Hello Happy Site Owners! In this week’s tips I’ve got plugins galore including membership plugins and a way to display your MailChimp newsletter on your site, plus an easy way to promote your PowerPoint presentations on your site too. I’ve also got news on a change at WooThemes and whether an affiliate program is a good idea for you, and some important design tips about debunking the above-the-fold myth and whether responsive theme design is a good choice for B2B sites. So let’s get started. Listen to the podcast now!
Before we dive into this week’s tips I wanted to let you know that I’m giving a live workshop today to help you get AuthorRank and your site’s SEO all squared away. It’s at noon ET, so you still have time to register. You’ll need to have a Google+ personal profile set up and the WordPress SEO plugin already installed because that’s what I’ll be showing all of the settings for during this workshop. If you can’t attend live, there will be a replay, but it requires registration to get it. So go do that right away.
Do you like distraction-free writing? A lot of folks do and the new Feathe.rs writing app has been promoted as the next big thing in online publishing. Well, John Saddington of WP Daily finally got his hands on a Beta copy and put it through its paces. You can read his post on it titled Disappointing: My Beta Look at Feathe.rs to see why he doesn’t think it’s the cat’s meow yet. I do all of my writing in Word and love having my tools handy, so I’ve never really understood the draw to having a completely blank screen to write. Do you like it that way? Leave a comment and tell us why.
And, if you’ve been listening to Tips Tuesday for a while, you’re getting to know that WP Daily is quickly becoming one of my fave sites. You may want to bookmark it yourself. But I will warn you, these guys push out a ton of helpful info, so some of you may find it a little much for casual reading. Of course, being in the WordPress biz, I love it! So, go check it out and decide for yourself.
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.
The CommentLuv plugin was recently updated. I enjoy the way the developer, Andy Bailey sends out an email to tell users. He makes it very personalized. I installed this plugin about a month ago and wanted to give it a while before reporting on the difference it’s made. I am getting more comments. But, it’s hard to tell sometimes if a few of those are spam or not because English is obviously not their native language. I wasn’t getting those types of comments before and I have to wonder if the only reason I’m getting them now is because of the benefits the plugin gives to the commenter. Time will tell and I’ll keep you posted. Do you use this plugin? Leave a comment and tell me about your experience with it.
Plugins to Check Out
Looks like the W3 Total Cache plugin has freaked out a bit. Lots of updates in just a week or so. Be sure you’re using the latest one. Now, I’m not a huge fan of caching plugins because I think they cause about as much trouble as they solve. But, of all of them, this is the one I recommend, and it’s the same one that my preferred hosting companies recommend too. So, if you’re going to use one, make it this one. All plugins freak out once in a while and the developers of W3 Total Cache were right on top of it.
This is an interesting new plugin. It’s called SlideOnline and allows you to embed a PowerPoint presentation on your site. The reason that I find this interesting is because the SlideShare site has become incredibly popular and a super source of inbound traffic for some folks. This new SlideOnline plugin requires that you host your presentations at SlideOnline.com and it’s free. So, by giving you this plugin, they may be trying to position themselves as a SlideShare competitor and a little competition is good for everybody.
I found an interesting post on the Social Media 101 site about something new in the latest WordPress 3.5 update. Looks like they decided to remove the title tag for images. Seems it has to do with accessibility compliance. While that’s great, Google prefers titles. And I’m thinking this will have a negative impact on your SEO. In last week’s Tips Tuesday I reported on Google’s overhaul to image search to include more of the meta data being shown for images. The title is a big part of that, so you may want to give serious consideration to getting your titles back. And there’s a new plugin to help you do just that. It’s called the Restore Image Title plugin. Now, there has been a ticket opened for it with the WordPress folks, so we’ll see what comes of that. But if images are the heart of your site, or you just don’t want to lose the Google juice waiting to see if this gets added back, check out the plugin. Otherwise, you may want to wait this one out for a bit longer to see what comes of it, which is what I’m doing.
There’s a new MailChimp Importer plugin that allows you to automatically import the plain text version of your newsletter for display on your site. And if you just want to show a link, they have shortcode to do that too.
Do you want to add a membership site to your marketing mix? I’m in an Advanced WordPress group with Chris Lema and he has been testing out several membership plugins and writing reviews on them. Well, I asked him if he had a single post comparing all of them and he created this super chart that will help you pick which one would work best for you.
I use WishList Member (aff link) and it is the Cadillac of them all, in my opinion because it has so many features, including lots of integration options. But that’s why it is also the most complex to set up initially. I’m helping a client right now get hers set up and this is another service I’ll be offering as a class in the future.
