How to Hire an SEO Professional

Best SEO Professional Near Me

A Common Sense Approach to Hiring a Professional Search Engine Optimizer

Google’s Maile Ohye shares her advice for hiring an SEO (Search Engine Optimizer) to improve the searcher experience on your website.

Published on Feb 14, 2017

Key Takeaways from How to Hire an SEO Video Comments

  • An SEO’s potential is only as high as the quality of your business or website
  • In most cases, SEOs need four months to a year to help your business implement implement improvements and see potential benefit
  • “Doing what’s good for SEO is also doing what’s good for your online customers”
  • If you have complex legacy systems, then good search friendly best practices likely involve paying off your site’s “technical debt.”
  • When hiring an SEO, conduct a two-way interview to make sure they’re genuinely interested in your business. Check their references. Ask for (and expect to pay for) a technical and search audit.
  • You should expect an SEO to ask some of these questions: What makes your business, content, and/or service unique? What does your common customer look like, and how do they currently find your site? How does your business make money, and how can search help? What other channels are you using? Who are your competitors, and what do they do well?
  • An audit may/should include the following: Identifying an issue. Providing the suggested improvement. An estimate on the time/money investment needed to implement the improvement. The estimated business impact. A plan for iterating and implementing secondary changes.
  • A technical audit should identify issues related to the following: Internal linking, crawlability, URL parameters, server connectivity, and response codes.
  • If you’re not ready to commit to implementing SEO improvements, you’re not likely to see any results no matter whom you hire.

IMPORTANT
SEO is not the same as SEM. SEM is Search Engine Marketing. Professional SEM involves optimizing your search results using off-page tactics. SEM is a broader term that would include marketing your pages search results (SERPs) across social media networks, forums, directories, other websites including link-building, Google Image Search, etc.  Ask about professional search engine marketing to gain an advantage in your industry.

Expertly managed / advanced SEO Services are included in every Managed WordPress Hosting Plan – GET STARTEDRequest a Search Audit >>

Digital Conversion Thereapy – Focus on ROI

We love Google Analytics!

A free tool that has become comprehensive enough for enterprise users and and easy enough for small business owners. We love the automated reports, short easy to read and understand -yummy. When used with Google Search Console and Google AdWords/AdSense these apps share and exchange information.

We centralize this information into WordPress dashboards to empower our managed services clients.  It’s as easy as customizing a few dashboards and plugins. It works right now on your phone and provides information like you’ll find in this case study.

Digital Conversion Thereapy

For years we’ve asked our clients to focus on their website dashboards. But there are just too many. Each requires a separate login and for many clients it’s just too time consuming. Data just seems to pop-up randomly from marketing campaigns like email (permission-based marketing), social media (Facebook Insights) and offline marketing. It’s too much for a small business owner.

Most local clients do not have weekly multi-discinplinary meetings with a discussion on website sales and marketing. Budgets are relatively small and meetings can be expensive. This changes as awareness and opportunities arise. Centralizing dashboards puts this information in front of the decision makers with a secure login. Adoption is slow but this has been working for more than a year on our client’s dashboards. It’s just not enough any longer.

It’s critical now to focus on the relationship between sales and marketing data. You need all the facts in one location. You need the data to be actionable, easy to read and understand, at a glance.

“At the end of the day, 58% of smartphone users are more likely to buy from companies whose mobile sites or apps allow them to make purchases quickly.” -Google/Ipsos, “Consumers in the Micro-Moment,” Wave 3, U.S., n=1291 online smartphone users 18+, August 2015

Marketing metrics are great. But revenue in a bank ledger attributable to your campaigns demonstrates conversions. Lead acquisition and conversion costs is the real opportunity.

To help customers focus on sales and ROI we’re doing two things;

  1. We’re focusing on helping customers stay connected to their metrics. One result is an improved dashboard experience with more business intelligence.
  2. We’re focusing on a mobile-first strategy in all our thinking and doing. From customer acquisition to money in the bank, we’re focused on factsfrom mobile data. This means you only pay for the campaigns that create a return for your marketing dollars.

With mobile usage dominating your customers view of your online business it’s time we better understand your customer’s interaction with your brand. Not just visual appeal or usability. The features we need now are location-based and real-time. The question is no longer, “Does my prospect have access to my message?” The question has become, “Is my message available now to my propsects near me?

Global Mobile Users Compared with Desktop Users - August 21, 2014 - comScore Whitepaper
-August 21, 2014 – comScore Mobile App Whitepaper

As you can envision from this 2014 report, mobile prospects are just as available and connected as desktops. There’s a need to prepare for your prospects and customers using mobile devices. Equally important is the need to adjust your seo strategy. Why? Because mobile users can be more easily converted to sales when the customer is near.

Mobile users need your help to see your message and find your business. Google calls this, “Near me” searches. We consider this valuable in our local digital landscape. In Hawaii, your customers may have no idea where you are or what you do. But they do know what they’re looking for and Google provides an easy way to locate what they need. You just have to make some changes to a few things you’re already doing.

Your web pages are ready when the following conditions are present:

  1. Your messaging is easy to read and understand. Imagine driving and finding your store. Okay wait, let’s imagine walking to find your store. your prospect has a lot going on. Whether holding an umbrella or trying to listen to a friend, it’s critical to have easy to read and understand content on your page.
  2. Directions are abundant, work correctly and are easy to click and find. Google makes this really easy with Google Local. We suggest blending the best of Google Local and your own web page to present your prospect with timely and accurate information about your location.
  3. Your pages load quickly. Visitors are much more likely to leave your site and try another search result on mobile. They may be using an “Okay Google” command or in a rush for an answer. For “near me” searches we recommend an optimized and fast loading landing page compatiable with all mobile devices.
  4. All other web design best practices apply. In addition to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, mobile design guidelines also apply including creative. To achieve a return on your investment, focus on mobile design.

With all of these conditions present a mobile prospect can be converted into a warm lead. To convert warm and hot leads into sales, additional steps must be included. If you don’t have any products for sale on your website we can help.

With at least one product for sale online, you can create new metrics. Sales data from your website can inform your larger business strategy. With this information you can make better decisions about cost-savings and future revenue opportunities.

“The most innovative brands have marketing, digital, media, and agency teams all sitting together at the start of the campaign to define objectives, brainstorm on insights, process data, and create the right strategy to reach brand goals.” – Google

Small business owners don’t have “agency teams.” Our local clients need one or two people to fill critical roles in their growth. They need someone they can trust to deliver a return on their investment.

Read Our Case Study: Assessing A Mobile-First Strategy for Local Clients

Does your marketing team consider mobile first? Do they have the knowledge skills and technical abilities to provide the facts you need to track your mobile strategy? Do you have the in-house creative design skills to create content for a mobile-first strategy? 

Can you outsource these roles more affordably than hiring a part time employee.  Here’s some help evaluating if you should outsource or insource your next project.  Here’s some help understanding the opportunities of offshoring some of your project work.

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KPI = Key Performance IndicatorWikipedia

USING DATA TO ASSESS YOUR MOBILE FRIENDLINESS

Don’t let a bad mobile shopping experience get between your customers and that last minute purchase.  –Inspired by Data


 

Case Study: Assessing A Mobile-First Strategy for Local Clients

We Asked

“Would existing local data demonstrate value for a mobile-first strategy for local clients and would that data show a clear opportunity for client return on investment?”

 


Desktop versus Mobile Clicks

Mobile Impressions, Clicks and Click-Through Rate Over a Two Year Period
The lines above represent desktop versus mobile clicks in search results. The “Avg. CTR” represents the click count divided by the impression count. So instead of just looking at your search results (impressions) the mobile user is clicking the link and arriving at your site twice as often in this two year period.
Definitions
  • Clicks – Count of clicks from a Google search results page that landed the user on your property. Learn more.
  • Impressions – How many links to your site a user saw on Google search results, even if the link was not scrolled into view. However, if a user views only page 1 and the link is on page 2, the impression is not counted. The count is aggregated by site or page. With infinitely scrolling pages, such as image search, the impression might require the item to be scrolled into view. Learn more.
  • CTR – Click-through rate: the click count divided by the impression count. If a row of data has no impressions, the CTR will be shown as a dash (-) because CTR would be division by zero.

