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Do you wonder how some people have accomplished so many tasks while you seem to be behind schedule every day? Are you fascinated by productive people and want to reach the same level of effectiveness?

Productivity is a hot topic, and an army of experts have offered solutions to improve it.

Sadly, some of the people sharing productivity hacks just rewrite genuine experts’ opinions. As a result, take all secret tips that guarantee solid improvements in just a few days with a grain of salt.

Being more productive isn’t a destination but a journey—there is always room for improvement. Each person is unique, so the way to get more efficient is different for everyone.

The road to perfection is unique for each of us. All you have to do is to persevere in testing new methods of doing more with fewer resources.

Learn from others – the key to success

Testing productivity hacks yourself is undoubtedly a valuable idea. However, your time is limited and going from failure to failure might demotivate you. Instead of wasting time, why not be smart and learn from other people who are really productive? Yeah, I recommended in the introduction that you be reserved when it comes to golden tips for productivity, but these WordPress experts are prime examples of genuine effectiveness.

We’ve rounded up the best tips from 10 WordPress experts who prove through their results that they know how to deal with being more productive.

Check out their ideas, consider whether these might work for you, and finally, apply them in your workflow.

How do you get the most out of your time when providing WordPress services?

We got advice from 10 WordPress experts:

David Lockie of Pragmatic
Mario Peshev of DevriX
Mustaasam Saleem of Cloudways
Tim Nash of 34SP
Katie Keith of Barn2
Peter Nilsson of WP Newsify
Rikard Degler of SteadyWP
Farheen Fatima of WPHood
Adrian Spiac of Cozmoslabs
David Attard of Collective Ray

In this WordPress expert roundup we wanted to provide a general productivity article to help you get the most out of your time when providing WordPress (or other) services.

By having various WordPress experts talk about their favourite productivity hacks we aim to give you a wide range of tips to think about and walk away with.

David Lockie – Founder of Pragmatic

To stay productive, I guess it’s that age-old combination of doing the right things and doing things right. Let’s make the assumption you’re already clear on what you want to achieve big-picture and it’s ‘just’ a case of being productive to make progress.

Things I rely on are:

  • Email management – keep that inbox at zero every day – reply, archive or send it to a todo list
  • Time management – block out half-days that correspond with the key responsibilities you have – for me that might be a half day on operations, a half day on commercial activities, a half day on strategy, etc
  • Todo management and prioritisation – get really good at using an app like Todoist. I have a structured approach of triaging todos 2-3 times a day into different projects and sub-projects that align with my time blocks and then I use those time blocks to power through a bunch of related tasks all at once
  • Quiet time – whether it’s getting up early or being out of office with headphones on, sometimes you just need distraction-free deep-work time
  • The team around me – I trust the Pragmatic team to catch and run with the ball when I throw it. That’s essential otherwise I’d spend my whole life checking whether stuff was being done or not.
  • Get a VA/PA – I can’t tell you how good this is – being able to delegate calendar management, logistics and travel is such a time-saver.

But all this really means efficiency. Effectiveness and productivity only come when these productivity practices support achieving a clear vision. That’s a different blog post entirely though…

Mario Peshev, CEO of DevriX

Deploy a productivity system like Pomodoro, GTD, the 1-3-5 List or anything else that keeps you accountable and sets measurable goals on a daily basis. Sticking to a repetitive pace would inevitably make production more predictable and manageable.

In terms of specific activities — make sure your assignments are broken down into clear objectives with limited ambiguity. Uncertainty and doubt are the most notorious productivity killers. Streamlining your process into simple, clear, predictable tasks will skyrocket your efficiency.

Mustaasam Saleem – WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways

I would say setting up your goals and dividing them into smaller tasks like OKRs is really important. Always focus on one task at a time! Stop multitasking. It keeps you from focusing on anything and results in affecting the quality of your work. When you feel you’re waning out, go take a walk, talk to people around you, grab a cup of coffee then get back to work. You’ll feel refreshed and your mind will be far more productive. If you have to attend meetings regularly, keep them short and precise.

Tim Nash – the WordPress Platform Lead for 34SP.com

In the last few months, I have spent time improving my productivity and general workflow, one of the big changes was going from a paper-based bullet journal to a more digital system. I’m a morning person so most of my main jobs will be done before 11, and I try to always schedule meetings in the afternoon.

My day to day tool is Todoist for managing all tasks, from taking medication to work jobs.

For more general thoughts and ideas as well as sharing ideas with friends and colleagues I use Trello. Finally, I use the Productivity Challenge timer app on my phone to split my work time into chunks. I really like its quirky dystopian feel, anyone who has played papers please will see obvious influences.

Katie Keith from Barn2

My favourite productivity hack for providing WordPress services is to create a list of must-have plugins that will be invaluable to nearly every website you develop.

Our must-have plugins include Yoast SEO, WP Smush for image optimisation, NK Google Analytics, and Akismet. We also use Posts Table Pro on 80% of our clients’ sites – this plugin lists any type of WordPress content in a table and saves having to list information manually. We use it to meet clients’ requirements for popular features such as WordPress document libraries, links pages, blog post archives, and e-commerce product order forms.

If you use a good managed WordPress host such as Kinsta or WP Engine, then you can create a master site that is pre-installed with your must-have plugins and clone it for every new client site that you create. This will significantly increase your productivity at the start of each project.

Peter Nilsson – founder of WP Newsify

I have gone from wanting to learn everything such as coding themes and plugins to realising my limitations and focusing on blogging. I still dabble with code and take time to realise my ambitions in these areas but by sticking to what I’m best at I’m able to get more done in less time.

It is important to schedule your work days allowing for breaks and other activities such as checking email, social media and industry news.

I balance work/life by going for long walks, running, spending time with family and socialising.

By breaking out of work for a few hours in the afternoon/evenings I’m able to get back to it with increased focus, energy and drive in order to crank out another job before clocking out for the night.

Although I deviate from my schedule sometimes to make room for fun, taking breaks is important and makes it easier to get refocused when I need to make up the hours later on.

For improved productivity, I recommend having a workflow to follow. But also that you have the flexibility to take the time to do fun stuff like working on side projects.

Finding the time when you are most creative is important so you can work to the best of your abilities. If you find it difficult to stop a task until it is done just make sure you try and take a break so you are on top form but sometimes you just need to go all in to get a big task done.

Rikard Deglar – founder and project manager at SteadyWP

My number one productivity tip is to prepare yourself mentally for what you need to do, try to program your mind to focus on the tasks you need to get done, then sit down and actually do it when you feel comfortable doing so.

If you don’t actually need the internet to do what you need to do, then I would recommend that you turn your router off until you are done, along with the phone. Try to shut all distractions out.

To keep track of the tasks I need to do I usually simply open a tab in my browser that lets me know what is in the pipeline. I also use Asana, or a simple text document, for task management if the browser gets too crowded.

My second productivity tip is actually related to food; six months ago I stopped eating breakfast, I now only eat brunch which usually consists of three eggs, tea and two pieces of bread with butter and/or peanut butter. If I eat this kind of brunch I don’t need to eat lunch, which means I free up time during the day by skipping a whole meal. By eating this way I also feel much better during the day, and I have a more constant energy level compared to when having breakfast which consists mainly of carbohydrates. Following this suggestion might not work for you, but I do recommend that you try to experiment with your eating habits.

Farheen Fatima – Community Manager at WPHood

My team and I are a very passionate group of people who believe in working together.

We have a very clear understanding of the importance of both work and home life. Our number one strategy to keep work/life balance is focus, focus, and focus. When we are at work, we think about nothing but work, we are focused and when we are home, we are home. It may sound simple and difficult to implement at first, but once you master it, it is the single most simple strategy that can help you maintain healthy work/life balance.

For us, the number one productivity tip is to list, prioritise, and go. We use 1-3-5 and GTD strategies to boost our productivity but focus is still our number one tip for being productive.

Adrian Spiac – founder of Cozmoslabs

I’m an early riser, I normally get up before 6AM. Part of my morning ritual is reading for 20-30 minutes and putting my thoughts on paper. I split my work day in half. The first part is focused on creating, whether it’s content, code, processes etc. It’s the type of work that requires bigger chunks of time with no interruptions. Ideally I do this for 4-5 hours each day.

The second part is focused on management tasks, emails, calls, supporting my team, meetings etc. Since we only work 4 days/week (Fridays OFF) I spend my long weekends with my family or in nature, fishing.

Yes, early morning is key for me. It’s quiet, there are no interruptions and my productivity level is at its peak. As mentioned above I like scheduling bigger chunks of time for creating things or learning. To get in the flow this needs to be over 4 hours. Management tasks are normally delayed for the end of the day. Depending on volume, you can also book them for a certain half-day.

Also, sleep is very important. It sounds silly, but we tend to overlook this many times. If you want to wake up early and fresh, you should go to bed early and get 8 hours of sleep. This number can vary, but for me it revolves around 8. Reading a few pages in bed has a positive effect on my sleep quality.

David Attard from Collective Ray

Work for Collective Ray is strictly 9 to 5. This makes sure everything stays boxed in.

Anything outside of those hours needs to be based on “hobby” or enjoyment work, primarily on any niche sites, or just writing / blogging about WordPress, digital marketing and related industries – stuff I enjoy. Given the always-online world we live in, one must be strict with themselves, in order not to work 24/7. For example, disable most phone notifications related to work, so they can be seen on a “pull” basis rather than in real-time.

Set yourself some do not disturb time – 1 hour or as much as you need where you are completely offline, in terms of, you CANNOT get disturbed. Phones are off, meetings are off, everything is 100% focused. It doesn’t matter whether that’s in the morning, or when everybody has left the office, or when your kids have gone to sleep, just do what works best for you.

Also eat your frog first. Schedule the most annoying/hardest task for the morning, so once that’s out of the way, everything else feels like a breeze.

