Is it Time for a Website Redo?

Is it Time for a Website Redo? It’s that time again for New Tricks to make some changes and updates to our website. It’s been a few years since I refreshed my site design, and I want to redesign my home page messaging and presentation to better reflect all of the creative services we offer at New Tricks.

Having a website built with WordPress makes update projects much easier than starting from scratch. Since the content of a WordPress site is stored in the database, we can change the layout by updating theme files, and then tweak the content while keeping what works, and changing what doesn’t.

Incremental changes are usually preferable to changing everything on your site at once. Our clients get attached to how things are, and typically hate changes. You know how whiny we can be when Facebook changes things up?

Roger Dooley, author of Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing advocates against ever doing a whole new website redesign in an article on Forbes. The advantage to making incremental changes is that rather than risk throwing the baby out with the bathwater by changing everything all at once; you can make and test your changes more subtly.

Although a total website overhaul is usually not the best option, there are some cases when it is absolutely necessary. [Read more...]

Doing What it Takes to Grow Your Business

Doing What it Takes to Grow Your BusinessBack in the day, it took a lot of money to build a loyal customer base. When I had my software company, we had to spend thousands of dollars on advertising, pr and going to expensive, time consuming trade shows.

That was why later, I was so struck by the power that ordinary people could have using content management websites along with free social media apps to develop a following for our businesses, just like the larger companies and media. The impact of this idea to me was huge and I knew that everyone was going to want and need this technology. [Read more...]

The Secret to Great Content and Developing a Following

The Secret to Great Content and Developing a FollowingThe secret to getting traffic to your website is providing content that is in sync with your brand, and valuable to your customers.  It’s important to write content that shows your expertise, is entertaining, or develops a relationship between you and your people. You will notice a couple issues arise: first, how to find valuable content and then, how to make it your own.

In order to develop a content strategy, you need to know your right customers and what information they will value receiving from you. Who are they? What are their pain points, where are they coming from? What is the best way to communicate with them? What do they really want to know? How can you be the source of making that content accessible to them? [Read more...]

Choosing WordPress Themes for Beginners

Whether you’re just starting out with WordPress or you’re a seasoned pro, choosing the right theme is imperative for a WordPress website that looks right for your business and performs well over time.

There’s nothing worse than finding a theme that looks good on the outside, but functions poorly on the backend or doesn’t have as many options as you thought.

Of course, you don’t realize how good or bad a theme is until you actually purchase and use it, but by then you have invested many hours in customizing it.

I’ve put together some of the things you should know when choosing a theme in the slideshow below. Hopefully the slideshow and the tips below will help make your decision easier.

[Read more...]

Twenty Tips for a Scrumptious Food Blog

Twenty Tips for a Scrumptious Food BlogEveryone and their sister has a blog these days, and what better thing to blog about than food? Food is one of the highest searched content areas on the web. I tried to find how many food blogs there were but the only figure I could find with real numbers was from a 2012 post on a site called Taking back the Kitchen that quoted Technorati saying there were 16,588 Food blogs at that time. I could not update or even verify that information with Technorati since in May of this year Technorati removed all of their pages of their blog directory and associated information and hasn’t replaced it.

The thing about blogging is that it is hard to do. At least it is hard to do for the long haul. Many people start and then abandon their blogs like gym memberships in July when they find out that to blog on a consistent basis is a JOB. [Read more...]

WordPress Goodness for Food Bloggers

I am here at the 2014 Food and Wine Conference in Orlando, Florida where Renee Dobbs and I gave a short talk on using WordPress for Food Bloggers. Before conference organizer Isabel Laessig  introduced us she polled the audience about how many people were using WordPress. Most of the 200 people in the room raised their hands. I remember the days when we had to really sell WordPress to our clients. Now, people come asking for it.

Here are the slides from our talk that goes over whats good about WordPress and we share some of our favorite plugins for Recipes, Social Media, Calls to Action, and Security.

10 Awesome Social Media Plugins and Management Tools for WordPress

Almost every WordPress website could use a social media plugin or two. Take a look at our list of 10 awesome social media plugins and management tools for WordPress.

Social Sharing Plugins

1. Add Twitter Facebook Google Plus One Social Share
10 Awesome Social Media Plugins and Management Tools for WordPressAdd Twitter Facebook Google Plus One Social Share is a simple floating social sharing bar. It comes with a couple of handy user options and allows you to change where the bar floats on your site as well as minor style customizations. The plugin also features LinkedIn, Stumbleupon and Pinterest (which it doesn’t mention in it’s title).

[Read more...]

Collect Testimonials on Your WordPress Site Using Gravity Forms

Collect Testimonials on Your WordPress Site Using Gravity FormsCollecting testimonials from your clients can be a time consuming and slow process, so why not automate the process and let Gravity Forms do the heavy lifting?

After working with a client, there is a good chance you send them some sort of invoice or thank you email. What if you could insert a link in that communication to a form that allows your clients to compose a WordPress testimonial post and does everything but publish it? You can, and it’s easy! Using Gravity Forms you can have your clients fill out a form that automatically creates a WordPress post categorized as “Testimonial” with a picture they’ve uploaded. Here are 7 simple steps to automate your testimonial process: [Read more...]

No More Bad Stock Photos, Use Your Instagram Pics on Your Website

No More Bad Stock Photos, Use Your Instagram Pics on Your WebsiteInstagram is my fun place. I don’t use it to “get business,” I use it because I love snapping pics that I find interesting.  I like that I can instantly share them with others through Instagram, and if I want I can send an image to Facebook or Twitter. Although I don’t specifically use it for business, my feed does give people, who follow my feed, a sense of who I am and keeps me in front of mind.

I feel like I really get to know the people I am following by the images they share. It is another way you create the brand of “You”. [Read more...]

If WordPress Is So Easy Why Do You Need a Developer?

If WordPress Is So Easy Why Do You Need a Developer?I just read a question someone tossed out to an online WordPress forum, “WordPress seems to be a simple CMS for everyone. If that were a true fact then why would someone hire a WordPress developer? ”

My answer to this is:

It is really easy to do a WordPress site with themes and plugins. And that is the big problem. That makes it really easy to do a bad WordPress website.

It comes down to lack of training. If someone is not in marketing or web design or that person has no graphic design skills, content marketing knowledge, or understanding SEO then how do they know how to create a site for their business that is going to not only be effective to get visitors but also be effective in converting them into customers?

I have seen some very poorly done sites. Using a theme makes little difference since customizing themes is not easy. It is not easy to set up and design the site, even with a theme, that reflects a brand with the degree of professionalism needed to have a visitor trust the site enough to want to do business with them. [Read more...]

Copyblogger’s Authority Intensive Conference

Copybloggers Authority Intensive ConferenceI was quick to sign up when I heard that Copyblogger was hosting their first content marketing conference, the Authority Intensive. It was right up my alley. They had a lineup of speakers that was a roster of my heroes with people such as Seth Godin, Ann Hadley of Marketing Profs, Sonia Simone and Darren Rouse just to name a few. Additionally, they were only selling 400 tickets, which would facilitate networking. [Read more...]

How to Try Out a New Theme When You Have a Live Site

How to Try Out a New Theme When You Have a Live SiteI have a reader in Australia (Hi Dave!) who is working on a website for his language school. He got it up but he isn’t really happy with the theme he chose. He wrote and asked me about the best method for trying out a new theme to see how it would work when you have a live site that you don’t want to “mess-up”.

For those in a similar situation as Dave, I recommend creating a test site on a sub-directory of your live site. If your live site is on your “root” directory, you would set up an installation of WordPress, for your test site, on a sub-directory and it would look like this: http://mysitename.com/mytestsite. [Read more...]

13 Signs of a Bad WordPress Website

13 Signs of a Bad WordPress WebsiteWas talking to a friend of mine about a WordPress website someone did at a company she works with and the programmer did not do such a hot job.

She said, “I thought WordPress was supposed to be easy!” I said, “Oh it is easy. It’s very easy . . . to make a bad WordPress site.”  What do I mean by bad?

Here are 13 signs of a bad dog WordPress website:

  1. The developer hard-coded elements instead of using native WordPress functionality thus making it impossible to maintain by the end user.
  2. Someone used 52 plugins to create the site and thirty of them each have you do something a little different so that no one can remember how to update different types of content on the site. [Read more...]

Understanding WordPress Files: WordPress Under the Hood

Understanding WordPress Files: WordPress Under the Hood

Last week at WordCamp Atlanta, I had major Internet connectivity issues during my presentation on understanding WordPress files, WordPress Under the Hood.  I hated how I ended up bumbling through what I think is an important topic for people wanting to learn to customize WordPress themes.  I decided I should give myself a “do-over”.  So I redid my talk and made it into a video for the people to see how it should have gone down.

There are a couple of very important caveats that are in this presentation on understanding WordPress files. These three things alone are why you should make some time and watch the video.

1. You can’t just move a WordPress site by copying the files from one place to another without dealing with the database that has to go with it. [Read more...]

Secret to Easy Content Curation

Secret to Easy Content Curation I am an evangelist frequently preaching the importance of adding fresh content to your website. This is referred to as Content Marketing and one of your main vehicles for this type of marketing is your blog.  Each time you write a blog post, it is a lottery ticket that might come up in a Google search on that topic.  I have some posts on my site that get 100 visits a day and have been getting this number of hits for four years!  In addition, and more importantly to making your site a search engine magnet, fresh content gives people a reason to come to your website. It shows that you are an active player in your niche, and that you care about educating and engaging with others.

For the most part, I work with small and medium sized businesses and there are three main reasons people give for not blogging:

  1. I don’t have time.
  2. I don’t know what to write about.
  3. I am not an expert in some of the things that our readers would be interested in.

Today, I am going to share one of my secret content marketing weapons with you so you can start getting more traffic, more engagement and build Know, Like and Trust, which will bring you new subscribers and down the road some new business. [Read more...]

Blog To Connect with People and Make Them Want to Work with You.

Blog To Connect with People and Make Them Want to Work with You.Seven years ago, when I was doing loft development in Atlanta, I Googled my business name and what came up, number one, was my dog’s blog on Dogster.

My real estate website showed up on the fourth page, number 40 in the search results – where no one goes.  I couldn’t figure how that was possible until someone told me the difference between a content management website like Dogster, which organizes fresh content in a way search engines prefer, and my bad old static website.

Hmmmm.  It only took a minute for me to realize that soon everyone was going to want a content management system, and in the meantime, I was definitely going to have to have one. Thankfully I chose WordPress for my platform, as it was the new kid on the block at the time, and I set about teaching myself how to use it and made myself a new WordPress website for my business. [Read more...]

Personalized Content Marketing to Grow Your Business

Personalized Content Marketing to Grow Your BusinessIt is cold here in Atlanta, like 5 degrees cold, and hitchhiking to Florida wouldn’t help much because it’s 36 degrees even in Orlando. Cold is cold, and since only 10% of my newsletter subscribers reside in other countries, chances are it is cold where you live too. I hope you are staying warm and cozy wherever you may be.

Speaking of readers from faraway places, it blows my mind that I have readers from all over the world.  I recently noticed a flag I didn’t recognize in my newsletter signup notification report, so I looked it up and it was [Read more...]

2014: Content Marketing is Here to Stay

2014: Content Marketing is Here to StayHappy New Years!
I am so excited that this year, that my blog posts fall on both Christmas and New Years!  I know you are busy fixing Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens so I won’t take up too much of your time this morning.

I just thought you would want to know that Radiant Orchid is the Pantone Color of the Year for 2014.

Pantone chose this color because “it blooms with confidence and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination. It is an expressive, creative and embracing purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm. A captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid emanates great joy, love and health. [Read more...]

How to Use Iframes on Your WordPress Website

How to Use Iframes on Your WordPress WebsiteIf you don’t know how to use Iframes or don’t know what they are, you should definitely read on.

An Iframe is a ridiculously simple way to attach a form, a webpage, or piece of [Read more...]

Holiday Goodies for Your WordPress Website

Holiday Goodies for Your WordPress WebsiteIt is the time of year to give and get some holiday spirit. Here are a couple of plugins to help you jazz up your website for the season.

Let it Snow

Did you know that you can make your website snow?  Although there are lots of other snow plugins,  Simply Snow  is easy to set up and [Read more...]

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