4 Essential Elements For An Appealing Startup Website

You’ve done your homework and built a start-up from scratch. You are finally ready to take your inventory in line and make sales. But, there is just one more thing left to tackle: building a strong & appealing website.

You might have a great inspiration or tons of ideas to begin with, but unless you put in the right elements that reflect your niche and appeal to the right audience, your website will sink.

Dezine Geek believes that there are 4 essential elements for building a powerful and compelling startup website. So starting with the first, here is the knowledge that you won’t want to forget.

Understand & Focus On Your Website’s Function

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 What is your website for, do you want to inform your customers, encourage them to try your services, or sell your products.

If your websites is for distributing information and you want a click & go solution, consider using WordPress or a similar open source CMS like Drupal. If your website involves selling products online, you will need a solution especially designed for ecommerce such as Magento, OScommerce, Shopify, OpenCart or WooCommerce.

Because of WordPress’s high usability and less sophistication, some startups even customize WordPress to not only handle content distribution but also the product buying process.

But you can only craft such a website if you have an early understanding of your aims and the function of your website. Once you do, be sure to focus on it to the core so that you don’t have to crowbar in it afterwards.

Market Your Brand Not Just Your Offerings

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Your company brand is not signified only by the logo sitting at the corner of your homepage, and if you are limiting it to that only then you are missing out on a great tool to enhance your startup.

You should know that brand awareness is the key to any business’s success; hence it should be communicated and marketed consistently through your website. You must tie your brand to each element of your website, from your images to your color scheme to your content. No matter, if there are other businesses dealing in the same products as you, this practice will allow your customers to identify you, differentiate you and appreciate you as a brand. And perhaps most importantly, they will remember your business long after they have viewed your website.

Simply put, incorporating your brand in every aspect of your website will skyrocket your website’s power and effectiveness.

Design For Mobile Internet Users

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 A large percentage of the internet users come from the mobile market. There number is growing in such a pace that soon there will be little to no desktop users left. Hence, it is important that you should improvise your target market in the same way.

Businesses belonging to any niche are now commonly adapting and exploring the mobile first strategy. Apps are good, but Dezine Geek believes that having a responsive design which automatically fits a website onto a standard device frame is crucial for your startup while capturing mobile audience.

Understand The Art Of Detailing & Sweat The Small Stuff

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 If you think that with a basic design template and tossing a few graphics or little content in your free time, you can drive your startup to success- then you Sir, will get to nowhere but failure. 

Each and every aspect of your website, even the smallest detail, right down to every letter, every word, and every line should be relevant & engaging. Furthermore, as mentioned above, your images and color schemes should not only be attractive, but also tie into your brand.  Same involves for your call to actions which must be appealing and straightforward.

Bottom-line

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Unless you are an expert or making startup websites every next day, you cannot DIY your website and hope that it all will be a success. The elements of your website are not going to magically come together, you need craftsmanship and professionals who will understand your vision and tie it to the elements seamlessly.

With the help of aforementioned points, their proper planning, strategic implementation and the marriage of all the right elements you will have a powerful startup website. But once that is achieved, you must test every detail to ensure that it correlated with your business model and goals- only then, your website will be as appealing and ambitious as your startup idea.

7 tips to get website traffic buzzing & your business humming

You are open for business with a great website and top-shelf offerings that are also being marketed on various platforms. So why is it that your website still isn’t creating the numbers or conversions that you want it to, or thinking, it should?

To all such start-up owners and new entrepreneurs out there, BUZZ is what you need! Buzz is everything. As it actually takes about 5 encounters of a customer with your product to fully recognize it, you need buzz to get your potential customers start talking about your service or product. But getting buzz isn’t always that easy. However, considering its necessity in igniting your audience, you always need the right strategy!

We believe these 7 tips will help you get the buzz you want for your website!

1. Tell Your Audience A Compelling Story

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Every business has a story, what’s yours? How did you come to be? How do you do what you do best? What makes you tick? You can put all of such elements into a compelling story, put it into your website in a way that it speaks to your audience and literally gets them talking.

Or you can do just what everybody else does, put a few dry sentences together in a so-called web content, list your services and hope for people to find it interesting- which although is unlikely to happen.