The harsh reality of getting more productive is giving up small Facebook or Twitter chats, ignoring your smartphone notifications, and stopping checking news or sports news. Your motivation is more important than any hack shared by the above people. Be honest with yourself and make a decision. Are you prepared to give up to the “simple pleasures” and start fully focusing on your work? Your productivity will grow exponentially only when you are totally committed to ignoring every distraction.

Don’t forget, productivity isn’t a destination. It’s a journey!

The post How to Boost Your Productivity: WordPress Expert Roundup appeared first on Newt Labs.

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If statistics are anything to go by, adopting content marketing is the way to go if you are going to make any significant progress in growing traffic as part of your SEO strategy.

One thing you should not forget though is that everyone is doing the same.

So, with about 2 million blogs posts being published every day, what will make your content stand out enough to attract the kind of traffic you are looking for?

Below are several guidelines on how content marketing can bring more traffic to your website.

Create High Quality Content

High quality content not only makes you stand out as an expert but also gives you an edge against your competition because it is meaningful, informative and comprehensive.

Here are a few tips that can help you pull it off;

  • Find out what your audience really needs by doing surveys, researching your competition and checking out sites that they like to spend time on.
  • Figure out the most relevant primary keywords using tools like KeywordTool.io and build your content around them.
  • Organise and lay out the body of your content using long-tail keywords to notch up your key word usage.
  • Verify the validity of your topics with the help of tools like Buzzsumo and Quora.
Connect With your Audience through Relatable Stories

Content without a personal touch may sometimes sound aloof and judgmental. When you give examples that your audience can relate to, then your content becomes real and actionable.

Stories are captivating; they catch a reader’s attention and they are likely to be remembered over facts. They also help your audience transition from what they already know to the unknown stuff.

It is even better if you can share real life experiences that others can identify with, speaking in your own voice, and in a conversational tone. This brings you out as a person and it cultivates a relationship between you and your audience.

Create Catchy Titles

What good will high quality, beautifully written content amount to if nobody clicks on the title? The title of your content should spark a need to find out more and entice your readers to click. However, it should not be a summary of your blog; keep it short and to the point.

Since it is just a tip of what to expect, include your keyword or keyword phrases for relevance and also to help with SEO. Whenever you can, make your title a list post or a ‘how to’ post; these have been proven to endure and remain relevant longer than other types of posts.

Enhance the Readability of your Content

There are worrying statistics on how much people are reading online. One of them is that only 10-20% of readers go all the way to the bottom of posts.
Is there a way that you can encourage your audience to linger more on your content?

Indeed; keep your sentences short and your paragraphs 3-4 sentences long. Long sentences and bulky paragraphs tend to put people off.

Use headings to help people skim through the main parts of your post and bullets to highlight important points at a glance. Another important feature is the use of visual media to make content more appealing and easy to digest.

A 2016 Social Media Marketing report shows marketers voting visual content a close second to blogging in terms of importance. Also, people are more likely to share content with pictures and videos compared to plain posts.

Make your Content Easy to Share

One way that visitors to your website can help to increase your site traffic is by sharing your content. You should therefore make it so easy for them so they feel guilty if they don’t.

A plug-in like SumoMe can set you up with preferred social sharing buttons and gives you liberty to choose when, where and on which posts to use them.

Insert Click to Tweet boxes to help your reader share your content on Twitter and Image Sharer to enable image sharing. Remember that search engines cannot read what is on your awayimages but embedding alt text into them helps. Then it will be a matter of time before your content starts moving right left and centre.

The Final Take

Content marketing is fast taking over leadership in marketing strategies. However, a little extra work is required in making your content stand out in the content dominated web. Adopting any of the above tips gives you somewhere to start. One final tip; content marketing is just about capturing people’s interest and keeping it there!

The post How To Increase Traffic with Content Marketing appeared first on Newt Labs.

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Managing time is of the utmost importance for every human being. Good time management is equally important for the average individual and most important CEOs. Elon Musk and Bill Gates have done great things during their lives not only because they are geniuses but also because they spend their time effectively. For instance, Elon Musk said that he doesn’t use fancy time management apps or strategies. However, he continually evaluates what he accomplishes during a day and searches for ways to do more. Bill Gates has a complete plan of getting more done in less time, and one of the principles is to take your time seriously.

Our time is limited and irreversible, so all we can do is try to do more constantly. In this article, I showcase 12 working tips to master your time and 13 useful tools to help you in this respect. This article is golden for anyone who cares about being more productive. Read it carefully and don’t forget that you need to put the theory to work to really become more efficient.

Tips for Better Time Management

There are coaches, academic research studies, books, blog posts, and online resources teaching you how to manage your time better. The universal piece of advice is that each individual is unique, and what worked for 99.99% of people might not work for a particular individual. Don’t take the following tips as gospel, but test them and determine which works the best. Time management is a never-ending quest of doing more with your time.

1. Create a Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Plan

Create a plan if you want to do more! It’s a non-negotiable aspect if you’re going to be more productive. Start off by making plans for the next day: set priorities and tangible results. Try to be objective when creating the plan. Adding too many things on a “to do tomorrow” list can result in extreme frustration while too few tasks can lead to procrastination.

A weekly plan should contain more complex tasks than those on a daily list.

Accomplishing the weekly tasks should give you a sense of pride and motivate you to work better. The necessity of a monthly plan is disputable, but it could help less-organised people.

Still, it can be pretty complicated to create a working monthly plan because there are many factors to take into account (new projects, conferences, meetings, personal problems, etc).

2. Use a To-Do List

A to-do list is efficient in terms of both time management and productivity. Writing down a list on paper or using an app to create a list of tasks will help you very much in the long run.

These lists systemise your work, and you can avoid procrastination by allocating time for each job. It doesn’t matter if you use paper, the web or mobile app; what matters is that you never give up on your list of priorities.

3. Track Your Time

Even though you spend on average eight hours a day in an office, that doesn’t mean that you worked for eight hours. The sad reality is that you probably effectively worked for only four hours. To some degree, chatting with friends or taking small breaks are beneficial, but most of us abuse of these moments and, consequently, decrease productivity. Tracking your time is a capital step to identify your weak points. Luckily, you are at a click away from a plethora of time-tracking apps that reveal how you spend your time. We did some research and listed further below 13 tools to manage your time better.

4. Don’t Multitask

I often heard people around me claiming that they are multitasking. I was sceptical about this ability, but I didn’t have any evidence against their claims. But Inc.com, Entrepreneur, and Harvard Business Review are just a few publications that explain the inefficiency of multitasking. Don’t pretend that you are an exception. Accept that our brains work in single-task mode.

Focus entirely on a single task, do it as well as you can, and finish it. Then you can start working on another task.

5. Prioritise

Prioritising is another item that should be on your agenda if you want to master your time. Dwight Eisenhower served as the 34th President of United States and was previously a five-star general. He created a simple but brilliant matrix to resolve his daily tasks.

Eisenhower’s matrix encompasses all your tasks that fall into four quadrants:

  • Important and Urgent: these tasks must be accomplished.
  • Important but Not Urgent: these tasks must be planned ahead.
  • Not Important but Urgent: these tasks must be delegated.
  • Not Important and Not Urgent: these tasks must be eliminated.

Clearly, Eisenhower made a lot of decisions under tremendous pressure, and this matrix helped him to avoid making bad choices. Prioritising tasks is mandatory, and Eisenhower’s matrix might be a solution for you.

6. Learn to Say No

Is there any connection between saying no and time management? Seemingly, there isn’t, but in reality, there is a discrete yet capital relationship. You can be tempted to say yes to clients’ and colleagues’ requests, but then you end up with an endless list of tasks that can’t be achieved in time. It results in stress, fatigue, and disappointment because you tried to be polite.

It’s not easy to say no, but it’s necessary; you aren’t being rude if you decline to help a friend. It’s more important to be efficient and realistic than to be too friendly. Yes, you may close a door by declining a request or a task, but you open up a new one that may lead to a more fruitful opportunity.

7. Eat a Live Frog

Mark Twain once said, ‘The first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog’, and I couldn’t agree more. This statement means that you should start your work day by resolving the most challenging task. It’s a simple life hack that you should at least test.

8. Block Out Distractions

It’s not enough to eat that live frog—you must stop all distractions to get the most from your work time. Chatting with friends, planning your weekend, and checking your email, Facebook scrolling, and Twitter notifications are all distractions that consume your time and drain your energy. It’s pretty hard, but turning off your smartphone is mandatory for maximising your productivity.

9. Take Care of Yourself

You can’t be the master of your time if you aren’t the master of your body and mind.

Exercising and sleeping well are indispensable for good health. Going to the gym or taking a long walk isn’t a waste of time but a good investment for your future. Sleeping at least seven hours a day should be one of your habits because you can’t be productive without the proper amount of rest.

Mental health is also quite important. Working too much is as bad as procrastination in the long run. Spend time with your family and friends and develop your hobbies; these activities are normal and beneficial necessities, so don’t skip them just to have more time for work.

10. Develop Habits

Most certainly, you have watched videos on YouTube showing how amateur football players perform plenty of tricks to perfection. They are genuinely born-skilled, but it’s also about the many hours of daily training they put in. They practiced a lot and trained two or three hours a day, turning it into a habit. Working hard for them isn’t a chore—it’s a habit.

The Romans said, ‘Repetitio mater studiorum est’ (repetition is the mother of all learning), and I fully agree with this proverb. Try to develop good habits, such as waking up early, working out at the gym, closely monitoring your time, and spending quality time with friends and family. These activities become habits after you have practiced them for many days or weeks in a row.

It’s not easy to develop good habits, but a good one will always save you time and improve your productivity.

11. Delegate

How you delegate tasks says a lot about your personality. Delegating too many tasks shows that you are lazy while doing everything by yourself means that you are hard-working but not smart.

