What’s The Difference Between a 301 redirect and a rel=canonical?

A 301 Redirect vs. a Rel=Canonical

A 301 redirect tells search engines that your page has moved and tells Google to no longer index the page. It permanently redirects from one URL to another.

A rel=canonical tells most search engines that there are multiple versions of the same page and indicates which should be considered the “original version” that should be delivered in the search results.

Redirect options can be confusing, especially when they seem so similar. This article will help you figure out which option is the best for you.

Best options for duplicate content?

Content appearing in more than one place it is considered duplicate content and can be confusing for search engines trying to decide which version is relevant to queries. It can also have a negative impact on your search rankings. 301 redirects and rel=canonical are two of the best solutions for dealing with duplicate content. But you will need to decide which one is most relevant to your situation.     

When to use a 301 redirect

A 301 redirect is the preferred method for redirecting a page. When implemented correctly, you can eventually pass the original page’s relevance and ranking power.  

There are a few instances when you will want to use a 301 redirect:

  • Moving your website to a different domain
  • When there are multiple URLs that people use to access your site
  • If you’re merging two websites and want to redirect users to the correct page

It can also take some time for pages that are 301 redirects to be recognized and then stop being indexed. Typically you may be looking at anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to reindex.

How to set up a 301 redirect

To set up a redirect for a single page add the following line to your .htaccess

Redirect 301 /old-file.html http://www.domain.com/new-file.html

Replace the “old-file” with the file of the page you want to be redirected. Replace the http://domain.com/new-file.html is the URL you want the page to redirect to.   

To set up a redirect for an entire domain add the following:

Redirect 301 / https://www.new-domain.com/

https://www.new-domain.com/ should be replaced with the URL you want to redirect your site to.

Problems with 301 redirects

There can be a few problems when implementing a 301 redirect. As mentioned previously, it could be a while before your new page passes the authority of your old page.

There can also be issues when using a redirection plugin.

A redirect plugin on WordPress can be very resource intensive. When using a site like WordPress that already has CPU usage problems, it can become even more disruptive when adding in plugins.

Another common problem with a 301 redirect is that it can be used incorrectly. Developing a completely new site and using 301 to point all the pages to one specific URL homepage can undermine the relevancy of the search traffic.

301 was not meant to drive traffic from an old site to a new site. If you’re redirecting pages, they each need to have their own 301 redirect to the new relevant page.

When to use a rel=canonical

A rel=canonical alerts search engines to the fact that the content on similar URLs is actually the same. It tells the search engines which page to display.

There are a few instances when you will want to use a rel=canonical:

  • When 301s can’t be implemented
  • When you wish to share content on your website that was produced for another site and want to avoid having it flagged as “duplicate content”
  • When you want to keep multiple pages with the same content active   
  • When you have dynamic pages with multiple URLs. For example, a site that has sorting or tracking options.

Potential Problems with rel=canonical

Along with 301 redirects, one of the biggest problems with rel=canonical is its misuse when it is implemented. The pages need to contain a considerable amount of the same content in order for rel=canonical to be effective. If the pages don’t contain a large percent of the same content, rel=canonical is probably not the way to go.

Another common problem is using the tag with multiple related pages. For example, if you’ve written a blog post and decided to break it into different parts, each of these will have their own unique URL. By using rel=canonical you’re essentially telling Google to only show one of these parts when a user searches for them.

The Best Redirect Option For You

Hopefully, you have a clearer understanding of the difference between a 301 redirect and rel=canonical and which option is best for you. Both options can turn duplicate content into cleaner search results. But before implementing be sure to test on a few small URLs first to make sure you’re using them correctly.     

Elementor Contact Form Not Sending? Let’s Fix it.

elementor contact form submissions

Getting Your Elementor Contact Forms to Deliver Isn’t Hard

Time needed: 30 minutes.

There can be a number of issues preventing any WordPress contact form submissions from arriving in your inbox; this isn’t an issue related to Elementor. Typically, this is caused by your website’s server triggering a spam filter in your email; don’t worry, one of the following solutions will fix the problem. If you just want to have someone do it for you, it’s a pretty fast fix that typically runs about $75; reach out to us if you’re interested.

  • Add an SPF Record

    The most common reason for not receiving contact form submissions is that your email spam filter doesn’t trust the IP address of your website’s server.  Adding an SPF record in your DNS will tell your spam filters to trust this IP address (note: if you’re using a free web email like Gmail or Yahoo, this won’t be an option).

    Don’t worry, this sounds more complicated than it actually is.

    All you have to do is go to the DNS records of your domain name and add a new TXT record with the following values: v=spf1 a mx ip4:xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx -all

    Be sure to replace the xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx with the IP address of your server.

  • Install an SMTP Plugun

    An SMTP plugin will address this by routing your contact form submissions through an email server that you designate instead of the server hosting your website. I usually use the WP Mail SMTP plugin by WPForms:

    smtp plugin

    This fixes the issue 100% of the time, but it can be a bit of a hassle to handle.  If you run into any issues with getting the SMTP plugin to work, we can do it for a small fee, just reach out to us. (Pro tip: if you’re going to route the emails through a Gmail account, use Chrome. We’ve run into tons of bugs with the Gmail Oauth activation in Firefox and wasted hours).

  • Move the Site to Better Hosting

    The reason you’re not getting your form submissions is that your email doesn’t trust the server sending the submission. Spammers tend to use bottom-of-the-barrel hosting, so there’s an increased chance that you’re sharing an IP address with a spammer if you’re on cheap shared hosting.

    I’ve found contact form delivery to be a very common issue with Godaddy and Bluehost hosting. In more than one case, it’s been fixed by simply migrating the site to Siteground or A2hosting.

    In addition to fixing the contact form delivery problems, you’ll end up with far more reliable and faster hosting.

    Spammers tend to stick with cheap hosting and moving to a nicer neighborhood will often decrease the chances of your overzealous spam filter putting your Elementor contact form submission in a junk box, or even worse, completely rejecting the email.

Start Storing Your Contact Form Submissions in WordPress

Just in case you ever have any further issues with contact form submissions not arriving in your inbox, you should have a backup.  The last thing you want to do is miss out on business because you didn’t get the form submission

The plugin that we typically use with Contact Form 7 is Flamingo.  Elementor does not come with a database integration for its contact form submissions, but I did find one at https://www.sean-barton.co.uk/2017/04/elementor-contact-form-db-free-plugin/.  I cannot vouch for it, but it could be an option that we test in the future.

If you do decide to begin storing form submissions in your database, I strongly advise you to install an SSL. You should also absolutely update your privacy policy to reflect this and potentially add an opt-in checkbox to your site.  The last thing that you want is to get sued for a data breach because your WordPress site was hacked and your client information was compromised.

How to Write a Website Welcome Message That Makes People Stay

wireframes for a website

Your Website’s Welcome Message Is Your Chance to Tell What Your Site is About

Your website’s welcome message must communicate two things to a visitor as soon as he or she lands on it: what is this website about and what can it do for me?

Visitors to your site take a quick glance at your website and decide whether to leave or stay after only a couple seconds. Your site’s welcome message plays a key role in getting them to stay, but you already know this because you’ve done it hundreds, if not thousands of times. You landed on a website, took a quick glance at the title and first headers, determined that it wasn’t what you were looking for, and you hit the “back” button on your browser.

This post is going to share a few best practices that will help to decrease the number of visitors that land on your site and leave.

A Website Welcome Message Communicates Through Text and Images

Lack of clarity is the most common issue with website welcome messages

When a website welcome message falls short, it’s because of a lack of clarity in the written message or the images used. By far this is the most common pitfall that websites fall into. Lets take this website as an example:

What does this company do?

The text suggests that it is provides private security for hospitals. The photo suggests it helps ER doctors or surgeons in times of critical work.

In actuality, it is a company that offers technology to lock down hospitals when there is an active shooter. Nothing in the header even suggests this. The header should state something like “Cutting-Edge Technology to Deter Active Shooters in Hospitals.” The image should feature the product benefit, maybe through a video of hospital doors locking down and lights flashing.

This is not to point a finger at this specific project; mistakes like this are extremely common. If you were to Google “electricians” and look at the first 10 electrician websites, there’s a good chance that you might not be sure whether they are commercial, residential, or industrial electricians by looking at the headers of their websites. This isn’t unique to healthcare security or electricians; the same goes for most business niches.

Another example of the difference made by strong, clear images as a website’s welcome message

If you are an coal-fired oven pizzamaker, make it clear. Placing an outside shot of your pizzeria with your logo as the hero image on your site is not going to accomplish that. Putting a black and white photo of a Vespa doesn’t say “coal-fired pizza” either.

In the case of the amazingly good pizzeria Bricco, their site says that they offer coal-fired oven pizza, but which of the following site concept does a better job of communicating “coal-fired oven pizza?”

The second photo does a much better job of using a photo as the website’s welcome message. Without even using the words, the photo of the pizza in the oven says exactly what we can expect from this business; you can almost feel the heat and taste the smoke.

If you’re trying to position your restaurant as an old-time experience appealing to people’s sense of nostalgia, the photos used in the first example are better. However, this business and its site’s welcome message revolve around the way they make their pizza, which the black and white photos say nothing about. Your photography has to align perfectly with your website’s message and your business’s positioning in the marketplace.

Choosing a photo to serve as your website welcome message

Start by selecting a clear, concise message that you wish to communicate about your business or blog. Your photo much support the positioning of your product or services in the marketplace. You should be able to express this in a few words:

  • We are reliable
  • We are fun and creative
  • We offer inexpensive or luxury products
  • We are the brand of the young & young at heart
  • We cater to a specific industry
  • We’re the trusted incumbent in the market
  • …pretty much any differentiator

Test Your Website’s Welcome Message

One of the top benefits of digital marketing is the ease with which we can test our messages.

While many businesses are tempted to believe that they got their website welcome message right on the first try, savvy digital marketers test various messaging through A/B tests. This allows you to measure the changes in visitor behavior in response to the different messages you convey through your website.

