Hello Happy Site Owners! I’m MaAnna with BlogAid and this week’s tips feature several security upgrades you need to know about and do, and big changes to SEO including Google Analytics and what’s happening with AuthorRank and Google+. And, there’s a little drama going on behind the scenes with WordPress and it may affect future theme and plugin development, as well as your local WordCamp. Listen to the podcast now.
Three big security bugs were fixed with the release of WordPress 3.5.1 so update your site pronto. If you don’t take updating your site and plugins seriously, you should. It’s how most hack attacks occur. So do this sooner rather than later.
Dre Armeda has a post you should read on the Sucuri blog about WordPress Security – 5 Steps to Reduce Your Risk. Numbers 1, 4, and 5 will be the three steps that affect most site owners.
‘Tis the season to get your tickets for WordCamp. These are local events hosted by WordPress users and developers in your area and it’s one of the best ways to get involved with what’s happening all around you. The WordPress Foundation helps to offset the cost of the events so ticket prices can be kept low, but sponsorship is always needed. Right now is the time to see how you can sponsor your local event. Go to WordCamp Central to find events near you. Keep in mind that these are happening all over the globe. So if you have friends in other places, you’ll want to tell them too.
If you’re listening to Tips Tuesday via the podcast, you can get all the links for everything I mention on the BlogAid site in the show notes.
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.
CommentLuv was recently updated to be faster in the way it calculates how many times someone has commented on your site and the level of reward they receive for that.
There’s also a critical update for WishList Member (aff link) if you take payments via PayPal. Seems that PayPal is making a major change on Feb. 1st and a patch is needed to keep it integrated with WishList. I’m betting this is not the only plugin affected. So, if you have received notice of the need for this type of update on one of your plugins, please share it in the comments on the blog.
If you run a podcast and use the PowerPress plugin from Blubrry, it has a critical security update too. The 1 Pixel Out player has been removed. If you used that player and did the update, it was automatically replaced with the default Flow Player Classic player for you. The developer of the 1 Pixel Out player is working on the fix and the folks at Blubrry are keeping everyone updated via the plugin and on their blog.
Okay, this is not really an update to a plugin, but it affects a very popular one. On WP Daily, John Saddington reports that Akismet Takes One Step Closer to Single Sign On. While it is easier, I actually don’t like that you have to have a WordPress.com account to use this, or any of their other plugins. But, they didn’t ask me. So, if it has to be, at least it’s easier.
Plugins to Check OutDo you need to add a few products to your store but don’t need a full e-commerce theme? Well, there’s a new plugin in town called Grid Products that just may be the thing you’re looking for.
Have you looked at your Google Analytics lately? What a change they’ve made! You now have a lot more customization options. I think the visual presentations are easier to digest now too. The nice folks at Silicon Beach Training have a post detailing the changes and Google Analytics New Look.
According to the Global Web Index site, Google+ is now the #2 social network right behind Facebook. It usurped one of its own – YouTube. Now, there are a few folks disputing the data count and the fact that there has been an unexplained surge in a short time. But that’s the kind of spike you see when something starts catching on. G+ Hangouts and now Communities have had a major impact on use.
But, I think the thing that’s going to put G+ over the edge in 2013 is AuthorRank and what some folks have already dubbed BrandRank for pages. I’m so convinced of this that I’ve been making changes on BlogAid to get onboard a ship that is definitely going to sail. And right this minute I’m putting together a workshop to show you how to do it too. What I found during my research is that folks who are currently making their living as a Search Engine Optimizer are not telling you everything. I believe a lot of those folks who charge $5000 dollars a session are about to be out of business when everybody finds out how to do it for themselves. BlogAid News subscribers will be the first to know when the workshop becomes available.
Before MailChimp hit the market, the developers there built a thing called Mandrill. Basically, it replaces the email notification system that’s built into WordPress. That’s the system that your site uses to send you notifications when something happened on it, like someone leaving a comment on your blog. Mandrill is turning into a pretty advanced system and it uses MailChimp to deliver the emails now. They just released more features that caught my eye and I’ll be doing a post on it in the next month or so. But first, I need to test out some things. I’m already using a plugin that puts a checkbox below the comment input box that allows visitors to subscribe to comments via email. Plus, I’ve recently updated the whole comment system to CommentLuv and I’m about to integrate the new ReplyMe feature instead of the plugin I’m using. So, I need to do some testing to see if the Mandrill plugin works with all of that. I’ll keep you posted.
If you got your theme from ThemeForest, you might want to know that their parent company Evanto, is at the center of some controversy right now. One of the developers who sells his themes there is not being allowed to speak at an upcoming WordCamp event. You can read the whole story on WPCandy but the gist of it is a disagreement over how the GPL license that WordPress uses is being entangled with the more private license used by developers to copyright or otherwise protect their work. A GPL license basically means that it is fully open-source and folks can use it and do with it as they please. This story has been making the rounds among developer and designer blogs ever since it happened. But, the core issue has been discussed now for over a decade.
One of the things that has made WordPress such a spectacular success is that it is free and open-source. But, the fact is, developers have to eat. We, as WordPress users, have been reaping the benefits of free software, themes, and plugins for a long time. But, the trend started shifting a couple of years ago to developers launching both free and paid versions of some of those things. Most developers have come to acknowledge that they spend a little time creating something and every waking minute thereafter supporting it. And, the support is what they are charging for in the paid versions.
I can see the day coming that if you want the good stuff, you’re going to have to pony up some money for it. And that’s true of online marketing as well. There is no other business model that promises riches with no investment of any kind like online business models do. Well, it’s just not true. Ask anyone who runs a successful site and they’ll tell you that they work 18 hour days so they can make money while they sleep. And, they invest a significant amount of their income to training to learn what they need to know to stay on top.
These are just the growing pains of online marketing. So, best to go ahead and start making the mind shift that it’s going to start costing a bit to get the good stuff and to have what you need to run a successful site.
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!