Archive

How important is it to have a mobile-friendly website?

We live in an ever-expanding society, and we see this year after year. Just as we, as individuals, have to adapt to current trends, so too do online businesses have to adapt to the demands of the market.

Studies in recent years have demonstrated this. Mobile devices play an extremely important role when it comes to internet traffic, with more than 60% of users accessing the internet from mobile devices when looking to purchase a product or get information. One thing is certain, the benefits of technology are impressing more and more individuals, and for many of them, mobile may be the first and only device from which they discover the online world.

The transition to the online world was made by investing a lot of resources, especially time and money. Undeniably, the time of an internet consumer is precious and you need to value it. Surely, you don’t want an irritated and passive visitor, from that moment on you don’t have a second chance and you have lost a potential customer. Statistically speaking, 40% of the visitors to a website leave that website if the website load time exceeds 3 seconds. Your goal should be to get visitors to the information they want in the shortest time possible.

Why do people choose to access the internet from mobile devices?

– The speed with which they can access a site, the loading speed being much higher

– The limited time they have, so they can take action online, wherever they are

– Texts are much easier to read, the content is more adapted to their needs

Traditional desktop-only websites are already a thing of the past. Nowadays, some businesses are placing more and more importance on the mobile version, and in the case of high-traffic businesses, custom applications have been created.

That said, have you thought about the benefits of a mobile friendly website?

– Faster navigation thanks to the dynamic interface

– Google takes this into account! Your position in its results list depends on the site’s ability to recognise when it is accessed from a mobile device and to adapt

– Helps to promote the image of the business, demonstrates the true potential of the business

A website tailored to the needs of the internet user and optimized to provide the best experience for visitors is a long-term investment that only pays off. Because a visitor who is happy with the content of your website, and the way you serve it to them, will not only return to your website, generating traffic and inevitably being perceived by search engines as a relevant site, but will be more likely to mention it to others.

Why do you need BMFHost? Because by choosing our hosting services, no matter which package you choose, you can enjoy 99.9% uptime and fast installation, full root access and back-up included. Our goal is to make sure that you choose the right web hosting for your requirements, so that your website will benefit from the performance and speed you need.

Essential elements that the home page of a website should contain

First impressions count!

It’s the same in the online world, we need to make the best first impression possible! For online businesses, the biggest focus should be on capturing the attention of visitors from the very first seconds. If you have failed to pique their interest from the first moments, you have lost out to your competition. Think about this when designing your website!

Does it live up to expectations? Does the front page contain all the necessary elements to meet customer needs? The home page is one of the most important pages of the website, pay attention to it!

That’s why, from the very first seconds, visitors need to know who you are, what you do and if you can solve their problems. You need to earn their trust and give them reasons to return to your site.

The importance of optimization was covered in a recent article, which is why we will now focus on a few essential elements that the first page of a website should contain.

In less than 3 seconds your website must demonstrate what your business has to offer. It’s the headline that can make the difference. Simple and clear, understandable to everyone and especially adapted to your target niche. The goal is to get as many conversions from your website as possible, so don’t let opportunities slip away. You will never please all visitors, but the target is that percentage of people who choose to become your customers and don’t leave your site.

You need to keep your website simple – in a few seconds, you need to make users understand what you have to offer and not bother to find the information, because they won’t. The first page needs to be as professional as possible and one of the key elements is simplicity. With this you will never fail.

Now that you have managed to pique their interest a little, you need to get them to act. Call-to-action buttons should not be missing. These buttons should be as attractive and visually easy to see as possible. Remember, customers have no time to waste, even if they are interested in what you offer. Examples of CTAs can be: “Sign up”, “Subscribe”, “Make an appointment”, “Try for free”, “Contact us”.

Contact information is an essential element, as you give visitors the opportunity to get to know you or simply get in touch with you. Visitors are likely to come to the site and need assistance or information, they don’t necessarily want to go through all the content on the site, which is why contact details should be as accessible as possible.

The navigation menu should be within easy reach of customers both at the top of the page and at the bottom of the page and should be easy to understand. You certainly don’t want confused or frustrated customers. Links to the most important resources should be easy to find. So are the social media buttons that keep customers up to date. Take the time to research what consumers are looking for and try to give them the best experience on the site.

Responsive design. These elements mentioned are not enough if your website is not optimized for all devices and does not have a mobile-friendly interface. Your customers are always on the move. The number of users accessing the internet from mobile devices is constantly increasing. If your website doesn’t work or can’t be accessed from any device, your bounce rate will be higher and the focus on the aforementioned elements will be in vain.

Every time a new person visits your website, your business is exposed to a test. You either pass it and succeed in turning visitors into customers, or you fail and don’t get a second chance in front of them. People critique in detail what you offer them on the front page in those seconds and decide if you are worth their trust. Take advantage of the potential the front page has.

SEO trends to follow in 2021

We’re gearing up for a year of success, a new year of SEO strategies. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is one of the most effective ways to attract potential customers to your website. According to statistics, there are an estimated 3.5 billion searches on Google every day. But while only 0.78% of Google searchers click through to the second page results, Google’s #1 organic search result gets an average CTR of 31.7%.

To generate organic traffic, you need to rank on the first page of search engine results. To achieve this, you need SEO, and no matter how well your strategy is set up, SEO is constantly evolving. You need to constantly adjust your strategy in line with Google as its algorithm evolves. As a result, everyone ends up on Google when they need an answer to a question, which is why it’s important to re-focus from year to year.

What are the SEO trends to watch out for in 2021 to be successful, I’ll present in the following:

1.In May 2020, Google announced three new metrics, called Core Web Vitals, that will be used to measure user experience: loadability, interactivity and visual stability. All three metrics are basically related to one thing, and that is page speed: how fast the page loads, how soon it becomes interactive, and how stable it is during loading. Core Web Vitals will be one of the factors in Google‘s rankings from May 2021, which means you’ll need to pay close attention to them to appear on the first page.

2.Google still wants original content

Since great content plays a crucial role in SEO and rankings, authentic content is important for companies, not just branding. Simply put, this is unique content that hasn’t already been published elsewhere. Your content needs to be authentic, unique and add value, if it doesn’t why do you think users will click on your content? Surely google has no reason to rank your content ahead of original published content either. You have to put in the effort to show up with original content all the time, but it will be worth it. High-quality content became a deciding factor for your website’s ranking popularity a long time ago and is still at the top, being an SEO trend that will last forever.

3.Google prefers quality content when it comes to rankings. But does only “quality” work? It also requires expertise, authority and trust (EAT principle). These factors help determine whether a website has quality and useful content.

SEO moves towards branding and authority. The more popular and authentic your brand is, the more frequently you will rank on Google. And you’ll notice this over time. Give brand reputation top priority in your 2021 SEO strategy. Increase brand awareness to increase brand search queries. Brand queries are a hidden ranking factor that will help you rank higher and establish yourself as a trusted brand on Google. Produce documents with a professional approach to your industry, market, trade or niche. Get links from high authority domains. Get reviews. Try to demonstrate that you know what you’re writing about. Unsubstantiated data can be a catastrophe for a website’s rankings.

4.Voice search – Thanks to innovations like Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa, voice search technology has come a long way. As the technology has improved, it has become even more popular. To optimize your voice search, consider keywords. Identify longer phrases that people use in everyday conversations. Voice searches tend to work better with longer, more natural phrasing. When people type, they tend to abbreviate. For example, a person might voice search “What are the new SEO trends in 2021?” but enter the words “SEO trends 2021”.

