The Sky is The Limit
We build websites that work hard so businesses don’t have to.
We are the ones that can give your business a better home on the internet.
Once you are online and business is going well. We’ll make you stand out from the rest.
Incloud Design. We Build WordPress Websites
My name is Bobby C. My goal is to exceed your expectations while expanding your business.
We Use WordPress for Websites
Benefits of WordPress for Websites
WordPress started popping up around 2003 and has become the most user-friendly blogging platform on the internet. In the past five years, WordPress has also grown to be the content management system (CMS) of choice for websites. Here are our top 10 reasons why WordPress is so popular and why you might want to consider switching to a WordPress website CMS for your online business solution.
1. Ease of Use
WordPress is exceptionally easy to utilize and has a spontaneous interface. Designing new pages, blog posts, images, and such on a normal basis is a cinch and can be done fast. Because the platform is so straightforward, time spent on layouts is greatly reduced. WordPress is very similar to Microsoft Word.
2. Manage Your Website from Any Device
WordPress is user-based and very user-friendly. You can login from any Internet connected device and manage your site on the go. With responsive design this includes managing your site on mobile phones.
3. No Editing or Expensive Software Needed
WordPress is database driven software and doesn’t require HTML or CSS editing software. You can build a new page or blog post, format text, replace images, upload files, add video, media galleries, and much more. The process is relatively easy and once configured a piece of cake. And best yet, it’s all free.
4. Search Engine Optimization for WordPress Websites
The code used in WordPress is very neat and straightforward, allowing it to be easy for search engines to index your content. Along with indexing, each page, post, and element can have its own Meta tags, keywords, descriptions, and title. With plugins like Yoast SEO, adding essential needs is streamlined.
5. You Control Your Site and Control Who Uses It
No more waiting around for your web developer/designer to make simple changes to your website. With WordPress, you have complete control of virtually all aspects of your website and can easily make common changes yourself. Also, WordPress is assigned users for access and you determine the users.
6. WordPress Websites are Completely Customizable
WordPress acts as the framework for your website. The look and feel of your site can be completely customized with themes. Themes such as Divi by Elegant Themes allow for countless possibilities. From colors and typography to animations and graphics, the outcome gives your business or brand its’ name.
7. Using a Blog to Generate Traffic
WordPress was initially created as a blogging platform; blogging capabilities are integrated and easy to implement, if you choose. Email marketing through subscriptions to your blog, commenting systems, and automatically adding the most current posts throughout your website (on your homepage for instance) is very simple to set-up, and deploy. Extending your company’s online presence is easily accomplished using your blog as a portal. Integrating Social Media with your blog helps the process.
8. Extend the Functionality of Your Website Through Plugins
Want to add a payment gateway, video background, Facebook Fan Page, or possibly an employee portal or monthly schedule? WordPress makes it all possible with plugins, which most are freely available and take seconds to install. It’s safe to say that if you have an idea and it doesn’t have a plugin, it will soon.
9. Your Website Grows As Your Business Grows
WordPress websites are very universal and it is common to start small. When you first get started, you use the information you have available. In short time you will generate activity on your website and all sorts of content will arise. As this happens, you need a place to put it. So you build a page or post and give it a home. Before long your website is 1000’s of pages and posts and WordPress can handle it all.
10. Future-Proofing for Your Business
Last but not least, WordPress is the way of the future and only gets better in time. You can rest assured that developers are working daily around the clock at improving the internet. A majority of the internet and what you see is powered by WordPress. “The Sky is The Limit” and WordPress is the pilot for you.
We Use Divi for Your Framework
Divi. Beyond Imagination
With Divi, we can build just about anything. It’s the most versatile theme we have ever used and quite possibly the only theme you will ever need to use. Click the images to your right to see live Divi demos.
We Use Crucial Effective Design
Crucial Elements of Design
To help you improve your own website’s design, Business News Daily consulted experts on how to make the absolute best first impression possible on your visitors. We offer this to you as a reference.
1. Engage your audience immediately
Jessica Humphrey, a visual designer and marketing consultant of Monarch Visual, urges businesses to concentrate on audience engagement before anything else. An easy solution is creating engaging textual and visual content.
“Think about what ‘voice’ your content (should have) and think about how you can make that voice heard while still staying within your brand’s guidelines,” she said. “Finding harmony is the key to being successful. If you have a great brand but present your content in a boring way, it’s no good. If you have great and engaging content but a weak and forgettable brand, that’s no good either.”
2. Provide easy access to contact information
A good business website should drive calls and sales leads, but it can’t do that if potential customers can’t reach you, said David Brown, CEO, chairman and president of Web.com.
“Your contact information should be visible, preferably at the top of the home page so that visitors don’t have to search for a phone number or address if they want to contact the business,” Brown told Business News Daily.
Dan Veltri, co-founder and chief product officer at Weebly (a website builder and hosting service), agreed, noting that having a contact form accessible through the main navigation menu is the best strategy. Additionally, including your social links in the header and footer of your site will serve as both an attention grabber and a way to keep in touch.
3. Take advantage of SEO
A picture may be worth a thousand words, especially on a website. But that picture needs to be SEO-friendly in order for customers to find your business.
“SEO is another critical factor of website design,” Brown said. “Search engines will analyze your website from the top to bottom, left to right. Pictures will not be picked up by search engines, so be sure to include keywords that will enable your site to appear in results.”
Humphrey mentioned adding not only relevant keywords but key phrases to describe your business. For example, instead of just “shoe repair,” add “shoe repair near me.”
4. Make your website mobile optimized
As consumers increasingly use smartphones and tablets to browse the web, it’s more important than ever to make sure that your business website can smoothly transition from desktop to mobile views.
“Consumers already demand a desktop experience when browsing on a mobile device or tablet, and mobile-optimized websites will be the key ingredient to delivering on that demand,” Brown said.
5. Play it safe and invest in an expert
A bad design will cost you more in the long run if you dismiss the idea of hiring a web designer.
“There is a science to good design, and a good designer is worth the cost and will make sure to explain every part of their reasoning to you during the process so that you understand how and why things will work or won’t work,” Humphrey added.
Additional reporting by Chad Brooks and Nicole Fallon. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article. Original source: Danielle Corcione.
We Use Current SEO Techniques
A Definitive Guide to SEO
WordPress is one of the best, if not the best content management systems when it comes to SEO. That being said, spending time on your WordPress SEO might seem like a waste of time, it most definitely is not. Optimizing your site to the best practices outlined in this article will help you improve your rankings, gain more subscribers and have a better website in general.
As we take quite a holistic view on (WordPress) SEO, meaning that we think good SEO should be engrained in all aspects of your online marketing and PR, this guide covers quite a lot of ground and is, therefore, a long read. Check out the table of contents below for some quick jumping around.
Updates to this WordPress SEO article
This article has been kept up to date with the best practices for WordPress SEO since early 2008. The goal of this article is to let all the info of all the different articles we wrote about the topic, here and on other sites, fall into one big piece: the ultimate WordPress SEO tutorial.
The first versions of this article were heavily based on using a plugin called HeadSpace and a series of other plugins. We’ve since released our own Yoast SEO plugin which replaces quite a few of those. That plugin has proven so powerful that is being used on used on millions of sites, even big ones like SearchEngineLand, and The Next Web. The Yoast SEO plugin is very stable and has loads of great features. This article now assumes you’re using it.
