Frequently, I’ll refer to Jeniffer Thompson of MonkeyCMedia. I have heard Jeniffer speak many times, and learn more each time. I admit, my brain goes to overload, so I enjoy getting a few tips at a time. Jennifer has agreed to let us share her tips with our followers.

Jeniffer Thompson

In the last six months we have experienced a wave of hackers getting into our custom WordPress author websites.  You may have received a newsletter from me about this very topic.  The problem is that hackers have realized how popular WordPress sites are (internationally); as a result, many of them focus on finding weaknesses and hacking into thousands (gosh maybe millions) of sites.  Less work—more payout. The good news is that we are more diligent in our efforts to make you aware of the importance of keeping your site updated. Why? Because while the bad programmers are working to get in, the good WordPress programmers are working to keep them out.  The bad news is that updating your site can cause errors due to conflicts with custom php code and plug-ins.  Stay with me.

You can very easily click the Please Update Now link from your WordPress Dashboard.  And it will update, but what can also happen is that your blog can quit working, your theme can get wiped out, your plug-ins could stop working, and your blog could be rendered useless.  It could also work seamlessly.  So, how do you know what yours will do? Well, you don’t.  Each site is unique to this equation. That is why it is so important to back up your website and your database content.

At Monkey C Media we do a complete backup of your site so we are ready for any hiccups, and after each update we do a physical check to ensure that everything works properly.

At the risk of boring you to pieces, here’s an example: we recently conducted a round of WordPress site updates:

  • 2 worked great but needed plug-in upgrades
  • 1 stopped working completely and displayed an error message where the blog should have been (but looked fine on the home page)
  • 2 contact form plug-ins completely disappeared from two different websites
  • and in another, the theme was wiped out and needed to be reinstalled.

Why so many different problems? Because each site is truly custom and contains unique themes, php code, custom fields and plug-ins.  There is no way to predict how the newest upgrade will interact with your site’s existing code.

A very dear client called me up one day and said “Jeniffer, you always know when an important update comes along, why don’t you offer an automated service so I don’t have to think about it and I can rest assured that my site is secure.”

Great idea.  We are now implementing a monthly program that begins with this Newsletter. But, rather than automatically updating sites, my goal it to keep you informed so you can make an educated decision as to whether or not your site could use an update or new plug-ins.  Together, we’ll ensure that your site is working properly, is getting indexed by search engines, and is keeping your content secure and safe from hackers.

Here’s How it Works:
I keep a running journal that is dedicated to WordPress; most of this makes it into my articles and blog posts.  I will now compile this into a Monthly newsletter so you know what’s new and can decide if you need the latest gadget or upgrade for your own blog.

“A short message from our Sponsor: If your site needs an upgrade, a fresh new look or you would like help installing a plug-in, give us a call at 619-955-8286 and we’ll help you out.  Now back to our regular programming….”

Why I love WordPress
The cool thing about WordPress is that it is based on open-source code and is therefore a group effort with thousands of coders working to constantly improve upon the existing software.  Every day new plug-ins appear on the scene—they are tested and critiqued by the WordPress community and you get to benefit from all that work.  And further, if there is a need, it will be filled—you can count on it.

More than cool plug-ins, the number one reason I like WordPress is because it gives you control of your site and provides you with the tools you need to successfully promote your business online. Your website is truly your number one asset when it comes to staying in touch with your market, creating a sense of community, establishing yourself as an expert, and expanding your reach all over the globe. And further, your site will work for you 24/7.  But (isn’t there always a but in places like these?), I won’t kid you, it’s a lot of work and you have to constantly stay on top of your message and keep it interesting for your existing audience and your potential audience.  It’s imperative that your site stays fresh and interesting and that it continues to appeal to your readership, because as we know there is a heck of a lot of competition out there.  Luckily, you have the power to control your message, keep it interesting and stay in touch with your readers, and it’s all possible through your WordPress website.  There are plug-ins that allow you to:

  1. optimize your site with keywords and unique title tags so that your site appears in search engine results pages
  2. alleviate SPAM
  3. backup and protect your content
  4. integrate image galleries and event calendars
  5. sell your book and products with a slick commerce solutions package that doesn’t cost you a penny unless you sell something
  6. integrate with contact managers like Constant Contact and Mail Chimp
  7. postdate your content so you can actually take a real vacation
  8. integrate rights-free images with the click of a button
  9. feed your content into social networking groups like Linked-In, Twitter and FaceBook
  10. embed video (not just links to videos)
  11. utilize anchor text to optimize powerful keywords
  12. offer subscriber features that you can track
  13. become an expert in your field with fresh new content that gets noticed by your audience, your colleagues and the search engines!

The list goes on, and on. These tools will make your life easier and help you stay excited about your message. Successful marketing gains momentum with each new step—it grows slowly, organically, and steadily. What is important is that you stay excited about your website or you risk letting your most important tool become outdated and stale.

There is no doubt that you believe in your work, but do you do everything you can to show others that you believe in your work? A fresh website shows that you are connected to your audience, it shows that you are serious about your message, and that you stay on top of your industry. If you are burned-out or frustrated with your website, maybe it’s time to do a little spring cleaning, clear out the cobwebs, rearrange the furniture, and hang some new curtains—it’s time to get excited about the possibilities of what your website can do for you.

We’ll help you keep your site working for you—your job is to remember why you do what you do and to take each day, one step at a time.  Commit to your project by doing two or three things a week that will further the success of your marketing efforts. Make smart comments on influential blogs, subscribe to Google alerts for keywords that matter to your audience, write articles, share your knowledge, stay on top of new trends, follow leaders in your industry and build relationships! Every little thing makes a difference and puts you one step closer to realizing your dreams.

I believe in Internet Marketing. I believe that people are hungry for the truth.  I believe that with determination and a steady commitment to your message, you will find success.  Yes, I do believe.

I hope you enjoyed. Next time, Jeniffer will talk about some plug-ins.

Maralyn D. Hill

International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association, President

Books By Hills Success With Writing Where & What in the World
Member: Society of Professional Journalists
CityRoom, JustLuxe, Big Blend, Spa Review Magazine, Global Writes

Finalist in the Writing and Publishing category of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, “$uccess, Your Path to a Successful Book,”