The world wide web is powerful, there is no denying that. It’s estimated that there are roughly 189,000,000 active websites online and that is alot of websites. More importantly how do you make your website more desirable to search engines when there is such saturated competition?
When I have orientation meetings with clients its a crucial part of the workflow to clearly objectify what they need to achieve with their website. Alot of marketing individuals don’t do a great job of explaining “achieve” to clients. Something I have learnt over the years of doing marketing, web development is to speak normal language with clients. I have a different way of doing things, I lead clients to discover their achievements during our discovery meetings. Thus they aren’t hit with “What do you want to achieve” right out of the gates and thrown down the proverbial rabbit hole.
My website does very little for my business, why would I spend money on it. We’re not an online business.
I find it counter intuitive when I hear “we are not an online business” or “not selling online” especially when a client has a website. If you have a website and are online you’re selling something either your words, products, promotions etc. It’s just understanding what you’re selling and then bundling that with business strategy that works.
48. 66% of companies use online advertising and do so through a variety of channels. The most popular are:
- Social media ads: 86%
- Display ads: 80%
- Paid search marketing: 66%
- Retargeted ads: 43%
Just because you are not an ecommerce business does NOT mean your website shouldn’t drive conversion. I have clients who are in construction industries etc who work on bid based contract proposals who generate revenue through their websites without ecommerce. I have industrial supply clients who specialize in niche markets such as drainage and grating systems who generate revenue streams from both their ecommerce & info sites. The key is how you market it and who you work with.
Something important to consider as well are things like direct traffic & organic search traffic driven by your sales, promotions and of course google SEO ranking efforts which tie into the above promotional strategies. Considering your website is online 24hrs 365 days a year a business minded individual would see this as a huge opportunity.
Consider my personal website, to portfolio or not?
The core fundamental element of a good marketer is understanding a customer and furthermore understanding what they value. In 2019 I introduced “Service Plans” to clients to alleviate high expense projects for clients and rather worked them into a business agreement which offer consistency to the service provider and lower costs with added benefits of knowledge, support and layered management. Clients wanted a platform that integrated with their websites additional to a gateway portal to login for items like invoices, files, data etc. Thus in my case a portfolio wasn’t necessarily where I should spend a great deal of time and energy rather my clients needed a more immersive experience that catered to their need of business tools.
Do you invest in your staff? Of course you do, then why wouldn’t you invest in a full time sales tool that markets your business to an infinite number of potential customers?
There are so many reasons for people to invest in web, digital and print. One very important one is consistency and branding. A consistent brand to the market means higher recall and recognition. If you repetitively have the same look, feel and messaging customers will notice. The third is security, countries with the highest web usage are unfortunately countries that pose great risk to us in regards to hacking and exposure. When I build marketing solutions for a client (in my case this includes websites) I always clearly identify and geo fence their builds in the event that they are NOT seeking global business growth. Why? Breach attempts, jeopardized files, hacks or malware come from people looking to ruin your day and as a business your website is a digital property that requires protection, attention and thought.
Updates, API’s all help keep your website well informed of potential threats. Clients pay me to ensure their websites are up to date, running security software and also coded to help mitigate these risks. Atlas, Galileo (my themes) are designed to remove potential issues of error if the user doesn’t need those functions from the WordPress core.
The four “P” of website building & why I’m a unique option for your business.
I use the four P’s of site building to help clients. Planning, Performance, Plugins and lastly Platform. These crucial elements are important when creating scalable and speed optimized websites. My clients in 2022 are running on Kinsta servers they are beyond amazing hosts. I wish I had invested the money years ago to get the kind of hosting I have now. Fast, reliable, consistent and best of all scalable.
Planning is thinking out and strategizing your web experience. During this stage is compiling old data, previous data models that work and tools that previously must be carried over to the new platform. Legacy tools are tested thoroughly in the Galileo framework then added to. This ensures performance or compatibility issues are ironed out before we introduce other code. User flows, user experience and of course data/copy and media are also introduced and planned at this stage formulated around your brand guide.
Key factors for me are consolidating my clients expenses, optimizing their experience and lessening their workloads. This means a rock solid CMS solution hosted on the most ideal framework and a powerful robust content delivery network (CDN). I also at this stage implement and setup all the marketing tools we integrate from CRM’s, live chats, slack communication modules etc.
All the plugins I spec for clients are annual expenses, this means you pay them and then they all reknew together after the build, this really helps you not only track your web expenses but plan for the annual expense. I have also been using the same group of plugins for years, they are paid but their performance and ability to tailor them to my needs is a perfect fit. If clients need additional plugins integrated thats great lets work them into the build!
Alot of clients want their websites to speak to their systems. For instance my website should feed my public slack channel, or it should post to my CRM so my sales team can follow up on qualified leads. There are so many avenues to take the important part is working with someone who can help educate you and also deploy the solutions in a timely manner.
Rank math has replaced yoast for my client builds over the past two years now and I’m very happy with the results thus far. Rank Math is quick, user friendly and not an absolute whale of code to push around by the servers.
The clients now running Rank Math have experience with Yoast and they are happier with their experience so far as alot of people tell me Yoast is “too much” or needs a degree to use. Clients I have Rank Math deployed on work with SEO experts to populate, track and tag their pages I do not do that myself but I am responsible for setting up the best most capable tool.
Why Rank Math?
- Set SEO titles/meta descriptions – create templates that automatically apply to content and manually adjust SEO titles/descriptions for individual pieces of content.
- Set social media descriptions – control text and images for Facebook and Twitter.
- Focus keyword analysis (supports multiple keywords) – enter one or more focus keywords and see how optimized your content is for those keywords.
- XML Sitemap – create a more customizable XML sitemap than the default WordPress sitemap feature allows.
- Structured data/schema – set up sitewide schema markup and also control the schema markup for individual pieces of content.
- Search Console – connect your site to Google Search Console to automatically submit sitemaps and view Search Console analytics inside your WordPress dashboard.
- Local SEO and Knowledge Graph – optimize your site for local SEO (only one location for free)
- Image SEO – improve image SEO and automatically set alt and title tags.
- Internal Link suggestions – Rank Math will suggest other content on your site to link to while you’re working in the editor.
- Breadcrumbs – add breadcrumbs to your site.
- Link Counter – count the number of internal and external links in your content.
- Redirections – create and manage 301 and 302 redirects.
- 404 Monitor – monitor your site for 404 errors. You could then redirect common 404 errors to other pages on your site.
- Google Analytics – add the tracking code and view information.
- Basic WooCommerce SEO – set product/shop titles/descriptions.
- Keyword rank tracking – track your site’s search engine rankings and keyword performance over the past 12 months (pretty unique)
- Google Trends integration
- Google Video SEO sitemap
- Google News SEO sitemap
- Multiple locations for local SEO
- More pre-defined schema types (20+)
- Google AdSense earning history
- Automatically watermark social media images
Unfortunately I don’t have before and after speed test or load data to affirmatively say that Rank Math is faster but it’s highly recommended by me at the moment. If you’re considering moving to rank math please feel free to submit that request via your client portal!
When using template building tools such as Elementor, Beaver builder etc you can build structural elements and set them to global. A global asset is something that propagates to all other areas it exists when you edit one item. I use global templates and assets as elements or items that I want to quickly and efficiently change to multiple areas on the site all at once.
Areas like headers, footers, menus, etc are places that I deploy global assets. The reason I do this is the elements exist all over the website, they are always the same and why should I waste time modifying page after page after page when I can simply edit the single global template and it will flow into all respective areas.
Why I use beaver builder?
I love beaver builder, they did not pay me to say that nor do they reimburse me for any promotion I do in regards to there product. However, very few building tools offer the control, load time speeds etc that Beaver builder does. The way that I compile my clients sites is through a custom coded/developed theme that’s designed to increase load times, remove known issues and an assortment of other things. Additional to my own code there are assortments of plugins that clients desire. To accomodate those plugins you really need to understand how, why and what’s happening behind the scenes.
