6 Easy Ways to Feature Older Content

If you have being blogging regularly then you will have an archive of articles that are no longer on the front page of your WordPress blog.  The WordPress.com Top Posts Widget displays your most popular posts as of the last 48 hours. The Top Rated Widget displays which of your pages, posts, and/or comments have the highest ratings. But the posts you may want to call reader attention to may not be among them. What to do if they aren’t?   Continue reading

12 Tips for Improving Search Queries Ranking Position

google magnifying glass Google announced, “starting today,  we’re updating our Top Search Queries feature to make it better match expectations about search engine rankings.  The new definition will take the average of the top ranking of your site for all searchers, as opposed to all URLs listed and average that. In the past, they would take all the positions of your rankings and average them together, now they are taking only the top positions.” — Google Changes Definition Of Average Search Ranking Position. Continue reading

How to shorten a WordPress post or page slug

“Long post and page URLs can be annoying. There are times when you may want to edit WordPress slugs for long titled posts or pages, so you can share a shorter link with friends.”

Read the tutorial >  MY DIGITAL NOTEBOOK | Gaurav Tiwari’s Personal Blog On Mathematical Sciences | An assortment of Known & Unknown topics.

Related posts:
Link Shorteners: The Short Version
Shortened links and SEO

Dynamic View templates for Blogger Blogs

blogger iconHave you noticed the new and improved appearance of Blogger (blogspot) blogs? I noticed the interactive layouts on blogs I visit  have resulted in faster page loading times. I likewise noticed the new dynamic templates made blogs look fresh again, so I did some research to see what had changed. I began by logging into my long since abandoned Blogger blog and discovered the dashboard changes.  Continue reading

How-to: Woohoo for Wufoo in WordPress.com Blogs « SmugMugHugs

 

This tutorial relates more to WordPress.com but will be helpful to those SmugMug users who want a visually appealing subscription form next to all those amazing photos! Let’s face it, the WordPress Subscription Widget ain’t too pretty! Of course, this will also work for contact or any other kind of form you need. So, let’s get started. First, you will need to head on over to Wufoo and set up a free account. Read the full tutorial here >  How-to: Woohoo for Wufoo in WordPress.com Blogs « SmugMugHugs.

Blogging and Using Media Effectively

blog I’m always looking for way to enhance the value of the content in my blog and that includes being privileged to receive and publish posts by guest authors. Today I’m issuing a guest blogger invitation to regular readers and subscribers, who have some specific skills. Those who have the skills required and who will agree become guest bloggers must accept the terms I have set in my Guest Posts policy. Continue reading

WordPress.com custom menu walk-through

custom class The arrival of custom menus at WordPress.com last year was very well received as many of us wanted this kind of flexibility for a long time. Creating a custom menus allows us to structure a website.

Have you ever wanted to have a different title for one of your pages than the label displayed in your site’s navigation? Ever wanted to change the order of the list of pages to an order you chose yourself? Ever wanted to be able to mix pages, categories, and random links in your navigation instead of your theme deciding for you? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re in luck! The new custom menus feature will do all those things. — Jane Wells in New Custom Menus Feature

Preparation

Before creating a custom menu it’s important to clearly understand the differences between pages and posts. Pages are static and sit outside the blog structure. Although there is only one dynamic page in a blog for posts and we cannot post to more than that one page, we can create the appearance that we have posted to more than one page by creating a custom menu.

We organize our posts by assigning Categories to them. When we publish a post it automatically appears on the dynamic page for posts and also on the Categories pages. (Note: There must be one published post in each Category and/or Tag in order for there to be anything to display.)

With a custom menu we can display Categories and drop-downs to sub-categories in tabs along the horizontal navigation where normally only Pages tabs are displayed. We can also include Pages and drop-downs to sub-pages, tabs and Custom links tabs in our custom menu as well.

To do that, you need to select a suitable theme: Posts on pages

Custom menu walk-through

1. Create Pages and sub-pages and assign hierarchical structure in the Page attributes module. In the case of new sub-pages pages do not assign numerical order in the Page attributes module. Remove any numerical order from the “Order” boxes on existing sub-pages in the Page attributes module.

2. Create a custom menu. On the custom menu page in the top right hand column to create a custom menu, give your custom menu a name and click “Create Menu”.

menu name 1

pages

3. Locate the Pages module in the left column, select the Pages and sub-pages you want to display and click “Add to Menu”. The Pages and sub-pages selected will appear in the module on the right hand side of the page.

Drag and drop the Parent pages you want to display and arrange them in the order you want in the right column.

Then drop and drag the sub-pages below the appropriate Parent pages, indenting them and when you have them arranged in the menu “save” the menu.

pages & subpages

4. Repeat the same process above to include Categories and sub-categories, and to create Custom links. Locate the Categories module, select the Categories you want to display and click “Add to Menu”. Arrange them in the order you want. Then add and drop and drag the sub-categories below the appropriate Categories. Add Custom links, and when you have everything arranged in the menu “save” the menu.

theme location5. Go to the “Theme Location” module at upper left on the menu page. Select your custom menu name from the pull-down labeled “Primary Menu”. Click the “save” button in that module.

Note: As static pages sit outside the blog structure it will take longer for the custom menu pages to load when we click save than it normally takes.

7. Refresh your browser so that it isn’t possibly pulling a cached page, and view your front page of your blog to see your new custom menu with parent Page tabs and drop-downs to sub-pages, Categories tabs and drop-downs to sub-pages, and Custom Links tabs.

Troubleshooting

page att Custom menu isn’t appearing! Go to the custom menu page in the dashboard Appearance > Menus and in the “Theme Location” module on the upper left select your custom menu from the pulldown and then click “save”.

My pages and/or sub-pages are in the wrong order. Check the sub-pages themselves to see if you have established a Parent page and child page “hierarchical structure” in the page attributes module. Remove if required. Also remove any “order” numbers you have assigned that may conflict with the order you are creating by dropping and dragging. Or simply change them so they are the same order as you establish in the menu. Establish consistency – problem solved.

Duplicate pages appearing! If you click the “Automatically add new top-level pages” on the custom menu page top right module then any new Pages are automatically added. If you later try to drag and drop them to create a hierarchical parent page structure in your custom menu that will happen but you will also get a duplicate page when you view your menu on the front page of your blog. The best practice is to disable that “Automatically add new top-level pages” function and then save the menu.

auto add

theme location My Pages aren’t appearing! They must be public pages – not private.
Public – The page will be visible to everyone.
Protected – The page is protected with a password you set. Only people who have the password can view a protected page.
Private – Pages are only visible to blog Editors and Administrators. Private pages are not visible in Blog Surfer, feeds, or in any search. A page can be private without being password protected.

Top 5 Informative Writing Tips for Bloggers

top 5Blog articles, short reports, reviews, tutorials, newsletters, are all examples of informative writing. Informative writing delivers a brief education on a topic by explaining how to do something, describing a process, a timeline or a sequence of events. Powerful informative writing skilfully hits the target by conveying essential facts and data in as few words as possible.
Continue reading

Better Blogging: Powerful, Persuasive Writing

globe & computers Better bloggers learn how to become powerful and persuasive writers. Personal power is based on passion, confidence, and competence.  All writing is about clarity.  Powerful writing resonates with competence, vision, and service. Powerful writing  persuades readers to read and respond.  Developing power writing skills may take some time, but it will benefit your blog, business, and brand. The more you write, the more powerful and persuasive your writing will become.

Social Media Impacts

With the explosion of social media, business writing has taken on new meaning. In addition to the traditional business memos, reports and marketing, we now have blogging, microblogging and fan pages as new venues for business writing and promotion. – Poor Business Writing Costs Billions

Writing to Persuade

When you are writing to persuade you are aiming to convince people to agree with you and act. Do not assume the reader knows what you are talking about; spell it out. The headline should tell the reader what they’re about to read. Lead with a compelling opening statement.  Clearly state what you want readers to do and explain how it will benefit them. Communicate through simple, direct language.  Write with passion using the active voice wherever possible as strong nouns and verbs engage readers.

Powerful writing is readable, focused, concrete and well-suited for its audience. Powerful writing is  compelling and passionate.   Powerful writing develops gracefully. Powerful writing flows.– 8 Qualities of Powerful Writing

Repetition and Brevity

Repetition is  critical in persuasive writing, since a person can’t agree with you if they don’t truly get what you’re saying.  Make your points in several different ways. Ten Timeless Persuasive Writing Techniques But remember that brevity must prevail as these days readers skim read.

Formatting for Reading Ease

The format of your content will determine how successfully it holds the reader’s attention.   Be concise and clear.  Use short sentences,  sub-headings and bulleted points. Insert relevant images. Conclude with a concise statement of the unique idea you have developed to address the issue,  followed by a call to action.

Inspiration for Powerful Writing

Some insipring quotes on powerful writing can be found in this PDF file  Powerful Writing In 30 Words Or Less ©Joanna Young 2008.  It’s presented in 7 different sections, based on the themes that emerged. Powerful writing… (1) hits the mark (2) moves us (3) comes from the source (4) follows intent (5) changes things (6) lingers (7) inspires us to write. Here are two examples of powerful writing in 30 words or less:

Powerful writing cuts through psychological noise and grips our attention. It becomes like a tuning fork for the reader. It enhances a pure tone that resonates with the reader.

Powerful writing can move the reader forward, almost as if they can’t resist; always moving in that direction you want them to go.

Writing for the Web Research on how users read on the Web and how authors should write their Web pages.

Discussion

Readers,  would you like to express what powerful writing is to you in 30 words or less?

Related posts found in this blog:
5 years at WordPress.com
What do you look for in a blog?
Blogging, Content Creation and Time Management
Blogging: Online presence and authenticity
How to Become a Better Blogger 3: Ethics and Links

Why About Pages are Essential

outstretchehand Static pages are not a requirement for blogs I do recommend having an About page.  I always amazed when I visit a blog and don’t find one because it’s natural for visitors to  want to know a bit about who you are and why you are blogging.

Creating an About page is a way to introduce yourself and let visitors know what kind of content to expect to read in your blog.   A concise  blog description on your About page will inform visitors what they can expect to find in the content and when it will be published.

An About page exists:

  • to provide visitors with essential facts need to interact with you (and/or your company),
  • to give visitors context for the information found elsewhere on the site,
  • to differentiate your blog (and/or your company)  from others like it, and
  • to give visitors a reason (several reasons, ideally) for doing whatever it is you want them to do
  • to provide contact information.

Who are you and what’s the blog about?

Your About page could be as simple as a brief description of who you are and what your purpose for the blog is.  It’s up to you to decide  how much personal information you want to share, and whether or not to post a photo of yourself, but don’t forget to let your personality shine through the text on your About page.  It’s the blogger’s ability to promote their content that creates traffic flow, and it’s their community building ability that determines the blog’s success. Write in an engaging style so visitors know you want

  • to be heard;
  • to connect;
  • to receive comments;
  • to enter into discussion;
  • to form relationships;
  • to build a blog centered community.

Optimize About Page Content

Now let’s consider building and promoting your online presence. Does your blog promotion strategy include a strong web presence? It should. Google is known to make up to 400 algorithm changes annually so having some basic knowledge of the major changes will inform a discussion about a site’s presence and ranking on the web.

You can expect to be ‘googled’. When your name (brand, key words and phrases) are is googled, you want links to your blog to that the reader sees in the SERPS (search engine page results). What will searching reveal? Or not reveal?

When creating a blog description and expressing what the purpose for the blog optimize your About page text to include  relevant keywords and phrases that you want search engines like Google to index.  Consider  other details you may want to include that will target long-tail keyword phrases on About page. For example, you may want to include geographic and demographic information  on your About page aimed at having it appear in local search results.

Discussion

I believe the time you spend and the care you take when creating your About page and keeping it updated is a good investment.  Do you agree?

Related posts found in this blog:

Blogging: Comment Baiting

There are many ways that you can encourage your readers to comment. The way you structure your posts can have the effect of drawing out comments. This can be achieved by using a question in the title and/or question(s) at the end of the posts as well. You can also make reference to being interested in hearing reader feedback in the body of the post.

Comment baiting example

Title: Is _________ a helpful blogging tool?
I have been using a ___________ for several months now and find it to be quite helpful with my blogging. I have only noticed two small things I’m not keen about and I will be discussing these in my review below. I’m really interested to hear what you readers have to say about your experience with ________.

    [body of post goes in here]

At the end of your post ask Discussion questions:

  • Have you used _____?
  • Did you have any problems with it?
  • Is there anything else you would like to share about ___?

The Do’s of Comment Baiting

  1. Do your titles and subtitles encourage comments?
  2. Does the text in your posts encourage comments by stating you are looking for reader feedback?
  3. Do you blog on controversial subjects? Controversy sparks discussion too but if you go this direction then:
    (a)  Be well informed about your subject and conversant with all points of view on your subject;
    (b)  Be honest and do not give into the temptation to distort truth for your own purposes. Do not falsify facts, do not present a few facts as the whole story, do not present tentative findings as firm conclusions.
    (c) Use sound evidence to explain and support your ideas. When using evidence, be sure not to take quotations out of context, not to juggle numbers or statistics, and not to present unusual cases as representative examples. Use sources of information that are objective and qualified and link to them appropriately.
    (d) Employ valid reasoning and avoid such fallacies as making hasty generalizations, asserting causal connections where none exist, using invalid analogies, and pandering to passion or prejudice.
  4. Do you conclude your posts with a question for reader discussion?
  5. Do you answer comments you receive promptly and individually?
  6. Do you comment on the posts of bloggers who have commented on your posts?
  7. Do you backlink to your readers’ posts in your own posts?
  8. Do you use a Recent Visitors widget and/or a Top Commenters widget?
  9. Do you promote your posts throughout social networks to keep your readers aware of when you publish new posts?
  10. Do you provide RSS and/or atom feeds and encourage subscriptions?
  11. Do you provide  readers offer updates by email and encourage subscriptions?
  12. Do you offer newsletters and encourage subscriptions?
  13. Do you have a forum?
  14. Do you conduct reader polls and surveys?
  15. Do you encourage your readers to become guest authors on your blog?

The Dont’s of Comment Baiting

Activities to avoid as they can be perceived as being “spammy” are:

  • begging for comments and/or followers on forums;
  • posting into forum threads or leaving comments on blog posts revealing you had nothing meaningful to add to the discussion, which in return reveals you are an attention seeker who is inclined to being “sneaky”;
  • and/or flooding shoutboxes and message boxes in social networks with invitations to visit your blog.

Extraordinary comment baiting -> Dont’ ever try this unless you can handle it as well as raincastoer does. If you click this mummified fairy remains link there are over 2,000 comments so it will take awhile to load.

Related posts found in this blog:

WordPress.com Comments and Discussion Settings
Anonymous commenting on a WordPress.com blog
How to handle negative comments
Why blog comment moderation is a good thing
Crazymaking Blogger Comment Settings
Encouraging blog readers to comment
A Comment Policy for your Blog
Crafting Quality Blog Comments
Blogging: Attracting More Readers
How to form blog centered relationships

12 Step Blog Evaluation

checklist Visitors expect to quickly access specific information when they visit blogs. First impressions are critical when it comes to them making the choice to linger and read and perhaps return, or to click out and not return.

When a visitor enters a blog and clicks out without clicking an additional link in the blog this is referred to as a “bounce“. Ideally a blogger wants a zero bounce rate but that’s next to impossible to achieve. How high is your blog’s bounce rate? And, how long does the average visitors spend on your blog?

I am frequently asked to help bloggers going through the blog evaluation process and I always decline.   I prefer to share the steps I take when I  evaluate a blog with my readers here, so they can review my approach and share their feedback with me in discussion.

After blogging for a while  you  need to assess whether or not your blog is on the right track or if adjustments need to be made.  The results of your evaluation may be branding changes,  setting new goals,  a change in theme, or even a complete blog make-over.

“First impressions are lasting impressions”, so they say.  The word “effectiveness” is the key word when I assess the following points:

1.    Page loading time is a ranking factor. How quickly does the site load?

  • How many widgets and gadgets are there in the sidebar?
  • How many scripts are running?
  • Is there autoplay music?
  • How much decorative “tat” (clutter) is in sidebars and/or footers?

2.    Is the theme in keeping with the content?  For example, does the theme in use appropriately reflect and showcase the true nature of the blog content? Or are you looking at a professional content business blog being presented in theme that would better be suited for use on a parenting or personal blog?

3.    How is the color scheme for readers? I it in keeping with the blog post content? Colors evoke emotions and can provoke readers to either move on or to linger and read.

  • Do the colors chosen evoke a calming mood that encourages to readers to relax and read content? Or do the colors evoke stimulation of emotions that may provoke readers to click out?
  • Does what’s been placed in the sidebar tend to detract from the blog design and distract readers away from reading content?

4.    Does the theme quickly communicate branding and the purpose of the blog to new visitors?

  • If the theme is not unique, then has it been customized and personalized (eg. custom header image, logo, unique graphics) to reflect individual branding?
  • How does the quality of design and the customization aimed at personalizing it compare with other blogs in the same niche?

5.    Is the blog search engine optimized? Note: If you are using a WordPress.com theme good SEO is a given. However, going beyond the theme what the blogger has done within that structure is worth evaluating.

6.    How readable is the content by readers of all ages including the visually impaired?

  • Is the background black or dark? If so is the font color easily readable against it?
  • Is the background “busy” as in patterned and/or extremely colorful? If so then are the fonts easily readable against it?
  • Is the background distracting? Does it draw the eyes and mind away from the post content? Note:  Presbyopia, the loss of up-close focus that forces billions of people to wear reading prescriptions by 40 years old, is commonly considered an inevitable fact of aging. The condition affects 100% of the population by age 50.

7.   Are pages being used effectively?

  • Is there an About page with a blogger’s profile,  blog description, contact information, and copyright notice?
  • How is the blog structured? Is it post based, or page based with custom menu?

8.   Are navigational aides provided?

  • Does the theme provide next page and previous page links?
  • Is there a sitemap, archives, categories and tags?
  • Can readers easily locate deeper content found in earlier posts that doesn’t appear on the front page?
  • Have links to related sites in the same niche been provided for readers?

9.   Is the post content well written, properly “sourced” and are links in working order?

  • Are the tiles attention grabbing and do they accurately reflect the content?
  • Is the content free of typos, spelling mistakes, grammatical errors?
  • Are the posts written in an engaging style that flows?
  • Do the post contain links to sources for verifiability, acknowledgment, examples, and context?
  • One of the most common problems that readers encounter is dead links.  Do an random check for broken and dead links and see what you find.
  • Are media (images, audio, video) being used effectively?
  • Do posts contains invitations for readers to participate in discussion and/or requests for reader feedback?
  • Do posts have social networking sharing buttons?
  • Reference:  3 Ways to Evaluate the Real Activity of the Blog

10.  Are the commenting links obvious, inviting and easy to use?

  • Has a commenting policy been provided?
  • Does the blog have a CAPTCHA for commenting?
  • Does the blogger reply to comments?

11.   Is there a means for readers to subscribe to the RSS feed or to subscribe to receive new blog posts by email?

12.   How intrusive are the ads?

  • Is the blog content above the fold, or does advertising occupy the best real estate positioning on the blog?
  • Are there pop-ups, pop-unders, toolbars, etc.
  • Are the ads minimal in number, tasteful in appearance, and in keeping with the content in the blog?

Discussion

1. Have you ever evaluated your blog’s effectiveness from the standpoint of a reader?

2. If so what process did you use to do so?

3. Which of the twelve points in my article resonated most for you?

4. Which of the tweleve points did not resonate for you?

5. If you believe I overlooked any important points, please share what you think ought to have been included.

Related posts found in this blog:
How to select a WordPress.com theme Part 1
Select a WordPress.com theme Part 2
Select a WordPress theme Part 3

A Dozen Free Ebooks for Bloggers

ebook stackFor writers who are taking up blogging there’s a lot to learn. For those who don’t  possess strong writing skills there’s a larger learning curve.

As I’m getting more and more questions from those who are new to blogging,  and especially from business bloggers who are just getting started,  in this post I’m sharing links to free ebook resources for bloggers in all niches. There are many free  ebooks available that contain and great deal of useful information on the topics I list briefly below and more.

  • Getting Started
  • Choosing a Niche
  • Domain Names
  • Blogging Platforms
  • Themes and Organization
  • Pages, Posts and Widgets
  • Images and Media
  • Comments and Discussion
  • Headlines and Content Creation
  • SEO (search engine optimization)
  • Post Length and Posting Frequency
  • Blog promotion, Social Media, Social Networking
  • Guest Blogging

Free ebooks on blogging for bloggers

I began researching and reading ebooks in preparation for creating and publishing this post two weeks ago.  I was aiming to have it ready for publication by  Wednesday or Thursday of this week but Mother Nature interfered on Tuesday night. A snow storm knocked out our power for 2 days.   I’m pleased to say that I finally completed the project and am publishing it as the week comes to an end.

