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Offsite Cloud Backups for WordPress Websites

Most hosts offer some type of website backup service, but they are either on the same server, on-site, or just not consistent. They also don’t provide a simple solution to restore.

We are now offering off-site backups for all of our clients. This is an add-on for our web hosting packages, as well as an offering for any wordpress website on other hosts.

Our solution utilizes a plugin that automatically creates website backups and sends to an offsite location. In our case, we are using dropbox. We recommend a weekly backup and storing up to 4 sets, which will give you a month’s history.

Do you NEED off-site backups? I hope not. In 20 years, we have only needed to perform an emergency restore one time. One of our clients didn’t realize their hosting account expired. The hosting company removed all of the web files. Fortunately, we had off-site backups enabled and were able to quickly restore onto a new host. Since wordpress websites are database dependent, they are not easily stored, migrated or rebuilt. With offsite backups, it can generally be done with a few clicks. Off-site backups also allow for easy migration between hosts and servers.

Offsite Cloud Backups

  • automate, scheduled weekly backups
  • sent to our remote dropbox
  • encrypted transport to cloud storage
  • includes web, wordpress and database files
  • up to four backups are stored (1 month of data)

$50 / year

cloud backup for wordpress websites

Is your website “not secure”?

In July, 2018 Google Chrome is making it official, if your site does NOT have a security certificate, visitors will see this warning.

Google has been recommending SSL certificates for website security and also suggesting it will boost search engine rankings, too.

The solution is pretty simple, get an SSL certificate for your website. Most of our clients already have ssl installed, and if you’re hosting with us, it’s included. Some hosting companies will charge $75+ per year.

If you are adding an SSL certificate to your website, make sure the website is automatically forwarding to the https version. It is also critical to check all paths, as sometimes urls (pages, posts, images, scripts, external resources, etc) are not configured to https and may need to be updated. Not sure, contact us to review your website security.

Google Maps Updates Cost Structure to Website Platform API

Recently Google.com announced some changes to the Google Maps Platform, they are calling it a simplified product structure, pay as you go pricing for all, and more.

“Beginning June 11th, we are launching our new pricing plan and providing all users access to support. We’ll continue to offer a free tier — all developers will receive $200 of free monthly usage of our core products.

In addition, this change will require you to enable billing and associate it with all of your Google Maps Platform projects. Creating a billing account helps us better understand your usage so we can continue developing helpful products. It also allows you to scale easily with less downtime and fewer performance issues if your product grows beyond the $200 of free monthly usage. For additional visibility and control you can set daily quotas or billing alerts.”

How does this affect your website? If you have a simple google map, a dealer locator using google maps, this may have impact. It all comes down to how you are using the APIs, and how much website traffic you are generating. In general, most users should remain in the “free” threshold.

How about a rough breakdown on the costs?

  • Google JavaScript Website API (using dynamic map that you can move around on your website)
    Up to 28,000 loads on the Free $200 amount
    0—100,000 loads = $7.00
    100,001-500,000 loads = $5.60
  • Google Street View Image API
    Up to 14,000 loads on the Free $200 amount
    0—100,000 = $14.00
    100,001-500,000 = $11.20
  • Google Maps Geocoding API
    Up to 40,000 calls on the Free $200 amount
    0—100,000 = $5.00
    100,001-500,000 = $4.00
  • Google Maps Directions API
    Up to 40,000 calls on the Free $200 amount
    0—100,000 = $5.00
    100,001-500,000 = $4.00
  • Google Maps Distance Matrix API
    Up to 40,000 elements on the Free $200 amount
    0—100,000 = $5.00
    100,001-500,000 = $4.00
  • Google Maps Geolocation API
    Up to 40,000 calls on the Free $200 amount
    0—100,000 = $5.00
    100,001-500,000 = $4.00

The Places API (usually using the autocomplete function in both admin and user sides):

  • Google Places API Web Service
    Autocomplete – Per Character
    Up to 70,000 chars on the Free $200 amount
    0—100,000 = $2.83
    100,001-500,000 = $2.26
  • Autocomplete – Per Session
    Up to 11,000 sessions on the Free $200 amount
    0—100,000 = $17.00
    100,001-500,000 = $13.60

Can we put Google Maps on your website without using the Google Maps APIs?

Yes. Google Maps now offers the ability to embed the map that you’re viewing into your website or blog, without any programming or use of the Google Maps APIs. More information is available here.

Want more details, take a look at the google website documentation here.

Still have questions, contact us for website solutions.

Could Your Website Use More Video?

Web design is important, but you need great content to persuade customers to work with your company, or to buy your products and services. More and more, business owners are discovering the power of online video, and the way it can be used to supplement text and static images.

Is it possible that you could use video on your website to generate more leads or sales? Could a few clips help cut down on the number of customer service requests you have to answer? Could video just make your website more interesting and engaging?

Based on our experience with dozens of companies, the answers to all of these questions are probably “yes.” But, integrating video into your business website can be overwhelming. That’s why today we want to give you a few simple and straightforward ways you can use video on your pages.

Here are just a few of the things you can do quickly and affordably with video that might help your company grow…

Give Customers a Virtual Tour

It has been well documented that most people have a fear of the unknown. That is, they’ll stick to routines that are familiar even if trying something new might benefit them. You can use this to your advantage by offering website visitors a virtual tour of your company. Then, they’ll be more likely to stop by because they’ll feel like they’ve already had the experience of being there.

Introduce Your Staff

In the same way you want your location to be familiar to potential customers, you can use online video to introduce them to your staff, as well. This can be surprisingly effective, especially if you work in a people-oriented business. The more friendly and accessible you and your team are on your website, the easier it will be to generate phone calls, appointments, and walk-in visits.

Explain Important Features or Benefits

There are some product features or competitive strengths that are difficult to explain with text. And, people have an easier time believing what they’ve seen with their own eyes over what they have read on a web page. Putting those two truths together, it’s easy to see why a video demonstration can be much more compelling than a simple product or service page would be.

Share Customer Testimonials

Nothing adds credibility to your business like testimonials from previous customers who have had good experiences. And, by presenting these in video format, you turn your satisfied buyers into real people rather than anonymous names and faces on a website. Plus, online video reviews and testimonials can be shared through your social media profiles for extra effect.

Show Off Your Personality

Sometimes the most effective online marketing videos have little to do with marketing at all. Numerous entrepreneurs have discovered they can get interest from customers by posting videos of their pets, their favorite charities, or even little jokes or pranks. You don’t want your website to be full of silly videos, of course, but having a couple of them can separate you from all the other vendors out there in buyers’ minds.

Online video used to be a novelty for marketers with huge production budgets. Now it’s easy to create and edit a clip that can go online within hours. We hope you’ll give these ideas a bit of thought, and then see how a handful of clips might help you take your sales and marketing efforts to the next level. Check out our Los Angeles video production portfolio.

Looking for online marketing recommendations that are tailored to your business and situation? Contact our creative team today to schedule a free consultation and see what we can do for you.

Custom WordPress Websites

As of January 2018, WordPress was used by more than 29.3% of the top 10 million websites. This is a staggering figure and it continues to rise everyday. Everything from simple websites, to blogs, to complex portals and enterprise websites, even applications are built with WordPress.

WordPress combines simplicity for users and publishers with under-the-hood complexity for developers. This makes it flexible while still being easy-to-use.

WordPress was born out of a desire for an elegant, well-architectured personal publishing system built on PHP and MySQL and licensed under the GPL. By focusing on user experience and web standards, the goal is to create a tool different from anything else out there.

The following is a list of some of the features that come as standard with WordPress, however there are literally thousands of plugins that extend what WordPress does, so the actual functionality is nearly limitless. On top of that, our team can custom code php and databases to create some truly unique experiences and applications.

  • Simplicity
  • Flexibility
  • Publish with Ease
  • Publishing Tools
  • User Management
  • Media Management
  • Full Standards Compliance
  • Easy Theme System
  • Extend with Plugins
  • Built-in Comments
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Multilingual
  • Easy Installation and Upgrades
  • Importers
  • Own Your Data, Freedom
  • Community

Mobile-Friendly Websites

Search engine giant Google is supposed to push out a new algorithm on April 21, 2015. One of the big changes we expect to see – if your website is NOT mobile-friendly, it will be punished in the search results, or should we say, websites optimized for mobile devices will be favored. Some people are stating that if you are not mobile-friendly your website will virtually disappear from all results. We believe that this new element will only impact users searching on mobile devices (mobiles and tablets). We believe desktop users will still get results from non-mobile-friendly websites in  a similar manner.

What is  a mobile-friendly website?
If you have a fully responsive website, you are safe. If your website routes users to a mobile-specific website, you are safe. If you have an older website, it is time for an upgrade or time to at least create a mobile version of your home page. Flash content will also be detrimental, since it is not mobile compatible. You can test your website here:
https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

Why is Google making this mobile-friendly shift?
Nearly 20% of all searches are done via a mobile device (keep in mind this includes tablets). Search engines want relevant information that is easily accessible by scrolling vertically, loading quickly and easily read.

What should you do if your website is NOT mobile-friendly?
Option 1) Consider a redesign or responsive adaptation to your current website. This would likely require a significant investment and take a little time, but is well worth it in the long run.

Option 2) Develop a mobile specific website, or at the very least, a mobile specific home page. This is a quick and dirty solution that can work well in the short term, but keep in mind that these mobile pages are unique from your desktop website and are therefore viewed as different pages by Google.

The Bottom Line
Mobile influence is huge, get on board quick! Contact us for a free web consultation.

Parallax Scrolling Websites

The phenomenon of parallax scrolling website design is growing in popularity across the internet. Parallax scrolling is a special scrolling technique wherein background images move at a different speed than foreground images, creating an illusion of depth.

Parallax scrolling allows for the creation of dynamic, interactive user experience that has the potential to improve visual appeal. It enables developers to display content on a single page, therefore reducing navigation and clicks required for an end user to consume the content. With parallax scrolling, a user can be “led” around a website according to a designer’s or UX expert’s intent.

Parallax scrolling websites “wow” viewers with page depth and animation, provide another tool to tell your brand’s story, provoke curiosity and demonstrate an innovative interactive experience. See some examples in our web design portfolio section or get in touch to learn more.

Responsive and Mobile Design

The use of mobile devices to surf the web is growing at an astronomical pace. Mobile devices are often constrained by display size and require a different approach to how content is laid out on screen. Responsive web design responds to the needs of the users and the devices they’re using. Rather than tailoring disconnected designs to each of an ever-increasing number of web devices, we can treat them as facets of the same experience. We can design for an optimal viewing experience, but embed standards-based technologies into our designs to make them not only more flexible, but more adaptive to the media that renders them. The layout changes based on the size and capabilities of the device. For example, on a phone, users would see content shown in a single column view; a tablet might show the same content in two columns.

L.A. Design Studio® utilizes the latest techniques in web design, including responsive coding. This provides an optimal viewing experience, easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling.

Logo Design

The ideal logo sets you apart from your competitors, conveying the essence of your brand, and connecting to your audiences with maximum impact.

– Less is more
The best logo designs keep it simple. Clean, distinctive, instantly recognizable. Uncluttered with extraneous elements or burdened with slogans and taglines.

– Unmistakably yours
Why imitate when you can innovate? Your logo from New York Design Studio will be unique and memorable, not a bland, derivative idea that gets lost in the crowd.

– Works anywhere
We’ll create a logo that works in every medium, online and in print. Website and emails, letterhead and business cards, brochures and promotional items, posters, signage, the list goes on. We design in vector format, so your logo scales perfectly to any size.

– Use it right
We’ll guide you in the best ways to use this essential element of your brand identity. To protect your investment and your brand, consider a trademark.

Explore some of the many logos we’ve designed for clients in a variety of industries – view samples or our logo designs.

Government & Non-Proft Web Design

The government is one of the earliest organizations that made its mark on the internet. They are also some of the least presentable websites, which makes this one of our favorite sectors.  Government websites should be among the most effective,  demonstrating innovation, usability and functionality for users. Government websites should display effective governmental efficiency and service delivery.

Non-profit organization’s online experience must be the center of all communication efforts. It is your public voice, and serves as a tool to engage and inspire action. It is more critical than ever to create an online experience for your supporters that is rooted in a clear strategy, engaging to supporters, and focused on your nonprofit’s unique goals.

From donor recruitment and retention to building a community of supporters, strategic digital marketing communications is the key to success. L.A. Design Studio can help your organization achieve the reach, results and get the attention your mission deserves.

 

Browse our web design portfolio for live links of our work.