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Websites By Liz

Web Design for Small Businesses

Websites By Liz

Web Design for Small Businesses

Website Maintenance Review

It’s good practice to do a review of your website regularly. For the most part, you can do this yourself. Just click through to make sure everything’s working and all of your content is up to date. But it’s a good idea to have your web designer to a good, thorough review of your site from time to time. Here are a few things that might come up in a website review:magnifying glass - DarkSide

  • Outdated external links. Other websites may have shut down, removed pages or changed their file names. Especially with more and more sites changing over to CMS systems (like wordpress), old links won’t work anymore.
  • Old content. Some time-sensitive wording may need to be updated, and if the copyright year in your footer isn’t dynamically coded, it’ll need to be updated every year.
  • Broken pages. Pages can stop working correctly because of upgraded browsers, if your web host updated their software and some piece of coding on a page is no longer supported, or just seemingly random reasons.
  • Broken contact forms. All forms on your website need to be tested from time to time.
  • Add or update social media links. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest… the more options your users have to keep in touch with you and your service or products the better, AND the quicker you get established on something new, even better! Social media is constantly changing and needs an update from time to time.
  • Outdated code. The different types of code that web designers use are constantly being updated and changed.
    • Server-side coding like PHP and ASP can become outdated as a result of your web host updating their software if a piece of code on your site is no longer supported.
    • Browser-dependent code like CSS, HTML and JavaScript can become obsolete as browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc) are updated.
    • Security updates are sometimes necessary when a security hole is found or a more secure method is available.
  • Better practices are available. When I learned to write HTML back in college with a browser and Notepad, the proper method of laying out a page was to use tables. Then came div layouts… a HUGE improvement! Now responsive layouts are the current best thing. If your website was last updated more than two years ago, you DEFINITELY need to think about an update… less than two years, it may be something to consider.

For Non-Wordpress Websites

It may be time to consider updating to a WordPress website. WordPress doesn’t work for every site, but in my experience it’s a good fit for most small businesses because it gives them more control over their own content. A few things that an upgrade to WordPress might do for you:

  • Ease of changing, adding or updating content. WordPress provides a back-end admin section where page and sidebar content can be modified. If you’re able to send an email, you can update your WordPress content!
  • Built-in BLOG, which can be used for many things other than plain old blogging. Any content that you might add to regularly.
  • Easily updatable layout. With WordPress your content is stored separately from your layout. Which means we can update or completely change your design (aka Theme) without touching the content. Updates such as the “Better practices are available” bullet point above are much easier and cost much less on a WordPress website.
  • Some info about how to use wordpress: Learning WordPress

For WordPress Websites

Wordpress sites have certain things that need to be maintained in order to keep them safe and working correctly.

  • Updates to the WordPress core. As WordPress developers add more features and fix security bugs, your WordPress core needs to be updated. It’s almost always quick and easy with the rare possibility that your theme or one of your plugins is not compatible with the newer version of WordPress.
  • Updates to your plugins. Plugins are made by many different companies and individuals and they publish updates from time to time (especially after a WordPress update comes out). Sometimes these updates are to patch a security hole, add features or to make sure the plugin is compatible with the newest version of WordPress. You may run these updates yourself if you wish, but if I have done work on your website, PLEASE get in touch with me first, incase I have made some small but significant tweak to one of them.
  • Updates to your theme. Your “theme” is the design or template that your website uses. Sometimes it needs to be updated to be compatible with the current version of WordPress, sometimes it needs an update in order to make use of some new WordPress feature and sometimes it just plain needs to be updated, see “Better practices are available” bullet point above.
  • Discussion regarding new features available in WordPress and new plugins that are available.
  • WordPress’ Jetpack plugin. This plugin currently has some very cool FREE features and they’re adding more all the time. Contact me if you’re interested in adding any of these to your website and need help setting it up:
    • Publicize – Connect your site to popular social networks and automatically share new posts with your friends.
    • WordPress.com Stats – Simple, concise site stats with no additional load on your server.
    • Jetpack Comments – A new comment system that has integrated social media login options.
    • Subscriptions – Allow users to subscribe to your posts and comments to receive a notification via email.
    • Post by Email – Publish posts to your blog directly from your personal email account.
    • Likes – Likes are a way for people to show their appreciation for content you have written. It’s also a way for you to show the world how popular your content has become.
    • Carousel – Transform your standard image galleries into an immersive full-screen experience.
    • Sharing – The most super duper sharing tool on the interwebs. Share content with Facebook, Twitter, and many more.
    • Spelling and Grammar – Improve your spelling, style, and grammar with the After the Deadline Proofreading service.
    • Omnisearch – A single search box, that lets you search many different things.
    • Gravatar Hovercards – Show a pop-up business card of your users’ gravatar profiles in comments.
    • Tiled Galleries – Create elegant magazine-style mosaic layouts for your photos without using an external graphic editor.
    • WP.me Shortlinks – Enable WP.me-powered shortlinks for all of your Posts and Pages for easier sharing.
    • Beautiful Math – Mark up your posts with the LaTeX logo markup language, perfect for complex mathematical equations and other über-geekery.
    • Infinite Scroll – Automatically pull the next set of posts into view when the reader approaches the bottom of the page. (May require an update to your theme)
    • Mobile Push Notifications – Receive notifications on your mobile device.
    • Enhanced Distribution – Share your public posts and comments to search engines and other services in real-time.
    • Paid Feature: VaultPress – Realtime backup and security scanning for your WordPress site. Pricing: http://vaultpress.com/jetpack/

Please contact me to discuss a full website review ASAP!