Category Archives: WordPress

My Favorite WordPress Plugins

I’ve mentioned before that I absolutely love wordpress.

One of the biggest reasons I like WordPress so much is the availability of plugins. Plugins are these cool little bits of bespoke software development in UK that you can seamlessly install into your website, and they’ll add some sort of cool functionality that wasn’t there right out of the box.

So here’s a list of my all-time favorite WordPress plugins; pay close attention because there are some gems in here!

(Please note the plugins aren’t in any particular order!)

All in One SEO Pack

No plugins list would be complete without this great plugin. Allows you to easily edit your metadata for each post/page and do a lot of other things that tremendously help your on-site SEO.

WP Database Backup

A very cool plugin that allows you to automagically backup your database on a set schedule. You can even set this thing to email that backup to you on schedule! I’ve also used this to copy the database if I’m going to clone a site or move it… pretty handy.

Login Lockdown

Every now and then some idiot might try to hack your blog. This plugin gives you an extra layer of protection against that.

Google Analyticator

Integrates Google Analytics into your site. Even better, you can get Analytics stats to show up directly in your WordPress control panel.

Widget Context

Possibly my favorite recently discovered plugin. This one is awesomesauce. It lets you specify exactly which pages you want specific plugins to appear on. So for instance – if you want that opt in box on every other page except for the homepage? No problem. (I’ll often place a much larger opt in box on the home page, or place it more prominently, so I don’t like having the duplication). Seriously – this one is well worth the 3 seconds it takes to download.

Smart YouTube

Easily lets you slap in YouTube videos on your site, and remove titles, related videos and all those other not-so-fun distractions that may pull people off your site. Has a number of different options, and is extremely easy to use.

Google Website Optimizer For WordPress

This one is handy on money sites that you want to split test. It’s limited to one test per site at a time, but that’s better than nothing. It’s also pretty easy to setup, letting you drop the code in right from the page/post edit screen.

Can I Use EasyAzon for Autoblogging?

There is a fairly persistent segment of the internet marketing community that is enamored with autoblogs, and I must admit that I’ve tried my hand at them from time to time as well. I’ve made a few bucks off of autoblogs, and I know you can generate some decent traffic using them.

Amazon AutobloggingThe Amazon affiliate program is probably one of the best programs for autobloggers, because using their API you can easily pull product feeds and slap them right into your website. Product picture, price, buy button, description, reviews – the whole shebang.

The only problem with this is that by copying Amazon’s content straight up, you’re leaving yourself hugely exposed to any changes in the Google algorithm.

For instance, in the most recent (and hugely infamous) Panda update, Google has cracked down on duplicate content (albiet in a very incoherent and inconsistent manner).

Where does that leave websites that are chalk full of duplicate Amazon content?

Personally, I’ve noticed some of my sites that were in this boat have sunk; while others (that’s the inconsistency) have managed to keep their rankings.

The longer I’m involved in the internet marketing game (let’s call it what it is), the more my resolve deepens to build quality websites and stay away from quick and easy make money tricks.

To that end, for some time now, I’ve abandoned the Amazon autoblogging strategy in favor of unique, quality content written specifically for that site. I hired a writer in the Phillipines, and that is all he does all day; write content for my Amazon sites. He goes to the Amazon listing, reads it, summarizes the product description and reviews, and cranks out a good unique 300-400 word article on that product. Using SEOPressor, each article comes out with a high score and typically has a good chance of ranking.

Then, using EasyAzon, he is able to very quickly insert my affiliate links and product images into each post.

The great part is, he never has to login or even have access to my affiliate account in order to build content and links on my behalf. EasyAzon does all that part for him.

Selling Amazon Products on WordPress With EasyAzon

EasyAzonSelling Amazon products on a WordPress platform has never been easier for bloggers than with the introduction of EasyAzon, Chris Guthrie’s new plugin.

I’m always on the lookout for new ways to diversify my income streams – I absolutely hate relying on a single income stream for my business. Are you heavy into Adsense? Google is infamous for banning accounts just because some 1 or 0 doesn’t line up in their algorithm. Heavy into a particular affiliate offer? Depending on the network, I’ve seen campaigns get swiped, robbed or simple cut off at a moment’s notice. It’s happened to me before, and I’m not the only one.

So diversification is really the name of the game in internet marketing.

Selling Amazon products offers a couple ways to diversify your income. For starters, you’re adding a new affiliate account, and it is always nice to get checks from an additional source.

However, just as importantly, the sheer breadth of products that are available on Amazon allows you to easily diversify the markets that you’re active in as well. Some of the niches I’m in are seasonal, so it is great to have the ability to develop websites that counter each other from that perspective. For instance, if you’re selling umbrellas and sunscreen, you’re going to hedge yourself against an extra rainy season, or an extra sunny season.

I use WordPress for every single site that I build these days, and EasyAzon makes adding Amazon products into your posts a snap. You can read my full EasyAzon review here.

In brief, some of my favorite aspects of EasyAzon are:

  • No html coding required
  • Easy access to Amazon products from your post edit screen
  • Very straightforward to use
  • No real footprints are left on your site

If you’ve got any WordPress sites that are currently promoting Amazon products, I’d highly recommend checking out EasyAzon.

WordPress 3.0 Just Released

wordpress

Well, partway through today I started noticing WordPress 3.0 was available as an upgrade on my sites… I always love new WordPress versions (especially the big updates) because WordPress is already so cool to start out with.

I thought I’d take a moment and write a post about why I love WordPress so much – from an internet marketing perspective.

The main reasons:

  • Super easy installation (takes 1 minute via CPanel)
  • Very SEO friendly, out of the box (it isn’t hard to rank an basic site on the right terms)
  • Plugins (I don’t think enough can be said on this front – to date there is almost nothing I haven’t been able to bend, twist or contort WordPress into doing for me – and most of that has been accomplished via third party plugins that are readily available)
  • Themes. I’ve forked out well over a thousand bucks for premium themes, so I’ve got a nice collection now, but premium themes take WordPress to new levels and allow things you just can’t do out of the box. They let you make a very cool content management system look good. My current favorite? Headway.
  • Automation. Autoblogs are fun – and WordPress is a very cool platform to develop them from, simply because of all the very advanced plugins that are available for WordPress.
  • Compatibility. Because WordPress is based on PHP, it is easy to find scripts to work with it, and equally easy to find programmers who can work on it.
  • Ease of use for things that would normally require a programmer. Right on this page, as I’m writing this, I have options like allowing comments, hiding this post from the feed, creating a thumbnail for the post, autotagging it, posting it directly to Twitter, inserting a YouTube video – all with a couple clicks, and that is a tiny list of what is available!

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it is what sprung to mind. The more powerful WordPress gets, the more we’ll be able to do with it. (That’s probably self-evident, but I’ll say it anyways =).

I find it fascinating that this open-source software has truly spawned an entire industry – WordPress related plugins and themes are big sellers online.

The one thing I would love to see is true multi-domain support in the WordPress core. Now THAT would be fun from an internet marketing perspective. My ever-growing network of sites can be bothersome to update one at a time, and a central control panel for the empire would be very, very cool.

Soon I’ll post my favorite plugins for WordPress; I’ve discovered some very cool ones lately that bear sharing.


Using Google Analytics or Optimizer on Outbound Links with WordPress

GUEST POST by Bradley Spencer

Hey readers of Jonathan’s Blog. Today I’m going to share with you the exact code I use to make my affiliate links a lot prettier without having to buy a script or software or anything. And it only takes about two minutes and works with WordPress, Drupal, Blogger, or any CMS for that matter. And best of all you can track everyone who uses the hoplink in Google Analytics or Google Website Optimizer. This is the same system I created as ‘the missing link’ for using Google Website Optimizer to split-test my landing page at WordPressLandingPage.com and the system I use every day at my affiliate sites.

The problem I had before (that this solves) is that my affiliate links were ugly and people didn’t want to click on them, and also that I had no way to keep track of how many people I’d sent to a merchant from within Google Analytics. And, maybe most of all, I had no place to put the code that Google Website Optimizer gave me to put on a ‘conversion page’ But this little file solves all of that. Sounds great, huh? Well let’s dive right in.

Step 1:

You are going to need a few very common tools to make this work. So the first thing we want to do is gather those tools. Here is what you are going to need:

  1. FTP Access to your server
  2. Text Editor (any will do, but not a big word processor like Word that adds markup. You need a lo-fi text editor)
  3. Download this file which gives you example code you can use to get up and running in minutes.

Step 2:

Once you have your FTP connected, your text editor warmed up, and you’ve downloaded the file from Step 1 above, just watch this video to see how to get set-up.

Making the Most of Your Hoplinks:

So far the best reasons I’ve found for having these hoplinks are that they are better looking links than most affiliate links and that you can use goal tracking to see how many people you send to your merchant. If you can think of other uses for these hoplinks, then by all means leave a comment. I’m always looking for new uses.

About the Author:

Bradley Spencer is a WordPress and SEO consultant who can help you make the most of marketing with wordpress.