Google Sends Warnings for HTTP Sites

If you’re website is using HTTP at the start of the domain name you may get a warning notice from Google, they already have begun sending out warning notices to owners that their website will be flagged as a “non secure” in Google Chrome starting in October 2017.  Their first step in the plan is to display a “Not secure” label in the address bar.

So what does this mean for you?  If your website uses a form which includes things such as a comment form, Google can show the website as not being secure if you use the Google Chrome browser.  Google will also show this warning for ALL your pages when viewed in the Incognito mode.  If your website has no forms but is the sort of site that your users might prefer to visit via Incognito, then that website will be shown as not secure.

The is all set to take place in the beginning of October 2017, with the version 63 of Google Chrome, so you still have a month or so  to implement HTTPS for your site.

Some websites will receive these notices even if they are using HTTPS,  and this is because some owners use both the HTTP and HTTPS versions of the site verified in Google Search Console.  Even if the HTTP version is correctly re-directing to the HTTPS, Google still will send a warning notice.

This is what the notice looks like:


Google Chrome’s long-term plan to mark sites with HTTP as insecure, also with the free Let’s Encrypt initiative is helping close the gap on the web’s remaining unencrypted sites.

Why Is Website Maintenance Important?

Why Is Website Maintenance Important?

Your website is a very important part of your business. Not only does it bring you traffic, it also represents your business. This means that there are many reasons why you should be always updating your website. From constantly grabbing the attention of your visitors to improving your search engine rankings, frequently website updates might seem pointless, but they are far from it.

Retail shops are always updating their shop windows with latest offers and products. Even though you might not own a actual store, the same concept still applies to your website.

Corporate Image

Your website is a public reflection of your brand. A website which is not regularly maintained can lead to errors, broken links and outdated information and it can cause your business to decline over time. Frequently examine the look and feel of your website, update it to match your corporate image.

Make sure you leave the right impression for new visitors

A very important reason why maintaining your website is important is that it leaves a good impression on any new visitors. The website represents your business and is how many customers will see you.

When a user lands on your website you only have a few seconds to capture their trust. The best way to do this is to make sure your website is user friendly and more importantly, up to date.

Always give a reason for your customers to come back 

Another reason why you should keep your website up to date is that it gives previous visitors a reason to come back. If you happen to have a blog on your site that is regularly updated with new content, then you have better chances of visitors returning.

Many people will bookmark useful sites and will often check the site for updates. If you regularly provide your visitors with new content, then can easily generate recurring visits.

Improve Your SEO 


Another benefit of adding new content to your website is that it helps improve your SEO (search engine rankings). Google love new content. Whenever you update your site with new content, Google will crawl your site and boost your rankings.

If updating your website and adding new content leads to better search engine rankings and more visitors, then why would you not do it.

How Do You Maintain Your Own Website?

Visitors and search engines love fresh content. The easiest way to profit from increased search engine rankings and
returning visitors is to update a blog or latest news. If you don’t have a blog on your website, then you should look into it.
A blog is an excellent way to keep visitors up to date with what is going on in the business, and your trade. In addition to this, it can also be used as a platform to promote and share original content. If you can give customers original content that they can’t find anywhere, then this is a sure way to get recurring visitors.

Deleting Spam Comments


If you already have a blog, then the chances are you are get spam. The comments section on your blog is a way for a visitor to share their views and ideas about your content, but sometimes this feature can be misused.
There are many spam robots that crawl people’s website looking for blogs to comment on. These robots post comments on your blog in a bid to try and attract more visitors to their website. The easiest way to solve this problem is to disable comments, but comments can be important for many reasons, not only do they leave a good impression but they also help show what your users are interested in. To make sure your website is well maintained, you should regularly check your blog for any spam comments and then delete the inappropriate comments.

If a new visitor sees lots of spam comments within your website, then they may think your website is not trustworthy and go. It might sound weird that someone would leave over some spam comments, but the spam will significantly bring your businesses reputation down.

Other updates


Aside from blogs, the rest of your site should also be updated. Think of it as monthly routine where you go through your website and check all your pages to make sure they are up to date.
If you’re own an e-commerce store, then you’ll want to check your products are up to date with the right photos and descriptions. Any new stock or products should also be added regularly.

Lastly, as a general rule, you should always check for content management system (CMS) and plugin updates monthly. We build all our sites in the very popular CMS platform named  WordPress, and the developers of the software regularly update it to add new features and fixes often.

These make your website more secure but they can also significantly improve the speed of your website. Although the updates aren’t very frequent, it’s best to check for these updates monthly.


All websites need continuous monitoring, maintenance and upgrading so they give optimum performance and stay safe from hackers. But if your website does get hacked or goes down we are here for you to restore the site from clean/latest backup.

If you really don’t have the time to spare to keep your website updated, then it’s better to get a professional to look after it for you.

This way it ensures it gets all the care it deserves and everything possible to keep it healthy.

Here at DesignLab we offer a range of website maintenance packages that ensure your website is kept up to date. Whether you need new items adding to your website or existing ones being changed, we’re here to help. To find out more about our website maintenance packages, contact us for a free consultation.


Fix Your Website Bounce Rate with Responsive Design

bounce rate


In the world of Internet marketing, a website which as a high bounce rate is considered to be a very negative blow. It’s a warning sign that something is wrong with your website, so if you want to capture more sales and leads, a high bounce rate is a issue you can’t afford to ignore.

A bounce rate measures the percentage of visitors who come to your site and leave after viewing only one page. In most instances, this means that they land on your site, look at it for a few seconds, and then leave.

A bounce rate also shows you how effective your brand connects with your visitors, and today mobile website visitors have less patience than a desktop visitor does. It’s a fact that internet traffic shifts more heavily towards mobile these days, so the best way to engage visitors and lower your bounce rate is to have a responsive site that offers a great mobile experience.

A great questions is why do people bounce? Something brought made them come to your site, it could have been a page title, a meta description, or a social post, but they were at interested enough to click on your page. And they may just leave because they didn’t get the information they were looking for, or the page took too long to load.

A high bounce rate means people aren’t engaging with your website enough, which more than likely means they’re not buying your services. So, reducing the bounce rate on your website needs to be a priority if you want to see an increase in sale conversions.

We all get put off by the way a menu is not displayed correctly on a site that is not mobile responsive, it could be that the text is jumbled and images are not shown as intended. This often means that the user will move on to another website instead, perhaps your competitor whose website is responsive, and much easier to navigate on a mobile device. If your website is mobile responsive, things like Calls to Actions can be easier to find. Some interesting studies have been found by MoPowered, which state 30% of mobile shoppers leave a transaction if the experience is not optimised well for a mobile.

A desktop visitor can bounce 45% of the time on average. Mobile users are more likely to leave so you have to expect a mobile bounce rate figures to be up to 18% higher than desktop figures. The difference between mobile and desktop bounce rate percentages can be even more bigger with lead generated websites because of the requirements to complete large forms on a website. The expected bounce rate for tablets is up to 15% higher than desktop bounce rate numbers. A much higher percentage for mobile and tablet devices may indicate that the website is not optimised for smaller screens.

Bad Design Habits for Websites

An important part of being a professional web designer is knowing what and doesn’t work. There are bad design habits for websites that a lot of builders don’t take notice of. Everything you design on a client’s website should be there for a specific reason, and should follow the most current design practices. Unfortunately, sometimes we all get stuck in a rut, and add certain website elements out of just habit, unaware that there might be a better, more freshen approach.

Dead Macintosh

We are half way through 2016, and it’s time to take a look at some of the most common offenders of web designs. Some are now out-dated, while others are actually toxic to the success of a website. We will examine why each should be forgotten, and what you can do instead to make sure you’re designing with the most current trends at your disposal.

Social Media Icons at the top of the Header

Every time your client has a visitor to their website, it’s a small win. So why would you want to give them a brightly coloured exit sign?

Usually in most cases, the point of a social media campaign is to drive visitors from social network sites to your client’s website, not the other way around. Even if a visitor follows the link with the specific purpose of following your client, the chances are that they will get distracted somewhere along the line, and not come back.

