Agony free WordPress blogging using Word™

The agony of blogging
Not just currently, but frankly from the very dawn of SEO, blogs have been fabulous resources to attract search engines and then visitors, but when I mention the word ‘blogging’ to clients there’s the inevitable groan of anticipated agony.
Creating a blog article in WordOnce we get passed the normal objections including…

  • What can I possibly write about?
  • How frequently should I write a post?
  • etc

…then we bump into the crusty question of using online editors to create the precious posts. Yes even the WordPress editor is a little clunky, even strange, if you havent used online editors before.

Create and Publish from Word
Publish from Word rather than SavingI usually suggest creating the post in Word then copying and pasting the completed article into the WordPress editor to reduce agony, but it is also possible and even less agonising to create your blog posts in Microsoft Word then publish then directly into your WordPress blog.

You, like many people may not have noticed when creating a new document in Word the New Blog Post template icon, right next to the Blank Document icon.

Use this template to make writing posts a breeze; you get all the great capabilities Word offers to help you to productively create, format and spell your blog post.

Then there’s the moment of truth – how do I push or ‘publish’ my shiny new post into my blog? You will need to  ‘Register an Account’ which is simply entering your WordPress login details into Word as a once only activity. Got more than one blog ? No problem: ‘Register’ a second account then select this when publishing your posts.

Register WordPress in Word

Make sure you don’t remove /xmlrpc.php from the end of the Blog Post URL or it will all go pear shaped very quicky.

Check out this comprehensive article by Katherine Murray on Blogging with Word 2007 which explains how to deal with images, selecting categories etc  

Finally, don’t forget to have a look at our free Purposeful Blogging paper which will help you squeeze all of the SEO goodness you can from your blogging efforts. Yes it is from 2011, but curiously everything old is new again in SEO.

Can’t see your WordPress website in Google? Check this setting.

WordPress Discourage Search Engines

A trap for inexperienced WordPress users, the innocent looking ‘Discourage search engines from indexing this site‘ checkbox can be search death for your website. If left turned on (ie a tick in the box as illustrated) Google will obediently not show your website in search results… Argghh!

So why have such a potentially dangerous setting in WordPress ? If your web dev is creating a new version of your site, they can turn this on and Google will leave the draft site alone while its being created/updated.  …Someone just has to remember to turn it off when the site’s been cutover 😉



WordPress 3.7 Now with auto updates

Wordpress LogoHurrah! After years of preaching the importance of updating WordPress, the latest release 3.7 has built-in background updates.

But I have a bitter sweet concern about these automatic updates after seeing my fair share of ‘manual updates’ go horribly wrong in the past, and on more than one occasion requiring a complete re-install from backups.

Other times a minor glitch can be sorted out at the time of the update, but background updates happen unattended; ‘overnight’

Ignoring the discussion about what overnight might mean here at Zulu +10.5o,  the fact is that there isn’t likely to be someone hovering over the site at the time of update who can leap into the fray to immediately to address any glitches.  

To the WP 3.7  teams’ credit, emails are dispatched when the site is updated…  Imagine the global and feverish checking  of WordPress 3.7.1 (ie after the very first background update) to make sure the site is still functional and looks OK.

My only other concern (its not a gripe… Really!) is that optional configuration of updates requires coding either in WP-CONFIG or a Functions file and isnt (yet) exposed into the Administrative interface. I’m sure just minutes from now, a brilliant WP developer will produce the Background Updates Configuration plugin. I love that!.

Either way I commend the 3.7 team on continuing to press WordPress functionality forward, while our friends with sites using Joomla (either release) agonise over a much more tragic update dilemma.

Update 31 October 2013

3.7.1 has been automatically updated on this and other WordPress sites I manage without any fuss
I do like the email notice letting me know its happened…

Speedier site generates more leads especially from mobiles

WordPress and other CMS make it easy to churn out a good looking site easily – but at what price ?

The website load chart below is a case in point. Last Saturday I invested time to tune this puppy to pull it back from up to 20 secs (14 secs average) page load back to under six secs (2.9 average).
Sure there was some images that needed to be optimised but also I also added gzip compression addressed a couple of 404 errors etc.
Quite a bit of work but the end result is plain to see in this page load chart:

Speeding up your Website

BTW this chart and the corresponding page load waterfall (not shown here) is from Zoho’s fabulous website performance and availability reporting service Site 24×7

The site’s home page loads 14 secs faster.
That’s got to be good for visiting sales prospects and I’d expect a drop in bounce rate as a result.

Mobile visitors like slimmer sites?
What these stats comparing before and after the tune up show is that mobile users got more engaged in the site:
Double the Pages per visit and a massive 500% increase in visit duration up from a miserable 27 secs to 2:43 secs average

mobile vs desktop

Adding AdWords conversion tracking to a WordPress site

If you are using AdWords, you may be painfully aware that its easy to spend lots of money on clicks and not get a result.
Measuring the outcomes from your click investment is key to optimising your campaign and of course reducing click costs. AdWords has a number of features that can help you track outcomes or ‘Conversions’ but these need to be implemented to be used.

Internet marketing jargon for measuring and tuning website sales outcomes is Conversion Optimisation

What is your Conversion?

The process starts with defining what a conversion is for your website… Maybe your site, like many, doesnt sell stuff online, so tracking ecommerce transactions is just not relevant to you. Consider your site’s online sales objective(s).  Is it:

  • Submitting an enquiry
  • Downloading a document or PDF
  • Registering for a newsletter

These sales objectives can be readily tracked as conversions, then used as input to your AdWords campaign for tuning and/or reporting.

Once the target conversion is known then the AdWords conversion tracking scripts will need to be configured and installed into your site.
These scripts are only installed only on one page – the page immediately after the ‘conversion’ .  This could be a bit of a daunting process with WordPress, but the Smart Google Code plugin makes this delightfully easy.

Once your conversion tracking code is installed sit back and wait for some data and conversions to percolate through the system
Add the conversion tracking fields into your AdWords displays

Sample AdWords Conversion Data

Sample AdWords Conversion Data

As we can see above, the Click Through Rate (CTR) shows 3.5%  which is typically all you would be able to determine.
With conversion tracking enabled, we can see that 391 clicks produced 57 conversions, resulting in a conversion rate of 14.6%  or $23.10 per conversion – this is much more commercially informative information.