Archives for March 2007

RSS Buttons for Your Blog

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When reviewing search marketing blogs each week for inclusion in our big list, one of the most consistent problems we see is that blog owners don’t make it easy to subscribe. Either there is no icon for the RSS feed or it’s hidden way below the fold.

Something as easy as adding a prominient RSS button near the top of the blog template with the word “Subscribe” near it can increase the number of return visitors substantially. We’ve done this ourselves and we’re now just under 6,000 subscribers.

A study by Yahoo and Ipsos Insight supports the need to display RSS subscription options as blog readers were found to be far more likely to subscribe to a blog if they say a familiar graphic for their favorite RSS reader, whether it was Bloglines, MyYahoo or Google Reader. One solution is to use our free RSS button tool which has been used by over 50,000 blogs so far.

5 Places to Find WordPress Plugins

Following up on my last post/rant on the official WordPress Plugin directory, I thought I’d share a few places to find WordPress plugins.

  • Wp-Plugins.net – The biggest and best listing if you ask me.
  • LearningWordpress.com – This one is newer and looks pretty nice so far.
  • WordPress.com – The official directory. Fewer plugins, but it’s growing.
  • A Google or Yahoo search always works well too as there are many that are not listed in the directories above.
  • Internal searches on blogging sites like ProBlogger.net or BloggingPro.com can also uncover some new and interesting plugins.

Where do you go when you want to find new or useful blog plugins?

Extra Notes on SES New York and Discount Code

Last week I posted a well received rundown of five reasons you should attend the upcoming Search Engine Strategies conference in New York, April 10-13. A few additional items regarding TopRank’s involvement were not included and I’ve been getting a little chiding from our “gratuitous self promotion” department about that.

First, Online Marketing Blog has been named an official media sponsor for Search Engine Strategies conferences as well as the ClickZ events. This might not be news for the likes of WebProNews, BtoB, TARGET Marketing, Search Marketing Standard, Entrepreneur.com or Jupiter Research who are the other media sponsors, but it’s certainly big news for TopRank because it’s the first time a blog has been included as a media sponsor.

Also, readers of our blog can get a 10% discount by using this code “10TRR” when registering.

Getting Screwed by Your Hosting Company

Yesterday I received an email from our new blog host. It reads:

This message is in regards to your (hosting company name) account “toprank”, which
resides on the server xxxx.hostingcompany.com.

Due to problems it was causing on the server, we were forced to disable the
following script located in your account:

/usr/www/users/toprank/tools/rss-buttons

For future reference, please take a look at our script usage policies:URL 1
URL 2

Please write to [email protected] for information about having the script
reenabled.

If you have any questions about this script, please contact our friendly
support specialists at [email protected] or xxx-xxx-xxxx (option 2).

Sincerely,
The Hosting Company Support Team

Basics of Online Reputation Management

As much time and effort that marketers put into improving visibility within search results, not all search engine ranking pages (SERPs) are good. Increasing numbers of companies are experiencing the sharp edge of the sword from disgruntled employees or customers taking advantage of the amazingly simplistic process of publishing content to the web.

You may recall such situations as “Dell Hell” or Googlebombing “miserable failure” for examples.

Because these references occur within the search results, many companies percieve search engine reputation management as a SEO problem. But displacing negative search results only treats the symptoms of the problem. It’s not a cure.

While other companies see tarnished brand issues as more of a public relations issue, it’s important to understand that sometimes it’s the PR firm that is at the root of the problem. Look no further than the Edelman and Walmarting across America situation for an example of that.

First Thoughts: WordPress Official Plugins Directory

When I first read last week that WordPress had launched an official plugins directory I was excited. There are lots of good plugins out there that are not in any sort of searchable database other than a search engine. However, the WordPress plugin directory isn’t living up to my excitations yet.

The directory holds less than 150 plugins out of the thousands out there. What is there seems to be organized well and has a nice star rating scale, installation information, screenshots, a FAQ and even download stats for the plugin.

I then tried to add the FB StandardStats plugin and that’s where my excitement died.

10 Spam Stopping Techniques For Your Blog

Stopping SpamSpam is one of those features that comes with a blog and stopping it isn’t quite as easy as it should be. Here are a few ideas to help you out.

  1. Install Akismet – This has to be one of the best plugins. The downside is they’d like you pay if you get a ton of spam. After all, it is the nice thing to do. For the average user though, it’s free.
  2. Install Spam Karma – Excellent plugin that can stop a flood of spam comments. It works great and it’s completely free.
  3. Install a captcha. It can be as easy as 2+2=? or it could be one of those letter puzzles. Personally I prefer the math ones as long as it’s not something like “What’s 28×5”. Keep it simple as I think 2+8 works just as good.

Stupid Blogs Anyways

Justin Shattuck has a great post about the things blogs do that he finds annoying. It’s a good read and he points out a lot of good items.

  1. Link love, it makes sense
  2. Make your content accessible
  3. Wow, thats alot of ads
  4. Echos are getting old
  5. Admins, stop being lazy
  6. I know who I am
  7. Stop filling forms out for me
  8. Direct linking is stealing
  9. Snap sucks!
  10. So many images, dumb.

When trying to come up with the things that annoy me about blogs I kept coming across the same things. To many ads, to much spam and that echo chamber.

Monday Online Marketing Links

Ha, it’s actually Tuesday morning here in Sydney. Am prepping for the first day of Search Engine Room and wanted to share a few links:

Just before leaving Minnesota for Australia, I received a copy of Cat Seda’s new book, “How to Win Sales and Influence Spiders” which focuses on leveraging SEO and online PR. I hope to have a review next week.

eComXpo starts Tuesday and runs through Thursday. This is a great virtual tradeshow that allows you to visit exhibitors and view presentations without the expense of traveling. With all the search marketing conferences and seminars popping up, this kind of platform might become even more popular than it is now for both attendees and speakers.

Extra Text Editing in WordPress

Color Color ColorA client asked me today for more control in their WordPress control panel. Specifically, when posting they wanted to control the font sizes, colors and do a bit more. As a designer I always freak at that question as I think the code is going to be filled with massive amounts of font tags and out of order strong tags and ohhh the madness. But, then again, maybe I’m overreacting.

So, I did some researching and came up with one possible idea, Xinha4WP. It’s a WordPress plugin that replaces the default text editor with a much more advanced version. It also needs the Text Control plugin to work so you need to install that too.

Bulldog Reporter Advanced PR Tech Chicago

After getting into the Chicago Hilton, a familar place from SES conferences, I walked the 3-4 blogs to the Columbia University campus where Bulldog Reporter was holding the Advanced PR Technology event. Greg Jarboe and I switched the time of our session with Katie Paine so she could make a plane to Dubai.

Regrettably I did not join the event in the am when it started and missed a number of fantastic speakers including Debbie Weil, but I did get to meet her for the first time. We are fellow bloggers over at Business Blog Consulting. Shel Israel blogged about Phil Gomes presentation here.

Don’t Go Auto Updating WordPress Yet

Wordpress UpdateOne of the annoyances of WordPress is that when a new version comes out, you have to take the time to upgrade. Sure, it may be just re-uploading everything, but that still takes a few minutes per blog and I think that’s why a lot of people tend not to do it. To work around this, the InstantUpgrade plugin was created. Good idea, but is it ready for primetime yet?

The plugin explains that it can automatically update to the latest version of WordPress for you, or you can tell it when to update the files for you. It does all the work and you get to sit back and relax.