6 Essential WordPress Plugins for the Absolute Beginner

There are lots of WordPress plugins out there. In fact, currently there are over 23,000 plugins available for download from WordPress.org. It can really be overwhelming for the absolute beginner to WordPress. Here are 6 essential plugins that every new WordPress site should have:

6 Essential WordPress Plugins

1) Akismet

As your WordPress site gets increasingly popular, you will find that you will get more comments SPAM (assuming you allow visitors to your site to post comments). The Akismet plugin provides a robust and reliable way for you to manage this SPAM. Whenever someone posts a new comment on your WordPress site, it is checked against the Akismet web service which will quickly identify whether or not the comment is SPAM. The Akismet plugin is free for personal sites and you can choose how much you want to pay for your business site. So start by selecting ‘personal’ site and try out Akismet. If you have a business site and think the plugin is worth the money, then just back and pay what you feel it’s worth.

2) WordPress SEO by Yoast

If you want to get search traffic, then one thing you’ll need to do is ensure that you have great on-page optimization. WordPress actually has a lot of good SEO support built-in these days, but the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin actually takes that further and helps you to write better ‘SEO friendly’ content. The plugin is free and provides a lot of nice functionality that ensures every page on your web site is fully optimized for search engines. It also includes the ability to create a site map XML file which the search engines can use to better find all pages on your site.

3) WordPress Backup to Dropbox

It’s important to regularly backup your WordPress site and ensure that you can easily restore the site if there are any problems. There are lots of great backup premium plugins available for WordPress such as Backup Buddy which gives you a very reliable and easy to use backup solution. But if you’re just starting out, then the WordPress Backup to Dropbox plugin is a good place to start. It’s a free plugin which (as the name implies) backs up your WordPress site to your Dropbox account. You can also sign up for a free Dropbox account which will give you 2GB of free storage, which is plenty of space for most WordPress sites.

4) Shareaholic

It’s no secret that social networks can be a great source of traffic for your site and so you want to make it as easy as possible for your visitors to be able to share your content. The Shareaholic plugin is free and makes it easy for your visitors to share your content with their networks. Once you’ve installed the plugin, you can easily add great looking social sharing buttons to pages on your site for just about any social network out there. It also tracks and displays the number of shares, likes, tweets etc.

5) Google Analytics for WordPress

You will need some way to track your site analytics i.e. visitors, traffic, clicks etc. There are lots of analytics tools to choose from, but Google Analytics is usually a good choice for most people and it’s free. Once you’ve signed up, you can embed their tracking code on your WordPress site or you can use the Google Analytics for WordPress plugin which automates and simplifies the process of adding the tracking code. This plugin also provides a number of additional features to help you make the most of your site analytics.

6) Contact Form 7

You will probably need some way to let your site visitors contact you by email. Putting your email address on your web site isn’t a good idea, unless you enjoy receiving even more email SPAM. The Contact Form 7 plugin provides an easy way for you to create a contact form on your site, which your visitors can use to send messages to your email, without ever knowing your email address. Contact Form 7 is a free plugin and also provides additional features such CAPTCHA support, Akismet SPAM filtering etc.

For more information about setting up WordPress, check out our free WordPress Step by Step video tutorial.



Source by Wally Wallace

How to Submit Your Site Map to Google, Yahoo! and MSN

XML Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to tell search engines about pages on their site that may be crawled by their robots.

A typical XML Sitemap file lists each URL, together with information about when it was last updated, how often it normally changes, and how important it is, relative to other pages in the site). This helps search engines to more intelligently crawl your site.

In November 2006, Google, Yahoo! and MSN joined forces to support a new industry standard for sitemaps: Sitemaps 0.90. As long as webmasters follow the protocol, they can ensure their sites are fully and consistently indexed across all the major search engines (a real step forward). This article is important for all those with missing or poorly ranked pages.

The official site for the joint venture is at sitemaps.org and contains a lot of info about the new standard and it’s syntax. What the site singularly fails to do is explain correctly how to submit your sitemap to the big three! The format suggested on the site of:

search-engine-url/ping?sitemap=your sitemap_url

does not currently work at any of the three sites! Until it does, this short article provides instructions for how to (a) create your sitemap and (b) how to submit to each of the three main search engines…

Creating your Sitemap

Some hosting providers (for example 1and1) provide utilities via their web control panel, to create your sitemap, so you should always check with your provider first. If this service is not available, then make a visit to xml-sitemaps.com and enter your site URL into the generator box. Copy-and-paste the resulting sitemap into notepad, then save-and-upload to your site with the file name: sitemap.xml

If you want to validate the XML prior to uploading to the search engines (useful if you have made any manual amendments), look at the XML validator (at the same site) where you can put in the URL of your sitemap and check it against the standard.

