Your Tech Stack Questions Answered!

One of the questions I get asked the most – is what tech platform should I build my site on! Since more and more businesses are going online there are more options for your website. Keeping up with the latest and greatest tool can be a bit overwhelming. After spending all day with yours eyes glued to your screen, scouring and reading multiple list of reviews, your bound to be fed up and end up picking the most basic and cheapest option.

I understand exactly where you’re right at, that’s why I’ve done this part for you! After more than 10 years in web automation here is a run down of the basics of what you need and our recommended platforms! 

Your domain is the name of your website. For example, www.yoursite.com is the name of your domain. A domain costs about $12-15 per year depending on where you register it. 

Your hosting is where you will store your files. It is like a virtual file cabinet for your website, images, videos. There are different plans based on how many sites you have. 

A few platforms to register your domain are:

GoDaddy

Ionis by 1&1

A few platforms we like for hosting are:

Ionis by 1&1

Liquid Web

WordPress is our platform of choice to build a website. It has the most flexibility and there are a lot of plugins available to make it do anything you want. 

Go to wordpress.org to grab the open source files that you can download and use to build your site.

WordPress is like the file cabinet. But you still need to organize the layout and design. You do this with a theme.

The theme we like and use right now is called “Elementor”. You can check it out here.

Your email platform is sometimes included with your hosting plan. This is the ability to send emails from your domain name ie yourname@yoursite.com

We like and use GSuite Apps to handle our email. This has a little higher cost (about $6/user/mo), but since it also includes the ability to create and share documents on the cloud, we find it’s worth it. 

What this means is that you can use your own domain with gmail to send and receive emails as opposed to having to login to your hosting account or having your hosting account forward your emails to a personal gmail for example so you can access them. 

Having all documents on the cloud is also a huge advantage. Our team doesn’t have to worry about having 5 different versions of the same doc as we can collaborate on one doc and always see the most updated version in the cloud. 

Email marketing is a tool that you can use to create different lists of emails and send a series of automated emails to your different lists. The prices for these tools range from $15-$199 per month

The one we use and recommend is Infusionsoft as it has Email Marketing, a CRM, and a Shopping Cart in one. 

Other tools that work well are:

Active Campaign

MailChimp

Aweber

All three work very well. Active Campaign is a little more similar to Infusionsoft in that it has built in functionality to build campaigns in a visual layout. Mailchimp and Aweber are great if you are just getting started.

To take payments online you need 3 things. 

  • Merchant Account
  • Gateway
  • Shopping Cart

You can either set up all 3 things separately or you can use tools that combine two or three of them together. Some examples of 3 in 1 are: Paypal and Stripe. Both paypal and stripe allow you to sign up with just their service and they provide you with buttons that you can put on your site so you can sell your products or services. They do charge a commission of around 3% per transaction as well as a transaction fee. 

The most common method is to get all 3 services individually, like the following. 

Merchant Account ($15/mo + 3%)

A merchant account is the ability to process credit card transactions. You can sign up for a merchant account directly with your bank. Be sure to request a “Cart Not Present” account! This is usually the cheapest way to process credit card transactions online. 

Gateway ($20/mo)

A gateway is how you connect your merchant account to your shopping cart. The most common one is Authorize.net and when you set up your merchant account with your bank you can request an authorize.net account as well. 

Shopping Cart (Varies)

A shopping cart is how you collect payments online. It is the tool you use to create order forms so that your customers can put in their credit card information online in a secure place.  We use Infusionsoft as our shopping cart. Other shopping carts are also available. Some examples are SamCart, ClickFunnels, Kajabi. Before jumping out and getting a shopping cart, you will want to make sure it is compatible with your landing page builder (and many times it is included with your landing page builder.) 

Landing pages are pages that are built to either capture leads, or sell your products or services. Since the look and feel of landing pages usually varies from the main site, these landing pages are sometimes built with landing page builders. 

Some of the one’s we use are:

LeadPages

ClickFunnels

ThriveThemes

We usually install these on a subdomain of the main site. For example:

  • Go.yoursite.com
  • Start.yoursite.com
  • Launch.yoursite.com

The words “go”, “start”, “launch” are examples of subdomains. 

If you are selling a course then you will need a members area to deliver your course content. An LMS stands for a Learning Management Software. 

If you use Infusionsoft like we do, then Memberium is an easy to use membership software that you can set up on a subdomain of your site. For example: courses.yoursite.com or members.yoursite.com. 

Another popular one that we recommend is LearnDashLearndash can be used in conjunction with Memberium as well. 

Learndash allows you to organize the content in your members area and also to roll out access to the content on a weekly or monthly basis. Another membership tool is Kajabi.

Live Webinars

For live webinars, we use Zoom. Most of us today have an account with Zoom for meetings. If you are going to hold a webinar, you can upgrade to have the functionality of a webinar. I love how they allow you to just upgrade to get webinars for one month and automatically cancel it for you after 30 days. 

There is also a built-in functionality with Zoom that allows you to live stream directly to Facebook. This allows your audience to choose how they want to attend a live webinar.  It can also allow you to have more people participate in a live webinar if you are at your capacity with your Zoom account. One of our clients recently used a combo of Zoom and FB Live to have a webinar with 16,000 attendees!

Automated Webinars

Once you have a few live webinars you are going to want to create what is called an “evergreen” campaign where people can watch your webinars at will. Our software of choice is EverWebinar. We’ve tried many and despite the limitations, still find that it meets most of our expectations. One of the cool things that you can do is to tag contacts based on which stage of the webinar they got to. For example, you can tag them based on registering, attended, stayed till the sales pitch, and so on. You can then customize your automated follow up email campaigns based on how far they got into the webinar!

Video Storage

For video storage the big three are Wistia, Vimeo, and Youtube. Most online tools out there will allow you to embed videos from one of these three locations.

We prefer Vimeo as it has advanced data and tracking capabilities and after the video stops playing, you don’t see ads to other videos – sometimes of your competitors!

If you are just getting started, you can use Youtube and set the videos to private so they are only seen on the pages you have them embedded.

Another option is also self-hosting your videos on Amazon S3. We do this for our church videos and then embed them on our site since we have so many! This is actually the cheapest option but requires a little bit of technical support to set up. 

Have you ever seen how some people have it where after 3 days, the sales page automatically changes to a closed page? There are a couple of ways to do this.

If you have Infusionsoft, what you can do is instead of linking directly to the sales page from your email campaigns, you can use a custom field to insert the link to the sales page. Then after a certain number of days, change the link in the custom field to point to the closed waitlist page. Once this is done, even if the contact goes to a previous email, they will still see the closed sales page. 

Another way to do this is using a tool called: Deadline Funnel. I don’t prefer this method because it breaks if the contact does not have a “cookie” on their device which can happen if they sign up for the information with one device, but later choose to click from an email to the sales page from a different device. Since no “cookie” is present, it shows the sales page as closed even though the email they just received says they have 2 days left to purchase for example! 

The way it works is to set it up to automatically display a different url (usually the waitlist page) after a certain amount of time. There is a timer that displays at the top of the page letting people know how much time they have left to purchase.  Once set up, anyone that visits the site for the first time, will have a certain amount of time to purchase before the sales page closes down.

Note: Most of the time when launches are done, the pages are closed manually by someone staying up till midnight on the night of the launch (or doing it first thing in the morning!)

Over the years, we’ve used a lot of appointment scheduling tools. The one I like best and we use now is Acuity Scheduler. Accuity works really well if you have a team of coaches that you need to set up with personal calendar links for your students as well!

Some Appointment Tools are:

Sometimes you will need to connect two tools together that do not have a direct integration. To do this we usually use Zapier or PlusThis (for Infusionsoft). 

Zapier is a connector. It basically saves you the cost of hiring an API developer to build and maintain custom code to connect two online tools. 

Recommended Tech Stack…

As you can see, the cost of running an online business can quickly add up and there are a lot of choices to make. 

Here is my recommended tech stack for getting started that still allows you to have enough flexibility for growth:

Domain Registration

GoDaddy

Hosting

LiquidWeb

Website

WordPress with Elementor

Email

GSuite

CRM/Shopping Cart/Marketing Automation

Infusionsoft

Membership Site

Memberium + LearnDash

Landing Page Builder

LeadPages

Merchant Account

Bank + Authorize.Net (Cart Not Present)

Appointment Scheduler

Acuity Scheduler

Video Storage

Amazon S3

There you have it! So what does your tech stack look like?

How to Get Review Content for Your Website

review 

If you’re planning on starting a review website, it can be a daunting task to site and write all the reviews yourself. While you’ll likely be creating plenty of your own content, there are other great sources you can use to fill your product review website.

NOTE: If you do receive free products or you pay someone to help write reviews for your site, make sure you include the appropriate disclosures and that you’re legally compliant.

 

How to Get Free Products to Review

Buying all the products you plan to review can get expensive, so try these ways to get free products for your website.

 

  • Look at other sites that review products in your niche and look for disclaimers saying they received the product for free. When you see certain products being reviewed regularly, it’s quite likely that the company readily gives away product in exchange for review.

 

  • Contact companies directly and let them know that you would like to review their product. Include honest information about your website demographics and traffic. You can also show them a sample review, so they know how you approach your reviews.

 

  • Place a product review request form on your website. Once your traffic grows, you will find that companies will be contacting you for a review.

 

Remember, keep your reputation intact. Never promise a positive review in exchange for free product. Always include object information in your product reviews, whether it is good or bad.

 

Do it Yourself

  • Write product reviews. Make a list of products you plan to review, the key features you should be looking at and start writing.

 

  • Write product comparisons. Consumers are always looking for help on making an appropriate product decision and comparisons are one way to help them make the decision. Create categories of products (ex. smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.) and put together comparison charts and other useful information.

 

  • Take photos of products. While photos are rarely enough on their own, they can certainly add a wealth of information to a product review. Take and publish product photos readily.

 

  • Create screenshots of products used on your computer. A similar idea to photos, you can also take a picture of your computer screen and share. You can do this with software, websites you want to demonstrate and more.

 

  • Take a video of yourself demonstrating the product. If you don’t feel like writing, show your readers how the product works through video.

 

  • Take a video of other people talking about the product. If you’re not familiar with a product, but you know someone who is, ask them some questions and ask them to show the product in a video.

  

Free Reviews 

  • Use the Product Reviews features of the Amazon Associates program. This allows you to display review details from Amazon on your website. NOTE: This doesn’t include actually text from the review, but shows ratings and a number of reviews, so users can click through to see them.

 

Just log into your Associates program and when you create an image or text only link, you’ll see the option for adding product review information.

According to Amazon, “When users hover over a preview-enhanced link, either a text link or image link, a small window appears containing valuable content and information about the product you’re advertising. Our test results show that visitors who see a Product Preview have high click-through and conversion rates — helping you earn more fees.”

When setting up your link, choose “Text Only” or “Image Only”:

1-text-only

The first piece of code is for your text or image:

 2-link-code

 Then there is another optional piece of code that allows you to add the Product Review component.

 3-review-code

 When you place both pieces of code on your website, the link looks something like this:

4-link

When your user hovers over the link, a box like this appears:

 5-hover

  • Check the affiliate program you’re working with to see if they have any reviews available for publishing. They might have a product profile sheet or customer submitted reviews, so ask.

 

  • Allow users to submit their ratings and reviews. One of the best ways to enrich your website content is to let users participate, so make it easy for them to share their opinion.

You can use the GD Star Rating WordPress plugin to automate this for you. Here’s a sample of how the plugin can look on your website. You can do a lot of customization with this plugin, so you can decide exactly how users can participate.

6-gd-star

  • Embed YouTube videos into your website. Simply search YouTube for “[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][product name] review” and find something that you find relevant to your product review page.

When you find a video you want to put on your site, look for the “Share” link on the video page. Then choose the “Embed” option below. It will give the code you need to put on your website to display the video. You can choose the size of the video screen and other options before you copy and paste the code.

Once you’ve published the review on your site, consider adding your own thoughts about the video to give your readers a fresh and unique perspective from your website.


Review Template

 

[Insert Product Name] Product Review: [Add Brief Opinion/Benefit]

 

[ADD PRODUCT PHOTO] Add introductory paragraph to explain what the product is, why your reviewing it, its main benefits, etc.

 

About [Internet Product Name]:

[Make a bulleted list of features and any benefits you’d like to highlight. The bullets below are a guideline and may not suit every product]

 

  • Description:
  • Format / Size / etc.:
  • Seller:
  • Price:
  • Main Features:

 

[Next Include paragraphs that address factors like durability, usefulness, quality of information, performance, user experience. Use a subheadline for each factor you discuss. Examples below:]

 

Entertainment Value [for example – could be another factor]

Insert details about entertainment value. Write down how you determined the entertainment value, if you took opinions of others, etc.  

 

Efficiency [for example – could be another factor]

Insert details about efficiency. Insert details about efficiency. Talk about how you tested the product, where you gathered further information about efficiency from other users.

 

Who This Product is Suitable For

Insert details about who would most benefit from this product and even include an honest warning for whom it’s not suitable for. Ex. Advanced users; those who are more concerned about price than quality, etc.

 

Feature & Benefit Comparison

If you can, add a little comparison with another product, so your readers can make the best buying decision possible.

 

Overall Opinion

Summarize your opinion and add some further suggestions on how to use the product. Don’t forget to tell your readers where to buy the product again.

 

Note to Review: Add plenty of photos and if possible, a video, demonstrating the product. Show how the product is used for the best review possible.

How to Install the GD Star Ratings WordPress Plugin

Review, increase rating, performance and classification concept. Businessman draw five green stars to increase rating of his company, blank background.

GD Star Ratings is a very sophisticated plugin that allows you to assign ratings and votes to posts, comments and more. This guide will take you through installing the plugin, setting it up and using it.

 

Install Plugin

 In your WordPress admin panel, click on “Plugins -> Add New”.

1-add-new

Next, you can search for “GD Star Ratings” in the search box.

2-search

Once you find it, click “Install Now”

3-install

You will be asked if you’re sure you want to install it. Click “OK”.

Now you need to enter information about your website including your hostname, FTP username and password. Your hostname is usually your domain name. In most cases, you’ll will have an FTP connection. Click “Proceed” when you’re done.

5-enter-info

 Activate Plugin

Once you see the message that says you successfully installed the plugin, click “Activate Plugin”.

6-activate

 Manage Settings

When your plugin is activated, you’ll see a “Settings” option. Click it.

7-settings

The settings are actually quite complex and you may not need to use all of them. Below, you can see what the settings menu looks like. We’ll go over each section briefly.

8-settings-menu

If you look through the features menu, you’ll see some quite technical settings. If you’re not sure what something is, you can certainly leave everything at the default settings. As you get to know the plugin, you can start tweak things.

Features

Some settings you can control here include putting a time limit on adding ratings, moderation options, rating of comments, etc.

Security

Security allows you to adjust settings for banning IPs, user level permissions and more.

Advanced

This tab gives you access to settings for caching, trend calculations, importing and exporting data.

Integration

Some of the settings on this tab are controlling how users can rate, widgets and more.

Articles

This tab lets you control rating settings for articles. You can control the look of the ratings (there are different color and holiday themes), positioning, control who can vote (you can set it so only users can vote) and more.

Comments

This tab lets you control the same rating settings as in the Articles tab, but these settings are for comments.

Multis

Multis are multiple ratings for the same article / product. For example, you can set up ratings for price, value, performance, etc. In this tab, you can control most of the same rating settings as in the Articles and Comments tab.

 Articles

This tab allows you to control the settings for voting on articles. You can determine which posts can be voted on, how the votes look and where they appear.

Comments

This tab allows you to control the settings for voting on comments. You can determine which comments can be voted, how the votes look and where they appear.

Special

This tab controls snippets, RSS features and more.

 

Add New Post

To get started, go to the Posts menu on the far left side. Click “Add New”.

16-add-new-post

 

How to Set Up Multi Sets

The multis feature is likely to be very important to a review site, so let’s make sure we get that set up. You can find the setting for this in the menu of your WordPress admin.

11-multis-menu

Now click “Add New Multi Rating Set”.

12-add-multi

Enter the details for your multi set.  You can give it a name, description, determine the number of stars use and decide how the multis will appear.

 13-add-multi-details

 Then you can add your elements and decide if some will have more weight than others for the overall game rating.

14-elements

Click “Save Multi Set” when you’re done.  Now you’re ready to use your multi-set on your first review post.

 

Make a Post

In the left menu of WordPress Admin, find the “Posts” menu and click “Add New”.

16-add-new-post

Enter your post as you would normally. At the bottom of the page, you can see your multis options and can select your set from the drop down menu.

18-multi-options

Now when your users or visitors see the post, they can cast their vote, depending on the settings you have chosen.

review

Then on the right side of your post editing menu, you can see some controls that all you to determine who can rate on the post.

20-star-rating

As you can see, this is a very powerful review plugin, even if it seems over-complicated at first. Through continued use of the plugin, it’s wide variety of features and customizations will become more and more useful.

How to Install and Use Review Press Plugin

how to2Review Press is a very basic plugin that allows you to set up a simple reviews section for your website. It adds your reviews as a custom post type and allows you to set up review categories and tags. This plugin might be a good choice if you already have a blog, but want to add a review component to it.

There are promises of more features in a future version, including Amazon affiliate product linking, but for now, it’s a very basic plugin. If you’re looking for the basics, it might be right for you.

The developer’s website can be found here:

http://www.ramoonus.nl/wordpress/reviewpress/

 

Install Plugin

 In your WordPress admin panel, click on “Plugins -> Add New”.

1-add-new

Next, you can search for “Review Press” in the search box.

2-find-review-press

Once you find it, click “Install Now”.

4-click-install

You will be asked if you’re sure you want to install it. Click “OK”.

Now you need to enter your hostname (usually your domain name), FTP username and password. In most cases, your connection will be FTP.

6-enter-info

Click “Proceed” as shown above.

 

Activate Plugin

Next, you should see a screen that tells you have successfully installed the plugin. Now you have to activate it, so click “Activate Plugin”.

7-activate

Use the Plugin

Now you can use the plugin. You will see a “Reviews” menu on the left menu of your admin panel. You can set categories and tags or you can do that as you create a new review. So, let’s just create a review by clicking “Add New”.

8-review-menu

 

This feature looks much like the “Posts” or “Pages” function of WordPress. Click “Add New” again near the top of the page.

9-add-new

Add your post title and review post, just like you would with any other post.

On the right side, you can create a new category. Just click the link “+ Add New Category”. We have added “Video Games”. Once you have your category title, click the button below that says “Add New Category”.

11-add-categories

How to Install WordPress to Make Your Review Website

wordpress-logo

 

WordPress is a great platform to build your review site. It’s easy to post, allow others to post and for commenting. There are also useful review site plugins that can make your review website very functional. The best part is WordPress is free and it’s not too complicated to install.

 

What You Need to Get Started: 

  • Domain
  • Web Host with MySQL database (we are using hosting equipped with cPanel in our demonstration)
  • FTP program

 

Download the Latest WordPress Set up Files

 Go to http://wordpress.org/download/ and download the latest version of WordPress to your computer.

 

Set up Your Database

Log into cPanel and find “MySQL Database Wizard”. This is where you will set up your database.

2-mysql-database-wizard

You can name your database whatever you’d like. We called ours “wp” as you can see below.

3-name-database

You also need to add a database user and assign a password as well. We called our user “wp”. Make sure to take note of these names. Click “Create User” when you’re done.

4-database-user

 Give the database all the privileges required and click “Next Step” when you’re done.

5-user-priveleges

 After you click “Next Step,” you should see message that says the user was added to the database like this:

 6-added

Load the Files Through FTP:

We are using CuteFTP to load our files, but most FTP programs work pretty much the same way. Open up your site and on the right side of the program, you’ll likely see something like “public_html”. Click it to get to your site’s files.

7-public_html

On the left side of the screen, open up the folder where you saved the WordPress files. Select them all.

8-select-files

 

Once you have selected them, you can right click and choose “Upload”. This will load all your files into the main part of your site. If you want your WordPress set up to appear in a specific folder (for example: mysite.com/blog), you will need to create that folder on your site and open it to add the files.

9-upload

 Complete the Install

Once the files have finished loading, point your browser to the install page. It should be at something like http://xxxx.com/wp-admin/install.php or if you installed WordPress into a folder, it would be something like http://xxxx.com/wp-admin/blog/install.php

10-go-to-install

 

Create Configuration File

In order to make the install work, we have to create a configuration file. As you can see from the message below, it’s possible to create the file via the web, but not all hosts can do it.

We are going to attempt to create one via the web by clicking, “Create a Configuration File”.

 11-create-config

Next, we are asked to enter the database name, user name, password and database host (usually “localhost”). You can complete the last field if you plan to add more than one WordPress installation on your domain.

12-enter-data

 After we click “Submit”, we are notified that our host isn’t set up to create the file. However, WordPress makes it very easy for you to create the file in FTP by providing the text you need in the file. This makes it much easier than finding the information you have to add in the code. All you have to is copy and paste.

So do that. Copy and paste the code.

13-cant-create

 We’re going to go back to our FTP program now and find the file on our site that is called “wp-config-sample.php”. We are now going to right click and choose “Rename”.

14-rename

 Rename the file to “wp-config.php”.

15-renamed

 Once you have renamed the file, right click again. This time choose “Edit”.

16-edit-config

 The file will open and it will look a lot like the code you just copied, but don’t worry, you can delete what’s there and paste in what WordPress told you to add. The copy and paste code includes your database name, user, etc. and is required to make the WordPress install work.

 17-paste-in

Once you’ve pasted in the right code, click “Save”.

18-save

 

Run the Install

Now you can go back to the installation you were working on the web. We’ve complete the config file, so we can just click “Run the install”.

19-run-install

We’re almost done. Now enter the required information for your site. You need to make a title for your site (choose whatever you want). You also need to assign an admin user name and password. You can add other users once WordPress is installed.

20-enter-info

Click “Install WordPress” as shown above. Then you should see the “Success” message as shown below.

21-success

Top 10 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for Bloggers

Top 10 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for Bloggers

One of the best things about WordPress is its nearly limitless ability to expand. Whether you’re looking to add images, security, RSS feeds, social media integration or any number of other features, you can do so through plugins.

Installing a plugin takes less than 2 minutes and is completely reversible. That allows you to easily play around with all the different things your website can do while being able to undo any changes you don’t like with the click of a button.

If you’re serious about blogging, you’ll need to have a serious arsenal of plugins. These plugins will allow you to do all the things you need to do to create a truly spectacular browsing experience on your site. It’ll allow you to save time through automation and make your website shine.

Here are ten of the must have plugins that every serious blogger should have.

 

Plugin #1: Askimet

1-Askimet

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/akismet/

Though Askimet comes pre-installed with every WordPress configuration, newbies often make the mistake of not activating it.

Askimet is the #1 anti-spam tool on WordPress. Activating it is pretty simple; all you need to do is register on their site to get your own API key. Enter the key into the plugin on your site and you’re good to go. Askimet will filter out 99% of the spam your blog will receive, drastically cutting down the time needed to review comments.

Plugin #2: All in One Favicon

2-Favicon

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/all-in-one-favicon/

One thing new bloggers often neglect is adding a favicon. The favicon is the little icon in the browser bar, next to the title tag. Having your own favicon adds just that little flare that makes your blog look more professional, more stellar.

Creating a favicon in Photoshop, GIMP or any other image editing program is relatively simple. However, WordPress doesn’t inherently have the ability to add your favicon. So, you’ll need a plugin like All in One Favicon to do the job.

Plugin #3: All in One SEO

3-All-in-One-SEO

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/

WordPress out of the box is actually quite poorly configured for SEO. The page title comes after the site name, which is terrible for keywords. Archive and category pages contain a lot of duplicate content. Some links aren’t formatted the same way (some have www, some have http://, others don’t.) Configuring all of WordPress to be SEO-friendly requires doing quite a few different things. Fortunately, plugins like All in One SEO will do most of the work for you. You’ll still have to do a few things, like internal linking, yourself. That said however, you can eliminate the vast majority of the on-page SEO work by getting a good SEO plugin.

Plugin #4: FeedBurner FeedSmith

4-Feedburner-FeedSmith

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/feedburner-setting/

By default, WordPress does have an RSS feed feature, but it may not be properly configured. Also, you won’t be able to track any statistics on your feeds. If you want to create an RSS feed that can be tracked, you’ll probably want to use Feedburner. Installing a Feedburner feed is simple with WordPress: Just signup for Feedburner, then install the plugin on your blog.

Plugin #5: Google Analytics

5-Google-Analytics

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/simple-google-analytics/

In order for Google Analytics to work, you need to have the Google Analytics code on every page and every post on your website. By default, WordPress doesn’t have this option. You can’t just add a snippet of code to every page on your site. You could do it by editing your templates, but that’s time consuming, difficult to change and even potentially dangerous. Instead, you can simply install a plugin like “Simple Google Analytics.” Just plugin your Google Analytics ID and you’re done.

Plugin #6: PhotoDropper

6-PhotoDropper

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/photo-dropper/

If you like to add photos to your posts, you’ll love PhotoDropper. PhotoDropper allows you to browse a database of Creative Commons photographs and easily add them to your site, along with attributions, all in one click. Gone are the days when you have to browse stock photo sites or scour the internet for free license images. Now you can just pick the images you want from one easy to use gallery and it’ll automatically be dropped into your post.

Plugin #7: WP Super Cache

7-WP-Super-Cache

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-super-cache/

WP Super Cache is a plugin that can drastically speed up the load time of your WordPress site. Did you know that every time you load a page from a WordPress site, the server has to generate that site from scratch? Unlike a static HTML site, WordPress pages have to be dynamically generated from scratch every time. That takes a lot of processing power and can take a lot of time. What WP Super Cache does is “cache” certain bits of information on the user site, so it doesn’t have to be loaded again with every page load. It can also do other minor things, like combine your CSS and JavaScript files so that your site loads faster. All around, if you want to speed up your site, there’s no better plugin than WP Super Cache.

Plugin #8: Add Link to Facebook

8-Add-Link-to-Facebook

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/add-link-to-facebook/

Add Link to Facebook is an easy to use plugin that allows you to integrate Facebook with your WordPress site. Don’t let the name fool you. It does a whole lot more than just let you add links. You can add like button, share buttons, comments and a whole lot more. With today’s massive social media trend, if you’re not on Facebook, you’re seriously missing out.

Plugin #9: Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

9-YARPP

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/yet-another-related-posts-plugin/

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) is ironically named, as the plugin is actually the highest rated related post plugin on WordPress. If you’re looking for a plugin that’ll allow you to cross-link your site quickly and in a visually pleasing manner, look no further. This plugin is simple to install and simple to use, but adds a ton of functionality and creates a link box that looks great.

Plugin #10: Better WP Security

10-Better-WP-Security

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/better-wp-security/

WordPress security is something that isn’t discussed often enough. It’s extremely common for WordPress sites to get hacked. It’s not that WordPress isn’t secure, it’s just that WordPress depends on so many outside factors – Plugins, themes, servers, databases – That securing the whole package is extremely difficult. Better WP Security can handle a lot of this for you. It’ll help you secure your database, your PHP files, your .htaccess files and more. It’s not a bulletproof security package, but if you don’t have any security installed this package will be a vast improvement.

 

There you have it. If you’re serious about blogging, you absolutely must have these ten plugins. You’ll rank better, your content will go more viral, your site will be more secure and your blog will look better.

Top 10 Web Stats Tracking Programs

analytics 

In order to run a successful web business, you need to know your stats. You need to know how many visitors you’re getting, where they’re coming from, how long they’re staying on your site and so on.

The old adage “what you track improves” applies to the web. When you track specific numbers, you’ll be able to systematically improve those numbers. For example, when you track how long people spend on your website, you can try out different things to see if it increases the time spent on your site.

Every business needs at least one web stats tracking program. If you’re running a complex operation or if you don’t quite trust one method of tracking, you could run two.

Here are the top 10 web stats tracking programs.

Program #1: Google Analytics

1-Google-Analytics

Site: http://analytics.google.com

Google Analytics is by far the largest stats tracking program on the net. It’s 100% free, provided by Google. Google Analytics can track all the basic stats, including page views, unique visitors, bounce rates, time on site, return visitors, the country people come from and more. Unless you have a reason not to use Google Analytics, it’s a pretty good bet for a basic and all-purpose stats tracking tool.

Program #2: Piwik

2-Piwik

Site: http://www.piwik.org

Piwik is a self-installed web stats tracking tool that works a lot like Google Analytics. It’s open source and 100% free. A lot of people who don’t want to use Google Analytics use Piwik instead. The interface is similar, as are the data gathering methods. Note that you do need to have slightly more technical skills to install Piwik than Google Analytics. With Google Analytics, you only need to install a line of code. With Piwik, you need to upload the Piwik files, set permissions and make sure everything’s installed properly.

Program #3: AWStats

3-AWStat

Site: http://awstats.sourceforge.net

AWStats is a log file analyzer that often comes with cPanel installations. In other words, there’s a good chance you already have AWStats installed. Unlike Google Analytics which works based on firing a script every time someone lands on your page, AWStats gets its data by analyzing your log files. Your server logs every visit and page load when people visit your site and can tell you a lot about who’s coming to your site and what they’re doing.

What’s odd about server log analyzers versus pixel / JavaScript tracking is that you’ll often get very different data. For example, AWStats might say you’re getting 3,000 visitors a month, while Google Analytics might say you’re getting 2,500. This is one reason why people choose to use two stats programs – So they can get a more accurate sense of the picture.

Program #4: Clicky

4-Get-Clicky

Site: http://www.clicky.com

Clicky is one of the most popular private web stat programs on the web. It offers all the data that Google Analytics brings to the table, plus a few unique features. First of all, Clicky provides stats data on videos and on Twitter usage. If you do social media marketing of any sort, the data Clicky provides can be a big boon. Clicky also gives you data in real time. Data from Google Analytics on the other hand can be delayed by as much as half a day. You can check your stats with a mobile app, so you can watch your traffic on the go.

Program #5: Alexa

5-Alexa

Site: http://www.alexa.com

Alexa isn’t a traditional web stats program. Instead, what it allows you to do is compare yourself to other sites on the internet or other sites in your niche. It also provides demographic and keyword information about virtually every indexed website on the net. However, approach with caution because some rankings can be deceptive. It’s entirely possible for a website to rank highly for a search term, but still get less traffic than a site that’s ranked lower. That’s because data is based on visitors that Alexa is able to track, not all the visitors to a particular website.

Program #6: Statcounter

6-Statcounter

Site: http://www.statcounter.com

Statcounter is a simple and easy to use stats tracking program. The program is free for small users and paid for higher volume users (250,000 pageviews and up.) The tool tracks all the most important data points, including unique visitors, return visitor percentage, popular pages and more. They have a number of tools that can give you more detailed data if your client has JavaScript enabled. They can show you the exact path each visitor took through your website, so you can learn more about how people like to browse.

Program #7: Sitemeter

7-Sitemeter

Site: http://www.Sitemeter.com

Sitemeter is a very simple and straightforward stats tracking program. It doesn’t do anything fancy or give you in-depth statistics. The program basically tells you how many visitors you have and when they visited your site. It’s the ideal solution for people who aren’t very web savvy. If you’re building websites for clients, Sitemeter can be a good way to give your clients access to traffic data without overwhelming them to other statistics.

Program #8: W3Perl

8-W3Perl

Site: http://www.w3perl.com

 

W3Perl is a Perl based log file analyzer. It’s more complex to install than anything we’ve covered so far and is primarily meant for system administrators who want highly in depth statistics. If you’re technically savvy and can do the installation and management, this software can be a very powerful tool. W3Perl can read data from emails, FTP servers and web visitors. It can give you all the standard data, along with advance data like session analysis, heatmapping and filetype breakdowns.

Program #9: Tracking 202

9-Tracking202

Site: http://www.tracking202.com

 

Tracking 202 is one of the top programs for running PPC affiliate campaigns. Note that this is not a tracking tool you want to use unless you’re doing paid marketing. It’s 100% free. Tracking 202 runs based on SubIDs that are tagged at the end of each affiliate URL. It allows you to track each sale back to the keyword that generated the sale, as well as to the affiliate network and the affiliate offer. Furthermore, Tracking 202 has a “Spy View” that allows you to see traffic flowing in as people visit your site. If they convert, you’ll see that live as well. As far as free PPC tracking solutions go, Tracking 202 is definitely in the running for the top spot.

Program #10: Klout

10-Klout

Site: http://www.klout.com

Klout allows you to track your social media ranking. It analyzes your Twitter and Facebook accounts and tells you how much clout you have with people in your social network.Your Klout score shouldn’t be used as an indicator of your business overall. However, if you’re doing social media marketing, it can be a great way to track whether or not you’re doing well in terms of increasing your social influence.

These are the top 10 web stats tracking programs. We’ve covered programs for affiliate marketers, for beginners, for advanced sysadmins, for social media marketers and more.

Be a Backlinks Expert – Top Links Tracking Tools You Should Test (and Use)

 

links

 

In many ways, links are the lifeblood of the internet. Links send people from one site to another. Links determine your search engine rankings. Links allow you to endorse other sites and allow other sites to endorse you.

Having good link tracking tools will allow you to make sure your link are working, to see who’s linking to you and to track how any clicks your links are generating.

A lot of these things are things that you can check yourself, by hand. Using the right tools however allows you to save a lot of time and get more accurate results.

 

Tool #1: Majestic SEO

4-MajesticSEO

Site: http://www.majesticSEO.com

Majestic SEO is a link research tool that can tell you what sites are linking back to your site. Tools like Majestic SEO have become increasingly important as Yahoo’s old site explorer data gets older and older.

Unlike previous backlink tracking tools, Majestic SEO doesn’t use data from any other search engine. Instead, they’ve built their own web spider / crawler that goes and finds link data on its own. This is one of the best possible ways of finding who’s linking to you.

