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4 simple ways to boost local SEO on WordPress

4 simple ways to boost local SEO on WordPress

4 simple ways to boost local SEO on WordPress

home / Archives for June 2021

We share four simple ways to help people find your website when they’re searching ‘near me’ or for a particular location.

what is local SEO and how is it different to general SEO?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is all about increasing your business’s visibility on search engines. It involves optimising your WordPress website so that it’s ranked (and displayed) as highly as possible in search results.

Local SEO does exactly the same thing as general SEO – except it focuses on promoting your organisation and website in terms of its physical, bricks-and-mortar location. So if you’re based in Pimlico in London, then local SEO would include keywords and optimisation for London and Pimlico.

Local SEO is important if you want people to find your WordPress website when they’re searching ‘near me’, on Google Maps, or for a particular geographical location.

how to improve local SEO on WordPress

1) Add your site to Google My Business

Google My Business is a free tool which enables you to list your organisation on Google Maps. You can also include other useful information for local customers, such as contact details and opening hours.

With users increasingly searching on maps and Google prioritising map listings in their search results, this is a vital way to ensure your WordPress website is indexed and displayed in local searches. Once you’re listed, you can optimise your profile for SEO by including relevant keywords in your business description.

2) Install an SEO plugin

An SEO plugin is essential to maximise your WordPress search engine performance in general. But it’s also well worth adding a plugin specifically for local SEO.

We recommend Yoast, which has both a free, general SEO plugin and a paid local SEO plugin. This optimises your website and Google My Business listing(s) for your location(s), ensuring that your site is always visible in relevant local search results.

3) Get Google reviews

Google tracks ratings for businesses, placing those with more reviews and higher average ratings at the top of the search results listings.

But reviews are not only great for SEO – they also encourage user trust and increase click-throughs to your WordPress website.

4) Include local keywords on your website

Content is key when it comes to SEO, so make sure to include local keywords, such as ‘London’ or ‘Pimlico’ on your site. These could be on your homepage, location-specific pages, services information or event listings.

Using local keywords signal your location to search engines and helps ensure you appear in relevant local search results. It’s also a great idea to write content tailored to your geographical area; for example, if you run a pet shop in Pimlico, you could write a blog about the top places to walk dogs nearby.


That’s it – four simple ways to boost your local search engine rankings and increase organic traffic on WordPress!

For expert WordPress website management or any other help with your WordPress website, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help. Please also check out our Ultimate WordPress Optimisation Guide and other WordPress blogs for more expert tips.

how to backup on WordPress

how to backup on WordPress

how to backup on WordPress

home / Archives for June 2021

It’s vital to backup your WordPress site regularly, so you always have a recent version you can reinstate if the worst happens.

what is a WordPress backup?

A backup is an exact copy of your WordPress website files and content.

Having a backup means that if your site ever gets hacked, infected with a virus or encounters other major problems, you can overcome these issues by reinstating the latest version.

Without a backup, you could lose all your site data and need to rebuild everything from scratch. You might also be without a live website for a significant period of time – meaning you’ll be losing traffic and potential business.

when to backup on WordPress

There’s no set rule about when to backup your WordPress site.

The more regularly you backup then generally the less data you’ll lose if your site ever crashes or gets infected. This is because any changes/additions made since the last backup won’t have been saved and therefore can’t be reinstated.

We recommend always backing-up before upgrading your WordPress site or adding any new plugins or themes. These are common times when things go wrong, so it’s essential to have a recent backup ready just in case!

Otherwise, backing-up your WordPress site daily or weekly is likely to be adequate, depending on how frequently you make changes. Bear in mind that making a backup usually temporarily reduces site speed, so it’s a good idea to schedule these for during low-traffic periods (such as 2am).

We recommend always keeping at least three recent backups. These should be stored in different locations – for example, on cloud accounts, different computers, hard drives or your server. This will ensure your site can still be reinstated even if one backup fails or gets accidentally deleted.

backing-up your WordPress site

Please note that how to backup your site depends on the type of hosting you have. It’s therefore a good idea to speak to your hosting provider before following the guidelines below.

To backup, you need to copy both your WordPress website files and your database.

Your files comprise your WordPress core, plugins, themes, images and code files (such as JavaScript) – the elements which create the design and look of your website. Your database contains your content – the text, blogs, pages etc on your site.

1. Backing-up your WordPress files

There are a two main options for backing-up your WordPress website files. You can:

  • Copy files yourself using FTP or shell access
  • Or, ask your hosting provider to give you a copy of your files

2. Backing-up your WordPress database

The easiest way to backup your WordPress website database is using phpMyAdmin. This can be done either via your hosting provider or through a control panel:

  • Plesk: Go to ‘Websites & Domains’ and click the ‘Open’ button next to the correct wp_database
  • Ensim: Click the MySQL Admin logo and choose ‘MySQL Administration Tool’ under ‘Configuration’
  • cPanel: Find the MySQL logo on your control panel, and click through to MySQL Databases
  • Direct Admin: click the ‘MySQL Management’ button on your account page
  • vDeck: Select ‘Host Manager’ and then ‘Databases’ in your control panel, and then choose ‘Admin’

Once you’ve reached phpMyAdmin, click on ‘Databases’. Find the database that holds your WordPress data (the one you created when installing WordPress) and click on it. This will take you to the ‘Structure’ tab. Next, click ‘Export’ and then ‘Go’ to save the database to your preferred location.

automatic WordPress backups

If you’d rather schedule automatic WordPress backups, there are a number of ways to do this:

  • Via your WordPress agency – their service is likely to include regular backups as well as help restoring your site from a backup if needed
  • Using a backup plugin – we recommend UpdraftPlus as it’s free, reliable and highly-rated; with a plugin, you’re in total control over when backups are made and how they’re stored
  • Via your hosting provider – many include full, daily backups of WordPress sites as part of their packages

need help?

If you’d like help with backups or any other aspect of WordPress website management, please get in touch or sign up for our on-demand WordPress maintenance services. We also have lots more tips in our Ultimate WordPress Optimisation Guide and other WordPress blogs.

the 6 most common WordPress errors [and how to fix them]

the 6 most common WordPress errors [and how to fix them]

the 6 most common WordPress errors [and how to fix them]

home / Archives for June 2021

Got a WordPress error?

If you’re not a technical person, it’s easy to panic when you find an error or malfunction on your WordPress site. But don’t worry – by following our guidance below, most problems can be solved quickly and simply.

an important reminder

Before we start, a quick reminder to backup your WordPress site regularly.

Backing-up involves making and storing a copy of your site’s files, content and information. It means that if your site gets hacked or encounters a problem, you can reinstate the backup version.

Backups are essential because often problems are totally unexpected, and they happen to every site at some point. Without a backup, you could lose everything you have ever added to your WordPress site.

The more frequently you back-up, the less data you’ll lose if your site ever crashes or gets infected. It’s therefore vital to schedule regular backups and store backup copies securely.

Find out more about how to back-up on WordPress in our Ultimate WordPress Optimisation Guide.

the top 6 WordPress errors

1. The White Screen of Death

Are you seeing a white or blank screen instead of your website? This White Screen of Death (WSOD) is probably the most common WordPress error.

Here are the most frequent causes and solutions:

  • Plugin issues: If you’ve recently added or updated a WordPress plugin, try deactivating it or reverting to your last backup. Alternatively, you can deactivate all plugins in the ‘Plugins’ section of your WordPress dashboard or via phpMyAdmin. For the latter, navigate to the SQL tab, type in UPDATE wp_options SET option_value = “WHERE option_name = ‘active_plugins’; and then click ‘Go’. You can then reactivate your plugins individually to find the source of the problem.
  • Theme problems: If you’ve just activated a new site or new theme, try reverting to the default WordPress theme in your WordPress dashboard. Alternatively, you can use FTP access. Simply go to the /wp-content/themes/ folder and either temporarily rename your new theme directory or move it outside of the WordPress root directory.
  • Code errors: Even mistyping just one or two characters in your WordPress code can cause the WSOD. If you’ve been manually editing your code, revert to a backup and then try re-editing. It’s also a good idea to make manual code edits on a test version of your site before going live, to avoid similar problems in the future.
  • Memory limit exceeded: When you exceed your PHP memory limit, which is usually 64MB by default, you might find the WSOD appears sporadically or on specific site pages. Where this is the case, ask your hosting provider to update the PHP memory file on your server. You may also need to upgrade your hosting package.

2. Internal server error

It’s usually a corrupted .htaccess file that’s responsible for internal server errors on WordPress. To overcome this issue, rename your .htaccess file to .htaccess_old using FTP. This will automatically generate a new .htaccess file, and you can then try re-loading your site to see if the error has cleared.

Alternatively, an internal server error may be caused by a plugin issue, theme problem, or lack of PHP memory – follow the guidance in point 1 (WSOD) above for help with these.

3. Connection timed out

The ‘connection timed out’ error message occurs when your hosting provider can’t meet your website’s demands quickly enough. This is usually because you’ve exceeded your server memory limit – a common problem for large or busy websites on shared hosting packages.

To fix the issue, ask your hosting provider about switching hosting package or increasing your memory capacity. Alternatively, you can increase the maximum execution time, which gives your website longer to load before the ‘connection timed out’ message appears. If you choose this option, bear in mind that your page speed is likely to be slow, which has a negative impact on your user experience, conversion rate and search engine rankings.

4. Error establishing database connection

Unsurprisingly, this error message means there’s a problem with your website’s connection to your database.

This is most commonly caused by an error in your wp-config.php file. To fix things, go to your wp-config.php file (using FTP access) and ensure your database name, username, password and host are all correct. You may also need to reset your MySQL password.

5. Compromised website

A compromised WordPress website can be caused by hacking, a wp-config.php issue and/or hosting problems. To fix the error, try the following methods, checking after each to see whether your website is working again.

Firstly, check your wp-config.php file and make sure all the information is correct. Secondly, scan your WordPress site with WordFence or Sucuri to check for hacking.

If your site has been hacked, you’ll need to reinstate a backup version and follow the hacking advice on WordPress.org. You’ll also need to run a full anti-virus/malware scan on your local machine.

Finally, ask your hosting provider if there are any server problems. If there are, they should be able to help fix any issues.

6. Maintenance mode

The last common WordPress website error is when your site says it’s undergoing maintenance, even when it isn’t.

When WordPress is updated, a .maintenance file is installed. This needs to be manually deleted for manual updates, or should be automatically deleted for automatic updates.

If you’re getting this error, it’s likely that the .maintenance file hasn’t been removed. To overcome the problem, simply delete the .maintenance file from your WordPress directory.

want expert WordPress support?

If you’re having any trouble getting your website working correctly or need more detailed analysis into any problems, please contact us. There’s also a handy page on WordPress.org with more information about overcoming WordPress website errors.

We’re award-winning WordPress developers who love helping clients create the best possible websites and achieve their digital goals. If you’d like expert WordPress support and maintenance for your website, give us a call on 020 8747 3274.

which WordPress hosting should you choose?

which WordPress hosting should you choose?

which WordPress hosting should you choose?

home / Archives for June 2021

Rapid and reliable hosting is essential for optimal WordPress performance. But with thousands of hosting providers and hosting packages available, it’s easy to feel confused and uncertain about what’s best for your site.

In this blog, we cover what hosting is, different hosting options, and how to find the right WordPress website hosting for you.

what is website hosting?

Website hosting involves storing your website and providing infrastructure so it can function on the internet.

Hosting providers have remote computers called servers, which store your all of your website’s files and information. Internet browsers then download these files as needed (ie. when a user clicks your URL) in order to display your website.

Paying for hosting is basically renting out storage space and processing power for your website on the host’s server.

types of WordPress website hosting

There are lots of different WordPress hosting options, but here are the four main types:

1. Shared hosting

This is where a server stores multiple sites, making it a cost-effective and popular option for many WordPress website-owners. It’s a bit like living in flat share – it’s cheaper than having your own apartment, but means you have to share the kitchen and bathroom! In terms of hosting, sites with shared hosting usually have usage and capacity restrictions, but these are often more than enough for smaller WordPress sites.

2. Virtual Private Server (VPS)

This is a mid-point option between shared hosting and a dedicated server. Whilst your server is still shared with other sites, each website has its own designated storage space. This means that WordPress website-owners usually have more customisation options and greater capacity. Whilst site performance is still sometimes be affected by other sites on the server, this is generally an excellent, affordable option for larger WordPress sites.

3. Dedicated server hosting

This means having a server that is solely for your use – a highly reliable and customisable option for the largest, busiest WordPress sites. It’s like owning your own house, where you have full control over kitchen décor and bathroom usage! In terms of hosting, it means you’re in charge of various server options including security, operating system and hardware.

4. Cloud hosting

Just like Virtual Private Server hosting, this offers your WordPress site a dedicated space within a shared server – but virtually. This means that if you need to increase your website’s storage space, you’re not limited by the physical capacity of your server. However, make sure to double check exactly what you’re getting, as some hosting providers offer cloud hosting on a shared hosting basis (rather than VPS).

how to choose WordPress hosting

The type of hosting that’s right for your WordPress site depends on various factors, such as how much traffic you get, whether you store sensitive data, and where your users are located.

Here are some key things to consider when choosing your WordPress hosting:

  • Expertise: does the hosting provider specialise in WordPress? Many providers offer specific packages tailored to the needs of WordPress websites.
  • Reliability: does the hosting provider have a track-record of providing secure, fast and reliable website hosting?
  • Server management: who will take responsibility for updating and managing the server? This is usually provided automatically as part of shared hosting packages, but a dedicated server might require you to manage the server yourself.
  • Security: what security software does the hosting include? It’s worth checking compliance with any relevant legislation (such as GDPR). For sites processing sensitive data, encryption or other additional security measures may also be needed.
  • Location: the shorter the distance between your server and your website’s users, the faster your site will be displayed. So if you have a UK-based audience, make sure to find a UK-based server for your WordPress site.
  • Software: some WordPress sites need special software installed on the server, so it’s worth checking if your hosting provider can accommodate this.
  • Value: this is not just about hosting fees but the value of ensuring your WordPress site is always loading correctly. In many cases, it’s worth paying more for a hosting provider that really cares about your website and will ensure great performance.
  • Support: when and how is the hosting provider contactable? For WordPress sites with continuously high traffic levels, a hosting provider that can deal with problems 24/7 will be vital.

need help?

Our award-winning WordPress support includes cloud-based hosting to give your site invaluable speed, stability and security without any hassle.

For more expert WordPress tips, make sure to read our Ultimate WordPress Optimisation Guide and other WordPress blogs.

why you should regularly update PHP

why you should regularly update PHP

why you should regularly update PHP

home / Archives for June 2021

WordPress website-owners often overlook updating their PHP to the latest version. But with PHP affecting site performance, security and speed, the advantages of updating are substantial…

what is PHP?

PHP (or Hypertext Preprocessor) is an open-source coding language found on millions of websites. It’s most commonly used for server-side scripting, including accessing files, executing commands and opening network connections.

WordPress is built with PHP, but most users don’t need to know anything about PHP in order to create and manage their WordPress websites. However, this means that PHP updates are often overlooked or seen as not important.

As PHP was developed nearly 30 years ago, there are a large number of legacy PHP versions that aren’t actively maintained. Whilst WordPress and other websites may still work with old PHP versions, updating to the latest PHP offers a huge boost for your site’s speed, performance and security.

how to check your PHP version

Your PHP version is set by your web hosting provider at server-level.

You can check which PHP version you’re using by:

  • Uploading the following PHP file to your server: <?php phpversion(); ?>
  • Running the php -v command prompt in your server command line
  • Simply asking your hosting provider or WordPress agency

You can compare your PHP version with the latest version as listed on the PHP website. WordPress currently recommends using PHP version 7.4 or later.

why you should update PHP version

Just as you need to keep WordPress core, plugins and themes up-to-date, your site’s PHP version needs to be updated too. As PHP itself says:

“PHP, like any other large system, is under constant scrutiny and improvement. Each new version will often include both major and minor changes to enhance security and repair any flaws, configuration mishaps, and other issues that will affect the overall security and stability of your system.

“Like other system-level scripting languages and programs, the best approach is to update often, and maintain awareness of the latest versions and their changes.”

Using the latest PHP version is hugely beneficial for:

  • Security: Only the most recent versions of PHP are regularly patched against security vulnerabilities. If you have an outdated PHP, your WordPress website is more likely to be hacked.
  • Performance: The latest PHP versions include bug fixes, thus reducing errors on your site and improving user experience.
  • Speed: Updating a WordPress site to the latest PHP version can result in speed increases of up to four times! Not only is this better for users but it also results in improved search engine rankings.
  • Features: New features are added to updated PHP versions, thus giving your website increased functionality. These features also often simplify things for developers, thus saving you time and money when your WordPress website code needs updaing.

how to update PHP

How to update your PHP depends on your hosting package, so contact your hosting provider for more information.

However, before updating, make sure to do the following:

  • Backup: As with all updates, it’s important to backup your website first. This will enable you to revert to your backup in case of any problems.
  • Update your software: Make sure your WordPress core, plugins and themes are up-to-date with their latest versions, in order to maximise likelihood that they’re compatible with the newest version of PHP.
  • Check PHP compatibility: It’s a good idea to contact your WordPress design agency and ask them to check the PHP compatibility of your site. They can also fix any PHP compatibility issues in advance.

Once you’ve performed these steps, you’re ready to update your PHP. You can now look forward to a faster, better performing and more secure site!

need help?

For support with PHP updates or any other aspect of WordPress website management, give us a call on  020 8747 3274 and we’ll be happy to help.