Insert Headers and Footers Plugin Review

Insert Headers and Footers Plugin Review

“Where do I put code in the header in WordPress?”

I get this question almost every week! There are quite a few common marketing tools that make you paste code in the header of your page or your website. Google Analytics, Facebook Ads, and Amazon Affiliates just to name a few. If you’re not a very techie person, this point in your process can throw you for a serious loop. Some WordPress themes have a place in the theme options marked for header code. But your theme doesn’t have it, you might need a plugin.

 

Insert Headers and Footers plugin by WP Beginner

This is a very light plugin that just does one thing. Download it from the WordPress.org repository and install it through your WordPress dashboard. Under Settings>Insert Headers and Footers you’ll find two entry fields. The header field is for code that should be loaded as soon as the page begins to load. The Footer field is for code that should be loaded last on the page.

Most of the time you’ll put the code from your tool in the Header field so it’s loaded first when the page comes up in the reader’s browser.

Insert Headers and Footers Plugin

Plugin or Theme Fields – Which is Better?

Some theme developers purposely don’t include the Header and Footer script fields in their themes. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, they don’t want to be responsible for code in those fields that doesn’t play nice with their theme.

A second (and better) reason, is that keeping the extra code in a plugin gives you more flexibility to change your theme. If all of the code were entered through your theme, it would disappear when you redesigned your site. And since some of us (yes, I admit it) tend to redesign our websites multiple times a year… well, you can see the issue. Having the code in the plugin means it will stay in place and working no matter how many times I change my theme.

 

WordPress Mobile Plugins for Better SEO

WordPress Mobile Plugins for Better SEO

Google is penalizing websites that aren’t mobile friendly. If you’re site isn’t mobile friendly, you may never show up in a Google search done on a mobile device again.

That’s pretty much the situation in a nutshell. Oh – and they say this change will have “significant” impact. The last time they said a change would have significant impact, entire business were wiped off the search results. (This is why SEO pros cringe and surface facial tics when they hear the words Panda or Penguin – code names for those algorhythm changes.)

As a small business owner or solopreneur, you NEED to address this situation with your website. Now. Even if you don’t get a ton of mobile traffic right now (here’s how to check that in Google Analytics), I predict that this is just Google’s first move toward a 100% mobile friendly web.

Hey, you can’t blame Google. We’re the ones who are married to our phones and tablets. Google is just trying to keep up with us.

How do I know if my website is mobile friendly?

To see if your website is mobile friendly, use the Google Mobile Friendly testing tool. Just type your website URL in and click Analyze. Google will display your results in just a few minutes. Here’s the before and after results of the website I was working on while writing this post.

Test for a WordPress Mobile Friendly Website

Red means you have problem, green means you’re good. If you don’t pass the Google Mobile-Friendly Test, here’s what to do next.

 

How Do I Make WordPress Mobile Friendly?

You’re a business owner, not a website designer and you need an easy way to make your website mobile friendly. My best recommendation is to upgrade your theme to one that is responsive. A responsive theme detects the screen size of the visitor’s device and automatically arranges the webpage to fit the screen. But if you don’t have the skill, time, or money to change your theme right now, there is an easy to use WordPress mobile plugin that might do the trick for you.

My New Favorite WordPress Mobile Plugin: WPTouch

One of my clients, a professional group for Mompreneurs called Vend Raleigh, needed a mobile friendly website, but didn’t have the time to deal with a complete theme overhaul. I installed the WP Touch free plugin and within ten minutes they passed the Google Mobile Friendly Test with flying colors!

The WPTouch Mobile Plugin has both a free and paid version. The free version does the job very well, and the free mobile theme is one of the best I’ve seen.

WordPress Mobile Plugin WP Touch page

Before you install any plugin, be sure to make a fresh backup of your website in case things go wrong. Because trust me, things will go wrong when you least expect it!

Once you install the plugin, you can tweak the theme settings, upload your logo and you’re ready. There are some additional features, but that’s the basics.

After you’ve implemented the plugin, check your site on several mobile devices to be sure you like what you see. And lastly, run the site back through the Google Mobile Friendly testing tool to be sure that it passes the test.

Voila! Your website is mobile friendly. Give it try and let me know if the comments if this works for your website.

Is SEO Dead?

posted in: How Tos, WordPress | 4

“Is SEO Dead?” Well, that depends on how you look at it. Search Engine Optimization has changed a lot since the last few Google algorhythm updates. You see, Google is trying to refine the way the SEO game is played. They don’t want it to even BE a game. They want to reward websites with good, high quality content and the trustworthy experts that are creating that content. And, they want to make it more difficult for people to game the system and get ranked for things they don’t deserve to rank for.

So in a sense, SEO is dead.

It’s dead from the viewpoint of needing some high-tech SEO expert to get your website ranked for the things it truly and honestly deserves to rank for. So for the high-priced SEO firms who were charging thousands of dollars a month to get you up in the search engines, well yeah. SEO is kind of dead for them. Because it’s not about gaming the system anymore. It’s about creating really good content for readers. And you don’t need an SEO expert to do that.

SEO is now within YOUR reach.

