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5 WordPress Best Practices for Improved UX
  Think of the last website you visited. Maybe it was an online store, a blog, or an entertainment website.  The way you interacted with the site's interface is most likely what you remember most about the whole experience - was the website loading fast?, was it easy to navigate? - was it optimized for mobile? These factors contribute to the quality of the user experience (UX) that a website provides and often determine whether or not people come back for another experience.  Building, optimizing, and maintaining a website while having the UX at the center of the web development process is imperative. At the end of the day, the health and prosperity of your site and business heavily depend on your audience and customers.  With this in mind, let's have a closer look at five best practices that you can implement right away to improve the UX on your WordPress site.    1. Accelerate Your Site's Loading Speed.    Today, people are living fast-paced lifestyles. They require speed and easy-to-access experiences. As the average human attention span has dropped to eight seconds, the success or failure of a website to provide high-quality UX depends on how fast page load times are.  According to a study by Google, 53% of users abandon sites that have more than three seconds delay on mobile devices. So, if you haven't yet optimized your website's loading speed, the time to start is now. Have a look at some critical tips for approaching page speed optimization: Host your site on a high-performance server. Streamline your HTML code. Use image optimization plugins for WordPress. Identify and delete unused content from your database. Reduce HTTP requests.   2. Keep Your WordPress, UX Design Simple.    As Leonardo da Vinci put it: "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." Website builders often go to great lengths to create designs that sweep visitors off their feet and end up compromising on ease of use and accessibility. That's not something you want to do if you have a UX-centered mindset.  Instead of overloading your pages with content and information that confuses and frustrates your visitors, focus on simplifying the design, making it functional and easy to understand.  A few elements that help you keep your user experience design simple are: Uniform layout Short, concise content Straightforward formatting Bullet points and brief paragraphs   3. Get Rid of Broken Links.   Nothing scares website visitors away more than broken links. Also, Google's Search Quality Rating Guidelines use broken links to analyze the quality of a site. If there are too many broken links on a single page, the website is considered to be neglected or abandoned. This can highly impact your Google Search results and lower your overall website traffic.  Investing some resources in fixing broken links is totally advisable. Below are some best practices for resolving broken links: Check Google crawl errors. Reach out to the linking website when using external links and request a fix. Avoid deep links. Replace the content at the broken URL. Redirect the broken page to a similar page on your website.   4. Optimize Your Site's Navigation.   As we already pointed out, simplicity is often key when it comes to web development. Although the easiest-to-use websites are also the ones that drive the highest organic traffic, many companies still fail to deliver easy-to-navigate websites for their audience.  How can you optimize your site's navigation? Customize your navigation menu in a simplistic way and avoid complex, confusing menu items. Put mobile site navigation first and streamline the experience for mobile devices. Create a search bar and improve your site search capabilities. Avoid dropdown menus in your website navigation. Add a mega footer.   5. Use Specific Headings.   A good UX means that visitors can easily understand your site and feel confident for the entire period they spend on it. One way you can guide your audience through your content is with clear, specific headings.  Headings can act as a roadmap for your visitors and make it easier for them to see what your content is about. With the help of specific headings, you can build a logical hierarchy and organize your content to provide a top-notch user experience.  Proper heading is also beneficial for SEO as it allows search engines to better understand the purpose of your site and the content displayed on it.    There's no secret that the customer is king and, now more than ever, businesses adopt customer-centric mindsets to keep up with the ever-changing trends. The same goes for websites of any kind. High-quality user experiences render more website traffic, raised business awareness, improved online presence, and lastly, improved conversion rates. To learn more about what it takes to deliver outstanding UX, contact Optasy and have a chat with our professional website builders.    Photo credit: XPS on Unsplash.... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Jun 16'2021
The Ultimate Checklist to Becoming a Top WordPress Developer
