Category Archives: Web Design

Keep Your Site Secure by Updating WordPress-315

Keep Your Site Secure by Updating WordPress

Keep Your Site Secure by Updating WordPress-315
If you’re relatively new to WordPress, chances are a notification of a new version that you should upgrade to has you break out in a cold sweat. Even if you’re a WordPress expert, you might wonder if your plugins and theme will work on the new version, and if or when you should upgrade.

The truth is, it’s a good idea to  use the latest version of WordPress and here’s why:

Stay Ahead of Hackers

WordPress is the world’s most popular website platform. So it stands to reason it’s a major target for hackers. If they can hack into one WordPress site, they can potentially access thousands.  Hacking a version of WordPress or a plugin is increasingly vulnerable the older the versions of WordPress and plugins you are using. If your security isn’t strong and up-to-date, you could lose your whole site.

WordPress is open source, which means the WordPress community at large contributes to the code. There are many people who know WP’s strengths and weaknesses. While the majority of the WordPress community is helpful and generous, there will always be a few that look to take advantage of any bugs and holes.

Wait too long to update your site, and you run the risk of having a loophole that could be exposed and thus the potential of losing control of your site. If you don’t keep your WP, theme, and plugins updated, and you process payments or store customer data you may be exposing your customer’s information to hackers.

What To Do Before You Update

You should backup your website before making any drastic changes. Just in case things don’t go according to plan. Tools like Updraftplus make this a fairly straightforward process.

In fact, it’s always a good idea to backup your site on a weekly or at least monthly basis. Because you never know what will happen.

Keep your plugins, theme, and framework up to date also. While minor WP updates may not affect the functionality of your plugins, a major update to WordPress may interfere with the functionality of your plugin.

How to Update WordPress

Updating WordPress is fairly easy. Chances are, you’ll receive an email notifying you of the update. Don’t worry about cost; the updates are free.

When you login, there will be a link on the home screen. After you’ve backed up your site, click the link and follow the prompts. Once the update is done, you’ll still need to update plugins. Then your site should be safe from malicious attacks until the next update rolls around.

Most updates go smoothly, with no downtime. But it’s always a good idea to schedule your updates for times when your site is not busy, just in case there’s a problem.

Need help and want this taken care of for you?  Let us help!  Digital Hill offers a security service where we can take care of updating your site and ensuring it has the latest versions and plugins needed.  Contact us today!

 

 

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E-Commerce Website for an Online Chocolate Store_ The Nut Shoppe Chocolates-315

E-Commerce Website for an Online Chocolate Store: The Nut Shoppe Chocolates

E-Commerce Website for an Online Chocolate Store_ The Nut Shoppe Chocolates-315
The Nut Shoppe has satisfied sweet tooths in Goshen, Indiana for over 25 years. Their new website, www.thenutshoppechocolates.com, connects the Nut Shoppe with even more customers.

The site is as much as a delight as their confectioneries. A gallery with mouth-watering treats sits on the front page. With the search, navigation bars and item bag, customers can navigate the site quickly. Nuts, chocolates, and other products are organized so that customers can easily find what they’re looking for.

Along with an attractive design, the site has 2 features that are perfect for both the Nut Shoppe and the customer.

E-Commerce

E-commerce stores help extend a business beyond its physical location. Therefore, customers can purchase gifts, mints, chocolates, and ingredients online in the E-Commerce store. Carefully arranged by category, products are presented with a picture, description, price, and size options.

As they shop, their orders can be accessed through the item bag (represented by a stylized shopping bag). If they want more raspberry creams, they can change the quantity right in the shopping cart. When they are ready to buy, they can simply hit the “Checkout” button, fill out the form, and have their treats shipped.

The business has full control over their store. They can add new products. Product descriptions and prices can be updated as needed.

CMS

A content management system is a back-end tool that makes managing a site much easier. Pictures, SEO, navigation links, pages, and the footer can be changed to whatever the Nut Shoppe desires.

E-Commerce Website for an Online Chocolate Store_ The Nut Shoppe Chocolates-1

Digital Hill’s CMS is perfect for the nontechnical user who wants to skip coding and get straight to business. With a CMS, multiple users can login in from anywhere and update the site. Site maintenance becomes streamlined as content management becomes collaborative and simple.

Want to quickly edit a product page? The CMS allows someone to modify a particular portion of the page without changing the others. This allows admins to keep the site’s appearance and themes consistent. The Nut Shoppe isn’t reliant on an outside vendor for site management.

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Designed by Digital Hill, thenutshoppechocolates.com, is an attractive E-commerce website that is simple to navigate, quick to edit. It’s ideal for The Nut Shoppe to showcase their products worldwide.

The Nut Shoppe is just one of the companies that Digital Hill has built a site for. Check us out at Digital Hill’s site for more information on our web design, CMS, and other solutions.

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What are Image Alt Tags and Why You Need to Use Them-315

What are Image Alt Tags and Why You Need to Use Them

What are Image Alt Tags and Why You Need to Use Them-315Chances are, when someone lands on your website, they’ll never see your alt image tags at all. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not important.

What Are Alt Tags?

Alt tags describe an image, in a piece of HTML code, much like a header tag or any other piece of HTML code on your site.

Like all the other code on your site, if everything is going well, and under normal circumstances, no one will ever know they exist.

Alt tags will typically look something like this when viewed in HTML:

<img src=”image.jpg” alt=”image alt description” title=”image tooltip”>

But don’t worry if you don’t know HTML. If you’re using a CMS like WordPress or Digital Hill’s, you can add these attributes in your articles, in the publishing and advanced options, so you won’t need a crash course in programming to create them!

Why Use Alt Tags?

If alt tags are never going to be seen, then what is the point of having them at all? There are several reasons why you must have alt tags on all your images:

  • If a user is using a browser or computer that for some reason cannot render the image in question, they will see the tag instead of a completely blank space. At least it gives them an idea of what’s meant to be there.
  • Alt tags also help search engines when they crawl your site. The search engine sees images as a big black hole. But they can see tags. Use keywords in your image alt tags and get a bit more keyword influence for your post.
  • Alt tags also help search engines categorize images in their image search, which can help you to show up in more results.

Alt Tag Best Practices

To get the most bang for your buck (so to speak) when creating alt tags, there are a few rules you can follow:

  • Keep the tag short and relevant.
  • Describe the image as clearly as possible.
  • Make sure that you include a keyword. Remember that search engines do scan image alt tags, and they will count towards your overall site ranking.

Most importantly, remember if you can’t figure out what the alt tag should say, then you should question your use of the image at all. Images on websites should always serve a purpose, and if yours don’t, they shouldn’t be there.

Professional Landscape Website for AquaScapes of Michiana-315

Professional Landscape Website for AquaScapes of Michiana

Professional Landscape Website for AquaScapes of Michiana-315Based out of Indiana, Aquascapes of Michiana is an outdoor waterscape and landscape installation company that prides itself on creating beautiful ecosystem ponds and fountain scapes. Aquascapes’s new website reflects the company’s value that customer satisfaction is first and foremost.

Let’s cover some of the site’s prominent features.

Customer-friendly Landscape Website Design

First and foremost, the site has a clean interface. The navigation bar and footer provide contact information, convenient links to other pages, and links to the company’s social media.

Therefore, visitors can navigate to Projects, Videos, and Services, from any page on the site. The main pages are always just a click away.

Check out the Website Gallery

Next, on the homepage, customers are greeted with a gallery of dynamic water features and the company’s latest projects. The gallery shows how attractive a pond or a waterfall built in your own yard can be.

As a result, placing the gallery right on the front page of the website gives potential landscape customers a glimpse of the work done by the company. Hence, an insight into the company’s capabilities and new possibilities for their own water feature projects.

Simple Content Management with the DH CMS

A great site isn’t just nice to look at; it’s nice to work with. The CMS system behind the site allows admins to control the site. With this CMS, you can add, delete, or edit pages, the navigation bar, content, and images through a portal from anywhere you are as long as you have an Internet connection.

If Aquascapes wished to update their gallery to include more projects, they could easily log in to the portal and edit the gallery photos. Having a CMS system allows Aquascapes to improve user experience and respond to changes quickly to keep the most current information on the site at all times, all within their power and no website updating costs.

Boost Conversions With the Blog Resource Center

Getting traffic and new customers often begin with a regularly updated, informative blog. A resource center is a great tool to add new information to your website.

Think about a site that lacks a blog. It would be difficult to update existing customers and even harder to pull in new prospects. Nevermind the reduced ability to capitalize on SEO. The resource center keeps visitors up to date and engaged and keeps the site from feeling outdated (which helps retain prospects).

Overall, this professional landscape website has a great flow to it. It’s easy for a prospective customer to use and even easier for the company to update.

Aquascapes of Michiana’s site was designed by Digital Hill.  Our web design company serves companies in Indiana and all over the US. Learn more at digitalhill.com.

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New Website Checklist_ Make Sure Your SEO is Done Before You Launch - 315

New Website Checklist: Make Sure Your SEO is Done Before You Launch

New Website Checklist_ Make Sure Your SEO is Done Before You Launch - 315
You want to make sure your new website looks good and works well. That means no dead links, no blank pages, and no overlooked bugs. But beyond the form and function, there’s another element you need to look at, and that’s SEO.

And in light of Google’s move to prioritize mobile websites, it’s all the more reason for you to assess your website’s SEO-readiness against this checklist:

  • Domain and host

    Does your host web host have a record of major downtimes? A web hosting server with a negative history will hurt your website’s future reputation.

    An unreliable host will affect your website’s availability. It’s advisable to use a unique and never-used by someone else domain name, along with a dependable web host known for excellent uptime.

  • Keyword list

    Good copy will make your site rank well on search engines, but it’ll perform much better if you incorporate the right keywords relevant to your industry or niche.

    For a new website, it’s wise to go after long-tail keywords because they’re less competitive. In addition, these keywords will help you target specific audiences who are looking for exactly what you’re offering.  A great source to look at keywords is www.buzzsumo.com.

  • Design Theme

    Themes are not just about aesthetics. Some design themes are SEO-friendly, some aren’t. To ensure your design is SEO-friendly, it should have clean code on the developer’s side and a modern flow on the user’s side. It should also be responsive for mobile and tablet devices, and quick to load; otherwise, your bounce rate will go up.

    Most importantly overall, it should work well on mobile devices. Many people prefer to use their tablets and smartphones as their primary computing tool. Make the browsing experience on smaller screens pleasant and easy.  Google cares, so you need to as well!

  • SEO Tools and Plugins

    SEO plugins are simple to add and use, so take advantage of their power in your site. Different SEO tools have different functions, such as LinkPatrol to track and clean up links, and Keyword Tool to find out what keywords your target audience is using to find you. If your site is WordPress add Yoast SEO because it handles both technical and content optimization.

  • Content

    Content is still king, but only if it’s presented right. Gone are the days when you can post short, fluffy content and expect your website to rank. Now, long-form content is a better option because it leads to higher conversions and better page rank. Of course, you don’t have to fill every page with detailed content. Just focus on pages you want to rank and don’t exhaust all your efforts. Some pages aren’t designed to rank anyway, like landing pages.

  • Photos

    You can help your photos appear in the image search results by filling in the metadata fields with relevant alt text. If you already have a focus keyword, add that as well as long as it ties in with the photos. Then set a suitable featured image for every page so that if someone shares it on social media, the thumbnail on the preview will look engaging enough to warrant a click.

These are just some of the things on your SEO checklist, but they’re enough to get you started on the right path. And remember, SEO is an ongoing process. You have to continue working on it long after your website has launched.

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Affordable Small Business Website - ApplianceTech-inc.com-315

Affordable Small Business Website – ApplianceTech-Inc

Affordable Small Business Website - ApplianceTech-inc.com-315
In the modern world, virtually all businesses need an online web presence. When searching for information regarding a company or product, the first place many people will look is via a Google Search. Websites, however, can seem like a big hurdle, especially for a small business.

Designed by Digital Hill, Appliance Tech Inc.’s new one-page website is simple, affordable, professional and manageable.  It takes helps you overcome the website hurdle with a website that meets all your small business needs.

Small Business Website Features

  • SEO tools – SEO is a determining factor on where a site ranks in Google. SEO also affects the amount of site traffic. The SEO tools (accessible through the CMS system) allows content creators and admins on the site to customize site metadata, domain names, keywords, H tags, and page titles according to the best SEO practices.
  • Responsive design – As a mobile responsive site, ApplianceTech-Inc.com offers a great user experience on any device, mobile or desktop.
  • Simple CMS System – There is no need to know how to code with this back-end system. Digital Hill’s CMS system puts control of practically the entire site into the hands of the page’s admins. Editing of the image gallery and contact form are easily performed. If the business wishes to add an about page, for example, it can be accomplished in a matter of minutes with site-appropriate templates.
  • Contact Form –  Visitors can get more information, purchase services, or leave a comment, can use the contact form.

A Good Example of Starter Site

The website design is simple and straightforward, providing visitors with an attractive and easy-to-navigate layout. The image gallery takes up much of the page and is effective in showing potential clients technicians in action. Thus serving as a preview of the services provided while immediately providing a link to a contact number. The footer and navigation bar give the site more branding power with the logo, social media profiles, phone number and to-the-point copy present.

ApplianceTech-Inc.com is a good example of a starter site. Featuring ease-of-use for both the customer and the business managing it. Digital Hill’s CMS system provides the tools to expand a site as needed. The one-page site serves as Appliance Tech Inc.’s portal to a much wider audience and customer base. Small businesses looking to get on the internet quickly and cost-effectively can look to Appliance Tech Inc’s example. This website offers all a small business needs in an online presence without the high costs.

Is Your Website Secure-315

Is Your Website Secure?

Is Your Website Secure-315
The only constant about the Internet is that it’s always changing. Web standards evolve over time, which demand new best practices businesses need to address. Older sites that fail to adapt to these changes find themselves extremely vulnerable to malware and security exploits.

You can never reach a 100% secure site, as zero-day exploits and sophisticated attacks can be difficult to predict and protect against. However, regularly reviewing and updating the measures you have in place will mitigate the risk from the most common vulnerabilities.

The IRS, Yahoo! and the Department of Justice are a few of the many organizations which had security breaches in 2016. Take a proactive approach in handling your website security to have the best chances of avoiding a costly intrusion.

Here are a few of the most common factors that create a vulnerable website:

The website’s age: Typically, a company doesn’t go back and completely revamp the website’s coding as it gets older. As web standards change, old code gains security holes that hackers can use to gain access to sensitive resources.

  • Security updates: Your website needs proactive checks and updates to keep it strong against the latest security problems. If you only look into security after you have a breach or run into another issue, it’s too late.
  • A common trap that website owners fall into is relying entirely on SSL technology to keep data safe. While it’s effective at encrypting the information that’s transmitted to and from the website, it doesn’t cover every vulnerability point.

A good rule of thumb is upgrading to a new website every 4 years. This brings your site up to current web protocols for programming and security standards, and it allows you to modernize your code to better serve your website visitors.

These security strategies aren’t fool-proof, as any size business runs the risk of getting hacked, but they help.

Digital Hill offers a security review that checks web standards, provides monitoring for website vulnerabilities and fixes security loopholes that hackers love. These services cover an hour of work as well as basic updates. Any additional services are available at a 25% discount. The age of your site determines the overall cost. The goal is to guarantee your site is using the latest security protocols as they develop.

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Our Newest Website BalancedGrowth.com -315

Our Newest Website BalancedGrowth

Our Newest Website BalancedGrowth.com -315Crisp, clean, and to-the-point, the website created for Chicago consulting firm Balanced Growth is succinct, professional and client-focused. Over the course of 5 decades, Balanced Growth’s mission has been to provide long-lasting value and innovative operations solutions to clients in the insurance, healthcare, nonprofit, financial, and associations sectors. Our newest website BalancedGrowth.com serves as an excellent introduction to the firm and its services.

Overall Design

The site’s design is based on simplicity, tight organization and a user-friendliness. This is especially evident on the homepage. Right below the header and navigation is a dynamic rotating gallery. Hence, the images and copy draw users to the business’s services page.

The site is sectioned into 4 distinct parts: footer, news, BG360, Transformation Method, and Consulting Services. Leading visitors to learn more about their services. These sections break up the page while presenting the firm’s most crucial services in a digestible format.

The predominate colors of this site are blue, black, white, and hints of orange. In essence, reflecting the site’s themes of intelligence, innovation, creativity, and professionalism. The color scheme is subdued, used conservatively and is never distracting. Blue and orange (a classic color combination) gently highlight standout text and ideas on pages.

Responsiveness

Mobile responsiveness is an important feature is today’s web. Balancedgrowth.com has a responsive design with an easy-to-follow flow when viewing on mobile.

Javascript and Jquery allow every main feature of the site to be flexible and responsive. This enables the content to be viewed and interacted with on multiple screen sizes. For example, the navigation bar. On the desktop, it stretches across the screen. On a mobile device, it is condensed into a more manageable drop-down menu on mobile.

This approach allows users on smartphones and tablets to have access to the same content as desktop users. Since much of the modern business world uses mobile, Balanced Growth Consulting will reach more potential customers with a responsive site design.

The Tools Behind the Website

The attractive user interface can keep visitors on a site. However, it’s the background website tools that attracts the site’s visitors and keep it running. On Digital Hill’s CMS interface, admins can edit and preview the site’s pages and their content.

Our Newest Website BalancedGrowth.com-2

Galleries

In the CMS, you can edit the image galleries on the site by:

  • Adding or removing images
  • Changing URLs the images link to
  • Editing gallery transitions

>Our Newest Website BalancedGrowth.com-3

Pages

Updating or changing the content of a page, re-ordering pages or creating new pages is accomplished with a few clicks in the CMS.

SEO

SEO serves as the traffic driver on a website. With the CMS, you can add keywords to the page meta description as needed.

Does this sound like a website your business could use? Contact Digital Hill for more information.

Website Development for Hurricane Boats and Godfrey Pontoon Boats

Website Development for Hurricane Boats and Godfrey Pontoon Boats

Website Development for Hurricane Boats and Godfrey Pontoon BoatsManaging multiple websites separately can be a pain for a marketing team. With different logins and possibly dealing with different content management systems, it is hard to create a cohesive multi-site strategy.

A multi-site web system simplifies things. You use one login to access all sites. Under one account, you are granted the power to edit, add to, and modify multiple domains as you wish. The layouts, promotions, content of any site is congregated on one single online interface. No switching between sites and multiple logins is involved. You can still keep sites and their individual purposes and content separate with different domains while keeping your brand’s uniqueness across all sites.

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The Many Features of the New Multi-Website System

Both Hurricane Boats and its sister-site Godfrey Pontoon Boats have a similar theme and style. This allows users to quickly find the boat information they are interested in.  Let’s take a quick look at the shared features of these beautiful sites to see the benefits of multi-site management in action.

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Gallery

Each site’s home page features an eye-catching home page rotating image gallery that showcases the boat models and provides a quick link to their page. The team can easily update and re-order any of these images, therefore, keeping the site fresh and current.

Promotions Management

Using Godfrey Pontoon Boats as an example, we can see how easy it is to promote events and sales with the system. The site has a special area right below the boat models section for promotions and sales. This highly visible area is easily updated at any time with the system. So it can be kept current throughout the year.

