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Steps and tips to migrating your online store to Crazy Domains

By Alex J | Friday, 23 September 2016
Moving your site to another hosting company can be pretty intimidating. After all, you don't k...

Steps and tips to migrating your online store to Crazy Domains

By Alex J | Friday, 23 September 2016

Moving your site to another hosting company can be pretty intimidating. After all, you don't know how the transfer could affect your files. This transition seems more daunting when you run an e-commerce site. Some people who experience the same dilemma simply stay with their current hosting provider.

If staying is not an option for you, luckily there are tricks to make migrating your online store go smoothly. Here are some of them:

Back up all your data.

When migrating an online store using Cart2Cart, this service usually just copies all your data. However, you can never be too sure what happens to them during the transfer. It always helps to have your own backup. This way you could use your copies in case any one of your files in the database gets corrupted.

Switch the Redirect setting

Transferring to a new hosting provider seems a lot like setting up a new site. This is because a lot of your Google and social media performance is reset. In order to generate almost the same traffic and user activity, one trick you can use is to set redirects. This way, when visitors type in your web site, they would be redirected to your new IP without a hitch.

Turn on Maintenance Mode

In order to make sure the transfer goes smoothly, enable maintenance mode. By doing this, you can ensure that nothing disrupts the data transfer. Setting your site to maintenance mode also generates a notification page so that visitors know the current status of the site. You may not generate traffic, but this ensures that you can proceed with the transfer without any disruptions from end users.

Now, let's move on to the actual transfer. Regardless of whether you used Shopify or Etsy, when you transfer with us, you'll have to do it manually. This is because we use a customized e-commerce and shopping cart software. Here's a guide on how to get started with our eShop. If you also need assistance transferring your site, you can also ask for help from our customer representatives so that this transition goes smoothly. What matters is your online store is up and running after you make the move.



Google Analytics for business: an introductory lesson for entrepreneurs

By Alex J | Friday, 16 September 2016

It's important for businesses to have a website, with the majority of consumers already shopping, interacting, and even working online.

The good thing about consumers having an active online presence is it is easier for businesses to track their behavior. From there, you can make decisions based on the observed spending habits of your target audience.

As a business, you need an effective tool to help you monitor the online habits of your market. Luckily, help is at hand with Google Analytics, a freemium service that lets you track the traffic of your website.

GA's comprehensive reports allow you to gauge the behavior of your visitors and monitor how much traffic your site gets.

But just like any good tool, you need to get to understand Google Analytics first before you can figure out how it could work for you.

Getting started

After you sign up or log in, the next step is to indicate which websites or apps you want to track. You can do this by following these steps:

Step 1Click the Admin tab.
Step 2Go to the dropdown Account menu and select which account you want to add.
Step 3Click on the "Create new property" then select "Website".
Step 4Input your site's domain name and URL on the corresponding fields.
Step 5Pick the appropriate industry, category, and time zone.
Step 6Lastly, click "Get tracking ID".

Once your site is registered, the next step is to install its tracking code. If you run a Wordpress site, click here for a tutorial on how to get started and install Analytics on your site.

Indicating your goals

After the code is installed and GA starts tracking your site, it is time to set your goals.

This is an important step because it helps you track macro and micro conversions. It also helps you connect the data to your key performance indicators. Once you enable Goals, you can study metrics, such as the number of conversions and conversion rates.

GA has four types of Goals, namely:

Destination
refers to the pages that only appear after users accomplish a specific task. (e.g. a Thank You page that shows up after users sign up or purchase).

Duration
details how long the user stayed on your site or a particular page.

Pages/screens per visit
reveals how many pages the user accessed.

Event
monitors when users do a specific activity (e.g. watched a video from one of the pages).

Each of these goals could be customised based on your metrics and could provide you with comprehensive reports.

Using Site Search

There are several benefits of having a search bar, especially if your site has lots of pages.

Benefit #1: visitors can find specific content much faster.

