5 Quick UX Tips from the Guy Feedin’ Your Wife’s Kids

Do You Know How Many Bloggers There Are Trying To Get My Attention Right Now?

Do you know that right at THIS, very moment … I, am, THE most popular man, on all the entire internets combined?…Waddaya think man, pretty impressive, right? … Bet yer wonderin’ who I am, ‘aye?

I’m Your Target Friggin’ Audience Bubba!tweet this

  • I’m the guy that’s gonna buy your ebook.
  • I’m the guy that’s gonna join your precious little optin list.
  • I’m the guy that’s gonna share your stuff with my friends.
  • I’m the guy that’s gonna link out to your next blog post.
  • I’m the guy that’s gonna follow along after you on twitter.
  • I’m the guy that’s gonna circle your big ugly mug on google+.
  • I’m the guy that’s gonna retweet your oh-so-subtle self-promotion.
  • I’m the guy that’s gonna submit your egobait … on inbound.org.

I’m the guy you should be busting your ass, not to annoy.

I’m the reason you get to work for yourself, to work from home, to quit your shitty little job and say ef-u to your punk-ass’ ‘boss’.

 

I’m The Guy Feedin’ Your Wife’s Kids, Brother!tweet this

So I think we can agree then … I MATTER.

But let me ask you this:

Knowing how powerful I am, knowing how much influence I wield, knowing how coveted my attention is, knowing how many choices I have at my fingertips, knowing how easy it is for me to click the back button on my browser, and knowing how much work you’ve already done to get me to your blog in the first place

(and on the other hand, knowing how incredibly generous & useful I can be) …

Why the hell would you make it so effin’ difficult for me to like you? . … tweet this

ATTENTION BLOG MARKETER

… I’M YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE.

And I have a message for you from all the people that read your blog with an IQ over 70 … tweet this

I don’t know you. I don’t like you. I don’t care about you. And I’m probably gonna hate your crappy little blog too … tweet this

Is That a Message You Like Hearing?

THAT, is the way you need to approach this thing …

  1. Assume that everyone hates you …
  2. Assume they all think your blog sucks …
  3. THEN GO PROVE THEM WRONG!
  4. tweet this

It doesn’t take a whole lot to make me like you … and once I do, I’m usually pretty loyal (and generous). I’m a pack-animal at heart (and quite habitual in fact) … simple familiarity is usually all I need.

Trouble is … if my ‘user experience’ (you’ve heard of UX before, right? … typically you might want to have a user experience strategy for your blog … i.e. generally bloggers try to improve user experience for their blog readers, etc).

So again, … If the experience I have on your blog annoys the hell outta me … before I even have a chance to get to know you, before I have a chance to get ‘familiar’ with you … not only will I banish you from my ‘favorites’ folder, but I’ll also probably bitch about it to my friends.

Not so funny is it?

Okay, so here we go … 5 Quick User Experience Tips From The Guy Feedin’ Your Wife’s Kids …

1. Idiot-Proof Your Popular Posts

I’m officially begging you right now for this one. PLEASE, give me a highly visible, idiot-proof way of finding your best stuff.

You may think your latest post is your best, but I’m probably not going to (plus, I already know where to find that one).

If I can’t very, very, easily, find your popular posts heading, I’m out the door … tweet this

“If you don’t care about your popular posts, then why the hell should I?”

I’m sure as hell NOT gonna go searchin’ around for it.

If you don’t care about your popular posts, then why the hell should I?

You don’t need a lot of amazing posts in order for me to like you, care about you, start paying attention to you.

Having two or three good posts right up top (that get my attention … that allow me to get to know you) is all it usually takes … but if I can’t find them, there’s no chance I’m stickin’ around.

In fact, actually, I don’t even care if you choose them yourself. I don’t really care how it’s measured, just show me something … please.

Here’s a little side-tip for ya … everyone knows you have an optin form somewhere (10 or 12 maybe?) … [never had any trouble findin' one of those].

But guess what bubba, I’m not an idiot. Whose purpose is that optin form really serving, yours, or mine? … Yeah, you know it, and I know it too.

So when you put your little optin form right up there in the top slot of your sidebar all flashed up and pretty, and then push the popular posts section way the hell down below the fold (or not even have one at all) it doesn’t take much thinkin’ on my part to figure out who you care about most, and it sure as hell ain’t me!

2. Use target=”_blank” for External Links … Seriously!

10 years ago people used to get spooked by this, but these days, all web browsers have tabs, and I wanna be able to get back to where I started from.

target=”_blank” does that for me. Do you know how annoying it is having to right-click and select ‘open link in a new tab’ every time I want to take a quick peek at one of the links in your post?

