Category Archives: Digital Content

5 Free WordPress Plugins I’ll Use Again

Why do user reviews play an important role in determining which WordPress plugin is the right one for your website? To save one of life’s most precious commodities:  time. In most instances, you need a plugin to perform a specific task for your website,  you need it up and running quickly, and you’re working with a limited budget. After researching for the optimal plugin most suitable for your site, a significant amount of time has passed, and you still haven’t decided which plugin you should use.  Many WordPress admins are all too familiar with this type of scenario. And with good reason. There are a lot of plugins to investigate. According to the WP Plugin Directory, there are 41,000+ available plugins, which can make finding the right one to suit your website needs overwhelming.

If you are managing a WordPress site on a tight budget, here is a short list of free WordPress plugins I have had success with in the recent past.   Look for this list to be added and modified on a regular basis. None of these plugins slowed the performance of the website or required code. The versions I used are free, if you have had experience with other versions of the same plugin, please share in the comments.

 

tablesTables by Supsystic

When you need to display content within tables without code, consider Tables by Supsystic.   It’s easy to enter content and offers many types of display options, including row captions, highlighted rows, hyperlinks, text wrapping, and bordering for the entire table or row. It is also responsive, providing optimal viewing on all types of devices.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/data-tables-generator-by-supsystic/

 

 

shareAdd to AnyShare

Making it simple and easy to share your website content is a priority. Not only will users expect it, social sharing is also great for SEO. The Add to AnyShare plugin allows you to do that, and setup takes only a few minutes. Customization options include choosing the size of social media icons, selecting from up to 100 social media outlets, and displaying icons at the top or bottom of your page or post.  There is also a horizontal or vertical floating option – having the share buttons stay in a fixed position as the user scrolls.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/add-to-any/

 

 

ultimateauctionUltimate Auction Pro

I have only used this plugin once, and found the set up to be quick and painless. It is also worth noting that the developer, Nitesh Singh, is extremely responsive. Given that auctions are by nature time sensitive events, it is a huge bonus that the developer understands this and responds to inquiries in a promptly manner. Some of the great features of Ultimate Auction Pro include multiple photos or video for each auction item, PayPal synchronization, and automatic email notifications to bidders if they have been outbid. Users will have to register to your website in order to participate, but the plus side of this is that it detracts spammers.  When you’re on a tight budget and don’t want to share profits with a hosted auction site, consider Ultimate Auction Pro.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/ultimate-auction/

 

loginredirectWordPress Login Redirect

Having subscribers login into to your site and go directly behind the scenes is not ideal – it’s actually a little disorienting.  WP Login Redirect automatically redirects subscriber level users back to the homepage of your website after they’ve logged in. Why should a users first impression of your site be the admin panel? This plugin does not offer a lot of buzzes and whistles, it simply performs one function very effectively.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-login-redirect/

 

displaywidgetsDisplay Widgets

This is such an efficient, handy plugin, allowing you to customize your sidebar page by page. For example, you may have a text widget announcing a new event or product that you want to display on your homepage, but not the actual event/product page, because the text will look redundant appearing in both the main body and the sidebar. Display widgets can help with this by giving admins the ability to select which pages a widget should display on, creating clean, unique pages throughout your website.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/display-widgets/

 

What WordPress plugins have worked for you? Please share.

Video Comes to Facebook’s Profile Pic

Facebook will soon make available 7 videos as part of their profile picture options. The feature will enable users to upload short – one second longer than a Vine – videos.

facebook-gif-image-540x334

Videos will only upload through the Facebook app. Facebook is also adding additional feature to the profile picture, including temporary pictures, and a shift in the layout with a centered profile photos plus big sections for photos and friends.   Recognizing the success of same-sex marriage rainbow profile pictures, Facebook said in a post, “It can be a visual status update to let your friends know what’s going on in your life today, or it can be your statement of solidarity for a cause you feel strongly about.”

How will you use the expanded profile picture features to improve your page?

Tools to make your Instagram Photos Shine

InstagramInstagrams continued growth is due partly in its ability to get personal. Given the visual nature of Instagram, users can let their personalities shine on this social media platform. And this opportunity to showcase some uniqueness is not limited to personal accounts. Increasingly, businesses are finding Instagram to be a great platform to let their customers really know their business and recognize their brand, and as a result, create higher customer engagement.  In fact some brands have reported 50 times more engagement on Instagram over Twitter. See full article here>>

If you use Instagram for your small business and are looking to maximize your photos, here are 3 great tools you’ll want to check out:

 

 

  1. Snapseed, available for Androids and iPhones, is a proven winner for still-life scenes. It has several photo effect features, including the option to a brighten specific area of an image. In its review of Snapseed PC Magazine declared it “does the best job of combining powerful editing and enhancing capabilities with a clear, usable interface.”
  2. Photoscape is a great free imaging editing software for your laptop or pc.   Although it initially seems limited, there is a lot more to this software than meets the eye. It’s loaded with editing capability, and Photoshop-like tools such as blurring a specific part of the photo.   It has a flexible cropping functionality, including circular cropping, lots of filtering and film effects, and a rich text tool for adding text to your photos. Photoscape is not an app, however if you have high quality photos on your pc that you want to use on your social media channels, it’s worth having.
  3. Wordswag allows you create unique custom text layouts for your Instagram and other social media pages. With Wordswag, your jokes, inspirational quotes, or thoughts of the day become powerful and lasting graphic design displays. Wordswag has a wide variety of fonts to choose from as well as images. It also some great quotes if you’re feeling stuck on content ideas.  You can select images from you own camera roll to make truly personalized content.   Another convenient feature is the share option, allowing you to post directly to Instagram and other social media channels, or email or text your creations.

What tools do you use to make your Instagram images shine? Please share.

Prepping Before You Share

Five ways to prep your social media posts for success

Digital Maid tips on prepping social media postsWhen you have great content for your social media space, it can be difficult to suppress the urge to share it instantly with your audience. But even the most stellar images and written descriptions benefit from a little pre-game prep.  Making sure the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed is a critical step in social marketing.

 

 

 

 

  1. SHORTEN THAT URL

Prior to posting, go to Bitly  or TinyURL  and quickly shorten any links contained in your post. Bookmark one or both of these sites for future reference.  Your mobile audience will appreciate you taking those extra three minutes to complete this step.  Note: Shares with links on LinkedIn are often automatically analyzed and shortened.

  1. POSITION THAT PHOTO

Each social media platform displays images slightly different. Some, like Instagram, favor square images, while Twitter images should be longer in width and shorter height. For a brief rundown on image sizing for newsfeeds, please go here. There are many great photo editing apps such as Snapseed or Camera+ (both are best for iPhones) to help you display your photo correctly.

  1. READ THAT TEXT OUTLOUD

Does your post have an intended tone? This can be challenging to convey through text. Read it aloud with as little tone as possible to see if the feeling you are seeking comes through naturally. Or if you have time, get a second pair of eyes. Someone who hasn’t seen or read your post can provide that an important fresh perspective.

  1. CONSIDER THAT #HASHTAG

Does your hashtag flow? Or will the user have to sound it out a couple of times before it resonates? #neversettleonpasta, for example, is quicker to grasp than #neversettleonpastabecauseourpastaisthebomb. Every social marketer is striving to be unique and memorable with their hashtags.  Comprehensible, however, trumps unique, and is easier for the audience to consume and retain.

  1. LOOK AT THE CLOCK

Whether built into the social media platform itself, or through external tools such as Hootsuite, there is a tremendous amount of data available to you regarding your social media content.   One great piece of insight is knowing when your audience is most responsive. Give your content a fighting chance by sharing it when your audience is most engaged.  By taking advantage of the data available,  you give your post maximum visibility.

TIP– For Facebook business page posts, select “Schedule Post”.   Then select, “See Post”. This is a great way to preview how your post will look when published, on both desktop and mobile. If it’s all systems go, select Actions>Publish.  Or if your audience is more receptive at a later time, schedule it.

Why I left your Website

If you are about to embark on creating a new website or redesign of your existing site, congratulations! As you are already aware, this is such a huge component of your overall business operations. It’s your online storefront, presenting an amazing opportunity to create not only a first impression, but more importantly, a powerful and positive lasting impression.

When you sit down to work with your web designer, it’s helpful to keep in mind the pitfalls that can create a poor impression on your website, ultimately frustrating your visitors. None of these fixes require a huge budget, fancy graphics, or intricate code. The only requirement is user mindfulness. Think like a user, and the content and navigational pieces will fall into place.

website usability tips



Image Sizes for Social Media News Feeds

Image Sizes for Facebook NewsfeedHave a great image but unsure how it will show up in your followers news feed?

Here’s a quick guide on news feed image sizing for some of the most popular social media platforms.

FACEBOOK
470×394. Facebook will not crop, it will scale.  Upload images with widths of 720, 960, or 2048 pixels for optimal quality, and Facebook will resize images automatically to fit the feed.

INSTAGRAM
640×640.  Think square, not landscape or portrait.  Photos uploaded to Instagram can be a maximum of 2048×2048 pixels.

TWITTER
506×253. Think more landscape.  Images pixels can be up to 1024×512.

GOOGLE+
350 minimum width.  Since Google+ uses lots of columns, height varies.  Google+ lets you see the full image when clicked, so bigger images do well.

PINTEREST
238 pixels wide.  Like Google+, Pinterest uses lots of columns in their newsfeed, creating a wide variation in image height.  When expanded, the images will appear 735 pixels wide.



How to add a Call-to-Action button to your Facebook Business page

Facebooks new Call To Action (CTA) feature provides an opportunity for businesses to drive additional traffic to their website, or anywhere they want visitors to take action.  Some ideas include a link to an event registration, an email sign up, or an interesting video or app.   Here’s how to add yours:

  • Login to Facebook and go to the business page where you want to add your CTA button.
  • Be sure you are a page admin for the particular page.
  • Select “Create Call-to-Action”, located in the bottom right of the cover photo.

Facebook Call-to-Action button

Select from the following 7 buttons:

1.Book Now

2.Contact Us

3.Use App

4.Play Game

5.Shop Now

6.Sign Up

7.Watch Video

Facebook Call to Action options

Add the URL you want users to go to.

Under the weekly metrics on the right side of your Facebook Page, Facebook show how many people clicked on your Call-to-Action button.

The challenge with the new CTA button? The CTA button is a new and somewhat unknown feature, and it doesn’t appear in the newsfeed.  To enhance visibility, consider having your cover photo highlight or draw attention to the CTA button.  This will help when FB users find your page organically – and prompt you to update your cover photo!

 



Who’s your Digital Content Go-To?

Does your small business or nonprofit have a Go-To Person for digital content? We all know this person. Even though it’s not written in his or her job description, the Go-To Person has all the information that keeps your digital space humming, from the social media username and password combinations to the correct steps for accessing and updating the content management platform. When you ask them how they know all this stuff, they simply tap the side of their forehead with their index finger. Yup, it’s all up there.

This colleague is particularly helpful with juggling multiple social media accounts. Timing is of the essence when it comes to social media. You don’t want to spend an hour tracking down the correct email for the Twitter account. More importantly, you don’t have an hour. You don’t even know if you have access to post.

Ditto for the company website. It’s much easier to message that team member who knows each and every needed step required to update, post, or archive a specific chunk of content than attempting it yourself, wondering with every mouse click if the site is backed up on a regular basis.

In many organizations, it’s Go-To People, not Person. Digital content tasks must be sprinkled about, depending on who has enough time and expertise. Your summer marketing intern may have set up your Facebook business page, and your original web administrator may have created the LinkedIn page. They may have used personal emails, or created a new company email address, but you’re not entirely sure.

But what happens when the Go-To People leave the company? The intern returns to school, the original web admin goes to a startup. And the social media profile information, and instructions for updating the website have not been documented?   You have now inherited a digital content legacy issue.   Your newest hire – or worse, you, is now tasked with hunting down this crucial information and trying to sort it out.

Obviously, the best way to avoid this scenario is to document your social media profile information, as well as all other commonly performed digital content responsibilities, such as posting to your company’s blog. Right now, email or text your Go-To People for the information. Then document it. You may not use it immediately, but you’ll have it. For you, for your business, for your future new hires.

Another solution? Outsource your digital content management. Rather than relying on revolving colleagues and team members who get pulled away to do what they were hired for, having a dedicated Digital Content Go-To professional who will corral all your digital content information, and post it in a timely manner is a tremendous resource, enormous timesaver, and effective approach to managing your digital content.



Sharing buttons that beg

How do you feel about social sharing buttons on websites?  This is not be confused with social media icons that allow users to connect with a company’s social media platforms.  Social sharing buttons are usually located nearby chunks of content, allowing readers to share content with their social media platform of choice.

Their effectiveness is debatable, you can easily find research both in favor and not in favor of their influence on increased shares. Of course, content owners all want sharing, it’s wonderful for your content.  Sharing can lead to an increase of visitors to your website and if shared enough, boost your search engine results.

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