Hello Happy Site Owners! This is the BlogAid Tips Tuesday Podcast for June 25th 2013 and I’m your host, MaAnna. This week’s tips include new security patches for WordPress, a glitch in the WordPress SEO plugin, a new MailChimp plugin, a Rich Snippets plugin, the Blubrry Powerpress plugin update, finding free photos for your blog posts, making affiliate marketing better, and how SEO is affected by those big pretty sliders on a site, plus how a glitch in Google indexing can cause you public embarrassment. So let’s get started. Listen to the podcast.
Oh you know what they say: Pride cometh before the fall, and that rang true for me this week. Google seems to think my site is an authority on Feedburner, which is one of the reasons my posts about keep hitting the front page of Google for that keyword. And, I was so sure that I was going to do it again with yesterday’s post that I even publicly announced it beforehand as a way to show that it can be done with confidence, and as a case study to use in an upcoming webinar. And, wouldn’t you know it! About once a year Google has a glitch indexing a post on my site and yep, it had to happen on that one. So, not only did the post not show up on the first page of Google, it didn’t show up anywhere on Google.
I was able to go into Google Webmaster Tools and see what the problem was. You can see the screen shot below. Stated that there was an invalid date. And, I was able to fix it there too by doing a new Fetch as Google. Once that was successful, I could immediately submit it for indexing. So, I’m looking for it to show up on page one for its key phrase today or tomorrow. Here’s the link for how to do the Fetch as Google process.
Of course, none of this would have happened had I not publicly bragged about it ahead of time, you know. And, if you want to help look to see where it ranks, do a search on these words or phrase in any order: feedburner shutdown google reader. And, this is the post you’re looking for: Will FeedBurner Shutdown after Google Reader is Gone? Please do let me know your results.
WordPress 3.5.2 is out and if you haven’t done so already, I strongly suggest you do a backup and then do the update asap. This has multiple security patches, two of which may have saved some sites I know about from getting hacked recently.
And I want to mention something that has to do with what’s in these recent patches. If you have multiple sites on your hosting account, if a hacker gets into one, they could have access to them all. Be sure that you keep all of your sites updated or delete them. And be sure that you are backing all of them up individually so they will be easy to restore too.
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.
The WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast had a recent update. In fact, it had two. The first one had an issue and he immediately rolled it back, fixed the problem, and then re-released. So, mistakes happen to even the best of developers, but the really good ones fix it quickly, just as he did. You can visit his blog for more on what happened, if you’re interested. But the bottom line is that it’s safe to update now. And this is just one good example of why you always do a manual backup and download that file before you make any updates on your site.
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You know I’m checking this plugin out. It’s called MailChimp for WP and it allows you to add a checkbox to your comment form to add commenters to your MailChimp e-mail list(s). Currently I’m using the Newsletter Sign Up plugin for that, and I’ve seen a big uptick in how many folks subscribe. And guess what I discovered? The MailChimp for WP plugin is from the same developer. In fact, he advises to use it on the other plugin page. So, you may be wondering why he didn’t update the original one. Me too. I think I’ll ask him. It may have needed such a core structure change that it was easier to just start over. I’ll see what I can find out.
Also, I’ve often heard Denise Wakeman suggest putting a link and a little note in your author box to invite folks to subscribe too. That works, but you’ll also need a standalone page dedicated to subscriptions, which is a good idea anyway, because you can’t link to your sidebar widget. See an example of mine here.
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The BulletProof Security plugin was recently updated. Basically it creates more protection at the level of the .htaccess file, which is one of the core files in the root of the directory where you have your WordPress installation. I normally hand code this file simply because different hosts allow different security measures. So I’m a little suspicious of plugins that create a-one-size-fits all approach. And, I’m a firm believer in reducing the number of plugins you have to rely on, especially for things like security.
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It was only a matter of time before a plugin like this came along. It’s called All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets and it takes advantage of microdata that you can put around your content to help search engines determine what it is and display it in Rich Snippets. I’ve got this plugin on my list to check out, but I’m going to wait to do it until after WordPress 3.6 and Genesis 2.0 become available. They’ll both be making more use of that same microdata, so you’ll be able to do it without a plugin if your theme supports it. Read my post to get more info on all of this in plain English.
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A little while back I wrote a post about avoiding a penalty from Penguin 2.0 by being careful to mark your affiliate links as such and to also make them nofollow. In that post I also mentioned that some sites make all of their outbound links nofollow. While I don’t advocate doing that, for reasons I explained in that post, if you do want to do it, here’s your plugin. It’s called Nofollow for external link. It automatically inserts the `rel=nofollow` and `target=_blank` to all the external links into your website posts or pages.
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The Blubrry PowerPress Podcasting plugin has been updated recently. This is the one I switched to from FeedBurner that formats my podcast feed properly for display in iTunes and also provides my site with a very nice audio player in the blog post too.
Finding photos for your blog is always a challenge. Crazy Egg has a nice post titled Finding Photos Online: The Who, What, Where, and Why that will help you with that, and ensure that you are not infringing on copyright.
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Are you an affiliate marketer? I hope you will take the time to read this post and comments on WP Daily by Jacob deCastro titled A Few Thoughts on Doing Affiliates Better. He points out the rampant fraud in the system and how it’s nearly impossible to trust reviews that you read online, plus a suggestion for fixing the system. However, there is a caveat to that and you’ll want to read the comments to see what that is. And, I encourage you to add your own .02 to the thread.
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned in Tips Tuesday that I thought sliders on sites were a fad whose time had come to fade away. Well, it seems that they really are bad for SEO too, according to this post on Search Engine Land by Harrison Jones titled Homepage Sliders: Bad For SEO, Bad For Usability. He investigated 18 sites with sliders and found all sorts of issues. So, the bottom line is, sliders have a super wow factor, but that’s not going to help you accomplish your ultimate goals. Harrison gives you several alternatives that will.
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 blog posts to get them via email. Visit BlogAid.net for more tips, tutorials, and free resources to make your site better.
And I’ll see you online!