Hello Happy Site Owners! This week’s tips include multiple updates on your favorite plugins, cyber security posts that are starting to paint a picture of what’s happening, what keeps your business from growing, common Home page design mistakes, why viewers don’t trust your site content, my G+ Pro Tips journey, a follow up on what happened after CopyBlogger removed all comments on their site, the hidden powers of hashtags, and a super tool to follow them across all platforms. So let’s dive in. Listen to the podcast.
We’re finally into spring around most of the country now. Yippie, no more snow, and pretty blooms everywhere. I’m enjoying the sight of green all around me again. I live in a beautiful neighborhood with a lot of old growth, so it’s very lush. And lots of blooms.
I’ve been spending a lot of my time looking at it through the windows, though. I’ve started that video making binge I’ve been talking about for a while. Not only are the videos in the Tutorial Library getting updated, I’m adding bunches of new ones.
And, I finally found a super trick in my membership plugin that will absolutely explode my SEO. I intend to make that library the premier spot to learn about WordPress, Genesis, MailChimp, and SEO. Even the $1 library is going to just about double in size. So, sign up and get the benefit as it grows.
Alright, there was a bunch happening this week that you need to know about, so let’s jump into the tips and news.
How is everyone doing with your upgrade to WordPress 3.9? I finally updated and I’ll tell you why I delayed until now in a moment.
One of the caveats I noticed was that the hierarchy of my blog post Categories no longer shows as such in the little module on the Post Editor page. All the Categories are there, they are just not displaying in a hierarchy any more.
How about you? What have you noticed since upgrading? Leave us a comment here on the blog or on G+.
Whahoo! I’m delighted that developer Andrew Ozz decided to do a revamp on this popular plugin to keep pace with changes to the WordPress core. You may recall that I advocated not upgrading to 3.9 until this plugin could come along for the ride. Well, it’s out now and you can finally upgrade both.
See my quick video that will take you on a tour of the new features and setup. You’ll need it because upgrading will wipe out your current configuration of the tools.
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And if you use the Ultimate TinyMCE plugin, you’re out of luck. The developer chose to not make the free version compatible with WordPress 3.9. Instead, they’ve released a pro version, meaning paid, and changed the name. It’s mainly geared toward developers and designers.
You’ll want to see my post on it to get the skinny and how much it’s going to cost you to use it.
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Akismet has updated
Version 3.0 is out and it was a big update. Here’s the list of all that changed.
- Move Akismet to Settings menu
- Drop Akismet Stats menu
- Add stats snapshot to Akismet settings
- Add Akismet subscription details and status to Akismet settings
- Add contextual help for each page
- Improve Akismet setup to use Jetpack to automate plugin setup
- Fix Update Check for Spam to use ajax to avoid page timing out
- Fix Akismet settings page to be responsive
- Drop legacy code
- Replace the old discard setting with a new “discard pervasive spam” feature.
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Contact Form 7 Updated
This is my favorite free plugin for forms. They’ve introduced a data option for select, checkbox and radio form-tags. And the say with the Listo plugin, you can make a menu with hundreds of options. I’m going to put that on my long to do list of plugins to check out and will keep you posted.
First, I want to thank +The Hacker News and +Black Lotus for all of the great security posts I’m going to tell you about here. These are the ones from the past week, combined with other resources, that help paint a picture for me about what’s happening in cyber security.
Y’all may remember me saying a few times that I hang out with hacker groups that I can’t reveal or I’ll get kicked out. They’re very protective of their identities. Not because it’s a dark art, but because they know so much about cyber security and the risks of revealing too much.
Well this nice hacker team from China finally revealed its members and took home some big money in a contest sponsored by some big names like Microsoft, Google, Apple, and others who provide Internet security. They hacked Apple’s Safari Mac OS X Mavericks system in just 20 seconds and Windows 8.1. Adobe Flash in only 15 seconds. That’s impressive and scary.
Equally impressive is the hacker’s education level. The team leader holds two degrees including a Master’s in cyber security.
So, you may want to go pat these guys on the back and thank them for helping protect you and for being happy with the prize money and what they can legitimately earn from what they know. Even though it’s a big sum, it’s far less than what they could make if they turned to the dark side.
And do your part to help yourself. Be smart online and with everything you have connected to the Internet such as your site and every device you own. Use super strong passwords and 2-step authentication where available, and keep everything updated.
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And here’s a couple more reasons why security folks keep quiet about vulnerabilities. Since the news about DrDoS attacks went public, Black Lotus is reporting “an alarming 87% increase in the frequency” just since January of this year. They make up 40% of bot attack types.
Y’all may remember me reporting in Tips Tuesday and other posts that it takes very few people or resources to actually pull one of these off. That’s another reason why they’re springing up so much. The big, coordinated attacks are yet to come.
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And here’s another example. Security folks knew about the HeartBleed vulnerability since 2011. But most dark hackers didn’t know about it until the news was made public, and then they quickly got to work. The first arrest was recently made. It was a 19 year old who broke into the Canada Revenue Agency to steal data.
