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What is SEO and Why is It Important?

Did you know that organic search is most often the primary source for web traffic? That places a big weight on the shoulders of search engines. Because organic search is most often used, SEO has become a main tactic for putting websites in the position to be seen by web visitors.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is all about brand exposure, website ranking, credibility, increasing the quantity and quality of web traffic, and creating a better experience for web visitors. 

Search Engine Optimization is a method of increasing a website’s ranking on search engine results such as Google, Yahoo, AOL, Bing, and many more. There are hundreds of factors that go into search engine rankings. These factors help websites get closer to ranking at the top of search results.

Why is it important?

A website that ranks at the top of the search results page will have more web traffic. That is just a fact! This is just one of the many reasons why businesses optimize their website. It is one more way that those businesses can gain traffic. Not only does great SEO increase website traffic, but it also increases yearly sales and revenue. Optimizing your website for SEO is an important step in getting your brand noticed. In its essence, SEO makes your website more visible, trustworthy, and credible.

How does SEO work?

SEO can only be truly understood when you understand the purpose of search engines. 

A search engine is meant to provide impartial search results that detail and present information as quickly and as accurately as possible. In order for a search engine to provide you those quick results, they need to be able to identify and analyze websites all over the Internet that match what you are looking for.

There are over 1 billion websites in existence today. Search engines are working overtime to pick through active, inactive, quality, and subpar websites to display high-quality and relevant results. Just think about that for a second! We do not give search engines enough credit. Nowadays, we just expect search engines to display results in two seconds. We don’t even think about the work that goes on behind the scenes to make those results pull up quickly and accurately. 

For example, let’s say that you typed “Restaurants near me” into Google. You wait a few seconds and local restaurants begin to pull up. You may not have realized this before, but Google is analyzing tons of data from different websites before displaying them to you. Want to know something crazy? Search engines are analyzing data ALL the time! They actually never stop analyzing data. That’s how you know that the websites perched at the top of the page are relevant and high-quality!

How do search engines analyze so much data?

But wait! How are search engines able to analyze so much data on millions of websites everyday?

Their secret? Web crawlers. 

A web crawler, sometimes known as a spiderbot, is an Internet bot that systematically and regularly browses the web for the purpose of indexing. Web crawlers look for specific things when browsing websites. Search engines use web crawler’s information to separate the high-quality sites from the subpar sites. The high-quality sites that use SEO-friendly techniques are ranked higher. Those will be the websites that you see at the top of the page when you search for anything specific. 

The websites at the top of the page are deemed “trustworthy” because they contain most of the necessary information needed to have the best SEO. The websites on the second, third and fourth pages aren’t necessarily “untrustworthy”, but they are missing a few things that would boost their ranking even higher! The ways that you optimize your website have a direct effect on your SEO ranking. There are hundreds of different ways that you can improve your SEO. One way that you can get started is by improving your keywords

What is the Cloud?

If you’re not completely submerged in the world of technology, you may be confused when “tech” language is tossed around. But, don’t be embarrassed. Unless you’re around this kind of stuff often, it can be hard to understand! One term that often confuses people is “the cloud”.

It’s the one combination of words that you may only understand as the white cotton candy floating around in the sky. In tech terms, “the cloud” does not refer to anything residing in the sky. It’s actually a “catch-all” phrase that includes many different types of virtual solutions and services. There are two main services: cloud computing and cloud storage. 

Cloud computing refers to software and services that run on the Internet

Yes, the Internet! And no, the Internet does not reside in the sky. The name is just so similar to the dense patches of water that soar above us every so often. So, instead of running locally on your computer, the cloud operates on the Internet.  

You may be thinking, “What software and services are you talking about?” Well, they are likely services that you use every day. Cloud services include Google Drive, Apple iCloud, Netflix, Microsoft One Drive, Yahoo Mail, Dropbox, and many others. You may have been using one of these services without even knowing it. Some awesome benefits are that you can access your information on any device with an internet connection, you don’t need special hardware requirements and upgrades are easy because they only need to be performed on one server, instead of every computer and device in existence. 

Cloud services can be accessed through a web browser like Google Chrome and Firefox. Some companies even offer mobile apps that allow cloud access. You’ll receive double the benefits if you combine cloud computing with cloud storage. 

You may be more familiar with cloud storage, which is basically a virtual locker where you can remotely store any data and files. Years ago, people used hard drives, floppy disks, and CDs to store their information. Nowadays, those aren’t necessary. When you save content, such as a photo, to Google Drive, or iCloud, your photo is then copied over the Internet into a data server. 

Data servers are physical places where companies store your files on multiple hard drives. Normally there will be hundreds of these servers spanning across many locations, which are known as server farms. This is for precautionary reasons! If one location goes down, then your files won’t be lost because it will be backed up on another location. 

One benefit of using cloud storage is that it ensures a company’s data is kept secure and readily available. In instances such as a fire, a computer malfunction, or any other crazy emergency, the cloud will keep your data protected. As we know, it will be kept safe because it would be stored on a virtual server, not on your computer. Cloud storage also includes apps such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Apple iCloud, Microsoft One Drive, and much more. 

Overall, cloud computing and cloud storage can be a great solution for freeing up space on your device and accessing your files. It’s also a pretty great safeguard in case your devices are destroyed, because it will be backed up!

How to Build a Social Network Using a Free WP Plugin

Did you know that it’s possible to create a social network on your WordPress site? Well… it is! You can literally turn your WordPress into a social networking platform by using the free WordPress plugin, BuddyPress! 

Why would you want such a plugin on your website? The better question is, why would you not want to install this plugin? If you would like to turn your site into a community of users, add social media features, or attempt to build an entire social media platform with WordPress, then this is the plugin for you!

BuddyPress will allow you to take your site beyond the typical blog or business page. In recent years, BuddyPress has been used as a campus-wide social networking platform for universities, as an internal communication tool for companies, as a niche social networking for very specific interest groups, and for focused communities for products and services. It is also integrated with bbPress to enhance community forms. 

By following just a few easy steps, you can gain all the social media features that you have come to know and love from your favorite social media platforms. BuddyPress comes with multiple social media elements that can integrate directly into your site. Some of those elements include detailed user profiles, published updates, the opportunity to join groups, private messaging, group messaging and so much more. It allows website visitors to network with each other, stay updated on new information, and stay in touch with things going on in the community. This social networking plugin allows you to build your own online platform for any online or offline community!

One of the coolest things about BuddyPress is that there are over 500 plugins available to help you add unique features to your site. But, you do not have to use them! If you only want to use a select few, BuddyPress will adapt to that and only show the menu items and pages for the features you have enabled. Did we mention it is FREE?

This multi-feature packed plugin is easy to integrate into your website and it is very easy to get started! BuddyPress can be installed on your site directly from the WordPress plugin directory.  Are you ready to Install?

  1. To begin, log in to your WordPress website’s admin area and find Plugins on the left-hand panel on your screen. Hover your mouse over Plugins. You will see that you have a choice between Installed Plugins or Add New. Press Add New. On the right-hand side, you’ll see a search bar that will allow you to search for options. In that bar, search for BuddyPress. 

2. You will see that BuddyPress shows up on the left-hand side of the screen. In the BuddyPress box, press Install Now. BuddyPress then installs into your system and you will see the option to activate. Press Activate

3. After you have pressed activate, you will see this popup. 

4. The picture above is basically welcoming you to the newly activated plugin and letting you know about the recently updated version of BuddyPress. From there, you can click the X in the top right-hand corner and mess with the settings on the newly installed BuddyPress menu, located under the settings sidebar menu. 

5. You can individually activate or disable any component. This makes BuddyPress extremely beneficial for those who only want to add a few of the many social networking elements to their website.

6. Under Components, check any element that you think would fit nicely into your site. You can also uncheck elements that you do not think would look good on your site. This is really where you can add all of your social networking elements.  As you can see, the tabs next to components are Options, Pages, and Credits. The Options button allows you to access the toolbar. The Pages tab allows you to configure the pages that are using the BuddyPress plugin to show member information and their activity. You can also set up the registration and activation Pages in the Pages tab as well.  

This is what your page will look like if you do not yet have any members on your site. The down arrow next to members will allow you to associate a WordPress page with each BuddyPress component directory. Use the down arrow to view the list and choose. The options range from live web chat, to blog, to test page, to set an appointment, and much more.

From there, you can begin adding people to your social network! In addition, the visitors to your site can register to become members! Feel free to play with the different features available to see what you like the best!

Wasn’t this process easier than you anticipated? Are you ready to start your own social network? Go get ’em!

What is WordPress and How Does it Work?

In today’s modern-day of unlimited Internet access and seemingly paper-thin smartphones, it is easy to assume that a majority of people know all about web creation websites like WordPress. My assumptions were proven wrong when somebody genuinely asked me, “What is WordPress?”. After thinking about that question it occurred to me that some people are very unaware of WordPress and what it has to offer. If you are stirring in silent embarrassment because you are also asking yourself the same question, then do not worry. This article is for you. 

WordPress is known as the most powerful, straightforward and versatile website content management system (CMS) in existence today. If you own a website, it is your website’s operating system. In simple terms, WordPress is the engine to your “vehicle”. In this case, WordPress is the engine, while your website is the vehicle. 

WordPress allows you to create and customize any kind of website that you want. It provides you with interchangeable themes, fonts and styles. People have created websites that feature topics such as E-commerce, social networking, business, membership, portfolio, forums, events, E-learning, weddings or even a simple blog. WordPress originated as a blogging tool but later developed into the content management system that it is today. 

Whether you’re an aspiring business owner attempting to establish your online presence or you’re secretly passionate about gardening and want to create an online outlet, it is easy for anyone to create a website. In fact, WordPress operates over 30% of all websites on the Internet.

There are many benefits to joining WordPress’s large and powerful website community. WordPress is very simple to operate, which is one of the most intriguing elements of the website. The website content management system is very easy to use, even for beginners. WordPress allows you to create and publish your website content quickly. Another great feature is that the actual WordPress software is free to download and use. WordPress also operates on all screen sizes and devices. It even comes in the form of an app! There are two different types of WordPress websites that you have the option to use.   

  • WordPress.org: This site is known as the self-hosted and free version of WordPress. This WordPress software is, in fact, free and is considered an open-source. Open-source means that you have the freedom to build, use, and modify the software in any way that you’d like without having to pay a fee. It also means that it’s licensed under the GNU Public License and it isn’t owned by one single company. With this software, you essentially install your own web host to create your website. This site does not generate any income. It also does not offer any support for its users. Using this site gives you more ownership as well as access to all the website’s perks. Anybody can download this version. WordPress.org is managed by the nonprofit WordPress Foundation.
  • WordPress.com: This is a paid, profit-geared service that is operated by WordPress.org software. WordPress.com is a simple site that any person can navigate and use. With this service, you are essentially paying WordPress to host your site and handle everything for you. This service relieves you from the responsibility of building and managing your website. Many people choose this service because they want a professional website, created and operated by actual professionals. Once you pay for the WordPress.com service, you are paying to not have to worry about those things. This is a fantastic option for someone who has a business but does not have time to create a website. WordPress.com is a for-profit business owned by Automattic that uses WordPress.org open-source software. 

To get started with a self-hosting WordPress website, you will need to pay for web hosting and a domain name. If you choose to continue with a web hosting provider, the domain name, website and many other features will come with the package.

WordPress is used by all kinds of people for various reasons and goals. It is used by individuals, small businesses, large corporations, nonprofit groups, and many more. For example, the official White House website, BBC America, The Walt Disney Company, Vogue and so many more use WordPress to power their site. Take a look at each company’s website, the design, and how it correlates with the culture of the company or business. These examples depict an attractive outline for how a well-constructed website can look. Although these widely-known businesses utilized WordPress.com to their advantage, you can still create a free site using the open-source software. WordPress makes building a website easy and available to everyone, even people who aren’t developers!