Installing WordPress on Your Web Hosting Account

Lumen Graphics Academy shows you how to install WordPress within your web hosting account.

 

INSTALLING WORDPRESS ON YOUR WEB HOSTING ACCOUNT

Now that I have my domain name and web hosting account, it’s time to install WordPress. I’m logged into by Bluehost control panel and going to click on install WordPress. Now click once on install. Here if you have multiple domains you can choose which one you want to install WordPress under this drop-down menu. I just how Lumen Graphics Academy.com so that’s what I’m going to leave there. If you wanted to install WordPress into a subdirectory of your web hosting account you could type something in here and it would create a folder that would become a subdirectory with your WordPress installation. For now I’m going to leave that blank, which means WordPress is going to be installed in the root directory of my web hosting account. Click on Check domain; Now click show advanced options. Change this site title to the name of your website. In my case I’m going to call this “Lumen Graphics Garden Center.

The Admin username is automatically going to be an email address associated with your Blue Host account. I’m going to delete mine and change it to Lumen Graphics Garden Center. The admin password; they’ve already generated one for you and you can use this one or you can create your own. Make sure your Admin password is difficult to guess and then write down your admin username and your admin password. You’re going to need this in the next video. Leave the button checked that says “automatically create a new database for this installation.” Click on the terms and conditions and click “Install Now.” You can see at the top it says “your install is under way.” Below here are options to purchase WordPress themes and templates. We’re not going to need any of these. In another video will show you where to get a great WordPress theme. Now it shows that our WordPress installation is complete, it’s time to login to WordPress!

Friday Freebie Giveaway: Free WordPress Shortcuts PDF!

This week’s Friday Freebie Giveaway includes an awesome list of WordPress shortcuts from Lumen Graphics!

Download our free PDF of WordPress shortcuts. Print it and post it by your computer and start practicing these handy keyboard strokes. Did you know that “CTRL K” is the shortcut for inserting a link in WordPress (and Gmail and Word and other programs)?! These shortcuts will help turn you into a WordPress master in no time so you can spend less time futzing with WordPress and more time playing your guitar (or whatever you spend your free time doing)!

Longevity Is An Advantage, History & Authority

Building your garden’s reputation as a destination is not something that happens overnight, just as building your website search engine authority takes time. The goal is to stick around in the same place long enough to allow things to develop and to be able to leverage your longevity.

The longer your garden is around, the better it gets. More visitors are likely to go to an established garden that has mature trees and developed plants. No one wants to walk around a garden composed mainly of seedlings and dirt. Once you’ve planted your seeds, don’t move the location of your garden unless it is absolutely necessary. This should be avoidable with proper planning.

Websites that have been around a long time automatically have more authority than brand new websites (all other factors being equal). Websites for government agencies, nonprofits, industry organizations and media outlets also have more automatic authority.

Resource: One way to measure your search engine authority (and your competitors’ authority) is at this website: www.alexa.com.

The Internet has over a billion websites, according to www.Internetlivestats.com8. That’s a website for every 7th person on the planet! It is incredible that there is a formula to rank all of them. Out of the billion websites in the world, Wikipedia.org’s rank is #6, according to Alexa.

Search engine authority, or credibility, is affected by many things, including the number of external links to your site, the length of time your domain has been registered, the total number of pages indexed for a site and many other variables. Trusted, authoritative websites (as Google sees it) are ones with high traffic and lots of high quality, fresh content.

In addition to following the SEO best practices outlined in this book, you can increase your website’s authority by driving more traffic to your site. This means, instead of sitting around hoping people find your site on Google, you should be actively giving your clients, leads, employees, media and others reasons to visit your website. The more traffic you drive to your website, the higher it will rank. The higher it ranks, the more traffic you will get. So you can see how once you get some SEO momentum, you can keep building on it as long as you keep at it.

Like with gardening, you must be prepared to continually work on your search engine optimization. In addition, be prepared for your SEO strategy to take some time to be implemented and to start gaining traction. But once you get some momentum, you can leverage that earned authority to get an even better ranking for more competitive keywords.

Search engines may take days or weeks to react to the new content you add to your website and then to index it appropriately. To speed up the process of your website being indexed, you can register your website with major search engines. Google and Bing have webmaster tools that allow you to submit sitemaps. Make sure your website is being indexed properly using their tools and insights.

Resource: www.google.com/webmasters and www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster

 

Domain Names

You can change your website host at any time, but don’t change your website domain unless absolutely necessary. It’s best if you pick a flexible domain in case your business changes later. For example, don’t buy redtulips.com if it is possible that some day you would also be selling yellow tulips or other types of flowers. It’s OK to buy multiple domains, but your primary domain name should be something you can use for a long time (hopefully the lifetime of your business or organization).