  1. Personal Branding for the Business Professional (PDF format). Chris Brogan compiled 15 pages (including the cover) and contains everything from strategy advice to some considerations to over 100 tactics and ideas on what to do next.
  2. (a) Killer Flagship Content is a guide to arranging enjoyable and profitable joint ventures, how we all need the help of other people, and everyone has something to offer.- Chris Garrett’s  free ebook introduces the concept of Flagship Content and provides all the information you need to create, package and promote compelling resources that attract more attention to your blog. (b) Authority Alliances is a guide to arranging enjoyable and profitable joint ventures, how we all need the help of other people, and everyone has something to offer. You can download both free of charge just by subscribing.
  3. Beginner’s Guide to SEO – Freshly updated by seomoz  for 2010, the Beginner’s Guide is the most popular SEO learning resource on the web. More than 1 million users have read or downloaded this beautifully illustrated, value-packed, free resource.
  4. WordPress SEO guide for beginners (PDF format) – The Blog Oh! Blog way. It can be considered as a crash course for all the people who are struggling to get better search engine results with their WordPress blogs. In this e-book, I will guide you how to rapidly configure your WordPress blog with maximum SEO benefits.
  5. How to Start a Business Blog (Scribd format) is a step by step workbook with exercises to help you plan, set up and create content for a business blog. Michael Martine.com wrote a huge 12-part series of posts on how to start a business blog and expanded on them in the form of an ebook.
  6. Who’s There (PDF format) is not an ebook about how to write better or how to follow the traditional conventions about formatting and building a blog. It’s not designed to sell you one service instead of another, either.  Instead, Seth Godin divides the blog world into three groups and turn my attention to one. And in particular, I try to sell you hard on how building a blog asset can have a spectacular impact on you, your career, your organization and your ideas.
  7. Content by Cory Doctrow is among the most important books in social media. Read this ebook and get the straight goods on copyright.
  8. The Art of Community (PDF format) by Jono Bacon. A solid guide to building, energizing and enabling pro-active, productive and enjoyable communities, covering community leadership, and best practices.
  9. Geeks Guide To Promoting Yourself With Twitter An ebook containing tips, tools and resources for  using Twitter for promotion purposes.
  10. The Zen of Blogging (PDF format) This is the story of an aspiring blogger who sets out on a journey to discover the secrets of blogging. What will he find at the top of Mount Blogmore? Will he learn how to become a great blogger, or will he get his head cut off? You’ll have to read to find out!
  11. Focus – A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction (PDF format) is Leo Babauta’s free ebook.  Leo Babauta is a very popular blogger whose blog Zen Habits   educates people on leading a simple, stress free life. Tip of the hat to Sandra Lee of Always Well Within.

For those bloggers who are exploring free and/or low cost methods of printing their blog posts, or creating ebooks, or publishing a book please see Bloggers: Publish your book, ebook, or your blog. See also Promoting Your Writing or Poetry Blog.

Discussion

Have you read any free ebooks on blogging topics that don’t appear here? If so, how many have you read? And, which ones  would you recommend?

iPad for Christmas

ipadIf Santa was good to you yesterday and you received an iPad for Christmas then this is the official how-to page on Apple.com for iPad owners that you will want to bookmark. You will also be happy to find that Rex Hammock has published a useful post you can use for setting up titled Christmas morning (or any first-day) help for the new iPad owner.

Minimum computer operating system requirements: To connect your iPad to connect with your computer, your computer must have one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X version 10.5.8 or later; Windows 7; Windows Vista; Windows XP Home or Professional with Service Pack 3 or later.

There are two other excellent illustrated articles from gizmodo and from Mashable that you will want to bookmark and consult.

[gizmodo] We’ll be updating this post as we continue to set up our iPads. If you have any set up topics you want us to cover, let us know in the comments. How To: Set Up Your iPad the Right Way

[Mashable] We thought it appropriate to walk you through the steps to set up your iPad. We’ve also included some basic tips for getting the most out of your device. HOW TO: Get Started with the iPad

If you are w WordPress blogger then you will find WordPress for iOS Forums are helpful when troubleshooting and the  FAQ’s will be helpful as well.

A tip of the hat to Chris Brogan for making me aware of Rex Hammock’s article.

