WordPress Is Still the Champ

ct-wordpress-websitesAmong my most-often-asked questions: Why WordPress? Are there better systems out there for website platforms? No. I'm a little biased of course, because WordPress is our platform of choice... But there are solid, exciting reasons:
  1. User friendly! Other CMS (Content Management Systems) have a way for non-coders to edit their website content, but none is as easy to use as WordPress. We have clients that use the competitor platforms, and in many cases looking in the admin area for something as simple as editing a line of text on the homepage is daunting. WordPress just makes this stuff easy: log in, go to the page you want, click edit, edit, click update, done!
  2. LOTS of possibilities! Because WordPress programming is all Open Source - built by a huge community of volunteers - there are many, many thousands of plugins available to make your website do all sorts of things, from the simplest news feeds up to full-feature online sales. Yes, it is best to work with a pro for this kind of thing, but things that would have taken us months of programming in the past are now already done.
  3. Safe! Once again, due to the Open Source nature of WordPress, the community of programmers is always aware of ongoing security threats. New versions of the WordPress software are released regularly to address new compromises as outside hackers get better and better at finding ways in. No site is 100% safe, but WordPress is a pretty sure bet for staying as secure as you can.
  4. It's Fun! Every new update of WordPress makes it easier to use, provides newer, cooler features in the back-end admin. Even as I write this post, I enjoy working in this new and fresh-looking environment.
If WordPress is new to you, and you're considering changes to your website, maybe it's time to make the jump. Contact us for a free consultation - we love talking about WordPress!

Promote your blog? Here’s how.

ct wordpress web designLike most business people, I know and love the benefits of blogging, and even like to write for mine. In fact, making blogging a regular part of my life - by carving out some time each week to do it - has had huge benefits that aren't obvious on the surface: Writing about business keeps me engaged in thinking about my business in full, not just about client needs or sales. Writing about other topics keeps my learning going. And what other reason is there to own a business other than learning new things? Oh, yeah - I guess making money would be one. So, now what? You've got a good habit of posting your blog, but it feels like nobody is reading it. That's because nobody is... unless you've taken some steps to promote it. Thanks to social media, we have many ways to get it out there, and there are good tools to make that easy.  This great article outlines many different tools and ways by seasoned pros: www.clambr.com/how-to-promote-your-blog Here's my routine:
  • Before writing my post, I make sure my WordPress blog is ready for it. Using a great plugin called Jetpack, I have my blog configured to automatically email each new post to my subscribers, and automatically post it on my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ business pages.
  • Next, I schedule my blog post to be released at an optimum time. Analysis of my blog statistics has shown that the best time for me to post is early in the day, mid-week (either Wednesday or Thursday). You're business will be different. Try a few different times, and watch the stats in your dashboard (provided by Jetpack) to see when more people see your article.
  • After the post is released, I re-post it in a few Facebook and LinkedIn Groups that are appropriate for the topic at hand. For instance, the post you are reading now will get re-posted in some business network types of groups, and some about WordPress. I do about one per day, so it doesn't take much time.  These groups are great places to start discussions and get comments from others, which builds your reputation as a blogger.
  • Finally, I send out an email newsletter monthly containing my 4 blog posts as articles.  This presents the content in a different format, and reaches a different audience.
You can do it, too! Don't be shy about getting your info into the hands of others. If you have the guts to run a business, you have something relevant to say. Own it, and say it! Oh, and don't forget: If you need help with any of this, we can help. Don't hesitate to be in touch for a free consultation. (Photo courtesy Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.net)

Why Custom Design Is Still Important

Rosie_s LaundryI recently read a forum argument about the custom design vs. template design, and was surprised at how heated the conversation got. Cheap vs. Good... This was the basic premise behind the argument. Many naysayers held to the position of "Why pay for something new when there are so many good designs out there?" Yes, it's true, WordPress has the benefit of being part of a giant community, and there are many, many, many free templates available. Many of them look quite good, and are suitable for some types of businesses. But there are a number of downsides:
  • Stock templates rarely have everything you need. "Why can't I put my logo there?" "Where's the sidebar?" are questions we often encounter with our template clients. Because there is no consistency of coding in these themes, it often takes more time and money than expected to get the theme looking they way you want it.
  • Bait and switch is real and happens often. The sample image of pre-designed WP templates are often made up in photoshop, and are not an accurate representation of what the site will look like with your actual content in place. That's disappointing.
  • It still looks like a WordPress site. Most businesses invest in a website to stand out from the crowd, and very few of the template themes do that.
Here is a great article with some more thoughts on template sites: Click here. Custom design gives you the opportunity to design a site that is truly representative of your amazing business. You need to be proudly unique and different, because you were just crazy enough to go out on your own and start a business, right? Look at apple.com, fastcompany.com, or ballarddesigns.com. No templates here, also no frills, nothing extraneous, just a bold statement of who they are. You can have that, too, for your business that truly deserves it! Contact us today to get started.

New Site Release: L&S Automotive

ct-wordpress-web-designThis week, we were proud to launch a new template-based WordPress site for L&S Automotive, in Enfield, CT. A family-owned business for almost 30 years, L&S is a trusted auto repair shop, specializing in (but not limited to) high-end vehicles of every type. Plus, they are just plain fun to work with! Check out their site to learn more. L&S made good use of our start-up special with custom header, a great way to get started online. Over time, the website will be able to grow with them, as they add content, blog, and add additional images. If you'd like to learn more about a start-up website for your own business, contact us today!