How To Create High Converting Email Opt-Ins: Magic Action Box Review

Increase Conversions with Magic Action Box

Do any of these problems sound familiar to you?

1) You want to place a high impact email opt-in in key places such as your sidebar, or post footer
2) You want to make forms you’ve built with Gravity Forms or Contact Form 7 look more attractive
3) You are not a designer or developer and are stumped about how to do the above!

The solution:
Magic Action Box!

Magic Action Box is a wonderful plugin that will help you with all of the above. It allows you to create strong calls to action – typically an email subscription opt-in box, or a sales box that highlights a product – and place those calls to action at the top or bottom of your post/page content, or in a sidebar widget. It provides some built-in styles to choose from which look good, but if you want to get creative it also provides a way for you to customize the design, without needing to do any coding (but you can do that too if you know how).

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Simple Banner Ad Management For Your WordPress Site

Ad Management Plugins for WordPress

Running advertising on your WordPress site can get pretty complicated and so can the plugins available. This particular post is aimed at those whose needs are on the lower end so I’m only looking at free plugins here. If you’re really serious about advertising and need robust features, chances are you’ll need a fully featured paid plugin such as OIO Publisher or Adsanity.

For my situation, the criteria is:

  • The chosen plugin must be easy enough for my client to manage themselves
  • It must have a widget for easily displaying ads, or at least have an easy short code that will work in a widget
  • It must be able to handle either uploading a banner image, or pasting in ad code from a 3rd party such as Google AdSense, BlogHer, etc.

I tried out a bunch of plugins and below are the only ones worth mentioning.  

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WordPress 101 Video – Understanding Core WordPress Concepts

WordPress 101 - Orange County WordCamp 2013

I recently had the honor of presenting at WordCamp Orange County 2013. I was asked to give a “WordPress 101” talk which may sound simple, but is deceptively so! It’s actually quite a challenge. I teach WordPress every day so the material is second nature, but in a presentation you only have about 30 minutes, so it’s impossible to convey all the information that WordPress 101 could potentially encompass.

My approach was not to go the mechanical nuts n’ bolts route of “this is how you install WordPress, here’s how you make a post” etc. Instead I focused on the understanding of basic concepts in WordPress which are absolutely necessary – differences between posts and pages, understanding what menus are and how they work, how themes work, the difference between a plugin and a widget etc. These are all areas that I see beginners grapple with understanding at first. If you don’t get these core concepts down, you’ll have problems with WordPress. 

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How To Use Shortcodes In WordPress

How To Use WordPress Shortcodes

WordPress shortcodes are a powerful feature that theme and plugin developers use to give users advanced tools at their disposal, but they continually confuse people. They are infinitely easier than writing actual HTML and CSS but can still freak out the typical user.

Why are shortcodes useful?

Using only the WordPress editor, one’s options for laying out a page or post would be limited to one block of text, perhaps interspersed with an image, video or maybe a photo gallery. What if you want to create a more visually interesting layout? Such as splitting your content area into columns, for example? Or including buttons, highlights and other fancy visual styles?

To write that kind of HTML and CSS would be quite tedious and beyond the abilities of most users. It would also create a lot of messy code in your WordPress editor, muddying the lines between content (which is primarily what you should be editing in WordPress) and code.

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How To Remove The WordPress Admin User Account

WordPress Secuirty - Delete Admin Account

If you’ve been on the internet in the past week or so, you’ve probably heard about the spate of “brute force” attacks that have been made on WordPress sites, specifically targeting accounts with the username “admin.” It has always been a security best practice to not use this username, or any other similarly generic one but the recent attacks have highlighted the issue to the masses, which is really the silver lining here.

The reason “admin” is the target is because it is the default username that is assigned upon installation of WordPress. If you install WordPress through your hosting control panel, you are usually, but not always, given a chance to change that before installation, but many unsuspecting folks, especially new users, may not see a reason to change it. So now a hacker has 50% of the information that he needs to get into your site. Since most people use extremely weak i.e. simple, passwords, hackers can automate the submission of zillions of attempts at guessing your password. If your password isn’t strong, they have a good chance of gaining access.

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XML and HTML Sitemaps For Your WordPress Site – The Basics

How To Create XML and HTML Sitemaps in WordPress
Sitemaps are much-hyped and oft-misunderstood. Most people have heard they need a sitemap so Google will like their site but how to go about creating one?

Sitemaps are recommended for search engine optimization to help Google (and other search engines) discover all of the content on your site. They are especially helpful when your site is large or has a complex  structure which might make it harder for Google to find all the pages on your site.

Sitemaps come in two flavours: XML and HTML

XML sitemaps are designed for search engine bots, not humans.
HTML sitemaps are more geared toward humans, but search engine bots can crawl them too.

How To Create An XML Sitemap

If you use the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast, it has the capability to create an XML sitemap. If you are not using that plugin, or are an advanced user who needs even more fine-grained control than that which the Yoast plugin provides, I recommend BWP XML Sitemaps.

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