TaylorLovett

Safe Redirect Manager

January 8, 2013 by Taylor Lovett

Hey Everyone!

I wanted to let everyone know about a new WordPress plugin called Safe Redirect Manager. I am one of the main developers of this plugin, and it has just been released on WordPress.org along with WordPress.com VIP (which is quite a special honor).

So what is the difference between this plugin and all the other redirect management plugins? Well, this plugin is simple, safe, and straight to the point. Instead of using the WordPress options table to store redirects, it uses a custom post type; this is much more flexible and lighter on your server. The plugin has been tested and reviewed by multiple WordPress core contributors and is available on WordPress.com — in order for a plugin to be available on WordPress.com it must be extremely secure. Safe Redirect Manager also allows you to use regular expressions in your redirects (if you don’t know what this is, don’t worry it’s an optional feature).

Here is a screenshot:

Download here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/safe-redirect-manager

P.S: If you are a developer, Safe Redirect Manager is available to be forked on Github.

Edit: Thank you Branco Radenovich for the Slovak translation. This will be included in version 1.6.1 of the plugin.

Internal vs. Inbound Links

March 21, 2012 by Taylor Lovett

While recently doing some SEO consultations, I noticed how most people don’t understand the importance of internal linking. Let’s go back to SEO basics for a minute so I can explain.

The goal of all search engines is to serve you with the most relevant possible websites to your searches. All search engines have a different “algorithm” for deciding which pages are most relevant. Almost all of these algorithms (Google especially) place high importance on inbound links. This means the more sites linking to your site the better. The most valuable thing you can have is an inbound link from a site serving content relevant to yours. For example since my site has articles on SEO, a useful inbound link would be one from seoengine.com.

“Inbound links are like other sites voting for your content and telling search engines what your content is about.”

On the other hand, internal links are like letting search engines know about your content and voting for it. This is extremely important! Internal links signal search engines that your pages exist and are important.

Internal links are also important because your links carry authority. What do I mean when I say your links carry authority? Well, let’s say my homepage taylorlovett.com is a Google PageRank 6 (which it actually is). That means all links on my homepage carry the authority of PageRank 6. So links on my homepage carry more authority than links on some obscure page of my website that has PageRank 1. But by linking my homepage to that obscure page, I am, in a sense, telling search engines that obscure page should have more authority. Therefore my homepage should contain links to the rest of my website to spread around the “authority”.

Does that make sense? I hope it does. If not, feel free to email me with any questions.

Custom Contact Forms 5

March 20, 2012 by Taylor Lovett

Big news for Custom Contact Forms! After months of developing, we just released version 5. CCF version 5 is going to change the ways you build your forms dramatically. The theme for this new version is improved admin user interface.

New Features:

  • Rearrange attached fields with drag-and-drop
  • Rearrange attached field options with drag-and-drop
  • Restyled form and field manager
  • Save and delete buttons next to each form, field, field option, and style
  • Bugs fixed

Development will continue on Custom Contact Forms. Stay tuned.

SEO Friendly Images WordPress Plugin

February 16, 2012 by Taylor Lovett

Hey guys, I wanted to let you know about a plugin I just started using. It’s called SEO Friendly Images.

SEO Friendly Images accomplishes a few tasks that will save you time, improve your HTML code, and ultimately add SEO value to your website. The plugin automatically adds alt and title attributes to all your images (unless they already have them). This provides substantial SEO value because it allows you to add more keywords throughout your website.

  • The alt attribute is important part of search engine optimization. It describes your images to search engines and when a user searches for a certain image this is a key determining factor for a match.
  • The title attribute plays a lesser role but is important for visitors as this text will automatically appear in the tooltip when a visitor hovers their mouse over the image.

By adding alt and title attributes to all images, the plugin in turn makes your images W3C compliment (this means your code is valid which is important to Google). This plugin is extremely easy to configure and I’ve added this plugin to all my websites. I recommend everyone does the same.

Download the Plugin

Critical Landing Page Software to Make You Money

December 22, 2011 by Taylor Lovett

If you’ve read any of my earlier posts on landing pages, you know the importance of utilizing landing pages in your online sales efforts. Every successful internet marketer I’ve ever talked to has told me that landing pages are absolutely critical in generating sales and/or leads.

Making landing pages from scratch is time consuming. If you aren’t a web designer who is proficient in HTML, creating a professional web page is almost impossible. Why waste time and money creating individual landing pages when you can have a WordPress plugin automatically create them for you? Let me introduce you to the MaxLanding plugin for WordPress.

Features:

  • Works with any WordPress theme
  • 12 landing page templates
  • Fully customizable with plenty of easy-to-use options
  • Includes clickthrough and lead generation templates
  • Options for embedded video and product images
  • Create unlimited number of landing pages
  • 1-click copy of an existing landing page
  • No need to know HTML or to edit code files
  • All landing pages come Search Engine Optimized

MaxLanding allows you to automatically create landing pages in WordPress. The plugin is extremely customizable. You can create 1 click-through and 2 click-through landing pages with ease. MaxLanding is proven to increase the amount of sales generated by landing pages. Also since this plugin works with WordPress, you can easily hook up your landing pages to Google Analytics so you can view minute-by-minute stats of your visitors!

I recommend that you definitely give this plugin a try. You have nothing to lose. It’s cheap and if you don’t like it, there is a 30-day money back guarantee.

Download MaxLanding WordPress Plugin

Landing Pages: What Are They and When You Should Use Them?

August 16, 2011 by Taylor Lovett

There is a lot of talk today among bloggers and internet marketers about “landing pages” or “sales pages”. You might have heard people talking about how useful they are in generating new prospects for your business. I can tell you this is absolutely true but only if the landing pages are created and used correctly.

What is a landing page:
A landing page is simple a page that a visitor lands on after clicking a link. It could be your homepage. More often than not a landing page is the page that a user arrives at after clicking an advertisement.

When to use a landing page and why they are extremely important:
Suppose I have an advertisement link on webdevelopers.com. The link text reads “Free SEO Report”. Most amateurs would have this link point to their homepage. The smart move would be to create a special landing page on my site that is completely separated from the rest of the site. The landing page would be targeted specifically for the link “Free SEO Report”. That means the landing page would probably have a header that reads just that, Free SEO Report. Using a targeted landing page for your advertisements (especially for PPC ads) dramatically increases the amount of new prospects or conversions you will receive per ad click.

Google Alerts

June 8, 2011 by Taylor Lovett

I wanted to let you know about a new Google service I stumbled upon recently. It’s called Google Alerts.

As you know I run a small online web development business. I target search phrases like “Maryland web developer” and “Maryland wordpress”. I’ve spent time and money getting my website to the top of Google for those search phrases.

I also spend time searching those phrases on Google to see where my website(s) are located as well as to learn about my competition. When new websites pop up on “Maryland web developer” or “Maryland wordpress” searches, I want to be the first to know so I can examine those websites and evaluate the type of keyword strategies they are using (this is how the pros do it).

Anyway I was spending a lot of time unnecessarily searching those phrases for new competition until I learned about Google Alerts. Google Alerts is a new service that provides email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic.

Simply, tell Google the topic you wish to monitor, enter your email address and the type of results you wish to receive, and click create alert.

It’s that simple. From now on Google will alert you when new websites appear on searches on the topics of your choosing!

Custom Contact Forms 4.6.0.1 Fixes Major IE Bug

June 7, 2011 by Taylor Lovett

After discovering a bug in the admin panel some months ago, where when using the form, style, or field manager, the browser goes to a page showing a -1, we have finally fixed this bug. It turns out WordPress was loading an old version of the JQuery Forms plugin, the newest version had this bug fixed. CCF now includes it’s own version of the JQuery Forms plugin fixing this bug. Thanks to everyone who reported this!

Meta Descriptions and Titles – What They Are, Why They’re Important, and How to Optimize Them

January 21, 2011 by Taylor Lovett

Meta descriptions and titles are probably the most important thing for SEO within the HTML of your site. These two tags allow you to have some control over how search engines like Google display your website.

What Are Meta Tags?

“Meta tags” refer to specific HTML tags that appear in the area of the page. Here is an example:

<HTML>
<HEAD>
<TITLE> This is the Meta Title tag! </TITLE>
<META name=”description” content=”This is the meta description” />
</HEAD>

See how the title and description tags appear within the of the page? They will only work if placed in that area. From the standpoint of someone viewing your website, the meta description tag is completely invisible (unless they view source code), it is used exclusively by search engines. The title tag can actually be seen by your viewers in the browser bar at the very top of your screen. There is also the meta keywords tag, but this tag is ignored by most major search engines (Google included). Right now we are going to focus on the two most important meta tags for SEO, the meta description and title tags.

Google places great importance on meta description and title tags when your website is being indexed. The following is a screen shot from a Google search:

Taking advantage of these tags gives you a huge advantage over your competitors. Having worked with many small businesses as an SEO consultant, the vast majority of people do not make use of these tags. Clients pay me thousands of dollars to get their website on the first page of Google for specific keywords; sometimes all it takes is making good use of their meta tags! Which leads me to the next thing I want to tell you…

How to Optimize Meta Tags

You’re going to be surprised at how simple this really is. First I want to introduce the concept of relevancy. You want your website to be as relevant as possible to the keywords you are targeting for Google searches. Keywords in certain areas of your website are given more weight than others. The most prominent area on your website for keywords are your meta description and titles tags. So you want to make sure every single page on your site has these tags. Also every meta description and title tag should be unique otherwise Google might flag your website for duplicate content (this was discussed in an earlier email I sent you). That being said, here are the guidelines I follow when optimizing my clients’ meta tags:

  • Make sure every single page on the website has unique meta description and title tags.
  • Make sure every meta title tag is no longer than 60 characters in length and every meta description no longer than 160 characters in length.
  • Fill each meta description and title tag with as many relevant keywords as possible.
  • Make each meta description and title tag describe the page very closely. This means I don’t just stuff them full of keywords; I actually make sure they all make sense and are relevant to their page.

How to Optimize Meta Tags in WordPress Websites

If you are running WordPress, optimizing your meta tags is MUCH easier. There are tons of plugins that allow you to edit the meta description and title tag without having to know HTML. I use All-In-One SEO on all my clients’ websites.With All-In-One SEO, each post and page editor contains a box near the bottom that allows you to easily change the meta tags. This plugin even shows a live count of how many characters your meta description and title tags are currently at! WordPress is great for SEO and makes it very easy to insert keywords throughout your site. Just remember that each page, post, category, and archive actually have their own web pages so don’t forget to optimize all their meta tags.

Google Places is Critical to Search Engine Visibility

January 15, 2011 by Taylor Lovett

Hey Taylor L, I just wanted to let you know about something that someone of the SEO Pro’s have been chatting about lately.

Google Places is CRITICAL to search engine visibility. Google has begun to show an incredible number of Local-related results for nonspecific search phrases.

Google Places allows you to submit your business information (name, address, URL, basic service description). After submission, your website will show up under local Google Places results. Lets use the web development market as an example. Since TaylorLovett.com is listed in Google Places as a web development business in Maryland, it shows up higher under local searches for “web development” within Maryland. That means my website has an advantage with people searching for web development within Maryland as well as people searching the key phrase “web development Maryland”.

The secret that I am revealing is that even if your business does not have a specific location, you can still submit it to Google Places.The best way to move up in the Google rankings is to optimize your site for a specific location, and move outwards gradually. TaylorLovett.com first was optimized for a small town called “Rockville” (which is in Maryland), then moved to a bigger town called “Bethesda”, then took over Maryland. Now if you search “web developer Maryland”, you will seeTaylorLovett.com on the first page competing with multi-million dollar web development firms. Pretty neat, huh?

Also, I’m not sure if you heard about this or not, but Google just completely changed the way they display localized search results. What does this mean for you? While this may sound unimportant, it is actually a pretty big deal because it gives websites that use proper SEO techniques a huge leg up. Prior to this change, when you searched “web development Maryland”, local Maryland results were displayed (by Google Places) above the actual organic search results. Now those same Google places results are integrated in to the organic search results. The two algorithms have been merged. This change places even more importance on websites that are listed in Google Places. You have nothing to lose!

SEOMoz, a leading search engine optimization research site, put out an exclusive report which included some useful tips when creating your Google Places listing.

– In Places results, domain-wide link popularity factors seem more important than page-specific ones. We’ve heard that links aren’t as important in local/places and the data certainly suggest that’s accurate (see the full report to compare correlations), but they may not be completely useless, particularly on the domain level.

– Using the city and business type keyword in the page title and the listing name (when claiming/editing your business’s name in the results) may give a positive boost. Results using these keywords seem to frequently outrank their peers. Use the city/state you are targeting in your listing.

– More is almost always better when it comes to everything associated with your Places listing – more related maps, more reviews, more “about this place” results, etc. However, this metric doesn’t appear as powerful as we’d initially thought. It could be that the missing “consistency” metric is a big part of why the correlations here weren’t higher.

Google XML Sitemaps – Free SEO Points

January 10, 2011 by Taylor Lovett

An XML Sitemap is a list of pages on your website (not readily visible to humans) that is formatted in such a way that helps Google index pages on your site that it might not find otherwise. Your Sitemap can even specify how long before the content changes on each page so Google knows when to come back and reindex. This has HUGE value for SEO.

Do any of the following apply to your website? (This list is pulled directly from the Google help page on Sitemaps)

  • Your site has dynamic content.
  • Your site has pages that aren’t easily discovered by Googlebot during the crawl process—for example, pages featuring rich AJAX or images.
  • Your site is new and has few links to it. (Googlebot crawls the web by following links from one page to another, so if your site isn’t well linked, it may be hard for us to discover it.)
  • Your site has a large archive of content pages that are not well linked to each other, or are not linked at all.

If so, you definitely need an XML Sitemap. Have you every seen video content when searching on Google? You can create an XML video Sitemap for Google that will allow your video content to be disabled on the Google search page. In my personal experience with SEO, Google, and small business websites, XML Sitemaps have been an invaluable tool. Most people don’t know what they are and often pay me to do SEO work. One of my SEO “secrets” is to install the XML Google Sitemaps Plugin on my clients websites. My clients usually see results within a few days from using that plugin! Crazy, huh?

Download and install the Google XML Sitemaps Plugin for WordPress

WordPress Reference Guide for Developers

November 30, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

WordPress theme and plugin developers, I found something you might like. A women named Natalie from DBS Interactive emailed me informing me of there WordPress Reference Guide for Developers. I am a huge fan of the WordPress Codex but the reference guide they put together is much easier to use than the WP Codex. It’s like an encyclopedia for WordPress theme developers. This is definitely worth a bookmark:

WordPress Reference Guide for Developers

Custom Contact Forms 2.2.0

August 9, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

Custom Contact Forms 2.2.0 has been released and sports a number of new useful features. A plugin news feed has been added to the administratin panel displaying the latest news, tips, and tricks concerning Custom Contact Forms. A form has been added to the admin page allowing anyone to report a bug as well as suggest new features. 

Custom Contact Forms is constantly being developed and these new features really allows blog owners to steer development in the direction of their best interest. Finally a plugin navigation menu has been included at the top of the admin page allowing users to more fluidly control their contact forms.

Suggest a feature has already provided us with some great ideas. Custom Contact Forms someday some may have a mailing list function allowing you to build a list for internet marketing. Excited yet? Custom Contact Forms is already the best contact forms WordPress plugin by far and is only getting better.

Raving Reviews for Custom Contact Forms 1.1.1

July 27, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

The first stable version of my WordPress Plugin, Custom Contact Forms has been released in version 1.1.1. Version 1.1.1 includes fixed fields that are included automatically and not listed with user fields. The first fixed field added to Custom Contact Forms is a secure captcha.

As well as fixed fields, plugin users can now make a custom thank you message and have fields remember how users previously filled them out; error messages have also now been added to the WordPress plugin.

Custom Contact Forms is quickly becoming a popular WordPress. It is much more intuitive than any other contact form WordPress plugin and is extremely easy to use. Custom Contact Forms has been downloaded and installed over 240 times in its first two weeks. Here’s a review from a WordPress blog owner:

You have the best of the WP contact forms. Outstanding effort. Congrats!

Mark Lasserre – lasserre.us

Most importantly Custom Contact Forms updates itself automatically if you have an old version so they are no reason not to upgrade immediately. If you have any suggestions are problem with my WordPress plugin, please email me and I will fix them same-day guaranteed.

Download Custom Contact Forms 1.1.1

Custom Contact Forms 1.0 Released

July 18, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

My new WordPress plugin, Custom Contact Forms 1.0, has finally be released.

Custom Contact Forms is a WordPress plugin for handling and displaying custom web forms; insert the provided code in any page, post, category, or archive in which you want a web form to show. This plugin allows you to create fields with a variety of options and to attach them to specific forms you create.

Definitely allows for more customization than any other WordPress contact form plugin out there today. The greatest part of this plugin is the comprehensive admin page which allows you to manage fields, forms, and tons of customizable options in one place! Also comes with a web form widget to drag-and-drop in to your sidebar. It has been tested on WordPress version 2.7.1 and up. Give it a try on your blog today; it’s free!

SEO Doctor Firefox Addon

July 11, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

I stumbled on an interesting add-on for Mozilla Firefox called SEO Doctor. SEO Doctor adds a small flag icon to the far right side of the url bar which opens up a small box containing information and stats pertaining to search engine optimization. when clicked. SEO Doctor’s main features:

  • Assigns an SEO score to each page and looks for SEO errors like missing alt tags, missing meta tags, and more.
  • Counts the number of inbound and outbound links keeping track of link flow and revealing any potential areas that might leak “link juice”.
  • Detects pages that can’t be found or indexed by Google and other search engines
  • Shows estimated total number of daily visits, total number of daily visits from search engines, number of nofollow links, measures loading time, and more

For me the most useful features of SEO Doctor are the ones detecting missing page features that might affect my search engine ranking. For example if I forget to use an H1 tag on a page, SEO Doctor notifies me. If I don’t use at least one H2 tag on a page, SEO Doctor warns me that I should even though it isn’t required like the H1 tag. SEO Doctor saves me tons of time because it shows me these things while I’m viewing the page instead of me taking time to search through each one of my pages to make sure they all have H1 tags.

SEO doctor is great for experienced web developers and still easy to use for novice ones. It’s definitely worth a download and it is free after all; so give it a try.

Download SEO Doctor by Vladimir Prelovac

5 Essential Free Tools No Web Developer Should Be Without

July 6, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

I’ve been a programming in PHP and developing websites for 8 years and here are 5 free tools that no web developer should ever be without. Most if not all of these require that you use Mozilla Firefox.

1. Web Developer add-on for Mozilla Firefox

Of course number one assumes you are already using Mozilla Firefox browser. This addon creates a toolbar in your browser that allows you to accomplish a myriad of things much more easily than if you didn’t have the toolbar. Disable javascript, highlight css elements, edit CSS elements and view your changes live, view code source more easily, outline block level elements, find bad code, view image properties, validate your code, auto-fill in forms (this is incredibly useful when testing a form with many fields), manage your cookies, and much, much more. It goes without saying that this toolbar is a necessity for any web developer, PHP/Javascript programmer, or WordPress plugin developer.

2. IE Tab Plus add-on for Mozilla Firefox

This add-on allows you, the user, to switch the Firefox rendering engine to that of Internet Explorer’s. Simply right click on a page and click view in IE; this opens a new viewing tab in your browser that renders your current web page in IE’s engine. When building web pages, web developers often switch between Firefox and Internet Explorer (the two most popular browsers) to see how their website looks in each. Now with IE Tab, developers can stay in their current browser

3. Ubiquity for Mozilla Firefox

Another Firefox add-on big surprise huh?!? Ubiquity allows for dynamic commands to be entered by the user. Ubiquity allows for extended browser funcionality with dynamic commands. After installing Ubiquity, users can subscribe to commands that Ubiquity developers have created. Pressing CTRL+Space brings up a console that accepts commands which otherwise would take a few extra steps to do manually. To list a few commands: lookup artilces in wikipedia, search, translate current page, and much more.

4. Ubiquity: PHP Function Lookup

PHP function look up adds a PHP function lookup command to Ubiquity. PHP developers often need to look up functions for a variety of reasons. Not anyone can remember the order of parameters and return type for thousands of functions. Opening a new tab, going to PHP.net, and typing in a function takes time. Ubiquity’s PHP function look up command lets you do this by simply pressing CTRL+Space then typing “php your_function”. This will save any PHP programmer tons of time.

5. Ubiquity: WordPress Codex Lookup

WordPress Codex Lookup adds a command look up feature to Ubiquity allowing you to quickly search the WordPress codex for information. If you use WordPress, create WordPress plugins, or modify WordPress themes, this will save you some time. Press CTRL+Space, then type “wp codex_search” and Ubiquity will open a new tab in your browser with your WP codex search.

Password Protecting Directories in WordPress Tutorial

July 2, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

Today I wanted to password protect a directory on my website. I needed a web directory to be 100% secure and the only way to do that is using an .htaccess file. However, since WordPress already has an htaccess file on my site, doing this became a tricky project. After following other .htacess password protection tutorials on the net, WordPress would give me a 404 error when I browsed to the protected folder. It took me a few hours to figure out how to fix get around this. Here is a tutorial for password protecting directories in WordPress.

1. In the folder you want to protect, create a .htaccess file; I created a directory called password/ and placed my .htaccess file in password/.htaccess. Some operating systems don’t let you name a file called .htaccess. One way to get around this is to create a file named htaccess.txt, upload it to your site, then rename it to .htaccess. We will edit this file later in the tutorial

2. Create a file named .htpasswd and upload it to your site. This file contains the username and password that the you will need to enter in order to access you password protected folder. I recommend putting this folder in a location that is not web accessible. For most hosts your web accessible files are stored in the www/ or htdocs/ folder. If you put this file below those folders it will be 100% safe. Again, we will edit this file later in the tutorial.

3. Put this code in your .htaccess file:

AuthUserFile /home/.htpasswd
AuthType Basic
AuthName "My Password Protected Folder"
require user USERNAME

4. The bolded parts of the code are what you will have to change. Replace USERNAME with the username you will use, for this tutorial my username will be taylor. Replace /home/.htpasswd with the absolute path to your .htpasswd file. My web files are stored in /home/www/ so by placing my .htpasswd file in the /home/ folder, it makes it impossible to view with a web browser. Make sure you replace /home/.htpasswd with an absolute path and not a url like http://www.taylorlovett.com/.htpasswd.

5. Put this code in your .htpasswd file

USERNAME:ENCRYPTED PASSWORD

6. Replace USERNAME with your username, I am using taylor for this tutorial. Replace ENCRYPTED PASSWORD with an encrypted password. There are many .htpasswd generators you can use on the web. My .htpasswd file looks like this:

taylor:zG/hsmO/lXxnM

7. The last steps of this tutorial are what makes everything work along side your WordPress installation; which is why other .htaccess password protection tutorials on the internet don’t work if you’re running WordPress. Open the .htaccess file in the base directory of your WordPress installation. On my site WordPress is installed in the root, so I opened the file located at http://www.taylorlovett.com/.htaccess

At the very top of the file add the following code (make sure you add this before # BEGIN WordPress:

ErrorDocument 401 /401.html

So your .htaccess file should look something like this:

ErrorDocument 401 /401.html
# BEGIN WordPress
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
</IfModule>
# END WordPress

8. Finally, create a file in the root of your site called 401.html. You can leave the file blank if you want. Now everything should be working smoothly!

Content Boxes and Rounded Corners with CSS

by Taylor Lovett

Rounding corners has become more and more popular as the internet has grown older. Even Google allows users to select options in Adsense to round corners. There are many ways to round corners some using 2 images and CSS, 3 images and CSS, 4 images and no CSS, purely Javascript, only CSS (CSS3 only unfortunately), and more. To me CSS and rounding corners is an art because there are an infinite amount of ways to accomplish this effect but some are more elegant than others. This Bethesda web developer Maryland WordPress expert found a great website explaining in detail (CSS, XHTML markup, and images included) 25 great ways to achieve rounded corners in your layout with minimal HTML markup. Here’s the link:

25 Rounded Corners Techniques with CSS