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Old 14-01-2014, 07:13   #261
driver8
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Free WP Themes

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This looks good for a freebie theme, despite the weird name and Lite status - Nictitate by Kopatheme (and here at WP)
and a few more free & original-looking themes -

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Old 14-01-2014, 07:16   #262
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Themes for B&B, Guest House, Hotel

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Has anyone done a WP site for a guest house, or anything needing online bookings ? Any tips to share ?
Been looking into this.

I've been aware of plenty guest house & hotel themes in the past (like in this roundup article) but only now when I've started to look at them more closely have I found out that the vast majority don't have a booking system ! FAIL ! Most have a calendar and custom contact form, that simply sends an email request - there is no room availability check, or way to pay a deposit !

It looks like many B&Bs use a separate online system to manage their bookings (a rare roundup article of these, here) which charge either a commission on every booking or have a fixed annual fee (like one of the cheapest beds24).

There are a half dozen booking plugins, like Booking System and wp-easybooking for free, and the premium Booking System PRO and Templatic's Booking (and in their rather clunky Hotel Booking theme).

But pretty much the only all-in-one theme that seems to offer my small list of essential features is Soho Hotel. It's a bit old-fashioned-looking and I'd need to customise it quite a bit (cosmetically), but it is being actively supported & developed (with weekly updates at the moment).

It seems really strange to me that this seems to be (almost) the only solution - anyone else with any tips/advice ? Should I stick with pimping Soho (!) or choose a more modern theme and integrate a separate booking plugin ?

TIA

Last edited by driver8; 14-01-2014 at 07:17.
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Old 15-01-2014, 06:18   #263
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Another great $20 bundle from envato (no, I'm not on commission !) and well worth a look - 'Digital Trends Bundle'. Available for 14 days only.

Most interesting for WP fans for 2 decent themes - UberGrid & Presso and a pay-to-download plugin (Digital Paybox).

Due to the exclusive nature of the Digital Trends Bundle, the Bundle items are purchased 'as-is', meaning no Bundle files are eligible for item support or updates.
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Old 15-01-2014, 10:20   #264
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Columns or no columns?

I've been playing with my layout on my site and I've got myself confused. Initially my site was all columns with separate categories and slider at the top which meant visitors could find items they were looking for quicker. When I migrated my site I thought I'd play around with the layout and went back to the old fashioned standard blog layout and I think is probably better as the newest articles are always on top.

I know different layouts suit different websites but I just don't know what is better, any suggestions?
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Old 15-01-2014, 11:43   #265
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Anyone know of any responsive themes that are:

Free for commercial use
All source code available and modifiable
Pretty simple - really want not much more than a framework, just wordpressified
Doesn't use plugins at all

Most of the content will be pages rather than posts

Most of the responsive websites I've looked at are a bit "samey" - so I need the flexibity to play around and try to make something a bit different.
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Old 15-01-2014, 14:34   #266
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Has anyone got experience of using the Headway theme creator plugin? Basically seems to be a drag-and-drop GUI within WordPress for creating themes and web sites. Eg. you drag a square and then can define what goes into it (graphic, slider, menu, shortcode, etc). Looks pretty awesome and an alternative to searching for ages looking for a theme with particular features. Also gives a bespoke design.

http://headwaythemes.com/
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Old 15-01-2014, 17:06   #267
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Wow - so many questions !
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Columns or no columns? I know different layouts suit different websites but I just don't know what is better, any suggestions?
There's no right or wrong here, just personal preference. For me, I prefer an uncluttered look and really dislike most of the side widgets which are useless on most sites - calendar, latest tweets, etc.
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Anyone know of any responsive themes that are ...
So long as you don't tweak/repackage/sell, won't most WP themes let you modify the code ? This is one of the best-reviewed, simply called Responsive - a blank canvas, ready to go. Or check out the frameworks, below ?
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Has anyone got experience of using the Headway theme creator plugin?
Not tried it myself, but it's one of the top ones for budding developers. There are at least a half dozen, so best read a comparison (review) -

WPMU - Ultimatum, NexusThemes, Headway, PageLines

Chris Lema - Builder, CarringtonBuild, Headway, Pagelines, Presswork (inactive), Ultimatum.

OnWPthemes - 15+ Best WordPress Theme Frameworks
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Old 16-01-2014, 13:35   #268
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Handy tool for backing up websites - not just for Wordpress.

OpenDynamo
http://opendynamo.org/pages/features.php
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Old 17-01-2014, 09:39   #269
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Can anyone help me on SEO?

Small business web site (using Yoast SEO) for a mate who does listings for local tradesmen. So web site has got say 5 plumbers, 3 painters, 4 builders. He wants search terms such as "plumber in Crawley", "builder in Crawley" to bring the web site up in Google, which it doesn't right now after several months. What's the optimum way of doing this? Each business effectively has a post in WordPress but I don't just want to put a list of the search terms in the post as it'll look crap. Should I put them in tags or can I embed them somewhere else?

Basic stuff I know but what I've tried so far doesn't seem to get him listed. TIA.
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Old 17-01-2014, 10:20   #270
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When you say it's not listed, does it just not appear, or is it on page 30 of the results?
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Old 17-01-2014, 10:59   #271
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikthe20 View Post
Can anyone help me on SEO? Small business web site (using Yoast SEO) for a mate who does listings for local tradesmen. So web site has got say 5 plumbers, 3 painters, 4 builders. He wants search terms such as "plumber in Crawley", "builder in Crawley" ...
There's no real magic to SEO - getting good google rankings in a busy field needs lots of quality, unique content containing your keywords.

