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Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

Will WordAds From WordPress Succeed?

December 5th, 2011 No comments

Performance Marketing Insider ran an article earlier this month - about the launch of WordAds by WordPress, wondering whether it could compete with Google’s AdSense.

While I don’t think that’s going to happen overnight - the article did make a couple of great points about the explosive growth of WordPress.

WordPress estimates almost 50,000 new WordPress sites start online every 24 hours. Alexa.com estimates that almost 15 percent of the top 1 million websites are WordPress configurations. The platform has morphed into the most popular full-fledged content management system on the web.

That’s over 18 million NEW WordPress sites each year! Even more significant is the Alexa estimate, based on traffic. Increasing numbers of businesses are upgrading their hosting platforms to WordPress because it has morphed from its early days as a blogging platform to a full fledged dynamic CMS.

Will WordAds succeed? Only time will tell, but my money is on YES.

Nonverbal Website Intelligence

November 30th, 2011 2 comments

I just read an article on how the WordPress community has labeled - ThemeForest as its red headed stepchild, and somewhere near the end of that article they started doing comparisons to other theme services, and Thesis was mentioned a couple of times. Add that one of my favorite bloggers, Ana Hoffman, recommends Thesis, and I became curious how they differed.

While reading about Thesis - I subscribed to a free ebook from their site labeled Nonverbal Website Intelligence – the 5 invisible forces behind effective online marketing, by Derek Halpern. I highly recommend reading this report – all 33 pages.

Some excerpts from the report:

#1 Enlightening Images

Images are an essential element of engaging websites. They communicate feelings, fuel imagination, and immerse people in the story you’re sharing.

Oh, and did I mention, aside from your headline, they’re one of the first things people see when they load your page?

You get it – images are powerful. But let’s face it, not all of us can afford the time or money to pay a photographer top dollar to take the perfect picture. So, what can we do? 


A. Line of Sight

Imagine you’re walking down an empty city block and you spot someone curiously looking up at the sky. Would you quickly glance up to see what has their attention?

Probably. People, almost innately, follow the gaze of other people. Now you’re wondering, what does this have to do with websites?


#2 Effortless Navigation

When people visit your site, they’re trying to find something. It could be con­tent, contact information, or anything else your site may offer.

And, how do people find what they want? Your website’s navigation.

You may think you have this in check, but there are vital pieces of Nonverbal Website Intelligence that help your visitors find what they want in a more natural, effortless way.

Before I jump into the details, let me set the stage…


Step 4: The Complete Guide to Speeding Up Website Load Times

Recently, Willie Jackson, a speed optimization expert, prepared an article for the official DIYthemes blog, which shows you, in detail, how you can speed up your website. I highly recommend you read his article from start to fin­ish. If nothing else, you’ll learn exactly what you need to ask your web host or tech guy with regards to your website’s speed.

Performance Unleashed: How to Optimize Websites for Speed


They also offer tons of valuable content - on how to improve your website, including:

• Free Training Seminars

• High-Quality Workbooks and Reports

• Live Webinars

• Informative, How-To Blog Articles

• And Various Other Teaching Materials

Categories: Blogging, The Editor Tags:

Monetizing Your Blog

November 28th, 2011 No comments

There are lots of options for monetizing your blog – and not all of them may work for your specific site. First to mind is targeted advertising; if you specialize in outdoor recreation, then it makes sense to target vendors that cater to outdoor enthusiasts. Of course, your site needs to look and feel professional, and that entails not just great (relevant) content, but intuitive navigation and the proper use of white space.

Too many blogs lock themselves into Adsense – expecting huge windfalls, but targeted advertising does work. To market this effectively, you’ll need to track statistics on your site, and advertise that ad spots are available. Once you contract a couple of vendors, others will follow suit to keep pace with their competitors.

Don’t limit yourself – to one form of advertising. Aside from Google Adsense, there’s:

Microsoft’s adCenter – Market your business on Bing and Yahoo! Search, using Microsoft Advertising adCenter, and capture 30.7 percent of the U.S. online market known for buying, not just browsing.

Chitika Online Advertising Network – A Data Analytics Company in the Business of Advertising

Clicksor – Deliver Where It Matters. Clicksor.com Inc is a contextual online advertising network. Utilizing our contextual & re-targeting marketing technology, each ad impression is monetized for the highest effective CPM for our publishers as well as the greatest possible ROI for our advertisers.

Advertising.com – The AOL Advertising.com Group

adBrite – Easy. Efficient. Effective. adBrite is the largest independent ad exchange offering an entirely transparent marketplace, direct access to superior campaign data and analytics and ultimately, greater control over what matters most – results.

Advertise other company’s products or services – via affiliate links, and I don’t mean just Amazon. If there’s real interest in your content, approaching smaller companies may work well for your blog.

Sell your own products, services or content – just don’t come across too aggressively, or your site will appear spammy. There is a point where too many ads overpowers your reader base.

Of course, you can always ask for donations.

Categories: Blogging Tags:

WordPress Plugins Warning

October 18th, 2011 2 comments

I spend a fair of time researching plug ins - for WordPress, normally referenced on blog comments on sites I frequent regularly. Every now and again, a plugin will catch my eye and I’ll take a few moments to investigate. Just this morning, I stumbled upon a plugin that sounded terrific, plus it averaged 4 stars across 17 reviews. When I clicked on “Details,” however, this popped up:

Warning: This plugin has not been tested with your current version of WordPress.

Ok, so what if it hasn’t been tested - with my current version of WordPress? Would the plugin still work? Would it crash my site? After all, I have had one plug in crash my site before and once is enough for me. Did I install the plugin? NO WAY. Upon further checking, the plugin hadn’t been updated for 950 days – that’s almost 3 years!

WordPress is a prime target for hackers - I think because it’s hugely popular, with tens of millions of sites online. Outdated plugins are an invitation to disaster, so each morning I check my WordPress dashboard for pending comments, broken links AND pending plugin updates. I would recommend backing up your site first, then performing any upgrades to WordPress versions or plugins.

Categories: Blogging Tags:

WordPress Vulnerabilties

October 17th, 2011 No comments

In an earlier article entitled -  ”Are your applications secure?,” I talked about SQL injection threats. It’s a threat that refuses to simply go away.

Just this morning I stumbled upon a thread on a web hosting forum - about an OP (original poster) who had his shared account terminated by his web hosting provider for being hacked twice. He was clearly the victim of the hacks, but the host deemed the OP was responsible for keeping his sites safe, so that his sites would not affect other clients on their server.

The site in question was a WordPress site - with a couple of plug ins activated – nothing out of the ordinary. It was duly noted that WordPress sites attract a lot of hack attempts, and the more popular they are (lots of traffic), the more attempts. Obviously, the OP needs to find another web hosting provider, but his troubles are probably far from over. Should he install the same plug ins on his site at his new host, the hack will most likely reoccur. Why?

One of the plug ins the OP alluded to was - Penny Auction, on which a “hack advisory” was recently issued by ngenuity-is.com.

Recommended plug ins that help fight intrusion attempts:

Login LockDown - Login LockDown records the IP address and timestamp of every failed login attempt. If more than a certain number of attempts are detected within a short period of time from the same IP range, then the login function is disabled for all requests from that range. This helps to prevent brute force password discovery. Currently the plugin defaults to a 1 hour lock out of an IP block after 3 failed login attempts within 5 minutes. This can be modified via the Options panel. Admisitrators can release locked out IP ranges manually from the panel.

WordPress Firewall 2 - This is an updated version of the popular WordPress Firewall plugin, with fixes for all known bugs and a few new features!

This WordPress plugin investigates web requests with simple, WordPress-specific heuristics, to identify and stop the most obvious attacks. There are a few powerful, generic modules that do this; but they’re not always installed on web servers, and usually difficult to configure.

This plugin intelligently whitelists and blacklists pathological-looking phrases, based on which field they appear within, in a page request (unknown/numeric parameters vs. known post bodies, comment bodies, etc.). Its purpose is not to replace prompt and responsible upgrading, but rather to mitigate 0-day attacks and let bloggers sleep better at night.

WordPress Security Scan - checks your WordPress website/blog for security vulnerabilities and suggests corrective actions such as:

  1. Passwords
  2. File permissions
  3. Database security
  4. Version hiding
  5. WordPress admin protection/security
  6. Removes WP Generator META tag from core code
WordPress Updates Notifier - Sends email to notify you if there are any updates for your WordPress site. Can notify about core, plugin and theme updates.
Monitors your WordPress installation for core, plugin and theme updates and emails you when they are available. This plugin is ideal if you don’t login to your WordPress admin regularly or you support a client’s website.

Features

  • Set the interval of how often to check for updates; hourly, twice daily or daily.
  • Sets WordPress to check for updates more often meaning you get to know about updates sooner.
  • Get emailed about core, plugin and theme updates.
  • Chose if you want to be notified about active only themes and plugins updates.
  • Remove upgrade nag message to non-admin users.
  • For advanced users there are a number of filters and actions you can use. More coming soon.

This plugin is a fork of Update Notifier. This plugin was forked because there seemed to be no further development on the existing plugin and there was no way to contact the original author to ask about taking ownership. WP Updates Notifier has the following improvements over Updates Notifier:

  • Completely rewritten from the ground up using best practises for writing WordPress plugins
  • Code wrapped in a class so better namespace.
  • You can set the cron interval, allowing for more frequent checks.
  • Update checks trigger WordPress internal update check before notification.
  • Allows you to set the ‘from address’.
  • Makes use of the Settings API.
  • A number of available hooks and filters for advanced users.
  • Active support and development.

Categories: Blogging, Security, Support, The Editor Tags:

Free WordPress Themes Often Contain Hidden Dangers

October 11th, 2011 No comments

I just stumbled upon an article at wpmu.org - that addresses the hidden dangers of searching for free WordPress themes. With over 25 million users, WordPress dominates the blogging stratosphere. While most web hosting providers have some form of quick install for WordPress, most do not offer themes beyond the default – so where do you look for a theme that best matches your business culture, mission, services and products (safely)?

Their recommendation:

If you want to test your theme for hidden encrypted or static info, this article does recommend some tools

Useful Plugins

Categories: Blogging, Design, Security Tags:

Why You Should Blog

September 13th, 2011 2 comments

I remember when I was first introduced to web design - some (wow) fifteen years ago. I had just signed on as General Manager of a local ISP, networking and web hosting firm. Our web designer gave me a quick tutorial of Front Page and I was oh so impressed. I bought a copy of Front Page and toiled through its tutorial until I was able to create and post my own website online. I especially liked its navigation view, but over the years I learned that Front Page was an html hog and I moved on to Dreamweaver, Expression Web and CSS. The common denominator – it helped if you knew code.

When Google and WordPress released their blogging platforms – suddenly millions of want to be web designers were able to post sites online, share their thoughts and compete with the big boys. It leveled the playing field, and opened the door for peer to peer networking.  And you didn’t need to know one stitch of code.

With over 25 million WordPress sites online today – and thousands upon thousands of plugins available to customize those sites, peer to peer recommendations via blogging (and other social networks) drives today’s market. Blogging platforms have transitioned from amateur status, to now compete across broad cross sections of corporate America and global markets.

Why you should blog “ Bottom line; it’s been documented over the years that prospects buy (or are influenced) from individuals, organizations or businesses they know, like and trust.  Blogs provide a cost effective online platform that allows you to ENGAGE your prospects and clients, which in turn keeps you in their crosshairs when they’re ready to pull the trigger. Prospects don’t want to be sold to, but make no mistake, they do buy BILLIONS of dollars of merchandise, information, services or programs online, if not from you, then your competition.

The key to effective blogging – is that you make it your own. I recently read online, “By placing informative and/or opinionated content on your blog, not only are you generating increased readership from people searching online for that particular subject matter, you are introducing these people to you.”

Blogging doesn’t end there though – as plenty of bloggers will attest. Just as there’s a psychology to sales, there’s a psychology to blogging. I’ve bought thousands of dollars of sales training tapes and CD’s over the years, but have recently turned to the Internet for blogging tips and info, to sites like Men with Pens, and to fellow bloggers like Ana Hoffman, one of my favorites. In Ana’s latest post, she discusses a plugin called CommentLuv, discussing how it could make your blog come alive. And isn’t that what all bloggers should strive for – relevant comments from an active readership? And right now -

There is a great giveaway going on at the Traffic Generation Cafe Blog -your ultimate hub for all things web traffic, where you can win your own copy of the hottest plugin release of the year – CommentLuv Premium. Participating is very easy: just visit Ana’s CommentLuv Premium giveaway page for more information.

Categories: Blogging Tags:
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