Getting Noticed on the Web
Your new website is up and running, but how do you get it and your business noticed? Registering for free but reputable online directories is one way to achieve this. There are hundreds of business directories out there, so it is best to focus on the principal ones and any that are useful/particular to your local area. Try to spend enough time to complete profiles fully but be to the point. Include photos and logos as appropriate.
Note that by submitting your company to these free UK business directories, do not expect to be flooded with traffic overnight, though hopefully you’ll generate some new leads. What you should be expecting though is an improvement in your search engine placements. A link from the business directory to your company website helps you to get a higher ranking on search engines such as Google and Bing. Make sure your NAP – Name, Address and Phone number – is consistent across directories and on your website. Google likes that.
Basic listings are free for most directories though you can often pay for extras or for priority listings, but only do this if you think it is really worth it.
Many of these sites encourage reviews – try to get customers to post positive reviews on the sites you are listed on. Try to make sure also that you are registered with any specialist trade directories relating to what you do or directories local to your area.
If you are a freelancer or sole trader working from home, note that most of these directory services require your address to be public though some (including Google My Business) allow you to state a service area instead, so if that is an issue for you, best to check.
Getting listed in directories is just a small part of local SEO. For more guidance on developing a lcoal SEO strategy see A Complete Guide to Local SEO in 2016 by seo.co.uk
Last updated: June 2016
A quick round up of some of the latest free WordPress themes, including a couple of older themes that I’ve not included in previous posts but feature here because they are consistently well rated and reviewed.
Extremely well-reviewed theme by ThemeGrill – ‘a perfect responsive magazine style WordPress theme. Suitable for news, newspaper, magazine, publishing, business and any kind of sites’.
I’m not always keen on ‘lite’ themes as the free versions sometimes do not deliver but the next few themes are so well-reviewed, that their free versions certainly warrant inclusion in this list.
First up, Virtue by Kadence Themes has been around for quite some time and has over 150 five-star reviews, which must make it one of the best reviewed themes in the WordPress depository.
‘The Virtue theme is extremely versatile with tons of options, easy to customize and loaded with great features. The clean modern design is built with html5 and css3 and uses the powerful responsive framework from Bootstrap to be a fully responsive and mobile friendly. It’s fully ecommerce (Woocommerce) ready with all the tools you need to design an awesome online store. The versatile design is perfect for any kind of business, online store, portfolio or personal site. We built Virtue with a powerful options panel where you can set things like your home layout, sliders, custom fonts, and completely customize your look without writing any CSS.’
The free version has a good deal of options but the even more all singing premium version is $45.
Continue Reading for Themes 3-15
There’s a lot of very good versatile premium WordPress themes out there at the moment. Theme makers are certainly in healthy competition which is ensuring the continued development of a number of modern themes with an excellent array of design/layout customisation options and features. The only downside is that some can be a bit overwhelming to start with.
Avada is the top selling theme on Theme Forest but I’m not never quite liked it somehow. It’s not included below but in recent updates it has included some nice contemporary features so I’m now warming to it.
At the time of writing, these themes will typically set you back about $59-69. So here’s a quick round up.
This is a great intuitive theme, and integrates well with the included Visual Composer, for excellent aesthetics.
Theme Forest Rating: 4.83 after more than 3000 ratings and over 37,000 sales.
The flagship theme from Elegant Themes, Divi continues to improve and is becoming a really excellent theme, incorporating the Divi page builder, and an excellent choice of design and layout settings.
Available from Elegant Themes – not available on Theme Forest – and for continued access to updates, you’ll need to pay an annual subscription.
It’s almost a year since my last round up of free WordPress themes, and there are certainly some great new themes out there, most now with a full screen look.
As ever, I’ve not tested all the themes, though all the themes look like they are from genuine trusted sources. Where themes have a pro version, I’ve had a look to see that the free versions are still worthwhile but it’s worth comparing free and pro versions to see what the difference is. Often the free version will have more limited colour, typography and page layout options, no slider or limited slides, less widgets or widget areas, and a new trend seems to be to offer WooCommerce compatibiltiy for the pro but not free version.
I have linked themes to their WordPress depository page if they are in it, but for themes that are not in the WordPress depository you may want to check them with the Theme Authenticity Checker Plugin or check the theme files at VirusTotal. So let’s get started:
Nirvana is one of the most impressive free themes around at the moment.
‘a framework of over 200 settings in a user-friendly interface, a very effective responsive design, easy to use typography equipped with Google fonts, all post formats, 8 page templates (magazine and blog layouts included), 12 widget areas and a presentation page complete with an editable slider and columns’.
Good contemporary theme from WooThemes.
‘Storefront is an intuitive & flexible, free WordPress theme offering deep integration with WooCommerce’.
Continue Reading for Themes 3-25
If you do not have Photoshop and have wondered what is the best way to extract assets and style information without it, then a great new free tool from Adobe called Extract should interest you (and even if you do have Photoshop, this tool may well be of use).
Extract is available as part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud Files, a cloud storage service which offers 2GB of free storage to share files, folders and collaborate — all accessible from your desktop, smartphone or tablet.
Extract is certainly a valuable new tool for web designers and front end developers, and Adobe’s own Creative Cloud blog succinctly describes what Extract does:
‘The new feature in Creative Cloud Files enables Web designers and developers, who work with PSD files, to easily create code-based design from Photoshop CC compositions. That means extracting style information and image assets, copying text and CSS, grabbing color, gradient and font information, measuring distances between elements, and saving optimized image assets for production—with a drag, a drop, and a click of the mouse. From a single PSD file. Directly in Creative Cloud Files.
And the best news: Anyone with a free or paid Creative Cloud account can upload a PSD file to Creative Cloud Files and use Extract. Not only that, but once an Extract link has been shared, the recipient doesn’t need to be logged-in to a Creative Cloud account to pull assets and measurements from the file.’
It’s great to be able to do this simply and effectively in the browser, and it’s extremely intuitive to use. You can try Extract now to get a taster, or take a look at the Extract for PSD to Web Workflows document or the YouTube video.
The halfway point of the year seems a good time for another round up of the latest free WordPress themes. As usual I have steered clear of ‘free’ themes that are so limited that you really to need upgrade to premium to make any use of them. I’ve not tested all the themes, though all the themes look like they are from genuine sources. For themes that are not in the WordPress depository you may want to check them with the Theme Authenticity Checker Plugin or check the theme files at VirusTotal. So here goes:
Limo is an impressive modern free full screen theme from CodexCoder with a good range of features and options that you often only find in premium themes. ‘Limo is a beautiful HTML5 template Designed and Developed by CodexCoder. This template is validated by W3C and we attached lots of Features. Its awesome outlook and effects can easily attract visitors’.
‘Isis is a Simple, Clean and Responsive Retina Ready WordPress Theme which adapts automatically to your tablets and mobile devices. theme with 2 home page layouts,2 header style,10 social icons,4 widget ,Slider,3 page templates – Full width page, 4 google fonts, font-awesome service icon,Upload logo option ….. Isis is suitable for any types of website – corporate, portfolio, business, blog.’ Continue Reading for Themes 3-30
Really like this web page which shows you just how much activity takes place on the net and how quickly across a leading selection of the most popular sites – likes, posts, searches, uploads etc. Go to the page and watch how quickly the stats accumulate.
Click the image to open the interactive version (via pennystocks.la).
It’s been a while since I posted anything on WordPress so here’s a few top WordPress plugins that have caught my eye recently.
Shortcodes Ultimate – there are lots of shortcode plugins out there for buttons, accordions, columns etc but this has to be one of the best and most extensive with 30+ shortcodes. Simple to use and responsive too.
Blue Studio Tiny MCE Widget – open up the possibilities of your widget areas by adding a WYIWYG visual editor widget. Great for clients.
WordPress Visual Slide-box Builder – Add cool hover effects to images or any other type of content. Impressive range of effects for a free plugin.
MailChimp for WordPress – Mailchimp is a great e-newsletter generation tool and this plugin integrates MailChimp subscribe lists with your WordPress site – an excellent combination!
Easy Digital Downloads – excellent free plugin to sell digital products, with add-ons also available.
Change of Name for Long Established Security Plugin
Better WP security has changed its name and look. It’s now known as iThemes Security, and is still a worthy addition to any site.
You’ll find all of the above and many more in my WordPress Plugins directory.
‘Help me get to No.1 on Google’ is a common refrain from new and old website owners. The art of getting a website on the first page of Google’s and other search engine’s search results is, as many of you will know, known as Search Engine Optimisation or SEO. There are many techniques and tactics to achieve this, but over the last couple of years in particular Google has taken on those that use the dark arts or black hat techniques to get their site ranked highly.
In many ways, this has made it more difficult to get to No.1 as it is harder technically to play the system, but in other ways, it has made things simpler – it is the quality of the content of your site that matters most together with the quality of the incoming links to your site.
Here’s the first round-up of new themes for 2014 including some big bold contemporary themes. It’s also good to see many of these themes offering WooCommerce compatibility. All themes are free and responsive.
This looks to be one of the more impressive free themes of late with a real premium look and feel about it. I look forward to giving Bearded from bonfirelab a try.
‘A responsive CSS3 and HTML5 blogging and portfolio theme. It supports all post formats and has layout, and color options built into the theme customizer. The theme also supports the Custom Content Portfolio plugin, giving artists and other creative people the ability to share their work’.
This is a great full screen theme from Themesmarts who are aiming to ‘to create free or open source WordPress themes using the best and free open source resources tools on the net’. This theme, packed with features and options, looks like their best one yet.
‘Simple wordpress themes goes by its name a simple wordpress theme with enough features and options to get your satisfaction a big boost. Simple WordPress theme supports multiple color schemes 5 to be exact and 2 primary color which is dark and white. Its homepage can be fully customized, using a set of shortcodes the homepage can be created uniquely.
Simple WordPress supports 3 types of page templates, Blog template which shows all the latest blog posts, portfolio template which shows the latest portfolio project and lastly is the homepage template which is used to create your homepage’.
Continue Reading for Themes 3-15