10 reasons to realign your website [infographic]

Another fab infographic from J6 Design, showing why you should rethink your website regularly (they recommend at least yearly)

Is your website breaking the law on cookies?

English: Peanut butter cookie with a chocolate...

Someone want a cookie?

Alas no, I’m not talking about the chocolate-chip variety, but instead the little bytes of memory that are stored on your computer by websites. Like how your computer remembers login details, or how adverts for ‘black shoes’ appear in a web page side- bar after you’ve just been doing a spot of retail therapy in the Kurt Geiger e-store.

But earlier this year in May, a new EU legislation came in to prevent these cookies from being stored without the consent of the user. As a measure to protect the privacy of the web-user, it is now down to the website provider to ensure that their visitors ‘opt in’ to receiving cookies, and that they are not forced on them.

If you have a self hosted WordPress blog, then you’re using cookies – lots of your plugins will be using them and your readers need to opt in.

So, if you don’t fancy breaking the law, then install the new EU Cookie Law WP plugin for just a tenner (for a single use site; £25 for multi-use). It only takes a minute, and basically just installs a lightbox pop-up that asks whether or not the user is happy for the website to install the website’s usual cookies. As well stopping website owners from breaking the law and receiving a hefty fine, it also shows the user that you abide by the law and appreciate their right to online privacy.

It’s a pretty cool plugin, and you can change the wording on it and the way it looks (I’m playing with mine right now!)

Although we don’t know the future of the United Kingdom’s position within the EU, and therefore how long this consent will be enforced, but for now, that’s the way the cookie crumbles…

Get your cookie plugin and find out more about this law now.

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Why WordPress is a Good Choice for your Website

Image representing StudioPress as depicted in ...

Image via CrunchBase

When you create a website, it is important that you choose a really good content system to help back up your great design. This will help you to manage your website more successfully and help it reach its full potential. WordPress is one of the best content management systems out there and is a great choice for any website. Read on for five reasons WordPress is a good choice for your website.

Popular
WordPress has got millions of users and there are close to 50 million WordPress websites in the world. This is a huge amount, and it suggests that they certainly must be doing something right for so many people to choose them for their website.

Lots of themes
Another great thing about WordPress is that there are lots of different themes that you can use. This means you can change the look of your website really simply: even if you are a complete beginner when it comes to websites, you’ll be able to choose a theme to suit your need and make your site stand out from the pack. With so many themes to choose from, there is something to fit with every style of site, from professional to fun and funky.

Easy to update
A lot of people also use WordPress for their websites because the content management system makes it really easy to update. The process for adding new content to your site is straightforward and efficient, so even if you’re not the best person in the world with technology, you’ll still be able to do it.

Customisable
WordPress also has loads of options that allow you to customise its themes so you can adapt your website to exactly what you’re looking for. This could involve something relatively simple such as adding your own graphics to the site, to more complex things such as adapting the code to meet your needs. There are also some great external software options that use WordPress to create fantastic, customised websites.

One of these options is Genesis Framework, which is powered by Studiopress. This offers a range of themes and has a focus on SEO, enabling you to boost the performance of your website while still benefitting from the best bits of the WordPress experience. There are different packages available for the Genesis Framework, which means you’re sure to be able to find what you’re looking for and, whether you’re a novice or an advanced user, it’s sure to be able to meet your website needs.

Multiple uses
There are also lots of different things you can do with WordPress. For example, as well as creating a professional website for your business using a service such as Genesis, you could also start a WordPress blog to further enhance your online business. There are also ways of linking WordPress to your social media accounts, such as Twitter and Facebook, so you can bring together all of your online activity into one place, allowing for more effective management and a more focused website that will ultimately be of benefit to you.

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3 things a day can help to promote your website

Eternal clockOne of the things I hear most often when I talk to people about promoting their websites themselves, is that it ‘takes too much time’ and they ‘don’t know where to start’.

Well, while I can see where they’re coming from on the second point, the first one doesn’t ring true with me. It’s not about spending loads of time every day, it’s about doing SOMETHING every day and seeing the effort pile up and bring results. It’s about not giving in because you ‘don’t have the time’ and not putting things off because you’re ‘not sure how’.

Promoting your website can be done by you, it can be done a little every day and it doesn’t need to take up your time.

I’m challenging you right now to do 3 things every day to promote your website. That’s all – 3 little things that take up less than half an hour of your time.

Here are a few ideas to get you started – pick 3 and do them today!

  • Post a blog – it doesn’t have to be 1000 words, just something you think people would be interested in. Make a comment about some news related to your industry, write about a new product or service, announce a new client, offer some tips and help (like this blog!) to help others – it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes.
  • Schedule some Tweets. Use Hootsuite or similar to schedule a few tweets throughout the day – links to your website, blog or services, but also relevant news, funny things you’ve found, thoughts you’ve had. It should take about 5 minutes and means you have a steady presence on Twitter throughout the day. Don’t forget to still check in and post in real time too though, don’t automate the lot!
  • Add something to your Facebook Fan Page – a link to your site, a video you found on YouTube, a news item, a new discussion, or just ask a question in the status. Another 5 minute job, if that.
  • Add a client testimonial – hopefully you’re always asking clients to say nice things about your work – instead of hoarding the testimonials to post all at once, add one every so often. After all, this also gives you something to talk about on your Facebook and Twitter profiles. Time: 5 minutes!
  • Comment on a blog. Read a blog related to your industry and make a comment – you’ll get a link back to your site, and might even generate some discussion. The more you comment he more you will become known. Make your comments relevant and knowledgeable though, not just ‘Me too’ type posts. Time: 10 minutes for reading and commenting.
  • Post on a business forum. Again, a great way to link back to your site, share knowledge, help people out, get help yourself, and get yourself known. Time: 10 minutes to read and post.
  • Add yourself to a directory. Find a local business directory, or one related to your industry, and add your website. Some directories provide great backlinks, and some have good traffic. Time: 2 minutes.

There you have it, just a few things you can do off the top of my head – and that’s before we’ve started on SEO, landing pages, newsletters and articles!

What 3 things are YOU going to do to promote your website today? Do one right now by commenting below 🙂
Creative Commons License photo credit: Robbert van der Steeg

How to get customer testimonials that work

Here at NikkiPlkington.com we’re great believers in getting testimonials from customers. It’s important to us, and it helps us to:

a) Know we’re doing well for our clients

and

b) Show potential clients that we are as good as we say we are.

So it was nice to come across this blog by Emily Cagle Communidations – Ten Steps To Better Customer Testimonals.

In the post, she talks you through getting and using testimonials, with the following steps:

1. Ask promptly
2. Ask personally
3. Name names
4. Get permission
5. Tell a story
6. Illustrate the decision making process
7. Keep it short
8. Use them creatively
9. Keep them current
10. Be honest

We’ll certainly be taking a few of her pointers on board, as should you if you want to include customer testimonals on your website!

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