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    How Do I Put an RSS Feed on My Web Page?

    June 29th, 2010

    Large RSS ButtonYesterday a web designer e-mailed me this question:

    “We have a client who wants to be able to post an article to their WordPress blog and have it show up on their Web site.  Your article recently talked about how to get WordPress articles to post to Facebook and Twitter which was great, but do you know of a way to get it to post to their Web site too.”

    Great question. If your blog is on Blogger or WordPress, you might want to promote your most recent blog posts on your website too.

    Publishing blog post titles, a link and a short description of your most recent blog articles on your web page keeps your company’s website fresh. It also helps you get more subscribers to your blog.

    Promote Your Blog on Your Website: Three Easy Steps

    STEP 1: Set-up Google’s Feedburner for Your RSS Feed

    Go to:

    http://feedburner.google.com

    If you haven’t already signed up for Feedburner, you’ll want to sign-up. Then you will see a screen like this:

    Feedburner Set-Up

    To find your default RSS feed URL, click on the RSS icon on your browser. It’s the orange and white square circled below:

    RSS Feed Icon

    After clicking on your RSS icon, you will see a page like this:

    RSS Feed Url

    Copy and paste your feed URL into feedburner.

    If you’re using WordPress on your own domain, you will want to install this plugin too:

    http://www.google.com/support/feedburner/bin/answer.py?answer=78483

    STEP 2:  Click on the Publicize tab and Activate BuzzBoost

    Feedburner RSS for HTML

    STEP 3: Paste the BuzzBoost HTML on your web page

    Voila! You’re done. Your web page can now promote your most recent blog posts.

    Was this post helpful? Let us know. Have a question? Ask us.

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    10 Traffic Building Plugins for WordPress

    May 28th, 2010

    Want more traffic to your blog? These 10 plugins will help.

    1. SexyBookmarks Plugin

    When you want people to share your blog posts with their friends, this is my plugin of choice.

    Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like on a blog:

    You can find out more here:

    http://www.sexybookmarks.net/

    2. Disqus Comment System Plugin

    Disqus turns your comments across the blogosphere into one communication stream. Many of the big name bloggers like Chris Brogan and Duct Tape Marketing use Disqus. If you comment on their blogs, people can find all your comments and get a better understanding about you.

    Here is a sample of responses to comments on Disqus:

    Disqus Builds Blog Traffic

    Disqus is a great way for you to get your blog noticed. But it only works if you consistently comment on other blogs. For more information, here is their website:

    http://disqus.com/overview/

    3. Facebook Like Button Plugin

    The Facebook “like” button is one of the easiest ways people can share your blog posts. Your blog readers don’t have to take any time to “think up” a comment. They don’t have to Tweet anything. All they have to do is acknowledge that they “like” your post.

    There are several Facebook “Like” plugins. I’ve found many to be buggy. After installing a few and working through the bugs, a friend told me about this one. It works well.

    http://martinj.net/wordpress-plugins/facebook-like-button/

    4. TweetMeme Retweet Button

    Want people to tweet about your blog on Twitter?

    Install this plugin:

    http://tweetmeme.com/about/plugins

    5. WP Greet Box

    I love this plugin. It recognizes what website referred your blog’s visitors and greets them with “Welcome ______.” The plugin also gives your visitors an easy way to sign-up for your RSS feed, etc.

    Here’s a screenshot of the plugin in action:

    You can find out more here:

    http://omninoggin.com/projects/wordpress-plugins/wp-greet-box-wordpress-plugin/

    6. Google XML Sitemaps

    Sitemaps help search engines spider your blog. This plugin generates a special XML sitemap instantly for you. Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com will find all your blog posts quickly when you install this plugin.

    http://www.arnebrachhold.de/projects/wordpress-plugins/google-xml-sitemaps-generator/

    7. Scribe

    Be warned. This plugin isn’t free.

    If you’ve ever wondered how to make your blog post more search engine friendly, this plugin does the hard work for you. It quickly and easily checks your content against SEO best practices. It then advises you on changes you’re able to make to get better search engine results for your blog posts.

    Here’s a screenshot of the plug-in in use:

    Find out more here:

    http://www.scribeseo.com

    8. Smart 404

    There is nothing worse than someone finding your blog and getting a 404 error page. This plugin solves that problem. Once installed, the plugin redirects traffic from bad links to the best suitable page. Install this plugin and you will never lose potential blog readers due to dead pages again.

    http://atastypixel.com/blog/wordpress/plugins/smart-404/

    9. WordPress.com Stats

    If you aren’t tracking where your blog traffic is coming from, you can’t make corrections to get more traffic.

    This plugin is very easy to install and tracks views, post/page views, referrers, and clicks. It requires a WordPress.com API key.

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

    10. WP Google Analytics

    If you really want great, detailed data about your blog vistors, then you’ll want to install Google Analytics on your blog.

    Here’s a screenshot:

    For more information go here:

    http://xavisys.com/wordpress-plugins/google-analytics/

    Of course installing a plugin doesn’t guarantee your blog will get more traffic. But if you use these plugins, you’ll make it much easier for people to find your blog.

    Do you know of a plugin we should include on this list? Tell us about it.

    9 Comments "

    How to Blog Effectively for Your Business

    March 2nd, 2010

    Need Ideas for Your Blog?This blog is all about helping people blog better for their business. This post in particular is for people just starting to blog. If you’re confused about what to write or how your blog will be useful, you’ll want to read this post. Print it out. Make notes on it and use it as a reference in the future.

    Why are you blogging for your business?

    Many small business owners think they will start a blog because they’ve heard it will help them get better search engine placement. Or they’ve heard blogs are free and you can start a blog instead of paying a web designer to build your business a website. Or someone they trust has told them, “You gotta start a blog.” This might be why you look closely at blogging, but it isn’t the real reason why business people should blog.

    The real reason a business owner should publish a blog is —

    You want to become known as an authority in your niche, or in your field. You want to become known as “the expert for [fill in the blank].” If you are the expert in your field or niche, clients will seek you out. Clients will find you and hire you because you’re the one everyone recommends. Everything else is a side benefit. Which leads us to the next point.

    What do you blog about?

    Before you post anything on your blog, answer these two questions:

    • What can I write about or post that really helps potential clients?
    • Will this post help establish me as an expert?

    If you were only going to get one thing from this blog article, this is the most important thing you need to remember. Stay focused.  And answer the two questions above.

    Ideas for Blog Topics

    Below you’ll find several ideas for writing quality blog posts your readers will love.

    Here are the ideas:

    1 – Make a list of the common questions people have about your area of expertise. Then write about it.

    2 – Did a client come to you with a problem recently? Can you turn their problem into a story about how the problem was solved?

    3 – How did you become an expert? What’s the story behind starting your business?

    4 – What recent news affects your industry? What is your opinion on how this news changes things or what should potential clients pay attention to?

    5 – Create a checklist for what potential clients should know before hiring someone in your field

    6 – Create a list of common mistakes people make when hiring a professional like you. Or create a common list of mistakes people make when trying to tackle the problem your business solves.

    7 – Write about a common practice in your industry that you believe is wrong. Tell people why you think it’s wrong and what you believe is the correct practice.

    COMMENT: Don’t name names or finger point. Just highlight the practice you disagree with and tell people why you disagree with the practice

    8 – Write case studies about your current clients

    9 – Write about the pros and cons of not using a professional or an expert to solve their problem

    10 – Write a story about someone who ignored or procrastinated about using a service like yours and what happened to them.

    This isn’t a comprehensive list of blogging ideas, but it’s a great start.

    Now that you have a list of blogging ideas, what’s next?

    First, print this page. Or copy and paste it into Word. Then start working your list. You’ll have a great start on being the online expert in your field.

    If you’re reading this and have another idea for creating great blog topics, leave a reply below. We want to hear from you.

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    5 Common Problems Setting Up a Thesis-Themed WordPress Blog

    February 19th, 2010

    Recently I moved my blog from WordPress.com to its own domain name. I set it up with WordPress and the Thesis theme. I wanted a more professional presence for my blog and a lot of business bloggers I respect (Chris Brogan and others) recommended Thesis. So I took their advice.  But when I did, I ran into these issues:  

    1. My links were no longer search engine friendly
    2. I no longer knew how many visitors my blog had or where my blog visitors were coming from. My site statistics were gone.
    3. All my videos and audios were no longer in my posts
    4. There wasn’t a place in Thesis to upload my professionally designed blog header
    5. Links from the search engines and other websites were sending traffic to my old blog. Not my new domain name.

    At first these issues looked ugly. But in no time they were solved.

    FIX FOR PROBLEM  #1– Create Search Engine Friendly Links in Thesis

    Thesis automatically creates links to your blog posts like this:

    http://www.yourblog.com/?p=123

    There are no keywords in the link. So the search engines can’t tell what your blog post is about from the link. That’s a “no-no.” But you can change it easily.

    First, log in to your WordPress Dashboard. Under “Settings,” choose “Permalinks.”

    Next, uncheck the default setting. Then check the “Day and name” setting or the “Month and name” setting. That’s it.

    Permalinks Settings in WordPress

    Now your links will include your blog post titles in them.

    FIX FOR PROBLEM #2 – Set-up WordPress stats plugin and Google Analytics

    In your WordPress Dashboard, under “Plugins,” choose “Add New”

    Then do a search for “stats.” You’ll find a list of plugins available. Personally I like the WordPress.com stats program because I’m used to it. You’re able to install these plugins by clicking the “install” link and following the directions. It’s real easy.

    Next, install Google Analytics. Go to http://google.com/analytics/ and sign-up.  Once you sign-up and follow the instructions, Google will give you code to copy and paste into your blog.  See:

    Google Analytics

    Then go to your WordPress Dashboard. Click on “Thesis Options.” Then choose “Footer.” You’ll see a place to paste your Google code. See screenshot below:

    Thesis WordPress Footer

    FIX FOR PROBLEM  #3 – Embed audio and video files

    I had to go back and enter all my videos and audio files again. It didn’t take very long. But it was a little annoying.

    FIX FOR PROBLEM  #4 – Adding your branded header graphic to your Thesis themed WordPress blog

    First, upload your header image to the /Thesis/Custom/Images folder on your server. Then place this code in your custom.css file (remember to insert your file name and the file dimensions):

    .custom #header #logo a { display: block; height: 180px; width: 800px; background: url('images/IMAGE-FILE-NAME') no-repeat; outline: none; }
    .custom #header #logo, .custom #header #tagline { text-indent: -9999px; }
    .custom #header #tagline { height: 0; }
    .custom #header {border-bottom:none; padding:0}
    .custom #header { padding: 0; }

    The code and directions above are from HowToMakeMyBlog.com

    FIX FOR PROBLEM #5 – Redirecting your traffic from your WordPress.com blog to your new domain

    WordPress.com gives you instructions for redirecting your blog here:

    Redirecting Your Blog

    But before you redirect your blog I recommend going through your most popular posts on your old blog. Then replace the content with text similar to “This post moved to” with a link to the post on your new blog.

    You also want to create a new blog post on your old blog saying, “This blog has moved to “MyBlogsNewDomain Name.com.”

    Do this for a few weeks first. Then redirect your blog through WordPress.com. If you skip this step, many of your old links will go to a “This page not found”  error on the new blog.

    In spite of this extra work, I highly recommend moving your blog to Thesis. I bought their developer solution. And I signed up as an afilliate. The links in this post are my afilliate links.

    13 Comments "

    Can your blog be as endearing as Calvin and Hobbes?

    February 5th, 2010
    Fifteen years ago Bill Watterson quit drawing the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. I loved this comic strip. I I owned a couple of the Calvin and Hobbes books at the peak of their popularity.

    Back then I was newly married. My bride and I moved into a townhouse on the edge of the San Antonio city limits. This was our first married “home.”

    The small cluster of townhomes we lived in were surrounded by scrub brush and undeveloped land. Kittens and unwanted pets were frequently abandoned on the lonely stretch of road outside our complex. One of those little kittens adopted us.  We named him “Calvin” after the little boy in Bill Watterson’s comic strip.

    So why was this comic strip so endearing? Why would people name their pets after the characters in the strip?

    Here’s what Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin and Hobbes says:  

    “I just tried to write honestly, and I tried to make this little world fun to look at, so people would take the time to read it. That was the full extent of my concern.“

    So many people write blogs showing people they’re an expert. “I’m your go-to-guy or gal” for “this expertise” or “that service.” We work hard producing blog posts and materials telling the world, “I know what I’m talking about.” “You should use my services.”

    But through all our chest thumping and all our clatter and all our trumpet blaring, we sometimes lose our humanity.

    The Calvin and Hobbes comic strip was very human. The stories were real. They rang true. Bill Watterson worked at writing and drawing honestly. That is why I believe the comic strip was so successful.

    Calvin and Hobbes Comic Strip

    When you write your blog are you telling the quiet personal stories that illustrate your points? Are you telling people how you screwed up and the lesson you learned from your screw up? Are you laughing at yourself in your blog posts? Are you letting people know who you are personally? Are you sharing yourself?

    Be bold fellow bloggers. Share your personal stories. Write “honestly.” Show your humanity in your blog.

    This Monday, Cleveland’s Plain Dealer printed an interview with Bill Watterson. The interview inspired this post. You’re able to read the interview here.

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    One Blogger’s Adventures in Blog Platforms: Which Platform is better? Blogger vs. WordPress

    January 10th, 2010

    In October of 2004 I used Blogger to publish my first blog. It was so easy getting started with Blogger. In fact, my first blog is still on the Blogger platform. Little did I know that Blogger was only the first step of my blogging platform adventures.

    Flash forward to 2008. I start my new blog, Power to Fight the Big Boys. Once again I use Blogger to publish my blog. But as soon as I start promoting this new blog, problems start popping up.

    The First Problem

    The first problem was that I couldn’t automatically promote my posts on LinkedIn. But if my blog was on WordPress, I could. So I immediately switched to WordPress.com.

    Moving my blog to WordPress.com was a snap.  WordPress.com has an import feature that works with Blogger. A minute or two and my blog was now on WordPress.com. Then I added my new blog to LinkedIn using the WordPress application. Piece of cake. No problems . . . yet.

    Next stop: Facebook

    I created a Facebook fan page. I also connected my blog to the Facebook Networked Blogs application (see previous post). Now my blog posts are promoted across the social media landscape. I’m an internet media mogul. Not so fast, big shot. There’s a new issue. . .

    Tweeting and Sharing Blog Posts with Friends

    On many blogs you’ll see a tool for your blog readers to “Tweet” about your blog post to a friend. Or you see icons for sharing a post on other social media. Of course, I’ve “gotta have” this on my blog.  Any person with a professional blog has to have this “share” feature.

    So I try to set up a share plug-in on WordPress.com. This should be easy. I find a couple of WordPress plug-ins that will do the job. But I can’t figure out how to install them. So I ask WordPress.com about it.

    Guess what? I read on the InMotion Hosting Reviews, that WordPress.com doesn’t support plug-ins. You have to host your WordPress blog somewhere else to use all the nice plug-ins. What the  . . . ?

    Moving the blog once again

    This time I set my blog up with WordPress and Thesis. I host it on it’s own domain. I import my blog and I install all the plug-ins. We’re good to go. Right? Wrong…

    My nice search engine friendly links are no longer there. My blog stats are gone. My posts with videos and audio files no longer work. My nice professionally designed blog header doesn’t have a place to upload. Aaahh … but I do have those nice share icons up-and-running and they all work.  Ain’t technology grand?

    I’m lucky. I have good techies working in my business. We set-up hosting for clients all the time. So these issues are minor. But I can’t imagine what a pain this must be for others.

    All-in-all I’m glad I’ve made this final move. I’m very pleased with the great tools included with Thesis. I’m happy with all the plug-ins. Plus I’m pleased that my blog has a more professional URL all it’s own. It would’ve been a lot easier if I set-up the blog on WordPress and Thesis at the beginning. But then, look at all the fun I would’ve missed.

    If you’re running into these issues, ask a question or leave a comment below. I’ll be happy to help you make the move to the more professional hosted blog on your own domain.

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