Looking for Something?
Posts Tagged for

wordpress

The Mobile Majority Wants Your Small Business

Author:

mobile small business Remember when mobile phones used to be about..making a call? Neither do I. The explosive growth of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices over the past few years has drastically and permanently changed the way we socialize, work, and do business. The net-net? It’s imperative to travel with your customers and prospects wherever they go.

In fact, a recent report revealed that 28% of smartphone users and 55% of tablet users shop online: That means they are searching, evaluating, or making purchases—possibly all three in one fell swoop. That’s why small businesses—whether  a consultant, online site, or retail—are now expected to serve up discoverable, easy to navigate, and actionable content on mobile devices. If not, there is a gaping hole of awareness, customer and  prospect interaction, and the opportunity for your competition to grab business.

Consider these recent mobile device statistics:

Convinced?

Even though you know it’s the “right” move for your business, thinking about the effort required can be overwhelming, or perhaps you don’t even know where to start. The good news is that it’s easier than ever to position your business in the mobile marketing game without reshuffling your plans, allocating a huge budget, or calling yourself a tech-genius.

Depending on whether you have a store-front, are a consultant, ecommerce site, or other business model, you will have one or more content areas to mobile-ize. Additional factors to consider will be your overall marketing goals, tools you use to promote your business, and how often you communicate with your customers and prospects.

Let’s start making your content mobilicious:

  • Entice with easy-to-read mail: The great thing about optimizing email for mobile devices is that you’ll get a two-for-one: Not only will your email be easier to read, visually pleasing, and clear on what action to take, it will result in a better promotion on any size screen. Here are some rules of thumb:
    • Keep the text short and punchy: Edit. Edit. Edit. What email wouldn’t benefit from that?
    • Use time and space wisely with your Call-to-Action (CTA): Think discounts, free offers, and new services you want to promote.
    • Have few images but make them clickable: Streamlined but effective graphics can pull double duty by being touch-friendly to navigate and also prompting action, such as pointing to social media icons, or click to buy, to name a few.
    • Let the fingers do the walking: With virtually all smartphones using a touchscreen these days, make sure your email is “finger-friendly” to open, navigate, and zoom around the content.
    • Consider getting help: If email marketing is a big part of your business, think about hiring a vendor to do the heavy lifting for you, such as Movable Ink or BrightWave Marketing.

So is your small business ready to join the mobile majority? Yes, it will require some initial work, but taking these steps today will put you front and center with your customers and prospects wherever they are, now and in the future.

Once you get on the mobile marketing train, I recommend that you stay up to speed on the trends: Because it’s a growing and ever-changing technology, being ahead of the curve will help improve your chances for mobile marketing success. Check out resources on all aspects of mobile marketing. There are tons more online.

What’s next? Start thinking about blinging out your presence with apps, QR codes, video, texting, advertising, search widgets, which will be covered in my article next month.

Image credit: Bigstock

5 Creative Solutions for Twitter Embeds on WordPress

Author:

When WordPress came out with the ability to embed Tweets on posts and pages, a few of us thought, “cool.” It’s so easy. Just click on “Expand”, then on “Details,” which will open up the single tweet. Then just copy and paste the URL. And there you are: a sweet, instantly embedded tweet, like this:

 

But after the excitement wore down, we struggled to find a really good use of it, and it seemed that the feature would become just another WordPress function.

With that said, let’s wrap our brains around 5 ways to get creative with embedded tweets.

1. The Rambling Testimonial Problem

Sometimes your clients’ testimonials can seem too formal, too long or lacking in authenticity while the real ones —short, to the point and fun— are ‘hidden in unexpected places.

The Solution: Mix it up by embedding a few real-time tweets on your site’s pages along with your others. If someone brags about your services, workshops or products in a tweet, be ready to capture it before it whooshes by.

2. The Boring Review Problem

Sometimes reviews of products or services feel canned to your readers, lacking in freshness, spontaneity and personality. They are just plain boring.

The Solution: I see fantastic, personal, in-the-moment tweets about restaurants, hotels and other products and services come through my stream all the time. If you see a tweet about you or your business, take it for what it is and consider using it because it’ll make a powerful statement.

3. The Dull Fact Problem

Sometimes facts you want to present in a blog post or web page are intriguing and other times they are dull.

The Solution: If someone shares a fact on Twitter,  someone with a name and a face, well, that makes it more interesting. Of course, you should verify that it is indeed true, but think about livening up your article or post with it.

4. The Self-Important About Page Problem

Let’s face it. An about page can easily become the ramblings of an egomaniac. Whether you write in the first person or third person, you are talking about yourself and attempting to show the world that you can solve their problems. It can make you feel icky, writing so much about yourself.

The Solution: Sometimes someone shares something unique about you on Twitter and in fewer than 140 characters, the have captured the essence of you. It’s great because it provides social proof. It isn’t just you saying things about yourself. A few tweets from other people on your about page offer that unique, outside perspective.

