LiveBlogging Wordcamp Kansas City : WordPress Marketing & Monetizing Your Blog

WordPress Evangelist from a Marketing Perspective presented by Scott Shorter of Concera Media

WordPress as a content platform gives you control and empowers you to create.

The Basics of Marketing through WordPress:

  • A w3c standards complaint theme – go to to check W3.org to see if your theme is compliant
  • Good on-page SEO practices – use meta-tags,
  • Google friendly in every way possible : use Google Webmasters
  • Social Intergration : use social media tools as a funnel to your site, then use Google analytics to track where you should be spending your time online
  • Conversion Goals like email signups
  • Tracking and reporting of results : really use Google analytics, set goals

 

Foundations for WordPress as Your Marketing Platform

  • Google anlyticator Plugin : puts it on your dashboard so it available right when you log in
  • XML sitemaps Plugin
  • All-in-one SEO plugin
  • Mailchimp (or similar plugin) :
  • premium theme framework : clean themes like Thesis do well in SEO
  • sharing plugin

Resources:

Calendar PlugIn by Kieran O’Shea : provided functionality with minimal amount of time

Twitter tools plugin

Postie : requires access to servers, DNS files

Role Manager: allows you to expand and customize WordPress subscriber profiles

Lifestream Plugin: Lifestream displays your social feeds and photos much like you would see it on many of the social networking sites.

Monetizing Your Blog Beyond the Banner Ads session presented by Syed Balkhi, founder of  WP Beginner

“Don’t run after success. Run after excellence, and success will follow you.”

First Thoughts

  • don’t quit your job
  • blogging is a full-time job, actually more than full time. And yes, this is totally true. I put in a full day of work then spend 3-4 hours on my blog.
  • when you are blogging, you are your own boss but you don’t have a life. The internet never closes down.


Methods:

  • Google Adsense: works on sites that are instructional
  • Affiliate Programs: every blogger can make money from affiliate links, always include an affiliate link when you talk about a product (use Amazon, Ebay affiliate links.) When writing about products that you gain comission off of, write a how to not a review. It will drive more traffic to your site.
  • Lead generation: think of ways you can generate leads through the content you already write. For example, if you write a hyper-local blog think about calling up a local business and suggest commission from referring customers to them.
  • Private Ad Sales: sell ads directly or use Buy Sell Ads Think beyond your site for paid promotion too: wear a tshirt at a conference, brand laptops, etc. Think outside of the box.
  • Premium Content:  Example: ProBlogger’s blog challenges turned into an ebook, then created a subscription forum. Chris Brogan turned his writing prompts into a fee based newsletter.
  • Continuity Programs:
  • Products: ebooks, themes
  • Services: teaching, consulting, blog audits, social media plans, editorial calendars
  • Paid reviews/posts: be sure to follow FCC regulations. My personal recommendation for this is to find a blogging group to help you
  • Donations:

Good Practice for Success:

  • Passion: pick something you are passionate about
  • Niche: if you’re going to have a niche blog, research it first
  • Domain: pick a easy, clear, short domain name
  • Hosting: pick a good host so your site will always be up
  • Theme: use a nice, easy to navigate one
  • Email list: build one and use it to market
  • Monetize
  • Analytics: use your stats to improve
  • Repeat!

 

Recommended WordPress Plugins:

  • OIOPublisher
  • BuySellAds
  • Simple URLSs
  • SEO SmartLinks
  • Gravity Forms
  • WP SEO by Yoast
  • Donate Plus
  • Aweber
  • W3 total cache
  • MaxCDN (use “WPBEGINNER” for 25% off
  • Comment Redirect
  • MailChimo
  • getShopped
  • Ozh’ Who Sees Ads
  • Amazon SImple Admin

Network, network, network: Make friends, make money!

Slides from this session here.

 

 

LiveBlogging WordCamp Kansas City : Why WordPress Is the Best Choice for Business

Afternoon session two :  Rick Nielson is presenting Why WordPress is the Best Choice for Business. Check Rick, aka The Web Trainer, out on his website, YouTube channel, and Twitter.

 

Rick says: (paraphrased) So why is WordPress the best choice for business websites? Because it kicks ass! Session over. Just kidding, but seriously WordPress revolutionized the web because it made website building and changes accessible to everyone. Why? Fast development, low cost, search engine magnet, plugins allow you to easily do almost anything easily, themes are widely available, and there is tons of support available.

WordPress can take you to the next level. Take whatever business you are doing and think outside the box.  Think of what you can sell and then use WordPress to do it. you need a home for your content. Social media should be what you use to drive people to your website.

Recommended resources: CSS-Tricks and Digging into WordPress

Liveblogging WordCamp KC : The Why and How of Group Blogs

Third session of the day is The WHy and How of Group Blogs from Brenda Bethmand and Kristen Abell

 

I was quite excited about this session since I have a hyper-local group blog The COMO Collective. Brenda and Kristin co-founded Student Affairs Women Talk Tech in 2010. They plan to talk about the benefits, the why, and the how to.

Benefits of Group Blogging:

  • It takes less time since you don’t have to write as much
  • Shows diverse viewpoints on one subject
  • Better for publicity

Difficulties:

  • differing viewpoints can cause disagreement about blog vision
  • hard to manage workflow, quality

For Setup:

Have a focus

Blog Schedule: (I personally LURVE the calendar plugin in WordPress) Think about how you are going to spread your topics and content.  They use Google Calendar tied to Google topics spreadsheet to schedule the posts. it’s done three months ahead of time and invite and reminders go out from the calendar. It’s giving me some food for thought.

Deadlines: Do you need to use contributor status so you can edit and double check that blogs will be posted? On The COMO Collective we currently allow people to submit themselves. It’s working so far but it does leave to uneven content.

Tech Talk

Site Mechanics: Who is responsible for the hosting, domain name, etc. Have someone in charge of that role.

Promote your blog: set up a Facebook Fan Page and Twitter account and set up plugins to automatically post to both sites. Networked blogs will do the hard work for you (but if you care about hits, think about another plugin since that hit goes to Networked blog unless the user x’s out the bar.) Use hashtags to find your audience on Twitter.

 

Content:

Cross-posting: Set up standards to ensure the quality of your content.

Commenting: have a moderation plan in place and assign responsibility for returning comments

 

Knowledge from Q&A:

Networked Blogs: Sign up to help promote your blog but know the good and bad sides. Automatic syndication can takes hits away from your count.

Liveblogging WordPress Camp KC : WordPress SEO

Second Session :  Rebecca Haden of Haden Interactive speaking on WordPress SEO

 

This seems like it is going to be a great hands on session. Rebecca is addressing hobby, small business blog sites and how to use SEO to improve your traffic. She is using Haden Interactive’s lab site My Fresh Plans as an example. We’re starting off with a break down of white hat vs black hat SEO tactics.  Use white hat (visible tactics) for long term SEO.

5 Steps to Good SEO:

1. Have a good website: the holy trinity: content, design, and code

Make an initial investment to get a good basic theme then spend some money on visuals. The produce content. Initial traffic for Fresh Plans came from just a few site placements. The site design and content kept people on the site and coming back to it once they found it. For search engines, make sure you are placing clear, simple search keywords that apply to your website. Do not worry about personal search, think about how the sites control them.  It’s not about the number, it’s about using the right ones. Use them naturally.  Don’t forget about image tags!

2. Do something well and then tell people about it. the holy trinity: linkbuilding, social media, and IRL networking

Linkbuilding = a vote of confidence for your site. Go to Get Listed and search for related topics. Do searches for your topic and find sites that are related and then check them in Website Grader. List yourself on Brown Book, Yelp, and HotFrog. Be sure to vary the phrases you use to linkback. Spend an hour a week on this. And never, ever pay someone for a link (black hat alert!) The exception is paying for an ungraded version of a site that is already sending you good traffic.

