When most people start out blogging, it is usually because they love to blog. Remember those days? Over time, you either quit or continue to grow as a blogger, and it is almost inevitable that at some point you will start to look into monetizing your blog. Whether you use Google AdSense, affiliate marketing, or direct advertising sales, there is nothing wrong with getting paid for doing what you love to do. In fact in many ways, getting paid can cause you to work harder and up both the quality and quantity of your work.
One of the many problems with selling direct advertising is that it can sometimes be a pain to manage, and it often takes you away from what you love to do, which is blogging. It is kind of like small business owners who love their job, but hate all the paperwork and accounting that is involved with running and managing their own business.
Fortunately as WordPress bloggers, there is a solution available to us in the form of a WordPress plugin called OIO Publisher. This is an incredible premium WordPress plugin that will completely automate the entire advertising process on your blog. In fact, chances are that you have seen people using it (including many high profile bloggers), but just not realized this plugin is what they were using to control the entire process from their WordPress dashboard.
When you download OIO Publisher, you’ll receive a WordPress plugin and be able to get an API key for each blog you want to use it on. The plugin will create an OIO Publisher tab in your dashboard where you can manage your blogs advertisements (designate how many links, paid reviews, inline ads, banners, or custom advertising your blog will have available), create and manage an affiliate program for products or services on your blog from your dashboard, and even see statistics regarding your advertisements! Possibly my favorite feature of this plugin is that you can even set the plugin to send weekly reports to your advertisers or place your statistical information into their marketplace.
The best part about this premium plugin is that it will just about manage everything for you for a one-time fee of $37.00. Once purchased, you then have access to use the plugin on as many blogs as you would like, as well as get access to their downloadable sales platform, marketplace, and all of the other features mentioned above! You also get free updates each time the plugin is updated.
In my opinion, the value of this plugin heavily outweighs the low price, but if you’d like to see for yourself the plugin in action, I recommend you check out a demo of OIOPublisher and purchase your copy today. The demonstation allows you to view how it will look on your blog and how you can manage everything from your WordPress dashboard.
If you haven’t heard of a sitemap before, now is probably a good time to start learning about them if you run a blog. A sitemap is a XML file originally created by Google for webmasters to use to create a “map” of their website.
Eventually the Sitemap.xml file was adopted by Yahoo, MSN, and Ask.com, making it as important for webmasters to use as a Robots.txt file to get their website maximum exposure and control what is indexed.
If you’re reading this blog, I’m going to assume you are a WordPress user. If you’d like to create a sitemap for your WordPress blog, look no further than the Google Sitemap WordPress plugin. This is the WordPress plugin I use for this website. When activated, it will create a sitemap on http://yourdomainname.com/sitemap.xml and do all the maintenance work for you. You’ll want to then log in to your Google Webmaster Tools account and add your sitemap, or make sure your homepage links to your sitemap somewhere (usually the footer) so the search engines can find it.
For those that are curious what they look like, you can see what our sitemap looks like here. Are you using a sitemap for your blog(s)?
One common challenge that often faces domainers is how to easily display their domains that they have for sale. It can often be a lot of work trying to find buyers for your domains if you don’t have high end generic names where buyers come to you. The ideal solution is to display them on some sort of web page where you can send traffic to it to help find buyers.
There are a few good website templates you can get, but I found and even better solution. That solution is a WordPress plugin called Domain Portfolio. This plugin will actually create a domain page for you, and allows you to easily input your domain information into your dashboard. It will then display it on the page within a table. Information you can include are the domain name, expiration date, registrar, asking price, and of course your contact information. Here is a screen shot of how it looks on the author’s blog:
I’ve actually installed this on one of my blogs and really like the way it is set up (you can see it here). People even have the option of searching your displayed domains to see if you have any available under certain keywords that they might be looking for!
Other features include:
- List all of your domain names for sale in one place.
- A page for each domain where users can send their offers and contact you.
- Have 100s of domains? No problem! Use the Bulk add or XML import tool!
- Visitors can sort lists by anything! Alphabetically, by expiry date, price, status or even registrar!
- Control how many domain names are listed on each page.
- Seamless integration with WordPress.
- Support for IDN domain names, supports most languages and can create punycode automatically. (Punycode feature requires PHP5)
- Now grabs information from Google, Yahoo and MSN.
- Automatic keyword recognition.
- Easily style all aspects of the portfolio and table through CSS. Even change each row and column individually with “id” tags.
The author also lists a few things that are in the works for future releases:
- “Buy Now” button that goes through PayPal IPN.
- Sort and jump to page by letter or extension.
