Category Archives: Wordpress news

100 ways to increase your blog traffic

social-mediaWhether you are a new or experienced blogger, the information in this article is invaluable. It offers dozens of tips from setting up your web strategy to developing a long term strategy.

While this article recommends blogging 5-7 times per week, even if you’re doing it once a week or once a month you will likely find some add-on ideas to boost your traffic.


Pros and cons of hosting on

wordpress-comWhen you choose a WordPress-based site, you need to decide whether you want to have a site that is hosted on, or whether you want to do a separate WordPress installation on an independent server.

The benefits of the first choice are fairly obvious. will host your site for you and do all the necessary updates as they occur. (WordPress sites need frequent updates – read more here.) You don’t have to get involved with the messy business of finding a domain name and a host on your own, then installing WordPress or hiring a developer before you can start add content to your site. Similarly, supplies you with a choice of “themes” or layout styles. You don’t have to find your own theme and install it yourself, or hire a developer to make one.

The drawbacks of using only start to emerge once you’re committed to them.

You will find that you cannot upload just any theme you find – you are limited to their selection. You can’t install any outside plugins, which can be quite an issue when you need to have something not offered among their own “built-in” plugins. You cannot use your site to sell any products or install any kind of shopping cart.

You can’t use Google Analytics on a site – they offer their own site stats. And you can only view the past month of stats, so you will be unable to compare the performance of your site and the number of visitors in previous months.

Site certification is done through an html tag rather than Google’s preferred method of Google Analytics. And in addition, doesn’t allow you to add additional users to their site stats. This means that other people – like members of your team or even your boss – cannot review the stats, as they can in Google Analytics.

From a visual persepctive, reserves the right to add their own content to your site, whether you want it or not. will display their own advertisements – or the ads of other companies – on your blog, unless you purchase an Ad-free Upgrade or a VIP Services account. Their footer credits and the toolbar may not be altered or removed regardless of upgrades purchased.

One of the most important drawbacks to using is the inability to perform even the most basic, organic search engine optimization (SEO) on sites. Instead, they offer three suggestions:

First, rather than allowing you to add keyword phrases in meta tags, and upload an xml sitemap through Google’s Webmaster Tools (both of which are absolutely fundamental to being cached by Google), claims that just the way they design their themes is enough to optimize your content for search engines!

Second, advises users who want to get better SEO results to continually publish new posts and pages. It is true that Google likes to see a site being updated – it tells the Google bots that the site is actively being used. But that is only one piece of doing SEO properly, and it certainly doesn’t take the place of meta tags.

Third, if you want better SEO results, encourages their users to promote their sites outside (for example, on other blogs and sites) as a way of improving results. Again, that is a far cry from doing even basic SEO work in the background of your code and letting Google know it’s there! This means that if you are not easily able to keep making posts and contacting other blogs – or simply don’t want to – effectively your site will do very poorly in Google’s results. Read more about suggestions for search results from at

Possibly most important of all, you need to realize that your website on is not your own. Although you will be generating all the content, including your own original writing and photos, by putting this material on you are automatically transferring ownership of all of it to Automattic, the company who provides the hosting service for Wasn’t that nice of you?

By submitting Content to Automattic for inclusion on your Website, you grant Automattic a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your blog.

Meanwhile, can also remove content from your site, re-use your content for their own purposes, or even take down your site if they feel for any reason at any time that they don’t want it on their server. This information is freely available in their Terms of Service. Imagine spending endless hours perfecting your site and adding content, only to have it disappear, with no compensation or regress!

Automattic has the right (though not the obligation) to, in Automattic’s sole discretion (i) refuse or remove any content that, in Automattic’s reasonable opinion, violates any Automattic policy or is in any way harmful or objectionable, or (ii) terminate or deny access to and use of the Website to any individual or entity for any reason, in Automattic’s sole discretion. Automattic will have no obligation to provide a refund of any amounts previously paid.

By having a website on, not only are you handing ownership of your site’s content over to Automattic, but if you’re developing the site on behalf of someone else, you will have to get permission from your employer or client to hand over their content and the copyright of the content to

If your employer has rights to intellectual property you create, you have either (i) received permission from your employer to post or make available the Content, including but not limited to any software, or (ii) secured from your employer a waiver as to all rights in or to the Content;

Don’t think by hosting with you have saved yourself any development headaches. One of the arguments most often made in favour of having host your site is that you will be able to avoid all the problems and issues that come up with having your own site on an independent server. However, if you have problems with your site, such as malware attachments or other issues with Google caching your pages, you will not be offered any help at all by These are serious and frequent issues, and this is the time when you NEED outside help!

Having your own WordPress site on an independent server can be an expensive and difficult business, especially if you or your developer uses free or purchased themes and built-in plugins which can lead to serious issues with modifications and updates. Why we don’t use free or purchased themes

But at least with an independent host and an independent installation of the WordPress software, you will know it’s your own website. You will know you own it in its entirety; that you can design any kind of theme you want and use any plugins you want; and that you can have an ecommerce site or simply just sell a few things from your site. You can track your visitors when and how you want. You’ll know that you can use proper SEO tools and do a proper submission to Google. You will not have unwanted ads or footer material placed on your site without your permission. And most of all, you will know that no one can remove your website from the Internet without even informing you.

7 ways to recognize spam comments

spamCan you tell a real comment from a fake one? WordPress sites attract spammers who try to attach comments to your pages, links and images. They want your approval so they gain links to their own sites, which in many cases are sources of malware. Learn to recognize these 7 types of spam comments so you don’t create opportunities for them to use your site for devious purposes.

Login to your WordPress Dashboard and locate Comments in the left side menu. Click to open. To remove the ones sent by spammers, select the boxes beside them, then do a Bulk Action to remove them to the Trash. See the screenshot at the end for details on removing them.

Seven common types of spam comments:

1. Comments with email addresses that have a series of numbers and/or letters, such as:

2. Any comments with email address or web links that are unusually long, like:

3. Unless you are Asian and expect people to make comments in a foreign alphabet, you can expect all comments with Asian characters in the email address or links are spam. For example:

4. All comments that direct you to link to another URL are spam. For example:
I have discovered website which offer to dramatically increase traffic to your blog

5. All comments that use words or phrases with no proper message, such as:
%titlet% lunettes carrera pas cher lunettes carrera raye ban lunettes

6. All comments from people you don’t know who make very general comments about your site are spam. Comments should make specific reference to something you say on your page or post. Typical spam comments:
Hey this is a actual cool web site
You write the best posts ever.
Can you tell me how do you make your design so good.

7. All comments that don’t make sense are spam. These are auto-generated using English words to imitate the English language. Two examples:
It really is hardly ever slash and dry on what water will do.
What are the results that will archives any time a wordpress living space modernize expires?


7 things to try when you can’t connect to your website

not-foundYou finally have time to login to your WordPress site and update it. You need to add new photos or promote an important event. But you can’t connect to your site! What can you do? Keep this list on hand for future reference.

1. First, refresh your browser a couple of times. Look for a small circular arrow or a double-headed arrow located near the address bar of your browser. Click it a few times (wait for your site to load between refreshes) to make sure you have the latest version of your site and an updated connection to your site.

2. If your site still doesn’t come up after refreshing, do a Google search on a topic you’re never searched before. No connection? The problem is with your Internet connection. Check your connections or contact your provider, Shaw, Telus or other company.

3. If you don’t have problems connecting to other sites, go to and enter your web address. This will tell you if your own site is the only one that’s down, or if everyone sharing your server is down.

4. For more detailed information on whether your server is down, try for Bluehost or for GoDaddy — (replace the host name with your own host). This site provides an automated graph of server connections at Bluehost during the past 24 hours.

5. If you’re hosting with Bluehost or through our managed hosting on Bluehost, check their Twitter feed at (You don’t need a Twitter account to do this.) Scan the top 10 or 20 comments to find out what Bluehost is saying to other people.

6. Try again in half an hour. Rarely do you need to wait more than a few minutes, or, in extreme cases, half an hour.

7. Many connections issues are caused by problems somewhere along the line between your server and your home. The connection from the computer in your home or office to a server has multiple connection points. Read more about Denial of Service attacks, which account for most server and Internet downtime over the past few months. This is a chronic and rapidly increasing area of concern for website owners everywhere.