5.An effective SEO strategy will need to include videos. Online video seems to be the way forward. YouTube has more than 1 billion users. If you’re not creating video content, it’s time to start. However, how can you optimise video content? Make sure you optimize your video channel name and description. The description shouldn’t just be full of keywords, but provide a user-friendly overview of your channel. Beyond that, keywords are crucial. Videos nowadays are probably the most popular media consumed by online users today. Videos are everywhere. People want them everywhere. Because they’re interesting, entertaining, multi-directional and available from any device. That’s why this type of content can help you go viral.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to thank your users. Once you’ve earned the first click and people have found you, you want to get the last click (conversion). They found what they were looking for. User satisfaction is the first sign that your actions are paying off and you’ve ranked high in searches. However your goal is to satisfy the user, to keep giving them what they are looking for. This is the magic of SEO. They are looking for something and you deliver it to them at exactly the right time.

Values are constantly changing and it is essential to stay on top of the leaderboard. Optimising keywords and meta descriptions is still a key criteria, but trends are always changing. Google regularly updates its search algorithm, which is why you should always be aware of the latest changes and how to keep your site in the top results.

Does web hosting affect SEO?

Yes, web hosting can affect the SEO of your website. Although quality, well-optimised content is the most important factor in terms of SEO, choosing the wrong host can have a negative impact on your SEO, especially if your site loads slowly or goes offline often. To find a fast and reliable provider, check out our list of the best web hosting services.

3 steps to a successful website migration

The most common reason for changing different infrastructures, specifically why people and organisations want to migrate websites, is the necessary increase in resources. Existing resources are simply not enough to keep up with the fast pace of website evolution. High costs are no longer justified.

A migration may be necessary if the physical server or operating system has reached the point where it is no longer effective. In this case, the application or website can be migrated to a newer server that offers greater resources or a better return on investment. There are also situations where the customer wants more control over the server, due to poor support received or security concerns.

Planning and executing a successful migration includes a number of steps that must be followed to avoid failure, errors or downtime. Fortunately, like many other hosting companies, BMFHost offers assistance and resources during your website migration and is a trusted hosting provider.

Each step must be taken into account during a successful migration. Migrating a website is a complex process, it’s not easy, but with careful planning you can overcome the challenges. What is involved in moving a website to another host:

– moving files

– moving databases

– configuring your application to work in the new environment

– changing nameservers at the registrar

Plan

Before trying to move a single bit or byte of data, you need a solid plan. Sketch out areas where there might be difficulties. As you begin the migration, you should be aware of your responsibilities.

– To begin with, it is important to designate who is responsible for each stage of the migration to reduce the risk of something being lost or forgotten and to eliminate confusion and chaos during the migration.

Clearly detail who is in charge of creating backups, who decides what data to transfer and who will ensure the transfer of all data, who will control DNS changes, who will test the migrated data, who will configure applications and support connections on the target server?

– Then you will have to sketch the steps during the migration. This will help everyone to understand whether or not things are on track and that the tasks are being carried out by those responsible.

We also strongly recommend that you have a backup, plus an off-site backup, in case of disasters to make sure your work is protected.

Running

– Data transfer is the first task, you’ll want to focus on the data that absolutely needs to be transferred, as even the smallest line of missing code can leave an application or website stuck. The process of copying content, applications and databases from the old server to the new one is a function of bandwidth and time.

– Be careful which operating systems and documents you need to transfer to ensure they work on your new infrastructure.

– Synchronize data between servers so that nothing is lost.

Testing

– Of course you will want to test the results once the website migration has been completed. You may need to test the website on multiple devices and browsers, test whether your application works correctly from multiple locations, check that integrations and APIs between systems work correctly, and make sure you can make new commands at any time.

– Successful testing doesn’t mean you’re sure everything will work perfectly the first time, it means creating a process by which you discover minor problems and fix them before traffic is sent to the new server.

Remember that the purpose of migration is to have a better, up-to-date and performing infrastructure for your applications and website, not to have reasons to stress. BMFHost always helps professionals, organizations, and especially clients, migrate from one server to another, carefully following the process and creating plans to account for each individual need. Surely you want a web host that has the infrastructure and expertise to help you get set up on your new server. If you’re not sure how to make the transfer, let our team of technical experts handle the whole process. They will handle everything with great care, because they understand that your website is important to you.

How to set SMART goals for your website?

Redesigning or rebuilding a website can be an interesting process. It’s also an opportunity to fix those problems that have been bugging you for a long time, refresh the look and feel and come up with new features.

But creating a new website is a big investment and to be successful, it needs to be undertaken with a strong strategic foundation that is directly linked to your business goals.

Setting the right goals can make the difference between the success and failure of your website. According to research, the number one reason for website failure is the lack of a clear business objective. If you haven’t set one by now, we recommend you reconsider your actions. A successful website can completely transform your business. It can increase sales, raise awareness, improve customer experience, reduce costs, improve workflow and help you grow your company.

Before you set your list of website goals, you need to know why your website exists. What actions do you want your site visitors to take? What do you want them to do or know after they leave your site?

After that you will need to determine how well (or poorly) your current website is performing:

-Is your content easy to read and understand. Do you discuss relevant topics? Is the text broken up in an effective way.

-Check the speed of your website using tools such as Google PageSpeed or GT Metrix. A slow website is a great way to send your visitors elsewhere.

-Make sure your website is usable on all screen sizes, mobile devices and browsers.

-Make sure your site is easy to navigate and that your visitors can find what they’re looking for in seconds.

-Make sure your images are optimised for the web (otherwise they will slow down your site).

-Consider whether pop-up windows are driving visitors away. Instead of being effective, they can sometimes annoy your users.

If your goal is to increase relevant leads, you should know how many leads your current website is now generating.

A good method for setting business goals for your website is the SMART model. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. This model helps you set website goals in a way that focuses on achieving business success.

Specific – what would you like to achieve? Set a measurable business goal for your website. Example:

-Increase the number of relevant leads by 20%.

-Improve your sales conversion rate by 5%.

-Improve customer satisfaction by 10%.

Measurable – how will you know it’s happening? Establish concrete criteria and methods for measuring progress towards each goal:

-Retain qualified leads through CRM

-Conversion rate tracking through Google Analytics

-Inquiring customers before and after website redesign

Achievable – can it realistically be achieved? Goals set too high or too low become meaningless. Compare your goals with your current numbers and ask yourself if they can realistically be achieved. Most importantly, how do you intend to achieve these goals?

-Engaging your target audience through unique value propositions and more effective prompts are designed to produce a 10% increase in lead flow. An additional 10% can be achieved by driving traffic to the website using paid advertising and SEO.

-Usability testing suggests that UX improvements to the website can lead to an increase in customer satisfaction of 10% or more.

Relevant – does this fit your business needs? Will it help achieve your company’s vision and mission? Example:

-Growing website leads by 20% aligns with marketing department goals next year to generate 20% more leads than last year.

On time – set a timeframe for the goal. 6 months? 1 year? Setting an end point gives you a clear target. The timeframe should also be achievable and realistic. Example:

-Growing 20% of potential customers for the website will start with an initial 10% resulting from website improvements that can be achieved 6 months after the website launch. The other 10% will result from generating additional traffic to the website through paid advertising and SEO, which will take at least another 6 months before reaching the desired results.

Another way of thinking that we often find useful when setting goals is to differentiate goals that exist at the top of the funnel versus the middle to bottom of the funnel. At the top of the funnel goals are more likely to focus on generating new leads and influencing customer perception of the brand, for example:

Increase new visitors from a specific market segment

Reduce bounce rate

Increase CRM/database records

Increase engagement with branded content

From the mid to bottom of the funnel, goals will focus more on driving the consumer through the funnel and achieving a commercial outcome, for example:

Create an easy user experience

Increase online conversion rate for sales (bookings)

Reduce abandonment rate

By setting these goals, you will increase traffic, increase reach and increase sales by a large number. Remember, set yourself a realistic but hopeful plan to get started.

SMART goals leave no room for interpretation or procrastination. They make you think realistically about what is achievable and what is not, and they are measurable over time so there is no possibility of not achieving a goal this year. How you define goals will determine their success.

 

Social Media vs Website. Which is ideal for your business?

In recent years, online presence has become vital for any business. Investing in marketing brings you quality traffic, which will allow you to expand your customer base and grow your business. However, the marketing budget is limited in many cases, so the inevitable question arises: social media or website? Given how populated social media is nowadays, how relevant is it to build a website? In order to answer this question, it is important to know the advantages and disadvantages of both promotion channels.

Social Media vs Website – Why be present on the most popular social networks?

Zero cost is one of the main reasons why most people register exclusively on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Linkedin or TikTok. In addition, creating such an account does not require any technical knowledge. All you have to do is fill in the registration forms with the data you are asked for and you are ready to get your followers. If you are not satisfied with the results, you can always close your account and migrate to another platform.

However, you should know that nothing is free in marketing. Access to all these social networks is free of charge, but you need to invest generous amounts of time and money to reach your target audience and distribute quality content.

Take Facebook for example. With over 2.8 billion users worldwide, it has access to an enormous database, which it uses to develop the best algorithms for paid advertising. As a result, organic reach has dropped considerably recently, which means one thing: if you want your audience to see what you post, you have to invest in ads.

However, what is important to mention is that social media presence brings you brand awareness. This means that your brand is visible and recognizable, which will also help you if you want to increase your visibility in Google. This is one of the main reasons why the Social Media vs. Website debate boils down to one answer: both!

Plus, many people are reluctant to buy products or access the services of a brand that is only present on Facebook or Instagram. And many prefer to buy from brands they also follow on social media. The posts you make convey to your followers what your brand values are and help them identify more easily with what you want to communicate.

Social Media vs Website – Why is it essential to have a website?

If you want to be in absolute control, then your online presence can’t just be about social media. Yes, social media allows you to be creative with your content, but let’s be honest: it’s still a marketing tool, whereas the website is the headquarters of your entire activity. In other words, social media helps you drive traffic to your website. But if one of the platforms you’re on were to close down overnight, you’d have no say – your entire business would simply be wiped out.

A website helps you build brand credibility, legitimise your business. Every business, regardless of market, notoriety or size, should have a website. Users tend to think that brands without a website are too new or too small to be trusted. People prefer to buy through Facebook, not from Facebook. It’s a nuanced difference that every online entrepreneur should consider. It is much more reliable to benefit from a secure and systematic payment, than to buy products from the Facebook shop.

Last but not least, we must remember that owning a website allows you to bring in huge traffic through PPC and SEO. You can be present in Google search results pages and with your social media profile, but on brand. With a website you can target relevant keywords with impressive average search volumes that will bring you traffic. Indeed, both require financial investment, but you can get very good results if the work is done well. In PPC you’ll get immediate results, whereas in SEO things move slower, but surely. Once you’ve managed to increase your visibility, you’ll notice that this marketing strategy brings you the best ROI. In general, new and/or small brands are afraid to invest in SEO, but quality work can bring you results after just the first 6 months and you can reach breakeven or zero point of business after just one year.

But even so, the two options are not mutually exclusive. Any business that wants to reach a wider audience has an “obligation” to its customers to invest in a website, but also to use social media. However, a recent survey shows that 35% of small businesses believe they are not yet at the stage where they have a website, and 31% say they prefer to use social media.

In general, many avoid the website option because of the cost. If you make a clear investment plan from the start, a website should not be a huge investment. In this regard, we have an article explaining how much a presentation website costs. However, you should look at the problem from a different perspective. A physical shop generates costs related to rent, maintenance, staff, decoration, etc. Why wouldn’t you do the same to improve your online presence?

Website traffic: how to grow it and how to measure it in 2021

Traffic on a website: how do you grow and measure it once you’ve chosen the right domain name, have a good structure, the design is right, and you’ve already uploaded your first products? What’s left for you to do to start selling?

We answer all your questions in the lines below. Are you ready?

Just like a physical, brick & mortar store, a website that isn’t visited is dead. No visits:

  • An online store doesn’t sell and a brand doesn’t grow.
  • People won’t book your services (if you have, for example, a dental practice).
  • You won’t generate revenue from AdSense (Google’s advertising app where website owners can sign up for the program and display text, image or video ads on their personal websites) if your business model is monetizing content and website traffic.

There are several traffic sources you can use, each with advantages and disadvantages. And not all types of traffic will be equally good for your goals. But in order to sustainably increase traffic to your site and make sure you get the visits you need, you need to know how to properly measure the volume and quality of each traffic source.

That’s exactly what we explain in this article: how to measure and bring quality traffic to your website. Shall we get started?

How do you measure traffic on a website?

The vast majority of visits will come from people: users who are looking for a product/service you offer and come to your site.

But there is also a minority of visits made by bots, i.e. non-human, automated visits that come to perform certain actions on your site.

For example, a Google bot will come to read and index the pages of your website and then display them when someone searches. The good news is that Google Analytics automatically filters traffic coming from bots.

There are several ways to measure the number of visits to a site, the sources from which they come and their quality. Some sites still use plugins that display the number of hits to a page, such as Stat Counter. This is more of a vanity metric, i.e. a metric that, apart from stroking your ego, doesn’t help you with anything else.

The number of page views tells you nothing about who is visiting you and what they are actually doing on your site, nor how much and how profitably you are selling. Other domains use advanced tracking solutions, such as Adobe Analytics, but these are harder to install and quite expensive.

The easiest way to measure the traffic coming to your site and its quality is to install a tracking solution. Our recommendation is to use Google Analytics. Google Analytics is the most popular and easiest to install solution to measure a website’s traffic.

Plus, it has the advantage of being compatible with other Google platforms (Google Ads, Google Data Studio, etc.) and it’s free. It’s important to not only install Google Analytics but also to define conversion events and set up e-commerce tracking correctly so that you know exactly what value each channel brings you.

What are the main traffic sources you can use? We’ve seen why you need traffic and how to measure it. We’ve left the best for last: how to bring quality traffic to your site. The main sources that can bring you visits and conversions are:

  • Organic Traffic
  • Paid Traffic
  • Social Media
  • Email
  • Referral and affiliate
  • Direct Traffic

How to measure traffic on a website
Let’s take each one individually and see how we can use them for what we care about: more traffic and more sales:

Organic Traffic or so-called SEO

We’re talking about people doing a Google search. Google displays your site in the organic results (i.e. without you paying for it) and the user clicks through to your site.

Among the advantages of this traffic is that it is “free”. I put it in quotation marks because, ok, you don’t pay for every click that lands on your site, but there is still a cost: doing SEO optimization, creating quality content, maybe even getting good backlinks. Another advantage to keep in mind is that this type of traffic often performs very well: low bounce rate, high conversion rate.

A disadvantage is that traffic and results don’t come immediately. If your domain is competitive you might need months of work without direct results. If you need to sell fast and your online store is new you can’t rely on this traffic channel.

Paid Traffic

Here we are talking about paid campaigns through Google or Facebook Ads. You create the ad, pay the money and the visits start coming. But the visits are not free because you pay for every click you get.

The advantages of this channel are that, done correctly, campaigns bring conversions and sales in a short time and there are no high barriers to entry. Yesterday you set up your online shop, today you start campaigning and can record your first conversions. Whereas with organic traffic, it takes optimization work to bring in enough traffic to get conversions.

The main disadvantage is the cost. All visits are paid. If you run out of budget the campaigns stop and you have no visits and no conversions. In addition, the trend in the market is for the cost per click to increase.

Social Media

Facebook, Instagram, Tik-tok, few people don’t use at least one social network. If people use a social network, it means there is also an opportunity to generate traffic for your domain. Social networks can help you create a strong brand and build a loyal community around it. Also, compared to other traffic channels, here you can also communicate directly with visitors. For example, some companies use their Facebook page to answer questions from potential customers.

But there are products/services that you cannot promote effectively on Social Media. If you sell industrial equipment, a campaign on Tik Tok may not work, because the purchasing managers of the companies that can buy your products are probably not watching challenge videos on Tik Tok, but are on site to see the product requirements.

E-mail 

The email is kind of like Jon Snow from Game of Thrones: there was so much talk for so long that he was going to die, then that he died, that it was over with, when in fact there was no such thing. Despite the negative predictions of many who say email marketing is dead, in fact emailing is as healthy and vibrant as ever. And it’s a channel that can yield great results provided you build a quality email address base and send well-constructed newsletters. Not infrequently this channel’s conversion rate is the best of all you can call on.

But not all is rosy here either. The main difficulty lies in building the address database. This can take months and may be time you don’t have. In addition, since GDPR the rules are much stricter, you can’t, for example, rent other people’s email databases.

Referral or affiliate traffic

The principle is simple: another site sends traffic to your domain. If it does so organically, without any agreement between you or payment, then that traffic is called a referral. If you pay something and have a formal agreement with that site, the visits from there will go into the affiliate category. Of course, no one is stopping you from moving a site from the first to the second category.

One advantage of this type of traffic is that you generally only pay for what you actually care about, which is conversions. The more conversions you get, the more the cost of this channel will increase, but this is a good thing because you are also profitably increasing your turnover.

But it’s not easy to find good affiliate partners and they may ask for discounts or exclusive offers to promote you. All this can eat into your margin.

Direct traffic

I left direct traffic behind because it is a result of the efforts you make to increase traffic on other channels and create awareness in the market. Direct traffic comes when people have already visited your domain, memorized it and were interested enough to come back for another visit. You can’t have direct traffic if you don’t already have enough traffic from other channels and have not created positive interactions with your brand.

This source of traffic often comes with the advantage of a good conversion rate. If the person is motivated enough to come back for a second, third, etc. visit, they are more likely to be interested in what you offer and buy. It’s also why remarketing works better than first click campaigns.

But before you get to a good level of direct traffic you need to invest in your store’s notoriety and image, and already have enough traffic from other channels for people to get to know you.

Conclusions

So here are the main sources of traffic and how to make use of each. We’ll end the article with some practical tips to make sure you know how to build a strategy that will bring you quality, long-term traffic.

  1. It’s no good depending on one channel. If the vast majority of your traffic is organic and Google makes an algorithm update that penalizes you, the negative impact can be dramatic. Likewise: if you only run paid campaigns and run out of budget, the tap on visits and conversions turns off and your website will suffer. So it’s good to grow more channels that bring you quality traffic.
  2. Most likely you won’t be able to optimize your presence on all possible traffic channels. Each channel has its own specifics and, with limited time and human resources, you won’t be able to scale. That’s why you need to choose the ones that bring the best results and focus on them.
  3. Another principle to keep in mind is to be present wherever your potential customers are. If your target audience is present in large numbers on Tik Tok, go to Tik Tok. Your competition is probably already there, don’t let them run wild.

What is SEO: the answer you were looking for

Do you want to better understand what SEO is and how you can make your website climb the search engines?

This guide will specifically answer all your questions, including:

  • What is SEO?
  • How do search engines work?
  • What is On Page SEO?
  • What is SEO Off Page?
  • How do you do SEO step by step?
  • How do you make your website appear all over the world?

So if you want to better understand how you can get more free traffic, this is the first step.

Let’s take it one step at a time:

What is SEO?

The term SEO comes from the English language and is short for Search Engine Optimisation.

To explain SEO as simply as possible, I’ll give you an example:

Let’s say you are from Timisoara and you need a dental extraction, but you don’t know any dental office.

You go to Google and search for “dental practice New York”, and then immediately a page appears with suggestions of websites of various dental surgeries.

As in the example below:

Well, all those sites that were recommended to you came about because of their search engine optimisation. In the first part we can see the local results (the ones with the map and directions), and then the organic results.

Those who own the sites in the example above have done nothing more than tell “Google”, through various methods and techniques that you will discover in this article, that there is information about dental practices on the site.

In short, SEO is the process and efforts you put into making your website appear as high as possible in the search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex).

It’s a process that requires more work in the beginning, the results show up over time but are long lasting and in the medium to long term beat almost any method of increasing your website traffic.

Doing SEO means that when someone searches for products, services or information that are closely related to what you offer, search engines display your website.

As a means of online promotion, SEO is one of the few free and affordable ways for any business with a website, and its role is to get you as close as possible to your potential customers, without investing large promotional budgets in doing so.

But for this to be possible, you need to know the SEO algorithm and the criteria you need to take into account when it comes to optimising your website, and in the next chapter, that’s exactly what we’ll talk about.

How do search engines work?

The Internet can be likened to a spider’s web. Each thread that makes up the web represents links, and each intersection represents a website.

In this analogy, search engines are actually spiders that walk the web and discover sites and links between them one by one, then organise them into categories and store everything on so-called servers so they can deliver results in milliseconds (you wouldn’t imagine that Google searches the whole internet again every time you do a search?).

When someone searches Google (or any other search engine) for information, it returns as a result all those pages relevant to the requested information.

We’ll talk about the criteria by which sites appear in those positions in a moment.

In more technical terms, these spiders are called “spiders” or “crawlers”. They periodically scan the internet, discovering new sites and constantly making connections between them.

These crawlers not only discover sites but also organise them. They identify errors and the relevance of content on the site as well as the timeliness of the information.

That’s why it’s very important to always optimise our website and watch out for possible errors.

But I come back to this.

Websites are characterised as relevant or irrelevant at search time based on over 200 criteria such as: technical accessibility and lack of errors, the use of representative words in key places, the fact that people spend a lot of time on that site or the fact that other sites link to it.

At BMFHost when we talk about what SEO means, we have a pyramid with 4 very important elements: at the bottom (1) accessibility and indexing, followed by (2) on-page optimisation and (3) user experience, and at the top (4) links from other sites.

Search engine optimisation falls into two broad categories: On Page optimisation and Off Page optimisation.

What does SEO On Page mean?

When we say On Page SEO we mean all those optimisations you make to your website so that (1) search engines better understand what it’s about and (2) people have a more enjoyable experience on it (i.e. spend more time on it).

On-page optimisations include:

  • optimisations for accessibility and indexing;
  • technical optimisation;
  • strategic optimisation;
  • content optimisation;
  • optimisations for the most pleasant user experience (UX).

Accessibility and indexing

If you want your website to appear in the top search engine results, it must first be indexed.

What does this mean?

Indexing a site means that search engines can find the site and access it (see its content) and do this without encountering too many technical problems.

In other words, you need to create an account in Google Search Console where you upload a sitemap of your site and also check it for errors that may affect its indexing in search engines.

This tool will give you important statistics about your site, but remember, this indexing must be done for each search engine.

You should also consider creating robots.txt files that tell search engines which pages you want them to index.

For example, if you have certain pages that are only available to members then you should block those crawlers from indexing those pages.

Be careful!

Many web developers know that while the website is under construction it should not be indexed. Which is fine. It’s just that some of them forget to remove the “In Progress” status and the site blocks search engines even after it’s completed.

If you’ve had a site completed for at least 3 months and you can barely find it even when you search its name, the web developers may have made the above mistake.

Technical optimisation

Sites that score well in SEO are also doing very well technically.

This means they are error-free, have a very good loading speed, have a logical internal link structure and are also optimised for various mobile devices.

According to statistics, 70% of people who visit a website that loads in more than 3 seconds will leave the site before taking any other action.

That’s why it’s very important to always check your site’s loading speed and possible errors using tools such as GTMetrix.

Here’s what a BMFHost page report looks like:

GTMetrix calculates your site’s score and at the same time gives you suggestions and recommendations to improve your speed.

Among these, the most common are:

  • compressing the images you upload to your site to load faster;
  • using cache memory;
  • rewriting certain lines of code in a simpler way;

Don’t worry if you don’t understand everything now, in time everything will become clearer. Right now it’s important to get the big picture.

Strategic optimisation

Because nothing that brings results in marketing is done by ear, and in SEO you need to take into account a strategy to help you optimize your website effectively.

One mistake we often see in SEO is “work just for work’s sake”.

That is, entrepreneurs and specialists alike who set out “to optimise” without a plan.

They don’t do a more thorough analysis to figure out which words they are interested in, which ones they can realistically climb to the top of the results, which products are most profitable.

Especially if you’re in a competitive industry, it can take 2-3 years to get to the top. Can you support SEO that much, even if it doesn’t bring in sales?

Keyword research is a very important and complex step, and choosing the most appropriate searches to optimise for is crucial, but most of us ignore it.

What do you need to do?

Choose keywords:

  • on which your site can realistically compete,
  • that have enough searches to be worth the effort, and
  • have economic relevance.

If only large sites appear on a particular search, it may be too difficult.

If there are only a few dozen searches a month, again it may not be worth it.

If they’re too general and not related to what you’re selling, again it’s a good sign to say “pass”.

From the analysis we do at BMFHost, choosing the wrong keywords is one of the main mistakes most websites make.

Here are some more specific mistakes:

Optimizing your site for the most searched keywords

Although many people believe that you should optimize your website for the most searched words, it may take a while for the results to show up no matter how much effort you put into it.

Optimising a page for multiple keywords

Another common mistake is optimising pages on your website for as many keywords as possible.

Usually a page is optimised for one main keyword and its derivatives. For example: what is SEO, what is on-page SEO, what is off-page SEO, etc. See what I did here?

Optimization for irrelevant/unused words

When choosing the words you want to optimise your website for, make sure they are relevant. Terms that are too general (marketing, wine, beer, etc.) will attract a lot of people to your site but not potential customers.

On the other hand, if you choose terms that are too specific, they may not be used enough and therefore not bring you many visitors.

In our case, one of the relevant words for the SMARTERS website is “growth hacking”. This being a relatively new term for Romanians, if we were to use it for optimization, it would generate little or no traffic.

Sometimes SEO may not be an option for business promotion (if you have too new products).

Content optimization

“Content is king” – one of the basic rules of search engine optimization.

In addition to technical optimizations and indexing of the site in search engines, we must consider creating relevant content for those who will come to our site.

Your goal is first and foremost that once the person has landed on your page, they don’t need to search for that thing again.

To help search engines better understand what a page is about, we need to put keywords in places like:

  • Page link;
  • Titles and subtitles (H1, H2, H3…);
  • In the first paragraph;
  • the ALT attribute of the images on the page.

See below how we optimized one of our blog articles for the keyword “sell “.

A page should contain at least 300 words to make it stand out, but to be among the first searches, between 1000 and 2000 words are recommended. In this case, the keyword should be found like this:

  • 1 in the title (H1);
  • 1 in the first paragraph;
  • 2-3 in the subheadings (H2);
  • 6-7 in the rest of the text;
  • 4-5 synonyms of the keyword.

There is no hard and fast rule, but at BMFHost we take them into account and it works very well.

As a suggestion, it would be advisable to analyse the sites that are already in the top positions, as they are a good indicator of how your page should look.

Attention! Excessive repetition of the same keyword can become annoying to people and is considered SPAM by search engines.

A rule of thumb would be to write it first for people and then sprinkle in a few more keywords or other relevant ones.

We can take as an example a women’s shoe shop that wants to optimise one of its pages for the word “women’s shoes”.

Well, in the content of the page we should find several times the keyword chosen as well as its synonyms: “women’s shoes”, “women’s footwear”.

If you already have a list of keywords, add 2-3 synonyms for each one that you can use alongside the main keyword.

Use the search engine suggestions that appear at the bottom of a page or the specific tools.

Improving user experience (UX)

The latest changes in search engine algorithms place great importance on the user experience on the site. The indicators that tell us if our site is providing a pleasant experience are:

  • traffic and time spent by users on the site, the higher these indicators the better the user experience;
  • bounce rate or the percentage of people who have viewed more than one page and the average number of pages viewed;
  • return rate to the site;

You can track all these indicators in your Google Analytics account.

A good user experience on the site is primarily due to the lack of functional errors. In addition to good loading speed, we need to consider the error-free execution of actions that people can do on our site: add to cart, fill in a form, etc.

Good design and relevant content are two other criteria that can contribute to a good user experience on your website.

A modern, streamlined design and a high degree of user interaction can lead to a pleasant experience for those visiting your site.

Other key elements could be: logical organisation of information on the site, having buttons where people need them, using live chat.

In other words, choosing loud colours, a soundtrack or creating too fast an animation on the site can generate the opposite reaction to what we actually want.

That’s why it’s very important to test your website and optimise the form and content according to the reaction of those who visit it.

Install Hotjar from the start on your site, track what your users are doing on the site and make changes based on what you see in their records.

At BMFHost this is one of the basic tools that tells us how well your site is meeting its goals, which is why we recommend it to you.

You can also test the actual upload speed with GTMetrix.com

SEO for mobile

When we talk about UX we are also talking about optimising for mobile devices. It has become one of the most important criteria.

Why is it so important?

At the moment about 80% of website traffic is done using mobile devices such as phones and tablets.

Mobile devices are always at hand, especially now that the Internet is no longer a limited resource. Optimising your website for mobile devices allows you to be close to your customer whenever and wherever they need you.

An unpleasant visitor experience on your website will not only affect the indicators presented above, but also your website’s results.

If the buttons are not accessible, the text is not legible and the images are not positioned correctly, this will make it difficult to use the site, which is why the vast majority of visitors choose to leave the site or not visit it at all.

In general, if you have registered your site in Search Console you will receive notifications about problems. Keep in mind that not all of them are real.

Mobile SEO vs Desktop SEO

By and large, SEO works the same whether a search is conducted from desktop or mobile. But there are a few criteria that influence the results that appear in search engines.

Firstly, with mobile comes location-based optimisation. This means that search engine results will be influenced by the location of the searcher.

Secondly, search engines have started to display sites based on their optimisation for mobile devices.

In fact, Google only has one index (that big catalogue) of all sites, and it’s mobile-first.

You should also bear in mind that your website may load differently depending on the device you are using. Check the loading speed of your website for all devices and make changes accordingly.

Again Google Analytics helps here.

What is Off Page SEO?

Off Page SEO refers to getting links and mentions from other sites.

At BMFHost we like to make the analogy of book citations. When you are an author and others mention you in their books, this means you are an important source of information.

The same goes for websites.

The more often your site is mentioned on other more popular sites, the more important your site becomes. Search engine spiders will come to your site more often, starting to rank you higher in the results.

Thus, Off Page Optimisation involves identifying those sites larger and better known than yours where you can insert links to your site. This process of generating links to your site is called link building and can be done by:

  • guest post articles on other sites;
  • advertorials and press releases;
  • unique and interesting content that can be picked up by other sites
  • collaborations with influencers;
  • link insertion on partner websites.

Not all links are equal

Although you would think that you need to put as many links and as many sites as possible to have the best SEO ranking, I have to surprise you by telling you that this is not really the case.

It’s not just the quantity of links that matters, it’s also the quality of the links.

Some time ago, before the algorithms changed and became more and more drastic, there were so-called directories. These allowed sites to be listed in the categories they belonged to in order to help in the link building process.

Well, these directories have not only become completely useless, but listing your site in such directories can generate SPAM links that will negatively affect their trust level and SEO score.

In other words, it is very important that your website is mentioned in relevant contexts that can bring you potential customers.
For example, if you have an online beauty shop then you’ll want to put links to your website on as many women’s fashion & beauty blogs as possible.

Conversely, if you’re a motivational speaker you’ll find links on business websites, or those of well-known entrepreneurs, helpful.

And links from general sites (news, blogs) help. When choosing whether to try to get a link from a particular site ask yourself: if someone reads that article, does it make sense to click on it and get to my site?

As a rule, when we think about our link generation strategy we start with our customer profiles and try to identify both sites of interest to them and topics that interest them.

Start here.

Do social media links influence the ranking of the site in Google?

There has been a lot of debate lately on this topic and although there have been pros and cons about whether Social Media links influence search engine rankings, the truth is somewhere in between.

The logical conclusion reached is that Social Media links indirectly influence search engine rankings.

Therefore, it is important to include them in your link building strategy but not to spend too much time on them.

The reasons why you should do this boil down to 5 assumptions:

Social Media links generate traffic, and high traffic indicates increased relevance of the site and is one of the important ranking criteria. The more often your website is mentioned in social media and the more it is shared by social media users, the more traffic your website will get.

Social media profiles appear in the top searches on search engines, so when someone searches for your business name, they can easily reach your website through social media.

Youtube videos rank differently on search engines, plus let’s not forget that in Google you can perform specific video searches. So don’t forget to mention your website link right in the description of your Youtube videos.

You increase the impact of the content on your site. By sharing your site’s content on Social Media, users can discover content relevant to them without having to search. Also if it is relevant and interesting to them they can take it and put it on their own site which will directly contribute to the link building process

Social networks work like search engines. Lately, users of social networks are using them to search for products they are interested in. Take advantage of this opportunity and optimise your profile and content to be easily identified by your potential customers.

Very important – once you’ve created your social media profiles and have links to the site, move on. They may help with other marketing strategies, but their role in SEO will be indirect.

How do you make your website appear all over the world?

If you’re considering international use of your site, good news. What you’ve learned so far about SEO doesn’t change with international optimization, and it’s 100% valid.

As domain options for international websites we have so:

  • use of .ro domain and use of sub-domains (us.example.ro);
  • using .ro and using sub-domains (example.ro/us) – the cheapest solution;
  • use of ccTLDs for each country (example.fr) – this is expensive and SEO efforts are higher, as optimisations are needed for each country;
  • use of a widely used .com domain (example .com);
  • using a widely used .com domain and making settings for each language (example.com/?lang=en-us) – although the simplest, it is the least beneficial for sites due to changes in link structure and is not highly recommended.

Of course, each of the above options has specific advantages and disadvantages that you need to pay attention to when establishing strategic international SEO guidelines.

Once you have established your strategy, you can start optimising by taking into account all the basic criteria we have outlined in this article.

And here we are at the end.

Remember:

  • SEO isn’t complicated – it’s a lengthy process, but if you understand how it works and have a clear strategy, it’s very simple;
  • SEO is worth it – even if it requires more work in the beginning, and the results won’t show up immediately, SEO is a free means of online promotion that will bring you measurable results;
  • SEO is more than keywords – if you understand this it means this article was not written in vain;

I hope we’ve been able to explain what SEO is and help you get started on properly optimizing your website, and if you want to get more into what SEO is and how exactly it should be done, don’t forget that we also have a course on SEO that will help you learn practically not just theoretically what to do!

Should You Use WordPress?

If you’ve been looking to build your first WordPress website, chances are you opened Google, searched for WordPress, and saw this result right here, WordPress.com create a free website or blog. You probably thought, oh, that must be it, WordPress.com. This is that WordPress platform, everyone keeps talking about. And that is the source of so much confusion in the WordPress community. What is WordPress.com?

Do you have to build your WordPress website through WordPress.com? What about WordPress hosts? Can’t I build my WordPress website through other companies, too? Well, it’s important for us to take a step back and understand what WordPress is. WordPress is an open source website builder that can be installed on any server and any web host. Because it’s open source, that means it’s completely free to use, so you can download the code and install it on any web server. If you go to WordPress.org, this is the official site for the WordPress platform. WordPress can be installed anywhere. You could have a server room in your attic and run WordPress on it for free. So at this point you might be saying, well, wait a minute, what is WordPress.com? It looks so official and legit. So WordPress.com is owned by Automattic. Automattic is a company that was formed by the co-founding WordPress software developer.

So to make a long story short, the founder of Automattic first registered the trademark to WordPress, and even though he has since donated it to the WordPress foundation, his company still has special privileges to use the WordPress.com domain and branding for their web host. WordPress.com is essentially a blessed WordPress host from a branding perspective, as they get to use the WordPress brand and come across as the official hosting option. So if WordPress.com seems so official, does that make it the best option for your WordPress website? I tried it for myself and the experience was different than I expected.

You can actually create a website totally free on a branded subdomain, like yourwebsite.WordPress.com. If you’re looking to get your feet wet with blogging, I think WordPress.com is a great place to do this. Their free plan gives you all the tools you need to make posts, add pages, and get a basic website together, for friends and family to view. It’s a watered-down, modified version of WordPress that doesn’t let you install plugins or third-party themes, but it’s functional, nonetheless. And I can’t think of a better way to get serious, reliable hosting free for a basic blog. But if you’re serious about building a brand, you want your website to have a custom domain. You want your website to be on your website.com, instead of yourwebsite.WordPress.com.

And that’s you when you need to upgrade to a paid plan. Seems pretty fair, right? Well, this is where things get interesting because the $4 and $8 a month plans do allow you to connect your own domain name, but there’s still that watered-down version of WordPress that you get with the free plan. That’s right, even for $8 a month, you cannot install plugins and you can’t install third-party themes.

This may not seem like a big deal, but trust me, it is. If you’ve never used WordPress before, take my word for it. You will want to install plugins and you will want third-party themes. These are core, essential parts of WordPress that you need to build a great website for your business, and it’s something that you really are going to want. Unfortunately, with WordPress.com, getting the full, true version of WordPress will cost you $25 a month. And to make matters worse, all of these plans are billed annually with no monthly option available. So you actually need to shell out $300 at one time for a year of hosting.

This brings us to today’s sponsor, Porkbun, your go-to platform for the lowest price domains and simple hosting services that help you cohesively build your brand. If you’re currently exploring hosting options, consider the world beyond WordPress.com. A simpler, faster, streamlined option awaits. Porkbun’s Easy WordPress offers the speed and reliability you’d expect at a price you can’t beat. Custom-built with security and performance as the number one priority. A third of the web uses WordPress, but the savviest customers use Porkbun’s Easy WordPress, it’s in the name. Your fancy new domain name deserves a trustworthy host, so once you’ve snagged your domain at the industry’s lowest price, you heard that right, lowest price, try Easy WordPress free for 15 days.

Then with monthly costs as low as $10, a price and a product perfectly fit for big businesses and growing personal brands. Head over to porkbun.com for a refreshing take on the domain industry, with the tools you need to showcase your skills. Along with finding superior products, you’re bound for a laugh or two. Enjoy, and huge thanks to Porkbun for supporting the channel. I just registered my new domain name for my upcoming online course at Porkbun, and I can’t wait to share that with you guys soon. So getting back to WordPress.com, I really would not recommend paying $300 a year for hosting when there are alternatives like Porkbun’s Easy WordPress hosting for a $120 a year.

Not to mention the fact that Porkbun offers a 15-day free trial with no strings attached, and they also have a monthly billing option for $12. You may be thinking that WordPress.com might be more reliable or just have better support because it just feels so official. But I can assure you the experience is just as good, if not better, at other web hosts. And I always recommend buying hosting month-to-month when you’re getting started so that way it’s easy to switch hosts if you aren’t having a good experience. Or you can cancel your hosting, if your business or blog doesn’t work out. Now, in fairness to WordPress.com, I need to give credit where credit is due. For $300 a year, they do give you 200 gigs of storage, which is pretty impressive when compared to other hosting plans that typically give you 10 to 20 gigabytes of storage.

However, WordPress itself, only takes a few hundred megabytes of space, so the only reason you would ever need more than 10 to 20 gigs of storage is if you have hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures and videos hosted directly on your WordPress website. And if you do require that type of storage, there are a number of workarounds.

Let’s take Amazon Web Services S3 storage solution. You could set this up to upload all your pictures and media from your WordPress site to be stored on AWS S3, instead of your main hosting account, and Amazon charges around $5 a month for 200 gigabytes of data storage. This is completely modular, as well, and you get billed down to the megabyte. So if you need 30 gigabytes of storage, 200 gigs or two terabytes of storage, a solution like this is infinitely scalable.

Hmm, let’s see, $10 a month for web hosting, $5 a month for 200 gigs of storage through Amazon, that puts us at $15 a month for the same amount of storage as the $25 a month plan at WordPress.com. WordPress.com also gives you 24/7 live-chat support, but I was unable to try it for myself as I don’t want to shell out $300 to try it. So in the end, should you use WordPress.com for your website? Well, I’d say if you’re wanting to use the free version, or if you’re looking for a basic blog, and that’s your only goal, to get a basic blog with your domain name, that’s simple and easy to use, I think the $4 a month plan can be a great option to connect your domain name and have that simplified, watered-down experience. One thing I wanna make clear is that this watered-down experience is proprietary to WordPress.com and you won’t find it elsewhere.

It’s a modified version of WordPress.org that isn’t part of WordPress itself, so that can be a blessing and a curse, depending on your needs. If you’re just looking for a carefree, easy interface to use for a basic blog, I actually think you’ll enjoy the experience at WordPress.com. It’s simpler than the normal WordPress interface, which can be a good thing if you don’t need plugins and third-party themes. However, if you’re building a website for your company, an eCommerce store, or anything beyond a bare bones, basic blog, I would highly recommend getting hosting elsewhere, such as from our sponsor, Porkbun.

Not only is there better value elsewhere, but you don’t have to be locked into a year and you can find a solution to fit your needs. Whether it’s simple hosting, complex hosting with staging environments and development environments, or renting a dedicated server, if that’s your thing. There’s a massive sea of options outside WordPress.com, and I encourage you to look around before making a decision on where to land. So what do you guys think of WordPress.com? Are you going to use it for your website? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments.

Don’t Buy WRONG WordPress Theme!

When it comes to picking a WordPress theme, it may seem like you can just pick a theme that visually looks great, install it, and be on your very way with building the perfect WordPress website. That’s what I thought too when I started developing WordPress sites, but today, I’m gonna break down why the visual look is one of the last things you should consider when buying a WordPress theme. I know what you’re saying, “What do you mean? “I want site that looks clean and modern. “And that’s why you buy a WordPress theme. “You need one that looks great “and represents your brand well.” And that’s right.

But there’s a critical side to WordPress themes you may not think about, and that’s the backend. So if you just wanna know what WordPress themes I recommend, go ahead and check the description below. But let me take a second to explain why the WordPress theme you pick will have a huge effect on your entire website building experience and how it can be the difference between a great WordPress experience and a nightmare.

So at its core WordPress is a blogging platform. I know some will argue with me over this because WordPress has evolved greatly over the years. With the introduction of Gutenberg, it’s starting to feel more like a complete drag and drop website builder. But let’s be real, WordPress was structured with blogging in mind. And because of this, we have two main components of vanilla WordPress.

When I say vanilla WordPress, I’m talking about a fresh install of WordPress with no third party plugins and the default theme. When we install WordPress, we’ve got the Posts section and the Pages section. It’s really pretty simple. If you’re posting a blog, you go to the Post section. If you need to create a page on the website, you go to the Page section. So if you look at vanilla WordPress, you’re probably going, “Man, this is really simple.

“I can’t imagine how people make complex WordPress websites “with sliders, rich visuals, and complex layouts.” And that’s because any serious WordPress website uses a third party theme with its own backend and plugins that modify the WordPress editing experience. And that is why picking the right WordPress theme is critical. I’ve used some terrible backends before that make no sense, are very limiting and just make an overall terrible experience to use. Each theme usually comes with a different set of instructions to modify things like the global colors, logo on the menu, font size, et cetera.

So what’s my stance on picking themes? Focus on the backend editor and credibility of the theme developer first, then take a look at visuals. The WordPress theme should be seen as a framework for your website, a set of buttons, controls and layouts you can use to build your site, but more importantly, a backend for you to build your site. I’ll talk about this more later. But now I wanna highlight my three picks from my top WordPress themes. First, we’re looking at my new personal favorite, Salient. This theme is a best seller on Themeforest and for a good reason. First released in 2013, this theme has seen a lot of updates.

The developers are committed to making it the best WordPress theme on the planet. And it’s their one and only WordPress theme they currently offer on Themeforest. Just by looking at a demo of Salient, you’re sure to be impressed. Elements have a clean and modern feel, and there’s over 330 section templates to choose from. This right here is a big reason I fell in love with Salient. Most WordPress themes will let you import the demo sites, meaning they will import all of the demo pages, the full Home page, About page, Pricing page, et cetera. This gives you a good starting point and lets you modify the site as needed and make it your own.

However, Salient takes this a step further. They have modular section templates that you can mix and match to build your own page so you can pick and choose which sections to use. This lets you build a killer page without spending hours designing it from scratch. If you wanna design it from scratch, you can do that as well. Salient uses the WPBakery Page Builder plugin, which is my personal favorite plugin and where I’ve invested a lot of my time to learn how it works. Salient has a lot of flexible options for many layouts.

This was important to me when I was searching for a new theme, because I find that themes are often restrictive and don’t give you many options over how menus are structured. With Salient, you can do full screen menus, menu items centered, left-justified or right-justified and much more. The theme gives you a flexible Settings page to easily adjust fonts, colors, and blog post styling. Salient has a great set of documentation and tutorials and you can open support tickets to speak to their team for help if you can’t figure something out. At its $60 one-time price point, Salient is seriously a killer WordPress theme.

If you want a theme that is headache-free, reliable and has a lot of options, I highly recommend Salient. I’m using it to rebuild my app company website, and I’m really happy with the results so far.It includes the WPBakery Page Builder, has documentation and support, and has a lot of demos to import. As of the latest update, you also have access to Gem Blocks, which is the same concept from Salient where you can import sections of demo pages to assemble your own page with different pre-made modules. TheGem was originally released in 2016, and is one of seven themes offered by its developer. And if you like the design, I highly recommend checking it out. Last is gonna be an honorable mention and that’s Divi. Now first, I have to give a huge disclosure.

I haven’t used Divi for a website in years. It’s another mega theme that has been refined and redone for years and years. So it’s not even close to the theme it was when I used it back in the day. With that being said Divi is a flexible, powerful theme from Elegant Themes that uses their own proprietary page builder. Elegant Themes has been around for a long time, and they’re the first company I bought WordPress themes from when I first started playing around with it. I can’t say much about Divi, because it’s been years since I’ve used it. So I wanna be clear here. This isn’t a personal recommendation from me, I’m just mentioning it since it’s a popular, powerful theme that many people are happy with.

I would love to give it a shot and try it for a website. So if that’s something you wanna see, drop a comment below and I’ll consider making a review. So you might be surprised that I didn’t have more themes to recommend. But that’s because of what I mentioned earlier about why picking the right WordPress theme is so important. You see, I used to see WordPress themes by their demo pages. I would look for the perfect demo that exactly fit what I had in mind. I’d say oh, this is a great theme, it’s exactly what I’m looking for, the demo looks amazing. I buy it, then I would discover that the backend editor was absolutely atrocious.

Seriously, picking the wrong WordPress theme will cause you so much frustration. And if it’s your first time building a WordPress site it might make you never wanna use WordPress again. So I need to stress this. Do not judge a WordPress theme by its cover. Don’t look at the Demo page and say, “Oh, this is shiny and pretty, I need this theme.” Demos can look great, then when you see how horrifying or limiting the backend editor is, you’ll wanna quit. So what should you look for in a WordPress theme? Well, first you wanna find a theme that supports your preferred website builder plugin. I personally use and recommend WPBakery.

So I like to look for themes that include WPBakery and have tight integration with it. Salient and TheGem both check that box. I’m not telling you that WPBakery is the only option. Some of the big themes like Divi offer proprietary editors, and you may also see Elementor offered as well. This is all fine and dandy, but just make sure that if it’s a proprietary editor, it’s from a large theme developer that has sold many thousands of copies of the theme and people are happy. I’ve gone down the path so many times of buying a nice-looking theme with some cheap proprietary editor from a newer theme developer, and these always turn out to be the worst WordPress experiences. Once you have the page builder plugin narrowed down, look at how many people have bought the theme, what the reviews say, how detailed the documentation is, and what kinda support the theme developer offers. See if you’re actually able to find examples of real live websites that use the theme. How do they look?

Do they seem flexible? Would you want your site to look like that? When looking for a theme, my favorite place to search is themeforest.net. They have a huge selection, a lot of filters to narrow down supported website builder plugins, and some helpful stats like how many people have bought the theme, reviews, et cetera. And if you’re getting into freelance website building with WordPress, I’m gonna recommend that you just stick to one, maybe two, maybe three themes and that’s all you use. I used to make the mistake of having the client pick the theme, and guys don’t make that mistake, don’t tell your client, “Hey, just go to Themeforest, “send me a theme that looks nice, I’ll get it for you, “and I’ll put it on your site and I’ll build your site.”

Do not do that, that was the biggest mistake that I made and it cost me so many hours of headache, frustration and lost revenue. Really, you wanna stick to one to three WordPress themes that you know so well, you know like the back of your hand, and they’re super flexible, and you’ll get confident in how the theme works so you can actually build out a design and a layout for your client and say, “Hey, I got it.” They don’t even need to know what a theme is. Clients get confused by that. They don’t need to know what themes are or hosting is.

That’s why they hire you. So come up with one to three WordPress themes that you really know and love and you’re good at and then just put that on the client’s site, build the layout to their requirements, and they will be much happier just saying, “I give you money, you give me website.” Now you may be asking, “Why do I need to buy a WordPress theme at all? “Can’t I use one of the many free ones “in the Themes section of WordPress?” And you definitely can. It’s really a you get what you pay for situation. If you’re making a basic blog and you don’t need rich hero sections or homepage elements, I think you can reasonably get by with a free theme. If you’re wanting to build a quality website for your brand, a free theme will probably be too limiting for your needs.

They’re often just a lite version of a paid theme. And you can easily get suckered into upgrading to the paid version because you’ve already built half of the site using the free version, if you really want the full functionality. You then didn’t have an opportunity to research the theme reputation, features, documentation or anything else, but you just spent money on it to avoid having to start over and build the site again. This usually ends up being a frustrating WordPress experience, so I can’t stress this enough, pick the theme for your site carefully.

Don’t lose sleep over it and don’t make it rocket science, but make sure you know what you’re looking for. Do your research and you’ll have an awesome WordPress experience. Speaking of having an awesome WordPress experience, how would you like to have a step by step tutorial for building your WordPress website from start to finish? I’m talking where to buy your domain, which web host is right for you? How to set up WordPress on a variety of web hosts?

And every detail to build a great WordPress website from start to finish. I’m in the process of making my comprehensive WordPress online course, and you can sign up in the description below to be notified when it goes live later this year. You’ll get the opportunity to purchase the course outright at $19. That’s one time, no ads, no upsells, no just any kind of scaminess. $19 one time, that’s it. If that sounds interesting to you hit up the link in the description below and join the list. So what’s your favorite WordPress theme? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments.