Hello Happy Site Owners! Happy New Year. I mean it. Today is the first day of a new year. And there is a special vibe in the air. It’s a great time to let go of what no longer serves and move forward a little lighter and a little brighter. For BlogAid, that means to stop building and start expanding. I enjoy working with my clients one-on-one so much, but I can only help just so many people that way. To help more folks, and to keep costs low for everyone, I’ve had to find ways to scale the business and webinars are a great fit. I’ve got several on tap for the next few months and they start today with a free MailChimp webinar. I checked this morning and there are a few spots left, but it does cap at 100 folks on the live call. So, if you’re hearing this early enough, you can join us at 12:00 noon ET. If not, be sure to subscribe to BlogAid News so you’ll get advance notice of the next one. Listen to the podcast now.
Well, this was a problem waiting to happen and I’m surprised it took this long. On her WP Security Lock site, Regina Smola is reporting that there is a Pingback Vulnerability & Temporary Fix.
Most all of us use trackbacks and pingbacks, which are sort of like an intranet notification system that lets you know when another site has linked to you. Unfortunately it has become more of a target for spammers over the past couple of years and many folks have stopped using it. I have to say, when the Google Penguin, and especially when the Panda algorithms hit and I went into Google Webmaster Tools to check my backlinks, I was shocked to see bunches of them that never showed up as either a trackback or pingback.
So, it’s no surprise that this system has now become a target of hackers. The first person to report it says that even WordPress 3.5 sites are vulnerable. It has been reported to the WordPress folks. So, it’s likely the next security upgrade will contain a fix for it.
In the meantime, you’ll want to go read Regina’s post and see the temp fix for it. There is a new plugin or a way that involves more than just turning off trackbacks and pingbacks. If you use the plugin, you’ll need to deactivate and delete it as soon as WordPress releases a fix. If you need help with this, contact me. If you want to know more about what pingbacks and trackbacks are, I’ve got a post for you on that. And if you’re listening to the podcast of Tips Tuesday, you can find all the links for everything I mention on the site in the show notes.
In other WordPress Tips, Anders Vinther of The WordPress Security Checklist has a great guest post on ProBlogger titled Backing Up WordPress? Don’t Make These 9 Mistakes. You KNOW I’m going to keep preaching about this until everyone is doing it. Go read the full post, but I’m going to give you the nine mistakes right now. They are:
- not making a backup at all
- not making a complete backup
- relying on manual backups
- not getting the backup frequency right
- relying on your hosting company’s backup
- only storing your backup on your hosting account
- not storing your backups securely
- not testing your backup
- not storing your backups long enough
If you need help, get my free report on How to Backup Your WordPress Site. It has 14 plugins and storage options so you can get the right fit for your site.
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.
Contextual Related Posts was recently updated and it automatically chooses related posts based on the content of the title and/or content of the post and lists links for them below the post. The Yet Another Related Post plugin is similar. If you use either of these plugins, I hope you’ll leave a comment about how well it’s working for you. I use MikroKid’s Related Post plugin because it lets me manually select the posts I want to list. And the reason I do that is because the content on BlogAid is not evergreen and I don’t want an automated system picking up a post with info that is out of date. So, even if a plugin works well, it might not be the right fit for your site.
Akismet has recently been updated. If you use Akismet and are still getting too many spam notices, be sure to see the Tips Tuesday post from a couple of weeks ago on plugins to use in conjunction with it.
Plugins to Check Out
I know BlogAid has a lot of followers in the EU and you’re going to want to check out this new plugin called Cookie OK. It adds the script you need on your site to be in compliance with the new cookie laws. Now, I’ll warn you before you go to their site, what the plugin states on your site is mild, but they have some graphics in their description that may be a bit offensive, at least they were to me.
Craig Grella has a post on WPMU.org titled 2 Plugins to Put Your Site in the Fast Lane that’s going to fall in my Really? pile. He cited an Amazon study that showed a 20% traffic loss on pages that loaded a half second slower than others. He ran speed tests on his site and found that W3 Total Cache plugin made his site load 7% faster, which equated to 300ms. That’s the time it takes to blink your eyes. I looked it up.
And, if you do use W3 Total Cache, Sucuri has just posted a security issue that you need to fix right away. It has to do with where the plugin stores the cached files and making that directory inaccessible to hackers. But, there was a quick fix for it from the plugin developers as reported on WP Kube. So, update your plugin and you should be fine.
I wrote a post about this security issue and all other caching plugins and posted it to several of the groups I follow. The only place I took heat about it was on the blog itself, so be sure to go read it. And, since it’s my site and I get the last word, I will say that in the end, that post got found, read, and acted upon, even without me doing any of the other things suggested to speed up the site. And that is the goal of all posts, so, there.
I’m thrilled to see this info from Neil Patel on his Quick Sprout blog about How Content Length Affects Rankings and Conversions. Seems that longer is better to the tune of 1500 words or more. Since I write so many tutorials and in-depth posts on BlogAid, I’m delighted about this. One of the reasons these posts are getting such high rankings is because they are considered authority posts, and that’s what Google is looking for. While this is great news for sites like BlogAid and Quick Sprout and the other sites Neil mentioned, it’s not going to work for everyone. Sites that cater more toward entertainment probably need to keep things short. So, be sure you read Neil’s post and weigh it against what will work best for you and your audience.
On her Huge Profits, Tiny List blog, Connie Ragen Green has a great post titled Are You Using A Marketing Calendar In Your Online Business? And, at the start of a new year is a super great time to start one. I really appreciate one of the things she says, which is that your calendar doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy. A few years ago, I started my calendar with just four columns, one for the date, another for the category, then the title, and the last one for the URL. I keep that spreadsheet updated on Google Drive so I can always access it. Comes in super handy when I want to refer folks to a post or page while I’m on the go, especially to answer questions asked in the groups I belong to on LinkedIn, Facebook, and G+ Communities. So, even if you don’t use it to plan ahead much, it’s still very useful. You’ll want to go read all the other helpful ways Connie suggests you use your editorial calendar. And, be sure to see the nice link in her post for a list of special days beyond common holidays that you can work into your marketing too.
In SEO tips, Google continues to punish low-quality sites with Exact Match Domains or EMDs. Rob Henry of K2L Marketing has a nice guest post on ProBlogger titled URL Be Sorry! Google Cuts Back on Top-ranking Exact-match Domains and its about how you can take advantage of these sudden gaps left when top ranking sites suddenly plummet to the bottom of the list.
Tara Gentile has a most excellent post on her blog titled The Secret to Sales Copy that Actually Sells: Don’t Overthink This. It’s about bringing empathy for your customers into your service-driven sales copy. This was a super hard thing for me to get. I know how to be of service, but I don’t know much about sales. I also loathe pitching and being pitched. I’ve tried it, but I’ve kicked the bucket on that and just try to tell folks the truth and be helpful to who will listen.
I’ve also found that the truth is sometimes hard for folks to hear. I’ve had two clients recently that paid big bucks for themes that were too much of a mess to fix. It would be less expensive to just start over. That’s the kind of truth that will take the wind out of your sales. They suffered greatly from what they didn’t know that they didn’t know.
I truly empathize with my clients. I mean, I really do feel for them in these situations. I bang my head against the wall every day trying to figure out how to tell folks that a successful site does not start with a theme. It starts with being clear about what role your site serves in your business, what measurable goals you can apply to it, and then getting the knowledge and proper foundation to make that happen. Otherwise, you’re going to waste at least a year and a few thousand dollars figuring that out.
Whoever you consult for help, make sure they get in the trenches with you, learn your business, learn your goals, and give you the tools to actually build something that will be successful and grow.
I caught her. Ms. Ileane lied. In her audio post on 5 Ways to Grow Your List with YouTube she gives WAY more than five ways. I mean WAY more. I’ve been following Ms. Ileane for several months now and even interviewed her on the BlogAid Podcast. She is an encyclopedia of super tips that are actionable, goal-oriented, and work!
And finally, here’s a super post from the nice folks at Reel SEO on all the latest YouTube enhancements. I’m pretty excited about the new social notifications that automatically post to platforms like G+, Facebook, and Twitter.
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 RSS via email in the sidebar of the site. Visit BlogAid.net for more tips, tutorials, and free resources to make your site better.
And I’ll see you online!