5 Ways to Speed up Your WordPress Website and Increase Conversion

Having a fast website is crucial to the success of your website. It impacts user experience, search engine optimisation and conversion rate.

How annoying is it when you visit a website and you sit there staring at a blank screen waiting for it to load? Poor user experience is a big no-no with websites. Google did a study in 2017 that found that as page load time went from 1 second to 3 seconds, the bounce rate increased by 32%!

Following on from that, Google have stated on their website that speed is now a ranking factor for search engine optimisation. I don’t care how amazing your website is, Google have literally said they aren’t going to be sending people your way if your website is too slow.

Slow websites also have an impact on conversion rate and this doesn’t only apply to small businesses. The BBC reported that for every extra second that it took their website to load they were losing 10% of their traffic!

Okay, I’ve made my point, we can all agree that speed matters. But the thing is most people are not aware of what the speed of their website is, or how they can improve. I’m here to change that with my top 5 tips on how to increase website speed.

Image Optimisation

Who doesn’t want to spruce up their website with nice pictures to look at, it would get a bit boring if it was only text.

Yet, one of the biggest causes of a slow website is images. That doesn’t mean you can’t use them (I mean I use them), it just means you need to be smart about what you use.

Optimisation is key, I optimise EVERYTHING before upload, those KBS add up. An example of this was a previous client I had who hired me to speed up her website, one of the first things I looked at was the images. She didn’t have a lot on her website but the files were huge!

By following a few simple steps I was able to reduce the image size from 40MB to 3.4MB… that was only 20 images!
Want to know the steps I used to optimise the images for her website? Read the steps outlined below.

Tips for Image Optimisation

  1. Crop to correct dimensions
    If you want to load up a fabulous photo of yourself to put on your about page, and it’s going to be 400×600 pixels. Please tell me why you would upload an image that is 2000×3000 pixels? That’s a whole lot of pixels for no reason. I use Resize Image which is a free Windows App, but you can use whatever software you’re comfortable with. Some free online options are Canva, or https://resizeimage.net/
  2. Run through TinyPNG
    Once your image is cropped to the correct dimensions you want to give it a little boost by compressing the image. Enter TinyPNG. TinyPNG compresses your image without losing the Image Quality.
  3. BONUS: Give the image file an SEO friendly name
    While this has no effect on your site speed it’s an important step you should take when uploading images to your website. Make sure you are naming all images with optimised titles before upload. For example, if you are uploading an image of a pink dress rather than keep the image file as IMG_444.jpg you want to call it exactly what it is pink-dress.jpg

Use a Good Web Host

Cheap hosting is the best option for my website performance… said no one ever. I get it, $1/month hosting sounds pretty amazing right? But for what you save in money you are losing in site performance, I’m sure there are exceptions to this… I mean I don’t know any but if you do send them my way, please.

See below for examples of real client sites before and after migrating their website to a better hosting provider.

What’s a good web host? Well, I love and use Cloudways and I recommend them to everyone. I don’t want this to turn into an ‘I love Cloudways‘ post, but honestly, they’re great.

They keep my website and my client’s websites safe, secure, speedy and as an added bonus their support is top-notch!

Install a Caching/Speed Plugin

Cache is the process of storing temporary data for a website, browser, app etc. This is important for websites because rather than loading a page fresh for every time someone new visits your website, caching skips that step and will show visitors a ‘copy’ of a previously loaded screen and as such reduces the load time for a visitor.

Caching plugins are powerful, they give you the ability to control dozens of different settings and as each website is different, each website needs to have different settings configured for it.

Enter my preferred caching plugins:

W3 Total Cache – FREE
WP Rocket – PAID

Install a CDN

A CDN (Content Delivery Network) speeds up the delivery of content to a website visitor, by using a network of geographically distributed servers. What this means is that if your host server is located in Sydney, Australia and someone is accessing it from the US, rather than the data travelling all the way from Sydney, a CDN can deliver that data from somewhere closer in the US.

CDNs are not only good for site speed, they are also an extra layer of security for your website. My preferred CDN is Cloudflare, they have both free and paid plans available.

Regularly check your website

Websites need ongoing maintenance and if you follow the steps above you’re off to a good start. However, it’s worth your time to run your website through tools such as GT Metrix and Page Speed Insights so you can see how your website is performing and where it can be improved.

Having a fast website is crucial to your visitor’s user experience, search engine optimisation and of course conversion rate. Does your site need speeding up? I offer Site Speed Audits to get you started, or if you’re looking for ongoing site management check out my WordPress Care Plans.

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Is Website Maintenance Important? The Answer Is Yes, Here’s Why!

You’ve got your flashy new website, you’ve hit the publish button, and you let it go off into the big World Wide Web. It’s an exciting time… but that’s not the end of the story.

Many people are not aware that there are ongoing costs involved with owning a website.

Think of a website like a pot plant. If you’ve ever bought a plant, you know that it needs to be cared for. You need to water it regularly, keep bugs away and make sure it’s in a safe environment to flourish. A website is much the same, you need to update plugins, themes and core regularly, you need to run security checks to prevent the website from being hacked and you need to keep it in a fast secure environment. Your website needs to be properly cared for so that it can represent your business in the best light possible.

Do you want to be a bad plant/website parent? No!

Plant analogy aside, I’ve listed 5 reasons below as to why you need to give your website regular maintenance.

1. Hacked website? No thanks! 

The number one reason to maintain your website is to decrease the chance of your website being hacked. Not having an up to date website is one of the main reasons websites get hacked. This includes updating your plugins, themes and core. On top of that regular security scans are vital to identifying any potential risks to your website. When looking for a maintenance plan it’s important to check they offer security scans and regular updates.

2. Google will be your best friend

Google loves fresh content, it loves safe websites, it loves fast websites. Regular maintenance of your website means you can keep it up to date and keep it safe, and that will keep Google happy. As a business owner, it is so important to keep a good relationship with Google, if you neglect your website and worse comes to worst Google can, and will, blacklist you.

3. Keep customers, don’t scare them away!

Ever been to a website and it’s slow to load, pictures aren’t appearing, there are broken links and suddenly you’re on a 404 error page. Yikes. Not pretty! Website maintenance means you can avoid these scenarios and keep your customers on your website rather than having them running for the hills.

4. Your website will never disappear!

Well, it’s unlikely and if it does it won’t be permanent. Regular website backups are a vital part of choosing a website maintenance plan. On the off chance that something does happen to your website; it gets hacked or your content gets deleted. Regular backups mean that if the worse does happen then you can restore your website pronto!