5. The I’m-Talking-to-Myself Problem

 Your blog can feel like one huge echo chamber  if it’s always just you.

The Solution: Bringing in new voices to supplement your post or story is a great way to create a conversational setting. By scattering tweets here and there from people who have something to say about your topic in real time can add an in-the-moment feel. Another benefit of embedding your tweets is that if a reader finds the per on interesting, they can click and follow them on Twitter, right from your blog.

What other ways can you see embedded tweets being used to make your content more powerful?

Free Gift: WordPress Training from Bob Dunn [12 Days of Giveaways]

Author:

A free gift from NMX Speaker Bob Dunn: WordPress Training Videos

Here at NMX, planning for our January event is in full swing…but that doesn’t mean we don’t have time for the holidays! That’s why, every day from now through December 25, we’re featuring a brand new giveaway for the entire NMX community!

Bob Dunn is one of the best WordPress teachers I know, so today I’m excited to tell you about his new giveaway: A complete WordPress 101 video series! If you’re new to WordPress, these videos are for you…and even if you’re an experienced user, you might learn a few new tricks. With this series, you’ll learn about:
  • WordPress Settings and Features: What can you do with WordPress and what settings should you change?
  • Post and Page Creation: Bob walks you through the main ways to add content to your blog.
  • Post and Page Settings: Find out what the differences are and learn about the settings involved with each.
  • Categories and Tags: What are they and how can you create/use them?
  • Images: Learn how to upload and use images on your blog.

Like all of our 12 Days of Giveaways gifts, Bob’s video series is completely free for members of our brand new community, NMX University. (Don’t worry – membership there is also free!) You can access the complete video series for a limited time!

Find out more about this video series and register for NMXU here, of if you are already a member, simply log in to NMXU here to access these videos today!

Bob Dunn talks about WordPress Blogs

Author:

There are lots of popular blogging platforms out there these days, but WordPress has an incredibly loyal fanbase. NMX speaker and regular guest blogger Bob Dunn is a WordPress expert and regularly shares his knowledge with blogging newbies and established veterans. Check out what Bob has to say about self-hosting, helpful plugins, and customization in this exclusive NMX video interview below. And be sure to check out Bob’s session at NMX this January, “How to Laser-focus Your WordPress Blog In 60 Minutes.

 

There’s still time to see Bob and nearly 200 other speakers at NMX this January! Register today!

 

6 Steps to Becoming a Podcaster

Author:
be-a-podcaster-fi

One year and some weeks ago, I wrote an article here at Blogw—well, at the time it was Blogworld—called A Beginner’s Guide to Podcasting Basics. Thinking about what I wanted to write this week, I figured re-visiting that might be a good idea. More and more people are becoming interested in the medium all the time, after all. Does becoming a podcaster really come down to six steps? Well… not really. There’s a lot more steps once you start to break it down. Still, in the interest of not scaring people away, let’s just call it six.

Create a Show Overview

It would be cliché of me to say that if you fail to plan you plan to fail, right? So, I won’t say that. What I will say, is that planning and preparation begins long before you fire up the microphone and start making mouth noise. Start at the beginning. Open up Evernote, Word, Pages, Notepad, TextEdit—a pencil and paper will do. What I suggest is creating a document that will serve as your roadmap going forward.

  • What will your show be about? Knitting? Comedy? Baseball cards? The tragic rise and fall of the Turkish empire? Kangaroos? (It should totally be about kangaroos.)
  • Who will be hosting and/or co-hosting?
  • When will you record?
  • How long will the episodes be? Fifteen minutes? Half hour? More?
  • Who will the audience be? Where will you find them?
These questions should get you thinking broadly about the general direction of the show. You might also consider ideas for the artwork, how it will fit into your website (or if you need a new website), and how you might monetize the show (if at all).

Gear Up

You have many, many choices when it comes to podcasting equipment. Start cheap. If you’re a new podcaster and you don’t know if you’re going to enjoy it or not, there is no sense at all in spending a lot of money. Gearing up can mean simply buying a USB microphone headset if you don’t have one already, and a decent one can be found on Amazon, at Best Buy or at Walmart (to name just a few) for as little as $20-25.

Eventually, once you realize how awesome podcasting is and how much fun you’re totally having, you may want to upgrade to more professional equipment. A pro microphone, together with a mixer and a pair of pro headphones might set you back several hundred dollars, but you’ll sound like a million bucks.

Close enough.

Part of gearing up is considering your recording environment. You likely have a room you can record in. A bedroom or home office is good, but beware of room acoustics if the room is large. Too much echo, or reverb, can have an undesirable effect on your podcast. If you can’t find a room without a terrible echo… try a closet. Just remember to come out for air every now and then.

Record!

