Hello Happy Site Owners! Welcome to the BlogAid Tips Tuesday Podcast. I’m MaAnna and I’ve got a lot to share with you this week including a super duper G+ Webinar, a must have plugin for SEO on images, a new plugin to test your site, ways to sell downloads on your site, two new plugins that jumped to the top of my testing list, and a new plugin from Yoast that gives me chill bumps. Plus, I’ve got a follow up on last week’s post on the feedback I heard from you and a progress report on my journey to make YouTube the number one referral source of traffic to my site. It starts with untangling all of my Google Account emails. So, let’s jump right in. Listen to the podcast now
First, I want to let you know about a free webinar where I’ll be presenting. It’s hosted by online visibility expert, Denise Wakeman and is titled 3 Ways to Boost Your Visibility and Business with Google+. It’s March 28th and you can register right here. Denise will tell you all about how to maximize your business opportunities on G+. I’ll tell you about AuthorRank. And Stephan Hovnanian will tell you how to make the most of that new big cover image on G+. There are definitely tricks to it. So be sure to register because we’re expecting 1000 or more and there will be an open Q&A session at the end.
If you’re not active on G+ yet because your clients aren’t there, or because it’s not as fun as Facebook, you may be totally missing the point. Google is giving you all kinds of rewards for using G+ and connecting your content via AuthorRank. And, these changes go a long way toward leveling the SEO playing field for everyone again. And more changes are on the way. Really big ones. So, good to get your foundation laid now so you can reap the benefits of early adopters, and implement the new things much more easily when they come. By this time next year, folks who didn’t do this will sorely wish they had.
And, I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be speaking at WordCamp Nashville this year. BlogAid is also a sponsor. That means that I’ll have a couple of extra tickets. Contact me directly if you would like to be put in the drawing for a ticket. WordCamp Nashville is April 20th and I’ll be drawing for a winner by April 10th. Or you can buy your tickets right now.
A little miscellaneous news here. If you’re a Google Reader power user like I am, you’ll appreciate this post by John Saddington on WP Daily about his switch over to the Feedly service. It details syncing your current subscriptions as well as common shortcut keys. Very helpful, John as I am about to go through this same process.
And, now is the time to start promoting your RSS to email subscription so you don’t lose traffic when Google Reader does shut down. Read my post on how to do that if you need help.
If you’re listening to this on the podcast, links for everything I mention are in the show notes on the BlogAid site.
WordPress version 3.6 is set to be released on April 29. The first beta is already out and Beta 2 is due April 2nd. That’s when I’ll be making my What’s New video for you, so watch for that. One of the most significant changes will be to the custom menus admin area. And you can bet that I’ll be doing a video just on that too as well as the new Twenty Thirteen theme.
About a month ago, I reported on Tips Tuesday that WordPress version 3.5 removed the title from images. According to the support tickets in WordPress, the removal of image titles is not a bug, it’s a choice they deliberately made and have zero intention of changing back. I think this is a mistake, along with a couple of other major complaints lodged about the new Media Manager that was overhauled in version 3.5. In that earlier Tips Tuesday I told you I was going to see if they fixed it before installing a little plugin that offers a work around. Well, now we know. And I’m installing that plugin and suggest you consider it too. It’s called Restore Image Title. It doesn’t affect images you uploaded prior to installing the plugin, only those after. Keep in mind that this change in WordPress came at just about the same time that Google overhauled their Images search results and put an emphasis on titles. So, if images tell the story on your site, get this plugin and regain that little piece of SEO that you’ve been missing.
I’ll be adding this to my toolbelt. During WordCamp Atlanta just a few weeks ago, Michael Novotny launched a new site called WP Test. It measures the integrity of your plugins and themes. I first heard about this on WP Daily and am very excited to add it to the list of resources I bring during a site review and audit. So, go get it and run your site through it and see what you discover.
