Entries Tagged 'Techie Tip Tuesday' ↓

Introducing Pinterest Secret Boards and How to Use Them

Pinterest Secret Boards

If you’ve been on Pinterest in the pas few days, you may have noticed a new feature – Pinterest Secret Boards.

What are Pinterest Secret Boards?

The new secrete boards from Pinterest are a tool you can use when you aren’t quite ready to publish your thoughts to the world, need a private planning tool, or just want to keep some thoughts to yourself.

Why are Pinterest Secret Boards important to me?

There are a number of ways you can use Pinterest Secret Boards. Here are a few ideas:

  • Journaling. You can create a private inspirational journal using one of your Pinterest Secret Boards.
  • Planning a surprise party. We all know Pinterest rocks with all sorts of decorating and food ideas, so it’s the perfect place to start planning a party. But, what if that party is a surprise? You don’t want to lose that perfect recipe or instructions to that awesome table decoration you found. But if you pin it, what if the person you’re planning the party for finds out? Pinterest Secret Boards are the perfect solution!
  • Holiday shopping. Getting ready for Christmas doesn’t have to be stressful. Pin the items you plan to give and put them on a secret board. Santa’s the only one who will know what you plan to buy for whom!
  • Spy on the competition. With the advent of business profiles, many Pinterest marketers will want to keep up with what their competitors are doing. Creating a secret board can help you do that.
  • Planning a trip? Maybe you’re not ready to share your travel plans with anyone else just yet but you still want a place to pin ideas and photos of places you want to see. Go ahead and use a secret board on Pinterest to plan your perfect getaway. You may be even wanting to make the destination a surprise or a romantic getaway with your sweetheart. No worries. You’re secrets are safe with Pinterest!

How do I use Pinterest Secret Boards?

It’s easy to start a secret board. Simply scroll down to the bottom of your boards page and click on the “Create a secret board” link (see screenshot above). Another way to create a Pinterest secret board is to click on the + icon and choose “Add board” from the choices. In the new board’s setup screen, choose to make the board secret. Ta-da! You’ve just created a Pinterest Secret Board!

What are some other ways you can think of to use Pinterest Secret Boards? Don’t keep it a secret! Share with us in the comments section!

Blog Maintenance Checklist Part 5

How to keep your blog secure

Today we’ll conclude the Blog Maintenance Checklist with a post about how to secure your blog. Before we get to that, let’s recap what we’ve gone through so far in this series:

Some of those posts have touched on security, especially the posts about keeping WordPress and plugins updated and the post on making regular backups. Today, I’m going to share with you some plugins I use on client sites to keep them secure and some other ways you can beef up your blog’s security.

  • First of all, when you get WordPress installed, create a new administrator using a strong password. Then, delete the default admin account. You’ll need to log out of your dashboard before you can delete the user you’re logged in as. And make sure you’ve saved your strong password somewhere so you will be able to log in as the new user you just created.
  • Make sure you keep WordPress and all plugins up-to-date.
  • Next, move the config.php file from the root directory. You can use an FTP client such as FileZilla to do this. Log into Filezilla using the same username and password you used to get into your domain’s cPanel. Then, in the public_html folder, locate the config.php file. (You’ll want to make a complete backup of your site using BackupBuddy before you start messing around with this type of stuff. Just sayin’.) Then download the config.php file onto your desktop. Delete it from where it is in the public_html folder, and then place the one you saved into the top level of the domain (in other words, in the same directory as the public_html folder instead of inside that folder). Check your site to make sure everything still works. If you made a mistake when you moved the file, import your site again using ImportBuddy.
  • Download and install the Better WP Security plugin. Again, make sure you have a fresh backup before performing any security measures on your site. Some security plugins require the ability to access files that can cause issues, so make sure you’re prepared in case the plugin doesn’t work correctly. I haven’t had any trouble with it, but there may be compatibility issues with this plugin and another plugin you have installed or even the theme you’re using. It probably won’t happen, but be prepared just in case. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all security fix, but it comes very close. This plugin has a comprehensive dashboard that gives a color-coded snapshot of security issues that need to be addressed. Be sure to read all the features on the plugin’s site. This is a free download.
  • Ultimate Security Checker – this plugin scans your site for security threats and gives a point-based score to let you know how you’re doing as well as a list of things to change and how to change them. The plugin developer also sells tools that will automatically fix your site’s security issues, but if you’re a bit tech savvy, you can do it yourself. The plugin itself is free.

Like most unsavory characters, hackers tend to prey on easy targets. While no site is 100 percent completely safe from the best hackers (even banks and government sites have been hacked), if you take these precautions mentioned, you’ll be in a harder-to-hack category, which should discourage most would-be hackers from bothering you.

But again, your best defense against a potential attack is to keep a fresh backup handy. That way you can be up and running again within a matter of minutes with little or no frustration. I know BackupBuddy is expensive, but in my experience, it’s worth it.

This concludes our Blog Maintenance Checklist series. Do you have anything to add to our list? Please share your ideas in the comments section.

 

Blog Maintenance Checklist – Part 4

Blog Maintenance Checklist

We’re winding down the blog maintenance checklist. Today’s post will share what to look for when you check your analytics, and next week we’ll wrap it up with a post on blog security.

First of all, if you haven’t yet installed Google Analytics on your site, it’s easy and will be very helpful to you. There’s a free Google Analytics WordPress Plugin. Here’s a short video that explains how to use the pluging and tells about some of its features:

Some things I like to monitor with Google Analytics is where is the traffic coming from? I always have more search traffic than other types, so I tend to focus on my on-site SEO efforts, as that does well for me. My second largest source of traffic is Facebook. I post links to all my blog posts on my Facebook profile and on the OnBloggingWell.com Facebook page.

I get traffic from other sources, too, but these are my primary traffic sources, and since (like everyone else), my time is limited, I know that it’s beneficial to keep working on driving traffic using these two sources.

The next thing I check is what are people looking for. Google Analytics not only tells how much traffic your site is getting, but it tells the top keywords that are bringing traffic to your site. Almost all my top traffic-driving keyword phrases deal with social media. That tells me my audience wants to learn more about this topic. So, if I want to continue delivering to my readers, I need to keep writing about social media.

Your bounce rate is another thing to watch for in your analytics. You want to keep it as low as possible. The very best way to do that is to include compelling content that will keep readers engaged on your site longer and prompt them to visit more pages within your site.

If you notice a spike in your traffic, you can investigate to see exactly what you posted on that day and capitalize on that by creating more content related to that topic. Hollywood does this all the time by producing sequel after sequel.

You can also follow traffic trends, and if you post specific categories on specific days, it’s easy to see which categories most interest your readers. For instance, my two biggest traffic days are Tuesdays and Wednesdays – so I know my readers like Techie Tips, and Wednesdays we typically focus on social media.

Our final segment in this series will be a mini-checklist of security things to keep an eye on.

Until then,

Happy Blogging!

Blog Maintenance Checklist Part 3

blog maintenance

Welcome to Part 3 of the Blog Maintenance Checklist series. If you’re just joining this series, we’ve been learning ways to keep our blogs running smoothly. Today’s post will discuss some important items to check concerning your blog’s monetization and RSS feed.

If you missed the first two segments, the Blog Maintenance Checklist Part 1 shared the importance of keeping your WordPress platform and plugins up to date, and the Blog Maintenance Checklist Part 2 discussed making regular site backups, comment moderation, and checking for broken links. Now on to Part 3.

Check your Adsense Ads

If you use Google Adsense to monetize your blog, you’ll notice for the most part, the ads are targeted toward your market. For instance, the ads on this blog promote products related to social media, blogging, content creation, and marketing, which are the main topics I write about.

It’s a good idea to make sure Google is delivering relevant ads to your internal pages, too. Plus, you might not want to display your competitor’s ads on your blog. The best way to double check to see just which ads display organically on your blog is by typing in your URL to http://ctrlq.org/sandbox/. It’s free and only takes a few minutes.

If you notice any ads you don’t want showing up on your site, simply log into your Google Adsense dashboard and click on the Allow & Block Ads tab. You’ll first need to submit a request to the Ad Review Center and wait until the feature is available, which takes about an hour. Then you’ll be able to choose whether or not to have Adsense display an ad.

Check Your RSS Feeds

RSS feeds run smoothly without any help from you for the most part, but it’s a good idea to check them every 3 or so months, just to make sure nothing needs your attention. To check your feeds, open an RSS feed reader (such as Google reader or Google home page) then type in your site’s RSS feed to make sure everything is working as it should.

Check your RSS feeds

If you find a problem with your feed, you can type your feed URL into the free online tool, Feed Validator, which will check the feed and offer suggestions on how to fix any problems you may be having.

Coming up next Techie Tip Tuesday, we’ll continue the blog maintenance checklist with a post devoted to analytics.

Blog Maintenance Checklist Part 2

blog checklist to keep your blog running smoothly

If you missed it, go ahead and read Blog Maintenance Checklist Part 1 from last week’s Techie Tuesday post. Today, we’ll go through a few more items on the blog maintenance checklist to help you keep your blog running smoothly.

  • Make regular site backups. There are a number of ways to back up your WordPress site. You can go to the “add new plugins” area of your dashboard and search for backup plugins and then follow the plugin directions.backing up your wordpress blog
    One thing to note about backing up your site is that there are three components to your website: The Database, the Files, and the Settings. Some plugins only back up the database, some just the files.I only know of one that works well (I’ve tried others that didn’t) that backs up all three – files, database, and settings, and it’s the one I use – BackupBuddy by iThemes.With BackupBuddy, you literally clone the site and can move it from one domain to another if you want. Yes, it’s pricey, and you’ll have to decide if it’s the one for you. But since I build websites for clients, I have to use the best tools possible, so that’s the one I use and recommend.
  • Moderate your comments quickly.Nothing is more annoying than reading someone’s blog and making a comment, only to check back hours later and realize your comment still hasn’t shown up as approved. I put the discussion settings on my blog to let comments from those whom I’ve previously approved a comment display instantly.I want my readers to have a good experience, not a frustrating one, so I reward loyalty by letting previous commenters post without waiting to be approved. But, yes, I do receive emails whenever a comment is posted so if something inappropriate does go up, I can quickly handle it.Don’t delete comments that disagree with you – only those that either slipped through the spam filter or that are entirely inappropriate.moderate comments quickly
  • Check for broken links. Fewer things are more frustrating than gaining enough interest in a link to click on it only to be taken to a 404 page. Again, there are a number of plugins that can help you in this matter, from simple redirect scripts that automatically redirect broken links to the home page to a plugin that helps you check for broken links – Broken Link Checker.Remember, if readers aren’t the only ones who get frustrated when they run across a broken link – search bots don’t like them either. Broken links affect your page’s search results ranking. I wrote a post on how to install and use Broken Link Checker a few years ago. Here’s the link to how to mend broken links on your blog.Another solution to checking for broken links is the free online resource, Broken Link Checker.If you have a large site, it will take a while to process.Below is a screenshot of this free and easy-to-use tool:check for broken links

We still have a few more items on our blog maintenance checklist, so check back next Tuesday for another segment in this series.

Until next time,

Happy Blogging!