What Do You Need To Know To Run A WordPress Website?

What Do You Need To Know To Run A WordPress Website?

What Do You Need To Know To Run A WordPress Website?

So you’ve found a host, downloaded and installed WordPress, and are ready to fire up your new website.

Now what?

Before you go beyond, or even get to this point, let’s talk about the other things you may need to know to run your own self-hosted WordPress website.

What is “self-hosted?”

There are essentially two types of WordPress websites; .org and .com

WordPress.com is a hosting environment that excels in hosting small, personal blogs and websites.

  • It’s FREE for a very limited version
  • Has other plans that can cost beyond basic hosting plans for the .com version
  • The free plan essentially runs updates and backups for no extra charge.
  • Ads are placed on the free websites and you don’t get the benefit. AND you can’t run your own ads
  • Custom themes aren’t allowed
  • Free sites have a wordpress.com domain name (something_something.wordpress.com)

So if you want more flexibility, you have to use a downloaded version from WordPress.org. But you’ll also need a host, some time to set everything up, and a bit of expertise in a WordPress environment.

We will talk about three categories of knowledge you will need to set up and run a WordPress website; server, programming/languages, and “other.”

Server

To set up a hosted version of WordPress you need a place for it to live… a server host. You’ll also need a domain name pointing at that server, but for now we’re assuming you’ve gotten that far. We’ll talk about domain names at a later date. Some server terms you’ll need to be fluent in are:

  • cPanel : a graphical interface on WordPress hosts that provide a place to edit email addresses, domains, files, databases and much more. If you host a WordPress site you could spend a lot of time in your cPanel.
  • WHM : another graphical interface, but this time it’s at the server level. It manages server resources, cPanel accounts, SSLs, and a TON more tweak settings.
  • FTP : FTP is a program on your computer (I’ve used Filezilla for years) that gives you quick access to the sites file structure so it’s easy to upload files & images, and manage files on the server. Much easier than logging into the cPanel and using the File Mangaer.
  • MySQL : Your database on most WordPress sites. Life’s a lot easier if you know how to navigate and manage your databases without relying on plugins to optimize your data.

Programming/Languages

This is where the fight starts. Like all websites WordPress is built on several programming languages and other code. Programmers, like all professional positions, can get a little “catty” about what’s programming and what isn’t. HTML is largely considers to be NOT programming, but I disagree.

  • HTML : DING – DING – DING! Found on the internet, so it must be true, the definition of programming is “Programming is a way to “instruct the computer to perform various tasks.” HTML fits that… loosely. But learning some basic HTML won’t hurt your chances of working on your site.
  • CSS : Font types, colors, image placement, responsive pages, content visibility – all of this is done by CSS. If you were to ask me what is important to learn to be good at WordPress, CSS would be it.
  • PHP : The core of WordPress is all built on PHP. It’s an open source, versatile language that runs a HUGE portion of the internet once ASP and ASPX became bogged down and bloated. It helps to know a little PHP.
  • JavaScript : The little secret of WordPress. You can make a lot of cool things happen with JS, but if you don’t know what you’re doing it can break a lot of things. I am fluent enough to know how to decode and edit JS, but it’s on my list of things I need to get better at.

The “Other” Category

There are a lot of other things that can help you manage your WordPress site. The items detailed below aren’t critical to a site working, but they can help optimize a site.

  • Image Optimization : The first thing I look at when someone complains about a slow site is the images. Using a 4000×2000 image when a 2000×1000 will work can decrease load times by several seconds… PER IMAGE! Tools like GIMP, Photoshop and Canva are essential.
  • CDN : data networks are another way to speed up a site by sending media to a site from a dedicated server that caches the info being requested by visitors. They are not free, but really help. BeBizzy uses Stackpath.
  • DNS : You may have to edit your DNS to manage your email, FTP traffic, subdirectories and more.
  • Email : Speaking of email, I can’t stress enough that it’s my recommendation to get your email OFF your server. Paid hosting at Google Workspace, Office365 or others works better and will keep your non-website troubleshooting down to a minimum.
  • SSL : Security certificates are a metric used by Google and other search engines to rank sites. They also ensure your site info is encrypted to visitors. Get one, whether it’s supplied by the host, or you have to purchase.

This Sounds Like A Sales Pitch

It is.

If you have the time and the expertise to run, manage, update, backup and troubleshoot your website, by all means, do it! You can save some money and put skills you already possess to use.

But, if the $3-500 annually you would spend on hosting, plus the development costs of the site is worth it in your mind to only have to report a problem and not to fix it, hire a professional.