  The myth: Becoming a successful WordPress developer is easy. The reality: Becoming a successful WordPress developer requires hard work, patience, and dedication.    Freelance developers or professionals doing development jobs in companies reap multiple benefits, and the search for experienced developers is on the rise. As the demand is growing, so is the complexity required by clients for certain development projects.  Mastering the art of managing highly complex content management systems is both challenging and rewarding. In this article, we'll have a look at WordPress development and explore a checklist for anyone who is on the journey to becoming a top WordPress developer.   First of all, what is a top WordPress developer?   Someone who does much more than watch a few tutorials on YouTube and learn to customize some themes on personal blogs. More exactly, the most skillful WordPress developers are the ones who can innovate. These professionals can turn the development process into art and push the boundaries of every WordPress development project they are involved in.    How to become a top WordPress developer   The journey to WordPress mastery is paved with multiple challenges.    Although every journey is particularly defined by a different set of obstacles, there are a few things that, if done right, can highly contribute to you becoming a top professional. Let's have a look at some of the must-does when starting a WordPress development career.   1. Begin with an intentional focus on acquiring industry knowledge. In other words, get familiar with the languages that the WordPress platform is built on and learn about the technologies that lie behind content management systems.  The four must-know programming languages used on WordPress are: PHP, which forms the backbone of WordPress and is used a lot for the backend development process. CSS, which adds some salt and pepper to your website's content style, fonts, colors, etc.  HTML, a markup language that helps with how your site will look in the browser. JavaScript, a dynamic language that you can use to craft interactive elements on your site.    You can confidently start your WordPress development journey by learning these beginner-friendly languages. In this way, you'll start with the basics, which will keep things relatively easy and won't scare you off, and at the same time, you'll actually learn useful things that any WordPress developer needs to know.    2. Make the most out of the wide variety of WordPress resources available online. As WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems available today, the amount of reading material, how-to videos, or tutorials is overwhelming. To cut through the noise and ensure you get access only to the most reliable resources, have a look at these materials: The WordPress Codex is an official resource that contains everything you need to know about WordPress functions and plugin development. It also provides useful tutorials and advice on advanced topics from the most experimented developers.  Free and premium WordPress courses that cover a wide range of topics, from general to highly specific.  WordPress blogs that talk about tips, tricks, and trends in the WordPress world.    3. Put your knowledge into practice.  After studying the main programming languages and exploring key insights from the WordPress community, it's finally time to get to the real work. At this point, you want to keep in mind that you're still learning, and you probably will throughout your entire WordPress development career.  You can start by exploring with editing existent themes and plugins, test the results, and experiment with the existing code. Then, after altering different pre-built themes and learning the ropes of handling specific code programming, you will become more confident and want to begin creating a theme or plugin from scratch.  It can be pretty challenging to develop a new theme or plugin, but it's as rewarding. This is where creativity and innovation meet. Make use of the resources we discussed above and put your knowledge in practice by experimenting with different development approaches. The WordPress Codes contains plenty of creative plugins building tutorials and themes. The Plugin Handbooks is also helpful at this point and for highly specific insights you can also check the WordPress forums. If you are interested in working to improve the platform itself, you can check out the Core Contributor Handbook, which offers essential information on how you can work with WordPress as a developer. Getting involved in the WordPress core can connect you with experienced developers and open the road for new, innovative projects.   Becoming a top WordPress developer is challenging, rewarding, and challenging. But if you commit to a career of continuous learning and adapting, you can set yourself up for success. Make sure to leverage the right resources, connect with experienced peers, and don't forget to take your creativity with you—you'll need it to build outstanding development projects.  For any questions regarding web development, design, or digital strategies, visit our site on    Photo credit: AltumCode on Unsplash.   ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Jun 09'2021
6 Secrets Behind the Best Drupal Web Development Projects
  You know a top-notch Drupal website when you see it—it has personality, it's flexible and intuitive, and it doesn't compromise on the user experience. The most successful Drupal web development projects are well planned by development teams and Drupal experts to match the needs of the existing online environment and promote a robust online presence for various companies.  Regardless of the nature of the development project, all successful Drupal websites seem to have some things in common—the secrets of web development masters that turn Drupal projects into art. This article will look at ten best practices that the most successful Drupal web design agencies use to build highly functional and secure websites.    Secret #1 Revealed: Build a robust project plan from the get-go.   