Gutenberg Wordpress Editor: The Big Dog Verdict

  • Jul 2017
  • Read Time: 7 Mins

WordPress – it’s safe to say – is now one of the most popular Web content management systems in the world. According to the latest figures, there are over 74 million websites running on the WordPress platform worldwide. This means that WordPress now powers about 25% of websites on the Internet. Impressive, isn’t it?

With so many website owners using the WordPress system on a daily basis, any new update to its content management system will attract attention. Which is why, for anyone who’s been following web development news lately, you’ll have noticed a flurry of articles about the latest WordPress feature: the Gutenberg editor. Designed as a replacement for the original visual editor in WordPress, the Gutenberg editor has been receiving mixed responses.

As committed WordPress aficionados here at Big Dog, we thought we’d weigh in on the debate and give a run-down of this latest update. Check it out.

What is the Gutenberg WordPress Editor?

Named after the man who first introduced mass-scale printing to Europe, the WordPress team clearly expect the Gutenberg Editor to be a game-changer for WordPress users. The Gutenberg editor has been designed to replace the visual editor currently available in WordPress. By including a whole host of new features, and creating a less cluttered and more user-friendly layout, the Gutenberg editor is intended to make it easier and more efficient for WordPress users to build and add content to their pages.

Source: google.ie

In many respects, the Gutenberg is a Visual Builder tool – similar to the Upfront builder plugin – which allows much greater flexibility and control to the user when creating pages and posts. It has been designed to allow users to quickly add and style up text; add and position media, such as images and videos; and include a variety of common features you might expect to see on a page or post, such as buttons, links, icons and so on.

Now that we know what it is, let’s take a look at its main features.

Primary Features

Improved Writing Experience

The first important difference between the original editor and the Gutenberg is the increased space it provides for writing content. One of the big bug-bears for many people using the original editor was how small the text area seemed and how cluttered it felt amidst the overall layout. This could be particularly irritating for those writing content on their laptops or tablets. This new update is a welcome one.

Source: google.ie

Alongside the larger writing area, which is now the default layout, you can also expand this area by clicking the ‘Post Settings’ button in the right-hand corner of the screen. This will now remove the various Post Setting options and fully expand the writing area, making for an easier and less cluttered writing experience.

In order to facilitate this less cumbersome writing experience, they’ve also changed the position of many of the familiar spacing and text formatting options. These now appear when you click the ‘Insert’ button on the upper menu – thus clearing up more space for the writing section and making the overall layout feel less bogged down with buttons.

Improved Experience for Mobile Users

Another important feature is the improved user experience for mobile and tablet users. The new responsive layout makes it much easier to add a quick image, change or add some text, or format your content while on the go – via your mobile or tablet. Needless to say, this is a handy new update.

Easier Table Creation

Source: google.ie

Another significant feature is the inclusion of an easily-insertable table block in the editor. In the past, the only way to add tables to your page or post was to use a third-party plugin or to build the table with HTML. Now, however, you can quickly and easily choose to create a table block from the drop-down menu of available blocks.

Quicker and Easier Embedding of External Sites

With Gutenberg, you can now embed content from external sites much easier than before. The sheer quantity of embed options for third-party sites is impressive. Say you want to add a Twitter feed into your page, or an audio player from Soundcloud, or an Instagram gallery? In the past, with the original WordPress editor, you would have had to add the embed codes via HTML. This new approach makes the whole process quicker and more user-friendly.

Table of Contents to Keep Track of Content on Page

Another very welcome feature is the inclusion of a ‘Table of Contents’ section in the sidebar. This section gives you a summary of the different types of content on your page, which will come in handy when writing lengthy posts and trying to keep track of the various sections.

Source: google.ie

Preview HTML Blocks

Whenever you want to create a new HTML-based section or element – otherwise known as a HTML ‘block’ – you can now quickly preview what this section will look like. With this new feature, you can now insert your code and get a preview right from within the block. The advantage of this is that you no longer need to switch between the traditional ‘visual’ and ‘text’ sections to see what your HTML will look like on the front-end.

Recent Blocks for Faster Block Creation

Another help, time-saving feature which they’ve included in the drop-down menu is the ‘Recent’ blocks feature. Basically, when you click into the menu where you select which element you want, there’s a section titled ‘Recent’. This will show you the most recent element blocks or embed elements you used. The obvious advantage of this, of course, is that if you’re creating a page or post – or a number of pages and posts – with similar content throughout, this will speed up the process considerably. It’s simple but user-oriented, intuitive little features like this that can really help improve the end-user’s experience.

Source: google.ie

So, to summarize, what are the best features of the new Gutenberg editor?

  • Improved overall writing layout and experience.
  • Easier and more efficient to use on mobile and tablet.
  • Live HTML block previews.
  • Easier and quicker to create tables.
  • Improved and more advanced embedding of large amount of external sites.
  • Table of contents to help keep track of content of page.
  • Recent blocks to help facilitate faster block creation.

What are the Drawbacks of the Gutenberg WordPress Editor?

So, having reviewed the new features included with the Gutenberg editor – and what makes these features so appealing – it’s time to look at some of the most common criticisms levelled at the new Gutenberg editor. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Yoast SEO & Other Custom Plugin Meta Boxes

One of the first big criticisms levelled at Gutenberg was that it isn’t – currently – compatible with some third-party plugins, like Yoast SEO. Given the popularity and importance of a tool like Yoast for so many website owners, this is a serious concern. The same problem appears to be arising for other third-party plugins that had originally been designed to integrate with the original WordPress editor.

Source: google.ie

Although this is certainly a point of concern, it’s by no means intractable. It’s inevitable that a feature upgrade along the lines of Gutenberg would cause integration issues for existing plugins. As soon as the developers behind these plugins re-work their plugins to integrate with Gutenberg, this issue should be resolved. One can certainly understand why many plugin developers might perceive Gutenberg in a negative light, however. We can only imagine the amount of work now facing these developers to get their plugins working again.

 

Copy and Paste Formatting Issues

Another bugbear among new users is how Gutenberg treats text copy and pasted from external sources. Many content and copywriters – myself included – prefer to write their content in separate documents, with tools like Google documents or Microsoft Word. In the past, you could simply copy and paste this text into WordPress editor and it would retain much of the original formatting. Now, however, it appears to remove the existing formatting – forcing you to re-format all the text. Not only that, but some people are noticing it re-arranges the actual text in strange ways.

Inconvenient New Approach to Content Creation

Another criticism aimed at Gutenberg relates to the new content creation system. With the new Gutenberg editor, you now need to create a new block for every new content element on your page or post. In theory, of course, this makes perfect sense. If your page or post consists of various types of content (from text sections, to images, to video embeds and buttons) this seems intuitive.

Source: google.ie

What about if your page or post consists largely of text, however?

