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9 WordPress Essentials: Part 1

9 WordPress Essentials Part 11.  A Landing Page

Is usually associated with your main domain name.

It’s the first page your visitors will see (unless they have gotten to your site via a link to another page or post).  For example, on my site it would be the difference between http://thesavvyva.com and
http://www.thesavvyva.com/contact-the-savvy-va

Since it’s the main page of your site, it’s important to let your visitors know what you do or have to offer your wares and services. Introduce what you do, for who, why, and so on.

Here is an example of what not to do, from the real world:

I have walked past a store in my town many, many times. I would glance in the window and see Crocs (gardening shoes). I would think to myself, “Oh, it’s a Crocs store. Don’t need Crocs so I’ll just keep going”.

But yesterday when I walked past, I noticed some big containers of protein powder in the other window. This time I thought. “Huh?” Curious, I peered into the window past the display and realized that it’s a health food store.  I just happened to be in the market for some Stevia so I went in.  But had I not really looked through that window, I would never have gone into the store.

What happens when people come to your site? Do they know you are a health food store, or will they mistake you for a Crocs store? Can they tell at a glance what your site is about? Is there enough information to help them determine if you have what they want (need).  Be bold. This is your BUSINESS. If you were a brick and mortar store, would you hide all the goods behind a curtain? Of course not.

By the way, I would really like to report that once inside the store it all made sense, but it didn’t. The inside was as confusing as the window display. I found a guy to show me where the Stevia was; I paid; and left.

Has to have an objective.

What do you want visitors to do when they arrive at your landing page? Opt in to receive a free report? Click a link to go to a catalogue page?  Contact you? or something else?  This page has to support your objective.

2.  About Me Page

Tell your story.

This page is normally the second page that is viewed on any given site and should provide potential clients with information about you and your work. Think of this page as your answer to the “tell me about yourself” question in a job interview.

This is essential — after all, who wants to hire just anybody? People want to know who they are dealing with. It’s completely acceptable  and reasonable for your potential clients to do a little background research on you. Your about me page can make or break a business relationship.

Take it a step further than just publishing a resume or a list of accomplishments. Personalize the page and tell them why you are the best person to do business with.

 3.  Simple navigation

Creating an easy to understand navigation function for your site is vital.

This is the actual navigation bar for my site. It is positioned right under my header (banner) and contains all the links anyone needs to easily navigation around my site. Several of these links have drop down menus, for example, the WP Support link has several support packages listed one under the other. Clicking on any of them will take you to that particular page.


Website traffic always increases when the site navigation design is simple and straightforward. It also makes it more likely that you’ll have returning visitors because they’ll remember how easy it was to find your information.

At the very least, your navigation bar should be above the fold (which means that it is visible without scrolling).

Here is a another takeaway from the real world:

I received someone’s newsletter this morning and they are promoting a new product. One of the bonuses was an offer from another company to do a WordPress website review. Their sales copy was very compelling and I wanted to see who this hip new company was.

I got there and was unable to figure out who she was. There was no navigation at all other than 3 links in the sidebar, (that I believe most people would not know to click). There was no immediately visible means to contact this business either. Eventually I found the navigation at the bottom of the site after scrolling quite a way down the page. So overall it was not a good design.

The Studiopress templates have what are called breadcrumbs. If you look at the example in the image to the left, you’ll notice that across the top it says “You are here”  followed by Home / WP Support / WordPress By the Hour (10).

It is another way of making navigation that much simpler. If you were to click on WP Support, it would take you back to my general support packages, and then if you click on home, you’d be at my landing page. .

PS  Get your WordPress site assessed by this company.  Check this new service here: WORDPRESS SITE ANALYSIS

4.  Content is King Queen

Content is what drives traffic to your website.

People search online for information that will solve their problem, whether they need a service, a product, or a just a quick tip showing them how to do something.

Do you post enough content on your site so that you show up in (ideally their first page of) Google’s search results? Do you write blog posts? Do you create YouTube videos with solutions to the problems your potential market or niche have? Do you offer free reports? Cover all the bases. It will pay off over time.

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, click here to get my free report: FREE KEYWORD RESEARCH TOOL

 

WordPress is Simple: Online WordPress Training

Save Time and Money: Learn to Build Your Own WordPress Websites, Sales Pages, and Landing Pages

This is a concise and simple to follow WordPress Video Course that will have you building your own WordPress sites in a very short period of time.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

WordPress Basics

* Installing/activating WordPress
* Overview of the WordPress settings and the dashboard
* Plugins: * Installing, setting up and activating vital plugins

Tweaking the Theme

* Managing sidebar widgets
* Customizing settings for Pages, Posts, Categories, and Tags
* Creating and managing pages, posts, categories, and tags
* Changing the settings on your WordPress website

Bonuses and Resources

* A 6-part SEO for WordPress series (for non techies)
* A WordPress Tutorial ebook (35 pages of a complete how-to)
* Access to my YouTube Channel that is all about WordPress

Click this link to learn more about this very thorough WordPress training program.  WordPress is Simple 

Available online now. Price just $149

How did my feed become invalid?

Feeds can go bad when they start hanging around with the wrong group of kids.

Feedbuner iconsActually, the most common cause of feed problems is the content that you post. A lot of folks like to use Microsoft Word (or other word processors, we just know this one has caused us a lot of headaches) to write up their blog posts.

When they do, sometimes these word processors can sneak in characters that are very difficult to render in XML. The most likely culprit is the dreaded Smart Quote, especially it you are putting quotations in your feed posts. Also, Word (we think) likes to put in special tags for formatting paragraphs, as well as address information. We don’t always know where these things come from, we just know that when they are introduced, they cause problems.

So how do I keep that junk from coming into my feed/blog?

Our best advice is to compose your postings in a straight text editor, like Notepad on Windows, or TextEdit on the Mac. You can get away with putting HTML tags in your posts, as most blogging engines correctly format those tags for placement inside a feed.

Source:  Feedburner

See this earlier blog post with an explanation on how to add your Microsoft Word content to a post or page without taking down your site:  Why Can’t I Copy and Paste Content Directly From MS Word?

Open ID and API’s. What Are They And How Do They Work?

This is a guest post by Trevor Tye of  http://www.optionkey.ca/

APIs and OpenID: What are they?

In today’s wonderful computing world you have a number of really popular companies (such as Twitter, Google and Facebook to name a few), and they have a huge user base. To allow these users access to your web services you can use something called an API or Application Programming interface.

An API allows a programmer to integrate a product or service into their particular product or service (such as a WordPress blog). An example would be having a Gmail account and creating or accessing your WordPress account. This is made possible by their APIs (which is why you see buttons like “Connect with Facebook” or “login with your Gmail Account”).

OpenID

Plugins such as the WordPress Open ID plugin allows users to login to their local WordPress account using an OpenID. This also allows the enabling of commenters to leave authenticated comments using OpenID. The plugin also includes an OpenID provider, enabling users to login to OpenID-enabled sites using their own personal WordPress account. XRDS-Simple is required for the OpenID Provider and some features of the OpenID Consumer.

Since the focus of most OpenID providers (such as Google, Yahoo and AOL) is in identity management, they can be more thorough about protecting your online identity. Most website operators are less likely to be as dedicated to protecting your identity as the OpenID providers, whose focus is on securely hosting user identities.

A good API that most people should have integrated into their website is Open ID.  OpenID is a safe, faster, and easier way to log in to web sites.  Check here to set up an account: http://openid.net/. You will then be able to use an account you already have (so long as that account uses OpenID) to login and join your site or web community without having to fill out an additional sign up form.

OpenID is very useful when setting up a website with a CMS like WordPress as well.  The web developer that sets up such a site can then allow you to use an open ID login to access the site.

What are some benefits of using OpenID?

Most websites ask for an extended, repetitive amount of information in order to use their application. OpenID allows you to sign in to websites with a single click. Basic profile information (such as your name, birth date etc) can be used to pre-populate registration forms, so you spend more time engaging and less time filling out annoying registration pages.

Allowing the user to use Open ID will help reduce frustration and keep the user to a minimum number of multiple usernames and passwords which they may find difficult to remember. Since password recovery process is tedious the user will be more inclined to use the site that makes it easiest for them to use. However using the same password at each of your favorite websites poses a security risk. With OpenID, you can use a single, existing account (from providers like Google, Yahoo, AOL or your own blog) to sign in to thousands of websites without ever needing to create another username and password. This makes OpenID is the safer and easier method to joining new sites.

OpenID is a decentralized standard, meaning it is not controlled by any one website or service provider. You control how much personal information you choose to share with websites that accept OpenID. Multiple OpenIDs can be used for different websites or purposes. If your email (Google, Yahoo, AOL), photo stream (Flickr) or blog (Blogger, WordPress, LiveJournal) serves as your primary online presence, OpenID allows you to have a portable identity across the web.

Many web users deploy the same password across multiple websites. And since traditional passwords are not centrally administered, if a security compromise occurs at any website you use, a hacker could gain access to your password across multiple sites. OpenID is more secure because passwords are never shared with any websites, and if a compromise does occur, you can simply change the password for your OpenID, thus immediately preventing a hacker from gaining access to your accounts at any websites you visit.

Use of APIs to share content

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Api

The practice of publishing APIs has allowed web communities to create an open architecture for sharing content and data between communities and applications. In this way, content that is created in one place can be dynamically posted and updated in multiple locations on the web.

  1. Photos can be shared from sites like Flickr and Photobucket to social network sites like Facebook and MySpace.
  2. Content can be embedded, e.g. embedding a presentation from SlideShare on a LinkedIn profile.
  3. Content can be dynamically posted. Sharing live comments made on Twitter with a Facebook account, for example, is enabled by their APIs

If you have any questions or comments about APIs or OpenID,  please tweet them to me @trevortye on Twitter or email me here

Why WordPress: The Top 9 Reasons

Make Your Business Building Efforts That Much Easier With a WordPress Website

How? Well first and foremost, WordPress sites are great looking, easy-to-navigate, and super optimized for the search engines. After that,

  • WordPress helps to build your business quickly and easily. With WordPress, you will start getting traffic immediately after clicking the “publish” button. Why? Because the search engines love WordPress. Click on ‘Publish’ and the search engine bots go into action. Your content will be crawled and available on the market shortly thereafter.
  • WordPress causes every post, new page, and any new content in general, alert the search engines that you’ve posted it. With them crawling your site regularly, you get higher page rankings, and therefore more traffic.
  • WordPress is a super simple time saver–easy to move around in and get stuff done quickly. It’s extremely user friendly. You don’t have to be a computer expert to use it. You can create content rather than mess around with your server settings. Most people find it pretty easy to work in after they’ve had a chance to play around in the dashboard.
  • WordPress is free, regardless of whether you are running a personal website or a business site, and saves you tons of money. And you get the same, no, even better exposure on the internet for a fraction of the cost of a website. All you need is a domain name and hosting.
  • WordPress is used by some of the largest companies in the world. If they trust this platform with their multi-million dollar businesses, surely you can.
  • WordPress content is delivered via an RSS feed, simply and easily.  As an example of all the great plugins, the Feedburner plugin is an aggregate for all RSS readers–no matter which reader someone is using, Feedburner can manage that reader.
  • WordPress is open source, meaning that there are people out there who are constantly tweaking its performance, features, and any vulnerabilities. You will always have the latest version available to you, and for free of course. Up-to-date software is secure and stable software.
  • WordPress is a very secure platform to build your site on. Any WordPress security issues are usually related to not updating to the newest versio of WordPress, or to using passwords that are easy to guess and therefore, not secure. If you keep your site up to date, there won’t be any issues with security.
  • WordPress allows you to create user accounts that have different levels of privileges, making it easy for those who need a site with multiple authors. Have you been looking for a platform for your group blogging aspirations?

Contact me today to get yourself online with a WordPress site. Click here to check out my WordPress packages

WordPress Is Affordable On Virtually Any Business Budget

This is a guest post by Sophia Zollmann

When I started my business last October, I was literally running on a shoestring budget. I had been working as a part-time freelance transcriptionist up to that point and had minimal income at that time. Credit cards and loans were not an option.

As a new business owner, I knew I needed a website. It is imperative to have a website to be successful in today’s business world. Fortunately, there is WordPress. It is affordable and easy to use for creating a website. It allowed me to get online quickly without much monetary investment. After registering my domain name and purchasing hosting, I was on my way.

My WordPress website allowed people to see me and my business. They could get to know me and learn of my expertise in my field. After a few months of marketing myself and my site on Twitter and Facebook, I was bringing in new clients and income regularly. By February of this year, I was able to expand my business to include a team of VAs to offer more services to more people. By May, I was asked to be the Certified VA Team for Ladies Who Launch.

Without WordPress, I would not be where I am today. In less than a year, I have quadrupled my client base and income. If WordPress was not affordable, I don’t know how I would have created my website to build my business. If you are starting a business or need an affordable way to get your business online, I highly recommend WordPress. It is affordable and easy to use to get you going. Take time today to check it out for yourself.

Sophie Zollmann of SophieZo Virtually There For You is a Virtual Assistant committed to working with online entrepreneurs to increase their productivity and income potential. She provides virtual assistance in blog/email/social media management, 1ShoppingCart set up & maintenance, contact management, newsletter/ezine management, internet marketing, event planning, Real Estate support, schedule management, proofreading, article submission, social bookmarking, dictation/transcription and much more. Find out more at http://sophiezo.com

WordPress Has Lots to Offer, but it Takes Time to Welcome all of its Intricacies

Caryn Kelly in a yoga pose

This is a guest post by Caryn Kelly.

When I started my blog http://MyYogaMyLife.com,  I didn’t know much about WordPress. I had to inch my way along, learning this and that before I felt really comfortable.  Thanks to my VA, Kathleen Sullivan, I was able to design a blog that both inspired and captured the true essence of what yoga means to me.  And to bring that message to all yogis out there who eventually would trip over my site and hopefully stay for a while.

While I learned about what WordPress could do for me, I faltered a lot on my journey to make my blog the perfect place for women yogis to visit. Before I became totally immersed in WordPress, I didn’t know what a widget was and therefore was afraid to even learn—or to ask for that matter—because I was afraid to feel uninformed. I think I learned what a widget was quite by accident, and I had my first WordPress “ah ha” moment.

Once I learned what widgets were and what I could do with them, boy did I have fun! I started to add and delete affiliate ads to my sidebars as if there was no tomorrow. I could spend hours creating, moving and deleting ads that complimented my site to perfection, hoping for someone to come along, click away, and be moved to purchase a product or a book that I wholeheartedly endorsed.

Today I wanted to advertise my own handmade lavender eye pillows on my blog. I didn’t quite know how to go about customizing a widget so it was really time to learn. With every nerve I had, I Googled how to add an image to a sidebar and proceeded to capture a beautiful photo of my signature eye pillow, playing with sizes until it fit perfectly into the sidebar space that WordPress allows me with the theme that I chose. Then I played some more.

I needed a “buy now” button and a shopping cart, right? Some time ago I downloaded a plugin called WP PayPal Shopping Cart but never really used it. It was just sitting there unused, so today I resurrected it and learned how it operates. Let the fun begin again!

Learning something new and exciting in WordPress was never my forte, but I decided to finally tackle the inevitable. First I created a page to proudly display my product line, adding eye pillow images and buy now buttons and making mistakes as I went along. I persevered, and finally had a page that I was proud of.  Hopefully would-be buyers will feel the same and take a gander at my lovely
lavender creations.

All I have to wait for now is for emails to start flooding in with eye pillow orders! I’ll probably have to wait a while for that, but at least I got the ball rolling and I got the word out.

WordPress has a lot to offer, but it took me some time to welcome all of its intricacies. I admit that I sometimes let my blog go by the wayside due to a full-time job and other freelance writing assignments. Today, when I resurrected my blog and started featuring my eye pillows as a means to make extra income, I became enchanted with the process. I’m sure my ratings will go up a little with the addition of a new page and two new posts that I spent time mastering. I feel newly inspired and ready to face whatever challenges lay ahead so that I can continue to build a fully-functional e-commerce site.

WordPress isn’t just a blog software. It’s much, much more than that. All you need do is learn, believe and trust that what you’re doing is the best for your blog and turn it into whatever your heart desires.

Caryn Kelly has been a legal secretary for over 28 years, and a hatha yoga teacher for the past five years. She enjoys practicing yoga, freelance writing, hiking, cooking and reading. She was born and raised in New Jersey but now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband, Brian and her two cats, Tuxedo and Dusty. Visit her blog at http://www.myyogamylife.com.