3. Engage Your Visitors: “Know who your visitors are, create compelling stuff, and reach out and respond”

Come up with a profile for your reader. Take it to the level of building a person: name them to fully visualize it! Once you have that person in mind think about their reasons for visiting your site and then meet their needs. And be sure to respond personally to them. You can have an automated response but make sure it is clear it is automated rather than just an impersonal reply.

4. Monitor and Adjust: holy trinity – watch your analytics, respond to what your see, test and tweak

Submit and index yourself on the search sites. Look at your traffic patterns and respond. Check out google insights for your search terms to see what people want to hear about. Use the popular keywords in your search. Test and tweak based on your analytics. Set up goals in Google Analytics to track yourself.

5. Keep it Up! :

Don’t expect immediate results, give yourself time to grow and for your strategies to work. If you change too often you won’t know what works for your site. Change takes time. You can make small responsive changes based on data but you have to give larger strategies time to work.

 

Knowledge from the Q&A:

Check for broken links: WordPress plug in “Broken Link Checker”

Ask people to find the right keywords. What would they search for if they were looking for {fill in the blank}.

User Testing

 

Liveblogging : Wordcamp KC #WCKC WP and Social Media

Hello! I am attending Wordcamp today and Kansas City and will be sharing some of the insight through live blogs.

First session : Lisa Qualls from Fresh ID and Social Media Club KC speaks on WordPress and Social Media : A Great Couple

Lisa opened with this graphic from Fred Cavazza. Great breakdown of social media for clients… how it all interacts with each other. Her three uses of social media: evaluate, learn, and connect. Love how she is taking that opening and showing how you can use social media to drive business. Think about what your customer is seeing, what you want them to see. Use categories on the back end to push the content you want people to see.

Stepping up the interacting for business, Lisa showed off a custom Twitter plug in they did for Red House Media as well as Fresh ID’s Twitter streams. Love the examples of how you can show off different streams of Twitter.  I thought I was the Twitter queen but Lisa is totally making me look at on websites in a completely different way. She’s using Sporting KC as an example right now. My husband would love that.  Keep in mind though, that unlike Facebook, you can’t filter out certain words and terms. Be confident that the accounts and streams you are showing will only display content you want your viewers to see.

 

For advanced clients, Lisa is walking us through the LiveStrong park site and talking about what they have done beyond that. Every seat in the park has a QR code. The possibilities that could be done with that is mind boggling. Be sure to check out the beta site Sporting Membership. Click around the FreshID site for more innovative ideas for Worpress use for businesses.

 

Closing out with the most important point: think about your usability and customer experience first.  Plan, map, think before you input.

 

Random WordPress resources from the Q&A session:

YouTube Tutorials from Fresh ID

Word Press Beginner Help Site

Organizing Online : Meal Planning

Even though I love to write things down, since it’s the best way to clear my head, it’s just not working out for me anymore. I spend at least of my home free time online; it only makes sense to move move of my planning to an online space. Plus I can’t lose the notes I write online.

My husband, who hates the clutter my notes produce, is always sending me handy websites to help me out. On Monday he saw Food on the Table on Netted and sent me the link. Since it looked like a good way to get me out of my food rut and stop my random buys at the grocery store, I decided to to give it a whirl.

PROS:

  • able to log in with Facebook
  • easy to use interface
  • recipes I hadn’t seen before
  • grocery list shows measurements so I can check to see if I have enough before adding items
  • can email grocery list from site so husband can do the shopping

CONS:

  • only has one store in my area (HyVee where I don’t usually shop since Gerbes is up the street)
  • does not give the option of searching for only natural or organic meats
  • recipe choice layout does not show full names or pictures

 

I see this  as being a solution for weeks when I don’t know what I want to make, have an empty pantry, or am pressed for time.  But it’s deifnitely not the solution to my meal planning problem. Does anyone have a better site that they use?

