Why It’s Important to Update Your WordPress Plugins

By | NJ Web Design, Uncategorized, Web Site Design, WordPress | No Comments

Plugins are not a “set it and forget it”.  A typical WordPress web site has six to ten plugins installed.  In order to keep your site running with minimal downtime, your plugins should be updated as the plugin developers release new versions.

WordPress UpdatesWhy You Need to Keep Your Plugins Updated

  • Updates typically include security fixes that reduce a site’s vulnerability to hacks.
  • Out of date plugins can become incompatible with WordPress themes and WordPress updates. This can cause errors in your site.
  • Plugin version updates not only include new features, but also fix known bugs.

If you plan to go out on your own and perform the updates, here is what you need to know:

  • Back-up your site first.  Just in case an error occurs you can always restore the previous version
  • View the New Version Detail from your dashboard so you know exactly what’s included in the update.
  • Update one plugin at a time.  Test the site to insure everything is working before updating the next plugin.
  • Perform updates during non-prime time.
  • Security related updates should be performed first.

If a plugin is old and has not been updated by the developer in a very long time, then you can assume the plugin might have issues as WordPress is updated.  It’s best to search out a newer plugin with the same functionality. If you want to protect your site and insure it runs at optimal performance, WordPress plugins, themes and WordPress should be fully updated at all times.

For those that don’t want the hassle of performing updates and/or don’t have the time, BZA’s low cost WordPress Support Plan can be the answer.  Our plans start at $150 per month.  Learn More>

How to Get More Google Business Reviews

By | NJ Web Design, Online Marketing, Website Design | No Comments

Encouraging customers and clients to write reviews for your business can result in attracting more customer. With Google being the most powerful search engine, it makes sense to focus your review solicitation efforts on your Google My Business page.  As the verified owner of the business page you have the ability to manage your own information and control control what appears in maps and search results.
The shortest path to getting a review is making it simple and easy for customer to leave a review. This is accomplished by providing the customer with a link to your Google My Business page review form.

Here is how to get started:

Search for your company in Google and click the button that says “Write a Review”

Cut and paste the URL in the address bar of your browser. You’ll get a URL that looks like this https://www.google.com/search?q=bza+llc&oq=bza+llc&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i60j69i61j69i60j69i65l2.2631j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#lrd=0x89c301d99c1495a5:0x3d03ac5abdd195d5,3

The last digit which is a 3 controls the style of the review pop-up box. If you change the 3 to a 1 then the pop-up box will contain your current reviews.  But if you add a 5 to end of the URL (…3,5,) this will pop-up the review box and already fill in the 5 stars.  Now, all the customer has to do is fill in the comment field.

https://www.google.com/search?q=bza+llc&oq=bza+llc&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i60j69i61j69i60j69i65l2.2631j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#lrd=0x89c301d99c1495a5:0x3d03ac5abdd195d5,3,5,

You can use a URL shortener like Tiny URL or Google’s tool https://goo.gl/  which makes embedding the link a lot easier. After using this tool the long URL is now shorten to  https://goo.gl/qmFakp

How to Promote Your Clickable Google Review Form

Now that you have your powerful URL, it’s time to put it to work.  What you can do:

  • Cut and paste it into your email and send it to clients
  • Send it to a client once the project/sale is complete
  • You can add it to your email signature file as Review Us
  • You can link it in emailed invoices

I invited you to click on any of the BZA review links above to write about your experience in working with BZA.  Wishing you many happy reviews.

New Jersey Web Design Firm BZA Launches WordPress Website for The Hearing Group

By | NJ Web Design, Website Design, WordPress | No Comments

The Hearing Group in West Orange New Jersey, provides audiological evaluations, aural rehabilitation including hearing aid dispensing and repairs.

The Hearing Group, a long time client of BZA, had an early WordPress website.  At the time mobile websites did not exist.  As a short term solution the client had a separate mobile website built.  This was problematic as now they had two websites to update.

