Genesis Framework – The Benefits, The Future & Beyond

genesis-wordpress-framework

Without getting too technical and boring on you in this post I want to outline the reason why using Genesis for the foundation of your WordPress website is the best choice for you now and into the future.

A theme framework is just the name for the “main” theme that is installed. It can be used on its own or we can install what we call child themes on top of it. These child themes are really just a collection of design settings and images which make up the aesthetic part of the website, the design and layout.

Studiopress, the company that created and sells Genesis also provide a collection of “out of the box themes” that you can purchase and install on top of the Genesis framework. These are superb themes but to be honest there is not much individuality about them.  Many people buy them and install them without any customisation so that means there are quite a few sites out there that look the same.

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3 Reasons Why You Need a WordPress Blog

wordpressHaving just a static website these days is not enough to create an impact online. Web users require relevant and timely information which cannot be easily generated when running a static website. Additionally, blogging allows you to actively engage within a community to build your brand, expertise and authority. This post will explain, in detail, why you need a blog.

Reason #1: Blogging Easily Creates Fresh New Content

As noted, blogging allows you to create timely information without the hassle of editing a full web page from the base HTML level. Because you are not creating manual pages each time you’re producing content, you’ll be more readily able to push out news, articles and other forms of content to your community on a consistent basis. Additionally, major search engines (such as Google) even awards relevant and timely information by displaying recent blog entries within their search results and often gives higher ranking to blog posts covering current topics. Your coverage of recent information will increase the likelihood that your blog is found and thus, build a community.

Reason #2: Blogging Creates a Strong Community

One of the greatest advantages of blogging is that blogging platforms naturally allow visitors to leave comments. Comments allow visitors to engage with you and build a rapport with one another which has the possibility to lead to online relationships and networking opportunities. On the other end of the spectrum, when you leave comments on blogs within your niche you too will gain links and reach out well beyond your circle to engage other members of your niche which may eventually become part of your own community. Consistent content and replying to your commenter’s is a great way to build a community; each new member gives you the ability to spread your message beyond what’s capable on your own.

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6 Benefits Of Using WordPress in 2013

5 BenefitsIf you have been thinking about updating your tired old website you may have noticed the buzz around WordPress lately, well I say lately but it has actually been growing in popularity for a fair few years now.

Many business owners are now starting to use WordPress for their business websites. Not just the online businesses but real world businesses too!

I first started using it back in 2004 when it was a mere blogging platform. It is now MUCH more than that and is used by many of the major companies in the world such as Yahoo, Ebay, CNN, Sony, Ford, Wall Street Journal, PlayStation & Samsung!

Why is this? Why does everyone prefer using WordPress? What makes it so special?

Below I have listed 6 really good reasons why you should be thinking of upgrading your site and moving it over to WordPress.

Stunning Visual Editor and Content Management System (CMS)

Unlike other similar platforms, WordPress has a completely user-friendly backend which is a major part of why it is so popular. The editor is very similar to Word and everything you do in Word you can do in WordPress.

Also as with anything that is popular, WordPress is constantly improving their CMS and adding many awesome new features which keeps them ahead of the game and future proof. Technology moves on so fast so you need to be on your toes.

Thousands of Great Plugins

What’s a plugin? I hear you say… This is where WordPress comes into its own by using plugins you can extend your website to do almost anything you can think of.

A plugin is a small software file they you can install to create extra functions and usability such as eCommerce shops, online booking calendars, surveys, cool graphics, slideshows, SEO, security, customer interaction, Facebook & Twitter… this list goes on and on.

They are so easy to install and implement. They even have their own dedicated official site where you can find and download them in minutes. You can even install them from within your WordPress dashboard with just one click.

The power of plugins should not be under estimated!

Themes

Themes are little software packages that you can install to create a certain look and feel (design) for you site. There are thousands of them, free & premium. Some of them are simple, some of them are more advanced but with the right type of theme you can create something really unique. Themes are completely independent from your content so you can actually change them creating a new design very easily.

I use the Catalyst theme which gives me the power to create all my client sites, it’s a bit like a blank canvas for a designer. I also use Optimizepress which is a theme especially designed for Sales pages, Squeeze pages & Membership pages.

