Muse vs WordPress – Which is Best?

Muse verses WordPress which is best? Well before I get down to answering this, it really will depend on what you want your website to do, do you need a content management system, a highly customised website or an e-commerce store. As a web-designer that uses both tools I will give an impartial personal view on what I have found. If you are looking for a quick answer I would say: Muse for custom designs and WordPress as a Content Management tool. The ideal solution maybe a combination of both so please read on and I will explain.

Adobe Muse customise website the choice for website designers

Adobe Muse allows to design a website as you wish it to look without needing to code.

Muse is HTML and CSS based

Muse is a website design tool from Adobe. It has been developed for designers rather than developers as it offers great flexibility in changing the design to just how you want it.  This means that it is great for design but does not directly support ‘php’ or database designed websites.  It does however offer an ever growing suite of ‘widgets’ from both Adobe and third party providers such as MuseThemes These widgets allow for lots of fancy features such as adding slider galleries, linking to social media or even updating content from Google Docs.
As it’s primarily been made to support designers it is really great if a client knows what they want, they may have a PSD (Photoshop) document that they want to exactly replicate to their website. They may want specific fonts, colours, images and laid out specific. This is where Adobe Muse really comes into it’s own. As a designer tool it really is great as you don’t need to know coding. Some experience of CSS may be advantageous but not essential.

WordPress a Database driven website design tool

WordPress is PHP and Database based

WordPress is website design tool that is based on php files and linked to databases. Wordpress works by choosing a theme (unless you have lot’s of ££’s and can afford a developer to design a totally customised theme). In essence you choose a theme that reflects what you want your website to reflect or do. Your Theme will usually come with plugins, these allow you to extend what your website is capable of, there are literally millions of plugins out there, some are free and some are paid (the best being paid). WordPress is also a CMS (content management System) which allows clients to add and update content reasonably easily.

Which is Best, Muse or WordPress for Website Design?

I would say if you want a specific design, Adobe Muse is the one. It is highly flexible for the designer. It allows for images and text to be placed exactly where you want. It also allows two options when designing. Fluid Width /Fixed Breakpoint design or ‘alternate’ layouts for Desktop, Tablet and Mobile (here is an overview of breakpoints from W3schools). My personal preference for this is to use a combination of fluid and fixed width breakpoints.  What really is cool is that you can totally change the entire content / layout depending on the browser width, this allows for widgets etc to be hidden or shown depending on how the page is being viewed. i.e desktop, tablet or mobile.
Wordpress is really good if you want an out of the box solution which will not need a lot of changes. Careful thought needs to be made here, a template may look great but will it fit everything you want? Themes can be changed and customised but it does become more tricky and you will be best to make a ‘child theme’ or you may loose your changes if a template update is made. Most wordpress themes are built using either fluid width or fixed breakpoints but unlike Muse you dont have the flexibility to hide and change the layout as easily on the Breakpoints.

Which is Best, Muse or WordPress for Updating Content?

I would say WordPress for this one, particularly if a blog is being used. However again as time goes on you may want to add and change content to the main pages. Muse is best for this as the original design may no longer work, perhaps you are adding a new image or adding more text, the layout may no longer look good.

Abode Muse allows the flexibility to change the design on the page relatively easy. The failing with Muse is that it is not a CMS (content management system). It does have”In Browser Editing”  built in, but currently it does not work well and I personally would only ever use for basic updates. Muse does have lots of third party widgets that allow for content updates including page updates from tumblr, Google Docs and Spreadsheets and many more, the failing here is that although your website is showing fresh content SEO may not pick this up.

Which is Best, Muse or WordPress for SEO?

This is a close call as both Muse and WordPress perform reasonably well for SEO. I would say that WordPress just scrapes by on this one as it has some great plugins to help you focus on SEO including the ever popular Yoast.
Muse has all the tools there for adding H tags and changing to friendly URLs.  The video below gives an overview of SEO on Muse.

There also some widgets that will help  Muse SEO widgets here from J-26 

Which is Best, Muse or WordPress for e-commerce?

