The 4 best SEO practices for 2020 and beyond

Let’s face it, most businesses are looking to get their websites ranked higher on search engines. In fact, many companies spend small fortunes doing exactly that. But what if you don’t have a budget that could rival the GDP of a small country? There are tonnes of articles on the web that are geared toward telling people what the best SEO practices for 2020 are, just as there were last year and just as there will be next year. The truth is best practices are not year dependant – search engine algorithms don’t really care what the date is.

Why did we choose this title for the piece, then? Well, because it does happen to be 2020 and the best practices we will outline here are going to be just as valid next year too… and the year after, and… you get the idea.

The SEO best practices that we will be detailing here are proven to work and are used by the majority of successful businesses. With the shuttering of Google Plus by Google (who else?), one of these practices has suffered something of a body blow (more on that a little further down) but is still extremely useful.

Let’s get to it then with our, tested and proven, 4 best SEO practices for 2020 and beyond!

Be sure to create and publish epic content

At the core of all successful SEO campaigns is, of course, content. Even in the early days, when sites were garish and content filled with poorly crafted spam, content has always been the cornerstone of every campaign. These days internet searchers and indeed search engines are much more finely attuned to what makes great content, and nothing but engaging and well-created content is going to cut the mustard.

For that reason, as far as SEO best practices go, well-written content that engages users and encourages them to take action, without screaming it at them, is one of the best things that a business of any size could start with.

The skyscraper content methodology is one way for businesses to rank better in search, and to do it legitimately. What this involves is finding the best piece of content on a particular subject, then substantially improving it. For instance, if a really high ranked piece had ten ideas or points for/on a subject, double it. Add infographics, video, research and cite sources, use relevant quotes on the subject from recognised experts in the field.

As mentioned, this is a perfectly legitimate method of improving site authority and rankings. When you become proficient in creating powerful, leading content, you will find that you yourself will begin to be cited and quoted as an industry expert.

Get used to keyword research

While this one does seem rather obvious, keyword research has been the backbone of SEO practices ever since content creators became aware that search engines were starting to ‘evolve’ to look for and rank them in terms of importance, or strength.

Which keywords or phrases are you going after, and are the keywords even relevant? Great keywords and phrases are the very foundations upon which successful campaigns using SEO best practices lean on. If you are not taking aim at the right keywords then more likely than not, your SEO campaign is going to fall flat on its face. What you need to do is assessing competing businesses for the correct keywords and phrases.

If your niche is particularly tough to get ranked in, marketing companies, for example, are everywhere and it is notoriously difficult to rank without spending an exorbitant amount on paid ads, then you should be focused on key phrases. Many call those long-tail keywords, but whichever terminology you use, the result is the same.

Searchers generally use whole phrases when they are further along in the purchasing decision and know exactly what they want: “medium sized dog collar for sale near me” types of search, as opposed to “dog collars”. The first is the kind of specificity that you should be gearing your key phrases toward, keeping in mind that search engines are smart enough to interpret intent. If you happen to sell dog collars there is no need to aim for exactly that kind of search, so be creative.

There are lots of keyword and key phrases research tools available on the web, including the one provided by Google (Google Keyword Planner).

Make use of on-page optimisation techniques

What should be next on your to-do-list is making sure that your website itself is optimised for your targeted keywords and or key phrases. SEO experts and others ‘in the know’ all agree that on-page SEO best practices, properly executed, influence website rankings by 40%. This means paid ads aside, all you need to do in order to find your website on the first two pages of search results is to get your on-page optimisation done correctly.

“that’s great, but how do I do that?”. Good question. The first element that you should begin with is title tags. Only shoot for one keyword or key phrase per page and insert that right into the title tag and in the first 30 words of the page content.

Use it again somewhere near the centre and in the final paragraph. Depending on the length of the page, you should also sprinkle it elsewhere on the page to really hit the SEO best practices sweet spot. How many? It’s generally accepted that between 3 and five occurrences per 500 words is enough, just be wary of using it too much. If it doesn’t read naturally, you have probably overdone it.

Content syndication

Just writing awesome content is not enough, search engines have to collate it first. Known as indexing, the process can take much longer than it used to (there’s a lot of pages on the web these days, far more than even just a few short years ago).

Content syndication is one of those SEO best practices techniques that make some people think “huh, why didn’t I think of that?”. It not only helps get your content indexed faster, but it also helps it rank higher by having it appear in multiple places with much more traffic generation. Facebook and LinkedIn are great for content syndication as they are crawled by search engine ‘spiders’ on a regular basis.

