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Is your website developer to blame when your website is down?

As a successful website developer in Brisbane, most of our clients have us on speed dial when their website goes down. This is fine, because we can track down the problem and fix it pretty quickly, but are your web developers always to blame when your site goes down?

We get it… websites are complicated

It’s easy for us to see how a client could believe that we, as their WordPress web development team, are the one and only cause of all of their website problems. Being a highly specialised technical field, most people don’t really know how websites work, what other factors may be at play, or even whether they’re supposed to be receiving support (whether free or paid) from their developer. But usually when something does go wrong with a website, it’s not something the web developer did wrong.

What are the most common causes of a website crashing?

Websites can spontaneously have issues for any number of reasons. Unless your web developer is currently engaged to upgrade or maintain the website, there’s very little chance they’re to blame.

Common causes for websites being offline include:

  • Software in the website has automatically updated itself, or someone has updated it manually, causing compatibility issues.
  • The web hosting account (where the website is stored) has had a change in configuration.
  • Hackers defacing the website, or taking the website offline.
  • Corrupt databases — this often happens with very large websites or sites that are not actively being maintained to check for problems.
  • An increase in traffic which causes the website to struggle (usually temporarily).
  • There’s a software update in progress and the website is put into “maintenance mode” during that.

Any of these issues can cripple a website, until the cause it found and fixed, and this can happen with even the very best websites. If you don’t have a WordPress web development team managing your website, you’re running the risk of these problems occurring without even being aware of them.

What should you do when your site crashes?

The first thing you should do is to count to 10 and take a deep breath. Quite often just waiting a few minutes and refreshing your browser will fix the problem. Maybe someone was updating the software and you just happened to check the website at that precise moment. So give it a few minutes and if the issue is not resolved, check your host’s website for any status updates.

If these steps don’t resolve the issue then phone your website consultant (don’t email them) and they will most probably find the cause within a few minutes. Remember however, that website support is usually not free, so if you don’t have a WordPress web development team in place, you will need to pay for their help to fix your website.

To find out more about professional website management with GO Creative, call us on 07 3333 2932 or get an instant quote online.

Tips on maintaining your brand new WordPress website

You’ve hired a WordPress web development company and your brand new website is now live… but how do you keep it looking awesome and humming along like a brand new luxury car?

Well, the analogy with a new car is quite apt, because just as your car needs regular services to keep it safe on the roads, your new website also needs regular maintenance. This is why we offer professional website and SEO services to our clients, as well as website management, so our customers can leave all of the SEO and the maintenance of their websites to us.

If you don’t have a website design and management company on board yet, and you’ve got a new WordPress website to look after, there are specific tasks you need to complete weekly, monthly and annually to keep your website secure, fast, and functional.

If you ignore these tasks, the security of your WordPress website can be compromised and you could get hacked. The appearance of your site could also be in jeopardy and some of its functionality may no longer work. So these are not tasks that can be ignored – which is why if you don’t have the time to perform all of these tasks yourself, it pays to hire a website design and management team to do it all for you.

Weekly maintenance tasks

You will need to keep your theme and plugins updated. The problem with updating these yourself is that the new updates can clash, causing your site to crash. So unless you have a website design and management team who can assess the new updates, before they go live, you will have to cross your fingers and hope that all goes well.

Also, you should check your security log to make sure that there are no unauthorized entries or malware events, and make sure that your backups are all in order. Google Analytics is also another area to check – unless you have engaged a company that specialises in website and SEO services.

Monthly maintenance tasks

Always test your contact forms each month to make sure that they are working as required, and check the 404 error log and the index logs to make sure that Google is finding all of your pages and posts.

Annual maintenance tasks

Every year, read through your entire website and make sure that all of the copy and images still reflect the goals and messages of your business.

If you don’t have time for all of these maintenance tasks, you can always call us at GO Creative and hire our website design and management team or our SEO services team to take care of it for you. Why not get an instant quote online?

Website maintenance: DIY vs web developer – which is right for your business?

Ongoing website maintenance in Brisbane is an essential part of owning a website, and if this is neglected you can seriously endanger the reputation of your business. Some of the problems you may encounter if you ignore maintaining your website can range from broken links and outdated content, to aggressive hacks and lost customers. Whether you maintain your website yourself or you decide to outsource this to a web developer depends on your budget, time and skills.