Social Buttons in Header

A Solution:

Your best approach is to start using social media plugins (WordPress) rather than a simple link icon. These will allow your visitors to like your Facebook or Twitter page, or add you on other social channels without bouncing them off the page. It means the users stay on the page, keeping your client’s visitors where you want them.

Try taking the emphasis off by moving them down the page, to either the footer or a sidebar. Also, I recommend to style them in perhaps a less eye catching way. It should only be visible for users who are looking for them, if you make them too colourful, it may entice the visitors to leave.

Tacky Stock Photos

We all know that full-width images are a popular and tired trend in web design, and they have actually been shown to increase conversions. Unfortunately, photos that are clearly of the stock variety can have the opposite effect. People can be turned off by anything they deem to think is not real, which causes distrust, thus taking conversion rates down.

Tacky Stock Photo

A Solution:

You have some choices, but will be largely determined by your client’s budget.

The first choice would be to hire a photographer. Customers respond very well to authenticity, so if your client’s actual photos are professionally taken, it will go a long way building trust. Photography can range in any price, so it can usually be achievable. These days, even a smartphone can take decent photo, if you put a little effort into it.

Another option, stick with stock photography, but choose it much more carefully. We have actually designed many websites using stock photos, but the trick is find the right image that don’t look cheap, and suits your clients business.

Only recently is there stock photo businesses that specialise in “authentic” looking photos. The kind that look like you would find scrolling through your Instagram feed.

Email Links

If part of the website you’re designing includes some type of staff bios, the question of email links will always come up. It’s an easy way of letting people get in touch easily with staff members, but it comes at a cost.

When you click an email link, it will trigger your computer’s native email client, which you may or may not use. Then, I must right-click the email address to save it, and paste it into my gmail.

Another issue is email links are usually crawled by robots, making your client’s website a sitting target for email spam.

Email Links

A Solution:

Most website have an email form on their site, (contact page,) just use this technique everywhere on the site that requires an email address. In the case of individual staff contacts, design one template you can use for each staff member, each with their own mini-contact form that will send to their email address. There are advantages to this approach:

  • Form emails are easily tracked
  • Emails sent through forms can be filtered through apps such as Google’s mail app
  • You can set up specific fields for emailers to complete

If you must include an email address on the website, just make sure they are not linked if you’d like to sidestep email spam. Your clients will appreciate that thinking.

Client-focused Copy

One of the best marketing tools you can bring to any website is professionally copy. In most cases clients use their websites as a brag-page, shouting to the world what makes them so damn amazing. The truth is, their customers could not care less.

Visitors need to be enticed in order to make a conversion. And what entices a user? Benefits. Specifically, how will this product or service benefit me.

By taking up valuable real estate space to brag about your client, you really aren’t looking at what matters. Take a look at the following example:

Client Focused Copy

Visitors don’t really care as much about the fact that they have been innovating since 1949.

A Solution:

Whether the websites copy is coming from you, or directly from your client, it has to address the benefits for the customer. A benefit is not a feature, and it’s not a brag. It should address an objection for a customer, and specifically say how they as a business can solve it.

So instead of “Packaging Quality, Service, and Innovation Since 1949,” you might try “Are You Tired of Paying for More Than You Need? High Quality Offset Packaging With No Minimum Orders.”

This addresses a specific point, and solves the problem easily.

Ghost Buttons that are a Call to Action

Ghost buttons are form over function. While they are not old-school it takes the visual weight out of a button, by surrounding the text with a simple rectangular stroke, it makes for a nice looking design element, but it comes with a price: it decreases click-throughs.

The trouble with ghost buttons is that they don’t always read as buttons. Good user experience states that buttons should be clickable obviously, and ghost buttons sometimes don’t hit the mark.

A Solution:

Simply stick with the basic. Your buttons (especially your main CALL TO ACTION) should be styled to look like a typical button. Here is some tips to design the perfect CALL TO ACTION button:

  • Shape – Rounded rectangles work better. Web buttons have always been associated with rectangles, and the rounded corners draw the eye inwards toward the copy.
  • Copy – Use action words wherever possible that highlight what the customer is getting, not what they are giving up. One example is “Get” is a more saleable word than the word “Buy.”
  • Color – The colour you use for the button should contrast with the background. Don’t go for subtle; You want your CALL TO ACTION to pop out at your customers.