Knowing exactly where you're heading with your Drupal project can frequently make the difference between success and failure. That's why you must start by setting the organizational website requirements and creating strategies with the end-user in mind. In other words, know what's what from the beginning of your Drupal project and follow this scheme throughout your development journey. Benefit: Easier to avoid getting stuck in the complex nature of Drupal development projects.    Secret #2 Revealed: Put the user experience first.   If there's one thing you shouldn't compromise on when building a website, it's the user experience (UX). After all, the success of a website is determined by whether or not the end-user is comfortable with the site's functionality and UX. The secret here lies in empowering the user with a satisfactory level of control so that it can fully enjoy and immerse into the content of your website.  Benefit: Boost your audience's engagement and generate more visitors.    Secret #3 Revealed: Choose a reliable, secure web hosting service.   The digital environment means connection, and that's what a web hosting service can offer to you—it allows all your site content to be seen anywhere at any time. When choosing a web hosting partner, pay attention to elements like loading speed, uptime score, and the cost-performance index. Benefit: Improved site performance and security.    Secret #4 Revealed: Make the most out of Drupal modules.    A successful Drupal web development project lies on a foundation of highly customized and optimized modules. To maximize the potential offered by Drupal modules, consider what needs you may be able to address by installing a specific module and how it can shape certain functionalities and content sharing capabilities on your website.  Benefit: From flexibility to time efficiency, modular development meets a wide range of demands in your Drupal projects.   Secret #5 Revealed: Work on your project step by step.   It is widely known that Drupal web development can be pretty complex, and that's why many companies choose a Drupal development agency or outsource their companies to other experts. But if you wish to do it yourself, make sure you set realistic milestones. The lack of project leadership can be a confidence killer for even the most experienced developers and may cause your Drupal development environment to become a highly unproductive one.  Benefit: Boost productivity and confidence amongst developer teams.   Secret #6 Revealed: Build solid brand identity.   Part of what makes the user experience a great one is the ability to make the user comfortable. Solid UX/UI design relies on consistency, bringing comfort to the visitor as it makes him feel in control and know what to expect. If you want to position yourself as a trustful brand with a robust online presence, create a style guide with basic typography and a color palette. Also, don't be afraid to introduce new design elements from time to time to spice things up a bit and re-engage your audience.  Benefit: Attract and retain more customers.    Content management systems like Drupal provide multiple benefits, but Drupal projects can also be hard to handle—if you want to build highly successful websites. With these six best practices at your fingertips, you can manage and optimize your Drupal project more quickly and efficiently.  If you find that you can't reasonably handle Drupal's complexity and want to make more of its performance-enhancing capabilities, let us take care of your project. At Optasy, we put all the six best practices outlined in this article at work and more. See how we can revolutionize your Drupal web development project and discover our Drupal Maintenance services.    Photo credit: Ben Kolde on Unsplash.     ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Jun 02'2021
Want to Make Your Website Easier to Navigate? - See How
  If there's one thing that modern website visitors want, that is streamlined experiences. In the hectic environment established by the COVID-19 pandemic, people crave online experiences that are accessible, fast, and simple.  That's why, now more than ever, making website navigation easy and intuitive is imperative to meet your audience's needs. And be careful; just because your website looks good doesn't mean it's easy to navigate.  In this article, we'll see why it's essential to put yourself in your visitors' shoes when crafting your web navigation, and we'll explore some best practices for making your website easier to navigate.    Best Practice #1: Understand How Users Interact with Different Devices   With most people going online through mobile devices, it's essential to look at your website through their lens to create relevant website experiences for them. It's in human nature to look for patterns and seek comfort, so make sure that your menu is easy to find and your pages simple to navigate.  The switch from desktops to mobile devices has caused many websites to build less obvious navigation menus. While the "hamburger menu" is a convenient solution from the point of view of design and it best suits desktop users, it can make navigation menus harder to find for mobile users. That's why a lot of websites still opt for sidebars, a drop-down menu, or tab bars to make sure they don't compromise on website navigation.    Best Practice #2: Build a Clear, Legible Website Navigation   At this point, you want to avoid: - Narrow fonts - Tight scripts  - Unclear titles and text There's nothing more frustrating than getting lost on a website because navigation titles are confusing or vague. Most visitors will not want to come back to this. Your primary focus here should be to deliver easy-to-understand navigation, text instead of icons for menu items, and clear categories for each page.  