Hello Happy Site Owners! This week’s tips include a new WordPress and Google integration, better backlink data analysis, 200 Google ranking factors, a fresh look at adding G+ comments to your blog, how the semantic web is affecting theme design, a new StudioPress theme release, why I’m outsourcing help with big changes at BlogAid and why you should consider it too, and a plugin to help keep your database from becoming cluttered with revisions. So let’s dive in. Listen to the podcast.
I want to say hey to all the nice new folks I met on G+ last week from a couple of posts that went a little viral. G+ is such a great community and it’s way more social as far as engagement than anything else I’ve experienced. I also want to say a special thank you to +Stephan Hovnanian and +Denise Wakeman for posting the first shares that got the snowball rolling on those posts of mine. They both have a big presence on G+ and I’m delighted to be included in their circles.
Well, blow me down. It’s real. I said I wouldn’t believe it until I saw it. Google really is integrating with WordPress.
Now, before you get too giddy, this integration is happening on WordPress.com hosted sites first. Basically, that’s as close to a totally controlled environment as you can get with WordPress, and Automattic owns it. So, makes sense they would roll it out there first.
They are making it easy to
- Connect your site to your G+ Profile
- Comment using your G+ account
- Share posts on G+ via a share button
- Embed G+ posts
But wait, can’t you do all those things on a self-hosted WordPress site now? Yes, you can, but it’s not integrated. If you’re doing any of those things it’s via a plugin, a hack, or inserting code.
So, WordPress.com folks aren’t getting anything you can’t get for yourself except ease. And I suspect this will pave the way for official plugins for everyone eventually. Right now we’re working with hacks to the G+ API to do things like G+ comments. More on that in a moment.
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In other WordPress news, version 3.6.1 has been released. If you haven’t updated yet, do so. It has three security patches that definitely will be exploited. As always, be sure to do a backup first.
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.
There have been multiple plugins updated lately too. Some were to patch security holes, so be sure to get those while you are there. And update WordPress first, because these plugins may depend on those changes at their core level.
BackupBuddy was one of those updates. A couple of folks have reported that they did the update, it reported as successful, but never actually did the update. Most folks are not having that issue. But, I experienced the same thing with Genesis 2.0.1. I had to do it twice to get it to take on some sites. Had the same thing on another plugin, but just on some sites. Have you seen this with any of your updates?
Oh, and wanted to mention that they have a new price point for BackupBuddy. (aff link) It’s $100 for a 10 site license. Was a perfect fit for one of my clients recently. The 2 site license is $80, so it’s a bargain. I’ve got the developers license for unlimited sites and it’s $150. But then I make it available to all of my clients who take a full training course. Just one of the bonuses you get that keeps you from having to shell out so much at start up.
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One of the other plugin updates that I want to highlight is Revision Control. WordPress 3.6 significantly increased the frequency of how many times it does an auto save while you’re working in the text editor. That’s great, but it really fills up your database with revisions. This little plugin helps you control that. In the settings, you can choose how many revisions to save before overwrite. I set it to 5 and it’s working very well that way.
You may have noticed that it was updated twice recently. Version 2.2 was an accidental release. The changelog says that version 2.3 is actually 2.1 in disguise, by reverting it back. Things like that happen to all of us, right? We hit Publish and then find a typo. Same sort of thing. It’s okay.
I’m very excited about this. StudioPress has released the updated version of the Metro theme. It’s now called Metro Pro and is HTML5 compliant, so it supports all the microdata output goodies of WordPress 3.6 and Genesis 2.0.
If you don’t know why that’s important, read my Microdata and Genesis series.
Metro has quickly become one of the more popular themes, and with good reason. It has a lot of super nice features that help you accomplish your online goals.
And that’s important.
The most successful sites start with a goal, create content to support it, and then choose a theme to support it.
Most of my clients started the other way around with a theme. When they got serious about their success, the theme was the last thing on the to do list.
And if you’re still in that free mindset, you’ll want to read a post I have scheduled for later this week on the real cost of free. It’s full of real-world examples.
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Now, StudioPress is not the only house to get Genesis child themes. There are lots of them, and new designers coming on board. Here’s a new one from Carrie Dils.