2. Provide Incentives, Freebies, Promotions & Benefits

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Nothing grabs more attention like a great discount promotion, freebie or a prize. You can offer all this and even more like contests promising bumper prizes, promotional discounts, cost-cutting coupons, and limited time benefits directly through your website and see how the word of mouth keeps your website bustling with visitors. 

3. Offer Interesting & Dynamic Content

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Go through your website’s content see if it’s eye-catching as well as engaging. If your website is not providing a consistent stream of fresh content that’s unique and worth sharing then people are going to pass by your website and its updates, unnoticed.

4. Welcome feedback

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If you want people to start talking about you, you can go by asking their opinions for your website, like what they think about its interface, design, your new logo, blog, services and even promotions.

Web visitors will have plenty to say about you and your services if given the opportunity, so besides page comments, service reviews and testimonials; you can post polls and questionnaires as well. Not only for Buzz, but this is also one great way to improvise your offerings to match the needs of your market.

5. Do something news-worthy

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By making news, and/or promoting headlines about your niche or even yourself, you can stimulate excitement about your website. If your business undergoes some change, send out press releases detailing it. Be sure to post all such news and announcements on your website as well.

You can keep people engaged, by showing them through your updates that your website and its inventory are evolving as per the latest consumer trends.

6. Socialize on your social media outlets

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No wonder why the web isn’t ablaze with talks about you, when you tweet or post just once in a blue moon.

Always remember that these social outlets work way better for your business if you keep people engaged. Try to become a part of certain groups that tie into your offerings or fall in your niche, then participate and post interesting updates, comments and links revolving around your products. Actively conversing with people, striking up discussions and threads is a great way to get people talking.

7. Have a post-traffic strategy

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Your posted video of guy doing perfect splits between two running trains might get you a great audience, however, this might not be your targeted traffic and its effect could be temporary as well. This will not be helpful for your business in the long-run, so don’t just stir up buzz for the traffic’s sake. Have a structured online marketing plan ready with an engaging brand awareness campaign.

Once you have got the traffic you need, you can use interesting content, infographics and catchy call-to-actions to differentiate buyers from visitors as much as possible.

Getting people to talk about your website takes great amount of planning as well as elements worth talking about. Once you have undertaken the aforementioned pointers, observe consistency to let your website attain the required numbers at a uniform pace.

25 Best Freebies For Design Geeks

One of the best things about web is that there is just so much stuff available for free. Thanks to the very generous members of web design community, development mentors and experts, these freebies which are offered to make our tasks a lot easier, can easily make us designers spoilt for choice.

At Dezine Geek, we believe that gathering freebies is the best way for designers to build up their design stash and library. This is also one of the most practised habits of some very successful designers.

In this regard, Dezine Geek has put together the coolest of all freebies for web designers.

Among them you will find various tools, fonts, icons, scripts, applications and much more- All absolutely free to download.

Fonts

Promesh Two

A retro type athletic font free to download.

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Focus

A special soft font best to be used for Headlines.

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Miletra

A slim font which looks as if written by hand.

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Bierunt

Here is one highly readable and multipurpose font for you to download for free.

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Enyo

Enyo is a unique hand drawn font in three weights.

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Graphics

Galaxy S5 Mockup

A very realistic mockup of Samsung’s most recent smart phone.

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Facebook Covers

Some Classic Timeline Cover pictures for you or your Facebook pages.

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Vector Flourishes

These cool graphics include about 20 hand drawn vector flourishes.

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Layer Exporter

Layer Exporter is a very handy plugin for Adobe illustrator. 

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Flat Devices

Want to showcase something on a flat mobile device, here you go, these are 8 pure CSS mobile devices for free.

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Retro Logos

Want to make a retro logo; here are 10 retro logo badges in PSD.

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Mini set icons

Here are 21 unique and beautifully created icons for your projects.

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Development tools

ngxtop

This tool lets you see Real time metrics for nginx.

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Stylish

Google code prettify CSS and JS code experiment which lets you integrate cross support browsing and inter language support in your website.

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Slate

Slate is a modern day IRC client built with sophisticated web technologies.

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Avgrund

Avgrund is a great Modal UI concept. 

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Side sliding menu

Here are code experiments for side sliding menus you can add to your website.

