Where did the Yoast Meta Description Field Go?

Where did the Yoast Meta Description Field Go?

posted in: SEO | 2

The Yoast SEO plugin had a major update in November. A lot of things changed and I’m getting tons of emails with the same question, “Where the #$@&%*! did my Yoast Meta Description field go?” I made this short video to give you the answer.

 

 

 

Duplicate Post WordPress Plugin Review

Duplicate Post WordPress Plugin Review

For awhile now I’ve been kind of annoyed that WordPress core doesn’t allow you to duplicate pages. I work so hard to put together attractive, well-converting, solidly designed pages and it makes sense that I’d like to reuse them with different content. Sales pages, webinar pages, special features – all great reasons to reuse a page format.

I’m planning a webinar series for 2016 and to make the process of setting up each webinar a bit easier, I finally took the time to find  a duplicate post WordPress plugin that will solve this problem for me. (Proof that we’ll only act when we’re in enough pain, right?)

Duplicate Posts is a light plugin that does exactly that – allows you to duplicate existing pages and posts. It ads a Clone option in the  Page/Posts list view.

 

Duplicate Post WordPress Plugin

 

It also ads the Clone option on the edit page and in the admin bar. As long as you’re logged in, you can even clone the page from the front-end of the site.

One of our astute commenters, Nikki F loves the plugin too, although she did fine one limitation. When cloning events with the All-In-One Calendar plugin, it leaves off some important information like event times and venue. You’ll have to check those details when you clone.

Which leads to my only caution when using this plugin — make sure you go through the new page and change everything. That means your featured image, categories SEO settings etc.

This is a short review because this plugin only does one thing. It just does it really, really well.

How to Check Your PayPal IPN in WordPress

How to Check Your PayPal IPN in WordPress

posted in: How Tos, WordPress | 0

If you use PayPal to process payments with WordPress, you’ve probably received a cryptic and somewhat alarming email about updating your IPN settings. The subject line screams: IMMEDIATE ATTENTION REQUIRED: PayPal service upgrades. While the email does a great job of scaring the crap out of you and making you think your website is going to come crashing down around your ears, it doesn’t do such a great job of telling you exactly how to prevent that from happening.

Luckily, Mike Jolley (lead developer on the famous Woo Commerce plugin) has made this incredibly easy for us. He’s developed a plugin that will tell you if your IPN is going to work when PayPal makes the switch to SHA-156. In case that last sentence sounded like a foreign language, I’ll explain.

Instant Payment Notification (IPN) is a message service that automatically notifies merchants of events related to PayPal transactions. For example, you’re using WooCommerce and a customer is taken to the PayPal website to pay for your product. When the payment is complete, PayPal sends a notification to your website telling WooCommerce to mark the order as paid. This isn’t just a WooCommerce thing, many plugins that integrate with PayPal use IPN.

To check your WordPress website for compatibility with the new IPN, you can upload Mike’s plugin.

  1. Go to https://gist.github.com/mikejolley/0941e0882efcad64ea40 and click Download Zip on the right.
  2. Log into your WordPress website, click Plugins>Add New>Upload Plugin and upload the zip file.
  3. Click the Activate Plugin link.
  4. You should be on the Plugins Page. Find the PayPal Sandbox IPN Tester plugin and click on the link highlighted in yellow below.
    Paypal IPN Tester
  5. If the message you get says Success, you’re good to go. If it doesn’t contact your hosting company to make sure they are on the job and updating your servers soon.
  6. Delete the plugin. You don’t need it anymore and it’s never good to leave unused plugins in your site.

A big thanks to Mike Jolley for developing this plugin and for making sure I had my details correct.

 

Don’t Update Your WordPress Website

Don’t Update Your WordPress Website

posted in: How Tos, WordPress | 0

“Don’t update your WordPress site
or all of your customizations will be lost.”

If you ever hear these words from the person who designed your WordPress website, alarms should go off in your head. And I mean big, ”evacuate the area because disaster is coming” alarms.

In the past few weeks, two new clients have come to me because the person who developed their site told the not to apply any updates or their site would be ruined. Both sites were originally built in 2013. Less than two years later, one was broken due to a plugin conflict with WordPress, and the other had been hacked.

