The Divi layouts that come with the Divi theme by ElegantThemes is magical for many reasons, but chiefly because it allows you to insert pre-built layouts directly into your site – images and all – with the click of a button. And WPMaster.me has courses specifically designed to teach you how to use Divi. In fact, it’s one of our favorite themes!

But ElegantThemes recently changes things up a bit, and you now have to shop the Divi Layout Library a bit differently than before.

This video, supplied by ElegantThemes support, does a fab job of breaking it down: How to Insert Divi’s Pre-Made Layouts 

Are you wondering how to write a killer about us page? One that gives everything and anything a customer, potential customer or partnering business might want to know about you? This article is designed to get you thinking about who you are, why you started your business and what your business is. Put your thinking cap on, sit in the best location for to get some serious work done and let’s do this.

First let’s look at some very well done about us pages. Warby Parker is a fantastic example. Their about us page is clear, concise and engaging. If you have a moment we encourage you to check it out! In the meantime we will get started with writing your own brand story or about us page.

  1. First things first. You know what your business name is, now what is your tagline? If you don’t already have a tagline, a tagline is slogan or catchphrase used in advertising to describe or compliment your business.  For example:
      • Apple- Think Different
      • McDonalds- I’m Lovin it
      • Verizon- Can you hear me now?

    These are just a few notable brands that everyone knows. By now you are all singing the song that plays on every McDonalds commercial and wanting to respond to phone calls with, “can you hear me now?”. It’s ok, we are too. However, we highly recommended you don’t actually answer you phone that way, you might lose a few customers.

  2.  The next thing to think about is; what is one or two words to describe your business? When customers think about your business, what is the one word you want them to use to describe you? This is something that you will incorporate into your mission statement. Back to Warby Parker, their mission statement is “Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.” Their words would be socially conscious. Here are some examples to get you started!
    • Loyal
    • Reliable
    • Fun
    • Fast
    • Safe
    • Efficient
    • Detailed
    • Socially conscious
  3. Who are you competitors? This may seem pretty self explanatory BUT this goes much deeper than knowing the names of who your competition is. We want you to really get to know the competition inside and out. This will be pivotal in your marketing strategy later on as you will probably use your competitors as details in your targeting of your ads. Here are some questions to answer about each of your competitors.
    • Who is has the same business or is providing the same service as you?
    • What is there name?
    • Where are they located?
    • What is their tagline?
    • What colors do they use on their webpage?
    • What do you do that makes you different?
    • Why do you want someone to hire you instead?
    • Where are they marketing?
    • What organizations are they in?
      1. Chamber
      2. Networking groups
  4. Where do you see your company in 5-10 years?  This is where and how you will write your vision statement. These reach for the stars goals are the things that drive us. Give us passion. Push us harder. Inspire us to make a lasting change. Another way to think of this is the following; if you were standing in an auditorium speaking at a conference, who would be there and what would you be saying.  If you are having a hard time, just start writing anything that comes to mind or go talk to a friend, your vision will become clear before you even know it.

When writing your about us page, think about each one of these sections as a paragraph. You have four paragraphs with 4-6 sentences each to communicate who you are, what you’re doing, and why you are doing it. We know it can be hard, but like all things, we know you can do it and we can’t wait to read your about us page!

 

Do you know who your target audience is and how to find them? If you don’t, that’s ok! This article will help you identify your target audience, define your meta tags, keywords and make excellent use of your Yoast SEO plugin! Even if you already know your target audience, we highly recommend you go through this exercise; it never hurts to refresh!

  1. The first step is to define the basics of your customer. This will be used in targeting Facebook ads and any future marketing and customer acquisition.

    Answer these questions:

    • Who is your primary customer?
    • How old are they?
    • What is their gender?
    • What is their income amount?
    • Where do they live?
    • List their interests. 
  2. The second step is to describe your dream customer. This is the chance for you to really think about who would be the perfect customer, how they would find you, what interaction would be like and what the desired outcome would be! This is the customer you that makes you wish you had a million of them because business would be easy and you would make a ton of money! 

    Example: A local tractor retailer when completing this exercise discovered their dream customer is one that purchases the equipment they want completely online and then the store delivers the product. That customer never actually comes into the store until they need repairs on their equipment at which point they become a recurring customer. 

  3. What and where are the new or existing markets you want to tap into? This is essentially your “go-to-market strategy”. Your go-to-market  strategy is something that we will cover in depth at another time. For now here are some crucial questions to think about as you plan and list out the markets you would like to be present in. We suggest you make three separate sections on a sheet of paper. Label the first section current market, the second section existing markets and the third section new markets. Next fill in each section.

    Current Market – This is where your product or service is currently being marketed. Describe or list the location.
    Existing Markets – These are places that already exist, that you competitors sell through or in and you know you should be part of but haven’t yet.
    New Markets – These are places that you are out to discover, that you had not previously known you should be selling or promoting!

