How to Start a Website with a CMS Content Management System

How to Start a Website with a CMS Content Management System
by: Lori Bratz
WebProHelp

Content Management Systems , CMS, are an efficient way to build and maintain a website.  The biggest draw to using a CMS is that users do NOT have to have specialized technical skill to create or manage web pages.  Generally, if you are familiar with how to use word processing software, you will be able to use a CMS.

How To Start a Website

How to Start a Website
By Lori Bratz
WebProHelp.com

Every business needs a website.  There’s no doubt about that.  But where do you start?

photo of professional web help

Yes, you CAN build your own website. It’s not really that hard. You can build it using google pages, wordpress, blogsite, etc. and it may look as pretty as your business card. A pro writes and organizes your content in a logical, SEO-rich, intuitive way and does all the valuable behind-the-scenes stuff that make your site a functioning, search-engine-indexed, income-generating entity on the web.

Building your own website can be a lot like stuffing your business card in the mail slot at the public library and expecting it to magically be a part of the card catalog. But enough about MY best interests. Let me give you some tips and their associated trips.

DIY Tip: If you decide to go it alone, do yourself a favor and keep it simple. Bells and whistles are like jewelry. Less is more. Remember, the goal of your website is to be your company’s first impression. It’s your business’s eHome and people are dropping in at all hours. And they’re judging. Keep it simple, well-organized, clean and for goodness sakes water the plants. (Don’t have dead links, broken images, outdated info.)

DIY Trip: Simple is good – but it’s ok to add some razzle dazzle. If your site is TOO sparse, then it can look weak and unprofessional.

DIY Tip: Buy a domain name and buy your own hosting. My recommendation, GoDaddy and Dreamhost. Choose a plan, pay your bills on time, remain on top of those things.

DIY Trip: Don’t just buy your domain name and hosting and walk away. Make sure you renew your domain name AND make sure you pay your host. Otherwise, you will lose your domain name and/or your host will take your site down for non-payment. Seems pretty basic but I’ve seen this happen over and over and over again to smart, well-meaning business owners.

DIY Tip: Start a blog. You can use your domain name as your blog name. Its nice because blogs already have databases and other handy infrastructure. And the big bonus is that they can be updated by YOU any time you want!

DIY Trip: You can’t really customize your blog without technical or programming knowledge (because you need to get at the CSS to make changes and customize layouts, etc.). So, you choose any available template and just try to be happy. Also, you might not know how to manage the comments that people and spammers leave. Be diligent about monitoring for inappropriate comments and keep the moderation cue tidy. Deleting 3000 spam messages gets to a person. (A pro can run a script thru the SQL and clean those nasty things out lickity split.)

DIY Tip: Content Content Content. Remember, your target audience is a search engine spider looking to find out what your website is all about.

DIY Trip: Unnecessary content. Repeating and repackaging your elevator pitch over and over on your website is a huge waste of 1’s and 0’s. Unless you are talking about Marie Antoinette, do not overuse words like Revolutionary. If you have a store that sells boulders, please clearly state that you sell boulders, which are a lot like rocks and stones and gravel…. You get the idea.

Good luck! Let your creativity flow! Call us if you need pro web help!

Affordable Search Engine Optimization

picture of a man and woman meetingAffordable search engine optimization
by Lori Bratz
webprohelp.com

How can a business owner get search engine optimization at an affordable price? Hire an expert with lots of experience and a track record of satisfied clients. Costs rise when the “pro” doesn’t know the actual development or SEO process. Web Pro Help is affordable because we know EXACTLY what to do, where to start and how to quickly optimize your website for top search engine placement. Web pro help has been optimizing sites for search engines since 2006. Our clients enjoy top organic Google placements by proper SEO techniques. We don’t waste a lot of time hunting and pecking and guessing what to do and then handing a spreadsheet over to your developer to implement.

But enough about me.  What about you? What are your goals? Hm? What’s that now? You’re not sure?

