Google RankBrain and SEO in 2018

Optimize your website in 2018 by having quality content and building links from high authority websites – these are 2 of the 200+ factors Google looks at!

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and has the aim of putting a website in the first position with Google.  It’s like a strange race, as everyone wants to be first for their own keywords and people approach it in many different ways.

Google’s Andrey Lipattsev announced in March 2016 that on-page content and link building are joint first in importance in Google’s algorithm, with RankBrain (their artificial intelligence algorithm) third.  This means that for a website to reach Google’s first page of results, it needs to:

  • Have great on-page content with good quality text.
  • Have high-quality links coming into the site from high authority websites.
  • Include the judicious use of keywords and fulfill other criteria that the RankBrain algorithm looks at.

There are at least 200 major Google ranking factors, see www.indigoextra.com/200-website-ranking-factors-google-seo, with some saying that there are actually over 10,000 factors in total, so how can you optimize a website for all these multitudes of different factors?

As Google evolves and particularly with the introduction of the RankBrain algorithm, optimizing a website for search engines has become closer and closer to optimizing it for human beings, with a few important differences.

Some factors Google look at are quality and length of content, the amount of time visitors spend on a page, whether visitors quickly click back, then click a different result in their search engine, does the number of visitors increase over time, does the page include at least one image, etc.

To optimize for these on-page aspects, it’s essential to write content that is well researched, a decent length and offers something unique to the people reading it.  Don’t just think of reaching a certain word count, but be sure that you, or your SEO company, write content that actually engages the reader, that you yourself would enjoy reading and that includes something original.  The unique text is a given, but unique content, with unique ideas presented in an original way, is what’s needed to grab your readers’ attention.

Similarly, with link building, the links that will give you the most benefit are the links that will also drive the most traffic to your website.  A link from an original article in the form of a guest blog on a high authority site will drive a lot more traffic to your site than a link from an obscure social media portal no-one uses, whereas links from Facebook and Twitter are social media platforms that everyone has heard of and which will carry more weight.

It helps if some of the links include the anchor text that you want to rank high for, however, it’s important that the links are natural enough, therefore don’t be tempted to use keywords in every single anchor text – a healthy mixture of keywords, the URL, and phrases like ‘click here’ works best.

Finally, those other 200 or 10,000 factors we mentioned!  Google RankBrain’s job is to sort through all the different factors and decide which ones are truly important, test them out and constantly refine them (over 500 times a year).  They include things like having a responsive web design, so your site looks good on any device, ensuring that your page speed loads reasonably fast, making good use of meta tags and ALT tags and including illustrations or photos on your site.

If you focus on quality content and quality links, then you’re 2/3 of the way there and a well-designed website and guidance from an SEO expert will help you win the SEO race.

Installing SUPEE-7405 Security Patch to Magento

With the continuously growing number of hacking attempts on eCommerce sites, finding vulnerabilities in your website to make it secure has become more important than ever. Given the fact hackers launch attacks on sites running on popular e-commerce platforms such as Magento (and others), you must take precautionary measures to avoid becoming a victim of such attacks.

Installing SUPEE-7405 Security Patch to Magento

Thankfully, Magento releases security patches to make a store protected against vulnerabilities detected in the system. So, if you’re running a Magento store, it is a good practice to update the store as soon as possible. Or else, you might suffer massive data loss. Besides, it is needless to say the damage a hacked site can cause to your reputation among visitors (and customers).

Magento rolled out two new security patches named SUPEE-7405 and SUPEE 7616 this year. But, sadly 80 percent of Magento stores still haven’t applied the patches. So, if you’ve discovered any security breach in your e-store make sure to install the latest available patches that could help improve the security of your Magento store. But in case you’re having difficulty in implementing the security patches, it would be better to take assistance of a reputed Magento e-commerce development company.

In this post, we’ve covered the installation procedure for the latest SUPEE-7405 security patch on your Magento store version 1.x. But, let’s have a brief overview of the patch first.

