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An In-Depth Guide to Creating Custom Page Templates for a WordPress Websites

Introduction to WordPress Page Templates

The process of creating a website can be filled with frustration and confusion. WordPress makes this process much easier, offering one of the easiest ways to successfully create a business website, personal blog, or landing page.

WordPress is specifically designed to offer users the ability to tweak everything about their page template. These page templates are basically one way for WordPress and the template to communicate in order to display the appropriate web page layout or design.

For example, a user may wish to equip their website with a personal blog widget. This can be efficiently done by selecting the Blog prefab from the template section, and then the template data will be applied to the web page. Suddenly with the click of a button, a web page has been configured to utilize a blog template to save hours of prototyping and configuration nightmares.

Step 1 – Creating Custom Page Templates (The WordPress Template File)

In order to successfully get started in customizing WordPress page templates, it is best to start with finding a text editor that is easy to use. This can be Notepad, Wordpad, or some other standard text editor that allows you to easily save and load documents with.

Once you have selected a text editing software, you should create the template file by creating a new text file, adding the following line of code…

<?php /* Template Name: TEMPLATE_NAME_GOES_HERE */ ?>

Replace the TEMPLATE_NAME_GOES_HERE with the name of your web page template. You can then save the template file. The file extension has to end with .php in order for WordPress to recognize the template file.

Step 2 – FTP Client Connection

Once you have created the template file, you will need to upload it to your website. This can be done using a popular FTP client, such as FileZilla FileZilla is a free FTP client that allows you to transfer data with ease.

Before initiating the transfer process, be sure to have logged into WordPress and established a web page. Once this is completed, you can then upload your custom website page template to your website theme.

Once the template file is uploaded, WordPress should successfully recognize the template on the template drop down menu. Select the newly uploaded template and the file should open up within the editor.

Step 3 – Editing Custom Page Templates on WordPress

There are a few different options when finally editing the web page template within the editor. The first option is to start from scratch and slowly add HTML code, PHP code, or tags to the template file. This can be tedious, and is only recommended for experienced website designers and coders.

The second option requires access to a WordPress theme. Select the theme and copy the code within the page template file provided by the WordPress theme. Paste this code into your own custom page template file and begin adding and removing contents. This is the easiest way to start editing and customizing a page template.

There are also code snippets available on the internet than can be copied into your custom page template file in order to establish web page layouts, or to present other useful widgets or tools on your web page.

Step 4 – Additional Details about Editing Page Templates

As you continue to apply new code snippets to your WordPress template, it should become easier to understand the process of customizing a web page. Each section of the template code is usually designed for a specific region of the web page. These sections can be easily managed within the page template file. Every time this file is edited, it will need to be re-uploaded through the FTP client onto the WordPress website.

You can also edit page template files directly through the WordPress page editing screen. This can allow for the ability to make quick tweaks and adjustments to the page template without having to go through the entire FTP transfer and upload process.

It is also smart to create one baseline page template that can be used with your WordPress theme, across your entire website. This baseline page should be blank so that you can copy the page template and paste its contents into a new page file whenever you are creating a new page on your website. This process will save time instead of having to start from scratch each time.

Conclusion to WordPress Page Templates

There are a number of common practices that can be recommended before starting your official WordPress website. Some of these practices have been summarized in the sections above. While this article can provide assistance in creating your WordPress page template, the truth is that only personal experience will genuinely get you comfortable when it comes to customizing web page templates.

For some users, this experience can take some time to understand. But with every minute that you spend working with WordPress page templates, you will slowly grow more comfortable with the tools that are offered in order to customize your website.

There are many tutorials and code snippets that are available as resources on the internet for free. If this article is not enough to get you started, there are plenty of other resources that can be utilized in order to get started. This article has summarized the simple process of creating, editing, and uploading a custom page template file to a WordPress website.

The best way to get experienced working with anything is through experience, and I assure you that with consistent practice, you will eventually become a master of editing custom page templates on WordPress.

BIO

In addition to being the editor at designrfix and writing about tech, web and graphic design among other subjects, I love “unplug” and be outdoors hiking and enjoying nature. If you can’t reach me, it’s probably because where I am at doesn’t have cell phone reception.

 

What To Look While Choosing WordPress Website Developer

WordPress is the world’s most popular blogging platform, and it is used by millions of people worldwide – some of them use it for professional purpose or some use it just to keep in touch with their loved ones.

