Tutorial: How to Install WordPress

10 06 2011

WordPress is a great solution for people in need of a website or blog, though installing WordPress can be a bit tricky.  Luckily for many people, hosting providers are beginning to roll out one button installs of WordPress  Joomla, Drupal and more.  This is obviously the easiest way to go about doing this, which you can generally find in your hosting options.  The down side of this is it can take quite awhile for them to be created, and let’s be honest, it’s just not as fun.  The following example is using GoDaddy hosting, other hosting services may look a bit different.

To install a WordPress site yourself, you will need a few things: a hosting account, FTP access and a mysql database.

1. First things first, you will need to download the WordPress install files from http://www.wordpress.org

2.  Extract these so you have a WordPress folder.

3.  Go into your hosting account and setup a mysql database.

4. Once here, create your database, use mysql5 if you have the option.  In GoDaddy all you will need to fill out is the Database name/User Name and the Password.

5. Once created, you can view the information associated with the Database on the next page after submitting.  Note: it can take a few minutes for it to setup.

6. Leave this window open and find the files that you  downloaded earlier.  You will find a file called wp-config-sample.php.  Rename this file to wp-config and open it up in a text editor.

7. Within this file you will see a few familiar fields associated with your database that you created:

According to our information from setting up the database, we would simply replace the lower case single quote areas with the following:

DB Name: exampledbblog
DB User: exampledbblog
Password **Whatever you set it to
DB Host: exampledbblog.db.7050107.hostedresource.com

8. Once this is done, simply login to your ftp and upload the files to your web space.  If you need to find your ftp information, you can do so through your hosting(similarto setting up your database)

9. Once all of your files are uploaded, visit the domain that you uploaded your files to(you may have to navigate to a subfolder if you put them there).  You will then see a wordpress setup page in which you create your user name, password and email associated with the site.

10. Take a deep breath, you are done!





Social Media Website Icon Integration

25 02 2011

Whether you’re a large e-commerce business or a small brick and mortar company, Social Media is a fantastic route to create exposure and grow a community around your brand.  Adding Social Media icons to your website shouldn’t even be an option, it should be mandatory for all businesses.  Here are a few tips for adding them to your site:

  • Generally putting SM icons in the upper right is the most widely accepted practice.  The fallback should be in the footer if your design can’t handle the header.  Always aim for header or footer as it’s become the “natural” place for people to look for them.  It also depends on how highly you value a “follower” or a “like”.  If gaining these are your main focus, you would not want to put your social media icons at the bottom of a 10 page scrolling blog.  The flip side of this is that you risk the chance of taking someone off your site to your social media profile before passing through your content and being a potential customer/conversion.
  • Branding them (changing the colors/textures) to your site can be beneficial, overdoing it can also be detrimental and hide/blend them into your site too much.
  • Tagging articles, services or products with the ability to share through social media(facebook, twitter and linkedin) is a good way to gain followers and more exposure.
  • Adding Facebook’s “like” button to your website eliminates the middle man of having to actually visit Facebook to gain a follower, which is valuable if you’re goals are on your website. (Same for Twitter and LinkedIn)
  • When using Social Media Icon’s as links to your Social Media profiles make sure they open as a new window.
  • There’s a few ways you can add them:
  • It can be worth utm tracking clicks on your sites Social Media Icons to see where visitors are falling off.  Ie: are you getting 500 people clicking through to your Facebook pages, and only 20 people “liking” it.  In this case this could be worth looking into your FB page itself.  The flip side of that could be you are getting more “likes” then clicks, in which you most likely have bad placement of your SM icons on your website and they are finding your SM profiles through other means.
  • Some different examples of SM icon inclusion:
    • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ has incorporated their social media icons and a “like” button into their main navigation, which basically tells us that they value those activities highly.
    • http://www.smashingmagazine.com/ makes their SM very prominent in the upper right, but separate it from their content, almost as though it’s on an island.
    • http://www.foxnews.com/ puts their SM icons in the right side of their footer with very little prominence.  This placement is very common as it is a widget area for a lot of CMS’.  It seems a trend for News organizations to bury their SM icons.  CNN does put a Facebook feed on the right side of all their pages so you can repost articles quickly.




