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DISCLAIMER: The FTC requires me to let you know that I may be compensated for products or services recommended. In many cases I am recommending my own company's services, so it's kind of funny to have to spell this out, but I do get paid by some of the companies whose ads are on the site. I ONLY list ads for companies that I use and fully endorse.

WordCamp Phoenix Day 1 Recap #WCPHX

Even though I have been working with WordPress for years, this is my first WordCamp, so I was really excited to meet lots of great folks in the WordPress community as well as some of the providers I have worked with, but not yet had an in person connection. Having a super busy schedule, I did not get there until the afternoon session. And well, I was manning one of the cameras at 1PM, so it was pretty important to be there. :-)

Checking In
The check in process was amazing, which for conferences can be tough. They (wisely) used QR codes to simplify check in and from the user perspective it made life simple.

Great Workshops
Day One held 5 Tracks:

    Beginner User
    Advanced User
    Designer
    Beginner Developer
    Advanced Developer

(My) Session One
I spent the afternoon in the Advanced User sessions. The first session I attended was Building Websites that Visitors Actually Want to Use: Google Analytics & The Sticky Factor, with Ken Granger of BrandCo. Ken challenged the group with some great questions we all need to ask when it comes to our websites

    Why do you have a website?
    Who visits your website?
    What do you want them, to do?

As a group, we did a review of two pizza websites (Barro’s Pizza and Pizza Hut). I won’t tell you all that we found, but we answered the three questions as it related to both sites.

Ken also emphasized the importance (and power) of reading your analytics often. I am an analytics geek, so I appreciated that. Ken also demoed the “live view” of Google Analytics and pointed out that Google Webmaster Tools will give you the keyword data that Google Analytics is no longer showing.

My Second Session
The second session was Security Best Practices with Brennen Byrne & Sam Hotchkiss and it was full of solid “need to know” info. One attendee even called it “the best session of the day” via Twitter:



They discussed the 5 Rules, 4 Tools, and 3 Important Habits to keep your WordPress website safe. If you missed it, you are in luck, they made the slides AND their WordPress Security Checklist available. Here are the links:

http://www.slideshare.net/jessepollak/securing-your-wordpress-site (slides)

http://blog.getclef.com/2014/01/wordpress-security-checklist/ (security checklist)

They also highlighted two amazing security plugins. BruteProtect & Clef. I was really impressed with the live demo of Clef and I will be setting it up shortly. One attendee actually set it up during the session (per his Tweet below), so I’d say it’s pretty user friendly.



Great People
As expected, I ran into people I know, met people I only “knew” virtually, and got to connect with the great folks at WP Engine. If you don’t know about WP Engine, they are a managed WordPress hosting solution that my company started to use last year. It’s was great to meet some of the people behind the scenes at the company.

Great Resources
The two great resources I learned of were:
Torque – A WordPress news site run by the great folks at WP Engine.
ChrisLema.com – The daily WordPress blogger.

That’s all for now. It was a busy day because I left WordCamp for a quick meal with my wife and then a client meeting, so I ended my day a bit after 9PM, making it another 13+ hour day.

How Your Website Copyright Date Can Improve Online Sales

It’s that time of the year and I just updated the copyright date on this blog – which is one of many that I manage. It made me wonder what others did in terms of managing the copyright date on their website.

Are you someone who updates your website copyright date every year or do you not include the date on the copyright info? If you include the date, do you show the range (i.e. 1999-2014) or just the most recent year? (Please let me know if the comments below). My preference is to show a history in the date because I believe that showing longevity online can increase the trust factor with your prospects.

Why Does it Matter?
Just because Google returns a website in it’s search results, does not guarantee a sale. There are many factors that people use to determine whether or not to trust a website and for some odd reason, I an one of those people who looks at the copyright dates on a website. Right or wrong, I use it as an indicator of how up to date the website is and I know I am not alone.

Let’s say I end up on a website where I want to make a purchase and see a copyright date that is 5 years old (this just happened last week). I start to wonder if the ecommerce security is up to date as well – or if the company is still in business – and it may impact my buying decision. In this case, someone lost a sale to someone who had a horrible sales process and even charged more money. The main reason was that they lost my trust by not caring about their website.

If you were looking for a “best practice” to add to your website “to do” list, now you have it.

Have a great day!

9 Keys to Finding the Domain Name You Want

The right domain can certainly play a role in a websites success, so if you are launching a new website, brand, or project, you will want to give strong consideration to your domain name.