The first major consideration is that when things go wrong with websites, they can quickly escalate out of control. Trying to find a web developer to urgently fix your site can be difficult, costly and time consuming. The investment in a web developer to manage your website will pay itself back time and time again and is definitely a business expense that is worth considering.

Some of the maintenance jobs that a web developer will keep on top of for your website include the following:

  • Update all of your plugins, as necessary.
  • Ensure that no clashes occur between your plugins.
  • Monitor your plugins and your theme to ensure that they are all secure.
  • Fix any problems that do occur.
  • Monitor and update your keywords, website content and technical data.
  • Improve the speed of your website, so it loads faster.
  • Enhance the design and functionality of your website.
  • Design new graphics, banners and call to action buttons.
  • Provide recommendations on your content, design and navigation.
  • Add keywords to your headings, links and other content.
  • Set up and install Google Analytics on your website.
  • Set up a sitemap and submit it to the search engines.
  • Add or update your Google Business listing (including Google maps and Google plus).

As you can see, this is a lot of work that will take up a lot of your time and some of it is highly specialised website maintenance. In Brisbane, for example, what are you going to do if you update one of your plugins and your website crashes? A web developer can properly test the compatibility of these updates with your website and other plugins, before updating the plugin on your live website.

If you were to neglect your car and avoid paying for regular services, eventually you’ll be faced with an inoperable car and a hefty repair bill. Owning a website is no different, but if your website is inoperable, your entire business can suffer.

At GO Creative we offer a monthly website management service that keeps your website, plugins and software running at peak performance, generating leads and helping you to rank higher in the search engines. Phone 07 3333 2932 or request an instant quote for more information about our monthly website maintenance in Brisbane.

Three reasons to keep your website updated

As a web development company, we know that when you run a business, you don’t always have the time to keep on top of everything and website maintenance is quite often at the bottom of your list. Whilst letting this slide for a short while might not be a problem, if left for too long it can be a catastrophe.

Let’s take a look at three of the worst problems you can face, if you don’t actively keep your website updated:

1. Your website can be hacked

There are two easy ways for hackers to gain access to your website: through your Content Management System (CMS) — such as WordPress or Joomla — and via third party components such as plugins. This is why you need to keep your CMS updated at all times, however if you don’t use a CMS but have a coded website then you will need a developer to keep your background code updated and resistant to hackers.

Updates for plugins and other third party components are regularly released, sometimes because of added features, but mainly to counter hacking. As you can see, if you don’t keep your website and your plugins updated, you can seriously jeopardise the security of your website. Your web development company should be able to update your CMS or coding to prevent hackers getting in through the back door of your site.

2. You can lose customers

If you collect customer’s information, such as their names, addresses and emails, then protecting your site against infiltrators is vital to keeping your customer’s data secure. There is no quicker way to lose customers than for their personal information to be hacked via your website. This is usually a result of poor maintenance and not installing a security plugin that adds another layer of security to your website.

As you can imagine, customers won’t be happy if their data is compromised and if you also accept payments on your website, then security is a top priority. Letting your onsite security slide is a guaranteed way to lose customers and revenue.

3. Your search engine rankings can drop

Google regularly quarantines thousands of websites each day because they have been hacked. While fixing a hacked website can be a nightmare in itself, trying to convince Google that your website has been fixed can be even worse. Many business owners have to simply start again with another domain name and website, because they couldn’t rank their existing website after it was compromised.

Losing your rankings in the search engines can completely devastate your business leads, and if it is simply because you didn’t maintain your website, then it will be a lesson well learned. Your local web development company should offer you a service that protects your website and prevents it from being hacked.

Here at GO Creative we provide a monthly service that completely updates your website, keeping it safe and secure from hackers. For more information on our monthly website maintenance services, call us on 07 3333 2932, or receive an instant online quote.

Need help updating your website? Check out our customised training packages.

One of the most common problems we see at GO Creative is that many business owners don’t keep their websites updated, because they either don’t have the knowledge or the time. The result is that once we hand over their new website, they seem to flounder around for a while, adding new content intermittently, forgetting about SEO and generally not making the most out of their website.

To fix these problems, we have a range of training packages, that are designed specifically for businesses who need guidance and advice on how to keep their websites updated and ranking well on the search engine results pages (serps).

What training packages do we offer?

We can customise any of our training packages to suit your individual needs, but in general, most business owners want help with understanding how to use WordPress, with written manuals for their staff and with keeping their website optimised for the search engines.

