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WordPress 5.0 – Be Ready for a BIG Change

The WordPress framework, which is estimated to have been used to create over 30% of all websites on the internet, hasn’t changed a lot over the years.

WordPress 5.0Even since its invention as a blogging platform and it’s ascension to become the #1 Content Management System (CMS) in the world, the basics of running a site on WordPress has remained essentially the same.

With the release of WordPress 5.0, also known at “Gutenberg”, that is about to change.

Matt Mullenweg, the original developer of WordPress, and his team of loyal developers have recognised that the online world has changed immensely since WordPress 1.0 was launched and they are preparing to introduce a brand-new version featuring some of the biggest changes the CMS has ever seen.

What is Gutenberg?

Regular users of WordPress will be familiar with the visual editor shown below where all the editing for a site’s page takes places in the one “box”. Users add text, columns, images, tables and other standard features straight into this area. For more complex items, the current editor requires used of short codes and customised HTML to make things work.

The release of Gutenberg aims to make this process easier, especially for novice users of WordPress. The new editor “breaks” the site components in smaller blocks, with each fulfilling a different task.

The Gutenberg page editor has blocks pre-configured for text, images, columns and galleries as well as media options such as slideshows, video code and audio. Regular page items such as lists, buttons and subheadings are also included with their own blocks.

Although the changes may be a little daunting to some users, having tested the new layout here at Tropical Coast Web Design, we believe that, after the initial “jump”, the change is going to make everything a whole lot easier.

Will Gutenberg break my existing site?

In most cases, your old site will be fine. The new editor is being created to be backwards compatible however with the vast number of community plugins (which add extra functionality), there is bound to be some issues.

I’m still concerned – how can I check my site will be OK?

There are a few steps that you can take to ensure that your site is ready for Gutenberg:

  • Test your current site with the “Gutenberg” plugin. This adds the new editor to your site so you can see how it works and determine whether it affects how the site functions. Any problems – just deactivate the plugin!
  • Turn off Major Updates in your WordPress installation. This will prevent Gutenberg from loading automatically on launch day and you can upgrade to WordPress 5.0 when you are ready to do so.
  • Contact your Web Developer and see if your site is ready for the upgrade. In most cases, developers have already tested their WordPress sites against the new editor and can inform you of any issues that may arise.

If you have any concerns about your website and the new Gutenberg release, please get in touch with Tropical Coast Web Design and we’d be happy to take a look for you. The testing we have undertaken with our own client’s websites has revealed no issues except for the short learning curve of the new page editor.
To help our clients with the switch, we are developing a brand-new Tutorial booklet which will demonstrate to how to use the Gutenberg with easy step-by-step instructions.

Note: Originally set to be released on the 19th November 2018, there is currently no firm date for the release of the Gutenberg update.

Why you should ALWAYS use a professional email address!

Why you should ALWAYS use a professional email address!Small business owners are often hesitant to change their existing email addresses when they create their first business website.

The owners argue that the Gmail or Hotmail address that they have been using for the past ten years “still works” and that there is no need to change over.

What these business owners are failing to realise is that the benefits of a professional email address far outweigh any drawbacks they may have and the changeover doesn’t have to be a nightmare either.

Benefit #1 – A PROFESSIONAL email address conveys a PROFESSIONAL image

The generic email addresses from webmail services like Gmail and Hotmail can give a small business the appearance of being a fly-by-night operation and not very serious about how they operate. It can also convey that a business is new, small, or even part time!

A generic email address also doesn’t encourage trust in the brand of your business.

Some prospective clients will simply refuse to share information through to a Gmail or Hotmail account. They want to know that your business is legit and serious enough to engage with.

A professional email address will give you the right branded image to do this.

Benefit #2 – Your own email address makes you easy to REMEMBER.

With so many businesses staking out their claims online, it is easy to get lost in the crowd. Think of the number of email addresses that you have in your own professional directories – Can you remember any of the generic ones?

For example – it is much easier to remember bob@cassowarycoastdining.com.au* than bob332521@gmail.com

Let people get in touch easily by being memorable with your own branded business email address.

Benefit #3 – Give your small business a BIGGER image

Having your own professional email address system lets you convey a corporate image regardless of the size of your business.

By setting up multiple email addresses for the various sections of your business, prospective customers will perceive that you are a much larger business than you are and to some of them, bigger IS better.

For example, Cassowary Coast Dining* could use email addresses such as accounts@cassowarycoastdining.com.au, support@cassowarycoastdining.com.au, bookings@cassowarycoastdining.com.au, etc.

Why you should ALWAYS use a professional email address!

Benefit #4 – You can promote your Brand – EVERY time you send an email

By using a professional email address, you get to promote your OWN business every time you send out an email, not Google’s or Microsoft’s. Even if the recipient has never heard of your business before, your email address is an instant way of bringing it to their attention.


For those still hesitant to make the change, the move from generic email to branded email doesn’t have to be an immediate one (nor do we recommend it).

Make the change with these four easy steps:

1. Be sure to make all your customers aware of the new email (a MailChimp Newsletter would be a great way to do this).
2. Continue to monitor incoming emails via the generic platforms of Gmail or Hotmail.
3. All new outgoing emails should be sent via the new email address.
4. Once the incoming emails to the generic addresses have slowed or stopped completely, close those accounts so that they can no longer be used by anyone.

If you are interested in setting up professional email addresses for your business, get in touch with Rusty Mango Design and we’ll work with you throughout the changeover process (and beyond).

* Cassowary Coast Dining is not a real business. Those email addresses are purely for demonstrative purposes.

Five Key Signs that your Website might just need a Redesign.

This year, the humble website as we know it turns 27 years old.

