The Wizard of WP https://wizardofwp.com The answer to ALL your wordpress needs Mon, 16 Jan 2017 18:25:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4 101750915 Claim Your SEO: Stop Writing for Giants https://wizardofwp.com/wizardly-wisdom/claim-your-seo-stop-writing-for-giants/ https://wizardofwp.com/wizardly-wisdom/claim-your-seo-stop-writing-for-giants/#respond Tue, 24 Nov 2015 17:10:53 +0000 http://wizardofwp.com/?p=323 Facebook launched two new tools in 2015 that serve similar functions: Instant Articles and revamped Notes, both of which aim to do one thing – keep content inside facebook to prevent click “outs”. Meaning, Facebook wants companies, and now individuals, to post their writing within Facebook itself, meaning users will spend even more time consuming […]

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Facebook launched two new tools in 2015 that serve similar functions: Instant Articles and revamped Notes, both of which aim to do one thing – keep content inside facebook to prevent click “outs”.

Meaning, Facebook wants companies, and now individuals, to post their writing within Facebook itself, meaning users will spend even more time consuming content “in the feed”. This makes total sense for the organization as they rely on Ad dollars to survive, the less you click away from facebook, the more their ads become worth. Plus, the more content that lives inside facebook, the more control they have over how you find it. Facebook, unlike many other companies, has wisely understood there’s no point trying to beat google in building a better index of the web, so instead they’re circumventing it.

This walled garden strategy extends beyond facebook, with Medium being one of the other strongest examples beyond the litany of “online magazines” like Huffington Post and Elephant Journal that want to claim your SEO juice for their profit.

Medium’s premise is that exposure is more important than authorship, meaning that amazing blog post or article you’ve written may get more eyeballs on it initially by posting it on a platform that is not your own. However, from the moment the article is published onwards, all “internet juice”, meaning links to your content, are now flowing into the bucket of a corporation you have no control over. The hope is always that if someone reads your content they’ll “flow back” to your website and but with the relentless onslaught of the new in “feeds”, I just don’t believe this is the case.

That’s not to say it’s not occasionally a good idea to cross post content to another site or write an article for another company or platform, you will likely get some new readers! However, make sure it’s the exception, and not the norm. Write 5 articles that live on your own site for every 1 you post elsewhere. Invest in your link juice!

Now, corporate ad dollars aside, I get even more mystified when I see people doing this voluntarily – a trend I’ve noticed on Facebook and even Instagram lately to take what would be nice short form blogs and post them directly into the feed.

When I see this I think, WHAT A WASTE!, that content now in no way shape or form becomes a long term asset further connecting people back to YOU. The lifespan of content on social media is SHORT, the lifespan of material on your website is perpetual. I’ve seen businesses be built from clients who have written one or two articles that pierce the “viral” vein, gain some traction in a niche, and become the primary traffic generators for their entire website’s for years.

So, what’s the best thing to do then when you have a piece of valuable content you’d like to share? POST IT ON A FEED YOU CONTROL 100%. Meaning, make sure to start your OWN website, be it a WordPress site, hand built site, squarespace site, or whatever, that lives at a domain name YOU own. Then, SHARE that link to all the social networks you want, even write a short article for Medium commenting ON that article and linking back to it. Now suddenly every time someone shares that content, or comments on it, all that lovely link juice is flowing back to YOU and YOUR business, not facebook’s. Make sure to reap the benefits of the content you create by putting your writing and work on a home that you own.

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RSS: The Final Bastion for an Unfiltered Internet https://wizardofwp.com/wizardly-wisdom/rss-the-final-bastion-for-an-unfiltered-internet/ https://wizardofwp.com/wizardly-wisdom/rss-the-final-bastion-for-an-unfiltered-internet/#comments Wed, 04 Nov 2015 17:09:27 +0000 http://wizardofwp.com/?p=307 Forest Linden over at Clarity Lab highlighted this wild new blog post by Buffer about how they’ve lost nearly HALF of their social media traffic in the last year. Stop now and give it a read as it’s a great overview of what’s been happening to a company that SPECIALIZES in social media. Long story […]

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Forest Linden over at Clarity Lab highlighted this wild new blog post by Buffer about how they’ve lost nearly HALF of their social media traffic in the last year. Stop now and give it a read as it’s a great overview of what’s been happening to a company that SPECIALIZES in social media.

