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What is a WordPress Theme?

What is a WordPress theme?

WordPress themes are like a cake. They’re usually pretty good right out of the oven. However, you can also add icing on the cake to make it extra special.

Think of the icing as your website layout, fonts, logo, and colours. All you have to decide on is the base flavor you want from the cake. This is the general layout and look of your site, which is pre-built by a WordPress developer.

If you own a restaurant, you can search for “restaurant themes” and if you are a writer, you can look for “writer” or “freelancer” themes. These themes will have the pages and layouts needed for your specific business.  

You don’t have to bake them yourself from scratch (a.k.a writing the code and designing the site).

Making the Site Yours

Once you’ve found a good theme that fits your requirements, you simply need to customize it to make it yours. You can find a theme for almost any design style or business niche in the WordPress marketplace.

The best part? There are a ton of free options.

So, if you’re just looking to make your start and get your business online for the first time, you don’t have to fork over any cash to do it.

In Conclusion

If you’re looking to get started with your first website, WordPress is one of the best options. It’s free, and thanks to the marketplace of theme developers, you should be able to get a nice website up for yourself in a short amount of time.

At CanSpace, we provide web hosting and domains to some of Canada’s largest corporations (many using WordPress). Don’t hesitate to send us a message if you need any help or sign up today to start building your website!

Click here to pick a web hosting package that fits your needs. Domains are included for free on annual plans!


Why You Should Avoid Unlimited Hosting Plans

avoiding unlimited hosting plans

If you’ve recently been looking online for companies to host your website, you’ve probably been asking yourself: What are unlimited hosting plans?

Well, those unlimited plans are essentially a dishonest marketing tactic certain companies use to sell their services.

In hosting, there is a term we use called overselling. This is essentially the shady practice of setting up many more than the ideal number of sites on a single server.

What this does is extremely slow down performance for everyone hosting their site.

Can Hosting Plans be Unlimited?

Imagine you found a hosting company offering an unlimited package. The plan sounds great, you get unlimited bandwidth, fast speeds and more! 

Even if you didn’t know they were likely overselling, let’s just think about the idea of an unlimited hosting plan for a second.

How can it be unlimited? By definition that means there is literally not a limit to the bandwidth, which is impossible. Even if it’s “way more than you’d ever use”, there’s still a limit.

Some hosting companies won’t even give you the limit in the fine print. This is dishonest and wrong in our opinion.

Service Will Suffer

On the rare occasion that the hosting provider isn’t over-selling their servers, they’ll be offering so much for such little profit, that they’ll literally not be able to offer support. Or, it will suffer severely. 

This is why we NEVER offer unlimited plans. If we did, we wouldn’t be able to offer 24/7 customer service and high-quality hosting. It’s important to be realistic with the service.

In Conclusion

If you’re looking for a high quality, affordable web hosting service, look no further. CanSpace is Canada’s leading hosting provider and domain name registrar.

You can trust that we’ll never over-sell, and will always offer a fair price. Plus, all of our hosting plans come 24/7 support and a free domain on annual terms. Get started now and you could have your website up today!


Small Business Tips: Paid Advertising on Instagram

instagram paid advertising campaigns for small businesses

Ever wondered how you can start advertising your business using Instagram ads?

The good news is, if you’ve ever done Facebook ads before, then you know the platform. It should be easy for you to pick up and get started with Instagram.

Even if you haven’t done any ads before, that’s okay.

Instagram ads offer all of the same targeting options as FB. Let’s go over those now.

Paid Advertising Targeting on Instagram

Below are the options you can use when setting up your ad targeting. There are more but this is where you should start.

  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Education
  • Interests
  • Income
  • Languages

You can see very quickly how you can get in deep with your targeting. The con of this is that you may become a little overwhelmed if it’s the first time using the platform.

Not to worry. We’re going to walk through setting up a campaign now.

First, you’ll need to take the following steps.

  1. Ensure you have both a Facebook Business page and Instagram account set up
  2. Open the Facebook Power Editor
  3. Click “Create Campaign”

Once you’ve got the page open to creating a campaign, you’ll need to pick a campaign objective. There are many to choose from, but only the following are permitted for Instagram ads.

