The Future of WordPress Is Bright – Faster Sites, Better UX

The New York Post, VentureBeat, News Corp. Australia, USA Today Sports Media Group. All different companies but with one thing in common: their online presence is made possible by the same tool.

The tool is WordPress, and it powers 40% of all websites. That means that for every five websites you visit, two of them are built with WordPress. 

Since its 2003 release, WordPress has continued to grow, leading many businesses to adopt it.

But is the future of WordPress bright? 

Absolutely! Using WordPress for your business means a better UX, faster sites, and better future translations. Here’s how.

What Is WordPress?

First, we need to clear up a common misconception. WordPress is not only a “blogging” tool. While it did operate as a blog publishing tool, it has expanded its functionality over the years. Now it is so much more.

WordPress is a CMS, or content management system. It’s an open-source tool that makes it easy to manage website content without needing programming knowledge.

WordPress is popular. It’s free, it’s scalable, it’s easy to use, and it’s very customisable. That’s why so many businesses use it, and why it’s perfect for your business.

WordPress Means a Better UX

WordPress has a better UX than its competitors. UX stands for user experience. It’s how a user feels about and interacts with a product.

UX includes ease of use and accessibility. It can also include UI or user interface design. Good UX design considers the users’ needs and how they will use a product or site.

The success of a website is determined by its UX. You must focus on providing a good user experience for your customers. A bad experience can prevent sales or discourage repeated visits.

Your site should be easy to navigate. This applies across devices. A visitor using their laptop and a visitor using their smartphone should both have a good experience when they visit.

Is your site mobile-friendly? If you are not sure, an easy way to check is with Google’s mobile-friendly test. Enter your URL and the tool will analyse your site and tell you if it’s mobile-friendly or not.

Previously, many used plugins to make their site mobile-friendly. But newer WordPress designs are mobile-friendly by default. They’re capable of responsive design, which means they adapt to each user’s device and screen.

WordPress is mobile-ready out of the box, requiring no additional plugins. That is less work for you.

Using WordPress Can Lead to Faster Sites

One aspect of a good UX is having a fast site load speed. But how can you ensure your pages load fast? There are a few ways of ensuring a better experience.

Make sure that only the essential plugins are being used. While plugins can expand the functionality of WordPress, too many can bog down your site. Fortunately, many WordPress plugins have diverse functionality, so you shouldn’t have to install too many.

Sites with a lot of images can be slow to load. You could always compress the images yourself, but that takes time. However, there are image plugins for WordPress that will compress images down to a reasonable size without degrading their quality. 

Themes, Themes, and More Themes 

One of WordPress’s strengths has been its use of themes. Themes are customisable templates for website design. The official directory alone has thousands of them.

Themes can change the colour, layout, and typography of your site. The themes available on the official directory are all completely free. However, if you want something more unique, premium themes are available from third-parties.

A custom theme can also help your site stand out. Depending on our business, your needs for your site may be different from others. That is where a custom theme that incorporates your logo, corporate colours, and specific layout and pages comes in.

Themes mean that no two WordPress sites are exactly the same. 

WordPress Makes Selling Subscription Content Simple

If you’re looking to sell your created content online, WordPress offers the ability to restrict certain content to paid subscribers only.

Let us look at a few examples of the kind of content you can make subscriber-only. Maybe you have premium blogging content or financial reports and speculation. You could put that content behind a paywall for paid subscribers and make money.

It is not just for blogging. Podcasts, photography, instructional videos, creative writing-all of these could be posted as paid content.

This is easy to do with the MemberPress plugin. It allows you to create, manage, and track subscription membership to your site. It works with any WordPress theme and integrates with PayPal, Stripe, and other payment gateways.

It Is the Best Choice for eCommerce

You might be looking to sell other digital content or even physical goods. That’s where eCommerce functionality would be needed.

WordPress does not have native support for traditional eCommerce, but there are many plugins that add storefront and shopping cart functionality.

We recommend WooCommerce, an open-source eCommerce platform. It’s flexible and secure, allowing you to accept credit cards, bank transfers, cash on delivery, checks, Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Play, and more.

It also allows you to easily set up a store and product pages. Their dashboard makes tracking orders easy.

If you think you don’t need an easy way to incorporate eCommerce into your website, think again. The COVID pandemic has shown everyone how important an online shop presence is. Unfortunately, not everyone was ready for it and able to adapt in time.

WordPress Is SEO Friendly

It does not matter how great your business is if customers cannot find you. That is where SEO-search engine optimisation-comes in. SEO is the process of improving search engine results and driving traffic to your site in an organic way.

WordPress is very SEO friendly. You can easily modify image alt, meta, and title tags. These tags provide information about a webpage to a search engine.

WordPress allows SEO modification for each site page right out of the box. There are no plugins to install.

Future Translations

Their Polyglots team is constantly translating WordPress versions and plugins into dozens of global languages. This includes all varieties of English, French, Chinese, Arabic, Spanish and other major languages. But it also includes less spoken but equally important languages such as Polish, Welsh, Finnish, and Afrikaans.