The design of your page can also contribute to your website navigation being legible. For example, use clear contrast in your navigation menu and try to avoid dark-on-dark or light-on-light combinations.    Best Practice #3: Don't Forget About Search Functionality   Search functionality is excellent for users that expect specific guidance on a website rather than clicking through links. They will leave your site happy and eager to come back later. By improving your search functionality, you provide a safety net for making your site navigation easy—there's no going wrong with it as it fully supports the user experience. Investing in your search functionality can also improve your conversion rate, yet many sites still neglect it.  To help your visitors spot the search bar more quickly, you can put the text inside a box and offset it in a different color from your site's color scheme. Another important aspect is the functionality of your search results page. For example, work on making product searches filterable and adjust your search bar to filter out unwanted categories.  It may seem like a lot of work for a search bar tool, but if your want your website to be easy to navigate, search functionality is a must.    Best Practice #4: Build a Website Map   Sitemaps are like a directory of your website. Besides paving the way for streamlined site navigation, sitemaps are also essential for SEO. So, if you want to kill two birds with one stone, build your website map–you'll give your users more navigation options and improve your SEO functionality.  You can choose from HTML sitemaps, which provide links to the essential pages of your website, or XML sitemaps, which help a search engine navigate your website. You can also choose both options, combine them to suit your website needs, and provide a streamlined navigation experience.    Keeping Up with the Modern Digital User   There's no doubt about it: online users expect top-notch digital experiences and choose websites that can keep up with these expectations. Taking the time to invest in improving your site navigation is the first step in your quest to keep up with digital trends.  At Optasy, we know how vital it is to stay relevant in the online environment with websites that provide future-oriented designs and a personalized user experience. We can help you improve your digital posture and take your web development projects to the next level.    Photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash.      ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / May 25'2021
Staff Augmentation or Managed Services? How to Choose Wisely
  As digital transformation has forever changed the world of business, more and more companies are interested in IT outsourcing. In fact, the global staffing industry, one of the primary suppliers of staff augmentation talent, is estimated to support $490 billion in annual spending. While this trend is growing fast, there is still some uncertainty regarding the healthiest and most convenient way for a business to use outside personnel. This article discusses two of the most popular contingent working models—staff augmentation and managed services—and how to choose the best option for your business needs.   What is staff augmentation, and how can it help you?   Staff augmentation allows companies to expand their in-house team with additional skilled resources to join a particular project. This type of outsourcing model chases once the project is over, and it's suitable for companies that don't need to hire someone permanently.  Staff augmentation is best used for short-term projects and can also be used as a "trial run" for potential full-time employees.  With this type of outsourcing, organizations can leverage specific skills on a per-project basis without going through costly and time-consuming hiring processes.    What is managed services, and how can it help you?   Unlike the staff augmentation model, which enables companies to expand their team with additional skilled professionals, managed services outsourcing practices imply hiring a fully-equipped team of professionals to take care of your specific project.  With the managed services model, you save many resources—time, costs, and effort—as you hire an entire team of skilled professionals who have the right tools and tech to complete your project.  While a service provider will handle your project on its entire length, from beginning to end, your job is to ensure that you select a reliable company that you can trust will deliver positive business outcomes.  The managed services model is the best fit for companies looking for stable and reliable long-term business cooperation.    Which one should you choose?   To help you figure out which one of these outsourcing models is the one you should choose for your organization, let's have a look at the pros and cons of staff augmentation and managed services.    Pros of staff augmentation: - Project control and lower risk. Staff augmentation allows you to gain project autonomy and create outcomes based on specific requirements. You have the power to monitor the project on its entire length and have complete control over the development process, thus reducing the risk of ending up with the wrong project outcomes.  - Flexibility and easy scaling. By choosing staff augmentation services, you gain the flexibility to quickly access missing skills cover staff shortages. You also get to scale your staff according to your current demands without worrying about lengthy hiring processes. - Reduced costs. Contingent working models like staff augmentation provide you the opportunity to work remotely with worldwide outsourced professionals. This allows you to cut the additional costs of office space, hardware and software expenses, as well as get rid of monthly employee taxes.    