SEO Archives - YasTech Developments
SEOWeb Design

PHP 5’s End of Life and Your Website’s Security

On December 31, 2018, PHP is dropping support for the popular version 5.6. This means they will no longer be releasing security patches to fix new problems and exploits that emerge. This will affect an estimated 60-75% of all websites on the internet, according to reports by zdnet and w3techs.

Support for 7.0 also ends in December, but this will have much less of an impact, as updating 7.0 to 7.2 is very simple and shouldn’t require a rebuild.

What is PHP 5?

PHP 5 is a programming language like Javascript, C++, Python, and more (with some differences for those of you readers who are coding-literate).

It was released nearly 15 years ago, and in that time it has grown to become incredibly popular online. Many of the most popular web platforms use PHP, and a lot of them were either created or matured during that period. WordPress, Joomla, and Magento are just a few of the major systems online dependent on PHP.

With the introduction of PHP 7, previous versions will be considered obsolete. This programming language exists in the back-back-end, and communicates with your website’s database directly.

PHP End of Life

Why is PHP 5 Ending Support?

Consider this image. In 2004, when PHP 5 was created, this is what your computer likely looked like, this was your MP3 player, and YouTube wasn’t even invented yet.

How many of these things do you still have? When was the last time you upgraded your phone? Technology has changed drastically since 2004, and PHP’s newest versions have introduced innovations not supported by its older versions.

This end-of-life was just a matter of time, but it won’t be without its consequences.

What Does This Mean to Me?

If you’re a regular consumer of web content, it probably won’t affect you too much—the websites using PHP 5.6 aren’t going to suddenly stop working. However, it may change the way you think about shopping online or entering personal information into a website.

Hugely popular software platforms that end support are prime targets for attack. There are likely many exploits that will be, or have already been identified by hackers. After all, an open bank vault is easier to rob than a locked one, right?

Website: If you’re a website owner, reach out to your provider. If you’ve been considering an upgrade, now is the optimal time to do it, especially if your website handles the personal information of users.

Search Engine Optimization: At the end of the day, Google wants to show their visitors only the most trustworthy websites. If they see that your website has been infected, or even that it’s vulnerable, their algorithms are more likely to bury your listing deep in their search.

Though there aren’t many action items a non-developer can take from this, you can feel free to reach out to us here at Yas. Whether or not we host your website, we can let you know if your website is using PHP 5 and provide you with some options for protecting your assets. Give us a call at 306-249-9609, email us at info@yastech.ca, or go to our contact page.

 

Extra Sources:

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/wordpress-php/277067/

http://php.net/supported-versions.php

https://www.zdnet.com/article/around-62-of-all-internet-sites-will-run-an-unsupported-php-version-in-10-weeks/

https://w3techs.com/technologies/details/pl-php/all/all

 

MarketingSEOWeb Design

Top 8 Most Important Qualities of a Great Website

Imagine your customers seeking out your products and services, rather than you having to go out looking for them. Sounds great, right? With the right website, it’s possible! Here are some of the most important qualities your customers are expecting from you:

First Impression

Think about your first few seconds on any website. You make a lot of decisions in these crucial moments, and so does your customer.

When it’s good: Your website will build trust, show that you care, and help your customer navigate.

When it’s bad: Your website will tell your customer that you don’t care and chase them away with slow loading times, unsatisfying imagery, and errors.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Google’s goal is to provide its users with the most relevant, trustworthy, high-quality experience they can. Here are some of the most important SEO factors:

  • How many other websites are linking to this page?
  • Does the page load quickly?
  • Is it easy to navigate?
  • How long are people spending on each page?
  • Is the content right?
  • Are there images or videos on the page?

When it’s good: Google will rank your site closer to their #1 spot on the first page, which means your customers are more likely to find you before they find your competitors.

When it’s bad: Google will bury your website deep where your customers may never look.

Quality Images and Video

Images and video portray emotion, which helps your customers relate to your message and values. Eye-catching images are also used to hold your customers’ attention as they read through your pages.

When it’s good: Your customers will see great images of your products and facilities, which will help them feel comfortable choosing you over your competitors. They’ll also spend more time interacting with each of your pages.

When it’s bad: Your customers won’t read about your services or products if it feels boring to them, and low-quality images and videos just won’t hold their attention.

Easy to Navigate

A website that’s user friendly and easy to navigate is essential—the key is a good menu.

When it’s good: Your customers will see your easy-to-understand menus and find what they’re looking for right away.

When it’s bad: Your customers won’t think to look under “About us” to find your “Services” page, or they won’t know what “Our Discoveries” means, so they’ll leave your website and find one that’s simpler.

Quality Content

You need to understand your audience and provide them with the easy-to-read information they expect to find on your website—fast.

When it’s good: Your customer will find the content they need to make an informed decision based on your insightful recommendations.

When it’s bad: Your customer will give up on finding the information they need because, like many in this day and age, they don’t like reading.

Mobile-Friendly is a Must

More than 70% of your users are accessing your website from their mobile phone; catering to this audience is a must.

When it’s good: Your customer will be able to experience your entire website seamlessly, giving you every opportunity to convert them.

When it’s bad: Your customer will get fed up with scrolling side-to-side in order to read your page and they’ll look for a competitor’s website.

Calls to Action

If your website doesn’t convert your visitors, all of your marketing efforts are a waste. These conversions can make the difference between no customers and too many customers.

When it’s good: Your customer will know exactly where to go to make the purchase after their questions have been answered and your on-the-fence buyer will be motivated to make a quicker decision.

When it’s bad: Your customer will leave your website thinking, “That was a nice website”, but then forget where they found their information and possibly buy from your competitor instead.

Fast Loading

If your website doesn’t load quickly, your customer is going to leave before your site is ready to go. We live in a fast-paced society and you need to keep up with your customer.

When it’s good: Google will recognize this for SEO, and your customers will spend way more time on your website because it’s fast enough to keep up with their attention span.

When it’s bad: Google will penalize your SEO, and your customers will get frustrated very quickly as they try to move between your pages. Chances are, this will cause them to leave.

Now that you know your customer is harder to please than your in-laws, reach out to Yas and we’ll help you make sure your website is in the green for every single category. Call us at (306) 249-9609 today!

MarketingSEOWeb Design

Top 3 Reasons a Website Care Plan Keeps Your Revenue Flowing

You want your website to keep bringing in customers and revenue for your business, right? Of course! Here are the top 3 reasons a Website Care Plan can help you keep your business profitable:

3. It Keeps Your Website Functional:

How many times have you left a website because something didn’t work?

You likely answered something like, “more than once”, and your customers are no different—they’ll leave a site in a heartbeat.  Our care plans include updating WordPress Plugins, fixing bugs, and providing additional training to ensure your website is always up-to-date and ready to wow your customer.

2. It Keeps Your Website Relevant:

How many times have you left a website because the products or team are incorrect?

“Yes, I’d like to order that iPhone 3 you have on your website”, said no one ever.

Our Website Care Plans are great for your business if you update your images, text, team, products, or anything else on a regular basis. We’ll work with you to ensure that none of your customers miss out on what’s new.

1. It Helps You Prepare for the Future:

I bet you thought I’d ask another “How many times” question. Well, I didn’t have one.

Yas doesn’t just offer protection and updates with our packages—we want to help you with STRATEGY. Come in and sit down with us once every month or so and we’ll discuss where your business is going and how your website can work with you to make it all happen.

Now that your mind is full of ideas to get your website up-to-date, let’s get started by clicking this button!

Why Yas

Having been in business for over 11 years now, we understand what it takes to find success maintain a strong online presence. Investing in a Website Care Plan has an excellent return on investment for your business.

You take care of your business, and we’ll take care of your online marketing needs!

Whether someone else built or your website, or Yas did, we can get you setup on a care plan today. Contact our office to get started.

View our Care Plans and Pricing

MarketingSEOWeb Design

5 FREE Tasks To Do Once Your Website Goes Live That Are Easy To Do

Unfortunately Google and other search engines, don’t automatically list your website on page one of their search results the minute your website go live. Lucky for you though, there are a few things you can do to start driving traffic to your website right after launch.

In this article, we assume you already have a website, if you don’t, contact us and we can help you get online.

WHERE TO BEGIN

A website that does not help you achieve your goals is not an asset. Your website should be the hub of your marketing and an effective tool to help you solve your online objectives. Thus, it simply is not good enough to just throw a website up and hope people will find it. There are tons of online marketing options that can help increase traffic to your website. But for today let’s focus on a few simple and FREE tasks to get you started.

Below are 5 tips to jump start driving traffic to your website. All are free and some people just straight up forget about. Some may seem simple and obvious, but trust us, we have seen countless businesses miss them.

1. Put your website on your business cards.

What?!? Isn’t this obvious? Believe me, plenty of people forget to do this but it is the most important thing to do after launching your site. Every time you hand out a card to a potential client, contact, etc. you can almost guarantee a visit to your website (granted you established a worthwhile relationship or reason). You are telling them where to go and what to do next. Guide them to your best marketing tool, and help them along their customer journey. Also, make sure to add your website to your email signature and any other marketing materials.

2. Tell everyone you know about your new website

Tell everyone you know about it. That’s right. Tell your family, friends and clients that you have a new website. You can do this by sending out an email, posting your new site on your social media feeds (if you’re on social media), and simply bringing it up on conversation over the next few weeks. It is amazing how simple yet effective this can be for a few reasons:

  1. Your clients, friends, and family are often your biggest and best spokespeople. Maybe they can share it on their social networks or even tell their friends about it. Word of mouth is still probably the most trustworthy source of marketing you can get.
  2. Your friends and family are usually (hopefully) honest with you. Have them check out your new site and let you know what they think. Feedback is good, it will help you improve what’s already there or may be missing.

3. Add or find your business on Google My Business.

This is one of the most important things you can do! It is easy and you can do this by going here and following the steps. What does this do? Have you ever noticed the map results that appear when you search something in Google? It’ll look something like this:

Google Business Listing

Completing a Google My Business listing will give you a listing like ours above. It will allow you to enter your hours, contact info, website, reviews, and location. Most people look through these listings when searching for services so it is very important you show up here. If you have questions about this process just call or email, we can help.

Create, update, and post to social channels

Some of you may already have a Facebook business page, or other social channels setup, and that is good. If you already have these setup, you’re a step ahead. Here are 3 accounts we believe all businesses should have:

  1. Facebook Business Page
  2. Instagram Account
  3. LinkedIn Business Page

People aren’t on Google every day, searching for your business, but most people check Facebook a few times a day, so if you can show up in front of them there, you’ll become top of mind when they need your product or service. Instagram is becoming one of the most used social networks, and LinkedIn is the social network for business professionals.

When you launch your new site, make sure these social channels are setup for you business, ensure all the about and website fields are completed, and use these channels to tell people your new website has just launched.

If you need a hand setting up your social channels, contact us and we’d be happy to help.

5. Ask for links to your website

Ask suppliers, partners, business associates, friends or family to add a link to your website on their website. SEO is something all websites should care about for a pretty simple reason. The higher your website ranks in the search engines, the easier people will find it. The more links you can generate back to your website, the better Google will believe your site is, and thus, rank you higher.

To sum it up…

Once your website is live, there are a many simple and important things you need to do. Add it to your business cards and email signature, get a google listing, tell your people about it, spread the word on social networks, and ask appropriate contacts to link back to your website.

These may seem easy and obvious, but trust us when we say they are extremely effective and often forgotten. Now if someone asks you,  “What should I do after I launch my website?”, you can give them these 5 easy and free tasks.

For more information on additional marketing options once your website is live, check here.

MarketingSEO

Friday Biz Tip #3: Make Sure Google Can Read Your Photos

TGIF!

It’s that time again…#fridaybiztip time that is!

In order to help all the lovely Saskatoon businesses thrive online, we started the #fridaybiztip. Our goal is to give you guys an online tip every Friday (or at least most) for you to hum and haw over the weekend.

#Fridaybiztip No. 3 – Making sure Google Can Read Your Photos

A common goal among any business nowadays is to improve or boost their website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO is a beast of its own and simply appearing at the top of Google is no easy feat. SEO is a long term marketing strategy and is impacted by several factors. Some of these factors will be what we continue to share in future #fridaybiztips. One such factor is making sure your website image SEO factors are on point!

But what are the SEO factors of an image?

Why do these factors matter in terms of my website’s SEO?

There are a couple factors to review when adding images to your website. Most of you (who update your own website) have probably seen them and never gave them a second thought. Little beknownst to you, these factors can both impact your SEO and provide another source /means of driving traffic to your website.

We will show you these factors below, but first let us spill the beans on the MOST IMPORTANT thing… WHY these factors matter and how they can help drive traffic to your website.

Queue #Fridaybiztip

Google CAN’T read photos. That’s it.

Why does that matter? Here let us show you those factors we were talking about.

So you are about to add an image to your WordPress website. You head to your media gallery, pick your image and viola! It is now on your site. Have you ever noticed the small fields on the right??

alt text on images

These typically are blank when you first upload a photo but are oh, so important to fill in. Why? Because like we mentioned above, Google can’t read pictures. These boxes give you the ability to tell Google what your picture is, what it is about, or what keywords it may be related to.

But why does Google need to know? Remember how we said, if done properly these factors can drive traffic to your site? Here I will show you what we mean.

Below we Google’d “friday biz tips”. But, let’s say we were not interested in the typical web results for this search, but were instead searching for images associated with this phrase.

helping google read your photos

Because we filled in the related image fields when uploading our images to our biz tips posts, we now show up in Google Images for “friday biz tips”. Now this allows us to drive traffic to our blog post based on an image they may have found.

This is the proper etiquette when uploading photos to your website:

  1. Fill in the Title & Alt Text- describe your photo. Be sure to include related keywords someone may be searching for.
  2. Fill in Caption & Description (optional). If you fill in Caption, this text will show under your photo (up to you if you want your images to display like that). Description you can fill out, but it is not that important to Google when indexing your photos.

Capture4545564

In summary, Google cannot read an image. It can only read these text fields you provide. If you do not fill these fields in, Google will not pick up your image in any sort of image search result. For more information on the impact of Alt Text & Titles on SEO give this a quick skim.

As mentioned before, SEO (and its related factors) is a beast of its own. Factors pertaining to images are no different. Alt Text and Titles of images help in more ways than just indexing on Google. Check out this article for more information on optimizing images on your website. 

 

 

MarketingSEOSocial MediaWriting

9 Easy Steps on How to Write a Blog Post

9 Easy Steps on How to Write a Blog Post… and Why You Should.

Why Blog?

How do we get our website to the top of Google?

This is a question (and sometimes demand) we get from clients on an almost daily basis. And fair enough. I mean, a person can understand why a business would aspire for high google search rankings for the services they offer. After all, their livelihood depends on it. A person wants a plumber they Google it. Gone are the days of sifting through the yellow pages. This is not a shock to anyone and I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.

What most clients don’t know however is that SEO (getting to the top of Google) is not something that happens overnight. SEO is a long-term strategy and something they will need to work at regularly. When we develop websites we do optimize all code, page titles, etc. to be search engine friendly. Though think of that, if you will, as more of laying the foundation of a house. It is up to you to build your amazing SEO home of your dreams. But how you ask? Content, Content, Content.

Blogging for the Win!

Blogging is the best thing a business/person can do for their website’s SEO ranking for a couple of reasons:

  1. Gives you something to share on social media accounts
  2. Acts as a way to provide frequent and fresh content to your website

But I don’t know how to blog!

Fear not friend, blogging isn’t as bad as you think. And everyone’s doing it. In fact because of this, there are tons of resources at your disposal. Like this awesome article by HubSpot (even has free blogging templates).  Just follow these steps below and you will be golden.

Blogging 101: How to Write a Blog Post

  1. Know your audience. Speak their lingo & to what they care about.
  2. Topic. Your title will likely change and evolve after your post is done, but one must always start with a topic. Often you will have honed into a more specific niche topic by the time your post is done.
  3. Write a captivating intro. Remember you’re trying to keep them interested not bore them to death.
  4. Organize, Organize, Organize. Cause nobody likes clutter.
  5. Write. Perhaps both the most obvious step and one people struggle with most, but hey thought we’d add it in.
  6. Proofread & edit.  Beyond grammar you want to make sure it’s visually appealing. Pictures & layout must be top notch.
  7. Add CTA (call-to-action) at the end. Bring out your inner bossy & tell readers what to do. Where do you want them to click next?
  8. Optimize post for SEO. Check titles, keywords, links. Make sure you have the content you want to be ranked for within your post.
  9. Pick a jazzy title. Again the point is you want people to read your blog. A good hook, line and sinker.

Blogging is Easy

So there you have it. The most important steps to remember when writing a blog post. If that good old #5 is what’s putting you off, don’t worry, not everyone can be an Ernest Hemingway.  Check out these awesome and free Blog Templates from Hubspot!

Are you putting off getting a website built? Check out our post on Why Every Business Needs a Website where we debunk all the bad excuses out there as to why someone might be putting off getting started.

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