BZA built the new site utilizing a premium WordPress medical related theme.  We customized the theme to the client’s branding and added several new features that both educates and engages patients.
WordPress Website Features Include:

  • Appointment Request Form
  • Downloadable Patient Forms
  • Integrated Google Map Directions
  • Product Gallery
  • News Blog
  • Social Media Integration

WordPress Appointment Form

BZA provided personalized training utilizing the client’s own WordPress Admin Dashboard so updates can be easily performed by in-house staff.

How to Transform Your Contact Page Into One of the Most Valuable Pages on Your Website

By | NJ Web Design, Web Site Design, WordPress | No Comments

online-formWhen done correctly, a simple contact form that captures your visitors interests can turn into one of the most valuable pages of your website.

Why You Need a Contact Form

The contact form, also known as an inquiry form, is designed to capture the interest of your visitor and will allow you to prioritize and research the lead once you get the form information.

Most out-of-the-box contact forms have just a few fields and lack compelling information to encourage the visitor to complete the form.

Where to Link the Contact Form

As a best practice the contact form should linked on the main navigation. It should not be buried as a sub-menu item under the About Us page or any other page. Most importantly, it should be linked with an action button from your main services or product pages. The benefit being, while the visitor is on a page of interest, they are visually encouraged to go to the contact page.

Designing Your Contact Page for Results

I hear many clients claim “no one will ever fill out a form”. That is totally untrue. We live in a 24 x 7 world, and prospects, at all hours of the day, what to check that one item off their list. That item might be inquiring about your products or services.

Here are a few tips to consider when designing and creating your contact form:

  1. Provide at least one introductory sentence to the form. Tell your visitor why they should complete the form and what is the benefit to them.
  2. Reassure them the form is quick and easy to complete and information will not be shared.
  3. Ask the most important qualifying questions; Name, title, company, email, phone, website, area of interest, timeframe and budget. These important fields should be required and not optional.
  4. Don’t bother asking how they heard about your company.
  5. Don’t include too many open ended questions, where the user has to type an answer.
  6. Utilize drop-down choices or radio buttons to speed the form completion process.
  7. Keep your form to 10 fields or less.
  8. Generate a friendly Thank You page that will tell the visitor when you will be getting back to them.

Integrate Your Contact Form

You can easily set up Google Conversion Tracking on your contact form within your Google Analytics. This will allow you to measure how many forms have been completed and the source of the visitor.

If you are using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System to track leads and sales activity, the form results can be integrated into the CMS. Web-to-Lead forms efficiently simplify the process of capturing visitor information from your website and getting it directly into your CRM system. This insures accuracy of lead information, speedy follow-up and eliminates having to re-keystroke lead information.

Good design along with careful selection of the form fields can make a big difference both to the user experience and your company’s bottom line.

Four Telltale Signs Your Website is Hurting Your Sales and What You Can Do About It

By | NJ Web Design, Web Site Design, WordPress | No Comments

Original article authored by Barbara Zaccone was published in the Summer 2016 Issue of the New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners (NJAWBO) Bottom Line Newsletter.

Website salesPoor First Impressions Lead to Visitors Abandoning Your Website

Visitors abandon websites for any number of reasons, including poor design, outdated content, crazy colors, poor quality images, images that don’t relate to the message, and of course, content (messaging) that has visitors guessing about what your company offers. The list goes on and on—but to keep things simple, let’s focus on the top four telltale signs that your website is hurting your sales.


Website Suffering From Old AGE

Let’s start with the most basic question: How old is your website? If it’s five years or older, you’ve already crossed over into the “my site is hurting my business” zone. So much has changed in five years. Just think of the cell phone you were using five years ago (hint: slide out keyboard or Blackberry). Besides, in April 2015, because of a strong mobile marketplace, Google announced that search results on mobile devices would favor mobile friendly websites. Now mobile friendly websites are getting the attention they deserve. If you are not sure if your site is mobile friendly, give it the ole Google mobile friendly test.

