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.

3 Reasons Why WordPress Is Such a Popular Platform for Building Websites

A simple Google search for the best website platforms will return names like Shopify, WIX, Weebly, WordPress, and more. However, if you’re looking for a list ordered by popularity, WordPress will always come on top.

As it turns out, 23 percent of the top 10,000 websites in the world use WordPress. In addition, more and more businesses consider it every day as the go-to platform for their needs.

So, how did a blogging platform become the number one choice for business websites in New Zealand and elsewhere in the world? Let’s have a look at why WordPress is so popular.

1. It’s Free and Constantly Updated

Despite being one of the most popular CMS (Content Management Systems) out there, the WordPress platform is free to download. In addition, all WordPress users get full access to feature and security updates.

Furthermore, WordPress is open-source. This means developers from all over the world can work on improving the platform, plus there is a strong community supporting the entire project. This gives users access to plenty of information, tools, tutorials, and other valuable elements that you can’t find for free (or at all) with other platforms.

There are also tens of thousands of WordPress plugins available to enhance the functionality of your website, as well as themes to customise the appearance.

What does this all mean to you? After all, most of the above is more relevant to your website developer than you.

The above is important, however, as it means your website developer doesn’t have to code the website from scratch. Instead, they use WordPress as the basis for the code, plus they can also customise plugins and themes. This reduces development times and costs.

In addition, the strength of the WordPress CMS and community means it is a robust platform to build your website on.

2. The Platform is Highly Flexible

Back in 2003, when WordPress was first released, it was a blogging platform. However, the CMS evolved in the last 15 years and, nowadays, is a fully-grown online system that allows users to create any type of website they want.

For instance, WordPress can be used for business brochure websites, portfolio sites, e-commerce websites, membership websites, business presentation pages, galleries, blogs, personal sites, and a lot more.

One of the secrets to its success is the clean, easy to use, and simple interface that can then be transformed using themes and plugins.

3: You Are in Control

There’s nothing more frustrating than working with a framework that doesn’t allow full freedom. This is one of the reasons why the WordPress platform is more popular than website builders such as WIX, Squarespace, or Weebly.

Plus, while a lot of website builders claim to be free, most are not. For example, many offer a built-in eCommerce system while not allowing in-depth customisation or expansion unless you buy expensive plugins (and sometimes not at all). Also, many have fixed hosting, which may not be the best option for your needs.

There’s also the problem of code editing with website builders as you don’t have access to all the files.

Speaking of code, website builders don’t all use the standard combination of HTML5, JavaScript, CSS, and/or PHP. Some platforms use unique languages instead, that can only be understood by someone specialised in working with the platform. This is yet another example of website builders being difficult to customise.

You have none of these problems with WordPress, however.

In Conclusion

Overall, WordPress is a platform that gives you and your website developer in Auckland the freedom to create any type of site. It will also give you the foundation you need to get your website launched and improve your online reach.

The Benefits of Owning a Website Built Using WordPress

There are lots of reasons why website developers in Auckland like using WordPress. There are also benefits to you of getting a website built on the WordPress platform. In terms of the latter, those benefits include shorter development times and lower costs.

What happens when the website developer finishes and gives the site to you? Are there any benefits to owning a website built using the WordPress platform? Or will it present you with challenges?

The answer is most definitely the former – there are benefits to owning a WordPress website. Here are the four main ones.

1. Anyone Can Use It

According to a 2017 W3Tech survey, WordPress holds 59 percent of the market share and is used by 31.9 percent of all websites. This makes it the most popular CMS on the market.

The main reason for this popularity is its ease of use.

Of course, it takes a high level of technical expertise to properly develop and design a good WordPress website. Once your developer hands the website over to you, however, the platform is easy to use.

In fact, you don’t have to be tech savvy at all to understand the user-friendly interface, plus there are lots of manuals and tutorials (written and video) if you need pointers.