Long story short? When we all only had a relatively few “social contacts” on the web, unfiltered feeds where workable! However, as the social web has progressed, there is now MORE content than anyone can possibly consume, meaning new ways of organizing and presenting that information are now needed.

Much as Google tamed the web with their search algorithm, Facebook (all signs point to twitter SOON) implemented their Edge Algorithm, moving more and more to a filtered feed. The devil is in the details of that migration, however, as though filters make information consumption more manageable, it’s also where PAY TO PLAY comes into being. Buffer’s takeaway from their massive organic traffic loss is simply that the days of the free ride of social media are OVER. Increasingly if you want google, twitter, or facebook to provide eyeballs on your content, you have to PAY them.

Like search engine rankings before, social media reach is constantly in flux and ultimately out of your control as a content creator who’s traffic primarily comes from 2 major sources (Google and Facebook).

Smart content creators have always known this, however, and focused their efforts around capturing emails and building strong mailing lists, as direct to email has traditionally been the most powerful form of communication to one’s audience.

However, now not even email is safe. Gmail dominates web based email, and last years switch to inbox tabs has started the march towards increasingly filtered INBOXES. Yes, there are workarounds, but like search and social media, suddenly your access to your audience is ultimately out of your hand. All it takes is an algorithm change or being added to a black list and you could see traffic and reach plummet at no fault of your own.

So what’s RSS got to do with all this? And in fact, what’s RSS you may be asking???

RSS is said to stand for a few different things: Rich Site Summary, RDF Site Summary or most commonly, Really Simple Syndication.

At it’s most basic, RSS is just a FEED of your content on the web. It’s in an open source XML format, and can be read and subscribed to in a number of different browsers, readers, and applications. It was the “hot” in the mid 2000’s before the full on explosion of the social web, and has since dropped off most people’s headlines.

What makes RSS so important, powerful, and now UNIQUE on the web is that YOU own your feed. When someone subscribes to you via RSS, they’re subscribing to a link on YOUR website, directly and unfiltered. A few RSS readers do have “popular” type filters for their feeds, but they also ALWAYS include a direct link to all the recent posts from your site in reverse chronological order. In fact you may actually already be subscribed to a few different RSS feeds, but you may in fact just call them podcasts. Podcasting has been one of the major wins for RSS, as all major podcast platforms use RSS as their backbone. They just contain a bit more information to enclose the audio or video file.

The concept is the same however, except instead of audio files their articles from your site.

Oh and check it out, RSS is totally *free* since no one controls your feed but you!

The Wizard has used RSS since 2005, and found it to be a very powerful way to stay in touch with his favorite brands, authors, and online change makers. The types of folks who I never want to miss ANY post by.

You’ll see RSS feed on most major websites using a variation of this icon:
feed-icon-28x28

Clicking on that on most major websites will allow you to “subscribe” to their RSS feed. I recommend a program like REEDER or the awesome and free Feedly which can sync your RSS feeds across multiple devices. Meaning if you read an article on your phone, it’ll be marked read on your desktop and vice versa.

The truth is most people aren’t familiar with RSS, and it does have a bit of a learning curve if you’ve never used it before. However, that doesn’t mean its dead! In fact, in the day of the filtered internet, I think it’s becoming even more important than ever!

Having your own self hosted WordPress installation is one of the most effective and important ways you can ensure you have a powerful RSS feed that you can control in perpetuity. As long as you keep ownership of your domain registration, if you can encourage your readers to subscribe to you via RSS you can ensure you’ll maintain a DIRECT relationship with them, unfiltered by google search, Facebook’s newsfeed, or inbox organizing algorithms.

In fact, try subscribing to the Wizard of WordPress now to start learning the process right now. You’ll see it in the top right of the navigation menu.

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Picking the best WordPress Hosting https://wizardofwp.com/wizardly-wisdom/picking-best-wordpress-hosting/ https://wizardofwp.com/wizardly-wisdom/picking-best-wordpress-hosting/#respond Tue, 07 Jul 2015 20:09:29 +0000 http://wizardofwp.com/?p=1 The first step in running your own self hosted wordpress install is choosing where to host it. In the early days of wordpress, cheap shared hosting was usually enough. However, as it’s grown more powerful and complex into a fully fledged CMS, it’s getting harder and harder to keep a speedy site on cheap shared […]

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The first step in running your own self hosted wordpress install is choosing where to host it. In the early days of wordpress, cheap shared hosting was usually enough. However, as it’s grown more powerful and complex into a fully fledged CMS, it’s getting harder and harder to keep a speedy site on cheap shared hosting.

The Wizard of WP has made a list of three solid hosting solution that you can build your business on.

WP Engine

At the top of the list, we have WP Engine. Probably the highest end of the WordPress powered hosting solutions,

WP Engine has some wonderfully wizardly features:

  • 1 Click site staging for testing out changes or plugin updates WITHOUT impacting your live site.  This is probably it’s greatest feature.
  • Built in CDN asset caching and wordpress page caching for enhanced speed at the higher level plans
  • Easy one click site backups
  • Temporary URLs to build your site before having to switch the the actual domain.

However, that being said, it also has some big downsides:

  • No integrated email solution or even forwarders.  All your domain branded email will have to come from elsewhere (mailgun, dreamhost, google apps, etc)
  • It’s expensive.  The introductory tier of $30/month limits you to 25,000 page views a month and ONE wordpress install.

Overall, I’d say WP Engine is the best solution if you’re going to be running a fairly complex Ecommerce site, can afford the $30/month for a single site, and really need the amazing 1 click staging features that let you test out site upgrades and changes without impacting your live website.  This is huge and not to be overlooked.

However, that price range is immediately a deal killer for many people, especially anyone accustomed to the common $10/month shared hosting plans or who needs to host multiple sites.

WP Engine

WPX Hosting

If you need up to 5 sites, and still want some pretty blazing speed, The Wizard recommends WPX Hosting. WPX Hosting is nearly as fast as WP Engine, doesn’t have page view restrictions, and is much cheaper in that you can host 5 sites at the entry tier, though it does make some trade-offs in terms of functionality.

First off, WPX PROS:

  • Speed.  While it doesn’t have built in CDN caching, it’s BLAZINGLY fast, especially when combined with Cloudflare.
  • Automatic Daily Backups of your site
  • Built in email functionality: imap or forwarders
  • Very competitive pricing, $25/month for 5 wordpress installs
  • FREE site migration if you’re coming from another host

In terms of trade-offs with WP Engine, however, you lose:

  • 1 click site staging.  You’ll need to manually setup a development site using one of your extra installs and hand migrate things each time need to do serious upgrade tests first
  • No temporary URL when building the site.  Not a deal breaker, but it means you need to setup some subdomains or host mapping.
  • 50/gb a month bandwidth cap on the lowest pricing package.  Depending on what you’re hosting this could be an issue, though when using cloudflare you’d really have to push it.

WPX Hosting

Dreamhost VPS

If $25/month is still too much, or you have a BUNCH of sites you need to host and maybe only a few are traffic heavy, The Wizard recommends Dreamhost VPS.

The Wizard has been hosting sites on Dreamhost since 2007, and they’re a great company. Service was a bit rocky for a few years, but now that they’ve upgraded their VPS servers to SSDs with ample RAM, their a great low cost solution for hosting one or multiple sites.

Dreamhost Pros include:

  • No limits on pageviews or the number of sites you host on your VPS.  If you have 20 sites all moderate bandwidth, dreamhost is a great cheap solution
  • A VERY user friendly control panel that let’s you manage your domains and hosting.
  • Great fast and responsive email support.
  • Scaleable – if your sites explode in traffic, you can reprovision your VPS on the fly for a few extra $$$ a month to make your site fly again.
  • Easy mirror/preview URLs for building your site before it’s live

Dreamhost Cons:

  • Not as fast as WP Engine or WPX Hosting for resource intensive sites.
  • No 1 click staging

Dreamhost VPS

The Bottom Line

So which to choose?  If you only need a single wordpress install, are still growing your site and can afford $30 a month, go with WP Engine. Of if you know you’re going to be running a complicated site that will often need live testing via the 1 click staging, WP Engine is for you.

If you need a few wordpress installs, want fast sites and don’t need 1 click staging, go with WPX Hosting.

If you’re on an extreme budget and can only do the $15/month or have many wordpress sites, choose Dreamhost VPS.

Whatever you choose, your site will load very fast and you’ll have the comfort of knowing backups are happening automatically.

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