Tag Archives: WordPress

Don’t let 33% of customers fall through the cracks

superb-wordpress-header

Today we continue our Black Friday Bootcamp to show you how to make sure your website is mobile-friendly and fast.

The reason we want a mobile-friendly website is because mobile devices accounted for over one-third of ALL sales transactions in 2015.

The name of the game for Black Friday and holiday shopping is to maximize every single visitor. This means we need to ensure our website is optimized for mobile devices.

In addition, Google reports that 77% of mobile searches occur at home or work, places where desktop computers are likely to be present. And I think it’s safe to assume that people will be shopping from the office for this holiday season.

If you’ve not updated your website in a few years, my guess is that you could use a few tweaks to be mobile friendly.

Step 1 – Check Your Existing Site(s)

The first thing we need to do is head over to Google and run a check on your existing website.

You can do that here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly

With any luck, your website will already be mobile-friendly and you’ll see the following message per screenshot below. If so, I’ll see you in our next Black Friday Bootcamp article!

superb-awesome

If by any chance you were hit with the following message, there’s a few things we can do to make it mobile friendly.

superb-not-friendly

Assuming that your website is not mobile – think we can remove this line entirely.

Step 2 – How Did You Create Your Site(s)?

In order for us to fix the mobile-friendly problem, we need to know how your website was built.

How was your website built?

  • Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla!, or Drupal
  • Someone else built the website
  • I built the website myself and understand coding

I’ll go over a plan of action for each of the above.

Assuming you used WordPress (the most popular CMS), your road to becoming mobile-friendly is rather easy.

WordPress Mobile Websites

First thing you need to do is make sure your WordPress installation is fully up to date. Contact the Superb Internet’s support guru’s if you need help updating WordPress.

If you wish to update WordPress on your own, login to WordPress for the website you wish to make mobile-friendly.

Once logged in, look under the “Home” link for “Updates.” This will be in the top left corner of your WordPress dashboard.

Once you have located the “Updates” link, click it.

superb-wp-dashboard

You will then be taken to a new page where you will be told what updates you need.

superb-wp-update

Once you are up-to-date, your website should be mobile-friendly.

You can re-check your website using the Google Mobile check:

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly

If you still don’t pass, we can install plugins that will fix everything for us.

Generally, updating WordPress should resolve it. But if your website is still not mobile-friendly then your theme is most likely causing the problem. We can perform a work around by installing the following plugins:

And most current theme’s (if not all) are mobile-friendly for WordPress.

Now, if you are using an alternate CMS, you can visit the following links for more help:

You may ask, “What if someone else has built my website?

Website(s) Built By A Web Designer Or Programmer

You’ll need to contact your web designer to see if they are capable of making your existing site mobile-friendly. With that said, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when choosing a web developer for this project:

  1. Make it easy for customers. Show them what they want and make it easy for them to take action.
  2. Design for all devices using responsive design. Tablets, phones, desktops.
  3. Use the same domain, don’t place your mobile site on a sub-domain. This just increases work and confusion.
  4. Ask for references and a portfolio of mobile websites.
  5. Make sure your mobile site loads quickly. 4 seconds or less is the general rule of thumb given to us by Google.

But what if you built the site yourself?

I Built The Website Myself

If you understand HTML coding, congrats! You’ll be able to knock this all out on your own.

The good thing is, Google has a checklist you can go over when designing your website here.

I’ll be back in a day or two and we’ll start doing the fun stuff and I’ll give you a few idea’s so you can organize a plan for Black Friday so your sales don’t evaporate.

Using CloudFlare to protect and speed up your website & brain – Part 3

 

cloud flare threat control
cloud flare threat control

As we covered in the first two installments of this series on CloudFlare, speed is becoming more and more essential to those hoping to succeed on the web. Both users and search engines are less patient than they used to be. Sites must respond to these new expectations. Optimizing acceleration involves assessing a number of different factors – from the server to the content management system (e.g. WordPress, Joomla!) to the content itself. Each aspect can help or hinder your site.

