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10 Must-Have WordPress Plugins on Your Site

Both professional and amateur webmasters can optimize their WordPress experience by using plugins. Even WordPress readers will benefit. With thousands of plugins available, it can be difficult to choose the best ones. We have saved you the time and effort by finding 10 must-have WordPress Plugins!

1. W3 Total Cache

This plugin is easy to setup. It increases the functionality of your site by decreasing the timespent waiting for a page to load. What it does is it stores static versions of pages without reloading them from their database. This means less work for your processor as well.

2. Google (XML) Sitemaps Generator

When it comes to search engine optimization, this WordPress plugin will get the job done. After installing it, you can set it up so that it will automatically create a new xml sitemap. The new sitemap is created after you post or make changes to your WordPress site. The changes can be submitted to specific search engines, in addition to Google.

3. Akismet

This WordPress plugin is included in the installation package for WordPress and you should definitely activate it. Getting spam comments on your site is a real issue and it can be difficult to manage. Akismet plays a vital role in spam protection. This protection is important, because spam comments left on your site can be time consuming to correct and may cause other problems.

4. All in One SEO Pack

AIO SEO pack improves the SEO elements of your site. It even works without intensive setup. Titles and meta tags are automatically generated in a unique form, which helps to prevent duplicates and to better promote your site. This WordPress plugin can be used by itself or in combination with other similar tools.

5. Related Posts

Users are likely to be interested in related information about previous subjects they have read about. Giving readers suggestions is appealing. The Related Post WordPress plugin finds related posts from your site and creates links to them. This makes related posts accessible to any reader, which helps to generate more page views.

6. Digg Digg

You must “dig” this WordPress widget because it makes sharing possible on all social media outlets! If you already have widgets for Twitter and Facebook, you can safely install Digg Digg (and you will not lose your counts).

7. Global Translator

Why let language barriers get in the way of your site recognition and utility? Installing the plugin gives the users option to translate it into their own language. Global Translator supports 48 languages.

8. Theme Tester

Your site design plays an important role in its popularity with users. However, changing a theme, usually means your site will be unavailable for a period of time. However, with Theme Tester, you can customize your site from scratch (while maintaining your settings) and simply replace the old theme with the new one when ready.

9. WP PageNavi

This WordPress widget allows users to jump directly to a specific page on your site. Instead of choosing the next page or the previous page, users can go straight to a specific one. It also has great looking navigation buttons.

10. WP-DBManager

Losing all your work can be a nightmare. Avoid loss by backing up your work. WP-DBManager makes backing up your files easy. You can even get a copy for your e-mail.

By Brad Bombardiere 9-29-2016

A Closer Look into the New Facebook Privacy Update

Facebook, in light of recent criticism involving it privacy policies, has made several drastic measures to guarantee the security of its website and the privacy of its users. Facebook is a prime target for identity theft and other such crimes. Hackers and other people who would attempt to breach Facebook’s security setup would be rewarded handsomely; emails, phone numbers, addresses, and other private information is prominently displayed and valuable. This information is in high demand, and many could easily profit off such material.

Private Security
Facebook, however, is already one step ahead of the game. Facebook’s chief of security, Joe Sullivan, has recently deployed a new tactic to target such attacks on private security. The program, dubbed the “Bounty Bug Program,” involves employing independent researchers (known to many as hackers) to seek possible bugs and security risks in Facebook’s current security setup.

User-Friendly System
Privacy, however, is not limited solely to hackers and others with malicious intent. A Facebook user may not want coworkers and family members to view photos and posts meant exclusively for friends. Facebook has addressed this concern by creating a user-friendly system for controlling which aspects of a user’s profile is available for viewing by preselected groups of people. Such a system allows users to control who is allowed to see which wall post, photo, etc.

