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Like your automobile, your WordPress blog requires periodic and ongoing maintenance. It is a tool for your business and if you don’t perform routine maintenance, then it won’t perform optimally. Here are five specific routine maintenance items you should perform on your blog to keep it safe from hackers, to ensure it performs optimally, and to keep your content working hard for you and through the search engines.

  1. Regular back ups - You should back up your WordPress at least monthly. You can manually do this, but there are plug-ins now that will do it for you automatically. Some of the best back up plug-ins will schedule a back up for you daily, weekly, or monthly and send it to you by e-mail or save it on your server.
  2. Keep your WordPress software up to date – WordPress is continually in development. New versions arrive several times throughout the year. You don’t have to adopt every new update immediately, but you shouldn’t allow yourself to fall too far behind. If you are more than two versions behind the latest, you should update your WordPress software.
  3. Update your themes – Like the WordPress software, themes need updating too. If you operate on an off-the-shelf free theme, then it isn’t as necessary. But if you have purchased a premium theme for your WordPress blog, then updating regularly is a necessity.
  4. Update your plug-ins – Plug-ins are another WordPress tool that I’d recommend staying current on. Almost all plug-in developers update their plug-ins periodically to keep them working optimally with the latest versions of WordPress. You should update your plug-ins as soon as the developer makes them available.
  5. Site diagnostics – Finally, run periodic diagnostic checks to ensure that your WordPress blog is free of malware or unnecessary hacker code, and spam. Google Webmaster Tools will do that for you for free.

If you keep your WordPress blog maintained properly, it will give you years of good and useful service.

One of the most important things that you can do with your content today is to repurpose it. But which content should you repurpose and what benefit does it serve?

The best content to repurpose is content that has done well. Do you have any web pages, articles or blog posts that have been popular in the past? If so, that’s great content to repurpose. It’s really good to repurpose content that did well for a time then fell off the radar. For instance, if you wrote a blog post that became your most popular blog post ever during a 30-day period of time then quit getting page views after about six months, it could be time to revisit that topic and repurpose the blog post.

But you don’t want to repurpose it on your blog. You want to take that content and massage it for another medium.

Think of new ways you can use the same content. Maybe it would make a good video. Or maybe it would make a good article or guest post on someone else’s blog. Perhaps you could turn it into a standalone website and turn the content into a microsite from which you could solicit orders.

Whatever ways you decide your old content can be repurposed, take it and make it brand new. You do that by reordering the content and rewriting it completely. Don’t take any chances on duplicating your content.

The benefit to repurposed content is that you can take popular content from last year or two years ago and make it popular again. You re-capitalize on that content to drive new traffic and increase conversions. If it did well once, it will likely do well again.

There are several mistakes that website owners make when it comes to navigation menus when they attempt to use their navigation for SEO purposes instead of focusing on user needs. And all of these are fixable.

  • Multple navigation elements – I’ve seen websites with a fancy navigation menu at the top of the page and the same navigational elements in the sidebar followed by navigation links in the footer. Why? Pick one method of navigation and stick with that.
  • Too many pages in the navigation element – Do you really need links to your archives, categories, tags, author pages, and related content? Some of this is overkill. Usually, if you nofollow your navigation links to your archives, categories, and tags pages, then you’ll get much better optimization.
  • Complex site structure – Keep it as simple as possible for the type of website you have. That’s easy when your site is only 10 pages. But what if it stretches out to 100 or 200 pages? Or worse, to a couple of thousand? It’s OK to have different navigation menus for separate sections of your website, but keep the navigational elements simple. Don’t overcomplicate them.
  • Over-Optimization – Generally speaking, any time you include a navigational element solely for optimization efforts, then you are setting your website up to fail. Ask yourself if it helps your site visitor? If not, eliminate it and look for other ways that you can optimize your website.

Navigational menus are established for users, not search engines. That doesn’t mean you can’t optimize them, but optimizing your navigation menus is really simple. Use the best key phrase for each page on your website and use that key phrase as the link in your navigation menu. If your on-page optimization is spot on, then that should be good SEO. If not, you might need to re-write your on-page content or pick another key phrase to optimize for.