Of course, like all rules, there are exceptions. For example, let’s say you start a business called The Garden Center, and you can’t find a domain name that works well because all the good ones are taken. You end up choosing “yourgarden-centerGrafton.biz”. This is one of those horrible domains that gives you grief every time you try to tell it to someone over the phone. Some people don’t know what a hyphen is, and others type in “.com” even though you tell them it’s “.biz.” Then five years go by, you’re starting to gain some SEO traction, and “thegardencenter.com” becomes available. By all means, buy that domain and switch immediately!

You’ll want make sure your website developer adds “301 redirects” from your old URLs. But the benefits of having a memorable and easy-to-use domain in this case far outweigh the short-term loss of search engine authority. A 301 redirect is like a note to Google saying “We’ve moved. Visit us at our new location!” By connecting the old and new domains, you are proving that you have nothing to hide and that the switch was for a legitimate reason.

Sore Thumb SEO

There is a good reason that the length of time your website has been around is a factor in SEO. Many sore thumb marketers will build websites and drive traffic to them by committing some of the “sore thumb no no’s” we’ve discussed in this book. When they inevitably get discovered and banned from Google’s indexes, they reappear as a new website under a new domain and start the Sore Thumb process again. That’s why it looks suspicious to search engines to change your domain name frequently, so don’t do it unless it’s really necessary.

15 Ideas to Drive New and Repeat Traffic to Your Website

  1. Add your website URL to all of your marketing materials (brochures, business cards, stationery, etc.)
  2. Mention your URL in all radio or TV ads.
  3. Add your website URL to your email signature.
  4. Link to your website from your social media posts regularly.
  5. Give away special offers on your website like discounts or coupons.
  6. Instead of describing products, services, capabilities or Frequently Asked Questions in an email, send links to that information on your website.
  7. Give away e-books or white papers on your website with valuable industry information.
  8. If you have a questionnaire or form that needs to be filled out, have people fill it out on your website instead of on paper or a PDF.
  9. Use a QR code on marketing materials, t-shirts or places around your business and encourage people to scan them with their phones for more information or a special offer. (QR codes are machine-readable code consisting of an array of black and white squares, typically used for storing URLs or other information for reading by the camera on a smartphone.)
  10. Accept job applications or requests for charitable donations via forms on your website.
  11. Post an event calendar, class schedule or employee schedule on your website.
  12. Add special tools, software or features to your website such as a special calculator, estimating system or help forum.
  13. If people need to send you files or images, create a form with upload fields on your website.
  14. Deliver customer product delivery or service updates on your website instead via emails or phone calls.
  15. Provide a download of your high-resolution logo and other branding files needed by designers or media outlets where you are advertising.

Purchase and Install the Enfold WordPress Theme

Lumen Graphics Academy shows you how to purchase and install the Enfold WordPress theme, and activate it within the dashboard.

PURCHASE AND INSTALL THE ENFOLD WORDPRESS THEME

If you are not a professional web developer we always recommend getting a paid WordPress theme. Paid WordPress themes offer additional options and functionality and allow you to make a very professional looking website without having to know any code. In addition, paid themes often have fantastic documentation, help forums and even free support. In this video we are going to show you how to buy and install a paid WordPress theme.

A theme we’re going to use throughout this course is called Enfold and can be purchased for $60 at ThemeForest.net an online WordPress theme store. You’re going to need your credit card for this. First let’s go in our web browser and type in themeforest.net; Right here in their search bar I’m going to type Enfold and click search.This top one is the one that we want. Enfold responsive multi-purpose theme. Click on it and then go ahead and click the Buy Now button. You’re going to need an Envato account for this purchase; if you already have one you can sign in or you can click “I need an Envato account – sign up.” I’m going to create my account here by entering my first and last name, username, email and a secure password. Be sure to write these down so you remember them in case you need it in the future, then click I am NOT a robot and fill out the capture form. Verify and then create account. Now Envato is going to send you a confirmation email, so log into your email.

Now I’ve logged in to my email and found the Envato account verification and I’m going to click on this link to verify my account. Here we can just select our location. I’m gonna choose United States and I’m not going to subscribe to any Envato mail at this time. Agree to the terms agreement and click “all good let’s go.” Now this is the screen where you can input your billing credentials. I’m going to go ahead and fill out my information, click save and continue, and now we have two payment options. One is PayPal and the other is Envato credit. If you don’t plan on buying anymore WordPress themes it’s probably easier just to use Paypal. I’m going to go ahead and click Paypal, make note that this option includes a $2 handling fee so that brings our total up to $60 for the theme. Click checkout with PayPal and once on PayPal you can either login with your PayPal account if you have one or you can just pay with any credit card, and then click on the credit card tab right here and type in my credit card Information. l’m gonna go ahead and click pay.

