Traffic Booster 101

Hello again,

Today I would like to talk about traffic – to your website, not the kind with exhaust fumes. Are you getting enough? If not, here are the ultimate traffic tips to get you more web traffic every day. Most are free, which is the way we like it, right? I thought so…

Getting targeted traffic to your website is somewhat of a mystery to many, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many ways that people can find you on the web, mostly from search engines – but how do you get “found” in a search engine? Here are the main ones:

1) Search engine traffic (Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask, etc)
2) Finding articles in Ezine sites
3) Forums that contain links
4) Advertisements such as banner ads
5) Word of mouth

So what must you do to get your web address in front of people? If you want the “free” kind of traffic (I say free in quotes because nothing is really free, you still have to work for it!) you must do your homework. First of all, try writing articles that pertain to your website subject, and always, always, put in as many keywords as you can comfortably fit into them! Not every other sentence, of course, the article must make sense. If it doesn’t, and you stuff too many keywords into the article, you may be banned temporarily. Don’t do that. What advantage does this provide? Well for one, in most ezine sites you have what’s called a “sig file”, short for signature file. This contains a brief bio of yourself, and a place to put your website address. Always use a text link with keywords to display your website, this will get you some powerful back links! Back links are the objective here; they will boost your SEO performance and get you more targeted traffic than almost anything else.

Other ways to get free traffic include writing comments in other peoples forums and blogs. Many blogs actually encourage you to put comments that are relevant to the conversation or blog post, and when you do make sure you include a link to your site. Most bloggers understand this as a friendly “you help me, I’ll help you”, a way to pay you back for posting a thoughtful response in the blog. Of course, make sure it is a well thought out comment, not just a “hey, good post!”.

One of the best new ways to get traffic is to use social networking, I’m sure you are either involved in or at least heard of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and a host of other sites that allow you to setup a profile and post content on their sites and/or communicate with others. This is a perfect chance to network with others and let them know about your site, especially if you have some good content you wish to share with others! And don’t forget the social bookmarking sites also, such as Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Technorati, Propeller, Backflip, and others. They can allow you to bookmark your new content on your site and get hundreds of visitors in no time!

Do you have a blog? If not, you must start one pronto! This is another way to get free traffic if you can keep writing interesting content every few days. And why stop at one? You can have multiple blogs, there are plenty of free ones out there. Just go to Google and type in “create blog” and see what you get, I’m seeing quite a few (million) as of this writing. Some of the best are Blogger.com (owned by Google, so it gets great page rank and trust right away), LiveJournal.com, WordPress.com, Weebly.com, and many, many others. Get creative! Start a few and trade off writing in a different blog each day, and make it a habit. Of course put as many links in each blog using keywords that are relevant to your site, and you will get traffic!

Don’t forget other free sites like Squidoo.com, Hubpages.com, Webon.com, Gather.com and others that allow you to setup a free site which you can do pretty much what you want with! Of course within reason, but putting some content up and getting massive text links on a bunch of free sites is like money in the bank, my friend! You will get some sweet back links, which will lead to more traffic, which will lead to more cash in your account. Again, be creative, find out what others are doing to generate more traffic, and keep up with the “big dogs”. Pretty soon you will be one of them!

Reasons Why WordPress Is Great for Anyone

WordPress is a very easy to use, popular and free Content Management System (CMS); so what is a Content Management System or CMS, it is a software system which provides website owners the ability to write, collaborate and administer their website without the need to know any programming languages.

There’s no need to know any HTML or PHP, everything in WordPress or any good CMS’s should be pretty much laid out. The truth is we would like to think all CMS’s is great, but that’s not true, before our WordPress days, we tried many different CMS’s but we fell in love with WP from the first time. Currently we still experiment with new software whenever they are requested but this is definitely the way to go for anyone who wants a start a website that they can easily manage and keep updated for years to come.

A Quick Run Down of How it works

All content managements systems have two main parts working together, they consist of the file system and the database. In this case we’re using a MSQL database and the files are in PHP. To give you a quick run down of how it works, the file system doesn’t store anything pertaining to the user information and content, that’s the purpose of the database, the file system is a like a skeleton frame doing all the work while the database stores all the information like the brain.

