Custom Community Dropped Right Sidebar Fix

If you happen to use the Custom Community theme in WordPress you may have come across a problem which causes the right sidebar to drop level with the footer.

Custom Community WordPress Right Sidebar Drops Into Footer

After fruitless hours of searching the web looking for a fix, and deciding not to go down the route of paying for the Pro version to get it direct from the developers I decided to have a go at fixing it myself.

As with all of life’s big problems the solution turned out to be a simple one (for me anyway!).

If you have used the visual editor in WordPress to create a page or post the editor adds <div> tags to every block of content in your new page or post. By going into the HTML editor tab you can see all the tags it has added. Deleting every single <div> and </div> tag and updating the page or post did the trick for me and brought the sidebar back into line!

Fed Up With Updating 5 Different Services With The Same Information?

Do you appreciate the importance of updating your website, but are sick and tired of updating Facebook, Twitter, email marketing lists and more every time you update your site? If so then we can help by linking your social media and email marketing directly into your new or existing website* to automatically update everytime you publish something new.

How Do I Automatically Update Facebook Twitter From My WebsiteYour business can benefit hugely from making good use of social media outlets like Twitter, and they have revolutionised the way that many businesses advertise and reach out to their customers.

In this new and exciting world of online opportunity many businesses are regularly blogging and updating websites with their latest news and the goings on in their industry or sector which is opening new doors and extending client bases.

This new approach to marketing your business has many many benefits, but it also has one major drawback, and this drawback is the need to commit time regularly to updating your website followed by updating services like Facebook and Twitter. The extra time taken to log in and out of each service and rewrite excerpts and add links can take its toll when your resources are stretched, but we can help by still keeping you on top of your website updates whilst linking in your additional social media and email marketing services to update automatically every time you publish something new on your site. For more information or a no obligation quote please call us today.

*Please note that the list of services which can be linked in to your website is based on your Content Management System. If you are unsure which CMS you have you can contact us and we will be happy to help.

How To Optimize Website URLs

Optimising Website URLs for SEO is a key part of designing any successful website which ranks well within search engines such as Google.

Optimise Website URL WordPress Slug Optimisation Plugin

Each individual web page has its own unique URL which follows the domain name and this piece of the URL is known as the slug.

Many people creating a website for the first (or even the hundredth!) time do not realise the importance of optimising slugs for SEO.

There are a few key points to remember:

  • Make them short but descriptive
  • Make them logical (readable)
  • Remove stop words

An optimised slug should contain the keywords which best describe that page in a logical order which makes them more readable (like a sentence) and therefore more likely to match a users search term.

All search engines have a list of stop words which they also ignore when a user enters a search. A list of common stop words is available online for you to view. In order to improve keyword proximity it is important that you remove stop words from a slug.

Users of the WordPress system can install a plugin to do this automatically. The Relevanssi plugin automatically removes any stopwords it finds in a slug before you publish a page or post to your website or blog.

To optimise your slug in WordPress go to Settings \ Permalinks and set your structure to ‘Post Name’. The next time you go to add or edit a post or page you will now see an ‘Edit’ option next to your slug which will allow you to have complete control over your URL to create a descriptive keyword packed slug for your content.

Importance Of Keyword Proximity For SEO

Keyword Proximity Importance SEO Readability vs Keyword Proximity DensityIn order to rank a web page search engines such as Google take into account a number of things of varying importance in order to determine which order they should appear in for certain search terms.

One major piece of the SEO puzzle is keywords and keyword proximity.

What is a keyword?

A keyword is a single word or phrase which you would expect someone looking for your website to search for in a search engine.

Many people using search engines are now leaning towards the use of long tail keywords. For example many internet users are now more likely to use a phrase such as “surfing equipment hire in Newquay” over “surfing equipment hire” because they have learnt that being more specific gives them more accurate information in return. Therefore you should make your content more specific in order to reach out to the correct audience.

What is keyword proximity?

Keyword proximity is the distance within a piece of text between two or more keywords. For example if someone were searching for “swimming pools in Cardiff” you would expect a site containing this sentence:

“There are a number of swimming pools in Cardiff

To rank higher than this one:

Cardiff has a total of 17 swimming pools

The keywords used in the search are in closer proximity in the first sentence, which therefore makes it more relevant.