Introduction to SUPEE 7405

SUPEE 7405 security patch was released on January 20, 2016, and provide fixes for vulnerabilities like SQL Injection, Cross-site Scripting, Cross-site Request Forgery (CSRF), etc. These vulnerabilities can steal your critical customer information or gain access to administrator sessions. This security patch has been made available for Magento versions 1.4.0.0 till 1.9.2.2, and 2.0.0.0 till 2.0.1.0.

Installation of SUPEE-7405 Security Patch

When it comes to installing the SUPEE-7405 security patch, you can accomplish the task with or without SSH. In this part, we’ll be discussing both these ways to install the patch in question.

Installing SUPEE-7405 With SSH

In case you have SSH access to your server, then begin installing SUPEE-7405 with SSH. Below are the steps you need to follow to perform the installation:

Step 1 – You can download the SUPEE-7405 patch from Downloads page:

https://www.magentocommerce.com/products/downloads/magento/

Or else, simply install the patch just like any regular Magento upgrade by making use of Downloader (which comes added with Magento 1.9.2.3 version).

NOTE: Before installing SUPEE-7405 patch make sure to install all other previous patches to keep your site secure from previous patches identified in Magento version.

Step 2 – Prior to the installation process, you must disable Magento Compiler from your system. To do so, go to System → Configuration → Tools → Magento Compiler. Once you’ve opened up the compiler makes sure to clear the compiled cache.

Step 3 – Next, you must verify the Magento version on which your store is running. You can easily check your store version by looking at the following code saved in Magento Mage.php file:

$ grep -A6 ‘static function getVersionInfo’ app/Mage.php

public static function getVersionInfo()

{

return array(

‘major’ => ‘1’,

‘minor’ => ‘9’,

‘revision’ => ‘2’,

‘patch’ => ‘2’,

}

The code determines that the version of your Magento store is 1.9.2.2

Step 4 – Upload the patch file into the root directory of your Magento install, and then execute it using the below given command:

sh patch_file_name.sh

In the above command, the filename could be something like:

PATCH_SUPEE-7405_CE_1.9.2.2_v1-2016-01-20-04-35-33.sh

Once, you run the above command a message will be displayed as following confirming whether the patch was installed successfully:

Patch was applied/reverted successfully

Step 5 – Lastly, you just need to verify whether your Magento store is functioning correctly or not. Also, you’ll have to flush the PHP opcode caches (like APC/XCache/eAccelerator). Keep in mind to flush the cache after applying the patch (or when you restart your web server).

Installing SUPEE-7405 Without SSH

Of course, applying a patch will become easy in case you have SSH access. But what if you don’t have such access? In that case, follow the below listed steps to install the SUPEE-7405 patch without SSH:

NOTE: Before you begin the installation process ascertain to upgrade your Magento store version to 1.9.2.3.

Step 1 – First off, make sure to install all the previous patches prior to installing the new one. Simply put, ensure to install the security patches SUPEE-1533, SUPEE-5344, and SUPEE-5994, to name a few.

Step 2 – Next, you’ll need to disable the Magento Compiler from your system. This requires you to navigate to System → Configuration → Tools → Magento Compiler from your admin panel.

Step 3 – Now, you must download all of the already patched files available in Github repo (or the ones mentioned in the below table). And then, upload those files in your Magento root directory.

Magento version

SUPEE-7405

Magento 1.9.2.2

SUPEE_7405_Magento_1.9.2.2

Magento 1.9.2.0-1.9.2.1

SUPEE_7405_Magento_1.9.2.1

Magento 1.9.1.0-1.9.1.1

SUPEE_7405_Magento_1.9.1.1

Magento 1.9.0.1

SUPEE-7405-1.9.0.1

Magento 1.8.1.0

SUPEE_7405_Magento_1.8.1.0

Magento 1.7.0.0-1.7.0.2

SUPEE_7405_Magento_1.7.0.2

NOTE: Make sure to keep a backup of all the files that you are replacing.

Step 4 – Empty your cache. Also, flush the PHP opcode caches like APC/XCache/eAccelerator after patching. And at last, test the functionality of your Magento store.

