Kick start 2016 with one of your most essential tools, your business website 

Guest blog post by Allison Miller, Vanguard Visions 

The start of 2016 offers you the opportunity to kick start your year in the right direction through one of your most essential tools your business website.

Whether you are just starting out developing a website or it’s time to review your existing business website’s offering, here are some helpful tips to ensure your website is ready to lead your business through a successful year.

Start with the basics: Name your website correctly

On the internet, search engines like Google rule the world as they allow existing customers to easily find you and they bring organic traffic to your website through web searches or ‘googling’.
In order for these search engines to easily link your business website to people’s searches it is important to make it clear what your business does through the website’s name and URL (Uniform Resource Locator), aka the web link which directs people to your website.

If you already have a website, it may be time to reconsider the URL or even your business name to make it more user-friendly on the web.

Grab it quick: Register your website’s domain name

Once you have some idea about what you will call your website ensure you register the domain name or URL, eg eastmeetswestexports.com, as soon as possible.  If you are not 100% ensure which URL will be the final one, register a couple of names. This can be easily and cheaply done through website name registration sites such as Crazy Domains or Go Daddy.

Go alone or get help: Consider who will develop your business website

Creating a website can be very overwhelming as there is so much to know and do. One of the first things to do is to work out if you will be creating your own website or whether you will be getting someone else to do it.  This is basically a game of your time vs your money – that is, do you have the time to learn how to create and then develop a website or would it be better to invest the money in getting someone else who is a professional in this area to do it?  Either way, it’s costing you money, as your time is money as you could be developing your business rather a website (which is not your core business).

Don’t leave it empty: Determine where the content is coming from

Now that have your website planned out, the next thing to consider is: What information will you put on your business website and who is going to create this content? Content is king on the inter-web, but it is also one of the biggest stumbling blocks in getting a website finished.  Choosing the right content for your website is important, so always ensure it is appealing and useful to the website users. A business website is just like a house – it’s never finished. It always needs to look fresh and appealing to visitors through new and exciting content, and it needs to be kept neat and tidy with any rubbish removed out of sight, so once established, continually review your website for ways to improve it.

Click here to read the full version of this article by Allison Miller of Vanguard Visions to learn more about how you can ensure your website is ready to lead your business through a successful year.
Do you want to know other ways of ensuring your website is ready to lead your business through a successful year?

Register for Online Business Essentials – 17 February – Workshop (Adelaide) – being run by Allison Miller for the Polaris Business and Innovations Centre

 

Slides for “Creating and managing a WordPress business website”

Thanks to Allison Miller for facilitating the recent workshop “Creating and managing a WordPress business website”. For those that missed the workshop, we will be holding it again in the coming months so keep your eye on our events page. Remember, if you want to take a more focused look at your own WordPress business website, book in to see me. Through the Digital Enterprise Program mentoring, we can look at your specific WordPress business website issues.

The workshop gives a great overview of WordPress and common implementation strategies. Is there something else specific you might want added in the next workshop? If so, add your comments below.
WordPress Plugins, WordPress Themes and search engine optimisation are among the most common things we talk about in the mentoring sessions. As every WordPress business website is slightly different, it is best to get a close look at your site by working face to face with someone who is independent and experienced.

3 signs that you don’t have as much control over your WordPress website as you thought you would.

You want control of your WordPress website. You paid a lot of money for it and when you ask for things to be done you want them done quickly. The trouble is, your web developer is very busy and sometimes it takes a while for the work to get done. Sometimes it doesn’t get done at all. It’s frustrating the hell out of you because you hear all your business colleagues telling you how easy WordPress is to work with. Why can they make the changes and you can’t? While we are at it, why is everyone talking about blogging but your blog is nowhere to be found? Here are 3 signs that you don’t have as much control over your WordPress website as you thought you would:

  1. You don’t see the “Plugins” or “Appearance” button on your side menu bar when logged in to WordPress.
    Wordpress was designed to be user friendly and flexible. You can change themes, add plugins and direct content wherever you want to. The reason is Roles and Capabilities. “WordPress uses a concept of Roles, designed to give the site owner the ability to control what users can and cannot do within the site.”
    Undoubtedly there are risks with adding plugins willy-nilly or changing themes at the drop of a hat, but if you want to be able to change the look and feel of your own site and add functionality then you need to have full administration access to your site.
    If you can’t see the “Appearance” or “Plugins” button then your access level is probably not set to Administrator. Ask your web developer to change your role to Administrator because you want the capabilities of an administrator.Wordpress appearance - plugins
  2. You have Administrator access but you still can’t install or switch themes or install new plugins.
    The Capabilities of any role can actually be changed. This means that a web designer setting up a site for you could add you as an administrator but manually change the database or use a plugin to set your user’s Capabilities to disable certain functionality. The potential issue here is that Plugins and Themes can provide potential backdoor access to hackers. If your Plugins aren’t being updated on a regular basis then your site at a higher risk of being hacked. If you want to gain this control back, again you will have to talk to the web developer and ask for those capabilities.
  3. You can’t find your WordPress blog.
    Perhaps you didn’t know this, but WordPress was first and foremost a self-publishing tool. We’re talking about blogging. Getting your head around Posts versus Pages is one of the first steps to realising that your WordPress is more than just a website.  Google loves blogs and getting indexed quickly is one of the reasons for the rise of content marketing and the renaissance of blogging in general.
    If you don’t know where your blog is located you are potentially missing out on one of the best reasons for using WordPress in the first place. To find your blog, go into Settings, Reading and see what “Page” your “Posts” are being sent to and see how many Posts you have set to display.
    Once your Blog is found and you are starting to get some content up, go and learn about Taxonomies. (maybe I’ll talk about Taxonomies next time)
    reading settings screen capture

reading settings screen capture

Your web developer will have his or her own reasons for controlling this access. This is commonly to do with past clients making changes that were fatal to the website, but maybe you never told them that you wanted a blog, maybe you indicated you were worried about breaking the website. Sometimes circumstances change. I’m not saying the reasons are good or bad and I am not taking sides of either web developer or business owner.

In the interests of good communication, and a good and lasting relationship between web developer and business owner, the levels of control and access should be clearly addressed by both parties before commissioning the site build. Flexibility and understanding should be exercised afterwards.

As the website and business owner, you should have knowledge and control over this crucial aspect of your business. If you are uncomfortable with having access and control over your WordPress website, nurture the relationship with your web developer and keep the lines of communication open.

If you want to get a review of your website, don’t forget about our Digital Enterprise Program Mentoring. To learn more about WordPress, make sure you book into one of our free upcoming WordPress workshops.