Beware Of Managed WordPress HostingOctober 25th, 2022

Beware Of Managed WordPress HostingI recently had a referral from an old friend. He had a business associate who was having difficulty with their WordPress website and their Managed WordPress Hosting. We stepped in to help as their site wasn’t displaying properly and was showing shortcodes everywhere.  As someone who deals with this content management system every single day, I knew right away it was a plug-in issue.

To explain: Shortcodes in WordPress allow you to add various functionality into posts, pages, and widgets without actually writing any code. Hence the name, Shortcode. Many WordPress plugins and some themes use shortcodes to add different elements such as buttons, text blocks, pricing grids, event calendars, rows and columns, icons and many other things into your WordPress website.

In this example, we generate a text block:

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

 

What should happen is the plug-in translates this and put a block of text on your webpage inside a column, inside a row.  But if the plug-in is disabled or broken, you just see the actual code on your page. In this instance, every single page was filled with the short codes.  Any website management company should’ve been able to fix this, unless you just aren’t doing your job as was the case in this particular issue.

More on shortcodes »

When they told me they had a Managed WordPress hosting plan, I assumed that this meant the company not only keeps your website WordPress core version, theme and plug-ins up-to-date but also troubleshoot whenever there is a problem.  Wow was I wrong!!  Once I logged in, I could see exactly what the issue was and fixed it very quickly.  The team at this Managed WordPress company had disabled all the plug-ins.  The site had an issue, so instead of investigating and figuring out which plug-in had a problem, they just deactivated every single one.  This is website management 101. I honestly couldn’t believe what this company was passing off as “managed”.

(You will notice I did not mention the name of this company, it is one of the biggest players in the market. My goal isn’t to destroy any companies’ reputation, but if you’d like to find out which, I would be happy to let you know.)

What is the answer for small businesses, who don’t have a huge budget but need someone to manage their WordPress implementation?

Here are four things to look for in a website management company for your small business:

  1. You need to look for a company who backs up your site every single day, so that if this type of problem happens you can revert back to the previous backup and resolve the issue.
  2. Look for a company that allows you to have multiple environments. So for testing you can set up staging and development environments. All of our new sites are hosted on a platform where we can achieve this.  This allows us to experiment and figure out where problems are, without impacting the live site.  Think how bad you look when someone comes to your site and there’s a bunch of gibberish showing.
  3. Use a company who is responsive to your needs. If your website management company doesn’t get back to you on the same day you ask a question, look elsewhere.
  4. Find a company that offers service/hosting plans which include hours to work on your website, both from a content angle and also from a maintenance angle. We offer companies plans which include anywhere from one hour up until unlimited support, this way we can help any size business.

Managed WordPress may be cheaper, but cheaper is not always better!

Remember, just because something is cheaper doesn’t mean it’s better, and most of the time cheaper is NOT better and sadly can be far worse.  Take the law firm we just assisted. For weeks their site wasn’t displaying properly and it was definitely costing them business. So while they may have only been paying a small amount each month for their Managed WordPress account, if you figure it out a basic support plan from a website management company like RooSites as an example, they would have made much more money in the long run. This is a firm that bills out at hundreds of dollars an hour, and downtime is not acceptable!  In this day and age, losing any business due to a website that doesn’t display is inexcusable. The customer/client you lose may make the difference and having a good year or a less than stellar one. So having a good website management is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

More on WordPress

WordPress is the top Content Management System in the world, and is the leader in the marketplace. But, it can be very confusing, and a simple update to your WordPress core, your themes or plugins can break your whole site. So you need to make sure you have a website management company that is prepared for any pitfall.  No legitimate company will tell you that it’s easy and that they haven’t had similar problems. It comes down to how they handle the issues when they arise.  When a company leaves you with your website not displaying, that is inexcusable. It’s one thing if they were just selling you hosting, but by calling it managed WordPress you assume all your problems would be taken care of when and if they happen.

