WordCamp Auckland 2017 – March 11-12.

We are excited to announce WordCamp Auckland 2017 – a conference that celebrates all aspects of WordPress.

This year the event is being held at GridAKL, Wynyard Quarter in Auckland’s CBD and has a range of local and international speakers, on a wide range of different topics.

If you’ve been to our meetups in the past – you will be familiar with some of the speakers already, but there is lots of great content and friendly faces to meet.

WordCamp Auckland organisers are looking for:

  • Sponsors
  • Topics
  • Speakers
  • and of course, attendees!

Find out more today at https://2017.auckland.wordcamp.org. Tickets are only $50 for the weekend!

 

The Honest Truth About Hosting

Updated for October 2015

Auckland WordPress User Group

Updated Sept 2015 – Hosting is a complex, contentious topic. Even the self-proclaimed ‘professionals’ disagree. Web designers, IT people and even developers are often surprisingly ignorant upon what makes a good or bad host. They tend to just follow the crowd, relying upon others. This is a frank, honest account from a tertiary-qualified engineer who has been working on line and used over 100 host providers since 1998.

hosting-datacenterI’ve provided a summary below of the main types used today.

Shared Hosting

fronttrainThis is where computing resources are shared amongst multiple domains and users. This can range from 100 to 1,000, with 500 commonplace. Think of shared hosting as riding on an old, overcrowded Indian commuter train, except you’ve no idea how may others have boarded the same train. Generally the cheaper the monthly [host] cost, the more commuters you’re sharing the ride with, the more delays, the slower it runs…

View original post 1,922 more words

WordPress Bloggers Plugins

Optimizing Your Posts

1. WordPress SEO by Yoast

I’m pretty sure I don’t have to tell you why this plugin is so great and with the countless changes by google this year, keeping on top of on-site SEO is critical. For bloggers, this plugin ensures you’re not messing up any of the SEO dynamics while  you write. Yoast’s plugin makes it easy to stay focused on what’s important – your writing!

2. Add Widget After Content

Not everyone puts an ad at the end of their content, but if you want to, this is a great plugin that will help you do it. Of course it doesn’t have to be an ad. You could put anything you want there – like a consistent site-wide call to action, a bio, or an offer.

3. Pretty Link Lite or Pro

The way I generate revenue from my blog is thru affiliate links to products. These affiliate links can look monstrous at times, so it’s nice to have a little plugin that cloaks them and makes them really easy to remember.

4. Redirection

For 301 redirections and tracking 404 errors. Handy for lots of things, even generating a short link to another page or post.

Adding Features to your Post

I’m sure you know this by now, but your blog isn’t just all photos and text. Sometimes you need a bit more – whether it’s a form, a gallery, or enhancements to your comment feature.

5. Gravity Forms | Ninja Forms |

You’ll need a form to collect information from your readers. Gravity forms has been the default premium plugin, but ninja forms is a simpler option for most people. The basic ninja version is free and you only pay for the add-ons.

6Jetpack Comments by Automattic

This has a variety of features that you might like. The one I’ve used the most is Jetpack Comments. It gives your users a simple way to subscribe to your comments, get notified when people comment and more.

Take care though. Jetpack requires you to have a wordpress.com account too and for your site to be running WP v4 or later. Also, avoid the desire to turn on all the Jetpack modules. Some can slow your site to a crawl, annoying visitors. Not everything that works in the US market works well here…

7. Newsletter list building –  Optin Monster  &  Thrive Leads

tl_04Optin Monster is the most well known premium popup that there is, giving you lots of options. Thrive leads is another new, even more impressive alternative and better value too since at just US$59 it include features only available in optinmonsters $199 package. Incredible value really for what it does.

A nice simple free option is PopupAlly and she also has a premium version. Another free one I recommend as it’s unobtrusive and less annoying is Scroll Triggered Boxes

Others are Leadin   Icegram   Sumome  Optinform

8. Justified Image Grid

A neat gallery plugin that lays out multiple images in a page or post.

Sharing Your Posts

As we round out the plugins that help me make my blog look good, load quickly, and work well, there are two additional tools I use (both by the same company) that helps me get my content out into the world.

9. Click to Tweet by Todaymade

One way to get folks to engage your content is to create tweet-able content that they can share. Click to Tweet makes it really easy to do it – without a lot of work.

10. CoSchedule by Todaymade

A premium content scheduler to push content to Facebook, Twitter (and sometimes LinkedIn). It’s not only a plugin but a SaaS solution hence has a monthly fee.

11. Jetpack social sharing

Jetpack has some good, simple free tools for social sharing. The latest version of Jetpack (3.5) running on latest WordPress (4.2) especially so. The Jetpack tools just keep improving. Take care to only activate the modules you need. If you discover Jetpack slows your site down, then checkout social media feather.

12 Postmatic

Although still in beta and limited release, this new tool has promise for serious bloggers providing a new, innovative means to alert readers to new posts or comments. We will be testing it on various sites and let you know it if lives up to expectations.

13 Related posts

Handy plugin that adds a list of related posts to the bottom of each post. Jetpack also has a module for this, which includes a thumbnail image.

Infrastructure for your Blog

Plumbing isn’t sexy. They hide in the background, and aren’t tons of fun to talk about all the time.

13. Akismet by Automattic

Thankfully, you get Akismet installed with every installation of WordPress. Even if you don’t know how to pronounce this plugin, you can use it. It protects your site from spam.

14. Jetpack Analytics by Automattic

People like Google Analytics. But if you’ve already installed Jetpack because you’re using it for one of its other features, you should activate its Analytics module. It makes it easy to see who is referring traffic to your blog, which articles are popular and more.

15. WordPress Vault Backup

For bloggers WordPress offers a great plugin and service for just a few dollars per month. There are free alternatives, but they’re not as good or as bulletproof.

SEO for bloggers. Here’s some tips from MOZ

Setting up Shop Online – The Low Risk Blog Option

This was the topic of our September 24th Meetup.

The need for individuals and companies to sell their products or services online is exploding. But most are going about it the wrong, high risk way. They start by approaching a developer and building a shopping cart website. Sounds logical, right? But totally wrong and ensuring only higher than needed costs and disappointment…..

Successful shops (real or online), always start with a business plan and a pre-launch strategy to ensure that when the shop is open, they get plenty of visitors arriving on day one and a steady stream of sales every week... Yet this rarely occurs online today. Most believe (or are told) that just having a beautiful online storefront automatically ensures people will magically ‘turn up’ to buy stuff shortly after it goes live. Yeah, right….

The best business and sales strategy to successfully selling online is in the planning, competitor analysis and pre-launch marketing phase. This is where a cheap WordPress blog and some Google toolsets can do wonders.

Tools needed:

1. Setup a gmail account which then gives you access to all Googles free tools. Their pay per click Adwords tools are important for market research, not just adwords campaigns. This helps determine if you have a sufficient market size for your e-commerce products. Start to write blog posts on these topics, ensuring it is well structured and in required categories. Some of the high traffic keywords are harder to rank for quickly, so start with those in the hundreds, not thousands of results, often called the ‘long tail‘ keywords. This is important for AdWords as well as organic search optimisation.

2. Load following WP plugins  Yoast SEO and Yoast Analytics

wmaster3. To get traffic, you must know what Google thinks of your website performance and where it is ranked. What traffic you’re missing out on and have a low ranking for. What topics Google is ranking you for and if they match up with what you want to rank for…

It’s therefore essential you have Google Webmaster data available for your site to monitor errors and search queries over coming months. This information lets you modify site content and strategy. I’ve found a really good video tutorial on webmaster tools here.

300x250v84. With people now coming to your blog, build up a client mailing list. Ensure you have a newsletter signup form prominently shown. Ensure that there is an incentive too. e.g. ‘Join our mailing list to get opening specials” etc. Setup a free account with Mailchimp who provide code to add to your site pages or sidebar. Alternatively, checkout optinmonster.

If you’re selling locally, don’t forget the value of old fashioned offline marketing too like newspaper ads, letterbox flyers, local clubs etc, primarily to get people to your blog site to signup to your e-newsletter. Online marketing can include making yourself known across multiple Facebook groups that could have an interest in your products, the primarily goal being to get them to opt in to your newsletter. There’s also tools that can allow WordPress to auto-push blog articles into Facebook and other social channels. Handy stuff.

wordpress-woocommerce5. Once you have defined your market, products and have the mailing list slowly building up so on opening day you get some initial sales.  There are many shopping cart add-ons for wordpress as well as third party solutions. Here’s some notes on using Woocommerce and Shopify. Both can work well.

analyticsIf you have problems with setting up any of the Google tools being adwords planner, analytics, yoast plugins, webmaster tools etc for your blog, then we can do it for you for a flat fee of $65 and give you some notes to help out. We just need you to already have, or signup for a gmail account first.

Let WordPress take care of the Marketing and Traffic

The idea here is to have your WordPress blog be the sales and marketing channel for your eCommerce store, since is is easier to get traffic to your WordPress blog than it is to any eCommerce cart system. Most cart systems suck at SEO and getting search traffic. Once your cart is running and live, ensure you write about your new products on your blogsite, with simple links through to your storefront.  If you’re using woocommerce plugin for WordPress, then this is easier still, able to embed parts of your cart into the blog posts.

p.s. I mentioned a recent report released last week on Google ranking factors, which in effect tells us that Google is examining your site content and intent, not just keywords or keyword density, backlinks etc which are still important, but less than it was a couple years back. This makes it somewhat easier and is good news for bloggers.  Read more.,..