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Jonathan Rabb

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I’ll make it simple - before we took the class, we had a relatively small website with little SEO, content and strategy. Today, we have the premier Black Greek fraternity site online with literally millions of visitors every month. The instructors are amazing. They literally take a process (digital marketing) that seems so difficult and simplify it so that it’s easier to understand and less intimidating. If your team is having trouble boosting your online business, I strongly recommend this class!

Founder, WatchTheYard.com

2018-07-31T09:58:10+00:00

Founder, WatchTheYard.com

Jonathan Rabb Testimonial

Onuora Amobi is VP of Marketing at Learn About The Web. He has an extensive background in both Online Marketing and Enterprise Technology solutions.

Caching

Digital Marketing Tip – Leverage Browser Caching Using Expires Headers

Leveraging browser caching on your WordPress website can offer up some significant speed savings

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leverage browser caching expires

Leveraging browser caching on your WordPress website can offer up some significant savings as far as page loading goes.

First, a web browser must retrieve a whole heap of resources off a server, so it can load a website and web caching is used to store website pages for faster loading next time they are called.

How to Leverage Browser Caching

To leverage browser caching, your web server must allow the browser to store the visited pages on a local disk, temporarily. So how do we enable this?

By setting dates for content expiry and we do this by adding etag headers and cache control headers in your HTTP headers. Cache control is basically for dictating how long a file is cached by a web browser and etag verifies any changes between the cached resource and what is requested.

Using Apache Server

With Apache server you must make an edit to the .htaccess file. Find your .htaccess file and add the following code to the file and save it:

# TN – START EXPIRES CACHING #
ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType text/css “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType text/html “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType image/gif “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/png “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/jpg “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/x-icon “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType application/pdf “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/javascript “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType text/x-javascript “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash “access 1 month”
ExpiresDefault “access 1 month”
# TN – END EXPIRES CACHING #

Try to set your dates for one year – under a month and over a year is not really recommended. Once you have done that, add the cache control header as follows, to the .htaccess file:

 TN – BEGIN Cache-Control Headers

<filesMatch “\.(ico|jpe?g|png|gif|swf)$”>
Header set Cache-Control “public”

<filesMatch “\.(css)$”>
Header set Cache-Control “public”

<filesMatch “\.(js)$”>
Header set Cache-Control “private”

<filesMatch “\.(x?html?|php)$”>
Header set Cache-Control “private, must-revalidate”

# TN – END Cache-Control Headers

It isn’t necessary to specify a timeline in this because you already did that for the cached resources. The last thing to do is turn off etags by adding this code:

# TN – BEGIN Turn ETags Off
FileETag None
# TN – END Turn ETags Off

Now save the file and, if you are using a cache plugin, clear the cache.

Using Nginx Server:

On the Nginx server, you need to edit your .conf file which you will find in

/etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default

Go to the file and add this code:

location ~* \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif|ico|css|js)$ {
expires 365d;
}
location ~* \.(pdf|html|swf)$ {
expires 90d;
}

Next, add the cache control header:

location ~* \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif|ico|css|js)$ {
expires 90d;
add_header Cache-Control “public, no-transform”;
}

Using a Plugin

If you prefer to use a plugin, you can choose one of these three highly reliable and recommended plugins:

WP Fastest Cache

One of the top plugins, used on more than 300,000 WordPress websites. WP Fastest Cache also offers other features for optimizing page speed, such as :

  • Minification
  • Gzip compression
  • Reducing HTTP requests
  • Generation of static files

Browser Caching with .htaccess

Another popular plugin, this is lightweight and does exactly what it says. It doesn’t have too many settings making it ideal for the beginner, but it does allow you to modify the time span for Expires header.

W3 Total Cache

Finally, w3 Total Cache offers a straightforward way to leverage browser caching with a light, easy to use plugin, ideal for beginners.

It doesn’t matter if you choose the plugin route or the editing route; what matters is that you leverage browser caching to speed up your WordPress website.

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Editorial

The ONE skill most digital entrepreneurs do not have

After many years of mentoring digital entrepreneurs, I find that there is constantly one core skill they do not start with…

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Writing skill entrepreneurs

Over the past decade, I have had the privilege of being a digital marketing mentor to a lot of MBA students and entrepreneurs.

I have always loved being able to help people who are just discovering what the internet can do for their businesses and how thinking asymmetrically can create growth and profits online.

In the process of mentoring a lot of these awesome people, I started to see a common trend and it profoundly affected me and has made me rethink everything about the way I teach digital business.

The internet is awesome.

It’s made it possible for an entrepreneur or a small team of people to create websites and online applications that compete against much larger businesses. This because they have mastered some skillset that is in demand and have figured out how to share it profitably with the rest of the world.

I used to believe that when entrepreneurs are starting to learn about starting an online business, they needed to learn everything about business, tools, terminology and technology.

While those are all important, there is one critical skillset that is often missed when people are learning to build digital businesses.

The ability to write properly and eloquently.

Frustrated writer

I have been stunned and shocked to see people who can master every other component of digital marketing be so intimidated by a blank screen or sheet of paper.

Lots of entrepreneurs are terrified of writing. They love building products, selling products, tinkering with website elements, landing pages and doing everything else but they are scared to actually learn how to write compelling content.