The fun part! You have your overview, you have a microphone and something to record your voice. You have Skype set up to bring in a co-host if necessary. Everything looks great, LET’S DO THIS THING! If you are hardware-based, you will likely have a dedicated digital audio recording device, but if you’re starting off with a USB headset and your computer, you’ll need software. The free Audacity app is a great choice for both PC and Mac users. Macs come with Garageband, which is also good, and if you have the budget, Adobe Audition is available for PCs and Macs.

Position your microphone correctly for best results: not too close to your mouth, not too far away. The key is to position it in such a way that you’re not breathing on it. Outside of a Star Wars podcast, nobody wants to hear Darth Vader on the mic. Test! Don’t press record for the first time and do your show for an hour—you need to test. Record a minute and play it back. See how it sounds. Once you’re happy, launch into your content.

Edit

If you want your show to sound professional, if you want to build an audience, you need to edit. This does not mean removing every second of dead air, nor does it mean removing every instance of “um” or “ah”. Aggressive editing of things like that can make your show sound stilted and unnatural. Twenty second pauses? Sure, cut those out. It’s about being reasonable.

More important though, is to take care of the most basic editing task: setting your levels. Your volume mustn’t be too loud. If it’s too low, listeners will have to crank their volume to hear you and then when they go to play a Justin Beiber song right afterward, their speakers will get blown out. And who will they blame?

His victims are innumerable, but you can’t pin this on him.

They’ll blame you for not setting your levels correctly, and then they’ll unsubscribe from your podcast. Every editor has a meter that shows you the levels. Aim for -6 dB to -1dB. That’s the range you want your levels to bounce in. Try for the sweet spot right in the middle of that and you’ll have it right.

Publish

Once you’ve recorded and edited, it’s time to give your show to the world. Although you don’t technically need your own website, you really should have one, and it really should be based on WordPress. While it is possible to be a podcaster using a different platform, it is not recommended unless you already have extensive knowledge of that platform. Podcasting support and resources for non-Wordpress platforms tends to be very thin.

Your show’s MP3 file needs a home, and it should not be on a shared web hosting environment. Shared web hosts will shut you down if you chew up too many system resources, and a popular show serving up 30-50 MB files to thousands of people is considered out-of-bounds. A dedicated media host like Libsyn or Blubrry is the way to go.

Get Feedback, Grow

Arguably the most important part of being a podcaster isn’t the equipment, isn’t the show, it’s the audience and the feedback they provide. Your show isn’t perfect. Your audience will tell you what needs fixing. If you fix it, you grow. If you don’t, you lose your audience and then it doesn’t matter that you spend $300 on a microphone because nobody is listening. Make feedback easy for them to send and for you to collect. A contact page on your site is vital. A listener call-in line (free through Google Voice) is awesome. Making yourself available on Twitter (and to a lesser extent in my opinion, Facebook) is a great idea.

That’s it, Right?

Nah, that’s not it. Like I said, there’s way more than six steps once you start breaking these things down into their components. My aim here is to outline the basics in such a way that people interested in podcasting will have a general overview of what the process is like. Thoughts? Questions? The comment section below is wide open, I’d love to hear from you.

24 Must-Read WordPress Tips and Tricks

Author:

WordPress tips Whenever I do a workshop on WordPress, I see the little flashes, the light bulbs that turn on when someone finally “gets it.” And it isn’t always something earth-shattering. Often it’s that tiny problem that’s been bugging you forever. You know—the one that when you solve it, life becomes a little easier.

Here 24 tips and shortcuts that might eliminate some of those bumpy spots in the road:   

