Apr 222012
 
Twylah - Social Media Tools

You may be asking yourself, what the heck are these wacky words? XeeMe? XWeek? Twylah? Are these even real words?

Yup, these are real words! Two of these words are the names of two social media tools and the other word is the name of a social media event. If you are involved in social media marketing, you may be interested to know a lot more about all three of these wacky words. :)

XeeMe is my favorite social media presence tool. It is used to organize and promote all of your social media presence links. You can see all the reasons I love XeeMe here at XeeMe-A Great Social Media Presence Tool  I think everyone in social media should have a XeeMe.

Twylah is my new favorite twitter platform. It takes all of your existing tweets and puts them into a format that is SEO friendly, social media friendly, and so very eye-catching. To see all the things I really love about Twylah, check out my last post New Features Make Twylah A Social Media Must-Have Tool

XWeek is a an event where the leaders and power-networkers of XeeMe focus on a learning about and promoting a specific emerging social media tool. XWeek takes place every other week to help social media marketers make the most out of social media, and to stay at the forefront of emerging social media technology. You really should take advantage of XWeek. It is free and awesome and you get to know great social media networkers and the CEOs of some really slick social media tools.

This week’s XWeek focus was on “Twylah” by Eric and Kelly Kim.

On April 18th, there was a webinar with Eric Kim. On April 19th, there were two twitter chats with Kelly Kim. XeeMe power-networkers also wrote blog posts about Twylah, made List.lys, and did a  video interview. The privacy policy of Twylah was analyzed, and, most exciting of all, there were new features in Twylah announced.

My personal experience with this week’s XWeek was awesome.  I was able to meet and speak with Eric and Kelly both. They are both really great people. I was able to truly understand Twylah and to have my eyes opened about what an amazing tool it is. The social media addict part of me loves it for its social value, while my SEO side is totally geeked out about the possibilites to marry twitter socialness with search engine optimization.

I want to close out this Twylah focused Xweek by urging everyone in social media to get a XeeMe and their Twylah. XeeMe’s are easy to obtain and take a little bit of time to setup. Twylah is a bit tougher to get but is an absolute zero effort breeze to set up. I am pretty confident that if you say request your Twylah invite and let Kelly or Eric know via Twitter that you heard about Twylah from XWeek, you will receive your invite right away.

To show you the values of XeeMe and Twylah – I am closing out this article with links on behalf some of the XWeek supporters. Connect with them through their XeeMe. You can see their Klout, their Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other profiles on their XeeMe. Get to know what they talk about via their Twylah. Maybe they are interested in the same things you are and you can make another great social media connection.

But before I close, I want to let you know that the next few XWeeks are already scheduled and planned.

Upcoming XWeeks
Qwikr.me – week of April 30 <–Sign up here to take part in the next XWeek!
Connect.Me – week of May 14
Favo.rs – week of May 21 

Please sign up for these social media services (Qwikr.mr, Connect.me, and Favo.rs) and become familiar with them. Join us for the related Xweek and speak directly with the owners and power users of these platforms and explore any questions you have or learn about best practices.

I really hope to see you during the next XWeek with Kimberly Reynolds of Qwikr.me starting on April 30.

And now, to close, some XWeek supporters and their XeeMe/Twlah links. If you have a XeeMe or a Twylah link, please feel free to add your links below in the comment sections. **If you put your comment in the COMLUV comment section, you can use keywords after your name in the name box and receive a link to your latest blog post.**

DON’T FORGET TO PUT YOUR OWN LINKS IN THE COMLUV SECTION!

Apr 192012
 
Twylah on XeeMe XWeek: Social Media Tools

TWYLAH IS MORE THAN JUST A PRETTY TWITTER

Twylah is a true social media tool ripe with SEO and social media awesomeness. And, they just added some truly awesome features that make it even more awesome. Awesomer, if you will.

And the bonus part: Twylah is EASY. Like hands off, do nothing easy.

Maybe your experience with Twylah was like mine. When I first saw Twylah, I was like, “Oh, pretty page for my tweets! Sweet!” I didn’t get it. I didn’t know why I needed it. I just signed up for it and pretty much forgot about it.

But during XWeek, I have been able to see Twylah through the eyes of its founders, Eric Kim and Kelly Kim.  I finally feel like I “get Twylah”.

And, now that I “get” Twylah, especially with the features I’m telling you about in this post, I have realized that I “need” Twylah.

