Monday, April 19, 2021

Rock Island / Quad Cities KOA Campground

Rock Island KOA Quad Cities Campground

Rock Island / Quad Cities KOA Campground – Website Redesign

Team 218 recently completed a total redesign of the Rock Island KOA Campground website. We used a video loop of a campfire as a “Hero Image” to give the site a warm and unique look.

John & Carol

We worked closely with the owners of the Rock Island KOA Campground to create and develop a website design that showcased all the fun activities they make available to their guests. An important aspect of the site was the ability to interact seamlessly with the main KOA website which serves as the engine for reservations. This was a fun project and we enjoyed working together with the owners and management staff to create their new site.

The Rock Island KOA, is at the center of all thats going on in the Quad City area. Rock Island KOA has RV Sites, Tent Sites and Cabins situated on 150+ acres for guests to explore, including 50 acres of lake for fishing (no license required) or boating.

Guests can enjoy a heated outdoor pool, adults-only hot tub, water spray park for all ages and a community room. The bathhouse features individual showers and dressing rooms.

Paddleboats, canoes and kayaks are available. Play mini golf for free with your own golf ball or purchase a souvenir ball. There are many shaded sites next to or near the lake. Play horseshoes, go fishing or check out the new Jump Pad. Planned activities for kids and families are scheduled for most weekends throughout the season.

Need an RV repair? On-site service is available by appointment. Other services include LP, dump station and local repair shops for gasoline and diesel engines.

If you're planning on doing some camping, this is the place! Best campground in the Quad Cit

Let us know what you think in the comments below. If you’re interested in learning how Team 218 Web Services can help you achieve your perfect website, please visit our Web Design page.

Visit The Rock Island / Quad Cities KOA Website



Original post here: Rock Island / Quad Cities KOA Campground

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Website Protection Tips

Website Protection | Website Security

Website Protection - Threats Are Everywhere

What to do about website protection? The news has been reporting huge increases in cyber attacks in the last few weeks. Make no mistake about it, there are people out there actively working to hack your website. You need to be proactive with your website protection strategy.

Small business websites don't have the resources to throw at online security and are particularly vulnerable to hackers. There are steps you can take to protect your website without spending a dime. Since we work primarily with WordPress sites we'll focus on WordPress specific tips.

Install an Anti-Virus Program on your PC

(Not specifically WordPress related) You don't need to pay for a good anti-virus program these days. A Google search for "free antivirus" will turn up quite a few options. We currently use the free version of Avast Mac Security and have good results.

Email

(Not specifically WordPress related) You've heard it many times - don't open email attachments unless you are absolutely certain they are from a trusted source. Even then, be very careful with email attachments. Your trusted sender may have been hacked. One more reason to have a solid anti-virus program in place.

If you receive an email from a trusted source but for any reason you are suspicious of the email, pick up the phone and call them or text them to verify they actually sent the email. Hackers have gotten sophisticated enough to intercept email so if you use email to ask the sender if they actually sent the it, chances are you'll be talking to the hacker. It's getting crazy out there folks - be careful.

If you're sending email via your WordPress website you should utilize one of the many SMTP plugins.

WordPress Login

WordPress is susceptible to brute force attacks from hackers. A brute force attack is simply an attempt to gain access to the website by guessing at a username and password over and over (usually employing some software to run these login attempts unattended).

Two easy ways to help guard against these attacks are to not use the default name for your admin account and to rename your wp-login.php file. You'd be amazed at the number of WordPress websites using the login user name of "admin" - terrible idea as far as website protection goes.

Since you can't rename users in WordPress you'll need to create an additional user account with admin privileges and then delete the original admin account.

Renaming your wp-login.php file can easily be done using a plugin like Rename WP-Login.php or Protect Your Admin. The capability to rename your login is also available in iThemes Security plugin.

Keep Your Site Updated

WordPress updates are released frequently for the WordPress core files, themes, and plugins. Make sure you keep your site up to date by applying updates when they become available. Many of these updates contain patches to security vulnerabilities and failing to update could expose your website to security threats.

Remember this when applying updates to your WordPress website. Always install updates in this order: Plugins, Themes, WordPress Core Files.

WordPress Security

There are lots of internet predators out there trying to do bad things with your website. You need some defense to combat these lowlifes. One of the best we've found is Wordfence. We install Wordfence on every site we build. There is a Pro version which costs $99 per year but the free version is excellent and plenty for most Wordpress sites. Install it and use it!

Another WordPress security we really like is iThemes Security. This plugin has lots of options and has been a rock-solid performer for us.

Backup Your Website

Site backups are an important step in your overall website health strategy. Your hosting provider may make periodic backups but you should make the effort to backup your site as well. We use UpdraftPlus and it's another default plugin on the WordPress websites we build.

Use a VPN

The kind of security a VPN provides is on the way from being a luxury to becoming a necessity on the modern internet. While directly hacking a computer using its IP address is difficult today, thanks to the various firewalls employed by service providers, an IP address can still be used as a starting point to access location data that can then be used to dig up further sensitive information. What makes a VPN effective is that it encrypts your internet traffic before it reaches any server outside of your device. We recommend visiting VPNRatings.com for lots more information on VPNs.

VPNRatings logo

These few steps will go a long way in preventing website headaches and should keep your site running strong.

Having problems with your WordPress website? Get in touch and we'll be happy to help.

 

 



Original post here: Website Protection Tips

Monday, April 12, 2021

Small Business Websites

Small Business Websites | Little Fish in a Big Pond

Do you need a Small Business Website? Are you a small fish in a big pond? Anytime I hear that kind of reference I'm reminded of this quote from Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computers.

The smallest company in the world can look as large as the largest company on the web.

Steve Jobs

For all the small fish out there... Stay Fearless! Your business can be on equal ground with the big boys via your website. Current data shows that more than 2.4 billion people use the internet every day! 90% of those have purchased something, or contacted a company online in the last 12 months! What will their first impression of your business be? Will they even find you?

Small Business Website Statistics

Statistics show that fewer than two thirds of small businesses have a website and 35% of small businesses believe their company is too small to need a website. more small business stats

Team 218 Web Services can make sure your first impression is a great one! Regardless of your business niche, we can create the website that fits your business perfectly and doesn't break the budget. Don't miss out on potential customers due to a mediocre or non-existent website. We can have your new small business website online in just a week or two. Get in touch today!



Original post here: Small Business Websites

Friday, April 9, 2021

Local SEO

Local SEO

What Is Local SEO

If you run a small business you know how important marketing is to your business. It's even more critical with the  COVID-19 pandemic changing the business dynamic. Local SEO means using on-page and external methods to optimize a business for location-specific searches. The two main areas of focus for Local SEO are organic SEO (things you can manipulate on your webpage to affect search) and GMB. When you look at a SERP (search engine results page) you'll notice 3 areas in order:

  • Paid Ads (these are at the top)
  • GMB (also referred to as the local pack)
  • Organic (always  located after the local pack)

Google My Business

GMB for short, this free Google product is the number one tool for Local SEO.  It is tied closely to Google Maps and provides many functions that benefit your business. It's where your Google Reviews can be found. You can upload photos including your logo and cover photo. You can create posts to tell the world about your business and products or services. GMB allows you to create an entire website that is automatically updated from the posts and photos you upload. Pretty sweet and did we mention FREE?

You can set up a GMB account for your business even if you don't have a website. In some cases the GMB listing exists already but just hasn't been claimed and verified by the business owner.

Maximize Your GMB Listing

MAKE SURE YOUR GMB LISTING IS 100% COMPLETE AND ACCURATE. Make sure you have the full business NAP (name, address, phone) and that it's 100% correct. You should include your business hours, business categories, the services you offer, and the geographic area you serve. Make sure you include a brief description of your services. Take full advantage of GMB and include photos of your business (inside and outside) and add your logo. If this is a new listing you'll need to wait for the postcard from Google to verify your business.

Post To Your GMB Account Regularly

Once your GMB listing is verified and published you should be posting to it regularly. You should create posts and add photos to your account five days a week (at least to get the ball rolling). Go ahead and set up the free website that is available on GMB whether you already have a website of not.

If you need help setting up and maxing out your GMB we can set everything up for you for a very minimal fee. We're always happy to answer any questions as well.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Moline, Illinois


The old stomping grounds of John Deere have seen many changes since the self-scouring steel plow inventor walked the streets of Moline. If Mr. Deere visited Moline today he’d see modern Deere & Company manufacturing plants and would probably be amazed that tourists visited John Deere Commons to see the results of what he started way back in 1837. Yes, Moline has changed a lot over the years.