One great thing about using a database is that your information can never be accessed by anyone, it is password protected and stored else where, only information that you release through your CMS will be visible to visitors.

Reasons why people love worpdress

perfect for small businesses, blogs, publishing companies, hobby sites, affiliate marketing, e-commerce websites, custom projects, etc
Any type of website can be designed using WordPress
10% of all websites on the internet use WordPress (news release Mar 2011).
It is easy enough for a beginner and still advance enough for any techie
Easy to setup, it is famous for it’s five minute installation.
Google loves WordPress, so does all the other Search Engines
Unlimited amount of pages and posts
Ability to store media and content online securely for future use.
Thousands of free plugins available to search from within the administration section
Easy to upgrade to new versions
Easy to install new themes
Easy to find web design support for WordPress
the software is free

If you’re thinking about investing in a website, invest in quality website and get a WordPress website. 10 years ago everyone had static websites, those days are over, web 2.0 platforms have changed the way how businesses operate, everything is dynamic and can be changed with a single click.

Article Marketing 101 – A Primer on Article Marketing

Why is article marketing unique? What sets it apart from other online marketing strategies? First, let us define what it actually is.

Basically, marketing with articles is the circulation of content that typically links to a moneymaking landing page or sales page. Writing and turning in your articles to numerous directories is the conventional way of doing this. Today, a number of different ways to help you submit your pieces much more conveniently have been introduced.

First, instead of submitting your item to a directory and waiting for the publisher to pick it up, you may opt to do away with the middleman and contact the publisher directly. Ask him or her what kind of articles their directory is looking for and write some on that particular topic. This is a surefire way to get your pieces published.

A second method to have your articles published is to post them on blogs or hub pages. WordPress and Blogger are some examples of such online blogs where you can publish your writing. Some sites have built-in SEO functionality, which is definitely an advantage. Hub pages and Squidoo are examples of these sites.

Unknown to many, forums and sites like Yahoo! Answers are great places to do some unconventional article marketing. Write short replies to other people’s posts and then include a link to your site or sales page where they can find more information about the solution you have suggested.

Lastly, micro-blogs, such as Twitter, can also be used for your marketing purposes. Here, you’ll find multitudes of distinctive networking opportunities.

Article marketing is special because there are a variety of ways to go about it. Find one technique (or maybe several) that you’re comfortable with and begin your internet marketing ventures!

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Bridal Roses 101

Roses are one of the favorite flowers for weddings. They have a classic appeal and a year round availability that makes them a wonderful option for many different types of weddings. If you are not familiar with the various types of roses that are available, this handy primer will soon have you feeling like an expert.

There are some misconceptions about roses. Many people think that roses are always going to look stuffy or too formal; some brides think that because they are so popular, roses cannot be used to create unique or original floral displays. They think that roses are only appropriate for brides who are wearing elaborate custom bridal gowns with traditional bridal jewelry. In fact, these things are not true. Because roses are grown in such an incredible array of varieties, you will be able to find roses that are more relaxed or have a quirkier charm than you ever might have expected.

The most commonly used type of rose is the hybrid. These are the roses that probably spring to mind when you picture a rose, with their petals arranged in concentric circles with a higher center and a long stem. Classic hybrid roses are the ones that you are most likely to see in the florist’s display case. They are particularly popular for weddings thanks to their hardy nature and year round availability. Many of the most classic wedding roses, such as the rich red Black Magic or the lovely white Bianca, are hybrid tea roses.

The hybrid rose is an ideal choice for a bride who loves roses precisely because of their classic style and grace. A round bouquet of a single color and type of rose would be the prefect complement to a wedding gown with a full skirt and pearl custom bridal jewelry. Hybrid roses also look fabulous in combination with flowers such as lisyanthus and hydrangeas.

If you love flowers like lush peonies, then you will adore the large full look of garden roses. These roses are generally bigger than hybrid teas and have an incredible plucked from the garden look, often with a heady scent to accompany it. These roses are gorgeous for centerpieces that are overflowing from garden urns, and work wonderfully with loose and trailing greens. If you are designing a wedding with a romantic English garden flavor, garden roses would be perfect. Garden roses do have some limitations, however; they are more expensive and fragile than hybrid roses, and they are not available in the winter.