TWYLAH – THE SOCIAL MEDIA TOOL WITH  SEO AND SOCIAL MEDIA BENEFITS

With Twylah capturing my tweets and putting them into the gorgeous format that they do, my Twylah page contains enough keyword  rich content to be absolutely delicious to the search bots. My tweets don’t just disappear into the ether in 8 seconds (like they do on Twitter) – they find a home on my Twylah and stick around for a while! Long enough to shake hands with Google and tell Google how totally awesome I am. :)

BUT, LET’S TAKE THOSE SEO AND SOCIAL MEDIA BENEFITS EVEN FURTHER

So, it is awesome that my tweets are indexed and formatted on a gorgeous page and that they can now flirt and hang out with the google bots.  I am trying to get MY SITE hanging out with the bots. Not Twylahs! (No offense, Kelly and Eric Kim of Twylah.  Sorry. It’s the truth!) How can Twylah help Google notice my website even more?

Well, with two minutes of work in my cpanel and another 2 minutes to send an email, I am able to move my Twylah from it’s home on Twylah to its new home on Social-Drivers! YUP. HERE. On my site! http://tweets.social-drivers.com. Haha, so come play over here Google!

Did you go see my Twylah page on that link?  Isn’t is so great how it has a link right at the top that says, “back to Social Drivers”?? My Twylah page didn’t have that before! But now it does, and it is on my site, which I totally appreciate.

Oh yeah, and for more Google yumminess – my Twylah has google analytics. Sweet, huh??

But we’re not done yet.  (Ginzu knife commercial flashback, anyone?)

EVEN MORE SEO AND SOCIAL MEDIA BENEFITS FROM TWYLAH

Here is a new feature which has me totally stoked. I can now add a widget to my blog which brings some of that Twylah goodness to every post on my site. I am sure you noticed that terrific, keyword dense “trending for @mindykoch) widget on my page. That is from Twylah. Aren’t those keywords great? Yeah, those are all things that I want this blog and my online digital identity (my professional brand) to be known for. SEO. Social Media. Marketing. And Twylah gives me that.

If you have a Twylah, you can get your widget code by logging in and go to resources. SO, GO DO IT!!

And, just so you know, this is “HOT OFF THE PRESSES” newness here. As of the time of this writing, Twylah hadn’t even sent out the email informing its members of this option. So, depending on when you read this, you may be the first to know about this! Fun, huh?

BUT WAIT, I’M NOT DONE YET :)

I know. Your head is spinning and my post is too long. (My posts are always too long! GAH!) But it is true. There is more Twylah goodness to know about.

I am talking about the POWER TWEET. They are like Tweets. With Power. Which, I am sure you can see is much better than tweets without power.

So, this morning I sent out a tweet about “XWeek” – which is an event going on this week where my number one favorite social media tool, XeeMe, introduces us to other awesome social media tools.  Like Twylah. This week it is “All Twylah, All The Time”. So, I sent out a tweet that said

“It isn’t over yet! You have time to join us on #XWeek as we get to know #Twylahhttp://twy.la/IpnGnX (Please RT!)”

I sent that tweet from my Twylah at http://tweets.social-drivers.com and used the “Power Tweet” option at the top. What happened when I sent that power tweet?

I created an entire page of content for my site! Keyword rich and a long lasting!! Just from sending a tweet! Check it out! Take the link above and see where it goes! (While you are there, do take the link to sign up to participate in XWeek. It is free. And brilliant.)

AND NOW THE ICING ON THE TWYLAH SOCIAL MEDIA TOOL CAKE.

Twylah is set it and forget it. Worst case scenario, you just join Twylah and let Twylah take over from there. Simple and great. It works for you in the background even if that is all you do. You never have to touch it again.

But, with 4 minutes of work on your end, Twylah moves all that goodness onto your own site on a subdomain. (Then it can be set it and forget it again.)

And, with another 2 minutes of work, Twylah moves that goodness onto your main domain in a widget. (Once again, after that – set it and forget it automagic goodness.)

Or, to really maximize your Twylah SEO and social media goodness, in the time it takes you to send a Tweet, Twylah builds you a keyword rich content page on your own site.

I hope I have been able to share with you how great I think Twylah is. I am so glad I finally “GET IT”!

A few last minute marching orders, if you will! :)

1. PLEASE COMMENT ON THIS POST **IN THE COMLUV COMMENTS SECTION (not the Triberr comments section)** AND LEAVE YOUR LINKS TO YOUR TWYLAH AND TO YOUR XEEME IF YOU HAVE THEM! I WOULD LOVE TO HELP PROMOTE YOUR LINKS! PLUS, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE DOFOLLOW, YES, I SAID, DOFOLLOW LINK TO YOUR BLOG AND YOUR BLOG POSTS.

2. If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, please do so on the side panel. I have several beta invitations that I gained access to this week that are new and on the hush hush!! You get to be the early adopters!

3. Come join us on XWeek as we explore more about Twylah.  Here is what is going on for the rest of the week! (ALSO – PLEASE SCROLL DOWN BEFORE YOU MAKE ANY COMMENTS
 TweetChat HashTag: #xweek – Thu April 19
We are running two Tweet-Chats together with Twylah co-founder Kelly Kim:
- Thursday 4/19 afternoon 4PM PST / 7 PM EST / 9 AM (Friday) Sydney time
- Friday 4/20 morning 9AM PST / 12:00 PM EST / 6 PM Central European Time.

A great way to ask questions directly to the leadership team from Twylah and get to know experienced users.

Join the twebevent/tweetchat

Blogposts
Some of the most experienced XeeMe Power Networker includingMindy Koch with her blog Social Drivers and Michelle Harris with her blog Digital Business UK as well as the XeeMe team will post some latest experience and background information about Twylah. This way you will get some great additional insight!

Video Interview
Together with the new ‘Social Media Television’ from Olaf Kracht we will conduct a video interview with one of the executives. Even more to learn about Twylah.

Product of the week
As product of the week, we reviewed privacy policy and other aspects of Twylah. You can see it all on our Social Media Directory

 

 Mindy Koch
See my entire social presence at http://xeeme.com/mindykoch
Apr 152012
 
Social Media Pillars

My very good friend (and I don’t mean that lightly), Michael Q. Todd has challenged me to write a blog post about my social media experience and how I am doing in “The 7 Pillars of Social Media“. If you are a fan of his already, then you are familiar with this concept. If not, here are the 7 Pillars, as I understand them. You can get a much better explanation from Michael at http://www.michaelqtodd.com/7pillars

  • Pillar 1: Be Niched – Get Focused!
  • Pillar 2: Be Savvy – Smart Tools!
  • Pillar 3: Be Likable – Great Content!
  • Pillar 4: Be Social – Consistently Interactive
  • Pillar 5: Be Real – Location, Activities
  • Pillar 6: Be Sharable – Promote Others
  • Pillar 7: BE GREAT – GO BIG!

Now, Michael Q Todd is a social media rockstar.  His Klout is 80 and mine is 62. His Kred is 943 and mine is 749.  So, obviously, Michael knows quite a bit more about social media than I do. If he says these are the 7 Pillars, then I am going to listen to him!

Social Media Experience

Personally, I feel like I am doing pretty well. I am active on multiple social platforms, I have great communities that support my efforts, and I am no slouch when it comes to the mechanics of social media. What really counts to me is that I have GREAT friends that I have met through social media and I feel like I am always meeting new, wonderful people.  That is the part of social media I love.

I am most active on Facebook, Facebook groups, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also active about commenting on blogs I support.

I am moderately active on G+, Klout, Linkedin, Tumblr, and Empire Avenue. I hit those several times a week but not daily.

Social Media 7 Pillars

As for the 7 pillars, here is my self-assessment about how I am doing.

Social Media Pillar One: Niched

OKAY This blog is all about my social media experiment. I try things in social media, and I write how those efforts affected my blog traffic and my personal brand.  I think that this blog is very niched. My social media presence fits in line with this as well. I do also discuss SEO but that is part of my niche since I work in SEO and Social Media every day.

What I could work on: I probably need to spend time cultivating my personal brand blog and not just this niche one here.  Hmmm, something to think about.

Social Media Pillar 2: Tools

STRONG – This is probably one of the areas I am doing GREAT in. I am VERY savvy about social media tools and social media platforms. I am a real gadget girl and I love to try out the newest social media platforms. I like to be an early adopter whenever possible. In fact, as part of this experiment, I get early beta invites to many different social media tools/platforms. If you would like to be informed about the beta invites when I am, sign up for the Social-Drivers newsletter.

Social Media Pillar 3: Content

For this blog: SO-SO. My content is not consistent enough. I have so many clients that I serve during the week and I am constantly creating content for them. By the time I have created content about “dentist, bankruptcy, real estate, glass repair, personal fitness, carpet cleaning, shutters” – I don’t feel like writing another article for myself!

I could curate more content on my blog but I don’t feel that fits my niche here. I should consider my blog another one of my clients and put it into my daily work rotation!

Social Media Pillar 4: Social

So-So. I can do better. I need to be more interactive for sure. I think I am doing well but I know I can do a lot better. I try to RT people, thank them for sharing my content, and to share other content regularly. I also try to like and comment on FB and blogs as much as I can. I am sure I can do better though.

Social Media Pillar 5: Real

Good-ish! I feel like I am VERY real. However, I don’t use Foursquare, Instagram, and other services enough to let people see into my real life. I also can do more with my facebook profile to be more real.  I think I am VERY REAL in who I present. I can just be more open about it.

Social Media Pillar 6: Sharable

Good! I like to promote other people. I really do. I really do think I share a lot and when I produce content, my content tends to get shared. I think I share others and that others share me quite well. I believe I am shareable.

Social Media Pillar 7: GREATNESS

Work in progress! I am not there yet – but I am working on it!! My mind and heart are definitely open to the thought of greatness!

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF MY SELF-ASSESSMENT??

Those of you who know me and visit my blog – what do you think of my self-assessment? Was I too kind on myself? Did I look at myself through rose-colored glasses? Was I too harsh? What do you think I am doing well in the 7 Pillars?

Which pillar is your weakest?

Please make a comment below and tell me!

 

The photo above is used via creative commons license. It can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/globevisions/460888153/

Want to connect online? See my entire social presence at http://xeeme.com/mindykoch

Mar 252012
 
Speed Up Wordpress Before and After

Do you see those “Pingdom Before” speed results? 8.27 seconds load time! When I saw that,“Speed Up WordPress” jumped to the TOP of my to do list for this blog. 8.27 seconds. That’s ridiculous.

It took a few different experiments to speed up wordpress, and after much tweaking and un-tweaking,  I was able to make my blog load a lot faster! As you can see, 704 milliseconds!

The results vary based on time of day and other factors out of my control, but usually, my results are around a second or less.

Here is what I did; the good, the bad, and the ugly! I am telling you what worked and what didn’t work for me. Hopefully, this will save you some time as you try to speed up WordPress loading time for your blog.

Some things to know:

  • I am on shared hosting on HostGator.
  • My theme is Suffusion.
  • My WordPress version is up-to-date.
  • I don’t claim in any way to be a WordPress expert. I am not telling you what to do – I am merely telling you what I did.
  • I will cover the basics of what I did – if you want me to explain something in greater detail, please let me know in the comments.

First, I took a baseline of my blog’s performance. I performed the baseline tests multiple times, on different computers, and in different browsers. I absolutely need the benchmarks to see if my efforts to speed up wordpress succeed.

Speed Up WordPress by Optimizing My Cache

This area took me the longest. I did a LOT of experimenting here. I already had W3 Total Cache installed and my site obviously wasn’t doing so hot.

I took it down and tried WP Super Cache. That really distorted my blog, so I disabled it and tried again to speed up wordpress with W3 Total Cache. I must have had W3TC configured poorly previously so I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the ideal settings for me.

So many of the tutorials online are not an ideal set up for shared hosting like I have on HostGator. Luckily, I found something I could really work from to configure it.  A member of the HostGator support staff posted his W3 Total Cache configuration on his blog at http://projects.pithyphrase.net/w3settings.

I downloaded his config.php file and installed it into my Performance Settings and hoped it would speed up WordPress better than the configuration I had previously. JUST A NOTE: If you decide to install his settings, BE SURE TO CHANGE THE SITEMAP SETTINGS!!

Some key things I think you should know if you are on shared/reseller hosting like I am:

  • Don’t enable database or object caching. These are not ideal settings for shared hosting.
  • Minify on auto didn’t seem to work for me. I had to use it manually.
  • Apparently, eTags aren’t great for shared hosting as well.
It took me a LOT of tries to get my Amazon Cloudfront CDN settings right. I don’t know why I had such a brain cramp here.
I set it to Amazon S3.
Then, I set it up to use S3 and Cloudfront using origin push.
Then, I set it up to use Cloudfront using origin pull.
Then, I set up multiple 6 CNames to work with my CDN.
Then, I went back to using just 1 CName.
GAH!!

I fussed and fussed here, frustrated that I couldn’t find a SIMPLE explanation of how to do this. Finally, I think I have it configured well. This took me WAY longer than it should have.

Later, I also installed a plugin, FV Gravatar Cache, to also cache my gravatars.  I am not sure how much it helps or hurts – but felt it was worth a try.

Speed Up WordPress by Optimizing My Images

I was using a Flickr plugin that allowed me to find and insert images from Flickr into my posts. I also was changing the size of each picture from its original size when I displayed it in my posts.  Not good.  Simple fix: I went to Flickr, downloaded each picture in the size I needed, and uploaded them to my site.

Then, I installed the plugin WP Smush it.  This is a GREAT plugin. Made a big difference on most of my images. In my opinion, this is a MUST HAVE plugin to speed up WordPress.

Another thing I noticed was that on my blog post, 7 Tools To Discover Your Digital Identity, I was calling forth images from Spokeo to illustrate one of my points. Unnecessary.