Benefit #2: you can determine their search habits on your site.

With Google Analytics, you can monitor the search patterns of your visitors by turning on Site Search.

This setting is found under the Admin tab.

Step 1Click on that then highlight View Settings.
Step 2Scroll to Site Search and switch on Site Search Tracking.
Step 3Below that is the Query Parameter Field, where you can designate internal query parameters. Simply separate each one with a comma.

Aside from analysing your visitors' search patterns, Site Search also helps you determine what keywords they are using and how frequently people use them. You can definitely use this knowledge to boost your site's traffic.

At first glance, Google Analytics can seem overwhelming. But as soon as you figure out how your site should perform, it gets easier to figure which GA tools and features you need. From there, you can see comprehensive reports to help you to build your site's presence.



Winning BIG and celebrating 30 years of .AU

By Alex J | Friday, 9 September 2016

1986 was a big year for technology and pop culture. Among the significant events were:

Nintendo released Legend of Zelda

The original Computer Graphics Division from Lucasfilm disbanded from the company and then formed Pixar Studios.

DC released Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, introducing a much darker version of superheroes.

Intel manufactures 80386, the microprocessor that set the standard for other microprocessors that followed

While these were tremendous milestones, one event worth mentioning is the creation of Australia's very own country-code top-level domain, the .AU.

Once upon a time…

Jonathan Bruce Postel, considered one of the godfathers of the Internet, allocated the TLD to Kevin Robert Elz of Melbourne University in 1986.

Elz is regarded by many as one of the first people to connect Australia to the Internet. Elz was also responsible for developing Internet RFC documents, which helped the country to connect to the cyber community. The creation of these documents also paved the way for an internet-based research network within Australia.

By the 90s, .AU was already attracting the attention of some of Australia's most recognised and loved brands, with the Sydney Opera House, Hog's Breath Café, and Hocking Stuart all getting a name of their own.

Along came auDa…

During the early years of .AU, it was mainly Elz that took care of the TLD. However, with .AU experiencing tremendous growth, it was clear that he couldn't oversee the task alone.

As a result, ICANN approved that a self-regulating body would look after .AU. auDa was born into a fresh Millennium, in 2000.

Along with the Australian government, auDa is in charge of implementing consumer safeguards and accredit registrars for .AU.

Finally, AusRegistry joined the picture…

In 2002, AusRegistry served as the official registry for the .AU's second level domains, mainly .com.au, .net.au, .id.au, .asn.au, and .org.au.

As the official registry, AugRegistry is associated with Domain Name System (DNS) infrastructure. In 2011, AusRegistry experienced a huge milestone when they hit the record number of 2 million .AU registrations.

This showed the world the registry's tremendous success as the official operator of the TLD.

George Pongas, director of product management for the registry, told Crazy Domains:

.AU is an important part of Australia's online identity and a vital tool in getting Aussies online.
Often we take for granted how long it's been around, so we thought .AU's 30th birthday was a milestone worth celebrating. We're hoping Aussies get involved with the celebrations – there are prizes to be won!

And they're still going strong…

In 2016, AusRegistry is celebrating .AU's 30th year.
To commemorate this event, the registry is running a competition* to find the most obscure piece of technology that has been mass produced over the last 30 years.

So you need to:

tweet @AusRegistry_au with a picture of some weird or wonderful old piece of technology using the hashtag #au30years.

You could be in the running to win an awesome prize, like a Beats Pill + Wireless Bluetooth Speaker or Beats by Dre Solo2 Wireless Headphones.

AU has come a long way, but with so many users signing up for this TLD, it's expected to stick around for a long time.

*Until September 30 users have to tweet their tech photo submissions to @AusRegistry_au. This Promotion is conducted by AusRegistry Pty Ltd, see the full terms and conditions on AusRegistry website.