  • Brand awareness
  • Traffic (for clicks to your website or to the app store for your app)
  • App installs
  • Engagement (for post engagement only)
  • Video views
  • Conversions (for conversions on your website or in your app)

Think carefully about what you’re looking to accomplish from the ad. This will help you choose the correct objective.

Let’s run through an example campaign so you can see how everything could be set up.

Instagram Ads For Mark’s Shoe Emporium

In this example, we’ll use an online shoe store to build out a hypothetical campaign.

The product we are creating the ad for is a pair of high-quality leather dress shoes for men. We want to sell directly to consumers with the ad.

Judging by the product, our target market is likely a middle-aged business or career focused man, already earning a decent wage and has a desire to look ‘sharp’.

Our campaign may look like this.

Objective: Conversions

Conversion Event: Purchase (You can optimize for many things, like leads & add to cart)

Location: Canada (If this where you sell)

Gender: Male

Age: 30 – 55

Interests: “Business & Industry” “ALDO Shoes” “Steve Madden Shoes”

Demographic: Income $50,000+, Current Homeowner

Placements: Instagram

Viola, you’re good to start testing the ads. I recommend starting with a daily ad budget of $5-10 for a few days and then calibrating based on results.

Now you need to create the actual ad that will show.

Photo Ads

Since instagram is a picture sharing app, having something visually appealing is most important. Use a filter to make it look more “native” or basically less like an ad.

In the verbiage – state the product benefit, then the product, and finally something about price.

Remember, one of the most important parts about advertising is simply making sure you’re not getting the wrong people to click on your ad. IE: disqualifying them.

One of the best ways to do this is to state the price right away.

In Conclusion

Now you’ve seen how easy it can be to get started with advertising on Instagram! Go take a look and test for yourself. You’re just a few steps away from getting in-front of your potential customers and sending them to your website.

Don’t have a website? CanSpace offers the lowest priced domains guaranteed, so you can get online for cheap. Start your search for domains here.

Once you’ve got a domain (or if you already have one), you can find great web hosting plans here.


How to Set Up an Online Store With WordPress

How to set up an online store with a wordpress website

What do you need to take your business online and create a store with WordPress? You don’t need much, just the following.

  1. Domain & Hosting
  2. WordPress (and theme)
  3. Shopping Cart Plug-in
  4. Payment Gateway & SSL
  5. Bank Account

Let’s go over each of these now.

Domain & Hosting For WordPress Stores

You need a domain so that you can link your store to a web address that customers can easily find by searching or through ads. Your domain should be your business name or the product you sell.

Ex: mensleathershoes.com OR kevinsleathershoes.com

If you don’t currently have a domain, start your search for the lowest priced .ca domains guaranteed. Once you have a domain, you’ll need to have hosting set up so you can actually start building your website and have it hosted online.

Click the following link to find a Canadian web hosting package, starting from $5 CAD per month. With CanSpace it’s super simple to get started and you’re not tied into any contracts.

Setting up Your Store Theme

Once you have your domain and hosting set-up, you’ll need to begin making your website in WordPress.

You should take a look at the following themes for your WordPress store. The WordPress store theme however should be for the specific WordPress store plug-in you pick.

WooCommerce “StoreFront” Theme

This is a clean and versatile theme built for the WordPress plug-in WooCommerce which we will touch on below.

It is built by WooCommerce’s team. Since they have intimate knowledge of the entire system’s functionality, you’ll find it has many smart and easy to use features.

EasyShop Theme

This is a theme built on-top of EasyCart by a 3rd party developer. It is mainly tailored to apparel companies, but can be modified for other purposes.

Let’s look at the actual shopping cart plug-in now.  

WordPress Store Shopping Cart Plug-In

When looking for the plug-in to set up your WordPress store and manage purchases – you’re going to need a few things.

  1. Good inventory management
  2. Easy to use admin interface (for uploading/changing products)
  3. Strong integrations to payment processors (like PayPal)
  4. Good front-end user experience (for those browsing your store)

The two plug-ins that check those boxes are WooCommerce and EasyCart.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a free plug-in with an extensive marketplace of free and premium extensions.

Basically any features and functionality you need can be installed into your WordPress store with extensions for reasonable monthly fees. However, for the novice user, WooCommerce should be good enough right out-of-the-box.

EasyCart

EasyCart is a one-time payment plug-in option – that ranges from $50-180 for a lifetime license. This includes all of their extensions. No monthly fees like WooCommerce.

There is a bigger upfront investment, but many people find they end up spending a decent amount of money per month with WooCommerce once they start scaling anyway.

I personally prefer the look and feel of WooCommerce. It is also the more popular choice.

Payment Gateway, SSL & Bank Account

Once you’ve got your website and WordPress store up – you’ll need to link the shopping cart plug-in to your payment gateway.

If you’re not sure which one to pick, I’ve placed the most popular ones below.

  1. Paypal
  2. Stripe
  3. Square

You can also use Payoneer or Payfirma, which are two other options.

Before you do this though, you’ll need to ensure you have an SSL – which stands for Secure Socket Layer. It’s basically the technology that secures your website while processing your customers’ credit cards.

You can get SSL’s from most web hosting providers for under $200. At CanSpace our SSL is $39 per year.

Both WooCommerce and EasyCart have instructions that will tell you how to easily link your payment gateway and begin selling. From there, all you have to do is make sure your bank account is connected so you can take out your earnings!

In Conclusion

Now you’ve seen how simple it is to get your WordPress store up. If you’ve always wanted to sell online but never knew how… now is a perfect time to start.

Remember, you’ll need a domain and web hosting. So start your search for domains and find the perfect web hosting package for your needs today.


Why Should I Use WordPress to Build my Website?

Should you use WordPress to build your website?

Building your website with WordPress is a smart idea. Why?

For anyone who has tried to get into the “website world”, I’m sure you’ve noticed the labyrinth of tools, coding languages, web platforms etc.

It all can get very confusing, quickly.

This is where WordPress shines. It’s simplicity & intuitiveness has made it one of the most popular web platforms (over 30% of sites online run on WordPress).

Ease of Use

WordPress has a great user experience. It takes a little bit to learn the entire system – but to get the basics and manage your website, you won’t find anything easier.

The correct term for WordPress is a CMS; Content Management System.

Basically, it’s built to help you manage all of the content on your website… From your logo, website theme to your blog articles etc. It’s all there in one location, helping even beginners at all things computers/technology run their own site.

There are also “themes” which give you super simple drag-and-drop page builders, so you can build awesome looking webpages without knowing how to code at all.

Flexibility

For most budding website owners – there are usually a list of functionality that you want built into the site.

Do you want to have something to pop-up and get the information of people on your articles, get them to share or put your YouTube video on the site?

Any “features” you could ever want are available in the WordPress MarketplaceAll you have to do is download a “plug-in” that automatically sets your website up with new features.

You can get free plug-ins for almost everything but there are also great paid solutions.

Support

Since there is such a huge community of people using WordPress, finding help online is usually one click away.

Of course, if you were hosting your site with CanSpace you would have our team of 24/7 customer support representatives (click here to find a hosting package).

If you’re not though… There are tons of resources for WordPress users out there. Including forums and groups dedicated to building and managing your website.

You can use these places to support you… Especially when you’re brand new to websites.


Should I Use a CDN?

Should I use a CDN

What are the benefits, and when should you use a CDN?

If you’re like most small business owners, you may not know exactly what a CDN is. The term stands for Content Delivery Network, which is simply a system of servers distributed across the world.

Essentially, CDN’s are used to improve how fast your website loads. By leveraging intelligent geographical placement of servers, it decreases the time it takes for your visitor to load your website.

This is important for you as website speed is an essential factor for your success online.

Why You’d Use a CDN

Speed is important for both user experience, and search engine optimisation. Increased speed will result in the following benefits…

  1. Increase Google search rankings
  2. Reduce your bounce rate (which will…)
  3. Improve your lead capture and sales

At the end of the day – it’s all about your goals. How will a faster website affect your bottom line? As it turns out, it will affect it in a big, positive way. So should you use a CDN? Yes.