This one is just edged by WordPress as it has a third party plugin only available on wordpress called woocommerce. Woocommerce is a free plugin that has paid for optional extras. It works well and lots of the Themes available on wordpress for e-commerce have this as the prefered way of setting up a store.
Adobe Muse offers a number of third party ‘store’ widgets including Ecwid and Shopify both are paid for widgets and also available on wordpress. The Ecwid works particularly well for Muse as it is very customisable to fit in with the website design but is expensive for sites with lots of low value products.

Which is Best, Muse and WordPress Combined?

A solution that may work best for you is a combination of both as in Mick Kenyon Website. The main pages that need to look just as you want are designed in Muse and the CMS pages (e.g blog) added in WordPress (and possibly your e-commerce). This can be done by adding wordpress in C-Panel into a sub directory (have a think what you would like to call the directory as this will be shown in the URL). Video explains a little more.

Let me know your thoughts and experiences of using WordPress or Muse

 

Moving a WordPress Website from Multisite to Single Install Site

Moving a WordPress website from multisite to single install site is a tricky process. You need change both the config file and the database settings. That is unless you use a third party plugin then the process is much simpler but still a nervous proposition.

 

Backup befor moving from WordPress ‘multisite’ to ‘single install’

Using Duplicator to Move From Multisite To Single Install of WordPress

Luckily the talented guys over on ‘Snapcreek’ have made a great plugin called duplicator pro The premium ‘Business’ version allows you to not only backup your entire wordpress website but also install it on the Single Install.  The process you should take is;

  1. Install the single version WordPress install (my prefered option here is to install it in Cpanel and use Softaculous for the install ). The install of WordPress should be done in the root.
  2. Install the Business version of Duplicator Pro on your multisite version of wordpress.
  3. Create ‘new package’ using Duplicator Pro.
  4. Archive the ‘package’ to your pc/mac
  5. Add the installer and archive file (zip file) to the root so you can find it using a browser.
  6. Navigate to the the duplicator installer in the browser
  7. Follow the instructions in the installer (if anything is shown as red, do not proceed until you are happy that you know why it is red and have introduced a fix)
  8. Once you have completed the install into the ‘Single Install’ version of WordPress, go into the admin panel and check all looks well (pages, posts, products etc. are all there).
  9. Install the Duplicator Pro into the ‘Single Install Version’ of wordpress
  10. Create a ‘new package’ in the ‘Single Install Version’.
  11. Activate all plugins in the Single Install Version that were active in the multisite version
  12. Check to see if your new site is showing in the browser when you add the URL
  13. If it is not showing you may need to now delete the multisite version  of the website using either cpanel or an ftp service. (Double check everything is backed up (Databases and files) before you do this.
  14. Check all is okay after the delete

Moving Multisite to Single Site Service

If you are still struggling or don’t want to buy the duplicator pro business app there is an alternative. Professional moving from multisite to single install site can be done on your behalf. These often work out cheaper than buying the Business version of the app. Please contact hello@mickkenyon.com for a free quote to have your multisite transferred to a single install.

Moving from Multisite to Single Install to Make URL better

There are a number of reason you may want to change from multisite to single installs, but for me the reason was to clean up the URL’s.  I had just taken over the management of a client WordPress website. It was a locked down Control panel with very limited options, the main problem was no way to update plugins or versions of the WordPress install. My client wanted to have a look at a couple of new Themes and obviously wanted control back of the Admin Panel. I installed a second version of wordpress on the client’s site and opted for the multisite option. The install was made with the extension of /wp/ but it is also quite common practice to install on /wordpress/ or /blog/.  The new version was then designed and the client was happy (delighted) with the new design. The problem was the URL address of the new website was websitename.com/wp/pagename This maybe okay for some but I like a clean URL and wanted it to look like  websitename.com/pagename. With single website installs the fix is quite easy. For a Multisite it is much more complicated.

How to Add a Blog to a Adobe Muse Website

How to Add a Blog to a Adobe Muse. Adobe Muse is really great for the creative web designer but it does have one major flaw, it is not very good for clients adding content. Adobe Muse does have in-browser editing but currently it does not work well. When editing in the in-browser often the changes can result in undesired effect to the styling. A few third party developers have offered solutions, some better than others, but there is a simpler solution, and that is to add a blog using c-panel, the choice of blogging is vast including WordPress, Ghost, Serendipity etc.

Why add a Blog to your Muse Site?

Clients should be encouraged to add new content to their website, it helps with SEO, websites that have regular new content will out perform SEO of those websites that are static and have no changes made. By adding the blog into the background of your website it will be seen as new content for the website. A blog is easy to add content, both images and text, and most blogs are responsive.

How to add a Blog to Muse

Please view the video I have produced that will show you the full process of installing a blogging platform on your Adobe Muse Website. In summary the steps are;
To add a blog using the c-panel which lots of website hosting companies offer.
Once in cpanel you can use Softaculous to install your prefered blogging platform including WordPress.
When installing make sure the installation is in it’s own Directory and not the root directory.
Add a manual menu in Adobe Muse and a link to the blog directory
Add a Manual menu in the blog to link to the Main Adobe Muse website.

Once the blog is added it can be customised to match your Adobe Muse website styled differently to give the blog its own unique style. Dont forget you will also need to add a Google tracking code to the blog site if you want to track in Google analytics.

The video on How to Add a Blog to Adobe Muse can be seen here  on my You Tube Channel >>
https://youtu.be/g-4jdjtiUak

 

 

Planning Your Wedding Photography

Wedding photo taken on lake windermere in the Lake District

Pre-planning your wedding photography benefits both the Bridal Couple and the photographer

The importance of planning your wedding photography should not be overlooked, perfect planning will help ensure the perfect photos. As a wedding photographer it is really important for me to meet the bride and groom before the wedding. I like to meet at the venue(s) in advance so we can discuss the finer details so I can find out a bit more about the couple as well as getting a feeling for the venue. This also helps settle the nerves of both the bride/groom and the photographer alike.

Planning The Day

Plan your day to make the most of your photographer but don’t forget that your main priority is to enjoy your day!  As a photographer I prefer documentary style wedding photography. This style allows the full day to be captured from the Bride and Groom getting ready (drinks, makeup, bridesmaids, bestman, pre-nerves!), the ceremony (walking down the isle, marrage vows, signing the register, sneaky shots of a tearful mum) A few formal photos (make sure you have a couple with your most loved) Romantic Spot (A few pics of Bride and Groom on their own – keep this time as brief as possible) then back to the party with speeches and the fun of the day (these are often the best pics of the day as people are relaxed and I can take photos without being too obvious, these are less forced and you get the natural smiles and laughter shots). This informal documentary style wedding photography will give you the most photos whilst also taking the least time distracting you from enjoying your day.

Bride getting ready for wedding

Bride getting ready

Photographing the Bride and Groom

The style of photography will be different dependant on whether the couple are outgoing or a little shyer and meeting the couple beforehand helps to build up a relationship. Extravert couples will usually feel much happier being photographed than shyer introverts that may prefer more subtle wedding photography. As a photographer I am full of energy (without being too over the top) and will adapt the style to make the couple most comfortable.

Newly weds hand in hand walking through cherry trees

The perfect wedding photo is often pre-planned.

The Wedding Venue

Its a good idea to run through the photos the bride and groom definitely want.  It maybe the couple would like photos taken in the church or chapel. To plan in advance it is a good idea to identify a suitable spot that you will get the desired spot. Check for things like seating plans, angles (can you see the couple for the photo. Is it okay to take photos in the church, perhaps the person doing the blessing will not want the sound of a camera shutter.

