BuzzTown Digital Marketing https://buzztownmarketing.com A premier website design and SEO agency in Downingtown, PA Wed, 09 Sep 2015 02:33:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 5 Performance Increasing Tests for your Website https://buzztownmarketing.com/5-performance-increasing-tests-for-your-website/ https://buzztownmarketing.com/5-performance-increasing-tests-for-your-website/#respond Mon, 07 Sep 2015 20:46:04 +0000 http://buzztownmarketing.com/?p=1733 It’s that phone call that no one wants to get. Out of the blue, someone that you barely even remember meeting after a long night on the town, calls to tell you those 5 dreaded words: “You need to get tested.” Your heart sinks and you start to panic. You think aloud, “What am I […]

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It’s that phone call that no one wants to get. Out of the blue, someone that you barely even remember meeting after a long night on the town, calls to tell you those 5 dreaded words: “You need to get tested.” Your heart sinks and you start to panic. You think aloud, “What am I going to do, and how am I going to explain this? I barely even know this person!” Yes, you were at a Networking event a few weeks ago. Yes, you saw an attractive person on the other side of the room and decided to hand out your business card to them. Yes, they took a look at your website on a device that you thought was no longer in use and… it looks terrible and doesn’t function properly. Well, don’t worry, we at BuzzTown Marketing are here to help you cope through this hard time and will help you test your website to see where the problem may exist. The following are the 5 tests that you should run your website through to ensure that it is healthy enough to be passed around the entire town!

Test #1: Is your website Mobile Optimized?

There are several reasons to make sure that your website is optimized for mobile devices. Whether you have a separate mobile version of your site, or you have a responsive design (where the website adjusts depending on the size of the browser), mobile has taken over and most of your customers are likely visiting your site on a mobile device. One reason is to make it easier on the person viewing your site. Forcing someone to zoom in to read the text on your page, or struggle to click a tiny button will chase your customers away. Don’t be that company.

Another reason to optimize your site is that Google will love you just a bit more. As Google has previously stated, beginning in April of 2015, this is now used as a ranking signal. Ranking better in Google searches should be reason enough to add a mobile version or get a new responsive website.

Get tested for mobile optimization: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

Test #2: Check your site’s speed

Just like having a website that is mobile optimized, Google also uses Page Speed as a ranking signal. No one likes a slow website. A study through Akamai has shown that 40% of people will leave your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. 3 friggin’ seconds! That is all the time that you have to send your masterpiece through the air, up to space, then back down to earth, and onto a phone that someone is using while waiting outside of a changing room at a mall. So, check your site speed to see if you need help with improving your site speed, or if you’ve already seen the light.

Get tested for Site speed: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Test #3: Check for Broken Links

Broken links are frustrating. It pisses your customers off when they are following your links and it leads them down a one way street to a dead end. Grrrr! Google doesn’t appreciate it much either. But, it is super easy to test for broken links. You can use websites like the Online Broken Link Checker or, if you have signed up for Google’s Search console (formerly Google’s Webmaster Tools), there is a section just for crawl errors that show you bad links that they have found. So, get tested for Stinky Link Syndrome (I should probably trademark that) today and stop the 404’s!

Get tested for Stinky Link Syndrome: http://www.brokenlinkcheck.com or https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools

Test #4: Check to see how you look

So, how does your website look on a TV? What about on a mobile device from 4 years ago? What about on Nana’s old Compaq computer? Knowing this is important for the health of your website as you grow. You will want to look appealing on as many devices as possible. To do this, there are several free online tools to see how your website looks based on different browser sizes. There is a real-time way to see how it looks and reacts using a tool called Screenfly or a service called Browsershots that takes a screenshot of your website from several dozen browsers on different platforms. Take advantage of tools like these to make sure Nana can easily read your blog and then call you to tell you that she read it and wishes that you didn’t use the F word so much.

Get tested on your looks: http://quirktools.com/screenfly or http://browsershots.org

Test #5: Check your code

Ok, so now it is time to talk about your insides. You know, the code that makes up your website? Was your web guy sloppy, doing lines of code off of a hookers a$$ in a backroom during the Christmas party, or do angels sing anytime someone views your magnificent code? Well, let’s put it to the test to make sure that all browsers will love it and display it the way that they are supposed to (even then it doesn’t always work that way. We’re looking at you, Microsoft). There is an organization called the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C for short) that develops standards for the web. They have multiple validators that can test for HTML and also CSS. We recommend testing your site using both. Test both and take the results to your web guy to make sure that any errors found can be fixed. Yeah, I know, I am still chuckling at the “lines of code” sentence as well.

