Sharing Some TLC

GbergBlock

How To Edit WordPress in the New Gutenberg Editor

What is Gutenberg? If you haven’t logged into your website in a while and are preparing to write or edit in WordPress, you might notice some changes. Gutenberg is a take on a new editor for WordPress, which replaced the WordPress classic editor. It is named after Johannes Gutenberg, who invented a printing press over 500 years ago. The goal of this new editor is to make creating and editing content in WordPress easier by using “blocks” of content within pages and posts. There are more advanced, technical reasons as well, but today we are going to cover editing and writing WordPress content with this new editor. The Old Editor The old WordPress classic editor was somewhat similar to Microsoft Word. All your content went into one section. You could use html code to create columns and “divs,” which are like sections. But you needed to know code or use an extra page builder plugin to really edit the layout of the page. The “Tiny MCE” in the classic editor allowed you to change some styles, such as text alignment, size and color. There was also a sidebar on the right where you could specify information about the page or…

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hidden-594142_1920 Image by markusspiske on Pixabay

Find Hidden Screen Options in Your WordPress Website Backend

WordPress is a powerful and versatile, open source content management system. Over 33% of all websites in the world are WordPress sites. For those who only use it to publish blog content, WordPress is easy to use. However, some confusing and “hidden” basic things, such as Screen Options, may take some getting used to when you want to do a bit more with WordPress. A Note About Gutenberg WordPress software and plugins are frequently updated and improved. At the end of 2018, a major update to the content editor in WordPress was released. This update, named Gutenberg, resulted in a totally new look and interface for the editor. We will write more about that next week but you can get more information about Gutenberg here if you are eager to learn now. This new editor resulted in a lot of changes. Once change is how to edit “Screen Options.” If your WordPress website has not updated to Gutenberg, you can follow the instructions for accessing Screen Options from the Menu or Widget windows below. The WordPress Screen Options WordPress has special editing “options” that can be added or hidden from different screens in the website backend. The backend of your…

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domain-hosting-graphic

What is the Difference Between Domain and Website Hosting?

The concept of “hosting” can be IS confusing. A client recently asked us if they should cancel their domain hosting account because we moved their website hosting to a different provider. The answer is no! You need both. Confusing? Yes! Here is a basic overview of DOMAIN HOSTING (also called “Registration/Registrar”) and WEBSITE HOSTING. You can read about other website terminology here. Domain names and web hosting are two different components of a website. However, they work together to make websites possible. Email is also related to your domain. DOMAIN HOSTING You domain name is your identity online. A domain is not a website, it’s your name. A central registration agency, called Internet Corporation for Names and Numbers  ICANN controls domains or “urls.” This agency keeps a list of all domain names that exist, and who leases them. You cannot register your domain yourself with ICANN. ICANN actually leases domains – you don’t ever own it completely, and you can lose it if you don’t renew it. You need to use a “registrar” to register the domain name for you. There are many, many companies that serve as domain registrars, such as GoDaddy, Network Solutions, Hover and NameCheap. Basic “.com”…

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Reviews

Reputation Marketing: Get More Genuine Online Business Reviews

When you’re looking to try a new restaurant or find a home service provider, what do you do? If you are like most people, you turn to the internet to search, and then you look at online reviews to narrow down your options and make a decision about where to go or who to hire. Businesses need to pay attention to Reputation Marketing, or the management of online reviews. “If you run a small business today, the single most important thing you can do to attract new customers is to take control of your online review score on sites like Yelp, Google My Business, FourSquare and TripAdvisor.” –Forbes How Online Reviews Help Your Business Search Engine Results Reviews are now one of the top factors in Google’s search ranking results. Search engines are relying more and more on reviews to determine the quality of a business. This means that you have an opportunity to increase your SEO if you engage with your review process and your reviewers. Buyer Decision Making A popular study by Bright Local about consumer reviews includes a lot of interesting statistics about the role that reviews play on buyer decisions. 97% of consumers use the internet…

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keywords

How To Search For and Find Keywords

Are you wondering how to search for keywords? Keyword research is an important part of SEO (though not the only part! We go over keywords as part of an SEO strategy for summer camp websites here). This research can be very complex and involved, which takes a lot of time, tools and experience. If you have never done keyword research, there are some basic things you can do to become familiar with keywords in your industry. Knowing more about what terms people are using to search for you is a good first step toward optimizing your site and improving your website’s success in search results. Brainstorm: Free! No Special Tools Needed The most basic thing you can do, and the best place to start with keyword research, is to brainstorm and come up with a list of words that apply to your business or organization.  Ask yourself, your employees, colleagues and friends: How do I/you categorize my business? What type of keywords are related to my brand? What are terms would one use to find a business like mine? I put this list into a spreadsheet, and try to get more than 100. Some may seem far-fetched and silly, but…

