aHrefs SEO toolbar

I’m testing the freshly released Firefox 64 and just realised that this means I can finally download and test the SEO toolbar from my search engine optimisation tool of choice: aHrefs.com

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The toolbar is pretty neat and does exactly what I expect it to:

  • shows backlinks to current page and root domain
  • shows number of referring domains (RD)
  • shows estimates of monthly search traffic (seems lower number than what I’m actually getting in my website stats)
  • highlights the number of keywords (KW) that the page is ranking for

Overall, pretty cool and a nice extension to the already awesome aHrefs toolkit. Keywords is a particularly useful thing – when clicked it opens an aHrefs dashboard page where I can select and bookmark certain keywords for later targeting.

In addition to the toolbar, this add-on seems to be updating Google SERPs with similar information – so when I’m researching a technical topic for my Unix Tutorial blog it should help to assess quality of backlinks much quicker:

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True 2FA for Namecheap!

Finally! 

Good thing Namecheap are flagging new features in their dashboard now and then, because I’m not subscribed to their blog and would have missed the big news: as of a week or two ago, it is finally possible to use a proper two-factor (2FA) mechanism like Authy for accessing Namecheap account.

It’s not that using SMS for 2FA is not secure. It’s also that it’s quite a pain: I work on laptop most of the time and don’t necessarily have my smartphone nearby. I’m a MacBook user and Apple have steadily improved handover functionality in the past few years: I can accept phone calls on my laptop if it’s on the same WiFi network with my iPhone. I don’t need to have the iPhone right next to me to answer an unexpected call.

Haven’t been a frequent user of Namecheap dashboard – but every time I wanted to visit it, I had to first find my iPhone. Now it’s a thing of the past – just configured and tested Authy for Namecheap TOTP 2FA and it works as expected.

 

WordPress Gutenberg

Just a quick note to say that Gutenberg editor in WordPress is AWESOME!

After using it for a few days on my Unix Tutorial blog, I’m really impressed with how intuitive the new editing experience is.

Having to create a separate content blog for each element may sound like a really daunting task, but the way it’s implemented is super intuitive: you type as you always would, but things like lists and paragraphs end up created automatically.

I also really like the way content is so much easier to rearrange now that it’s split into blocks.

See Also

StudioPress Theme Pack in On Sale For Just a Few Days

StudioPress

StudioPress


Some of you may know that my most favourite theme pack StudioPress.com has been acquired by WordPress hosting company WPengine.net.

This means this current sale of the StudioPress lifetime membership is probably your last chance ever, unless you buy a hosting plan from WPengine (in which case StudioPress themes will be available for free).

I’ve been a very happy user of the StudioPress themes and the Genesis framework for a number of years now, so their themes come highly recommended:

FLASH SALE! Pro Plus All-Theme Package – $100 off!

Click the link above to receive a discount. Given the number of themes you get, I think it’s a great offer.

WordPress OSX app is awesome!

New WordPress.com admin interface is using Calypso, a JavaScript framework – that’s been made official a few weeks ago to much appraise.

In addition to the WordPress.com, it’s also possible to download desktop apps for Windows and OSX to manage all your Jetpack-enabled blogs.

I’m still in the process of Jetpack-enabling all of my blogs, but those that have been switched already are a breeze to manage now: I can see pending core and plugin updates, moderate new comments, see website stats and can add new posts.

Have you given a native WordPress.com app a try yet? I think it’s awesome!

31 Days to a Better Blog

There’s never a better time that to start working on that dream blog of yours right now. This is especially true if said blog had been unattended for the past few months (or years!).

Check out ProBlogger’s 31 Days to a Better Blog, it’s a great e-book that’s 50% off this week with the GOODBYE2015 coupon code.

WordPress category and tag slugs

I’ve had a rather frustrating few minutes trying to create a new category on one of my WordPress blogs and to name it specifically the way I wanted.

Why category slugs get -2

Every time I did this, I always ended up with the slag getting -2 added to it, and it took me some time to figure out why.

Turns out, you can’t create a category with the same slug that you have a tag for.

Example:
if you have a tag called “linux”, even though full link to it would be website.com/tags/linux, it will still prevent you from creating a category with the same “linux” name.

Page slugs for WordPress categories and tags cannot overlap

The reason for this is, apparently, because tags and categories share the same slug database table, so cannot overlap.

Hope this helps someone, it looked really weird at first but makes sense now.

My thoughts on WooRank

WooRank Logo

I needed to review SEO for one of my websites recently, and thought it was time I gave the WooRank service a try.

Although I am quite familiar with many technical aspects of onsite SEO, there’s a lot more to a successful campaign than just optimising your pages and that’s why I wanted to get a different perspective.

Scoring website performance

Scoring tools are great! If you have an option to rerun the same scoring tool over your website again and again, this will help you track progress.

Most scores ranges are usually in the 1-50 or 1-100 range, and there’s no reason to get upset if your initial score is low enough – this is actually good news because taking just a few trivial steps should help you improve the scoring significantly.

How WooRank works

This is where WooRank service shines. Your website improvements revolve around three main pillars:

 

  • Website review – this shows you the current score for your website along with a report highlighting what your’re doing right and what you’re not doing yet on your website. You can re-run reviews and check back historical ones so there’s a nice continuity to this feature.
  • Dashboard – your technical indicators, showing you measurable parameters for your website compared to its few competitors (you need to provide URLs for the competing websites yourself)
  • Marketing plan – this is perhaps the greatest tool provided by the WooRank. It’s a collection of website improvements for Optimisation, Promotion and Conversion of your content. Each section provides description of multiple steps you should take to improve your website’s chances. As if this wasn’t enough, Marketing Plan has all the suggestions split into three channels: Marketer, Developer and Designer. This means that different members of your team could focus on tasks specific to their niche.

WooRank Dashboard

The Dashboard includes technical information you can use to judge just how good your website performance is.

WooRank Dashboard has the following sections:

Visitors

This section is empty by default, but should report on your website visits once you link it to your website’s Google Analytics account.

Search rankings

When you’re starting a website improvement project in WooRank, you have a number of keywords suggested automatically. You also have an option to provide additional keywords and website URLs to compare your website against.

In this section of the dashboard you can see how well your website’s pages rank for the keywords of your selection based on Google.com search engine results. You can see which average position your results appear on for each keyword, and this allows you to compare your website performance to that of immediate competition – their rankings for the same keywords are shown in the same table.

Overall, this section is really useful: you can see what you should focus on and also recognise if it’s worth to compete over a certain keyword at all.

Backlinks

Another really useful section of the Dashboard is Backlinks. Here you can see what websites link back to your pages.

You see both the URL from where you have a link and the anchor text – both really useful in seeing what you can improve.

Similar reports are provided for the competing websites, which gives you a nice insight into why these websites could be getting more traffic or enjoy better SERP rankings.

As with any sensible SEO campaign, having the URLs of links to your competitors’ websites allows you to explore these URLs and potentially find a way to get a similar link to your own website, thus improving your chances to rank better.

Social trends

In this section of the Dashboard you can provide URL of your website’s Facebook page (you do know that you can create a Facebook page specifically for your brand, don’t you?)

Based on this information, WooRank will provide additional suggestions.

What do I think about WooRank?

I’m quite impressed with the WooRank offering!

With iOS app, browser extensions (updated quite recently!) and a great website offering dozens of tips for improving various aspects of your online presence, WooRank is a mighty tool for improving your website that has a good mix of indicators and marketing advice to help you get better ranking and more traffic.

At $49/month for the cheapest plan (1 project, unlimited website reviews) this may not be a service for everyone, but WooRank is a serious service targeting professionals rather than end-users. With a free 7-day trial, I think WooRank is definitely worth a look.

Good luck with making your websites better!

One More Reason to Use Google Webmaster Tools

Being readers of this blog, you’re probably well aware of how adding your websites to the Google Webmaster Tools panel can help you get your websites indexed almost instantly. I’ve been using the tools for many years and just love the way I can manage each blog’s visibility using sitemaps.

But recently I have discovered another really good reason for using the Google Webmaster Tools: ability to quickly remove your unwanted pages from Google cache.

Frankly, this feature surprised me – I didn’t expect that removing my pages from Google cache (not index!) would be so easy.

The procedure is simple enough and you can remove a portion of your pages or the whole website’s content.

How to upgrade WordPress and plugins without FTP

I’ve read so many forum threads on this that I think it’s time to share these very simple instructions. Follow them for your website and you’ll finally have the fully automatic updates working as they should.

Automaitic WordPress and plugin updates

First of all, let’s just make sure we’re talking about the same thing.  Since version 2.7, WordPress received one of the most useful features ever: automatic update. What this means is that every time a new version of WordPress is released, you now get a “click here to upgrade” option in your admin dashboard. When you click the link, it should ask for a confirmation and then proceed with automatic downloading and upgrading of your blog. But because of misconfigurations, this feature isn’t always working, and then you end up with a configuration dialog suggesting that you provide FTP credentials for accessing your server.

Possible reasons for automatic WordPress upgrade not working

There’s only a few reasons why WordPress or plugins upgrade feature will not work.

[Read more…]