People hire others to lay carpet, mow lawns, build decks and other aspects of life all the time. Don’t let building a website keep you from doing what you have to do in order to grow your business.

SHAMELESS PLUG – Contact BeBizzy Consulting if you are ready to get a WordPress site built and hosted!

Thanks for listening to this episode of the WP Wednesday Podcast

Do you have questions, experiences related to today’s topic? Head over to @Bebizzy on Twitter and send them there. 

Don’t forget to check out SEM Rush for all your SEO needs. Visit bebizzy.com/semrush.

And remember to subscribe to the WP Wednesday Podcast for more great tips on managing your WordPress website.

Then, click in your podcast player to subscribe and leave us a review. Then you can sit back, relax, and leave the technical stuff to us.

Tech Changes in 2020

Tech Changes in 2020

2020 Forced Lots of Technical Changes

2020 was weird. There. I said it. 

The past nine to twelve months has change the way many of you work and live. Commutes, water coolers and being interrupted by a co-worker walking around have been replaced by video meetings, garbage trucks backing up and kids needing help with their schoolwork. 

Luckily I’ve been insulated from much of this, but I feel the pain. And I also had to change due to some technical issues. So as we wind down 2020 I wanted to share some of the technical changes I’ve made as we run towards 2021. 

Technical Changes at BeBizzy Consulting in 2020

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Hardware

  • Samsung Galaxy Chromebook – replaced a dead old Samsung Chromebook and an ancient Samsung tablet with a shiny new, Intel-powered, Ferrari-red Chromebook to handle tasks outside the office.
  • Samsung Galaxy Book Flex – replaced a four-year-old desktop computer and a severely hard drive space challenged Microsoft Surface Book with a crazy-fast and powerful Samsung laptop.
  • Increased Bandwidth for Cable Connection – 300Mbps to better manage everything I do : file upload/downloads, video conferencing, VoIP phone calls,

Software

  • 17Hats – I’ve finally jumped to the powerful 17Hats business management system.
  • Microsoft Office – I’ve danced around using various apps instead of MS Office for years, but I came back.
  • Brackets – For many years I’ve used Dreamweaver to edit PHP, HTML, CSS and other files. But I didn’t want to pay for Adobe Cloud, and the old version I’ve been using was probably a decade old, so it was time to update. Brackets is a modern interface and intuitive program to edit these code files.
  • Notion – Want an amazing way to manage meeting notes, easy database tasks, projects, files, time tracking, and much, much more? Notion does this across virtually any device and platform.
  • GIMP – Like Brackets, I started using G.I.M.P because I was tired of paying for an Adobe Cloud Photoshop account. It’s the right price, FREE, and does nearly anything you had to do with PS.
  • Google Meet – Everyone is using a video conferincing app in 2020

Website Apps

  • WP Rocket – I’m a DIVI theme user, and unfortunately that means I had to sacrifice a bit of site speed for ease-of-development and functionality. WP-Rocket recovered that speed easily.
  • Google Drive Backup Space – Earlier in 2020 I ran into a server space issue that was the result of years of backups, unused files and dead sites. So I moved my UpdraftPlus backups to Amazon S3. I quickly encountered unplanned costs for bandwidth and space so I started looking for a better alternative. Google Drive was an easy to use, powerful alternative for $100 a year.
  • Dedicated File/Web Server – I started using Sync as a Dropbox alternative a year or so ago. It’s been great, but to have a complete backup of my Sync storage took up 1.5TB of hard drive space. So, I took my old desktop computer and turned it into a file server including my Sync backup. Accessible from anywhere inside my network, I can get to files without working on something direct inside the online Sync network.The goal is also to get this box set up as a development area for website in early 2021 to eliminate developing on my production server with password-protected sites.

Planned Changes for 2021

  • Moving my desk/office back into the BeBizzy Dungeon – We are shrinking down and going back into our cell where it all began. The windowless, soundless, 12×12′ office off the utility room I lovingly refer to as the BeBizzy Dungeon.
  • Video Podcasts – Going to launch the WP Wednesday Podcast on a YouTube channel. Stay tuned!
  • Two more planned podcasts – we are tentatively planning to launch two more podcasts in 2021. One featuring interviews on a variety of subjects, and one dealing with outdoors. Keep listening!

Today’s News Links

  • WP Rocket  3.8.1
    • Update to 3.8.1 removed the option “Remove jQuery Migrate” option that was causing an issue with many WordPress 5.6 websites.

