I’m Joining the WordPress Team at Kinsta

Some of you might have noticed that some of the messaging on my websites and social have been changing. Well, that is because I have decided to make a major career change. A recent opportunity came along from Kinsta, and I just couldn’t pass it up. Sometimes you gotta go with your gut. And my gut was telling me this was the right move.

Like they say, you only live once, and so you better love what you do!

Connecting With Kinsta

I originally connected with Kinsta’s CEO, Mark Gavalda, on Skype back in 2014, soon after they launched. We shared a lot of the same interests and opinions on how WordPress should work. I was actually one of their first customers and have admired everything they were doing since day one.

Kinsta has been making huge strides in the high-performance WordPress industry as of late. Their whole approach is to offer the latest and greatest webperf stack, along with a unique customer support approach. They know their clients by name and are the first managed WordPress host exclusively powered by Google Cloud Platform. Other platform features include Nginx, PHP 7, HHVM, HTTP/2, MariaDB, and premium DNS.

Kinsta continues to regularly impress and dominate when it comes to offering a superior WordPress hosting experience. According to survey results conducted by CodeInWP in 2016, Kinsta was named the most reliable hosting company. They are also always in the top tier in the independent reviews done by Review Signal (2014 results, 2015 results, 2016 results).

Leaving KeyCDN

Some people leave their current jobs because they aren’t happy. In my case, it was the exact opposite in my role at KeyCDN.

keycdn

I had been working for KeyCDN, a global content delivery network, for about a year and I loved every second of it. Our team just clicked like clockwork and we were more productive than I could have ever thought possible. So I want to give a final shout out to the team at KeyCDN and say, “It’s been a great year and I wish you guys all the best!

And of course, I will be a KeyCDN customer for life.

The Reason For the Change

For me, this was actually a very tough decision, and I had to weigh the pros and cons. But as of most of you know, I love WordPress. I have for the past 10 years. Everything I already do is in WordPress and I feel like I already live in WordPress 24×7. The WordPress community is an amazing group of people and it has been fascinating to see the open source project grow over the last decade.

love wordpress

I am super excited that at Kinsta, as their new inbound marketer, I can now focus on WordPress 100% of the time and get to know the community even more. In fact, I am already hitting up the WordCamp Phoenix in October! If any of you are attending, make sure to reach out and we can connect for a quick chat. I also want to start attending some local WordPress meetups.

Besides my passion for WordPress, I am also obsessed with web performance. I think having worked for a CDN provider, it has almost put me at the scary end of that spectrum. But the great news is that at Kinsta, speed is #1 priority. So it feels like a perfect match up. That and the team over at Kinsta is just plain awesome!

I will now be writing a lot on the Kinsta blog and so I encourage you to subscribe to their newsletter. I am looking forward to helping contribute both to Kinsta and those looking for that next perfect managed WordPress host. It is going to be an exciting rest of 2016!

exciting wordpress kinsta

src: giphy

Thoughts? Feel free to drop them below in the comments.

Speed Up WordPress Podcast With WPInnovator

speed up wordpress podcast

I recently had the pleasure of doing a podcast with Lee Jackson, yes he actually shares my name :) It turned out to be a pretty great episode as we talked about a lot of different ways you can speed up WordPress.

Podcast Summary

Here is a quick summary of what we chatted about:

  • Using a CDN like KeyCDN is cheap and can dramatically increase your website’s speed.
  • Using a CDN is easy to setup with the free WordPress CDN Enabler plugin.
  • Importance of optimizing and compressing your images. I use the Optimus Image Optimizer plugin.
  • How to use WebP images in WordPress.
  • Disabling JS and CSS on an individual page and or post basis with the Gonzalez plugin.
  • How to score a 100/100 on Google PageSpeed Insights. It can be done, but don’t obsess over the score.
  • How to host Google Analytic’s locally to get rid of the “leverage browser caching” warning. I use the free CAOS plugin.
  • How to disable embeds script in WordPress
  • How to disable emojis script in WordPress
  • How to lazy load Disqus

Make sure to check out the podcast!

Chance to Win 1 of 3 Monstroid WordPress Themes

If you follow the latest news on WordPress themes, you’ve probably heard about Monstroid, a multipurpose WordPress theme from TemplateMonster. Today you have a great opportunity to receive one of three Monstroid themes for free ($79.00 value). But first, let’s take a brief look at the Monstroid features.

Monstroid WordPress Theme Features

  • Installation Wizard provides you with an intuitive way to install all the plugins and sample data in a few clicks
  • Monstroid comes with 30 child themes (+10 new themes every month)
  • 24/7 free lifetime support & updates (experience live-chat support right in your admin panel)
  • Modular Structure means that the theme’s functionality is integrated into independent plugins, i.e. modules
  • Compatibility with the most popular WP plugins, such as BuddyPress, bbPress, WPML, etc
  • Shortcode Template Editor allows you to customize your shortcode templates and even create your own
  • Fully integrated with WooCommerce (includes pre-build WooCommerce pages)
  • +50 licensed images
  • +120 PSD files.

Watch this video to learn more details:

How Can You Win the Monstroid WordPress Theme?

  1. Go to the official page of Monstroid.
  2. Take a look at all the features that Monstroid offers.
  3. Pick one and mention it back here in the comments below.

That’s pretty much it. Go to the Monstroid’s page, and leave a comment here with your favorite feature. The giveaway is running from November 18th 2015 through November 25th 2015, so make sure to submit your comment on time.

Important: Make sure your email address is attached to your Disqus account, otherwise I won’t be able to reach you.

Good luck!

Winners

The winners were randomly picked using the Random Name Picker. And they are:

  • IMPromocoder
  • Pete
  • WildCrow

Congrats!

Free WordPress CDN Plugin – Deploy in Minutes!

wordpress cdn plugin

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to deploy your CDN then look no further. Most of the WP caching plugins are rather complicated and not all features are freely available or even required at all. The new CDN Enabler plugin from KeyCDN is completely free, works with any CDN provider, and you can have your CDN integrated with WordPress in minutes.

Features

  • Link assets to load from a CDN
  • Set included directories
  • Define exclusions
  • Enable or disable for HTTPS
  • Supports Bedrock

Follow the steps below to integrate your CDN with WordPress.

Step 1

In your WordPress dashboard click into “Plugins” and then into “Add New.”

WordPress Add New Plugin

Step 2

Search for “cdn enabler.” Then click on the “Install Now” button. (verify that it says By KeyCDN) underneath the description.

install cdn enabler

Step 3

Click on “Activate Plugin.”

activate cdn enabler plugin

Step 4

Then under “Settings” in WordPress click into “CDN Enabler.”

settings cdn enabler

Step 5

In the CDN Enabler settings, you will first want to set your CDN URL. I suggest using a CNAME with your domain.

  • KeyCDN Example without CNAME: brianjackson-xxxx.kxcdn.com
  • MaxCDN Example without CNAME: brian.brianjackson.netdna-cdn.com
  • CDN Example with CNAME: cdn.brianjackson.io

By default the “wp-content” and “wp-includes” directories are included. No need to change that.

I add .xml to my excluded extensions because it messes with my sitemap file in my footer.

You can leave relative paths checked and choose whether you need HTTPs or not.

cdn settings

Click “Save Changes” and you should be good to go.

If this tutorial on how to set up a free WordPress CDN plugin was helpful please let me know below!

Why and How I Changed Everything to Personal Branding

wordpress personal branding

I recently decided to migrate my “OKay Marketing” branding (okaymarketing.com) back to my personal branding on brianjackson.io. This included changing domains, social profiles, etc… I will walk you through below how I changed everything as I have surprisingly had quite a few people asking how I did it.

Why Did I Change to Personal Branding?

To be honest I never really was super in love with the company name “OKay Marketing” but at the time this was what worked. I have noticed in my social media efforts over the last 6 months everything is much easier when promoting from my personal account. I think this simply is because people like connecting with other people, not companies. I could tweet the exact same thing on my personal profile and on my company profile and my personal tweet would get twice as much engagement.

I also found when people were reaching out needing services such as SEO and or blogging they requested me. They didn’t care about my company branding, they always were requesting that I be the one working on it.

Neil Patel has a great guide here on “how to build your personal brand.” A portion of it really resonated with me… He said the following.

If you’re looking to grow the sales for a company, you want potential clients to associate your personal brand with a feeling of trust and long-term success and satisfaction.

So I finally decided simply stop building a brand and switch to personal branding. I know this will save me time and will make marketing easier. If I then launch a new company down the road I will have the “trust” and reputation part done.

Branding Changes Included:

  1. Swapping Twitter Names to keep higher follower count
  2. Changing FB page name to use personal profile URL
  3. Migrating WordPress to new domain and changing URLs
  4. Migrating Disqus not only to new domain but also new shortname
  5. Implementing 301 Redirects
  6. Change of Address with Google Webmaster Tools
  7. Updating Backlinks
  8. Misc Updates

1 – How to Swap Your Twitter Name

swapping twitter usernames

Since I had been doing all of my work on my @okay_marketing twitter I wanted to keep the same followers/audience and transfer them to my @brianleejackson twitter. So after some digging around and research I discovered that Twitter releases usernames immediately. So here is what I did to swap the names. You will want to be fast as you could potentially lose your username.

Step 1

I logged into my original twitter account @brianleejackson and renamed my username to @brianjacksonxxx.

Step 2

I then quickly logged into my @okay_marketing twitter and changed the username to @brianleejackson.

Step 3

I then quickly logged into my @brianjacksonxxx twitter and changed the username to @okay_marketing.

This allowed me to swap my usernames so now my @brianleejackson twitter has all the followers I have been building over the past year. I only follow people within my niche so they are a fairly well targeted audience. Check out ManageFlitter for an awesome tool to grow your Twitter followers with link minded people.

Also a big thanks to Joe over at joecanwrite.com for pointing out my Twitter cards weren’t working. Make sure if you switch twitter accounts to request a new approval for your twitter cards.

2 – How to Change your Facebook Page URL to Personal Profile URL

swapping facebook URLs

This is something a lot of people don’t know about. My personal Facebook account was http://facebook.com/brianleejackson. My company FB page was http://facebook.com/okaymarketing. Since I no longer wanted the company branding I wanted to change it to /brianleejackson. As long as you are using the same FB account as the admin on your page then you can actually request a page name (URL) change.

Step 1

Under your Facebook page’s About section click “Edit” on your page name.

edit facebook page name

Step 2

Click on “request change.” You can now choose your personal profile URL as what you want your page URL to now be. As long as you own both they will allow this. So on my OKay Marketing page I requested a change to facebook.com/brianleejackson. You then have to fill out a FB form saying what you want to change. They do approve this manually and will send you an email confirmation. I also recommend changing your page category as well. I changed mine to “People: Blogger.”

This is what the email from Facebook said in the confirmation.

Hi Brian,

The Page name you’re requesting is significantly different from your current Page name, so your request requires a 14-day waiting period. We require a waiting period for name changes that could be confusing for people who already like the Page. During that time, the people who like your Page will be notified of the name change.

Your Page name will be automatically updated 14 days from today at the same time that you received this approval email. Thanks for your patience.

You will then see a page name change confirmation if you hover over the details of your page name..

page name change scheduled

My personal profile URL on Facebook now looks like this: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1098660425 But I don’t really care because I use that account for personal use. My page name now looks like this: http://facebook.com/brianleejackson.

3 – Migrating WordPress to new domain and changing URLs

changing domain names

So I had already purchased brianjackson.io a while back. Don’t get me started on trying to buy brianjackson.com. I have offered the guy up to $1,000 at one point for the domain but he won’t budge. So I then needed to move everything from okaymarketing.com and dump it into a fresh WordPress install on brianjackson.io. Follow the steps below on how I migrated everything.

Step 1

You can follow my post on “How to Migrate Your WordPress Website to New Web Host” for transferring the database and files.

Step 2

Once everything was migrated into brianjackson.io I then needed to change my WordPress address URL. You can normally change this within the WordPress dashboard, however you will probably realize that if you try to login it is simply going to redirect to your old domain. So I updated my WP address URL in the database.

Login to phpMyAdmin on your site and under the “wp_options” table you will want to update both the “siteurl” and “home” to your new URL.

database wordpress site urls

You can then login to your WordPress dashboard.

Step 3

I then used a WordPress plugin to update all of my URLs on my site. For example you probably have static URLs that you will need to fix within your pages and posts, as well as if you linked to images on your CDN directly. The plugin I used was Velvet Blues Update URLs. It works great and I had no problems.

Once installed you can click into Tools > “Update URLs.” I selected everything except for GUIDs and then clicked “Update URLS NOW.” (make sure to backup your database before doing this just in case)

update wordpress urls

And it is that easy to update all of your URLs!

4 – Migrating Disqus to new domain and shortname

change disqus shortname

So I have already written up a separate post on how I migrated my disqus comments to a new domain and shortname. Disqus usually doesn’t let you change your shortname but there is a work around.

Also make sure under your Disqus admin settings to setup your new trusted domain. Otherwise if someone else installs Disqus on their domain and types in your same shortname they could get your comments.

disqus trusted domains

5 – Implementing 301 Redirects

301 redirects

Once I migrated everything to the new domain I needed to put the proper 301 redirects in place so I didn’t lose any traffic or link juice. According to Matt Cutts at Google if you do everything right 301 redirects should pass most of the link juice.

I use a plugin called Simple 301 Redirects to put them in place.  This plugin does require you to place each one, but since my site is not that large I prefer to do them manually so I know I catch everything.

setting up 301 redirects

You can also setup your 301 redirects via your .htaccess file if you prefer. Here is a great tutorial on Setting up a permanent 301 redirect via .htaccess.

6 – Change of Address with Google Webmaster Tools

google change of address

If you are moving your website to a new domain it is highly recommended that you use the “change of address” feature in Google Webmaster Tools. This will let them know that you are moving it.

You can find the change of address by click on the gear icon in the top right hand corner of Google Webmaster Tools.

change of address

They will walk you through a 4 step process to confirm your move.

gwt change of address

7 – Updating Backlinks

update backlinks

301 redirects do pass your link juice but I always recommend updating them if possible with your new domain. So what I do is export a list of my backlinks and slowly contact the owners of sites that link to me to see if they will update the link to my new address. You won’t be able to update everything such as blog comment backlinks but everything helps.

I use Web CEO to export my list of backlinks, which uses Ahref data. Make sure to check out my review on Web CEO if you haven’t already.

Step 1

In Web CEO click into “Backlink Quality Check” and click on “Linking Pages.”

linking pages

Step 2

Change the filter to “All except lost.”

backlinks all except lost

Step 3

On the right hand side click on “Export” and select “Download as CSV.”

export backlinks to csv

Step 4

I now have a full list of my active backlinks and I can work them contacting the owners of the links and requesting them to update my link from okaymarketing.com to brianjackson.io. This process will probably take months, but it is something I always recommend doing when changing domains. Also make sure they are also updating the ALT text/link text if possible too. You don’t want your backlinks to be skewed by showing old name/branding.

backlink profile list

8 – Misc Updates

update mailchimp campaigns

There are a lot of other updates I had to do.

  • Update my MailChimp campaign and my list so everything matched on the new domain.
  • Created new Gmail account so I could setup new Google Analytics account, Google Tag Manager, etc.
  • Updated my social media profile images and branding
  • Created a new office 365 email account and signature for my .io domain.
  • Verified GWT, BWT, Pinterest, Alexa, Yandex
  • Setup a new account for VaultPress backups.

Conclusion

I think that is about everything that was involved in my migration from okaymarketing.com (company branding) to brianjackson.io (personal branding). I haven’t seen any traffic decreases, in fact I have noticed a slight increase.

traffic after migration

Update 08.12.15

I originally wrote this article back on March 1st, 2015.

I am happy to report I don’t regret the move. It has now been 6 months and my organic traffic is up 366%!

traffic after branding migration

As always feel free to leave your comments below!

TemplateMonster Giveaway: 3 Premium WP Themes

TemplateMonster Giveaway

Great news for all the WordPress lovers. Today you have a great opportunity to get a premium WordPress theme for free!

The guys from TemplateMonster are happy to give three of you their premium WordPress templates. These are valued at $75.

They have more than 1,500 premium WP themes (responsive and non responsive), including themes for personal blogs, portfolio websites, business sites, news sites, fashion blogs, and so on. Although, there are so many themes to choose from, it won’t take you long to find the one you need because the themes are separated by categories for your easy navigation. TemplateMonster have been developing WP templates since 2006 and are dedicated to make the website creation process easy and intuitive.

templatemonster giveaway

How to Enter the Giveaway

  • Simply go to their website and choose ANY WordPress theme you like there. (templatemonster.com)
  • Comment on this post and tell me the ID of your theme. It can be something simple like “My favorite theme is #51364”.
  • That’s it! In a couple of days after the giveaway is over I will announce 3 lucky winners and send you your 100% discount codes by email.

Important!

The giveaway starts on November 24th and will be running until December 2nd. Please, make sure to write your comment on time!