It’s all about your business

melodyI’ve been in Santa Cruz County since 1981, designing and maintaining websites since 1996. You can be confident of my skills (yes, I’m delighted that your nephew builds websites, too!) because as a business owner myself, I want to help you grow your business. Melody Sharp Web Design has developed hundreds of websites–from standard HTML to WordPress CMS–but specializes in collaborating with smaller clients and nonprofits to give them a unique and successful online presence.

melody-in-the-waveMelody Sharp Web Design is small enough to give you one-on-one service, yet well-connected enough to recommend other local professionals for larger projects, including project managers, marketing people, logo designers, programmers and search engine optimization gurus. We collaborate to offer content creation, blogging, SEO, SEM, e-mail marketing, Web analytics and social media.

Introductory Offers
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WordPress Website Hosting Nightmares

This is a follow up to my post last year about recommendations for WordPress hosting.  Unfortunately, most small, reliable hosting companies are getting swallowed up by the big guys.  These boutique companies start out with great service and tiny monthly fees.  Then they get bought out, enter into greedy price wars, and things start to fall apart.

A colleague called to tell me that a client of hers lost their entire WordPress site when A Small Orange Hosting went down and the website couldn’t be restored.  The idea of losing months worth of work gave me a stomachache and is still gnawing away at me.

I guess the bottom line is this:  Forget about cheap hosting unless you can afford to lose your website and don’t mind starting over from scratch. People roll their eyes at me when I suggest WPengine at $30 per month.  Yet it starts to sound like a very good deal when you realize they backup their client’s sites every 24 hours so, whether their servers are struck by tornados or vicious hackers, you can easily restore when bad things happen.

So, based upon discussions with local experts, these are my recommendations:

cruzioWhile Cruzio costs a bit more, if you want to support local, why not use their services? You can walk right in and talk with someone, too. Always nice. Use Cruzio or I can host for you at $15 per month.
wpengineDo you mean business with your site? wpEngine costs a bit more but worth the expense with superb customer support, built for WordPress clients. Get 2 months free hosting with WP Engine on any shared annual plan The $29 personal plan should be fine for most clients.
laughing-squidThis firm is independently owned, based in San Francisco and I’m told is a good bet. At only $4-$8 bucks a month, you won’t find much cheaper than that. View more info here.
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Study of SEO Ranking Factors

I use a software called SemRush when working with my business partners on Search Engine Optimization projects. They just did a survey and revealed some interesting new insights into how Google rates one website higher than another.

The main goal of the study was to identify any consistent patterns in the ranking mechanism within 12 factors. Together with key takeaways and practical advice, these insights will help you to make better data-driven decisions in your SEO. You can review the whole study here.

These are their key takeaways:

  • The number of website visits seems to be the most important page-ranking factor. Websites with higher authority consequently gain more traffic, and as a result, have a better chance of getting into the top.
  • User behaviour signals such as time on site, pages per session and bounce rate indicate the authority of a website and influence its rankings as well.
  • A website’s number of referring domains can also indicate its authority, which together with the previously mentioned factors influences a website’s rankings
  • Google states that website security, which is indicated by HTTP implementation, is important, but has little influence as a ranking factor. The results we received prove this statement.
  • Though it is important for various reasons, having an HTTPS version of your website doesn’t drastically change its ranking position
  • The influence of the on-page SEO factors proved to be insignificant, so their status as major ranking factors can be dismissed.
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WordPress Just Gets More Popular

Grousing with a colleague recently, as web developers often do, about all the “you’ll have a website up and running in a few minutes” ads on TV (not really true, frankly).  Those “hosted” solutions can be the right choice for, say, a photographer who just wants to upload his latest artwork and be done with […]

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Wordcamp Sacramento 2016

Spending the weekend at WordCamp. Lots of good stuff but here is one presentation that is valuable for anybody who wants and/or builds websites. Profitable Website Development: The Oreo Cookie Strategy WordPress is a complicated application software.  It’s a CMS. Presentation by James Hipkin, Red8Interactive, Inc. Planning | Design | Concept Discovery Objective: Wireframes Functional […]

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