Stock photos; finding royalty free images

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We get questions about stock photos from our clients quite often. When it comes to photos for your website – especially content marketing, blogging and social media – you need that extra visual punch. But stock photo services are expensive for start-ups and small businesses. I regularly advise my customers to use free stock photo websites to keep these costs down, whenever possible.

But turning to Google Image Search for photos won’t cut it. The search engine doesn’t allow you to view user agreements and can trip you up if you go this route. Copyright and license infringement is no joke and can bring hefty fines.

You might think, “It’s just a photo!” However, digital products are big business today. Photo supplier, Getty Images has, “an archive of 80 million still images and illustrations” according to Wikipedia and they are known for their feverish pursuit to enforce their licenses. To avoid legal headaches, here are some simple steps to ensure your business is protected.

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How to not get Caught in Google’s Mobile Speed Trap

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Google recently announced that beginning July 2018, the loading speed of your website on mobile will affect how Google will rank it. 

Basically, if your website takes too long to load on a mobile device, Google will ignore it and bring up the website — which loads faster — that matches the searcher’s query. 

The good thing is that you have till July to fix your website. So, you ask…

How fast should my website load? 

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29 Best WordPress Plugins For Your Site

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Here is a list of the best WordPress plugins that we use on many sites that we build and support. An ailing website has a difficult time at best to become useful and productive. We have had good experiences with all of these and recommend them for the purposes outlined here. 

  • If you are not paying for WordPress maintenance on your website, then you sorely need these plugins to keep your site healthy and safe.
  • If you are building or supporting a small number of websites these are a great way to gain a more professional reputation. If you are trying to maintain more than say 10 websites, you should seek tools (online or offline) that require less intensive labor on your part.

WordPress Plugins That We Use and Recommend

One caveat! Please don’t install a bunch of recommended WordPress plugins from anyone’s list without first learning what each one does and how to use each one. You will only frustrate yourself and have a really ugly time wrestling with your website.

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Internet Access: Where do you connect?

A lot of internet users view the internet the same way they view electricity.  Their computer is either connected or not.  But internet access is a little more complicated than that, and needs to be considered when planning on doing any WordPress administration on your computer.

While certainly you can access the internet, check emails, etc. at your local Starbucks, it’s simply not a secure connection.  Anyone has access to it, so you don’t know if there are any malevolent hackers on the network (AKA people trying to steal your login information to crucial websites) lurking on the public wifi.  

The best way to think about internet access is in the following tiers: Read More →

Putting your Web Analytics to good use

I’ve worked for a good part of the last decade providing data and analytics support for companies across Arizona. While there are lots of viable data points we can produce for our clients, or they can gleam themselves via Google Analytics, it’s sometimes difficult to make sense of them, or to understand the tangible benefits of the analytics.  

For example, if I went up to one of your employees and provided him with a spreadsheet that showed bounce rate, monthly visitors, etc. of your current website, it wouldn’t be very useful to them without some frame of reference.  If you are receiving 50 unique visitors per day, is that good or bad?  What’s your competition doing?  How many of those visitors produce actual sales or at least have some follow through?

What to do with your WordPress Analytics…

Below I’ve summarized some great ways for you to make use of the analytics you are receiving from your WordPress site, and put them to work for your benefit.

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Why Did We Choose the WordPress Platform?

I’ve been building websites since 1995. Back then, I was working at Honeywell Aerospace. I was using a text editor and typing the HTML and CSS codes by hand to create each page for static, in-house websites. This was long before SonFisher Web Studios and before I’d ever heard of a content management system (CMS). Fast-forward a few years, and SonFisher Web Studios has grown into a team of designers and content management professionals, both specializing in WordPress for business.

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So Why WordPress?

In 2011 SonFisher Web Studios began looking into content management systems as the industry changed and our clients needs grew. We looked into a different CMS while we were still building static HTML and CSS sites. We knew the industry was moving to a platform based system and we wanted to be among the first to offer this to our customers.

With early platforms there were limitations, crashes, mysterious errors and long hours to get a working website. Finding experts that were willing or able to troubleshoot these issues was difficult, at best.

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