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Top Four Favourite WordPress Plugins to Boost your SEO


27th April 2020

We love WordPress: it’s intuitive, flexible, and endlessly upgradeable. In many ways, it’s the ideal Content Management System for your website: really powerful and full of customisation potential, but also slick and straightforward when you need it.

That’s why WordPress websites are so popular online: more websites than not are powered by the platform, and this alone is a token of how good WordPress is. People choose it because it makes websites look and feel good – but also because it makes websites easy to build and manage.

That’s good news on two fronts: your users will keep coming back to a site that’s fun and easy to use, and you’ll be able to keep it fresh and up-to-date. All this assumes, though, that you have an audience. What if you don’t? And, even if you do, surely you want to grow it, right?

That’s where websites alone aren’t enough. You also need to optimise your site for search engines, so that new users can easily find your products and services by typing in the key phrases most relevant to your business.

Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO) requires a lot of small tweaks to a number of elements on your site – and which tweaks and to what effect change all the time, as the search engines update and alter their algorithms. That can make for a lot of work.

There is a wide range of plugins for WordPress that can help. That’s another of the platform’s strengths – as open-source software, anyone can write great plugins for a WP site that expand its functionality. The only problem with this is that it can be difficult to choose the best plugins for the job at hand! 

Often, you need more than one plugin working in tandem to get the best results. This is particularly true when it comes to SEO, which requires so many different boxes to be ticked for the best results. That’s why we suggest the suite of our following four favourite WordPress plugins for SEO. 

Together, this fantastic four will get your site shooting to the top of Google (or Yahoo!, or Bing Or DuckDuckGo … you get the point):

  1. Yoast SEO’s free version helps with your on-page SEO, from writing enticing meta-descriptions to crafting easily readable copy. Purchase the premium version and you can get extra benefits including suggestions for internal linking and automatic redirection tool.
  2. Redirection by John Godley is great when you need to tweak your URL to make it user- (and search) – friendly, but don’t want to break any referral links you’ve already generated.
  3. WP Super Cache will store a version of your website for faster page load – which will, in turn, earn you serious search engine brownie points.
  4. Compress JPEG & PNG images by TinyPNG reduces the size of your images without compromising their quality – and this, too, helps improve your page speed (remember, too, that alt tags and image titles really matter to SEO!).

And there you have it: your recipe for SEO success on WordPress. Or, to put it another way, our top four favourite WordPress plugins to boost your SEO!

Contact Image Plus for SEO Management 

If you need further assistance with advanced Search Engine Optimization, PPC, or other services then speak to our friendly experts. We are based in Coventry, Warwickshire and are always ready to help. Please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our specialists.

Contact us on 024 7683 4780 or send us an email at info@image-plus.co.uk.

 

blog

5 Reasons WooCommerce is best for your eCommerce Website


17th April 2020

Around thirty-five per cent of all websites online are based on the WordPress platform. This dominant position for the content management system (CMS) is the result of the ease with which WordPress sites can be installed, set-up and maintained.

WordPress is attractive to businesses of all kinds because it is a flexible and expandable framework. Via “plug-ins” – small bits of software which users can add to their WordPress site to enhance its functionality in almost any imaginable way – WordPress sites are endlessly elastic.

The “open source” nature of WordPress means that developers can easily build new plug-ins and offer them directly to WordPress users. This results in a multiplicity of options that offer huge choice and versatility – and this is a key part of the success of the WordPress platform.

Of course, choice requires decisions, and the wide range of options in the realm of e-commerce for WordPress means that the appropriate option isn’t always obvious.

Allow us to make this easy for you: if you want to sell things online via a WordPress website, just choose WooCommerce. It’s as simple as that.

Why is this choice so easy, you ask? There are five key reasons:

  1. WooCommerce is customizable. This is no one-size-fits-all plug-in. With features and functionality aplenty, WooCommerce can be entirely tailored to fit your business, products and services perfectly.
  2. It’s free. That isn’t always a sign of quality, of course, but in WooCommerce’s case, the best things in e-commerce really are free. With absolutely no financial barrier to adoption, and yet full to the brim with features, WooCommerce is the best in class.
  3. It works well with other plug-ins. Many WordPress developers will tell you horror stories about plug-in conflicts: everything is working fine until that one installation brings an entire website crashing down! WooCommerce likes playing with others. You won’t experience crashes, and your site will be more stable for it.
  4. It is built on the same principles on which WordPress itself was built. In other words, it is open source and fully expandable. That means that, just like with WordPress, users are endlessly improving and enhancing WooCommerce. That benefits you directly – and, if you have a developer on-board, means you can get in on the bespoke coding action, too.
  5. It boasts built-in secure payment processing. eCommerce lives and dies on the comfort of your customers. If they feel sufficiently protected, they will buy – and WooCommerce offers all the security features today’s savvy online shoppers expect. They won’t feel a moment’s hesitation buying from you – and that’s half the battle won.

