Latest WordPress Security Threats

WordPress has been built with security in mind and is incredibly effective at keeping malicious attacks at bay.

With that said, no website is entirely impervious to attack and there are still dangers you need to be aware of as a webmaster.

In fact, in some ways, WordPress sites have something of a target painted on their backs.

The reason for this is simple:

there are so many of them, each of which consistently has the same security measures and the same structure.

If a hacker can break the defenses of one WordPress website, they can break the defenses of many – and that’s a mighty big incentive to those that would be so inclined.

So how do you defend yourself against these threats?

And what is their exact nature?

Let’s take a deeper look…

A Recent Example – WordPress SEO by Yoast :

Another risk with WordPress is that it allows you to install so many additional plugins.

While this is also what makes WordPress so powerful and easy to use, it unfortunately means that your average site has code contributed by a large number of individuals – much of which will not be thoroughly vetted.

This makes it all easy for a security flaw to be installed when you’re adding some new feature, or some new widget.

This was the case recently with a vulnerability with WordPress SEO from the company ‘Yoast’.

One of the most popular SEO plugins, WordPress SEO was open to a type of attack called a ‘Blind SQL Injection‘.

This method asks the database ‘true or false’ questions and analyzes the response in order to insert SQL queries into the database to modify data.

Ultimately, this could lead to malware and spam making its way onto a website.

Fortunately, Ryan Dewhurst from WPScan found the problem early and passed the details onto Yoast.

Shortly after, an update fixed the problem.

You can hear about the fix and about what Yoast themselves had to say on the matter here at their blog.

Note that this doesn’t reflect badly on Yoast – Yoast provide a valuable service and do great work for the WordPress community; the reality is that vulnerabilities like this can affect any plugin, which is why it’s so important that we stay on our toes.

XSS Vulnerability :

Multiple WordPress Plugins meanwhile have recently been vulnerable to something called ‘Cross-site Scripting’ (XSS) as a result of add_query_arg() and remove_query_arg() functions being misused (a tool that wordpress developers can use to add and edit query strings to URLs).

Many popular plugins were affected by this vulnerability, including Jetpack, WordPress SEO (again), All In One SEO, Ninja Forms, Broken-Link-Checker and more.

Again, most plugins have now fixed this issue in a coordinated effort with recent updates.

Vulnerabilities You May Not Know About :

Most websites using WordPress have a number of security risks that their owners may not be worried about.

Did you know for instance, that any visitor can find the version of WordPress you are using by looking at your page header meta or readme.html file?

Another risk is letting users sign up as users.

If your site isn’t a community site (such as a forum) there’s no reason to leave this feature in-tact.

Remove it!

Of course another big danger with WordPress is the simple worry that someone might log into your control panel by working out your username and password.

It doesn’t help much that WordPress by default lets you know whether it’s the password or the username you got wrong!

How to Defend Yourself Against Security Threats :

Of course the best way to defend yourself against potential security breaches will depend on the nature of the security threat in question.

That said though, there are definitely some things you can do that will give you better overall security.

For instance, a common trend you’ve likely already spotted is that developers deal with their security threats in updates.

One of the easiest ways to keep your site generally more secure then is to make sure all your plugins are up-to-date and that your version of WordPress is similarly up-to-date.

One of the main reasons this updates happen in the first place is to plug security links, so put them off at your own peril!

Another tip is to avoid installing too many unnecessary plugins.

The more plugins you install, the more opportunities you are creating for a security flaw to emerge.

This is definitely a case where ‘less is more’.

You can also increase security by applying some common sense with regards to things like your password and username.

Avoid clichéd passwords and usernames and make sure that you change them from time to time.

Long passwords with multiple cases and symbols also help to reduce the chance of a script happening upon your particular combination.

You can also further increase your security here by moving the URL of your admin panel – rather than keeping it at the usual domain/wp-admin.

Finally, consider hiring a wordpress developer to take a look over your security who knows what they’re doing.

ColorWhistle can help you to make sure you’re not missing any big security flaws and this is one of those things where it’s definitely better to be safe rather than sorry!

WordPress Problems: You didn’t know about it!!!

WordPress is all about making your life easier as a webmaster and it makes everything from choosing a design to adding new features much faster and more straightforward than it otherwise would be and be cautious in wordpress problems .

But just because WordPress is designed to make life easier, that doesn’t always mean it’s completely without it’s issues and it certainly doesn’t mean nothing can ever go wrong.

If you’re going to be using WordPress to run your site for the next several years, then in all likelihood you will run into at least one or two snags along the way.

Fortunately, WordPress also has the advantage of a huge community of users and wordpress developers.

That is to say, that if you’ve encountered some kind of WordPress problem, then there’s a pretty good chance that other users will have as well and that you’ll be able to find instructions online for how to solve the problem.

Here then, we will look at some of the most common problems that WordPress users encounter and at the things you can do to solve them quickly and without incident.

WordPress problems In loading?

WordPress problems that commonly affects users is that their site fails to load all together.

This can of course be caused by a number of issues as it’s a pretty broad problem – however a common cause that’s actually very easy to fix is that you have plugins on your site that are not agreeing.

Not all plugins are compatible with one another and if one is making a change to your site that the other doesn’t like, this can result in your site failing to load at all.

As you might imagine, the solution to this issue is as straightforward as the cause – it just requires you to uninstall one or more plugins.

The easiest way to do this is by uninstalling all your plugins and then reinstalling them one at a time until you manage to reproduce the error and find the culprit.

Why You Can’t Get Into the Admin Panel?

Only problem is, sometimes you won’t be able to reach your admin panel in order to delete plugins.

Oh dear! In this case though, a handy solution is to use FTP or the file manager that your hosting service provides and to find a folder called ‘wp-content’.

In here is a folder called ‘plugins’. Rename that and you can thus see your site again, plugin free!

In need of any custom wordpress plugin for your website, feel free to contact us.

Your Theme is Incompatible

Sometimes you can also face the dreaded white screen upon installing a new theme.

When this happens, there’s thankfully once again a simple solution which is to rename the folder with the name of your theme, this time found under wp-content/’themes’.

When installing new themes, always check that they’re compatible with your version of WordPress before going ahead.

Failed Upgrade

There’s one more possible cause for the ‘white screen of death’ and that’s that your WordPress update has failed mid-way through.

When this happens, the solution is to install it manually. You can find how to do that by following these instructions.

You’ve Lost Your Password

If you lose your WordPress password, you can always request that a replacement be sent to your e-mail.

However, in some unfortunate cases you’ll find that your e-mail never arrives, leaving you in a bit of a pickle.

Thankfully, there’s a relatively easy solution.

That solution is to log in to your cPanel (assuming you’re using a hosting service that provides cPanel, then click on phpMyAdmin under Databases.

From here, select your WordPress database, go to wp_users, click on browse and then find your Username.

Click ‘edit’ and you’ll be able to add a new password by filing out the ‘user-pass’ form (case sensitive). You’re welcome!

Precautions

These steps can help you through some of the more common WordPress problems but you know what they say: prevention is better than cure.

This is very true when running a website as even very brief downtime can be a serious problem when you’re trying to progress online.

Not only does this create a bad impression on your visitors, it also negatively affects your Google ranking as Google sees it as a sign that your site isn’t reliable – it doesn’t want to send its users to sites that will be down or not working and risk that way damaging its own reputation!

Some useful precautions to follow then include:

  • Always read reviews of plugins before installing them
  • Try to avoid installing too many plugins whenever possible
  • Keep your version of WordPress up-to-date
  • Keep all your plugins up-to-date
  • Let professionals handle the larger and more complex updates
  • Look for plugins that can help, such as those that keep your database clean
  • Back up your files regularly – both manually and by using plugins and tools

Take these precautions, treat WordPress with a little caution and respect and you should find that problems are rare!

Why Isn’t Your Blog a Success Yet?

Why Isn’t Your Blog a Success Yet? Common Issues That Could be Holding You Back

When you’ve been running a website or blog for months and it’s still getting a paltry two hits a day, it can be disheartening to say the least. Even if you’re getting a hundred hits, if that isn’t resulting in anyone clicking your ads, buying your products or signing up to your mailing list, then you may feel as though all your hard work has been in vain.

There comes a point where you may feel as though you’re banging your head against the wall and you’re probably at your wit’s end trying to work out what you’re doing wrong.

Well, here then are some things that may be responsible for the problem. Read on and you might just be able to break that plateau…

Your Content is Generic and Not ‘Interesting’

Think about what you read when you visit the web. Do you click on titles that you’ve seen a hundred times before on the web? No – you click on articles that do something new, that have an ’emotional’ resonance or that discuss a topic in-depth. It takes a certain type of content for people to think ‘man, I have to read that!’ and if that isn’t what you’re publishing, then you shouldn’t expect anyone to care.

Stop writing the same article you’ve seen a thousand times before, writing something interesting and unique that matters.

You’re Not Putting in Enough Work

If you’re posting once a week or less then you can forget making it big. Especially at the beginning, you should be putting out as much content as you possibly can. The more you put out, the more there will be for people to find and for Google to index.

The problem is that many people turn to making money online because they think it’s easier than doing it in any other way. It’s not: making money online requires the exact same work and dedication as any other job and what you put in, you get out.

If you’re running a blog and you want that to be your full time living, then you need to treat it like a full time living by doing a full-time living’s worth of work. That means you should be working on it 8 hours a day. If you aren’t, then don’t expect to quit the day-job.

You’re Not Networking

A lot of people gravitate to making money online or running a website because they’re shy. Then they quietly beaver away, creating content and posting it to no-one.

Unfortunately though, being social, outgoing and good with people is crucial in any business and the same goes for working online. When you work online, you need to be able to make connections with people and find new businesses to work with. Only then can you get amazing opportunities – with people who will publish your content for instance, or with people who might suggest an ad swap. Go to networking events, reach out to the bigger market leaders in your niche and even pick up the phone occasionally. Make. Noise.

You Don’t Really Understand SEO

Don’t read a few blog posts and think you know everything you need to know about SEO. SEO is a lot more complicated than it seems at first and if you do it wrong, then you’ll actually hurt your progress rather than helping it. Look for companies that offer SEO for small business and then let them run the process for you – stop keyword stuffing and submitting to low-value directory sites.

Your Web Design Needs Work

The same goes for web design. If you did it yourself, then there’s a good chance it’s not as good as you think it is… Ask your friends or customers and see what they honestly think.

A good sign that your web design needs work is that your bounce rates are high. If people are landing on your site, spending two seconds there and then leaving, you probably need to make some changes. Find the best responsive web design company you can and then ask them to do something about it.

Or look at it this way: your site needs to be at least as good as the very best sites in your niche or industry. If it’s not… then you can’t expect to succeed like them.

You’re Not ‘Being Everywhere’

‘Be everywhere’ is a good mantra for any business that wants to be seen online to follow. This means having an account with every big (and small) social media site, it means having a YouTube channel and it means having your logo on your business cards and fliers.

You need a strong brand and you need to build up that brand recognition by showing it to people at every opportunity. If you can do this, then you’ll be able to slowly build trust and become a leader in your industry.

10 Creative Ways To Get More Traffic To Website

Want to boost traffic to your website?

Of course you do!

People don’t set up websites because they want to be left alone

With that in mind, you’ve probably tried (or are trying) all of the standard methods of increasing the amount of visitors you get on a regular basis.

You’ve probably done your SEO, you’re probably managing a few social media accounts and no doubt you’re regularly creating new content…

But what about the less obvious methods?

Get a bit more creative and there are a ton of different things you can do to drive up your visitor count.

Read on and we’ll go over some of the more creative strategies you may have missed.