Get tested on your lines of code: http://validator.w3.org (HTML) and http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator (CSS)

So, there you have it. Five ways to test your site to make sure that both Google and your customers will love you a bit more. If you need any help upgrading your website, boosting your SEO, enhancing your Social Media Marketing, or improving any other part of your marketing campaign, please drop us a line so that we can help.

If you have any tests that you use on your website that weren’t mentioned here, please let us know if the comments section below. Happy testing!

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5 Steps to Secure Your WordPress Website After Getting Hacked https://buzztownmarketing.com/5-steps-to-secure-your-wordpress-website-after-getting-hacked/ https://buzztownmarketing.com/5-steps-to-secure-your-wordpress-website-after-getting-hacked/#respond Thu, 27 Aug 2015 19:33:55 +0000 http://buzztownmarketing.com/?p=1714 First, let me start out by giving a big F U to hackers. Damn it, they suck. They have made my life (and the lives of many programmers, web developers, etc) incredibly difficult, throughout my career. Ok, whew, I feel better. Second, there are a lot of ways to hack into a website. I realize […]

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First, let me start out by giving a big F U to hackers. Damn it, they suck. They have made my life (and the lives of many programmers, web developers, etc) incredibly difficult, throughout my career. Ok, whew, I feel better. Second, there are a lot of ways to hack into a website. I realize that there are a lot of ways to secure a site, from better hosting to needing a security expert. The following are the steps that I used in a particular instance after a hacking. I hope that it helps if you have just been hacked.

So, a client contacted me this past week saying that he had received an email from the owner of a Football (soccer here in the states) equipment website in the UK. Apparently, my client’s site had been hacked and was now copying the content from the football site and displaying it on my client’s site through some tricky javascript and PHP (both are programming languages if you aren’t familiar). The site would then display spammy links taking the user to a malicious site. In a short period of time, there were thousands of mini pages on the site, all with very spammy links. Yeah, bad news.

Now, my client had built the site himself, and hadn’t thought too much about security. I mean, why would he? It didn’t handle credit cards or take visitors personal information. The site was only supposed to have 4 pages. My client also never used an analytics program, never signed up for Google’s Search Console (formerly called Webmaster tools), and was completely unaware that this problem existed before he received the email. In Google search results, the site has been flagged with a notice saying “This website may be hacked.” Yeah, again bad news. So, to fix this problem, here are the steps that I followed.

Sign up for Google Search Console

Since Google had already flagged the site, I figured that there could be some extra information in Google’s Search Console. Signing up is easy if you haven’t already, and you can get some great info about your site there. As described in a previous post, you can also submit a sitemap through Search Console to help Google crawl the pages on your site that you want Google to see. Anyway, there were messages there for my clients site stating that it might have been hacked and gave steps to follow to help rid your site. Another thing that you can do is type “site:http://example.com” (obviously inserting your own domain) into google and see all of the pages that Google has indexed of your site. This can obviously help out in other areas to know exactly what Google sees on your site. I used both of these ethods to find out just how bad the problem was.  It wasn’t pretty.

Update WordPress

The version of WordPress that my client was using was quite outdated. The great programmers behind WordPress are pretty quick to patch holes in the security of the software. I believe that one of the ways that the hackers may have gained entrance is through an old bug or a hole that had since been patched. Always make sure to keep your WordPress site updated along with any plugins that you are using. Always make sure to make a backup copy of the site before upgrading anything, just to be safe.

Change Passwords

Yes, it sucks, but you have to change your password. Yeah, I know that it will be hard to remember a new password that isn’t your dogs name and the year that you were born. I get it. But, just like any time that your email may get broken into, you really need to change your passwords. There are great password management apps and software out there that will manage the passwords and remember them for you. So go ahead and use a randomly generated 18 character password that uses number, symbols, and upper and lowercase letters.

Security Plugins

One of the plugins that I discovered through helping return the website to normal is a security plugin called Wordfence. There is a free version and a premium version available, but the free version had what I needed in the short term. This plugin will scan your website and compare the WordPress files on your server to the files from WordPress itself. If something is different, then it could be a sign that it was altered by hackers. It also monitors all traffic to the site and updates in real time the IP address with the country of each visitor, what page they are trying to access and when it happened. You can also see all attempts to log in to your admin section. This part was actually quite terrifying as there were several attempts from Russia and Ukraine every few seconds. Through Wordfence, there are ways to permanently block users by their IP address, even though it can be easy to continue trying through other IP addresses. The plugin can even email you when too many failed attempts are made to log in, just to keep you updated (or frightened).

To make it even more difficult for hackers to log in the admin section, I found a premium plugin called Hide My WP which can make your WordPress site appear as though it isn’t a WordPress site. The look of your website won’t change, but there are several tell-tale signs that a site is using WordPress, and hackers can zero in on those. One feature that I love is that you can hide the WordPress login page and turn it from mysite.com/wp-login.php to mysite.com/wp-login.php?somethingelse=1234 . It’s going to be pretty difficult for a hacker to guess that page, and if they do, it is easy for you to change it to something else.

Deleting and repairing hacked files

Doing a site:search, as I described above, will let you see the pages that Google sees. This can show you the additional pages that are being generated through your website by the hacker’s code. What the hackers did on my client’s site was create a new file titled wp-update.php. They could then generate a ton of pages, each with unique content by adding “?page=” followed by a string of characters, which then referenced a bunch of files that were hidden in fake plugins. By removing the wp-update.php file (which I made sure to double check just  to make sure it wasn’t a core WordPress file first) along with the fake plugins, the pages couldn’t be produced any longer. Using the Wordfence plugin will help you find the files that don’t belong or have changed when they shouldn’t have. You will need to do a little bit of work to find some of the pages (like the wp-update.php file) but it is worth the work to secure your site.

After these changes, Google only took a few days to remove the “This website may be hacked” notice after I submitted a form through Search Console asking them to take another look at the site. I had to describe the steps that I took to remove any hacked files when submitting the form. I continue to monitor the site to make sure that there aren’t any new unwanted entries to the admin section, and so far, so good. If you have any other steps that you have used in the past or if you have other plugins that you recommend, please leave them in the comments. If you need help with your website, SEO, or any other digital marketing services, feel free to drop us a line. If you are a hacker, sorry about the whole F U thing from before. I wasn’t hugged enough as a child, or something. Let’s be friends, ok?

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Yay! Your website is done. Now what? https://buzztownmarketing.com/your-website-is-done-now-what/ https://buzztownmarketing.com/your-website-is-done-now-what/#respond Fri, 21 Aug 2015 12:04:19 +0000 http://buzztownmarketing.com/?p=1653 First, congrats on the new site! It looks really great. I love the way that the one thing looks on that one page. Yeah, great work. So, now what? What are you going to do to get the word out about this brilliant masterpiece? What’s the next step after taking down that Coming Soon page? […]

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First, congrats on the new site! It looks really great. I love the way that the one thing looks on that one page. Yeah, great work. So, now what? What are you going to do to get the word out about this brilliant masterpiece? What’s the next step after taking down that Coming Soon page? You’re in luck, read on.

Check the look

So, first things first. You did check the site in multiple browsers, right? What? No? You have to know what everyone will be seeing and experiencing, so check out the site on as many browsers as you can. On a windows PC, check it out on Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, and even Safari. On a Mac, check out Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. Look at it using multiple browsers on an iPhone, an iPad, multiple Android phones, and even a Windows phone if you can find one 😏. Yes, there are website like Browsershots.org that show you screenshots from multiple browsers, but I like to see the site and interact with it to make sure that everything is working properly. If you see something off, let your web designer know so that it can updated immediately.

The Title is Vital

Ok, so the site looks great in all browsers including the one on your grandmother’s Compaq computer. You know, the one that takes 4 hours to boot up, at times sounds like it has a nice case of smokers cough, and only displays 16 colors (Come on, don’t complain. She made cookies and thinks that you are the best looking grandchild. Cut grandma a break.) So, now you need to do just a bit of SEO work (well, a lot, but that’s another post). All pages on your website should have a Title and a Description. The title and description are what Google will display when your site shows up in the search results. Properly formed Titles and Descriptions are extremely important. Each title should be no more than 55 characters (including spaces) and a description should be kept below 155. Any longer, and Google will cut your title or description short and display an Elipses ( … ) in place of the rest.  If you have a WordPress powered website, your in luck because there are several plugins that help with this process including Yoast’s SEO Plugin and All in One SEO plugin (many, many more exist, but I have used both in the past and can speak highly of both). There are plugins for several other CMS’s (Content Management Software) that can help with the Title and Description, but since we at BuzzTown Marketing specialize in WordPress websites, we can’t really recommend any. A simple Google search can help creating your titles and descriptions.

Over Here Searchy Searchy

If you did nothing from here on out in regards to your site, Google and Bing will likely still find your site eventually and index it. But, why not let them know immediately and make them aware of all of the pages that your site has? To do so, mosey on over to Google’s Search Console, create an account if you don’t already have one, and register your site. Once it is registered, and you have gone through the steps to verify that you really do own the website, you will want to submit a sitemap. A sitemap, in case you are unaware, is a listing of all of the pages of your site along with info like when they were each updated last, how often they get updated, etc. They can be a lot of work to create and maintain manually. But there are ways to create a sitemap automatically. If you have a WordPress powered website, you have a lot of options in the form of plugins (The same plugins that I listed above, Yoast and All in One SEO). If you don’t, there are sites that will crawl your site and make one for you, like XML-Sitemaps and XML Sitemap Generator. Sitemaps should stay as updated as possible when you add more pages or update older pages to your new website.

So, this is the first three things that you can do to help your new website be found and appreciated by users. We will be adding many more articles of steps to follow to attract organic traffic and to discover ways to market your site for the best results. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for updates and new blog posts. If you need help getting your new website up and running, adding content, or getting the word out about it, just drop us a line.

Oh, and by the way, because you will be adding more and more content to your site in the form of blog posts and other forms of content, your website should never really be considered finished, and that’s a great thing!

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What the heck is Inbound Marketing? https://buzztownmarketing.com/what-the-heck-is-inbound-marketing/ https://buzztownmarketing.com/what-the-heck-is-inbound-marketing/#respond Fri, 14 Aug 2015 17:03:36 +0000 http://buzztownmarketing.com/?p=1657 So, what the heck is Inbound marketing? Well, you can divide marketing into two groups, inbound marketing and, you guessed it, outbound marketing. There is a huge difference between the two including cost, efficiency, and how the potential customer feels towards your company after encountering a piece of your marketing efforts. To understand what it […]

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So, what the heck is Inbound marketing? Well, you can divide marketing into two groups, inbound marketing and, you guessed it, outbound marketing. There is a huge difference between the two including cost, efficiency, and how the potential customer feels towards your company after encountering a piece of your marketing efforts. To understand what it is, we should first take a look at what it isn’t. Let’s start with outbound marketing.

What is Outbound Marketing?

Also known by some as interruption marketing, Outbound Marketing uses traditional marketing methods that force the consumer to suspend what they were doing to interact with your piece of marketing. Examples of outbound marketing are outdoor billboards (interrupting someone’s attention while driving), a television commercial (interrupting the program that the viewer was watching), magazine ads (interrupting the article being read), cold calls from telemarketers (usually, it seems, interrupting dinner), and spam email. These types of advertising and marketing have always had very, very low return. How many times have you been reading a magazine, recognize that the next page is an ad, then turn the page before you looked at the logo or even what the product was that they were selling? This especially happens in those magazines that you “read just for the articles” and completely “ignore” the centerfold, am I right? Well, most people do. It’s becoming easier to ignore outbound marketing methods like TV ads (thanks DVR!), cold calls (thanks National Do Not Call list!) and Spam email (a BIG thank you to my spam filter for knowing that I don’t need any Canadian medication of the enlarging type!). Companies spend a ton of money on billboards, TV ads, radio ads, magazine ads, and other forms of Outbound Marketing, but it is hard to know which method really works best, and to get an accurate measurement on which is driving the most business.

Ok, so what is Inbound Marketing

Wait, did you hear that? It sounded almost like angels singing? Oh, wait, that’s just marketers everywhere singing about inbound marketing. Inbound Marketing is a series of strategies that focus on attracting customers through posting original content that is easily shareable and answers the questions that the customer was searching for. This is typically done through blog posts, ebooks, infographics, and videos. As the customer progresses down the sales funnel, other Inbound techniques, such as personalized emails, are used to persuade the customer to complete the sale. The customers are then kept and (hopefully) grow loyal to the brand through more original content, and attracting them back the same methods that they initially encountered. Inbound marketing bring customers “in” as opposed to marketers having to go “out” to wave down a few customers by stealing their attention away. The methods used by Inbound Marketers include content marketing (informative blog posts, videos, ebooks, infographics, etc), social media marketing, SEO, email marketing (not spam, but useful emails that customers actually sign up to receive) and even PPC or pay-per-click ads (those ads that you see on the right side of Google searches).

These methods, when used together, can garner a lot of attention from your pool of potential customers. Let’s look at an example of how Inbound Marketing can work. So, let’s say that I own a small independent toy store (the 6 year old in me just squealed with delight at the thought). Starting with my website, there are numerous things to do to make sure that my SEO is up to snuff. With so many things that I can do to make sure that the “Search Gods” look favorably on my website through SEO, I’ll leave that part for another post (here, I’m focusing on general Inbound Marketing). But, just know that SEO is incredibly important so that you are found easily when your customers are searching for you. I would also start an email newsletter that is sent out weekly with deals, coupons, and links to product video reviews. Watching kids review a new toy can be fascinating, funny, and informative. It could prove to be a popular feature that customers look forward to watching. These videos would be included in blog posts that mirror what the kids in the videos are saying. Of course, the videos and blog posts would be shared via social media. The videos would do well on Facebook using Facebook’s native video player. Twitter would be used more often for the videos, blog posts, and posting pictures of Star Wars figures in funny situations. Instagram is a great social network for the Star Wars figures series as well. I would also target potential customers that live near my store with ads on Google and parents that are near me on Facebook. All of these techniques can be measured and analyzed to see what works and what doesn’t so that changes can be made.

Ok, so that’s Inbound Marketing. Now, there is a bit more involved than my quick example above, but it gives you an idea of what can be done. What other Inbound Marketing techniques would you instate to help my fictional toy store succeed? Please let me know in the comments below. If you have any questions about Inbound Marketing, let us know!

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Welcome to BuzzTown. Can you feel it? https://buzztownmarketing.com/welcome-to-buzztown-can-you-feel-it/ https://buzztownmarketing.com/welcome-to-buzztown-can-you-feel-it/#respond Fri, 07 Aug 2015 00:05:24 +0000 http://buzztownmarketing.com/?p=1651 Ok, so here is the first post. Let’s get this over with so that we can move on to some exciting topics. Here at BuzzTown Digital Marketing, we will be bringing tips and advise on making your digital presence (SEO, website, social media, email, etc) much more effective. We hope to form a community of […]

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Ok, so here is the first post. Let’s get this over with so that we can move on to some exciting topics. Here at BuzzTown Digital Marketing, we will be bringing tips and advise on making your digital presence (SEO, website, social media, email, etc) much more effective. We hope to form a community of professionals, discussing these topics and helping others to see the light of Inbound Marketing. We love Inbound Marketing and have for several years. We think that many others will love it too, once they realize how powerful and less expensive it can be, compared to interrupting ads, spam email, and meaningless social media updates that are being posted because someone once told the owner that they had to post occasionally.

If you are someone that has discovered and embraced Inbound Marketing, you know that it isn’t something that you just ask the intern to do during their last 5 minutes of the work day. It takes time and commitment (and yes, money if you need to hire writers) to keep it up. But, Google and others will love you a wee bit more and more, every day that you do keep it up.

We also hope to present these posts with a bit of humor. As proven by many Superbowl ads, humor can help to make things more memorable. We want you to be able to remember what you read here so that it can help you later on. Plus, we have read so many blog posts on a particular topic that we love, but it was so dry and boring that we ended up scanning it for a crumb of useful information. If just a tad of humor can help to read it through to the end, then it is totally worth it.

So, thanks for reading this and we hope to bring you great posts about topics that will help your business succeed.

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