 

What’s the big deal about updating WordPress?

Updates happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes you get better functionality. Sometimes it’s a bug fix. But more often than not, some hacker found a way to break in to your site and the update is a security release that plugs the hole.

Do you really want to leave your site open to attack? I didn’t think so.

That’s why you need to apply updates.

Because while WordPress does push out and apply mandatory security updates to the core WordPress files, that doesn’t happen for themes or plugins. So you have two risks – unsecured themes and plugins, and themes and plugins that might break when the WordPress core mandatory security update is applied.

 

Why would a designer build a site that can’t be updated?

That’s a great question! If a designer builds your site without having to make modifications to the theme code, then updating should be no problem. The problem happens when your theme code or CSS gets customized. The theme files get replaced with a new version during an updates. And those customizations get wiped out.

There is a solution. WordPress offers an easy way to protect site customizations from being lost when updates happen. It’s called a Child Theme. The developer makes a copy of any files they modify and puts them in a special folder. That’s pretty much it.

I can only guess at why someone who is taking your money to build you a customized website wouldn’t make a child theme to ensure that your site is as protected as it can be. Maybe they’re not very skilled at WordPress and don’t know how to make a child theme (it’s super easy). Maybe they’re lazy and don’t want to take the time. Or maybe they just don’t care about what happens to your site once they’re done with it. There really is no “good” reason. Just bad excuses.

 

When don’t you need a child theme?

If you’ve looked at Appearance>Themes and you don’t see a child theme there, you don’t necessarily need to panic. If your theme doesn’t have code customizations, you don’t need a child theme. If your theme includes a special area for CSS code, then you don’t need a child theme. And, many developers don’t actually label their child themes with the word “child”. So you might have one and not even know it. If you’ve updated your website in the past without any issues then you are probably fine.

 

What to do if you’ve been told not to update.

You’ve been told not to update your site. What do you do now? If you have a good relationship with the person who built your website, talk to them. Ask them if it’s possible to build a child theme to protect the customizations. If they don’t know what you’re talking about or are unwilling to do it, then it’s time to find a new website designer who can add a child theme for you. If you wait until your site breaks to address this issue, you’ll be scrambling to find someone who can fix it. Start now and take the time to interview web designers. Choose someone who has your best interests at heart and is a good fit for the way you like to do business.

One last thing, and I don’t mean to get preachy… no, that’s a lie. I do mean to get preachy.

There are a lot of crappy, unethical web designers out there. I like to think that most of them don’t purposefully build poorly constructed websites or run off with people’s money.

I think a lot of people build a site or two and then decide to call themselves a web designer. They quickly get in over their head and instead of admitting the issue and refunding the money, they walk away and hide.

Designing beautiful, secure and lasting sites with WordPress takes a LOT of knowledge and a lot of willingness to troubleshoot and problem solve. Do your research before hiring any web designer. Talk to former clients, look through their portfolio and make sure that most of the sites are still standing. Get a contract and read it carefully before signing it. Do your homework and protect you’re the very important business asset that is your website.

OptimizePress Review

OptimizePress Review

If you’re launching a course on your WordPress website, you’ve probably come across a least a mention or two of OptimizePress. The OptimizePress theme along with the OptimizeMember plugin functionality gives you a way to restrict your course or other paid content. It also comes with an amazing drag and drop builder interface that I find extremely easy to use with an end result that is polished and professional.

I build the DIY SEO for Small Business Course using Optimiz Press, but when it came time to do a review I reached out to Genevieve Mari. She works with OptimizePress on a daily basis and loves it so much, she’s created her own OptimizePress training course and free Facebook group to help others use the tool even better. Here’s the honest take with both the good and the bad on OptimizePress from Genevieve. ~Kelly

 

OptimizePress Review

by Genevieve Mari

I’m not going to lie; I am a huge fan of OptimizePress. In fact, it is the platform and plugin I recommend most and it is the only platform I work with.

Why? Because, 99% of the time, it is the perfect answer to ALL of my clients needs.

But despite my love affair with OptimizePress, I am still very well aware of where it could be improved and why some might shy away from it.

OptimizePress is Different

First things first, I want to make sure you really get what you get when you chose to work with OptimizePress.