Everyone wants link bait. But link bait doesn’t grow on trees. And it’s not as easy to create as you might think.

Here are 5 reasons creating link bait might just be the biggest waste of your time.

  1. You think keywords aren’t necessary – Content is searchable. Even link bait. You must think about how your website visitors are going to find your content before you decide to publish it. What will make them think your article is worth a link? If it isn’t the keywords and it isn’t the way your content is written, then what is it?
  2. Link bait isn’t a magic carpet ride – No link bait is ever just created and published without a plan. If you’re too lazy to plan your content, how it will be written, what it will look like, what graphics will accompany it, etc., then there’s no use in creating it.
  3. You think it will promote itself – Even link bait needs to be promoted. Will you push it out with social media? Video marketing? Your blog? Will you share it with high profile bloggers in your niche? Include your promotional efforts in your plan for your link bait.
  4. You expect too much too fast – You can’t predict how many people will link to your content and when. You can write it, you can publish it, and you can promote it. The rest is up to everyone else. Focus on what you can control.
  5. You think quality doesn’t count – All link bait is based on quality. If you don’t think that’s true, then you shouldn’t be trying to create link bait. No one is going to link to content that doesn’t provide value.

Link bait is more than just some fancy SEO trick. It’s a content strategy. Build your strategy on sound marketing principles, not crazy viral hype.

WordPress once was thought of as nothing more than a blogging platform. It was considered – and still is – the premiere blogging platform on the Web. There’s good reason for thinking of it that way. No other blogging platform offers the same level of design flexibility with search engine optimization benefits and maximum functionality.

Today, however, WordPress is thought of as more than a blogging platform. It is a blogging platform PLUS. And that plus is a big deal.

It is being billed today as a content management system. That means you can use WordPress to upload all of your website’s content and you can build a full-fledged website using it to manage your content from beginning to end. However, there are some pitfalls.

As an example, if you use WordPress’s media upload features and you decide to move your website to a new server or host, then you’ll have to migrate those photos and images and if you aren’t careful you could lose them. It’s much easier to make a website transfer with a traditional HTML website. You simply drag and drop your folder to the new server and you’re done. It’s not that easy with WordPress.

That’s just one example. Designing WordPress also comes with its own set of headaches. For instance, are you going to use an off-the-shelf template? Be careful because a lot of them are not optimized correctly for the search engines.

You could use a premium framework, but those cost money. You could end up spending as much money to design with a WordPress site as you would to pay for a custom HTML design, and have fewer headaches.

While I wouldn’t say don’t use WordPress for your next web design as an absolute imperative, it’s important to know the dangers and pitfalls before you make that decision.

Facebook stole the show this week with news of its initial public offering. But the news that should have been the big news didn’t quite get the same press.

Google has acquired a handful of patents and pending patents having to do with fiber optic technology. What could they possibly do with those?

Seeing as how they’ve already announced plans to introduce a fiber optic network in Kansas City, this patent transfer should have been the biggest news of the day. It has the potential to make a huge difference in how the Internet works all over the world.

Kansas City will likely be the first municipality in the world to offer high speed Internet by fiber optic as a city service. And if Google is successful with its fiber optic service in Kansas City, then they will likely introduce the same service to other cities. Eventually, there could be high speed fiber optic Internet everywhere in the world, courtesy of Google.

But who will pay for that? There are any number of ways that fiber optic Internet could be paid for. Cities and municipalities could foot the bill for local citizens. Or they may turn around and charge a fee for services in the same way that local phone companies do today. In either of those cases, fiber optic Internet service could be considered a utility.

Another way it could work is as a free service from Google. Now why would Google offer free Internet access to the entire world?

If more people are online, shopping, building businesses, etc., that will lead to more click-throughs on Google’s paid ad networks. More advertisers means more revenues for Google over the long run.

I’m not saying any of these scenarios is the right one. They’re just possibilities. But I could see any of them playing out. The real news, however, is that high speed fiber optic Internet would benefit everyone – consumers, online marketers, and Google as Internet service provider.

Two days ago Facebook files papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission to make an initial public offering (IPO). That means the company is committing itself to making its profit and loss statements public for the rest of its life. But will that change the way the world networks?

