Who wants to be popular anyway?

I wanted to write a blog post today on something that people were interested in. I looked at my Google Analytics to see what the most popular posts were so I could find a topic to cover again, or in more detail, or from a different perspective but it didn’t work. I asked myself some questions, what time period should I base the stats on, should I check to see what the bounce rate was rather than just the page views… it wasn’t very helpful. I then decided to check out which of my posts received the most comments, easily done in WordPress by just sorting them into comment order (descending of course).

So rather than write about a recurring topic, I decided to use this post as an overview of the last couple of years and let you look back over the most popular posts on my blog. Those posts which received the most comments, which I am assuming are my most popular.

In descending order of course…

Ten

Do you Check your Spam for Ham? – 23 Comments

Nine

Guest Blogging – is it all it’s cracked up to be? – 23 Comments

Eight

Self Publishing your eBook the DIY Way! – 24 Comments

Seven

Five Useful WordPress Plugins – 24 Comments

Six

Facebook: Should I Stay or Should I Go? – 24 Comments

Five

Do I Break up with my Books for a Kindle? – 25 Comments

Four

Help Family and Friends Understand you ARE Working! – 26 Comments

Three

Promote Your Business Here! – 28 Comments

Two

Plugins Your Blog Readers Will Love – 30 Comments

One

Spread the Luv on your Blog! – 37 Comments

I was actually surprised that these were the posts which received the most comments. I feel I have written some much better posts in the last year, but I suppose these are the ones that people felt most inclined to comment on.

I’m always looking for new blog topics, so if you have a problem I can help with please do let me know in the comments.

Are you using the right tool for the job?

Are you using the right tool for the job?

Having used many different tools over the last couple of years, I have finally found a few that I really rely on to help me with daily task management, and I thought I would let you know what these are.

I think I have written about all of these individually in the past, so I apologise if I’m repeating myself, but I really can’t say anything bad about these tools.

Social Media Scheduling

I use two scheduling tools for my social media, Hootsuite and Buffer. But I want to talk about Buffer, as they have recently added some new connections which I have been waiting for, for a long time.

One of those is Buffer to Google+, it’s been a long time coming but finally I can now fill up Buffer to post to my business Google+ page. You can read about it on the Buffer blog Introducing Buffer for Google+: The easiest way to post to your Google+ Business Page. The other connection recently introduced was Buffer to LinkedIn company pages, Introducing Buffer for LinkedIn Company pages: The easiest way to keep your LinkedIn page up to date.

With both of these new connections, I can now use Buffer as I have done with Twitter and Facebook for the past couple of years and top it up with great content from all the various blogs I try to keep up with.

I pay for my Buffer package, but it does mean I can have up to 12 accounts connected, which means for my most special clients I can add their social media accounts so they get the benefits of Buffer too!

If you haven’t tried Buffer, I wholeheartedly recommend it.

WordPress Maintenance

When you only have one website, it’s pretty easy to maintain it, cope with the regular plugin updates, and the not so regular WordPress and Theme updates. When you have more than one website, I now have nearly 10 WordPress websites to maintain I needed a quick and easy way of updating them all at the same time.

That’s where ManageWP comes in, I pay for it, but you can get a free version. I just need to login to the ManageWP Dashboard and I can do all the updates with one click. Not only does it do updates, it will also let you delete spam comments with one click across all of your websites, as well as some other cool features.

Many people think that updating themes and plugins can cause your website to crash, and in fact this has actually happened to me in the past, but by not updating these your website could be wide open to security vulnerabilities. When I use ManageWP I can exclude a website to update automatically, I sometimes do this with important client websites, I prefer to do these individually, especially big WordPress updates.

ManageWP saves me an enormous amount of time, and also ensures all my websites are up to date and plugs those security issues.

Task Management

I only wrote a blog post about using Asana last week, so I am not going to repeat myself here. You can read both Asana’s posts here:

Get Organised with this Free Resource
Organise your Clients (or Team) with this Free Resource 

I use Asana on a daily basis, with my own tasks and clients. It keeps me on track with my workload and ensures all my deadlines are met.

So those are my three top tools for keeping me organised, what are yours?
Do you use these tools, what do you think?

 

Free WordPress: The Benefits

Guest Post

What’s so great about FREE WordPress?

Not until very recently did I discover WordPress. I am a new writer and I wanted to get my work out there to the world and fast. With this in mind I was ecstatic to learn that not only is WordPress a wonderful piece of software, but also you can obtain it for absolutely nothing!

However, there is so much more that meets the eye with this product and with this in mind I wanted to share the advantages of obtaining free WordPress for you and your business or blog.

You can use your own Domain Name

Unlike other publishing platforms where you can only use a sub-domain on their server, with WordPress you can use your own domain name as the software is hosted on your own server.

Widgets

By making use of these freely available widgets WordPress let users customise features of their site according to whatever need they have. This is a great feature of WordPress and one of the features I use frequently.

Themes

There are so many themes within WordPress, and most cost less than $50, however there are many that are free.  Themes make your presence known online and can create a look and feel for your site. You can even customise your theme in your own way. For me it’s choosing which one – now that’s the hard bit!

