Blogs by date "July 2013"

Part V – Google Analytics – Advanced SEO Tips for Your Exponent CMS Website

In this, Part V of my advanced SEO tips for Exponent CMS websites, I'll discuss a critical component for search engine marketing: Analytics.

A gigantic aspect of search marketing is measuring, analyzing, and modifying your SEO and PPC campaigns to ensure they're always performing at their best. The best way to gather this data is by integrating a comprehensive traffic analytics program into your Exponent CMS website.

One of the most popular Analytics programs available – and is 100 percent free – is Google Analytics. Google Analytics gathers detailed statistics about web traffic and its sources and measures conversions and sales. All of this data is essential for running a well optimized SEO campaign.

So how do you get Google Analytics to work on your Exponent CMS website? If you're the webmaster of an Exponent site, the process takes a few steps but it's really quite simple.

Setting Up Your Google Analytics Account

If you or your client don't already have a Google Analytics account set up, it's very easy to get a new account. Simply go to Google.com/Analytics and sign in with your Google Account. From there, you'll need to go to Accounts list and click to add a “New Account.”

Create a new Google Analytics Account for your Exponent CMS Website

Next, fill out the pertinent information about your Exponent CMS website, giving it an account name and providing your website's URL. Whether or not you choose to allow Google to view your account data is up to you.

Setup Google Analytics Account for your Exponent CMS Website

When you're done, simply click “Get Tracking ID” and accept the Google Terms & Conditions to get the code snippet you'll need to integrate into your Exponent CMS theme files.

Google Analytics Tracking Code for your Exponent CMS Website

Installing Your Google Analytics Code

As you can see in the image above, you'll need to simply copy the code snippet tracking code found in the box that is specific to your account and paste it into each page of your site.

If you were working with a straight HTML site, this could get a little cumbersome, however because we're working with a dynamic CMS that uses themes/subthemes, you'll only need to paste it into each of your theme files.

You can access these theme files within cPanel or by pulling them down via FTP.

Within your public_html directory, you'll need to navigate into your Exponent theme folder and into the directory of the theme you're using for your website.

Google Analytics Edit Theme File Exponent CMS Website

Within your theme directory you'll first want to edit your index.php file, inserting your code snippet just before the closing body tag of the file:

Google Analytics Edit Theme File Exponent CMS Website

Once you've pasted in your snippet, save the file or push it back up via FTP. Go back into your theme folder and into “subthemes” and repeat this paste/save step for each of your website's subtheme files.

Google Analytics Edit Subthemes Exponent CMS Website

Once you've saved the snippet, you can verify its tracking status by going back to your Google Analytics account and into Tracking Info where you copied your code snippet. There you'll see the tracking status for your Analytics account:

Google Analytics Tracking Status

Now that you've successfully setup and installed Google Analytics into your Exponent CMS website, you can now set goals, track traffic sources and gather other pertinent website data that will help you continually measure and analyze the performance of your SEO marketing strategy.

About the Author

Atlanta SEO Consultant Chris J. EverettThis SEO tutorial article was written by Chris Everett, a search engine marketing consultant at Captivate Search Marketing in Atlanta, Georgia.

Chris has worked with Exponent CMS websites since 2007 and continues to help improve the system's SEO friendliness.

Connect with Chris on Google+ to learn more.

Facebook and Tweet Integration in v2.2.1

FacebookTwitterThe next release will introduce a new 'Facebook' module and optional Facebook 'Like' and Twitter 'Tweet' buttons to blog posts.  

The new Facebook module will allow you to insert a 'Like' button onto a page which points to the site, the page, or a custom url.  It will also allow you to insert a 'Like Box' (or timeline) onto a page.  These views interact with Facebook to display results from Facebook, and also update 'Likes' on Facebook.  There are several display options which reflect the same options offered by the widget on Facebook.com.

Blog posts may now optionally display Facebook 'Like' and/or Twitter 'Tweet' buttons at the bottom of each post.  These features should allow greater proliferation of your ideas and works.

Additionally, we've added a new optional 'Follow' button to the Twitter module view, and there will be a new (optional) user profile extension which allows creating a 'signature' which is automatically attached to the end of blog posts you create.

About the author

Dave Leffler
Exponent CMS Developer

Bring Out Yer Dead!

Bring Out Yer Dead!Monty Python fans will quickly recognize the title phrase and remember the scene where he's not quite dead.  So begins this article on how to remove all the old, dead stuff from your Exponent site and custom theme.  Before the end of the year (probably v2.2.3 which tentatively will be a Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday/last release of 2013) we'll have stripped out several deprecated modules and no longer support older themes (deprecated function calls).

Deprecated Function Calls

  • The most prevalent deprecated call when hard-coding modules is that a 2.0 controller requires an 'action' parameter where all the old school modules only used a 'view' parameter.  The default action is ALWAYS 'showall' (if none is passed) and the default view is ALWAYS the action name (if none is passed).  Therefore if you simply updated an old function call by changing it to 'expTheme::module()' and did not ensure you passed an 'action' parameter...you may not see the correct view...especially if the view you requested was not a variant of the showall action.  
    • Take for instance, the Search module 'Show' view.  If you updated it to simply pass the 'view' parameter of 'show', it would attempt to display the 'showall_show' view with the showall action.  The easiest fix is to change the 'view' parameter to an 'action' parameter which will automatically use the same named view ('action'=>'show').
  • I've previously written about the other hard-coding function calls which must be replaced.  In v2.2.1 you'll now receive a deprecated theme call warning message when logged on as an admin.  The message will contain details about what file and line the deprecated call is on and a suggestion on the fix with a link to a more detailed help page.  (updating to 2.2.0 blog post) (theme update guide)

Deprecated Modules

  • The Headline module was marked as deprecated quite a while back and was fully removed in v2.2.0.  It is replaced by the Text module showall 'Headline' view.  This change is automatically accomplished in an upgrade by converting all Headline modules into Text modules with the Headline view.
  • The Flowplayer module uses a non-HTML5 compliant player and was replaced by a newer Media Player module.  The new Media Player module also plays simple YouTube links using the same player (YouTube module requires using the 'embed' code) so we've also deprecated the YouTube module.  Though they still exist, they will be completely removed as stated above.  There is currently an optional upgrade script to convert all Flowplayer and YouTube modules into Media Player modules.  Currently if you run a 0.9x Migration, it will create Flowplayer/YouTube modules which you can then upgrade to Media Player modules.  This will be changed once the deprecated modules are removed.
  • All the old school modules have been deprecated, replaced, and removed as of v2.2.0.  In fact, you'll notice the 'Old School' modules tab is missing from the Module Manager.  Any old school modules on the site will automatically be upgraded to work with their 2.0 controller replacement during an upgrade.

Updated Requirements?

  • And now that PHP v5.5 has been released, PHP v5.3 is no longer recommended (end of life) and PHP 5.2 is obsolete, we should consider updating the minimum PHP requirement be at least v5.3.1 (or one of the more robust iterations of v5.3) to allow some of the v5.3+ only PHP features such as namespaces, etc...

About the author

Dave Leffler
Exponent CMS Developer