How To Post To Your Social Media Accounts From Google+

There are some updates troubleshooting some issues people had while implementing some of the actions in this post within the comments.

Google+ is here to stay, the launch of Google’s “Search+ your World” feature now means it is critical to make sure that as a marketer you are using Google+ to share your and other people’s content and grow your network with their service.

If you haven’t already started to use Google’s new social media service then below is a link to video from Rand Fishkin, the founder of SEOMoz, who explains the importance of utilising Google+ quite eloquently:

I’m sure if you are anything like me being active on yet another Social Media platform is something you just don’t have a lot of time to do. So this blog post is just to show you a few quick tools you can use to update your other Social Media services notably Twitter, Facebook and WordPress from your Google+ account.

Using IFTTT and RSS Feeds

IFTTT, If This Then That, is a great tool to automate your life on the internet. I mentioned it in my previous Social Media automation blog post and more features are being added every single day to the service. By reusing some of the recipes I have created you can easily post to your all your social media accounts from Google+.

The first recipe to use is Google Plus RSS Feed to Twitter this allows you to automatically post to your Twitter account when your Google Plus is updated. There maybe a slight delay between the two as Google are still only allowing developers to use RSS and haven’t released an API for developers yet. Simply authorise IFTTT to post to your Twitter account and follow the simple instructions.

The next recipe you need to setup is Google Plus to Facebook this does a very similar thing to the Twitter recipe above, simply authorise IFTTT to post to your Facebook wall and add your Google Plus RSS Feed too.

Using an Email from Google+ to Update a WordPress Blog

OK this is slightly more technical than just using IFTTT but if you can setup a POP3 email account then you should be able to do this.

  1. Firstly you want to create a unique email address, something like [email protected] it needs to be an email address no one will be able to guess. I don’t recommend using a free service such as Gmail or Yahoo.
  2. Now login to WordPress and scroll down to your Settings > Writing and fill in the name of the mail server and port number your web hosting provider uses.
  3. Next, enter the login name and password for your new e-mail account and select the default category that your Google Plus emails will be posted to.
  4. Now you need to add the following HTML into your WordPress theme footer:
    <iframe src="http://yourblogdomain/wordpressinstalldir/wp-mail.php" name="mailiframe" 
    width="0" height="0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title=""></iframe>
  5. Finally go to Google+ and create a new Circle. You can call it blog, WordPress, or whatever you want. Go to add the email address that you just created and tied to your blog, to the new circle.
  6. Now when ever you want to share a Google+ post on your blog, just add your new “blog” circle to the list of users you are sharing with. Make sure that “Also email 1 person not yet using Google+” is checked, and hit Share.

If you get stuck with syncing your email to your blog follow these more detailed instructions by WordPress
.

There’s an App for That

Finally, if you are out and about and want to post to Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus simultaneously there is an iPhone app that will allow you to do so. iStatus+ is a great little app that any social media junkie would be happy to have in their toolkit. It’s as simple as adding all your account information into the app and off you go. For a bargain basement price of 69p ($0.99) then you can’t go wrong.

iStatus - Google plus App

As this app also allows you to post to Twitter, the app is probably better for shorter updates as Twitter as a limit of just 140 characters, but you can easily exclude Twitter from longer updates by just tapping its icon above the keyboard.

I hope that’s helped you keep on top of updating all of your social media profiles, please leave your comments below if you have any more great tips.

Improve your WordPress SEO

I have been using WordPress for several years now, for both my projects and for working on my client’s web profiles. I’m certainly not alone when it comes to utilising this CMS though — tens of millions of sites online are powered by the software. The WordPress Codex says that “WordPress, straight out of the box, comes ready to embrace search engines“.  I can safely say, that may well in fact be true, but I must admit to you that there is more than enough work that you’ll need to do after you’ve installed WordPress on to your server in order for it to interact well with the major search engines such as Google or Bing.

Obviously I can’t guarantee you first page rankings, and certainly can’t get you lots of quality links, but I hope I can teach you some useful tips to ensure that your site is optimised and improve your indexing rates.

I am going to split this article into separate headings for you to follow firstly we will cover what you need to do to optimise your WordPress Installation and Theme.

