Hello Happy Site Owners! This week’s blog tips are all about traffic, including how to get it and what the numbers really mean. Plus, there is a new plugin that uses Google Analytics to help you meet your online goals. In Marketing Tips, I found a nice post about why you should stop trying so hard, and a super post from one of my fave bloggers about how to make the valuable real estate of your sidebar work for you. And, I’m sending out a special thank you to one of my blogging colleagues for turning me on to some super help with podcasting. Listen to the podcast now.
Do you know the difference between a WordPress theme that has a fully responsive design and one that is mobile-friendly, and one that is mobile-optimized? It can be very confusing. But, as mobile browsing gets more popular and more important to your marketing, you really do need to know the differences so that you can choose your site’s theme based on more than just looks. I posted a video last week on my first look at the new Twenty Twelve theme which is fully responsive. Not only does that add another layer of complexity to the design, it could also negatively impact your marketing.
You can watch the video to see all of the ways the new Twenty Twelve theme is a bold departure from previous themes, but I’ll tell you the difference in the theme types here too.
Mobile friendly means that the site will display accurately on a mobile device. These are usually fixed width themes, meaning that they hold their shape on all viewing screens.
Mobile optimized means that the theme detects the device and reshapes itself for the size of the screen on which it is being viewed based on a list of common devices such as an iPad or Android phone.
Responsive design means that the theme detects the screen size and reshapes itself based on that, regardless of the device. That also means that if you flip your tablet or phone to a different orientation, the theme will reshape itself to fit. Basically, it squeezes down to show columns of the site, which means that the least amount of info will be shown on devices with the smallest screens.
In WordPress news, the developers are currently working on the trouble tickets generated from folks testing out the Beta 2 release of version 3.5 and they’re headed toward the release of Beta 3. If you haven’t done so yet, you’ll want to check out my video of my first look at Beta 2 and see what’s coming down the pike.
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.
Plugins to Check Out
If you review or create themes, I bet you need to take a lot of full-browser screenshots. Well, there’s a little plugin to take some of the steps out of creating them. It’s called, wait for it, Browser Shots. It places a little icon on your text editor that lets you easily capture the image and then makes it a shortcode to place in your post. I first heard about this plugin from the nice folks at WPMU.org and you may want to read their brief write up on it too.
Dave Clements has a super post on his site, Do It with WordPress about how to Block Bad Requests to your Server with Bad Behavior, which is a comment spam filter you want to use in conjunction with Akismet. Now, I’ve been using GASP in conjunction with Akismet for a couple of years and it’s doing a great job of cutting down on false positives, which is what is the issue with using Akismet by itself. But, Bad Behavior goes a step further and actually tells a visitor why they are being blocked and gives them suggestions for improvement. So, I deactivated GASP and followed Dave’s instructions on how to set up Bad Behavior. I’ll do a follow up post in a few months to let you know how it worked for my comment spam.
Seth has a nice write up on the WPMU.org blog about how to Integrate Google Analytics with Your WordPress Dashboard using the Google Analytics Dashboard plugin. It displays the same sort of module as the Google Analyticator plugin, but it gives you one extra thing, which is bringing in your goal information.
This past weekend at BarCamp Nashville I saw a really nice presentation on setting goals in Google Analytics. It gives you a super good way of seeing what’s working and what’s not on your site, especially if you run specific campaigns like a webinar or highlighting a particular download. And, you can assign a monetary value to it to see if you want to spend more money on promoting something. So, the Google Analytics Dashboard plugin will bring some of those goal analytics into your Dashboard so that you can see those results every time you log in.
There’s a difference in getting big traffic and getting quality traffic to your site. This post on Straight North tells you Don’t be Misled by Big Traffic Sources to Your Blog.
Having a blog is one thing. Having it widely read is another. Offering your blog posts as a subscription is one way to continually put your content in front of your readers. If you have a small subscriber list, there may be some simple fixes to help you grow it. Denise Wakeman has a nice post on The Top Two Reasons You’re Not Getting More Blog Subscribers. No matter if your list is new or you’ve been running it a while, I suggest you read this post. Never overlook the easy and simple things as the cause.
And you’ll want to know about Denise’s upcoming webinar titled Harness the Power of Your Blog: How to Generate More Leads and Build Your List with Your Blog. This is a one-time webinar and is not a long sales pitch. In fact, it’s $47 bucks and worth every penny because you’re actually going to learn things you can do right away. I’ll be there. You can get the links in the show notes. It’s this Thursday, Oct. 25th, so go register now.
The new Disavow Links Tool is here from Google. Sites that were hit hard by the Penguin update due to spammy links railed to get this. But, Matt Cutts is saying to use it with caution. I’m saying that if your site didn’t take a hit, and you didn’t use black hat SEO practices like buying links, then don’t use it. You can read more about it on Search Engine Land’s post Google Launches Disavow Links Tool.
We all hate spammers, but there are important lessons to be learned from what they put in their email marketing campaigns from headline to the call to action. Read this post by John on the MailChimp blog about What Good Marketers can Learn from Spammers.
And speaking of email subscribers, if you’ll look in the sidebar of BlogAid you’ll see a new opt-in form that lets you subscribe to the newsletter and/or all of the blog posts and/or just a couple of the feeds including Tips Tuesday and Podcasts. This is the new segmented list I’ve set up through MailChimp and imported all of my email subscribers from my Feedburner feeds into as well. I’m already working on new video tutorials on MailChimp and the basics of setting up a segmented list this way and I suggest that you also consider doing something like this for your site. In fact, I should have done it for BlogAid a long time ago and this hoohaa with Feedburner looking like it’s in a controlled shutdown made me finally bring it to a front burner. So, if you’re not already subscribed to BlogAid, be sure to do so. And, even if you are subscribed to the newsletter, go ahead and enter your email address again and check the boxes for all that you want to receive. Don’t worry, MailChimp will auto merge any duplicates.
I enjoyed reading a post on Stephanie Chandler’s site Business Info Guide, about Why You Should Stop Trying So Hard: The Power of Authenticity in Business. In it she warns right at the top that she makes sweeping generalities in the post, but I think her points are valid. Mainly due to the prominence of social media, we’ve been moving more and more toward relationship marketing. And it’s becoming more important for you, as a business owner, to connect with your audience using a personal tone. The lines are getting pretty fuzzy now with coming across personable enough to make a connection while still maintaining a certain level of professionalism. I think Stephanie’s post begins to address this issue.
When was the last time you looked at the sidebar of your site? It’s valuable real estate and you need to make it count. Tom Ewer has become one of my favorite bloggers and he has a super post on the WPMU.org site about What You Should Put In Your WordPress Blog’s Sidebar (and Why). One of the first things he recommends is that you add a mini bio. The example he shows is from his Leaving Work Behind blog which I highly recommend that you read too. It’s all about his real-world experience of trying to make it as a professional blogger and diversifying his online portfolio, warts and all. Way more relatable to the rest of us than some of those million dollar club folks.
On the Higher Visibility blog, Adam Heitzman reports that YouTube Changed its Algorithm to Rank Videos. Basically, they’re ranking longer view times higher than just numbers of clicks. I’m thrilled about this change because I post video tutorials on YouTube and folks watch the whole thing to learn how to do a task. Most of my vid tuts are 3-5 minutes long, but some are a little longer than that. So, not sure if they are looking at how many minutes someone views or a percentage of the total length of the video. If it’s the former, then longer videos that hold the viewer’s interest all the way through are going to rank very high.
I want to thank Ms. Ileane of Basic Blog Tips for creating such a wonderful page on Scoop It for podcast tips. She has been posting the new series from Pat Flynn on how to create a podcast since it started. I’m in the process of switching the BlogAid podcast over from a Feedburner feed to the PowerPress plugin and updating everything on iTunes, so this 6-part series was super timely and helpful.
If you want to read more about how Ms. Ileane uses ScoopIt, she’s written a nice post all about it with a nice video tutorial and everything you need to know to get started.
Okay, happy site owners, that wraps up this week’s Tips Tuesday. If you’re enjoying this being available as a podcast, be sure to let me know, and tell me if there is anything you would like to hear more about. See you online!