Backups: 5 Reasons you need them

You’ve probably heard about how important backing up your website is. There are a few things more painful to your business than working hard to create an online presence and it all be taken away in one moment.  Backups are vital to keeping your businesses online presence alive.

 

Here are just a few reasons why backups are so important:

 

Website Hackers

Website hackers have been around since the internet. They aim to steal your credit card and other sensitive information or just to cause trouble. When your website is on the internet there is always a chance it can be hacked.

 

Computer Catastrophes

Most people have their website data backed up locally whether that is text, images, banners, etc. That is a great idea, but computers are known to fail and lose your data. Online, remote backups is a more practical option.

 

Updates

If you are using a Content Management System like WordPress, you will see plenty of updates over the lifetime of your website. They could be WordPress core updates or theme and plugin updates. Clicking the update button may not cause any issues, but there is a chance it could take down your website.

 

Malware/Viruses

Malware and viruses can get into your website a variety of ways: your new plugin or theme could have hidden files causing the issue, your database isn’t secure, or files become overwritten. Backups are there to quickly replace those files, if these issues arise.

 

Employee Errors

Employee usually have the best of intentions, but lets face it they are human. Your employee may think they can safely make changes to your website, but the wrong button press or deleting the wrong file could have catastrophic effects.

 

Heartbeat Interactive provides website maintenance that includes daily backups of your website files and database. Whether you have a basic informational website or an e-commerce store, you need a backup. Just imagine having to recreate your entire website or telling customers you didn’t receive their order because you didn’t have backups of your website!

WordCamp Pittsburgh 2017

It has been 9 years since I stepped off the Pittsburgh Technical College campus (then known as Pittsburgh Technical Institute), but I had the opportunity to return on Saturday for WordCamp Pittsburgh 2017. This is the second year for WordCamp Pittsburgh. Below are just some of the takeaways from my first ever WordCamp:

 

Session 1 – Designing for Accessibility and Illiteracy by Kimberly Norris

Kim is the web developer for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History so their website has to be accessible to a wide range of users. You should try to have no more than 80 characters on a line and keep your text below a 5th grade level. Something I didn’t think about that was interesting to hear was to remove image carousels. While they may look great, users probably won’t wait to look through the carousel and it can be distracting to someone with a disability.

 

Session 2 – Systems and Processes for Creatives by Lauren Pittenger

This session seemed to be the one everyone wanted to attend. It was standing room only as we got started. We learned how important processes are especially when leading client isn’t a strength. Using client questionnaires and tech briefs to gather requirements helps provide your customers with the best solution. Don’t get locked into one process. One process doesn’t fit all clients and industries. Slickplan is a piece of software Lauren mentioned that looks like a great tool we need to start using here at Heartbeat Interactive.

 

Sessions 3 – Brand Positioning: Growing Your Business by Finding Your Niche by John Centofanti

In my opinion, this was the most informative session at WordCamp Pittsburgh. Every brand has a position in the market. Your goal is to establish your brand in the market. Think of Google and Yahoo as search engine providers. Which one do you use and why? Who has established themselves as the go-to search engine in the market. Think about Mercedes vs. Chevrolet or Starbucks vs. Dunkin’ Donuts. Every industry is going to have someone who will do it cheaper and quicker, but is it a better product?

 

Session 4 – Local SEO: A Breakdown by Alex Riddle

Alex provided some valuable steps that every business should take. Start by signing up for Google My Business and filling out your company information. Use tools such as Axiom and InfoGroup to submit your company to other listing sites. You have to make sure your information is the same on all sites though. 123 Heartbeat Drive isn’t the same as 123 Heartbeat Dr. Be consistent in how you present your company information.

 

Session 5 – WordPress core tables and MySQL by Rene Morozowich

The final session I attended was where the inner geek was able to come out. Rene discussed the core tables of WordPress and explained in detail which each table did from wp_options to wp_users and how they are tied into MySQL. If you have no clue what wp_options, wp_users or MySQL is, don’t worry you will never have to get involved in those backend functions. Heartbeat Interactive handles all of that behind the scenes to keep your website up and running all the time!

 

It was a great way to spend a Saturday with a few friends, Ryan Shaffer and Matt Houk. If you are attending next year with us reach out to me!

