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Want to Improve your Website Performance? We can Help!

By David Innes, RealBasics.com | November 3, 2017

It can be hard getting into all the website terms and understanding how they work with elements of your website. That’s why we’re here! We at RealBasics want to make your life easier and letting us deal with the hard work is the first step in that process.

Is your site running slow? Is it taking a long time to load things like images and links? That can be caused by a number of different factors on your site. Let’s run through 3 few terms and processes that can help your website run faster, smoother, and in turn, help your conversion rate!

1. Minimize HTTP Requests

HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol), is the method to which browsers and servers communicate with each other over the Internet. According to post by Yahoo, 80% of the end-user response time is spent on the front-end. “Most of this time is tied up in downloading all the components in the page: images, stylesheets, scripts, Flash, etc.” the quickest way to improve site speed is to simplify your design. If you’re working in WordPress, make sure to deactivate all plugins that are not crucial to your business.

2. Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)

A Content Delivery Network is a collection of web servers distributed across multiple locations to deliver content more efficiently to users. The server selected for delivering content to a specific user is typically based on a measure of network proximity. For example, when a user visits your site from Thailand, they are downloading files from the server that is closest to them. The bandwidth is then spread across so many different servers, it reduces the load on any single server.

3. Optimize images

Images are an obvious and important part of your website. With images, you mainly need to focus on size and format to help cut down the loading time. Keep your images a consistent size and crop whatever you don’t need within the images. For a good format that is both high definition and small file size, JPEG is best. PNGs can also be a good choice with the same qualities as a JPEG, however older browsers don’t always support PNGs.

These are just a few of the processes to help speed up your site. We can improve your performance, design, and more with our easy solutions and helpful environment. Call today for more information!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

  • ventureharbour.com/improving-site-speed
  • crazyegg.com/blog/speed-up-your-website
  • developer.yahoo.com/performance/rules.html#num_http
  • speedrak.com/reduce-http-requests-increase-site-speed
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Redesigning your Website? Make sure your Traffic doesn’t Fall!

By David Innes, RealBasics.com | October 20, 2017

The internet is constantly changing, and website redesigns are always going to be on the horizon. However, your website redesign doesn’t always have to interrupt your website traffic! Here’s a few helpful tips on how to prevent a traffic dip:

  • Be sure to plan ahead!  Check over every inch of your current website and make notes on everything.What you like, dislike, want to scrap, want to keep, all of such are important to help make this transition as smooth as possible.
  • Check over all redirect possibilities. A redirect is where a link, webpage, or website that used to hold your old website, automatically direct to your new webpage. A mistake in redirects can cause the user to get frustrated with your site while in construction and even after.
  • Create a new Sitemap. Google and other search engines will use the structure of your website to determine its place on their listings. So if your web design looks completely different and has a brand new layout, it’s important to submit a new Google sitemap. The best news about this tip? We can do this for you! If we rebuild your website, we will take care of all the details like submitting new sitemaps.
  • Content and Copy. If your content is being updated as well as your layout and design, make sure to optimize your copy for your wanted demographics. What your copy is optimized for will impact the demographics your site attracts, so consider them carefully as it’s crucial to your ongoing success. Hint hint, we can take care of this too!

If you think your in need of a website redesign and restructure, we can help! We love taking old sites and turning them into new! Give us a call today to make your website transition as easy as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

  • webpagefx.com/blog/web-design/fix-avoid-traffic-drops-website-redesign
  • Searchengineland.com/losing-organic-traffic-redesign-four-things-check-188996
  • loriballen.com/website-redesign-traffic
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Once you get your website secure it’s easy to keep it secure!

By David Innes (Admin) | October 16, 2017

new engine photo

It’s a mistake to say “WordPress is insecure.”  Yes, it may have once been insecure but then Toyota’s cars once had motorcycle engines!  A lot’s changed.  David Hayes recently said this very clearly.

It is very common for people who know very little about WordPress to say that it’s insecure. And there’s some reasons from history that this diffuse thought should be honored as holding some truth. But most of the things that have historically made “WordPress” insecure aren’t WordPress, the core software. They’re old websites maintained poorly and with software installed by people not realizing the seriousness of what they’re doing.

The core of WordPress is as secure as any similar tool with its history and vintage could be. Most of the security issues that are found and fixed in it today are pretty obscure and esoteric. They’re not things that are easily exploited on a random sites by a malicious attacker. So if you let WordPress auto-update as it should, you never really have to worry about WordPress itself being insecure.

Source: WPShout

If you’ve got an older version of WordPress or older plugins and themes then yeah, you might have fundamental security vulnerabilities.  But chances are very good it can be solved by…  upgrading to the latest version of WordPress.  Plus plugins and themes.

Can we help people get their websites up to date?  You bet!  We like to think of ourselves as the car mechanics… and sometimes body shop… of small business websites.  Could you do it all yourself?  Sure.  Usually.  Maybe.  But we do it all day long.

You don’t need us to run your website anymore than you need a mechanic to drive you around.  But like an auto mechanic we

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Web Design Impacts your Customer Experience!

By David Innes, RealBasics.com | October 8, 2017

Website design, functionality, and flow is one of the most important parts of the consumer experience for your business.

Without a positive user experience, your marketing tactics can be affected, so it’s important to understand what exactly makes for a well rounded and effective user experience. According to an article by WebpageFX, here are a few elements to consider for a successful website user experience:

1. Usability

The structure to your site must be easy to use and respond to your customer’s needs before they even realize they have them.

2. Functionality

Everything on your site from menu to buttons, should serve a purpose and make sense to your visitors.

3. Adaptability

Your website should be responsive on every device (Mobile devices, iPads, Desktops). The performance should be consistent through all of them.

4. Navigation

Users should be able to easily find their way around your site with a few easy clicks.

5. Design

Your design should immediately grab your users’ attention without being overly distracting. Simplicity is key!

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Blog post comments: threat, menace, or golden opportunity for community building

By David Innes, RealBasics.com | September 28, 2017

Cool discussion of the pros and cons of blog comments (with numbers and case studies!) by Brenda Barron, blogging at WPMUDEV

It’s exciting when readers of your blog take the time to leave comments on your posts. It’s often what makes the arduous process of creating content feel totally worth it at the end of the day.

Of course, you could always see how many people visited your posts in Google Analytics, but there is something especially rewarding about seeing them engage with it right on the page by leaving a comment.

Then again, there are times when those comments just aren’t welcome.

Source: Brenda Barron

Here’s my take on comments.

I’m going to say right up front that I don’t have comments turned on on RealBasics.com. But I’ll add that in the past I’ve had sites with very extensive user engagement.

If keyword searches are the only measure of success then comments, and the user engagement they represent, aren’t worth the effort. (I’m not even sure I’d want people finding my site based on keywords found only in comments!)

That said, by all accounts Google ranks sites in general and pages in particular on more than raw keywords, don’t they? They pay close attention to user engagement. That includes both time spent on a page as well as interaction on a page as proxies for interest in content. So, again, if you cared only about SEO ranking there are intangible benefits to keeping comments open (and curated!) beyond raw keywords.

If instead actual business, reputation, and loyalty have value, well moderate user engagement can be very beneficial to word-of-mouth marketing, organic links from other sites and platforms, collegial exchange, reputation enhancement, and repeat business.

On all but the busiest blogs it takes no more time to moderate and respond to user comments on a blog than it does on other social media. It also doesn’t take that much time to write posts meant to increase engagement. So if one is already in conversation with users on, say, Facebook and Twitter I’d say they were missing an opportunity to engage on their sites as well.

Again, it’s my understanding that Google’s algorithms “appreciate” when site owners respond to user comments. (In other words engagement with users and not just user engagement.)

In terms of product development and refinement engagement by and with users, while it might not benefit SEO, can be an extraordinarily inexpensive and useful tool for feedback, troubleshooting, trial balloons, and market analysis.

So when I’m advising clients one of the first things I’ll assess is whether they’ve got the capacity and interest to engage with their engaged users — not just to moderate bogus comments but to reply, suggest, clarify, and acknowledge legitimate ones.

