Hello Happy Site Owners! Tips this week include 5 new levels of webmaster training, new business from unexpected sources, revamping your site for better conversion, an update on my fave social share button plugin, a way to get super site metrics from within your hosting account, tips for Cyber Security Awareness Month, a new security plugin vulnerability, make Google index your site faster, 5 links that improve SEO, why to design for customer experience, and for dessert, the lowly GIF has been deemed classy again. So let’s dive in. Listen to the podcast.
Webmaster Training nearly ready
I’ve been in video tutorial making heaven this week again. The new member site is nearly ready to launch. Level 1 is finished, which covers securely installing WordPress and initial setup.
I’m now making the videos for Level 2, which delves deeper into security, site migration, and connecting the site to Google accounts for analytics and Webmaster Tools, as well as automating backup and sending it offsite.
Levels 1 and 2 will be offered together.
And then Levels 3 and 4 will also be offered together and they cover SEO and Performance.
Each Level has about 15 tutorials for a total of 60 videos.
And there will be a Webmaster Level 5 with all of the videos.
Anyone will be able to take the courses, but they are geared toward designers, developers, and social media folks who need to expand their services to include proper website setup and management.
I’ll be launching the site as soon as I finish the Level 2 videos, which I hope will be this week.
BlogAid News subscribers will be the first to know when it goes live.
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What’s in a Name?
Here’s a lesson about why we should be nice to telephone solicitors.
A non-profit called on my biz line on Sunday. I answered with my biz greeting. As I was requesting them to take me off the list, the solicitor asked if I do websites, because I answered with the biz name. He then gave me the URL to his personal site, which was for a big event at end of month. The site needs help and quick turn-around. I sent it to one of my designers whose firm specializes in hip culture layout and social media. And he’s contacting me next week for training.
Normally I don’t answer when I don’t recognize the caller. But glad I did on this one.
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Sites in Revamp for Conversion
And I’m delighted that a couple of my training clients are about to launch their new sites. One is a complete revamp of a crafting site with a totally new focus on community and a hard focus on conversion.
We also totally revamped the look of the site. Not only was it dated, but it was cluttered. There was too much going on and everything was crowded. It was overwhelming to the point that visitors had a hard time knowing what to click on.
The new design is super clean and directs the visitor to the conversion points.
And that is the point.
- Ensure that every part of your site directs your traffic.
- Ensure that you have point of sale and conversion links in multiple places so they are easy to find.
That includes within the content itself. You have no idea at what point someone is ready to lock into you or purchase. Don’t make them wait until they get to the end of a page, or have to hunt for it.
This may stun you. But if you put 10 conversion points on the page to the same link, you’ll be lucky if folks see it once or twice. It may seem like a lot to you, but trust me. Folks put so much of your webpage on ignore that you have to find ways to make it easy for them to convert.
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It’s not just you, or your site. It’s the whole Internet. I’ve been getting reports of folks having trouble on all browsers, sites, apps, and email. I don’t know what’s up, but I’ve stopped trying to fix it.
Okay, that’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips from around the ‘net.
Work has started on WordPress 4.1, which is slated to be out near the end of the year. And they’ll also be releasing the new 2015 theme along with it.
Of particular interest to me is the work that continues on TinyMCE, which is the text editor. Core changes there were the main delay in me updating my site and those of my site management clients because the TinyMCE Advanced plugin was not compatible immediately.
Ever since the core devs started making radical changes to TinyMCE, there has been a lag with that plugin’s updates. It’s not like there isn’t time to test during the beta release. So, I’m not sure what the problem is other than the developer of the plugin may be waiting for the core devs of WordPress to stop making changes before he starts with his.
In any case, I’ll likely start waiting at least 2 weeks before updating any WordPress version that tweaks the editor.
They will also be making more updates to the new look of the plugins and theme pages where you see the list to add them. Actually, it’s no longer a list. And while the new interface looks nice, it takes me longer to find what I’m looking for, especially for the plugins. So, looks like fashion trumps function once again.
I wish to heck they’d quit playing with the paint. Makes me needlessly have to update video tutorials that have the same basic info, but appear dated otherwise. I’m sure most other WordPress trainers feel the same.
No Social Follow for Simple Share Buttons
I did finally get a reply from David Neal, who is the developer of my favorite social share buttons plugin, Simple Share Buttons Adder. (Find out why it’s my fave)
I had asked if he would consider adding social follow buttons too. Actually, the plugin is more than half there already. He said he would consider it if time allows. You and I both know what that means. So, not holding our breath. It’s still my fave plugin, and I’m glad he took the time to reply.
I’ve got a temp fix for the way I’m doing my social follow buttons. The plugin I use before this one handled that too. I’ve found even better ways to do it and I’ll be creating a new vid tut for us all as soon as I can, which will likely be after I finish the webmaster member site, and then updates to the existing WordPress library.
So many vid tuts, so little time, right?
AWStats is a super analytics companion
One of my clients had a post go viral on Oct 1st. That gave us a unique opportunity to check Google Analytics against AWStats on the host. Some of the totals on AWStats are for the whole month. On the 2nd, we could see exactly what happened just on the 1st.
- It’s much better for bot tracking and helping sort out where the human and bot views are originating.
- Also helps me see bot attack vectors and secure the site even more.
Does your host offer AWStats? Do you have it turned on? To save on resources, many hosts are not turning on logs by default. So check yours and start tracking those hits!
And if your host doesn’t offer it, you may want to consider jumping over to my preferred vendor, A2 Hosting. (aff link and thank you for using it to support all of the free info I put out!)
National Cyber Security Awareness Month (October 2014)
Play safe online, and if you have kids, be sure they also see this post by Angie Newton on WPSecurityLock that has 5 tips to keep top of mind about your online activity, including emails.
For site owners, go watch the HOA with me and Mia Voss on DDoS and Cybersecurity for more site tips and how to keep all of your devices safe.
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This on the heels of WordFence having yet another security issue.
And see last week’s Tips Tuesday for the case study report on how those two plugins, plus iThemes Security did not fare well in real-world tests. Nobody who has been a webmaster for long uses these heavy plugins that also put a performance load on your site too.
It’s time to come to terms with the way you do your site security and get over the false sense of it that these plugins give you.
Want to know How to Get Google to Index Your Site Faster? Amanda DiSilvestro gives you some super tips in her post on the Higher Visibility blog. But, be careful of one tip. Don’t get a specialized XML Sitemap plugin if you’re already using the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. XML sitemap generation is included in it.
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Amanda also has some good tips in this post about intra-site linking, or linking from post to product to categories within your own site.
And these are good examples of what I mentioned earlier about placing more conversion points on your site. Honestly, it’s not too much, although you’ll feel like it is.
Customer experience and branding
I want to read a couple of quotations from it.
“The experience that you deliver to your customers from social media every single day to the final transaction, either builds value for your brand or destroys it.”
“Knowing your customers behavior is the only way to strategically deliver your brand promises.”
And you’ll want to see the image they used in the post, because it truly sums up how insular our thinking can be as site owners. You’ll have better results if you design for the client’s experience rather than the product itself.
My new mastermind group that will launch at the first of the year is a good example of that. My training clients get an extreme bang for the buck with the editorial calendar consult. So, I’m packaging just that as a separate offer. That decision is based squarely on customer experience feedback.
Looks like the lowly GIF has been deemed classy enough to grace the cover of The New Yorker. You can see their first animated cover on the Convince and Convert blog. It was inspired by “the beauty of New York city in the rain.”
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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