WordPress – Claim Google Authorship for your Content

Google AuthorshipGoogle recently introduced a new way to identify, validate, and rank content called “Authorship.”  This is accomplished by linking your Google+ Profile, which should contain a head shot picture, to the content (article posts) on your WordPress site.

By claiming ownership of your content, it enables Google to know that the article was presumably written by a real human being, you, as it is linked to a Google+ Profile.  When your article appears in the Google search results, a picture of you will be displayed next to the search results.

Google Authorship-Jason Palmer Demo 130731

The coolest things about the new Authorship search result are the two links: “by Jason Palmer” and “More by Jason Palmer.”  When you click on the “by Jason Palmer”, you will see my Google+ Profile page.  When you click on the “More by Jason Palmer”, you get a mini-Google Search engine of all my content which enables readers to find other articles that I have written.

Google has not yet fully disclosed exactly how the new Authorship link will improve your content position.  One could assume that authenticated content will rank higher because it is from a real person instead of an anonymous source that could have simply plagiarized or copied it and republished it with erroneous attribution.

Another great benefit is that if you use Google Analytics, you will get additional activity statistics on your Google Authorship enabled content.

If you have the Genesis Framework, implementing Google Authorship can be accomplished in three easy steps:  Find your Google+ Profile URL; Enter it in the Google+ box on your user profile page in WordPress; Add your site to your “Contribute To” section in your Google+ Profile.  Rather than duplicate other great content, see this article at CopyBlogger.com “Claim Google Authorship for Your WordPress Website in 3 Easy Steps” for screen shots and an extended narrative on how to do it.

If you are not using the Genesis Framework, you can use a generic “Google Authorship” WordPress plugin to accomplish the same task.

Two of the more popular “Google Authorship”  WordPress Plugin options are:
Google+ Authorship WordPress Plugin by WP-Buddy.com (Pro Version $8)
AuthorSure WordPress Plugin by Authorsure.com

Once you have this setup, you can test what your article search results will look like with the “Google Structured Data Testing Tool” available in the Google Webmaster Tools site.

If you are still not convinced of the value, again from CopyBlogger.com, here is another great article entitled, “10 Reasons Writers Should Claim Their Google Authorship Markup


WordPress Twitter Exception Message: SSL certificate problem

Twitter LogoMost plugins for WordPress require little if any technical knowledge to install and configure.  Sometimes you have to look under the hood and check the engine yourself to make a plugin work correctly.

Recently the Genesis Framework “Getting Latest Tweets” Plugin widget was updated and site owners started to report SSL Certificate problems.  The Getting Latest Tweets plugin securely connects your WordPress site to your Twitter Account and displays your latest Tweets on your web site.  To see how this works, visit the home page of www.jasonpalmer.com and look in the lower right hand corner to see my latest Tweets.  (You can learn more and download the WordPress “Getting Latest Tweets” plugin here.)

If after installing and configuring the “Getting Latest Tweets” plugin you see the message “No Tweets Found in the spot where it is supposed to display the latest Tweets on your WordPress site, read on to learn how to fix the problem.

The error message appears after installing the “Getting Latest Tweets” plugin and saving the Twitter Application API information.  These are the keys and application name information obtained from your Twitter Developer Dashboard.  (How to do this is all described with screen shots below the configuration panel of this plugin.)

You will usually one of the following two error messages or similar variation:

“Twitter Exception Message: SSL certificate problem”
“Twitter Exception Message: SSL certificate problem, verify that the CA cert is OK. Details: error:14090086:SSL routines:SSL3_GET_SERVER_CERTIFICATE:certificate verify failed”

The reason for this error message is that some web servers do not have the latest Certificate Authority file installed.  Digital Certificates authenticate the owners of web sites.  To complete this process when making a request from our web server to another web server, we need to make sure that the issuer of the digital certificate that we receive from the web site we visit is authentic.  The Certificate Authority file contains this information about well-known companies that issue SSL Digital Certificates to secure web sites. (For a technical explanation, visit Wikipedia here.)

Plugin authors, if they want to make secure connections from your web server to another web server, such as in the case of “Getting Latest Tweets” from Twitter to post automatically on your web site, usually include the latest Certificate Authority file with the installation of their plugin.  “Getting Latest Tweets” did not do this.

The solution is fairly simple and will work for most LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) and WAMP (Windows/Apache/MySQL/PHP) implementations.

We need to get a good, current copy of a Certificate Authority file from a trusted source, place it on our Web Server in the appropriate directory folder, then tell the programs that need access to this Certificate Authority file where to find it.

NOTE:  If you understand the problem as described above but have absolutely no idea what anything below means, ask the company that hosts your web site to assist you or correct the problem for you.

WARNING:  Make sure you have a valid backup copy of your PHP.INI file BEFORE you proceed!

First, get the latest cacert.pem file from:


Look to see if you have a \curl or \Tools\curl or similarly named directory on your Web Server.  You can also search for “curl” to help find an appropriate directory.

Warning:  Do not replace the .pem file that exists in any plugin directory.  Only replace the .pem file in a common server directory, like in the example below.

Next: Simply open up your PHP.INI file and add the following line:

curl.cainfo = “PATH_TO/cacert.pem”


I am running the WAMPDeveloper Stack on Windows from DevSide.net

I added the following line at the bottom of my PHP.INI file

curl.cainfo = “C:\WampDeveloper\Tools\curl\cacert.pem”

Then I placed the cacert.pem downloaded above in:


Works perfectly for most stacks, BUT NOT ALL, and resolves the issue for many plugins looking for an updated Certificate Authority File that are returning errors similar to the one at the top of this article.

You may stop reading this article now unless you really, really want the ultra-technical details and are an IT Professional.

IT Professionals, please continue:

If you are looking to understand how to update cURL the library utility that many plugins use to connect and transfer data to and from other sites securely, additional references are below.

It is usually the responsibility of the developer of the application/plug-in to explicitly point to a current cacert.pem file – especially for WordPress users running on Windows AMP stacks such as Bitnami or WampDeveloper (Devside.net).

Backupbuddy, Vaultpress, and Google Analytics plug-in’s all distribute a cacert.pem file and I assume use the proper CURL Reference such as:

curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_CAINFO, ’C:/accessible/by/apache/cacert.pem);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYPEER, true);

The following sites are presented for reference and additional configuration details:

The Main Home Page for cURL:

A good Mozilla.org Certificate Authority CA Cert Bundle file is available here:

The page explains in depth how to make SSL Server to Server Connections:

How do I update root certificates in Apache/PHP/cURL environment?

How do I use cURL in PHP on Windows?

WordPress Plugins and Widgets

WordPress PluginWordPress Plugins and Widgets are specialized code modules used to extend out the functionality of a WordPress web site.  Examples of Plugins are the Aksimet AntiSpam Plugin – which helps screen visitor comments and determine if they were written by a human or a machine (spam), the Microkid Related Posts Plugin – which allows you to suggest similar Posts at the bottom of a current Post to the reader, and the ScribeSEO Plugin – which tests a Post for its’ Search Engine readiness, VaultPress Plugin – a WordPress site and database backup tool, and the list goes on…

Weather WidgetA WordPress Widget is a specific type of WordPress Plugin that is used to add visual appeal and interactive options to a WordPress web site. Widgets were originally confined to the Sidebar of a WordPress Theme but can now be used almost anywhere including the header and footer of a Theme. Examples of Widgets include tag clouds, search boxes, calendars, weather updates, and surveys.

If you look on the right hand side of this web page, my Twitter feed, called “The Tweetisphere”, is an example of a theme widget as is the list of “Categories” for my JasonPalmer.com site.  And, if you look at the bottom of this page, you will see the Related Posts Widget, with the title “Other related stories…”

Plugins and Widgets are created by army of independent software developers in the WordPress Community. (Check out the WordPress Plug-in Listings here.)

Many users will only need just a few Plugins and WordPress includes some popular ones, such as Akismet, by default.  However, there are thousands to choose from to do things that previously required the expertise of a programmer to create.

Many Commercial WordPress Theme Developers such as StudioPress.com, the creators of the Genesis Framework, make popular plugins and widgets, such as the “Social Profiles Widget” – used to insert icons links on a site page to your profiles on popular social sharing sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, FeedBurner, and more, which are optimized and tested specifically for their Genesis Themes.  As the WordPress Theme Widget specification is a standard, most Widgets, even if developed by a specific Theme creator will work with other WordPress themes without issue.

Plugins (and the Widgets they create) are installed in WordPress through the Plugin Manager of the WordPress Administrative Dashboard. You can usually search by name or keyword and then install the Plugin by clicking on “install.”  Once installed, a Plugin needs to be activated, and in some cases, options configured.

Zip FileIn the case of some Commercial “Paid” Plugins, a special compressed file in .ZIP format is provided by the commercial developer and then you, as Administrator, through the WordPress Plugin Manager, upload the .ZIP file to your site, then activate it, and configure options as necessary.

WordPress.org keeps track of over 20,000 Plugins and Widgets and will tell you which are the most popular, in terms of number of times downloaded by users as well as ratings as voted on by the WordPress community.

Check out the WordPress Plugin Listing:



Related Posts for WordPress

Related PostsA Related Posts for WordPress plugin allows you to manually select and link different posts to each other.  By default, the most you can do to group a set of posts on a given topic is to create a Category.  The Category definitely groups all of the posts in that category together but only as one long sequential list of blog posts.  Not very friendly and very time consuming if you are trying to find posts that might be part of a series such as Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, etc.  And, you probably want an easy way to direct readers of one post to similar articles of interest in different parts of your site.

Enter the “Related Posts for WordPress Plugin.”  This plugin does exactly what it says:  it allows you to manually select Posts from anywhere in your site and have the Post Titles with Links appear underneath the Current Post as “Related Posts.”   If you look at JasonPalmer.com, “Google SiteMap Generator for WordPress” and scroll down to the bottom of the page you will see an additional heading,  “Other related stories…”, the Related Posts for WordPress Plugin displays the titles of other posts with links.  You can rename this heading anything you like.  The default heading title is “Related Posts.”

Related Posts with Thumbnail ImagesOptionally, although I think it makes the display too busy, you can also include each Posts “Featured Image” a.k.a. thumbnail (assuming you created one for the post you are referring to), and specify the image placement in relation to the title.

Related Posts Reciprocal SheepA useful feature is to make the Related Posts “reciprocal.”  That means that for each post you reference on the current article, the current article will be listed as a related post at the bottom of the one you linked.  Using my example above, “Google SiteMap Generator for WordPress”, if you click on the related post, “Google WebMaster Tools”, you will see at the bottom of the post the reciprocal link back to the original article, “Google SiteMap Generator for WordPress.”

Related Posts OrderOther options include the ability to determine the order in which your Related Posts appear.  You can manually set the order or you can display the posts automatically by date order or alphabetically, or randomly.  The last two options for this particular Related Posts for WordPress plugin allow you to set if both Posts and Pages can have Related Posts, and if you mix your Related Posts and Pages, do you want one list for the Related Posts and a separate one for the Pages or do you want them combined.

JasonPalmer.com uses the Related Posts for WordPress plugin from MicroKid.

Visit the Official MicroKid Site at:

Visit Related Posts for WordPress plugin from MicroKid at WordPress.org:

Google SiteMap Generator for WordPress

The Google SiteMap Generator for WordPress creates a specially formatted XML (Extensible Markup Language) file that contains a list of URL’s and metadata, (information) listing and describing the pages on your web site.

WordPress Google Bing Yahoo LogoThe SiteMap file tells the Search Engines about the structure and format of your site as well as the type of content and specific information about that content, think caption or card catalog data about each page, image, video, or document.  This tells the Search Engine explicitly where to go on your site to catalog and index the pages.  As the SiteMap file contains information about the frequency of updates (i.e. new posts and uploads) to your site, it helps the Search Engines determine the scheduling of Index Crawls of your site.

SiteMap submissions to Search Engines, specifically Google will always be beneficial and in no case will your site be penalized for the submission.  Google, Bing, and Yahoo are the predominant users of the SiteMap.xml file but other Search Engines use them as well.

