How To Secure Your Wordpress Website

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If your website is built using the popular Wordpress content management system, security should be your number one priority.

You will no doubt be aware of the significant security vulnerabilities associated with Wordpress this year but have you taken the necessary security steps to protect your website now and into the future? Here is our top 5 list of security actions to take:

  1. Regularly update plugins, themes and Wordpress core files to ensure you are up to date. Set this to occur automatically if you can.
  2. Take a daily backup of the website files and database.
  3. Install a security plugin and action all recommendations marked as 'medium' or above.
  4. Ensure the default 'admin' user has been removed and replaced with a less obvious administrator's account.
  5. Speak to your hosting company to see what measures they have in place to protect their network and clients' websites against malicious attacks. 

 

Security vulnerabilities are inevitable with Wordpress websites due to the fact it's open source and has a large development community, but in general the response to security alerts is quick and having a good security plan in place, should be enough to keep your website operational whilst others may fail.

For piece of mind Samui can provide you with a comprehensive Wordpress maintenance package to ensure you don't have to worry about if or when the next security threat will affect your website.

Contact us today at contact@samui.co.uk or call Richard on 01295 278216 to ensure you're protected.


Will I Lose My SEO Ranking with a New Design?

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This is a question I've often been asked, with a high search engine ranking being a reason given for not updating a website to a modern design. It's fair to say there is a need for planning any major changes to a website to ensure the changeover goes smoothly, however, it does not mean you will automatically be pushed off the top spot.

Last week I discussed the fact you may not actually be as high in the search engine rankings as you think and an old design could actually be having a detrimental effect on your ranking, without you even realising it.

Lets look at some possible reasons why you would want to update a website design:

  • To make the website responsive to all screen sizes
  • To improve usability
  • To improve the functionality
  • To introduce calls to action
  • To upgrade the code to the latest standards


All of the above will benefit your SEO plan if implemented correctly. In the case of the responsive website you may already be moving down the mobile search rankings if your website doesn't pass Google's mobile friendly test, as of April this year. 

So far there have only been positive SEO reasons for updating a website design, so how could it all go wrong?

Updating a website design can sometimes mean introducing a new content management system, which in turn can mean a change to the website's URL structure. If this is the case then it is imperative that all search engines are made aware of this change BEFORE the new website is launched.

A new website design doesn't necessarily mean new content script. If the current content has been effective for your SEO plan there is no need to change it, simply ensure the content is in place BEFORE the new website is launched. This includes all meta titles, descriptions, alt tags and main content. You may need to be sure that there is still a healthy ratio of content to HTML with the new design.

Samui can offer you a modern, responsive website design and plan the launch of the website to ensure all the factors above, and others, are considered. We will ensure your fresh look continues to be seen by all search engine algorithms a positively, if not more positively, than before. Call Richard today on 01295 278216 or email us at contact@samui.co.uk so we can begin planning the next step for your website.

Image Courtesy of Manczurov / Shutterstock.com


Hands up if You're Number One on Google?

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OK you can put your hands down now.

Let me rephrase the question. Hands up if you're actually number one on Google for a meaningful key phrase?

I suspect there are some hesitant hands being raised now, so let me explain what I mean.

Personalised Search

Are you aware of personalised search? Have you ever noticed that results on a home computer sometimes differ to results on a work computer? This is because Google is using your search history and search results interaction to tailor the search results page for you. It may also take into account your location to return relevant search results locally to you. Let's not dampen your spirits too much, you may still be number one but to be sure you need to use private browsing. Carry out a keyword search using private browsing and if you are still number one, congratulations you can put your hand up, at least half way anyway!

Meaningful Key Phrase

I wrote an article on the importance of meaningful key phrases, using Royal Ascot as an example, back in June. If you appear at number one for a key phrase that is searched locally 10 times a month is that as effective as being 7th in Google's ranking for a key phrase that is searched 100 times a month locally? I know I would be far keener to take 7th place and work on improving my ranking for that key phrase, knowing I suddenly have 10 times the audience to work for.

There are many factors to consider when it comes to your search engine ranking. If you are sitting at number one, having given very little consideration for the optimisation of your website I would suggest you are either not actually at number one or not at number one for a meaningful key phrase.

Samui can help you analyse your key phrases and prepare a more complete SEO plan for your website. Start to get your hand up and contact us at contact@samui.co.uk or call Richard on 01295 278216 to see how we can help you get started with Search Engine Optimisation.

Image Courtesy of leungchopan / Shutterstock.com


The power of participation

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If you ask attendees what they want from a conference, they will typically answer: learning and connecting with others. Unfortunately most conferences offer little opportunity for connection limited mainly to lunch or coffee breaks and social events. However, those are not great ways to connect with others at a conference, as research summarized in a recent article by Jonah Lehrer in Wired indicates:

"Do people mix at mixers? The answer is no…Mixer parties are supposed to free their guests from the constraints of preexisting social structure so they can approach strangers and make new connections. Nevertheless, our results show that guests at a mixer tend to spend the time talking to the few other guests whom they already know well." People Mix at Mixers? by Paul Ingram and Michael W. Morris

So what is the best way to enable your attendees to make new connections whilst still learning: we suggest you include sessions that encourage attendee participation in your programme. These enable participants to:

    • Connect with other participants during the sessions not just outside the sessions
    • Benefit from the knowledge and expertise of other people in the room, not just the speaker
    • Encourage further connections during breaks and socials thus making it easier for people to mix during these events which in turn contributes to making them a positive and fruitful exercise

Attendee participation can take many forms, from roundtable discussions, to live surveys, brainstorming sessions, to case studies or simulations …etc … or any mix of the above.

If you would like to find out more or would like us to help you incorporate more attendee participation in your event, please contact Estelle at contact@samui.co.uk or on tel: 01295 278 216.


Hiring A Webmaster

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Keeping your website up to date requires time and knowledge. Two things we have plenty of!

  • Do you find yourself delving into your website's instruction manual every time you need to update the content?
  • Do you worry that updating your website may break it or affect it's search engine ranking?
  • Do you consider website updates as an unproductive use of your time?

You're not alone!

It's not uncommon to fear your website. You've spent a lot of money getting the most functional website, with a modern design, but now you don't want to 'break' it, trying to update the content or submitting your latest news article. Now is the time to consider an outsourced webmaster to take care of it for you. From as little as £35 per month you would have piece of mind that the updates you want can be made quickly, allowing you to carry on being productive.

Our basic maintenance package offers you email and phone support with a response within 24 hours* This includes 1 hour's support per month which would typically cover the posting of one news article a week, or the addition of 2 photo gallery albums per month but the updates would be entirely up to you.

In addition, you can boost your maintenance package to include SEO support, additional hours support, quicker response times and a daily backup of your website files. We can even tailor a package to suit your needs, call Richard today on 01295 278216 or email contact@samui.co.uk and employ a webmaster today!

* response times are based on Monday - Friday 9.00am - 5.30pm


Only 2% of school websites are 'good'

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A recent study of school websites, across England, showed just 2% of the secondary schools examined passed the speed test.

Primary school websites faired slightly better at 9% but the research by Cogent demonstrates that schools can do a lot more to improve their websites for both prospective parents and current parents.

We are offering a FREE review of your website to help you get the most from it. Contact Richard on 01295 278216 or email contact@samui.co.uk and let us put you in the top 2%.

Website speed is a key factor in today's world of instant access but it's not the only consideration. Having a responsive website that allows visitors to view the website on any device is a major consideration in this digital age. With 62% of adults now possessing a smartphone it's fair to conclude that the majority of parents will try accessing your website via a mobile or tablet. Being able to find the information they need, on smaller screens, is therefore imperative. The Cogent study found that nearly two thirds of its sample did not have a responsive website, from both the Primary and Secondary school sector.

Being mobile-friendly does not require costly development of an app or necessarily a redesign. Ask about our mobile friendly conversion to get your current site up to date.

2 click rule

This research has presented many striking statistics, some that could be predicted, but the content review shows the most immediate action requirements for many. The DfE have published guidance on what must be present on school websites but over half of websites reviewed failed to comply with providing a named contact, accessible within 2 clicks. A school website offers parents a means of engagement but knowing who to contact, when and how, not only assists parents but also school administration staff. No contact details or having the information deep inside the website forms a barrier of frustration to your user as well as failing to comply with DfE guidance.

Having developed several school websites we are in a position to advise on such necessities. Bringing your website inline with national standards should be a Summer priority, so start with a FREE assessment of your current website. Call Richard on 01295 278216 or email contact@samui.co.uk.


Turning up the Heat....

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The sound of 'new balls please!' and a mini heatwave can mean only one thing.....Summer!

Whilst we all run for the shade, now is the perfect time to turn up the heat on your competitors. During the Summer months many of us turn our focus to lazing on a beach, or sipping Sangria by the pool but this year make sure you enjoy the holiday season knowing that whilst you're away your website continues to work for you.

Samui can help you get the most out of your website and carry out a FREE SEO audit today. Contact us at contact@samui.co.uk or call Richard on 01295 278216 to see how we can help you get started with Search Engine Optimisation.

Finding the time to focus on your website can be difficult, throughout the year, but even more so during the Summer when you find yourself covering holiday leave or wanting to enjoy your own well earned break. A website isn't entitled to annual leave and can be your most productive member of staff, given the right guidance, which Samui can provide for you. As your competitors let their website take a break this is your ideal opportunity to take the lead and push your website to the top.

Samui can put together a monthly SEO plan to suit your requirements; let us:

  • assess and advise on your key phrases
  • carry out an SEO audit of your website
  • action the advised requirements from the audit
  • monitor the success and progress of the plan
  • modify website content as appropriate to target the agreed key phrases

 

For more information or for a FREE SEO audit contact us today at contact@samui.co.uk or call Richard on 01295 278216.


Royal Ascot tipped for the top!

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This week the racing world will be joining the Queen in a week of racing excellence, but how can you use this for your own SEO benefit?

Keywords, or key phrases, are the most important element of an SEO campaign. If you're number 1 in Google's rankings for your key search phrase you may still find you're not getting the traffic expected if it's a key phrase that is rarely searched for. We can use Royal Ascot as an example of this principle.

The key phrase 'Royal Ascot' has an average monthly search rate of ~27,000 per month but this doesn't tell the full story. In June, 'Royal Ascot' is searched ~165,000 times, by far outweighing any other month of the year with July seeing a drop off to ~8,100 searches. This is to be expected, but such information of your own key phrases can guide you on how to write content for your website and when to write it.

During the rest of the year Ascot Racecourse has many other events to promote and a look at the search phrase 'Ascot Racecourse' shows a more consistently spread ~6,600 searches per month. It should also be noted that when searching for both the example key phrases, the number 1 search result, in the UK, is for the Ascot Racecourse website, but different pages within the website. This is an excellent example of making every page on the website work for a range of key phrases suitable for your business.

Samui can help you analyse your key phrases and prepare a more complete SEO plan for your website. Contact us at contact@samui.co.uk or call Richard on 01295 278216 to see how we can help you get started with Search Engine Optimisation.

Image Courtesy of Neale Cousland / Shutterstock.com


Get Equipped with an SEO toolbox

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To get started with, or to improve your SEO, it's important to have the right tools for the job. Find out what we use and why.

Getting onto page one of any search engine is a big job, let alone getting to #1, and we don't believe you can do it alone. There are a large number of software packages and online tools available to assist you but knowing which to use and why will help you to improve your website's ranking in no time. Here are our top 5 tools:

1. Time
OK, so not a tool, as such, but without it you are destined to fail. Search Engine Optimisation requires an ongoing dedication and a lot of patience as results can take weeks rather than hours or days to be seen. When you initially tackle your website's SEO you should set aside a day to focus purely on this task just to give yourself a platform to carry out ongoing changes from.
2. Google / Bing Webmaster tools
It is, after all, these main 2 search engines you want to be ranked higher in, so the obvious starting point would be to use their online tools aimed to assist webmasters! Link your website with both of these tools and then submit the website to each of their indexes to start the process of getting feedback. It can take a couple of weeks to get all the data, following initial setup, but once you have it they provide excellent advice as a starting point to improving your website's SEO.
3. Page Speed
Website loading time plays a big part in the ranking of your website and making sure your site loads quickly will improve both SEO ranking and user experience, particularly on mobile devices. We recommend 2 tools to add to your kit. Both simply require you to enter your website URL and then action as many recommendations as you can. These tools focus on page structure as well as the server settings so you may need to speak to your hosting company about some of these items.
4. HTML / CSS Validation
HTML and CSS combine to make your website look the way it does. Depending on when your website was created you may find it is now out of date, from a coding perspective, whilst still looking modern to you and your visitors. By validating the HTML and CSS you may be able to make some very quick and simple changes that bring your website up to date whist boosting your ranking at the same time.

5. Monitor Keyword Results
Without knowing your current ranking position, for your ideal keywords, you won't know if your SEO plan is a success or not. The simplest method is by entering your keyword into a search engine and seeing where your website appears. For new websites or those having just started an SEO update it can be time consuming to go through page after page trying to find it though. There are a large number of paid software available to do this for you and it may be worth considering purchasing one, but to start with you can try this free online tool. Simply enter your keyword phrases and click 'Check Position'.
Samui can help you get the most out of your website and setup your SEO toolbox today. Contact us at contact@samui.co.uk or call Richard on 01295 278216 to see how we can help you get started with Search Engine Optimisation.

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