Simply put, you copy your content in its entirety to these sites, and if you add a link at the bottom like “originally published at yoursite.com”, then there’s a handy backlink for you too. Now, this DOES NOT mean that it is ‘duplicate content’. It’s not the same thing, at all. Duplicate content is where the same content appears more than once on the same website.

To conclude

Following SEO best practices for 2020, or any other year, does not have to mean hiring an SEO specialist, especially if your budget does not allow for it. It is relatively straightforward and can be done by anybody that is responsible for creating your content. Help move your business forward by taking care of these details.

 

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Posted by: Vanessa M

Vanessa Marcos is a writer and social media manager whose passion is copywriting and getting words together to create new stuff. #creativewriting #copywriting Love her writing? Find out more at Calma Copywriting.

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5 Best Web Design Practices To Follow In 2020

In today’s highly competitive business scenario, owning a business website is absolutely essential. In order to make your brand stand out, you need to have an exceptional website.

Who doesn’t want to take their business to the next step? Well, if you wish your brand to grow, then there is a huge list of efforts to make. Any business that wishes to be competitive in this high paced world should definitely opt for a business website.

From getting a highly responsive website designed to maintain your website page speed, everything needs to be taken care of.

But making your business successful isn’t a matter of days. It takes a lot of dedication and efforts during a long time to rise and shine. Have a look at my personal post I posted here, you will see the journey I made in making a business a success.

A website is the exact reflection of your business, so make sure that it’s perfectly designed and portrays your business in the best possible way.

This complete guide is dedicated to some of the best web design practices to follow and about how you can get an exceptional website designed for your business:

Here, we will be discussing some of the best web design practices to follow in 2020:

Have a plan

The most important thing before getting started with designing a website is to have an exceptional plan. You can’t just get started with random ideas with no concrete foundation.

Make sure to have a clear idea of the website requirements and then plan out things accordingly. Ensure that your plan meets the needs of your website’s visitors.

Designing a creative website needs a lot of research, planning and efforts.

Moreover, it’s highly important to think beyond web design. Well, only a professional web designer can offer much more than just design and coding.

Rather, they can help with overall development as well as the maintenance of the website. It’s something that will definitely help your website to get ranked easily and efficiently.

Well-planned website design will in turn gift you with the best ROI that you are looking for. So, make sure to hire an experienced professional for getting an exceptional website designed for your business.

So, have a clear idea of your own set of goals and challenges that you and your business website are going to face in the long run. This way, you can be quite prepared for it.

So, before you go any further, it’s important to have a sorted plan to work accordingly.

SEO Savvy

Your website does need to be optimised according to the browser, but according to SEO guidelines as well. Having a website that isn’t SEO friendly won’t offer you any benefits in the long term.

Don’t ever overlook the power of optimising your website according to Google’s algorithms. It will definitely help you make your business website rank better in search engines.

If your goal is not only creating a website but creating an online presence that leaves a mark, then SEO is something you should definitely consider.

SEO strategy contains creating quality content, creating backlinks, getting your website ranked well on Google, attracting prospects and converting them into happy customers.
SEO plays a major role in helping your business rank well and reach the top.

Mobile ready

You might be thinking: what does being mobile-ready even mean?

Well, to be very precise, being mobile-ready is about how well a website can be accessed on mobile phones and on different browsers, for that matter.

In this digital age, people are using their mobile phones to search for everything, so your business website needs to be mobile-friendly.

Well, having an experienced designer by your side ensures that your website can be easily accessed on desktops, laptops, tablets as well as mobile phones.

There’s no denying the fact that a responsive web design can work wonders for your business. Responsive websites simply mean that your website can adapt to multiple screen sizes easily.

So, make sure that your website is mobile-ready!

Responsive design

Most people out there are using their smartphones and tablets to browse through different websites. So, you need to make sure that your website is responsive and that it fits the screen of different smart devices properly.

Your website needs to be mobile-friendly, or else visitors who use their smartphones to view your site are just going to bounce back. That’s something you don’t want for your website.

So, make sure to have a professional by your side who can help you create a responsive web design that will work on every device that your prospects are using.

A user-friendly website is something that can make a difference when it comes to your business’ ROI. A professional web designer not only makes your website look amazing but also ensures that it’s responsive, adapting to every device.

So, ensure your website is highly responsive and user-friendly to get the most out of it.

A responsive and optimised mobile site provides a great user experience to visitors. In such cases, visitors are more likely to stay on your website for a longer period. This way, you can keep a hold on the bounce rate of your website and gradually get to decrease it.

Having a responsive website definitely offers your visitors with better user experience. So, if your primary objective is the client experience, then you should definitely consider hiring a well-rated web developer rather than using self-service solutions.

Fast loading

A website should load in less than five seconds or less. So, make sure that your website has the shortest loading time possible.

Make sure to track your website loading speed and work on it if it’s showing any issues.

With fast-loading web pages, the bounce rate of the website gradually decreases. Your website needs to have a low bounce rate.

Having a responsive web design can help you to quickly convert your website visitors or prospects into happy customers.

Fast loading web pages are a plus point for your business website and it’s something that can help your business grow organically.

With all these best web design practices to follow in 2020, we’ll also be discussing some of the good reasons to hire experienced web designers:

Uniqueness

By hiring a professional web designer you can expect to get a unique and exceptional website designed. So, make sure to hire professionals that can match your specific needs.

Customisation

Professional web designers are there to offer customised designs that match your set of specific needs and desires. So, if you have a clear idea of how your website should look then you should consider hiring a professional web designer who can bring your dream website into reality.

Responsive web design

In order to get a responsive web design, you need to hire experienced professionals. A responsive website is well designed to work on a mobile device and a computer screen effectively.

Browser compatibility

There are a handful of browsers out there and your website needs to be prepared for all of them. You just can’t deny the fact that not all browsers are created equally. So, your business website must be friendly enough for all the browsers. Make sure to properly test your website on different browsers to get a clear idea of the browser compatibility of your website.

A reliable website

Professional web designers can offer their clients a reliable website. So, make sure to do some research and hunt for someone who can offer you a reliable and error-free website.

Creative minds

Professional web designers are creative in their approach. So, make sure to hunt for creative developers who can get an amazing as well as a responsive website designed. Someone who loves experimenting with new web design trends will provide you with the web design that you really need.

Know market trends

Experienced professionals have deep knowledge of the market and are well aware of the current market trends. So, look for professionals that have up-to-date details about their particular field.

Save your time and efforts

A professional web design agency can definitely save enough of your time and efforts. You no longer have to worry about how your website will look and how it can be optimised. So, leave it all to the professionals.

Launching your business online can prove itself to be one of the best marketing strategies. But before that, you need to get the best web development services for your project to make it a huge success.

For a business that is looking forward to leaving its mark in the online world, getting the perfect website designed can make an immense difference.

Smart business owners invest in their websites to bring their online business to the next level. Being the best marketing tool to grow your business, you should consider investing in your business website.

So, take some time, take a step ahead and get your perfect business website prepared.

Hire Silva Web Designs

Are you looking for professional Web Designs / Web Developers? Look no further, we take care of every single step to get your website to tip-top-shape and have an advantage over your competitors. From planning, creating, building and launching your amazing new website, we can assure you that you won’t be disappointed with our services.

We offer the full package, such as:

  • Brand design
  • Responsive design
  • CMS systems
  • E-commerce
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Email campaigns
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
  • App development
  • Hosting
  • Copywriting

and much much more!

We have experts that are fluent in various CMS systems such as…

  • WordPress
  • Shopify
  • Magento
  • PrestaShop
  • WooCommerce
  • SquareSpace
  • Laravel
  • CodeIgnitor

 

and again, various other CMS systems on top of this!

Interested? Why not start the process and send an email to [email protected] with your requirements and we’ll get back to you with a quote and deliver nothing but the best.

We love working with new customers and we strive through delivering the best quality of work. We’re pretty sure we won’t disappoint 😉

Loved this article? Drop us a message in the comments. \m/ Happy Coding all \m/

∆ SILVA TEAM ∆

 

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Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development and web site design. His expertise is WordPress & Magento as well as many other frameworks. Would you like to work with Nathan? Send him an email on [email protected]

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Why Your Business Needs SEO in 2019 – 10 Reasons to Invest in SEO

We’ve put together a pros list with essentials tips to understand why your business needs SEO in 2019, whether it’s in the future or just in general.

1. SEO Offers Long-Lasting Results for a Business

SEO is a long-term strategy which will bring you long-term benefits. It has a noticeable impact on your business. You probably heard or maybe you’ve asked yourself this question: “How long will it take me to get ranked #1 for my keywords?”. I’ve seen lots of business owners and companies that start doing search engine optimisation and, after a month or two, they just give up and say “SEO doesn’t work” or “We didn’t get the results we needed to justify the cost.”