Cons of staff augmentation: - Not suitable for long-term projects. Staff augmentation is practical only as long as you look for short-term business engagements as projects come and go.  - Increased dependence on third-party talent organizations. This can put your sustainability plans more at risk.  - Lengthy staff integration. New professionals that join specific, complex projects may require some time to get familiar with your products and expectations.    Pros of managed services: - Gain more resources for other projects. Since an entire outsourced team will handle your specific project, you can step back and let them do the whole job. In this way, you'll have more time and energy to focus on other important tasks within your organization.  - Organized project and predictable outcomes. A managed services organization assesses the risks and predicts the results by developing a suitable structure for your project.  - Less time spent on managing IT. If you lack technical expertise and management resources, hiring a managed services company will help you save time and money at the end of the day.   Cons of managed services: - Hard to ensure security. When opting for the services of a provider, you provide access to sensitive data and assets. Therefore, companies that require high levels of data and information security might want to think twice before choose a managed services outsourcing model. - Higher costs. Although hiring a managed services company might be cost-effective in the long run, it's not always possible to get the complete services package at a low price. The costs of handing over your project to an IT firm might be higher than when opting for staff augmentation since managed IT services cover both IT functions and project management.  - Less control and autonomy. If you are looking to internalize your project management process and supervise outsourced staff, a managed services model might not be the suitable option for you.    Wrapping up Although outsourcing is becoming more popular, finding an external reliable development team can be a struggle. There is a plethora of options available on the market, making it challenging to make a choice. A wise choice.  At Optasy, we understand how important it is to have a dedicated team of professionals that can handle a wide range of projects. So have a look at your services and contact us to learn more about how we can collaborate for success.    Image credit: Annie Spratt on Unsplash.    ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / May 19'2021
How to Master the Art of User Experience Design
  Websites and web applications are becoming increasingly complex, providing rich and interactive experiences. However, despite these emerging changes, the success of a website still relies on how the visitors perceive it. Is the website accessible and easy to use? Does it provide any value for me? Is it fun to navigate? Your users' interaction with your website comes with these questions in mind, which build the foundation of their long-term decision to become regular customers.    What Does User Experience (UX) Mean?   UX is how a digital user feels when interacting with a website, web app, or software. Today, human-computer interaction should be accessible, efficient, provide value and utility for the user. User experience design is a discipline that aims at meeting all these needs of the modern digital consumer by offering seamless web experiences.    Why Is UX Important?   User-centric business models are increasingly popular nowadays compared to how digital design was approached prior to the codification of user-centered design. Websites were built, and design decisions were made based on the preferences of the client and the designers' creative ideas.  The focus was on the brand and how the website looked, without considering what the users might feel when they would interact with the site.  However, as the Web is transforming at a fast pace—59.5 of the global population uses the internet today—and websites are becoming increasingly feature-rich, user experience designs are a must. The design industry understands the need for optimization as users are interacting with web applications through multiple devices (mobile phones, tablets). Also, businesses also recognize accessibility as an essential requirement for modern digital users.    Key Steps for Creating Top-Notch User Experience Designs   1. Evaluate your current system to learn about your website's current state, existing issues, and possible improvements.  2. Use A/B testing to compare and decide upon the effectiveness and reliability of different user interfaces.  3. Hold user surveys to find out what existing, and potential users of the system think about its design. Remember, the user experience is a subjective one, so what better way to collect insights about it than by interviewing the users? 4. Build user flows to outline how visitors move through your website. This enhances the ease of movement through your platform by ensuring that your users don't waste time looking at what to do next.  5. Develop wireframes and high-fidelity prototypes to convey the overall direction of the user interface.  6. Create design patterns to provide consistency and find the right user interface elements, like module tabs or slideshows, for specific tasks. By doing so, you'll be able to build improved, more familiar user experiences. 7. Do a content inventory so that you can enhance the user experience by changing your information architecture.  8. Get to know your audience, as this is an essential step for creating user-friendly website designs. Create user profiles and personas that support you in delivering experiences that reflect the needs and voice of your audience.  