Conclusion

Are you a Magento store owner and concerned about hardening your website security? Well, then you must update your version according to latest security patches as they come with fixes to deal with vulnerabilities detected in Magento versions. This post will guide you the process of installing the latest SUPEE-7405 security patch for Magento version 1.x.

5 Best Plugins to Build Community Forums on WordPress

5 Best Plugins to Build Community Forums on WordPress

Community building is its own sweet reward. Who doesn’t like the idea of a virtual space where your targeted audience comes together to share ideas/Q and A/ wrangle/ et al?

The next question, of course, is whether it can be done on WordPress. The answer: Come on. It’s WordPress. It can handle anything. Checkout

So for those looking to build a virtual Common Room/ Frat-house/ What-Have-You, here’s a list of top 5 plugins to make it real:

1. BuddyPress

BuddyPress

Price: Free (licensed GPLv2.0 like WordPress.org). Paid ‘extensions’ can be found as regular WordPress plugins (“BuddyPress compatible”)

Available at: WordPress Plugin Repository

You can’t put ‘WordPress’ and ‘community’ in a sentence together and not end up talking about BuddyPress at some point. Figured we’d just get it over with now.

I sound resigned, because really, there’s no better plugin for community/network-building than BuddyPress. Attempts have been made and failed spectacularly. BuddyPress continues to reign supreme.

It’s feature-packed and free, ‘nuff said.

This plugin packs practically everything you would need, and more, for creation and management of communities: Member profiles, Activity feeds, User groups, Messages, etc. And that’s just the beginning.

With BuddyPress core features as the foundation, you can begin layering more features with BuddyPress-compatible plugins to add even more configuration options and variety on top of your user-network.

Recommended: Start with W3 Total Cache (Check it out here) and work your way up as needed.

2. bbPress

bbPress

Price: Free (licensed GPLv2.0 like WordPress.org). Paid ‘extensions’ can be found as regular WordPress plugins (“bbPress compatible”)

Available at: WordPress Plugin Repository

bbPress is like a skinny, lanky Loki to BuddyPress’ Thor.

This plugin is another one that started or ended up being adopted by Mullenweg and co. (like WooCommerce in 2015). Regardless, the core plugin on its own is light, easy to setup and integrate, and highly extensible with other WordPress plugins and bbPress add-ons.

The plugin only adds basic forum functionality to your website. But with creative customization and crafty themes, it will work for all sorts of visual ambiance. Case in Point: Support forums for WPMU-DEV, Woothemes, and dev4press.

3. Sabai Discuss Plugin for WordPress

Sabai Discuss plugin for WordPress

Price: $23

Available at: Code Canyon

This is one of the best-selling WordPress forum plugins on Code Canyon.

Sabai adds extremely filterable and easy to navigate ‘discussions’ and ‘Question and Answers’ streams to your website. It lets you create custom fields (for the search filters), and has a visual form editor to create the search forms. It comes with 9 widgets, 10 email notification templates, and more.

Design tinkering-capabilities aside, the plugin itself is pretty smart. It has code snippet highlighting, ‘featured’, ‘flagging’ (for spam moderation) and ‘favorite’ Q&A, Role/Reputation-based access system, and more. Think Stack Overflow, focused on you.

The fact that it is also translatable and supports RTL is no surprise (good plugins and themes do that), but it sure cements the faith in the plugin. It uses JavaScript responsibly (for improved interactivity) and needs no FTP connection to update.

Plugins like these make me happy. They pose fewer problems for users to fret over later. The only damper comes from the fact that it is probably late for an update, but if you are a web development company that knows what it’s doing, then it shouldn’t be a problem.

4. WP Pro Forum System

WP Pro Forum System

Price: $21

Available at: Code Canyon

Another easy-forum plugin and it’s so shiny you can almost hear it.

Pro Forum highlights code snippets, lets registered (to your website) users create topics, replies, and comments using the TinyMCE editor WordPress packs as default (improved with some shortcodes). The topics can be made sticky (for when certain topics come up all the time).

Users can add/upload images, set access permissions on their content (Privacy). It works well with your theme and can be further customized easily.

It’s a lovely, no-nonsense plugin that sticks to the necessary and drowns the rest.

5. DW Question & Answer

DW Question & Answer

Price: Free core plugin. Free and paid add-ons (optional)

Available at: WordPress Plugin Repository

The best things in life are free. This plugin is (mostly) one of them.

DW’s Q&A plugin covers all the basics and goes the extra mile too. Users create, edit, and delete questions, moderators order/delete them. Everyone can search using the thorough filters. There is a voting feature (best answer), content privacy (depends on user submitting the question), sticky discussions, ‘follow’ discussions, et al.

It supports CAPTCHA and at least 11 languages. It has email notification system. There is a free add-on that enables Embed question and Social Sharing, which is perfect.

The entire plugin is like a beautifully decorated suite with furniture choices available. You can work those in as desired.

Endnote

There are more, and there will be more community and forum plugins since the trend is taking hold. The plugins mentioned here are in no way latest, but they are coded for efficiency and they are reliable.
That’s all you need from a good plugin really.

Best Genesis Child Themes For WooCommerce

Child Themes For WooCommerce

Clean and efficient code is crucial for making a WordPress site load faster. Especially, when you're running an online shop, it's imperative that visitors can load the web pages as quickly as possible. One best way to achieve such an objective is to make use of a theme framework for WordPress such as Genesis.

The Genesis framework helps offer child themes that are specially designed for fast loading sites. Also, most of the themes are compatible with the WooCommerce plugin, which helps in incorporating better e-commerce functionality into your site.

Here's a list of some excellent Genesis Child Themes ideal to be used for creating WooCommerce powered e-shop:

Jessica

If you want a flexible, mobile responsive and HTML coded theme suited for creating a child theme in WooCommerce, then you should give the Jessica e-commerce theme a try. Designed by Web Savvy Marketing, the theme helps in building an e-commerce site, by helping you pick WooCommerce, iThemes Exchange, and WP e-Commerce plugins.

Key Features:

  • Dedicated section for displaying advertisements, widgets or text

  • Social media integration

  • Help add product review, ratings, categories

  • Fee shipping option and more.

Cost: $59.95

AyoShop

A clean and elegantly designed theme, AyoShop is perfect for building any online shop – be it clothing, jewelry, or some other shop. It's a free theme created by Designmodo.com – that provide support for styled child themes. The great aspect of AyoShop is that it is simple to use and does not contain any bloat.

Key Features:

  • It comes loaded with all of the Genesis Framework features.

  • It is WooCommerce ready

  • Features a responsive layout that can be tested using the Opera mobile emulator.

  • Access to AyoShop's documentation is available online and much more.

Cost: Free (however you need to subscribe to designmodo)

Clip Cart

Do you want to build a WooCommerce ready child theme inspired by Apple's iPhone 4S design? Well, then look no further than Clip Cart. It boasts a professional and future-proof responsive designs for the modern mobile platforms like iPhone, iPad, and others. Clip Cart helps in integrating shopping cart functionality via Cart66/Cart66 Cloud plugins.

Key Features:

  • Comes with a highly customized front page template.

  • It works across all the major browsers

  • Offers comprehensive documentation and great forum support

  • Contains custom shortcodes and so on.

Cost: $69

 Daily Dish

In case, you specifically need to build a food-related site on WooCommerce, then Daily Dish is exactly what you need. It has been developed for users who seek to make use of a clean and new design for putting up a food website. But, another great thing about Daily Dish is that it can also be customized for creating a non-food blog. This theme is the perfect example of setting up a site with balanced white space and elements – that helps make your content easily stand out.

Key Features:

  • It includes several widget-ready areas

  • Offers plenty of different page templates.

Cost: $99.95

 Brutal

Another great modern style child theme suitable for building an e-commerce site and WooCommerce support is Brutal. Created by Zigzagpress, the theme provides (optional) animation-style effects – that will allow your visitors to scroll down the homepage. You can use Brutal for building almost any site, ranging from corporate, marketing, to a portfolio and many other websites.