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FastClick

Here is an amazing tool that will help you remove click delays on browsers with touch UIs.

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CutJS

CutJS is a rendering engine for game development.

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CSS 3D flip box

Add flipping content boxes to your website with this awesome CSS and JS code experiment. 

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Curved Text

Curved text us a cool JQuery plugin that aligns your text into a curve.

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Purple UI kit

Purple is a responsive HTML user interface kit.

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Densia Sans

This is an Economic plus space saving sans serif for tough situation and designed for small sizes use.

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jqGrid

Here is a great tool that lets you create and jQuery grids.

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Spinning Wheel

Want to include that spinning wheel to your website, here is a free CSS and JS experiment for the useful spinning wheel function.

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Please feel free to add your favorite freebies from web designing and development realm in the comments below.

Another Batch Of 25 Great Freebies From Around The Web

Once again, we put at the disposal of Design geeks and Web Developers some great freebies that can not only be an asset to your library but can also give heightened features & functionality to your website, or project.

Don’t forget to tell what your favorite freebies are in the comments below.

Fonts

Intro Condensed

Here is an all caps font that contains the basic Latin and numerals.

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Kocoon

This here is a free downloadable experimental font that has been created with Nodebox.

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Amsterdam Superstar

Amsterdam Superstar is also an all caps display font.

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Johny Strocker

Here is a unique font that displays content in All caps.

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Kirvy

Kirvy is a Simple Sans Serif font in 4 weights.

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Moderne sans

A clean & bold sans serif typeface for developers.

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Graphics

Animated Clay Typography

Here is an amazing PSD and AE animated Clay typography.

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Mabur

This is a high quality flat PSD template that you can use to showcase your projects and portfolios.

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Business newsletter

This is an awesome InDesign template of 4 beautiful pages.

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Leather texture set

This is a huge package of seamless textures with sources you can use for your projects.

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Awesomekit.me

Want to create awesome wire templates for iOS 7, do it with Awesomekit.me.

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Centro Carnes

Here is a nice set of neon style cooking icons that you can use and download for free.

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Mobile Icons

Accept a Huge bundle of more than 10000 icons to download for free.

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zEnigma

zEnigma is a Responsive HTML5 theme best for beauty salons.

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Blurred backgrounds

Beautiful backgrounds in jpg format and in high resolution for all of your projects.

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Pttrns

Pttrns is a huge library of iPad and iPhone interface patterns.

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Sign in / up flow

A cool Login template which is styled to look as if it’s in iOS. Format is in PSD. 

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Development tools

Pint

A small but efficient grunt.js Runner

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Velositey

A cool layout builder for websites

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Bourbon neat

A light grid framework built for Sass and Bourbon

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Dribbbox

An instant, way to showcase your self-hosted Dribbble portfolio.

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Flight indicators

A jQuery plugin that displays high quality indicators in real time.

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Sliding Image Divider

A cool way to code experiment image sliders.

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FlightTracker

A Nice and modern widget for tracking commercial flights. Best for online travel agencies and flight dealers.

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Lossy Gif Compressor

A file compressor, but unlike others, this one compresses gifs.

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5 Great Tips for Tuning a Mobile E-Commerce Site

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It has been estimated in the last holiday season alone that mobile e-commerce traffic is accountable for more than 50% of the traffic generated in the online realm. Besides traffic, more than 25% of the online conversions or purchases have also been made through various mobile devices.

With experts in mobile strategy hinting that there are more mobile devices than all the people in this World, the competition is tough- too tough for mobile commerce or M-commerce to be ignored in 2014.

So if you own an online Store, it’s high time for you to go mobile and enhance your reach to the millions of potential customers wanting to explore your catalog through their fingertips. What’s even more important than crafting a mobile ecommerce store, is tweaking it to become a magnet for mobile explorers with an interface that promises a swift buy out process.

Here are 5 things to keep in mind while tuning your mobile ecommerce site for greater performance, UX and traffic.

1. It Isn’t Just Your Desktop Website On A Small Screen

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Your desktop website could have some great design works and features and it’s tempting to have them scaled and adapted into small screens, but that’s not what you should be doing. Instead, try leveraging your design and features and show only what’s necessary and appealing to a mobile user. Always remember that a mobile website or app isn’t just a compatible view of your website on small screens-So don’t try retrofitting your desktop ecommerce website. Plus, this is called “Satisficing” and can affect your smartphone experience.