Browser and OS Traffic Over Two Year Period

Browser and OS Traffic Over a Two Year Period
Click image to make it bigger. This is two years worth of traffic filtered by broswer and operating system. Over time mobile and tablet traffic has risen to meet desktop and laptop traffic.

Past Three Years of Traffic sorted by Technology

In the pie chart below you can see a representative number of traffic (sessions). There was less mobile traffic to local websites than desktops. 5,579 sessions from mobile and tablet compared with 9,342 sessions from desktops. Interesting to look back at some of the best smartphones of 2013.

Past Three Years of Traffic by Technology


Past Year of Traffic by Technology

Desktop and mobile sessions are near even in number of sessions.

Past One Year of Traffic by Technology


Past 90 Days of Traffic

Mobile has clearly emerged as the leader generating more than double the number of sessions. This graph represents approixmately 2,000 sessions from organic search results. The bounce rate is around 35%. Page load time is 4 seconds resulting in an average of 2 minutes per session. Goals such as form fills were achieved

Past Nineties Days of Traffic by Technology


So now we return

 

Historical Perspective

Nearly ten years after the iPhone was announced, Android has become a catalyst in mobile device adoption. “There are now over 24,000 distinct Android devices in use around the world from over 1,000 different manufacturers.” – Open Signal

Conclusions and Recommendations

We recommend all clients develop a mobile-first approach to their online business. This includes all clients in Hawaii and especially those in large cities. To stay connected with new and existing users a mobile strategy is necessary. A mobile-first strategy is recommended.

The mobile traffic tipping point was reached more than a year ago when mobile use superceeded desktop use for content like video, podcasts. According to Google Inside AdWords in May of 2015 “…more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.”

Then there’s this Wired statement earlier in 2015, that phones now appear to be a “more affordable device than computers for most consumers.”

 

A recent report from Hitwise (registration required) argues that in the US mobile search is roughly 58 percent of overall search query volume. That’s based on an average of 11 key categories and associated queries analyzed by Hitwise in its “Mobile Search: Topics and Themes” report. The company “examined hundreds of millions of online search queries” across PCs, smartphones and tablets between April 10 and May 7, 2016. –Search Engine Land

To be prepare for another leap in the number of mobile searches this year we recommend:

  1. Stay focused on ROI. Ensure current ad spends are less than income from ads.
  2. Develop a mobile-first strategy for your website. Include fast loading landing pages, directions and offers for “near me” searchers.
  3. Prepare internal teams to understand the shift. Prepare then to know how to properly value mobile prospects and their unique needs in all areas of sales and service.

About the Study

Research was conducted using Google Analytics and Search Console. These tools are used by our team on every website we manage. Tertiary research to confirm and correllate data was provided by comScore, Double-click and Google. This is a non-scientific study.

The study was based on traffic and search analysis over a three year period. Data was collected from 30 websites. Statistical outliers eg; sites that had missing data, sites that did not properly account for administrative or spam traffic were removed. Ultimately, ten websites were used in the final metrics. Their numbers brought into a spreadsheet and averaged. In the end we used representative , charts and graphs to highlight our findings. No personally-identifiable data was shared or used in our research.

A Plea to Clients

A portion of the mobile users we identified in the research are your customers. Hawaii residents with a need to stay connected on a budget. Right now local business owners need to consider the importance of mobile on their bottom line.

Have any questions?

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Testimonials (more things we’ve heard)

Frequently Asked Questions

“Should I have my site coded in sanskrit or atari? Is that something a computer nerd does?”

“Will going online will help me takeover the world!”

“My current website seems kinda confusing and doesn’t do much.”

brent-html“…he’s still building websites? He’s so old. Doesn’t he code in #cursive?”

“Is it original enough to win me an award?”

“Colors and fonts are very important to me. Can you make them look great on my screen.”

“I don’t care about the technology or jargon. I want to use appropriate technology to serve my customer’s needs so it’s as easy as possible for them to use my website.”

“While building my business online, I increased my awareness of other revenue opportunities I didn’t have offline. My online business is now thriving online as a result of new target audiences and my reach into new markets.”