2. Low Maintenance Costs

When compared to other open-source platforms such as Joomla or Drupal, customisation and maintenance costs are significantly lower on WordPress websites. Also, WordPress is a reliable platform and there are plenty of developers continuously working to solve any issues that may show up in testing.

Even more important, there are lots of WordPress developers in Auckland and elsewhere, which reduces the costs of customisation. In other words, you don’t have to go back to the developer who originally built your website if you want to give it a new look or add new functionality. Instead, you simply need a website developer in Auckland who understands WordPress, which most do.

3. It’s Easy to Create Content

Whether you need to create blog articles for SEO, presentation pages for your sales team, landing pages for your AdWords campaigns, or galleries for your portfolio page, WordPress has everything laid out.

The tools available for content creation are among the most powerful and elegant on the market right now and they provide help for both beginner and advanced users.

For instance, as the admin of a WordPress website, you can setup multiple users as contributors or editors. Also, posts can be scheduled in advance, which allows you to work on a long-term content strategy.

Finally, the formatting and media tools available in WordPress make creating a post as easy as writing a Word document, i.e. no coding skills are necessary!

4. Built-in SEO

Another feature that makes WordPress so popular is the built-in SEO. The CMS automatically generates title tags, for example, which are useful in the race for a better place on search results pages.

In addition, WordPress also offers access to a wide range of tools and plugins (free and paid) that take SEO several steps further. Plugins and tools like Yoast SEO, Schema, or Broken Link Checker are great for optimising your website and helping you stay ahead of the competition.

Summary

As you can see, WordPress is not just a website development tool. It is also a powerful platform that makes owning and updating a website easy, plus it helps make your digital marketing efforts a success.

The Importance of Page Titles and Meta Descriptions in Website Design

A crucial part of all good website design is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). More specifically, a good website designer will put the right SEO foundation in place, so you can improve or maintain your website’s position on Google search results pages.

Two important components of SEO in website design which are often overlooked, however, are page titles and meta descriptions. When a website designer doesn’t place enough emphasis on them, you end up with auto-generated versions that will not deliver for your business.

This is despite the fact that page titles and meta descriptions play a huge role in the success of your website in Google search, not least because page titles are one of the search giant’s key ranking factors.

When getting a new website designed, here’s what you need to know about page titles and meta descriptions.

The Role of Page Titles and Meta Descriptions in SEO

In technical terms, page titles are an HTML element – or tag – which lets Google and other search engines know the title of a webpage. If you’re writing a blog entry, it is the title of the blog. If you are writing copy for your sales page, it is the title of your sales page.

It is important to remember, however, that when we discuss page titles, we are not talking about headings. Headings use header tags (H1, H2, etc) and they are completely different things.

Page titles go in the middle of <title></title> HTML tags. While that is technical, it is important as Google uses page titles to help it understand the content of the page. If you don’t use the correct HTML tag, it can’t do this.

You can see page titles on every search results page – they are the clickable headline for each search result. Therefore, page titles are important for SEO and user experience. As a result, page titles should be a concise and accurate reflection of the content on the page.

Meta descriptions, on the other hand, are short descriptions which summarise the content of your page for the benefit of search engines and the end-user. While meta descriptions are nowhere near as important as they used to be for SEO purposes, they still help.

Specifically, they help encourage Google search users to click on your website rather than one of your competitors. This is because the main function of a meta description is to display a short piece of information underneath the title in search engine results.

In summary:

  • Page titles help Google understand what your web page is about
  • Google uses this information to help it decide where to rank your website on its search results pages
  • Google also displays the page title on its search results pages
  • It displays the page’s meta description too
  • Both help convince users to click on your link

Writing Page Titles That Are Clickable

As page titles are so important both in terms of SEO and your click-through rate, knowing how to write them properly is crucial. In fact, taking the time to write an effective page title is a simple, high-impact task which can give your SEO a major boost.

Here are five simple tips to help you write killer page titles:

1. Keep Your Page Titles Concise – But Not Too Concise

Google simply cuts page titles that are too long, so users won’t see the full wording on a search results page. On the flip side, nobody is going to click on something which is half-complete.

The general rule is to keep page titles between 40 and 70 characters.

For a more technical explanation, the exact limit for a page title is based on a 600-pixel box. This is the width Google allocates to the page title. So, if your page title has lots of wide letters such as “W” or “O”, you are going to have less pixel space to play with. If, however, your page title features letters like “I” or lowercase letters such as “t” and “p”, you will fit more in.

2. Use Keywords Wisely but Don’t Spam

If you stuff your page title full of keywords, Google will penalise you and you will not rank very well. After all, page titles that are a list of keywords or keyword variations do nothing to improve user experience. Quite the opposite, in fact, which is why Google takes it so seriously.

Don’t try to outsmart Google, either, as its algorithm is now very good at spotting spammy page titles.

That said, your page title should include the main keyword of the page. In fact, this is critically important to SEO. Ideally, place the keyword at the start of the page title. While on the topic, it is also helpful to include the page’s keyword in your meta description.

3. Avoid Other Spam Triggers

Avoid anything else in your page title which could be considered as spam. A good example is the unnecessary use of capital letters – avoid this and instead use normal sentence or title capitalisation.

Another example is the use of special characters such as $ or ! or *. You should avoid using these too.

4. Write with Your Target Market in Mind

If you don’t focus on your target market through your title, what’s the point? After all, these are the people you are trying to make click on it.

So, write your titles in a way in a way that will attract clicks from people who are likely to have an interest in your product, service, or what you have to say.

Remember, your page titles are a potential visitor’s very first interaction with you when they find your website through a search engine result. This highlights the importance of writing page titles that present your brand in the best light possible.

5. Avoid Writing Page Titles that Could Be Considered as Clickbait

Clickbait is a term that often refers to page titles. Specifically, page titles that sensationalise or misrepresent the actual content on the page in order to get people to visit.

For some, it is a tempting approach, particularly if you are in a competitive market. However, the best advice when doing anything in relation to SEO is to never lose focus on users.

It is not hard to see that clickbait page titles do not add anything of value to users. In most cases, in fact, they cause frustration and annoyance.

Your page title can be confident, but you should never drift into sensationalism and you should always ensure the content behind the title delivers on expectations.

The SEO Payoff

Page titles and meta descriptions, particularly the former, are too often ignored by website designers. One of the reasons for this is that modern website design platforms will automatically fill in the gap to ensure your web page works.

However, this approach results in page titles that are not optimised so won’t help your SEO. By manually writing and optimising, you will get a competitive edge.

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:

seo

Web browsers also use page titles on tabs:

image

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:

image

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.

How to Minimise Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates

If you sell products directly on your website, you will have a shopping cart abandonment rate. Unfortunately, shopping cart abandonment is a fact of e-commerce websites. This doesn’t mean you have to accept your current level of abandonment.

In fact, there is quite a lot you can do to reduce shopping cart abandonment rates. They are all cost-effective, and they will all help you increase sales.

What is Shopping Cart Abandonment?

Shopping cart abandonment is when a visitor to your website adds items to a shopping cart but then does not fully complete the purchase. They could abandon the purchase immediately after they put the items in the cart or they could abandon it at any stage up to the point of giving final confirmation.

There are many reasons for visitors abandoning shopping carts. They include not feeling the website is secure, being surprised by an additional price, or becoming frustrated with a complicated checkout process.

How to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates

  • Add SSL encryption to your website. More and more people are now familiar with what this shopping cart abandonment rate, plus their website browser often tells them whether or not the website they are visiting is secure.
  • Make the checkout process on your website as simple as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to go through the process yourself using both a computer and a mobile device. You should also get someone you trust from outside your business to go through the process and give you honest feedback.
  • Ensure the pages on your website load fast. Even though the visitor is in the checkout process and is in the frame of mind to make a purchase, they will quickly go somewhere else if your pages take too long to load.
  • Include delivery and other added costs upfront. This is one of the most important tips as forcing customers to get into the checkout process before you give them a delivery price results in a bad user experience. It also increases your shopping cart abandonment rate.
  • Offer guarantees, such as money back guarantees, to make the purchase feel less risky to the customer.
  • Don’t force people making a purchase on your website to register an account. You might like them to register an account for various reasons, but this additional layer in the checkout process often leads to a higher shopping cart abandonment rate. Therefore, give visitors the option of checking out as a guest.
  • Add a call to action to your shopping cart to remind and encourage visitors to complete the checkout process.
  • Add multiple ways to pay to stop visitors from abandoning the shopping cart because they can’t pay using the method you require.
  • Adding a progress indicator is a simple but effective method of showing the visitor how much more they have to do to complete the checkout process. This clarity will keep them engaged for longer.
  • Add trust logos such as Verified by Visa, Norton Secured, MasterCard SecureCode, etc.
  • Analyse how visitors progress through your checkout process, paying particular attention to stages where they drop out. You can get this information from Google Analytics and it can help you identify areas for improvement.
  • This final tip accepts the fact that even when you do all the above, you will still have visitors who abandon their shopping carts. These may not be completely lost, however, if you use remarketing advertising campaigns to win them back.

Recommended:

Top Tips for Successful Website Project

Are you ready for your first website but don’t know how to get started?

Having a professional and good-looking website is important for every new business. That said, starting a new website can be exciting and intimidating at the same time. Here are tips for building your first website.

Purpose of your website
Think about what your website is for. Why will people want to visit your site? What do you want them to do once they are on it? If these things are clear then everything else becomes much simpler.

Choose WordPress

image

Getting a new website involves choosing the right platform. You should invest in a CMS platform like WordPress as it is the most popular choice worldwide. Stats provided by VentureBeat show that approximately one-quarter of new websites globally are built on WordPress. That many people just can’t be wrong.

Your Homepage is important
According to HubSpot, it takes less than 15 seconds for people to decide whether to stay on your website or leave. So, your homepage design is the most important page of your website. Don’t bombard visitors with text and annoying information. Instead, keep your homepage simple and user-friendly.

High-Quality Content
The content on your website plays an important role in reaching your business goals. High-quality content helps retain visitors as well as giving you a higher ranking with search engines.

Blogging
Most people underestimate the power of a blog. However, it is a proven and powerful tool to increase income and generate business growth. According to a recent study, websites with blogs get 67 percent more leads than those that don’t. A blog can also enhance SEO when you use good keywords in articles that help Google match your site to user searches. In addition, a blog provides a platform to build a strong relationship and establish trust with your customers.

Feedback
Like every other business, feedback from your website is important. Feedback provides you with insights that you can use to improve your business, products, and overall customer experience.

Responsive design

image

Make sure your website is mobile-friendly which usually means having a responsive website design. According to The Verge, more than half of searches are now done through mobile. If your website is not mobile-friendly, Google will push your website back in the rankings.

Sticky Navigation
Navigation with good design and the right words can boost the likelihood of a return visit in the future. For example, when a visitor accesses your website to search for something, the first thing they will look for is the navigation. If your navigation is not clear, the visitor will leave. Therefore, effective navigation can make a visit to your website productive. On the other hand, ineffective navigation can be a disaster for your business.

Enquiry Forms
Enquiry forms are an integral part of most websites. They allow customers to reach you by completing a simple form if, for example, they want you to provide them with your services. Therefore, designing the right enquiry form is very important to encourage visitors to get in touch.

Lead Capture
Lead capture usually includes a form and an incentive. The customer gets the incentive in return for information like an email address. Common incentives include free eBooks or weekly newsletters. In fact, for some websites, getting visitors to complete a lead capture form is the main goal as completed forms become leads you can follow up to make a sale.

Choosing A Platform For Your Website Project

Picking a platform for your website is an important decision for the online presence of your business. With vendors providing countless options, it can be difficult to choose the right one. The important factors you need to consider are functionality, ease of use, and reasonable pricing.

Over a decade ago, there were only HTML-based websites that were built from scratch by writing code in a plain text editor. Technology has progressed a long way since then and now there are a wide variety of solutions available, including Content Management Systems (CMS).

Nowadays, the big web development shops in New Zealand offer custom CMS platforms with promises of glory and expensive price tags. Instead of listening to a sales person, we recommended that, in the first instance, you ask yourself what you are looking for and then decide.

We are going to compare some of the popular platforms to help give you an idea of what you should pick.

Content Management Systems

What is a content management system?
A CMS is an application that allows you to create and run your website. You will get an interface where you can create and update pages, posts, and other types of content including images, videos, and more. You can also organise the content however you want to.

In addition, you can change the design of the website through the admin panel. You perform these actions by clicking buttons or by drag and drop.

There are two types of CMS: open source CMS, and custom or proprietary CMS.

Open Source CMS
An open source CMS is a platform built using code that is readily available to anyone to use, copy, edit, or redistribute. Some of the most popular open source CMS platforms are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.

Using an open source CMS is simple – you buy your own domain, set up website hosting, and install the open source CMS on your web server. You then choose a theme for your website, add plugins for advanced functionality, and create the content.

image

An open source CMS allows you great control of your website. In addition, you can create and update your website without any knowledge of coding languages. According to Yoast, the most popular open source CMS platform is WordPress. It is used on over 70 million websites around the world.

With WordPress, you can easily add pages, images, blog posts, and much more. Moreover, there are a vast number of plugins to help you easily add functionality to your website.

There are countless advantages of using the WordPress platform too. Firstly, you can create any type website – static websites, blogs, e-commerce websites, forums, membership sites, and more. Secondly, you get full ownership of your website so you can change your hosting company without losing the site. Last but not least, WordPress is fully customisable unlike custom CMS platforms and website builders.

If you are looking for a solution that is highly customised as well as being affordable without the hassle of monthly billing, you should consider this route as a proprietary CMS may not be dynamic enough for your needs.

Proprietary CMS

A propriety CMS, or custom CMS, is a platform built and maintained by a single company. This means the source code cannot be modified and you do not own the website. This type of platform is used by web companies who develop their own CMS for their clients. They typically charge a monthly fee and provide support.

Furthermore, these websites are not flexible or easily expandable. The addition of more features to your website, for example, will require manual programming by the CMS owner as you will not have access to the source code. The worst part is that you cannot migrate to any other vendor without losing your website.

As stated by GadgeTopia, we strongly discourage websites which are developed on custom CMS platforms as it is similar to renting a website rather than owning one. In addition, this option is usually expensive in long run.

image

Website Builders

Website builders allow you to create websites using a drag and drop interface. You simply choose a template and customise the content. A few examples of common website builders are Wix, Weebly, Shopify, and Squarespace.

One of the best things about website builders is that your website and hosting are provided with one simple package that usually includes a free domain name. Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about coding, software maintenance, or other technical aspects of owning a website.

The worst part of website builders is that you only have limited templates to choose from. The customisation options are also limited.

Ecommerce Platforms

If you want to create an online store, an e-commerce platform will be the right choice for your business. Some of the popular e-commerce platforms are Shopify, BigCommerce, and PrestaShop. These platforms allow you to quickly setup an online store without any coding experience.

One of the perks with hosted e-commerce platforms like the examples above is that you don’t have to worry about website hosting or payment processing. In addition, you get 24/7 support and transaction security. However, these platforms are extremely expensive and you cannot fully customise your website.

HTML website

If you want to go for an old-school static website which requires design and code from scratch, then you should consider this option. Simple HTML websites are good for small businesses as they are fast and user-friendly.

Pick this option if you don’t have to change your content very often. If the website requires regular maintenance or frequent content changes, you will have difficulties.

In Conclusion

image

To conclude, all platforms have pros and cons but in our opinion, we prefer the open source CMS WordPress. The biggest advantage of using WordPress is that you own your website so can change your hosting company without losing the site. Also, your website is fully customisable and there is a user-friendly interface.