What You Don’t Know About SEO Could Be Hurting You

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SEO is the ban of a blogger’s or small business owner’s existence, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as some make it out to be. Search Engine Optimization is the science behind making search engines like Google or Bing find your article relevant enough to push it to the top of search requests.

Think of it as a dating service. The reader puts in keywords looking for information on a certain topic and Google or other search engine matches it with a list of pieces of content that come closest in keywords matches. Then from that Google compares how many of those links are current and how many of those links are used throughout your site. It’s comparing your expertise within your niche to give their reader the best content.

Is it’s considered “Cornerstone Content”? Cornerstone Content is described in the great blog post by SEO by Yoast.:

Cornerstone content is the core of your website. It consists of the best, most important articles on your site; the pages or posts you want to rank highest in the search engines. Cornerstone articles are usually relatively long, informative articles, combining insights from different blog posts and covering everything that’s important about a certain topic.

There is no one answer, but I’ve created a system that works for me and today I’m going to share it with you. There are a few steps to make this work properly, but just like any recipe the proof ingredients.

When you create a blog post SEO should be involved in every single aspect.

  • Title
  • keywords
  • headlines
  • image titles
  • image descriptions
  • categories
  • tags
  • Cornerstone Content
  • social media posts

For example, we’re going to write a piece of content for our food blog:

The Title

You’re creating a post all about potato salad. (I love me some good potato salad!) So we’ll use the list above and start with the title. I like to use CoSchedule’s free headline analyzer when I’m creating my titles, but let me tell sometimes I think that we “overthink” it. I like to come up with 3 different headlines and see which one scores the most, maybe tweak it a little bit. So a potato salad title:

  1. This Is The World’s Best Potato Salad & You Won’t Believe What’s In It!
  2. The Potato Salad Everyone Will Be Begging You To Make Over & Over.
  3. Summer Isn’t Summer Without This Potato Salad Recipe.

Below are each of the headlines analyzed:

 

Keywords

Keywords are important not only in search engines but also in social media platforms use it as well. I like to keep my post keywords to between 3-5.

  1. Potato salad
  2. potato
  3. salad
  4. recipes
  5. summer salads

Those keywords should be in your title, description, excerpt, social media posts, categories, tags, and even in the title and description of the images. Now you can’t just go in there packing in keywords like you’re trying to shove a weeks’ worth of clothes in a carryon bag. It needs to be natural. Think of ways that you can use longtail keywords within the post such as:

  • This potato salad was my mother’s and it is always at the top of my summer salad recipes.
  • I make potato salad every year and we always use mustard in our recipe.
  • Potato salad recipes are everywhere and each one has it’s own variations.

Then we come to images. This is where for most people SEO goes right out the window. I see it all of the time. Naked images. There are a few places that keywords can be used.

  1. The image itself should be relevant to the post. Don’t put a picture of an elephant in the potato salad post.
  2. When you upload your image into WordPress there is a box for the description. Now, this is a description of the post, not the image itself. Something like: “This is my favorite potato salad recipe. and I’m showing you step-by-step how you make it”.
  3. The “alt text”. GOOGLE WILL PENALIZE YOU FOR NOT FILLING THIS OUT. This section is imperative so that visually disabled people can still enjoy the internet. If you’re using relevant images this is another place where you can build SEO. Is the image of your recipe? So for the alt text, you could use, “an image of my summer potato salad”. Which is “exactly” what it is and also included a few keywords.
  4. The link to your current post, of course.

Each little piece of this puzzle makes up the whole. A complete strategy also uses “categories” and “tags”. Using these two things consistently does a lot for your SEO. Don’t give them cute names use keywords:

  • Summer Salads – category   –    Potato Salad recipes – tag
  • Salad Recipes – category    –    Potato salad, Summer salads – tags

Social media is also a great place to use keywords. Pinterest especially because it is a visual search engine, not a social media, but I’m grouping it with them because people share their content with the platform. When people go to Pinterest they’re looking for something. So they search…just like Google. This again is where that image SEO kicks in.

So in conclusion, no one thing will work to help you build your SEO successfully. Each little piece goes together much like the ingredients of the potato salad. You can’t just throw a couple of potatoes in a bowl and call it potato salad. It’s the combination of all of those things that will make you consistently ranking.

Of course, you know that I’ve done it for you.

Get Your Own Blog Post SEO Checklist

Fill one out for each blog post and remember SEO is created by:

  1.  Great content.
  2. Good structure.
  3. keywords
  4. relevant images
  5. time

P.S. Bonus points if you use keywords
in your free incentive pieces!

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Have You Audited Your Website’s Mobile View? Here’s What You Could Be Missing!

I read A LOT of blog posts and like most people, I use a variety of devices to do it. At this time I have, a laptop (2), an iPad, and my iPhone, and what I find most often really surprises me.

80% of the blog posts I read are not totally mobile responsive AND you are being penalized by

  • a lower ranking,
  • a lower domain authority, and whether not your website is showing up in Google searches.
  • no matter how good of an SEO strategy you have if your site isn’t mobile responsive it’s all for naught.

To see this many websites who just aren’t getting it really concerns me. This can mean lower readership, lower sales, and a user experience that leaves a lot to be desired.

Answer this honestly: When was the last time you looked at your website on your mobile device? That doesn’t mean getting on and taking care of something like approving a comment, but really looking at what your readers and clients see when they visit your website on mobile view.

Have you?

  • Read a blog post & attempted to comment?
  • Tried to opt-in on your phone?
  • Tried to fill out your contact form?
  • Clicked on your social media buttons?
  • Tried to share a blog post on social media?

These are all tests that you should use to check your website for mobile responsiveness. I say at least every 6 months or anytime you make changes to your website.

As I was reading just this morning alone I saw:

  • images that wouldn’t load or were not the right size
  • no sharing buttons anywhere. I saw several food and/or tech blogs who didn’t have Pinterest buttons or Pinterest sized images on your site. Did you know that most community boards won’t allow you to pin unless your image size is 735 x 1102 or even better 1000 x 1600?
  • no commenting section

& that was only after an hour of testing out different sites!

I know this isn’t something new, I mean Google started putting the word out in 2015 so why aren’t people listening? I’m not sure but I’m going to hope that you just don’t know what you don’t know. When I was researching this issue I found lots of articles on “mobile-friendliness”. Here’s a great one I found on Search Engine Journal or this one on Business News Daily.

Here are a few facts:

  1. More than half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices.
  2. Google prioritizes mobile pages load speed as a key metric.
  3. They offer all sorts of free tools to help you achieve complete mobile responsiveness.

Are you tired of trying to find these answers by yourself or you just need a little help knowing what to do and how to do it?

Today I want to offer you this:

A free mobile responsiveness audit of your own website. That’s right I’m offering you a completely free of charge audit. What do you have to do? Sign up below and give me 72 hours and I’ll email you the results! That’s it!

 

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Simple SEO Practices That You Can Easily Establish To Be Search Engine Attractive

Great SEO isn't created by accident. Grab your free SEO planner now!

SEO seems to be one thing that confuses most people and it really doesn’t have to be a great mystery. SEO stands for SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION which is simply making your website or blog post as appetizing to search engines as you possibly can. The easier it is to read, the higher your rankings. SEO is your website’s currency.

Keywords Are The Secret Sauce

There are several tools that can help you achieve this elusive mix of great content & relevant keywords. Keywords are the secret sauce in this recipe. From the very beginning, before you even build your website you probably had a niche. Maybe it’s food blogging, or building sales funnels or even dog grooming.

After deciding on your niche (even before naming your site) you should be thinking about 8 -10 important keywords that you know are the very basis of your website. Using the three examples above let’s see what we come up with.

Once you choose the top keywords in your niche you should start building the site with these words in mind. In your name, in your blog posts, in your social media posts every time you put something out there it should be with this strategy in mind.

Simple Strategies Already Provided

That’s not to say that these are the only words that you can use. On the contrary, it should be used as a guide to build on. WordPress is built on this system and by incorporating the use of correct headlines tags (H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6), proper categories, and relevant tags consistently you will build a foundation that is search engine friendly.

A Well-Established Website Can Still Tighten It Up From Time To Time

Even if you have a well-established website you can still tighten it up from time to time and to use all of the options open to you to get the most bang for your buck. Go into your analytics and start with the top 10 posts and then just clean it up and I also suggest taking the bottom 10 and find ways to make them better. Do one a week, do them all at once whatever it’s just normal content maintenance. (it’s a thing!)

I use the SEO by Yoast plugin on any website that I build. It works, it’s easy to set up and it’s compatible with just anything. (plugin conflicts are the #1 reason for website troubles). BUT I don’t see people using it to its full potential and it confuses me. Why bother creating content if you’re not going to make it easy for search engines like Google, Pinterest, etc to find you?

It’s not just setting up the plugin, there are certain steps you need to take for every single blog post, page, etc. When I’m in the backend of a website I see these important bonuses left empty time after time so I thought I’d make a quick video showing you how to use your SEO by Yoast to its full potential.

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The Legal Way To Use That Stock Photo & Where To Find The Best Of The Best

flatlay desktop with verbiage "The Legal Way To Use That STock Photo & Where To Find The Best Of The Best"

The first thing you have to decide is whether you want images or photography? These are two totally different things. Do you need a stock photo of a landscape or a girl on a beach? Or are you working on branding as a whole or maybe you want a uniformed, polished look. There’s a big spectrum between free and paid and so many choices. I can get lost for days at some of the sites below. I use both free and paid.

I’ve fallen in love with the photography of Styled Stock Society and now I use them exclusively on this site and most social media posts. That’s where all of these gorgeous new images came from. It’s a subscription and I paid $45 for six months. That’s like $7 and some change a month. I don’t mind paying that for this much pretty! It makes me smile every time I look at it.

The new theme is by Divi and I use it and Genesis exclusively depending on the website and client. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Divi by Elegant Themes it’s not a theme it’s more of a working relationship. I’ve used several of their layouts and they are so customizable! This one, though, is by far my favorite. It’ll be around for a long time.

I’m addicted to photography. I only want to look at other people’s work, though, my photography skills are nada, zilch, nonexistent. I’m the one who ends up with 16 pictures of the ceiling and only one blurry picture of half a grandkid. (true story!)

 

So let’s get right to it!

 

There are four basic types of photography licensing and you should be aware of which one the image you are using requires. I cannot stress enough Read The License Terms Before You Use The Image!

 

Creative Commons – There are 7 Creative Common licenses.

 

Attribution – means that the owner allows you to distribute, remix, tweak and build upon their work, even commercially as long as you credit them for the original work.

 

Attribution  (Noncommercial) – Same as attribution, but you can’t use them commercially. You can use them in a blog post, but nothing that you could sell.

 

Attribution No Derivatives – same as Attribution, except you can’t make any changes to the original work. You can use the image in a blog post or product, but you won’t be able to crop, rotate or change colors on a photograph with this license.

 

Attribution-ShareAlike licenses – This licenses let you remix, tweak and build upon the original work for commercial or non-commercial purposes as long as you credit it AND license your new creation under the same terms. This means that if you wish to share your new work, like say a free ebook, it must carry the same license.

 

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs – The most restrictive CC license, meaning you can use the creative work with attribution, but you can’t use it commercially and you can’t alter it in any way.

 

Zero – The least restrictive CC license. It means that the owner of the work has waived all rights and you are free to use the image as often and however you wish, however you like, with no attribution.

 

What this means for you as a blogger: Creative Commons images are great for bloggers because they are monetarily free and you can use most of them in blog posts, ebooks, and products. Just be sure to give attribution each time you use one and be careful about where you use a noncommercial image. You won’t need to attribute images with a CC Zero license.

 

Public domain – Images or works in the Public Domain mean that their intellectual property rights have actually expired, been forfeited or are inapplicable. Images are free to use whenever and wherever you’d like.

 

Rights Managed – You pay for an image based on how many times and how many places it’s being used and/or viewed. Because of these restrictions and the high cost, it is not feasible for a blog or website.

 

Royalty Free – Means that you don’t pay a royalty for each instance that you use the image like you might do with Rights Managed images. Once you’ve purchased a royalty-free license, you can use the image multiple times with no time limit. There are some restrictions, however: you can’t use it in a template and resell it, for example.

What this means for you as a blogger: Royalty Free images can be inexpensive and are great for blog posts, web ads, videos, ebooks and digital products without attribution.

How Do You Know If Images You’ve Already Used Are In Violation?

Tineye to search for it. Tineye allows you to upload an image or enter the image URL (right-click the image and select “Copy Image URL”). A list of websites, including stock image sites using the image, is returned.

 

Sites for images

Free images

 

Pixabay – All images and videos on Pixabay are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0. You may download, modify, distribute, and use them royalty free for anything you like, even in commercial applications. Attribution is not required.

Unsplash – Free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos. Subscribe to their newsletter and get a photo pack delivered right to your inbox.

Picjumbo – Free stock photo site created by designer & photographer Viktor Hanacek in 2013. It all started when any regular stock photo site didn‘t want his photos due to lack of quality. Two years later people downloaded more than two and half millions images from this site.

Gratisography – Free high-resolution pictures you can use on your personal and commercial projects.

Flickr – Not every photo on Flickr is available for you to use, even with attribution, so it’s best to find images using Flickr’s Advanced Search.

Stockphotos.io – A high quality site for public domain and Creative Commons photos.

Tineye – A simple shortcut to finding photos in a specific color palette. When you choose the color(s) you’d like to have in your image, TinEye will gather images straight from the Creative Commons images on Flickr. Choose up to 5 colors and even adjust the percentage of each color.

Stockpholio – It doesn’t take you to Flickr to download the images, you can download them directly from the site AND get the HTML code with the credits. It makes downloading images much faster.

30 Stunning HDR Photos w/ Creative common license. There are only 30 images, but there are some stunning cityscapes and other landscape types of images.

Photopin – Free photos for bloggers & creatives. You can download the images in several sizes without having to go to Flickr and there is HTML code available to cut and paste for attribution.

Wikimedia – Media file repository that makes media content (images, sound and video clips) in both the public domain and Creative Commons freely available. Because it’s a Wiki site, anyone can copy, use and modify any files as long as the terms of each is followed.

Libreshot – A project that contains free stock photos for private and commercial use. All photos and the whole website are created by Martin Vorel.

Europeana – An online collection of digitized items from European museums, libraries, archives and multi-media collections. There are many items here that are also in the Public Domain.

Photogen – Photos for commercial and non-commercial use. Categories range from business, agriculture, technology and arts to nature, travel and food and drink (plus more).

Freephotobank – FreePhotoBank is a free stock photo site. Feel free to download pictures (up to 2048 pixels, Creative Commons licence) but don’t forget to link back to FreePhotoBank !

Freefoto – Images in many different categories can be used for non-commercial purposes under the Creative Commons license for non-commercial, no derivatives, attribution license. For a fee, images can be made available for commercial use and in high resolution.

Freestockphotos – Owned and copyrighted by Daniel Speck. Mostly nature and travel images.

Photoseverywhere – A free stock photo site specializing in travel-related stock photos.

Burst.Shopify – A new free stock photo site that covers just about anything.

Pixwizard – There are nearly 100,000 images on the site that are completely free to use (without attribution), about 20,000 of which are exclusive to us and can’t be found anywhere else.

Free Templates – Looking for free templates for your next project? Find everything from brochures to tickets are available on this site.

 

Crowdsourced Stock –

 

Fotopedia – Many photos here are available under the Creative Commons license, but you have to read the caption on each photo very carefully. If the caption says “Photo: ” and then shows the little CC in a circle icon, then click on that to read the license for that one photo.

Photober – Photos are all available for both commercial and personal use.

Patternpictures – A free photo site that provides mostly photographic backgrounds and textures, but also a lot of travel-style photographs.

The Open Photo Project – The Open Photo Project is a photo sharing platform created in 1998 by Michael Jastremski. Contributors have offered their images free of charge under terms of Creative Commons licensing.

Dotspin – A social sharing website for where you can upload and either sell or share your Instagram and Twitter photos under a Creative Commons license.

Morguefile – Photographs that have been freely contributed by many photographers for use in creative projects. You may use them for personal or commercial use.

Stockvault – This site has free images just be sure to read the terms of use before using any of them.

 

Photographer Owned Stock

 

Lime Lane Photography – Kellie is the photographer/blogger behind Lime Lane and although she sells many photographs, she also shares a few for free. All photos are meant for blog posts.

Picjumbo – Viktor Hanácek adds free photos to PicJumbo every day.

Splitshire – Free stock photos for personal & commercial use.” Daniel Nanescu is an Italian Web & Graphic Designer and Photographer that shares his own photographs to use free for both personal and commercial use.

Superfamous – Dutch interaction designer Folkert Gorter shares his incredible biological, aerial and geological photography on this site.

Imagebase – Imagebase.net is a collection of vectors and photos of people, objects, urban, nature and travel, mostly taken by David Niblack. Images can be freely used for personal, commercial, non-profit, artistic, or creative purposes.