Since scientist Tim Burners-Leigh created the first ever webpage in 1990 (that’s it on the right), billions of pages have been added to the World Wide Web that we now call the Internet. Dominated by hobbyists at first, small businesses were slow to catch on to the benefits of the online world however it is now seen as an absolute necessity.

Incredibly, some of those original pages still exist but it is no longer acceptable to set up a website and then forget about it. Your internet-savvy customers demand more. If your website is more than three years old, it is definitely time to take a good look at it, compare it against your competitors and determine whether it is working for or against your business. If your site is not performing, here’s some key pointers that indicate that your site might just need a redesign.

1. It looks like it belongs in the 90’s

In the early 90’s, internet speeds were very slow and websites combatted this by keeping imagery to a minimum and displaying loads of text. There wasn’t much to look at but consumers had no choice (and at this early stage of the internet, they didn’t know any better).
Fast forward to 2017 and your site visitors expect so much more – they want eye-catching designs, easy to use functionality and, most of all, access to YOU as a business – all at the touch of their fingers. If your website doesn’t satisfy these basic requirements from your online customers – you might just need a redesign.

2. You can’t update it yourself

For this point, if you don’t already know, you may need to get in touch with the original developer of your site and see what Content Management System they have used to build your site upon. If they respond that it doesn’t have one and it’s not possible to update information yourself – you might just need a redesign.

3. Load Time is really ssssllllloooowwww

Head on over to GT Metrix and type your website address into the box provided. This handy online tool will not only give you a speed rating but will also give you a list of all the items that are slowing your site down. And with PageSpeed being an integral part of the Google ranking system, you really need a site that is getting an “A” grade in relation to speed.

If your site speed is “flunking” Google AND the patience of your potential customers – you might just need a redesign.

4. Your Bounce Rate is too high

Every website owner or manager needs to be constantly monitoring their site’s data and analytics. Either through Google Analytics or AwStats on the server, be sure to regularly check the statistic known as “bounce rate”. This statistic shows how fast customers arrive and leave your site, leaving details of how long they stayed and what they looked at.

Ideally, you want to see that site visitors have stayed long enough to find what they were looking for. If the Bounce Rate is too high (meaning they left fairly quickly), your call to action may not be strong enough to make them want to stay. If customers are staying less than 10 seconds on any particular page, you might just need a redesign.

5. It’s not making any difference to your “bottom line”.

At the end of the day, the whole purpose of your website is to provide a boost to the financial bottom line of your business. It may achieve this via online sales, reliable after-sales support or simply the establishment of your business as an expert in its field. Regardless of how it is working, your business should be benefitting from your website and you should be able to measure this in either profit or customer numbers.

If your site is simply trudging along and not really providing any tangible benefits to your small business, you might just need a redesign.

If your website fails to satisfy any of the key points above and you really want to turn that around, get in touch with Rusty Mango Design. We’ll create a brand-new site that is attractive, responsive to all screens and useful to your customers – a website that will be a proud part of your business.

Top Five Things Every Small Business Website Needs

Top Five Things Every Small Business Website NeedsCreating a small business website is a daunting task for anyone who has very little or no online experience. Even the smallest bit of research will unleash a whole range of techno-jargon and online marketing advice from all angles – enough to make anyone’s head spin.

To avoid this overload of information, a new site should be treated like a V8 Supercar heading out to the track for the first time. It must be built on a solid framework but will be constantly tweaked throughout its life span into an efficient, customer-converting machine.

To provide this solid framework, there are five essential items that must be taken into consideration from day one:

#1 An Easy-to-Use Navigation Menu

The menu system of the site must be easy to find on the page, simple to understand and uncluttered in appearance. Refine the main options (those visible straight away) down to the bare necessities and “drop-down” menus should be used to display any extras that need to be accessed during a visitor’s time on the website.

#2 An “About Us” Page

Top Five Things Every Small Business Website NeedsIt’s been found that today’s online consumer likes to “connect” with businesses before they purchase products or engage services.  A good “About Us” page should be jargon-free and clearly display who you are, where your business has evolved from and why it exists now. Once again, keep to the essentials but at the same time, don’t leave any important information out.

Be sure to also include a “Contact Us” page on the site with a contact form that sends directly to the site manager’s email.

#3 Helpful, free content

Another way to create a connection with your customers to provide helpful content that will improve the way they interact with your products and services. This can be achieved through a variety of ways including FAQ pages, videos, customer forums and downloadable PDFs. By adding high-quality free content to your site, visitors are more likely to return in the future to what else you have to offer them.

#4 Customer Testimonial Page

Whilst writing your own content will go a long way towards selling your products and services to site visitors, nothing works better than testimonials from your current customers.

Select a few satisfied clients that you have worked with and send them a friendly email requesting a short description of their experiences with your business. You may be surprised how quickly you will receive a response from them – most people love to reward good service.

#5 A Clear Call-To-Action

Top Five Things Every Small Business Website NeedsEverything above counts for nothing if you don’t provide a quick, easy to find Call-To-Action (CTA) somewhere prominent on your site. The CTA is the method by which a site visitor chooses to become a customer. For example, on a motel’s website, a “Make a Booking” button provides as the Call-To-Action. On an eCommerce site, you’ll find a shopping trolley icon marked “Checkout”.

The CTA may be different for each business but the rules for displaying them are the same – it must be eye-catching, clearly defined and be designed in such a way to encourage interaction.

Without a Call-To-Action, a website quickly becomes an online brochure.

Conclusion

There are loads of other elements that help make a successful website that converts visitors to customers. These five items will allow you to create a solid framework from which to build the remainder of your site.

In future blog posts, we will cover some of the extras that will add even further value to your site and help to build your business in both brand and bottom line.

For help getting your small business website off the ground, get in touch with Rusty Mango Design. We’ve been working with small business since 2007.

Tropical Coast Web Design