Key Features:

  • The theme is mobile ready and adapts beautifully to any device screen size

  • It is localization ready

  • It comes with theme options panel

  • It comes loaded with Genesis SEO options and features.

Cost: $49

 Vanish

Last in our list of Genesis child themes is Vanish. The theme provides complete support for the WooCommerce plugin, helping you develop a WordPress online shop that allows selling products and services online. Vanish theme is a must-have for people who wish to create a visually alluring online storefront that can have a profound impact on their visitors.

Key Features:

  • It is a fully responsive theme

  • Vanish features minimalistic style, making it an excellent choice for creative projects

  • Impressive typography settings and more.

Cost: $49

Wrapping Up

Using Genesis child themes for building an e-commerce shop will ensure in improving your website speed and performance, which ultimately enhances the users experience. So, here in this post, I've tried covering some of the best Genesis child themes suited for building WooCommerce store.

How To Backup Your WordPress Site In The Right Way?

How To Backup Your WordPress Site In The Right Way?

Today, almost every WordPress user realizes the significance of hardening their website security and protecting it from hacker attacks. Possibly, you may already be following several recommended tips and performing essential tasks to keep your WordPress site secure.

But, remember despite the efforts you might make in protecting the site from getting hacked, you can still fail in keeping your site safe from hacks. After all, there isn’t any one-size-fits-all approach that could ensure 100 percent security of your WordPress website.

What if your website security is compromised and its data is stolen? Needless to say, this is something you’ll never want. This is why it is important for you to create a backup of your WordPress site.

pic-1

Creating your site’s backup can help you restore all your lost data as well as altered files in no time. This post is written to help WordPress users understand the right way to backup their WordPress site. But, before we delve into the depth of backing up a website let us first have a more detailed view of the need for performing website backup.

Why Must You Perform WordPress Backup Anyways?

Whilst, you can find many different ways to secure your website, all of the security measures falls into one of these two categories: disaster prevention and recovery. Disaster prevention helps your site from attacks and trouble, such avoiding brute force attacks by restriction login attempts, using plugins to monitor your site for spam and so on.

In contrary, disaster recovery comes in handy once your website is attacked. Since there isn’t any fixed solution to ensure complete security of a site from vulnerabilities and hackers, you must search for a way that could help in recovering from an unfavorable situation. For this purpose, you must create a series of backups as it can contribute to restoring your website at any time to its original form.

When it comes to recovering your site using a backup, there are some best practices worth considering. We’ll discuss that in the next section.

Best Practices to Backup Your WordPress Site

1. Understand what all you need to backup and where

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When it comes to creating a backup, many site owners can’t know what all they should backup to keep their site secure and running. Remember that in the worst case scenario, when your site is attacked you can’t determine the damage that will be caused to your site. And so, it’s better to backup all your website files and database. In addition, if possible, keep a backup of your server configuration as well.

Storing your site’s backup on cloud storage helps in saving it on reliable places like Cloudfront, Amazon S3, etc. But, an excellent fail-safe approach to storing your backup requires downloading it to a known location, such as your system’s hard drive.

2. Create a backup of your site’s latest version

We can’t predict when something bad will happen, so it’s imperative that we have a backup of the most recent version of our site. A backup might not be of any value if its a month old. Especially, if your site gets heavy traffic or you upgrade your site quite frequently, make sure to create a backup of the site each day, or after a few hours.

3. Use WordPress Plugins

There are several plugins on the web that serve multiple purposes when it comes to backing up a WordPress site. Below are some of the best backup plugins worth taking a look at:

  • Auto-schedule Your Backup With BackupWordPress

Often at times, we become so engrossed with handling other important website tasks that we forget to create a backup of our site. For that reason, it’s necessary to search for a solution that could schedule the backup automatically. This can be achieved with the help of BackupWordPress plugin.

