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Pros and cons of displaying social media feeds on your website

In Australia, we have noticed that despite giving our clients super-fast websites, after a while many of them become quite slow to load. Since our clients come to us because we are not only experienced in WordPress web development, but we are also a leading web design company in Australia, we decided that it was our duty to investigate this phenomenon. What we found however, might surprise many of our clients, because the main culprit is social media feeds.

Social media feeds contain content that is fed in via hyperlink from another site, such as Facebook, where the posts on these sites are replicated on our client’s sites. Even though our WordPress web development services include the provision for social media networking, we don’t automatically add in these feeds during the design process.

Pros of using embedded social media feeds

Any good website design firm will tell you of the benefits of using social media networking to increase your rankings. You can use social media feeds to show the search engines that you are constantly updating your website (great for increased rankings) and that you are a good source of useful information. This also encourages followers, because they can follow your social media pages directly from the embedded feed and you don’t need to replicate the same content on your website (saving you time).

Cons of using embedded social media feeds

On the other hand, the extra scripts from these third party sites really slows your site down and you can’t compress them or alter them in any way to make your site faster. More importantly, the design of these feeds might not fit in with your branding, and they can not only distract visitors from your call to actions, but stop them from visiting your other pages, because they simply read your social media feeds instead.

When you pay good money for professional WordPress web development, it doesn’t make sense to slow your site down with social media feeds to the detriment of your business.

If you need a new professional website built for your company, call GO Creative – the leading web design company in Australia – on 07 3333 2932 or get an instant quote online.

How to improve the customer experience on your website

What’s the #1 reason why customers choose not to buy from your business or convert into repeat customers? A poor customer experience.

This is why it is so important to perform a comprehensive User Experience Audit of your website, so that you can rectify any problems immediately.

At our agency in Brisbane, our website developers are focused on developing websites which are user friendly and easy to navigate, allowing visitors to find everything they need to know about your services or products. There is, however, much more to making your website user friendly than a simple menu. There are many factors to consider, including the wording you use on each page, the layout of the pages, the speed, the images and videos that appear, and more.

All it takes is just one of these elements to be wrong and you can reduce your visitor’s experience sufficiently that they turn to your competitor’s website instead. You need to ensure your customers’ experience using your website is exemplary. And you can do so by undertaking a User Experience Audit.

What can a User Experience Audit identify?

Making your website easy to use and navigate is one way to increase your conversions, a fact that is well known to many businesses. Brisbane web development agencies employed by these businesses therefore have a directive to do just that, as well as optimising your website for faster loading speeds, and improved ranking in Google. As time passes and you upload more content, your site can become progressively more complicated to use, so all of this needs to be taken into account.

A User Experience Audit will identify any areas where your visitors are becoming lost or confused on your website. This includes pages where conversions are lowest or where there are weakness in your sales funnel, as well as any specific pages or elements that are stopping your visitors from converting.

Which areas of your website should you audit?

For a comprehensive audit, you need to check the following areas of your website:

  • All of your written content.
  • All of your call to actions (CTAs).
  • All of your photos, images and videos.
  • What is displayed above the fold (i.e. what you can see before scrolling).
  • Whether your website is responsive (i.e. works properly on phones and tablets).
  • Whether your content is set up for the best possible ranking in Google.
  • Whether your pages load quickly.
  • Whether there are any broken links, or links which lead to inappropriate pages.

GO Creative is a leading web design company in Brisbane, offering a number of services, including website audits. So if you want to provide your visitors with a positive experience on your website and increase your conversions, you get an instant quote online today or call us on 07 3333 2932.

Why are some websites so slow?

As a website developer in Brisbane, we speak to many small businesses about the performance of their websites. One of the most common concerns is around speed and general performance. The faster your website loads for visitors, the better their overall experience. And a better experience leads to more sales.

It’s pretty obvious that anyone would prefer to use a fast, responsive website, so why do some sites take so long to load? Here are a few key reasons (though there are dozens more):

  1. The website has not been optimised: Many people use online templates for their website that contain bloated or out of date coding that makes the website slow to load. The solution is to keep your website template updated or have your website custom designed by a professional website developer in Brisbane.
  2. You’re using “shared” web hosting: This is where your website shares resources with lots of other websites stored on the same hardware with your web hosting provider. If another website you’re sharing hosting with has a spike in traffic, for example, this can make your website slower as well. The solution is to use a higher grade web hosting package to speed up loading times, and forget about trying to save a few dollars on a cheap plan.
  3. Your hosting is overseas: If your customers are based in Australia, your website will load faster when your hosting provider is also based here. On the other hand, if your customers are overseas or worldwide, then you may need what’s called a Content Delivery Network (CDN), as this loads your website quickly from hosting servers around the world. Customers will then be able to open your website from their closest server, rather from Australia.
  4. Images are not optimised: Uploading large images to your website can slow it down. This is because every time someone opens your website in their browser, it takes too long to open all the images. The solution is to load the correct sized images to your website or to use your website software to automatically resize and compress all images.
  5. Third party websites: Code loaded into your website from third party websites can seriously slow the loading speed of your website. For example, if you’re displaying a Google Map or Facebook news feed on your website, the code that powers these components is loaded from those providers. If their code isn’t designed for blazing fast speeds, there’s not much even an experienced website developercan do to solve this problem — but we do have a few tricks up our sleeve.