Footer

Each footer is “sticky” and fixed in place at the bottom of the screen on desktop devices. This keeps important links front and center when scrolling. The footer serves as quick access to two important features:

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  • Build a Boat
    The Build a Boat tool lets visitors build their dream boat within an affordable price range. This is a powerful tool that gives users a reason to stay on your site longer. They can literally select their boat with all the custom color and feature combinations, and then see their boat before they order it! In addition, lead capture is implemented into the tool. Users create an account and save their boat design. In this action, their information is collected. As a result, they can be contacted by a dealer nearest to them.
  • Find Your Dealer
    With the Find Your Dealer tool, the move from dream to reality moves is initiated. By providing location and desired boat model, prospects are able to locate dealers near them. Hence, easily to see boats they have in stock or to discuss their pre-select build-a-boat unit.

The Compare Models Tool

Both sites present its various models to visitors on the homepage with a series of image links. The links take visitors to the Compare Model tool where more detailed information on a boat model can be found.

Layouts, a unique description for the model in question,  and specs give prospective buyers an idea of what the final product will look like and how the model will serve their needs. Through the tool, a buyer may compare the luxurious Sanpan series pontoon to the family-friendly Sweetwater.

Video

Both sites feature a video section to show off the product. The system allows you to update these videos as needed.

The beauty of a multi-website system comes is evident when you consider each site’s individuality. Although they maintain some uniformity, they have different feels and styles.

Hurricane Boats is all about action and excitement. The design for users who wish to feel “energized, exhilarated and adventurous.”  Users feel the urge to hop on the Hurricane and take a ride. In contrast, Godfrey Pontoon Boats is more subdued with a Cinzel font, a greyish-blue color scheme and an emphasis on community rather than the individual.

Using a multi-website system, Hurricane Boats is equipped to get more boats and their new owners on the water. Do you need a multi-website system for your business? Contact us.

Website Tools that Work- CorknCleaver - 600

Website Tools that Work: Cork’ N Cleaver

Website Tools that Work- CorknCleaver - 600
A well-designed website is easy for admins to update and control, and even easier for users to navigate. CorknCleaverOnline.com uses the web CMS tools provided by Digital Hill to manage their site effectively.

Digital Hill’s advanced website tools help the Cork’s N Cleaver boost gift card online sales while managing content efficiently. With a powerful content management system at their disposal, web admins can exercise extensive control over site content. As well, with a mobile-friendly design, the site works well on all devices including computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Managing Content Effectively

With little to no HTML or programming experience, the CMS system allows you to edit content on your site when needed. With a website you can manage yourself, you have the power to make changes at will without the involvement of a third-party professional web design company. This saves money for the business and offers the ability to alter, delete, or add content quickly when the changes are required.

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Clean and simple, the picture below is a great example of the CMS’s easy-to-use interface. With an intuitive interface, admins can organize and toggle through tabs for quick editing as well as exercise control over individual page settings.

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Easy Updating of Website Features

With the ability to manage content site-wide, CorknCleaver.com’s CMS tool keeps the site updated by giving admins the ability to alter business related content to:

  • Events and Reservations – Starting from the navigation bar, visitors are led to the Special Events and Reservations pages. Customers looking to book reservations and events with Cork’ N Cleaver can access these pages while admins update and edit page content for occasions such as Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, or birthdays.

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  • Price Changes – Changing the price on menu items in response to fluctuations is quick with the CMS system.

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  • Location – The Location page doubles as the Contact Page and features a simple form. Customers and inquirers can fill out the form to send questions and concerns directly to the Cork’ N Cleaver. Therefore avoiding the hassle of email. Google maps are conveniently embedded into the page. You can enter an address, and map the way to the restaurant from any location.

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  • eCommerce – The eCommerce capabilities of the site are simplified with the CMS system. Once you have selected your gift card, your choice immediately shows up in the cart. Hence you can check out or review the items you have chosen. Admins can easily add items and goods to the eCommerce area.

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Thinking about a website upgrade?  Now’s the time to make your site mobile friendly and to add more website tools. Allow customers to do more on your site and streamline your processes.  Contact us today to discuss your needs!

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