See while most people speak of it as a membership plugin, it is so much more then that. In fact, OptimizePress is NOT a membership plugin, it is a theme (with a plugin version of it’s theme) that COME WITH it’s own membership plugin called OptimizeMember.

So many are unclear on that and this is where it really stands alone to most other “membership” type plugins. Not only can you lock and load your content, you can fully build your site (as well as specific type pages) with the OptimizePress Theme. In fact, you can even build a blog site and never even use it’s membership capabilities.

So let’s go over all the WHYs OptimizePress has won me over.

1. It’s affordable!!!! Who doesn’t want to save money right??

At its lowest price point, you get 3 API keys, which is the equivalent of three separate sites. And that includes over 30 templates for you to use to build your site should you not feel brave enough to start with a blank page. I especially enjoy these templates when looking for inspiration!

2. It comes with over 30 templates.

Seriously, who can’t manage to build a site with over 30 template to chose from? And I’m talking about all sorts of templates; Landing and optin pages, sales pages, course/membership pages, webinar pages, Thank You pages, etc.

Best of all, all these templates are 100% customizable so that you can give every page you build the exact look and feel that you want. Your branding will following you with this platform!

Optimize Press Options

3. You can build your pages/site from a blank canvas!

While daunting for some, many enjoy the freedom of creativity that a blank page can offer. So if you are bold and design-inclined, you have the power to create anything you want when using the blank page as your starting point.

 

4. It comes with it’s own membership plugin

This is actually an incredible partnership of theme and plugin, meaning that your membership plugin integrates seamlessly with your site. And this plugin is fairly straightforward to configure, although I would say that most of the “user” errors happen in this part of the set up. After comparing it to other membership plugin, I feel it is the most user-friendly plugin in town.

Optimize Press Options

Moreover, it integrates with PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, and many more shopping carts as well as a variety of email marketing services such as Mailchimp, Aweber, Infusionsoft and Ontraport, just to name a few.

Optimize Press PayPal Options

5. It has a lot of advanced features.

Like the overlay optimizer (think two step opt-in boxes) and launch funnel set up. And if the nitty-gritty is what you are after, you can really get it completely customized to your needs. Whether you are setting up one or many courses on the same platform, OptimizePress’s advanced capabilities mean that there is very little stepping in the way of you have the exact site you want.

What You Should Watch Out For

Now, despite my love affair of OptimizePress, I am well aware that there are reasons for some to be less then thrilled with it.

First of all, if you already have a theme installed and set up on your own site and want to use OptimizePress, then you need to use the OptimizePress plugin. This is where problems can happen. OptimizePress is a very robust and big theme/plugin, and therefore can sometimes clashes with other themes and plugins. So before installing OptimizePress plugin, it is highly recommended to verify the compatibility of your theme with the OptimizePress plugin. You can do so here (https://optimizepress.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/200553686-Incompatible-Themes-Plugins).

Fortunately, the work around to this incompatibility issue is to create a sub-domain or sub-folder and house your OptimizePress install (it would be the theme at this point) there instead.

Secondly, and speaking of it being such a huge theme and plugin, it also requires a good hosting package to support it. The basic hosting requirements can be found on OptimizePress’ support site as well. For some, this might present an issue but for most entrepreneurs running a business, you basic hosting package should be just fine.

I won’t lie, there is definitely a learning curve to using OptimizePress and most of my clients will hire me to set up their membership while they build their pages. But it’s not impossible and with some guidance and support, I’ve seen some really nice sites come from some of the members in my OP support group.

My OptimizePress Wish List

Now here is what I would change.

I hate the drip content featured in OptimizePress. It is set up to work based on when someone signs up to your course/membership site, and not to a date you set in the system. Which means that if you want the content to drip over a weekly period, the startup date of each sequence will be set up based on when each user purchases registration to your site. This is less then ideal for entrepreneurs selling packages where they want to follow their group through the program.

What I would love to see incorporated within OptimizePress is an affiliate plugin or structure embedded into the OptimizeMember plugin. Because OptimizePress doesn’t always play well with other plugins, this would fulfill a need that many course builders have.

