Hello Happy Site Owners! Welcome to the BlogAid Tips Tuesday Podcast for May 12, 2015 and I’m your host MaAnna.
Tips this week include:
– Big subscription changes to BlogAid News and Tips Tuesday
– W3TC plugin causing 403 errors, and how to check your site
– breadcrumbs – whether to use them on site or not
– 10 types of free content to give away
– a great Guide to the new Google+ Collections
– how to include images in RSS-to-email feed summary
– if share buttons are clicked on mobile or not
– how engagement leads to conversion
– whether or not your site needs a sidebar
– a top bar optin plugin
– new course for getting way more YouTube views
– making it easy for Google to crawl your site
– whether rel=author tag is still relevant or not
So let’s dive in.
Listen to the podcast.
Designer +Cyndi Papia and I are neck deep in the revamp of the BlogAid theme. Lots of elements had to change to go fully responsive. And, much of the content on the main pages has to be updated for what I offer now, and my new focus.
Better conversion is a big part of that focus. And I’m looking at a lot of plugins and theme styling, and asking a lot of opinions about it. That research is the focus of today’s podcast. Going good for mobile is a bigger deal than ever now and I want you to be able to make the most of it too. So, that’s why I’m sharing my journey with you.
Big Subscription Changes to BlogAid News, Tips Tuesday, and Podcast
The biggest news I want to share with you about the site revamp is the major overhaul of my newsletter and blog post subscriptions. I sent out an email to BlogAid News subscribers last night. And I’m telling blog post and Tips Tuesday and podcast subscribers about it today.
A few years ago, I decided to overly segment my lists, mainly as a way to show all that could be done with MailChimp. And now I need to simplify things.
I’ll be importing all subscribers to the Tips Tuesday and Podcast RSS feeds into the All Blog Posts feed. So, when folks input their email address they will automatically be subscribed to BlogAid News, which is the newsletter, and then a checkbox will remain to subscribe to all blog posts via email. And of course, that will include Tips Tuesday, which also has a link to listen to the podcast.
If you only want to subscribe to the audio version of the podcast, you’ll want to do that via iTunes, or whatever your favorite podcast service is.
I’ll also be going through all subscriber lists and deleting folks that have not opened their emails in a long while, like the last 6-12 months. So, be sure to open your emails from me because I’ll be doing this sort of thinning at least once a year.
The change won’t go into effect until later this week. I’ll have a blog post about it all later this week, with screenshots of how you can change your subscription levels too.
Okay, that’s the news from around here.
Let’s jump into this week’s tips from around the ‘net
The WordPress core dev team has started the planning phase of WordPress 4.3, with a release date of August 18.
The focus is going to be squarely on mobile this time. I’ll keep you posted as more details become available.
W3TC Causing 403 Forbidden Error
This is an error you may not even know that you have because your site is still up to viewers. I wouldn’t have known without my handy UptimeRobot monitoring to tell me.
When I checked forums about this, I discovered that the W3TC caching plugin has had an issue with this for some time, but it just started suddenly happening on my site, even though I didn’t change any settings on the plugin.
At first I thought it may have been from the recent WordPress updates, or something changed at the host. But then it happened on a client’s site that is on different hosting. And I’m not hearing about it from many other site owners yet, but then again, maybe they don’t know it’s happening either.
Use Web Sniffer to easily check your site. Just put in the URL of your home page and look for the HTTP status code. If it’s 200, it’s okay. If it’s 403 Forbidden, check your W3TC settings.
It’s in the General Settings, under the Page Cache section. Set it to Disk Basic instead of Disk Enhanced. That’s what fixed mine.
I’ll have to do more checking to find out why this is suddenly a problem. But it’s not at the top of my to do list now that it’s working. Knowing the reason is not going to change much at this point except satisfying my curiosity.
Designing for Mobile Tips
My new site redesign had breadcrumbs turned on. I didn’t like them. Thought they took up too much valuable real estate and just made the title area even more crowded. But, I’m trying not to let my personal preferences get in the way of a good design. So, I put the question out on G+ and got a lot of great replies from folks who know a little something about good design, as well as SEO.
The link in the show notes is to that thread.
And from that, plus other info I gathered, it will be best for me not to use them. That may be different for your site needs. Go read the post to see why.
And, be sure to see the link from my buddy +Stephan Hovnanian about why to put the word Menu next to the hamburger icon for navigation on mobile, which is another thing I’ll be doing.
Now, do keep in mind that these are navigation breadcrumbs on your site. The breadcrumbs that Google is now including in some mobile search results are derived by them from the title and the link. These are not the same things and one does not rely on the other.
Content Marketing Tips
My colleague +Rob Cubbon has a most excellent post that is sure to help you gain audience. Everybody loves free. And there are ways to do it that make you money.
I’m actually rewriting one of my free giveaways and it’s turning out to be much bigger. I’m seriously considering one of his tips to make it a perma-free item on Kindle. And he’s got 9 more great tips just like that. So go check out the post.
