While deciding whether to build your new website with Wix, Weebly, or WordPress, there are several questions to consider.
What is your budget?
WordPress, Wix and Weebly sites all start at free. They each offer premium versions that allow for you to use your own domains, hosting and add-on features. Building and maintaining a WordPress site can be expensive depending on the company you use and what features you want. However, firms like Appletree offer affordable standard packages for WordPress that include all of the tools you need for a successful website.
What are your website goals?
If you just need a brochure type website, Wix and Weebly can meet your needs. If you want an online solution such as certification tracking, member portal, or online dues payments, then you’re going to need an open system like WordPress. When it comes to Wix and Weebly, your hands may be tied if you want to add some bells and whistles that aren’t part of their drag and drop program. They don’t allow custom embedding and API integration.
What’s your technical level?
Wix and Weebly are known for their easy drag and drop programs. There is no technical learning curve outside of their pre-built templates. Learning to use and maintain WordPress may be a struggle for some, and many people need a professional to train them to use WordPress. Again, this varies by the firm. Appletree always includes training hours for its clients to maintain their WordPress websites. We like to say that if you can use Microsoft Word, you can use WordPress.
What’s your traffic goal?
If you just need a short term website for an event or campaign where your traffic comes from a printed card or poster then you don’t need to worry about long term SEO. But if your goal is to build your way to the front page of Google you will find yourself hitting a wall with Wix and Weebly. Unfortunately, you cannot simply pack up your Wix/Weebly website and move it over to WordPress at a later date. You would need a fresh build or to use one of the wonky transfer tools out there. Without a doubt, WordPress wins for its SEO, plugins, and flexibility.
What are your security needs?
We’ve all heard about the hacking of WordPress websites leading to all sorts of trouble such as the US/Russia election scandal and other business vulnerabilities. WordPress can be secured, but you’ll need to press the “Update” button on the dashboard to make those updates happen. With Wix and Weebly hosted websites, security is handled behind the scenes by their technical team. Although, recently there was a cloud vulnerability that opened up Wix sites to hackers – no web solution is completely safe.
If you need a website that is more than a brochure site that will be updated frequently and prioritizes SEO, we recommend WordPress. If you need a simple site for a short term project then Wix and Weebly may be a better option. Website Builder Expert has this comparison to help you best prepare, depending on your website needs.
Good WordPress Administrator Names
WordPress lets you select your administrator name and by default, historically we have seen ‘admin’ come up as the most often used name. But using ‘admin’ as your username for WordPress is a potential security breach in the making. When hackers try to brute-force their way into a site, the first name they try is the old standby. There are better and more secure choices. Read on, for some options on good WordPress Administrator names.
- Your private email address; pick one you use that will not be placed
prominently on the site.
- A memorable phrase; something with a few words that you won’t forget but won’t be apparent to a site visitor.
- A name with numbers or characters; any numbers will help.
- WordPress also permits symbols in its usernames.
- Keep the default ‘Admin’
- An email address displayed on your site itself
- Your domain name
Wordfence monitors brute-force attacks, and we see ‘admin’ used in hacking attempts more than anything. You don’t have to make your WordPress username as complex as a password, but making it a little more creative and difficult to guess will make your site much more secure.
For more on safe username and password use, read up on Protecting Your Facebook Passwords, Preventing Your Email From Getting Hacked, Securing Your Social Media, and a Facebook Password Reset Scam. [/alertbox]
“Working with Appletree MediaWorks is one of the best decisions we have made here at TUEMedia. They do an excellent job at keeping our websites up to date, and always have us covered with the latest updates and features. The team at Appletree MediaWorks does a fantastic job with their layout and custom design, and are always a phone call away when there’s a problem. I couldn’t imagine anyone else handling our media!”
“With Appletree MediaWorks taking care of our web presence, I can spend my time producing radio instead of worrying about our websites. I work most with Raina, who is friendly and quick to carry out requests. She answers all of my questions, even when that means she has to do extra research for me. I can’t imagine running The Union Edge without Katie and Raina our corner!