  4.  How do your customers currently find you? Describe the customer’s journey to you from their perspective. This means to put yourself in the customers shoes and walk through the way they would find you, contact you, purchase your product or service and then become a recurring customer.Example: We are going to use the same tractor retailer from the above example. John Smith looks at his lawn and decides he is in need of a new tractor for the upcoming mowing season. Not knowing where to look first John pulls out his phone and begins to search tractor stores near me. The first location that comes up in his search engine is “local tractor store” . John then notices he has two options. Option one to browse inventory online OR stop in the store to shop the selection of products. John decides he is going to shop online inventory because he doesn’t have enough time to go to the store. He clicks on shop online and discovers he can shop by acreage and find the right size tractor for his lawn. With a simple click of the button John picks his tractor, chooses upgrade options and add on packages, and then checks out. After he has paid for his tractor he is prompted to schedule delivery. Two days later, his brand new tractor arrives to his home.
  5. The last and perhaps most important thing we must cover now that we have identified our target audience of ideas customers, is how we will communicate with them. There are many different options to discover but the conversion from potential customer to customer to returning customer is important to consider.
    1. Do you need a Facebook page? A Facebook page is good for brand recognition, getting information out fast, offering sales and promotions, and  recommendations. Facebook is a good way to find new customers and facilitate relationships for returning customers.
    2. Do you need an automated email system? Automated emails are fantastic ways to send out promotions, sales, upcoming events and any brand related news.
    3. Do you need to do print advertising? Print advertising is everything from business cards and mailers to ads in the local paper. Once you know your target customer, it will be easy to identify which is the correct location for you to advertise.
    4. Do you need to participate in vendor events? If so where and when are ones you must go to. Vendor events are amazing ways to showcase your business, meet new potential customers, publicize and start forming relationships with potential customers and potential referral businesses.

Now you have all the tools, tips and tricks you need to identify your target audience. Happy selling!

 

Why WordPress is the choice of MILLIONS

WordPress, launched in 2003, is a dynamic open-source content management system, used to power millions of websites, web applications, and blogs. Its popularity is due to its usability and scalability. You don’t have to be versed in code or graphic design in order to launch and maintain your own site, making it a reliable platform for even the least experienced website owners. And for developers, it offers a solid foundation that can be custom configured to address any business challenge.

Are you looking for ways to make a website better but don’t know where to start?

Click through for a freebie with five ways to make a website better!

 

At WPSS, we clarify the code to help you make your website shine. And we’re passionate about your helping your business do more online.

That’s why we created today’s freebie – 5 quick & easy ways to have a better website. It’s full of actionable items you can put into place today on your website to get more visitors and more results. Because the secret to online marketing success is that there is no secret. Anyone can do it, you just need to know the nuts & bolts.

This list will help you improve your online presence today, whether you’re devoted to DIY or whether you have a developer in your back pocket helping to call the shots. Join the WPSS mailing list today & get started with our free download:

Sign Up & Download Now 

 

The best WP plugins can provide a magical experience – add features and functions to your WordPress site with just the click of a button.

And the WordPress plugin repository offers a seemingly endless treasure trove of options to extend your WordPress website and create a better experience for your users. Need help setting up your SEO? There’s a plugin for that. Want to feed your latest Instagram posts into your footer? Just search for a plugins, install and activate, right? Well, not so fast.

Not all WP plugins are healthy for your WordPress site, and too many “junky” plugins can really slow things down (beware the yucky WP plugin bloat). It’s important to pick your WP plugins wisely, because some can really hurt your site. They’re snippets of code authored by strangers, after all. The open source community that created and grew WordPress is largely wonderful, but it does require a roadmap.

Here’s a handy checklist to help you pick the best plugin for your WordPress site:

  1. Has it been tested with the current version of WordPress? Or at least, the version your site is running? How to tell what WordPress version your site is running
  2. When was the plugin last updated? If it’s been more than 4 months or so, that might be a sign no one is manning the controls or keeping it up-to-date.
  3. How many support tickets are there? Has the plugin developer been replying? It’s always wisest to choose plugins that clearly have a team behind them, paying attention to the ever-changing security and code landscape.
  4. Does it have a good star rating? Plugins in the WordPress plugin repository are rated, just like restaurants on Yelp. Click through to read the issues reported by the best and worst reviewers just like you might before buying an Amazon mattress.
  5. Can it be accomplished without a plugin? The fastest sites are the leanest, and the web loves speed. Your site visitors are giving you 15 seconds, max. They don’t want to wait for a splashy graphics show with music – they just want you and what you have to offer.
  6. Will I remember to keep it up-to-date? Because nothing is more dangerous to the health of your WordPress website than an out-of-date plugin. Skipping updates leaves the back door open to hacks and other threats. Adopt a system or reach out for help, we’re here for you

upgrading to php 7.2If you’ve been working in  your WordPress dashboard recently (and I know you all have been), you might have seen red alerts and notices about upgrading to PHP 7.2 by the end of 2018. Upgrade, schmupgrade, amiright? Nope, not this time. Upgrading to PHP 7.2 is a must-do. Read on for why.

