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We have been with CloudenUp for over 8 years!

ByCarmen Proctor

We have been with CloudenUp for over 8 years!

CloudenUp has been providing IT managed services to WIDC for over 8 years.  They handle all of our IT needs, from moving us to the cloud, to supporting our desktops and tablets, to creating our website.  They design cost-effective solutions that help us get the most out of our IT investment, while minimizing any disruption to our doctors and staff.

ByCarmen Proctor

Feeling Like You’ve Outgrown Your Current Healthcare IT Support Firm?

Give us a call and let us show you what fast, friendly and highly-responsive outsourced IT services should be for your healthcare organization.

ByCarmen Proctor

Easy to Use IT Support

CloudenUp monitor and manage all the computers on our network, watching for security breaches and making sure our systems stay healthy and online.  Working with our cloud-based EMR, it is critical that our internet connection, computers, and tablets all work smoothly so that we don’t have any downtime during our busy day. They makes sure it all works, and they even find and fix problems before we notice them.

ByCarmen Proctor

The Power of Custom Menus in WordPress

Wordpress_menuOut of the Box vs. Custom Menus

When you install WordPress out of the box, your new website theme will have a main menu that will default to showing all the parent pages of your site.  If you have set up additional pages with the right hierarchy, and your theme supports sub-levels of navigation, those will also show automatically.

However, what do you do if you want your site to have special links to pages outside your website? Maybe for login screens to your company’s online products?  What if you run a blog site and you want your one of two of your main categories to show up on your navigation for easy access by your visitors?

The Power of Custom Menus in WordPress

There are four main situations that will determine that you need custom menus on your site.  These are:

  • When you need to define a different structure and order of pages on the navigation menu. The regular WordPress menu lets you do that “out of the box”, but the reality is that it is more time consuming to track pages to their “parent page” and also the order to display in the navigation in the Pages section of the dashboard. By using the visual “drag and drop” editor in Appearance -> Menus, you can quickly set up a menu and edit the page order and relationship to a parent page.
  • You want to include a navigation that includes just a handful of your main pages, and leaves others out. By default, WordPress menus include every page you create on your site.  You will use custom menus when you have pages with forms or information that you only want to make available by using a direct link, like your Privacy Policy and Terms of Use, instead of letting them be included in the out of the box navigation.
  • You want to link to a page that is outside your own website, like the login for your application or your Twitter page. We use this for our client websites that are used for the product marketing of a cloud service, and then include a “LOGIN” item on the navigation menu that links the visitor directly to the login page for the system.
  • Your site is content intensive, and you have many blog posts under one specific category that you want to highlight.  One of our IT clients uses the category “Security” as a main navigation item to give their visitors a shortcut to all the blog posts related to Internet and Computer Security, since that is a critical area of information for their site.

So if these are issues you are dealing with, then it’s worth the trouble to set up custom menus for your site.  And, it really only takes a few minutes.

Additional WordPress Menu Training

If you are new to WordPress, and would like to learn more about setting up your site the easy way, check out our online course WordPress Beginning to End: For Non-Techies. Right now we are having a sale for over 4 hours of video training, plus the training manual, only $15.We cover theme selection, design, custom menu and customization, all with almost no technical or programming knowledge.

Happy WordPressing!

ByCarmen Proctor

10 Essential Plugins for WordPress

WordPress Plugins are the easiest, fastest way to add functionality to your WordPress site.  Whether you need to add SEO, google analytics, embedded twitter feeds, contact forms, Google maps, there’s a plugin for that.  This is especially useful if you’re a beginner user of WordPress, and don’t have the programming experience to develop your own functionality for your site. Even if you have a programming background, sometimes it’s just not worth it to reinvent the wheel.

10 Essential Plugins

So if you had to start thinking about what functionality you would want on your site, while still keeping it clean and uncomplicated, what would that be?  I am going to share with you 9 essential plugins for WordPress that we use for most of our client sites. They cover functionality needed by many websites, and they are typically kept updated to be compatible with the latest version of WordPress.