9. Create content style guides that provide UX designers and writers with the correct input for building consistent brand and design elements.    How do you know your project needs UX design?   Identifying the areas where UX design would be of most benefit is important. While all Web systems could benefit from a design of the user experience, resources are not unlimited, and things need to be prioritized in the complex world of web development.  Complex systems with complicated architectures like multi-faceted websites, interaction-rich apps, or e-commerce sites can benefit a lot from UX design. The same goes for start-ups and small companies, which can opt for training existing employees in the art of UX design to save some extra costs. However, creating solid user experiences in the first version of a product can generate more organic traffic and attract more visitors. But start-ups might not have enough resources for recruiting a highly-skilled UX designer.   UX design is also a good choice for projects with longer timeframes. Although UX design is not one size fits all, the concept can benefit long-term website projects by potentially saving time and costs.    Are you in doubt whether or not you need UX design or not? Don't worry, Optasy has your back. Contact us, and we'll do the hard work for you—analyze your website and offer advice and support on your UX design capabilities and opportunities. So let’s have a chat! Photo credit: UX Indonesia on Unsplash.   ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / May 12'2021
Everything You Should Know About Headless Drupal
  Traditional Drupal websites use Drupal as the end-to-end solution for creating, storing, and displaying content to the end-user. Modern approaches leverage headless Drupal, where building and storing happen on Drupal, but displaying is not.  Headless Drupal approaches make Drupal the backend content repository and build the frontend in different technologies that communicate with Drupal through an API.    Why is the headless approach an effective one? Today, many companies opt for using headless Drupal solutions, and the reasons are not few. If you don't want to sacrifice the user experience but still enjoy the powerful tools provided by Drupal, a headless approach might be the best fit.   Decoupled Drupal is known for its several benefits such as:   More channels to display content on In the hectic digital landscape, your marketing team knows that communicating with your customers on multiple channels is critical. The way companies use content management systems today has to do with their need to push content on various channels, thus increasing their digital presence.  If used properly, headless Drupal can be a source of content for various consumers. It provides content on the frontend site and serves content via API to be consumed on mobile devices, applications, or IoT. This gives great flexibility for headless Drupal users.    Meets the need for intuitive user experiences Bringing together Drupal with a frontend Javascript framework is a smart strategy for making the most out of Drupal's capabilities for content creation and data storage while at the same time create easy to use, fast frontend applications.  If you're thinking of choosing a headless Drupal approach for your next web development project, combining these two solutions will offer greater functionality—why not enjoy the power of Drupal's modules and the intuitiveness of a Javascript frontend application at the same time? You can really have the best of both worlds!   Technological reliance is widely spread This means you get to be more dynamic in managing frontend technologies without the need to re-architect large Drupal backends. From a developer's point of view, this is a real blessing.  Many businesses redesign their websites every few years, and separating the frontend from the backend makes it much easier to rebuild. This saves a lot of resources and reduces the expenses associated with rebuilding Drupal websites.    Drupal works best with a headless approach One of the reasons Drupal is often chosen for a headless project is because this CMS has most of the required functionality and API modules. As the Drupal community is committed to continuously make Drupal a reliable API-driven CMS, Drupal is known for efficiently serving and receiving content via APIs.    Microsite manager If you need to create multiple separate websites, a headless approach is the right way to do it. It's a lot easier to build one content engine such as Drupal and use it to deliver content to all microsites. As a result, you'll have all your content in one content hub, and you'll be able to create and close microsites when needed quickly.    What are the challenges associated with a headless approach? Before deciding to opt for headless Drupal development, you might want to consider these aspects:   A headless infrastructure is harder to manage than a traditional Drupal site Keep in mind that headless development can be complicated and complex, and you might need a professional developer or Drupal agency, like Optasy, to help you on the way.    Headless Drupal is more expensive You're likely to spend more resources with a headless approach as you now build two systems. The development process will take longer, and therefore the expenses associated with it will be higher.    You'll have to manage two teams Since headless Drupal requires two separate components, that means that you'll often have to manage two teams (backend and frontend). At this point, you want to ensure that you enable great collaboration and coordination between your teams as data models have to be agreed upon.    Higher maintenance costs As decoupled systems rely only on REST API, maintaining these systems to function properly requires intense testing. Compatibility issues when editing and making changes can arise between the two systems. What is more, security updates are required more often as there will be a need to patch more than one system.    How to decide If you're still torn between traditional Drupal projects and going for a headless approach, seeking advice from Drupal experts might be needed. At Optasy, we offer expert guidance based on your business needs so that you can get the most out of your next web development project.  Photo credit: Nubleson Fernandes on Unsplash.  ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / May 06'2021
