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Category: Speaker Website Tips

WordPress Website Maintenance Checklist

WordPress Website Maintenance Checklist

You have a beautiful new website, now you need to know how to take care of it. By completing monthly website maintenance you greatly reduce a variety of potential problems, such as decreasing the likelihood it’ll be hacked, decreasing load speeds, and improving your search engine rankings.

This WordPress Website Maintenance Checklist provides the steps that you should follow regularly to keep your website running smoothly and making sure it functions impeccably.

WordPress Website Maintenance Checklist

Backup, backup, backup

This is the single most important step you can do for the health and longevity of your website. Taking regular backups of both the database and the files. If the worst should happen and your website is hacked or lost you will have a clean copy that you can restore. There have multiple options to choose from when picking a backup plugin. WordPress offers a few high-quality plugins, which are still great options. These include UpdraftPlus (this is the one that we use and recommend) BackWPup Free and BackUpWordPress.
Don’t move on to any other steps until you have downloaded a clean backup to your computer or a remote location such as Dropbox or Google Drive.

Review the Comments

Review pending comments on your blogs and decide if they are legitimate comments that you want to approve or spam comments that should be marked as spam and deleted. It doesn’t necessarily improve the performance of your website, but it will ensure that you don’t miss out on genuine comments.
While we have included it here in the monthly section, it is considered best practice to check for comments at least weekly.

Optimize the Database

By maintaining your database you are essentially cleaning out the ‘cobwebs’ that develop over time. This helps improve your load speeds and reduce the frequency of database errors. To keep your database clean, use a plugin to simplify the process.
Here are some free options that will do a variety of tasks to maintain and optimize your database and best of all, they are all free!

Broken Links

As your website grows, you will find that some external website links that you have included in your content may no longer exist. Some may have moved, while others maybe have been deleted. Broken links aren’t just limited to external links either, there could be broken images, poorly formatted links or links that you have misspelled. This causes bad user experience and affects your site’s bounce rate and page views.

You can use the free version of Broken Link Checker or the paid version Link Checker Professional.

Security Checks

It is essential to monitor your website’s security on a regular basis to keep your site safe from phishing, spamming, malware and other malicious attacks. Installing and configuring a security plugin will go far in helping protect your site from threats.

You can use these plugins on their own, or in conjunction with each other for an extra layer of security.

It is essential to monitor your website’s security on a regular basis to keep your site safe from phishing, spamming, malware and other malicious attacks. Installing and configuring a security plugin will go far in helping protect your site… Click To Tweet

Update WordPress Themes and Plugins

WordPress releases updates on a regular basis. This includes the WordPress core along with the themes and plugins that you have installed on your website. These updates need to be applied in order for your site to continue to function properly and to protect against unwanted problems, such as hackers. Updates should be completed in this order, WordPress core, themes and then updates. This will help avoid plugin and theme conflicts which could cause your entire website to crash.

One other thing to remember…

Remember to set reminders in your calendar to notify you when your domains and website hosting come up for renewal. It is easy to overlook this obvious step, but trust me – it happens. 😉

By following this WordPress website maintenance checklist monthly, you will keep on top of these simple management and maintenance tasks and you’ll have a safe, secure, speedy WordPress website.

If you see the value in maintaining your site, but do not feel comfortable doing it yourself, we do offer a monthly package that includes all of the services listed above AND our Website Guarantee – complete site restoration at no charge if the site is compromised while it is under our protection.

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How to Make the Most Out of Your Speaker Website Content

How to Make the Most Out of Your Speaker Website Content

So, you’ve spent some time writing a lengthy and detailed blog post that will help your audience in solving one of their main problems. You took some time in creating engaging graphics and even added a nice video. You shared it once on Facebook and Twitter, but that’s just about it.

You were surprised when you looked at your Analytics a week later. Your views went up but immediately dropped the next day. You moved on and wrote another blog post and hoped you would do better next time.

Sure, as a speaker, there’s a lot you can share with your readers. In fact, there’s a lot of things to write about, that’s why you are not worrying too much about running out of topics.

How to Make the Most Out of Your Speaker Website Content

But think about the time you’ve spent working on your content for it not to reach its maximum potential.

It’s a shame when great content just sits on your website.

Don't let great content just sit on your website – use these tips to make sure it reaches its maximum potential Click To Tweet

In my last blog post, I emphasized the importance of setting goals before creating your content. Of course, we all want to book a speaking gig, but that’s not just about it. We can ask people to sign up for our newsletters, build our online presence, or ask them to subscribe to our YouTube channels.

No matter what your goals are. The point is, you won’t be able to meet them if your medium (your blog post or website content) is not being viewed or read.

You need to do something about it…

The good news is, there’s a lot of things you can do to make sure that the word gets out there.

Here are some things I normally do to make the most out of my every piece of content:

1. Create a content promotion plan

With all the online resources out there, it’s not enough to just share your content on your Facebook or Twitter. There are a lot of things you can do to make sure they reach your target audience.

Here are some things you can do as soon as your website content goes out:

  • Send an email blast to your list with your content link.
  • Share it on Facebook – On your Page, Personal Account, and on your groups.
  • Share it on Twitter
  • Create a nice image and share it on Instagram. (Don’t forget to add the link to your bio)
  • Create a vertical image and share it on your Pinterest.
  • Share it on your LinkedIn account and page.
  • Share it on social bookmarking sites like Medium, Digg, Reddit, etc.
  • Create short video clips promoting it on Instagram stories – Ask them to swipe up.

It goes without saying that sharing your content is different from bombarding and over-promoting. That’s why it’s essential to have a well-thought-out content promotion plan so you can effectively schedule your content promotions.

2. Use content schedulers

I use different tools to make sure that my website content goes out there regularly. For instance, I’ve used SocialBee, Hootsuite, Later.com, and MeetEdgar (to name a few) in sharing my content on different social media sites.

You just need to connect your social profiles on your tool, add your content, set when you want them to go out, and literally forget about it!

Some of these, like Later.com, have free accounts that you can use for up to 3 social profiles. Find one that matches your needs and meets your budget.

3. Update your evergreen content every 2 to 3 years and share them again

Update your evergreen content every 2 to 3 years and share them again. You don’t always have to write new content. You need to make the most out of your best posts and articles. Click To Tweet

You don’t always have to write new content. You need to make the most out of your best posts and articles.

Don’t forget about your old content. Use your Analytics to find your best-performing posts and pages and update them from time to time.

I’ll tell you – Google loves this! Google is now focused on giving value to its readers, so when you update something that has proven to be valuable to your target audience, it means that you are making it even more valuable. If you will play it right (optimize your posts, adding target keywords, etc.), you will be rewarded.

So now go ahead and make the most out of your content!

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How to Write a Compelling Headline for your Speaker Website

I have written so many posts about creating a Speaker Website that Sells, from your bio to your meeting professionals page, but the truth is your compelling headline may be the most important thing you write for your website.

Your headline might be the ONLY thing your prospect reads, so you have got to make it count. But remember, don’t try to be overly clever here. Never make your promise hard to understand. get to the point quickly and be clear. Grab their attention and hold it. And that’s easy to say, and harder to do, I know. But here’s some good news

Write your compelling headline last.

Yes, I mean it. Your headline is the last thing you should write. At least, the headline you are going to stick to. Be realistic, you are going to write dozens of not hundreds of headlines before you come up with ‘the one’. Just like with love, you need to ‘meet’ and eventually ‘date’ your headline before you make it your own.

How to Write a Compelling Headline
Write your website headline last. Your headline is the last thing you should write. At least, the headline you are going to stick to. Click To Tweet

Here’s how my process goes…

1. Start with the reason for the page you are writing.

It sounds super obvious but I never write without the outcome in mind. What do I want this page to DO? What do I want this website to DO? Like a child (and your prospective customers) if you don’t tell them what you want them to do, they are unlikely to come up with it on their own. Like most of us, the ultimate goal is to get hired to speak, but is that all?

2. Don’t forget your target audience – write only for them

3. Choose your most sought after benefit

While ultimately the content of this post could apply to any business owner, I know who my tribe. I work with Speakers and I build Speaker Websites. Of course, that is in my compelling headline. I could get creative and clever but why bother? I know that the headline will not only be very SEO friendly, but it solves the exact problem my niche audience is searching for.

4.  Don’t over complicate things.

I have seen a lot of headlines that are just too wordy you don’t even know what the content is all about. Although it’s tempting to use big, catchy words, you should always stick to the basics and make your headlines easy to understand.

When writing your website content and headline, you can inject some keywords here and there, but make sure they are relevant and they sound natural. Click To Tweet

5.  Cut to the chase and be straight forward.

Getting people’s attention online can be challenging, you need to play it right. Your readers are looking for interesting topics that will answer their questions. Drop those irrelevant terms and keep it simple.

You can inject some of your target keywords here and there, but make sure they are relevant, and they sound natural.

What are your challenges in writing interesting and compelling headlines for your website?

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Is the Meeting Planner Page Obsolete?

re Meeting Planner Pages Obsolete on Speaker Websites?

How’s that for provocative question?

Has the meeting planner page on your speaker website become obsolete?

For years I (along with other fellow experts in speaker marketing) have preached the need for a meeting planner page. “Have everything in one place,” we said. “Make it easy for decision-makers to hire and work with you.” We aren’t wrong. Those things are still vitally important – but is a “meeting planner page” the right place for it?

I say no, not any longer.

Has the meeting planner page on your speaker website become obsolete? Click To Tweet

A few things have shaped my decision over the past years.

  1. We aren’t all marketing to meeting planners. Think about it, are you always hired by someone with the title of meeting planner? Of course not! We are hired by CEO’s, HR departments, conference organizers and more. There is a possibility that you are missing the mark when you use the term ‘meeting planner’.
  2. I have heard more and more “meeting planners,” say – “Stop calling me a meeting planner – I do so much more than that”. And it is true. These amazing wizards keep so many balls in the air and work miracles – do you want to risk offending?

So if we still need to have everything within easy access, where do we put it?

That part is easy – a Speaker page. Anyone who is hiring a speaker knows that the Speaker page is where the information on the speaker will reside, but there is more to it than that.

Are Meeting Planner Pages Obsolete on Speaker Websites?

The speaker page is often chock full of ‘stuff’ and here is where the page layout gets vitally important. In addition to your video (and insider information – they want more than just your sizzle reel) and your speaking topics, they want easy access to the following

  • Why Hire You. Yes, spell it out. Showcase your uniqueness and give then your top or top 10 reasons why you are the thought leader, the expert they need
  • Testimonials. Vitally important. They want to know that groups similar to theirs have hired you and found value. They want to know you weren’t a diva, that you stuck to your time, that you stayed and spent the day with the audience participants. They want to know you were invested in their success.
  • Your Biography. Oh, the boring speaker bios I have read throughout my time. No one wants to hear about your years of experience in the first paragraph.  You are a storyteller by trade, tell them the story of you, and where your passion to share this particular message came from. Show them your credibility – don’t simply tell them.
  • Client List. Keep adding to your credibility with your list of clients. I like to group them into industry if at all possible.
  • AV requirements. If you only use a lavalier microphone, or you always need a flip chart etc. Don’t assume they know.
  • Marketing Material. For those of us who are booked to speak as part of a conference where the organizer has to create marketing material, it is going an extra step above and beyond to have everything they might need available to them.
    • Introductions. Bet you hadn’t thought of that had you? There are hundreds of things on the mind of the person running the show. Have your intro pre-written and available for download so they don’t have to chase you to get it last minute.
    • Photographs. Print and web quality for use in all of their own marketing material
The top 6 things that MUST be on the speaker page on your website Click To Tweet

So how do you get all of that on one page AND make it easy to navigate?

Simple, I like to have a “Work with Me” section as a sidebar and each of the bulleted items above becomes a separate page, with links to show the website user what do do next. The sidebar item should stand out, but not more than the other key elements, your topics and your video.

So what do YOU think? Is it time to take a fresh look at your website?

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A New WordPress Editor – Gutenberg

Guterberg editor

Something new this way comes… A new WordPress editor tool called Gutenberg.

And if you are like most of the population, ‘new’ can feel either a bit scary or like a new challenge.

But the good news is, it isn’t scary, or particularly challenging. I have found it to be very intuitive, with a few ‘quirks’ that are easily overcome. Think about how you felt when you updated your latest software, and things weren’t where you felt them (ahem – Microsoft) and at first, you may have felt a bit bewildered, but as soon as you started using the software, and took a moment to look, you found them and were happy once again. This update is easier than that one.

The Basics

The initial look can be a bit off-putting without the ‘normal’ ribbon we are used to, but you soon realize that all of the elements are here.  The main difference is that this editor now breaks up your posts into ‘blocks’.  instead of one long post where you insert elements into one writing area, now you have the opportunity to create ‘sections’ or blocks and format them independently

To add a block, click on the + sign (or, as you will discover, just hit enter and a new paragraph block will appear).  There are several types of blocks.

gutenberg editor photos

Adding Images and Video

One of the things I am most excited about is the new media and image capabilities.  Images are So easy now.  Simply click on the image block, and drag and drop your image.  No more adding it to the library first, this drag and drop feature automatically uploads your photo.

But there is more.  Ever wanted to add more than 1 pic side by side? For many, that was a nightmare because you had to resize the images just right, and often they would also cause issues with mobile friendliness.  Now we have a new ‘gallery’ feature that allows you to add several photos side by side, or beneath each other.  Just drag them where you want them and voila!

But there is one feature I am not as excited about – and that is video.  Here’s why.

Just as you can drag and drop images into your posts – you can now drag and drop video and audio files. It sounds amazing – and easy – but please don’t do it!

You see, when you drag and drop your video and audio files, they are automatically uploaded to the library and 99% of the WordPress hosts and sites cannot support that size of file in the site. If you fill your library with video your site will slow down to a crawl. Even a 2-minute video can be  5mb or more, and you will see a huge difference in functionality and speed.

Instead, embed your videos using YouTube or Vimeo or Amazon S3 as you always have. Simply add a block and scroll down until you see the embed section and click on (who’da thunk) the icon for the thing you want to embed.

While I remain very excited about the functionality of this new editor, one large concern remains. How will this new editor work with the existing plugins on your website now?  The very backbone of WordPress is changing, and every single plugin will have to adapt. Change is good, but make sure there is some thought to it.

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Sizzle Reels – What Speakers Need to Know

speaker sizzle reel

speaker sizzle reelOne of the many reasons I love being the marketing chair for CAPS (Canadian Association of Professional Speakers) Toronto, is access to the many questions speakers ask. These questions make great blog material! Today there was a question posed about sizzle reels. Now if you followed my speaker website posts, you know that I always say that good video is a necessity for a speaker site – but what constitutes a great speaker sizzle reel? What are the elements you need and how do you make yours stand out? Here’s my take on it.

Before you Start

First of all, there is a saying in the marketing industry that usually applies to branding and copy – but applies equally well to video: “crap in – crap out”. What I mean by that is you must have great quality film to start with. No matter how well your sizzle reel is edited, no matter how incredible your content, if the camera is jumping, your audio is poor, or you are out of focus, the video looks bad. If you do not have good quality footage to start with, don’t invest the money in a reel just yet. Get better quality stuff and then begin your process.

Never forget your audience. You MUST keep your brand and your target audience in mind when you shoot and assemble your video. The way you show up on stage is the way your reel should represent you. If you are a ‘casual, laid back’ speaker but you get dressed up in a suit and tie for your reel, your audience is going to get the wrong idea. If your talks are fast paced, energetic experiences – show that. But if you are more of a technical, content rich speaker who does not stand on a chair pretending you are skiing during your talk, don’t do it in your sizzle reel.  (p.s. – do you know which speaker I am referring to in that scenario – shout him out in the comments if you do)
Also remember that often meeting planners think differently than corporate clients. They have even less time so what they want to see might be different than what an executive wants. Never forget who is hiring you and give them what they want to market to them directly.

Everything costs, but you get to choose the currency. The two most often used currencies are time and money. If you have technical abilities and are great with software, then yes, there is no reason you cannot invest the time yourself to edit this together. There are some great editing tools on the market, and I have seen a few iPhone speaker reel videos people are creating and they are spectacular. If you do not have the time, or the talent – then video is a wise place to spend your money. Invest in a professional videographer who has experience in creating sizzle reels for speakers. Ask to see their work first. Speak to their previous clients. Do your homework and choose someone whose customer service skills match their quality because this is not going to be cheap. Expect to pay between $500 – $1000 depending on what your requirements are.

Make sure you own the rights to everything you use. If you include audience shots, have you had the audience sign a waiver before you filmed the show? Don’t forget to get media releases for testimonials as well. Did your videographer purchase the rights to the photos he may include? Are you allowed to use that media clip? Check everything ahead of time to avoid being told “sorry, you can’t use that” after you have already made the investment.

 

 

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Top Tips for creating a speaker website that converts

Is YOUR website doing all it can to grow your speaking business? Are you sure??

Which Are You?

Take the next steps to building your speaking business by choosing which of the speaker types below fits you!

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Top Tips for creating a speaker website that converts

Is YOUR website doing all it can to grow your speaking business? Are you sure??