WordPress Plugin Review: WordPress SEO by Yoast

WordPress SEO by Yoast is by far my preferred SEO Plugin. The Wikipedia definition of Search Engine Optimization (aka SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results. However, now that SEO is becoming a common term used by those outside of the industry, many people also use the term SEO when talking about making a website findable in social media, within site search, and just about any other method that drives organic traffic to a website.

WordPress SEO by Yoast earns top billing at WP Plugin Coach because the plugin goes beyond optimizing on-page SEO. It also has settings for optimizing social platform posting, and the interface itself not only helps you to create proper SEO for your pages and posts – it teaches you SEO principles in the process. And — learning is key here at WP Plugin Coach.

Yoast SEO Green LightThe most popular feature of the WordPress SEO Plugin is the analysis tool that looks at your SEO and gives you a red , yellow, or green light to tell you how well you’ve applied the principles of SEO for your particular keyword. It also gives you suggestions for how you can make your SEO better. The General tab helps you with the most important aspects of on-page SEO such as including keywords in the most important places and specifying page title and description.

The Page Analysis tab helps you to tweak the content of your pages and posts to place focus on the keyword(s) you chose for that page. And the Social tab allows you to control the Facebook image and descriptions for both Facebook and G+.

This plugin does other behind the scenes things to help your website get found. It creates XML sitemaps and keeps them up to date for you. It also gives you more global control over your permalink structure and page titles.

Everything I’ve discussed in this review is a part of the free version of WordPress SEO plugin. There is also a paid version with even more features. This is one plugin that I definitely recommend giving a try.

 

Plugin Stats

Name: WordPress SEO

Developer: Yoast

Purpose: SEO your pages and posts

Versions: Free or Paid

WordPress.org Page: http://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/

Developer Page: https://yoast.com/

SEO isn’t just for the experts any more. You can get great results by learning and applying the basics of SEO youself. If you’re going to be in the Raleigh area and you’d like to spend an afternoon learning DIY SEO with the WP Plugin Coach, check our schedule for the Do It Yourself SEO for Small Business half-day in-person class.

How to Find the Value of Your Brand Colors

Using brand colors on your website is a critically important to keeping a consistent brand image. Up until the release of WordPress 4.0, you had to code CSS if you wanted to use your brand colors in text. But now, you can change your text to brand colors with a pick and a click! That’s right, we’ve now got an awesome color picker in our WordPress interface. Watch the video below to get a preview before WordPress 4.0 comes out at the end of August.

And speaking of that WordPress release, do you get nervous about breaking your website when you apply updates to plugins, themes and WordPress itself? In The No-Fear Guide to Updating WordPress I’ll show you the best way to update to reduce the chance that you’ll break your website. I’ve also included solutions to the 9 most common problems that happen during updates. If something does go wrong , you’ll know exactly what to do to get your site up and running quickly.

 

Get A Sneak Peek at WordPress 4.0

The next major WordPress update – WordPress 4.0 is slated for August 27th, and it’s got a few nice features in store for us business users. I thought I’d give you a sneak peak of just three of potential changes. Keep in mind that development for this version is still happening, and so things might look a bit different in the final release.

 

Updates to the Media Library

mediaWhen you open up your media library, you’ll notice a new grid view. This view allows you to see more images above the fold of your screen. You can still see all of the image details and change the meta fields by clicking on the image. If you liked the old list view better, you can get it back by clicking the list view icon.

 

Updates to the Plugin Interface

plugin-serchThe plugin interface also seems to be getting a visual overhaul. Now, when you are searching for plugins to install, you’ll see a visual block layout. It looks like you still get quite a bit of information on the plugins right in this view. You can also click More Details to get the familiar pop-up view with more detailed information on the plugin.

 

Text Color Picker

WordPress Color PickerRight now, when we want to change the color of text on our pages and posts, we’re limited to just a few preset colors. If you want to stick with your brand colors or a color not on the list – well, you have to resort to CSS. In 4.0 it looks like we’re going to get a color picker! Finally, you’ll be able to use the exact color you need with no hassles. If you haven’t matched your website colors to your brand, it’s time to figure out those RGB and Hexidecimal values!

I want to send a huge shout out to the developers who are putting hours of time into making WordPress better. It takes a lot of people to keep an open source software project moving forward, and many of them don’t get paid for their contributions.

As I mentioned earlier, version WordPress 4.0 is still in development and anything could change between now and then. However, I think there are going to be some great interface updates for us to look forward to!

Are You Worried About Updating?

Are you worried that your website is going to break every time you apply an update to WordPress or a plugin? How would you like a guide that leads you through the best way to update your website AND tells you exactly how to fix some of the most common update issues? If so, you need the No-Fear Guide to Updating WordPress. Grab it before the next WordPress update on August 27, 2014!

How to Make Space in Your House for a Home Recording Studio

Make a Home Recording StudioWhen I tell people that they can create a video studio in their house for under $200, their eyes light up and I can practically see the possibilities start to run through their head. Then their eyes narrow. They get an intense look on their face and then say, “But where am I going to put it?”