5. Value for money 

When you think about website maintenance do you cringe? Does it take up way too much of your time? Time, that you could be spending running your business. By purchasing a website maintenance plan you are handing the reins over to an expert. Their job is to look after your website, keep it safe, keep it running smoothly AND even better if something does go wrong you know it’s in safe hands!

Have I convinced you? Website maintenance is such an important (if not the most important) part of having a website. 

If you’re sitting there thinking “Where the hell do I start?!?!” don’t worry, there are people out there who can look after your site for you… like me!

Head over to my Hosting and Care Plan page to learn more and if you have any questions get in touch!

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Custom 404 Page? What is it and why you need one… like yesterday!

Ever clicked on a link or mistyped a web address and suddenly you’re faced with “404 Error – Page Not Found?” Accompanied by a complicated message explaining the error or just a blank space?

It’s enough to make your eyes glaze over, fall asleep and next minute you’ve exited the page and turned on Netflix… or something along those lines!

What many people don’t realise is that a 404 page is prime real estate! It’s an opportunity to turn website deserters into potential leads.

Continue reading to find out what exactly a 404 page is and why without a custom 404 page you are missing out on this opportunity!

What exactly is a 404 page?

A 404 page is also know as an error page, it’s the page that lets a user know that the page they requested does not exist. That could be due to a broken link, a deleted web page or just a typo.

The message only appears when the browser was able to connect with the server, but the server could not find what it was looking for.

“If it was able to connect to a server how come it couldn’t find what it was looking for?” I hear you say.

First let’s look at basic URL structure…I’ll use my domain as an example www.shannonpayne.com.au/contact There are 2 components to this

  • the Domain Name
  • the Path

The Domain Name is “www.shannonpayne.com.au” and the Path is “/contact”
The Domain Name is how a browser connects to the server, it is your unique address.
The Path is what leads a visitor to a certain page stored within the server.

For example if you were to mistype the Path: www.shannonpayne.com.au/conact this would connect to the server however as the page “conact” does not exist this is when you would get a 404 Error Page Not Found message.

On the other hand if you were to mistype the domain name: www.shannonayne.com.au/contact you would get a broken link or you might even end up on a completely different website.

Mistyped Domain Name = broken link or different website
Mistyped Path = 404 page

Asides from accidental typos when trying to visit a website, sometimes you can unintentionally click on a broken link. This could be due to a typo on the website itself, or a discontinued product or a page that was once deleted.

By clicking on these broken links, again you will be redirected to the 404 page for that website.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “why don’t you remove all broken links” or “just be careful when typing in a URL”, and yes I agree 100% that should be done, and it’s something that most good web developers should be doing. However at times there can be links that are missed, another website might be linking to a blog post on your website that is now deleted and sometimes it just comes down to human error.

The point is, a 404 page is important and that’s why you should be taking advantage of the prime real estate it offers.

Enter “Custom 404 Page”

A Custom 404 Page is just that, it’s a 404 page that has been customised for your website.Instead of visitors getting a generic 404 page they can get an on brand page with a clear call-to-action (CTA) and reduce the chance of a lost client/customer.Must haves for a custom 404 page

  • “404” message – well duh, just because you can add a CTA doesn’t mean you should forget the reason people have ended up here. Let them know they have ended up on the wrong page, but not to worry you’ll help them find their way.
  • a search bar, ‘return to home’ button or sitemap – give visitors the chance to be able to search for what they were looking for, return to home or use the sitemap for guidance to continue on their way.
  • and last but not least… a CALL-TO-ACTION! …pretty self explanatory

I also want to make the point that this isn’t an opportunity for you to throw ten thousand products into a site visitors face, no – don’t do that! A 404 page still needs to send a message that the site visitor did not end up on their intended page, but you can definitely give them encouragement to head towards your latest blog post, or a new product you are trying to sell.

Ideas for CTAs you can put on your custom 404 page.

  • Direct visitors to your latest product or store.
  • A link to your services page.
  • Links to your latest blog post, if you want more traffic on the latest blog post.
  • An email opt-in to sign up for your newsletter.
  • A free download.

Whatever it is limit it to 1 (maybe 2) you don’t need to overwhelm your visitors. Imagine it… a 404 message, a search bar and a clear CTA all wrapped up in your awesome branding and you’re guaranteed to keep visitors on your website.

Have fun with it!

The best part about having a custom 404 page is that you can have a bit of fun with it!

Check out some of these companies’ custom 404 pages here.

Disney

Disney’s 404 page is simple and to the point, but it stays on brand with a bit of humour.

View it here: https://www.disney.com.au/404

BluePath

BluePath is a Data Strategy Company, they are on brand and showcase what they do by showing a map of reported crimes in Atlanta but then they also inflict humour at the end.

View it here: https://path.blue/404/

Marvel

Marvel keeps their 404 page theme as well, they have multiple screens so that each time you visit the page it will generate a new character. Head to their site and see what you get!

View it here: https://www.marvel.com/404

Steve Lambert

I love Steve Lambert’s, it’s so uncomfortable and awkward – but it works for his brand. Along with the big headline announcing it is the “most awkward 404 not found page on the internet” there is a video that goes for a few minutes (I think I tapped out at about 30 seconds), just telling you how awkward this is for you.

View it here: https://visitsteve.com/404

Omelet

Omelet is a creative company and it shows on their 404 page. I had to give them a mention for their egg pun… I love puns and you should too! Keeping on brand there is another effect that happens when you scroll on the page… go check it out!

View it here: https://www.omelet.com/error

Pixar

Like Disney, the Pixar website delivers a clear message but they stay on brand.

View it here: https://www.pixar.com/404

Car Wow

The last one I’ll share is from a car buying website in the UK. In addition to delivering a call to action they also have a fun interactive game for you to play! You can give it a go here.

View it here: https://www.carwow.co.uk/404page

As you can see, you can have a lot of fun with a custom 404 page, gone are the days of boring 404: Page Not Found messages. It’s time to win back site visitors and keep them on your website.

Have you come across a cool custom 404 page while browsing the internet, I’d love to check it out so share it in the comments.

Or if you’re interested in having your own custom 404 page, head to my contact page and send me a message!

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Domain, Hosting, DNS, SSL, CMS – what are they and what do they mean?

Affiliate Disclaimer: This article may contain some affiliate links. That means if you purchase something through any of these links, I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend tools and resources that I have used personally or come highly recommended.

Domain, Hosting, DNS, SSL, CMS… confused? Don’t worry you’re not alone! I remember when I first started out learning web development it took me a while to wrap my head around all these new terms.