Go for the gold: what small businesses can learn from Olympians

By Alex J | Friday, 2 September 2016

You don't have to be an Olympian to succeed. Whatever you decide to do, you can come out on top. This goes for business owners, too.

Regardless of your industry, there are many ways you can best your competitors. Naturally, these strategies can vary depending on the field you're in. However, no matter how extensive your plans are, they won't amount to anything without a positive attitude.

Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Mack Horton, and Catherine Skinner didn't just win gold medals through their hard work. As a business owner, you, too, can be in first place as long as you stick to the following principles:

Learn from your mistakes

When Michael Phelps lost to Chad Le Clos in the 200m butterfly relay during the 2012 London Olympics, he reportedly studied footage of the race over and over to gauge his performance. He assessed his weaknesses and trained hard to overcome them.

Fast forward to this year's Rio Olympics, not only did he reclaim his gold medal, but also completed the relay at 1:53.36. His rival? He finished fourth.

This same principle can be applied to your business. It's not unusual to experience challenges, but it's how you bounce back that matters.

One way you can get back on track is to study your business' performance. Gather as much information as you can to figure out what went wrong. Studying the data not only helps you fix any mistakes, but also helps determine how to prevent the problem in the future.

Dan Greenberg, CEO of Sharethrough, particularly believes in trial and error. Greenberg told Huffington Post that it took a while for the company to establish its niche, mentioning that the company's biggest mistake was not clearly defining the tone of their content and services.

Sharethrough amended this by solidifying their vision and goals, aiming to monetise the modern internet through meaningful and relevant content.

Keep your focus

Performing in front of a crowd is no easy task. If the slightest clap or cheer distracts an athlete, it could completely ruin his or her entire performance.

Kohei Uchimura, one of the most decorated gymnasts of all time, seems to expertly tune out everything. When you see him perform, you could almost say that he is in a world of his own. You can clearly see in his eyes that he is completely focused on his routine.

Naturally, there are a lot of distractions in business, including looming deadlines, tough competitors, and industry changes. However, if you are easily thrown off by any of them, then it becomes harder to achieve your goals.

This is why it helps to outline your goals before then figuring out how to achieve them. Your business will always encounter problems along the way, but what is important is not to lose sight of your targets.

A perfect example of this is Isaac Lidsky from ODC Construction. Before the age of 25, he lost his sight, but Lidsky's disability didn't stop him from attaining a degree from Harvard College before he turned 20, selling a tech company, and earning a prestigious law degree.

In an interview with Nicole Taylor of Business News Daily, Lidsky said "I learned that the ultimate responsibility for my life and my limitations begins and ends with me," and that it was his "responsibility to proactively identify ... obstacles in my way and to look for solutions."

Build an efficient team

You hire people to help you deliver products and services to your target audience.

In order to build an effective team, it is important to first hire the right individuals for each role. Next, you need to foster cooperation: each member should understand that their work affects everyone else. Lastly, they should understand that they should help each other out. One way they can do this is to pick up the slack when one of them is struggling with a task. These are just some ways of establishing team spirit.

One of the most efficient teams in the Rio Olympics were New Zealand's rowers Eric Murray and Hamish Bond.

These Kiwis were able to successfully defend their Olympic gold medal for the coxless pair relay. Eelco Meenhorst, a coach from another team, shared with the The Indian Express that an edge these two have over the other teams is their size and weight; they are large enough to row powerfully, while being light enough that they could still move smoothly on the water. This is an important part of why Murray and Bond were able to defend their title.

William Nobrega of CQS International, said it best. When his company struggled back in 2014, he simply followed the footsteps of other successful brands, and brought on new dedicated and passionate team members. These people have served as the backbone of his company's success.

It will take a lot of effort to make your business work. As long as you follow the lead of these individuals, and remain savvy enough to know what is best for your business, then you can surely take home gold.



Battle of the browsers: which one is the reigning champion?

