3 Keys for a Successful Website 

There are many factors that go into creating a successful website, but if we must break it down into the three main building blocks of a great site, they would be design, usability, and content. You need all three of these for a website to be successful. Here’s why: 

  1. Design: The design and aesthetics of a website are what hooks the user and piques their interest. This will be the first thing that captures their interest in your website. If it’s not aesthetically pleasing, is cluttered or plain ugly, you’re likely to lose visitors quickly. 
  1. Usability: It doesn’t matter how pretty your website is, if its hard to use then your users are unlikely to stay and convert. So how user friendly the website is is what will make them stay on your website and browse for longer. Think easy navigation, clear pathways, good amounts of white space, fast page loads times and readable, scannable content. 
  1. Content: And the two things above will be completely irrelevant unless your website provides the content your visitors want. The content on your site and how well it meets their needs, is what will make them take the next step and perform your desired action.  

All usability and design principles are important, but by themselves in isolation they are unlikely to cause a site to fail completely unless they are implemented very badly! While these principles alone may not cause a site to completely fail, they play a significant role in user satisfaction. The more usability and design issues that are present, the more frustrated users may become, requiring more effort to accomplish their goals. So even if a website excels in usability principals, if the site is not attractive, useful or does not give value to the user, it will not matter. 

People develop first impressions about a website in a matter of seconds. However, these impressions can change once users start interacting with the site. If the design initially captures their attention but the site lacks usability, users are likely to abandon it. Similarly, if a website looks great and is easy to use but fails to provide the necessary content, users will still leave. And lastly, if you have fabulous content, but the design and usability are poor, the chances are your users won’t ever reach or find your content. 

So, in conclusion, you need design to hook the user, usability to make them stay, and content to meet their goals. Content is often the most overlooked part, but in reality, it is probably the most important – content is King, so they say! 

Protecting your online assets – what to do when someone leaves your business. 

These days businesses have a lot of online accounts to keep track of – social media, website, web hosting and domain, EDM platforms, Google accounts, M365 accounts, and more. When someone leaves your business that manages these accounts, or has access to them, it is really important that every account is checked and updated as necessary, in case the account relies on that person’s email or phone number for logging in or for two-factor verification. Not doing so can mean getting shut out of important accounts, not having access to your data, or worst-case scenario having the account shut down or cancelled.

The following is a list of some of the key accounts that need to be checked BEFORE your employee leaves, followed by our best practice tips for protecting yourself. This is not an exhaustive list, but some of the most common accounts that will need to be checked.

Social Media

  • Instagram accounts will often be set up with someone’s phone number attached to it. So make sure you check and change this if necessary. Verification messages may also get sent to this number. Also check the email address on the account. 
  • Check any other accounts you have, such as Pinterest. 
  • Make sure you have the up to date login details for any accounts that have separate login details. 


Facebook warrants its own section, as this is the most likely one to cause problems! Most Facebook pages are “owned” by a Meta Business Account, so it is really important that you know which individuals have access to this account, particularly any admins. It can cause massive headaches if you lose access to the Meta Business Account, and will mean there are certain actions you will not be able to perform on Facebook and Instagram. Furthermore, trying to prove you own a Facebook page or Meta Account can be extremely time consuming and often nearly impossible to rectify. So, make sure you check the following: 

  • Who has page-level and task-level access to your Facebook page(s) 
  • Who has been added as a user to your Meta Business Manager account, and what assets each user has been given access to 
  • Check your Ad Accounts, payment methods, commerce accounts and pixels and who has access to these. 

When someone leaves, make sure you remove them from all the above, and ensure that you still have two or more other people who have access to everything, including at least one admin. 

MailChimp or Other EDM Platform

Make sure you check your MailChimp account (or other EDM platform), and see whos’ email address has been used on the account – also check individual lists and their contacts, as these are often set individually. Also check the “from” email address used for lists/campaigns.

Check and change the identity verification method and/or two-factor authentication settings if needed – these will often be linked to the person who is using the account the most, so if this person leaves you will not be able to verify your identity when you try and login.


Some businesses have multiple Google accounts, and these days it’s basically impossible to log in to any Google account without two-factor authentication or identity verification. So, if someone else has their own mobile number or email address connected to either of these, its near on impossible to gain access without jumping through a lot of hoops. Your Google account is how you access the following Google products, so you do not want to lose access! 

  • Google Analytics 
  • Google Ads 
  • Google My Business / Google maps listing 
  • Gmail 
  • YouTube 
  • Google Workspace 
  • Google Drive 

So go into your overall Google account (https://myaccount.google.com/), and check your personal information settings and Security settings (make sure you also check each login method plus the recovery emails and phone numbers). 

