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.

How To Use a Robots.txt File

How To Use a Robots.txt File

Exactly what is a robots.txt and what does it do?

The official Google definition of robots.txt is : “A robots.txt file tells search engine crawlers which pages or files the crawler can or can’t request from your site. This is used mainly to avoid overloading your site with requests; it is not a mechanism for keeping a web page out of Google.

How To Use a Robots.txt File

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

How To Use a Robots.txt file on your webiste

What is a Robots.txt file?

    • Basically, it’s just a file on the root of your website that tells search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) what pages and files to index, and what to ignore.
    • If properly coded, a robots.txt file will prevent images, videos, audio files, and even script and style files from being indexed. 
    • HTML and other website page filetypes can be excluded as traffic management. If you actually want to block a page from search results either password protect them, require authentication, or use a noindex directive on the page itself.
    • If you use a hosting service or pagebuilder you might not have a way to provide a robots.txt file. Many will have a way to discourage search engines from indexing the site.

What Are some Examples of Robots.txt Use?

    • The syntax for a robots.txt file is 
      • User-agent : Google, Bing, * (wildcard)
      • Instruction : Disallow, Crawl-delay, Sitemap
      • Rules are case sensitive, so be careful
      • The default setting is that any search engine can index the entire website, so robots.txt provides some directions to enhance or change that.
    • Any number of “Groups” can be created. 
      • Groups is an easy way to separate multiple engine instructions 
        • Group 1 – Google not allowed so index a certain directory
        • Group 2 – All other engines allows to search entire site
    • For example, this syntax would block all search engines from all content (notice the addition after Disallow)
      • User-agent: * Disallow: /
    • And this syntax would ALLOW all search engines to index all content 
      • User-agent: * Disallow:
    • Block a specific search engine from a specific page
      • User-agent: Bingbot Disallow: /example-subfolder/blocked-page.html

What is Crawl Budget?

    • Many tools and resources will mention the “crawl budget” of a website. Basically it’s a number known only to the search engine on how many pages, images, and other files the engine will index, or how long an engine will stay on a site. 
    • If you think pages aren’t being fully indexed, it may be a good idea to identify the page you absolutely need to have indexed and set them to allow (Disallow:). That way the search engines will look at them first.

Why would I use crawl-delay?

    • A directive command that can be used is crawl-delay, then a second command. 
    • Crawl delays will slow down a search engine like Bing, which tends to be a little quick to start. This can increase accuracy while decreasing the load on the site and bandwidth. 
    • Heads up, Google does not use the crawl-delay directive.
    • (crawl-delay: 10)

 

Common Robots.txt Rules

https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/robots/create-robots-txt

Rule
Disallow crawling of the entire website. Keep in mind that in some situations URLs from the website may still be indexed, even if they haven’t been crawled.This does not match the various AdsBot crawlers, which must be named explicitly.

User-agent: *

Disallow: /

Disallow crawling of a directory and its contents by following the directory name with a forward slash. Remember that you shouldn’t use robots.txt to block access to private content: use proper authentication instead. URLs disallowed by the robots.txt file might still be indexed without being crawled, and the robots.txt file can be viewed by anyone, potentially disclosing the location of your private content.

User-agent: *

Disallow: /calendar/

Disallow: /junk/

Allow access to a single crawler

User-agent: Googlebot-news

Allow: /

User-agent: *

Disallow: /

Allow access to all but a single crawler

User-agent: Unnecessarybot

Disallow: /

User-agent: *

Allow: /

Disallow crawling of a single web page by listing the page after the slash:

User-agent: *

Disallow: /private_file.html

Block a specific image from Google Images:

User-agent: Googlebot-Image

Disallow: /images/dogs.jpg

Block all images on your site from Google Images:

User-agent: Googlebot-Image

Disallow: /

Disallow crawling of files of a specific file type (for example, .gif):

User-agent: Googlebot

Disallow: /*.gif$

Disallow crawling of an entire site, but show AdSense ads on those pages, and disallow all web crawlers other than Mediapartners-Google. This implementation hides your pages from search results, but the Mediapartners-Google web crawler can still analyze them to decide what ads to show visitors to your site.

User-agent: *

Disallow: /

User-agent: Mediapartners-Google

Allow: /

To match URLs that end with a specific string, use $. For instance, the sample code blocks any URLs that end with .xls:

User-agent: Googlebot

Disallow: /*.xls$

 

 

Viewing of mobile websites has increased from over 30% in 2015 to now over 50%, and there’s no sign of slowing down. Even if your customers are thought to be mainly on desktop and laptop computers, mobile indexing will force you to get your website designed for mobile use starting in March 2021. 

If you need help getting this process done, especially in a WordPress environment, please contact BeBizzy Consulting at bebizzy.com and let’s get your site ready for mobile use.

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.

WordPress News

  • WordPress 5.7 Released March 9, 2021
    • Reusable Blocks
    • Easier font-size adjustments
    • Drag and drop from the inserter right into your page or post
    • Switch from HTTP to HTTPS in one click. No database edits
    • Lazy loading of iFrames

https://wordpress.org/news/2021/03/esperanza/

How To Use a Robots.txt File

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Should I Use Hero Images?

Should I Use Hero Images?

What Is A Hero Image?

Wikipedia defines hero image as “a large web banner image, prominently placed on a web page, generally in the front and center.”

It usually dominates a home page, and can be linked by the visitor to the company or organization’s image. Because of that, if you’re going to use a hero image, hero slider, or even a hero video, it’s important to select the right one, or “ones” if using a slider, so you are displaying the right image.

Should I Use A Hero Image?

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Why you SHOULD use a hero image

  • It captures an image the website should project. A corporate website will show happy workers, insurance companies will show patients or people getting help from doctors, sports teams will show fans and the team in celebration, a WordPress agency like BeBizzy will show computers, websites… things like that. These visuals are meant to draw out desired emotions from the visitors.
  • I’ve also heard it described as an opportunity to display the unique value proposition of the company. This is marketing jargon for how you plan on solving the customer’s problem.
  • Hero visuals can also simply be a visual tool that adds some color to an otherwise boring or stale topic. No one like to read about car insurance, but drawing visitors in with compelling photos will make the read easier.

Why you SHOULD NOT use a hero image

  • They take up valuable space on a website. Hero visuals are usually full width, and can be also run to the top of the website “fold.” So if your visitors aren’t drawn down the page everything below the hero can be lost.
  • Given that the hero will be viewed in so many screen resolutions and positions, hero images can be cropped or bleed over the borders of these displays, possibly missing the desired best looks, call to action copy, or even a button or link.
  • Large images, and especially videos, can take a long time to load so it can cause the page to look odd during loading, or even to jump as some elements are loaded. But even worse is when a low resolution image is tried to be used a full-width hero image and it causes pixelization, stretching, and other visual issues.

How to properly use hero images.

If you are going to use hero images, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t, there needs to be some thought put into how to properly use them.

  • Make sure the resolution is high enough to be visually appealing. Most image programs like Use JPG instead of PNG and other bulky formats. Photoshop, GIMP and others have a compression feature that can help tighten up the file size without losing too much sharpness so experiment with compression to see the breaking point. The same can be done with most video and slider formats if you have access to some tools.
  • Take a look at how the hero will display in mobile or portrait format. Adjustments can usually be made on how the image is displayed with an aimpoint (center, bottom left, etc) that will ensure the most desired portion of the image is show on different devices. In some cases it may also be decided to remove the hero image on mobile just do to load times, position of the CTA, and maybe even straight up visual appeal.
  • If a text overlay is displayed check to see it can easily be read. Sometimes an overlay filter an help by lightening/darkening, colorizing, or even using some advanced filters like polarization will help the text “pop.” Be sure to use an easy to read font that conveys the emotion you want the visitors to feel. Impact font shouldn’t be used on a yoga website.
  • Motion is good if you can execute this properly. Some sliders have a built-in “Ken Burns Effect” that pulls a photo away from the user. Others have moving dots, spider webs, or lights to keep a visitor engaged.
  • Compress and size the visual as much as possible while still keeping it’s appeal. A typical 16:9 laptop and monitor will be roughly 2000 pixels wide, so plan accordingly with your image and video.
  • And finally, strategize if you can get your message and CTA across to your visitor WITHOUT it. Just because 9 out of 10 sites in your vertical has a hero, does YOUR SITE need it? Will a big red “BUY NOW” button work better? Can you easily A/B test with and without to see what converts better? You know who DOESN’T have a large hero image? Google, Facebook, Amazon, CNN, State Farm Insurance, ESPN and many more leaders in many verticals.

Hero images are a great way to brand your site and your business with a look and feel you want to embrace. But it can cause long load times, difficulty in responsive modes like tablets and phones, and if the wrong image is selected, not what you want your customers to know you buy.

Choose wisely, get rid of them if it’s not helping, and if you choose ultimately to use them, follow the rules mentioned earlier.

Do you have questions, experiences or questions related to this topic? Head over to @Bebizzy on Twitter and send them there. I’m not a huge DM user, so just mention me in your comment. 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.

Should I Use A Hero Image?

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

WordPress News

  • Google is going to be moving to Mobile Indexing in March 2021. This has been rumored/threatened for years, and it’s finally going to happen. So get your sites ready quickly, it’s coming and it will also be a podcast here soon, so stay tuned.
  • WordPress 5.6.1 is out. I’ve installed it on several sites with no issues, but run your backups and update.
  • And finally, WhiteHouse.gov is back on WordPress! And if sounds like the government is recruiting in the source code. Line 9 of the code reveals “If you’re reading this, we need your help building back better. https://usds.gov/apply ” Happy job hunting, WordPress users.
Does Google Value Hidden Content Less?

Does Google Value Hidden Content Less?

Hidden Website Content

A fairly common way to display large chunks of content on a website is to use tabs, accordions and toggles. All of these “hide” content until they are clicked or otherwise activated, revealing the content underneath.

So how does Google index this content, or even DOES it index this content?

Does Google Value Hidden Content Less?

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Why Would You Hide Content on a Website?

  • Too much content
  • Want a call to action from the visitor/reader
  • Not something everyone who visits the page needs to see

Does Google Read It If It’s Hidden?

One side says that if you have hidden content, Google doesn’t care and it indexes it just like “normal” content. The other side says if it’s not visible, Google will NOT index it, thereby not including it in searchable content.

I am in the camp of it WILL be indexed and searchable. It’s HTML, code, content on the page, so Google will index it. Search engines read popups, meta data, alt tags, etc, so why not content that is technically on the page?

Matt Cutts

Matt Cutts is a former Google employee as part of the search quality team on search engine optimization issues and also the former head of the web spam team at Google. Her’e’s what he has to say about hidden content.

The main point of Matt’s video is make sure the content being hidden is meaningful or relevant to the page’s main content. Otherwise it could be taken as keyword stuffing.

John Mueller

John Mueller is the host of Google Webmaster Central and a Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google. He backs up what Matt said earlier.

These two experts back up my contention that hidden content on the page will be indexed as long as it’s good content… just like everything else on a web page.

Tabs, toggles and other forms of displaying layered content is common now, so everyone knows how to use them. Use these tools wisely and you won’t have any trouble getting found on the search engines.

Does Google Value Hidden Content Less?

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

WordPress 5.6 Is Available

WordPress 5.6 Is Available

WordPress 5.6 is Available to Download

WordPress 5.6 was released for download and installation on December 8, 2020. On today’s episode of the WP Wednesday Podcast we’ll talk about what’s in the release, and why you should, or should not install it.

WordPress 5.6 is Available

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

WordPress 5.6 Features

  • New Blocks
    Layout more complex pages easier with more flexible layouts of images, content, color and more.
  • Auto-Updates for WordPress
    In previous releases plugins and themes were available to auto-update, but in 5.6 you can now set the full WordPress core to update automatically. To be totally honest, I’m not a fan of this feature, especially if you run multiple websites. I like to know what updated when, so if something breaks I know what was changed. So tread lightly on auto-updates and MAKE YOUR BACKUPS!
  • New Base Theme – Twenty Twenty One
    All new major WordPress releases feature a new base theme, and every new base is usually significantly better than the last. So I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in this new one.
  • Beta Support for PHP8
    New versions of WP run well on supported versions of PHP including 7.x. But 5.6 features more support for the newly released PHP 8. But many hosts don’t have PHP 8 available yet, and finding themes and plugins that work with the new code may be problematic, so be careful with live sites.
  • jQuery Updates
    Some Javascript updates were made in WordPress 5.6 that can cause some breakage in site features. I use WP Rocket to optimize my site, and had to disable an optimization feature “Remove jQuery Migrate” which was said to increase site speed. But my theme, DIVI by Elegant Themes had some modules that no longer worked.

There are more features and bug fixes that can found on the WordPress.org websites on version 5.6. While I do support upgrading, do it while you have time to research, backup your site, and be ready to either restore that backup or troubleshoot possible issues that may emerge.

Good luck and happy WordPressing!

What are your thoughts on upgrading your WordPress site? Send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Today’s News Links

WordPress 5.6 is Available

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Fonts In WordPress

Fonts In WordPress

Using Fonts in WordPress

Most websites have images. Some have videos. Others have database connections, feeds from other sites, shopping carts, and others item.

But it’s fair to say that EVERY websites has fonts. From the classic Times New Roman, to newly launched fonts like Shapiro, fonts are text stylings used to display written text on sites.

There are many ways to edit font types but today we’re going to talk about how you can add or change the fonts on your site.

Fonts in WordPress

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Fonts in WordPress are a great way to stylize your website. Changing the font can make a site look very corporate or newsy, or fun and light. Therefore fonts can make a site hard to read or amateurish, so choose wisely.

Most sites use primarily two fonts, one for headings, and one for body text. There are often other fonts used for beneath images, advertisements, and other special cases, but two is the base number needed.

Need some suggestions on font pairings for your site? Check out Font Pair to see fonts paired together and how they will look in WordPress.

Finding Fonts

There are hundreds of fonts in WordPress available online for free or at a very low cost.

Make Your Own Font!

A site called Font Squirrel will take a font you own, upload it to the application, and edit to your needs. Add tails to letters, increase the boldness,

Use the Fonts in WordPress

Once you’ve decided on which fonts will work on your site, it’s time to implement them. There are many ways including CSS, themes and plugins.

  • Themes Some themes already have a customizer in their options to set default heading and paragraph fonts. This makes selecting and changing them extremely easy, as you only have to edit in one place and it should universally change the pages.Of course if any changes were made inside a page they may still hold the values. I use the DIVI theme and changing fonts sitewide is very simple, and using a visual builder it’s quick to see a change in both font style and size will affect the site.
  • Plugins Like setting a font in WordPress in the theme customizer, plugins offer an easy way to change fonts sitewide. Most will interface directly with Google Fonts and other depositories to bring in the fonts and other styles.
  • CSS The most powerful, the fasted loading time, and maybe the most difficult way to adjust your fonts is through CSS. CSS is some instructions on how your WordPress and other site display text, images, page width, navigation and many other options on the site.

To set the fonts and other properties in CSS you will need the following
1- Downloaded font files, or in some cases have code from a depository (like Google Fonts) which can provide an “@import” instruction to pull the files needed in your CSS page/site.
2 – Access to edit the WordPress files to bring in the fonts through CSS. Sometimes this will be a custom CSS file. Other times it will be a specific file in the WP theme. Find out where to change on your page.
3- Sometimes changes to fonts can be made in the header.php file. Place the font import in the <HEAD></HEAD> portion of the HTML.
4- If you host the font files locally, the “@font-face” CSS command can be used.

See more ways and even get specific CSS and HTML code to add fonts in WordPress by visiting this article on WebsiteSetup.org


WORDPRESS NEWS FOR EPISODE 120

  • WP Beginner – How to Change MX Records For Your WordPress Site

MX Records are where your email is directed. Often times it is the same server as the web host, but more advanced sites use an ARecord host (website), and MX Record host (mail) at different locations. This article gives some great instructions on why, and how, you would change the server records.

bit.ly/33gzObT

  • WP Lift – How to Optimize Cumulative Layout Shift on WordPress

This one might be slightly advanced. If you’ve been using page scoring sites like GTMetrix or Page Insights lately, you’ve probably noticed one of the big items listed as a negative is Cumulative Layout Shift.

It’s when the code is loading and the site layout flashes as images, videos and other content fall into place on the site. It can be distracting, but there are ways around it. If the site loads quickly it may not be an issue, but if you’re concerned about this the page gives some great ideas on how to minimize the shift.

bit.ly/372ixV3

UPDATE : You can use legacy reporting from GTMetrix ( https://gtmetrix.com/blog/how-to-test-with-legacy-gtmetrix-reports/ )F

  • Search Engine Journal – WordPress 5.6 Guidance on PHP 8 Compatibility

The most recent version of PHP (7.4) doesn’t reach it’s projected EOL (end of life) until Dec 2022, so if you’re running near the most recent version everything should be fine… for now. But if you like to live on the technical edge, PHP 8 is starting to roll out and WordPress 5.6 will be compatible in beta form, meaning running it on a production website is risky at best.

There are bound to be issues with the core, and almost certainly will be with themes, plugins and even custom code. So implement at your own risk.

bit.ly/360IFQC

 

Fonts in WordPress

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

Speeding Up Your WordPress Site With WP-Rocket

Speeding Up Your WordPress Site With WP-Rocket

What is WP Rocket?

WP Rocket is a caching and optimization plugin that takes the code, content, images, videos and other pieces of your website and finds a faster way to present them to your website visitors. That can be storing them on their computers or on a CDN (content data network). It can be combining or moving CSS and javascript files to minimize the time spend processing the code. It can be reducing the number of calls made off the server to Google or other sites.

WP Rocket does all of this, with about ten minutes of setup and a few bucks. Speaking of a few bucks… if you want to purchase WP Rocket, go to bebizzy.com/rocket and get started today!

WP Rocket

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

How Can WP Rocket Speed Up My Website?

There’s only so much you can do technically to increase your website speed. Load times are based on server response times, bandwidth, hard drive speeds… and then it’s down to the software. 

CDNs and optimized code definitely help but eventually you’re down to leaning on more involved 

Features

  • Basic setup was done in about 10 minutes.  Advanced setup, configuration and testing can take additional time, but all options are pretty much toggled on/off.
  • Page caching
    Really decreases page load time by serving up indexed and cached items.
  • Preloading
    Because the crawler simulates a visit to preload the cache, the indexing of your website by search engines is instantly improved.
  • Sitemap loading
  • GZIP Compression
    WP Rocket compresses HTML, CSS, javascript and other code to optimize it by decreasing the size.
  • Browser Caching
    Modern browsers can look for the same photo, video, HTML code and other pieces of a website faster locally that it can sending requests to a website. WP Rocket helps optimize that.
  • Database optimization
    WP Rocket helps clean up databases and make them run more efficiently.
  • Google fonts
    Decreases the requests for unused fonts by only grabbing what is needed to properly display on the site.
  • Remove query strings from Static Resources
    Improves load time and testing scores by removing query strings from CSS and JS files.
  • Lazyload images and videos
    Images and other content doesn’t load until it becomes evident the visitor wants or needs them.
  • Defer Javascript
    Load JS files at the bottom of the page unless necessary elsewhere. This speeds up the page by not loading code before visible items.
  • CDN
    I have mine connected to my Stackpath CDNs, but Cloudflare and other URLS are easily inserted in the settings.
  • Works with eCommerce

Pricing 

All pricing for WP Rocket is on an annual basis to keep updates and support access. You could allow the plugin to lapse, but as WordPress, PHP versions, your themes, your other plugins and more advance the plugin may not work as intended and also become a security issue.

  • $49 for one site
  • $99 for three sites (annual)
  • $249 for unlimited websites

Some other features

  • Works for multi-lingual sites
  • Works in multisite environments
  • You can turn on and off features to connected users with a simple toggle button
  • All features of the plugin can work on mobile without additional programming or configuration.

Support is email support. Only sent one ticket but got a response in about two hours, which is decent.

If you’re looking to speed up your WordPress site, I can’t recommend WP Rocket enough! Head over to https://bebizzy.com/rocket and get signed up.

Do you use WP Rocket or another caching pluging? Leave me comments @BeBizzy on Twitter!

WP Rocket

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast