10 ways you could be failing with Google Adwords

If you’re new to Google Adwords, or even if you’ve been around a while, it’s easy to fall into bad habits and miss out on a few tricks that could really help you out and save / make you money.

This great infographic from TechWyse Internet Marketing shows the main 10 ways people fail with Adwords, covering:

  • Broad Geo-targeting
  • Unfocused display network campaigns
  • Uncategorised ad groups
  • Low quality landing page score
  • Unchecked autospend
  • Broad match ads
  • No keywords in ads
  • Huge keyword lists
  • No negative keywords
  • No conversion tracking

I could write pages on the items above, but this infographic puts it far more succinctly 🙂

adwordsfail

Simplify your online marketing efforts in 7 easy steps

SIMPLIFYDespite what the snake oil sellers might tell you, there are no miracle shortcuts in internet marketing. It’s an ongoing conversation requiring commitment, effort and perseverance – but that doesn’t mean it has to be gruelling.

Smart planning can pay off, so here are seven tips to get you started.

1) Set up email alerts

Whatever your business, it’s important to track your brand’s internet mentions so that you can respond promptly to opportunities or criticisms, but running internet searches everyday is time consuming, so this is one job it’s wise to automate.

With Google Alerts you can set up multiple key words or phrases to be monitored. Choose the ‘comprehensive’ and ‘as-it-happens’ options and you will alerted immediately whenever Google indexes a web page containing those terms.

2) Subscribe to follow up comments

Commenting on a blog post or forum thread has numerous benefits – you will usually be allowed to hyperlink your name to your website, and if your comment is insightful, it may raise your profile among peers and potential clients. However, if your comment is responded to, you may need to come back to keep the conversation going.

You can’t revisit every post you comment on indefinitely, so always tick the ‘Notify me of follow up comments via e-mail’ checkbox and know automatically if you need to come back.

3) Recycle your blog posts

Go back through your old blog posts and see if they’re still relevant to your current audience. Bloggers often only promote their new content, but this isn’t giving due credit to your older work.

During your conversations online, look out for opportunities to mention an old post in relation to a current event and consider editing and re-publishing some posts to create a more contemporary version of some old material.

4) Share and re-share your pearls of wisdom

Once you have been blogging, tweeting and commenting for a while, you will have amassed a considerable amount of valuable advice. From time to time, review what you’ve written and extract the best pearls of wisdom into a central reference sheet.

When you have a spare moment, search through forums, message boards or LinkedIn Q&As for questions relating to your core topics. Chances are, you’ll already have ready-made advice on file. A word of caution though, while the core points will be the same, it’s important to make sure every answer is tailored to the questions asked– if you just re-paste your points verbatim, it’s essentially spam!

5) Don’t use all your best material at once

Lots of people take a town-crier approach to internet marketing – they just want to be the first and the loudest to get a new piece of information out. While being among the first to link to – or blog about – a new story can win you attention, it often pays to hold back.

Not all material is time sensitive, so if you’re online for an hour and find a dozen really useful articles on a subject, resist the urge to share one every five minutes. Keep a central record of valuable information and share it intelligently over time. That way, you’ll never be lost for things to say, and you’ll have plenty of inspiration for future blog posts.

6) Schedule your tweets

You can’t be on Twitter 24/7, so scheduling posts can be an effective way to make sure you reach different audiences at different times, and don’t miss out when you’re away from your computer.

Tools like Hootsuite and TweetLater enable you to schedule your Twitter posts, but be warned: repeatedly reposting items with identical wording is spam. As a general rule, vary your wording so that your posts aren’t duplicated verbatim, and limit yourself to three tweets, at least four hours apart for any one link.

7) Take a systematic approach and stick to it

People who struggle with interacting online as part of their marketing toolkit generally fall into two groups: those who lose momentum and forget to log in for days, thereby failing to engage people or retain followers, and those who log on with the intention of doing 30 minutes work, only to find they are still chatting several hours later. Either way, the problem is one of planning and efficiency.

