WordPress Themes Can Kill!

No, really, it’s true. If your website takes forever to load you’ll end up losing visitors and business. That can kill your bottom line.

If you haven’t updated your WordPress in a while there is a really good chance your theme is the problem. Commercial themes from online marketplaces are usually loaded with extras trying to be all things to all people. Often those extra plugins come with a limited license making them difficult to upgrade later. I’ve seen designers spend hours and hours trying to find the perfect theme for a client. A theme is just a frame that binds the styling with the functions. An experienced WordPress developer can build whatever you need without a special theme.

Websites are a collection of code, styles, images and video. Your web browser has to go grab all those pieces and assemble them. It’s important that those files are as small as possible and loaded in the most efficient manner. Sometimes older themes will grab the pictures last. This leaves big white spaces making you think nothing is happening. New themes know all the tricks to get the important stuff first and the rest later. A well-designed site might look complete while still putting together the bottom of the page.

My theme of choice is called Astra from Brainstorm Force. This theme is lean, flexible and fast as lightning! I don’t mean to sound like a Stepford Wife when I describe it, but I love Astra. Are a dozen websites a big enough test to be objective evidence? Every site I’ve converted to Astra has gone from a D or F speed rating to a B or better without doing anything else to it.

Talk to me about optimizing your slow website before your theme kills your business!

XML Sitemaps included on all our sites

When we build a site there are dozens of steps we take to ensure your site is built correctly and visible to google and your potential customers.  These technical features are the kind of details a web developer will understand over a web designer.  A sitemap is mandatory because it tells search engines like Google and Bing what pages and information are on your site.  The more they know the better your visibility. This is also part of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

An effective sitemap is formatted in Extensible Markup Language (XML).  XML is a series of tags that structures information in the same way a spreadsheet does.  You’ll probably never see your sitemap but rest assured we’ve taken care of it. This is just one of many features you can expect when you work with Thrive Web Solutions. At the end of the day you will get incredible value.

WordPress powers 1/3 of ALL websites!

WordPress powers 1/3 of ALL websites!

New data from W3Techs.com shows that WordPress continues to gain momentum as the #1 Content Management System. The closest rival has 3% of the market.

This growth means that more developers will invest their energies to make innovative add-ons (called plug-ins in the WordPress community) and WordPress will just better and better.

We’re dedicated WordPress experts. We can build whatever we can conceive of to meet the needs of your business. We’ll also teach you one-on-one how to use the admin tools so you can become adept WordPress users yourself.

How Does Your Site Look on Your Phone?

How Does Your Site Look on Your Phone?More than ever we access the internet with our tablets and smartphones. We rely on them to make dinner reservations, find out store hours and special offers, or book a night at a local bed and breakfast. You might be at a party discussing your favorite massage therapist, real estate agent or even your couples counselor. If you share that contact there is a good chance your friend will immediately click the link to their website. As a business owner, the worst thing is for your prospect to find a blank white screen on your site. This can happen if your site isn’t optimized for mobile devices.

A blank screen usually means the original site uses Flash. Flash was once the standard for creating animations on the web but it isn’t supported on the majority of mobile devices because of battery life. Animations that work on all devices should be created with newer technologies like HTML5.

Flash is a perfect example of how web technology is constantly evolving. Keeping up with those changes is a challenge. As a small business owner you want a web developer who is familiar with the latest technologies and “responsive” design.

Responsive design is much more than a website that loads quickly. A website built to be responsive will actually take into account the specific device you are using. Someone using a desktop or laptop computer will see all the images and get all the bells and whistles. On a tablet the website will shrink images, hide some of the graphic embellishments and present information more succinctly. On a smartphone the text size is often larger, the columns reduced to a single row, while navigation menus, phone numbers and directions are often moved to the very top for the fastest access.

Responsive web design is a premium service as the developer must effectively build 3 sites (desktop, table & mobile.) These 3 sites must then be tested on a wide range of browsers and devices. The additional cost is well worth it so your customers can quickly and easily interact with you on the go.

Published in the Jan/Feb issue of the GSDBA Community Connection.

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