Either way, it may be, WordPress is very easy to operate, it comes with an infinite of useful plugins that can enhance the user experience.

Nowadays, many professionals are creating an online presence through the WordPress. If you are the one among them, and not made any virtual presence yet, consider this piece of writing, that will enrich your knowledge of WordPress and WordPress Website Developer.

Before You Hire, Just Take a Look At What is WordPress All About?

Right from its inception in 2003 to till today, WordPress has been the perfect option for numerous web development solutions. On that note, it’s necessary for you to know its benefits.

WordPress is for everyone, whether you are planning to build highly interactive, responsive, and functional business websites, WordPress will be the right option to choose.

It will help you to build the best website and it will also add more power in presence of your website.

There are many advantages of choosing WordPress over other platforms include:

  • It is very easy to manage, as it is a browser-based platform.
  • It offers hassle-free site management with numerous plug-ins and easy-to-use interface.
  • WordPress sites are search-engine friendly websites. Because it offers simple and clean coding.
  • With WordPress CMS solutions, you will gain the opportunity to perform regular updates on your site.
  • It offers 100% customizable designs which give you a unique experience for your targeted audience.
  • One of the direct benefits to choose WordPress is its ability to scale.

WordPress modifications have limitations. To conquer these limitations, it advisable to hire a WordPress developer.

There are many reasons to hire an expert in WordPress website development. Just have look on the following reasons that make you hire a qualified website developer.

Benefits Of WordPress Developers

  • WordPress developers are people who have skills to create, alter and improve the code of an existing platform as specified by the client.
  • The creation of website does not limit the selection of color and designs, but it includes installation of widgets, web pages, and many other website solutions. Thus, to suffice all your desired need to create a website, you will require a developer.
  • With the years of experience, they work as the pro in the website creation. So the more experience your developer has, the better services you will get without a doubt. To identify an expert, better to look at his/her portfolio.
  • By looking at the portfolio, you will get a clear idea about his/her past works that will beneficial to make the best decision for your project.
  • By hiring a professional WordPress developer, you can be sure to get high-quality services for your money. While it is true that the WordPress platform is intuitive, comprehensive, and user-oriented that everybody can create a website. However, developing a professional, solid, and secured website can be a challenging task.

Concluding Note

Taking assistance of a professional developer is vital in terms of minimizing the risks that most beginner websites owners are not aware of. Thus, if you really looking for the best website developer, Kodematix is a perfect one to choose.

Besides the technical expertise, a professional WordPress developer will acquaint website owners with latest trends and practices that will enhance the visibility of the portal. So, taking help from an expert is very significant.

7 Signs You Need to Redesign Your Website

A website is the most important representation of a business online.

That’s why successful corporations like Google or Apple spend so much on testing to see how to best present themselves online.

So if you’re still using your website from the last decade, you are likely putting off a lot of people that misjudge your business simply because of how you’re represented online.

But how to know if your website needs a redesign?

Well, to make your job easier, here are seven clear signs that your website is outdated and needs to be updated as soon as possible.

Your Conversions Are Dipping

Your website has one clear purpose: bring in a steady stream of new customers.

So the best clue you can have that something needs to change is if it stops doing that.

While there can be many reasons why your conversions are dipping, the very first thing you should look at is your website.

If your traffic sources remain the same and you’re seeing a drop in the number of leads that get converted into customers, that means that your website is not able to keep up with modern internet browsing trends.

Poor UX for Mobile

Seemingly just a few years ago a website’s main audience was desktop users, but according to a report by Hitwise, more than half all search queries on Google come from mobile devices.

That means that if your website isn’t easy to browse on phones and tablets, you are likely to lose a huge share of your potential customers.

Of course, each market has different levels of mobile engagement, but checking to see how your website looks on a mobile device is still a great idea, as poor user-friendliness can be a clear sign that it might be time to upgrade.

Most businesses now turn to responsive web design solutions that seamlessly adapt to different screen sizes. So if your website still looks the same no matter what device you view it from, it’s probably time to look for a website design agency.

High Bounce Rate

Another way you can quickly tell that website is outdated is by its bounce rate – if your visitors leave your site immediately after entering it, that usually means that they didn’t have a pleasant experience browsing it.

Whether it’s because of poor user experience for mobile users or slow loading speeds, if a significant number of people leave your site as soon as they reach it, that’s bad news for your business.

Sometimes, when the reason for the problem isn’t as apparent, you might need to consult a creative design agency to identify the exact problems and make sure your website aligns perfectly with your brands and your audience.