“Mr. Norris has a way of listening to our needs, providing facts about our users and ultimately delivered a website that was better than we imagined. No other web professionals have helped us understand our online customers or budgeting requirements like Mr. Norris.”

“He probably won’t colonize Mars with a website but what he did for our online business is out of this world!”

Brent listens and does exactly as I ask him. It’s expensive. and only on weekends.


Names were witheld to protect the innocent. View testimonials with sources

How Much Does Mobile Speed Affect Your ROI?

Do the math: You could earn more with a faster mobile website

Why is mobile speed important?

According to Google, “In our mobile-first world, we don’t just expect to have all the world’s information at our fingertips: we expect to get it the instant we’re looking for it.”

Things have changed dramatically in device usage in recent years. Mobile is number one. Desktop and laptop computers are no longer the target machine for your marketing messages.

According to Google, “Most mobile sites don’t live up to this expectation, despite major advancements in network speeds. Slow loading sites frustrate people with bad user experiences and cause publishers to lose revenue.”

We can help you create a mobile strategy. We can optimize your site for mobile speed and lead collection. Google’s mobile web revenue calculator linked below will help you explore how optimizing the speed of your mobile website could help you increase your revenue.

We use this tool for every client site we build and host.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  1. Find out the speed of your mobile site — visit WebpageTest.org and be sure to change the connection type to “mobile” under advanced settings.

  2. Find your average eCPM, monthly queries, and match rate from DoubleClick Ad Exchange or AdSense.

Need to setup your mobile ads on Google, Facebook or other social media network? That’s what we do!

Call for an estimate to increase the performace of your website and mobile advertising ROI. Ask for Brent Norris: 808-896-7656

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Website Security SSL via HTTPS

Starting today a security message in your browser may indicate the security of the website you are visiting (see image).


Our WordPress Managed Hosting Services already include the security features mentioned in this article.


Soon, Google will begin showing a security message in all Chrome browswers indicating whether a website is encrypted.

Secure your website with ssl via https

Visitors to your site may perceive your site more or less secure based on this new message. For ecommerce sites it’s important your visitors feel secure enough to begin a shopping experience for example. To reduce costs, security must be maintained. This means active management against spam and malware attacks on your website.

Related Security Resources:

New Security Updates

Client Website Security Update 4.7.2

Two new updates have been made to your website:

  1. A new version of WordPress has been installed (4.7.2) Release Notes
  2. A major security plugin update has been installed. Release Notes
Security is critical for business websites.
Hacking often involves placing malware on a website. It can be difficult to find and harder to clean. Many site owners give up and start fresh. But this is not a security strategy and comes with consequences.Scraping your website is an option if you don’t have a backup. Our client sites have 30 days of backups, at all times. It’s your domain name that Google and other major search engines monitor. They check for outdated versions of code that might be suceptible and also for malware. In either case, Google is known to place a warning message within the search result for a page on your website. No one wants to start over with a new domain name. But that’s exactly what some site owners have to do once a site is sandboxed in Google. So we keep it clean. We use dedicated IP addresses to ensure your site is in a “Good Neighborhood” and we constantly monitor, protect and report any and all security issues. We also use a secure socket layer security (SSL) protocol that serves your web pages via httpS, the secure version of the hypertext transfer protocol.Our clients can monitor critical security information directly within the WordPress Dashboard. Login to check out the latest updates and steps taken to ensure your site is always secure.Your dashboard is located at: https://YOURDOMAINNAME.com/login
You’ll need your username or email address and your password. If you only know your email address you can reset your password by clicking the “Forgot Password?” link next to the Submit button.

 

Managed WordPress Hosting | Learn the Basics

Managed WordPress Services

Understanding the Basics of Managed WordPress Hosting

Background
As web standards evolve, operating systems and web browsers evolve. Websites must evolve affordably. Websites built in compliance with web standards will reduce your total cost of ownership (TCO). WordPress is standards-compliant out of the box. Web standards helps ensure your website work well on any device with a web browser eg; phones, laptops, desktops, smart-cars and more.

