It’s time… for another update. This is one you’ll want to do.
No, there’s no Gutenberg. But you can get the plugin here to play with.
Yes, it’s time for GDPR compliance.
Contact us if you run into problems.
Everyone has those “Go To” things… when I run, it’s my watch, phone, lip balm & a tissue.
A tissue… crazy that most times it ends up wet and in the garbage… you know from being stashed in my waist or on a good day in the tiny zip pocket on my shorts. But… don’t leave home without it.
Here are the plugins that each WordPress lovingly receives…
There are more that I like and use, but these are the backbone.
I love talking to people about their website. Working with small business owners or solopreneurs, we usually start talking about two things – the business & marketing. You might be surprised to hear that we’ll save the website conversation until we understand those two things. It’s strategy and the fit of your website strategy before you can talk tactics.
After learning about your business – what you make, deliver, serve… it’s time to talk marketing. So many questions, so little time.
What’s the plan – what are you doing now? How do customers find you? How’s it working? What would you like to change?
There’s a spectrum of website tactics – from the nuts & bolts of location and hours to using your website to sell &/or build credibility.
Selling your products on the web looks much different from sharing location/hours/static business info.
Are you using your website/social media to share the activities of your business? To keep you top of the mind with prospective customers. Why not?
Are you building credibility by sharing what you do and know? Why not?
It’s about starting that conversation and talking about the right things. There are too many good options but only so much time (& money).
How does your conversation start?
When I first met with Anthony, he was looking for a new website for his growing law firm.
I love working with clients on their first websites. The web is so many different things to different people. For Anthony, it was all about sharing the capabilities of his growing legal practice. We worked to build his message and to deliver it clearly. To make it easy to find and reach the firm.
Check out Anthony Emmi, Esq’s new website.
Your website host are the folks you pay to provide storage on their computers(servers) for the files and database that makes up your website. While they certainly do more than this, it’s a good start.
They may or may not register your domain. They may or may not provide you with email accounts.
Once you have a domain name registered, then you (or your web folks) have to worry about how to get your website up on the interwebs. So…
And… voila typing your domain name in a web browser displays your website.
If you’ve been following our recent posts, a site builder takes care of all of this for you. They provide the interface to create/edit your site and host your site.
There’s more to it, but that’s a 50K foot perspective of your website hosting.
There are a plethora of hosting companies and many web development firms provide hosting for their clients. Both are good. Usually the choice is a function of your web firm. They recommend what’s easiest to provide you with support. Many business models combine hosting and site maintenance to make it easier for everyone.
Usually speed & reliability are a function of the cost. You get what you pay for.
It’s about branding, branding, branding baby! Your domain is your address on the web. It’s where people find you and come back to.
A domain registration is the process of paying someone to manage the reservation of your name in the list of names on the internet. Your domain name is your unique address on the internet and your domain registrar takes care of your unique address. If you look at the address in your browser above, ours is maroon.technology. It’s just a name that is then mapped to the location of your website files (your host). A little confusing for you? It’s like if they labelled PO Boxes at the post office on the outside with names instead of numbers. Someone would have to be in charge of making sure we were the only people using our name (maroon.technology) at the Grand Island post office. Basically that’s what you pay your $15/year to your Domain Registrar for.
Your Domain Registrar does a few other things, too. Very important things… like making sure it’s locked so no one can steal it, they keep the contact info of who owns it (the WhoIs) info, maybe keeps that information private and point it to the host where your files and database that compose your website live.
We’ve worked with clients who lost their domain because an unscrupulous registrar/host didn’t want them to leave. This happens much less often today than it used to but you never want to put yourself in that position.
You need to own your domain. It’s an asset of your business.
That’s why many web firms will ask you to buy the domain registration on your or an organization credit card. Legally many domain registrars will go back to the purchasing credit card for ownership.
It may seem like your web firm should just be able to take care of it. They can, but then technically you’ll need to get a notary to notarize the change and then process the form. It’s easier if you do it yourself.
Then you can be sure.
That you own your face on the web & your branding is safe.
Just a reminder tonight is our first Designer/Dev Meetup of 2015. If you have a question, are looking for some WordPress insight or just want a cool place to hang out to stay warm, stop by. We’re at LY122 – End of Hallway on the First Floor of Lyons Hall at Canisius College (It’s directly across Main St from the Montante Cultural Center).
We meet every two weeks to discuss all things WordPress. More of a User or a Blogger? Stop by January 29 for our User/Blogger version. Because different folks need different things from WordPress every two weeks is Designer/Dev and alternate two weeks are User/Blogger. Not sure where you fit? Stop in, we’re a friendly bunch!
The next couple posts originate in meetings and conversations I’ve had over the past couple weeks…
As a website designer & developer, I always want to exceed the expectations of my clients. The reality is, like changing your favorite dress shop or hair style as your tastes change, sometimes it’s time for a client to make a switch.
We each bring our own perspectives to our side of a website project. Sometimes it’s just time for a new perspective.
Chatting with folks making a switch from cookie cutter website creation tools like GoDaddy’s web development tools, Wix or Square Space to folks looking to switch web firms, sometimes it’ not quite as easy as you’d like.
Sometimes it is what it is and comes down to defining or understanding the exit strategy up front. From the start, knowing how you leave. Put another way, it’s about understanding the nature of your relationship – what you get, what you own. What happens if you want to change “dress shops”… err web firms?
While there’s no magic and a website isn’t rocket science, something you don’t understand can be confusing at best. At some point something in your organization is going to change – ownership, leadership, relationships, perspective, technology… doesn’t matter what. Asking some questions upfront gives you the tools to make a decision and to understand the implications, to have an exit strategy.
Let’s talk about a couple situations you may find yourself in and what changing “dress shops” looks like.
If you’re using one of the cookie cutter tools, to move on you take nothing with you. Well, that’s not entirely true. You do take the content you’ve created and added to their templates. What I mean is that you’ve got some documents (maybe screen prints) of your content. That’s it. But basically it’s a redesign.
What some clients don’t understand is that you may take nothing with you if you’re switching gears from one web firm to another, depending on how your contract is written or how they work. Especially if your web firm uses a proprietary system. Not because they are trying to hold you hostage. On the contrary, usually they’re trying to provide fantastic customer service. In the case of a proprietary system, it’s usually because they are the only keeper of that system.
In the case of using a cookie cutter tool and moving to a more sophisticated system, there’s nothing you can do. It is what it is. I guess the key is to understand. This is where many organizations start. They are good at what they do – a basic cookie cutter website. Your exit strategy is basically a do-over.
In the case of working with a firm using a proprietary system, it may be the same thing. As the Sym’s commercial used to profess… An Educated Consumer is Our Best Customer. As long as you understand from the start, it is what it is. Someone will be maintaining your website, tying yourself to a proprietary system means that your choices are limited as to who that will be. It’s only an issue if you’re unhappy, want to make a change, possibly do something yourself or they stop supporting it. When you go, you take the work product (paperwork, emails, etc) of the design process and usually little else. Your exit strategy is basically a do-over.
The case that provides choice is starting the process with a web firm or freelancer without a proprietary system. The key is to have an exit strategy from the start – or understand the exit process. It doesn’t mean you’ll use it, but you can if you need to. That you understand if you’re tied to a firm and why. For a non-proprietary content management system (CMS), make sure you own the files and database that make up your website. Make sure it’s written into whatever document that defines your arrangement. While you’ll have to pay a fee for someone to provide you with backup files (simply for their time) you’ll have something to start – or continue – with. Here your exit strategy may be a do-over, it may also be a continue on – for now. The choice is yours.
Most web firm will have this discussion with you. They want you to understand the implications of your relationship. They want a great relationship, a happy client and a happy team.
From my perspective, there are reasons for making each choice. The key is that you or your group understand what you are committing to and that your choice matches the vision of your organization.
Next time, we’ll talk about some under the hood logistics of your website. To let you ask the questions to create that exit strategy, understand your website and work better with your web firm.
WordPress 4.1 “Dinah” was released yesterday.
I just upgraded this site. Glad it was uneventful!
I still recommend giving any new release a couple days to settle out, starting with a good backup, upgrading and then another backup.
“Hogwash” you say, too much time on backups!
You’ll thank me when there’s a glitch. Just imagine me winking at you through the screen there.
Come back a little later to see what plugins need to be updated. There are usually at least of few. If you’ve waited a couple days to a week to upgrade (unless there’s a reason to upgrade immediately), that usually gives any plugins who’ve discovered problems after the go-live, time to fix them right up.
For any clients on maintenance, look for your upgrades next week.
Every other Thursday, different groups of WordPress aficionados gather at Lyons Hall at Canisius College to share what they know, to learn and to get help with WordPress.
The WordPress community is a diverse group spanning users to designers to developers. To meet their needs, last year we split the MeetUp into a Users Group and a Designer/Developer Group. Yup, there’s overlap… but it helps people on the fringes know where to start and direct topics. Users and Designer/Developers typically have different needs, different topics.
Join us… whether you’re just curious, have a problem we can help solve or something to share.
Maroon has the Perspective that Results in Delight.