Outdated Multimedia Software

Nothing gets under the skin of your website’s visitor more than crashing or slowly-loading Flash animations.

These have been popular among businesses that wanted to stand out online more than a decade ago, but today they are little more than a nuisance that’s contributing to the downfall of many businesses that are slower to adapt to the new trends of the internet.

Flash is quickly becoming obsolete and is being replaced by more contemporary solutions, so if you don’t want your business to look as if it still operates in 2005, get rid of Flash once and for all.

Lack of Social Media Integration

Social media is an integral part of marketing your business online.

If you’re not engaging your audience on Facebook, Twitter, and other media, you are leaving many potential prospects for your competition.

Of course, if your website is a bit outdated, it can be problematic to easily integrate social media – older static websites require programming knowledge to make even the simplest changes.

So if your business doesn’t have a Facebook page that’s integrated into your website, you should consult with a design agency about making it happen as soon as possible.

Hard to Update

Hard to Update

One of the biggest frustrations with older websites is that they are so hard to update.

You usually need to bring in an IT guy to make even the simplest changes and that can quickly add up the costs.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Most, if not all modern website platforms such as WordPress have seamless user interfaces that make updating the info on a website as easy as posting an update on Facebook.

If you’re tired of feeling like you need to be a coder to handle your current website, it’s definitely time to get rid of this hassle once and for all with a new site.

Looks Old

Finally, sometimes the best sign that a website needs a tune-up is the fact that it simply looks outdated.

While it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes a website look old, the fact remains true – it’s hard for a prospect to trust a brand that still uses a website from the last decade. Even if we look past all the technological limitations of an old website such as incompatibility with mobile devices, what might be the most important takeaway is that you want your brand to look trustworthy and reliable from the first second that you start interacting with your audience.

And that means having a website that makes an instant impression.

Author Bio:

Richard Kearsey is a digital designer at a leading digital design agency in London, specialising in digital branding and creative design services. He loves creativity and enjoys experimenting with various design techniques for both web and print. He also enjoys sharing his thoughts on Web Design Blog.

How to pick the perfect WordPress themes and plugins to boost online visibility

Your business needs a good website and a blog to showcase the content of your product or service. It is crucial for you to ensure that you have the right blogging and website platform for the above. Today WordPress is the most popular content management system that helps you to make money online. With this system, you actually can reach out to the targeted audience and generate positive returns on investments as well.

The best part of WordPress is that there are some themes and plugins you may invest in when you are looking for search engine optimization results and better traffic. WordPress is the first choice for everyone primarily because it is free and straightforward for you to use. However, if you are new to WordPress you must be educated and aware of the different kinds of WordPress themes and plugins you can use for your business. The following are some favorite themes that have been briefly described so that you may use them for your website or blog without tensions at all-

  • Genesis- This WordPress theme is very popular, and it has an extensive framework for you to add tags, posts, and categories. They are embedded in the theme, and for extra tasks, you need to install additional SEO plugins. Genesis also supports a broad range of skins that you may choose online. The skins are attractive because they are clear and images and texts can be viewed on them without hassles at all. Experts that have reviewed this theme that you can get an understanding of the SEO position of your article and there are no CSS or HTML errors on it.
  • Thesis- This WP theme is more or less like Genesis however when it comes to quality, it is not the same. Many bloggers consider it to be the best option for creating their blogs on it for the first time. However, experts have detected some admin bugs in the theme, so it is not as popular as Genesis when it comes to performance. Like Genesis, you can get some outstanding skins online that have amazing designs and colors.

What about WP plugins?

When you are looking for plugins that help you a lot with search engine optimization online, three plugins are the first choice by experts. They are –