By Alex J | Friday, 26 August 2016

Ever since Google launched Chrome back in 2008, it has become the most trusted web browser. However, Firefox, Safari, and Opera have implemented their own updates to catch up. Even Microsoft introduced a new and improved browser for Windows 10, namely Microsoft Edge. But out of all these browsers, which one holds the accolade of best browser?

In order to find out, it helps to assess them according to the following metrics:

Installation:

All of the mentioned browsers can easily be downloaded from their respective websites. However, in some gadgets, a select few are already installed. A perfect example is Safari. No matter what the Apple gadget is, you can be assured that it already has Safari.

OS Compatibility:

Apple's Safari and Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Edge were specifically built for Mac OS and Windows respectively. So far, creators of these browsers have not programmed them to be compatible with the other OS. As for the rest of the browsers, they can all be opened with Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Android.

Functionality:

This is where the competition starts to get tight. Obviously, all of the major browsers are able to perform their most basic functions, viewing and accessing sites on the World Wide Web. But the tools, features, and interface are what really makes one of them stand out.

Here's a rundown of each browser's unique qualities:

(Note: For this article, we will only tackle the leading browsers.)

Google Chrome

SPDY Support

SPDY is a networking protocol invented by Google that transports web content and manipulates HTTP traffic in a faster and more secure way. This is achieved through data compression, multiplexing, and prioritization. This tool enables pages load much faster.

Separate Tab Processes

Chrome excels in isolating the processes of each tab to the point where they are almost like separate windows. The programming for this function relies on the OS to single out which tabs are not functioning properly and make sure it doesn't affect the performance of the browser. As a result, this function has made Chrome one of the most stable browsers.

Firefox. Extensions

Extensions Support

Out of all the browsers, Firefox has one of the most sophisticated Application Programming Interface (API). For those who are not familiar, API is a set of tools, protocol, and definitions for creating new application.

However, for most browsers, their API is only limited to tweaking the code and appearance of a website. What makes Firefox's API unique is its ability to test out new desktop applications just from the browser. For this reason, developers and programmers prefer Firefox.

Smart Bookmarks

This tool groups your bookmarks into three categories, namely Most Visited, Recently Bookmarked, and Recent Tags. This helps you search said pages much faster. Another good thing is you can create your set of categories.

Simply open the Bookmarks Menu and click Organize Bookmarks. From there, select Organize Menu and click the New Bookmark option.

Afterwards, the Add Bookmark window pops up and you just simply type in the name of the new category.

Microsoft Edge

Reading View

This nifty feature allows you to view a page without the ads, comments, widgets, and other distracting features. As a result, the page only displays the text. However, this feature can only be activated on single post pages; this means it can't be used on the homepage of a website. Another downside is that it also hides images.

If you prefer a quick read, then this tool is definitely useful.

New Security Options

This new browser does not support ActiveX, VML, VB and other extensions the creators deem troublesome. It only recognises JavaScript. Website owners using ActiveX will have to code their website with HTML5 if they want their site to display properly on Edge.

Other security tools that the browser boasts is Smartscreen Filter (a tool that notifies users when a site has malware or phishing apps) and improved cookie management.

Safari

Search Snapback

This is a tool that shows you your original search results. This is definitely helpful if you ever forget what keywords you entered.

There are several ways you can use this tool. You can simply click on the orange arrow found on the right side of the search field, or you can use a keyboard shortcut, pressing Command, Option, and S at the same time.

Activity Window

There are some sites that cause your browser to slow down. This can be because there are certain files or information that need to be downloaded, such as images and scripts. If you suspect this is what is slowing down your browser, then you can open Activity Window. It lists down all the sites and indicates the status of each one. From there, you can decide which of them to close.

Opera

Ad Blocker

So far, this is the only browser with an integrated ad blocker (other browsers allow you to install an ad blocker extension). By removing the ads, pages load much faster. This feature indicates the number of ads it blocked on the site you are visiting. Below that, it also displays the total number it blocked within eight days.