All of these stories are to say that there is a reason most of what is happening in cyber security is not made public. And what you do know is the tip of the iceberg. And I’m telling you, get serious about protecting your assets.
Content Marketing Tips
Growing your business. Sean Smith’s post on CopyBlogger hits the nail on the head with one of the reasons new online business owners fail to accomplish this goal. And I’m going to give the spoiler here. He says that “your target isn’t small enough.” As counter intuitive as that sounds, it’s true. Business exploded on BlogAid when I made that mindset change. So, go read the post because he covers how to redefine yourself, your target audience, and what to do next.
Yes! Yes! Yes! I hope everyone who owns a site will read this post from +Marcus Sheridan on his Sales Lion blog about the purpose of your site’s Home page. When I did these tips on BlogAid, business boomed. He tells you to take the less-is-more approach and he could not be more right.
One thing I disagree with is that the purpose of the Home page is to get viewers to Page 2 of your site. Honestly, if you’re doing your blog posting right, and have gained some authority and authorship credentials, the Home page is likely going to be their second page to visit. They are going to find your posts on the topic first. So keep that in mind as you read this post too.
Another thing I disagree with is the example in Tip 4. It takes the less-is-more too far. Go read another post I featured in Tips Tuesday a couple of weeks ago about how GrooveHQ Grew Conversions 100% by Rethinking Our Design Strategy. So, go read that post and put those hard numbers up against the theory of less is more to that extreme.
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Lack of a clear message on what your site is about is one of the fastest ways to lose a potential client. That’s just one of the stats you’ll find in this excellent post by Dianna Huff on the Content Institute Marketing blog. Other factors include a DIY looking site and lack of contact info. There are several other factors listed and you will get more out of it by looking at the charts yourself.
Now, when you read this post, keep in mind that they are primarily addressing B2B clients, which is Business to Business, not B2C, which is Business to Consumer, and I believe most of my followers are. And one of the things they list as a turn off is lack of a phone number. I doubt B2C sites have that same issue. And B2B doesn’t really care about your blog posts or social media activity, which is by far not true of B2C sites. Even with those differences, it’s worth your while to at least skim this post for the graphs and then go have a look at what’s on the Home page of your site.
Google+ Pro Tips Followup
I want to give you a follow up to how it’s going with upping my game on G+. Y’all know that I’ve been reading the Google+ Pro Tips series from +Stephan Hovnanian and I’m on the second book about working with Circles. The first step was to clean up my existing Circles. It’s taken me a couple of weeks to do it. It’s rather tedious work and I was doing it in my spare time. But it has been well worth it. I immediately started enjoying a better G+ experience because the folks I really wanted to hear from most were showing up more in my news stream. And, I uncovered some real gems too. I’m on Chapter 6 of the book now and hope to complete it by the end of the week. Each book in the series is only $2.99 and so worth the investment in your time too.
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And I also want to do a follow up on a report in a previous Tips Tuesday where I applauded the move by CopyBlogger to disable all comments of every type on their blog. Now Seige Media has a report on how that worked out for CopyBlogger. A 157% growth rate on G+ in such a short period of time is truly impressive.
Now, that’s not to say this tactic is for everyone. Keep in mind that CopyBlogger already has a big tribe of followers. And they were actively engaging with a lot of them on G+ already. Perhaps this move just nudged more folks to join them there. At the end of their posts, where comments used to be, they very wisely put an invitation with links for folks to comment on Twitter and G+.
I can also tell you that since I had G+ comments hard coded into BlogAid, I get way more engagement there and very few comments on the native WP comments. So few in fact that I’m seriously considering getting rid of them and all of the spam that goes with it.
Now, many bloggers have very heavy activity in their native WP comments. So, perhaps the transition to G+ comments is like splitting the conversation, or worse, just being something that their loyal followers have to scroll past to get to the real comments.
Like I said, this change is not for everyone, but I hope it’s an invitation for you to entertain the power of G+ if you’re not already active there. Some folks will still argue that you must keep the conversation on a property that you own. While that’s a valid argument, it doesn’t hold weight if the conversations are happening elsewhere, as they are for BlogAid.
Thanks to +Larry Kim for bringing this post to my attention.
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+Mark Traphagen takes us on a deep dive into hashtags on G+. I’m trying to be more consistent with using them, especially on Tips Tuesday posts so I can track them.
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And if you want to follow hashtags across all platforms, try Tagboard. It’s a great way to keep up with your social media campaigns. I want to thank +Denise Wakeman for helping me become aware of this tool by asking her followers for help in finding something that would do this. And let that be another lesson from her. Asking works, not just for tips, but also ways to gage interest in a topic or event or anything else you want to invest time on.
Alright y’all, that’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday. If you’ve got tips you think will help folks, send them on over to me. It takes a village to keep up. And please do leave a comment here on the blog, on iTunes, or on G+. I love hearing from you. Be sure to visit BlogAid.net for more tips and resources and I’ll see you online.