Great! Now we’ve purchased our Enfold theme. We’ve got a “thank you” and there will be an email confirmation with the receipt if you need to save that. Now that we’ve purchased this theme, I’m going to go up under my account and click on “downloads” and under the download dropdown click on “installable WordPress file only.” I’m going to save this to my desktop. Now back in the WordPress dashboard, in your appearance and themes page, click on “Add New.” Now click on “Choose File” and find where you had saved your file in the last step. I’m going to click on desktop and then go find the Theme Forest .zip file I just downloaded. Click open and now click “Install Now.” Great! Now our theme is installed! Now we just need to activate it and then go ahead and click on this middle button that says “activate now.” We have purchased the Enfold Theme and installed it in our WordPress!

Good Design Gets You Far, Design & Audio Visual Content

Your garden and website should be well designed and full of beautiful and stimulating content. Your website’s template is like your overall garden blueprint; your visual content is like individual plants or specific types of gardens within the larger garden. The goal is to maximize engagement and delight visitors.

Using the proper spacing, hierarchy, symmetry, scale, color contrast, etc. in gardening will make for a visually pleasing garden design. Even a single unique plant or tree used as a focal point will attract visitors from miles around. Also don’t forget to consider the other aspects of plants that make them engaging, (things like fragrance, texture and edibility).

Your website should be designed by a professional using design best practices. Like in your garden, many of the same design rules apply to building your site: spacing, hierarchy, symmetry, scale and color contrast. Good design builds trust and increases the perceived value of a product or service. Bad design may turn people off, hinder readability or cause confusion or suspicion. Even if you have the latest and greatest information about hydroponic gardening on your website, if it looks like it was designed in 1994, people will not believe that you have current or reliable content. Naturally, they will quickly move on to the next website.

If you plan to build your own website, use a CMS like WordPress that has customizable templates designed by professionals. Some of the drag-and-drop site builder tools offered by Vista Print or GoDaddy might be easy to use, but often they result in awkward looking (or plain old ugly) designs. If you don’t have the “design eye” and can’t tell if what you are building looks good or bad, model your website after other professionally built sites or have friends and family give you a friendly critique.

Resource: A great place to find beautifully designed WordPress templates is Theme Forest: http://themeforest.net.

You want the design of your website to match your other marketing materials. This is important for branding as well as building trust. You website should use the same colors, imagery, design style and graphics to match as closely as possible. Fonts may be the exception to this rule.

Fonts on the Web

There are many limitations to using fonts on the Internet because most fonts are proprietary and have strict licensing agreements. Internet browsers (i.e. Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox) interpret code to display web pages to people. If you use a font on your website that the end user does not have installed on their computer or device, the browser can’t display that text. Thus, designers are restricted to using only very common “web-friendly” fonts, such as Arial, Helvetica and Times New Roman. Nearly everyone has these basic fonts installed.

Another option is to use something called “hosted fonts.” These are collections of fonts made available by the designers/founders for use (free or paid) by website developers. The fonts reside on the Internet and thus are available for nearly any computer or device to display “live” text.

Resource: To find free hosted fonts you can use on your website, check out www.google.com/fonts. To find additional hosted fonts available in a paid subscription, check out https://typekit.com.

In order to get around this font limitation, some designers will embed text in images so they can use a specific font that may not be available on the web. This strategy can make for a very visually pleasing, unique website that is quick and easy to build. However, many business owners and novice web designers don’t understand the negative impact this has on their SEO.

You want the vast majority of text on your website to be “live” text, not text embedded in images. Image-based text is readable only to humans, not search engines. Thus if you have a site where the navigation and headlines are all image-based, you are missing some of the most important areas for live text keywords on your website. Hint: If you can’t tell if text is live text or embedded in an image, try to copy and paste the text into a text editor. If you can’t highlight, copy and paste it, it is probably part of an image.

Visual Content

Images and graphics are a must on every website and blog! Having a website without visual elements is like having a garden that is made up entirely of grass. Sure everyone loves a nice lawn, but it’s really not that interesting in and of itself. Your website could have the greatest text content in the world, but if it has no images, people will likely not read it.

Non-text content is essential for user engagement. It communicates in a different way than written content and naturally motivates people to interact with it.

Images can be used to break up text, to illustrate a point, to add visual explanations, to delight and more. Using images of real people who work at your business or organization can build trust a lot more effectively than the ubiquitous lady-with-a-headset stock photo. Customers like knowing there are real people behind the website. The best images are professional photos of your business, you and your staff, your products and your services in action. Hiring a professional to take photos is a wise investment.

Resource: If you don’t have any images of your own, we recommend stock photo websites such as www.dreamstime.com or www.shutterstock.com to find high quality images. Stock photos are always better than no photos!

Highlighting visual and multi-media elements often makes content easier or more entertaining to consume. Visual content can include photographs, graphics, animations, illustrations and infographics. Multi-media content (audio and video) have proven to dramatically aid in SEO. Many users are far more likely to watch a five-minute video than they are to read an article for five minutes. The longer users remain on your site and engage, the better your Google ranking will be. In one study of 600 marketers, 82% surveyed confirmed that online video marketing has had a positive impact on their organization or business. Just 10% felt video has had little impact on their overall marketing ROI with 7% confirming they had not yet integrated video into their marketing programs.

Design & Readability

In addition to being pleasing to the eye, good design will help users consume and understand information more easily. To make a big block of text easier to read, add subheadings to break up text and introduce new topics. Headlines should follow a hierarchy, with the most important headline being the largest text on the page. This allows people to quickly scan and find what they are looking for and identify what the most important things are to read.

In the body text, make sure there is extra vertical space after paragraphs (more space than between sentences in the same paragraph) to visually separate each paragraph.

In addition, use short bullets and numbered lists whenever possible. For example, instead of writing one big block of text about your favorite flowers, write “My Top 10 Favorite Flowers” and break up the article with subheadings and numbers for each flower. That way, someone who may not want to read the entire article can quickly see what the top 10 flowers are.

Make sure the font size is easy to read and the contrast between the text color and the background color is high enough that your eyes don’t have to strain.

Designing with large buttons, arrows, images and other graphics can drive viewers to take a specific action much like signage and a path in a garden can direct people to a specific place. Design can help dictate the flow a user takes through your website: to complete a contact form, download an e-book, purchase a product or the like. If the verb used is a command, this type of element is known as a “call to action.” “Buy Now,” “Click Here” and “Download Your Free Resource” are all examples of calls to action.

Responsive Design

Design plays a major role in SEO when it comes to the latest technology. The vast array of Internet-connected devices (things like smart phones, smart watches and Google glasses) and the infinite number of screen sizes on everything from tiny tablets, to jumbo computer monitors create significant challenges for web designers. With all the different ways your site might be viewed, web designers have had to change tactics to create websites that will meet the needs of users on all of these different types of devices (or at least to provide them with an experience that isn’t terrible). Enter “responsive design.”

Responsive web design is the approach in design and development wherein the website responds to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. Responsive design is created by using a mix of flexible grids, layouts and images. A responsive web design will dynamically optimize itself for phones and tablets, as the of size screen on which it’s being displayed changes.

A responsive website is different than a mobile app because you don’t have separate mobile, tablet and desktop versions of your site. Regardless of what device a visitor is using to access your site, they’ll see all of the content you have to offer (no more partial-content mobile versions of sites) and they’ll encounter it in an easy-to-read format.

With mobile use on the rise, user experience on these various devices is more important than ever. Buttons must be large enough to be easily clicked with a finger without touching another link or button. Important content must be accessible without having to pinch and zoom or scroll sideways. Designs must work on dozens of different sized monitors, some as small as a dollar bill, others the size of a huge TV. Responsive design is the answer to this challenge. We will look at responsive design more in the next chapter.

The better optimized your site is for all these different devices, the higher user engagement you will have. When users stay on your website for longer periods of time, click to multiple pages and ultimately take the action you want them to take, Google will reward you.

Invest in a website that is interesting to look at and easy for people to use, and it will definitely pay off. While form may not trump function, there’s no question that design plays a vital role in user experience, engagement, perceived value, readability, trust building and your search engine optimization.

Sore Thumb SEO

It is possible to hide content on a website by making the text the same color as the background in order to show content to search engines but not humans. Google’s robots are smart enough to detect this, and you will be penalized for it!

Content Planning for Your WordPress Website

It’s important before building your own WordPress website to plan the pages, text and images that you will have on your site. Watch this video for website content planning techniques.

Better description here

Watch the video below for the full tutorial on content planning for your WordPress website.

 

CONTENT PLANNING FOR YOUR WORDPRESS WEBSITE

One of the most important steps of building a great website is planning. Make a list of everything you will need to get ready before delving into your website design. You will need to purchase a domain name and a website hosting plan; We’ll go over exactly how to do this in later videos. If you already have a domain name or a hosting account, you will need the login credentials for your accounts, including the username and passwords. You’ll need to find a file of your business logo if you have one; this could be a .JPEG or .PNG format; preferably one with a transparent background. You’ll also need text content, images and videos, if applicable. While you can always add, edit and change text and images on your website at a later time, you should have a good idea of the type of text, photos and videos you want on your website before you start building it.