I’m sure you’re thinking “ugh do I even need to know what they are?”.

Short answer: Yes!

Long answer: Yes – all of these things are key components to building a website and although it’s not the most thrilling aspect it’s in your best interest to know what each of them do and how they work in unison.

So let’s dive right in!

What is a Domain?

A domain name is the address of a website, this is the URL that a visitor types into a browser. For example, my domain name is www.shannonpayne.com.au. A domain name simplifies online navigation, without it we would need to memorise a combination of unique numbers and characters every time we wanted to visit a website.A domain name is made up of two parts:

  • Top Level Domain (TLD)
  • Second Level Domain (SLD)

SLDs are what make your domain unique, take my domain for example: shannonpayne.com.au, the SLD is shannonpayne and the .com.au is the TLD

SLD <– [shannonpayne] [.com.au] –> TLD

Common TLD’s that you are likely familiar with are

  • .com
  • .info
  • .org

Some TLDs are restricted and you must meet certain requirements to register them..com.au (must have an ABN).gov (must be a government body).edu (must be an accredited education institute)As of 2020 there were more than 1500 different TLDs.

You can search for domain name availability at GoDaddy or Google Domains.

What is Hosting?

Web hosting gives your website a place to live on the internet. It provides space on a server that stores all of your website’s files (code, text, images, video etc). When someone goes to their browser and types in your domain, it is being directed to your space on the server. Without it, it would be like picking up a phone and hearing the dead tone.

The three primary types of hosting are Shared, Dedicated and VPS.

Shared
Shared hosting means sharing a server and all its resources with other websites. Ideal for smaller websites.

Dedicated
Dedicated hosting is a server that is 100% yours. This means you have full control over it and do not need to share resources with anyone else. Ideal for large websites.

On top of that, each hosting provider has varying levels of features, support and specifications within the different types of hosting. Hosting can vary from as little as $1 a month up to hundreds per month. Cheaper is not always better and it pays to do your research to find a host that is suitable for your website needs.

VPS
VPS hosting is a single server that has been separated into multiple smaller private servers. So although you are still sharing the same server, you have your own private section that does not share as many resources. Ideal for medium sized websites.

I personally use Cloudways for hosting and I highly recommend it to all clients.

What is a DNS?

DNS (Domain Name Server) is what connects your Domain to your Hosting. When someone goes to a browser and types in a domain name the DNS is what connects the visitor to your host so that they can view your website.

Different web hosts have different DNS specific to them, so if you were to change web hosts you would need to update your DNS to your new hosts details, this is key so that when people enter your URL they are directed to the correct space on the internet.

Without the DNS properly configured people can not access your website. Imagine someone gives you an address to a house party and you show up and the party isn’t there!

What is an SSL?

An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is what keeps your website secure. It uses an encryption-based security protocol to ensure the privacy and security of your website. You know sometimes when you go to visit a website and your computer warns you it isn’t safe to visit? That is because that website does not have an SSL. This does not always mean that the website is unsafe, but without an SSL you are risking the chance of visitors turning back when they try to visit your website.

The easiest way to find out if your website has an SSL is to look at your domain. If the prefix is HTTPS it has an SSL, if it is HTTP it does not or alternatively you can enter your domain name into this website and it will check it for you.

All my hosting and maintenance plans have an SSL included, you can get more information here.

What is a CMS?

CMS (Content Management System) is a way for you to build a website without programming skills. Often confused with web hosting, a CMS is software that makes building a website more user friendly. Without a CMS you would need to know how to code to build a website.

Common CMS platforms are WordPress (my preferred), Squarespace, Joomla, Wix – to name a few.

Before choosing your web hosting you need to choose your CMS, as some CMS already have hosting included.

Still confused? How about an analogy (because analogies are fun!).

Say you want to visit your friends home, you get in your car and you type your friends address (Domain) into the GPS. You start driving to your friends’ home along the road (DNS), when you arrive at the location (Hosting) you see their house structure (CMS) and on the front of the door is a lock (SSL) so you know that it is secure inside.

Domain = Street address
Hosting = Location
DNS = Road to the house
SSL = Lock on house (security)
CMS = Foundations/structure of house

I get it, all the jargon can be overwhelming at times! But it is important to have a general understanding of what you are dealing with, and the rest you can hand over to the professionals **cough me cough**.

If you have any questions send me a message or leave a comment below!


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Difference in White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO. *Hint* Black Hat SEO is bad!

White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO refers to the techniques used to improve your websites search engine ranking.

You know how in old western films the hero wore the white cowboy hat and the villain would wear the black cowboy hat? Well, it’s the same with Black vs White Hat SEO.

Black Hat SEO = Bad Practice

White Hat SEO = Good Practice

Black Hat SEO can be tempting for some as it is seen as a quick and easy way to climb up the search engine rankings. However the success is often short-lived, search engines are quick to penalise those that try to manipulate them.

SEO is a long game and White Hat SEO acknowledges that.

The best thing you can do for yourself, your business and your website is to know what tactics to implement and what to avoid. Continue reading to find out more and what you can do to improve your search engine ranking and what not to do so you don’t get penalised.

What is White Hat SEO?

White Hat SEO refers to the correct and ethical way to optimise your site for search engine ranking by following search engine guidelines, focusing on the site visitors and users, and taking a long-term approach.

Follows search engine guidelines

Google literally tells you what to do and what not to do, have a read of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines to make sure you’re following the rules!

Focuses on the user

If you are providing useful content for your site visitors, you are likely to get return visitors and referrals. Search engines acknowledge this, by being a source of information you are benefiting your search ranking.

Long-term approach

Ranking higher in search engines doesn’t happen overnight. SEO is a long game, and White Hat SEO acknowledges that. It takes time to build up your website as a reliable source, by implementing best practice every day you will eventually build the authority that gets you one page 1 of search engines.

What is Black Hat SEO?

Black Hat SEO is the opposite of White Hat SEO, it uses manipulative and unethical practices to attempt to rank higher in search engines. It violates search engine guidelines, focuses on search engine crawlers and is about making “quick-wins”.

Violates search engine guidelines

Again, check out Google’s Webmaster Guidelines to avoid Black Hat SEO tactics.

Focuses on the search engine crawlers

The search engine crawlers do not see what the users see and vice versa. They see what is going on in the background, this is where Black Hat SEO techniques come into play which I will cover further below.

Making “quick-wins”

Many people who use Black Hat SEO techniques do not respect that SEO is a long game. They are focusing on how to rank as quickly and as easily as possible, which is not sustainable. It may not always be immediate but search engines do eventually catch up to you and they will penalise you.

