WordPress Gets Bigger & Better & Sometimes Too Big

After upgrading about 25 of my client and personal sites to the recent WordPress 4.2 version(s), I can tell you that things are working better than they ever have for WordPress.

Though I have worked on every angle of WordPress from being a user, developing templates, creating and programming plugins to fixing WordPress bugs and installations, I can say now more than ever that WordPress is a great way to go if you don’t need a custom development project.

Saying all that, you would think I am a total WordPress lover.  In fact, the biggest issues I have had to work on recently related to WordPress have more to do with either 1 of 2 user created issues.

Too Many Plugins

The first common problem for users is the user added so many plugins that WordPress is now either broken or has an error in the admin screens or you can’t open the admin.  You can’t blame users for loading up these amazing plugins.  There are about 15 I highly recommend.  But just like your iPhone/Android Phone if you load up too many apps, eventually your cell phone will crash and burn.  I was hired to consult on a WordPress implementation where there were at least 20 plugins.  Once you do an upgrade the likelihood of a having a problem plugin increases exponentially, since all your plugin makes have to have a version that is tested against the new version of WordPress.  So having your website on auto-upgrade WordPress versions can lead to one day opening up your URL and seeing a broken site.

The Dreaded WordPress, Server or Language Upgrades

What happens when you upgrade your version of WordPress is the potential for corrupt files, permission on file issues, database table upgrades and other small quirks.  This the price you pay for being a user of WordPress.  Remember, it is free.  They are doing upgrades like every 30 days sometimes, so the introduction of bugs is very common.  I don’t know a user of WordPress who has not had a small issue.  It is all worth it though, for the value you are getting.  Also just wanted to mention that a hosting company upgrade of some sort has caused me headaches over the years as well.  It is possible that last night the hosting company went from PHP 5.5 to PHP 5.6. Not sure why, but there is a possible incompatibility with WordPress now, especially if you have custom plugin or template code.

What’s Next For WordPress

A couple years ago I read that WordPress was at 8 million downloads per version and 8% of the web.  Now it has to be in the 25 to 50 million range and a good 25% of websites or greater.  You can look this up.  It is big.  It is getting bigger.  Just happens I developed some expertise with WordPress.  It is here to stay and it is important.  The next stages for WordPress look to me like a very similar path of Microsoft.  Once you get to a level where the majority of users are using your system, you have power and the ability to make an impact with a small move.  For instance, the paid side of WordPress coming soon.  Everything that is free in life will eventually have a price.  If you are looking for a WordPress consultant because your site is either locked up, showing a can not open, can not install or other issue feel free to contact me and ask me questions.

Dan Gudema

Equity

If you look up the word equity in the dictionary you will see two distinct definitions.  One meaning of equity means ownership in a company. The other meaning of equity means the quality of being fair and impartial.

It’s ironic that the actual meaning of equity outside of business means simple fairness. That’s how I generally have lived my life and how I treat people. I would expect others to act the same way. But they don’t always. In fact people often have hidden agendas and are not straight forward like me.

What I have found over the past year is generally speaking most people are not fair and equitable.  They take more than their share in life if they can, if you let them.  So the answer is to make sure you don’t get taken advantage of.  This means having a contract in place or a specific arrangement that makes sense to both parties.  But even then people will not live up to these contracts and violate them because they just feel like it.

I can’t speak for others, but one of the lessons of being involved in any start-up business venture for me is start from the position of fairness and don’t change that. Don’t listen to outside advisers that don’t have your best interest at heart. Basically if you listen to your lawyer on everything, you won’t have a business eventually. Lawyers don’t give a crap about fairness, they are out to overly and aggressively protect interests, even if it means going out of business.

So this is how I approach everything. And when there is a dispute and people need to come to a resolution, the answer is to find a way to get along and resolve things, not to make accusations that are not true or can’t be substantiated. You need to know when something is fair and when it is not fair.  You also need to stay clear of all parties involved with their own agendas and find a way to not let your emotions or illogical thinking take over.