The format of the SiteMap.xml file is based on an agreed upon schema called “SiteMap 0.90” between Google, MSN, and Yahoo so one file works for all of the major Search Engines. (Read more at Wikipedia here.)

Google SiteMapsThe easiest way to create this file is to use a Google SiteMap Generator for WordPress Plugin.  JasonPalmer.com uses one plugin called “Google XML Sitemaps” presently at version 3.2.7, from Arne Branhhold but there are many to choose from all which accomplish essentially the same task.  (If you are not using WordPress, there are a number of generic SiteMap XML Generator tools available, just search “sitemap.xml generator”.)

In most cases you can just accept the defaults of the Google XML Sitemaps plugin.  You may want to adjust the “Frequencies” Section and specifically set how often various sections of your site are updated.  In the case of JasonPalmer.com, the Homepage, Posts, Tags, and Current Archive pages change “Daily”, (as I post daily), but the Categories, Static Pages, and Author pages are at the default of “Weekly” as they change less frequently, if at all, on a regular basis.

Bing WebMaster ToolsThe Google XML Sitemaps Plugin will automatically generate a new SiteMap.xml file and notify Google and Bing/Yahoo of any changes to the site so that the Search Engines can return to index new and updated pages.  In addition, you can trigger a manual rebuild of the SiteMap.xml file and upload it manually using Google Webmaster Tools or Bing Webmaster Tools. (See my Post, “Google Webmaster Tools”.)

For More Information on the SiteMap.xml File and Protocol, visit Wikipedia:

The Google XML SiteMaps Plugin at WordPress.org:

The Google XML SiteMaps Plugin Official Web Site:

Google Webmaster Tools:

Bing/Yahoo Webmaster Tools:

Google Webmaster Tools

Google WebMaster Tools LogoGoogle Webmaster Tools provide you with detailed reports about how visible pages on your site are to Google.

Using Google Webmaster Tools you can:

  • See how Google crawls and indexes your site and see specific errors generated such as “page not found.”
  • Learn about internal and external links and which key word search queries bring traffic to your site.
  • Upload a Site Map file which tells Google which pages are most important and which URLs (pages) you want Google to index.

Google WebMaster Tools Health CheckOne of the most helpful aspects of Google Webmaster Tools is the “Site Health” area.  Here Google tells you about Crawl errors.  Google is extremely efficient and subsequently many sites have their generic sample posts indexed at Google.  You delete them but Google still thinks they exist.  The Crawl Error report will tell you the exact page location and the date the error was detected giving you the opportunity to investigate further.

Google has no way of knowing, without a little human intervention, if a “Page Not Found” is a technical problem, a page that is now behind a secure login, or has been removed.  Once Google indexes a page or is told to index a page at a certain URL, it will keep trying until told otherwise.  It is through the Google Webmaster Tools that you can mark these errors as “fixed” or permanently remove a URL from Google’s index.

Similar to Google Analytics, (Read my post on “Google Analytics for WordPress“) Google Webmaster Tools provides specialized traffic analysis focusing on and listing the search terms that caused your site to be displayed somewhere in the results listing of the query and its’ average position.  And there are extensive reports on which sites link back to your site as well as how your site links to itself between categories and pages.  Of course, Google+ activity reports are included showing search impact, activity, and audience.

Google OptimizationThe most important feature of Google Webmaster Tools is the Optimization Section.  It is here that you can upload a SiteMap.xml file that tells Google about pages that it might not otherwise find during the Index Crawl and it gives you an opportunity to definitively tell Google about the content of your site.  In a similar manner to the Search Engine Optimization discussed in my Post, “All in One SEO Pack for WordPress”, the SiteMap file can also provide metadata about the types of content on your site such as video, images or news.  A SiteMap entry for a video might include the run time, category, and format information.  For an image, the subject matter, type, and any license information.  A SiteMap file can also alert Google to the last time of a site update and the frequency of change of or addition of new content to the site. (A future post will discuss how to create SiteMap.xml file.)