Opera Turbo

When your internet connection is slow, it could take you some time to open sites and its corresponding pages. This is especially true in areas with limited signal or with too many users. But Opera boasts that with this browser, you can still search the web. Even better, this allows you to browse 15% faster compared to other browsers. The reason this is possible is because Turbo saves as much as 70% of data.

All of these features make it hard to pinpoint which one is the "best". However, a report from PC Advisor reveals that 52.67% of users still think Google Chrome is the undisputed champion. On the other hand, a review from InfoQ suggests Microsoft Edge is performing better than all the rest, even its predecessor.

The final verdict

Ultimately it's up to you, the user, to determine which browser is best for you. You can try out all of them and explore their features to help you decide which of them you find easier to use.

If you found this useful, or if you have other thoughts to share, please let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus.



Why is it necessary to have a mobile-friendly website?

By Alex J | Friday, 19 August 2016

Last week, we covered the strategies of a user-friendly web design, including creating a mobile-friendly site. A lot of major brands are implementing this trick in their own websites, and Google even started penalising websites that are not optimized for mobile devices.

Aside from avoiding punishment from Google, what are the other top reasons to create a mobile-friendly site?

Attract more users

There are more and more mobile users than ever before. This is especially true for online shoppers. According to a report from Fast Company, most impulse buys are usually from tablet users.

But how do you catch their attention in the first place? Often, people prefer information presented to them in a quick and easy format. In other words, make sure that your site is easy to navigate, even on mobile devices. This way, visitors will stay on your site for longer.

Boost your site speed

Mobile gadgets just don't have the same memory and energy capacity as their laptop and desktop counterparts – though they are catching up fast. This means you'll have to minimise the number of files in your site so that it won't take too much time to load on these portable devices.

Because your site isn't too large, this reduces the loading time for your visitors regardless of device.

Improve user engagement

With a mobile-friendly site, you can include more mobile-specific features and tools. For instance, you can include a click-to-call button so that users can immediately get in touch with you whenever necessary.

Another useful feature is a mapping function, this is especially useful if you have a local target audience who can use this tool to find your establishment faster.

Integration with offline media

Unlike laptops and desktop computers, mobile gadgets can be used for reading QR codes. A QR code is a matrix barcode that contains information that can be detected and used by mobile devices.

A perfect example of this is the BirdCodes app from Angry Birds. When the game's movie adaptation was released, creators integrated these codes on specific merchandise. In order to win these items, players must first scan the QR code with the app, before playing customised games to win the merchandise. With the help of these codes, Rovio introduced a more interactive way of playing Angry Birds.

Ultimately, if you choose not to optimise your site, soon it will be obsolete. So it is best to make it more mobile-friendly now while the landscape is still evolving. This leaves you with more time to adjust to trends as they come up.



Tried and tested strategies for user-friendly web designs

By Alex J | Friday, 12 August 2016

Design and layout play an important part in a website. The overall layout should be easy to understand and easy to use for the visitors.

You could say that the graphics go hand in hand with the content. After all, how else would users read your great content if they can’t navigate your website?

In order for your website to stand out, the layout should be customised according to the nature of your business. But no matter how radical the web design, there are still design principles that are best followed. Let’s look at the top tips:

1

Utilise white space wisely

If you’re not familiar, white space is any blank area of the page (Note: it doesn’t necessarily have to be white). This can be used in several ways. A perfect example would be Google’s own homepage. It only contains the search engine’s logo with the search box underneath. Everywhere else is simply vacant space.

In this case, the surrounding white space helps put the focus on the search box and logo. You could also apply this tactic to other parts of the site.

For instance, if you are designing a blog and the color scheme is mostly dark, then you could apply the white space on the articles. This way it will be easier for users to read your content.

2

Insert calls to action in strategic areas

Ideally, these sentences or phrases should be short and simple. To make them more effective, always include a verb. Some examples include “Subscribe now”, “Click here”, or “Sign up.“ Of course, your calls to action should be relevant to your business.

