WordPress 3.5 Ready to Test


For those of you who really like to be ahead of the curve on WordPress today is your chance. Andrew just announced the release of the Beta 1 version of WordPress 3.5 and it is available for download. Obviously it is not recommended you run it on a production site but for plugin developers, like me, and them designers this is that wonderful window of opportunity for you to make sure everything holds together (and it should) in the new version.

Download WordPress 3.5 Beta 1 from here.

The official launch date is still scheduled for December 5 (why that date?) but the newest theme, 2012, is now available for download in the repository.

Web Graphics for the Web 2.0 Look

Sometimes I teach others how to do things and expect most people will. Then inevitably someone will email me or IM me and ask, “can you do this for me?” Since this happened twice after my last post it seemed like a good follow up to answer here on the blog instead of directly in email. Yes,  I can create your Web 2.0 graphics for you. Many small buttons and badges take as little as 10 minutes to do so to do something like the text graphic shown here is as little as $5.

Obviously with more complex web graphics the fee is a little higher and as an example of that the other graphic, “old school”, is in the range of $35.

If you would like to talk about graphics for your website, Facebook or landing page just use the Contact Me link or get me on Twitter @thekencook and I’ll be happy to give you a quote and a turn time.

Free Web Badge Maker Online

Free Online BadgeMaker Software for making website badges to share with your readers

Today over on Twitter someone asked if there was a decent, easy to use, simple web badge maker they could use to create a sharable badge for their website. Well, there is. While it’s pretty no-frills the resulting badges (graphics) are attractive and very Web 2.0-ish.

If you know of another service, a better service or just a different online badge maker we’d like to know about it so please share it in the comments below.

The website is Web20Badges.com and is as easy to use as anything I’ve ever seen. It’s as simple as choosing a design, typing some text, selecting a font and color and clicking apply. To save the image to your computer you just right click and choose to save it to your computer.

Each file is also available in a layered Photoshop PSD file (which does open in Gimp) which can be used in your graphics editing software to fully customize your images.

If you have another solution to share for making website badges online please share with us in the comments below!

That was fast – within minutes of clicking Publish I had instant messages coming in from a friend who can’t follow instructions but I appreciate her input. Here are a couple of other resources:

Build a Better Business Blog in Five Minutes

Jeff Turner photo credit: Candy Hargett

So you’ve written and published a few dozen blogs on your site. You have Google Analytics installed and your Webmaster Tools connected. You’ve put a few hundred hours, yes hundred, into setting up your blog and writing your first content. You are proud of the work you have done and love to show it off to your friends – and strangers. In fact you ping every post you make to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, StumbleUpon, and others. Still you have only 30 visitors a day, they are all first timers, and your bounce rate is 85% – the others are kind enough to at least go to the home page from the landing page.

The good news is the situation is bad because of something you have done. Don’t take that news so harshly because since it’s you the changes will be easier to implement. Maybe even better news is you can start small and build up over time – if you’re still looking for that magic bullet overnight success you can simply send me your $69.99 and I’ll give you the same information in an eBook. Just kidding. There are no magic bullet overnight success weapons.

Minute One

Quit solving yesterday’s problems in your blog. This is not a political campaign where you get points for blaming the past on your present so you can win the future. This is business where reality reigns. Think about your posts and if you can title any one of them “What I Plan To Do Yesterday” it’s probably not worth the time. Tomorrow’s issues include tools and components different from those used yesterday or maybe even today. Identifying how you will serve your customers and, more importantly, how their lives will be better tomorrow because of what you write today is key to greater success and a better stream of information for your readers.

Minute Two

Stick with Evergreen Content. What is Evergreen Content? Think if a salad never wilted or if trees never lost their leaves. Always fresh, always appealing. Business Blogging should differ from personal blogging in that it is not simply news reporting. Sure it is okay to have a news stream to share events and milestones along the way. For your blog, however, the content should always be viable information ready to be used by your readers today and tomorrow. It’s okay to revisit “old” posts and refresh them with data for your business blog. In fact old, outdated information has ever diminishing value unless someone is writing an epitaph.

Minute Three

Keep it frequent, unique and relevant. This is the second part of my APE FUR micro-speech and is a big key to increasing subscribership and social sharing of your content. If you come to this blog, my semi-personal business blog, and I am writing about the cookies my wife made last weekend it better be in some obscure corner of the blog or have a direct correlation to the topic of online marketing for your company tomorrow. I write about technology and marketing information to help small businesses. If I do a video on how to build and fly a mylar kite my readers are not going to be happy with that decision unless it tells them how to do better business as a result.

Minute Four

Cite your sources and link to them. “But I don’t want to send people away from my blog!” Okay, control freak. Give up the Google juice and trust from the community you build from doing so. I have no problem linking to sites who give great information and add value to my readers even on the topic of online marketing. Data proves over and again how linking to relevant, trusted sources increases the viability and trust factor of your own blog. It’s kind of like writing reviews about movies – if you keep writing bad things about unknown movies you produced chances are (if you’re in start-up stage) not many people are going to use that as a level of trust since you’re probably the producer, director, cinematographer, script writer, and talent. Know what I mean?

Minute Five

Write a bullet pointed outline using the information from above to create your next post or article. Think about how these previous four “minutes” play in to the content you are about to create. Ask yourself if what you have written and are about to publish is already stale information or if it leads to the future. Think about the content and see if it is relevant and unique.

Writing content for small business blog posts actually is a science and keeping with convention on the majority of your posts while conducting experiments on others is very important to your success. We know, for example, stuffing your posts full of relevant keywords can get you penalized or ignored – neither of which is good. We also know linking out to high Page Ranking reliable, relevant sources can help your search results. Video is a great way to tie in and it gives value to the reader. Value, after all, to the reader is the name of the game with Google’s newest search algorithms. You can learn a lot about Google by reading Matt Cutt’s blog. In fact I recommend subscribing to it.