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How to optimise your site with free SEO tools and resources

If you need help optimising your site but are overwhelmed by the volume of tools and resources available, then you’ve come to the right place.

This tried and tested guide features five of the best SEO tools that you can start using today to boost your search presence.  

Google Trends

Google Trends provides a useful way to compare the popularity of search terms over a given time frame. It works by analysing how many searches there have been for a specific keyword relative to the total number of Google searches in the same period. It’s possible to change the location, category and type of search (web, image, news, shopping or YouTube) to get more more granular, meaningful data.

You can enter up to 5 search terms simultaneously and the results are displayed in a graph showing interest over time. A search for ‘AdWords’, 'SEO' and 'Social Media' over the last five years in the UK reveals the following trend:

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Automated emails your hotel should be sending

Automated emails your hotel should be sending

Hotel technology is becoming more sophisticated with a growing number of guests doing their research and managing bookings on their mobiles. 

As technology evolves, so does the number of touchpoints available for you to connect with customers.

Email marketing is a great way to communicate directly with guests. With carefully written content and a strategic approach to your email campaigns, you can up-sell services, increase user engagement and maximise the chances of repeat bookings. 

Automate your campaigns with triggered emails

Triggered emails are generated from a consumer action such as a hotel booking or cancellation. They take into account user data and behaviour making them more relevant, timely and valuable than non-triggered batch emails. As such, they generate 50% higher open rates, leading to increased conversion rates and a better customer experience.

Examples of triggered emails include check-in or check-out emails, birthday or anniversary emails and cart abandonment campaigns. Such emails have become standard practice in the hotel industry and once configured, can be automated so that you are able to concentrate on higher priority issues.

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The importance of keeping your CMS up to date

Why you should update WordPress plugins

Open Source CMS software, such as Joomla and WordPress have many benefits, not least of all that they come without licensing fees and are free to download and use.

What’s more you can easily access a marketplace of thousands of ready made templates and extensions that allow you to extend core functionality by adding photo galleries, custom forms, e-commerce and much more.

Updates will keep your website safe

So far, so good? You have an overwhelming number of goodies that you can download and install into WordPress or Joomla in just a few clicks which you can then configure to the exact case use requirements of your business.

But with all this freedom and low-cost or no-cost code comes a big warning: you must keep your extensions, plug-ins and core templates up to date. This means downloading updates and security patches as they become available. Extensions are one of the main reason why so many open source websites are hacked. Out of date software is an open door invitation for hackers to exploit your website, inject malicious code or steal valuable data from you and your customers.

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Web design that converts

5 web design tips that drive sales

Every business needs a robust, high-impact website to educate users and convince them your product meets their needs. 

However even the most beautifully designed, perfectly optimised site will fail to generate sales unless there are some essential conversion techniques in place. 

Follow these key design tips to cultivate loyal customers, increase conversions and drive more sales through your website.

1. FEATURE CLEAR CALLS TO ACTION

Make it as easy as possible for users to take action on your site by featuring a prominent Call to Action (CTA) above the fold (in the top half) of the page.

Your CTA could be purchase-based or it could fulfil the user’s need to educate themselves about your company or product, for example in the form of a downloadable white paper or newsletter sign-up. Whatever the purpose of the CTA, it needs to stand out and grab the user’s attention.

Use a contrasting colour to increase visibility and text that represents the action your visitors are taking such as ‘sign up now’, ‘ try it for free’ or ‘buy it now’.

A study by Hubspot showcased a software company that increased conversion rates by nearly 106% by altering their homepage design to include a prominent call to action:

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Identify, remove, and harden your site after a hack.

Sucuri is committed to helping Joomla! administrators identify and clean their hacked websites. We put together this guide to help website owners walk through the process of identifying and cleaning a Joomla! hack. This is not meant to be an all-encompassing guide but should help address 70% of the infections we see.

Common Indicators of a Hacked Joomla! Site

  • Blacklist warnings by Google, Bing, McAfee, etc.
  • Unexpected or abnormal browser behaviors
  • Spam keywords in search engine content
  • Host suspended your site for malicious activity
  • File modifications or Joomla! core integrity issues
  • Malicious new users in the Joomla! dashboard.
Step 1
Identify Hack

1.1 Scan Your Site

You can use tools that scan your site remotely to find malicious payloads and malware locations.

To scan Joomla! for hacks:

  1. Visit the SiteCheck website.
  2. Click Scan Website.
  3. If the site is infected, review the warning message.
  4. Note any payloads and locations (if available).
  5. Note any blacklist warnings.

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10 advanced Joomla tips to become a proJoomla offers a great number of functionalities to smoothen your development life. But these features could seem overwhelming sometimes and you might miss some of the great functionalities that will make you a pro user.

So, today we are going to discuss some of the tips that have been found popular among professional Joomla developers. Let's dive in.

1. Show the site name on the browser tab

It’s cool to display your site name on the browser tab, fortunately, Joomla allows you to do it easily without any extension along with your main page title.

10 advanced Joomla tips to become a pro

Process:

  • Go to System and click on “Global Configuration”
  • Navigate to “SEO Settings” and look for “Site Name in Page Titles”
  • By default, it is set to “No”. You can choose “Before” or “After” depending on your wish. Enabling this feature will show your site name before or after the page title
  • Save changes

If you go to the front of your site, you will see the site name is visible in the browser bar.

2. Boost your website speed

Reducing the site loading time is one of the basic needs you have to fill while developing a site. This trick will show you how to do it smartly.

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Tutorial: The most popular ways to recover your lost Joomla password

Let’s be honest. Forgetting password is a pretty common occurrence. Some users keep passwords in their default browser memory, after several months you can forget anything. Some of us don't even remember the password that they issued at the time of Joomla installation. This article describes how to reset the Joomla administrator password.

Normally, you can add, edit, and delete users and change passwords from the back-end User Manager. To do this, you must be logged in as a member of the Super Administrator group. But if for some reason, you cannot log into the backend, then that's a problem.

Fortunately, there are several methods to recover the Joomla administrator password.

Basic way

The easiest way would be to have your new password emailed to you from your Joomla front-end login screen. Yes, there is always a "Reset password" link. On form submission, the e-mail address bounded to that user's account will receive an email with one-time auto login link and instructions to set a new password. Even if you have not published the login module or login menu item, you can use the core link to get access to that area:

https://your-domain.com/index.php?option=com_users&view=login

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If you have a normal Joomla site setup, anyone can come along and visit. Anyone can browse around and see what you're doing.

However, what happens if you're building site for a client? You don't want the whole world to see. The same is true if you're developing a site for yourself and aren't ready to make it public.

Joomla Offline Pages for Beginners

To solve this, Joomla allows you to work on a site in private where only you (and your client) can see it.

It has a very nice feature that allows you to test your site in complete privacy. You might just need your site offline for a few minutes, you might want to show it privately to a client, or you might want to keep the site offline for weeks while you build it. Either way, this is a good solution.

Login To Your Joomla Site

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Go to Global Configuration

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A reader asked me about this recently. What he wanted was to hide the "Home" menu item when on the frontpage of his site.

I must admit I haven't really been in the situation where I'd needed that. Still, there might be others that need the same functionality on their site. So here are a couple of solutions for hiding a menu item on a particular page.

1. HidE the menu module

This is the approach my reader had chosen. The method is quite simple: You add a menu, and move your "Home" menu item to that menu. Then, you add a menu module to your site and choose to display it on all pages except on the frontpage. This is really simple to do in versions of Joomla after 1.6. Of course, this can be done for any menu item on your site.

The reader published this module in the same module position as his main menu, so the "Home" link would appear to be part of the same menu. He chose to hide the module title for the same reason.

The good thing about this method is that it's really simple. You don't need to fiddle around with CSS etc. The challenge is that the two menus might look disconnected. It really depends on your template and how the modules stack up.

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About a week ago, I received an email from an anonymous hacker. He had sent the same email to around 350 people in the Joomla community. They were all registered in the same affiliate system for a well-known software developer, and attached to the email was an Excel sheet with all of their contact info and user names. The hacker said he had extracted the info from an insecure system and offered "security services" to protect from similar hacks.

Apparently, people had been talking about this for a couple of days already on Twitter. Still, I wanted to check a little more what this guy was after.

This is what it said in the first email:

I am writing to warn of a failure, a serious vulnerabilities in your system, I could give them information and solution on these if interested contact me with an answer.

I sent him an email, asking which system he had gathered the information from.

The person behind the email answered me quickly and offered his services again:

These data were extracted from a vulnerable system, I can protect the rest of your data and provide the best security for you and your website.

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