Posts for wordpress

4 Reasons E-tailers Need Site Search Technology

May 7, 2018

According to eMarketer, 67% of Millennials and 50% of Generation X US internet users shop in bed. While it is old news that shopping has gone beyond brick and mortar stores and into our homes via digital devices, online retailers who optimize for mobile devices and user experience are thriving in the crowded world of e-commerce. For e-tailers looking to make their sites both mobile optimized and user-friendly, there is a simple solution – site search technology.

Technology that improves a website’s search function is an effective way for online retailers to quickly give prospective customers what they want. Many fast-growing e-tailers have one thing in common – they allow online shoppers to find exactly what they are looking for through advanced search. They do this because they understand that fast product discovery is pivotal to driving online sales. Baymard Institute reports that a poor search interface typically leads to more abandonments and users are unlikely to return to the site. Audiences searching your online store have intent to buy, so why not make it easier for them?

Here are four reasons your online store needs site search technology:

 

1. Enhanced UX Design

Online shoppers do not want to spend more than a minute hunting down a search bar, which is why e-tailers can add value to their website with a prominent search bar and a well-designed search tool. An effective search product will recommend products through a drop-down menu to help visitors save time. In addition, intuitive search tools that offer autocomplete, spell check, and synonym matching can guide customers to the right item when the product name is on the tip of their tongue. Site search technology is a simple way to improve the function and UX design of any online store, and ultimately a user’s shopping experience.

 

2. Analytics Can Drive Business Growth

No matter the scale of your online store, you can still engage visitors who discover your site and turn them into loyal customers. Maybe you are thinking that you are a small e-tailer and there is no immediate reason to give your visitors intelligent search with your limited supply of products. If that is the case, then do not underestimate how site search technology can be beneficial to both the customer and business owner. Many site search products, like SearchIQ, offer analytics as a primary feature to help online stores grow their business with data. You can think of site search analytics as your business intelligence team, giving actionable insight to fuel business growth!

Analytics enables e-tailers to view the products or keywords their users search for, allowing them to discover the types of products consumers express interest in. E-tailers can use this valuable information to source products their customers want. For example, if you own an online home store and you use site search technology to learn that a large number of your visitors are searching for candles, then it would benefit your business to add candles to your store catalog. You can increase your conversion rate by appealing to your candle-loving customers.

 

3. Strategically Showcase New or Relevant Products

The ultimate goal for any store, online or not, is to get products off the shelf. Site search technology offers the ability to arrange product information in a search results drop-down menu via custom results ranking. This feature gives you the power to recommend specific items to your visitors who have the most intent on converting. You can give special attention to new items or products that have not had much love from customers and move them to the top of your search results list.

Site search technology allows you to be strategic in how you showcase products to your customers. Maybe you have an online store, and you are trying to sell the rest of your holiday-themed inventory. When a visitor searches for table linens, you can customize results to bring holiday tableware to the top of the search results list.

 

4. Users Spend More Time on Site

In addition to helping visitors save time when looking for products, site search technology also increases the length of time visitors spend on site. Econsultancy states, “A better user experience means that customers are more likely to spend more time on the site, and can boost the number of registrations and return visits.” Potential customers are more engaged to browse available inventory with efficient site search, leading to an increase in online sales.

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Top 10 WordPress Themes with great built-in Search Functionality

June 5, 2017

Website search functionality has been observed to be trending up rapidly over the last few years. Site search has a critical importance in regards to user experience and customer engagement. Internet users have become so dependable on search, that it will be almost unreasonable to forget including search functionality on your website. Several site visitors hit the search bar first without even navigating the menu.

Adding an efficient onsite search box not only engages visitor and decrease bounce rate but benefits administrator in terms of conversion and analytics. The analysis of user data helps in understanding user behavior and needs, and eventually leads to an increase in conversion.

Realizing the effectiveness, wordpress developers have been integrating site search option to add value to the themes. Here are the top 10 wordpress themes with remarkable site search built-in functionality.
Business Directory

WordPress Theme: Business Directory

The Business Directory WordpPress theme is created by Templatic with elegant design to give your site visitors best user experience. The theme helps to create, manage and monetize a directory site for any businesses such as Car, Hotels, Restaurants, Properties, Travel Destinations and many more.

There are several built-in features that make it the most powerful Directory theme including Bulk data Import/Export, Add and manage classified, Additional custom fields, Google maps, Add/Manage users, Listing rating and review, User dashboard, Email notifications, Color customizer, Fonts and Integrated PayPal payment gateway. The search engine is quite impressive and displays Autocomplete results with toggle image option.