Submit sitemap to MSN

MSN have yet to implement a formal interface for Sitemap submission (as at July 2007). To monitor the situation, please visit (from time to time) the MSN Official Livesearch Blog (where where future announcements are likely to be found).

Whilst MSN have yet to implement a front door, there is a recognised back door for submitting your sitemap to the MSN Search index; namely moreover.com! You should use the following syntax directly in your browser URL box:

[http://api.moreover.com/ping?u=http://yourdomain.com/yoursitemap.xml]

Since February 2005, moreover.com have been the official provider of RSS feeds to the myMSN portal (see press release) and reliable evidence suggests that submission to Moreover will result in MSN spidering your pages within 2-3 weeks.

Note that, whilst MSN still do not support direct submission, they do suggest on their blog that you add a reference to your Sitemap into your robots.txt file (something now supported by sitemaps.org). For example:

User-agent: *<br /> Sitemap: [http://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml]<br /> Disallow: /cgi-bin/

This would tell MSN (and all other engines) to crawl your sitemap file but not to crawl your cgi-bin directory. For more info on how to implement a robots.txt file (in the root of your site webserver) please visit: http://www.robotstxt.org

Submit sitemap to Google

Google originally developed the XML schema for sitemaps and have developed a dedicated portal for webmasters, from where you can submit your sitemap:

google.com/webmasters/

First, you need to tell Google all the sites you own, then verfiy that you indeed own them. The verifiaction is achieved by adding a metatag between the head tags on your site homepage. The syntax for the tag is as follows:

<meta content="unique code advised by google" name="verify-v1">

There are full instructions on how to do this on the Google site.

Submit sitemap to Yahoo

Yahoo follows a similar approach to Google. Again, there is a dedicated service for webmasters (Yahoo! Site Explorer) and a procedure for verifying your ownsership of the site. First go to:

siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/

Add a site, then click on the verification button. You can then download a verification key html file – which you will need to upload to the root directory of your webserver. Then you can return to Site Explorer and tell Yahoo to start authentication. This will take up to 24 hours. At the same time you can also add your sitemap by clicking on the manage button and then adding the sitemap as a feed.

Submit sitemap to Ask

Ask follows a simpler approach to the other three. To submit you sitemap, you simply enter a ping URL, followed by the full URL of where your sitemap is located:

<a target="_new" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" href="http://submissions.ask.com/ping?sitemap=http%3A//www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml">http://submissions.ask.com/ping?sitemap=http%3A//www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml</a>

After clicking return, you will get a reassuring message from Ask that they have received your submission. Very neat!



Source by David Viney

Build a Dynamic RSS Feed With PHP and MySQL

NOTE: Wherever you see [url] please insert your websites url in place of [url].

Everywhere I look I can find tutorials but rarely are they complete. The tutorial I am about to write is meant to be a complete tutorial. Sure you can add more options to the RSS file itself but what I mean by complete is that it will work for anyone if the principals that are outlined here are followed. Without further delay lets jump right into build a dynamic RSS feed using PHP and MySQL

To begin our PHP based RSS feed we need to do one little thing first. Take a look at your “.htaccess” file which is generally located in the root directory of web server. It is the file that is used for doing URL rewrites, 301 redirects etc. Every Apache server should have it so look for it. If you are using dreamweaver an easy to get the file is to create it in the site manager, i.e. right-click and create a new file. Rename the file “.htaccess” and then right click on your newly created file and click “Get”. Again this is only for users of Dreamweaver. I am making this more complicated than it should be. Look for.htaccess in your web server root. Enough said

Once we have our.htaccess file found we need to make a change. Since our RSS file will be of the PHP extension i.e. rss.php and not of the xml type. We need.htaccess to know that files with the type.xml shoule be interpreted as.php files. To do this we enter the following in our.htaccess file:

AddType application/x-httpd-php.xml

With our.htaccess file ready to go we now need to begin writing the PHP for our RSS feed. Our file will be broken into four sections. The first is the header which tells the browser that the file is of type XML. The second section is the head of our RSS file. Its everything that you could make static about the channel, i.e. the basic info related to the RSS feed. Our third sections is where it gets nifty. We create a database connection and use it to create our RSS feed. We then need to loop through each of the items we want in our database and output them as xml. Finally our fourth part is all the output that is required to close the channel. There is little to it aside from a few echo commands but it is a separate section in its own minor way.

First we need to create a new php file, I chose to name mine rss.php, you can name yours whatever you like. Once we have our file open we begin with our first section:

//Set XML header for browser

header(‘Content-type: text/xml’);

?>

Before we do anything we want to send a message to the browser that informs it that it is dealing with an XML file. If we did not pass this information to the browser our dynamic RSS feed would not work. As simple as it sounds that is it for our first part of our RSS file.

In our next section we need to begin creating the structure of our XML file. There are few ways to do this. One is with the echo command. The other is through the use of variables. I have used both and personally prefer the variable method since it seems simpler in my mind. Therefore that is the method I will demonstrate. Here is our code (it includes the code from our first section):

//Set XML header for browser

header(‘Content-type: text/xml’);

//Create the heading/channel info for RSS Feed

$output = ”;

$output.= ”;

$output.= ”;

$output.= ‘Your RSS Feed Description’;

$output.= ‘ [url]’;

?>

Here is what we did with the second section. First we created a variable $output. We set it equal to. However once we have the value set we do not overwrite it. We instead use the operator “.=” which means simply add to the current value. So for example if we said that $some-variable = “a string”. We then used our “.=” operator to add to the value like so $some-var.= ” like some var”. Next if we were to echo our variable $some-variable it would read “a string like some var”. We are taking our variable and adding all of the xml tags to it to create one contiguous xml document stored in one variable, $output. One other thing to note is that for the title, description and link tags you should add in your sites information. While I don’t think anyone would intentionally use the info I had between the tags it is easy to forget little things like that, which is why I mention it.

For our third section we get down to the meat and bones of our php generated RSS page. What we are going to do is connect to a MySQL database and grab all the pertinent information we need. Then we are going to create individual xml items for each of the new entry or article that we have. This is all done when the user accesses the RSS page. Not before. The page is dynamic not static. For intents and purposes we don’t have an RSS page until someone accesses it. Now lets get to the code:

//Set XML header for browser

header(‘Content-type: text/xml’);

//Create the heading/channel info for RSS Feed

$output = ”;

$output.= ”;

$output.= ”;

$output.= ‘Your RSS Feed Description’;

$output.= ‘ [url]’;

//Individual Items of our RSS Feed

//Connect to a database and and display each new item in our feed

//Connect to DB

$host = “localhost”; //Name of host

$user = “cmsuser”; //User name for Database

$pass = “mypass”; //Password for Database

$db = “my_database”; //Name of Database

mysql_connect($host,$user,$pass);

mysql_select_db($db);

//Create SQL Query for our RSS feed

$sql = “SELECT `title`, `link`, `description`, `date` FROM `articles`ORDER BY `date` DESC LIMIT 0, 15”;

$result = mysql_query($sql) or die (“Query couldn’t be executed”);

//Create Loop for the individual elements in the RSS item section

while ($row = mysql_fetch_array($result))

$output.= ”;

$output.= ”;

$output.= ‘ ‘.$row[‘link’].”;

$output.= ”.$row[‘description’].”;

$output.= ‘

‘.$row[‘date’].”;

$output.= ”;

?>

Now a great deal has occurred in this section so let me try and explain everything clearly. First lets start with the comment “Connect to DB”. Here we need to connect to a database. Normally I write a function earlier on and simply call it when I want to connect to a database and run a query. However I can not assume that you have already written one so we will go through writing one together. First we define variables that will house the necessary information for the “mysql_connect” and “mysql_select_db” functions. The information we need to store is our hostname, generally its “localhost”, our user name for the database, our password, and the name of the database. Once we have that saved we use it in the function “mysql_connect” which is used to make a connection a mysql database, once we establish the connection we then need to select a database with the “mysql_select_db” statement. Now that we have connected to our database lets examine how we go about getting the information we need.

