Hello Happy Site Owners! In this week’s tips round up, I’ve got a lot of great resources for making the most of your responsive theme, and tips to save you frustration and money before you purchase one. And, there’s new payment processor that’s giving PayPal a run for its money so you can sell directly from your site. I’ve also got the skinny on all the recent YouTube upgrades, plus a sneak peek at the new User Interface design coming in WordPress 3.6. Listen to the podcast now!
Need a little help with MailChimp? I’ve got two new webinars coming up on March 14th and 15th. One is for folks new to MailChimp and the other is a step-by-step walkthrough of setting up RSS to email.
Breaking news. The look of your WordPress admin area is about to get a fresh coat of paint. Sarah Gooding has screenshots for you over on the WPMU blog, plus the secret plugin you can get to change to this look now. But, since this will be the standard look when version 3.6 rolls out, you may just want to hold off on installing the plugin she mentions and wait for the upgrade, especially since the plugin will break your current UI, or User Interface. So, look but don’t touch yet.
I couldn’t agree more. Top 10 Reasons to Power Your Website with WordPress was posted on the blog of one of my fave preferred vendors, HostGator. I’m on it and so are most of my clients. HostGator loves WordPress and vice versa.
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
Thanks to my colleague Lucy Beers, who is also a WordPress Trainer, for tipping me off that one of my fave WordPress media guys, Jason Tucker, reviewed a plugin called Fluid Video Embeds. It specifically resizes videos on fully responsive themes.
You may be surprised to learn that a lot of folks who make their living from WordPress in one way or another hang out together in virtual groups and are eager to help one another. That’s how I know folks like Lucy and Jason and several of the other folks I highlight here in Tips Tuesday. And we don’t really see each other as competition because folks who are looking for help are going to click with different trainers, designers, and developers. What we care about is that you get the help you need, which is the main reason we support and help each other in those groups.
Are you doing the new Twitter Vine video thing yet? Yep, there’s a plugin for it now so you can show off your vids in your sidebar. It’s called the Latest Vines Widget. I don’t know how well it works on responsive themes, though. So if you have one and you try the plugin, let us know.
Have you tried Stripe yet? It’s a new payment processor that has been getting a lot of attention as an alternative to PayPal. So much so that there is a new plugin called Super Stripe. It integrates with Stripe to offer cloud-based processing so you don’t need an SSL certificate on your site, which I believe was the biggest obstacle to folks on shared hosting accounts making the switch. So, look out PayPal. There’s a new game in town and more form processors are going to start integrating with it, like Gravity Forms. If you want to read more about it, check out Chris Lema’s post on this plugin. And here’s another by Sarah Gooding on WPMU.org.
There’s a new pricing table plugin out called Pricing Table Ready. I’ve tried several similar plugins and have not found one that either worked well or was easy enough for my clients to use. So, I’m putting this one on my review list to see if it’s any better. If you’re using a table creation plugin that you like, leave a comment and let us know. FYI, if your comment looks like product placement spam, it will be deleted.
On the WPHub blog, Amber Ladd asks, Do You Need Responsive Design? I know that most folks choose a theme based on the pretty factor alone without considering how their content will shift when the site is viewed on a mobile device. Like me, Amber suggests that you do your content and analysis homework first, before you plop down a wad of cash for that theme, and especially before you get knee deep in the design process only to discover how much extra it will cost to make everything work correctly.
In my Scratch to Published training courses, we start with content, not the theme. Because the quality and shape of your content is what your success hinges on. In the course, choosing a theme is the last thing we do. That’s only after you learn all that WordPress can do, how a site works for helping to promote your most important content, and the fundamentals of SEO and conversion. Because, prior to that, the only thing you can go on is what’s pretty to you.
Responsive themes change the very structure of your content. And you need to be prepared for that so that you don’t lose the potential for folks to stay connected with you, enter your sales funnel, or convert on your offers. I’m seeing way too many sites with responsive themes these days that wipe all of that stuff out and I wonder how long these sites are going to remain in business before they figure out their loss of revenue is due to their theme.
Also, fully responsive themes are not the only option. There are also mobile-friendly and mobile-optimized themes too. BlogAid is mobile-optimized, so it doesn’t reconfigure, but it does fit the device.
So, if you choose to use a responsive design, do your homework first and you can start by reading Amber’s post.
And then move on to this post by Neil Patel on his QuickSprout blog titled How to Optimize Responsive Design for Conversions. He supplies plenty of screenshot examples that will demonstrate the heart of what I’m talking about here with using responsive themes. You simply cannot afford to let pretty keep you from conversion opportunities. It will be the death of your online business, and then it won’t matter how pretty your site was.
Here’s another post titled DIY Truly Responsive Images on Your WordPress Website by Harley Alexander on the WPMU.org site that addresses the issues with big images used on a responsive theme and the hoops you have to jump through to actually deal with it, which requires getting into the code. So, make sure your responsive theme does this.
And, if you’re switching from a fixed theme to responsive, you’ll want to address all of the images that are already on the site. The post mentions a super plugin for doing it, which is called Regenerate Thumbnails. Actually, it’s pretty handy for dealing with image size changes whenever you switch themes.
And if you haven’t done so yet, be sure to see the new Plugins resource page on BlogAid. I’ve got a good start on it and I’m listing all of my favorite plugins and the ones that I know work best.
Super post from Sue Painter on The Future of Ink blog titled Make Marketing Easy – 3 Tips To Help Sell Your Digital Content. Let me tell you something. If you take each one of these three tips and master them, you’ll become the guru writing the guest posts telling everyone how you built a successful business with your blog as the foundation. Sue’s the real deal and this advice is golden. All of the successful marketing you will ever do boils down to what Sue put in these tips. So, read the post, study what she says, and then get busy doing them.
Super post by Cheri Lucas on The Daily Post at WordPress.com about using Video Shortcodes from every possible online platform like YouTube, Vimeo, and Flickr. However, some sizing suggestions may not pan out well on fully responsive themes. See the new Plugins http://www.blogaid.net/wordpress-plugins resource page on BlogAid for one that will help with that.
YouTube is adding features left and right. Besides the ability to add links to annotations, now they’ve added a new One Channel Design that makes your channel have a consistent look across all devices. On top of that, they’ve added a new visitor trailer option. Basically, you can make a short video to say hi to non-subscribers, welcoming them to your channel and telling them what you’re about. I see a lot of potential for this feature. Chris Atkinson has a nice write up about both of the features on the ReelSEO blog.
As I reported in a previous Tips Tuesday, I’m focusing hard on optimizing my YouTube channel because I’ve already gotten over 21,000 views and I want to make it a top referral for traffic to my site. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.
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 RSS via email. Visit BlogAid.net for more tips, tutorials, and free resources to make your site better.
And I’ll see you online!