Beaver themer is NOT a theme for Beaver builder (BB). It’s important to know the difference between a theme and plugins and a page builder. Beaver themer sit’s inside the BB page builder enabling you an assortment of custom options pertaining to headers, footers, archives etc.
Why don’t I just use Beaver Builder’s theme?
The honest truth is there are many reasons. The BB theme is based off Bootstrap which is great for some people. However for me this isn’t a great options as alot of the sites I build require custom solutions and I potentially might have to alter the source code or remove bootstrap, thus I stick to writing my own code.
Developing streamlined websites and scalable solutions.
In 2022 one of my main focuses will be on providing clients with extremely fast and productive websites. In the past I’ve been very focused on “cost conscious” solutions for clients however, aside from purchasing a VPN solution which is very expensive and complicated to manage there had not been great solutions.
I have recently switch my hosting services over to Kinsta. As an advocate I have become an affiliate for Kinsta as well. However let me educate you on why I decided to do so:
- nginx servers
- Google CDN and cloud services
- Privately owned and operated
- Their user interface and how they go about connecting your website
With those four points outlined let me explain each one in detail.
Why are they important? Load times. That is plain and simple, on average nginx is 2s faster on load then apache which means your TTFB or first byte to load is that much faster. One of my goals as a business owner was to speed up my clients experience and additional to that make sure they had 99.99% up time available to them. This means they can 100% rely on my business to do as advertised to meet their service needs.
Google is beyond a powerhouse, they are a huge portion of the internet and its services. From hosting to email to domains etc google has been there done that. No a days its very common to websites developed using a CDN or content delivery network. Who better to use than google? Are there cheaper options yes, but does cheap = good? Not always.
I have been running on Kinsta’s platform for a month now and I am extremely optimistic about its future and the money I’m paying for it. They hands down are not cheap, but they hands down are the most performance oriented host I’ve been with, and I’ve experienced everything from Azure to WP engine’s corporate packages.
Privately Owned & Operated
I don’t mean any shade in the following, however some companies such as Go Daddy seem to really carry their corporate culture and business operations into other purchases and ventures. A former media temple loyal customer, my most recent experiences with their services since being purchased by GoDaddy has been anything but positive. My issues?
A ton of downtime on clients websites, at least once to twice a week 500 internal errors, server issues or things unavailable. Do they lure you in with free plugins, yes. Do they have a decent UI system to let you manage your hosting needs? Yes. Do they have decent support? No. I have had 1 of 5 people on their support be decent or helpful. In general they direct you to forums or other areas which for the prices my clients pay is not what I’m looking for.
Kinsta is privately owned and operated and I hope they stay that way. Some times as the larger companies purchase these businesses they suffocate some of the unique areas that make them unique.
I have used many CMS, user interfaces for web portals from plesk, securi, cpanel etc. I like WPengine’s interface but Kinsta’s is even better then theirs. Kinsta’s portal took me minimal setup time, domain edits took effect very quickly and more impressively the caching and delivery files seemed to really kick in quickly.
My target for 2022 was to build a fast, robust user experience for my clients. A large part of my web experience is for clients to login and use my client portal to submit information, requests and work related to their service plans. When you deal with an assortment of clients ranging in sizes, there are multiple applications for this form, however one constant remains, speed. Speed is critical and I was not happy with my current host.
If you’re running just a basic info site, they were sufficient if you’re running a business online they we’re not.
Train your staff, build your own templates, create robust media rich posts and much more.
I am currently putting together a library of training materials for clients to access. The library will cover beaver builder items, SEO tools such as rank math and yoast, revolution slider, the grid plus and all of the other tools I deploy on clients websites across the various industries.
The release of this new library of items is TBD however I’m considering trickling them into the platform slowly but steadily. Alot of the videos will stem from client requests, what you want to see most so please remember to leave me improvement tips, ideas etc. This helps in not only content production but delivering you items you want.
More coming soon.