  • WordPress SEO- Yoast: This plugin for search engine optimization is an all-time favorite of many webmasters and businesses. This plugin helps you to place descriptions, tags and meta titles in any location on your blog. The SEO option has been built in, and there is also a sitemap to your blog or website. This means you do not have to install any other plugin for sitemaps in your site or your blog. Breadcrumbs are used for navigation on a site and blog. The Yoast SEO Plugin gives you this navigation option as well.
  • External links of WP-Google recently unleashed the Google Panda and Penguin Updated a few years ago. Under these Updates, it gave the webmaster certain guidelines to be followed. If you have a blog and it has several dofollow links externally, it is at a high risk of penalization. The Panda Update will list your blog to be a spam blog. With the aid of WP external links, you can nofollow external links in your posts and articles.
  • Images that are SEO friendly- Esteemed company says that when it comes to images, they always use pictures that are SEO friendly. The company deals with business debt solutions. It helps businesses with practical business debt management and relief. They also use many images for the targeted audience who are looking for business debt solutions. The experts here say that if you want the images of your company to be visible in search engine ranks, it is important for you to use the image alt tag. This tag describes your image, and this makes it easy for SEO crawlers to read the text. These crawlers cannot read pictures and therefore cannot bring them up in search engines. However, when it comes to adding tags, it can be hard for businesses to add tags to all their pictures. With the alt tag option, you can automatically make all your pictures and images SEO friendly.

WordPress is indeed a great platform for you, and it is important for you to make your website or blog individual in every way. This is where WordPress Plugins help you. They help you to customize your website and blog. There are many WP plugins for you to choose from. You can always pick the ones that you like. These plugins add much functionality to your website, and the best part is you can insert the ones you want. The original creators have made many WP Plugins and third – parties have contributed to the collection as well. They change the appearance of your blog or website however they are simple enough to improve the functionality of your site or blog. WordPress also has guidelines for these plugins, and in the case of any issue, WP will not take responsibility for the plugins that are not created by their admin. In such a case, experts always suggest that when you are about to install WP Plugins, it is important for you to take a look at their ratings, reviews, and comments.

 

The above also holds true for WP extensions. Therefore, if you are looking for a fantastic website or blog for your business, take time and read the description of the theme or the plugin. Take a chance to go through ratings and reviews. Understand how the theme works for you and your business. In case, you are not savvy enough, hire a WP professional to evaluate your website and site and give you valuable suggestions for the same. With the help of WordPress, you effectively can get an appealing, SEO optimized website or blog that is completely customized to your individual business needs with success!

Author Bio: Evans Connor is an investment consultant and a WP expert when it comes to creating websites and blogs for businesses both small and large in the USA.

7 WordPress ‘beginner’ mistakes you should avoid

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It certainly is exciting to build a whole new website using WordPress, but what if you’re not aware of the things that could possibly ruin all your efforts? To avoid such mistakes, you first and foremost need to know what they are. By steering clear of these WordPress beginner errors, you can definitely keep away from being unduly aggravated and also save your precious time while building your website.

Managing a website

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Let’s face the facts. WordPress may be a carefully designed domain with meticulous coding involved, but it is not the simplest thing to learn, especially if you’re new at managing a blog or a website.

Besides, WordPress is solely for writing enthusiasts. How are they supposed to know what tech-settings to change and why they are important?

Most websites that use WordPress use special themes and a handful of plugins. At times, the themes include custom post types and page templates to work with, or special features such as customized enhancements and the Layers widgets. Only to make things more complex than they already are, WordPress installs some setting defaults that are not optimal for an average site set-up.

Here we will take a look at the most common glitches you can face while building a WordPress site, how to set things right, and how to avoid them in the future.

Mistake #1: Keeping the default username ‘admin’

Once you install WordPress, you will notice that it automatically creates a default ‘admin’ username and provides it with a governance concession. The word ‘default’ lures hackers to break, and in most cases, cause severe damage by gaining access to your WordPress ‘admin’ account. In many cases, hackers will take full control of your website.

You already know that keeping this default setting doesn’t make practical sense, hence, make use of the opportunity to change the name during installation. If you have already launched your website, don’t panic and google articles on best security features to implement on WordPress and you will figure out how to change your ‘admin’ user settings. Try using a combination of small/capital letters, special characters, and numbers both in the username and password.

Remember, your admin credentials should be specific and difficult to guess.

Mistake #2: Leaving admin privileges for previous authors

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WordPress, no doubt, is a great Content Management System (CMS), however, it is important to keep in mind that post authors should not be granted ‘admin’ rights. Letting an administrator manage content on your website is one of the riskiest things you could do.

Instead, you should let the admin user do exclusive, back-end work, and create an extra account that will work as the author’s. By doing so, you can protect your website from unauthorized access by using the compromised password and username. The authors can still send a message to the admin asking for approval before the posts go live.

Mistake #3: Forgetting to set ‘back ups’

What would you do if your website was hacked and the data stolen or lost? Similar to cloud computing, you would most likely create a backup of your data.