7 SEM Trends for 2011

8 02 2011

After spending the last month reading list after list making SEM predictions for 2011 I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring.  When you truly look at predicting anything, the best case scenario is you’re right and the worst case scenario, well at least you made an effort.  So, without further ado, here are my top 7 SEM predictions for 2011:

1.  Above the Fold Content Becomes Less Crucial

One of the biggest things to take away from the infographic craze is that users are willing to scroll if you have engaging content.  Virtually every mouse has a scroll feature; create amazing content so I want to use it.



2.  HTML5 and CSS3 Will Begin to Go Mainstream

The general population is afraid of change.  Most tech people are early adopters and embrace change.  Now we just need the people building sites for clients that are still using IE6 to let them do it the right way.  Listen to Smashing and start using HTML 5 and CSS3 today.

3.  The Death of Foursquare: As big players integrate location-based services better, the smaller pioneers will fade.

Let me start by saying I’ve never been into letting people know where I’m at so they can go to my house and kidnap my dog while I’m out drinking.  Therefore, I may not be the authority on any this issue.  However, I do hate having to juggle four different apps in order to let everyone know what I’m having for dinner, where I’m having it, that I just became the Mayor and that I checked in to save 20% on appetizers.

4.  Google’s Disdain for RSS Will Continue to Grow

With rumors already swirling about Google moving resources away from Google Reader, it’s likely that support for RSS will fade overall.  Personally, I used to be into RSS as it’s an excellent way to keep abreast to the latest news and industry blogs, however that all went away when Twitter became my professional social vehicle and Facebook became my personal social vehicle.  Using Twitter and using it right helps to filter out all the fluff and only read content that is valued by people who know more than I do.

5.   Blekko Will Become an Important FREE Tool for SEO Professionals

Blekko has already made efforts to supply SEO data to users.  I think the next step in the process is to allow the data to be exported and manipulated.  Stay Tuned…

6.  Local Search Will Drive More Customers to Brick & Mortar Stores

Yelp reported that in December of 2010 35% of all searches on Yelp.com came from a mobile app. Please take into account that this number doesn’t even include the people who go directly to the site through their mobile browser instead of using the app.  People are searching locally and on the go because they want to spend locally.  Looking at Google’s shift towards local content only reinforces the fact.

7.  Customer Reviews Will Take Center Stage

One of the biggest obstacles working with companies that are just now jumping on the local bandwagon is that it’s difficult to get an influx of reviews.  As local businesses begin to optimize for local search, expect to be asked to review a business more and more as you’re walking out the door with your lunch.

In the end, there were a million different predictions I could have thrown out there. Check back next year and we’ll see how I did.

 

What are your thoughts/predictions for 2011 and beyond?





The Mostly Pros…and a few Cons of HTML5

25 01 2011

First off, HTML5 is the next major revision of HTML.  It is also an attempt to define a single markup language that can be written in either HTML or XHTML syntax.  That said it has the potential to be amazing and simplify cross browser and plug-in compatibility issues.  Some other aspects to note:

Pros

  • You don’t need any plug-ins to use it as you would with Flash.
  • It works on iPhones and most mobile browsers.  As the iPhones impending market share on the verge of exploding with their recent Verizon expansion, mobile video compatibility will be at the forefront of issues to consider for most developers.
  • You can CSS everything within the browser.  You now have easy access to behaviors within the browser without using JavaScript.  You also have a Canvas tag.
  • You are going to have cleaner code.  Instead of multiple lines of JavaScript for some standard behaviors on a website, you can replace that with 1 word which will deliver that same desired effect.
  • Built in API’s that allow you features such as geo-location and client-side databases which will make customization of websites much better.
  • The native video controls are keyboard accessible.
  • With videos, you can include a textual transcript, which can be scripted into synchronized video captions, which is a tremendous leap forward in terms of video and search engine optimization.

