CATEGORY: Websites

Three plugins that will greatly improve your WordPress website

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This post is part of an ongoing series about building a WordPress website using name.com’s products and account management features.

When you first create a WordPress website, it’s bare bones. You get a basic theme and the ability to start blogging right away, but not much else. Once you start adding custom themes and installing plugins your site can improve by leaps and bounds. Today I’ll add three simple plugins to the bearglecorn.com WordPress site.

What’s a plugin?

Plugins are like apps that you can install on your WordPress site to improve its functionality. Some plugins affect the appearance and usability of your site on the user side, while others are great for managing the back end of your site. There are a ton of plugins out there—nearly 26,000—and you can search, download, rate, and comment on plugins at the WordPress plugin directory.

5 great plugins to add to your WordPress blog

A WordPress blog is a pretty awesome thing on its own, and a getting one set up is incredibly easy thanks to name.com’s RapidPress install.* But what if you want to add a few bells and whistles to your already-awesome blog?

One of the biggest advantages of a hosted WordPress blog–as opposed to setting one up through WordPress.com–is that you can add plug-ins. Plug-ins enhance your blog with all sorts of cool features, from SEO tools to widgets that enhance your photos and social media presence. Here are a few that should come in handy:

*One-click WordPress installation, unlimited hosting, and name.com’s legendary support, all for $30? Yeah, it’s pretty badass.

1. All-In-One SEO pack

All In One SEO Pack

If you’re new to blogging, chances are you’re new to Search Engine Optimization. SEO helps your blog get noticed in the big churning sea of internet blogdom. The All-In-One SEO pack helps optimize your posts’ titles and meta tags, making it a great tool for newbies. Learn more …

2. NextGEN Gallery

WordPress’s default image options can leave a lot to be desired. NextGEN Gallery gives you a bunch of photo management options (watermarks, image editing, advanced thumbnail features, centralized gallery control) and creates beautiful photo galleries. Learn more …

3. Share Buttons By Lockersz / AddToAny

If you’re going to be publishing all these awesome blog posts, you want people to spread the word, right? Share buttons make it easier for your readers to post about your blog on social media sites, share links via their preferred email clients, and bookmark their favorite content. This plug-in even prioritizes sharing options based on each user’s browsing history. So if a user prefers Hotmail and Google+ (in other words, if a user is a bit of an oddball), those sharing options will appear first. Learn more …

4. Google XML Sitemap for Videos

Is your blog heavy on original video content? This plug-in creates a search engine-friendly map of your videos, making it easier for Google, Bing, and the rest of the search engine crowd to index your content. Any video you add to your posts gets inserted into the video site map. Aside from the SEO benefits, it’s a great way for users to find all of your videos in one place without having to leave your blog entirely. Learn more …

By the way, if you’re posting a lot of videos, a .TV domain might be right up your alley.

5. Broken Link Checker

Blog maintenance can be a pain. As your blog grows, it gets pretty tough to keep track of all the links you’ve included in various posts. Inevitably someone will find an old post and click on a link that has gone bad. Link Checker parses your site for links, then tests to see if those links are still working. An especially cool feature is that you don’t have to return to the original post to fix a broken link. You can update (or remove, or ignore…) the link from a “broken links” tab that is added to your WordPress admin panel when the plug-in is installed. Learn more …

Got some suggestions for WordPress plug-ins? Let us now in the comments section!

How to Easily Import Your Tumblr into a WordPress Blog

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Tumblr is a micro-blogging platform that makes it easy to post and share content with your friends. Today Yahoo announced that they have acquired Tumblr for $1.1 billion in stock and cash. Tumblr users have expressed concern about whether Yahoo can successfully keep the easy-going attitude of the Tumblr community alive. A press release from Yahoo that began with, “We promise not to screw it up.” seems to have just increased skepticism regarding the preservation of the creative vibe of Tumblr when Yahoo takes the reigns.

If you’re one of the many people who don’t want to wait to see how this acquisition plays out and are ready to switch to WordPress, we outline how to easily import your Tumblr to a WordPress blog below. WordPress is a fantastic alternative to Tumblr because it is a blogging service that offers a wider range of customization and features than Tumblr.

How to Get Started:

Before you get started, you’re going to need to setup a WordPress blog. I recommend using our RapidPress tool so that you can get your own domain (yourname.com), web hosting, and your new WordPress blog up right away.

Once Your WordPress Blog is Installed and Ready to Go:

Now that you have your WordPress blog installed, you need to go to the WordPress admin dashboard (yourdomain.com/wp-admin) and click on Tools > Import.

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On the import page, you’re going to see a list of importing tools for various blog services. You’re going to want to click on Tumblr and install the Tumblr importer.