Google WebMaster Tools SummaryIn short, using the Google Webmaster Tools Dashboard allows me to keep my site as “Google Friendly” as possible by alerting me immediately to any Indexing Crawl Errors,  the status of my SiteMap.xml file updates, and it helps me determine which keyword searches are drawing traffic to my JasonPalmer.com WordPresss web site.

Useful Google Webmaster Links:

Google Webmaster Tools:

Google Webmaster Academy – Everything you ever wanted to know about Google

Google Webmaster Tools Help:

Google Analytics for WordPress

Google Analytics WordPress LogoGoogle Analytics for WordPress answers the age-old question, “I built it, did they come?”  Every web server creates a log file that tracks details about the visitors to a web site.   The challenge becomes getting access to that file and then having the tools to process the raw data to get meaningful information.  It all sounds very complicated and it was, but not anymore.  Furthermore, traditional web visitor log file analysis was very generic and not optimized for Content Managed Web sites such as WordPress.

Is there an easier way?  Yes, Google Analytics for WordPress.  (Note:  Google Analytics can be implemented on any web site even though the scope of this article is specific to WordPress.)

Google Analytics for WordPress is a plugin that instantly reports back the activity on your site to the Google Analytics Engine for analysis and reporting.

Google Analytics Pie ChartInformation includes Analytics on:

Content – The parts of the web site that had the most activity.

Social – Determines the interaction with Social Media platforms such as Google +1 and many others.

Mobile – Activity/Visitors using devices such as iPads, Tablets, and Smartphones.

Conversion – Response rate to Ad campaigns, direct response, and eCommerce – as applicable.

Advertising – How well social, mobile, search and display ads are working at bringing traffic to the site.

Google Analytics LogoTo view the information being communicated to the Google Analytics Engine, you need to sign up for a Basic Account, which is free, at the Google Analytics website at http://www.google.com/analytics.  (If you already have a Gmail or other Google Site account, you can simply activate Google Analytics for your account.)  Once you have an account, you need to perform a few simple steps to validate your web site domain (i.e.  JasonPalmer.com ) to prove to Google Analytics that you are authorized to collect information on the domain.  You can do this by manually entering your Google Analytics account number also called the “UA Code” in to the settings section of the Google Analytics for WordPress plugin.  Or, if you are using Google WebMaster Tools, you can authenticate the site via an entry in the Zone file of the Domain Name Server (DNS) that is Authoritative for your domain.  (Note: If you understand the term DNS, and you know who you are, this will be the easier method.  For those that do not, Google WebMaster Tools will be discussed in another post shortly.)

Google Analytics ChartOnce everything is fully configured and connected, it may take up to twenty-four hours for Google Analytics to start creating reports from the collected visitor data.  These reports will be extremely beneficial in helping you understanding the activity on your web site.  The reports will break down your visitors by geography, language, location; are they new or returning visitors?;  the frequency of their visits and how long they stay on the site;  which web browser and operating system did they user – (Internet Explorer or FireFox or Safari) and are they Mac, PC, Android, IOS, etc.; source of traffic such as Google or a Social media site; analysis of the content for speed, page visits, page response time; internal search; and numerous other variations on the major reporting areas listed.

Sign up for a Google Analytics Account at:

Learn more about Google Analytics for WordPress at:

The Google Analytics for WordPress plugin at WordPress.org:

VaultPress Completely Automatic Backup for WordPress

VaultPress LogoVaultPress is the logical response to the expression, “It is not a question of if your WordPress site will crash and you will lose all of your data, it is just a question of when.”

A WordPress site, like any other web site is susceptible to hacking, a virus infection, or just a plain technical glitch that in a matter of seconds can erase hours or months of work.  Backup, Backup, Backup is something that everyone is reminded to do but seldom does on a regular basis.

Traditional thinking says to backup your site once per day.  In some cases the Site Hosting Company may do this for you.  If the site is an active one with visitors posting comments or articles and media being added throughout the day, can you really afford to potentially lose the last 24 hours worth of content?

The VaultPress plugin is a realtime, continuous backup solution that will grab a copy of every post, comment, media file, revision and dashboard setting, every time a change is made to your site.

The Basic VaultPress plan, starting at just $15 per month includes: Realtime Backup, Automated Site Restore (for just files or the Database), Archiving of your site at a point in time, Statistical Information, a Backup Activity Log, Full Site Disaster Recovery (for when things go very bad) and Concierge Support Assistance to help you get started or in case of crisis.

The Premium VaultPress plan is $40 a month and includes all of the basic plan features plus various security scanning features and a slightly more seamless site migration solution for moving the site between servers (usually only for changing Web hosting companies.)

There is an Enterprise VaultPress plan at $350 a month that might be appropriate for very large and very active sites that have thousands of visitors daily and requires a rapid response and recovery time in case of a site failure.

VaultPress Auto BackupsThe greatest thing about VaultPress is that it will backup a WordPress site of any size and can be installed and configured in about five minutes.  Download and install the VaultPress plugin, add in the license key and that’s it.  Within minutes VaultPress starts to backup the site.  And every time any change is made, VaultPress initiates a process to backup that change.

I use it for JasonPalmer.com and it is the easiest and most seamless backup solution I have ever deployed.

Learn more about VaultPress at:

WordPress and ScribeSEO Search Engine Optimization

ScribeSEO Made SimpleWhen writing an article, the author usually has a target audience in mind and members of that audience are human, and therein lies the problem.  Along the lines of a reverse “Turing Test”, we need to optimize our content not only for readability by humans but also by search engines as we never know if the reader is going to be human or machine.  Furthermore, the language of search when people are using a search engine is somewhat different than that which we use colloquially.  The ultimate test of the correct keywords to focus on is those which are the most popular search terms entered by billions of people every day.

This is where the ScribeSEO Search Engine Optimization Plugin, comes in to help.  ScribeSEO helps you find the keywords that are used when people are looking for the kind of content you are providing.  Then, it analyzes the writing style of your post and makes suggestions on how to make minor changes so that the Search Engines enjoy reading it too.  Finally, ScribeSEO provides link building tools so that you can build back links from other sites as well as cross-link content within your own site and identify other sites that might want to promote your content as well.

ScribeSEO Search Engine Optimization Plugin analysis covers a number of areas to create the SEO Score:

First, it looks at the Title of your site:  number of characters, number of words, primary keywords and do those keywords appear at the beginning of the title?

Second, it looks at the Site Description:  again number of characters, primary keywords and do those keywords appear at the beginning of the title?

Finally, the Body, for number of words, keyword density, number of hyper-links, are these hyper-links towards the beginning, and the Flesch Reading Ease Score for the “readability” of your article.

The person who originally told me about ScribeSEO tried to prepare me for my first automated analysis by saying that writing optimized content for the Search Engines might take some time to master and get used to.  So imagine my pleasant surprise when I analyzed my first organically written article and received a 100% on the SEO score by ScribeSEO. (Office Applications in the Cloud – Google Apps for Business and Office365, click here to read.)

Scribe SEO 100%You mileage may vary but realistically, ScribeSEO gives you plenty of feedback on your article so that it is pretty easy to make the subtle changes to optimize for Search Engine readability.  Candidly, many of my posts score over 90% consistently with the only shortcoming being keyword density or positioning of the hyper-links to referenced content.  (This is probably due to my preference of using the noun instead of a pronoun which eliminates ambiguity and enhances readability.)  Only my most technical of posts, the ones that are predominately “tech notes,” score lower.

Another great feature is the suggestion of Tags for your articles as well as a full discussion of SEO Best Practices which provides a number of guidelines and tips so that you can start to learn to optimize your writing style.  It also displays a proforma “Search Engine Results Page” showing what the result of someone searching for your content might see in the results listings of a search.  Lastly, ScribeSEO provides heavy analysis of current keywords, suggestions on how to change keywords in the article to be more prominent, and alternative keyword suggestions for maximum impact.

ScribeSEO Search Engine Optimization Plugin has a number of affordable pricing plans and various discounts are available.

Learn more about ScribeSEO Search Engine Optimization Plugin at:

Footnote:  ScribeSEO analyzed and rated this post at 100% “Search Engine Optimized.”