This is one of the most common questions I get asked when updating a website.
Let’s say you’re working on your website. You have a brand new image in place which should look great on the page, and made a few minor changes to update your content. But then you come to view the live site, and all you see is the same old website. Even clicking refresh doesn’t change anything. Why can’t you see your new content? Ack!
I’m going to get a bit teccie here: When you visit a web page, your browser stores the files from that web page. This includes:
Then if you visit that page again, instead of reloading the entire page again from your server, it uses this file to load the page quickly and reduces the bandwidth and time it takes to load the page from scratch every time.
Unfortunately, if you visit a page constantly and its being updated, the browser still loads the old files. Even refreshing a good few times doesn’t seem to prompt the average web browser. A very frustrating situation when the web designer can see the changes but the customer cannot.
So we need to prompt the browser to ditch its old files and look back on the website to reflect the new changes.
I hope this helps some poor soul out there. Trust me as a web designer, more people need to be aware of this issue.
Every other website I have worked on over the last 5 years has been a WordPress website. I do recommend using WordPress, as it is quite a robust platform and ideal if you are planning on adding and updating the website yourself.
Over the 6 years that I have configured WordPress websites, these are a handful of the plugins that I insist on adding along with the basic platform:
I have used other security softwares in the past, but I find that WP Cerber is quite literally the guard dog of your website. It defends against hacker attacks, spam, trojans and viruses.
Among its other many features, it also gives you an insight into intruder activity onto your website and hardens up WordPress with comprehensive security algorithms, spam protection, bot detection and reCaptcha.
NinjaScanner and NinjaFirewall is another plguin I use to protect websites. NinjaFirewall is a web application firewall that stands in front of WordPress. It can hook, scan, sanitise or reject any HTTP/HTTPS request sent to a PHP script before it reaches WordPress or any of its plugins. It also gives login protection with either a code or logging in twice.
Even directories, sub-directories and scripts outside of WordPress are protected. It can also sync seamlessly with NinjaScanner which scans your blog for malware or viruses.
WordPress in its core form, has no Search Engine Optimisation features. Yoast SEO is one of the best plugins for SEO. You add a page title and meta description for every page, post, product or testimonial on your website. It can also analyse your SEO and readability for each page, Generate XML Sitemaps and verifies your Google Search Console account. There’s also an education center where you can learn to get more out of promoting your web pages.
The premium version’s main features help you rank better with synonyms and related keyphrases, gives real time suggestions for internal links and comes with a redirect manager for deadlinks.
The free software with the basic settings can improve your Google PageSpeed score by about 7 points. The premium version goes further with mobile caching, image optimisation and allows you to delete cache logs.
If your web template doesn’t have one already, an arrow that allows the user to get back to the top of the page with one click goes a long way (especially on a mobile device) WP Front is a simple no-nonsense plugin that enables an arrow at the bottom of each page. It comes with a library of preset buttons or you can upload your own custom button or create one using FontAwesome
Last but never least, UpDraft Plus backs up your web files and database, very handy if you need to undo a change on your WordPress site or if an update breaks your website (this does happen unfortunately). You can also restore previous backups from their control panel.
The free version should serve you well. The premium upgrade gives you automatic backups, a migration feature and automatic backup before updates.
There are many great plugins available to make your website experience better or more adaptable to your needs. I could name many more but these are the essential plugins that tackle, security, SEO and basically cover your back. But a word of warning: Too many plugins on your website will slow down your site performance and makes it vulnerable to security breaches. A rule of thumb would be to not exceed 20 plugins. If however you are on shared or budget hosting, this should be reduced down to 5.
My own website 🙂
DVH Design has won the CorporateLiveWireAward for Boutique Design Company of the Year 2020.
Assessed by a panel of judges that took into consideration the following for our award:
Heartfelt thanks to all my customers for your ongoing support over the years. We could not have done this without you.
Today is the 19th anniversary of DVH Design. We started in a tiny box room in Black Notley as a part-time business. Initially as a sideline to my administration job and then evolved to keep me sane when I had little children.
During that time we have evolved from a Microsoft FrontPage whizz(?) to learning the web code and scripting. We have also taught ourselves various Ecommerce and CMS packages, particularly Joomla, ZenCart and more recently WordPress.
In addition, DVH Design have also added Search Engine Optimisation (the story of how that came to be can be read here). We have also included Responsive website design, AdWords advertising. More recently, we specialise in helping website owners regain control of their own website. For example when their spouse or former web designer break communication. Sadly this has become commonplace over the last few years.
For that reason alone, we have changed our slogan depending on what fitted the company ethos at the time: We have gone from “Web Design Across Essex”, briefly experimented with “Sites not Sights”. Our now more fitting slogan, “Your Online Superheroes” (which is honestly nothing to do with my love of Marvel/DC films!)
But we could not have done any of this without our customers: These have varied from all works of life and backgrounds and from the novice website owner to serial business owners. Some I’ve worked with for a few months and a good few I have worked with for 15 years. I like to hope I have helped them achieve what they set out to achieve to begin with.
The last 19 years has been a big learning curve, and I know that learning curve will continue for years to come. DVH Design now have an AdWords expert on Board and will shortly include logo design to our services. There are other services that we are looking to include, so watch this space.
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