Also, an easier integration of other shopping cart systems, like SamCart, I feel would be appreciated by those trying to move away from PayPal.

But all and all, as a “full package” platform, with a theme, membership plugin, templates, and more…all for less then $100, OptimizePress is pretty hard to beat!

Zippy Courses Review

Zippy Courses Review

I’ve asked some of the best WordPress gurus I know to review their favorite plugin and tell us why they love it so much. And since reviews are only valuable if they’re balanced, I also asked them to be brutally honest about anything they might NOT love quite so much. My friend Kimberly Gosney of KimberlyGosney.com has been raving about Zippy Courses for awhile now, so I asked her to give us the low down. I’d also like to point out that there are no affiliate links in this review, her positivity is all for the plugin!

Why you’ll fall in love with Zippy Courses

In August of 2014 I sat refreshing the screen on my internet browser eagerly anticipating the cart opening for the first launch of Zippy Courses. I found the sales page by accident about 20 minutes before the launch officially started and I felt a little bit like a crazy plugin stalker.

Finally it was go time and I was lucky enough to snap up one of the first 25 beta test spots for Zippy Courses.

Within a few minutes I had my download and I was all raring to go. I had tried a few membership plugin options for WordPress that had left me irritated in the past and pondering why it has to be so hard to create a course area with a separate password for each participant that doesn’t become a nightmare of “how do I login-ness.”

It’s really easy to create a course using a system of password protected pages for free on WordPress, but I was at the point in my business where I wanted my more premium courses locked up like Fort Knox.

In the past nine months I’ve seen Zippy Courses become the easiest way for the newbie course creator to take their business to the next level while not breaking the piggy bank. I’m going to share Five Reasons Why You’ll Fall In Love With Zippy Courses.

 

Reason 1: Zippy Courses is very budget friendly.

It’ll cost you $199 for your first year including support and updates. That’s less than $17 bucks a month to secure your courses and memberships. Each year after that is $99. You just won’t find anything out there that’s this affordable and does so much!

 

Reason 2: Your video courses get served up like WOW.

There’s no other way I can say it. If you’re running an online video based course with tutorials or any kind of video component to your video course. Zippy Courses takes your video lessons and gives them style! You can add a welcome video and inside your courses you get a cool menu bar on the right hand side that links to the next video so your participants can start on one lesson and easily move to the next one.

Zippy Courses Screenshot

Screenshot of a very basic course layout with a video on the page.

 Zippy Courses Screenshot

Screenshot of my favorite feature the video player with sidebar video menu area.

 

Reason 3: Zippy Courses is fast as all get out to set up.

When you use the Zippy Courses Theme or the Social Triggers Theme you get a well thought out design that’s structured to save you time. You can set it up in as little as 1 to 2 hours and you can customize it to match your brand colors. You can even add in your own logo to personalize the design.

 

Reason 4: Zippy Courses lets you create and control your courses.

You can have courses that get delivered all at once, dripped out slowly, go evergreen. You can release one course or a hundred courses quickly and easily. You get to add images or videos to your courses and you can even add quizzes to see how engaged your course participants are.

Reason 5: Jonathan Wondrusch.

Who’s Jonathan? He’s the Zippy Courses co-founder. When I was setting up Zippy Courses I had a question or two and a little hiccup here and there and Jonathan was on it! He was fast to return emails and that kind of support is really important when you’re using something new to run your business.

So there you have it. If you’re looking for an easy way to start delivering your courses and classes that won’t break the piggy bank, Zippy courses is the perfect starting point.

Now that I’ve given you my top five favorites I want to share with you the one little thing that didn’t light me up because it’s something you’ll need to workaround if you’re offering any high dollar multiple payment plans or monthly subscriptions when using Zippy Courses and PayPal.

With Zippy Courses and PayPal you have to make sure you’ve got Enhanced Recurring Payments for PayPal Payments Standard and you’ll only be able to create a plan with four payments including the first payment they make to get started.

You can make this work for you by turning your monthly subscription into a quarterly subscription or by sending out an email autoresponder at the end of every four months with a link to the course and getting your members to re-purchase.This is only for payment plan based courses or memberships with PayPal and Zippy Courses.

Today’s Guest Star Poster:

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