April 16, 2014

How to Paginate a WordPress Blog Post

Chalk this one up to “you learn something new every day!”

I was re-designing a customer’s website today (and moving from static HTML to WordPress) when I came across a set of really LONG pages all about the person’s life story, kind of a biography, if you will.

It was basically “bio1,” “bio2,” “bio3,” etc.

I tried breaking them up into multiple blog posts, looking for that elusive “quality content” that we’re always seeking, but I always arrived at the conclusion that the way it was written way back when was actually very good and why mess with it?

So the question became, “How do I “paginate” a single WordPress blog post into multiple “pages?”

Thanks to Google, it was easy peasy.

Here’s how:

Wherever you want to place a “page break,” you insert (in the html, or text, view) this tag:

<!–nextpage–>

WordPress breaks up the page in a very logical manner and just calls them “Page 1,” “Page 2,” and “Page 3″ and so on.

Nice, neat, elegant design. And it works perfect when it makes sense to write a really long blog post.

Click here for what WordPress has to say about this tag.

Preferred WordPress Plugins Update

WordPress Plugins

WordPress Plugins

From time to time, I update the list of standard plugins that I use. I will not be going into the details here as to why or how I use them. Suffice it to say that these are the plugins that I am currently using on every new web site I create. Here’s the latest WordPress plugins I currently use:

That’s it. These are my standard WordPress plugins. I do use other ones, depending on the web site I’m building, but these are the ones I use on every new web site I build.

Easy Fix for a WordPress Hack

Take a look at this post for full instructions on how to disable the “edit” mode for themes and plugins…(warning: If you make a mistake, you can really mess things up—so use WP Twin to backup your site before you do this—I will not help you fix something you break).

http://davidjvallieres.com/how-to-fix-a-major-wp-security-issue/

Quick & Dirty WordPress Fix: Redirect 404 to another URL

Below is a note I wrote on November 10, 2010 about how to do a redirect on your 404 page in WordPress.

Quick & Dirty WordPress Fix: Redirect 404 to another URLI’m in the process right now of setting up a WordPress “site” with only one page (a squeeze page) and I was having a difficult time getting the “404″ page to match my squeeze page. So, screw it. Let’s figure it out!

Plugins are cumbersome. This little ditty works great.

Open up a text editor and paste this into it:

              header(“Status: 301 Moved Permanently”);

header(“Location:URL you want to redirect to”);

?>

Make sure you change “URL you want to redirect to” to a valid URL on your site. It could be a sales page, a page full of helpful links, whatever.

Save the file as 404.php. Now, go to your FTP client, find in your Themes folder the 404.php file and rename it to something else (a-404.php, for example). Then,

Upload the 404.php file you created to your Themes folder.

Grab a cold beverage! You’ve just redirected ANY 404 error page to whatever you placed in that code.

It could be your home page, a custom squeeze page, or a page off the site. It’s your choice.

Content Creation Ideas

Content Creation IdeasHow to create your own content -- some content creation ideas

Content is king

Content Creation Ideas

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that content is king when it comes to getting your website ranked high up in the search engine results pages. There are no two ways about it: All other things equal, the web page with the better content will outrank the web page with inferior content.

That’s in a perfect world, of course. But the world ain’t perfect, is it? It is getting perfecter, however.

Nevertheless, I am going to give you a few ways to generate some content creation ideas.

Let’s head on over to our fickle friend, Google. Go to the search input box and type “external keyword tool.”

Click on the first result in search (funny how Google properties always outrank everything else, huh?). You will arrive at the Google External Keyword Tool.

Dare I say it, but this is a GREAT tool for digging in and getting some nice long-tail keywords. Let’s try doing a search for “content marketing.” See the screenshot below for the setup for content marketing:

Google External Keyword Tool

Content Creation Ideas

Then sort such that “Global Searches” is ranked from high to low. Here’s where you determine if the number of monthly searches is worth your time in creating the content for that keyword phrase (KWP).

You can even download the list to use later. This is a good practice. Generally speaking, the Google External Keyword Tool will give your 100 results that you can download to use for topics in subsequent website pages or blog posts.

Another tool you can use to generate content creation ideas is Google Insights. Here’s what that tool looks like with “content marketing” set in the search box:

Google Insights for Search

Google Insights

This tool will give you the Top Searches as well as the Rising Searches. In this case, as I write this, the Top Searches for “content marketing” looks like this:

The Rising Searches for “content marketing” looks like this:

As you can guess, these are really great future blog post or web page topics!

