Hello Happy Site Owners! Tips include moving to Google Apps, full site security and performance audits, site revamp and training, WordPress 4.0 releasing this week, what the panel will be talking about in the next WP Think Tank session that’s got my ears standing straight up, the new BackupBuddy release, what’s up with Video SEO, 30 testimonial plugins, Chrome extension vulnerabilities, the role of the user in site security, why Google is like an ex, and for dessert, a cool little video of optical illusions. So let’s dive in. Listen to the podcast.
Hello to Serenbe Crew
First I want to give a huge shout out to all the nice folks I met at Serenbe Farms near Atlanta last week during the Podcast Summer Camp hosted by +Denise Wakeman and +Ellen Britt And say hello to Loretta, Helen, Frances, and Carolyn, who I know are listening to this podcast. It was such fun to spend time with and I know you’re going to do great with your podcasts.
And it was good for me to unplug for a couple of days in such a beautiful environment with the most wonderful organic food too. Everything tasted like it was picked off the vine that day. I returned to Nashville even more charged up than I normally am and raring to go.
Move to Google Apps
As y’all know, BlogAid has been growing by leaps and bounds and I’m trying to keep pace. I’ve expanded my team once again. And now, thanks to +Dave Webster of Webster Consulting, I’ve been able to transition my back office to the cloud on Google Apps. Moving to the new email client was by far the worst of it and I’m still adjusting. But, I’m always up for learning new things and eventually I’ll be far more productive this way.
New Virtual Assistant
And, I’ll be meeting with my new VA tomorrow. Angi Shields of Clerical Essentials will be helping me take care of the admin side of the business.
It took a few years to get to the tipping point, but now I can’t afford not to hire the kind of help that makes doing whatever needs to be done more efficient and right the first time. That’s exactly the same sort of thing folks hire me for. They’re serious about making money with their online business, and hiring a pro to help guide them is the fastest way to meet that goal.
And I’m still going strong with full Site Audit requests, especially from super busy entrepreneurs that have been running online businesses for several years now.
Basically, their hosting account is a mess from all of the abandoned sites and add-on domains. That’s just how things used to be done. You needed a domain and site for each endeavor. And that leaves a lot of security holes behind.
Plus, those old sites are getting chewed up with bot traffic, and that’s a super performance drain on the one or two sites that are currently active. Just the other day I ran new performance tests on a site immediately after just cleaning up the account and there were significant improvements. Like the load time. It dropped in half.
So, it’s not all about just improving performance on a single site. It’s about taking care of everything that is affecting it.
WordPress and Site Revamp Training
With fall right around the corner, folks are already booking more heavily for my 1-on-1 WordPress Training Classes. Busy season for that goes full bore by the first of October and doesn’t let up until sometime in April. I can only take so many clients a month, and I can guarantee that this year I’ll be busier than I’ve ever been. Plus, I most definitely will be taking the prices up before the end of the year simply because I’m offering so much more in the packages now.
So, if a total site revamp that gets results is on your to-do list, you might want to contact me at least a month in advance of when you want to start.
Okay, let’s jump into this week’s tips from around the ‘net.
WordPress 4.0 due to release
Last I heard on the WP Development blog, the release for version 4.0 is still slated for Wednesday August 27. Since this is a major release, it will not auto update. Be sure that you do a backup first!!!!!
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One of the big changes to WordPress 4.0 is the new look for the plugin installer. There will be icons now and longer descriptions. Andrew Nacin has a nice write up on the Make WordPress blog with a sneak peek at how the new plugin installer icons will look.
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The next WP Think Tank is today, August 26, 10pm GMT (6:00 pm EDT, 3:00 pm PDT). The visionary panel will be discussing:
- End to End solutions for smaller business (like Happy Tables, hosted WooCommerce shops and Obox Instant)
- WordPress training resources
- How the race to the bottom benefits platforms and not developers
Let me tell you, I don’t miss one of these things. And you know training sites being one of the talking points has my full attention. Getting a grip on what’s coming down the pike for WordPress, and online systems in general, has become my bread and butter. Even if you don’t run a business consulting on WordPress sites, the info here is so good to know if you intend to stay on the leading edge and need to know the possibilities of what the platform can do for your business and where it’s headed. I’ll have a wrap up on it for you later this week.
BackupBuddy just released version 5.0 and it has over 80 new features and enhancements. I’ll have a full review on it for you as soon as I can.
Y’all know that this is my all-time favorite backup plugin. I even give it as a perk to all of my full training and site management clients under my developer’s Gold License because I know who they’re going to call if there’s a problem.
And if you’re thinking about buying it, right now there is a $50 off deal going on through Sept. 5th. I sure would appreciate you using my affiliate link if you do that. It’s a great way to support all the free content I make available on BlogAid, including this podcast, and it doesn’t cost you a dime more.
And you can also download my free report on How to Backup Your WordPress Site that has a lot of super info on setting intervals and lots of storage options for those backup files too.
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Google owns YouTube, and Google promotes its own. So, video clips from YouTube are at the very top of search results, along with a nice little thumbnail snippet. But not from posts with videos anymore. And that has caused Yoast to have to rethink his premium Video SEO plugin a bit. Jump on over to read what conclusion he came to about how the plugin is still worthwhile. And you’ll find a link there for another post that details more on the inner workings of this change at Google, if you’re interested.
But I’m going to give you a bit of the skinny now. Basically, every marketer and their brother has been advising folks to repurpose their content using video so that they would be found on YouTube and then in Google search proper. That still works.
But on blogs, so many folks tried to game that system that Google is now reserving video snippets in SERPs to only video-centric sites. In other words, sites that have video as their main content now get the perk.
That doesn’t mean that videos are no longer worth doing, far from it. They still work wonders in social media. And folks do search for things directly on YouTube too. So, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water because Google may very well move that cheese again and the video embed on your site could show up in rich snippets again.
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Super testimonials can work wonders for conversion. But finding a good plugin for them is a whole other thing, until now. Vishnu has 30 free and paid plugins for you to see over on WP Lift. He’s got some nice screenshots too.
But here are the things beyond pretty that you need to look for.
- Is it a performance drain?
- Where are you going to place the testimonial? It may not work the same in a sidebar as it does on a page?
- How easy is it to work on the backend?
So, be sure to have a hard look at the plugin page before you install it and see if they have screenshots of the backend and more details about configuration for different spots on your site. As for performance, you’ll need to run your own before and after tests with these plugins, to ensure they are not a drain.
Several vulnerabilities have been found in Chrome extensions. Chrome itself is fine, you just want to be careful what extensions you use. You can get more info about this on a post from TripWire and what you need to be on the watch for.
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The folks at Sucuri have been posting a lot lately around an idea spawned by Chris Lema in the types of conversations we need to be having collectively about site security.
I’m in a couple of online groups with +Tony Perez who is the owner of Sucuri and I’ve been following his posts there and on his site. This one from Austin, who is the head marketing director at Sucuri sums up the gist of those conversations.
In it he discusses the fact that most of the vulnerabilities that have been uncovered this year by Sucuri are from plugins. He also discusses how secure WordPress is out of the box and how that environment is radically changed by the end user as they introduce new elements, like plugins.
I take objection to the idea that WordPress is secure, or even performs well out of the box. If it did, I’d lose half my business for setting up and tweaking sites for both security and performance. I’d actually be happy to lose that business too, and focus more on the things that are more about profit than liability.
But the fact is, as Austin points out in this post, this is an issue that must come to the front in our conversations.
His last paragraphs are aimed at designers, developers, and security folks and says,
“Constant vigilance has to become the new normal.
With so much of our collective information online all the time, what can we do to protect ourselves and our information? The key is constant vigilance. It’s not enough to set up a beautiful website and let it run on its own or start taking people’s credit card information and assume it will be safe. There really is no way out of this circular process except to vigilantly secure code and then to use our collective power to make end users–the website owners–aware of the threats to their sites and information. WE must also strive to make them more aware of the steps they need to take to secure their websites.”
And that’s what I strive to do with my posts on BlogAid and elsewhere on this topic. It’s not to be a fear mongered or ambulance chaser. It’s to keep you informed about what’s happening online so you can keep your site safe in the most reasonable and cost effective manner possible.
Does anybody remember +Mari Smith?
At one time she was known as the turquoise clad Queen of Facebook. The reason you don’t see her around much anymore is because she built a social media empire on that platform, and then scaled it into systems corporations could buy. And all without giving a flying flip about Google or SEO. And then she wrote the book on relationship marketing, literally. I believe it’s in its 2nd edition now.
Donna Merrill has a super post with her similar experience and gaining ground by gaining tribe organically via social media. She’s turning her back on chasing Google, especially now that it says it wants us to get social, which she has been doing all along.
And like Donna, I get a pretty good laugh when I see all the SEO gurus on G+ act like they invented social marketing. Mari invented it. All hail the queen!
As for me, my traffic and business leads are now about 50/50 and yes, getting a post on the front page of Google doubles or triples my business in a day. But it’s a short spurt. Relationship marketing is the more steady avenue. So, everyone has a different mix that works for them. Just keep that in mind when you read this post. If you can do what Mari and Donna are doing, that’s the gold standard of referrals – word of mouth.
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If you run a news site, you’ll want to know about the new Google News Publisher Center. If you jump through the hoops they give you in the post on their blog just right, then your site may have a better chance of being featured on the Google News site. That’s an awesome amount of exposure. But, it’s only for news sites. If you’re like me and just report the news now and then, you won’t make it most likely.
For dessert this week, a little six minute video of cool optical illusions to take your mind off the work day for a while.
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.