Clouds and Google

Google and WordPress – let’s talk integrations

How to integrate some Google Apps and services into a WordPress site.

Google Products you Need to Integrate Today

Google has so many free and great options that can integrate and support your site that you absolutely have to have a Gmail account these days. Remember the golden age when you had to be INVITED to get a Gmail account from some in-the-know tech guru that you knew? Good times that changed the times. Ok, I’ll presume you’re logged into your Google account at this point and let’s get started.

Google Analytics

Site visitor tracking is absolutely the number one product to get running on your site, the sooner the better. Eventually, you’ll be done playing with all the shiny new plugins and features and want to know HOW your site is doing, and Google Analytics is the king in this regard. Yes, I know Jetpack also provides site visit stats, which is great, but analytics gives you so much more that if you are at all serious about measurements eventually you have to go to Google Analytics. So head on over to google.com/analytics and sign in.

Bottom right is the gear ADMIN icon, click on that, and you’ll see a list of properties you’ve got running. Don’t worry if there isn’t any yet, that’s why we’re here. There are three new columns that should pop up. On the left one is a drop down menu, select that and choose to Create New Account. You just entered the rabbit hole.

You’ll have to fill in some info about your site – basically fill in what you know, and accept the emails you want to receive about additional analytics emails to you – then at the bottom click Get Tracking ID. This is a number like “UA-xxxxxxxx”. Copy that, you’ll need it when you head back to WordPress.

Yeah, I know that there is a bit of script code that goes along with that if you want to MANUALLY add it to your site but if you know how to do that, you probably don’t need this tutorial.

What we’re going to do is suggest some plugins that handle that bit for you. Actually, it seems EVERY plugin and theme wants to do this for you if you provide them that number. Don’t. Choose one method of putting it into your site and stick with it for all your sites. That way you’ll remember where it is if you need to change it in the future (you probably won’t, but still).

A simple plugin that will provide some user data is Google Analytics Dashboard for WP. After you put in your UA code and authorize it, you’re all set. Google Analytics will start tracking your data and this plugin gives you a dashboard chart of visits for the last week and a quick way to get to your analytics page to look deeper.

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP (GADWP)

Monster Insights is another plugin you might like, it’s from the people that brought us Yoast SEO. There’s also addons that can track Adsense and Adwords inside this plugin.

Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights

Basically, most of these Analytics plugins give you an easy way to insert your UA code and pull a little data from Analytics for you.

If you’re more serious though, you’ll go to analytics to see the data. And once you get more serious there’ll be more scripts from Google to insert onto your site. To handle these I use the header and footer plugin to control these tracking scripts and keep them all in one space. IF it’s a really serious site that has lots and lots of tracking codes, use Google Tag Manager (which you can find at the login window for Google Analytics). That’s a whole tutorial unto itself so we won’t go there.

Head, Footer and Post Injections

Google XML Sitemaps

A sitemap file contains a list of all the pages on your site and is used by search engines to index your site and figure out where things are on your site. Google XML Sitemaps is a free WordPress plugin that creates a sitemap file for your website so your site can be indexed more quickly by search engines. If you’re a Google Webmaster user, it’s one of the requirements to having a healthy website for search engines.

Going an extra mile, this plugin automatically creates and submits your new sitemap file to the major search engines (Google, Yahoo! and Bing) every time there’s a change (e.g. you publish a blog post). Yoast SEO plugin also has this capability but this is a one-trick pony plugin and I like that type of pony.

Google XML Sitemaps

Google Page Speeds Insights

Google has a tool to help you see how fast your site pages are loading and to give you tips on how to speed up your site. Now, you could go to Google Page Speed page and manually enter your page but this is an integration blog post, let’s get it right into our nice friendly WordPress backend.

Google Pagespeed Insights

There’s two steps beyond installing and activating this plugin. You’ll need to create a Google API key (the plugin walks you through that under OPTIONS) AND you’ll have to enable the PageSpeed Insights API in the same Google Console. Don’t overthink creating this key, leave most of the options alone and just follow the instructions at the plugin page and you’ll be good.

Then it’ll run. This may take awhile depending on the size of your site as it is checking every page and post. When it’s done, you’ll have every page and post of your site mapped out and graded for speed with suggestions on how to improve speed right in your WordPress backend.

Best feature? You can sort it by the speed grade to see your worst offenders.

I did hit some instances where selecting DETAILS didn’t resolve due to server speed – which was also the biggest thing holding back that site speed too so it made sense – but just go back and try again.