If your website is loading too slowly, it is best to discuss the problem with a website developer. Our Brisbane web design agency is ready to help. Phone GO Creative on (07) 3333 2932 or get an instant quote online today.

Great plugins for optimising images on WordPress websites

As we all know, images are an integral part of our WordPress websites, allowing us to present our services and products easily to visitors and optimising customer engagement. The problem is that too many of us upload very large images, too large for what we really need on our websites, resulting in longer loading times and eating into our server resources.

The solution is to optimise and manage these images, so that our WordPress websites load faster, encouraging visitors to remain on our websites for longer and ultimately increasing traffic, sales and conversions.

To this end, here are 4 plugins that will help you to manage your images on your WordPress websites.

  • Imsanity: This is a free plugin that resizes large images that you have already uploaded and reduces each of them to a size that is more manageable by your customer’s browser. It will also resize any images you upload in the future, freeing up disk space otherwise taken up by overly large images.
  • Force Regenerate Thumbnails: When you resize thumbnail images to optimise them, instead of keeping all of the unused sizes you no longer need, this free plugin removes these old images, freeing up essential disk space. It is also great for resizing thumbnails when you change themes.
  • Enhanced Media Library: If you upload a lot of media files, then this free plugin will help you to categorise and manage them all in one go. It saves you a lot of time that you would otherwise spend rummaging through all of your uploaded media files, trying to find an image, amongst thousands, that you previously uploaded two years ago (for example).
  • Jetpack Photon: This is an add-on to Jetpack, which is also a free plugin for WordPress sites. Photon is an image accelerator and editing service. It makes sure that your images fit your theme by resizing them on the fly. This is a CDN just for images, making loading images much faster on your customer’s browsers.

Just adding these 4 plugins will make managing your WordPress multimedia files so much easier with faster loading times and less drain on your server’s resources.

To discuss your WordPress needs to contact a professional website designer, call us at GO Creative on (07) 3333 2932 or request a free quote online.

 

If your website is too slow or you keep getting hacked – read this today

Many of our clients ask us how they can make their web pages load faster or increase the security on their website to prevent hacking. There is one simple automated strategy that we offer to all of our clients, and that is to use CloudFlare with their hosting accounts.

What is CloudFlare?

CloudFlare is a content delivery network (CDN) which acts as a buffer or filter between your website and everyone else, including hackers and robots. The best way to explain CloudFlare is to look at the advantages of using it for your website.

Four benefits of using CloudFlare for your website:

  1. Increased performance: If some of your customers are in the US but your website is hosted on an Australian server, your website will load much faster for your Aussie customers than those in America. With CloudFlare on the other hand, static website files are cached (stored as copies) on various servers around the world. When someone accesses your website, CloudFlare provides them with copies of your files in the location closest to them, which means your website loads faster, regardless of your customer’s location.
  2. Increased site security: While a standard hosting server gives you some security, problems can still occur because spammers and hackers have varioues ways to try to access your website’s code. CloudFlare has a range of different security measures to protect your site from these types of threats.
  3. Increased uptime: With your website cached on local servers, if your main server crashes, your website can still be loaded by your customers (although some elements may be missing). This keeps your website live while your server is being fixed.
  4. Increased SEO: Google likes fast loading websites, and CloudFlare really speeds up your site. This helps to increase your search engine ranking, leading to more traffic, sales and conversions.

On a final note, your website address doesn’t change when you use CloudFlare, so you don’t have to worry about errors or using a new address. We highly recommend CloudFlare to all of our customers, because once you use it, you will wonder how you ever managed without it. And it’s very well priced, to boot.

The other option we can offer is website management, which means we use CloudFlare in conjunction with a range of other tools and techniques to keep your website secure, fast, and up to date.

For more information on CloudFlare, phone (07) 3333 2932 or request a free quote online.

Mythbuster Monday: Once our website is built, we can forget about it

Building an online business is not like baking a cake – you can’t just build it and leave it, because like a cake it will go mouldy and no-one will want it.

We have seen so many business owners go out of business because they ignore their website. Why go to all the trouble of creating a great looking website for your brand, if you intent to do nothing with it?

If you have created a website and plan to ignore it, then don’t be surprised when in six months or a years’ time, your sales have tanked.

A website has to be nurtured to grow your business

When you build a website you need to maintain it and grow it. If you don’t do this and you ignore your website, then Google will ignore it as well. This means that over time you will lose rankings, organic traffic, leads, conversions and sales.

If this doesn’t sound like a plan to you, then you need to keep your website up-to-date and user friendly at all times. Maintaining a website and building online relationships takes time, but in the end, it can be well worth the effort.

The internet changes quickly and so do consumers expectations, so if your website is not offering consumers what they are looking for, then they will vote with their feet. Unfortunately for you, Google usually agrees with the consumers. So it is like a catch 22 situation. Which comes first: Google drops your website, or more and more consumers are turned away?

What’s the solution?

The solution is to keep your website up to date. If you haven’t redesigned your website in the past two years, then take a serious look at your competitors and decide whether you need a new website or not. Consumers want a fast loading site that is user-friendly, informative, engaging and addresses all of their needs.

If this describes your competitor’s website, but not yours, then you are already behind the eight-ball and need to get on top of your website ASAP.

For more information on website design in Brisbane, call us at GO Creative on (07) 3333 2932 or request a free quote online.