The Top 10 Best Web Analytic Tools

The Top 10 Best Web Analytic Tools

If it’s not worth measuring, it’s not worth doing.

In any business, tracking statistics and interpreting the data in order to make good choices can be said to be one of the most pivotal reasons why the business will succeed or fail.

Businesses from big to small regularly take diligent spread sheets, tracking sales, stock, upcoming orders, expenses, and much more, so that they can successfully see where their business is headed and what changes they mind need to implement.

But why should an online business care about tracking so many numbers? And more importantly, what should an online business or blog be tracking? With your website, your sales, the most important thing to track is performance.

The result of your online businesses’ success is always due to combination of many ideas & efforts, and the successful “coming together” of multiple marketing strategies and different traffic sources.

Your business may be flying high at the moment, but where is it going? How did it get there? Ask yourself questions about your own business as if you were your own investor (and you really are), could you answer these questions?

To really get a grasp in truly learning what’s working for your site, a good analytics system will be your bread and butter. They don’t give you aggregate data or “could be” data, but rather exactly what is happening on your sits: separating out what is working from what is not.

Without a good analytics system, your web business is flying blind.

The Top 10 Web Analytic Tools

So let’s dig into this list, compiled by yours truly, in no specific order.

1.) Google Analytics

Google Analytics

The analytic tool that most people start with, and for good reason: it’s not a bad tool at all, it gives relevant information, and it’s free!

I’d like to add a disclaimer here that I would not recommend this tool for affiliate sites, and I would only use it for blogs or authority sites. Why? Maybe I’m totally wrong, but to me, Big G doesn’t like sites looking to only make affiliate sales, and you are pretty much handing over the info about your site to them by using this tool.

That disclaimer aside, this is the go to starter tool for measuring data on your site, and if you are not at least running this on your site, you definitely should be, and I would recommend running it in cohesion with Google Webmaster Tools.

Google Analytics also has a lot of great features that I feel like most people don’t take the time to use effectively. The KISSmetrics blog (ironically, as they are a competing brand mentioned below) actually has two great posts on utilizing Google Analytics to its maximum potential.

One is about 50 resources for getting to know the ins and outs of Google Analytics, and another is about 9 awesome techniques that you can use while utilizing this entirely free tool.

All in all a great pick for any website, but especially for people just getting into analytics, and you can’t beat the price!

2.) Clicky

Clicky Analytics

While these aren’t in any specific order, I did have to put this one near the top, as it is, bar none, my favorite analytic tool out there, and the one that I most consistently use (and currently use right now).

Clicky Analytics (located at has been making waves in the analytics biz since it was released, and is often (as it was for me) the first tool that users migrate over to from Google Analytics.

The key difference here is in the delay of Google Analytics: you get information for the day before where as the information from Clicky is in real time, which can be essential if you get spike in visitors from some outside source (think the traffic flow from StumbleUpon and other sites).

All in all, if you want an overall analytics package which offers access o real time data, I can’t recommend another choice over Clicky at the moment, but don’t let it stop you from reading the rest of the list, as this is just my personal favorite.

3.) Mint

Mint Analytics

Mint Analytics is one of my favorite new analytics tools, and it comes at a great price, since it is the only tool on the list that you only have to pay once for.

Located at, Mint charges an upfront fee of $30 per site, but with no recurring costs afterwards. This definitely beats out other tools that even charge a low monthly rate, if you plan on sticking with Mint, because the long term cost would add up to over $30 after only a year.

Not only does it have this great price incentive, the actual product is excellent, it comes with a really fresh (yes… pun intended) layout, with clean and easy to understand charts that display the info that you need to know.

Mint is largely comparable to the other overall analytic tools on this list that cover a bit of a premium price, but is the only one that features a upfront cost with no recurring fees.

4.) Church Analytics

Church Analytics

Created by one of the original developers of the Standard Theme Framework (which I use on my blog at, this analytics tool has one of the most beautiful interfaces that I’ve seen.

Priding itself on providing the information you really need without the vanity data that won’t help your site, Church Analytics is a relatively new competitor on the scene, but from what I’ve seen when I was using on my music blog, it is definitely a solid system built by people who know what they are doing.

I like that the navigation (in the dashboard) is really easy to follow, it is important for a new analytics system to be easy to use, as those who might be willing to try it out need to be won over quickly, given the numerous great options out there.

5.) KISSmetrics

KISSmetrics Analytics

One of my favorite analytics systems, and also one of my favorite company blogs, KISSmetrics is started by a couple of bright guys, one of whom’s blog I enjoy which you’ve might heard of, called QuickSprout.

Not getting off topic, KISSmetrics offers a great system for getting to know your visitors, although I would place it more in line for online commerce businesses over blogs.

Not to say that it cannot be used for blogs, especially blogs that have products to offer, and it is especially great to use in conjunction withKISSinisghts, but the tools that it has in place are definitely made for commerce sites, and I would recommend them over other tools for those sites above all else.

6.) Open Web Analytics

Open Web Analytics

Open Web Analytics focuses on the simplicity of their tool and the open source nature of it as well. From their own site:

Open Web Analytics (OWA) is open source web analytics software that you can use to track and analyze how people use your web sites and applications.

If you are looking for something free, something effective, and enjoy working with open source software, Open Web Analytics is the way to go.

It is easily comparable to Google Analytics, but again, if you like to use open source projects, this is one of the best serious alternatives.

7.) Clicktale

Clicktale Analytics

If you really want to know how your customers are interacting with your site, you can literally view exactly what interactions they’ve had with your site by using Clicktale.

With this tool, you can see what your viewers did while on your site, visualizing their interactions with your on page content, to see if there are any parts of your site that really draw attention, or parts that get totally ignored.

One great use of Clicktale that I saw came from the DIYThemes blog, where Derek (of SocialTriggers) saw that people were putting their mouse by his “Resources” images, but wouldn’t interact with them.

This information made him realize (with customer feedback) that people were ignoring his resource pages because they looked like ads.

If you want this kind of insight into how your viewers on interacting with your page, then you definitely need to try out Clicktale.

8.) CrazyEgg

Crazy Egg Analytics

CrazyEgg is another company from Neil Patel (current KISSmetrics co-owner) and offers a lot of visual ways to see how people are navigating on your site.

This tool offers a few “maps” from which you can choose to see how you visitors are browsing:

  • Heatmap: A picture of where people clicked on your site. This lets you see what’s hot and what’s not, so you can make changes that increase conversions.
  • Scrollmap: The scollmap shows how far down the page people are scrolling and helps determine where visitors abandon the page.
  • Confetti: With confetti, you will be able to distinguish all the clicks you get on your site segmented by referral sources, search terms, and more.
  • Overlay: When you look at the Overlay report, you will be able to see the number of clicks on each element of your page.

One of the few great ways to get a visual representation of the all important clicks on your site.

9.) Piwik

Piwik Analytics

Piwik is another great example of a company providing a solid, free web analytics tool that is also open source, much like Open Web Analytics like we discussed above.

Piwik touts itself as being another open source option to Google Analytics, and from what I’ve seen, it provides a similar dataset, so you can say that it is comparable to Google Analytics, with the emphasis on the open source nature of the project.

It is a PHP MySQL software program that you download and install on your own webserver. At the end of the five minute installation process you will be given a JavaScript code. Simply copy and paste this tag on websites you wish to track (or use an existing plugin to do it automatically for you) and access your analytics reports in real time.

10.) CloudFlare


The new service that I’ve come across known as CloudFlare is somewhat of an anomaly on this list, but from what I’ve tried of the service, I really like it.

The reason that I say it is somewhat different is because it places emphasis on the security and CDN services it can provide, as a complement to the analytics set.

It seems to be an overall strong addition to any site, even the free package, as it promotes itself as a product that scans sites for security, utilizes technology to improve site speed, and gives you an insight on your visitors with analytics.

I can’t say the analytics are totally different from some of the more established sites discussed above, but I’m impressed with the overall package of CloudFlare, and wanted to include it here for you to check out. The site is currently in beta, so try it, and if doesn’t work for you, move on.


It is important for you to keep track of your site and your traffic.

If you plan on turning your website into a business, you should be treating it as such, and no self-respecting businessman (or woman) would let the important stastics about their business no unnoticed, and for web businesses, understanding your traffic and thus your visitors themselves is key.

So find a good analytics tool from one of the above (or even another), try it out, measure your success with the information provided, change and tweak if needed, and keep your site moving in the right direction.

Plugins we add to almost every website

Plugins we add to almost every website

Choosing plugins that can help optimize your website without lagging it can sometimes prove difficult. With many plugins fighting against each other its mostly a trial and error to the find the best fit for any one particular website.

Here are a few of our go to inclusions:

WP Super Cache

A very fast caching engine for WordPress that produces static html files. This plugin generates static html files from your dynamic WordPress blog. After a html file is generated your webserver will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts.


Simple but effective plugin allows you to extensively clean up your WordPress database and optimize it without doing manual queries. WP-Optimize is an extensive WordPress database cleanup and optimization tool. It doesn’t require PhpMyAdmin to clean and optimize your database tables.

Yoast SEO

This plugin is written from the ground up by Joost de Valk and his team at Yoast to improve your site’s SEO on all needed aspects. While this Yoast SEO plugin goes the extra mile to take care of all the technical optimization, more on that below, it first and foremost helps you write better content. Yoast SEO forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles, and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere.

WP Speed Grades

Improves your Page Speed Grades for Google Insights, GT Metrix and Pingdom Tools. Reduces Loading Time.


Allows you to optimize database, repair database, backup database, restore database, delete backup database , drop/empty tables and run selected queries. Supports automatic scheduling of backing up, optimizing and repairing of database.

Revision Control (not as necessary is WP-Optimize is Added)

Revision Control allows finer control over the Post Revision system included with WordPress

Revision Control is a plugin for WordPress which gives the user more control over the Revision functionality.

The plugin allows the user to set a site-global setting (Settings -> Revisions) for pages/posts to enable/disable/limit the number of revisions which are saved for the page/post. The user may change this setting on a per-page/post basis from the Revisions Meta box.

The plugin also allows the deletion of specific revisions via the Revisions post metabox.

W3 Total Cache

Easy Web Performance Optimization (WPO) using caching: browser, page, object, database, minify and content delivery network support.

The only WordPress Performance Optimization (WPO) framework; designed to improve user experience and page speed.

