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Choosing a web host for small or large businesses

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As a web designer the issue of web hosting is a regular concern. When I began ten years ago I started with a quite small Danish company call B-One. I chose them as, they advertised to me, they were cheap and I had nothing to measure them against, so I took a punt. A few years later they changed their name to One.com and now have their headquarters in Dubai, and have very large Danish offices at Kalvebod Brygge (See picture above) where WordPress Copenhagen held their conference a couple of years ago. I think it’s safe to say they have come along way in the last ten years.

As clients often have a different hosting company, I have come to learn how good a decision using One.com as a web host has been. The number of web hosts who insist that the Ftp client is FileZilla, and FileZilla only. My ftp preference is Dreamweaver from the Adobe Suite. I can use FileZilla, but for my work flow I want to use my preferred client. Then there is 24 hour chat support, with pretty much never more than a two minute wait on One.com. I have used a client’s very expensive WordPress specific hosting company where I have had to wait for San Francisco to wake up before I could get answers to a problem, and with a forty minute wait for an answer every time. And a whole number of other web hosting companies whereby the quality of support has been at best erratic, and often woeful.

I am no expert in hosting, or the issue of backend development, but from my experience if you are starting out with a website, or looking to move to a better one (or just to try another one) I strongly recommend One.com. A good quality, consistent service at a good price. Their support and website is available in Danish or English, and just having had a quick look at their site, quite a few other languages too.

Here is my affiliate link. You are of course under no obligation to use it, but if you click it I get a small amount of money, and you get a small amount of money reduction (the same amount) from your first purchase.

My One.com affiliate link

If this is all new to you, and you are just getting started, on clicking the link, put the name of the website you wish to purchase (domain name) into the search engine, keep trying until you find one available you like/can live with, then choose the cheapest option for hosting to get started. You can always upgrade later once your website is more popular. One.com will tell you when you have to upgrade it due to a large amount of traffic.

You may also like:

My web design portfolio page

 

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Famous brands using WordPress

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There are many famous brands using WordPress. Sony Music, Renault, Vogue, Facebook, The New York Times and the BBC. There is an excellent Showcase page on the WordPress site that features many of the great sites using WordPress.

A favourite of mine is Facebook’s Company info page, in which Mark Zuckerberg is just another humble CEO, on just another humble About Us page on the internet. Sheryl Sandberg even mentions her fish.

So with around 20% of the internet, and 70% of the CMS market, and growing, if you are not already using WordPress, you really ought to, come your next new website.

Adding plugins in WordPress

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Plug from The Beano, who is copyright D.C. Thomsen, and just holding this space until I get an illustration drawn…

Adding plugins

There are some great plugins that can improve your site. Here is how to add one to your WordPress site.

In the back end > plugins > add new, put the plugin you are looking for into the search box, install and activate it. Easy. Some work immediately on activation, some need certain aspects set up on their set up page. Somewhere in the backend left hand sidebar, will be the set up page for the plugin. Look under ‘Settings’ if you can’t see it.

A word of warning on plugins. They can cause problems on your site. Don’t bring in too many (I’d ay about 5 max, less is better). Check to see if a plugin is popular by downloads, or has lots of complaints in their forum before bringing it in.

Dealing with plugin issues

If something goes wrong with your site in WordPress it is almost always a plugin that is responsible. Not necessarily a bad plugin, it can be two plugins are conflicting with each other, or with your theme. If something goes wrong with your site, start by de-activating your plugins one by one, and checking if the problem is resolved. If that doesn’t solve it, deactivate them all together. If that doesn’t solve it, change your theme to one of the default WordPress themes you got with the install. Between those steps, almost all issues will be solves. You should be able to isolate, what will almost always be a problem plugin, and then delete it.

Update your plugin

Whenever the red symbol appears that a plugin needs updating, update it. This also goes for WordPress, keep it updated, and your theme.

Recommended WordPress plugin

I recommend you  should have WordPress SEO by Yoast. Adds a box below each article in the back end of your site for you to fill out for SEO. It teaches you how to SEO each article or page through choosing a key phrase for that page or article, then adding it to the Title, description and in the content. It effectively teaches you to write better SEO content.

I also recommend Disqus plugin for comments. At the bottom of this article you can see my comments section is with Disqus. It allows visitors to log in with social media, or Disqus itself, and can interact with other blogs. You occasionally meet it on large scale sites such as The Daily Telegraph.

You may also like:

My WordPress portfolio page.

wordpress tips

Adding an article in WordPress

This article will explain how easy adding an article in WordPress is. How to add images, a link and format text. All with a view to maximum readability and for search engine optimisation. 

A post relates to a new blog article, while a page is a permanent fixed page.

Once you are logged in on your Dashboard page, you need to go to New > Post. There are two places to do this, both marked in red below.

The top area is for the title. The larger box is for the article content. Ensure your window looks like the window below. If it does not, click ‘Visual’ marked in orange, to see the visual editor.

Wordpress tips and training

Formatting your content in WordPress

It is recommended you break up your text with sub headings. This creates an easier to read visual experience for the reader, and gives Google a further idea on how best to index your site. H1 will be the biggest going down to H6 your smallest size of sub heading. H1 to H3 are the most important sizes for Google. (Other search engines are available).

How to add an H3 sub heading (this is an H3 subheading)

Highlight the text you wish to make into the heading, then go up to the drop down ‘Paragraph’, in the graphic above ‘Paragraph’ is just above the word ‘Article’ in green. In the drop down will be all the options, choose ‘Heading 3’.

Just above this area is ‘B’, which in the way described above will make the text bold. I, which will make the text italic ‘. You can try the other options to see what they do.

If you wish to colour a word it is the tool bottom row, third from right. You really should not need this, ever.

How to add a link

Select the text you would like to link then click on the link icon. It looks like a linking chain. The window below appears.

Wordpress link window

Simply add the URL (link address) to the box next to URL. Add a title if you want – helpful for SEO. If the link is to a website other than your own, click the Open link in a new window/tab box. This ensures the viewer still has a browser window with your website open. Then click ‘Add Link’.

How to add an Email link

Exactly the same as the way to make a link described above, however add ‘mailto:’ in front of the email address, in the URL box. So in the URL field it would say mailto:example@example.com

For both the link to a website and to an email address always check them on the site afterwards.

How to add an image

Just above the formatting tools and below the article title is a box marked ‘Add Media’. Click it.

 

Wordpress add image

If your image is already uploaded in your site, you can find it in your Media Library. If it is not, click Upload Files (top left corner just below Insert media) to navigate to your computer and find the image you wish to add. For SEO purposes it is best to have the name of your image as something descriptive of the image’s content/article’s subject matter.

The image above then appears. In the right hand column the text field ‘Title’ is automatically added. Remove this as it is the annoying rollover description tag. Add in the Alt text the description. Where I have written ‘WordPress training’. Again this is for Google.

Further down on the right hand column is ‘Link to’. The default is ‘Media file’. Which means when clicking on the image it will either open the image in a page of it’s own, or possibly open the image in a lightbox depending on your theme. I do not want this so I change it to ‘None’.

Click ‘Insert into post’.

Publishing your article

Depending on how your blog is set up, you can now press ‘Publish’. However typically my sites are set up so certain categories send the articles to different areas of the site. This also gives readers the option of reading articles on one subject matter. Categories is in the right hand column, normally the second box under ‘Publish’.

If your article is not finished use the ‘Save Draft’ option. Your website will save your article for later, without publishing.

Once you have published you have the option to change the date of publication if need be. In the same box as the Publish button. Which will now be entitled ‘Update’.

Enjoy your website.

 

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