March 26, 2012 / Digital Marketing, WordPress / by Kathy Alice

Pretty Link WordPress PluginAffiliate links just look plain ugly and there is always the chance that someone will be petty enough to gyp you out of your commission by stripping out the tracking code. As a tangent I noticed a while back, these days Clickbank has a new URL that no longer include the Clickbank username (but still a tracking id). Wonder whether that is working out any better. To avoid this problem you want to hide the original affiliate link with a pretty link. This is what many mean by “affiliate link cloaking”. But cloaking has another meaning, which is showing different content and links to the search engines versus to the humans. That’s really not what I’m talking about here, nor am I going to touch on the topic of hiding affiliate links because Google doesn’t like them. I don’t really have a lot of affiliate links compared to all the content I have, so I’m not worried.

I was looking for a couple of features:

  • Ability to redirect a pretty link to an affiliate link
  • Ability to add a nofollow to the link

I had heard good things about GoCodes and was planning to install it. However it is no longer available via the plugin WordPress repository search and hasn’t been updated since 2009. Too bad as it was a nice solution.

One nice alternative is the Pretty Link plugin, which comes in a free version (Pretty Link Lite) and an enhanced version (Pretty Link Pro) which gives you the ability to use javascript to mask your links which might be attractive to the “cloaking” crowd. Not only does it satisfy the above requirements but it gives you tracking and a bookmarklet.

It’s worth pointing out that Google will still follow the link, even if you put a nofollow tag on it (confusingly nofollow doesn’t mean “don’t follow” but rather “don’t pass page rank”, so you aren’t “hiding links from Google”. If that is your goal, you can check into the paid version’s javascript feature.

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January 7, 2012 / Search Engine Optimization, WordPress / by Kathy Alice

WordPress SEO by YoastFor quite a while I routinely recommended the All in SEO WordPress plugin, but that changed when Yoast introduced his WordPress plugin. I’ve used it on four WordPress sites and each time my appreciation of this wonderful plugin has grown. Not just for myself, but also because it helps my clients write more SEO optimized posts and pages.

I used to get frustrated after carefully explaining to new bloggers and site owners how to write SEO friendly permalinks, page titles and meta descriptions — and then watching them forget everything I told them by creating poorly optimized posts and pages. Now I can lead the horse to water, and he (or she) actually drinks it! Another great bonus about this plugin is that is it so comprehensive is that it does the job of several plugins. For example there is no need to install a sitemap plugin – Yoast’s plugin will take care of that too for you.

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November 23, 2011 / WordPress / by Kathy Alice

Website Under Construction

Have you backed up your WordPress lately? Maintenance activities such as upgrading WordPress or backing up my site rank at the top of my list of my least favorite things to do. I’d much rather write a blog post or check out a new plug-in. But this week I bit the bullet and spent some time on site maintenance.

Do I really need you to tell why backups and upgrades are important? Here’s one reason, WordPress’s popularity has not gone unnoticed by hackers and they are hard at work exploiting security vulnerabilities in the software. By upgrading to the latest version of WordPress you are at least installing the latest security fixes. That goes for your plugins as well.

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November 7, 2011 / WordPress / by Kathy Alice

WordPress templates are powerful tools. For example many themes use templates to give you the option of creating a sales page without the sidebar. But I had never seen these custom templates used for WordPress posts.

WordPress custom post templateAn artist needed Paypal buttons added to her WordPress site, a portfolio of paintings and prints showcased using posts. But at this point we only wanted to add Paypal buttons for the prints, which were available at a the same range of prices based on size of the print and the paper used. Since most of the posts (but not all) would have the same Paypal buttons, I wanted to find a way to avoid copying and pasting code onto each page. I also wanted to empower my client to have the choice to “turn on” or choose the paypal buttons with just a click or two. I found the answer in WordPress custom post templates.

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August 31, 2011 / Search Engine Optimization, WordPress / by Kathy Alice

Although advances have been made in this area, you should assume that an image to a search engine looks like unreadable code. So what you need to do to surround the image with hints on what the image might be about. This gives you another opportunity to add your primary and secondary keywords to your page.

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August 7, 2011 / Search Engine Optimization, WordPress / by Kathy Alice

My post where I stated that I have noindex my category pages attracted some attention. I guess I’m not too surprised, it’s not a common recommendation. I’ve seen people recommend using the read more tag, excerpts and to adopt a practice of using one category per post. This is all good advice if you keep your category pages indexed. Replicating the full post on your category page is duplicate content you want to avoid, and excerpts are a great way to populate your category page with some unique content. Additionally not using multiple categories on your posts will keep the proliferation of the post content to a minimum.

But I took it further and just noindexed the category pages and I would argue that many bloggers should do the same. Why? And should you take my advice?

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