Increase Site Speed By Decreasing Image File Size

Increase Site Speed By Decreasing Image File Size

Nothing Will Speed Up Your Site Faster Than Optimizing Images

Using a tool like GTMetrix.com will point out some obvious issues with your website. More often than not image size, compression and resolutions will be at the top of the list to fix.

On our first #WPWednesday episode of the BeBizzy Break Podcast we talk about why and how you should be optimizing your images for better site load times.

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What Can Be Managed In An Image File?

Format

  • JPG – most common. Compressed using “lossy” compression, which means you lose some quality when you save the compressed file.
  • PNG – A “lossless” compression type but can be a larger file size. Works best of images using less than 16 colors (icons, logos, etc).
  • GIF – Used for small images and short animations. Images will lose quality due to this format’s limitations.
  • WebP – a fairly new image format for the web. It promises 26% smaller in size to PNG, and approximately 30% smaller than comparable JPEG images. However, WebP is not supported on all servers and browsers so your website could be displayed oddly to most users.
  • TIF – Highest quality image best used for commercial images and not used very often on the web

 Compression

  • JPG and PNG can both be compressed using various softwares. However, when you compress an image you will lose quality, so keep an eye on how that photos looks at various sizes that may appear in a responsive site before you implement.
  • Compression is a great way to decrease the file size of an image. For example :
    • 2000x1500 image recently used as a background on a website – 9MB uncompressed – 7 seconds to download on 10Mbit/s line
    • 2000x1500 at 30% compression – .20MB – close to ZERO seconds to download
    • That same 30% compression at 1000x750 size – .07MB and very little time to download

Responsive Websites

  • Sites that display differently based on the type of device and resolution automatically will sometimes need different sized images to display correctly. Unless you manually tell it what image to use the program (the WordPress theme) will determine this on its own. Keep in mind the sizes can range from a vertical smartphone screen all the way to a 50″ television.
  • For best results use a variety of image sizes, use WPMU’s Smush Pro, or look at your Google Analytics to see what types of devices are more likely to view the page.

How Can You Change File Size?

  • Photoshop – industry “standard” but can be expensive.
  • PaintShop Pro – I’ve used this software for many years. Many Photoshop features but much less expensive.
  • GIMP – GNU Image Manipulation Program – FREE open source Photoshop clone has many of the same features and it’s the best price.
  • TinyPNG – WordPress plugin that automatically compresses files on upload.
  • WPMU Smush & Smush Pro – very versatile program that compresses images and creates multiple sizes that get automatically used where needed.
  • reSmush.it – Regarded as the best image compression WordPress plugin. Limits optimization to uploads lower than 5MB in size.
  • Optimizilla – free online image compressor. You can upload up to 20 images and it will create downloads of the compressed files.
  • JPEG Optimizer – another free online app that lets you select compression values.

Make Sure Your New Images Are Displayed

  • Upload and replace the current images. I suggest deleting the originals AFTER you make sure the compressed images are quality and are working correct just to save space on your site or server. It’s always a good idea of backing them up first just in case.
  • Clear your server and browser cache to remove any memory of the old file paths.
  • Check the site at GTMetrix again and see if anything else needs to be compressed.

What Else Can I Do To Affect Image Load Times?

  • Use a CDN. Content delivery networks are servers dedicated to sending cached media to your website. They are optimized to send this data quicker than your standard web server.
  • Use a host that has SSD hard drives. I was amazed on how much quicker my website loaded when I moved to an SSD from a standard hard drive.
  • Speaking of hosts, move from a shared environment to a VPS or dedicated server. That removes you from the pool of sites on one box that are running who-knows-what and sucking up all the server’s resources.

WordPress News

Have any questions or suggestions on editing your images to make your WordPress website load faster? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile

Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile

Donna Serdula of LinkedIn-Makeover.com

Today we are featuring an interview with Donna Serdula.

Donna pioneered the concept of LinkedIn Profile optimization and is the author of LinkedIn Optimization for Dummies. Through her website, LinkedIn-Makeover.com, Donna and her team of 40 writers, help thousands of LinkedIn users strategically write their profile in order to engage with their audience and grown their brand.

So if you’re looking for some tips on building or optimizing your LinkedIn profile, listen to the podcast, then if you think there’s a need for some professional help, engage Donna and her team at LinkedIn-Makeover.com.

Enjoy the interview!

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Why Should You Be Creating A LinkedIn Profile?

Typically, something happened in your life that prompts the creation of a LinkedIn page/profile.

  • Looking for a new job
  • Graduating college
  • Start hearing rumbles of a job going away
  • Started a new business
  • Skipped over for a promotion
  • Press releases featuring you
  • Cold calling
  • You lost a big client
  • Going to a conference

Something has happened and people are now going to be looking at you. LinkedIn provides a way for you to feature information you want presented to those looking for you, your name and your company online.

It is often used as an online resume. But if you put some strategic thought into LinkedIn being your career future, not a digital resume.

People are searching for you all the time. Resumes are for your professional history, but your LinkedIn profile offers a chance to talk about you along with your company or product.