  1. When you do a return in a post or page, you always get a double space. If you want it single, simply press <shift> <return> on your keyboard.
  2. Creating a powerful password for your admin login is the first step in making your site more secure. The second is to change that password monthly.
  3. To get your readers to click through to your full post, stop it at exactly the spot where they will be most curious to read the next sentence. Every post has such a spot (or it should). To take advantage, stop the post there and insert the “read more” tag.
  4. If you have unused plugins or themes installed, and have not activated, delete them. This greatly beefs up site security.
  5. If you are looking for a WordPress developer to create your site, your first question should be: “Do you know php?” If they claim to be a developer (not a designer), but their answer is no,  run!
  6. Don’t use a widget because it’s cool and shiny. Use it because it is useful to your reader.
  7. Whether it’s your WordPress blog or website, make sure that people are able to contact you. Don’t hide your contact info in size two font in the footer of the page. Make a separate, highly visible contact page.
  8. Remember, it’s WordPress. Capital W, capital P, no space between. If you land on a site and they call themselves a WordPress expert, but spell the name wrong, beware.
  9. When inserting a photo into your post or page, don’t forget the alt (alternate) tag. This is what Google looks for when it’s indexing images on the web and the big G doesn’t like a site with alt tags missing.
  10. If you have chosen to block search engines in your privacy setting during the construction of your blog or website, remember to turn it back on when you go live. Because that little sucker blocks them good.
  11. Keeping your plugins up-to-date is just as important as keeping your WordPress version up-to-date.
  12. Do you want to change your homepage to a static page rather than your blog? Can’t figure out what to do? Create a page for your homepage and one for your blog. Then go to settings >reading and change the settings on the “front page displays.”
  13. If you are self-hosted, back up your database and all your files regularly. Hear that? Back up, back up!
  14. Think about the theme you choose for your blog or website. Does it meet all your needs? Does it allow your site to grow as your business grows? Because if you decide to switch themes down the road, chances are it’s not a simple one-click process.
  15. If you fly off the handle or rant in a blog post, remember, the moment you hit that publish button, it appears on the web and to your RSS subscribers. If you are angry when you write a post, it’s always best to save it as a draft and revisit it later for one last look.
  16. Use a photo to provoke emotions in your blog post. Not only will you attract more readers, but they will remember your content longer.
  17. If you have only one row of tools when you are creating a page or post, simply click on the far right button, “show kitchen sink,” and you will get a whole second row of tools.
  18. If you are still using the default “admin” for your user name, it’s time to get rid of it. Create a new one, then delete the old one, assigning all posts and pages to your new user name. Otherwise you are giving hackers 50% of your login info.
  19. If you cannot find an option on your edit post or page window, check the tab “screen options” in the upper right corner. That feature may be hidden.
  20. To expand your editor window, grab the lower right, ridged corner and drag it.
  21. Be careful when you underline text. Readers still have a habit of thinking any underlined text is a link.
  22. Remember to turn off your comments on static pages. No one wants to comment on your about or contact page.
  23. Remove or replace the default blog tagline under your general settings. Otherwise, people will see that generic message that says, “Just Another WordPress Site.”
  24. And lastly, don’t be taken in by over-promises.  Like most worthwhile things, WordPress has a learning curve.

17 Free WordPress Plugins for Blog Monetization

Author:

monetization plugins for bloggers

One of the reasons I like WordPress as a blogging platform is the vast library of plugins to add functionality to your blog. No matter what your niche, there are tons of awesome plugin options, many of which we’ve already talked about here on the NMX blog, along with other awesome tools for your blog.

Today, I wanted to highlight plugins that play a specific role – helping you monetize your blog. If you’re looking for ways to make money with your blog, these WordPress plugins can help. (Disclosure: Some of the below-mentioned companies/people have exhibited at our events in the past or have other relationships with NMX, but they aren’t listed here because of that connection. They’re listed here because I honestly thing they are good tools to consider as you’re monetizing your blog!)

These plugins are listed in alphabetical order not in order of importance, and not every plugin is right for every blog, so use a discerning eye to determine which are right for you.

1. Ad Injection

If you want to include ads within your post, not just on your sidebar, this is a great plugin to consider using. Ad Injection works with Google AdSense, Amazon, ClickBank, and lots of other ad networks. Ads can be injected into your content at the beginning, end, or random spots throughout, and you have tons of control over who sees these ads, as you can limit ads by post length, post age, and more. You can even split test with this plugin to see which ads are preforming best.

The biggest reason I recommend Ad Injection over some of the other ad plugins out there is the amount of control you have with this tool. It’s pretty easy to scare readers away if your blog is too ad-heavy, so with Ad Injection, you have the control you need to make sure your content isn’t getting overwhelmed. The ability to target specific readers based on parameters such as how they were referred to your site is an added bonus.

2. AdRotate

As the name implies, AdRotate is a simply plugin that allows you to have rotating ads on your blog. I find this plugin a little less intuitive to use than others, so make sure you set aside some time to read the documentation and learn how to use it. Once you do, however, there are a lot of cool options. You choose the ad sizes and add them to group or blocks, and you can see the click through rates and other stats in the dashboard.

This plugin also warns you when ads are about to expire, allows you to export ad statistics, automatically disables ads after your designated time/number of clicks/etc., and more. So, once you set it up, this is a very easy automated system for ad management on your blog.

3. Affiliate Link Cloaking

The Affiliate Link Cloaking plugin allows you to use a “pretty” URL that redirects with your affiliate URL, giving you the capability to make money without a link that includes your affiliate ID. This ensures that the user does not remove the ID (yes, some people do that for some reason), and it also makes your links look nicer (some networks have really long, ugly-looking links).

A word of caution: NEVER use this of other link cloaking plugins to “trick” a reader into clicking the link. Always follow FTC guidelines and disclose any link that is an affiliate link.

4. Amazon Affiliate Link Localizer

I recommend some other Amazon plugins (see below) that you can use to add links, images, widgets, and more to your site, but definitely install Amazon Affiliate Link Localizer as well if you are an Amazon affiliate. What this plugin does is add your affiliate code to any Amazon link on your site, so if you forget to use an affiliate link, you won’t miss out on the sale.