New Features
Facebook has also recently announced a slew of features designed to improve personal privacy. The user interface has been drastically improved to facilitate privacy among its user base. A brand new system of approving tagged photos has been added; users now have the option of approving or rejecting tagged pictures before they are displayed on their wall. Under this new system, spam and other such problems will be swiftly removed as a new option to block someone will remove all photos, wall posts, and notes a Facebook user has been tagged in.

Group Feature
Facebook’s group feature has also been vastly improved. While the ability to create groups to monitor which Facebook friends see which part of a Facebook profile has always been available, a recent set of developments improves drastically on this system. In a particular, the option to specify who may see each post, status, video, or picture is an innovative and welcome development. In addition, a new feature has been added to allow a user to view his profile from the perspective of others. This allows a Facebook user to see the profile from the perspective of a best friend, mother, or boss to make sure all content is appropriate and well-placed.

This new slew of recently announced privacy features brings Facebook to a new level of privacy protection. These significant changes to Facebook will ensure its users a stress free environment and a more custom privacy policy. Facebook users can consider their private data secure; they can also consider their private posts and pictures safe from the prying eyes of their employer.

By Brad Bombardiere 9-29-2016

Social Media And SEO - A Winning Connection

Search Engine Optimization is essential for all ecommerce sites to figure in organic search results seen by the surfing public. Using various marketing strategies to get a higher search ranking, means incorporating social media marketing as well, and make the two work in tandem. This is because leading search engines like Google give significant weightage to social media and also use it to access the freshness of content and its quality. So e-tailers need to give importance to social media and ensure that it is linked to their SEO efforts.

SEO necessitates the use of good, informative and appealing content that is relevant to the products in question. The content has to be easy to understand, increase knowledge and clear doubts. Once published, the content needs to be popularized through social media and various marketing channels have to be used to popularize this content across a large group of target clientele. Similarly new content, with a unique perspective, new ideas and original thoughts, can be successfully popularized through social media like Twitter and Facebook. This spreads a small piece, virally and goes beyond the core group into the ocean beyond. People increasingly use their social profiles to spread such piece to their networks.

The best outcomes for an ecommerce site are to see their products, content and reviews, getting hundereds of “like” hits, figure in tweets and get emailed to networks. This leads to a chain reaction that converts into huge business opportunities. The key to success is in the extended reach of the content, reach that gets extended even further through social media.

How to use social media campaigns for SEO success

Social campaigns are beneficial for SEO as well. Each time any information, content or article is shared, a page with a distinctive URL is automatically created, and this has a back link to the article being shared. The number of people getting access to the content then multiplies manifold, since they further share good content with their network. A ‘like’ or ‘share’ is like a positive vote and signifies quality and useful information, and serve as social signals with SEO benefits.

The extent of knowledge and information sharing on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter can be gauged from the numbers disclosed. Facebook alone shares 4 billion bits of information everyday and Twitter posts 140 million tweets daily. Over 3 billion keywords are searched every day. This opens a world of opportunity to ecommerce owners who can use social media to sell, generate incomes and gain access to a global clientele. The secret lies in being able to catch the attention of those present n the social media, by publishing superior content and encourage people to share it with their networks. The effort put in brings instant results, and this helps to improve, learn from past failures to provide exactly what the audience wants.

By Brad Bombardiere 9-29-2016

CATEGORIES: SEO, Social Media

Generating Content Post-Panda

Generating Content post Panda – Quality over Quantity

Google’s Panda update has had a dramatic effect on many websites and caused stirrings among the Internet and SEO community that is still rumbling to this day. Sites that used to rank on the first page of certain keyword searches, found themselves buried several pages in, resulting in a dramatic loss of traffic, reduction of revenue and leaving the website owners with worthless Internet strategies. In fact, the notorious Panda update, aimed at reducing content farms and poor quality content, was not one but a serious of algorithm changes that is still not over. We can expect further tweaks as Google continues to reduce the amount of worthless content that search results can generate.

Some high profile sites were hit hard by Panda, such as Ezine.com, the article-marketing website beloved by many SEO andInternet marketingcompanies as a way of building back links and driving traffic through long tail searches. While many have decried Google’s Panda update as being ruthless and having a dramatic affect on their incomes, we need to look at it from Google’s point of view. While by far the most popular search engine out there, it does have competition looming over its shoulder. Microsoft’s Bing, which recently joined forces with Yahoo in attempt to drive more traffic away from Google, is becoming increasingly popular, and engines such as Blekko have made it easier for users to eliminate worthless content from its search results. And this is the point. When Google users make a keyword search and the results page consists of poorly written, uninformative or spun content, Google is not giving those users a quality service.

Post Panda Strategy

So what can websites that once relied on article sites, spun articles and other methods to drive traffic to their website, do? The answer is simple, listen to Google. Rehashing, spinning, duplicating, scraping or paying some offshore article writer a few dollars to churn out tons of content is not going to work anymore. Sure, for some really obscure long tailed keyword searches, this type of content may still rank fairly high, but that doesn’t mean you should continue churning it out. Think quality, not quantity.

Look atWikipedia, a website that ranks at the top of page one for almost every conceivable search term. Wikipedia doesn’t have an SEO team, it doesn’t have a link building strategy – its success is down to just providing quality and informative content that has relevance to a searchers request. Of course, websites reselling goods or providing Internet services are not going to be able to create encyclopedic content of this nature, but they can ensure what they do put out is relevant, informative and of good quality.

Blogging

Perhaps the best method of delivering content is to use a blog. Rather than churn out dozens of poorly phrased, uninformative articles and splashing them around various article sites, put one or two quality articles up on the blog each week. Make them keyword relevant, but don’t overdo the density -Panda will punish those that do- and if the content is relevant to the website and offers good quality information, it will not only eventually rank higher than anything posted on a content farm, but will also build links as people start to trust the content. It may take time to generate this trust, but eventually Google will start to look at the website as a place of quality, informative and relevant information.

It’s also important to make sure there is no duplicate or relevant content lingering about. Just rehashing the same articles over and over again is not going to work. Think of new angles, think of the information people want to see. Be informative. Be helpful. And if you are paying someone to generate content, pay somebody to write something decent. This may mean the cost of an article is going to rise dramatically, but you’ll get much more bang for your buck. One decent, well-written, relevant and informative article is going to be worth more than hundreds of poorly constructed ones.

The same goes for links too. Try to build relationships with others in the industry. Swap links with quality blogs and similar sites. Guest blogging is a great way of generating links and driving traffic. Sacrificing something that could go on your own blog and giving it to somebody else, will not only get you a link, but will also get you a share of the traffic built up by that blogger.

By Brad Bombardiere 9-29-2016

CATEGORIES: Google, SEO, Social Media

Internet Design for the Future

2009-2010 was no doubt the year of social media for internet marketing. Reality Concepts has been placing Home Builders and New Home Community content on various social media sites all the way back in 2005. In 2008 everyone asked face who? In 2009 everyone knew this was going to be the next big thing. No one knew how big though. Facebook grew faster than any form of mass media ever in history. Currently Facebook commands the internet and has surpassed well over over 500 million users. U.S. traffic now has equaled or exceeded Google.com’s traffic in the United States. Everyone in the home building industry knows you have to at least get on Facebook, that is the minimum. Now it is not a choice it just plain part of your online marketing strategy. It is 2010 and social media has matured to a degree. Facebook, Google and others saw a 4% decline in traffic in the month of March. Does that mean that the crazy growth has slowed, I feel it has and so do my colleagues in the internet marketing industry. Does that mean we should ignore Facebook and other forms of social media? Absolutely not, social media is a critical part of a mandatory formula for success on the internet. So what will be the next big thing out there? The mobile phone wars gives us some insight.

Currently Apple / ATT is selling 8.7 million phones per quarter. Google / Verizon sales have been around 5 million phones per quarter. Who will win the war between the Apple / ATT team or the Google / Motorola / Verizon team we don’t know or care. From on line research, my testing and talking to owners of each of the phones they are all great. What we do care about is that these are around 5 million new fully browser capable phones a month being sold around the world. Keep in mind this also includes the new I-Pad as well, which is really a smart phone without the phone part. Is this important to us? You bet, that means this is growth similar to what we saw with Facebook. It also means that we need to build web-sites that are smart phone compatible. This ensures our information is getting out there on these devices and are viewable on these phones. Frankly we are not talking about your old flip phone or even older Black Berry phones. There are just too many limitations to make your web site work with these phones. Also these phones are being turned in and traded for smart phones with Apple’s I-Phone being the leader. No point in putting new wine in old wine skins (*bible quote). So how do we take advantage of this in the future?

Making a smart phone capable site means few things. There are a few guidelines we would want to follow. We don’t want customers to have to think about which version of the site we are getting. We don’t want swiss cheese sites. This is the new term for content that cannot be viewed on a smart phone; it leaves a blank spot or hole on a web page. We do want it to be fast and easy to navigate. We may want our mobile website version to be a slimmed down version of our current site.

Have you gone to a site and it asked you if you want the fast version or the slow version? I hate that I feel like I might miss something. A customer should come to our website, and the website should be smart enough to detect if this is a regular computer browser or a smart phone browser. The website should at that time direct you to the proper content. Does this mean building two completely different websites? It may mean that, depending on the complexity of your website. If it is relatively straight forward it will only mean adjusting what you currently have on the site and simplifying the content. Those adjustments may mean allowing alternate content for items that cannot be viewed on a smart phone. It may also mean adjusting the layout to be easier to read and navigate.

Swiss cheese has holes and so do website with flash animation (website animation software from the Adobe Corporation) on smart phones. Video and loads of flash have all been the rage in the past 5 years. This content is blocked by Apple unfortunately. This policy will not change soon enough for us. The mobile version of the site needs to be a strict version of K.I.S.S. keep it simple. Text and images are great, heavy animation is a no no. You can still get a great looking version of the website. Straight forward navigation with easy to read big buttons is the best way to go. Gone are the days “telling a story” with mystery meat navigation. Having your site designed to look and function like a modern video game will just not work anymore. Your mobile site should be easy to work with and easy to navigate. Does this sound like what we should do on the regular website? Sound effects and music, that should be out but these will not work on a smart phone , so it is a waste of money and time. Any animations or slide shows done with flash technology will leave a blank spot on a web site so again clean and simple.

Fast is the name of the game for a smart phone site. There are two reasons to be concerned about load time of your website. First Google is starting to penalize you in the search ranking if your website is a little piggy on load time. Second smart phones are faster than the old dial up modems but not as fast as the broad band internet at the office. If you your site is a little piggy then consider putting your piggy on a diet. The answer may be smaller images lower quality. Complex security or programming at times can be a problem and will need testing. Some web technology is still not available for smart phones. If you have had your computer lock up from a web site you know how annoying that can be. If you have a phone lock up that can be a disaster. Not as easy to reset a phone and you may miss an important phone call.

Budgets are strict these days so what if you have a site that needs this technology but don’t have the deep pockets. Consider building a very simple version of your web site that has locations of where you build and contact information or even contact forms. This could mean a one page website with a link to Google maps.

If this sounds like a throwback to the “old school days” of websites it is. This is new technology and is a little like the wild wild west right now. Like the wild west though the first to stake their claim could strike gold and get a solid leg up on the competition. Early adopters are rewarded in the internet marketing business. If you have more questions or would like recommendations for your website, Reality Concepts can evaluate each and every page of your website to help decide which pages may need changes. Contact us if you have any questions or are interested in building a smart phone capable website.

By Brad Bombardiere 9-29-2016

CATEGORIES: Web Design