Technical Changes at BeBizzy Consulting in 2020

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Sending Emails from WordPress Sites

Sending Emails from WordPress Sites

Sending Emails from WordPress Sites

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Why doesn’t WordPress send emails without any configuration?

  • The easy answer is, it does… sometimes.
  • Some hosts and website work without any editing to the WordPress install or even the plugins to send emails from forms. It’ uses the PHP Mail function.
  • But some hosts don’t have that running or it is very ineffecting in sending email, so a plugin needs to be installed to send those emails

What is SMTP?

  • The default method of sending any emails is SMTP (simple mail transfer protocol).
  • It’s a way to send email from your website to your visitors through your email provider.
    • If you don’t have a dedicated domain email provider, you an also use Gmail, Outlook and other free email providers with a little configuration.
  • The basic information to send email through SMTP is
    • The server address : will be something like smtp.gmail.com

    • The username. Often it will be the full email address to send FROM : ie – something@gmail.com

    • The password for the account

    • The protocol to use and it’s accompanying port

      • 25 – basic, unencrypted SMTP port. This sends email from the site/app directly to the email server with no protection. It’s often restricted by many email servers and ISPs.
      • 465 : Another port that was used up until recently, but it’s not recommended any longer. It uses SSL ports but is actually now used for other types of internet traffic, and can be blocked or filtered by many ISPs and email providers.
      • 587 : The recommended port to send SMTP traffic. It uses TLS encryption which will ensure the email is submitted security.

      What plugins can be used to send emails from WordPress

      • Easy WP SMTP Plugin – my default SMTP plugin. Easy to confiure, it’s free, and comes with many preconfigured hosts like Gmail, Yahoo! and Outlook. Sends a test email to any email you wish to make sure everything work.
      • Mail SMTP Gateway Plugin – Another great SMTP plugin. This one has many options and can be tough for inexpreienced users to configure the eadvanced options.
      • WP Email SMTP Plugin – Another free plugins that has all the usual options. Some of the most popular included settings are from email, from name, mailer, return path, host, port, authentication, encryption, username and password.

What are your experiences or questions about sending emails from your website? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Sending Emails from WordPress Sites

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Protecting Your WordPress Sites With Good Passwords

Protecting Your WordPress Sites With Good Passwords

WordPress Admin Security

The most obvious security issue with WordPress is your administrator account logon information. By locking that down you can protect your website content and install information. 

But there are other security measures you should implement if you really want your site to be secure. We’ll talk about those on this episode 113 of the BeBizzy Break Podcast.

Protecting Your WordPress Sites With Good Passwords

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Your WordPress Admin Account

There are several ways for a hacker to gain control of your website or server. I’m going to start with the most obvious, then give you some tips on protecting the rest of your site and social engineering opportunities

  • Admin Accounts

    • Admin Passwords – choose a good password. I assigned a tough, 16-characters admin password today which was promptly changed by the user to a weak password. The client didn’t want increased security on allowing weak passwords, so now an admin has an easy password, which would allow total access to the site and the data.
    • Delete unused accounts – I recently killed a few accounts on a site that haven’t technically been active in over five years. However, if that person had really wanted to cause an issue, it would have taken no time to change that password, log in to the site and start causing all kinds of damage. And technically, it wouldn’t have to be the person who “owned” that account, it could be hacked by virtually anyone, especially if they had email access (see below)

Other Website Security Concerns

So once you have a handle on the admin accounts in WordPress, now it’s time to take a quick audit of the other weak links

  • Your email password – This is 100% the most important password you will even use. Almost every password recovery, confirmation, and communication from other systems come through your email. If someone gets your email password, they can get almost anything else including your bank, your credit cards, your mobile phone records, Office accounts, business files… everything.

    Make your email password as secure as humanly possible, set up two-factor authentication (2FA) where possible, and guard this password with your life.

  • Password Managers – Now that I’ve made it clear your email is THE weakest link, a good password manager like LastPass is essential is managing strong, unique passwords for all of your pages. And most modern browsers allow easy use to auto-fill or provide easy copy/paste of passwords into your web apps and pages.
  • Server login – Having access to a WordPress site is good, but getting direct access to a server WHM or Cpanel is even better. You could point the site at a different location, change up some of the settings, or even just delete everything. Lock that down with a good password.
  • Registrar – Hijacking domain name isn’t new, but it is relatively easy with access to the registrar. From here DNS records can be changed, contact emails can be changed, and domains can even be cancelled/deleted. Turn on 2FA and set a good password.
  • Other technical sources for the site – Make sure logins to your CDN, WooCommerce account, plugin sources and more are all protected with great passwords and 2FA.

