Hello Happy Site Owners! Welcome to the BlogAid Podcast for Dec. 18th, 2012. I’m MaAnna and ‘tis the season for goodies and I’ve got some for you this week including a new search plugin, two super posts that will improve your content marketing, a new SEO setting you need to know about, and ways to avoid middle startup syndrome. Plus, I’ve got some predictions for what will be hot in 2013. Listen to the podcast now.
How’d you do with your upgrade to version 3.5? I’ve been hearing a lot of good things from all of my clients and most of the folks I know. A few have had issues with oEmbeds of their videos. WPBeginner has a code fix for that if your videos are appearing much smaller than normal. I’ve also heard about a couple of plugin breaks, but most have already been fixed by their developers.
And, most of the bugs that I’ve seen reported have been for issues with images. I told you so. That’s going to happen when they do a major overhaul to some core function like the media manager. Perhaps it overwrote custom thumbnail image sizes you have in your theme or such.
The other big issues I’ve seen are with themes breaking. The best advice I can give you for that is to get on a better theme that is well supported, like Genesis because WordPress has told, or warned us that they will be updating three times a year. Because of security issues, you can’t afford to put most of those incremental updates off either. Not to mention that your plugins are going to keep pace and eventually they’ll stop working too.
And last tip on this, be sure to log in to your site frequently after you upgrade to 3.5 because a few of the plugins you use will need to be updated just as soon as they detect that you’ve updated the core, and then maybe again in a few days for bug fixes. I’ve seen plugins like TinyMCE Advanced update at least twice. And the core TinyMCE code was one of the major overhauls this time around. So, only two updates so far is good. I haven’t seen any updates for the Ultimate TinyMCE plugin.
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.
Like I mentioned previously, a lot of plugins will need updating after you switch to WordPress 3.5. But I also want to bring your attention to another that was recently updated, which is Bad Behavior. This is a good plugin to use in conjunction with Akismet to cut down on comment spam and the false positives that Akismet reports by itself. The other buddy plugin I recommend is GASP. The difference in the two is that Bad Behavior does a little more, but it is also a little more complex to set up. And, if you use the CommentLuv plugin, GASP is already built in.
Plugins to Check Out
WP Social Share is a new plugin for adding social share buttons to your site. It looks customizable as far as placement in your posts or pages, but not in the actual look of itself. In particular, I didn’t see a way to turn off the share count. I know some folks say that showing that count encourages other folks to share your content too, but that’s only if you already have a lot of people sharing your content. And then, it’s mainly vanity numbers. So, I’m a big fan of having the option to turn that feature off. How about you? What preferences do you have that made you choose the plugin that you use and do you show your share count?
The Elastic Search plugin is new and replaces WordPress’ native search function. It uses the new Lucene search function that is written in Java and is supposed to be super fast because it does a true text search instead querying your database. I’m going to have to check into this a bit before I can recommend it. First, it’s only supported on host servers using Apache. If you have a WordPress site, this is the type of server you need to be on. If you use HostGator or BlueHost, you’re good. But, I need to check to see if they have incorporated Lucene. And, I want to do the same search with and without this plugin to see if it really is better. So, if you decide to jump on this soon, be sure to do your homework first.
And, that goes for any other plugin you want to add. I see a lot of site owners get into trouble chasing all the new shiny things with zero consideration for what they already have and it sets up a plugin conflict, or goofs some functionality on the site, or confuses Google, and more. So, don’t make decisions about plugins out of context or just because someone says it’s great. If you want a geek buddy to help you have a look at your site, contact me. I do a full 20 point inspection and tune up with you live. You’ll see what I see and I’ll send you the checklist of what needs to be done immediately afterward.
On the Content Marketing Institute blog, Joe Pulizzi has an excellent post titled Content Marketing for Events: 6 Critical Steps. It caught my eye because I’m doing webinars now. But, it only took a minute to realize that except for the when part of the event, everything else in the post was solid advice for any type of content marketing that converts. In fact, Joe gives the most succinct definition of what content marketing is that I’ve ever seen. So, definitely worth a read.
And while you’re on the Content Marketing Institute blog, see this excellent post by Roger C. Parker on how to Write the Best Titles for Content Marketing: A 10-Point Checklist. You will have better titles if you follow it.
Joost de Valk just released version 1.3.3 of his WordPress SEO plugin, and the reason I didn’t put this in the updated plugins section is because it is an SEO feature upgrade that you definitely need to know about. You’ll want to read his post on WordPress Threaded Comments and SEO for the full details and the new setting you’ll want to check.
Do you use PressWork? It was a pretty cool drag and drop framework that even got a mention from Matt Mullenweg at last year’s WordCamp in San Francisco. And even though they helped thousands of folks get started with their site, it wasn’t enough to keep them afloat. WP Candy has a post with all of the details on them closing the doors. What the developer’s said is that they had middle startup syndrome. They had enough interest to make a go of it, but not enough revenue to hire the staff they needed to grow to the size that would put them over the top.
I understand that problem. BlogAid has been growing to the point that I’ve needed to start outsourcing some things this year. And I have to tell you, it’s been a long and frustrating process. Way too many folks advertise that they are qualified to do something and they actually aren’t, or worse, they never even show up for the gig.
It has also required a pricing restructure for access to me and because of that, I’ve added new video courses and webinars so that I can make more information available to larger audiences at a time, which keeps prices good for everyone.
Have you reached the point in your business where you are dealing with middle startup syndrome? What changes have you had to make to avoid the problems PressWork ran into?
Debra Mastaler, who is an experienced link building and publicity expert and who has trained clients for over a decade at Alliance-Link, has a nice post on SEO Book titled Our Looking into the Crystal Ball of 2013 Predications Post. It’s a nice roundup of quotes from several industry leaders on the trends they see rising and falling next year. You should read the post yourself to see who is saying what, but the take-away I had was that SEO as we’ve known it is dead and a lot of businesses that branded themselves as being SEO experts are either going to shift into other areas or die on the vine. On the rise will be branding as self instead of as an entity and relationship marketing. Also on the rise is video. And, there were very interesting predictions about social media getting put in a blender and mashup sites like Scoop.It and List.ly becoming more popular.
The two trends that I was surprised not to see mentioned were the role of audio, such as podcasts, which is perfect for folks on the go, and the rise of member sites. But I have seen both of these mentioned on several other posts.
I have to tell you, I wholeheartedly believe every one of these predictions and am rearranging BlogAid in accordance with them. I’ve completely rearranged BlogAid’s Video Tutorial Library, I’m taking the site through an SEO audit for AuthorRank, I’ve got the podcast listed everywhere I can, and have started interviewing guests like Ileane Smith to talk about Scoop.It and take the BlogAid YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/BlogAid through an audit too. Things like this take a lot of time to do behind the scenes, which is one of the reasons you’ve seen the posting frequency drop on BlogAid. But, I know getting off that blogging hamster wheel for a while will pay big dividends later as these trends hit their stride.
If you’re ready to revamp your site and position yourself for what’s coming in 2013, now is the time to contact me. I get in the trenches with you, help identify the problems and solutions on your site, then show you exactly how to make it better. I only have one or two slots left for training clients to start in late January and they will go quickly. So, visit the WordPress Training page, pick your package, and contact me.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday podcast. You know you can find this podcast on iTunes, as well as Stitcher, and the 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!