Category Archives: Plugins

Phase 1 Wrap Up

blogworldI have finished Phase 1 of Partnership to Success (building the foundation).  Overall, I would say that the training and videos are very well done.  I thought the tasks during the 8 weeks for Phase 1 could have been accomplished easily in 6 weeks by anyone.  I finished it in 4 weeks because I had done similar things before.  Thank goodness you can go faster by asking support.  As I said at the end of my last post, I still don’t know what is in store for my website but I am fairly certain there is more to come.

I feel I understand and can use WordPress functionality without any major problems.  I did learn when I had to search for specific functionality that people have no problem diving into the code and making changes.  I don’t think I really want to know WordPress to that level; plus, I would have to learn PHP.  On the other hand, I have just scratched the surface of Optimize Press functionality.  The P2S videos have used just a few features of Optimize Press so far.  Since I was ahead of schedule with the training, I played with some of the other OP features (elements).  What I learned from my “playing” with OP and several support tickets is that I wish that OP was a theme instead of a plugin.

I say this because when OP elements are used on WordPress posts and pages they are added as shortcodes (like HTML).  The elements look fine when viewing the blog but are not editable.  The OP elements are only editable when using OP’s Live Editor.  Using Live Editor is no harder than using WordPress but, to have “blog functionality” in OP, it has to be the theme not a plugin.  As a plugin, you can create pages but no sidebar functionality.  There is probably more that is missing from OP as a plugin but I haven’t found it yet.

Aweber was a pleasant surprise.  If you remember, I didn’t want to join Aweber since I already had TrafficWave as an auto responder.  Now, I am very impressed with Aweber.  I need to learn more about Aweber since I am sure I have only scratched the surface of its capabilities.  But, Aweber’s interface with Optimize Press and form creation capabilities impressed me and I will bet there is more to come.

There were 4 minor glitches during Phase 1.  The first glitch was becoming a member of the P2S Facebook Group.  Paula on P2S tech support was very diligent in getting this resolved.  It turned out the problem was Facebook didn’t like my inbox.com email address.  Changed it to a gmail account and that fixed the problem.  The second glitch was the lack of “comment capability” on my blog.  This most likely happened because defaults in WordPress have changed since John made his blog settings video.  To fix this problem, I watched the video again.  When John was scrolling past the comment settings saying nothing needed to change, I stopped the video and set my comment settings to match his.  Problem solved for new posts.  The existing posts all said “comments closed”.  The fix for that is a check box; allow comments, on each post found under “Quick Edit”.

The third and fourth glitches were associated with the creation and testing of the optin form that slides when you come to the blog.  When John created the optin form on the videos, the button fit perfectly on the form.  When I did the same things, the button was too big and spilled over the edge of the form.  This problem gave me the opportunity to learn more of Aweber’s capabilities.  I learned I could change the font size, move the titles, move the location of the optin form.  Finally, whitelisting on ClickBank is required to get credit for signups to P2S that came from my blog.  There was some problem on ClickBank’s side which delayed me getting whitelisted for 5 days.  John eventually found out about the problem and fixed it the same day.

The final video of Phase 1 proved to me John is a man after my own heart.  The final video is “Test, Test, Test”.  John is a strong advocate of EVERYTHING must be tested.  I could not agree more.  Internet applications have so many pieces, it is easy for something not to work the way intended.  So I agree – TEST, TEST, TEST!

In summary, I give the training 4.5 out of 5 stars.  The .5 star deduction is for the length of the phase, not the minor glitches.  I believe that anyone regardless of technical knowledge can complete Phase 1 and have a good-looking blog up and running.

Week 7 – Essential Techniques

Legal StuffWeek 7 is about getting my blog ready for the world.  The first part of this is to add “legal stuff” to the blog.  Guess what?  There is a plugin for the legal pages.  The plugin is WP InstaLegalPages.  It contains the following nine legal pages.

  • Affiliate Disclosure
  • Amazon Affiliate Disclaimer (multiple countries available)
  • Anti-Spam Policy
  • Contact Us
  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act Notice
  • Earnings Disclaimer
  • Medical Disclaimer
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use

When activating the plugin, creates all nine pages as drafts.  The pages are fully editable as needed and published when ready.  I used all the pages except the Amazon Affiliate Disclaimer and the Medical Disclaimer.  Once published, seven new, boring pages appear on my menu.  Not the best result for a good-looking blog.  The solution is to create and publish a page called “Legal Stuff” or whatever you prefer.  The “Legal Stuff” page is the main page for all the legal pages.  Making the legal pages sub-pages to “Legal Stuff” is done through Appearance, Menu.  The Menu page allows you to drag and drop, up and down, your pages to create the sequence you want.  To make the legal pages sub-items to “Legal Stuff”, you drag them to the right.  Click save, view the blog.  Now, you see “Legal Stuff” with a down arrow on the main menu.  When the cursor is on “Legal Stuff”, the list of the legal pages displays.  Clicking on one of the legal pages displays that page.

Week 7 also taught how to add images and videos to a post.  I have added images to several posts but still have several that need images.  I am hoping to find a site to get decent free images.  No luck so far. I haven’t added a video yet but I will just for the experience.  I may even get adventuresome and create a video.

How to schedule publishing a post and emailing broadcasts to your lists at a future date and time is the last topic of the week.  This functionality is useful if you are unavailable when you want the post published or the broadcast sent.  This is definitely a handy feature for both WordPress and Aweber.  I am starting to see why Aweber costs a little more than other autoresponders.  It has more functionality.

Please leave comments to help me improve and return soon.

Week 6 – Monetizing the Blog

addmoneyI just finished week 6 about monetizing the blog.  Monetizing my blog certainly sounded exciting but this week was very dull.  You might remember that last week I registered, updated in my case, at Google Adsense.  You have to wait for Google to accept your application.  I did get an acceptance after several days.  First, you receive provisional acceptance and told to put some Google ads on the site to receive full acceptance.

DON’T CLICK ON YOUR OWN ADSENSE ADS

There is a plugin to facilitate using Adsense.  The plugin is GARD.  GARD is an acronym for Google Adsense for Responsive Design.  I installed and activated GARD.   Once activated, GARD connects to Adsense using my account ID.  Adsense and GARD have two modes – basic and advanced.  Basic mode displays small ads with minimal text.  Advanced mode lets you choose from a variety of ad shapes and sizes.  The two modes are mutually exclusive.   You can use basic or advanced but not both.

DON’T CLICK ON YOUR OWN ADSENSE ADS

John emphasized over and over to not click on your own Adsense ads.  Google will know and delete your account.  I am not sure using blog space for Adsense ads is really worth it.  You get paid each time someone clicks on one of the ads.  That is a good thing.  But you don’t actually get paid until you reach $100.  If you don’t have a high traffic blog, reaching the $100 minimum could take a very long time.  I can always remove the ads.

DON’T CLICK ON YOUR OWN ADSENSE ADS

The second method for monetizing the blog is to include ads for products that pay commissions.  The training video demonstrates this method using a ClickBank product called Simple Traffic Solutions.  This is a product developed by John.  There is no requirement to advertise this product.  It is just the product used in the video training.  I used STS for now but I will search for a different product soon.

There are several websites that have commission based products.  To sell the products, you have to join, find a product you would like to sell, and promote it.  Some products require that your approval by the developer.  Commission percentage varies with each product but is usually at least 50%.  Here are a few affiliate networks and marketplaces you can check out.

Commission Junction
ClickBank
JV Zoo
Deal Guardian

Week 6 concludes with instruction on how to ad advertising banners to the blog two ways.  First method is adding banners in code view.  This method requires retrieving the HTML code containing the graphic image link and your affiliate link.  Copy the code and place it in a text widget.  That’s it.  Drag the widget where you want the ad and you are done. You may have to tweak the HTML code if it doesn’t behave the way you want; e.g., center it or open in a new window.  This method works great for blog locations where widgets are allowed.  Other locations require the second method.  The second method is using media functionality.  This method requires you to find the graphic you want. use “save as” to save the graphic on your computer, upload it to the media library.  Once there the graphic is available for use with the OptimizePress, modules, advertising functionality.  This method provides many more locations for the ads.  I think this topic needs a separate post in the future.

Remember

DON’T CLICK ON YOUR OWN ADSENSE ADS

Week 5 – Networking

There was almost nothing new this week from a learning prospective. Download a widget, install a widget, activate and set up the widget.  I have done this several times before.  So what was important this week is the use of the new widget.

networkingThe widget is Widlink.  This is not a widget anyone can find by searching widgets.  A friend of John’s wrote this widget for use in the Partnership to Success program.  Widlink goes in the sidebar and provides links to other P2S members’ blogs.  Once Widlink is installed and activated, setup entails telling the widget how many members to display and giving the list a title. After this is done, the list will appear in the sidebar.  A great feature of Widlink is that it is dynamic and random.  The list has a different list of names each time someone accesses my blog.

Are you asking, ”Why is Widlink important?”  Widlink provides a network of P2S blogs.  It is important to have links pointing to my blog from other websites and vice-a-versa.  This helps the various internet “crawlers” find my blog.  The more references to my blog found, the higher its ranking.

Another task assigned was to go to the blogs of other members and leave comments.  This also helps the “crawlers”.  When I leave a comment, part of the information I provide is my website.  Once again, this creates a link back to me blog.  Plus, some of the blogs use a plugin called CommentLuv.  This plugin provides a link back to the commenter’s most recent post.  If their blog uses that plugin or an equivalent, I get double the back links.  I need to install CommentLuv.

Two other small tasks for this week were adjust the width of the sidebar and signup for Google Adsense.  Adjusting the width of the sidebar is easy if you know where to do it.  The sidebar width is set by going to OptimizePress, Blog Settings, Layout Structure, Sidebar Column Preferences and entering the desired width.  (I hate to think how long it would take me to find that on my own.)  The default setting was 309 pixels which I changed to 375.  The reason for signing up for Google Adsense this week is because it takes time to get it approved.  I already had an Adsense account but deleting old sites and adding a new one is just like signing up for the first time.  Google has to approve everything.

More about Adsense next week.