google-site-verification: google5a04406e090cac5e.html

Will Google’s major upcoming change seriously affect your business?

algorithm

Google announced in February 2015 that they will be changing their algorithm to include mobile ready sites as a marker in determining ranking in the search results. To quote them:

When it comes to search on mobile devices, users should get the most relevant and timely results, no matter if the information lives on mobile-friendly web pages or apps. As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns.

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.

What this means is that to get a high ranking in the search results, or to continue getting good ranking, the theme on your WordPress site must be mobile friendly.  For example, the STUDIOPRESS themes have been mobile friendly for a very long time. These are the themes that I use exclusively when I build a WordPress website.

If you don’t know whether your site is ready for this change in the algorithm, click here to go to GOOGLE’S SITE where they have a tool in the sidebar to confirm whether your site’s theme is mobile friendly. It’s fast and easy to do, and well worth your time.

If you find that your theme is not mobile friendly, CONTACT ME as I have a package available that will update your site to an awesome mobile theme and get you ready for Google’s change.

9 of My Favorite WordPress Plugins

Basic WordPress Plugins for All WP Users

Basic WordPress Plugins for All WP Users

Where would we be without plugins for WordPress?  They expand our sites and enable us to do some very impressive stuff.

Over the years I have tried a lot of plugins — many did not measure up and were less than impressive, but some have proven to be helpful little winners in my book.

As an aside, when you are thinking of installing a plugin, make sure that you get it from a trusted source such as http://wordpress.org/plugins  They tend to purge plugins that don’t measure up, have scripts in them that intend injury to your site, and are no longer supported.

(But even at the WordPress home base, it is prudent to check the stats of the plugin you intend to use to see if it has been updated recently. If it has not been updated in the last two months or so, do not install it. Plugins (and WordPress sites themselves for that matter) that don’t get updated are at a very high risk of being hacked. While you are at it, check the feedback– if it gets good feedback and has been updated recently, you are pretty safe installing it.)

Here are 9 of my favorite WordPress plugins:

Contact Form 7 plugin

Contact Form 7 can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customize the form and the mail contents flexibly with simple markup. Put a little code onto your “Contact” page and it will take care of the rest.

FeedBurner FeedSmith plugin

Redirects all feeds to a Feedburner feed (so your visitors can subscribe to your blog posts via RSS). It’s all done behind the scenes and anonymously. Feedburner is still responsible for a lot of traffic to my site.

Google Analytics for WordPress plugin

This plugin makes it simple to add Google Analytics features to your site. Get your Google Analytics code, paste it into the field and let google do its thing.

Google Analytics Dashboard plugin

While Google is doing its thing, you can view the analytics right in the dashboard of your site with the Google Analytics Dashboard plugin.

Google XML Sitemaps plugin

This plugin generates a sitemap sitemap of your WordPress site which is supported by Ask.com, Google, Bing, MSN Search and YAHOO.

Page Links To plugin

This great little plugin allows you to link to an external URL of your choosing. For example, I created a page called ‘Free Videos’ that, in turn, created a the same link on the nav bar, but redirects people to my YouTube Channel. Just think of the uses for your own site.

Insights plugin

Insights allows you to quickly search and insert information (links, images, videos, maps, news..) into your blog posts from either out on the net or from within your own site (awesome for a little interlinking SEO). Automatically gives attribution for the images, videos, news etc to keep you out of hot water.

Simple Image Widget plugin

If you are at all like me, you struggle with getting a picture onto your sidebar. With this plugin you never have to struggle again. Install it, add the code for the pic and voila!

Editorial  Calendar plugin

Keeps my writing on track like nothing else can. I am able to see at a glance as to what is coming up, what I still need to do, and what has already been posted. Drag and drop your scheduled posts if you need to change the order. Basically I’m organized, I’m on time, and I’m happy.

You’ll find them all at no charge here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/

Get Your Bricks & Mortar Business Online

google search fieldYou know when you do a search for a business on Google and they don’t show up? You can access many businesses that are similar, but the one you are looking for doesn’t show in Google search results. It seems really odd, or it could be just me, but when I run into this situation my first thought is, “how good can this business be if they aren’t online?” Then I wonder if it means that they can’t be bothered because they’re redundant and maybe going out of business? Or could it be that they aren’t established yet? Or maybe it’s an old company that just doesn’t believe in the internet and social media?

Basically, I am wary. Is that weird, or is it a sign of the times? I think it is a sign of the times. People want to deal with businesses that are forward thinking and with the times. Hip and savvy are important too. We want to know that any work they do for us is going to be contemporary and current. If they aren’t online and I am, could we be on the same wavelength?

Benefits You Can Count On By Having A Website?
.

Consistent Visibility

You might be offline, but your customers are online. Your customers only notice you when they walk down the street or happen to drive by — otherwise, you are very much invisible. As people spend more and more time online, it is only online businesses that get visibility resulting in products or services being sold.

Communicate Regularly with Customers

Your website is your vehicle for communication, including a venue for collecting email addresses. Most people still check their email regularly, so instead of spending money on print advertising, you could send customers special offers and discounts via email, making your advertising costs much less. At the same time, email can be used to build relationships with your customers by offering other tips and advice via newsletters.

Build Brand Awareness

Your website is completely under your control, giving you the ability to create and promote your brand image. Everything from the design of your site to the content and interaction that happens there builds the image that you want the world to see. Think of it as your dynamic billboard with which you communicate and interact with the rest of the world.

Demonstrate Social Proof

A website is one very important component in demonstrating social proof AKA as proving your integrity. People make purchasing decisions based to a large degree on recommendations. Including testimonials from customers shows prospective buyers that you are here for the long run and can back up your products. Ratings and reviews are also a way to help people make purchasing decisions; think Yelp and similar sites. By the way, your customers can leave reviews on Yelp about your business and being online gives you the opportunity to comment, give thanks, or refute a bad review.

Global Exposure

As a local (offline) business, your ability to  prospect and increase your customer base is very limited. Once your business goes online, the potential for sales is only limited by the logistics of shipping. In fact, some websites like Etsy have made it possible for even the smallest business to give the whole world access to their products.

While it’s possible to survive as an offline local business, the potential to grow and prosper is much better when you have a website. You have to be visible to customers and prospects where they are, and that is online.

Get Website Traffic Fast! 5 Quick Tips

KeyIf you are running an online business, you already know that getting traffic to your site is the single most important key to it all. Right?

In fact, you spend time writing amazing content, you have great products and/or services to offer, and you’re a great person and business owner — basically you’ve got it all. Except traffic.  And yet the more traffic, the more serious visitors; the more serious your visitors, the better your sales and profits will be.

So what exactly does an online business have to do to get noticed among the millions of other sites — some doing/selling exactly what you are doing/selling? It’s not easy, but with repeated efforts you can and will get noticed.

First, I am assuming that you have a niche (narrowed down what you sell, or what you offer for services), and you know how to determine your keywords, and your regularly conduct keyword research so you know what is popular. If not, you need to. Why? Because this is what will help your business get found online. For more information on keywords and keyword research, this is a great article
https://www.seo.com/blog/top-keyword-research-tools-exposed

Here are 5 ways to get traffic to your site, quickly

1. Use your keywords

  • in your titles. Your title is where you place your primary keyword or keyword phrase.
  • in your first two or three sentences of all pages and posts.  These sentences should describe your business/offering/service in 90 characters or less.
  • to populate any fields that are available for SEO in your theme (usually under your post/page)
  • and create a traffic and SEO strategy

2. Add content to your site as often as you can, but preferably every day

Content gets you traffic, plain and simple.  Google loves fresh content and actively searches for it so they can index it into that great encyclopedia in cyberspace. Give search engines a reason to visit, not to mention your own returning visitors. People love to read content from those they like and trust, so give it to them.

3. Place links to your other content whenever you can (called interlinking)

Google bots like to follow links. If you have related content on another page, place a link to it within the content you are currently working on. The bots will follow your link to the page your are linking to so that they can index that content as well. Win-win.

4. Get incoming links to your site

Google also likes websites that have incoming links. It shows the site’s popularity, and increases the search engines’ perception of how valuable your site is.  And you know what they say about being popular. The search engines are kind of snobbish that way too.

Keep in mind that search engines give more ranking to links from sites that are popular and credible, and relevant to your site’s content.

What are links? 

A direct link looks like this: www.yourwebsite.com

A text link is, as mentioned above, embedded in the text. Readers can click on the link and are redirected to another page on your site

Encouragement might be required so try the following: 

  • Adding lots of fresh, relevant content
  • Submit articles about your niche to article directories 
  • Being active on Social networking sites.

5. Be Social!

As mentioned in tip #4, now more than ever before, internet marketing is about building a community. Whether you offer a forum on your website or you participate in social networking sites, social networking is a valuable traffic generating tactic. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are powerful tools for generating links and traffic to your site – create a profile and then post comments and ideas that generate conversation.

Outline your plan, set your goals, and then take the necessary action.

Who is Your Target Market?

target-market-20847307

Determine who your target market is. It’s your first step to creating a wildly successful internet business.

 

Why? Because you can predict your financial future by how closely you are connected with your target market.

Not sure what a target market is?  Basically it a group of people who are most likely to buy from you. It’s that simple. This group is comprised of those who want and need your product or service. They wait for your next product, and they rave about you and your services.  They are your biggest fans and they like your stuff.

You need to determine who your target market is otherwise you will be trying to be all things to all people What you have to do instead is to specialize and in turn you’ll narrow all the shoppers in the world to just a few loyal customers and/or clients.

How do we find them?

It starts with doing some research. This is not as daunting as it sounds, so don’t be discouraged. The greatest benefit you’ll get from doing this research is that you’ll be very clear as to what you have to offer and to whom.

Where do we start?

With your product or service in mind, describe the person who would most likely want or need your products. Use as much detail as you can.  Would it be a single mom? A retired woman? A teen? A single man? A woman with a family? An online business owner? An offline business owner? A writer?

Give the following some thought:

  • Is your target customer male or female?
  • What does she do for a living
  • What is her income? Depending on your price point, this could eliminate people
  • What age group is she in? (Age groups may or may not be pertinent)
  • Where does she  live? Geography could be a limiting factor
  • What matters most to her?
  • Who would hire you to perform the services you offer?

Other Considerations:

If you offer online business courses, then retired people probably won’t be your target market.

If you are a handy person who cleans windows, then retired people might be the exact people you are looking for. But something to consider is whether your market can support another window cleaner. Is your target market already saturated with competitors? Do they even get their windows cleaned, or is their income low and they have to clean them themselves.

Your market has to be just the right size–small enough for you to be a major player and large enough to make good money.

It also has to be a market with a problem that needs to be solved. Those are the people who are most likely to spend money.

Family and friends are probably a great resource in the brainstorming process. Ask who they think would purchase your product.

Where to Look for Business Ideas

Google Trends is the best source for up-to-the-minute information on what is trendingThey can help you identify new target markets. You may be able  to jump into an opportunity where you become a major player before others hop on the bandwagon.

Another great place to look is Amazon Magazines. Chances are that if there’s enough of a market for a magazine, then there’s enough of a market to make money online.  http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Magazines/zgbs/magazines

eBay Pulse is another great place to look. Again, you’re looking for markets where you can become a major player.

How to Research a Market

You’ve come up with some ideas for a business. What’s the next step?  You’ve probably guessed that you’ll be doing some more research, but this step is to see if your idea is viable.

The first step is to check the volume of traffic to make sure there’s enough to make you a living. Google Keyword Tool is the best place to check this out.

Once you’ve made sure that there is lots of traffic to your basic business keywords and that you can make enough money for it viable, you will then get to know the market and the market’s spending habits.  You can start by clicking here

Now you’ll want to know how your competitors are doing? Are they selling high ticket items, or are they scraping by with advertising? Are AdWords bids high or low? This will all help you determine how much money is being spent.

Google has the best survey program out there. Like I say, if you want to know something, just ask. Google Insights

So you’ve brainstormed and researched a few niche markets, identified those that show some promise, and narrowed down the winners, all that’s left to do is take action and make it happen.

3 WordPress Security Plugins

The following are examples of security plugins with fairly high ratings. I am giving Wordfence a trial run right now after using WPSecure for some time, as I went over to wordpress.org to get some data on WPSecure and this message was posted on the plugin’s info page:

This plugin hasn’t been updated in over 2 years. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.

I’m glad that I checked on it. It probably hasn’t been protecting my site for some time.  But this is why I use Bluehost for hosting my sites.

1.  Wordfence Security

As of this date, this is one of the top rated security plugins.

  • Version 5.3.3
  • Updated 2014-11-20
  • Downloads 3,962,003
  • Average Rating  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

Wordfence Security is either free for the basic security (which is enough for most people) or you can purchase a premium version. This security plugin includes a firewall, anti-virus scanning, and malicious URL scanning.

Wordfence starts by checking if your site is already infected. We do a deep server-side scan of your source code comparing it to the Official WordPress repository for core, themes and plugins. Then Wordfence secures your site and makes it up to 50 times faster. Wordfence Security is 100% free.

To learn more about Wordfence, click this link:  http://docs.wordfence.com/en/Wordfence_Official_Documentation

2.  BulletProof Security

BulletProof Security is designed to be a fast, simple and one click security plugin to add .htaccess website security protection for your WordPress website

Compatible up to: 4.1
Last Updated: 2014-11-19
Downloads: 1,374,100
Average rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

  • One-click security protection
  • Automatic .htaccess file updating on upgrade installation
  • htaccess file backup and restore
  • Built-in File Editing, File Downloading and File Uploading
  • Custom Code feature permanently saves and writes your personal custom .htaccess code
  • Backup and Restore customized / modified .htaccess files
    .

 3.  WordPress Antivirus

Compatible up to: 4.0.1
Last Updated: 2014-11-27
Downloads: 688,960
Average rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Useful plugin that will scan your theme templates for malicious injections. Automatically. Every day. For more blog security.

WordPress Antivirus scans WordPress themes for WordPress permalink backdoor malware. Also, this plugin scans all theme files for malware injections and vulnerability. This plugin scans files daily and can notify your via email.

  • Virus alert in the admin bar
  • Cleaning up after plugin removal
  • Translations into many languages
  • Daily scan with email notifications
  • Database tables and theme templates checks
  • WordPress 3.x ready: both visually and technically
  • White list solution: Mark suspected cases as “no virus”
  • Manual check of template files with alerts on suspected cases

These are just a sample of what’s out there in terms of security plugins.

As always, do your due diligence when installing any plugin. Check the ratings, the feedback, the number of downloads, and the developers.

What are you using to protect your site?  Leave a comment and let us know.

 

;

How Secure is Your WordPress Site?

imagesI’m writing this post on the heels of the recent WordPress critical security update. If you missed the announcement, then I am speaking to you in particular.

This recent update was due to a WordPress security breech that could result in your site being compromised in serious ways.

You can read about the update here WordPress.org update announcement, but come back and finish reading this post. It contains vital information that you need to keep your site free from bots, hackers, and other entities that could seriously hurt your business.

Keeping Your Site Safe Requires Your Vigilance.

Here’s how:

WordPress Updates

Update your WordPress site as soon as you hear about the update. Once there’s a WordPress update/announcement, you’ll see it on the dashboard of your site.  You’ll also see an alert beside the dashboard link over to the left.  Go there and follow the very simple instructions.

Plugins and Themes

Your plugins and themes (templates) must be kept up to date. They actually add code to your site that hackers can exploit if your plugins and themes are not regularly maintained. Again, you’ll see the information your need on your dashboard and the very simple instructions.

Change Your Passwords

Changing the password on your site needs to be a regular part of your site maintenance.

  • To change the password, look to the top right area of your site where it says “Howdy,  your name”, and hover there.
  • In the drop down menu you’ll see the Profile link. Click that link and you’ll be taken to your profile page.
  • About half way down you’ll find a section where you can enter, and then confirm, your new password.

Backup Your Site Regularly

You can install a plugin that will back your site up, but if you’re hosted with a reputable company, there should be an option whereby your site is backed up automatically.  There are times when your site is too large for the automatic backup, but there should be an option where you can go into your hosting and back your account up. When you back your site up, your files and databases are stored so that if there is an attack you can restore your site.

Here’s a checklist of actions to take on your WordPress site to ensure that your site and/or business cannot be hacked.

  • Update to latest WordPress version

Here’s a vid to show you how:

 

  • Install security plugins on your WordPress site
  • Perform all plugin updates
    • Delete and uninstall old or unused plugins
  • Change your passwords regularly
    • Use a different password for each site you own
    • Use random passwords that would be very difficult to guess
    • Do not share your WordPress passwords, but if you do share it, change it immediately after use.
  • Set up separate permissions for each user on your site.
  • Back up your site files on an automated and regular schedule
    • Store your backups in more than one place
  • Use only secure internet connections
  • Never download anything you’re not sure about
    • Do not download plugins that you’ve not researched, and by that I mean research the developer/authors. If it is offered at WordPress.org, you are fairly safe. If it’s offered on a private site, do your due diligence in researching the background of the plugin/developers. There are perfectly legitimate developers out there who create awesome plugins and there are lots of sketchy developers too — you just need to know which they are.
  • Purchase reliable and recognized web hosting

[bha size=’160×40′ variation=’01’ align=’aligncenter’]

Overwhelmed and need assistance?  Click here to contact me

 .