Hello Happy Site Owners! Welcome to the BlogAid Podcast for Nov 20th, 2012. I’m MaAnna and it’s the week of Thanksgiving in the U.S. I’m going to be keeping Tips Tuesday short today because I know you probably have a lot on your plate this week in more ways than one. First, I want to say thank you in this season of gratitude for everyone who reads BlogAid and especially to those of you who consistently engage with me in blog comments and on social media. As every online solopreneur knows, it is so encouraging to hear from folks. I’m also grateful for every one of you who post such wonderful information online to keep us all informed. I hope I’ve helped turn more folks on to your hard work through featuring it in Tips Tuesday. Listen to the podcast now.
Is your site ready for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday? Patricio Robles has an informative post on Econsultancy saying that as more consumers stay home, retailers hone their Black Friday online strategies. Online shopping is not just about tangible goods. Folks are using that extra time to find E-products and services too, which is one of the reasons I extended the available dates for my annual 20 Point Site Inspection and Tune Up.
I run that special every year at this time where you get to see your site like a hacker sees it and get it fixed. We both look at it together and you see everything I see. Plus we look at your plugins for conflicts and ensure you’ve got the best ones for the task and the longer sessions even go into SEO and content analysis. It sells out every year, but I’ve expanded it for the whole week this year. There are a few slots still open for Wednesday, Friday, and just a couple on Saturday. So, you still have time, and it’s the cheapest peace of mind you’ll ever buy for your site.
WordPress 3.5 is nearing its final Beta version and is on schedule to be released to the public December 5th, which is only two weeks away.
Some of the links below are to the plugin developer’s page, but you can find most if not all of these plugins in the WordPress plugins repository.
This is great. On Weblog Tools, James reports that the new Plugin and Theme Reviews are Live on WordPress.org. Earlier this year the folks behind the WordPress.org software overhauled the review system to a better star rating. And now they’ve improved it by requiring reviewers to leave a brief description of why they gave it a specific rating. This helps developers and users alike because devs can use the feedback to improve their plugin or theme, and users can see if a low rating was given simply because a plugin didn’t fit their need, not because it was broken.
Lots of themes come with a widget-ready area, usually on the home page, for a slider. If you wish your site had one, but you don’t want to go through a theme redesign, then the Sliding Widgets plugin may do it for you. It will allow you to create a dynamic sliding widget area.
Plugins to Check Out
Sarah Gooding has a super post on WPMU.org with an overview of 7 Solid Plugins for Creating Custom Forms with WordPress, which includes just about every robust form creation plugin available for folks just starting out, a plugin like Contact Form 7 may be more than you need, and it only does half of what these others do. But, if you’re ready to step up to more advanced features, including integration and add-ons with other apps, then you’ll need one from Sarah’s list. My top pick is Gravity Forms simply because there is so much support and integration options for it. And, some premium themes like StudioPress, already have styling for it included. But, after looking over Sarah’s list, I found a few other promising ones that I would like to try too.
The Fast and Secure Contact Form plugin has recently been updated. You may remember that in Tips Tuesday posts earlier this year I told you about all of the problems this plugin was having and I advised my clients to switch over to the Contact Form 7 plugin. There’s a little more to setting it up, but it’s very stable. However, when I was running a speed checker on a few sites recently, I noticed that Contact Form 7 was slowing things down a bit. Honestly, these are the only two free form plugins that I recommend. As mentioned, if you need better, you’ll want to step up to a premium form like the Gravity Forms plugin. It’s worth every bit of its $39 price tag, but the features may be overkill for many sites if all your doing is posting a simple way for folks to contact you.
The Sharexy plugin has recently been updated. It is billed as a powerful social sharing, bookmarking, and blog monetization tool. I have not tried it yet and am looking for opinions and reviews of folks who have. So, by all means leave a comment on BlogAid.net about it, or the social share and follow plugins you use and if you’ve checked how it performs on mobile.
If you include affiliate links on your site, you have probably heard of the Pretty Links plugin to cloak your links. They just made a long awaited update and Christine Cobb has the skinny on it on her My Bonus Blog.
In his guest post on Social Mouths, Tommy Walker explains The Death Of The “How To” Article. Well, you know this caught my eye because I do a lot of tutorial posts on BlogAid. What Tommy gives examples of here is how to turn them into more compelling content that gets read and shared. In fact, this very post is an example of it.
Are you camera shy? That’s one of the reasons I think more folks don’t do Google Hangouts. But maybe another important question is, are your clients camera shy? In her guest on Sweet Foods, Marcela De Vivo gives 5 Ways to Use Google Hangouts to Enhance your Business. They are each correct and valuable reasons that might get you and your clients over whatever might be holding you back from trying it.
In last week’s Tips Tuesday I talked about why you might really want to consider making YouTube a part of your marketing mix and ways to it. SEO is just as important for your videos as it is for your blog. Dmitry has a super post on his Power of Comparison site with How to rank your videos on first page of Google or video marketing on crack. I do these same things for my videos and it works, and fast too. Keep in mind that there are millions of video creators on YouTube. 90% of them don’t do SEO. If you’re in the 10% that does, your videos have a good chance of being seen more.
And if want help knowing exactly what to shoot for, Phillip A. Has a list of 15 YouTube Ranking Factors on the Gain Profit Income blog.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday podcast. Did you know you can find this podcast on iTunes, and has been accepted to both Stitcher, and Blackberry Podcast? You can also subscribe directly to the RSS via email in the sidebar of the site. Visit BlogAid.net for more tips, tutorials, and free resources to make your site better.
And I’ll see you online!