Teepee wedding venue

Meet at the Wedding Venue to get a feel of what will work for your wedding photography

Rain on a Wedding Day

We all hate to think of the dreaded scenario of torrential rain on your wedding day! Pre-planning for the ‘just in case’ is well worth the effort. Identify a nice indoor area preferably well lit with greenery. Often hotels will have a little spot perhaps in a conservatory or orangery that will help rescue the day. Get a a few nice brollies that can be used for outside shots, investigate any local spots (quirky buildings, follies, homes) that can used as a fall back. My experience says the rain will soon pass so with a little flexibility you will get both stunning indoor and outdoor photos no matter what the weather.

Blog by Mick Kenyon Wedding Photographer, wedding photography in The Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District.

 

Great News My Website Traffic is Dropping

Google Analytics

Great news at last that my website traffic is dropping! What I hear you cry! You see the problem I and many webmasters have encountered recently (and not so recently) is inaccurate analytics information. Spammers had cleverly added links to website analytics in the hope that webmaster and website owners would click on the links to see who was adding links to their websites. This is termed as ‘Referral SPAM’ and it was a real pain in the proverbial. Yes it made it look like websites were performing well but in fact it was not real traffic.  Google have finally managed to sort the ongoing SPAM referral problem.

What is SPAM Referral traffic?

Spam Referral traffic are links in analytics that gains traffic by hoping that the website owners and webmasters will click on those referral sites in order to see what it was that brought visitors to their website. These are often from worldwide sites such as Russia and Brazil.  While no links – or ‘real traffic’ – came from these sites.  Up to now Google Analytics wasn’t  able to tell what was referral spam and what was legitimate links but it now appears Google have cracked the problem.

Google Has Started To Sanitize The Links 

Website owners will be able to analyze their dashboard without all the ‘referral spam’ skewing the figures.  This may result in your website looking like traffic is dropping but seeing as it isn’t real traffic it is great news as you can now concentrate on the real factors and see genuine traffic.

The changes have are now being seen on many websites, I am sure there will be many people panicking at seeing a downward trendline, particularly as it doesn’t seem the changes Google have put in place are historically being removed.  Going forward the Google analytics will be much more accurate.

You can check to see your traffic sources by going into google analytics >>Acquisition >>All Traffic >> Channels then compare January to March .. you will probably see some dodgy looking sites showing in  January which hopefully have dissapeared in the more recent weeks

 

Responsive vs Reactive Websites

Responsive websites are websites that automatically resize to the screen size the website is being viewed on.
Reactive websites (adaptive) displays a website especially designed for the device type the website is being viewed on.

Responsive websites are not always the best solution for web design. Firstly an explanation of what a responsive website means and what it isn’t. There is much misunderstanding that the only way a website can be  a mobile friendly website is to design it to be responsive, as in a wordpress website. This is wrong, you can design a website that adapts or provides an alternate display on mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets.  The difference is responsive websites automatically display correctly on mobile devices as they resize to the display screen size. Reactive – Adaptive  websites gives a totally different website version for the screen size allowing specific design for desktop, tablet or mobile.  Both the responsive and adaptive approaches are endorsed by the Google Mobile Friendly test.

Some reasons why adaptive might be best

With adaptive websites you can choose what to display on your desktop version and what you want to display on mobile versions.  For instance you may have strong ‘call to action’ for mobile users such as “download our mobile app here” or even giving your mobile version a more app feel and look.

Reactive Websites

Adding a download App to only mobile devices

Being both a website designer and a photographer I realise that sometimes a photo looks fantastic when seen on desktop but not so good on mobile. With an adaptive you can choose which photos you show dependant on the device.

SEO Responsive vs Reactive (Adaptive)  Websites

Responsive vs Reactive Websites

More SEO options available with reactive design

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can also be advantageous having two or three versions (you can have separate versions for desktop, tablet and mobile). This allows you to keyword and change the SEO for each of the pages depending on the device version, this is particularly advantageous if you ‘Local SEO’ for mobile searches, such as directions, local business etc.

If you would like more information on reactive vs responsive websites call Mick Kenyon on 07738 255499

 

 

Google+ the best marketeer?

Google+ The Marketeer

Is Google+ the best marketeer?  It certainly can feel like it is your businesses best friend if you get it well optimised, it can increase visibility, give driving directions and help customers contact you ultimately increasing more sales.

Google+ The Marketeer

Case Study

I recently optimised a clients Google+ page to make it visible on local business. This increased the visibility of the business in search queries and helped customers find the business via a number of tools increasing the customers user experience.

Measurable

With Google insights any changes made to your visibility and customer interaction on the Google platforms can be measured.

The overview gives a quick view of your visibility performance over the last 30 days
Overview of insights

You can see much more detail by clicking on the ‘view insights’.

Search Views

The date range can be changed as required from 7 days, 30 days, 90 days or all time. This shows the number of impressions returned on the Google searches, Maps and mobile.

Views and clicks in insights

Clicks

This is broken down into some really useful sub categories including;

  • Driving directions – This is the number of clicks in Google Searches and Google maps for driving directions to your business, in the above infographic you can see 259 people have clicked for directions to the business.
  • Clicks on Website – This is actual clicks on to the website from Google platforms of Searches and Maps (excludes things like direct clicks, searches on Bing, Yahoo etc.), 1360 direct clicks from Google are shown in the infographics.
  • Phone calls – This is the number of clicks on the phone number from Google Searches, Maps and Mobile – you can see that 83 phone calls were made from Google search.  These can also be shown by the day of the week etc within the insights.

Search Results

When you type the name of a business into search engines (without the .co.uk or .com) it returns a snippet of information on the right hand side of the page about your business this is fed from Google+.

Google Snippet

One final word, don’t panic if you don’t have too many followers on Google+, the UK have been pretty slow to embrace Google+, this will come in slower time.  The main importance is getting the Google My Business pages optimised, this will feed the search results with your business.  To get your pages optimised call Mick Kenyon on 07738 255499

More information on  Google insights.

Is Your Website Really On Page One?

Is Your Website Really on Page One? Why is that when you Google your business it appears on page 1 of Google but when someone else searches they get different results?  Quite often when speaking with businesses they think all is good with their Business rankings on search results, because when they Google their business it is showing up on page 1 or page 2 of the results. What looks to be a great result isn’t always what it seems.

Is your website really on page one

Is Your website really number 1

Why’s My Website on Page 1 Only Sometimes?

Google manipulates results on your browsing history returning what it thinks you are mostly interested in. It doesn’t matter if you are signed in to Google or not these results are manipulated for you. Sounds a bit ‘big brother’, well maybe yes but it’s only trying to help. By learning what you search for it will tailor the results to what Google thinks is most relevant to you. So naturally you are interested in your own business, we have all done it, and should do it, we try to Google our business to see where we are in Google land. We might try a number of permutations to see how we are fairing and when it pops up we can’t resist clicking on our weblink just to make sure it all works fine. But the more we do this the more Google thinks this is what you want to see and so adds it to your Google Web History and places it on page 1 for next time you search for your Business or keywords to do with your business.

Is Your Website Really On Page One?

  • To see the true ranking of your webpage you need to do one of two things;
    You can clear your browsing history (this will depend on the browser you are using) but for Google see this article on clearing web browsing history.
  • The easiest way and the way I would recommend is to go incognito or open private viewing tab and search the term again. You will probably be surprised or even horrified at the results, you might be a lot lower ranking than you thought.

So Why Am I Not Ranking Higher?

Your true web rankings are down to good SEO (search Engine Optimisation), there are over 100 things to get right to impress Google and get high rankings and these are constantly changing. For a health check on your websites SEO and to receive an in depth report contact Mick Kenyon tel:07738 255499

 

 

Micro Moments for Your Accommodation Business

Micro Moments for Your Accommodation Business

What are micro moments and how does it affect marketing particularly within the accommodation business?
Welcome to the new buzz term ‘micro moments’, this is when you are waiting for something like queuing up for a bus or train or waiting in a clothes shop for your loved one to finish trying on all the dresses in a store (okay that’s probably a bit longer than a micro moment!) and you get out your mobile phone and browse.

micro moments travel quote

Great potential for accommodation providers to tap into micro-moments

Google have announced that 69% of these micro moments are spent looking at travel ideas, that’s a massive potential for travel industry to tap into a market, particularly when you consider over 30% then go on to book.

Accomodation Photography for micro moments

How to make the most out of Micro Moments for Your Accommodation Business.

  • Make sure your website is mobile friendly, all these micro moments are performed using a mobile device (people are unlikely to carry around the PC for micro moments).
  • Make sure your website also has a secure online booking facility, there are free ones out there that can pretty easily be added to your website.
  • Great photos help sell the product, make them unique and great quality so they make you stand out from the crowd. Also make sure they look good on a mobile, not all photos do, you usually find those images that fill the screen look best.
  • SEO (search engine optimisation), the accommodation business is very competative and non more so than on search engines, keywords are often around £5.00 each on add words so getting your SEO is key.
  • Use Social media to also increase your visibility, not forgetting making sure your Google+ business page is fully set up and optimised.

For further information on Website Design and SEO for your accommodation in the Yorkshire Dales, Lake District and  Lancashire  call Mick 07738 255499

The article on micro moments from Google can be read here

How to Blog

How to Blog– To create that perfect blog firstly the content should be unique and interesting and you will need a photo or two to help.  But thats only the start, you will want to layout the page so people searching on the internet can also find the subject you are writing the blog about. So in this example, I am using the term or phrase ‘How to Blog’  to show you ‘how to blog’!

How to Blog

Include an infographic or image in your blog

How to Blog

The page name also known as the URL needs to include the subject so an example might be :
“http://mickkenyon.com/blog/how-to-blog” words should be separated using hyphens ‘-‘. There is a great article by Moz here on URL’s

# You will also want to use the ‘H tags” these are headline tags and can be used as you would titles in a book  H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6 tags. The chapter-title is a H1 tag. All the subchapters have an H2 tag. If these subchapters have another sub-area then this would be marked up with an H3 tag and so on. you define a H tags in HTML by adding <h1>How To Blog</h1> Please don’t feel you have to use all the H tags, but a minimum should be at least 1 x H1 tag and 1x H2 tag. more information can be found here on H -tags
# The next thing is to do is ensure that the phrase you are blogging about is included in the first sentence of your blog.
# I like to add a photograph or infographic after the first paragraph, search engines can’t read photographs so you need to tell them about the photograph. When adding photos, name the photograph something that is meaningful ( e.g in my case ‘blog’) make sure you also add an ‘alt tag’, you might want to use your blog title as the Alt tag. If you can, also add the description fields into the metadata of the photograph or infographic.

Blog photo metadata

This shows a wordpress illustration for showing how to add the metadata to your blog images

Before your publish your blog also add a meta-description, this is what the search engines will display next to a link to your post on search engine result pages. Make it descriptive about your post in less than 156 characters.

Once published don’t forget to shout about it, use social media to link to your posts, facebook, Google+ and twitter are all good for doing this.

Blog Page Layout Example

Ideally get the key phrase into your blog about six times. Try not to repeat it much more than this as it might be deemed as ‘keyword stuffing’, and this usually results in a less well optimised page.  The post should have a minimum of about 300 words, and not much more than 500 words. It is also a good idea to reference other sources of information and include links to trustworthy sources of information websites.

The perfectly search engine optimised page for ‘How to Blog’ might look like

Page URL = http://mickkenyon.com/blog/how-to-blog
Page title =  How to Blog – Mick Kenyon
H1 tag  = How to Blog

H1 = How to blog ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ how to blog. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ blog ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________how to blog.
IMAGE name = “how-to-blog.jpeg

____________________________ blog _____________________________________ how to blog _____________________________________

H2 = Blog Page Layout

_______________________ blog page layout ________________________________________________ blog___________________page layout ________________________________

Image name  = ‘Page Layout’

______________________blog page layout

Please visit my page on SEO