Week without a smartphone

My week without a smartphone and what it taught me

This is an article about my thoughts on my week without a smartphone.

A few weeks ago my smartphone, a Huawei P20 decided to stop charging, and thus like any smartphone, the battery soon died. Luckily, it was still within the manufacturer’s warranty, so I sent it off to my phone provider to be fixed.

Within the period of being unable to use my phone, contacting my network provider and then waiting for them to send me a jiffy back to send my phone in, I was without a phone. I did get a replacement, but it was about as basic as mobile phones get. Calls, text messages, a flash-light and an extremely odd and basic web browser.

Despite that fact that most millennials and Gen-Zers today can’t seem to live without a smartphone, I was not going to let this affect me. I was determined to see how this would be used for my advantage.

I’m not someone is constantly on my phone, but I do like to use it to message people, keep up-to-date with certain industry and sports news etc. But, with any smart, shiny object that beeps at you for attention, you will find yourself distracted by it.

Problems that occurred

Smart-phones have many great tools, or apps that allow you to do so many things. So when they are out of your life, you feel a bit empty. You have to go back to live using a laptop to communicate with people. Another thing that I use my smart-phone for is directions; how and where to get to places. It was during this week that I needed to purchase a bed for my spare room in order to rent it out. I found someone on Facebook Marketplace selling one for a very good price. The seller gave me her address, but one problem; I didn’t have a phone that could navigate me there with Google Maps or Waze. Nor did I have an actual satnav.

My solution was to print-out the directions sort-of memorise where to go. This of course included stopping now and then to figure out where I was going. But I did get there.

Other problems included communicating with friends. I didn’t know who was ringing me, or even how to communicate with others because I didn’t have their number.

Also, checking messages in Gmail and LinkedIn during the day was difficult, or not as easy. I would obviously would have needed to use a desktop or a laptop, instead of easily replying to messages on my phone. The same goes to using Facebook Messenger.

Postivite outcomes

I did find that I was less distracted now that I had a phone that didn’t have apps such as Whats’App, Linked’In, Twitter, Facebook Messenger and the many other apps that are available on most smartphones. Although I do turn notifications off within my phone’s settings, it doesn’t stop me from taking a look at them every so often. Because I didn’t have easy access to the applications, I felt as though I became more focused on what I had to do.

I also realised that I had a lot of apps on my smartphone that I didn’t need, because I didn’t use them. They were there were just there, taking up storage space and causing distraction.

Having a basic phone made me realise what I actually need and don’t need, and also what I do need to focus on.

Although not having a smartphone for a week was perhaps strange and a bit difficult at times, there were benefits to it in that I felt less distracted and my mind felt clearer and more motivated. Yes, it was frustrating, but a week without a smartphone (or longer) is not the end of the world is it! Keeping up-to date with the latest news in digital media, WordPress and football (soccer) was not easy, it did make me think about how much people today rely on a smartphone, and what would happen if everyone’s was taken away or for some reason they all just stopped working one day. How would everyone react?

A world today where smartphones didn’t work would probably end up looking like an episode of Black Mirror. Well, hopefully not.

smart phone users

But, we do take these devices for granted, I most certainly did. A smartphone is more than shiny device that takes calls, texts and connects to the internet; it’s an alarm clock, it’s a fitness monitor, it’s a key communication tool, its a satnav, its a fitness trainer, its many things.

Could you go a week without a smartphone?

migrating drupal to wordpress

Migrating from Drupal to WordPress – The easy way

Are you a Drupal user that is starting to get frustrated with the platform? You come across over people using WordPress and wonder to yourself, why did I make it so difficult for myself? Why aren’t there as many plugins on Drupal as there are on WordPress, and why does it take ages to load and to create something compared to WP? Is there a way of migrating from Drupal to WordPress???

Perhaps you have asked yourself these questions before, and if so, this article can help. Migrating a site from Drupal to WordPress is something that I did recently.* The reason being was that even though I think Drupal is a very good CMS platform, I much preferred the simplicity and the global support and recognition that WordPress offers. As mentioned in a previous post comparing WordPress to Drupal, WordPress has over a 59% market share for content management systems. So as you might expect, the amount of support and jobs available for WordPress users is greater than that of Drupal and any other CMS.

*a few months before this article was written.

Getting Started

I am going to assume that you have set-up a brand-new WordPress site that is completley empty and is ready for content. 

Before we begin, it would be very wise to back-up your data.

This guide won’t show you how to back-up your data, but I will do in a future post. If you have access to your site’s CPanel login, you will be able to create a backup within there.