Many people try to cram their content with keywords until it is fit to burst and does not flow naturally to the point where it becomes difficult to read and understand. Do not do this. Users do not like decoding your content. They want something that is easy to read, and simple to understand and will most likely leave your site and fail to recommend your website to others.

Keyword proximity is important, but so is readability. If you are looking for extra keyword density make sure you make use of your alt tag in your images. The alt tag shows a text alternative to an image for those who have a text only browser, and can be used to add further destcriptive keywords to a page without them having to be logical as they are not meant to be read.

The key points to remember are:

  • Identify Your Relevant Keywords And Phrases
  • Construct Your Content To Contain Those Words And Phrases
  • Keep It Readable

And remember that most people construct their search terms the same way that they would construct a sentence when speaking.

For example you are more likely to see:

“Restaurants in Chester

As opposed to:

“Chester Restaurants”

So use the top one in your content, and the second and less readable one in your alt tags.

Essential WordPress Plugins

essential wordpress pluginsWith the WordPress system now being the foundation stone of many websites there has been an explosion in the number of add-ons and plugins available to developers and web designers to allow you to perform almost any function imaginable through your website.

In fact the choice of WordPress plugins has become so great that in regards to many tasks you are left wondering which one to choose.

Although it’s not possible to check and review every single plugin available on the market, and would take an absolute age to cover every single task you might want your website to perform here is a list of some essential WordPress plugins that you should seriously think about installing:

1. All In One SEO Pack

This fantastic plugin provides you with extra customisation options for headers, menus and more to ensure that your site is fully SEO optimised.

However don’t worry if you’re just a beginner because it works straight out of the box too.

Other great features include auto generated META tags, support for custom post types and over writing of page and post titles with custom META data so you can have differing titles (for your readers) and keyword filled META data (for search engines).

 

2. XML Google Sitemaps

Nothing much to say about this plugin, it just does what it says on the tin.

Create a site map in seconds in order to help search engines better understand the layout of your website. This helps to ensure that everything there is to index is indexed.

Be sure to recreate your site map when you add new content, and the plugin will notify all major search engines for you in order to speed up the process.

 

3. Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 is in my opinion the most customisable contact form plgin available.

Create a contact form with custom fields that can be added to a page, post or even a widget on your WordPress website sidebar.

The plugin is easy to use and opens up a world of possibilities.

There are also a number of great add-ons available such as the Campaign Monitor add-on which allows you to have a newsletter signup form on your website that links directly to your Campaign Monitor mailing list.

The plugin also allows you to add your sites Google Analytics tracking code so you can keep an eye on how well your site is doing!

 

4. Mappress

If you are creating a website which needs one (or more) embedded Google Maps then Mappress is the plugin for you.

Mappress allows you to create custom Google Maps with multiple points of interest, and you can embed them straight into your site with a neat little short code.

You can play around to your hearts content to set the level of zoom and the positioning of each individual map you create so that it opens just how you want it to every time.

 

5. Wordbooker

Wordbooker integrates your Facebook profile or page and your WordPress install so that when you post to WordPress, you can also notify your Facebook followers.

You can choose a fixed structure to notify Facebook followers, or you can also customise it each and every time you post. If you have more than one page tied to your Facebook account you can also post to multiple pages at the same time.

No longer will you have to try and remember to update Facebook after updating your blog or website!

 

6. WP to Twitter

Similar to Wordbooker, WP to Twitter plugin for WordPress allows you to send a customisable tweet to your twitter followers every time you update your website or blog.

Unfortunately Twitter does not make it too simple to set up any application, but it should only take ten minutes and simple instructions come with the plugin.

The plugin also has custom tags that allow you to insert the date (#date#); URL (#url#); and author (#author#) name amongst other things rather than retyping them and risking getting them wrong.

 

7. Share And Follow

In order to give your readers a nice easy way to share your site information you need Share and Follow.

The plugin allows you to set which social media channels your readers can use to either subscribe to your site or share your information with their friends and family.

Share and Follow also allows you to choose from a number of different styles so that you can place your social media icons in page, in a widget and elsewhere depending on what you’re looking for.

1&1 My Website – The Pitfalls

1&1 my website reviewRecently in the UK there has been a large scale TV campaign for the ’1 & 1 My Website’ product which allows businesses to set up a website very quickly by picking from some pre selected templates with pre written content that can be updated if you want to.