White Hat SEO Techniques to Implement

1. Quality content

At the end of the day, this is exactly what search engines are looking for. They want you to provide quality content so that they can reference THEIR site visitors to you! If they are not providing quality content to their users, then those users will not return. It is a domino effect.

2. UX and UI

Build a website that is user friendly and easy to navigate. A site that is well laid out for visitors and takes them to where they need is going to improve bounce rate which is a considered factor for search engine ranking.

3. Mobile-friendliness

Related to user experience, search engines prioritise websites that are mobile friendly. Again they want the best user experience for their visitors. Google has a free Mobile-Friendly Test for you to see if your website is mobile-friendly. For more on responsive design read my blog post here.

4. Site speed

Your site speed signals to search engines that again your site is user-friendly. A slow-loading website is jeopardizing your search engine ranking. To check the speed of your website visit GT Metrix.

5. Proper use of keywords

Do proper keyword research, look for gaps in the market and build your content around those keywords. Don’t keyword stuff when writing your content either, stick to a primary keyword and a few secondary keywords, and make sure your content is legible!

Moz and Ahrefs both have great keyword research tools for you to use.

6. Optimised code

Write lean code and use properly structured code to assist search engines to find what they are looking for. Use proper heading tags so crawlers know what an article is about, use alt tags on your images. If you aren’t sure where to start, enlist the help of a web developer who can ensure your code is fully optimised.

7. Link building

Link building is a way to drive traffic from your website to other relevant sources and vice versa. This can be linking for further reading, linking a related source, linking a relevant document/image/video. It is another way to build your authority, keep in line with White Hat link building and avoid Black Hat practices described below.

Black Hat SEO Techniques to Avoid

1. Keyword Stuffing

Probably the more common technique people use to get their content to rank higher. By repeatedly using keywords you may be getting noticed by search engines but you are making your content unreadable.

Check out Google’s example of keyword stuffing:

We sell custom cigar humidors. Our custom cigar humidors are handmade. If you’re thinking of buying a custom cigar humidor, please contact our custom cigar humidor specialists at [email protected]

If your content has a higher percentage of keywords than actual useful information – you’re keyword stuffing.

2. Hidden Text

Exactly as the name suggests, this is hiding your text and links so that the user can not see it but the search engine is picking up on it and so potentially improving your ranking.

There are a few ways this can be achieved:

  • changing the colour of the text to match the page background (i.e. white text on white background).
  • linking a bit of punctuation such as a full stop or comma
  • making the font size so small it can not be seen

If your user can’t see it – don’t do it.

3. Cloaking

Similar to Hidden Text, Cloaking is when you are showing one thing to your visitors and another to search engines. For example, a visitor looks at your page and sees an image, however, a search engine sees hidden text and links coded into the page.

4. Duplicate content

You visit another website that is ranking well, you like their content, you copy it and publish it on your website. We learnt in school that plagiarism is bad – don’t forget that. Search engines won’t look at your site and think “oh wow this is great information”, instead they will think “hmm I’ve seen this somewhere else, this is not useful this is just duplicate content”. Don’t do it.

5. Doorways

Doorway pages are of little use to visitors but are used to funnel visitors to the final destination. Generally, they are keyword rich and can appear useful to search engine crawlers which can temporarily increase your search ranking. However once a search engine discovers it you will be penalised and don’t think you’re safe if you’re a big company either, in 2006 Google penalised BMW for using doorways!

6. Comment Spam

How annoying are spam comments? Most people who have a blog will get spam comments at some point, and you will notice most of them have links. This is a Black Hat technique to build more backlinks to their website. It’s not cool, it’s annoying, and search engines will not like you for it.

These are but a few Black Hat SEO techniques you need to avoid to make sure you are not at risk of experiencing the wrath of Google or any other search engine.

For a full list of Black Hat SEO techniques to AVOID check out the guidelines given by the masters themselves at Google.

Penalties for using Black Hat SEO

With all this talk about how bad Black Hat SEO is, there have to be some consequences for using these techniques.

For starters, search engines will update their algorithm so the techniques you have been using will no longer be effective. Your “quick-wins” have become “quick-loses”.

Examples of this are:

Hummingbird: targeted exact-match keyword targeting and keyword stuffing

Panda: targeted low quality, thin content and spammy websites

Fred: low-value and affiliate heavy content

For more examples read this article here.

These are general updates, however, if you really p*ss off Google you can get handed a manual action that means a real human has looked at your website and said NOPE. This can blacklist a web page or an entire website and you can lose your domain authority. To fix this you need to read the manual action report, fix the issues that have been described and then request a review.

But I bet you want me to name names, don’t you!

Asides from BMW that was mentioned above, here are some other companies that have suffered the wrath of Google!

JC Penney – JC Penney had a paid link strategy to rank better on Google search results. At the time every trending product you searched for you were supposed to see their website at the top. Google penalised them and their website ranking dropped to almost the hundredth position in the search results.

Gourmet Gift Baskets – after outsourcing their SEO, the owner woke up one day to find their site had disappeared from Google. It was discovered that one of the companies managing their SEO had been buying links and as a result, they were hit with a penalty right before the holiday season which ended up costing them almost USD 4 million!

Mozilla – Mozilla was penalised for hosting a webpage that had more than 21k spam comments! Although this wasn’t their fault, it serves a lesson to everyone with a website the importance of managing spam comments. The page lost some of its rankings, however, Mozilla ended up completely removing the page.

Google doesn’t just punish others, they have also penalised themselves FIVE times!

It goes to show it doesn’t matter who you are, how big your company is, Black Hat SEO tactics are to be avoided! You may experience quick-wins and a short time at the top, but search engines will catch up to you and the results can be devastating.

Need help with your SEO? Check out my SEO audits or head to my contact page and get in touch!


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How to: Create a Low Highlight Text Effect Using CSS

I still recall the first time I saw the highlighted text effect. I had only just started learning web development and while browsing the internet one day I came across a blog that had a pretty pink highlighted heading. I remember thinking to myself “hmm one day I’ll know how to do that”.

WELL, fast forward to one week later (no joke), I had just signed my first website build and what was her request? “All headings to have that cool highlighted text effect”. Guess the time had come – I would learn how to do the highlighted text effect!

What ensued was a panicked googling session, bits of information gathered here and there, a lot of trial and error and voila! I had figured out the “cool highlighted text effect”

**hooray – pop the champagne**

I was so excited! This was my first time doing any sort of CSS styling, and it was also the moment I knew 100% I had made the right decision about learning web development!