It is not neccessary to create a backup, but anytime that you are transferring data, it is always a safe option to do so.

The easy way of migraiting from Drupal to WordPress is to install a plugin called FG Drupal to WordPressTo install, head to the Plugins menu within the admin section of your WordPress site, and then search for ‘FG Drupal to WordPress’.  Click install, and then click activate.

Once the plugin has been activated you can now start the migration setup.

Migrating from Drupal to WordPress settings

To access the import menu, go back into the Plugins menu (if you’re not already there), find the FG Drupal to WordPress plugin and then click ‘import’. You should now see a menu screen such as below.

Before you see this form, you would have noticed the section about removing the WordPress content if you want to start from scratch; it’s up to you what you decide to do, but I would just ignore it.

The above form requires you to enter the URL of your site, e.g. joshlister.com, your database type – most likely it will be MySQL, the hostname, port, database, database username, database password and the Drupal table prefix. You can leave the prefix as blank, but to get the other information, you will need to the directory of your Drupal site.

To get this information, there are two easy ways. You can either use an FTP client such as FileZilla to gain access to your website’s directory, or you could log in into your website’s CPanel profile and click on File Directory.

Within your site’s directory, head to sites\default and open the settings.php file. At the bottom of this file, you will see the following code $databases[‘default’][‘default’] = array (

Within the array, parenthesis is your database credentials. Take note of these and go back to your WordPress site and enter them accordingly into the import from within the FG Drupal to WordPress plugin. Test the database connection works. If it does then scroll down the page.

You can choose the same behaviours as I have chosen, or feel free to amend them.

Importing success

Save settings, and then start the import.

Check the dialogue box below. If all is successful you will see a green IMPORT COMPLETED message. And there you have it, all of your media has been imported from your Drupal site to your new WordPress site. Although it is worth noting the other messages about not being to import things such as users and custom nodes. The free version of the plugin won’t allow you to import users, custom nodes, taxonomies, URL aliases and navigation menus. Do import these, you will need to purchase the premium version. If these are really important to you, then it might be worth purchasing to do so.

What next

Once you completed migrating from Drupal to WordPress you can now select a new theme, amend any broken links and test the site to make sure it is looking as sharp as it once did when on Drupal.

To conclude

Migrating from Drupal to WordPress might seem a daunting task, but as this guide showed it really isn’t. To recap, here are the easy steps to do so:

  1. Create a new WordPress site (ideally within CPanel)
  2. Install the FG Drupal to WordPress plugin and then click ‘import’
  3. Find your Drupal site’s database credentials and enter these into the import menu, within the plugin
  4. Test and run the importer.
  5. If successful, continue and amend your site. If it’s unsuccessful, check the error log and amend the settings accordingly.
Google Analytcis

Google Analytics for WordPress: How to add analytics to your site

How to install Google Analytics for WordPress

Knowing how to install Google Analytics for WordPress is an important task for any site owner. Once you have completed your site, you might be left thinking, so, I have a website, but how do I see how much traffic I am getting?

For those unfamiliar with Google Analytics, it is a free-to-use service that allows you to collect traffic and user-related data for your site.

This is important for those wanting to monetise a blog or those that have an e-commerce store. Knowing where your users and potential customers have come from is important to know so that you can see what areas/regions your site is performing well in. It will also help you when you create advertising campaigns because you will have a clearer idea of who to target.

Creating an Analytics profile

To create a Google Analytics profile, you must first have a Google account. This can be your personal account or your business account. If you don’t have either, click here to get started https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/27441?hl=en

Otherwise, click here to create your Analytics account/profile.

https://tinyurl.com/yyrf25fo

Sign in with your Google account, as mentioned previously. You will now be asked to create an Analytics account. This allows you to assign properties to your account as well amend your settings and report filters. From there, you can now create a property. In this case, your property will be a website, but it could be a mobile app. Give your website a name, enter the URL and then select a site category, for example, ‘Computers and Electronics’.

Tracking Code

Once you have created your analytics property you now have two options to be able to track your site. You can either use the automatically generated JavaScript code and add it to your site’s code – ideally within the <HEAD> section. Or, you can use a plugin such as Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights.

Using code

Within your WordPress admin menu, select the Appearance menu > Theme Editor.

Within the Theme Editor, select the Theme Header(header.php) file under Theme Files. Take a backup if you wish. Editing theme files can potentially break your site, so if you are unsure as to what you are doing then please be careful and take precautions.