In principle, delegate assignments to other people only if they can do them 80% as well as you can. Perfection is a killer of productivity, so strive for achievement, not perfection!

Unfortunately, some of the jobs delegated will end up being a fiasco. It’s happened to everyone, and it will continue to happen. But don’t ever consider that delegation is bad; it could just be that the manner in which you delegated was wrong. So delegate the repetitive or annoying tasks no matter the result. Instead, pay attention to the people you delegate!

12. Discipline

The difference between a resounding success and a continued, useless struggle is discipline.

Only disciplined people can resist temptations such as procrastination, online chatting, and watching the next episode of their favourite movie.

Find your source of motivation, and don’t ever give up! Create a reward system to help you be more disciplined. For example, allow yourself 20 minutes a day on Facebook but only if you wrote 1,000 words the day before. Otherwise, you don’t get to use Facebook at all!

It’s not easy to turn into a disciplined person, but nothing great was achieved with small endeavours.

Time management is a complex area, and the above tips only scratch the surface. The countless resources showing you how to do more with your time are useful, but none can replace your motivation and hard work. The smiling faces of people sharing their successful stories about accomplishing countless tasks in just eight hours are deceiving. Behind these successful stories are many hours of work, unslept nights, failures, and sacrifices.

Don’t be overwhelmed by your situation! If you persevere and try to improve your flow, you are on the right track. All your role models have gone through your issues and know how you feel.

Tools for Better Time Management

The following tools are a good place to start to reform your workflow and grow your productivity. Some are simple while others are quite complex. Some are free while others are premium. As usual, I tried to cover the needs of all kind of users. Let me know your opinion via the comment form—did I manage to do it?

13. Rescue Time

In all honesty, Rescue Time has really helped me to save precious time. If you are a solopreneur or you want to test it out, I suggest installing the Rescue Time extension. Most likely, checking your first performance report will feel like an ice-cold shower.

Rescue Time shows you the time you spent on distracting websites and the time you effectively worked. I must confess that I used to spend a lot of time reading sports and news magazines. I have considerably reduced this waste of time since I started using Rescue Time.

The productivity pulse (the percentage of time dedicated to useful activities) motivates me to work harder. Setting up a number of goals is another factor that might motivate you to avoid procrastination.

Overall, Rescue Time is an irreplaceable tool for anyone wanting to get the most from their time.

14. Toggl

Toggl is an outstanding app aimed at improving your productivity and keeping track of your time. I am a big fan of it (no fake promo or affiliate promotions here) because of its multiple advantages.

First, it works on any device: Android, iOS, or desktop. Wherever you go, Toggl is with you. Of course, every activity is synced.

Second, it tracks your time in a simple but effective way. It lets you build projects for each client and track the time spent on all your activities. The interface is user-friendly, and you don’t need any introductory tutorials to use Toggl.

Third, Toggl empowers you to create time reports for all your projects and clients. The reports are transparent and simple, so your clients have a clear idea about the time their projects took.

15. Clockify

Clockify looks very similar to Toggl both in terms of functionality and design. Chances are that if you like Toggl, you’ll like Clockify too. However, Clockify has many more features than Toggl for the free plan, and the right sidebar of the time tracker is beautifully designed. Overall, Clockify is a time management app that doesn’t cost a fortune but saves precious time.

16. Time Doctor

Time Doctor works for individuals or small groups, but it’s aimed at medium and big organisations where the employees work remotely. It’s an accurate time-tracking app that impresses with its countless features. Time Doctor generates reports, creates invoices, lets you send money, takes screenshots, monitors sites and apps visited, and enables your clients to check on project development.

Don’t worry about security and privacy—it uses secure data encryption.

While Time Doctor is mostly a tool for collaborative work, it’s still an excellent fit for having full control over your time. I believe that you will focus more on your tasks when you know that someone (a boss, a client, or a colleague) could consult the list of sites and apps visited during working hours.

17. Timely App

Timely App is in some ways similar to Time Doctor: both of them are designed for teams, but solo freelancers aren’t ignored, and there are pricing plans for individuals as well as for teams. But the advantages of Timely App should convince you to test drive it.

From the beginning, the interface will delight you; it’s modern and intuitive. Creating a new project and adding collaborators is easy as ABC.

It doesn’t track the time, but you can administer all your projects in a considerably more relaxed way with the app. If you are interested, register and test it for free for 14 days (no credit card required—a big thumbs up for this decision).

18. Eisenhower Me

I previously mentioned President Eisenhower and his famous matrix. Use this web matrix or the iOS app if you want to leverage the Eisenhower matrix for your benefit. Additionally, sign up to receive a printable PDF model of the matrix in your inbox.

19. Todoist

Todoist is a web app suitable for organising all your tasks. It doesn’t track your active working time, but it’s golden for setting up the tasks to accomplish and prioritise them.

Todoist has a few unique features that make it stand out from other similar apps. Adding a new task is easy-peasy; the tasks fall into default projects such as Personal, Work, Shopping, or another folder created by you, so the app works for both work and your personal life. On top of that, you can establish the priority of each task created and assign a specific colour. In this way, your schedule is clear and effective—you know instantly what task is next to be resolved, which activities are urgent, and which are the most important.

20. Focus Booster App

You have probably heard about the Pomodoro technique—that method where you’re supposed to work in intervals of 25 minutes separated by five- to ten-minute breaks. It’s a technique that’s been tested worldwide, and many people have improved their productivity with it. This app lets you apply the Pomodoro technique. It works on desktop or on your mobile device (both Android and iOS).

Test it for 30 days and draw your conclusions after this trial. Is it for you? If you used it moderately, you might benefit from the Starter pricing plan, which is free. The Individual and Professional plans are for people who significantly boost their productivity by applying the Pomodoro technique. The premium plans come with additional features, such as 200 or unlimited Pomodoro sessions, data export, and revenue reports.

21. 1-3-5 To Do List

Simplicity is always sexy! This simple list might let down the geeks who expect countless options, but it contributes to getting a clear vision for the next day. The Muse proposes a list of tasks based on the 1-3-5 hierarchy. First, plan the most important assignment of the day. Second, determine the three tasks that are immediately important after the first one. Lastly, write down another set of five tasks to accomplish after finishing the previous ones.

22. Stay Focusd

Stay Focusd isn’t a standard time management app, but it forces you to pay close attention to all your distractions. The idea behind it is simple yet magnificent: Stay Focusd blocks apps and sites that distract you.

There are two options. First, go for a productivity duo—Freedom and Stay Focusd—which works for any device and is jam-packed with many options, including full internet blocking.

Second, use the Stay Focusd browser extension. I have used the extension for almost a year, and it has made me more productive.

23. Wunderlist

Wunderlist isn’t an elaborate tool, but it saves a lot of time for a plethora of users. Its magic power consists of organising your projects and assignments in a straightforward yet productive way. Not only does Wunderlist work for individuals, but it also allows users to share lists with friends.

The tasks on the list can fall into a number of folders, such as Budget, Work, or Private. In this way, you have granular control over the entire day, and you won’t disappoint your family by forgetting to participate at important events. An organised schedule is a must if you want to manage your time wisely.

24. Forest App

The users of this app have contributed to planting over 350,000 trees by managing their time.

It’s not a joke—it’s a productivity app that comes with an original idea. You plant virtual trees by focusing on your work. For instance, by focusing for 15 minutes, you plant a small tree. By focusing for 25 or 40 minutes, you plant a big fir tree. Step by step, you plant a forest, and you develop a habit of planting more and more trees. It’s a fascinating example of how gamification can help people be more productive.

25. My Life Organized

My Life Organized is one of the most complex time management tools. A major inconvenience of it compared to the previous suggestions is that you have to download and install it on your computer. If that isn’t a big deal for you, then My Life Organized will assist you with scheduling your day.

It’s a good fit for teams; it splits a big project into small chunks that can be assigned to members. Setting up reminders, scheduling tasks for a specific date, highlighting the essential activities, or customising the application’s appearance are just a few options included in My Life Organized.

You can install the mobile app on both Android and iOS, and it syncs with the desktop app.

This app really organises your life.

Wrapping Up

How you manage your time defines your life. Wasting time on useless things won’t help you achieve what you expect to. Time management isn’t a fixed science, and there is no universal tip that works for everyone. The only solution is to test as many ideas as possible and evaluate the results properly.

The post 25 Tips and Tools to Help You Manage Your Time Better appeared first on Newt Labs.

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Since its initial release in 2003, the WordPress community has grown rapidly. Today, it’s the biggest Content Management System (CMS) on the market, and it’s not slowing down any time soon. It’s so huge it now powers 30% of websites on the internet. What makes WordPress so popular? The appeal lies in its key features: it’s free and open source. Because it’s so easy to use, edit, and redistribute, it’s the go-to choice of most new webmasters and business owners today.

Because WordPress is open source, there’s an endless list of plugins that can be installed onto the platform to edit or add to the experience. From automated cloud backups to performance boosters, there are no limits to the WordPress platform.

Because there are so many plugins to choose from, many new WordPress users find themselves confused at where to even begin. What plugins are worth the download and which should be left alone? This guide will cover the best plugins for optimising your WordPress website from start to finish in order to give your visitors the best experience resulting in making your business fly.

Cloud Hosting

If you want to succeed on the WordPress platform, you can’t store your website on the free platform at all. While WordPress.com has free hosting options, these come with strict limitations that will hold your website back. You’ll need to purchase a custom domain and host your website through a hosting service in order to have full control over your content.

While you can choose a variety of hosting from shared hosting to a dedicated server, cloud hosting is one of the best options today. With cloud hosting, you rent computational resources on a pay-per-use basis. This means you don’t have to pay for more than you use, and there is a lot more flexibility. Here are the two most popular cloud hosting options for WordPress.