Cons

  • HTML5 videos use double encoding which requires extra processing power and storage.
  • Changing from Flash to HTML5 like any other site update could be expensive and timely depending on your site.
  • It’s not entirely backwards compatible, for those archaic browser users. (not that anything really is!)
  • Double encoding is time, extra process and more storage
  • Flash “works” – change is expensive

The advantages to using open HTML5 video are

  • It’s (ultimately) a better user experience, as user doesn’t have to worry about plugins (a major source of worry for non-techy users)
  • It works on iPhones and (eventually) other mobile browsers
  • As a web designer, you can do fancy stuff with CSS etc as it’s native in the browser (this may not matter to business; depends what they want to do with the video)
  • The native video controls are keyboard accessible (in Opera; in Firefox, only when JavaScript is on; in Chrome and Safari, not at all)
  • You can have a textual transcript, which can be scripted into synchronised video captions: great for “Search Engine Optimisation” and “DDA compliance”




SEO WordPress plugins to make your life easier

13 12 2010

Are you one of the 17 million WordPress powered blogs or websites out there?  If so, have you done your part to optimize it?  If you haven’t yet, do not fret.  The following is a list of 5 fairly awesome WordPress plugins that can help simplify this process and boost your search results.

All in one SEO

This plug-in can canonicalize your site or blog, add analytics tracking code, change your permalinks to readable urls and allow you to modify your title and meta tags.  If you’re lazy they will even generate them for you!

Redirection

Redirection is a WordPress plug-in to manage 301 redirections, keep track of 404 errors, and generally tidy up any loose ends your site may have. This is particularly useful if you are migrating pages from an old website, or are changing the directory of your WordPress installation(which can be a huge hassle).

SEO friendly Images

If your images do not have ALT and TITLE already set, SEO Friendly Images will add them according to the options you set.  Additionally this makes the post W3C/xHTML valid.

Sitemap Generator

This plug-in will allow you to generate an xml sitemap for your blog or website, but also offers options through WordPress to customize it.

SEO Smart Links

This plug-in allows you the option of linking pages to certain keywords or phrases residing on your website or blog.  It also includes nofollow link options.  No more need to manually tread through your website and set-up your internal anchor text!





Google Instant Preview: What does this mean?

16 11 2010

Google has recently rolled out an update for their search results that includes a magnifying glass that when clicked will serve a small screenshot of the homepage with the site associated.  They are calling it “Google Instant Preview” and similar to the double rainbow…we have no idea what this means(in terms of search).

A few things we do know about this new addition; In terms of search significance, it will not impact your actual queries or positioning…yet.  There’s also no tracking available at the moment in analytics or webmaster tools, so the immediate impact of Instant Preview is uncertain.

What I can tell you are two things:

  • Flash websites do not currently work in Google Instant preview. That said, once tracking is established for Instant Preview and if we are finding this as an effective method of use by users, Adobe may take another large hit in terms of the viability of Flash on the web.
  • Your website design is now even more important for search. Having a well branded, clean, trustworthy site could potentially gain you traffic.  As people may be gauging whether to visit your website more on the look of your site rather than title tags, meta descriptions, etc.




5 simple fixes to Optimize your website

1 10 2010

Search Engine Optimization can be a long process that can take quite a bit of time and effort from professionals to accomplish meaningful results. That said, there are a few ways for you to gain results with minimal time and knowledge. Here’s a list of 5 simple and quick fixes that can help you boost your search rankings.

  • Optimize your Title Tags
    • By Inserting specific keywords in your page title tags, you can instantly rank higher.  If you are in a field or profession where these keywords are oversaturated, this will be just one of many things you should be doing.
    • To do this you simply need to place them within your code between the <title> tags.
  • Include your address on your site
    • By doing this you can help boost your rankings in Google Maps.
  • Insert keyword specific anchor text
    • Google takes anchor text into consideration when ranking search results.  These will not make or break your site like title tags can, but they can put you over the top if you are in a market with other well optimized sites.
    • To do this simply find a keyword you want to optimize, ie. Search Engine Optimization.  In your code you would wrap this with <a href=”THE URL YOU WANT IT TO GO TO”>Search Engine Optimization</a>
  • Write Good Content…often
    • Search Engines love dynamic content.  An active blog or news page that hosts compelling content is a great way to draw in visitors and ultimately boost your search results.  Submitting these articles to sites like digg, sphinn, reddit, etc. can further your cause.
  • Build  Up quality links
    • This isn’t necessarily “Quick”, but it can be painless if you pace yourself.  Linking building equates to 70% of SEO efforts.  By building quality links over time you can dramatically influence your search rankings.







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