Content management systems (CMS) like the one included in WordPress reduces the cost of managing content. Regular content updates on your site are important for search engine results. Fairly simple tasks like publishing a sales promotion are much easier with a CMS like WordPress.

WordPress currently powers around 25% of the web. Some of these sites start off as free sites built at WordPress.COM. As business requirements change, websites built with WordPress can easily be moved to a self-hosted environment. Self-hosted in the best option for business owners and writers who need advanced site customization to support advertising and marketing requirements.

We recommend first-time site owners start at WordPress.com. When it’s time for advanced features like ecommerce, it becomes necessary to hire a web professional to rebuild your site using the self-hosted version. Business owners can easily take their data and move from WordPress.com to a managed hosting platform. Everything we do is scalable so startups have low costs, easy entry and unlimited growth.

Self-hosting means installing WordPress on a server (see: web hosting providers). It’s essentially the same code. It’s free, like freedom so you can install it anywhere and modify as you wish under an open source license (see: WordPress license). Most shared web hosts provide a one-click installer that makes setup as easy as filling out a form. The form and process are usually found a separate control panel (see: Plesk | Cpanel). The same control panel provides for the setup and management of email accounts, security, performance, file transfers, ssl etc.

Spending time setting up your business in these dashboards can be overwhelming yet necessary to compete for search results. Tasks associated with managing the web and email server and your WordPress website normally require 3-10 hours per month. Your business goals will determine your management needs and the needs of your brand.

Visitors expect your site to work -all the time.
The efforts put into the backend of your website are reflected in your public-facing pages. The perception of your brand is positive when everything is built professionally. WordPress Managed Hosting and Managed IT ServicesThe number one quality issue is security. Ignore security and you could infect your visitors computers with malware. Google will most likely block your search results. Security vulnerabilities are inevitable yet manageable.

Visitors expect your site to be quick and responsive on any device.
The performance of your pages is another key signal sent to Google in determining how well a page ranks in searches. Management tools for monitoring and reporting help to keep your site secure and loading quickly.

Visitor expectations change over time.
Your visitors probably use some large websites like social media networks with advanced features. Television has a large impact on engagement and visitor satisfaction as they expect your website to be easy, like using a remote control. A successful online brand demonstrates and easy to use website that communicates your authenticity to your visitors. People buy when they like your brand and trust your intentions. Leads convert to sales when everything is flowing properly on your website. Impactful design and useful features can be added easily inside the WordPress dashboard (see: themes | plugins).

Who builds WordPress?
A large decentralized team contributes to the WordPress project. The core code is continually improved and updated 4-8 times per year. Large updates occur at least once per year. Plugins add functionality to your WordPress code. Some of the core WordPress contributors also develop plugins for WordPress. Other core contributors also create themes.

Recap: WordPress is easy to install. Proper configuration requires some advanced skills and 3-10 hours to complete.

WordPress Updates GoodDevelopers and designers upload plugin and theme updates to the WordPress repository. Update notifications in your WordPress dashboard alert you to new updates and a few button clicks are all that’s needed to perform updates. WordPress provides an easy way to keep everything working. Your brand, content, lead generation and other website features keep performing safely and securely, kinda.

The Problem: Human Error
Designers, developers and business owners speak different languages. WordPress updates rely on transparency in the market to sort out the highest quality and least costly plugins and themes. It’s an open market with tens of thousands of options. Quality varies among themes and plugins. Certain requirements are maintained due to open source licensing. Most plugins and themes follow WordPress core updates and best practices to future-proof their code while adding features and bug fixes. This reduces costs and creates value for site owners. However, plugin and theme releases incongruent. A small error can create a large impact when a site is generating leads or sales. Knowing when to update each of your plugins and theme(s) is key to the performance of your website. Maintaining a spreadsheet of plugins, themes, their creators, issues and relationships may be helpful to web professionals serving multiple clients.

Knowing which plugins and themes to install is a critical success factor.
We recommend and curate plugins and themes based on experience with specific designers and developers. Their commitment to their projects can easily be researched through ratings, community reviews and support tickets. Abandoned or insecure plugins and themes can add a lot of cost of ownership. Compatibility issues occur with even the best creators.

