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.
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.
You need a back up and redundancy plan.
You need to know what your webmaster is doing on security.
You need to routinely monitor the Google Search Console for messages.
Sometimes the Bing Search Console will notify you faster of a hack, so monitor there too.
Look for weird URLs and strange activity in Google Analytics.
Make sure you do regular back ups of your website files and keep several archives not just one.
Back up your back up!
If you use WordPress as the backbone for your site see below.
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.
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 are waited to update your website to be mobile-friendly and your traffic and business is crashing, know that Google means business in regards to transitioning to a mobile-focused world of search.
Over the last three months I have seen a huge shift even in AdWords conversions and for many clients all activity is now click to call from mobile devices. If you missed the boat and did not update your website to be mobile friendly by this week, here are a few quick things you can do to remediate that problem.
Some sites that you may want to check out if you are a do it yourselfer are:
DudaMobile – has mobile friendly as well as responsive designs.
WIX – just be careful of the design as not all are really responsive.
Shopify – has some nice designs to consider.
Webflow – is even a consideration.
Of course if you want greater control over your design and content, or simply do not have enough time to do this yourself, we have a very nice turnkey program for responsive websites for you to check out and try out online. Just let us know your interested and we’ll send you a link to over 50 super nice responsive starting points for your customized website.
There are several reasons you may not be able to see your own website properly with your iPad. Here are a few suggestions to work through to try to identify the nature of your problem.
1. How old is your website. If it is older than two years old, most likely your iPad cannot see parts of your website properly due to depreciated code. As technology advances, not always is everything backwards compatible especially when it comes to the code that makes your website work.
2. Test your website with your desktop, smartphone, and laptop. Try looking at your website in a variety of devices as well as platforms. Not all website designers check cross browser and device compatibility when they design a website.
3. Check to see if your website is using Flash. Apple has not embraced Flash – which is a graphics application that shows video like actions. If you see a big black section most likely it is a Flash viewing problem. More and more sites in the last two years have totally moved away from Flash due to this issue.
4. If you can see part of a drop down menu and not the rest or a button won’t even open the drop down, try it on your desktop. If you can experience the action there, it is simply an issue of technology. Your website may be using older code and so not be completely viewable with your iPad.
Here’s my rule of thumb, if your website is three years old or older, you really need to upgrade to a responsive design. There have been just too many technological advancements in the last two years that anything older than that is using old source code and will continue to show issues when viewed with new technology.
Sure, you remember VHS tapes, don’t you? Even my teens remember watching Pokémon video tapes from the library. But try to find a VHS tape for sale at the store or even a VHS player and you’re simply out of luck. This is exactly where some websites will be in the very near future.
I recently spoke to a client about a responsive website redesign and his comment was “it looks good to me on my phone”. Another said “as long as I can see it on my iPad and desktop, I’m fine.” What both don’t realize is that they should not be designing for their own technology use, but for Google and the world. So the question to ask now is, “Is your website like a VHS tape?”
Here are the questions you should ask yourself:
1. Am I planning for the future? If I do not upgrade my website this next year will browsers and smartphones still be able to see my site? Will my site appear broken for those users?
2. Will my site still be found in the search indexes if I do not upgrade my technology? Google has already stated that it will be filtering out of the mobile search space after April 21, 2015 websites that are not mobile-friendly. Where will your site place in one year? How about two years?
3. How much of my current traffic is from smartphones and tablets. If it is over 50% and I do not have a mobile friendly site, how will users find me?
4. If I advertise on Google AdWords and my website is not mobile-friendly will Google stop showing my ads to this important and growing market?
It makes perfect sense to do nothing with your old website if you are retiring this next year, but if you are still counting on your website to bring in leads and traffic now and in the future, you would be wise to be moving forward by moving to a new responsive website. Don’t look at your website from your own technology considerations. it is time to take off your rose-colored glasses and see your website the way others AND Google see it.
I predicted these things would be hot for 2015 and some are coming to pass right now:
1. The Mobile Web and Google My prediction: This whole next year expect to see more activity from Google in regards to refining how websites are ranked based on mobile friendliness. If you at the minimum do not have a DudaMobile website to turn you not so friendly mobile site into one that Google will like, now’s the time to make that move. Better yet is to invest in rebuilding your website using a responsive design which will serve you better in the long run.
Google announced this past month that on 4-21-15 they will drop website listings from their mobile search index that are not Google approved “mobile friendly”. What came out this month as well is that Google does not have a separate mobile index and so appears to simply be massaging data to return mobile results. The next big question will be – will not having a mobile friendly site affect my regular desktop and tablet results on Google.com. On that issue, I am not prepared to make a prediction just yet.
2. Mobile Pay Will Be Hot My prediction: As all merchants will need to upgrade their swipe terminals to accept the new SIM card personal identifier in credit cards, I predict that there will be greater use of mobile payments with Apple Pay and Softcard.
I have been vindicated that Mobile Pay or Contactless Pay as it is known is very hot. In fact, Softcard was purchased in March by Google and the technology is being rolled into Google Wallet. I expect to see a much bigger push on Google Wallet this next year. Apple Pay has rolled out and more users are embracing tapping their smartphone to pay at checkout. This is a growing trend and one I expect to see even more announcements come out as the year goes on.