Three goals for optimizing your site for search engines:

Goal number 1: Make sure your site has the proper structural hierarchy of information. Think back to high school composition class and apply that thinking to your search engine optimization. Logical, structured data, laid out in a clean, organized way. Don’t make the mistake of writing a simple business card website with pretty words and phrases and then, hide a long list of keywords at the bottom of your site in a font color that matches the background. Such a bad idea. Spiderbots hate anything that smacks of deception. And that truly does.

Goal number 2: Make sure your site has the proper language. Think this through. Imagine your ideal customer going to their computer and looking for your business. What words do they type into their search engine? Be logical. Think like a consumer, not like an industry expert.

Goal number 3: Make sure your site has a map for robots to follow. A site map gives instructions to search engine robots about where to find pages of your site that it might not find on its own. As a rule, spiders crawl the main pages of a site but can miss subpages.

Good luck and call web pro help. We’re here to help!

 

Website Management: Writing Content for SEO

picture of eyeglass

Why hire a professional website managment company to manage your content?
By Lori Bratz
webprohelp.com

You have a website that looks exactly like you want it to look, it contains all the necessary information about your business and it has some flash and some other cool elements. Congratulations are in order – until your competitor builds a website that has the fresh content that search engines crave, and they eat your celebration lunch.

You have what I like to call A Business Card website. It’s only useful to you and the people who already know about your business. A business card website is FINE if you are already very busy and can’t handle more customers, or if you simply want a place for your existing customers to find information about your business. But, if you want to get the attention of the Googles and Bings and Yahoos of the world, and be listed on the first page as an actual information resource, then you need to get WRITING!

Nothing tastes more delicious and keeps a spiderbot coming back to feast on MORE OF YOUR WEBSITE than fresh, hot, relevant content, served up piping hot each and every day. Mmmm, MMMM! :::robot voice::: Yum. This. Is. Delicious. :]

Goal? Feed those spiderbots or your website will sink into the mire of Google’s search results.

Clearly the answer is for you to sit at your desk all day long and write articles about your industry, your business, your target demographic and keep posting them to your website. Make sure you put the correct heading, subheading and meta tags on each article and organize your site in a heirarchy of related content.

Lucky thing you don’t have a BUSINESS to run.

Oh wait, you DO have a business to run. THAT is why you hire a website management company that specializes in writing good, effective website content. Good content writers do NOT have to have YOUR level of expertise to write content for you. Professional content writers do research on your industry, they talk with YOU to find out what message you’d like to put out, they learn about the latest news affecting your industry, and they produce good, solid content that feeds those search engines and keeps YOUR business on top of the organic search results! And THAT is delicious!

Website Management and Website Maintenance: Visual Review of Your Site

Daily website maintenance is a key part of website management
by Lori Bratz
webprohelp.com

picture of maintenanceNow that you have your website, you must take care of it. Proper website management includes a simple daily check of your files and file structure by simply opening your site directories and taking a look inside.

Specifically, you’re looking for script files (primarily php files) that hackers can install easily once they get access to your main hosting server. Those sneaky little buggers redirect traffic to their web servers and to their client’s sites. Nasty. Nasty. The occasion of hackers just breaking your site for fun is rare. It’s all about stealing your traffic.

So, go ahead and open your files and take a look. I like to use a file management tool because it gives me a nice visual way to check my files each day. My personal favorite is FileZilla. What is FileZilla? To quote Wikipedia: “FileZilla is free, open source, cross-platform FTP software, consisting of FileZilla Client and FileZilla Server. Binaries are available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. It supports FTP, SFTP, and FTPS (FTP over SSL/TLS). As of 18 April 2011, FileZilla Client was the 7th most popular download of all time from SourceForge.net.[1] FileZilla is free and you can download it here.

