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Category: Web Dev

Relating to web design, web programming, web servers, and other web topics

Things to Do When Unhappy with Your WordPress Website

If you’re not happy with your WordPress website, you’re probably not the only person, but customers are also disappointed. Probably you feel that you jumped into an online business without clearly understanding what it entails and now regret the outcome.

Information Sign on Shelf

Whether you took the DIY route to create a website or involved someone, you have to take drastic measures to protect your brand when you’re unhappy with the website. Things that might make you dissatisfied with a website are

  • Few inquiries, leads, or sales
  • A site not showing up on search engine results
  • A website that is not mobile-friendly
  • A platform that’s not visually appealing
  • Lack of enough site maintenance
  • High maintenance fees

As mentioned earlier, you might not be the only person unhappy with the WordPress website, and it might be affecting your business. To address this, here are things to do

Look for A Reliable Website Designer

Website issues can be avoided by hiring an expert right from the start. A web designer, who understands the profession well, knows how to work with different CMS, including WordPress, and will work hard to meet your expectations. 

They won’t start the job until they understand your needs, products, business operations, and target audience. The experts will also work with you to provide maintenance and insights that help you achieve more business growth. They can also help you effectively market the website bringing in more business.

Analyze What Went Wrong in The Initial Design

Even before starting a new design, take account of everything you don’t like in the current web design or the issues you’re facing. What mistakes did you make that you need to rectify or avoid as you build a new or modify the website?

Probably, you didn’t take time to qualify different experts, or you cut down on the cost compromising quality. Did you effectively communicate your expectations to the designer? 

Another issue is letting the web designer handle all the work independently and expecting an excellent final product. You have to be actively involved in the entire process to make sure it serves your business and clients perfectly. 

Create an Effective Marketing Plan

If your primary concern is a lowly converting website, reduced sales, and not showing up on search engine results, the SEO or marketing strategy is probably inadequate. You still have to go through the website with an expert to decide whether you should go on with the current design or make adjustments before starting an intensive marketing plan.

Make sure to work with an expert website marketer and indicate the target audience. You’ll have to carry out different online marketing approaches from content creation, email marketing, social media engagement, offers, and discounts.

You’ll also have to analyze the site to check whether it has a low conversion rate which means that you’re not offering what your audience is looking for or your marketing efforts are not well-targeted. Understand your market needs, effectively engage your audience, build credibility and have a good reputation.

Look at Your Competitors Sites

When designing the site, it goes beyond choosing a theme that appeals to you. Check what works best for your industry and type of business. Which features, designs, and even designers are your competitors using? 

Can you draw inspiration from their platforms, notice the weak points, and aim to create a better version? For customer-focused competitors, the designs they choose are inspired by their clients’ needs and preferences. Aim to do the same.

Increase Security Features

Potential clients always check the security features on your site even before browsing through the different pages and categories. Start with getting an SSL certificate, then make all the transactions secure. Clients don’t want to risk their data, including bank details. They’ll check whether you have a robust security system.

Talk to a digital expert to understand the steps to take. Also, realize cyberattacks that expose customers’ data can cost you a lot in lawsuits. Which security features are other players in the industry using?

Create Convenience

One thing that quickly drives traffic away from your site is complicated processes. Can clients find what they’re looking for quickly? Is the site user-friendly? Even when the ordering process is simplified, many customers still want engagement throughout the process. They want to ask you questions, get clarifications, and help to make informed choices. 

To achieve this, be available and attentive. Aim to reply to each customer’s message and pick phone calls. Have a dedicated customer care team that handles all the clients’ communication. This will enable you to grow a large following of happy clients.

Understand Your Customers Needs

What issues or problems would your clients want to solve with the information or products on your site? Are you meeting their expectations? To achieve this, spend time studying the target market. Little details such as the language tone, style, and packaging can be a great deal. 

To create a perfect website, involve your clients in the process. Which features would they like to see included in the design? What challenges are they facing? Is the information on the site helpful and easy to understand? Would they recommend your site to friends and family members?

Meet Your Clients Expectations

Clients are looking for convenience when choosing online services but still want quality, reliable services from trustworthy vendors. Do you deliver what you promise? For instance, when you promise to make same-day deliveries, can your clients rely on your word? Other than the timely deliveries, customers will check the condition of the delivered products.

If you’re finding it hard to keep repeat clients, you probably need to evaluate the quality of products and services offered. Anything from low-quality products, delayed or unprofessional shipment service, high prices, and lack of customer care services can drive customers away. This leads to a poorly converting website. 

As you will realize, many factors lead to problems with your WordPress website. When its conversion rate is low, you won’t grow the business unless you resolve the underlying issues.

An excellent marketing plan won’t help either without solving the i. Most often, it’s not easy to detect the problems unless you engage more with your clients to understand their challenges.

Bespoke Software Development Tips

If you are planning to outsource your software development, then you need to make sure that you do choose the company carefully. Custom software development requires a high level of skill and expertise. If you don’t invest in the right service, you won’t get the quality you need.

Software lies at the core of business efficiency. It may be a lot cheaper to go for a software solution that is bought off of the shelf. However nothing meets the efficiency and effectiveness that can be reaped through implementing a bespoke software solution. This type of software will be completely tailor-made in order to suit your business; the size of your company, the activities you need to carry out, the data you need to store and your goals for expansion in the future. Read on to discover the top seven tips for having your own bespoke software developed.

Feasibility check

A lot of people overlook this point; however a feasibility check is essential. What is the purpose of developing your software? How is it going to provide you with improved efficiency? How will ROI be affected?

Technology infrastructure plan

Draw up a plan compromising of all the technologies and servers utilised in your business at present. This is essential because the software you develop needs to be compatible with the technology you use if you are to benefit from a cost efficient and time effective software development process.

Outsourcing

Outsourcing can ensure your software runs effectively for a lifetime. You can of course take advantage of the fantastic professionals out there who are trained and qualified in software development. But what a lot of people do not realise is that not only will you have the peace of mind that your software development is in the hands of the best, but you will also know you are covered in the future should any glitches occur. This is because these businesses provide substantial care and after support.

A long testing period is essential

Whether you are getting a company to develop your software or you are doing it yourself testing is imperative. This does not merely relate to a quick hour of playing around on the software. You need a testing period of approximately a month in order to ensure everything runs properly.

Find a robust software programming language

Believe it or not, but all software does not speak the same language! From Visual Basic to Java to C++, the choices are vast. Don’t try and go for something unusual – this will make bespoke software development and integration of other systems extremely difficult. Make sure you opt for a robust option. Aside from the three just mentioned other good options include; VB.NET and C#.

Web-based software application

Web-based software solutions are on the rise, with so many options, from SD-WAN to productivity apps. These are seen as highly beneficial as the only thing that is required is an internet connection for it to run. This type of software is seen as the future.

Lots of features are not always a good thing

It can be very easy to get distracted and build a software solution with a monumental number of different features. However, if these are not necessary, then don’t include them. The whole point of bespoke software is so that you can manage segments of your business efficiently. Pointless features simply complicate it.

If you follow the seven tips given in this article then you should have no issue when it comes to developing the perfect bespoke software solution for your business.

Using IFTTT to connect Reddit to Discord

I spent far too long this morning trying to get posts from a particular subreddit to show up in a particular channel on a Discord server I belong to. There was a lot of bad and wrong information out there on how to do this, and finding the correct way took me down many incorrect pathways.

The goal here is to set up the workflow like this:

Reddit post in /r/yoursubreddit > IFTTT applet > Discord webhook > posted to your Discord channel

Essentially, the Discord webhook is a very simple Discord bot that is fed content by IFTTT when someone posts to the subreddit of interest. The webhook takes that content and feeds it to the channel you desire.

For the record, this is the way to do it.

Prerequisites

  • A sufficient user role to edit the channel settings on Discord of the channel you want to post your Reddit content to.
  • Webhooks capability enabled for your Discord user role *and* for the channel you want to use. See here for more info on how to enable Webhooks.
  • An If This Then That (IFTTT) account.
  • Optional: an image/icon for the webhook. This will show up for the account that will be posting the Reddit post to your Discord channel. I used this one.

The Setup

Let me preface this by saying that these instructions were created using the desktop version of Discord and a desktop web browser. It may be a little more tricky on mobile, and what you see may be a little different, but perhaps not.

Create a webhook for your Discord Channel.

1. Go to the Discord channel you want to use and click the gear icon to Edit Channel:

 

 

 

2. Click Webhooks in the left-side menu, then click the blue Create Webhook button on the right.

3. Give your webhook bot a name such as “Reddit post bot” and select the channel you are having it post to.

4. This is where you can optionally upload an icon for this bot. This will show up as the user icon when this bot posts to Discord.

5. Copy the Webhook URL, or keep it handy, so that you can paste it elsewhere in a few steps.

6. Click Save.

Create an IFTTT recipe

8. Open your IFTTT account, go to My Applets, then click New Applet.

9. Click the blue “+this” to add the first action.

10. Use “Search services” to search for Reddit, and choose the “Any new post in subreddit” trigger

11. For the “Subreddit” field, enter the subreddit you want to use without the “/r/” in front of it. For example:

12. Click Create Trigger.

13. Now you should see something like the following:

 

 

Click the “+that” link.

14. This time, under “Search services,” search for “webhooks.” Select the result and click “Make a web request.”

15. Now you can paste the Webhook URL you created in Step 5 above into the URL field here.

16. For “Method” choose POST and for Application Type choose “application/json”

17. Here’s the crucial part. Under “Body” copy and paste this entire line of json code exactly as-is EXCEPT, change YOUR BOT’S NAME to the name you want to give this bot (such as “Reddit Feed Bot” or “Fred”):

{ "username":"YOUR BOT'S NAME", "content":"I have received a new post!", "embeds":[{ "title" : "{{PostURL}}", "author": { "name": "'{{Title}}' by {{Author}}" }, "description" : "{{PostedAt}}", "url" : "{{PostURL}}" }] }

Optionally, you can change the “I have received a new post!” text to anything you want to show up any time there is a new post to Discord from this bot. Leave all the rest of the code as-is.

18. Click Save.

That’s it! Any new posts in the subreddit you chose should now show up in the Discord channel you chose. Keep in mind that it isn’t instant. It usually take about 15 to 30 minutes for new posts to show up for me, for whatever reason. If anyone knows how to speed that up, please feel free to post the solution in the comments section below.

Enjoy!

Speaking at Drupal Camp Asheville

I will be doing a talk on Drupal and Security at this year’s Drupal Camp Asheville. I will cover some security best practices for Drupal developers, how to avoid certain Drupal-specific security gotchas, some lessons learned in keeping Drupal sites secure, and some handy tidbits you can use to prevent the bad people from ruining things.

The times for the various speaker sessions haven’t been announced yet, but stay tuned. I hope to see you all there!

#dcavl

A jQuery 1.x vulnerability exists and no fix is planned

I haven’t seen much talk about this issue around the Internet, so I thought I’d present what I’ve learned for others to be aware of. It mainly has to do with the fact that jQuery 1.x (and 2.x, for that matter) were replaced by 3.x, yet they are still thriving in many, many projects, applications, and websites to this day.

While doing a security review of some code the other day, a retirejs scan informed me that jQuery 1.x contained a Medium vulnerability regarding cross-domain requests in ajax. According to Snyk:

“Affected versions of the package are vulnerable to Cross-site Scripting (XSS) attacks when a cross-domain ajax request is performed without the dataType option causing text/javascript responses to be executed.

Remediation: Upgrade jquery to version 3.0.0 or higher.”

“Upgrading to 3.0.0 or higher seems pretty drastic,” I thought to myself. Well, according to a comment I found on jQuery’s GitHub page, this is actually their stance, and they don’t plan on patching 1.x because it is a ‘breaking change’:

https://github.com/jquery/jquery/issues/2432#issuecomment-290983196

So it would behoove you to upgrade to jQuery 3 if you don’t want to be susceptible to this vulnerability. The magnitude of that may seem rather staggering if you consider all the projects across just about everything (WordPress plugins, Drupal modules, etc etc) that bundle the 1.x version of jQuery, and haven’t updated it in years.

While the vulnerability may not be relevant if you are not making cross-domain ajax calls, this is but one risk that has come to light for which there will be no fix. And it’s not exactly reasonable to assume that developers know they need to avoid that if they intend to use jQuery 1.x.

The longer jQuery 1.x sits in your project, the higher a risk it becomes.

As the impending OWASP Top-10 for 2017 says, “Applications and APIs using components with known
vulnerabilities may undermine application defenses and enable various attacks and impacts.”

Long story short: Keep your bundled libraries up to date!