So, there you have it: if you’re thinking about selling via WordPress, there’s only one choice to make. There are five reasons why WooCommerce is the best choice for your eCommerce website – and each of them is decisive!

Contact Image Plus for Web Design & Development

If you need web design or development, then speak to our friendly experts. Our web developers are based in Coventry, Warwickshire, and are always ready to help. Please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our website design specialists.

Call us on 024 7683 4780 or send us an email at info@image-plus.co.uk.

blog

Image+ launches The Wave


6th December 2019

Adding to our ongoing success was the recent launch of a brand-new and sleek web design for The Wave. 

Over the past few months we have been working with CV Life to launch a captivating new website for The Wave. This was not the first project that we worked on with CV Life. We have previously created a website for their Mana Spa– a spa in the heart of The Wave– and we have just launched CV Life’s main webpage. Hence, we are over the moon with this flourishing partnership that we have developed. 

Aman Surey, CV Life’s own Marketing and Communications Manager (pictured above, in the middle),  said that The Wave’s new website is “attractive and intuitive”. According to Aman, the new design has been instrumental to The Wave’s launch success, with most of their sessions becoming “sold out” within the first week. 

The key to this particular website’s success lies in its simple but effective design structure. Our mobile optimised version allows the user easy access from all types of devices. Moreover, its “streamlined booking system” allows the user to book a session without having to register first. As a result, it is “much more likely for visitors to The Wave to book again”.

The impact of our impressive design has been recognised by various organisational bodies, including Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce. They published a wonderful coverage from The Wave’s website launch. You can it read here.

 

Contact Image Plus for Web Design & Development

If you need web design or development, then speak to our friendly experts. Our web developers are based in Coventry, Warwickshire and are always ready to help. Please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our website design specialists.

Contact us on 024 7683 4780 or send us an email at info@image-plus.co.uk.

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3 Benefits of Having a Responsive Website


2nd October 2019

The days when mobile was a niche means of browsing the world wide web are over. More than half – around fifty-one per cent – of all global internet users now access their online resources using only their smartphone.

That makes huge demands on websites … and on designers. When mobile is the dominant means of accessing the internet, webpages need to display beautifully on even the smallest screens.

And yet, other devices – from tablets to laptops, desktops to large plasma screens – remain significant channels for internet activity. The marketplace is fragmented and is likely to remain that way. The days of the one-size-fits-all website have been gone for some time.

The answer to this new age of variety is responsive design. Put simply, this is an approach to web development which ensures that a site can query a user’s device – and display in a way that is appropriate to that platform’s screen size and orientation.

 

Responsive design enables any site to look beautiful on every device. And that brings with it significant benefits in this age of mobile internet access.

 

1. Responsive Design Improves User Experience 

These days, users are looking to have the same experience of a website, no matter what device they are on. Non-responsive websites distort the user experience because they don’t appear the same across the board.  So, users have to learn the site anew on each visit. Reduce this kind of friction – it’ll increase your conversion rates.

 

2. Responsive Design is Cost Effective and Requires Less Maintenance. 

Having a responsive web design which works on every device will not only save on costs but will also increase the reach of your business to different users. That’s because you won’t need to build a different site for each platform. Responsive design means one website – and that means one bill and one set of maintenance tasks.

 

3. Responsive Design Means Better SEO and Better Rankings.

A responsive website only generates one URL instead of two URLs for two different versions of the same website (or five for five!). This, in turn, facilitates better search engine optimisation – which results in better ranking on Google. Google also awards extra SEO points to websites that use responsive design – so you’ll have a head start regardless.

 

There’s no excuse not to use responsive design in today’s web marketplace – in fact, it should be non-negotiable. The reasons to use responsive web design are legion in today’s multi-platform world. In fact, the case for responsive design is more or less unanswerable, as these key three benefits for having a responsive website show!

 

Contact Image Plus for Web Design & Development

If you need web design or development, then speak to our friendly experts. Our web developers are based in Coventry, Warwickshire and are always ready to help. Please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our website design specialists.

Contact us on 024 7683 4780 or send us an email at info@image-plus.co.uk.

 

blog

Top Social Media Websites For Web Designers


23rd July 2019

Web development can be a lonely job – all that coding and screen-watching can take its toll, even in an office as open-plan and friendly as ours. How do web developers stay social?

