A website is your home on the internet. It is also your online store front. People who visit our site are attracted to some of the bright and shiny things that are on our pages. Yet there are also Portions of your site that are not seen by a single person unless they look at the source and wonder, “How did they do that?” Often many WordPress plugins are not so much visible as they are being evident because of their particular task. There are several plugins that almost required installs and then there are those that are needed in a case by case basis.
Advanced Image Styles – There was a time that WordPress had a few advanced features when it came to styling of your images you placed in your blog post. A few updates ago Automatic took that feature out and thanks to Dave Jackson mentioning the same problem on School of Podcasting. I use this plugin for one reason I can add a buffer space around one side of my image or around all four sides of an image. Custom CSS attributes and link attributes can be set for each individual image.
Akismet – The Spam buster! If you have a WordPress blog then you have spam. Spammers know what file on your site, they need to hit to send out poorly worded, misspelt, links to questionable websites. A great way to keep these bot comments from seeing the light if the day is to use the Akismet plugin. There is no downloading needed. This Plug in comes installed already by Automatic. All you have to do is activate it and get an API key over at the Akismet website. You can use this for one email address for free. It is worth paying for. This plugin will drive the amount of time spent double checking a comment that sounds kind of fishy by instantly knowing if it is fishy and removing it.
Blubrry PowerPress – At first there was PodPress and the developer of this plugin gave up and just left it to fend for itself. Shortly after a WordPress update, The Plugin was mortally wounded and dying. This could have been the end of this once great plugin. Yet, it was found by Blubrry was revived and improved. To the point that it is now the most popular podcasting plugin in the WordPress Plugin repository! HAZAA! Yea the story of PowerPress is just about that epic, and is improving with each update.
In all seriousness this plug in is does all you could need to be able to submit your podcast feed to iTunes. PowerPress adds the needed iTunes tags to a podcast specific feed so your RSS feed doesn’t get too big with all of the non-podcast blog posts you my add to your site. This plugin also give you a player to place in your show notes post to help people discovering your site to be able to listen and enjoy your content.
CryptX – You want it to be easy for your fans to be able to contact you. Yet, you also don’t want your inbox full of Canadian drug spam. So how do you keep your email address visible while at the same time not opening up to the spambots? CryptX is that solution. Though the magic of their programing. You can type out your real email address and bots will only see garbled gunk. So your audience may see email@example.com but you will not get extra notices that there are Hot Russian Brides looking for you. Which honestly who believe that?
Google Analytics by Yoast – Setting up Google analytics can be a little daunting if you do not know how to navigate the editor in WordPress. Where should you put your Analytics code? This plug in does all the hard work for you. Just enter your analytics id, which is the UA-XXXXXXXXXX code and then if the desire hit you and you don’t want to show up in your own analytics you can set it so that Admins do not register on your analytics.
Google Analytics Dashboard – another little plugin by Yoast and this adds the Analytics graph to your admin dashboard. Simple and sweet
JM Twitter Cards – Twitter has a great feature called twitter cards and this plugin helps you get your twitter card all setup so that they work the way they need to. You still have to setup everything that is needed to be set up on Twitters side but all the settings that you have to do one your side are handled by this plugin. You can validate that all is good or if there is a problem. It will add the required rules for Twitters bots to the Robots.txt file. It even has deep linking for your iPhone, iPad, and android apps.
Little Hippo (Makes your BIG job small) – One of the most over looked SEO elements are your images. Often there may be a title but it is not long enough or the Alt tag was forgotten. Little Hippo will help you correct these little SEO problems in one centralized area. If your description is a little short. You will get a notice. The first time you set it up you may be there for a while because you didn’t realize how many elements were forgotten. Well at least I was
Pretty Link Lite – This isn’t just for podcasters and redirecting to your podcast episode. This valuable redirection plugin helps in anytime you need to redirect a URL to a different location, whether it is on your site or to a different site. Pretty Link is invaluable
Use Google Libraries – There are lots of JS files on your WordPress site. And having to download these files each time can take a while. For your listener it may seem like an eternity. Each download also takes up valuable resources on your host. The best way to fix the problem is allow someone else host the common JS files. And why not just let the largest website in the world with the best Content Distribution Network send out those files? That is the Google Libraries and this plugin will help shave a few seconds off of your site.
