriptions as a ranking factor, they are important as they encourage users to click the link to your website.

Here’s how you can optimise meta descriptions:

  • Make sure they are no longer than 120 characters. Google clips meta descriptions that are longer than this.
  • Create unique meta descriptions for each page on your website
  • Ensure your meta descriptions are readable and meaningful
  • Include the main keyword of the page in the meta description, ideally at the start

Laying the Foundations

Creating a website that is search engine friendly is the starting point for any effective SEO strategy. Once you have the above in place, you can move onto more advanced SEO techniques, but it is important to have the right foundation in place first.

Achieving Website Development Success – Part 3 – The Build Process

This is the final instalment of our three-part series explaining the website development process. In previous blogs, we explained what you need to do to plan for a new website, as well as how to find, select, and engage a website developer.

In this blog, we’ll look at the build process.

Of course, much of this part of the process will be looked after by your website developer. It is important, however, that you understand key elements of the process, as well as the elements you will need to be involved in.

The Key Stages of a Website Build

  • Discovery – this involves a meeting with you to decide on the scope and specification documents. This includes outlining the specific functionality you want the website to have so the developer can ensure it meets your expectations.
  • Content strategy and sitemap creation – you will be involved in approving both, although your website developer will create them.
  • Wireframes presentation – you will be expected to provide feedback on the wireframes and proposed website design.
  • Revised designs – you will need to give your approval before the website developer can move to the next stage.
  • Frontend development – this will typically involve creating a bespoke template that will deliver the look, feel, and functionality of your new website.
  • Content creation – this happens in tandem with frontend development and involves writing the website’s content as well as creating other assets like images and video.
  • CMS setup and third-party integrations – this involves coding the administration elements and backend of the website.
  • Upload content – with the CMS in place, it will be possible to upload the content.
  • Test – the developer will then test everything on the website before recommending it is ready to launch.
  • Launch – this involves moving the website from the development platform to your server, live on the internet.

Key Roles at You Website Developer

Depending on the size of website developer, you may speak to several different people as part of the development process. This includes:

  • Project manager – who has overall responsibility for the delivery of the project
  • Content manager – this could be the project manager and it usually involves an element of SEO
  • Copywriter – the person responsible for writing the content on your website
  • Website designer – this person is involved in creating the website’s visual appearance
  • Website developer – this involves using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and your CMS to create the website’s functionality.

Other Things You Need to Know

  • Sitemaps – sitemaps outline the navigational structure of your website. In other words, the sitemap determines how visitors to your website will find information. The importance of getting this part of the process right cannot be understated.
  • WordPress – WordPress is undoubtedly the biggest and most widely used CMS in the world. It also offers significant advantages. If your website developer proposes not using WordPress, make sure you understand and agree with the reasons why.
  • Content – content includes images and video as well as text. Text should always be written from the perspective of your website visitors, not from your company’s perspective. You should also consider video if it is within your budget, and images should be relevant and unique.
  • SEO – your website developer should build in SEO features to your website from the start.
  • Responsive website design – your developer will probably use a responsive website design. This will ensure your website looks right regardless of the size of screen. When you are reviewing the website, make sure you think about how it looks on mobile as well as a computer. This is because the developer might include design features aimed at mobile users.

Finally, you will need to have a post-launch plan for things like maintenance, website backup, and visitor acquisition. This will ensure you maximise return on investment from the website development.

Achieving Website Development Success – Part 2 – Getting Started with a Developer

This three-part blog series explains the various stages of a website development process so that you:

  • Know what the stages are
  • Understand what you can do to help it be a success
  • Know what you can expect from your developer

This is part 2 of the series. In this blog, we’ll look at getting quotes from developers, selecting a developer, and then getting the project started.

Of course, the exact process you will experience will depend on the type of website you are developing as well as the developer’s internal processes. This blog will, however, outline the key points and stages as well as highlighting things you should consider.

Think Carefully About the Proposals Process Before Seeking Quotes from Developers

You will probably need to get quotes from website developers, so you can select one to build your new website. Before beginning this process, however, think carefully about what you are asking the developers to do.

Asking them to plan the website out, give you an idea of the structure, and/or create a specification document, could be viewed as asking for free work.

If you can’t provide this information to developers so they can prepare a proposal, and the developer can’t cost the job without the information, you should consider investing in a needs analysis process. This involves putting together information the developer will require so they properly understand what you want to achieve.

If the website you are planning is relatively standard and you have a rough idea of the pages, content, and functionality you want, you may be able to obtain quotes without getting a needs analysis.

Select a Developer

You should now be at the point of choosing and appointing a website developer. Here are some things you should find out and understand:

  • The proposed timeframe and schedule
  • The developer’s skills, including the skills of the individuals who will be working on your project
  • What is the developer’s track record? Have you read their testimonials and case studies?
  • How much will the project cost?
  • Is everything included in that cost?
  • What are the arrangements for post-sales support and website maintenance?
  • What platform does the developer plan to use to build the website?
  • Does the developer build bespoke websites or use template designs?
  • Do you get a good feeling about the developer? Do you think you can work with the team, and are you happy they are committed to making your website a success?

First Things the Developer Will Need

Once you appoint a developer, it’s worthwhile considering the following points. Your developer is likely to ask them, probably in your first meeting. Your answers will help the developer better understand your business.

The things your developer will want to know includes:

  • The company mission statement
  • How you want your business to be perceived
  • What do visitors to your website want to achieve?
  • What is the most important message on the website?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • Who is your competition?
  • Why do customers choose you instead of the competition?
  • Websites you like and why
  • Websites you don’t like and why
  • How you will measure success

The Next Stages

In the third and final part of this blog series, we’ll look at the steps involved in the build process – what you can expect, what the developer will do, and how you might be involved.

Who Owns The Website After Project Is Finished?

Here is a scenario: you meet a web design company, they give you a proposal, you pay them, they make a website to match your requirements, and they provide you with administrator access. Now the question is: who owns your website? You are thinking it’s you, however, it’s not that simple.

Let’s look at some of the components of a website to understand what you can and can’t own:

What You Don’t Own

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Domain name:
You don’t actually own your domain name. You rent it which gives you exclusive rights to it, but you don’t completely own it. It is the same situation as your phone number. That said, your domain name is your property even if it’s registered by your website company. According to Wikipedia: “Domain name registration with a registrar does not confer any legal ownership of the domain name, only an exclusive right of use.”

Hosting:
The same situation applies to hosting as to your domain name. With website hosting, you usually rent a full server or share a space on a server. You do, however, have control to switch hosting if you would like to move your website to another location.

CMS:
A CMS is a web application that is used to manage the administration of content on your website. Examples include WordPress, Drupal, and Mighty-Site. You don’t own the CMS web platform, however, unless you write the source code.

What You Own

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Design and Visuals:
The logo, colour, interfaces, typography, and images are typically owned by the creator unless they are created by a web design company and then licensed to you.

Content:
You can own all the text content on your website plus the photography, images, and videos. Stock photography, however, is licensed to your company. This allows you to use the photographs on your website, but you don’t own them.

HTML, CSS, and JavaScript: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are the building blocks of any website. The website creator should provide an agreement that transfers ownership of the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to you on completion of the website. Unless you or your employees author the code, it is owned by the website creator and is licensed to you.

Conclusion
You never legally own the domain name, web server, CMS, web platform, database software, or the language used to build your website. Only if you author the website yourself or have a “work for hire” agreement will you own the website source code. Furthermore, if you author your own content, create the design, and create your own graphics, you will own the website’s visual design and content. Most importantly, when you hire a web design company, make sure they are transparent about their terms and conditions.