Common Errors on Your LinkedIn Profile

  • Pay attention to your profile photo – get a professional headshot. No partners, kids, annoying backdrop. Smile. No selfies! Use a resource like headshotcrew.com
  • Background Graphic – Replace the default graphic with something that illustrates your brand, your message or your company. Unsplash.com and linkedin-makeover.com has some great images.
  • LinkedIn Headline – replace the default name/company data with a custom message (120 characters) that’s a “tagline” to capture attention. That headline moves all over LinkedIn with you when you recommend someone, search results, activity and more. A better headline will result in more clicks and views. LinkedIn-Makeover.com has a LinkedIn headline generator to spit out an engaging headline that you can copy and paste into your headline.
  • Contact Information – Make sure your email address, your phone number and other information is visible. Also put it at throughout the profile at the end of the profile, at the end of job information, and just about anywhere else. There is a chance you will get some unwanted calls, but weight that against getting valid prospects or leads.
  • Summary – This is where many people copy/paste their resume. Sit down and carefully craft a 2,000 character story that includes relevant keywords, and is about what makes you different. What are you good at, what do you offer, what do you like to do? This is really a great place to work with professional writers like Donna’s company to make this work for you. Finally, don’t brag, just tell the story where a potential client or hiring manager comes away feeling good about you. Finally, keep this up to date. You never know when that new client, new project or new education will separate you.

Other LinkedIn Tips

  • Regular posting shows you are active and engaged – Even if it’s not making profile changes, sharing relevant articles or your own blog posts show you are here and it’s good content.
  • Paid vs. Free Accounts – There are advantages to premium accounts, it’s important to just start using LinkedIn. For most people the free version is more than enough, but salespeople, recruiters and others can find larger pools of prospects and candidates.
  • Building Your Following on LinkedIn – There are two types of relationships on LinkedIn. The “connection” is where you’ve invited a person to connect and they say yes. These are 1st degree connections and you can see how everyone is connected to 2nd and 3rd degree. A “follower” is where you can see what is being posted on LinkedIn. If you want to find people you should have a good, relevant sized connection network. A good rule of thumb is to make your online network reflect your offline network. Go back in time and connect with past co-workers, friends, classmates because you never know where opportunities will come from.
  • Are LinkedIn Groups Dead – LinkedIn groups are absolutely worth joining and utilizing. Group members are added to your network so strategically it makes sense to join groups. Find and join groups that are lined with your interests and industry and it will branch out your reach. And LinkedIn is revising how groups are working and things should be improving.
  • #Hashtags – Hashtags have sort of replaced groups by grouping messages and posts with a common message or theme into a searchable feed. Put hashtags in your posts and search for hashtags to find information

Setting Yourself Apart on LinkedIn

To set yourself apart on LinkedIn is looking at the platform in a strategic way. Design your images, your headline and your message in a way that answers “Why am I on LinkedIn?” New job, new clients… vanity? Figure out what success on LinkedIn looks like to you. Then figure out who is the target audience? Hiring managers, potential clients, the press? Then determine what keywords will be searched to find you? Finally, write the profile and headline towards that strategy and use those keywords.

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

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The “I Need A Website” Scam (and do you accept credit cards?)

The “I Need A Website” Scam (and do you accept credit cards?)

It’s a scam!

itsascamI received an email through my contact form today from “Carl” or “Amos.”

Hello, how are you doing today? My name is Carl Amos, I wanna know if you can handle website design for a new company and also if you do you accept credit cards ?? kindly get back to me… so i can send you the job details.Thanks Amos

Sounds good if you’re a web designer, right? Here’s a tip… it’s a scam.

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Just Like Superman 3

Back a few years ago in December 2016 I received a similar email message, except the website product was gacillia nuts.  They wanted a website, provided very few details at first, and wanted to know if I accepted credit cards.

When you respond that you do indeed accept credit cards, you get some more information. Here’s the email I received:

Thank you for your quick response. I have business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in IN and the company is based on importing and exporting of Salon Equipment such as Dryer, haircream, Weavon, Hairdressing, Clippers, i need the best of the best layout design for it. Can you handle that for me ?. so i need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible.DEMO_WEBSITE_URL_REMOVED... I have a private consultant that has the text content and logo for the site. the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate.
1. I want 10pages with the example site i gave you to check excluding videos and blogs.
2. I want only English language
3. I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as DOMAIN_NAME_REMOVED
4. you will be updating the site for me twice in a month.
5. i will be providing the images, logos and content for the site.
6. i want the site up and running before ending of 2 to 3months.
7. My budget is $6,000 to $12,000
8. Give me your personal cell phone number
9. Are you the Owner

office-space-printer-scene-amazonHere’s the flags:

  • Usually an “importer” of products, either hairdryers or gacillia nuts.
  • The scam almost always seems to be 10 pages.
  • Only English language.
  • The sample domain name they send always gets an error that it cannot find the server, even though they say in the email they would like a domain “like XXXXXX.com.”
  • Hint in one of the first emails that they already have a graphic designer or project manager that will need to be paid.

Here’s where it gets weird.

I sent a response back to CarlAmos, asking if I should build a site like this? THIS being a link to a website documenting this exact scam. CarlAmos responded with “Yes, that’s it!” and asked for an estimate.