More seriously, there’s a professional aspect to social networks for web developers: communities of fellow code surfers help keep us sharp. They’re great places to share ideas and experiences, and to figure out how to crack the latest problem – and to devise a brand new project.

This sort of community is specialised, of course, which means that Twitter and Facebook aren’t the social media websites that web developers first go to. Instead, we tend to default to the following four as our go-to networks.

  1. Behance is a social network that enables developers to create an online portfolio showcase – and discover the latest work from top online portfolios from other creative professionals across industries. This allows us to stay on top of a range of work across the industry – and a range of solutions, too.

 

  1. Dribbble, meanwhile, is a community of designers that focuses on answering the big questions that developers come across every day. Web designers, graphic designers, illustrators, icon artists, typographers, logo designers, and other creatives share small screenshots that show their work, process, and current projects – and everyone chips in where they can be helpful. Think of it as crowdsourcing expertise.

 

  1. Twibfy is an inspirational platform where designers can “discover, share, submit and organize the content they love”. In practice, what this means is that we can build libraries of great ideas and fresh designs, enabling us to call on a vast range of possibilities and solutions for every project. In other words, we can store up inspiration for later.

 

  1. Tavern, finally, is a repository of Product Design questions and answers. Every day a new question is posted, so people can share their experience and offer solutions to fellow developers. This sort of community can be invaluable – it means that no developer has to reinvent every wheel, and it speeds up project progress as a result.

 

Web developers aim to be efficient and creative in everything they do – and social networks are one way that they can both pick the brains of others and gather ideas … and fuel their imaginations.

The best developers are the most switched on and plugged in – and that’s why these are the top social media websites for designers!

 

Contact Image Plus for Web Design & Development

If you need web design or development, then speak to our friendly experts. Our web developers are based in Coventry, Warwickshire and are always ready to help. Please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our website design specialists.

Contact us on 024 7683 4780 or send us an email at info@image-plus.co.uk.

 

blog

Four Reasons Why You Should Implement Infographics in Web Design


10th July 2019

Infographics are great. In the digital age, information and data power so much of our lives – and yet can be difficult to visualise. Tracking the flow of data can be hard, and infographics make it easier – which is why they can be so very useful.

An infographic is simply some kind of illustration that conveys a representation of some form of data, often but not always numeric. For example, an extremely simple infographic would be two circles side-by-side, one bigger to denote the larger of two numbers, and the other smaller to represent the lower integer.

In reality, of course, infographics have become an art in themselves, moving far beyond such simple representations to become memorable illustrations in their own rate. By making information accessible to the human brain – which so likes to visualise even the most abstract concepts – infographics have become crucial to how we communicate online.

In short, infographics can make complex information accessible and relatable. That’s reason enough to make use of them. But there are also several other reasons why you should implement infographics in web design.

 

  1. Brand Awareness and Recognition. Some companies blend an infographic with their corporate logo, which helps to promote brand awareness and recognition. Because infographics are so well tooled to represent data, this can be a particularly useful method for companies who deal in information.

 

  1. Aesthetics. Infographics will attract attention since they are so visually compelling. Make use of this quality: deploy infographics carefully throughout your website, and you’ll be able to ensure that your visitors’ eyes come to rest where you want them to.

 

  1. Viral Capability. Great infographics have the ability to generate a ton of interest. They make complicated questions be more easily understood – and that means that people are likely to share them with their friends. As a result, they can go viral almost overnight. Infographics are useful and that makes them powerful.

 

  1. SEO. If your infographic goes viral, you will quickly see your page gain in rank. All those viral views offer the potential to land on your site, which not only give you a chance to convert that traffic – but will add to your rankings with Google. Again, search engines reward websites that provide good information. Infographics very much count towards your Brownie points.

 

So there you have it: four reasons why you should implement infographics in web design. Hm. Maybe we should have made an infographic about it.

 

Contact Image Plus for Web Design & Development

If you need web design or development, then speak to our friendly experts. Our web developers are based in Coventry, Warwickshire and are always ready to help. Please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our website design specialists.

Contact us on 024 7683 4780 or send us an email at info@image-plus.co.uk.

 

blog

Freelancer Vs Web Agency: Which Should I Choose?


28th May 2019

Not all websites are created equal. Each has their own story, and their own path from concept to launch. Most significantly, who builds a website can have a big impact on its ultimate character – its style and functionality, its technological basis and aesthetic qualities.