Function Design Blog – Liam McKay has offered to share 4 volumes of his hi-res photos. You have full permission to use them however you see fit.

 

Subscription-Based Services

 

Stockunlimited – I paid $49 for lifetime access through SumoApp. I use it constantly and it has a wide range of photos available to use.

Styled Stock Society – This subscription runs about $10 a month or you can save more by paying for several months upfront. Amazing feminine styled photography that you can use anywhere. Receive free images for signing up for her newsletter.

Haute Chocolate – Another subscription-based photography site that has stunning feminine styled photography. Runs about $75 for three months. Receive free images by signing up for her newsletter.

Shay Cochrane – Beautiful photography bought in bundles or individually. Great for branding. Sign up for her newsletter and get your first image free.

Canva – Canva provides tons of free images. Some require purchase, but they are always $1.

Adobe Stock Photos – Tons of images. Subscription costs $29.99 a month with your first month free.

Stocksy – A pay as you go subscription site.

Stock Free Images – The largest web collection of free images. 1,607,385 images royalty free stock photos and illustrations.  

Death By Stock Photos – Subscriptions start at $15 and go all the way up to $180 per year. Get free images by signing up for their newsletter.

Graphicstock – Enjoy unlimited downloads of royalty-free photos, vectors, and illustrations. $49 a month or $99 for a whole year.

 

There is no way that I could include every single photo website, but these are the main ones. If you have more please feel free to add them in the comments below.

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Best & Worst Tools For Running Your Online Business

Each year I am approached by companies wanting me to try their products & services and ultimately share them with all of you. Some have been great additions to my business others have left me disappointed and flummoxed. I thought I would share with you the best & the worst from the past year!

To begin with, I’m going to break it down into 4 categories.

  1. Blogging tools
  2. Social Media
  3. Email Marketing
  4. Running your business

Blogging Tools

As you know (if you have a blog) there is always so much that needs to be done in a short amount of time so anything that I can find that will:

  • Save Time
  • Save Money
  • Improve My Skills

is a Godsend to me. Now, I want to share them with you!

Web Hosting  

I have my own hosting that I provide through Flywheel (owned by WPEngine) which runs $20 a month. We provide fast, secure hosting, free SSL’s, and amazing support. I only have three spots available.

For someone just starting out or on a tight budget I use **Bluehost. I have to say that I have set up hundreds of sites on Bluehost and not once have I ever had a problem. Once upon a time, Bluehost was considered the bottom of the barrel in terms of hosting, but a few years ago they turned it around and I have to say that I’ve been very impressed with how hard they have worked to improve every aspect of their service.

Themes

I have always been a Genesis girl and **Studio Press is the place to get the best themes. A few months ago I had the opportunity to work with **Divi by Elegant themes and I have to say that I absolutely love it! It’s so versatile and easy to use and saves me tons of time. There are so many things included that you hardly need any plugins at all!

Plugins

Listen I know that those sneaky plugins get you where it hurts. I’m sure you have seen the notices in your dashboard ‘get this pro version’, ‘buy this’, ‘do that’.  Nine times out of 10 you don’t need it. There are free plugins for just about anything. My go-to plugins are:

  • Updraft Plus for backing up.
  • Wordfence for security.
  • Jetpack lots of things.
  • Akismet for spam.

If you’re using Genesis then I add:

  • Genesis Enews (optins)
  • Simple Social Icons
  • Simple Social Share

If you’re using Divi

  • Bloom (optins)

All of those are free & if there’s something you want just search the plugin repository.

Free Courses

From WordPress

WP Beginners
Neliossoftware

Hubspot created a blog post with 60 free online courses that you can take to improve your skills. If you don’t follow Hubspot’s blog you really should. There is always so much valuable information.

Would you like to learn more about Facebook ads? Here’s a great post by Insane Growth that explains it all.

Social Media

Social media is the bane of my existence, but it’s also a necessary evil. I build websites and create content with business tips for bloggers, entrepreneurs & small businesses. I get asked to try a lot of different social media scheduling tool and here is my honest opinion.

**#1 For me is Sendible.com. I run three different websites and manage several clients’ social media accounts. Scheduling blog posts and monitoring keywords that I set up, even monitoring my competitor’s social media accounts. If you run multiple blogs or social media accounts

Sendible is the best.

Most places make you pay per account so for three sites I would have to have three different accounts. I would only be able to pick up one RSS feed unless I had three different accounts.

I could not run my business without Sendible!

Sendible is different. I have a set number of services I can set up and it doesn’t matter how many RSS feeds you pick up and auto-posts new pieces. You can schedule them to repeat however many times it’s all completely up to you. I post to five different FB pages for various people and with Sendible I can do it automatically saving myself lots of time.

Then there is **Tailwind

I love using it for Pinterest.

I know I’m not taking full advantage of the features but what I am using I love. BUT  I don’t like them for Instagram. I tried it I really did, but it was just too confusing and I wasting to much time trying to figure it out.

A few years ago I bought a lifetime membership for Grum.co for only $39 and I love it for scheduling Instagram posts. That’s all it does Instagram, but it’s so easy to use. Unfortunately, they are no longer taking on new customers. If I didn’t have this I would make the time for Tailwind, but this one is just to easy and it’s a lifetime purchase.

CoSchedule

I love Co-schedule I really do, but because of the limitations of only having one site on one account, I just can’t justify that expense when I have other options. It offers a boatload of features and it’s easy to use.

There is really no “free” service for scheduling your content. You can use “Publicize” inside your WordPress site and it will automatically post to FB, Twitter, & LinkedIn.

I know that Buffer offers a free version but I’m not sure of its limitations. I’ve always found it too confusing to use.

If you’re going to spend money this is one of the places where I say if you can pay for it then get it. A good social media scheduler can save you loads of time while helping you build your tribe.

Email Marketing

In today’s 24/7, 100mph world if you’re not marketing through email then you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. You should absolutely be sending a welcome email sequence & sending out an RSS to your subscribers.

A few months ago, I was singing the praises of **Engagebay and I learned a very valuable lesson. Sometimes quick decisions can be the wrong decisions. It can send beautiful emails, there are tools for marketing, sales or service. I feel as if it is an excellent platform, but it just didn’t fit my needs. The main problem was the RSS emails. There just wasn’t enough flexibility and I actually sent out a few crazy emails before I gave up.

If you’re running a small business then I cannot recommend Engagebay enough. It’s beautiful, easy to use and handles so many tasks. It’s also affordable. Here is a link to their Youtube channel which has a lot of info about its features. It’s a great platform I just tend to have a problem with change I guess.

So, I’m back at MailChimp and that’s where I’m staying! I know my way around, it’s easy to use (most of the time) and it’s cheap. They have changed things and unless you have a paid account you are limited in what you can do. Such as only having one audience(list), limitations on automation, etc. I pay for The Blogging 911 account and use the free version for Wanding Web Designer & The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver my other two sites. The paid version runs me $9.63 a month.

Have you seen my the MAILCHIMP EXPLAINED ebook in the 911 Resource Library? It’s just one of the many free resources inside.

 

 

I’ve worked with ConvertKit before and it is easy to use. I didn’t like the design limitations and figure if I’m going to spend $30 a month it needs to have a lot more.

Running your Business

There are several tools that I use every single day to run my business. Some are free (well most are free) but they are still necessary. Tools such as:

  • 17Hats – is an all-around scheduling tool, lead capture forms, templates such as contracts or estimates. It runs $39 a month for all of its features and there are many. I personally only use the free version because I use the templates & lead capture forms (those project inquiry forms you see around here).
  • Acuity Scheduling – If you need an easy way for people to schedule appointments I highly recommend Acuity. Their free version has always been more than enough for me.
  • Asana – This is my project management tool and it keeps me on track when I’m building out a new site, managing other projects or even just things I need to do. There is both a free and paid version and I’ve always found the free version more than enough for my needs.
  • Canva – There is a free version of Canva that works very well. I use Canva almost every single day and I love it for it’s easy to use dashboard, to the free and paid elements like stock photos, icons, frames, colors, and fonts. For this, I splurge and get the paid version so that I can store my own logos, my fonts (up to 25) and my brand colors for $12.95.
  • Google Drive – Also free. I use it to store all of my clients’ assets. I like how easy it is and it works great with Gmail which is another great free tool. I do use the paid version of this and it runs $6 a month and I have tons of storage and it’s easy to use.
  • One Drive – This is part of my Microsoft subscription which is about $7 a month. This is where I keep all of my assets. (Such as stock images, templates, or other graphics).
  • Dropbox – This is where I store all of the backups for my clients & my own personal websites. This costs around $10 but they’ve added a bunch of new features.
  • Screencast-o-matic – This another thing I purchased from Sumo. It was a lifetime subscription for only $39 and I use it whenever I need to make tutorials or other videos where I share my screen. It’s something I purchased on APPSUMO.
  • APPSUMO – is a great place to find great deals on products or services to run your business! They always have freebies or lifetime deals that will save you tons of time and money.

Know some great tools that I might not know about? Let me know in the comments below.

** Means that it is an affiliate link if you purchase a service, with the (**) beside it, means that I will earn a small commission that will in no way affect your cost.

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Website Maintenance… Are You Doing It Correctly Or Not At All?


I talk about website maintenance ALL OF THE TIME! Why? Because I spend A LOT of time fixing things that could have easily been avoided with proper website maintenance.

This got me thinking…I know you love your website.

I mean come on it’s the child that doesn’t talk back, doesn’t forget to put gas back in the car, and NEVER asks for anything! So you want to take care of it!

The reasons you’re not maintaining your site:

  • You love paying people like me to fix things.
  • You have way too much money and have to find ways to give it away.
  • Your website is “special” and never requires maintenance.
  • You don’t have time.
  • You don’t know how.

The first two reasons…I can’t help you, but my PayPal account is Rena@theblogging911.com!

The third reason…every website requires maintenance. It doesn’t matter what theme you use, what plugins you use, or even who designs it. It has to be maintained to stay safe, secure, and running optimally.

You don’t have time… Well, I have this maintenance plan….

You don’t know how to maintain your site properly! This must be it! So today we’re talking website maintenance.

First, foremost, & MOST IMPORTANT is having a good backup plugin. I prefer either Updraft Plus or Dropbox, but there are other options as long as you choose ONE of them…and actually, use it!

Backup your site before making any changes. How often should you back up your site?

Well, it all depends on how often you post, but definitely, every time you make a change, add something such as a plugin or theme. I backup my site and those that I maintain twice a month. I use the 1st & 15th. Using the same days every month helps me to remember easier. I always know that on those two days I am maintaining websites.

Second, you are going to want to update anything that needs it. You can always find those updates at the top of your dashboard.  Just click on the circle and it will take you to your update page. Here you will be able to update WordPress, themes, or plugins.

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After doing all of your updates, and by the way I start from biggest to smallest (meaning I update WordPress first, then any themes even though you should only have the theme that is activated saved, and all plugins that require the updates). I also never update more than three plugins at a time.

Next, I go to SETTINGS>>OPTIMIZE DATABASE & DELETE REVISIONS and optimize all databases which will also get rid of any revisions (which add up quickly) and all spam comments.

After all of that is finished I check to make sure my site doesn’t have malware. I use Sucuri or Wordfence and I have to be honest here after some recent changes to Sucuri (you have to go to their website now to check your site) I prefer using Wordfence because I can check for malware right inside my dashboard.

I also do a front end visual check to make sure that my site looks as it should after the updates and if anything needs my attention.

If it’s the first of the month I also check site speeds by going to GT METRIX which is a free service. All you have to do is enter your URL and hit ANALYZE. I also head to “BROKEN LINK CHECKER”  and check for broken links. They also have their own plugin, but I find it kind of bulky and can sometimes conflict with other plugins.

 

 

 

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Do You Have An Emergency Plan For Your Business?

Have you ever thought about what would happen if you were to become incapacitated in some way? Maybe you’ve gotten sick or been in an accident whatever the reason, what would happen to your online business, Facebook groups, or your website?

Would all of your hard work go down the drain within weeks, leaving your readers wondering what in the world happened to you? Sponsored posts have gone unwritten, affiliate earnings abandoned, subscriptions canceled for non-payment and the list goes on.

The effects could be felt for months, even years to come. As a caregiver, I have to worry about these kinds of things all of the time. Not my website, but my life in general. Who can take over in case I can no longer do it. What happens if I get sick or hurt? 

There has to be a safety net in place long before that emergency happens or everything you’ve worked for could just disappear. Believe me, I know this first hand. If you haven’t read my story check out my About Page In my personal & business life I use a book called Cellphones Don’t Work In Heaven written by Mark C. Pope & Beverly R. Thompson. It’s a wonderful book and talk about a story! Whew, watch this video! The book covers every aspect of your life, but as a blogger or online business owner, we have another layer of need that just isn’t covered.

So the first step is to make a plan & I’m here to help!

    1. What Is Considered Critical Website Information?
    1. How To Gather Your Information
    1. Picking The Right Person
    1. Instructions
  1. Free Downloadable Critical Website Information Guide
  1. What Is Considered Critical Website Information?

I define this as anything needed to keep your website/business up and running. Everything from your website login credentials to the course you bought. Everything on the list may not be critical, but it’s nice to keep track of everything in one (two, or ten different places). I keep one online and one in my file cabinet.

    • Website Url and login credentials
    • Email (Gmail, Outlook, etc.)
    • Email service provider (Mailchimp, ConvertKit, etc.)
    • Web hosting
    • Media storage
    • Scheduling tools
    • Analytics
    • Affiliates
    • Your social media platforms
    • Creative Subscriptions
    • Premium plugins or extras that will need to be renewed
    • Posting Schedule
  • Instructions
  1.  How To Gather Your Information

Make a list, make several in fact, but start off with sections such as:

Your website, Social Media, Advertising & Analytics, Scheduling, and Other. You can use any system that works, but remember to include EVERYTHING so it may take you several days/weeks to get it all together. For instance, media storage would include things like Dropbox or Google Drive, but also Evernote, Onedrive, etc. A little bit here, and here, and there. It adds up.

Are you like me and get hit with shiny object syndrome sometimes? I’ll admit this, but only to you. I sometimes all the time sign up for great services or cheap offers *shush don’t tell my husband!* with all of the greatest  intentions in the world and then after chasing two-year-olds, following mom around shutting doors and turning off appliances, working on my clients work, working on my own business goals, plus cooking, laundry, bills most of the time I’ve forgotten by bedtime. Wait, bedtime what’s that? I have courses I’ve bought and never had time to open them up. Tomorrow never comes and pretty soon your inbox rivals your local library in quantity.

I also have two pretty cool tips that can help you keep control of the number of companies allowed into the prime real estate that is your email. The first one is a website called deseat.me. Enter your email address and you will see a list populate with every company that you’ve given your email address to and some that you may not have. Then it gives you a link to go in and delete the account if you choose.

As you can probably guess my email can sometimes get overwhelming. Trying to keep up with several different threads at once confuses my poor damaged brain. (I think that’s why I struggle so much with Facebook! My brain can’t keep up with it.) My friend Nesha from NeshaWoolery.com asked a question in her Facebook Group the Shelancers if we had a plan if something happened to us. It got me thinking about it A LOT I mean face it “we aren’t spring chickens anymore”. She also gave me another hot tip when she shared the tool unroll.me

It will change your life! You sign up for a free account and it will gather every single thing that you are subscribed to. Seriously, every newsletter, every subscription, and roll it up into one big newspaper or magazine. You have the opportunity to unsubscribe from multiple accounts, keep the ones that you want, and have the rest rolled up into one email delivered once a day or even once a week at whatever time you choose! How awesome is that!

My inbox is now full of the people who should be there…my clients. I can still get the newsletters I want. It just keeps them from coming one after another and creating that overwhelmed feeling I mentioned earlier.

    

  1.  Picking The Right Person

Picking the right person is a trickier matter. You need someone who is both trustworthy & tech-savvy. Maybe you already have a webmaster or V.A. and that would be the perfect option. They already have all of the information right at their fingertips. They should still have a contingency plan in place or you will be playing catch up from the very beginning.

If you don’t have access to an admin or web tech then you are going to have to train someone to literally be you in case of an emergency. I chose my daughter not only because of the top two reasons above but she’s the only one close enough to me that even knows how to turn a computer on and log in! I kid you not! My husband can operate two computers; an ATM and the self-checkout at Walmart.

Keep in mind that they are going to probably be flying blind so hitting them with everything that has to be done in your everyday online business life will most likely have them throwing up their hands in sheer brain overload.

Think of it this way. When an ambulance gets to a wreck they triage the situation. Who is in the most danger or hurt worse. So figure out the bare minimum that can be done to maintain your space and all of your hard work. Teach them starting with the most important and work your way down. At first, I would keep it to your top 5 most important things. Do it for a week at a time and have an alternative. You can always add more in small doses if you have someone willing to go above and beyond. You will owe them big time when all is back to normal for sure!

Just remember THE BARE MINIMUM, they will go back to the real world eventually. Teach them to maintain it, keep it safe, and keep it from having that abandoned feeling some sites whose creator has just ghosted…

 

  1.  Instructions

Not only should you leave a detailed list of exactly what needs to be done, but you should also schedule some time to show them step by step how to maintain the basics of your website and your business. Use visuals such as calendars or even maps. Blog post→ → Facebook → → Instagram. Whatever works!

Keep your content scheduled AT LEAST a week in advance. I’m not always successful at this, but I do try. I’ve started using “batch days”. I’m sure you’ve seen or heard these words in the last few months. If not, it means to set aside a certain day every month or week to create. One day for content, one day for graphics, or one day for scheduling social media. That way you can stay ahead of the game and if you use the same day every month or week you will never run out!

My problem is trying to think of things that will bring you true value. I know how valuable your time and inbox are and I want you to feel that it was worth it every single time you click that button!

Speaking of value, (see how I did that?)

I’ve done the hard part for you! I’ve created the 13-page download

to create your very own

Critical Information Guide

 A place to keep all of that new found knowledge in one simple place.

Print it out, but it in a binder, and keep it in a safe place.

It not only gives you peace of mind, but it feels like a fresh start. Clearing out the old and making room for the new. I want to add that I keep a paper copy of the Critical Information Guide, but I also keep an online version as well. I use LastPass, if you haven’t tried it check it out. Sometimes you just need to see the password, but it’s locked deep in our computer’s memory banks and all we get are ***************. It’s easy with LastPass, also free! It’s a Chrome extension so it’s simple to set up! If you struggle coming up with strong passwords try this free tool by TheBestVPN.com. You can generate strong, unique passwords by simply clicking a button and it’s also free!

 

That’s it for now!

*This post contains affiliate links. I will earn a small commission of the Cell Phones Don’t Work In Heaven.

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Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Jetpack & Even Some You Don’t!

 

Some people love it, some hate it, and some seem to be totally baffled by it. I thought this would be an excellent time to explain its features and why I think you will find it extremely useful.

What is the Jetpack plugin?

First of all, Jetpack is not so much a plugin as it is a whole box full of tools, widgets, and services. Previously these were only available for users of WordPress.com. With Jetpack, Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, has packaged all favorite features into one place to make them available for the self-hosted WordPress websites.

Currently, the Jetpack stack includes more than 30 powerful features. They cover topics from site customization, content tools, and user engagement, to site performance and security.

Because Jetpack allows you to hook up your self-hosted WordPress site to WordPress.com’s infrastructure, you will need to create an account with WordPress’ commercial version in order to run it. But don’t worry, it’s quick and easy to do and free of charge.

How to install Jetpack on your WordPress website

Though it comes with a whole host of features, Jetpack’s installation is no different from that of any other plugin. The only extra work you need to do is the aforementioned setup of a WordPress.com account to connect Jetpack to its service.

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1. Install Jetpack from the WordPress directory

The easiest way to install Jetpack is from within WordPress itself. Log into your site and go to Plugins → Add new. Search for ‘Jetpack’ if it doesn’t already show up on the front page. You can then install the latest version of the plugin by clicking ‘Install Now.’

Alternatively, you can also download Jetpack from the WordPress plugin directory and install it manually. To do so, click the download link on the plugin page download it to your computer. Unpack the archive and upload the plugin’s folder to wp-content/plugins on your server via FTP. Then log into your site, go to the Plugins menu and there click ‘Activate’ right under the plugin name. All done.

2. Set up a (free) WordPress.com account

You can go to this link for the signup. To set up your own account, you will only need an email address, a username, and a password. Fill in the necessary information and submit. You will receive an email from WordPress.com to confirm your account. Follow the link to finish the setup.

3. Connect Jetpack to WordPress.com

Once you have activated Jetpack, you will see a big green bar on the top of every screen inside your WordPress dashboard with a prompt to link your new plugin to WordPress.com. If you click on the link within the banner, it will take you right to the page where you can do so. Input your newly set up credentials and click on ‘Authorize.’

How to activate modules within Jetpack

To activate and deactivate the Jetpack’s features, go to Jetpack → Settings. Here you can see a list of all available modules and their status. On the right, you can order the list in several ways, by active or inactive modules, alphabetically, by newest, by popularity, and by topic.

In order to activate any of them, simply hover over the module in question and an ‘Activate’ link will appear. Click it and your new feature is ready to use. Hovering over a module which is already active will show a link for its configuration.

Beware of the bloat!

With more than 30 features and services to choose from, it is easy to go a bit overboard with Jetpack. Unfortunately, the plugin doesn’t help with that either as it will activate a whole number of modules by default. When I installed the latest version of Jetpack for the sake of this article, I found 20 of its modules already running when I first entered the settings page.

Therefore when you install the plugin, disabling everything you are not going to use should be the first thing you should do. Fortunately, this has gotten much easier over time and doesn’t require several clicks per feature as it used to. The new interface even lets you deactivate in bulk. For good reason.

Jetpack: 8 highlights from the feature list

Which modules should you keep running? That’s a fair question. With so many features, widgets, and services to choose from, it can be difficult to determine what is worth it and what is not. To help you decide, I will first give you a list of the highlights from the Jetpack app stack before moving on to the full list of available features.

1. Photon

Photon is a free CDN (content delivery network) plugin. It allows you to use WordPress.com’s infrastructure to load images appearing on your website (currently only for posts, pages and featured images) from an external source. As a consequence there are less bandwidth demands placed on your server, your website loads faster, which in turn is good news for readers and SEO.

Photon is one of the favorite modules of Jetpack and for good reason. It’s free, it’s fast, and because it’s part of the WordPress.com infrastructure, it is highly reliable. All you need to do is turn it on and it will automatically load all of your images into the system.

2. WordPress.com stats

Let’s face it, everyone with a website loves looking at their stats. Seeing the numbers for page views and visitors climb can be quite a thrill (or frustration). It’s probably safe to say that there are people out there who check their website statistics more often than their email.

However, there’s no need to log into Google Analytics for that. With Jetpack, your WordPress website will have its own stats right there on the dashboard, complete with:

  • Number of visitors on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis
  • All time views of your content
  • Top-performing posts and pages
  • Main referrers and search engine terms
  • Most-clicked links from your website

In addition to that there are also enhanced stats available on WordPress.com.

Granted, the level of information is by far not as sophisticated as Google’s analytics solution. However, WordPress.com stats give you enough for a quick peek at how your site is performing.

3. Monitor

Imagine you type in the address of one of your websites for a routine check. Instead of taking you right to it, you wait and wait and . . .the connection times out. What? Your site is down? How long has it been that way? How many visitors have you turned away without knowing? Oh my gosh, this is a disaster!

To avoid this kind of situation, Jetpack comes with Monitor. This service, the subject of a recent Weekend WordPress Project, will check on your site every five minutes and notify you via email if it detects downtime. This simple yet powerful feature alone is almost enough justification to install Jetpack on your website.

4. Publicize

Every marketer knows that pushing your content out to the social web is necessary these days. However, connecting your WordPress site to all social accounts can be a pain. Luckily, Publicize makes it a breeze.

The service allows you to connect up to six social accounts: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Path, and Google+. After you have done so, whenever you publish new material on your website, it will now be automatically shared on these accounts. Pretty neat, huh?

5. Related Posts

The folks over at WP Engine have a list of plugins which they don’t allow to be used on their platform. Among them are almost all popular ‘related posts’ plugins. Why? Because they are extremely database intensive.

If you look further down, however, there are a few plugins of the same kind of that they don’t have a problem with and Jetpack’s related posts plugin is among them.

The reason for that is that Jetpack allows you to outsource all the heavy lifting to the WordPress.com servers. What they effectively do is index your WordPress website and – from analyzing the available content on your site — then suggest related content underneath your posts. Good news for your loading times!

6. Jetpack Comments

Let’s face it, the native comments of the WordPress platform are already quite nice and there are a bunch of plugins out there, which make them even better. So what can Jetpack do that others don’t?

First of all Jetpack comments do not hijack the entire comment section as other solutions do. Instead, it offers a few key improvements that make life (especially that of your users) a lot easier.

Most notably is the fact that Jetpack gives them the opportunity to log in with their social and WordPress.com accounts. That way they do not have to set up yet another login with yet another website just to interact with your content.

Jetpack Comments can also be further enhanced with Subscriptions. This functions allows visitors to subscribe to comment threads and your entire website from the convenience of the comment field. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

7. Spelling and Grammar

Though many of us who use WordPress mainly as a blogging tool like to think of ourselves as word magicians, there is always room for improvement. Luckily the Spelling and Grammar module is here to help with that.

It’s essentially a spelling plugin for the TinyMCE editor that uses Automattic’s ‘After the Deadline’ service to improve your content. Smart suggestion technology offers improvements for spelling and grammatical errors, as well as customized profiles for users. It has never been easier to write better content.

8. Sharing

Jetpack makes integrating social media on your website as easy as drag and drop. Literally. Sharing allows you to change the number and type of social buttons visible underneath your content with just a few mouse clicks.

Besides the usual suspects, there are also a number of less common sharing services available such as Reddit and Pocket. If that is not enough for you, you can even create you own options. Besides that there are a number of customization settings available to make it all look the way you want.

Jetpack features – the full list

These eight services alone make installing Jetpack worthwhile. However, they are just the tip of the iceberg. Here is what else Jetpack has under the hood:

The settings area is broken down into 5 categories and they are:

  • GENERAL
  • ENGAGEMENT
  • SECURITY
  • APPEARANCE
  • WRITING

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GENERAL – Besides the connection tab there is also:

  • MANAGE – Manage all of your sites in one place.
  • NOTIFICATIONS – Get notifications on your admin toolbar and mobile device.
  • JSON – Allow applications to securely access your content through the cloud.

ENGAGEMENT

  • SEO TOOLS – Paid accounts only.
  • SITE STATS – Of course, this is where it collects your stats, insights, and who gets counted in those stats.
  • SHARING – This one is an important one. It includes the PUBLICIZE tab. Once you connect your social media accounts it will automatically post to them whenever a post publishes. It has an area where you can add sharing buttons to your posts/pages.
  • PUBLICIZE – Redundant since it takes you to the exact page as SHARING.
  • RELATED POSTS – This allows you to show related posts at the bottom of your blog posts.
  • COMMENTS – Basic comments.
  • LIKES – Adds WordPress likes at the bottom of each post.
  • SUBSCRIPTIONS – Allows readers to subscribe to your blog posts or comments.
  • GRAVATAR HOVERCARDS – Allows a “business card” of the commenters gravatar profile when you hover over their name.
  • SITEMAPS – Creates sitemaps so that your site is easily indexed by search engines.
  • ENHANCED DISTRIBUTION – Increases reach and traffic.
  • SITE VERIFICATION – This tab verifies your site or domain with Google Search Console, Pinterest, Bing, Yandex.

SECURITY

  • SCANNING – For paid accounts only.
  • PROTECT – Prevents brute force attacks and Whitelist management which mean that you can put your IP addresses in there so that you can never be blocked out of Jetpack.
  • MONITOR – Reports to you whenever your site is down.
  • AKISMET – Spam detection.
  • SITE BACKUPS – For paid accounts only.
  • SINGLE SIGN ON – Your users will be able to log into your site with their WordPress.com account. This includes two-factor authentication making it the safest login mechanism for your site.

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APPEARANCE

  • TILED GALLERIES – Allows you to create image galleries that you put into your posts/pages.
  • PHOTON – Speeds up images. I’ll talk more about this one further on. Photon is an image acceleration and editing service for sites hosted on WordPress.com or on Jetpack-connected WordPress sites. That means less load on your host and faster images for your readers. This speeds up your photos by serving your images to your viewers on the powerful WordPress.com servers.
  • CAROUSEL – You can make slideshows out of your images. You can also choose white and black.
  • EXTRA SIDEBAR WIDGETS – This is a really good one. It adds all kinds of great widgets that you can use. Add images, Twitter streams, your site’s RSS links.
  • WIDGET VISIBILITY – Allows you to easily decide which pages show which widgets. You can turn them off and on easily inside your widgets area.
  • CUSTOM CSS – Allows you to add CSS to your child theme.
  • INFINITE SCROLL – Infinite scrolling pulls the next set of posts automatically into view when the reader approaches the bottom of the page.
  • MOBILE THEME – Optimize your site if your theme isn’t mobile responsive. This is another one I’ll discuss further down.
  • HOLIDAY SNOW – Yes, you can make it snow on your site. Used mostly during the holiday.

WRITING

  • WP.ME SHORTLINKS – Give your posts shortlinks.
  • SHORTCODE EMBEDS – Allows you to easily add videos from Youtube, Vimeo, Slideshare.
  • VIDEOPRESS – Upload and embed videos to your site.
  • CONTACT FORM – Create a contact form on your site.
  • SPELLING & GRAMMAR – Checks your spelling, style, & grammar.
  • MARKDOWN – Compose posts and comments with links, lists, and other styles using regular characters and punctuation marks. A quick and easy way to format text without needing any HTML or coding. More on this later.
  • POSTS BY EMAIL – You can upload any post from any client by email.
  • BEAUTIFUL MATH – Add math equations to your posts/pages.
  • CONSTANT CONTENT TYPES – You can enable portfolios or testimonials.

So, is Jetpack worth downloading?

There’s no denying it, Jetpack is chock full of a lot of awesome features. Putting them all in one centralized place inside “one plugin to rule them all” also sounds very appealing. Especially if you take into account that it is run by the people behind WordPress.com and each feature has therefore been stress tested on hundreds of thousands of blogs.

The biggest downside of the plugin, however, is the price you pay for its feature richness — the size. Unzipped, Jetpack is many times larger than the WordPress core. Especially for those running their websites on shared servers, this is an important consideration. Plus, pretty much all modules inside the WordPress stack can be had in other form as individual plugins, often with more features.

So should the Jetpack plugin be a part of your site? More than 13 million people, me included, have already answered that question with yes. However, it really depends on your needs. If you are only going to use one of its main features, you might be better advised to find another plugin for that purpose. But even if you will only utilize two or three of its compartments, in my opinion you should go for it. Either way, you will only find out if you test it.

Do you use Jetpack? What is your favorite feature? Or if you don’t use it, why did you decide against it? Let us know in the comments.

 

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The Essential Blogging Dictionary

I’ve been creating lots of cool new things for the resource library and I wanted to share the latest one with all of you. Below are 135 terms that every blogger or small business owner should know. I’ve tried to think of as many as I could, but there is no way of getting it all. 

If you think of a term that isn’t included and I’ll add it to the list. I hope it comes in handy for you! You can find this and other great resources in downloadable form by signing up for my weekly newsletter. I accidentally sent two emails out this week and I wanted to apologize for that.

I’m working on the best days and times to send it, but right now I’m sticking to Saturday morning right after my post is published. That’s it once a week. I know how it is to have an overrun email. I have two of them…okay three, four…Next Saturday we’ll be talking about stock images. Does, don’ts, and where to find them.

A

 

Above the fold – A newspaper term the refers to the top half of a website.

 

A/B Testing – Testing of an advertisement, sales page, or piece of content by creating alternate versions and seeing which ones visitors respond to the best.

 

Admin Bar – A floating bar that contains useful administration screen links such as add a new post, see pending comments, edit your profile etc. It can be extended by plugins to add additional functionality, for example, SEO and more.

 

Affiliate marketing – A way for bloggers to monetize their sites by special links to other website’s products or services for a fee.

 

Alexa –  An analytics website often referred to when comparing websites against one another. Provides a ranking and information on traffic, audience demographics, and inbound links.

 

Algorithm – The formula that determines how a blog’s pages or posts ranks within a search engine’s search results.

ALT. TAG – AKA: Alternative tag/Alternative text/attribute – The field tied to an image for the purpose of describing an image. An alt tag is helpful to both users and search engines should the image not fully render. Alt text is a word of phrase that describes an image on the web.

Anchor text – Used to anchor a URL to some text on a web page. When users view the web page in a browser, they can click the text to activate the link and visit the page whose URL is in the link.

API – Aka Application Programming Interface. The set of programming instructions and rules by an application that allows other applications to communicate with it.

Avatar – An avatar is a photo, graphic or image that represents you across blogs and other social-networking sites. This is not required nor used by all and is sometimes displayed within the profile or comment sections.

 

B

 

Backend – The part of the website where authorized users can modify content.

Backlink – a link one website gets from another website. Backlinks make a huge impact on a website’s prominence in search engine results. This is why they are considered very useful for improving a website’s SEO ranking.

Bandwidth –  The amount of traffic and data that is allowed to occur between your web site and the internet.

Blog – a type of website or part of a website. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual or group of people.

Blogger – 1. A person who blogs. 2. A free blogging platform owned by Google.

Blogpost – An individual post on a blog.

Blogosphere –  The community of all blogs and bloggers on the Internet.

 

C

Category – One of the predefined taxonomies in WordPress. It is used to sort and group content into sections.

Click-through rate – The number of times an ad is clicked on.

CMS – This is short for content management system. It is a software program that allows you to add content to a website more easily.

 

cPanel – A web-based hosting control provided by many hosting providers to website owners allowing them to manage their websites from a web-based interface.

Child theme – A sub-theme that inherits all of the functionality of its parent theme. Child themes are a safe way to modify a WordPress theme without actually making changes to the parent theme’s files. See also theme, parent theme.

Conversion rate – The percentage of visitors who convert visits or page views into some type of action, such as signing up for a newsletter, or purchasing an e-book.

CPC – Aka Cost-per-click. The amount earned each time a visitor clicks on an ad.

CSS Stylesheet – Aka Cascading Style Sheets – A style sheet language used to define visual appearance and formatting of HTML documents.

CSV – A type of file that stores plain-text data (such as newsletter subscriber information) made up of records and fields. Each field is separated by a comma or tab.

 

 

D

Database – A structured, organized set of data. A software used to organize and store data. WordPress uses MySQL as its database management system.

DNS – Aka Domain Name System – A system that points a domain to a physical IP address. The purpose of DNS is to use easy to remember domain names for websites instead of their numeric IP addresses. It also enables website owners to change their web hosts without changing domain names.

Domain Name – A name used to identify a website on the internet.

Default theme – A default theme allows you to display the front-end of a website. It is the first theme that you see when you first install WordPress. It can then be changed to any theme.

Dedicated hosting – Web hosting packages that provide a dedicated server with dedicated resources to a single client. Ideal for WordPress websites with a large number of visitors.

Dofollow links – Allows google (all search engines) to follow a link and reach your website. Giving you “link juice” and a backlink. If a webmaster is linking back to you with this link both Search Engine and Humans will be able to follow you.

 

E

 

Editor – A pre-defined user role in WordPress. An individual with editor roles can write, edit, publish, or delete blog posts. They can also moderate, approve, and delete comments.

Embed – To place content from another website within your own blog’s post or page.

Evergreen – A type of post that does not date quickly, and is therefore as relevant today as it will be in years to come.

Excerpt – An article summary with a link to the whole post.

 

F

Facebook pixel – a piece of JavaScript code for your website that enables you to measure, optimize and build audiences for your ad campaigns.

Favicon – A small graphic, typically your logo or other representation of your website that appears in a browser’s address bar, favorites or bookmark lists. In HTML it is referenced as the following rel= “shortcut icon”, and should be saved or uploaded as favicon.ico.

Featured Image – Aka post thumbnail – A WordPress theme feature that allows theme developers to add support for using a representative image for posts, pages, or custom post types.

Feed – RSS standing for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary – Provides users with frequently updated content. Content distributors syndicate a web feed, thereby allowing users to subscribe to it in RSS reader or via e-mail.

Filters – Functions that WordPress uses to pass data through. Allows developers to modify the default behavior or a specific function. Functions used to filter data are called hooks.

Fluid Layout – A layout that uses proportional values as a measuring unit for blocks of content, images, or any other item that is a part of a WordPress theme. This allows the web page to stretch and contract relative to the user’s screen size.

Footer – The bottom portion of a web page that usually includes the Copyright notices, links to privacy policy, credits, etc.

FTP – Aka FILE TRANSFER PROTOCOL – An internet protocol used to transport files across the internet from one computer to another

FTP CLIENT – A software that runs your personal computer and allows you to transfer files from your computer to and from your web server.

Functions.php – Aka theme functions –  A template used by WordPress themes. It acts like a plugin and gets automatically loaded in both admin and front-end pages or a WordPress site.

G

GPL – Aka General public license/GNU GPL – The most commonly used free software license. This software can be freely used, modified, and redistributed by anyone.

 

H

Header – This is the top part of your blog, and appears before any pages or posts. Headers generally include items such as logos, taglines, and navigation menus, which are meant to set the tone or theme of your blog.

Header widget – Usually the widget area to the right of the logo or header.

Heat map – A map of your blog, showing which areas of a specified page are clicked on the most, usually represented using colors where one color indicates a high number of clicks while another represents a low number of clicks.

Homepage – The main page of a website.

Hooks – Aka webhooks – Functions that can be applied to an Action or a Filter.

.htaccess – A configuration file read by the server. It is able to override many server configuration settings and can be used for authorization, cache control, website optimization, and URL rewriting.

HTML – Aka Hypertext Markup Language – The language used to write webpages.

Hyperlink – Clickable content within a web page that takes the user to another page, website, or within part of the same page.

 

I

iFrame – An inline frame used within a web page to load another HTML document inside of it.

Index(ed)The process by which search engines find your content and then make it available to users by storing it and displaying it in search results.

Inner wrap – What sits behind your posts and sidebar.

IP address – A unique string of numbers that identifies every computer that’s connected to the internet.

 

J

Javascript – A program running language implemented in browsers to allow client side scripting on the user end. It allows web developers to allow dynamic elements to your websites such as a slider, display alerts, buttons, popups, etc.

jQuery – a fast and concise JavaScript Library that simplifies HTML document traversing, event handling, animating, and Ajax interactions for rapid web development. jQuery is designed to change the way that you write JavaScript.

.jpeg – An image file format used to compress information within a photo or picture. The most widely used.

 

 

K

Keyword – A word or concept of great significance. A word that acts as the key to a cipher or code. An informative word used in an information retrieval system to indicate the content of a document.

 

L

Landing page – A dedicated page on a website created with the intention of converting visitors into sales leads or e-mail marketing subscribers for a particular product or database list.

Loop – PHP code that displays WordPress posts.

 

M

Malware – Short for malicious software. Code or scripts designed to disrupt software or collect of information such as passwords.

Media – 1. A tab in your WordPress admin sidebar which is used to manage user uploads such as images, audio, video, and other files. 2. Any image, literature, audio, or video.

Meta Keywords – The most popular and well-known element describing the content of a web page. Search engines realized that this piece of information was often inaccurate or misleading and frequently lead to spammy sites. As such this tag is no longer followed by search engines.

Meta tags – A comprehensive term that is comprised of meta titles, descriptions, and keywords. These three items are referred to as meta tags. The tags are elements that provide information about a given web page, most often to help search engines categorize them correctly.

MySQL – A database management system that is used by WordPress to store and retrieve all of your blog information.

N

Navigation Menu – Aka Primary navigation, menu, Sub navigation, or footer navigation – A WordPress theme feature that allows users to navigation menus by using the menu editor found in the admin dashboard. Users can add posts, pages, or custom links to a navigation menu.

Niche – A subset of a market.

Nofollow link – A link attribute which prevents links from being crawled by search engines. As a result, no SEO credit gets passed from one page to another.

 

O

Open Source – A term used to describe a computer program with their source code available for everyone to study. WordPress is an open source software and anyone can use, change, and redistribute its source code.

Outbound link – A link that points to an external website or webpage.

 

P

 

Parent theme – A theme that is declared parent by another theme (child theme). Allows users to make modifications to larger more robust WordPress themes by creating a child theme. See also theme, child theme.

Parallax – A web design trend that involves the background moving slower than the foreground when scrolling, giving a 3D effect.

Permalinks – The permanent URL of a individual piece of content on your WordPress site.

PHP – A programming and scripting language to create dynamic interactive websites.

Pingback – Allows you to notify other bloggers that you have linked to their article on your website.

Plugin – A piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to your WordPress website. They can extend functionality and add new features.

.png – An image file type that unlike JPG doesn’t lose quality when editing. Usually, having a transparent background.

Podcast – A digital file available for downloading to a media player (such as an iPod) or computer.

Popup – A form of online advertising displayed in a smaller window that appears upon visiting a site, or performing an action (such as submitting details). May include an ad, encouragement to sign up for a newsletter or enter a competition.

Post meta – Aka custom fields – Allows users to add additional information when writing a post.

Post slug – The user-friendly and URL valid name of a post.

Post status – Allows users to set a workflow status in WordPress. The 8 default statuses are:

  • Published
  • Future
  • Draft
  • Pending
  • Trash
  • Auto draft
  • Inherit

Primary Menu – See Navigation Menu

 

Q

 

Quickpress – A compact post authoring displayed on WordPress admin dashboard. Allows users to quickly create posts without opening the full featured post edit screen.

 

R

 

Redirect – An alternative URL used to direct a user to a different location. A 301 permanent redirect is applied when you change the URL of a page.

Responsive theme – A theme that provides optimal user experience across various devices and screen resolutions.