While you should aim to avoid ghost buttons for your CALL TO ACTION, it can often a way to style your secondary line, especially when it is in close proximity to your primary line.

Ghost Buttons

In Summary

Every now you need to take a step back to see what features and techniques are adding to the success of your websites, as well as which ones are only getting in the way. We learn more about user behaviour, so we should always be evolving our methods in order to deliver the best possible result for our clients.


SEO Tips for Designers

SEO For Designers

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a important component of any website. As a web designer or graphic designer, it’s important you understand how SEO works. There is in fact a serious lack of resources for designers who don’t know about SEO out there. Here are some easy SEO NJ tips for designers that will immediately improve the SEO on all of your websites.

Tip 1: Do Not Cheat

Do you think you could outsmart a room full of genius scientists with PHDs? No. Google has many genius scientists with PHDs, and their job is to work tiring hours a week to make sure you can’t fool Google. No matter, what you do, you can’t outsmart them. Just ignore trying to cheat Google and focus on making a web site with great content, and your site will show up fine in the search engine.

Tip 2: Use Your Keywords

Pick some keywords or phrases that describe your website. Use words related to them, whenever it’s natural to do so. Repeating keywords is no good, use them in headlines, sentences and links.

Tip 3: Yes, Content is King

Users search for content. If your website doesn’t have the content people want, then no one will look at it. It’s that simple.

Each page should lead with a relevant H1 tag with one of your keywords, and the first paragraph of text should be a summary of the rest of the page.

Tip 4Clean Code is Searchable Code

Build your website and write clean and readable HTML. It should follow the conceptual structure of your page, this means navigation is first, followed by the H1 tag, then the first paragraph. Try to use descriptive tags when possible. For example using UL for lists, P for paragraphs, H tags for heads and STRONG for bolded text.

Your site can still look great, this is why you CSS.

Tip 5: Home Page is the Most Important Page

The home page is the secret to your website being found by Google. It has to summarise the rest of the site, and give a clear, compelling reason for a user to look at the other pages in the site. It needs to sell your product or company, see it like a advert. You have one shot only to attract the buyer.

Tip 6: Links Need to Have Meaning


Search engines do pay a lot of attention to the links on your website. Never use words like “click here” or “see more” for a link. The link text needs to describe where the link will take the user, for example “examples of CSS web design” or “learn how you can improve your SEO.”

The more relevant the links on a page, the easier to find the page becomes. Don’t go overboard, and don’t link to anything irrelevant.

Tip 7: Title Tags

Every page in your website should have a title with the site name and a short description of the page. About 70 letters in total. Include one keyword. Remember the page title is what appears in Google’s search results, it should give your user a reason to click on it.

Your navigation links should have title attributes that match the titles of your pages. This looks like <a title=”name of page” href=”link”>. It’s a small thing, but it will give you a significant SEO improvement.

Tip 8: Alt Tags Do Matter

Every image on your website needs to have an alt tag, especially images that are relevant to the page. If your page is focused on clothes for example, then label a screenshot “car for sale”, this will improve your page’s searchability. Labelling it “Pic-001” or “image” will not help.

Tip 9: Ignore Meta Tags

A long time ago meta tags were the secret to good searchable SEO. Those days are behind us now. The only meta tag that really matters now is the description tag. Some search engines may use it to provide the text under the link to your page in their results, but make sure it describes the page in a way that explains why a user searching for your content would want to look at your page.

Tip 10: Must have a Site Map

Just make sure you have a site map. This is an xml file that describes the breakdown of pages in your website. Make one, and upload it to Google.

Just remember that search engines are designed to find what a user want. This means the best way to make your site findable is to design it for a dummy (make it dummy proof). Your job as a web designer is to solve a problem, not make art, or feed your ego.

Your problem is to provide your users with a website that is easy to use and have helpful information for what they’re looking for. If you can do that, then the search engines will find you.