If you start a new website, it is important to know that you’ll see results in approximately 6 to 12 months. It might seem a big period of time for some, but if done correctly, it will keep your website on SERP and the results you get can last for years. This can have high SEO importance for small businesses that are struggling to succeed.

If you have had a business for some time, then you know how important it is to keep your portfolio and generate conversions. Having search visibility is a great asset for achieving results. SEO can help you by offering visibility in SERP and afterwards with monetary results, but you have to invest in it – time and money.

There are lots of factors that should be taken into consideration when we think about SEO. You need expertise and a feasible plan to achieve SEO success

SEO is and will be a good investment for an online business, which brings us to the next point.

2. You’ll Receive Impressive ROI

SEO brings a great return on investment if you have a healthy budget and an on-going process. Don’t set unrealistic expectations. Budget 6 to 12 months of SEO, otherwise you risk losing money, and you’d better use that budget for something else. Paying for just a few months won’t bring you the results you’re longing about and you’d be like throwing money outside the window.

An investment in SEO is an investment in your business’ future. SEO can bring in about 15 times more clicks than PPC advertising. It is a long-term strategy, as we’ve mentioned before, and it shouldn’t be seen as an immediate way of generating sales. A long-haul plan will bring you a return on investment because SEO is an online marketing strategy with one of the best ROIs.

It might be hard to calculate ROI, but you have lots of analytics you can track and evaluate your goals. Even so, organic SEO is way more powerful than other online marketing tactics, even stronger than paid search ads. SEO is about 5.66 times better than paid search.

The results in the first months of using SEO might be awfully small. But after the 6th month, things start to soar. You’d have to wait until the big leads come pouring, and you’ll need SEO for that.

3. Organic Search Is Often Times the Primary Source of Traffic

Organic search is accountable for a huge part of a website traffic source. Lots of studies strengthen the value of organic search and its importance. Around 51% of all website traffic comes from organic search and only 10% from paid search, 5% for social, and 34% of all other sources.

Search visibility is a great asset and Google owns a significantly larger piece of the search market than competitors such as Yahoo, Bing, Baidu, Yandex, DuckDuckGo, and other more. We all know the importance of a trusted website; a website that everybody likes is always liked by Google. Quality and constant website optimisation will keep the website as a trusted source by Google and be qualified as a good ranking position on the first page of the search engine results.

There are over 40,000 search queries every second on average on Google, which means 3.5 billion searches per day.

4. SEO Can Be Cheaper Than Other Paid Search Strategies

It can be cheap if we take into consideration a 6-month plan. For SEO you need to invest a lot more money in the first phase, compared to other paid advertising methods where you have to pay from month to month if you want to keep receiving traffic on your website.

Paid search marketing, compared to search engine optimisation, has a shorter time for returning conversion, but your business should invest to see results. As long as you keep paying for results, you’ll get them, which in the long term is not so equitable as SEO.

SEO converts more efficiently, SEM has more speed. Search engine marketing includes every form of paid advertising for your business. Lots of people don’t invest in search engine optimisation because it is expensive at first and desire to look for cheaper alternatives that unfortunately don’t have continuity and stability.

SEO has leverage on improving search engine visibility at a cheaper cost than SEM. The first one is a true investment in your business’ future and not a marketing cost.

5. SEO Is Quantifiable

SEO will provide lots of analytics data for your website. The only struggle you’ll encounter is pulling the data yourself and making decisions for improving your results. It might be a little tricky to understand the data and you’ll have to chew on it more before taking any actions. Any good SEO practitioner will start by finding the rotten data from the pile, which shouldn’t be a big challenge.

There are tools that can help you keep track of your website’s performance. Google Search Console provides data regarding pages that have the best performance, mobile issues regarding your content on-site, indexability.

Google Analytics gives all sorts of data regarding your website and third-party apps if connected. You can see information about:

  • your audience: what they like, what they read and so on;
  • traffic sources & other channels of collecting users: different websites, paid ads, paid search, social and more;
  • viewed content and behavioural actions on site: most clicked pages, particular events.

On top of these two tools, you can opt-in for SEO tools, that show lots of other features such as authority pages, competition ranking, linking situation, on-site errors, duplicate content, slow page speed, content marketing gaps, lack of mobile-friendliness and so much more. Mobile traffic has experienced high growth in the last years. You shouldn’t forget about these elements if you want to grow your business.