 

Tool #2: Open Site Explorer

5-Open-Site-Explorer

Site: http://www.opensiteexplorer.com

Open Site Explorer (OSE) has their own web spider that goes out and builds their own composite of the web that they use to generate backlink data.

There are a couple differences between OSE and Majestic SEO.

First, OSE has what’s called Page and Domain Authority. These work much like PageRank should in the real world. Increases in Page and Domain authority are exponential, meaning it’s much easier to go from 20 to 30 than 60 to 70.

OSE’s authority rankings are updated regularly, unlike PageRank. PageRank is updated more or less at Google’s whim, which could be every 3 months or it could be over a year. OSE’s page and domain authority are updated a lot more regularly, which can give you a better sense of your site’s authority than PageRank can.

You’ll generally notice fewer results with OSE than Majestic SEO. For discovering the maximum number of links, OSE isn’t as good as Majestic SEO. However, to get real data on which links are valuable and which ones aren’t, OSE is far better.

Tool #3: Bitly

bitly10

Site: http://www.bit.ly

Bitly is one of the most popular link shorteners on the web. Because of its “.ly” extension, the actual TLD is actually only three characters long. As a result, links on Bitly’s service are extremely short, which makes it ideal for Twitter and other social networking sites.

One feature that Bitly brings to the table is click tracking. Every time someone clicks on your Bitly link, it’ll track that click. This allows you to track your visitors and the popularity of each link.

Best of all? Bitly is 100% free.

Tool #4: Goo.gl

3-Goo-gl

Site: http://www.goo.gl

Goo.gl is Google’s link shortener. It works a lot like Bitly. You can shorten your links, as well as track all your clicks through Google’s system. Whether you use Bitly or Goo.gl is largely a matter of personal preference.

 

Tool #5: Link Assistant

6-Link-Assistant

Site: http://www.link-assistant.com

Link Assistant is a tool that’ll help you both find new linking partners and track your backlinks. You can use Link Assistant to locate potential link partners through a number of different methods. It can find partners by keyword, by websites, by scraping a forum, etc.

Once someone agrees to link to you, Link Assistant can then help you verify whether or not the link is up and monitor the link to make sure it’s still up a few months down the line.

The basic version of Link Assistant is free.

Tool #6: Backlink Watch

7-Backlink-Watch

Site: http://www.backlinkwatch.com

Backlink Watch is a simple and easy way to find people who’re linking back to your website. Just type the domain or page URL that you want to lookup in Backlink Watch and it’ll generate a long list of sites that linked to your page.

There are no subscriptions and no fees. You don’t get just partial results. It’s just a 100% free tool to help you find the people who’re linking to you.

Tool #7: Broken Link Checker

8-Broken-Link-Check

Site: http://www.brokenlinkcheck.com

Broken link checker allows you to type in a domain name to quickly check to see if that domain is linking to any broken links. Linking to broken links is not only bad for your user experience, but bad for SEO as well. Google figures that anyone who’s linking to broken sites probably isn’t all that credible.

Instead of checking your links by hand, using a tool link Broken Link Checker makes finding broken links a whole lot easier.

Tool #8: Linkchecker Submit Express

9-Linkchecker-Submit-Express

Site: http://linkchecker.submitexpress.com

Much like Backlink checker, Linkchecker will scan a website for all its links and make sure that none of them are broken.

What’s great about Linkchecker is that you can watch its progress in real time. It scans both internal and external links. It also scans images, to make sure that you aren’t linking to any pictures that don’t exist anymore.

Tool #9: SEO Status, SEO Quake

10-SEO-Status

Site: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/bjgpmafbkgcchdjehdpnfgfgbdfahapa

SEO Status and SEO Quake are both plugins for Chrome and Firefox that can tell you the Alexa ranking and the Google PageRank of any page that you’re on.

This can allow you to quickly get stats on any page you’re on, whether it’s your own website or someone else’s website. It’ll help you quickly evaluate a page to determine whether or not it’s worth trying to get a link from them.

It can also help you gauge how authoritative a certain page on your website is in Google’s eyes. That’ll help you figure out how well that page is doing and whether it warrants more effort to try to get that page to rank.

These are 9 link tracking tools on the web, from URL shorteners to rotators to browser plugins to backlink checkers. What other tools do you use for checking backlinks?

Research Tools for Buying Websites

website

Doing your research is perhaps the most important part of the website buying process.

When you’re buying a website, you need to make sure that you’re actually getting what you’re paying for in terms of traffic and revenue. In addition, you should also do as much research as you can into how much the site can potentially make in the future.

Here are a few of the most powerful research tools you have at your disposal when researching a potential website buy.

Analyzing Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the most common type of statistics program used by webmasters. It’s also one of the most common types of reports you’ll see when you’re researching sites to buy.

Here are a few of the most important things you should look for in a Google Analytics report.

Overall Health

The first thing to look at is the overall health of the website. You can get a sense for how much people like this site by looking at stats like the pages per visit, the bounce rate, the average time on site and the percent of new visits.

1-GA-Overall

 

Traffic Sources

Another important thing to understand is exactly where all your traffic comes from. There is a huge difference between running a forum that’s mostly recurring traffic and a website that gets mostly new traffic from SEO.

2-GA-Traffic-Sources


Keyword Analysis

The keywords that people type in to get to your website can tell you a lot about the kind of people that end up on the website. It can tell you whether they’re buyers or browsers and what kind of information they’re looking for when they end up on your site.

 

Breakdown by Countries

One big mistake buyers make is not checking the countries that traffic comes from. It’s not uncommon to see a site listed that gets a lot of traffic – Only to later discover that the majority of the traffic comes from third world countries.

It’s possible to make money from third world traffic, but it’s important that you know where your traffic is coming from before you buy.

Detecting Link Types

Many of the sites you’re considering buying will get most of their traffic from search engines. Link building is the most important component of search engine optimization – Unfortunately, a lot of people take shortcuts.