  1. Launch your FileZilla software
  2. Log into your site. You will need your site name (or your site IP address if Godaddy is your host), your FTP username & password. Set the port to 21, or just leave it blank.
  3. Physically view each directory for any new files.
    1. The date on the files will likely flag suspicious activity. If you check each day then you should be able to see with your eyes if there is a new file in one of your directories by simply noticing that there is a lone file with a date that is different from all the other dates.
    2. Most likely, it will have a very silly name, as well, like johnfranklin dot php.
    3. Be sure to check your image directories.
  4. Check your htaccess file! The nastiest of hijacking files are hiding in your htaccess files. Unhide those and peek inside. If you are not the administrator on your server you’ll need to contact the sys admin to get help with this. You don’t go into your htaccess file often, possibly ever unless you have password protected one or more directories.

So there you have it. You can use a script to check your files, but if you’re a small business with one site and you aren’t a techspert, taking a look with your eyes is a simple way to check your site. And if you do it often, it’s not much of a chore at all.

 

 

 

 

 

Announcing WordPress Wednesday! The Next Best Thing to Doing it Yourself!

WordPress Wednesday is an excellent opportunity for small businesses to get an affordable, scalable website
By Lori Bratz
WebProHelp.com

Welcome to the first ever WORDPRESS WEDNESDAY at WebProHelp! This is an excellent opportunity for small businesses to get a WordPress website set up for just $250. We set up the infrastructure, the basic content, and we give you an easy-to-follow How-To guide so you can update your site and add content and photos whenever you want.

We’ll walk you thru these easy steps, but since it’s the next best thing to DIY, you have to do some stuff:
picture of business people meeting

    1. Call our lead account manager, Lori Bratz, who will ask you a few simple questions about your business.
    2. Go buy a domain name from Godaddy. Set the nameservers to ns1.dreamhost.com, ns2.dreamhost.com, ns3.dreamhost.com.*
    3. Buy website hosting thru our referral link at Dreamhost.
    4. Choose a WordPress theme from a library of thousands of themes for us to set up for you.
    5. Enjoy working on your website content at your leisure.

We will fill in the basic template for you, so that you have a functioning web presence and we will provide you with a simple-to-follow one-page guide on how to add articles and posts to your page.

What do you end up with? You get what we like to refer to as a “Business Card” site. It’s simple, straight-forward and easy to use. You can add content, articles, photos, etc. whenever you feel like it. You can make a huge, giant, information-rich site in your own time! But remember, you can’t customize TOO much because then it’s not The Next Best Thing to DIY. Then it’s us doing it. (Which we’re happy to do.) But not for the WordPress Wednesday deal.

That’s it! Couldn’t be easier to get your website up and running! Give Lori a call to schedule your WordPress Wednesday DIY Site!

*Our account manager will help you set your nameservers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time to Upgrade Your Frontpage Website

Time to upgrade your Frontpage website!
By Lori Bratz
WebProHelp.com

Picture of a clockIn the late 90’s and early 2000’s millions of websites were created in a program called FrontPage, which was discontinued by Microsoft in 2006.

If you were one of those people then the main worry about your website is that your hosting provider will eventually NOT support Front Page extensions (the code and configuration necessary on the web server to run a front page website) and your site will be dead.

In the fullness of time, as your hosting provider upgrades its servers and technology, they will move forward and will not support old technology.

It would be better to take care of this before it’s an emergency.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why is Your WordPress Site in Limbo?

A Sad Shame
By: Lori Bratz
WebProHelp.com

I came across this business website today and it broke my heart.  Why on earth would a business owner allow their live website to be stuck in wordpress limbo?  The only time 404 is ok on the web is if you are 9 years old and “404” is your hacker identity (ie: my kid).

I’m posting this page, but I have shrouded the “face” with appropriate emboldened X’s to respect the privacy of this business.  I WILL however say that I came across this website as I was searching a respected online journal.

There is weeping and gnashing of teeth today at WebProHelp.

 

 

A picture of a website with 404 on the index page.
A Sad Shame.