social-media-campaignJoomla is one of the world’s most popular platforms for building a website and content management with around 3 million downloads and 6,000 extensions.

With this in mind, it makes sense that there are a plethora of social media add-ons in this day of social sharing and content marketing. Many web developers are pretty savvy when it comes to SEO and social and how this can drive traffic to a site, whilst others ignore it.

The power of social sharing

However, social media is one of the most powerful resources available and as such, should be used to publish content such as blogs, pictures, events and so on. This is because the more social sharing that is done via your site and social channels, the more important the site will appear to Google.

Gone are the days when keywords and optimized pages were enough to get you good rankings in the SERPs, these days it’s all about content as well.

What social channels should I use?

This really depends on your industry. Facebook is ideal for B2C companies such as retailers, whilst LinkedIn is better for networking with other professionals. However, it doesn’t hurt to set up social media accounts on a few channels, starting with the most important.

Facebook Pages

Facebook Pages are free. Whilst there has been some debate recently on whether reach for non-paying advertisers on Facebook is being suppressed by the network, this is something that Facebook themselves deny.

However, if you can afford to advertise, then you will get better reach and engagement but it’s not essential.

Twitter and Pinterest

Twitter is a great resource and should be used by all, whilst Pinterest is only really viable if you have something aesthetically pleasing that you can share.

Saying that, you can use any images with Pinterest and I use it to post infographics and the featured images that accompany many of my blogs.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great resource, whatever business you’re in and should have a company page and a discussion group if you are to get the most from it. Endorsements on LinkedIn are a relatively new thing but very useful for showing off your skills as they are almost like mini-testimonials.

What content should I use to feed my social campaign?

This varies by social site but for a start, your blog, articles, whitepapers and any other content that you have produced for your site should be shared via the social networks. Other content can be used to point to articles that your readership will find useful, as well as infographics and anything that gives the reader value.

These should include:

  • Blogs – from your site and others which are valuable to reader so give good advice, insight into your industry or ‘how to’ carry something out.
  • Images – these should be mixed up into a collection of amusing and informative, with more emphasis on funny as they prompt more user action. This is because any content should evoke some kind of emotional response and amusement is the one which will get you the most engagement.
  • Questions – think up something to ask your audience each day
  • Polls – on something relevant to your industry SEO in the Panda and Penguin age

For Pinterest, you should look for beautiful images and think about how these relate to your site so that people will click through. If you’re a Joomla developer this can be template pages, typography pieces and so on.

Use common sense when it comes to what to post where; obviously a silly post that people laugh at on Facebook and Twitter will not have the same impact on LinkedIn, which is more likely to be receptive to a discussion about coding or extensions.

Whilst this is just a short introduction to social and sharing, it flags up the assertion that social is important and should make up a part of your SEO efforts. In future posts we’ll be looking a little closer at each network and SEO practices for the modern web.

php-5-2Since DPCalendar version 3.0, which was released in February 2013, we no longer support PHP 5.2, please let us explain why we decided to drop PHP 5.2 support.

PHP 5.2 became end-of-life on January 6th, 2011 when the final version, PHP 5.2.17, was released. As the PHP website reads on that page:

If you are using these releases, you are strongly urged to upgrade to a current version, as using older versions may expose you to security vulnerabilities and bugs that have been fixed in more recent versions of PHP.

 

Security risk

This is exactly the case with PHP 5.2, a version of PHP which is end of life for over 2 years now. As a matter of fact, just a mere days after it became end of life a major security flaw was detected. It was fixed in PHP 5.3 but not in PHP 5.2. If you are using PHP 5.2 you are exposed to known security threats which are being used to attack web sites. The nature of these attacks means that your server's firewall and/or other security tools cannot protect your site. If you are using PHP 5.2 your site will be hacked. The question is not if, but when. So, using PHP 5.2 hurts your site's security. We are not joking!!!

PHP 5.3 is approaching the end-of-life mark itself, whereas PHP 5.4 is now officially considered mature. So, using PHP 5.2 is, practically, being two major releases behind, in the software timescale that's an eternity.

What happens now when my host is still on PHP 5.2?

There are hosts which still offer PHP 5.2 by default but do support PHP 5.3 or 5.4 as an option. On these hosts you can ask them for the proper way to upgrade to PHP 5.3. Usually it's a configuration option in your site's control panel or in your .htaccess. Please do. Joomla! 2.5 and all of its extensions are PHP 5.3 ready. Joomla! 3.0 and later actually requires PHP 5.3, you can't use it on older PHP versions.

There are still hosts which do not offer you any way to use PHP 5.3 or later. These hosts must be avoided at all cost. It means that the hosting company doesn't care about investing the minimal amount of time required to properly setup their machines and ensure your security. Do you really want to trust them with your site? If you're stuck on such a host we strongly recommending moving to a decent hosting company.

mobile devicesWe’re excited to announce some great new features to DPCalender this month, which we've developed alongside a host of bug fixes and tons of minor improvements to the software. We hope that the changes will make users’ lives even easier as they use DPCalendar every day.

The foremost new feature to be added in the latest DPCalender Joomla installation is the ability for all personal calendars to be managed through any CalDAV app. CalDAV is a popular open protocol which allows calendar access via WebDAV and presents calendar events in iCalendar format. DPCalendar is the first Joomla calendar and event manager who supports the caldav protocol.

Integrated iCal

Additionally DPCalendar users now have the ability to use the integrated iCal URL so that their information can be shared easily across devices. Simply subscribe to the URL from any device, such as a smartphone, tablet, or PC and your information will be synchronised so that you always know what you have on, wherever you are.

This is perfect for organising time on the go and ideal for those who use a BYOD scheme at work, as important information is never any more than a click away. Now not only can you have one of the best Joomla calendars out there, but you can manage your life from the car, work or even in a restaurant!

Access calender from anywhere!

We recognise that this is an important requirement for today’s connected world and with more smartphones than toothbrushes now in the world, the majority of owners want to access information from a variety of places.

DPCalendar was already a great, high-end product, designed for ease of use and maximum functionality for today’s busy web owner. Not only does it have all the features you would expect from a Joomla calendar, such as Ajax powered event browsing, frontend editing, ACL, nested calendars and batch editing, it can now be accessed on the go.

Sleek design and social media integration

Add to this the beautifully sleek design and its ability to be integrated with social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, DPCalendar also features SEO settings for the ultimate in professional calendar and event management for Joomla.

We hope you enjoy the new and improved DPCalendar, with all of the tweaking we’ve been doing, alongside the new features, we think you’ll love it!

What will come next!

As we focused in this release to make your calendars accessible from everywhere, the next release will be about including your visitors in the event process.

  • Attending events
  • Notification and reminders
  • Improved sharing of calendars
  • Profile enhancements
  • Speeding up the process of creating events

SEO has always been something of a tricky business and these days, in the wake of Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm updates, it’s more important than ever to get it right.

Briefly, the Google updates were designed to stop black hat SEO practices in which aggressive tactics, such as keyword stuffing, are used to ‘trick’ the search engine into thinking a site is useful.

The changes now look more in depth at content, rather than just meta information, keywords and links, in order to determine if a site is high quality. Google’s bots have become much more advanced in recent years and can now tell if a site is packed with keywords, badly written and badly built.

The upshot of this has been that many sites have found themselves plummeting down the SERPs, as their site has used bad SEO practices. This isn’t necessarily the fault of the site owners, there are a lot of charlatans out there who profess to be able to gain great search results for little money.

Rules of the internet #1; if it seems too good to be true then it almost definitely is.

Optimising Joomla

Joomla is relatively straightforward to optimise for SEO. The first step is to decide how you’re going to carry it out. Do you want the entire site to have the same meta information, titles and keywords or do you want to optimise each and every post?

In a Joomla site, the browser page title is the same title as each menu item that’s created. It’s possible to change the title tag so that it’s different to the menu item title tag.