Recommended by web hosts like:, Synthesis, DreamHost, MediaTemple, Go Daddy, Host Gator and countless more.

Trusted by countless companies like: AT&T,,,,,,,,,,,,, and tens of thousands of others.

W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your site by increasing server performance, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.

Hello Bar

If you don’t want to go the route of creating and utilizing a modal box. This nifty free tool allows for a rather efficient lead generation addition to your website.

Main downfall – Can’t choose an exact page placement on website.

Updraft Plus

UpdraftPlus simplifies backups (and restoration). Backup into the cloud (Amazon S3 (or compatible), Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace Cloud, DreamObjects, FTP, Openstack Swift, UpdraftPlus Vault and email) and restore with a single click. Backups of files and database can have separate schedules. The paid version also backs up to Microsoft OneDrive, Microsoft Azure, Copy.Com, Google Cloud Storage, SFTP, SCP, and WebDAV.



What are your go to plugins? Share with us!

8 EASY tips to boost your Digital presence!

8 EASY tips to boost your Digital presence!


Create an approval funnel

Everyone, no matter how experienced they are, can make mistakes. By implementing an approval funnel, once content is curated and set up to be dispersed, you can review it before scheduling and mitigate risks of common grammatical errors, design errors, and dead links before dissemination.


Brand everything

It is very important to create a unique identity for your brand (business or personal) and include it in everything you share. Whether it be dropping your logo, brand name, a hashtag, or website link, simply including this info on your photo or message can subliminally ‘sell’ your brand and help your audience become more familiar with your brand.


Create owned content

You are the expert in your field. You know your business and you know your product better than anyone. Creating original and unique content illustrates your authority and allows for more personalized content. Beyond the legal advantages of not stealing others images, designing or re-designing content allows you the opportunity to more precisely customize your artwork and provide quality and reputable content.


Set KPI’s!

Measuring your brand’s success through setting KPI’s is an easy way to assess the power of your Digital Marketing efforts. With marketing & advertising representing a huge portion of a brand’s budget, it is important to track the value of your dollar. By setting goals for your campaigns, you can effectively track initiatives and feedback across various platforms such as web, social, and mobile. Setting KPI’s (Key Performance Indicator; a tool used to measure performance) is an easy way to identify what content works best for your brand, what doesn’t work, how it is received by your specified audience, and what areas can be improved.


The 80/20 rule is even more real in Digital

Don’t bombard your customers’ timeline with ‘over selling’ messages or branding. 80% of your social media posts should contain non-self-promoted, entertainment value content, and the remaining 20% can be self-promoted. Always keep in mind that people don’t use social media to be sold to, they use it to “socialize”. Create content that is relatable such as stories about your personal life, behind-the-scenes photos, employee happenings, and personal experiences, that might help your followers or evoke emotion. Ways in which you can still promote your product but make it less ‘selly’ is by adding a simple Call to Action; such as your website url or contact info in your post copy.

There’s only one rule you should follow in regards to posting entertaining / non-self promoted content: It should be industry related.


Email Marketing works

Email marketing presents more opportunities for your business and drives a better return on investment than many social media platforms. Coupled with engagement rates of over 70% email marketing can create deeper relationships with a wider audience at a fraction of the cost of traditional media. It can be more targeted, as you have a specific subscriber list with people who are directly interested in your product, it is cost effective as there are no print costs, postage fees, or advertising rates, AND you can measure the success of your campaigns with easy to understand reporting metrics. With each email sent, consumers are exposed to your business and your brand!

Customer Engagement

Customer engagement is a huge part of social media and digital marketing.  Customers must know you – they want to know who you are and why they should trust you. Social media gives you the opportunity to personify your brand and connect with your customers in the way they communicate. This can mean sharing the different facets of your company’s story or listening in on the social conversation and joining in. Choose trending topics and current events to connect with your customer’s common interests and be consistent and speak to your audience in a brand voice they can relate to and build connections between your brand and the latest topics of interest.


Contests & Giveaways

Contests and giveaways are a great way to increase your online following and get your community engaged with your brand. A user-generated content (UGC) promotion or contest taps into the human drive to compete and provides an opportunity for everyone to experience their 15 minutes of fame. Most importantly, when participants upload their personal content (e.g., a photo or story) to your promotion AMAZING digital bots go to work notifying their friends, and their friends friends, essentially allowing your participants to do your marketing for you.


These are just a few tips that we use daily. Feel free to share yours and join in the conversation at ^_^






Social media management jamaica

Digital marketing jamaica

Digital Marketing tips

Online advertising

10 Benefits of Digital Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing

10 Benefits of Digital Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing

So why should a small business either develop or strengthen its presence online?

As we’ve seen, the world of technology, digital marketing, and social media has a significant impact on how we behave socially, act as consumers, and how we do business. While E-Fire is a Digital Marketing Agency passionate about all things digital we encourage our clients not to blindside their vision and miss out on any traditional media that currently works. Instead, we specialize in developing a blended strategy of traditional and digital marketing that can lead to optimum returns for your business.

Here is how we see the 10 benefits of Digital Marketing v. Traditional marketing:

1. Cheaper: This is the most resonating factor, especially when working with a limited budget. Your business can develop its online marketing strategy for very little and can potentially replace costly advertising channels such as television, newspaper, yellow pages, and radio.