A proper way to start would be to make a site audit, then look at the traffic that comes your way and check those pages to see if you need to improve them or redirect the link if the content is obsolete. Next on the agenda would be backlinks evaluation and competitive analysis. So start with on-site technicalities, then move to SEO off-site elements.

6. SEO Offers Credibility and Trust to Your Audience

2019 for sure means trust and credibility more than ever, with the latest migration to HTTPS. That means the goal of SEO should be to build trust and credibility to Google, to the user. User experience and SEO together mean business success. In the old days of SEO, it was simpler to rank by taking all sort of shortcuts. Now, the internet user plays one of the most important roles. You need to know your target audiences very well and to fuel their appeal for your brand to build authority. That way you’ll have the opportunity to quantify your marketing efforts.

Everybody wants traffic, trust, and credibility, but few people really know that UX is involved in this process. If you gain trust and credibility, your website will earn authority, but authority doesn’t come easy. And for that, you need to offer valuable information, have a clean and easy-to-use website. It takes time, patience, effort to make your audience trust your brand and the content you provide. Every business growth needs UX in their lead generation strategy.

Website design such as easy navigation and intuitive site structure are a starting point for creating user-friendly websites. It is very important to have relevant content and description for each section of your menu and every page that you have. Speak the language of the user and don’t try to change the wheel on the natural funnel process otherwise, the user will feel disoriented.

Effective SEO relies on three pillars: authority, relevance and trust. Google has something called the Trust Factor, which is a combination of lots of factors that calculate how trustful a site is. The more trustful a site is, the more likely articles will be ranked higher on Google. A website is considered to be less trustful because it has harmful and/or has low-quality content.

If you want to see how trusted your website is, there are tools that can tell you on a scale from 0 to 100. For example, Majestic Trust Flow is such a metric which is weighted by the number of clicks from a seed set of trusted sites to a given URL, or Domain.

7. Voice Search Keeps Growing and You Need Higher Visibility in Search

Voice search has increased tremendously in the last few years. Even studies showed that. Mary Meeker’ annual Internet Trends report shows that voice search queries are now 35 times larger than they were in 2008 (when voice search was launched).

There’s no doubt that voice search has had accelerated growth and will become even bigger in 2019. Lots of brands developed voice search technologies for assistant apps that listen to the user and give audio results based on their queries.

SoundHound, an audio and speech recognition company has found 4 categories of voice search queries:

  • Personal assistant: that includes to-do lists, scheduled meetings and all sorts of events, texting, calling on the phone plus other day-to-day activities.
  • Fun and entertainment: buying and listening to music, searching movies, TV series and similar actions.
  • General information: web search, news, publications, and similar media.
  • Local information: searching for restaurants, hotels, and places near-by, traffic jams.

You need to make your audience more aware of your brand and make them hear about you more often. It will help you by raising your brand awareness and get further benefits such as authority, traffic, revenue. When implementing SEO is very important to know your users, to connect with them and make them recognise you by the particularity that you have. This way you’ll be memorable and breed brand recall, so you get more customers to stick with your brand. You need to make them always look and search for you.

8. You Can Push Your Audience Down the Funnel With the Right Type of Content

SEO starts right at TOFU, which is not food. It means the top of the funnel. You might make a correlation with food, and think of it as an appetiser. Because SEO is in the first league, where your audience is. You have to attract a large portion of users right from the start, and then push them down the funnel through the middle of the funnel (MOFU) and bottom of the funnel (BOFU) by using other techniques.

In the first phase of the buying cycle, the user lands on our page and you have to maintain them thereby offering valuable content and useful information. So the process of search optimisation starts with keyword research, understanding your audience, learning their language. There are other technical SEO elements that should be taken into consideration, such as high loading speed, high quality and lossless images, mobile-friendly website, un-broken pages and so on.

9. You Can Get More Customers and More Traffic with Local SEO

If we’re talking about the reasons why you need to invest in SEO, then local optimisation should be on the list. Due to the increase of mobile searches and voice searches, local SEO has started to dominate the SEO trends. Now, it became mandatory for every online business.

Searching for any business location on maps helps the user have more trust and knowledge of your business. It can get to you faster and receive recognition through reviews.

Google My Business is a great way to start your local search engine optimisation process. There you can add NAP (name, address, phone) information and you can connect your website, link a social account, add pictures and a lot more.

For example, you have a restaurant near the stadium in Madrid and one of your customers is visiting the stadium and afterwards decides to eat. Then they look for a place that they like nearby him and end up in your restaurant.