The best way to get internet marketing working for you is to do a little bit each day, with some set targets that you write down and stick to. For example, “In addition to blogging once a week, I will log on to Twitter for an hour each day, comment on three blogs, have a couple of chats and post three links, one of which will link to my own site.”

Yes, there’s still a lot of work involved in internet marketing, but if you employ these time saving measures, it’s entirely possible to see a great return without breaking your back.

Need some help? Try my Social Media Marketing Mentoring taster for just£25!

 

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Guaranteed front page Google positions – when is a guarantee not a guarantee?

one

one (Photo credit: andrechinn)

The word GUARANTEE is one of the most powerful words used in marketing and sales. The idea generated by the word is that a customer or client will absolutely receive or achieve something as a result of the product or service.

In the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) business, many potential clients are offered such guarantees. The most common guarantee is that the SEO company can provide the client with hitting the ‘Guaranteed Front Page of Google’. Businesses that attain these positions on Google will often take the Lion’s share of business, so of course, all businesses want to grab and keep those positions.

This leads to SEO companies making grandiose claims about how they can help your company to achieve those positions.

However, let’s make something abundantly clear from the start.

No one can guarantee you the Number ONE ranking position on Google.

You should be wary of any SEO company that claims they can provide you with the coveted #1 spot on Google. You should be especially cautious of anyone that contends that they have a relationship with Google or can get priority treatment by Google for your submission to the rankings. No one gets priority.

Google themselves say: “Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google.”

When you’re offered a guarantee, it usually comes in one of the following guises:

ONE: GUARANTEED Front Page on Google – the offer is usually a way that less than scrupulous companies offer a flat fee for Google AdWords. After huge set up fees, that only gives you Google coverage for a couple of months, you’ll find you could have done it all yourself cheaper. If you need AdWords, use them but don’t fall for a false guarantee.

TWO: Guaranteed Front Page Google Listings – Sounds great, but they don’t specify a search term. Out of the key words and phrases that you want to be front page on Google for, you’ll find you’re guaranteed front page for ‘Blue Widgets with Red Dots in North East Clacton’. No one searches for that, but the guarantee has been fulfilled and you’ll never see your money again.

THREE: Guarantee Front Page Google List Or Your Money Back – Sounds good, but try getting your money back when you don’t see your site on the front page! The company will send you a screenshot proving your site held the front page Google listing but in reality it was for one day and never happened again.

FOUR: Replacement Traffic Guarantee – ‘If we don’t get you a front page Google position, then we’ll buy enough AdWords for you to get the level of traffic you need.’ Sounds tempting but why not just buy AdWords yourself? If their service can’t provide what you need, why would you want them to use Adwords to do it? Even with Google AdWords, no one can guarantee the traffic you will receive. The SEO company needs to make money, but the traffic they’ll send you through AdWords will most likely be less than you could have gotten yourself for less money!

FIVE: Google Front Page Or No Charge – this could very well be tantamount to a scam because this company could well use every black hat (dodgy, underhanded, unacceptable to Google) trick in the book in order to get you to the Front Page. In the end, Google will punish your site, and the damage is done. They will charge huge monthly fees if they do get you listed (albeit briefly) and try to tie you in for as long as possible.

The moral of the tale? Read the small print, make sure you know exactly WHAT is being guaranteed, and above all; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

 

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How else can you help your SEO / Google listings?

It’s easy to forget about search engine listings when the world and his dog are hyping social media marketing to the max, but it’s important that you don’t forget it.

While social media will obviously serve a purpose, a large proportion of people are still using Google and other search engines to find products and services.

How are you doing? Can you be found when people search for your products and services (NOT just your name!) online? Or are your potential clients finding your competitors?

If you think you’ve done all you can on your website, here are a few more ways you can enhance your SEO, followed by a couple of blog posts you might want to read, and of course the by now obligatory offer 🙂

3 Ways to Help your SEO

1) Get a Google Plus account. Like it or not, Google is giving preference to sites that have been ‘plus oned’ in Google+ and the more you take part, the more you can promote your sites and content. Share your site with your G+ contacts and encourage them to ‘plus 1’ you too.

2) Blog. I know, I know, you’re sick of hearing me saying it, but a regularly updated blog gives Google more content and makes your website seem more dynamic – both great for enhancing your SEO.

3) Guest blog or write articles. Incoming links do still count for something, and rather than buying a load of dodgy links and risking getting penalised, guest blogging on popular blogs or submitting articles to popular article sites will help you to get well thought of dofollow links that matter.

There are just 3 ways you can help your SEO with very little effort – have a think about it over the weekend and get started next week!

Of course, none of that is going to help much if you haven’t got your on page / site SEO sorted, so do have a look at our Super Silly Spring SEO Offer to get you on track there.

SEO Blog Posts You Should Read

  • They Know Your Name So What?
    It’s easy to become complacent when your analytics tell you that you’re getting lots of hits from Google and other search engines – but look at those stats a little more. If the only thing you’re being found for is your company name, you’re missing out on a whole load of potential customers who will never find you. And that means they’re going to your competitors.
  • Why Duplicate Content Doesn’t Matter
    This has been a hot topic of debate for some time now, but it became more widely discussed a couple ofyears ago when Google did their ‘Panda’ update. You’ll never get 5 SEO people in the same room to agree on this topic, but I’m of the view that it’s not as important as some people are making it, and this blog post explains why.
  • The one single way your content management system could be ruining your chances in Google
    Content Management Systems are great and allow you a massive degree of control over your website. But if your system isn’t set up properly, it could be ruining your chances of Google positions – read this to find out why and how.
Enjoy reading, and feel free to update me on how you’re doing with SEO (especially if you’re doing my 30 Day SEO Challenge) and of course, do have a look at our Super Silly Spring SEO Offer if you need any help.

Happy SEOing!

Nikki


5 Reasons Your WordPress Blog Should Be Self Hosted

I’m a HUGE fan of WordPress for websites and blogging, as anyone that reads here regularly will know.

But did you know that there is a difference between having your blog hosted by WordPress themselves, and hosting it on your own hosting (known as self hosting)? If you didn’t, don’t worry, a lot of people don’t.

To clarify, if your blog site has an address something like http://yourcompanyname.wordpress.com or http://yourcompanyname.blogspot.com then it’s hosted by either WordPress or Blogger / Blogspot.

If your blog has an address something like www.yourcompany.com/blog then the chances are it’s self hosted (although hat’s not always the case, drop me a line if you’re not sure and want to check).

So, read on to find out just 5 reasons (there are many more) why you should be self hosting your WordPress blog if you’re serious about your business blogging.

You’ll have more credibility

It used to be that if you had an @aol.com email address or a geocities domain name, you were seen pretty much as ‘second class’. And the newer version of that seems to be having a WordPress.com or Blogspot.com domain name for your blog.

It’s pretty simple – do you want people to see that your blog is a part of your business, or are you happy with them thinking you’re ‘playing’ at it?

I know and you know that there are some great blogs out there that AREN’T self hosted – but if you want to be taken seriously in 2012 then your blogsite needs to be either a part of your main site or have it’s own domain and be hosted on its own web space.

Are you serious about your blog?

You’ll get better search engine positions

A simple fact of life is that free blog sites just don’t do as well in the search engines. Quite odd really, especially as you consider that Blogger is owned by Google! But that’s how it is.

Add to this the fact that you can get some great SEO plugins for self hosted WordPress and it’s a no brainer.

Do you want your potential customers to find you when they search on Google?

You’ll have control

OK, it’s unlikely to happen, but what would you do if WordPress decided to take down your blog? Or remove your blog posts? Or jus remove access to them for a while?

While you’re hosting your blog on a freebie site, you’re at their mercy – your content belongs to them and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Self host, and YOU’RE in control – you can back up your posts, move them where you like, and run pretty much no risk of your account being closed down and your hard work wiped out.

Would you like to be more in control of your content?

You’ll have a better choice of themes

There’s a massive range of themes on WordPress.com, but let’s face it, how often have you seen the same themes being used time and time again by different industries? With self hosted WordPress you can have a hue choice of themes, from an out of the box standard one to one that matches or complements your own website.

Do you want to stand out by looking different to everyone else?

You’ll have better plugins

I alluded to this earlier with the mention of SEO plugins, but there are a whole array of plugins that you can use on self hosted WordPress but not on the free hosted version.

From Social Media plugins to sharing plugins to commenting plugins to analytics plug ins and beyond – if you’re serious about your blog you need quite a few of these plugins.

Are you serious about your blog?

In short, self hosted WordPress is the way to go if you want to look professional, have more control, have flexibility and make the most of your blog – what’s stopping you going self hosted today?

Like this post? Check out our Wacky WordPress offer to take you from free hosted to self hosted at a drastically knockdown price!

 

 

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Out-SEO the competition with long tail keyphrases

longtailTo maximise the number of visitors coming to your website, you might try an alternative approach to SEO keyphrases. Traditionally, people have used short keywords to capture traffic such as ‘Mechanic Plymouth’ or ‘Blue Widgets. However, these days, those in the know are turning to the ‘long tail’ keyphrase to drive the right traffic towards their site.

So what are Long Tail Keyphrases? Quite simply, they are search phrases that involve a collection of keywords rather than just one or two words. For instance, if your keyphrase was ‘Wedding Cars’, you might expand this as a long tail keyphrase with ‘Hire Luxury Wedding Cars Chesterfield’.

The phrase ‘Long Tail’ relates to the decrease in the number of searches performed as the number of words in the search phrase increases. The shorter phrases are overused and there is tons of competition for those keyphrases, but the long tail phrases are underused and the competition is greatly decreased.

It can take months or even years to dominate highly competitive phrases on the Internet. However, long tail keyphrases can be driving great volumes of traffic towards your site within a few days.

There is little point trying to compete with big money firms for the most popular keyphrases. You cannot possibly beat them on short keywords, they have people, teams, and whole departments dedicated to Internet Marketing. BUT you can out-market them by using Long Tail Keyphrases.

But what if these long tail phrases only get a limited number of searches each month? Then increase the number of specific long tail phrases that you use. People using long tail searches are much more likely to be searching for the very thing that you’re selling, so that increases your chance of boosting revenue by playing outside the traditional SEO keyword game.

Rethinking search allows us to stop thinking of keywords, product names and brands as short phrases. Search is rapidly evolving, it’s all about phrases now, keywords are already out of date for the canny marketer. The average search term is growing, as people start to search specifically for what they are seeking. In the past, the average keyphrase was 1.2 words, last year, it increased to 2.1 words, but sources tell us that this year and beyond, it will push to 3 and 4 words.

Constructing keyphrases is all about thinking about what the customer might write when they are searching for a product or service. It’s not just about writing a bunch of terms with one keyword or brand name in it. It’s about embracing the entire long tail approach, accessing through Natural Search the thousands of potential customers that will use a long tail keyphrase when searching.

So, the long tail is a fantastic opportunity to increase the number of visitors coming to your website. It allows you to target multi-worded search queries and means that you can adjust your SEO and create content that matches the long tail approach. Of course, the downside is that you will need to work hard at promoting a large pool of long tail keyphrases, but this approach can yield a much greater conversion rate, so it will be worth it in the end. SEO is changing, don’t get left behind.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about Keyphrases and Higher Google Listings then drop me an email at nikkipilk@gmail.com

 

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8 Ways to Mess Up the SEO You’ve Paid For…

Despair

If you want better results from your website, higher traffic and improved rankings, you may decide to employ the services of an Internet Marketing Expert. The SEO will use their expertise in Search Engine Optimisation and their knowledge of Search Engines and Internet Marketing to give you the edge over your competition. However, a small number of SEO clients tend to tinker with the SEO’s work once they have completed it, considerably undoing the improvements and damaging their connection to Google and other Search Engines.

 

Here are my 8 steps that you can take to really mess up the excellent work your SEO has done for you.

 

STEP ONE: Overwrite the Optimisation
The SEO has used their years of expertise to configure your website for the best possible results. Once completed, you will begin to see results start to trickle in slowly, but over time, with regular updates of SEO configuration and articles, you will begin to see the strong results that you want. If you want to mess this up, overwrite what the SEO has done for you with your own keywords, Meta tags and other essential internal work.