If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur who is simply wanting to be matched up with the people who are looking for your products and services – SEO is very much alive and well. The first thing you need to do is create high-quality content that is useful for your website visitors. The next thing you need to do is make sure you’re giving Google the information it needs to understand what your content is about.

Since I launched the Do-It-Yourself SEO for Small Business course, I’ve talked to a LOT of small business owners about SEO. So many of them aren’t sure exactly what SEO means, or how it might be worth their time. So I’ve started a new free Facebook group just for small business owners and entrepreneurs who are beginners with SEO. Come on over and learn about what SEO is, and how easy it is to implement the basic pieces. If you’re not using SEO, you’re missing out on huge amounts of free traffic to your website. Why not join the group and see what happens?

Webinar Ignition LIVE WordPress Plugin Review

Webinar Ignition LIVE WordPress Plugin Review

Webinar software can be really pricey and unreliable. But webinars are a great way to reach out to your followers and make a real connection with them. I recently did a live review of Webinar Ignition – a WordPress Webinar Plugin that wraps management features around a Google Hangout on Air.

I’ve been using Webinar Ignition for a few months now to host my own webinars and while it hasn’t been completely snaffu-free, I’ve had a great experience with it. In fact, I’m impressed enough with it that it’s one of only four plugins to date that I’ve become an affiliate partner for. I’ll only partner with plugins that I personally use and love – so that’s saying a lot.

You can watch the recording of the LIVE Plugin Review below, but since it’s kind of long I’ll highlight the pros and cons of this plugin first.

Webinar Ignition – The Pros

The Price is only $97 One-Time

Let’s face it – if you’re new to webinars you don’t want to spend a ton of money until you know that your followers are going to respond well to the format. Webinar Ignition has a low price point at $97 one-time fee. And, at the time I’m writing this they offer a 30-day money back guarantee (check their website to be sure that hasn’t changed). I’ll be honest – this is what clinched the sale for me. I spend a lot of money each year on WordPress plugins and so when I find a plugin with high value and a low price tag, I’m in WordPress heaven.

It all mostly happens on your domain name

First of all, Webinar Ignition is a WordPress plugin vs a webinar service. So all of the functionality happens right on your website. This is great for SEO – you’re driving traffic on to your site instead of driving it to a landing page on a different domain. That also means that you don’t have to worry about the webinar service going down – as long as your website is up everything should work fine. You do need one or two other connected services; Google Hangouts on Air and if you choose to have a love chat you’ll need to connect to a third-party service like Livefyre or Chatwing.

Landing Page Integration with Other Tools

The three webinar registration pages that come with Webinar Ignition are not the greatest, I’ll admit. They’re pretty standard along the lines of many registration pages you’ve seen before. However, this plugin integrates with other popular landing page solutions like Optimize Press and Leadpages. So if you’re savvy enough to own those tools you can create any kind of registration page your heart desires.

Easy to Use Interface

As you’ll see in the Live review, the interface is super easy to use. You can walk through each tab and complete the fields or turn off sections on the pages. If you miss a field, placeholder text is displayed that saves you from embarrassing mistakes. As with any webinar software, there are a few things you need to pay attention to during the webinar and it DOES take practice! You’ll see me struggle a little bit in the video because I forgot to log into the third-party chat before the call and I couldn’t type a comment. I also had three monitors going (you’ll see my setup when I pan the camera around). I recommend that you have at least two monitors so you can screen share and monitor the chat at the same time.

Google Hangouts on Air for the Video

Google Hangouts on Air (or HOA as we lovingly call them) is a great way to deliver a webinar on its own. Add Webinar Ignition to them and you’ve got full-service registration and reminders that will help you build your list and sell. After the webinar, you can just copy the embed code from the HOA and you have an instant replay.

Good Customer Service

I have had a couple of issues during the setup and also with the functioning of Webinar Ignition (see the cons for details). Embarrassingly, most of those issues were user error. The Webinar Ignition customer service team always responded quickly with an answer and kept me up to date when the issue was something on their end. It’s a ticketing system, not a phone number so you do have to wait for an email response.

 

Webinar Ignition – The Cons

Google Hangouts on Air for the Video

Yes, I’m putting HOAs in both the pro and the con section. There is about a 45 second delay when you use HOAs. That becomes an issue when you are using the live chat feature in Webinar Ignition. If you ask your audience a question, they won’t hear the question for 45 seconds – during which time you’re sitting there like an idiot because nobody is answering you. I’ve learned to get around this by asking the question first, then giving some explanation while I wait for the answers to appear in the chat.

In the video, you’ll see a “Join the Conversation” box pop up in  the Google Hangout. I’ve seen this same issue on webinars I’ve attended. My friend David Vaughn was kind enough to make us this short video to explain how to get rid of that pop-up so that your attendees don’t click on it and navigate away from your webinar screen and the live chat.

No Live Customer Service

If you have an issue right before a scheduled webinar you can’t call Webinar Ignition to get instant help. You’re kind of on your own. However, because everything is present on your actual website I don’t know that they could help you anyway. Any issue you are experiencing is likely to be user error (like mine), an issue with the third-party services, or an issue with your web host.