Last but not least, welcome to the job of web site development. If you have a WordPress site and if you’re responsible for updating it, you’ve joined website developers everywhere in a common problem — occasional server disconnections.

Who’s attacking your website?

Areas of the world experiencing Denial of Service attacks at the time of this posting, August 26, 2013

Areas of the world under attack at the time of this posting, August 26, 2013

Some of our clients have been experiencing problems connecting to their WordPress sites in recent months. This is an ongoing problem for us because we want to feel confident about the hosts and servers we recommend. If your site is not available when you want it to be, it can be very frustrating.

Connection problems can happen at many points between your computer and the host computer. The biggest problem however are DDoS attacks, or Denial of Service attacks. You can view a real-time map showing attacks currently underway across the globe at (then click the “Attacks” button to reveal areas currently under attack).

Denial of Service happens when a server receives thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of “fake” connection requests simultaneously. These situations are caused by people who deliberately attack servers through tools like botnets. As a result, the servers are overwhelmed and cannot deliver your website files to you.

One recent analysis revealed the origin of attacks as China (39.08 % of attacks), Mexico (27.32 %), Russia (7.58 %), Korea (7.29 %) and France (6.50 %). Another source claims China 41%, followed by Mexico, Germany and Iran. Several weeks ago, we experienced a Friday morning when almost a third of servers in North America were affected at the same time.

The origin of the attacks shifts constantly and Denial of Service attacks grow more and more complex in scope. It is the largest issue currently facing the Internet today. It particularly affects countries like the United States that have extensive network infrastructures, and particularly the West Coast of North America. These areas are typically more susceptible to being selected as targets by malicious groups who seek the unauthorized use and abuse of those network resources.

Why do people launch these attacks? The people behind them include crime gangs, extortion groups, groups disguising other crimes, hacker groups, vandals and mischief makers. One type of attack, known as cyber “hacktivism”, involves attacks by people against certain banks, ecommerce and government sites and corporate sites just because the sites don’t serve their political, religious or ideological values.

Websites may be remembered one day as a luxury of the early 21st century. Denial of Service has been described as an “arms race” between the hackers and the companies trying to solve the issues.


Copyright and websites: What you don’t know can bite you

Websites have interesting copyright issues. Many people mistakenly believe that once they have paid for a website, they own it. Be sure to understand your rights as a website owner, and the rights owned by the website developer, photographer, videographer, the SEO company or the marketer that you hire.

If your website is on a site builder like WIX, OtherPeople’s Pixels, Blogger or, that company owns the copyrights for the design of your site, the plugins and other functional features, and all coding behind the site. They can terminate or remove your site from their server at any time without providing a reason.

If you purchase or download a template/theme/design for a website, the original developer of the template owns the copyright. You are simply purchasing a license to use their design. Check to see the conditions of use.

If you purchase stock photos for your site, you are purchasing only a license for use. You do not own the copyright to the photos. Check the licensing agreements for the terms of use. For example, you may be able to use the photos for a website but not for printed material like advertising.

You need a logo that can be sized up or down, used on websites and in print. If you have a logo designed for you, the designer owns the copyright to the logo. Before hiring a logo designer, check the cost of obtaining the original vector image or at least a variety of high-resolution images for use in different situations.

If your website designer/developer took the photos for your site, he or she owns the copyright to the photos. They cannot be used by you for print media, business cards or any other purpose, without the designer’s permission. They cannot be used by a different designer on another site without the previous designer’s permission.

If you have a custom site built, the developer/designer owns the copyright to the site design. If another developer, SEO expert or marketing person subsequently takes over the site and adds content or additional features to the site, they cannot change or replace the designer’s name in the footer.

If you have a custom site built, the developer/designer also owns the moral rights to the site. This means they can protect the aesthetics of their design by objecting to any changes you make to it. If you change images in a slider, for example, the new images must match the look and feel of the previous slides, and not affect the integrity of the design.

If you have a custom site built, neither the design nor the coding can be used on another site without the original designer’s permission. People with WordPress sites need to understand they can change the content, but not the design.

If you have a custom site built, the developer/programmer also owns the rights to the style sheets and other code that affects the site functionality. You cannot use their code on another site.

Because the site designer/developer owns the copyright to the site, designers can make as many sites as they like using the same design and coding. Be sure to check with your developer if your design will be original and used only for your own site.


Copyright issues in web design

When a website design is copied

How to pursue website copyright infringement

How often should you change your website?

Some people change the appearance of their website every few months, while others keep the same site for years. This article discusses the pros and cons of updating or replacing your website.

Many really good HTML sites have stood the test of time since 2003 or 2004. These early sites are smaller than sites built today, but have solid design and good information architecture.

Two years ago, we began to notice that designs we had built only months previously were being replaced. Not just the design, but all the content thrown out and replaced within months. It was not just our sites. The majority of sites selected as winners of various website contests in 2011 had already been replaced with different designs by early 2012. Award-winning sites from 2012 are already being replaced with completely new sites in 2013.

Why are new sites being changed so frequently?

Web technologies have changed enormously in the past few years. Many people moved from HTML and Flash sites to content management sites built on platforms like WordPress or Joomla so they can do their own updating. Companies with Flash sites were forced to re-do their sites when Apple didn’t support Flash on the iPad and iPhone. People who used free platforms like WIX discovered they couldn’t do SEO work, their sites couldn’t be verified by Google (utterly critical to getting indexed and showing up in a search) and their site didn’t display on iPad and iPhone.

Most people today are redesigning their sites to adapt to mobile devices. Many companies who micro sites for mobile are already redoing them with responsive designs in 2012. Most of our work in the past year has been spent on designing responsive websites, where the content not only scales down but the layout of the content changes on smaller mobile screens.

WordPress is currently is the number one site-builder, and people with WordPress sites frequently change their designs. One reason is that WordPress allows you to change the “theme” or design of a site while keeping the content, menus and plugins intact.

We also see a fast turnover in WordPress design as a result of owners altering their sites. Not just adding content, but fundamentally altering the layout and design. Several expensive sites we built this year were immediately re-designed by their owners upon completion, simply because the owners wanted to try their own hand at “changing it up” – hacking the responsive designs, breaking links, altering URLs and installing incompatible plugins. Unfortunately WordPress makes it easy for anyone to alter their site design, usually to its detriment.

Other people just seek constant change. We’re often asked to look at sites and tell people what’s “wrong” with them. In most cases these sites have only recently been completed.

In other cases, site owners are approached by “SEO experts” who just plain wreak havoc on a site, drop user-friendly features and greatly change the appearance, throwing out proper usability and visitor experience.

Sample of website that has been copied and hacked by “SEO experts”

What’s wrong with changing your site as often as you feel like it?

Rebuilding your site too soon, especially if you don’t retain the same URLS, can be disastrous for your search engine results. Search engines need a good couple of years to make a profile of your site and a cache of back links (referring sites). In turn, referring sites can take months and years to acquire. When search engine optimization is done properly and organically, it takes time to “grow” the organic SEO.

One of the most valuable features of an older site is your Google Page Rank. Page rank takes years to build. Even when using 301 re-directs to ensure continuity between your old URLs and your new URLs, you will lose page rank.

Another valuable resource is repeat visitors. Repeat visitors are worth gold, and they may not be very happy to find your site changed. Branding means building up recognition and trust. If you follow large sites like Amazon, Old Navy or The New York Times for a while, you will soon see that despite all the money they could spend on new web design, their design alterations are done gradually and carefully so repeat visitors are not confused or annoyed.

For the sake of search engine continuity and branding, we often encourage new clients to keep their sites as is, perhaps with an updated heading, a slide show, or some social media links – features that will improve the visitor’s experience, but not necessarily at the expense of throwing out the whole site or changing the URLs.

So when should you change your website?

We recommend changing a site for the following reasons:

1. When the technologies used for your site are no longer compliant with modern web standards.

2. If your site is on a host or site-builder that does not support search engine optimization. Converting to WordPress is the best thing you can do for your search engine rankings.

