Why Website Maintenance is Key to a Successful Website

Why Website Maintenance is Key to a Successful Website

Just like any software, websites require maintenance to keeping the site working properly. Avoiding website maintenance is like not having regular oil changes on your vehicle. You wouldn’t drive your car very long if you didn’t look after its maintenance, would you? Well, the same process is true for your website. Your website should always be live, ready for customers and presenting your business at its finest.

Websites Are Not “Set and Forget”

If you don’t have website maintenance carried out monthly, you may actually be throwing money out the window. When visitors go to a website and find things wrong with it, they often don’t stick around. Many website owners never check their website to see how it’s functioning. Missed website issues or downtime can lose you, potential customers.

The Benefits of Maintenance

Many people don’t realize the benefits of site maintenance:

The website performance, it’s load time, downtime and uptime are all dependent on the WordPress software and plugin functioning as they should ( and on the recent version).

The website growth, it’s fresh content, analytics monitoring and design changes are all dependent on you having someone making sure all updates to the website are done in a smooth and error-free fashion.

Maintenance Workflow

At Virtual Partner, we take great care to first backup the website and check the website after the updates for any issues. Our software keeps a record of plugins we update so if there is ever an issue we see what plugin version was changed and revert back. Also included in our monthly maintenance report are the performance and security scans. If in the event we ever catch a plugin issue, it becomes a support ticket and we address it before you ever know there’s a problem.

Dangers of Do It Yourself Maintenance

Maintaining your site yourself could cost you more than you may think. If you just update from your WordPress admin, you wouldn’t have a record of what was done. If an update to a plugin created an issue a couple weeks later, it would be difficult to know what changed and how you should revert back without restoring a very old backup (and possibly losing content changes, sales orders, contact entries, you name it).

It Costs More to Fix Than to Maintain

Inexperience and neglect can damage the look and functionality of your website. When that happens, you have a choice to make. One, you try and fix it yourself, in which case you may do further damage. Or two, you can then pay the (sometimes hefty) price for someone experienced to fix it. Just like your car, it costs more to fix it than it does to maintain it properly. Regular oil changes help keep your car running properly, regular site maintenance helps keeps your web site running properly.

Call in a Professional

  • Why not deal with what you know best and let us deal with what we know best?
  • Would you try to fight that court battle without a lawyer?
  • Then why try to maintain your own website if you’re not a web professional?
  • By securing an experienced web professional to update and maintain your site properly you are actually saving potential lost sales and visitors.  

If you’re interested in securing a maintenance contract for your web site, contact us to learn how we can keep your site in proper working order. Click Here to learn more about Virtual Partner Website Care & Maintenance!

Plan Your Day – Be Productive – Get Out of the Overwhelm

Plan Your Day – Be Productive – Get Out of the Overwhelm

Here’s a great tool that I use…

Asana helps you tackle your work day and make it productive. Here are our tips to plan your day so you can start strong and finish your day ready for what’s next.

Follow along with the steps outlined in the video:

1. Visualize your day’s work in My Tasks Create new tasks for any other work that you need to get done. Use Today, Upcoming, and Later to prioritize.

2. Forward emails to Asana to start actioning them Send emails to [email protected] and they’ll be sent to your My Tasks list. CC any teammates you want as followers on the task. Change the email subject line to whatever you want the task to be named in Asana.

3. Focus on Today’s tasks by using full screen mode Add comments, attach files, or update the custom fields as needed. And when you’re done, complete the task!

4. Use Inbox to get caught up on the work you’re following Without leaving Inbox, you can respond to comments and status updates so everyone can keep work moving forward.

5. If you have meetings, create an agenda project for each one You can create your own or use a template. That way, you can have a clear agenda, link to relevant work, take notes, and quickly create tasks to capture action items. If it’s a recurring meeting, use the same project and update it.

6. Star projects you use often If you have projects you own or work in a lot, click the star next to the project name to favorite it. Favorites are quickly accessible in your sidebar and on your mobile device.

7. Use our mobile app If your commute home or to the office permits…you can use our mobile apps to stay up to date on any notifications so you don’t miss anything.