If you’re using another SEO plugin, like All in One SEO pack or Ultimate SEO, but would like to switch and make use of our free and extremely powerful SEO plugin, we’ve written a migration guide for you. It’s a really easy process. If you’re not using an SEO plugin yet, grab our free Yoast SEO plugin and get going.
As search, SEO, and the WordPress platform evolve we will continue to keep this article up to date with best practices. Be sure to subscribe to our WordPress & SEO newsletter to receive notification when we update this article.
Table of Contents
- 2 Template optimization
- 3 Advanced WordPress SEO and duplicate content
- 4 A site structure for high rankings
- 5 Conversion optimization
- 6 Comment optimization
- 7 Off site blog SEO
- 8 Measuring results
- 9 Conclusions on WordPress SEO
1 Basic WordPress SEO
Out of the box, WordPress is a pretty well optimized system, and does a far better job at allowing every single page to be indexed than every other CMS we have used. But there are a few things you should do to make it a lot easier still to work with.
1.1.1 Permalink structure
The first thing to change is your permalink structure. You’ll find the permalink settings under Settings → Permalinks. The default permalink is ?p=<postid>, but we prefer to use either /post-name/ or /category/post-name/. For the first option, you change the setting to /%postname%/:
To include the category, you select “Custom Structure” and change the value to /%category%/%postname%/. If you previously had ?p=<postid> as your permalink WordPress will take care of all the redirects for you. This is also true if you change from /%postname%/ to /%category%/%postname%/. If you change from any other permalink structure, you might want to consult our article on changing your WordPress permalink structure and the tool that you’ll find within it.
1.1.2 WWW vs non-WWW
You need to think about what you want your site to show up as, www.example.com or simply example.com. Make sure that in your general settings, under Settings → General, the version you want to show up is properly reflected:
You will also want to set this correctly in Google Search Console. Make sure to set up your site with Google Search Console and set the preferred domain, you can find this setting under Settings → Preferred domain:
Where you can set it:
1.1.3 Stop words
The last thing you’ll want to do about your permalinks to increase your WordPress SEO, is remove so called stopwords. Words like “a”, “and”, “the” etc. As of version 1.1.6, our Yoast SEO plugin will automatically remove stop words from your slugs once you save a post, so you won’t get those ugly long URL’s when you do a sentence style post title.
This is generally not something you want to change after posts have gone live. If people have already linked to it, try to not change the permalink anymore and if you do, make sure the post is properly redirected. In most cases WordPress should redirect the old URL to the new one but if it doesn’t you need to make the redirect manually.
1.1.4 To SSL or not to SSL
In 2014, Google announced that they’d give a (admittedly minor) ranking benefit to HTTPS / SSL sites, and because of that, more and more sites have switched over to SSL. It might be a good idea for you too. If you want to move to SSL, we have an article with tips & tricks for moving to HTTPSright here.
1.2 Optimize your titles for SEO
The title, the contents of your page’s <title> tag, is one of the single most important factors for ranking in the search results. Not only is it the literal title of the tab or browser window, it’s also the first line people see in the search results, followed by the URL (or the breadcrumb) and the snippet, usually the meta description combined with a date:
On many blogs, the title for blog posts is still “Blog title » Blog Archive » Keyword rich post title” or “Blog title » Keyword rich post title”. For your WordPress blog to get the traffic it deserves, this should be the other way around, for two reasons:
- Search engines put more weight on the early words, so if your keywords are near the start of the page title you are more likely to rank well.
- People scanning result pages see the early words first. If your keywords are at the start of your listing your page is more likely to get clicked on.
For more info on how to create enticing titles for your posts, read our article on crafting good titles for SEO.
1.2.1 Controlling titles with the Yoast SEO plugin
You can control your SEO titles with our Yoast SEO plugin. There are two parts of the plugin that control these. First of all, as soon as you install & activate the plugin, you get an SEO section in your admin. Navigate to SEO → Titles & Metas and you’ll see a bunch of tabs for different types of pages on your site. For each post type and taxonomy you can set a so called Title Template (as well as meta description templates but we’ll get to those later). For posts on our site this looks like this:
There’s a bunch of variables you can use in the titles and meta description, they’re all listed and explained in the help tab on the top right of the page. Be sure to check whether the template actually works and you’re not getting a duplicate site title for instance. If this is the case, you might need to check the “Force rewrite” checkbox on the same page or follow the instructions on that page to modify your template.
For the other pages, we have the following settings:
- Categories, Tags and other taxonomies: %%term_title%% %%sep%% Archives %%page%% %%sitename%%
- Search pages: You searched for %%searchphrase%% %%sep%% %%sitename%%
- 404 pages: Page not found – Error 404 %%sep%% %%sitename%%
- Author archives: %%name%% %%sep%% Author at %%sitename%%
There are some other cool features, for instance: you can use %%cf_<custom field name>%% to use a custom field, this can be either a post custom field, sometimes known as post meta value, or a user meta value. In this particular case it’s the custom field “role” we use to store the role of a user within our company.
The %%sep%% template code gets replaced by the separator you select on the first tab:
1.2.2 Optimizing individual posts
So now that we’ve set decent templates, we can start to optimize individual posts and pages. For that we use the snippet preview added by the Yoast SEO plugin:
This preview will automatically take the values you’ve already filled in in your blog post and apply them to your template, but you can also override the title completely using the title field just below it:
The input will show a warning below it if your title is becoming too long. The title length is not a fixed amount of characters but rather limited to the length of the display in the search results.
For titles the following things are important:
- They should always contain your brand, preferably at the end, so people may recognize you in consecutive searches.
- They should always contain the keyword you think is most important for the current post or page, which we’ll call the focus keyword from now on. The focus keyword should preferably be at the beginning of the title.
- The rest of the title should entice people to click.
1.3 Optimize your descriptions
Now that we’ve got proper titles, we should start to focus on meta descriptions. The meta description can be used by search engines to show in the snippet, it’s the black piece of text shown beneath the URL. The meta description is usually only used when it contains the keyword the searcher was searching for.
Some plugins use so-called “automated descriptions”. They use the first sentence of a post to fill the meta description by default. That’s not very smart. That first sentence might be an introductory sentence which has hardly anything to do with the subject.
Thus, the only well-written description is a hand written one, and if you’re thinking of auto-generating the meta description, you might as well not do anything and let the search engine control the snippet… If you don’t use the meta description, the search engine will find the keyword searched for in your document, and automatically pick a string around that, which gives you a bolded word or two in the results page.
Auto generating a snippet is a “shortcut”, and there are no real shortcuts in (WordPress) SEO (none that work anyway).
So, use the meta description field you find in the Yoast SEO plugin to write a meta description. Make sure it entices the reader to click through and make sure that it contains the focus keyword of your post or page at least once.
You’ll notice we do not mention meta keywords. We don’t use them and neither should you, for an explanation, read this article by Joost: meta keywords and why I don’t use them.
1.4 Image optimization
An often overlooked part of WordPress SEO is how you handle your images. By doing stuff like writing good alt tags for images and thinking of how you name the files, you can get yourself a bit of extra traffic from the different image search engines. Next to that, you’re helping out your lesser able readers who check out your site in a screen reader, to make sense of what’s otherwise hidden to them.
Using the proper alt attributes for images is also something that is checked in the Page Analysis functionality of our Yoast SEO plugin. We have a longer article on Image SEO that will give you more tips to finetune this.
