How To Add Pictures To Your WordPress Blog

Pictures speak in a different language to words. Sometimes a picture is the only way to convey the true impact of a thing or situation. Having both words and pictures available to you is a powerful combination. If your website is based on a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, you have that combination at your fingertips.

Adding pictures to your Blog is not at all difficult, but let me first talk about the pictures themselves. You don’t need an expensive camera to produce good quality pictures. But you do need to think about what you are doing and develop a few skills.

The current generation of smartphones, compact digital cameras and digital SLRs will all produce pictures that can be used on a website. However they are not guaranteed to do so. The most important part of the picture taking process is the photographer.

How to add pictures to your wordpress blog

Times Square photographed with a Samsung smartphone

Images for use on your website should be:

  • In focus
  • Properly lit
  • Composed in a pleasing way
  • Have the important details fully visible and not hidden in shadow or “blown out” highlights.

Let’s think about these points in more detail.

Focus – Most modern cameras have auto focus but it’s not infallible. Learn how the system works (read the booklet) and practice. Check your results immediately. If they look fuzzy, do it again.

Lighting – If possible, use diffused natural light. Light from the north is less glaring than light from the south. Avoid flash unless you know what you are doing. The flashes on phones and compact cameras are especially good at producing red eye and other undesireable effects.

Composition – Get the camera level and take time to review what you are looking at. Placing your subjects centrally won’t win any artistic prizes but you will be able to see them and they are more likely to be in focus.

Details fully visible – This is very much a result of getting the lighting right. Inadequate lighting will mean the image is too dark or too much will be in shadow. Harsh bright light will also produce deep shadows and highlights without details. Check your image before shooting and review after pressing the shutter. If it looks wrong, try and move you subject into softer light and try again.

Remember, the quality of a picture depends on the ability of the photographer, just like the quality of a meal depends on the skill of the cook.

How To Add Pictures To Your WordPress Blog

If you are using WordPress, this is easy. Do any editing and save the image file on the same computer as you are writing your with.

With the cursor at the point in the text where you want the image to appear, click the Add Media button. Select Upload Files then click the Select Files button to find the file on your computer. After selecting and clicking Open or OK (depending on computer) you will see the upload progress on the right of the next screen. Add a title and alternative text for the image, select alignment and the size you want it to appear. Clicking the Insert into Post button places the image in your Post. When you Publish the Post, it will be there for all to see.

Further Reading – detailed WordPress instructions on adding images

 

A Good Website is Good For Business

In January 2013, The Guardian Small Business Network published an article entitled “Why a good (cheap) website is vital for small businesses”.

The writer observes that although 80% of small businesses do have a website, around 80% of those websites “simply aren’t fit for purpose in today’s digital age”. He goes on to explain why: “The vast majority of micro-businesses are using sites that are based on out-of-date technology. They tend to be “static”, limited to five pages and offer no content management. Hence they can’t perform basic but essential marketing tasks, such as posting photos and publishing customer testimonials”.
Small Business
I get to see quite a lot of business websites and I’m afraid I have to agree with The Guardian writer, a lot of websites have that ten years old look about them. I would suggest there are two main reasons why small businesses are struggling along with out of date websites: cost and complexity.

Let’s think about cost. Small business owners are naturally wary of getting talked into expensive website development deals. They have probably heard tales of other people paying thousands of pounds for a new website and they know they can’t afford that.

And complexity. Business owners, know they should be updating their websites on a regular basis, but don’t think they have the skills to do so.
Vapour Trail is a web design and development business. It’s our aim to bring the benefits of the latest web technology to small businesses. So we offer:

A fixed price Small Business Website Package. This costs £249 and gives you three pages of optimised content, full content management system, a business blog, professional design based on an open source template and search engine optimisation tools.

If your requirements are different, we will provide a fixed price quote.

We will be happy to provide a free assessment of your website and advise on how it might be improved.

We will help you to learn how to use your website effectively: how to blog, post pictures and update content.

We won’t try to bamboozle you with jargon!

If you would like to call for a chat about your website, I would love to hear from you. My number is 0333 123 0004 and email is chris@vapourtrail.biz

Call Me: Making It Easy To Get In Touch

Getting a potential customer to your website is good, getting them to contact you is better. It would be such a shame if someone came to your website and then were deterred from making contact with you because the contact information on your website was poor or missing.

So here are some ideas to make you website contact friendly.

Phone Numbers

Don’t make visitors hunt around for your phone number. Your phone number should be on every page in an obvious place. If your website has a templated or theme based design, include it in the template. If you are likely to get calls from different countries, make it clear which country you are in. An easy way to do this is to display your phone number in the international format. Vapour Trail’s number would be +44 (0)333 123 0004

contact information

Did you know that rules on the use of 08 numbers are changing? As from 13th June 2014, BIS (Department for Business, Innovation & Skills) have ruled that numbers beginning 08 can be used as contact numbers for enquiries but that existing customers must be able to call you on an 01, 02 or 03 number. This is because 01,02 or 03 are included in mobile phone packages, whereas 08 are treated as premium numbers and callers will incur additional charges.

Check your website to ensure you are displaying the 01, 02 or 03 options.

Email

Email contact forms make it easy to send email, but have you checked your contact form is working recently? This is a critical piece of functionality on your website and it just takes a moment to send yourself an email as a check.

It’s worth also displaying your email address on your website to give visitors an additional option.

Phone and email are your prime contact options, so make sure they are easy to find and use.

Social Media

If you are on social media, make sure website visitors have links to enable them to follow you or like your pages. Using the familiar social media icons (Twitter blue bird, etc) makes it easy to find these links.

Contact Us

Take a good look at your website and ask yourself “am I welcoming my visitors and making it easy for them to contact me”?

If you have any doubts, please get in touch. Vapour Trail are a web design and development business and making websites work well is what we do. We’re on 0333 123 0004

Image: iPhone4 by Renato Mitra. Creative Commons Licence via Flickr.com

Business Start Ups, right first time

This is an all too familiar story. I talk to a business owner about their existing website and the tale goes something like this …

“we’ve been in business a few years now and when we started my nephew/friend/IT student/bloke at the pub made us a website. It’s looking a bit old now and we want to update but we have lost touch/they don’t have the time/they don’t do that anymore and we don’t know what to do”.

Continue Reading →

Your Website as a Marketing Tool

Your website is a key marketing tool. Whenever you say “visit our website” or a potential customer searches for you online, your website will be the first thing they see. So just as a shopkeeper makes sure the windows are clean and the shop is fresh and inviting, so you need to be sure that your website is doing you proud.

Design is a matter of personal taste and you won’t please all of the people all of the time. Having said that though, if your website is badly designed, most people will ageree about that! However the obvious turn off is when you website is obviously out of date. Does it use a trick that was popular in 2007? Does it say “Last updated 11th December 2010”? Are the prices wrong? If you look at your website and it’s obviously out of date, you need to take some action.

If you have a Content Management System (CMS) you have no excuse, get on with it!

If you don’t have a CMS you will probably have to get a list together for your webmaster. If you have a good relationship with your webmaster, that’s great. But so often I hear stories of websites being run by a friend or a relative or someone that’s moved onto other things and getting updates completed is a really big hassle.

If you are sighing at this point and thinking “that’s me”, then perhaps we should talk.

A  CMS allows you to take control of your website. There’s no need to wait for and cajole a webmaster. You can do your own updates, every day if you wish. If you are working with a marketing plan or running any sort of promotional campaign, the ability to update your website content is absolutely crucial.

Is this going to cost me a lot of money is the obvious question? Absolutely not!

A website with two pages of optimised content, contact form, theme of your choice and other goodies starts from £249. The monthly cost is £10. So for the first year your fully updateable, optimised website would cost less than a cheap laptop.

Fancy a chat about CMS? Call me on 0333 123 0004

Chris

 

 

 

Joomla 1.5 websites

Joomla is a popular Content Management System (CMS) that allows website owners to take charge of the content on their website. It has been through a number of versions lately and if your website is on an early version, you may find this article useful.

Joomla is currently at version 3.2. This version will be supported for at least two years and the only action required is to apply the regular incremental patches. These serial numbered patches are bug-fixes and security updates to fix recently identified issues. At writing, the current patch level is v3.2.2.

If your website is on the Joomla v2.5 range, you are also in a good place. The patch level here is v2.5.18 and Joomla v2.5 will be supported for around another year.

By the way, if you are wondering how to find out what version you are on, log in to your administrator area and you will see the version number displayed either top right or at the bottom of the page.

If you find that your version number is in the range v1.5 you do need to consider taking some action.

Joomla v1.5 is now obsolete and unsupported. Because it has been around so long, hackers are familiar with how to compromise it. Website maintainers and hosting companies are seeing a lot of hacking of Joomla v1.5 websites. Some hosting companies are now starting to introduce a policy of refusing to host v1.5 websites because of the nuisance that they cause.

If your website hosting company contacts you to say that they will no longer host your Joomla v1.5 website, you need to act quickly. If they offer an automated upgrade to a new version, DO NOT accept it. The reason for this is that there is no 100% succesful automated path to upgrade v1.5. A process exists to migrate your data to a higher version, but this will inevitably break the design of your website and probably most of your extension functionality. If the hosting company runs the automated upgrade process, they will get rid of their problem (a vulnerable website) but will leave you with a big problem, a broken website.

 

If you have a Joomla v1.5 website, I strongly recommend that you contact a website designer or developer to plan for an upgrade to a newer version. The process will involve an evaluation of your web hosting arrangements, the creation of a new template, migration of your data and the deployment of extension functionality.

Vapour Trail have managed a number of Joomla v1.5 upgrades and will be happy work with you on yours. There will be a cost involved and we will be happy to provide a quote for the work involved.

If you have a Joomla v1.5 website, don’t panic but do plan. Your website is an important part of your business and deserves care and attention.

If you have any questions about your Joomla website, please get in touch. Phone 0333 123 0004 or email info@vapourtrail.biz

 

Four Must-Have Acronyms For Your Website

I would recommend that any new business website included the following features:

Content Management System (CMS)

A CMS allows persons other than a website designer to update the website. This can be the site’s owner or designated administrator, third party search engine optimisation (SEO) specialist or marketing specialist.

Fresh, optimised content is essential to keeping a website relevant both to human readers and search engine enquiries.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

This is the process of ensuring that the content of the website is understood by search engines. In it’s most basic form, it means ensuring that it’s clear what the website is about. So if you are “Bob’s Builders” in Eastbourne, a search engine enquiry for “bobs builders eastbourne” should find your website.

Responsive Website Design (RWD)

Visitors to your website will view it on a variety of devices: smartphone, tablet, ultrabook, laptop or desktop PC. Your website should look good and be both readable and navigable on all those devices. This is best achieved through a design principle known as Responsive Website Design which allows the page to respond to the dimensions of the screen and display itself appropriately.

Which leads us nicely to WordPress (WP)

WordPress is the world’s leading CMS and the platform for millions of websites. It has great tools for SEO. There are many, freely available RWD themes or we could create a unique RWD theme just for you. If you are not using WP for your small business website, give us a call on 0333 123 0004 about how you could benefit.

Why Pay For a Website When Facebook is Free?

Question: I’ve got a Facebook page with lots of likes and it’s free. Why do I need my own website?

Answer: Just for clarity “your own” website is a website with a unique domain name registered to you (yourbusiness.co.uk) and content entirely created by you or on your behalf by your web designer.

You will have noticed a lot of “you” and “your” in that opening statement and that’s key to understanding this issue. If you register your own domain and set up your website, it’s yours.

By contrast if you have a page on Facebook or Google+, it’s theirs.

Now you no doubt “sort of” know this, but you aren’t bothered because the Facebook or Google + page is free. But think about this more deeply and consider some possible scenarios.

Business pages on social networks are currently free, but supposed that changed. At what point would you free-is-best model collapse? If Facebook started charging £100 per month for business pages, it would certainly collapse. £50 per month? £10 per month? For comparison, the cost of our Small Business Website package is £10 per month. At that point, why pay Facebook for a page when you can have your own website for the same price?

Let’s also think about content. Currently Facebook business pages don’t have the same advertising that personal pages do. But that could easily change if Facebook decide they would like some additional advertising revenue.  Would you want your content surrounded by advertising over which you have no control?

Then there’s also the question of trends. Remember myspace.com? It was the first of the big social networks, dominant in it’s day, but largely forgotten now. Facebook, Google +, Pinterest and Instagram will all go the same way and be replaced by something bigger and better. If your online presence is facebook.com/yourbusiness and no one bothers with Facebook anymore, you’re in trouble.

This is the strategy I would recommend. Your online presence starts with your own website. This doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. Vapour Trail’s Small Business Website package starts at £249 plus £10 per month. By all means have a presence on Twitter, Facebook and any other social media that seems a good idea. But use them to drive traffic to your website and if they don’t work for you or the social media site becomes unpopular, forget about them.

By having your own website, you take control of your presence and your reputation. That’s a critical part of your marketing strategy and your reputation maintenance. It’s well worth investing in.