- Background color
- Background image
- Border Color
- Font Type
- Font Size
WordPress started out as a simple blogging platform, allowing bloggers to upload a theme and easily post blog posts without having to worry about technology.
No doubt WordPress can be used that way today, but in the 13 years since its release it has morphed from what originally was a fork of a blog platform ( b2/cafelog) into a content management system that drives well over 70 million websites.
There now over 50,000 free plugins, many thousands of free themes and so many more premium themes and plugins.
There are whole eco systems earning a living from WordPress.
So it is not surprising, that in 2017 the default answer to most web site questions is WordPress.
But there is a downside, WordPress is now so powerful and feature rich it has some ongoing management overheads that are simply not required by many businesses.
Businesses that only have one person updating their website and only need a 'brochure website' and a 'blog' don't actually need the power and capabilities of WordPress. Only if you are going to need e-commerce or membership sites or other multi user login type systems do you start to benefit.
The cost of running an HTML only site is very low, fast hosting is cheap or even free, and security issues virtually non existent.
The problem is that building responsive HTML is a bit of an art form and the challenge for most single operator businesses not into web design is insurmountable.
The solution would be to have themes, like WordPress, that can be generated into static HTML sites and for those themes to support 'post' and 'page' structures in the same way as WordPress.
In 2008 the founder of GitHub created Jekyll, a blog aware static website generator.
Jekyll started the trend towards static site generators. There are quite a few - see https://www.staticgen.com/
However, the generator that captured my imagination, is Hugo ( 2nd in that list ), as a WordPress dev I could see the similarities to WP and advantages of not having all that bloat ( and hosting cost ).
Also Hugo is developed in GoLang, a language I happen to like, a lot, and some of the more sophisticated elements of building themes is GoLang syntax. But here is the rub, you don't need to know GoLang or HTML or anything fancy, just the ability to follow instructions and you can build a site based on free, responsive themes.
OK there is nowhere near the choice available in WordPress, but there area few good ones - https://themes.gohugo.io/ - and if you know a bit about CSS they are as simple to customise.
Post and page content is written in Mark Down language https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markdown which simplifies the syntax. Great for fast easy composition once you know the simple syntax. Obviously not great if you want sophisticated 'page builder' layouts. If you want that - jump back to WP and something like Beaver Builder.
So for simple websites that have a blog and only need one semi technical literate user then Hugo is a tool to consider.
I built this site to use an SEO domain I had, you can see that the theme is actually a port of WP Magazine theme ( I didn't write it )
Nothing fancy here but it illustrates the point that a static site can be a blog.
To create a new post I simply edit a post file on my local machine and then use 'git' to push it to Google Cloud Storage which in terms of hosting costs pennies a year ( I could use AWS or Firebase free tier or indeed a GitHub/GitLab/BitBucket free static site all of which will outperform most shared hosting accounts with WP on)
I have built several 'personal' sites in Hugo and also building my own 'theme' but to date I have only built one 'commercial' site using Hugo, it is again a simple site, where the end use would NEVER touch it even if it was WP as they just can about cope with email.
This at least allows me to build an inexpensive site, from both build ( using a pre built theme ) and running costs ( no upgrades etc ) in fact I don't even need to worry about backups - as I have the local files - that get pushed through GitLab private repo to production - so everything is version controlled and in multi locations.
I have enjoyed working with Hugo, although at least in the short term it is unlikely to replace my WordPress income, if you think you might need a static HTML site, why not get in touch with me at https://locally.co.uk/
G Suite, Google's cloud productivity tools including email, storage, online office tools and collaboration tools for business have recommended third party business Apps.
Today they have announced some more partners.
For small businesses that choose to go Google ( rather than stick with Microsoft ) it does make selecting system easier as they can go for 'recommended' apps.
That said, I would always recommend first listing your requirements and do a trial or evaluation.
The products are
- Project & Process Management - Asana
- eSignature - DocuSign
- Help desk / customer support - Freshdesk
- Corporate & Social Portal - LumApps
- Encryption - Virtru
- Accounting - Xero and Zoho Invoice
One of the major advantages that these partners probably have, is Sign Sign On using Google SSO - enabling a better corporate en user experience. I say 'probably' as I have only tested FreshDesk SSO using Google.