A mobile first strategy in designing a mobile ecommerce website, requires you to redesign from smartphone up. Here you need to ensure that besides showcasing your catalog, you have minimum viable content, functionality and that your pages load faster. Also keep in mind that a mobile first approach isn’t just hand coding for a smartphone only. You can keep the tablet experience as your starting point and then scale your design requirement accordingly.

2. Make Simpler & Smarter Forms

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Whether it’s a single field email entry system or a complex setup of user registration and checkout, most of the websites or mobile apps these days make form submissions as their main conversion goals. Hence, best practises for a mobile ecommerce website in tweaking forms are to keep them simple and as less sophisticated as possible.

Try inhibiting fluff entries from the forms you use for your mobile website. Also, place labels before each field, avoid in-line labels and disable the feature of first letter capitalization from email and password fields to enhance the experience of users while they are providing touch input.

3. Prevent Mobile SEO Hiccups

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In an official note Google states that “Faulty Redirects” and “Smartphone-only error” are the two commonly occurring mobile SEO hiccups that developers can easily fix. What faulty redirects do is that they detect wrong user agent and they send your mobile visitors to another URL (wrong URL), which is often the home page.

On the other hand, Smartphone-only errors occur when Googlebot Mobile is botched which creates an infinite loop of redirects between your desktop website and the mobile website. It can also result in serving a 404-page error at a smartphone friendly URL.

4. Display Content In The Context

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As mentioned above, you don’t need to copy your desktop website for your mobile website. The fact is if you know the context of your user’s mobile, it’ll be a lot easier for you to design your website, find out what images can you keep in the navigation, what products to feature and understand what needs to be where.

Aligning context with your content can also help you to find out which site tools you can use in accordance with your web needs, such as displaying physical store finders etc. You can also provide your mobile web visitors with an app like experience by taking advantage of the gadgets rich media such as camera, geo-location, push alerts and other features by using HTML5.

5. Be Fast

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Loading speed is a very critical point on mobile. Users are on the go and if your services are slow they are unlikely to stay. This is why it is always an advantage in using a mobile specific design which has light load than a responsive design to serve users.

You can resize, compress and optimize you images for small screens in a mobile specific design. You can also reduce fluff, scripts and redirect- OR further use a CDN service to speed things up even more.

If you want Dezine Geek to implement the above mentioned tasks in your mobile site or if you want to discuss a mobile app development.

7 Deadly Sins Of Custom WordPress Development – Part 2

Like our Previous Post, Here too we’ll look at some cardinal offenses committed in Custom WordPress Development and how you can avoid them. Remember if your WordPress website is judged, you will be held accountable for any of these sins.

1. Overloading Your Theme’s “Functions.php” With Tons Of Plugins

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There are a number of reasons for you to avoid this as much as possible. First being the sake of your whole website as this makes it really hard to troubleshoot plugin conflicts especially after upgrades.

As an example, let’s just consider that you added tons of functionality into the theme’s functions.php. Now, if down the road your website starts having a problem, there would be no easy way for you to turn each part off one by one and find out what is causing trouble.

What’s the remedy: If you have WordPress developers working on the same website, it’s better to keep the presentations separated from your website’s functionality. If all such functionality exists in separate plugins, you would be able to troubleshoot errors more easily and isolate stuff that needs to be updated or removed.

2. Still Having The Default URL

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Your default URL on WordPress which looks similar to this: “www.yoursite.com/?p=120”, would make sense to WP, but it means nothing to search engines and even your users.
www.yoursite.com/get-me-a-pizza (hint*) makes way more sense to your users and it is also great for the SEO purposes.

What’s the remedy: You can set the URL structure for the pages of your WordPress website by going to the “settings” menu in your WP install and selecting “permalinks”.

3. Welcoming The Comments From Hell

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If you want your website to encourage users to participate after engaging them through your content, one way of doing this is through your website’s comments portion. Hence “comments” should be there on your website but you should keep out all the spammers.

What’s the remedy: The easiest way to get rid of spammers is not by using Captchas, but by activating Akismet. This fine plugin comes bundled with WP and rids most of the spam for you. All you need is an API key which too, you can find here.