Hosting and Domain Names

Make sure the email and phone number on your domain name account and hosting accounts are current, active and accessible – otherwise you might miss an important renewal email and have your website turned off.  


Check which users have login rights to your website. If the person leaving uses a generic login (such as “admin”) that other people also use, it could be a good idea to change the password. If they have their own personal login, you can just delete / deactivate their login. 

Payment Accounts 

For example, Stripe, eWay or PayPal. If the person leaving set these up or controls the accounts, the account could be linked to their own email or phone, along with the verification methods. So check and change as necessary. Also be aware that changing account details such as the email and password may reset any API connections, so make sure you check this afterwards.

Other Tools

Some other good ones to check if you use them are Canva and social media management tools.

Our best practices for future proofing 

  • Try and use a generic email address on all your accounts that more than one person has access to, or that will not change when someone leaves, such as admin@, info@, marketing@.  
  • Where possible, always have more than one person on Social accounts. NEVER have just one person added as an admin to a Facebook account. The reason for this is two-fold – 1. If someone’s personal Facebook account gets hacked or compromised, you have a back-up person who can access the account, and 2. If someone leaves, you have a backup person who can access the account. Having a neutral 3rd party added to your Facebook page or Meta Business Account, such as an agency, is also a good protection option. 
  • If you must set up two-factor authentication or an additional verification/contact method, where possible/practical try and have this set to a generic email, or to a phone number that is less likely to change, i.e. the owner or someone else high up in the organisation. 
  • Keep an updated, live record of all your accounts, passwords, what email is attached to them, and who the two-factor authentication will go to. This way if someone needs to access an account, they can easily find the login details and/or who the verification request will get sent to. 

5 Tips For A Faster WordPress Website

Nothing puts your website visitors off more than pages that are slow to load. If your WordPress website loads quickly your users will have a better experience which leads to more sales and conversions for you, so investing some time into increasing the performance of your WordPress website is time (and money!) worth spent.

Website speed is not only important for the user experience, it is also an important search engine ranking factor. Slow websites will rank lower in Google which could lead to missed opportunities for your business.

You can run performance tests to give you a benchmark as to how your site is performing right now. This way you have something to compare to after you’ve done these tasks. Some examples are:

These tools all give very detailed analysis of how your site could be improved. One important metric is “Largest Contentful Paint” or LCP. This is essentially the loading time as perceived by users. The fully loaded time will be slightly longer than this, but users only notice what they can see, which is what the LCP time reflects. An LCP time of under 2.5 seconds is good and is what Google recommends.

Below are 5 quick tips to increase your WordPress website performance. This isn’t an exhaustive list, there’s lots of different ways that performance can be improved, but what we’ve put below are 5 things you should be able to action easily right now:

  1. Review your plugin usage
  2. Use a caching plugin
  3. Optimise images
  4. Update all. the. things.
  5. Use good quality hosting

Keep on reading for more detail on each of these 5 performance tips.

Review your plugin usage

Quality matters more than quantity when it comes to plugins for WordPress websites. There’s no definitive answer on how many is too many, but if you can reduce the number of plugins you’re using, that is going to mean fewer files are loaded on your website, which could help with your performance issues. Go to your plugins list on your dashboard and do the following:

  • Audit your plugin list and remove unused plugins.
  • Consider the quality of the plugins you do use – check reviews, ensure they’re being actively kept up to date.
  • Find replacements for plugins that aren’t up to standard
  • See if you can find a single plugin that does the job of several plugins you’re currently using (likewise make sure you’re not using two plugins that do the same job! We see this all the time)
  • Deactivate plugins one by one to see if any one in particular is causing the performance issues
  • And remember to backup everything before making any changes to your website!

Use a caching plugin

Caching can significantly speed up your website by storing static versions of your content. Follow these steps:

  • Install a reputable caching plugin – WP Rocket is our favourite, W3 Total Cache is another popular alternative Also some hosting companies have their own caching otptions – e.g. Cloudways (one of our hosting providers) has their own caching tool called Breeze
  • Configure the plugin settings to enable page caching, browser caching, and object caching
  • Periodically clear the cache when making changes to ensure updated content is displayed

Many caching plugins will also have the option to combine and minify your javascript and CSS files further reducing your page size and increasing speed.

Optimise images

Large and uncompressed images can slow down your website. Implement these image optimization techniques:

  • Resize images to the appropriate dimensions before uploading them
  • Compress images using tools like JPEGmini, TinyPNG, or plugins like Smush or Imagify
  • Consider lazy loading, which defers the loading of images until they are visible on the screen. This is an option in plugins like WP Rocket and can be done using both of the iamge compression plugins above.

We have a dedicated post about image optimisation for WordPress here.

Update All. The. Things.

Keeping your WordPress core, themes, and plugins up to date is crucial for speed and security. Here’s what to remember:

  • Regularly check for updates and apply them promptly
  • Enable automatic updates whenever possible to ensure you’re always running the latest versions
  • Make sure to take a backup of your website before performing updates in case anything breaks

Use Good Quality Hosting

Your hosting provider plays a vital role in your website’s speed and reliability. Consider these hosting factors:

  • Opt for a reputable hosting provider known for high-performance servers and optimized WordPress hosting
  • Look for features such as SSD storage, CDN integration, and server-side caching
  • Hosting that is physically nearby your target audience can also improve performance (e.g. our managed hosting option uses Auckland based servers)
  • Check reviews to ensure their support is responsive

Hopefully by following some or all of these tips you’ll see a measurable improvement in the speed of your WordPress website. Let us know how you get on in the comments below.

Four tips for optimising images on your website

Imagery can make up a large component of a website, so having optimised images is good not only for SEO, but also for the users’ experience.

  • The size, filename, and tags of an image are all factors for Search Engine Optimisation – helping search engines understand what an image is about, and keeping the size of the website small so it loads quickly.
  • The size and title of an image also impacts your users’ experience – large images are slow to load, and can cause the whole page to be slow (which can be very frustrating for your website visitors). Plus, your visitors are essentially downloading these images, and if they’re using mobile data this can eat away at their data.

Here are four key things that should be considered when managing the images on your website, to help improve SEO and also your users’ experience on your website.

  1. Image Size
    Every extra image or file that is on a website creates additional load that has to be downloaded to someone’s computer/device from the server the website is hosted on. The larger the image size is, the longer it will take to download and the longer it will take the web page to load. Not only is this frustrating for the person trying to load the website, website page speeds and load times are now an SEO issue, as it is one of Google’s ranking factors. So, it is important to keep websites light and fast.

    Before images are loaded to the website, they should be resized. If an image on the web page will only be displayed at 520px wide, then it’s unnecessary to upload the image at 3,000px wide at 300 DPI (which is really meant for print). A good rule of thumb is to try and get smaller in-page images down under 100-200kb in size. For large banner-type images having them larger is fine, but still under 500kb, or as close to it as possible. These images are often displayed at around 1,920px – 2,000px, so will need to be larger. For banner images, it’s also important that the image is actually big enough for the space – if it is too small it will get stretched and then look blurry, which does not give a good first impression.

    One final thing to consider is the orientation of your photos – try and make sure you choose an image that fits the space, or can be cropped to the correct dimensions.

  2. Compression and file type
    After resizing your images, sometimes they will still to be too large in terms of file size. Some images and photos retain a lot of unnecessary data within the image, which for web and screen purposes can be stripped out. Another thing to keep in mind is the file type. PNG images tend to be larger than JPGs, so unless there is a reason why the image needs to be a PNG (such as it needs a transparent background, it’s clearcut etc.), convert the image into a JPG or WEBP file.

    After resizing your images, it is good practice to also compress the images. There are plenty of free web compression tools out there, but the one we use is tinyjpg.com. This will strip out the unnecessary stuff and get the file as small as possible. If you have Photoshop, you can also use the ”Export for web” feature which will also compress the image, and this can also change the file type if you need to as well.

  3. Image file name and title
    Naming files correctly helps search engines understand what an image is about – search engines use the file name and the alt tag (see below) to “see” an image. A file name such as DSC_495869.jpg means nothing to search engines (or users!). However, something like blue-leather-handbag.jpg has a lot more meaning and context. Try and rename image files before uploading them to the website.

    WordPress also automatically takes the file name and turns it into the image title, so this is important to keep in mind as well, especially if the title is being converted into the image alt tag. Sometimes, the image title will also appear when you hover over an image on the website – so to make it look more professional, and also make sense to your visitors, having something meaningful in the WordPress image title field is good practice. Having good image titles also makes it much easier looking for images in your media library later. You can edit the titles later, but this creates more work.

  4. Image alt tags
    All images on a website should have image alt text, which should contain a keyword rich description about the image. Search engines cannot read images, so the alt attribute is what tells the search engine what the image is about – so it is an important factor for SEO. It will also appear as a text description of the image if an image does not load in a visitor’s browser and is also used for screen readers. So, it is important that the alt tag actually describes the image, in a keyword-optimised way.
WordPress settings to optimise images for SEO.
Exporting images for the web to compress them

Why WordPress is our favourite website Development platform

WordPress is open source content management software (CMS) and currently powers around 25% of all websites on the Internet.

It began primarily as a blogging tool, but has developed into one of the most flexible and customisable CMS solutions available today. Being open source, there is a huge developer community in behind WordPress helping to improve and support it. The WordPress developer community also has created thousands of (often free) plugins to enhance its capabilities.