And I’ll leave you with this piece of advice. Do not choose a membership plugin based on ease of setup, because that’s something you’ll do once. Choose it based on what you need it to accomplish in the long run.
On her Huge Profits, Tiny List blog, Connie Ragen Green has a nice post titled Connect With Your Target Audience where she gives you three tips on how to do just that. Now, at first glance, they may read like generic fluff, but Connie’s been in this business for a long time and she knows what she’s talking about. If you actually apply these tips, you’ll see a real difference in your relationship with your audience. So, go read it this week.
Most content marketers make some or all of their living with commissions from affiliate programs. But for the one running the program, it can be more overhead than it’s worth. On WP Daily, John Saddington reports that WooThemes Closes their Affiliate Program. It wasn’t just lack of traction, it was also because of abuses by affiliates. Now, I have an affiliate program on BlogAid and so far it’s going well. I also belong to several affiliate programs for the resources I recommend most, like BackupBuddy, HostGator, and Genesis themes. These are the things I use and what I recommend to all of my clients, so it’s nice to get a little commission for being their front door salesman. Do you offer an affiliate program or do you participate in any? Leave a comment to let us know how that’s working for you.
This post from Eugen Oprea is a must-read. It’s titled The “Above the Fold” Myth Debunked and it includes research showing why you need to let go of the idea that all of your important content needs to be before folks have to scroll. This is especially true for your call to action. Folks who make squeeze pages have known this for a long time. You know those long sales pages that scream at you about why you can’t live without buying their product and you have to scroll through testimonials and bonuses just to find out how much it costs? Well, most of those pages don’t have a call to action above the fold. In fact, they want to be sure that they’ve piqued your interest and got you hooked before you see the price.
On top of that, Google is favoring longer posts these days because those usually indicate authority on a topic, which is a Google ranking factor.
So, it’s time to put the above the fold idea to rest on most blog posts. But, I’m not sure that counts for pages. I’m betting that you still want folks to immediately see what you’re offering on pages, like your services page or resources.
What do you think about this at a time when where you have to scroll depends entirely on the device you are using to view the site and its screen size.
Rob Cubbon has a nice post on his site that asks, are you a freelancer or entrepreneur? It’s an important distinction and mindset difference, not only to you, but to the kind if clients you attract. Now, he’s relating this to his website design business, but I know that the principle of it apply to anyone marketing themselves online. If you are your brand, you need to read this post and get some clarity about how you think of yourself. You might be surprised.
Site Security Tips
What did I tell you? In last week’s Tips Tuesday I told you about a post by Regina Smola on her WP Security Lock blog about a Godaddy Account Goes Haywire. And that if someone hacked into your domain account they could point it to any website they wanted.
Well, it happened. The WishList Member site got hacked and it was via one of the owner’s Gmail accounts. They got into his domain account, which made the site go down too. And they got into his PayPal account and of course they transferred the money out.
So, the moral of the story is, you need to get serious about security everywhere – on your site, your email accounts, all of your accounts really. Put some real passwords in there folks, not your name and birthday. Thanks to my colleague Cyndi Papia at Office To-Go for the heads up on what happened to WishList and go check out her post about setting up the two-step authentication with Gmail. Not having it is what caused this security breach in the first place.
The WishList site is all back to normal now and there was never any threat of exposing client account info, so nothing to worry about there.
This is exciting. MailChimp has released version 8 and it includes the ability to assign roles to multi-users. That’s super important if you have a team responsible for your marketing. Way to go MailChimp!
David Wells has a great post on the Inbound Now site titled Why Responsive Web Design is Not Right for Your Website. I’m delighted to see that I’m not the only one not on the responsive bandwagon. Now, he’s mainly aiming this at B2B websites and he makes this remark:
“If you’re a content focused site, that isn’t driven by ad revenue, Go nuts. Go responsive and have a cool responsive site.
If you are a B2B company, why in the world would you want to remove sidebar elements, hide calls to actions, make your already pretty boring site harder to navigate, and pretend you are cool because your site is “responsive”?”
There are a couple of important things to distinguish in all of this lingo about mobile themes. First, there are mobile-friendly, mobile-optimized, and fully responsive themes. The first two hold their shape, but do take into consideration the screen size of the device, just in different ways. BlogAid is a mobile-friendly theme and is what I recommend for B2B sites. Only fully-responsive themes rearrange themselves into columns appropriate for the device, and on all mobile, you lose way too much of your site, in my opinion. What do you think? What type of theme are you using? Have you checked your analytics to see what your viewers prefer? How’s your theme affecting your revenue? Leave a comment and let us know.
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. You can also subscribe directly to the RSS via email in the sidebar of the site. Visit BlogAid.net for more tips, tutorials, and free resources to make your site better.
And I’ll see you online!