This brings us to the spray rose. Spray roses are flowers that grow in clusters of four or five, rather than a single blossom on one long stem such as the hybrid roses have. Spray roses combine beautifully with hybrid or garden roses to add texture and interest to a rose-based bouquet. They are often paired with hybrid or garden roses in the same color. Since they have several blooms on every stem, spray roses are a very popular addition to floral arrangements when you want to quickly add more fullness. They are available in virtually any color, making them even more versatile.

Finally, there are the miniature roses, which just as their name suggests, are small roses. As with the spray roses, mini roses are a wonderful addition to a hybrid rose bouquet or centerpiece. Their petite size adds a nice contrast in scale that will make your displays more interesting. Mini roses are also very sweet for boutonierres and make adorable bouquets for flower girls.

The beauty and availability of roses has made them the gold standard for wedding flowers. From the classic hybrid, the lush garden, the versatile spray, to the darling mini rose, there is a type that will have just the look that you want. Whatever season and whatever your style, there will be a rose that is just perfect for your wedding.

Find More WordPress 101 Articles

Freelancer Self Care: Why It Matters and How to Do It

We’ve been doing interviews with several pros about freelancer self care. It’s always helpful to hear from the experts, and we wanted to pull all their good ideas into one place. Taking care of yourself is an important part of any freelancer’s business. Unfortunately, most of us put it off or don’t even think about it … until it’s too late.

Why Self Care Matters

We don’t take self care seriously until something serious happens.

For Jennifer Bourn, it was her husband’s cancer. For Michelle Schulp, it was chronic pain. For Patrick Neve, becoming a parent inspired him to take better care of himself.

When Jenny Beaumont lost her mom to cancer, she re-prioritized her life. She remembers working on her laptop in the hospital room with her mom, missing out on some of those final moments:

“None of us knew how to just be there with one another, to spend that time talking about things, or just sitting in silence, to accompany one another through those most difficult of times. Those are moments I can’t take back, but which have now reshaped my attitude toward life in a positive way.”

Don’t wait for something serious to force you to take self care seriously. Take care of yourself now.

“The life of a freelancer can drive you mad if you don’t find balance.” –Patrick Neve

All the freedom of freelancing means you can abuse that freedom. You can work long hours and never take breaks—and you won’t last long.

It’s crucial that you understand the importance of taking care of yourself.

Freelancer self care is just as important as finances or contracts or marketing. Consider it another part of your business that you absolutely cannot neglect.

Know Yourself

The first step to taking care of yourself is to know yourself. Everybody relaxes and recharges in their own way.

  • Introverts want to hole up by themselves, while extroverts want to hang out with other people.
  • Some people think a good vacation is a whirlwind tour of action and excitement. Others want to drop into a hammock and not move.
  • Some freelancers like to think about code 24/7. Some need to spend time with something completely different so they can come back with fresh eyes.
  • We all have different strengths and weaknesses, different areas where we need to grow. Part of taking care of yourself is learning and growing, but that will look different for everyone.
  • How often do you need breaks? Do you like long sessions of work followed by long breaks, or shorter work sessions interrupted with shorter breaks? Can you recharge your batteries over a weekend or do you need a solid two-week vacation?

Freelancer self care is all about figuring out what works for you.

And to make it harder: What works for you can change over time. The ideas and hobbies you found energizing a few years ago might not work the same today.

The bottom line is that you need to pay attention to yourself. When are you feeling stress? What helps relieve that stress? Figure out what works and what doesn’t, listen to your body, try different things.

Freelancer Self Care Starts With Health

Every single freelancer we talked to about self care mentioned health. You need to eat right, you need exercise, you need good sleep.

“The thing that motivates me to stay healthy the most is that I’ve recognized that my eating, exercise, and sleep directly impact my work and my business.” –Brian Casel

If you’re not healthy, you’re going to have a hard time getting work done. Again, take action before it becomes a crisis.

It starts by recognizing the sedentary nature of computer work. Sitting all day long is incredibly unhealthy.

You can’t chain yourself to a desk all day. You need to get up and move around. Brian Casel uses a standing desk. Patrick Neve drinks from a 32-ounce jug to force himself to get up. Jennifer Bourn leaves her phone in the next room so she has to get up if she wants to check it.