If you have existing brochures, flyers or other marketing materials you can use the text and images from them for your website. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. If you don’t have any marketing materials, you might find it helpful to look at some competitor’s websites before starting this task to see what type of content they have. Find competitors or industry leaders that have great websites and content. If you need to look outside your area or at major corporations that’s fine; you can use other websites for ideas and inspiration but do not copy any of the actual text or images from their website. That could have legal implications as well as being bad for your search engine optimization.

When coming up with text and content for your website, try to find your own voice and write with authenticity and purpose. Think about your audience and what type of content they would want to find on your website. In addition to pitching your products and services, provide information that helps your visitors in some way. A blog is a great way to provide fresh content for your website and the best way to improve your search engine optimization. We’ll talk more about blogging in a future video.

Images and graphics are a must on every website and blog. Your website could have the greatest text content in the world, but if it has no images people will likely not read it. The best images are professionally taken photos of your business, you and your staff, your products and your services in action. Hiring a professional photographer to take photos is a wise investment. If you don’t have any images of your own, we recommend stock photo websites such as dreamstime.com or shutterstock.com to find high-quality images. Stock photos are always better than no photos.

Here is an example of a content mapper wireframe. You can sketch this out on a piece of paper ahead of time. We’ve outlined approximately what type of text we want and where it’s going to be located on the homepage of our website. We can always adjust this later, but this gives us a good idea to start planning ahead.You can see we’ve got our Lumen Graphics Garden Center logo up in the left hand corner; We’ve got the start of a menu or navigation on the right. Right now we have home, products, blog, about and contact. Those are all pages that we’re going to have on our website, as well as the blog, which will contain a bunch of posts. Then you can see we have a big slide show planned, so we’re gonna need some photos for that, and then we’ve got a little bit of area for some welcome text. Underneath we’ve got three columns highlighting our favorite products and services; we’ve got a column for vegetable garden, products and services, flowers and trees. We’re going to need a photo for each one of those. You can see we’ve got a little bit of text under those as well as a button to link, to read more.

Below that is a foot area. We’ve got widget areas, we’ll talk more about widgets and future videos. One will be displaying the titles of the most recent blog posts, another widget will have our contact information with our address and phone number and the other comment will be linked to our social media accounts. At the very bottom there will be a tiny little area for copyright information. You can sketch out any or all of the pages on your website in this fashion; At the very least we recommend doing this with your homepage, and start gathering your content and images which we’ll use in later videos to build your website.

From Cringe to Yikes to Oops! A Look at Trump Campaign’s Scary Graphics

Donald Trump is a billionaire who is running for president. You wouldn’t deduce that by looking at his campaign’s graphic design. Some of it is fine, but some of it is pretty scary. Few people are going to choose their leader strictly because of their graphic design choices (and we don’t recommend that), but taking a look at the mistakes his campaign is making can shed light on the importance of hiring professionals and investing in your marketing.

CRINGE: TRUMP PENCE LOGO AND BRANDING DISASTERS

You’ve probably already heard about the infamous logo design gaffe of the original Trump / Pence campaign logo.

trump pence logo original

The original Trump – Pence campaign logo

The interlocking “T” and “P” were lambasted on social media for their awkward depiction of…well, you get it.

Trump Pence logo on Twitter

Shortly after all the unintended “T-in-the-P” logo notoriety, the Trump campaign released a modified version of its logo.

New Trump Pence logo

New Trump – Pence campaign logo

This one hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, but for designers, this is still a bit visually unsettling, specifically the alignment (or lack thereof) of the Pence letters. The natural tendency would be to center each letter below the correlating Trump letter. After all, there are 5 letters in “Trump” and 5 letters in “Pence.” Why wouldn’t you make that easy choice? But instead notice how the “P,” “E” and “N” are right-aligned with the letters above them but the “C” is centered and the “E” is left-aligned. Hmmm.

Trump isn’t even using the official logo on the Twitter page, which is a huge branding no-no. Your official logo should be on everything you create. Also, this is pretty amateur Photoshopping work. Notice the dark shadow around the edge of their entire bodies. If they were really standing in front of a big flag backdrop or monitor, there is almost no real lighting scenario when this would happen.

Trump Twitter header

This is Trump’s Twitter header, not using the official logo. That’s just plain ol’ bad branding!

Yikes! Trumps Bad Graphic Design

We found dozens of graphics on Trump’s Twitter page that looked like Trump himself might have thrown them together in PowerPoint while drinking a beer at Chili’s in the Toledo airport.