THE FIX: Build a new website and make sure it’s mobile friendly.


Cluttered Home Page

You know what a cluttered home page looks like when you land on one because you want to get out of there—fast. So, if your home page contains 10 or more tabs, call out boxes, small pictures,
lots of text, side bars, sliders with buttons, and way too many choices—this is a sign of an old and cluttered website. Because too many choices confuse visitors, they’ll hit the back button. Today’s style is modern, clean, and uncluttered. Large meaningful images should complement the content. For easier home page navigation, cut down on the number of tabs and choices. Today’s sites are lean and mean, and the eye is always drawn to a clear CALL TO ACTION.

THE FIX: For a cost-effective and professional design, you can choose from hundreds of popular WordPress premium themes. A theme can be customized by a professional developer, giving you a site that is true to your brand.


No Social Media

You can argue until the cows come home that you don’t feel social media applies to your business, or you don’t have the time to do it. But businesses are run by people, and people spend more time on social media then ever before. Social media influences buying decisions, broadens your reach, and is an important part of your overall online presence. If you don’t have any social media sharing icons or feeds on your website, here’s what it says about your business: “Don’t connect with us. We are unapproachable—not friendly. There is nothing new going on in our company. We have nothing to share. Leave us alone.”

THE FIX: At a bare minimum you should have a company LinkedIn profile. Then, depending on your audience, pick one or two other platforms. Top choices include Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, and Instagram. Go narrow and go deep.


Imagine what a professional, lean, clean, and mobile friendly website can do to add credibility to your organization and showcase your capabilities. A different user experience could get that phone ringing. There’s no better time then NOW to get started.

WordPress Site Maintenance

How to Maintain Your WordPress Website. What You Need to Know.

By | WordPress | No Comments

Once you are up and running with your WordPress website you’ll need to determine routine maintenance tasks needed to keep your site running at optimal performance. You can use the list below to get started.  Your decision should be based upon your availability, technical expertise, comfort with WordPress and budget. Typical maintenance tasks include:

  • Proactive WordPress updates
  • Proactive WordPress theme updates
  • Proactive WordPress plugin updates
  • Testing
  • Changes to content and image galleries
  • Performance optimization
  • Technical support
  • Security

For worry-free maintenance and support, many organizations choose to have their website professionally managed.

Benefits of a Professionally Managed WordPress Website

Peace of mind is the #1 benefit. Knowing that someone is watching your web site and taking care of it, while you are running your business. Benefits include:

  • Peace of mind and hassle free.
  • Best prevention for getting your site hacked.
  • A functioning website.  A broken site looses revenue.
  • Speed up your site
  • Increase search engine traffic.  A broken site hurts traffic and search engine ranking.

WordPress Managed Services

If you think of WordPress as a cloud based solution, you can easily understand the benefits of outsourcing support and upgrades.  Popular business cloud based solutions include Quickbooks Online, Salesforce, Google Analytics, FedEx, Adobe Creative, Dropbox and more.  These application services remove the business owner or manager from the day to day maintenance of  the application. According to Business Insider “Companies today use on average 16 cloud apps at work”.  So WordPress managed services are like any other managed service solution.

BZA’s WordPress support services can eliminate site maintenance burden. Not only will this save you time and money, but you’ll have a quality website that represents your business. The result _ giving you more time to focus on your business.

The best time to get started in now. 

BZA Launches WordPress WooCommerce Website for Artifacts by Design

By | Ecommerce, WooCommerce, WordPress | No Comments

Artifacts by Design, ceramics studio run by Peter Syak, produces gallery-quality Raku, custom-made ceramic tiles, functional tableware, pots, bowl, wall plaques and more . In addition to selling his Raku works of art, Syak also offers hand building and firing workshops at his studio in Bloomfield, New Jersey.