1.5 XML sitemaps
To tell Google and the other search engines that your site has been updated, you can use XML Sitemaps. Our Yoast SEO plugin contains an XML Sitemap module by default that you just have to enable. Go to Settings → XML Sitemaps and enable the XML sitemap (if it isn’t already on):
As soon as you hit Save, it’ll give you some options but in most cases you won’t need those. It generates an XML sitemap for all your posts, pages, custom post types and all your taxonomies like categories and tags and (if applicable) other custom taxonomies.
When you publish a new post or page, the XML sitemap is automatically submitted to Google & Bing allowing them to easily (and quickly) find your new content.
Other than most other XML sitemap plugins, this plugin doesn’t generate a static file, which is a very intensive process, especially for large sites. This means there is no “action” on publish, which slows down the publishing of the post. Instead it generates XML sitemaps as a sort of template using WordPress rewrites, which is much faster while also allowing caching plugins to cache the output.
It’s also being smart about splitting those sitemaps up into smaller bits, so Google only has to fetch one new XML “sub”-sitemap when a post is published, because the other sitemaps haven’t been changed, using the date modified options.
From an SEO perspective, it’s better than most others because it also includes the images in each post, which makes your images rank (better) in Google Image Search. It also integrates tightly with the rest of our SEO plugin, meaning that a no indexed post automatically is left out of the XML sitemap, with the option to “force” it in.
Lastly, it has a pretty complete API, allowing us and other developers to plugin extra sitemaps, which means we can do things like create our Local SEO, News SEO and Video SEO extension. These extensions respectively generate a news xml sitemap and video xml sitemap.
2 Template optimization
You’ll want to add breadcrumbs to your single posts and pages. Breadcrumbs are the links, usually above the title post, that look like “Home > Articles > WordPress SEO”. They are good for two things:
- They allow your users to easily navigate your site.
- They allow search engines to determine the structure of your site more easily.
These breadcrumbs should link back to the homepage, and the category the post is in. If the post is in multiple categories it should pick one. For that to work, adapt single.php and page.php in your theme, and use the breadcrumbs from our Yoast SEO plugin. You find the settings for the breadcrumbs in the SEO → Internal Links settings page.
Although most themes for WordPress get this right, make sure your post title is an <h1>, and nothing else. Your blog’s name should only be an <h1> on your front page, and on single, post, and category pages, it should be no more than an <h3>. Your sidebar shouldn’t be crammed with <h2>and <h3>‘s either etc.
These are easy to edit in the post.php and page.php templates. To learn more about why proper headings are important read this article on Semantic HTML and SEO and our article about the Heading Structure for your Blog (from which a lot applies to non-blog WordPress sites too).
2.3 Clean up your code
2.4 Aim for speed
A very important factor in how many pages a search engine will spider on your blog each day, is how speedy your blog loads. You can do three things to increase the speed of your WordPress.
- Optimize the template to do as small an amount of database calls as necessary. We’ve highlighted how to do this in our post about speeding up WordPress.
- Install a caching plugin. We recommend you use W3 Total Cache if you’re technically savvy or WP Super Cache if you’re not.
- W3 Total Cache works even more magic when combined with a CDN like MaxCDN. Read more about WordPress CDN stuff here.
Also, be aware that underpaying for hosting, is not wise. If you actually want to succeed with your link-bait actions, and want your blog to sustain high loads, go for a good hosting package. If you want to know more be sure to read our article about WordPress hosting.
2.5 Rethink that sidebar
Do you really need to link out to all your buddies in your blogroll site wide? Or is it perhaps wiser to just do that on your front page? Google and other search engines these days heavily discount site wide links, so you’re not really doing your friends any more favor by giving them that site wide link, nor are you helping yourself: you’re allowing your visitors to get out of your site everywhere, when you actually want them to browse around a bit.
The same goes for the search engines: on single post pages, these links aren’t necessarily related to the topic at hand, and thus aren’t helping you at all. Thus: get rid of them. There are probably more widgets like these that only make sense on the homepage, and others that you’d only want on sub pages.
Some day you will probably be able to change this from inside WordPress, right now it forces you to either use two sidebars, one on the homepage and one on sub pages, or write specific plugins.
2.6 HTML sitemaps
For some sites an HTML sitemap might be nonsense, especially when your site is really a blog, for more corporate type sites with several levels of pages an HTML Sitemap might actually be very beneficial for both users and search engines. We’ve written an article on how to create an HTML Sitemap Page Template which would be a good start to get one going for your WordPress site.
3 Advanced WordPress SEO and duplicate content
Once you’ve done all the basic stuff, you’ll find that the rest of the problems amount to one simple thing: duplicate content. Loads of it in fact. Out of the box, WordPress comes with a few different types of taxonomy:
- date based
- category based
- tag based
Next to that, it seems to think you actually need to be able to click on from page to page starting at the frontpage, way back to the first post you ever did. Last but not least, each author has his own archive too, under /author/<author-name>/, resulting in completely duplicate content on single author blogs.
In essence that means that, worst case scenario, a post is available on 5 pages outside of the single page where it should be available. We’re going to get rid of all those duplicate content pools, by still allowing them to be spidered, but not indexed, and fixing the pagination issues that come with these things.
3.1 Noindex, follow archive pages and disable some archives
Using the Yoast SEO plugin, make sure to prevent indexing (or even existence) of archive pages that do not apply for your site. You do this under SEO → Titles & Metas, where you’ll find the following options on the “Archives” tab:
The settings above are the settings for our site. As you can see, we’ve completely disabled the date based archives, as we don’t use those. Any date based link will redirect to our homepage because of this setting. We’ve left the author archives untouched, but we have set the subpages of those archives to be noindex, follow by default. So you’ll never land on page 2 of an archive on our site from the search engines (change this on SEO → Titles & Metas → Other tab):
On smaller sites it might make sense to noindex either the category or the tag structure, but in our experience noindexing those on yoast.com does little to no change at all.
There is one type of archive that is noindex,follow by default as well in the Yoast SEO plugin: the search result pages. This is a best practice from Google for which a setting is left out as you should just have that anyway.
A lot has changed in how Google handles paginated archives recently when they introduced their support for rel=”next” and rel=”prev” links. We’ve written an article about that: rel=”next” and rel=”prev” for paginated archives, which is a bit too technical to fully list here, but suffice to say our Yoast SEO plugin takes care of all the needed changes automatically.
3.2 Disable unnecessary archives
If your blog is a one author blog, or you don’t think you need author archives, use WordPress SEO to disable the author archives. Also, if you don’t think you need a date based archive: disable it as we have. Even if you’re not using these archives in your template, someone might link to them and thus break your WordPress SEO…
Thirdly, you’ll want to make sure that if a bot goes to a category page, it can reach all underlying pages without any trouble. Otherwise, if you have a lot of posts in a category, a bot might have to go back 10 pages before being able to find the link to one of your awesome earlier posts…
There’s an easy fix, in fact, there are several plugins that deal with this. Our favorite one by far is WP-PageNavi, maintained by Scribu, one of the best WordPress developers around. If you have the Genesis Theme like we do here on Yoast.com, you can just enable numeric navigation under Theme Settings → Content Archives.