With Gutenberg, every new paragraph requires you to create a new block. This seems not only counter-intuitive but becomes time-consuming and burdensome.

Changing the Colour of Elements

Some users have pointed out that there appear to be no options to change the colours of elements in Gutenberg. For example, if you add an element to your page or post – such as a button – the default colour is blue. Somewhat surprisingly, however, there is no obvious option to change this colour. This means that you have to use custom CSS to change the colour of your element, which seems deeply counter-intuitive for a visual builder touting itself as user-friendly. Admittedly, this seems like it’s the kind of user experience issue that the Gutenberg developers will resolve in later versions.

Backwards Compatibility: The Big Question

One of the big concerns voiced by many WordPress developers and users relates to backwards compatibility, as we touched on above in our discussion of Yoast. The question many people are asking is this: if WordPress introduces Gutenberg as part of its core code for WordPress 5.0, will this mean that many existing plugins, themes and third-party features will no longer work?

If the answer is yes, this will cause some serious problems for plug-in and theme developers. In order to make their themes and plug-ins compatible with WordPress 5.0, these developers will need to devote considerable resources and time to redeveloping their code and testing out their functionality. For smaller or even mid-size development teams, needless to say, this could spell disaster for their products. Of course, only time will tell as to how WordPress handles these potential problems, but these are very real and justifiable concerns.

The Verdict from Big Dog Digital

The Gutenberg editor, it must be said, is great news for anyone who spends time creating pages or writing posts for a WordPress website. In many ways, a new and improved content editor for WordPress is long overdue. Not only that, but this initial release of the Gutenberg editor is undeniably impressive. The WordPress development team have identified many of the limitations and drawbacks of the original visual builder and sought to re-design with user experience firmly in mind.

And yet, although we’re impressed with this initial release and optimistic about future versions of the editor, we’re not sure it’s quite ready to be included in the WordPress core.

Why, you might be wondering?

Well, the big issue remains ‘backwards compatibility’. Although many of the user-experience issues outlined above are important, it’s more than likely that the WordPress development team will iron these out with each new release. On the question of ‘backwards compatibility’, however, this seems a little less clear. If adopting the Gutenberg editor in the WP core means that many of the most popular plugins, themes and additional features will no longer work – and/or that we will need to configure our WordPress code ourselves and reinstall scores of plugins – this is asking a lot of website developers and owners.

The best approach in the meantime, we believe, would be to offer Gutenberg as a plug-in and gauge its popularity on a wider scale. Simply including it in the WordPress core – which gives developers, designers and website owners little choice but to re-integrate it into their sites – would be a misstep.

Let’s hope the good people at WordPress listen to the thoughts and concerns of the web development community on this. Otherwise, they risk losing the admiration and confidence of many of their most vocal advocates – Big Dog included.

Further Reading:

https://kinsta.com/blog/gutenberg-wordpress-editor/

https://speckyboy.com/gutenberg-wordpress-editor/

https://createandcode.com/gutenberg-wordpress-editor-review/

https://wplift.com/gutenberg-editor-first-look/

 

 

Nathan Fagan

As our in-house media production professional, Nathan’s primary responsibility is to produce and create high-quality video content for our clients. Alongside his role at Big Dog, Nathan is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and editor. His 2015 short documentary, 'Fallen Bird', won the Audience Award for Best Short Documentary at the IFI Documentary festival and screened at numerous Irish and international festivals. He has just completed his latest documentary, 'Hum'.

Dublin, Ireland https://www.bigdog.ie

Sourcing the Best Stock Video: A Review of the Best Websites

  • Jul 2017
  • Read Time: 4 Mins

As anyone who’s been reading our recent blog posts will know, we believe that web video is the future of digital marketing. With the demand for video content increasing every year, web designers and developers alike are now acknowledging the undeniable benefits of integrating video content into their digital marketing campaigns. And yet, while creating original video content remains one of the most effective and beneficial approaches for capitalising on this trend, not everyone will have the time or resources required to create relevant content from scratch. This is where high-quality stock footage comes in.

In this week’s blog post, we’re going to look at the different options available for sourcing stock video footage. Take a look.

Shutterstock

By far one of the most popular websites for stock photos and images, Shutterstock is also an extremely popular resource for those seeking stock video footage. It’s well designed and easy to use – which isn’t always the case with stock footage sites – and has an extremely extensive selection of footage to choose from. According to Shutterstock itself, they have over 1 million clips to choose from. Enough said, really.

Price:

Although it’s still reasonably priced, there are cheaper options out there. The average HD video clip – if purchasing a single one-off clip – will set you back around 40 euros or so. Alternatively, you can purchase 5 HD clips for 269 euros; 10 HD clips for 499 euros; and 25 HD clips for 1,199 euros.

Check it out here: https://www.shutterstock.com

Adobe Stock

Another resource that’s been growing in popularity recently is Adobe Stock. Originally called Fotolia, it offers a vast library of high-quality footage. Again, the layout is easy to navigate and user-friendly – and the payment system is intuitive and appealing for visitors. It also offers video creators a fair share of the sale price, at 35 percent, which is always something worth supporting.

Price:

For 3 assets a month, it’s €17.99. For 10 assets, it’s €19.99, for 40 it’s €47.99, and for 750 it’s €119 per month. What’s great is that they offer a month-long free trial, offering 10 free images for download.

Check it out here: https://stock.adobe.com/uk/?as_channel=affiliate&as_campclass=redirect&as_source=arvato

Videoblocks

Unlike other stock video services, which generally sell video files on a file-by-file basis, Videoblocks takes a different approach. It operates on a subscription basis, whereby subscribers can download and use as many clips as they want from their archive of 115,000 clips. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in their unlimited library, there’s also the option of buying single files from their Members-Only Marketplace. For those who need a large amount of footage, on a regular basis, Videoblocks is a great option. Also, there’s a seven-day free trial available for those who want to test it out.

Price:

For one month of unlimited downloads, as well as access to the Videoblocks marketplace, it costs 99 USD. For a year’s subscription, it’s 149 USD. Then there’s also the premium plan, at 298 USD, which provides a full year of downloads – as well as a variety of other features and benefits, such as allowing access for 5 individual users and access to premium 4k content.

Check it out here: https://www.videoblocks.com

VideoHive

VideoHive falls under the umbrella of the Envato network, which includes services offering all kinds of materials, from motion graphics assets, to website themes, to stock photos. At an average price of 7-10 euros per HD clip, VideoHive is one of the most affordable stock footage options out there. However, the cheaper price point does have an impact on the amount of clips available and the quality of those clips. So, in many ways, some of the more expensive options might have advantages that this cheaper alternative doesn’t.

Price:

The average video clips costs about 7-10 euros, for a single use of the image. To use the image as many times as you like, for different projects, it goes up to 30 euros or so. For most of you purchasing stock footage for your web videos, a single use license will be more than enough.

