WordPress Wisdom: What Is A Plugin?

Another great question we get asked a lot is “What is a {WordPress} plugin?”. Plugin’s are amazing little applications that can be added to your website to increase its functionality. Plugin’s act the same way as applications do on your smartphone. That being said, there are the good, the bad, and the ugly to be aware of. Like all big decisions in your life, before deciding on a premium plugin purchase (or even a free download), do your research and make sure the plugin you’re interested in using is validated by reviews and support. You don’t want a disaster on your hands!

Watch our video for a complete breakdown of what a plugin is, how it works on your website, and how to install one on your wordpress dashboard.

Increase Your Website Traffic, Tap House Media

WordPress Wisdom: What is a WordPress Theme?

Ever wonder what the difference between a WordPress Theme & Template is? You’re not alone. We get asked that question by potential clients all the time. So much so that we decided to do a WordPress Wisdom video on the differences. In this video, we’ll also explain how to go about finding the best WordPress theme to work with, why doing your research before purchasing is important, and what components to look for before pulling the trigger. Check it out and find clarity on one of the most confusing subjects in WordPress land.

Increase Your Website Traffic, Tap House Media

5 Easy Ways To Increase Website Traffic ASAP

Tap House Media blog

Website design has evolved drastically over the last 2-3 years. Staying on top of new trends in functionality can be challenging for a small – medium sized business owner. Even trying to understand all the new terminology, such as “mobile optimization” and “dynamic content,” can get overwhelming. Don’t fret. We’ve got you covered!

Tap House Media has broken down 5 EASY WAYS TO INCREASE WEBSITE TRAFFIC ASAP to help guide you on your journey to brand awareness awesomeness + convert those leads into paying clients!

FOCUS ON AESTHETICS

According to market research, our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Website aesthetic – not the written content on the screen – is your first chance to reach out and grab your audience. Without quality design, your visitors likely won’t take the time to read the content you’ve invested in.

A designer’s job is to create a compelling experience for the reader at the other end of the screen. We do this by using aesthetics and design to expose your brand. Your website should convey the spirit and culture of your company. Are you open and fun, serious and conservative, or friendly and informative? Each of these emotions would require a different imagery, layout and typeface for your website. Even the colors you use will impact visitors’ emotional experience on your site.

Website design elements are exponentially more powerful than content, in terms of mistrust. For example, if you land on a website that is outdated, not functional, and poorly designed with a busy interface and small fonts, you’re more likely to choose to bring your business elsewhere – more than likely to a company that showcases a website with a more professional, thoughtfully planned look.

Websites should be updated/redesigned every 3-5 years to stay up-to-date with new trends in design and functionality.

BOTTOM LINE:

Hire a professional to design the look and feel of your website. A great company will:

Meet face to face – get to know each other on a business/personal level

Take the time to get to know your brand and company culture

Be attentive to your deadlines and need for updates

Steer you in the right direction

Offer payment plans so you can budget and effectively

 OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE FOR THE USER (NOT FOR YOU):

Your website is a tool that should ultimately serve your audience. From the visual aesthetics to the functionality, all design techniques should work together to improve your site’s ability to serve.

74% of businesses believe correcting your site’s user experience is key for improving sales, conversions, and loyalty. Really terrible sites fail because they were designed for a company, not for the reader.

If your visitor doesn’t know where to look and what to do on your page, they will leave. Look at every page element through your reader’s eyes and correct anything that is confusing or out of place. Not only does this serve your visitors, it will also improve your bounce rates.

BOTTOM LINE:

In 3 – 5 seconds, can someone look at your page and know: Who your company is, what you do, and what you want the visitor to do on the page? If not, revisit both your value prop and design with a professional team to highlight those important messages.

OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE FOR MOBILE VIEWING (With Responsive Design)

People access your content from multiple devices – iphones, ipads, etc. The evidence of this mobile migration is compelling. Here are a few of the many statistics pointing to audience’s transition to mobile viewing:

65% of U.S. adults sleep with their phones on or near their beds

Over 20% of Google searches are performed on a mobile device.

In the United States, 25% of internet users only access the internet on a mobile device.

61% of people have a better opinion of brands when they offer a good mobile experience.

25.85% of all emails are opened on mobile phones, and 10.16% are opened on tablets.

In mobile SEO, Google penalizes sites that aren’t optimized for responsive design.

BOTTOM LINE:

Having a mobile website is no longer simply a nice feature. It is now a necessity and literally impacts the growth of your business.