Ease of use

This for me is most important, it’s easy to use! For those who are a little technically challenged the WordPress integrated ‘dashboard’ allows you as the owner to add/edit/delete pages, add blog categories, add widgets and of course add posts! You can upload images, video’s the list goes on and it’s simple to use. I for one love it for that reason and that reason alone.

Social Networking

Using widgets you can connect your site to other social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter without having to do a thing! You can add ‘like’ buttons on your posts too and easily feed your content into a variety of networking sites via RSS.

SEO Friendly

This is very important as it gets more people to your site. Search engines absolutely love WordPress as it comes with an automated ‘pinging’ feature. This will send a signal to various search engines every time your blog is updated. How cool is that?

Constant Development

WordPress is always under constant development too so you never have to worry about it getting stagnant or staying the same. It powers over 20% of the active websites on the web, new widgets are being released all the time, together with new themes and it will always continue to evolve. 

Just what you need I’d say!

I am still learning about how to use WordPress more effectively but with this information I feel I am armed with better knowledge and understanding on how it all works and all for FREE! 

For more information about the features of WordPress, the free option, check out this article The Features You’ll Love.

Author Bio:

I’m Paula and this is my dog Tommy. I run my own small business designing and making accessories from recycled materials, check out my blog PaulasWork here http://paulaswork.com/

You can also follow Paula on twitter @TDailyGrow.

Five Fantastic WordPress Plugins

It’s been a few months since I wrote an article on WordPress plugins. I know you are all as nosey as me and like to know what others are using and how they can improve your WordPress website. So here are five of my newest discoveries and the ones I am using on a regular basis across all my own websites and on some client sites.

Limit Login Attempts

I installed this plugin very recently due to the attacks on WordPress websites which are going on at the moment. As well as changing all my passwords, deleting the admin user on my website I installed this plugin. What it does is limit the number of times someone can try to login to your website. 

Limit the number of login attempts possible both through normal login as well as using auth cookies.

By default WordPress allows unlimited login attempts either through the login page or by sending special cookies. This allows passwords (or hashes) to be brute-force cracked with relative ease.

Limit Login Attempts blocks an Internet address from making further attempts after a specified limit on retries is reached, making a brute-force attack difficult or impossible.

Since I installed this a couple of weeks ago I have had an awful lot of activity showing within this plugin, bots are trying to login, usually using the username ‘admin’ or ‘username’. After they get the password wrong 3 times the plugin locks them out, you can customise the amount of time they are locked out for.

Here is a screenshot of the stats for this website:

I would highly recommend installing this plugin or something similar, especially because of the brute force attack on WordPress websites going on right now.

WangGuard

WangGuard I came across by mistake really, I’d never heard of it before. On one of my other websites I have a forum, and I was getting lots of spam registrations. I thought there must be a way to stop these, so I started the search. This plugin is great, and all spam registrations have now stopped completely! If you allow people to register on your WordPress website then this plugin is great. I have recently installed it on a client site and her spam registrations have vanished.

What is WangGuard?

WangGuard is a service born out of the need to control Sploggers or spam users.

What are Sploggers or spam users?

Sploggers or spam users are those individuals that through manual or automated means, register in all sorts of communities, blog networks, forums, etc… in an attempt to create links to their own sites and advertise their own products.

Here is a screenshot of the dashboard stats for one of my websites:

Jetpack for WordPress.com

It’s taken me a long time to install this plugin, the reason is I didn’t feel that it could improve what I already have on my website, supposedly giving you lots of features which blogs hosted on WordPress.com already have. Well how wrong was I? I think Jetpack is fab and still haven’t explored all the extra things I can now do on my websites/blogs. The main one I have been using is the stats, it’s very clear and I can easily see what pages/posts are being viewed most, and also what keywords people are using to get to my websites.

Jetpack isn’t just about stats though, look at all these features:

Acurax Social Media Widget

I found this recently when a client asked if I could create some fancy social media icons for her. There are many plugins around which let you add your social media networks as buttons on your website, usually in the sidebar.

With the free version you get 20 themes to choose from, plenty of choice if you ask me.

I am using this plugin on this website, I’ve not yet installed it on my other websites but plan to in the future because there is a good choice. There are plenty of extra features if you purchase the premium plugin for a one-off price of $24.49. 

Digg Digg

Digg Digg is now owned by the guys at Buffer, but this isn’t why I’ve installed it. I like the look of the sharing buttons down the side of the websites I have seen it on. It moves as you move down the page, which means it’s always there ready for someone to click on to share your article. It’s fully customisable, which means you can have a couple of buttons or as many as you like. I have chosen the social networks I use the most, but also did some research on what social networks were referring a lot of traffic to my website.

Digg Digg is free and offers much more sharing possibilities than some of the other sharing widgets I have used in the past.

So that’s my five fantastic WordPress plugins I am loving at the moment… Do you use any of these plugins, what do you think?

I offer a very reasonable WordPress website or blog design and set-up using the fab Genesis framework which has a huge choice of themes. For a free no obligation chat about what I can offer, please get in touch now!

Some of my recent work:
Karon Grieve
Lorraine Charcuterie Distribution
Lamsdorf Remembered