In February 2009, the major search engines introduced the rel=”canonical” element. This is another utility to help fight duplicate content. WordPress has built-in support for canonical link elements on single posts and pages, but it has some slight bugs in that. It doesn’t output canonical links on any other page. With our Yoast SEO plugin activated, you automatically get canonical link elements for every page type in WordPress.
4 A site structure for high rankings
Blogs are spidered so easily due to their structure of categories, tags etc.: all articles are well linked, and usually the markup is nice and clean. However, all this comes at a price: your ranking strength is diluted. They’re diluted by one simple thing: comments.
4.1 Pages instead of posts
You’ve probably noticed by now, or you’re seeing now, that this WordPress SEO post is actually… not a post. It’s a page. Why? Well for several reasons. First of all, this article needed to be a “daughter”-page of our WordPress page, to be in the correct place on this blog. Secondly, to rank for the term [WordPress SEO], this article has to have the right keyword density. And that’s where things go wrong. Comments destroy your carefully constructed keyword density.
That’s why we decided to make our most important articles into pages. That way, you can easily update them and do a new post about what you’ve changed.
4.2 New wine in an old bottle
If a post on your blog becomes incredibly popular and starts to rank for a nice keyword, like this one did for WordPress SEO, you could do the following:
- create a new page with updated and improved content
- change the slug of the old post to post-name-original
- publish the new page under the old post’s URL, or redirect the old post’s URL to the new URL
- send an e-mail to everyone who linked to your old post that you’ve updated and improved on your old post
- wait for the links to come in, again;
- rank even higher for your desired term as you’ve now got:
- more control over the keyword density
- even more links pointing at the article
- the ability to keep updating the article as you see fit to improve on it’s content and ranking
Some among you will say: I could have 301 redirected the old post to the new one with the same effect. True. Except: you’d lose the comments on the old post, which is in our opinion a sign of disrespect to people who took the time to comment, and 301 redirects take quite a bit of time sometimes. Of course you should treat this technique with care, and not abuse it to rank other products, but we think it can be done in everyone’s benefit. For instance this article: if you came here through a social media site like Facebook, expecting an article about WordPress SEO, that’s exactly what you got!
4.3 Linking to related posts
Internal linking is incredibly important to help Google understand your site structure. You should not only show related posts under your post, but also create links in your text to other related posts. The more links a post or page gets, the more important it will be to the search engine. In Yoast SEO we now have a text link counter, if you see that one of your essential, or cornerstone articles, has very little links, you can start working on that right away.
In Yoast SEO Premium we even offer an internal linking tool that helps you find the right posts or pages to link to.
4.4 Go easy on the tags
One of the most common issues we encounter on sites is the overuse of tags. Note that a tag in and of itself does not improve your SEO. The only way it improves your SEO is by relating one piece of content to another, and more specifically a group of posts to each other.
5 Conversion optimization
Get those readers to subscribe!
A lot of bloggers still think that because their blog is a blog, they don’t have to optimize anything. Wrong. To get people to link to you, they have to read your blog. And what do you think is easier: getting someone who is already visiting your blog to visit regularly and then link to your blog, or getting someone who visits your blog for the first time to link to your blog immediately? Right.
One of the things we’ve found to be very important, and more bloggers seem to have found this, is that an RSS subscribe button is very important, as is offering a way to subscribe by e-mail. We offer a weekly e-mail subscribe options, using MailChimp, and have found that people tend to click through on those the most.
Another thing to be very aware of is when people might want to subscribe to your blog. If they’ve just finished reading an article of yours, and really liked it, that would be the ideal time to reach them, right? That’s why more and more people are adding lines like this to the end of their posts: “Liked this post? Subscribe to our newsletter and get loads more!”
Another great time to get people to subscribe is when people have just commented on your blog for the first time, for which purpose we use our own comment redirect plugin. Which leads us to the next major aspect of WordPress SEO:
6 Comment optimization
Get those readers involved
Comments are one of the most important aspects of blogs. As Wikipedia states:
The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs.
Comments are not only nice because people tell you how special you are, or that you made a mistake, or whatever else they have to tell you. Most of all they’re nice, because they show engagement. And engagement is one of the most important factors of getting people to link to you: they show you they care, and they open the conversation, now all you have to do is respond, and you’re building a relationship!
6.1 How you get people to comment
The easiest way of getting people to do anything is: ask them to do it. Write in an engaging style, and then ask your blog’s readers for an opinion, their take on the story etc.
Another important things is your comment links. Is your comment link “No comments »”? Or is it “No Comments yet, your thoughts are welcome »”? Feel the difference? You can change this by opening your index.phptemplate, search for comments_popup_link() and changing the texts within that function.
6.2 Bond with your commenters
Another thing to do is thank people when they’ve commented on your weblog. Not every time, because that get’s annoying, but doing it the first time is a very good idea.
Justin Shattuck thought the same, and created the Comment Relish plugin which sends an email after someone has made his first comment, unfortunately, this plugin is no longer maintained. Another option, which is maintained and is also a bit less obtrusive / spammy, is to install our comment redirect plugin. This plugin allows you to redirect people who have made their first comment to a specific “thank you” page.
6.3 Keeping people in the conversation
Now that people have joined the conversation on your blog, you should make sure they stay in the conversation. That’s why you should install the subscribe to comments plugin, that allows people to subscribe to a comment thread just like they would in a forum, and sends them an e-mail on each new comment. This way, you can keep the conversation going, and maybe your readers will be giving you new angles for new posts.
7 Off site blog SEO
If you’ve followed all of the above WordPress SEO advice, you’ve got a big chance of becoming successful, both as a blogger and in the search engines. Now the last step sounds easy, but isn’t. Go out there, and talk to people online.
7.1 Follow your commenters
There’s been a movement on the web for a while now that’s called the “You comment – I follow“. They want you to remove the nofollow tag off of your comments to “reward” your visitors. Now we do agree, but… That get’s you a whole lot of spam once your WordPress blog turns into a well ranked blog… What we do advocate though, is that you actually follow your visitors! Go to their websites, and leave a comment on one of their articles, a good, insightful comment, so they respect you even more.
If you think that’s a lot of work, do realize that, on average, about 1% of your visitors will actually leave a comment. That’s a group of people you have to take care of!
7.2 Use Twitter
Twitter is a cool form of micro-blogging / chatting / whatever you want to call it. Almost all the “cool” people are on there, and they read their tweets more often than they read their e-mail, if you even knew how to reach them through e-mail.
To boot, if you use WordTwit or Twitter Tools, all of your posts can be announced on Twitter, which will usually get you quite a few early readers! People will feel even more happy to comment on Twitter, which might get you into an extra conversation or two.
7.3 Find related blogs, and work them
If you want to rank for certain keywords, go to Google, and see which blogs rank in the top 10 for those keywords. Read those blogs, start posting insightful comments, follow up on their posts by doing a post on your own blog and link back to them: communicate! The only way to get the links you’ll need to rank is to be a part of the community.
8 Measuring results
A good SEO campaign relies on not only implementing changes but also measuring the impact of those changes, seeing what works and doing more of that. Two great Analytics packages to measure results are Google Analytics and getClicky. Useful plugins for these analytical packages are MonsterInsights and our Clicky plugin.
You can also measure results by tracking rankings, the problem with rank tracking though is that it’s hard to determine “real” rankings because of personalized and localized search results. Really the best outcome of being great at WordPress SEO is to get more traffic.
Another great source of data is Google Search Console. One of the relatively simple tricks we always give people is the following:
- go into Search Console;
- go to “Your site on the web”, then “Search queries”.
- Click on “Download this table”.
- Open the CSV file you get in Excel.
- Replace all the instances of “<10” in the Clicks column with 9.
- Select the entire first row and click the filter button, usually the icon is a funnel:
- For the average position column, choose “greater than 5”, sort Ascending.
- Then for the “Clicks” column, sort Descending.
You now have the keywords people are finding you for in the results pages where you rank below #6 The fact that they clicked on your result proves that they found your result interesting: see if you can optimize any of those terms so you’ll rank higher than a #6 average rank: use the Page Analysis in our SEO plugin to improve the page, improve the copy, ask others to link to you, etc. Be sure to read our article about cornerstone content as well.
9 Conclusions on WordPress SEO
This guide gives you a lot of stuff you can do on your WordPress site. It goes from technical tips, to conversion tips, to content tips, to conversation tips, and a whole lot in between. There’s a catch though: if you want to rank for highly competitive terms, you’ll have to actually do most of it andcreate great and compelling content in the process.
If you want to keep updated on the latest news about WordPress, SEO and our plugins, then subscribe to our newsletter right now. You’ll get a free eBook!
You might also want to read:
Original Source: Yoast SEO
A Professional website design agency, Incloud Design is located at 52 Windsor St. Worcester, Massachusetts 01605. We offer WordPress website design, website upkeep, and CMS services. My name is Bobby C, My goal at Incloud Design is to exceed your expectations while expanding your online business. Google placement and CMS are among our specialties.
Web Design isn't work to me, it is a passion and an art. I am intrigued by all the amazing technology and capabilities available today. The internet is an information highway and a lucrative place for business. Whether you’re computer savvy or a beginner, you can manage your business website with minimal effort. At Incloud Design we are all about creative designs and customer satisfaction is our top priority. Do your business a favor and contact us.
Owner / Designer
Hi, I'm Bobby C. and I'm the guy that puts the websites together and helps you get more business. Incloud Design is not only my workm but my joy in life. Design is what I love and you will be sure that love is present in your design.
- Branding / Identity
- Website Creations
- Online SEO Service
- Customer Satisfaction
understand the process
You can rest assured that Incloud understands the process behind your design. More importantly, we understand you don't. Follow these steps to get equipped.
Getting started is easy...
So you want to build a Website, but have no idea how to get started. It can be very confusing and often overwhelming for clients. The simple truth is: It does not have to be. When you go surfing around looking for ideas and make a few calls, that could be the end. A majority of web designers thinks the world knows how to design a website and what it entails. Unfortunately, that is not true.
- Gathering Content 40%
What I Need
Gathering content is the first step in the design process.
Setting It Up
Gaining access to where your content will go is the next step.
Just be yourself...
Your website should be a reflection of yourself and your business. It is far too common for businesses to advertise without making it clear what they offer. For your Website to be successful and get great results, visitors must be able to fully understand your products and services. Just be yourself and explain what you do. We will make sure that the message is clearly stated. It is as simple as that!
- Setting Up Shop 60%
If you know a little about yourself or your business and can type (or write) a simple description, you can have a website. A basic website in most cases consists of 5 main pages for functionality, here's an idea:
- Where all your visitors get an overview of who you are and what you do. Sort of a display of what’s inside. Links from this page will direct visitors where they want to go.
- Here is where you provide information about yourself. A brief background of when you started, where it took place and how it all came together. A couple short paragraphs about you or your business. Keep it simple and be yourself, it’s just an introduction.
- Give a brief description of what you offer. You want to include the primary service or purpose that you have a website. Just let them know what it is you do. The fine details come later.
- On this page you can have a little fun. Take some of your favorite pictures of different projects or services you’ve done and put them here for visitors to see. The title can be whatever you like.
- Most important after looking through your site and getting to know who you are and what you do, is how to get in touch. You can place all your necessary contact information here: Phone Number, Location, Hours and so on. It is completely up to you what is displayed and what is not.
If you have successfully read through this short page, you can have a website. Now don’t get me wrong, this is just a start. You cannot build a house without materials. These are your materials and the foundation for a well established, successful online business or personal venture.
“The Sky is The Limit”
Initial impressions are of paramount importance on the web and the impressions your customers get are highly correlated to the design of your website. At Incloud Design we create high quality, robust, and professional websites with an unparalleled visual appeal that will drive your conversion rate while substantially increasing your business and success rate.
You will certainly have an SEO friendly site. The construction and coding of your business website will have a large impact on how search engines view it.The custom site we design for you will be very adaptable to your unique needs. When planning your new site, you will generate a feature list targeting specific functionality precisely. Prioritisation of this list of features will give us an idea of future enhancements to your site if your current budget is not sufficient to implement all of the features at the birth of your project.
Nothing frustrates a site visitor more than a site that takes a long time to load. The visitor waits 4 seconds, 5 seconds and 8 seconds later the web page is still loading! Researchers have found that if a site takes in excess of 4 seconds to load, you will likely lose one-fourth of its visitors. Sites that take more than 8 seconds to load can lose approximately 40% of viewers. When developing a WordPress website it’s important to use best practices for design and coding in order to keep your site load time to a minimum. Beyond that, our state of the art servers are the key to our success and yours. Having full control and no limitations on performance is how we remain second to none on the web.
Quite simply, we believe digital is the single, biggest medium on the planet. It requires brand new thinking to solve business, brand and marketing challenges.
Inside our walls, we've blended a passionate team of technology, creative, media and emerging experience experts. It's an unprecedented and unique combination, committed to delivering experiences that help build your business in a truly innovative, imaginative and inventive way.
You can rest assured that Incloud pays close attention to having your website look great for all handheld and portable devices available today.
Look Good No Matter Where
Whether you are just starting out in business or have been covering your area for some time, times change. The internet has essentially made paperback advertising a thing of the past. In order to stay on top today, you need to have an online presence. But that alone is not enough and must be handled correctly. Having your website accessible across the world is of no use if it is not legible across all of today's handheld devices.
Incloud Design takes responsive design as an utmost priority and considers every portion of our design to be focused on just that. Proper design and function is extremely important to the results you receive and ultimately your success in business.
Flat Out Perfection
We have a large assortment of premade layouts to get you started with a homepage, a portfolio, an eCommerce Storefront, and much more! Check out our entire website to preview a few of these premade layouts. We’ve even prepared layout packs along the way for portfolios and business focused websites. After you've browsed the selection on our website, feel free to contact us for more options.
"The Sky is The Limit"
Plans and Pricing
Take a look at our pricing plans and get what you need to be an industry leader.
WordPress Website Design
- Your WordPress Website design can contain any kind of content and is usually managed by a single individual who can choose whatever information they would like to put online. We include 5 pages plus a working contact form is also included in this economical package.
Business WebsiteBest Value
This package provides your business with an online brochure and is a great way to advertise on the web. Included in this design is 5 pages plus contact form along with any logo design and other graphics to establish a business identity. + Basic SEO with Google.
Bonus Deal: 20% OFF
- When selling online products, this is the package for you. Up to 8 pages, contact form and a Woocommerce storefront capable of tracking your inventory, shipping, invoices and many common business solutions available today. + Advanced SEO with Google.
Get a Rough Estimate for Pricing in 2018?
What’s the bottom line?
