Why I’ve stopped using OptimizePress and what I’ve started using instead….

I bought the OptimizePress 1.0 plugin when James Dyson first released it in 2011. I loved it – it was a huge step forward for building landing and sales pages. OptimizePress 2.0 came out in 2013 and was a quantum leap forward. Now it was a theme – I loved it. However I’ve now disabled OP on most of my sites and I now use InstaBuilder 2.0. Why?

Continue reading “Why I’ve stopped using OptimizePress and what I’ve started using instead….”

Making Your WordPress Site Work Harder…

In this post we are going to go over five simple tips to help make your WordPress site more functional.

Over the years, WordPress has slowly built a good reputation ease of use. Currently, almost 20% of the web is dominated by WordPress what with thousands of WP powered websites from hosted blog site to e-commerce websites.

While a WordPress is already functional by itself, there are additional tasks that you can do to make it more functional.

– Do half of the SEO

Most WordPress sites have built-in SEO-friendly programs that aims to have your site indexed automatically once it goes up. However, this is part of the on-site search engine optimization. There is still one fragment of the whole package that you should take care of and this is called off-site search engine optimization.

Yes, making it more functional is in your hands now and you can add more traffic and exposure to your website by performing extra tasks like link-building, article directory submissions, blog commenting, etc. At the same time, you can add supplementary SEO plug-ins to make intensify

your website’s performance.

– Provide added convenience

Adding custom contact forms is fancy but very convenient for your site visitors, members, or customers. WordPress does have built-in contact forms which you can also customize but if you are meticulous, you can always install special plug-ins that lets you design your own contact forms. How does it make your site more functional? Attractive designs always leave a good impression on your visitors, credibility- and sophistication- wise. This would make them want to come back.

– Do not overcrowd plug-ins with low ratings

Although plug-ins do not generally slow down the loading time of your website, they do mess up your site one way or another, especially the ones with very poor rating. If you must install certain plug-in for security and SEO, choose only the ones that have mass appeal. This way you can be sure that they are from credible authors and your site would work the way you want them to, and then some.

– Mind the tags, taxonomies, and descriptions

This is actually supposed to be part of the SEO work but most site owners regard these small details irrelevant, which is actually not true.

Tags, taxonomies, and descriptions are the windows to your site. Major search engines depend their indexing methods through these. For example, title tags and descriptions with related keywords will be easily found and indexed by Google increasing your page rank and traffic.

– Regular updates

Many website owners hope to generate profit from their website without sitting for long hours in front of the computer. Setting up an SEO-friendly WordPress website often gives them the impression that it would run on auto-pilot so they sit around the whole day and still expect a substantial amount of check at the end of the month.

Wrong! Constant updating is needed to make the WordPress site more functional. Sure, WP does its part but it only makes things more convenient for you. That does not mean it would work for you. You still have to take over the important functions that will make it more profitable.

Many things can be done in order to make your site more functional and these are just some of the few suggestions. In time, you will be able to discover them one by one as you spend time with it.

Looking at Plug Ins

In this post we are going to talk about choosing the perfect plug-ins for your WordPress site.

Plug-Ins are a WordPress users best friend, because of their ease of use and functionality. Without them, a WordPress site will be relatively empty, unprotected, lack functionality, and require much more maintenance.

Currently, there are over 40,000 available plug-ins in WordPress’s directory that free and easy to use. Generally, these plug-ins are created for a specific purpose and can be used to enhance the look and function of your site quickly and easily.

The way WordPress is designed (open source) allows people to create plug-ins or add-ons that improve the interface or provide more control over how your site looks and functions. The right plug-ins give you the ability to shape your site into just about anything you want.

However, there are useless plug-ins and plug-ins that don’t function well together. So you need to choose carefully, because the wrong plug-ins can slow down the load speed of your site and even stop it from functioning completely. That is why it’s important to think before you activate. It’s also a good idea to limit the amount of plug-ins you install on your site to only the most beneficial and necessary.

When choosing which plug-ins to install you should start by making a list of the features you would like to include in your site design. Then only choose plug-ins that will help you achieve those goals and work to enhance the function of your site.

