Genesis WordPress Theme Framework Review

genesis framework review

Do you want a good looking website? One that you as a beginner can install and easily customise yourself? Read on.

Getting Started With The Genesis Framework

I got my first WordPress site around 2 years ago and my first self hosted site 18 months ago. I am not a beginner now, though it feels like it sometimes. I am not a ‘tech’ person and have few graphic design skills.

When I started self hosting I wanted to do things as cheaply as possible. I tried quite a few free WordPress themes, using Athualpa for a while. If I was going to spend money I wanted to make sure it was well spent.

I couldn’t find a free theme that did what I wanted so I started looking at premium themes and found the Agency Theme on Studiopress.

I asked around and reports were good so I went ahead and invested the Genesis Framework and Agency Theme for $79.95. With a little help from a designer friend I had the Think Genial site. Since then I have redesigned the site and in its current incarnation, apart from the logo, the design work has been done by me (I am not a designer).

Since then I have built 3 websites myself using the Genesis Framework and free themes. 2 of these are making me money as affiliate sites and they haven’t cost me a penny more from my initial investment. All are hosted with TSO host for a total of£4.99/ month.

WordPress Frameworks

A framework is a set of computer code which sits on top of the WordPress Content Management System. It adds more functions to WordPress such as easier customisation, enhanced security and impoved SEO. There are 2 widely used WordPress frameworks – Thesis and Genesis.

Genesis

genesis wordpress framework

  • Recommended by WordPress founder, Matt Mullenweg
  • Used on over 96,000 websites
  • 40+ Child Themes
  • HTML5 support

Upload

You upload the Genesis framework through the WordPress dashboard like a theme. If you are using a Child Theme you upload Genesis first then the Child Theme. Any customisation is made to the Child Theme.

Child Themes

Agency                                  Copyblogger (free)              Genesis (free)

agency themecopyblogger themegenesis theme

There are 40+ Child Themes to choose from and there really is something for everyone. The 3 themes I have used are shown above. They are all great themes, and I am a particularly big fan of the Agency Theme. It is straightforward to modify things like the colours, fonts, logo etc. and if you want to make more advanced customisation the support forum is jam packed with useful info.

Support

  • 65 Genesis Framework tutorials available
  • Tutorials for all paid themes
  • Expert moderators on forums
  • Learn everything from how to change design, add logos and customise just about everything in forums

SEO

SEO optimised out of the box. I recommend the free WordPress SEO plugin for further optimisation, though plenty of options available in Genesis.

Updates

When updates are available you will be notified through the dashboard. NB. Make sure you have the latest version if updating any Genesis plugins. Updating the plugins first has caused my site to go down. I needed to go into the FTP to fix it (it could not be done from the WordPress dashboard).

Genesis 2.0

In August 2013 Genesis 2.0 was launched. Security, SEO and site speed have all been enhanced. The biggest change though has been the addition of HTML5 support. HTML5 is increasingly being used in web design, particularly for mobile sites and apps. Genesis 2.0 puts your website at the cutting edge of design capability.

Plugins

There are quite a few great Genesis-only free plugins. Here are a few:

Genesis Hooks: Allows you to add bits of code without having to go into the CSS. If you want to easily add code for things like Facebook buttons or advertising you can use this plugin (tutorial available)

Footer Widget: If you want to add more footer widgets, use this

Design Palatte: Change the colour of backround, text, links and borders with a few clicks; change fonts too.

Who?

These big shots recommend Genesis.

who recommends genesis theme

Conclusion

If you are starting out with your first self hosted website I would take a look at the Genesis Child Themes. If you find one you like its worth spending $80. If you did want to make further websites you can do so for no additional cost. If you need more Child Themes they are $25 each once you have the framework.

There is an option to buy rights to all the paid themes for $349.95. I wouldn’t go for that unless you are a developer.

The all inclusive package has recently gone up $50 from $299.95 to $349.95. If you are considering making the purchase I would think about buying now to avoid any price increases. There is a 30 day money back guarantee if you change your mind.

Click here to visit the marketplace>> StudioPress Marketplace

* edited 28.08.13

Delete All My Tweets

Delete All My Tweets

Have you ever wanted to wipe the slate clean?

If you have ever managed any social media accounts, whether it be your own personal account or that of your employer you will have made mistakes. It is just human nature, we can’t do everything right all the time!

>> Delete All My Tweets

Here’s What Happened

I was recently asked to manage a Twitter account where 22,000 tweets had been automatically posted using the Twitter API.

The follower count was low, as you can imagine, and I was worried I would have a hard time attracting new followers.

The account had been mismanaged in the past but now was on the right track. The only trouble was I couldn’t easily communicate this to potential followers….


There was only one thing to do, I decided to delete all the tweets. I knew that with 500,000 apps available for Twitter there must be a few which could mass delete tweets. I didn’t know at this stage how ineffective they would be…..

>> Delete All My Tweets

‘Delete All Tweets’

I Googled ‘delete all tweets’ and a few apps came up near the top:

Twitwipe

twitwipe

 

 

 

TweetEraser

tweet-eraser

 

 

 

Delete My Tweets

delete-my-tweets

 

 

 

I thought great! and set about deleting tweets. the first app I tried didn’t work at all, so I moved onto the next. This didn’t work properly either…. would any do the job?!

I was messing around for 2 days with these useless apps, the end result being I was down to 19,653 tweets. I gave it up as a bad job. The only trouble was now only 1 tweet was showing on the timeline!

Between them these ‘delete all tweets’ apps had deleted the tweets but not recorded it, completely screwing up the account!

After all this wasted time and effort and the resulting messed up account I decided to get together with a great developer and make an app which does 2 things – deletes all tweets from a Twitter account and takes the account back to zero.

What We Did

What we came up with was DeleteAllMyTweets.  The app has now gone through rigorous testing and this version is highly effective.

Due to some technical aspects of the OAuth interface and server timing issues the limit to delete tweets has been set at 1000 per deletion. If you need to delete more, as I did, you will simply need to repeat the process a few times.

Let’s Face it…

There are times when you may need to reset a Twitter account.

It may be that an account has been mismanaged, maybe you have taken the account over and want to start afresh, maybe you have test accounts that you need to reset…

If you need to delete all tweets from a Twitter account it now couldn’t be easier, just jump on over to the app and give it a go!

>> Delete All My Tweets

Your friend,

Joe

PS. If you use the app and have any feedback please use the contact form to let us know so we can improve it even further.

The Most Powerful Technique

The Power of Newsjacking

Like all great ideas the new book by David Meerman Scott leaves the reader thinking ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’, and the ideas in this book are great. The book is Called ‘Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage’ and is available by digital download only.

What is it?

The central idea of the book is that your company can gain massive media exposure by becoming part of a news story. To do this you must identify an item of breaking news where you can add value, produce some quotable content then get the content to journalists covering the story or get them to notice it. Your goal – to be quoted in paragraph 2 of as many articles about the story as possible. The net impact of a successful newsjack can be £1000s of free exposure for your company.

Its Easy

Sounds simple doesn’t it? and it is, but there are certain things which are mission critical if you want to be a successful newsjacker. DM Scott tells you how to put the systems in place to discover stories, how to get your article found by journalists researching the breaking news, he gives examples of successful newsjackers including a lady who newsjacked Paris Hilton and a porn king who is a serial newsjacker. He even shows you how to get the journalists bringing stories to you for your input.

Review

For me this is a fantastic book and the techniques are something I am going to encourage my clients to implement. I have immediately become aware of 2 great opportunities recently where one of my clients could have used newsjacking techniques to gain media exposure.

I have not read a Kindle book before and it was just like reading a high quailty ebook. I think it was the right decision to publish it in ebook format because the book is very concise and the links really add to it.

If there is one thing the book is a bit light on it is that DM Scott talks about the necessity for large companies and corporations to put themselves in a position to fend off newsjacking events but doesn’t really say how to fend off a newsjack in progress.

Verdict

I think newsjacking is going to become much more widespread over the next few months and years. If you are at all involved with marketing read this book now and get ahead of the trend!

Want to be a Newsjacker?

  • Put systems in place to monitor news and monitor avidly
  • Have the ability to publish at short notice
  • Use the right angle and the correct language in communications

Buy the book here >>  (affiliate link)
Joe

 

Who Is Your Blog For?

Blogging Strategies – Who is your blog written for?

1. Your Customers

One classic company blogging strategy is to draw in potential customers with useful content and over time some will become buyers.  Typically a wide variety of topics are covered using this strategy.

This works well if your company is an established brand or if you have leading experts to impart information. The experts don’t necessarily have to work for your company, they could write guest posts for you.

If you are using this content marketing strategy, it is useful to have calls to action and use landing pages to move prospective customers along the sales funnel.

2. A Segment of Your Customers

The trouble with audience 1 is that unless your company is an established brand or you have leading experts contributing to the blog it can be hard to stand out from the crowd.

If you are a small company you might not have the resources to allow you to compete with larger companies pursuing a similar strategy.

Once way round this is to focus in on some niche content which appeals to your customers. If you are a local business it could be that you relate your content to the local area, or it could be that what you write about is highly focused on one specific topic that appeals to a section of your target market.

If you were a garden centre using this strategy for example, you could write all about Lillies: the different species, where they grow best, how you look after them, what animals they encourage etc.

That way you may soon have one of the top blogs on Lillies! The chances of you quickly developing a top blog on general gardening on the other hand are next to none.

3. Your Peers

If you are seen as a leader in your field there could be a case for focusing on content for your peers.

If you manage to build an audience amongst your peers with great content you will find they will link to you from their own websites and share your stuff.

If you are seen as an industry leader you are more likely to be asked to comment on industry news. This gives you access to a much greater audience, drives traffic to your website and generates more quality links.

4. Other Bloggers’ Audiences

Writing guest blog posts can be a great way to grow your audience. If you can find another blogger in your niche who needs content they may well be willing to have you write a guest post.

This gives you access to their audience and some of their readers might well like your stuff and become regular readers of your blog. Having links from other blogs can drive traffic to your blog and help your site climb the Google rankings.

5. Your Customers (pt 2)

Rather than producing useful content for your customers you could focus your company blog on connecting with your customers.

This strategy has been used to great effect by large corporations such as Microsoft and General Motors, maybe it can work for you too.

Using this strategy it would be typical for the head of your company and other company leaders to blog about their interests. They may also give their view on industry goings on and new products (like with 3).

As always, feel free to comment :)

 

Joe

5 Things Your Company Needs To Do To Stay Relevant

Happy Customers

1. Follow Industry Leaders On Twitter

Who do you look up to in your industry? Who are the experts? Who are the leaders? Who is at the bleeding edge when it comes to industry trends? Make a list of at least 10 of these people who are active on Twitter and follow them (I follow many more).

If they tweet something out and you have something to add then tweet them back, hell tweet them back anyway – that way your followers will think you’re an industry leader too 😉

2. Ask Customers

What do your customers want? Why not ask them through social media channels! Which is their favourite product? What do they want to see improved in your service? Ask them and act on it, your customers will appreciate it :)

3. Testing

The technology world is constantly testing. They run beta tests on selected groups of experts on new technologies, they split test the text, graphics and layout of their websites. Then they make iterative changes and test again.

Can you use this kind of testing? For example split testing a new menu at your restaurant or split testing the standard telephone response at your business?

4. Monitor Competition

Are your competitors innovating? Maybe they have spotted a trend in the market that you have not latched on to yet? Maybe they are doing a product launch? Maybe they have a new service?

Simply set up your social media listening station, monitor and stay more relevant than your competitors :)

5. Go Off Topic

If you are a local business, try thinking about what your customers are interested in and what is relevant to them, then use that for your online marketing content.

It may have nothing to do with your industry but is relevant to your customers. For example if you are an estate agent maybe you could do reviews of local restaurants on your blog.

Mmm Food

I hope this post has given you some food for thought.

Stay relevant people, and keep this blog relevant by posting in the comments :)

Joe

Should you Schedule Updates for Twitter?

Should You Schedule Updates for Twitter?

Check out the video to find out:

Benefits

Schedule updates for Twitter to save time.

Forget about having to post if you are very busy at work. You have some ‘in the bank’ so you still have a presence on Twitter.

If you are promoting something such as an event, new product or special offer you can plan a campaign and schedule tweets accordingly.

Don’t Forget

If you are scheduling updated you will still need to check your Twitter account or Twitter client (every day) to see if there are any messages. If people send you a message on the platform they will expect a response relatively quickly.

Try to put time aside every day to go live on Twitter, sending updates, responding to your network and retweeting.

More Reasons

If you are marketing internationally you will need to schedule tweets to reach people in different time zones.

You may wish to schedule several repeats of the same tweet, for example to gain exposure for your blog.

Schedule Updates

Use Hootsuite or Social Oomph to schedule updates (affiliate links). Both offer free and paid versions.

I have used both and recommend Hootsuite.

Feel free to leave comments below.

 

Take care,

Joe

 

 

 

Social Media Profile Branding

Social Media Profile Branding

When it comes to social media profile branding it is important to be consistent.

Name

You will want to use your company name across the social media platforms or if not at least grab the name so no one else can use it :).

Use this tool to check the availability of your company name across many social media platforms.

As an alternative you may wish to use your own name, a version of your company name or a combination of your company name and your name (like I am have on Twitter).

Design

Another element which needs to be consistent is the design. If you have the resources it is advisable (if possible!) to customise the design of your social media profiles.

Avatar

Social media is all about connections between people. One way to increase the level of connection with your profiles is by using photos of people (headshots) rather than the company logo as your avatar.

Mari Smith suggests having several shots taken by a professional photographer and using those across the various social media platforms.

Content

It is important that your content is consistent, for example that you post regularly and maintain the same ‘voice’ for your company.

Larger companies with many people contributing may wish to draw up guidelines to help with consistency.

 

I hope you find this post useful!

Any branding experts want to chip in :)?

Have you thought about the branding of your social media profiles?

 

Joe

The ROI of Social Media for Business

The ROI of Social Media for Business

This week I had the pleasure of attending a panel debate about the Return on Investment (ROI) of social media for business, chaired by John Robb in Manchester.

The impact of some traditional online marketing such as Pay Per Click advertising can be easy to measure but with social media is much harder, hence the debate.

Now, you could write a book on the ROI of social media, about there being multiple touchpoints, measuring the value of each interaction or Facebook ‘Like’ etc etc. and I am sure someone probably has or will very soon.

For me it boils down to this: If your company does not invest in social media and your competitors do, long term they will win. They have invested, they get a return, you haven’t, you lose.

Whilst this is a sweeping statement I predict for the vast majority of companies in the UK its true. You only need to look at what’s happening in the US.

Using social media you can build a community of loyal customers, win new customers, conduct market research, recruit, provide customer service, get free ice creams (OK I was joking about the last one ;))

In a few years time social media is going to be integrated into the fabric of pretty much every business in the UK. Those companies who invest now are the ones who will see the best return.

Am I right about this? Is social media a fad? Does social media marketing only suit certain types of company? Let me know what you think in the comments below :)

Joe

Social Media Monitoring Starter Pack for Small Businesses

Social Media Monitoring Starter Pack for Small Businesses

Thinking about starting social media monitoring for your small business?

Don’t know where to start? Follow these steps and we’ll have you sorted in a jiffy.

Social Media Listening Tool Google Alerts Social Media Monitoring Tool Search Twitter

Success Steps

Step 1.

Decide on a few terms you want to set up searches for.

I would suggest: Your company name, industry term/s, product name/s, (competitors names). Don’t choose too many, just choose a few say 5-8.

Step 2.

Go to your Google account (I am presuming you have one, if not go set one up) then go to Google Reader (it may be under the ‘more’ tab).

Step 3.

Open up a new tab and find Google Alerts as you did for Google Reader (or type alerts into the search bar, it should come up as the first result).

Type your first search term into the box. If the term is multiple words use quotation marks like this “Think Genial Widget Co.”

Then choose your settings. I use: Type: Everything, How Often: Once a day, Volume: Only the best results, Deliver to: Feed. Make sure Delivery is set to Feed not email. Create Alert.

Repeat this with all of your search terms then close Google Alerts.

Social media listening with big ears

Success Steps Pt ii

Step 4.

Open up a new tab and type search.twitter.com into your search bar.

Don’t mess around clicking on the trending topics (unless Think Genial or #tgtips is trending :) )

Type your first search term in, using quotation marks if you need them as described above and click search. Some results should appear (If not you may want to change the search term).

Right click on the link for the feed in the top right and click copy link address.

Go to Google Reader, left click on Add a Subscription (top left) then paste the link you just saved into the box and click add.

Repeat this for all your search terms.

Step 5.

You should now have a list of feeds for your search terms in your Google Reader subscriptions. If you like you can create folders to organise the feeds. For example you might want to create 2 folders, 1 for your company, 1 for info on your competitors 😉

To do this go to manage subscriptions at the bottom and organise them there.

Step 5 a). (optional)

If you feel confident processing more information on a daily basis set up feeds for Google Blogs, Google News and Youtube. By doing this you will capture information over and above what you are gathering already.

However, you don’t want to get overwhelmed at this stage so this is optional.

Step 6.

Check Google Reader every day.

Step 7.

After say 2 weeks review which feeds are baring fruit and which aren’t , you may wish to try a few new search terms.

Step 8.

Ready to expand your listening activities? Keep an eye out for part 2 😉

 

Are you already monitoring social media for your business?

Please let me know in the comments of any tools you find useful for social media listening.

 

Take care,

Joe

Credit @chrisbrogan and @julien (Smith)

Create Welcome Tabs in Facebook

Create Welcome Tabs in Facebook

If you take a look at my Facebook page you will see that the tab you land on when you first arrive is a welcome tab rather than the ‘wall’. If you create a welcome tab for your Facebook Page it is more likely people will become ‘fans’ when they arrive for the first time. The conversion rate is about 47% for a custom welcome tab compared with 22% for the wall.

It is very important to get as many people as possible to click ‘like’ when they arrive because over 90% will never return.

Also notice that I have 2 ‘calls to action’ which simply means I am asking visitors to do 2 things. The first is to ‘like’ my Page and the second is to sign up for my awesome ebook! You don’t ask, you are less likely to get 😉

I have used WordPress to create my welcome tab and you can do it too if you have a WordPress blog (if you don’t have a WordPress blog see PPS at the bottom of this post).

If you do have a WordPress blog but don’t have a welcome tab yet I would recommend checking out these 2 videos. They walk you through how to create a nice looking welcome tab. Between the 2 vids you should be able to work it out :)

Good luck!

Tips: I would make sure your ‘Iframe’ is no wider than 510 pixels :)

The WordPress plugin is called Facebook Tab Manager

Rather than copying all that code over from FBML like John does you could create a simple JPG image file or a combination of image, text and video. Put that within the Facebook tabs – that would work great!

Joe

PS. At this point in time I don’t have a great many fans on my Facebook page and my welcome tab still needs a few improvements. Check out Social Media Examiner for a great example: http://www.facebook.com/smexaminer

PPS. The Static HTML app within Facebook works in a similar way. You can find it by searching in Facebook search.