Enter CloudFlare. This service, which is completely free and doesn’t affect domain registration or hosting in any way, can speed up your site in a few simple steps. What’s more, activating it makes it less likely your site will be harmed by malware or spamming.

Previously we talked about the essence of how CloudFlare does what it does, along with instructions on signing up. We also reviewed its advantages, along with those of Google’s PageSpeed Service. Today, we will survey its brief but interesting history.
Continue reading Using CloudFlare to protect and speed up your website & brain – Part 3

Using CloudFlare to protect and speed up your website & brain – Part 2

 

Cloudflare

As we discussed in the first part of this series, one of the most important parameters these days to succeed online is speed. Page load times have always affected how users perceive a site, but what’s becoming more of an issue with online speed is SEO. Google is placing more and more emphasis on the rate at which a page populates.

Figuring out how to speed up your site can be complicated. You have to think about trimming plugins or reformatting content, for example. Beyond that, you may need to think about what hosting service you are using and what type of server is handling your website’s requests. Clearly, speed can quickly become a headache.

Luckily, a free system, CloudFlare, is now available that can make your site faster… and the added bonus is that it makes your site safer as well. It performs both of these tasks by serving as a proxy between visitors to your site and your hosting company (in other words, traffic funnels through them, and their platform optimizes speed and security).
Continue reading Using CloudFlare to protect and speed up your website & brain – Part 2

Using CloudFlare to protect and speed up your website & brain

 

Wow! If you run a forum you need Cloudflare - ...
Wow! If you run a forum you need Cloudflare - it cut my webserver CPU usage in half!

Speed: it’s crucial online. The rate at which a page loads is important both to keep customers happy and to keep them from leaving your site. However, your site’s speed is not just about UX (user experience) but about search engine rankings. That latter factor is becoming more and more important as the Google algorithm weighs it more heavily. Tumblr’s servers, for example, do not meet Google’s standards for speed.

Obviously the speed at which your site populates content depends on a mixture of diverse factors. For example, how many images do you have on your page? Are they compressed? What type of hardware are using (server, etc.)? Are there a lot of WordPress plugins on your site? Simple sites running off of great equipment load very quickly, and complex sites on clunky equipment don’t. However, there is a cheat.

CloudFlare is that cheat. It’s free. It makes your site faster. It makes it more difficult for spammers to harass you. It strengthens the security of your site. I know… It sounds implausible. In this three-part series, we will look at CloudFlare from a variety of different angles.
Continue reading Using CloudFlare to protect and speed up your website & brain

cPanel vs. Plesk vs. Bobby Lou’s CP Extraordinaire – Part 3

 

Português: Criando contas de FTP no Painel Ple...

It’s time for the final part of our exploration into cPanel and Plesk: the two most popular control panels’ similarities and differences. If we think of the series in terms of the body segments of an ant (which we probably should), we’re complete with the head and thorax (Part 1); propodeum and petiole nodes (Part 2); and now, without further ado, it’s time for the gaster (the most attractive part of the ant, according to 4 out of 5 entomologists).

To get a more comprehensive understanding of the two control panels from a variety of viewpoints, we are reviewing four sources for this series: articles from Worth Of Web; by Tim Attwood of HostReview, by Claire Broadley of WhoIsHostingThis?; and by Aiken Lytton, also of HostReview.

Additionally, I have found the top competitor for cPanel and Plesk within the large and growing Internet cockfighting community: Bobby Lou’s Internet Control Panel Extraordinaire. Founder and developer Bobby Lou shared his thoughts with me during an interview while we were inner tubing down the Snake River in Wyoming.

In the first part of this series, we went over OS compatibility (Windows/Linux), intuitive vs. non-intuitive user interface, and subscription costs. In the second part, we discussed setup, everyday use, and migration between the two platforms (and remember that, though Bobby Lou didn’t directly answer the migration question, we did learn that roosters don’t migrate due to henhouse-related responsibilities). Today we will finish up with external database requirements, OS control, and a few final words on user experience.