Simply forcing yourself to get up and move around is a good way to disrupt a sedentary lifestyle. But it takes more than that.

Several of our freelancers made exercise a priority by starting the day with it. And exercise doesn’t have to be a sweaty, intense affair. Jenny Beaumont starts the day with yoga and goes on walks with her husband in the evening.

Mental Health

Physical health is important, but don’t forget mental health. All that stress can weigh on your mind and result in serious issues. Depression is not uncommon, and sometimes you need some help.

There can be a temptation to self medicate when you find yourself in a dark place: “Having that extra beer or shot to make yourself feel better starts you down a dangerous path,” cautions Adam Soucie. “When you’re teetering on the edge, mixing either with your stress and possible depression is a recipe for disaster.”

If you’re struggling with mental health issues, talk to somebody.

“Having someone to talk to about your deepest and darkest thoughts without judgment is incredibly helpful,” Adam Soucie says, describing the benefits of therapy.

For more on the value of mental health, check out these resources:

iThemes founder Cory Miller has been up front about his struggles with mental health and most recently his efforts at physical health (the two are certainly linked). There’s no shame in taking care of yourself.

Give Me a Break

Taking care of your health is a good foundation for self care. Now you need to be proactive about taking appropriate breaks to rest and recharge.

“Every day we need rest: It’s not something that we should push back until the last possible moment. We need to pace ourselves and take care of ourselves every single day.” –Jenny Beaumont

You should take regular breaks throughout the day. Getting up from the computer and walking around, letting your eyes rest, allowing your mind to unplug—even five minutes can make a difference.

Be sure to include breaks as a part of your daily routine. That should also include having an end to your work day. Working late into the night might have worked in school, but it’s not a viable long-term solution.

“It’s really important for agency workers and freelancers alike to have set work hours. Once those hours are over, work stops. Period. You have to have a life away from your code or design.” –Adam Soucie

Regular short-term breaks, whether it’s a 15-minute walk around the block or putting work aside to actually enjoy the weekend, are important. But you should also include regular long-term breaks—also known as vacation.

Vacation

Taking a vacation can be a real challenge for freelancers: “Vacation is a pretty foreign concept for me,” admits Jenny Beaumont.

Paid vacation is a nice perk of full-time employment, but it’s something freelancers have to figure out for themselves. Taking time off usually means not making money, and for a lot of freelancers that’s not happening.

To make vacation a reality, freelancers have to plan for it and schedule it. That means setting money aside (both to cover the lost income and to pay for the actual vacation) and clearing your calendar.

It can be a real challenge, but it’s worth it. Jennifer Bourn says it’s one of the best perks of freelancing: “We typically take seven to eight weeks of vacation each year, plus long weekends throughout the summer, and all major holidays.”

As a freelancer, you set the rules. So if you think you can’t manage a vacation, you need to change the rules.

Our freelancers have some tips for how to make the most of your vacation (once you do manage to make it happen):

  • The anticipation of vacation is the best part: “We almost always have our next vacation planned,” says Brian Casel. “If we don’t have some kind of getaway planned in the next few months, we (especially me!) get antsy and it makes work less enjoyable.” (This is one of the lessons from Happy Money).
  • Time to readjust: Michelle Schulp tries to take a day on either side of her vacation to adjust. You need a day to step away and unplug, and you need a day to step back into things.
  • Unplug from email: “I would always recommend steering clear of emails while on vacation,” says Patrick Neve. “Email can easily eat up hours of time that would be better spent creating memories with the ones you love.”
  • Leave work behind: “It’s all about being present in the moment and allowing everything else to fall into the background,” says Jennifer Bourn.
  • Turning work trips into vacation: A lot of work trips do double duty as vacations for Michelle Schulp, and she makes that work by taking time for meaningful social connections. That energizes her and makes it more than a work trip.

Jennifer Bourn has also written a couple posts about how to make vacations happen: How to Take a Vacation From Your Business Without Freaking Out & How to Take a Real Vacation Even If You Own A Business

Reward Yourself

Vacation can be a powerful reward, but you also need more regular rewards. You should have small, daily or weekly rewards—whether it’s taking a few hours off in the middle of the week or a special snack or treat.

Figure out the reward that motivates you, even if it’s as simple as a sticker.

“We have to reward ourselves once in a while. It’s easy to feel guilty for doing this, but if you never reward yourself, you’ll burn out.” –Patrick Neve

Learn New Things

Freelancer self care doesn’t have to be all vacations and rewards. Sometimes taking care of yourself means improving yourself. Sometimes you need to learn new things or stretch your creative muscles with a side project.

Maybe you need to take a class and push your skills. Or maybe that class should be in something completely different from your daily work.

“Never stop learning and never stop trying new things.” –Brian Casel

Again, you need to know yourself and what works best for you.

Interact With Others

Another way to take care of yourself is to hang out with the people who inspire and sharpen you. Go to some events and spend time with your people.

Maybe rubbing shoulders isn’t what you need. Maybe you need to invest in people. Look into mentoring an up and coming freelancer. Inspire the next generation of coders.

Sometimes passing on what you’ve learned and investing in others can recharge and refresh you. You’ll gain a new perspective and a sense of accomplishment you won’t get from keeping everything to yourself.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Freelancer self care isn’t just about taking time away from work. It’s also about working better.

Taking breaks and getting exercise and all the things we’ve talked about above will actually make you more productive.

That’s right, take some time off and get more work done. It’s magic!

Not really. You’ll be happier, more engaged, and more energetic. You’ll attack your work with more vigor and brain power, you’ll have more stamina, you’ll do better work in less time. And getting things done will make you feel even better. It’s a self-reinforcing cycle.

So take a look at how you work and find ways to be more productive.

You can find some advice in the book, Busy: How to Thrive in a World of Too Much by Tony Crabbe. The premise is that busy is a myth and should never be a goal. Instead of rushing around working harder, we should work smarter.

A lot of taking care of yourself is about how you work. Some tips from Busy for a better work life:

And yeah, if you’re too busy to read five blog posts about being busy, we summarized it for you in one.

Our list of 99 productivity tips can also help you work smarter, not harder.

The Perks of Freelancing

Finally, the perks of freelancing really make taking care of yourself easier.

Brian Casel, Jennifer Bourn, Patrick Neve, and Jenny Beaumont all said that a flexible schedule was one of the best perks of freelancing. That flexibility means you can tackle family drama and finish work later. Or work extra hard now so you can take a three-day weekend. You’re not punching a clock and following someone else’s demands. You make your own rules, and that freedom allows freelancers to breathe easy.

That’s quite a boon to self care.

“The biggest ‘perk’ is just giving myself permission to prioritize self care,” says Michelle Schulp.

Get more insights on freelancer self care by reading the complete interviews with our experts:

So freelancers, take care of yourselves.

The post Freelancer Self Care: Why It Matters and How to Do It appeared first on iThemes.

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WordPress Is Not Just A System For Bloggers

When a lot of newcomers hear about WordPress, they are very quick to assume that it is a platform made just for bloggers. Whilst they may be partly true, the thing that most people tend to forget is that WordPress is also a system that the greater community is free create themes for, and add extra functionality through the use of plugins. It is in this case that WordPress has also become known for being used for some of the largest news sites on the internet, plus various photo portfolios, sales letters, and even full blown membership portals.

So, what is it that makes WordPress so versatile? For one, WordPress has a built in membership system, which allows users to sign up to be able to do specific functions such as commenting, and even posting their own content from time to time. This can easily be used by plugin makers as their foundation for creating membership based platforms. In fact, there have been various of these plugins released, mainly premium, however, they provide a very solid platform for a good membership based website.

Themes are also becoming much more versatile these days. With big theme makers straying from the standard blog themes that we have been getting used to, there are real estate style themes available now, along with portfolio themes, plus even a handful of sales letter themes that include a membership portal, plus payment processor options. This means that WordPress can now be used for multiple purposes instead of being limited to just being a blog.

There are also several other plugins out there that will allow for the sale and distribution of product. In fact, there are even some plugins out there that will allow you to create your own online store that sells products as an affiliate of marketplaces such as Amazon and Ebay. This is a huge leap in how WordPress is used, as this allows you to operate a fully functioning online store front without the need to ever even hold so much as a single item of stock, or deal with support issues.

As you no doubt understand by now, WordPress has become a very versatile platform that many people can use for a variety of functions. It can take some time to set up WordPress with the right plugins and themes, however, once the job is done, it is worth every ounce of your time.

18 WordPress New Year’s Resolutions for 2018

2018 is officially here. Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? Your WordPress website could probably benefit from some renewed attention and updates, and the New Year is the perfect time to revisit your business or blogging goals.

In this post, we offer 18 WordPress New Year’s resolutions if you’re in need of some inspiration. Choose one, tackle them all or write your own—you decide!

wp resolutions

The Key to Successful New Year’s Resolutions: SMART Goals

SMART Goals, described by Paul J. Meyer in his 2003 book, Attitude Is Everything: If You Want to Succeed Above and Beyond are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Apply the concept of SMART Goals to your New Year’s resolutions for the most success in achieving your goals.

18 New Years Resolutions for Your WordPress Website

  • 1. Start running scheduled, automated website backups.

Does your WordPress site have a reliable backup strategy in place? Are you relying on host backups alone?

Owning a website means protecting your online investment, and one of the best ways to do that is with something as seemingly boring as backups. WordPress doesn’t have a built-in backup system, so it’s up to WordPress admins to have a backup strategy in place.

A WordPress backup solution should offer these four components:

  1. A complete website backup. You need to backup your entire WordPress website installation (the database + all WP files). A database backup alone won’t cut it.
  2. Scheduled, automatic backups. Backups need to run automatically at scheduled intervals, depending on your site activity and traffic, like hourly, daily or weekly.
  3. Support for off-site backup storage. Backup files must be stored off-site in a safe, secure location, not on the same server as your website.
  4. A way to restore your website from a backup. If your website crashes, you need a way to restore your WordPress website quickly & easily from a backup file.

Note: While your website host may offer backup services, it’s important to know how their backup system stores your website data, how accessible it is to you (can you download the files yourself?) and how quickly support can restore your latest backup in the event of a server crash or error.

Tip: Install a WordPress backup plugin such as BackupBuddy. BackupBuddy was designed specifically to backup WordPress websites and also offers a real-time WordPress backup feature with Stash Live (included for free in BackupBuddy 7.0+). BackupBuddy offers customizable automatic backup schedules and supports multiple off-site storage destinations for your backups.
  • 2. Start practicing good WordPress security measures.

How secure is your WordPress site? Do you know the most common WordPress security issues? Spend some time this year to review WordPress security tips (such as using a reputable hosting provider and keeping your software updated) to minimize your risk of being hacked.

Tip: Install a WordPress security plugin such as iThemes Security. Run the WordPress security check feature to analyze your site and activate the recommended security settings.
  • 3. Update out-of-date themes, plugins and WordPress core.

Are you running out-of-date versions of WordPress core or any themes or plugins on your site? If so, you could be running software with known security vulnerabilities. While it may seem like a chore to keep up with constant updates, keeping everything updated is a very important part of maintaining your WordPress website.

Tip: Use a service like iThemes Sync to manage multiple WordPress sites. Instead of logging into each individual site, Sync gives you one dashboard to perform updates. Sync also sends daily update notification emails to let you know when new updates are available.
  • 4. Set up two-factor authentication.

Are you using two-factor authentication for your WordPress admin login? If not, you may want to consider implementing this important security measure in 2018.

WordPress two-factor authentication (or WordPress 2-step verification) adds an important extra layer of protection to your WordPress site’s login and admin area by requiring 1) a password and 2) a secondary time-sensitive code to log in.

While it may seem like a hassle to add another component to your login, two-factor authentication is still one of the best ways to secure your login, making it nearly impossible to be compromised. At the very least, set up two-factor authentication on all online banking or financial accounts.

Learn more about WordPress two-factor authentication and how it works. The iThemes Security plugin offers two-factor authentication for your WordPress admin login with support for multiple two-factor apps and other methods.
  • 5. Start using a password manager.

Are you using a password manager yet? If not, you might want to review these important reasons for why you should use a password manager (in addition to two-factor authentication) to protect your online identity. Adding a password manager to your online workflow may actually speed up your logins and give you peace of mind as well.

A password manager such as LastPass remembers your login information for you, allowing you to use complex passwords for all your logins across the web. Check out this recent free training webinar on Getting Started with LastPass.
  • 6. Blog more.

Blogging may fall to the bottom of your to-do list, especially when you’re juggling other high-priority tasks. But maybe 2018 is the year you resolve to blog more. Realistically, can you blog daily? Maybe twice-weekly? Maybe just weekly? Make it a priority to blog more frequently to bring in more traffic to your website.

Need blogging ideas and inspiration? Download our free ebook: Blogging Isn’t Dead: Discovering (or Rediscovering) the Power of Blogging.
  • 7. Develop an SEO strategy.

How’s your SEO strategy? Are you seeing success with your targeted keywords and phrases, qualifying leads through quality content? If not, and you need to brush up on your SEO knowledge, set aside time each week or month to work on your website’s SEO. Little changes can mean big results!

Check out this giant library of free SEO training with SEO Expert Rebecca Gill.
  • 8. Optimize images on my website.

One bad habit a lot of website owners get into is not optimizing the images they upload to use in their posts or pages. Do you know large image files can have a BIG impact on page load time? Are you optimizing your images for the web? Stop uploading huge image files to your website and optimize them instead. Even in the era of retina displays, images should still not climb above 500KB in size. Yikes.

Use a plugin such as Smush Image Compression and Optimization to resize, optimize and compress all of your images.
  • 9. Update my website’s design.

Is your blog looking tired or outdated? Is 2018 the year you need to roll out a new website design? Perhaps it’s time to overhaul your entire website, but maybe all that’s needed is to “freshen up” your theme or design.

It’s easy to get focused on design rather than content. If you aren’t blogging regularly, a new design can be a distraction from actually writing and producing content for your blog. Sometimes it’s best to work with the website you have now, make changes and get creative. Make some changes and get creative. At the end of the day, your goal as a blog owner is to focus on producing new high-quality content.

Check out this post for tips and ideas before you embark on a total redesign: 5 Ways to Freshen Up Your WordPress blog.
  • 10. Update my portfolio.

What did you accomplish in 2017? What major projects did you complete? Does your website reflect your latest client work or product releases? Resolve in 2018 to spend some time updating your portfolio with project photos, summaries and client testimonials.

  • 11. Get informed about Gutenberg.

A major update is coming soon to the WordPress. Do you know about the Gutenberg WordPress Editor? If you don’t know already, the Gutenberg a new page builder that is being designed to integrate with WordPress core. Gutenberg will add content blocks and page builder-like functionality to every up-to-date WordPress website. When in use, it will replace TinyMCE as the default content editor. With Gutenberg, content is added in blocks of various types from the WordPress backend.

Spend some time in the next few months reading up on Gutenberg and preparing for how it will change the WordPress editor. Check out this post: The Gutenberg WordPress Editor: 10 Things You Need to Know.
  • 12. Get involved in WordPress community.

Did you know WordPress has a thriving online and in-person community? Are you participating? Have you attended a WordPress meetup or a WordCamp? These WordPress focused meetups and events bring WordPress users together to share knowledge, solve problems and network. Who knows! Maybe you’ll make a new friend or two.

Find your local WordPress Meetup group and check out the WordCamp Central schedule.
  • 13. Set up (and review) website analytics.

Do you have Google Analytics and Google Search Console properly set up on your website? What about WooCommerce analytics to track sales data for your store?

Analytics offers a ton of insights and clues as to what’s working (and what isn’t) and your website, but some website owners get quickly overwhelmed by the setup required and the data in the reports. Maybe this is the year you finally tackle your analytics and translate the data into actionable steps to improve your website and e-commerce performance.

Check out the recent 12 Days of Google Analtyics webinar to help sort through your data. Run a WooCommerce e-commerce shop? Install iThemes Accelerator, our new WooCommerce reports plugin, for instant in-dashboard analytic reports.
  • 14. Raise my prices.

Are you charging enough for the work you do? Have you raised your rates in the past 12 months? Why not?

You should raise your rates at least 5% a year. (Seriously!) Most markets can support a 5% increase in rates. Communicate your rate increase to your existing clients, and raise both your hourly rates and your service contracts in 2018.

Need help pricing your services or help in dealing with clients? Check out the Freelance Summit hosted by Nathan Ingram.
  • 15. Start building (and using) an email list.

Do you have an email list currently for your website or blog? Are you emailing that list consistently with updates, tutorials or promotions? Email is still one of best performing marketing platforms based on ROI, so spend some time in 2018 either building your email list, working on your email strategy and actually sending emails. To help build your email list, use an opt-in incentive such as a free download (think ebooks, templates, worksheets, videos, etc.)

Use a tool such as OptinMonster to help drive your email signups, then integrate OptinMonster with an email marketing service such as MailChimp.
  • 16. Write an ebook.

Writing an ebook can seem overwhelming. But if you already have a blog post series on a similar topic, you can easily compile those posts into an ebook. Ebooks downloads can be as simple as a PDF (if you’re not comfortable yet with EPUB or Kindle), and you can offer the download directly from your website as a way to build your email newsletter list and position yourself as an expert.

Some tools and services will do the work of compiling blog posts into ebooks for you. Check out Beacon, which also offers a WordPress plugin, to turn your blog posts into a well-designed PDF.
  • 17. Learn a new coding/design/marketing/other skill.

What do you want to learn in 2018? Do you need to improve your HTML, PHP, CSS or JavaScript skills? Web or UX design? Digital and content marketing? Set aside time each month (maybe Friday afternoons) to watch tutorials or take online classes. Be sure to track your progress and compare how far you’ve come in a year. Commit to constantly learning and growing in 2018.

Check out iThemes Training for professional WordPress training and other online training sites such as Lynda.com or Skillshare. If you don’t already have one yet (or if you haven’t used it in a while), take advantage of your local library card.
  • 18. Have more fun and practice self-care.

One of the most meaningful resolutions you can make this year is to have more fun and practice better self-care. This may mean different things to different people—from committing to eat healthier, exercise more, get outdoors, get better work/life balance or spend more time with the people you love. What do you enjoy doing? Do more of that. Maybe it’s finding a new hobby or returning to an old one that got lost in the midst of being a grown-up. How will you have fun and take care of yourself in 2018?

Check out our recent interviews with WordPress freelancers on freelancer self care. They share a ton of great advice and insights!

Here’s to an amazing 2018.

The post 18 WordPress New Year’s Resolutions for 2018 appeared first on iThemes.

iThemes

PSD to WordPress: Take Professional Help

process, but in reality it’s not that easy as assumed to be. In order to convert a PSD file to WordPress, creation of separate theme files for different theme components is very essential. If you are not an expert in this process, then outsourcing your PSD to WordPress would be a good option for getting your job done perfectly. However, in order to do so, at first you have to design a theme in Photoshop and then go for hiring a company that has been providing excellent PSD to WordPress services to their customers for quite a longer period of time. It will help you to get your desired results.

WordPress is a very useful platform to work with, as it is easy to use on regular basis particularly for bloggers. However, it’s not easier to set up properly. If you are trying for the first time to convert the PSD files to WordPress, then you might find the theme coding a little difficult. The situation can be worse if you are not aware of what you are doing, for instance: it will be difficult to create the desired look of your theme. Though you can go for readymade WordPress themes, yet creating your own theme will always be beneficial for you.

The companies that provide PSD to WordPress conversion service will ensure that every part of your PSD design gets a fine look and thus, becomes a finished product. The reason behind going for a PSD to WordPress conversion company is that these companies have all the experts who can provide you with a great service and thus, will convert your PSD design into WordPress in a more professional way.

A lot of people are there who have the basic knowledge of HTML along with little designing and coding for web pages just think that PSD to WordPress is not such a difficult process and they can easily do it. However, in order to convert a PSD design file to WordPress, you need a lot of technical knowledge about both the PSD file formats and WordPress. Having basic knowledge about it, can’t be very beneficial in this regard.

Finally, we can say that proper conversion from PSD to WordPress requires a lot of considerations and knowledge. If you don’t have much knowledge about it, then instead of trying for this, taking the help of professionals will be a wise decision. It will help you to get your desired results.