2. Real time results: You don’t have to wait weeks for a boost to your business. You can see the numbers of visitors to your site and its increase, peak times, and conversion rates during or immediately after a campaign is complete.

3. Level playing field: Any business can compete with any competitor regardless of size with a SOLID digital marketing strategy. Traditionally a smaller retailer would struggle to match the finesse of its larger competitors in traditional media. Online, a crisp well thought out website with a smooth customer journey and fantastic service is king – not size.

4. Simple to measure: Unlike traditional methods you can see in real time what aspects of your digital marketing strategy are working, allowing you to adapt and react very quickly to improve results. With the wide range of reporting tools E-Fire use we are able to provide thorough Google, Email Marketing, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIN etc. analytics.

5. Far greater exposure: Your business can be seen anywhere in the world from one marketing campaign, the cost to do this using traditional methods would be astonishing. Plus, once you have optimized your keyword search content (Search Engine Optimization) you will see a long-term return on your investment.

6. Refinement of your strategy: Basically, anything that we capture in your customer journey can be reported on and honed for greater success. This then enables you to refine your strategy at any point in time and see improvements or opportunities for further refinement instantaneously.

7. Brand Development: A well maintained website with quality content targeting the needs and adding value to your target audience can provide significant value and lead generation opportunities. The same can be said with utilizing social media channels and email marketing.

8. Customer Service and Damage Control: Tend to the needs of your customers immediately. That person searching around for pricing info on products, someone wanting more information on your brochure, or even access to a recent catalogue, can come to you for immediate assistance. Ensuring you don’t lose another lead to your more dynamic competitor. Engaging with customers in real time is paramount to a solid digital marketing strategy, and can allow you to monitor, react, and solve negative press or feedback that might be floating around the internet.

9. Greater Engagement: With digital marketing you can encourage your prospects, clients, and followers to take action, visit your website, read about your products and services, rate them, buy them, and provide feedback which is visible to your market. It doesn’t take long for good publicity to enhance the prospects of your business.

10. Viral and not intrusive: How often do your sales flyers get passed around instantly by your customers and prospects? Online, using social media share buttons on your website, email, and social channels enables your message to be shared instantly, just look at how effective it is for sharing breaking news! If you consider that the average Facebook user has 190 friends of which an average of 12% see their liked posts – your one message has actually been seen by 15 new prospects, now imagine a number of them also like and share your message and their friends do the same? The results are enormous. Also, online people have the choice to opt in or out of communications so you don’t intrude on their space as much as cold calls or mailshots.


These are just some of the few pros we have seen from our clients. Feel free to share any you have on how Digital Marketing has helped grow your business and save you MONEY!

social media jamaica

5 Simple Google Analytics Reports You Should Expect from your Digital Marketing Agency

5 Simple Google Analytics Reports You Should Expect from your Digital Marketing Agency

Integrating Google Analytics with our clients’ websites is something we find integral. Not only will it help us track the success of your online marketing efforts, it will also gives us the opportunity to lengthen our professional relationship by offering these high level analytic reporting and optimization services.

We know our clients may be completely unfamiliar with Analytics, and opening their dashboard without direction could leave them feeling intimidated. Luckily, we help solve this problem by setting up some simple, custom reports that we can hand over to you to monitor, or provide for you monthly. That way, even the least analytical person in the world can get a quick snapshot of what’s working and what isn’t in regards to their online business — without having to be a Google Analytics pro.

Below are five simple Google Analytics reports that we provide that can help give you an extra insight into your online activity.

1. Customer acquisition report

The Customer Acquisition report offers a simple but crucial perspective for any business. This report shows clients how their customers are landing on-site and what channels are contributing the most revenue to their business. Data for each acquisition channel is broken down to total revenue, average order value, and conversion rate. That way, we can identify what specific channels you should increase (or decrease) your marketing efforts on.

Download the report.

2. Organic traffic landing page report

Most website owners will, at the very least, implement a fundamental search engine optimization strategy with the goal of boosting organic traffic to their store. In an attempt to control the abuse of search optimization on all websites, Google does not share the organic keywords used to arrive at your website — instead you see the dreaded [not set].

The Organic Traffic Landing Page report tries to circumvent this barrier by allowing you to see your top performing landing pages for organic traffic. Not only does this report filter your traffic by organic session landing pages, but it will also allow you to see a snapshot of your most profitable landing pages for organically-sourced visitors. By using landing pages as your primary dimension, you’re able to make a manual assessment of what content or keywords could be driving your organic traffic, as well as what pages could use some extra SEO love.

When we want the full picture of a client’s SEO efforts, we couple this report with an SEO-specific tool like SEMrush or Moz.

Download the report.

3. Email assessment report

If our client uses email marketing to drive return traffic to their website, the Email Assessment report will help them understand the role their campaigns play in sales. By understanding which campaigns lead to the greatest amount of transactions or revenue, our client has additional data — aside from open and click-through rates — to optimize their email marketing efforts.

Download the report.

4. Device comparison report

In 2016, mobile and omni-channel commerce are slated to be bigger than ever and merchants need to be one step ahead. Mobile users behave differently than desktop users — they will arrive on your client’s site through unique channels and will interact with the site in unique ways. Because of this, it’s important that you help set up your clients for success from the get-go.