I also like to use Google and Yahoo searches for finding topical & timely content ideas. Did you know that you can use either search tool to find trending stories? Here’s how. Simply type “content marketing” in the search and use a filter of, say, the last 24 hours. If you want an instant traffic spike for a hot-trending keyword phrase, then this is the way to maximize your chances.

You can also filter the results such that you only see Blog content. This is a perfect way to curate content! Content curation is another topic altogether, but it is a solid content creation idea to implement when you find really good content on the web and/or don’t want or have the time to create your own content.

I hope that this post about content creation ideas has sparked some ideas of your own!

Why I Switched from Firefox to Chrome

Google Chrome

Chrome

I have been an ardent fan of Mozilla’s Firefox browser for many years. I’ve been please with its progress, too. Updates had been coming out quite often and the performance was okay.

What really kept me with Firefox, however, was the extensions.

There are a few extensions that I really love. CoLT, for example. This one allows me to copy in a variety of formats any hyperlink on a page: As text, the URL, as hypertext, etc. Pretty cool.

I also like SEOquake.

I had tried Chrome a year or so ago. While I found it to be slightly faster than Firefox on starting up, it wasn’t compelling enough to abandon FF and move to Chrome. There just weren’t enough reasons.

That all changed on Friday.

I use LastPass. It’s an awesome extension/add-on for FF, Chrome, and IE that allows you to store your passwords and use them across multiple browsers and computers. But it stopped working as it had with Firefox.

And it worked on Chrome.

Of course, that wasn’t reason enough–yet–to make the switch. However, I couldn’t find a solution to the LastPass issue with Firefox; there simply wasn’t any info anywhere on what the problem was and when it would be fixed.

Now, I live on LastPass. I really do.

For the time being–until the programmers at LastPass could resolve the Firefox issue–I would give Chrome another try.

Boy, what a difference a year makes!

I love Chrome! I really do. It’s simply awesome. It loads many seconds faster than Firefox. Note: I’m using the latest version of each.

The extensions available for this browser have come a long way, too. There really is no shortage of awesome extensions for Chrome. Everything I use in Firefox is either available as an analog in Chrome or there is a reasonable alternative.

One of the nicer features of Chrome is that–if you sign into the browser (privacy wonks, your ears should have just perked up)–all of your data gets synced in your account, which means that your bookmarks get synced from one computer to another, as long as you use Chrome and log into it.

That is a phenomenal feature. I know there are some privacy concerns with that concept, but I’m personally okay with them.

Now, LastPass has been fixed in Firefox, but I doubt I’ll go back. I really, really, REALLY love Google’s Chrome!

When I have a bit of time, I’ll tell you how I’ve customized it to suit my particular needs and wants.

Cool Links Volume 1

Cool linksThis is the inaugural edition of “Cool Links.” This is where I point you to some really cool stuff.

Lewis Howes (the “LinkedIn guy”) is giving away a Kindle book called the “Ultimate Webinar Marketing Guide [Kindle Edition]

I just got it. Of course, I haven’t read it, but these things tend to only be free for short periods of time, so I suggest you go get it and read it later :)

Join.me is a great little web app that you can use for small online meetings. You can even share your screen. Pretty nifty. The free version is sufficient for most. There is a paid version.

I really dig LastPass–it’s a password manager that works on nearly any device (I say “nearly” because I think it works on any internet-connected device but I am not 100% sure).

I use it many times a day. It’s a real time and sanity saver. I use the free version. The paid version is a whopping $12 a year.

Comodo is my go-to internet security suite: It has software firewall, anti-virus, and anti-malware modules. It’s free, too.

Caution: Some links may be affiliate links.

Why Some WordPress Themes Hurt Your SEO

StudioPress Theme is perfect for WordPress SEO

StudioPress SEO

Below is an excerpt from Joost de Valk, aka “Yoast,” on why choosing your WordPress theme very carefully is a prudent thing to do, especially if you care about search engine rankings (SEO).

Why some WordPress Themes hurt your SEO.

(You do care about your search engine rankings, don’t you?)

The issue in question on this one affects not only a lot of free themes but also premium themes. Joost calls out StudioPress as one of the themes that have been optimized for SEO.