Change is good. It usually means growth which leads to an increase in new business startups and existing business expansions. That’s where we come in. We’re Team 218 Web Services and we provide Web Design, SEO and Website Management for small businesses and nonprofit organizations in Moline.

We make it easy for you to have a great website for your business! Each project we tackle receives 100% of our focus and you won’t find anyone who works harder to make your business look and perform its’ best on the web. You can absolutely count on Team 218 Web Services for all of your Web Design and Development needs.

Our all-inclusive web design process is the perfect way to get a great website for your business or nonprofit. In most cases, we can gather the information we need from you over the phone or by email. If you have an existing site we would be happy to review it and give you our evaluation – no charge or obligation. The next time you think of Moline Web Design, think of Team 218 Web Services!

Team 218 Web Services

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Search Engine Optimization

Did you know that More than 2.4 billion people use the internet every day? 90% of those have purchased something, or contacted a company online in the last 12 months! Will they find you? 

You can increase the chances that they WILL by incorporating a sound SEO strategy. Click here to Learn More and see how Team 218 Web Services might help you. https://bit.ly/37eObPO
#seo #digitalmarketing #searchengineoptimization

Team 218 Web Services
North Liberty, IA
319-333-0815
https://bit.ly/39kHdKy

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Core Web Vitals - Google's New Ranking Factor

Core Web Vitals

 

Core Web Vitals – What Are They And How They Affect Your SERP

Google has announced that core web vitals will henceforth be included in their search ranking, starting from May 2021. This update combines the existing UX-related signals such as mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security and intrusive interstitial guidelines to become a key ranking signal on Google.

In this post, you will learn what core web vitals are and how they impact your ranking in search results. We also uncover important tips about how you can optimize your website to meet Google’s criteria for higher ranking and increased visibility.

What Are Google’s Core Web Vitals?

Core web vitals are a combination of several metrics designed to measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page. In this update, Google wants to ensure that only sites that provide simple and seamless experience show up on the top of search engine result pages (SERPs) for specific search terms or keywords.

Core web vitals are a subset of Google’s overall evaluation of Page Experience, a longstanding ranking signal. The metrics that define Core Web Vitals will change over time along with changes in a user’s expectation of web pages. The current set of metrics focus on three important aspects of the user experience, including load speed, interactivity and visual stability.

Here are the three Core Web Vitals and their meanings:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This metric refers to how long it takes the main content on a webpage to load. Google recommends that the LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds or faster from when the page first starts loading.
  • First Input Delay (FID): This refers to the time it takes for a web page to become interactive. To provide a good user experience, your web page is expected to have a FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This refers to the amount of unexpected layout shift of a page’s visual content. To provide a good user experience, a page should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.

Core Web Vitals And How They Affect Your Site’s Performance

Core Web Vitals are about your page performance and how it affects web visitors. A website with low-quality page experience will naturally discourage visitors. For example, if it takes a long time for a page to load, it will have a severe effect on bounce rates which is a signal to Google that your page is not user-friendly.

Likewise, interruptions and errors due to instability in the graphic appearance of the page can make good user experience impossible, hereby reducing the dwell time on your website. On the contrary, fewer shifts result in less chances for interruption and error.

According to a recent case study by Web Vitals, an initiative by Google, if a page load time increases from 1 second to 3 seconds, bounce rate increases by 32%. The bounce rate further increases by 106% as page load time increases from 1 second to 6 seconds.

The same study found that when a site meets the thresholds for Core Web Vitals, users are 24% less likely to abandon such a page. The study specifically looked at news and shopping sites, sites whose businesses depend on traffic and task completion, and discovered a similar outcome: 22% less page abandonment for news sites and 24% less abandonment for shopping sites.

The Introduction Of New Labels In Search Results

Google has suggested that they’re going to add labels in search results that show which results provide a quality page experience. The search engine perfected works on visual indicators that will make it easy for users to identify pages that have met all of the page experience requirements explained earlier.

While Core Web Vitals are not the only ranking factors in Google’s ranking algorithm, they constitute the largest chunk of Page Experience score. Having said that, it’s important for you to run a thorough check of your website and see where you stand in light of the imminent update rollout. This can help you quantify the experience of your website and identify opportunities to improve.

