Recommended WordPress Plugins (updated)

This is an update to Best wordpress plugins

Important plugins to be aware of…

Keyword suggest tool http://ubersuggest.org/

Core Control http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/core-control/

Artisteer – for complete control over all aspects of design… the wordpress template is generated based on the WYSIWYG design you create in the application.

Supersized 3.2 – FULLSCREEN BACKGROUND Slideshow jQuery Plugin – Important options. Set “autoplay: 0″, the image only changes on button click. Set “horizontal_center: 1″, to set the image at the center of the browser. Set a title in a descending order.

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Direct Marketing company comes second in results

I was hired by Belinda at K&B Direct to help them get better positioned in the SERPS.

I did some research on what the most used phrases are when clients typically do a search for a company like hers. Then after discussions we decided that I would target the keyword/phrase: “direct marketing advertising agency

Today I sent Belinda this email…

2direct marketing advertising agency

I think that email says it all.

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Jamaica Me Crazy restaurant and bar website design

We are delighted to announce another recently launched customer website: Jamaica Me Crazy.

Jamaica Me Crazy is a Caribbean buzzing restaurant and bar situated at the top end of vibrant Roodebloem Road in Woodstock, one of Cape Town’s oldest suburbs.

This was a challenging website because we had to recreate a grunge feel, a feel of the raw vibrancy of being in the Caribbean – with activity, people, fun and of course Bob Marley!

You decide if we achieved the goal set for us – view the website design below – just click the image to open it in a new window…

 

Best wordpress plugins

For tracking clients SERP (search engine results page) rankings

Before doing any upgrades or risky changes, make sure you backup WP – files and DB

  • WP Complete Backup - backup AND restore (most only have backup). Also includes remote restore with api key and ip address limitations.

Set up your robots.txt immediately after you register your domain name, otherwise Google will index the site before it is ready. In WP it’s a hassle to upload a file, you have to use ftp.

  • wp-filemanager - adds ftp directly into wp, useful for adding and editing robots.txt files etc.

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Another client is coming 2nd for their primary search phrase

Good news! Another of our clients is Abbey Manor and I checked their SERPS (search engine results page) and they are coming 2nd for the primary search phrase which we agreed on when they hired us.

The search phrase is “luxury guesthouse cape town” and they are coming second.

Click here to see
Or view the snapshot below…

Luxury guesthouse cape town - Google Search

Launching a new client website: HR Consulting

I’m very pleased to announce that we launched a new client website yesterday. Click the image below to view the full size. Or visit their website HR Consulting.

As we normally do, we now stay involved with our client for another 30 days during which time they can request small changes to their website at no additional cost. We track visitor stats and submit XML sitemaps and register their site with Google Loca/Places, Bing Webmaster Tools, Google Webmaster Tools and more.

In a month or so we will be able to track their rankings and share their success story with you on our blog.

 

Great quotes from clients…

This is a quote from a client… the message title was “YOUR EXTRA SPECIAL JOB”. I had previously contacted him and offered some more innovations to increase his visitors even more and he declined saying he had all the clients he could handle.

Hi Mark

I must say that I am thrilled with our web site. Thank you for all the time and expertise that you have put into it. I am sure that it will now work even better for us.

Best wishes,
Ron and Shirley
Orchard Corner B&B, Cape Town

Another of our clients is a butchery equipment client.

We built their site late last year and this year I’ve been emailing them to let them know about their visitor stats – see below – and I got no reply. Eventually I got this reply…

Good Morning Mark,

Not ignoring you intentionally, promise. Have been extremely busy. We have had up to yesterday lunch time 18 machines brought in for repairs and everyone is urgent.

Have plenty feedback from the website. Besides the calls in to the office for small spares/machines have had requests for quotes on machines from Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. Only problem is they want the quotes in Us $. Not easy to do with the exchange rate being what it is. Anyway we shall prevail.

Regards,
Sharon

Ha! They were so busy with orders that they could not reply. Bingo… job done!

From Belinda…

Hi Mark

Thanks yes very happy. Feel free to forward anyone onto me who wants a reference.

 

Butchery Equipment success story

Another of our clients is a butchery equipment client.

We built their site late last year and this year I’ve been emailing them to let them know about their visitor stats – see below – and I got no reply. Eventually I got this reply…

Good Morning Mark,

Not ignoring you intentionally, promise. Have been extremely busy. We have had up to yesterday lunch time 18 machines brought in for repairs and everyone is urgent.

Have plenty feedback from the website. Besides the calls in to the office for small spares/machines have had requests for quotes on machines from Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. Only problem is they want the quotes in Us $. Not easy to do with the exchange rate being what it is. Anyway we shall prevail.

Regards,
Sharon

Ha! They were so busy with orders that they could not reply. Bingo… job done!

How did we do it?

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More SERP results from another client

This is a two part post

In this post let’s take a look at the rankings of another real client of ours – selling all kinds of Vacuum Pumps. How did we do? Do his products rank well in search engine results for Google, Microsoft Bing and Yahoo?

Summary of the report

Out of 81 product pages in the 3 major search engines

  • 50 product pages are on the front page of the engine – 61% success
  • 10 are 1st in the results for their keyword – 12% success
  • 27 are in the top 3 results for their keyword – 33% success

The full report is available for download

The report is available in two formats: PDF and Microsoft Excel. The date of the report is 29 Jan 2012.

 larger in download size

 smaller in download size

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Rich Snippets – no more boring search results

What are Rich Snippets?

You can mark up your structured HTML content any of three formats: microdatamicroformats, or RDFa. You can use whichever standard you prefer.

A schema is basically a shared markup vocabulary (in HTML) which webmasters can use to markup their pages in ways recognized by major search providers.

On-page markup enables search engines to understand the information on web pages and provide richer search results in order to make it easier for users to find relevant information on the web. Markup can also enable new tools and applications that make use of the structure.

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By Mark Wilson Posted in SEO

Google Authorship

For a while Facebook looked like it was going to win everything. Microsoft even bought a small %. But Google launched Google+ and now the game is completely changing. For a while it looked like the world was defocussing on search and refocussing on social media.

Google+ is about to enable unprecedented personalization of search results and the focus is going to fall back onto searches.

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Eagles6

We also offer superb graphics design

When we build a new website, sometimes a client may not have logo, or they may give us poor quality images. For a fee we can improve the images or even have a selection of logos created for you.

Below is an example of a selection of logos. In the bottom left hand corner is the initial sample that the client gave us. We then generated 6 alternatives for them to choose from…

Bottom left is the initial image + 6 alternatives we generated

 

 

Orchard Corner Success Story

As before I explained to the client that his first customer is Google. If Google “buys” then the world will know he exists and they will get a chance to see his page and buy from him. If Google and other search engines don’t “buy” then he is lost on the second and third pages of the search engine results.

So we made a list of his products and figured out his target market. We create a page for each opportunity. You can see the list of links below…

So how did we do?

For the phrases that we targeted we are coming second (today: 27 October 2011), see the image below…

We rank 2nd on our keyword phrase that we targetted

They also have a very rich listing… take note that we have registered in Google Maps, made a Facebook page, a YouTube video, submitted that video to Facebook… all of this results in a rich listing. The result is that the listing takes up the whole visible area of the page, visibly removing the distraction of other competing websites.

Orchard Corner rich listing takes up the whole page!

Pinelands Accommodation success story

Here is an example of a rich listing for a client of ours: Pinelands Accommodation.

In the image below take note of the following… if someone searches for “pinelands tourism” this is what they would have seen on April 2011. The 1st result is our client and their listing is so “rich” that it takes up the whole first page.  This is useful because searches almost never view below the page fold… or to put it another way, they don’t scroll down if they don’t have to.

Pinelands Accommodation SERP April 2011

Cape Town Cleaning success story

Here is another search engine result success story. This client (Cape Town Cleaning Services) did not have a website before we started. Their new website would be completing against many many mature websites in the same field.

In our site design we made a page for each of the main products that they sell.

How did we do? See below…

Cape Town Cleaning Services SERP 21 April 2011

Vacuum Pumps success story

For any small business to grow you need to come top or near the top of the Google rankings. I explain it to clients this way… Google is your first client, if they don’t buy from you then no one else will even know you exist.

Here is a client: Vacuum Pumps which we launched last week.

We built one page per product… I have highlighted the links to the pages in the image below…

If you aren’t on the front page, you won’t get the business – it’s that simple.

How did we do? Do his products rank well in search engine results for Google, Microsoft Bing and Yahoo?

Summary of the report

Out of 81 product pages in the 3 major search engines

  • 50 product pages are on the front page of the engine – 61% success
  • 10 are 1st in the results for their keyword – 12% success
  • 27 are in the top 3 results for their keyword – 33% success

The full report is available for download

The report is available in two formats: PDF and Microsoft Excel. The date of the report is 29 Jan 2012.

 larger in download size

 smaller in download size

PLEASE NOTE:  Any keyword which is highlighted in red is ranking 1st, 2nd or 3rd. In green is 10 or under… which is still on the front page.

Right away, just one week later, we are ranking 1st on all the keywords that we have targeted… and what is amazing is that our pages rank ABOVE the original manufacturers pages. That is probably because of localization. If the search was done in Germany the manufacturer’s site would come higher than ours.  (NOTE: Ignore the first three lines, they are Google Ads)

1st... even above the manufacturer!

facebook_like_box

Using the Facebook Like Box iFrame code

This is a description of implementing the Facebook Like Box on a client site…

Here is an example of a client website which uses the Facebook Like Box social plugin. I have pointed out the Like Box plugin with a red arrow…

Facebook "Facepile" social plugin

Visually, it fits in very neatly and I think it adds to the page.