Maybe you don’t think you will need a translated version of WordPress, but your customers might. By having an accessible version of WordPress, you can meet your customers where they are at.

The days of many businesses being local only are long over. The COVID pandemic and intense competition are proving that your business needs to be online and accessible to as many customers as possible.

WordPress Security

Some people still think that WordPress is not secure, but that’s not the case. The core software is safe. WordPress’ open-source nature means that there are thousands of contributors to it all over the world. Security issues are prioritised and quickly fixed.

The biggest security issue for WordPress is plugins. However, most of these are safe. If there’s a particular plugin you are interested in, do some research and read some reviews.

Much like you should not install unfamiliar software from strange sites, you should not install unknown WordPress plugins from dodgy sites. A little common sense will go a long way in protecting your site.

Growing Your Business With WordPress

WordPress is a great way to grow your business. With a website, your business does not have to rely only on a physical store.

An optimised online presence will help generate leads and produce revenue, even during a global pandemic. That’s why it is important to have a well-designed website that serves your business. It is not just a landing page, it is an extension of your business.

WordPress is not just for existing businesses though. Its ease of use and scalability makes it a great choice for startups, small businesses, and NGOs. WordPress can allow you to start a business from home with little capital investment. 

The Future of WordPress

So what does the future of WordPress look like? It is faster sites, a better UX, and more future translations. It is continued support and added functionality. These WordPress upgrades will continue to make it the best choice for your business.

That is why Cosmik Carrot uses WordPress. We can help you get your WordPress site up and running. We offer expert website design services.

Already have a WordPress site? We can help out with our WordPress maintenance service. We can monitor your site and keep it running safely and securely.

Tell us about your goals and let us help you.

Learning Management System – Importance of Owning Content

Have you been thinking about how to make money? Are you looking for new revenue streams for your business? Consider setting up a Learning Management System (LMS).

Once you choose the right LMS, you can tailor your content updates to offer personalised experiences to your students.

Keep reading to learn why you should use your own LMS and not a third-party platform.

More Control

If you want to have full control over your course content, you should use a Learning Management System right on your site. LearnDash is an excellent LMS that lets you have control over what you do with your courses.

When you use another platform, such as Teachable, you have to follow their guidelines. You may not be able to add as much content or as many courses as you like. You’d also have to follow that platform’s terms of service to keep your courses active.
Using a course platform that helps market your courses, such as Udemy can also take away some control. Since Udemy markets your courses, they take up to 75% of your course fees. And they run frequent sales, which can lower the amount you make as well.

If you’re willing to market your courses yourself, you can retain more control over everything. Then, you can make as much money as you want, and you can offer courses that your audience needs and wants.

Easier to Update

If you need to update your courses, it will be more convenient when you have them on your website. You won’t have to remember another username and password, and you won’t have to worry about changing to a different LMS if your current one won’t support your content updates.

You also won’t have to worry about a third-party provider no longer hosting your courses. Instead, you can update your course content just like you would any other webpage.

Log into your WordPress dashboard, head to your courses section and edit as necessary. And you can update your LMS plugin with the rest of your plugins on the WordPress updates page.

If you’re busy running your business, being able to edit everything in one place is super helpful. Then, you won’t have to waste time switching back and forth between platforms, and you can use your current LMS even as your business grows.

Create Custom Options

Another problem with third-party providers is that they may have limited options for your course. You may not be able to add worksheets or other materials without paying for the most expensive tier.

Some platforms may also limit the number of courses you can create or how many students you can have. That can be a problem if you want to add more content and offer a more personalised learning experience.

If you want to offer slightly different courses for different levels, you can do that with your own LMS. Then, you don’t have to worry about people not getting the information they need from your course.

Retain Traffic

Getting traffic to your website can be difficult, and it can feel even harder to convert visitors to paying customers. If you do get people to buy but you host your courses with a third-party provider, you’ll be sending customers away from your site.

Then, they may start to explore the other website, or they may simply move on from your site. But when you can keep people on your website, you can convince them to stay and read your blog or buy another course or product.

Once someone enrols in your course, they’ll also have to come back to your website, giving you even more chances to sell to them. If they have to log into a different platform, they may not think to visit your site in the future.

Your students could miss out on new courses and offers, and you could miss out on sales. Keeping your traffic on your site is essential if you want to get repeat customers and students.

Capture Leads

When you host courses with your own Learning Management System, you also have the ability to capture leads for your email list. If you ever update the course or add a new course to your site, you can contact current students.

Your students have already purchased from you, so you already have a relationship. Because of that, it will be easier to sell new courses and offers to those students.

While you can use social media and other methods to get new students, that can take time. You have to build that trust with those potential students and customers.

And if you use a third-party course platform, you may not be able to get customer email addresses. Then, you won’t have a way to tell them about new offers in the future.

Ability to Scale

Another benefit of using an LMS on your website is that you can scale and grow as you get more students. You won’t have to worry about reaching the maximum number of students like on a course platform.

Instead, you can add as many students and create as many courses as you want. Then, you can continue to scale your business and earn more revenue.

Now, you may reach the maximum amount of storage for your hosting account. However, you can easily upgrade through your WordPress hosting provider, and you don’t have to rebuild or change your website at all.

If you do need to change hosts, you can export your website and then import it to the new host to transfer everything. As your business grows, being able to scale easily can save you a lot of time and money.

More Payment Options

When you set up your own LMS, you also have more control over how students pay you. Whether you want to take payments via PayPal, Stripe or another option, you can make it happen.

You don’t have to wonder if the platform will let you use a particular payment gateway. Now, a basic LMS plugin won’t come with a ton of payment gateways, but you can add more as extensions.

Having more payment methods can help you get more people to enrol. Your students don’t have to use a specific method, so they can feel more in control when paying for your courses.

Add Features as Necessary

You can also use extensions to add more features to your LMS plugin on WordPress. Extensions give you more functionality in your courses, such as forums or membership programs.

Some extensions cost money, but some are free, so you can add more features without paying more. However, with a third-party provider, you usually need to pay more to access more than your basics features.

If you want to add more to the user learning experience without paying more, you should use extensions or add-ons. Then, you can add more features without paying tons more each year or month.

Accept More Students

Some course platforms charge a hefty fee for removing a cap on enrolments. As your course business grows, you should have space for more students to join your courses.

But if you don’t want to upgrade a course hosting plan, you can use your own LMS. A good plugin won’t limit the number of users who can sign up for your course, or the plugin will at least give you enough room to start taking students.

You may need to upgrade your hosting when you have a lot of students. But that will be one upgrade, and it may be longer before you have to pay more.

Maintain Your Branding

If you want to build your business, your branding is crucial to building a name for yourself and getting people to recognise you. From your logo to your fonts and brand colours, you want to include your brand elements in everything.

When you put your courses on a platform such as Teachable, your students will see that name in their browser when going through your course.

But if you keep them on your website, they’ll see your domain, and they’ll connect the name to your brand colours. Then, they will remember you when they need another course or something else you offer.

Reduce Your Business Bills

Using an LMS on your website can also reduce and lower your business bills. It can reduce the number of bills you have to pay because you can start with a free plugin and free extensions to start your course.

And it can lower the amount you pay because you only need to pay when you need more features. You don’t have to pay for another full hosting account just for your courses, so you could save a lot of money each year.

Then, you can use more of your profits to invest back into your business or to give yourself a raise.

Owning Your Learning Management System

When you decide to start selling online courses, you have to consider which Learning Management System (LMS) to use. You should choose a platform that offers the features you need and the price you need.

But some platforms are better than others, especially if you have full control over your content. And you can only get that if you use an LMS on your website.

Do you need help building out your online course? Contact us to get started on your project.

How Businesses Benefit From a Website Maintenance Care Plan

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Are your visitors constantly complaining about your website? Is your website unreliable? Are you tired of having problems?

If so, you’ve come to the right place. We know exactly what you need: a website maintenance care plan.

If you don’t already have one, you need a consistent plan for taking care of your website. This will save you a lot of trouble later.

To learn more about the benefits of having a website maintenance care plan, keep reading.

The Benefits of a Website Maintenance Care Plan

There are many benefits to implementing a website maintenance care plan. It will obviously save you time and money, but there’s much more to it. 

Let’s review the lesser-known benefits that you may not know about.

1. Consistent Support

Consistent website maintenance means consistent support for your website. If you find yourself having problems with your website, you need to take advantage of the support.

You’ll find that everything across your website will improve. Plus, you’ll have a team of website developers who are looking out for your website. They’re working to find issues that you may have missed and fix all of the issues found.

2. Newer Updates

With consistent support, you’ll have updates for your website sooner.

Many of us constantly forget to update our website. This leaves our websites slow, old, and unreliable.

Trust us, your customers notice when your website is lagging. This is especially if you miss a couple of updates in a row.

Invest in a maintenance care plan and get updates right when they’re available. You’ll notice that your website works better, faster, and more reliably.

Don’t depend on your memory. Depend on your maintenance plan.

3. Website Monitoring

No one can guarantee that your website will never go down. However, they can help you try to get it back up once it’s gone down.

Website monitoring is a basic part of website maintenance. You’ll find that your website is up more when you have a team of experts consistently checking its status.

We should note that your website being up is extremely important. Of course, visitors can only visit your website if it’s actually up.

Having a website that’s down is unacceptable. Not only will it decrease website traffic, but it will also deter visitors from coming back to your website in the future.

4. Faster Loading Speed

Website maintenance ensures that your website is healthier overall. As a result, your website will load faster.

Faster loading speed is great for multiple reasons.

First of all, a faster loading speed is better for your visitors. In fact, people tend to click off websites that take too long to load. If you’re looking to keep people interested, your website needs to be fast by loading pages quicker than other websites.

Second, faster loading speeds help with your website search engine optimisation. Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yelp know how fast websites load up.

These search engines want visitors to go to websites that they will enjoy. Therefore, they like promoting websites that load faster. This leaves visitors of the search engine more likely to come back to your website and to the search engine itself. 

Third, faster loading speeds improve your conversion rate. Visitors are more likely to become customers if your website loads quickly and allows them to look at everything that they click on without requiring a two-minute wait.

Our point is that you want and need faster loading times if you’re looking to have a better overall website.

5. Backed Up

A website maintenance care plan can help ensure that your website is more regularly backed up. Backing up your website is extremely important for multiple reasons.

First of all, you obviously need to back it up in case anything goes wrong in the future.

Your website might be taken over and erased. There might be a data leak. There could be an Internet-wide shutdown.

Whatever it is, you’ll be thankful that everything is backed up.

More often, these backups are useful for single pages that may break down. Nonetheless, you need to backup your website.

Second of all, back ups are great if a website update fails. Sometimes, website updates aren’t exactly what either party was hoping for.

Installing new updates isn’t always perfect. In fact, there are always bugs lingering somewhere in the system.

Backups allow you to update your system confidently so that you aren’t afraid of losing information. Plus, with backups, you have a record of your system before the update. If an update is truly plaguing your website, you can simply go back to whatever version of the system you had before the update to fix the problem.

6. Improvements

A website maintenance care plan will help you improve your website overall. This is not referring to updates, but – rather – it’s referring to overall fixes.

As we mentioned earlier, a team will always be paying attention to your website and how it’s running. Therefore, they can find fixes that you may not have even know were needed.

Tiny improvements like reducing page elements can help your website stay clean and fast.

Basically, having a website maintenance care plan with a team backing you up can help you make your website better. You’ll have new sets of eyes looking at your setup, content, and other website elements so that you can make the best website you can.

7. Better Security

A website that is updated and maintained is a secure website. Websites that aren’t updated have a greater chance of getting broken into.

This is not to mention that the updates actually provide more security.

The software or system that you’re using to create your website is likely always looking for ways to protect their server, which includes your website and others’ websites.

This means that you’re getting security updates when you get your website updated. (This is another great reason to make sure that you’re regularly updating your website.)

Having better security will keep malicious people off of your site. In the long run, you’ll be protecting yourself, your business, and your visitors by investing in better website maintenance and better website security.

With this, we add that the team who is keeping an eye on your website is also looking for pitfalls. This means that they’re trying to find the flaws in your website. This includes the flaws in your website’s security.

With this knowledge, they can help you figure out how to improve your website’s security. Whether they’re telling you to change the coding or simply update, we recommend that you do anything to avoid risking your website’s integrity.

8. Happier Visitors

Having a website maintenance plan will make your visitors happier overall. They’ll find that they’re visiting a new and improved website every single time they click on your articles, blog posts, and other pages.

This means that your visitors will actually be looking forward to the new features to come.

A lot of websites take pride in these updates, and you should, too.

You should be able to control these features and explore them with your website maintenance care plan. This means that you’ll be able to see the new things that you and your visitors can do with the updates, plans, and other changes to the website.

To be more interactive with your page’s visitors, you can think about setting up a section on your website to address new changes. Many creators dedicate a page to new website updates.

Alternatively, you could include a popup when a website visitor is visiting for the first time since a new update.

Whatever you choose, this kind of interaction with your visitors will encourage your visitors to come back more often.

You could even pour customer interaction into your business’ social media experience. Encourage your customers to come and see the changes that you’ve made to the website since the last time they visited.

Your visitors are everything to your website. In fact, they’re the reason your business exists, so you need to invest the time and money into having a website maintenance plan that puts their experience first.

In turn, you’ll find that your business is more successful and your customers are happier. The maintenance plan makes such an impact on your website that it’s beneficial for all parties involved, including your precious viewers.

Finding the Right Website Maintenance Care Plan

After reading all of these benefits, we’re sure that you’re excited to get started with your very own website maintenance plan. Luckily, it doesn’t take long to see the benefits of having a website maintenance care plan.

Now, it’s time to find the right service for your website. That’s where we come in.

Here at Cosmik Carrot, we help people just like you make their websites better. Feel free to check out our WordPress maintenance services. We’re very excited to get started working on making your website more reliable for you and more consistent for your visitors.

The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can get to work. We’ll talk to you soon!

E-commerce in a Remarkable New COVID19 World

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For over 12 years I’ve been talking about the necessity of the online business model for all businesses.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Business reaction

The remarkable new COVID19 World is here, and it is going to remain until a vaccine is found for the virus. How to adapt a business is going to the be the key to survival for many businesses around the World, let alone any business growth for small businesses which have been badly affected.

Here in the UK we’ve just surpassed our tenth week in lockdown following the onset of the global pandemic of Coronavirus COVID19, with a death toll exceeding 50,000 people.

From the moment the lockdown was brought in by the UK government, the most notable thing to me for most businesses, was the need to adapt, and quickly. Whether that was to adapt their service offerings for more services to be delivered following a purchase online, or to the extreme addition of a debut online service to cater for COVID-19.

There have been plenty of ‘key’ businesses like supermarkets and hardware shops that have remained open during the pandemic after following government guidance with a set of rules in place. Mostly social distancing at all times of 2 meters, and limiting numbers of people in the store were the key rules.

Delivery drivers have been one set of the key workers that have enabled online sales to continue and even increase in certain niche sectors. Some local takeaway’s and pubs have also offered a twist of local delivery or even collection from their car park premises.

Grasping e-commerce for your business, or even the emerging social commerce niche, is absolutely vital to sustain any sales during the COVID19 pandemic. Even today as the emergence of open air markets are starting to open, the amount of customers getting back to ‘normal’ life is non-existent with the simple example of one market stall selling just one pair of socks all morning.

No E-commerce

The worst example I’ve seen of how not to provide an online shopping cart for your customers despite having an existing web presence has been Primark.

In the space of a month, they went from £650m/month to ZERO. What is bizarre, is that Primark have all their products on their website for sale, but no checkout.

The business decision for no checkout, which I can only assume is to ensure customer foot fall at all their stores, has been a very costly decision since the pandemic for them.

At Cosmik Carrot HQ it has been business as normal as we operate from home, and something that we’ve done since day one of business, and for over 12 years now.

Facebook Shop

If the fast pace of changes during the COVID-19 were already sweeping in many sectors, then Facebook just accelerated that with its new Facebook Shops announcement. See – Facebook Shops.

This new change will allow e-commerce stores to now sell directly through Facebook and Instagram. You will also be able to advertise through all of its platforms like, Messenger, Marketplace, & WhatsApp, etc. Using social media apps for electronic commerce is now defined by Facebook as “Social Commerce”

For those clients using the likes of WooCommerce, you’ll be able to link up directly into your new Facebook Shop and sell your products or services. This is going to be a great extension of your online store to add to any business growth strategy.

This will be great for ensuring the product and stock level remains consistent and leads back to the main store on your website to control sales orders.

Online retailing of buying and selling any goods and services is going to increase as individuals want to avoid testing positive or adding to the coronavirus deaths.

High street decline

The UK high street has been in decline for many years, and the COVID-19 pandemic might be like petrol on a fire to accelerate that decline. I see this occurring due to the amount of social distancing required, and the lengthy timespan for a possible vaccine to be developed.

Businesses can combat this decline with a move to an online format to accept payment for items, followed by either collection or delivery.

Restaurants and Pubs

It is still unclear as to when any restaurants can fully open. There have been certain fast food services offering delivery services during the lockdown. As well as particular independent pubs offering collection from an online menu.

For all food restaurants and pub chains, the concept of disposable menu’s has been muted. Personally I think this is going to be such an environmental waste in the long-term.

As a society we need to embrace behavioural change when required to do so, combined with new technology. This is why I think contactless solutions is going to be a key innovative area for most businesses.

An example where you can adopt a new contactless solution for your food service business is a QR Code to Food Menu. By having a new permanent QR code on restaurant tables, users can scan the code with their smart phone. Once the QR code is recognised, the customer can then go through the interactive menu in their phone and place an order including payment.

For more information, check out our Conversational Marketing with further details.

Stay safe and well!

WordCamp London 2019 …Community continues to grow!

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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

How was WordCamp London 2019?

….Even better than 2018!

This is a short post about our amazing time at WordCamp London 2019. As part of the best open source platform that is WordPress, there is also a community that uses WordPress that is just as amazing as the platform itself. The attendance was certainly lower than the year before, but that certainly didn’t stop the content of speaker presentations to be even better, with some fantastic quality content from a range of speakers.

Ben Bradley from Cosmik Carrot went down to WordCamp London 2019 #WCLDN2019 that was being hosted at the London Metropolitan University in North London over two days in April. Each day there were three talk sessions simultaneously happening that were covering the main three areas of ‘Development’, ‘Design’, and ‘Business’.

Here was a breakdown of all the talks that were heard;

Day 1
Sabrina Zeidan – 5 Steps to a Faster Website and Higher Google Rankings
Piccia Neri – UX for Everyone – “Good UX is Good Design is Good Marketing”
Tim Nash – Going To The Dark Side, They Have Cookies
Topher DeRosia – 5 eCommerce Trends to Implement Now
Tammie Lister – Design Matters In Open Source
Alison Rothwell – How to Scale Your WordPress Business As Painlessly As Possible!
David Lockie – Content Monetisation Platforms with WordPress

Day 2
Franz Vitulli – Inside a product manager’s toolbox
Mike Killen – How to sell 5 figure marketing funnels with WordPress
Luminus O.Alabi – Rocking remote work: Living your best life and maintaining your sanity
Tom J Nowell – HTTP/2 Push For The Stars
Francesca Marano – Websites For Freelancers 101
Tomaž Zaman – Growth Pains: The Challenges Of Finding And Scaling Remote Developer Talent
Sami Keijonen – Maintainable CSS archietecture in the gutenberg era
Tom Chute – A masterclass in collaboration with education
Anne Allen – If you haven’t added structured data, your site isn’t finished

Here are some photos over the two day event:

WordPress Developer Services

If you’re looking for WordPress Developer services to improve your website then get in contact with us to see how we can help you. We even offer our WordPress Maintenance Support service to help you focus on what you do best on your website.
If you’d like to hire Cosmik Carrot to improve your website, then contact us here with your details and then we’ll take it from there with you.

WordCamp London 2018 …Amazing Community!

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Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

How was WordCamp London 2018?


This is a short post about our amazing time at WordCamp London 2018. As part of the best open source platform that is WordPress, there is also a community that uses WordPress that is just as amazing as the platform itself.

Ben Bradley from Cosmik Carrot went down to WordCamp London 2018 #WCLDN2018 that was being hosted at the London Metropolitan University in North London over two days in April. Each day there were three talk sessions simultaneously happening that were covering the main three areas of ‘Development’, ‘Design’, and ‘Business’.

Here was a breakdown of all the talks that were heard;

Day 1

Lee Jackson – Developing Your Story
“Discovering your why, your strengths and your key products/services through stories and shared experiences.”

Kayleigh Thorpe  – Getting started with XDebug for WordPress’ Guide

Marco Chiesi – Grunt

Maja Benke – Accessible Design

Toyin Agunbiade – GDPR: Of Privacy and Compliance (Workshop)

Elliot Taylor – Building scalable enterprise applications with WordPress

Benjamin Read – How we’re using WordPress as a Headless CMS

Tammie Lister – Anatomy of a block: Gutenberg design patterns

Andi Wilkinson – So You Have a Website. Now What?

Day 2

Applying Design To Complex Problems (Panel)
Richard CoppingMelanie MachanSarah SemarkGabe Karp

Stef Mattana – 1:1 with customers – a troubled approach, with a happy end

Nemanja Aleksic – Build relationships, not websites

Heather Burns – Getting your privacy notices ready for GDPR

David Lockie – WordPress and Blockchain: the threats & opportunities

WordPress Developer Services

If you’re looking for WordPress Developer services to improve your website then get in contact with us to see how we can help you. We even offer our WordPress Maintenance Support service to help you focus on what you do best on your website.

If you’d like to hire Cosmik Carrot to improve your website, then contact us here with your details and then we’ll take it from there with you.

Simplistic truth about why SEO is important

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Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

What does SEO stand for?

SEO is an abbreviation of the phrase “Search Engine Optimisation.”

What does SEO actually mean?

It means search engine optimisation is the digital marketing technique online, in order to increase web page rankings on search engines like Google and Bing. And there are various other ones around the world, like Yandex in Russia.

There are many SEO techniques that are kind of detached to improve your website ranking, as Google keeps on changing their algorithms to stay ahead of manipulations in webpage rankings. Google also likes to keep up to date with any new technologies, and any sort of advancements to bring the best possible results for users that are searching through their search engine.

Why is SEO important?

The majority of website owners want their website to be found on search engines, so potential users can make contact with them, buy and sell, be informed, and many other online uses and interactions through their website.

Due to the billions of web pages on the web, there is so much competition to be on the first page of Google, and the order of ranking to be on a particular page is determined by Google’s algorithms. By making SEO improvements, you can increase your website ranking or maintain a particular high position for a particular keyword or phrase that you want your users to find you.

Following the explosion of the web in all of our lives, Google is the first place people search for what they are looking for. The search phrase that is entered will bring up a set of results. If you want your website to rank high for that particular key phrase, then your website will require SEO improvements.

What SEO does?

Here’s an example of ranking on page one in the first position, up at the top of Google, after the first two adverts.

Why is SEO important for business?

Well, if your business does not feature on page one of Google, or in the top three of the rankings, then it is very unlikely users will click on subsequent pages to find your business, depending on their search phrase.

For businesses that are in a highly competitive market, it is key that if they want the website to be competitive, then they need to ensure that each page in the website is optimised on-page for SEO, as well as off-page.

How can SEO help my business?

The biggest factor that makes businesses consider SEO improvements for their website is to increase the traffic to their website. Whether this is because of a downturn in traffic to the website, or a view to compete and rank higher against competitors for the same keywords; either way, this is a factor that businesses like to look into SEO and make various improvements.

For example, if you’re a florist and want to appear for keywords around wedding flowers, for example, then by making improvements across the structure of your website will get those gains to rank higher on Google and Bing.

Potential clients are humans at the end of the day, and the more your website speaks to them on a human level, then not only will Google appreciate it more, but also your users will in finding your website and making contact with you.

Does SEO work for small businesses?

Yes, absolutely. Google loves to get small businesses working with Google My Business, and Google Maps. Once your business is live and correctly appearing with Google, then users searching for a plumber, for example, in a certain location, then you will increase getting to the top 10 of plumbers on page one within that local area.

There are more opportunities for off-page SEO with all your social media links. The greater popularity, shares, and followers you have, the stronger the backlinks will be to your website. This in turn provides a stronger domain authority of your website and brand as a whole.

What is new in SEO?

For 2018, mobile indexing is going to be a huge factor for ranking high with Google, and into the future. If your website is not mobile responsive, then Google will deduct ranking value from your website and push it down the rankings. So it is incredibly important that your website is mobile responsive.

Is your website secure? If not, then Google will deduct ranking value from your website. This is so the majority of the web becomes more secure environment for all users.

The power of the client review is bigger than ever, with other third-party directory websites providing plenty of backlinks to your website. These depend on your industry sector, but the popular ones are Yelp, Trustpilot, and the big one itself, Google Reviews.

How voice search changes everything?

One of the huge areas of improvement in SEO is the growing adoption of voice search. This is the growing adoption of voice search. This is the knock on effect of voice technology in new smartphones, tablets, smart watches, and digital assistant devices.

Voice search completely changes how users are going to find your website., as searches by voice tend to have far longer tail keywords, as we use several words that are more descriptive.

This provides website owners with a huge opportunity to find unhidden areas to tap into, if users are using new phrases to find the sort of website that they may want to view.

How much does SEO cost?

Search engine optimisation improvement costs purely depend on the amount of work that is required, and this can vary hugely from one website to another. This is predominantly due to the amount of research required, and these costs can be quite high.

In order to get an understanding of the work involved, we recommend you get an SEO Audit with us to begin with, as this provides both of us with all the information to see what is required overall.

There are also a range of goals that you may have when you require SEO improvements, and each of these goals will be taken into consideration when you contact us.

Is WordPress good for SEO?

In our opinion, yes, and by a long margin. It’s not only the best for SEO, but the best content manager system too.

Don’t just take our word for it. You can see this comparative study created by Web Savvy’s Rebecca Gill.

If your website is not on WordPress, or you’re unsure of how your website is built, contact us to get a new and improved website, or an SEO Audit checkup.

SEO when building a website

Following an SEO Audit will review the data and make a start on your Site Map. This provides us both with a new search result to form all the content around it.

We then provide you with a list of ideas to develop new content for the site. This can range greatly and depend on the purpose of your website.

Once all the content has been created, we then go through it all and ensure that the structure of the content is correct, and work with you to make any final recommendations.

How to hire an SEO expert

If you’re looking for local SEO services to improve your business website page rankings in search engines, then you’re best to search locally for an SEO expert to begin with.

If you’d like to hire Cosmik Carrot to improve your website’s SEO, then contact us here with your details and then we’ll take it from there with you.

What is the future of the popular Facebook Business page?

Home » Business Development

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

How many pages exist on Facebook Business?

Well, as of a conference call back in February 2017, Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook actually announced that they’d got about 65 million Facebook Business pages currently at that point in time. Whether that number has increased or decreased significantly since then, a year since that date, we’re not quite sure. But, there’s certainly a significant number of business pages to take into account.

About four million of those actually advertise on Facebook, from what Sheryl Sandberg was quoted as saying, and they know about half a million of those are actually on Instagram. Obviously the huge benefits of a Facebook business page is that it’s actually free to set up, and anyone can get started very quickly with their business. You also instantly linked with a potential audience of several billion people that co-exist on the Facebook platform.

Facebook Announcement – 11 January 2018

So, we roll on to another Facebook announcement, in January 2018, and this is actually from Mark Zuckerberg himself, on the 11th of January, and in his Facebook post, he has actually announced quite a few things, and here are just some of the main highlights in regards to the actual future of the Facebook business page. He says in his blog post;

But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content posts from businesses, brands, and media, is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.

He continues to say further in his post;

Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping find relevant content, to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.

He also states;

The first changes you’ll see will be in the newsfeed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.

And finally, he states;

As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content, like posts from businesses, brands, and media, and the public content you see more will be held to the same standard. It should encourage meaningful interactions between people.

Don’t need a website because you have a Facebook Business page?

So, a lot of people have said other the years that they don’t need a website, because you have a Facebook business page. Well, think again, as the fact is, Facebook owns your business page with your name on it. This is something a lot of people forget about, and it’s certainly something to be reminded of.

There is also no security with your business page, and Facebook could withdraw your page at any point in time. If that is the only sort of web presence you have for your business, that’s quite scary to be thinking about. You’re also limited to how you can present on your business on the Facebook business page, as obviously they limit you to a template format.

And the integration with other platforms is also very limiting and difficult, because they want to keep you contained within the platform. There’s no also no search engine optimisation control on the business page, to influence where your page ranks in Google. You can obviously just complete the relevant details and see where you end up.

What is the future of a Facebook business page?

Well, following Mark Zuckerberg’s comments, your Facebook business page will have less impact for your business. This is quite worrying for a lot of business owners I think out there, and if this is you, you’re actually going to start to see negative impacts on leads through the business page, due to your business not appearing in other people’s news feeds anymore, as they’re actually going to be concentrating and changing those Facebook algorithms to focus more on friends, family and groups, instead of business pages.

I think Facebook is also going to actually encourage more Facebook business users to pay for advertising to get more notice. This makes more sense at the end of the day, Facebook have got shareholders that they want to earn a profit, so I think the new business model is to limit the impact of business pages in people’s news feeds, and if people actually want to get their business out into other people’s news feeds, they’re actually going to have to pay.

There’s going to be more weight and incentive to use a Facebook business as an addition to your website, instead of actually having it as your website. Also, use your Facebook reviews in your website to improve your SEO. This is a great thing, once you’ve got those reviews from Facebook getting pulled through into your website, especially with them schema and it all being mocked up correctly.

How to promote a local business?

  1. Well, first of all, have a website that is in your control, not a Facebook Business page representing your business. Make sure that the website is hosted on a reliable, secure, quality hosting. At Cosmik Carrot we offer excellent private non-shared web hosting.
    • Once you’ve got a website, if you already haven’t, make sure it’s in your control, you can basically do it as you like, how it looks, and how you want to get it integrated with other platforms.
    • The website must be designed well with your users in mind to achieve your website goals. This includes ensuring that the website is responsive for all mobile and tablet devices.
    • The website for your business must also be developed by a competent web developer, that will have detected all your requirements and ensured that your website has been coded in a way that you can expand and grow in the future.
  2. I recommend you ensure your website has been optimised for the search engines.
    • The process of optimisation is a long and complicated one, but very rewarding when the results are achieved from all of the hard work. The research of all your keywords, backlinks, discovery of competitors, and correcting all the issues with your website is all undertaken with our SEO Services, if you want a professional to do this for your business.
  3. Use schema to ensure your business is recognised locally in Google.
  • Using schema will separate your business from your competitors. Implementing schema correctly is very important, otherwise you will be penalised by Google and other search engines. If you require this service for your business website, please contact us for further info.
  • Use a Facebook business page in addition to your website.
    • This will mean that you still have a presence on the Facebook platform, but your website will always be the number one point of call for all your customers. Your website will always be the full representation of your business, that is open 24/7, 365 days a year, globally.
    • Once Facebook is linked to your website, this will be a factor to add weight to your website to potentially increase its ranking.
  • Have a digital strategy on social media.
    • Having a digital strategy across social media is key to continue the voice of your business. By having your blog posts shared across your Facebook business page will drive traffic back to your website in the long run.

If you want to proceed with your new business website to replace your Facebook Business page, then you can contact us with all your details.

Announcing a remarkable decade in business and growing

Home » Business Development

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

A Decade in Business

This week marks an impressive milestone of a decade in business since Cosmik Carrot was started back in January 2008.

When you start a new business venture, your main concern is to think about the short term goals of the next week or month of what needs to be achieved and completed for clients. You never look towards a milestone of 10 years and think of all the thousands of small goals that it’s going to take to reach that milestone. However, with plenty of hard work and planning, and the pleasure of working for many clients as far as Los Angeles and Sydney. This 10 year milestone has now been achieved.

Cosmik Carrot – Always seeing the vision for your website.

WordPress is 14 Years Old

The pace of changes in web design and web development has been extraordinary in the last decade, and the mind boggles as to where we’ll be another 10 years from now. The growth of WordPress now covers 29% of the Web, and this only looks to increase in the near future with the birth of Guttenberg in 2018. The future of WordPress looks bright with Guttenberg.

The Future of E-Commerce

Integrated online payments used to be dominated with the use of Paypal, but we have moved on and use our preferred choice of Stripe. This always provides the most professional experience for the client and their users.

With the recent rollout of Apple Pay to the market, this is an area where we expect to see a rise in clients looking to accept payments through Apple Pay for their clients convenience with the domination of mobile.

Growth of Mobile

Back in January 2008, the first Apple iPhone had just been launched the previous summer. The user experience of web on mobile was amazing at first not having to sit at a desk anymore, but this soon wore off with plenty of frustrations of websites not being mobile responsive.

Fast forward to today and the user experience on mobile is outstanding. The growth of smartphones and tablets has proved that mobile is here to stay, and is now the dominant way we view the web. Google has already changed their algorithm in 2017 to ensure a mobile first indexing for their search results.

Search Engine Marketing

For the foreseeable future, we now see the search engine market being the driving force behind all web development decisions to ensure return on investment for user engagement. Clients can receive a mass of data from many sources other than Google, and this information is providing us with the details of how your website should behave depending on your client audience.