I recommend this page also SEO Guide for Designers.


Advantages of using WordPress


Advantages of using WordPress to Power Your Company’s Website

At DesignLab, we only build our websites for our clients using WordPress. It has been around since 2003 and is the most popular blogging software around. Over the past years, WordPress has also become the content management software of choice for non-blogging websites. Here are some advantages why WordPress is so popular and why you might want to consider using DesignLab to build a WordPress platform for your company’s website.

1. Easy to Use

WordPress is very easy to use.  Adding new pages, blogs, images, videos, etc. on a regular basis is a easy and can be done quickly.  The technology is so simple, which means less time spent on formatting.

2. You Manage Your Website from Any Computer

WordPress is a browser-based software. You can login from any Internet connected computer and manage your site. Simple. Easy.

3. There is no HTML Editing or FTP Software Required

WordPress is a self-contained system and does not require any HTML editing software such as Adobe Dreamweaver or Contribute. You can easily create a new page or blog, format text, upload images (edit them), upload PDFs, video files, image galleries, etc. all without the need for additional HTML or FTP software.

4. Search Engines Love WordPress

The code behind WordPress is clean and simple, making it easy for search engines to read and index a site’s content. Each page, post, and image can have its own meta tag keywords, description, and title, and be optimised for specific keywords, allowing for very precise search engine optimisation.  You can also use tags to further enhance your search engine optimisation efforts.

5. Control of Your Site is Yours

No more waiting for a web designer to make simple updates on your website. You have control of nearly every aspect of your site and can easily make those simple updates yourself, and if you run into trouble there is tons of free help on the internet.

6. Design of Your Website is 100% Customisable

WordPress acts as the engine for your website. The look and feel of your site can be customised so your brand of your company can come through on your site and provide a unique experience to your visitors.

7. Blogs are Built-in and Ready to Go

WordPress was originally created as a blogging platform, which means blogging capabilities are already built-in and easy to integrate. Setting up a RSS / email subscriptions to your blog, commenting capabilities, automatically adding the most recent blog posts to other pages of the site are also simple to set-up, and help to extend your company’s reach and make your site more dynamic.

8. Extending the Functionality with Plugins

You can add an video gallery, event calendar, photo gallery, shopping cart, Twitter Feed, Facebook Fan Box and more to your site. WordPress makes this possible with plugins, most of which are free or reasonably priced. You don’t need to be a web guru to install them.

9. Your Site Will Grow as Your Business Grows

WordPress sites are so scalable. There are hundreds of thousands of pages or blog posts on your site and the performance of the site will not be compromised in the least.

10. Multiple Users

As an administrator of a WordPress site, you can set-up multiple users for the website and assign access levels and capabilities to each user.

Why does every website look the same


I am sure by now you have started to notice that most, if not all website look the same from design agencies, designers, and personal blogs.

But we think that is OK!

Over the last couple of years, a common visual trend has started to be noticeable online. You’ve seen it before; a full-width website, with a full-width photo or video background slider, usually it has centered text overlaid, logo always on the left, and navigation on the right.


Does this sound like your website? This is now, a reflection of what users expect from a website. Design patterns exist to give an interface a proven and recommended layout for its function and controls, while having to bear in mind the expectations of its users.

What has happened is the user is now very used to this kind of layout. It is recognisable and familiar, it feels comfortable to use. Designers knowing that this formula works, continue to apply it, repeating the loop and avoiding innovation. Sticking too much to the same patterns over and over again ends up limit creativity, and we’d all like to avoid it where possible. However, a user expectation is something that has always been considered when designing a website, because at the end of the day, they are the ones who matter.


There are a few reasons how this happened. The sudden boom of interest in flat design online — due to its simplicity — the evolution of responsive websites, and native video with HTML5, were all things that helped this visual trend become mainstream. All these technologies grouped together made it easier than ever to create more interactive, creative and appealing websites; but the biggest irony is that it has also helped to create the ‘standardised look’.

