Ben Lobaugh Online

I think, therefore I am. I am, therefore I sail

Canonical URL plugin for WordPress released!

Have you run into this scenario? You have content that needs to live on multiple sites but you are concerned about SEO issues duplicating said content?

As search engines crawl the web looking for pages to include in their search indexes they may run across content duplicated from another site. When that happens the search engine will first attempt to determine which site is the “source of truth”. The site with duplicated content will be penalized in rankings. If no source can be found both sites rankings will be penalized. An SEO nightmare.

Is it possible to distribute the same content to multiple sites without incurring this penalty? The answer is a resounding YES! All you need to do is let the search engine know where the real of the article is, the canonical article. This is done by including a tag in the html head area. It is for search engines, humans do not typically see it.

WordPress has some built in canonical abilities however in WordPress itself there is no way to set the canonical url. I tend to have articles published all over the web that I would like to copy to this site for posterity. Today I whipped up a little plugin that provides a simple url field to add the article’s canonical url in a search engine friendly way.

It is as simple as adding the url as you create the article!

Publish your post and WordPress will handle the rest.

Here is an example post that I wrote on team building for WebDevStudios.

9 Critical Concepts for Leading High-Performance Teams

You may notice there is also a brief disclaimer at the top of the article. That is optional and may be helpful to some readers and/or required by the site you are reposting from to comply with guidelines.

If you want to use this plugin on your own site simply head over to Github and download the plugin!

https://github.com/blobaugh/canonical-url-for-wordpress

Find total number of post records on a WordPress Multisite in MySQL

I was recently asked for the total number of posts on a WordPress website. Normally as simple as looking at the number in the dashboard, however in this instance the WordPress install was a Multisite with nearly 100 sites. That would have taken far too long to do manually, but what about having MySQL do the heavy lifting for me?

The information_schema database contains data about every database and table on the server. One of the metrics it stores is the count of rows in a table. We can use that to extrapolate roughly how many entries are in all the posts tables combined. This is not an exact science, however it will get you close to the real numbers. I argue that it will typically be “close enough” on larger installs, such as the one I was looking at.

In the following query, just replace the database name with your database and run it.

SELECT SUM( table_rows )
FROM information_schema.TABLES 
WHERE 
	table_schema = "{{YOUR_DATABASE_NAME}}" 
	AND table_name LIKE '%_posts';

End Q2 2018 Update

There has been a lot going on since my Q1 Update! Still working hard to make my 2018 Vision be, and continue to be, a reality.

How’s it going so far? Pretty great! There have been some setbacks, but much more positive forward motion than backward :).

Lets go through the four vision statements…

Vision: Become a topnotch, well respected communicator and coach

To date I have completed/am currently doing:

Speaking Engagements 4
Masterminds 5
Coaching Over 60 hours!

There are two masterminds currently running, and I have plans to start another in September.

Within a week I will have another coaching clients.

I have several team building training sessions in planning phase currently.

In the final planning phase is a leadership networking group.

Vision: Let my money make me money, not me making money

This is my second most actively worked vision, after the next vision which involves my relationship with my wife.

To date I am actively working with startups (new businesses) in the following categories:

In planning phase 1
Pre-launch 2
Self-sustaining 0
Flops 0

The business I was most excited about flopped, however others are in the works! Also currently working on a multifamily real estate deal.

Vision: Build an ever improving relationship with my wife that others coming behind can model after

This is going great! I feel that Alix and I have never been more in sync. She graduated with her masters this year and we are looking toward the next phase of life. More will come on that in the next quarter.

Vision: Live a slow paced life

I have cut a lot out of my life. I am able to enjoy sailing and business building a lot more because of it. Life is still busy but it is a different type of busy. It feels slower because the busy now is of my choosing and timing.

Life is good!
I expect it only to continue getting better!

Copy data from one Google Drive to another domain

Transferring data from one Google account to another is typically as easy as sharing the files with another user and making them owner. There is a caveat though, you have to be on the same domain or GSuite account. Transferring ownership from your business account to your personal account is “not possible”.

I found myself in just such a situation. I had a single folder called Personal that I kept all my personal files in. After scouring the interwebs I found a script called Drive Migrator.

Drive Migrator does not actually move files between accounts. Instead it makes duplicate copies. If you need the data removed from the old account you will have to remove it yourself.

Here is how it works:

  • Login to the Google Drive you want to migrate. Share the folder you wish to migrate with the new Google account.
  • Visit the Drive Migrator script. Login with the account you are migrating to.
  • Select the shared folder that you wish to migrate from. This is where it is handy if everything you want is in a single folder, like the Personal folder I had.
  • Click COPY!
  • Pour yourself a scotch and kick back to wait for the migrator to do its thing.

The script could take a while to run. While it is running you will find a spreadsheet listing the progress. When it completes you will have a folder titles “backup-*” in the root of the target Google Drive. It should contain all the files from the other account.

Double check the contents of the new folder. At this point it should be safe to delete the old folder.

9 Critical Concepts for Leading High-Performance Teams

I just returned from WebDevStudios’ (WDS) 2018 WDS Camp, a company-wide, weeklong retreat. The annual event provides face time for a team that is distributed across the entire geographical region that is the US. As I sat on the six-hour flight home, I reflected on the past week and noticed that nine concepts continued to come up in my reflection. I believe these concepts to be critical to leading high-performance teams and would like to share them with you here in hopes you will be able to implement them in your team and see the same success that I have seen utilizing them.

If you want to be a better leader, shut up

World-renowned leadership expert, John Maxwell, says:

Good leaders ask great questions.

He even wrote of a book by that title that I highly recommend. As a leader, you have a big vision but only one brain. You may be highly skilled but there will always be areas you have not considered. Sharing your vision with your team, and then asking them great questions amplifies the possibilities. By yourself, your vision is just another work item for your team. Engaging the team in your vision by asking questions taps into their creativity. The result will always enhance your vision. It may also identify additional opportunities along the way you would have never seen alone. When your team is actively engaged in your vision, they gain a sense of ownership and are motivated to get it done in the best ever way it can be done.

You can build better software by turning OFF your computer

What do you mean turn off your computer? How can a software company build better software without a computer? It seems counterintuitive to suggest this, but there are major benefits to turning off your computer. I will focus on just one.

Turning off your computer allows you to connect with your team members.

There are no distractions, no pings, no more doing “just one more thing.” Face-to-face, distraction-free communication establishes a deeper rapport with your team. It creates stronger connections. It allows them to get to know the real you and discover more about each other. This adds immeasurable value to each team member. The next time computers are turned back on, your team will be stronger together and WANT to help push your product to the next level. There is no external substitute for the power and motivation that comes from inside yourself.

A walk on the beach can make you a million dollars

Get away from the formalities. Create an open invitation for your team to join you doing something enjoyable, like taking a walk on the beach. Being away from the structure and processes of the company encourage your team members to dream about what would make the company the best ever for them. All it takes to start the ideas flowing is a simple question like, “What would this company look like if you had full control to change or improve it any way you like?” Then ask, “What would it take to get there?”

Encouraging your team to dream in a no holds barred way shows how much you value their ideas and you may very well come back from your walk with an idea that will make you a million dollars!

Let the ideas flow

Never shoot down an idea from your team! An idea may not make sense to you, but your team has boots on the ground. They are daily in the trenches. They see things you do not. The idea may not make sense at first but there is always a reason someone suggests a change. Instead of shooting it down, dig into it. Ask lots of questions. Seek understanding. Be curious. Really consider what they are saying and how it could fit into the overall picture. To help it fit into the bigger picture suggest small tweaks in the form of encouraging questions. Such as, “This sounds really interesting. I am wondering, what would it look like if we slightly altered the idea with… [insert tweak]?”

Allowing and encouraging your team to bring you ideas will create a sense of openness, trust, and respect. All of which are key building blocks of a strong team and leader.

Be an enabler.

Do not be the roadblock preventing your team from moving forward. Do whatever it takes to enable your team to move forward with ideas that will push the company forward.

Empower your people

Years ago, my friend and missions director at Churchome, Joanne Ramos, was speaking to a crowd on raising children when she said something that has stuck with me ever since. She said:

Kids need infinite freedom within definite boundaries.

This same idea can be applied to your team with powerful results. Provide the vision; provide the boundaries, then unleash your team. Give them the power to make decisions for the team/company/product/etc., within those boundaries. It may seem like this will make you obsolete as the leader but the reality is that 10 out of 10 times your capacity will increase. The skill and power of your team will increase. Your position as the leader will be strengthened, and you will be more valuable to your own leadership.

Play with your people

It is impossible to be in work mode all the time. Make sure you take time to relax. Play a game. Get a coffee. Go to lunch. Do something that is fun with your people. Let them see that you are still human and approachable. Learn what brings them joy and go do it with them. It is particularly easy to do this at a company retreat. Just make sure you do not overdo it! You never want your people to feel like it is a requirement or it will have a detrimental effect, the exact opposite of what you intended. Pay attention to your team. They will let you know when it is time to play and when they need space.

Be smooth as a baby’s bottom

Friction is a great thing. Friction indicates a definite point where you and your team have a learning and growing experience. Embrace it. Do not get upset. Most importantly do not lash out. Keep your calm. This is an excellent time for you to learn. Remain as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

How should you handle the friction? Activate your coaching mode. Ask your team questions to help identify the friction. Ask questions to determine where it came from and how it got there. Ask questions on how to eliminate the friction.

Do you see a common theme of asking questions? Asking questions is so important! Humans do not always respond well to being dictated to. In fact, even in a great relationship being told to do something may make you feel like a robot and not motivated. Asking questions of your team creates ownership and internal motivation. They will solve their own problems. It will get your people moving in a way simply telling them will never accomplish.

Practice leadership yoga

Standard operating procedure (SOP) is necessary across an organization to keep everyone working together smoothly, especially when teams may not have direct interactions. But remember, your SOP is made up. It should never be set in stone. Use your vision as a leader to see where it could be improved. Engage the team to ferret out weak points. As the people in the trenches, allow the team to help mold SOP. It will only create more value for the company and everyone on the team.

Always know why you are there

Your people are THE ONLY asset to the company that is invaluable. Without them, there would be no you. Filter everything through the lens of adding value to them. If you consistently value and add value to your team members they will move heaven and earth for you and will be a source of great joy for you.

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