Contact Forms

There are two types of Contact Forms that we use in our WordPress sites. Choosing the right one will depend on the specific purpose.  You may even need both of them, depending on what you want to do with the information.

1. CContactForm7_headerontact Form 7

If you are setting up a “Contact Us” form in your website, where you let visitors fill out some fields and send you a message straight from your pages, Contact Form 7 is a great option.  Contact Form 7 comes with an initial form that you can use to view how it’s set up, and you can duplicate to use as a starting point to make your own.  Your starting point is a form asking for name, email, and a message text box.  But you can add fields for phone number, subject, drop-down menus, checkboxes, and many other useful fields.  When a visitor fills out this information, the system will send an email with this information to the designated email address.

2. MailChimp for WordPressMailchimp for WordPress

If you need to collect visitor’s contact information and add it to your MailChimp mailing list, then MailChimp for WordPress is the plugin for you. You will need a MailChimp account to get started, but those are free and only take about a minute to set up.  This plugin is configured to connect your form to your MailChimp emailing lists, so when the visitor enters their information it is automatically added to your monthly newsletter list, for example.

3. Real Simple CAPTCHA

If you have forms for visitors to contact you from your website, you may want to consider using CAPTCHAs to avoid getting spammed by robots.  One easy to use plugin for this is Really Simple CAPTCHA. It integrates seamlessly with Contact Form 7.  Within Contact Form 7, you will be able to add a CAPTCHA field to your form that will be required to activate the Submit button.

Map Locations

mappress easy google maps wordpress4. MapPress Easy

You can easily add a map to your business location in a “Contact Us” page, or any page or post on your WordPress site, by using MapPress Easy Google Maps.  I have tried to use other plugins, but this one is the easiest, and at the same time most versatile, to set up and use.  We add interactive maps to pages for our sites that allow users to see the location, zoom in and out, and even get directions.

 

Pages Look and Feel

5. Custom FavIconCustom favicon wordpress

If you know your way around the WordPress code, you may be able to display a favicon for your website pretty easily. But if you don’t, it may be a better option to install a plugin to do so.  It makes your website look a little more polished than having the empty paper icon next to your site name on the web browser tab.  We typically use Custom FavIcon, which lets you easily upload an image that will display on your site as your favicon.  Now, remember that this icon will be about 16px x 16px… Pretty tiny! So whatever picture you use, make sure it will be viewable on the tab icon.

author-box-plugin-for-wordpress-starbox-1-6386. Starbox

If you are using your site to publish articles or blog posts, and especially if you have a team of authors, you should definitely consider using “author boxes” with Starbox. Having a picture and a bio for each of your authors will give your posts or articles that human connection, and it will give you a chance to connect with your readers, give them the chance to connect with your social media profiles, and learn more about you.

 

Social Media

You will want to include social media functionality on your site to let your visitors share your content, or show a feed. Some of our favorites are:

7. Social Media Buttons

socialshareTo let your visitors share your content on many different social media sites, you can use Social Share Button.  This plugin has links to the main platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Reddit, and it relies on the visitor being logged into their accounts (or logging into them via a web browser when they click on the link) to then share your content.  You can choose to display social share buttons on pages, posts, and archive pages.  From the plugin’s administrative dashboard, you will also be able to monitor the social share counts by going to the Stats section.

8. Tweet Thistweetthis

You can use Tweet This to embed tweetable content boxes in your posts and pages.  Basically, this gives your visitors a headline to share with their Twitter followers.  It even lets you choose from setting up a twitter headline inside your regular content, or showcasing it as a quote in a box display.  It has light and dark “themes” you can choose so it looks like it belongs on your page, and you can apply custom CSS to the tweet this content to make it look exactly like the rest of your content. To display it, all you need is to use a shortcode around your headline.

