Structuring and Developing a Winning Content Strategy

Many of our WordPress Beginners have asked for a dedicated session to address the best approach to developing a winning content strategy. Nick and Sandi Batik led this month’s discussion. They reviewed a few tools to help you get the most from your pages and posts. Nick demonstrated some navigation tips and an internal linking structure to help build effective information architecture. The session concluded with  5-step system to write copy that consistently attracts your target clients and organically build SEO.

Here is the link to the slide deck:

 

How to Implement Website Design Best Practices in WordPress

Last month Rich Plakas covered what those new to WordPress need to know about Best Practices for Website Design. Based on our member’s requests, this month Rich showed attendees how to implement them in their WordPress sites. Rich reviewed some websites to help attendees to know what to look for in a best practices-designed site.

Here are two links Rich Plakas spoke about in regards to sliders or picture carousels:

http://conversionxl.com/dont-use-automatic-image-sliders-or-carousels-ignore-the-fad/#.

http://makeyourselfvisible.com/internet-marketing/should-i-use-website-slider/

2015-05-18 19.19.19 2015-05-18 19.19.30 2015-05-18 19.19.39 2015-05-18 19.21.46 2015-05-18 20.06.46 2015-05-18 20.06.59 2015-05-18 20.07.02 2015-05-18 20.08.27 2015-05-18 20.45.51 2015-05-18 20.46.42

Website Design Best Practices & How to Implement them in WordPress

Rich Plakas lead a lively presentation that covered what those new to WordPress need to know about Best Practices for Website Design and How to Implement them in WordPress. This presentation guided attendees through the types of questions and thought processes you need to keep in mind when developing a site for yourself or others.

Who is the target audience?

What is the primary goal of your website?

How do you plan to drive traffic to your website?

Is your website mobile responsive?

Using Analytics to gain insight to visitors.

Are Mailing Lists useful?

Rich  reviewed some websites to help attendees to know what to look for in a best practices-designed site. Additionally he reviewed some of the attendees’ sites and made suggestions for improvement.

You can find the slides from last night’s presentation at:

http://www.slideshare.net/richplakas

2015-04-20 19.57.11 2015-04-20 19.10.35 2015-04-20 19.19.06 Sandi at WordPress 2015-04-20 19.20.14 Nick.Sandi at Meetup

Effective Content Creation: Austin WordPress 09.15.14 Meet-up Notes

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series WordPress For Beginners

Best Practices for Effective Content Creation

This WordPress for Beginners presentation focused on the tools and processes available to help those new to WordPress develop and implement a winning content creation strategy. After making all the hard choices to design and develop a great looking website every website owner faces the same problem — the “feed the beast” syndrome. How do we continually produce steady stream of engaging content for our WordPress site? How often should we update the content on our site’s ‘static’ pages? What can we do to add some dynamic content to our static pages to keep the Search-Bots coming back?

AustinWordPress Meetup Content Creation and Curation Nick and Sandi Batik discussed and demonstrated both offline and online tools and resources to use for brainstorming Blog topics, producing relevant content that targets the site’s audience, and ways to use that content to build an on-line community. The class discussed the correct use of categories in content organization, and the styles of written content that are most effective. Sandi introduced the topic of curating content and discussed the tools needed to conduct a content audit.

The link to the 09.15.14 WP Meet-up Best Practices for Effective Content Creation slide deck is:
http://presentations.handsonwp.com/category/09-15-14-wp-meetup-best-practices-for-effective-content-creation/

As promised I’ve included the links  to the resources, plugins, process tools and apps we discussed during the meetup. All the links can be found at: http://handsonwp.com/knowledge-base/best-practices-effective-content-creation/

The goal if this session was to give beginners a starting place. As you continue to research  your site’s content strategy — question your assumptions, and refine your website’s objectives.

 If you have a good reason, consciously change your content creation plan.

Don’t drift into decisions.

Make changes based on facts — keep close watch on your site metrics.

Make sure that the content and the appearance of your website, are in alignment with your stated business goals and the needs of your target market.