 

Searching for a Work Life Balance

This morning I awoke in the middle of a recurring dream: my husband is awaking me as he leaves for work letting my know he got up with the girls, fed them, dressed them, and they’re watching a show if I want to sleep some more.

It doesn’t take an interpreter to figure out the meaning behind this dream. These days I constantly find myself tired and a few steps behind. I’ve always been a work to live kind of person but what do you do when your job never ends. Because that’s the rub of working on the internet: it’s always open and there’s always something else you could be doing. And on top of that it’s something I enjoy. So I don’t mind spending those extra minutes.

Until I wake up tired the next morning. And realize that I haven’t posted on my personal blog all week because I’ve been busy working on everything else. And that I never sent the girls’ book order in. And I haven’t been to the gym in a month.

So what I need is some kind of guidance on how to make this whole thing work. I’m at a point where I need to go all in but am not sure who to make that work with everything else going on. I asked for some advice on Facebook this week but most of the answers I got didn’t take into account my other full time job, servant to the terror twins.

Digital Spring Cleaning : Tackling Twitter

So has everyone been keeping their email boxes clean? I am proud to admit that I have kept them spare for two weeks now. I am definitely missing less: birthdays are being remembered and Groupons are being used.

Now to handle my other internet time suck: Twitter. I sing the gospel of Twitter like I was born again when I found it. For communication, networking, outreach, and just plain conversation there is no better platform out there. However, it can quickly become overwhelming.

When I first started Twitter, I vowed I would always respond to @’s and follows as soon as possible. 2700 followers later and multiple accounts later, I have eaten my words. It just gets to be too much to keep up with. So here’s what I implemented to keep myself accountable and Twitter manageable.

First I got a client. There are many Twitter clients out there but I only really looked at the most highly recommended ones: Tweetdeck and HootSuite. Here’s a blog post comparing the two. For me, I liked the simplicity of the HootSuite application and the fact that I didn’t have to download anything (I’m a cloud girl.)

With the Hootsuite client I can use multiple Twitter accounts including my personal, my blogs’, and the accounts of any clients I am working with. I can also see my Facebook account and the Facebook pages I manage. Since I have to manually click the account I want to post from, it acts as a safeguard against tweeting from the wrong account. I also only have to keep one tab open instead of two.

It also means I can add a column for each of the lists and any searches I frequently check. If you’re not using using the built in list function on Twitter, you’re missing out. I use it to keep up with my friends, clients, city, and even my favorite celebrities and brands. By saving hashtag searches I am able to filter Twitter into topic focused conversations. And I also make sure I don’t miss any breaking information about the things I care about (like politics and BlogHer parties.)

Onto one of the most controversial Twitter topics: following. I personally see Twitter as a conversation rather than a broadcast so, with a few exceptions, I only follow people who follow me back. To keep track of this, every few weeks I use Friend or Follow. It shows me who I follow who is not following me and who follows me that I don’t follow. Twitter has a weird way of randomly unfollowing people (it’s even unfollowed my husband for me), so make sure you check the second screen.

Ready to step it up a level? Check out Social Media Examiner’s 5 New Twitter Tools Worth Exploring. Feeling overwhelmed by this post? Check out this post on how to engage on Twitter which does a great job of breaking down Twitter.

And any questions? Feel free to ask. I love talking Twitter.

Live Blogging License to Steal Day 2

The only problem with wine conferences is that you drink a lot of wine. A lot. I started the day off with two cups of coffee. And I don’t drink coffee. The things I do for you people.

Day two opened with some insights from Pat Barker, the assistant director of the Ohio Division of Travel and Tourism. She shared some campaigns that have worked for them like group media buying. Power in numbers my friends. Power in numbers.

Honestly, I tuned out during the next presentation by Michael Kaiser since it didn’t apply to me. But continuing the theme of power in numbers, I do want to plug his organization Wine America. Check them out if you’re a winery or even if you’re just a wine lover who wants to keep up to date with wine legislation. Free the grapes!

Again, I didn’t take the best notes during Chris Davidson of Y Partnership since he started talking wonky travel research but he gave an extremely important piece of advice: find out the why before developing your social media strategy. Think about what, why, how, etc.

Then Danene Beedle and I spoke about how to work with bloggers. I really wish I could have sat down and just talked about innovative ways to use social media and given out some resources. Oh well, maybe next year?

We were followed by a blogger who I am crushing on: Jeanette Merritt ,aka @IndianaWineBabe, from The Real Farmwives of America. She shared idea after idea of ways to partner with brands. And I am stealing many of her cross collaboration ideas for The COMO Collective.

The next presenter, Joel Erb of Inmunited depressed me because he was so young and so smart. I am still kind of in a funk about it. Plus he had kickass business cards. And an awesome old-timey looking power point presentation. But moving on, there could be a whole post about his talk about the mobile explosion so I will just share one of his secrets to successful apps: do a few things well rather than many things poorly. If you have a chance to hear him speak, do it. And if you have the resources, hire him.

Ben Rubke from Eventbrite spoke next on online event ticketing and the benefits of using social commerce. Great takeaway: post purchase shares result in more sales than pre-purchase shares. Also use invitation tracking links to see what what works for advertising your event. It’s no secret that I am an Eventbrite fan and Ben and Brock, who I (lovingly) dubbed the hair gel twins, did a fantastic job of representing the company.

The day closed out with Glen Shumate who spoke on targeting minority wine drinkers. I loved the response from the attendees; it’s always great to see people shaken out of one mindset and thinking about opportunities they haven’t thought of before.

Live Blogging License To Steal – Day One

Thanks to my association with Missouri wines, I am attending License to Steal this week. This national wine marketing has already sent me into a tailspin and it’s only lunchtime. Since it’s made me take a look at social media from a different angle, I thought I would share my takeaways with you.

This morning we started off the day with a introduction to social media from Karen Malone Wright, aka the Communications Goddess. Karen’s talk reminded me that I should never brand myself as an expert. Things are always changing in the social media world so there is always a new tactic, insight, etc to learn from. Her talk, aimed towards social media beginners, taught me a few things and gave me some great ideas to try.

Karen came from a traditional PR background and was an early adapter of integrating social media. She drove home the triangle to successful social media: transparency, consistency, and authenticity. I consider myself to be somewhat of a Twitter expert but she mentioned a few sites I had never heard of including TasteLive and a few I don’t actively use but probably should.

There is a slide show of her presentation but I want to get Karen’s permission before linking it; but you can check out her insights in her new book “Hell Yeah, I Can Do This : A 5 Step Guide to Today’s Internet for Women” coming out in July. Send an email with the subject line “book subscribe” to kmwright@odysseyccc.com if you want to pre-order it.

Right now I am listening to Tim Hanni speak about the changing tastes of the wine consumer. He started off with an image that is seen differently depending on what part of your brain you use to process it. It was a great jumping off point to discuss one of the biggest traps companies, bloggers, brands etc fall into: tunnel vision. Tim is does a fantastic job of breaking down collective delusions and how they hold us back.

Tim brought up how learning wine about wine is challenging because the terms are so subjective. As someone who loves wines but isn’t knowledgeable about the terms and definitions wineries use, I applaud him explaning this to a group of wine experts. So may people I know love drinking wine and want to learn more but without taking a wine linguistics class. I am actually working on a Twitter/Facebook project right now with Jessica Kohler that will be a “safe” place to talk about wines free of judgment and terms we don’t “get”.

How does the wine industry make itself appealing to customers? Tim Hanni is breaking it down right now. You can have all the knowledge in the world but if you don’t know how to share it in a way that is helpful to your customer then what use is it? It’s not about educating the consumer, it’s about filling your consumers’ needs.

Make it about the enjoyment of wine. Learn to understand and celebrate the individual differences and preferences of your customer.And these principles don’t apply just to wine, embrace it for your consumer whether they are a buyer of your product or a reader of your blog.