Within the <Head> tags, paste the gtag.js code within there.

It might take Google 24 + hours to index your page and to start tracking your site, but ultimately, this is one way to add tracking to your site. Please note, that this has to be repeated if you choose a new theme.

Using MonsterInsights

Alternatively, download the MonsterInsights plugin from the WordPress store. Once installed and activated, open the newly created Insights menu. Select Settings, and then select the Setup Wizard.

From the Wizard you determine what type of site you are wanting to track, and then you can link your Google Analytics account with the app – make sure you select the correct site when setting it up.

MontserInsights Google Analytics for WordPress

Once MonsterInsights has been set up you will be able to view the reporting options. Ideally, you will want to wait a week or two to let Google index your site, as well as creating enough data for you to analysis.

To show the reports, simply select Reports under the Insights menu heading. What I like about the MontserInsights Google Analytics for WordPress plugin is the user-interface; the look and feel of the reporting page. It is a lot less cluttered than the actual Google Analytics page, however, with the Google Analytics app (web and mobile) you do get more additional features. Not only that but most of the reports require a premium subscription for data that you can freely view in your Google Analytics account.

But what you can view is the overview report. You can view how much traffic your site has received in the past week or month, as well as the percentage breakdown of new and returning visitors and the devices used, i.e. Mobile and desktop. The overview report will also show you what pages are being hit, as well as the sources of traffic and which countries.

It is a very useful plugin to use and it does save you from having to log in or accessing your Google Analytics account. Just by viewing the basic information about your site’s performance you can see where you need to improve as well the things that you are doing well. I would still recommend logging into your Google Analytics account as it does give you a ton more features, without an extra cost, and not only that but you can also create your own custom reports. A topic for the future, perhaps…

Hopefully, this article has given you some idea into how to install Google Analytics for WordPress, and also why you need to use analytical data for your site. Any questions, please let me know!

Why You Should Bother Starting a Blog: Simple Programmer Blog Course Review

You may, or may not have heard of the phrase, Content is King. Whether you have or haven’t, it is very much true. Blogging is a platform for which your voice can be read by anyone on the internet. For example, if you are from London, England, someone in Texas, USA could potentially read your blog about Microsoft’s key features to MVC Core – or whatever your subject is. Crazy, right?

Well, not really. Blogging has been a ‘thing’ for many years now, but still, there are people not taking full advantage of it. Perhaps they see blogging as something that they don’t have time for. Well, it is true that blogging will take time out of your day, but surely, to build a brand or gain awareness, isn’t it worth it? According to DemandMetric, On average, companies with blogs produce 67% more leads per month than those without. So, shouldn’t you have one too?

Get Started

For those unsure of how to start a blog, or how to get traffic to one, there are some really good guides out there. I recently enrolled on John Sonmez’s blog course, and best of all, it’s free. The Blogging Course Workbook (which I highly recommend purchasing) only costs $5 (£4.05). If you are unaware who John is, he created a blog called Simple Programmer, and that has made him quit his 9-5 job and earn a living online. Not only that, but it also helped his programming career, because it showed businesses and hiring managers that he was passionate, and also that he knew what he was talking about.

To sign-up to John Sonmez’s blogging course, go to https://simpleprogrammer.com/lp/create-your-blog-1/

What do you get from the course?

You will receive an email everyday containing detail descriptions and tasks in order to start your blog, From determining your niche topic, to creating a WordPress blog, and to planning your schedule and getting traffic to your site.

In the past, I have used other courses and read guides on the internet. But, the reason why I like this course the most is that it is very detailed and to the point. It explains why you should do something, and the potential rewards for doing so. Could it go into more depth? Sure! But, then wouldn’t that just bore you?!?

Besides, John is a very humble guy, and he started in a position that is no disimiliar to you or are, probably. Ok, so this blog might not be my first attempt at blogging, and I do like writing. However, John’s wisdom, knowledge and his keeness to help is worth a lot. Actually, before I enrolled onto the course, I sent him an email with a query, and he was very helpful and somewhat inspirational in his response. I  then found his course on his site and had to sign-up.

As mentioned, I would high recommend purchasing the additional workbook. I for one find it easier to read tasks from a PDF rather than an email. Plus, the workbook has additional features and goes into a bit more depth than the email course. I learnt some solid gold nuggets of information in this course, and so can you too.