It’s HTML5 compliant, and that’s something you need to look for in all Genesis based themes from now on. Or, you can see my post on how to convert them.
It’s very important that you update your theme before you start adding other custom microdata.
And I’ll tell you more about that in a moment.
BlogAid Theme Change
I’ve got more news on themes that’s a little closer to home. BlogAid is in the process of being revamped. I’ve already alerted my site designer, +Cyndi Papia of Office To-Go about what’s coming down the pike.
Now, you may think it’s odd that I would be outsourcing my own design. I’m outsourcing a big chunk of the content overhaul too.
There are several reasons for why I’m doing it this way. These folks specialize in what they do, and they do it at a very high level. They bring a fresh set of qualified eyes to the project and help do for me what I do for my clients.
Even writing your own About page is tough for most people. Was for me back when. And we all get locked into seeing our sites a certain way. It’s radically difficult to see it completely fresh.
I’ve been telling y’all for some time now that big changes have been happening at BlogAid and that I’ve quietly been branching out with new offerings and such. I’ve also been slowly changing the focus of my offerings to keep pace with the ever-changing tech and platforms and ways of promoting.
Well, it’s time to go public with all of it. And, that also means changes to the packages and their prices.
Fall and winter are my busiest seasons, and I’ll have even fewer open slots for 1-on-1 sessions than in years past. Plus, I’m already booking into October and November right now. So, if you’re planning a site revamp to take you to the next level, now is the time to contact me.
The prices will never be lower and availability will never be more open for this.
Now, prices aren’t going up on everything, just 1-on-1 time with me. That means I’ll soon be restructuring the Video Library and doing more group webinars for basic training things that apply to everyone’s site, and continuing to do free site review sessions when I can.
If you read my latest newsletter then you have a clue when the next site review session will be.
I finally did it. I added G+ Comments to my blog.
When they first came out I took a wait-and-see approach to adding Google Comments to my site, mainly because I wanted to see if there were any technical or SEO fallout hazards.
I like stable sites with no penalties from the big G.
The fact is, all of the things that folks cautioned about, including me, with spammy comments and such just isn’t happening. Oh, of course there’s some. There always will be. But the benefits are just too great to ignore at this point.
I’m convinced now that integrating my site with Google features is the way to go. Remember that I mentioned at the top of the WordPress tips about the new integrations. And I can already see enough into the future about what else is coming down the pike to say now is the time to jump.
There are lots of plugin options for including G+ comments. I’m using the G+ Comments plugin by Alex Moss. If you want to see all of the options, read my post titled 10 G+ Plugins for WordPress Comments and Imports and choose the one that’s right for you.
Double the Traffic
I’m still reeling from what happened on G+ last week. I had a post go viral, well, viral for me. Traffic doubled on BlogAid. More importantly, conversion also doubled. And, even more important still, I met a lot of nice new folks on G+ too.
It all happened because of the powerful networking connections on G+. The folks I’ve found there are just so much more willing to engage and be helpful than any other platform I’ve ever participated in. And without those folks, this traffic doubling would not have happened
You can read all about in my post from yesterday titled The Power of G+ Networks to Increase Site Traffic.
Ever wonder what Google’s ranking factors are? Here’s 200 of them in an nice infographic on the Entrepreneur blog.
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More importantly, you must know what you are doing to be able to properly vet them. I’ve got a post coming with three real-world examples and I’ll post it either later this week or early next. And these are themes that are $2500 and up. People are getting ripped off by these themes if it doesn’t include what it needs to include for the future. So be very careful.
The point is that the bar has been raised for being found online, and now the theme you choose is more important than ever. And, it’s why I’m sold on the Genesis framework.
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Okay, on to an SEO tip you can use right now, well, almost right now.
Everybody knows that one of the prime ranking factors for a site is the number of backlinks coming to them. For those of you who pour over your backlink stats, you’re gonna love this. The Google Webmaster Central blog just reported that they would be giving Better Backlink Data for Site Owners soon. Instead of the alphabetical listing they will be giving a better cross section of links so you can better see where your referrals are coming from.
It will make a lot of difference in you knowing who is helping you get traffic to your site.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday podcast. Please feel free to share this post and podcast with your friends.
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Visit BlogAid.net for more tips, tutorials, and free resources to make your site better.
And I’ll see you online!