Website Development

5 Things You MUST Know Before You Begin Designing Your First Web Site

This is an article I wrote years ago… I find that it still applies to today’s online world.

In today’s world, if you are in business, and you want people to take you seriously, then you need a website. The common response to needing a web site is to just throw up a couple of pages about who you are and what you do and then hope for the best. Unfortunately, because everyone and their aunt does that, your website tends to look and feel like everyone else’s, and your results end up being less than stellar in their performance. Before you put your first page out on the Internet, it is important to have a well-planned Internet Business Strategy. To improve your chances of receiving more exposure and business for your website, you should know these 5 important things before you ever begin to design your first web page.

1) Who is your target audience?
This isn’t just the generic term like “my target audience is people with money to spend”, but who is your target audience really? What are their likes and dislikes? What kind of words and phrases are their “hot buttons”? What are their fears, and what kinds of problems do they have? What services to they require in addition to yours? If you don’t have an answer to any one of these questions, then you don’t really know your target audience enough to target your website specifically to them.

2) What makes you different than anyone else in your field?
You are a unique individual and have your own special way of serving your clients. Why would someone want to do business with you instead of your competition? Remember, people buy experiences along with […]

3 Tips in Securing Your WordPress Blog

WordPress is a powerful blogging platform yet it isn’t without its weaknesses.  Because it is a popular open-source platform, it lends itself to becoming vulnerable to attacks from hackers. A number of WordPress blogs have been victims to these attacks.  There are some things that you can do however to reduce your vulerability and no longer become the low hanging fruit on the tree.  Here are 3 things you can do to secure your wordpress blog more tightly

1) Don’t use the default admin username.

One of the most important things that you can do to secure your blog is to use another login name for the admin other than the default login name.  When you install wordpress onto your website, most of the time, people tend to use the default login name of ‘admin’ and that makes it easier for hackers to get into your admin panel because then they only will need to guess the password.  This one thing alone can cut down on the the ease of hackers getting into your blog.

2) Keep your blog updated

WordPress is constantly coming out with new versions that have been tested against the latest known attacks.  These new versions keep your blog from being vulerable to the popular attacks that are out there.  It is quite easy these days to upgrade your blog , as it is as simple as clicking a button.  If the automatic upgrade doesn’t work, it is probably due to not enough space in your hosting account, or some change in the server setting that needs to be done.  If you do have enough memory, then contact your hosting server and let them know of the problem.  They should be able to change […]

WordPress Blogging Tips – Top Mistake Blog Owners Make

WordPress is a powerful blogging platform that can also be used as an

entire website.  This blogging software is powerful enough to fit the needs of most small businesses when it comes to using this platform to create an entire website.  In fact, WordPress is the most popular blogging platform out there today and in use by both large and small businesses.

One of WordPress’ major benefits is that it is very a flexible platform due to the large number of plugins available for the platform.  These plugins add functionality, therefore allowing WordPress to be able to fulfill most kinds of standard website application requirements. This is the main reason why this blogging platform is used by many website owners today.

Even with the quickly growing adoption of this blogging platform, many users still don’t know how to set up the blog so that it makes optimum use of its features to be able to improve their SEO ranking as well as automate some of the maintenance functionality that will save a lot of time and frustration in managing the website.

One of the biggest mistakes that WordPress users make is choosing the default setting in how the URL’s of the blog pages are created.  This is very important because the choosing the correct setting is an extremely easy way to improve the website’s SEO rankings.

The image below shows one of the permalink settings that should be used.  Notice something other than the default setting is picked…

Blog URL: Linking Settings

The reason why this setting […]

5 Steps to a More Effective Website

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Having a website is certainly a necessity in today’s business environment.  However, if you want to have your website become more than an online brochure and be an active marketing partner for your business, you as a business owner need to make your website an effective lead generating tool.  So what are the differences between a standard online marketing brochure and a website that generates revenue?  Here are 5 steps to a more effective website.

1) Get a more narrowly focused section of your target market.

The more focused your target market is, the better you can connect with then.  People make decisions emotionally and justify it intellectually.  The more similarities your target market has, the easier it is to emotionally connect with your market through words, niche phrases, images, colors, offers, etc.  An example is if you are selling insurance, and focus on Gen Y’s vs. 2 income family Gen Y’s with small children who live in single family homes in urban areas.  As you can see, Gen Y’s are a very diverse group that have very different needs and interests, so by more narrowly focusing on the group, you will be able to more easily connect with the needs of your target market and communicate how you can serve their needs.   If you serve a more diverse market, separate your market into more narrowly focused groups and change your website to add landing pages that address each of these markets.  This step alone should increase the response rate of your website.

2) Include the most pressing problems your products/services solve/alleviate

It should be prominently displayed/communicated on your website about […]

Are your website visitors leaving as soon as they get to your website?

Your website is your online chance to connect to your target market.  It is the chance to influence them to follow your call to action to have them call your sign up for your mailing list or even purchase something.  So if your visitors are leaving as soon as they get to your website, then you are leaving business on the table.

A website metric that you want to pay attention to is something called the bounce rate.  The bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave your site on the same page that the landed on your site…. so basically what that means is they come to your website, look at the page for about 5 seconds and then hit the back button or enter another URL in the browser address bar.  A bounce rate of about 75% means that 3 out of every 4 people who come to your website leave as soon as they land on your website.  This isn’t a good rate.  You want to get your bounce rate down to below 30%.

