Kristi Hines

Why I Chose the Plain Jane WordPress Comment System Over Others

There are a lot of options when it comes choosing a comment system for your self-hosted WordPress blog. So when people ask me what I suggest, I always say that I go for the basic WordPress comment system that comes with your blog upon installation. Here are some questions I always ask people to consider before choosing a third-party comment system. 1. How will your site speed be affected? Pingdom did a great study on the WordPress comment system’s load time vs. four popular third-party systems: Livefyre, IntenseDebate, Disqus, and Facebook. Here are their results. Is the time difference significant? In most cases, not really. But what you have to consider is that if you want a speedy site, you need to optimize everything possible. 1,000 milliseconds here and there can add up to a lot when you consider all of your other plugins, banners, widgets, and images. 2. Who will own your comment author’s data? When you comment on the basic WordPress comment system, you enter your name, email address, and a comment. That information goes into the WordPress database which the blog owner can backup and export at will. Most third-party comment systems will put the same comment data into your WordPress database. Before you install a third-party comment system, you should be sure that you will still be able to get this information into your database...

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Were You Hit by Panda 3.5?

As you are probably well aware of, Google released their latest Panda / webspam algorithm update this week in order to reward high quality sites. What they specifically targeted was “black hat webspam” including keyword stuffing and link schemes. By devaluing sites that participated in these black hat techniques or anything against Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines, they are hoping to provide better user experience for searchers on the web. Was Your Site Affected According to Search Engine Land’s Winners & Losers post about sites affected by the latest Panda update, losing sites could be summarized as those which use databases to aggregate information, press portals & aggregators, and heavily templated sites. The top sites that lost the highest percentage of SEO visibility included familiar names like: Similarsites.com Cubestat.com Merchantcircle.com Aboutus.org Digg.com Bloglines.com So how can you tell if your site was affected? Start watching your Google Analytics, particularly your Organic search traffic. If you start to see the graph significantly dip after April 24th, then there is a good chance your site was affected. You might also want to check your Google Webmaster Tools if you have set it up for your websites. Google has been sending notifications to webmasters in the last month about unnatural link activity. Don’t freak out right away if you have new messages – Webmaster Tools also notifies you if you need a WordPress...

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Why You Need Your Own Platform

As the club leader of the Social Media Examiner Blogging Club, I see the occasional post or comment about whether people should skip having a blog and post their content to Facebook, Google+, or Twitter instead. Or I see photographers saying they don’t need a website, they’ll just use Flickr instead. While you should be active on these networks, it doesn’t mean you should depend on them 100%. Let’s look at the reasons… You Are Subject to the Network’s Rules This goes for any social network and hosted blog platform including WordPress.com, Blogger, Posterous, Tumblr, and so forth. When you post your content on one of these networks, you are subject to their terms of service. If you violate any of their rules, you could have a ton of content and comments one day, and nothing the next. This means that you actually do need to read these networks’ terms of service carefully to make sure things like your content’s topic, affiliate links, and other things you are interested in posting are not going to be in violation of the network. Otherwise, you can say goodbye to your content. Hosting companies, on the other hand, are usually pretty lenient on content so long as you aren’t doing posting anything illegal, adult in nature, violent, or otherwise against basic moral code. Topics like SEO and affiliate marketing won’t get you...

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How to Organize Your Social Media Profiles

When was the last time you updated your social media profiles? I don’t just mean the big ones like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. I mean all of them. I bet the first thing you think when you think about all of your social profiles is that you have no idea where they are, let alone how long it has been since you updated them. When Do You Need to Update Your Social Media Profiles There are many changes that may happen in your professional lives that might warrant an update of your social media profiles. These include the following. When you change job titles, places of employment, or careers. When your name changes (for better or for worse). When your website changes. When one project becomes more important than another. When you come up with a new elevator pitch about yourself or your business. When you get a new, updated headshot. There are many more times that could warrant a change of profile, but these are the top ones that come to mind. Whenever these things happen, you don’t want to leave your old information hanging around. Which Social Media Profiles You Need to Update When I saw all of your social media profiles, that may sound daunting. So let’s just start with these profiles. Note that it may not just be social media profiles, but also forum...

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What To Do About the New Facebook Page Design Today

Have you checked out your Facebook page yet? That’s right – today is the day that Facebook changes pages over to the new Timeline design. There’s no reason to panic – here’s the basics of what you need to do right now to make sure your page looks great for your visitors! Add a Cover Photo Your page’s cover photo will make the biggest impression on your Facebook page’s new design, so make it count. Unfortunately, you can’t turn it into an advertisement or include any information (like your website) that should be in your profile’s About section (see other rules about the cover photo for your page here). But you can make it a great representation of your brand or blog! Get some inspiration with these online marketing brands’ cover photos. Update Your Page’s About Information The information that was displayed under your page’s profile in the old design will be displayed right below your cover photo. See the difference between the old design… and the new design. Be sure it sums up your page well and includes a link back to your website for more clicks! Customize Your Tabs Your new Facebook page design has room for 12 tabs. Two of them will be set to your page’s number of likes and photos as default, and the photos cannot be moved from the first spot. When you...

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How to Grow a Targeted Twitter Following

If you’re like me, you might be a little wary of automated solutions that allow you to grow your Twitter list exponentially, but also have the potential of getting your account shut down. So instead, I thought I would share with you my simple strategy for slowly and steadily growing your Twitter followers. This isn’t about getting a huge number of just any Twitter followers, but a smaller concentration of Twitter followers that will be interested in your content. Tweet Links with Author’s Twitter Handle If you read and tweet blog posts a lot, chances are you are using the Tweet button on the post or an app like Buffer to schedule your tweets. But one thing you might be missing out on with either approach is adding the blog post author’s Twitter handle to your tweet. Let’s say you were tweeting a post off of Mashable, for example. It’s not likely that @Mashable will notice your tweet considering they have dozens of posts daily that are getting tweeted around 1,000+ tweets each. The people who might notice your tweets, however, are the authors of those posts. Simply click on the name of the author to get to their author page. There, you will find a link to their Twitter profile. When you tweet the post, be sure to include the author’s Twitter handle in the tweet and also...