Google+ just launched a new feature called Collections. And this is something that every content curator needs to jump on early. The nice folks at Plus Your Business have a super guide that tells you everything you need to know about it. This is the go-to resource I’m using to start building and using Collections myself.
If you’re still not convinced that Collections are a big thing, and that you need to hop on them quickly, then go read this G+ thread from +David Kutcher as well as the rich responses in the comments. There are tips from a bunch of early adopters.
As y’all know, I’m getting my Heartwood Art carving site back up and running. One of the big things I want to do with it is send out an image on the RSS to email subscription to blog posts. But, I don’t want to send the whole post via email. I want folks to have to come to the site to read that.
In WordPress, there is a setting in Discussion for either sending the full post or a summary. But, a summary does not include the RSS image. For that you need this super little code snippet from +Robin Cornett.
Now, if you want to send an image with the full content, there are nice plugins for that. But, there’s a reason to send folks back to your site, and there are reasons not to include images. Pros and cons either way.
I’ve got it on my to do list to write a blog post on all of this. So be looking for that in the next few weeks.
This post is making the rounds on social media. And it’s another cautionary tale of why you should always vet the info before taking it to heart. For this particular study, there’s info that qualifies the sites they checked.
“Many of our customers are in the eCommerce space. We studied a subsection of our customers’ data and discovered mobile sharing buttons aren’t getting much use: Only 0.2% of users ever click on a mobile sharing button. Mobile users click the sharing buttons 35% less often than they do on the desktop.”
Nothing about this study may even apply to content marketing bloggers. So be careful about believing it without question.
All I can say is that these folks at least told us the types of sites used to gather the data. So many others don’t. And that makes it impossible to know if it’s good advice for your blog or not.
And before you make any drastic change to your site, check the status of your own analytics first. Get a baseline, and then check your stats again if you do make a change. Otherwise, you could be making a huge mistake and never know it. Don’t just blindly follow what someone else says, even me. Do the fact finding first.
Presentation is just one part of great web design. But, conversion is what pays the bills. +Jay Baer closes the gap between those two in this excellent post on engagement. He has several good screenshots for examples too.
That’s the question +Neil Patel asks in his post on the topic.
I want you to go have a look at yours. I’m taking a seriously hard look at mine. For one, unless I get an adaptive theme, it’s likely no one much will see the things in that sidebar on mobile. (See last week’s Tips Tuesday post for the difference in adaptive and responsive design.)
I’ll be removing anything that is not necessary any more, and ensuring what is left is useful.
And as Neil suggests, I don’t have sidebars on my conversion pages. Many themes, especially Genesis, make it super easy to select the layout and/or custom sidebars for each page.
For more on all the reasons why Genesis the only framework I use and recommend, take a look at all the different things I cover for it in the Genesis Video Tutorial Library. And I’ll be expanding that part of the library radically this summer too. There are tons more plugins and things specifically made to enhance Genesis.
In the BlogAid redesign, I intend to include more conversion points. One of those is more optins to BlogAid News.
I’ve created my own custom optin form and don’t currently use the MailChimp for WordPress plugin for putting my optin in a widget. But, I do want an optin at the top of my site, so I’m either looking at adding something like Hello Bar, or coding in another custom form. And that’s why it’s worth my while to check out plugins like this and I thought you’d want to know about it too, especially if you are already using the MailChimp for WordPress plugin.
If you’re using the Genesis eNews Extended plugin, this might give you a reason to consider switching.
Multi Media Tips
I’m excited about this new Udemy course from +Ileane Smith as I’ve already got a growing list of video tips I’ll be releasing on YouTube all summer. Ms. Ileane knows something about getting views. She has the subscribers and eyeballs to prove it.
This course is worth every penny of the $79 it’s listed at. There was just no way I could pass up the deep discount she’s offering right now for $9. And when you take this course too, be sure to leave a review and help her spread the word as a way of saying thank you. Hey, she’s helping me big time by offering this course. I’m for sure going to help her.
SEO involves way more than how your links appear in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). It also involves how easy it is for Google bots to crawl your site. Team +Yoast has an excellent post on how Google bots crawl your site and the things that goof up that process.
I strongly suggest that you read this post.
Google may have taken away the visible perks of authorship in Rich Snippets, but they still very much want to know who wrote what. That’s why I left my rel=author markup on my site, plus the little triangle for verifying myself with Google via my G+ personal profile, and I still put it on every new site I help my clients create or revamp.
+Mark Traphagen has a nice link on G+ to a post about why author authority still matters, and I asked him if rel=author was still relevant. He still has it on his site too, as insurance. And anything we can do to help Google identify us as the author of our content is a good thing.
That’s also why I still offer how-to tutorials on this in my SEO Video Course There is no such thing as too much Google insurance when it comes to SEO, especially when it’s this easy to do.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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