3. If your site does not display well on mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets. When your market depends on visitors connecting through mobile devices, it’s time to move to a responsive design.

4. When you need a content management system to be able to add content yourself. If you need to frequently update your site content or want to start blogging, WordPress is the format of choice.

5. If you want to add features that are most easily done using plugins and widgets on a content management site. Building forms, calendars and other functional features from scratch on html sites is considerably more expensive and time-consuming than installing and modifying plugins on a CMS like WordPress.

6. If you need to increase your visitor interaction. Through the use of social media plugins, newsletter signups, visitor polls, Google maps and share widgets, content management platforms like WordPress offer valuable opportunities for increasing your social interaction with your visitors.

The best way to replace your site

When you replace your site, our best advice is to keep the following features intact for the sake of search engines and visitors.

1. Keep the same names for the URLs of the pages.
You want to retain all the search engine benefits your old site has gained, especially if your site is well-indexed on Google. Find out if your site has been well indexed by typing “” into a search box.

2. Add re-directs.
If the URLs of important pages have changed, be sure to re-direct them to the new pages so visitors who bookmarked your site don’t get error messages.

3. Keep your GA ID
Keep the same Google Analytics number by transferring the code to the new site.

4. Contact your referring sites.
If you change your domain name, even slightly, do a links search to see who is referring your site, then contact the designers or webmasters (typically in the footer) and ask that your old domain name be replaced with your new one. To find your referring sites, type “” into a search box.

5. Keep the most popular features of your site.
Check your Google Analytics to see what pages or content has been most popular. If you really don’t want to keep these pages, phase them out gradually from the new site rather than dropping them altogether. Remember that repeat visitors are a valuable commodity.

At Kits Media we believe that websites built with the latest technologies should support the addition of more pages and more features over a period of time. They should be carefully managed and monitored for visitors, search terms, back links, malware and updates during this time. We believe websites are most successful when they start with a long-term plan, and we welcome clients with the same approach.

Comprehensive list of reasons to change your site design
Excellent cautionary tales and tips for moving your site to a new host, retaining dynamic pages, changing urls and more
What you need to know about website re-directs following a site re-design
Outlines a plan for managing the goals, functionality and appearance of a new site design
Video presentation discusses when, why, and how you should redesign your website for both search engine crawlers and end users.
This older article provides some still current advice on changing the design of your site.

Caution: WordPress comments

Think twice about accepting comments on your blog. Most WordPress comments are spam. Disguised as notes of appreciation, millions of spam comments are sent every day to WordPress blogs like yours and mine.

Most comments are innocuous, like the one above. Typically they read as a variation of:

“Great article. Keep up the great work.”
“You are very astute to write about this matter.”
“Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this fabulous website needs considerably more consideration.”

The goal of most of these senders is to have you approve their comments so they increase the number of links to their own sites. The scammers who generate these comments (by the thousands) are happy if only a fraction are accepted. But by approving them, you can be allowing potentially dangerous links to be created between their site and yours.

The more dangerous comments contain links to malware/virus/phishing sites, but you may not be able to tell by the email of the sender or other clues. Not only can you infect your own computer by accepting them, but the computers of your own visitors who may clicks on a malware link.

Other comments are much more damaging. Approving them can corrupt all the files on your site, including your design and all the posts you have made. You can lose everything. In a particularly brutal example, this morning someone contacted our company for help because he had approved a comment on his site which turned out to be malware. By approving it, it wrote malware into every .php file in his installation, installed someone else as the admin, and changed the admin e-mail address to their own. Basically he lost his entire site. He is on a server that does not do backups. This is one of the worst cases we’ve heard of.

Following are the absolute least, the most basic things you must do to protect yourself.

1. In the Discussion settings of your blog, check An administrator must approve comments.

2. Click the Comment Author Must Fill Out Name And E-mail box, which forces anyone making a comment to provide the necessary information. Some spammers might be deterred by this extra step.

3. Vigilantly check your comments by logging in to your dashboard, and trash all spam. Your speedy response can help diminish further comments from the same source.

4. Install a CAPTCHA script to ensure anyone leaving a comment has to type in the extra code. Automated spam cannot do this.