With tools like Google Optimize, you can deliver various versions of your website and track the amount of time people stay on page, the number of phone calls you receive, or the amount of sales you make on one version versus the other.

This data-driven approach to refining messaging reduces the amount of guesswork involved in your website’s welcome message and allows you to iterate and develop a website that produces the outcomes that you want.

Your Website’s Welcome Message and SEO

There are two important SEO considerations when crafting your website’s welcome message

Google refines its search results by tracking user behavior. If your messaging results in signals that indicate that people like what they’re finding on your website, the algorithm will be more likely to return your site in the results. Craft messaging that resonates with people and your site is more likely to increase in search rank.

Inclusion of targeted keywords in your header tags correlates with rank. If our friends at Bricco want to rank for “Coal-Fired Oven Pizza in NJ,” the site should include those keywords in the h1-h3 tags. This is not to say that they should keyword stuff. Frankly, if the page’s copy comes across as spammy and people react negatively as a result, keyword stuffing will end up doing more harm than good.

All-in-all, the Key is Clarity

The most important takeaway is to focus on being clear and concise. People should not have to guess what your website is about. Visitors should understand what makes you different without having to dive deeply into your website. A child should be able to understand what you do and why you are in business.

[VIDEO] How to Fix “Custom JavaScript is Not Allowed” Error on AMP Pages

fix custom javascript error amp

Getting “Custom JavaScript Not Allowed” Errors in Google Search Console?

Do you have a website hosted on GoDaddy that is implementing Google Accelerated Mobile Pages? If you do, you want to watch this video.

GoDaddy is Injecting Javascript into Your Website

It came to our attention earlier this week that GoDaddy has been injecting a custom JavaScript into all the sites that it hosts. This has been causing errors within Google Search Console for websites that are trying to implement AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages. This project does not allow for custom JavaScripts to be running on AMP pages. This script that GoDaddy has injected into all of its sites is causing this error.

How to Fix this and Get Your AMP Pages Up

This video’s going to show you how to check to see if you have this problem and how to fix it. It really is an easy fix if you know what you’re looking for and where you need to go to make the changes. Let’s check it out. The first place that you’re going to check whether you actually have this problem or not is going to be in your Google Search Console. If you log in, you go down to on the left-hand side where it says Enhancement, and click on AMP. You’ll see if there are any pages. In this case, there were some problems here. We had a number of pages that were considered to have custom JavaScript that was not allowed. What I had to do was log into GoDaddy. We go down to the hosting. I’m actually going to do it for this one right here. We’re going to click on Manage. Right next to this button, we have these three little dots. We’re going to click on that. Click on Help Us, and we’re going to opt out. You see, they’re super unclear about what this actually is. Basically what they’re doing is injecting some code onto your website. They’re basically hacking your website and collecting data there that they say they’re using to improve the performance of the servers. This is usually harmless, unless you’re trying to implement AMP, because the script that they are injecting into your AMP pages is not allowed by the AMP project. I hope that this was helpful. If you do find that we were able to help you out with this, just leave a little mention in the comments to know if we’re able to help you out. Thanks.

4 Website Best-Practices in 2018

4 Website Best-Practices in 2018

It’s a fiercely competitive world for businesses out there in the digital universe. Our daily lives have become so entwined with the internet that it’s rare these days if a business that isn’t attempting to build a digital presence via their website. The only problem is that in a growing digital marketplace, it isn’t enough to just show up. Your website should be the tool you use to engage, captivate and convince every visitor that you’re the company they want to do business with. Unfortunately, not enough businesses tap into this potential with their website design. The truth is, there’s a ton of effort being put into web design and development that misses the mark and falls short. When done correctly, web design is a conscious effort to create an exceptional user experience. If you’re building a new site, or maybe looking to update your existing one, some key features are a must for success in 2018.

Responsive Design for the Mobile Consumer

mobile websitesResponsive website design is a high starting point because it encompasses so many other features that are key to user satisfaction, like speed and usability. However, honestly, the responsive design isn’t an option going forward. Last year, the time spent on desktop computers grew only marginally compared to the year before. Mobile devices, on the other hand, are whole other story with time spent on them jumping by about 25%. As more businesses start to get on board with responsive design, we’re starting to see bounce rates drop. This is an indicator that responsive design provides the type of website functionality that keeps mobile users engaged and coming back for a repeat performance. Plus, Google is pushing forward with its mobile-first indexing, which places priority indexing on sites that are mobile optimized. Responsive design makes the transition into the mobile-first index a non-issue.

Voice Optimization

voice optimizationThe surge in mobile usage is also changing how people are using their devices. Alexi, Siri and “hey Google” have become household names and optimizing for voice search is now crucial for SEO. Take for example, how one of the top voice searches initiated by adults is to ask for directions. As a business owner, taking steps to make sure your website features voice optimized contact information guarantees that more of your customers can find you when they’re most interested in visiting your physical location. However, say you’re an e-commerce business and aren’t all that worried about the local SEO perks that voice optimization provides. About 22% of voice queries are for local content. That’s sure an impressive number, but it also means that 78% of voice searches aren’t necessarily looking for something so close to home. Voice optimization as part of the overall SEO built into your site design, is a crucial element, especially for local small businesses that can benefit from the SEO advantage.