Robot.txt – A text file which allows a website to provide instructions to web crawling bots.

RSS – See feed.

S

Screen options – A button located at the top right corner of your WordPress admin area. Screen options menu shows options to configure the view of that particular page in the admin area.

SEO – Aka Search Engine Optimization – The practice of optimizing a website for better representation of search results.

Shared hosting – Web hosting service plans where multiple websites share the resources of a large web server.

Shortcodes – Little bits of code that allow you to do various things with little effort.

Sidebar – A widget-ized area in WordPress to display information that is not part of the main content.

Sitemap – A public directory to help users easily access pages of your website. This is a page on your site where you tell users about key pages of your website by listing them in an outline format and then linking to those internal pages. This makes your content easier to find by users including search engines.

Slider – A slideshow added to a web page.

Slug – See post slug.

Spam – Unwanted user content

Splog – A blog created for the sole purpose of linking to other associated websites.

SSL – Aka Secure Sockets Layers – Encryption protocols used on the internet to secure information exchange and provide certificate information.

Static front page – A dynamic blog-style front page. Used to show customized content.

T

Tag – A predefined taxonomy that is smaller in scope and focused on specific topics.

Tagline – A short phrase or sentence, like a slogan, describing your blog or your mission.

Taxonomy – Used as a way to group posts and custom post types together. See categories, tags.

Template – Defines part of a web page generated by a WordPress theme.

Text editor – 1. A computer program for editing code. 2. One of 2 post edit screens. This one requires you to manually add any formatting like italics, alignment, and spacing using HTML.

Themes – A collection of templates and stylesheets used to define the appearance and display of a WordPress powered website.

Theme editor – Located at Appearance<Editor in the WordPress admin dashboard. Allows you to modify WordPress theme files.

Theme framework – Refers to a code library that is used to facilitate the development of a theme. Also considered a parent theme. See parent theme, child theme, theme.

Theme options – A page in the admin area that allows users to modify theme setting without modifying theme files or touching any code.

Thumbnail sizes – Any images can be defined as thumbnail sizes. Once a new size is chosen then WordPress will generate a copy of each size. It only applies to new images, not to ones previously uploaded. Use regenerate thumbnails for older images.

Trackback – A method of notifying a blogger that another blogger has written something about their blog post and linked to it.

 

U

 

Updates – Informs users when a new version of WordPress, themes, or plugins becomes available.

Unique visitors – An analytical term that represents the number of visitors who visited your site during a certain time frame.

URL – Aka Uniform Resource Locator – The addresses of individual pieces of information that can be found on a web page. Images, posts, pages, document.

URL Shortener – A tool that creates a shortened version of a URL.

User roles – Defines permissions for users to perform a group of tasks. Editing, publishing, etc.

 

V

 

VPS Hosting – Aka Virtual Private Server Hosting – Allows each hosting account to be as its own machine with its own resources and operating system.

Visual Editor – One of two edit screens inside of WordPress. It is a WYSIWYG editor which means what you see is what you get. However, the content shows up on your display is exactly the way it will be when it is published.

Vlog – A video blog.

 

W

Webinar – An online seminar, workshop or presentation.

Web server – A computer containing software for hosting a website.

Widgets – A small block that performs a certain function. In WordPress, you drag and drop the widgets of your choice into the predetermined widget areas.

Widget areas – Certain areas of your WordPress website that allow you to display custom contact in predetermined spaces according to the theme.

WordPress.com – A proprietary blog hosting service provider. It is not related to WordPress.org While it uses the WordPress.org core there are certain limitations to it. Offers limited theme support. NO plugins allowed.

WordPress.org – An open source CMS software. Allows you to create customizable websites. Offers full theme support. Plugins allowed.

Wp-config.php – One of the core WordPress files. It contains information about the database including the name, host, username and password.

Wrap – Sometimes considered the background it is the area behind your content.

 

WYSIWYG – Stands for What You See Is What You Get. This refers to what’s being displayed in your post editor corresponding with what appears when the post is published.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why You Could Be Playing Russian Roulette With Your Website

Say the words “Blog Maintenance” and you will get a “nervous roll of the eyes” from most bloggers!

I understand it’s not as glamorous as hanging out on Facebook or writing those awesome viral posts. I get it, maintenance isn’t fun…but it is a necessary evil that all bloggers have to bite the bullet, so to speak, and get the shit done!

Why you should be maintaining your blog?

  • To keep out hackers.
  • To have it running quickly and correctly.
  • To make sure you’re running the latest plugins, themes, and WordPress.
  • Keeping your spam comments emptied.
  • Make sure that your links aren’t broken.
  • That you don’t have any malware
  • Saves space which in turn saves money.
  • The list goes on and on!

If you don’t maintain your blog all kinds of horrible problems can develop and they can happen pretty quickly.

So, if you’re here then you must want to know how to maintain your blog like a boss! Pull up a chair, grab a glass of wine, and get ready for me to drop some knowledge on you!

 

Have you ever gone to a slow site with broken links?

Bet you didn’t stay there long. It’s so annoying to go to a site that takes FOREVER to load! I click right off and I bet you do too!

What about those sites that make McAfee sit up and beg?

You know if they start with a WHOA!!!!!!!!!! You don’t want to go in there. Then it whispers quietly, “you might get a browser STD! Sssshhhh, don’t tell anyone!”

You’ll also keep your web hosting pricing down because the less garbage you have on your site the less storage it’s going to take therefore SAVINGS!

When a Brand comes looking at your website in consideration for sponsored posts or influencer jobs or even a product ambassador they want their product to be shown in the very best light so it behooves them to check sites out before they hire someone. If your site is not running quickly, looking its best, or you have links that are broken they are going to give you a big fat NO THANK YOU

I don’t want that to happen to you! Last night, I created a brand new PDF that entails my own monthly maintenance plan. Everything from: What I do, What I use, and How I do it is included. That’s right, everything that I do for my maintenance plan clients & my own personal sites I’m going to share with you. Why because I sincerely want you to put your best foot forward and shine!

On the other hand, maybe you’ll realize how crazy busy your life is or maybe you’ll think about the last time you actually did maintain your site and you’ll realize how much easier it is just to pay me the $149 FOR A WHOLE YEAR which by the way comes to about $12.50 a month and you’ll never have to think about maintenance again, but if not, it’s okay! We’ll still be friends…my blog will just look better than yours! Just kidding…kind of.

So let’s get down to it and if you want the downloadable version sign up right over here ⇒ & then you’ll get a password for The Blogging 911 Resource Library where this and a whole lot of other resources are housed!

BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING TO YOUR WEBSITE YOU MUST MAKE A BACKUP!!

I really can’t stress that first point enough! Backup, Backup, Backup!

For this, I use the Updraft Plus backup plugin or the WP-Backup plugin depending on the theme you are running. Updraft is my first choice because with all of my sites I like that I can connect with Dropbox and all of my backups are just a click away when I need them.

My next step is updating and with everything else, there is a system. I always start by updating WordPress first, followed by themes and finally plugins. The reasoning behind this is that everything runs off of WordPress so if it needs an update everything else will follow. Think of it as a hierarchy.

Next on the list is optimizing the database and the plugins I use are the Optimize Database While Deleting Revisions plugin or the WP-Optimize plugin.

Have you ever written a blog post and as soon as you got it all set up you see a misspelled word? Then you went back in and fixed your mistake saved your work only to realize you forgot to put an important link in?

Each one of these instances has created a new revision and those revisions can add up quickly. That’s why optimizing your database is so important. These revisions bloat your site, slow it down and also cost you more money because it makes your site larger when it doesn’t have to be.

Now you have backed up your site, updated it, optimized your database next you want to scan for malware. For this, I use the Wordfence plugin.

The next thing I do is check for broken links (on some sites). I no longer offer this service because the tool I used to use no longer exists. There is a broken link plugin, but I’m not going to recommend it because it can really slow down your website.

After all of this, I like to go to the front end and check things out. Updating can sometimes make unwanted changes to your site and you may have to make a couple of adjustments.

The very final thing I do is to go to an outside source called GT Metrix and do a site speed test. Anything that comes in above 5 seconds needs to investigated to try to make it faster. REMEMBER THIS THOUGH: Site speeds can change just from the time of day you check, the server it uses to perform the test or even something simple as what day you check. Take this speed with a grain of salt and try to go in at different times and check the speed. This will give you a good average.

That is website maintenance in a nutshell and if you’re not doing this at least once a month then you’re playing Russian Roulette with your website.

Don’t forget to get your copy of the maintenance log I created!

 

 

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