The Best WordPress Plugins For Your Community Website

As WordPress is becoming the platform of choice for websites, it’s no longer just a blogging tool. People are using WordPress for many varied functions. One of those is building a community. It makes sense wanting to leverage the power of your own website to integrate members and have them be able to post content. There are a few ways to do this but the trick is to make the process as seamless as possible for your users. Read more

Build Your Facebook Custom Audience Through Graph Search

Here’s how to build a Facebook custom audience for free using their built-in graph search feature. This method doesn’t use the API. This is purely gathering data from the public graph search page in a semi-automated way. The advantage of building a custom audience this way is it’s much more intuitive when doing searches and gives you more flexibility than the current software tools I have seen so far.

Download the “Scraper” extension for Google Chrome browser

media_1389397896947.png

Here’s the link to download the Scraper extension.

Log in to Facebook and do a search for your target audience

media_1389398005606.png

Quick Tip: To target people that may be a little more engaged with a page, use the “people that like photos by” search – e.g. “people that like photos by Ralph Lauren”.

Right click on the page and select “Scrape Similar…”

media_1389398133503.png

It doesn’t really matter where you right click becuase you will be replacing the Xpath selector in the next step anyway.

Enter this into the Xpath selector field and click “Scrape” – //div[contains(@data-bt,’id’)]/@data-bt

media_1389398350947.png

*Disclaimer – This selector path is working at the moment. If Facebook decides to change their page layout or structure then this may not work in the future – //div[contains(@data-bt,’id’)]/@data-bt

What we are doing here is scraping the page for each user’s Facebook ID. Facebook can use this value to build a custom audience for your ads.

Click Export to Google Docs

media_1389398565632.png

Delete rows with irrelevant data

media_1389398948415.png

You will need to delete any irrelevant data from the spreadsheet. The first 2 rows for example and usually the last row so you are only left with the data that contains user ID’s.

Enter this into the B1 field – =RIGHT(LEFT(A1,FIND(“,”,A1) -1),FIND(“,”,A1) -7)

media_1389398678382.png

This will select only the ID from the first column text. =RIGHT(LEFT(A1,FIND(“,”,A1) -1),FIND(“,”,A1) -7)

 

Drag that cell down using the crosshair cursor to reproduce that function on other rows

media_1389399059921.png

You can get the crosshair cursor by moving your mouse to the bottom right of the B1 cell.

Copy the contents of that column

media_1389399156258.png

Open a new Sheet and select “Paste Special” – “Paste values only”

media_1389399236378.png

This will give you a clean sheet of data that only contains User ID’s ready for export

Select File – Download As – Comma Separated Values

media_1389399345724.png

Now you can upload this CSV file to Facebook as a custom audience

media_1389399502797.png

Sorting Trello Cards By Priority Across Multiple Boards

I use trello.com in my business, and I find it a great tool for organising information and assigning tasks to team members.

The only thing we find is that when managing multiple boards (projects) at once, there isn’t a way of seeing the most important tasks across all projects on one screen.

Fortunately… my business is software development, and one of our guys whipped together a cool little script that will reorganize anyone’s personal cards page by “Labels”, meaning that we can now see the highest priority tasks across multiple projects.

Would you like to use this cool little script?

Drag this link to your bookmarks bar -> Sort Trello Cards by Priority

To use this script you will need to navigate to your personal cards page – i.e https://trello.com/{yourusername}/cards – replace {yourusername} with your actual Trello username (or click the “Cards” link in the menu)

*Nice little bonus – This script will also remove the “Done” tasks so you are only seeing the tasks that are yet to be completed.

Here’s how we typically setup our Trello Boards:

organising-trello-cards

We create 5 “Lists” – To Do, Doing, Review, Done, Notes

My process is to create new cards/tasks in the ‘To Do’ column and assign it to a team member. That team member will then drag the task to the ‘Doing’ column when they start working on it. They will move the card to the ‘Review’ column when they have completed it. I’ll then review the tasks, add notes and either put it back on the ‘Doing’ column or move it to the ‘Done’ column. We store FTP logins, and any other important info in the ‘Notes’ column for easy access.

To use the script above, just add a label to your tasks (You don’t need to name them in trello. The top label corresponds to top priority) – It’s a hassle naming labels across multiple boards (they don’t save from one to the next) so don’t worry about naming them unless you really want to.

Then navigate to your ‘Cards’ page and click the ‘Sort Trello Cards by Priority’ bookmark link.

Your page will reorganize to something like this (I have removed the actual cards to protect my clients privacy… but you get the idea):
sorted-trello-cards

If you like this handy script, please leave your comment below and let me know?

Thanks
Mike

How I Increased My Site Speed By 36% in 5 Minutes

Are you leaving money on the table because your site takes too long to load?

The stats say that people will wait up to 2 seconds for your page to load before they click the ‘back’ button and leave forever. This obviously has a direct relationship to your conversion rates.

It would make most marketers cringe to think they might be losing sales just because people are exiting their pages before they finish loading.

In this post I’m going to show you how I decreased the page load time on my landing page by 36%.

The site I use in this example is http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/

You can see in this first screenshot that my page was taking 1.56 seconds to load:

increase page speed 1

 

Immediately I notice a few things slowing the page down here:

  • broken links
  • requests to external sites
  • large image files

Broken Links

This was a result of copying code from another site of mine in the aim of getting the page up quick. I was more concerned about speed of implementation rather than technical perfection at that point but this could be happening on your site too without you realising it.

What this meant was that my static page was trying to access a file that didn’t exist and therefore triggering my whole WordPress installation to load it’s standard 404 error page. Users wouldn’t see this of course, and either did I but nevertheless it added unnecessary page load time. The whole point of this static page was to be lightweight and not include all the random stuff WordPress loads that I didn’t need.

Fixing that issue saw my page load time go from 1.56 seconds down to 1.33 seconds.

increase page speed 2

 

Requests To External Sites

Next thing to look at was the external requests my page was making. I’m using Leadplayer on this page, with a Getresponse form and I have a few social icons that are making requests to their respective sites as well.

The main element slowing down the page was actually the Facebook button. Google +, Pinterest, & Twitter were loading much faster so I decided to remove the Facebook connect option as this page is primarily loading in a Facebook tab anyway.

Large Image Files

The last element or the last major contributing factor to the page speed was the background image. It’s quite big as it’s not designed to repeat horizontally or vertically so it scales with the page and therefore needs to be of decent resolution to look good on larger screens.

Once again as this page is loading in a Facebook tab, the background image doesn’t add a whole lot of design appeal. Most of it isn’t seen anyway as the content is scaled to the maximum width of the tab so I decided to remove this element for now.

Here’s the final result:

increase page speed 3

 

So from a couple quick observations and adjustments, my page now loads 36% faster according to pingdom.com.

If you would like me to help you out with your site speed and page load times, please feel free to hit me up.

Which Is The Best Split Testing Software?

If you are at the stage where you are split testing your web pages… Firstly, I congratulate you. Only the most successful online business owners are split testing.

Choosing which software to use can be a daunting decision. Since Google decided to drop Google Website Optimiser, the playing field has become much more abundant with third party tools.

There is of course Google Content Experiments (free inside Google Analytics) which has replaced Website Optimiser but it doesn’t have multivariate testing like Website Optimiser did. I find that to be a big downfall. I’m not 100% sure on the reason Google decided to drop Website Optimiser or multivariate testing but it has meant a lot of people have been searching elsewhere for a full-fledged split testing tool.

Here’s a quick rundown of the tools I have tried and my experience with them:

Google Content Experiments

googlecontentexperimentsThis is pretty straight forward to use, although you will need some tech skills to modify your website pages. I find it best to use with static pages, not CMS sites. Essentially you create multiple variations of your pages on your web server, and Content Experiments will redirect users to each variation and then compile the results in a nice graph for you.

So, for example, you would setup index.php, indexb.php, indexc.php, indexd.php etc. on your webserver and specify those urls to Google. You can see an example of how I used Google Content Experiments here.

The drawbacks of Google Content Experiments are:

  • It doesn’t do multivariate testing.
  • You need to manually create duplicate versions of your pages.
  • There’s no built-in editor.

The advantages are:

  • It’s built into Google Analytics.
  • The reporting is quite nice and simple.
  • It will run a test for a e.g. 2 week time frame, and then tell you which variation is the winner.
  • You don’t get issues with built-in editors. Sometimes manually creating duplicate pages can be less hassle.

Optimizely

optimizelyThis is quite a premium tool. When I started using this, I was impressed with their visual editor and how easy it was to use. There’s quite a lot of options in their editor which I haven’t seen in other software. They do offer multivariate testing but it’s not included in their basic package. It’s quite a big price jump from the basic package. $350 per month for the multivariate testing package.

This could almost be used as a metrics tool as they allow you to setup “Goals” such as clicks on various page elements, visits to specific pages, and also “Revenue Tracking” which means you can test your different variations and determine which version returns the most dollars for you. Very handy feature to have.

Another cool feature is it’s integration with Crazyegg. All you need is your API key from Crazyegg and Optimizely will do the rest. The great thing about this is that Optimizely will create separate Crazyegg snapshots for each of your split-test variations so you can accurately measure engagement on each test rather than guessing with one general snapshot.

Disadvantages:

  • Pricey for the multi-variate package

Advantages:

  • Great visual editor
  • Easy to Use
  • Integrates easily with Clicktale, and Crazyegg
  • Integrates easily with Google Analytics (Goals)
  • Revenue Tracking

Experiment.ly

experimentlyI found this site when looking for a multi-variate alternative to Optimizely. Initially, this site looked great as they include multi-variate testing in all their packages and the prices are very reasonable. Another feature they have is heatmap tracking built-in. Awesome!

I ran into a snag when I started testing though. For some reason their visual editor didn’t display my page correctly. It looked as if it was missing a style sheet and wasn’t displaying some CSS3 elements so I couldn’t actually finish setting up the test I wanted to run. I hit another snag when I tried to upgrade my account. It gave me an API error their checkout. Didn’t make a great impression. I did submit support tickets and they did get back to me within 24 hours though.

They wanted me to disable some other javascript I had running on the page to fix the CSS elements, but by that time, I had already moved on to Visual Website Optimizer which worked flawlessly on first run so I haven’t bothered as of yet.

Disadvantages:

  • Visual editor seems not quite up to par.
  • Perhaps not quite as big a company as one would like.

Advantages:

  • Cheap Pricing on packages
  • Heat Map tracking built-in
  • Easy to use interface

Visual Website Optimizer

visualwebsiteoptimizerAs explained, I tried this software after having issues with Experiment.ly. Very easy to setup an account. Visual editor worked great. Does multi-variate tests in the free-trial. Packages seem quite reasonably priced. Includes Heat Map tracking as well.

I’m using this software right now, and running an ad campaign through Facebook. I’ll post more details to this blog post as we go.

The only snag I hit with this software, was when adding combinations to my multi-variate test. I have about 5 different sections on my page which I want to test and I got up to 640 possible combinations quite quickly which in turn made Visual Website Optimizer very slow to use.

Disadvantages:

  • Site runs very slow when combinations increase

Advantages:

  • Easy to use
  • Heat Map Tracking
  • Multivariate testing in Free Trial
  • Reports seem quite intuitive so far

Hope you enjoyed this post. Please add your comments below and if you would like to get in contact with me, please hit the “Contact Me” button at the top of this page.

Split Testing Button Text For Better Conversions

Here’s some interesting results from an experiment I ran through Google Analytics Content Experiments to see which button text would convert the best on one of my websites.

 

This was a page after the homepage, so visitors would click a button on the homepage and then land on this simple name capture squeeze page.

Here’s the different text options I tested:

  • Create account
  • Start Now
  • Register Now
  • Sign Up
  • Join Us Now

create-account

start-now

register-now

sign-up

join-us-now

 

and here’s the results:

split-test-button-text-results

 

As you can see the winner is “Start Now” with a 21% increase in conversion rate over the original text which was “Create account”.

Not bad… Who else would like a 21% increase in opt-in conversion?

InfusionSoft vs Office Auto Pilot Unbiased Review

I guess the first vital piece of information to disclose is that I don’t work for either Infusionsoft or OAP, however I do use and manage both products for various clients.

There are pro’s and con’s to each platform as you would expect, but hopefully I can give you a bit of insight here as to which direction you should take.

It seems interest in Infusionsoft and Office Auto Pilot has increased lately as a greater number of businesses are looking to automate and improve their online marketing and customer management systems.

Business owners are getting serious about delivering a fantastic user experience to their customers, and also want to better track customer response to emails, landing pages, sales pages, and upsells.

If you are running an online business that does over 10k per month, then you are probably looking for a software that makes your life easier and lets you better gauge customer flow and intent… so you can ultimately make more money.

I’m noticing a lot of businesses that were running either Nanacast, or FusionHQ, or even just Paypal payments are looking for that next level of software to automate and improve their marketing. Don’t get me wrong… Nanacast, FusionHQ etc. are excellent options for some people and are much lower priced, but if you are looking for the ultimate in automation, there’s a reason Infusionsoft and OAP are three times the price.

Below, we shall look at the features offered by each product and I’ll give you the general consensus as to which product is for who.

Business Model/Industry

OfficeAutopilot is recommended:

  • If you are a single entrepreneur or own a small business.
  • If the total employee strength of your company is less than three.
  • If you are sure that the size and strength of your company is not going to expand, in which case you would have to switch.
  • If your industry/business is one of the below mentioned or similar in function:
    • Author
    • Speaker
    • Blogger
    • Coaching
    • Consulting

Infusionsoft is recommended:

  • For bigger companies with a comparatively more complex structure and functioning.
  • If you have sales staff and large teams working for you.
  • If you see the possibility of expansion in terms of the company’s size, function and strength.
  • If your industry/business is one of the below mentioned or similar in function:
    • B2B Marketing and Sales
    • Sales Pipeline based model
    • E-commerce
    • Traditional company (brick and mortar business) etc.

Business Needs and Function

OfficeAutopilot is recommended:

  • If your business needs emailing in high volumes.
  • If online marketing as well as traditional marketing, in general, are new to you.
  • If you need a more personal touch without having to spend extra money.

OfficeAutopilot is not recommended:

  • If you intend to run a multi product store where your customers would buy multiple products and need the ‘add to cart’ button.
  • If your business is B2B, since it is neither aware of business nor has it been factored into its CRM.
  • If you feel there is a need to have capabilities to design visuals.

Infusionsoft is recommended:

  • If your business needs more dependency on campaign builder or a visual flow chart.
  • If your business needs community support and support from big events.

Infusionsoft is not recommended:

  • If you are in need of personal help and not in a position to afford it.
  • If you have the tendency to get overwhelmed and confused by technology, because this is a tad bit complicated.

Cost and Effectiveness

OfficeAutopilot:

  • They offer starting packages at around $300 per month.
  • The team package that allows management of a team of 5 members is priced at $597 monthly.
  • It will help you with marketing, up-selling, promoting and monitoring your marketing efforts across the Internet.
  • This also gives you the power to rule and segment your database so as to perform targeted marketing.

Infusionsoft:

  • They offer a wide range of packages.
  • Some start as low as $199 per month, while some start at $999 per month, with a set up fee of around $2000 or above.
  • Infusionsoft also provides CRM, which makes it more effective for bigger companies.
  • It automates email functions, processes payments, built-in affiliate program and other things that you would require to set up an offline or an online business by strengthening sales channels.

Support:

OfficeAutopilot support is available during the following times:

Monday to Thursday from 7am to 9pm PST.
Friday from 7am to 3pm PST.
Saturday from 9am to 1pm PST.
Sunday from 5pm to 9pm PST.

Infusionsoft support is available during the following times:

Monday to Friday from 7am to 5pm, Arizona (AZ).
Chat support is also available from Monday to Friday for 24 hours a day.
On Saturdays and Sundays only chat support is available.

Final Verdict:

Personally, I prefer Infusionsoft from my dealings so far. Their system seems more logical to me, even from just the menu’s and user interface. Sometimes I have to hunt around OAP for a while to find the buried link or option I’m looking for.

Having ‘Live Chat Support’ 24 hours a day is a huge plus for Infusionsoft. When you’re working on big campaigns with lots of moving parts, I just want quick answers. Usually my questions are quite technical so sometimes I have to submit a support ticket, but that’s ok. My timezone in Australia is ~15 hours different to the U.S as well, so it’s nice to have Live Chat and get answers any time of the day.

Some of the things that bug me at the moment with Infusionsoft are:

– The new order forms don’t seem to have support for 2 different payment options. Full Pay or Payment Plan. Which means I have to setup legacy order forms and then if I want to do a one-click upsell, I have to hack a legacy web form and include an action set that creates a product order on success. Action sets only get executed every 8 hours or so, which means the upsell order isn’t processed straight away. Frustrating

With Office Auto Pilot:

– Tracking. Great Idea, Huge opportunity to send custom emails to particular customers based on rules or even just analyse their paths through your site.  Problem is, I’m not using a standard smart order form or hosting it on moon-ray.com. For this particular scenario, initial form data is validated through our own system and then being sent to OAP. I’ve been back and forth with support looking for a solution but it would require major changes to our current flow which is just not viable. A simple option to identify the customer to OAP through javascript would be nice, but apparently not available. Frustrating.

Having said that, I work with some big marketers locally and internationally who love Office Auto Pilot, so it does depend a lot on your industry and the features you are looking for.

Hopefully this article has given you some insight into which option may be best for you. Please feel free to add your comments below, and if you would like some help setting up OAP or Infusion, please email me at mike@mikeleembruggen.com.

Brand Your Clients WordPress Dashboard – Free Plugin

If you are building WordPress sites for clients, then here’s the perfect solution to quickly brand the dashboard with your own logo, and remove the default WordPress widgets that confuse your clients.

Now, everytime your customer loads their WordPress admin area, they will be reminded of you and feel an overwhelming urge to call you up and give you more money to implement new features on their site.

I hope you enjoy this plugin… It is quite simple, but quite handy if you are tired of training your clients on how to navigate the WordPress admin.

If you are indeed a local website marketer, then please feel free to hit me up through email. I work with a number of local website marketers as I offer a white label service where you can make more money selling advanced marketing strategies and not have to worry about the tech.

Download WordPress Plugin – Simple Dashboard

Here’s a walkthrough of each step:

Click “Add New” on the Plugins Page

wpid366-media_1343630248213.png

Type “Simple Dashboard” into the text box and click Search

wpid367-media_1343630302719.png

Click “Install Now” under Simple Dashboard

wpid368-media_1343630385740.png

Click “Activate Plugin”

wpid369-media_1343632869557.png

You should see this message on the next screen…

wpid370-media_1343633669721.png

Navigate back to the WordPress Dashboard

wpid371-media_1343633708544.png

You should now see a new simplified layout…

wpid372-media_1343633825924.png

Click “Configure” to brand the Dashboard image with your logo

wpid373-media_1343633960546.png

Enter your own website/logo details and click the Submit button

wpid374-media_1343634056826.png

Click “Configure” on the Posts Widget

wpid375-media_1343634191961.png

Customize the widget to your liking and then click Submit

wpid376-media_1343634252626.png

Repeat this step for the Pages widget. You can choose how many items you would like to display as well as whether to show the post author and date.

Select “Dashboard Options” in the left hand side menu

wpid377-media_1343634365216.png

Download your current settings to roll out to your other WordPress sites

wpid378-media_1343634413750.png

Done!

Save that file in the last step to your computer and upload to as many WordPress installations as you like to brand them with your logo and widget settings.

 

Here’s a Fantastic Plugin To Organize Your Mac Mail

Check out Mail Act-on. It’s very handy for doing advanced and automated actions in Mac Mail. I love James Schramko’s Inbox Relief strategy but I just don’t find it convenient to have Gmail opened in a web browser all the time.I have multiple email accounts and I like being able to see all new incoming mail at a glance.

If you do use Gmail, you will already be familiar with the ‘Archive’ feature. It’s a great way to clear your inbox screen without actually deleting messages. Best of all… it’s a one click operation.

Now with Mail Act-On, I can create custom rules and assign them a shortcut key which is even quicker than a one click operation.

Here’s the process:

  • Connect to your email/Gmail account through IMAP
  • Create a new folder/label called “Done” or “Handled” (whatever you like)
  • Create a custom Act-on Rule to move messages to your new IMAP folder and assign that rule a shortcut key
  • That’s it! Now when you respond to an email, you can press Option +D (my chosen shortcut key) to move that email to your “Done” folder

This means you can effectively clear out emails that you have “handled” and only see the emails that you need to deal with in your inbox. It helps you stay organized and on top of everything (especially if you have lots of clients to respond to everyday).

The other benefit to this approach is that all your old emails are still searchable through Mac mail.

You can also use the built in Mail Act-On menu like the picture shows below… in case you forget your keyboard shortcut key 🙂


Image via Flickr – Mail Act-on

Mail Act-on for Mac

Reduce the effort required to manage your email

Perform multiple actions on messages in a fraction of a second and eliminate time consuming and error prone manual organization such as drag and drop message filing.

via MailActOn.

.

Is Posterous Taking A Page Out Of Google’s Book By Launching ‘Spaces’

Looks like Posterous is taking a page out of Google’s book with their new launch of Spaces. This employs a similar concept to Google + circles where by you can designate certain updates to only show to particular groups of people, whether it be your friends, colleagues, family etc. I’ll be looking into this a bit further over the coming weeks and I’ll let you know how to take advantage of this update.

.

A Space to call your own.

So, what is your Space? It’s where you

share photos, video, thoughts or whatever.

It’s perfect for staying in-touch with friends,

family, and groups.

A public Space?

Public Space

When it’s worthy of the masses, broadcast to everyone.

Or private Space?

Private Space

To control who sees what, simply make it private.

via Welcome to Posterous Spaces.

.

Not a blog any more – it’s a space! RT @ojezap: From my tech blog: #Posterous revamps its group sharing, calls it Spaces: http://ow.ly/6suvs
Via Twitter
RT @nakeva: Posterous Swaps Blog Platform for Social Network http://t.co/iqNLdeg via @Mashable @meetusinghal
Via Twitter
Posterous gets a massive revamp. New Web app, new iPhone app and introduces ‘Spaces’.
Via Google Buzz
#RGP Posterous Reborn: Spaces Challenge Google Plus and Facebook: Posterous, the niftiest self-publishing platf… http://t.co/fCU1oI2
Via Google Buzz