The Device Comparison report includes two views that allow our clients to better understand the differences between their mobile and desktop customers. They’ll understand how user behaviour differs based on device, as well as what acquisition sources are driving the most profitable customers based on device.

Download the report.

5. Time of day / day of week transaction report

The Time of Day / Day of Week Transaction report offers our clients a detailed view of their past week of sales. The report helps identify which hours of the day, days of the week, and combination of both lead to their highest levels of sales.

What’s great about this report is that it will allow our client to isolate particular days or hours that are performing poorly in terms of revenue. This information presents an opportunity for them to run special marketing promotions during these periods to increase traffic, as well as sales.

Download the report.

Bonus: Conversion Funnel Visualization report

While this isn’t a custom report in Google Analytics, it is probably our client’s most valuable report in their data arsenal. The Conversion Funnel Visualization report comes standard in Analytics, and helps our client understand the effectiveness of their checkout funnel. It allows them to see where potential customers are dropping off in the checkout flow, which can be used to drive optimization efforts.

Before you can access any conversion funnel data, you’ll need to set up a funnel in your client’s Analytics account. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Once you’re signed into their Google Analytics account, click “Admin” in the top navigation bar.
  2. Make sure you’ve selected the right “View” in the right-most column and click on “Goals.” Select “+ New Goal.”
  3. Name your goal (“Checkout” works) and select “Destination URL” as your goal type. Press continue.
  4. Enter your post-checkout page as your destination (normally, this is your payment confirmed or thank you page). Turn on the “funnel” option and enter the page extensions for each step of your checkout funnel in order.
  5. Save your goal, and voila! Start tracking the effectiveness of your checkout flow.

Once your conversion funnel is set up, you can access the report in the left navigation bar under “Conversions” → “Goals” → “Funnel Visualization.”

Get the most from your Digital team!

Custom reports are one of the most powerful tools in Google Analytics. The reports shared above are simple versions that help get our clients started with analytics.


Note: Before using these reports, please follow the instructions for installing Enhanced Ecommerce Reports, which will enable ecommerce tracking on your client’s store. All reports have been pre-generated and can be imported into your client’s Google Analytics by clicking the hyperlinked report. Just make sure you are logged into their account before clicking.

15 Easy Ways To Speed Up WordPress

WordPress is a great platform. One weakness that it suffers from, however, is it can be quite slow.

Without taking the right precautions, you could end up with a sluggish site.

That’s not only a hassle for repeat visitors but will cause you to lose subscribers and customers.

In this quick post, I’ll cover all of the best ways that I’ve found to consistently speed up WordPress.

Why Site Speed Is Important

When a person lands on your site for the first time, you only have a few seconds to capture their attention to convince them to hang around.

Get ready to lose sleep at night: according to a report by the Microsoft Bing search team, a 2-second longer delay in page responsiveness reduced user satisfaction by 3.8%, increased lost revenue per user by 4.3%, and a reduced clicks by 4.3%.

If your site takes too long to load, most people are gone, lost before you even had a chance.

Not only that, but Google now includes site speed in it’s ranking algorithm. That means that your site’s speed effects SEO, so if your site is slow, you’re now losing visitors from impatience and reduced rankings in search engines. Yikes.

Let’s fix that.

How To Speed Up WordPress

As a side note, these are not ordered by importance or any criteria, I’ve just gathered everything I’ve learned about speeding up page loads on WordPress and compiled them here.

I guarantee that using even a few will help speed up your site.

1. Choose a good host

When starting out, a shared host might seem like a bargain (“Unlimited page views!”). It comes at another cost: incredibly slow site speed and frequent down time during high traffic periods.

If you plan on publishing popular stuff, you’re killing yourself by running your WordPress site on shared hosting.

The stress of your site going down after getting a big feature is enough to create a few early gray hairs: don’t be a victim, invest in proper hosting.

The only WordPress host I continually recommend is…

WP Engine managed WordPress hosting

My sites are always blazingly fast, never have downtime when I get huge features (like when I was featured on the Discovery Channel blog!), and the back-end is very easy to use.

Last but not least, support is top notch, which is a must when it comes to hosting. Take it from someone who’s learned that the hard way.

Head on over to the WP Engine homepage and check out their offerings, you’ll be happy you did.

2. Start with a solid framework/theme

You might be surprised to here this, but the Twenty Fifteen “framework” (aka the default WP theme) is lightweight and quite speedy.

That’s because they keep the “guts” simple; compare that to bloated frameworks which have tons of features that you will never use, slowing your site to a crawl.

From my experience, the fastest loading premium framework is definitely the Thesis Theme Framework. It surpasses the basic WordPress themes by being far easier to customize.

It’s an incredibly solid framework that won’t slow you down with excess plugins or custom edits. Make the changes right from the theme and avoid bloat, hoorah!

3. Use an effective caching plugin

WordPress plugins are obviously quite useful, but some of the best fall under the caching category, as they drastically improve page loads time, and best of all, all of them on are free and easy to use.

By far my favorite, bar none, is W3 Total Cache, I wouldn’t recommend or use any other caching plugin, it has all of the features you need and is extremely easy to install and use.

Simply install and activate, and what your page load faster as elements are cached.