 

STEP TWO: Buy ‘Cheap’ Links
Your SEO will establish any inbound and outgoing links that you need. By buying ‘cheap’ links you are unnecessarily wasting money and risking your search engine positions. Cheap Link builders and those that sell them have to cut corners in order to keep the links cheap. You are risking the wrath of Google by paying for inferior links.

 

STEP THREE: Use an automated submission program
Submitting your content via an automated program is a great way to be really ineffective.
A computer program just cannot make the truly successful, relevant choices that a person makes when they submit to the right selection of sites. Google also frowns upon this and you could find yourself being penalised.

 

STEP FOUR: Buy ‘Links’
Check out Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. They have some VERY stringent rules about bought and sold Links. Buy lots of Links, cheap or otherwise and incur the wrath of Google in order to get your pages unranked.

 

STEP FIVE: Hire another SEO company alongside the first
Imagine what would happen if you were building your own house and you kept changing builders each time you ‘checked’ how it was going. You’ll never get a completed house and your house that you get will be a hodge-podge. Hire another SEO company to make a mess of your SEO ‘house’.

 

STEP SIX: Break the Rules
Google has a very clear set of rules regarding SEO work. With Google positioned with 80%+ of the market share in the UK, if you really want to disappear off the Search Engine radar, break as many of Google’s rules as you can.

 

STEP SEVEN: Ignore their advice
SEO Experts are called experts because they know their business exceptionally well; they have developed their expertise through experience. If you completely ignore your SEO’s advice, you can guarantee yourself missed opportunities, lower rankings and perhaps even getting yourself banned entirely.

 

STEP EIGHT: Get yourself banned
Spam excessively, make hundreds of cross links, participate in link farming, buy and sell your links, fill your site with profane material, use software to submit links, stuff your site, meta tags and title tags with keywords, and fill your website with invisible text. That should all get you banned nicely.

 

If you would prefer NOT to get banned from Google, and you’d like someone to help you with your site’s optimisation, contact Nikki at nikkipilk@gmail.com or visitNikkiPilkington.com

 

You can follow Nikki on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/NikkiPilkington

 

 

 

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5 Ways to keep your Blog updated over the Christmas period

You’ve worked hard all year on your blog, and your comments, visitors and Google traffic is reflecting that graft. But let’s face it, it’s Christmas week and you might not feel like blogging with a bellyful of mince pies, or nipping down in between basting the turkey and boiling the gravy to pop in a quick post or two. And then there’s that odd week between Christmas and New Year when no-one’s quite sure what to do…

So is your blog going to be a barren wasteland over the Christmas period? Will your readers think you’ve given up on them? Will Google wonder where you’ve gone?

Not if I can help it – here are 5 ways you can keep your blog updated over Christmastime, leaving you free to enjoy your family and forget about work for once.

1 – Schedule, schedule schedule

You’ve got a few days yet, so get writing! You’ve probably got some half written posts sitting around that you’ve either not finished or not used yet, so finish them off and then use the scheduling facility in WordPress to post them for you. Your blog posts will appear as if by magic, and you don’t have to lift a finger!

Install the editorial calendar plugin and you’ll be able to see at a glance which days you have or need posts for, and move them around with ease.

2- Grab some guest posts

A great last minute standby, guest posts could keep you going over the festive season. As long as you make sure they’re relevant and of interest to your readers, they could save you wondering about your blog while the sprouts are burning to the bottom of the pan!

Ask your Twitter and Facebook followers if they have any blog posts lying around they’d like you to feature, or maybe they could write you something in the next couple of days? No takers? Then pop along to the fab MyBlogGuest where they have a whole host of bloggers with content to spare – you could find a great source of guest blogs well into 2012!

3 – Create some round up posts

Round up posts are great for filling space, and for only taking a little time to set up. If you’re on WordPress, install the Instant Weekly Round Up plugin – it allows you to pick and choose the categories you want to include from your old blog posts, move them around, and delete the ones you don’t want to show. For only a couple of minutes work you could have a great post ready to go, purely from all the work you’ve put in this year.