They are just about to release Optimizepress 2.0 which looks fantastic and has all the latest technology such as responsive design for mobile devices. Watch out for my next broadcast about the power of Optimizepress 2.0 for your business. You can get a sneak preview here

Great Security, Updates and Constant improvements

Online security is really important these days with the explosion of hackers around the world. Why do they bother? Anyway because of the popularity of WordPress it gets targeted by hackers just like the operating system Windows gets attacked by viruses. However there is not a more secure platform out there than WordPress.

Basic security is top of the list for the developers and you can harden WordPress even more with added plugins. WordPress constantly release updates and are always trying to improve the platform with each new release.

Google & Search Engines in general

Google and WordPress have a close relationship.. Even without SEO plugins your site can rank very well organically in the search engines. With the right plugins and proper SEO optimization your site will get indexed quicker than any other website platform.

SEO is moving more towards what we call “Social signals” as opposed to the old Meta tags and keywords set up.

Although these are still fundamentally important it is also essential to have your WordPress set up so readers can share your content really easily and that it is integrated seamlessly with all your social media account such as Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn. Again this is really easy to do with a plugin or two.

The biggest benefit of all is the power of WordPress for attracting clients to your business

With a WordPress website in place, a premium theme so it no only looks professional but can be viewed on ALL mobile devices, some key plugins installed and it hooked up with Pay Pal & Aweber you have the basis for a great lead generating website and showcase for your business.

I can help you with all of these elements, contact me today.

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Shortcodes Ultimate Plugin

buttonsShortcodes Ultimate is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most useful free WordPress plugins for building custom web pages that I have come across. You can easily add cool contemporary graphics and functions to your website without coding or touching the core WordPress files.

Shortcodes were introduced in WordPress 2.5 as a new API and they have quickly gained popularity due to the flexibility they provide for building your custom web pages.

Using a shortcode is pretty straight forward – just add the shortcode to a post or page and WordPress will render (show) the shortcode output where you added it. Typically shortcodes are used for adding buttons, tabs, sliders, boxes and similar design elements. The shortcodes ultimate plugin for WordPress gives you real power to make your posts and pages stand out.

I have created a demo video for you, let me know what you think

To make the video full screen click on the arrow in the top right hand corner of the video

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Traffic 101 – Conclusion

congratulationsCongratulations! You’ve made it. In this post series, you’ve learned the differences in website traffic, tactics you can apply to get people to your site, how to make people stick and some additional strategies to take your traffic to the next level.

As it was noted in the very beginning, traffic will come to those that are willing to put in the time and resources. There are dozens of “push button” systems and “automated” tools that promise you incredible amounts of traffic but these only make a play for your money; they die off only after a few months and once they do you are left with very little traffic. The better choice is to understand the systems and strategies that lead to long-term traffic generation.

Every time you create a new piece of content you can employ many of the traffic strategies detailed in this blog series. The content you create will be the greatest marketing tool in your arsenal; nearly form of long-term, sustainable traffic method taps into this element. The real winners are those that tap into the diverse platforms and channels to reach their niche communities and pull them in to become subscribers.

If you master just one of these methods of driving people to your website you will begin the process of building a successful website. Once you understand how to properly use one of the methods to driving traffic you should move to the next and begin the process of mastering all over again.

Each new tactic you master will be yet another tool in your traffic generation arsenal. You can only go up from there.

Thank you for reading these posts. There is no guarantees that your website will be successful because it really comes down to the amount of work you are willing to put in. If you do put in the work, you can certainly see a return on your investment. Once you control the traffic, you control the destiny of your website. Best of luck!

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Traffic 101 – Chapter 5: Advanced Traffic Generation Methods and Beyond

Advanced Traffic MethodsThe traffic tactics you’ve learned up to this point can easily be done by anyone with a website and the willingness to put in the time and resources. However, only limiting yourself to the basic methods will begin to level off in time due to the limited reach you have with online platforms. This post will share some of the advanced techniques to gaining website visitors that aren’t for the lazy; each of these methods require you to go above and beyond to reach new communities that may not be accessible with your current strategy.