So… if they’re up for it I recommend clients try it out. If they don’t seem to have the time or temperament for it, as most don’t, I just don’t bring it up. (One’s website should be a source of business opportunities, not more stress.)

Comments are great but you can’t just turn them on and expect to get anything beyond spam and trolling. It’s an investment of time and effort that can pay off. But only if you’ve got the time and can make the effort.

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Think your Website doesn’t need a Promo Video? Think again!

By David Innes, RealBasics.com | September 24, 2017

When creating a new website or promoting your business, video usually isn’t on the top of your list. However, a recent study shows that 45% of businesses use promotional explanation videos on their home pages and 61% of businesses surveyed said they use video as a marketing tool. Using promotional video is an important tool for both your website and your business overall.

You can use video in a number of ways on your website! Here’s some awesome benefits:

  • Make your video upfront and visible! Video content on your website is an awesome way to introduce your brand and your service to your clients. It should be located on your home page so your visitors know exactly who you are and what you’re all about!
  • Video marketing can boost your site’s SEO! By adding video to your landing pages, and content offers, it’s easy to improve your company’s SEO value and improve your click-through rates across the board.
  • You can inject your personality in your videos! Visitors to your sites love to know what you’re about and experience everything you have to offer which helps build trust, and connect with viewers on an emotional level.
  • Video is more memorable than written content. As consumers, we’re exposed to thousands of marketing plays and ads every day. Consumers are growing increasingly “blind” to banner ads and text ads, however, it’s much harder to ignore video.

Due to the viral nature, easy access, and great built-in accessibility, promotional video is becoming one of the most important aspects of the internet today. It has a great ability to drive sales and showcase personal emotion to your customers. If you’re looking for new ways to stand out in today’s competitive online environment, it’s time to explore video marketing for your website.

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Has Your Account Been Breached? How Would You Know??

By David Innes (Admin) | September 14, 2017

It’s more common than you’d think!

Today, millions of websites are vulnerable to attacks including top brands like LinkedIn, Adobe, Target and more. However, when companies refuse to release or even admit their mistakes, it can leave the rest of us out in the open with our usernames and passwords.

Luckily, there’s a site that helps us know a little more about these attacks. The website Have I been pwned is a great source to use if you are wondering, like we all are, if your information has ever been in danger.

Now that you know where to go to check your account information, lets go through some of the biggest company data breaches of all time!

  1. Yahoo  –   Yahoo could actually hold the top 2 biggest spots, but let’s count it as one. Yahoo announced that data associated with at least 500 million accounts had been stolen. Three months later, it then disclosed ANOTHER breach – more than 1 billion accounts.
  2. Myspace  –  A Russian hacker, who goes by the name Peace, has wreaked quite the havoc on both Myspace and LinkedIn. Myspace confirmed a breach of user names and passwords for about 360 million accounts.
  3. Target  –  Roughly 40 million shoppers had their credit and debit card information stolen due to a data breach at Target that took place in the three weeks after Thanksgiving that in 2013. Target later agreed to pay $10 million to customers who suffered from the breach and tens of millions more to U.S. banks who lost money.

Curious about more breaches? Why not check out this amazing chart with all different types of data breaches here.

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Google Chrome Now Displays Warnings for Unencrypted Websites

By David Innes (Admin) | September 6, 2017

Google Chrome with unencrypted site

 

You heard that right!

It is estimated that Google Chrome has over 1 billion users today. Given that it’s one of the most popular and up-to-date web browsers, I am glad they’re finally taking a step in the direction of alerting users when a site is not secure. This labeling system is currently active as of January 2017 and focuses mainly on unencrypted sites that transmit passwords or asks for credit card information. This is just the first step Google is making towards discouraging the use of sites that don’t use encryption. Google has reported that today, more than half of the websites visited by Chrome users are already encrypted.

The updated version of Chrome 56 will be the first version of web browser that will alert the user of this status as well as working in the future towards a safer internet experience. Russell Brandom of The Verge lays out Chromes next steps, “In the years to come, the team plans to warn Chrome users away from all sites served over unencrypted HTTP, beginning with Incognito mode ‘where users may have higher expectations of privacy.’ Planned changes include labeling all HTTP pages with the red triangle warning symbol, currently only used for irregularities in HTTPS.”

What can you do today?

Update your Chrome browser (if it does not automatically do so), would be the first step. We all want an internet that’s safer and more secure for the every day user. Lucky for us, Google is taking security to the next level and will continue to do so in the coming years. Contact us here at RealBasics to help you navigate the confusing and sometimes scary world of website encryption. We are here to help make your website experience even better!

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Brand new site for Jenny Penney Photos

By David Innes, RealBasics.com | May 6, 2017
Jenny Penney - Standard Site

Jenny Penney is a well-established local portrait and family-documentary photographer.

Jennifer Penney Boyle is an established portrait photographer in the Seattle area. We’d been already helping on and off with her main site, JenniferBoylePhotography.com. When she showed us her design for her new family-documentary website, JennyPenneyPhoto.com we were thrilled to pitch in.

We built the framework for the site using the lively logo and design elements from our frequent collaborators at Chalkbox Creative. Jenny —
a true do-it-yourselfer — added the photos and content. We’re really happy with the end result.

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The Worst SiteGround Hosting is Better than the Best GoDaddy Shared Hosting

By David Innes, RealBasics.com | April 8, 2017
Image by Flickr user Steve Depolo

Image by Flickr user Steve Depolo

I’m going to be real blunt here and say don’t use GoDaddy for shared hosting.  Just don’t.  I’m going to go further and say if you are using GoDaddy for shared hosting stop.  Just stop.

I hate saying it because there are some very nice people at GoDaddy.  Great support people.  The company is really committed to WordPress and they contribute a lot to the community.

But their hosting is terrible!  It’s slow!  As I’ve said in the past GoDaddy shared hosting is unnecessarily and arbitrarily slow!

But you know what else?  For cheap, small-scale shared hosting GoDaddy is also ridiculously expensive!  Here’s what I mean when I say that.

Last weekend, I updated a client’s site with some fairly simple capabilities to their GoDaddy account.  Those simple changes completely bogged down their server.   I suggested (as I usually do) that they needed to upgrade their service level from “Deluxe hosting” to “Deluxe hosting Level 3.”  Then I looked at the price of upgrading.  And then I started looking at other hosting options.  In the end, after a short conversation, I ended up moving them another cheap hosting company, SiteGround.com, for less than GoDaddy would have charged to “upgrade” them to… a still really miserable performance level.

Since last weekend I’ve moved two other clients.  All three client’s sites now run well.

  • Much, much faster.
  • For less money!
  • With fast, constantly updated software (for instance GoDaddy’s inexplicably unwilling to upgrade their servers to safer and more secure versions of the PHP programming language.)
  • With free SSL security certificates, which Google, Firefox, and other browsers now warn users about if you don’t have one.  (GoDaddy charges almost as much for a security certificate as some other sites charge for decent hosting plus a certificate!)
  • Without constantly running out of “I/O Usage” and other “resources.”  (I/O Usage is a bizarre bottleneck I’ve only really seen with GoDaddy hosting.)

So… yeah.  Much as I like talking to the support people at GoDaddy (they’re really nice) the fact of the matter is I almost never have to call support for other hosting companies.  But GoDaddy?  Yeah, maybe all you really need to know is that I’ve got GoDaddy’s support number on speed dial.

So I’m just going to say it one more time: Don’t use GoDaddy for shared hosting.  If you do use GoDaddy for shared hosting stop.  Just stop.

Switch to someone else.  Almost anyone else!

I’ve been recommending SiteGround for the last year or so.  I can get a small commission if you sign up with them  so in just a moment I’m going to give you an affiliate link.  But I think switching away is a big enough benefit that I’m going to give you a non-affiliate link too.  (The price for you will be the same regardless, I’m just willing to give up my commission if you’re willing to find someone else.)

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