Why We Use WordPress Instead Of Squarespace

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We often get asked by business owners and marketers what content management system they should use to build their website: WordPress or Squarespace. These are two of the largest and most popular current website tools, and our answer is always WordPress. WordPress is the content management system we primarily use to make our clients’ websites (check out this blog post to read about the other content management systems we use). In today’s blog post, we’ll be exploring why we use WordPress instead Squarespace.

Before we jump into everything, let’s dive into defining WordPress and Squarespace.

What is WordPress?


WordPress is a website builder that was founded in 2003. There are two types of WordPress- WordPress.org (where you self-host your site) and WordPress.com, which is when you pay WordPress to host your site.

What is Squarespace?


Squarespace is also website builder that was founded in 2003.  You may be familiar with the company as they have been doing a lot work recently to advertise themselves on podcasts and even the Superbowl. In May of 2018, they had up to 60 template options. It’s a popular platform for creative like bloggers, photographers, artists, and musicians.

Now that we’ve covered some basic info about the two, let’s discuss why we prefer WordPress here at Sperling Interactive.

WordPress is free.


WordPress is a free and open-source platform and Squarespace is not. When you sign up with Squarespace, you are hosting your site on Squarespace’s server. Using WordPress enables us to host our clients on one of the premiere hosting platforms, Amazon Web Services.

It also costs $12 a month to have a 20 page Squarespace website and $18 per month for a website with unlimited pages.

Editing & Coding Made Easy on WordPress

Every single WordPress website comes with a GPL 2.0 license, which means you can change the code as much as you’d like, including the functionalities of plugins and themes. Squarespace on the other hand, doesn’t offer this type of license to its users. You can only do certain edits to add small customizations to sites.  

When you sign up with Squarespace, you also have to choose a template. WordPress does offer templates (they have over 5,000), but if you want something truly custom, you can achieve that too. Squarespace does offer beautiful templates, but many of them are highly-photo based. If you don’t have high definition-photography, the templates can fall flat. Check out 1:15 of this video.

According to Website Builder Expert, WordPress does have a steeper learning curve but is a more flexible platform. We agree with this.

WordPress is Unlimited


With WordPress, there is no limit to how many times you redo your website or how many sites you’d like to build. When you sign up with Squarespace, you are limited to one site and are stuck within the confines  of your template. If you want to create another website, you have to sign up for another premium subscription.

WordPress Has Better Ecommerce Options


Nearly every website we build has an ecommerce shop to it, even if the business is a product-based business. A lot of businesses host events and need to sell tickets. The unfortunate thing about Squarespace is their ecommerce is only supported in the US, UK, Canada, and Ireland. WordPress, on the other hand, has a global presence. It also wasn’t until very recently that Squarespace started accepting PayPal.

Some of the Largest Websites use WordPress


WordPress is the most popular website and blog creation tool, powering 30% of websites (that’s 10 million websites). Squarespace has fewer websites, with an estimated 1 million. Not only that, some of the biggest blogs, news outlets, music sites, Fortune 500 companies, and celebrity websites- The New York Times, BBC America, MTV News, Beyoncé, Etsy, and the White House– were created in WordPress.

If you want to build a custom website for your business, WordPress is the content management system you should use. Our mission as a business is to create websites that truly represent our clients’ brand and aesthetic and because WordPress is so customizable we’ve gravitated towards it as a content management system we generally use.

If you’re a creative solopreneur, have amazing photography, and don’t find you need a truly custom website, Squarespace may be a better option for you.  

When it all comes down to it, you must think about your business and prioritize your needs. For larger businesses who have a lot of competition, having something completely custom is important as they need a way to stand out from the crowd. A custom site is perfect or this.

Do you agree with article? What content management system do you use? What do you like about it? Share your thoughts in the comments! We’d love to hear from you.

How To Have A Great Seasonal Website

A Christmas themed flat lay with wrapping paper, treats, and laptops.

