Benefits of Upgrading to the New WordPress 5.5.

WordPress

New with WordPress 5.5.

Speed. The speed of a website is important, Google prefers faster loading websites as a faster website provides a better experience for the visitor.

With WordPress 5.5 posts and pages feel faster, thanks to lazy-loaded images.  Images give your company story a lot of impact, but they can sometimes make your site seem slow.  So it advisable to make sure you optimise your images, size them about 1000 to 1500 pixels wide and reduce the resolution (they don’t have to be high-resolution images unless you are printing).   In WordPress 5.5, images wait to load until they’re just about to scroll into view. The technical term is ‘lazy loading’.

On mobile, lazy loading can also keep browsers from loading files meant for other devices. That can save your readers money on data – and help preserve battery life.

Search.  Add a  sitemap for search.

WordPress sites work well with search engines, especially if fresh rich content is added.  For example; updates from your company, case studies, answered FAQs etc.  A site map is a way of letting Google and Bing etc to know which pages you want crawling and telling them your site has been updated. This can produce much better search results and in some cases, a multi-linked SERP map (search engine results page map).

We at Zedcomms always add a site map to our client’s sites using plugins such as Yoast or All in One SEO but now this feature is included with the latest WordPress software.  WordPress 5.5 includes an XML sitemap that helps search engines discover you’re most important pages from the very minute you go live.

So, more people will find your site sooner, giving you more time to engage, retain, and convert them to subscribers, customers, or whatever fits your definition of success.

This is a good move for WordPress.

Tip – Hit update just once; When updating your WordPress site to 5.5, click the update button only once. It looks like it has not responded, wait a while and it will do the job.  Hit it a few times and the site may get – lest say confused.

SSL Certificate

SSL Certificate

Not secure URL

SSL Certificate

I find myself talking about SSL Certificates often recently. I recommend installing these security verification certificates on almost all websites, established or new.  The title doesn’t really do justice to the benefits, so here are the main reasons to set up an SSL Certificate for your business website.

Better customer trust and better search ranking.

1. The main function of an SSL certificate is to protect the website server to client communication. On installing SSL, information is encrypted. In layman’s terms, the data is locked and can only be unlocked by the intended recipient (browser or server). While dealing with sensitive data such as IDs, passwords, credit card numbers, etc., SSL helps you protect against the hackers. As the data is turned into the undecipherable format by SSL

2. SSL Affirms Your Identity
The second task of an SSL certificate is to provide authentication to a website. Identity verification is one of the most important aspects as far as web security. There is no doubt about the fact that the internet is increasingly deceptive.

When you want to install an SSL certificate, you must go through a validation process set by an independent third party called a Certificate Authority (CA). Depending on the type of certificate, the CA verifies the identity of you and your organisation. Once you have proved your identity, your website gets trust indicators vouching for your integrity. When users see them, they know who they’re talking to.

Such verification makes sure that no imposter creates a fake website pretending to be yours. In technical terms, this is called Phishing. Thus, SSL helps users drive to your real website, saves users from frauds and enhances your reputation.

3. Better Search Engine Ranking
Google uses HTTPS as a positive ranking signal.  In 2014, Google made changes to its algorithm in order to give the upper hand to SSL HTTPS-enabled websites. This has been evident in various studies conducted by SEO experts around the world. One such study shows a strong correlation between HTTPS and higher search engine rankings. Your site with SSL is verified, therefore more trustworthy, therefore ranked higher by Google. This carries less weight than high-quality site content, content is still king.

4. SSL Helps You Satisfy PCI/DSS Requirements
If you accept online payments, you must know a thing or two about PCI/DSS requirements. To receive online payments, your website must be PCI compliant. Having an SSL certificate installed is one of the 12 primary requirements set by the payment card industry (PCI). Therefore, SSL is essential—whether you want it or not.

5. SSL Improves Customer Trust
SSL certificates are vital from a customer trust point of view. The easy to identify signs inform the users that the data they send will be secured. Once they know that you’re a legitimate entity, they’re far more likely to do business with you or even revisit your site.

6. Google Made SSL Mandatory in 2018
To give a safer web browsing experience from 2018 onwards, Google has decided to flag the websites which do not have an SSL Certificate installed on their website. If anyone fails to comply with this rule, all the popular web browsers used around the globe like Google Chrome Safari Firefox Mozilla will punish them by giving a warning message of ‘Not Secure’ on the URL bar. It could be possible that in the near future website may even get blocked to load on the browser. No matter which website you have, from a personal blog to any shopping portal SSL is mandatory and by not following with it may result in loss of visitors.

7. How safe would you feel if your browser warned you about a website being “not secure”? Because that’s what will be shown in the upcoming version of Chrome if you don’t have an SSL certificate.

Two Real Results

I installed two SSL Certificates on service businesses website in Darlington two years ago.  Both have increased customer engagement in the last two years.  One is a builder,  he is receiving a few valuable leads from his website per month.  The other is a restoration company who now receive on average three leads per week.  And both are attracting higher levels of site visitors.

Google Ranking and Indexing Update.

As you add an SSL certificate to your website the URL (the http://www.)  changes from HTTP to HTTPS.  Only a slight change but it is a different address.  Therefore your website indexing will need to start over.   You may experience some ranking fluctuation, expect a drop in search ranking and the way Google deliver search results.  The good news is that Google will eventually figure this out and re-rank you  – refreshing :-).  Google says; Changing address from http to https. Google will figure out your changes for you.

 

 

Manufacturing Business, Digital Marketing

Jo on a computer

Social Media Marketing Changed This Business.

Zedcomms are a leading business development consultancy specialising in Website Design and Internet Marketing along with onsite training and ongoing mentor support.

BJ Upholstery based in Darlington is a traditional business who restore and reupholster antique soft furnishings.  Operated by a husband and wife team they have been in the reupholstery business for thirty years.

The Challenges

The loyal customer base was reducing and the call for restoring antiques was reducing too. A wider audience was required and new markets to serve.

BJ Upholstery in Darlington

The Solution

First, we looked at the company website and the supporting social media. We ran a ‘Snapshot Marketing Report’ that highlighted the company’s exposure online. They had very little exposure and the new customers required did not know they existed. They were known in Darlington and narrowly showed in search results as an antique reupholster and the report gave us the information to build an action plan.

We updated the website and created an easy to publish and search-friendly platform to work with. We did not totally rebuild the website for a few reasons; we wanted to keep the costs down, it looked ok and the style showed the business as it was, a nice traditional upholstery workshop in a market town, a bit old fashioned but well established. We didn’t want to come across too ‘flash’ we didn’t want a modern generic-looking website.  The website looks like an old upholstery workshop that is producing beautiful work.

Next was to build the social profile; we added Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest and started telling the BJ Upholstery story regularly. Photos and descriptions of completed work are published which is an interesting bonus as prior only the customer saw the lovely work.
Website SEO was boosted by optimising the website and adding rich content to appeal to the target customers.
This is all ongoing and flexing as the business evolves and changes with demands and requirements of the owners.

Dig Advertising SS

The Results

Inbound enquiries are at a historical high and the company is attracting the ‘perfect customer’. The perfect customers are people who appreciate quality and don’t mind paying for the best service. People from further afield have become customers, at the time of writing two sofas are in the workshop from Gloucester, BJ Upholstery are producing jobs for interior designers, making bespoke sofas to order, upholstered a chair in football shirts and last year reupholstered a footstool in a potato sack for a customer in London.

 BJ Upholstery travels to the Yorkshire Dales, York, Harrogate, Newcastle as well as the surrounding area of Darlington and Durham. 

Digital Marketing can be overused and misunderstood.  Digital Marketing is just your story and what you offer shared in the public domain, on the Internet, which is a digital environment. 

More Information

Any business can request a ‘Marketing Analysis’ from Zedcomms.com, follow the link and request online.