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15 Tips to Speed Up Your WordPress Website

May 14, 2017

WordPress is one of the most popular and widespread CMS platforms, but it can be quite slow unless optimized properly. And having a fast website is important because page load speed decides if the visitor will hang around or move onto another site. So your website needs to be fast. Fast loading pages increase your page views, improve user experience and help with SEO.

No one want to wait around for a website to load. According to Kissmetrics, “40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load”. A one second delay may disappoint visitors and cause them to leave your site even before it’s gotten a chance to load properly. Even Google’s search algorithm factors site speed to rank websites, so if your site is slow, your Google ranking will fall and you may experience less traffic.

A cloudliving article mentioned that every 100 ms increase in page load speed, increases Amazon’s revenue by 1%. Similarly, Gael Breton has also explained in his article on ‘AuthorityHacker’ how improving site speed results in 8.35% page view growth for their site. Moreover, the bounce rate got increased slightly. So, it is important to analyze your website first and then optimize the speed accordingly. While there are a plenty of free tools available to test your website’s speed and performance, some of the best ones are GTmetrixAlexa Site Info, and First Site Guide.

What can you do to make your site faster? In this article, we will share some simple ways to help speed up your website and improve your site’s performance.

Choose a Fast Web Host

Choosing a good web host is one of the most important decisions when you are concerned about speed and performance. Hosting companies have a lot to offer from shared hosting to VPS or dedicated managed hosting, depending on your website’s requirements. Simply going for the cheapest offering, although it may be a good bargain, may come at a cost. You may experience slow site speed and frequent downtime. Shared hosting might be the least expensive option but make sure to think about server resources, you are sharing with hundreds of customers impacting the entire server performance. To invest in a good web host, choose a hosting provider with a good reputation and a server located near the geographic region of your target audience.

Use a Simple and Clean Theme

When selecting a theme for your WordPress website, it’s better to give attention to speed optimization and go with a simpler theme. Don’t choose a theme with tons of features, that you may not need. Instead consider themes with basic functionality and use quality plugins to add features, as you need them. A poorly coded theme can be attractive and eye catching but can slow down your site.

Keep WordPress Updated

WordPress is a fast changing environment, with new updates and features being released frequently in order to keep up with trends and the needs of their users. Each new update not only offers new features but also comes with several performance improvements that make WordPress faster, more reliable and more efficient.

Not updating your WordPress version may cause a slow website and may make your site vulnerable to security threats. So follow best practices to constantly update to new versions as they are released.

Compress Images

Images add value to your content and boost user engagement. Visuals, although they enhance your site, consume bandwidth if not compressed properly. Optimizing and compressing your images should be a high priority task. In original formats, photos can be large file sizes and take long to load, and may slow down your site.

Before uploading any image on your site, reduce the size of the image using lossless compression, so you don’t compromise the image quality. Fortunately, WordPress has some great plugins to optimize images. The most popular one is WPSmush, which removes unused colors from images and drastically reduces the size of your images automatically.

Minify HTML, CSS and JavaScript Files

Minifying your CSS and JavaScript means minimize the number of HTML, CSS and JavaScript files on your website, and removing unnecessary characters from these files that are not needed – White space characters, new line characters, comments, block delimiters. These characters and comments are used to make code more readable for humans, but you need to clean the unnecessary lines, spacing and formatting so servers can read them quickly.

Rather than reducing the amount of code manually, WordPress plugins like WP Super Minify and AssetsMinify handle this process at runtime with an automated approach. These plugins minify your site’s CSS and JavaScript files, thereby improving the speed for browsers to retrieve the files.

Gzip Compression

Gzip is the most popular and effective form of compression to speed up your site. Gzip compresses your website content like web pages, CSS, and JavaScript therefore increasing the website’s loading speed significantly. According to the statistics, Gzip compression saves 50%-80% bandwidth by compressing files on the server before sending them to the browser.And when a visitor gets to your site, files are then unzipped by their web browser.

In order to Gzip your website components you need to log in to cPanel and go to Software and Services > Optimize Website. Here, select ‘Compress All Content’ and click update settings to compress the website content.

Install an Effective Caching Plugin

Caching is another important factor to speed up your WordPress website. Caching temporarily stores the content such as pages, posts, images and other files on your visitor’s local drive. So when requested by the same visitor, the pages are rendered much faster. The content needs to be loaded only once instead of every time the user revisits your site. Caching reduces page load time, thereby increasing the visitor time on site.

WordPress has several popular caching plugins, like W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache. These two tend to be the most popular choices. They improve the overall site performance when fully configured and can reduce the page load time from 2.4 seconds to 0.9 seconds, according to this case study by YUI Team.

