Another year is coming to a close, and it’s time to look back and reflect on what we’ve accomplished in the past twelve months. The WordPress community is stronger than ever, and some of the accomplishments of the past year are definitely worth remembering.

Software Releases

We had two major releases of the WordPress web application with versions 3.4 and 3.5, as well as 5 security releases during 2012. 3.4 included the theme customizer, while 3.5 became the long awaited “media release” featuring a new uploader and gallery management tool. 3.5 contained code contributions from more people than ever, and we hope to continue growing the contributor ranks in the year ahead. We currently have native apps on 6 mobile platforms — iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Nokia, and WebOS — and saw several updates there as well.

Plugin Directory

A number of improvements were made to the Plugin Directory in 2012. More cosmetic  updates, like the introduction of branded plugin page headers, make it a nicer browsing experience, while functional changes like better-integrated support forums, plugin reviews, and a favorites system made the plugin directory even more useful as a resource.

The “Make” Network and Team Reps

2012 was the year that saw the creation of Make.wordpress.org, a network of sites for the teams of contributors responsible for the different areas of the WordPress project. Now anyone can follow along and get involved with the teams that work on core, theme review, forum support, documentation, and more. In 2013 we’ll work to improve these sites to make it easier to become a contributor. Each team also now has elected Team Reps, a new role that has already led to more cross-team communication. Team reps post each week to the Updates blog so that the other reps can keep up with what’s going on in other teams.

WordPress Community Summit

At the end of October, about 100 of the most influential and respected members of the WordPress community attended an inaugural summit to discuss where we all stand, and to figure out where we go next with WordPress. A “conference of conversations,” this unconference made everyone an active participant, and while not every issue brought to the table was solved by the end of the event, the right questions were being asked.

Meetup.com

The WordPress Foundation now has a central account with Meetup.com. We’ve brought in a couple dozen existing meetup groups as a pilot to test the system, and are in the process of working with more existing meetups (as well as new ones) to join us so that local organizers won’t have to pay organizer dues and can get more support from the WordPress project.

Internet Blackout Day

We participated in the protest against SOPA/PIPA, Internet Blackout Day, on January 18. Though we usually stay out of politics, this campaign was important, and we not only participated in the blackout on WordPress.org, we encouraged our users to do so as well, and recommended plugins to provide blackout functionality. It was deemed the largest online protest in history.

WordCamps

And finally, it wouldn’t be a recap without counting up the WordCamps! There were 67 WordCamps around the world in 2012, bringing together WordPress users, developers, and fans. If you didn’t make it to a WordCamp this year, maybe it can be one of your new year resolutions: check the schedule to find one near you!

drinkAh yes, the new year is almost here and this means time for some new year’s resolutions. Besides some obvious stuff like losing weight and spending more time with your kids I want to interest you with some online business related resolutions. And I promise these are not things you’ll just abandon by the end of January.

1. Don’t create any crap products

This is something I talked about just recently. Crap products are things like 15 page e-books that are sold to your audience as “the best thing ever” when in fact they are just meant to make you some quick buck.

An odd thing for a new year’s resolutions list because it’s something I ask you not to do. And it’s probably even more strange as every marketer online tells you to indeed go out and create such simple products.

If you want to get my complete point of view on this, feel free to visit my other post titled so-called quality product creation. In short, simple products like that don’t help anyone, and they are often very poorly produced (yes, the workmanship matters too, not only the raw content).

2. Make your newsletter content driven

First of all, if you don’t have a newsletter yet, launch one this week (you can use the free plan at MailChimp). And if you do, make sure that it’s content driven, as opposed to promotion driven.

In a nutshell, send not more than one promotional message for every nine pure content messages.

I’m sure you realize this, but your readers really don’t care about promotions. They’re being hit left and right with promotions so they most certainly don’t need you to do the same. And if they’re still subscribed, it only means that you haven’t crossed the line yet. But if you do, they will leave.

3. Build a network of 10 people

The word network is not my favorite one so let me elaborate. What I actually mean is building relationships with 10 people, either inside your niche or in some related niches.

The point of such relationships is to gain valuable connections, which you can then use for joint ventures or some other projects.

They key to successful communication is to start on a personal level and don’t ask for any favors upfront. I’m sure you already have some people on your mind you’d like to connect with. Therefore I encourage you to start as soon as today.

4. Write at least 10 guest posts per month

Guest posting is one of the best promotion methods for any website, not only blogs or online magazines. The power of guest blogging lies in user engagement and link building on quality domains.

Quite simply, if you write an interesting enough guest post, some of the readers will click the link in your bio and visit your site. The more targeted the blogs where you guest post are, the better results you’ll have.

5. Take action on one of your IM products

I’m sure you bought some of those in the past… However, chances are you didn’t take action all the way through. Now is a good time to finally do it.

(That is, of course, if you still consider the product being a quality one.)

6. Try getting a freelance contract

Because why the hell not…? Freelancing is one of the best direct methods to make money. You have the expertise and you have the knowledge … quite frankly, you don’t need anything more.

To make this happen, you can either look within your niche and try to come up with some offerings of your own, or browse some of the popular online job boards and look for interesting opportunities there.

Getting some freelancing experience will give you a way better insight into people’s needs, as compared to offering random products based on your own judgment.

7. Buy new assets

Things like new domains, new licenses, and anything else that can help you make money directly.

To give you a more accurate definition, let’s have a look at Wikipedia:

[...] assets are economic resources. Anything tangible or intangible that is capable of being owned or controlled to produce value and that is held to have positive economic value is considered an asset.

Now, be careful not to buy a liability. Focus only on things that have a strong potential to make you money directly.

8. Build a social media presence

Finally, the most favorite thing for anyone online – social media. What I actually advise here is pretty basic. Pick just one social media network where you want to build your presence in the next 12 months. Not all at the same time.

Also, it’s best to pick the one that’s already producing some good results for you. Remember, it’s always easier to improve what’s already working than to build something from the ground up.

The exact way how you’re going to do that is up to you. There are more than enough social media blogs on the internet to help you.

9. Start a series on your blog

A series is a simple sequence of posts talking about one complex topic. Instead of explaining all the whys and hows here, let me send you over to some other resources.

First, some examples:

And finally, a post explaining how to build a series and publish it on a WordPress site: How to Publish a Series of Posts in WordPress.

I guess that summarizes my list of new year’s resolutions for online business owners. Are you planning to take action on any of the things mentioned here? Or maybe you have something else in plan?


Hungry for Some New Year’s Resolutions for Your Online Business? | newInternetOrder.com

Launching a product on Christmas is an interesting concept. People are already in a buying mood … and spending money seems just way easier … almost like it’s the right thing to do.

Anyway, if you’ve been planning to launch your product on Christmas then you’re probably at an advanced stage of planning and preparation already. However, I still have two more pieces of advice for you.

posts

The first article (guest post) of mine I’d like to share talks about preparing for a product launch. More precisely, it’s about all the important tasks and actions you should take prior to pushing the final “launch” button.

I do realize that there are whole books on product launch alone, so I’m not trying to say that I managed to cover everything in just one short post, but it can surely be a nice addition to your launch plan.

Preparing Your Product for Launch Day

The other article talks about creating your upselling model to be kind of like what supermarkets do on a daily basis.

I personally think that upselling online doesn’t have to be that difficult, as long as we’re able to replicate what other business owners have been doing for years in the brick-and-mortar world.

What Your Local Supermarket Knows About Upselling That You Don’t

What about your business, do you plan on launching anything soon (like a product or a service)?

And since I’m here … Merry Christmas!

(yeah, “Merry Christmas,” not “Happy Holidays” … I was never a politically correct type of person)


Launching Your Product on Christmas and Selling it Like a Supermarket | newInternetOrder.com

100mdashThe concept I have for you today is actually really simple and talks about the issue of recognizing a scam when it’s being offered to you.

These days, there are a lot of different products and services targeted towards people who are looking for new ways to make money online.

“Making money online” is actually a huge niche. There are hundreds of different approaches at it. Some require more work, others less. Some revolve around freelancing, others have a more passive income driven nature. Some feature tangible products sold online, others just simple digital products.

And every one of those approaches is a possible, genuine path to making money.

However.