What many people don’t know is that HTML already has a standard highlight tag, the ‘mark’ tag.

<mark>This is an example of me using the mark tag.</mark>
This is an example of me using the mark tag.

Pretty nifty huh? But what if you want more than the basic (boring) yellow highlight text?

Different colours, thicker line, thinner line, even multiple colours!

Well, say hello to my little friend Cascading Style Sheet (CSS).

I LOVE CSS! Seriously, it’s the best.

There are a couple of ways you can achieve this effect, I think my way is the best (obviously). But the way I am about to show you is in my opinion the most flexible option for width, height and positioning. It works really well and you can achieve any look you desire!

So let’s begin!

Step 1: The basics.

First of all we need to create the section of text that you want to highlight, you can do this to anything you want; headings, paragraph, links, dot points etc. I’ll be using the H1 heading tags.

*HTML has 6 heading tags: H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6. H1 is the largest and should be used for the main headings of a page.

<h1>I love tacos!</h1>

I love tacos!

Step 2: Get specific.

We don’t want to make ALL H1 headings have the highlight effect, so we need to get a bit more specific, to do this we add the <span> tag. The <span> tag is used to group and apply styles to inline elements, you can read up more on it here.

<h1><span>I love tacos!</span><h1>

I love tacos!

You can see the <span> tag doesn’t actually do anything, to add styling to this we need to add a class (the class is what we target to add styling).

<h1><span class="highlight">I love tacos!</span></h1>

Step 3: Style it!

Now that we have the class “highlight” we know what we need to target when we add CSS.

If you’re using WordPress this can be done by either of the following methods:

  • Add it to the style.css
  • Add it in Additional CSS from the WordPress Dashboard >Appearance > Customize

Now the fun part!

highlight {
    background: linear-gradient(120deg, #e4a0a1 0%, #e4a0a1 100%);
    background-repeat: no-repeat;
    background-size: 100% 20%;
    background-position: 0 60%;
}

I love tacos!

Woohoo! Isn’t that fun?!

Let’s not stop there though! By adjusting the CSS we can do whatever we please!

Thicker? No problem! Just increase the background-size.

highlight {
    background: linear-gradient(120deg, #e4a0a1 0%, #e4a0a1 100%);
    background-repeat: no-repeat;
    background-size: 100% 50%;
    background-position: 0 60%;
}

I love tacos!

Thinner? You got it! Decrease the background-size.

highlight {
    background: linear-gradient(120deg, #e4a0a1 0%, #e4a0a1 100%);
    background-repeat: no-repeat;
    background-size: 100% 5%;
    background-position: 0 60%;
}

I love tacos!

What if you want to raise or lower the highlight? All you need to do is adjust the background-position. The lower the percentage the “higher” the highlight.

highlight {
    background: linear-gradient(120deg, #e4a0a1 0%, #e4a0a1 100%);
    background-repeat: no-repeat;
    background-size: 100% 40%;
    background-position: 0 30%;
}

I love tacos!

And the higher the percentage the “lower” the highlight.

highlight {
    background: linear-gradient(120deg, #e4a0a1 0%, #e4a0a1 100%);
    background-repeat: no-repeat;
    background-size: 100% 40%;
    background-position: 0 90%;
}

I love tacos!

Step 4: Go wild!

There are endless possibilities for what you can do, I’ll show you a few more!

You can target specific words in a sentence.

<h1>I <span class="highlight">love</span> tacos!</h1>

I love tacos!

You can use multiple colours.

You’ll notice there are now 3 classes (highlight1, highlight2, highlight3), you need to add styling for each of these.

<h1><span class="highlight1">I </span><span class="highlight2">love </span><span class="highlight3">tacos!</span></h1>

I love tacos!

You can do a pretty gradient effect.

<h1><span class="highlight">I love tacos!</span></h1>
highlight {
    background: linear-gradient(120deg, #e4a0a1 0%, #b8e1ff 100%);
    background-repeat: no-repeat;
    background-size: 100% 20%;
    background-position: 0 60%;
}

I love tacos!

I could go on all day but I think that is more than enough to get you started! Like I said earlier, the highlight effect was the first time I saw what I was capable of achieving with CSS – so it has a special place in my heart!

I’d love to see you try this out, share in the comments if you’ve done this before or if you want to spruce up your website, book a free call so we can discuss what I can do for you!


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What Is Responsive Design and Why Is It Important?

Ever visited a website and the layout is all skewed? Images are cut off, the text is too big and the screen jumps all over the place as you scroll? Yeah, that’s not a mobile responsive website!

There is no excuse to not have a mobile-friendly website these days, and most web designers and developers will make a website mobile responsive by default. However it’s important you know what exactly responsive design is so that if you are building your own website or hiring someone to do it, you can ensure your website is mobile-friendly!

mobile responsive design cat squashed
Illustration by Sabreena Katz, Designer at Station Four

What is responsive web design?

Responsive web design is a design approach that allows websites to automatically adjust to suit different sized screens and viewports; i.e. desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone etc.
Responsive design means that you can view a website from any device and it will still look and function just as well as it does on a desktop!

How does responsive design work?

I’ll try not to get too “techy” here.
A typical website is made up of a set of files, generally speaking, those files will include content (text and images), HTML code and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).

CSS is how a website is styled, this includes colours, fonts, sizing, layout (plus a whole lot more), without CSS a website would look pretty meh!

HTML only

HTML + CSS

Psst… I built this super adorable alpaca site during Julia Taylor’s 5 Day Coding Challenge. Check it out here!

To make a website mobile responsive we use CSS to add extra “styling” so that a website not only looks good on a desktop, it looks good on any device!
I could go on… but I said I wouldn’t be too techy!

Now, moving on to the important stuff!

Why do you need a mobile responsive site?

As a website owner, it is in your best interest to have a mobile responsive website. Listed below are 3 reasons why mobile responsive design is important!

Half of your website traffic comes from mobile devices

In Q3 of 2020, statista.com reported that 50.81% of website traffic comes from mobile traffic! That is a huge proportion of the market that is accessing your website from a mobile device. If a potential customer comes to your website and is unable to easily navigate, they are going to quickly exit and not return.

The graph above shows the increase in mobile traffic since 2015, it’s only going to go up from here!

Social Media + Responsive Design = $$$

Chances are if you’re using Instagram or Facebook you’re probably doing so on a mobile device.

Picture this scenario: You’re scrolling through Instagram and see a pair of shoes you LOVE! You click the link in the Instagram bio and are met with a website that is a jumble of pictures and words. I bet it doesn’t take you long to exit back to Instagram and keep on scrolling.

