Easy Meta Tag Plugin for WordPress

I admit it, I’m a website slut. I see a domain I like and I can’t help but put some sort of website on it. Over the years I’ve gotten to the point where I can build a simple website in a matter of hours. It seems like when I use WordPress the website nearly builds itself.

Default WordPress Meta Description

By default WordPress doesn’t create a meta description tag. If this meta tag is missing, your search appearances will be affected. Often, the first 160 characters of text will be shown in search results. As you can imagine, this is less than optimal.

Most Popular SEO Plugin

Yoast SEO free is the most popular WordPress plugin for adding meta description fields to a WordPress site. I use it on many of my sites, including this one. It provides me with fine grain control over how each individual WordPress post appears in search. Yoast SEO is a great plugin but…

The Drawbacks of Yoast SEO

Using Yoast SEO isn’t easy for beginners. That fine grain control I was talking about makes using the plugin complicated. People who are new to search engine optimization techniques will be overwhelmed by the myriad controls. Additionally, using the plugin is labor intensive, it requires you to actually pay attention to what you’re doing as you individually set the meta information on each individual post.

Yoast SEO is perfectly alright for an actual blog like this one. The problem is that not everyone using WordPress is using it for blogging. The most popular sites I’ve built with WordPress aren’t blogs, they’re content aggregators scraping embedded video content and repackaging it.

The Easiest Way to Add Meta Descriptions to WordPress

So Meta for WordPress is the easiest way to add meta descriptions to a WordPress site. I wrote So Meta as a way to automatically add meta descriptions, keywords, and OpenGraph tags to scraped content. Tags are translated into keywords and titles into descriptions. The whole thing can be set up in five minutes or less.

Try So Meta for WordPress

You can download So Meta for WordPress now. Give it a try and tell me what you think. The official site for So Meta is https://someta.sourcepassive.com/

Installing Python 3.8.2 and PyCharm Community on CentOS 7

I recently was accepted into Stanford’s ‘Code In Place’ class. We’re instructed to use PyCharm and Python 3.8 to complete the class. I had to solve a number of problems in order to get everything running on CentOS 7. 

If I was going to do it again, I would do it in this order and save myself a few interim steps and four-letter words.

From a shell terminal:

sudo yum -y install openssl-devel bzip2-devel libffi-devel

sudo yum install gcc

sudo yum -y install wget

wget https://www.python.org/ftp/python/3.8.2/Python-3.8.2.tgz

tar xvf Python-3.8.2.tgz

cd Python-3.8.2/

./configure –enable-optimizations

sudo make altinstall

curl https://bootstrap.pypa.io/get-pip.py -o get-pip.py

sudo python get-pip.py

sudo unlink /usr/bin/python

sudo ln -s /usr/local/bin/python3.8 /usr/bin/python

With my browser I downloaded the PyCharm Community Version for Linux from here:


Then back in the terminal 

sudo tar xvfz pycharm-community-2017.3.2.tar.gz -C /opt/

sudo /opt/pycharm-community-2017.3.2/bin/pycharm.sh

Everything seems to work as expected now.

I hope this helps!

Turning Problems into Passive Income

COVID-19 Killed My Day Job

With the event industry completely shut down for the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve found myself with a little extra time on my hands lately. I’ve been putting that time to use developing my various passive income projects from the safe social distance of my apartment.

One of my projects, Checkered Hat, has been putting on live events in the Seattle area for a couple of years now and we’re making the transition into a more technology-driven format. It could get complicated but, for now, it’s not. One of the first steps is to take the shows and live video stream them online.

In order to pull it off, I’ve had to buy some additional equipment. I’m a production gear hoarder and have dabbled a little into equipment rental, outfitting shows here and there with my own personal collection of mismatched, but serviceable, equipment. It’s always been a fly by the seat of your pants, at night, kinda gig. Consequently, I always just stole numbers off of other people’s invoices and copied them into mine when I needed to determine the rental price of an item.

How Much Should I Charge?

Nobody had ever taught me how to calculate a fair rental price for something. Everything was monkey-see-monkey-do. With this latest batch of purchases, it’s become clear that my collection of gear is, to put it in corporate-speak, creatively varied. Nobody has exactly this same collection of crap. I’m out of my cut-and-paste element. I could see no viable choice but to actually start figuring things out for myself.

Rule 34 Applies

I did what anyone with a smartphone would do. I Googled it. There had to be some sort of free online profit margin calculator for equipment rental. There are a ton of event rental companies offering everything from overhead projectors to ladder rental. It only made sense that they were using a profit margin formula of some sort. I just didn’t know what it was. Search as I may, I couldn’t find a financial calculator that could tell me the gross profit from renting a piece of gear or how much I was supposed to realistically rent it to someone for.

Eventually, buried deeply in a contractor’s forum that looked like it dated from the late 90’s I found the rant and subsequent flames I was looking for. It’s a by-product of Rule 34. Just about every common question has already been asked; answered poorly and debated ad nauseum by people who spend their days obsessing over whatever particular subject is being debated. If it exists, there’s been a flame war on a message board about it. 

I did the painful part for you. I read all that crap. I came, I saw, and I built it into a spreadsheet. Once it was all working, my next thought was, “how do I apply this dynamically to all of my items?” Another no-brainer…

Some People Can’t Help Themselves

I took my spreadsheet and duplicated it in PHP code. I slapped that puppy into a quick one-page website on a subdomain and built a quick API. For a final touch, I added a couple of ads. It needs to create income somehow, and I’d been itching to put that Gaff Gun ad somewhere.

You may be wondering what this has to do with passive income. Let’s talk about that. The actual renting of gear is only partially passive. There’s still significant effort involved. I do production because of my passion for it as much as for the money, I wasn’t really thinking about that.

Turn Problems into Opportunities

This is the process I used to find my niche passive income opportunity. As I tackled my real-life problem, I was forced to look for solutions. Once a solution was discovered my thoughts turned to reduce the effort required to implement the idea. Implementing automation led to a whole different set of problems. Luckily, I’m a Swiss army knife, not a utility knife. I believe that the route to optimum value creation in this case was to apply my cross-industry skills in a creative way to the situation.

We all have strange combinations of things that we know. By identifying where these unique combinations of knowledge and skill reveal unique solutions, we identify opportunities to create value. 

In order to create a production rental price and profit calculator, I needed to understand not only the niche of production equipment rental but also business bookkeeping, a little tax law, and some irritatingly convoluted math.  To implement it, I needed to have some basic coding skills. To make a profit off of it required me to use SEO skills, keyword-focused writing, and marketing. 

None of my skills are all that unique in and of themselves. The combination, however results in a viable passive income project. The project is valuable to a small-enough niche to have little competition while still having organic search traffic. The best part is that I needed to do most of the work anyway to accomplish my original goal of figuring out what a fair price to rent my event production equipment would be. Any income that comes from my production rental price and profit calculator will be truly passive.

The Finished Production Rental Price and Profit Calculator

You can take a look at the finished product here:


Do you have an idea of how this solution can be implemented into one of your projects? I have built a simple API for the calculator to make integration easy.

Email me for access: [email protected]

Building a Better Doorbell

One of my side hustles is managing an apartment building in Seattle. It’s one of those brand new “micro-studios” on Capitol Hill. One of the most common complaints I received in 2019 was that there wasn’t a call box down at the front door. The peephole on the door doesn’t help when your guest is down at the front.

Amazon drivers were dropping my renter’s packages in plain view in front of the building. The existing cam on the door wasn’t much help. I needed something that could be made available to my tenants in their unit without being installed by a pro. I definitely couldn’t allow a proliferation of ring doorbells plastered to the front of the building.

After searching for a conventional answer on Google. Ring’s doorbells just weren’t a good match. Sixty different people needed to be able to have a separate doorbell all at the same time. I couldn’t be running around drilling and stringing video camera lines everywhere and I could have cared less about whether or not it was Echo compatible or Alexa-enabled. 

This couldn’t just be solved with a big red button. I needed a novel solution instead.

I wrote a web app that I call Digital Doorbell. It’s stupid simple. I posted a QR code on the door that allows visitors or delivery drivers to select the unit they want to contact from a list. The web address is also listed in case there is something wrong with the user’s lens. The best part is that both parties privacy is respected as no phone numbers are revealed in the transaction.

Since I have installed the system, I have seen a marked decrease in missed packages and package questions from my residents. I think it’s a win for us here in the building.

You may be asking what this has to do with passive income. Well, I turned Digital Doorbell into a service that other property managers can use to solve their problems and I’m currently looking for a few good affiliates to help me spread the word.

If you’re interested in Digital Doorbell for your apartment building or rental property please check out our online demo. If you think that you may be a fitting affiliate, contact us.

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