TUEMedia is a new site designed for the WordPress framework, pinwheel slider, and Search Engine Optimization. Utilizing a dark background, the design implies elegance and simplicity, showcasing the client’s services and contact information.
[alertbox]Complete Web Site Design, Custom WordPress Integration, Search Engine Optimization.
Tue Media [/alertbox]
Is Your Website Mobile Ready?
According to Pew Research Center, over half of adult Americans own a smartphone – a full 55% of the adult population, and that number is only increasing. This means it has become essential that a person using their phone to search the web can access and easily navigate your website. What makes a website good or bad for the internet? We’ll go over those points, and what you can do to ensure you know how to make a website mobile ready.
First, it can help to find out how many people are accessing your website via mobile devices. The simplest way to do this is take a look at Google Analytics. This tool has the option to see what platform, device, and browser people are using to access your site. Some sites are more likely to be accessed from a phone than others, but most sites have at least some content that people might want to quickly access on-the-go. Try to think about parts of your website that someone might want to access while out on the road. For example, if your business has a physical location, your address and phone number should be prominently displayed on your mobile site.
What are the problems with ordinary sites?
There are a few problems that make navigating a website tricky from a mobile device:
- Too much right-scrolling. Your computer monitor is going to be much wider than any mobile device, and if your website persists in maintaining that wider-than-high aspect ratio, it’s going to force people to scroll right when they expect to be scrolling down.
- Small Text. Phone screens are tiny, and if your text does not scale properly, users are going to have to continually ‘pinch’ their screens to zoom in. This gets tedious when you have to pinch AND side-scroll. That’s work, and people don’t want to work to find your info on a website.
- Images and Videos are not adjusted. It’s important that a user not have to do finger-screen gymnastics to view an image or watch a video.
- Website loads too slow. Phones using data plans are usually considerably slower to load content than a regular computer connected to high speed internet. Additionally, data plans can be limited and capped. Don’t make a user spend precious time and data downloading content that is unnecessary.
- Navigation is difficult. Dropdown menus and lots of small buttons and links might be perfectly fine for a mouse, but generally a person is not going to carry a stylus to click on an itty-bitty link. Be sure a button is big enough to afford even the larger-fingered among us some accuracy.
How make things mobile-friendly
All that said, making sure you have a mobile-friendly website is not the beast of a challenge it may seem like. You have a few options to consider:
- Build a mobile version of your site. Technically, you will have two sites, one optimized for mobile devices, the other for the web. The problem here is that both sites are going to need maintenance and updating, and forgetting the content for your mobile site is going to be potentially worse than an inconvenient site.
- Use a Mobile-Optimized theme. If your site is targeted primarily at mobile users, it may be worth the time to consider designing your website with a mobile device in mind, and then adjust it accordingly for computer-based use later.
- Build an app. Lately everyone has jumped on the app bandwagon, but an app to download on a device may be worth your time to consider if your site does special things or has features that are above and beyond the needs of a website. If your app is just going to be a downloadable reproduction of your website, however, it may not be worth the time and effort.
- Use a responsive design. Appletree Mediaworks’ more recent web designs are responsive, geared both for use on a computer’s web browser and mobile devices concurrently. Responsive sites seamlessly transform themselves to fit whatever device they are being viewed on. Many WordPress themes are designed to be responsive.
Could Your Site Be Infected?
If your website uses a content management system such as WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, you will want to be aware of the CryptoPHP infection. Like many infections of this nature, the CryptoPHP infection is both sneaky, and can spread the maliciousness once it’s there, so it’s good to be aware of it if you may have the potential to encounter it.
So Just What Is it?
CryptoPHP is an infection that works like a botnet. It is a sophisticated program that uses your website to conduct illegal “black-hat” SEO tactics such as adding links to other, possibly malicious websites. It can also upgrade itself, and since it communicates with other servers it can update itself and behave as a drone that could do anything from sending spam to attacking other sites.
How Do You Get it?
CryptoPHP is acquired by downloading and installing a theme to their WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal site – specifically a free theme found online. The infected theme has a nulled script that contains a line of code that appears to include PHP but instead appears to call on an image. Hidden inside the image is the real, malicious code.