For websites using the latest default WordPress theme, everything is really smooth. This type of a setup could easily be put on auto-pilot, so to speak with minimal implications. However great this may sound initially, it’s much more common for a business owner to seek something better than the default theme and plugins.

Unmanaged WordPress RisksCompetition, branding, marketing, online advertising and security are just a few reasons why you need to actively manage your website. We all know what happens when we fail to manage our personal computer security. Slowdowns, viruses and malware are so common many pc owners abandon their machines after a couple years. Likewise, websites must be managed.

Poor website management can cause sites to become delisted in search engines. If malware is detected for example, search engines will initially add a warning to your search results. If unmanaged, they will remove your hard-earned search results and stop sending traffic to your site. A Google webmaster tools account can alert you to some issues before they become public. Other tools also provide alerts like Wordfence security.

The Solution: Curated Updates and Managed WordPress Services
When a theme designer releases updates to their theme it’s important to read the release notes and check the community forums to be sure other site owners are having a great experience with the new theme or plugin. Testing updates on staging websites can help ensure everything works well together.

When it comes to plugin and theme updates, developer and designer track records and your webmaster’s experience can be your most valuable asset. Curated and “managed” updates provide a way to scale your hosting and marketing services to keep your business growing online.

Hiring a junior do-it-all IT person was the only option only a few years ago. Today we automate and scale services for our clients. With a professional setup and managed services site owners no longer need to hire part-time webmasters.

Marketing Message

You can get the quality and experience you need for managed WordPress hosting and marketing services without hiring additional part-time or full-time staff. Let us show you how. Contact us for an appointment. We’ll explain everything we do for our clients and if the timing is right for you, get you started on a growth pattern for your businesses today.

WordPress Resources:

  • https://make.wordpress.org/core/
  • https://github.com/wordpress/wordpress
  • https://wordpress.tv/

Digital Business Asset Portfolio

What is a “Digital Business Asset Portfolio” and why do you need one?

This article was written to help small business owners identify digital assets, know when to manage them and help prevent loss.

Brick and mortar businesses have furnishings, equipment and to a large extent, things you could see, touch and sell. Today’s online business owner needs to be aware when they are creating something similar. They need to know when they have created something that will become an asset versus something that will not gain in value or perhaps become a liability. Unlike some physical assets, digital assets can be transferred in the form of rights or licensed to a buyer at the time you sell your digital business.

Valuations are changing rapidly. My goal is not to identify a list of assets as much as creating an awareness in your mind.

Let’s start with an easy example, domain names. You probably have one or more that you already think are valuable. You’re probably wrong. But if it has a dot-com extension and you’ve already received an offer from someone to buy it, in writing, then it could be valuable. It could be an asset. Dot-com domains have a certain scarcity. Like real property, virtual property is more valuable when it’s scarce. Domain names alone are usually not that valuable unless your business buys and sells domain names or your last name is McDonald and you own mcdonalds.com. A domain name that includes your brand name and a website is a business asset. Yes, domain names can be stand-alone digital assets but too often the subjectivity of domain names make them difficult to measure in terms of real value. Like “real property” domains names also have a highest and best use. A portfolio of domain names that protect your business or brand may add value and are kept in your digital asset portfolio. Domain names don’t drive sales like other assets. Keyword dominance and links from authoritative pages to your landing pages are more valuable.

Currently one of the most valuable digital business asset is your Inbound-link Portfolio. The quality and quantity of your inbound links (IBLs) drive the value of your link portfolio. If you have an IBL portfolio, you need to measure and understand it’s value. Then you need to properly provision management resources.

Authoritative posts that continually rank and perform well in search results can be business assets. Historical trending, cost per click, customer acquisition costs and correlative analytics can be used to help determine the value of the content and whether or not it’s a portfolio asset. When you publish for your brand, you should be investing in content that will last decades, maybe longer.

Old posts that provide information in an way that cannot be easily improved upon are great but they must be findable. Over time great articles and posts can be updated. When web professionals and other writers and webmasters create links to authoritative posts, those links may never go away. Wouldn’t it be nice if your mutual funds had the same lasting power?