If you run a business, you need a website. You already have one? Is it still relevant? Or have you moved on? Is it mobile-friendly? Website styles change every few months with added functionality and security. Technology moves in dog years.
5 years ago, back in the Online Dark Ages
Ah, the heady days of 2010. While you were still driving that beat up 99 Corolla, the iPad was invented. Phones stopped flipping and now everyone at the petrol station has a digital FitBit. That’s Web Years. By the time you find out about a new technology, a better one is released just a few minutes later. I reckon 2009 was the last year you could get away with having no website at all. Spend your money on Yellow Pages advertising or letter-drop flyers and wait next to your landline. You didn't notice those changes, did you? Perhaps your website has been hacked because the last time you updated it was 2012. Yesterday, right?
It’s 2018. Happy New Year!
The Yellow Pages is now great as a monitor lift for your makeshift standing desk, but nobody uses it anymore. Sorry. The print’s too small and the ads are far too expensive. You can buy a spanking new website and run a targeted Google Adwords Campaign for a fraction of the price of a one-tenth page ad in the Yellow Tome. Enough melancholy, Ed. Bottom line it, pulllease!
Price is proportional to the number of employees
But you already knew that, right?
Read on, my impatient friend . . .
Technological naivety will blow your budget. The more homework you do (reading this article is a good start) the less cash you will end up parting with. The difference between what you know about web design and web development and what a developer, designer, web firm or creative studio charges you is proportional. The more you know, the less you will pay. It’s a crafty salesman’s job to find out what you know and then charge accordingly. We’re all faking it ’til we make it, right?
The low end of professional web design
A professionally built website, say one designed to generate leads for a small consultancy, would cost four thousand two hundred and fifty dollars (if you got us to build it). Less for a student or bedroom designer. Functionality beyond a few forms is what takes time for developers. Do you need to promote regular events? Do you need a shopping cart? Is your site a membership site where each member has their own statistics page? A stock standard website, with a form and 7 or 8 pages can cost as little as $500. But you get what you pay for. Let me repeat that to make it clear. This industry is so competitive, I can assure you that you will get exactly what you pay for. Unless the agency has a poor reputation (ask a prospective web agency or developer here on Iinet’s Whirlpool Forums if you want to save a lot of heartache. While I love building smaller sites, a bigger company will baulk at $4,000 and pass you on (usually to someone like myself) – in fact, about 30% of my work comes to me through “competing” companies (it’s good to keep enemies close). I pass larger, cumbersome (less exciting) jobs on to them in return. Although I’ll only pass it on if I believe the company is trustworthy.
The high end of professional web design
If you’re shipping beer around the world, running regular social media campaigns with streaming web video services, a customized real-time e-commerce experience, an online game and a TV ad campaign, expect to pay more. You need a branding agency, not a web developer.
The problem with the question
Asking how much your website will cost is like asking a surgeon to quote on an operation without knowing what the problem is. Figures I put on my pricing page are approximate because I have no exact idea what people want. I’d rather people fill in this form and send it through. Failing filling in exhaustive, 20 question questionnaires, a bullet-point list of must-haves and would-like-to-haves is a good thing to send a potential web development team for a quote. Getting requirements down on paper speeds web development process up a lot. Put as much as you can on paper. No web developer likes scope creep (when additional work gets thrown on top of a fixed quote) and may relegate such an albatross to the bottom of their pile. Clarity of purpose will also save you money – as developers are likely to over-estimate on a job with unknown factors.
Rephrase the question as . . .
Who will build my website?
How much you pay will largely be determined by who you choose to build your site. Each choice has its own particular advantages and disadvantages. The choices are, roughly;
- DIY website (free)
- Relative, friend or student
- Graphic or Print Company
- Freelance Web Developer
- Web Firm, Collective or Company
- Communications Company or Advertising Agency
But let’s start at the beginning – with a budget of $zero.
I’ll do it my way, thanks
I have several clients who built websites themselves but got me in to oversee, maintain and tweak things as needed. If you are on a tight (or zero) budget, great! You’re probably starting in the right place. Running your own website for a year or more will give you an idea of what’s to be done. You may even see your company change direction as you serve or sell to one particular customer more than another. In a couple of years you might give someone like me a call, but for now. Just do it. You can use a free service such as Weebly or Wix and build your own website. If you like the idea of getting your hands dirty with HTML and CSS and fancy yourself as a bit of a tinkerer, this is a great solution. Things get fiddly when you try to point your domain name to the server or set up a new form, or create custom graphics, but even I’ve updated Weebly sites for clients. It’s not hard, but it might be better with a Web Ghost looking over you. Knowing HTML with a smattering of CSS does help with layout and stylistic specifics, but if you’re not too fussy, you can build a website without having to learn even one HTML tag. You won’t be on a fast server and you will probably have to put up with a few ads, but at least you’ll have an address to put on your business card. Tweaking and fiddling by a web developer will set you back hundreds of dollars (independents charge over $100/hr. and companies in 2015 charge up to about $300/hr.) – so if you have time, a free website solution is a great idea and nothing to be sneezed at. Get an independent developer to tweak it later but save yourself quite a bit by taking on the hassle alone.
NB: If you’re the sort of person who likes to delegate and hates fiddling with computers, DO NOT get a free website. It will do more damage to your online reputation having a poorly maintained website than it will to not have one at all.
Successful FREE Sites
About 10 years ago, I found an awful-looking website run by a lady selling (what looked to me like) pieces of paper. It was an online scrapbooking company and it was a horrible looking website. She approached me to redesign the site, but when I looked into it, it turned out she was making hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. I decided not to go ahead. I didn't want the responsibility of chasing away loyal customers (who perceived that they were getting great value for money) with a flashy website. Who knows what part – the design, sluggish server speed or clunky navigation – played when it came to her customer loyalties and preferences? If it works, leave it alone. In my experience, anyone who has gone through the trouble of setting up their own website understands what it is I actually do for them. My favorite clients are always the ones who have run a website and (usually) know a bit of code. They understand my complex world. If a company (or even a not-for-profit) already has a website, I’m happy to redesign it. It’s pretty clear to me when I see a website what the issues are.
FREE website creation online
Below is a list places where you can set up websites for free. I’d try the Google Business option first because I know it will instantly help with SEO and Google Search. You will need a Google Account (a Gmail address means you have one) to get started.
As long as you keep content up to date on a regular basis, there’s no reason why a Google, Weebly or Wix website can’t successfully compete with a more expensive, custom-built site in terms of search engine ranking and trust.
Google rewards websites which are a going concern, and that means content. Content is King now more than ever. It’s a simple matter of putting in the effort. Updating your site with a blog post, new product or even a (relevant) funny video you found on YouTube. The idea of writing a blog post stops people in their tracks. Remember what your English teacher used to say about your writing? Well, he was wrong. most people are great writers. they just don’t have the confidence. And that’s where I come in. Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair! :)
2 articles I wrote for a Solar Power Company in Queensland. Part of my Social Media Plan.
People buy from people. People trust people. Your website has to look and feel as if there are busy, friendly people behind it – ready to attend your every whim.
With a DIY site, you are limited to the skills you possess and the time you have at your disposal. Going with a professional web developer is a better option in terms of getting a site up that looks the part, is built on a future-proof framework, built in a timely manner (I typically take between 6 and 10 weeks depending on complexity and other work commitments) and has something of an online strategy behind it. Naturally, I’m biased. Having said that, I still believe that some experience running a DIY website will set you apart from the pack when you eventually go pro(and you will further down the line).