Implement a Content Delivery Network

Regardless of your website installation and traffic you improve your website by implementing a CDN or Content Delivery Network. A CDN takes all the static files (CSS, JavaScript, Images, Media) on your site and delivers them on a server closer to your visitor’s geographic location. This decreases the download time.

Using a CDN for your website can reduce the bandwidth consumption by 55%, improving the page load speed, visitor’s experience, duration of time on your site, conversion and SEO. Key CDN and Max CDN are the most popular CDN’s for your WordPress website.

Implement AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

What is AMP? Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP is an open-source framework to increase the loading speed of your mobile web pages. It loads your pages quicker on mobile devices, which increases the traffic and CTR. Google claimed that AMP cut down load times between 15% and 85% in initial tests.

Moreover, implementing AMP can possibly offer SEO benefits. Several webmasters and marketers have observed that AMP has a huge impact on boosting your mobile search engine ranking.

Optimize Your WordPress Database

Optimizing your WordPress database is fairly a simple thing but has a big impact on your website speed. WordPress saves a lot of information in the database tables, and over time, the database can become fragmented. You need to clean and optimize your database by deleting the information that you probably don’t need like trashed items, unwanted revisions, unused tags, trackbacks, pingbacks, unapproved or spammed comments.

You can use WP-Optimize plugin to delete this unnecessary information and clean your database, ensuring smooth running of your WordPress website. Another recommended plugin to optimize your database is WP-DB Manager which allows the scheduling of regular database optimization.

Lazy Load Images and Videos

If you have a lot of images and videos on your site, lazy loading is another concept that you might want to implement. Lazy loading delays the loading of objects and shows images only when a user scrolls down the page to see them. This not only speeds up your page load time, but also saves bandwidth by loading the data after user starts scrolling your page.

To lazy load images, WordPress has a few different plugins like BJ Lazy Load and Rocket Lazy Load. The best plugin to lazy load your videos is Lazy Load for Videos.

Disable Video Auto Play on Homepage

Auto playing video on your website’s homepage is an increasing trend but unfortunately, it consumes more bandwidth and delays loading the core elements of your page.

Waiting a long time for a page to load is incredibly annoying, leads to frustration and dissatisfied visitors, which in turn increases your website’s bounce rate. So, it’s highly recommended to disable the video auto play on your site’s homepage or your landing page.

Avoid using too many Plugins

Another common reason for a slow WordPress site is having too many plugins installed. Limiting the number of plugins is crucial when it comes to site speed.

Besides, what is the point of installing plugins you don’t really need? The best approach is to analyze all the plugins and their impact on your website. Then keep the ones that are critical to run your website and delete the plugins that you don’t need or have a negative impact on your site.

Enable Hotlink Protection

What is Hotlinking? Hotlinking is when another site displays an image on their website by directly linking to it from your website. This means when someone visits their site, they are serving images from your site, taking up your bandwidth. The request to fetch the image will go to your server, so hotlinking will consume your resources and will create additional work for your server.

Blocking such links is the solution to avoid being a victim of bandwidth theft. You can disable hotlinking by simply adding the following code to your .htaccess file and updating your domain name.

Regenerate Thumbnails

Whenever you switch your site theme or install a new plugin it’s worth it to regenerate your thumbnails. Most themes use different thumbnail sizes; so if your previous thumbnails for images aren’t optimized they will take up more bandwidth. You can fix this with a WordPress plugin called Regenerate Thumbnails.

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First Fridays – Plugin Edition

April 7, 2017

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 2.17.38 PM

This plugin says what it does in it’s name, “The Instagram Feed Pro”. We think this is the best plugin to display your Instagram feed on your WordPress site.

February 2017 – The Instagram Feed Pro

It’s super easy to setup and to customize the look of the feed to integrate nicely with your current site design. You can add a nice header to your feed and it will add a “follow on Instagram” button so you can increase engagement and increase your number of followers. It’s also responsive which is great for anyone visiting your site on their mobile phone or tablet.

If you are looking to add a special personal touch to your website, we would recommend trying The Instagram Feed Pro. It’s great!

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10 Things to Consider when Picking WordPress Themes and Plugins

March 24, 2017

Being the most preferred CMS around the world, WordPress has the market share of about 60% when it comes to content management platforms. What makes WordPress amazing? It’s user-friendly interface, it’s customization, it’s easy-to-install and it requires minimal technical knowledge.

Since WordPress is expanding exponentially, choosing the perfect theme or plugin from thousands of options is a dilemma faced by most developers. Most businesses need a top notch website in such a competitive digital landscape, so choosing the right themes and plugins is crucial.