If you’re looking to get started with a CDN, take a look at our hosting packages today. CanSpace is a CloudFlare premium partner and CloudFlare CDN services are included free of charge for all of our clients (most places charge $20 or more per month).

In addition to our low prices, we are Canada’s leading web host and domain registrar. So you can rest assured in your decision to host with us.


What’s the Best TLD for SEO?

What is the best TLD for SEO?

It’s the question that seems to be on everyone’s minds when it comes to domains… Which TLD is best for SEO and will help my website rank?

In general, the traditional .com, .ca, .net and .org type TLD’s are best for SEO. Picking from the more unique and newer TLD’s can (sometimes) result in decreased search engine performance. This isn’t always the case though, and if you want a unique .ninja, .realtor or similar, you should go for it.

If you’re not sold on the idea of a unique TLD, we recommend going for a traditional TLD as it could have an impact on your chances of ranking.

Given that we know the above, the question that remains is which of the traditional types is the best TLD for SEO.

The answer? It depends.

The Best TLD For SEO is .ca

If you are a Canadian business or conduct business in Canada, the best option is usually the .ca domain.

This is because it unquestionably targets a specific geographical location. The TLD .ca is meant for Canadian-centric websites (Canadians can still use a .COM domain whereas companies not targeting Canadians wouldn’t use .CA).

When you use a .ca TLD, you automatically tell Google that you’re targeting Canadians.

What this does is give you more weight in Canadian search queries. You will automatically be seen as more geographically relevant or useful for their searches.

So what if you’re not targeting Canadian visitors/consumers?

.COM vs Everything Else

Some people see .COM as the holy grail for TLD’s. While it may slightly affect how your brand is perceived (do people take .NET domains seriously?), there is little difference on what is the best TLD for SEO.

If you can get a .COM, that’s great. If not, using .net, .co or .org won’t affect your SEO.

In Conclusion

The only thing to worry about when debating which TLD is best for SEO is your target market.

Is your business Canadian or target Canadian consumers? Use the TLD .CA. For all other situations, you can choose basically any of the traditional types (.com, .co, .org) and there will be no difference.

So, are you ready to buy a new domain? Click here to get your search started and take advantage of CanSpace’s  absolute lowest priced .ca domains, anywhere!


Improving WordPress Website Speed

How to improve your wordpress website speed

If you are the proud owner of a website running on WordPress, you may be asking yourself how to improve your website speed. The answer starts with: content.

Basically, the amount of data stored on your website affects the time it takes to load. This data can be in the form of images, PDF’s, plug-ins etc. Also important are the systems used to load that information. Aka hosting. Let’s talk about the actual content first.

1) Minimizing Your Plug-ins

WordPress plug-ins are awesome for setting websites up with cool and valuable functionality like social sharing and email list building.

The only problem? There is a ton of data chugging along to keep those plug-ins running. So while useful, the data for the plug-ins and the strain it puts on your server while “executing” plug-ins can get out of hand fast.

You will likely be able to immediately improve your WordPress website speed by cutting out some plug-ins.

2) Optimizing Images & PDF’s

Large files have the biggest drain on your hosting and is the fastest way to not improve WordPress website speed. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to fix. The first step for pictures is to make sure their dimensions aren’t too big.

In most cases, you’ll never need a picture bigger than 850 pixels wide.

A lot of people upload images without ever realizing their dimensions are 2000, 4000+ pixels which can triple file size or more! So get that taken care of first.

3) Reducing Image/PDF File Size

Instead of “saving for web” in photoshop I recommend using “lossless/lossy compression” software which basically means it removes unnecessary data from your content without reducing quality.

Try the following places:

Tiny JPG/PNG also have a plug-in you can download right onto your WordPress site to automatically optimize images when they’re uploaded.

4) Analyze Your Website

Tools like GTMetrix will analyze your website and give real-time advice for areas of improvement. Sometimes you’ll be able to implement these changes yourself (even beginners).

Outside of the easy fixes, you may need to hire an expert to come in and fix your code. At any rate, this a great avenue to see where you can immediately improve your WordPress website speed.

