Last night, Aaron Hockley (@ahockley) took the time to walk us through supercharging WordPress. We covered everything from picking out a web host to connecting with our readers to speeding up our workflow. Check out Aaron’s slides, or the notes below the break.
For a good example of these tips in action, check out Splat Photo, Aaron’s new site for all things photography (business, marketing, technology, social media).
- If you have a site that is or will become important to you, you want decent web hosting. Not the place to skimp on price.
- Look for reliability, support, recommendations/reviews.
- Keep your site updated to maintain security, etc.
- WordPress 3.5 coming in December
Speed up your writing:
- For longer posts/articles, write posts in plain text, off WordPress. Syncing with something like Dropbox means your writing is with you on every device so you can work on articles from anywhere, online or not.
- Markdown is a alternative mark up language that converts into HTML. It’s more human-readable than HTML. Simpler and faster to use while writing. More clean and readable for sending to others, even if they don’t know HTML.
- Some text editors have Markdown to HTML conversion (ex. Byword for Mac)
- Markdown to HTML conversion plugins: Markdown Quick Tags, Markdown on Save
Useful editorial plugins:
- Dashboard: Scheduled Posts – adds widget to dashboard on login wp-admin
- Editorial Calendar – visual tool for posted and scheduled posts
- EditFlow – editorial management, steps for post review, great for 3-4+ authors
- Relevant, regular, content for your audience.
- Regular decent comment is more important than daily crap. It’s better to be interesting than on schedule.
- Know your audience. For business, ask, how can you solve someone’s problem? Answer their questions? That’s different from what other people like you would enjoy reading. Maybe that is a different blog.
- SEO used to be all about backlinks. New google analytics make that less important. SEO should be earned. Backlinks should come from natural sources, not spammy backlink farms. Earn backlinks instead of paying for them. This boils down to old-school relationship building. Maybe this can be mutually beneficial between sites and/or businesses. There needs to be real content and value behind it.
- Trackbacks and pingbacks can clutter up the comments areas.
Fostering Your Audience:
- Make it easy to share your content without over-cluttering with social links. What social networks make sense for your audience? A business blog might want LinkedIn. A visual-heavy blog might want Pinterest. Use analytics like a sharing plugin to see what’s getting used, and tailor to your readers (ex. Digg Digg).
- Identify your fans. Who is always retweeting/linking to you? Pay attention to them and build that relationship. Let them know you care.Let people contact you easily, by email. Email addresses can be saved in contacts, email is in sent folder, etc. Exception: when user’s choices on a contact form redirects to different inboxes.
Useful audience/social plugins:
- WP Greetbox does custom messages based on where users are coming from (Facebook, twitter, etc.)
- Digg Digg
- Autosharing is not optimal- canned text/presentation is not compelling for people to click on. Make shares personal and interesting. Share when published, but then schedule another share (or more) for later to reach different audiences.
- Email is not dead. Start an email list that complements but does not duplicate your blog (ex. extra, relevant content).
- Get people to sign up: use an incentive (ex. article, tutorial)
- Email regularly (weekly, monthly, etc.)
- Don’t just sell. Pure marketing is boring and repetitive. That’s not blogging, it’s ecommerce. Use an email service provider (ex. MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact).
- People on your list are your best fans/supporters.
Keep track of…:
- Articles and deadlines- so that content is published at optimal times (ex. right after a release/announcement when people are searching)
- Networks and connections – to maintain and build relationships
- Useful apps: Omnifocus