5. Never, ever approve a comment unless the writer has made a specific reference to something in your post. If the comment could have been made about any of your posts, or any other post, trash it.

6. Check the email of the sender. Trash it if the comment sender’s emails contains strange characters (like %/solarsp0), an exceptionally long address (like, or comes from a company that sounds odd or too generic (like hotbraininsights, xxxlivecam or bestvaluerugs).

7. Never, ever upload an html page from another site. If you copy a photo from another site, be sure to rename it rather than using the entire http:// link. You never want to take the chance that malicious code from another site can infect your own.

In general, unless you have very strong reasons to believe the sender is genuine – for example, they made a comment that includes information that could only have been obtained from reading and thinking about your post, or if you visit the website associated with the email address and decide you do want to be associated with it – I recommend that you do not accept any comments at all.

It is much better to be safe than sorry.

For more information, please refer to these articles.

The Never-Ending Battle Against Comment Spam

Comment Spam

Removing Malware from a WordPress Site

Note: Be particularly careful if you’re on a Mac. Mac users do not tend to protect themselves adequately, in part because of a false sense of security caused by the company’s advertising. One study found that only 26% of Mac users have installed anti-malware software, as opposed to 92% of PC users. Read more

Can the same keywords be used on different web pages?

This is a great topic. It is really important to add keywords properly to your site or visitors will not easily find it. Keywords can and should be repeated, but repetition should be used in moderation and very discretely.

How to avoid keyword stuffing
When I look at the source code for a site, I often see the same few words repeated over and over in title tags, page descriptions, keyword tags and throughout the page. This can be a bad thing for your site.

There is a tipping point at which Google starts to see over-use of one or more key words as a kind of spam called “keyword stuffing”. At this point, your site will not receive as high a ranking in their results. See a, b, and c below. Which site uses keyword stuffing? Not sure? Read on!

Each keyword should only be used once in the title tag. However, variations of it can be used in the description. An example would be “dentist Vancouver” as part of the title and “Vancouver dentist offers a full range of dental services” as a phrase in the description.

The title tag allows 65 characters to be used, so there are plenty of opportunities to use other phrases besides “dentist Vancouver”, such as a description of services offered. What counts as a variation of a word? Google sees “dentists” plural as a different word than “dentist” singular. You can use quite a range of endings, like dentist, dentists, dental and dentistry, and they will all be seen as different words. The same holds true for words with variations ending in “ed”, “es”, “ion” or “ing”.

I would recommend using as many variations as possible. You not only avoid Google’s poor impression of your site, but you will pick up more visitors to your site because you can’t count on every single visitor typing “dentist” and no other variation of it.

What about WordPress and other blog-type sites?
I recommend you install a plugin called Headspace. This creates a place below the text for each page where you can type in a title and description. Your Google results will be much superior to using tags alone. In fact I do not recommend tags. WordPress users in particular should avoid using the tag function of WordPress, and should download a free and easy to use SEO plugin instead. (Tags of course may be your only choice if you are hosted on

How does Google use your title tags and description tags?
Google uses the keywords and descriptions you enter to annotate your site in the results, as shown in the picture above. By writing them yourself, separate from the page content, you draw Google’s attention to a proper description of the page instead of allowing Google to randomly select any text.

You are also providing a targeted message to your visitors. Your words form the first impression of your site and encourage people to link to it.

The following three descriptions were found by typing “dentist Vancouver” into Google. These are the Google results that visitors are seeing when they search for a dentist.  I have copied them here as they appeared in the annotations.

Which one do you think was written with Google and visitors in mind? Which one was stuffed with keywords without much thought to how it would look to visitors? And which one do you think Google randomly copied from the original web page?

a) Vancouver dentist provides general dentistry and teeth whitening with the latest technology in a downtown dental clinic. Emergencies and new patients are welcome.

b) Dentist downtown Vancouver, dental services including dentist tooth extraction, dental Implants, dental surgeries by dentist, white fillings, dental root canal

c) Welcome to Vancouver’s Smile City Square Dental. Enriching Lives. One Smile at a Time. Vancouver’s Smile City Square Dental is dedicated to transforming, …