Professionally produced images and videos are more expensive. If done properly interactive or experiential media can have greater lasting power as society continues to read less and learn more from rich media. Greek Myths are reinvented over and over again yet the original stories retain their value. Although Henry David Thoreau may disagree, you don’t need to learn the language of the author to appreciate their story. If your imagery has been created in a way that makes it especially authoritative as is sometimes the case with infographics, value is retained in the content.

Same goes for short videos that communicate something so perfectly and succinctly, like TEDEd Videos that it’s hard to improve upon. It becomes easier to just link to the infographic or video than to recreate. This is gold for a brand seeking long term content ROI as with most content that goes into your digital asset portfolio.

Digital Business Asset Portfolio Management

Digital Business Assets

  • Branding assets, guides
  • Legal protections
  • Websites, apps in stores and licenseable code
  • Social media accounts
  • Link portfolios
  • Analytics reports
  • Customer, vendor records
  • Permission based email marketing lists (Hat tip: Marc Thomas)
  • Competitive analysis
  • Authoritative content and rich media

There are more but I’m going to stop here with the assumption that you can move forward with your new awareness. You now know that you need to be mindful when and if you are creating business assets.

So where do you store your digital business assets? Save everything everywhere is one answer. But efficient asset management will allow you to accurately protect, share and retrieve your assets at a lower cost. All the traditional backup strategies apply including redundancy, data centers with fail-over, fire suppression etc. apply.

A manifest in your digital asset portfolio will help you identify key data points and such as; names, locations, prior owners, copyrights, service marks, production cost, creation dates and meta data will help buyers evaluate your business. Anyone interested in partnering with you can also more easily see the value you bring with a strong digital asset portfolio.

So why do you need a digital asset portfolio? If you’re unsure, I have failed you as a writer, again. Good thing I’m a better digital business asset portfolio manager than a writer.

Managed WordPress Hosting

Learn the Basics of Managed WordPress Hosting

by Brent Norris

Related: Managed WordPress Services

Background

As web standards evolve, operating systems and web browsers evolve. Websites must also evolve. Adaptive engineering capable of following standards simply costs less to own and operate. The key is to use web standards to reduce your total cost of ownership (TCO). WordPress is standards-compliant out of the box. W3C standards help your website work well on just about any device with a web browser eg; phones, laptops, desktops, smart-cars and more.

Content management systems (CMS) provide an easy way for you to manage assets and update your web pages. Regular website updates are important to provide value to search engines. Fairly simple tasks like adding a post to announce a sales promotion are made much easier with a CMS like WordPress. WordPress currently powers around 25% of the web. Some of these sites are free as in WordPress.COM. Some are self-hosted as in WordPress.ORG. Self-hosted in the best option for business owners and writers who need more freedom over their site customization.

We recommend first-time website hobbyists start at WordPress.com. When it’s time to start building your online business eg; selling a product or you need to communicate a professional brand, it’s time to start using the self-hosted version. This can be installed and hosted by a web professional. The idea is that a small Business owner can easily move their site content from a WordPress.com to a self-hosted version of WordPress for their growing online business platform. Everything we do is scalable so startups have low costs, easy entry and unlimited growth.

Self-hosting means installing WordPress on a server (see: web hosting providers). It’s essentially the same code. It’s free, like freedom so you can install it anywhere and modify as you wish under an open source license(see: WordPress license). Most shared web hosts provide a one-click installer that makes setup as easy as filling out a form. The form and process are usually found a separate control panel (see: Plesk | Cpanel). The same control panel provides for the setup and management of email accounts, security, performance, file transfers, ssl etc. Spending time in these dashboards can be overwhelming but necessary to compete for search results. Tasks associated with managing the web and email server and your WordPress website normally require http://brentnorris.com 3-10 hours per month. Your business goals will determine your management needs and the needs of your brand.

Visitors expect your site to work -all the time.
The backend of your website is reflected in your frontend which affects the perception of your brand to your customers. Brent Norris | WordPress Managed Hosting and Managed IT ServicesNumber one quality issue is security. Ignore security and you could infect your visitors computers with malware. Google will most likely block your search results. Security vulnerabilities are inevitable and manageable.