Your website designing nephew or friend
$1,000 – $2,500
Your nephew is studying web design at school or university. He has offered to build you a website (and broaden his portfolio, or start one). Maybe for $1,000. Perhaps you could give him money or a solid Birthday present. I’ve rebuilt several nephew sites. The nephew moves on, loses interest, changes career or just bails. My clients fall into one of two groups.
- Those who were paying too much and then defect to Geoffrey Multimedia or
- Those who built their own sites, understood the effort and sweat involved, gave up and thought, "I’ll get Ed at Geoffrey to worry about all this.”
The only drawback with a nephew (or friend) is reliability.
- Will that person finish the job?
- Are they trustworthy?
Some people are naturally very reliable. Some. Maybe 5%. I used to be part of the great 95% until I started working on this particular aspect of my personality. As is so often the case, a nephew, friend or student will probably move on to bigger and better things once real jobs come in. If your site was built for free, watch for these sticking points;
- Your designer gets paying clients and your site is demoted to backburner status (or worse – “albatross” status).
- Your website may not be maintained properly (opening the door to hackers and crashes)
- Your website lacks security (again, leading to hacks and crashes)
- Your website may be forgotten
- Your nephew changes career (web design was too boring, he now wants to be a pilot)
Having said all this – if you factor in the usual Murphy-like catastrophes, it may not be a bad experiment. See how it goes and expects to pick up some of the pieces down the track. If that’s your bag – go for it. Email me when it goes belly up. I might be able to help. :) Some people still think that getting a website (or building an app) is a key to passive income. Nothing could be further from the truth. Those opportunities are looooong gone. It never was the case if you read about how quadrillion dollar websites get started in the first place. On this note, you might find these links interesting:
If you have experienced your own DIY website, you can graduate to a professional website build further down the track. Your experience will mean we speak the same language and I love working with people who know what I’m doing for them. They appreciate it more and I don’t get to feel like the shifty Asperger guy. I re-build mates-rates websites all the time. If your site has garnered some attention and traffic, a makeover of your existing site will be a welcome find for your loyal clients. Having any old website up there isn’t a bad idea in the short term as long as you keep it up to date and maintain the software behind it.
Freelance Web Developer
That’s me and people like me
$1,250 – $10,000 (max)
Geoffrey Multimedia falls into this category. Okay, because this is me, and because you have read this far, I’ll let you in on some of my secrets. All sites are not only updated but maintained regularly to ensure that my client sites and the software running them are up to date. I offer three professional website plans at varying prices with the ability to upgrade further down the track.
- No Frills ($1,250+)
- Small Business Site ($4,250+)
- Company Site ($6,850+)
- E-commerce Site ($8,949+)
Clients can pay outright or monthly. The plus is for the unseen or additional functionality you may require beyond the basic design / what is listed.
Websites (with a CMS) need to be maintained or they will either crash, go offline, get hacked or eventually cripple a server with unchecked security issues. I’m not fear-mongering or exaggerating here. Security is big these days. As part of what I do, I add, maintain and tweak security behind all my client websites on a monthly basis. Sometimes more often. For this, clients pay a yearly fee from between $249 and $549 (including hosting). Site security and SEO issues are 20%+ of my workload.
I also allow people to pay on a monthly basis until the full amount is paid. Prices start from $12 per month for small sites which usually take a couple of weeks to build. Naturally, you might go with another freelancer or web development company, but check the fine print first, or read the reviews and get in touch with someone on their testimonials list. I know you’ll find Geoffrey Multimedia best value for money. All websites these days need to be maintained, so make sure your host includes this somewhere. I can’t tell you how many sites I’ve rescued from oblivion because they weren’t maintained or secured correctly. Hosting is not maintenance. Hosting is 95% profit and is how most web companies stay afloat. There’s, literally, nothing to do except upsell server space for a profit. Sites I run are managed sites. They are no more than 1 month out of date at any time because I keep them that way. Okay – that’s my spiel out of the way. :) Onward...
Graphic or Print Company
These guys probably did your signage and logos
$2,500 – $7,000
Graphic and print design firms have moved into web design. But be wary. There’s a LOT more to a website than pretty pictures. Yes, you can build a website using Photoshop. I wouldn’t. I consider actual design between 10 and 20% of what I actually do when I build a site. More so on more expensive sites. Security was 10% but is now closer to 20% and (ethical) SEO can take up nearly half the time on a search-engine-focussed eCommerce site. What’s under the bonnet counts for a lot. Just getting found is a big deal these days as there are now over 1 billion websites. Search Engine Optimization is huge. Optimizing your site so that search engines can find it (well, actually, Google) has its own set of skills. Get that wrong and nobody sees your site unless you tell them the URL. Your graphic design agency should be familiar with these terms;
- Search Engine Optimization (beyond basic tags)
- Content Management Systems (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento etc.)
- PHP, MySQL, CSS, HTML
- “The Google Dance.”*
*The Google Dance refers to Google’s Ever-changing search engine algorithms. If they don’t know what these things are (or at least some of them) you could be spending a lot of money on an invisible website. Make sure someone is coding up the design properly and not just outputting images from Photoshop using “Save as HTML” (on this note I just did a site for a guy who’d hit “Save As HTML” on a series of Word documents). Photoshop skills cover between 2% and 5% of what web design and development really are in 2017. Nice pictures and nice code are very different beasties.
You will need a Content Management System
Gone are the days of getting your web developer to update your website. You should be able to do that yourself.
No. Just . . . no. For the most part, Flash websites are 100% invisible to search engines. I avoid Flash entirely because of it. It simply doesn’t work at all on Apple devices – a huge part of the web viewing platform. I once made a cartoon for ABC TV here in Australia using Flash but I’d never build a website in Flash. Flash was born on the web but has found its home in cartoons for television and some games. That's all it's good for!
Why isn't my site showing?
Beware the cloak of Google invisibility
In short, clients who have come to me with websites built by graphic or print-oriented companies are often disappointed with how their sites have fared in search results. This is because the focus was on the layout, not the underlying code or market value of a page. I am biased, naturally. If you understand that print and web graphics are very different things with totally different requirements you’ll be okay. If your print company has a professional web developer, these differences may not be an issue. A background in advertising and graphics could even be an advantage with a real developer at the helm.
Website Company or Firm
These guys probably did your signage and logos
This option might be a good one for large companies with 20 or more employees (although I’ve done plenty of those myself). If you are into Risk Management, you have the security of dealing with a Pty. Ltd. Company. If you want a lot of very specific (custom) functionality, you will pay more than $15,000 for your website. If you want to present a unique experience you have never ever seen on another website, you will pay more again. I need not tell you that companies are in the business of making a profit (and retaining good staff). This will interfere with their charter as it often means taking on work they’d rather not. As a freelancer, my personal aim is to make a comfortable living doing what I love and serve my clients loyally. It’s my way of making the world a better place and a very different volition. Nearly half of all my clients have come to me after having bad or below-par experiences with larger web companies.
The Biggest Problem
Big clients get the most attention. Big clients pay staff wages. Small sites might mean the difference between profit and loss in a thin month, but weathering long periods of inactivity is difficult for web firms. And often that means doing horrible things like cold-calling or taking on jobs which might have been better left to little guys like me. Just on that. My site may not look so, ;) but I’m a cottage industry web developer who prides himself on solid, personal service. If I get into trouble I may call a specialist friend, but that’s becoming increasingly rare (as I learn more about this wonderful craft).
