EzSEO Newsletter # 211

This week:

1. WordPress Upgrade Woes

2. WordPress Tutorial – VI

3. Blog Rush, or Bog Brush?

4. Google Alerts

Hi again

I hope you have had a good week.

I have been watching a few Blu-Ray movies.? Is it just me or is Blu-Ray a little over-rated?? Don’t get me wrong, the “new” movies are better quality than the older DVDs, but I am not sure it justifies the extra cost of Blu-Ray discs.? Is it that much better?

And what is it with older movies being released on Blu-Ray?? Is this just so that you can get a lot of extras on the discs, or is the movie in some way enhanced?? I certainly couldn’t tell the difference with the ones I watched, so I assume it is only for the extras (which I never watch anyway).? I think that if you have to stand a foot in front of your TV just to try to decide if a movie is high definition or not, then what’s the point?

OK, let’s get on with this week’s newsletter.

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1. WordPress Upgrade Woes
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I got caught out this week.? I had warned newsletter subscribers about the dangers of upgrading WordPress as soon as updates come out.? The big problem is that plugins often need to be updated before they will work in new versions of WordPress.? If you can live without any or all of your plugins, then upgrade away, but if you use “mission critical” plugins, check with the plugin author before upgrading and make sure it will work.

I only noticed my error when I went into the system I have setup for the new WordPress for Affiliate Sites “Community” that I am opening soon.?? I tried to login as one of my “test members”, and the system would not let me in.

I spent about an hour trouble-shooting the problem, and finally noticed that I had upgraded WordPress to 2.6.? Now the funny (or maybe not so funny) thing is that I do not remember doing this.? I had upgraded WordPress on a couple of my other blogs, but I had intentionally reminded myself not to do so on the community site.

I guess I have been working too hard because upgrade I had!

The plugin that controlled user access was not compatible with 2.6.? I then started looking around for a way to downgrade WordPress back to 2.51, but after a few minutes searching at Google, it became apparent that this was not an option.? I figured all was not lost as i could always reinstall WordPress, and set it up again.

However, before that, I did the sensible thing, and checked for a plugin update.? It was my lucky day, as one had just been released.? I contacted the author, and they sent me the update within the hour.? After reinstalling, and setting up a few more options, everything is back on track.

I felt this tale of WordPress woes would bring home to you the need for caution when upgrading.? The things to remember here are:

1. Plugins may not work.
2. There may be bugs in WordPress that cause your blog problems (I have read some people saying category information was destroyed with the upgrade).
3. There is no way to downgrade.

These three points should be enough to convince you that you should wait a while.? Before upgrading to a new version, go to the WordPress forums and see what people are saying.

Incidentally, I have been asked several times this week when the community is opening.? It should be soon.? I started creating the content for the first couple of week, and should have that finished sometime this week.? Since the course will be in real time, I only want to prepare a couple of weeks worth of tutorials in advance.? If you want to be notified when doors open, and read more about my intentions with this community, you can read about it here, and sign up for notifications of when the doors open.

http://www.ezseonews.com/wfas

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2. WordPress Tutorial – VI
— – — – — – — – — – — – — – — – –

Last week we looked at creating a homepage for the site.? This used a WordPress “page” to make the homepage appear like a standard webpage on a normal web site.

If you have missed any of the WordPress Tutorials, you can view each on this site:

http://ezseonews.com

When you get there, click the link on the right to “WordPress Tutorials”.

This week, you need to setup a few more “essential” pages.

Don’t worry at this stage that your site still has the generic blog template.? You are not getting visitors yet (except maybe search engines if you completed your homepage last week, and search engines don’t care what your site looks like), so it doesn’t matter.? You’ll see how easy it is in a future tutorial to change the look and feel of your site in seconds.

To find out which pages you need to create, and how to go about it, go to the WordPress Tutorials section on the Affiliate Minder site, and look for the “Essential pages for any WordPress site” article.

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3. Blog Rush, or Bog Brush?
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For those who have never heard of Blog Rush, go take a look at Blogrush.com

Blog Rush is one of the innovative tools coming from John Reese.? Its aim is to bring your blog more traffic, by syndicating your content (well, your blog post title anyway) onto other blogs, inside the Blog Rush “widget”.

The idea sounded interesting.

I added it to my Affiliate Minder site to do a small test.? It has only been running for a couple of weeks, and since the Affiliate Minder site is relatively new (in terms of content, not age of the site), it is still early days.? However, I did want to let you know my results so far.

I have 7 pages on the site that have been syndicated.? That means they have been published in the Blog Rush widget on other sites.

Those 7 pages were syndicated a combined total of 2985 times.? The idea of these syndications is to try to get people to my blog.

So how many people did this syndication bring?

Just 2.

That’s a click through rate (CTR) of 0.067%

Not great is it?

Now, it may well be that my titles are not catchy enough, so I will be playing with these.? However, after seeing the stats today, I did do some searching around the Internet, and found similarly poor CTRs.

You may need to copy and paste these URLs into your browser.? Here is one that shows similar CTR to mine:

http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2007/09/blogrush-finally-adds-reports-but-traffic-is-very-poor.html

Here is another interesting article, which doesn’t think too highly of Blog Rush:

http://www.netfrontiermarketing.com/blog-rush-3-fatal-reasons-to-nuke-it-right-now.html

.. and finally.. another more in-depth study of Blog Rush:

http://andybeard.eu/2007/09/blogrush-free-traffic.html

You can make up your own mind.

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4. Google Alerts
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Google provides webmasters with far more than traffic.? They offer a wide range of tools that can help your business.? In the past, I have mentioned Google Analytics, which will track your site visitors in a very detailed manner, and is easily integrated into any site or blog.

Today, I want to mention Google Alerts.? This is a tool I use quite a bit.

http://www.google.com/alerts

Be aware that there is also a “Google Alert” offering paid subscriptions and a trial.? This service is not affiliated with Google.? I am recommending you use Google’s fr.ee Google Alerts, not Google Alert.

Basically, you tell Google what you are interested in, and Google will send you email alerts letting you know of new content they have found on your topic.

Google offer these ideas for using Google Alerts:

* monitoring a developing news story
* keeping current on a competitor or industry
* getting the latest on a celebrity or event
* keeping tabs on your favourite sports teams

I know that some marketers track their own names to see what people are saying about them.? I personally don’t do this, because there is a much more famous person with the same name as me, so I would get a lot of false alarms ;O)

So how do I use Google Alerts?? Here are some of the things I have used Google Alerts for in the past.

1. Keeping track of what people are saying about my products.

2. Getting Alerts for any breaking news in the niches I am interested in.? When a new story breaks, I can quickly add information to my niche sites.

3. Tracking software upgrades.? e.g. I am eagerly waiting for Sony to release the 8.0c upgrade for Sony Vegas Pro, so have an alert setup for it.? As soon as the upgrade is released, I’ll find out.

4. Finding out when someone talks about my site, or links to my site.? Just enter your domain as an alert.

5. Keeping track of favourite authors.? e.g. If I read an article by someone, and I like what they have written, I might create a Google Alert for their name, so that whenever they write more stuff, I get notified of where to read it.

6. Keeping up with product launches.? If a new product is being released, a Google Alert will let you see what is being written about it around the net.

Google Alerts can save you a lot of time, and also keep your finger on the pulse in your niche.? Are you using it?? I hope so.

Before I finish, there is one other use of Google Alerts that I have not tried, but looks interesting – Finding out if your site has been hacked.? Here is a link to the article: (you may need to copy and paste the URLs into your browser):

Finding out if your site has been hacked:
http://www.blogstorm.co.uk/how-to-use-google-alerts-to-find-out-if-your-site-gets-hacked/

Well, that’s it for this issue.? If you want to read the recent issues of this newsletter, you can read them online at my blog:

http://ezseonews.com/blog/index.php

For older newsletters, you will need to visit the old archives at:

http://ezseonews.com/archives

Have a great week!

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Comments

  1. says

    Andy, I have “downgraded” WordPress on several occasions. Just upload all the older files and run upgrade.php. If the upgrade was done with Fantastico that may not work that easily without some database and file editing.

  2. Andy says

    Hi Jeff
    That’s interesting to hear. I thought the only way to downgrade was by reinstalling from a backup.

  3. says

    Andy I have done it manually on numerous occasions. Especially going to version 2.5 and experience plugin compatibility issues. It’s just like manually upgrading by uploading the files for the version you want to use and then run the installer.

  4. Sandra Wilson says

    Hi,

    Just read this in your latest newsletter. I needed to upgrade an older version of a wp install but really, really didn’t want to upgrade to 2.6. Some looking around on the wordpress site itself led me to a release archive:
    http://wordpress.org/download/release-archive/ You can find what look’s like all the older releases there. I was able to get 2.5.1 which was what I wanted and it’s doing fine.

    Sandra Wilson

  5. Todd says

    What is the name of that user access plug in you used? My WP site is kaput because I upgraded to WP2.6 and the user access plugin I used (registered-user.php) broke.

    Thanks,
    Todd

  6. Andy says

    Todd
    I am using aMember to manage users. The plugin I use is specific to that system.

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