Hello Happy Site Owners! This week’s tips include a live site review webinar on Thursday, how your messy hosting account is costing you and ways to check it, a big member site launch, a new WordPress SSL taskforce, what’s coming down the pike for the Blubrry PowerPress plugin, whether caching plugins work or not, a deep dive into Google Webmaster Tools, a big DDoS attack that took down a couple of major sites, a super duper post on what keeps your site viewers from turning into cash customers, 7 books to inspire your content marketing, places to find free images for your blog posts, and for dessert, a cuteness overload. So let’s dive in. Listen to the podcast.
I’m hosting a free site review webinar this coming Thursday at 12:00 EDT.
Those slots got filled quickly, but I always take alternates because some folks are a no-show. So, be sure to throw your name in the hat and contact me with the site you want reviewed.
This webinar will not be recorded and there is no replay. You must be present to get your site reviewed live.
Prior to the reviews, I’ll be giving a super brief presentation on why one home page will outperform another for conversion. This is a zero-pitch webinar. I don’t have a product to offer you at the end with a limited-time discount or any other such nonsense. It’s just straight up help for you and your site. And did I mention it’s free?
And, I always have folks that come to just lurk and learn from each review too. And you’re most welcome to do that.
And be sure to contact me if you want your site reviewed.
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I was delighted to have been the inaugural guest on the first show in the new series from +Stephan Hovnanian and +Susan Finch where we discussed some very important aspects of how to keep your costs down when moving to a new webmaster. So go check out that HOA if you haven’t already. And I apologize for the video glitches on my side. Seems the Google feature rollout bus was visiting me that day and all of Google was crazy slow for me. Only happens when you’re recording video, huh?
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And to follow up on that topic, go see my post from yesterday about cleaning up your hosting account. This is definitely something you want to do while you’re not under duress. But of course, that’s when most folks do it. I’m getting a lot more calls now from successful site owners wanting to take it up a notch with performance and you better believe this is the first thing we dig into. They had no idea all that junk was sitting in their hosting account and impacting performance so much.
And you definitely want to get all of that cleaned up before you migrate to new hosting too. Makes that transition a lot easier as well.
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Okay, y’all remember that member site I’ve been telling you about for the past couple of months? It’s live to the public. Go to CherieLarkin.com and check it out.
I want to thank super duper designer, +Cyndi Papia and her team for creating such a beautiful site. This is her new Sprite theme that runs on the Genesis platform and I was delighted to get to play a little part in the specs for the structure of it. It’s an incredibly flexible theme. There are actually a lot more widget areas available than you see on Cherie’s site. And it’s got lots of extras too, including a sweet slider plugin that picks up SEO and so much more.
And I’m very excited for Cherie. She will be featured on an upcoming ShowTime documentary. I believe they start filming at the end of this month. And it actually won’t be very long before it airs. So, we’re gearing up to be walloped on the site with hits, which is always a good thing.
For those of you who run online stores, you’ll be glad to know that the WordPress development team has assigned an SSL taskforce. There have always been issues transitioning from an HTTP front end to an HTTPS backend. That little s on the end is what tells you the page is secure. You can read all about it on the Make WordPress Core blog.
And FYI, they are still trying to decide what all will be in the 4.0 update. I think they are taking a lot of time to triage open tickets for current bugs and such. According to the blog, that really chews up a lot of time. And keep in mind that it is done mostly by volunteers. So, it’s a real balancing act between making what we already have work while developing new ways to improve it. I think all of us business owners who are trying to wear too many hats each day can relate to that.
Blubrry PowerPress Podcasting plugin update
A new update to version 5.0.8 has been released with a few minor patches. But that’s not the big news. Version 6.0 is on the horizon and they are looking for Beta testers. On top of that, Blubrry has announced that version 6.0 will not be compatible with WordPress below version 3.3. Hopefully you’ve got your site updated well beyond that and this won’t affect you. But, if you need help, let’s get you over that update hurdle.
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There’s a lot of discussion around whether caching plugins are worthwhile. And there are tons of free tutorials on how to set them up. I was recently in one of those discussions on an Advanced WordPress group. And can tell you that how well a caching plugin works depends on the combo you use them in and the overall setup of your site. I’ve found that discussing them out of context is pointless and just serves to muddy the waters. So many other site performance factors have to be taken into consideration, like the host, other plugin hogs, outside resource drains (bot attacks), CDN use (CloudFlare), and more. You could install a caching plugin, configure it exactly like any one of the 20 or more tutorials available online, and still not achieve the results promised in that tutorial because of the combo of other factors involved that are not being addressed. In the combo I use, the addition of a local caching plugin did not improve performance enough to warrant the risk, and sometimes headache caused, enough to use. For other folks, that same local caching plugin delivered significant improvement in the combo they are using.
If you want to know more about the combo I use, see this post on a case study report I did for 300% performance improvement. And then check that against your combo.
In typical fashion, +Kristi Hines has a most excellent post on Positionly with a deep dive into GWT. This is well worth your read no matter how long you’ve been using it. I found a couple of new things in there myself.
Both services were attacked last Tuesday. Feedly was extorted to make the attacks stop. Of course, they didn’t pay the attacker, but I’m sure it cost a pretty penny to work with their network provider to make the attack stop.
Feedly is the reader of choice for me to follow all these blogs I do to keep up with this industry. So I really felt them being down for most of this past week. In fact, I thought it was going to radically impact what I had to bring you here on Tips Tuesday. But I got caught up on my reading over the weekend. Do you use a feed reader? How do follow the blogs that interest you? Leave us a comment and let us know.
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And Black Lotus reports that DDoS attacks are growing stronger by the month this year. Folks, I really don’t have any other way to tell you, short of fear mongering, that you really need to start taking your site security seriously and get ahead of this curve. It’s going to be a time and money expense, yes. But far less on both than when you wait too long and your site is down or in shreds after an attack. It’s one of those pay now or pay later things. Just get it done.
Content Marketing Tips
This is a super duper post from Sonja Jobson on ProBlogger that is an absolute must-read. Every word of it is absolutely true. These 3 things make content marketing that easy and that hard. She takes them in reverse order, starting with:
- #3 – Never mentioning your products or services
- #2 – Creating content that appeals to peers, not prospects
- #1 – Not focusing on the opt-in
You really owe it to yourself to read the whole post. It’s super good advice.
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Roger C. Parker of Published & Profitable is a wonderful guy. I first found him about 6 years ago when my first book was being published, and he remains a good source of very useful info. He has written a nice blog post on the Content Marketing Institute blog with a list of books you will find useful.
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And more places to find images for your blog posts are always good. Amit has a really nice post on his Digital Inspiration Technology Blog.
And I’d like to add one more that I just found recently, which is Feature Pics. They’re not free, but they sure beat the heck out of iStock prices these days. They’re wanting $20 an image for the good stuff. I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford that.
This is just some cuteness overload. Who knew porcupines made such adorable sounds. Teddy Bear just squeals with delight while enjoying one of his favorite treats, pumpkins.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday. Feel free to ping me on G+ with tips you know will be helpful to folks, or news I cover. It really does take a village to keep up with all of the changes online. And please do leave a comment on the blog, on iTunes, or on Google+. I love hearing from you. Be sure to visit BlogAid.net for more tips and resources and I’ll see you online.