Here are four advanced strategies that have the potential to explode your targeted traffic:

  • Write for a local magazine or news publication – Popular magazines and local newspapers are a traffic goldmine. Traditional platforms in print (magazines and news) reach millions of people around your area and even across the country. One way to tap into these new markets is by giving away quality information on each of these types of publications. Contact the editors for your local news papers or magazines to see if they would be willing to let you write an informational article toward your niche readers.
     
    In exchange for the free writing, you could ask to include the link to your website in the author byline within the article. Writing for local publications lets you tap into the perfect website visitor and even make a name for yourself within the local area. You could step up your strategy by going after larger publications that are distributed to millions all over the globe. All of this takes time and requires you to go outside your comfort zone but landing a print writing gig to promote your website has the potential to ramp up your traffic exponentially.
  • Hold or attend local workshops – You’d be surprised by the amount of people that may be interested in what you’re doing online within your local area. You don’t have to limit your website visitors to only those that are active online; there are hundreds, even thousands, of individuals in your city that could become community members. One way to break into this form of advanced traffic tactics is to hold or attend local workshops. You could lead the workshop by teaching what you know about your niche and capture the attention of your attendees.
     
    If you deliver a great presentation you’ll more than likely be greeted by many people that would like to learn more from you; at this time you could point people to your website for additional information. You could also leave a lasting impression by giving away printed materials which have been created from your online work; this could include your website URL and give people a way to understand what you offer when they’re not in front of the computers.
  • Join Venture with others – There are potentially hundreds of other website owners that are targeted the same market as you are. These other website owners have often taken the same approaches to traffic generation and community building as you have; this means they most likely have an email list or some way to easily connect with their communities. One of the advanced traffic generation methods is to work together with these fellow website owners by doing joint venture partnerships. JV partnership is the idea that you will share a persons message if they share yours; it’s very similar to guest writing for other websites but you’re directly tapping into their lists and subscribers.
     
    JV promotion can be anything from being included in an email to a list to a website owner’s endorsement within a content post. This style of traffic generation becomes extremely valuable if you are launching products in your niche; JV promotion can lead to greater sales because you are tapping into the trust the other website owners have built in their list. However, be careful with who you partner with because there are some people out there that only want to steal your community and exploit them; be smart bout your joint ventures.
  • Create a Branded Product – Develop and launch a product around the information and niche you’re working on. There are thousands of websites within your niche that are teetering on the edge of popularity but what’s stopping most of them is the fact that they haven’t gone above and beyond by creating their own product. Having a product immediately makes you an authority within your niche; it shows that you are a key player in your market and you have what it takes to step up the game and deliver incredible information to your community.
     
    Much like a business, a product will differentiate your website from all the others. A great product will create buzz amongst your community and others on social media and relevant websites. Add in an affiliate program and you will have people that promote your products (and website) in exchange for a commission; you create a virtual army of salespeople that do their best to get people to your website – that’s powerful!

There you have it. You are now the master of your own traffic destiny. The information you’ve learned in this section and the previous ones are more than enough to build a great community around your website. The trick to each of these methods is to employ them every day. Create new content, share it with others and capture people on your website. Repeat this as much as you can and you will increase your website visitors with each passing day until the point you no longer need to put in your own time and resources – your community will generate all the traffic you need.

Did you miss any previous posts in this series?

Chapter Four

Chapter Three

Chapter Two

Chapter One

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Traffic 101 – Chapter 4: How to Convert Traffic into Community Members

traffic-communityThe final element of traffic generation is actually keeping people on your website and getting them to join your community. Once you’ve built a community you will keep a steady stream of traffic to your website. Each new piece of content you release will be delivered directly to your readers. In time, the larger your community the greater opportunities you have at becoming a well known website.

Here are a few ways that you can get people to stick to your website:

  • Include RSS Subscription Options – RSS, Really Simple Syndication, gives your website visitors a unique feed to stay updated with your latest content releases through the use of RSS readers. The invention of RSS was to aid people that would normally visit dozens (even hundreds) of websites the ability to easily scan and stay up to date with website content without needing to visit each individual website. Although not everyone will use RSS, your more technical readers will understand what it represents and will utilize the feed to consume your content.
  • Include Email List Options – Nearly everyone online uses email; you can reach your community by including an email subscription option on your website using services like Aweber, MailChimp, iContact and dozens of other options. Email list building gives you direct access to your community through their inbox and is a great way to keep people coming back time and time again; it doesn’t need to be just for traffic generation. The choice to subscribe through email tells you that people want to receive your message. Since most people have email it’s one of the best options for creating a sticky website; you’ll be able to reach nearly anyone online through this channel.
  • Share your Social Media Profiles – Include links to your social media profiles like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and many others. People may not be immediately aware that you are on social platforms so get straight to the point and let people know by sharing your link or include buttons for people to click and be driven to your social media profiles. Twitter, Facebook and Google+ has begun to replace email and RSS subscription models because they are easier to use and add a social layer to discuss the content matter. Join up on these major platforms and you will create a method for people to stick to your website because you’ll be able to easily update them with new content.

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Traffic 101 – Chapter 3: Traffic Generation Methods that Work

chapter3-trafficYou’re now in the chapter you have been waiting for; the chapter that takes you through the proven methods that brings visitors to your website. Before you begin, remember that to maximize the effectiveness of the following tactics you must be willing to put in the time and resources. You could put in half of the effort but you’re only going to get half the rewards. You can aim to create quantity or you could go for quality. The more work you put into each tactic the greater return you’ll have on your time investment.

On that note, here are ten proven strategies for getting people to your website:

  • Optimize your Website for Search Engines. Improve your search engine rankings from the ground up by applying SEO elements to your website such as optimizing it for your main and secondary keywords. Apply keywords to your title, description, heading tags and other on-page elements. Begin building backlinks to your website using relevant keywords. Optimizing your website for search engines will improve your overall ranking in search engines and ensure that each other method of traffic generation will perform at their maximum ability. Organic traffic has a higher chance for gaining your website targeted traffic if you focus on long-tail keywords. These long-tail keywords are very specific styles of searches people use to find relevant information; it’s so focused that you almost guarantee that people will read your content if you appear for the specific information they are looking for.
  • Launch a Blog on your Website. Search engines, like Google, love when a website has new content. One way to deliver new content without the hassle of creating new pages in HTML is to utilize a content management system, such as WordPress, to create a blog for your site. The blog will allow you to easily publish new content from many different forms from print to audio, all the way to video. The content you create on your blog will be picked up by search engines and added to search results. Likewise, your content will help fuel the content you share on social media and give people something to share to their own friends, as well. There are additional ways to optimize your blog using SEO plugins and the widget features of most blogging platforms will let you add other traffic generation methods like list building with email newsletters and RSS subscription!
  • Guest Blog Post or Write Articles on Relevant Websites. A powerful way to gain new website visitors is by sharing your information on relevant websites or blogs. Writing a guest post or article puts you in the spotlight of a new community and also lets you build valuable backlinks to your website. The articles or posts you write for websites should be extremely informational and tell a story; doing so will bring brand awareness to your site and encourage people to come visit to see what else they can learn from you. The best approach to this traffic method is to find a few relevant blogs or websites in your niche and ask if you could write a regular piece of content for them. The constant spotlight you gain from having a regular content piece will keep you on the minds of these website viewers; this can result in gaining a stead increase in traffic with each new piece you submit.

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Chapter 2: Quality vs. Quantity – The Traffic that Matters

quality-trafficThere are two types of website visitors:

  • Those that visit and bounce
  • Those that visit and take action

Which makes the most difference for your website? If you chose the later than you hit the nail on the head.

There is a difference in the type of visitors to your website. When people land on your site and fail to take action than it’s nearly the equivalent that they didn’t even visit in the first place. For this reason, you need to take the right approach to building traffic so you can ensure that your visitors take action such as subscribing to your website, buying a product or service you have to offer or merely sharing the information with others online.

The approach to driving people that take action and convert is the process of gaining targeted traffic.

Targeted traffic is the result of the type of information you create, keywords you focus on, platforms you share your message, copywriting and call-to-actions. Every part of your website is a factor for keeping visitors on your website from the design to the smallest sentence you write. There is such thing as junk traffic and that’s the type you don’t want.

You should always aim to build quality traffic instead of just aiming for quantity. As noted, a website can have hundreds of thousands of visitors but if no one takes action than the time and resources getting people to the site go to waste. It’s a numbers game. It’s better to have smaller amounts of website visitors that do take action than to be allured into building a massive traffic funnel that results in nothing.

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