4. Having no backup plan

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So you don’t have a Backup plan. Imagine what will happen if your website decides to go for a nap which lasts a bit longer than you expect. What will become of your content or your post comments? All gone, but it doesn’t have to happen like that; you can still make amends now and save your website.

What’s the remedy: Simply install WP-DB-Backup. This plugin will let you schedule a site backup whenever you like. You can further mail that backup to your email as well.

5. Displaying Your WordPress Version

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You don’t need to be all flashy about the version of WordPress install. As WordPress normally shows its version number in the header of your website. This can be a potential vulnerability for your website; hence let your custom WordPress development team remove it and make your website more secure.

What’s the remedy: Here is how you can remove the WP version from your website’s header. Simply add this code into your theme’s functions.php file or tell your WordPress developer to do so.

remove_action('wp_head', 'wp_generator');

Not feeling like playing with the code, here you can do the same with this plugin: WP Remove WordPress Generator Meta Tag.

6. Not Optimizing Your Website

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How many times have you wondered why is your website still slow even after going exactly by the books? There can be multiple reasons for your website being slow, but if you have already addressed the hosting and too-many-plugins issues, then improvise and use the below mentioned caching systems for your WP website.

What’s the remedy: You can use a site cache system like W3 Total Cache and optimize the images used in your website using WP Smush it

7. Neglecting On-Page Schemes And WordPress SEO Tools

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Besides full-fledged online marketing campaigns, On-page SEO activities are the basis for your website to be crawled by search engines. These are tasks that let you make your website friendly for Search engines so that they can be crawled easily and quickly.

What’s the remedy: Before your online marketing teams tells you to round up your WordPress developers and integrate on-page SEO tools, meta titles, descriptions and tags- Try getting this done when your website is being made. Moreover, to get your website easily optimized we recommend you to use All in One SEO pack and Simple Google Sitemap XML plugin.

Always remember that Awareness is the key but making progress in WordPress can become much easier when you become cognizant of theses 7 Deadly sins of Custom WordPress Development. Drop your suggestions in the Comments below,

What are some of the most harmful and annoying development practices that you’ve come across?

7 Deadly Sins Of Custom WordPress Development

WordPress, the choicest CMS all over the world is renowned for its freedom that lets WordPress Developers extend their platform to just about anything. However, when coding for WordPress, you should make sure that your plugins & themes can play nice and smooth with other WordPress extensions. This is because; Developing in a vacuum is just inexcusable and down the road it can cause you or your client a lot of trouble.

We call such inexcusable schemes the Deadly Sins of WordPress and here are some of the major things that you should abstain from!

1. Loading Your Very Own JQuery Copy

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Now this would sound dumb! But yeah Some WordPress developers load their own copy of JQuery for God knows whatever reasons. People!  Loading your own copy of JQuery is one fine way for ruining everything on your WordPress.

Some WordPress Developers while making a WordPress website in many cases de-register the jQuery copy that comes with WordPress, which looks similar to this:

<!--?php if(!is_admin()){
wp_deregister_script('jquery');
wp_register_script('jquery', ("http://cdn.jquerytools.org/1.1.2/jquery.tools.min.js"), false, '1.3.2');
//wp_register_script('jquery', ("http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.7.2/jquery.min.js"), false, '1.7.2');
wp_enqueue_script('jquery');
}
?>

By de-registering the WordPress’s copy of jQuery and loading another one, you can easily break all kinds of JavaScript in the rest of your WordPress themes & plugins.

What’s the Remedy: Don’t do this. Just use the jQuery copy that comes with WordPress.

2. Loading JS/CSS Files Improperly

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Now, what makes this Sin Deadly in WordPress development are two smaller sins. The first is incorporating both inline Script and Stylesheet tags through your header file. This activity can cause both of them not to load at the right time and once they do, they will be loading on your website’s every single page. Result- Your WordPress website will take ages to load.

What’s the Remedy: You can use WP Enqueue Script or WP Register Script which will help you load your JS/CSS files the right way, on right pages and at the right time.

The Second junior Deadly Sin related to the bad loading of JS/CSS files is loading custom JavaScript & styles on each page of your WordPress website– instead of loading it conditionally or when necessary.This activity is often unwanted and can significantly delay the overall loading time of your website.