Also, it is very important to step back and know who is looking out for you. If you don’t have this in place, you are in bigger trouble than you will ever understand until it is too late.  So the lesson here is get all contracts in writing and make sure the people around you are not bozos with hidden agendas, who are ready to toss you to the lions just to get an additional 1% of equity for themselves.

Using Periscope For #Startup #Pitch #Event Tonight In #BocaRaton

So we are gearing up to use Periscope tonight in combination with a tech start-up pitch event in Boca Raton at The Greenhouse.  The event will feature both entrepreneurs, about 10 in total or maybe 11 and a panel of investors. We have been doing this monthly for nearly a year in Boca Raton and have had over 70 companies pitch in our events.  We are expecting over 100 attendees at our event tonight.  Here is a link to join us if you are in the vicinity: Click Here To Learn More About Just The Event.

Start-Up Pitch Event Meets Periscope

What makes this event a little different is we are adding the power of Periscope to the event tonight.  So, if you are following me at @dgudema on either Periscope or Twitter you will see a tweet with a link that allows you to view our event.

What really makes this truly interesting is the companies giving their 3 minute pitches will have a chance to let people from all around the world hear about their product or service.  They are both looking for investors and pushing their new products and services.  In fact, I am going to interview a bunch of these start-ups prior to the event starting.  If you watch us on Periscope and want to contact any of these companies please contact us through the DSX Labs website.  Either call our number or use our form.

What you really need to know, and I am learning this myself as I go about doing this is, that your Periscope link for your live video should show up on Twitter when you are live with that address.  What I noticed is that by using my other twitter account at @dsxlabs, that I was not actually having the link show up.

So, from a Video Social Media perspective these things are true:

1. By creating a Periscope Video Stream you will automatically alert your Periscope followers.  These are people who have followed you on Periscope.  If they are following you, the video stream will show up at the top of their Periscope LIST.

2. By creating a Periscope Video Stream you will automatically (if set up correctly) send out a tweet to your twitter followers letting them know you are online.  This will generate a link that can be clicked to view the video stream.  That is why it is important to name your Periscope Stream carefully for users to know and search for what you are streaming!

3. By creating a Periscope Video Stream you will get NEW viewers from a geographic point of view. When people are surfing the Periscope map right now they will see you in the specific town/city you are located in and if they want to check it out, they can.  Some of these people may actually like you and follow you.  If they follow you, the next time you go online they get an alert on their Mobile device that you are streaming. Cool Beans.

So, that’s what is happening with Periscope tonight in Boca Raton tonight!

 

Web Analytics History – Part 2 – SEO Becomes A Thing

Click here to read Web Analytics History – Part 1

In my last web analytics history post I mentioned that the reason we ended up switching to from web log files to cloud based analytics (Hitbox was the first one I can remember) is that the server logs were getting too big when combined together.  A million visitor site was getting at least 10 gigabytes of “hit” data, and the old Webtrends reports could not run properly.  Remember back in 2000 you had to move files around at pre-gigabyte rates, so just file moving was a big issue.

Sampling Data Is Never Going To Be Accurate

Anyway, this leads to what I refer to as “sampling”.  Sampling means that you will never have complete accuracy in the data.  But just the fact I could dive deep into the page views and visitor data through my browser for the first time was amazing.  I was able to get some basic KPIs (Key Performance Indices) for the first time.  There was no turning back, real analytics for the web was here to stay.

SEO before there was SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

So, in late 2001 when I was a web analyst on a big ecommerce company, we had just founded Pre-Dating.com, the speed dating company.  We found out right away that how we placed our text into title tags, keywords, meta tags, H1, H2 meant life or death of our fledgling speed dating company.  Since then, if you put the key word terms “Speed Dating Fort Lauderdale” or “Speed Dating Seattle” or most any city, our site comes up pretty high in the natural search if not #1.  Now we have some advantage with the aging of the domain “Pre-Dating.com“.  Sometime around early 2005, I was working on a web analytics gig for VictoriasSecret.com using Coremetrics as well as abcdistributing.com, when somebody pointed out to me that SEO is now a growing consulting field.   I understand the value of it, but not to the extent that the market valued SEO.  I was and I am an expert at SEO because of my experience.  A few of the guys who chatted with me about SEO became innovators in the field and some had multi-million dollar SEO companies within a year or 2.  Did not see that coming.