You can use local optimisation for your blog and search for local keywords to include in your articles and also to boost your rankings by targeting top positions in Google. If you are targeting for a specific location, then use the Keyword Tool and Content Assistant, which is very simple and easy. For example, if you are targeting real estate school and your business location is Chicago there are two situations:

  • If you want to target only the people from Chicago or who are in Chicago, my recommendation would be to choose the “real estate school” and set the local tracking.
  • In case you want to target other cities besides Chicago, you should choose the option to track “real estate school in Chicago” so you’ll see all the searches made from other cities.

10. You Can Get New Opportunities for Your Business

High-quality SEO can bring you lots of possibilities for building a better business and a bigger brand. Not only will you improve your business, but you’ll also make it sparkle.

When people understand your brand due to a quality search engine optimisation process then you reached a new phase in your business growth. If you have a well-known brand, people will search for you, share your content, ask for guest-post and contact you for collaborations. It can become a love mark, a concept that is used when brand loyalty goes beyond reason. And to create a love mark you need great stories that trigger sensorial effects which goes beyond the monitor. It is also important to demonstrate commitment and empathy to the audience.

Conclusion

SEO is an important part of any inbound marketing plan because it helps people find (then share) your content. A business should invest in SEO to get the desired results.

Implementing quality SEO has lots of benefits for your business, no matter how big or small it is. It will always be beneficial to make the most of your SEO and increase the opportunities to grow. Comparing to other paid search tactics, SEO has the guarantee of a long-term relationship. You’ll invest, and get the results for a more extended period. You don’t have to pump money to keep it going. If done correctly, it will go on by itself.

For some further reading, you can research How To Develop a Profitable Digital Marketing Sales Funnel.

 

Nathan da Silva - Profile

Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development and web site design. His expertise is WordPress & Magento as well as many other frameworks. Would you like to work with Nathan? Send him an email on [email protected]

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4 Reasons to Use a CDN for WordPress

The Internet and any client has a need for speed; that much everyone already knows. But why is this so important for your WordPress site, and why should you use a CDN for WordPress to help with your site’s loading times?

You’ve probably seen the 3 second loading time chart many times. It, and countless charts just like it, are everywhere.

There’s a reason for that though – page loading time can massively affect conversions; it’s as simple as that. And what are most WordPress sites aimed at, ultimately? I know that my sites are all focused on somehow making money. Whether they’re affiliate sites or service-based websites, they’re all aimed at converting!

If loading times affect conversions, then fixing issues with speed is a good thing to do.

Here are four reasons that you may want to use a CDN for WordPress sites that you build or manage.

1. Your Site Will Load Faster with a CDN

This is one of the strongest selling points of setting up a CDN for WordPress.

One of the biggest speed killers for your website is distance. Specifically, the distance between your hosting server and the visitor’s browser. Whilst the size of your page makes a real difference, the distance the content has to travel can definitely be the largest bottleneck in website loading speeds.

Ideally, your visitor needs to be as physically close to the hosting server as possible.

Unfortunately, setting up a hosting server at a location which is physically close to any one particular visitor is all but impossible — unless you are setting up a CDN, that is.

The very idea of a Content Delivery Network (CDN) is exactly that. A CDN’s primary purpose is to set up as many servers as possible in different geographical locations, such that anybody who hits the service is as physically close as possible to one of the locations.

Have a look at the following image from CloudFlare which explains the concept perfectly, this shows the Cloudflare network powered by 165 data centers around the world:-

You can see that there are many CDN server points. In this manner, all visitors, in any location in the world, are always served content from a location which is (relatively speaking) near to them.

Hosting static content on a CDN network is the closest you can get to creating a global hosting setup for your website.

2. Your Website Will be Safer with a CDN

The next reason why a CDN is essential for your website is security.

Did you know that more than 51% of the web’s traffic actually comes from bots rather than humans?

The worst thing about it is that above 29% of web traffic comes from malicious bots.

That means your website is constantly under a deluge of bad bot traffic. If you’ve ever taken a look at analytics data, or used a security plugin like WordFence, you’re already aware of this fact.

These bots are constantly probing your site for vulnerabilities. If you slip slightly in your security efforts, if you have not chosen a good WordPress host, or if you miss a WordPress security update or a plugin update, rest assured your site will soon be suffering the consequences.

Most CDNs are able to identify and block bad bots rapidly, making your site safer when plugged into a CDN. The collective knowledge gained by the network can be used to prevent attacks on your own sites.