The irony is, they love consuming content from other writers!

My story

When I built one of my successful online businesses, it was based on Microsoft Windows. I realized that to really understand how to create compelling content around software, I had to learn how to write. Even about a topic I was only peripherally aware of at the time.

So I did.

I wrote over 7,000 articles in less than 8 years.

I wrote on websites, syndication sites, on financial sites, press releases, landing pages, editorials and more.

I started one article at a time and did it so much that it became second nature. I was edited by tough editors at sites like Seeking Alpha and had to rewrite content often to get it published. It was tough starting out but I learned.

Eventually, my content was so compelling that my website had 50,000 daily visitors and in 2010, I received a Microsoft MVP award for the Windows Desktop.

Build Conference Anaheim

Me at the Microsoft Build Conference in Anaheim California – 2011

My ability to write got me into conferences where I met most of the popular technology writers I had always admired. I was a member of the press pool at Microsoft events – because I learned how to write.

That business made me close to a million dollars based on my digital marketing abilities BUT at the end of the day it all came down to one thing.

The ability to write and express myself.

It’s critical.

I learned this the hard way

When I would walk entrepreneurs through digital marketing basics and eventually get their sites up and running, I would find out that they either didn’t know how to write or hated writing.

That changed the way I teach.

Now I start off with a basic digital writing and copywriting class.

Once my students are able to write somewhat decently and properly, only then do we move to keyword research, idea validation etc.

My advice to entrepreneurs starting out

If you have an idea for an online business, you should take a writing class. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling a product or a service, you should learn how to write.

You should head to online resources like Udemy and search for “writing”.

Yes, you can hire a copywriter to do some things for you but the truth is, even the best copywriters can’t replace you.

Customers and clients are drawn to YOU. 

They come to your site, connect to you on social media and respond to your content because it’s YOU. This is true for every kind of business and it’s also why the most effective way to sell professional services online is with your blog.

The blog allows customers and visitors to see how you think and figure out whether your values are compatible with theirs. If they like how you think and express yourself, you’re more likely to make that sale or convert that visitor.

Also practice writing!

“I’m not a good writer!” – that’s a common refrain I hear.

No one starts out as a good writer. No one.

Some people do have natural talent but even that takes honing and practice until it’s perfected. Write one hundred articles in a month and I GUARANTEE you that the first and last article will be dramatically different.

The bottom line

The ability to express yourself is one of the most critical skills you can develop as an adult. It’s what gets you the VC money, what gets you the raise at work, the first date with a significant other and what gets your content to convert.

Learning how to write can change your life. I know this because it changed mine.

If you don’t know how to write, learn and if you’re a good writer, practice. This skill is often the difference between success and failure online.

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Website Performance

Digital Marketing Tips – How to Create and Edit your WordPress .htaccess File

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How to Create and Edit your WordPress htaccess File

Throughout many of these posts, you’ve been asked to access and edit the .htaccess file so now we’re going to look at what it is and how to create and edit it.

It is a very important system file that is in the root directory of your website and is one of the most useful tools you have for improving the speed and performance of your website.

What is .htaccess File?

The .htaccess file is a system file that belongs to Apache server. It is a configuration file which talks to the server and acts as per the instructions in the file.

Basically, it is the way in which the Apache server handles per-directory configuration changes. WordPress uses the .htaccess file to manipulate the way in which Apache serves the files from root and subdirectories.

The (.) at the start of the name signifies that it is a hidden file so, when you need to access it, you need to ensure that your system has ‘Show Hidden Files’ enabled.

How to Create an htaccess File

Most of the time, WordPress will automatically create the file the very first time you decide on your permalink structure.

However, sometimes you may need to do it yourself because WordPress can’t, usually because of read/write issues or create permissions issues with the server. So, here’s how to create it manually:

  • Make a text file on your computer
  • Copy and then paste the code below into the file:

# BEGIN WordPress

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ – [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

# END WordPress

  • Save the file, changing the file extension to .htaccess instead of .txt
  • Use the cPanel file manger to upload it to the root directory of your website.
  • Upload it to …/home/yourwebsite/public_html/.htaccess

How to Edit the htaccess File

There are a few ways to access and edit the .htaccess file:

Through cPanel

  • Login to the hosting account or straight into cPanel
  • Go to File Manager
  • In Settings, make sure that “Turn On Hidden File” is enabled
  • Locate the root directory for your website
  • Look in ‘public_html’ for the .htaccess file
  • Right click it and follow the instructions given to edit it

Through Yoast Plugin

Yoast is one of the most popular plugins in WordPress and it allows you to access the .htaccess file and edit it. You could also use WP Htaccess Editor but, before you use any plugin to edit the file, do back up your website first.

Why Use .htaccess to Improve Website Performance?

It is one of the most important files for your website, offering options to enable and/or disable many safety features and change the way the search engine bots are handled.

You can also use it to add URL write/rewrite rules for redirections and it can be used to help safeguard against spammers on your website.

One of the most common uses is to enable GZip compression, or to add Expires Headers, change eTag to leverage browser caching and more. In short it is, as I said, one of the best ways to manage performance and speed.

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