4. Use a content delivery network (CDN)

All of your favorite big blogs are making use of this, and if you are into online marketing using WordPress (as I’m sure many of my readers are) you won’t be surprised to here that some of your favorite blogs like Copyblogger are making use of CDN’s.

Essentially, a CDN, or content delivery network, takes all your static files you’ve got on your site (CSS, Javascript and images etc) and lets visitors download them as fast as possible by serving the files on servers as close to them as possible.

I personally use the Max CDN Content Delivery Network on my WordPress sites, as I’ve found that they have the most reasonable prices and their dashboard is very simple to use (and comes with video tutorials for setting it up, takes only a few minutes).

There is a plugin called Free-CDN that promises to do the same, although I haven’t tested it.

5. Optimize images (automatically)

Yahoo! has an image optimizer called that will drastically reduce the file size of an image, while not reducing quality.

However, if you are like me, doing this to every image would be beyond a pain, and incredibly time consuming.

Fortunately, there is an amazing, free plugin called WP-SmushIt which will do this process to all of your images automatically, as you are uploading them. No reason not to install this one.

6. Optimize your homepage to load quickly

This isn’t one thing but really a few easy things that you can do to ensure that your homepage loads quickly, which probably is the most important part of your site because people will be landing there the most often.

Things that you can do include:

  • Show excerpts instead of full posts
  • Reduce the number of posts on the page (I like showing between 5-7)
  • Remove unnecessary sharing widgets from the home page (include them only in posts)
  • Remove inactive plugins and widgets that you don’t need
  • Keep in minimal! Readers are here for content, not 8,000 widgets on the homepage
Overall, a clean and focused homepage design will help your page not only look good, but load quicker as well.

7. Optimize your WordPress database

I’m certainly getting a lot of use out of the word “optimize” in this post!

This can be done the very tedious, extremly boring manual fashion, or…

You can simply use the WP-Optimize plugin, which I run on all of my sites.

This plugin lets you do just one simple task: optimize the your database (spam, post revisions, drafts, tables, etc.) to reduce their overhead.

I would also recommend the WP-DB Manager plugin, which can schedule dates for database optimization.

8. Disable hotlinking and leeching of your content

Hotlinking is a form of bandwidth “theft.” It occurs when other sites direct link to the images on your site from their articles making your server load increasingly high.

This can add up as more and more people “scrape” your posts or your site (and especially images) become more popular, as must do if you create custom images for your site on a regular basis.

Place this code in your root .htaccess file:

disable hotlinking of images with forbidden or custom image option
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)? [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)? [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)? [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L]

You’ll notice I included my feed (from FeedBurner), you’ll need to replace it with your feed’s name, otherwise your images won’t appear correctly there.

9. Add an expires header to static resources

An Expires header is a way to specify a time far enough in the future so that the clients (browsers) don’t have to re-fetch any static content (such as css file, javascript, images etc).

This way can cut your load time significantly for your regular users.

You need to copy and paste the following code in your root .htaccess file:

ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType image/gif A2592000
ExpiresByType image/png A2592000
ExpiresByType image/jpg A2592000
ExpiresByType image/jpeg A2592000

The above numbers are set for a month (in seconds), you can change them as you wish.

10. Adjust Gravatar images

You’ll notice on this site that the default Gravatar image is set to… well, nothing.

This is not an aesthetic choice, I did it because it improves page loads by simply having nothing where there would normally be a goofy looking Gravatar logo or some other nonsense.

Some blogs go as far to disable them throughout the site, and for everyone.

You can do either, just know that it will at least benefit your site speed if you set the default image (found in “Discussion”, under the settings tab in the WordPress dashboard) to a blank space rather than a default image.

11. Add LazyLoad to your images

LazyLoad is the process of having only only the images above the fold load (i.e. only the images visible in the visitor’s browser window), then, when reader scrolls down, the other images begin to load, just before they come into view.

This will not only speed you page loads, it can also save bandwidth by loading less data for users who don’t scroll all the way down on your pages.

To do this automatically, install the jQuery Image Lazy Load plugin.

12. Control the amount of post revisions stored

I saved this post to draft about 8 times.

WordPress, left to its own devices, would store every single one of these drafts, indefinitely.

Now, when this post is done and published, why would I need all of those drafts stored?

That’s why I use the Revision Control plugin to make sure I keep post revisions to a minimum, set it to 2 or 3 so you have something to fall back on in case you make a mistake, but not too high that you clutter your backend with unnecessary amounts of drafted posts.

13. Turn off pingbacks and trackbacks

By default, WordPress interacts with other blogs that are equipped with pingbacks and trackbacks.

Every time another blog mentions you, it notifies your site, which in turn updates data on the post. Turning this off will not destroy the backlinks to your site, just the setting that generates a lot of work for your site.

For more detail, read this explanation of WordPress Pingbacks, Trackbacks and Linkbacks.

14. Replace PHP with static HTML, when necessary

This one is a little bit advanced, but can drastically cut down your load time if you are desperate to include page load speeds, so I included it.

I’d be doing this great post injustice if I didn’t link to it for this topic, as it taught me how to easily do this myself, in a few minutes.

So go there and check it out, it wrote it out in plainer terms than I ever could!

15. Use CloudFlare

This is similar to the section above on using CDN’s, but I’ve become so fond of CloudFlare since I discussed it in my best web analytics post that I’ve decided to include it separately here.

