Hello Happy Site Owners! This is the BlogAid Tips Tuesday Podcast for July 8 2014 and I’m your host MaAnna. This week’s tips include a focus on how to get the most juice on e-commerce sites, a super checklist on how to get your blog posts shared like crazy, getting a perfect site performance score, a checklist with a stopwatch to help you write more blog posts, how to raise your rates and retain your clients and get new ones, how to partner with brands to monetize your blog, and for dessert, super additions to your summer reading list. So let’s dive in. Listen to the podcast.
I hope all of my U.S. listeners enjoyed a nice holiday weekend and you’re back in the swing of things this week.
Because my client workload and emails were fairly quiet over the holiday, I took the opportunity to dig deep into testing a bunch of new performance and security combos on a few test sites. I’ve been working directly with Tier 2 support and network and systems engineers at A2 and together we’ve thrown all manner of things at these sites, from both the server side as well as the client side.
Perfect Page Speed Score!
I was able to reach a perfect score on several of the popular testing sites like Pingdom and GTMetrix and even WebPage Test. And I can tell you that nobody in the right business mind would every want to do what it takes to achieve that result. There are just too many things that are good ROI that would have to be given up.
Plugins vs Hard Code and Offsite
I also tested combos that involved plugins and compared those to hard coding and using off-site measures, such as a CDN like CloudFlare. I was able to achieve much the same results doing it either way.
Theory vs Reality
I’m still pouring over the data collected and have a couple more tests to run this week. And then I start testing on live production sites that vary in the amount and type of traffic they get. Plus, some are on shared hosting and others are on Managed VPS.
I want to ensure that I’m coming up with good combos for each unique circumstance. And this is just one more reason why generic advice about how to speed up your site doesn’t work for everyone. There are so many factors to consider, including your hosting setup, and that goes beyond whether you are on shared or VPS. Different hosts support different things on the server side.
You know I’m going to have bunches of case studies and blog posts on all this. And I’m looking at plugins that create performance hits too, including things that clog up your database and slow down your site over time.
I was delighted to be a guest on a Hangout with book marketing consultant, +Angela Wilson yesterday. We discussed WordPress sites for authors, but we went way past that into topics that are good for all site owners, especially about the role marketing plays in it, and why you don’t want to get started on a freebie platform with your site. So go watch that video.
Okay, let’s dive into this week’s tips from around the ‘net.
You’ve read the reports about the growing percentage of sites being run on WordPress. It’s taking over the world, literally. And now the development team is giving some serious looks at making WordPress more friendly for the non-English speaking site owners.
WordPress has supported switching to other default languages for some time. But it is not exactly a straight-forward process. In fact, you had to be careful which order you did things. I saw just how much so when I was working with a client in Italy who ran an e-zine site for a publication in the Congo and it was all in French. Doesn’t get more international than that, folks.
So, the developers are looking into ways to make that easier and to help folks find plugins and themes that have their native language support. The repositories for both were internationalized some time ago.
A new security patch has been released for the Wordfence plugin. You’ll want to updated immediately if you don’t already have auto-updates turned on.
I made a post on the Wordfence plugin yesterday. So, go give it a look. And be sure to read through the comments too, all the way down past the G+ comments to the native WP comments. Very worthwhile opinions and tips there, especially from Jim Walker. Here’s the thing. Opinions vary among the pros on almost everything about WordPress performance and security. Each of us has found what works best for us and our clients and we stick to it. So, don’t take a difference of opinion as someone being wrong. They’re both right. You just have to find the combo that works best for your site with its setup.
StudioPress has a new theme out called Generate Pro and it has a nice banner at the top for making email collection a priority. The banner is nice, but the rest of the theme, well, hmm. I’d like to see this banner be a hook you could place anywhere in any theme. Of course, a good designer can hard code that in for you. And several other StudioPress themes already have a CTA Banner widget area. This would look really nice there. I’m glad to see StudioPress finally step back in the direction of creating more business minded themes. It’s about time.
WooThemes and the WooCommerce plugins are one of the best ways to create an online store on your site. And they’re having their first conference in November. This post from Brian Krogsgard on his Post Status blog has all the skinny. And FYI, it’s scheduled right after WordCamp San Francisco if you want to catch that while you’re out there too.
