Monthly Archives: April 2008

Easy Web Redirection In WordPress 2.5

Josh Spaulding recently had a pretty good guest post on his blog covering the uses of web redirection, especially in regard to affiliate marketing. The one thing that post lacked was a good practical explanation of how to implement that functionality in a WordPress blog. I was kind of surprised since WordPress is so ubiquitous in the internet marketing world and I know Josh uses it to power his own blog. Luckily it just so happens that I know a little bit about this topic and can fill in some additional gaps.

Basic WordPress Redirection Plugins

There are several WordPress plugins that will do the job and eliminate the need to set up hand coded php redirect files. While there are commercial plugins out there that cost $50-$70 to incorporate this functionality into WordPress, rest assured that you can save your money and still get excellent results.

The simplest plugin out there is called GoCodes and it allows you to create redirect links from your blog in the form http://blog.com/go/yourlink. GoCodes works fine, but requires a modification to your .htaccess file and is not very flexible.

Link-Cloaking plugin for WordPress is similar to GoCodes, but offers a few more features and the ability to substitute a different word like “recommends”. Using recommends to preface a redirect is pretty common practice among internet marketing bloggers and yields urls like: http://blog.com/recommends/someproduct. This plugin is also dependent on Apache and a customized .htaccess file to work properly.

The Hot New Redirect Plugin

While the above two plugins make creating static redirects easy, there’s a relatively new plugin currently in development called the WP-Affiliate plugin that it is even more powerful. It requires WordPress 2.5 or later, but it allows for multiple categories of links and provides simple link tracking as well. Since I’m running this blog on an nginx server rather than apache, I was especially impressed that it worked fine with my existing configuration and didn’t depend on a custom .htaccess file (nginx doesn’t use them) to function properly.

Links and categories are created right within the post writing interface.

Initially, I was confused as to where you create the new links and categories, but it turns out that the plugin incorporates the link creation functionality directly into the post writing interface. This is incredibly handy since you can quickly create URL redirects while working on a single post.

The built in link tracking statistics information was pretty thorough as well.

Conclusion

While there are a variety of free plugins that can make web redirection in WordPress pretty simple, if you’re running WordPress 2.5 or later, the WP-Affiliate plugin is definitely the way to go in terms of power and functionality. Furthermore as powerful as the plugin is right now, it’s still being developed and things like built in Clickbank support are being incorporated. I fully expect this plugin to make a big splash in the WordPress IM world in the coming months and become the free defacto standard.

Axodys Traffic Baseline

Analyzing Axodys.com Traffic

I’ve been monitoring axodys.com with Google Analytics since the big move to slicehost at the beginning of the month and so far the initial data isn’t too surprising. I’m averaging roughly 36 unique visitors and 57 page views per day. I have a few pages that get multiple hits from the search engines on a daily basis, but they’re fairly random niche posts from a long time ago that don’t really contribute to the direction I’m taking Axodys these days.

The big issue I’m currently facing as I reboot this blog is that I don’t have any significant topical pillar articles to attract the kind of traffic that generates a regular readership. That’s something I definitely need to focus on more now that I’m trying to move Axodys into more of the blogging, web development, social media and internet marketing niches. There’s plenty of opportunity to find things to write about in any one of those areas let alone all four.

Top Current Posts

While it’s not especially relevant towards building new traffic, looking at my stats to dtae revealed some interesting trends about which existing posts that are getting most of my traffic. Amusingly enough this Harry Potter Manga Illustrations post that I wrote almost 7 years ago ranks pretty highly on google for the phrase “Harry Potter Manga” and averages around 10 unique pages views per day. My second highest ranking page is for axodys.com itself with an average of 3 uniques per day. This Amazing Flash Site post and a Kubuntu PPC post both get a few unique hits a day to grab the third and fourth positions. Finally, rounding out the Axodys top 5 is a Honda Element Roof Rack post that is currently 10th on Google for that phrase and gets 1 or 2 hits per day. Incidentally, that post strikes me as one that would be interesting to monetize in some fashion.

LeBron James Witness

One odd discovery I made while analyzing my stats was that I seem to have a pillar image in the form of a small widescreen Lebron Witness desktop I created last June after his big game against Detroit. It’s currently number three on google images for the phrase “lebron witness”. My initial reaction is that a pillar image is basically just a bandwidth sink, but I will have to investigate further and see if I can think of any ways to further take advantage of this phenomena.

Establishing A Baseline

The bottom line on of all this traffic analysis is that it’s really all about showing where I’m starting from as I make a concerted effort to improve things. Priority one on the blog improvement front is to focus on creating new pillar articles in useful and relevant areas that will attract and retain readers. As always, good content is still the key, but I think I can also be a little smarter about topics and seo techniques than I have been in the past. I think axodys.com does get a bit of a boost with google because of its longevity though so I’m going to continue to experiment with seo optimized titles and posts.

I don’t know if I will necessarily do axodys.com traffic related posts on a monthly basis, but I think I will continue to do them periodically so that I can show what kind of traffic growth progress (or lack thereof) I’ve made to date. If nothing else it should be a useful learning exercise to see what kinds of activities and strategies pay dividends when trying to grow a blog or web site in general.

Trying To Run Before I Learned To Walk

I don’t know if this is a common problem for people that are trying to come up with ways to earn a little money online, but sometimes I get so enthusiastic about and an idea that I lose all site of practicality. After dealing with my normal time crunch and doing a lot of thinking the last couple days I realized that my idea related to the coming NBA playoffs as envisioned last week is too ambitious and simply not practical right now. I think I can still use the domain I purchased down the road (it’s not actually NBA specific), but for now I definitely need to scale back and refocus because what I was envisioning was like trying to run before I learned to walk.

At this point in my internet marketing odyssey I need to simplify and work on a few simple bum marketing/article marketing campaigns. In baseball terms I would equate the nba playoff related idea I was think about to trying to hit a home run in my first at bat when I needed to step up to the plate and take a couple swings. Step one for me needs to be writing a few articles and submitting to various directories and seeing what happens. So that will be primary writing goal for the remainder of the week.

It’s been a week now since I put out my first weekly project list. Here’s a quick run down of where I’m at a week later (task complete, some progress, no progress):

  • Help my brother Micah move a few of his sites over to our slice on slicehost.
  • Pillar content for axodys.com.
  • Help Mary launch her new blog.
  • Develop a new theme (most likely modifiying an existing one) and install various plugins I’ve been thinking about for axodys.com.
  • Install/develop a new theme for 100km.us.
  • Look into wordpress plugin development.
  • Start one Bum Marketing affiliate campaign.

Needless to say a lot more red than I’d like to see after a week of work.  I think I’m going to continue to use this list as a public exercise in getting more of these projects done.

NBA Playoff Project

As most people that know me a little bit are aware I’m a pretty big basketball fan.  My dad was a pretty successful high school basketball coach for over 30 years so I suppose it only makes sense that I would pick up an affinity for the game that I was exposed to from day one.  High School and College Basketball are by far my primary interests during the winter, but this time of year when those seasons have ended and the NBA playoffs are just around the corner my interest in the pro game really starts to pick up.

I’ve been thinking about starting some kind of affiliate campaign this week, but I hadn’t come up with any solid ideas.  Then last night while thinking about the coming NBA playoffs my two interests collided and I had a great idea for a potential niche site domain name.  I checked the domain name and surprisingly enough it was available, so I jumped on it immediately.

Even though the new site isn’t going to be a blog per se, I’m leaning towards managing it with good old WordPress just for ease of setup and management.  That’s just my initial thought though.  I have a lot of work to do in the next week or so to get things ready.

At any rate, I’ll definitely be covering this new project and the NBA playoffs a lot more as I start to make progress so stay tuned for a lot more in depth discussion.

Weekly Project List

Once I get our taxes wrapped up in the next day or so I can finally get back to making some progress on the various online projects I’m working on around here. Here they are in no particular order:

  • Help my brother Micah move a few of his sites over to our slice on slicehost.
  • Pillar content for axodys.com.
  • Help Mary launch her new blog.
  • Develop a new theme (most likely modifiying an existing one) and install various plugins I’ve been thinking about for axodys.com.
  • Install/develop a new theme for 100km.us.
  • Look into wordpress plugin development.
  • Start one Bum Marketing affiliate campaign.

That’s a pretty good list to start with and it actually gives me several different things to write about this week. Putting together a list like this should help me be more productive as well as I work through it.