 

 

 

 

 

Do you run a consumer based business? If so, a great way to drive more people to your website and increase sales is to utilize seasonal web design. Seasonal web design is a digital marketing tool in which your website reflects the current season and/or holiday. Seasonal web design is effective because it can evoke emotion, create personal connections, and help consumers connect with your brand. Who doesn’t get in the festive mood when they see these Christmas themed websites? Here are our tips and tricks on how you can get your customers excited for the new season and your brand!

Have an outdoor time lapse video.

Today video has never been bigger. One of the biggest web design trends right now is video because it’s attention grabbing. We recently built the new website for the Salem Witch Museum. On the homepage of the website is a timelapse of the Salem Witch Museum from the outside. If you revisit their website in the fall, you’ll see the video is slightly different because it will be an autumnal time lapse. And if you return to the website in the winter, the video will show the museum during the winter. We’ve done this to the museum’s website to 1) entice the viewer and 2) to show the museum is open year round and not just in October. A time lapse video is an awesome way to show consumers what your business is up to during each new season.

Redesign your logo for the different holidays/seasons.

If you’re going to embark on seasonal branding, having a seasonal logo is an absolute must. Logos are incredibly important in any business as they are the image people associate with your company. We strongly advise if you’re going to be doing seasonal promotions, to create a new fun, seasonal logos. This will catch people’s eyes and direct them to your site to see your sales. Check out what some of the biggest brands have done to their logos during the holiday season in December.

Add seasonal colors.

Another way to spice things up is to change the colors on your website to the colors of season and/or holiday we’re in. Holidays and colors are very closely tied together. When you see orange and black, your mind immediately thinks of Halloween. And when you hear green and red, you think of Christmas. Using associated colors is another strong visual tactic to catch the attention of your audience.

Upload seasonal photos.  

Our last tip is simpler and is something you can do on your own if you’re not much a website wiz. For this last tip, we suggest uploading some seasonal snaps. If you’re from New England, take some photos outside. We’re fortunate we live in area of the world where we receive visible signs when a new season arrives, like snow and foliage. If you have seasonal products, make sure those are uploaded to the homepage to inform your visitors. Consider doing some flat lays with your seasonal products.

If you’re looking to implement a seasonal web design for your business, contact us today! At Sperling Interactive, we have the developers, designers, photographers, and ideas to make your website extra special during each new season.

How To Write Great Website Copy

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There’s a lot that goes into creating a new website, from the site map, to the design, to the development features, and one of the most overlooked aspects is writing the copy. Unlike visuals, it’s your copy that gets you ranked higher on search engines. Not only that, but good copy gives your business personality, brand clarity, and can increase your conversion rate. Here are four tips to writing great website copy:

Answer the who, what, how, and why.

First thing’s first, every piece of copy on your website should have a purpose and every single word should mean something. To help you achieve that, you should start out by answering the who, what, how, and why of your business.

The ‘who’ is your audience. Who do you want to attract to your brand? Who do you wish to serve?

The ‘what’ is the problem your business solves. What do you hope to achieve for your clients and customers?

The ‘how’ is your process. How will achieve your ‘what’?

The ‘why’ is the reasoning for why you do the work you do. It’s always a good idea to share with potential clients how your business was founded when you write your ‘why.’

Don’t be salesy.

Sometimes when people sit down to write their website’s copy, they focus on saying things that make them sound ‘good’ or write out promises that aren’t realistic in order to prove their worth. Your copy shouldn’t sound salesy. It should make potential clients and customers who are the right fit for you feel connected to your brand. It should get to the heart of your business’ mission and values.

Write in short paragraphs.

People’s attention spans are shorter so you want to want to keep your copy short and simple. Don’t make things complicated by using big words. We also advise your paragraphs be four sentences long, if possible. Having shorter paragraphs will read well on all types of devices.

Utilize Google’s Keyword Tool to select your keywords.

When creating a new website, you want to make sure it’s optimized for search engines. One way to do that is to have the right keywords in the copy. You can find out what people are searching when they’re looking for your type of business and/or service by using Google’s Keyword Planner.