When you’re buying a website that gets traffic from search engines, it’s important to do at least a basic analysis of its link structure. This will give you a good idea of how links were built to your site and what the risk of losing your rankings is.

If you’re buying a website with a lot of spammy links, there is a real danger of being delisted. On the other hand, if you’re buying a website with strong, relevant backlinks, you can afford to pay a bit more as the rankings will likely improve in the future.

One tool you can use to analyze the backlink structure of any given website is Open Site Explorer. These two tools both use their own web spider engines to build an index of the web on their own servers. They can then use this index to find backlinks back to a specific website.

Here’s an example of what an Open Site Explorer search result looks like:

 5-OSE-Backlinks

Open Site Explorer has a unique feature called domain or page authority. This figure is designed to mimic PageRank. It takes into a large number of factors and gives you a number on how authoritative a specific domain or page is.

This figure is logarithmic. That means it’s much easier to go from 30 to 40 than from 70 to 80. This number is usually a lot more useful than PageRank, because it’s constantly updated while Google only updates PageRank a few times a year.

Overall what you want to look for are legitimate backlinks to your website from other sites in related industries. Try to avoid sites that are linked to from many spammy, low quality, unrelated sites.

 

Is the Industry Trending Up or Down?

checklistWhen you’re buying a site, you need to evaluate the industry it’s in. Avoid buying sites in dying industries or topics and invest in sites that are on the up and up.

One good way to demonstrate this is with the iPhone 3G. When the iPhone 3G was released, the very quickly got a lot of hype. People built sites around the iPhone 3G, and some buyers even paid as much as 30x the monthly income for those sites.

Of course, the iPhone 3G’s hype quickly died down over time to be replaced by the iPhone 4. You don’t want to be buying a 3G website based on the peak’s traffic, hoping it’ll continue to rise.

 7-Google-Trends

As you can see, the traffic in 2011 is about one fourth of where it was in 2008 when the iPhone 3G was unveiled.

Point “B” would be a great time to sell a website but a terrible time to buy.

Using Google Trends, you can easily identify whether an industry or topic is picking up or going down. If you’re in a dying industry or a short-term industry (as shown above,) you probably shouldn’t invest.

Predicting AdSense Income

If you’re buying a website that you plan on monetizing with Google AdSense, it can often help to try and predict how much you’ll earn by placing AdSense on a website.

First, take a look at the types of ads that might show up on your site after you put AdSense on it. You can do so using the AdSense Sandbox Tool.

8-AdSense-Sandbox

Just type in the keyword or URL you want to check potential ads for.
To get an estimate of how much you might earn per click from Google AdSense, use the Google Traffic Estimator. To access this tool, you need a Google AdWords account.

Log into your Google AdWords interface, click “Tools” then “Traffic Estimator.”

10-Traffic-Estimator

Type in the keyword(s) you think people who’re targeting your site might type in. The resulting CPCs will give you a ballpark of whether your site will get high CPCs or low CPCs.

Keep in mind that these estimates are for Google AdWords, not Google AdSense. There isn’t a tool that can accurately tell you how much you can get per click from AdSense. Instead, using the AdWords Traffic Estimator, you can just get a sense for whether you’re in a high paying or low paying category.

If you really want specific numbers, you can use 30% of the Google AdWords bids as a rough guesstimate of your CPC. If the CPC is $1, expect to earn about $.30 cents per click on AdSense.
These are a few of the tools you might want to use to evaluate both the validity of the website’s traffic stats, as well as the earning\ potential of the website in the future.

How to Protect Yourself from Spam with Spam Arrest

avoid-spam

Spam Arrest is a program that ensures you receive email only from verified senders. If you don’t verify an email address, the email will not be sent to your inbox.

The program works with a variety of Windows email programs, Eudora, Netscape and other programs with pop3 control.

Spam Arrest is a subscription-based service, but has a 30-day trial available. You can sign up at http://spamarrest.com

 

Update to Spam Arrests Incoming Mail Servers

When you download the software, Spam Arrest will ask you to add an email address. Note, that you will need to use Spam Arrests incoming mail servers in your usual mail program as the email is now coming from Spam Arrest.

Your Spam Arrest user name will automatically appear. Just enter your Spam Arrest account password and click “Remember Password” if you don’t want to enter the information again.

 

Add People to Your Address Book

Normally, when someone emails you and you use Spam Arrest, that person will be asked to confirm they are a real sender. If you have people you regularly exchange email with, you can add them to your Spam Arrest address book, so they do not have to go through the verification process.

In the Spam Arrest Members area:

Click on “Address Book” in the far left menu.

2-address-book-link

Then click the “Add Contact’ link to add a new contact:

3-add-contact

Enter the information and click “Save Entry”. This person will now be able to email you without verifying.

 4-address-book

 

 Check Your Unverified Senders

 

You may find that you receive email from newsletters or other people who do not receive the verification email or simply don’t complete the verification process. For that reason, you may want to check your Unverified Senders to see if there is email you want.

On the left menu, choose “Unverified”:

5-verified-menu

You will see a list of your unverified senders and you can approve them. Simply check the ones you want to authorize and click the “Authorize” button:

6-authorize

Now the email will be sent to your regular inbox. You can open your regular mail program to view it:

7-email-download

 What the Sender Sees

If someone sends you email and they are not in your address book and you haven’t verified them, they will get an email that looks like this:

 8-verification-email

 When the user clicks the verification email, they are taken to a page where they have to enter a code:

 9-verification-code

And agree to a “Sender Agreement”:

10-sender-agreement

Once they click “Verify”, the email will be delivered to you and this sender has been verified for future emails. The sender is then sent to a screen that verifies that their email was sent and is offered a free trial for Spam Arrest:

 11-thanks-download

 

Note, you can sign of the Spam Arrest affiliate program and link your affiliate and personal account. Then you will earn a commission on any sales made through this process.