How To Optimize Your Website For Higher Page Experience

In readiness for the upcoming changes, Google has released a variety of tools that you can use to start improving your page experience. But the first step is doing a site-wide audit of your pages to see where there is a need for improvement. You can dig up your site’s Core Web Vitals data in the “enhancements” section of your Google Search Console account.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) 

Once you’ve identified opportunities for improvement, you can leverage tools like PageSpeed  Insights and Lighthouse to help you as you iterate on fixing any issue that you’ve found. These tools come in handy and can provide you useful insights about what you need to improve your site’s load speed.

PageSpeed Insights, for example, analyzes your website using field data which reflect the real-world experience of a critical user-focused outcome.

Although PageSpeed Insights provides you useful data about your LCP, it can only analyze a page at a time. This is where you need Google Search Console. Like Google PageSpeed Insights, data in GSC comes from the Chrome User Experience Report and it allows you to see all relevant LCP insights on your entire website. Instead of analyzing random pages one by one, you can get a list of URLs that are good, bad or somewhere in-between.

LCP reports are divided into three buckets – GoodNeeds Improvement and Poor.

For example, an LCP of 2.5 seconds or less is considered “Good”; 2.5 to 4.0 seconds “needs improvement” while 4.0 seconds or more is “Poor”.

Here are some recommendations to improve your page load speed:

  • Reduce the dimensions of background images: large background images are common culprits when it comes to slow page load speed. You can either reduce the size to a maximum of 100kb or decide to remove it entirely if its removal will not negatively impact user experience.
  • Implement lazy loading: With lazy loading, images only load as the web visitor scrolls down your page. This helps achieve faster LCP.
  • Remove Large page elements: Large page elements such as large video files or bulky CSS can delay LCP times. A tool like Google PageSpeed Insights can tell you if your page has an element that’s slowing down your page and how you can possibly fix it.

First Input Delay (FID)

FID refers to the time it takes for a web page to become interactive. Examples of interactive activities on a website include, choosing an option from a menu, entering an email into a field, and clicking on a link in the site’s navigation. Google considers FID an important metric because it takes into account how real-life users interact with websites.

Like LCP, a site’s FID is grouped into three buckets, including good, needs improvement and poor. The ideal FID time is 100 ms. Anything beyond needs improvement. Sites that deal with 100% content such as blogs or news sites shouldn’t have much issue with meeting the FID requirements since there’s little or no need for users to login or input their info.

Here are recommendations on how you can improve your site’s FID score:

  • Minimize JavaScript: It’s difficult if not impossible for users to interact with a page while the browser is loading up JavaScript. The solution is to either minimize or defer JS on your page to improve FID score.
  • Use a browser cache: Using a browser cache can help improve user experience by loading JS faster.
  • Remove inessential third-party scripts: Third-party scripts like Google Analytics and heatmaps can negatively impact FID.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

This parameter is focused on visual stability. Put simply, if elements on your page moves around as the speed loads, they’ll have a high CLSs which page for Page Experience. You need to ensure that every element on your page is fairly stable when it loads up. This encourages not only to stay longer on your page, but help them achieve the mission of stopping by at your page. The ideal CLS score is 1.0 or less.

Here are some recommendations to improve your CLS score:

  • Make sure ads elements have a reserved space – This helps you prevent the chances of ads pushing content down, up or to the side. 
  • Additionally, Google recommends AMP as one of the easiest and cost-effective ways for publishers looking to achieve improved page experience outcomes.
  • Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an open source framework developed to help you create websites, stories, emails and ads that are designed with the user in mind. They are targeted at delighting the user and providing lightning-fast, high-quality experience in multiple forms. The majority of the AMP pages record great page experience.
  • If you’re an AMP publisher, you can check the recently launched AMP Page Experience Guide. It’s a diagnostic tool that provides actionable insights about how best you can optimize your website for greater user experience.

Wrapping Up

Optimizing the quality of user experience is crucial to the long-term success of any site on the web. Whether you’re a business owner, marketer, or developer, Core Web Vitals can help you improve your ranking and boost visibility in search results. If you need professional assistance auditing your site’s performance and optimizing your site for Core Web Vitals, schedule a consultation call with us right now to discuss your needs. 


Team 218 Web Services

Rock Island / Quad Cities KOA Campground

Rock Island / Quad Cities KOA Campground – Website Redesign Team 218 recently completed a total redesign of the Rock Island KOA Campground...