Security Features to Build Trust

Security breaches happen all too frequently. Just take a stroll through the news, there’s a good chance you’ll see at least one mention of hacking or other types of cybercrimes. Now, think about your website as if it were a physical storefront. It would be devastating if someone broke in, took your merchandise and compromised any sensitive information you had on location. Almost every business takes measures to protect their offices or retail locations from theft, so why wouldn’t you take the same measures on your website. Often, security is overlooked because business owners don’t realize just how at risk they are. It’s a classic case of “it won’t happen to me.” However, cybercrimes are a genuine threat. They continually get more sophisticated in their approach, and they can go undetected, at least initially sometimes. Your customers already know all of this, and that’s why they’ve become wearier than ever about sharing their information with a website that they’re unfamiliar with. To gain their trust, you need the critical identifiable safety features to put your customer’s minds at ease. Features like an SSL certificate, updated plugins and using a content delivery network will help to keep your security, and reputation, strong.

SEO Savvy

For quite a few people, SEO is synonymous with keywords and content. True, these are valuable components; however search engine optimization goes much deeper into the structure of web design and development. A lack of SEO built into websites is an issue that we see all too frequently with the range of doing it yourself web design services. Pretty templates are beautiful to look at, especially once you customize it and make it yours. However, unfortunately, what you end up with is something that looks phenomenal but severely lacks performance. For search engines to get in there and do their thing, your site needs to be easily crawled before it can be indexed. In other words, Google and its search engine competitors need to be able to make sense of your site and the content it contains, and specific features of web design make this possible. For example, well-structured navigation that works with URLs. XML sitemaps and other components help search engines to understand better what you’re about. Google and the other popular search engines want to make sure that your listing is showing up in front of the people who want to see it. Built-in SEO features help make sure this happens.

Find A Web Development Agency with Your Growth in Mind

Your website is the ultimate representation of your business, and it performs many functions. It’s an all in one tool for attracting visitors, gaining their trust and building a solid gold reputation for your brand. Creating a website that does all this is no small task, which why you should trust it in the hands of a professional web development agency.

[GUIDE] How to Avoid Attorney Ethics Violations On Your Website

Attorney Ethics and Websites

A Guide to What Your Law Firm Can and Cannot Say on a Website

Disclaimer: We are not attorneys and we are not providing you legal advice.  This is a guide that collects and summarizes resources related to attorney advertising that are widely available on the internet. If you have a question about what you can and cannot put on your website, 12khz, LLC strongly encourages you to seek out an attorney that can advise you.

Many attorneys under the age of 40 are unaware that the profession was only allowed to advertise its services following the Bates vs. State Bar of Arizona decision of 1976. Even after attorneys were permitted to advertise their services, ethics rules relating to advertisements for legal services have rigorously regulated what can and cannot be stated in advertisements and websites.

This post will walk you through some of the highlights that you must consider when developing your website.  While you might be relying on your web developer to ensure your site is compliant, there is a good chance that he or she isn’t aware of the ethics governing what you can and cannot claim of your website.

The last thing you want to do is go through the process of developing a new website, only to scrap it and redo it after receiving a letter from the Bar.

Below are a few things you should know.

You Must Have an Airtight Disclaimer On Your Site

Attorney-Client Relationships Might Be Established Through the Site…

In order to avoid potentially hairy situations in which a person that emailed you thinks that you have established an attorney-client relationship, you should add a disclaimer to address this on your site.  Law firms that want to take extra precautions can even add a checkbox to the contact form that confirms that the visitors acknowledge that they are aware that such a relationship is not established through website contact form submissions.

Your Blog Could Be Considered Legal Advice…

Be sure to include a disclaimer that informs the visitor that any blog content is not considered to be legal advice and to seek out an attorney (preferably you).  The last thing you need is for someone to make an ill-informed decision based on something that they misread on your blog, only to drag you into court.  A well-written disclaimer prominently placed on your site sidebar could potentially save your firm a massive headache.

In Many Jurisdictions, A Website Is Considered Attorney Advertising

Your law practice website should be marked as “attorney advertising.”  Your site should not include anything that you would not include in a TV spot, radio ad, or billboard. Any and all Attorney Ethics rules regarding advertising are applicable to your website.

Despite having these rigorous regulations in place, websites that violate attorney ethics 7.1, 7.2, 7.4, and 7.5 are extremely common.  This lack of awareness often leads startup law firms to rely on their advertising and web design agencies to ensure that they stay within the bounds of what they can and cannot state in their communications, and the firms are ill-prepared to advise them.

The result is that a large number of law firm websites are in danger of ethics violations. While the consequences are unlikely to be particularly severe, it could turn out to be a headache at the very least and a black eye at the very most.  Most attorneys would rather avoid having to deal with the state attorney ethics boards.

Some States Require Attorneys to Register Websites

It is important to know that some states require attorneys to register their websites with state agencies.  Below is an example of two states with such requirements.  Check to see if your state has similar requirements before launch.

  • Texas states in Rule 7.07(c) that attorneys must return paperwork including a copy of the site home page along with a fee before allowing the site to go live. This is only applicable to websites owned by the firm and not listings such as a Google My Business or Yelp listing.
  • Kentucky also requires attorneys to submit websites to the state Attorneys’ Advertising Commission. As enumerated in Rule 3.130(7.05)(1)) the site must be submitted, along with any applicable fees, to the AAC under Rule 3.130(7.05)(2) before publishing the website

Some States Expressly Do Not Require Attorneys to Register Sites

Pennsylvania leads the pack in states that do not require the filing of websites. Its state bar association characterize such requirements as being of “doubtful constitutionality” (see comment 5 to Rule 7.2(b)).

Avoid Any Material Misrepresentations About Your Firm

Source: Rule 7.1: Communication Concerning a Lawyer’s Services

A lawyer shall not make a false or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services. A communication is false or misleading if it contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading.

The puffery that is common in other industries is almost certain to considered to be materially misleading on the website of a law firm. While a car dealer can state that they “have the lowest prices in the state!” without potentially running afoul of any regulations, an attorney can find herself in hot water for making such a claim. Be sure that any claims that you make are verifiable. The only likely way that you will be able to successfully defend yourself against an ethics violation will be if you can demonstrate the veracity of the claims you make.

This is not to say that all attorneys avoid such claims.  It is extremely common to see firms make spurious claims about their ability to close cases in record time, the experience that they have in certain areas of law, and their stature in the markets in which they operate. This doesn’t mean that you should try and test your ethics board.

Statements An Attorney Cannot Make on a Website

Though this is far from a complete list, we’ve included a number of common pitfalls for attorney websites that run afoul of state bar ethics rules.

Your website cannot include statements:

  • Guaranteeing or even implying an outcome with claims such as:
    • “We’ll get your what you are owed!”
    • “We’ll get your claim paid in less than 30 days!”
    • “You’ll finally be able to get rid of all your debt!”
  • Comparing an attorney’s services to another:
    • “We’re the best lawyers in Philadelphia”
  • That imply that a client can expect outcomes similar to past outcomes:
    • “We recovered $10 million dollars for a personal injury client!” – this is very common verbiage on attorney websites. The comments on 7.1 state you the attorney should include a disclaimer that clearly states something to the effect that past outcomes do not guarantee similar results for future clients.
  • Claiming that the lawyer is a certified specialist in an area of law unless he or she has been certified by an organization that has been accredited by the American Bar Association that is clearly identified on the website.
    • An attorney can say that he or she “specializes” in an area of law, but it is safer to say that he or she “focuses” on an area of law.
  • Making any “unverifiable claims” about the practice.  You cannot make statements such as:
    • “I work tirelessly on behalf of my clients”
    • “I am the most aggressive attorney in the state”
    • “We do workers’ comp right”
  • In some states, such as New Jersey, attorneys are barred from using drawings, animations, or music in advertisements.  The types of animated “explainer videos” that have become popular in recent years are in violation of 7.2.

Statements Your Firm’s Website Should Include


Some states have disclaimer requirements if you include client testimonials on your site.  It has been argued that using client testimonials can be an ethically murky area, but recent rulings have largely landed in favor of attorneys including these testimonials.  By including a disclaimer that touches upon these various requirements, you can stay on the safe side:

  • California — Requires a disclaimer such as “this testimonial or endorsement does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.” Rule 1-400, Standard (2)
  • Florida — Requires a disclaimer communicating that clients may not get the same or similar results. Rule 4-7.13(b)(8)(F)
  • New York — Requires the disclaimer: “Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.” Rule 7.1(e)(3).
  • South Carolina — Requires the advertisement to “clearly and conspicuously state that any result the endorsed lawyer or law firm may achieve on behalf of one client in one matter does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.” Rule 7.1(d)(4)
  • South Dakota — Requires a disclaimer substantively similar to the following: “This testimonial or endorsement does not constitute a guaranty, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.” Rule 7.1(c)(12)

Stock Images Can Be Considered Material Misrepresentations of Your Firm

Models & Stock Images

If you are working with web designers that are not familiar with Rule 7.1, be sure to inform them of the rules pertaining to the use of images.  If an actor or model in a stock photograph is displayed on your site, it is required that the disclaimer disclose that the images are not of actual clients.

It is also important that the web designer not include any stock images that could be reasonably confused with attorneys.  Using a stock image of a man or woman in a suit that could potentially be misconstrued as being one of the attorneys employed by the firm is in violation of these rules.  Some web design companies attempt to make their clients’ firms look bigger than they actually are, using stock photography that is not reflective of the firm. This is considered to be a material misrepresentation and could result in an ethics violation.

Want to Ensure You Avoid Running Afoul of Attorney Ethics Rules?

Reach out to us. We have a team dedicated to the design of websites for law firms and you can rest assured that we will not allow anything on your site that could potentially cause you legal troubles.

If all you need is an audit to ensure compliance or you need a completely new website, we can help.  Click here to talk to us about your practice’s website.

What is an MVP Website? What are its Benefits?

mvp website and the lean startup in web design

An “MVP” Website is an Ongoing Experiment

A minimum viable product (MVP) is a product that is developed quickly and placed in the market with the intention of learning consumer wants and revising the products to meet those wants. An “MVP” website isn’t meticulously developed until it is perceived to be perfect; it is developed with the intention of seeing how people interact with it so that it can be changed.  Developers collect data on how people interact with the site and revise the site accordingly. The primary benefit of developing an MVP website is that one doesn’t run the risk of meticulously developing a website only to find that it doesn’t accomplish what the owner wants. An MVP website is developed quickly and inexpensively and elements are placed in response to what the developer learns about its user. This differs drastically from the traditional process of developing a website, launching it, and not changing it until an overhaul is requested after some period of time.

Born from the Lean Startup

The Lean Startup is a methodology born from the lessons of lean manufacturing and agile product development. It offers a marked departure from the traditional “stage-gate” method developing software. The author, Eric Ries, developed the Lean Startup as a way to eliminate waste from the software development process and avoid spending time developing features that no one wanted. The Lean Startup methodology has proven itself invaluable and has been used in unexpected industries, such as the development of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

How an MVP Website is Built

The web design project begins by building a site quickly and inexpensively. Upon launching, the owner begins to test a number of hypotheses that he uses to develop the website.  He may begin with a hypothesis such as “users will purchase more widgets from our site if we use a super simple header with a search bar” and split test the feature on the site. One version would feature the search bar and the other could feature something like a coupon. The developers run an a/b test run and the results determine whether to place the bar or the coupon in the header. The process of split testing various elements of the website continues and the developers focus on developing a “work-in-progess” website rather than spending all of the project’s resources in the initial design phase.

Some Common Features

  1. The site is often built with some sort of pagebuilder such as Divi. This allows the team to easily and quickly make changes to the website. Some criticize these pagebuilders as “bloated,” but that criticism is largely unwarranted.  These themes can be optimized to load quite quickly and the agility that they offer the website owner outweigh any drawbacks that their detractors point out.
  2. There is a robust tool to collect user dataHotjar is widely used service, as is CrazyEgg.
  3. The site uses tools and methods to split test headlines, forms, landing pages, and copy.  There are tons of software that are covered in this article: https://kinsta.com/blog/wordpress-ab-testing-tools/

The Benefits of an MVP Website

  1. Actual user data guides the design process, not gut feelings or what a designer likes
  2. The site is built rapidly and launched.  Precious time is not wasted guessing what people will respond to.
  3. It allows a site to “fail fast”—if  no one wants or needs what the website offers, the developer can learn this without spending a fortune

The Drawbacks of an MVP Website

  1. You only have one chance to make a first impression; if the MVP website is particularly underdeveloped, it could damage the brand in the eyes of consumers
  2. It is hard to gain buy-in from decision makers that are accustomed to waterfall methodologies. It may be difficult to convince your boss to put up a “work-in-progress.”

Do You Use the Lean Startup Methodology in Web Design?

I’d love to hear about the MVP websites that you have developed. Leave your comments below!

Oshine vs. Divi WordPress Themes

Oshine vs. Divi… which is better for you?

The short of it is that Oshine is a lot more intuitive, but Divi allows for more customization. If you’re a tinkerer and are willing to take the time to learn a new WordPress theme, Divi is probably the right choice for you.  If you just want to get up and running and get your site up quickly, my recommendation is that you go right for Oshine; rest assured that it is an easy alternative to Divi. Let’s get into some of the details.

A Sagapixel Website Is Built with Oshine or Divi

We build a large volume of websites for small businesses in NJ. The majority are have small budgets, which means that we need to get them up quickly and efficiently; if we don’t, we either a. don’t make any money or b. have to jack up the prices to levels that are unaffordable for most of our clients.  For this reason, we use Oshine and Divi.  Both feature visual pagebuilders that allow us to see what we’re doing as we do it, greatly speeding up the development process—no need to keep a separate window open to check edits.
Both themes come packed with most of the modules that we would ever need to build a site.  I like this particularly because I don’t like relying on third-party WordPress plugins; often, you don’t know what you’re getting when you install them.  By having a suite of modules and plugins preinstalled with Oshine or Divi, we decrease our reliance on third-party plugins and decrease the security risks associated with them.
Most clients don’t like the idea of being entirely reliant on a developer to edit text or images on a site.  Many WordPress themes can be a pain to make such edits to, resulting in diminished abilities to split test landing pages, longer times to get new content up, and major headaches if they ever need to change developer.  With Oshine and Divi, we can provide tutorials that show clients how to make edits to their own sites, allaying any misgivings that they have about being reliant on a developer to edit their sites and enabling them to be more proactive with editing their websites to support their marketing.
We regularly get Google Pagespeeds of 80+ and even up to 100 with both themes, so people that claim that they are “bloated and slow” simply don’t know how to optimize them.  Compress all of the images, minify the CSS, Javascript, and HTML, set up a good caching plugin, get good hosting, and you’re going to have a fast site.

How Are Oshine and Divi Similar?

  • Both contain visual pagebuilders
  • Both come with tons of modules to add features and effects to your site
  • Both come with importable demos that can serve as a starting point for your website
  • Both allow for tons of menu layouts

What Does Each Theme Have That the Other Doesn’t Have?

  • oshine bg overlaysBackground overlay option.  Oshine allows you to add an overlay to any section or column; this can allow you to add some color to a photo without putting it into Photoshop.  Divi has a similar feature, but it affects the entire column, including any text that you may have included.  This is how we get the effect to right.  You can get the same results with Divi, but it is way more complicated than it is with Oshine.
  • Way more portfolio options.  Portfolios are where Oshine really “shines” (funny, huh?)  Just go to the Oshine website and take a look at all of the different beautiful layouts that you can use for your portfolios.
  • Minification by checking a box.  This is a newer feature, but I love that Oshine enables CSS, Javascript, and HTML minification by checking a box.  All WordPress themes should have this.
  • Slider Revolution.  The free version comes with the theme, which is really nice.  Granted, you can always download it and install it with the Divi theme, but it’s nice to have it already there when you install Oshine.
  • Setting an entire column as a clickable link.  Aita Law’s “Areas of Practice”I really like being able to set an entire column as a link (similar to the image above, only something that you can use to click to another section on the site).  An example of this would be what we did with section on the home page.
  • Photoshop-like editing of photos.  Divi basically comes with a “Photoshop-lite” module that allows you to adjust saturation, hue, brightness, and a bunch of other attributes of images on the site.  Oshine only allows you to adjust the darkness of the image through the overlay feature.
  • Custom Login.  Divi allows you to customize the login screen; Oshine does not (you need a 3rd party plugin)
  • Blog modules can be set by category. Oshine is very limited in its blog module.  Divi allows you to organize a blog by category; in other words, you can set a module in one column to only feature posts from one category and allow another column to be about another category.  Oshine does not have this feature.
  • Audio player.  Oshine doesn’t have this feature.
  • CSS modules per section and column. Oshine does provide a custom CSS module under the theme options, but Divi gives it to you right in the editor.  This is nice since you don’t have to continuously switch between tabs or screens.
  • Cool section transitions. This is probably the coolest design feature that Divi has and Oshine needs.  Divi allows for sections to have cool geometric transitions between sections, freeing designers from having to do custom CSS to get away from the 90° angle rectangular section transitions.  Styling a section transition as seen below can be a major pain in Oshine, but is a breeze in Divi:
divi cool transitions between sections

Divi has many more features, but Oshine is easier to use

Most experienced web designers will likely prefer Divi, but Oshine is probably better for the novice that wants to take a step up from paint-by-numbers WordPress templates. It’s comparable to a Wix or Weebly that enjoys the flexibility of WordPress.

[Video] How to Fix a Broken Padlock on a Website

how to fix broken padlock on website

Fixing Insecure Content After SSL Integration

One of the issues that we encounter when we either migrate a website from HTTP to HTTPS, or we just add an SSL certificate to a website, is that some of the items may actually be hard coded as HTTP, With the Oshine Tatsu theme, the one that this site was built with, it’s a common issue, so we’re going go through this and I’m going to show you really quickly how we’re going to fix this. It’s really not that hard.

Whynopadlock.com to Find What’s Insecure

We’re going to take this URL, we’re going to go to a website called whynopadlock.com. We’re going to enter that URL right there, and it’s actually going to identify all of the assets on the page that are referring to something that’s HTTP and not HTTPS. I’m going to click edit. We’re going to go down and replace the images that are, or the assets that are HTTP. I kind of had a little Freudian slip here. We virtually always have issues with images when it comes to this theme, so we’re looking at the iPhone images, HTTP, so we’re going to click on this. All I’m going to do is X that out, and we’re going to replace it with a new image and hit save.

Test to Ensure it’s Fixed

Then, from there we’re just going to retest it, and it looks like everything has been resolved. This last step, we’re going to take a look at the actual page, we’re going to view the page here, and there we have that little green lock. So, fairly straightforward. Usually the culprit, again, are images on the page, but sometimes you may actually have it referring to something else as well, and usually, it very easily remedied.

How To Fix The “Expiration Not Specified” Message In Google PageSpeed Insights

[Solved] How to Address the “Expiration Not Specified” Message In Google PageSpeed Insights

We’ll give you some lines of code to add to your .htaccess file and walk you through the whole process.

Let’s fix the message “Setting an expiry date or a maximum age in the HTTP headers for static resources instructs the browser to load previously downloaded resources from local disk rather than over the network”
  1. Log into your hosting
  2. Go to your .htaccess file
  3. Add this code to the .htaccess file:
# BEGIN EXPIRES ExpiresActive On ExpiresDefault “access plus 10 days” ExpiresByType text/css “access plus 1 week” ExpiresByType text/plain “access plus 1 month” ExpiresByType image/svg+xml “access 1 month” ExpiresByType image/gif “access plus 1 month” ExpiresByType image/png “access plus 1 month” ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access plus 1 month” ExpiresByType application/x-javascript “access plus 1 month” ExpiresByType application/javascript “access plus 1 week” ExpiresByType application/x-icon “access plus 1 year” # END EXPIRES (make sure there are no indentations, this can potentially cause errors)
  1. Save the .htaccess file.

Read on if you need a bit more guidance…

Site load speed is important for two reasons: user experience and SEO.  Needless to say, with Google getting ready to penalize mobile sites for slow load times, it’s important to make sure that your site is as fast as it can be.  But you already know this.

So you’ve gotten this message…

Setting an expiry date or a maximum age in the HTTP headers and you want to see this: 90 google page speed Although you may think that doing this with a plugin would be easier, my experience has been that it is not easier.  WP Cache wouldn’t allow me to do this at all and W3 Total Cache ended up crashing my site, leading to several hours of trying to fix whatever it broke.  Ultimately, adding a script to my .htaccess file did the trick.

Log into your file manager on your hosting

You should see this screen at the root of the website that you are trying to work on: screenshot of file manager within cpanel You are going to edit your .htaccess file by adding the following code: # BEGIN EXPIRES ExpiresActive On ExpiresDefault “access plus 10 days” ExpiresByType text/css “access plus 1 week” ExpiresByType text/plain “access plus 1 month” ExpiresByType image/svg+xml “access 1 month” ExpiresByType image/gif “access plus 1 month” ExpiresByType image/png “access plus 1 month” ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access plus 1 month” ExpiresByType application/x-javascript “access plus 1 month” ExpiresByType application/javascript “access plus 1 week” ExpiresByType application/x-icon “access plus 1 year” # END EXPIRES

Save it and check that it worked

You should make sure that you saved the .htaccess file, then try PageSpeed insights.  There’s a good chance that you just hit the green!

The Easy Way to Increase File Upload Size in WordPress (No Need to Code!!!)

increase file upload size in Wordpress

The Easy Way to Increase File Upload Size in WordPress

Fixes a common issue with Godaddy and Namecheap hosting without touching a php.ini file

Godaddy and many other shared hostings’ default settings are set to not allow for files over 2mb to be uploaded.  This is very easily remedied by changing some basic settings within cPanel. You do not need to start messing with pnp.ini files or even know how to code. Many of Google’s top results on how to increase the file upload limit will have you running in circles and looking for the location of the php.ini file on Godaddy?” (which you won’t find) when all you need to do is change a setting in the php settings. This guide will walk you through everything…   If you prefer to watch a video, scroll to the bottom!

How to Fix “File Exceeds the Maximum Upload Size for This Site.”

Addresses the “exceeds the maximum upload size for this site” error on Godaddy, Namecheap, Bluehost, and a number of other common shared hosting providers.
You probably got this infuriating “uploaded file exceeds the upload_max_filesize directive in php.ini.” with Godaddy hosting: increase file upload size wordpress cpanel godaddy By default, many budget shared hosting sets a file limit of 2mb for file uploads.  They do this to prevent your average newbie from uploading massive 24mb photos to the server when they should be uploading photos under 1mb.  If this is the case with you, reduce the size of your photo.

Where is the php.ini file in Godaddy?

You don’t need to create or touch a php.ini file to address this issue in Godaddy hosting.  For whatever reason, the top results all tell you to create a pnp.ini file and start coding, though there is a much easier way to address this. You do not need to create any files and you don’t need to know how to code. You can simple log into your cpanel, change a few settings and you should be ready to go.

Step 1 – Log into Your Cpanel

increase file upload size godaddy Log into your hosting and scroll down to the “software” section of your Godaddy cPanel.

Step 2 – Click on “select PHP version.”

increase file upload size in WordPress While you’re in here, it’s probably best to make sure that your hosting is set to version 7.1, but make sure that you check that your theme and plugins are compatible with it (I assume no liability for you messing up your site, by the way, so make sure that you have a valid backup of everything before you change anything). On this screen, you’re going to

Step 3 – Click on “Switch TO PHP Options”

set file upload data-lazy-sizes in cpanel on godaddy for wordpress

Step 4 – “Increase your upload_max_filesize”

The three number in orange are the numbers that you need to change.  Click on each one and a drop down will appear; select the new value and click “apply” (if you forget to click apply, it won’t take).  Once you’ve changed all three values, click on the save button below “upload_max_filesize.”

You Have Increased Your Max File Size Upload

This is a really easy, fast fix, but for whatever reasons, the top results on Google all tell you to create a pnp.ini file, which often doesn’t work to fix the issue with Godaddy’s file upload limits on shared hosting plans.  I’d like to help people avoid the headaches involved with this and finally start outranking those other convoluted, yet ineffective solutions, so please comment and link to this post so that we can get the word out that there is an easy fix to Godaddy’s 2mb limit on file uploads on shared hosting.  

How to fix “the uploaded file exceeds the upload_max_filesize directive in php.ini” in 5 Easy Steps

  1. Log into cPanel
  2. Click on “select php version”
  3. Click on “switch to php options”
  4. Select “upload_max_filesize,” increase it to 64mb, and click apply
  5. Save