5 SEO Best Practices When Building Your Magento Store
  The eCommerce market is getting more competitive. As the digital world expands at a rapid pace and online stores become the norm, eCommerce retailers must find new ways of differentiating their brands from the competition. A reliable method of building a solid online presence is search engine optimization (SEO).  To generate more organic traffic on your website, you need to improve your search engine rankings. With the right SEO strategies in place, you will not only rank higher on Google but also get more value from your Magento eCommerce store.  Keep reading this article to discover five SEO tips for driving better search engine rankings and organically grow your business.   Tip #1: Optimize Meta Tags.    Title tags and meta descriptions help search engines understand the content on a page. Optimized and well-written meta tags can attract more visitors to your site and increase your organic traffic.  SEO-friendly page titles have between 50-60 characters and include the main keyword from a particular page that you target. When it comes to meta descriptions, their length should be between 50-160 characters and incorporate primary and secondary keywords. Although inserting keywords is essential to improve your SEO, it's also important to pay attention to the way your description sounds. It shouldn't be forced or unnatural.    Tip #2: Realize an SEO-Friendly URL Structure.   When working with Magento, it is advisable to use the following URL structure for your pages: name/ for product pages for category pages for sub-category pages   To remove the "index.php" part from your URLs, you need to enable URL rewrites. You can do this by clicking on Stores - Configuration - General - Web, then enter the Search Engine Optimization tab and then click on YES in the Use Web Server Rewrites section.  By doing this, you'll create cleaner, more readable URLs, which will make it easier for you to complete a website migration in the future if that will be the case.    Tip #3: Spend Some Time on Product Descriptions.   As many eCommerce sites sell products manufactured by other companies, the product description they receive from the manufacturer is often the one actually used on the site. Consequently, product pages may end up containing little valuable content that doesn't provide significant insights to visitors. Also, Google doesn't usually rank these websites very high, so you need to start creating your own unique product descriptions.   Tip #4: Accelerate Your Site's Speed.   Today, speed and accessibility are what digital customers are looking for. Around 40% of people abandon a website that doesn't load in less than three seconds. A ranking factor used by Google for mobile is page speed, so it's essential to take all the measures to accelerate your loading speed. Here are some tips for this: Migrate to a new host. Try searching for a Magento hosting package as it will be optimized for Magento's infrastructure and capabilities.  Use browser caching. By doing this, users that visit your website won't need to download the same files each time they enter your site, which improves load speeds.  Don't forget about a content delivery network. There some free options on the market that you can use with confidence.    Tip #5: Leverage Magento SEO Plugins.   Fortunately, Magento has high-quality extensions for boosting your website's SEO, like ReloadSEO or SEO Suite Ultimate. Investing in SEO extensions is a great way of taking your SEO efforts to the next level and improve your SERP rankings and organic traffic.  Or you could let a team of experts like Optasy do the hard work for you. We can help you build your SEO-friendly website and grow your business in the digital world. Don't hesitate to contact us for more details.  Photo credit: Myriam Jessier on Unsplash.     ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Apr 22'2021
These Magento Extensions Will Boost Your Sales - Part Two
  Our last article discussed some of the critical Magento extensions for marketing and customer experience. This blog post contains valuable insights into other essential Magento plugins that target financial, shipping, and analytics aspects. Keep reading to discover how these extensions can improve your conversion rates.    Magento extensions for payments    Stripe Payments This Magento extension is used for processing credit and debit cards, as well as mobile wallets. If you want to position yourself as a trustworthy seller and deliver safe and secure payment options, Stripe is a must-have.  Benefits: Great integration. Stripe recognizes and accepts all major credit and debit cards and a wide range of currencies. Modern features. With Stripe, you can also use mobile wallets such as Apple Pay or Google Pay.  Compatible with a multi-store scenario.  