October 25, 2014

Top 5 WordPress Features Customers Are Asking For

Within the last six months, my graphic and web design business has seen a shift. WordPress-powered sites are becoming quite popular with my clients. And who can blame them? The features a blog-based site gives them outstrips old, static websites. Also I’m finding this powerful content management system has something to offer everyone.

Here are my Top 5 Features Customers are asking for with WordPress.

1. Control Over Their Content

When I visit with a new client. I can tell you the first topic they bring up. It goes something like this, “I have this website, [insert name of young relative, inexpensive web design co. found in yellow pages, or themselves] designed it. It’s okay, but I can’t update it, and when I want to it takes days to update it.” Sound familiar? It’s a refrain I hear from clients all the time. WordPress solves this by putting the control over content back in the proper place, the site’s owner. With the user-friendly dashboard interface, I can train most people on how to update their site once it’s set up and customized in a matter of hours. Want to update your site? Take your pick of pages, posts or widgets and you’re ready to go. Clients love that they can ask for a certain look and feel to their site with WordPress and then it can be turned back over to them to expand and develop their site and online brand the way they want.

2. Tie Social Networks into My Site

Many of my customers are dipping their toes in the social networks or they have dived themselves and their company whole-heartedly into social marketing. A blog-based site helps you wherever you stand or “swim.” With the thousands of plugins available for WordPress and the ease of which sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn make it to cross-reference and cross-populate your social networks, the hours spent tweeting about your latest project or the comments you’ve gotten on your work on Facebook can all be featured on your homepage. With automated features such as tweeting your latest blog post, making social media marketing a part of your marketing mix, a WordPress blog becomes very attractive.

3. I want easy-breezy, lemon-squeezy ways to upload photos and video

By giving my clients some training on WordPress, I find they pick up rather quickly on how to upload and feature their photos and videos in WordPress and, more importantly, on their website. I have a real estate firm, Dan Helwig, Inc. Realtors that is using WordPress to feature the properties the want customers to know about. They upload hundreds of image every year and WordPress helps them feature all of them and a few “special” properties on their homepage. WordPress makes it easy.

4. Migrate my old content to my new blog

Another client of mine, Environmental & Engineering Solutions, Inc. recently added a WordPress blog to it’s site. By doing so, they were able to eliminate the older model of creating a subscriber-only area on their site for newsletters and information. By migrating all of this past content over to the blog, we were able to quickly add existing content to the blog (enhance SEO) and organize the content chronologically to offer EES clients a searchable, tagged database of all its past articles, related websites and commentary on environmental engineering issues. The subscriber model has changed a bit, rather than supplying an email to access the information, a customer can now subscribe to the blog’s feed and be updated automatically when EES posts something new. It greatly simplifies the site for the user, enables them to find what the want when they want it, and keeps EES in the front of their mind for future projects.

5. I need to organize my site

Another way WordPress helps is by organizing content in a fashion most people can understand. With Categories, Pages, Posts and Widgets, I haven’t found a business or organization yet that can’t benefit from organizing their content in this fashion. I find it particularly powerful for non-profit organizations that have upcoming events and updates for members to be able to post the latest information for its members and the public. Two recent examples I’ve worked on are MidAtlantic Tax Solutions, Inc., a firm that helps homeowners reduce their property taxes and Flourtown Fire Company, both are enjoying new WordPress-based sites. MidAtlantic is enjoying the fact that update no longer take hours to complete and are excited by the ability to expand the site along with the business. Flourtown Fire Company, an all-volunteer, non-profit organization also is enjoying being able to update the site soon after responding to an incident, but also the ability for multiple members to update the site and feature upcoming events. The various areas of the company from Ladies Auxiliary, to officers and its rich 100-year history all have a place on the site and can easily cross-reference with one another through tags and categories.

As you can see I’m a big fan of WordPress and have been finding it answers the needs of my customers. What are your thoughts on WordPress and what are your favorite features? Let me know below. Until next time, Tim

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Made in America – Red, White and Green…

img_0490Last week ABC’s NIGHTLINE did an interesting story on how hard it is to buy products Made in America. As I watched I found it interesting how complacent everyone was about it. I remember watching John Ratzenberger and his Made In America series on the Travel Channel and thinking how proud I was that Americans still make top quality products. A search of “Made in America” on the web finds that maybe the future of American industry lies in new forms of energy. This video is cause for hope, maybe this economy will force America to embrace alternative energy. I recently returned from a trip to San Francisco and was amazed at the “eco-savviness” of the city. Recycling was prominent everywhere, the food court at the Westfield served you on china and with utensils to cut down on the paper plates and cups going in the trash stream. Hybrid taxis and no or low emission vehicles were everywhere. I understand from one of our cabbies all taxis in SF must be hybrid or natural gas vehicles by 2012. It just reminded me that we have a long way to go here in Pennsylvania. The future is alternative and thinking green and the East Coast of the US has a long way to go.

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Things Aren’t Always What They Seem …

Great viral video of things not always being what they seem.

Click “creative” to see what I mean…

creative

Let me know what you think, Tim

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Where was the Internet when I was Growing Up?

The Internet when I was growing up was the property of huge universities and a few corporations and could only do some basic chatting and information sharing. Today, kids have at their fingertips, or more likely thumb-tips as they text and surf the web from their mobile phones, a sea of information about each other, music, trendy fashion and science. Yes, I said science.

Seems teachers and professors as well as science magazines are using the media of video on demand and peer video such as YouTube to explain the science and physics behind some of the more physical or chemically induced videos. The site Popular Science embeds YouTube videos into explanations from physicists and scientists of such things as why extreme skiers don’t kill themselves by skiing off a cliff or the strength of the Incredible Hulk and his magical and equally strong pants.

Cool stuff, that I wish I had as a kid, but something I can still enjoy as an adult. I wonder if my life would be different, a different career, or living in a different location, had the Internet been available to the masses when I was growing up? What do you think, would your life be different?

Do you have a cool web site that is being wasted on children that you think other adults would like to see? Keep’em clean, but please let me know.

Until next time, Tim


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If Communication Could Only Be This Much Fun

Check out this great video from myRagan (a communication consutling firm). If only all communication could be so funny. It’s a sad topic, the recent oil tanker spill off Australia where the bow fell off a ship, when it got pounded by some rough surf, but this is hilarious.

If you know of any other great videos that take a look at the lighter side of communication, let me know.

 Until next time, Tim


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Shout out to TOVA!

The Internet is full of cool sites to explore and hopefully interact with, as I think that’s the goal of any site, you want the user to take some sort of action, whether it’s just learning something or playing a game or buying something, to often corporations forget that the web is an interactive media.

To show you what can be done if you merge design with function – I just wanted to share a cool site friends of mine from my QVC days have put together for a client – Tova Borgnine - the site is Tova25. Designed to help Tova celebrate 25 years of her fragrance line, the site has everything from her OSCAR-award-winning actor and husband, Ernest Borgnine to QVC and others that have influenced her fragrance are here in a slick, yet elegantly simple, timeline interface.

It’s interface is cutting-edge, a truly multimedia experience on the web for something, like fragrance, that would challenge most of us to present in such an eye-catching and dramatic fashion. Until they invent, the “Scent Internet” this is the way to promote a brand and its essence.

So a shout out to Tim Megaw and Matt Shadbolt for a job well done. Do you know any cool site that are out there using the latest in video, audio and graphics? Let me know and we’ll share them here.

Until next time, Tim 


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