Summary

So, to summarise. Do not worry if you don’t think that you are an exceptional writer. It doesn’t matter. Don’t fret if you have never used WordPress, or even written a blog post. It doesn’t matter. Don’t stress out wondering how to drive traffic to your site. Just get started now. It is easy to get nervous and to doubt ourselves. But, fortuantely there are great people out there, such as John Sonmez that are willing to help you out fulfil your dreams, with courses such as https://simpleprogrammer.com/lp/create-your-blog-1/

Just remember, it starts and ends with you.

Ecommerce Expo 2019

Ecommerce Expo 2019 – 5 Top Things that I discovered

On Wednesday 25th September I visited the Olympia in London to attend the eCommerce Expo 2019 exhibition. It is an event that is seen as a must-do for all that is involved in B2B and B2C commerce; as well as anyone that is interested in digital marketing and development. 

I attend the event in 2018, as was really impressed with how the organisers had managed to improve the event with more top businesses attending, as well as more talks, including Google Garage. For myself, learning and developing is something that I love, so coming to a place such as this is great. I learnt that there is a lot still to be learnt within the online and digital space, as well as that, there are some really interesting companies making and designing some extraordinary things.

Ecommerce Expo 2019

If learning about what is hot in the online eCommerce space, then perhaps 2020 is the year that you should look to attend. My top 5 favourite things Ecommerce Expo 2019 were:

 

Top Quality Talks

There were a number of different talk stages at the event. Some were fully packed, some not so. But, whichever one you decided to attend, you were sure to be left inspired and with a head increased with the knowledge of how you can run your business better. There were talks about digital marketing, social media and influencer marketing, handling and fulfilment, the customer buying journey, copywriting, and also talks from the Google Garage team about getting about using Google’s online tools such as Search Console and Analytics.

 

Large Businesses

Companies such as UKFast and Imrg sponsored the event, and they had some amazing stands. The other big boys at the event included the aforementioned Google Garage team, Magento, Barclaycard, Shopify Plus, Feefo, Review Pilot, Royal Mail, SnapFulfil and many more. It was great to see some big names at the event, and also to see what they were up to.

 

Small Businesses

As well as the big names, this event is filled with many unknown names too. From startups to businesses that have been trading for a while, but are creating great things without you knowing about it. Some of my favourite businesses that I came across were ThreeKit – These guys are marketed towards the big boys in eCommerce; they create amazing photo editing software, as well as amazing end-to-end product visualisation technology that aims to create stunning product images for your site. 

PHP Workshop is another too; they specialise in virtual assistance services, and their prices are extremely generous. Not to mention, they also have a very good star rating on Google.

Video Sherpa. This a tech company based in Galway, Ireland that has created a brilliant way of creating social media content. Their kit contains a tripod that will fit snuggly with any smartphone, and also software that allows you to create short collections of video. The purpose of the short videos is that it requires the speaker to be ‘snappy’ and to the point with their content. Once the user/s are happy the footage, angles and the has completed editing, they then can save and upload to their various social media accounts. Unfortunately, Instagram and Tik-Tok aren’t on the list at this moment-in-time, but once they have permission from these outlets then you the user will have even greater power at your fingertips.

Innovation

Lots and lots of innovation, from ThreeKit’s impressive display to a startup that created a camera and software that would allow for easier content creation and uploading to businesses that dealt in data cleansing. A lot to be inspired by at the eCommerce event. Of course, AI, robots and creating a sustainable world were hot topics at the event too, if many businesses offering valuable solutions.

 

Relax

And lastly, to finish the day I decided to have a massage. There were two businesses that provided portable desk/seat massages, and trust me they were worth it. In a world where we are seemingly always hunched over at a screen and not taking enough time to take care of our bodies, a massage is a much-needed relief. They cost anything you like from as little as £10.

 

If you are thinking about going next year, check out the site https://www.ecommerceexpo.co.uk/exhibitors for more information.

 

 

best wordpress plugins for SEO

6 Best WordPress plugins for SEO

Once upon-a-time, in the early days of the internet, getting your site to rank on the first page of a search engine required stuffing your site with meta-tags, and even spamming fake links for back-linking. SEO has evolved since then and creating a site that will take get Google or Bing to notice you will take some work. Fortunately, there are some rather nifty apps and plugins to help you. All of which have the aim to make your site more SEO-friendly, with complete ease and satisfaction. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the 6 best WordPress plugins for SEO.

Yoast SEO

Perhaps the most popular choice to WordPress users; With so many features, it is no wonder why it considered one of the best WordPress plugins for SEO.

