What Are You Saying?

In this time of social media, your website, tweets, Facebook updates and every other bit of social media that you participate in paint a picture for your prospective and current clients. Are you taking that seriously? Does your website reflect the image that you want to put in the public eye? I’d like to suggest that you really take a look at your collective representation and decide if you’re putting your best face forward.

I know it’s very popular lately to hire someone to do your tweeting and update your Facebook page, but I would suggest that you pay very close attention to what they’re saying. Remember, they’re speaking for you. As far as your clients are concerned that’s your voice. I see so many businesses tweeting nothing but links to their website and poorly constructed filler messages with little content, misspelled words and grammar that would make your 7th grade English teacher cringe. Self promotion isn’t a bad thing, but unless you’re a very sought after brand, you’re going to need compelling content to get noticed.  Not everyone is literally inclined and that’s OK. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. If you’re paying someone to be your voice, make sure that it’s a voice you’re proud of – and if you can’t afford to hire someone and you’re not inclined to do it, find someone in your organization who is and make it worth their while to be an effective voice for you.

With a little bit of effort and some observation you can enormously improve your online identity. Don’t let someone else cause you lost opportunities because of these mistakes.

Three New (to Me) Plugins for WordPress

I just finished up a client’s site and did some reorganization of some of my own sites. Along the way, I discovered some really cool plugins and I thought I’d share some of them with you.

Popularity Contest – This is a really intricate plugin. What I love about it is that you have all the collected information in the dashboard, but it also comes with all the code that you need in order to display this information on your blog if you choose to. By post, category, archive, etc. You can put the code outside the loop in the sidebar, or footer, or wherever and you don’t have to be really code savvy to do it. Keep track of the popularity of your posts, and/or show it off! Very well done.

No Self Pings – Some people really like that internal links show up in your pings, and some people don’t. I’m of the don’t variety. Sometimes I might link to something strategically for search engine optimization, or whatever and I don’t always want that displayed. Also, if no one else is linking to the post it sort of looks sad to me. I turn ping notifications off because of it. With this plug-in, you don’t have to worry about it. I like that a lot. I just turned ping notifications back on and I’ll keep you posted.

Widget Context – This one is my favorite right now. It allows you to choose what pages certain widgets show up on. I don’t have a lot of use for it on ColorMePink, but I’ve already used it on a couple of client sites and I know that there’s a certain advertising program that won’t allow you to have their add content on your review pages, this makes it super easy to just remove it. You can control widget appearance by URL, category, page, word count, archive, etc. Sometimes something comes along that is so perfect, so useful and so simple that you have to marvel that it was never thought of before.

Six of My Favorite WordPress Plug Ins

Every so often I go through my plugins, upgrading, activating, deactiving, deleting. . . While I was doing it today, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorites. Most of them are pretty well known, but I thought I’d share anyway, just in case you might have missed one. I have to tell you it took me forever to narrow it down this far and as always, I do reserve the right to change my mind.

I tried to skip the really obvious ones, but I couldn’t completely as you’ll see below. So, here they are in no particular order, my current favorite WordPress Plug Ins.

  1. Send It Really easy, yet robust newsletter subscription plug in. Yes, it’s in Italian, but there are English instructions too. I love this one!
  2. WP Greet Box – Let’s you show a different welcome message to your visitor, depending upon the referring URL. Very Cusomizable. Change multiple messages, placement, etc. Very easy to use.
  3. Post Ideas – Some people keep them as drafts, but that seems messy to me some how, I much prefer this plug in that lets you jot down any ideas, relevant links, keywords, etc., till you’re ready. Ranks by priority too.
  4. Blog Icons – Makes it ridiculously easy to add favicon and icons for Ipod/Itouch icons to your blog
  5. Follow My Links – Prevents WordPress from automatically adding a “rel=nofollow” attribute. Show your commenters Linky Love, which leads us to: Edit! The gracious author of this plugin was kind enough to stop by and explain that this does not pertain to comments left by readers, only the “authorial comments (i.e., comments made by the post author)”. I took it to mean the author of the comments, because I don’t actually read documentation, I skim it and then just keep pressing buttons till it either works, or I break it completely. You can see his whole comment below.
  6. Comment Luv – Everyone is already using this right? It goes without saying, right?

So tell me, what are your current favorites? Anything you think I absolutely have to know about? I’m all ears eyes. :wassat:

Some of my (Current) Favorite Plug Ins

I’ve been having an awful lot of fun this week setting up a couple of blogs for clients, friends and family. Of course I’m always tweaking this one, as I’m sure you may have noticed, but it’s always interesting to start with a blank canvas and build according to the writer’s unique needs and desires. I thought I’d share with you some of the things that I found, some great old stand-bys, and where and how to implement them. We’re WordPress Centric ’round here, so if that’s not your flavor, you might want to skip this.

First I thought that I would try the plug in that’s gotten so much buzz lately; the Google Analyticator. I came to Google Analytics a little late in the game as I’ve been using Sitemeter for so long that I didn’t really see the need to change. Wrong. Google Analytics is so much more powerful with so many different ways of looking at your traffic and your readers. The Analyticator makes it very easy to install your code to each page, but there are also some other features making it really useful, like putting the code in your footer with the click of a button for faster load times, tracking your adsense information etc. Useful stuff!

404 Notifier: A great one for anyone, but especially if you’ve had your site for a long time and there have been several incarnations of it, there are most definitely old links to pages that no longer exist from other blogs, forums, etc. With 404 Notifier, every time someone gets a 404 error from your site, you’re notified (by email or RSS feed) of the page they were looking for and you can then either modify your 404 page to send the visitor elsewhere in your site or simply create another file of that name. Very cool.

Blog Icons might be my favorite one this week – because I’m insane for customized icons. This one lets you easily add your customized Apple iPod Touch / iPhone icon, favicon and feed image to your blog. Go ahead and look, take your iphone and visit colormepink.com – click on the “+” and choose “Add to Home Screen”. Now you have my pretty butterfly icon right there, easy access!

Post Ideas: This is great. Instead of the 300 drafts I would sometimes wind up with, Post Ideas keeps your ideas, target tags and links you want to reference. When you’re ready to write the actual post, click “Write This” and it converts your idea into a New Post and deletes it from Post Ideas. I added a link to this page of my admin panel on my Iphone as well, so I can jot this information down when I’m out of the house. Note: This is compatible with WP 2.7.1 the link is under “Tools” instead of “Manage”.

The last one I’ll talk about today is Podcasting, another one by the developer behind Google Analyticator. Of course you can use it for podcasting, but I needed a way to take a client’s audio file from their commercial and add it to their website for easy listening. This was a simple, elegant way to do it. The best part is, it was so easy to teach the client how to do this for themselves. Yay!

I can’t say enough about WordPress and the community of talented developers working on a never ending stream of great plugins and themes.