Hello Happy Site Owners! This is the BlogAid Podcast of Tips Tuesday for October 9th, 2012. I’ve got some real goodies for you this week including news on the beta release of WordPress 3.5, a super book on the .htaccess file, plugin updates for open graph and cookies in the U.K., plus blogging tips from one of my fave super bloggers, and some fantastic news on YouTube. Listen now.
I received quite a bit of positive feedback from folks who enjoyed listening to Tips Tuesday as a podcast. So, I’m going to continue offering it that way.
In the news this week, the API for Feedburner will stop working this Friday, October 12th. Now, that doesn’t mean that Feedburner is shutting down completely. It just means that it won’t work well with other programs and platforms. Google has shut down other sites linked to Feedburner, such as their Twitter account and support. But when they pulled the plug on AdWords for feeds, that was the clue that prompted me to look for another RSS feed service for both BlogAid and all of my clients. If you have questions about your feed and what other service to use based on your needs, be sure to download my free report on the Ultimate Feedburner Alternatives Guide for RSS and Email.
Now, I don’t normally cover what’s happening on social media platforms anymore, but the recent actions by Facebook, and more importantly, articles of folks defending those actions, just irked me enough to write a post where I decided to call Facebook Edgerank what it really is – censorship. I hope you take the time to read it and put in your .02.
The first beta of WordPress 3.5 is out and along with it comes the new Twenty Twelve theme. I’m excited about this theme because it is in vogue with current minimalist trends and will likely serve as the basis for a lot of developers who design free themes.
There are several feature changes to the core WordPress code too and I’ll have videos soon on all the new features as well as the new theme.
If you’ve had a WordPress site for long, you’ve probably run across some advice to make changes to you .htaccess file. Maybe you didn’t feel comfortable poking around in there. Jeff Starr had a post on Digging into WordPress about a new book titled .htaccess Made Easy and it covers everything from redirects, to security, to SEO. It’s only $20, so you know I’m going to buy it. And it comes with access to their forum and lifetime updates on the book. That’s priceless.
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.
Recently Updated Plugins
Yoast is working to upgrade his WordPress SEO plugin to include the new Twitter Card open graph tags. he’s just been waiting on their beta to become available. He also sends a warning that he hopes other platforms don’t reinvent the wheel and try to use the tags that are there as much as possible just as Twitter has.
I want to say a big hello to all of my blog readers in the U.K. My analytics and newsletter stats tell me there are several hundred of you. And I know you’re concerned about keeping your site current with the new cookie law. The Cookie Compliance plugin has just been updated, and perhaps this would be the easiest way to automate that process for you. And, you can create your own pop up welcome message. Then your readers will have the choice to accept or deny the cookie.
One way to extend the time folks spend on your site is to give them even more of what they came there for in the first place. The Yet Another Related Post plugin was recently updated, and it’s probably the most popular in its genre because auto selects related posts. But, I want a little more control over the posts I link to, so I use MicroKid’s Related Post plugin.
Automatic Updater is a plugin that keeps WordPress up to date for you as well as plugins and themes. Sorry guys, as nice as that sounds, I’m going to have to pass on it. First of all, always do a full backup before you upgrade anything, especially WordPress and your theme. On top of that, there are some plugins I like to update by themselves, like my backup plugin and my SEO plugin because I want to check for any new feature additions or settings changes.
Francis Santos of Benchmark Email has a nice guest post on ProBlogger titled Find the Ideal Frequency for Blogging and Email Marketing. Creating high quality content is a top priority these days. And so is making sure that your super posts get in front of your readers. Francis’ post looks at how to find the frequency sweet spot in how many times emails go out to your readers. If they get your posts via email and then you send out a regular newsletter too, you want to be careful that they don’t unsubscribe because you’re overwhelming them with too much from you. On the flipside, you don’t want to only contact them when you’re selling something either.
One of my favorite super bloggers, Kristi Hines, has written a great post on the 20+ Commonly Asked Questions About Blogging & Online Marketing. Blogging and Internet marketing have changed a lot in the last couple of years. So, even if you’ve been blogging for a long time, you owe it to yourself to read this post. And, it will help jar you out of your rut. I bet you find a few tips in here that will get your idea machine cranked up. And, if you’re new to blogging, take this post as a primer for how it’s done.
Miranda Miller posted on the Search Engine Watch site about a statement Matt Cutts made concerning Exact Match Domains, or EMD. I remember a couple of years ago when all of the gurus advised that you should try to use keywords in your domains. You know, the fact is, every trick works for a while, but Google seems to be finally catching up with the way Search Engine Optimizers try to game the system and they’re being penalized.
Be sure to check the bottom of that post for a link to another article they wrote on a Panda algorithm change that rolled out at about the same time. Now, Panda has to do with judging the quality of your content, and the nice folks at Search Engine Watch have updated their free checklist that you can download and use to see if your posts match the necessary criteria as best as anyone can figure that out. Honestly, I’m not sure that SEO has gotten any easier since Google started telling us about their algorithm changes. Seems like it has just gotten messier, which is one of the reasons why social media and relationship marketing has become so important. If you’re a solopreneur, your best bet is to try to put more emphasis on direct connection with your audience than on trying to outsmart Google. If you’re a small business that transacts mostly local, then try to take advantage of all of the resources Google makes available for that beyond just regular search, like Google+ Local.
The bounce rate on BlogAid is high, but so are time on site and repeat visitor stats. So, high bounce rate is not a bad thing because a lot of folks are coming back to read my tutorials. But, if folks are jumping onto just one page of your site and then leaving quickly, then high bounce rate is a problem. Here’s a nice post by Sharon Hurley Hall on the Crazy Egg blog with 7 Reasons Your Bounce Rate Is High (And how to reduce it).
YouTube Quietly Launches InVideo Programming: Apply In-Player Branding Across All Your Videos, Instantly. I first saw this news on Reel SEO and if video blogging on YouTube is a big part of your marketing mix, I suggest you follow them too because they are always on top of great news like this. Chris Atkinson explains this new feature by saying, “”nVideo Programming gives creators two options. You can now “brand” all of your videos by uploading an icon that represents you, and you can also “feature” a video on all of your other videos, giving creators the chance to push a video across their entire catalog.” That’s pretty exciting to me and I can’t wait to try it. In fact, I’ll be updating a lot of the videos in the BlogAid WordPress Video Tutorial Library soon using WordPress 3.5 and some of those will be put on YouTube, so I’ll be trying this new feature then.
YouTube has gone political on us. Yes, the presidential and vice presidential debates are being streamed on YouTube. Who needs TV anymore. How many of you have cut the cord on cable? I’d do it, but it’s still the fastest Internet speed around and since most of my work depends on super speed to do live sessions with clients and upload sites and such, it becomes a time is money thing for BlogAid.
And, there’s a new YouTube app for iPhone and iPod Touch. It was built by YouTube engineers and has some great built-in features to speed up search and help you find your favorite videos fast. Plus, you can share directly to Facebook and Twitter.