4 – Reschedule some older posts

Not everyone will have seen your post the first time around, so why not spend some time going through your archives and reschedule and reuse some of your older posts? Maybe ones that didn’t generate the traffic you thought they would, or haven’t had as many comments as you would have liked, or even really popular ones you think people would be interested in seeing again.

Different to a round up post, this is a reposting of a whole blog post. In WordPress simply change the post from ‘published’ to ‘scheduled’ and you could get a whole new audience.

While you’re scheduling you may even see bits of the post you want to elaborate on or change, or there may be an update you can add – a great way to use old content in a new way.

5 – Get someone else to do it for you

(Come on, you knew this was coming, right? 😉 )

It’s not too late to hand your blog over to someone else for a couple of weeks and give yourself a complete break.

A fresh eye, some new ideas, and more importantly some great content to ensure that your blog isn’t forgotten over Christmas.

Whether it’s your trusty VA or someone like me who gives small business blogging management, you can rest assured your blog is in good hands and isn’t going to languish. An added bonus is that I’ll give you a swift kick in the New Year to either get back on the blogging horse, or decide that you’re happier leaving it to someone else.

OK Nikki, if I decide to use you, what’s it going to cost?

Depending on your blog industry, the amount of blogs you need over the Christmas period, and how long you need me for, it could cost as little as £50 per blog site for me to write blog posts, upload them, optimise them and promote them while you’re pulling your Christmas crackers with your kids.

But, as always, places will be limited (to 5 in this instance) – I’ve got to have time to cook my own Christmas Pudding and those parsnips aren’t going to maple glaze themselves!

Interested?

Drop me a line to nikkipilk@gmail.com and let’s chat.

So there we are – 5 ways to keep your blog going over Christmas with the minimum of effort and hopefully the maximum of results.

Enjoy your turkey!

Like this post? Don’t forget to check out the 30 Day Blogging Challenge, and kickstart your blogging in just 30 days!

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NikkiPilkington 12 Days of Christmas song

The Singing Christmas Tree, Werdmühleplatz in ...

Image via Wikipedia

All together now!

On the first day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

A first place on Google for me

On the second day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

2 new subscribers, and
A first place on Google for me

On the third day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

3 ideas for blog posts,
2 new subscribers, and
A first place on Google for me

On the fourth day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

4 Foursquare checkins,
3 ideas for blog posts,
2 new subscribers, and
A first place on Google for me

On the fifth day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

5 great reviews…
4 Foursquare checkins,
3 ideas for blog posts,
2 new subscribers, and
A first place on Google for me

On the sixth day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

6 tweets for Twitter,
5 great reviews…
4 Foursquare checkins,
3 ideas for blog posts,
2 new subscribers, and
A first place on Google for me

On the seventh day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

7 brand new meta tags,
6 tweets for Twitter,
5 great reviews…
4 Foursquare checkins,
3 ideas for blog posts,
2 new subscribers, and
A first place on Google for me

On the 8th day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

8 sales from Facebook,
7 brand new meta tags,
6 tweets for Twitter,
5 great reviews…
4 Foursquare checkins,
3 ideas for blog posts,
2 new subscribers, and
A first place on Google for me

On the 9th day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

9 SEO tips,
8 sales from Facebook,
7 brand new meta tags,
6 tweets for Twitter,
5 great reviews…
4 Foursquare checkins,
3 ideas for blog posts,
2 new subscribers, and
A first place on Google for me

On the 10th day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

10 brand new Challenges,
9 SEO tips,
8 sales from Facebook,
7 brand new meta tags,
6 tweets for Twitter,
5 great reviews…
4 Foursquare checkins,
3 ideas for blog posts,
2 new subscribers, and
A first place on Google for me

On the 11th day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

11 ways to get links,
10 brand new Challenges,
9 SEO tips,
8 sales from Facebook,
7 brand new meta tags,
6 tweets for Twitter,
5 great reviews…
4 Foursquare checkins,
3 ideas for blog posts,
2 new subscribers, and
A first place on Google for me

On the 12th day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

12 hours of mentoring,
11 ways to get links,
10 brand new Challenges,
9 SEO tips,
8 sales from Facebook,
7 brand new meta tags,
6 tweets for Twitter,
5 great reviews…
4 Foursquare checkins,
3 ideas for blog posts,
2 new subscribers, and
A first place on Google for me

Happy Christmas everyone and here’s to a fab 2012!