If you haven’t noticed already, WP Daily is fast becoming one of my fave blogs. Scott Wyden Kivowitz has a post on it titled Web Hosting – The Numbers Don’t Lie…? that’s supposed to rely strictly on non-biased data for rating the top hosting companies. But, if you read through the comments of the post, you’ll discover that it’s anything but. So, who do you trust? Well, who do you trust? I use HostGator and it and BluHost are my two preferred vendors. I don’t want any trouble for me or my clients because I know who they are going to call. The host provider that suits you best is entirely dependent on the type of site you have and what you need to do with it. Some folks would do better with a dedicated server or managed hosting, both of which cost more. But, if you need it, you need it. So, you can’t usually trust review sites for this sort of thing. Better to ask folks who work with it all the time, and then ask why they recommend what they do and see if your site needs that.
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.
On WP Daily, John Saddington reports that the Smush.It plugin will no longer be supported by the original developer. This is a great little plugin that helps your page load speed by doing all sorts of nifty things to images to optimize them without a loss of quality. It’s had so many downloads that it’s bound to be attractive to another developer to take over. I’ll keep you posted on what I hear. If you use this plugin or the similar Yahoo Smush.It service, they both still work, so no need to make any changes right away.
Easy Digital Downloads is a super duper plugin from a super duper developer, Pippins Plugins. It allows you to sell digital download products straight from your site. Now, because my video tutorials are on a paid membership site, I use this plugin to track downloads of my free reports, so it’s not just about selling things. It has bunches of add-ons and there’s a new one called Easy Digital Downloads HSS Extension for Streaming Video that lets you sell access to your videos.
Now, setting up a way to sell is just one part of this. You’ll also want to get the add-on for Amazon S3 because you need to securely store those video files too. Storing files on your site will not keep them hidden from indexing bots for long and your paid product will show up on a torrent site eventually and they’ll be making money from it instead of you.
If you want to use it for tracking free downloads like I do, you’ll want to get the Free Downloads add-on.
Easy Digital Downloads is great if you have 10 products or less that folks only need to access once. But, for more products than that, or if folks need access over time, then you’ll want to consider either setting up a store or a membership site like I have on BlogAid for the video tutorials.
I’m going to give this plugin a test run. It’s Google Analytics Dashboard for WP and it puts a snapshot of your analytics right in your dashboard. I use the Google Analyticator plugin for that now. And my clients really like it too because you get a glimpse of what’s going on with your traffic every time you log in. But, this new plugin looks like it gives you more options for seeing different time frames and such. If it works out well, I’ll probably do a review post on it.
I’m going to give this plugin a whirl too. It’s called Contact Form Maker and it lets you customize lots of elements and fields on your form. Right now the only way to do that is via Gravity Forms, which is a premium plugin. I love it, but it’s overkill for most of my clients. I’ll let you know how this one works.
More breaking news. Yoast just released his Local SEO plugin. This is a big deal for small business owners. It’s not free, nor should it be. This is going to pay for itself very quickly for those who use it. The plugin has two super important elements. It does the proper schema.org markup for your business address and open hours. That used to require paying top dollar to an SEO professional to do for you. And, it outputs all the proper code for a Google map with route planning. I’ve got bunches of clients who need it, so I’ll be testing it out soon and will keep you posted.
I ran across a very interesting post by Lenin Nair on Search Engine Journal asking How Is Your Search Engine Handling Synonyms? He ran several tests on long tail keyword phrases and found that Google isn’t good about dealing with synonyms very well. He also delved into the relative competition for these phrases and their monitory value.
But, I came to another conclusion about it all that deals with the keyword stuffing issue. We all know now that Google is penalizing sites that over use a single keyword or phrase. But, if you look at the results in Lenin’s post, it is picking up the key search term mainly in the titles. So, the moral of the story to me is to use your best keyword phrase in your title and use synonyms throughout your post to break up the stuffing pattern and to get ranked for related terms too.