Need help writing your website content? At Sperling Interactive, we not only have the writers on staff who can do it, but we have the SEO expertise as well.

E-Commerce Websites Will Have To Start Paying Sales Tax

A women on an ecommerce website.

 

 

 

 

 

 


On June 21, 2018, the Supreme Court passed South Dakota v. Wayfair. It was a 5-4 majority, and it means that states may charge tax on purchases made from out-of-state sellers. This new ruling has overturned Quill Corp v. North Dakota, which prevented states from collecting any sales tax from online sales back in 1992.

Since Quill Corp v. North Dakota was passed twenty-five years ago, there’s been an extreme increase in interstate sales via electronic devices. According to the Government Accounting Office, states lost over $13 billion in taxes they could not collect last year.

Up until now, online retailers were not required to charge consumers a sales tax on out-of-state sales, unless the retailer had a physical presence in the state where the buyer was located.

In a recent article regarding this new ruling, The New York Times wrote: “Americans have done more and more of their shopping online in recent years, drawn by the promise of low prices, wide selection, and buy-from-home convenience. But e-commerce has also had another edge: Many of those sales taxes were, in effect, tax-free.”

Another reason South Dakota v. Wayfair passed is to level the playing field between brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers. Online retailers will be required to collect sales taxes from customers in individual states, even if they do have a physical presence in those states.

According to Entrepreneur, states can now choose to tax most internet sales as well as most mail orders. While all fifty states are not currently taxing across state lines, it’s only a matter of time before each state applies this next tax because it will increase state revenues.

What do you think of all of this? Have you thinking about adding an ecommerce section to your website? Contact Sperling Interactive today for a consultation.

Google Is Now Labeling HTTP Sites As “Not Secure”

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This month, Google Chrome has started identifying websites listed as HTTP as “not secure” to its users. This new update comes with Google releasing Chrome 68, its 68th version of Chrome.  

For the past few years, Google has been urging people to make their websites HTTPS, incentivizing them through the potential boost in website ranking if they do so.

Google first announced it would eventually be listing sites as “not secure” back in September of 2016. In January 2017, when version 56 came out, Google Chrome started listing websites that take sensitive information, like credit card information and passwords, that weren’t HTTP as “not secure.” As of this month, Google Chrome will mark all websites that are not HTTPS as “not secure.”

Due to all the efforts Google Chrome has made over the last couple years to make our web more secure, 68% of Google Chrome traffic on Windows and Android systems are currently protected with HTTPS. Approximately 80% of Google Chrome traffic on Chrome OS and Mac is similarly protected.  

To continue to get more websites to make the switch, Google has been offering support for website owners and developers that have mixed content on their website(s). Mixed content is when they’re is HTTP and HTTPS content loaded on the same webpage.

HTTPS deals with encryption. It prevents anyone from tampering with your website. When your website is HTTPS, no one can tamper with the traffic or spy on what your visitors are doing. People can also not access your router and Internet service provider and inject malware.

Emily Schechter, Google Chrome’s security project manager, said “we think that in July the balance will be tipped enough so that we can mark all HTTP sites.”

Do you need help transitioning your website from “not secure” to secure”? Do you want to learn more about Google Chrome 68? Contact Sperling Interactive today. As a full-service web development company, we’re happy to help you with any of your website needs.

Amazon Web Services

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You may think of Amazon as your go-to shopping outlet, but did you know they also own the world’s premiere cloud computing service, Amazon Web Services? Since 2006, Amazon Web Services has been helping businesses of all sizes with their computing, data storage, analytics, application, and deployment services. Today, let’s take a look at why you should continue to utilize Amazon and, in particular, this product.

Many major companies use Amazon Web Services.
The streaming giant, Netflix, was one of the first big companies to adopt Amazon Web Services and it did so back in 2009. In 2015, Netflix moved all of its IT operations to Amazon Web Services, and is seen as the first company to make Amazon Web Services more mainstream. Other big companies that utilize Amazon Web Services today include Hertz, Time, Inc., Pinterest, and Airbnb.