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The plugin helps in creating a schedule for backing up your website files and database. The only downside to using BackupWordPress plugin is that its free version does not provide cloud storage capability. However, you can attain such functionality by purchasing a premium extension of the plugin.

  • Backup Your Database With WP-DB-Backup

If you’d like to use a plugin that is dedicated to creating a backup of your site’s database, then WP-DB-Backup is worth a try. It makes the process of creating backups of WP site’s database simple and straightforward. Also, it schedules database backup automatically on an hourly and weekly basis.

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One issue with WP-DB-Backup is that it does not help in backing up files. Thus, you’ll need to backup all your files manually.

3. Create a Complete Up-to-date Backup With VaultPress

VaultPress is one of the most commonly used backup plugins – that was founded by WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg along with his team. It helps in creating a backup of the most up-to-date version of your site. If you’re running a large-size website that is updated on a regular basis, then VaultPress is the right plugin for you.

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The plugin not just helps in creating a real-time backup of the WordPress site, but also offer automated scanning, which proves an excellent defense against security threats. However, you’re required to sign-up for VaultPress subscription to make use of the plugin.

Summing Up

With increase in WordPress popularity, the security concern regarding protecting WordPress site from getting attacked is also on a rise. Though there are ways that can keep your website protected against attacks, but despite all your efforts the security of the site still might get compromised. So, the best technique to tackle such a situation is to stay prepared with the backup of your site.

Author Bio :

Sophia likes to develop WordPress websites and earns her daily bread from the same. She likes to stay abreast with the latest tech advancements and also wishes to contribute to the same. For those who are looking to hire WordPress developers that can match pace with the competitiveness can count on Sophia Phillips for it.

6 Best CakePHP Based CMS Worth Considering

PHP frameworks have become an integral part of web development projects, as they make the task of application development effortless for developers. Most importantly, the frameworks help speed up the development process. While there are plenty of great PHP frameworks out there, CakePHP happens to be the best choice over other frameworks in terms of rapid application development.

An open source PHP framework, CakePHP is based on the Ruby on Rails concept. Furthermore, the framework enables developers in developing flexible and secured CMS solution via the CakePHP based CMS. Well, if you're CakePHP user then you'll apparently want to know about the types of CakePHP based content management system. Without wasting any more time, let's discuss some of the best CMS solutions that users working on the CakePHP Application Development need to know about.

1. Croogo

croogo CMS

This is one of the most popular and extensively used CakePHP based CMS available online. Croogo is an open source CMS solution that is built using the CakePHP framework. It gives CakePHP users the ability to create a blog, node or a page containing taxonomy. Also, there are several themes made available by Croogo that can be used to setup a site or application in CakePHP in no time. What's more? It offers WYSIWYG Editor to allow editing directly from the browser and so on.

2. BEdita

Bedita Cms

BEdita is somewhat different from all other content management systems in the list since it is based on semantic rules. It is a modular and flexible CakePHP framework that fits the need to create many projects because of its MVC design. Another great aspect of this CMS is that the creators continuously provide new version releases that comes with more advanced and better features. For instance, the latest 3.6.0 Corylus Release has introduced several features that helps resolve security issues and bugs.

3. Coderity

CodernityDB CMS

Would you want to use a CMS that can be expanded and tailored to fit your needs? Well, then Coderity is exactly what you've been looking for. It's an out-of-the-box CMS built using CakePHP framework that give users the capability to expand it as per their own needs. The CMS is elegant yet simple to use. Coderity is a feature rich CMS that includes the ability to manage pages, create blogs, drag and drop ordering of the menu and so on. The Coderity's development team is working on making the CMS as a CakePHP plugin.

4. CupCake

Cupcake CMS

CupCake is yet another open source CMS based on CakePHP ideal for freelancers – that helps in updating features on the site dynamically. This CMS solution is aimed at providing designers a simple to use tool that helps in managing content for both small and medium-sized sites effectively. However, it is a lightweight CMS that deploys websites quickly. CupCake also comes with a WYSIWYG editor (also referred to as FCKEditor) that helps in creating and updating content by authorized users with no need for having to learn markup language such as HTML. The only downside to using CupCake CMS is that it not perfect for managing community-driven online portals.

