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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/

Marketing Your Business with Video Part 2

Marketing with Video

Everywhere you look online there is a new Tweet, article, YouTube video or blog post about marketing your business using video. You’ve probably seen or heard about it somewhere if you spend any amount of time networking online. The fact is that using video to market your business can bring incredible results.

Flip CameraAs some of you may know, I’ve created a series of (mainly) WordPress video tips and posted them on Youtube. You can see them by clicking here

Many of my videos have been viewed way more times than I ever expected them to be. This has lead to more exposure on the net, but not only that, I’ve gotten clients directly from YouTube–clients who had never been to my WordPress site!

People are being overloaded and overwhelmed with information on the internet, so you  need to be really creative to get attention. What better way to show your talent and creativity than on a video?

Missed the first video?

http://www.thesavvyva.com/promote-your-business-with-video-part-1/

PINTEREST: This is getting way out of hand!

Pinterest Logo

 But only in a good way of course!

If you’re using Pinterest, you’ll know what I mean.

I just spent 40 minutes going back and forth on Facebook with other Pinterest aficionados about how awesome it is.  And this isn’t the first time I’ve been drawn into a great convo about this site.

There is one topic that has been coming up repeatedly of late and that is the issue of posting someone else’s images on your Pinterest boards. (Here’s a good example of some of the discussion out there around this topic:  http://directmatchmedia.com/pinterest-copyright.php)

If you are copying another’s content to your computer and then uploading it to Pinterest, you will be running up against copyright issues. Copying and uploading someone else’s content is called stealing plagiarizing because 1we don’t own it and 2. we’re not crediting the author/artist for their work.

So how is everyone on Pinterest getting around this? By making it perfectly clear that the content they have pinned belongs to someone else (by crediting, citing and referencing the author).

What people don’t seem to know is that Pinterest offers a bookmarklet

that when used, allows the viewer to click on the image you’ve posted and it takes them outside of Pinterest to the owner’s own website. This way, the person viewing your Pin will know where you got the image from.

For more information about this, go to the “goodies” (as Pinterest calls them):  http://pinterest.com/about/goodies/ and start using the Bookmarklet for your browser. I think you’ll be glad you did. This type of sharing is going to be challenged over and over in the courts, and you don’t want to be the one left holding the bag.

But just using the Pinterest Bookmarklet will probably not keep you fully out of hot water, so think before you post. And make sure you always credit the author.

Calling all Visionistas!

 As small business owners, all the recent raving about Pinterest and the fabulous statistics ought to grab your attention!

  • more than 10 million users!
  • more than 80% women!
  • and more than 2 million Facebook users daily!

Those are some impressive numbers if you’re looking to find a market for your goods.

Don’t get left behind. Get in on this FREE ecourse to learn everything you need to know about PINTEREST.

Claim Your Free Ecourse Now

 

 

 

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

 

 

WordPress 3.3

The newest, and long awaited version of WordPress has been rolled out.

WordPress 3.3, also known as “Sonny”, has been named to honor of the great jazz saxophonist, Sonny Stitt (all major releases are named in honor of a famous Jazz musician) .

WordPress 3.3 offers added simplicity to the dashboard area in terms of tips, navigation and uploading media. This will be an especially welcome change for the new user and their experience in getting to know WordPress.

To quote the people from WordPress:

For Users

Experienced users will appreciate the new drag-and-drop uploader, hover menus for the navigation, the new toolbar, improved co-editing support, and the new Tumblr importer. We’ve also been thinking a ton about what the WordPress experience is like for people completely new to the software. Version 3.3 has significant improvements there with pointer tips for new features included in each update, a friendly welcome message for first-time users, and revamped help tabs throughout the interface. Finally we’ve improved the dashboard experience on the iPad and other tablets with better touch support.

For Developers

There is a ton of candy for developers as well. I’d recommend starting your exploration with the new editor API, new jQuery version, better ways to hook into the help screens, more performant post-slug-only permalinks, and of course the entire list of improvements on the Codex and in Trac.

They’ve also created this quick video that gives a really good overview of the changes.

Need help updating your site to the new version?

Contact me via the form below. It goes directly to my personal email address.

PS:  Tomorrow, December 15th  is the last day to enter the draw to win a complete WordPress Website from The Savvy VA. Click here to find out more: thesavvyva.com/wordpress-website-giveaway/

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

What is a WordPress Theme?

Someone has been thinking logically. It’s the best description of WordPress that I’ve seen in a while:

A WordPress theme is a collection of PHP and CSS files that change the appearance of your site without changing the content, which is stored in a database. This allows you to easily change the presentation of your website by switching themes, while the content remains.

To use a metaphor, the Theme system provides a “skin” your website while WordPress is providing the “bones” of the site in its underlying code.

Read the rest of the article here:

http://www.hyperarts.com/blog/intro-wordpress-theme-frameworks-child-themes/

 

 

9 WordPress Essentials: Part 2

9 WordPress essentials part 2WordPress Essentials Part 2:

5.  Search

Have a search function 

Having a search function on your site is a great idea. Just like in Google, visitors can use keywords to search within your site for the content they are looking for.

It’s a good idea to have this above the fold (before they have to scroll) for the visitor’s convenience so they can speedily find the content they are interested in.

Some templates have the search field built into the navigation bar and others offer you a sidebar widget.

You can go beyond just the search function and add both archives and category widgets in the sidebar. The archives widget allows your visitor to find posts of interest that are sorted by date. The category widget allows them to search your posts by the categories you write under.

PS  The words that people use to search online are important to know because their keywords have to match the keywords you use on your site.  To learn more about this, get my free report: FREE KEYWORD RESEARCH TOOL

6.  Contact information

Have a contact page

The best option for adding your contact information is to have it on its own separate page. You’ll then have a link on the navigation bar and with one click, your visitor will have all of your information (telephone, email, and/or contact form) at their fingertips.

I have also included my toll free phone number in my header (banner) on my site.

7.  Opt in form

Offer a way to keep in touch

This is a very important step as this is how you will keep in touch with your visitors. Have it front and center on your site, before the fold. Offer a valuable gift to those who subscribe. It’s a great way to let your clients and visitors know about your products, services, special offers, and upcoming sales or events.

By the way, Aweber is the best service I’ve used so far. They are more cost effective, they have all the bells and whistles, AND they don’t charge extra to see your stats (how many opens etc).  Check them out for yourself:  AWEBER

8.  Design

Keep it easy on the eyes

The design of your page should support your brand image. But it should also be simple and not distract from your goals or purpose. Sidebars allow for the containment of additional information, and provide a way to have even more information above the fold.

Colors convey a lot of information and your color choice should be a good representation of your (type of) business or the image your are trying to present.

Word of caution:

  • Rotating banners, flashing things, and similar effects should be avoided unless it’s just an affiliate site.
  • Avoid anything that slows down the loading speed of your site. (flash)
  • Avoid using a dark background and light colored font. They are almost impossible to read online

9. Community Building

Interact

Integrate social networking buttons (lots of plugins easily manage this step for you). Let people find you on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+.

Use Social Bookmarking plugins as well. These are the little icons you see after a post where people can share your content on any number of bookmarking sites.

Allow for and encourage comments. There are several plugins out there that require people to sign up for accounts and jump through other hoops to leave a comment. I don’t recommend this. Make it as simple as possible for your visitors to interact with you.

When people feel involved or able to contribute they tend to revisit a website.

What are you thoughts? Let us know in a comment.

Get my Free Keyword Research Tool and Tutorial by Clicking Here

I am a proud Aweber affiliate and will receive a commission when  anyone signs up for Aweber by clicking the link provided in this blog post.

Kathleen

Didn’t read part 1?  Click here: http://www.thesavvyva.com/9-wordpress-essentials-part-1/