Now if you’re a business owner, doesn’t that thought send shivers through your spine? By not having a mobile responsive website you are losing customers!

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t mention SEO! Google recommends mobile responsive design, and I know they aren’t the only search engine out there – but they are the big boys in the schoolyard!

Google’s aim is to provide quality content to people who use their search engine. They don’t care if you have the most amazing product ever invented, they care that you have an amazing website to display your product!

Check out their free Mobile-Friendly Check to see how your website scores!

So is your website mobile responsive?

There are a few ways you can check;

  1. If you haven’t already done so, head to Google’s free Mobile-Friendly Check and enter your URL.
  2. When building websites or making changes and updates I use Responsive Design Checker. It is a free online tool that allows you to view your website in whatever screen size you want. They have preset sizes or you can enter your own custom dimensions.
  3. Ask your friends and family! Ask them to visit your website on their mobile phone or tablet and give you feedback!

If your website is not mobile responsive and you need some help, head to my contact page and fill in the form. I’d love to help you out!


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20 Funny Lorem Ipsum Generators

Most web designers (or any designer) knows that sometimes there is a need for some dummy text, whether it be using a wireframe to a client or showing a mockup. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m a bit tired of using the same old Lorem Ipsum. Thankfully, I wasn’t the first to think this! There are now so many unique and funny Lorem Ipsum generators out there to suit any project, client or personality.

Before we dive into the fun stuff, some of you may not know what Lorem Ipsum is or why we use it? Let’s cover those first!

What is Lorem Ipsum?

Lorem Ipsum is placeholder text or ‘dummy text’ that is used in the design and printing industry. The text came from a book that was published in 45BC; “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero. However, it was in the 1500s that Lorem Ipsum was first used as dummy text when it was used to make a type specimen book. It has survived 5 centuries and has become an industry standard.

Why do we use Lorem Ipsum?

The purpose of Lorem Ipsum is to create a natural-looking block of text that does not distract the viewer. It has a normal distribution of letters and spacing so as to appear as a paragraph without having anything “readable”.

It can be used to help the client focus on the overall design rather than get distracted by the text, another reason you might use Lorem Ipsum is if the final copy isn’t ready yet.

Lorem Ipsum is great, but let’s be honest it can get a little dry. But thanks to the magical world of the internet there are now dozens of funny, unique (and free) lorem ipsum generators out there to suit all your needs! Cupcake Ipsum – for something sweet, or Cheese Ipsum – for the cheese lovers!

I’ve gathered together some of my favourites (and some more) to give you 20 unique and funny lorem ipsum generators for your next design project.

1. Lorem Ipsum

Well it would be rude to note mention the OG.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

https://loremipsum.io/generator/

2. Cupcake Ipsum

This is my go-to ipsum generator when working on projects, for all those who want a bit of sugar and sweetness!

Jelly beans gummies sweet sesame snaps cupcake candy canes candy canes tootsie roll muffin. Pastry caramels dragée cake. Powder jujubes liquorice gummies dessert sweet roll cake. Fruitcake jujubes gingerbread ice cream jelly beans gummies. Chocolate bar wafer pastry. Brownie apple pie bear claw brownie brownie candy canes.

https://www.cupcakeipsum.com/

3. Cat Ipsum

My second favourite! Perfect for all cat lovers and to use for your cat loving clients!

Purr for no reason eat all the power cords yet meow for food, then when human fills food dish, take a few bites of food and continue meowing yet hit you unexpectedly cat ass trophy or unwrap toilet paper please stop looking at your phone and pet me. Stare at wall turn and meow stare at wall some more meow again continue staring i heard this rumor where the humans are our owners, pfft, what do they know?!

https://www.catipsum.com/

4. Bogan Ipsum

For the Australians out there! Use this ipsum generator to have your clients saying “You beauty!”

Galah down under holden sheila spit the dummy come a bush telly apples boil-over bottlo whinge. Rock up stubby rip snorter you little ripper thongs. Cubby house bludger not my bowl of rice pash bundy sickie bloody oath. Wuss it’ll be bundy rack off tucker-bag bluey spag bol aussie rules footy amber fluid. Spag bol metho grundies full blown bizzo smoko. Tinny vee dub mokkies yobbo porky mate strewth.

https://txtrdr.com/boganipsum/

5. Pirate Ipsum

For all of those who dreamt of being a Pirate! Pirate Ipsum is another unique option on the list!

Brig booty maroon red ensign mizzenmast barque cutlass squiffy Arr ballast. Spanish Main holystone belaying pin jury mast provost code of conduct rope’s end dance the hempen jig chase coffer. Fire ship Davy Jones’ Locker reef fore capstan Arr pinnace skysail nipper bilge.

https://pirateipsum.me/

6. Coffee Ipsum

Coffee lovers unite! When the caffeine hit isn’t quite strong enough, give it a boost with Coffee Ipsum!

Macchiato, robusta steamed acerbic, crema sugar café au lait a ristretto. Dripper, bar macchiato flavour strong extraction coffee dark cortado. Froth, foam instant et iced and wings. Robusta beans qui steamed roast whipped percolator robust instant. Decaffeinated, affogato aroma dark at half and half roast.

https://coffeeipsum.com/

7. Chuck Norris Ipsum

Chuck Norris made me include this.

Chuck Norris once roundhouse kicked someone so hard that his foot broke the speed of light, went back in time, and killed Amelia Earhart while she was flying over the Pacific Ocean, When Chuck Norris sends in his taxes, he sends blank forms and includes only a picture of himself, crouched and ready to attack. Contrary to popular belief, Chuck Norris, not the box jellyfish of northern Australia, is the most venomous creature on earth.

https://vincentloy.github.io/chuck_facts_ipsum/

8. Veggie Ipsum

Get your ipsum straight from the farmers market, fresh vegetables to fill your project up!

Beetroot water spinach okra water chestnut courgette summer purslane. Water spinach arugula pea tatsoi aubergine spring onion bush tomato kale pea sprouts fava bean. Dandelion zucchini burdock yarrow chickpea soybean radish artichoke wattle seed endive groundnut broccoli arugula.

https://veggieipsum.com/

9. Bacon Ipsum

More of a meat-lover? Bacon ipsum has got you covered with the meatiest of ipsums.

Bacon ipsum dolor amet tempor enim nisi ut. Buffalo pancetta deserunt, do salami laborum pork chop proident hamburger. Pork loin flank dolore consectetur. Ut ipsum jowl turducken. Qui shankle bacon spare ribs boudin ipsum non. Id burgdoggen ea buffalo reprehenderit.

https://baconipsum.com/

10. Samuel L Ipsum

It wouldn’t be right if there wasn’t a Samuel L Jackson ipsum, add a bit of badass to your project.