To do this:

  • Inside the menu item, in parameters got to Page Display Options
  • Create a browser page title
  • Save your work
  • Go to your site’s home page and refresh
  • The browser tab should now show your browser page title whilst keepi8ng the title of the menu item the same
  • Repeat as necessary if you want the title to be the same for all pages

Meta descriptions

Joomla has its own options for meta keywords and descriptions and these should be used to improve your SEO. Keywords should never be repeated and you should carry out some research to find the ones that perform the best.

These can be set up so that the site uses the same information globally and to carry this out you go to the admin area and then the global configuration area. Then perform the following steps:

  • Locate Metadata Settings
  • In the box, enter a description for the site, preferably under 160 characters long as Google spiders don’t look beyond that and a short description can be used as a snippet
  • Enter your keywords in the box, separated by commas
  • Leave the robots spin box on index, follow
  • Set show author meta tags to your preference
  • In content rights enter who, if anyone, has the right to use content from the site (ie: non-commercial use and so on)

It’s important to note here that keywords should be very relevant to site content or you’re likely to be penalised by the search engine. This is because this area in particular has been abused by black hat SEO practice in the past.

SEO settings with the global configuration area

These allow you to alter the format of URLs, which can significantly improve your SEO. Go to the SEO Settings area within global configuration and you will see the box below.

Joomla global SEOIf your site is established, it’s probably better to leave this part alone as all of the site’s URLs will change and this will lead to broken backlinks from other sites. If it’s a new site, use the suggested settings in the image.

Other metadata options

There are metadata options available in the same area for each category, article, DPCalendar events and menu item that you create for the site. These can be used but remember that doing so will override other metadata recorded elsewhere on the site.

With these few simple steps, you can optimise your site enough so that it begins to show up in SERP. Remember to keep everything you create of a high quality and don’t overuse keywords or links and the site will be searchable in no time!

Version22-map

The Digital Peak project is pleased to announce that we have recently released our latest version of our Joomla Calendar, DPCalendar, for use with all Joomla 2.5 and 3.x based websites. The latest version of our Joomla event manager software brings a host of new and exciting features that are designed to make your user experience a better one.

The latest Joomla calendar from Digital Peak was released on 8th December 2012, and has a range of new features for your enjoyment and convenience and as always, it’s a Joomla event manager that can be fully integrated into your Joomla website.

New Features Of The DPCalendar Joomla Calendar

The latest version of our DPCalendar is version 2.2.X and this version was released on 8th December 2012 by Digital Peak. The main focus of this release was to enhance your calendar experience with the best map support a joomla calendar should give you.

The new features include:

  • Event map menu item
  • Event map module
  • Multi-location assignation per event
  • Location administration
  • JCalPro plugin
  • AcyMailing plugin

Event Map Menu Item

In the navigation of yur site, you can now create a new menu item which directly points to a map where you can search for events based on a location. You can therefore see all events for any particular location on your Joomla calendar.

Event Map Module

The new event map module offers the same functionality as the event map menu item, but the map remains in a fixed position on the page. You can see a demo of this feature here. On the right hand side bar you will see a map. If you browse through other pages, this map is always visible.

Multi-Location Assignments

This new Joomla calendar feature means that when you create an event, you can now assign multiple locations to the event. This means for example that if you have departmental meetings that are all located at various events or meeting rooms, you can now add all locations. It is also a useful feature for internet and telephone meetings.

Location Administration

In the backend of the Joomla calendar, users can administer locations. This means that users are able to create/edit/delete locations, which can later be used when creating events. On previous version of DPCalendar, locations strings were simply added when creating an event. It is now possible in the new Joomla calendar version to create a location and associate it with multiple events.

JCalPro Plugin

We have now also added in a plugin to fully migrate your JCalPro installation to DPCalendar so that all events, schedules and information will appear fully in your Digital Peak Joomla calendar.

AcyMailing Plugin

The DPCalendar also now features a full AcyMailing plugin to integrate your AcyMailing email marketing and newsletter extensions with your DPCalendar Joomla calendar so that you can deal with email marketing campaigns and newsletters right from your Digital Peak calendar.

If you’d like to find out more about the DPCalendar Joomla calendar or download it, please download DPCalendar here.

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