The main attraction of this service is that it is seen as cheaper than hiring a web designer such as myself to create a site for you. The days of web design running into the thousands has thankfully long since passed us by, although it is still understandable that businesses look to save money. However in doing that many businesses do not realise that they are missing many of the opportunities available to them online.

If cost is a key factor in your decision making why not look at what we built for a customer who contacted us after considering 1&1 before seeing if we could offer a better deal. We like to think that we can offer solutions for all budgets without compromising on design and you get our personal and friendly service thrown in too!

The job of a web designer is not just to create something which looks good, but also something which can be found by your potential customers who are looking for the products and services you provide on search engines like Google and Bing. A large part of this boils down to your content and not necessarily what you write, but how you write it! Obviously there are many further aspects but this is one of the foundations of a good website.

Without having any real experience in writing content for search engines you are effectively putting the ability of your website to draw in customers at risk. Now you may see a slightly lower initial cost when setting up your website using a service like 1 & 1, but in the long term you lose out on your investment!

To highlight the dangers of using a service like this with little or no knowledge of search engine optimisation and content writing for the internet it is important to realise that one of the worst things that you can do with a website is have duplicate content, because it is frowned upon by search engines like Google and will count against your site in search results therefore reducing your exposure to potential customers. With the 1 & 1 service all sites come with pre written content specific to your industry. Now if you fail to change that content, because you don’t understand the implications of duplicate material then I’m afraid your site will not perform as it should. This is because you can guarantee that there are plenty of other businesses just like yours whose websites contain the same pre written content courtesy of 1 & 1.

If you are determined to go down this route to save money on the design then it is worth getting a web designer such as On Target to write your content for you. It may still seem like an extra cost, but if you are looking at a website as a cost to your business now rather than an investment for the future then you probably shouldn’t be getting one.

For more information on our copywriting services and how we can help your business maximise its online potential (with or without using 1 & 1 My Website) then please get in touch.

DynamicWP Running RSS Plugin

rss logoFor those of you looking to incorporate either your own or any number of external RSS feeds into your WordPress blog DynamicWP is the plugin for you.

This fantastic plugin which can be seen in action here adds a running RSS feed from user selected sites to the base of your browser window, and it a great way to bring related content to your readers irregardless of which page or post they land on.

The plugin makes use of Google Ajax and can be personalised with adjustable colours, number of articles and scroll speed options available in your WordPress administration panel.

Recently Google has announced that Google Ajax no longer requires an API key, and as such it is now possible to run the plugin without entering an API key in the settings page so this can now be kept blank.

The example link I gave earlier runs the plugin without an API key from Google, whereas on previous installs for customers an API has always been generated and added into the settings.

You can find more information on DynamicWP Running RSS on the WordPress plugins section.

Keys To Success When Writing Content Online

The internet is a fantastic place to make a name for yourself or your business. The problem is it is massive, and full of competition. So how do you go about writing things that get you noticed and build up your profile? In this post we are going to look at some handy hints that will help you on your way.

1. Find A Topic You Love

There is nothing worse than reading something and knowing in the back of your mind that the writer themselves was bored to tears when coming up with it in the first place. You may not be able to see the emotion on their face, but you can spot it in their writing style. That it is why it is crucial to write about something that you are interested in. It gives you the opportunity not only to show off the fact that you are knowledgable but you are also able to write with a passion that is more likely to engage your reader and endear them to you in some way.

There are several keys to writing good online content that are much easier to exhibit when talking about a topic that interests you, including:

  • Knowledge
  • Understanding
  • Flair

If something interests you it’s more likely that you will research it properly giving you a greater amount of knowledge. You can show understanding because you write in a manner which explains the topic and its implications to the reader, and you can write with a flair that just isn’t possible if you don’t truly care.

2. Find A Niche Within That Topic

After choosing a subject to write about you need to think about how you are going to make what you have to say stand out from the other people who are already out there discussing it. In order to differentiate yourself you could focus on the following:

  • Style

If you are covering topics which have already been discussed look at the different ways in which you can express your information and views. Different people prefer different writing styles. How many times have you read a book by an author, and then decided to read another one by the same author? Not because the story is the same (as it wouldn’t be worth buying then would it?) but because you liked the way that they put that story together. There are hundreds of crime writers out there covering the topic of murder, but no two books are identical.