BZA built the Artifacts by Design website on the popular WordPress platform. We selected WooCommerce, which is built to integrate seamlessly with WordPress. WooCommerce currently powers over 37% of all online stores.

artifacts-hp-whole

BZA provided personalized training on the WordPress and WooCommerce admin dashboard that allows the client to update the product catalog, process orders and print shipping labels.

Be sure to check out his amazing artwork at Artifacts by Design.

BZA guided me through the process of developing a drop dead gorgeous site and made my work look fabulous.  _ Peter Syak, Raku Wizard

 

BZA Launches Ecommerce Website for Petunia Peacock -Vintage Chanel Jewelry

By | BigCommerce, Ecommerce | No Comments

Lori Frances, owner of Petunia Peacock turned her passion and love for vintage Chanel Jewelry into an business.  As a collector for over 10 years, Lori is a expert in acquiring and selling authentic vintage Chanel jewelry.

After extensive research Lori hired BZA to build to build an commerce website that would allow her customers to securely purchase jewelry within her collection.  As her collection is alway changing, it was important that Lori be able to update inventory in real time.  BZA provided personalized training that allowed Lori to easily update her online collection of jewelry.

Petunia Peacock BigCommerce WebsiteBuilt on the BigCommerce platform, the site is mobile friendly and has many features typical found on enterprise solutions.  BZA is an authorized BigCommerce Partner.

About BigCommerce

BigCommerce is the leading ecommerce platform for fast-growing and mid-market brands. According to analysis conducted by market research firm Ipsos, online stores built on BigCommerce grow approximately twice as fast as the ecommerce industry average. BigCommerce’s cloud-based platform enables merchants such as Dorco, Gibson, Martha Stewart, Saint Heron, Toyota and Travelpro to cost-effectively grow their businesses with more traffic, higher conversion and superior performance. BigCommerce supports clients from its headquarters in Austin, Texas, and offices in San Francisco and Sydney. For more information, visit BZA.com.

Four Easy Ways to Find Inspiration for Your WordPress Blog

By | Blogging for Business, WordPress | No Comments

It’s not alway ease to come up with news and blog content that is going to be interesting to your readers. Many website owners feel they have little to share.  With these four simple tips you’ll be on your way to developing great content in the least amount of time.

Facebook Feed

Your Facebook feed is packed daily with articles and content that is relevant to your business (because you’ve selected people and organizations to follow).  As your feed passes by day after day, notice how you can never find a post that was once there? Now, when you find a post that might make a great article, you are going to hit the little arrow to the upper right of the post and hit Save Link.  In no time you will have a collection of topics that you might want to write about.

Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a free online clipping service that allow you to monitor topics (via keywords or phrases)  that are of interest to you on the web.  Instead of having to scan the Internet for new and fresh ideas you’ll find that inspiration for new blogposts right in your inbox.

Google News

Let’s say there is a new development or technology in your industry and you want to know how others are reacting for your inspiration. Instead of just searching in the Google search box, search News, Search Tools, and select your time period.  The example below shows the news list results for Facebook Live over the past week. Which actually might be one of my next blog posts.

Industry Events

Trade shows and conferences are a great resource in which to obtain relevant topics in your industry. If you can’t attend a conference, review the agenda and workshop titles and descriptions to get some good relevant article ideas.

Barbara Zaccone Featured in MidJersey Business Magazine

By | BZA News | No Comments

Barbara Zaccone, President and Founder of BZA,  was recently interviewed and featured in the March 2016 issue of MidJersey Magazine. The article “Success Factors for Women in Technology Careers” highlights the career paths of six New Jersey women.

MidJersey Magazine is the magazine of the MidJersey Chamber of Commerce.  With over 1,000 member companies, the Chamber represents a workforce of more than 90,000 employees in the Central New Jersey area.

MidJersey-Cover-crop

 

 

 

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