If you can get “type in” traffic (from domains like computers.com or cars.com) that’s definitely a win; finding those domains is pretty tough however (or very costly). Having a nice, short, branded URL can also be great for branding. Names such as Yelp, Google, Bing have become household names because companies have taken short, easy to remember names, and put huge marketing budgets behind them, creating some well known brands. Lastly, if you can find descriptive domain names such as phoenixazlawfirm.com or mesaarizonahousesforsale.com, you can also attract some very specific visitors, both through type in traffic and by the credit you get for having your target phrases in your domain name. And of course, we want all of those domains to end in DOT COM or else you will help build someone else’s brand and web traffic.

Finding good domains is tough if you don’t know how to negotiate, so here are some tips:

1. What you never want to do is find a domain owner and tell them all the reasons you really want to buy their domain. It may seem obvious, but if you are desperate to buy, they will hold out for more money.

2. Look on websites such as flippa.com where you can find sellers looking to sell lots of domains and many of them are reasonably priced. Ebay has a domain category, but I would be cautious as there are still lots of shady folks on eBbay (sorry eBay). I also keep a list of domains for sale on this site.

3. GoDaddy has a domain auctions section where you can bid on domain names for sale, so that is also a great place to look.

4. Don’t assume that you have to pay the asking price. The key is to not be desperate for any domain. I have negotiated thousands of dollars off of a domain name because many times a seller is unrealistic in their pricing. If you think a domain is overpriced, you can always ask what valuation method they used to determine the price.

5. Always insist on using an escrow services such as Escrow.com. I have used them for domain sales as low as $50. It just makes the transaction more secure.

6. Hire a professional. You may not know this, but there are professional domain brokers – both companies and individuals – and it’s a strong niche industry. The fees vary and often include an up front fee and / or a commission. I have personally been buying, selling, and negotiating domains for over a decade and would be happy to help you if you have a need. You can use the contact info to reach me. I will tell you up front that my fee will vary based on the transaction, so I cannot give you a simple answer without knowing more information.

7. Do a Google Search for “domains for sale” and you will find lots of listings. Always be cautious because there is always a risk in buying a domain name, especially if you do not use an Escrow service. The biggest risk (which should be obvious) is sending someone money and getting nothing in return.

8. Use an agreement. Just like selling anything else, I always recommend a domain sale agreement.

9. Play nice. Remember on the other end of the transaction is someone you don’t know who has something you want. They are in control, so stay on their good side. In one transaction, I built a relationship (via email) over a few years with a domain seller. In the course of that time, the price dropped from $4,000 to $600 and even then, I bought it on a payment plan paying $25 per month because I was not ready to build it out (and i still haven’t) :-(

I hope this helps you find the domain of your dreams!

Why I Don’t Follow You Back on Twitter

Do you ever wonder why people don’t follow you back on Twitter? As I was perusing my Twitter accounts a few days ago, I saw some Twitter followers that I know personally, but do not follow back. And before you judge me, know that I am not one of those people who think they are too important to follow back (they do exist.)

Social media is about engagement, so if I know you, but see that you have a profile with no picture, no bio, and you’ve never Tweeted, I am going to assume you aren’t really there to engage, so I won’t follow you back. And a big part of this is because there are limitations on the number of people you can follow, so each connection should be with someone who is engaged in Twitter.

If I don’t know you, but I like what you’re about (based on your bio and/or tweets) I will very likely follow you. If I see that you like to rant and use profanity, there is a good likelihood that I will soon unfollow you. As I engage in social media, I like to connect with those who share my core values which doesn’t include publicly using profanity… unless it’s warranted.

What about you? Do you have rules for following or unfollowing people on Twitter? Let me know in the comments below.

P.S. – Feel free to follow me at @AnthonyKirlew or @oldschoolseo. I look forward to connecting.

Are You Ready for Your Google Glasses?

We all know that Google has developed – and continues to develop – some amazing technology. From the little I know, Google Glass is another epic developments. I an not just kissing up to Google, so they send me a free sample, but I really look forward to getting my hands on a pair. Not so much that I will pay $1,500 for them however, and that – along with a winning essay on how you will use them – is currently what is required to be selected to get access.

If you happen to get selected and want to come back a guest post about it, I welcome that. For now, I will leave you with Sergey Brin’s New York Times article explaining Google Glass.

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