Category Archives: Webmaster Services

Are You AMP’ed Up Yet?

Is Your Website Using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)?
Is Your Website Using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)?

Is your website AMP’ed? If it is you most certainly know that I am talking about Accelerated Mobile Pages, and Google loves them.

If you are not, it is relatively easy to create an AMP page template for your HTML website. Just follow some of these links to learn more and to see examples.

https://moz.com/blog/accelerated-mobile-pages-whiteboard-friday

https://www.ampproject.org/

If you have a WordPress website there are a number of great plugins you can use. I like the following:

https://wordpress.org/plugins/accelerated-mobile-pages/

https://wordpress.org/plugins/amp/

As AMP’ed websites are important from Google viewpoint and Google is actively showing AMP pages in the mobile index, it is important to know and understand why your website needs to embrace AMP now.

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Chat Apps for Your Website

Find out about website chat aps
Find out about website chat aps

Seems simple, just install code and you’ve got a chat app. But not so fast. I am finding out from personal experience that not all chat apps are alike.

I started out with Drift and still have that chat app on my blog (for now). What I found as I used the app was it slowed my website to a crawl for load time. I think much of this is the code is installed in the head tag as instructions state, but may be better installed before the </body>.

What is happening on my site is the page is taking so long to load and the navigation does not operate until the chat app function appears – I consider this very bad. Drift must have made a code change to the asynchronous code recently as the page load time was not an issue before but started about two weeks ago.  As a result I have been actively looking for a website chat app replacement.

I have tried three Tawk.to, MyLiveChat, and now Pure Chat. I am using Pure Chat on my website right now and so far I do like the free version. What I consider important for a website chat app are the following:

  1. Easy to install
  2. Able to configure colors
  3. Has a rock solid mobile app
  4. Does not impact page load speed

So far Tawk.To and My Live Chat  were too complicated for my needs and cumbersome to use.  Pure Chat has easy set up and I do like the mobile app which is simple to use.

I will be doing additional testing in the weeks ahead and when I settle on one, I’ll post it on my blog.

 

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Tips for Moving to a New Web Host

Expect the unexpected.
Expect the Unexpected.

Moving to a new web host? Here are my top tips on quickly moving with a minimum of downtime for HTML and PHP (non-database driven) websites.

Know Before You Go
Make sure you know what is going on with your site before you go. What are you using at your old webhost? Email? Script? When you repoint your domain to your new host, anything that you had at your old host is wiped. That means you will have to set up email accounts, any scripts, and any other things you have been using. Make sure before you move, that your webmaster does their due diligence and make sure you are knowledgeable to inform them of what you have and are doing. Typically they can see scripts that run your website, but may not know of your mail server set up.

Use a Web Host that Provides a Temporary Domain
I like Hostway, when I set up a new domain that is owned or pointed elsewhere, Hostway gives me a temporary domain to use. I can load files and even test scripts and make any changes I need to before I move a domain and go live. If you don’t see this option ask, as sometimes it can be turned on for you.

Test, Test, Test
Before launch of any site, I do extensive testing both in my clients area and then in the temporary domain. Try to get all problems resolved before you turn your new site on. It will save having headaches and frustration.

Be Prepared for Propagation
Once you repoint your domain name servers to a new web host, be prepared for propagation. Know that it takes typically 4 to 6 hours for servers to refresh and longer for small internet service providers for your domain at the new web host to be seen consistently and properly. Don’t freak out when you cannot see your site. This takes time and there is nothing you can do to speed the process.

Looking for a webmaster to help you move to a new web host? Contact us and review our webmaster services today.

 

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Weighing Your Options for Website Redesign Work

Solutions for your business that make sense.
Solutions for your business that make sense.

Many legacy website owners are now looking at upgrading their websites to leverage new technologies but what type of site should you consider as you weigh your options?

WordPress Websites Pros and Cons

I have a love/hate relationship with WordPress. I love the power and adaptability. I love the free plugins, but I hate the security problems and I hate the lack of really fine control both for SEO use and for image placements.