5) Choose a Good Hosting Provider

Even the most optimized website will run slow if the servers keeping it live are slow themselves.

You’d be surprised. The difference between good hosting providers and bad ones can mean a 50% +/- difference in speed. So make sure to inquire about this when choosing a company.

At CanSpace, we’re always working on new ways to improve server speed.

In Conclusion

As you can see, optimizing your website comes down to five major areas. As long as you focus on what we covered in the article, you should have no problem speeding up your website or creating a fast one from scratch.

If you’re interested in getting a website live or want a new host to improve your WordPress website speed, click here to see our web hosting plans.

We’d love to help you get online!


The Best Domain Extension For Personal Websites

the domain extension you need for your personal wordpress website

Want to get your own website or blog online but not sure what domain extension (or TLD – Top Level Domain) works best for a personal website?

There are now hundreds of TLD’s to choose from. Meaning it’s probably an overwhelming decision to be making! Should you pick .ca, .com, .co, .biz, .artist etc?

The good news is, in most cases the decision is relatively easy to make.

The Best Extension for a Personal Website Is…

Easy to remember, and helps you rank higher on the search engines so more people find you.

The fact of the matter is: traditional .CA and .COM domains are still the best. And we’re going to explain why that is right now.

1. Best For SEO

If you’re a Canadian business or do business in Canada, the best domain extension for you would be .CA. Why? It is given more “local power” in the search engines.

As a result of the country specific domain name, Google recognizes that you will be more relevant to people making search queries in Canada vs. the other options.

Not only does using .CA or .COM effect SEO, it plays a part in how people perceive your website.

2. More trusted

The new TLD’s are just that… new. Meaning they do not yet have widespread usage or recognition.

The recognition of .com or .ca domains is undoubtedly higher (because they have been around for longer). This recognition improves the trust factor of your website. In addition, if you’re using a .ca domain, you will be perceived as a local business.

This is good for building trust with your website visitors and potential customers if you’re selling.

3. More of a “staple” domain

When it comes to the new unique/cool TLD’s, they are best used in specific branding or marketing campaigns.

For regular personal websites, using something that is more of a widely recognized “staple” TLD will make your domain more easily memorable and less gimmicky feeling.

In Conclusion

If you’re looking to get people to your website to consume your stuff – whether that be your blogs, vlogs, or photo feed, your best bet is to go with the traditional .ca or .com domains.

There are instances where it may make sense… If you really want something unique and are willing to put in the work to generate more brand recognition, you can use the other types. Just remember, your SEO may be affected.

So, if you’re looking for a great domain, click here to start your search. CanSpace offers the cheapest domains around guaranteed (including the new TLD’s).


What is a CDN in Web Hosting?

CDN web hosting to speed up your website

If you’re looking to improve the speed of your website, you may have heard of something called a CDN, but many people don’t know what it is. So what is a CDN?

CDN stands for Content Delivery Network.

It is essentially a network of servers, spread around the world in order to serve data to your website visitors quicker than they would receive it traditionally.

Why use a CDN?

Speed is one of the most important ranking factors in SEO – which means optimising how your website content is delivered is important.

This will help you achieve better results in the search engines.

In addition, increased website speed will contribute to a lower bounce rate (every second of load time means 20% less people stay). Improving your speed will also improve your lead capture and sales.

How a CDN Works

When your website goes up on the CDN, each server will cache (store) your site’s static files. These are things like graphics, images, Javascript, CSS and videos.

The reason they are storing the static files, is because they are the largest and take the longest to deliver.

Upon searching for your site, the servers will automatically choose the Content Delivery Network location closest to your website visitor to deliver your website files.

This means that your website visitor will load up your website in the fastest time possible.

Since speed is important for SEO and conducting business successfully online, CanSpace offers CDN’s for all of our clients, free of charge.

In Conclusion

If you’re looking to improve the speed of your website or start on the right foot with a new one, get started with a hosting plan today!

Trust Canada’s leading domain registrar and web hosting provider to take good care of your website. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact our 24/7 support team.


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