BE THE EXPERT IN YOUR INDUSTRY THROUGH BLOGGING & CONTENT MARKETING

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” – Content Marketing Institute

If you’re consistently creating content that’s helpful for your target customer, it will help establish you as an authority in their eyes. This is a great method for Sales and Service professionals, but obviously can be used for ALL business owners. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues via your blog.

BOTTOM LINE:

Begin a plan for content marketing and be consistent!  Content marketing drives traffic to your website. Every time you write a blog post, it’s one more indexed page on your website, which means it’s one more opportunity for you to show up in search engines and drive traffic to your website in organic search.

Content marketing helps convert traffic into leads. Just like every blog post you write is another indexed page, each post is a new opportunity to generate new leads. The way this works is really simple – just add a lead-generating call-to-action to every blog post that directs to your landing page (What’s a landing page, you ask? Get in touch with Tap House Media and we’ll talk about how creating landing pages can help sell your service or products).

Blogging also helps you get discovered via social media. Every time you write a blog post, you’re creating content that people can share on social networks — Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest — which helps expose your business to a new audience that may not know you yet.

OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE FOR MOBILE VIEWING (With Responsive Design)

People access your content from multiple devices – iphones, ipads, etc. The evidence of this mobile migration is compelling. Here are a few of the many statistics pointing to audience’s transition to mobile viewing:

65% of U.S. adults sleep with their phones on or near their beds

Over 20% of Google searches are performed on a mobile device.

In the United States, 25% of internet users only access the internet on a mobile device.

61% of people have a better opinion of brands when they offer a good mobile experience.

25.85% of all emails are opened on mobile phones, and 10.16% are opened on tablets.

In mobile SEO, Google penalizes sites that aren’t optimized for responsive design.

BOTTOM LINE: 

Having a mobile website is no longer simply a nice feature. It is now a necessity and literally impacts the growth of your business.

 

6 types of video to use in your online marketing

WordPress Wisdom: WordPress.org VS. WordPress.com

“What’s the difference between WordPress.com & WordPress.org?”. We get asked this question A LOT. So much so that we decided to explain it to our viewers in simple, broken down terms. Here, we give you the scoop about each platforms PROS + CONS and how to determine which platform is right for you.

Wondering where to begin? Start here:

Determine the goal of your website. Do you want to make money or create brand awareness? Then WordPress.org is your best bet. Are you looking to test your writing skills, have fun, and not spend a lot of startup fees? Then WordPress.com is the perfect match.

Watch our video for more reasons why each platform will benefit your goals differently.

 

Increase Your Website Traffic, Tap House Media

 

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10 MUST HAVE WordPress Plugins for Businesses

Top 10 WordPres Plugins from Tap House Media

Tap House Media builds A LOT of WordPress websites. We see trends come and go, themes rise to the A+ list, and plugins become even more helpful with powerful functionality. We have our favorites – plugins that we use with every single website we build. Ones that have stood the test of time and perform consistently without issues. Actually, most of them are in this list that we’re sharing. We wanted to spread the love (and our secret tips) for choosing the most useful and important plugins to accompany your WordPress website.

Below are our picks for 10 MUST HAVE WordPress Plugins to help your business website perform optimally, generate leads, and stay safe and secure:

LeadPages logoLeadPages: LeadPages is definitely, without a doubt, one of the top lead generation software applications on the market. It comes with a plethora of integrations, including, yep, you guessed it, WordPress. This plugin allows you to incorporate your beautifully designed landing pages into your website and also connect your opt-in offers (*think – email signups) right into your website with timed displays, location variation, and more. This is a must have for ANY business focused on generating more leads and growing their email list. Click here for a 14 Day FREE Trial of LeadPages!!

WP Rocket: Website speed is important. Have you ever visited a website that took forever to load? What did you do? You peaced out of there and found something else, am I right? Let’s not let that happen to you. With WP Rocket, your website will be super charged for speed with powerful caching, static file compression, database optimization, and more.

Ewww Image OptimizerEwwww image optimizer: Sometimes, and by sometimes I mean ALL THE TIME, we see websites that are completely bogged down by imagery that is not optimized. Not everyone has software to do this before uploading their beautiful photographs to WordPress, we get it. But it’s important to have appropriately sized imagery on your website to increase speed, performance, and conversion rates. This FREE plugin does all that for you. Just install and watch your pics shrink and your website speed up.

Yoast SEO: OMG, if you don’t have this plugin installed you’re nuts! This is by far the best, easiest tool to increase your SEO reach out there. It’s extremely easy to use and offers tutorials on pretty much every option you’ll need to build your SEO profile. With easy title tag, meta data, and keyword integration, you’d be CRAY not to install this on your website. Do it!

CSS Hero PluginCSS Hero: WordPress themes (templates) rely on CSS for their visual appearance. If you need to make customizations, you’ll need to learn a new language – CSS. Ain’t nobody got time for that! CSS Hero is a plugin that allows you to customize any WordPress theme without writing (or learning) a single line of code. If you find your theme has limitations, this plugin is a definite must have for you.

Insert Headers & Footers Plugin, Tap House MediaInsert Headers & Footers: Chances are you’re using Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel to track visitors to your website. Good! Adding the accompanying code to your website can get tricky. You’ll want to stay away from adding it into your main theme files as that can get messy and potentially break your site – we’ve seen it happen. This plugin will allow you to add your tracking script to your theme files without a potentially fatal outcome. Two thumbs up for this one!

Backup Buddy PluginBackup Buddy: You need to backup your website often, especially if you’re making updates and blogging consistently. Anything can happen in cyberland and an attack on your hosting server can result in a website disaster. This plugin will allow you to automate your backups and send to a cloud storage space like Google or Dropbox for safe keeping.

WordFence WordPress PluginWordFence: Security is a necessity with open source software like WordPress. WordFence not only comes with robust login security features but their security scan component alerts you quickly in the event of a security issue. Other amazing features include security incident recovery tools and powerful blocking mechanisms for complex and brute force attacks.  

Monster Insights, WordPressMonster Insights: This is by far the BEST Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It allows you to connect your analytics right to your website so you can see stats fast and easy – no need to sign in to your analytics account. This will easily help you to measure your ROI and make informed decisions about advertising and optimizing your website.

WP Forms pluginWP Forms: Wp Forms is the most intuitive, lightweight, and easy to learn drag and drop contact form plugin out there. It’s our top pick for a contact form for so many reasons. It’s so simple to use, a WordPress beginner can handle it. Additional features include payment integration, order forms, file uploads, and more. There is a free version but we suggest springing for the pro version if you’re looking to expand on your capabilities. You won’t regret it!

With all the WordPress options floating around out there, we hope you found this list helpful in your next plugin decision making process. Stay tuned for more tips and advice!!

6 types of video to use in your online marketing

Our Top Picks for Best WordPress Website Hosting for 2018

Best WordPress Hosting Platforms

WordPress, the world’s most popular content management system (CMS), is far more than just the simple blogging platform. WordPress has the capability to be transformed into an intricately designed website with unique bells and whistles whipped up by the most seasoned website designer. The software has a huge library of free and premium themes and plug-ins that make it the foundation that holds millions of websites, including personal and small business pages, brands such as Sony, and even big-name high-traffic sites like The New Yorker. If you’ve thought about building a website or are considering a redesign, WordPress is definitely the way to go if you’re setting your sites on growth and lead generation.

Finding the perfect WordPress hosting platform can pose a challenge. This is because it’s a saturated market with thousands of hosting companies claiming to be the “fastest” or have “the best customer service”. Not all WordPress hosting is created equal. Ideally, if you’re a small to medium sized business generating up to 1,000-2,000 website hits daily, you’ll most likely want website speed and guaranteed uptime to be a priority. Of course those factors can depend on the health of your website, but having a reliable hosting platform that can guarantee those requirements, among others, will ensure that your website visitors have a positive experience and become loyal customers.

We’ve chosen our Top 3 WordPress Hosting Platforms For 2018 so you can narrow down your favorite and choose a platform that fits your budget and business goals:

InMotion Hosting WordPressInMotion Hosting: Customer service and support is on the top of the list with this company. You’ll always be able to speak to a real life human being when challenges or issues arise. No hosting company is perfect but having a team of professionals that can get to the bottom of a website or hosting issue lightening fast is a huge win for any company. As far as reliability goes, they’ve always had a reputation for hitting their 99.9% uptime guarantee. They maintain a status page at status.inmotionhosting.com that reports on their real time network and server status. With InMotion WordPress hosting, you can count on a huge list of amazing of benefits and freebies for a very budget-friendly annual cost, including:

  • 90 day money-back guarantee
  • Free data backups
  • Independence & community support: InMotion Hosting is one of the few independent companies in the hosting industry, next to Siteground.
  • Free SSL
  • Free “No Downtime” website transfers
  • Free domain
  • Advanced server caching
  • Unlimited email accounts
  • Free advertising credits
  • Easy Google apps integration
  • And more…

InMotion Hosting is currently running some sweet Cyber Week deals right not! Check them out HERE.

