Austin WordPress Meetup Notes — 09.15.14
This WordPress for Beginners presentation focused on the tools and processes available to help those new to WordPress develop and implement a winning content creation strategy. After making all the hard choices to design and develop a great looking website every website owner faces the same problem — the “feed the beast” syndrome. How do we continually produce a steady stream of engaging content for our WordPress site? How often should we update the content on our site’s ‘static’ pages? What can we do to add some dynamic content to our static pages to keep the Search-Bots coming back?
Nick and Sandi discussed and demonstrated both offline and online tools and resources to use for brainstorming Blog topics, producing relevant content that targets the site’s audience and ways to use that content to build an on-line community. The class discussed the correct use of categories for content-organization and the styles of written content that are most effective. Sandi introduced the topic of curating content and discussed the tools needed to conduct a content audit.
As promised I’ve included the links we discussed during the meeting. Here’s hoping the steps provided will help you get all those words and phases out of your head and organized into a site that does what you need it to do!
On-line and off-line resources to produce effective content
Feeding the beast you call Blog —
Best Resources to help you brainstorm topics for your site’s blog:
Google Alerts — a content change detection and notification service, offered by Google
Currently there are six types of alerts sent when new content matches the search terms of the alert:
- Everything – (default setting) aggregates News, Web and Blogs
- News – sent when matching content makes it into the top ten results of a Google News search
- Web – sent when new web pages appear in the top twenty results for a Google Web search
- Blog – Google has quietly disabled the Google Blog Search home page at google.com/blogsearch and redirects it to the Google home page. Now, if you want to filter content based on blog posts, you can do so by going to Google News, clicking on the Search Tools and selecting the “All news” drop down and checking off just “Blogs.” Google Blog Search
- Video – sent when matching content appears in the top ten results of a Google Video search
- Groups – sent when matching content appears in the top fifty results of a Google Groups search
Content Developers Research…
Whether you are building a new site, or upgrading an existing site, a good practice is to create a list of content topics and keywords that will attract your target audience.
Here are some simple old school ways to conduct this research.
- Who would you consider your closest competitor?
- What words or phases would you enter into Google to find the services or products that business/organization offers?
- In either Google or BING enter queries with words and phases you associate with your industry sector.
- Who else is showing up within your search parameters?
- Analyze the sites that came up in your search. What are they doing well? How can you improve on that?
If you want to further refine your keyword list go to Google Webmaster tools and review the Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool.
With Keyword Planner you can find new keyword and ad group ideas, get keyword traffic estimates and search volume. Use your finalized keyword list to develop the site’s content categories. Write to the categories to help keep your site message on point.
Best resources to learn how to write great content for your target audience: CopyBlogger – Become a member / read the articles and FREE eBooks /take the classes:
Learning how to curate content
The Content Audit Plugin enables you and your staff to easily review old content and determine if it’s still relevant. The plugin works with posts, pages and media. You can automatically set content as outdated after a set period of time and notify post authors about it. Content can be marked as redundant, outdated or trivial. You can also mark content as needing a review of SEO or style.
How to manage the content development process
WordPress Editorial Calendar makes it possible to see all your posts and drag and drop them to manage your blog. The editorial calendar gives you an overview of your blog and when each post will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts right in the calendar, and manage your entire blog.
Edit Flow empowers the user to collaborate with their editorial team inside WordPress. The plugin is modular so you can customize it to your needs:
- Calendar – A convenient month-by-month look at your content.
- Custom Statuses – Define the key stages to your workflow.
- Editorial Comments – Threaded commenting in the admin for private discussion between writers and editors.
- Editorial Metadata – Keep track of the important details.
- Notifications – Receive timely updates on the content you’re following.
- Story Budget – View your upcoming content budget.
- User Groups – Keep your users organized by department or function.
More details for each feature, screenshots and documentation can be found on http://editflow.org
CoSchedule by Todaymade allows you to create a queue of social media messages that will be automatically sent once your blog post goes live. If you drag a blog post from one date to another on the editorial calendar, your social media messages move with it. This allows bloggers to create a series of messages that promote their blog posts on a rolling schedule, and reschedule them. It is a lightweight social sharing plugin that runs off of our own hand-crafted API to ensure that social media and blog scheduling is 100% reliable. It is a paid (monthly) service, but you can try it free for 14 days.
Peter’s Post Notes, from the same developer as Peter’s Collaboration E-mails, Peter’s Post Notes is a simple plugin that helps authors collaborate with each other on posts. It adds a note area next to the “Publish” box on the editing pages for posts and pages.
Photos, slides, audio and video are becoming increasingly popular forms of content
Content is not just words – but it takes words to help it get indexed and found!
Use high-value links for your content — sites with “high value” that link to your site add extra Google-Love.
The Real-Time Photo Blogging App for both Apple and Android devices that Nick demonstrated in class can be found at: http://apps.wordpress.org/
A Content Creation Checklist
- Check your “inspiration sources” for content ideas
- Choose a headline
- Check keyword competition and edit your headline as needed
- Research and plan your article
- Choose your category and add tags
- Fill in the SEO fields
- Write your first draft
- Go back and edit out clichés and add keywords and phrases
- Add images, video, and/or other rich content
- Re-read it. Edit.
- Add an excerpt
- Read it again
- Check your editorial schedule for the next article
Now you have a place to start
As you continue to research your site plan — question your assumptions, refine your business objectives.
If you have a good reason, consciously change your plan.
Don’t drift into decisions.
Make changes based on facts.
Make sure that the content and the appearance of your website, are in alignment with your stated business goals and the needs of your target market.
Effective Content Creation — Bonus Material…
These are the links to a series of Content Development blogs I wrote last year to support the beginner’s class. You might find the addition explanations and subject detail helpful:
- Developing a Content Strategy
- Avoid Common Content Development Errors
- Creating a Useful, Information-Rich Site
- Optimizing Content
- Linking Categorizing and Tagging Content
- Building a Link Strategy
Here are the links for the various plugins and services we discussed, but due to time constraints did not have a chance to demo during the meeting
The Organize Series WordPress Plugin helps with the organization and presentation of articles/posts you write as part of a series. It helps make it easier for readers of your blog to discover all the series you’ve written and also to easily find post that are part of the same series.
Yoast SEO Optimize your WordPress site with just one plugin The most complete SEO plugin for WordPress available today offers you everything you need to optimize your site.
ShopTalk is a podcast about front end web design, development and UX. Each week Dave & Chris will be joined by a special guest who is there to talk shop and help answer listener submitted questions. This is a great POD CAST model to emulate. http://shoptalkshow.com/
KeyWordSpy Realtime tracking to monitor keyword performance.
Tag: nofollow improves your blog’s search engine optimization by “noindexing” pages you choose. Now also for page-based (as opposed to date-based)
Get the Image is a plugin that grabs images for you. It was designed to make the process of things such as adding thumbnails, feature images, and/or other images to your blog much easier, but it’s so much more than that. It is an image-based representation of your WordPress posts.
Contextual Related Postsis a powerful plugin for WordPress that allows you to display a list of related posts on your website and in your feed. The list is based on the content of the title and/or content of the posts, which makes them more relevant and more likely to be of interest to your readers. This allows you to retain visitors, reduce bounce rates and refresh old entries.
I will close these Austin WordPress meet-up notes with my favorite example of effective newsletter content:
Thomas Umstattd Jr. is the CEO of Castle Media Group the parent company of Author Media a great example of how to do ‘client engagement’ newsletters right! Author Media focuses on supporting writers with targeted websites and specialized marketing campaigns. I’m a fan of Thomas’ sane approach to social media, and a big time follower of his Author Media newsletter. His secret to subscriber loyalty — there is never an issue I read, that I don’t learn something new about my industry. This newsletter is a profession writer’s best friend and a good model to study and apply to your own industry segment.
Nick Batik and I look forward to seeing you all at the next Austin WordPress Meet up!