Normally, both your asses would be dead as fucking fried chicken, but you happen to pull this shit while I’m in a transitional period so I don’t wanna kill you, I wanna help you. But I can’t give you this case, it don’t belong to me. Besides, I’ve already been through too much shit this morning over this case to hand it over to your dumb ass.

https://slipsum.com/

11. Pommy Ipsum

Aussie slang not your thing? How about some Pommy slang?

Because there was nothing on the gogglebox gutted on his bill middle class absobloodylootely bent as a nine bob note tip-top I bid you good day terribly red telephone box. Hedgehog rambunctious conkers doing my nut in a cuppa unhand me sir chav a tad, ey up duck roast beef bread and butter pudding throw a paddy could murder a pint treacle.

https://www.pommyipsum.com/

12. Cheese Ipsum

Mmmm cheeeesseee!! For all your delicious and tasty melted goodness.

I love cheese, especially fondue jarlsberg. Emmental cut the cheese babybel bavarian bergkase swiss paneer cheese on toast cut the cheese. Paneer cheese triangles swiss jarlsberg croque monsieur cauliflower cheese feta fromage.

https://www.cheeseipsum.co.uk/

13. JS Ipsum

This ipsum is for the tech geeks out there, random bits of JavaScript that appears as a whole lot of technical jibberish!

HTTP requests. World Wide Web browsers typically expose host objects representing HTTP request and variable declarations to specify the majority of one object that the standardized in environments that can run locally in JavaScript Components. Modernizr is a tool to extend JavaScript utilities designed for browser.

https://jsipsum.lunarlogic.io/

14. Zombie Ipsum

For the zombie and horror fans out there, good combination of brains and ipsum!

Zombie ipsum reversus ab viral inferno, nam rick grimes malum cerebro. De carne lumbering animata corpora quaeritis. Summus brains sit​​, morbo vel maleficia? De apocalypsi gorger omero undead survivor dictum mauris. 

https://www.zombieipsum.com/

15. Lorem Ricksum

For the fans of Rick and Morty, or in the creators words “the most loved and hated lorem ipsum”.

Are you hungry for apples? ARE YOU HUNGRY FOR APPLESSS!? I’m not looking for judgement, just a yes or no. Can you assimilate a giraffe? They’re not infinite universes left in sync with the show.

https://loremricksum.com/

16. Ramen Ipsum

Did you say Ramen?!

Salt chicken stock Nagoya vinegar rice yuzu spinach toasted sesame seeds kamaboko Asahikawa rice tsukemen yuzu abura soba yuzu Tokushima Nissin instant cup ramen pork cubes Nissin instant cup ramen.

https://ramenipsum.herokuapp.com/

17. Online Dating Ipsum

The ipsum generator that pulls it’s content from online dating profiles.

Going to the gym I have a crush on someone who shares my sense of humor tattoos. Making lasagna from scratch knowing the difference between their/there/they’re new friends just looking to have some fun mountain biking, Indian food ethical nonmonogamy home brewing going to the gym video games. 

https://laurenhallden.com/datingipsum/

18. Batman Ipsum

For the Batmaniacs, this ipsum generator uses direct quotes from Batman movies.

This isn’t a car. Bruce Wayne, eccentric billionaire. Hero can be anyone. Even a man knowing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy shoulders to let him know the world hadn’t ended.

https://ipsum-community.github.io/batmanipsum/

19. Baseball Ipsum

Any baseball fans here?! If you can’t get enough of the game this combination of baseball-related words will help you out!

Left on base lineup bat petey red sox alley left fielder starter. Strike zone grass foul pole stretch wrigley reds off-speed cardinals. Fall classic umpire plunked count basehit bush league outfielder. Catcher wins inning rubber game moneyball, series squeeze hardball. Grass at-bat home robbed tossed rotation cork loss hit by pitch.

https://baseballipsum.apphb.com/

20. Lit Ipsum

Snippets from classic literature, Sherlock Holmes, Pride and Prejudice, Dracula and more!

By eleven o’clock the next day we were well upon our way to the old English capital. Holmes had been buried in the morning papers all the way down, but after we had passed the Hampshire border he threw them down and began to admire the scenery. 

https://litipsum.com/

21. Cheeseburger Ipsum

Bonus ipsum generator (because yum!)

Any day without a cheeseburger in it is a waste. You can find a cheeseburger no matter where you go in the world, so you have no excuse to miss out on the glory that some people can only dream of. Step up to the plate.

https://cheeseburgeripsum.com/

22. 2020 Ipsum

**BONUS** (another bonus) The end of 2020 brought the Ipsum generator we all needed!

Lorem ipsum Coronavirus whipped coffee doomscrolling protests. Mail-in vote home quarantini pod disinfect murder hornets. Last Dance Quibi no march madness UFO monolith flatten the curve we can’t hear you. PPE. Zoom call sweatpants Joe Exotic Blursday. 

https://2020-ipsum.com/

Lorem Ipsum generators are the perfect way to add a big of personality to your next design or publishing project. Whether just for yourself or to get a smile from your client!

Do you know any other generators? Share them in the comments below!


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6 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Website!

6 reasons your business needs a website blog post

Have you ever had these thoughts running through your head?

“A website is too expensive”

OR

“I already have enough business, I don’t need a website”

Having an online presence is essential for your business these days. While many businesses rely on word-of-mouth or social media to retain ongoing work, without a website you are closing your businesses doors to potential growth.

What is the first thing you do when you want to know what’s on the menu at the new café you want to try out, or you want to find a service or product in your area?

You go to your best friend: Google.

If your business isn’t at the other end of that search, you’re losing business.

Whether your business is a brick-and-mortar store, or you already have an online social media presence.

YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS A WEBSITE!

Don’t believe me? Continue reading for 6 reasons that your business needs a website!

1. Gain Credibility

Today more and more people are using the internet to search for products and services. Consumers like to see more information about a business before they buy from them. By not having an online presence you are potentially losing customers.

Now let’s throw some stats in here:

1 in 4 of consumers would stop considering a small business they haven’t dealt with before if they can’t find information about them online.

Source: Telstra Business Intelligence 2020

1 in 5 consumers will stop considering a small business they haven’t used before if it doesn’t have a website.

