I’m obviously not the first person to write a list of WordPress plugins. However, I use some pretty interesting plugins (specifically a couple that I have not really noticed on other lists), so I thought it would be fun to take a little time to talk about fifteen of the best WordPress plugins I use. Hopefully, you will find a couple that you haven’t checked out before!
Photo Dropper: I really appreciate all of the great photography that is available on Flickr, and because I want to see it continue to grow, I always try to play by all of their rules. Fortunately for me, Photo Dropper is an awesome plugin that makes it easy to search for a Creative Commons photo on Flickr, add it to my post and have the appropriate credit links appear directly under the photo.
Platinum SEO Pack: I know everyone talks about the All-in-One SEO Pack , and while that used to be my SEO plugin of choice, once I tried the Platinum SEO Pack, I never looked back! If you want to make sure that all of your on-page SEO is taken care of for your WordPress blog, you can’t go wrong with this pack.
Referrer Detector: As I have learned throughout my journey into social media, one of the best things you can do is create a personalized experience for the people you are trying to interact with. It’s for this exact reason that I’m a big fan of Referrer Detector. When I’m bringing in visitors to my blog from a social site like Reddit, this plugin makes sure that they are greeted with a personalized welcome message and a nice reminder that positive votes are always appreciated.
In December, I wrote a post talking about the 10 most creative Twitter uses I had seen. Based on the plethora of comments with more suggestions for the list, I could see I had barely scratched the surface of creative Twitter uses. For this reason, I bring you 10 MORE examples of creative Twitter uses. Some of these are user-submitted while others are accounts I’ve recently come across. Enjoy.
- TwittMinder- To me, this is about as cool as it gets. TwittMinder is a service that Tweets you to remind you of important events. All you have to do is email them the event info (date/time/etc) and they will send you a Tweet when the time comes to remind you of it. Sure, you could just set an alert on your phone or calendar, but this is pretty darn cool if you ask me.
- WaffleTruck- This was recommended to me by one of our readers, Simon. This company serves up waffles from their truck throughout the streets of New York. They Tweet updates regularly to let their customers know exactly where they are. Mmm. Waffles.
- ImagineChurch- Regardless of what your religious preferences are, you have to admit ImagineChurch is pretty creative. For those who don’t have time to go to church, they’ll Tweet a live play by play of their Sunday service. Church via text message. Who woulda thunk it?!
- CookBook- What’s for dinner tonight? If you don’t know, maybe you should visit this Twitter account. CookBook offers recipes that serve 3-4 people in just 140 characters or less. Throw out the old cookbooks, and get into the 21st century!
- SATWordoftheDay- I remember years back when I had to prep for the SAT. It was a nightmare. Huge prep books and boring classes made it less than exciting. Thankfully, I performed well, but I could have done better if this Twitter service was around. Lear a new SAT vocabulary word each day!
Ever since Google began to gain momentum in the early years of the 21st century (and then went public in 2004), people have assumed that Google is unstoppable. Although other search engines have fought and clawed in an attempt to take back share of the search market from Google, they have all failed (yes Yahoo and Microsoft, I’m talking about you).
Because of Google’s dominance over these other large corporations, it’s easy to see why most people would assume that no company could come up with enough money to come close to competing with Google.
However, over the last couple of months, one company has emerged that could present a real threat to Google. While many people could not grasp why they had been able to raise over fifty-five million dollars in funding, people within the tech industry were still obsessed with the concept of Twitter for over a year. However, it was only recently when everyone started to realize that Twitter could actually pose a direct threat to Google (hence their ability to raise so much venture capital).
Without further ado, here’s the list of five reasons why Google should fear (or more likely, buy) Twitter:
It’s Personalized: If Google is a vast library with only one librarian to guide you around (who can be hard of hearing depending on how complicated the information is that you are looking for), then Twitter is the same library but with all of your friends (and other individuals who you trust) standing around different areas of the library to point out the information that you should actually care about.
It’s Flexible: While it’s true that you can use Google on different platforms (such as your desktop or your mobile phone), Google can’t come close to offering the wide variety of flexible experiences that Twitter can. Whether you are using IceRocket Twitter Search to search and reply in real-time, Twitpic to share pictures with your followers, Tweetdeck to keep up with your stream of Twitter activity, Tweetie to use Twitter on the iPhone or BackTweets to monitor who is tweeting about your blog or web site, it’s easy to see that the ways to adapt Twitter to your own preferences are almost endless.
It Can Be Customized: Although it’s true that Google allows you to create a personalized homepage, Google simply can’t offer the same level of customization as Twitter. For example, Twitter has mentioned the possibility of serving local news to individuals who are interested in this topic. While this may not seem that significant, the reason that it’s a big deal is because Twitter is able to inject this topic (or any other topic for that matter) directly into your Twitter stream (which means that you don’t have to worry about anything except for absorbing the information).
It’s User Generated: This obviously ties in with the first point, but it’s an important point to note in itself. While Google is dependant upon it’s crawlers to go out and find the material for its index (which then must be organized by its algorithm), Twitter doesn’t have to worry about collecting a single drop of information. Instead, it let’s its extremely active participants collect and share all of this information on their own.
It’s Fresh: Although the first four reasons on this list are all important and should be enough to make Google pay close attention to Twitter (which they already are), the most direct threat to Google is because of Twitter’s ability to deliver fresh and relevant information the minute it becomes available.
In fact, it’s this exact reason why Twitter began to gain so much attention back in October of 2007. When wildfires broke out in California, many people turned to Twitter to get up to the date information about the progress of the wildfires. While a search of Google yielded a couple of news results and a bunch of information that was not relevant at the time (since people didn’t want to know about the history of wildfires, but what was happening at the moment), Twitter was giving people the exact, fresh information that they needed.
While Google has been doing their best to deliver relevant content that is fresh (by taking steps such as creating their Query Deserves Freshness model), so far Twitter has proved that once again, human contributions simply cannot be matched by an algorithm.
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below
Hamburgers. TV shows. Office products. These are just a few of the things being promoted in an unorthodox manner through viral marketing campaigns. For those who don’t know, viral marketing is any technique that entices users to pass on a company’s marketing message to their friends and family, thus creating more exposure for the message.
Of course, doing this often requires an “outside-the-box” approach. After all, few people are going to spread a blatant advertisement to their friends. That’s why I’ve created this list of some of the most brilliant and successful viral campaigns. The one thing that each of these has in common is that they engage their target audience and elicit a response.
- BK Sacrifice- This Facebook App is brilliant! Burger King is no stranger to viral marketing. Almost everyone came across the Subservient Chicken at one point or another. This time, Burger King used Facebook to launch their newest viral campaign. What is it? Users install an app that gives them a free coupon for a Whopper after they delete (or “sacrifice”) 10 friends from their profile. Every time a user sacrificed a friend, a message would be sent to them stating their friend chose a Whopper over them. Of course, Facebook wasn’t thrilled with the campaign, and they pulled the plug shortly after its launch. However, the buzz had already been created, and all in all, the campaign was a success.
I have noticed over the past couple of months as I have become more active in the Digg community (and making many friends), a sort of dark cloud appears when the subject of SEO comes up. Not only is there a general dislike of SEOs in the Digg community, but my URL has also been banned from Digg, per a ‘so called’ “TOS violation”. The ironic part is that the article that got the attention “10 Sure-Fire Ways to Get Banned by Digg” was about how to get banned by Digg.
I have been warned in the past by many friendly Diggers that it is not a good idea to have anything that reflects SEO in your profile, or this could make you lose points within the Digg community as a whole.
So here is where it starts to get interesting. A high profile user. mklopez submitted an article from this blog a couple of weeks ago. Now, I have to say I was a bit surprised (and a bit flattered at the same time) that a high profile Digger had submitted one of the articles from my blog. This naturally caught my attention. So I was paying attention to the submission at this point. It was climbing fast and hot in all categories.
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Comments. They’re the lifeblood of blogging. Without this ability to interact with the author and other readers, blogs wouldn’t be blogs at all. They’d just be standard, boring, static articles.
When the subject of blog commenting typically comes up in SEO conversations, it’s usually related to link building. And while commenting can be a part of your link building strategy, the benefits of commenting extend far beyond link building.
Here are a few of the true benefits of leaving comments on other blogs.
- Getting Your Name Out There- The first step to building your reputation online is to get your name out there. It’s not enough just to stay on your little website or blog. You have to visit new blogs in your niche, leaving insightful comments that add to the conversation. In other words, don’t leave comments like “Good post. Come check out my blog!” Take time to digest the post to think of a fresh perspective to add in the comments. Try to write comments that demand someone replies to them.
- Building Relationships – Social media is all about building relationships. That’s why you shouldn’t just leave a comment and leave. Always check back to see if anyone has responded to your comment. Interacting with the author and other readers is the key to building strong online relationships. These are relationships that you’ll be able to leverage down the line to get guest posting opportunities and to attract readers to your blog.
- Gaining Authority- If you make a habit of making insightful comments that add value to the conversation, you’ll start to build authority over time. No matter how big the blogosphere might be, if you focus on blogs within your niche, people will start to recognize your name and take your comments seriously. It really is a small world. Remember, every comment you leave affects the way people see your brand. Always put your best foot forward by making each comment great.
- Learning from Others- Blog commenting isn’t just about getting your ideas out there; it’s about learning from others as well. I can’t tell you how much interacting with others online has helped improve my marketing education. You don’t know it all. Take the time to truly listen to what others are saying, and you’re sure to learn something new. Never stop learning. The moment you do is the moment you’ll become irrelevant.
- Generating Ideas for Your Blog- Often times, ideas come up in the comments section that need to be fleshed out fully. In short, you might be able to turn one of your blog comments into a full post for your own blog. I don’t have to tell you how difficult it can be to come up with fresh ideas for blog posts. Hanging around in the comments section could be the perfect cure for a case of writer’s block.
Now that you understand the importance of commenting on other blogs, I’m going to leave you with a list of what NOT to do when leaving comments. Avoiding these mistakes will make you a commenter that earns respect.
What NOT To Do When Commenting
- Don’t leave brief comments that add nothing to the conversation
- Don’t be overly self-promotional…it’s not always about you
- Don’t immediately discount other people’s opinions
- Don’t forget to follow up on your comments
- Don’t be controversial for no good reason
- Don’t forget to proofread. Typos and poor grammar make you look less than intelligent
- Don’t talk about something you don’t know about
Do you have any opinions or insights regarding comments? Please let us know in the comments below.
#1 – Use a script: Digg is a company that has has received $40 million dollars in funding. Therefore, if you are naive enough to think that their system can’t detect when someone is using a script, you deserve to get hit by the Digg ban hammer. The bottom line is that you can’t automatically game Digg’s voting system, so if you are trying to use a script to accomplish that goal, you are doing nothing more than spinning your wheels in neutral!
#2 – Submit 5x more stories than you Digg: Although it is not as complex as the Google algorithm, Digg definitely has a very interesting algorithm. Therefore, if you think that you can get dozens of your own stories to the front page without ever participating by Digging other stories, you are lying to yourself.
The Digg algorithm is all about encouraging participation, so if you want any chance of your top notch content performing well on Digg, you need to focus on Digging other stories that are legitimately good, submitting great content from other sources and then only submitting your very best content on a very rare basis.
#3 – Spam your way to high hell via the Shout System: I actually like Digg’s Shout System, because it can be a legitimate way to expose other users to content that they are going to enjoy. However, once you start abusing this system to draw attention to every single story you submit or Digg, don’t be surprised when you get informed that your Digg account has been banned.
I’m assuming that most reading this are already using StumbleUpon, or at least know what StumbleUpon is all about. If not, check out Tyler Banfields post from December Are You Stumbling Yet? Tyler really does an excellent job of explaining StumbleUpon, how to get started, and its benefits.