Yoast makes your article writing extremely easy to be SEO-friendly. Some of the best features it includes:

  • Real-time SEO analysis – must-have tools to write friendly SEO articles, and pages. It will analysis how many times a given keyword has been used, your word count + your expected minimum word count, your readability score.
  • Create XML sitemaps at the push of a button.
  • Set canonical URLs to reduce/avoid duplicated content.
  • Title and meta description templating.
  • Bulk editor

And much more, as well as premium features that contain social media previews.

All in One SEO

A great little box that contains many little, but powerful additions to your site. From creating an XML sitemap, configuring the robot text file, editing the SEO article title and description and keywords from within the posts menu, connecting your social media channels, managing the site performance, and detecting and blocking bad bots.

All In One also claim to be the only free SEO tool that integrates with WooCommerce – ideal for any web store developers. It also contains a whole host of other features including AMP page creation, usable in over 57 languages, great for beginners, and it is also compatible with other SEO plugins.

SmartCrawl SEO

This superhero-themed plugin has a user interface that is easy-to-use, with features that can help your site rank higher in the search engines. You can easily create broken link redirects, social media connections and changes to your heading tags if needed. Don’t be put off by the cheesy sales video, it is worth taking a look at.

If page and crawl analysis, in an easy-to-setup plugin is what you are after, then this could the one for you. Not only that, but even Neil Patel has positive words to give to this plugin. So, check it out!

SEOPress

This clean on the eye plugin is a very powerful tool indeed, boasting many great features in the free package, and many top ones in the premium version too. What I like about this plugin is the ability to integrate Google Analytics and track data regarding demographics, IP etc. It is GDPR compliant too.

Like the other plugs, you can edit the robot.txt file, and also create an XML sitemap – so pretty standard stuff too.

But, I also like the addition of the remove ?replydotcom to avoid duplicate content, and it also does W3C check on your content too.

Not only that, but you can import your Yoast Seo settings….Very impressive.

Rank Math

Rank Math claims to be the Swiss Army knife of WordPress Seo; but, how good is it really?

Well, quite impressive to be honest. The UI looks like a more modern, and sleeker version of Yoast, and the website analyser is a game-changer, as well as these features too:

  • 5 keyword analyser – Yes, that’s correct. 5!!!
  • A super-fast plugin that won’t slow down your site
  • 1-click import from Yoast and All in One and SeoPress
  • Google keyword suggestion
  • Autoconfiguration

Whether it can be actually considered the Swiss Army knife of WordPress SEO is for you to decide, but it certainly is one of the best WordPress plugins for SEO in my honest opinion.

SEO Booster

Another powerful plugin; this allows you to create tags from keywords, create 404 redirects, auto-link keywords and phrases, a user-friendly version of your traffic source and an overview showcasing where you can improve your site’s SEO.

See, SEO doesn’t have to a chore; there are many fantastic plugins that can easily help you with your on-site SEO; saving you time, and potentially money. For me, at this moment in 2019, these are the 6 best WordPress plugins for SEO. Do you agree? Do you use a plugin that hasn’t been mentioned here? If so, then let us know.

install WordPress locally

Using Server Press to install WordPress locally

As discussed in my previous post discussing WordPress v Drupal, I mentioned that getting started with WordPress is easier than Drupal as well as other content management systems. But seriously, how easy is it really? This article will show you how to get started with WordPress locally on your PC or Mac. In upcoming articles I will show you how to create sites from scratch using WordPress, as well as other neat tricks; but today I will be talking about how to install WordPress locally. Trust me, it’s pretty easy.

 

Why install WordPress locally?

Although in this post I will be talking about local WordPress development, you can ,however, create WordPress sites within your browser with WordPress.com. If all that you are after thoguh is just a simple blog, then head over to there and get started for free. If, however, you want to create a site from scratch that gives you control over the backend database work as well more creative control and are looking to create more than just a blog, then knowing how to install WordPress locally (WordPress.org) will be an essential skill for your toolbox.

 

Firstly, you will need to download a desktop server; I recommend Server Press. Don’t be alarmed if you see a price tag for this, that is optional and by purchasing it you will unlock premium features such as the ability to host an unlimited amount of sites, plugins for Visual Studio Code and Adobe Dreamweaver, an ‘airplan’ mode plugin and the ability to archive and export sites. There, of course, is a freemium version, and that is what we will be using. This includes PHP 7.0 (what WordPress is built using), Apache and MySQL servers, and of course WordPress.

