Hello Happy Site Owners! Welcome to the BlogAid Tips Tuesday Podcast for Nov 18 2014 and I’m your host MaAnna. Tips this week include the new Webmaster Training site going live, the overhaul of distraction free writing in WordPress and why it is blinding you to the stuff you need to know, why the revamp of taxonomies matter to the future of making WordPress more powerful, a reality check on how malware scanners really perform, why a popular blogger killed the Disqus commenting system off his blog, SEO Copywriting tips from 9 experts that give us real insight into where content marketing is now, author bio box plugins that help you with conversion, how to both make and lose money on membership sites, and for dessert, a TED Talk that teaches bloggers how to tell a story from one of the best storytellers of our time. So let’s dive in. Listen to the podcast.
I want to say a big congrats and thank you to all of the folks who got in on the limited release of the new Webmaster Training site. They are already providing super feedback to me as well and I’m tweaking the site in accordance.
Next I’ll be rolling out all of the other discounts to those already in the VIP level of the WordPress and SEO Video Library, and to both BlogAid News and Tips Tuesday podcast subscribers that got in on the special email lists. So, look for those in about a week. After that, I’ll have a Grand Opening to the public.
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I also want to send a big congrats shout out to one of my clients, +Karen Al-Chacar and my fave designer and her dev team, +Cyndi Papia on the launch of a huge Multi User site over the weekend. It’s for a chain of retail stores and has 13 sites under one roof with nice push content to all of them from one central location and some super local SEO too.
It took a lot of planning and several months to create, but well worth it compared to 13 individual sites all competing with each other for SEO and readership.
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More Client Site Launches Coming
And I’m excited about three more training clients in the final stages of site completion and really looking forward to them launching over the next few weeks.
One is a total site revamp and rebranding that required integrating two craft sites and it is delicious. I can’t wait to show it to you.
Another is a complete overhaul of design, content, and conversion for a CPA in Canada and he’ll be wiping the floor with local SEO.
And another is a brand new site for a Portuguese language teacher that will help her move beyond local instruction.
Plus, I’m working with a delightful Australian client on a complete overhaul of design and content of a member site. It’s another one of those projects that takes lots of planning, and those initial consults are the key to success.
Getting a clear view of the big picture is priceless.
And that’s precisely what I help folks do, plus find the money, both in how to make it and how to stop losing it. More on that in a moment.
A few of the devs on the current WordPress core team are making a hard pitch to get their new Distraction Free Writing revamps into the core of the upcoming 4.1 release. In this post on the Development blog they even have a video demo of what the overhaul looks like. So, go check that out.
Personally, I prefer to do all of my initial writing in Word for a couple of reasons. I can do it offline. And, doing a bunch of edits in WordPress can leave behind orphaned code snippets.
The text editor in WordPress is not a word processor. It’s only function is to create well formatted code for a browser to interpret. So, respect that fact when you’re creating your content.
What you’re really working with is an HTML editor that is within a fancy database User Interface.
There’s power in that knowledge. When you fully realize what you’re working with, you’ll find all manner of new ways to tame the tiger that impacts your SEO, time on site, reader engagement, and bounce rate.
This is the type of stuff that I teach in my full training classes.
A full 80% of my clients don’t know the fundamentals of WordPress no matter how long they’ve been using it. And it makes a world of difference when they do. We fly through that stuff in the first hour of the class and then take a dive straight into the 11 levels of SEO on every page and post and how to maximize them.
All this to say that if the distraction free writing feature is near the top of your importance list, maybe you want to consider focusing on other elements that get you measurable results.
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Taxonomies in WordPress is one of those dry terms that is mainly only of interest to developers. For the end user, the main contact with them is via setting categories and tags.
But they are actually very powerful and in the last couple of years, development on taxonomies has paved the way for more specialized themes, like those for niche industries such as real estate and food.
The work on these things is rather slow because it involves the way data is correlated in the database. But, there are new developments on the way to fix some of the hindrances that have been around since WordPress 2.9. I’m keeping my eye on them, as they will definitely impact performance with the database query speeds, meaning, how fast the content can be found once a user requests a web page.
And this new development will also take care of some of the shared slug issues. For example, you can’t have a category and a page with the same name because you can’t have two instances of the same thing in the database. They both have the same slug. I’ll tell you more about this as it develops.
There are several free and paid security scanners available now. But are they worth running? On the BlogVault blog, Shylaja puts them to the test on a known vulnerability like Tim Thumb. Only a couple of them caught the problem and I was as shocked as she was that Sucuri was not among them, especially since she grabbed the malicious injection code from their report on it.
And I can back up her test results by telling you that I find all manner of things during Site Audits that no scanner has ever detected.
The scanner that performed the best in her test was the one in Wordfence. But to me, that one good performance on a known threat is still not enough for me to want to put something that behemoth on my site. It’s a big performance drain and was listed in the top 10 of worst plugins for having its own security issues.
And this is just one more reason why you need to thoroughly vet the info you get about using anything on your site. Don’t do it just because one person ran one test. It may do one thing really well, but may be super bad in other aspects.
Content Marketing Tips
A big part of content marketing is engagement in the form of comments. One way some folks have found to obliterate spam comments is to use a 3rd party service like Disqus. Well, Disqus is now using the data collected on those comments to target the ads they show.
In a recent post on his blog, +Chris Lema tells us why he initially installed Disqus and now why he killed it. He’s very upset about his commenters being tracked that way.
For me, 3rd party comment systems always put up another sign-in road block for my visitors. And over the past couple of years I’ve discovered that I get the most comments on G+ itself. So, I decided to embed those comments on my blog, followed by the native WordPress comments, which hardly anyone uses anymore.
What do you use for comments? How have they changed over the years for you? And please do let us know if you’re an established blogger who had lots of comments prior to all of the 3rd party offerings. That does make a difference to your perspective on it.
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Write for your readers. That’s what I gleaned from this post by +Heather Lloyd-Martin. Once you get past keywords in your title, then create useful content that is easy for folks to scan. Use subheadings and images to help guide the eye down through the content. So, go have a look at this post to get more details on how these 9 SEO copywriters do that and make your posts better.
Your author resource box is a super place to tell folks more about you as the author of your post. But, it’s also a super place for conversion links.
You can include links to the social media platforms where you hang out most. And, you can also include links to your newsletter signup or subscription to your blog posts and/or podcast.
If you’re using the Genesis framework for your theme, then you have an author box built in, but you need to turn it on. The checkbox is in your User profile, as are all the bio areas for you to include the content and the links. And yes, you can put HTML in those fields.
If you’re not using Genesis, or you want something more robust, check out the 7 plugins mentioned in this post from WordPress for Beginners. You’ll get some great ideas of layouts and such to bring attention to your conversion points.
Membership Site Tips
The folks at MemberPress just keep adding more goodies to their plugin. +Chris Lema has a nice write up about the new SEO tweaks and non-member sneak peeks, plus automated emails that it can now do.
I really like MemberPress. I use it and WishList Member because they are the top 2 dogs in the niche. All other plugins leave money on the table, in my opinion.
And, they’re both good for different things, like the way the content delivery and payments are structured.
As y’all know, I’m launching my second membership site. And I have a client in the process of a tiered launch, where she is staggering the release of multiple member levels. Plus another client who is totally revamping an existing member site. And, I have two more clients starting their new member site creation in December.
Member sites are a super way to make more passive income. They can also be a way to lose your shirt.
The key to a successful site is the initial consultation because you’re probably focused only on all the content you’re going to create and don’t know much yet about all the options with how to deliver and protect that content, do upsells, or about member recruitment and retention.
Plus there is the enormous jigsaw puzzle of pieces that can be configured for max sales and ease of use in the plugins themselves. If you use one of the “simple to set up” plugins or even the setup wizard in the more complex ones, you’re leaving money on the table.
It’s definitely worth having both guidance and help with all of that.
I had to hire someone to help me with my first membership site too. And all these years later there are still not many folks who can help you understand the bigger picture of what you’re doing and why before you get bogged down in the minutiae of all the settings and such.
So, if you are considering a membership site that actually makes money, invest in your education first. Makes a world of difference compared to learning the hard way.
The clues to great storytelling
This is by far one of the best resources I’ve seen on how to write a post of any kind, whether for your blog or social media micro-blogging.
It’s a TED Talk featuring filmmaker and master storyteller Andrew Stanton of Toy Story and WALL-E fame.
For bloggers, this goes way past headlines and keywords and straight to the heart of how we want to be given information that engages us.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday. If you’re listening on the podcast, be sure to jump over to the post with full show notes and links, and any news that may have broken after the podcast was recorded on Monday.
And thanks so much for giving this podcast a big star rating on iTunes, and please leave a review and let me know what you think of the show. I really appreciate it. And do drop by and say hey over on my Google+ page too. That’s where I hang out. Be sure to visit BlogAid.net for more tips and resources and I’ll see you online.