1. Getting in the Local Paper to get Traffic to Website

Magazines and newspapers tend to have rather huge circulations that any website would be envious – often in the hundreds of thousands.

The problem is that very few ‘big’ publications will likely want to publish a story about you unless you happen to be groundbreaking.

The solution then is to try your local paper.

When you approach them, you can do so with the ‘local’ angle and tell them all about how this local man/woman made it big.

This is a great way to get lots of eyes on your brand and increase website traffic!

2. Handing Out Fliers

Another analog strategy to increase traffic to your website your website is  to just stand outside and hand out fliers.

It’s not very glamorous perhaps but it works well because it lets you actually have a conversation with the people you’re giving the flier to.

That in turn means that you can tell them why they should go to your site.

3. Decals

Yet another ‘real world’ strategy is to try adding decals to your car.

If your website provides a service in particular, then this is an especially good strategy.

Now, when people walk past your house they’ll see that they can get plumbing from www.exampleplumbingwebsite.com and that’s completely free!

4. Team Up With a YouTuber

If you have a YouTube channel and you occasionally partake in some video marketing, then you could try teaming up with another YouTuber.

This works like an ad swap – you promote them and their site and they do the same for you.

Only it’s much more effective than an ad swap and far less commonly utilized!

Go figure…

Social Media Marketing

5. Promotional Items

Another smart strategy to drive traffic to website is to try printing promotional gifts.

These tend to be things like mugs, hats and t-shirts with your company’s logo on it.

The great thing about this though is that when someone wears or uses the items they will be giving you free promotion.

And imagine if they end up on TV at a football game for instance?

You can wear them yourself too and become a walking advert for your site.

As an added bonus, promotional items also have the big benefit of making people feel like a part of your business and you can use them as incentives.

Definitely worth considering as it will increase traffic to your website.

6. Influencer Marketing

You’ve heard of social media marketing and content marketing but the new ‘buzzword’ in town is ‘influencer marketing’.

So what on Earth does this mean and how to generate traffic to your website with it?

Essentially it means targeting specific members of your audience – the people who have the most reach and the most influence.

The hope is that these people will promote your message to their followers and you’ll skip the part where you have to build up your own following!

Traffic to Website

7. Free E-Books

A free e-book can be an incentive for someone to sign up to a mailing list.

What’s more though, you can increase traffic to your website by talking about how great you are and including a link in it.

Then give the book away free from Amazon or encourage people to share it and you have free exposure!

8. Events

Another way you can potentially increase traffic to your website is to throw an event.

And the best kind of all is a launch event.

If you’re just setting up a business, then a launch even is not only fun – it’s good business!

9. Competitions

Running a competition is another sorely under-utilized method to increase website traffic.

By running competition, you give people good reason to visit your site and to mention you to their friends!

10. Create an Awesome Infographic

People love infographics these days and they’re highly sharable.

If you create one that perfectly sums up an original topic and then post it to your blog inviting people to do the same, then it’s a great way to get exposure – as long as you included your site name in the image!

Traffic to Website

This is actually just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to increasing traffic to your website

There are many more methods you can use to boost traffic to your website, so get creative and keep trying new things!

Top Website Monetization Methods You May Have Missed

Having your own website is a highly rewarding experience and is something that everyone can get pleasure out of. But while building a site is rewarding in and of itself, that’s not why the vast majority of people who spend money on their web design are interested in setting up an online presence.

No, chances are that if you’re reading this, you’re interested in making money. There’s a lot of money to be made online and that’s why more and more businesses are gravitating to the web and even making it central to their business model.

And you don’t necessarily need a business already to make money online either. If you’re interested in making money from a website then there are tons of different methods you can choose from, each of which will have different advantages depending on your precise goals and circumstances. Placing adverts on your site is not the only option.

Here we will look at some of the lesser known options available for monetizing a website – techniques you can use to make money simply from getting traffic to your website.

Website Flipping

Just as you can flip properties, it’s also possible to flip websites. Simply find a website that has had a lot of work put into it but isn’t quite perfect, improve it and then sell it to the highest bidder. Your job here is to pick out those ‘diamonds in the rough’ and to polish them up to become flawless gems.

And you don’t have to buy websites to do this either. If you have a web design team behind you and a knack for writing, you can do the same thing with your own website. Build a website, generate traffic, fill it with content… then sell it. This is like starting a business with an exit strategy and it’s a great way to quickly get a big pay-day from a website.

Selling Your Own Products

If you run a business that sells products through a physical store, then having a website with a shopping cart is a great way to expand your market and increase your turnover and profits.

But you don’t need to run a shop to benefit from selling products through a website. Instead, how about selling a digital product like an eBook? You can even create eBooks simply by compiling content you’ve already written for your website from a blog (read more about it here).

Alternatively, why not sell an app if you have some basic skill in this area? Or if you’re feeling ambitious, you could buy some items in wholesale and then sell them from your website. This doesn’t have to be a big investment – you can buy just a handful of t-shirts to begin with for instance and then just reinvest the money to increase your stock once you find you’re successful.

You can even sell crafts that you’ve made yourself! Like painting? Why not sell it from your website?

Sell a Service

Another way you can turn a small website into a small business website is by selling a service. This might mean hair dressing, proof reading or writing training programs if you’re interested in fitness. This doesn’t have to take up lots of your time – it can just be a way to turn a hobby into a way to make a little extra cash.

Premium Content and Membership

If you’re got something worthwhile to share then you can always put some of your best content behind a pay wall. This way, you lure people in with your free blog posts then get them to pay a subscription or one off fee to access your top posts.

The premium content can also come in other forms. You could use your site to promote a YouTube channel with premium content for instance, or you could sell an ‘eCourse’.

Membership can also work if you have an active community. Some forums for instance charge people to access top-tier discussion and this way you can make money from other people’s expertise. Alternatively, if your site provides useful tools (or just one useful tool) you can treat it like a web-app and get your customers to sign up for a paid ‘account’.

The List Goes On…!

Selling affiliate products means selling things that you get commission for. If you’re unsure of how to create your own premium content, service or product, then this makes a lot of sense as you can now make money without needing to build anything yourself. Amazon has an affiliate program which is a great ‘entry level’ way of getting into this.

Then of course there are the obvious ways to make money from websites – by placing AdSense on there for instance, or by showing sponsored ads from potential business partners. Oh and there’s no reason you can’t combine all these methods either. There are tons of opportunities to make money once you have a website in fact, so even if you don’t have a plan yet, focus on building your traffic with great, consistent content. Eventually, it will all pay off!

A Guide to Mobile Commerce

A Guide to Mobile Commerce – How to Get BIG Sales Through a Mobile Site

eCommerce sites have the potential to make a fortune.

If you need proof, then look no further than Amazon.

Did you know that Amazon spends up to $1 million a day on AdSense?

That should give you some idea as to how much they must be making.

The fact remains that physical products still sell better online than ‘digital’ products.

People like buying things that they can hold and if you can provide them with an easy way to do this online, then you can potentially earn a lot of money as a result.

All you have to do is make a compelling online store and then drive them there.

And now, with anywhere from 30% to 50% of search being mobile (depending on your source) it’s now possible to sell to people wherever they are as long as they have an internet-enabled mobile device.

And if you aren’t catering to this audience then you’re potentially missing out on a huge market – possibly even the lion’s share of what’s out there.

It’s time to stop thinking purely in terms of ‘eCommerce’ then and to begin thinking about ‘mCommerce’.

How do you build a website that will facilitate the purchase of products through a mobile design and that will be usable enough and that will build enough confidence for someone to make a purchase while they’re on the train or waiting in a queue?

Mobile Commerce Website Basics

When building a mobile commerce website with a view to making sales, you need to think first about how it’s going to work on mobile generally.

What this means, is that you need to ensure that your site works on mobile devices, that it looks good on screens of any size and that it loads quickly etc.

This is particularly important in light of Google’s recent algorithm changes that focus on penalizing sites that are not mobile-friendly.

Simply put, if your site looks ugly or performs poorly on mobiles, then Google is now going to make sure that it’s harder to find when someone searches for it on a mobile device.

This will hurt your traffic generally but it will definitely hit your mobile sales hard.

Make sure that you use the best responsive web design to ensure that your site is dynamically changing to fit the site it’s on.

Also important for mobile web design is to ensure that you are using large buttons that will be easy to click with a thumb and that everything loads quickly.

Test your site against Google’s Mobile-Friendliness tool to see if it passes.

eCommerce Shopping Carts

When creating any eCommerce site, you will likely need to use a shopping cart platform.

This will be a plugin or an externally hosted portal that you can arrange and sell your products through and popular examples include Shopify, Magento, Volusion and WooCommerce.

You can read more about the benefits of each here.

The trick then is to ensure that the shopping cart you pick supports mobile well, which will handle the responsiveness of the actually store on your site for you.

You can do your own research but note that Shopify and Volusion are particularly good choices when it comes to mobile eCommerce.

Magento is also pretty good and even has a mobile app.

BigCommerce is another one worth checking out.

An Introduction to Video Marketing – How to Create High Quality Videos for YouTube and Beyond

Video marketing is one of the most powerful methods of marketing on the web and has a variety of distinct advantages over other tools.

You know what they say: a picture can tell a thousand words. So imagine what a video can do? If you aren’t already using video marketing as part of your strategy then you definitely should be and through the course of this article we’ll look at all the basics you need to get started.

What is Video Marketing and Why Does it Matter?

Video marketing of course means creating videos that will represent and promote your business, products, services and brand. Often these videos will end up on YouTube but they can just as often be embedded onto a homepage, shared through social media or used on another video uploading site such as Vine or Vimeo.

At any rate, these videos can do wonders for your business. That’s because we’re naturally inclined to sit up and take notice of moving images and because videos have the ability to be emotive and persuasive in ways that text and images can’t come close to. The combination of images, music and narration all edited in a dynamic and eye-grabbing way is simply more effective than any other medium.

And consider this:

  • According to research, one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words (from Forrester Research)
  • 100 million internet users watch online videos daily
  • 90% of online shoppers say their buying decisions have been heavily influenced by video
  • YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world – right after Google!

So bearing all this in mind, it makes a lot of sense to start investing time and money into this form of marketing. How do you go about doing that?

What You Will Need?

While a bad workman may blame his tools, it’s true that the right tools can make an awfully big difference when it comes to video marketing. With the right camera and the right editing software you can make your videos considerably more professional and this will have a big impact on the overall outcome.

One of the big benefits of videos bear in mind is how professional they make your business seem: if your videos are glossy and well edited then your audience will presume you have a larger budget and are a more professional company.

With that in mind then, you should invest in a high def camera that’s at least 1080p. You should also look into getting an additional microphone that you can use for recording high quality sound. If you’re strapped for cash, options include renting a camera, or using a smartphone camera such as the Galaxy Note 4 which is actually capable of 4K video recording. Just be careful as they can sometimes struggle with things like focusing and image stabilization.

Also important is the editing software which will allow you to make professional looking cuts between scenes as well as giving you the ability to add texts, effects and more. The best video editing software by far is Adobe Premier which you can get as part of the ‘creative cloud’ package. This also includes Adobe After Effects which is the best tool for adding special effects, filters and more. This is quite an expensive option but it is definitely worth it if you are going to be creating a lot of videos.

Some Tips

If you’re going to try your hand at video marketing, then you need to make sure it looks and sounds professional. Sometimes this means being a little less ambitious and making a simple video well, instead of a complex video badly. For instance, if you don’t have a professional actor/model to star in your video then you’re often better to avoid having people in it at all. In this case, you might instead opt for a slideshow with a voiceover.

If you do record footage yourself, then think about the lighting and the backdrop which will have a big impact. You can stretch a bedsheet across your wall as a way to make a cheap ‘infinite white’ backing.

Another tip is make sure that you film lots but be ruthless in your editing. Slow, lingering shots have a habit of coming across somewhat unprofessional so try and make each edit fast. Record lots though so that you can pick from the very best footage only.

Finally, if you’re going to be speaking in your video then make sure to write a script. This will make you come across a lot more professional and will reduce your ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ considerably.

Bear in mind these tips and keep practicing until you get the knack for it. In no time at all, you’ll be racking up thousands of views!

How and Why You Should Create a Mobile App to Promote Your Business and Website

So you’ve created a website to promote your business – good move! This is one of the best ways to increase engagement with your audience and to create countless more marketing opportunities. These days it’s a no brainer in fact and any business that doesn’t have a website is seriously missing out. That’s why nearly every business has a website these days in fact.

But while nearly every business has a website, relatively few have a mobile app. This is shocking when you consider just how many people have smartphones these days and how many apps are downloaded a day. There are over 1.2 billion apps in the Apple app store and 46 million of those get downloaded every day. At this point we haven’t even mentioned Android or Windows Phone…

In other words, apps are where websites were not that long ago and they’re continuing to grow. In some areas apps have even replaced websites for certain jobs. So that leaves one question: why doesn’t your business have an app yet?

How Businesses Can Use Apps?

So what exactly would your business do with an app?

Actually there are plenty of things.

For starters, an app can be used simply in the same way that you might normally use a website. That means turning an app into a ‘shop window’ for your business or into a portfolio to show your work. As with a website, you can use apps to directly sell to your customers and that’s true whether you have an ecommerce store, or whether you want users to be able to make bookings for your restaurant or to order your fast food.

Businesses can use apps in other ways too. For instance, if you provide an service or product already, then you can add further value with an app. The app could provide instructions on how to use your product for instance or it could be a ‘freebie’ that provides information or entertainment of its own to supplement the main product.

Even if your app doesn’t get many downloads, simply having it in the store can actually mean your company name gets seen by more users and this will increase your brand recognition. In other words then, apps do everything that websites do and more and can benefit your company in a myriad of ways.

How to Build an App

With all that in mind then, how do you go about building an app?

This is where things get a little more complicated but the good news is that there are easy options that will suit even those with no budget and no experience.

The most straightforward way to create an app is to hard code it in house. In other words, this means building the app yourself from scratch or getting someone on your team to do it. If you’re making an Android app, this will mean coding in Java and using the Android SDK (software development kit). For iOS apps meanwhile it means using objective C. Both are complicated for beginners and if it’s your first time coding, then it will be much easier to choose another route.

One other route is to choose a slightly easier tool for coding apps. The best example here is to use Basic4iOS or Basic4Android. These are ‘integrated development environments’ that enable you to program in the BASIC (Beginners’ All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) language when building apps. This gives you full control but is considerably easier than using the other two methods. That said, it still takes some time and still benefits from coding experience certainly.

The last option when it comes to building apps yourself is to use an ‘app builder’ such as Appatap. These builders let you build apps by dragging and dropping elements and uploading images and text. In that regard it’s similar to creating a WordPress site with a pre-set theme. This method is very easy but you lose a lot of functionality – these apps tend to function as basic websites rather than being able to use the full features of the phones they’re installed on.

Another option meanwhile is to outsource the process to a third party. You can find mobile app developers on sites like Elance and oDesk, where you’ll normally pay by the hour. This method can work well but it can also backfire as you lose a lot of control over the final product and the freelancers can be varied in terms of quality.

Some Last Tips

Whichever option you choose, make sure that you work to get the look of your app down. Smooth animations and crisp images make all the difference and this is crucial when you’re making an app that will represent your business. That said, don’t worry about adding tons of extra features until you’ve released a basic MVP (minimally viable product) to test the market for your app. The great thing about apps is that you can keep updating them after they launch, so you shouldn’t sink lots of time and money into the project until you’ve ‘verified’ that it’s going to provide good ROI.