For many businesses, outsourcing development is the best way forward: they may lack internal capacity, or appreciate the input of external professionals with an objective eye. But even having made this decision, there is a further step to take before engaging a developer: whether to hire an agency or a freelancer.

There are arguments for each. We’re an agency, so you’d expect us to advocate for organisations like ours – and in many cases, we do indeed think an agency is best. But if your site is likely to be small, and you already have a relationship with a freelancer; if the job doesn’t require many skill-sets to bring to fruition, then a freelancer can make sense. There are some excellent ones at work.

On the other hand, an agency gives you an extra level of expertise to call on. Think of your web developer like a sports team: the freelancer really only has their first team, out on the field hoping not to get injured; an agency also has a number of players on the bench, ready to jump up and provide their particular skills as needed.

That depth and breadth of expertise mean that an agency can provide expert developers, designers, writers, and artists; a freelancer usually majors in only one area. Likewise, if your freelancer falls sick you may have to wait a while; an agency can carry on regardless of staff illness or leave.

Questions of competencies and continuities are thus key. Likewise, consider how your project will be managed. Agencies are able to consult with clients at every stage in a very structured way: from initial conversation to final implementation, often specialist account managers will be in place to keep in touch with the client on a daily basis. If you hire one or more freelancers, it’s most likely going to be you doing the project management.

In other words, agencies have strength in breadth – and will usually be able to deliver complex projects more quickly, and more efficiently, as a result. A freelancer can be very mobile and responsive, and often for a relatively low cost – but that agility can come at the cost of reliability and even expertise.

The old saying that two heads are better than one holds very true when it comes to making this sort of choice: a freelancer is only even an individual; an agency can call on many brains at once. And ultimately that might be the deciding factor in choosing between a freelancer and a web agency.

 

Contact Image Plus for Web Design & Development

If you need web design or development, then speak to our friendly experts. Our web developers are based in Coventry, Warwickshire and are always ready to help. Please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our website design specialists.

Contact us on 024 7683 4780 or send us an email at info@image-plus.co.uk.

 

blog

4 Common Website Fails and How to Avoid Them


9th April 2019

We’re not sure quite when the word “fail” became a noun as well as a verb, but that particular usage is now endemic. A “fail” – as distinct from “to fail” – is any effort that ends in often comic, or sometimes tragic-comic failure. Please also see: “epic fail”.

You actually did that? FAIL.

(There’s an adjectival usage, too (“faily”), but at this stage, we might be getting overly nerdy.)

The truth is that the world of web design is full of fails. “Oh, look at that menu system – what a fail.” “Have you seen his hero image? EPIC FAIL.” And so on. Web designers can be harsh critics.

But, so can users. Increasingly, the average internet user is a sophisticated consumer of web technologies. They have expectations which ten years ago would have seemed improbable – but which now are simply everyday and par for the course.

This means that avoiding the dreaded fail is more important than it has ever been. Identify the pitfalls and avoid them – your users will thank you.

 

FAIL #1: Not Optimised for Mobile. A study from Statista shows that more than half of all the global website traffic comes from mobile devices. If your site doesn’t display well on those smaller screens, you’re alienating untold numbers of potential customers.

 

FAIL #2: Slow Loading Speeds. Site speed is integral to the overall user experience. It’s better not to have a website than having a lethargic one that convinces users to never come back. Prioritise quick loading speeds: your users will thank you.

 

FAIL #3: Error Pages. A 404 page is the most common of the webpage errors, and simply tells a user that the content they wanted cannot be found. In other words, there’s a problem with your site. It isn’t a pleasant thing for the user or the business. Get your links right, and you’ll increase conversions.

 

FAIL #4: Inconsistent Design. The right design displays a synergy throughout the pages of a site. It speaks in one voice, ensuring visual comfort and wider resonance for its users. A bad layout, on the other hand, is a definite deal-breaker for your site and your brand. Don’t scrimp on good design.

 

These are simple rules of thumb that will help you avoid failure. Or, to put it another way, if you follow this advice you won’t be so … faily.

 

Contact Image Plus for Web Design & Development

If you need web design or development, then speak to our friendly experts. Our web developers are based in Coventry, Warwickshire and are always ready to help. Please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our website design specialists.

Contact us on 024 7683 4780 or send us an email at info@image-plus.co.uk.

 

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5 Essential Web Design Trends For 2019


26th March 2019

Like the proverbial rolling stone, web design gathers no moss: it’s always moving. The best designers are the ones who keep tabs on the trends, so that they can employ them to make your website look attractive – without being a slave to fashion.

In other words, you don’t want to look old-fashioned … but nor do you want to look silly. Understanding trends are also about understanding why they’re suddenly popular: beneath all the hype is the function of the thing.