Bottom Line

Hopefully this blog post has given you enough information to go forward and make a wise choice for your hosting and website management needs. We would be happy to assist you, and if we can’t, we will definitely recommend a solution. We have been doing this since 1996 and realize that we can’t help every single company that comes our way. But, our reputation is built on being helpful, so we always try to help small businesses find a solution that works for them. I can tell you, this is also a good business model as we have helped companies find solutions and as a reward we get tons of referrals from companies we work with now and have worked with in the past.

Contact us today, you will be glad you did!

 

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Posted in Barry Roos

Five Things Your Website Management Company Should Help WithOctober 8th, 2022

Your website management company should help you with many things. Here are 5 things which we feel are critical.

  1. Keeping Your Website Backed Up And Safe: In today’s world security is so important. It is naïve not to think anyone will ever attack or hack your website. So it is imperative that your management company is backing up as often as possible so that if something malicious happens, you can get your site back. It is also important to know where your site is being hosted, as some do a much better job than others with security. At RooSites we use industry best website hosting.
  2. SEO: One of the most important things for companies is to be found on search engines like Google. To do so, you need to make sure that your management company is working on Search Engine Optimization, or SEO as it is referred to. We realized early on, that it was not enough just to build nice websites, they have to rank well. If you aren’t seen, then no matter how good your company is, or how pretty your site looks won’t matter. There are four types of SEO we help our clients with. The first is on page SEO. There are several factors involved to optimize your site including use of headline tags, meta tags, and other on page ranking factors. We also assist with Technical SEO, where we assist Google’s bots in successfully crawling, interpreting, and indexing your website’s pages . This also includes the creation and submission of sitemaps. Next we have what’s called local SEO. This is when you go to do a search for something near you, say a plumber or other services. So if you are in Dunedin Florida, you would search for Dunedin Plumber, not just “Plumber”. This is what usually shows up at the top or the right of your search results page. In many cases thousands of people see this listing every month, so it is so important to have a local SEO presence. We also assist with Off Page SEO, which are tasks we do outside of your website to help it rank higher in Google’s search results. This includes getting good social media advertising, getting clients to give you good reviews online, and getting links from credible websites.
  3. Content: This goes with number two, the most important factor in search engine rankings is your content[↗]. I always use this example: Say you are very good at what you do and have a nice little seven page website. I come along and build a similar website but every week I post an article about the subject matter our website is all about. After one year I have over 70 or more links within the google index (including tags and other links which google indexes), or 10 times as many as my competitor. So I ask you, who should fare better in search?  Common sense, right? All of our management plans include time to help with content and blogging as well as help with social media.
  4. Pay Per Click Advertising: One thing your website management company should be doing is helping you with is your Google ads, Facebook ads and all Pay Per Click Ads. SEO by itself is not always enough, so if you can start an advertising campaign, you can fill in the gaps where you aren’t being found as highly as you would prefer.
  5. Page Speed Optimization: One thing search engines put a lot of stock in is how fast a page loads. Since we use different content management systems, such as WordPress optimizing your site is very important. Your website management company should be able to help you by installing a caching plug-in and other methods. A lot of times companies have too many plug-ins and things going on which slows down the site. The one thing I have noticed over the years some of the testing tools are not as accurate as they need to be. For instance some of the tools are measuring how long things take to load in the background. Now this doesn’t really affect your viewers, as everything that they need to see, loads fast, and if there’s some JavaScript file loading in the background it really doesn’t affect them.

Bottom Line: So these are five things your website management company should be helping you with, there are obviously more things as every client is different. What we do at RooSites is design different plans for different companies so they have enough hours to do all the things they want to achieve. And, by signing up for our plans they save roughly 50% on their development hours which is nothing to sneeze at!


If you need help managing your website or designing a new one, don’t hesitate to contact us, we are happy to help!


 

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Posted in Barry Roos

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