We use Amazon Web Services to host our clients’ websites.
As a web development company, we use Amazon Web Services to host our clients’ websites. What’s great about Amazon Web Services is that it’s compatible with the three content management systems (CMS) we use: WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. Amazon Web Services is great as it has the withband to cope with large website traffic without crashing.  

Amazon Web Services is cost effective.
We also use Amazon Web Services because it only charges you for the services you use. There’s no up-front costs or contracts. With Amazon Web Services, you have the option to pay as you go or you can pay on a fixed monthly setup. You can end your relationship with Amazon Web Services at any time, or upgrade or downgrade their services whenever you please.

Amazon Web Services is very secure.
Amazon Web Services has data centers all over the world that are continuously monitored and maintained. The reason Amazon has multiple data centers is that in the event one center has a problem, it won’t impact everyone worldwide. The location of these data centers are hidden, and that’s so no one can break in and obtain their clients’ private information. This makes Amazon Web Services stand out from the crowd. Their product is more reliable and responsible than anyone else’s out there.  

Contact Sperling Interactive to learn more about Amazon Web Services.

Why ADA Compliant Websites Are So Important + How To Make Your Site Compliant

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ADA is an acronym that stands for Americans With Disabilities and it became a law in 1990. This act prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in any area of public life. In January 2018, new federal regulations were put into effect requiring all federal institutions’ websites to be meet AA compliance on all items.

Even if you aren’t a federal regulation, It’s been that more and more ADA compliance lawsuits are winning in court. With most people owning a smartphone and other mobile devices, it’s not a surprise that many of today’s discrimination cases are trickling into the digital world.

Today, any business that is considered a “public accommodation” must have an ADA compliant website. The most common types of businesses people considered to be a “public accommodation” include B2C businesses, retail, or any type of business the public could easily access. We at Sperling Interactive believe that even if you have a B2B business, you should still have an ADA compliant website. This will make you more SEO friendly, and also, who doesn’t want to accessible to all web users?

Other Reasons Why You Should Care

According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, more than 1 in 8 Americans have a disability, making them the largest minority group in our country. We’re in the era of the Internet, but that doesn’t ensure everything online is user-friendly for those with disabilities. Another fact from the Pew Research Center is disabled Americans are less likely to be found online. About a quarter of Americans with a disability say they never use the Internet. Disabled adults are 20% less likely to own a traditional computer, smartphone, or tablet. Groups of people who will be impacted by a non-compliant website include but are not limited to  individuals who have impairments with visuals, motor skills, hearing, communication, learning, and cognition.  

How Do I Make My Website ADA Compliant?

Your site probably already has some of the items for an ADA compliance website checked off, but here are some important fixes to make that are a bit more complex .

-The text must meet a minimum contrast ratio against the background.
-Website visitors must be able to navigate the site through their keyboard only.

-Those with a visual impairment must be able navigate with a screen reader software.

-Your website must handle text scaling up to 200% without causing horizontal scrolling or content-breaking layout issues.   

Contact Sperling Interactive today to see how we can make your website accessible for anyone!  

Why You Should Hire A Web Development Company

A laptop, headphones, notebook, pencil, and book on HTML and CSS.

 

 

 

 

 


Businesses and nonprofits nowadays need to have a sleek and professional website to prosper in today’s digital world. While it may seem like a good idea for a business or a nonprofit to try and create a website on their own, they should really hire professionals. Here are five reasons why.

You’ll have a custom web design.
You won’t be restricted to stay in the limits of someone else’s template; you’ll have total creative freedom, and the web development company can make a website tailor-made for your brand and business needs. Every website has an objective. An ecommerce, for example, will want to make sure their website generates sales, while a nonprofit will want their website to focus on their mission and the work they do. A web development company knows this and knows the best ways to help you reach your goals.