How Can I Prevent It?
There are a few simple ways to avoid infection:
- Don’t use free downloaded themes on your site – it is difficult to tell what is infected and what is not.
- Don’t accumulate extra “unused” themes just sitting around on your site. It’s easy to collect dozens of these while trying them out, but best to reduce this number as much as possible. Your current theme and ones in development are all you really need.
- The sites we here at Appletree Mediaworks LLC create are CryptoPHP-free.
How To Know If You’re Infected
For WordPress: Install the Wordfence plugin and enable the option to scan images – CryptoPHP hides in a png image, but is actually obfuscated code. This will detect the infection.
Other sites: Download all source code and search for this line:
<?php include(‘assets/images/social.png’); ?>
Our sites here at Appletree MediaWorks LLC are CryptoPHP-free. If you have concerns over your own sites, or have any questions on keeping your website up to date and secure, contact us or visit our blog for more information.
For More Information on CryptoPHP – http://www.wordfence.com/blog/2014/11/wordpress-security-nulled-scripts-cryptophp-infection/
[alertbox]Custom Website Redesign, Full WordPress Upgrade, Client Training on WordPress, Blog Setup
“The team at Appletree MediaWorks took the time to understand the needs of our organization, and then tailor an experience towards those needs. I cannot say enough about how appreciative we were for the work the Appletree team put into our project. It does not matter what level of experience you have with website management. When the Appletree team turns over the keys, they will take the time to ensure you understand how to handle your site. If you still have questions, they will be there for you. Thank you, Appletree!”
The United Steelworkers District Council 1 website features our Union services that include a custom design, secure intranet sites, members web forums and a private member area.
[alertbox]Complete Web Site Design, Custom WordPress Integration, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Integration. Union Services include: Forum Integration, User System Programming.
United Steelworks District Council 1 [/alertbox]
The Choice to Jump to WordPress
A number of Appletree MediaWorks sites have taken the leap from a regular website or a Joomla based website to WordPress, and we’ve already explained at length why we prefer the WordPress platform for a website. But what are some of the things you can expect from a WordPress site if you choose to take that leap?
WordPress can be updated on the fly, even from a mobile device – no fighting with HTML, no shuffling files around. Simply log in and you’re there. There are even apps for iOS and Android to make these fast updates even easier.
Real Time Feeds, Social Media Integration
A number of our clients have added social media feeds on the front page of their site so users can get real time updates all in one place. Plugins also allow for a company’s own social media to feed right into their site as well.
Sharp, Eye Pleasing Photo Galleries
WordPress allows for impressive photo galleries – both static ones and rotating galleries to show many images with little effort. These make it easy for the client to update and add additional images.
Fast and Accurate Search Feature
In the past, on more traditional websites, it could be aggravating to use a search bar trying to find something on a website. These days, with WordPress, the search features are much more user friendly and likely to turn up intended results.
Great Looking Calendars
WordPress allows for the integration of event calendars to display what is going on in a variety of different ways to best suit your website layout and users. These calendars can connect to all sorts of desktop and mobile calendar applications for a seamless experience.
One Step Newsletter Sign Up
WordPress makes it simple to set up a newsletter signup form and easy to organize and keep track of your subscribers.
Easy ‘Sharing’ Plugins
Google Plus and Facebook like/follow buttons are easy to handle on WordPress, both for the entire site, and for individual pages and posts.
Effective Plugins for Managing SEO
WordPress is designed for Search Engine Optimization. This increases the likelihood that your website will rate highly on Google or Bing. Add to this a variety of plugins that effectively manage your SEO and keywords to improve upon what you already have.
A useful favorite among tools for organizations is the PayPal donation integration, letting site visitors donate to the organization without complication, whether or not they have a PayPal account.
Not everyone uses a desktop computer to browse websites these days. Fortunately, WordPress has many responsive designs that are made to look great on all devices: Phones, iPads, iPods, tablets, and other devices.
Best of all, WordPress is easy to use and maintain. We can create your custom design for WordPress, and when updates and additions are needed, these can be added quickly and effectively. We also offer WordPress training sessions to help get you started.