Categories
General

Get a Free Website!

free-website-2009-125-1251…if you’re a non-profit.

So if you ARE a non-profit, or know someone participating in one, send them to freesite.developdaly.com.

I’ll be designing and developing a free website for one non-profit. The application is on the link above and the deadline is March 1, 2009.

I’d really appeciate if you’d share this post with your friends!

Categories
Themes

Introducing the WP Full Site WordPress Theme

WP Full Site Banner - WordPress theme for your small business

Major theme update: Version 2

Stumbling across this theme may finally be your answer to one of the most frequently asked questions about WordPress — where can I get a theme that caters to the needs of my small business?

Here! That’s where. WP Full site is a theme built for small businesses that want a website that enables them to use a Content Management System (CMS), have the option of a blog, and focuses on the necessities that all small business websites need.

A Small Business WordPress Theme

What exactly are the requirements of a “small business WordPress theme?”

Every business is unique, and no one can expect anything to be everything they’ve ever dreamt of, but there are some clear guidelines that a small business should adhere to with a website.

Your site should at least have:

  • An obvious way to be contacted, hence the phone number and email link at the very top of the website
  • A clear, concise call to action accompanied by an attention grabbing graphic
  • The option to have or blog or not have a blog

Make It Easy to be Contacted

WP Full Site uses one of the best practices in optimizing website conversion rates — that is, providing visitors with a quick, easy to find way to contact you.

By placing the phone number and a link to your email (or contact form) in the top right hand corner of your site visitors will always be able to find how to contact you. You don’t want to ever frustrate a potential customer about to be sold and have them give up because they couldn’t find the contact information!

In addition, studies show that providing customers with an easily findable phone number helps people feel more assured that you’re a legitimate business. Some people would rather call than email too — don’t lose business because they can’t find your number.

Call to Action

You’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking about how you wrap up what you’re selling into one sentence. Catch the visitor’s attention with your tagline, and then actually persuade them to convert with your customized call to action.

To Blog or Not to Blog

These days blogging is pretty highly suggested — one of the reasons you’re probably already considering WordPress. Blogging can help keep your customers stay involved in your business, increases your search engine visibility, and can position your company as an expert in your field.

Though blogging has it’s benefits, you may not have the time or interest to keep up with a blog. For you, WordPress is still a great option!

WordPress doesn’t have to be used as a blog. If you already love WordPress though and don’t want to find another CMS this theme is quite helpful in your pursuits.

Categories
Blogging

Site Updated & Why You Should Be Using Thesis

thesis-300x250First things first, the site has a refreshed look. It’s the same basic design it was before, but I’ve changed several things.

Before I get to the site changes, the other big news is that my site is now being hosted by HostGator. Previously I was on MediaTemple. Lots of great things to say about them, but the 1 thing that matters the most to any site owner is the availability and speed of the site.

All was great when I first started with MT, but things have been on the decline for a while….to the point that the site was taking 5-10 seconds to START loading. Crazy.

So I’ve heard great things about HostGator and things are MUCH faster. Good move Patrick.

Site Changes

Like I said, the basics are still here, but there were lots of kinks. Previously I meant to work in some fairly important features like, say subscribing to the blog and searching the site. Doh! Well, I wanted them in the design badly, but got stuck on how to actually make it work. I built the site upon the Thesis theme and because I was a newbie with it I failed to achieve everything I wanted.

Now, I’m no newbie.

That’s why I can comfortably tell you to download the Thesis theme for yourself (like right now!).

After playing with Thesis enough I was easily able to accomplish everything I wanted. Now I think the site is beautiful. Thesis takes care of so much and really makes my job easier.

So the actual changes include a sidebar with all the cool sidebar stuff. There’s better formatting in the blog, a subscribe button, and a smarter home page.

Categories
WordPress

Better WordPress Search Needed

For a current client we are trying to improve the reliability of WordPress’ search engine. By default, WP sorts results by date. You could argue that this makes sense for a blog because the most relevant results may be the most recent, and WP obviously made that argument. Realistically, people want relevant results, no matter the date (most of the time).

Plugins to Improve Search?

I set out to see how we could bring WordPress up to par with most search engines – a vain attempt at competing with Google search. The first and most popular solution for “fixing” WordPress search I came upon was Search Reloaded by Semiologic. Certainly Search Reloaded improves the accuracy of the search which is a step in the right direction. But even Semiologic admits it’s not perfect. When using Search Reloaded the results were thinner and more accurate, but sometimes you want more comprehensive and have them sorted accordingly.

Example: Searching for “arthritis” without Search Reloaded returns lots of results, including an article on Osteoarthritis. The same search with Search Reloaded returns only one article title Arthritis.

Ideally, both the Arthritis article AND the Osteoarthritis articles would be returned and sorted accordingly.

Sprucing Up the Search Page

After realizing that I may not be able to do much with the behind the scenes searching I tried tweaking the search page itself to at least give the appearance of a smater search engine. I started with Yoast’s WordPress search tips. Per Joost’s advice I added the Search Excerpt plugin to extract the snippet of text around keywords and bold the keywords in the snippet. I also added his Search Suggest plugin that catches possible typos and suggests the correct spelling (just like Google), and in adition it displays a list of keywords related to the search keyword as suggestions for related searches.