Amazon Web Services

With Amazon Web Services (AWS), you can get your own virtual private server for as little as $3.50 a month depending on your needs. That’s quite the bargain for reliable, secure hosting. Through Amazon’s Lightsale, it only takes a few clicks to get your WordPress site up and running. Click here for a full list of AWS services at a glance.

Siteground

Aside from AWS, Siteground is one of the fastest growing cloud servers. It has the best level of service as any host, and it’s also the easiest to use with their one-click WordPress installer.

Because it uses light-weight Linux containers, it’s excellent for saving space and boosting the overall performance of your WordPress website.

Newt Labs

Once you’ve got an established site and business it makes sense to invest in fully managed cloud hosting, which is optimised for WordPress to provide your visitors with the best experience possible. A fully managed WordPress site care service takes care of all the technical stuff including WordPress updates, cloud hosting, security and more so you can focus on growing your business.

E-Commerce Services

Running an e-commerce website in the age of big-name retailers is more complicated than ever.

However, WordPress breaks down barriers by making it easy for websites big and small to build their own comprehensive online stores.

If you want to sell products or services online, you need an e-commerce platform you can trust that’s fast, secure, and user-focused. Luckily, you have quite a few options with WordPress.

These plugins below are easy to use, even if you don’t have much e-commerce experience.

WooCommerce

In the world of e-commerce, WooCommerce is king. This plugin transforms any website into a fully functioning e-commerce store. It currently powers 20% of all e-commerce websites, so you can trust that they know what they’re doing. If you use WooCommerce, you’ll need a theme to go along with it. Luckily, WooThemes is built around just that.

WP eCommerce

Though not as popular as WooCommerce, WP eCommerce is still seen as a key player in the world of e-commerce plugins. It’s dashboard is incredibly easy to use, and it’s free to download the core plugin. If you want more features, you’ll need to pay for them, however the price is around $99 for a single website with Gold Cart features.

Backup Storage

If you aren’t storing backups automatically, you’re risking your website. No matter how much we try to prevent problems, things still happen. Having automated backups is easy with the plugins below, so you won’t have to worry about manually saving your important files.

BackupBuddy

BackupBuddy is a premium WordPress plugin, but it has a lot of features that make it worth it.

With BackupBuddy, you can easily schedule daily, weekly, or monthly backups to any cloud storage of your choice. You can even email it to yourself. With the WordPress app, restoring a backup is as simple as a single click.

UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus is one of the best backup plugins that you can get for free. With this plugin, you can create complete backups of your WordPress website to the cloud or downloaded to your computer.

However, it’s not as simple as BackupBuddy when it comes to restoring your WordPress site from their platform.

Performance Boosters

Finally, let’s talk about ways you can improve your WordPress performance with a few simple plugins. You only have a few seconds to make an impact with your website. You can’t have things like slow load times, big files, and broken links to slow down your performance. Make sure you have these plugins below to make a positive impact.

WP Rocket

WP Rocket is the most well-known caching plugin on WordPress. It’s beginner-friendly, so you don’t have to know a lot about how caching works to get started. In essence, it saves data from your website in user’s browsers to keep load times fast. With WP Rocket, users can instantly cache their websites with a single click.

Perfmatters

WordPress comes with a lot of options enabled that might slow down your website performance. With the Perfmatters plugin, it’s easy to disable any features you’re not currently using so you can boost your website speed. It’s great to use in addition to a caching plugin.

WordPress Optimisation

Because WordPress is so popular, there is a wealth of resources to utilise to improve your website at all stages of development. You don’t have to be a computer wiz to master the basics of WordPress. These plugins do the heavy lifting for you so you can worry about the things that matter most for your business or blog.

However, plugins can’t completely erase the need for a real-life human to monitor and optimise your website. Having a WordPress expert on your side helps limit problems, optimise your website, and secure your data. You don’t have to manage your WordPress website alone in this day and age.

The post How to Use WordPress to Make Your Business Fly appeared first on Newt Labs.

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“How to get my website to the top of Google” is the first question of people who get the credentials to a new site from a design agency. Traffic is vital for any kind of business – from personal blogs to complex insurance companies, and Google is by far the leading search engine. If Google likes your site, chances are that your site drives serious revenue.

It seems simple – get the first position in the search results, and your business is profitable! The harsh reality is different – a “friendship” with Google is hard to achieve, and a plethora of competitors work hard to steal the first position. Google’s algorithm takes into account 200 ranking factors that we know about; Brian Dean did a fabulous job by featuring all of these ranking factors. It’s discouraging post – it shows the hectic efforts to rank your site first on Google.

Under these circumstances, anyone claiming they are able to rank your site first for required keywords is a big LIAR! None can guarantee your first position for a keyword; you never know when someone on a different continent targets the same keywords as yours and puts way more effort into this project.

We, the team behind Newt Labs, are also quite interested in ranking our sites in the top positions. Each site is unique and needs a personalised strategy, but a few tips work for the majority of the sites. So, here is our initial strategy of helping sites get to the top of Google.

How to Get your Website to the Top of Google

First of all – the only certitude in the SEO universe is the change. Each day Google experts perform a slight change, and a major change is rolled out from time to time. Moz created a timeline showing some of these changes – it’s an intriguing project. The conclusion is that what was relevant a year ago, today might be totally irrelevant.

Second, ranking at the top of Google’s search results is a matter of time. It’s not only the opinion of a few WordPress users – check out this study by Ahrefs, which is backed up with a lot of data. It isn’t impossible to rank in the first position in just a few months, but it implies hard work and brilliant content. The fact is that only 5.7% of pages get on the first page within a year.

Third, we don’t believe in SEO gurus, but we respect hard-working SEO practitioners. Nowadays, the Internet is full of so-called SEO gurus or experts, but only a few are really good at ranking a site high for the desired keywords. Anyway, SEO isn’t an area for geniuses or prodigies – patient people who work hard are the best SEO practitioners.

Lastly, we strongly encourage you to follow the path of white-hat SEO. It refers to the strategies that are in accordance with Google’s best practices. Black-hat SEO is about the strategies to cheat Google and other search engine to get the top positions. Perhaps it’s profitable from a short-term perspective, but it’s only a matter of time until you get penalised for this malpractice.

Website Diagnosis

If you are still reluctant to put a lot of thought into optimising your site, imagine yourself searching for something on Google. How many times have you dived down past the first page of results? I’m sure the answer is not often.

A wise person once said that if you want to hide something, put it on the second page of the search results; the sites found on the first page get the most traffic by far. Moz says that 71% of the organic traffic goes to sites on the first page. Other studies claim that the first page gets 91.5% of the organic traffic. It’s clear that you don’t have any choice but to get on the first page.

You have to know the current state of a website before working on ranking it on the first page. Here is our checklist to consult before starting to improve a site’s rank.

Indexation

No matter how beautiful the design or how stellar the content is, your site might not be indexed. The first step is to check the site indexation, which takes only 30 seconds. Type site:yoursitename in Google’s search box and check out the results—these are the pages indexed by Google.

Search engines might not index your site for several reasons:

  • The bots haven’t crawled your site because it’s new; consider waiting a few more days.
  • You don’t have a sitemap.xml. Many SEO plugins can create and submit one automatically.
  • You have duplicate content. Duplicate content troubles Google’s spiders, causing them to give up on indexing your site.
  • You have Noindex in a meta tag. You may have accidentally asked Google to skip indexing your site by placing <META NAME=“ROBOTS” CONTENT=“NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW”> in a meta tag via WordPress.
  • The site was deindexed. You might have done something horrible that affected Google or other search engines. Check out these recommendations, repair your issues, and request a reconsideration.
Penalisation

Google penalises sites that violate its recommendations. Verify that Google has not penalised your site. Go to your Google Webmaster Tools and check Manual Actions. The ideal status should be No manual web-spam actions found. Next, take a look at your Google Analytics account and check the organic traffic. Has there been a significant traffic drop? It might show that Google hit your traffic for various reasons. Neil Patel has compiled a list of potential reasons, so read it carefully.

Responsiveness

Responsive design refers to the approach of building sites that fit and adapt to any type of screen size. The user has a similar experience no matter the device used. A responsive layout is no longer something that wows viewers, but there are still unresponsive websites. It’s needless to mention that Google prefers responsive designs.

Resize your browser when visiting your site on a desktop. Are you satisfied with the design regardless of the browser’s window size? The chances are that your site is responsive if you are happy with it. Use the responsive design checker tool to rest assured that your site is fully responsive.

Mobile Friendliness

Responsive and mobile-friendly design have many similarities, but they are different. While responsive refers strictly to design, a mobile-friendly site is a broader term. A responsive site isn’t necessary mobile-friendly, while a mobile-friendly site is responsive (there are only a few exceptions to this rule).

Nowadays, a design fitting any type of screen size is not enough. The site should load quickly and provide a good user experience. Easier said than done!

Add your site’s address into the search bar of this Google app to test your mobile-friendliness. It gives you hints and suggestions to improve your site and make it more friendly to visitors on mobiles. You won’t get the top search result unless your site is mobile-friendly.

Loading Speed

I have already mentioned loading speed. Google loves speed, but it’s all about your sites visitors. Google will lose its dominant position if the search results are no longer relevant. Mobile users aren’t patient—they will abandon your site if it loads slowly and doesn’t provide the information they need instantly, so Google won’t ever serve its users by proposing slow-loading sites.

Don’t blame Google for asking for fast-loading sites because it’s not their fault. We, the users, demand fast sites, and Google simply serves us.

Check your site’s speed by using PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, or Pingdom. These services give plenty of information and tips for speeding up your site. I also strongly recommend consulting our post featuring 19 tips to speed up your WordPress site, or check out this infographic if you prefer visuals.

It takes a lot of time to tweak your site and make it faster, but it’s a must if you want to stay on the first page.

Website Analysis

Now you have to perform some site analysis, for which Google Analytics and Google Search Console are your best friends. Connect both of them to your site and collect data about your top-performing keywords.