 

Blog Headlines Grab Attention, Increase Click-Rate and SEO

Over the years, I’ve found that there are two types of companies that write blog posts: Ones that focus on quality, and ones that aim for quantity. Posting for the sake of posting without adding value will not drive traffic to your website. In fact, it may do the exact opposite. It’d be easy to write a 10,000-word article about the dos and don’ts of blogging, but, for everyone’s sake, I will keep this one simple and segment, beginning with a solid blog headline.

Let’s say that you’ve done your homework, and you’re ready to post the best, most informative post you’ve ever written. Before you hit submit, look at the headline – the part that will either instantly grab someone’s attention, or divert it elsewhere. If it’s not captivating, then no one will ever see your hard work, and you’ve wasted your time and efforts. A few minor adjustments will ensure that your blog puts the right message in front of the right people.

 

Keyword Researching

The key to getting people to your article is being desirable. That desirability starts with the valuable keywords that are relevant to your topic. For many, the issue with knowing which keyword to use is finding it in the first place. There are a few free online resources – some of which you probably use daily, so I will focus on those two.

The first resource you can use is Google. Boasting over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion worldwide annually, the internet’s most powerful and popular search engine allows you to access popular search terms by typing in a few characters. In fact, Google sells advertising based on those results in the form of Google AdWords.  Let’s say that you’re writing an article about choosing the top fantasy football players for the upcoming NFL season. According to Google, you may want to include “Fantasy Football Rankings” in your header (and probably add it as your keyword), because it’s the first predicted search that comes up while typing the term “Fantasy Football.” People want to know ranking because, let’s face it, they want the edge in their leagues. Does that mean yours will be the first article to show up when someone searches the term? Not likely, but you’ll stand a fighting chance. However, if you have the right social media following, your headline will be irresistible if you share the article in a timely fashion. Again, just make sure that you’re using keywords that are relevant to your topic.

The second resource is social media trends. In 2017, 81 percent of the US population has at least one social media profile.  What’s more is that the average person spends nearly 35 minutes on Facebook each day. Not only are the social media “trending” sections good for keywords and headers, they’re also exceptional tools to use when looking for blog topics. If you can tie a trend into a blog, you’re more likely to get reads and shares. Sticking with the Fantasy Football theme, Facebook, in particular, allows you to choose sports as a trending topic. That might be an excellent place to start when creating a headline. Perhaps a few of the top players are trending near the top of the list, thus there is your opportunity to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak.

Use the tools you already have, and you’ll put yourself in the best position to succeed with the right keywords.

 

REMINDER: Don’t resort to clickbait, or you will lose all credibility, and no number of keywords will bring you back from that. Also, Google doesn’t like that too much, as it considers headers that don’t coincide with the content as SPAM, and it may keep your articles off of searches altogether.

 

The Need to Read

Just because you want to read it, doesn’t mean that others will, which is why you need to instill the “need to read.” We’re all guilty of clicking an article that we know might be a waste of time simply because we feel compelled to read it. Most of the time our instincts are correct, but we still fall victim to that urge to “click here for more.” While I don’t condone writing mindless blog articles, I do subscribe to the theory that the right headline can make a great deal of people have an overwhelming desire to click.

Once you have the right keywords in place, you’ll need to structure them in a desirable way.

Questions make for great headlines because people want answers. For example, “Devonta Freeman is the best fantasy football running back in 2017” might not be as compelling as “Devonta Freeman Tops Fantasy Football Rankings, But Have You Considered These Sleeper Picks?” The reader may think, “everyone knows about Freeman, which means he’s not likely to be available when it’s my pick. I need to see my other options that people may not know about.”

The use of Cliffhangers is another way that you can make people NEED TO READ. Television series season finales, movie trailers, and sneak previews all keep people hanging on and wanting more. So, why not use that technique with your headlines? An example of a good cliffhanger might be: “Devonta Freeman Tops Fantasy Football Rankings, But Three Other Players May Be Even Better.”

Give your readers a desire … a need to read your articles with structured headers.

 

Bringing it All Together

Top keywords inserted into strong headers will get you the clicks you need to drive your website’s SEO. By staying ahead of trends, you’ll become a reliable, trusted source for information specific to your target industry. In any case, when it comes to your website’s content, quality always beats quantity. Give people something truly valuable and worthwhile, and you’ll build an audience; post seven articles a week with bad headlines and no relevancy, and you’ll alienate one.