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RapidPress as an Alternative to Tumblr

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Now that Yahoo has announced their acquisition of blogging service Tumblr, it may very well be the perfect time for you to jump on the WordPress blogging train. You can easily make the switch by using the Name.com RapidPress tool and then importing all of your Tumblr posts over. If you’re unsure of what RapidPress is, it is a one-click WordPress installation tool that includes both a domain and web hosting.

There have been some early signs that a lot of people may be making the switch away from Tumblr. WordPress CEO Matt Mullenweg publically stated that on Sunday night, an unusually high number of people imported there posts from Tumblr to WordPress. This is perhaps an early sign that a fair amount of people are looking to flee Tumblr now that it is part of Yahoo.

Yahoo knows that people are going to be saying some fierce things regarding the acquisition around the Internet, so they issued a rather odd press release saying, “We promise not to screw it up.” The release continued by saying, “Tumblr is incredibly special and has a great thing going. We will operate Tumblr independently. David Karp will remain CEO. The product roadmap, their team, their wit and irreverence will all remain the same as will their mission to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve. Yahoo! will help Tumblr get even better, faster.”

It’ll be interesting to see how the acquisition plays out over time, but if you’re one of the many people looking to leave Tumblr, using RapidPress to setup a new blog is a fantastic solution. In addition to having a WordPress blog setup with zero effort, you also get web hosting and a domain name (e.g. YourName.com… no more YourName.tumblr.com).

Ready to learn more about RapidPress? Just click here!

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Ready to learn more about RapidPress? Just click here!

So You Want To Be a Blogger: Notes from Borseth and Bukowski

If I had a nickel for every time I told myself I was going to start a blog I’d be living high on the hog right about now. Even better would be to have gotten a goat for every time I told myself the same thing, because then I’d have a whole herd of goats and could finally start that online goat cheese enterprise I’ve always dreamed about. But enough about me, this blog post is about you and how you are going to change the world through your deep thoughts and inspirational musing on your very own blog.

Having a successful blog ain’t no (oh yes I did, grammar nazis) easy thing to do though. You need to be dedicated to it and to be dedicated you also need to be excited about what you will be spending hours of your time writing. So find a passion and write about it. Or make a video about it. Or draw a picture about it. Or bake a themed cake about it. A blog doesn’t have to be all walls of text after all. Chances are that if you’re passionate about something there are others out there that are passionate about it as well. If the topic you decide to embrace isn’t something you have a burning desire to write about then it will show through in your content and, by extension, will be less compelling for the people you are trying to entertain. And don’t fool yourself, having a successful blog is almost entirely about entertainment.

Besides having a topic you have a passion for you also need the right tools for the task at hand. When it comes to blogging it’s hard to argue that the king of that particular niche is WordPress. You can download it and install it on your own hosting plan or you can use our super simple and easy to setup RapidPress service for less than seven cents a day. That’s right, less than $0.07 a DAY! You might think I’m yanking your chain on that one but I’m drop dead serious, seven-cents-a-day. Cross my heart and hope to die. Click that link up there and you will see for yourself just how easy it is to get started. Seriously, do it. I’ll wait.

And now, if you’re having a hard time coming up with a topic, I give you some inspiring words from one of my favorite writers, Charles Bukowski (RIP):

So You Want To Be a Writer

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if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

There you have it, inspiration and the tools to get started all in one simple blog post. Until next time, thank you for your attention and have a mighty fine day.

Owen Borseth
VP of Awesome™

A WordPress website in minutes: RapidPress from name.com

You can have your very own WordPress website in minutes. Repeat: RapidPress is so easy you could start right now and have a website in about a minute. WE CAN’T STRESS ENOUGH HOW EASY THIS IS! Sorry for caps-lock yelling but RapidPress is every exciting, it’s a 1-click WordPress install on name.com hosting. Here’s how it works.

1. You get your domain name.

2. You click a button.

3. You have a website.

4. Go treat yourself to a smoothie because you just saved a bunch of money on a professional website.

RapidPress is cheaper than if you were to go directly through WordPress to get your website. And when we say “website” we don’t mean something like MySpace from 2005, but a WordPress website that’s sleek, functional and fantastic. With RapidPress you get all the flexibility, options and plugins for either a blog or a static page for your business.

Yes, there was a time when putting up a WordPress site meant finding the right hosting and then installing WordPress. NOW IT’S ALL DONE FOR YOU! With RapidPress you pick a domain, you click a button and VIOLA! you have a WordPress website.

Why do I need a website? OK, we’re just going to try and pretend you didn’t ask that. But not having a website is like not having a listing in your local phone book. And since phone books seem to stack up outside my front door, you need a website. It’s visibility, it’s credibility AND RIGHT NOW PEOPLE ARE SEARCHING FOR THE VERY ITEMS YOU SELL. Again, apologies for shouting, but with RapidPress all of the news is good. With a RapidPress website you’ll be:

1. Finding new customers online.

2. Making an awesome first impression.

3. Driving business away from competitors.

4. Making money in your pajamas.

5. Giving all those Googlers some place to go, like your website.

Really, it’s 2013. Do we need to be arguing about if you need a website or not? No. It comes down to how easy and convenient it is. RapidPress is both. Conveasyent. RapidPress solves so many problems in one click. You’ll have your website and name.com will live forever with millions of happy customers. Oh, and so will you.