If you pursue this little game a little further, the actual scam comes to light. The scammer, CarlAmos in this movie, has an associate who is a project manager, graphic designer, or content developer. CarlAmos will pay you whatever your estimate is, plus a little bit more via the credit card. In turn, you have to write a check to the PM/GD/CD that works for them. They won’t sign a contract, won’t fill out a 1099 as an independent contractor, nothing. Just cut them a check and keep the rest.

What happens next is how they make their money. You wrote a check to pay their contractor. That check is cashed for real money, not deposited. They will then do a chargeback on the credit card transaction, which withdraws the money from your account, you pay a chargeback fee/fine, and when you try to stop payment on the check (which has a fee associated with it), the check’s already been cashed so they have their money. You’re out the initial payment, the money in the check and the chargeback fee. That might leave a mark…

Luckily I’ve seen this movie before, might have been Superman 3, and knew it was rotten. I’m most likely going to just let this go, and then maybe send CarlAmos this link so they know I’m on to them and they can remove me from the list.

In the past when I’ve pushed them to get on a call to discuss I’ve gotten a response that they have a hearing impairment and rather than going through a relay service, it’s best to communicate via email or text. That’s B.S., they just don’t want to talk face to face and have the curtain pulled back when you can hide behind email.

too-good-to-be-trueBut here’s the reason I posted this today… if something seems a little to good to be true, it probably is. I’m a small web design firm in North Dakota. Sure, I’ve done work for companies in New York, San Diego, LA, Boston, Austin and more, but to get a guy from IN (India?) wanting a website built for him, an importer, just triggered a few warning bells.

Take a few moments to qualify your potential client. Get the company name, look everything up, including the content of the email, and see if anything weird pulls up. Sometimes it hurts to walk away from potential business, but in cases like this it’s a good decision.

UPDATE 7/2/2019 – I got a NEW variant of this scam.

Hello Sir/Madam ,

This David Serrano from Kirkland Shipping,We looking for laptop computers to purchase for our new business branch and want to know if you have them available in stock or can either custom order them for us.We also do have specifications we would like the computers to come with and also if you can tell us how much a laptop with these specifications is going to cost for plus tax…Here are the specifications below

    • An i7 Core Processor
    • 16gb of Memory
    • 1tb of Hard drive or 512 SSD
    • Screen Size can either be 13′ , 14′ or 15.6′
    • Must come with a Touch Screen and a backlit Keyboard
    • Either a windows 10 Home premium or Professional
    • Brands can either be Dell ,Apple,Hp or Lenovo

NB : Also advise me if you do take credit card payment , Thank You

Have you been sent this scam or something similar? Let me know @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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How and Why To Use WordPress Plugins

How and Why To Use WordPress Plugins

What Are WordPress Plugins?

Plugins are a powerful way to add functionality and uniqueness to your website. They range from Free, to free with premium (Freemium), or a paid model.

Most plugins are created by solo plugin developers, but a few are created by large theme and plugin houses. Because of this, expect a wide variety of support models

Some common front-end uses for plugins include calendars, contact forms, social media displays, content display like videos, image galleries and sound, sliders, and much more

But did you know there were quite a few administrative plugins for things like user management, security, SSL migration, analytics, database management, caching and a ton more.

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What are the benefits?

  • Plugins are easy to install – Search the WordPress plugin repository, or just click “Add New” in the plugins menu, install, activate and configure. The entire process can take as little as two minutes.
  • Big cost savings on custom development or programming – With just a few clicks something that can take days, or even weeks to develop can be added to a site.
  • Plugins are powerful – CDN plugins can add speed to a website. Contact forms can add lead generation to a site. Calendars can increase engagement and make it easy to distribute events. Social media plugins can bring in posts from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media platforms, and can make it easy to share on these networks. All of this functionality would take a much greater amount of time to develop by hand instead of using WordPress plugins.
  • WordPress security – WordPress by itself is fairly secure. If you use a good password, have it installed on a decent host with a good username/password there, and take a few other precautions your site will be protected. However, if you really want to lock down admin access, make secure & frequent backups, or really shore up your security, plugins are a great way to do so.
    • Good backups and great passwords are still the best thing you can do, in my opinion.

But what are the possible issues with WordPress plugins?

  • Malware – There are some plugins that have been developed by some programmers with less-than-positive intentions. Backdooors and even malware programmed right into the software do happen.
  • Must be maintained – As you add plugins to the website it’s important to know maintenance becomes more important. Keeping the plugins, the theme and the WordPress core is valuable to keeping the site secure and running as it should. However, sometimes and update to one plugins and conflict with others, so running backups is very important.
  • Can be exploited – If a plugin is “abandoned,” meaning no longer updated, or even if a plugin is poorly programmed it can open a hole to bad actors. Keep you plugins updated to make sure you are as protected as possible and if a plugin has been abandoned for a significant amount of time, try to find a similar solution, or even  try to find a developer to fix or edit the current plugin.
  • Unused or Deactivated Plugins are Still Vulnerable – Just because you’re not using a plugin, or even if you deactivated it, the code is still vulnerable and could be exploited. Once you stop using a plugin, deactivate it in your Plugin directory, then delete it from the server to avoid potential issues.

