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What are accessibility features and why should my website have them?

When websites are created we can get caught up in how we see it. But what about if we have some visual impairment and do not see the world as you do?

Fonts can be difficult or even just too small. I am getting older (still very young) and was told this year I had to start using reading glasses. Some websites use font sizes that are too small for me to comfortably read.

I could increase the zoom of the browser but that would increase the size of all websites until I changed the zoom again.

Accessibility features within a website can add options for the person viewing your website. These include changing the font size, changing the font, making the site grey scale or black and white only.

For WordPress there are many plugins that do this for you and by using them you can make your site easier for everyone to use.

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Do you need an SSL for WordPress?

What is an SSL you ask? It is a way to make a website more secure to guard the data from hacking.  Any website that takes private information, like names, emails or payment details need to have an SSL.

If your website is for information only and you do not let people make comments on your site, log in or register or make payments then you may not need an SSL.  Some feel that you should anyway because search engines like websites with SSL more than without.

Some hosting packages come with SSL and some are additional, if you are not sure you can contact your web host.

There is a free SSL that can be used on some web hosts, this is Let’s Encrypt. But the codes for the security need to be updated every 90 days or if you have WordPress there are some plugins that will do that for you automatically, for a fee.

Before you decide check both options for cost and ease. An SSL with your web host might be very expensive and it is cost effective both with time and money to go the Let’s Encrypt route. But it could be that your host provides a free or reasonably priced SSL that will auto install and update for the entire term.

Let me know if you would like me to create training programs on how to add an SSL to a WordPress website.

Ecommerce Selling Online
Mediamodifier / Pixabay
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The language of WordPress

Are you scared of touching the wrong button in WordPress?  Not sure what everything does and so ignore them and just use the small amount that you do know but would love to know more?  

The first thing to look at is what the main parts of WordPress mean.

  • Dashboard
  • Posts
  • Pages
  • Plugins
  • Appearance
  • Menu
  • Dashboard

This is the main interface once you log in, the higher your permission the more options, for example if a customer creates a login for your site they would probably not have permission to create pages or posts on your site (unless the admin gave them permission to do so).

Posts

These are small articles or blogs that are added value to your site visitors and particularly useful to your target clients.  By adding blogs on a regular basis your site is updated and search engines see that it is not an abandoned or ignored site.

Pages

Pages are static and show particular information.  Pages tend to be created and left only updated when needed.

Plugins

Plugins are one of the things that make WordPress so great, they expand what WordPress can do.  The software can only do so much so if you want an added feature, like GDPR or pretty social media icons, you could either learn to program and create something yourself, or add plugins that do the work for you.

If you don’t like how one plugin works you can disable then install another one.

Appearance

The appearance section contains themes which are so brilliant but most people don’t realise how great they are.  Themes contain lots of settings, what fonts, colours and the layout.  If you create your posts and pages uses the text styles you can quickly change the entire look of your site and do not need to tweak or update pages.

Menu

The menu contains links to different parts of your website.  WordPress now lets you create multiple menu’s and to add custom items so they do not have to be a list of your pages.  You can add in links to other web locations, a specific blog post, you can hide pages that you do not want to show in that menu.

You could have a menu for the top of the site and a separate menu for the footer with the pages you have to have like terms and privacy policy.

What part of WordPress baffles you?

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Language of websites

Most people feel ok writing documents, sending emails and browsing the web but ask them to create a website or add something to an existing one and they start to sweat and change the subject.

Does that sound like you?

Knowing what the terms mean can help.  Lets take a look at a few, some you may know well, others you know but were not sure what they meant:

  • Blog
  • Vlog
  • Internet
  • Website
  • Domain name
  • Subdomain
  • SSL
  • WordPress
  • Hosting
  • URL
  • SEO
  • Blog
Global Network Communication
TheDigitalArtist / Pixabay

A Blog is in Internet Log or a lot of smaller entries to make up a series of articles or posts that people can search and possibly find on the internet. 

Vlog

A Vlog is a video log, instead of typing articles or posts people can record and post videos, the content is less easy to search, for example the words in a blog can be indexed and search engines can search through them but the audio or pictures in video are harder to do so the SEO is more important for these.