What could be going on with a high bounce rate?

  1. Your traffic is not targeted at all.  People are coming to your website and expecting something else entirely.
  2. Your traffic is targeted and whatever page your visitors are landing on, they don’t feel connected to your website, or like they can get what they need from your website.

You can place a form on your website asking visitors if they have found what they are looking for.  That should give you some insight into your target market and what they are expecting, or what they feel is missing from your website.  The information gathered from this informal survey will help you […] VS

I get asked this question from time to time…  “what is the difference between and”  Well they are both wordpress software, however the biggest difference is that is the solution hosted on WordPress’ servers (for free), and hosts the software files you can download so you can host the software on your own server. also has a thriving community where wordpress users can exchange ideas and get help to some of the problems they may be experiencing.

“So great!  Why would I want to pass up free hosting?” you might say.  Well, a big thing to take into consideration is that offers limited functionality than hosting the software on your own server.  There is also the case that if you are selling a product or service and you are using your blog to do it (like affiliate marketing), then you would be violating’s terms of service, and at any time, your blog could be shut down.  There is nothing like having your lively hood taken away overnight.  I once had a client ask me about this very question as she had her blog hosted on and was wanting to use it to promote her business.  I told her that it wasn’t a good idea and that she should invest the $10/month to host her own website using the wordpress software from  I told her that it may be a while before shuts her site down, but for $10/month, I think it’s worth the piece of mind.  That’s like what, 2 1/2 lattes a month?  If you have your Internet business strategy set […]

Web Conversion – What is Missing?

One of the biggest factors that determine the success rate of your web conversion is do your visitors feel like you can help them or solve their problems?  If they feel connected enough to the message you have on your web site then they will follow the call to action.  If they don’t feel connected, then they won’t follow the call to action.  Pretty simple.

There is one factor that will also determine if you web site is connecting to your visitors…  That is having the right visitors in the first place.  Pre-qualifying your traffic is something that most people don’t think about.  They focus mostly on getting as much traffic to their website as possible but they don’t focus as much on how relevant is that traffic to their website?  Remember, not everyone is your client.  The more specialized you are, the more you can charge.  The “less is more” concept totally fits this situation.

I’ll give you an example….  a friend of mine, who focuses on teaching people to connect to their love so they can live the life they dream about, years ago had the domain name  She was getting a lot of traffic but no one as calling her up.  Well it turns out that attracted the crowd of people who were into S&M and bondage.  Well, not really her target market was it?  Needless to say, that was why her conversion rate was so abysmal.  Putting more focus on targeting your traffic will have a phenomenal impact on your website’s conversion success.

What are some ways to really target your traffic?  Stick to relevant websites that are related to your target.  SEO is also a very effective means of generating […]

WordPress Blog – Replacement for Service

Well sometimes the plugins work and sometimes they don’t.  There is a very handy plugin for WordPress called ‘CR Post to’ that worked like a charm.  Recently however, many people have had their API codes for this particular plugin suspended. has been slow to respond when you follow up with them and so there is not an easy way to get the plugin working again. So what is a person to do in it’s place?

What is nice is with this application is that it allowed the blogger to update all of their social networking sites all at once through using the service and the ‘CR Post to’ plugin.  The latest news from the author of the plugin shares that is still evaluating his plugin in their bid to reduce spammers from abusing their service.

In the meantime, there is another plugin that uses another service called LinksAlpha.  LinksAlpha is similar to with some important differences.  The first one is that it updates fewer number of websites than, and second, it has a tiered service that gives you only the barest number of social networking sites you can update for free and the barest number of times you can update those sites.

If your only wanting to connect to the major sites like Linked-in, Twitter and Facebook and you only have one blog you want to share with these networks and you post no more than once a day, then this solution will serve your needs.

  • First you need to get an account at LinksAlpha and setup your networks.
  • Then install the plugin ‘Network Publisher’ and activate it
  • Click the link that says ‘add your api key’ and you will go […]

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4 WordPress Widgets That Will Give Your Blog Maximum Flexibilty

I have used these widgets with great benefit to my blogs.  There are others out there that will also add functionality, but these are the basic ones that no blog should be without…

1. Widget Logic

Widget logic is a useful widget that allows you to control which pages your widgets appear on. It’s power resides in the fact that it can be implemented on a widget by widget basis. This gives you full reign over what kinds of content appears on what pages and you an further target your content to a much tighter topic. Widget logic can be found at and is a free plugin. You will have to understand some simple WordPress conditional tag syntax, but it is very easy to pick up and once you have it, you are on your way to creating a truly unique website.

2. WordPress Signup Forms

WordPress signup forms are widgets that interface directly with your autoresponder, or mailing list software. The more popular emails list services each have their own wordpress widget, so the specific one that you would use will depend upon the service you have. Using these widgets makes it easy to add a signup box to all of the pages on your web site, which will help your mailing list grow more quickly.

WordPress signup form widgits include the following:

1shoppingcart –

Aweber –

Constant Contact –

IContact –

3. RSS Feed

The RSS feed comes with the standard WordPress install and it allows you to bring in other feeds to place on your website. Using RSS feeds allows you to have content on your blog that is constantly changing. This feature will bring the search engines back to your site on a more regular basis, […]