Likely not.

Facebook has already become the 800 million pound gorilla (it has 800 active million users worldwide). It will likely grow and the money it collects from its IPO will likely help it reach some strategic goals, but the core aspect of its product will likely not change much if at all.

Maybe it will get better and maybe it will get worse, but change? Let’s see …

  • Facebook offers personal profiles to anyone willing to sign up for an account and provide certain specific private information to the company based on its user’s term of service.
  • Companies can set up a brand page and promote themselves to users through that page.
  • Developers can build apps that interact with Facebook and allow users to engage with marketers, businesses, and savvy development agents.
  • Facebook also offers paid advertising models for businesses wanting to reach new prospects.
  • You can interact with Facebook through you desktop computer, laptop, smart phone, or tablet.

What else could Facebook offer? What else likely to be offered as a result of the private company becoming public?

Of course, new technologies could lead to Facebook expanding its offerings to its consumer base, but that would happen anyways. The company already has made billions of dollars so the money it collects from the IPO will not likely give it much more financial clout that it already has. So why go public?

It is likely that investors and shareholders realize that certain information is going to end up public anyway so why not be the first to make the disclosure? It’s a good political move for Facebook to go public, but don’t count on the IPO changing the service in any drastic way. Social networking will continue as it has for the last five years.

Broken links can kill a website if allowed to go on for too long. That’s why you should identify them quickly and get them taken care of.

So what happens when your website has broken links?

If allowed to linger for too long, broken links can be a ding against your website’s SEO ranking. In other words, they can count against you. One or two might not hurt, but hundreds will. And many webmasters will allow their broken links to continue because they don’t monitor them.

A simple diagnostic tool will tell you if you have broken links on your website. Google Webmaster Tools is free and does the job for you. Google will tell you if your site has broken links.

After you have determined that you have broken links, go to the pages where those links exist and analyze your content. Can you find another source to link to? If so, then replace the broken link with a link to a resource that is just as helpful, or more, to your website visitors. If you can’t find one, then consider revising your content so that the link isn’t necessary.

When you revise your content you invite the search engines back to re-crawl your pages. They will then re-index your pages based on the latest crawl and re-rank them. Some webmasters have seen increased page rankings based on fixing broken links.

If you are looking for more opportunities to increase your website’s search engine optimization, find and fix your broken outbound links. It’s a small thing, but it can matter.

If you run an online web store and are concerned that your SEO might not be up to snuff, never fear. You can always improve your SEO and here are 6 on-page ways that you can give your SEO content a boost. All of these are easy to implement and will produce positive results for your onsite SEO.

  1. Descriptive URLs – Let’s start with the URL. Instead of using dynamic URLs, use descriptive URLs that utilize your best keyword phrase for each content page. Your product name, a product description, or a phrase that best identifies each individual product is best for your product description pages.
  2. Create Unique Content For Every Product – Every product page should have unique content, and I’ll add that each should have at least 250 words of content. If necessary, combine several like products on one page and give each one a unique description. Is there really that much of a difference between a blue widget and a yellow widget? Do they need separate pages? If so, make sure you provide enough content on each page that you give them maximum SEO value, and that means no duplicate content.
  3. Use Category Pages – People don’t just shop for individual products. They also search for categories of product. If you sell cameras, have a section for digital cameras. Have another for camcorders. Make sure each category page has unique content.
  4. Link Your Pages Together With Anchor Text – Link your pages together with appropriate anchor text. This alone can give your website a huge boost. Figure out the best internal linking strategy based on consumer buying habits, keyword phrase associations, and complimentary products.
  5. Allow User Reviews – Every time you add new content to a page, the search engines return to crawl that page. When they do, they also re-index and re-rank it. Allowing user reviews, even negative reviews, can give your product pages a huge boost in the search engines.
  6. Allow Social Media Sharing – Social media sharing can encourage your content to travel far and wide. That means more potential traffic, more potential product reviews, and better SEO overall.

Each of these specific on-page content solutions has at least one associated SEO benefit. If you want to improve your online shop’s SEO, try these on-page content tricks.