A careful observer will note that this site is built on StudioPress :)

From the article:

Once again, I want to tell you to not blindly trust theme authors when they say their theme is SEO friendly. “SEO friendly” is just a label they put on their theme and since most of their customers don’t know what to look for to see if it’s actually true, yet know that it’s important, it helps “sell” themes.

I’m kind of a geek when it comes to this stuff, but I’ll admit I’m not as hardcore as I used to be. It’s mostly because I take the following precautions:

  1. I use StudioPress a lot. It’s my go-to choice for themes now. You will note that I have around 100 websites, using different themes. I use StudioPress on nearly all new installations of my own. I recommend the Genesis framework to every client.
  2. I make regular backups, using WPTwin.
  3. I use Yoast’s very own SEO plugin.
  4. I (try to) write good great content.
  5. I have some “best practices” that I follow when setting up a site as well as when making new posts and pages. You really ought to subscribe to the newsletter for the skinny.

Maximizing Pinterest Part Two

Maximizing Pinterest

Maximizing Pinterest

Maximizing Pinterest

In our last post on Pinterest, Check Out Pinterest for a Traffic Bump (Part One), we talked about how to sign up for Pinterest and how to use it. We briefly touched on pinning your own stuff to increase your traffic.

This post is all about maximizing Pinterest.

This entails inserting at least one image in every post and page you publish. But where do you find these images?

I’ll tell you how a lot of people do it, myself included on occasion because I’m totally lazy.

I go to Google Images and do a search. Then I save that image to my hard drive and upload it to WordPress. However, don’t do this.

It’s going to get you in trouble, eventually.

Instead, do this.

Maximizing Pinterest — Where to find good images, legitimately

There are 4 primary places to get good images. Here they are:

  1. Flickr. Use the Creative Commons licensing option in Search. http://www.flickr.com/search/advanced/?
  2. Morgue File.
  3. Stock images. iStockPhoto and stock.xchng are two popular ones.
  4. Hire or make your own. Here’s a good program — Monkey Graphics.

If you want to maximize your use of Pinterest, check those sites out.

 

Create

Create killer content

Create killer contentYou have to create killer content to get both people and the search engines to give you any consideration whatsoever in today’s internet. There are so many competitors for your potential customers’ mindshare and dollars that being adequate is no longer acceptable. Oh, you may get the occasional passer-by, but you won’t get the flood of traffic you need in order to get what you want out of your website.

At the very least, your website should be earning you at least enough to break even. That is to say, after paying for your domain name registration, hosting fees, and any other services you may need to get your website up and running, you should be at break-even.

Now, most of you (I hope) are in this to earn some money. I am not here to tell you that you can quite your day job, make a million dollars, and then retire to some remote tropical island (there aren’t enough of them)…but I will say that each site of your should be able to earn a few thousand dollars a year.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, right?

Let’s get back to creating that killer content. Presumably, you know what your business is all about. Perhaps it’s furniture refinishing. Maybe you tell people how to do their own refinishing through ebooks and videos. You sell a course on how to restore antique wooden tables. You may even sell affiliate products—maybe you have a counterpart who sells a how-to course on decorating old homes that he sells through a membership program.

I dunno. But you do.

Create awesome content. Show people how to do something worthwhile. Stick to your theme. Always keep in mind why you write what you write. Your central theme should always be “furniture refinishing.” Lead your visitors down a path (we call it a “sales funnel”) that they want to take. If they arrived at your site looking for furniture refinishing, they probably want to repair or restore their old furniture. Show them how.

Maybe the first step is to get them to sign up to a free ecourse on furniture refinishing. You earn their trust (this is more about connecting, but you connect through the prism of the content you create), lead them down the path they’d naturally follow (if only there were a path—oh, yes, you are providing it!), and sell them what they wanted all along at the end.

Easy, right?

 

Let’s look at it slightly differently. Think of how your current readers found you. What were they looking for? Do you think they found it? If not, did you lead them down the right path to find it? Or, if they did find what they had searched for, did you prompt them to take the next step (whatever that step might be)?

It really is easy. Just find out what your target market wants and give it to them! Then, lead them down the path that gets them more of what they want and you’ll have a customer for life.

This 3-phase trifecta—CREATE, CONNECT, and CONVERT—will earn you a lot of loyal customers.