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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/

8 Tips for Writing Content That People Actually Read

A Pen and Notebook For Writing a Marketing MessageAs a small business owner it can be very difficult to get found, never-mind be heard, on the internet. The competition is extreme and we are just one of many. Without something to set us apart, we just blend into the background. Is there a way to get an edge?

Our written content can be what saves us from mediocrity, IF we know where to start.

First, what do I mean by ‘content’?

Basically content includes written posts, pictures or images, and video, but it can also include anything that’s particular to your business, such as product descriptions.

Sales copy, or just “copy”, can also be considered, but it is much more finely tuned content than what I am discussing here.  (Sales copy is written advertising).

In general, making your content top notch is the very best marketing tool you have, because nothing attracts potential customers like useful, educational, and shareable content.

But how? How do people get the ideas that cause their posts or videos to go viral? Are they just better marketers than you? Better at business? More creative? Nicer people?

The answer is, no. They aren’t any of those. But I guarantee that they have spent lots of time learning how to write good posts, create interesting video, and use interesting images.

The following tips will help you to think about and see your writing in a different light:

  1. Bring your personality and voice to the paper. Show your audience your enthusiasm and passion for the product or services you offer. When your audience detects that you really are passionate about what you do or have to offer, they will be more interested as well.
    .
    Ensure that your voice is coming through the written word. Use your tone, your voice and your style. Eventually your audience will become accustomed to “you” and come to expect nothing less. When they return to your site, this is what they will be looking for. Personalize each written piece so that it is your own, and can be easily identified as such.
    ,
  2. Always give. I don’t know about you, but I love it when I am in the cosmetics department and am given a sample of something and told what it is and how it works. I walk away feeling just that much more informed, not to mention impressed at their generosity.
    .
    It’s even more important online because you can’t be there to hand out the sample. Your writing has to be that sample. Make it educational and informative. Help that person so they can make an informed decision about hiring your or buying your products. If they leave your site not knowing anything more about you and your product/service than they had before they visited, they probably won’t be back.
    .
  3. Stay relevant. Are visitors going to get the information they came for about your business, or will they find something unrelated?
    .
    For example, if you are a Virtual Assistant and you are writing posts about your cute little pets, it’s not relevant to your business. People are busy and are looking for answers. Only include interesting, cutting edge, helpful, and/or newsworthy content that is relevant to the type of business you are in. If your content is all that, you can be sure they’ll be back for more.
    .
  4. Is there an element of surprise? Or something unexpected? I’m not sure what that would be in your business, but I’m sure there is something you could do that would leave your viewers thinking great things about you and your business, products or services. Give them something to talk about.
    .
  5. This next step is especially important for sales. Whenever possible, show your visitors what you want to say rather than tell them. Your content will be more powerful to your audience when you can show them testimonials or customer feedback rather than just you telling them how much your market loves your stuff. Anyone can say that, but the ones who can back it up will come out on top.
    .
    The internet can be a scary place for many people. They have no idea who you are or if you are honest. Let them know that others have tried your product or service and that they recommend them (social proof).

    .
  6. Edit your content to ensure it is clear and simple to follow. The easiest way to do this is to write the way you speak (conversational tone). You will come across as more approachable, friendly, and trustworthy if your audience feels like they are having a conversation with you.
    .
  7. Avoid using technical language or jargon that most people would not understand. If you have to use a word that your audience probably won’t understand, then it is completely OK to define it for them.
    .
  8. Get your content looking the best it can be. Spell-check and proof-read before publishing. Don’t present your website with a bunch of grammatical errors and misspelled words. Take a little extra time to check it before publishing it. Leave lots of white space so they can take a breather between paragraphs. Highlight words that are especially important (this is also awesome for SEO if that word is one of your business’s keywords). You’ll look more professional and capable of running a successful business. 

What did I miss? What is your writing ritual?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEO: Simple Tweaks You Can Make to Your WordPress Content So Your Clients Find You

SEO… ugh… I know you’re probably thinking some or all of the following.

SEO: Simple Tweaks You Can Make to Your WordPress Content So Your Clients Find You

 

  • Search Engine Optimization is way too scientific for me–after all I’m an artist
  • SEO is way over my head–I’m a coach, not a techno geek
  • SEO looks incredibly boring. My eyes are glazed over even now
  • SEO is done by geeky guys who work in their parent’s basement and never see the light of day
  • SEO is illegal and, if caught, Google will banish you and your biz forever from search results

But in reality, SEO is a very powerful business skill that can get you a lot of traction in the competitive world of the internet. It’s really only a series of little tweaks you can make in your blog posts and on your pages that can amount to a huge rush of traffic, and clients that are finally able to find you in the search engines. (Of course, you can go much further than little tweaks and hire yourself an SEO strategist for big $$, but why not start small to see how it works?).

SEO is about “organic” search, meaning that you optimize your posts and pages for the people who don’t know a thing about you (eg: they are not friends on Facebook, Twitter, or other social networking sites) They are the people who need you but don’t know it yet. They are the people who are in Google search right this minute, and are madly typing words into the search field trying to find a solution to their problem or answer to their question.

The words (keywords) they are typing into the search field are the only link between them and you (remember, they have never heard of you). If the words you use on your site (your keywords) match their search terms, then you will show up in the search results. The more exact your words match theirs, the higher you will show in the results.

You can probably see now that if you aren’t using the words (keywords) that this person is using to find answers, then you’ll never show up in the search results as a viable solution or answer to their problem(s). The better your site answers the searchers questions, the more Google will send you the highly coveted “organic” traffic.

So here is a summary of what SEO is:

SEO is the shortened term for Search Engine Optimization. As an online business and WordPress site owner, you need to know that SEO is what helps drive visitors to your website. And without visitors…well you know.

How Google Works

Search engines have names like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. When someone is searching for information on the internet, they type phrases or keywords into the Google, Yahoo, or Bing search field. They press “Enter” and receive a page with a list of search results.

SEO is “spoon feeding” your relevant content to the search engines so that it matches the searchers’ queries.

A search engine is a program that searches documents on the World Wide Web for a specific word or phrase. ~ Dictionary.com (SEO is tweaking your site to match those words).

Kathleen

SEO and Google Analytics go hand in hand. Check out this course.

[stickynotes title=”Google Analytics Course Just $7″ url=”http://www.thesavvyva.com/savvy-products/google-analytics-report/”]Click to Learn More[/stickynotes]

 

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What Search Engines Do and How this Affects Your Website’s Search Rankings

What Search Engines Do

What is a Search Engine?

search engine is designed to search for information on the internet. The search results are presented in a list of results referred to as SERPS, or “search engine results pages”. The search results can consist of web pages, images, information and other types of files.

Some search engines also mine data available in databases or open directories. Unlike web directories which are maintained by human editors, search engines also maintain real-time information by running an algorithm on a web crawler.

 There are 2 main components

  • English: a chart to describe the search engine...The Crawler (bots, spiders) go out to the internet and crawl the content they find.
  • The Algorithm, or the ranking formula, that the search engines use to determine the relevancy of your content.

How they do their magic

 Indexing

This is very simplistic, but essentially the search engines send out their bots to crawl the internet every 28 days. It crawls the internet by following links. This can be from one page on your site to another (interlinking) or from one website to another).  The search engine then builds a database containing a copy of each page of information it finds.

 How to ensure that your content gets indexed:

  • Search engine optimizing your content is like spoon feeding the bots making their job as simple as possible.
  • Using keywords shows the general relevancy of your content, especially in searches
  • Creating remarkable content is how others find your content, note that it as remarkable, and link back to you.

Increasing prominence

  • There are several ways to increase the standing of a website within the search results.
  • Interlinking between pages provides additional links for the bots to follow and may improve the site’s visibility.
  • Writing content that includes highly searched keyword phrases is another way to  to increase traffic.
  • Updating content to keep search engines crawling your site frequently can also give additional weight to a site.
  • Adding relevant keywords to  your web page’s meta data (title tag and meta description) will improve the relevancy of a site’s search listings, thereby increasing traffic

In summary:

taking the simplest SEO steps will help the search engines find and index your content. As a result, your audience (target market, customer, client) will be more likely to find you, your content and site amidst a sea of similar products, services, and content on the internet.

This requires some time, effort and research, but the benefits are many and it is never too late! There are both free and paid plugins that you can install on your WordPress site that will help you to use SEO strategies on each post and page of your site.

6 Simple Tips to Writing Search Engine Optimized WordPress Blog Posts

1.  Use your keywords in the title of your post

6 Simple Tips to Writing Search Engine Optimized WordPress Blog Posts

Keywords (actually keyword phrases) are the words you use in your business to attract your target market, audience, and/or niche. These are the carefully researched phrases and terms that you use in all of your writings so your content shows up in search results. Think of them as the words that your potential customers/clients are typing into the search field when searching for answers. It is particularly important to use keywords in the title of your post because the title of your post will also show as the title in the search results (there are ways to modify this, but that’s another post).

2. Write WordPress blog posts that matter

First and foremost, your content has to answer the questions that your target market (or niche) has. People search the internet for information and solutions to their problems. Provide answers to their problems and there is a high probability that even a random search will result in your post showing up in the search results.

3.  Write your headlines so they include your keywords

WordPress offers a very simple method for creating headings and subheadings. The option is in your WordPress editor and are called H1, H2, H3 etc (the dropdown menu is beside the “Paragraph” option).  Each heading is a different font size and, depending on your theme and/or your theme tweaking ability, they can also be from different font families. (I suggest only using H2 and smaller because the title of your pages and posts are already H1 and you won’t be competing with the post or page title).

4.  Write your headlines so they include a benefit.

It’s from copywriting 101. Include a benefit in your headline wherever possible.  Why would someone want to read your post (or even the next paragraph)? How will it benefit them? Does it save them time? Are there tips that can be read and then implemented quickly? Will reading the post save them money?  Spell it out in the headline.

5. Use keywords throughout the post

And use your keywords early in the post. The first sentence is optimal, but at the very least, use your keywords in the first paragraph. You don’t necessarily have to use the same word over and over (which could be detrimental to your SEO efforts) because synonyms will also be recognized by the search engines.

6. Break up your writing with subheadings (paragraph subtitles).

SEO writing includes a technique where you break your content up with subheadings.  The search engines bots look for anything “unusual” in your post. Subheadings are “unusual” and they cause the search engine bots to pause and take notice.  They also make your writing easier on the eyes of your audience by providing some white space where the eyes can rest.

Have you taken the necessary time to do your keyword research?

Keyword Research Using Wordtracker’s Free Tool

One of the most significant keys to success is getting website traffic.  The more visitors you have, the better your sales and profits.

For maximum results, create a traffic and SEO strategy.  Outline your plan and your goals and then take the necessary action, but begin with keyword research.

Presumably you have a niche and you know your keywords, and regularly conduct keyword research to stay on top of what’s popular.  Right? If not, here are several tools that are great for not only doing your keyword research, but for learning everything there is to know about keyword research.

Enjoy,
Kathleen

 

 

Here’s A Quick Way To Add Media To A Blog Post

 

Insights PluginMy oldie but goodie Youtube video with a very cool plugin suggestion.

I’ve been using this plugin for over 3 years and it has never failed to be useful. It’s one of the simplest plugins to use and once you get your feet wet with it, you’ll find a ton of uses for it.

What are some of the best uses for this plugin?

  • quickly add your YouTube videos to build traffic (instead of sending people to YouTube, send them to your site to view it)
  • interlink to articles, posts, or pages within your own site (huge SEO purpose!)
  • add news articles (back up your information with up to the minute information)
  • add Wikipedia articles (excellent as a reference)
  • search and add Google content (easily find relevant information on Google)
  • recommend a book (your own?)
  • add an image or two (“decorate” your posts to create interest)

Check it out here:

For help installing and setting up this plugin, contact me via the form below:

[contact-form-7 id=”3877″ title=”Contact form 1″]

 

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The Secret to Getting More Visitors To Your Site Part 2

The secret to getting more visitors to your site part 2Search Engine Optimization

is a series of steps that you, the WordPress site owner, take to move your site up in the search results of the search engines. As I mentioned in Part 1, ideally you want to  increase your rankings so that your site shows up on the first page of the search engine results.

What Steps Can You Take To Optimize Your (New) WordPress Website?

1.  Keywords

Know the search phrases and words that your prospects type into the search engines to find the products and services that you offer. This is imperative — not an option.  If you missed the Free Keyword Research Tool and Tutorial from Part 1, you can GET IT HERE

Once you know them, use these words on your pages and in your content. There are entire books and  online courses about how to find and use keywords. A little research will pay off nicely.

2.  Good Content

Search engines look at the content on your website. They scan your content looking for keywords, keyword phrases and other relevant words and terms. Often people mistake the meaning of this and load their content with their keywords and phrases, even to the point of making their content nonsensical. But the search engines have very complicated algorithms to rate the quality of the content too. Search engines want to ensure that they are sending people to quality websites. not just those that are packed with the right keyword/keyword phrases.

3.  Linking

Another element that search engines look at are the links to and from your website. They look at incoming links – links from other websites and blogs and they look at internal links – linking within your own site (from one page to another within your site).

a. Incoming Links

Quality content helps create incoming links. Here’s what Google says about building incoming links to your site:

Create unique and compelling content on your site and the web in general

    • Make videos, do original research, and post interesting stuff on a regular basis. If you’re passionate about your site’s topic, there are lots of great avenues to engage more users.
    • Teach readers new things, uncover new news, be entertaining or insightful, show your expertise, interview different personalities in your industry and highlight their interesting side. Make your site worthwhile.
    • Participate thoughtfully in blogs and user reviews related to your topic of interest. Offer your knowledgeable perspective to the community.
    • Provide a useful product or service. If visitors to your site get value from what you provide, they’re more likely to link to you.Source:  Google | Webmaster Central Blog  You can click this link for more information

Social networking, guest blogging, and article marketing can all have a profound effect on the number of incoming links. Build relationships online to motivate people to link to your website.

b.  Internal Linking

Internal linking means that you have links from one page or article to another on your own site. Internal linking is perfect for situations where you have content that you want to draw attention to AND rank well in the search engines. Just create a link to it from other content or pages. For example, in my opening paragraph above you’ll see that Part 1 is a hyperlink to the first blog post in this series.

If you want have a sales page to a product or service and want it to rank really well in the search engines, then create a link to your sales page from your contact page, from your landing page, and any other pages that it makes sense to link to.

Keywords, Linking and Good Content are simple steps you can take to increase your ranking in the search engines. It’s not magic or difficult. Give them a try and come back to post your results here. We’d love to hear about your success.