What’s the Remedy: Only load your scripts when necessary to keep your website running smooth and fast. Here is how you can do this via a very common example by Phil Bank’s tutorial on Loading plugin Scripts During WordPress Development.

add_action('wp_print_scripts', 'deregister_cf7_javascript', 15);
function deregister_cf7_javascript(){
if(!is_page(15)){
wp_deregister_script('contact-form-7');
}
}
add_action('wp_print_styles', 'deregister_cf7_styles', 15);
function deregister_cf7_styles(){
if(!is_page(15)){
wp_deregister_style('contact-form-7');
}
}

Originally, this script disallows contact form script from loading on every other page except the contact form page, by using the ID of the page. Although it would take you some time, but you can tweak the same method during your WordPress development so that it may stop unnecessary loading of useless scripts.

3. Not Sanitizing User Input In SQL And Encoding It For Output

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The SQL injection attacks are the most commonly used ways to exploit any website’s vulnerabilities and they can be deadly for WordPress websites as well. Hence if you don’t escape an SQL based input from a user, you can leave your website extremely vulnerable for this kind of attack.

Secondly, these types of attacks can also be lured if your Custom WordPress website design  and Development team are using plugins and extensions that come from an untrustworthy or obsolete source.

What’s the remedy: Make sure youclean and moderate user input in-order to protect your WordPress website from such sort of attacks. You can later encode user input for display to inhibit XSS vulnerabilities on your website. We found the Data Validation information on WordPress Codex really useful in this regard. Also, go through the excellent reference by WP Tuts on Data Sanitization and Validation With WordPress that goes into more detail.

4. Adding Too Many 3rd Party Services

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You can literally overload your website with too many social media buttons and third party services and this seriously is a bad idea. The only place where such type of exhaustive integration makes sense is when you have rather significant number of user base, which is active round the clock on social network. – And you are offering the ability to register via Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Only then such type of connection is convenient. But if that’s not the case with you, you will simply make your website sluggish with such sophisticated functionality as they’ll be running every time your website loads.

What’s the remedy: Only integrate third party services if absolutely necessary otherwise, sparingly.

5. Being “Admin” For The Rest Of Your WordPress Life

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Keeping “Admin” as your administrator username and “Password” literally as your password is like a jackpot for a hacker. Furthermore, there actually are some evil bots that lurk around on the web looking for WordPress installations that have this practice in order exploit them.

What’s the remedy: Give your WordPress a unique username and a very strong password. If you have a Custom WordPress design and development team at your side, enforce them to change the username and password just after WordPress installation. You can even force your users to select strong passwords by adding this plugin.

6. Not Testing Your Work

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If you keep on making changes in your website, but you don’t verify them being formatted correctly you are welcoming trouble and putting your time and if your website’s is live, your company image at stake. Once your WordPress Designers or Developers make anything, don’t force it to go live in miniature deadlines. At the very first what you should do is- testing.

What’s the remedy: Of course, you can do cross browser testing, but WordPress codex also provides a number of tools to help make this process a lot easier. You can use Debug mode to single out PHP warnings and errors. Use Theme Unit Test to pre-format post data and also Theme Check to examine the codebase of your theme

7. Expecting A Lot From Shared Hosting Plan

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Shared hosting can never fulfill your website’s needs. End of Discussion, So don’t fall for hosting plans that offer a buffet type of deal boasting on unlimited number of resources. For starters, such hosting plans may sound and feel great but eventually when all the resources get oversold and your site slows down, you will have to waste a lot of time and effort trying to sort things out with your host.
It definitely is a mistake to think that you can add all types of media snippets, plugins and extensions into your WordPress website while being on a shared hosting plan and have them running seamlessly.

What’s the remedy: Go for a better hosting plan from the beginning, especially when you want your website to grow. Dedicated hosting is good, but if you have a bigger budget, Cloud hosting can be great! If you do some research and find an affordable hosting provider with same offerings, you can let your custom WordPress designer & development team to accommodate anything you want in your website.

These are our picks on the deadliest WordPress development sins, however, there is more to come. So stay tuned for our next post. In the meantime, please use the comments box to suggest what you would add to the list!