These graphics are breaking so many of the cardinal rules of branding and design it is painful. Rules such as using consistent fonts and colors, white space, legibility, alignment, contrast and hierarchy are largely being ignored. Amateur is a polite way to describe these.

Trump bad marketing

Trump bad marketing

The examples below show almost no whitespace. The letters are crammed right up to the edge of the graphic for that “accidentally cropped” look. They didn’t even bother to match the two colors of blue within this one graphic, and it may be hard to see at this size, but the “Rasmussen” logo is low resolution and pixelated. The Trump campaign has been calling Hillary “crooked” this whole campaign, which we assume is why the “Clinton” line is not aligned appropriately. However, that’s an inside joke, and to the rest of us, it just looks like an old newspaper paste-up mistake.

Trump bad marketing

This font, really?? Nothing says serious politician like a big, bubbly lemonade stand font.

Bad graphic design by Trump

We’re not sure if this graphic was actually from the Trump campaign, but it was on their Twitter feed and just too bizarre to pass up. Check out that floating head!

Trump bad graphic designs

And this graphic features yet another font, (just because you are referencing a historical moment doesn’t mean you can’t also show off your sleek and high tech side) and Trump’s beloved abuse of the CAPS LOCK key. Also note the illegible hashtags, one of which is misspelled (#hereos). To be fair, it’s hard to catch errors when you can barely see the words!

Trump bad graphic designs

The words here are practically running off the edge of the sign. Apparently no one on the design team knows how to set up a banner for print with the appropriate margins and bleeds. And notice the Trump / Pence logo letters now have a totally different alignment and spacing than the official logo. They are seriously overdue for some brand identity guidelines!

Trump's bad marketing

 

OOPS! TRUMP’S WEBSITE NEEDS UX AND QA HELP

We checked out the official Trump website. Overall, this looks a heckuva lot better than most of his social and print graphics. However, it appears their Quality Assurance person is on vacation (or doesn’t exist.) The mobile site is still showing a banner (actually a cool design here) that is over three weeks old from the Vice Presidential debate on Oct. 4.

Trump mobile website

No one bothered checking the site for cross device compatibility: notice those donation buttons overlapping. Apple’s iPhone Human Interface Guidelines recommends a minimum finger target size of 44 pixels wide 44 pixels tall for any type of touch target (button or link). These buttons would be difficult to touch for people with even average-sized hands. Maybe they are hoping people will accidentally donate $250 when they intended to donate $50.

Further down on the site, when you click on “Continue to Website” it doesn’t go anywhere. You are just stuck on that page. In fact, the only way to get off that page is to contribute. What a frustrating user experience!

4 LESSONS LEARNED FROM TRUMP’S BAD GRAPHIC DESIGN

There are a few important lessons we can take away from the Trump campaign’s mistakes in design and branding.

1. Branding is key for building trust and recognition.

If you can’t tell that the Twitter page is official because it has a different logo than the website, you will lose real followers. Use the same logo on all your marketing!

2. Design is essential for readability, comprehension and aesthetics.

If people can’t actually read a graphic or sign, well, that’s just kind of pointless. If your advertisements and marketing materials aren’t professional looking, people will wonder what else you might be skimping on.

3. User experience is important.

If you promise something (click here to go there) and you don’t deliver, people will stop clicking. If people are frustrated using your website for any reason, they will leave…without contributing to your campaign.

4. Quality Assurance is vital.

When you have outdated material on your website and spelling errors, at the very least, you look silly. At the worst, people stop considering you a credible source…for anything.

Skimping on hiring professionals to create your brand, website and marketing materials will hurt you in the long run. We doubt terrible design will be swaying any elections any time soon, but it certainly isn’t helping the Trump campaign.

Have you seen bad graphics from people or companies who should know better? Send us a comment!

Organization Is Important, Architecture & Navigation

Your garden and website should be well planned, organized and easy to get around. The goal is to make it easy for people to find what they are looking for.

In a garden, grouping related plants (i.e. herbs) in one area makes it easy for people to find what interests them. Providing maps and signage is also helpful. Using labels on plants helps people understand what they are looking at.

Similarly, your website should be organized and easy to navigate. One thing to consider is the structure and overall page layout of the site. Search engines—just like people—want it to be obvious what pages are on the site and how they are related to each other. Through internal linking in a navigation system, you show users and search engines the structure of your site. The navigation should be intuitive and make logical sense to users and search engines alike.

If you have a blog, it should be organized into topical categories with more specific subjects identified by “tags,” which help people to sort information and find related material. Try to use keywords in both the category names and the tags. For example, a category might be “native plants,” and a tag might be “prairie dropseed.”