So, why -not do it while you’re creating a new website? You can easily use the free ‘WordPress Backup to Dropbox’ plugin which will keep your files safe from all types of breaches. On the other hand, you can also choose to select the two-step authentication, which will protect your data from cyber criminals.

Mistake #4: Not using permalinks

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Every WordPress installment has a permalinks option located under the ‘settings’ menu in your WordPress Admin. This is where you can customize the look of your URLs. Most of the renowned blogs and websites such as SproutSocial use a URL structure that is SEO friendly, containing the post or page title, and often times the date too. WordPress calls these ‘Pretty Permalinks’, but usually tends to default to a URL containing only your post ID. As stated by Google, the visitors on your site might be weirded out by a cryptic URL, containing odd numbers or letters, as these are often associated with corrupted websites.

Mistake #5: Using tags incorrectly

Nothing can be worse for your first few posts than publishing them into the black ‘uncategorized’ hole. Considering how your content is, as a member of a real category on a dedicated server the default place WordPress adds your posts to is not always compatible with themes of widgets that are solely dependent on it.

Categorization is one method of setting your posts up to be different from pages; the other is tags. While the former organizes your content into groups of posts, the latter relates content, regardless of category.

The blog mentioned below, for instance, has content divided into News, Tips and Opinions. Posts involved with any of these categories may talk about common subjects, but rather than ‘layers’, which is too broad, we sometimes use tags that talk about layers.

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Always make sure your posts are settled in a category. Tagging isn’t mandatory unless you want your posts to be as searchable as possible. Both WordPress and Google need one another.

Mistake #6: Mismanaging plugins

From showering your homepage with animated snowflakes to solving just about any need or desire, WordPress plugins can add the needed functionalities to a website. Not all plugins are good, however, and the biggest mistake new WordPress site owners can make is installing bad ones.

Plugins displayed on the homepage should consist of three critical elements: the star rating, the number of days since it was updated, and whether the plugin has been approved compatible with the updated version of WordPress.

In the example mentioned below, the keyword ‘newsletter’ was searched, with the results displaying two of the popular plugins first, mailpoet, and then Newsletter. Both have hundreds of thousands of users, 5-star ratings and are verified compatible with the latest version of WordPress. Contact Us, on the other hand, has 1000 users, and doesn’t seem to be actively maintained.

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So how do you make a choice? Click on ‘more details’ on any plugin to open an overlay window with information and FAQs about the specific plugin so that you can make the correct decision on which one is appropriate for your website. Things to look for are whether the plugin has any dependency on another domain and if the plugin options fits your needs.

Mistake #7: Failing to moderate comments

While developing sites for small businesses or brands, designers at times fail to provide proper training. This results in their clients not knowing how to manage their WordPress sites, and by the time they realize it, they have too much on their plate.

You can easily disable comments in the settings section, or if you choose ‘quick edit’ on the post you want to remove comments from, you will see a checkbox to disable pings. Comments can be a creative feature but a lot of monitoring goes into weeding out unoriginal/ incorrect statements for your readers.

Conclusion

Whether you manage a website or run a blog, as a beginner, you have a lot to take care of while using WordPress. Remember to keep a keen eye on your site and take care of it, so that it is worth all the effort you have put in to creating it.

The Go-to Checklist for Launching Your Website

The coding is finished, your pages are filled with content, and your website is complete. You can finally hit that “publish” button for your website to go live. But, wait. Before you hit that button, you’ll want to be absolutely certain you’ve crossed every “t” and dotted every “i”, because going live with a site that is riddled with errors and inconsistencies looks highly unprofessional.

Think about all the details behind your website. Have you double checked whether there are any broken links? Are all the hyperlinks correct? Have you labeled the pages and meta descriptions properly? Are there any spelling errors on your page? Is your contact form working?

Here are some of the most critical things to check when launching an error-free website.

Design Checklist

The design of your website is like your storefront. It showcases all your information, while allowing visitors to navigate seamlessly through the pages. Here are a few things to check when you’re reviewing the designs of your website:

  • Check for improper spacing

Sometimes, there may be awkward, inconsistent spacing after your header, between paragraphs and on either side of a bulleted list. Go through each of your pages to confirm the spacing is easy on the eyes.

  • Ensure that the website is responsive

By now, having a responsive website is a must. Check every page of your site on various devices to ensure the site adjusts properly to different screen sizes.

  • Colour, font, and image size consistency across pages and devices

You want to ensure that your page is consistent throughout all the pages. Look through each page and check that the font matches.

  • Headers, paragraphs, and lists are functioning properly

The HTML coding of your paragraphs and lists can sometimes be distorted. Go through your content to ensure these are spaced properly and have the correct paragraph style.

  • Ensure that your site loads fast

Page load speed is one of the most important factors that govern your bounce rate. Always check your pages’ performance in Google Page Speed Insights or Pingdom Speed Test to test and analyze page elements. The above tools also offer advice on what page elements you need to optimize for speed.

SEO Checklist

Making sure your website is SEO friendly is extremely important if you want your website to rank on search engines. To avoid getting punished by Google after your website launches, try some of these best practices to launch an SEO-friendly website.

  • Check for dummy content

When creating a website, many developers use dummy copy to stand-in for anything that hasn’t yet been written and finalized. Try using a Lorem Ipsum Scanner to check your pages are free of all dummy content.

  • Create an XML Sitemap

A sitemap tells search engines about the organization of your website’s content. If you want your site to get ranked, make sure you have a sitemap to improve the crawling of your website. Plugins like Yoast SEO make this super simple.

  • Proper metadata are in place

Metadata allows search engine crawlers to find information about your website. These metadata provide information and a description of the content on your page.

  • Check that all tracking codes are functioning

You might have all the codes implemented on your website, but are you sure all of these are running properly? If codes are forgotten or placed incorrectly, any conversions or visits to your website may not be tracked.

  • URL redirections

If your site is new, then you may not encounter the issue of URL redirections. However, if you’re trying to redirect old pages to a new page, it’s important that a 301 redirect is in place.

If you use WordPress, the Redirection plugin is a handy tool for this.

  • Contact information is up-to-date

To rank locally on search engines, make sure that your contact information is up-to-date. This includes your office hours, address, and phone number. The information needs to appear on your website and match your local business listings. It’s essential that in every place your information appears across the web, your information is exactly identical, down to every piece of punctuation.

Content Checklist

In addition to your website’s backend and design, review all the content on your website.  Here are a few things to look at:

  • Correct any inaccuracies

Whether it is your “about us” page, contact information, and product or service pages, ensure that all information provided is accurate. This includes the service areas of your business, product information, and most importantly, any pricing and promotions.

  • Look for spelling, grammar, or punctuation mistakes

Having great content for your website is amazing, but having improper spelling and other grammar mistakes can be off-putting for visitors. Have an editor or content specialist review your website and check for any spelling and grammar mistakes. 

  • Duplicate content

This is critical, especially if you want to rank highly on search engines. Run your website through tools like, Copyscape, to ensure that there isn’t any duplicate content.

  • Hyperlinks in content are directing to correct pages

Often times, we link to other pages to drive users through the website. Ensure that the proper web pages are hyperlinked, and that they are of relevance of the content on that page.

  • Check images and alt-text

Make sure that your alt-texts are relevant. This will help search engines to index your images.

Functionality Checklist

  • Test your forms

Your contact form, newsletter sign-up form, or any forms found on your website need to function properly. You wouldn’t want a customer to submit an inquiry that never gets to your email inbox. This can cause you to lose out on potential customers. 

  • Social sharing features are working

In a social world, having social sharing features is important. Make sure your social sharing buttons are working and the content is optimized with the correct description and title.

  • RSS links

If your website has an RSS feed, make sure it’s easily accessible by your visitors. The RSS feed is great for websites with blogs for your customers to subscribe to.

  • Thank you page is in place

After submitting a form, ensure that a message or page is in place for your customer to know that their request has been placed. A code can also be placed on your thank-you pages to track conversions and leads.

  • Third-party tools and extensions are integrated

Ensure that your CRM, e-Commerce, and any other WordPress or website extensions are working properly and aren’t affecting the functionality of your website.

Your website showcases your brand online and a poor website can affect your business. Before launching your website, go through this checklist so you can confidently hit that “Publish” button.

Author Bio:

Rebecca Hill is the Outreach Coordinator at TechWyse, a premium content marketing and SEO agency in Toronto, Canada. When she isn’t building relationships with bloggers and influencers in the marketing world, she can be seen rooting for the Toronto Blue Jays.

The 2 Essentials for Making Your WordPress Website Load Faster

If your website is slow-loading, then you’re losing visitors hand over fist.  What many website owners don’t realize is that even though WordPress has created a revolution in DIY websites, they don’t do much to prevent unsuspecting newbies from creating sites that load like it’s 1999 when we were all using dial up.

