This hodgepodge post of website tips and strategies has a little something for everyone. It covers…
- How to get a free and extremely thorough search engine ranking guide
- A tip for improving your affiliate conversions
- Why image ALT tags still have value
- The downside to WordPress redirect plugins
- And more!
1) Don’t Sleep On Your Image ALT Tags
In my last podcast about Pinterest, I left out one very important tip.
Whether you use Pinterest or not, always make sure you assign descriptive ALT tags to all your images.
Because this is the default description that appears with your image if your visitors decide to pin your content.
A lot of people do not edit the text when they pin something so it can benefit you to add a benefit-rich statement in the ALT tags instead of just adding keywords.
By the way, you can see what images are being pinned from your site by going to…
You must be logged in to view the results.
When you do so, you will notice that most people are simply using whatever you had in your ALT tag for the description of the pin.
For example, if you look at the images that have been pinned from this blog you will notice that the descriptions are mostly the same.
That’s because most people are using my default ALT text.
Alt tags may have lost their SEO influence, but they still play a VERY important role with Pinterest. That description could be the deciding factor for whether or not someone clicks the image and visits your site.
Heads Up! Even if you don’t use or like Pinterest, I encourage you to sign up just to see how many people are pinning images from your site. When you go to pinterest.com/source/yoursite.com you may be surprised. It also highlights the importance of the images you use on your posts and pages. Because I am not active on Pinterest for this site, I don’t get nearly as much pin activity on this blog compared to my hair site. But the pinning picked up here when I added Chris Guthrie’s plugin (affiliate link), which adds the Pin It button on top of my images.
2) Seven Is The Magic Number
Did you know that it takes an average of 7 exposures to a product before someone buys?
Obviously there are exceptions. If your audience is extremely niche, the price is right and you have good credibility, it may take less.
But in a nutshell, you can’t expect most people to buy something you recommend on the first exposure.
I do very well with the Studiopress affiliate program on this site, but that’s largely because I promote it everywhere. I have content and videos all over the place.
And this snapshot from my current commission report shows that consistency pays off…
Consistent exposure combined with demos, tutorials and proof that you actually use a product will dramatically increase your conversions.
I also want to point out that most of these mentions are casual mentions. They aren’t promotional in any way.
For example, one of my biggest converting articles of all time is a post I wrote almost two years ago where I talked about why I no longer use the Thesis theme. This article still converts sales today.
Another post that converts well is one where I talk about the importance of using responsive WordPress themes.
Neither of these posts are blatantly advertising the themes. In fact, StudioPress isn’t even the primary focus of the articles.
Converting isn’t always about direct advertising. Subtle mentions in relevant content works very well too! The key is to use this strategy throughout multiple articles so you increase exposure of the product.
If you do this effectively, you will find that these pages can bring in passive income over time.
3) The Ugly Side of WordPress Redirect Plugins
I know a lot of you love using plugins to redirect your affiliate links. There are even some that will automatically turn specified keywords on your pages into the appropriate redirect link you setup in advance.
I used to love these kinds of plugins as well until I had to uninstall one, which meant manually updating all my affiliate links.
UGH! It was not pretty. 🙁
While plugins are super convenient for redirects, if they are ever exploited by hackers (which is happening more and more these days) and you need to uninstall it, you’ll have to manually insert the affiliate links into all your pages the plugin affected.
I now do my redirects on the hosting side. It’s very easy. Just login to your hosting control panel and look for the “Redirect” option (it’s “URL Redirect” if you host at my site.)
So if you want to setup a short redirect for your StudioPress affiliate link, you’d enter…
http://www.yourdomain.com/studiopress, for example, and then paste your StudioPress affiliate link into the provided field for the redirect and save.
These redirects get backed up when you backup your hosting account.
The downside is you will lose reporting that you get with a lot of affiliate redirect plugins, but if you have to go through what I went through, that is a small loss.
Plus, many affiliate programs track where the sale came from anyway.
4) Duplicator – An Awesome Way to Create a Live WordPress Testing Environment
I get a lot of questions about creating a live testing environment for WordPress.
For years I’ve been using Instant WordPress. You can install a fully functional version of WordPress on your Windows computer so you can test themes and plugins.
I absolutely LOVE this software, but there is one big drawback.
Because you are testing locally on your computer, you never really mimic a true live hosting environment. I’ve noticed that some StudioPress themes don’t display properly on Instant WordPress.
However if you use Duplicator you can create a live testing environment by copying/cloning your current site. Then you would upload your current WordPress site to a test folder on your hosting account and test away!
If you have other WordPress testing methods you use, feel free to share in the comments!
5) A Must-Read Guide for Ranking Your Site on Google
By now you probably know my feelings about manual link building. It’s much better to EARN links than to hunt them down.
But hey, some of you may prefer the chase. 🙂
Nevertheless, Moz recently published a PDF about link building that is pretty detailed.
It helps you understand what kinds of links Google values, and there are some more manual methods that are not black hat you might find helpful.
So if you are into link building to improve your rank, or you just want to learn more about how Google values links, check it out.
It’s a very easy read and a GREAT resource. I also appreciate how they highlighted the downsides and inappropriate methods of link building too.
I think a lot of information on ranking a website today is just flat out BAD and MISLEADING. But I generally trust content that Moz puts out.
6) Gmail’s Promotional Tab Could Be Killing Your Email List!
In 2013, Gmail added a “Promotions” tab to their interface and it automatically filters emails they believe may be of the promotional nature.
The problem is, they may be filtering emails you’d rather appear in your Inbox. And if you don’t regularly check this tab, you might be missing emails you want to see.
If you use Gmail, check your Promotions tab now. I guarantee you’ll find messages from sites you’d prefer to land in your Inbox.
7) Google Will Give Ranking Boosts to Sites That Use HTTPS://
Google claims they want websites to get serious about security so earlier this month they announced they will start giving a small ranking boost to sites that use https:// instead of just http://.
A lot of people are scurrying to buy SSL certificates from their hosts. But before you panic or get overwhelmed with all this techy stuff, it’s important to note that Google said it’s ONLY going to affect 1% of searches and the ranking benefit will be minor.
Plus, they will be rolling out more documentation in the near future. So don’t go investing in SSL certificates just yet. Save your money and wait until further info is released.
By the time this becomes more mainstream, hosting companies will begin the price wars, and there will be ample documentation to help you set it all up.
But my hunch is that the ranking benefit the average site will receive is probably not worth the hassle. I personally believe people are making this a bigger deal than necessary. Let’s stay tuned!