I don’t have any solid data, but I believe that it’s almost impossible to rank your site on the first page if you aren’t a Google Analytics and Google Search Console connoisseur. Analytics Academy is an excellent start to get the most from Google Analytics, and this guide from Backlinko will teach you the ins and outs of Search Console.

You will get massive amounts of data from using these tools, but for the purposes of this post, I will focus on search analytics from Search Console. Clicks, impressions, click-through rate (CTR), and position are displayed for various queries. Analyse your best performing keywords in relation to the position and clicks. Export them (to CSV or Google Docs) for better analysis.

You should have a list of desired keywords. Compare it to the exported list. Are your desired keywords included in the exported list? Are they in the first ten positions? If so, you are already on the first page. If not, check the position and evaluate your chances of getting on the first page.

Determining which keywords deserve a second chance and trying to rank for the first page is a vast topic. There are no carved in stone rules, and it depends on your competition, potential revenue, content, budget, time, and many other factors.

Keyword Research

How to get your website to the top of Google is not only a common question but also one of the most frustrating issues for SEO practitioners and marketers. Ranking a site well on Google for keywords such as “best girly pens for left-handed people” isn’t a complicated task (if anyone is interested in this keyword phrase). Ranking a site well on Google for keywords such as “best insurance” is an entirely different situation.

Keyword research refers to the process of identifying words and expressions that people search for, and you have to optimise your site to be on the first page of the results (or even in the first position). Keyword research is at least as necessary as on-page or off-page optimisation.

Ranking number one for a keyword may bring impressive streams of revenue, but the competition is fierce. Other keywords may be less difficult to rank for, but they don’t bring in revenue. Keyword research is about finding keywords that are searched by many users (a decent search volume) but that competitors don’t rank for. Finding the right keywords is partly a science and partly an art.

Long-Tail vs Short-Tail Keywords

Keywords fall into two categories: long-tail and short-tail.

Long-tail keywords are between three and five words. These keywords generate less traffic than short-tail keywords because fewer people search for them. But the chances are that the people who search for these keywords are genuinely interested in these topics.

Short-tail or head keywords are made up of one or two words and are usually more generic expressions with high search volumes. As a result, these keywords are more difficult to target because of the high number of competitors.

“WordPress themes” is a highly searched keyword, so many marketers and website owners try to rank on the first page of the search engines for it. Many people type “WordPress themes” in the search bar, and the sites on the first page get a serious amount of visitors. But the keyword is broad, and you don’t have any clue about the user’s intent. Are they interested in buying a premium theme or a free one? Do they want a multipurpose theme or a niche one?

Conversely, “premium WordPress themes for weddings” is a long-tail keyword, but considerably fewer people search for it. Still, the users searching for this keyword are quite interested in buying a WordPress theme for weddings.

There is no competition between long-tail and short-tail keywords; it all depends on each site’s purpose. Usually, ranking in the top positions for long-tail keywords takes less time and resources than short-tail, but they also produce less traffic.

Determine Your Topics and Seed Keywords

Let’s recap. To get a top position on Google, you have to do some strong keyword research, starting with a clear understanding of the distinction between short-tail and long-tail keywords. Next, you have to decide what your keywords are. Establish the site’s purpose and correlate it with the proper topics. For instance, if you run an online store selling toys, your topics might be baby care products, childhood education, developmental toys, and so on.

Consequently, your keywords should revolve around these topics.

Most likely, you have created a list of a few keywords that are relevant to your business. These keywords are the foundation of your SEO and are called seed keywords. However, you will need more keyword suggestions in the long run. Luckily for marketers, plenty of tools are available to provide you with countless keyword suggestions. Here is a brief list of tools that can significantly help you in this respect.

1. Google Autocomplete

Did you know that Google Autocomplete reduces typing by about 25% and cumulatively saves 200 years of typing per day! Not only does it save time, but Google autocomplete is a primary tool for keyword research. It’s free and made by Google, so don’t ignore it even if its features are limited.

Sign out of your Google account or use the incognito mode so that your personal search preferences don’t interfere, and type your seed keyword. Google will provide a list of suggestions—usually long-tail keywords. These suggestions are based on user searches, so you get a list of keywords that people really search for. Create content to answer the users’ searches, and they will visit your site. Another bunch of keywords is shown at the bottom of the search page — this is where Google displays search terms related to the keyword typed.

Google is experimenting with ‘People also ask’, a cool tool that suggests what other users have searched for. Check these suggestions because they show users’ pain points. Resolve their issues, and they will visit your site more frequently!

2. Google Search Console

There are many posts featuring keyword research tools, but only a few of them include Google Search Console. The truth is that this tool confirms if your site ranks highly on Google. It won’t help you identify profitable keywords, but it shows your position for the keywords you have already targeted. Go to Search Traffic > Search Analytics and tick all the options (Clicks, Impressions, CTA, and Position).

It depends on your competitors’ content quality, but for keywords that you are already on the first page for, you can optimise the site and perhaps get the first position. Also, you have a good chance of getting on the first page for keywords for which you rank in the 11–20 range position.

Consider Google Search Console the best tool for identifying the keywords you rank the best for. Clearly, it’s an irreplaceable tool!

3. Moz Keyword Explorer

Moz is a well-known brand for marketers, and Moz Keyword Explorer is a tool aimed at doing keyword research. All you have to do is to type your keyword into the search bar and chose the geographical area to target. Once you hit the search button, the tool displays a keyword overview: monthly volume, difficulty to rank, organic CTR, and priority. Next, you get a list of keyword suggestions and a search engine results page (SERP) analysis.

Unfortunately, free accounts can perform only ten queries a month. However, Moz genuinely helps marketers on a tight budget. Link Explorer is a useful tool for analysing and building new links, and Moz Bar is a Chrome extension displaying essential metrics such as page authority and domain authority.

4. Semrush Keyword Research

Semrush Keyword Research is one of the most powerful keyword research tools. A free account is enough to test the potential of this tool. While a monthly subscription isn’t affordable for tight budgets—it starts at $99.95 per month—a paid Semrush account is a bargain considering the information you get.

Semrush generates a full report for each keyword and provides you with a complete list of suggestions. Don’t limit yourself to keyword research when using Semrush; it’s a great tool for any SEO practitioner.

5. Answer The Public

This keyword research tool is free and provides tons of suggestions. These suggestions are grouped into questions, prepositions, comparisons, alphabetical, and related. Just type the keyword, and you will get plenty of solutions. You can download these suggestions as a CSV document.

6. KW Finder

KW Finder is another useful tool for keyword research. It displays keyword suggestions and shows valuable data for each one, such as the trend, search volume, and difficulty. Also, Interest Over Time is a useful feature because it reveals how your keyword has performed over the last few years.

KW Finder offers limited queries for free accounts, so you will need to sign up for a premium account for more queries and information.

7. Spy Fu

Spy Fu is an inspired name because this tool’s main purpose is spying on competitors. Register, and Spy Fu will help you perform a lot of tasks, such as site optimisation, PPC research, and tracking and researching keywords.

This tool fully deserves to be featured here because it provides insightful information about your desired keywords. In addition to monthly volume, click-through rate, and ranking difficulty, Spy Fu informs you of the cost per click, the advertisers that targeted your keyword in the last 12 months, current ads, and a list of related profitable keywords.

8. Keyword Planner

Keyword Planner is a Google product, so it needs no introduction. It’s simple to use and provides complete solutions. Keyword Planner is the proper tool for people on a tight budget.

At this stage, you have chosen a list of topics and relevant seed keywords. You have generated a list of short- and long-tail keywords by using any of the above tools. Practically, you have a robust framework to get your site ranked well on Google. But unfortunately, it’s not enough. You need to optimise your website to rank on the first page for the desired keywords.

Search Engine Optimisation

An SEO expert works on two fronts to optimise a site: on the site (on-site optimisation) and in other environments such as other sites, and competitors’ sites (off-site optimisation). Both are vital—you can’t rank well on Google if you do on-site optimisation perfectly but neglect off-site optimisation or vice-versa.

On-Site Optimisation

You don’t have any excuse if you don’t do on-site optimisation because it all depends on you. Google and other search engines change their algorithms periodically, so what’s recommended in 2018 might be disapproved of in 2019. However, there are a few timeless pillars of good on-page optimisation.

1. Title and URL

People judge the value of your blog post based on its title. Yeah, it’s not fair, but it’s the harsh reality. You can’t change people’s behaviour, so you must adapt to this situation.

A good title is concise, clear, intriguing, and descriptive. Use the Coschedule Headline Analyzer to test your blog post titles. It will give a grade and a few priceless suggestions.

There are mixed opinions on this point, but I think it’s best to insert your keyword into the title and in the first 100 words of the introduction.

The URL of the posts should be short and sweet (as Brian Dean says in his insightful post).

2. XML Map

An XML map helps the search spiders crawl and index your site, so don’t ignore creating one. A plethora of WordPress plugins automatically generate and submit XML maps; go to the WordPress repository, and you will find many solutions.

3. Internal and External Linking

Internal linking is often overlooked, which is a terrible mistake. It doesn’t have the same importance as external linking, but it’s so simple to do—simply link to your previous articles when they are relevant.

Internal linking helps you show the most important articles, and it could even reduce the bounce rate (aka, readers visiting more pages than the page they landed on) which is another ranking factor.

External linking gives Google a hint about a site’s purpose. Don’t be afraid of outbound linking, but pay attention to the reputation of the site you link.

4. Image Optimisation

The file name of your images should include your main keyword at least once, and don’t forget the Alt tag — include your main keyword here too, if it can be inserted naturally as part of the alternate text you will be providing to visually impaired people.

