So excited. I’m weeks away from a phone upgrade. Right now, I’m coping with all this upgrade excitement by improving our own site here at Roundpeg. If you’re a small business with a self-hosted WordPress site, you can take advantage of the same upgrades (plural!) right now. Get thrilled.
The four upgrades below are focused on making small businesses look sharper and smarter online with steps you can take today.
Write Faster and Easier
Remember when everyone used Microsoft Word for everything? Remember that talking paperclip asking if you needed help writing a letter? Yeah. RIP Clippy. But today’s market for word processing software is diverse and covers apps on desktop and mobile devices. I’ve found a few notable options to try, something to pique everyone’s interest.
If you’re already on WordPress, there’s no reason to use a different program to write. The visual editor balances user-friendly and programmer-friendly options. You can easily extend its features to add video and audio content and complex visual layouts.
For me, this is the original cloud based collaboration platform. Google Docs is word processing software built by Google. It’s all online and accessible from anywhere. While you have to work online, documents can be saved into Word compatible formats to share.
Byword is an app for iPad and Mac that removes obstacles to writing. Just type. Use Markdown to format quickly if you want to. Publish directly to WordPress and other platforms, save as a PDF and more. Great if you need focus and not a bunch of other documents in sight.
This isn’t your grandma’s Word. Microsoft’s recent relaunch of their classic productivity suite included free apps for mobile devices, including iOS. You can also use cloud-based versions a la Google Docs. Give this venerable software franchise a second chance.
Save on Stock Photos
The best thing Roundpeg’s done for our blog in years is buy a stock photo subscription. We used to purchase credits from the photo site and redeem the credits for individual images. Photos were going for $30 to $50, limiting our choice and unpredictably spiking our photo expense.
A subscription evens out your expense on this important raw visual material. We picked a plan that fit our photo consumption levels with room to grow. No more picking the uglier and cheaper of two pictures. We get the picture we want, every time. This means we’ve freshened some of our favorite blog post covers and ditched some of the tired images we’d repeated too often. More importantly, our clients have benefited from a creative team empowered to be more, well, creative!
Try iStock.com for your own stock photo needs. If you’re blogging regularly, with a commitment to fresh, compelling imagery, you need access to a stock database you can dip into freely without breaking the bank.
But don’t forget all the riches you can get for free from sites like unsplash.com, deathtothestockphoto.com, and photopin.com. Free, royalty-free pictures are a great complement to your paid photo options.
Backup Your Work
Friend, you work so hard on your blog posts. People notice. Clients appreciate your library of useful articles and how-tos. Your blog site and all of those rich posts are an incredible asset that deserve to be saved and archived. If a security breach or costly hack deletes your data, what happens? Regular website backups are your best, fastest path to recovery.
A website backup is a file you download that can be used later on to restore your data to its state at a point in time. Your website host is the first place to ask about backups. They can automatically create these files and store them securely so that restoring after a hack is just a click or a quick phone call away. If you’re a daily blogger, make sure you have nightly backups going. If your site is updated less frequently, lower the frequency if you must, but no less than once per week.
For additional control over you website backups, consider a backup plugin like BackupBuddy from iThemes. The interface is slick and modern, unlike many of the hosting backup tools I’ve worked with. Improved looks and options to backup to Dropbox and other cloud storage services make website backups easy.
One more thing. Talk to a web developer about adding SSL to your website. This technology secures data transaction between your website server, your computers and all the computers of all your customers. Whether it’s sensitive credit card data or cat pictures, there’s no reason to hand that stuff to hackers. SSL verifies your identity and adds a security layer, reassuring you and everyone on your site that their activity isn’t secretly monitored.
By adding SSL to your site, you’re following advice given by Internet overlords at Google. Having SSL now counts a little towards good SEO. Google nominally added it as a signal in their search algorithm, a way to communicate the company’s support for increased website security for all sites.
You can take advantage of all four upgrades right now. Just picking one improves your site’s performance and your work life. What will you upgrade today?
Familiar with WordPress for your content management but not sure what’s new on the platform? Check out our WordPress 201 Whitepaper for a quick refresher: