Category Archives: WordPress

Why Switching from http to https needs to be a priority

Do you still have a http:// website ? NOT GOOD!

If you have your own website or if you are managing the website for a client make sure you move from http to https ASAP. Here are the reasons:

  • Website not secure. Google Chrome warns users that the site they are about to visit is not secure. If a user about to visit your website gets a warning that your website in not safe then the probability is high that the user will will not visit your site
  • Ranking boost. Google gives a slight ranking boost should your website be https (this means you will be ranked higher when a user does a search on Google)
  • Encryption. Encrypting the exchanged data to keep it secure from eavesdroppers. This means that while the user is browsing a website, nobody can “listen” to their conversations, track their activities across multiple pages or steal their information.
  • Data integrity. Data cannot be modified or corrupted during transfer, intentionally or otherwise, without being detected.
  • Authentication. Proves that your users communicate with the intended website. It protects against man-in-the-middle attacks and builds user trust, which translates into other business benefits.

Is it difficult? Not all all. You simply have to phone your hosting company and request that your URL be changed from http to https. Once this is done remember to:

  • update your Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools (for all of you who attended the SEO Training Course)
  • change the urls on all your Google Ads (should you be running Ad Campaigns on Google Ads).

Gathering leads through the Blog Subscriptions Jetpack Widget

The Blog Subscriptions Jetpack Widget is easy to use and can easily bring you leads.

A popular method for gathering leads is encouraging visitors to subscribe to your site. This way, they’ll receive notifications whenever you post new content. Users can subscribe through the Subscriptions Widget.

Gathering Leads through Subscriptions
Gathering Leads through Subscriptions

This ensures that your site visitors won’t miss your latest posts. When they receive notifications that you’ve published new content, they’ll be more likely to keep you top-of-mind when they’re ready to make purchases.

How to go about it?

  • Go to your Admin Area > Appearance > Widgets
  • scroll down the widgets list to the ‘Blog Subscriptions Jetpack Widget
  • Drag the ‘Blog Subscriptions Jetpack’ Widget to the right hand side (and drop this widget in the correct sidebar). Fill in details.

Gutenberg – A Modern Publishing Experience for WordPress

Did you recently open a page or post on your WordPress website and it looks completely different? If your WordPress website automatically updates to a new version then you got Version 5.0 (or higher). WordPress has introduced Gutenberg a brand new Editor that is going to make your life easier.

Gutenberg is amazing and it gives you many new features. If you are familiar with WordPress websites, Gutenberg is going to provide you with an even better experience.

Gutenberg, WordPress’ new block-based Editor gives you more flexibility w.r.t. how content is displayed, whether you are building your first site, revamping your blog, or write code for a living.

Gutenberg is the Editor by default on all new WordPress.com sites. On existing websites it is now also the default editor if you updated to version 5.0 or higher. Should you not wish to use Gutenberg  you can continue using the Classic Editor by installing it as a plugin. Your life will be easier if you upgrade (at no cost) from the Classic Editor to Gutenberg.

Do More

  • Do more with fewer plugins
  • Create modern, multimedia-heavy layouts
  • work across all screen sizes and devices
  • Trust that your editor looks like your website

Building with Blocks

The new block-based editor won’t change the way any of your content looks to your visitors. What it will do is let you insert any type of multimedia in a snap and rearrange to your heart’s content. Each piece of content will be in its own block.

WordPress has tons of blocks available by default, and more get added by the community every day. Here are a few of the blocks to help you get started:

Freedom to Build, Freedom to Write

This new editing experience provides a more consistent treatment of design as well as content. If you’re building client sites, you can create reusable blocks. This lets your clients add new content anytime, while still maintaining a consistent look and feel.

Why is Security from Cyber Attack SO Important – How to Protect your Computer, Email and Website

Is Security from Cyber Attack Important?

In my case security from cyber attack is very important as in the past four years I lost two of my websites to hacking and last week I almost lost the entire content in my hard drive. A proper website can take months or even years to create – this means much time and money.

Many of us have heard cases of friends whose websites were hacked and their clients were receiving invoices from the hackers.

Once someone hacks your email he/ she has access to your mailing lists and in some cases to all your computer files as well.

Whenever a hosting company tells you that they will back-up your website – take that statement with a pinch of salt. Yahoo, my hosting company at the time was unable to recover my websites. Also, the back-up I had, was not effective. I will mention about an incredibly effective backup plugin later in this article.

Protect your Computer

  • Protect your computer from Malware. There are various reputable brands, Malwarebytes being one of the most popular. If you opt for the free version ensure that you do a weekly scan.
  • Anti-virus: Again there are a couple of good brands Kaspersky being one of the best. A great feature of Kaspersky is the fact that it shows you if a website is not safe to visit. My friend Niren Singh is using AVG Premium and he is very happy with their service.
  • Use an USB Flash Drive or some other easy, reliable storage solution. Install Cobian backup and have all your computer’s content transferred to your flash drive (or other reliable storage device) automatically and do this regularly.

Protect your email

  • Activate ‘two-step verification’ for your email account. What this means is that additionally to entering the password you must tap on your smartphone to access your email on your computer.
  • Change your password regularly. A note from my friend Andrew Gibb:  “I’ve learnt that long passwords are strong passwords, that special characters (like: !@#+-_ etc), numbers and mixed case (UpPeR and LoWeR) are important but not as important as longer passwords. Remember if you think that you’re going to forget a password, write it down and store it in a safe place – it’s not often that crooks steal physical documents”.

Protect your WordPress Website

  • Ensure you have a website that starts with https://. If your website starts with ‘http://’ change to ‘https:// immediately!
  • On a weekly basis go to your ‘installed plugins’ and update any plugin that needs updating – this takes a few seconds to do.
  • Install and enable a good security plugin. There are various including: ‘WordFence’ and ‘All In One WP Security and Firewall
  • Install and enable ‘VaultPress’ – the best back-up plugin there is (it only costs US$5/ month) and you will sleep easy. This plugin backs up your entire website every 24 hours and should your website be hacked you can restore your entire website at a touch of a button.

Your Developer/ Local IT Store

Keeping your computer, email and website safe is something you can do yourself. Additionally, keep a friendly relationship with your Developer or the Technical person at your local IT store as they are well-equipped to assist you in an emergency.

 

The Importance of Having a Good Hosting Company

This is what happens if your website does not load:

  1. your visitors won’t be able to access your site (not good w.r.t. customer service…).
  2. you won’t be able to access your Admin Area and therefore you won’t be able to do any work on your site.
  3. if you are running Campaigns on Google Ads, Facebook, Pinterest, other – visitors clicking on your Ads will be directed to a page that shows: “Page Not Found – Internal Servor Error”.. believe me, your customers won’t be impressed.
  4. Google bot will try and crawl your site but cannot find your pages. Result? Google down-ranks your site on Google search. Very bad for your SEO!!

WordPressTrainingJohannesburg.com was down for 10 hours yesterday. Talk about someone about to get a nervous breakdown…

My website http://www.wordpresstrainingjohannesburg.com/ is hosted by https://www.bluehost.com .  My “hobby” website https://fitandfunnow.com is hosted by WordPress.com.

I have received good service from both hosting companies and so it was with great surprise (and shock!) that I saw that my one website was not loading yesterday.

After a few online chats to Bluehost and getting nowhere I contacted Bluehost’s Head Office in the United States. They said that the server needed upgrading and that I would have to authorise upgrade from EasyApache 3 to EasyApache 4 which I did and the website was subsequently uploaded to the internet. Why request authorization? just do it…

Fortunately no such issues with WordPress.com hosting!!

Why am I writing this post? To let you know the incredible importance of having a “good” company host your website. You don’t want your website to be down… EVER!

Which companies would I recommend?

Internationally  https://wordpress.com or  https://www.hetzner.com and in South Africa https://hetzner.co.za/

Should you have a Developer and should your Developer host your website for you, then hopefully your website is in competent hands and you should be experiencing no issues.

One more note: should your site be the free version of WordPress.com then you have nothing to worry about as WordPress.com will be the host of your free website. And should you one day upgrade from the free plan to a paid (premium) plan, I would recommend your stay with WordPress.com hosting.

At times, what is expensive today is going to save you much time and money later on.

Compress your PNG/JPG Files by up to 80% and Retain Full Transparency

I received the following email from Nur:

Hello there ,

Thank you for telling me about this WordPress plug-in to compress my pictures.

But then I discovered that adding plug-ins to my site itself causes the site speed to go down, which kinda ruins the purpose. So that is why I decided to look around for a free online tool.