Keep watching for more tips at HeartbeatInteractive.net!

Content Management made easy with WordPress

A content management system (CMS) is an application that allows you to edit text, images, forms, video, and/or any other media easily without a lot of technical knowledge. Web developers and designers use these applications in order to make website management easier for a wide variety of clients.

There are many CMS’s out there, including: Drupal, Joomla, concerte5, Expression Engine, and Magento. However, there is only one that powers nearly 28% of the entire Internet: WordPress. Released in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, WordPress offers a user-friendly, easy-to-use experience for marketing teams with various levels of website management know-how.

Here are five reasons why I believe that WordPress is the ultimate content management system:

 

WordPress is open-source software

Open-source software allows you to use and edit without the hassle of licensing fees. You can easily download the latest version from WordPress. Most web hosts (i.e. InMotion, GoDaddy, HostGator, etc.) now offer a 1-click website installation option, which makes it easy to get started.

 

Ease of Use/Customization

A major perk of using an open-source software platform is that anyone can see its original developer code and locate errors unlike licensed software. WordPress was built with two widely used programming languages: PHP and SQL. Thus, approximately 50,000 plug-ins – such as testimonial sections, photo streams, and subscribe buttons — are available for install on your WordPress website. This allows you to customize your dream website without using difficult programming techniques.

SEO Friendly

Google and other search engines rank your website on a variety of criteria. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of configuring your website to rank highly within that criteria.

 

Here is some of the criteria WordPress handles:

  • Fast Loading
  • Good Coding Standard
  • Sitemaps
  • Navigation
  • Image Optimization
  • Social Media Integration
  • User Experience

Large Troubleshooting Community

Approximately 16 million websites use WordPress, which means errors and technical problems occur from time to time. Thus, the CMS contains a plethora of well-maintained support forums filled with millions of queries and solutions. Whether it is a theme or plugin problem, the WordPress community will guide you to a solution.

 

Security

Recently, WordPress has been called out for its lack of security. When a company powers millions of websites, hackers are going to continuously look for loopholes to expose. As with any software platform, staying on top of updates will effectively keep your website secure. There are even great plugins such as Sucuri and WordFence that can help enhance your security.

 

If you are ready to be a part of the nearly 28% of websites using WordPress, contact Heartbeat Interactive to get started!

Why Heartbeat Interactive is your best choice

Heartbeat Interactive has one goal in mind: To offer businesses top-notch web solutions that will engage their audiences and provide a return on their investment. Our slogan is “Web Solutions that bring your business to life” and I believe I have the resources to accomplish that. Why should you choose Heartbeat Interactive? Below is a few reasons we beat our competitors:

 

Passion

I don’t sit back and collect a paycheck like a big-time CEO. I work on a variety of websites and applications in a variety of industries every day! When I work with your team, I become invested in learning the ins-and-outs of your business, becoming one of your team members. Ultimately, if your business succeeds I succeed.

 

Experience

I work with clients on all different spectrum’s. From the celebrity wedding planner to the local niche small business, I’ve seen many different scenarios appear while running a website. Whether you run a 5-page website to tell customers about your business or sell products online we can design, host, and support it from beginning to end.

 

CMS

We build all of our websites using a CMS or Content Management System. In the past, to update your website you would need to know how to read code and upload files to a web server to make necessary changes. I feel you should focus on your core business offering instead of trying to learn a second career. A CMS allows you to add pages, insert graphics, or make text changes just like if you were using Microsoft Word. All of our clients receive training as a part of their package, so you will know the ins-and-outs of the CMS by the time we finish.

 

Custom Websites

Our websites are different. We build them from the ground up. Unlike some of our competition, you won’t see us just buying someone else’s website design and editing the colors and logos and calling it complete. Each website starts with a design mockup, so your website is as unique as your business. Some company’s look for a quick buck, we are looking for the best way to showcase your business/product.

 

Budget

Heartbeat Interactive doesn’t need your arms and legs as payment for your custom website. Our design, development, hosting, and maintenance plans won’t break your bank. They will keep your website looking good and running smoothly for years to come. We even offer monthly website pricing, so you can get started right away!

 

There are many reasons we beat the competitor. Above is just a few of those reasons. Even if you feel like you only need a website, talk to me and I will offer you a web solution that will, “Bring your Business to Life!”