It’s Susceptible to Normal Plugin Issues

As with any WordPress plugin, Webinar Ignition is susceptible to the same issues as other plugins. Cross compatibility with other plugins, themes, or WordPress core could rise up and bit you. I had one experience where a bug in an update cause my countdowns to disappear. I recommend not updating the plugin the day of a webinar – always do your updates and test it when you’re not in a time crunch.

During my initial plugin setup, the webinar pages weren’t rendering properly. I’ve seen this issue on occasion with other plugins that auto generate pages. You need to set your permalinks to a certain format. Even if they are already set in the right format, be sure to click Save on the Settings>Permalinks page anyway our your pages won’t render properly.

I’m not pulling any punches – Webinar Ignition is a great plugin and at $97, you really can’t go wrong. If you want to see it in action before you buy, take a gander at the live webinar recording below.

 

Best WordPress Contact Form Plugins

Best WordPress Contact Form Plugins

So, you need a form on your website. That’s not surprising – everybody needs a contact form (or is that a Thneed?) Anyway, forms have so many uses that it’s a lot like a digital Thneed. Contact forms, client feedback surveys, event registration, email signups… and the list goes on!

No matter what your WordPress form needs, there is a plugin for that. Here are some of my favorite Form Plugins for WordPress

 

Jetpack’s Contact Form

If what you need is a simple to set up, lightweight email form and you’re already using the popular JetPack plugin by Automattic, then the Contact Form module is perfect for you. JetPack is a plugin that packages up a huge amount of services from WordPress.com and allows you to use them for your self-hosted WordPress website. Jetpack is huge, so if all you’re looking for is a simple form, you might want to jump down to the section on Contact Form 7.

 

Contact Form 7

As the leading contact form plugin for many years, Contact Form 7 is the go-to contact form for a huge number of WordPress website owners. It a well-established plugin and maintained consistently. New users have told me that they find it a little clunky in the setup, but once you get it figured out you shouldn’t have any problems.

 

Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms is a premium plugin that currently costs around $79 a year. I put off buying Gravity Forms for waaaaay too long. I was trying to justify the cost, but if you have a need for anything beyond a simple contact form then it’s justification enough to buy this plugin. Gravity forms allows you to create multiple forms and tracks submission through each form in addition to emailing you the form entries. You can connect a payment Gateway and use it to sell things. You can add the submitters automatically to your email list. You can conduct polls and surveys. The options with Gravity forms are endless (or at least more numerous than you are likely to need). The biggest benefit over the other forms plugins is that Gravity Forms keeps an submitted information in a database that can be exported to Excel. There is no chance of emailed submissions getting lost en route or in your mailbox.

My favorite of these three is Gravity Forms, no contest. Which solution is right for you? Let me know in the comments.

Theme Test Drive Plugin Review

Theme Test Drive Plugin Review

Update: This Plugin is no longer in the the repository. It has been replaced with WP Theme Test. I have not reviewed the new plugin yet.

It’s a common dilemma. You’re tired of your old WordPress theme and you want to try out a new one. But your website is live. You can’t just go making a mess out of your website, playing around with a new theme when visitors are coming. That’s like hosting a dinner party in the middle of a kitchen remodel. It just isn’t done.Tweet this!

Enter a handy little plugin called Theme Test Drive.

I had this exact dilemma when I needed to do a refresh on one of my websites that had been sadly neglected in favor of more lucrative sites. It had a sudden rise in popularity and when it reached seven thousand visitors a month, the website shame just got to be too much. I HAD to update the site. But with that much traffic, I didn’t want to take it offline or try to do a live update where it would look like a mess when people landed on it.

I had been using the My Product theme from Elegant themes and I wanted to switch over to Headway Themes, which would take me a day or so to customize. The Theme Test Drive plugin activates the secondary theme (In my case Headway) so that the admin user (meaning me) can customize and view the theme. But all of the other visitors will continue to see the old theme. Brilliant!

Activating the Theme Test Drive Plugin

Once you install the plugin and the new theme you want to customize. Head over to Appearance>Theme Test Drive.

Theme Test Drive WordPress Plugin Review.

Choose the new theme from the drop down list and click Enable Theme Drive. Now you can see the new theme but anyone who is not an admin is still seeing the old one.

You can leave your website this way for days, even weeks if you want. I did run some site speed tests to make sure it wasn’t causing any significant load on my site. At the most, it may have added half a second to my load time – it went from about 2 seconds to about 2.5 or so. I feel like that is a very acceptable temporary price to pay for the value the plugin provides.

Switching Themes Permanently

Once you have the new theme looking good, it’s time to push it live! For this, the plugin takes advantage of a native WordPress theme feature. Once you set up a theme, the settings will stick even when the theme is deactivated. That means you can turn the theme off and when you turn it back on all of your customizations will be in place. (OK – it doesn’t always work perfectly, but with most well-coded themes you’re golden.)

Head back to Appearance>Theme Test Drive and click the Disable Theme Drive button. Then go to Appearance Themes and activate the new theme. That’s it! Your website will start showing your new theme.

The next time you want to do a theme change on your live site, give the Theme Test Drive plugin, well… a test drive!

 

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