After some exploring, I wanted to suggest it as an alternative to the plug in:

https://www.websiteplanet.com/webtools/imagecompressor/

This is a free online tool that allows you to compress pictures that are up to 50 MB in size both in jpeg and in png format! So maybe sharing it with your users can help them too.

In hope I helped back,

Nur

Editor’s note: Nur, I briefly went over the website and it seems to be effective. Thanks for sharing this with us.

10 Tips: Increase WooCommerce Conversion Rate with Product Tables

All WooCommerce stores share a single aim: To increase conversions and get more sales. Whatever your wider business goals, that’s what it all comes down to!

If you Google ‘WooCommerce conversion rate optimisation’, you’ll find lots of general advice on how to convert more visitors into paying customers. This usually focusses on improvements to the cart and checkout. These are important, but often forget that you need to convince customers to buy your products in the first place.

In this article, I’m going to do the opposite. I’ll provide specific and actionable tips on how you can convince customers to add more products to their cart using a specific tool: product tables.

WooCommerce product tables are an excellent tool for increasing your sales. By adding well designed table layouts to your store, you can present products in user-friendly ways that make it easier for customers to buy from you.

Source: 10 Tips: Increase WooCommerce Conversion Rate with Product Tables

Bed and Breakfast Themes – 20+ WordPress Themes to Showcase Bed & Breakfasts

Bed and breakfast themes are niche WordPress themes available for the hotel and lodging industry. They’re designed to showcase a single location as is typical with B&Bs, so they need to be powerful and well-designed yet minimalist enough to not be too bloated with features intended for large hotel chains.

This post features a collection of over 20 bed and breakfast themes available for WordPress. These themes are more than capable of showcasing B&Bs effectively through the styles and features they offer. Let’s go over what exactly a bed and breakfast is and what features you should look for before we get into the list.

Read the article: Bed and Breakfast Themes – 20+ WordPress Themes to Showcase Bed & Breakfasts

5 Reasons You Might Want to Switch WordPress Hosting Providers

It can be tempting to think any working web host will provide you with a top-notch experience, but that, unfortunately, isn’t always the case. No two hosting providers are the same, and performance can vary wildly between different hosts. All that means that even if you’re feeling happy with your WordPress host (and definitely if you’re not!), you might not necessarily be getting the best service possible. And that’s why it’s important to look at some metrics that indicate when it’s time to switch WordPress hosting providers.

The good news is that moving to a new hosting service isn’t as difficult as it sounds. So even if you’re ambivalent about your current host, we encourage you to consider these metrics because there’s a decent chance you might be able to improve your site’s hosting situation without much hassle or money.

Because of how important metrics like uptime and page load times are to your site’s success, every little improvement counts. For that reason, whether you’re happy with your current host or not, we’re going to walk you through five reasons you might want to switch WordPress hosting providers and explain what makes each important. Let’s get started!

Read full article: 5 Reasons You Might Want to Switch WordPress Hosting Providers

WordPress.com Business Now Supports Plugins and Third-Party Themes

For many years, WordPress.com has been a simple way for people to create their own beautiful WordPress website in minutes.

But that simplicity came with a tradeoff — WordPress.com did not offer built-in support for the thousands of third-party plugins and themes that helped make WordPress the world’s largest and most open web publishing platform.

Now, we’ve made a significant change to the WordPress.com Business plan: you can access and add third-party plugins and themes built by the WordPress community. It’s the simplicity, speed, and expert support that you’ve always loved about WordPress.com, plugged in.

People love WordPress because it is totally customizable. With support for plugins and third-party themes, WordPress.com Business users will be able to connect their sites to great email and social media tools, ecommerce solutions, publishing and subscription services, and more.

This is a big step for us, and there’s a lot more work to do — over the coming weeks and months, we’re going to be working with partners and developers to help make the experience even easier for you to install and use these plugins and themes on WordPress.com.

And every WordPress.com Business user gets real-time concierge support – live chat with one of our Happiness Engineers and we can help you make the most of these new features.

WordPress is the world’s most popular web platform, and we’re proud to keep this community growing and thriving. Thanks for your continued support.

WordPress.com Business Now Supports Plugins and Third-Party Themes

Source: WordPress.com Business Now Supports Plugins and Third-Party Themes — The WordPress.com Blog