  • WordPress training: Essentially we can design a training package that shows your employees how to add content to your website, how to schedule content, add videos and images, and create additional categories. Our training can be undertaken in person, online, using the phone or via remote desktop software.
  • Manuals: We can also give you hard copies of your WordPress training or any other specific training that you have requested from us. These manuals help to back up our in-person training, and serve as a resource and training aid for new employees.
  • SEO: Continuing to optimise your website for the search engines is vital to your rankings in the serps, so you don’t want to let this lapse. We can design SEO training packages (in person and manuals) customised for your business, so your employees can easily keep your website optimised at all times.

Who can benefit from our training packages?

Our training packages are designed for businesses who are struggling to keep their websites updated and need some extra help in that department. We have a range of businesses who benefit from our training packages, from sole traders who need to do everything themselves, to owners with less than 5 employees to larger companies with 100+ staff.

To have about a chat about how our training packages can help keep your website updated, call us on 07 3333 2932 or complete our online enquiry form.

Do you want a hands-off approach to updating your website?

Many of our clients want to take a hands-off approach to their website. They want someone else to keep their website updated, whilst they focus on other aspects of their business.

In today’s fast paced world, it makes sense to leverage outside help, and instead of learning how to use WordPress, write product reviews, services pages and blogs, load videos and graphics, and add products to your website, many people work smarter by bringing in outside professionals who can do all of this for you.

What do our website management packages include?

We find that our website management packages are very popular, because business owners know that they can leverage our knowledge and keep their website running at its best, all of the time. We offer management packages to suit any budget and our monthly rates are very reasonable, leaving you free to go about your business and not worry about what is happening with your website.

While we will customise your website updating package to suit your specific needs, in general we offer the following services:

  • WordPress updates: You always need to have the latest version of WordPress installed, as these updates usually include new security measures to prevent hackers entering your website.
  • Plugin updates: We make sure that all of your plugins are kept updated as new versions are released. Conflicts between plugins is a common occurrence and can actually crash your website. We can mirror your website and update your plugins safely, fixing any problems before they go live.
  • Copywriting: Adding new content to your website, whether these are product updates, new products, reviews, cornerstone articles or blog posts, can be tiresome. We can have all of these updates organised for you, leaving you free to focus on other aspects of your business.
  • Graphics: As graphic designers, we can design any graphics you need for your website and upload them as well.
  • SEO: Optimising your website for the search engines is essential to your traffic, sales and conversions, so we can add SEO to your website management package as well.

Call us on 07 3333 2932 or complete our online quote form and we can arrange to have a chat about freeing up more of your time to focus on your business.

 

 

An easy way to create content for your WordPress website

We all know that writing content for our websites can be difficult and time consuming. Some of us don’t like writing and others just don’t have the time. It is important however, that your website has sufficient, well written content, so that your visitors can make an informative decision. Do they buy, ring you, drop into your store or move on?

It is your content that helps visitors make these final buying decisions. The problem is that most of us write content for our WordPress sites and then forget about it. This is a missed opportunity, because if you go back and audit your existing content, you can easily find lots of ways to add additional content to your website.

When you review your existing content keep the following in mind:

  • Is the information on this particular page still relevant?
  • Is it outdated and needs to be revised?
  • Have there been any new product launches recently?
  • Have there been any interesting industry promotions or news items lately?
  • Are your customers asking for information that doesn’t exist on your WordPress site?

You can use customer queries to highlight gaps in your site’s content or information that could explained more simply, adding new content to your site and increasing your engagement with your customers.

Tips on auditing your WordPress site’s content

When you examine each page or post make sure that the tone of the writing is the same, so it doesn’t look as if completely different people authored different sections. Also, make sure that your brand’s messages are consistent throughout your WordPress site and that all of the pages are well written, free from errors and informative.

Don’t forget to check the following on each page or post as well:

  • Meta descriptions, Title tags and keywords.
  • Headings and sub-headings.
  • Internal and external links.
  • Level of engagement.
  • Social media sharing buttons.
  • Multi-media, such as images, infographics, webinars and videos.

You can also gain additional information from Google Analytics, for example how long customers stay on your website, how many pages they visit and the most visited pages. All of this data will help you optimise your WordPress website for both the search engines and for your customers.

For professional WordPress website design or help with ranking your website in Google, call GO Creative on (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.