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High-speed embrace of social media platforms by businesses big and small causes some to take their eye of the ball when it comes to their web sites. Use these guidelines to ensure your site resonates with visitors.

1.0 Absolute Must Have Functionality

– Don’t have funky menus – menus make/break a good site – if visitors can’t navigate through your site your in trouble right?
– Grok above the fold – essential content has to be above the bottom of the visitor’s screen & your newsletter sign up & social media accounts.
– The only SEO you need: well-done meta tags, good content, the plug-ins, share your site on social media.
– Love load times – your site should load under than 1.5 seconds. Load times impact SE rankings and visitor experience. Check speed with few free tools
– Don’t scrimp on images – images drive branding as much as content.
– Be Mobile Friendly – recognize 40-50% of your traffic is visiting via a Smartphone.
– Analytics and Monitoring tools – install and set these up without much fancy.

2.0 Add On Features You Need Downstream

– Incorporate Sharing Functionality – this can be done via a plug-in across your entire web site.
– Enable Comments – using tools or built in coding capability; but note you need to monitor these on an ongoing basis.
– Create a sexy Contact Us page – don’t throw out a boring form page; this is the last page many visitors may see.
– Get Your Blog Out There– should be in your Universal menus (at top of all pages) and visible to all visitors.
– Takes some risks with your design – we are used black and white photos on our home page and went with a retro look.
– Be Link Gracious Across Your Site – linking out to other sites conveys brand confidence.
– Check our real time Analytics – they are real time but monthly subscription costs based on usage.

You’ve built the site and now what do you do to get traction? Blog when/where you can and share your content across the social web. Call, Tweet or contact us if we can help you.

WordPress tip of the month:

Here’s a simple way to make WordPress email more reliable using SMTP. These instructions will make your WP mail secure and robust.

Edit File: wp-config.php:

define( 'SMTP_USER', 'user@example.com' ); // Username to use for SMTP authentication
define( 'SMTP_PASS', 'smtp password' ); // Password to use for SMTP authentication
define( 'SMTP_HOST', 'smtp.example.com' ); // The hostname of the mail server
define( 'SMTP_FROM', 'website@example.com' ); // SMTP From email address
define( 'SMTP_NAME', 'e.g Website Name' ); // SMTP From name
define( 'SMTP_PORT', '25' ); // SMTP port number - likely to be 25, 465 or 587
define( 'SMTP_SECURE', 'tls' ); // Encryption system to use - ssl or tls
define( 'SMTP_AUTH', true ); // Use SMTP authentication (true|false)
define( 'SMTP_DEBUG', 0 ); // for debugging purposes only set to 1 or 2

Edit File: themes/functions.php

add_action( 'phpmailer_init', 'send_smtp_email' );
function send_smtp_email( $phpmailer ) {
$phpmailer->isSMTP();
$phpmailer->Host = SMTP_HOST;
$phpmailer->SMTPAuth = SMTP_AUTH;
$phpmailer->Port = SMTP_PORT;
$phpmailer->Username = SMTP_USER;
$phpmailer->Password = SMTP_PASS;
$phpmailer->SMTPSecure = SMTP_SECURE;
$phpmailer->From = SMTP_FROM;
$phpmailer->FromName = SMTP_NAME;
}

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