CLICK HERE to get started!

Don’t Get Hacked: Password Lessons from the Flame Broiler

It lasted for over an hour and was so ugly that even their competitors were sending out empathetic Tweets.

mcdonalds empathy burger king

Burger King’s Twitter account had been hacked, and not only were the hackers sending their own racially-charged tweets about Burger King employees “crushing and sniffing Percocet in the bathroom,” but they also changed all the branding from BK to McDonalds. They even went so far as to promote McDonald’s new Fish McBites.

burger king twitter hacked

So with this kind of nightmare playing out in real life in front of the whole world, we thought it was time to contribute a quick, legitimate  piece to the “how to come up with a great password that’s memorable and fun and makes you feel safe” articles that will be swirling around the ‘net. From our staff we compiled dozens of tips all shrunk down to this one convenient list of tips and tricks for a better, safer, more memorable password.

Caroline Temple, our Affiliate Marketing Manager, knocked out 8 quick pointers for better Internet security:

1. Well – duh – we’ve got the free 2-step verification.

2. Don’t use words like “H3LL0!”  The programs designed to crack passwords have included subbing numbers for vowels now.

3. Consider the “pass phrase”.  Like “IReallyLikeCoffeFirstThingInTheMorning10:00am”

4. Change your password often.

5.. Don’t use the same password for more than one account.

6. WRITE  your passwords down somewhere safe.  Try your darndest to not store them within a document that can get hacked.

7. Review all those apps that you have given access to your Twitter account – maybe it’s time to revoke access of apps that don’t use SSL certificates or that you have not used in a while.

8. Always make sure the URL bar up top reads “https” before logging in to any account.  that means they have an SSL certificate installed that will encrypt your information when logging in.

Some of these steps can be completely alleviated with great tools like oplop (courtesy of Pat “P-Mo” Moroney) that let you simplify all your passwords to a nickname and one master password. And Fitz in support reminded us to plug one of our customers, Last Pass, a secure password manager that promises to make your life much easier.

Finally, it should be noted, that your password should NOT be any word or phrase associated with your personal information or business products. Those are very easy to hack. Like I should not use “Jared1” and you definitely should NOT use “whopper123”  as Burger King, the Home of the Whopper, used up until recently.

We’ll leave you with this helpful password hint from one of our favorite web comics, XKCD

cartoon password strength tips tricks

Is there an exact percentage of keywords you should use for SEO?

KEYWORD DENSITY – IS THERE A DEFINITIVE PERCENTAGE?

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Keywords have been the central facet of search engine optimization since Google first started delivering returns back in the late 1990s. In the beginning, the sheer number of times that a keyword appeared on a page determined where it showed up in the SERPs. As search engines evolved, the amount that keywords helped became a bit less important. Other factors were added into the search engines result equation. Today, there are over 200 individual metrics that are used by Google to determine a web page’s SERP ranking. And, even though Google’s representatives have tried to downplay the importance of keywords, it is still obvious that they are at the top of the metric list.

Google Weighs In

The real key is to understand how keywords are measured by Google. As Google’s search engine spiders were evolving, the programmers noted that some webmasters were finding new and innovative ways to incorporate keywords into their pages. Some of these methods included placing a huge list of keywords at the bottom of the page, putting “invisible text” (text that is the same color as the background) on the page, placing a list of keywords in the META description, stuffing keywords into picture descriptions and file names and various other ploys. The quality assurance team at Google felt that these tactics were nothing more than attempts to game the system without delivering high-quality content. This led to the decision to make keyword stuffing count against a site in the calculation of its rank. Thus, the new game became trying to figure out at exactly what percentage these penalties were going to be assessed. Google has stated that there is no one magic number, but rather that it depends on what the competition is doing. While this sounds good when it comes from the mouth of Matt Cuts (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Rk4qgQdp2UA#!), it doesn’t really hold water under scrutiny.

Mr. Cutts asserts that there is no set keyword density number that will cause a penalty for a website even though the web spiders are computer programs that are unable to make arbitrary decisions. This means that they must have a set parameters to impose a penalty. Of course, if Mr. Cutts did give us a number, then every single website in the world would optimize every page to meet these new density numbers, and the purpose of the entire metric would be compromised. So we can’t blame Mr. Cutts for towing the company line and imploring us to create quality content and stop worrying about keyword density.

Sorry, Mr. Cutts, we just can’t do that. We’ll take your advice and load our pages with well written content that works keywords naturally into the flow, but we’ll still be trying to figure out the golden keyword ratio that is hidden in the bowels of the GoogleBot.

Experimentation is the Key

If we listen closely to what Matt Cutts says, he says there is “no one magic number.” Reading into this, it could mean that there are multiple magic numbers. These numbers could be different for different niches or different spider configurations. Maybe the keyword density percentage is compiled from different areas of the page. Perhaps, there is one penalty for a certain percentage of keywords in the Meta description and another totally different number for the percentage in the main text and then still another for the density in picture and alt tags.

The only honest way to determine how this system works is to experiment with a huge number of pages using multiple different keyword strategies. For most of us, this is simply impractical. A more plausible, and far more effective solution is to do this research for the keywords that you are trying to rank for. Look at the top ten page returns for your keyword in a Google search and then compare the keyword densities in each one. The results will give you a good idea of the density that will be required to reach page 1. If you are feeling a bit adventurous, check the next few pages and see if the densities change. This could give you a good idea of what is working and what isn’t.

What the Pros Are Saying

If you ask 100 different SEO experts what keyword density is working right now, you’ll get as many different answers, but they will be in the general range of 1% to 10%. The real telling thing is that most SEO professionals are steering away from keyword density in favor of creating more engaging, higher-quality content and using other Google “best practices” as the way to bring up SERPs.

We are still of the belief that you need to have the keyword in your text at least 2%-4% of the time or the search engine will never find you. You also need to have a much higher keyword density in your inbound links. This is really where keyword density is important. Google uses backlinks as an “objective” way of telling what a webpage is about. So if your inbound link keyword density is 20%, it’s going to get you ranked much higher than an inbound link percentage of 5%. It is unknown if there are penalties for an inbound link density that is too high, but Google has so many metrics that there is a good chance that there may be. It would be a good practice to shy away from an inbound link keyword density of above 35%. Again, check the sites that are ranking high in a Google SERP for your keyword and see what the link keyword percentage is on them. Here’s a tool that can be used to do just that. (http://www.webconfs.com/domain-stats.php)

After you have fully researched the competition, try to make some tweaks to your current pages and see what results you get. If your web rank doesn’t seem to be changing, reassess the conclusions you came to when analyzing your competitor’s sites. Keyword density may not be the part of your SEO that is the problem. You may have a quality issue, a problem with or lack of backlinks or perhaps your social media engagement simply isn’t nearly as complete as theirs. Just remember that keyword density, although it isn’t as strong as it used to be, is still a major factor in determining page rank and keeping the Google machine happy will help your rise above the competition.

WordPress, Joomla and Drupal: How to Protect your Websites!

Chris Gaston, our systems administrator, says, “Hey all, FYI theres a lot of hacks for WP, Joomla, and Drupal floating
around lately.”

It’s time to update those themes! Here’s more from the National Cyber Awareness System.
US-CERT Current Activity
Increased Exploitation in Web Content Management Systems

Original release date: September 21, 2012
Last revised: January 4, 2013

US-CERT is aware of recent increases in the exploitation of known
vulnerabilities in web content management systems (CMSs) such as
Wordpress and Joomla. Compromised CMS installations can be used to host
malicious content.

US-CERT recommends that users and administrators ensure that their CMS
installations are patched or upgraded to remove known vulnerabilities.
This may require contacting the hosting provider. Also, users and
administrators can check for known vulnerabilities in the National
Vulnerability Database by searching their CMS by name.

UPDATE: This is an update to emphasize post-exploitation clean-up.

Basic post-exploitation clean-up can be summarized by this: “Clean,
Patch, and Monitor.”

Clean – Remove the malicious content AND validate all accounts, removing
unauthorized accounts and paying particular attention to accounts with
administrative or elevated privileges.

Patch – Keep systems patched and upgrade system software to the most
current supported releases (predominantly Joomla in this ongoing
campaign of exploitations).

Monitor – Stay abreast of new patches and version releases of your
content management software, and patch when new versions are released.
Also perform continuous baseline review of your site’s usage to detect
abuse before your site is used to attack others.

A number of support sites and other open source forums have had recent
discussions involving the exploitation of Joomla installs up to versions
2.5.2 and earlier. Additional vulnerabilities have been identified and
patched relating to versions 2.5.4 and earlier. In many instances Joomla
installs have been found to be very out of date. The attacker would
self-register an account and then proceed to escalate the account to
have administrative privilege using vulnerabilities in the outdated
software. Once privileges have been escalated, the attacker is able to
modify the website to include the upload of malicious content. The
uploaded content may be malware to infect your website visitors, or
tools to enable the attacker to leverage your website to launch denial-
of-service attacks against others.

If your site has been compromised, remember to “Clean, Patch, and
Monitor.”

Relevant URL(s):
<http://web.nvd.nist.gov/view/vuln/search>