Comparison: cPanel & Plesk – The Stunning Conclusion

Today we will continue to look at specific aspects of the systems that make them similar and different. This final post will be a little more pointed, drawing from the more opinionated commentary of Aiken, which I hadn’t cited previously and covers some similar ground from earlier sections, but with more specific one-sided arguments.

Extraordinaire, says Bobby Lou, “is an argument for secession of the cockfighting world into its own parallel reality of pleasure and pain, mostly pain – actually entirely pain. None of us enjoy this lifestyle. We were born into it. It’s like being Amish, except no hats.”

External Database & Plugins

Aiken mentions that cPanel is easier to customize due to the large array of plugins. It’s similar in this way to WordPress and other popular CMSs. Additionally, Plesk requires an external database. That’s not the case with cPanel. Essentially, then, it’s less needy out of the box and easier to enhance as you go.

Extraordinaire has plugins that allow you to “cockfight one piece of code against another,” says Bobby Lou. “It completely fries your server, but it is well worth the inconvenience and expense to see code getting raw and essentially biting off pieces of its own body. It’s horrible, disgusting, and highly recommended.”

OS Control

We discussed previously compatibility – that Plesk is offered in both Windows and Linux versions, whereas cPanel is only a Linux service. We did note that Enkompass has been developed by cPanel for the Windows OS. However, it’s not cPanel “proper” and is not a widespread option through hosting companies.

Essentially, then, Plesk is less OS-specific. However, it is not as flexible with third-party add-ons – and third-party add-ons are widely developed for cPanel in part because programmers are so fond of Linux. One user on Stack Overflow calls UNIX-based systems such as Linux “a developers play ground” [sic], in contrast to the more user-focused Windows OS.

Plesk does offer greater control at the OS level than does cPanel, per Aiken. However, its advantages are more likely experienced by a web hosting company than by the end user (i.e., more of a system administrative advantage than a webmaster advantage). The increase in control is probably not worth it, and assuming you want to retain the system for at least a year and pay annually, cPanel is a little more affordable.

Notably as well, Plesk is clunkier on Linux, says Aiken. Bobby Lou agrees: “It’s like a cock with the bird flu. He can’t see straight. His aim is amiss. He can’t feel any pain. He’s like a Buddhist monk, assuming the monk also has a life-threatening brain disease.” Aiken also praises cPanel for its UX, which I’ll cover next.

User Experience

It’s worth looking at another take on UX (user experience) as well. Plesk can seem simpler from the outset, as we discussed in a previous section. Once we move more fully into the platform, though, intuition is better integrated with cPanel, says Aiken. He specifically advises using the control panel with the CloudLinux OS if you have multiple sites or otherwise want to break up your server into a number of different virtual environments.

Bobby Lou mentions that the user experience for his OS is “virtually identical to a cockfight. Using my platform is like stepping into the ring. The bell sounds, and an angry maniac is trying to perpetrate avicide against you. Secure against roosters? Yes. Secure against my mood swings and subversive, penetrative coding tactics? No sir.”

Conclusion

Now we’re complete with our study of cPanel and Plesk. Keep in mind that adherents of one platform or the other can be a little biased with their assessments. Nonetheless, Aiken did make several good points regarding the general preferability of cPanel for many users (assuming you’re open to using Linux rather than Windows).

We offer each of the CPs as a piece of all our hosting packages: shared, dedicated, and VPS. When I offered Bobby Lou a truckful of pumpkins to buy out his rights in Extraordinaire and sign a code of silence for all business interactions in perpetuity, he jumped out of his inner tube, ran out into the woods, and has never been seen again.

By Kent Roberts

How to Speed Up Your WordPress Server (Part 3) … Plus Some Jokes

 

WordPress dashboard interface

Oh my goodness. Juliet was right that parting is such bitter sorrow (I have that quote right, correct?), which is why this third and final post on optimizing servers for faster WordPress is going to be emotionally challenging for all of us. I’m available to join hands and sing “Kumbaya” with anyone who feels that would help; just give me directions to the campfire. I’ll bring tinder and an open heart.