Internet

The internet is a group of computers and servers (servers are large hard drives that have special software to manage files and systems) that are linked together actively over the same connection.  Like a group call or the old party lines were like.  Everyone on the same line at the same time.  To find anything each location can be reached using addresses called URL’s. 

Website

Websites can be quite complicated but a simple way to think of them is an area of the internet made up of various items like pages, media, downloads for a specific topic or business.  They all are addressed with the same name or starting address called a domain name. For example the website BroomstickWeb.com is in all the URL’s or addresses for the Broomstick Web website.

Website Page Template Internet Web
200degrees / Pixabay

Domain Name

The Domain name is a name that is purchased either forever or for a limited time, usually a fixed term like 1-5 years.  When the internet was still new people could purchase domain names for a one off fee and never had to renew, now most are renewable on a fixed term.

They are made up of 2 parts:

Name – the name is the main part of the URL, it should represent what the site is about, they cannot have spaces but can have an underscore or dashes.

Extension – the extension is the last part of the domain, and can identify the location of the website or business for example if it is a UK company it could be a .co.uk. Most extensions started out meaning something, .com was commerce .org was organisations.  As more people wanted to create websites there were not enough names, popular names were taken in one extension but people could still buy them with another extension.  Some people buy up all the domain names with extensions they think their customers will search for and point them to the same location or URL.  Other people will buy up domain names with popular extensions and auction them off to make money, or they are waiting to start a business.

www.BroomstickWeb.com  is the main address or URL for the domain of BroomstickWeb.com.  The www represents that it is the main website, but it is not necessary to type that into a web browser anymore.  Some companies create offshoot websites using the same domain but changing the www to something else, we will look at that next.

Subdomain

If a website is www or has nothing in this position then we don’t call it a subdomain it is the main site, but. If the first part of the URL is not www or blank but has another word then it is a subdomain for example shop.BroomstickWeb.com was a custom shop using different software where people can buy products to create their own website. It can be used to have a separate website still under the same domain for a specific purpose or for a specific audience for example a help site could be help.BroomstickWeb.com for customers only.

SSL

An SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer (I will test you later on that 😉), it basically adds another level of encryption to your website making it safer for people to leave their personal details or make purchases.

The url will change from HTTP:// to HTTPS://. Most browsers will highlight it in some way so you know it is more secure than with nothing.

Saying all that, it does not mean the site cannot ever be hacked but just that the owners of the site are making as much of an effort as they can to secure the site.

WordPress

WordPress is software that can be installed to create a website.  It was created for people who are not IT or technical so they could write blogs or create websites.

There are two types of WordPress, hosted and .org.  

WordPress.org is a site where people can create a free account and have their own area usually using a subdomain like mysite.wordpress.org, a domain can be purchased and used on these now as well, but you are limited to the functionality that WordPress.org will allow because it is their system.

Hosted wordpress is where you pay to host WordPress yourself and you must have your own domain name.  This gives you more functionality because you are in control of what you can install to expand the basics that WordPress can do.

Hosting

Since the internet is made up of computers and servers connected together if you want to create a website you need to host it or save the files somewhere.  This is the hosting, a server somewhere where you can put your files, install software or whatever, and be connected to the internet.

Hosting is like a home for your website, the domain the post address.

WordPress.org have their own hosting and for free will allow you to create sites which is why the free accounts have less options, you are not paying to use someones server.

Hosted accounts can be from free to very expensive depending on feature and amount of support you get.

The hosting is just the server space and needs a domain name to allow people to find your site, some hosting packages come with a free domain or you can point a domain purchased on the same site or another company to a host, think of it like forwarding your mail when you move houses but permanently so the people don’t know you have moved.

URL

Think of a URL like a postal address, like a letter if you type in the URL correctly then it will go to the correct place.  Like a letter if you only put in part of the address or URL then you could get to the area but might not go to the specific location.

SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation.  This is making your website easier for the search engines like google to know what is on each page of your website and match it up with the search terms that your potential visitors will use.

What internet or website terms are you not sure about?