Passwords will usually scrub off the casual hacker, but to ensure your site’s security to those with a little more skill you may have to take some additional measures. Set good passwords, utilize 2FA when possible, and change the passwords on a regular basis. 

Update on WordPress 5.4 which was released on March 31, 2020. Some issues emerging on the editor going full screen, and favicons disappearing or affecting load time. So at this time I would advise you not to update until an incremental update is released to address some of these concerns.

Have horror stories or tips on securing your WordPress or other website? Send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Protecting Your WordPress Sites With Good Passwords

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Adding Notifications to Your WordPress Site

Adding Notifications to Your WordPress Site

Adding Notifications 

Sometimes you need to get specific information out to your customers like operation times, newsletter signups, new product lines, or even business sale or closing messages.

There are many ways to do this, and also many things to consider when you’ve decided to move forward. On today’s Episode 111 of the BeBizzy Break Podcast we talk about Adding Notifications to your WordPress Website.

Adding Notifications to Your WordPress Site

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

What To Consider Before Adding A Notification

On the surface, adding a notification to a website sounds simple. I need to tell people something, add a popup…

But given there’s so many ways to do this, and so many options, it’s important to consider a few things before you move forward.

  • How often should I present the message – most of these options have ways to limiting how often a user sees the message. The most popular are once per user session, once per day, once per week, or simply… once. How often would be managed by what the message is, the importance of the message, and the duration.
  • Should I open on all pages, or limit viewing – Does your message need to be seen by every visitor to the page, or it important only to blog viewers, or contact us visitors?
  • How intrusive should it be – Will a standard popup get the job done, or can you just have a footer notification. Or is it so important that it needs to be full-page?
  • Require User Interaction – Does the visitor need to interact with it with a Call-To-Action (CTA), or will a simple accept or close button work?
  • How long should you leave it up – In the case of the COVID outbreak, the office closures will be mostly dictated by the government, but if it’s seasonal hours, or specific instructions, make sure you have someone who knows to remove it.

Ways to Display Notifications

There are many ways to display notifications to website visitors. The most popular include : 

  • Notification Bars – These are usually stuck to the footer of a website and will stay there until acknowledged with a click to close. Uses include notification of privacy policy, a change in store/office hours, and moderately important messages. One of the more popular plugins is WPFront Notification Bar
  • Popups – You’ve seen popups for years. They are on almost every website you visit trying to get you to subscribe to newsletter, acknowledge privacy policies, and in the case of COVID-19 showing hours or other information. Use this method carefully when you determine how often it needs to be displayed, how large it is displayed, and what information is requested. There are hundreds of popup builder plugins available, find the one that fits your needs.
  • Edit Your WordPress page – If you want something a bit more permanent or embedded in your website you can just add it on your home age in a row or module. This takes a bit more work, but can be a little bit less intrusive to visitors but still be seen. 

Adding a notification to your website can be as easy as just saying you want one and picking a way to do it. But, by putting a little thought into it before you implement you can find a better, more effective way of projecting your message. 

What are your favorite ways of displaying notifications to website visitors? Send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Adding Notifications to Your WordPress Site

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Getting Inspiration For Your Website Redesign

Getting Inspiration For Your Website Redesign

Where Do You Start On A Redesign

One of the critical parts of website research is what you do, and maybe more importantly, what you do NOT like on how a website looks and works. Often clients refer to competitors when they point out these likes and dislikes, which is OK, but can force these clients into a corner.

But I would encourage you to look outside your competitors, and even your business classification for inspiration. Find a look that is user friendly, modern and gets your business and culture across to your clients.

Getting Inspiration For Your Website Redesign

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Sites To Inspire

Apart from just surfing the web looking for inspiration there are places dedicated to inspire design. Here we’re going to list five sites that can provide some layouts, functions and tones for your potential redesign.

Again, it’s important to look past the content and to see the design, the layout and even some of the plugins that can be implemented into your site when it’s time to discuss a redesign or initial launch. This can save DOZENS of hours of redesigning and tweaking layouts in the long run. Don’t forget to look at and discuss fonts, heading and text sizes, colors, image sizes, social media feeds, calendars and anything else you think you need.