Yes, that premium WordPress theme you have looks great, but when you try to stick numerous 2 mb photos you took with your fancy new phone, you might just be bringing the whole thing to a grindingly slow halt.

Here are the two most important things you should do to lighten up your site so it loads faster.

1.  Reduce Your Image File Size

Of course one main source of website bloat has always been images.  We all want fancy, beautiful images to grace our websites, but if you’re not careful they can be the prime reason your website loads slower than most visitors are willing to wait around for.

Reducing your image file size is the first place to start, especially if you’re using a new WordPress themes which features any of the following:

  • Parallax backgrounds
  • Hero images
  • Header sliders

Also consider your blog post feature images, which can line up on your blog home page like a parade of heavy, slow buffaloes and take eons to download.

But you chose smaller sizes when you inserted those images into your post, right?  Doesn’t that reduce the image file size?  Not always.

Here’s what trips up lots of website owners…

Some WordPress themes will stick a full-size image where really all that’s called for is a tiny image.  But the image is small!  you say.  Not quite, and here’s why.

The displayed image might be tiny, but unless you’ve fixed things, when someone visitors your site, it is first loading the full-size image, then shrinking it on the spot to display it smaller.  Total waste of resources.

There are two ways to handle the image problem in WordPress.

You have a choice in how to reduce your image sizes.  You can use photo editing software (pre-upload), or you can enlist the services of a plugin (post-upload).  Personally, I prefer the first method.  Both give the same result, which is exporting your original (heavy) image into a lesser quality (lightweight) image.

But I don’t want bad quality images that look grainy!

Nope, I didn’t say you had to re-export your images into bad quality images.  I recommended “lesser quality”.  Trust me, you won’t be able to tell the difference between a quality measure of 99 and one of 80.  You’ll be cutting the weight down significantly, but not the perceived quality.

This image weighs a gargantuan 460 KBs when exported at a quality rating of 99.  If I turn the rating down to a quality of 75, I can’t really tell the difference and now the weight is down to 72.9 KBs!

For further reading on the image optimization, I recommend this article which covers everything from how to choose the right image format, downsizing the resolution, and compares different online tools and WordPress plugins currently available for reducing image file size.

Let's see how many MBs when can load on there!

Let’s see how many MBs when can load on there!

2.  Cache Your Site

Images aren’t the only things that slow down your website’s load time.  Your website can be large (because of images) or it can also be complex (because of scripts).

Another reason to cache your site.

Shared hosting will suspend your account if your website uses too many resources.  Scripts that constantly run to the database to create portions of your website aren’t necessarily bad, but once you get a lot of fancy plugins going, that’s a lot of script-grabbing taxing the database.

Plus, once you add lots of traffic to the scene, you’re really dealing with a major slowdown in load time.

JS files are now literally heavier than entire websites used to be.

Modern websites almost always have some javascript on them. For a while, that wasn’t the case, but now JS is back in full force and everybody’s using it.

The problem?  A Javascript file may literally be bigger than an entire website was 10 years ago.

Back in the day, the general rule of thumb was you weren’t supposed to use images that were more than 30-70 KBs.  You also weren’t supposed to make websites that were more than 800 pixels wide, and each page was to be no more than 100 KBs.

Now javascript files are like 100 KBs each, and sometimes there are like 5 javascripts on one page!  Plus plugins!  And plugins use javascript too, so you can imagine how ginormous fancy websites are these days.

So, what do cache plugins do, exactly?

Cache plugins will create a text version of your website.  Instead of calls to database, and having to run all the functions in the PHP script to generate the pages, it’s taking the output of all that and creates a static file of the final HTML.  Then all it needs to do is serve up that one static file whenever someone visits your site.

Cache plugins also put your site on a diet, trimming the fat in several ways to make it lighter so it loads faster.  Here are some of those ways:

  • Minify.  This means stripping the white space out of your javascript and CSS to make those files smaller.  This includes tabs, comments, spaces, and new lines in the CSS files.
  • Grouping of files.  Will combine several script files into one, making it possible to have fewer http requests.  Also does this for CSS files.
  • Packs JavaScript scripts.  

The bottom line.

Examine your photos, and cache your site, that’s really it.  To test the results of your efforts, use tools.pingdom.com or the Google Mobile-Friendly Test to see how fast your website actually loads.  Keep tweaking until you get the speed you need.