The technological evolution that our devices and computers have surpassed over the last couple of years, more designers want to make the best use possible of these. Responsive websites allow designers to create incredibly flexible experiences that make the best use of our screens, from a small mobile phone up to our TV screen. JavaScript, CSS transitions, and better and more frequently updated and standards compliant browsers, allow us to create an even more interactive experience that works great across devices.


Another reason that helps with this similar look are the creations of front-end frameworks. To simplify the creation and development of websites, a bunch of front-end frameworks have been created. They come with prebuilt layouts and styles for forms, text and buttons, grid systems, and media queries to make it easier for developers to create a responsive website.

Frameworks such as Squarespace and Foundation from Zurb are used by web developers and web designers all around the world for their projects. This makes for quicker development, and lower budgets for their clients, all while avoiding the trouble of reinventing the wheel for common website requirements.

Templates and themes are being built, sold, bought, and used more now than ever. Nowadays, you can find really well developed, good and flexible templates that you can use and adapt to a variety of different designs and purposes, allowing designers (and even non-designers) to build websites without having an in-depth knowledge of web development.

In a way, frameworks and templates are just helping to skip a step in the process of building a website.


Nearly everyone uses the Internet nowadays. It has evolved to the point where it’s almost considered a necessity comparable to electricity and water, because the Internet is knowledge, and we all know that knowledge is power!

It is evolving in such a way that a “user” isn’t just a “visitor” anymore. They now can be a creator as well, creating content and sharing their own ideas and points of view, be it through text, sound or video. And while everyone can create and share content, not everyone knows how to design or develop a website. So it’s for those people that resources like themes and templates are especially useful, but even then what we have found is the novice do run into problems with pre-designed and built websites.


Even though a lot of websites look really similar these days, it doesn’t mean that creativity is dead. On the contrary, these are very exciting times for developers and designers, web technology has never been so powerful!

It’s not about the fullscreen background video, it’s about the concept and content, and the creativity behind an experience. Focus on the abilities of the devices, focus on the reach and potential of these technologies to create a different and engaging experience. Don’t do what everyone else is doing, don’t follow the trend just for the sake of following the trend. Be creative and unleash that creativity through fullscreen and responsive websites, using video and audio, to create experiences, not just websites.


I’m not worried that so many websites look alike. It’s simply a product of the common resources we have today, and I believe it’s a good thing that designers have more tools online to create their own content and to express themselves more easily.

There’s actually a lot of great work being done everyday. Just keep an eye open for the award winning work on websites such as Awwwards; you’ll be surprised by how much creativity is not being lost.

Is your website prey to Google Mobilegeddon?




Its been almost been two months that Mobilegeddon made its debut, and so far it seems that its not that far. So how far is Mobilegeddon ( Google’s Mobile Friendly Algorithm ) affecting your site? To find an answer to this question, the team at DesignLab has researched a bit and we have some good as well as bad news for you.

The Good News

Is that if your existing website is not mobile friendly, then this really has got nothing to do with your desktop & tablet ranking. This means that if your website was performing really well in the desktop results, then it will most probably be there were it is and MobileGeddon has got nothing to do with it.

MobileGeddon was officially launched on 21st April and is still under a implementation stage. So, untill and unless your website is not crawled by the Google spiders, there are chances that it will most probably stay were it is. This gives you some extra time to get your site mobile ready. So hurry up!

Bad News

Google is saying that 60% of its searches come directly from mobiles. So, if your website is not mobile friendly then there is a real string possibility that you might attract only 40% of the audience that searches for something on a desktop.

Apart from this, we have seen a big drop in some of our clients ranking. The websites that were ranked in top 10 for mobile results have just dropped to 20 position. So, even if Mobilegeddon is in the primary stages of its implementation, there is still a possibility that your website may fall prey to it, and maybe already has while your’e reading this.

So, what should be your approach towards MobileGeddon and how seriously shall you take it?

Before making any decision , just go through a few points that you must keep in your mind:

1. Googlebot must be allowed to crawl CSS & JavaScript to pass the “mobile-friendly” test

2. Mobile friendliness is determined at page level – not sitewide

3.Tablets such as iPads will not be affected by this update

4.Google is currently working on a dedicated mobile index (stay tuned)

Now the first thing you must do is just go ahead and check if your website is mobile friendly or not. To do so, just enter your website in the text box below and hit submit.