Communication Company or Ad Agency
The big end of town
$12,500+ to $250,000+
What do we get for the big money? Sometimes a lot less. Communications companies don’t build websites, they outsource to people like myself. I’ve had heaps of work from large companies in the past, but choose not to deal with them as much these days because everyone gets hurt by the final bill. And I like to be transparent about costs. Bit of gossip for you… A friend of a friend (let’s call her Maria) runs a big (local) Perth web design company. One communications company approached Maria and asked her for something quite specific. Something that her Web Company never does. So Maria put out the feelers and found a programmer (let’s call him John) who wrote the kind of functional specific code that the communications company client wanted. Maria ball-parked the job at around $30,000 – but when the programmer did it for under $10,000, Maria couldn’t go back on her word. She did very well out of the deal but felt really guilty as she’d simply outsourced the work and hadn’t added any kind of value herself. And Maria loves to do her bit. John happily did the job and was very happy with his $10K. Maria later discovered that the Communications Company had charged the client $150,000. Had the client known John in the first place, the company could have saved $140,000. Maria and the Communications Company added nothing to the project and then needed John to make all the modifications without letting the client know he even existed. I’m not John by the way – although I have certainly had this very experience working on websites for various Government Departments. These days I prefer to deal with the client directly. It’s way more interesting and I get to get out of the office more. This story isn’t unique to web design as I’m sure you know, loyal reader. :) In short, Communications Companies are more expensive, outsource all their work and use the model of buying cheap and on-selling for the profit. If you are visited by a well-dressed man or leggy blonde with a bullet list questionnaire of requirements for your website – move your wallet carefully to your front pocket. Chances are that this person will know nothing at all about web design and the sheet of notes will, most likely, be passed on. :) To be fair, Communications Companies do also look after the marketing and brand awareness of your business including; logo, colors, TV advertising, company, style-guide and other marketing aspects of your transmitted image. This holistic approach may be what your company needs. They sometimes work closely with external contractors (like myself) to create a uniform look and feel of the brand or product throughout all associated marketing materials including the website. “Brand Message” is what they are all about. I, on the other hand, have done my job when your T-shirts fly out the door. While I reject Communication Company work (because I can’t help but feel that everyone is getting ripped-off) this is actually how the web world often is. Suffice it to say, if all you need is a stock-standard website with a bit of added functionality and creative pizazz avoid Communications Companies. Their aim is to find out how much you have and then take it while giving a small percentage to the actual coder.
In my humble opinion, communications companies are a leftover idea from the heady 80s and 90s, where clients were charged $100 to hot-link text to another web page (A hot-link is an expensive way to say “link” but they are exactly the same thing. A straight “hot-link” takes about 5 seconds to code). If you want “hot links” go to a Communication Company. They use that lingo.
Online Web Development
The risky alternative
Ah, cheap, off-shore web development. You can approach an overseas company or an online website template service to have your site built if you want. Or why not just trawl through your spam folder and answer one of the thousand emails criticizing your existing website? Sure. You’d be doing the 3rd world a big favor and it will be like you have a whole company dedicated to just your one website. But, the code is awful and the distance is great. A few clients have come to me after experiencing Philippines-based or Indian web design company services. While their prices may initially look attractive, there are many hidden charges and additional extras not clearly outlined in the pitch. They get away with advertising for things that are not covered by law here in Australia and you are often left holding the baby when it comes to website support and maintenance. I know of one person who fully paid for an off-shore website which, when it was delivered, was just the first page. All the links to other pages didn’t work. “I’m afraid that will cost extra, kind Sir.” In short – DON’T DO IT.
The Last Word
I advise anyone who has a website to make sure it comes with some kind of maintenance plan because if it doesn’t, your site will get hacked or used as a spam farm and then you will need expensive support. I use open-source software which allows anybody to expand or update their website over time without having to pay me a dollar. I do charge $249pa – $549pa maintenance to clients (free hosting on a very fast server) which allows me to keep all software up-to-the-minute up to date, functioning correctly, healthy and secure from attack. If a site is attacked, I resurrect or rebuild from a recent backup. Read more about my maintenance and support plans here.
You get what you pay for
You can pay what you like for a website. Or rather, some companies will take what they can get from you. I once worked for a company that was charging $250K for websites I routinely built independently for less than $10,000. Lots of free beer and coke in that fridge I can tell you. There are too many middlemen in this industry and it pays to be aware of that. No many people actually know what they are talking about so you should ask them directly. This industry is still very new and there are almost no rules. The internet is borderless, which means that every man and his dog can set themselves up as a web designer for very little cost outlay. From where I sit, I see the web as a kind of Wild West. Everybody has a gun and there is no Sheriff yet. The websites I build are usually for small businesses with some staff. I find building really massive websites painfully boring and tend to shy away from bigger jobs which take me away from smaller, challenging, fun projects. The boss on those bigger jobs is invariably a confused board of people clinging to old ideas, each board member with a different favorite color and naturally, because we’re “living the democratic dream” everyone gets a say. Which means your website will look as if it were designed by committee. While the money is great and more regular, working on big projects feels like I’ve sold my soul and invariably I return to happily servicing smaller clients and small businesses. Take your online web presence, production, and design seriously. If you are investing other people’ money, don’t spend $2,000 on your website. Wear a suit that will give the groom a run for his money. Most potential clients will see your website once. Three seconds is a typical page browse time. You need people to stay longer than that and then come back again later. And you need to have something there for them to come back to.
Another thing worth noting is that the success of your website solely depends on YOU, not the person building your site. How much time you are able to allocate to the upkeep of your site (adding articles, news, new images and timely content)? Who will write this stuff?
I’m going out on a limb here, but it’s a good idea to treat your website as if it’s even more important than your actual business. More people could visit your site in one month than you will meet during the entire year. It essentially IS your business as far as thousands of mobile device users are concerned. You need to get your head around that. Most businesses have it the other way around. Entrepreneurs put the business first and think of the website as an after-thought. Your website can do a lot more than your physical business, but it must generate trust and you need to do that quickly
Imagine. You have less than one minute to make an impression.
Your time starts NOW
NB: This article was originally written in March 2012, Rewritten in May 2013, December 2013, April 2014, October 2014 and now August 2017. All content © Copyright Geoffrey Multimedia 2012-2015. All rights reserved. – See more at: http://geoffreymultimedia.com/how-much-is-a-website/#sthash.iAMlTAqx.dpuf
What Our Customers are Saying
A few words from our clients expressing their knowledge of owning a website by Incloud Design.
Bobby C. has worked with me for over 4 years and has taken my website to a new level. He is professional, hard-working and extremely dedicated to his work. I look forward to having him design more websites for me in the future. Thank You Bobby C!Durant Appliance Service
I like dealing with Bobby, he is easy to work with. When I have a question, I get answers soon by phone or email. I like his creativity, just look at our new website! It is clear to me that Bobby C. knows how to get the job done well. Business is going rather well now.Ideal Plumbing/Heating
My website had become stagnant and needed a complete re-design and content updating. Bobby launched into the work, expanding the re-designs for both our websites and my email marketing. Our ranking on Google and the internet is excellent now.Prana Recovery Centers
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