5. LSI Keywords

Latent semantic indexing (LSI) refers to keywords semantically related to your keyword. Lots of SEO practitioners make the mistake of thinking that LSI terms are synonyms for your keyword. While LSI keywords don’t exclude synonyms, they do cover a broader area. Let’s suppose that you have written a 1500-word post that sparingly mentions the term ‘content’.

Google doesn’t have enough hints to classify your article as related to content marketing. By sprinkling in keywords such as ‘content marketing’, ‘content creation’, ‘writing’, ‘SEO’, ‘B2B content marketing’, or ‘LSI keywords’, you give valuable tips to search spiders that the article is related to content marketing.

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People are more cynical today of the web than they have ever been. And really, can anyone blame them after Google’s little slip-up or misuse of their Facebook profiles and data?

Nope. It’s a dark age for information on the internet. And yet,

  • 93% of all online experiences begin with search.
  • 35% of all e-commerce traffic comes from organic search.

While people are (rightly) wary of the web, they still rely on it to make purchase decisions. The onus of building trust, is on websites, not the web itself.

Since Facebook and Google proved that not everything on the web is trustworthy,  people have honed their instincts for finding and deriding BS on the internet. It’s imperative that your website comes across as credible and authentic.

If it makes you feel any better, know that every business faces this uphill battle for consumers’ trust in the early days. However, there are some factors that influence website credibility, both on conscious and subconscious levels, which we can go through today.

Design and Aesthetics

Users barely take 50 milliseconds to decide whether they like your website or not – so a lot of people are, in fact, judging the book by its cover.

It happens, get over it and think about how to turn this around in your favour.

Good design and aesthetics, on the web, means that a site is usable, clean, and looks in sync with the purpose it was designed for. For instance, cute, flower-based visual effects will look great on a site for wedding planning, and just plain wrong on a site for funeral services.

Some tips to get your design right:

  1. Be consistent across pages: There’s a consistency of elements and colour palette in good web design.
  2. Eye-watering colours are a double-edged sword – great for getting attention; annoying when even slightly overused. These hurt your credibility, so unless you know what you’re doing, keep these off.
  3. Autoplay videos/animation are a no-no.
  4. While there’s never a set-standard that applies to everyone, it’s generally a good design principle to be familiar and minimalistic. You want your design to not distract people from your content.

On a related note: If you add features to the website (like chat boxes or shopping cart), make sure they’re actually work and are usable on all devices.

Content

Be real, for heaven’s sake.

It’s ridiculous how many new business owners think that big words and cheesy stock photos can foster trust and credibility when, really, the complete opposite is true.

It’s long past time to do away with overused business jargon from your content. Just delete it. It’s not helping anyone and it’s testing your audience’s patience. Phrases like ‘shifting the paradigm’ or ‘striving for excellence’ are not good for your credibility.

Stick to the point. Quick tips for copy and content:

  1. The keywords you want to rank for? Try to organically insert them (do not stuff them, you’ll be blacklisted for it!) in your copy and content.
  2. Be concise: “If you can’t explain it to a 10 year old, you don’t understand it well enough”. I’m not asking you to treat your audience like children, but you do need to be clear about WHAT you do, HOW you do it, and WHO is on your team. Hire marketing copywriters who can present information in easily digestible chunks.
  3. Conversational: This works nicely for startups and less obscure/technical verticals, but you can test it for your own content strategy.
  4. Don’t be vague, flowery, or superlative-heavy (unless you can prove them). ‘Best price in the market’? Show me a price comparison or go home.
  5. No typos or slang. That’s just bad taste.
  6. Cap the amount of ads / affiliate links / sponsored content to a reasonable, non-spammy limit – especially in the beginning. And clearly mark them as such.

When it comes to visuals, stock photos do more harm than no photos. It’s admirable that you want to add a ‘human’ element to your business website, but you can’t accomplish that with fake photos that obviously obfuscate the truth. If you think you have nothing worth showing yet, go without photos. Or maybe consider animation and graphics to illustrate/visualise your point.

Once you do have pictures worth uploading on your website, make sure they’re not grainy and properly optimised for speed (compressed) and SEO (Alt text).

Social Proof

Frankly, Amazon’s fake review economy wouldn’t exist if purchase decisions weren’t influenced by customer reviews.

Businesses without testimonials or reviews or even press coverage raise defensive hackles. It’s a big gamble for people, especially online, to give their money to a business that no one else seems to be working with.

Here are a few tips on getting social proof right once you have a website.

  1. Running a blog? Keep posting on it. Blogs that are kept updated are a positive credibility indicator. Same goes for your company’s social media handles.
  2. Delete every last one of the testimonials that you paid someone to write for you. These often tend to be nauseatingly positive and they hurt your credibility more than they add to it. Why? Because people can smell the BS in seedy reviews.
  3. Instead, work on amazing content that you can pitch as guest posts to high ranking, high DA blogs in your industry. Work the PR submarine towards getting your name out,  outreach to high traffic blogs in your niche who do industry roundups and get listed in those. Then, proudly showcase these mentions and content on your website.
  4. Genuine customer reviews accompanied by picture, name, designation/employer etc. is the bar you have to attain. Work towards that, not phoniness.
Additional Tips for Credibility
  1. Put up security marks and trust symbols to reassure people that your business won’t scam them. Add a clear and concise privacy statement (and a link to the longer privacy policy page) to ensure people that their personal information/site data is not going to be put to nefarious uses.
  2. If you can be active, relevant, and helpful on community forums, then start posting in niches relevant to your business. Remember, the key is to be helpful and reply to questions/ threads with that as a priority, not your business’s promotion. If you do want to get noticed on there immediately, mention your employer/business name in your bio.
  3. Contact info is a must. Display your office’s physical location(s) and contact information in the footer across the entire website.
  4. Invest time in strengthening your SEO game. Organic reach and number of articles on the top ranks in SERP are going to establish your credibility, relevance and ‘thought-leadership’ like absolutely nothing else. Do not miss it for the world.
Upshot

I have this strong (some would call it naive) belief that if your moral values put great emphasis on trust, you’re not going to need someone like me to tell you how to look authentic and credible on the internet. Your own personal values will translate, and quite spectacularly at that.

How to be credible? Just be your best, honest, most helpful self.

The post Crucial Elements that affect your Website’s Credibility appeared first on Newt Labs.

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Backing up a WordPress site is one of the most underrated activities. It seems like a task that doesn’t create profits, but administrators of hacked or broken sites know that this is a huge misconception. You will fully appreciate the value of a backup copy when hackers take control of your site or something goes terribly wrong.

The average user often neglects to back up their WordPress sites because they associate this task with a high level of skills, which is another misconception. Some plugins will do this task for you, but manually backing up your site isn’t rocket science.

This article will tell you all you need to know to back up your WordPress site and understand the mechanism behind it. We have also showcased a few noteworthy backup plugins that will give you that needed peace of mind.

Why You Should Back Up Your WordPress Site

You will pay closer attention to backing up your site if you know why it’s essential to have a functional backup copy. Here are a couple of scenarios highlighting the importance of a backup:

Your site got hacked. Yeah, you didn’t believe that you could be hacked until it happened. People who ignore backing up their site often don’t do too much to strengthen their site’s security. This is the ideal site-owner profile for hackers.

Your hosting service got hacked. You may have taken the best proactive steps to protect against hackers, but you can’t control the security of your hosting service. The only 100% efficient remedy against these situations is a complete backup copy of your site.

Your site malfunctioned. Maybe you deleted your site’s files by mistake and ended up in a total mess. You were probably desperate to resolve the technical issues and puzzled things even more. A recent backup copy will solve all your problems.

Your hosting service malfunctioned. It’s pretty rare, your host admin could make a critical mistake and break down your site. A backup copy gives you that needed peace of mind to focus on vital tasks.

How to Back Up a WordPress Site

There are two ways to create a backup copy of your site: manually or with plugins. I am a big fan of automation, so I use plugins. Still, I recommend taking a look at how to manually back up your WordPress site. It’s simple to do, and I will highlight all the steps so you can use the next paragraph as a checklist. Don’t be selfish—share it with your friends!

Manually Back Up a WordPress Site

What does a complete and functional backup copy mean? Anytime you perform a backup, you need to save two things:

  • A database (your site data is stored in tables)
  • All the files containing themes, plugins, uploads, and other items

Here is how to manually backup both your database and files:

  1. Open your file manager program (Filezilla is free, lightweight, and simple to use) and connect to your site host.
  2. You will see your WordPress files if you logged in to your host correctly. Select all the files, right click on them, and chose ‘Download’ to save them on your hard drive.
  3. Zip these files (unless they aren’t already zipped), name them properly, and make copies of them. Store these backups copies on your hard-drive, memory stick, and a CD—if one of these locations is compromised, you will still have backup copies on the other two. At this stage, your files are safe.
  4. Head to phpMyAdmin to save the database.
  5. Open the phpMyAdmin panel, and select the ‘Database’ tab. Choose your website’s database and click the ‘Check All’ option to select all of your files.

  1. Click on the Export button, select SQL format, press Go, and your database will be saved.

  1. In the phpMyAdmin tab might be more databases. If you don’t know the name of your database, go to wp-config.php and search for this line:

define(‘DB_NAME’, ‘database_name’);

‘database_name’ is the name of your database to back up.

That is all you have to do to back up your WordPress site. To roughly estimate, all these steps should take you a maximum of 10 minutes a day. It’s not a big deal, but you can save this time by using plugins.

Back Up a WordPress Site with Plugins

Luckily for us, developers have created efficient and reliable plugins to back up a WordPress website. Some of them are free, while others are freemium or premium. Here is a handpicked list of backup plugins, but there are many other good alternatives. You have no excuse if you don’t use a backup plugin.

1. UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus is one of the most famous backup plugins, and it’s highly appreciated by users. It comes in two versions: free and premium. The free version is available in the WordPress repository, and it has fantastic stats: over one million active installs and a rating of 4.8 stars out of five. The paid version comes with all the features of the free version and a few additional ones, such as all UpdraftPlus add-ons (automatic backup, migrator, importer, enhanced reporting), free upgrades and support for one year, and 1 GB storage on the UpdraftPlus servers.

This plugin allows you to keep your backup copies in multiple destinations (Dropbox, Google Drive, and Amazon S3, and Microsoft OneDrive, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure for premium users).

2. BackupBuddy

BackupBuddy is another plugin massively used by WordPress users that distinguishes itself with flexible backup options, granular control over backups, and efficient restoration.

First, BackupBuddy lets you decide what you want to backup: only the database, specific files, or the entire site, or exclude particular files. Second, it empowers users to schedule backups: hourly, daily, every other day, monthly, or at customised intervals. Third, restoration is pretty simple, which is extremely useful for less-trained users.

3. Duplicator

Duplicator is a cloning plugin. The name is self-explanatory, but it can be used for creating manual backup copies of a site. It deserves your full attention taking into account its fame, the rating, and testimonials. It empowers you to back up a WordPress site or parts of it manually. The pro version comes with scheduled backups, cloud storage, email notifications, and professional support.

4. BackWPup

Another worth-mentioning backup plugin is BackWPup. It’s a working suggestion for users on tight budgets that have decent WordPress knowledge. BackWPup does complete database and file backups, and it creates a list of installed plugins. These backups are, in fact, an archive (multiple formats allowed such as .zip or .tar), and restoring a copy means simply uploading that archive. Easy-peasy!

5. WP-DB-Backup

The name says everything about this plugin: it saves the database of your WordPress site. With it, you back up the site’s files manually. I recommend using WP-DB-Backup if you rarely update your site. It’s a lightweight plugin that won’t slow down the loading speed—a huge bonus these days.

6. Vaultpress

Automattic is a famous company amongst WordPress users. Vaultpress is a product of Automattic, and it’s a part of Jetpack—a complex plugin extensively used by millions of users. You will get a backup solution from a top provider by using Vaultpress. Additionally, it considerably strengthens your site’s security, fights against spam, and helps you to migrate your site.

If you read these lines, you have been warned about the capital role of a backup copy and have been given reliable solutions to automate this activity. Once again, you have no excuse if you don’t back up your WordPress site!

Do you have any suggestions to streamline the process, or do you have a favourite plugin? Use the comment form to provide your insights; we are eager for your contribution.

The post Why and How to Back Up Your WordPress Site appeared first on Newt Labs.

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Landing pages, as the name suggests, are objective-specific pages where users are prompted to take an action after ‘landing’ on the page. Whether your objective is to secure new customers for a £1,000 product or to simply get more subscribers for your newsletter, a landing page is the way forward, and there are innumerable examples supporting the same.

For instance, RankWatch, an SEO tool for businesses, was able to improve customer signups by 27% with a simple video landing page. In fact, marketers these days are using separate landing pages for each campaign that they launch.

However, not all landing pages are created equal and some convert better than others. In this blog post, we are going to focus on the various elements that go into building a landing page, and find out what separates amazing landing pages from average ones.

But, before you even begin thinking about elements, the first step is to think about what you are looking to achieve with your landing page.

Objective

As mentioned earlier, landing pages are objective-focussed pages. Sure, you want to drive an avalanche of traffic to your landing page, but what is the action that you want users to perform?

Think about the reason behind making the landing page, this will be a guiding point in the steps that come next. Landing pages (and the objective behind them) will differ with industries, products, and of course audiences (more on this in the next step). This step requires no tools, simply jot down your objective(s) on a piece of paper and you’re good to go.

If you have multiple objectives, it is advisable to think about multiple landing pages, each one serving a specific purpose. Not only would this simplify the design of your landing page for better user experience, studies have proven that multiple landing pages show better conversion rates.

Building Buyer Personas

The next most important factor when designing a landing page is to understand the target audience. After all, only after you fully understand how your audience thinks and what their pain points are, will you be able to design a landing page that addresses those pain points. For any online business, it pays to reorient yourself to simply please the consumer.

Buyer Personas, simply put, are fictional representations of your ideal customer. Having a thorough understanding of your ideal consumer is a great guide to creating products, content, and in this case, landing pages that will attract and convert them. Here’s a great guide to creating buyer personas.

However, simply understanding the user is not enough. It is important to understand what your users are looking for on the internet. That is, simply knowing what keywords to target will not get you far unless you understand the intent behind them. Let us look at two examples of long-tail keywords to understand intent better:

  • How to improve SEO– If the user enters this term in the search bar, you can tell that they are probably an SEO newbie and don’t have specific questions to ask. They are probably a business owner that is not familiar with technical SEO jargon and are looking for a way to generate leads or sales for their business.
  • How to generate more traffic in 90 days– This search term suggests that the user may be familiar with basic SEO and is looking to improve their strategies to bring about new traffic. The “90 days” in the search term also suggests they understand that organic SEO does not bring overnight results and have made their peace with the same.

Understanding the intent behind relevant keywords will help you make better design and content decisions when constructing a landing page.

Design Elements That Convert

While landing pages may vary in design and content across industries, all landing pages have certain elements in common. Let’s look at these elements and find out how each element can be optimised to drive conversions.

Headlines and subheaders

The headline of your landing page is the first thing a user will encounter after they click on your link. The headline is important for catching their attention and driving their interest. Keep in mind that the user is probably already searching for whatever your page (along with a million others) is offering. Your headline will decide whether the user continues to look for what they want on your page, or on the competitor’s landing page. Even David Ogilvy, regarded as the father of advertising, emphasises the importance of headlines:

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

At a time when 77% of marketers are NOT testing their headlines, paying special attention to your headlines might be the edge you need to get ahead.

The case of subheadings is no different. Not only do they support your skillfully-crafted headline, subheadings are also responsible for creating enough interest in the visitor.

At a time when users are being subjected to an overload of information, headings and subheadings are probably the most critical elements of your landing page when it comes to grabbing attention and creating interest.

Visual Content

A picture is worth a thousand words and videos, a lot more. Moreover, humans process and remember visuals much better than words. Those should be reason enough to include some sort of visual content on your landing page. If not, here’s a few more inspiring statistics that show just how powerful visual content can be.

However, this is not to say that you should simply buy a few stock images and throw them on the landing page. While stock images may solve the purpose of having visual content on your landing page, they do very little to show effort on your side. Sure, they are professionally clicked photographs that may make your landing page more professional, but almost everyone visiting your website will know where you found them.

Instead, it is smart and cost-effective to use your own images. They don’t necessarily have to be professionally clicked photographs, simple photos of your teams engaged in their daily tasks would do the trick. If you’re offering a software solution, take screenshots of your product in action and show your visitors how it can solve their problems.

Benefits

Now that you have used the headlines and the visuals to hook the visitor, it is time to convert them into a customer by listing out the benefits of choosing your service/products. These benefits should ideally be laid out in a point-by-point manner and should send out a clear concise message.

CTA

The user has scrolled down the page, has gone through your offering, but now what? What action do you want them to perform? Sure, you could simply put a link to the subscribe/purchase page and expect the users to click on it.

The more effective way of doing this would be to have a bright, attention-grabbing Call-To-Action button present on your page. RankWatch has a great CTA button that stands out from the rest of the page and tells the user exactly what needs to be done.

Conclusion

Not enough stress can be put on great user experience design when it comes to the success of a landing page. That being said, landing pages should be continually A/B tested against variations to bring about best results. If done right, testing landing pages can potentially boost your conversion rates by 300%.

The post How to Boost Conversions By Designing Better Landing Pages appeared first on Newt Labs.

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Starting a digital agency and running one can be a very rewarding venture, but it isn’t without its headaches. It is incredibly fast-paced, you have to deal with demanding customers and you constantly need to be ready for change. As you can imagine, there are a ton of different things you need to do when running (or helping to run) an agency.

However, when you are as busy as many of these people are, there are still some other things you must not forget to do. A big one is that you cannot forget to market your digital agency effectively. There are dozens and dozens of digital agencies out there that can offer a wide range of services, so that is a lot of competition.

In order to compete, you need to market yourself and your services to the masses. However, this is often easier said than done. With that in mind, this article is going to look at how to better and more effectively market your online marketing agency. The tips included in this article will help you reach more potential customers, which should be the goal of most businesses.

Repurpose Content

First and foremost, if your agency isn’t creating content at all (whether it be blog posts, videos, podcasts or infographics) you need to start as soon as possible. If you are creating content, you are likely doing so in different ways. You might be posting videos to a Youtube channel, blog posts to your website, and sharing podcasts via Twitter.

However, as helpful as it would be, it is far too time consuming to create so much original content every week, while also running the day to day operations of your business. Instead, you should repurpose your content. For example, if you record a video interview, you could potentially use the audio as a podcast. Also, you will have different followers on every medium, so it’s not like the same people will be seeing everything you put out. Doing this can help you put out more content, without having to spend a ton of time creating it.

Participate in Cross-Promotion

Cross-promotion is a very valuable tool in which two different companies will come together to try and help each other grow. While they are often similar or complementary companies, they don’t have to be. Any two companies can come together and promote each other for some mutual growth.

This cross-promotion can be in the form of guest blogging, interviews with one another or even just reaching out to your users and letting them know about the other company, and vice versa. This can be a good way for both businesses to grow, without having to spend a lot of money to do so. It is a very cost effective way to promote, and should always be considered.

Make Time For Marketing

As a business owner, you wear many hats and unless you have a lot of employees, are generally responsible for everything to do with your business. This can equate to you spending hours and hours taking care of everything you need.

In order to promote your brand and agency, you need to be sure to actually set some time apart for marketing. And we don’t mean “find” some time when you can, we mean setting aside an actual time block where the sole goal is marketing. If you don’t actually set time for marketing and promoting your digital agency, you may never get around to it, and your companies growth could stall as a result.