Source: Telstra Business Intelligence 2020

However it’s not just a matter of having a website, your website needs to be professional, it needs to have up to date information, contact information, product/service details and most of all a Call-To-Action (CTA).

handshake over desk

2. Always Accessible

Once your website is up and running, it is working for you 24/7/365. While you are sleeping it is there answering questions your customers might have and selling your products/services for you.

On top of that assuming you are keeping your website properly maintained, your website will always be there. Having a social media presence is great, but it doesn’t take much for your Instagram account or Facebook page to be deleted. By having a website you are not at the whims of another company deciding to shut down your online presence.

3. Reach more customers

Whether you are a brick and mortar store or already online. Having a website means you can be easily found by potential customers. By building an online presence you are increasing your reach, you can now bring in customers on a national level – even a global level.

Better yet, by having a website that is fully optimised for search engines you are opening up the doors for more people to find you that may not have ever heard of you before.

Now don’t go thinking “but I’m already busy, I’m already fully-booked”. That may be true right now, BUT every business experiences customer turnover. You need to keep attracting leads to keep your business running.

conversation in building

4. Showcase your work

What better way to show your customers what you are capable of than an online space where you can show portfolio items, testimonials/reviews and images of your services/products. People are naturally curious and by giving them a look at what your business is offering it opens more potential leads.

5. Save time!

Every business is different, but something all businesses have in common is the constant back and forth communication with customers. When designing your website you can include prices, availability, services available. By having all of this information readily available, you are not only helping your customers easily find information about your business but you are saving a HUGE amount of time by reducing the number of enquiries.

time saving

6. Keep customers informed

Besides the obvious of showing your customers what your business is about and what services/products you provide. A website is also a place for you to announce promotions, notify customers about new services/products, answer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). It is the information hub for your business!

A website is one of the best ways a business can invest in its future. Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Check out my Web Design services page for more information or if you’re ready to take the leap, head to my contact page and let’s get the ball rolling!


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20 FREE Google Font Pairings

Did you know that there are 992 FREE Google fonts and they’ve been downloaded an incredible 43 trillion times!

Crazy right?

Typography is so important these days and there is a certain art to creating the perfect font pairing.  It is recommended that you use a maximum of three fonts when working on a project. However, with the use of bolditalics, and underline variations, two fonts is usually sufficient.

I put together this list of 20 Google font pairings and the best part is they are all licensed under the Open Font License. This means they are FREE to download and use for all non-commercial AND commercial projects! WOOHOO! 

1. Lora & Bad Script

Download Lora HERE.
Download Bad Script HERE.

2. Ultra & Slabo

Download Ultra HERE.
Download Slabo HERE.

3. Sedgwick Ave & Montserrat

Download Sedgwick Ave HERE.
Download Montserrat HERE.

4. Abril Fatface & Lato

Download Abril Fatface HERE.
Download Lato HERE.

5. Pompiere & Open Sans

Download Pompiere HERE.
Download Open Sans HERE.

6. Sacramento & Alice

Download Sacramento HERE.
Download Alice HERE.

7. Permanent Marker & Raleway

Download Permanent Marker HERE.
Download Raleway HERE.

8. Marck Script & Roboto

Download Permanent Marker HERE.
Download Raleway HERE.

9. Oswald & Merriweather

Download Oswald HERE.
Download Merriweather HERE.

10. Charmonman & Chakra Petch

Download Charmonman HERE.
Download Chakra Petch HERE.

11. Libre Baskerville & Cutive

Download Libre Baskerville HERE.
Download Cutive HERE.

12. Open Sans Condensed & Roboto

Download Open Sans Condensed HERE.
Download Roboto HERE.

13. Amatic SC & Andika

Download Amatic SC HERE.
Download Andika HERE.

14. Clicker Script & Raleway

Download Click Script HERE.
Download Raleway HERE.

15. Courier Prime & Poppins

Download Courier Prime HERE.
Download Poppins HERE.

16. Finger Paint & Lato

Download Finger Paint HERE.
Download Lato HERE.

17. Parisienne & Cormorant Garamonde

Download Parisienne HERE.
Download Cormorant Garamond HERE.

18. Bangers & Antic

Download Bangers HERE.
Download Antic HERE.

19. Cardo & Josefin Sans

Download Cardo HERE.
Download Josefin Sans HERE.

20. Sniglet & Cabin

Download Sniglet HERE.
Download Cabin HERE.

So there we have it!

20 Google Font Pairings for you to use in your next design project, I hope it helps you out!

BONUS: I’ve turned this into a downloadable PDF for you so you can save it to your computer for later.


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What is a Virtual Assistant?

The Virtual Assistant (VA) industry is growing rapidly with more and more VAs popping up every day. Yet if you stopped someone in the street and asked them what a VA was you’d probably be met with blank stares.

No, it’s not another name for Siri or Alexa (unless of course you’re a VA and that is your name). I thought I’d lay it all out for you because that’s how generous us VAs are!

What is a Virtual Assistant (VA)?

To put it simply, a VA is a skilled professional who provides various services to entrepreneurs or businesses from a remote location.

They could live in another country, another city, or even just down the road from the business they work with. However, all work is done online and it is unlikely you would ever meet them in person.

In the early days, VAs were hired for tasks such as calendar/email management, answering incoming calls, drafting correspondence and other general admin duties.

As the virtual world has grown, VAs have grown with it. There is now a multitude of tasks being offered, some of these are:

  • Social Media Management (Instagram, Facebook)
  • Pinterest Management
  • Website Design/Maintenance
  • Blog Writing
  • Content Repurposing
  • SEO
  • Travel Planning
  • Podcast Editing
  • Video Editing
  • Graphic Design
  • Transcription
  • Copywriting
  • E-book Formatting
  • Email Marketing
  • Calendar/Email Management

You get the picture!

Anything that can be done online, I guarantee there is someone out there offering that service. (For a break down of the services I offer click here)

There are general VAs who will work across all industries and there are some VAs with a specific niche such as travel, real estate, health/fitness etc.

VAs are appealing to entrepreneurs and business owners because they find themselves needing help but either cannot bring on staff to their location or they don’t want the costs associated with bringing on staff (office space, supplies, taxes, insurance etc.). Many businesses will hire a VA when they want to take their brick and mortar business to the online world through social media.

VAs can be hired for on-going work or one-off jobs, they can charge hourly or sell packages. This is at the discretion of the individual VA.


So that’s the quick overview of what a VA does! As you can see it is not a straight forward answer, but at the end of the day, VAs are there to help you with the tasks you don’t have time for and to help you grow your business.

If you find yourself struggling with any aspect of your business I’d love to chat about what I can do for you! To get the ball rolling schedule a FREE 20-minute consultation!


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