The key to making your videos look more professional is good lighting. But those lights take up some space! Don’t worry, even if your house or apartment is tiny, you can still create a space to record videos. The video lighting equipment that I recommend starting with is very portable, so you don’t need to have it permanently set up in your house. I happen to have an extra room in my house where I can keep my equipment set up. But you’d never think that is a space that would work as a home recording studio.

use-a-junk-rom

Here is a picture of my room without the recording equipment. It’s got furniture, boxes, gym equipment and it’s the space where I do my ironing. (Well, when I manage to iron. I detest ironing.) The worst part about this room is the gabled ceiling. That ceiling seriously limits the height of the things you can fit in the room. Who would think that this space could turn into a recording studio? It just seems too cramped.

The truth is, I set up my equipment in about half of this space. The total area that I need to be comfortable with my largest light set (5 light stands) and a backdrop is about 9’x9’. The ceiling just needs to be tall enough that it doesn’t show in the camera shot. About a foot taller than your own height should be plenty.

If I’m using the space itself as a backdrop, I need even less space than that, maybe 5’ by the time the three light stands and camera are in place. Here’s what it looks like when I’m recording:

Create a Home Recording Studio

If you have a junk room or a spare bedroom, that’s perfect. Just clear some space. Nobody can see what’s off camera anyway. Here’s a shot from a video that was shot in this room. You had no clue there was a bright yellow giraffe stationary bike watching me film, did you?

Create a Home Recording Studio

 

Don’t use space as an excuse for NOT investing in good lighting for your videos. Proper lighting turns you from someone recording at their kitchen table to a trusted professional doing quality work.

Do you have a space in your home that can become a recording studio? Share your ideas in the comments below and I’ll respond with my thoughts and advice on making the space work for you.

Giving Access to Guest Bloggers in WordPress

Giving Access to Guest Bloggers in WordPressAs a Brand Manager and Social Media Marketer, I often assist clients with guest blogging. Having others write content for your blog audience is a great way to keep your site fresh and also gain additional exposure by attracting the guest bloggers’ audience as well.

The best way to acknowledge guest bloggers as authors on your WordPress site is to give them a user profile and the designate them as the Author of the post. This can be great for driving traffic, particularly if the guest blogger has Google Authorship set up.  However, many website owners don’t want to give an occasional guest blogger permission to access the back end of their website. Today I want to talk about how you can use WordPress roles to allow guest bloggers to post drafts without opening access to your entire website.

 

Choosing A WordPress User Role

Many website owners simply do not have the time to be hands-on every step of the way when they decide to include others in their content creating. For that reason, they will assign an individual writer a role. That role defines how active that person can be on the back end of the website. The two roles most often appointed to guest bloggers are of Contributor and Author.
There is no right or wrong way to choose your role assignments. Each website owner must do what is best for their situation. I’m going to point out the differences between the two roles in order to help you make informed decisions when assigning.
Note: All WordPress roles have predefined capabilities.
If you assign someone the role of “contributor” they will be able to upload their post into drafts, edit the post and delete the post. Contributors cannot upload images. They cannot publish their post nor can they edit or delete theirs or any other posts once they are published.
If you assign someone the role of “author” they will be able to upload their posts into drafts, add images, edit, publish and delete their post both before and after publication. In addition, “authors” can change their assigned password and edit their profile. Authors cannot modify any posts other than their own. Authors also cannot create, delete or modify website pages.

 

User Role Plugins

Website owners use a plugin that allows authors to create an author bio, complete with links to their social media profiles and their own website. There are also plugins and workarounds that allow the website owner to change predefined capabilities of each role in order to expand the role or reduce the functionality of the role. However, I am not qualified to speak in detail about plugins so I will leave that to the WP Plugin Coach.

 

WordPress Plugin AssistI have had great luck with the User Role Editor plugin by Vladimir Garagulya. It will allow you to modify and assign access not just for WordPress core, but also for installed plugins that are coded properly. ~ Kelly

 

 

I hope this information helped to shed a little light on ways to manage your guest bloggers and others who help create content for your site. I look forward to any comments or questions.

Essential SEO for Bloggers and WordPress Video

I’ve been attending the Raleigh SEO Meetup for about four years now. You know how sometimes you go to group presentations and you walk away wishing you could get those hours back? That has NEVER been the case with this group. I always walk out of these sessions with my head spinning, dying to get home so I can start implementing the new things I’ve learned. Last night was my chance to pay it back as I was invited to speak on Essential SEO for Bloggers and WordPress.

The crowd was a mix of very technical SEO people, entrepreneurs, marketers, and bloggers. While it’s difficult to keep a balance with a group that diverse, I gave it my best shot! We covered a variety of things from the pros and cons of blogging platforms to SEO to writing for your visitors and not for the search engines.

If you walk away from only one thing, here is what I’d like for you to remember. Think carefully about your purpose for blogging. Are you blogging for the purpose of having a blog? Are you attracting potential customers to your business? Are you educating the public?  Now that you are clear on your goal, make all of the decisions on your website with that goal in mind. Choose the plugins and design that will help you achieve those goals, not because they are the next cool thing.

Every session for this group is live streamed and recorded so you can watch the entire two-hours below! You can also join the group on Meetup.com and watch some of the prior sessions. I promise, it is time well-spent!

Would you like Kelly to speak at your next function? Message us for topics, schedules and rates.

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