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howtochoose

How To Choose a Web Designer For Your Business

Are you thinking about creating a new website for your business? You might consider building a website yourself, especially if your business is small and your budget is limited. However, once you reach a point where you want to invest in important marketing tools like a website, you might consider hiring a professional to create or redesign your website. There are a lot of people building websites these days. It can seem overwhelming to know how choose the right web designer for your business. A Website Is An Important Marketing Tool Running a business involves expenses and investments in order to help the business grow and succeed. A website can be a very effective piece of your marketing plan. Even a simple “brochure” website can promote your brand, collect leads and create engagement. Once you commit to making your website help you meet your goals, you should hire a professional to help. How To Choose A Web Designer For Your Project The first step in hiring an agency is finding a good fit. List your goals for your website to define your requirements. Look at other websites to see what your competition is doing and get ideas. This will help…

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landing-image

Why Landing Pages Can Help Your Business

… And What Exactly Is A Landing Page? Let’s start with what a Landing Page is NOT. Many people refer to the “Home Page” of their website as a “Landing Page.” You could argue that any page someone lands on could be referred to as a “Landing Page.” (And in fact, to Google Analytics, a landing page IS the first page viewed in a session, or the entry point to your website.) However, in technical terms, when it comes to website marketing “lingo,” a landing page is not the main Home Page or any basic page of a website. (You can learn some more technical website jargon here.) Most digital marketers think of a landing page as a webpage intended to get their visitors to perform one action – purchase, sign up or opt-in. A Landing Page is Used for Tracking Specific Marketing Campaigns For marketing and website development, a landing page is a standalone web page, created specifically for the purposes of a marketing or advertising campaign. It is designed with a single focused objective, known as a Call to Action (CTA). This may be a call to make a purchase, sign up for an email list or fill…

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summer-camp-photo

How to Improve Your Summer Camp Website’s SEO

It’s getting to be summer camp registration time! While some camp programs have a waiting list within hours, others may struggle to bring in new campers. Most parents pick camp programs based on reputation and word of mouth in their community, but many people rely on a Google search to look for summer camp options in their area. For this reason, ensuring your website is utilizing effective summer camp SEO practices and your business is taking steps to be found near the top of Google searches is important. We create and manage websites for kids camps and enrichment programs and schools, and work with our clients to help them try to improve their search results. Following are the top considerations to help your website rank better in Google: Keyword Research and Selection Keywords and keyphrases are words that you “target” your website content to focus on. Keyword research helps identify the best words to use. These are words or phrases that: Are relevant to what you do/offer Offer an opportunity for you to get on the top of searches for that terms Have a significant amount of search volume (you may have a great keyword idea, but if no one…

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catphoto If you take a photo with your phone, make sure you optimize it before you upload it to your website.

How To Add Images to a WordPress Website The Right Way

Images, and how you add them to your website, can make or break the success of your website. An unappealing, unprofessional photo or graphic can leave your visitors with a negative impression of your business. A great photo can grab attention; however, if the image is not prepared properly for the web, or if it is not technically configured well for search engines and performance, it can slow down your site and/or make it impossible for Google to find it or screen readers to describe what it is. Images can help your Search Engine performance (SEO) if they are formatted and configured properly. Let’s take a look at the considerations and steps to take when adding an image to your WordPress website. Finding Images Make Your Photos Relevant and/or Attention-Getting The images you choose for your website should be relevant to your subject matter, or infer a reference or irony. They should also be attention-getting. For example, we built a site for a lawyer who said he “turns the typical law firm process on its head” and used this image: Stock vs. Original Photos In some cases, such as the photo above, a stock photo may be appropriate to get your…

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perfect

How To Create Your Best Website

One of the great things about a website as a marketing tool is that it is dynamic. A website can be frequently changed and updated, unlike printed materials. For example, if you print 1,000 brochures and then decide to change your pricing, the process and expense in editing and reprinting the brochures can be prohibitive. This type of change can be made in minutes (or seconds!) on the web. If you are creating or updating your website, how can you make it YOUR best website? Here are 4 things you can do to ensure that your new site is the best it can be: Select an user-friendly platform There are many website builders and software available. Options like SquareSpace and Wix are great for DIY folks with a smaller budget. Some hosting companies, like GoDaddy, offer their own proprietary website builder. We use WordPress, a content management system (CMS). WordPress is used on over 30% of all websites worldwide. It has two offerings: WordPress.COM and WordPress.ORG (WordPress.com is hosted by Automattic.com and WordPress.org sites are self-hosted, meaning you can put them on your own server or choose your own hosting company.) Choosing between the options depends your budget, your technical…

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maintenance

WordPress Maintenance: What Is It and Why Do You Need It?

You have probably been told that your WordPress website needs “maintenance.” When I tell clients this, I explain what maintenance means, as it may not be obvious. There are at least 3 key elements of website maintenance that need to be performed regularly. Updates WordPress is software. Just like apps on your phone and software on your computer, updates are released by the developers of the software which need to be installed on the device in order for the software to continue to perform properly. Have you seen notifications pop up on your phone or computer announcing that updates are needed? The same thing happens on your WordPress website. If you log in to your WordPress Dashboard, you may see notifications like this: In some cases, these updates fix critical security issues. Other updates may be less critical enhancements or may include new functionality. On a WordPress website, updates are released for the core WordPress software every few months. In addition, plugins, which add functionality to your site (such as forms, SEO and page builders) frequently release updates. Lastly, the theme you are using, and others which are installed but not active, release updates from time to time. It is…

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calculator-pixabay

How much does it cost to run a nonprofit website?

We recently started working with a local nonprofit organization and will be building their first WordPress website. We love showing our clients that a WordPress website can do almost anything you need it to! Because WordPress.org is open source software, developers around the world create software that extends the functionality of a basic WordPress website to accept payments, create a shopping cart, present simple and complex forms, and create a front-end page editing system. These extensions, called “Plugins” may be free, or may require a paid annual license. The fees support the developers who create the software and keep it updated and add new features. Our client would like to use some of the premium plugins, and asked us to list the software/plugin license fees as well as “extra” costs (above our fee for designing and developing the site), such as website hosting. Domain Name Range from $1.99 to $Thousands, but typical domain is about $13/year Hover GoDaddy Website Hosting Range from $3-$100’s and more per month. Popular hosts for WordPress websites include: WPEngine: $35/month for basic plan Flywheel: $14/month for Tiny Plan SiteGround: $5.95/month for Grow Big Plan GoDaddy: $10.99/month Deluxe* Email Hosting Some web hosts offer email hosting….

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TinyChefsNew

New and Improved Website for Tiny Chefs

The team at Design TLC has been busy over the past few months. We have been building new, updated websites for schools and camps. We truly love being involved in a process that helps kids learn! The amazing women-owned business, Tiny Chefs, has been a client for several years. We did not build their original website, but helped them maintain, troubleshoot and make updates as part of our Design TLC Plus Care Plan. Earlier this year, we suggested that the team at Tiny Chefs consider a face lift for their website and brand. The website was hard to navigate. It was also difficult to update on the back end with a bloated theme, and the design was outdated. The logo was also out of date, was not a vector graphic, and it looked a bit like clip art. We worked with the business owner and her team to develop a Creative Brief. This document highlighting the main selling points of the business, as well as the look and feel that they wanted to communicate. New Logo and Branding We presented some logo concepts and we really love the one  they chose! Since the program caters to two main age groups,…

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abramson The Abramson Foundation

New Website Launch For The Abramson Scholarship Foundation

We are thrilled and honored to have helped The Abramson Scholarship Foundation update their website. The team at this foundation, almost all volunteers, are dedicated to helping high school seniors in Washington, DC not only finance their college education, but also to guide them through their college experience with their unique mentorship program. We believe in the power of education and the need for support through this challenging time, so we were excited to be a part of this team! The old website was out of date, bloated with a lot of empty and unused content, and needed some organization to highlight the application process and uniqueness of the program. We added the GiveWP plugin to help the directors manage their donations and the donor database, with at-a-glance reports and easy integration with Stripe. As part of the refresh/redesign process, we updated the logo to simplify it. We encouraged new photography, which turned out so well we had a hard time selecting just one for the home page! Great photography really makes a website shine.  

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calendar

Listing Events and Calendars on Your Website: Best WordPress Calendar Plugins Review

We make WordPress websites for schools, classes, camps, and restaurants which requires listing many upcoming events, and different types of events as lists and calendars. There are several things to note when adding events to your WordPress website. Here is our review of two of the best WordPress calendar plugins: Events are a special type of content Unlike blog posts, which are ever-present on a website and can be accessed through an archive listing long after they are published, events are meant to “disappear” after they have occurred. This avoids confusion and clutter. While they still exist on the website history, they will not display on an event listing after they expire. There are several plugins which make creating Event posts and displaying a calendar of events on a website easy, and which removes events from calendar/listings when they are over. We use either Events Manager or The Events Calendar, both of which do a great job of making the back and front end of the event publication process friendly and effective. Both plugins allow for recurring events, excerpts and images and integration of maps (see our blog post about using the Google Maps API). We also like using the…

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password Photo, Pixabay

It’s After Launch Time. Do You Know Where Your Website Account Information Is?

I recently contacted all of my current clients and even some past clients to share with them a list of their website and domain hosting information, as well as any logins I have on file for their business. My team at Design TLC spent a lot of time pulling together information we had collected over the years, putting that information into LastPass, and creating PDFs for each client. We sent the PDFs in encrypted emails, ensuring to the best of our ability that we keep their information secure. In our message, we included some important information to help our clients: Keep their passwords and account information safe Keep a record of where their website information is stored Securing Passwords Don’t Email Passwords! We often receive passwords from clients for important accounts, including PayPal, via email. We cannot stress enough that this is not a good practice, and request that our clients use a tool like QuickForget to send information securely. Use Strong Passwords and an Encrypted Password Management Tool Many of our clients use a notebook to keep a written log of passwords, and use the same password over and over again on multiple sites. This is not recommended for…

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cash

What is Caching and How Do I Clear My Browser Cache?

While not unique to WordPress, if you have a WordPress website, you have probably heard of caching or browser caching, and been told a few times to “clear your cache.” (Note, this is different from clearing your CASH, which is not usually a good idea). Caching in a Nutshell There are a few types of caching and it can get very technical and confusing! For the purpose of this article, we will focus mainly on client-side caching. Caching is a method of storing some information about a website in your browser’s memory so the next time you come back to the same website, it will load faster because it “remembers” some things that were there the first time. A web browser will ask the server if the content (mostly images and scripts/code) has changed since it was last downloaded. If it hasn’t changed, the browser will use its locally cached copy, instead of retrieving the entire item. If you have a WordPress website, there are many plugins available which will force caching of parts of your website, so that it will load faster for your website visitors. In addition, many web hosts cache websites on their servers. For websites that…

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Pages-Posts-Dashboard

What is The Difference Between a Page and a Post on My WordPress Website?

WordPress is a wonderful platform for building websites – it is why we only build websites with WordPress at Design TLC, and why about ⅓ of all websites in the world use this open source software. When it was started as a blogging platform, WordPress only offered “Posts” as a type of content on a website. As it evolved into a complete website platform, WordPress launched the opportunity to create many different types of content. Today WordPress includes two content types in the Dashboard: “Posts” and “Pages.” There is not much difference between Posts and Pages from the standpoint of the structure in the WordPress database. However, the way these two content types are used is notable. “Posts” describe content listed in reverse chronological order on a website’s Home page or “Blog” page. Posts are meant to be timely and WordPress creates a Post content “archive.” Posts can be organized into categories and tagged with terms to make them searchable.. Posts are also syndicated through the RSS feeds. This allows readers to be notified of via RSS feeds when a new Post is published. Typically, Posts are not replaced with new or updated content after they have been published (although…

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Image 2018-09-08 at 3.40.40 PM

Google Map Not Working? Learn How To Fix It and Create An API Key

We recently wrote about setting up your Google My Business Page to help your business get found in Google Map searches. Another important consideration in your “Google World” is adding Google Maps to your website to help people find you, or to help them find events your are linking to on your website. Is Your Google Map Not Working on Your Website? What is a Google Maps API Key and Why Do You Need One? If you have maps embedded in your website from Google Maps, you may be experiencing issues where the map is not working or displaying properly and you may see error messages like this: Google Maps changed their policy and began enforcing the use of API keys, effective June 11, 2018. Keyless usage will result in a degraded experience, or an error. To use maps on your website, you must now have an API Key with Billing set up. Google Maps has changed their pricing and now require billing information to be associated with all API keys, even if no charges will apply. (See Guide for Existing Users for more information.) In the new pricing, developers will receive $200 of monthly usage for free. Google estimates…

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Lawn Service

How Setting Up Your Google My Business Page Helps You Get Found

Google wants to help you get found by potential customers. Why? Because Google’s goal is to be the search engine that everyone goes to when they are looking for information. Check out this article about how to optimize your content for Google. There’s more you can do to help your business get found in Google – no matter how your website is built (we use WordPress, but this applies if your site is made with SquareSpace, Wix, or any other website software). If you have a business, Google wants to know about it. Google’s free tool is called Google My Business and it will help your potential customers find you. It puts you on the Google map. Map? What do we mean by map? If you search in Google for a service or store, paid ads are at the top of the results page and then local listings are shown on a map. Especially if you are on a mobile device, the map is critical. If your business is not on the map, you might as well not be there. For example, if I search for “lawn service,” I should see the lawn services near me wherever I am doing…

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