  • Sub-topics

A sub-topic is a topic within a topic. To stick with the crime writers example you have the topic of murder, and within that we have sub topics surrounding the motivation such as love, race and revenge. To delve further into a sub topic serves to differentiate yourself from other writers because it makes what you have to say more unique. One great example of this is the ‘How To’ guide. As a programmer it is not possible to know every single piece of code or function and often I find myself looking for guides on Google written by people who have overcome the same problems. If a guide is not available, and you manage to overcome a problem whatever it may be document what it was that you did and write about it. Chances are you will not be the only person who has had this problem, but you will be one of the first to publish a solution!

  • Improvement

Sticking with the ‘How To’ example from the previous point, if you come up against a problem and do find a guide online which helps you in some way to overcome that problem, look at what was missing from that guide and rewrite it. If you think that you can provide a more complete or easy to understand solution then you are probably right, and you won’t be the only person who found the previous offerings somewhat incomplete!

3. Write Without A Care

Please note this is not suggesting that you write ‘without care’ but is simply suggesting that when you write content for the internet you should write it as if you have one million readers even if you only have one hundred. Sometimes it takes time for good work to be fully appreciated (try asking Galileo!) and if you write with all the flair and quality of someone who has a million readers you’ve got more than half a chance of getting there. A small time attitude never got anybody anywhere in life and the same goes for writing online. It comes across in your writing and can either engage or disengage your reader.

4. Don’t Forget Your Keywords

Before you publish your article, whether it be about football or writing effective online content make sure it is rich with keywords (see what I did in this sentence?) that will enable your potential readers to find it. If you watched the UK version of The Apprentice in 2011 you may remember the ‘winner’ Thomas Pellereau and his back pain curing chair idea from the final show. Never once in his entire plan for his new product did he mention the word chair! Now if you were going to invent a new kind of chair, what is the one word you would expect to find plenty of times in your plans? This example just goes to show that it does happen, so make sure you re-read everything before it is published! Writing the best article in the world is a fantastic achievement, but it’s even better when people are able to read it.

5. Remember Content Is King

Whenever you are writing and get to the point where you start asking yourself ‘what is the point of this article?’ it’s time to stop. If the writer doesn’t understand the point of publishing it, then will the reader understand why you bothered? Quality content is the key to link building which in turn helps to promote your site online by boosting search engine rankings. If you publish something you don’t really understand the point of, then not only will your readers get the wrong impression about your writing but it may also put them off linking to your other better quality content as they read half of the first page they see and hit the back button and ‘get outta there‘.

 

Importance Of Link Building Explained

Link building is seen as one of, if not the most important aspect of search engine optimisation and achieveing high volumes of visitors to your website.

This article looks to explain link building in terms of web design, in order to give you a better understanding of why it is so important to the success of your website and ultimately your business.

link building

One of the easiest ways to explain how link building works is to imagine yourself as an academic researcher in a university. You are researching a cure for a tropical disease, and make some ground breaking discoveries that potentially could pave the way to saving millions of lives. After completing your research you write a paper on your findings which is published in an international medical journal.

Now with the large number of academics in your field out there, you’re article is bound to catch someones eye. Another highly regarded academic in your field decides to cite your findings in their latest research paper, acknowledging that your work has real importance within that field. Suddenly your credibility within that field has been given a little boost through their recognition of your good work.

As many other interested parties read this respected fellow academics paper they too notice the citation and as such they read your paper because it is relevant and has in effect been recommended to them.

You begin to generate more interest from these academics, some of whom also cite your work in future papers until it comes to the attention of the a wider audience who show an interest in turning your research into a product they can use to save lives.

After all that hard work has paid off, you have gained greater exposure to a wider audience and built up a strong reputation through link building.

Now I am not suggesting that your business publishes research papers, so what does this mean for you? It means that the more people (customers, suppliers etc) who link to your website, and the more relevant their websites content to your’s the higher your website will appear in search engine results therefore exposing you to more people. Search engines like Google and Bing give you ‘points’ in effect for the number of inbound links to your website, and extra ‘points’ for their relevance. The more points you have the higher up the league table you climb. And people visiting the websites that link to you may also decide to follow the link to your website, giving you extra referral traffic too!

Now for many small businesses with a local customer base the number of links required to rank highly is likely to be few if any, but they all help. Rather than produce a website with that in mind, it should be produced as if you were competing on a national or international stage to help ensure your number one status!

There are a number of key elements to link building which come down to:

  • Providing Unique Content
  • Providing Interesting Content
  • Making It Relevant

If it fails to interest someone, are they going to create a link to your website? If what you have to say repeats something which has been said hundreds of times before are people going to care enough? There have already been plenty of articles on link building and its importance, so why do you think I used my own personal analogy of the academic? Now it’s different…

By getting to know your business it is possible to highlight relevant areas of discussion which can be built into your website in order to provide you with even just a small amount of unique content which will be of use to people and can be used to ‘bait’ them for links.

The main thing to remember is be patient as link building takes time. Even if you have one hundred readers a month, write as if you have one hundred thousand and the rewards will come!

5 Great Reasons To Get Your Business Online

A website or online presence plays a vital role within any business. More than ever these days it is considered ‘the norm’ for a business, irregardless of sector or size to have some kind of online presence. But how many people out there are still wondering to themselves, why exactly? Well here are 5 of the top reasons why you should consider getting your business onto the internet.

 

1. Your Potential Customers Are There

Research has shown that around 85% of people now turn to the internet as their first port of call when looking for information. Due to the rise in computer use, and the accesibility the internet provides at home, at work or on the move it has become part and parcel of our daily lives. The fact of the matter is, there are plenty of people out there searching for the kinds of products and services your business provides. Without a website or strong online presence, how much potential business are you missing out on? And more importantly how much more business are your competitors getting?

2. Its Never Been More Cost Effective

If there had ever been a time to put your business online it’s now. The days of websites running into thousands of pounds making them an attractive investment for larger companies with cash to burn is a thing of the past.

Your website promotes your business at all hours of the day, every day of the week. It can contain much more information than a paid advert in a local newspaper or magazine ever could. Further to this once it’s online and it’s paid for that’s pretty much it. Every time your website makes you money because someone sees it and visits your business that cost of advertising online is reduced. Your website should be seen as an investment rather than a cost. It is a selling tool that creates interest and makes money.

3. Other People Can Promote Your Business (For Free!)

The rise of websites such as Facebook and Twitter has created an amazing marketing opportunity for companies of all sizes. With the right design and tools in place visitors can share your website with a community of people on the internet.

It can be as hands off (or hands on…) as you like. You can use these services simply to let others share your business effectively marketing you for free, or you can use it to keep potential customers, suppliers and even staff up to date on your latest news. The way you use it can be tailored to your business, which is why it’s important to have a designer that really gets to know your business.

4. It Conveys A Strong Image Of Your Business

Having a well designed website which is both clear and informative tells your customers something about your business. It has now become an expectation of businesses that they can be found online (and I’m not just talking about on the Yellow Pages website) and if you’re competitor has a great website, and you don’t I’m afraid that the reality is that they will reap the benfits of this new online customer base and you won’t.

Many small businesses are now using websites to good effect, in order to help them better compete with larger firms by conveying a professional image that shows that their service is just as good if not better. Now your service may be the best in the area, and your loyal regular customers would agree. However if you aren’t shouting about it online, then there are plenty of people who will never find out just how good you are.

5. You Can Combine Email Marketing Into Your Site

If email marketing is right for your business, then it is a great way to reach out to your customer base and save on printing and stamps. With the rapid developments in technology that have recently come about, it is now possible to integrate a form into your website which allows both current and potential customers to sign up to your mailing list, so you don’t have to lift a finger! You are able to send out vouchers, newsletters, reminders and pretty much anything else you can think of in bulk, for less, at the touch of a button.

My customers can have access to a secure online system which allows them to easily manage their marketing activities, view reports, and even segment and target specific groups of people. The great thing is that emails arrive in seconds not days, and they get right under the noses of the people you want to reach out to, unlike junk mail which most people put straight in the bin.

For more information, or just an informal chat about how a website could benefit your business you can contact me by phone, or send me an email using our handy ‘Get in Touch’ form to the top right of your screen.