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Google Analytics has recently released a new feature called Enhanced Ecommerce. In this post on SwellPath, Nicholas Blexruto tells us about two of the features that will be useful even to site owners who don’t run a store. They are internal promotion and search tracking. Once folks get on your site, you want to know what else they’re clicking on. Specifically, you want to know if they are entering your conversion funnel. These new tracking features will help you sort that out.
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And the BloggingPro site has an excellent post on why blogging and ecommerce should go hand-in-hand. Even if you don’t run an online store, this post is still worth reading. As a content marketer, you still need to find your voice and speak directly to your audience. And this post has several tips on that as well.
Content Marketing Tips
+Denise Wakeman has a super post on G+ with her thoughts on an infographic created by Ian Cleary and Canva. I actually consider it a how-to checklist and I printed it out. Got it right here next to my screen and I’m going to start doing these things this week. There are a couple of new accounts I need to set up, but the majority of it I can do right away.
While I was working another day job, it was very difficult for me to create and work a system of promotion. Well, I’m carving out that time now because it’s more important to properly promote the content I have than to create more content. If you’re on the hamster wheel of blogging or creating fresh content all the time, get off for a moment and see how you can spend your time better to get all of that content seen. I’m going to be tracking my results with this all summer and will keep you posted.
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There’s a new platform online that showcases content creators with authorship authority on popular topics. It’s called ClearVoice and +Amanda DiSilvestro gives us a peek at it in her post on the Higher Visibility blog.
When I tried it, the home page told me that they have only indexed just over 86,000 blogs. To me, that’s pretty low, but then they only launched on June 24th.
Now, I know a bunch of you are going to pop over there and see if your content has been indexed. Just be aware that they are going to ask for an email address on the next screen before you can see the results.
I tried my name and it returned no results. Asked me if I had authorship setup correctly or if I wanted to submit my site, which I did. The form for that requires a phone number, besides the usual contact info.
So, now I’m wondering what kind of sales pitches I’m going to be getting. Sounds a little too Facebook-like if you ask me. Even Amanda said she thought her scores were a little low. Perhaps this will turn into a pay to promote thing. Time will tell.
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If you think you’re too busy to blog, think again. +Neil Patel https://plus.google.com/u/0/+NeilPatelmarketer/posts tells us how he generates 8 blogs a week while running two businesses. In fact, in this post he gives a detailed checklist with time limits. And he uses CopyBlogger as his competition model. Now, all of us can’t afford to do the fourth one yet, but we can focus ourselves to move in that direction.
Figuring out how to set rates is hard enough. Figuring out how to raise them can be even harder. That’s because it’s not just about your rates. It’s about the clients that those rates attract. In this post on her Client Attraction blog, Fabiaen gives some tips for how to do it and not only retain your current clients, but pick up new ones too.
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The +ProBlogger site has been running several week-long post series. Last week’s was on how to make money by partnering with brands.
Y’all know that I use affiliate links for both A2 Hosting and BackupBuddy. I’ve actually got several more for the other things I use and recommend and you’ll find them on the Resources page. It’s actually very hard for a product or service to make it on any of my recommended lists, including the plugins list.
I either have to use it on my site or on a client’s site and know that it works well. And if you read my Wordfence review post from yesterday, you’ll know for sure that I put my money and my trusted reputation where my mouth is.
And those affiliate links represent about a third of my income.
This post series covers affiliate marketing as well as ways to get ads and sponsorship. I have a few clients who make their entire living from those two things alone. And they all create high quality content as the draw.
So, go read the whole series and get some ideas of how you can further monetize your efforts.
On the Expand2Web blog, +Don Campbell has a nice summer reading list slideshare for you of 14 books that will change your business and your life.
There were several titles I had not come across before and will be picking them up soon.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
Please take a moment to jump on over to iTunes, and leave a review. I really appreciate it and your review means so much in helping get the word out about this podcast. And drop by and say hey over on my Google+ page too. I love hearing from you. Be sure to visit BlogAid.net for more tips and resources and I’ll see you online.