The Best Thing You Can Do for Your Site…

is this. That is to say, the Best Thing You Can Do For Your Siteā„¢ is get a nice writeup in a major daily. (Well, barring a nice writeup in a national outlet.)

The only thing Mona Lucero could have done better is cajole the Denver Post into adding her web site URL to the article, but those requests are difficult. If the reporter okays it, the editor may not.

I’d also like to qualify my point by adding getting in print like this is the best single thing you can do. I’d take six solid months of regular on-topic, useful blog posts over one newspaper writeup. In other words, if you’re going to go out and do one thing like get some press, don’t go to the church newsletter lady, get in your major daily paper like Mona did, or speak at your city’s annual business leadership forum or something.

(I’ve consulted with Mona on how to make photographs of her designs “in house”, so she can save money.)

mona

Why I Don’t Want Your Password

(And Why You Shouldn’t Give it Out)

You want me to see your traffic, and you have Google Analytics (or some other reporting tool) tracking traffic on your site. Great! To save time and effort, you want to give me your login and password to go in and look. Totally understandable.

However, for professional reasons I’d rather have a legitimate sub-account login to see your Google Analytics traffic rather than have your master login and pw. Why? Two reasons: I don’t want to be responsible for changes/catastrophe to your GA account if something goes wrong down the road, and it’s just never a good idea to give out your password.

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Fast Server = Happy Users = Better Statistics

Visits +9.88%
Pageviews +46.19%
Pages/Visit +33.05%
Bounce Rate -9.29% (less is more with this metric)
Avg. Time on Site +3.14%
% New Visits -1.33%

Digest those numbers for a second. Did I start posting about John & Kate suddenly? No! I moved my Volvo site to a very fast server.

Those numbers represent yesterday (Friday, August 14th 2009) vs. the Friday before. That’s all. No magic or tricks, just a faster server. This may fall into the “No Duh” Department of Internet Research, but people are more likely to click around your site if pages get served quickly.

Search engines may send more traffic (Visits +9.88%), I’ll report on that soon when I have more data to make that call.

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Improve a Stock WordPress Install

A client asked me — now that his new site is working well and he’s comfortable running it — what improvements (tweaks, plugins, whatever) would I suggest to make it better? Here’s what I said:

  1. His site is not served from the “root“, so I recommended he serve it from the root. Example: don’t do http://example.com/wordpress instead do http://example.com! If it’s not possible to serve from the root, it’s not a showstopper. SEO will actually not suffer if you don’t act. Your content is generally judged on how relevant it is + how many link to it + how often it’s freshened. The depth of the URL — at only 1 directory — shouldn’t matter. Do it for human readability reasons.
  2. A nice touch/eyecandy is a Javascript called Lightbox (link to WordPress plugin). You can see it here http://sianafashions.com by clicking on the images. It can also act as a dumb gallery for sets of images. Works automatically — nothing for you to do.
  3. Your traffic may already be tracked by a server-side app like AWstats. Whether it is or not I suggest the free Google Analytics. Warning: Google will know your site’s traffic from the inside. I feel that using Analytics isn’t giving up my sites to the Dark Side, and that getting the (very, very powerful) traffic analysis is worth the trade. I use GA on all my sites.
  4. Many Twitter plugins like this one are available to display (presumably your) Tweets if you’re interested.
  5. Sitemap plugin improves SEO by writing to an industry-standard xml file at site root that search engines bots read and digest. I use sitemaps on all my sites. Highly recommended and nothing for you to do.
  6. Social bookmark plugins like this one add a “Share This” link on each blog post. I’m not crazy about these but there is no downside that I can think of. Helps SEO if the links are used.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AWStats