Usually, these words or phrases are placed in buttons. One way to generate more clicks is to incorporate psychological cues. For example, you can induce certain moods with the help of colours. Yellow for optimism, orange for friendliness, red for excitement, purple for creativity, blue for credibility, green for tranquility, and grey for harmony.

This strategy can also be applied to hyperlinks in articles, newsletters, and other relevant content. Wufoo uses this to great effect on their site.

3

Design user-friendly and eye-catching headings

Just like your content, your headings should reflect your company. More importantly, they should answer what your viewers are looking for.

This makes your site more user and search engine friendly. In fact, search engines actually prioritise headings over content.

However, once visitors land on your site, you also have to make sure that they stick around for a while.

Aside from making the headings look presentable, they should also be understandable. Remember, they will help users navigate around your website. A perfect example of this would be from here.

4

Create a mobile-friendly site

These days many people use mobile devices, including tablets, to surf the net. Whether you create an app for your business, or simply make your site responsive so it will adjust to the screen size, accessibility is important. You want users to visit your site however and whenever they choose. Mobile-friendly sites are crucial, and Google has already started penalising those that aren’t. Find out more here.

5

Find the 404 pages

Users find non-existent pages misleading. This is one of the leading causes of high bounce rate. You can detect these pages with the help of Google Webmaster tools. Once you spot these pages, you can either delete them or simply leave a temporary message for your users, saying that the page is still under construction. Follow this link for an example of cool 404 pages.

6

Stick to one theme

There is nothing wrong with switching up the style of each page in your website. However, if each of them look too different from one another, it could throw off and confuse users. Some might even think they accidentally visited another site and decide to leave instantly, which increases the bounce rates. You can switch the color for each page, but it’s best to adhere to one central theme.

These strategies are all designed to be easy to implement, but following these design principles is just one of the crucial steps to retain users.

You still need to provide relevant content in your site. Not only will this make your site user-friendly, but also boost its marketing potential. Great content is very attractive to search engines. If you rank high in Google, Yahoo, or Bing, you could draw in more traffic for your site.

Want more visitors to your site? Check out Crazy Domains’s Traffic Booster and Search Ads solutions to help bolster your business.



Gotta Catch ‘Em All: business lessons you can learn from Pokémon GO

By Alex J | Friday, 5 August 2016

The augmented-reality game, Pokémon GO, is stirring up a storm among gamers everywhere, with people all over the world playing the highly-addictive game.

The company that made it all possible is Niantic, Inc. Before Pokémon GO, the only other game they developed was "Ingress", another augmented-reality game. Formerly part of Google, until it branched out in 2015, Niantic also created FieldTrip, a location-based app that notifies users to unique and cool things.

Both successful on their own, Ingress and FieldTrip didn't reach the same levels as Pokémon GO – but the seeds were clearly being sown.

Not surprisingly, the level of success Pokémon GO has achieved is something that many businesses want to emulate. Even if your company is not as established as Niantic, there are still some things you can learn from the Pokémon-phenomenon.

Read on to find out more.

1

App solutions are all the rage

There are instances when an app is much more convenient than a website. This is especially true if you run a business that is delivery-based because it is more user-friendly. As such, it can potentially improve sales, with IBM Holiday Benchmark Reports recording a 15% increase in traffic on Black Friday from mobile purchases alone.

Creating an app for your business is also useful for your clients, too, allowing them to access your products and services across a variety of gadgets. Through this, you can potentially reach more customers: especially with more people relying on their smart phones.

2

Security still matters

It goes without saying that customers are more likely to trust a company or brand if they feel protected. For example, when they have to reveal sensitive information (e.g. credit card number, account information, personal background), you can take measures to make sure such details remain confidential.

Niantic learned this the hard way when Pokémon GO mistakenly requested users for full access to their Google accounts, alarming various security experts. Since updated, it only requires basic profile information, and the company were quick to reassure fans that no confidential information was compromised.