One thing that will infuriate users and hurt your SEO is having broken links or missing pages. It would be like having a sign in your garden that says “Herb Garden This Way” that actually directs visitors to an empty field.

If a link is broken, a user will get the all-too-ubiquitous 404 error, a page saying the URL you tried to find does not exist. At the very least you should have a 404 page template so when a user gets a broken or missing link, a user can easily get to another page on your website by using the navigation menu. If a page has disappeared because the URL has changed, it’s a good idea to have your web developer add a 301 redirect to the new page.

Resource: We recommend installing a tool such as Broken Link Checker on your WordPress website https://wordpress.org/plugins/broken-link-checker. This will show you if you have broken links so you can remedy them.

It’s a great idea to have an onsite search box so someone can type in a word or phrase and quickly find out if your site has that content. This can also provide clues as to whether people are able to find what they are looking for using your navigation.

Advanced SEO Topics

In gardening, there are a few things for which a novice gardeners would likely need to seek professional help. For example, you would not try to use a tractor to re-grade a large area of soil or build a 6-foot retaining wall if you didn’t know what you were doing.

With SEO, there are also a few things that affect your Google ranking but are more complex than an average business owner or marketer would want to learn about.

There are many important elements in the code of a website that make up its architecture that will either facilitate or encumber the ability for search engines crawling your site. When building the website, your developer should be using SEO best practices to ensure your site is easy for search engines to index.

The topics below are important for SEO but beyond the scope of this book. I am listing them so you are aware they are factors, but I will not go into details or definitions.

  • the use of “divs” instead of tables for layout
  • dynamic sitemaps
  • appropriate placement of scripts and other code
  • meaningful URLs (otherwise known as “pretty permalinks”)
  • duplicate content issues (often a result of on-site search pages or archive pages)
  • and schema markup.

 

Resource: To read more about some of these complex SEO topics, we recommend this book: www.amazon.com/Inbound-Marketing-SEO-Insights-Blog/dp/1118551559

If your web developer plans to use a proprietary CMS (i.e. one they created that is not “open source”), ask him or her about SEO before committing to any contracts. You are safer sticking to one of the major CMS’s, such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and Expression Engine. These are already built with SEO best practices and updated regularly.

Sore Thumb SEO

You should never have content or pages that are visible to search engines but hidden from real people.

Logging into WordPress and Learning the Dashboard

Lumen Graphics Academy shows you how to log in to your new WordPress website, and become familiar with the dashboard.

LOGGING INTO WORDPRESS AND LEARNING THE DASHBOARD

Now that your WordPress installation has been completed, it’s time to login. You can click the X to get rid of this screen, you won’t need this anymore, and in your browser tab you’re going to type in your domain name. In my case Lumen GraphicsAcademy.com and then /wp-admin. This is going to take you to the WordPress login screen. This is where you’re going to need to get your username and password from the previous video. My username is Lumen Graphics Garden Center and my password I have copied and pasted from a text document. You can click remember me; that way the next time you try to login to WordPress you won’t need to get your password.  Then go ahead and click login. Your browser may ask you if you want to save your password, and in this case I’m going to click yes, save password.

Now that you are logged into the WordPress dashboard, you can see this welcome screen. There’s not actually much to do on this page. You can see WordPress News down in the bottom right hand corner; this is from the wordpress.org blog. If you’re interested you can read some of these articles. Up in the at a glance section you can see how many posts, pages and comments you have currently. The WordPress installation comes with one sample post, which is like a blog post, one sample page and one sample comment. As you build your website you will see additional pages, posts and comments being added here. You can also see that you are running WordPress 4.1.1 and the 2015 theme. This is important information to know which WordPress version you are using and which theme you are using. In future videos we’re going to take a look at many of the options you see on the left hand side bar, including posts, pages, plugins, settings and more. Now that you have your installation ready, you can open up your live WordPress website by clicking on your site name at the top left hand corner. I like to hold down the Ctrl key while I do this or the command key if you’re on a Mac, and this will open up the website in a new tab.

Introduction, Search Engines & SEO

The world wide web holds over a trillion pages, according to Wired magazine founder Kevin Kelly1. About 570 new websites are created every minute, says one PC Magazine study. These numbers are as difficult to comprehend as they are to quantify. There is a mind boggling amount of information on the Internet, and more is being created every second. So the question on everyone’s mind is, “How can I get more traffic to my website?”

The answer is: Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Before digging into SEO, we must first establish a basic understanding of what search engines are and why they exist. Search engines are computer robots “or spiders” constantly scanning and indexing the Internet. Search engines exist to help users (i.e. real human beings) find relevant content they are searching for on the web. With the nearly infinite amount of information on the Internet, we must have a way to sort and make sense of it. Search engines act much like interactive library card catalogs in helping us to do so. They help users find what they are looking for.

