Better Click to Tweet WordPress Plugin Review

Better Click to Tweet WordPress Plugin Review

I’m a big fan of social media, and I absolutely love any tool that helps me to automate some of the marketing tasks that go along with having a blog. Take Twitter for example. I know that quotes are among the most retweeted posts I have, but I don’t have the time to dash off witty quotes or blog posts all day long. And while it does happen occasionally, it’s pretty rare for someone to write out one of my quotes in a tweet and send it out. Enter this clever little plugin, Better Click to Tweet.

Better Click to Tweet quickly and easily turns text from your blog post into a tweet that your readers can simply, well… click to tweet.

Here, give it a try.

If #WordPress is like a cheeseburger, plugins are the french fries that make it that much better. Click To Tweet

If you clicked and tweeted the above, you’ve just sent out one of my most often tweeted quotes. Pretty cool, right? Here’s how it works.

Install the Better Click to Tweet plugin by Ben Meredith. As you’re writing your post in the visual editor, click the Better Click to Tweet short code generator button.

Better Click to Tweet Review

Complete the box and it will add your tweetable to the blog post formatted in a neat little box with a Click to Tweet graphic.

Customize Your Tweet

That’s not all this plugin does. You can customize your tweet using these detailed instructions from Ben. Want to customize the URL so you can link to a product instead of a blog post? You can do that. Or maybe you want to remove the URL completely? You can do that too. You can even make links NoFollow for good SEO. And if you’re good with CSS, it’s not difficult to format the tweets to your own visual taste. Ben has even provided instructions for integrating with YOURL and Bitly. And just because Ben and I are WordCamp Raleigh pals, I recommend you check out the other things he’s got going on over at WP Steward.

If you’re looking for ways to engage your readers and make it easy for them to show their support, the Better Click to Tweet plugin is a great addition to your WordPress site.

WordPress Login Math Problem for Extra Security

WordPress Login Math Problem for Extra Security

In the Askillity Mastermind Facebook group that I run for my customers, I often get questions about how make certain things happen in WordPress. You see, finding a particular plugin to do a particular thing can be really difficult when you don’t know exactly what that thing is called or how it works. You just saw it, and you want it for your website.

That’s what happened when one of our members saw a cool math problem show up on a WordPress login page. A math problem (in general) is a much better bot-stopper than the typical Capitcha because most humans can solve basic math. Capitcha on the other hand…

Susan asked me how to get a math problem like that for her website. There may be other plugins out there to do it, but the one I showed her how to use is called JetPack. JetPack is often described as the “swiss army knife” of plugins because it does a ton of things. It’s developed by Automattic, the people who run WordPress.com and it brings a lot of the .com features to the sites of the self-hosted.

Stop those pesky bots cold with a math problem on your #WordPress login. @WPPlugincoach Click To Tweet

SEO Study: What Works Now (2016)

SEO Study: What Works Now (2016)

posted in: SEO | 0

If you’re a blogger or business owner using SEO to bring more traffic to your website, you might be a bit frustrated with how quickly the tactics can change. This in-depth study put out this month from Backlinko clears up some of the questions about what works now, in 2016. As you look through these results please remember, Google doesn’t give away the details of their ranking methods. This study is based on Backlinko’s observation of 1 million search results and expert interpretation of the data. Here are the highlights:

 

1. Build your backlinks

The study found that the number of backlinks to your site is had the strongest correlation to first page Google Ranking. Looking at the graphic below, you can see that when the number of backlinks hits about 75, there is a rapid increase in average ranking.

Referring-Domains

Rather than getting backlinks from any site that will link to you, focus on getting backlinks from sites that are ranking well themselves. The study found that sites that ranked well with fewer backlinks had links from high quality sites. It still doesn’t help to have multiple backlinks from the same domain.

 

2. Good content still rules

Content that is focused on one topic does much better than content that is general or covers many topics. They think this is due to Google’s semantic search. In other words, Google’s ability to recognize not just the words you are typing, but the context and topic you are searching for. There is an excellent explanation in the original study results that you should read. The study also found that pages with 2000+ words were generally ranked higher than pages with less characters. Sorry guys, you are going to have to up that word count! Make sure to break up the content with headings to make it easier for your readers and for Google to understand.

3. HTTPS helps but is not a must have

Since Google announced that HTTPs (having a security certificate on your site) was a ranking factor, we’ve all been watching for a sign of exactly how much it’s going to help ranking. The study found that while there was a correlation between high ranking sites and HTTPS, that it probably isn’t enough of a factor to make the switch just for SEO reasons. Implementing a security certificate on a brand new site is much easier than implementing it on an existing site. So if you are starting fresh, adding a security certificate to the site might be a good idea.

4. Short URLs are better

It turns out that shorter URLs aren’t just better for your human follows, Googlebot still appreciates them too. The study data shows that URLs with around 60 characters or less are more likely to rank high.

5. Add at least one image

One image is better than no image, but after that there is no significant increase per Google. Your readers may think differently, so don’t hesitate to add as many images as you think appropriate. But do it for your readers, not for Google.

6. Title keywords are still key, but moving down the list

One of the most important and well-knows SEO tactics is to ensure that the keywords for your page are in your title. The study found that while still important, title keywords aren’t what they used to be. That’s because Google as gone far beyond just matching up word patterns when looking for the best search results. It takes the entire page into consideration, including words that are related but are not exact matches to your keyword.

7. Correlation of bounce rate

The role of bounce rate is search rankings was an interested data point that came up in the data. The study authors found a clear relationship between bounce rate and higher rankings, but they are careful to point out that the bounce rate itself may not be the reason for the rankings. A visitor bounces when they land on a page of your site and leave without clicking through to a second page. It stands to reason that a low bounce rate is naturally going to occur on a site that has good content. So it’s possible that this correlation is an effect of having good content rather than a separate SEO tactic. If you are looking to lower your bounce rate, put yourself in your visitor’s shoes and think about how they move through your content. Are you offering links to related compelling content at the end of your pages? Do you have an easy way for visitors to browse the content on your site on every page?

While I’ve covered some of the highlights of the study, there is a lot more for you to look over, and some great charts that illustrate the impact of the SEO tactics that were studied. You can read the study report on Backlinko’s website. They’ve done a great job of breaking down each point and explaining it so that an SEO do-it-yourselfer can understand.

Get the No Fear Guide to Updating WordPress ecourse for free!

Get the No Fear Guide to Updating WordPress ecourse for free!

posted in: WordPress | 0

“Oh no, not again!” You stare at the WordPress dashboard as your palms start to sweat. The little number in the little circle next to ‘Updates’ is mocking you.

It knows you’ve been ignoring it.

It also knows that you can’t afford to ignore it much longer. You HAVE to do the updates or you’re going to get hacked.

(But you really, really, really don’t want to press that button. Because you’re afraid your entire website will come crashing down around your ears, never to be restored to it’s former glory.)

We’ve all been there, even me. In fact, updating WordPress is the most stressful (and hated) part of owning a WordPress site. I think of it as the price we pay for all of the flexibility and functionality that we get from using an open source platform. When you have this many different people developing different tools for WordPress, you are bound to run into issues and conflicts once in awhile.

You really don’t have to be afraid. There are ways to manage the risk and make applying WordPress updates safer. There are also some common troubleshoot things that can take a potential “site crashing down around your ears” moment and turn it around to business as usual in a matter of moments.

Wouldn’t you like to equip yourself with some of these stress-reducing, crash preventing tools for FREE? That’s right, I wrote FREE! I’m offering you the chance to grab The No Fear Guide to Updating WordPress for free, but you have to jump on the list before the course launches. When will it launch? Well, as soon as I get all of the content filmed! So the launch date is still up in the air. Better run over there right now!

Let it Snow WordPress Plugins

Let it Snow WordPress Plugins

I’ve updated this post in honor of Winter Storm Jonas who will be visiting me in just 12 short hours. Stay safe East Coast!


“Oh the weather outside is frightful” and it will be on your website too, with these Snow WordPress Plugins.

Sometimes you just gotta give in to the good cheer and festiveness of the holiday season. And snow falling is a big part of that imagery. Take it from someone who grew up within the bounds of the Lake Erie snow effect zone: falling snow on your website is waaaaay cooler than falling snow in the roads, in your boots, and especially when it melts during the day and freezes your car door shut at night (can you say keychain lockmelt?)

Now that I live in the warmth of North Carolina winters, I see falling snow in a much kinder light. So I’m happy to recommend the following Snow WordPress plugins that will turn your website into a winter wonderland.

WP Super Snow

Customizable snowflakes! Sweet! You can use the virtual snow blower to change the size and speed of these flakes. And you can even change the flakes to a graphic of your own choosing.

WP Super Snow WordPress Snow Plugin

Tribulant Snow Storm

You’ll be triumphant, tintinnabulous and several other T words with this super easy to use snow storm. There are some options for color, stick and melt. My fave option is that the wind will follow the direction of the cursor and blow the snow around.

Tribulant Snow Storm WordPress Snow Plugin

Snow Flurry

You can pretend to be Elsa by setting the flake size, speed, color, and timing of this snow flurry. And best of all, you can set a timer so it doesn’t become overly annoying to your visitors.

