Hello Happy Site Owners! This week’s tips include why the shutdown of Google Reader is making some folks yawn, a super easy way to make a radical improvement on your site, the rise of managed hosting, a new media file manager plugin that will appeal to folks with lots of photos and files, a new plugin for Genesis themes, tips on doing SEO on G+ for creative people, the skinny on Open Graph and Twitter Cards, and new posts from Google that nearly made me fall out of my chair. So, let’s dive in. Listen to the podcast.
WordCamp Nashville 2013 is happening April 20th. I was pretty stoked to see my name listed as the first speaker of the first Track to help kick the day off! Come join us. I’ll be there all day and all night, so be sure to say hey.
Did you miss the webinar hosted by online visibility expert, Denise Wakeman with 3 Ways to Boost Your Visibility with Google Plus? Never fear, you can get the replay here. I was a guest speaker along with the helpful and talented Stephan Hovnanian with super info on how to get the most from that huge new cover graphic. And Denise got me pretty excited about all the cool stuff you can do on G+. So be sure to go back and catch that webinar replay.
And I published the free report on how to fix the mess made by having multiple Google Accounts. When I started hooking up all my Authorship loops, I discovered that I had a crazy crosslink that sent me on a few months of investigation. I took great notes along the way and I knew this info would be helpful to all the other folks who had a mishmash of accounts too. Very important to get all of this squared out so you can take even more advantage of all the perks that G+ offers too.
If the news of Google Reader shutting down makes you yawn, then this post from Jay Baer is for you, because he yawns about it too. It’s titled Google Reader’s Demise is Irrelevant for Blogs and in it he tells how he follows what interests him online and why email subscriptions win.
Are you offering an email subscription service for your blog posts yet? MailChimp, Aweber, and FeedBlitz all offer that service. And if you’re on Feedburner, now is the time to switch because that’s probably going to be the next thing that’s shut down.
Here’s a nice post by Pamela Vaughan on Hubspot with her take on What the Death of Google Reader REALLY Means. I almost couldn’t believe what I was reading. For starters, this post is on Hubspot, which is all about inbound marketing. And secondly, Pam says she was a Google Reader power user. She said Google Reader going away is a good thing and is necessary to the success of G+ and will be a boon for all social media platforms.
I think that is what Google wants to happen. But, there’s no way I could rely on social media to ensure that I see all of the posts I need to see to keep up with this industry. That’s especially true of Facebook, where folks only see 18% of the posts from pages they follow. And having to sort through the echo chamber of Twitter is a waste of my time. Now G+ shows me all posts of those I follow, and it has become my favorite platform. But it still takes me longer to find all the posts I need compared to a feed reader.
Her advice is to use Flipboard. It looks a whole lot like G+ with an emphasis on images. And that’s precisely why I don’t use it for reading my feeds. Takes too long.
My conclusion. I don’t think Pamela is a power user. But, neither are most of the folks who follow me. So, what works for me may not be the best fit. What Pamela suggests may be a lot closer.
She also suggests that every online business should be promoting their RSS to email option. Now, that sounds more like advice appropriate to Hubspot, and I couldn’t agree more. You only have until July 1st to do this before Google Reader shuts down. And I’m going to ask you to go to the sidebar of the BlogAid site or to this link to get on my email list and check the box to receive the blog posts via email too. If you’re already on the newsletter list and you try to subscribe to the blog posts, you’re going to see a little error. That’s okay, just click the link and it will take you to a page where you can update your preferences and include the blog posts.
WordPress News and Tips
One of the easiest ways you can improve your site is to get into the habit of resizing and optimizing your images prior to uploading them to your site. Using the crop and resizing tools within WordPress are not the same as doing it before upload. Files need to be made as small as possible first. Now, don’t confuse file size with display size. They are two different things. But you do want to properly control both. There is a super simple way to do that. Here’s a great post from Cyndi Papia of Office To-Go titled How to Make Images Ready for Blog Posts. She gives you step-by-step instructions for using Pixlr, which is a free online app. At the end of her post you’ll also find links for sites where you can get more free images to use.
Over at WP Daily, John Saddington is cranking up the rumor mill with his take on what’s happening over at WP Engine. Seems they may be positioning themeselves to become an IPO.
Whether they do or not, I think companies like WP Engine are going to be on the rise. They offer managed hosting exclusively for WordPress sites. In a sense, they are the paid hosting version of WordPress.com. Site maintenance and security are things that more and more site owners just don’t want to handle, and that’s the big draw for what WP Engine offers. But, it’s expensive compared to shared hosting, which is what most small business owners use. So, they’re not going to put HostGator out of business anytime soon. But, they are going to have massive success, and their recent hiring practices are a testament to that.
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.
BackupBuddy 3.3 is available. (aff link) I love this backup plugin. I have it on all of my sites and all of my client’s sites. The new features include: a new “Cancel Backup” button, help troubleshooting conflicting plugins, an option to manually run scheduled backups (which is great for testing connections to storage), and a backup file integrity scan, and more. And that’s on top of all the other great features already in it, like a malware scanner and integration with popular storage systems. Lots to love with this plugin. Worth every penny.
Here’s a plugin I’d like to check out. It’s Media File Manager Advanced. It says that you can “create a subfolder in the upload directory without limiting the depth of the tree structure. It changes the media links in the database, allowing you to sort your media into subfolders without fear of breaking the links of your media posts.” This is great if you have a lot different kinds of media like I do, such as free reports and such, and you want to keep those separate from the images you use on your blog posts. But what I’m really interested in seeing is how easy it makes it to name those subfolders because that could impact your SEO. Keep in mind that Google indexes the full URL, which would include subfolder names. This is particularly important for photography sites where you would want to get more local SEO juice. So, you could name a subfolder something like Dallas – Weddings – Smith – 2013.
There’s a new plugin for Genesis themes out called Automatic Footer Copyright for Genesis. And you may be asking why you would want to use this instead of the Genesis Simple Edits plugin. Well, because it does just one thing, and very well too. It takes out the links that everybody wants out anyway, like the ones to WordPress and Genesis sites. And, it puts a nice notice of copyright starting with the year first published followed by the current year, which auto updates for you.
Now, be careful. If you’re already using the Genesis Simple Edits plugin, don’t install this one too or they’ll fight with each other over footer control. And Simple Edits lets you control other things, like your post meta data where it shows your byline and date of publication and such. So, it’s a one or the other thing, not both.
It’s little things like this that made me fall in love with the Genesis themes. The code is clean and powerful with all sorts of little extras. If you’re thinking about making the switch, I’ve got a special package so you can Try a Genesis Theme on a private site and watch videos with all of the powerful features. And you can try up to three themes too.
For non-Genesis theme users, there’s another new plugin out called Footer Text that allows you to customize the footer text right from your Dashboard. But, you have to add a little code to one of your theme template files. So, that could be a bit of an issue for most folks.
Nice post by Mark McGuinness on Lateral Action titled 4 Compelling Reasons for Creative People to Start Using Google Plus. And you may be wondering why I’m cover the G+ social platform in the SEO section of Tips Tuesday. Because you can gain more SEO on G+ in six months than you can in two years with your site. That’s the word from Ronnie Bincer and he’s right. And if you’re still using the excuse of everybody’s still on Facebook, then you should read this post and see what Mark says about that.
We all know that social media engagement affects our SEO. And getting more folks to see your right content on social media can be a challenge. Neil Patel has a wonderful post on his Quick Sprout blog titled Social Media Meta Tags: How to Use Open Graph and Cards. It’s a good read on how each of these elements works on Facebook and Twitter.
I do want to point out one thing you may miss in the middle of the post. If you are using the WordPress SEO plugin, and you have the Open Graph box checked, you’re already covered. What he doesn’t mention is that’s not the only plugin that will provide this service for you. There are several others. So, just be sure that you use only one to supply the necessary code. And all of them are easier than manually doing it, which his post also covers, so don’t let that throw you either.
Google is finally making real efforts to be available and responsive to support issues that affect your SEO and your site. You can even contact them and get a reply now. On top of that, they’ve made several new and important posts on the Google Webmaster Central Blog lately, including:
I almost fell out of my chair when I read that last one. The first sentence not only mentioned Blogger, which is Google’s own platform, it mentioned, and linked to, WordPress as well. Seems that Google is finally coming out of their collective cubical and taking a look at what’s happening in the real world, like the fact that serious business owners are on WordPress and customer support matters. Go Google.
Now that I’m hosting more webinars, I’ve been reading the Event Strategy Solutions blog more often. And Daphne has a nice post titled How Far In Advance Do You Promote Your Event? She says as soon as you set the date because marketing the event takes longer than you think.
I also saw how Denise Wakeman promoted her recent webinar on ways to use G+ to get more visibility where I was invited to speak on Google Authorship. Over 800 people signed up for that.
And then recently I hosted two impromptu webinars that were open Q&A events where I sent short notice to a limited audience to purposely keep attendance small. In fact, the very first webinar I did a few months ago was invitation-only to just a handful of folks.
So, there is merit in doing it both ways, it really depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. You could do a little campaign to help you get your feet wet with a new thing. Or, you could do a big campaign to attract a few folks to a more exclusive, or highly focused event, like a mastermind group. Or, you could do a huge campaign to attract a huge audience. The last two require the longest lead time.
And then there are affiliates, who would like to help you promote your big events, but you have to give them time to put it in their posting schedule.
The other thing to keep in mind is that everyone has busy lives. I know a lot of folks who are trying to launch an online business while they still have full time jobs and they can’t attend events held during the work day and need a replay available. I also hear from a lot of event organizers that few folks actually watch the replays.
Do you host or attend webinars? What’s your take on all this?
Creating videos is great, but you don’t want to store them on your site. And, you may not want all of them to be publicly available either. I use Amazon S3 for storing the videos I carry in the BlogAid Video Library as well as my podcast files. I was delighted to get an email from them saying they’re cutting fees in half. That’s super news, especially for those videos and podcasts that get thousands of hits.
Do you gift your readers? On the Content Marketing Institute blog, Natasha has a nice post with 4 Steps to Creating Video Content as a Gift to Your Audience.
And this is helpful. Jason Tucker has a sweet little post on his WP Media Pro site with How to record audio and video from Skype. I use the Pamela for Skype software he mentions to record my podcast interviews. But, I’ve never done a video Skype call and had not heard of the software he mentions for recording that. And it’s great. This will definitely give private Google Hangouts a run for client meetings.
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. http://www.blackberry.com/podcasts You can also subscribe directly to the blog posts via email. Visit BlogAid.net for more tips, tutorials, and free resources to make your site better.
And I’ll see you online!