We hope the resources and tools provided will help you get all those words and phases out of your head and organized into a site that does what you need it to do!

All of the organizers of the Austin WordPress group look forward to seeing you all at the next Austin WordPress Meet-up!

How to Choose and Install a WordPress Theme

Meetup notes from August 18, 2014 Meetup Session.

To access the slide deck (that includes the various check lists and site tester) for “How to Choose and Install a WordPress Theme” please go to: http://presentations.handsonwp.com/category/how-to-choose-and-install-a-wordpress-theme.  For the complete notes for “How to Choose and Install a WordPress Theme” go to: http://handsonwp.com/series/how-to-choose-and-install-a-wordpress-theme/

 Additional information requested in last night’s Q&A

There a number of questions at last night’s meet up about Membership site themes and plugins. As Nick and I mentioned, the setting up and management membership sites is a topic worthy of a meet-up session of it’s own. In order to best answer the questions and give our members the best resources available I am including links to a series of Blogs and a POD-cast by Chris Lema. Chris has made a study of membership sites. In the spirit of full disclosure Nick and I sought Chris Lema expertise in planning and setting up a membership site we are currently building.

Lema’s blogs are well organized, well researched and carefully sited, and honestly the best body of work you are likely to find on the subjects of membership sites and eCommerce.

Yes, it is a lot of reading. Yes, for a while it might seem like information overload.

But this type of reading, and subject matter acquisition is what successful business owners / managers do every day — find a subject that is critical to your business process and learn from other people’s experience. Start-up capital burns too quickly to learn from your own mistakes. If you are thinking about building a membership site, read as much as you can from the folks who have successfully gone down that path.

 I want to start with the link to an April 2014 POD CAST produced by WPSessions. It is still available as a $24 download.

Learn about WordPress Membership Sites — POD-Cast produced by WPSessions

The session features Chris Lema, Shawn Hesketh (WP101 Videos) and Drew Stojny. This is POD cast is a couple of hours that ANYONE who is contemplating building and managing a membership site NEEDS to see. Nick and I had already done a considerable bit of research on our own, and we still came away with tons of new information and a list of additional points to take into consideration before moving forward with our site design. If you are completely new to the idea of membership sites, listening to this POD-cast might help you get a better idea of how to structure your requirements and let you know about some of the pitfalls of membership sites in general.

The following is a list of Chris Lema blogs that Nick and I have found to be very helpful in designing and building our own membership blog.

Comparing WordPress Membership Plugins – April 6 2014

The Best WordPress Membership Plugin in 2014 — July 30, 2014

Building a membership site with iThemes Exchange

 How the Lines at the DMV will help you choose a Membership Plugin —April 6, 2014

WordPress Membership Plugins & Payment Gateways — April 6, 2014

What if you don’t need a WordPress LMS plugin for your online course?

What is content dripping? —April 6 2014

What is the best WordPress membership plugin for me? — July 29, 2014

Can one WordPress membership site account have multiple logins?

WordPress membership sites take work – the myth of passive income

Managing a High Performance WordPress Membership Site

These are blogs concerning setting up eCommerce sites…

E-commerce plugins – choosing the right WordPress shopping cart plugin — April 6, 2014

Building a membership site with WooCommerce — April 6, 2014

 Easy eCommerce & Membership Sites using WordPress –April 2014

As you can see I have Chris Lema’s Blog Posts on the Internet equivalent of speed-dial – I subscribe to his Blog. If you are seriously considering building and maintaining a membership or eCommerce site I strongly suggest you do the same.

As to the questions about How to design and build a directory site using WordPress please read:

Create a Paid Directory using WordPress – June 27, 2013

We have also had good reports about Connections Business Directory

Nick is a fan of all things wpmudev. They offer premium plugins on their membership site and their support is superb.
His choice for a Directory site is wpmudev’s DIRECTORY plugin. Which will turn your site into a fully-featured, listings directory complete with ratings, reviews, payments and more.

As to questions about Downloading PDF’s from a site…

If you are charging for the download, see this Chris Lema Blog:
Selling Pay Per View Documents with WordPress

Forcing PDF Downloads

If you just want your site visitor to be able to download information like a product spec Nick has posted a blog with detailed directions at:http://handsonwp.com/knowledge-base/tips-tricks/file-management/forcing-pdf-downloads/

Hopefully that addresses all of the Q&A in detail. As this is a WordPress for beginner’s series we try to keep the main presentation “on-topic and at the beginner’s level.” Thanks to all those who were patient with their questions and were willing to stay after the main session to deal with special topic questions.

We hope to see you all again at next month’s WordPress for Beginner’s session: Best Practices for Effective Content Creation. We would also like to invite those of you who attended the beginners session who are interested in learning more to join us at Build a Sign on August 26th for “Hooks and Filters.” It is an intermediate topic, but one that will help you understand how plugins work with WordPress.

Building an Information Structure for your WordPress Site

This is part two, of a seven-part presentation series, structured to support those new to WordPress. The goal is to provide a contiguous set of WordPress Meetups designed to help attendees gain the skills to build and use a WordPress website. This series was developed in cooperation with the Four Points Chamber of Commerce.

This beginner’s session discusses how to plan your WordPress site and build it’s information architecture — your site’s navigation — to match that plan. This presentation will focus on the difference between a ‘Page’ and a ‘Post’, and how to use ‘Categories’ and ‘Tags’ to build your navigation structure.

We will also review how to use the WordPress linking strategy to give the search engine spiders clear and distinct paths to follow that will improve your site’s search engine rankings. The session closes with how to use a site maintenance schedule to keep your online business on track and making money. Bring your laptops and your questions! Rich Plakas will lead this class.

This is the second in a series of seven sessions designed to support those new to WordPress. The goal is to provide a contiguous set of WordPress Meetups designed to help attendees gain the skills to build and use a WordPress website. This series was developed in cooperation with the Four Points Chamber of Commerce. This session was first presented in August 2013 under the title of Sensible Site Navigation —Building an Information Structure and is being repeated based on membership requests

Building the information structure of  your WordPress site keeping the end in mind

Just because the WordPress features give you the capability to set up a complete WordPress site in 30-minutes doesn’t mean you should.

It is easier to do it right the first time then go back and rework, restructure. The great news is that Word- Press is such a powerful tool, changing your mind, reworking and restructuring, can be handled a magnitude easier than with the old-school static sites.

The time invested in planning and organizing your WordPress website will net a successful website that meets clearly identified goals and provides compelling content that draws your audience to your site again and again. In addition it will be easy to navigate and is attractively designed to complement the content.

You do not need to invest an inordinate amount of time planning your WordPress website. Some would-be website owners use the “Planning Process” to avoid the actual “Implementation Process.”

We advocate the middle path.

Plan.Do.Check.Act

 

 

 

 

PLAN your site

DO your site,

CHECK to see if the site is doing what you PLANNED

then ACT on the information your analysis has indicated.

A successful site is the product of continuous process improvement. The time you invest in the improvement process will help you develop a site that will invoke a positive response from search engines and help convert site visitors into customers.

 Your Website Is A Business Unit

Commit to treating your website as a business unit and follow a set schedule for updating content

Make sure that your website reflects and supports both your business plan and the marketing strategy you have set for your business.

To go directly to Sensible Site Navigation —Building an Information Structure Presentation Slide Deck:

http://presentations.pleiadesservices.com/category/building-an-information-structure-for-your-wordpress-site

To review the Creation and Organization of Pages go to: http://codex.wordpress.org/Pages

To review the Creation and Organization of Posts go to: http://codex.wordpress.org/Posts

Review of the Post Categories Screen: http://codex.wordpress.org/Posts_Categories_Screen

To review Linking Posts Pages and Categories go to: http://codex.wordpress.org/Linking_Posts_Pages_and_Categories

The guide to using the WordPress Menu system to Build a Site Navigation Organization can be found at: http://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Menu_User_Guide

One of the reasons we are so enthusiastic about WordPress as a solution for business websites is that there are so many Free resources available to the beginning user.