Despite Google's recommended status of the above the following are some alternatives based on my experience that are worth looking at
- Project & Process Management - Trello
- eSignature - HelloSign
- Help desk / customer support - ZenDesk
- Corporate & Social Portal - Google Sites (New) / Closed Google + communities
- Accounting - KashFlow
For advice on cloud business systems, why not visit us at fullworks.net
Google appears to be a law of its own in terms of brand and EMDs. This is one that really gets me advantagecontractors.co.uk typed into google come up with the .net and .com first. OK te domain are older and more authorative but come on Google I said .co.uk so thats what I want!
There are lots of free classifieds site, e.g. www.gumtree.com www.freeads.co.uk sixry.com www.freeads.co.uk which allow free adverts. But for a small business should they be advertising on a free classifieds site?
Many do, but do you get a ROI?
We have recently been playing around with locationally based landing pages, with the idea of increasing local search SEO. Something that we don't seem to be getting right at the moment.
I'm not sure whether pages like Web Design Woking will actually work for us, only time and analytics will tell.
Woking being the nearest big business community, with our 'local' branding, it is an obvious location to target.
In the mean time if you have any winning tips (beyond Google+Local and custom landing pages, I'd love to hear them.
It is true that Worddpress has a great option, called MultiSite. But there was a dire warning at WordCamp 2013 that you shouldn't go into Wordpress MultiSite with your eyes closed.
Choose it for the wrong reasons and you will be creating yourself a technical headache, which actually could have been unecessary if you understood how to use a WordPress single site effectively.
Read more about is at WordPress hosting blog here.
My hobby is sailing and recently I came across this MOB Recovery system, This innovative piece of water rescue equipment effectively replaces the Dan Buoy with a Rescue Sling.
The problem with Dan Buoys are they are fine to drag the poor fellow back towards the boat, but then there is the whole issue of hoisting them up.
The rescue sling solves many of these problems.
A British inventor and I wish him luck and hope this becomes mainstream in water rescue.
Recently I had to hire a limo for a ball my daughter was going to. Why? In my day and age we got the bus. But actually what we got was a great deal, we got it from Limo Hire Surrey and they were very good, I must say.
When you use a shared hosting environment you rely on your web hosting firm to secure your server. You have no idea what goes on from their systems admin point of view. Obviously they don't want their servers hacked as they would get a bad rep if they did, never the less it happens.
Once you decide you need to migrate to your own server, whether it is a VPS or dedicated hardware, suddenly the realities of managing your own security come to roost. Ok you can get fully managed services which take some of the pain out of managing. But you still need to have an eye on security.
If you go it alone, you definitely need to swot up on the basic principals.
I won't write a comprehensive checklist here, as undoubtably it will be incomplete and probably out of date. But recommend thorough research.
The operating system and type of service you will provide will to some extent at drive your security parameters. What is certain, it that there are a lot of amateur hackers out there who, using scripts will break weak security easily, so the first step is STRONG passwords.
At cheap websites we take security seriously and have a wide range of proactive and reactive measures in place.
Creating columns in the wordpress editor can be a bit of a PITA, especially if you are not familiar with HTML. Of course if you know HTML you can switch from visual to html mode and input code to impact the layout. It is better practice however to useHTML:
However this problem is solved by using shortcodes to automatically insert the correct code.
These shortcode do not come as standard in Wordpress so they have to either be part of your theme, a plugin or can be coded in.
This is how we implement it on our affordable website solution.
If you want to get technical and need the underlying code to make these shortcodes, please ask from the people that make cheap websites
A while back google told us they would be eliminating EMDs on common word competitive terms at lease that is the way I understood it.
Anyway, I'm far from a blackhat SEO but rather and SEO 'rule follower'. Following the rules I have had some good results, but thought it would be worth experimenting. So with some cheap expendable EMDs (or anagramatic EMDs), I thought I'd do some measurements.
The domains / keyword I am playing with are very competitive an are
affordable website design
cheap website design
The sites are junk at the moment, so I will systematically improve some and not others and see how we go. I'll let you know later
January started well for us, with lots of new enquiries. I guess that the New Year is a time when people resolve to do what they have been putting off for a while. My general experience has been that B2B gets busy in January after the Christmas break and September after the summer hols.
I just discovered the UKBF blogging feature. Question is, should I be informal, like, I had a quiet and relaxing Christmas, or should I publish 'informative' article like 'the top seven tips to get Wordpress performing'. Not sure yet, so at the risk of asking nobody, let me know what you think is best.