Some people – marketers – like to play on our emotions and offer crappy products that have no possible chance of making us any money whatsoever. And at the same time they try to say that if we fail, it’s only our fault.

I have two main methods of finding out if I’m dealing with a scam or a genuine product.

Rule #1: The Olympics Rule

“Is someone saying that you can win the Olympics tomorrow?”

Basically, nothing happens overnight. A rule as valid in internet marketing as anywhere else.

Winning the Olympics is a metaphor for achieving extraordinary result in a relatively short span of time.

When it comes to the Olympics, we all know that winning any competition is not possible without a lifetime of training.

So why aren’t we equally as connected with the reality in other aspects of life? Why do we believe that becoming rich overnight, for some reason, is possible to everyone?

That is why I advise you to ask the above question every time you get presented with a sales pitch of any kind.

If the marketer promises you “the gold medal” overnight then they’re probably not being very honest.

Rule #2: The “It’s Your Fault” Rule

“If you fail, it’s your fault because you didn’t put enough effort.”

Marketers don’t usually say it openly like that, but they can say something like this, for example:

“My product is not the magic pill solution, and it won’t do wonders for you if you don’t take sufficient action putting my advice in practice.”

Notice the “is not the magic pill” part. What it does is actually makes them even more credible because they’re answering the main objection you – the customer – might have.

However, the crown bullshit phrase is this: “won’t do wonders for you if you don’t take sufficient action.” What it actually means is “it’s your fault if you fail.”

I’m sorry, but this is not the case in the normal people’s world. If I buy an iPad and the thing breaks down a week later just like that then it’s most certainly not my fault. It’s the product’s fault.

This is something I talked about in one of my recent posts (the so-called quality product creation). The basic rule is that the main task of a quality product is to deliver the average result to everyone. And if the average customer fails to get any worthwhile results then the product is simply crap (not the other way around).

That’s why there’s no genuine “get rich” product. If it were, the majority of the people who bought it would be rich.

What about non-scams?

Sure, there are genuine products, but they’re a lot less popular due to their realistic promises.

Basically, the Olympics rule applies here too. As I said, if someone promises that you can win it overnight then they’re trying to trick you.

But if they promise that you can start your training tomorrow and then after years of dedicated work make it into the Olympics and maybe win the gold then it’s a completely different story.

In other words, focus on products that teach how to make the next step (or the first step, if you’re just starting out with something), and avoid products that talk about achieving the end result overnight.

Why am I even writing this? Because I’m kind of tired of seeing yet another big thing meant to make online business owners more successful when in fact it only makes them spend money on something they don’t need and won’t ever use.


The Olympics Rule to Recognize a Scam | newInternetOrder.com

malwareThis isn’t actually funny at all.

I don’t know if you noticed this, but my site got infected with some malware about a week ago.

The malware was not a result of my reckless behavior or anything. Just some malicious Apache module sitting on the server at my web host (cheers, WPWebHost, we’re probably not going to do business any more).

First of all, here’s how it all started.

One day I received a friendly email from Google:

Dear site owner or webmaster of newinternetorder.com,

We recently discovered that some of your pages can cause users to be infected with malicious software. We have begun showing a warning page to users who visit these pages by clicking a search result on Google.com.

[…]

We strongly encourage you to investigate this immediately to protect your visitors. Although some sites intentionally distribute malicious software, in many cases the webmaster is unaware because:

1) the site was compromised
2) the site doesn’t monitor for malicious user-contributed content
3) the site displays content from an ad network that has a malicious advertiser

If your site was compromised, it’s important to not only remove the malicious (and usually hidden) content from your pages, but to also identify and fix the vulnerability. We suggest contacting your hosting provider if you are unsure of how to proceed.

[…]

Sincerely,
Google Search Quality Team

Now, the tone is very friendly, yet what it actually means is this:

Your site is infected. We’re banning it from the search engine results. Get it fixed now!

And this is something my SEOmoz monitor confirmed a while after. Here are the rankings for my main keywords:

rank

Nice, huh?

And of course, whenever there’s malware on any site, every major browser starts to display a warning message when someone tries to visit it. Which means that what followed shortly afterwards was a decline in traffic.

stats

Well, it was about time to do something.

So I started digging and found that the malware was only visible on http://newinternetorder.com/tag/business/ which was funny because the template file responsible for this URL is archive.php – and this is a file that also runs my date archives and category archives. Besides, there are also tens of other tags on the site, yet only this one was infected.

This was clearly not a problem with any of the template files. The problem was sitting somewhere deeper.

Since I’m an engineer and have a Master’s Degree in computer science I have to say that this malware was a nice piece of coding.

It didn’t come up during every scanning attempt (it only presented itself once every X times), it banned the most often used IPs (so whenever someone tried to visit the page more than X times the malware was no longer active), and as I said before it didn’t put any suspicious code inside any of the WordPress files.

While doing my research I stumbled upon this great post: Malicious Apache Module Injects Iframes.

It describes the exact problem I was experiencing. Here’s a screenshot from one of my Sucuri scans:

scan

There’s an iframe located outside of the visible area. The URLs and the method is the exact same one as described in the article.

Hosting problems

Now the best part.

The support team at WPWebHost is crap.

Here’s the usual scenario when you contact them:

Me: hey, there’s a problem with my site.

Them: no, there’s not.

Me: yeah, there is, {explanation}.

Them: no, we did one single test, there’s not.

Me: there is; here’s {evidence #1}, {evidence #2}, and {evidence #3}.

Them: okay, there is, I’m transferring your ticket to our upper level support.

Them (upper level): hey, we did one single test, there’s no problem.

What. The. Hell?!

Anyway, after going back and forth a number of times they were finally able to fix it. Without even explaining what happened. And without saying anything about what I can do to prevent similar situations in the future.

But that’s not the end of the story.

Here’s my downtime graph:

downtime

The red spots indicate the downtime.

Oh, and there’s also one more problem about my emails not reaching their destinations…

Long story short… Sorry guys, but it’s time for me to move on. And make sure that this post ranks well for phrases like “is WPWebHost any good” or something similar.

The current situation

Well, everything’s fixed. I’m in the middle of transferring my account to HostGator, and hoping that my rankings will return soon.

There’s no longer any malware on my site and I hope it stays this way.

[UPDATE]

As it turns out, Google works quite quickly to recognize every change. What this means is that my site is back in the ranking, which is great. Check this updated graph by SEOmoz:

seomoz-new


Once Upon a Time … There’s Some Malware on Your Site | newInternetOrder.com

Today my buddy Sander pointed out that he suddenly had pages showing as noindex,nofollow when he ran a spider across a site. A bit more researching learned us that WordPress automatically adds a noindex, nofollow robots meta tag to each URL that has ?replytocom in it. At first I (wrongly) thought this was new to WordPress 3.5, but it turns out to be the default behavior for quite a while already. All the more reason to tell you about it:

What are these ?replytocom links?

Most blogs these days have threaded commenting enabled, which means that you can reply to every comment by clicking on that comments reply link. This is very neat to keep the conversations together and a feature I deeply love. This feature normally works with javascript, but because of accessibility, there is also a fallback option. If you don’t have javascript enabled, or, if you’re a bot, you’re not capable of handling it, you’ll see links that look as follows:

http://www.example.com/example-post/?replytocom=1

This would force reload the page and give you the option to reply to the comment with ID 1. I absolutely hate that fallback link. On a site like this one, with often over a hundred comments on a post, it means there are 100 links pointing to that same article, causing a lot of crawling that’s totally unneeded. For this reason I added the option in my SEO plugin to remove it, which you’ll find under SEO → Permalinks:

remove replytocom variables option in WordPress SEO

So what does this noindex,nofollow do?

Unfortunately, the robots meta tag WordPress adds essentially makes every URL with
?replytocom in it a dead end street. Because of the nofollow bit of the robots meta tag it adds, if say, Mashable would link to a URL with replytocom in it, my site wouldn’t actually benefit from that link. Doing nothing is much better: the rel="canonical" link element on the page, that points to the clean version, would tell search engines to use that clean version.

This is the reason why, when I found out, I immediately released version 1.3.3 of my WordPress SEO plugin that removes that noindex,nofollow line. I’ve also opened a trac ticket, we’ll see what happens with that. For now, my advice is: upgrade to 1.3.3 and check that remove replytocom variables box, unless you really need the non-javascript version to work.

WordPress threaded comments and SEO is a post by on Yoast - Tweaking Websites. A good WordPress blog needs good hosting, you don't want your blog to be slow, or, even worse, down, do you? Check out my thoughts on WordPress hosting!

This morning, an article by Paul Boag was published on Smashing Magazine that got a few SEOs, including myself, all riled up. As Bill Slawski pointed out in the comments, Paul has written articles on SEO before. Paul, whom I respect tremendously for his web development work, obviously doesn’t “get” SEO and has evidently had some bad experiences with the snake oil side of our trade over the years. Luckily he’s shown himself to be willing to learn and I hope to be part of that learning experience. But I also wanted to write about this as I think it’s important for our industry.

His main argument, after you remove the link-bait title and the weird introduction, is that what we SEO’s call SEO these days, shouldn’t be called SEO as it should be called (decent) web development. I agree in large part with that statement. But here’s the kicker: if a web developer or web development agency fails (and they do, very often, very miserably), the client often doesn’t notice. The web developer often delivers a shiny new website with all the bells and whistles that the management asked about. The fact that technically, information structurally and architecturally, the entire site is a mess, will not be noticed by 99% of clients. At least…

Not until they notice their analytics, or rather, the fact that their phone stops ringing. And they notice one specific thing: a big hole in their traffic, where organic traffic from search engines used to be. That’s when they call an SEO, because those are the people that know about search engines, right? That, Paul, is why we’re still called SEO’s. It’s a demand driven thing: the client wants more search traffic, so he / she searches for someone that delivers that to them. They don’t know that their web developer did a lousy job, it’s our job to tell that to them.

In our website reviews we encounter, on a daily basis, websites that have been redesigned where the web developer / designer deemed it “not necessary” to do 301 redirects from the old URL structure to the new one. Where development environments are left open for Google to index and a few wrong links in the content mistakenly go to that development environment, causing havoc for the website in question. Websites where a fancy new faceted based search system causes 4.5 billion URLs (actual example), to be created and Google slowly indexes all of them, leaving the websites ranking in dust. I can go on for hours.

My buddy Richard commented:

But what if they call it “inbound marketing”?

To which Paul said:

I much prefer that. It does not apply that sites should be optimised for search engines over users.

Sigh. First of all, if SEO means anything, it’s that we optimize the search engine, not the site. The term is a weird acronym, but people know it now, so we stick with it. You see, even when BMW wants to sell “mobility”, in the end they sell cars. We all want to sell website optimization, but in the end, people come to us for SEO. That we’ll give them website optimization as a result doesn’t matter.

Also in the comments, Bill Slawski said:

A person who uses things like keyword density and gateway pages is not an SEO, and never has been.

But, if you need help with hreflang, canonical link elements, parameter handling, rel prev and next values for pagination, XML sitemaps for pages and images and videos and news, Google Plus authorship markup, Facebook’s Open Graph meta data, schema.org implementation, and many other issues that great content alone will not solve, an SEO can help you with those.

To his credit, Paul responded to that thanking Bill and stating that these:

… are not things I would expect any half decent web designers to do as part of their job.

Well to be honest Paul, I do expect a decent web designer to know that stuff and if he doesn’t, I expect him, and thus you, to stop commenting about SEO until you do know about that stuff. You obviously don’t, because If I take your article from 2010, linked above, as an example:

  1. you haven’t implemented rel=”author”;
  2. I can’t find an XML sitemap;
  3. most of the pages on his site except for singular posts and pages lack a decent rel=”canonical” link element;
  4. there is no rel=”prev” / rel=”next” implementation on his archives;
  5. in fact, there is no decent pagination on those archives at all, and lastly;
  6. there is no schema.org markup.

I could go on. So, Paul, you say in your article that SEO should be decent web development, but you obviously haven’t kept up to date with what decent web development is then. I have an easy fix for you though. If you install my (100% free as in beer) WordPress SEO plugin and take 2 minutes to configure it, 1 through 4 will be taken care of for you by that plugin, automatically. But if you do that I will take that as an acceptance that there is a very convenient truth about SEO. I trust I’ll get to convince you that SEO is worth while, but I think the world deserves more than just a comment on your post as a counter argument to your headline, which I know you now regret.

Let this be the first step in me, and others, convincing you of the value in SEO. I very much hope to see an article from your hand in 6 to 12 months time stating you were wrong.

Want SEOs to lose their job? Start doing yours! is a post by on Yoast - Tweaking Websites. A good WordPress blog needs good hosting, you don't want your blog to be slow, or, even worse, down, do you? Check out my thoughts on WordPress hosting!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: a new WordPress release is available and chock-full of goodies to delight bloggers and developers alike. We’re calling this one “Elvin” in honor of drummer Elvin Jones, who played with John Coltrane in addition to many others.

If you’ve been around WordPress a while, the most dramatic new change you’ll notice is a completely re-imagined flow for uploading photos and creating galleries. Media has long been a friction point and we’ve listened hard and given a lot of thought into crafting this new system. 3.5 includes a new default theme, Twenty Twelve, which has a very clean mobile-first responsive design and works fantastic as a base for a CMS site. Finally we’ve spent a lot of time refreshing the styles of the dashboard, updating everything to be Retina-ready with beautiful high resolution graphics, a new color picker, and streamlining a couple of fewer-used sections of the admin.

Here’s a quick video overview of everything you can share with your friends:

For Developers

You can now put your (or anyone’s) WordPress.org username on the plugins page and see your favorite tagged ones, to make it easy to install them again when setting up a new site. There’s a new Tumblr importer. New installs no longer show the links manager. Finally for multisite developers switch_to_blog() is way faster and you can now install MS in a sub-directory. The Underscore and Backbone JavaScript libraries are now available. The Codex has a pretty good summary of the developer features above and beyond this, and you can always grab a warm beverage and explore Trac directly.

Percussion Section

Behind every great release is great contributors. 3.5 had more people involved than any release before it:

Aaron D. Campbell, aaronholbrook, Aaron Jorbin, Adam Harley, akbortoli, alecrust, Alex Concha, Alex King, Alex Mills (Viper007Bond), alexvorn2, ampt, Amy Hendrix (sabreuse), andrea.r, Andrew Nacin, Andrew Ozz, Andrew Ryno, Andrew Spittle, Andy Skelton, apokalyptik, Bainternet, Barry Kooij, bazza, bbrooks, Ben Casey, Ben Huson, Ben Kulbertis, bergius, Bernhard Riedl, betzster, Billy (bananastalktome), bolo1988, bradparbs, bradthomas127, Brady Vercher, Brandon Dove, Brian Layman, Brian Richards, Bronson Quick, Bryan Petty, cannona, Caroline Moore, Caspie, cdog, Charles Frees-Melvin, chellycat, Chelsea Otakan, Chouby, Chris Olbekson, Christopher Finke, Chris Wallace, Cor van Noorloos, Cristi Burcă, Dan, Dan Rivera, Daryl Koopersmith, Dave Martin, deltafactory, Dion Hulse, DjZoNe, dllh, Dominik Schilling, doublesharp, Drew Jaynes (DrewAPicture), Drew Strojny, Eddie Moya, elyobo, Emil Uzelac, Empireoflight, Eric Andrew Lewis, Erick Hitter, Eric Mann, ericwahlforss, Evan Solomon, fadingdust, F J Kaiser, foxinni, Gary Cao, Gary Jones, Gary Pendergast, GeertDD, George Mamadashvili, George Stephanis, GhostToast, gnarf, goldenapples, Gustavo Bordoni, hakre, hanni, hardy101, hebbet, Helen Hou-Sandi, Hugo Baeta, iamfriendly, Ian Stewart, ikailo, Ipstenu (Mika Epstein), itworx, j-idris, Jake Goldman, jakub.tyrcha, James Collins, jammitch, Jane Wells, Japh, JarretC, Jason Lemahieu (MadtownLems), javert03, jbrinley, jcakec, Jeff Bowen, Jeff Sebring, Jeremy Felt, Jeremy Herve, Jerry Bates (JerrySarcastic), Jesper Johansen (Jayjdk), jndetlefsen, Joe Hoyle, joelhardi, Joey Kudish, John Blackbourn (johnbillion), John James Jacoby, John P. Bloch, Jonas Bolinder, Jonathan D. Johnson, Jon Cave, joostdekeijzer, Jorge Bernal, Joseph Scott, Juan, Justin Sainton, Justin Sternberg, Justin Tadlock, Kailey Lampert (trepmal), Kelly Dwan, Keruspe, kitchin, Knut Sparhell, Konstantin Kovshenin, Konstantin Obenland, Kopepasah, Kristopher Lagraff, Kurt Payne, Kyrylo, Lance Willett, Larysa Mykhas, leogermani, lesteph, linuxologos, Luc De Brouwer, Luke Gedeon, Lutz Schroer, mailnew2ster, Manuel Schmalstieg, Maor Chasen, Marco, MarcusPope, Mark Jaquith, Marko Heijnen, MartyThornley, mattdanner, Matthew Richmond, Matt Martz, Matt Thomas, Matt Wiebe, mattyrob, Max Cutler, Mel Choyce, Mert Yazicioglu, Michael Adams (mdawaffe), Michael Fields, Mike Bijon, Mike Glendinning, Mike Hansen, Mike Little, Mike Schinkel, Mike Schroder, Mike Toppa, Milan Dinic, mitcho (Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine), Mohammad Jangda, mohanjith, mpvanwinkle77, Mr Papa, murky, Naoko Takano, Nashwan Doaqan, Niall Kennedy, Nikolay Bachiyski, ntm, nvartolomei, pavelevap, pdclark, Pete Mall, Peter Westwood, Pete Schuster, Philip Arthur Moore, Phill Brown, picklepete, Picklewagon, Prasath Nadarajah, r-a-y, Rami Yushuvaev, Ricardo Moraleida, Robert Chapin (miqrogroove), Robert Wetzlmayr, Ron Rennick, rstern, Ryan Boren, Ryan Imel, Ryan Koehler, Ryan Markel, Ryan McCue, Safirul Alredha, Samir Shah, Sam Margulies, Samuel Wood (Otto), sara cannon, Satish Gandham, scott.gonzalez, Scott Kingsley Clark, Scott Reilly, Scott Taylor, ScreenfeedFr, sergey.s.betke, Sergey Biryukov, Simon Prosser, Simon Wheatley, sirzooro, ssamture, sterlo, sumindmitriy, sushkov, swekitsune, Takashi Irie, Taylor Dewey, Taylor Lovett, Terry Sutton, Thomas Griffin, Thorsten Ott, timbeks, timfs, Tim Moore, TobiasBg, TomasM, Tom Auger, tommcfarlin, Tom Willmot, toscho, Travis Smith, Vasken Hauri, Vinicius Massuchetto, Vitor Carvalho, Waclaw, WaldoJaquith, Wojtek Szkutnik, Xavier Borderie, Yoav Farhi, Yogi T, Zack Tollman, and ZaMoose.

Sorry for sounding kind of negative right from the get-go, but I just wanted to talk about something that’s really frustrating about the online business education niche – the niche catering to people who want to learn how to run a successful online business.

polishing

If you’ve been around for any amount of time then you’ve surely encountered multiple pieces of advice that go something along the lines of: “You have to create a quality product and offer it to your audience.”

Well, the idea itself is great. Surely. But most of the time the execution is very poor.

Just to explain what I mean here’s an example: Samsung Galaxy S3 is a quality product. The iPad is a quality product. Amazon.com is a quality product in itself. Angry Birds is a quality product.

However.

A 15-page PDF e-book with some advice on how to make money online IS NOT a quality product. It’s just a polished turd.

The main characteristic of a quality product

Yeah, I know, dozens of marketers all over the internet keep telling you that all you need is an e-book and you can take over the world. Not if you want to be an honest business owner you can’t.

And this is something the FTC decided to put an end to a couple of years ago. Back in the day, you could promote anything, tell people that they’re going to make millions of dollars, and then at the end of the page place a small disclaimer: “results not typical” … and everything was fine.

Not anymore. Now you have to present the typical results, or else your marketing message is fraudulent. Thank God for this regulation.

Now, if we look closely at this rule, it doesn’t put the truly quality products in any kind of trouble. For instance, what’s the typical experience of an iPad buyer? They simply have a great time with it. What’s the typical experience of Angry Birds buyer? Same thing.

On the other hand, what’s the typical experience of someone buying a “make money online e-book?” Absolutely no results at all.

And you know what, I don’t believe that it’s the customer’s fault… It’s the product’s fault.

Good products can deliver results regardless of the buyer’s attitude. Good products deliver the same benefits to everyone. For instance, you’re going to have a great time with Angry Birds no matter if you’re sad, lazy, full of energy, or even totally drunk at the moment … it’s still an enjoyable game.

What this means is that the FTC regulation about “results not typical” hits only the crappy products out there. Because if the marketers are forced to advertise only the typical results then they basically have nothing to advertise at all.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that a quality product is one that doesn’t depend on the customer to posses any kind of special abilities in order to be able to enjoy it.

And the most challenging thing about it is that creating such a product takes time. In plain English, if you’ve been thinking about making your first product a 15-page e-book on [BLANK] then just forget about it.

How not to take part in the art of polishing a turd

What I mean by polishing a turd is taking some general information, some used ideas (things that can be found on the internet for free), spinning it in some way, putting it together, saving it as a PDF, saying that it’s the best thing since ever, and offering it to the public for $47 saying that it’s actually worth $97.

… Just look at the above paragraph and reflect for a minute. Can a product created in such a way really be a quality one?

Now, I’m not an expert when it comes to product creation, but from my perspective, if you want to create something truly great, you should consider looking into the following steps:

1. Get ready to spend time and money

Sorry, but this is just the way it is. You can’t create a quality product overnight. And you can’t do it for free either.

If you don’t have the time, nor the money then this isn’t probably a good moment for you to enter the product creation space.

2. Focus on the typical result

Start your planning by defining what typical result you want to deliver to your average customer.

For instance, if you still want to create an e-book on making money on the internet, can you guarantee that at least 80% of your customers will be able to make a fulltime income implementing your advice? If not, you’re not creating a quality product.

(Remember the Angry Birds example. I’m pretty sure that at least 80% of people who have download it have a good time with it.)

3. Plan the creation process with the typical result in mind

This is the part where you have to do the main work – the actual creation process of your product. Up to you to handle this one in the best manner possible.

4. Start testing with a small group of people

This is the moment when you get to test if your product is successful at delivering the typical result to a small group of people.

You can pick that group individually or share beta access keys online on forums (if it’s an app or some other digital product).

Once you determine that the product indeed delivers the expected results then release it to the public.

Shortcuts?

Unfortunately, I don’t think there are any… Product creation always requires money, time, dedication, user testing, and a lot of work. You can’t skip any of these stages and still end up with a quality result.

To be honest, I too was guilty of believing that there’s an easy way. That you only needed an e-book, and that you could create it with minimal effort…

Well, you can create such a thing, and you can even sell it successfully, but it’s not going to be a quality product, and your customers will call you out on this sooner or later.

In a sentence: Polishing a turd is not a good product creation approach.


So-Called Quality Product Creation – The Art of Polishing a Turd | newInternetOrder.com

Sucuri Safe PluginOne of the benefits of making money on paid plugins is that you can more easily spend money for other people to look at and even better, review your plugins. Today is the first result of what might become a somewhat longer tradition: WordPress SEO is now a Sucuri Safe Plugin.

What this means? It means I’ve asked Sucuri to do a full security review of my WordPress SEO plugin. They found a couple of small issues, which I’ve all addressed in the 1.3 release I put out earlier today.

So while 1.3 might not be a major release in terms of functionality, it is the result of quite a bit of work. If you check this commit, you’ll see a ton of little changes have gone into the plugin. Most of them are really minor, but all combined, they make for a better and, more importantly, safer plugin.

I plan to do more updates to my biggest plugins to fix things like this. It’s great to be able to do that because of a, now thriving, paid plugin business. So thank you, to those of you who bought a premium plugin, you are helping us give you a better product!

WordPress SEO, more secure than ever before. is a post by on Yoast - Tweaking Websites. A good WordPress blog needs good hosting, you don't want your blog to be slow, or, even worse, down, do you? Check out my thoughts on WordPress hosting!