How I Read Blogs

When I read a blog post and see links I might want to visit, I open them in a new tab and then keep reading the original post. When I’m done with the original post, I start going through the open tabs, dumping the ones that end up being crap, reading the ones that really are good, and/or dropping some of them in a ‘read later’ folder.

Here’s the important part; It’s VERY easy to get distracted and forget how the hell I got wherever the hell it is that I end up. Luckily though, (most of the time) I’m smart enough to open all those ancillary posts in new tabs, so the post I started with (YOURS) is sitting there waiting for me to (share, comment on … join your list, BUY SOMETHING, click an affiliate link, put in a ‘link to’ folder, et cetera).

Now the thing is, most people probably don’t put that much thought into it. I’m paying more attention than most people probably do because I’m there specifically looking for blog posts to share & promote. Most people reading your blog probably aren’t doing that (and I even get lost myself a lot, when I forget to open the link in a new tab). So when they start clicking links that don’t open in new tabs, it’s super easy for them to get lost and forget all about YOUR POST.

This happens to ME a lot (and I’m actively trying to avoid it): I click on a link (forgetting to open it in a new tab) read the linked post, get caught up in it, forget that I didn’t open it in a new tab, and then close the tab (forgetting all about YOUR post … the one that had led me to the one I just closed out) … You just lost me, and it all could have been avoided w/ target=”_blank”

Bottom Line: It’s YOUR job to make sure I don’t get distracted and forget where I came from (your blog post). You worked so hard to get me there; don’t lose me because you didn’t take the time to setup target=”_blank” for external links.

Simple Fix: Go install this plugin WP External Links. There may be better ones out there; I really have no idea. This is the first one I tried, and it worked, so I kept using it … Quick. Easy. Done.

Note: This plugin can also mark the end of external links w/ a little icon, if you want it to (so that people know that it’s going to open a new tab when they click it).

3. Let Me Login to Comment w/ My Twitter Account

I really don’t care one way or the other if you have commenting enabled on your blog or not. I really don’t care all that much whether the links are nofollowed or not. What I do care about though is NOT having to create a friggin’ login account for 85 different blogs each month.

If you’re gonna have comments on your blog posts, allow your readers to login with twitter. Period. Nothing else will do.

If you don’t have your comments set up to allow me to login with my twitter account, then not only am I not going to comment, but I’m also gonna be pissed off and annoyed. Not because what I have to say is so important, but because it shows me once again, that YOU don’t care about ME.

Go enable WordPress’s Jetpack plugin, it has login with Twitter & Facebook already built-in.

If you don’t like Jetpack for some reason, that’s fine, or if you have some other commenting plugin, I really don’t care HOW you do it, just figure out some way to get it done.

Go figure out whatever it is you have to do in order to get this squared away, right now, today. It goes a long way toward showing your readers that you’re making these tiny little gestures to make THEIR lives easier. To make THEIR EXPERIENCE on your blog better …

And you’ll probably get a lot more comments that way too.

That’s still a good thing, right?

4. I Attach to Actual People Way More So Than I Do to Cold Faceless Entities

If you can’t be bothered to be human with me, then please tell me why the hell I should care about you? … Tip: I won’ttweet this

I’m human. I’m habitual. I like to get familiar with people. I like to care.

That’s what humans do. We’re pack animals and we tend to prefer attaching to other people, much more so than to cold faceless entities like rocks, trees … and websites.

Show me who you are …

Give Me a Reason to Care About You

Give me a reason to care about you … make me ‘feel’ something … and then give me something to ‘attach’ those feelings to … tweet this

Kids these days are calling that ‘Branding’ I think … some people seem to think it’s pretty important … your readers possibly (even if ‘they’ don’t actually know it, themselves).

The easiest thing for me to attach to is a face. So please … show me one.

In fact, I really don’t even care all that much if it’s your real face or not, so long as it’s consistent (I can even attach to cartoons).

James Agate uses a cartoon face and that works just fine for me. When I see that cartoon face coming, I know James Agate is in the room, and all the feelings I’ve attached to it come flooding right back in (it’s very efficient).

Familiarity … likeablilty … trust … branding.

I’ve put him into a category of a generous person that I like & trust …

YOU WANT YOUR READERS TO BE DOING THAT TO YOU …

Be Generous & Likeable … Then Give Them Something to Attach Those Feelings to … (your big ugly mug perhaps).

Here are some other people I’ve put into that same category … Not BECAUSE OF, their photos; because they were generous & likeable to me … BUT THEN ALSO … gave me something to attach those feelings about them onto

Gaz Copeland, Tad Chef, Jason Acidre, Patrick Hathaway, Anthony Pensabene, Neal Dougan, Nick Eubanks, Derek Halpern, Mars Dorian, Peep Laja, Wayne Barker, Michael Lykke Aagaard, James Altucher, Ramsey TaplinSteve Webb, Sonia Simone, Chris Gilchrist

Go visit these people, bookmark their sites, get to know them, they’re generous as hell and they go out of their way to care about their readers.

Tell me who you are w/ your writing … Open Up, Let Me Care About You … Then give me something to attach that to …

5. Stop Hiding the Fact That You Want Me to Buy Something

Be Proud of it … Or don’t do it! … Period.tweet this

If you’re embarrassed about selling stuff … then you shouldn’t be selling stuff! … WTF!?tweet this

If you’re embarrassed to be selling it, then I should probably be twice as embarrassed if I’m dumb enough to buy it from you!

I’m an affiliate for a few different products & services (and I also sell a few weird services of my own) … but I choose the things I promote very wisely. I’m exceedingly proud of them … and I sure as hell don’t hide that fact.

I’m proud as hell.

Before the penguin attack I was making almost as much money as my mom was (and I’m on my way back). I contribute; I help take care of my family. That’s something to be proud of … why would anyone (YOU?) be embarrassed by that … DON’T BE … trust me … if you are … we can smell it on you.

I’m proud of what I do. I’m proud that I took the initiative to try something new (most kids my age aren’t doing this stuff). If you’re squeamish about selling, guess what man, I’m not an idiot, I’m runnin’ for the hills.

I’m proud that I make money online … if I wasn’t … I wouldn’t … and neither should you … cash it in … you’re in the wrong sport bubba, go get a day job, and leave this blog marketing stuff to the people that actually take pride in what they’re selling.

My website feeds me. That’s not something I (nor my family) take lightly … If it’s the same for you, then be proud of it, and tell us what you’re selling.

You don’t have to do it in a big flashy, in my face sorta way (and please don’t) but if I have to search around trying to figure out how I can contribute, then I’m probably not going to.

6. Prove That You’re a Team Player!

If you want me to share & promote YOUR stuff, show me evidence that you’re a team player. Show me how generous and likeable you are. Show me evidence that there are at least a few other people that think you’re likeable and generous.

if you have ZERO online relationships, it suggests to me that you’re likely a selfish tool …or worse, a scammer/scumbag.

Link out liberally to relevant posts on other blogs (even if they’re your buddies, that’s fine). I don’t care if you have 10,000 followers & 80,000 ‘friends’ but I would like to see that you’ve at least established semi-friendly relationship with a few other bloggers in your niche, and show me evidence of you promoting them.

Basically, just show me something that suggests you can ‘play well w/ others’, at least a few others. I don’t care if 99% of people hate your ass (in fact, I’d probably think that was a good thing in some cases) but if you have ZERO online relationships, it suggests to me that you’re likely a selfish tool, or worse, a scammer scumbag.

Be generous, promote your buddies … promote your ‘tribe’ … promote strangers that have good stuff … promote newbies just getting started … show me evidence that you’re a team player (simple enough).

Summary To-Do List:

  1. Idiot-Proof Your Popular Posts
  2. Target = _Blank for External Links
  3. Login w/ Twitter for Comments
  4. Give Me a Reason to Care About You
  5. Be Proud of What You’re Selling
  6. Prove That You’re a Team Player
  7. Hire Me, Join My List, Donate, Buy Something?

7. Hire a Freakishly Affordable User Experience Consultant

… I just happen to know a great one! … and he’s not too busy to care yet!

Get a Fresh Perspective! …

PS … Your kid needs to go on a diet! :)

Social Media on Autopilot for Busy People

Anyone who’s anyone is talking about Social Media and how it is the new way to find new customers and interact with your old ones.  I can understand that many busy business owners probably struggle to find enough hours in the day to remember to eat, let alone Tweet. I rarely write about Social Media on this blog but I thought I would share this tactic I recently used for a new client. My client was a very busy local business owner who didn’t have a single Social Media account let alone a Social Media strategy, and I certainly didn’t have the time to look after another account too so I went about finding ways to save time for us both.

Everyday my Twitter and Google+ streams are full of people in my niche sharing other people’s great content and by doing so getting more and more followers, they become “Thought Leaders” or subject matter experts. You see the Social Media is just that “Social” if you want to be popular on Twitter you need to do just 3 things… that’s right 3 things!

  1. Engage with other people
  2. Share & Reshare other peoples great content
  3. Share your own content

I have put these things in their order of importance and as you can see talking about yourself is the last thing to do. By  sharing really good content you will get more followers and not just any old followers, engaged followers  & people who think you are the person with their finger on the pulse in your industry.

But, I don’t have time to sit on Twitter or LinkedIn all day looking for Infographics, Videos or blogs to share with my followers.

Well this is why I am going to show you a great tool & a couple of tips which will allow you to do this on autopilot!

Find the Content Specialists

Firstly you need to find the top bloggers  in your industry. You probably already know who a few of these are, but you can either do a quick search on Google or use a blog directory; Alltop is a superb place to start and so is Technorati

You want to make a list of the RSS feeds of all the blogs you like in a text file. If you don’t know what an RSS Feed is read this

Automatically Post to Social Media

The RSS to Twitter service dlvr.it is the go to service here, it’s dead easy to setup and allows you to post to a number of social accounts at the same time including Twitter, LinkedIn  and Facebook. All you have to do is paste in the feeds and add your social profiles.

If you want you can also add more rules to your feeds so that only posts containing or not containing particular words, this allows you to have some editorial control over what updates are shared with your audience. You can also add extra text to the update such as hashtags or an intro or call to action such as “Read this Great Article…”  will help get your updates noticed.

dlvr.it provides metrics such as the number of clicks and retweets you receive and it will show you your most popular content for the past 7 days… did I mention it was free?

Another great feature I use with dlvr.it is their schedule a post. This allows you to setup announcements in advance in case you are away or you could reshare some of your popular content from the past to your new followers or people who may have missed it.

Engaging With Followers on Autopilot

Remember rule number 1?

That’s right engage with other people on Social Media, well there is a great service that I discovered only a few weeks ago called ifttt , pronounced ift as in lift.

IFTTT stands for “If This Then That”, it allows you to automate tasks online such as you can back up your Instagram photos to Dropbox automatically or you can receive an alert if someone tags you on Facebook.

The automated tasks or “recipes” I use the most are:

  1. Thank someone on Twitter if they RT me
  2. Greet New Twitter Follower
  3. Post Tweets with #FB to Facebook
  4. Email me when someone mentions me on Twitter
  5. Send an SMS when a particular person sends out a Tweet (I’m not stalker honest)

The tasks above are great especially if you send a tweet to someone who might mention you with the hashtag #FF (Follow Friday) or you can jump online if you receive an SMS as one of your friends has mentioned you or tagged you on Facebook.

ifttt is growing rapidly and more and more services are being added to improve your automation online, it really is very easy to use and I recommend you go setup a few recipes now, at the moment I am setting up a task to send me a Google Calendar update to “Remember an Umbrella” if tomorrows weather report is predicting rain.

By using tools such as ifttt and dlvr.it it means you don’t have to spend hours online everyday and can start to get more out of social media.

If you have any more great Social Media automation tips please feel free to leave a comment below or send me a tweet

+Chris Dyson

13 Ways to Speed Up your WordPress Site

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive from our customers using WordPress for their blogs or websites is how do I speed up my WordPress website?

Website speed has become an important factor for SEO purposes, don’t believe me, check what Google say. It makes sense, I mean who wants to browse through a slow loading website? Most people will leave the site and look else where for the information they need.

There are lots of different suggestions out there. Some of them will speed up your website considerably. Others may only make a fraction of seconds worth of difference to your page load times. If you’ve got a massive site with hundreds of pages and posts and it is taking a long time to get anywhere then you’ll want to squeeze every bit of optimisation out of it. For a much smaller site, just one or two of the ideas below will be enough to get your WordPress installation running much faster.

Recently I made some of the changes below to one of our clients websites it was taking over 12 seconds to load a page now this is no more than 4 seconds per page.

Visit  http://tools.pingdom.com and enter your site url and do  a speed test to see how long does it take for your website to load.

***Before starting with anything, be sure to make a complete back up of your WordPress theme  and your WordPress SQL database. ***

Install a Cache Plugin

A cache plugin is an absolute must have plugin that cache’s the mostly visited pages on your website and make them available to the next visitor immediately. The plugin generates html files which are served without ever invoking a single line of PHP.

Try using WP Super Cache or if you have experience with caching plugins try W3 Total Cache, I also like the easy to use Hyper Cache which is great for people on Shared Web Hosting. Hyper Cache is a very lightweight caching option for the average WordPress blog, offering speed without a lot of overhead. For more information on the plugin’s features, configuration, and support, please visit the Hyper Cache homepage.

Remove Inactive Plugins

Most of us love to try out a fresh new WordPress plugin. We are all guilty of installing ones we don’t really need, or of installing a plugin, trying it out, deciding we don’t really need it and deactivating it, leaving it sitting inactive in our installation (nb – an inactive plugin won’t slow your site down but it will take up space. This will only cause you problems if you have restricted space).  Its better to remove all those inactive plugins that you dont use.  So make sure that the plugin directory is cleaned up.

Tip:  Don’t use a plugin when you can use code

Keep Your WordPress Version Up To Date

With the release of new versions, WordPress keeps on improving, the developers put their effort in making WordPress faster and safer.  So be sure to grab the latest stable installation when you can.

Optimise the WordPress SQL Database

Just like your hard drive the WordPress database too can become fragmented.

To optimise the wordpress database of your site, visit your cPanel & use phpMyAdmin to Optimise and Repair the Tables.

If you are like me and like to be efficient, you could automate this process by either installing a plugin like WP-DB Manager or if you are a very confident and experienced web site designer you could setup a Cron Job, an automatic program that you can execute at specific times and at specific dates. You can set this up through your CPanel, but I would not recommend this if you are at all unsure of what you are doing.

Flush the Buffer

When a visitor to your site visits a page, it can takes around 200 – 500 milliseconds for the backend server to put together the HTML version of the page. During this time the browser remains idle. The flush() function in php will help by  loading the partially ready HTML page to the browser and it can start fetching the components, while the backend server is busy with the rest of the contents.

To insert the flush() function in your WordPress site, open up the header.php file and find the </head> tag and insert the <?php flush(); ?> function right after it.

</head>
<?php flush(); ?>
<body>

Add Expiration to Static Items

Adding an expiry time to your static images can reduce the number of HTTP requests when loading other pages in the site. Adding an expiry time to the images in the site help in loading the pages faster.

Simply copy and paste this code into your .htaccess file.

ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType image/gif A604800
ExpiresByType image/png A604800
ExpiresByType image/jpg A604800
ExpiresByType image/jpeg A604800

Disable Hot Linking

Hotlinking is when another internet user uses an inline link to display an image that is hosted on your website. You know, those people who do a Google image search and not only think that it’s okay to use your image but also are fine about embedding the image using the link to the one you host, thereby leaching up your precious bandwidth.

You can ensure that this doesn’t happen by adding the following code to you htaccess file:

WARNING! Always backup your htaccess file before making any changes.

RewriteEngine on
 RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
 RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www.)?your-domain.com/.*$ [NC]
 RewriteRule .(gif|jpe?g|png)$ - [F]

 

Automatically Empty the Trash

You can set WordPress to automatically empty the trash. Simply add this line to your wp-config.php file. The number basically refers to how many days between WordPress trash dumps:

define('EMPTY_TRASH_DAYS', 10 );

Compress Your Images

The WP Smush.it plugin will automatically optimise your images for you. It removes extra bytes within them that are unnecessary, without compromising the images quality. Smaller images mean a faster loading site.

Host Video Externally

Unless you’ve got a super–fast server with loads of space, hosting your videos on services such as Vimeo or YouTube can help with your speed. If you have a site with loads of videos then no doubt you’ve already taken server speed into consideration but if you are just posting the occasional video you should definitely host elsewhere.

Compress the CSS Code

Compressing your CSS Code will make it’s size small and your browser can render it faster and that results in faster page load times. Compressing the CSS can be done in two ways. Either by doing it manually by using the service CSS Drive. But if you make changes to your CSS Code occassionally, then its better to use the WP CSS plugin. The WP CSS plugin will automatically remove the white space and compress your css files. Plus you will also have other options to set expiry time for the files.

Adjust Your WordPress Settings

There’s no reason to show 1000 posts on the home page of your blog, and you don’t even need to display the full post content on the front page. You can adjust this setting in the WordPress Dashboard under the Settings > Reading panel.

Turn off inter-blog communication

By default, WordPress interacts with other blogs that are equipped with pingbacks and trackbacks. Every time another blog mentions you, it notifies your site, which in turn updates data on the post. Turning this off will not destroy links to your site, just the setting that generates a lot of work for your site. For more detail, read this explanation of WordPress Pingbacks, Trackbacks and Linkbacks.

Look at your sidebar for any social widgets, plugins or javascript-based add-ons. Decide if  they are helping you bring in any traffic. Things like Google Friend Connect are almost never worth it and should be removed.

To conclude, what you want to do is look for scripts, add-ons, plugins,  javascripts, or social media tools with large load times or callbacks to external websites. Make sure you remove them whenever possible. Use basic file reduction techniques like using thumbnails instead of large images and use Caching plugins where possible.

Speed Testing Resources

What tricks do you use to speed up WordPress? Share it with us in the comments section & we will add it in to the post, so that everyone else can use it.