Snow Flurry WordPress Snow Plugin

WP Snow Effect

This plugin has a free option with a ton of settings including type of snowflake, size, fall rate, and color. The snow drifts down in a light shifting wind. This is my new fave of all the snow plugins!

_snow

Enjoy the snow and have a wonderful holiday season my friends!

WordPress Security Plugins to Keep Your Site Safe

WordPress Security Plugins to Keep Your Site Safe

If your website is on WordPress, you’re on the best CMS website platform out there. Its popularity is growing like crazy and as of 2015 over 25% of the world’s most popular website are on the platform. But that popularity also attracts the bad guys. WordPress developers are constantly hopping to keep in front of the hackers. If you want to keep your website off of the hacker’s hit list, here are three types of WordPress security plugins that you need to have installed in your site.

Security Plugins

I’ve always thought that if the hackers of the world would put their minds to doing good, this world would be a much better place. There are absolute geniuses spending their days trying to break into your website so they can subvert it for their own purposes. While the designers of WordPress do the best to make the platform sound and free from security holes, having an extra layer of security is absolutely essential if you want to keep your site safe. The scary thing is that your site can be hacked and you can’t tell.

I was once hired to redesign a WordPress site that looked completely secure at first look. Once I done into the back end of the site, I noticed some oddly named files in their WordPress directory. They had been hacked months earlier and didn’t have a clue. Had Google picked up on the issue, their site would have been removed form search results, killing their site visitor traffic. That’s not so easy to recover from. Try one of these security plugins to keep your site safer:

Securi
WordFence
*iThemes Security ($)

If you use Jetpack, the multi-faceted WordPress plugin from Automattic, Digital Strategist and Technology Coach Lisa Berger of LisaBerger.com recommends using the Protect module (formally BruteProtect). “It uses data from thousands of WordPress sites to identify the “bots” that are malicious.” Lisa told us. “If it notices a computer trying to guess passwords at multiple sites, it blocks them from guessing on any WordPress site with Protect installed. It’s free, it’s updating in real time, and on many of the sites I manage, it blocks thousands of malicious attempts every single week.”

Comment Spam Plugins

Comment spam is the bane of any website owner’s existence. Where exactly does all of that spam come from? Some come from actual humans who are paid to sit at their computers and submit spam comments all day. And then there are little bot programs running around the web submitting comment after comment to any website they can find. When one attacks your site, you know it to the tune of hundreds of spam comments. Who wants to wake through all of those? And what if a REAL comment gets buried in the mix?

“When we first started our Mom-Owned business directory, the spam was unbelievable.” said Cary Heise of Vend Raleigh. ”The spammers were submitting hundreds of things a day. It took up so much of my time and it was very frustrating.” Cary changed the way submissions were done on her site and used a comment spam plugin to help cut down of the spam.

In WordPress under Settings>Discussion make sure you’ve set your comments to moderation. Then, make sure you have one of these plugins to help weed out the spam.

Akismet ($)
Antispam Bee

Backup Plugins

You’d think that adding some kind of backup utility would be the first thing a web designer does for their clients. And for a web designer who is at the top of their game is it. But if you took advantage of cheap pricing or an inexperienced designer to save a few bucks, you might get left in the lurch when your site goes down.

Your hosting company does take a backup of your site, but it’s not enough. Unless you’ve upgraded your plan or you are on an expensive full-service host like WP Engine, that backup is saved over every time a new backup is taken. That means if you don’t realize your site is hacked within 24 hours, your backup is hacked as well.

Do you really need a backup? Having a good, clean backup can be the difference between having your site restored in 5 minutes and having to pay hundreds or thousands and wait weeks to have your site rebuilt. Just ask Catherine Pooler of Catherinepooler.com. Her site went down in the middle of a huge product launch. “The hosting company said no dice, the website is GONE!” Catherine told me. “But my web designer was on it and restored my site from the backup. We were taking orders again within 15 minutes. Having that backup saved my launch!”

Here are some of the backup plugins we use and recommend:
*Backup Buddy ($)
VaultPress ($)
Updraft Plus

If you haven’t taken any steps to secure your WordPress site, don’t hesitate. These plugins are very easy to install and set up. There is no good reason to put it off.

*An asterisk next to a link denotes a plugin that I endorse as an affiliate. I may receive compensation if you make a purchase after clicking on a link. I review and recommend hundreds of plugins but I only become an affiliate for the ones that I use and depend on for my own sites and client sites. If you see the asterisk, you can take it as my ultimate vote of confidence.

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