Hello Happy Site Owners! This week’s tips include new membership sites, the surprising and scary things I’m uncovering in site audits, a short list of plugins that must be configured to work properly, site launch celebrations, new StudioPress themes, optimizing images like a pro, new feature in the WordPress SEO plugin that might help you catch more eyes, 5 of the best forum plugins, SSL tips on member sites and with caching plugins, whether posting on G Plus creates duplicate content, why you want to scrap a blog post, the importance of being someone’s Google, a stellar post on crafting About pages, 5 toxic beliefs about being perfect you might not realize you hold, and for dessert, magical paths that beg to be walked. So let’s dive in. Listen to the podcast.
It’s been an amazing week of opportunities, site launches, comedy of errors, and work pouring in at BlogAid. And, this podcast is about twice as long as usual because there’s just so much going on in the cyber world right now to tell you about.
Backside of WordPress Member Site
First, I want to let you know that I have two new member sites in the works and a third on the way. The first is one for designers and other folks who need to set up WordPress sites securely and migrate them, and a whole host of other background duties. I already teach folks how to do that in live 1-on-1 sessions, but I can’t scale that. And it’s expensive compared to a video membership. I’ll be offering this like I do my WordPress, Genesis, and SEO Video Library and the difference in that and my classes are the same. The live sessions are tailored to your unique needs and you can ask all the questions you want. So, that is worth paying the difference for compared to videos.
Second, I can’t really let the cat out of the bag another new member site, but it’s something I’ve been doing with all of my full training clients for a couple of months now and it is spectacularly helpful. So, I want to make it a standalone resource. It will likely turn into a mastermind type group, with a limit on how many folks can join at a time. Plus, I’m already talking with experts in other fields to bring in as special guests, along with special offers. I’ll tell you more as it gets closer to release.
Podcast Summer Camp
And, the third opportunity I’m excited to tell you about is podcasting. Tomorrow I’ll be joining +Denise Wakeman and +Ellen Britt for their super Podcast Summer Camp at beautiful Serenbe Farms in Atlanta. I’ll be unplugging for a couple of days and playing in the sandbox with the other campers for getting their podcast started on the right foot. I’m there as the token geek and looking forward to helping folks choose equipment and software that doesn’t cost a lot and sounds great. It’s wonderful to be able to take the intimidation factor out of that part of it and help folks get on their way.
Site Audits for Performance and Security
But the really big news is what I’ve been uncovering in site audits the past couple of weeks. Folks contact me to do performance checks on one site. I tell them I have to check the whole account or efforts on the one site are a waste of their money and my time. And here’s why.
I’m uncovering an average of 26 security holes per audit.
I’ve found suspicious files that security scanner detected that ended up being base 64 code, which is really, really bad.
On one account, I found a total of 10 live WordPress sites that had been abandoned and forgotten about, but were getting eaten alive by bots and were the main source of the performance drain on the one site that the client was active with.
The moral of the story is, well, actually there are two. First, the whole account needs to be checked. Second, prevention is way cheaper than fixing a hacked site or one that is currently under severe attack.
Configure Those Plugins!
But, one of the worst things I’m finding in these site audits are plugins that were installed but never configured. And the site owner thinks they are safer or performing better when in reality they are not. Or, they may even be causing a worse security or performance drain. Examples of those plugins are:
- Pretty Permalinks
- W3 Total Cache
- WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast
They are all great plugins, but you have to configure them. So, if you installed one of these, but never checked the settings, you’ll want to get on that, or get some help with them.
The other thing I find, of course, are plugin conflicts. Makes a whale of a lot of difference getting those squared away.
Congrats to Samuel Partida, Jr. on Site Launch
And I want to send a big congrats shout out to one of my full training clients, Samuel Partida, on the successful launch of his Illinois Case Law site. He is a super go-getter and put this whole site together in record time by sitting down and getting it done. I could not be prouder for him.
Samuel already had a site and initially came to me for a member site. We had a planning session and found whole other ways for him to not only make money, but position him and his site as #1 in the niche. We literally rebuilt his entire site with a whole other focus. And now he has everything in place to make himself the go-to guy for other Illinois lawyers.
He already had a good podcast too, and he’s completely revamped it to be in line with the new business plan.
His member site is on the way next and when he opens the doors, there will be a flood of subscribers pouring in because of the foundation he has laid with this site and his podcast.
Folks, this is a super duper example of how you take an idea and meet rubber to road in making it happen. So, keep your eyes on Samuel because he’s going to shoot like a rocket to the moon in no time at all.
Okay, that’s the news from BlogAid, let’s jump into this week’s tips and news from around the ‘net.
This is the part where they spit shine WordPress 4.0 before the public launch is now slated for August 27, depending on how many bugs they find.
StudioPress has out two new themes. Actually one is new and the other is a conversion up to HTML5.
Honestly, both of these look like rehashes of current themes in the pack. They’ve just been labeled for specific niches. Proving once again that the designers at StudioPress have lost their imagination caps. I love Genesis. And the child themes from StudioPress are clean coded things. But, there are still only 4 structures and everything is just a variation on them. So, there’s not as much variety as it seems when you scroll down the page.
One of my fave developers, Matt Cromwell has a super duper post on optimizing images for your site. No matter how well you think you have this process down, go read this post. You’ll learn something. I did!
WordPress SEO plugin updated
There have been a couple of updates to the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast lately. One of the little new features is the ability to choose your own separator. By default it’s a dash. This is what comes between your post/page title and the name of your site. Now you have bunches of choices. And they may make your posts stand out in SERPs in a fresh, eye-catching way.
You’ll find them by going to SEO > Titles & Metas. They’re in the second section under the General tab for Title Separator.
Okay, so maybe you’re not quite ready for a full-blown member site yet. But, you still want to deliver a more branded experience for your followers than running a private Facebook group or G+ Community. Maybe a forum on your site would be a good fit. WPBeginner has a nice post with 5 of the best and I agree with the order they’ve got them in too. Some offer socializing features much like full social platforms such as Facebook, where members can interact with one another. So, might be worth checking into, although so of them can be just as complex to set up as a member site. So, keep that in mind too.
More news is coming out about the insanity Google caused with the announcement that SSL and secure sites were going to become a light-weight ranking factor.
Read Google SSL Ranking Factor – the Why, What, and How if you haven’t done so already.
Member Sites and SSL
In addition to that, some member plugin developers are now hyping that your member site will be more secure with SSL. Don’t listen to it and fubar your money-making membership site with this nonsense.
If you’re taking credit cards on the site, not on PayPal or some other outside service, those pages need SSL. If you’re not taking credit cards, you don’t need SSL and nothing about it will make your member content any more secure.
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And if you do switch over to SSL and get the implementation wrong, you better believe that Google is going to pop you for it. Here’s a post from +Ana Hoffman with more on that.
If you’re using Gzip as part of your caching plugin or on your CDN, it and SSL don’t get along very well at all. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you might want to check the settings on W3TC or CloudFlare or whatever other type of local or remote caching you’re using and look for something labeled Gzip.
+GoogleWebmasterTools posted some advice to verify all of the different versions of your site such as www, non www, http and https with Google Webmaster Tools. No, no, no.
On a WordPress site, if you have things set up properly on the front end, then you should have everything pointing to the canonical. And that should be the only one indexed. No visitor should even be able to hit a non-canonical page or post. So there’s nothing else to index or verify.
If you’re converting the whole site to https, which I don’t advocate doing yet either, that then becomes your new canonical and you need to verify and reindex the entire site under it. Have fun waiting 2-3 months for that process to finish. (Old SERPs will redirect to the new immediately. Just takes months for all the SERPs to display accurate permalinks.)
This is just one more reason NOT to follow generic advice, no matter who it comes from. This advice applies to all sites, WordPress or non. And all other types may not have an easy way to do those canonical rewrites.
If you have already verified the other URL types, and you are seeing hits on them, then you definitely have an issue with your canonical setup. Fix that, not this.
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I hope all of know by now that G+ is good for SEO and that content posted there can actually rank higher than the same content on your blog. Because of that, some folks actually put an exact copy of their whole blog post on G+. While I wouldn’t advocate doing that, I would suggest you create a synopsis of your blog post and put that on G+, even using as much of the original well-crafted text as you like.
Now, I can hear some of asking whether or not that’s going to create a duplicate content issue. The answer is no, it won’t, even if you paste it word for word.
Get the skinny on why this is so in this excellent post from +Mark Traphagen
I want to thank +Peg Fitzpatrick for re-introducing me to +Linda Dessau and her post on why you do want to scrap a blog post. And I would also like to suggest that this holds true of anything with your site, your online business, and your life. Never fear letting go of something.
I had been following Linda on other platforms and lost touch with her when I started focusing so much more time on G Plus. Good to find folks here again.
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+Don Purdum has one of the freshest takes I’ve seen on the topic of proactively being a fountain of information for your target audience. This is definitely a must-read post to open your mind to a new way of thinking about networking and content curation and marketing.
Big thank you to +Ana Hoffman for being a Google for me and finding gems like this.
My to-do list just got some help with this super collection of ideas and examples from +Ann Smarty. I’m in the process of updating all of my profiles and sections of my site. So very timely.
Big thank you to +Stephan Hovnanian for the share. His was one of the examples I was going to follow. Nice of Ann to help me find it so easily again by rightfully including it in this collection.
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Maybe you don’t consider yourself a perfectionist. Maybe you call it something else, like thinking your ideas or your voice is not good enough. I never thought either of those things about myself. Even so, one of the 5 toxic beliefs LaRae Quy listed in this post hit home with me.
1. PERFECTION COUNTS MORE THAN COMPETENCY
2. PURSUIT OF PERFECTION IS A GOOD USE OF TIME
3. PERFECTION MEANS HAVING ALL THE ANSWERS
4. PERFECTION IS IMPRESSIVE
5. PERFECTION INCREASES CHANCES FOR SUCCESS
The one that caught my attention was not having all the answers. You know, the tech field is huge. And even when you narrow it just down to Internet things, it’s still huge. And there are lots of areas where you can get a Ph.D in them. I cover a lot of ground, but I can’t cover it all.
So, I finally stopped concerning myself so much with the unrealistic expectations of end users about it. And that’s very real. Most folks don’t realize how much there is to know about each element and judge folks more by what they don’t know than what they do.
Here’s my take on it. I’m going to help who I can help with what I do know. And when I learn more, I’ll help more. And that’s exactly how I’ve grown BlogAid. The main thing is, I will never BS folks and I’ll help them source those who have expertise outside of mine. I’m still their main go-to person because they trust me. And that’s the goal I’m ultimately shooting for.
So, go read this post from LaRae and see what toxic beliefs you may have that are holding you back.
There are some photographs that I enjoy looking at. And then there are some that I simply want to immerse myself in. I found 28 such magical paths that truly do beg to be walked. I’d invite you to scroll through them slowly and drift away for a while into a whimsical place you can almost smell and feel. They are truly delightful.
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.