Click the add to cart button. You may need to fill a form. Once that has been completed, click the download button. The zip folder that you will be downloading with be approximately 443 MB in size, so it might take a couple of minutes to complete. Once it has completed, extract it, open the extracted folder and click on the ‘Install DSL’.exe file. You will now be taken through the installation wizard. Accept the terms and then select ‘install new desktop server’. Desktop Server will now start to install on your machine.

Once the installation process has completed, you will need to search for it on your operating system. Windows and Macs differ slightly in how you can search. For Windows users, navigate to the windows icon and then Search for ‘DesktopServer’. Mac users can use the ‘cmd’ + spacebar shortcut on their keyboard.

When you find the DesktopServer icon, click to open it. 

Once opened, it will ask you if you want to restart DesktopServer with privileges or not. I suggest selecting yes.

install WordPress locally with desktopserver

 

Next, select ‘start Apache and MySQL services’. It is important that these are running, overwise you might have trouble running your site.

Next, create a new development website….Because we are creatiing a new WordPress portfolio website and will be starting from scratch.

This next stage will be the process of installing WordPress…

Create a site name, ‘my simple WordPress portfolio website’, for example. Currently

For the blueprint, select the latest version of WordPress. If you are happy with where it will installed within the site root box, click create. Then, click on next (once everything has been installed and setup correctly). You will be shown a .php link. Click on this. It will open in your default web browser. 

From here, create your site title, a username, ideally a strong password (don’t worry too much as this will be hosted locally and not on the world web untill a later date), enter your email address, and then click ‘Install WordPress’

And once WordPress has finished installing, you will then be able to select your newly created site from the DesktopServer browser window.

So now you know how to install WordPress locally, what is next?

Well, to create the WordPress site of course. I’ll explain more in upcoming articles. But, until then, I hope that this post has been of some use to you. 

Any queries, please let us know!

A knockout winner, surely? WordPress or Drupal.

WordPress or Drupal – Which CMS should you choose?

WordPress or Drupal?

Anyone looking to delph into the world of web development probably knows that content management systems (CMS) are one of the best and most powerful ways to get started. A CMS provides the web and content creator with a user-friendly method creating a brilliant site, without the need for extensive knowledge of programming. Trust me, using a CMS will save you hours of time by implementing simple things that can become fiddly and annoying if trying to code it yourself. There are quite a few content management systems available, but in the post, we are going to concentrate on two of the big boys in the CMS world: WordPress and Drupal. If you are at a point where you know you need a CMS but are unsure, then this post will give you greater clarity into deciding which direction your next web project should go. WordPress or Drupal which one should you choose?

WordPress is the most popular CMS

Let’s start with WordPress.

First released in 2003; this popular CMS platform is written in PHP and was originally designed as a blogging platform. However, over the years and many releases, the platform has become more than just a blogging platform, with big brands using this CMS as their go-to website creator. Brands/companies such as :

  • The New Yorker
  • BBC America
  • Sony Music
  • PlayStation Blog
  • TechCrunch
  • Disney
  • Metro
  • Mercedes-Benz

As you can see, these are some of the biggest brands, and sites in the world today. A lot of sites do use WordPress just for their blog only, but over the years, WordPress has become more than just a blogging platform.

But what makes WordPress so great?

Let’s take a look at its advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages

  • Easy to install
    • Users can be set up with a basic site within minutes
  • You don’t need a great amount of PHP knowledge – although, when you do more advance web development, it might be help
  • WP has over a 59% market share for content management systems – meaning, a lot of people trust this platform over anything else
  • It has one of the best, if not, the best out of the box SEO-friendly code structure than anything on the market
  • It has over 22,000 plugins. So, if you are stuck on a piece of functionality, the likelihood is that there might be a plugin for it.
  • Open-source. This means that the source code is openly available to anyone to develop and improve it.
  • Large community for support…All be it from forums, WP communities and the official tech support.
  • Extremely flexible. Can support many different types of businesses and website types:
    • e-commerce
    • blogs
    • small businesses
    • news outlets
    • retailers
  • You can easily update your site on your phone using the mobile app.

Disadvantages

Because WordPress is the most popular CMS platform it is obviously going to be a big target for hackers. Make sure you only download approved and regularly updated plugins. If a plugin has not been updated in a long time, it might not be compatible with the latest version of WordPress and could be the weak link in your site’s security. In 2018, 90% of hacked CMS sites were made with WordPress.

I remember having a WP site that had an annoying script inserted into it that displayed a popup. I removed it by installing an anti-virus plugin.

