Posts Categorized: Tips from a Web Designer

Surveys, text notifications, online payments… taking a look at Gravity Forms add-ons

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For those that haven’t yet come across it, Gravity Forms is a WordPress plugin that let’s you easily add forms to your website.  The form on my contact page is created using Gravity Forms.

It’s pretty useful in it’s own right – just as a contact form.  But I thought it might be useful to highlight some of the more exciting things that you can do with the help of some of Gravity Form’s add-on modules:

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Where are you now & what does success look like?

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This post is Step 2 of my series of blog posts, ‘Running a successful website in the real world’.  Click here for more information.

The purpose of this post is to gain some idea of what your website is achieving for you at the moment, and working out what success looks like – it simply means that you’ve then got some measure of how the time you are investing in your website is paying off.

It’s easy to get bogged down in this sort of thing, so I intend to make this post very short, sharp and sweet, so we can move on to the important point – achieving success! Continue reading >>

Who controls your business?

You or Facebook

I recently read an article on Copyblogger that resonated rather.

Count up the number of times you’ve been told that social media is really important for your business.  You must be on Facebook, you must be on Twitter, etc etc.  It’s all pretty overwhelming for a new business owner.  But for some, it’s a quick and easy alternative to an expensive website.  It’s a good way of marketing direct to their target market.

And even for a more established business with a professional website – “it’s still a better way of marketing direct to clients” they say.  And so Facebook gets updated while the website remains the same as it did 3 years ago.  Continue reading >>

A free alternative to Akismet?

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I recently blogged about anti-spam solutions, and mentioned that I was testing the Anti-spam plugin on my website, in place of Akismet. Just a very quick update – so far, so good! I’ve not received any spam comments through, and aside from the possibility of any false positives (genuine comments getting blocked – my test comment came through fine), it looks like this might be a viable alternative. Next step: cancel my Akismet subscription, check that doesn’t make any difference, and then see how it goes in the long term.  $5/month isn’t a lot, but it’s still $5 well saved!

What do you want your website to do for you?

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The answer to this question will determine what you in turn, will need to do for it.  As there is no such thing as a free lunch; likewise there is no such a thing as a free business-generating website. The amount of value you anticipate getting out of your website will help you decide how much time and/or money to put into it. This post is Step 1 of my series of blog posts, ‘Running a successful website in the real world’.  Click here for more information, or click here to go straight to the action point.   Your business… Read more »

How to stop wasting time dealing with WordPress comments

Spam Comments

Spam comments almost invariably go hand in hand with a blog.  I could talk for ages about how sad it is that individuals and groups of individuals are using their time in such a way. But we’re here to get a job done, and so this blog post is about solving the problem: Preventing spam comments even reaching you For any spam comments that do get through – how to detect what is spam (I hate it when I see that one of my clients has mistakenly published a spam comment on their blog). See my update on using the… Read more »

Keyword data drops out of Analytics

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There’s been rather a stir going on in the SEO world over the past few weeks.  Google has made quite a drastic change that impacts significantly on how SEO experts do their job and prove their value to the client.

Traditionally, when you looked at the Traffic Sources report in Google Analytics, you could see a breakdown of traffic by search keyword.  I.e. – you could work out what keywords people were using in Google to find your website.  This gave a rather useful insight and, if the data was actually used correctly, would foster a continuous cycle of improvement, site changes, etc. Continue reading >>

Start connecting with your readers!

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Lots of Hexagon clients have a blog page which they update regularly with industry news, photos of recent projects or perhaps topical advice and comment. Whatever the reason for the blog post, it is important to remember that the writing style of the blog should usually be different to the style of the website in general.

Why? Well a blog is more akin to a conversation whereas the rest of the website is not. Blog posts give you the opportunity to talk to your readers in quite an informal way. Writing in a conversational manner will help to get across your personality, expertise and knowledge.

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your blog posts: Continue reading >>

What makes a website look dated?

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We’ve all looked at websites that seem a bit old-fashioned and out of date… because things change so quickly online, it doesn’t take long before what was once cutting edge becomes rather tired and dated. For most businesses, making sure your website looks modern and up-to-date will be important – creating a positive impression for visitors.

There are some websites around that are meant to look retro but no one visiting a ten-year-old website will be fooled into thinking that is part of the style!

The inspiration for this post came from an article on designfestival.com: (http://designfestival.com/what-makes-a-website-look-dated/). As well as recapping on some of the less technical points in the Design Festival blog post,  I have come up with some ‘dated website characteristics’ of my own. Continue reading >>