Google, the world’s most powerful search engine, processes on average over 40,000 search queries every second. How did I find this out? Of course, I “Googled” it! Google is to search engines as Kleenex is to tissue paper. They are often used synonymously, and while not technically accurate, I will occasionally do so for brevity’s sake. I will also use the word “Google” as a verb, meaning to search using a search engine.

When you “Google” a word (aka a keyword or keyword phrase), the search engine returns a list of websites on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) with short descriptions and links for the user to choose from.

Now that we have a basic understanding of how search engines are used, let’s take a closer look at Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the process of making improvements on and off a particular website with the goal of gaining more exposure on SERPs returned by a specific query. The ultimate goal of SEO is to gain first-page, top-place ranking in the “organic” search results for a specific keyword (or group of keywords). The organic search results are free, earned positions, and the No. 1 ranking on the first page of a Google SERP gets the lion’s share of the traffic. More exposure in SERPs ultimately leads to more visitors finding your website. More visitors finding your site means more customers and revenue for your business.

The SEO industry is ever evolving, and the process of SEO is governed by extremely complex, “algorithms” (page ranking formulas) developed by Google, as well as Yahoo, Bing and other search engines. Each search engine has its own proprietary, top-secret algorithm, which is tweaked and changed constantly in order to maintain relevance and to prevent people from abusing the system. In addition, search engines are always trying to improve their products to deliver timely search results that are most relevant to the person searching. Without happy users, the search engines themselves can become irrelevant (remember Ask Jeeves?). All this tweaking and changing of formulas means even if your site is ranking well today, it could change dramatically with the introduction of a big algorithm update. You may have heard of “Panda” or “Penguin”; these refer to updates Google made to its algorithm in past years.

Dozens of factors influence the formulas that determine what website will garner a number 1 ranking for a specific keyword or phrase. Not all of these factors are the same (or carry the same amount of weight) between different search engines. You may be surprised to find out that not only is there no shortcut to optimize your website, there is a fair amount of conjecture and experimentation involved in SEO.

But here is the good news. While search engines are ever-changing and highly intricate, you don’t have to be a computer genius to understand the general concepts and apply them to your website. Further, there are many SEO techniques you can do yourself. (You may need the help of a web developer for some of the more technical aspects.)

Green Thumb SEO vs. Sore Thumb SEO*

Your website needs to be search engine friendly, but you should avoid getting carried away trying to optimize your website for robots. It is possible to over-optimize your website, which will be obvious to Google that you are not truly earning your high rankings.

I like to classify SEO techniques into two broad categories: “green thumb SEO,” techniques that search engines recommend, and “sore thumb SEO,” techniques search engines discourage. Green thumb SEO tends to produce results that last, whereas sore thumb SEO may get a website penalized or even banned permanently once the search engines discover what they are doing.

When applying Search Engine Optimization techniques, if you are not sure which is which, consider your intentions. If what you are doing is going to be useful to a user on your website, then it is probably green thumb SEO, which means it will help your website thrive and assist in your SEO efforts. If what you are doing is solely to help your rankings, it will likely stick out like a sore thumb to the search engines and to users, and thus, it is probably something you should not be doing.

Above all, you must remember that humans are the ones who will actually drive your business to success. If you follow the guidelines laid out in this book, while focusing on the usability and purpose of your website as it provides real value to real humans, you can sport your green thumb and always remain on the good side of the search engines.

Measuring Progress with Google Analytics

There are many tools and resources available to help in your SEO efforts. I will introduce several in this book, some of which are free and some of which are paid. I won’t be getting into precisely how to use each of the tools, but you should be aware of them as you get more serious with your SEO.

Google Analytics is one of the most essential tools you need to measure and track your SEO efforts. Google Analytics is an industry standard tool, and it is free! Until you know what to look for, avoid using other statistics programs offered by your website host or CMS as these may have inflated or inaccurate numbers.

Resource: To sign up for Google Analytics, visit www.google.com/analytics.

You may need a web developer to help you install the Google Analytics code on your website, but it should not be difficult or expensive for them to do. Whatever you do, don’t skip this important step! Start tracking your results and progress immediately. These metrics will help you better understand and track your return on investment.

Once the code is installed on your site, you can see exactly how many people are accessing your website, from what parts of the world, at what time of day, what pages they are visiting, for how long and so much more. Warning: once you start tracking, you may find yourself addicted to looking at your analytics. It’s incredibly interesting and often surprising!

There is so much data collected it may seem overwhelming to wade through. But at the very least, start tracking the information, and you can always hire an analyst or SEO expert to help you make sense of it later.