The purpose of this post is to address a legitimate concern that new and seasoned Stumblers alike need to be aware of and that is the possibility of being “put under review” by the SU gods. Being put under review generally means that you will not ever be able to use your SU account again…
Imagine you are Stumbling along, building your friends list, having a good time and about a year into it: BAM. You are “put under review” (banned). No warning, no initial explanation, you just suddenly cannot use your account anymore. This is precisely what happened to a friend of mine.
My friend, who shall remain nameless, I can say with certainty was a quality Stumbler, and definitely not a spammer. So naturally this scenario is a little perplexing to me. I decided to review StumbleUpon’s terms of service and their rules. I found mostly everything to be pretty straightforward and it seemed like common sense. Don’t do things like harass other users, promote only your website or blog and the general “no-spamming” language.
Before we proceed I’ll share with you one of the actual email that was sent to my friend that was “put under review”
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photo credit: papalars
Forgive me for going back to SEO 101 on this post, but it’s something that keeps popping up time and time again. There are some out there who still insist on always getting links back to their home page, while the rest of their content has no back links. The main reasons for link building are to increase your online visibility, to improve your site’s relevance for certain keywords, to gain trust from the search engines, and ultimately to have each page on your site rank higher.
Now, how do you expect to accomplish these things if you’re only getting links to your homepage? Sure, your homepage might end up ranking better for its target phrase, but what about all the other pages on your site? After all, those are the bread and butter of your search traffic. It’s these deeper pages on your site where you get to target the specific, niche keywords that will drive highly targeted traffic to your site. And I don’t have to tell you that highly targeted traffic means greater conversion rates (but I will anyway.)
The Benefits of Deep Linking
So, let’s do a quick refresher on the benefits of deep linking.
• Improved Search Ranking for Deep Pages- As I mentioned earlier, the most important benefit of deep linking is that it can help you rank higher for the keywords deeper in your website. That’s one of the main reasons you break down your website into different pages, so you can target different keywords (and of course, to improve the usability of your website.) So, by getting deep links, you’re going to generate more long-tail search traffic, and more traffic overall.
• Page is Easier to Crawl- Deep links also make your site easier to crawl for search spiders. With links pointing to the pages deep within your site, you make certain that they will get crawled and they’re likelier to index quickly.
• Increased Trust- If every link to your website is pointing at your homepage, what does that say about the rest of your site? It sends the message to the search engines that the deep pages on your site aren’t important and perhaps not as trustworthy. The truth is the deep pages on your site are usually the most important, and that’s why it’s so crucial to build links for them.
• Higher Quality Traffic- The whole point of SEO is to improve the quality of your traffic. After all, who cares if a million visitors come to your site each month if none of them stick around? Link building for all the pages on your site helps improve the overall quality of your traffic. This way, people will land exactly on the pages that interest them instead of having to wade through irrelevant content. And of course, this means your conversion rate will be better.
Remember, building deep links is no different than link building for your home page. The same strategies apply, and over time, you’ll find this to be far more effective for increasing your online visibility than just getting links for your home page. So, start getting those deep links!
This post is mostly assuming that those reading this have a pretty good idea about what twitter is all about. For anyone that is still not sure about Twitter and it’s purpose, Havi Brooks wrote a great post explaining the purpose of twitter in Twitter Demystified and Debunked
OK, now let’s get right to the meat and potatoes of this post.
For those of us who have been using twitter for awhile and are starting to get into the groove, I have assembled a list of 10 Twitter commandments to keep you on the right track and keep you from committing Twitter blasphemy.
- Thou shall not
pull a Guy Kawasakiact spammy. i.e Don’t send an auto reply DM asking me to check out your blog or download your crappy E-book. FAIL! Let me put it this way: Would you walk up to a stranger in a bar, pull up a bar stool, slam your business card down and say “I have a new E-book that just came out and you can get it at a reduced price if you join my mailing list!” Of course not, people would think you were insane. Networking online is no different than IRL. Just be genuine, add value to the community, and people will naturally want to know more about you. That’s the way it works online and IRL (same as it ever was).
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