What’s the best web design? It’s often the most googled search term.

It’s true, the internet is full of some amazing and inspiring websites – not built by us I might add.

There are so many talented designers who find innovative ways to utilise every possible design and super nerdy developers who push the technological boundary to their advantage. Combined, we create experiences that many organisations wish they had.

Finding these diamonds in the rough is a huge challenge, especially if you’re planning a website redesign and are unsure of where to start – most businesses who approach us have a website already.

Fortunately, there are websites like CSS Awards, Awwwards, Webby Awards, etc. exist to help highlight the sites that people in the industry love and loath.

Success websites are beautiful examples of modern design, but also exercise UX, UI, information architecture, conversion rate optimisation, video marketing, tactics to their fullest potential.

When it comes to planning, it’s important to understand all aspects of website design, the best design may not be the best for google search engines, so it’s important to understand what your goal is. A successful website is one that meets your goals and utilises design/marketing/content strategies that fits your own audience.

On Thursday last week, we met up with our friends at WPEngine in London for drinks and Ping Pong. It was a pleasure to meet with Mary-Ellen Dugan (CMO) from Austin, Texas and Jack Clarkson from the London office. Fun times all around.

We chose WPEngine because of the company’s belief in long-term investment over short-term gain. This is something we believe in. Along with the goal of building lasting relationships with customers, employees, and our communities, by making what’s important to them, important to us.

We offer WordPress hosting to all our customers supported by WPEngine.

This short guide aims to give some guidance on how to write blogs for your website, in order to minimize editing and speed up the publication process.

First up, let’s start with a list of items a submitted item must include for consideration on the blog. Afterwards, we’ll dive into what each term means and the specifics we need to make the blog great.

Elements to be included in a blog post

  •   A headline
  •   A meta description
  •   Body text itself
  •   A featured image OR company images to inspire one
  •   Author information
  •   Author picture (where possible)

In-depth: guide to each element

Headline

Try to keep it short, snappy, and interesting to read. Where necessary, you can include the name of your company in the headline. However, stick to something that is likely to be clicked and read, rather than just written for the sake of posting

Meta description

This is a short description utilized by search engines as a ’blurb’. It is also the text that appears on the blog feed to give readers an idea what the blog is about.

Like the headline, this should be snappy, should explain the blog post, challenge the reader, or just intrigue them to read more.

Think of this as a blurb to sell your story. In any case, try to limit it to 150 characters.

Body text

This is the main copy of the blog. Here are some basic rules:

  •   Straightforward tone – no idioms, jargon, or abbreviations that can be misunderstood
  •   Tell a story. What inspired your blog? What’s your experience? Anything that stirs emotion.
  •   Try to keep the copy under 500 words
  •   Include sub-headings where possible – it makes it easier to read
  •   Use appropriate paragraph spacing for ease of reading
  •   Include links to external sources proving your point
  •   Use contractions if you like – we’ve got no problem with writing how people speak

Featured image

This is the image that appears at the head of the blog.
It should measure at least 1200 pixels in width, and 400 pixels in height.

However, we understand that not everyone can supply high-quality images that adhere to our editorial policy, style, or sizing. Therefore, if you’re having trouble, please supply any company images and/or images you have on file which could inspire us to make a featured image ourselves.

Author information

While our Marketing team will edit the blog, it’s important to declare that the blog was written by an external writer.

Therefore, it’s important to supply us with some author information. Please include:

  •   Name of the author
  •   Job title / role
  •   Company
  •   Short company description

For example: This blog was written by John Smith, Marketing Director at Made Up Company, a British-based imagination company dealing in the inception of people.

Author picture

Next to the author information should be a picture of the author. Just a small thumbnail of the author’s face will do.

However, it’s your work – we can’t take that away from you, and don’t want to. Any revised versions will be delivered to you for your input and discussion before publication. We’ll happily clear up any edits or misunderstandings at this point.

This is our first blog in our series on Choosing the Best Web Hosting Is Crucial for Your Business. Blogs and news articles are the most under-utilised business promotion. Most smart business owners utilise websites and blogs to engage with existing clients and reach potential customers. While most business owners see the value of creating awesome content, the importance of selecting a good web host often takes a back seat. In our experience, most small businesses end up making a wrong choice in the beginning because they do not properly evaluate their needs.

What Happens When You Make The Wrong Hosting Choice?

As a business, one of your most important priorities is to make a profit. If you think choosing the wrong web hosting can’t have a negative impact on your income, think again. Here are some bad things that can happen when you don’t choose the best hosting for your needs:

  • Loss of revenue – If your site goes down, your potential customers will not be able to view your blog posts or learn about your products and services. Even worse, if you host an online store, you will lose out on potential sales and income. Amazon recently had a 40 minute outage which cost them about £3.5 million pounds. Your loss might not be as big, but it’s still a loss of revenue.
  • Negative effect on your SEO Ranking – Your goal with content marketing is to rank high in search results so customers can easily find you. If your site is down repeatedly when search engines are attempting to visit, then your ranking will be adversely affected. Aside from downtime, many SEO experts believe that slow websites can also hurt your rankings.
  • Security and Malware Attacks – There is no perfect solution for keeping your website secure. However a reputable web hosting company will back up your data to a remote server and make it easy to restore in case your site is hacked. They will also assist you with technical support, maintenance and security issues 24 hours a day.

How Do I Choose The Best Web Hosting Provider?

It’s crucial to choose a reliable web hosting company to ensure that your website remains safe and accessible all year round. If you are experiencing problems with your existing provider or have no idea what needs/features to consider, here are some tips that can help:

  • Understand the different hosting options available – There are various web hosting options available such as Shared, VPS (Virtual Private Server), Dedicated and Managed Web hosting. You can learn more about them in this article. It’s always good to make an educated discussion, so you choose the best option for your needs.
  • Excellent customer support is a must – The internet never sleeps. Look for a provider that offers excellent customer support. Hosting providers may claim they offer 24-7 support, but this will not guarantee you will receive fast, knowledgeable service. Test the response of the customer support staff before committing to any long term hosting contract.
  • Choose a host with an excellent uptime track record – The hosting provider you choose should take every precaution to ensure maximum uptime. While no web host can guarantee 100 percent uptime, it should offer at least 99 percent uptime on average.
  • Cost should not be your only consideration – As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” As a business, you cannot afford to experience extended downtime. Basic shared web hosting is great if your site is generating only a small amount of traffic. On the other hand, if you’re in the business of selling products or generating a large amount of traffic, then a dedicated or managed hosting provider is a far better choice. It will cost more upfront, but will be more reliable in the long run. The level and quality of technical support will be better too.
  • Ability to scale – As your business grows, your website will tend to generate more traffic. The ability to scale will be increasingly important. Your web hosting provider should be able upgrade and scale to accommodate your traffic growth. Just remember that there is no such thing as “unlimited resources” (Truth about Shared Hosting).
  • Good reputation is essential – Once you have narrowed the list of important features you require, the next step is to find a host with a top-notch reputation.
    • Do a background check. Find out how long the company has been in business.
    • Can they provide you with testimonials and endorsements from current clients?
    • Check maintenance schedules and average downtime statistics

Conclusion
There are a lot of web hosting companies out there. It’s crucial to select a hosting provider carefully since your business will be depend on it. Do your homework.

Remember that choosing a hosting provider solely on price is not worth the hassle and headaches if your site goes down. Are you happy with your web hosting provider? What steps did you take the last time you experienced downtime? What important features do you look for? Share your experience by leaving a comment below.

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