Beyond Analytics…

Google Apps Login

Google Apps Login

You can also set up your site login to use Google Apps Login via this plugin. Takes some configuring but if you users are Google users you can save them a password. Also, you can then setup the next handy plugin.

Google Docs

Google Drive Embedder

Want to embed a Google Doc from Drive right into WordPress post? There’s a plugin for that. Google Drive Embedder.

Google Images

Uploadcare: Add media from anywhere

This handy little plugin let’s you add images from your Google Drive to your media library. AND with a shortcode, users of the site can upload images to your connected Google Drive as well. Bonus features: not just your Google image library, it allows image uploads from a lot of online storage locations like Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, etc.

Google Calendar

Google Calendar is one of the company’s core tools. Event sites, such as a community centre, could have their event coordinator create a public Google Calendar, update it as necessary, and have it displayed on their site to make it easy for their people to keep people up to date as to what’s going on at the centre. I’d love it if my community centre would do this as I wouldn’t have to call them so dang much.

Simple Calendar – Google Calendar Plugin

With the Google Calendar Events plugin, you can display your full calendar as a WordPress post or page or, as shown below, by using a widget. Here’s some of this plugins great features:

  • Display events from any public Google Calendar.
  • Keep managing events in Google Calendar.
  • No need to create events in WordPress or create/educate a new user.
  • Out-of-the-box designs that match your theme’s look and feel.
  • Fully responsive and mobile-friendly monthly grid and list views.
  • Customize event content display using simple tags. No coding required.

Google Fonts

All four of these plugins (Easy Google Fonts, Google Fonts for WordPress, Google Font Manager and Google Typography) enable you to add and use any of the 600+ Google Fonts on your website. Their features vary a bit so give them a look and grab the one that fits you best. And DON”T USE TOO MANY PER SITE. That looks like garbage and cheapens your site. Pick a few and stick with it.

I don’t always use Google Fonts, but when I do I use:

Easy Google Fonts

Last One – Google Reviews

I’m a huge believer in Google Reviews driving organic traffic for local business – if you can get the reviews in the first place. If you’ve managed to do that, why not put the reviews right on your page instead of driving them off you site? Google reviews have more credibility than testimonials (that you *koff* place “without edits” onto your site, yeah, right). And here’s an additional tip about making it easy for people to leave a review in Google Reviews.

Google Places Reviews

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WordCamp Winnipeg Presentation 2016 – Marketing Magic

October 22, 2016, I presented what I know about WordPress and marketing to a bunch of really great people, who know way more about WordPress and marketing than I do.

Yeah, that’s not scary at all.

Twitterific @rodsalm

Here’s a link to the prezi where you’ll find the links.

Notes for the presentation:

1 & 2 Marketing Magic

It occurred to me a while ago that a good analogy for marketing is magic. People’s attitudes towards magic and marketing are the same. I’ve actually heard people say “apply some marketing magic to it and it’ll work”. When done right it seems effortless and easy and wondrous. So at a surface level that analogy works.

But there’s a deeper level to magic. The mechanics, the presentation, the audience. This too is a pretty good analogy, so I’m going to use that today to show how some marketing magic can benefit your efforts, specifically using that wonderful stage we call WordPress. First off,  let’s start with what we’re trying to accomplish on that stage and talk about our plan.

3. The Performance Plan

The more a magician plans, the better the performance. So too with marketing. And this path is the latest roadmap in a long line of road maps that marketers keep re-drawing to give logic to the mystery. To give credit to the the in-bound funnel by HubSpot is a pretty good way to explain what digital marketing looks like. (Inbound Maketing – Marketing efforts that get customers to come to you). They have a free certification course so you can learn all of their marketing jargon.

Lots of Marketing Jargon

Content Marketing – Marketing based on giving customers advertising (content) they may actually want to look at.

The drive for content is making people do stupid things just so they can have content. I shot a video for a client, a case study. Our supplier’s marketing department PAID us to use the footage for themselves. Great. Not really branded for them, but whatever, it works. THEM our competitors are using the video from our suppliers as their NEW content on their own website. Unedited. With our brand in shown in it, AND a voiceover saying what a good job WE did. Like I said, stupid. Don’t fall into the trap of requiring QUANTITY of content, always shoot for QUALITY of content.

Landing Pages – Specific purpose page that you drive customers too. Having a dedicated page for each goal/conversion makes it easier to track what marketing activities are working. It’s easy to track results, landing pages help figure out how you got there. Some companies will build these for you as part of their packages, BUT their pages are part of their system, so if you leave their eco-sphere, they go away. Better to build your own in WordPress.

Growth Driven Design – ongoing small continuous improvements versus “build and forget”. We see this in development all the time, incremental improvements. Your marketing efforts can be done this way too – constantly improving and getting better through smaller efforts AND big showy product launches. It comes down to your business culture and environment as to what will work for you.

4 & 5 & 6

So when picking your plan you have to decide what kind of magician you’re going to be.

The Vegas Show to the Street Performer, to a large extent this is large business vs. small but not entirely. It’s more about attitude. Every business WANTS to be the big Vegas show, but that might not work for their industry or their people! Choose a marketing attitude that fits and WORKS for your resources. A street magician’s act may not work in a massive venue and the improv needed for a street magician’s ever changing landscape may not work for a big business marketing efforts. Don’t fight it. Know what stage works best for your business.

  1. Connections.

Let’s drill down into a magician’s trick to figure out what marketers should be doing.

Magicians connect with their audience in some way and use their audience to elicit true emotional responses everyone can relate to. IF you use good, true emotions to tell your story, this WILL create action from your audience. Think WestJet Santa. Think the recent lost Lego toy story from their customer service department. Think only the big guys can do this? Think again. I’m going to show you how, right now, how a small business can make an emotional connection to a customer.

But first, I need a beautiful assistant. Cause that’s also something magic and marketing have in common.

I’ve seen your work. It’s awesome, right? And you use markers, inks, and digital tools in your work? Great. What if I told you that I have an illustration device that instantly allows you to correct any mistake you make while drawing? Would that be cool? Ok, I can do better than that, what if I were to tell you that it’s purposely priced for an artist’s budget? Would you be interested? Ok, I can do better than that, what if were to tell you that this new device is ecologically green, used by professionals everywhere, and that if you want, I’ll have one of my sales guys deliver it to you NOW so you can start using it right away? What would you say to that? Great, you can sit down now and we’ll make that happen.

Here’s what’s I did.

  • I’ve done my research, I know what my customer is about.
  • I’ve tailored my marketing pitch to that particular customer.
  • I’ve gotten my audience emotionally interested in the product.

In sales terms, she’s a hot lead. Now’s the time for marketing to hand off to sales the customer interaction. Ryan, you’re my sales guy, take this pencil and make that sale.

Woohooo, you go tiger, she’s ready to buy that thing.

In the end, all the marketing and magic can’t fix a crappy product.

  1. Where to perform.

Ok, now in terms of magic and marketing you get to choose where you perform. I choose one to one marketing with my target audience. To the audience here, I was broadcasting, hopefully, you were also broadcasting on twitter for me. I’m cashing in on the SEO and SEM boost all these keywords will give me on my site, where the notes and presentation live.

Three stages. One performance. That’s my small business equivalent of a Vegas show.

I’ll show you a little bit later about how these stages can all live and interact on your WordPress site.

9 Know your audience – CRM

So if you get nothing else from this talk, remember this “Know Your Audience.” A Customer Relationship Management system will do that for you. CRM’s helps to manage all of your company’s interactions with existing and potential customers. It acts as a hub for your customer’s contact details to keep them accessible, searchable, and manageable. In addition, a high-end CRM boasts features such as calendars, task management, email marketing, website form creation, data analysis, and automation of contacting and marketing to your clients.

You can run CRM’s through your WordPress sites or run your CRM through a service provider or set up a GPL CRM system like SugarCRM. There are so many options here and you’ll have to do your own research to see what suits you best. Look for systems that integrate with your WordPress marketing systems. Too often CRM’s are set up for sales people and not marketing people and it becomes very frustrating for marketing purposes. Don’t let that happen to you.

10.

The importance of a CRM system, even for small businesses, can’t be overstated. A business absolutely NEEDS to track customer interactions and information.

  1. Tracking and Metrics

If you don’t track what you’re doing in marketing you’re letting your ticket window take all the credit.

“I sold 500 tickets yesterday, what did you do?”

“ummmmm, I don’t know.”

“Pffft, marketing? That’s why salespeople get bonuses and marketing people get free muffins.”

Track your efforts and the results of your efforts if you want credit for them.

12.

Ok, time to put some of this into the WordPress frame of reference.

13.

You all know and love WordPress and know all the good reasons to use it. For marketing purposes, one point I want you to consider is ownership of the data you create. I don’t like the idea of being tied to one vendor for eternity because it’ll be a fight to get my own data from them if I leave them. Your marketing data should remain your intellectual property – so WordPress allows you to keep that in-house, and that’s a very good thing.

14.

Which brings us back to that CRM thing. The more your customer data can live in WordPress the better off you are. It allows you to integrate other systems and change them easier when you need to.

Here’s an integration that lives outside of WordPress. Woohooo, it ties your email campaign info directly to your CRM. MailChimp and SugarCRM. Sweet. Not cheap, and now you’re tied in pretty heavy with these systems.

  • The more pieces that are supporting your CRM the more open it is to breaking.
  • The fewer pieces you have the more dependent you are on those pieces.
  1.  & 17.

There are CRM plugins that turn WP into a full-fledged CRM. These aren’t robust CRM systems by a long shot, don’t allow for much customization, but may be exactly what a small business needs to get a CRM working for them. I’ve heard good things about these two.

Measuring. To find out what you’re doing on your site you have to measure what’s going on. The big daddy of all this is Google analytics, JetPack has a plugin that shows basic site usage on the dashboard, but if you’re at all serious about tracking your marketing successes you have to dive into Google. To measure your efforts you have to put in a tracking code for your measurement tool. But once you start getting into it, you’ll need analytics tag, adwords tags, social media tags, remarketing tags, etc, etc, it turns into a pain really fast. But there are plugins to help you with this. BUT there’s so much overlap, trying to find what plugin does what with what tag is nuts.

  1. 20. & 21.

Enter Google tag manager. Here’s how it works. You enter all your tags into the manager. It gives you ONE tag that you insert into your header (I use the Header and Footer plugin for that). Then you don’t have to use tag insertion plugins or plugins with that feature. One spot, easy peasy.

22.

Skystats is a newer plugin, kinda cool. It gives you a dashboard of analytics and social media data right in WordPress. Good for weekly presentations where people just want an overview. The free version only gives past 30 days though. Still trying this one out.

23.

Email marketing is extremely effective. Build that CRM list and use it. It also forces you to have and create good content. And oh so measurable.

Remember, all the stuff you want people to do NEEDS to happen on your site. Lead people to your stage where you can control the magic and present it how you want to and NOT be dependent on other stages.

25.

Which ties into OGP. Use this plugin. Basicallyc it adds a nice snippet of a page, to the page, that social media sites use when showing a link to that page. OGP is your flyer in the digital world. Have it installed and then look good when people share your pages on social media.

Speaking of social media, here’s a quick rundown on social media sites and why they matter to marketing. Oh, use HootSuite. Just, yeah, just use Hootsuite if you have more than one social media account.

Again, use those uncontrollable pages to drive people to your stage. I always tell clients if they are going to use a social media channel, own that channel, drive people to your site often, and run a feed of it through your site via a plugin.  If you create content on social media, it becomes THEIR content with all of THEIR ever-changing rules. That’s stupid. Control and own your content. Put content on YOUR site than parse it out to your social media channels to draw people to your stage. It’ll live forever on your site so years later it is still working for you. Old content on social media is dead media. Social media is a ravenous monster that eats up all of your content. And gives you shit in return.

Use Social Media to get people to your stage where you control the performance.

Facebook is to your business what Coca-Cola is to corner stores. They’re USING your brand. Co-branding only helps the biggest brand!

Ok, now Facebook is the TV of this generation. It hits the largest possible audience, yet allows for hyper-targeting models. LOVE the targeting potential of Facebook. I use it for customer research when not using the ads. Consider: Facebook can tell you how many female college educated single women, between 20 and 50, who love horses, living within 10 miles of a particular riding stable? IS it 100% accurate, no. Is it THE most accurate least expensive demographic assessing tool ever? You betcha.

27.

Twitter is great for instant interactions and an awesome way to slow down or stop a pissed off client from further damaging your brand. Ads? Meh.

28.

LinkedIn is stupidly important for sales people, it’s replaced cold calling. Yet really stubbornly hard to wire into WordPress in a meaningful way AND it doesn’t play nice with almost all CRMs. That’s why it’s important to use LinkedIn to draw people back to your stage.

29.

Pinterest! Not just for stay at home moms. Don’t discount this one for B2B. It has REAL value as a link building tool.

30.

Ditto for Instagram. There are plugins that let you run feeds of Pinterest and Instagram through your WordPress site. Their API changes often so these plugins great broken all the time. Ugh.

  1. & 32

Use Yoast plugin or equivalent to make sure you’re not driving away Google. Don’t be a slave to it, but know what it’s trying to do for you.

33.

Ok, I’ve talked about good content. SEO is like having good design in your flyers, it gets your efforts in front of more people. But SEM? Search engine marketing is highly effective at targeting VERY specific customers IF you have good SEO practices with good content.

SEM is becoming the norm. People accept Google ads in search results and being valid responses to their queries. And more and more page space on google is being used for advertising.

Consider this, I’m a hand-made soap store, there’s one in Wolseley. And I want to show up on the front page of a google search for “bath soap stores”

Take a look at this screenshot. What chance does a small business have at cracking the organic listings? Zilch. Or it’ll take massive amounts of effort and time. I’m not saying it can’t be done. I’m saying prepare for a fight that you might not win! OR you can buy SEM ads and be right there at the top for as long as you can afford it. I ask my clients “what do you have, time (SEO) or money (SEM)?” Both are wasted unless you have good content on your stage.

34.

I’ve quickly zoomed through a lot of information, sorry about that, but if I can leave you with just three ideas, I want you to remember this about WordPress Marketing Magic.

1. KNOW your Audience.
2. TELL wonderful stories.
3. And keep it on YOUR Stage.

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Review This! Why you should REALLY care what people…

In the world of hyper SEO competition it takes a lot of effort to get a site to dominate the search rankings or to get on the front page. Google is getting ever more clever at filtering out the junk and stopping the so-called blackhat SEO experts from dominating the SERPS (search engine ranking positions). Google just wants to bring you the best results – ad or regular searches – for your terms entered and are happy when you get there!

Reviews are one way Google makes sure their search results fit what you are looking for by ensuring authenticity. Read more “Review This! Why you should REALLY care what people say about your business.”

Let’s talk Site Security with the iThemes Security plugin

Your Site Needs to Be More Secure

I’ve been the admin of a few dozen WordPress installs for over seven years now and if there’s one thing that keeps me up at night it’s the thought of one of my sites getting hacked. As a result I’ve developed a not-too-healthy state of constant paranoia. I subscribe to several security focused blogs, I follow security plugin developers on twitter, and I watch any wordpress.tv episodes on security. I immediately update any security upgrade releases and test, than upgrade any release of plugins, themes and core files. All to keep those sites secure. Like I said, not too healthy but so far it’s working and haven’t had a ton of trouble on my sites (other than of my own devising).

Read more “Let’s talk Site Security with the iThemes Security plugin”

The Campaign that Worked on a Campaigner

With this post I want to discuss a campaign (communications and advertising that involve both PR efforts and marketing elements) that have influenced me. Which is a particularly daunting task. As a marketing professional for over– let’s just say approaching decades, I like to think I’ve built up an immunity to the crafty and brilliant efforts of marketing departments. Slick multi-million dollar ad campaigns are wasted on m as I’m too clever to fall for an ad-man’s tricks. Read more “The Campaign that Worked on a Campaigner”

Stubborn database problem in WordPress with cPanel

Error Codes in WordPress – Cannot Modify Header Information

When trying to login to your newly configured/built WordPress site are you getting this error?

Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at blah, blah, blah)

For me, it was an extra return in a database entry, specifically in wp_options where the site name (or WordPress URL) are defined. Go into cPanel then phpMyAdmin, and get rid of any extra spaces or returns in the wp_options Site URL and Home URL and make your life happy by avoiding an hour of troubleshooting like I had to do.

This came about from being too clever. I had changed this in cPanel – normally you’d do it in WordPress when you set up the site.

The site had been up and running as a subdomain for testing purposes but was moved to an addon domain with it’s own domain name when it went live. This necessitated using cPanel to make the change, which I’d done before so it wasn’t a big deal. Unless you unknowingly enter the extra space or return. Then you’re looking at hours of frustration.

Logical, it makes sense, now that I’ve gone through it. Of course it can’t change header info if the header you’re telling it to modify isn’t there. But a “space”? It’s the biggest key on the board, you’d think by now that most programs would have figured out that a space after or before is to be ignored and not part of the string.

Now you know.

Management Job Interview Tips

My sister is, for lack of a better word, a goober. Always has been, but I get the right to say that for being the younger brother and getting beat up by my older sisters during childhood. Also, she’s incredibly smart, talented, driven, successful, brilliant, outspoken, speaks several languages, won awards, loved by everyone, warmhearted, and wonderful. So, you know, a goober.

She’s also a bit of a mentor to me and recently I asked her why anyone would want to be a manager, or more specifically, how to answer that question if asked in an interview. Here’s what she had to say about it:

Read more “Management Job Interview Tips”

Finding help for WordPress

WordPress out of the box is quite grand. Grand I say, mighty grand. With a little poking and prodding around, you can start creating content and fire it out to the interwebs. You don’t have to know how to do everything before you start doing anything in WordPress (and you’ll never know everything, so don’t worry about it). Joomla (another Content Management System) and DOS for that matter, are at their base essentials “get trained before you try and do anything” while WordPress is “doing is your training” which very much agrees with my learning style. Read more “Finding help for WordPress”