To put it bluntly, CloudFlare, along with the W3 Total Cache plugin discussed above, are a really potent combination (they integrate with each other) that will greatly improve not only the speed, but the security of your site.

Both are free!

How often should you be posting across Social Media?

How often should you be posting across Social Media?

This is a question I have to discuss with my clients all the time, everyone wants tons of posts despite what may actually be best for their brand.

Thankfully SumALL has come to the rescue putting a 2015 survey on the results of posting daily into a beautiful infographic that I can now share with you.

And though all brands may vary on what they can get away with I think this is a good indication that no… Facebook is definitely not where you should post 30 times a day, unless you are a public figure or an Online / Retail clothing store.

E-Fire Jamaica

Free Content Planning Editorial

Free Content Planning Editorial

Everyone knows getting that editorial schedule out in time can be a hassle. Though I love to work with mine in excel to have links etc available easily, most clients aren’t able to visualize the overall plan by that method.

Though I create and organize my calendars directly through buffer incase you need an easy way to kick start your template I have to share this amazing FREE download with you.

Just click here to simplify your planning today.

An editorial calendar is a way for you to plan your content. This includes your blog, social media, and all other marketing campaigns that contain your exclusive content. This free paper editorial calendar template can help you start the habit of using an editorial calendarto plan your content marketing. The process of using an editorial calendar is simplified if broken down into three key steps.

1. Start with an annual overview

Planning the upcoming calendar year is the ultimate bird’s-eye-view. By seeing the year’s content in broad chunks without worrying about the details, you can create and identify the overarching themes that your smaller components will fit into. You can also be sure you are staying on target with what you want your content to accomplish for you.

Consider the cycles of content you might need to cover:

  • Advertising

  • Events

  • Holidays

  • Product Launch

Each of these cycles might contain a broad range of content.

1. On your annual calendar, mark down the holidays that are important to your audience and your business. Include planned product launches, events, and contests. These are specific dates you don’t want to miss. You may also want to plan chunks of content that fit your niche which are not associated with specific dates that can be moved around as needed, but ought to be covered during the year. These are your content themes.

2. Next, plan the kind of content you’ll create, such as blog posts, ebooks, social media campaigns, or videos. Determine which is the best type for each calendar item. These are your content types.

3. Finally, plan the duration of the content you want to run during each of these times. Some content might start well ahead of time, some might occur only on the day of.

You will want to refer to this calendar periodically. For example, you will want to task the production of the video far in advance in order to have it ready when needed.

If you only plan month to month, you will miss out when content overlaps or extends beyond a month. It is also easier to lose sight of what’s coming in a month or two if your focus is on the current month only.

2. Begin collecting ideas

Now that you know the broad content themes, and can also see the gaps in between, you’ll have a better idea of the specific kind of content you’ll need. Getting your team together on a regular basis for brainstorming, or encouraging them to come up with their own ideas and pooling them together using a system is necessary.

Your writing team should already know the categories on the blog, and what kind of content fits into those categories. You should also let the team in on your annual calendar. While they might not care about the specifics of dates, at least they know what kind of content themes will happen in the coming year, and can get ideas accordingly.

1. Encourage your team to find ideas that fit all of the different categories on your blog.

2. Get together regularly to brainstorm and go over the ideas. Come up with headlines for those you decide to keep.

3. Create a system where team members can store, pool, and submit ideas that everyone can access. They may have ideas that other team members would appreciate writing about.

Be sure your team has a copy of the annual calendar so that they can see the larger roadmap and think of ideas that would fit the broad themes. Their ideas, after all, will be what makes up the larger theme.

3. Plug content into monthly calendars

Your monthly editorial calendar is your go-to workhorse that you’ll use daily. It tells you who is writing what, and when.

1. Using the annual calendar, begin filling in each month according to the content chunks you planned.

2. Fill in the gaps in each week so that your content publishes regularly during the “off” times. You’ll set up a publishing schedule that your team can handle and that your audience wants. It must be a perfect compromise between the two.

3. Make sure to keep each team member or blog category evenly used, if that is an important goal.

Putting The Calendar To Work With A Team

A team blog has a few more things to do to make the calendar work.

1. Decide if you want your team in on the the annual calendar overview. Maybe they don’t care, maybe they do. The reason to do it would be to get them thinking of ideas ahead of time, and to have a general sense of where the blog is going. Perhaps giving them a heads-up a month at a time will be enough.

2. Establish communication and collaboration routines. For example, you might want to email your writers their assignments two weeks ahead of the publishing date so they have time to write and get a photograph. Or, maybe you’ll need to give them three weeks. You know how your team works best. Your routine should emphasize their strengths.

Using The Editorial Calendar Worksheets

To get started, you’ll want to print one annual calendar and 12 monthly calendars for each blog. You can print as many idea worksheets as you (or your team) need. Fill out the blog name, month, and dates as needed.

Annual Calendar Worksheet

A worksheet for planning out an entire year of content themes.

In order to use this worksheet, you must know how many of each content type (videos, ebooks, case studies, whitepapers, infographics, etc.) your team will be producing each year. This does not include blog posts.

  • Holidays: Note all of the holidays and events on the calendar that you might create content for.

  • Themes: Note the themes or series you plan to create.