Visitors expect your site to be quick and responsive on any device.
The performance of your pages is another signal sent to Google in determining how well a page ranks in searches. Management tools for monitoring and reporting help to keep your site secure and loading quickly.

Visitor expectations change over time.
Your visitors probably use some large websites like social media networks with advanced features. Television has a large impact on engagement and visitor satisfaction as they expect your website to be easy, like using a remote control. Your online brand must adapt and the simplest form of adaptation means keeping everything working while successfully communicating your brand eg; convert leads to sales. Good design and useful features can be discovered and installed inside the WordPress dashboard (see: themes | plugins).

Who builds WordPress?
A large decentralized team contributes to the WordPress project. The core code is continually improved and updated about four times per year. A major update and new default theme become available once per year. Developers contributing to the WordPress core may also develop  plugins for WordPress. Plugins add functionality to your WordPress code. Designers and developers also create themes to make great looking and highly functional websites. Recap so far: Easy to install. Proper configuration requires some skills and anywhere from one to ten hours or more.

WordPress Updates GoodDevelopers and designers upload plugin and theme updates to the WordPress repository. Update notifications in your WordPress dashboard alert you to new updates and a few button clicks are all that’s needed to perform updates. WordPress provides an easy way to keep everything working. Your brand, content, lead generation and other website features keep performing safely and securely, kinda.

The Problem: Human Error
Designers and developers often speak different languages. Quality varies wildly. WordPress plugins and themes rely on transparency in the market to sort out the most useful or best looking. It’s an open market and not limited to the WordPress repo. Hundreds (thousands by now?) of other websites sell plugins and themes. All updates are not compatible. There are blurred lines of communication between developers and designers. Most follow WordPress core updates and best practices to future-proof their code while adding features and bug fixes. Plugin and theme releases incongruent. A small error can create a large impact especially if you rely on your website for leads or sales. Knowing when to update each of your plugins and theme(s) is critical to the performance of your website. Maintaining a spreadsheet of plugins, themes, their creators, issues and relationships may be helpful to web professionals serving multiple clients (<50?).

Knowing which plugins and themes to install is an issue. For example, we like to curate plugins based my experience with the designers and developers, their commitment to their projects and community input. Abandoned or insecure plugins and themes you’ve purchased can ultimately add a lot of cost of ownership. Compatibility issues occur with even the best creators.

For small websites with less than http://brentnorris.com plugins using the latest default WordPress theme, everything is really smooth. This type of a setup could easily be put on auto-pilot, so to speak with minimal implications. However great this may sound initially, it’s much more common for a business owner to seek something better than the default theme and plugins.

Unmanaged WordPress RisksCompetition, branding and added security requirements like HIPAA requirements are just a few reasons why you need to actively manage your website. We all know what happens when we fail to manage our personal computer security. Slowdowns, viruses and malware are so common many pc owners abandon their machines after a couple years. Online this is completely inappropriate. Especially when your brand online is your connection to customers. Not only could they be offended but search engines will simply stop sending traffic to your site. A Google webmaster tools account can alert you to some issues before they become public knowledge. Other tools provide alerts like Wordfence security.

The Solution: Curated Updates and Managed WordPress Services
When a theme designer releases updates to their theme it’s important to read the release notes and check the community forums to be sure other site owners are having a great experience with the new theme or plugin. Testing updates on staging websites can help ensure everything works well together.

When it comes to plugin and theme updates, developer and designer track records and your webmaster’s experience can be your most valuable asset. Curated or “managed” updates also give you the ability to scale your hosting and services matrix in a way that grows as your business grows. Paying for a junior do-it-all IT person was the only option only a few years ago. Today we can automate and scale services for our clients that negates the need for multiple roles thereby increasing the quality of service you receive in several areas. Soon it will be possible to hire the very best talent to perform specific tasks at affordable prices.

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You can get the quality and experience you need for managed WordPress hosting and marketing services without hiring additional part-time or full-time staff. Let us show you how. Contact us for an appointment. We’ll explain everything we do for our clients and if the timing is right for you, get you started on a growth pattern for your businesses today.

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