SEO Checklist

The 2017 SEO Checklist

  • Install Google Analytics
  • Install Google Search Console
  • Focusing on the US? Might want to install Bing Webmaster Tools
  • Using WordPress? Get a WordPress Google Analytics plugin. Here’s oneHere’s another one
  • Using WordPress? Install the free version of Yoast SEO
  • Check Google’s Search Console for crawl errors, duplicate content errors, missing titles and other technical errors. 
  • Use Browseo.net to spot-check redirect problems (specifically, 302 errors that should be 301s). 
  • Use Screaming Frog to find broken links, errors, and crawl problems. 
  • Use Google Adwords Keyword Planner for keyword research, along with KWFinderKeywordTool.io and SEMRush. Be sure to consider searcher intent and difficulty, pick 1 keyword per page, and you’ll generally want to start with lower-volume keywords first. 
  • Have you looked at competitor link profiles? This is the easiest way to get started with link building. This way, you can see what kind of anchor text they’re using, as well as how and where they’ve been getting their links. Something like the AhrefsLink DiagnosisOpen Site Explorer, or Majestic
  • Try to get your primary keyword into your page URL (but there are very serious consequences to changing a URL that already has authority – don’t do this if your page already has links!). 
  • Add your keyword to your title tag. Is your title tag compelling? 
  • Add your keyword to your meta description. Is your meta description compelling? 
  • Add your keyword to your H1 tag. Make sure to only use one H1 tag, and make sure it shows up in the document before H2, H3 etc. 
  • Add crawl-able text to your page. Make sure to have at least 100 words on each URL (minimum – the more the better). You can still rank with less, and you don’t ever want to put unnecessary text on your site, but I recommend not creating a new page unless you have roughly ~100 words worth of content. 
  • Use synonyms in your copy. Remember: synonyms are great, and using natural language that’s influenced by keyword research (rather than just pure keywords) is highly encouraged.
  • Use words discovered through latent semantic indexing in your copy – you can determine what keywords to add at LSIGraph.com
  • Add descriptive ALT tags and filenames to your pages. Search engines “see” images by reading the ALT tag and looking at file names, among other factors. Try to be descriptive when you name your images. 
  • Link to other pages on your site with SEO-friendly text (use the primary keyword in anchor text). We recommend not using anchor text in your global navigation because it can look like over-optimization. Stick to in-content links instead. 
  • Make sure you don’t have duplicate content – use 301 redirects, canonical tags or use Google Webmaster Tools to fix any duplicate content that might be indexing and penalizing your site. 
  • Use PageSpeed tools,  Gift of SpeedGTMetrix and Pingdom to determine page speed – keep your site fast! 
  • Make sure your site is mobile friendly – use Google’s mobile friendly testing tool
  • Create an XML sitemap and submitted it to Google Search Console. Use XML-Sitemaps.com or Google XML Sitemaps WordPress Plugin – the Yoast SEO plugin also comes with this functionality by default. 
  • Create a robots.txt file and submit it to Google Search Console. 
  • Claim your brand name on as many social networking sites as possible for reputation management reasons. Namechk is a great resource to see if your name is taken on most major networks. 

SEO For WordPress

SEO for WordPress

If you’re like the rest of the Internet, odds are your website is built through WordPress. And for a pretty good reason: it’s flexible, with a myriad of templates and plugins. Plus, it’s fairly easy to use.

But perhaps more importantly, WordPress is a solid SEO (search engine optimization) platform.

Since almost half of the top sites out there — from BBC America to Flickr — use WordPress to power their content, Google pretty much has no choice but to ensure its search engine can effectively crawl and index millions of WordPress templates.

So as a small business owner, how can you fine-tune your local SEO strategy with WordPress?

  • Make it easy for customers (and the search engines) to connect your services to a location. This is low-hanging fruit, but you’d be surprised how many of your competitors don’t do this. Say, for instance, you’re a financial advisor with multiple offices across the Midwest. An Illinois customer may want to know if your team gives retirement advice at the Chicago location. So, the Chicago page should include a full list of services available there. Make it super obvious what you offer and where you offer it.  
  • Make the most of your SEO plugin. First, check your settings to confirm you’ve named your site and written a brief description. Then, be sure to check that your URLs are correct and that they match the URLs in your Google Webmaster Tools.  

Easy tweaks with big results. You’re welcome.

Rand Fishkin: Why Your Business Needs SEO Now

Know the top three reasons you need SEO?

Hint: it doesn’t matter if you own an auto repair shop, a law firm, or something in between. Moz.com co-founder Rand Fishkin gives us the SEO scoop.


How To Make a Logo

How To Make a Logo
An Introduction

The current era of logo design began in the 1870s with the first abstract logo, the Bass red triangle.

Your logo is the visual representation of your brand—and everything it stands for. At a glance, it should reflect your brand’s personality and promise. Ideally, it will be memorable and stand out from the crowd. Consider iconic logos such as the Nike swoosh, Apple Computer’s simple apple or Target’s red bullseye. What comes to mind when you think of each one?

If you are in the process of starting a small business, you may not have the resources to hire a designer to develop your logo. This guide was developed to help small business owners with no design experience understand how to create a logo. You’ll learn about the processes necessary to transfer your ideas onto paper, find out how to spot flaws in your concept and enable your primary idea to grow until it reaches a satisfying level of quality.

Although this may be new ground, you’ll probably learn a lot and enjoy the experience. So, let’s start from the beginning.

What is a logo?

A logo works much like your name. When you were born, your parents gave you a name that, over time, you infused with personality. Now, when people hear your name, they immediately think of you. And when people talk about you, your name evokes certain emotions and characteristics.

Whenever the name comes up, people immediately think “that funny party guy who has a deep voice” or “that blonde girl who has a quirky laugh and always dresses well.”

In the same vein, a logo is a symbolic representation of your brand identity. It carries vital information about who you are and what you do and causes people to feel a certain emotion. For example, BMW is associated with precision, quality vehicles and prestige, as many company executives drive their sedans. Nike is associated with high-level sports performance and durable shoes.

Why are logos important?

Logos give businesses an identity, but you need to understand why that is so important. The branding process has many different stages and elements. The design and proper usage of your logo are a big part of it.

Your job is to make sure people connect the dots and recognize your brand the second they see the logo. If that works, your marketing efforts will be much more effective. The fact is, most people build an emotional connection to the brands they’ve had positive experiences with, based on their history and personality.

When targeted consumers see your logo, they need to instantly recognize it and connect it with your brand values. Why is this important? Because approximately 65 percent of consumers said shared values attract them to a brand and to the specific products or services you offer. They also revealed that shared values help make your brand more memorable. The very next time they think about something related to your niche, your brand name and logo should be the first images that pop into their minds.

Your audience should be able to differentiate your logo from a series of different brand logos on a shelf and choose your product based on the fact that they associate it with quality, cost-effectiveness or any other characteristic that you want to be known for.

Principles of an effective logo

For you to successfully create a logo, there are some principles you need to be aware of. As a beginner in the world of logo design, you’ll need to train your mind so that it can adopt a creative thinking process that will enable you to come up with unique designs. You should be able to do this if you understand the following principles:

Simplicity is the key

Designers constantly overdo it when it comes to logos. But the most popular logos are striking in their simplicity. Nike and Apple are great examples: everyone on the planet recognizes these logos and their mottos. Obviously, there’s a thin line between overdoing and underdoing it, and this might be your biggest challenge when designing a logo.

It needs to be unique

In a sea of companies, the last thing you need is a generic logo design that looks like everyone else’s. Sure, there are some popular design features for any niche, but you need something with a unique style—features that people relate to your brand specifically.

It needs to be recognizable

You need to get inside the mind of your target audience, find out what they like and desire, and develop your design accordingly. The logo should stand out and be easy to recognize, even from a distance. Obviously, a lot of research needs to be done here but it will be worth your while.

The evolution of the Apple logotype supports well the principle stated in this part.

Flexibility is very important

The logo should be recognizable regardless of size or the medium it is represented in. It needs to work both in color and black and white, on billboards and business cards, in a corner of a web page viewed from a smartphone, and on keychains and mugs. Logos that are overly complex don’t translate well into smaller formats.

It needs mirror a business’ personality

It’s possible to come up with a great logo that just lacks the right spirit. An excellent example would be to use playful colors and a cartoonish font when creating a logo for a serious law firm—that’s a big no-no. However, there are many different mistakes you can make in this process that is not as obvious, which is why it’s quite important for you to clearly define your business.

Different types of logos…

Read the full article by https://firstsiteguide.com/make-logo/

 

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