In the last two articles, we discussed eighteen WordPress speed ideas from Jason McCreary at Pure Concepts; today, we’ll get a different perspective from the programming blog TekBrand. Offering a wide variety of ways to improve the page load times of your site allows you to dabble in a number of different directions so your site is as user-friendly and SEO-friendly (since page load is part of the algorithm) as possible. These tactics will create a WordPress site on steroids; then we’ll have the practitioner destroy all the records afterwards so we can keep playing ball.

Did you know, Susan (assuming your name is Susan), that Superb Internet is a WordPress host? But wait, there’s more! We give you 50% extra standardly: a full 6 months of hosting with every annual package. I know you’re concerned about our bottom line, but we must be generous – the result of a botched hypnosis session that was supposed to help us quit smoking. Now we chain-smoke menthols and give everything away … and our skin feels like melting chocolate, while our minds feel like freezing venison (ah, well).

WordPress & the Need for Speed

Again I’ll quickly note Jason’s thoughts from the previous two installments: those thoughts provide an encapsulated sense of why speed is important and how these ideas can generally improve our Web efforts. Jason’s general thoughts on WordPress speed (which were initially presented at a couple of WorldCamp events in Kentucky and Illinois, neither of which were held on a fleet of canoes):

  • WordPress is a “heavy” content management system (CMS);
  • WordPress is so popular that it is effectively making the Internet slower;
  • Enhancing WordPress increases our overall knowledge of optimizing page loads.

 

Now let’s shift gears with a look at ideas from TekBrand, with Vipul’s four main pieces of advice on the subject, most of which are free (except for the CDN packages and the hot-air balloon to see the entire Internet all at once from the sky, the latter of which costs $16,495 and includes a romantic dinner for two). Before listing Vipul’s specific ideas (we’ll cover some of the same ground from Pure Concepts & then enter new territory), two of his general notes are worth mention:

  • Not just SEO and UX but bounce rate can be significantly improved by optimizing the site’s speed;
  • WordPress plugins can be detrimental to load times, so WP speed must overcome those setbacks.

Speeding Up Your WP Site – Specific Strategies:

  1. Unplugging Plugins – This mirrors an idea from Jason about auditing the plugins on a site to ensure everything is worth it. Plugins add “weight” to the site. They’re like carbs. Remove the bread, and you’ll make more dough.
  2. Caching – Again, we’re familiar with this advice from Jason. Both of these bloggers recommend this same plugin – W3 Total Cache. It makes the entire site operate better. General server performance is improved, and it optimizes the site for global content delivery networks (CDNs). It also tastes like tapioca. Additional caching plugins recommended by Vipul are WP Super Cache & Hyper Cache.
  3. Database Weight – Vipul notes that all the revisions of a post are stored within the WP database. The reason all those revisions are stored is for backup purposes. However, typically there’s no need for all that stuff. WP database optimizing tools can clean it up, like a kind elderly lady giving a sponge bath to a domesticated squirrel (no judgment). Plugins include Optimize Database After Deleting Revisions (the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind of plugins), WP-Optimize, and WP CleanFix.
  4. Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) – You can use CDNs with any site, no matter where it’s hosted. In other words, you get your site hosted here (because gosh darnit, I want you as a customer, Susan – your name was Susan, right?) and then integrate the CDNs into your hosting account. Two of the best ones out there are Amazon CloudFront and CloudFlare (the latter of which can warn other aircraft if your hot air balloon gets stuck on the side of the cloud).

Conclusion

We’ve done it. We’ve actually done it. Well, maybe we haven’t done anything. Knowledge, though, as they say, is half the battle. The other part is the actual battle part. Good luck out there. If you have any comments or other ideas (chicken salad recipes, moon landing conspiracy footage), please let us know below.

by Kent Roberts