To fix this, I took a screenshot of that section of my blog post, optimized that image, and used that instead.  That seemed to help with my loading time as well as that post no longer had to call multiple images from Spokeo.

Speed Up WordPress by Optimizing My Plugins

I had fun with this part. I like plugins. I am a bit of a gadget geek and I have to continually practice restraint on my blogs. I simply want every plugin in the world!

While viewing my “waterfalls” on Pingdom, I noticed my social share plugin was a real drag.  I swapped it out for a couple of others that I had used in the past, and didn’t see much of an improvement.

Then I installed the Digg Digg Share Bar now owned by Buffer. It has lazy loading which I love. Doesn’t slow down my site to load anything. Definitely saw an improvement there.

I did have to forfeit a bit of design options. I liked that I could add color to my social share bar and the splash of color it added to my site – but I prefer the ability to speed up WordPress. Also, I liked that me share bar now has Buffer and Pinterest. Nice!

Speed Up WordPress Plugins

Speed Up WordPress Plugins

After that, I found another awesome plugin that I am a BIG fan of. P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler).

With this, I scan my plugins and see how each one affects my site.  On my first scan, I found a few offenders that I was unaware of.

As you can see on the image to the right, my plugins had a major impact on my loading time. 81.8% of my page load time was plugins! There is no way I can get my loading time to around one second if it takes over over a second just to load my plugins.

The plugin with the largest impact was “Viper Proof”. Bummer. I really liked this plugin. Unfortunately, as much as I liked it, it had to go for now.  Maybe a version will come out soon that will be less impacting.

The next plugin doing the most impact was Jetpack plugin from WordPress. I don’t use the benefits of Jetpack to justify having it, so it was deactivated as well. Not worth forfeiting the chance to speed up wordpress.

The third largest was CommentLuv Premium, which there is NO WAY I was getting rid of, so that stayed.  There is NO way I am having a social media focused blog without it. I love to go to ComLuv+ blogs and I love to offer my readers ComLuv+ options in their comments. I personally have to have it.

My fourth largest plugin demand was Akismet. I am experimenting with it activated and deactivated. I may not need it because CommentLuv Premium may discourage spammers for me sufficiently.  At the moment, it is deactivated, though I may turn it back on.

Speed Up WordPress Plugins After

Speed Up WordPress Plugins After

In my first post on this blog, I shared the plugins I am currently using. In my efforts to speed up WordPress since this first post, my plugins have changed a bit.

  • Akismet – DEACTIVATED
  • CommentLuv Premium*
  • Easy WP SEO*
  • Flickr Photo Post – DELETED
  • Google Analytics for WordPress
  • JetPack – DEACTIVATED
  • ManageWP Worker – DELETED
  • TF Social Share – REPLACED WITH DIGG DIGG
  • W3 Total Cache
  • WordPress Editorial Calendar – DELETED
  • WordPress SEO
  • Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – DELETED

Some plugins that have been added since this original setup:

  • Dashboard Luvvers Widget
  • Digg Digg
  • FV Gravatar Cache – To Speed Up WordPress
  • Meta Robot – Deactivated
  • P3 Plugin Performance Profiler – To Speed Up WordPress
  • Social Media Metrics
  • Viper Proof – Deactivated
  • WordPress Ping Optimizer
  • WP-DB Manager – To Speed Up WordPress
  • WP Smush It – To Speed Up WordPress

Speed Up WordPress by Optimizing My Database

I installed WP-DBManager to optimize my database.  I don’t know if this is the best plugin for this or not – but it certainly seemed to do the job for me. I like that I can get a backup of my database. I also like that it will run on a schedule to keep my database tidy.

SPEED UP WORDPRESS BASELINE RESULT CHANGES:

A few things holding me back in my efforts to speed up WordPress/optimize WordPress

Third-party plugins:

  • Some of these don’t have expirations in the headers
  • Some of these don’t have optimized images
  • Some of these don’t have minified files
I don’t know how hard these things are to do, since I don’t program. I just know that most of the things that fail on Page Speed and YSlow are third party program issues.
Things I may tackle later but not now:
  • Cookie free domain
  • Use CSS Sprites for my images
  • Try to get my grades higher in YSlow and Google Page Speed

If I do any of these things later to speed up wordpress I will let you know!

If you have any questions about what I did, please let me know in the comments!! Thank you so much!  Good luck in your efforts to speed up WordPress and I hope this helped! If you have any questions about what I did, please ask them in the comments!

If you appreciate this post, please let me know as well!

Mindy Koch
See My Entire Social Presence – http://xeeme.com/mindykoch