3. Your Site is Protected Against Traffic Based Attacks with a CDN

I’m sure you’ve been stuck in traffic at least a few times in your life. I know I have. Getting stuck in traffic is a waste of productive time and money.

The same concept applies to your website.

However, it’s even worse when somebody purposely sends an overwhelming amount of traffic to your website.

In a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, an army of compromised web servers or computers (or even IoT devices) are recruited to send so much traffic to your website, that your legitimate users unable to access it.

If your website is the lifeline of your business, a DDoS attack can literally bring your business to a standstill. Regardless of whether you’re on a shared hosting server or a dedicated server, your website won’t be able to keep up with the flood of traffic.

The same concept used by a CDN to make your website fast, can also work in your favour by absorbing malicious traffic over a global network of servers fronting your website.

Most CDN implementations use the concept of reverse proxy to serve your website. The reverse proxy will be the CDN server network.

This means that your website’s visitors will hit the CDN server closest to them before they hit your site’s actual server.

In this manner, any malicious traffic is intercepted before it actually gets to your server. CDNs have intelligent algorithms which are able to identify malicious DDoS traffic and kill it.

Incapsula, MaxCDN, KeyCDN, CloudFlare and most of the top players all have support for mitigating traffic-based attacks.

4. Faster Web Design and Development

When you’re creating a WordPress site which is meant to be fully optimised for performance, you’re going to have to perform a number of additional implementation steps.

You’ll be looking for an image optimisation plugin, a content minification and combination plugin, a static and dynamic content caching plugin, and other tools to fully optimise the WordPress website. While it may be possible that one or two plugins are able to actually serve most of your optimisation needs, you’ll still need to perform additional testing to ensure the plugins are able to operate correctly.

Personally, I’ve found that optimising with various plugins is a nightmare of epic proportions.

CDNs are actually able to perform all of the above mentioned optimisations in one fell swoop. Image optimisation, dynamic file compression, static and dynamic content caching are all built-in into the CDN.

Coupled with that, there are other optimisations such as Custom Content caching rules to fix any problems with specific plugins on your site.

Most of these performance optimisations are going to be hard to achieve with your typical WordPress plugin.

Such stuff as session reuse optimisation (particularly for HTTPS websites), TCP Connection pre-pooling and rapid purging all improve the optimisation.

Other improvements such as improving the SSL/TLS handshake process would not be something which the typical developer would be capable of optimising by themselves. Having this completely handled by the CDN gives a significant boost, particularly to HTTPS websites, which unfortunately take a hit in performance when enabling HTTPS.

All of these above optimisations decrease the design and development time with the website whilst pushing the performance envelope as far as it can get.

A CDN catering for all of the above will drastically reduce the time spent on optimisation.

Conclusion

Speed is typically the most obvious benefit of using a CDN that people will mention over and over again.

While the website loading speed is a critical component, and an essential justification for setting up a CDN, this should not be the only selling point.

The other points mentioned, particularly performance, security, protection and better optimisation are just as important as website loading speed.

At the moment, we use CloudFlare CDN for our web sites. We customise the settings for our clients to give their web sites the best possible results in terms on SEO and Site Speed.

 

Nathan da Silva - Profile

Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development and web site design. His expertise is WordPress & Magento as well as many other frameworks. Would you like to work with Nathan? Send him an email on [email protected]

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Our top 10 used plugins for WordPress – 2019 Edition

Every WordPress developer has a bunch of plugins they tend to install on pretty much every WordPress site they develop, and we are also those kind of people. These plugins give great solutions for caching, security and adding other improvements that build on WordPress core.

That’s the beauty of WordPress – there are loads of plugins to choose from and they are so quick and easy to implement. Some plugins are just a case of downloading and activating, others provide a shortcode which you can copy and paste within your pages and others is a simple as dragging and dropping a widget where ever you wish to display it.

With so many free and premium plugins available, how do you distinguish from the good and bad plugins out there?

Do note, overloading your web site with too many plugins can cause plugin conflict and reduce the speed of your web site, so if you can avoid a plugin and just code it in, that’s even better!

Below you will find our selection of essential plugins, all chosen based on their usefulness, quality and popularity.


1.) WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a great plugin and is really quick and easy to install. It turns your standard WordPress website into a an eCommerce store and creates all the necessary pages for you (My Account, Checkout, Cart etc). It allows intergration with secure payment methods such as Bank Transfer, PayPal, SagePay and many more. With a huge range of features that can be quickly changed in the Control Panel, this is definitely one of my favorites because of the speed you can set up a fantastic eCommerce website.