If a client decides that they want to do their own content updates, WordPress is perfect for them, but at a cost.

If a client does not buy a security monitoring service like WordFence or SiteLock, they may leave their expensive new website open to becoming hacked and banned on Google (until remediated from a hack).

Being secure costs money and WordPress is not a set it and forget it application. Be prepared if you decide to do your own updates that you need security software and need to do your own weekly site updates to keep WordPress secure.

HTML Websites Pros and Cons

For clients that are never going to do their own updates and do not need special plugin features from WordPress, I love a regular HTML version website. I love the control of page and image naming, the ability to have total control over site architecture, and the security of knowing that hackers do not typically use HTML websites as a platform to spew spam or malware.

HTML websites do not need regular security review, analysis and monitoring as WordPress sites do. But as technology changes they typically should be replaced about every five years.

If you need help with a SEO focused information-rich website for your service business and are not using ecommerce, pick up the phone and chat with me about your needs at 540-693-0385. I’d be glad to let you candidly know if our services would be a good match for your needs.

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Google Starts Testing on Mobile First Search Index – Explained

Googlespeak can be confusing for those not in the industry, so this post will help business owners understand what Google means when it states the following:

“To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first.”  Doantam Phan, Google product manager

Google Partner Badge
McCord Web Services is a Google Partner.

This is the bottom-line. Google is testing and will most likely rollout a huge change to its indexing algorithm that is used to rack and stack websites in the organic or unpaid results of search pages.

The algorithm will now review and base the ranking index across all devices based on what the Googlebot spider reads in the content of a mobile version website. This is incredibly big news and the ramifications are huge.

Here’s why:

  1. If you have a responsive website, you do not need to worry. You are totally covered for this update.

2. If you have a mobile adaptive website, you need to start making changes. A mobile adaptive site means that the content for your mobile site is different and sometimes lacks the content that you have in your desktop and tablet version site. You may have dropped content, streamlined content on pages, or not developed content for some pages. In other words the mobile site is different by design and desire from your desktop site.

3. If you do not have a mobile site it is time to get busy and move to a responsive website design. Although Google says that it will still spider your site with its mobile searchbot, I would expect in the future to see tags in the index stating your site is not mobile friendly and possible demotions.

Google means business on mobile as attested by the following quote.

“Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.” Doantam Phan, Google product manager

 If you need help with a responsive website, now’s the time to check in with the McCord Web Services team. Our focus is to implement affordable, SEO-focused responsive websites that bring you customers.

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Security, Security, Security – You Can Never Have Too Much

Make sure you know about your own site's security policy.
Make sure you know about your own site’s security policy.

Security, you never realize how much you really should be thinking about it until your site is hacked. For business owners, let me caution you to not leave this most important aspect out of protecting your online presence to staff without some oversight.

Here’s what you as the business owner need to know about security.

  1. You need a back up and redundancy plan.
  2. You need to know what your webmaster is doing on security.
  3. You need to routinely monitor the Google Search Console for messages.
  4. Sometimes the Bing Search Console will notify you faster of a hack, so monitor there too.
  5. Look for weird URLs and strange activity in Google Analytics.
  6. Make sure you do regular back ups of your website files and keep several archives not just one.
  7. Back up your back up!
  8. If you use WordPress as the backbone for your site see below.
  9. Remain vigilant. If you have security plugins monitor the messages.

If you have WordPress…

I like WordFence as my security plugin. I am getting nice results and actionable message about access, updates to do to stay secure, and not too many messages that I get “security fatigue”.

I do use other plugins as well for WordPress. Below are the ones I will typically install for clients.

Login Lockdown
Locks out brute force attacks and bad passwords.

WordPress File Monitor
This plugin monitors the core files for changes and uploads.

Sucuri or WordFence
I have used this program but found that the number of messages was too overwhelming so at this time I am using WordFence instead. Just make sure you use something AND make sure to actually read the alerts!

If you need help with your website please feel free to visit ours and check out our services.

 

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