 

SiteGround WordPress HostingSiteGround: Like InMotion hosting, SiteGround is an independent web hosting company founded in 2004. Their WordPress hosting plans come with a variety of awesome tools for fast development and easy management of your site, including:

  • 1 click installer
  • Auto-updates
  • Super cacher
  • WordPress stager
  • And More

With a plan from SiteGround, you can rest assured that you’ll receive support access 24/7. With virtually “no wait time on chat and phone and around 10 minutes for the first response in our ticketing system,” SiteGround consistently achieves nearly 100% customer satisfaction from their clients. Their hosting platform is built on the latest SSD hardware with an added caching tool for blazing speed. Lastly, their “security experts” constantly monitor for WordPress related vulnerabilities and proactively protect users with custom WAF rules when needed. They also auto update WordPress and its plugins, and make daily backups of your hosting account. Seriously, what more could you ask for? Oh wait, SiteGround is also officially recommended by WordPress.org as one of the “best and brightest” wordpress hosting providers. With an annual fee comparable to InMotion hosting, I’d say those 2 are the TOP choices for small to medium sized businesses.

 

WP Engine WordPress HostingWP Engine: WP Engine is known as the cadillac of WordPress hosting. This is because they don’t even mess around with hosting websites other than WordPress. They eat, drink, and breathe WordPress. Because of this, any question or concern you have about your site will be addressed with award winning support and a knowledge base that extends from simple how to questions to more complex issues. Plans with this platform begin with a personal 1 site option to a robust enterprise grade for seriously high-traffic websites. WP Engine hosts websites such as National Geographic, Warby Parker, and PBS International. All plans come with a 60 day money back guarantee and include:

  • 24/7 chat support
  • Local storage (starting with 10GB)
  • PHP 7 ready
  • Automated SSL certificates
  • CDN access
  • And More…

Another win for WP Engine is they run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something happens. WP Engine also works closely with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked – they take care of it for free. Now, because of their reputation as “The WordPress Platform of Choice”, WP Engine comes at a slightly higher cost than InMotion and Siteground –  Starting at $29/M for a personal isite install. We highly recommend this hosting platform if your small to medium sized business is reaching new levels of greatness and you’re outgrowing your current website platform and ready to take your website marketing to the next level.

Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, but what is best for your business based on goals, budget, & habits. With InMotion hosting, SiteGround, and WP Engine, you’ll be able to host your website with confidence knowing that you’ll receive superior support, guaranteed uptime, and fast server speed that will reflect professionalism and keep your customers returning to your website.

Increase Your Website Traffic, Tap House Media

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5 Signs Your Business is Ready for a Rebrand

rebranding with tap house media

Rebranding is the natural evolution of any successful business or nonprofit organization. Some rebranding efforts can be subtle, like the addition of a new color or font on your marketing material, while others can be a huge transformation – think new logo, website, and target audience. It may not seem like big deal to notice a new font on a company’s business card but rebranding is always a declaration of your company’s commitment to evolution and upward growth.

Here are 5 signs that your business is ready and in need of a serious rebrand:

You outgrow your original mission:

As your business evolves, so does your brand. Your mission 5 years ago, when you were a rookie in the entrepreneurial world, may not reflect what your brand has become. In this case, it’s time to start thinking about changing your look to match the “feel” of your company.

You’re ashamed to give out your marketing material

We hear this a lot: “Don’t mind my website, I really need to update it.” and “Here’s my card, but it’s old….”. If you cringe a little bit when handing out your business cards or sending potential clients or customers to your website, you should most definitely start thinking about a rebrand. Yea, it’s time!

You want to connect with a new audience

A sweet new brand will allow you to redefine yourself with the goal of reaching new and untapped audiences. Staying on top of demographic shifts is good business practice. Afterall, the last thing a young millennial wants is to associate itself with the brands of their parents’ generation.

When the market is evolving quickly

Oftentimes, a rebrand is necessary to keep your business competitive in an ever-changing and growing market. Companies whose services may be top notch may get left behind because their brand is not associated with the “cutting edge”. In this case, rebranding as the market changes should definitely be part of your business plan.

You’re not attracting top notch talent

As it goes, the best talent wants to work with the best brands – duh! If you’re having trouble recruiting the caliber of employees that is necessary for the advancement of your business, it might be because your brand is associated with subpar industry standards or a negative image. A rebrand allows you to redefine your business standards and practice, not just for your customers, but for your current and future employees as well.

Increase Your Website Traffic, Tap House Media

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4 Essentials For A Great Website

4 Essentials for a great website

Online marketing has evolved drastically over the last 2-3 years. Staying on top of new trends in functionality can be challenging for a small business owner. Even trying to understand all the new terminology, such as “mobile optimization” and “dynamic content,” can get overwhelming. Don’t fret, we’ve got you covered! Tap House Media has broken down The 4 Essentials For A Great Website to help guide you on your journey to website greatness.

1. AESTHETICALLY BEAUTIFUL:

According to market research, our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Website aesthetic – not the written content on the screen – is your first chance to reach out and grab your audience. Without quality design, your visitors likely won’t take the time to read the content you’ve invested in.

The designer’s job is to create a compelling experience for the reader at the other end of the screen. We do this by using aesthetics and design to expose your brand. Your website should convey the spirit and culture of your company. Are you open and fun, serious and conservative, or friendly and informative? Each of these emotions would require a different imagery, layout and typeface for your website. Even the colors you use will impact visitors’ emotional experience on your site.

Website design elements are exponentially more powerful than content, in terms of mistrust. For example, if you land on a website that is outdated, not functional, and poorly designed with a busy interface and small fonts, you’re more likely to choose to bring your business elsewhere – more than likely to a company that showcases a website with a more professional, thoughtfully planned look.

Websites should be updated/redesigned every 3-5 years to stay up-to-date with new trends in design and functionality.

BOTTOM LINE:

Hire a professional to design the look and feel of your website. A great company will:

1. Meet face to face – get to know each other on a business/personal level
2. Take the time to get to know your brand and company culture
3. Be attentive to your deadlines and need for updates
4. Steer you in the right direction

2. OPTIMIZED FOR THE USER:

Your website is a tool that should ultimately serve your audience. From the visual aesthetics to the functionality, all design techniques should work together to improve your site’s ability to serve.

74% of businesses believe correcting your site’s user experience is key for improving sales, conversions, and loyalty. Really terrible sites fail because they were designed for a company, not for the reader.

If your visitor doesn’t know where to look and what to do on your page, they will leave. Look at every page element through your readers’ eyes and correct anything that is confusing or out of place. Not only does this serve your visitors, it will also improve your bounce rates.

BOTTOM LINE:

In 3 – 5 seconds, can someone look at your page and know: Who your company is, what you do, and what you want the visitor to do on the page? If not, revisit both your value prop and design with a professional team to highlight those important messages.

3. OPTIMIZED FOR MOBILE VIEWING (With Responsive Design)

People access your content from multiple devices – iphones, ipads, etc. The evidence of this mobile migration is compelling. Here are a few of the many statistics pointing to audience’s transition to mobile viewing:

1. 65% of U.S. adults sleep with their phones on or near their beds
2. Over 20% of Google searches are performed on a mobile device.
3. In the United States, 25% of internet users only access the internet on a mobile
device.
4. 61% of people have a better opinion of brands when they offer a good mobile
experience.
5. 25.85% of all emails are opened on mobile phones, and 10.16% are opened on
tablets.
6. In mobile SEO, Google penalizes sites that aren’t optimized for responsive
design.

BOTTOM LINE:

Having a mobile website is no longer simply a nice feature. It is now a necessity and literally impacts the growth of your business.

4.CONTENT MARKETING

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” – Content Marketing Institute

If you’re consistently creating content that’s helpful for your target customer, it will help establish you as an authority in their eyes. This is a great method for Sales and Service professionals, but obviously can be used for ALL business owners.

Instead of pitching your products or services, you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues via your blog.

BOTTOM LINE:

Begin a plan for content marketing and be consistent!

Content marketing drives traffic to your website. Every time you write a blog post, it’s one more indexed page on your website, which means it’s one more opportunity for you to show up in search engines and drive traffic to your website in organic search.

Content marketing helps convert traffic into leads. Just like every blog post you write is another indexed page, each post is a new opportunity to generate new leads. The way this works is really simple – just add a lead-generating call-to-action to every blog post that directs to your landing page.

Blogging also helps you get discovered via social media. Every time you write a blog post,  you’re creating content that people can share on social networks — Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest — which helps expose your business to a new audience that may not know you yet.

6 types of video to use in your online marketing

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Out With The Old. In With The New Website!

Years ago, Rachel Christiansen, my very good friend of 20+ years (Woah!) quit her teaching job to pursue her passion for photographing children and families. She was instrumental in paving the way for working mothers, like Tap House Mums Kelly and Heidi, to have a career they actually LOVE while also spending quality time with their kids. Not only was she like Wonder Woman in her new career shift but also wildly successful.

Over the course of 3 years, her direction, niche, and brand evolved into a sophisticated work of art. Like all busy mums/business owners experience, her website began to be neglected and was in desperate need of a face-lift. Rachel wanted something clean, simple, and easy to update and the Tap House Crew had just the right idea to bring her new, modern look to the forefront.

We began with a simple logo refresh and followed with a website design that married a minimalistic approach with functionality: