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Web Development

Why Cheap Web Designers Often Disappear

Cheap web designer disappearingEveryone loves cheap web design — until they learn that it takes far more than low prices and fancy graphics to build a business website that works. That can be a hard lesson about cheap web design risks, but it often gets worse. Because cheap web designers often disappear.

This can be a touchy subject though, so let’s be clear: most experienced web designers I know are talented people who only want to help. That said, experienced web designers are rarely cheap web designers.

Still, I have just spoken to yet another distressed small business owner. His cheap web designer had left him in the lurch with a broken website and no access to fix it.

Other business owners had told him this was “typical” of “flaky” designers.… Read the rest

Google Web Vitals – What’s The Fuss?

In case you haven’t heard, Google’s latest search algorithm update focuses on your website’s technical performance. Specifically, on a group of metrics that Google calls “Core Web Vitals”. So what are these Google Web Vitals, and what’s all the fuss about them for?

What Are Google Web Vitals?

Google’s Core Web Vitals are a small set of key metrics focused on page speed and user experience. Check these three impactful metrics first before undertaking deeper optimizations.

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures how long it takes for the largest content element (e.g. a hero image or heading text) on your page to become visible. Aim for an LCP of 1.2 seconds or less.
Read the rest

Automatic WordPress Updates – The Pitfalls

WordPress updates and website maintenanceHere’s a great example of why automating updates in WordPress is only smart for non-business websites. As I write this, one of the WP plugins published by Facebook just released an update with invalid code.

Not just a bug — code so wrong that it crashes sites. Code that wouldn’t have passed basic testing.

I’m sure “Facebook for WooCommerce” will be fixed promptly. However, over 900,000 online shops use it. If they were all running automatic updates, almost a million shops would be offline right now.

Other WordPress Update Problems

This comes on top of the GADWP fiasco earlier this year, too. In that, ExactMetrics changed the nature of their popular plugin without warning, through an “update”.

Version 6 of the “Google Analytics Dashboard for WP” plugin was “redesigned from the ground up”.… Read the rest

Why Do Website Prices Vary So Much?

Small businesses often want simple, affordable web design packages. That’s fine, we can do that — but then some call professional web design “expensive” and “overcomplicated”. So why do website prices vary so much?

Because web design can mean several very different things.

Business websites serve a wide range of purposes. Some of those purposes are common, others less so. So there are at least three levels of web design to consider.

Affordable Web Design Packages

Common requirements can sometimes be standardised, and processes streamlined, to keep costs down. However, flexibility creates complexity, so in practice, “streamlining processes” always means “restricting choices”.

For some people, and some purposes, that makes little difference — and cash flow is often a bigger concern for small businesses.… Read the rest

Web Designer? Web Developer? Which Do I Need?

web designThere’s a lot of confusion about the difference between a web designer and a web developer. That’s a problem when you’re trying to decide which to hire. However, assuming they’re both the same can cause even bigger problems.

It often helps to think of your website as a marketing vehicle. In that sense, web designers build a chassis and dashboard around an engine and tweak things so that they all work together. Developers build the engine and other working parts. Of course, there’s a bit more to than that.

What’s a Web Designer?

Web designers are creatives — but the job goes far beyond just making things look pretty. A designer is an artist who knows how to make things work.… Read the rest