Check it out here: https://videohive.net/

iStock by Getty Images

Although a little on the pricey side, the quality of video footage from iStock is very impressive. Originally called the BBC Motion Gallery before merging with iStock, this resource specialised in collecting content from the BBC, CBS, ABC (Australia) and a variety of other broadcasters. They now also have high quality footage from a variety of independent video producers. The advantage of iStock is that you can often find quirky or unusual clips that you may not be able to find via the other stock footage sites.

Price:

iStock’s pricing plan is definitely on the expensive side. An clip can set you back, on average, about 125 euros. For this reason, it’s probably best reserved for those high-quality speciality clips you can’t source anywhere else.

Check it out here: http://www.istockphoto.com/ie

Pond5

Easy and enjoyable to navigate, with a handy automatic preview that activates when you hover over a video, Pond5 is a favourite among video creators. With over 2.1 million HD clips available, it’s got enough material to suit most needs and the quality is exceptional. One of the biggest selling points, however, is that it remains reasonably priced without sacrificing on quality.

Price:

For non-members, you can expect to pay about 25 USD per clip. If you sign up for a monthly membership, at 99 USD a month, you receive 10 downloads a month. To sign up for the yearly membership, with the same amount of downloads, it will cost you 299 USD.

Check it out here: https://www.pond5.com/?ref=Ewan28

Nathan Fagan

As our in-house media production professional, Nathan’s primary responsibility is to produce and create high-quality video content for our clients. Alongside his role at Big Dog, Nathan is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and editor. His 2015 short documentary, 'Fallen Bird', won the Audience Award for Best Short Documentary at the IFI Documentary festival and screened at numerous Irish and international festivals. He has just completed his latest documentary, 'Hum'.

Dublin, Ireland https://www.bigdog.ie

Video Backgrounds: The Essentials

  • Jun 2017
  • Read Time: 2.5 Mins

Over the last few years, website video backgrounds have become a popular mainstay among many design-oriented companies, businesses and brands. Although once only seen on a small number of innovative websites, this practice has exploded in popularity over the last few years. And the reasons for this aren’t solely to do with how they enhance a website’s overall design.According to some recent statistics, using a video background on your homepage can increase engagement and conversions by up to 20% and more.

In this week’s blog post, we look at some of the essential principles and practices to keep in mind when integrating a video background with your website. Take a look.

Essential Tips and Considerations

Is a Video Background Appropriate for your Site?

Before you start sourcing your content and figuring out how to integrate your video into your site design, it’s important to ask yourself a key question: what do you hope to achieve with your background video?

Video backgrounds can really help set a website’s tone, mood or style – which can help convey a brand or business’s ethos to a potential customer. Not only that, but they can help elicit a particular emotional response in your website’s visitor, which can help encourage a particular outcome.

Many businesses, companies and organisations will use video backgrounds to help convey the ethos of their service. Imagine a service offering a new piece of technology, such as a fitness app, for example. An effective video background might include footage of a healthy looking individual jogging or exercising, as well as footage of the person using the new app in their daily life. A video like this will help convey the idea of wellness and healthy-living, and also illustrate how the visitor might benefit from this new technology.

Generally, websites promoting specific services, brands, products and physical locations, such as shops, restaurants and bars can find a way to use video backgrounds effectively.

There are some kinds of services or businesses that might actually suffer as a result of their video backgrounds. Some websites, by their nature, are offering services or products that are complex and multifaceted. In order for the visitor to fully understand the benefits and value of the service or product, they need to digest more information than is possible via a simplified visual short-hand, like a video background. In cases like this, trying to condense the essence of your product or service into a short video might be misleading or confusing for the visitor, and hence distract from the actual service or product.

For this reason, it’s important to think about whether or not you can condense and convey the essence of your service or product into a short video.

Example of video background on Big Dog designed website 212 Yachts. Source: https://www.212-yachts.com/

Length, File Size and Quality

Maintaining high-definition quality is important, for obvious reasons, but this will have an impact on the size of the video file. Because you want to ensure that your web-page continues to load quickly and efficiently, you will want to avoid using overly large files.

There are a few ways to get around this. Firstly, keep the length of your video short (5-10 seconds long) – but edit it in such a way that it loops naturally and effectively. A good rule of thumb for file sizes is 6mb or less.

Video Style

More often than not, you’ll want to overlay some text or other graphics on top of your video background. For this reason, it’s important to make sure that the background video doesn’t compete with the legibility of the text.

The first thing you can do is ensure your text contrasts strongly with the background video, by choosing a contrasting colour for your text. For example: white text on a darker video; dark text on a lighter video.

Additionally, another handy approach is to overlay your video background with a layer. Some people go for black or grey layers over their video, while others might go for brand-relevant colours. Whatever the case, this can help create a bit of seperation between your buttons and text and the background video. Not only that, but it can also help hide any compression artefacts that occur as a result of your video quality or file size.

Another example of a video background for Big Dog-designed site: http://spm.ie/

Audio or No Audio?

Studies have shown that audio that automatically plays on websites drives visitors away from your website. This practice appears to be a serious irritation to most people, so it’s best avoided.

Video Controls

A video background serves a different purpose than a corporate video, a promo or an instructional video embedded on your site. For that reason, it’s important to follow best practice when integrating into your website.

While allowing visitors the ability switch to full-screen, stop and start the video, and so on might make sense for your embedded promo video, it will only diminish the impact of your video background. For that reason, we would recommend removing any video control options from the video.

Sources/Further Reading:

www.envato.com/blog/video-backgrounds-web-design-trends-usability-best-practices/

http://beginbound.com/5-tips-for-choosing-the-right-background-video-loops-for-your-website/

https://www.modgility.com/video-backgrounds/

Nathan Fagan

As our in-house media production professional, Nathan’s primary responsibility is to produce and create high-quality video content for our clients. Alongside his role at Big Dog, Nathan is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and editor. His 2015 short documentary, 'Fallen Bird', won the Audience Award for Best Short Documentary at the IFI Documentary festival and screened at numerous Irish and international festivals. He has just completed his latest documentary, 'Hum'.

Dublin, Ireland https://www.bigdog.ie

Video SEO: What Is It & Why Is It Important In 2017?

  • May 2017
  • Read Time: 4 Mins

Anyone who keeps up with digital marketing trends will know that video marketing is here to stay. According to some of the most recent studies into online consumer behavior, for example, 84% of consumers have claimed that watching an online product or service video has positively influenced their decision to make a purchase. This just shows how powerful a tool video can be when trying to generate conversions on your website.

And yet, while plenty has been written on both the benefits of online video and on the essentials of video production, fewer people are aware of the importance of video SEO. What exactly is video SEO, you’re probably asking? Video SEO involves optimizing your video so that it reaches as many people as possible, whether you’re using YouTube, Facebook or any other video platform. Just like traditional SEO, understanding the essential principles of video SEO is important to maximize your video’s exposure and your long-term return on investment (ROI).

In this week’s blog post, we’re going to explore some of the key concepts behind video SEO and offer our time-tested tips for optimizing your video. Take a look.

Why is Video Optimisation Important?

Much like traditional SEO – which is a set of practices aimed at boosting and retaining a website’s search engine rankings – video SEO is designed to improve a video’s exposure once it goes online.

Consider the following scenario. You’ve just finished production on your brand-new promo video. You’ve mulled over the script; hired the professional production company; signed off on the final edit. With the video now completed – and what must seem like the most complicated part of the process out of the way – you’re ready to launch it on YouTube, share it on social media, and embed it up on your homepage. You launch the video – but despite all the effort, time and money that went into it – it only gets a percentage of the hits you’d hoped for.

How can you help avoid this scenario in the future? Video SEO should be one of the main tools in your arsenal.

What Steps Can I Take to Optimise My Video?

  • Keywords

Before you start writing text to accompany your video, we would recommend doing detailed, extensive keyword research with your target audience in mind. First, determine your target audience for the video. Once you’ve come up with a broad demographic, use a keyword research tool – such as Google Keyword Planner – to research which keywords people are using every month to search for services or products in your industry.

A great first step to take here is to find a website offering a similar service or product to yours, enter it into the ‘Search by URL’ section of the Keyword Planner, and it will provide you with a number of suggested keywords. You can also generate a list based on the kind of keywords you assume your target audience will be using. Once you’ve got this basic list compiled, then enter these keywords into the Keyword Planner and look at the estimated hits each keyword gets every month. From there, you can choose the most popular keywords and focus on these in your content.

  • Effective Titles

When creating a title for your video, there are other factors to consider than properly explaining the content. This is important, but you should also consider any keywords or keyword phrases that you can include to reach your target audience. By including relevant keywords in your video title, you will improve its chances of appearing in organic Google rankings and in Youtube searches. Try to have your keyword at the start of the title to make it most effective.

  • Effective Descriptions

When it comes video streaming sites like YouTube – and search engines like Google – it’s important to remember that the bots these sites rely on cannot actually watch the videos themselves. They rely on the description included with your video to determine the content of your video. Additionally, your description section will have an impact on whether or not a potential viewer chooses to watch your video – and whether or not they can find your video in the first place, via relevant keywords.

Source: https://www.slinkyproductions.co.uk

With this in mind, it’s important to take time considering the kind of description you write. Include relevant keyword and keyword phrases in your description, as well as clearly explaining the core content of the video. While in most digital marketing scenarios, shorter text content is usually the best approach, video descriptions might actually be the exception. Don’t be afraid to write a few hundred words – giving a full and detailed description of your video – and to use a variety of keywords. However, we would recommend having a brief summary sentence at the start of the text, so potential viewers can scan this quickly before clicking if they so choose.

  • Tags

Tags allow potential viewers to find your video, based on their interests. Spend some time thinking about what your target audience might search for (the initial research you do into keywords for your title and description will be instructive here) and then add them to the relevant section of your video.

  • Consider Creating Closed Captions

Most video streaming services – such as YouTube – will have an option to include closed captions to your video. These are either auto-generated (which is often quite inaccurate) or are generated based on transcripts you provide yourself. We would recommend generating captions based on your own transcripts and including these with the video, as these will add value to your video, and also allow people who have hearing difficulties or those who prefer to watch videos in mute to view your video.

  • End with an Additional CTA

It’s important to try and keep your viewer’s attention once your video is completed. One great way to do this is to provide links back to your website, your social media pages or more of your videos once the video stops playing. Up to this year, YouTube annotations (which were the small text boxes you would see at the end of videos) were a common format for this kind of CTA. More recently, however, YouTube has discontinued the use of annotations and is encouraging people to use End Screens. With End Screens, you can up to four elements to help promote your website, brand, service, or YouTube channels. Find out more about YouTube End Screens here: https://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2016/10/what-to-know-youtube-end-screens/

  • Effective Promotion

With all your keyword-rich content in place, it’s now time to come up with a plan to promote it. Although your main goal might be to have a video on your website’s homepage, you should always try to maximize exposure by adopting a multi-channel approach. Post it across your company’s various social media platforms, using sponsored posts to try and reach as wide an audience as possible. Share it on your website’s blog and on any other relevant forums or blogs you can think of.

  • Sitemaps

Video sitemaps help Google and other search engines know what kind of video content exists on your website. This will improve your video’s visibility on Google’s Video Search results and help potential viewers find your video via organic searches.

So there you have it. By adopting and employing these core principles of video optimization, you can help increase engagement with your video and better reach your target audience. So what are you waiting for? Get filming!

Interested in creating a video for your company, website or online business?

At Big Dog, we have our very own in-house video production team. To find out more – and to see some samples of our recent work – head over to: https://www.bigdog.ie/video-production/

Nathan Fagan

As our in-house media production professional, Nathan’s primary responsibility is to produce and create high-quality video content for our clients. Alongside his role at Big Dog, Nathan is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and editor. His 2015 short documentary, 'Fallen Bird', won the Audience Award for Best Short Documentary at the IFI Documentary festival and screened at numerous Irish and international festivals. He has just completed his latest documentary, 'Hum'.

Dublin, Ireland https://www.bigdog.ie

Big Dog-Designed Software Receives U.S Patent

  • May 2017
  • Read Time: 4 Mins

Big Dog-Designed Software Receives U.S Patent

We’ve just received some exciting news in the world of TracknStop today. Last month, TracknStop was granted its full patent in the U.S.A. This means that the TracknStop system is now registered as a fully patented technology by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). As a result, Big Dog’s very own Tristan Fagan – who is Lead Software Engineer at TracknStop – is now listed as a bonafide inventor alongside co-founders Michael Doherty and Stephen Kehoe.

What is TracknStop?

With its integrated GPS tracking system and specialized remote technology, TracknStop allows you to track your vehicle’s movements on your Smartphone or tablet and to personally disable its engine. Designed for use with your Smartphone or laptop – or any Internet-accessible device – TracknStop makes protecting your vehicle easier than ever before.

Our Design

– Software Design & Build

In order to realize the technical requirements of the TracknStop service, Lead Software Engineer Tristan Fagan needed to design and develop a customized software system. So how exactly does this system work?

Firstly, an immobilization command is sent from Tracknstop’s web server via SMS, USSD and/or GPRS using a cloud-based gateway to the installed tracking device.

Then, a command sent from the TracknStop system is coded to communicate with the tracking device installed within the vehicle to request a relay wired into the vehicle to cut the ignition or incrementally cut the fuel pump. An ignition stop command requests the ignition not work again after the vehicle is next stopped until a re-enable command is sent to the vehicle through the through TracknStop to the tracking device. A fuel stop command is sent in the same way which thereafter pings the fuel pump several times which brings the vehicle to a controlled incremental stop while it is in motion. This fuel stop method avoids bypassing any manufacturer’s installed safety systems and vehicle fuses.

Track

The tracking elements consist of a device attached to a car which sends GPS and USSD/GPRS signal feed to enable the mapping location of the vehicle through a computer or smartphone, through a unique APP.

The tracking unit sends TCP packets of information to the TracknStop GPRS/TCP server at a set interval (for example, every 30 seconds). Each time a packet is received, the server follows this process:

  • Validates the source of the data packet
  • If data source is verified: Parses the information within the packet
  • Stores the information in the application database
  • The data is stored based on the device it was sent from, time of report,
  • Latitude/Longitude Co-ordinates, current speed, direction, etc

Location Mapping
Location mapping can be accessed through a computer, Smartphone or tablet with global real-time tracking.

Location Mapping is displayed within the Web Application using the Google Maps API in conjunction with the location records stored in the application database. When the user selects to view the current location of their vehicle, the web application follows this process:
Queries the database for the selected vehicles most recent location record
Displays the vehicle location based on the Longitude and Latitude values returned from the database for that particular vehicle

Motion Alerts via text message
Speed change or unusual movements, with early warning while the vehicle is being broken into or being stolen.

Geofence / Safety Zone
Text message alerts of early warnings if the vehicle is being stolen if it leaves a safety zone.

GSM Jamming detection
Automatic fuel pump disabling & ignition with alert sent and activity report.

Activity history and reporting
The web application allows the user to query two types of history:

  • Location History
  • Device History

– Mobile App

Big Dog Digitial were asked to design and build an easy-to-use and intuitive application that would be possible to use across all platforms, from Smartphone to Tablet to home computer. Not only that, however, but this application would have to integrate with the TracknStop hardware within a vehicle. We met that challenge.

Once logged in to the TracknStop administration area designed by Big Dog, the car owner is capable of performing a number of tasks. From locating and monitoring their vehicle’s location on an interactive map, to setting up geo-fences and managing their account, the user is given full control over their vehicle’s safety and security. Unlike other services, however, our design is built with the everyday user firmly in mind. With an attractive and clean layout, and extremely user-friendly design, our application is perfect for today’s tech-savvy car owner.

– Site Design

Alongside the TracknStop app, we were also called upon to design TracknStop.com. Built using WordPress’s Content Management System, our new site provides first-time visitors with all the information they require on TracknStop’s groundbreaking new service. We have also ensured that tracknstop.com is capable of being viewed on a wide range of platforms. Drawing on the techniques of responsive design, we have ensured that our client’s website will re-scale automatically to fit whatever device it’s being viewed on, whether be it iPad, smartphone or laptop.

The US Patent can be viewed online here

Nathan Fagan

As our in-house media production professional, Nathan’s primary responsibility is to produce and create high-quality video content for our clients. Alongside his role at Big Dog, Nathan is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and editor. His 2015 short documentary, 'Fallen Bird', won the Audience Award for Best Short Documentary at the IFI Documentary festival and screened at numerous Irish and international festivals. He has just completed his latest documentary, 'Hum'.

Dublin, Ireland https://www.bigdog.ie

Web Video in 2017: Why Businesses Without Video Are Losing Sales

  • Mar 2017
  • Read Time: 5 Mins

What’s All the Fuss About Web Video, Anyway? Is It Really That Important?

Let’s be honest. There’s nothing duller and more unimaginative than beginning an article with a statistic. To the average person, reading statistics is about as exciting as waiting in traffic or queuing in the Post Office. And for good reason too. Statistics don’t tell a story. They’re mere abstractions. They’re faceless; they’re impersonal.

But – the truth is – sometimes the numbers really do speak for themselves.

Consider the following fact, for example. According to a number of independently conducted studies, including video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by up to 80%? Just think about that for a moment. By engaging with your users through the medium of video, some companies have increased their sales by up to 80%. Hard to believe, isn’t it?

Let’s go ahead and take a look at some other recent statistics, shall we?

– Online salespeople have discovered that product videos can increase product purchases on an e-commerce site by up to 144%.

– Research conducted in 2016 showed that 74% of customers who watched an online explainer video about a product or service subsequently purchased it.

– Web video has been shown to result in an 157% increase in organic traffic from search engines.

With statistics like these, it’s almost impossible to deny the real-world benefits of video, for both large and small businesses alike. And with ever-increasing numbers of consumers turning to the Web to do their shopping, with every passing year, the simple truth is this: online businesses that fail to take advantage of video are destined to fail in the long-run. Online businesses and services without video will no longer be able to compete with businesses that have video as a competitive edge.

To put it in the clearest terms possible – the future of a successful online presence lies in successful video marketing.

Here’s a short video we put together outlining some of the benefits of video for your online business:

The Benefits of Online Video: An In-Depth Analysis

Although these statistics are impressive enough on their own, they’re really only the tip of the ice-berg. The benefits of online video are varied and multi-faceted. Not only can online video increase your overall sales, but it will help drive traffic to your website, improve your organic search engine rankings, help inform your customers, promote your brand and increase customer loyalty.

In order to get a fuller picture of the impact that video can have on the success of your business, let’s take a more in-depth look.

Source: wezank.com

Sales & Online Conversions

– 74% of people who viewed an online explainer video to find out more about a product or service subsequently purchased it.

– 77% of online consumers claim they’ve been convinced to buy a service or product by watching a web video.

– According to 70% of marketers, video creates more conversions than all other types of marketing content.

– Online salespeople have discovered that product videos can increase product purchases on an e-commerce site by up to 144%

– Even website owners who don’t manage an online store can increase conversions by 80% by including video on their landing page.

Search Engine Optimisation & Web Traffic

– Businesses taking advantage of video benefit from 41% more web traffic from search than than companies that don’t.

– Video creates a 157% increase in organic traffic from search engines.

Showcase your Brand & Company

– 70% of people claim they have shared a brand’s video on social media and with friends.

– 76% of people claim they would share a branded video with their friends if they found it entertaining.

– 69% of people claim they would share a branded video if the video provided information that would be of interest to their friends.

Helps Customers Use Your Product or Service

68% of people would prefer to watch a video when having difficult with a product or service, in lieu of getting in touch the a support helpline or with a staff member.

Improves Marketing Reach

– 92% of video consumers – on mobile – share these videos with friends and acquaintances.

– Video garners 1200% more shares than text and images combined.

– 80% of users remember a video ad they watched in the last 30 days.

– By adding video to your emails, this results in a 200-300% increase in your CTR (click-through-rate).

– Integrating video with your traditional full-page advertisements increases engagement by up to 22%.

(Source: https://www.wyzowl.com/video-marketing-statistics-2016.html)

So How Do I Get Started?

Big Dog Media Header

Chances are, you’ve known about the benefits of video for some time – but aren’t sure about how to get started. Should you create your video in-house, for example, or should you hire an established production company? Is it possible to hire student or amateur filmmakers in lieu of more seasoned pros? Do I a need a high-end broadcast camera for web video or will an iPhone do the job?

These are some of the most common questions business owners find themselves asking.

And what’s the answer? Well, that depends.

When it comes to deciding whether you want to make your video in-house, or whether you want to hire professionals, your decision should be guided by your overall business objectives. Is your goal to increase sales for your product and service? Is it to help drive traffic to your website and boost your overall marketing reach? Is it to convey the benefits of your service or product to your customers? Is it to establish your trustworthiness, credibility and professionalism?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you’re probably going to want to hire professionals. Although the tools and skills required to create professional video have become increasingly more accessible, professional videography and filmmaking is a craft that takes many years to master. Not only that, but people expect a certain level of skill and polish when viewing video online.

For example, 61% of users say they have been put off buying a product after watching a bad explainer video. The majority of these users (37%) said they were put off by the fact that the video didn’t explain the product or service clearly enough, while 25% of these users said the video’s low quality was discouraging. 21% of these users found that the video was too long.

For this reason, hiring professionals with the background and experience necessary will help ensure your video achieves your business objectives.

Why is Big Media Media Better than Traditional Production Companies?

Big Dog Media

At Big Dog Media, we specialize in high-quality, creative video production. Whether you’re looking for a Web commercial, a corporate testimonial, an explainer video, or a business promo, our team have the experience and expertise to deliver the most effective results.

Unlike traditional production companies, Big Dog Media combines the know-how of an award-winning web development and digital marketing agency – with those of an award-winning videography company. Drawing on the skills of professional filmmakers and web development experts alike, we help ensure that your video succeeds in an ever-changing digital landscape. Simply put: our web videos will help increase your sales and grow your online business.

To take a look at some recent examples of our work, visit our video page here: https://www.bigdog.ie/video-production/

So what are you waiting for? Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help grow your business with video. 

 

Sources:

https://www.wyzowl.com/video-marketing-statistics-2016.html

https://www.videobrewery.com/blog/10-reasons-why-your-business-needs-an-explainer-video

https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2014/jan/14/video-content-marketing-media-online

https://smallbiztrends.com/2016/10/video-marketing-statistics.html

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/video-marketing-statistics#sm.00108ls4z17qccsww0s26b20e8156

https://www.forbes.com/sites/benjaminboxer/2016/08/15/video-is-the-future-of-media-on-the-web/#65e79e526fed

Nathan Fagan

As our in-house media production professional, Nathan’s primary responsibility is to produce and create high-quality video content for our clients. Alongside his role at Big Dog, Nathan is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and editor. His 2015 short documentary, 'Fallen Bird', won the Audience Award for Best Short Documentary at the IFI Documentary festival and screened at numerous Irish and international festivals. He has just completed his latest documentary, 'Hum'.

Dublin, Ireland https://www.bigdog.ie

Google's SEO Announcement: What it Means for your Website

  • Jan 2016
  • Read Time: 4 Mins

Getting your website to the number 1 spot on Google – especially in a competitive industry – can seem next to impossible. There are just so many factors to take into account when planning your strategy. However, with one of Google’s most recent announcements, it may have just got a little easier.

In November, Google officially released their Search Quality Rating Guidelines. These guidelines set out, in detail, the essential criteria that Google’s content reviewers use to judge the quality of your website. These evaluations are then used by Google when determining the search ranking of your website.

This release, needless to say, is a significant one. Over the past two months, SEO specialists and web developers around the world have been studying these guidelines and assessing their implications. And the Big Dog team is no exception. Here’s what we learned.

The Google Search Quality Guidelines – Essentials:

Your Money or Your Life Pages (YMYL)

When the guidelines were first leaked, web designers and SEO specialists were first introduced to this concept of YMYL sites. Basically, these are sites that Google categorises as websites that can have an impact on a user’s life and overall welfare. These are websites that provide information to visitors that impact an individual’s happiness, health and overall well-being. For example, a website offering medical advice, legal advice, or any other form of life advice would fall under this category.

According to the guidelines, Google holds YMYL websites to a higher standard than other sites. Because the information provided by these sites is so important and has real-life consequences for its visitors, Google scrutinises the quality, reliability and authority of this information – and thus the website. Let’s take an example. If you own a website offering legal advice, but the information is of low-quality (it lacks authority, reliability, is poorly written, is misleading or has other failings), Google will rank your website poorly. Conversely, if your website provides high-quality content, your website will rank highly.

An important fact to keep in mind, additionally, is that Google categorises any website that allows customers to purchase products or services online as a YMYL website. And so, because of this, it judges the quality of your online store based on the security of your checkout system. If, for example, you run an online store – but your checkout system is poorly secured or managed, you will receive a low rating. These guidelines further emphasise the importance of customer data security when running e-commerce websites.

For a full list of site types that Google considers as YMYL, see page 9, section 2.3 here:
https://www.google.com/intl/es419/insidesearch/howsearchworks/thestory/

At this stage, you might be wondering: how exactly does Google determine the quality of these websites? What criteria does it use to base its assessments on? The answer to that question is: E-A-T( Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness)

E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness)

The acronym E-A-T sums up some of the core criteria used to judge a website’s overall quality and determine its ranking. When evaluating a website, the reviewer evaluates the content on the website according to its level of expertise, its authoritativeness and its trustworthiness.

So what exactly does this mean?

Let’s start with expertise. If you run a website providing legal advice, for example, or simply have a business page for your law firm, with regular blog posts providing tips or advice, you need to
demonstrate that you have the expertise necessary to provide this advice. What makes you qualified to give this advice? Do you have the educational background? Do you have relevant professional experience? Whatever the case, you need to demonstrate your qualifications and your relevant expertise – and make sure these are indicated on your website. Add author bios below your blog posts, for example, and include detailed bios of the people behind your website in your ‘About Us’ pages. These are all great ways to demonstrate your expertise.

What about authoritativeness? This is similar to expertise. Basically, the reviewer is looking at your website – as a whole – and determining what factors give it authority. Do the writers of the content have the authority to provide this information? If it’s a forum website, what’s the overall quality of the content provided by the contributors?

Trustworthiness, again, is fairly self-explanatory. Not only does Google want to know that the information you provide is high-quality and backed up with the relevant experience and authority, but they also want to ensure that any information the visitor or customer provides is in safe hands. So, if you have an online checkout system for selling products or services (as we mentioned above), this needs to be totally secure. In addition to that, moreover, the visitor to your website needs to feel safe in general. Do your design and content inspire confidence in your visitors? When a visitor accesses your website, do they feel like they are safe and that you are a company or entity to be trusted?

Additional Considerations

Mobile-friendliness & Responsive Design

Again, the release of these guidelines only confirms what most web designers have known for awhile: mobile-friendliness is essential. These days, Google judges the quality of a website based on whether or not it’s properly accessible and easy-to-use across a variety of platforms.

Page Design

Another important factor when determining the quality of a website is its page design. This can include your homepage, your ‘About Us’ page or ‘Contact’ page, or your blog posts. Basically, the idea here is that Google rewards user-friendliness and easy-to-navigate design, and punishes difficult to read, poorly designed, or hard to navigate pages.

Your Reputation

This should come as no surprise, but the reputation of your website, company or business plays a role in how Google chooses to rank you. Although the occasional negative review is inevitable – and won’t hurt your website’s ranking – a large number of negative reviews will certainly hurt your standing with Google. By providing your customers with great customer service, a quality product or service, and an overall positive experience, you will inspire positive reviews – and you will build a stellar reputation. And for this, Google will reward you with a higher quality score and higher rankings.

This assessment, it should be noted, is only the tip of the iceberg. There are a large number of additional considerations to take into account. To see the full set of guidelines, and learn about Google Search Quality Rating system in more detail, visit their official site here: https://www.google.com/intl/es419/insidesearch/howsearchworks/thestory/

Nathan Fagan

As our in-house media production professional, Nathan’s primary responsibility is to produce and create high-quality video content for our clients. Alongside his role at Big Dog, Nathan is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and editor. His 2015 short documentary, 'Fallen Bird', won the Audience Award for Best Short Documentary at the IFI Documentary festival and screened at numerous Irish and international festivals. He has just completed his latest documentary, 'Hum'.

Dublin, Ireland https://www.bigdog.ie

5 Great Apps for Business Owners

  • Oct 2015
  • Read Time: 4 Mins

Do you run an online store or an e-commerce web site? Are you looking for innovative ways to help manage your time, money, and assets while on the go? If so, these apps are for you!

There are plenty of apps on the mobile market today that claim to help small business owners like yourself. With so many options, however, it can be a little daunting trying to choose the right ones for the job. Read on to discover 5 great apps for small business owners, and choose those that are best for you and your store.

Fuze

If you have more employees, vendors, or members of your organisation than just you alone, then chances are good that you need some way to contact several of them at one time while on the go. Fuze is an excellent option for managing videoconferencing from a mobile device. It is available for iPhone, iPad, and Samsung Galaxy, and it is quickly becoming a very popular video call app.

Fuze provides high-quality audio and video without the problems of blurry pictures or broken up sound. The highest level of paid Fuze can host up to 25 people per voice call or 12 people per video call, and allows for screen sharing. For three months, you can try a free trial version of Fuze that provides limited services, such as a 3-person voice or video chat option and the screen sharing component.

Clear

If time management and organisational skills are not your strong point (or if you are the type of person who loves to make lists every day), then Clear is the app for you. Clear provides you the ability to create and maintain reminders and lists for day-to-day tasks and schedules. It features very easy touch controls, including a sideways swipe function that removes items from your list as you complete them.

Clear is available for iPhone, iPad, and Mac desktop, and it can communicate between the three for easy organisation. The app allows for the creation of multiple lists, so that you do not have to keep track of every work-related task in the same list you use for your groceries or errands. And for small business owners who like to make their lists a little bit more personal, the app can be customised using themes and other elements to make it truly yours.

TripIt

Does your small business or e-commerce area of expertise require you to travel often? If so, TripIt may be able to help you make your life a little bit easier! TripIt allows you to input all of your upcoming travel plans, and then it reworks them into an understandable, easy to follow, and much less overwhelming single travel itinerary. Input the airport you are flying to or from, and the app will also provide you with up-to-the-minute information about the weather, any delays, and departure and arrival times. You can even use TripIt to give you directions to your airport!

With TripIt Pro, you can sync your plans with your mobile device’s calendar, or you can add plans manually. The Pro version of the app also provides you with flight alerts and seat upgrade availability, as well as information about alternate flights and your reward program points. With the free version of the app, you can manage your travel plans, share them with friends and family, and edit your plans manually.

ZenPayroll

Use this paperless payroll service to make sure that your employees and vendors get paid on time and correctly every time. Available for every operating system and mobile device, this app is sure to help when it comes time to figure pay checks!

ZenPayroll allows employers easy access to government documents for each employee, as well as pay stub archives for everyone. Best of all, it automatically figures income tax, so you don’t have to pay someone else to do that for you!

Basecamp

Basecamp gained popularity as a web site for project management, and it used that popularity to spur on the creation of its app. For any business that requires teams to work together to complete a project, this is the perfect app.

With Basecamp, you can start a project, invite the members of that project’s team to collaborate together through the app, create lists of milestones to accomplish, and more. Use the app to upload text documents and track the time spent by each team member on every project you start. Best of all, you can use it message everyone else who is working on a project with you, and receive messages from them, as well!

Nathan Fagan

As our in-house media production professional, Nathan’s primary responsibility is to produce and create high-quality video content for our clients. Alongside his role at Big Dog, Nathan is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and editor. His 2015 short documentary, 'Fallen Bird', won the Audience Award for Best Short Documentary at the IFI Documentary festival and screened at numerous Irish and international festivals. He has just completed his latest documentary, 'Hum'.

Dublin, Ireland https://www.bigdog.ie

The Importance of SEO for Your Website

  • Oct 2015
  • Read Time: 5 Mins

shutterstock_120183286

‘Search engine optimisation’ – also known as SEO – is one of the most effective ways to improve sales and visitor numbers on your website. And yet, despite its undeniable importance, it’s one of the most misunderstood aspects of digital marketing. Not only do many people assume that they can run a successful website without implementing an SEO strategy, but those who do understand its importance, tend to overlook its complexity. In this week’s article, we’re going to look at some of the most compelling reasons why SEO is essential for any website, business or not. Take a look.

SEO increases traffic to your web site

Let’s face it. A web site is never going to be successful without traffic. There is literally nothing more important to the survival or your site—and your business—than a steady stream of incoming visitors. SEO works in a word-of-mouth sort of way, ensuring that anyone searching for your field, topic, or area of expertise will find out about your web site before anyone else’s. For example, if you own a bakery and have a web site, and someone in your area is searching for bakers in your city, SEO will ensure that that person finds you instead of your competition.