Even better though – this plugin automatically detects where a visitor lives and directs them to their country’s Amazon site. So, if not all of your traffic is from one country, this ensures that you’re sending people to the same product on their localized Amazon site. You can pretty much install this one, update the options to include your affiliate IDs, and forget about it.

5. Cleeng Content Monetization

People are willing to pay for good content, and Cleeng Content Monetization gives you an easy way to create a pay wall, like you’ll find on membership sites, but without requiring membership. Anyone who wants to see more content simply clicks to pay a very small amount, but you can still keep the majority of your content open to the public in order to take advantage of advertising revenue. You can also work with a traditional membership subscription model or give out daily passes. There are a lot of options.

Here’s a great video that explains how Cleeng works:

6. CrankyAds

The CrankyAds plugin from Yaro Starak allows you to add text, banner, and video ads to your blog pretty easily. A lot of other plugins do the same thing, but there are a few functions that set CrankyAds apart:

  • The plugin automatically creates an advertising page for your blog with all of your ad options.
  • The process is streamlined, so while you don’t have quite as many options as you do with some other plugins, you have a much simpler method of monetizing your site with ads.
  • You don’t have to do any of the manual uploading yourself – your sponsors do the work.

Although this plugin is free, when someone buys an ad, they do so through the CrankyAds marketplace, and they of course take a cut of the money. Some bloggers have also noted that they don’t like the auto-populating advertising page. CrankyAds is relatively new, however, so I think we can expect to see some improvements over the next several months. It’s definitely worth checking out and keeping your eye on, even if you’re not sold on it right now.

7. MSMC Redirect After Comment

Like some of the other plugins on this list, the MSMC Redirect After Comment plugin doesn’t have to be used as a monetization tool, but it certainly can be. With this plugin, whenever someone leaves a comment, they’ll be redirected to a page you specify, rather than just back to whatever post they were reading. So, you could have them redirect to a sales page, an online store, or even a list of “products I recommend” with affiliate links. There are a lot of possibilities with this plugin, and at the very least, it allows you to keep your readers on your site longer in many cases. The longer someone stays on your blog, the more likely they are to buy a product, sign up for your email list, or tell their friends about you.

8. Outbrain

Outbrain is a “related links” widget that can be used across many platforms (including WordPress). You can use this plugin to do internal linking, which typically decreases your bounce rate, but it’s also a monetization tool – if you want it to be. Some content creators pay Outbrain to distribute their posts on other blogs. If you write something related and agree to have outside posts linked as part of your Outbrain widget, you’ll be paid for the traffic you send to that sponsored content. With Outbrain, you have full control over the sponsored content you allow linked on your site, and you can also indicate other sources you’d like to include in the “related links” section when relevant, so it’s a great way to support your favorite bloggers.

9. PostPost

If you want to monetize your feed, PostPost is a great plugin option. With this plugin, you can add content before or after your posts/pages. Simply add the code snippet or text via the options and it will start appearing. PostPost supports JavaScript-based code, which means you can use it with Google AdSense and other ad networks, or you could also display affiliate ads, text/banner ads sold directly to sponsors, or even your own products.

10. PostRelease

When you sign up for PostRelease, you open your blog up to a brand new automated revenue stream – sponsored posts. With this plugin, you’ll join a network of publishers, and companies interested in content marketing will automatically be matched with your site. So, for example, a car company might write a post called “How to Buy Tires For Your New Car” and be matched with your automotive blog. The post will appear on your blog exactly like any of your own posts, and will be marked clearly as “sponsored.”

From your dashboard, you can approve or deny sponsored posts, as well as track stats. If a sponsored post is not performing well, PostRelease will delete it so your site isn’t continually cluttered with posts your readers don’t like. One feature that I really like is that sponsored posts will always show up second in your feed. So, your own content won’t be overshadowed on your homepage if a PostRelease posts is published after it. Your content always takes center stage.

Check out this video to learn more about PostRelease:

11. SEO Smart Links

The primary function of SEO Smart Links is to allow you to easily link internally on your own site, but you can also use this plugin for affiliate advertising. Basically, you input a list of keywords, along with the URL you want to link to whenever the keyword is used.

If you do choose to use this plugin for external affiliate linking, make sure you don’t overdo it. You don’t want to have links on every two words in your post! Also make sure you have a disclosure notice on your blog so you’re complying with FTC rules requiring you to tell your readers that you use affiliate links.

There is a premium version of this plugin available, but you can start off with the free version.

12. Sharexy

As a blogger, you probably already realize how important social sharing buttons are on your site. Sharexy is one of the button options out there, but unlike other social sharing plugins, this plugin also allows you to earn a little extra money on the side. One of the options you have with Sharexy is to also display a small advertisement, and you’ll earn money for every click.

I personally have never used Sharexy on any of my blogs, but have stumbled across this plugin more than once, and some people seem to really like it. So, it’s definitely an option I’m considering and one you should take a look at as well.

13. WordPress Amazon Associate (plus some other Amazon plugins)

This is an awesome plugin for anyone who’s an affiliate with Amazon. Yes, you can just log in on Amazon.com and get all the links you need that way, but with WordPress Amazon Associate, you don’t even have to leave your dashboard. The shortcodes you can use with this plugin save you time, and adding pictures and lists of products is easy to do in a professional way with WPAA.

For me, having WPAA right in WordPress also serves as a reminder to me as I’m writing posts to think about what products I could recommend to my readers that are related to the post topic. You, of course, don’t need to add affiliate links to every post you write, but recommending products that are helpful to readers is definitely a revenue stream you can explore.

Amazon Link is another Amazon affiliate plugin that you can consider. I do not have personal experience using this plugin, but it looks like it has many of the same functions. I’ve also read good things about AmazonSimpleAdmin, which is another Amazon plugin for affiliates that provides some of the same functions as WPAA and Amazon Link.

14. WP125

For those of you needing a simple ad management solution, WP125 is an easy-to-use option. It doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles you’ll find with other ad plugins, but sometimes, simple is better. With this plugin, you can easily add and manage 125×125 banners on your blog, either in manual or random order. This plugin also tracks how many times each ad was clicked, so it’s a great option for all-in-one affiliate ad management as well, not just for ads you sell to sponsors. In addition, you can have the plugin notify you via email when an ad expires, which is great for manually following up with people.

I personally do not use WP125, but I know people who do and like it due to its simplicity. If you’re just getting started and don’t have tons of banner ads to manage yet, check it out.

15. WP Auctions

Ever wish you could offer items up for bid online without using eBay? With WP Auctions, you can. This is a great option if you already have decent traffic and are selling some items closely related to your niche. You’re not going to have nearly the amount of viewers as you would on eBay, but for some people, this could work.

WP Auctions integrates with PayPal for easy payment when the auction is over. Along with selling items, keep in mind that you can also get creative with this plugin by auctioning off ad space, holding auctions for charity, etc.

16. WP e-Commerce

If you sell your own products, like ebooks or e-courses, WP e-Commerce is a great shopping cart solution. This plugin integrates with PayPal, Google Checkout, and more – and you can even accept checks via mail with this cart system.

Designers, rejoice! This plugin gives you complete HTML & CSS control, so you can customize your shopping cart experience. Don’t worry, though: if you aren’t technically inclined or don’t have an eye for design, the out-of-the-box version looks nice too.

Some other WP e-Commerce perks?

  • The ability to offer discounts, coupons, sales, free shipping on physical products, etc.
  • URLs that are search engine friendly
  • Integration with many common plugins and platforms
  • The ability to decide if you want one-click checkout or a multi-step process
  • Sales notification via email

I could keep going – you really have to check out this powerhouse plugin yourself to see all the cool options, most of which are available with the free version. For those of you out there with heavy commerce needs, there are also some paid upgrades available here.

17. WP-Insert

WP-Insert is similar to Ad Injection in that it allows you to include advertising not just on your sidebar, but within your content as well. With this plugin, you have a lot of options for control, such as blocking ads from showing on certain pages/posts, ad style customization, add the option to inset your ads into your RSS feed.

This plugin has a unique feature – the ability to add a ready-made Terms and Conditions page and a ready-made Policy page to your blog (if you want them). This isn’t an option every blogger needs, but as you grow, these are definitely pages you should definitely consider including on your blog. The written T&C/Policy pages can be edited easy to fit your needs, but it’s nice to have a starting point.

WP-Insert is really more than just an ad management tool. For some of you, the various functions will be welcomed, while others might find it a bit clunky because there are too many options. Check it out to see how/if it can fit into your needs.

Your turn: What WordPress plugins do you find helpful for monetization?

State of the Blogging World in 2012

Author:

Imagine how differently things would be if WordPress were never created. Before I started my blog five years ago at ZacJohnson.com, everything I did was through basic HTML and if I ever wanted something complex done, I would have to contact a programmer or just didn’t end up pursuing it.

Jump ahead a few years and WordPress and blogging is everywhere! WordPress isn’t just for blogging anymore, but it’s a full content management system that can do anything you can dream up. Thanks to all of the programmers, coders and designers out there who have made a living out of WordPress customization, we can all focus on using WordPress to create anything we like.

The days of blogging just being for people to write their thoughts and opinions online are over… WordPress is free, yet it still powers some of the world’s most known web sites that are worth billions of dollars! The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo, eBay, People Magazine, New York Times, Wired, Mozilla… all WordPress running platforms and blogs!

State of the Blogging World in 2012

Just the thought of blogging and WordPress in itself is enough to blow your mind, but having some fun stats and an infographic to break it all down is even better. Let’s take a look at some of the mind blowing numbers behind WordPress and the millions of users who rely on the software every day.

There are an estimated 31 million bloggers in the U.S. as of July 2012.

Businesses Blogging Stats

  • 60% of Businesses have a Blog
  • 35% Blog At Least Once A Month
  • 65% Haven’t Blogged Once In The Past Year

U.S. Blogging Stats For 2012

  • 42,000,000 Blogs in the US
  • 329 Million People View A Blog Monthly
  • 25 Billion Pages Viewed Monthly
  • 500,000 Daily New Posts
  • 400,000 Daily Comments

For even more crazy WordPress stats, check out the full infographic below.

Special thanks to Blogging.org for the creation of this infographic.

Q & A with Bob: 5 of My Most Frequently Asked WordPress Questions

Author:

We live in a quick-and-easy culture. We want everything fast. That is why we hear so many WordPress peeps saying:

Set up your blog in less than an hour!

Start blogging in minutes!

WordPress is so easy, even my 90-year-old grandmother can set up her own blog!

Changing themes is as simple as putting on a new coat of nail polish! (Yes, someone actually said that on Twitter.)

The problem with that is it ignores the fact that there can be, like with any new experience, a learning curve. And it makes all those smart professionals feel stupid if they can’t create a blog over their lunch period.

The over-promisers are always going to be there. They know that ‘fast,’ ‘quick,’ and ‘easy’ are persuasive words in marketing copy.

But jumping in without giving certain issues some thought can create headaches down the road. WordPress is a powerful blogging tool, and once you learn how to best use it, you will love it. Just don’t rush into it.

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself when you are setting up that WordPress blog:

1. Are the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org important?

Actually, yes.  In another post I wrote here I explained how some people are confused by the two options: WordPress.org (aka self-hosted) and WordPress.com (the blog is parked on the WordPress site). There are pros and cons to both. For example, it’s really hard to monetize your blog on .com. Choices of themes are also limited and you don’t have the ability to add plugins. On the other hand, self -hosted means that you have the added responsibility for keeping your site secure, updated and backed up.

2. What theme should I use?

This one is huge. Many new clients come to me because, after  spending hours installing a theme, they have found that it doesn’t fit their needs in the end. Some themes are more suited to simple blogs , while others work better if you want  turn your blog into a dynamic information source. And your options for presenting your expert content can be limited, depending on the theme’s layout, navigation and aesthetic design. Always look at a theme with an eye toward how you can plug your content into the layout and design.

3. Are there certain specific plugins I should use?

Of course. But remember: it’s always quality over quantity. Find those plugins that help with the critical parts: catching spam, SEO, site load speed, and things like that.  Choose ones that fill a specific need and don’t treat them like toys. Because they may be fun to play with, but are they really useful for your readers?

4. Does it matter where I host my site?

Damn well it does. A host can either make or break your site—literally. Don’t always look at price, although there are several good, affordable hosts out there. Listen to what other users are saying about them. Do a search on Twitter and see if they have experienced a lot of down time. Before you sign up, make sure they’ll work with you if you experience a problem. (Some hosts wiggle out by telling you that WordPress off is a ‘third-party software’ and it’s their issue to solve.)  And make sure you can get the support you need—when you need it. I look for hosts that provide both phone support and a 24/7 chat line.

5. Should I just dive into WordPress head first?

No simple answer here because it depends on your comfort level with technology. Although WordPress is a powerful blogging tool, I am the first to admit that it’s not the most intuitive. You can ask the dozens of people I have trained after they cursed and struggled with it. But do explore the dashboard. Poke around, see what does what. Find tools that will help you along the way, but don’t spend hours googling for answers to your questions. There are tons of resources to help you get started. And don’t be afraid to ask people you know and trust about the resources that best fit your individual learning style (podcasts for the auditory learner, print or video tutorials for the visual learner, etc.).

These five points barely  touch the surface. For more practical advice on how not to muck up your WordPress site as you get started, come to my session at BlogWorld in NYC. I promise to make you more confident to tackle your WordPress blog—and give you a few chuckles in the process. See you in New York.

Seven WordPress Hacks for Bloggers

Author:

There are tons of awesome blogging platforms to consider, but WordPress is definitely one of the most popular content management systems out there – and with good reason. It’s easy to use and easy to customize, even if you’re a beginner.

But as you begin to use it more and more, you start learning little tricks. I’ve stumbled upon some fantastic time-savers that make me almost want to scream, “WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THIS SOONER?!?!”

So I’m going to tell you these things, and I apologize for not telling you sooner! Experiences users, hopefully you still find a gem or two in here, and please leave your own favorite hack with a comment below!

1. Expand to Fullscreen for Easier Typing

Let’s start out with a simple tip, but one I didn’t realize was an option until well into my blogging career. It can be annoying to type a post in such a small box. First and foremost, if you scroll to the bottom of the left-hand sidebar when signed into your blog and editing a post, you’ll see “collapse menu.” Click on this text to get rid of that sidebar (don’t worry – you can easily get it back). It’s instantly a little more space. But an even better option is WordPress’ Fullscreen Mode.