You should take advantage of trends – that is, use the latest technology because it makes sense for your site, not merely to follow the crowd. Of course, to be aware of the newest developments in design, you need to keep your eye on the competition … so what are this year’s big innovations on the web? We thought you’d never ask!

 

  1. 3D Illustrations

 

For a while, ‘flat’ or ‘cut-out’ illustration was all the rage: thing Google or Slack. These clean lines, though, are being phased out (familiarity always breeds contempt). They’re being replaced by vibrant, three-dimensional designs that will blur the lines between reality and the digital world.

 

  1. Helveticization

 

Your logo, on the other hand, should be heading towards minimalism: think sans serif fonts and similar styles. Times New Roman is out, in favour of Arial. Logos used to be very varied beasts, but every new rebrand seems to involve Helvetica logo: think Spotify’s recent overhaul. Make your logo light.

 

  1. Going Horizontal

 

We’re all so used to scrolling up and down on a website that it feels sometimes as if that’s the only way things can be. But horizontal web pages have seen a growth in adoption and they make the browsing experience more unique and memorable. They’re especially suited to graphics-heavy and showcase websites.

 

  1. Chaotic elements

 

Show your personality! Unique design concepts, vintage designs and bold use of colours are all very much in. Don’t be afraid of experimenting within your brand: the more sophisticated web users become, the more they will be struck by variations to the usual structures of a site. Throw in some randomness!

 

  1. Screen-dominating text

 

Hero images are great, but the text is design, too. Perhaps that’s why designers are getting reacquainted with letterforms, and why websites are putting textual content centre-stage. Think about the popularity of letter-press postcards and posters: eye-catching typography is the new banner video. Make an impression!

 

So, there you have it: five trends you should be tracking, and applying intelligently to your own site. Just remember that fashion is like hot sauce: a little goes a long way.

 

Contact Image Plus for Web Design & Development

If you need web design or development, then speak to our friendly experts. Our web developers are based in Coventry, Warwickshire and are always ready to help. Please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our website design specialists.

Contact us on 024 7683 4780 or send us an email at info@image-plus.co.uk.

 

blog

What Makes A Website Unsuccessful?


6th March 2019

“What makes a website unsuccessful” is a fairly downbeat topic for a blog post. We try to keep things positive here and describe how to do things well. But the truth is there are lots of common mistakes that it would do good to avoid – so think of this post as a helpful guide to avoiding pitfalls.

It’s easy to make a mistake. Web design is like spinning lots of plates all at once – there are lots of considerations, and it can be tricky to keep them all in play at any one point. While you’re focussing on graphics you might lose sight of content; while you’re animating that engaging video, you could forget your navigation.

That means that it’s always worth keeping an eye on where websites often go wrong – so you can spot when the project might be going awry. Understanding what to avoid is just another way of aiming for what’s good.

So watch out for the following, and make sure you keep the proper plates spinning.

 

  1. Lacking in Purpose? Websites must have a clear purpose, whether it’s to promote a business or sell their products directly. If you’re unable to define the purpose of your website, it won’t make sense to the end-user, either. Stay focused!

 

  1. Minimal Focus on the User? While we’re on the subject: websites must ultimately satisfy the user. Without visitors, of course, the website would be pointless. This means that every element of your site should consider your users. Don’t neglect them!

 

  1. Small Amounts of Content? Content is king. Websites need to have valuable content for visitors – or else why would they bother to visit? Give the public what they want and they’ll reward you. Quality and consistent content are important for search engine rankings, too.

 

  1. Poor Marketing Strategy? Even if you have a top quality website, you’ll still need a marketing strategy. Without a route to market, you won’t be able to attract the visitors you need. It’s like setting up a store in the desert: who’s going to come? A marketing strategy could include optimisation for search engines, social media, and online advertising. How is anyone going to find your site?

 

  1. Bad Design? This is the biggie: bad design is the downfall of many a website. First impressions are vital, especially for a website. Although not every successful website has a fancy design with fancy features, clean and attractive design is a must-have. Talk to someone who understands how design works; this stuff matters.

 

And that’s it! Those are the top five reasons a website fails. So there you have it – steer away from these five pitfalls, and you’ll be well on your way eliminating from your own project everything that makes an unsuccessful website.

 

Contact Image Plus for Web Design & Development

If you need web design or development, then speak to our friendly experts. Our web developers are based in Coventry, Warwickshire and are always ready to help. Please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our website design specialists.

Contact us on 024 7683 4780 or send us an email at info@image-plus.co.uk.

 

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