Here’s our top 5 reasons why we love to design and build websites using WordPress:

  1. Ease of Use: WordPress is very user-friendly, even for self-confessed technophobes. It has a simple interface and intuitive features that make it easy to create and manage your website.
  2. Customisability: With thousands of free and paid plugins, WordPress offers endless options to add custom functionality to your website. Additionally, if you can’t find one ‘off the shelf’, it’s open source nature means we can build one for you. This requires writing a whole heap of code, which we love to do!
  3. SEO Friendly: WordPress is highly SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) friendly, which means that it is easy to optimize your website for search engines like Google. It has built-in features like permalinks, meta descriptions, and tags that make it easy for search engines to crawl and index your website. Adding an SEO plugin gives you even more options to fully optimise your website for search engine visibility.
  4. Security: WordPress takes security seriously and is constantly updating its platform to protect against security threats. Additionally, there are many security plugins available that can further enhance the security of your website.
  5. Performance: A well optimised WordPress site on good quality hosting can be blazing fast. This ensures your customers and clients have the best user experience possible.

At The New Black the majority of our builds also include a page builder plugin which enables us to build website pages to a high standard, whilst making it easy for our clients to make edits to them in the future. No knowledge of code is required to make changes to your website – it’s a “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) front-end editor. Additionally, the use of templates ensures consistency in the design and layout, which gives a highly polished, professional, fast website.

GA4 Overview

Last Year Google launched their latest version of Google Analytics – GA4; and the current version, Universal Analytics (UA), is being discontinued from July 2023. So, lets take a look at what you need to know.

What’s changed?

A lot! GA4 is very different to the previous versions of Analytics. But for the everyday client that doesn’t use Google Analytics a lot, or that relies on an agency for their data, we’ll just stick to some of the key, most noticeable differences.

GA4 moves from a hit-based, pageview and session focus to a user centric, event-based module. Because of this, the method of collecting data is different, and so the stats will differ slightly (or a lot in same cases) if you were comparing the same metric in GA4 with UA. This is just something to be aware of when comparing new data to previous data collected with the old method, for example, if comparing May 2023 with May 2022. Differences may not be a cause for concern, as it could be the method of collection that has caused the change. For example, the method for determining a session and what resets/ends a session is slightly different between the two versions, so if you were looking at the number of sessions for the same period in UA vs GA4, they would be different.

Another key difference of GA4 is the ability to track website and app data in the same property – for those businesses with an app, it gives a more holistic view of your users and their journey with your business online – user behaviour can be tracked across multiple devices and platforms, including web, mobile, and even offline interactions. This is especially useful in a world where customers often interact with businesses through multiple touchpoints.

GA4 automatically recognises and collects data on several website events, such as pageviews, clicks, downloads, form starts etc. This is a nice benefit that UA did not offer. It is also easier to measure other simple events than previous versions of Analytics, as you can add them directly into the admin area (you do need some knowledge of events and Google Analytics to do this, but there is no coding involved). With UA, custom events had to be either hardcoded into the website code by a developer, or we had to use Google Tag Manager (GTM). GA4 is more similar to GTM in its method of tracking events.

In a lot of cases, we will still use GTM to track events and conversions, but for a simple website with one or two simple custom events, this could easily be done from the GA admin area. However, some of the methods we used previously to track a Goal in UA are now no longer available in the GA4 interface, so these would need to implemented using GTM instead (such as tracking a conversion based on the user viewing a certain page, like a thank you page).

One of the other main differences between UA and GA4 is the reporting interface. GA4 is quite different, with a stripped back collection of reports available by default. But there is a comprehensive custom reports section where you can create your own reports, and a library of additional reports you can add. This takes some getting used to when you are used to the plethora of reports available in UA. For more complex websites, it has taken some time to find and set up the reports that we need and use regularly. But the upside is there is a lot less bloat in the interface by default.

One of the biggest changes we’ve noticed is with the engagement metrics. Instead of metrics such as bounce rate and time on page, GA4 gives us “engaged sessions” and “average engagement time” – and these figures look quite different to the UA data. So, this will also take some getting used to.

What do I need to take away from this?

If you don’t regularly use Google Analytics, but rely on us for your data, then not much! The main thing you need to be aware of is that your report may look a bit different going forward, as we start to remove some of the old UA metrics and replace them with the equivalent GA4 ones. Also, it’s good to be aware of the differences in the data collection methods, as data and comparisons may appear different to normal or inaccurate.

If you don’t currently check your Analytics and would like to understand more about how your website is performing for your business, or better understand your customers and grow your business – get in touch with us. We can arrange a one-off report, do regularly monthly reporting, quarterly reporting, and more.