Copyblogger has a super post on the impact of the Google Reader shutdown. His first suggestion is to set up an RSS to email option. That is my advice too. And you need to promote it like crazy between now and July 1st, which is when Google Reader goes down.
Hmm. I’m not sure what I think about this. MailChimp now integrates with Scoop.It. I got sold on the idea of using Scoop.It from my podcast with Ms. Ileane Smith. On one hand, I can see how emailing this kind of content curation could be helpful because it’s sort of what I do with Tips Tuesday. I bring you links for content that others wrote that I think most of my clients and followers will find helpful. But, I also know how important it is to ensure that your readers hear your voice above the crowd. So, sending an email that is entirely comprised of posts from others, hmm, that gives me pause.
In other news, MailChimp has taken the legal-eze out of their Terms of Service agreements. They are a lot easier to read and understand now.
And, I’m making new tutorials soon for the MailChimp Video Course. At the top of the list is help designing a nice looking signup form for your sidebar. I’ll be sharing the code I use for the one on BlogAid too.
Excellent post by Lou Bortone on The Future of Ink titled The 3 Biggest Video Marketing Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them). The first one is getting over the mindset that it is another chore you have to do. Here’s how I look at it. For the rest of 2013, it may be the ONLY chore I do. It’s that important. And if you’re thinking that it’s easier for me to come up with video content than it is for you just because I do tutorials, think again. That’s another mindset mistake Lou addresses. So, go read the post.
As I’ve been mentioning in Tips Tuesday and on social media, I’m dedicating the coming months to ramp up the BlogAid YouTube channel because I’m positive that I’m not maximizing the potential there. I’ll be reporting on my progress as I go through this process because I think it will be helpful for you to know.
The first thing I did was hire Ronnie Bincer because he comes from a video SEO background and is now moving his focus to G+ and Hangouts and that’s exactly where I’m coming from and then going. So, he’s got the know-how and is doing for me what I do for my clients. He’s saving me time and money, helping me avoid mistakes, and giving me the tools and knowledge to use them.
We’ve already had our first session, and one of the things I’m working on is sorting out all of my logins and connections. I got a lot of Google Accounts under different email addresses prior to G+ coming along and their desire to have me link all of my Google Apps and Services under one email address. Now that I’m trying to get all of my online presences connected for AuthorRank, I’ve found that there’s a real issue with properly verifying the way my YouTube account is setup. And, that’s keeping me from using one of the new features for including external links in Annotations, which is huge. We’re sorting it out and I’ll keep you posted because I doubt I’m the only one who has this multiple email nightmare.
And, he’s already given me a punch list of homework that involves the monetization settings I made so I could get Partner status on YouTube. That gives you extra brownie points, but I set that up without fully understanding the configuration settings. He’s helping me understand how to maximize those features while being careful about over monetization and how to do that well.
My stats – right now I’ve got 38 videos, 164 subscribers, and 21,557 views. I’ll keep you posted on the progress.
What I Heard From You
I also want to give you an update on the response I received to last week’s Tips Tuesday. First, thank you to everyone who contacted me. My email box nearly exploded. What I’m hearing you need help with most is moving from another platform to WordPress, help with SEO, help with site setup and security, questions about RSS to email, and just wanting to get clarification on some terms and techniques you see everyone talking about online.
I’ve done a lot of consults this past week and saved a bunch of folks a bunch of money by helping them find free and low-cost alternatives. What I’ve also discovered is that most folks are asking for help with one thing but what they really need is help farther back up the line first.
I’m definitely going to be setting up group Q&A sessions and site reviews so I can help more folks at a time to get you this sort of resource help and I’ll keep you posted when I launch those.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday podcast. You can find this podcast on iTunes, as well as Stitcher, and the Blackberry Podcast. http://www.blackberry.com/podcasts You can also subscribe directly to the RSS via email. Visit BlogAid.net for more tips, tutorials, and free resources to make your site better.
And I’ll see you online!