You will need to learn how to properly manage your site, including taking back-ups. Trust me, this is essential. Don’t expect a nice, easy auto-rollback for when you accidentally break your site. Fortunately, there are some handy back-up and restore plugins that will save your bacon, if you choose to use of course.

For those that have never coded and have no idea of how to create a website, then you might be slightly alarmed that it doesn’t (by default) come with a drag-and-drop page builder. However, don’t fret, you can install a theme such as Divi or a plugin such as Elementor. Knowing some CSS, and HTML might be advantageous though.

Drupal

Drupal 8 article

Another PHP based CMS platform that does a lot of things that WordPress. Although it is not the first platform that you might consider for blogging, it is very effective at being a blogging platform, with its easy-to-create article section. But, Drupal is a powerful CMS and can be used for greater things than just blogging. Here is a list of sites that use Drupal:

  • Sevilla F.C
  • Tesla
  • BBC Good Food
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LV: Liverpool Victoria
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Royal Mail

These are but only some of the amazing and powerful sites that use Drupal. As you can see, Drupal is extremely flexible and powerful for creating web-based systems that will wow any audience.

Advantages

  • As mentioned, flexibility. The choice is up to you, the creator to decide what your site will look like. Whether it is a simple blog, with images and video, or a content-rich, all singing and dancing site for media companies and e-commerce.
  • It is much secure than WordPress and is likely to get hacked. Drupal provides regular updates to ensure your site is safe and running smoothly.
  • The Drupal community is very good. You can learn Drupal for free via Acquia.com. DrupalCons are also a thing, and are scheduled events and conferences that take at certain points in a calendar year in various locations; from London to Seattle, there could be one near you soon…
  • It is easy to customise. There are tons of modules to choose from, as well as many great, responsive themes to choose from. Stuck? There is more than likely to be a module for what you are looking for. Not only that, but Drupal now comes with a layout builder.
  • A favourite among government websites.

Disadvantages

Just like WordPress, Drupal is no strange to hackers either. It wasn’t that long ago, but all Drupal sites were at risk to a highly catastrophic exploit known as Drupalgeddon. Drupalgeddon 2 happened early 2018 and it is estimated to have affected over 1 million Drupal sites.

It doesn’t have as many modules (plugins) like WordPress, and some have been discontinued. Yoast! is a very good example. Although I do use a Yoast plugin for my site, it isn’t the official Yoast app that you get with WordPress.

Not as quick and easy to get up and running, compared to other CMS platforms. The learning curve is definitely greater, and this might put some people off, especially if they have no pryer knowledge of web development, and they want something quick and easy. Drupal is not a quick and easy solution, and it is not ideal for simple one-page layouts.

WordPress or Drupal? Have you decided yet?

WordPress or Drupal

Both are very good CMS platforms, but have their own pros and cons. I think personally WordPress is the slightly better CMS, and to me it is no surprise that is the most popular. The admin dashboard looks modern, it is easy to get started, and the thousands of plugins and support just make making a site that much easier. I think Drupal is great, but I think it fully gets into it’s own when it is making more complex sites/systems.

So, WordPress or Drupal…Let me know which one you like the best, or is there another system that is better? Joomla, Umbraco, Magento… Leave a comment below and let’s start a discussion.

Google Drupal SEO

Getting Started With Drupal SEO

It has often be said that WordPress has phenomenal SEO; and according to Tim Ferris, it has the best out-of-the-box SEO of any web platform – or so his friend from Google told him. But, if you have made the decision to use Drupal, or you are pondering the possibility of doing so, then you will be pleased to know that Drupal SEO is definitely not something to be ignored. In this article, I will briefly explain why Drupal is a fantastic platform for all of your SEO needs. Whether you are a blog writer, e-commerce business owner or an artist showcasing their work, Drupal’s SEO tools can help you rank higher in the search engine listings. This means that your site can be seen by more people, which in effect can result in more sales.

 

Top Drupal SEO Modules

 

Real-Time SEO for Drupal

For anyone that has used WordPress, it is probable that you would have used Yoast! Or at least heard of it.

Real-Time SEO for Drupal is essentially Yoast, but it isn’t. After Yoast pulled their module from Drupal, developers at GoalGorilla created this handy module as a much-needed replacement. It isn’t affiliated with the official Yoast app, however, it does use the Yoast API. It is so good, that T-Mobile Netherlands even commented on how brilliant it is. 

It is totally free, however, if you wish, you can donate to the team, and thus helping the development of this module improve and grow.