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Subscribe to Your Favorite Facebook Page via RSS

Do you want to keep up with the latest news for your favorite Facebook fan pages, but don’t want to miss out on them because EdgeRank is hiding them from your new feed? Or would you prefer to not have to go to Facebook at all until your favorite pages have updates? One of the Google Chrome extensions I use, RSS Subscription Extension, puts an RSS icon in the browser’s address bar when there is an RSS feed discovered on a page. On Facebook pages that haven’t been converted to the new Timeline design, that icon comes up so you can subscribe to your favorite page’s RSS feed. For pages with the new design enabled, however, the RSS feed has gone missing. Fortunately, the feed is still available though. You just need a little workaround. To get any page’s RSS feed, first you will need to grab the page’s ID number. For pages that do not have a customized username (http://facebook.com/username), the ID number will be at the end of the URL. For those pages that have a customized username, the quickest way to grab the ID is through the Open Graph. Simply take the page’s username and add it to the following URL. https://graph.facebook.com/username For example, my Facebook page URL is http://facebook.com/kristihinespage. Hence, the Open Graph URL would be https://graph.facebook.com/kristihinespage. This will show you the following. Highlighted in...

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Article Marketing Post Panda & How 15 Top Article Directories Are Doing Today

I am regularly asked about the effectiveness of article marketing. It’s been a little over a year since the first Google Panda update in February 2011 when many sites took a major beating in keyword rankings. While researching free SEO tools, I found a nice feature in SEMRush that allows you to see the number of keywords a site is ranking for over time. Using a graph that pulls information from the last four years, you can easily see if and when Panda updates hit the site. You can also tell if the site has since recovered their rankings. The following are some of the top article directories and how they have fared in keyword rankings since the first Panda update. Note the spike around 3/2011 in the graph and everything thereafter. Examiner Alexa Global Rank: 806 PageRank: 8 Website: http://www.examiner.com/ Editorial Guidelines: http://www.examiner.com/assets/handbook/index.html Squidoo Alexa Global Rank: 209 PageRank: 7 Website: http://www.squidoo.com/ Editorial Guidelines: http://www.squidoo.com/originalitypact HubPages Alexa Global Rank: 293 PageRank: 6 Website: http://hubpages.com/ Editorial Guidelines: http://hubpages.com/faq/#what_is_allowed EzineArticles Alexa Global Rank: 314 PageRank: 6 Website: http://ezinearticles.com Editorial Guidelines: http://ezinearticles.com/editorial-guidelines/ Article Alley Alexa Global Rank: 7,508 PageRank: 5 Website: http://www.articlealley.com/ Editorial Guidelines: http://www.articlealley.com/guidelines.php Go Articles Alexa Global Rank: 2,660 PageRank: 3 Website: http://goarticles.com/ Editorial Guidelines: http://goarticles.com/author.html Articlesbase Alexa Global Rank: 1,321 PageRank: 6 Website: http://www.articlesbase.com/ Editorial Guidelines: http://www.articlesbase.com/editorial-guidelines ArticleSnatch Alexa Global Rank: 4,834 PageRank: 5 Website: http://www.articlesnatch.com/ Editorial Guidelines:...

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10 Online Marketing Brands Using the New Facebook Pages with Timeline

One of the many questions looming around the new Facebook pages with timeline design is how brands that are more informational and less visual going to fare with the timeline cover photo. So today, let’s take a few minutes not thinking about all of the other massive changes to Facebook page functionality and instead take a look at some of the top well-known brands in the online marketing space using the new Facebook pages. Search Engine Land I decided to start off the list with Search Engine Land because their photo goes to show that anything goes with Timeline cover photos. Does this mean that SEL thinks they rock? Maybe. Whatever it is, it is cute! HubSpot HubSpot uses an artistic rendering of a city skyline plus their logo as their Timeline cover photo. It’s a simple and creative way to represent their brand. Raven Internet Marketing Tools Raven Internet Marketing Tools uses a quick snap of what looks like their booth at a conference as their Timeline cover photo. It’s a great way to show a little about their product and their involvement in industry events. Mashable Mashable adds the people element to their Timeline cover photo by using this mosaic of Mashable’s members. How awesome would it be to have your avatar featured in this collage! BlueGlass BlueGlass uses their Timeline cover photo to highlight their upcoming...

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Are You Using YouTube Video Analytics?

Video marketing is hot right now, and chances are you may have already tried to capitalize on that with some videos on YouTube. You may think you are done once you have uploaded your video, optimized it for searched, and shared it with your audience. But if you’re only checking your number of views from this point out, then you’re missing out on some important data – your video statistics. Public Video Statistics When logged into your YouTube / Google Account, you can go to your video and click on the statistics button under the video. First, you will see the public data about your video, viewable to anyone who clicks on it. This view will give you the overall traffic history, plus some details about specific “discovery events” that led to the most amount of views including search queries and sites it has been embedded on. To make this data private, you can click on Private next to Privacy settings. Then, you can continue to the juicy data by clicking on the View more statistics link – the stuff only available to the video owner. In-Depth Video Analytics Within your private video analytics, you can set specific date ranges including the last seven days, last thirty days (default), this month, last month, this year, last year, lifetime, or custom range. I prefer using the lifetime option which will...

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