 

9. Eeasytwitterfeedasy Twitter Feed

Another popular social media plugin is the Easy Twitter Feed. This allows you to display the twitter feed for your twitter handle right on your website.  Once you have installed it, you can display it using the Widgets section of your administrative dashboard.  It will display the twitter feed for a handle of your choosing, and you can choose light or dark themes to make it stand out on your sidebar, or wherever the widget is located.  This can be used to showcase your company or personal tweets, and entice your visitors to follow you on Twitter.

SEO Guidance

10. SEO by Yoast

seo-by-yoastOne of the challenges for business websites is analyzing their own content for Search Engine Optimization.  An easy way to get guidance on the effectiveness of your content is to use a plugin that analyzes your text and images.  One of the most popular, and easier to use, plugins out there is WordPress SEO by Yoast.  The plugin adds a guide to every page and post, right below your content visual entry area, where you can set your focus keyword, SEO title, and meta description for search engines. Then, after you build your content on the page, the plugin shows you the summary of the good and the bad for your page under the General tab, and then a Page Analysis with a detailed list of items to work through to improve your SEO.

 

For more information on how to use these plugins, you can use our video training posted on Udemy WordPress Beginning to End: For Non-Techies. You can enter code SAVINGS12 to sign up for the course for only $12, a savings of 88% from the retail price.

Also, let us know in the comments if you would like us to cover other WordPress plugins in our posts.  Happy WordPressing!

 

 

ByCarmen Proctor

WordPress Help: Learn to Install, Setup and Maintain Your Own WordPress Site

WordPress Online Training

Sign Up Today to receive 85% Off!

Coupon Link: 85% OFF WORDPRESS TRAINING

Who is this training for?

This course was designed to help “business types” build and maintain their own WordPress website. if you have questions about how to get set up, how to make changes to your chosen theme, or even how to do backups to your site, this is the training for you!

What will you learn?

In this course, students will learn:

  • How to choose a theme based on your business and the purpose of your siteDiscount Code WordPress Training
  • The basics of installing a new WordPress site using an online hosting provider
  • Setting up and configuring new WordPress themes
  • Adding plugins to create sign-up forms, integrate with MailChimp, and display Google maps to your location to facilitate communication with your visitors
  • Set up SEO guidance and use the scoring system to improve the content of every page
  • Best practices for backing up your site regularly
  • Techniques for customizing the site’s look and feel with some simple CSS changes

What does it include?

This course includes all the video training sessions, plus an eBook with all the content used in this training to keep as reference.

What if I need more help?

The Udemy platform, where we published this training course, includes a Discussion section that allows us to communicate on a regular basis with our students.  I am available on a daily basis to provide WordPress help to all our students.

 

ByCarmen Proctor

Free WordPress Training: WordPress Beginning to End, For Non-Techies

Hello everyone!

Our first online learning course has been published in Udemy for students around the world.  We have developed a WordPress training for non-techies, at the request of many non-technical business type clients who want to understand WordPress setup and maintenance.  All you need for this course is your own domain name, a browser and internet connection, and some basic understanding of HTML and CSS.

This is our very first online course, so we are offering a coupon to the first 250 to sign up to receive the course for free:

Coupon Code: FREE WORDPRESS TRAINING

During this course, you will receive over 4 hours of video training on WordPress install, configuration, and maintenance.  Students will:

  • Build their own website using WordPress
  • Learn about choosing themes based on your business
  • Go through the steps of customizing the site look and feel and content.
  • Add functionality using plugins.
  • Make changes to the design using primary themes and child themes.
  • Learn basic best practices for maintaining their website.

We will review all the different sections that are “out of the box” for WordPress. We will also review easy add-ons like custom themes, plugins, and widgets.  Towards the end of training, we’ll get into some basic customization that won’t require much more technical knowledge than HTML and CSS. I will also share with our students a list of reference material that we use on a regular basis to choose themes, colors, stock photos, to help you make decisions like a web designer!

I have designed this training so that I can address many of the questions faced by business owners and non-technical types as they work to launch their own sites.

This course includes all the video training sessions, plus an eBook with all the content used in this training to keep as reference.

I hope you sign up to try out our very first WordPress training for beginners, and we look forward to your feedback.