The Basics of a Successful PPC Campaign

The Basics of a Successful PPC Campaign – What You Need to Know to Start Generating Traffic Through AdWords

When it comes to paid advertising on the web, by far the most popular and widely discussed is PPC Campaign.

This stands for ‘Pay Per Click‘ and is essentially any advertising platform where you will pay the publisher only when your advert actually gets clicked by a user.

PPC is a fantastic tool but in order to get the most from it – like anything – you need to know how to use it.

Read on and we’ll look at some tips that can help you to get more out of your PPC and go over the basics so you can start generating traffic using this powerful method.

Why PPC is So Good :

First of all, why is PPC such a big deal?

The simple answer is that it’s as foolproof as any advertising platform can be.

Because you only pay when someone clicks on your ads, that means you won’t be paying for advertising campaigns that aren’t getting noticed or that aren’t engaging your audience.

If you use PPC to direct traffic to a landing page that is effective at converting, then this will result in almost definite ROI for your efforts. 

What is Google AdWords?

When it comes to PPC platforms, the biggest and best known is Google AdWords.

This platform lets advertisers target specific SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) which means that adverts will show up when someone searches for something and will appear right above the natural ‘organic’ results.

This means that you can target a phrase like ‘buy hats in Minneapolis’ and people who search for that term will see your ads listed at the top under a heading denoting that it is an advert.

AdWords has an additional benefit over even other types of PPC advertising in that it allows you to market to a ‘targeted’ audience.

This means that the people who see your ad will not only be interested in whatever you’re selling but also actively looking for that thing at that time.

Google AdSense is a slightly different product still from Google which lets your ads appears on websites.

This way you choose a ‘niche’ (subject matter) and your ads will appear on websites and web pages that deal in that topic.

Digital marketing and branding

Another alternative platform is Facebook which also offers PPC Campaign ads and which lets you target the audience based off of the information they provide to the social network (age, marital status, gender, interests, location etc.).

 How to Write a Great Ad :

Now you know the basics, how do you go about creating one of these ads?

The key thing is to recognise that your objective with PPC Campaign advertising is different from using display ads (conventional ads that you pay for on a monthly basis or which you pay for ‘per view’).

The reason is that you don’t want people to click unless they’re likely to sign up to a mailing list, buy a product or otherwise ‘convert’.

This means that it makes sense to be as upfront as you possibly can be about what you’re advertising.

If you are selling an e-book for $20 then mention the price in the headline. Say: ‘Amazing eBook on Dating for Just $20!’.

This way, you prevent anyone who isn’t potentially interested in spending that much money from clicking on the ad and thus you pay for fewer clicks that don’t convert into buyers.

The more explicit you are, the more it benefits your ROI.

ppc

One of the other great things about PPC is that when people don’t click your ad, that doesn’t mean they don’t see your brand. By making ads that people are unlikely to click on, you can increase your brand awareness while paying very little!

Negative Keywords :

For Google AdWords there is another tool you can use to better target who sees and clicks on your ads.

That’s by using ‘negative’ keywords, which are keywords you want to prevent from showing your ads.

So say your key phrase was ‘dating eBook’, and then your negative keyword might be ‘free’.

This way, people won’t find your book by searching ‘free dating eBook’ and thus you wouldn’t get clicks from people who weren’t interested in at least potentially paying for the book.

Google Remarketing :

Another useful tool you can access through Google AdWords and AdSense is ‘remarketing’.

This means that you show ads to users who have already looked at your site once but not converted.

So say you sell DVDs via an eCommerce site, you could then use cookies (files stored on the user’s computer through the browser) to show them items that they looked at but didn’t buy later on.

This way you can ‘tempt them back’ knowing that they’re at least potentially interested in what you’re advertising.

This strategy isn’t always perfect though as sometimes you’ll be advertising to people who have already bought what they were looking at – only from another site.

So there you have it: that’s a basic introduction to the world of PPC advertising.

There’s much more to it but with these basic lessons you’re ready to get stuck in and start experimenting. Good luck!