When web design goes wrong, you need to know who has your backup

I love helping non-profits,

but I don’t love having to tell a new client that their website needs waaaaay more work than we planned for.

Recently a non-profit came to me and asked for help updating their website. Their request was simple enough…fix broken links, add new photos, update some content and review their SEO. This should have been a quick, easy project – especially since the website was built in WordPress.

How long has it been since your website was updated? A website with regular posting activity is much more Google-friendly!

Once I had the log-in to their website and started making corrections, I realized nothing about this website was “standard”. Add a new picture, assign Headers, new page titles…nothing was working easily, and every page was locked up in code – and a very outdated “theme”. In this case the website backup really didn’t matter, a clean install with a new theme was the only cure.

WordPress is supposed to be easy to make changes! The goal of my client was for me to train them in WordPress so they could make minor updates to their website without calling me every time. With the coding and “special” theme created by the previous designer, there was NO WAY I could train the client to make changes – and the changes I needed to make were taking more time than it should. The “special” theme did not even allow for the use of widgets…one of the best features of wordpress.

WordPress websites should be easy to maintain and update!

And don’t forget the local backup! You need to make sure before and after major content updates to your website, a Full Backup is created and that you have access to this file in case your web designer doesn’t reply to your calls when something goes wrong with your website.

Do you own a website that you are not sure know how to access?

Do you know the name of you hosting company?

Do you know if your website is being backed up regularly?

Is your website designer responsive to your needs?

Gather that information right now, or give us a call to help you figure it out. All of our clients receive a Customized Website Handbook for their website and social media profiles. And, they know I have their backup in case something goes wrong.

Contact Appletree to get your Free Website Evaluation

Let’s have a 15-minute conversation, and see if we can get your website back on track so you can get back to business.

Top 10 Healthy Website Tips

How healthy is your website?

These healthy website tips can help keep your website running smoothly.

  1. Know your password and login for hosting/domain/wordpress. If you can’t log into wordpress, you can’t maintain your site. You should have all billing for domains and hosting in your name. It is very difficult to transfer into your name if someone else set it up and you cannot reach them.
  2. Keep your wordpress and plugin software up to date. Review your website weekly; check for broken links or anything that looks out of place.
  3. Check your analytics: crawl errors, site visitors, bounce rate, etc. each month
  4. Link your social media accounts, and when you post on social media, link back to a relevant page on your website.
  5. Size down images so they are less than 1mg, then SMUSH all your media (hint: it is a plugin).
  6. Schedule backups/store a copy outside of your computer. Don’t store backups on a thumb drive (use a real hard drive)
  7. Make notes of your most common customer questions or challenges and answer them in a blog or on your FAQ page
  8. Research your competition – how can you do it better?
  9. Add location relevant information or links to your site – are you on Google Maps
  10. Add customer testimonials on your website, or better yet, ask for a google review (have link ready, there are easy ways to collect testimonials)

Bonus Tip!

Do not ignore the email notices that your domain name or hosting are set to expire. As long as you know how to login to your accounts, see #1, it is easy to verify and confirm payment within your account. If you don’t pay, your site will be taken down!

Appletree is a GoDaddy provider. Have you thought about purchasing additional domain names to keep them from your competitors?

I have been working in the field of Graphic Design and Marketing for over 20 years. Each tip above was learned the hard way by a client when they came to me with the problem. Details matter, and problems with your website can distract you from your daily business.

Give us a call at 916-364-1582 if you are frustrated with your website. Give Appletree a chance to help you solve your problem.

Website Terminology

Are you overwhelmed thinking about creating or updating your website?

Sometimes the website terminology used by designers can overwhelm the conversation. The website terms below can help you have a better understanding of the working parts of your website.

Here are some common terms that are used when we discuss projects with clients:

Web HostingThis is the service that makes your website visible on the internet.
Domain Nameyour website address url IE: www.domainname.com
Organic SearchYour website is found by google through natural connections created through SEO and Links.
Paid SearchWhen you pay for a service (Google Adwords) to help you reach the top of the page for your search terms.
Adwords CampaignPay per click advertising.
BlogEssentially a landing page on your website that contains a continuous thread of stories (posts) that you have posted.
ContentAll the stuff on your website...text, photos, graphics.
Plug-inSpecifically for wordpress, these are "add-on" features for your website (contact form plugin, etc.)
Wordpress SoftwareThe famous "free software" that works to make website building and editing very user friendly.
Wordpress DashboardThe main page in the back-end of your website that displays all the wordpress functions happening with your website.
Load TimeHow quickly your website loads a page.
SEOSearch Engine Optimization (keywords, page titles, etc)
Home PageThe first page people see when they type in your domain name.
Landing PageA web page designed with one specific focus -- to get the prospect to contact you.
Google RankingGoogle grades your website on scale based on your website friendliness.
URLThe link-name of a specific page on your website: www.yournamehere.com/contact. Google has gotten so smart, you typically don't even need to enter www to find a website.

You are smart, you are a business owner!

Your strengths may not lie in the area of web design and that is OK. 

A lot of business owners get their website built, and then go on business as usual. Sometimes your website is not an integral part of your sales process, but you can bet your prospects are out there researching you!

Some business owners have had a bad experience with “flakey designers”. I have heard a lot of horror stories, and my best customers are the ones who gave me a chance to help after struggling through the process with someone else.

If you have a WordPress website that is not being updated regularly, you are putting your website at risk for a hacker intrusion. There are many ways for your website to be hacked, let’s not make it easy for them. If you have a special offer that is out of date, or new pictures that need to be added, it is less expensive to take care of everything at one time.

Contact Appletree to get your Free Website Evaluation

Let’s have a 15 minute conversation, and see if we can get your website back on track so you can get back to business.