Provides secure payment processes by using advanced machine learning algorithms.   OneStepCheckout This is a very handy extension that simplifies the checkout process of your Magento store. Shopping cart abandonment is a real problem for online retailers nowadays, and the Magento eCommerce platform offers an overwhelmingly complicated checkout process.  By installing OneStepCheckout, you'll make it easier for your customers to complete a purchase and increase your conversions. Benefits: Accepts all major payment providers. Cost-effective checkout solution. User-friendly and responsive design. This extension looks and works great across various screens and devices. Highly customizable. Adding and removing fields is easy with OneStepCheckout.   TaxJar Sales Tax Automation Sales tax can be a burden for many business owners. Fortunately, TaxJar can do it for you. With its automation capabilities, this Magento extension helps you prepare returns and calculate your taxes more efficiently.  Benefits: Real-time sales tax rates and calculations. Access TaxJar's APIs and real-time sales tax rates at checkout without compromising on the performance of your website.  Seamless and automated filling. With TaxJar's AutoFile feature, you can rest assured that your returns will be submitted correctly, on time.  Global rates. You can also use Tax Jar for taxes across multiple countries with accurate rates.    Magento extensions for shipping   Delivery Date FIne-tuning the delivery schedule for your customer needs will definitely boost your store's credibility and profitability. With Delivery Date, there will be no more missed packages due to the ultimate shipping customizability feature.  Benefits: Flexible. Allows the customer to select the date and time of their delivery.  Delivery notes. Customers can leave comments and provide additional instructions for the delivery.  Exclude dates. Delivery Data allows you to exclude any date from your delivery options.   ShipStation ShipStation powers shipping efficiency of all sizes. Order management is essential for large eCommerce stores, and it can become challenging. This Magento extension supports businesses in managing their shipping without headaches. Benefits: Returns are easy. Returns and refunds are streamlined for better customer experiences. Centralized orders. With ShipStation, you get to keep all your orders and shipment details in one place.  Order confirmation.    Shipping Suite This complex Magento extension provides customizable shipping and logistics for eCommerce stores. Shipping Suite is a 3 in 1 solution that allows you to take complete control over your delivery process through 3 innovative shipping management tools: shipping table rates, rules, and restrictions.  Benefits: Shipping approximations. Your customers are well informed about their shipping in advance thus reducing cart abandonment.  Highly customizable. You can choose which delivery providers to use and select the rates based on location.    Magento extensions for analytics   Google Analytics plugin for Magento 2 Easy yet powerful, this extension helps retailers track their web store's traffic more efficiently.  Benefits: Better customer insights. This extension allows you to track your customer's activity in your store.  Enhanced marketing. With better customer visibility comes better monitoring of your marketing campaigns.   Improved personalization. By understanding your customer's behavior more clearly, you can act upon personalizing their experience on your site.    Advanced Reports This Magento extension helps marketers with data visualization and management. It includes several reports and monitors different sales performance metrics in your store.  Benefits: Specific reports. You can analyze your reports based on categories. Payment and discount tracking. With Advanced Reports, you'll be able to see how your discount codes are performing and which payment methods lead to the most conversions.    Magento extensions for security As security is getting more and more critical in the digital environment, security extensions are a must to keep your online store secure.    Two Factor Authentication  Through this extension, you can improve your protection against fraud and identity theft. The Two Factor Authentication (TFA) algorithm adds an extra layer of security to your website and reduces the risk of cyber theft. Benefits: High compatibility. TFA works with several operating systems.  High security. The secure code sent to your configured smartphone to complete the log-in process is only available for 30 seconds. This prevents someone from hacking your website.  Failsafe. With TFA, your eCommerce site will be secured even if the security of your passwords is jeopardized.    Fraud Prevention To avoid fraudulent purchases and payments, installing this Magento extension is a must as it helps you track and block suspicious payments. Benefits: Automatic fraud detection. The extension automatically blocks purchases that match previous suspect purchases.   Custom blacklisting rules. You can create blacklist rules based on various customer attributions like name, address, ZIP, or IP address.    Conclusion Magento is a reliable choice for building and managing robust eCommerce stores. However, to make the most out of its capabilities, installing Magento extensions is necessary. You're now familiar with the most popular and useful plugins for enhancing and securing your website.  If you're still unsure which extensions you should select for your site, send Optasy a message. We'll gladly support you in your journey towards building your successful eCommerce business.   Photo credit: geralt on Pixabay.  ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Apr 19'2021