Tips on selecting good plugins

  • Research the best plugin options – Google has tons of articles on the “Best WordPress Plugins for …” often with the most current year attached. You don’t want a list from 2012, as things have changed quite a bit in the last six or seven years. See what everyone else is using and what the pros and cons are of using each plugin.
  • Review WordPress Plugin repository Information – Each plugin has a page in the repository.  They will have a 1-5 star rating, when it was last updates, how many times it’s been installed, what version of WordPress it’s been test on, reviews, how to install, and links to support. If any of this information causes concern proceed with caution or find a different solution.
  • Be Prepared to Retreat – Sometimes installing a new plugin causes unforeseen issues with your theme or other installed plugins on the website, so be prepared to deactivate the plugins, or in the event of a catastrophic issue, restore a backup. It’s recommended to install in test environments if possible, or on the live site when the site it’s being used at its peak.
  • Try several plugins – Since most plugins are free, it’s ok to try several until you find one that meets your needs. Just remember to deactivate and delete the ones you aren’t using to keep the site safe.

Plugins are a great way to make WordPress a powerful, secure environment. With just a little bit of care, and some selective processes in finding the best plugin you can make your WordPress as good as it can possibly be.

Have any questions or comments on WordPress plugins? Send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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5 Things You Need To Know About WP 5 – Gutenberg

5 Things You Need To Know About WP 5 – Gutenberg

WordPress 5.0, or Gutenberg, was finally released on December 6, 2018, just a few weeks before the Christmas holiday, and just in time to say it was released in 2018.

The Gutenberg release is a new page builder that is being designed to integrate with WordPress core. Gutenberg will add content blocks and page builder-like functionality to every up-to-date WordPress website. When in use, it will replace TinyMCE as the default content editor. With Gutenberg, content is added in blocks of various types from the WordPress backend.

You can download an the most recent version of WordPress here, or get access to previous versions here, just in case you need to retreat..

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5 Things You Need To Know About WordPress 5.0 – Gutenberg

  • Blocks : WP5 is based on blocks, or portions of content. Each paragraph of text is a separate block, as well as images, galleries, lists, quotes, audio videos and more.It even makes it easier to embed objects from YouTube, social media accounts, Google Maps, and just about anywhere else. But the biggest advantage to using the new editor is formatting and layout blocks. Now it’s easier to add columns, page breaks, spacers and other elements to the page that traditionally could only be done easily in certain themes live Divi or Elementor.

  • The Classic Editor is still a click away, as well as the Edit as HTML editor in case you want to get into the code. While there are other benefits to using the updated editor and code, those who still wish to use the classic WordPress editor can do so simply by clicking the Classic Editor tab on the editor box. Access to the HTML editor is under the three dot menu, or typing Ctrl + Shift + Alt + M (clicking seems much easier!) on your keyboard. I still see benefits to using the HTML editor when embedding content or doing some special formatting work.Just some fair warning. If you’re going to use WordPress long-term and you don’t use themes that allow you to edit in their environment, you will have to learn how to use the new Gutenberg editor as the classic editor will most likely be phased out eventually.

  • Plugins and Themes may not be compatible with Gutenberg. Theme editors and plugin developers have been scrambling for months to prepare for WordPress 5.0.Here’s the problem… while the theme and plugins may work individually, there’s a fair chance that code that used to play well with others could not cause unusual conflicts or even critical failures when several plugins are enabled with your theme. It is highly recommended you 1) backup before updating in case you need to retreat, and 2) test in a staging environment to see if there’s anything that could go wrong and fix it there before making the site live. Use this time to maybe replace some “abandoned” plugins and find newer, better alternatives to your current plugins. Or maybe you don’t even need some older plugins as the results may have been incorporated into WordPress or your themes.

  • Faster? While I haven’t seen anything online confirming Gutenberg to be faster than WordPress 4.x, I can give you anecdotable evidence that several of the sites I’ve upgraded saw a noticeable increase in speed. Nothing documented, and these sites are fairly small,  but it’s tangible. I still haven’t updated the largest of my client’s sites, as I’m waiting for a few versions of 5.0.x to come in, as well as some incremental updates to the Divi theme before I jump in.

  • This IS an upgrade! Many of the recent WordPress updates were small, almost unnoticeable unless you lived in the environment all-day, everyday. But Gutenberg will change the way most people use WordPress for the better, even if the initial change is tough. WordPress 5.x is faster, will be more secure, have more options, be ready for PHP 7.3 and beyond, and enable theme and plugin developers many more options in the coming months and years.

Here’s the short version of what you just read or heard. Prepare for the WordPress 5.0 update by backing everything up and getting a base to return to in case there’s a big problem. This would be a good time to migrate everything to a staging or test environment if you have access to one. Update your themes and plugins to the most recent version to make sure they can work with WP5. Then run the Gutenberg updater in your WordPress dashboard. Cross your fingers and see what worked and what didn’t. Be prepared to spend a fair amount of time looking at the site and making some changes to some things. After testing, make another backup (don’t overwrite the old one!) and migrate back to the live environment, or run the same sequence of updates there. Pray, test and enjoy your updated version of WordPress. As promised in the podcast, here’s some basic information on the Gutenberg editor.

Run in some issues with your WordPress update? Give BeBizzy a call at 701-214-6271 or contact us through bebizzy.com or our social media channels and we’ll see if we can help you out! Have any questions or suggestions on going paperless? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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Shared Email Inboxes – BeBizzy Break Podcast EP: 71

Shared Email Inboxes – BeBizzy Break Podcast EP: 71

Does your business have a shared inbox?

Most small, and nearly ALL large businesses have generic email inboxes that are logged into by two or more staff members. Sometimes it can get messy when everyone, or in some cases no one, log into the box to handle customer requests, questions, or just to clean it out.

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Why would you need a shared inbox?

Current and potential clients like to have generic email inboxes they can use to contact your company. Addresses like “info@”, “support@”, and “customerservice@” help them reach the right person. But sometimes it’s never just ONE person, but a group that keeps that inbox monitored. And this can sometimes cause collisions of two people working the same issue, or worse, ZERO people working the same issue because they thought it was being handled by someone else.

Ways to set up a shared inbox

  • Manual – An email gets sent to “info@” and several people all see it in their inbox. Someone has to accept that email, read it, respond back to the sender, then file that email in a different folder or use whatever process is mandated by the business to mark it as complete.The problem arises when the inbox is set up incorrectly and not everyone sees it being read so multiple people start working the issue, or everyone sees it and assumes it will be handled by someone else so no one helps the customer.In this case, there needs to be a documented process of who handles it and when. If rep A is gone, rep B works it. If it sits for more than “x” hours then the manager or someone else is specified to handle it. If there are no documented processes you will have breakdowns or cause extra work on certain issues.
  • Forms on the Website – Putting a form on the website does a couple of things. First, you don’t give out actual email addresses but you can still direct subjects selected by the client to a particular email address. This means all “info@,” “questions@,” or whatever goes to an actual person, not a group of people, but the client doesn’t see who gets it. This also allows some flexibility when someone leaves the company, is on vacation, or is just too busy to handle these types of requests.A second benefit of forms is they allow you to format the information being gathered instead of just letting the sender put whatever information they wish into the form. So you can ask for and even require names, email addresses, phone numbers, subjects, and just about anything else you want or need.Finally, many of these forms can be saved to a database AND sent to a person or persons, so in the event email goes down, a person’s address is terminated for whatever reason, or something just isn’t handled right away, you can look at the data and recover this request and fix the issue.The one drawback is this format requires the user to actually go to the website to submit the form instead of just firing off an email from their phone or email application.
  • CRM – Customer Relationship Management platforms are the next step beyond email forms. They are databases or applications that use form or email information to create tickets that can be handled by one or more people. Some potential CRM platforms in a wide variety of functions and price are Hubspot, Zoho and Freshdesk (what I use at BeBizzy).There are so many benefits to this type of system including:
    • Saved threads of communication with the client
    • Formatted questions that require the sender to provide necessary information to solve the issue like invoice numbers, usernames, phone numbers and more.
    • Many have the ability to add an FAQ, support forum, or other intermediary step where the sender can often solve their own problems or the group can solve it before you can.
    • Most CRM platforms are located off the website network, so it doesn’t affect the traffic or performance of the website
    • It provides an auditable trail to see how long it took to respond, how many interactions did it take before resolution, who handles how many tickets, and more.

Bottom Line

Shared inboxes are a great way to handle client request or questions. They allow your company to respond as a group instead of relying on just one person. But it more control is needed, the first step would be to create some forms on the website that send to specific people and save to a database. If the budget exists, or the need is great enough, a CRM is a great way to handle support tickets, general inquiries or other client requests. If the cost looks too big, weigh the option of what does it cost to lose a current or potential customer because something wasn’t handled right away.

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

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What Are Landing Pages and Why Do I Need One?

What Are Landing Pages and Why Do I Need One?

Landing Pages

You’ve probably heard of landing pages. You may even HAVE a landing page. But you also might not know why you have it, what it’s doing, or even how to fix it if you’re not seeing results.

On today’s Episode 70 of the BeBizzy Break Podcast we talk with the Landing Page School Podcast host Nicholas Scalice and find out what you might, and might not, know about landing pages.

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First, some tech news

First, two big updates in the last week or so.

WordPress 4.9.8 was launched.  We are getting very close to 5.0, which will include the Gutenberg update to WordPress. Very anticipated version which will bring on a visual editor and promises to change the WP landscape for the better. That remains to be seen with older websites, themes, etc. But the 4.9.8 update does have the “Try Gutenberg” callout. It’s an opportunity to try the Gutenberg editor before it is released in 5.0. I have not doesn’t it yet, but will test shortly.

Also has 18 privacy fixes and a few other improvements. I’ve updated all my sites with not issues, but make sure you back up before you do anything.

Also, Android released it’s Android P (Pie) update for the Google Pixel phones. I updated my Pixel 2 XL on Monday. Small changes in the notifications and menus, but for the most part it was a pretty seamless update. I’m sure there will be more as I use it, including the Adaptive Battery feature, which promises to turn down battery usage on apps that are not in use at the time, but still running.

Finally, Samsung will be announcing the Note 9 tomorrow (Aug 9). Lots of huge improvements for this devices anticipated including a bigger battery, better screen and camera, and the Adaptive Battery. Can’t wait for that announcement. FYI, you can sign up to watch the announcement live at this Samsung website.

Now on to today’s main topic… landing pages. Most of you have heard the term, and maybe even use them on your websites. But I have a couple of sites that are going to be implementing them, and decided now would be a great time to bring in an expert, which is why I called on Nicholas Scalice, the host of the Landing Page School Podcast.  So this is me, and Nicolas Scalice… enjoy.

What are Landing Pages

Landing pages are a page on your website that has a very specific purpose, audience, and/or message. It should be developed to get the visitor to perform one action… purchase something, sign up, request info, download a PDF, contact you… one specific action.

The difference between a home page, or even an interior page and a landing page is on these pages, you are directing visitors to other pages in the website to get more information, and on a landing page, again, you are getting visitors to do that one specific action.

How to Get Traffic To A Landing Page

Most traffic is directed to landing pages through paid marketing efforts. Things like Google Ads and Facebook ads allow you to be very specific to the audience and who you would drive to see the main message on that landing page. It also works if you drive landing pages through traditional means like billboards, radio, tv, print, etc because you are serving a very specific message on both the ad and the landing page. The trick is NOT to drive all of this traffic to the home page, as that has a very open message instead of the message match between the ad copy and the page.

What Should You Have On A Landing Page?

Nicholas gave us six items to have on a landing page which answer certain questions :

  1. What Is It? What is the offer? What is the landing page about?
  2. Can It Help Me? Is it something that can make my life or business better or easier?
  3. Do I Like It? Is the visual design of the page good and trushworthy?
  4. Do Others Like It? Is there social proof that says other visitors and clients like it?
  5. Trust. Is there something on the landing page that says this site and/or product is trustworthy?
  6. How Do I Get It? What’s the call to action? How do I order, sign up, or purchase?

In regards to length of the page, there is not measurement. In fact, it’s good practice to NOT index the page so SEO rules don’t apply. Concentrate on conversion optimization, not SEO optimization. Also keep in mind, where your customers will be viewing the page. If it’s mobile, small images, less text and other mobile tricks should be implemented to work on phones and tablets. Responsive or mobile themes are necessary in today’s business climate!

What Are Mistakes Made on Landing Pages?

The number one mistake made on landing pages is not having a great offer. The site might be awesome, and the ad-spend might be well thought out, but the offer might not be well thought of. Some poorly designed pages do very well, while a well designed site might not convert because the offer is bad.

It’s also a mistake to have incorrect “micro-copy,” the text on your buttons, subheadings, etc that are action focused. If you can build the “value” into the button or other text it will convert better. Try completing the phrase “I want to…” with the button or link text. I want to contact you, I want to download the free e-book, I want to purchase your widget all work great.

A/B Testing

You’re probably never going to develop the perfect landing page on run #1. A/B testing only works if you have enough traffic, and you have a plan on what to test, how long, what are we testing for, etc.

Nicholas suggests testing “bigger things” like the offer instead of button color or text.

How Do I Build A Landing Page

Unbounce : drag and drop builder for

WordPress : Page Builder called Elementor, and other themes make it easy to build quickly and efficiently.

LeadPages : Landing page creator that also interfaces with WordPress and other platforms.

How Can I Contact Nicholas Scalice?

Have any questions or suggestions landing pages or any other technology affecting your business? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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Performing a Social Media Audit – BeBizzy Break Podcast Episode 61

Performing a Social Media Audit – BeBizzy Break Podcast Episode 61

Performing a Social Media Audit

Audits. When one thinks of that word it brings to mind some guy sitting in your office sifting through receipts, bookkeeping notes and interviewing your employees on processes. But what if you could use an audit form something good, like increasing your marketing efficiency? That’s why you would perform a social media audit on the various platforms you are using to market your business.

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Donna Amos of Solopreneur Solutions

Joining me today on the BeBizzy Break Podast is Donna Amos, Inspiror of Possibilities for Solopreneur Solutions, a boutique digital agency based in Cincinnati, OH. They provide web design, social media management, email marketing and more and she published a great article recently on “How To Do a Social Media Audit.” 

This article was a great starting point to the next few weeks when we will talk about optimizing profiles and pages for your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

How To Get Started Performing a Social Media Audit

This is the perfect time of year to do a social media audit to prepare for next year.

  • Create a spreadsheet with the social media platform, the URL, and name on profile and the description
  • Also include number of fans/followers, and the date of the last activity
  • Make sure everything is consistent (name, images, colors, etc)
  • Start auditing individual social platforms for traffic

Where is Your Traffic Coming From?

Now that you’ve audited the general items of the individual to make sure everything looks and feels the same, it’s time to start looking at Google Analytics for indicators that visitors to the website are coming from the various social platforms.  You can also get some valuable information from the social media platform data.

In addition to using the social media analytics to perform a social media audit, you can also use third party tools like Hootsuite and SEMRush to analyze data from social media websites.

Act on the Social Media Audit

There are some actionable items that may show up in your social media audit that can

  • Repurpose old content in another form like video, slideshows or podcats
  • Set up goals and metrics to measure
    • The point of doing social media is to create awareness, gain followers to frequency, and that activity drives traffic to the site to sign up for email newsletters and subscriptions, then convert those subscribers.
    • Determine what “success looks like” for your business and see what sites are meeting that success model.
  • Sometimes it’s better to abandon/close a social media platform if you are unable to manage that platform or your audience just isn’t there.
  • Set up a schedule to perform this social media audit quarterly or at least regularly to look for trends on what is working.

Other Tips

  • Video is going to be the dominant form of media in social media in the coming years.
  • Video doesn’t have to be polished to be effective. Just needs good camera placement, decent content and great sound.
  • Create a list of FAQ’s, answer them, and make 1-2 minute videos answering those questions and share in your social sites.
  • Do you want to be seen as a thought leader? Then consumption of social and website content is the goa.
  • If you want to create awareness, strive for reach… how many people can you reach with each post..
  • Shares, likes and retweets are to be used if the goal is to reach more with word of mouth.
  • There is a documented trail of each post to see how many people see it, share it, like it, click on it, and even purchase because of it.
  • Don’t expect immediate results! Sometimes you are talking to no one until your acquire a following.
  • But there is a benefit to talking to no one in social and blogs because the post lives on and can be found by people searching for the content keywords.
  • Googe+ is great for SEO benefits, even if your customers aren’t there.

Performing a social media audit can take a bit of time, but if you do it once you will produce a baseline that will enable your business to compare to when making future decisions on digital marketing. Both Donna and I encourage you to take the time between now and the end of the year to audit your social media properties.

Don’t forget to check out Donna Amos’ article on “How to Perform a Social Media Audit” at her website, and follow her on Twitter to stay informed.

Have you done a social media audit? What were your experiences and what actions did you do after the audit? Let me know at BeBizzy.com or @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

Subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

Your Tech Is Good Enough – BeBizzy Break Podcast EP: 59

Your Tech Is Good Enough – BeBizzy Break Podcast EP: 59

Host : Marv DornerBeBizzy Consulting

On Episode 59 of the BeBizzy Break Podcast, we talk about the passing of another geriatric internet property, Compuserve, a renewal of the browser wars with Firefox Quantum, and why your technology is good enough.

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Tech News

  • Compuserve Forums
    • Joins Microsoft Paint and AIM as old tech services being shut down in 2017.
    • Compuserve was the first major online service provider before AOL took over
    • The Forums were the last service of the once-proud ISP to remain functional
    • The service will be terminated on December 15, 2017 and odds are if no one would have said anything, you never would have known.
  •  Firefox Quantum
    • New browser from Mozilla that promises to be faster, and use less memory.
    • Some extensions may not work, so beware

Your current tech is good enough

  • FOMO – Fear of Missing Out
  • There’s always a faster, shinier, and more “feature rich” device
  • And while there’s something to be gained with tech that works better and faster, your current technology might be already good enough, or could be made so with a few minor tweaks or upgrades.

Smartphones

There’s really no big leaps forward in phone features

  • Sure there’s cosmetic upgrades like smaller bezels, larger and brighter screens, somewhat better battery
  • Most smartphone issues can be solved by doing a few easy things
    • Replacing the battery, if possible, or carry an external battery or recharging device.
    • Clear up memory by deleting apps, using streaming audio and video services, and uploading photos to free cloud services like Google Photos, them deleting the local files.
    • Run Updates – Make sure you’re running the most recent operating system and app updates. Having everything updated makes it easier to troubleshoot and work together.
    • Factory Reset – Things still running slow? Sometimes it’s just best to flush the system and start over with a new operating system install. Keep in mind you will lost all of your data on the phone, so back up and connect to cloud services.

Computers

Talk about no huge leaps forward, computers have remained pretty constant for many years

  • Improvements like the Microsoft Surface, Chromebooks and even iPad Pros are blurring the lines between computers and mobile, but even they “promise” to be able to do what you can already do with a computer, just smaller and lighter.
  • Both “major” operating systems, Windows and iOS have promised no major upgrades anymore, just incremental updates.
  • Hard Drives have become so large it’s hard for a vast majority of users to come close to filling it up.
  • You can increase the life of your computer by doing some very easy, cost effective things like :
    • Add RAM – Memory is cheap, and of all the things to replace requires the least amount of technical know-how and time. RAM is easily accessible in desktops by removing the case, and most laptops have a cover to remove to get at the RAM and maybe the HDD. Major products like Crucial have scanners and selectors to make sure you’re getting the right memory to upgrade your device.
    • HDD – Have an old or small hard drive? There’s a real good chance that your HDD is a spinning disc, and believe it or not, it’s WHEN it will fail, not IF. Check out Seagate or Western Digital to find a suitable replacement. You can also migrate less often or large files to an external drive for a small price and they easily connect to your current computer via USB.
    • To the Cloud! – Get your photos and other important files uploaded to a cloud service like Dropbox to ensure ease of access & transfer, and also security in the event of a hardware failure or catastrophic office event.

Websites

I know, it seems weird that a web development company would tell you that your website is good enough. There ARE times when it’s best to update the website like when you need :

  • Responsive Design – Have a site that is old and doesn’t work on a smartphone or smaller screen? Might be time to update to a responsive website.
  • CMS like WordPress – Maybe it’s time to take over the management of your own website. WordPress allows you to post your own pages, a blog, and more.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Maybe you’re site is all set up an running as you need, but you’re just not getting found on the internet. By optimizing your SEO and your Local Business Listing you increase the chances of being found by potential customers.
  • Social Media Marketing & Training – Like SEO, your website might not be the problem, maybe it’s just getting the word out. Social Media offers an easy way to engage your fans and followers and market to new clients.

Other Items

We are constantly hit with marketing messages on stuff you “NEED” to ensure you have the most current technology or your life will be horrible. Vehicle enhancements like rear hatches that open with your foot, lane change chimes, and others are safety features, but really just being a better driver will fix that. 4K and 3D TV’s are wonderful, but there is little programming that takes advantage of the technology. VR goggles are fun toys, but again, there’s very little cool, productive programming for them. And voice controlled devices like Google Home or Alexa are neat, and have a utility to them, but often you have a device in your hands or pocket that can do the same thing.

I LOVE technology, and our economy relies on constant updating of computers, furniture, cars, homes and just about everything else. But sometimes saving that money for something else is your best bet.

Have any questions or suggestions on using current technology instead of buying new gear? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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Overcoming WordPress Objections – BeBizzy Break Podcast : Episode 58

Overcoming WordPress Objections – BeBizzy Break Podcast : Episode 58

In this episode we talk about how overcoming WordPress objections, the iPhone X, Skype and an update on my Pixel 2 XL phone.

BBP : Episode 58 – Overcoming WordPress Objections

Happy Birthday to us! Today is BeBizzy Consulting’s 9th anniversary. Happy to be around and serving our clients in website design, hosting, marketing and search engine optimization for many years and looking foward to the future!

Have you already overcame WordPress objections in your organization? Contact BeBizzy Consulting today and let’s get you on the web!

Tech News

  • The iPhone X, 10, whatever hits the streets on November 3rd, so buckle up!
    • 10th anniversary iPhone
    • Face ID unlocking feature
    • Near bezel-less design – OLED
    • No home button – swipe up/down to move through screens
    • New anemoji’s… yay…
    • 12MP rear camera. Image stabilization
    • Listening to a review from TechRadar the reviewer claimed he had “cinematic” sound from the dual speakers. I’m gonna call B.S. on that one. Tinny smartphone speakers will never sound cinematic.
  • Week 2 with my Google Pixel 2 XL
    • Not seeing any performance issues, screen burn-in, or anything else.
    • This phone is FAST, has a great signal, good (not cinematic) sound, and Android Oreo is stable and easy to use.
  • Another update on my office…
    • Been using Skype as my primary office phone for several weeks, and I couldn’t be happier. I have an external microphone and use my computer speakers as the “phone.”
    • I don’t think this will work in a typical office setting, but in an enclosed office or home office it works great.

Main Topic – Overcoming WordPress Objections

  • How this topic emerged was I was listening to podcasts, as I usually do while I work, and was listening to “Adam Ruins Everything,” a podcast that accompanies a TV show of the same name on TruTV. It’s hosted by Adam Conover and in the podcast they conduct more in depth interviews on a particular topic than the TV show allows.
    • In this episode, Adam spoke with Professor Stephan Lewandowsky about once a person gets entrenched in a belief and assembles with those who also believe the same thing, it can be impossible to move them off that belief even when presented with overwhelming evidence. This is called the “Backfire Effect”
  • One of the tech “Backfire Effects” is WordPress is simply an insecure blogging platform.
  • While at an advertising agency, I was brought in to argue “against” WordPress because we sold a custom-made CRM. It was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done, and is frankly one of the reasons I chose not to work for that company any longer.
  • Here are some of the usual arguments against WordPresss
    • Security – There’s a ton of holes and it’s a highly visible platform that many people have found ways in.
    • SPAM – WordPress is a blogging platform so spam-bots target the code to run mailing systems
    • Plugins – These are not vetted so you could be installing complete garbage code on the site with tons of security holes
    • Limitations – Every WordPress site looks the same.
    • Buggy Code – The code is managed by the community, so who knows if it’s well written or efficient.
    • Search Engines – SEO is impossible on the WordPress platform. Out of the box it doesn’t allow you to format the code and meta information in such a way that Google and other search engines and index the site properly.
    • Hosting – Most of the hosts that allow WordPress are old, Linux-Apache based systems that run slow and
    • You get what you pay for ( in the case of the ad agency… 10’s of thousands compared to thousands )
  • Let’s address these one at a time…
    • Security – I’ve addressed this on several podcasts and blog posts, but here it is… nothing is safe
    • SPAM – Keep your code updated and use good plugins
    • Plugins – Use quality, high-ranked plugins that have been updated and work with your version of WordPress.
    • Limitations – Probably the biggest challenges to overcoming WordPress objections are themes. There are tons of customizable themes to use to give your WordPress site a unique look.
    • Buggy Code – There are millions of users looking for and submitting bug fixes, so normally they are found and repaired before penetrating the real world if the code is properly updated.
    • Search Engines – Yoast and other SEO plugins are much more efficient in formatting and presenting content for the search engines. So overcoming this WordPress objections is reallly easy.
    • Hosting – There are now dedicated hosts for WordPress sites which allow one-click installs, install updates, speed enhancements, and more.
    • You CAN get what you pay for, but you can also be paying for that fancy office, over-hyped software and computers, desks, food, etc. Sometimes you’re just paying more because they’re charging more.

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!