3

Partnerships with other SMBs or other brands can help attract more customers

Niantic has announced that it will partner with several brands through sponsored locations in Pokémon GO. The idea behind this is that businesses can sign up as sponsors and be registered as "gyms".

These sponsors are charged whenever a player enters their store or headquarters. Although it sounds costly, this move is beneficial to them because it attracts more people to their stores.
If you are thinking about pairing up with another business for a promotional scheme, make sure the move could benefit both your companies. Also, consider teaming with a more established brand to help boost your company's reputation.

4

Brands should be cultivated

One of the reasons the game is successful is because the Pokémon brand already has an established and loyal following. It had humble beginnings as a RPG in Gameboy and eventually expanded in manga, anime, and even toy collectibles.

Cultivating your brand is important so you know what to market. For this to happen, you should know how consumers perceive your business and what sets you apart from your competitors. From there, you can determine how to expand and develop your brand. In the case of Niantic, it first toyed around with their augmented-reality system with Ingress before implementing it on Pokémon GO.

5

Profitable ideas come from almost anywhere

What sets Pokémon GO apart from other games, like Ingress? It caters to players' desire to catch Pokémon for themselves. Through the game, players almost get to experience what it is really like to catch a Pokémon in the real world.

The game's creator, John Hanke, got the idea in 2014 when he was working on Google Maps, and was involved with its now-infamous April Fool's Day prank. Google made an announcement regarding a new training tool that was created in cooperation with Pokémon and Nintendo. The company even went so far as to invite "savvy risk takers" who can "navigate through tall grass to capture wild creatures."

This is another reason for the game's success. Although the idea started out as a joke, Hanke took note of people's reaction and decided to capitalise on it. If you are stumped with what to sell or offer, you could take a cue from Pokémon GO's creators and cash in on something that started out as unintentional. The point is to think outside the box.

Even though your business might not reach the same level of popularity as Pokémon GO you can still achieve success as long as you follow these tips.



Top tools for Wordpress development and site maintenance

By Alex J | Friday, 29 July 2016

Of all the content management systems, Wordpress is one the most user-friendly. One reason for this is a navigation system that is easy to understand.

Like all content management systems, Wordpress Dashboard has a default setting. In order to make your site unique, you will have to rely on other plugins, widgets, extensions, and other tools to improve its functionality.

But don’t rush in downloading all the tools at once. Otherwise, you might risk messing up the functionality of your site. To help you develop your website, here are a few tools you can use:

For developing a site:

Monster Widget

The purpose of this widget is to help users manage all default widgets in Wordpress (Archives List, Calendar, Pages, and Recent Comments are just a few of them). Combining all the core widgets into one, it gets a lot easier for you to manage and sort the widgets you downloaded.

Theme Check

This plugin lets you test the theme of your site. This way, you know for sure if it is up to date or not. It also lets you know if it is compatible with Wordpress standards and upgrades. The tests are conducted through an admin menu with results displayed right away.

User Switching

Let’s say that your site has several people that can log in at once. With this plugin, not only can you switch with any user, you can also log off and log in more smoothly. The catch here is not everyone can do this. Only administrators can make the switch at any time. This is especially useful for content-based sites (wherein in writers are allowed access).

Pictura

Images play an important role in web design. Naturally, for your website, you should use quality images. But with strict copyright laws, it can be tough scouring the web for good photos. This plugin helps you with your search and narrows the results according to licence. Through this, you know which pictures you can or can’t use.

WordPress Site Manager

If you have several Wordpress sites, it can be hard to remember the login details of each one. This browser extension allows you to log in each one of them with ease. It is a lot like Last Pass only for Wordpress. It stores the usernames and passwords of all your Wordpress accounts.