  • Content Types: Note which months you will publish a video. Do the same for other content types. Some months may have more than one, depending upon the frequency you (or your team) are able to handle.

For example, might plan out a few months to look something like this:


  • New Year’s Resolutions series.

  • White paper on changing habits.


  • Our Big Industry Conference

  • Theme: Focus on conference topics and speakers.

Tip: You may write on the calendar directly, but if you might need to adjust the schedule later, use a sticky note instead. These worksheets work well with sticky notes.

Ideas Worksheet

Collecting your ideas in one place makes it easier to plan.

The ideas worksheet is optional, but it gives you (or your team) a place to store ideas and easily transfer them to your calendar.

1. Label the worksheet according to the blog the ideas are for, and if the worksheet pertains to a specific theme or event (optional). This will make it easier to track for the appropriate monthly calendar later.

2. Write ideas on the worksheet directly, or use sticky notes to make it easy to transfer to the monthly calendar.

3. Fill in the worksheet key if necessary, noting what any colors you use mean. If your monthly calendar is using color coding based on team member, the columns can be used for categories (or content types), since the color will all be the same on a team member’s worksheet.

Keep the worksheet handy for brainstorming sessions and content planning meetings.

Tip: Hang onto your old idea worksheets in a folder or binder. They will be helpful in future planning sessions. You can see what you’ve done, if you want to repeat content. Or, you can make notes on this worksheet about what did or did not work.

Monthly Calendar Worksheet

Each month you’ll plan your content in greater detail.

The monthly calendar will get the heaviest use. How often you intend to blog each week and what kind of coverage you’ll give each of your categories will determine how you plan a month’s worth of content.

1. Your monthly calendar should have the ideas already on it that fit the annual calendar plan. If not, refer to the annual calendar and make sure any events and themes for the month are covered. Make note of specific content types.

2. Add specific headlines and content to the calendar from the ideas worksheet. You might base your decisions on author (e.g. Jim writes on Monday) or category (e.g. every category used in a two-week cycle), and use color accordingly.

3. Fill out the key so that you (or your team) know what the colors on the calendar mean.

Tip: This calendar template works perfectly with sticky notes, each square sized for a standard small sized note. Using sticky notes makes it easy to move content around on your calendar and adjust for changes. You can also write on the calendar directly, of course.

5 Social Media Tricks to Boost Your Business

5 Social Media Tricks to Boost Your Business

Social media offers diverse benefits for business owners. The evolution of different social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn means that you need to be aware of general as well as channel-specific hacks to fulfill your social media marketing objectives.

Here are five social media hacks that will enable you to save time and gain wider exposure, more followers, higher conversion rates and better engagement.

1. Know what’s hot. If you can post information that is current and relevant to your niche and most importantly your customer, you’ll give your audience a reason to read your posts on social media and from there visit your website. One really great search tool is Powered by Google custom search, it throws up results for Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn and other platforms. and is another search tool designed to allow users to check out how their chosen keywords are being treated by social media networks. It offers analytics data, revealing other folks you can follow online, sentiments associated with keywords, and the types of posts that are doing well.

2. Social media is speaking a new language. And the language is one of images, videos and infographics. These types of media are generating excellent engagement numbers for businesses that have made it standard practice to employ them in a pertinent and creative manner. Vine, the video sharing app for Twitter; Instagram; and Flipboard for iTunes are just some of the apps that enhance the appeal of your posts and make them stand out on your followers’ pages or timelines. Creative calls to action used with such media can help bridge the gap between entertainment, information and lead generation.

3. Grow your base. Reaching followers, subscribers and “friends” is central to creating a successful and enjoyable social media campaign. One way to find new customers is to run paid ads on Facebook or Twitter as a way to increase “likes” and followers, promote blogs or make other offers; another is to tap the LinkedIn premium subscription that allows you the opportunity to reach out to potential prospects or partners via InMail. A fairly basic but often overlooked hack to attract more subscribers for your Facebook page is to immediately direct message the link to new followers on Twitter. Similar creative, cross-fertilizing techniques should be employed on all social media platforms to capture the interest of members of your audience when you’re already on their radar.

4. Save time. Whether you’re running a one-man show or an enterprise-level social media operation with data being fed into customer-relationship management systems, you need to automate certain processes. If you don’t, then these will tend to become chores that you may begin to avoid, thereby decreasing your effectiveness. Some activities that you can place on auto mode include posting updates across platforms, sending email and SMS updates on favorite topics, and uploading social media content to remote storage. If This Then That offers handy solutions.

5. Embrace change and be in the know. When a social media platform changes its guidelines, you have two options. You can take the change in stride and adapt — or give up. When you opt for the former approach, you give yourself an opportunity to occupy the space left vacant by those who gave up the fight. For example, a recent Facebook update prohibited informing contest winners of results through Facebook; this restriction has since been relaxed, however. Last month, LinkedIn introduced enhancements such as the ability to block profiles and unwanted messages. These have clear benefits for popular LinkedIn groups that have had to deal with a lot of spam until now. It pays to be in the know.

While most social media hacks are little more than commonsense activities, the ones that may surprise you with their effectiveness are those that you come up with through observation and learning. Entrepreneurs can become busy and can easily forget to allow time each week for creative thinking. Do some strategic thinking on a regular basis and keep coming up with ways to extract better results from your social media marketing.