In order to use a plugin, you simply have log into your WordPress dashboard, navigate to the add new section under “Plugins” on your sidebar and begin searching for the plug-ins you would like to install.

From within the dashboard installing a plug-in is as easy as clicking on install now next to the plug-in you’ve chosen and then activating it.

Alternatively you can download, unzip and upload your new plug-in to your server under the public_html/yourblogdirectory/wp-content/plugins directory. Then you log into your dashboard and activate the plugin from there.

Now let’s go over three simple guidelines that will help you identify which plug-in’s will work best for your site….

– Know what you really need

Sort out the ideal-plug-ins according to necessity. If you are running an online store and financial transactions take place all the time, your website will be a sitting duck for hackers, so you might want to install a plug- in that prevents hackers from getting through and stealing the credit card details of your customers or one that detects suspicious log-ins.

– Check the credibility of the plug-in author

While, it is not hard to trust a person or a group that obviously has an established reputation on the web. Before installing any plug-in it’s a good idea to investigate its author, check out its reviews and make sure there aren’t any complaints from other users. This way you can be sure that you’re installing a plug-in that will not damage your site.

– Compare quality and ratings

Product comparison is the key to determining which plug-ins will work best for your site. Usually, you can narrow down your choices by comparing ratings and feedback that are provided in the plug- in directory. These ratings will help you gauge the credibility and popularity of the plug-in and it’s author.

Just think of yourself as a smart online shopper and don’t hit the ‘add to cart’ button until you have done your research and determined which product will work best for you and then remember the same caution must be practiced when ‘shopping’ for free or premium plug-ins.

SEO Success

In this post we are going to go over some basic search engine optimization tips for WordPress.

Bottom line if you want your WordPress site to get noticed then you have to do everything possible to get it ranked higher search engines. It’s not enough to produce and post informative and engaging content or making your site easier to navigate, read, and share via social networks.

Driving more traffic to your site can be a challenge but with WordPress and a few of the following tips you can optimize your site and boost your search engine rankings.

– Optimizing titles

WordPress, by default, puts the blog title before the title of the entry or post. This may not be favorable if you want to place higher in search engine rankings. An effective strategy to optimize your WordPress site is to put your blog post title first before anything else.

There are advantages to doing so. First, most search engines like blogs where titles of posts come first. Such an order enables them to put importance to keywords that are usually present in titles. Second, an optimized and descriptive title is a significant aspect of page search

engine optimization. Titles enable search engines and readers to determine the content of the page before they visit the site.

– Using meta descriptions

WordPress automatically generates meta descriptions for every blog using the system. However, you may want to make sure that your site will have effective keyword index for better SEO. To ensure higher search engine ranking, manually type a good description per post. Combine a keyword-rich title and matching description and see how the strategy boosts search traffic.

It is also a good idea to install and use a WordPress plugin specifically designed to enhance search engine optimization. One popular plug-in that comes highly recommended is “All In One SEO”. It is designed to create and post a matching description for each title and post. It also

helps optimize your meta descriptions.

– Describing post images

Use ‘alt’ and ‘title’ attributes when describing images or posting captions in your blog entries. Adding short descriptions of images using ideal keywords can bolster search engine traffic and ranking. It is a common mistake of many WordPress blog owners to neglect the use of such attributes when posting images.

When saving images, provide a simple and short name with dash in between every keyword. Thus, if you have a photo of a California sushi bar, the image file should be named as: California-sushi-bar.jpg. Underscore can be used to replace the dash (California_sushi_bar.jpg).

– Use Permalinks

You need to be sure that you are using permalinks on your WordPress site.  By default your WordPress software contains web URLís which contain question marks and numbers inside of them. These links are hard for the search engine web crawlers to attach themselves to. As a result your site will not be indexed as fast as it would normally be.  WordPress also, however, does offer you the opportunity to create custom URLís for both your permalinks and archives.  You will be able to find this option under your Administration panel.  All you will have to do is to choose the options panel then click on permalinks.

– Optimize Titles

In the permalinks section of your WordPress marketing software you have the option of date and name based.  This option will place the year, month, date, and post title in your URL.  For the SEO web crawlers it is best to have the site of your site appear in the front of this URL.  So instead of using the basic URL you should choose the custom URL and create a link that has your site name appearing first.

– Pay attention to tags

Tags are a great addition to your site on a SEO standpoint. They will enable the search engines web crawlersí crawl through your site more easily and also it will allow you to create specific pages for your tags and keywords. You can also install the Ultimate Tag Warrior for your WordPress.

–  Page titles

You will need to make sure you have good titles on all of your webpages. Just as you put the site name at the beginning of your URL you will need to do the same thing with your page title.

– Post titles

The post titles that you choose should be clearly written.  Do not stuff these titles with keywords that you are using to target your site or blog. Choose your keywords carefully when you are posting and get those words in your post title.

– Ping services

Each time you post or edit either a posting or a page your WordPress blog can notify a variety of different sites that you have updated your blog. It is very important that you use this step.

– Google sitemaps

Google has a tool for you that are called Google Sitemaps. This tool will help you index your site and allows you to tell Google which pages are the most important.

– Categories

will help you organize your content. If you have your permalinks turned on, the category names will appear in your URL. This is why it is very important that you name your category names very carefully. Try and make sure that you use keywords to name your categories and do not be afraid to make loads of them. WordPress gives you the ability to use sub categories and sub-subcategories so make as many categories you can. This way you are able to down your focus on certain keyword phrases.

Creating a WordPress site that is SEO ready is fairly simple when you use the proper tools and follow a few simple rules. Using the steps we discussed in this issue can help you create a great SEO friendly site in no time.

Choosing A Theme

In this post we are going to talk about choosing the right WordPress theme for your next project.

Putting up a new site with WordPress requires making several decisions including choosing the perfect WordPress theme to use. Not surprisingly, this can be a challenging task, especially because there are literally thousands of free and paid themes available to choose from.

When it comes to choosing the right WordPress theme to use for your site be prepared because it may require patience, knowledge, and a solid understanding of which features are most important to you to make a final decision. To help narrow down your choices you should start by making a list of key features and designs elements you want to include on your site before looking for available options.

Now let’s go over a few more tips that can help you choose the best

WordPress theme possible:

– Consider the cost

There are many WordPress themes that are available for free. You can readily choose and apply any of those. However, if you want other themes other than those offered for free, you may choose from a set of themes that can be chosen and installed for specific tag prices. Many top-of-the- line themes should be purchased online.

Numerous WordPress users use both paid and free themes, depending on the design and layout of their online sites. If you are ready to spend for your blog, choosing and installing any of available paid themes can be considered as an investment. If you have the technical expertise, you may also opt to design and create your own WordPress theme.

– Prioritize navigation

The best choice for a blog theme is not necessarily the one that looks fantastic. Be warned that many theme designers focus solely on the aesthetics without considering overall usability. Be cautious when choosing overly decorative themes or those that feature excessive graphics because those may possibly slow down your Websiteís upload speed, which in turn may drive readers away.

Always consider ease of navigation when choosing WordPress themes.

Online visitors to your site should find it easier to navigate within and around your blog. To be sure, check out each themeís demo first before choosing and installing the one that fits your blog.

– Check browser compatibility

Many bloggers disregard and neglect browser compatibility when choosing and installing themes for their blogs. Do not fall for the same mistake. Some professional theme designers thoroughly test their designs on every browser available prior to releasing those across the Internet. Unfortunately many others do not even bother to do so.

Specific WordPress themes may look different when opened on various browsers. Those may not look exactly as you intended. To be safe, choose a theme that has been tested extensively for browser compatibility. And do not forget to check it yourself before applying any theme to your WordPress blog.

– Look for AdSense optimized themes

If you intend to generate revenue from your blog, look for and choose Adsense optimized themes. Those include spots that display AdSense advertisements that have been tested to entice readers. Such themes also make it easier to add AdSense codes, which would be most useful if you have limited knowledge about HTML.

Lastly, choose WordPress themes that would allow you to eventually introduce several changes. It is not surprising that many of those will enable you to do so. You may alter overall color schemes, background images, and number of columns even with just a few clicks of the mouse.

The Set Up

In this post we are going to talk more about setting up your WordPress site.

Did you know that as of 2011, over 15 million sites across the globe are powered by WordPress with that number growing everyday? In fact, this powerful content management system accounts for more than 25% of new websites created!

The flexibility and adaptability of this system is the main reason behind its popularity. With thousands of site developers and bloggers raving about how easy it is to setup and install WordPress there’s little doubt that it is a great option for beginners and experienced users alike.

For beginners looking to build a new site will find this point and click system simple and easy to use. With no technical skills required you can quickly build your own website without writing code, learning HTML or installing complicated scripts.

– Installing WordPress

As we have discussed briefly before WordPress installation is fast and easy, the entire process can take around five minutes or less to complete. If you are using web hosting with tools like Fantastico it will facilitate the process even further with automatic installation.

All you have to do is log into your hosting control panel, navigate to Fantastico, choose new WordPress installation and click install. You will have the option of installing WordPress into the main directory of your website or in a subfolder which will allow you to have multiple installations if needed.

If you’re hosting doesn’t support automatic installation you can also install it manually by downloading the files to your computer, uploading them to your web hosting and making a few quick adjustments to ensure proper functionality.

If you have chosen to install WordPress manually you need to go to: http://www.wordpress.org/download. from there you can choose to install the latest release of this powerful content management system. Or if you prefer you can choose one of the earlier versions, which you may already be familiar with. After downloading, unzip the file to a specific folder on your hard drive and follow the instructions provided.

– Setting up WordPress

After completing the installation process, setting up some basic aspects of your WordPress site will be necessary to make it look and function exactly the way you want it to. You will want to take some time to customize your personal or business profile information by clicking…

>Users >Your Profile.

You will also want to go through each of the general settings so that you can customize the way your content and pages are displayed. from there you can add in the name of your site, a description, how many posts will display on your main page as well as set up static pages for specific information. You can do this by going to…

>Administration >Settings  >General

If you want to disclose information about yourself so you can build up your site’s credibility, fill in ‘About’ and ‘Contact’ with corresponding data. Just go to…

>Administration >Pages >Add New.

To modify the appearance of your WordPress blog, go to…

>Administration >Appearance >Themes.

And don’t forget you can search the WordPress Theme Directory with thousands of available and applicable themes to choose from. You select and install a theme that is appropriate for your sites topic.

– Using WordPress Plug-ins

After going through the process of setting up and installing WordPress, it will be time to consider adding in ëPlug-insí to make your WordPress site more useful and appealing to readers. These handy programs can add functionality and usability to your site with a few simple clicks. They can help you customize information, add editing or spell check features, manage updates, create custom posts, automate SEO, enhance social sharing and much more.

Choosing from any of the plug-ins listed in the WordPress plug-in directory is easy and will make your site more interesting, appealing, and useful to readers. You can manage your plug-ins by activating, deactivating, editing, updating, or deleting them from within your WordPress dashboard.

Once you start using WordPress and become more familiar with it, you will discover that the platform is simple to navigate as well as extremely powerful.

Why WordPress?

What is WordPress and why is it so popular?

FACT: WordPress is one of the most widely used and popular blogging platforms available despite the numerous alternatives available. This fact is based on the recent poll of 100 of the most popular blogs conducted and released by Pingdom, a company that runs service tests for website uptime.

The survey found that 48% of bloggers use WordPress as their preferred platform. They also commented on the systemís importance and usefulness as a powerful content management system (CMS). Of the 48% surveyed, 39% of them use WordPress software in-house, while others use the hosted service at WordPress.com.

Many other surveys have yielded similar results as well. W3Techs, an Internet- based survey company, also recently released the results of its own poll, which showed that 54% of its website-respondents use WordPress as their preferred site building platform.

Bottom line, WordPress is currently the most popular system among thousands of users from all around the world and is considered one of the most functional and easy to use platforms available today. Its users range from individuals running small websites to large companies and organizations running massive portals. With an astounding amount of existing website owners making the switch to this powerful platform every day.

Contrary to popular belief WordPress is more than a blogging platform.

As I mentioned earlier, it is also a powerful content management system (CMS) enabling its users to easily customize the look and function of their websites with relative ease. It’s ease of use makes it an extremely functional tool that can be used to design website virtually any type of according to user specific preferences.

Another thing that makes WordPress so popular is that there are thousands of ready-made themes and plug-ins available to help make building a site with it much easier than with other web design software.

Ultimately making it the go to tool when it comes to design flex ability and functionality.

Many WordPress competitors have been steadily losing their hold on top spots of blogging platform surveys for the last several years. For instance, Movable Type, the second most popular blogging platform after WordPress based on the 2012 list, was the blog of choice of only seven bloggers from 12 (preceding survey of Pingdom).

TypePad (another blogging platform) was used by only two blogs from 16 in 2009. Newer competitors are slowly gaining popularity, though there is no clear indication that they can be at par with the system. Drupal, which started in 2001, and Tumblr, introduced in 2007, are among those. There are many other blogging platforms with insignificant numbers of users.

Of course, the founder of WordPress was very pleased with the survey results and expressed no surprise about the findings. Matt Mullenweg remains confident that the rise in the popularity of this powerful system as a blogging and site building platform is expected to continue for many years to come.

In fact with the growing social media marketing trend more and more businesses are currently starting blogs to complement their existing websites to help facilitate consumer interaction, with many of them making the switch to the WordPress platform completely.

With its ease of use and so many powerful features there is little doubt that WordPress will remain superior to other platforms developed and offered by competitors making it an excellent choice for anyone looking to develop their own fully functional and user-friendly website.

Bottom line, if you’re using WordPress to build and manage your website yet then you owe it to yourself to check it out as soon as possible. You’ll be amazed at the results you can achieve.

The golden rule for getting your site noticed…

When you are constantly creating content for your blog it can become a tiresome and mundane task. 

You have to think of topics everyday and it can get a bit overwhelming at times.  Even when you are talking about your passions, the constant need for content can get a bit boring.

What about having some fun?  Have you ever thought of injecting some controversy into your blog?

The power of controversy can lead to spikes in your traffic.  People feel a need to respond to things that aggravate them.  Even better than that, these people who respond will want to share your blog post to people who will be equally outraged or also feel the need to respond.

How do you inject controversy into your blog though?  First I would suggest not going overboard, outright racist, sexist or homophobic blog posts are indeed controversial, but they can also hurt your personal brand.  There are other polarizing issues that can inject curiosity at less of a cost.  Politics, religion and sports all fall into this category. You can’t play the fence though you have to take one side of the above issues and go for it.

Basically anything people feel strongly about you can exploit.  On my blog my most successful post in terms of views and comments was an album review I did.  I took the opposite stance of most other online reviews and it paid off. People were expressing their outrage in droves.  My website views went up big time. In fact I noticed a 234% increase in my 30 day totals.

Another bonus of using controversy is that you will find people that agree with you.  Regularly, these people might read your blog post and just keep it moving.  Now that they see all these comments attacking you – they may feel the need to stick up for their viewpoint, which happens to be yours.

Controversy isn’t a guaranteed traffic spike, but if you are able to promote your controversial blog posts to the right audience, you are sure to get some interaction.  This interaction won’t always be positive, but it could lead to viral opportunities.  I suggest starting out by sharing some of your own controversial beliefs.  Just be yourself, you surely have some opinions that go against the norm.

That way you can passionately defend them.  If you notice your traffic is at a plateau, break out some controversy and see what it can do for you.

How to create the perfect Home Business Blog…

About a year ago a friend of mine started his own home based business.  I can’t go into the details (upon his request), but he essentially took his favorite hobby and wanted to make some extra cash.

He is not a very technical guy so he asked me about a website.  I told him he should blog and he replied with laughter.  I took the time to break down how easy it would be using a platform like WordPress.  That intrigued him.  

When I broke down how WordPress would let him have a blog and a traditional site wrapped in one – he was almost sold. I eventually convinced him by offering to do the initial set up.  The next day I easily set up his blog and it was up to him to provide content.  Provide content, he did!  He was a voracious blogger. He actually posted twice a day.  

He posted once in each of his categories: starting a home business and another category related to to his product.

It didn’t take long for him to call me.  Just about 2 weeks later he was excitedly telling me about a guy that contacted him wondering about a custom project.  I would classify the blog as a success at that point. 

Over the next year we documented the advantages the home based business blog had meant for his business.  

Here is a list of 6 real life tangible benefits of the blog:

1 – He sold the custom project mentioned above

2 – A local newspaper got word of his blog on twitter and did a story on him

3 – A related industry quarterly asked him to contribute – getting his name out to thousands of potential customers

4 – He met 2 local (relatively speaking) tradesman who were in his field and offered him great advice and opportunities for collaboration

5 – He ranked on Google for a number of long tail keywords that eventually meant he was getting substantial traffic to his site that even led to some sales

6 – The home business category was great for motivation – it kept all of his triumphs and mistakes in a neatly ordered online diary that allowed him to reflect. It also helped him make sure he didn’t make a mistake twice.

A home based business is the perfect match with a blog.  As you can see above, it is a great networking tool that you can be used for personal motivation as well.  If you want to give your home based business a jolt, harness the power of the internet and blogging.

Here’s why your children should be blogging…

If you have children you probably encourage them to be the best they can be.  You want them to learn and grow and be happy.  Helping your child create their very own blog could be a great learning experience.  Your child will develop their writing and social skills with a blog.  If you are wary of allowing your child to blog, here are some great reasons that might change your mind…

1. Develop Their Writing Skills

Some children don’t like to read and write.  This might change if you help them set up their own blog.  Kids seem to gravitate towards technology at an early age these days.  If they don’t find traditional writing enjoyable, the added touch of technology inherent in a blog might excite them.  You can help them develop their writing skills by encouraging them to post regularly to their blog.

2. Develop Technological Skills

The world we live in is becoming more and more technological everyday.  Many parents feel overwhelmed themselves. You do not want your child failing behind.  Having them regularly using a blog will introduce them to the internet, computers, typing and email.  All of these skills are pretty much essential, especially for the next generation.  There are a lot of pitfalls and dangers incorporated with these technologies so teaching your child how to avoid these early will be tremendously helpful.

3. Develop Social Skills

Having a blog will allow your child to get more comfortable expressing his/her feelings.  Responding to comments can also help them develop their social skills.  Some kids are shy and might be able to express themselves more fully online.  Eventually those skills can translate to the real world.

These three reasons alone should be good enough for any parent who has thought about allowing their children to blog.  You need to help them navigate the internet pitfalls, but it will all be a learning experience.  Make sure you monitor your children’s online activities and blog. You also need to talk to your child and explain the dangers.  Once you have done that, and considering the vast benefits, I think your child having a blog is a wonderful idea.

I have strongly urged parents to allow their children to blog. I believe it can help develop their technological, social and writing skills.  In a world that is becoming smaller everyday due to technology like the internet, it is important our children have a strong basis in it.  That said, you have to be careful because blogging by children can be dangerous.  Follow these four tips and you will make blogging a safe and fun activity for your children.

Make Rules: You need to sit down with your child and set up some rules.  Whatever rules you decide on you should explain them clearly to your child and explain why they are important.  Set some consequences as well, let them know what will happen if they break any of the rules.  You don’t want to be lackadaisical when it comes to online rules.  Stay firm and your children will understand.

Strong Passwords:  Make sure that your children’s accounts are all protected by good passwords. “12345” is not a good password.  You should use number, letters and symbols.  It might be impossible for them to remember, but if it means you have to log on for them – even better.

Screen The Content: Encourage your child to create their blog posts on the computer before they go live.  This way you can check them out and ensure they don’t give away any sensitive information, or have any objectionable content.  Another bonus with this method is you can help your child get used to word processing software.  You can also teach them about grammar and spelling with this method.

Monitor Blog: Check your child’s blog everyday and make sure they haven’t snuck any objectionable content on to it.  Also make sure no one has been leaving weird comments.  Even some spam comments can have dangerous links so make sure you have access to delete these.  Install Akismet if you use WordPress and most of them should be caught.  Also check out any links your child puts up, who knows where they could be linking to.

If you follow these four tips you will ensure that your child’s blog will be a great learning experience and not a potential danger.  Commit to strong passwords, screening and monitoring and your child can benefit from blog ownership!