- Automatic expiry date retrieval. (other than .org)
- Warning on a domain’s expiry.
- Some other surprises.
If you have domain names you’d like to display, I recommend you check this out!
A couple of months ago I talked about some ways to adjust your WordPress plugin code to avoid having plugins break your blog. That post was designed to show people how to easily adjust the PHP setup for the calls for their plugins to not fail if the plugin is deactivated. I also think more theme authors should use that method to make their themes compatible with a variety of plugins out-of-the-box.
Along those same lines, there are some simple checks you can do to make sure that your theme has the best chance to be compatible with a plugin. The WordPress Expert recently posted some simple checks to verify that your WordPress theme is plugin-friendly. John recommends you verify your theme uses the following:
<?php wp_head(); ?>
<?php wp_meta(); ?>
<?php do_action('comment_form', $post->ID); ?>
<?php wp_footer(); ?>
If your theme isn’t, some plugins may not operate properly. Great post John!
There are quite a few reasons a blogger may want to create URL redirects. One common reason bloggers create them is in an attempt to hide their affiliate links. Another reason I’ve always liked about URL redirects is that you can easily link to the redirect in your posts. Then if you need to later update your redirect link to point somewhere else, all of your old posts now point to the new spot without any manual editing of those posts. This can go a long way towards helping you to avoid broken links.
If you don’t have the technical knowledge to easily create redirect links, you may be interested in using a new WordPress plugin called GoCodes. This plugin was created by Webmaster-Source to allow anyone to easily create URL redirects within WordPress. Once uploaded and activated, you will see the following menu in your dashboard:
In order to use the plugin, you simply need to enter the Key and enter a URL destination where you want the user to be redirected to. You can do this to point people to any location on the internet.
With the recent popularity of themes attempting to turn WordPress into a content management system (CMS), people have begun purchasing premium WordPress themes in order to get the features and look they are wanting for their website.
As Josh Byer’s points out, people can instead use free WordPress plugins to achieve much of the CMS functionality they are looking for. Miriam of WordPress Garage also adds that a few additional plugins to turn WordPress into a CMS.
While using a theme designed specifically to function as a CMS has a few advantages, I think those of us that are on a budget can definitely get many of the CMS features we crave through the use of these WordPress plugins.
If you were looking to purchase/download a CMS, what options are you most looking for? Can you get this functionality via plugins? I’d love to get everyones thoughts on this!
When it comes to WordPress, there are many things that separate it from the competition. My personal favorite, though, is the WordPress community, which has contributed all sorts of WordPress plugins to anyone using the WordPress software. These are available for free without any obligation.
Many plugins are situational, either for certain types of blogs, or for certain particular functions, and probably don’t have a place on every WordPress blog. There are a few, however, that every WordPress blog should be using in some form.
Here is my list of the top plugins all WordPress blogs should be using, in no particular order:
- Related Posts – Arguably the most important plugin WordPress has to offer. This plugin shows a designated number of related entries below your post (or wherever you want to place it). This is ideal for anyone, but especially for those that get a lot of search engine traffic. It goes a long way to keep web surfers on your site.
- Add Related Posts to Your Feed – Adds the above mentioned Related Posts to your feed (requires the Related Posts or Ultimate Tagging Warrior plugin(s) to be installed in order to work).
- All-in-One SEO Pack – This is the ultimate SEO plugin for optimizing your blog for search engines. It automates the SEO process and gives you control over individual title, tags, and description information.
- Permalink Redirect – This plugin does a permanent 301 redirect. This will ensure that search engines don’t penalize you for duplicate posts when they index your site (with and without the www, as well as posts that don’t include the trailing /). This plugin now also redirects your site’s default feed to your Feedburner feed and allows you to set up custom redirects.
- WP-Contact Form – Many e-mail spammers search the web looking for e-mail addresses to use for spam purposes. Having your e-mail address available on somewhere on your website (including in the code somewhere) makes you vulnerable to these people. This plugin creates a contact form that people can use to contact you, so your e-mail address is not displayed. It also includes spam protection and some other optional features.
- WP-DB Manager – This plugin gives you full control of your database, including how to back it up, restore it, and deleting tables when necessary. If this plugin proves to be to advanced, the alternative is WordPress Database Backup, which allows you to backup your database, but doesn’t make it easy to restore it if something comes up.
- Google Sitemaps – Generates an XML-Sitemap file of your website that Google, Yahoo!, and MSN will use to index your blog. This ensures Google is aware of all of your new posts, as well as any updates you’ve made to posts that were previously indexed and need to be updated.
- Akismet – This plugin comes by default with all current WordPress installations, but requires activation. You can obtain a free key to activate it. It will catch most spam and place it in a approval queue so you can view it before it is posted on to your website.
- Bad Behavior – Prevents known spam bots from accessing your website and is compatible with Akismet (mentioned above).
- Gamer’s Pack – As video game technology continues to increase, this plugin will be more and more important. This plugin that makes your website easily viewable on the Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, and Sony PSP gaming systems. I’ve also found it helps people trying to view your website on a cellular phone.
So, there is my list. 10 plugins that I feel all WordPress users should use regardless of what type of blog they are running. I intentionally did not include any plugins that use comments, as many blogs do not accept comments, making these plugins not needed for them. My goal with this post was to cover only plugins that should be used regardless of the type of blog is being run.
Is there a plugin that you feel should have been included on this list? Let me know in the comments below!
Over the past year, many search engine optimization experts have been encouraging internal linking as a good way to distribute link juice internally on your website. Internal linking also has an added bonus of helping to retain search engine traffic and other visitors, which will hopefully increase your page views and possibly improve revenue.
Unfortunately, the default WordPress install will automatically generate an internal pingback to that post each time you link internally. I’m sure some people like this feature, but I’ve never really cared for it on most types of WordPress blogs. This is especially true for blogs that have not seperated their trackbacks/pingbacks from their comments.
If you are interested in turning off internal pingbacks, I recommend you check out the No Self Pings WordPress plugin by Blogwaffe. Just upload, activate, and your problem is solved!
If you are a frequenter of popular social sites such as Digg, you may have noticed that sometimes a blog will be down when you try to visit it. Unfortunately, unless a website has a dedicated server, it is going to often be difficult for a blog to survive the Digg effect and avoid some downtime.
While this definitely can be considered a problem, I would consider it to be a good problem to have because it means you are writing some great content. As a WordPress user, there are options available to help you avoid downtime for your blog in the form of WordPress plugins.
Up until recently the WP-Cache 2 WordPress plugin was the primary plugin people used to reduce serverload, but recently a better version of the WordPress plugin was created, called WP Super Cache.
Here is some information about WP Super Cache straight from the author:
A classic method of preparing an under powered site for a Digg front page appearance or a Slashdotting has been to manually save copies of dynamically generated pages, and place them in directories that match the permalinks structure. This method of performance enhancement does help servers handle a higher load without crashing, but is only effective when an oncoming rush of traffic can be anticipated. WP-Cache alone, while helpful, is not adequate in many cases, so WP Super Cache was created to effectively mimic the manual page caching method, but to handle it in an automated fashion.
When a visitor who is not logged in, or who has not left a comment, visits they will be served a static HTML page out of the supercache subdirectory within the WordPress cache directory. If you navigate to that directory you can view an exact replica of your permalink structure as well as the HTML files within the directories. To determine if a page has been served out of the Super Cache, view the source and the last line on the page should read
<!-- super cache -->or
<!-- super cache gz -->.
If a visitor who is logged in or who has left a comment views a cached page, it will be served from the standard WP Cache function and the last line in the source code will read
<!-- Cached page served by WP-Cache -->
In order to install this plugin, you simply need to go through the normal process of uploading and activating it. It will then create an Options panel where you can set your desired cache time.
Note: For maximum performance, it is recommended to also download XCache and install it. You can then use the XCache WordPress plugin to improve WordPress load times even further.
Have you ever noticed all that stuff cluttering the footer of many website feeds these days? As more and more traffic is converted to RSS subscribers, many blogs are slowly moving some of their advertising, affilliate links, and promotions to their RSS feed. Others prefer to use this space for other things, such as promoting certain pages or archives on their blogs, or even adding a copyright notice to their feed in hopes of warding off content theft.
Have you ever wondered how to do this? Odds are, if its something you want to be able to do with WordPress, someone has probably made a plugin that does it. Doing this is no exception, as WordPress users have access to a couple wonderful plugins to help them easily accomplish adding things to the footer of their feed.
Of the few available, my personal favorite is the Feed Footer plugin. This plugin allows WordPress bloggers to place whatever they want in their RSS feed, and then use HTML to format it to look how they want.
Unfortunately, many bloggers fail to randomize their promotions, which can often cause a form of ad “blindness.” This plugin also helps users to avoid this problem by allowing you to enter up to 10 different feed footers. It will then randomize them so each post has something different in the footer from the last one.
If it doesn’t sound like Feed Footer is for you, there is another plugin that has gained a lot of popularity called RSS Feed Signature (formerly known as Sig 2 Feed). Last I checked, this plugin allows you to place just about anything you want below your feed, however, I don’t believe it supports post randomization.