Here are 10 key tips that shouldn’t be ignored.

Themes:

Responsive

Is the theme responsive? This is the top priority for choosing a theme that makes your site a success. According to Marketing Land, “Mobile now represents 65% of digital media time, while the desktop is becoming a ‘secondary touch point’ for an increasing number of digital users.

In today’s digital landscape, more people are using mobile devices over desktop or tablet. So, why not choose a theme that will make your website responsive. It’s important to figure out whether your theme can display content properly on different mobile devices and screen sizes. Moreover, responsive design is also a ranking factor for your website’s SEO as Google favors websites that are mobile responsive, and places them higher in search results.
Responsive

Cross-browser Compatibility

Cross-browser Compatibility

With the launch of various browsers, cross browser compatibility is another important feature to consider when selecting a theme. Your website visitors will use a range of browsers like Chrome, FireFox, Internet Explorer, Safari to access your site. So, as a website admin or developer, you need to make sure that your website’s UI looks the same in every environment.

How does cross-browser compatibility boost your website? Designing your website to work seamlessly on all major web browsers ensures that your site will cater to a large audience. Don’t forget, if your visitors can’t access features on your website you’ll lose out on potential customers.

Customizable Design

Appealing website design is essential in the competitive digital landscape. Your website is a unique entity that reflects the philosophy, principles and nature of your business, so choosing a theme that is fully customizable allows you to deliver a website that gives the best impression of your business and attracts your target audience.

How to choose a theme for your website? You should select a theme that allows proper customization of fonts, color schemes, header, footer, navigation, gallery and other components. A quality theme has various predefined built-in color schemes, easy to customize header section, image and video friendly gallery, predefined widget areas with custom formatting and styling, and allows creating a custom homepage.

SEO friendly Structure

Why should you choose an SEO-friendly theme? Regardless of your business, your website should be SEO optimized for better drive placement in search engine results. A theme that has SEO-friendly structure is valuable because it has more potential for organic traffic from search engines.

What makes a theme SEO friendly?

  • Clean and simples structure
  • Titles and descriptions for every post and page
  • Headings tag
  • Visible categories and tags
  • Supports popular SEO plugins

Social Media Integration

In today’s marketplace social media has significant popularity among users of various age groups. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube are the top social channels that drive a remarkable amount of traffic to one’s site. As social media has billions of users around the world, it is a proven source of potential customers for your business.

To avoid cluttering your website with too many plugins, you should choose a theme integrated with social media widgets and buttons to expand your website’s customer base. The most popular way to share content is through follow, share or like buttons on posts, profiles and videos.
Social Media Integration

Multi-Lingual Support

Multi-lingual websites have become a necessity for businesses and organizations to expand. It gives a competitive advantage, increasing the client base worldwide and increasing the sales volume.

Multilingual websites provide an opportunity to improve the user experience for those visitors who aren’t native speakers of your language. It also gives visitors the impression that your website is customer-centric, which helps in building trust and converts visitors into customers. Moreover, search engines also favor multilingual behavior and this ensures maximum potential for your website to be visible when searched for.

Plugins:

Compatible with the Newest Version of WordPress

Compatible with the Newest Version of WordPress

Checking whether a plugin is compatible with your version of WordPress is the most important point to consider when selecting a plugin. WordPress is a fast changing environment and a plugin that has not been updated for a long time might not work properly with the latest versions of WordPress. In this scenario, the plugin can generate errors on your website or can disturb functionality altogether.

Number of Downloads

When looking for a plugin for your website, focus on how many times the plugin was downloaded. Number of downloads reflects popularity of the plugin which gives a fair idea of its effectiveness.

Ratings and Reviews

Ratings and Reviews

Ratings and reviews reflect the quality of a plugin. A WordPress plugin with low ratings or bad reviews should raise a red flag. Every plugin has a rating from 1 to 5, depending on the number of stars given by the users. More stars indicate better user experience and credibility, so it is better to go for a plugin with a rating of 4 or above.

Apart from the rating, it’s always best to read the reviews written by the users. A WordPress plugin that works as promoted will definitely have a good rating and positive reviews.

Support and Documentation

Every WordPress plugin page has a ‘support’ forum where plugin users can post queries, leave feedback and report bugs. Everything in the forum is communicated to the author. If the forum has many unresolved threads and the author is not responding to user feedback and complaints, you might want to consider choosing a different plugin, as this probably means no one is maintaining the plugin or no one if in charge of customer support.

A plugin without proper documentation will likely be difficult to install or configure. Moreover, you need to check if the plugin features are well cited in the documentation.

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