SEO gets your name out there

The more you work on your SEO, the more frequently your web site’s name is going to come up in searches. This relates back to the first point – providing more traffic to your site – but it also means that you will have a more credible name. Visitors to your site will see you ranking higher and higher in Google search results, and in turn, they will know you are a quality web site worth visiting. By implementing an effective SEO strategy – and constantly working towards maintaining your rankings – your customer base will gradually increase. And, of course, if you are running a business or trying to sell something from your site, this will increase your profit.

SEO allows you to understand your visitors

Again, with better SEO comes more traffic to your site. Not only that, however,  but an important aspect of SEO is about providing you with information about the types of people who want to take a look at what your site has to offer. You can use Google Analytics to examine the demographic data of the people who visit your site. For example, you can find out the language most of your visitors speak, where they are from in the world, when they visit your site the most often, what terms they are searching for that lead them to your site, and more. Good SEO can help you stay informed and make sure that your business or web site is moving in the right direction and catering to the right kinds of visitors or customers.

SEO is an affordable method of marketing

If you try to market your web site or business through social media, you’re sure to incur some major fees, from your marketing expert as well as from the social media sites themselves. Paying for leads is another option for marketing your site, but again, it is a pricey alternative. Because many elements of digital marketing require constant attention and ongoing activity, those hours tend to rack up. With a good SEO strategy, however, you generally won’t need to devote as much time on a weekly basis.

For this reason, a decent SEO strategy is usually the best option for those running a small business or just starting out with their website. You can begin by focusing your attention on search engine optimisation and let your advertising strategy build up from there, as your website and client base grows. You’ll be reaping the benefits of SEO marketing without expending much time or money.

SEO will help you keep up with your competition

These days, most people are savvy to the importance of SEO. Chances are, if you do a quick search of your main competitors, you’ll notice they’ve already got a decent SEO strategy in place. In order to keep up with your competitors, you’ll need to follow suit. With proper SEO, you’ll be keeping up with your competition, and then passing them by in no time at all.

Nathan Fagan

As our in-house media production professional, Nathan’s primary responsibility is to produce and create high-quality video content for our clients. Alongside his role at Big Dog, Nathan is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and editor. His 2015 short documentary, 'Fallen Bird', won the Audience Award for Best Short Documentary at the IFI Documentary festival and screened at numerous Irish and international festivals. He has just completed his latest documentary, 'Hum'.

Dublin, Ireland https://www.bigdog.ie

Mastering WordPress: 7 Great Online Resources

  • Sep 2015
  • Read Time: 5 Mins

Creating a professional-looking website can be a challenge when you start from the ground up. That’s why, these days, many people who want their own websites tend to have them built by web designers. However, what happens when your website has been finished for some time, but you want to make some changes? Are you stuck paying a designer additional fees just to change what already exists? Wouldn’t it be much better if you could update your content, add blog posts, and manage your e-commerce site without the help of a middle man?

If you agree, then read on to learn all about seven excellent online resources for anyone who is looking to master website upkeep via WordPress!

WordPress

It may sound a little counter-productive to begin with WordPress itself, but this site has tons of

Source: Google
Source: Google

information to help you perfect your own personal or entrepreneurial website. It’s a great idea to download the WordPress software for yourself, even if you have a web designer who has set up your site for you. This way, when you want to make changes, you will be able to do so without having to get anyone else involved. The WordPress forums, too, are an excellent resource for asking questions and finding the answers to complicated problems.

WordPress is a free resource, though web hosting itself has paid options.

WooThemes

WooThemes is the Internet’s premiere go-to site for plugins, themes, and e-commerce that can be used with a WordPress website. It is the oldest themes site that is still in existence today, and it features a vast library of options that you can browse and select from for editing your own site. The plugins and themes provided by WooThemes are all professionally designed, and they are easy to install and use with the WordPress software. The site also features a wonderful support team to help you with any problems.

WooThemes is a free resource, with paid options.

Lynda

Source: Google
Source: Google

A much lesser-known, but still very valid, WordPress resource is Lynda. It’s a company that helps educate users via the Internet in all the ways of WordPress—and more. There are video lessons on Lynda that focus on creativity, business skills, software usage, and a wide variety of other subjects. Tons of the videos available on this site centre around the topic of WordPress site building and upkeep, as well as on blogging and e-commerce. Best of all, when you feel like you have mastered the upkeep of your WordPress site, you can move on to other lessons available via Lynda’s user-friendly site, so that you never have to stop learning about the world of web maintenance.

Lynda is a paid resource.

WPBeginner

Are you a complete WordPress “newbie”? Then you might want to get started with WPBeginner, a great resource for those who are learning from square one how to work with a WordPress site. If you have no idea where to begin, this site will help you. It provides videos as well as plenty of reading on how to improve your WordPress site, and it also supplies readers with plenty of hacks and tricks to keep them at the top of their site management game. You’ll never feel lost again when you follow the tips outlined at WPBeginner!

WPBeginner is a free resource.

WP Apprentice

WP Apprentice features tutorials and a wealth of information that can help anyone, from the site owner

Source: Google
Source: Google

who has never even heard of WordPress before, all the way up to WordPress masters who may be having trouble with one small detail. The videos are presented in a calm and collected manner, giving plenty of opportunities to pause and take in the information before moving on. The beginning instructions on WP Apprentice are definitely modelled for those who need help, and not for those who already know what they’re doing—but they are presented in such a way that does not seem like beginners are being talked down to.

WP Apprentice is a paid resource.

The Ultimate Hosting Guide

This e-book turned website is yet another great resource for anyone who is just starting to learn how to maintain a WordPress site. It features ten chapters, which begin with very simple topics (such as “What is Web Hosting?” and “Top Hosting by Affordability”) and moves on to slightly more intermediate subject matter (such as “Top Hosting by Features for Designers, Developers, and Agencies”). The site also features plenty of external links to provide you with further reading when you need more information on any part of the site building and upkeep process.

This Ultimate Hosting Guide is a free resource.

The Tao of WordPress

Source: Google
Source: Google

This 300-page guide is sure to provide every piece of information you need to get your WordPress site looking just like you want it to, and running smoothly at all times. This guide will start you from the very beginning, then give you a proverbial hand to hold as you take your first steps through the world of WordPress. If you have a small amount of working knowledge about WordPress, you can also use this guide to focus specifically on an area you want to improve in, such as blogging. It is a very crucial resource to the WordPress site owner!

The Tao of WordPress is a paid resource.

Nathan Fagan

As our in-house media production professional, Nathan’s primary responsibility is to produce and create high-quality video content for our clients. Alongside his role at Big Dog, Nathan is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and editor. His 2015 short documentary, 'Fallen Bird', won the Audience Award for Best Short Documentary at the IFI Documentary festival and screened at numerous Irish and international festivals. He has just completed his latest documentary, 'Hum'.

Dublin, Ireland https://www.bigdog.ie