To Update or Not To Update WordPress – Ninja Marketing Tips

To Update WordPress or Not To Update WordPressTo update WordPress or not to update WordPress, that is the question. Okay, so Shakespeare wasn’t a blogger. But if he was, he would had to deal with the question of updating WordPress too.

WordPress, like other software programs, is continually changing. Some updates are to fix bugs or security leaks. Others are enhancements that users have requested. But unlike Windows updates, WordPress updates don’t automatically happen and you’re not prompted by a pop-up window. The only way you know if an update is available is to login to your WordPress dashboard.

Finding WordPress Updates

While WordPress will normally work fine without updating, there are drawbacks to not updating. Updates that contain security patches are important to keep your site safe. Older releases of WordPress (pre 3.4 versions) had memory limits that won’t run some of the newer plugins.

Here are 5 things to consider when updating your WordPress site:

1. Start with a backup of your site. There are several good WordPress Backup plugins you can use, but the easiest way is export your site. From your Dashboard, go to Tools, Export and choose all content. This will download a backup copy to your computer.

2. Don’t skip releases. While it’s possible to skip a minor release, never skip major releases. For example, you are running WordPress 3.5. A minor update, 3.5.3 is released, then a few months later major release 3.6, followed by another major release, 3.7. You could skip directly to the 3.6 but if you tried to go from 3.5 to 3.7, there’s a good chance your site will become locked.

3. Download the server files. Use an FTP program and download the files from the server to your local computer. That way, if the update goes south, you can reload the original files and be back up and running.

4. Updating Themes and Plugins – Themes are what control the look and layout of your WP site and plugins add functionality to your site. Like the WordPress platform files, themes and plugins will often be updated for the same reasons WP files are. If the theme or plugin was updated to plug security holes, then it’s important to perform the update. The Updates tab on the dashboard will show you what plugins and themes have available updates. If you go to the Installed Plugins page and visit the site for the theme or plugin, often you will find the release notes to see what was covered by the update. Use this to determine if you need to apply the update.

4. Don’t overwrite the theme files. Theme files can be used as is, modified within the theme control panel in the dashboard or actually add to or modify the code. If you have done the later and your theme has an update, you may want to manually apply it. The automatic update (clicking the update button in the Updates tab) will simply replace all the files with the new ones. If you modified a page by adding something like a slideshow to the code, the changes will be overwritten and lost. With the backup files you downloaded in step 3 above, you can easily replace the one or 2 files you changed.

5. Help, I updated and now I can’t get into my dashboard (or site). If you happened to skip a release and now your site doesn’t work, you have a couple of options. Using an FTP program or the File Manager from your website’s CPanel, remove the directories WP-Includes and WP-Admin and all the files inside, plus all the WP files in the main WP directory. Then upload your old files via FTP. Login to your dashboard and it will update the database and your site should be back up.

To update, you will need to add the skipped releases one by one, starting with the oldest first. You can download the older versions by going to http://wordpress.org/download/release-archive/ .

Bottom line – with the popularity and prominence of WordPress today comes the increased attention from hackers. While it can be a pain in the behind to update, it’s going to be better than having your site compromised or defaced by hackers.

Gary Wagnon is the chief Ninja Marketing Officer for 800biz Ninja Marketing Solutions and the creator of the Ninja Marketing Dojo. The Dojo teaches business owners and marketers online strategies that increase traffic to their site, improve search engine rankings and converts browsers into buyers.

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New Facebook Plugin for WordPress

Facebook has created a new plugin that works directly with WordPress sites, either WordPress.com sites or self-hosted sites.  When you create a new post, the plugin will allow you to mention a page, which will add the post to the timeline of the page you mention.  It also allows you to mention friends in a post and have it show up on their wall as well.  Since the post are created via a Facebook App, it comes from within Facebook and your post gets the Edgerank benefit.

The link to the plugin is https://developers.facebook.com/wordpress/.

More details will come shortly.  I will do a video shortly with the details.

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Ultra Secret Ninja SEO Tricks – Keywords in Your Blog URL

ninjaNow we get into the really cool stuff only the advanced warriors know. It’s common knowledge that keywords in domain names are given high importance by the search engines.  But it’s not possible to have a separate site for every keyword phrase that applies to your business.

With a WordPress blog, you can do the next best thing.  Every blog post you create has a unique page name.  By default, that page name often looks something like, www.800biz.com/blog/?page=25 .  No search engine value there.  Take heart.  There is a simple fix and a stealthy super fix.

The simple fix first.  At the top of each post between the title box and the body box, you will see the Permalink.  Following that you will see an edit button.  Clicking the edit button will allow you to change the name of the post to the article title or any keyword phrase you want.  This will give the search engines a keyword phrase to work with.

Now for the stealthy super fix.  Under the setting tab on your dashboard, click on Permalinks.  This will open the permalinks settings page.  You will see several choices.  Choose the Custom Structure option.  In the blank box, enter the following:

/%category%/%postname%

Once you save the changes, immediately test your blog and see if your page displays.  Some servers may not be setup for this and may require a manual entry to the .htaccess file. (Your web designer or server should be able to help.  If your site does not work or you don’t have access to change this file, use the simple fix above.)

What this change does is make the url of each blog post the domain name plus the category and post title.  Assuming your category is also a keyword or keyword phrase, now you’ve doubled your SEO keyword exposure in the prime real estate of your domain url.

You’re almost there.  One more big secret to share before you become a black belt blogger, so stay tuned.  The secret to skyrocketing traffic is the final secret.

Gary Wagnon and 800biz.com specialize in online marketing solutions, including web design, search engine optimization, social media marketing and mobile text marketing.

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Ultra Secret Ninja SEO Tricks – Blog Keywords

Now that you’re blogging (I assume you read my last blog), you’re no longer a white belt (novice). So now let’s give you the next secret techniques to earn your green belt (intermediate) – SEO Keywords in your blog.
Black Belt

My blog is done through WordPress, so that’s the platform I will be talking about. I know there are other blogging platforms but in my opinion, WordPress is far and away the most powerful in terms of functionality and overall SEO ability. So aside from just writing a blog and hoping for the best, what specifically should you be doing.

Let’s start with keyword usage. The same rules apply to a blog as to a website. If you have a major keyword phrase you want to get indexed, that phrase should have a web page devoted to it. In the case of your blog, don’t try to cram every possible keyword in your post. That only waters down the entire importance of every keyword phrase and, as a result, your post won’t get optimal results. If you have more keyword phrases, put them in separate posts.

WP-keywordsPost tags and Categories. Every post should have a keyword rich category and keyword tags. In WordPress, those are added to the post on the right hand side. Once a category is created, all posts assigned to that category will appear in the blog menu (if you choose to display it.) While categories are permanently incorporated, post tags (the WordPress term for keywords) are not. You will need to add them to each post. One common question I get is how many keywords should I add here. If the keyword phrase isn’t mentioned in your blog title or body, it probably shouldn’t be one of the post tags. A good rule of thumb is no more than 5 post tags per post.

In my early martial art days, I couldn’t wait to get to the really cool stuff the brown and black belts got to do. Well, you’re almost there. The really cool stuff is coming up so keep practicing what you’ve learned so far.

Gary Wagnon and 800biz specializes in website design, search engine optimization, social media marketing and mobile text message marketing.

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