There are actually two fullscreen modes. If you click the button that looks like a, square with arrows pointing at the corners (see picture), you’ll get a full screen mode with limited button options for easy, quick typing. If you press Alt+Shift+G you’ll get a version with the full bar of buttons for easier formatting. Both are great, especially if you’re working with a lot of pictures or block quotes.

2. Use Windows Live Writer for Formatting

How your final post looks will depend on the WordPress theme you’re using. You can continuously preview using WordPress itself, but that can be a little tedious, especially if you’re working with pictures and trying to get things to line up just right. Instead, download a desktop client to make formatting easy. I use Windows Live Writer (Mac fans, help me out with a comparable version?), which I like because I can sync it with all the blogs I have. As long as you keep it updated, you can use the WYSIWYG editor to add posts and see what they’ll look like on your blog when published. Adding pictures and videos is super easy.

Sometimes, you have to do some major updates that will cause you blog to look crummy for a few hours. Rather than scaring users away, download and install a plugin like Maintenance Mode and your readers will get a simple message that you’re working on your blog at the moment. I like this plugin specifically because you can even choose to include a countdown clock that will tell users when you get back. No coding knowledge necessary!

There are other maintenance mode plugins out there; this is just the one I like to use on my personal blog. Of course, you can also manually point code your site to give users a maintenance message, but who has the time/knowledge/ambition to do that? This makes it super easy!

4. Use Zemanta for Easy Linking

Finding links can take time, but it makes your posts more valuable to readers. For example, in the previous tip, I linked to the plugin page so you could easily find it. Otherwise, you would have probably had to search for it, and there would be no guarantee that you’d find the plugin I was talking about. Zemanta totally takes the hassle out of linking. This plugin gives you a list of potential in-text links you can add, which updates as you type. In addition, it gives you a list of related articles based on your post, which you can update as you type. You just link on their recommendations to add links as you see fit. Super easy! You can even choose to create a profile and tell Zemanta the blogs you like most so it will draw links from those sites when possible.

5. Prevent Images from Being Too Wide

If you’re working with images, it can sometimes be annoying to remember the max width they can be to fit on your blog. I have a lot of trouble with this one since I blog on multiple sites, all using different themes. If your image is too wide, it will either cut off or overlap onto your sidebar, depending on the them you’re using. Both look pretty bad.

It’s an easy fix. I learned this one from WPHacks. You have to go into the code, but don’t be scared! It’s easy; I promise! Under “appearance” on the left-hand dashboard sidebar, you want to click on editor and find your theme’s .css file (probably the one that comes up by default. Then, just follow the instructions here to add a snippet of code. That’s it! If you can handle copy/pasting, you can do this one. Once you change the max to fit whatever your theme’s max width is, you won’t have to deal with cut off or overlapping pictures ever again.

6. Install the Editorial Calendar Plugin

Recently, we added this plugin here on the BlogWorld blog and it has been a total game-changer for me! I like to stay organized and am a very visual person. The editorial calendar plugin gives me a way to see when posts are being updated, and for a multi-author blog, it allows you to understand when others are planning to publish so you can strategically plan out your content schedule. I also like that you can jot down ideas quickly using the calendar when you have a post idea, and the visual nature makes it easy to see where you’re faltering: Are you uploading too many posts about a specific topic? Are you updating enough? Is your content always bunched instead of spread out? You can also use the calendar to schedule your content easily. Love it.

7. Split Long Posts

Depending on your theme, long posts may or may not look good on your homepage. You can use the “more” tag to split the post after a few teaser paragraphs. It’s the little split button beside the link buttons on your tool bar (see picture) or you can just hit Alt+Shift+T.

By default, this will create a link that says “Continue Reading” or “Read More” or something of that sort, depending on the theme you use. Want to change the text? It’s pretty easy. It requires you to go into your code again, but don’t be scared! Under Appearance on your sidebar, click on editor and then find the index.php file (Main Index Template). Search for:

<?php the_content(‘Read more …’); ?>

If your blog by default has different text, the theme editors already changed it, so that’s what you should search for. In other words, if when you split the text and publish the post, it says on your site, “Click here for more…” you should search for:

<?php the_content(‘Click here for more…’); ?>

Search for whatever that text might be. Then, once you find that line in the code, you can change the text to read whatever you want.

It’s a great way to get more page views out of a single long post.

So there you have it, seven of my favorite WordPress hacks for bloggers. Now it’s your turn to tell us your favorite hacks and tips with a comment below!

What’s New on the NMX Blog:

Leo-Norm-Noah-three-11897830484_a6a497caa0_o Announcing the Podcasting Hall Of Fame

We are very proud to announce that as part of the 10th annual People’s Choice Podcast Awards Cerem...

Learn About NMX

NEW TWITTER HASHTAG: #NMX

Recent Comments

Follow Us on Twitter

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. (Please Confirm Your Subscription by Visiting Your Inbox)

Categories

Archives