#WPWednesday – WordPress 5.4 

WordPress 5.4 scheduled for launch 3/31/2020 with several “block editor” improvements. Not sure an update during these turbulent times is a good idea, but the updates include :  

  • Several “block editor” improvements
  • Social Icons block – allows easy insertion of social media profiles (FB, TW, IG)
  • Buttons block – allow adding more than one button per line
  • Better background color options for blocks
  • Drag & drop an image to the Featured Image section. Great for social sharing and blog images.
  • Select text in a block and change its color instead of changing the entire block
  • Fixed mobile toolbar on mobile

As always, run backups and take other precautions before you run the update. Good luck!

What are your favorite ways to be inspired on a website redesign? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Getting Inspiration For Your Website Redesign

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Great Website Hosting : InMotion Hosting

Great Website Hosting : InMotion Hosting

Choosing Your Website Host is Critical

There are so many pieces to a great WordPress website. The WP version, PHP, theme, plugins, images, content, videos… all contribute to the website’s performance.

But even if everything is optimized as much as possible, if your server isn’t performing, the site will still not serve as quickly as possible.

I’ve tried many server hosts in the last decade, and my favorite so far is undeniably  InMotion Hosting.

InMotion Hosting

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

A Little About InMotion Hosting

Joining me on the BeBizzy Break Podcast toay was Robert Hood, Assistant Product Line Manager for both WordPress and Dedicated Hosting.   

InMotion Hosting is a hosting company based in Virginia Beach, VA. They do have satellites in Los Angelas and Denver.

Support Is a Focus for InMotion

  • Agents are trained by agents who have been on the support floor for months, even years.
  • Agents are continuously trained to support new issues or to better handle customer requests.

Some technical info

  • All hard drives are Samsung SSDs
  • Intel-based CPUs
  • CentOS operating systems. No Windows support at this point. 
  • Redundant, secure server locations in Los Angelas and Virginia.
  • Caching – NGNIX
    • NGNIX is a proxy-cache, so the site is served from memory instead of the hard drive. 
    • NGNIX can be turned on or off.

What Are People Looking For In A Server Host

  • Price
  • Technology
  • Support – they are there 24×7, 365 days.
  • Uptime, as for most hosts is 99.9% uptime goal.
    • Dedicated staff of support people watching the server environment at all times controlling 

Hosting Types

Hosting is similar to where you live. 

  • Shared Hosting – Apartment. Communal system sharing resources like water, power, trash. You are dependent on everyone else on that server to be responsible for bandwidth and malware.
  • VPS Hosting – Townhome. Technically connected, but your own water, power, privacy, etc. Your site can still be dependent on others being responsible, but you are insulated a bit.
  • Dedicated Hosting – Private home. You have control over basically everything. You have your server resources, your bandwidth, etc.

Support Types

  • Basic Support
    • Available 24×7 – 265
    • Handles almost 95% of the issues you encouter
  • Advanced Product Support (Robert used to be the manager of this support team)
    • Junior system admins
    • Higher degree of training
    • Assigned to VPS-3000 customer or dedicated box
    • They have resources available to help, but generally an agent owns an issue from start to finish; no hand-offs.
  • Paid Support Teams
    • WTR Team – Website Transfer Team
      • Get some time with that when you spin up a new server
      • Available at later times for more transfers
  • Managed Hosting Team
    • For-hire system admins
    • Bye per-hour or subscription programs 
    • Help with setup, custom configuration, advanced issues.

My experience with InMotion Hosting has been incredible. They are competitively priced, have updated technology, and superior support. If you’re looking for a better host for your WordPress site, InMotion Hosting is my recommendation. 

Where are you hosting your website? Leave it @BeBizzy on Twitter!

InMotion Hosting

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Using Digital Marketing Methods in Your Business

Using Digital Marketing Methods in Your Business

Marketing : Traditional or Digital?

Most of us have to make some decisions on how to marketing our business. Do we rely on word of mouth and luck? Do we spend money getting print or other media created and run on traditional networks?

Or do we spend a little less on a good website, search engine optimization (SEO), Google Search Ads, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn?

Digital Marketing or Traditional Marketing?

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

What Are the Advantages of Digital Marketing?

We all know how traditional marketing works. You give your newspaper, billboard vendor, tv or radio ad company money, and they put your message on their network. Then you wait… 

Rarely do you get any accurate data back on how many people saw the ad, acted on the ad, or were just in a position to see it. You definitely don’t get accurate data on how many people made a purchase because of the ad. Digital marketing can change that.

  • Easy to track
    • Cookies
    • Google Analytics
  • Can target, and even re-target the same person after they leave
  • Pay pre impression or “click”
  • Easier to focus on a small demographic
    • Male/Female
    • Married
    • Income
    • Location
    • Marital status

Digital Marketing Methods

There are plenty of digital marketing methods available varying from simple social media posts, to elaborate re-targeting plans requiring tracking pixels, Google Analytic triggers, and much more. Here’s a list of just a few.

  • Google Paid Search
  • Google Display Ads
  • Facebook photo or video ads
  • Twitter photo or video ads
  • LinkedIn Advertising
  • YouTube preroll
  • Spotify & Pandora ads
  • Re-Targetting Ads
  • SEO
  • Local Listing sync in business registry’s
  • Google Business Listing
  • Blogging

Can you advertise digitally by myself?

YES, but like anything it’s important to know what you’re doing, just like handling your own website, social media, etc. Hiring it out can cost a little more, but if there is significant increases in success, that money is well spent!

BeBizzy consulting has experience in many of these areas, so if you need some assistance in getting started, please contact me at bebizzy.com, on Twitter @BeBizzy.com, or call 701.214.6271.

What methods do you prefer to market your business? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Digital Marketing or Traditional Marketing

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

My Favorite Apps and Plugins – Episode #100!

My Favorite Apps and Plugins – Episode #100!

We made it! Episide 100!

I’ve always hoped we would reach this milestone, but it seemed so far away. But here we are, the 100th episode of the BeBizzy Break Podcast!

On today’s podcast we will discuss the apps and plugins I use on a daily basis for general business, WordPress and podcasting. 

BeBizzy's Favorite Apps and Plugins

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Links to previous podcast posts on my favorite apps and plugins.

Favorite Applications/WP programs I use on a daily or weekly basis. You, or someone you work with or know, may find some of these very helpful. 

Keep in mind a few of these may be affiliate links… it won’t cost you any more, but I will make a few dollars off the referral, so thank you!

General Apps

WordPress

Podcasting Gear

We’re always looking for new and different plugins and applications to test and review. Have one? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

BeBizzy's Favorite Apps and Plugins

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Additional Uses for Forms On Your Website

Additional Uses for Forms On Your Website

Forms are great for gathering data

We pretty much all have forms on our websites. They are wonderful for having a formatted method of sending emails to us without allowing too much customization, loss of data, or emissions by customers.

But did you know you could also use forms for hundreds of other uses? 

On today’s BeBizzy Break Podcast we talk about a few of the ways  you can use forms in addition to email forms.

Subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

Email forms are great ways to gather required information like names, email addresses, phone numbers and the like. But a large number of other WordPress plugins allow the creation and use of other forms to greatly extend the functionality of the website, and increase the conversions.

Some of the form plugins I use on websites are Gravity Forms, Contact Form 7, Ultimate Member and more.

  • Signups – Email newsletters, mailing list, or creating a website user . The basic construction is inside WordPress, but MailChimp, Constant Contact and other newsletter systems have form builders that allow you to customize and gather the information you want.
  • Single Product Sales Form. Have something you want to sell on your website but giant tools like WooCommerce are too much? Instead, create a form that has the Purchase button built in and sell it right inside the form.
  • Gather some information prior to allowing access to digital content. Have a video, PDF, or other digital property that you would like to require some sort of field entry proir to downloading? Forms can require a field be completed, a checkbox to be clicked, or even a password to be entered before access is granted.
  • Connect to another application. Many of us have external applications like project management, time tracking, Dropbox and many others which enhance our technology. I personally use Gravity Forms to send support tickets to my Accelo system. API’s are a great way to hand off data from a form into that application, saving valuable time and again formatting the information in a way that is more usable by you and your staff.
  • Take reservations. I built a form using another Gravity Forms plugin for calendar date selection to send reservation info for a condo in Montana to the website owner. There are tons of extensions available to add functionality to the forms.
  • Booking system. I use forms for my DJ business, BeLoud Entertainment, as a booking system. It gathers a desired username, the couple’s names, contact info, date and a few other items. All of that information is now there so once I can approve the date, it transfers all of that into a booking system WordPress plugin.
  • Multi page questionnaire. Some people really frown on filling out a HUGE form, but if you just show one or two fields, then transfer that to another page with three or four more fields they will most likely comply.

These are just a few of the ways you can use forms to enhance your website. I also use forms to schedule meetings and podcast interviews. Build a quiz, gather resumes, get critical informatin via surveys, let users add data to a business directory… all are creative uses for forms on your website.

Have any questions or suggestions on using forms? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio