Quick Check to See If Your Site is Mobile Friendly

Is My Site Mobile Friendly

Everyone is talking this week about Google’s threat to change their algorithms to start penalizing sites that are not mobile friendly. I started getting emails to my Webmaster account several months ago about the need to update my sites. Some sites we were already working on but others we were a long way from touching.

If you want to know if your site is mobile friendly, Google will be happy to tell you. Just go to their Mobile-Friendly Test page and put in your site. You will get the response above “Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly.” if you have done a good job. If you haven’t, you will get the response below that details what your problems are and some ideas of how to fix them.

Not Mobile Friendly

 

Interestingly, you can actually look on a page by page basis rather than just your entire domain. For example, my site Sunshine Rewards was re-designed to be responsive, but we have not paid to upgrade our Vbulletin forum. So our forum shows up as “Not mobile-friendly” when I run the test on it, even though the rest of the site is fine. It will be interesting to see if Google is really going to change on a page by page basis or rather will penalize the entire domain. (We’re working on it!!)

So what if you have a bunch of old blogs and don’t have the time or money to upgrade them all quickly? One suggestion is to install the WP-Touch plugin. It will make your pages instantly mobile-friendly. I installed in across 3 different blogs in less than 10 minutes. It is not a perfect solution, but it does solve the problem for now until I have time to completely upgrade my themes (I’m switching from Thesis to Genesis).

Once you install WP-Touch or upgrade your theme or whatever and have run it through the Google check to make sure that Google thinks it is okay, it’s a good idea to test some interactions as well. There are some really great Chrome Extensions you can use to bring up your site the way that it would behave on various phones and tables. I like both Mobile/RWD Tester and Responsive Web Design Tester. I am sure that there are a lot of other similar ones.

Are your sites all ready for the big algorithm update? What have you done to upgrade them or what (if anything) are you planning on doing? 

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Cookies and Wine: Long-Term Benefits of Good Content

Most of the time when I write about cookies and affiliate marketing, I mean the digital cookies that result in our tracking. Not this time. This is a story about how actual cookies resulted in Facebook likes, Pinterest traffic, backlinks, and more… but not until almost a full year after a post was published. More importantly, it’s about the long-term benefits you can get out of good content.

If you want to read all about the technical aspects behind how our site was able to keep up with the traffic and the programming behind it all, check out Eric’s post: Be Ready for Viral Sharing. This is essential if you do not want your site to crash or to spend a fortune in hosting!

It Started with the Cookies

Todd Farmer, Eric Nagel, and I have a system for our Wine Club blog. We publish X number of “money posts” (highly monetized) and X number of “filler” posts. We call them “filler” for short, but they are really the content that makes up the site beyond just writing about our merchants. They can be evergreen posts related to our merchant (like How to Choose a Wine Club), Pinterest-worthy posts (like Red Wine Chocolate Cupcakes), or timely posts (like Fondue Day).

The Pairing Wine with Girl Scout Cookies post was meant to be both timely and Pinterest-worthy. Eric created an image that would clearly show both the Girl Scout cookies and the wine.

On February 7, 2013, we published it, Pinned it, posted it on Facebook and Twitter, etc. All our normal methods of sharing. In the first week, it had 319 pageviews. A couple of repins. A couple of likes. Nothing spectacular. In the time since then, it has gotten a little traffic here and there. But nothing like what happened starting January 11, 2014. [Read more…]

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Rel Author Plugin for Thesis

Inspired by the Wil Reynolds keynote at Affiliate Summit as well as Eric Nagel’s custom rel=”author” coding, I convinced my husband that I needed a plugin for my sites. Most of my sites run the Thesis theme, so I asked him to make it Thesis specific. He likes to think bigger than that, so he created it to run on any WordPress blog. You can visit the Easy Rel Author plugin page for more information if you are not running Thesis. If you are running Thesis, keep reading to find out how the plugin works for you.

[Read more…]

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Moms, Beware Guest Posts

Let me say before I make everyone angry, I am generally an advocate of guest posts. I see value in them for the following things:

  • Sending link juice to my friends’ sites
  • Exchanging posts with colleagues
  • Posting valuable information from experts
  • Directing my traffic to sites they would genuinely find valuable

What I do NOT like are people who pretend to be fellow mom bloggers who are actually just SEO specialists generating fake profiles to get keywords dropped into my site. Think it doesn’t happen? Guess again.

Twice in the last month I was approached by people I didn’t know with the following pitch: “Hi, Tricia, love your site, I’m a fellow mom blogger, coupon cutter, blah blah blah, just like you. I see that you take guest posts and would love to do one about X topic. Here are a list of some others that I have done. All that I request is a link back to my bio.”

So I check out their Guest Posts on other mom blogs and every one of them has a keyword stuffed link back to another site that has nothing to do with the mom or blogging. It’s either cosmetic dentistry or some kind of lead generation site. I decide to check out the “blogger” and Google their name. No LinkedIn profile, Twitter account, Facebook account, or personal information comes up. Nothing but this “profile” of theirs on a commercial website.

Profile Picture This is a cute profile picture, right? If the “profile” has a picture of a woman who  looks like a blogger, it’s probably legit? Wrong, I got the picture on the left from www.freedigitalphotos.net. I could easily make up a whole profile about that woman and convince other bloggers that it is me and get them to link to my “profile” page or site in general stuffed with great keywords.

Another clue that I shouldn’t have missed is that I have been getting search results for “dentist guest post.” Obviously people looking to drop guest posts on every blog that they can to get links back. I have absolutely not problem with that if the person is actually a dentist and genuinely wants to provide content in exchange for links. When that person is actually an SEO specialist pretending to be a mom blogger, I consider that sneaky. In addition, I question whether the information in the blog post is even accurate.

So beware the guest blog post requests that you receive. If you don’t mind giving away links to liars, by all means accept all of them that come your way. But if you value your traffic and want to encourage REAL blog post exchanges, do some research on your “blogger” before you blindly give them link love and exposure.

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