What is PHP, anyway?

PHP is the code that WordPress websites are built on, and its acronym origin story is actually entertaining: In the beginning it meant Personal Home Page Tools, but now stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, according to WhatIs.com. Personally, I think the original name made more sense. If you have a WordPress home page, your site starts and ends with PHP code.

Why do I need to update it?

Because the PHP your site is running may be dying, quite literally. And dead, unsupported software is like Swiss cheese for malware, hacks, link hijacking and worse. WordPress sites on PHP 5.6 run about half as fast as sites running PHP 7.2. And come Dec. 31, 2018, PHP 5.6 will enter End of Support. This is a tech term that literally means, “we’re not going to support that code anymore.” It get slapped on code languages when updates are so substantial, and patch such significant holes that running (and supporting) the former version becomes counterintuitive.

A faster site? Sweet!

While upgrading may be a pain you didn’t plan for this month, the good news is that if you’re in the need-to-do-it boat (i.e. if your site is running PHP 5.6 still), your WordPress site will enjoy significant speed improvements. According to my preferred host, WPEngine, most sites in testing “experienced up to 40% faster page speed, as well as greater memory efficiency, upon upgrade.” WPEngine feels so strongly about it that they’ll force upgrade or boot sites off of their server who don’t comply by March 2019.

Get serious about upgrading to PHP 7.2 today

Not sure which version of PHP your site is running right now? Ask your developer, ask your hosting company, or look in your hosting control panel. If it’s PHP 5.6 – act now, do not delay. If your WordPress site is running PHP 7 but not yet PHP 7.2, you have some time, but you need a plan. Reach out if you need help, don’t wait until it’s too late.

WordPress Gutenberg

No, we’re not talking about centuries-old printing presses but the WordPress Gutenberg changes are being heralded as being as important. Gutenberg, the new WordPress page editing format, is coming, and it promises to live up to its name. It’s different than TinyMCE, the WP editor we’re all used to. We break down the differences here.

The goal of Gutenberg

WordPress is the most flexible web publishing  platform ever, and developer skill for it is plentiful.

However, that flexibility comes at a price. To make the most out of content layout and styling, at least basic familiarity with the rudiments of code (HTML and CSS) is required. This is an inherent limitation of TinyMCE, the name of the current WordPress content editor.

Gutenberg is attempting to address that exact issue:  to allow publishers and editors with no code familiarity to create more sophisticated layouts and styling for their content.

“It’s great that so many people think WordPress is the best way to get their ideas on the web, and it’s easy to unlock the power of WordPress if you know how to write code — but not everyone does. And now, you won’t need to.” —Project Gutenberg

Gutenberg groups content into different types of blocks which can be controlled and styled independently, relative to other content. It gives users a level of granular control previously unavailable, but still presents a unified experience. That means, at least in theory, that you won’t need special formatting elements (such as widgets and embeds) to get your content to look “just right.”

Further reading

WordPress 5.0 changed the way we update support websites, but with a lot more creative possibilities. More than just a milestone release, Gutenberg (the name of the new 5.0 version of WordPress) represents major multiple shifts, rather than just updates. And it now ships with new WordPress installs, so all new sites come with it built-in.

So what’s different in WordPress 5.0?

TinyMCE is a free-to-use “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) HTML content editor. Although used by other web platforms like Joomla, Drupal, Blogger, it is best known as the long-time content editor for WordPress. As the current version of WordPress, TinyMCE’s output is highly integrated into various WordPress functions, making it a key component of the whole platform.

Getting to know blocks

TinyMCE, the current WordPress editor is an open text window. It’s always been a wonderful blank canvas for writing, but when it comes to building posts and pages with images, multimedia, etc., it is not always intuitive. Here are the current features of the current WordPress editor:

  • Media library/HTML for images, multimedia and approved files.
  • Pasted links for embeds.
  • Shortcodes for specialized assets from plugins.
  • Featured images for the image at the top of a post or page.
  • Excerpts for subheads.
  • Widgets for content on the side of a page.

Instead, with Gutenberg, you create blocks for your content. Do you need to display a paragraph of text?  Create a block for it! Do you want to show your latest Twitter post? There’s a block for that, too. You get the picture.

Your theme can even include custom blocks authored just for you, and made available in Gutenberg, whenever you need it. Right now, Gutenberg already has a large number of different types of blocks and 30+ embeds.

Further reading

Here are some great references about WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg. Dig in!