Still Lacking

Despite all of the changes, the search results still lack exactly what we need to achieve: comprehensive, yet accurate results.
Any suggestions for improving WordPress results or are you willing to write a plugin to do so?

Categories
Tips

SEO & WordPress Tips – 3

Google’s SEO Starter Guide – Just released; a good read for all beginners

Advanced WordPress Optimization – Ten PHP and MySQL changes to speed up & secure your site

WordPress 2.7 “Trailer” – Short video about the new 2.7 interface

Writing Good Content – Guide to creating well written content

Best WordPress Plugins – Several post related plugins that are incredibly flexible

Categories
Tips

SEO & WordPress Tips – 2

SEO Credibility – Good read on so called “SEO experts”

Reputation Management via Twitter – Awesome customer service all because of Twitter

“Send This to Twitter” – WordPress snippet to add the link to your posts

High Quality WordPress Theme – Easily customizable, awesome SEO, and support

Find Spam You’re Linking To – Search operators to find spam links on your site

Categories
Tips

SEO & WordPress Tips – 1

Social Media Release Builder – Easy SMR creation and hosting

Reputation Management Theory – My YOUmoz post discussing singular vs. pluralistic link networks

How to Use Google Analytics Segementation – Easy startup guide to using Analytics’ New Features

Unpersonalize Your Google Search – Google removed the option for you to do it yourself, but this still works

ww and wwww Subdomains – Redirect to capture all link juice from link typos

Categories
SEO

Hyperlocal SEO Tips

Struggling to beat out your competitors on a national scale is tough to do – taking them on locally ain’t so tough!

You just have to know what to do.

Optimizing your content, but especially the markup of your page, is crucial to succeeding in dominating your local search results.

GeoRSS

Adding semantics to your page puts you leaps and bounds ahead of your competition (in most cases). geoRSS is great because it’s SO sepecific.

Example: Your company services 10 surrounding cities. Create a page specific to each of those cities and explain why your service is helpful to that city in particular. Add some GeoRSS meta tags to the header and now search engines know exactly what is meant to be going on.

Benefit: Search engines pick up on the standard keyword phrases that signal it to be about a certain geographic area but at the same time they are certain which area it is about because of the GeoRSS tags. AND there are lots of sites out there that crawl the web looking for GeoRSS tags so they can aggregate local news, entertainment, and companies and display them on hyperlocal dashboard-like sites. Make it easy for them!

GeoRSS also has a WordPress plugin called GeoPress that makes blogging and local optimization a breeze. Check it out.

Duh, Use Your Address

Put your company’s address somewhere on every page of your site. Google can be certain they’re plugging you into the right locality if you provide them it.

Business Search Engine Submission

Make sure you manually submit as much information about your site as possible to Google, Yahoo!, Live, and Yelp so they can return your company as a result in local searches.

Categories
WordPress

Awesome Plugin I Can’t Wait to Use

I’m pretty excited to implement a new plugin in my future sites. Sugarrae and Yoast came together and developed a plugin to customize the login, registration, and profile pages of WordPress which are usually all styled with the standard WP style.

Check it out: Customize Your Community

Categories
SEO

Track the Crawl Rate of Spiders on Your Blog

Anyone can figure out how often bots visit their site by sifting through their log files everyday and organizing each bot and checking on the timespan between crawling, etc.

But who wants to do that?

Patrick Altoft created the Crawl Rate Tracker for WordPress. It does the grunt work to 1) visually display the rate at which Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and Technorati crawl a site and 2) provide data about how often each page is crawled and how many links that page has pointing to it.

Patrick Altoft's Crawl Rate Tracker

The crawling of my site seems consistent with other web sites using the plugin. Yahoo! seems to crawl websites more often than any of the other bot, especially in cases where there are lots of incoming links.

My most crawled page is “WordPress 2.5 Almost“. It isn’t a particularly interesting post and it only has one inbound link. Why then is it so popular with Yahoo!?

When I wrote that post I referenced the screencast that Matt Mullenweg created and linked to the post. WordPress placed the trackback reference on WordPress’ PageRank 7 blog post. I know PageRank and Yahoo! don’t go together, but at least from Google’s perspective that page is pretty important, so surely Yahoo! thinks so too. Yahoo! crawls that page, on average, every four hours. The page is from March, has little content, and wouldn’t really be useful to anyone now, but maybe I can take advantage of that.

Taking Advantage of Crawl Rate Tracker

So if I know which pages are crawled most often, and subsequently which pages seem to have the most authority (at least with a particular search engine) then it would make sense to put that data to use.

On my most crawled pages I can now go back and add links that point to less crawled pages or pages I think that need to receive more authority.

We also learn that referencing other popular blog posts can be a great way to attract bot attention (maybe not from Google) and have your site indexed more quickly and possible receive more authority in the process.

There could be many more features to this plugin to make it even better, but what Altoft created is already leaps and bounds beyond what we had before. Go checkout his plugin. I’m hoping his plugin will allow for me to have much more control over the authority of pages and link juice flowing between those pags.