You’ll have an SEO-friendly website.
A web development company knows how to apply the best and current SEO practices to your website. They can write content for your website that search engines like.

You’ll have a mobile-friendly site.
Speaking of SEO, having a mobile-friendly website is another way to boost search engine ranking. In our last month’s blog post, we explored how Google has started prioritizing the mobile version of a website over the desktop version. Having a mobile-friendly website will also decrease your bounce rate. When your website isn’t mobile-friendly, your visitors have to zoom in or squint to read the content. A web development company has the capabilities to make sure that your website is appealing to users across all devices.

You’ll have continual maintenance.
A website is never really done. It needs continual maintenance after it’s been created. A web development company has the tools to keep your website up-to-date and running quickly and smoothly. They can also ensure that any bugs on your site get fixed and how to drive traffic to your website, even when new web trends appear.

It saves business owners time and money.
Business owners have very limited time as it is and creating a website is a timely project to undertake. By utilizing a web development company, a business owner will have the time and energy to continue running their business efficiently. When your website is being made, you’ll want to make sure you’re still capable of running the business so people will want to be your clients and eventually check out your website when it is complete.

Are you thinking about hiring a web development company? At Sperling Interactive, all of our websites are custom-designed to fit the needs of each client.

Choosing A Content Management System For Your Website

Choosing A Content Management System

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Sperling Interactive we use WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla when creating websites for our clients. All of these platforms are terrific, customizable, and free. Today on the blog we will be over viewing these platforms to help you decide which is the best fit for your company.

WordPress: WordPress works well with small- to medium-sized websites, blogs, and smaller e-commerce stores. It has over 4,000 free themes and over 45,000 free plugins. It’s update frequency is 42 days. Though it can be used by advanced developers, it’s the best platform of the three for a beginner. WordPress is also becoming more widespread for larger websites.

Joomla- The ideal Joomla user should be looking to make an ecommerce site or a social networking site. The user should also have some basic technical skills as Joomla can create more complex sites than WordPress. It’s really the middle ground of the three platforms. Joomla has over 1,000 free themes and over 7,000 free plugins. It’s update frequency is 36 days.

Drupal: Drupal’s targeted user should have an advanced understanding of web developing. Of the three platforms, Drupal creates the most advanced websites. Drupal has over 2,000 free themes and over 34,000 free plugins. It’s update frequency is 51 days.  Drupal would work best for users hoping to create sites that require complex data organization, online stores, and community platform sites with multiple users. What also separates Drupal from the others is that its pages typically load faster.

If your project needs do not cleanly fit into one of these content management systems, Sperling Interactive can custom design a system for your company.

How To Create A User Friendly Website


So, you’re about to design a new website for your company. How exciting! Before you start designing, developing, and adding content to your site, remember that your website isn’t about you. It’s for your visitors. As great as your ideas may be, your new website will not be successful if it’s not user friendly.

Keep the design simple. When you add too many options to your website, you bombard your visitors and distract from the most important components of your business. In turn, that may shut them off from seeking your services or buying your products.

Make sure the content is easy to skim. Fact: people only read 20% of the content on a webpage. Therefore, keep everything you write on your website bitesize. Long sentences and paragraphs are hard to scan. This may mean your content has to go through more revisions, but in the end, you’ll have more visitors coming to your site with a better representation of what you do.

Include whitespace. Another way you can make your content easy to skim is with whitespace, the empty space between images, text, and other page elements. Whitespace breaks your content up and gives your visitors a chance to take everything in and process it. Whitespace also makes your web pages easy on the eye and it won’t overwhelm visitors.

Categorize the content. When designing your sitemap, keep it intuitive. Each page needs a name, and be sure to add sub-navigations, or subpages to the main menu items, should your website have over 10 pages. If you are going to have a large website, you’ll want to include a search bar so visitors can gain access to specific webpages based on the keywords they searched. Rule of thumb, don’t make your potential clients work too hard.