Thanks to Suze St Maur for the idea 🙂 )

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4 Things You Can Do To Speed-Up Your WordPress Site

This is a guest post by Camille McClane, a motivated freelance writer and online entrepreneur living in Southern California

camileLoad time is somewhat of an issue for a lot of WordPress site admins.

While the platform itself is incredibly powerful and comprehensive in terms of the options afforded to the user, WordPress sites often take too long to load for a variety of reasons. Too many plugins, heavy-duty comment engines and poorly designed themes or templates can all contribute.

While the reasons for those lengthy load times will vary, the result is often the same.

What suffers the most with a slow load time is the user experience. While the difference between three and four seconds might be forgivable, 15 to 20 seconds will mean that a user could ultimately lose interest and patience with your site.

If your site is loading slowly enough, it’s basically timing out in the eyes of those who are trying to use it.

Wordpress1

Those people will bounce (meaning they’ll click out of your site and fail to browse to a second page) and many of them will never come back to your site again, at least not on purpose.

Additionally,Google places ranking penalties on slow loading sites. While those penalties are relatively small and affect only a small percentage of websites, it’s something to keep in mind, as you don’t want to needlessly downgrade your own website.

But how can we improve this? How can we speed up our WordPress site?

There are a few areas where WordPress speed gets hung up, so the best way to keep things running smoothly is to focus on getting those areas right the first time.

1. Use a solid framework

WordPress offers a ton of customization options and plenty of different themes to choose from. That being said, theGenesis Framework is one of the better choices and is specifically designed for speed.

It’ll cost you some money to use, but it’s worth the investment. Usually a solid framework is going to run you between $50 and $80, most of which include updates and upgrades. While there are plenty of free WordPress themes, buying a framework insures that you’ll have optimized and correctly written code, which can increase your page’s speed tremendously on its own.

2. Don’t use too many plugins

Plugins are one of WordPress’ most attractive and unique features, and there are even some that help you in terms of speed, likeW3 Total Cache.

While plugins can be very effective in helping you to manage your site, it can significantly increase the time it takes to load for your visitors. As a designer or admin, a good rule-of-thumb is to keep plugins to 10 or less. Rarely will you actually need any more than that.

3. Good hosting service

Hosting isn’t exactly the fun part of using WordPress, but a self-hosted WordPress site will suffer if you choose a poor hosting service, mainly because you take a hit in terms of speed, storage space and service.

Keep in mind that “self-hosting” means you still have to pay for a hosting service, though you’re the one uploading the files and content, while maintaining the rights to your site.

Look for something with unlimited space and bandwidth at less than $10 a month, which is the typical market value for website hosting. Anything more would be overpaying.TigerTech is a decent option in terms of price, speed and storage space.

4. Caching

It’s a bit technically involved to properly configure caching on your WordPress site, though the plugin I mentioned earlier (W3 Total Cache) is a workable solution. It essentially creates a temporary storage for your web documents (usually HTML and any images), which will reduce bandwidth being used and increase the loading speed of your page.

Your best bet here is to enlist the help of a friend or professional who knows the ins-and-outs of the process.

Testing your Loading Speed

There are a lot of tools online that can test your site’s load time, likePingdom or WebPageTest.org.

Check your speed before and after you implement some of these solutions. If you notice that your site is improving, dig a little deeper into each topic and take further steps to optimize your website.

It’s worth the investment of time if you get on Google’s good side and avoid frustrated viewers.

camile

Today’s guest writer is Camille McClane, a motivated freelance writer and online entrepreneur living in Southern California. As a writer for BlogWranglers, she understands the importance of having an effective WordPress site and how its loading speed can greatly affect user experience. What have you done to speed up your own site? Share your comments below!

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