Anyway, the final part of this is Web Analytics was kind of pushed aside for these SEO cowboys who came to town and were all about SEO, which was getting more natural traffic, sometime the right way and sometimes black hat.  We were experts at this already, but the SEO guys and gals rode this train from the station.  Sadly enough the SEO people have relegated Web Analytics to a minor task. That would be a big mistake in most of these large enterprises.  If you are in a business that is serious about your data and your site, then it is critical you get somebody working on it today.  You need strategic thinking, business management skills, understanding of programming and web technology (helps to be a developer), being a writer and presenter.  That is the skills we bring. StrategicPoints can do this for you.  We have over 20 years of web experience and we can do the job. Contact us through this form below:

#Periscope & #Meerkat Take #Video To The Next Social Level

Social Media Goes Video

It has been a few months since Periscope and Meerkat became a bit of a sensation.  If you don’t know about these services already, know you do!  You simply download these apps from iTunes or Android Play store to either your iPhone/iPad or Android device.  You can either watch video streams on your phone from anywhere in the world or BROADCAST YOUR OWN STREAM. That is the part I find the most interesting.  You can promote anything you want, talk about anything or video tape anybody.  Not that this is something new, but having the ability to walk around and be freed from the tether or a PC or MacBook.  That is what makes this different. What both products are doing is making it so easy that you can simply watch a video of somebody in Iceland, Japan, Doha or Hawaii right now.

Who Is Policing This Thing

You would think that this means that there would be a ton of garbage or porn on these channels.  Of course, there are some time wasting things people video.  Yes, tons of junk, but a few interesting videos here and there. For instance, I have watched orchestras playing in outdoor theaters on Greek isles, to red carpet walks, to street chases in Dallas, Red Carpet walks, Santa Monica beach scenes, and anything you can think of. There is the potential for something very very bad.  I guess that happens on all forms of social media.  Video is going to be the worst offender.

However, it seems that there is a some self policing going on.   You can easily identify junk and it is your choice to leave or identify there is a problem on Periscope.  You hit a button and it stops there video.  I played around first with Periscope and for the last 2 weeks I have shown it to many of my techno-neophytes and they are pretty much amazed.  They should not be completely amazed at the fact that we are watching video.  We have had webcams for over 15 years.  I remember when the first serious cams were placed in the Serengeti so we could stay up at night and watch a few lions walk by.  I also remember the first webcams on Lincoln Road in Miami that you could not just watch, but move the camera around remotely.  What amazes them is the inside your brain way of seeing things that others are seeing in the world.

Group Video Discussions Are Next

What Periscope and Meerkat are introducing is much more private and voyeuristic than the old web cams.  These streaming videos have a life of their own, a social life. That’s because they turn into group discussions, exercises in personal learning, watching people and living through their own eyes.  The fact that the computer has been disconnected and you can stream using your phone has freed up the cam to go where it needs to go.

What’s The Difference Between Periscope and Meerkat?

Obviously Periscope has been acquired by Twitter so it has a more twitter-like integration. This means my twitter followers can easily see when I am broadcasting, it sends out a tweet automatically, so they jump on and watch.  They get an alert if they have twitter on.  I noticed a few of my friends and relatives out there watching and listening to me.  It seems this has given Periscope a major upper hand over Meerkat for now.  I read that Periscope was growing very fast.

Periscope has an easy to use map system that is so simplistic, you can quickly go over to Turkey or Brazil and find a local streaming video.  Just happens those two countries seem to love the whole Periscope thing.  Problem is they don’t all know english in their country so they spend half the time asking people to speak English! You can find a person playing samba at a night club, or people running through the streets.  In Mexico it seems that guys like to just drive around and stream.  What you want to avoid are 15 year chubby girls in their easy chair giving you a rundown of their day and their thoughts.  That seems to be happening more often that not.  So, not too interesting.  Today on Meerkat I listened to a diatribe by Gary Vaynerchuk, who I follow on Twitter.  That was interesting.  He allowed his daily management meeting to be recorded on Meerkat.  Pretty cool.  I recently streamed a Periscope Venture Capital event at Venture Hive in Miami, and the followers (mostly kids) called out that the event was extremely boring.  For them it is.

Now what I have noticed on Meerkat is that it dies periodically on my iPad Mini.  Maybe it’s me.  The technology is new, so you just don’t know what to expect. What is important is it is a trend and something bigger is coming soon.  Both companies are adding features as quickly as they can.

Broadcasting Yourself

If you have it in you to be the broadcaster go for it.  If you think you have something to say, go on Periscope and pontificate.  It’s ok.  Nobody cares.  Or maybe somebody does.  What you will notice if you use Periscope is you will have a few followers you know.  It was surprising at first, but they will jump on and say hi. There are a few people using it to promote their product, service or business, especially for people who are professional speakers.

Streaming My Company’s Events!

What I am trying to figure out is how I take advantage of this technology by streaming our speed dating events from Pre-Dating.com.  For instance, I am planning on streaming our first Pre-Dating.com speed dating event on Periscope tonight at 7pm (EST).  I have to make sure the attendees are ok with this.  If they are not, I won’t do it.  We are just trying to find a way to take advantage of the technology and use it in cool new ways.

What I am looking for now is how to stream our videos back to our website, so people can watch the event.  I am going to figure this out, and will blog/tweet about this when I have it down to a science.  Till then, try out Periscope.  Works great on an iPad Mini (though I am only on the wifi version).  Periscope is easier to understand an move around in. Meerkat, it seems like you need to really study what is going on.

Good luck and check out our Speed Dating event being streamed tonight in Delray Beach, Florida on Periscope .

Keeping Your #Personal #SocialMedia Presence Separated

This blog entry is about your social media presence and how I believe you should deal with each part of your personal social media presence.  I am not exactly an expert at Social Media, but I would say that I pretty understand 95% of it.  So, in essence I know a little bit.

What Is Your Social Media Presence?

Your social media presence is simply the media outlets that you push your content through, like your Facebook page, your Twitter handle, your Linkedin Link, Your Instagram name, your Blog with tags and categories, and any other place where you publicize yourself and your content online.  I would go further and describe any social media site you have a presence on.  For instance I am running events on both Meetup and Eventbrite, so I would give them some thought to being part of your social media presence.  I am now big on Periscope and Meerkat, the new streaming social media peer to peer apps, that are part of your new social media.  There are also a bunch of new sites like Behance and Thumbtack.  They are for finding work, but they have your profile there, so they are contenders for social media.  There are others like Snapchat, Ello, Path and so on, and so on.

What Do I Mean By Separated?

Now that I have identified the media outlets that can be referred to as social media, you should make a decision about who you are online.  Who do you want to be?  And to whom do you want to be that person?  I personally think that Facebook has nothing to do with business or personal networking.  That’s just an opinion.  Therefore, if you meet me at a business networking event and then ask to Friend me on Facebook, I am basically going to ignore the request.  If you ask me to link to you on Linkedin, that makes sense to me.  If you are my cousin from Holland (shout out to Nico) and you want to share some photos of the family then friend me on Facebook, not on Linkedin. Twitter is similar.  I think its all business, but you have to decided what it is for you.  If you think that all social media is open to you for your personal life, I think that this a big mistake.

What Is Your Personal Persona?

I believe Facebook is more of a personal network thing.  I think that you don’t want people eventually to be able to find a photo of you drunk in college on your Facebook page.  That will have a long term impact on your being hired for work.  I think that people need to understand what each of these social media outlets are good for and how they are going to use them.  I am also seeing Instagram and Snapchat as being purely personal relationship based and not for business relationships.  You need to make sure you control your personal social media and decide once again who you are online.

What Is Your Business Persona?

I personally think that Linkedin is purely a business relationship social media.  It has been used for some personal use, but once again leave that to Facebook or Instagram.  I am not even a big user of Facebook , but I am advocating to use it solely for personal use. Twitter I use for business purposes.  I have seen it used for personal uses, and that is ok, maybe.  It depends.  If you ever wanted to change who you are, what you believe and keep a business profile, you need to make an early decision about what you tweet about.  If you want to keep a personal Twitter account separate from a business account, then set up a second twitter account. I have about 5 I use.

What Is Your Political Persona?

Finally there is the point of view social media from a political point of view.  This is one that I always felt would trip me up, so I have never tweeted my political opinion or written a blog entry on my business blog about politics.  Nor have I entered a political opinion on Linkedin.  I think that you could do this, but you have deal with the repercussions.  For instance, half the people you work with will never agree with your point of view.  If they can read your tweets about who you hate running for president, then you are really giving away your political point of view. I don’t even think using Facebook for this is a good thing.  Trust me, half of your family has another point of view.  Why piss them off as well?  So, how to deal with this is to create another personality on twitter and in my case political blogging.  I have a pseudo name I have been politically blogging under for 12 years.  I don’t do it often, but when I have an opinion I use my alias, not my name.  I don’t like it interfering the other parts of my social media world.  It is not necessary.

Lessons Learned

Don’t mix your personal, business and political personas!  Keep them separate and up to standards that make sense.  Mixing these social medias at will between personal and business are quite dangerous.  Next time you don’t get that job offer, it could be because of your highly voiced opinion.  There is tons of space for opinions on-line.  In order to have good relations with everybody in your life, you need to make sure you keep these worlds segmented and separated so you are not seen as the enemy.  In fact, if you do a great job of this, your friends or associates with differing opinions will come to respect you.  Keep it out of the office. At DSX Labs, our tech incubator over the past year we have a saying, when the republicans come in the door we are republicans and when the democrats come in the door we are democrats!

 

Web Analytics Consulting History Part 1

Web Logs Becomes Web Analytics

In 1999 I was working for abc distributing in North Miami.  We had been using Webtrends at the time for web analytics.  Actually I don’t think we called it web analytics.  We called it Web Log Analysis. Logfile analysis did not last long. These web logs were just the files that track every file (like image, html, etc.).  We actually call these hits.  Hits are anything that hits the server.  The problem with hits, which would eventually go away as well, is hits are not real people.  You can have one visitor who visits one time, but because there were 50 images in the page, 10 javascript libraries adn 10 other things, there were 70 hits during that one browser session.  Alas, hits goes into the bin of not so important history.

Accuracy vs. Knowing What Was Going On!

What drove this large ecommerce company I worked for to move to cloud based web analytics is that the logfiles got to big to analyze. I found this out the hard way when I was trying to merge together the log files of several large web servers.  There was like 4 gigabytes of data per server.  Maybe today that sounds like not so much.  Actually it is a lot still when it comes to trying to merge millions of lines in files. We needed at least 5 front-line servers at abc distributing, because at the time you needed a bunch of servers with an F4 in front to handle their traffic.  Unless I merged all those files and ran one report, there was no way of knowing the sites real traffic.  I needed an answer quick.

Hitbox To The Rescue

So at that time, the leading lower end cloud based analysis solution was called Hitbox, by Websidestory (always thought that was a nice play on words).   Hitbox would eventually be acquired and merge into Omniture Site Catalyst, which I also have expertise in.  Just happens I was around so early on in the web analytics field that I was helping the Hitbox team figure out what to actually look at.  Years later, as I look around for web analytics consulting work, I still see that web analytics has been relegated quite often to a not so important task done by a not so important employee.  Alas, that is where using a seasoned web analytics consultant like myself can make a big difference.

Seasoned Web Analytics Expert

So, if you are looking for a web analytics expert, do not hesitate to contact me to find out what I can do for your business.  It really does not matter if it is Omniture SiteCatalyst, Coremetrics, Google Analytics or one of a dozen others out there.  I have the experience to help you.  Getting the right consultant can make all the difference. Please fill out the form below to contact me.  Thanks, Dan Gudema.

Click here to go to Web Analytics History – Part 2 – SEO becomes a thing