sss-featured

If you have a website, which you do, then you obviously need some social media share buttons.

But what if the buttons you currently use display all zeros? Like this:

0 shares

There are probably very few things that are worse for your social proof than showing such numbers.

I guess this will sound quite obvious, but we’d surely wish to see this on our social media counters instead:

a lot of shares

In fact, let’s just tell it like it is:

 

For new and up-and-coming sites, showing counters on social media buttons is negative social proof.

 

Now, you might be thinking that we all go through the low-numbers phase – that we all have to see those zeros before we can see 10s … 100s … 1000s (maybe).
 

So, do we?

Well, no.

 
Today, I want to give you the best quick fix I can think of.

I’ve developed a plugin that solves this problem.

Three of its main benefits are:

  • It’s meant for new and up-and-coming sites.
  • It gives you social proof you can leverage.
  • It doesn’t give you negative social proof.

 

Introducing the Social Share Starter

social share starter In a sentence, it’s a social media buttons plugin. And while it may seem like the others, it’s not.

The two main features it offers:

 
(1) instead of showing an individual share number for each service, it shows a cumulative number for all of them.
 
(2) it allows you to set the minimal displayed number of shares.
 

By the way. Showing a cumulative number is a trend online, and we might as well just follow it.

 

Here’s what Pat Flynn does on his site:

pat

Here’s what’s going on at Mashable:

mashable

 
Now, back to my plugin.
 
Here’s what the settings page looks like. All settings are optional:

sss_settings

Two examples of the usage:

Example #1: A page with a nice number of shares

If you go to my Sylvester Stallone post on this site, you’ll see the total number of shares, currently it’s 264:

264

But, when you put it through a popularity checker, you’ll see that the numbers are a bit less impressive from a service-by-service point of view:

popularity

Currently, I have 98 likes, 50 shares, 40 comments (Facebook), 18 Tweets, 54 LinkedIn’s, and 4 G+ actions. Together, though, they look great – 264.

 

So the plugin showcases nice social proof when it has the possibility to do so.

Example #2: A page that’s slightly less popular

Here’s the plugin in action on one of my older posts:

old

As you can see, there’s no negative social proof. Only the buttons are displayed without the counter.
 
Now the best part …

 

– Update –

I’ve been getting some great feedback about this plugin, so I was forced to speed up the development a bit. Long story short, there’s been a big update and now the plugin has one more cool functionality – a shortcode.
 
Here’s what the shortcode looks like:
 
[sss_counters_here /]
 
Nothing fancy, right? Maybe at first sight, but what this shortcode does is it allows you to place the social media buttons wherever you wish. This includes:
 
Posts
 
In case you want to add another block of buttons in a specific place within your post; like I’m doing here, for example, bam(!):

323
SHARES

Pages
 
I purposefully didn’t include any automatic placement for pages in the first version of the plugin. That’s because you don’t always want these buttons everywhere. For instance, my main email subscription page doesn’t have the buttons. The reason is simple, I don’t want people getting distracted, I just want them to subscribe.
 
But a shortcode is a great alternative. With it, you can selectively pick where exactly you want the buttons to appear on your pages.
 
Custom landing pages,
custom post types,
custom home pages, etc.

 
Basically, the shortcode works everywhere you need it to work.

 

The plugin is free

This is the first phase of its release, so I want to get it out to you and let you reap some of its benefits first before I release it to the official WordPress plugin directory.

 

How to get it?

If you’re reading this on the blog then all you need to do is tell me where I should send you the plugin.

 

 Just let me know where I should send the plugin: 

If you’ve come here through the newsletter then you already have the direct link to the plugin in the same email message.
 

Feedback encouraged

I need your feedback on this.
 
If you like to share your experience with the plugin, don’t hesitate to reach me through the contact form on this site.

[Giveaway] Here’s Why Social Share Counters Suck, Plus What I Can Give You That Doesn’t (Hint, It’s Simple, Effective, and Free) | NewInternetOrder.com

scared-of-wordpress

scared-of-wordpress

Let’s not fool ourselves here … WordPress is a complicated thing.

And no matter what most tutorials on the web try to say, getting a good grasp on it does take some time indeed.

Besides, if it hadn’t been complicated, I wouldn’t have been asked to write a whole book on how to work with it.

So what I want to show you today is a slightly different approach to WordPress.

Instead of being all technical, I will focus just on the part that an actual online business owner would care about.

My guess is that you don’t care that much about code, or streamlined processes, or CSS, or HTML5, or any of that stuff.

What you do care about, however, is how you can use WordPress to make running your website as easy and straightforward as possible, so you can focus on what’s really important – your actual business goals.

So this resource is a type of roadmap. You can go from station to station and take care of all the steps one by one. Also, if you have something already figured out then you can skip a given station and move on to the next one.


Things you must do

Every new WordPress site starts just about the same. Although there are tons of things you can do when setting everything up, from my point of view, there are actually only two essential elements:

  • Mastering the 5 minute install. You don’t have to hire a developer just to get your site up and running. Doing this yourself takes 5 minutes.
  • Setting proper user roles. This is something that 90 percent of people overlook when it comes to new WordPress sites. Something worth keeping in mind is that setting the correct user roles is the first thing you should do to secure your site and make your data safe.
 
 
 
start-map
 
Design

When we’re talking WordPress, design = themes.

Nowadays, it’s really ineffective to hire a designer and tell them to build you a site from the ground up. This will be awfully expensive and you get no guarantee that the results will be any good.

A much better solution is to just get a theme. However, two rules:

Two major theme stores that I can recommend are ThemeFuse (worked with them on a number of projects) and StudioPress (this site runs on a StudioPress’ theme).

Okay, but how do I choose the perfect theme and then have it installed?

Glad you’re asking!

I wrote two guest posts on ProBlogger on this very topic:

map1

Extra features

Again, when we’re talking WordPress, extra features = plugins.

Currently, there are more than 30,000 different plugins available in the official directory at wordpress.org. What this means in plain English is:

There’s surely a plugin for that.

– is how you should be thinking of extra features for your site.

Now, as much as people like to publish those “top 10 essential plugins you must get” lists, the fact is that very few of them are truly essential. And the list changes every year.

For me, there are only seven plugins that I use on every site I run, and this is something I mentioned in my book too (shoot me a message if you’d like a free chapter, by the way).

They are:

 
map4
 
 
SEO

SEO, as in Search Engine Optimization, as in “how to lose a lot of money with no results to show for.”

Okay, just joking, but the fact is that I’m not the top expert on SEO out there. That’s why I wrote this: How to learn SEO online if you’re a beginner.

map5

Running a business

This point right here is why we’re actually using WordPress on our sites – to run a business.

Quite frankly, this whole website is about this very topic, so I won’t even attempt to give you any in-the-nutshell solution. There isn’t one.

Instead, start here and dominate!

dominate

Over to you

I’m curious; do you have WordPress figured out when it comes to running your business website? Or is there anything you’re absolutely clueless about and would like to learn? Hit me up.

More cool resources just like this in your inbox.
Let’s grow our businesses together!

Head photo by freevintageposters, fireworks by bayasaa / CC BY 2.0

Here’s a Handy Roadmap for Anyone Scared of WordPress | NewInternetOrder.com

Recover Your Site From Being Hacked

Recover Your Site From Being Hacked

UPDATE. This whole thing happened at the turn of 2013 and 2014. However, I’m still experiencing some SEO consequences of this and that’s why I consider this study a valuable read for any online business owner. At the bottom, there are takeaway lessons on how you can avoid something similar happening to your site.

A couple of months ago, my domain got hacked. Kind of. I mean, the domain itself didn’t get hacked directly, but the problem was the server it was hosted on.

Back then, I was a HostGator customer, a mistake I will never make again.

Just to give you a quick heads-up on that situation, HostGator doesn’t care that much about their customers’ safety. So in my case, they allowed for a spam forum to get installed on my domain without my knowledge.

You could see it by navigating to https://newinternetorder.com/forum/ (no longer there, so don’t bother checking the URL). The forum featured a ton of spam phrases and links. As we all know, those things are not good for SEO…not good at all.

So how did I discover the problem? Well, I’m not an IT security ninja or anything. I was simply informed by vBulletin update service that “my forum needs to be updated.” Can you imagine?

I quickly found that the forum is quite big, and what’s even worse …

525 pages of it were indexed by Google

This is visible on the screenshot I took on the day of the discovery:

google-listing

Oct 15th 2013

This was Oct 15th 2013.

Today’s Jan 17th 2014 and 2 of the pages are still indexed

… despite being nonexistent for months:

forum-google

Jan 17th 2014

This means that Google still didn’t manage to fix things on their end.

(By the way, for future reference; if you want to check out what’s the status of the spam pages on Google this very moment, click here.)

I’m saying this not to complain about my own personal situation but to provide some educational value. What I mean precisely is that Google is obviously not as good at indexing stuff as we’d like it to be.

And what that means for you is that you will likely be forced to wait a similar amount of time, should you get hit by a similar problem.

What did I do about the index?

Apparently, I didn’t just sit patiently and wait for Google to do its magic on their own, so I took some steps to help them out.

First of all, here are the things I didn’t do.

I didn’t go to the index exclusion tool available in Google Webmaster Tools. The reason why is simple, in my book, using this tool would just like admitting that I’m guilty of placing the forum there, which I wasn’t.

Now, I’m not entirely sure whether such reasoning makes sense or not, but that’s what I did nevertheless.

Here are the three main things I did:

1. Changed my webhost

HostGator failed to even acknowledge the problem so I moved over to IX Web Hosting. One of the nice surprises right off the bat was that they gave me a dedicated IP for no extra charge (it has its values for SEO, I’d advise always going for a dedicated IP if you have the chance).

Changing my webhost ultimately killed the forum since the problem was on the previous server. This also confirmed that it was exactly the case, by the way.

2. Researched .htaccess files

The .htaccess file is a small text file that sits in your server’s root (main) directory and deals cards as for who gets to see what on your site, more or less.

In other words, you can prevent anyone from accessing a given area of your site by creating a new rule in the .htaccess file.

What I did was block all access to https://newinternetorder.com/forum/.

3. Tuned my robots.txt file

Robots.txt is another text file sitting in your server’s root directory. This one is responsible for regulating what gets accessed by search engine robots (hence the name, robots.txt).

This was another place where I blocked access to the forum.

Could I do anything more?

 
Maybe, I don’t know. I should have probably reached out to some security specialist. Too bad I didn’t.

Nonetheless, I thought that the above was just enough for Google to get a grasp and deindex those old and non-existent forum pages.

It wasn’t.

As I already mentioned here, I still have 2 pages indexed in Google.

The takeaway and lessons for the future

A handful of them:

  1. Always keep a close eye on what’s going on on your domain/site. Do it through rank tracking tools like Market Samurai, Moz, or even Google Webmaster Tools.
  2. Use additional security plugins like BulletProof Security.
  3. Perform frequent site backups. You can use Online Backup for WordPress for that.
  4. In case anything bad happens, make fast decisions. Like my decision to flee from HostGator.
  5. (Something I didn’t do.) Ask around on expert forums online. In hindsight, this could have saved me a lot of hassle and wandering in the dark.

How Long Does It Take to Recover Your Site From Being Hacked, Google-Wise [Case Study] | NewInternetOrder.com

deadly-indicators

One beautiful day, I sent out an article to be published on a given website. I got a no. A fairly common thing. Not all posts find their home at first try, so I just decided to broaden my research and look for other sites that could be a good host for that article.

I found one and submitted it.

How surprised I was when the editor got back to me and told me that the article didn’t pass Copyscape (the plagiarism checker). What it basically meant was that someone else had previously published the article.

After connecting the dots quickly, I found that the article was indeed published by the first person I sent it to. They published it on a different site, with no attribution.

Contacting them didn’t produce much of an effect. So I’ve decided to give it a rest and share the article with you here instead. Fighting those kinds of people is never a productive habit. If you can afford it, leave such things behind you and move on with your projects (a general advice).

Having this lengthy introduction behind us, let’s focus on the topic at hand. We all desire some recognition, don’t we? Some online popularity, preferably profits, and overall stardom…things like that.

However, the road to success can be long and difficult, and at some point, we can stumble upon some disturbing signs that we might not be going in the best of directions. I’ve had a number of sites failing in the past, so I know what I’m talking about.

But you know what, I don’t mind. Failure is just a step towards success.

So what to do and what are the indicators of our website going south? Here’s my list and some advice on how to deal with them:

1. Content published irregularly

Every website (this also goes for business sites) should publish content as regularly as possible. It really doesn’t matter whether you’re publishing twice a day or once a week as long as you stick to your schedule.

Of course, you can change things up a bit over time, but don’t do it for no apparent reason every two months or so.

For example, publishing 4 posts one week, then nothing for the next month, and then switching back to 4 a week is NEVER a good idea. Your readers won’t be able to follow your blog because they won’t know what to expect.

In essence, predictability is nothing negative when it comes to publishing schedules.

2. No emails or other forms of contact

If you’re doing something good, chances are that other people will want to reach out to you and either congratulate you, or propose some form of a joint project that can present a completely new opportunity on its own. I, for example, was surprised when I was offered a paid freelance writing deal just because someone enjoyed my style of writing.

More than that, you will probably also start receiving some hate mail. I’m not saying that hate mail is something I enjoy seeing in my inbox, but it’s surely an indication that your content touches people personally, which, in essence, is a good thing.

Anyway, if there are no emails or other messages in your inbox at all, then there’s a lot of room for improvement.

3. No user feedback

A website exists as long as it’s alive, so to speak. A website lives when people read its content and interact with it in one way or the other.

This all depends on your niche, style of writing, and other things, but there should always be some form of reader activity. Some topics attract a lot of comments naturally. Others are more social-media-friendly (a lot of re-tweets). Others are more prone to bringing you a lot of direct emails (sometimes angry ones, like I said). No matter what it is, there has to be something.

If there’s no user activity at all, you’re probably in trouble.

4. Low-quality design

You really don’t have to be a designer to be able to tell whether a site is of good quality or not… However, when it comes to our own websites, we tend to NOT notice bad things about them, and we do it on purpose.

The best way of protecting ourselves against such problems is to start with a quality premium WordPress theme in the first place. Yes, you do have to spend some money if you want a quality design. Thankfully, spending it on a premium theme by ThemeFuse or Studio Press is a lot better investment than hiring a designer directly.

The truth is that visitors will evaluate your site just by looking at the design. If the design doesn’t seem professional, they will reach a conclusion that you’re not professional either.

5. Using only the “new” SEO techniques

In all seriousness, SEO indeed is the most powerful method of promotion online, especially if you’re working on making your business profitable directly because of its presence on the web. That being said, SEO doesn’t always work, and sometimes it can even hurt your site altogether.

Most problems happen when we try to do many things at the same time and make it our effort to test every new technique out there. The thing with new SEO techniques is that Google always needs a while to decide whether something is “cool” or “not cool at all.” Therefore, whenever you try something new, and then Google decides that the technique is not in tune with their guidelines, you’re cooked.

If you don’t want to lose your search engine presence, always make sure to focus on well-tested SEO techniques.

6. Poor rankings and low traffic

This is probably the simplest indicator of them all and it somewhat connects with the previous point. Google’s goal is to promote quality sites that are valuable to their readers, and to bury the weak sites at the same time.

If your site is not quality enough, Google won’t give it a good spot in the rankings, which will have a huge impact on the traffic.

If you’re not receiving the traffic you think you should be receiving (check via Google Analytics, or better yet, Clicky) it’s probably a good time to take care of some SEO and also to step up your game when it comes to publishing quality articles.

You can check your rankings through a tool like Moz or Raven Tools, or a number of free services available on the internet.

7. You have no real business plan

I know that business plans are not fun. To be honest, I hate working on anything that resembles a business plan in any shape or form. But sometimes there’s just no escape…

Generally, I advise you to treat business plans as guidance for yourself, rather then for some third-party entity that might be interested in your business. Your business plan must make your goal clear to YOU. That’s the only rule.

But what does it have to do with your website, right? Well, if you don’t have a thought through business plan then your website likely doesn’t have any action or promotion plan either. In short, your business plan is what is going to guide your actions regarding your website.

Once you have the plan ready, you can, for example, tell whether paid advertising is a good method of promotion for your site or not, and make many other similar decisions. Crafting a business plan is hard…but it pays off.

That’s it for my list of these 7 deadly indicators, but I just have one last question: What are you doing to keep your site on the quality side of the web and make your business profitable?

7 Quite Deadly Indicators That Your Online Business Website Is In Bad Shape | newInternetOrder.com

Over the last couple of months I’ve been working on my new book. I haven’t talked much about it until today, purely because it’s a project that’s not wholly related to online business.

The title of the book is “WordPress 3.7 Complete,” and it’s been released with Packt Publishing just a couple of days ago (available on Amazon and in all major bookstores).

In short, it teaches how to build a site on WordPress and get it online in minutes (without losing your shirt along the way). Suitable for both beginners to site building, as well as folks with some experience under their belts already.

wp

Now, the reason I’m mentioning the book today is because I do believe that you can still benefit from it a lot if you’re using or planning to use WordPress as the platform running your online business sites (something I’ve been advising for years).

More details about the book

The book goes step-by-step through things such as:

  • how to install WordPress in minutes,
  • how to create content that’s optimized for the web and then publish it,
  • picking the best plugins that your site really needs,
  • picking the ideal theme,
  • how to build your own plugins and themes,
  • how podcasting with WordPress works,
  • how to launch non-blog websites with WordPress.

I really did my best to make it as comprehensive as possible, with tons of illustrations and examples.

Available in all major bookstores, and on Amazon (both print and Kindle).

title-tag

Moving on to the good stuff…

The Holiday Giveaway

UPDATE: Sorry, this giveaway isn’t available any more. But I can still offer you one chapter – chapter 2 – on basically the same rules as described below.

I am not one of those people who would pitch you on a product just for the sake of it, so instead, I will give you a big part of the book free of charge. This way you can get familiar with the message of the book, get some value right upfront and then maybe decide to buy the complete version if you think it’s worth your dollar.

In short, here’s the deal:

I am willing to give away 1/3 of the whole book – 4 full chapters out of 12 – for free.

The only thing I’m asking in return is for you to kindly submit a customer review on the book’s Amazon page (link). The review can be as short or as long as you wish. Amazon doesn’t have any regulations about this as far as I know.

And I’m going to be right up front with you on this one. Amazon reviews help to spread the word out. They help a lot. The more reviews there are, the more Amazon will do to promote my book to people browsing through various related categories. But above all, I do appreciate your honest opinion about the parts of the book you’ll read. If you don’t think that it’s worth 5 stars, or 4 stars, that’s completely okay. As long as you’re honest when writing your short review.

The chapters that are part of the giveaway:

  • Chapter 2, Getting Started, explains how to install WordPress on a remote server, change the basic default settings of your blog, write posts, and comment on those posts. It also shows how to work with sites hosted on WordPress.com, which is one of the branches of the WordPress world.
  • Chapter 5, Plugins and Widgets, discusses everything there is to know about finding the best plugins for WordPress and then using them effectively. Plugins are an integral part of every WordPress site’s lifespan, so it’s more than hard to imagine a successful site that isn’t using any of them.
  • Chapter 6, Choosing and Installing Themes, describes how to manage the basic look of your WordPress website. You also learn where to find themes, why they are useful, and how to implement new themes on your WordPress website.
  • Chapter 12, Creating a Non-Blog Website Part Two – Community Websites and Custom Content Elements, explores the endless possibilities of WordPress when it comes to using it to launch various types of websites. The chapter presents the second batch of our non-blog websites and explains in detail how to build them on top of a standard WordPress installation.

How to Participate

Just go to the contact page on this site and shoot me a message saying something like “Hey, I want the book now!” … or you can be more descriptive if that’s your thing. I will send you the chapters via email.

Oh, and please tweet about this if you think some of your followers could benefit from this giveaway too. Many thanks.

My New WordPress Book Available | newInternetOrder.com

ntestIf you’ve had the chance to read The The 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss then you know that he’s kind of hooked on the idea of one-pagers.

In essence, a one-pager is a very condensed resource about a given topic. It’s meant to list only the essential, and only the bits that will give you the most results while at the same time requiring the least of your input/effort.

I’ve liked the idea of one-pagers right away the minute I saw them. That’s probably because I like structured information. I like structure in general. Okay, I’m a Structure Nazi (like a Grammar Nazi only less mainstream).

Seeing that one-pagers are a great tool to convey somewhat complex ideas in a relatively easy to grasp manner, I’ve decided to use them on this blog.

My first target, as you can see in the headline – split testing and statistical significance.


Split testing and statistical significance 1-pager

Preliminary

Check statistical significance

Checking statistical significance will let you know if the results you’re getting from your split test are by any chance accidental.

For that, you can use my statistical significance calculator >>.

If your results are significant, you can name the winner and the loser of your test.

loser winner

Next step: scrap the loser, create another version of your test subject and run it against your winner in a new test. In other words, start over.

Don’t over-interpret

 

The main thing to keep in mind when split testing is not to over-interpret your results. Just because there is a winner and there is a loser, doesn’t meant that you will be able to tell exactly why the test has turned out the way it did. The reasons can be many.

It’s a lot safer to just take the results as they are, and not build theories trying to explain them. Most of the time they turn out to be false anyway. Your time is much better spent creating a new version and running the test again.

Your downloadable copy.

What’s your relationship with split testing? Do you even lift split test?


[Printable] Split Testing and Statistical Significance 1-Pager | newInternetOrder.com

A couple of months ago, I published not one, but two posts about my adventures with hosting companies and hackers. Well, mainly hackers.

One of those posts was a quick publication here on newInternetOrder. I described the situation that happened to me and the dreary results it had on my Google rankings: Once Upon a Time … There’s Some Malware on Your Site.

The other post was a more in-depth tutorial on how to save your WordPress site from malware and hacker attacks. Published on ThemeFuse: Having an Adventure Time with Malware in WordPress … How to Handle It.

Both worth a read, by the way. This is still very relevant information for anyone who seeks security for their site. If you don’t have the time to check them out now, there’s a short summary of the story at the bottom of this post.*

The thing I didn’t know back then was that it wasn’t the end of my struggles with hosting companies, that the new set of HostGator problems was just around the corner…

HostGator and infected https; i.e. why you should avoid HostGator

Just like that, out of the blue, about two weeks ago I got an automated email telling me that I should update my vBulletin forum.

The only strange part is that I don’t use vBulletin for anything. Moreover, I don’t actually own any forum at all…

So instead of just reporting this as spam, I decided to investigate the situation some more. The mail said that there was a forum under:

https://newinternetorder.com/forum/

I followed the link, and lo and behold, there’s a forum… on my domain, except I didn’t put it there. Here’s what it looked like:

forum

Scratch that, not a forum, a spam forum.

It was full of words like: insurance coverage, louis vuitton, open spine surgery (what?), gucci outlet, facial cleanser, chanel sunglasses, ralph lauren polo, and many more.

The actual forum had more than 500 pages of spam content. All on my domain. All with followed links to spam sites.

How do I know how big it was? Because 525 of those pages were indexed on Google (they still are; I do hope they’ll vanish soon):

google-listing

Guess what linking to spam sites does to your rankings? It kills them. Although I didn’t notice a sudden drop, I was losing rankings steadily since August. Something had to be done.

By the way, there are thousands of domains infected with this forum. If you do a quick search on Google for “louis vuitton Bug Eyed Bastards” you’ll get over 65,000 results:

google

  • Here’s one: https://www.learningdisability.com/forum/,
  • here’s one: https://dailydoseofexcel.com/forum/,
  • here’s one: https://rssanet.com/forum/, literally tens of thousands of those forums.

All with the same content. All hosted on HostGator:

gator

HostGator and their inability to act

To fix this as quickly as I could, I went to HostGator and contacted their support team.

I explained what was going on and demanded the forum to be removed from my domain.

What they said was:

“This is only visible under HTTPS** so there’s no problem for your site.” (paraphrasing; I don’t have the actual log)

To which I said that the forum is visible on Google under my domain and it’s certainly hurting me. Their reply was even better as they said:

“Your account doesn’t have HTTPS enabled so we can’t do anything about it.”

To which I disconnected, got an account elsewhere and canceled my HostGator plan, effective immediately, and put an end to my HostGator problems.

So my episode with HostGator is over. I will surely never return to a company that doesn’t give a damn about their customers.

How to check if you’re affected by this problem

Do this:

  • Go to your Google Webmaster Tools and check if there was any unusual spike in indexed pages lately.
  • Do a search on Google for “site:yourdomain.com/forum”
  • Do another search for “louis vuitton site:yourdomain.com” or “Bug Eyed Bastards site:yourdomain.com”

If the above return positive results (positive meaning bad) then you have HostGator problems too. Just switch to another hosting company. Sorry, but HostGator proved that they can do nothing about this issue, so I don’t see any other solution.

For the sake of your site:

Avoid HostGator at all times!

It’s not only me who reports disturbing news like this and more HostGator problems. Check out this post by Yoast.

Finally, where do you go if your site’s affected?

Well, your guess is as good as mine, but I’m on IX Web Hosting now. Mainly because they gave me a dedicated IP for no extra cost (which is great for SEO). We’ll see how things play out in the future.

_______

* Some hackers or automated software took advantage of the server’s vulnerabilities and infected my site with malicious code. My web host at that time – WP Web Host – did nothing to remove this problem and spent most of their time telling me that there was no problem at all. I can’t remember exactly if they managed to remove the bug or not, but I decided to move my site to another host which was the quickest solution.

** HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is a communications protocol for secure communication over a computer network. – as told by Wikipedia.


How a Hosting Company Can Kill Your Google Rankings Without You Even Knowing // HostGator Problems | newInternetOrder.com

I’ve always been fascinated with WordPress themes for some reason, and particularly WordPress business themes. Probably because they allow us to change virtually everything about our sites in just seconds, via a simple “activate” button under a new theme.

This actually gives extraordinary power to any online business owner. Back in the day, getting a new design for a business site had a price tag of $1,000 (if you were lucky), $3,000 (usually), or even $10,000 (the top notch designer’s charge).

Nowadays, this is no longer the case thanks to various WordPress business themes and a bunch of additional plugins. Granted, some of them do have a price tag, but rarely more than $99, and there’s even some quality free stuff (be careful here though).

WordPress-Business-Themes

By the way. Feel free to also check out my list of top plugins for online business and the WordPress glossary I published a while ago.

Now, about the list. Instead of pointing out a set of random features about each theme, I’ve actually created a standardized set of important traits for a proper WordPress business theme and then checked each theme against it.

Also, the themes on this list come from only a handful of quality sources. I’m careful with the themes I recommend, and if I’m not 100% sure that the source code is quality and safe, I don’t feel comfortable encouraging anyone to get a given theme. Without further delay, here are the top 20 WordPress business themes of 2013:

ThemeFuse themes

Conexus

Get it here.

Conexus

Feature chart (a detailed description why the following features are important for every WordPress business theme can be found at the bottom of this page):

  • Responsive: YES.
  • Customizable layout/sidebars: YES.
  • Widget areas: YES.
  • Pre-made color schemes: YES.
  • Gentle design elements: YES, apart from the slider, the theme leaves much room for your own branding.
  • Logo customization: YES.
  • Blog functionality: YES.
  • SEO-compatible: Built-in optimized structure.
  • Custom page templates: Homepage, FAQ, 404, Pricing, Services, Contact.
  • Authoritative feel: YES. The theme looks credible and trustworthy.

Qlassik

Get it here.

Qlassik

Feature chart:

  • Responsive: NO. The theme’s only apparent flaw.
  • Customizable layout/sidebars: YES.
  • Widget areas: YES.
  • Pre-made color schemes: YES.
  • Gentle design elements: YES. Much room for including your own branding.
  • Logo customization: YES.
  • Blog functionality: YES.
  • SEO-compatible: No data.
  • Custom page templates: Homepage, Portfolio, Pricing, Contact.
  • Authoritative feel: YES. The theme has trustworthy, yet casual feel to it, which will make your business seem more friendly right off the bat.

Metro Vibes

Get it here.

Metro-Vibes

Feature chart:

  • Responsive: YES.
  • Customizable layout/sidebars: YES.
  • Widget areas: YES.
  • Pre-made color schemes: YES. Actually there’s an integrated color adjustment tool.
  • Gentle design elements: YES, although the style of the theme itself doesn’t make it suitable for all online businesses.
  • Logo customization: YES.
  • Blog functionality: YES.
  • SEO-compatible: Built-in optimized structure.
  • Custom page templates: Homepage, Contact, Testimonials, Services, About Us, Pricing.
  • Authoritative feel: YES. Very modern design, you basically can’t get more 2013 than this.

Envision

Get it here.

Envision

Feature chart:

  • Responsive: NO.
  • Customizable layout/sidebars: YES.
  • Widget areas: YES.
  • Pre-made color schemes: YES.
  • Gentle design elements: YES. Very easy to brand.
  • Logo customization: YES.
  • Blog functionality: YES.
  • SEO-compatible: No data.
  • Custom page templates: Contact, Homepage, Pricing.
  • Authoritative feel: YES. Very serious-looking design.

StudioPress themes

Executive Theme

Get it here.

Executive

Feature chart:

  • Responsive: YES.
  • Customizable layout/sidebars: YES.
  • Widget areas: YES.
  • Pre-made color schemes: YES.
  • Gentle design elements: YES. The theme’s design is based on good layout rather than flashy design elements.
  • Logo customization: YES.
  • Blog functionality: YES.
  • SEO-compatible: Built-in optimized structure.
  • Custom page templates: Homepage, Archives, Landing Page, Portfolio, Contact.
  • Authoritative feel: YES. Modern and professional design.

Minimum Theme

Get it here.

Minimum-Theme

Feature chart:

  • Responsive: YES.
  • Customizable layout/sidebars: YES.
  • Widget areas: YES.
  • Pre-made color schemes: NO. The main design is gray, but there’s an option to include any custom background you wish.
  • Gentle design elements: YES.
  • Logo customization: YES.
  • Blog functionality: YES.
  • SEO-compatible: Built-in optimized structure.
  • Custom page templates: Homepage, Archives, Landing Page, Portfolio, Contact.
  • Authoritative feel: Moderate. The theme has a very minimal design yet every element is of high quality, which conveys the right message about your website and business.

ThemeForest Themes

Kickstart

Get it here.

Kickstart

Feature chart:

  • Responsive: YES.
  • Customizable layout/sidebars: YES.
  • Widget areas: YES.
  • Pre-made color schemes: YES.
  • Gentle design elements: YES. The design is based on using quality pictures.
  • Logo customization: YES.
  • Blog functionality: YES.
  • SEO-compatible: No data.
  • Custom page templates: Homepage, Team, Services, FAQ, Testimonials, Skills, Gallery, Sitemap, 404, Contact, Products/Shop.
  • Authoritative feel: YES, highly, due to the clean design with good typography.

CoWorker

Get it here.

CoWorker

Feature chart:

  • Responsive: YES.
  • Customizable layout/sidebars: YES.
  • Widget areas: YES.
  • Pre-made color schemes: YES.
  • Gentle design elements: YES.
  • Logo customization: YES.
  • Blog functionality: YES.
  • SEO-compatible: No data.
  • Custom page templates: Homepage, Coming Soon, Landing Page, Portfolio, Services, Team, FAQ, Contact, Pricing, 404.
  • Authoritative feel: YES.

Business Essentials

Get it here.

Business-Essentials

Feature chart:

  • Responsive: YES.
  • Customizable layout/sidebars: YES.
  • Widget areas: YES.
  • Pre-made color schemes: No data.
  • Gentle design elements: Moderate. Functional for more casual business types that want to convey a customer-friendly feel.
  • Logo customization: YES.
  • Blog functionality: YES.
  • SEO-compatible: Built-in optimized structure.
  • Custom page templates: Homepage, Sitemap, Join Us, Services, Team, Case Study, Contact, 404.
  • Authoritative feel: YES, but highly dependent on the branding elements you’ll use.

Blue Diamond

Get it here.

Blue-Diamond

Feature chart:

  • Responsive: YES.
  • Customizable layout/sidebars: YES.
  • Widget areas: YES.
  • Pre-made color schemes: YES.
  • Gentle design elements: YES.
  • Logo customization: YES.
  • Blog functionality: YES.
  • SEO-compatible: Built-in optimized structure.
  • Custom page templates: Homepage, Portfolio, Team, Gallery, FAQ, Sitemap, 404, Contact.
  • Authoritative feel: YES.

Stoken

Get it here.

Stoken

Feature chart:

  • Responsive: YES.
  • Customizable layout/sidebars: YES.
  • Widget areas: YES.
  • Pre-made color schemes: YES.
  • Gentle design elements: YES. It’s a full-width clear design, leaving much place for your branding.
  • Logo customization: YES.
  • Blog functionality: YES.
  • SEO-compatible: No data.
  • Custom page templates: Homepage, Portfolio, Contact.
  • Authoritative feel: YES.

Robust

Get it here.

Robust

Feature chart:

  • Responsive: YES.
  • Customizable layout/sidebars: YES.
  • Widget areas: YES.
  • Pre-made color schemes: YES.
  • Gentle design elements: YES.
  • Logo customization: YES.
  • Blog functionality: YES.
  • SEO-compatible: No data.
  • Custom page templates: Homepage, About, Pricing, 404, Portfolio, Contact.
  • Authoritative feel: YES, although much depends on the content/images you use in the main homepage slider.

Million

Get it here.

Million

Feature chart:

  • Responsive: YES.
  • Customizable layout/sidebars: YES.
  • Widget areas: YES.
  • Pre-made color schemes: YES.
  • Gentle design elements: YES.
  • Logo customization: YES.
  • Blog functionality: YES.
  • SEO-compatible: No data.
  • Custom page templates: Homepage, Testimonials, Team, About, Contact, Archives, FAQ, 404, Gallery, Portfolio.
  • Authoritative feel: YES.

GoodWork

Get it here.

GoodWork

Feature chart:

  • Responsive: YES.
  • Customizable layout/sidebars: YES.
  • Widget areas: YES.
  • Pre-made color schemes: YES.
  • Gentle design elements: YES.
  • Logo customization: YES.
  • Blog functionality: YES.
  • SEO-compatible: Built-in optimized structure.
  • Custom page templates: Homepage, Portfolio, Services, Skills, Team, We’re Hiring, Pricing, Testimonials, Gallery, FAQ, Archives, Sitemap, 404, Contact.
  • Authoritative feel: YES. Perfect for creative-works businesses.

WooThemes

Swatch

Get it here.

Swatch

(The first free theme on this list.)

Feature chart:

  • Responsive: NO.
  • Customizable layout/sidebars: YES.
  • Widget areas: YES.
  • Pre-made color schemes: YES.
  • Gentle design elements: YES.
  • Logo customization: YES.
  • Blog functionality: YES.
  • SEO-compatible: No data.
  • Custom page templates: Homepage, Portfolio, Archives, Contact, Gallery, Sitemap.
  • Authoritative feel: Moderate.

Appply

Get it here.

Appply

Feature chart:

  • Responsive: YES.
  • Customizable layout/sidebars: YES.
  • Widget areas: YES.
  • Pre-made color schemes: YES.
  • Gentle design elements: YES.
  • Logo customization: YES.
  • Blog functionality: YES.
  • SEO-compatible: No data.
  • Custom page templates: Homepage, Product Finder, Archives, Sitemap, Timeline, Contact.
  • Authoritative feel: Moderate. It all depends on the branding elements you’ll use after getting the theme.

Definition

Get it here.

Definition

Feature chart:

  • Responsive: YES.
  • Customizable layout/sidebars: YES.
  • Widget areas: YES.
  • Pre-made color schemes: YES.
  • Gentle design elements: YES. Much room for your branding.
  • Logo customization: YES.
  • Blog functionality: YES.
  • SEO-compatible: No data.
  • Custom page templates: Homepage, Timeline, Contact, Archives, Products/Shop.
  • Authoritative feel: YES. A very clean design creates a trustworthy feel.

Empire

Get it here.

Empire

Feature chart:

  • Responsive: NO.
  • Customizable layout/sidebars: YES.
  • Widget areas: YES.
  • Pre-made color schemes: YES.
  • Gentle design elements: YES.
  • Logo customization: YES.
  • Blog functionality: YES.
  • SEO-compatible: No data.
  • Custom page templates: Homepage, Portfolio, Sitemap, Archives, Contact, Products/Shop.
  • Authoritative feel: YES, highly!

Other theme sources

Responsive

Get it here.

Responsive

(This WordPress business theme comes from the official directory at WordPress.org.)

Feature chart:

  • Responsive: YES.
  • Customizable layout/sidebars: YES.
  • Widget areas: YES.
  • Pre-made color schemes: No data.
  • Gentle design elements: YES, very minimal design, leaves much place for branding.
  • Logo customization: YES.
  • Blog functionality: YES.
  • SEO-compatible: No data.
  • Custom page templates: Homepage.
  • Authoritative feel: Moderate, depends on the way you fine-tune your site.

Flexible

Get it here.

Flexible

Feature chart:

  • Responsive: YES.
  • Customizable layout/sidebars: YES.
  • Widget areas: YES.
  • Pre-made color schemes: YES.
  • Gentle design elements: NO. There’s a lot going on, so use the theme only if it’s in tune with your business idea and feel.
  • Logo customization: YES.
  • Blog functionality: YES.
  • SEO-compatible: No data.
  • Custom page templates: Homepage, Portfolio, Sitemap, Advanced Search, Member Login, Gallery, Contact.
  • Authoritative feel: Moderate.

The traits of quality WordPress business themes

It’s probably about time that I should explain what’s with the whole set of features I’ve been referencing throughout this post, and what their importance for an online business site is. Here’s the story:

  • Responsive. A responsive design is one that looks equally as good on any device and screen size. In short, responsive sites look great on both desktop computers or laptops, as well as on various mobile devices.
  • Customizable layout/sidebars. As a site owner, you need to be able to pick the exact layout you want to use on a given page. The bare minimum here is to choose between a one-sidebar layout (left and right) and no-sidebar layout. Here’s an example of a one-sidebar layout on this site (link), and here’s one of a no-sidebar layout (link).
  • Widget areas. Widgets are a must-have feature in every modern theme.
  • Pre-made color schemes. Their presence makes your work much easier when fine-tuning your site to be congruent with your brand identification.
  • Gentle design elements. The less flashy graphical elements there are, the easier it is to make the site brandable by using various images, logos and other elements.
  • Logo customization. Another must-have for modern themes. You simply always need to be able to include your business’ logo on the site.
  • SEO-compatible. It’s always good when a theme is SEO-ready from the get-go. Don’t sweat though if yours isn’t. Plugins like WordPress SEO make it possible to include good SEO structure on most themes.
  • Custom page templates. The best themes on the market offer a wide range of various custom templates, which you can use to create specialized pages that your site could utilize for various purposes. Such templates usually include: Homepage, Portfolio, Sitemap, Gallery, Contact, 404, Team, Prices, Services, About, Archives.
  • Authoritative feel. This is probably the most mysterious trait on this list. Basically, and this is only my personal point of view, this is about how authoritative the theme feels when you look at it the first time. In other words, would you take a business using a given theme seriously right from the get-go?

Okay, this has become an awfully long post so allow me to call it a day. Did any of the themes here catch your attention?


Top 20 WordPress Business Themes of 2013 – The Comparison | newInternetOrder.com

If I were to take a wild guess, I’d say that there is way over a hundred fairly popular online business courses available on different sites. While this does sound great for anyone who wants to learn how to take their undertaking off the ground, there is a “slight” problem with the quality of many of those courses.

To be more exact, when you’re searching for a new program to join, you can’t really know for sure if the thing is going to be quality or not. Everybody has great promotional videos, sales messages, testimonials, and what not, so that at first sight, every such program looks great. But it’s only after you’re two or three weeks in that you’ll know if it’s actually working out or not.

And what if it doesn’t work out for you? Well, if you’re dealing with a scumbag marketer then they are very likely to say something like:

“This product is only for people who are willing to work hard and take dedicated action. This isn’t for those who are searching for a quick fix. The results I’m presenting are not typical.”

Even though such message doesn’t sound that bad right away, it’s actually a mind trick. And the trick is simple: if you fail, it’s your fault (because you didn’t work hard enough).

I’m sorry, but if 90% of your “students” fail to achieve the promised outcome then it’s not their failure, it’s yours – the teacher’s.

Enter the genuine

nsdAnd this is where Niche Site Duel (NSD) comes into play. This is the second edition that’s just started. It’s run by Pat Flynn and focuses on teaching you how to create a niche site and make money with it (sorry for simplifying the idea, Pat, if you’re reading this).

Anyway, Pat understands that the best way of teaching is by example. That’s why in NSD, Pat builds a niche site himself and presents every step of the process with detailed descriptions, tutorials and so on.

In short, NSD is on the top of my online training resources revolving around the online business for two reasons:

  1. It’s free. I love free.
  2. Pat is not afraid to take the responsibility for what he’s teaching. He’s decided to lead everyone by example and if the program fails to achieve results (which it won’t) then Pat will be the one to blame.

What the rules are and where to join the game

There’s a hub for the duel at http://www.nichesiteduel.com/. You can get the most updated info, guidelines, rules, and so on, there.

Here’s a shortened version:

  • Everyone starts by picking a keyword they want to tackle with a new niche site.
  • Getting a domain and launching a site revolving around this keyword is the next step.
  • The final step is to make this niche site the go-to resource for its niche.

Obviously, that third step is the tough part where the action happens.

Now, why is it called a “duel?” Because it’s a race to see who can get the best results and “win” the duel.

Are you in?

Granted, this isn’t a course per se. It’s more action based. This means that every participant learns along the way by looking at what others and Pat are doing, and then in the end everybody wins.

The only question is: Are you in? I am. Feel free to connect with me on the NSD forum.


There’s a Thing Going On … It’s Called the Niche Site Duel, Here’s Why You Should Participate | newInternetOrder.com

And we’re back to SEO again… sorry about this. But it just so happens that I’ve been browsing some of the guest posts I had the privilege to publish in the recent months and I’ve decided to share three of them with you. As you’d have guessed it, they are about SEO. To be more particular, it’s about how easy it is to screw up your site.

I’m sure you can see why this is highly relevant to running an online business. Quite frankly, if you mess up your reputation with Google, then you have very limited possibilities when it comes to promotion on the web. I mean, there’s still paid advertising, social media and direct visits from guest posts, but for most businesses, the loss of Google rankings still equals a huge knockout blow.

seo-posts

To be honest, I have to admit that I was kind of getting the whole SEO game wrong. I mean, I knew the easy part, which is that rankings = traffic. But as it turns out, this is a big BIG simplification.

Mainly, rankings are not the important part in SEO. And as counterintuitive as this sounds, it is true. To find out what I’m on about I’m inviting you to the first post on the list:

Rankings Are Not Important In SEO! Then What Is?

I believe that the above is a crucial thing to understand if we want to protect ourselves from making some silly mistakes and ultimately, killing our reputation with Google.

Just think about it, if you don’t know what exactly you’re aiming at with SEO, then Google will likely get a grasp of your uncertainty very quickly and then penalize you for it. Well, that’s the short version of the story.

Next, we have a range of issues that can present themselves when you already have a plan, but you’re starting to overkill on the execution, so to speak.

As it turns out, it’s very easy to over-optimize a site. I, for example, have done it repeatedly in the past year or so. All it takes is just this one new SEO automation plugin, this one new nofollow link here, this one new site-wide link there and before you know it, you’re screwed. Sorry, that’s just the way it is.

Here are two posts of mine that explain some of the common problems in detail. The first, WordPress-specific one:

WordPress SEO Guide: Things to be Careful With

And the second one:

5 SEO Mistakes That Will Kill Your Website

Of course, to really have your finger on the pulse, I highly encourage you to subscribe to some popular SEO blogs to get the most updated top-of-the-line advice available; blogs like SEOmoz.

Not every entrepreneur enjoys this fact, but a big part of growing an online business has a direct connection to SEO. And although you can outsource SEO tasks completely, I don’t think you should. Essentially, SEO is your most powerful method of promotion and often the thing that defines your online being. Having at least some control over it gives you the ability to take action in case something unpredictable happens, hence, the importance of education and learning the basics of SEO at the least.

Anyway, what do you think? Do you take an active part in your online business’ SEO?


Dangerous SEO – How Not To Fall Victim | newInternetOrder.com