What I like about this module is that it is really simple to install. It doesn’t require any other modules and it works just as much as the WordPress version does. So, when writing an article you can tell it the focus keyword, i.e. ‘Drupal SEO’, and this plugin will tell you the number of times it appears in your copy; as well as you reading score, writing density score, word score, and much more useful SEO tips that will turn any dull article into an SEO winning post. 

 

Pathauto

In SEO, potentially anything that you write can help or hinder your search engine rankings. This also includes page URLs. Manually changing page URLs can be tiresome, but Pathauto makes it easy. It creates URLs based on set patterns. So, instead of having a default URL of node/123, you might have a URL of content/hello-world.

 

Metatag

So if you know anything about modern SEO techniques, you will know that metatags aren’t as important as they were 15-years ago. None-the-less, they are still useful to include, as they could improve your improve your site’s ranking. This module allows you to automatically add structured meta-data about your site. Not only that, it also includes support for social media cards, including Facebook and Twitter; allowing control of how content is shown on those platforms.

 

Global Redirect

Checks for broken links and creates and auto-redirect. It also creates clean URLs, as well checking which URL is active. For example, if you create a page, and rename it, this module will create a redirect to the new page URL. This is vital in SEO as search engines penialise websites for broken links.

Accelerated Media Pages (AMP)

AMP is an open-source framwork that builds a mobile friendly version of a website. It strips out any uneccessary JavaScript, and pop-ups; making the site quicker to load and easier to navigate on mobile devices. This tool isn’t specific to Drupal sites, but this handy module makes creating AMPs extremely easy. Not only that, it is sponsored by Google and Drupal development agency Lullabot. Although AMPs are great for mobile SEO, the decision to use one could depend on what region you are in. According to Neil Patel’s blog; AMP testing, he found that in countries with good internet speed, such as USA, UK and Germany, AMPs don’t make a great deal of difference in-terms of page-speed and ingagement. However, in countries where infrastructure is not as great, such as Brazil, it did make a difference. To learn more about AMP, visit AMP.dev.

 

As you can see, there is a good range of SEO tools to choose from when getting started with Drupal SEO development.

There are others that I could include such as keyword tools, social media button shares and analytic modules, but, some that I found were not protected by Drupal’s security advisory team.

If you have any questions, or you use a module that you think NEEDS to be on this list, then let me know.

Getting started...Lift off

Getting Started (Again) – Blog Post #1

This isn’t my first adventure into the world of blogging. I have previously written about guitar playing for GuitarPursuit.com. Computing and technology for YourComputerZone.com; and also about goats for RaisingaGoat.com. Music and fashion with GrungeAttire.com. I have also written about football, chainsaws, food processors, just to name a few others. I mention these not to brag, but really to demonstrate that this blog post won’t be my first (or hopefully last). I am merely getting started with a new project that I am more excited about than anything before.

But, what will I be writing about?

empty blackboard

This blog space will be about my findings, successes, and pitfalls that I will come across in becoming a Drupal developer and writer. I will showcase what I have learnt in the past week (or few days), regarding the aforementioned topics, as well as SEO and digital marketing, as-well-as other things that have caught my gaze and interest – including guitar and travel. I will also be writing about ideas or features that have caught my attention and that I wish others to know about.

This is the start of a new chapter for me in writing, Drupal development and online marketing. I want to do well, but also I want others to do so too.

 

About me.

As you might have guessed, I like writing and Drupal web development. I think I like these two because of that they require a lot of creativity. They, for some reason, are things that I wish to improve upon. I don’t find them difficult, but I also find them to be a challenge too. I like using Drupal because of the fact there isn’t any programming for you, the user to do, however, the learning curve is still pretty steep, compared to other CMS platforms such as WordPress – for which I have used in the past.

I play the guitar and would consider myself a rhythm guitarist. I am in a band, but we are fairly new, and thus haven’t performed anywhere yet. We do, however, have plans/goals to do so this year, as well as, creating content for YouTube. My drummer already does so (I’ll provide a link in the future). I have performed live before (and got paid!). This was in my previous band. We played in Luton, England, outside, in the middle of December, just before it started to snow. It was for a birthday party and it was a fantastic experience; even if we did have some technical issues and that my hands were so cold that I barely play.

I digress.

I like to keep fit, play and watch football, and I have even started fencing. 

 

I hope that this small introduction has been useful. I am very intrigued and excited to be starting this new chapter, and as mentioned will document my successes and unfortunate events here. I am not afraid to try new things and to experiment, so let’s see where the future leads…