All these tools come in handy when you are still developing your site. However, once it is ready, you still need help maintaining it. Any of these tools would definitely come in handy:

For maintenance:

WP Maintenance Mode

If you have a new page that is still being developed, you can let your viewers know with the help of this plugin. For any page that is still under construction, this plugin creates an advisory regarding its status. The advisory itself is in the form of a splash page.

For those of you that don’t know, a splash page is a pop-up page that appears and allows users the option to continue to the main site.

Easy Coming Soon

Similar to WP Maintenance Mode, this plugin allows you to set up an “Under Maintenance” or “Under Construction” page. Setting it up is quite easy, too. You can find a set of tabs that lets you configure the settings. Some of the things you can do with this plugin include set up Google analytics, add a background image, and add the social media buttons.

Google Analytics

Many of you might have heard of this but do not know what this is. This is actually a Google service that gives you comprehensive updates regarding your site’s performance. It is so dynamic that it could even determine which pages are not generating that much traffic. This is useful in helping your site more search engine friendly.

WP DBManager

This plugin is a database manager. It can help you optimise, repair, backup, restore, and even delete your database. If your site has a fairly large database, this is definitely useful. Another good thing about this plugin it allows you to regularly schedule optimisation and repair the database. It also notifies you and recommends the right course of action for any related problems.

Image Cleanup

Images take up a lot of space. With this tool, this can help you retain only relevant images for your site. This plugin will index unreferenced pictures. Based on this, you can decided which photos to keep and which ones to discard. This tool also notifies you of any images without any meta data.

With these tools, you are on your way to building a fully operational site. But remember, make sure that the overall function is user-friendly. After all, you do not want viewers to leave simply because they don’t know how to navigate their way around the site.

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SEO vs SEM: which is better?

By Alex J | Friday, 22 July 2016

Even though social media is steadily dictating users' browsing habits, a lot of us still rely on search engines.

In fact, people rely on Google so much that the name was included in the Oxford Dictionary. As a website owner, you still need to rely on search engines in order to attract viewers to your site.

But with a new site to manage, it can be hard to determine which marketing strategies to try – even harder to determine which of them would work.

One of the common questions new site owners ask us is when to implement SEO (search engine optimization) or SEM (search engine marketing) strategies.

The truth is the two are very similar.

Both strategies heavily rely on search engines to attract more viewers (SEO is actually a component of SEM). The differences between them are SEO aims for more organic results while SEM takes advantage of paid ads on search engines.

Now that we know the key differences, the next question is whether to implement SEO or SEM strategies. To help you determine the answer, here's a run through of the pros and cons:

SEO

Pros

Cost-efficiency

You can spend less to earn high rankings. You just need to be aware of effective trends.

Conversion

As long as you play your cards right, there is a chance that visitors will become your customers.

Authority

If your site lands on the first page (especially along the upper half), it could be recognised as an authority domain.

Cons

Time-consuming

This is especially true if competition is tough. It could take a while before you achieve the same results as your competitors.

Risky

You are constantly on the whim of search engine updates. For example, when Google rolled out the Panda and Penguin updates, previous authority sites not only lost their ranking but were also penalised.

Unpredictability

As mentioned previously, you never know what to expect with these software updates. What works one day might not work on the next.

SEM

Pros

Visibility

Even if your site does not rank high in the organic search results, there’s a chance that your paid ads will still land on the first page.

Control

With paid ads in particular, you can set the time, date, and even device.

Specificity

You can input specific keywords relevant to your ads and your business.

Cons

Costly

Depending on the niche or industry, the price for ads might be expensive – even more so if competitors’ ads are dominating the first few pages.

Tedious

It can be a hassle to keep tweaking your ad settings just so they rank.

Reputation

In terms of reputation, most users actually prefer the organic search results over the paid ones.


Ideally, it would be better to implement both SEO and SEM marketing strategies. However, if you can't do both, it's best to analyse which of them is easier to do given your current situation. You could always take advantage of both SEO and SEM strategies once you have enough money or following.