Title Tags

By default your WordPress post title will look something like:

Blog Title » Archive » Title of Your Post

Surprisingly, it is the exact opposite of what you should do in order to increase your SERPs. One thing you must understand is that search engines put higher weight on keywords that are near the start when ranking a post. So theoretically you are hurting your chances of ranking well.

Sadly since WordPress is not a static site, it is difficult to generate the title in the way we want. Fortunately there are some excellent third party developed WordPress plugins such as All in One SEO that allows us do that with a just few clicks. First thing you need to do is install and then activate the All in One SEO plugin and follow the settings which I suggest below.

Using this plugin, you can also write / modify titles for specific post or page. You can override the default post title and write a custom title for your meta tags.

Change your Permalink Structure

WordPress out of the box has a very “ugly” URL Structure that is both unfriendly to humans and search engine bots. It does not give anyone any idea as to what the web page is about, as it does not contain any keywords.

http://www.rootswebsolutions.com/?p=29

The goal of making the URL structure friendlier is that your users should know before reading the article what it is about by just looking at the URL. The same goal is to be accomplished for Search Engines as well.

You need to go to Settings > Permalinks and edit the settings to /%postname%/

Make sure you choose the structure that works best for you.  And if you must choose a custom structure other than the one I used, see this reference for how to do it.

It’s best to do this on a fresh blog installation, but if you’re making this change on an older blog then make sure you install a redirection plugin. Also remember to shorten the post slug when you are writing an article, as by default the URL will use all of the words in your title.

Add a robots.txt file

Many WordPress webmasters forget about this, but one very easy thing to have on your site is a robots.txt file. This simply tells Google which parts of your website they are allowed to spider and add to their index. WordPress doesn’t come with a robots.txt file from a fresh install, so we need to add one. It’s a very simple thing to add, but it really can help to improve your rankings.

To create a robots.txt file create a text file named robots.txt and put this inside it:

User-agent:*
Disallow:

Upload this via FTP to the root folder of your website:

Like this => http://www.yourwebdomain.com/robots.txt

Headings

Headings are defined by HTML with H1 (largest) to H6 (smallest). You need to use them in your articles when you write. Your article title should be in a main heading (H1), sub headings with H2 and small headings with H3.

Sitemaps

The Google XML Sitemaps Plugin is very important to help to improve the number of pages that are added to the Google index. Sitemaps improve the “crawlability” of your site as they help the search spiders to find your content. Google XML Sitemaps plugin is great as it automatically creates a sitemap which you can submit to your Google Webmaster tools and it can speed up the the time it takes for your site to be indexed.

Images – Alt Text

One of the most overlooked, but powerful on-page SEO tweaks you can make, is to begin to religiously use the ALT and TITLE tag for your images.

The alt tag is a way to tell search engines what your images are actually about. Not only will it help you get more search traffic to your images, but I think it helps the overall rankings of a page, as well.

Make your Content Easy to Share

Social bookmarking is an effective way of promoting a website, Social bookmarking can add great value to your WordPress SEO allowing visitors to share the website pages and posts on social networks and generating massive traffic free of charge.

Allowing Social bookmarking on a WordPress website encourages visitors to get engaged with your site content and spread the word around to their social networks. There are many WordPress Social bookmarking plugins out there that can be used to add to your Website such as ShareThis.

Internal Linking

There are 2 main reasons why I regularly dedicate time to go back over old posts on my blog and find ways to update those posts with links to other posts on my blog.

1.      Readers – my number one goal with any website is to help people find what they are looking for. By interlinking pages you improve the chances your readers will return time and again.

2.      SEO – another great reason to interlink the posts on your blog is that search engines look at the links within a post/page to both find content to index but also to work out how to index and rank content.

As you write a new article train yourself to be thinking about what you’re written previously that relates to your new post. As you identify related content start to interlink your posts (you can add links in your new post to old content and/or add links in your old ones to your new content).

Content, Content, Content

Finally the most important part of any SEO campaign is to right compelling, original and quality content. When you are writing an article ask yourself is this something I think people would find useful, would I want to link to this or share it with my friends.

Remember at the end of the day build your websites for people and not search engines.

If you have any more SEO tips for WordPress I’d love you to share them in the comments below.

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.