What are the solutions ?

1. If you are running a WordPress website, then you can go ahead and just install any of these 3 plug ins which will convert your website into a Google Friendly Mobile site. But this is a temporary solution as it simply just uses a pre defined theme and even though if it makes your website MobileGodden friendly, it can badly damage the UX for your website. But if you wish to just go ahead and use it, then feel free to download it from the below links:

2. Send us your website and we will get back to you with a quote for converting your existing website into Mobile friendly site. We convert existing static websites into responsive websites and even Responsive WordPress websites.

I know this seems daunting, especially if you have just recently designed your website, but as I keep saying to all our clients web design is always changing and ever evolving and if you want to run your business online you need to keep ahead of the game.

Call Spiros on 0431 926 575 anytime, he is happy to answer any questions.

10 Must Have WordPress plugins


We love WordPress. It’s so easy and versatile to use and customise. All the sites we now build are in WordPress.  It is the most widely used and easy to manage content management system out there, and one of the fantastic things about it are plugins.

WordPress plugins are bits of software that can be uploaded to to extend and expand the functionality of your site, and we have listed 10 Must Have WordPress Plugins to make it perfect for your needs. As a Digital / Design Agency, we’ve made a lot of websites, so we’ve collated a list over the years of the top plugins.

1. Duplicate post

This plugin allows to clone any page, post or custom post type – we use this all the time!
Free Download


2. Nextgen gallery


Nextgen gallery is the most popular gallery plugin ever for WordPress, which is fully responsive that we’ve found to date, it’s very easy to manage and we use it for every one of our websites.

Free Download


3. OrbitCarrot CTA Manager


OrbitCarrot CTA manager lets you create CTA (Call to Action Manger) boxes as widgets, and have full control of the look and content – it’s the only one we’ve found to date which actually links the whole CTA box not just the content. You have a choice of colours, or choose un-styled if you want to style the CTA yourself.

Paid Download


4. Yoast WordPress SEO


What can we say about this? We bloody LOVE this plugin. This is a MUST for every website. Yoast WordPress SEO is the easiest SEO plugin, it tells you where you are going wrong with your SEO for each page/post and gives you useful tips on how you can improve your SEO. They have even published an online know how manual. Do yourself a favour and get this!

Free Download


5. BackWPup


We all should backup our websites. I have had so many clients get in contact with us after a period of time and inform us they have mucked up their website. Back it up! This is the best WordPress backup solution, it includes email backups, Dropbox and Amazon S3.

Don’t forget that many dedicated WordPress hosting solutions will already include some kind of backup, or offer it as an inexpensive add-on, but these tend to be unreliable, so we have this as part of all our websites.

Free Download

6. Gravity Forms


Over a million websites use Gravity forms. There are many free form plugins, such as Contact form 7 – so why are we recommending a paid one? It comes down to usability and functionality. Gravity forms unlike Contact form 7 have an easy to use UI, rather then a collection of shortcodes and code, which make up CF7’s UI.

Paid Download


7. Layerslider


LayerSlider WP is a premium multi-purpose slider for creating image galleries, content sliders, and mind-blowing slideshows with must-see effects, even from your WordPress posts and pages.  LayerSlider comes with 13 built-in skins, and it has tons of options to entirely customise the appearance and behavior of your sliders at the smallest detail.

Paid Download


8. CMS Tree View


Adds a CMS-like tree overview of all your pages and custom posts to WordPress, often when you have loads of pages in WordPress it can be difficult to find pages and see a structure. This plugin solves this issue. Within this tree you can edit pages, view pages, add pages, search pages, and drag and drop pages to rearrange the order.

Free Download


9. Multiple Content Blocks


Multiple Content Blocks allows more content blocks in WordPress than just one. It creates columns or other page-specific content outside of the loop. Without your clients being able to screw up the lay-out 🙂 It’s a perfect plugin how adding content in between content in your sites theme.

Free Download


10. Restrict Widgets


Restrict Widgets is all in one solution for widget management. It lets you control the pages that each widget will appear on and avoid creating multiple sidebars and duplicating widgets. You can also set who can manage the widgets, which sidebars and widgets will be available to selected users, which widget options will be available and how it will be displayed. This is really handy for any web developer.

Free Download

7 Things You Should Know About SEO

Search engine optimisation is something that is often spoken of, but it isn’t often that people truly understand it. If you know what you’re doing, SEO can change the way you do business. If you don’t, however, what you don’t know could sink you.

By now, most people realize that SEO is a very important part of business. An Internet presence is vital if you want to make it in today’s world, so search engine optimisation is something that just about everyone needs to know something about. If you run a business, it’s even more important that you understand how to optimize your website or blog.

Search engine optimisation isn’t just about adding keywords to your website content and blog posts; there’s quite a bit more to it, in fact. If you really want to be successful and reach the front page of the search rankings, there are a few things to keep in mind.


1. Research is Key

Most business owners are aware that they need to have keywords, but they don’t know just how to find the best ones. Since the entire SEO campaign depends on selecting the right keywords, this is a very important step and one that cannot be taken lightly. Don’t just guess at your keywords, take the time to research them thoroughly.

You can use the Google Keyword Tool to help find good keywords with plenty of searches. Simply type your keyword into the search box and let Google give you suggestions. You want something that will bring in plenty of searches each month. Try using several keywords with lower searches if you can’t find one with less competition. Then click to Google and search for the keyword phrase with quotation marks on either end to see just how many other websites are optimized for the exact same phrase. You want lots of searches and very few competitors.

2. Less is More

At first glance, it might seem like the more often you use the keywords in your content, the better. However, thanks to scammers who used a technique called “keyword stuffing,” that’s not a good idea. You can actually end up penalized for using too many keywords in one piece of content.

The key here is to be natural. Don’t stuff the page full of specific words; instead let the information flow freely and insert the keyword phrases wherever they actually fit. This will result in much better content that search engines will love.

3. Label Your Photos

Photos really add a lot to a blog post, but they can’t help your SEO unless you make full use of titles and ALT tags. Using your keywords in these areas will give your page a nice boost. It doesn’t hurt to name your photo something SEO friendly either. Instead of labelling it PIC1566874.jpg, go with something like logo-design.jpg.

4. Skip the Flash and Java

Flash might make for a funky website, but it is useless when it comes to search engines. HTML is far cleaner and readable for search engines, so the worst thing you can do is have a Javascript or Flash intro page to your site. Google and the other search engine spiders won’t be able to register the site easily nor read the content embedded in the fancy Flash.

5. Add Regular Content

This is one area that is more important now than every before. Good content has always done well with the search engines, but since Google changed the rules in early 2011, it’s even more important. Regularly updated pages with quality content are treated very well by the search engines, so it makes sense that blogs, rather than fixed sites with static content, are doing very well these days.

While your content should contain keywords, keep in mind that the most important thing is to offer quality information. It should be written more for human eyes than for search engine spiders.

6. Try Deep Linking

Getting links from other websites is vital in boosting search engine rankings, but what many people don’t know is that deep linking is also very important. Deep linking means linking to other pages within the same website. For example, you might have a site on sound equipment and on your article about Sony stereos, you link to your page on choosing the right speakers.

This type of linking should be done on a regular basis and goes hand in hand with providing regular content. Whenever you write a blog post, check back to see if there’s anything relevant to link it to.

7. Too Many Backlinks is a Bad Thing

Chances are, if you’re online, you’ve heard of backlinking. This is the practice of getting links from other websites. When you use the right anchor text, this can be very helpful in boosting your search engine rankings. However, it is not something you want to overdo.

Getting regular links from various locations looks a lot more natural than one article directory linking fifty times to the same page. Try to spread your backlinks out, a handful here, a few there, and keep them trickling in at a steady rate to ensure the best results. If you have 10,000 links come in one day and then nothing for the next four months, the search engines will know something is up and will rank you accordingly.

SEO is a combination of common sense along with some careful tricks. As long as you are putting out excellent content on a regular basis with keywords naturally mixed in, you can expect to see an improvement in your rankings.

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