How often does the phrase "builder in Crawley" appear on the site ? My guess is, not that often seeing as it's a listing site - quite difficult to do, I imagine. A few ideas -
  • Add editorial articles containing relevant words - try interviews with the tradesmen, comparisons of work, etc.
  • Add plenty relevant and fully tagged photos.
  • A regular blog is also supposed to help - post new, relevant content every week (but don't just copy/paste local news articles).
  • Integrate with social media - Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are essentials these days. Also consider LinkedIn, Pinterest, Foursquare.
  • Get some quality links out to trusted sites in the field, as well as more general ones (bbc, wikipedia) and local ones (newspapers, radio).

Hope that helps.
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Old 17-01-2014, 11:48   #272
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A good thing to remember is to use synonyms in things like headers and the body text so that the overall site isn't just an SEO trap but actually gives useful information about the services they can provide. Google is wise to just repeating the keywords over and over again in the site. It may never get used, but link your site to google plus, too.
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Old 17-01-2014, 12:51   #273
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Can you put a link to the website on here so we can look. Has it got a xml sitemap? Is it using decent copy on the page? Are h1, h2 tags being used correctly? Any incoming / outgoing links on the site?
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Old 17-01-2014, 15:02   #274
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Quote:
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When you say it's not listed, does it just not appear, or is it on page 30 of the results?
Doesn't appear for some of the terms. I don't have the full terms repeated as it's just listings.
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Old 17-01-2014, 15:04   #275
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Quote:
Originally Posted by driver8 View Post
There's no real magic to SEO - getting good google rankings in a busy field needs lots of quality, unique content containing your keywords.

How often does the phrase "builder in Crawley" appear on the site ? My guess is, not that often seeing as it's a listing site - quite difficult to do, I imagine. A few ideas -
  • Add editorial articles containing relevant words - try interviews with the tradesmen, comparisons of work, etc.
  • Add plenty relevant and fully tagged photos.
  • A regular blog is also supposed to help - post new, relevant content every week (but don't just copy/paste local news articles).
  • Integrate with social media - Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are essentials these days. Also consider LinkedIn, Pinterest, Foursquare.
  • Get some quality links out to trusted sites in the field, as well as more general ones (bbc, wikipedia) and local ones (newspapers, radio).

Hope that helps.
That's it - I can't put the phrases in very often. Got the social media going too. How do I get links out?

Very helpful post, thanks.
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Old 17-01-2014, 15:07   #276
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljp View Post
Can you put a link to the website on here so we can look. Has it got a xml sitemap? Is it using decent copy on the page? Are h1, h2 tags being used correctly? Any incoming / outgoing links on the site?
Got sitemap. AS it's directories (using a plugin), they don't really have separate H1, H2 tages I think (not sure).

I don't think there are many incoming links but plenty outgoing to the businesses in the directory. Any suggestion for building incoming links.

Thanks!
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Old 18-01-2014, 15:53   #277
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The H1, H2 tags are header tags, used in the code. Google scans for them. It's the same as having all your images with ALT tags around them so Google can scan them as well.
Are you actually getting any hits to the site? I assume you already have it plugged into Google Analytics monitoring who visits. Have you had many spiders crawl the site and thus pushing it out to search engines?
Incoming links are generated via decent content, that people want to link to. Building a Facebook community or Twitter followers work well for this. Don't be tempted to buy 'likes' on Facebook, I've done it a few times and it never works out well.
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Old 20-01-2014, 06:31   #278
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Quote:
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I don't think there are many incoming links but plenty outgoing to the businesses in the directory. Any suggestion for building incoming links.
There's no real secret to this, especially nowadays that Google has put a lot of effort into spotting 'spammy' links and 'dummy' websites. A few ideas -
  • Ask the businesses/tradesmen to link back to you - might not be so easy, as they are obviously increasing competition !
  • Create a button for the tradesmen to add to their site - something like "As Featured on ...".
  • Get exposure in local newspapers/radio, and other advice/community sites in your area - if you are offering a good service, they will *want* to link to you.
  • Encourage & engage with social media chat
  • Open comments on your site (if you haven't already)
  • Have some kind of feedback - like the TRADERS thread on here - so people can post their good experiences. Might get tricky when people start to rant though ... !
  • Start another niche site and have links between the 2 - but you'll need to create unique content for this site too.

EDIT - forgot these - see who links to your site -

Last edited by driver8; 20-01-2014 at 06:42. Reason: added links
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Old 22-01-2014, 11:55   #279
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More tips on building incoming links - again, there are no quick fixes and this is pretty serious stuff !

Building Base Links For Niche Websites

Podcast : How To Build Links

In fact, if you're into this kind of thing, there's lots of really interesting reading on the website, including the best practical advice I've come across for how to generate an income online. I've been subscribed to his RSS for a while - you get talked through the whole process of building niche websites, week-by-week, including seeing failures and income reports.
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Old 22-01-2014, 21:00   #280
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Thanks for your comments guys, really appreciate it and will follow them up.
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