Read: Using the Facebook Like Box iFrame code

googleadwords

Target the right phrases using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool

Some time ago I helped a customer who had an existing tourism site. We naturally assumed that targetting the geo-location and the word “tourism” would be suffient. So for example “tourism in cape town”.

Later I went to the Google AdWords Keyword External Tool and found out exactly how many people do local and international searches for the two phrases

  • “tourism” in cape town
  • “accommodation” in cape town

The first one focusses on tourism and seems to be a close match to their actual business… which falls under the category of tourism.

But in fact the second phrase using the word “accommodation” is by far the more popular search term – as you will see below in the screenshots.

read: Target the right phrases using the Google AdSense Keyword Tool

World “civilizations” according to SWB, 1979–2009

You have to be social (WP, AddThis, Dlvr.it)

If you have the time, take a look at this very detailed research report: Leetaru Culturomics 2.0 (If you don’t have the time, hire me to do these things for you.)

Based on that report I make three suggestions in this post which relate to SEO and website design:

  1. The world is finding their data online
  2. You have to be connected
  3. How to get connected – if you use WordPress or even if you build your own website

The image below shows the trend of where researchers find their data. As you can see, the growing trend is for them to find their data online.

Read: You have to be social (WP, AddThis, Dlvr.it)

By Mark Wilson Posted in SEO

Inbound links are vitally important

Inbound links are links that come from other websites.

Add snippets of your content to Facebook pages, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube content and make sure they have links that point back to your website.

Inbound links are absolutely crucial, but even more valuable are links from existing websites in your own industry. Contact all your partners and customers and encourage all of them to link to your website.

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grid_example

Web design with CSS-based grid systems

If you are a whiz with CSS and CSS-based grid systems then go ahead and make your own design. But for the rest of us, it’s far easier to take an existing free design and modify it.

What is a CSS-based grid system?

When you look at a website you might see this:

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5starcarhire

6 tips for great website design

In the customer website – below – take note of 6 things:

1) The logo and the contact details are at the top of the page. It is very important that the contact details can be seen immediately. Research shows that a very small percentage of visitors ever view below the “fold” of the page, so the most important information must be placed at the top of the page.

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Keep your contact details easy to find on all pages

Let’s say you have a great website design. You’ve done all the basics well and now the customer has the impulse to place an order with you. Are your contact details right there and unmissable?

In your website design make sure you have a highly visible location for your contact details. I usually reserve the top right hand corner for this purpose. You can see a good example of this below…

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google_business_photos

Use Google Business Photos to show the inside of your store

This is a brand new product from Google which is not yet available in all countries. It is tremendously exciting in terms of good website design. It’s called Google Business Photos and it’s also linked to Google Maps.

Just as Google Street View shows the outside of your store, Google Business Photos shows the INSIDE of your store in 360 degree imagery.

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streetview

Use Google Streetview to show your environment

I covered using Google Maps to show your location, but now I’m suggesting something related to that. If you are about to go somewhere that you have never seen before, it would be great to be able to have a peek at the environment before you actually spend the money to go there.

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googlemaps

Use Google Maps to show your location

Put yourself in the shoes of a tourist. You are planning to visit a country you have never visited before. Let’s randomly pick Spain. Then you choose a city to visit, such as Barcelona. Now you need to figure out where to stay, based on the nearness to the tourist hot spots you want to visit.

Of course every website tells you they are near the tourist hotspots, but past experience tells you that some of them are lying! How do I describe convincingly that the client really is near the beach, or really is close to all the tourist attractions.

Well… a picture says more than a thousand words can. Using Google Maps you can show your location and also show the route from the airport to your location.

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bluemesa

Use free graphic design templates to get you started

I enjoy hearing my client’s oohs and aaah’s when they see their finished site for the first time.

How do I make such lovely designs? I use free templates as a basic starter design. After finding a template that suits the needs of the client, I then edit the graphics and the CSS to match the corporate color scheme. Usually almost every aspect of the template gets changed (rollover images, icons, background colors and shading), but it helps having something well designed to start from.

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Facebook and YouTube videos help to get you indexed

Getting your domain indexed by Google so that you simply show up when someone searches for your exact URL/domain is easy, thhat happens almost immediately. But to get your content indexed so that you show up in search results on the keywords and phrases that you have used… that can take months.

The reason for this is that Google places more value on websites that have other existing/mature websites linking to them.

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Use graphics design to convey visual messages

This client runs a bed and breakfast. They have several rooms and they are near to desirable tourism areas.

All of these things must be communicated rapidly to the visitors, because (on average) research shows you have only 15 seconds to get the visitors attention. A picture is worth a thousand words… therefore good graphic design is the key to communicating to visitors.

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