In addition to the Austin WordPress monthly meetups, you can find answers to most of your questions on the WordPress Codex [codex.wordpress.org]and if you are more of an audio/visual learner there are hundreds of videos at [http://wordpress.tv].

If you have questions between meetup you can always post them on the Austin WordPress Google Groups Forum: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/wordpress-austin.

Next month we will present: How to Choose and Install a WordPress Theme.

July WordPress YouthCamp

WordPress Austin held our first “stand-alone” WordPress YouthCamp on July 12th at the Twin Oaks Branch of the Austin Public Library. At this three-hour workshop, local WordPress developer Taylor Christensen taught beginning WordPress (using WordPress.com) to a group of 17 kids and their parents.

Taylor has been using WordPress and developing sites for six years, since he was 16 years old. Now making his living building websites for others, he understands the value of learning this skill early in life, and in this workshop Taylor shared his passion for his work.

All of the participants built working websites in the course of the afternoon, with content and media. They even learned the fundamentals of CSS and other customization options. The goals for the kids ranged from building a site for video games to, in one boy’s words, “world domination” (we wish him the best of luck!).

Below are some images from the afternoon.

We hope to do more YouthCamps in the future! To find out about these events and other meetups hosted by WordPress Austin, be sure to join our meetup group!

WordPress.com for Business (and everything else)

Thanks to everyone who attended last night’s Beginner’s WordPress meetup and heard about the “other flavor” of WordPress: sites hosted on WordPress.com.

My slides:

http://wpaustin.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/wpcom4business.pdf

 

Requested links:

 

Contact:

Jackie Dana jackie @automattic.com

David Cole, david.cole @ automattic.com

Sane Approach to SEO

WordPress Beginners Series — December 16, 2013

Presenters: Nick Batik, H. Sandra Chevalier Batik

Sane Approach to SEO

Sane Approach to SEO

Sane Approach to SEO was the sixth in our WordPress Beginners series sponsored by the Four Corners Chamber of Commerce and hosted by the Austin Baptist Church. This final meeting of 2013 had a great turn out and attendees contributed to a lively conversation about how to use focused action steps and consistency to build great organic SEO into your site without driving yourself crazy.

Below please find the reviews and URLs for the Keyword Research tools we discussed during presentation and links to the Sane Approach to SEO class notes as promised.

Sane SEO Research Tip

When researching your competition for a given keyword, make sure you take a look at your top competitor’s back-link profile. This can give you an idea of the time investment and link building effort that may be required to be successful.

Your next step is to start digging through your preferred keyword research software. These are some of our preferred tools to drill down to a useful set of Keywords.

Keyword Research Tools

Key Word Spy 

Keyword Spy allows you to quite literally “spy” on keywords. There are several features of the free version of this tool, but the one of the most useful is the Domain spy tool. Just type any domain into the search box, make sure the radio button for “domains” is selected, and you can get reasonably accurate data on how much that site is spending in paid search, who their competitors are, and what keywords they spend the most money on. Keyword Spy is a great tool to study, model and profit from your successful competitors keyword research. The tool can give daily database updates; estimate your competition’s AD Words expenditures. It can even suggest highly successful (profitable) Keyword+ad copy combinations. Keyword Sky offers a free trial so you can test the program to see if it is a good fit for your Sane SEO Campaign.

FreshKey

FreshKey is an effective, yet inexpensive ($20) go-to keyword research tool that allows you to see beyond the regular Google Instant suggestions and predictions that appear when you start typing things in on Google. Not only does it give you new keyword ideas, variations, and synonyms, it also sorts the keywords depending on popularity. Instead of just getting four new keywords from the Google suggestions drop-down, you can now potentially get an unlimited amount of keywords if you keep adding small letter variations to the end of your keyword root. FreshKey exports the keyword results as a spreadsheet or copy them directly to your clipboard. You can also use FreshKey tool to get Amazon search box suggestion terms.

Soovle

Soolvie is a free Keywoord research program that is a perfect tool for researching multiple channels. It allows you to explore the most typed in keywords on multiple search engines based on the keyword root you give it. It even includes Amazon and eBay. Not only is it a great keyword research tool to use, but it’s also a very handy brainstorming tool as you can slowly start typing in your ideas and allow it to auto-generate its own ideas.

Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest is another very powerful free keyword research tool. It takes any keyword you give it and immediately gives you an almost unlimited list of alphabetized and numerical keyword variations of your original keyword.

Google Keyword Planner (free)

Many SEO professionals regard Google Keyword Planner as the beginning and end of any discussion about keyword research tools. You must have an AdWords account to access it. However that doesn’t mean you have to pay anything to use the tool, it’s still free. The Google Keyword Planner will show you some pretty neat stats like average monthly searches, competition level (high, medium, or low), the average cost per click, and more.

It doesn’t give you exact keyword suggestions like FreshKey or Ubersuggest, but it actually takes it a step further and suggests more synonyms and variations than many other tools available.

Common sense is the best practice when using any keyword search tool

When using any of these programs, use some of the core terms you already found and scan through those results for additional terms that you hadn’t thought of or added to your list. Many of the core terms will end up producing the same, or similar, results, but you’ll often find one or two (or perhaps more) new core terms with each search. Server logs provide keywords already people use to find your site and show low volume/high converting phrases.

Tip: Sorting Core Terms

With any of these research tools, sometimes you get junk — other times you find treasure  — excellent core terms. Just keep sifting and sorting and eventually you will find relevant core terms you can use to build your SEO strategy.

Note: Core terms research is an ongoing process. You can never find too many keywords, so just keep adding new words and phases to your core term spreadsheet.

Sane Approach to SEO Class Notes

The Sane Approach to SEO class material was based on a series of a Search Engine Optimization articles I’ve previously written and posted to my blog. Rather than summarize those articles here, it seemed more efficient to give you the links to the individual blogs, so you can read the topics that interest you, in their entirety.

Developing a SEO Strategy for Your WordPress Website

Keyword Research: Start With The End in Mind

Keyword Research Tools and Successful Search Processes

Keyword Research: The Difference Between a Hit and a Sale is Called ‘Profit’

Keyword Research Strategies — Conclusion

 Configuring Your WordPress Site for SEO

You might also find the following articles helpful when considering how to optimize your site’s content.

Developing a Content Strategy for SEO

Avoid Common Content Development Errors

Creating a Useful, Information-Rich Site

Optimizing Content

Linking Categorizing and Tagging Content

Building a Link Strategy

 

 

Getting Started – Installing WordPress and Understanding the Dashboard

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series WordPress For Beginners

The July 2013 meetup session is the first of a series of seven classes that will be presented on the third Monday of every month through January 2014. The session descriptions of ‘The WordPress for Beginners’ series have been posted on the Austin WordPress Meetup site: http://www.meetup.com/austinwordpress/.

‘The WordPress for Beginners’ series of classes have been developed to guide those new to WordPress from install and set up, to the expansion and administration of a WordPress site. Session notes and videos will be posted for those who were unable to attend the presentations.

This first presentation in the series is aimed at new users who are not yet familiar with how to install WordPress, create a basic site, or understand the features and functions of the WordPress Dashboard.

The first resource anyone new to WordPress should spend time with is the WordPress Codex. It is the online manual for WordPress and a living repository for WordPress information and documentation. The Codex is updated and maintained by volunteers in the WordPress Community.

If you want to review the WordPress installation process, you will find ‘Step-By-Step’ instructions at http://codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WordPress.

For those of you who might not want to wait for the next WordPress Meetup session to tackle an issue with your WordPress site, you might fine the WordPress for Beginners’ lessons in the Codex helpful. http://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Lessons.

All of the WordPress Dashboard (Administration Screen) features and functions that we discussed in this session are describe/illustrated  in the ‘First Steps With WordPress’ section of the Codex: http://codex.wordpress.org/First_Steps_With_WordPress.

The next class in the ‘The WordPress for Beginners’ series will be ‘Sensible Site Navigation —Building an Information Structure’ you can sign up at: http://www.meetup.com/austinwordpress/events/127417972/