2.) Advanced Custom Fields

Advanced Custom Fields is an amazing plugin and without a shadow of a doubt, it’s installed on every project I build. I would definitely recommend getting a licence for the Pro version which you can find out more information about here. You can use the Advanced Custom Fields plugin to take full control of your WordPress edit screens & custom field data. It makes it super easy for clients to change text / images any many other things within your WordPress site without any risk of breaking the site.


3.) Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 is another plugin I use on pretty much every WordPress site I develop. You can manage multiple contact forms, customise the form and the mail contents and again, it’s really easy to use. The form supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and many more. All the form elements are generated for you so you don’t even have to know any PHP code. If your not already using this plugin for your forms, I suggest giving it a try now!


4.) Yoast SEO

SEO Yoast is a fantastic platform for SEO. I have used this plugin on 100% of the WordPress sites I have developed and it is the only plugin I use in terms of SEO. If set up correctly, it will improve your site’s SEO on all needed aspects. WordPress SEO forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles, and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere, it also ranks the SEO of all your pages and posts from ‘Bad’, ‘OK’ to ‘Good’ so you know if your content is going to have any chance of ranking on search engines. The best feature about this plugin is that it even tells you how you can improve the performance of each and every page on your site. It may say things such as, you need to include

tags or include an outbound link on your page/post. You will learn a lot about SEO if you run this plugin on your websites. We actually use the SEO Yoast Premium version which allows up to 5 keywords on each page/post/CPT including many other great features which you can read about or purchase here.


5.) Hummingbird Page Speed Optimization

The next 3 set of plugins I’m going to be talking about are plugins offered by WPMU DEV which you can read about more here. There are free versions of these plugins but they also have premium versions which offer a lot more features which I would highly recommend. Hummingbird PRO is an awesome caching plugin. It zips through your site and finds new ways to boost page speed with fine-tuned controls over file compression, minification and full-page, browser and Gravatar caching. Load your pages quicker and score higher on Google PageSpeed Insights with Hummingbird site optimization.


6.) Smush Image Compression and Optimization

This plugin is one of my favourites; it will resize, optimise and compress all of your images with the incredibly powerful and 100% free WordPress image smusher. This uses Lossly compression which will significantly reduce the file sizes of all images on your web site which will definitely increase your sites speed. Again, the premium version of this plugin is 100% recommended as it will allow you to SUPER-Smush all your images along with a few other great features which will allow you to further optimise your site. Need a high Google Speed Test score? This plugin combined with Hummingbird will make the job a piece of cake 😉


7.) Defender Security, Monitoring, and Hack Protection

Security is definitely important when it comes to WordPress, the amount of sites I’ve had to restore/repair and remove Malware from is crazy. So make sure you have fully configured a great security plugin to prevent your web site from these kind of attacks. Defender is layered security for WordPress made easy. And by easy, I mean amazingly easy! No longer do you have to go through hideously complex settings and get a virtual PhD in security. Defender adds all the hardening and security tweaks you need, in just minutes!


8.) Akismet Anti-Spam

Sick and tired of spam comments and junk email from your WordPress site? Akismet has you covered! Akismet checks your comments and contact form submissions against their global database of spam to prevent your site from publishing malicious content. You can review the comment spam it catches on your blog’s “Comments” admin screen.


9.) MailChimp for WordPress

MailChimp for WordPress allows your visitors to subscribe to your newsletter very easily. This plugin helps you grow your MailChimp lists and write better newsletters through various methods. You can create good looking opt-in forms or integrate with any existing form on your site, like your comment, contact or checkout form.


10.) Classic Editor

Finally, our last plugin which we have made a lot of use from since WordPress 5 is classic editor! Classic Editor is an official plugin maintained by the WordPress team that restores the previous (“classic”) WordPress editor and the “Edit Post” screen. It makes it possible to use plugins that extend that screen, add old-style meta boxes, or otherwise depend on the previous editor. By default, this plugin hides all functionality available in the new Block Editor (“Gutenberg”). Since a lot of people are finding it difficult to get their heads around Gutenberg, this is a great quick fix plugin which will restore the editor back to the way you’ve known and loved for a long time.

 

Nathan da Silva - Profile

Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development and web site design. His expertise is WordPress & Magento as well as many other frameworks. Would you like to work with Nathan? Send him an email on [email protected]

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