Now that we are connected we must run a query to get the information we need. For the example I have made a few assumptions the first being that the name of the database is articles and that it contains the four columns: `title`, `link`, `description`, `date` and that they are named as such. I also limited the result to 16, by using the statement “…LIMIT 0,15” which means only show rows 0 to 15. You can set it to whatever you would like or you can remove it completely and have no limit on the number of entries in your RSS feed. Okay for small sites, awful for large ones. Use your discretion here. Now that we have the query constructed I want to point out one thing. Normally you see people using the “SELECT *…” statement when they run queries. Not only do I think its bad practice but why get more information that you need, it takes longer and makes your site run just ever so slightly slower. Therefore I recommend that when you form your sql queries you implicitly state which fields you want rather than using a “SELECT *…” statement. Now that we have our query we need run it by using the command “mysql_query” and pass the results into a variable, cleverly known as $result. If you notice that after our “mysql_query($sql)” statement I have “or die(…)”. What that statement does is if there is an error it kills the query and terminates the function then echoes whatever error message you place in the brackets. Handy for figuring out where things may go wrong.

So far we have connected to a database and run a query outputting the results into a variable, $result. Now we need to put this all into a neat little RSS item. To do this we need to create a loop, What our loop will do is go through our query row by row and pull the information from each row and do whatever we want with it. In this case we want to store it. To do so we create a while loop which basically reads while there are rows still left in our result variable. We need to do whatever code is between the brackets … . There are other ways to have formed this loop but for now the most direct method is the one I have listed. Now that we have our rows in a variable $row we need to add them to our xml file. To do that we use our good friend “.=”and basically add in the information for each item we wish to create. There are many more tags you can use with your RSS feed. I have only chosen to use the “title”, “link”, “description”, “pubDate” since that was all I felt like i needed and this is not an article on the structure of RSS but how to generate them dynamically.

We have completed three of our four steps. Since we have all of our items created, we did it previously with the while loop that will cycle through each result in the database and add it to our variable with the appropriate tags, we need to finish off our file and display it to the user. To do this we use the following code:

//Set XML header for browser

header(‘Content-type: text/xml’);

//Create the heading/channel info for RSS Feed

$output = ”;

$output.= ”;

$output.= ”;

$output.= ‘Your RSS Feed Description’;

$output.= ‘ [url]’;

//Individual Items of our RSS Feed

//Connect to a database and and display each new item in our feed

//Connect to DB

$host = “localhost”; //Name of host

$user = “cmsuser”; //User name for Database

$pass = “mypass”; //Password for Database

$db = “my_database”; //Name of Database

mysql_connect($host,$user,$pass);

mysql_select_db($db);

//Create SQL Query for our RSS feed

$sql = “SELECT `title`, `link`, `description`, `date` FROM `articles`ORDER BY `date` DESC LIMIT 0, 15”;

$result = mysql_query($sql) or die (“Query couldn’t be executed”);

//Create Loop for the individual elements in the RSS item section

while ($row = mysql_fetch_array($result))

$output.= ”;

$output.= ”;

$output.= ‘ ‘.$row[‘link’].”;

$output.= ”.$row[‘description’].”;

$output.= ‘

‘.$row[‘date’].”;

$output.= ”;

//Close RSS channel

$output.= ”;

$output.= ”;

//Display output in browser

echo $output;

?>

Here is our completed code in all its glory, all we have added is two more statements that append our variable with the following tags “” and “” which closes our channel and RSS tags respectively, that we opened earlier. After that we need to display the information so that the web browser can see it. To do this we simply use the echo command and echo our variable $output that we used to store all the information previously. You should now be able to see what I meant earlier in the article when I suggested that one could use echo instead of adding the information to a variable, but that’s besides the point. What matters now is that you got a fully working RSS feed that you never have to toy with again unless its to add more information. Hope you enjoy it and can put it to good use!



Source by Harold Pettegrove

RSS Mania – Part Two – Outline of How to Create an RSS Feed

Well so now you kind of like, are in love, or are obsessed with RSS. Those little orange buttons are all over and you want to put one up in your web site or Blog or on your wall. That is cool, and it will demand a bit of technical knowledge, some writing, some research and some frustration. So here are the major steps to publishing your RSS feed and giving all that information to the world at large, which I will discuss in depth with examples in this series of articles. Right now we will outline these steps.

1. Sit back, STOP! & Think. (How is that for step one?)

  • a. Do you have information that should or would go into an RSS file? Remember that the unwritten rules of RSS is that you must update the file with “new” and more “current” information if not hourly or daily, but at least on a fairly common basis. No one is going to want to keep your RSS in their reader if the information they see every day for the next month is exactly the same as the day before it.
  • b. Additionally, though some people do this, it really is NOT good practice to put long essays into an RSS feed. What you want is the first line or description of an object, idea or news. Hook the person so he clicks on the topic in his reader, reads the summary, clicks again and finds himself on your web page.
  • c. Do you have the time to do it? There are millions of Blogs out there that were started with the best of intentions. One entry, two entries, three entries. And then they die. Why? Because the author/owners simply had no clue about the dedication demanded and time needed to update their Blogs on a regular basis. They also had no idea just how difficult he competition was to get people to read those Blogs. The same is true with RSS. You start a feed to get readers, or to pass on information to the web. You need to understand this is going to take time and patience and work. This is not a one-time one-shot one-pie-in-the-sky deal.

2. Your depth of Technical knowledge

You will need to become familiar with the following terms and understand them and perhaps learn some very simple things in how to program them.

  1. RSS
  2. XML
  3. HTML
  4. CSS
  5. Atom
  6. RSS Readers
  7. RSS Parsers
  8. RSS Validation

3. Now begins the Actual WORK!

  • a. Preparing the file – You will need a template RSS file (for the sake of these articles it will be called rss.xml though it can have any name you choose as long as it is in xml format.) Unless you are good enough to write one yourself this is critical.
  • b. Understanding the Template and what information goes where
  • c. Putting the information into the template – Each piece of information you have will go into specific [headers] and you must understand the RSS structure in the XML file to get that right.
  • d. Validating the Template – A crucial aspect. Unlike HTML, RSS is very, very, let me say this again, very unforgiving. It does not like deviations from the norm or from the basic format laid down. Getting it right can be the most trying and frustrating part of the process.

4. Okay now you wrote the RSS file, your XML file is ready and validated. Now what? Guess you think you are done. Think again.

  • a. You will have to place the rss.xml file on your web site or somewhere on the web where people can get to it.
  • b. Now you can steal, get, copy, make – whatever you choose – your own little XML/RSS or RSS – Valid button.
  • c. Hyperlink your file to the RSS
  • d. Submit your file under the correct category to RSS directories.

5. How many people will pick up your RSS? I will discuss this as well in a later article, but surprisingly, the answer here is still very vague. There are some ways of tracing the numbers, but none are foolproof, and most are very convoluted.

6. Go and get a good night’s sleep cause tomorrow you are going to have to start the process of adding information to your RSS (or changing it) all over again!

(This is a continuation from my first article on RSS – “RSS Mania Addiction – An Introduction to RSS and the Terminology”)



Source by Ted Gross

The Importance of XML Sitemaps in SEO

XML Sitemaps for SEO

This is an important tool in SEO. They help the search engines decide on the pages to be crawled, based on the priority defined by the website. It also gives a clear idea on when the pages were updated last, based on which the bots can access the frequency of changes done on specific pages. Since all these data are vital to search engines to regularly crawl the pages, xml files too have their importance here.

Sitemaps improve the ranking of a website. The xml files are easily recognised by all search engines, thus you can submit the sitemaps for Google indexing, which makes it easier for the bots to track your pages. With the use of these files, the website and all its pages get better visibility of search engine spiders.

Website with No XML Sitemaps

There is no hard and fast rule that your website. However, the purpose of each website is fulfilled only when it reaches its targeted audience. For this, you need the help of search engines to take your website to the target group. When you create sitemaps, you make the job of bots easier by giving a list of all the pages of your website. By getting these sitemaps indexed, you can be assured that the website and all its pages are indexed on all search engines and thus available to the public.

For the above reasons, the creation of something not to be overlooked when you create a website. Make your website’s navigation simpler and thereby improve the traffic to your website. Make your website popular among your audience by taking care of these essentials of SEO.

XML Sitemaps for The Users

It’ll help the users to navigate through the website. It helps them locate the pages they’re looking for, making the website user-friendly. This is one of the major reasons why you need xml sitemaps for your website. It helps you retain your users.

Things To Remember While Creating XML Sitemaps

While creating xml sitemaps for your website, it is advised to have the sitemap on the homepage. This improves in indexing, which results in better crawling of search engine bots.

Though creating sitemaps is a time-consuming process, it is time well spent, and it enhances the website’s performance considerably by giving it better visibility and ranking, thereby earning more users at a consistent pace. Unless your pages are not indexed by crawlers, your website will not appear on search, thus xml sitemaps become very important for any website.



Source by Samir Makwana

Invoice Auto Generation in Magento

Sometimes the Magento order process causes more work than a client desires. Imagine you have a client who utilizes their Magento eCommerce store so their customers can make purchases online. Now they also want to process orders on their own with customers from their physical store.

If they were to place an order, they would need to also invoice and process shipping. This becomes cumbersome. Here we bypass this so that placing a successful order with payment will auto invoice the order so it is complete and nothing more is required.

Create NAMESPACE folder under app/code/community/MCorner

• Create module folder “MCornerOrdersObserver” as we will use this one as the name of our module

• app/code/community/MCorner/MCornerOrdersObserver

• Create Folders

• app/code/community/MCorner/MCornerOrdersObserver/etc

• app/code/community/MCorner/ MCornerOrdersObserver/Model

• app/code/community/MCorner/ MCornerOrdersObserver/Helper

• Create the config.xml file

• app/code/community/MCorner/MCornerOrdersObserver/etc/config.xml

• Inside the config.xml file copy and paste the code below

******************************************************************************

0.1.0MCorner_MCornerOrdersObserver_Model_ObserverMCorner_MCornerOrdersObserver_Model_ObserverafterSalesOrderSaveCommitAfterMCorner_MCornerOrdersObserver_Helper

******************************************************************************

Create the main observer file:

• app/code/community/MCorner/ MCornerOrdersObserver/Model/Observer.php

• Copy and paste the code below into app/code/community/MCorner/ MCornerOrdersObserver/Model/Observer.php

******************************************************************************

class MCorner_MCornerOrdersObserver_Model_Observer

public $order;//the order…

function afterSalesOrderSaveCommitAfter(&$event)

return $this->__process($event);

protected function __process($event)

$this->order = $event->getEvent()->getOrder();

if (!$this->order->getId())

//order is not saved in the database

return $this;

else

$this->createInvoice();

protected function createInvoice()

$orderState = $this->order->getState();

if ($orderState === Mage_Sales_Model_Order::STATE_NEW) // Check for state new.

if ($this->order->canInvoice())

$this->order->getPayment()->setSkipTransactionCreation(false);

$invoice = $this->order->prepareInvoice();

$invoice->setRequestedCaptureCase(Mage_Sales_Model_Order_Invoice::CAPTURE_ONLINE);

$invoice->register();

Mage::getModel(‘core/resource_transaction’)

->addObject($invoice)

->addObject($this->order)

->save();

else

//we can not invoice it so the process is normal.

?>

******************************************************************************

To activate the observer module create the module file:

• app/etc/modules/MCorner_ MCornerOrdersObserver.xml

• Copy and paste the code below

******************************************************************************

truecommunity

******************************************************************************

Make sure all files are saved in their locations as in the tutorial and now go into Magento admin and CLEAR ALL CACHE.

Now, if an order is placed through your Magento store it will automatically be invoiced and the invoice amount will be charged. An invoice will be created and an email will be sent. This functionality is similar to clicking the Invoice Button in Magento order administration.



Source by Harry Balle Singh

Tips To Create And Optimize XML Sitemaps

A good XML sitemap is very much important from the SEO point of view. It is basically a roadmap to all the pages on your website that make it easier for the Google, to crawl each and every page and index it properly, to boost its ranking. Thus, creating it is more than just important for the better and improved ranking of your website. If you are a novice and want to know more about it, this article is for you. Scroll down and dig into the deep information related to creating and optimizing XML Sitemaps.

  • Use Plugins To Generate It Automatically: First and foremost thing you need to do is the creation of XML sitemap using available plugins like Google XML Sitemap. It’s a tool that is designed to make your work easier than before, thus, you should invest your time into this, to reap all its benefits.
  • Submit It To Google: After you create an XML sitemap, now it’s time to submit it to the search engine to Google search console. It’ll help you discover if any mistake, so, you can correct it timely and resubmit it for the indexing of all the important pages on your website.
  • Set Your Priority List: While creating the XML Sitemap, every page should give priority, as every page on the website is important. And being a marketer, you want ranking from all the pages to get the better results from your efforts. This may help the Google crawl your complete website for better ranking.
  • Include Only Direct URLs: If you have multiple pages for a similar keyword, so, instead of confusing the search engines, you should submit only the accepted version of URLs. It’ll cut the search engines confusion and make it easier for them to index your particular page that further plays a vital role in boosting its ranking,
  • Keep Your XML File Small: If the size of your XML sitemap is large, so, it may put a great strain on your server, which affect its loading time and affect user-experience at the same time. Therefore, it is always good to submit as small size as possible for indexing.

These are a few tips that help you create and optimize your XML sitemap. Though it is not the end, there are many other points you need to take into consideration and if you don’t have enough time and knowledge regarding the same. Do invest in a professional, as they make SEO practice easier for you and help you make a brand in the cut-throat competition.



Source by Gunjan Singh

Create a Podcast – The Easy Way

Thinking of creating your own podcast but don’t have a clue about RSS, XML and iTunes tags? Then read on as this article will show you how to create a podcast using free online services.

Creating the Shows/Episodes/Media files

Well, you should really be good at this already, but if your serious at doing a podcast show then you will need decent recording equipment such as a condensor mic, audio interface and pop shield. These will give your show more professional sound quality.

Hosting MP3 Files.

The hosting of MP3 files are important as you must judge whether your current web host is suitable for hosting large MP3’s. Will your web host ban you for hogging resources due to an influx of bandwidth usage? Check with your web host and if they will ban you then you must shop around for somewhere to host your files.

If you are running a podcast that uses free netlabel music then you can check out Archive.org as they allow the upload of open source audio.

Creative an XML File.

Once you have sorted where your MP3’s are going to be hosted then its time to create the XML file that you are going to use for your podcast. There are plenty of online XML or podcast generators out there, but I prefer podcastblaster.com’s RSS feed generator.

Simply go to the website and click on “RSS Feed Generator”, create an account. Once you have logged into the RSS feed generator you can then “Edit Podcast Details”. Enter the name of your podcast in “Podcast Title”, the fill out the rest of the form with your website address in “website URL” and describe your podcast in “Description”.

The iTunes tags are a must if you want it to show correctly in the iTunes software, so fill in those details as well. Remember though, if you use the iTunes keywords tag then make sure that you don’t use phrases such as “folk music” as they wont work. Just keep it to keywords and separate each one with the comma. Your iTunes summary should be the same as your podcast description. Once you have filled in the information click on “Save”.

Now you need to create an episode, click on “add new episode”. Same as before, this page is really simple and self explanatory so put in your episode title and description. Some podcasts have separate pages on their website for each episode, my advice is for you to do the same and when you have done this you can add the URL of your episode to “Episode URL” in this section.

Episode date/time is when the podcast episode has been published, it’s a very good idea to add this for maximum reader compatibility. To find out the file size of the mp3 (or any other file you may be using) simply right click on the copy on your hard drive and select “properties”. Again, edit your iTunes tags are these are a must for being included in iTunes. Now click on “Save”.

Once you are happy with the details you have saved into your podcast, you will now download the xml file by clicking on “Download Podcast Feed”. Once you have done this you can now upload it to your website.

Distributing Your Podcast.

Once the XML file is ready you now have a choice, get people to subscribe to the XML file itself or use another service such as Feedburner to do this. I personally use Feedburner as it gives me subscription info and it won’t have any affect on my websites bandwidth.

So if you want to use feedburner then go to Google’s feedburner website, log in using your Google account. Look where it says “Burn a feed right this instant”, type in the url of your podcast feed and put a tick in the box next to “I am a podcaster”. Take the time to go around all of feedburners options and get familiar with them. If you have already put iTunes tags into your XML file then there is no need to use the iTunes tags options in Feedburner. Feedburner will also give you a URL to your podcast, take note of this as you will need it later.

Also, you might want to add the RSS meta tag into the source code of your website as this allows easy subscription via the web browser. Google “RSS meta tag”.

Now all you need to do is make sure everyone know how to subscribe, so start putting a link to your podcast onto your website. Also getting listed in Podcast directories is a must.

Now maybe in a years time you will be a podcasting star.



Source by Barry D Walker