5. Wildflower

wildflower Cms

If you love working with jQuery, then Wildflower CMS is worth a try. This open source CMS is not just built using the CakePHP framework, but it is also based on the jQuery library. It is a user-friendly CMS ideal for WordPress users who want to take advantage of the code separation logic. The purpose of this CMS is to provide the wherewithal to work on common functionality in an elegant way. It helps in creating pages containing preview feature – that enables you to see how your page looks in real time. Additionally, Wildflower comes loaded with plenty of enhancements and bug-fixes.

6. Lumad CMS

Lumad-CMS

Do you wish to use a simple to operate CakePHP based CMS suited for developing small size websites or applications? Then, look no further than the Lumad CMS. It boasts a smooth interface that helps in managing multiple tasks or activities in sites a breeze.

Wrapping Up!!

Are you a CakePHP user interested in adding CMS like functionality into your site or application? Luckily, there are many good CakePHP based CMS's on the web that can help you achieve such a need efficiently. Make sure to carefully study about each of the content management system and choose one that best fit your project needs.

Finding New Web Development Clients

Finding new web development clients is not always an easy task.  Even the best web developers that are freelancers have a hard time finding new clients most of the time.  This is usually due to the fact that just because you are a web developer, does not make you a salesperson for web development services.

If you really want to land new clients you will eventually have to contact them, or you will have to hire someone else to contact them.  So first you need to decide if you can afford to hire out the sales parts or do them yourself.  But, before you can even consider selling your services, you first need to find them.

So here are some good places to locate new web development clients that are willing to pay you what you are worth.  This list does not include some of the large freelance sites, because they pay very little and there is just way too much competition.  Yes you can make money on a freelancer site, but you are going to work your ass off for it and you will probably not make as much as you would if you focused on the methods shown below.

Methods of Finding Leads and Clients

Build an Amazing Website

No matter which method of advertising, or prospecting you choose, you will always need a website. You will need a website to show off your portfolio, skills, testimonials and to collect leads or allow the visitors to contact you.

Not only should you have a website, but it should be very well designed, easy to navigate and mobile friendly. Make sure you site uses Google Analytics to track the progress of any advertising you do, and make sure you use Google Webmaster tools to check if there are any errors with your site.

Keep your site updated and connect all your social profiles to it.  You should at least have a Twitter, Linkedin, Google Plus and Facebook account.  Also, make sure that each account is well designed and has lots of activity.  This is because a potential employer will usually checkout your profiles and make sure you are who you say you are, and that you have an active profile.  Especially on Linkedin.

Most web developers are already familiar with SEO and how to run a server, but if you are not then you should at least learn the basics of SEO and the correct methods of building traffic to your website.  A good, healthy website, with quality links, content and social media marketing can bring in enough leads organically and save you thousands of dollars.

Get Local Listings

Also make sure you list your site is all local regions, with as many local directories as possible, such as Google Local, Yelp, Super Pages, Yahoo Directory, your local chamber of commerce and so on.  You want to make it as easy as possible for your local customers to find you.  Most leads that close are within a 50 mile radious, so keep that in mind.

Even if you are focusing on the entire world, you should first focus locally, then branch out as your business grows.  Your website will let you know when it’s time to grow, as it will start to get leads from other states, countries and so on.  Your keyword list will grow and then you can focus your marketing on a wider radius.  It is far easier to build a localized business than a national or worldwide one.

On Page SEO

Just in case you are wondering, SEO is not dead, and I doubt it ever will be.   The reason is that it’s part of the Internet, so unless the Internet dies, SEO won’t either.  However, it has changed greatly and I have been doing SEO since 1998, so I’ve see it all.  The most recent changed with the Google Panda and Penguin updates as well as all the other updates, have made it pretty risking to do SEO.  But if you stick to the rules you will be fine.

Just make sure you keep up to date with whatever Matt Cutts is saying, as he gives lots of hints on what is good and what is bad in the SEO industry.  In my experience, if you create high quality, original content and know how to promote it well, then there is no need to spam the search engines.  Good content will obtain quality links and comments and that is what matters most, which brings me to the next part, blogging.

Blogging for Leads

You might be a web developer, but that does not mean you like to write, however you should try spending a few thousands on advertising and see how many leads you get, then you might consider it, as it’s the best way to build traffic to your site and traffic that is highly targeted can turn into a gold mine of leads.

Just make sure your blog is highly focused on your customers, not on web development in general.  You need to put yourself into the mindset of your target client, what would they be looking for?  How can you help them?  Why would they want to work with you?  Then write around these ideas to draw in this type of reader.  Make sure you always use a call to action at the end of your post, and in the side banner you can have a newsletter to ask them to sign up for something, such as an ebook.

Remember, you want to focus on clients, so your ebook should be something like, “How to hire a web developer” or “5 Things to ask your web designer”, something along those lines, and not “How to learn web development” as this would not focus on the customer, you would draw in other web developers and that would not increase leads.

So always focus on the leads, when you are writing.  It will take a while and you should not expect to get anything for the first year, but you should post a 700-1000 word article on your blog once per day in the beginning.  I know this seems hard, but so is having to get  a job in McDonalds, if you write down all the possible headlines once per week, then every day choose the one that seems easiest and before you write it, add some more headlines for the next day.

Once you have your blog running at about 500, high quality articles you will get lots of traffic coming in.  The key is quality, problem solving and making sure it’s promoted.

I hope this information helped some  of you, if you have any comments please post them below.

Thanks for reading.

Great Affiliate Program for Web Designers

If you are a web designer and you have a blog, or several blogs like I do.  Then it might be a good idea to start selling related products and services via affiliate marketing.  If your blog is focused on the web design, you can make quite a lot of money if you choose the right affiliates to work with.

I am an affiliate of WP Engine, and they pay a very generous referral fee for sales.  I won’t go into too much details here, as you can read about it on their website if you click the banner below.  But, they offer $200 per sale, which is way more than most others and they have great, reliable services also, so I don’t have to worry about my clients when I refer them.

Furthermore, they even pay you when you get someone else signing up on your site as a referrer, I think it’s $50 for each one.  But check out the details on their site.

Earn up to $7500 for one sale!

If you know of any that are better, please state which ones and why and I’ll consider adding them.

What is Joomla!

So you are searching the Internet for a content management system and you want to know what Joomla! is? This article will explain the basics.

What is Joomla!

Joomla! is a very powerful, open source, content management system, which will allow the user to build almost any type of website their imagination can come up with and all with very little web design knowledge and skills. In fact, some web hosting companies allow Joomla! to be installed with one click via their control panel. We have been using Joomla! for over 8 years now and it’s a fantastic system.

Extensions

You can expand your site easily with extensions, you may be familiar with WordPress, which is also a content management system and is also powerful, but Joomla! is more focused on content management whereas WordPress is more focused on blogging. However, WordPress is still a very powerful content management system and I will give an overview of it later on in another post. Joomla! is used on millions of websites worldwide for sites ranging from 1 page landing pages, to massive online communities. Joomla.org runs off their own software and it has a lot of traffic, which shows it can handle it.

You can install extensions for almost anything, such as SEO, newsletters, online stores, social networking platforms and the list goes on. There is a huge community of developers that build themes and extensions for Joomla! and you can find them on their website: http://www.joomla.org. You can also submit your own extensions to them, we have created several, some of free and some are paid, it’s a good way to get some extra money and traffic to your site. Here are all our plugins in case you want to take a look: http://www.webdesignservices.net/free-joomla-twitter-plugin.html

Joomla! Resources:

Joomla!’s main website: https://www.joomla.org

Download Joomla! https://www.joomla.org/download.html

Joomla! Documentation: https://docs.joomla.org/Main_Page

Joomla! Extensions: http://extensions.joomla.org

Joomla! Templates: https://www.joomlart.com/joomla/templates