Use Social Media and Use it Correctly

Simply put, there are few better ways to promote your digital agency and show off what you can offer potential customers than by using social media. Social media has exploded in the last few years, and millions and millions of people from across the globe use it every single day. It can be a great way to not only reach new customers, but also to engage with your current customers, answer their questions, ask them for feedback and more.

Engaging with your customers on social media can go a long way in making them feel more connected to your business, even just “following” them on social media. These are very quick and easy things to do that can have a huge impact on your digital agency business and it’s marketing. Now, you don’t need to be (and shouldn’t be) on social media all day, but you should make it a point to get on there daily.

Ask For Exposure

While this might not be something that everyone wants to do, it has been shown that simply asking clients for referrals or a shout out, can be a good way to get some more exposure. When a new business gets leads, most of them are through referrals, so they can be very helpful.

While you don’t want to beg, and shouldn’t over-ask for referrals, there is nothing wrong with asking a satisfied and happy customer to give you a referral. Even asking a friend, family member or client if they know anyone who would require the service of a digital agency can yield a lot of results, for a very small amount of work.

In conclusion, there are many different things that you can do to market your company effectively. While this list is not exhaustive, it does contain a ton of useful tips that you should be listening to and doing, if you’re not already. Marketing a company, especially a digital agency, isn’t easy, but we hope that this article helps you discover some new and exciting ways to do it.

The post How to Effectively Market Your Digital Agency in 2019 appeared first on Newt Labs.

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Jack Ma is the founder of Alibaba and one of the most charismatic CEOs. Entrepreneurs and businessmen attend his keynotes because they are extremely valuable. He is the richest Chinese person and a model for entrepreneurs all across the world. Ma suggested that technology shapes a better future for all of humanity even though it provokes a lot of social and political issues. Check out his entire speech in this 50-minute video.

What do Ma’s predictions and WordPress have in common? Well … not too many things. Still, from time to time, each WordPress developer, designer, and blogger should think about their future. Technology evolves at a tremendous rate, and web design is no exception. How will web design craftsmanship and WordPress evolve? If you ignore the new tools and trends, clients will ignore you too.

This article is different from what you have read so far on our blog. This time, it isn’t about WordPress user roles or resources to sharpen your skills. It’s about how we have created websites for years and how we will do it in the future.

Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design is the current standard for building websites. It’s the way of building websites that adapt to the users’ devices, screen size, operating system, and orientation. A responsive website shrinks or enlarges to look good no matter the device used.

For instance, visit our website on your desktop or laptop. Resize the browser window, and you will see that the site’s layout modifies according to the size of the window. It’s responsive.

Responsive Web Design: The Past

You must know the past perfectly to anticipate the future, so let’s dig deep into the history of responsive web design.

Back in 2009–2010, the smartphone market was in its infancy, and the signs were that sooner or later, smartphone usage would surpass desktop usage. As a result, web designers had to change their mindsets and start designing sites for mobile devices.

There were harsh debates to decide the new way of building sites. Some designers proposed the creation of two versions of each site—a mobile and desktop version. Others proposed adaptive design—building sites for fixed layout sizes. It was a step in the right direction, but still not enough.

On May 25, 2010, Ethan Marcotte proposed responsive web design as the new approach for building sites. He was inspired by responsive architecture—a field aimed at modifying physical space depending on the presence of people. He suggested that new websites should adapt to the device’s viewport. He thought that making two different sites for desktop and mobile or for a few fixed sizes wasn’t feasible because the screen sizes of devices would diversify. He was right, and responsive design is the norm today.

The above Google Trends chart shows how responsive web design has evolved. It started in 2011 and grew fantastically until 2013. During this period, designers fought to determine new ways of making websites. The fight has been over since 2014, and responsive web design has become synonymous with web design. In 2018, a non-responsive site is something strange!

Responsive Web Design: The Present

Currently, many designers use frameworks like Bootstrap or ready-made WordPress themes. These themes are created with responsive web design best practices in mind. As a result, the sites created with Bootstrap or ready-made themes are fully responsive. Fortunately, the most-used frameworks and the majority of ready-made themes are highly customizable. Designers tailor them according to the clients’ requirements, and make the design unique. For instance, millions of people use Divi, which is Elegant Themes’ flagship creation because the customisation options are literally endless.

Therefore, you can create a responsive site without knowing how to code. It’s not a bad idea to know which areas are vital for responsive design, so I will show you the fundaments of responsive web design.

There are three aspects of responsiveness:

  • Fluid Grid Layout
  • Flexible Media
  • Media Queries
Fluid Grid Layout

Before responsiveness came onto the scene, designers used to base the design on pixels when deciding on the site layout.

If you check the code of a non-responsive website, you will see within the CSS stylesheet lines of code similar to the below ones:

.content {
width: 700px;
padding: 30px;
background-color: #fdffdd;
}
.sidebar {
width: 250px;
padding: 7px;
}

The content and sidebar are fixed. The site will look okay on a desktop, but it will be a total mess on a smartphone. The content of a responsive website should be fluid, and only by using relative units (aka, percentages or em values) can this fluidity be achieved.

The CSS file of a responsive site might look similar to 1stwebdesigner’s code:

.container_12 .grid_1 {
width:6.333%;
}
.container_12 .grid_2 {
width:14.667%;
}
.container_12 .grid_3 {
width:23.0%;
}
.container_12 .grid_4 {
width:31.333%;
}
.container_12 .grid_5 {
width:39.667%;
}
.container_12 .grid_6 {
width:48.0%;
}
.container_12 .grid_7 {
width:56.333%;
}
.container_12 .grid_8 {
width:64.667%;
}
.container_12 .grid_9 {
width:73.0%;
}
.container_12 .grid_10 {
width:81.333%;
}
.container_12 .grid_11 {
width:89.667%;
}
.container_12 .grid_12 {
width:98.0%;
}

In this way, the layout resizes depending on the screen size of the device because the width is relative to it. The site will look good regardless of the device used.

Flexible Media

You can’t build a website without using images or videos. Much more, you should use quality media. Blurry images will make people disregard your site. The main issue related to images and videos is how they scale depending on the viewport.

Media items should scale according to their initial ratio. Otherwise, you will get skewed images, which is a disaster.

The below snippet is golden for inserting flexible images:

.max-width-100-height-auto {
max-width: 100%;
height: auto;
}

It creates a class that sets up the maximum width of images to 100% of the container width (not of the images themselves). Auto-height is essential to keep the ratio of the images. For instance, by keeping the height to 100% when inserting a 200 x 900 px image, your site will look ugly. Mobile users will need to scroll a lot to find the content below the image. The auto option scales the image proportionally so people won’t have to navigate so much. Check out this interesting article about flexible images.

Media Queries

Media queries are filters applied to CSS styles to change the layout depending on the device rendering that site. The flexible layout adapts to the device by taking into account the display size, orientation, and even resolution. This example from Google developers is the best for showing the usage of media queries:

<link media="(max-width: 640px)" href="max-640px.css">
<link media="(min-width: 640px)" href="min-640px.css">
<link media="(orientation: portrait)" href="portrait.css">
<link media="(orientation: landscape)" href="landscape.css">
<style>
@media (min-width: 500px) and (max-width: 600px) {
h1 {
color: fuchsia;
}
.desc:after {
content:"500px - 600px wide.";
}
}
</style>

max-640px.css styling is applied for viewports between 0 and 640 px, and min-640px.css is applied for viewports higher than 640 px. portrait.css is applied for styling sites when the device rendering them is in portrait orientation (height greater than width), and landscape.css is for styling sites when the device is in landscape mode (width greater than height). Pretty intuitive, isn’t it?

Responsive Web Design – the Future

Besides existing and future trends, responsive web design should offer solutions to plenty of other challenges. No one said that responsive design is perfect, so we should expect new ways of building websites. Still, at this moment, responsive design is the best solution for creating sites.

Predicting the future is a matter of personal understanding, so you can agree or disagree with our predictions. However, we have identified a few issues that will push the web design community to find new ways of crafting better websites.

Diversity of Screen Sizes

The Verge and other famous publications outline that smartphones sales didn’t grow in 2017. Somehow, this decline is normal, and the manufacturers probably expected it. The signs show that the euphoric period of buying Smartphone’s is at its dusk.

The CEOs of Smartphone manufacturers have to come up with original solutions, and changing the screen size of Smartphones might be a solution. The Internet of Things challenges developers and designers; in 2016, there were 6.6 billion IoT devices, and in 2021, 22.5 billion devices are predicted. All of these facts combined make me believe that the screen sizes of Smartphones and other intelligent devices will diversify soon.

New screen sizes will imply new breakpoints and new UX and usability challenges. It will become even more demanding to build usable sites for both huge screen sizes and small Smartwatches. How can we deliver a consistent user experience on these two very different screens? How can we provide the proper media for each device? These are two questions that can’t be ignored by designers.

Foldable or Expandable Screens

The nightmares of website crafters continue; not only will the number of screen sizes grow, but their design will also change. Sooner or later, we will have foldable or expandable devices. It’s not an exaggeration to state that many of these devices will allow for the rendering of a skewed version of a site. In this case, how can a developer test a site? I guesstimate that automatic testing tools will grow exponentially to assure at least a decent user experience in extreme situations.

Wearables

It’s still not clear if Wearables will pair with Smartphones or replace them. Most likely, they will pair because some of their functions are unique. The central struggle of a designer is how to create sites that are accessible within such a small display. A genius designer will come up with a solution for this situation shortly; the marketplace of Wearable’s is growing.

Responsive web design isn’t perfect, but it’s currently the least bad manner of building sites. It will continue to exist at least in the short-term. However, there are many challenges, and many others are on the rise. What do you think about responsive web design? Are there any better solutions? I am waiting for your ideas.

The post The Past, Present and Future of Responsive Web Design appeared first on Newt Labs.

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