Notes & Resources from WordPress for Business Meetup

In: WordPress


wordpress for business - socal wordpress meetup group

The Southern California WordPress Meetup was a lot of fun as usual. Natalie Maclees was our gracious host and even provided dinner for everyone. WordPress provided swag, and Packt publishing gave away a free copy of their “Wordpress for Business Bloggers” book. We had a full group of awesome WP lovers at various levels of experience, and with a diverse range of businesses.

We covered a variety of issues under the umbrella of ‘Wordpress for Business.’ Here’s some of the resources that came up during the course of the evening. If you’re in Los Angeles and using WordPress, you’ll find this group to be a great resource for information and networking.

CHOOSING THEMES

FREE theme resources:

Good if you:
- are just starting out with your blog
- don’t yet have a clear visual identity
- don’t have to adhere to a particular look & feel
- need no or only basic customization such as a logo in the header

Design Disease has some very reliable free themes:
http://www.designdisease.com

Useful lists of good free themes:
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/11/12/40-free-high-quality-wordpress-themes/
http://www.problogdesign.com/wordpress/40-free-premium-quality-wordpress-themes/
http://www.reencoded.com/2009/04/05/26-free-wordpress-photo-gallery-themes/

PREMIUM (paid-for) theme resources:

Good if you:

- want a reliable theme with support
- want a range of built-in features and plugins
- want easy customization options

Where to get them:
WooThemes.com

ElegantThemes.com
Blogohblog.com

If you have an existing visual identity for your site/brand and want your blog to match, you may need the help of a designer or developer to help you customize your blog. This could be taking an existing theme and tweaking it to your needs, or if you need unique and specific functionality you may even need a custom theme from scratch.

Framework themes:
Thesis
Headway

These themes are essentially a ‘blank canvas’ for you to customize and dress up as you please with easy-to-use customization options.

BACKUP PLUGINS

WP-Backuphttp://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-db-backup/
backs up your databases – so that will save your posts but not your theme files and uploads
BackUpWordPresshttp://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/backupwordpress/
a little more complex but will backup files and databases – good if you have customized theme or a lot of uploaded images etc

ADVANCED ANALYTICS

Beyond just checking your page views and bounce rate, you can dig deeper into Google Analytics for fine tuned goal tracking and long-tail keyword discovery:

Google’s own training resource center for Analytics
Designer Daily’s 4 Things You Should Track On Your Blog (includes setting up Goals in Analytics)
Brian Cray’s guide to using Analytics to discover more long-tail keywords

GET RID OF SPAM

Use the Akismet plugin already in your WP dashboard. To activate it you need a WordPress API Key which you get by signing up for an account at WordPress.com –even if you blog is self-hosted. This will enable you to activate akismet and eliminate most spam.

EMAIL COLLECTION

You definitely want to be collecting opt-in emails at your blog or website and there are numerous services out there to help you do that, send out newsletters etc. In addition to email collection, many people like to subscribe to RSS feeds via email rather than using a feed reader. While Feedburner will provide your RSS feed via email, services like Mailchimp.com, Aweber.com and others will give you much more control over your RSS emails as well as providing a full set of opt-in email management features. Mailchimp has a free level of service. If you are currently using another email service provider, check to see if they offer an RSS-to-email feature.

SEO

If you haven’t changed the default permalink settings in WordPress, this is a must in order to have seo-friendly urls for your site. Find out how to do that here:
Getting Started With WordPress – Explaining Settings

If you are changing your permalink structure and already have published content using the default structure, you will need to use a redirection plugin to make sure that links to your existing content are updated to the new structure:

http://www.deanlee.cn/wordpress/permalinks-migration-plugin/

SEO All In One Plugin - this is probably the most commonly used SEO plugin and will also help with duplicate content issues within WordPress.

Headspace Plugin – has a LOT of options, so it’s probably best for the more advanced user.  One feature I’m partial to is the ability it gives you to customize the ‘more’ tag on each of your blog posts.

Internal linking is a factor in SEO so use a Related Posts plugin to provide more internal links to your content, and more information for your readers:

Related Posts:

Microkids Related Posts
or Linkwithin which uses a visual display with thumbnails – great if you use a lot of images on your blog.

Make strategic use of trackbacks/pingbacks:
What Are Pingbacks And Trackbacks And How Do I Use Them?

Beginners who may be unfamiliar with some of the terms that were thrown around may find this useful:
Online Marketing Terms – SEO Edition

SOCIAL BOOKMARKING

A couple of plugins to add social bookmarking features to your posts:

Sociable Bookmarking
Sexy Bookmarks

I hard-coded mine, just for fun ;) using icons and links based largely on this guide:
http://www.problogdesign.com/wordpress/social-bookmarking-link-codes-for-33-of-the-biggest/

COMMENTS

Improved commenting for discussion – threaded comments etc.
Disqus
Intense debate

MEMBERSHIP SITES

One way of monetizing your audience could be to provide premium content or a paid membership service. There are numerous plugins available to help you manage this. WishList Member seems to be one of the more popular solutions. This article lists various others you can check out:
http://vandelaydesign.com/blog/web-development/membership-websites/

MONETIZATION

Buysellads.com – sell ad space on your site
DNscoop.com – find out the value of your domain.
Oiopublisher.com – ad manager plugin
WP125 plugin – another ad manager plugin

If I’m forgetting anything, feel free to add a comment!

Also, I am a member of the WordPress group on LinkedIn and recommend it – it’s a very active group that frequently shares valuable resources regarding WordPress. Worth checking out.

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3 Responses to Notes & Resources from WordPress for Business Meetup

Avatar

The Frosty

November 20th, 2009 at 1:35 pm

I want to add the the Framework themes:

Hybrid
Thematic

I highly recommend these. I use them for my base WordPress designs.

Avatar

Julie Grist

November 20th, 2009 at 1:36 pm

THanks Lucy! Great summary of last night’s MeetUp and very helpful.

Avatar

lucy

November 23rd, 2009 at 10:28 am

@The Frosty – thanks Austin for adding these resources
@Julie – you’re welcome, glad you found it to be helpful!

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