WordPress SEO – Maximize your SEO and get tips and hints on how your SEO is working with a particular keyword. For each post
WP-DBManager – Back your database up and clean it up with this plugin
Append Link on Copy – There are website scrapers like Buzzfeed that will just take portions of your site and repurpose it for their needs. This will help credit your work for your site.
As Heard On – If you are often interviewed this is a great way to pay back the favor and show people other shows you have been on. This plug in is created by Dustin Hartzler of your Website engineer podcast
Better Click To Tweet – Great plug in for adding a clickable link for people to tweet a little quote from your
Better Writing – Having people being able to understand what they are reading is always a good thing. This plugin puts a widget on the sidebar of the post you are righting and lets you know if you are writing is being understood by using Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease test. It produces a little dial that grades your post as you go.
Broken Link Checker – Sites come and go and broken links are bad for your SEO. It is good to have a process tell you if a link is good or bad so you can correct the problem quickly before Google sees it and reacts. This Plugin will email you a notice of any broken links found
Jetpack – yes a bit of a resource hog but there are a couple of good plugins in this one plugin the protect and Spelling and grammar checker are the reasons I use this plugin
Revision Control – WordPress backs up your revisions and can, after a while get a little unwieldy Revision control fixes this with the ability to lock revisions to how ever many you want.
My Shortcodes – Shortcodes are great when you figure out how easy they are. They make repeated entries like the Review the show action at the bottom of this page. Is a shortcode.
Official StatCounter Plugin – I like to have a secondary view of what my site is doing many times I will be able to get extra info or come to understand information a little better be suing a second analytics program I have chosen to use StatCounter small and as through as Google Analytics
PopupAlly – I was not one for popups for a long time but I have come to understand the power they have. As you may have noticed the pop up that shows on the site when you go to a particular page. Or when you try to leave. This is the results of this plug in. It ties into the Mailchimp and Awebber nicely
Related Posts – SEO wise you want links to your content. And this plugin links to content that is related to your posts. Now the reason that it is not in the recommended list is that it give suggested links in you post to sites outside of website.
Simple Share Buttons Adder – Social sharing is needed in today’s websites and this plug in is simple as it claims.
Smart Youtube PRO – I like this plugin because of the options it provides
Social Media Feather – Allows for links to your social media sites to be displayed at the top and bottom of your posts
Starbox – the Author Box for Humans – Microdata is needed also for SEO and Starbox adds the needed microdata to your posts for your author information.
Swiftype Search – custom search feature and allows for analytics as to what people are searching to be reviewed so you can cater to your audience’s needs
WordPress Editorial Calendar – When are you wanting that post to be published? This plugin gives you a calendar view of all posts and when they are going live. So you are able to choose what post should be released. By using an easy drag and drop feature.
Sites to use
What WP theme is that? – Often used to find out what plugin is being used on a site.
Google Webmaster Tools – helps with different problems you may be facing on your website
Google Analytics – This is a must have the information that is given is invaluable.
Who are you? what are you wanting to put out as your personal brand or as some call it image? A personal image is important for podcasters on a few different levels. First, it is who you are.You have a certain message you are trying to put out. You do not want some other schmoe coming in and using your name and undo all the hard work you have put into fostering and developing your personal brand.
Also it is who your audience thinks you are. This takes time, patience, and lots and lots of work. Your personal brand should be who you really are. If you try to be someone you are not people will figure out that little detail and then your personal brand will be that you are phony or fake and when you make a recommendation it will not carry nearly as far. In other words to thine own self be true.
Do you need a personal brand?
That is up to you in whether you want to build your personal brand but you should know that your brand is who you are. Your actions will form your image it would be better to cultivate your image to be more of what you aspire your image to be. Now this doesn’t mean if you do a specific character that you have to act like that character. Look at Alison Sweeney. She plays the character Sami Brady on Days of our live. I don’t watch it any more but yes I use to be hooked on the darn show. Anyhow, the character Sami is not a very nice person and at times can be down right evil. Allison has told stories of her walking through the airport or down the street and having a fan of the show walk up to her and slap her. It is not because Alison is a bad person but her character is. So, when you release a podcast episode or you are on another show for an interview, or guest hosting, You want to put out the same person
Ways to build your personal brand.
- Be real
- Don’t use a fake voice unless it is a part of your character.
- Look at your site. Is it a good representation as to who you are? Is the site an extension of who you are? Does it represent you the way you want to be shown.
- Also Go to the different Social media sites and claim your name. Grab the email addresses. are you going to be able to get them all? no but you will be able to get a good portion.
- Get your domain! this is the big one it is the best way to ensure your shows name. get the domain for your show. It is easier for your listeners to find your show if they are wanting to see the show notes for a particular episode.
Tip of the Week
Be real. That is the true key to building your brand
Rob Greenlee Announced As New CTO At PodcastOne
Rob has been an advocate for podcasting in the Microsoft world for several years and for the longest time if you wanted to be listed in the Zune market place you sent an email to Rob himself. Well his hard work and dedication to this medium has awarded him a position over at PodcastOne. Which is a Celebrity podcast directory The directory is created by the same people who created WestwoodOne. PodcastOne prides itself in having hand-picked audio podcasts for its line up. to represent the”Best” podcasts. This way they are able to educate advertisers that Podcasts are not amateur hour and that the money what need to be put into podcasts should be a lot higher.
So if you see Rob online Tell him congrats he earned it.
You need a place to call your home for the podcast. This is a hosting service, true this word may of just scared the crud out of you. Finding a good hosting plan is a truly scary ordeal. You may not think you are technical enough, or spending your scarce hard-earned dough is a rather stressful thought. I understand, I was in your shoes, 4 years ago, when I first tried to podcast. I chickened out for a long time because I could not see spending money on something that was just a virtual hobby. Just remember there is more than one way to de-fur a feline.
You have to have some sort of home for your podcast. This home is important and you really need to pay for web hosting, if for any reason it allows you the ability to control more of your site. There are a few different types of hosting these are
- Shared Hosting – This is the economy class of hosting. Which means your server is packed in too one server with hundred if not thousands of other websites. Your site performance is effected by other people’s sites and your site can affect your neighbors. This is good for starting out for the price and probably the only time you will celebrate that you have to spend more money because you are getting more popular. A good hosting service is Site5 and BlueHost both of these site will help you get set up and going out the gate with very little effort.
- Dedicated Hosting – This is the where your site is the only kid on the block you have a whole server to yourself. If you get so popular that you crash this server then that means you are Amazon. You have pretty much full control but you are still somewhat limited. The prices on this very on your Bandwidth. Other words if you get popular your fees will increase because of how much data you are using.
- Private Server – You make the server you install the operating system, the web server, the database, You have full control. This also means you are in charge if your own security on that server. You have a problem you will have to hire somebody. many times private server are charged by bandwidth also and a fee to connect your server to the network not cheap at all. There is a reason that only the big corporations have their own private server.
- Virtual Private Server – These are cheaper than a dedicated private server but again the price is not for the beginner unless you are starting out with the funds.
So, Why not any Free hosting servers?
This is because if you have ever played around with free hosting servers the big problem is that they are fly by night. Here one minute and gone the next day usually without any warning. Which means your podcast is gone daddy gone. Another problem with Free is they have to make money somewhere and that is usually in the form of ads and guess where these ads appear. Oh you are the smart one… That is right on your web page! you don’t want that.
Ok so no free hosting how about free blogging sites?
These don’t give you the control you really want either many times you are restricted by your themes and plugins you can use. The wordpress.com site you can’t place the Power press plugin on your blog. So again very limited. It is possible, I helped a young woman out on getting her podcast set up on tumblr she does have RSS and I recommend that she go through Feedburner till Google closes it. That way she doesn’t have to worry about changing domains and the problems it causes to your feed.
Be kind to your media
Media hosting is the one item that is required. A person can go free but you do not, I repeat DO NOT, want to do that, you lose most if not all of your control of your control over many important items. Speed of the download for your listeners and fans. Many Free Media Hosts take over your RSS feed and so when you leave, you lose many of your listeners because they are not willing, or do not know how to move their feed to your new site. You can do a 301 redirect but need to have access to your RSS feed and you don’t get that for free. But if you go with Libsyn or BluBrry their hosting is very reasonable in price and created with podcasters in mind
Let me make one change on the earlier statement because there is one media host that is free and will work as a means of hosting because it has byte range requests for iTunes yet you can not remove a file if you find that you messed something up and need to take it down. This media host is Archive.org, Very good host but you are subjected to slow downloads. but it is a work around.
Tip of the Week
Plan for the future, What happens when you stop paying for your site or you pass away? normally your site will fade just as fact as you. So, protect your site and media from no pay deletion and Move your media to archive.org and throw up a mirror site of your information on a free blog site.
Podcasting your hearing everyone talk about this new thing. So and so has a podcast so and Frank in Accounting is talking about this episode he heard into work this morning. Podcasting is growing. How do people listen to podcasting. What is a podcast?
A podcast is a on demand internet radio show. You download it. You listen to the show. You can pause, rewind, or fast forward all that you like. Best of all it is automatic! It arrives to your computer or mobile device without you having to even really think of it. You will need a few basic items, these are internet connection, a computer, mp3 player, or smart phone, and a podcatcher. If you have these, the retrieving and listening to podcasts will be easy as pie.
So how do you start? First, you need you have a podcatcher installed on your computer or listening device. This will depend on what you are going to listen on. Is it you computer then you will need to download a program or two. For Phones, they are dependent on what phone you are using. This could be an iPhone, Android, Blackberry, or Windows Phone; all of these will play podcasts. To find an app for each phone you can look at my podcatcher app review page. Once you have found one that you like go ahead, download and install the app.
Once you have the app installed you may want to take a little time to familiarize yourself with the app since each app, though all do the same thing, is different. Once you have the basic layout of the app you are wanting to use. It is time to find a podcast to listen to.
To do this go to the apps search function. Now what to look for? Easy! What do you like? You like sports? If so what type of sports? Lets say football but yo like college or professional? Lets pretend yo like college and your old Alma mater is University of North Texas. You will find the GoMeanGreen Barbershop Podcast You will more than likely see a Subscribe button. Press the button and you will receive each new podcast episode as they are released. Now this is not the only podcast out there. One of the most popular podcasts around is the Knitting Podcast. Yes knitting, I wouldn’t think there is that much to talk about when it comes to knitting but like I said this is one of the most popular podcasts around. So what is your topic of interest? Type it in and see what comes up. You will be delightfully surprised.
Now I do want to issue a word of caution. In the United States the Mobile Phone Carriers are little slow on the upswing and they have what are called tiered data plans. That means what you are allotted a certain amount of data before they start to charge you more. Other wise if you have a 2 Gigabyte(GB) plan you are able to consume 2Gb of data that is Facebook, email, or in this case Podcast files. So to protect your data allotment I recommend setting the auto download to be only when you are on WiFi connection. I don’t want people to be upset because they are getting charge an extra $200 because they blew threw their 1 gig data plan.
You now have your first podcast. How do yo listen to it? Well you will normally see a list of the different podcasts you see if you click on the picture of the show, This is called album art, you will see a list of episodes. Now you may only have the most recent shows, if you want you can go back, many times to the very first episode and listen to them all. Again make sure you are on a wifi connection if you do this, and you have room on your phone, that can be lots of data. Press on the episode you want to listen to and the show will start.
For a listening on a computer, the easiest is to download and install iTunes. From here you can go into iTunes store and look for podcasts. In this section you can search again for what ever you fancy. These can be knitting, podcasts about podcasting, or go outrageous and look for midget wrestling there are podcasts for just about every genre and niche you can think of. If You find a niche that is not being serviced, talk to me and I can help you get a podcast set up. Who knows, you might be a budding expert.
When you find a podcast you want to listen to you can either listen though iTunes or download it to you computer to listen to there. The choice is yours and it is limitless.
Podcasts again you will be seeing and reading more and more about the new media that died in 2008-2009. More people are listening everyday. More companies are incorporating it into areas everyday pretty soon you will be telling your kids about when there was radio and they will look at you with amazement that is reserved for those way back times.