Related posts found in this blog:
WordPress Apps: Blogg1ng 0n th3 g0

WordPress.com Comments and Discussion Settings

2 people water coolerNot every blog requires comments but most are created  by bloggers who are eager to enter discussion  and are aimed at community building.   The ease or difficulty readers experience when commenting  on a blog will influence whether or not they will return to comment again. Continue reading

Duplicate Content in the SERPs Sucks!

duplicate dollsThe theme of this post is: don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content. Almost every day when I visit new blogs on the internet I spot duplicated content. The most common instances I witness are bloggers, who set up free blogs on WordPress.com, whereon blogger initiated advertising and duplicate content are not allowed, who then go on to create a mirror site on a free Blogger blog containing all the same content, so they can benefit from the niggardly income provided by Google Adsense.  The second most common experience I’m having is witnessing is published articles from article directories duplicated on multiple sites. The third most common experience I am witnessing is very similar content on multiple sites that differs only in that a few words or paragraphs have been added to the core text.

What constitutes duplicate content?

Duplicate content is content that can be accessed on more than one URL.
Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar. Mostly, this is not deceptive in origin. Examples of non-malicious duplicate content could include:

  • Discussion forums that can generate both regular and stripped-down pages targeted at mobile devices
  • Store items shown or linked via multiple distinct URLs
  • Printer-only versions of web pages
  • If your site contains multiple pages with largely identical content, there are a number of ways you can indicate your preferred URL to Google.   (This is called “canonicalization“.)  However, in some cases, content is deliberately duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or win more traffic. Deceptive practices like this can result in a poor user experience, when a visitor sees substantially the same content repeated within a set of search results.”

    Why is duplicate content an issue?

    One of the biggest issues with SEO is duplicate content. If search engine spiders can’t tell which version of a web page or document is the original or canonical version, then the consequences will be less than ideal search visibility. Most duplicate content is created by blog scraping sploggers who steal content by subscribing to RSS feeds. Some duplicate content is created by the author’s of the content and the latter is what this article is focused on.

    Search engines are designed to provide the most relevant results to those who use them. When it comes to a blog not making the ascent to the top of the search engine rankings and SERPs (search engine pages results) the issue of duplicate content arises. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Ask have developed tools and filters that locate and remove web pages containing duplicated content, in order to deliver the most relevant and timely results to searchers. Not all duplicate content has to be identical to be spotted and removed a search engine crawler. But web pages with similarity over of over 60% will definitely be detected and impede any ranking success a blogger is aiming to enjoy.

    Matt Cutts of Google introduces the canonical link element

    Whenever content on a site can be found at multiple URLs, it should be canonicalized for search engines. This can be accomplished using a 301 redirect to the correct URL, using the rel=canonical or in some cases using the Parameter handling tool in Google Webmaster Central.  The ways of properly handling cross-domain content duplication are found in Handling legitimate cross-domain content duplication on the Official Google WebMaster central Blog.

    Get with the program, please!

    On my regular read around today I came across the following comment relating to traffic generation and link building.
    “Submit some of your more popular posts to article directories in order to gain greater exposure”
    Let me just make myself 100% clear on this statement….
    It is false, do not submit any content from your site/blog to article marketing directories, if you do it will be labeled duplicate content and no doubt your page will be thrown into the supplementary index.” — Tim Grice in  SEO – Some Common Newbie Mistakes

    1.   It  seems clear to me that those creating duplicate content mirror blogs on WordPress.com and Blogger (blogspot) blogs are motivated by greed, and fall into the group who are deliberately duplicating content across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings and/or secure more traffic.  I report all such sites when I encounter them.

    The types of blogs allowed and not allowed on the WordPress.com blogging platform  and the Terms of Service prevent using a WordPress.com blog as a publicly available and indexed duplicate content blog.  WordPress.com Staff will suspend or delete all duplicate content blogs reported to them. If you have exported your content out of a blog on another blogging platform such as Blogger, Blogger, Israblog, LiveJournal, Movable Type, Typepad, Posterous, Spaces, Tapuz ,Vox, and Yahoo! 360, and then imported it into a WordPress.com free hosted blog, change the visibility on the original blog to “private” so there will be no duplicate content issue.  If you don’t do that then my understanding is that the first content to be indexed will be considered to be  the original, and all other copies will be considered to be  duplicates.

    2.   Ezinearticles and most article directories so accept article(s) that have been previously published elsewhere, provided you are the unique person who holds copyright to the article.  However, Hubpages, Buzzle, Ehow and Knol do not allow duplicate content. They want to only unique content on their sites and will delete your article(s) and your account if you persist. It seems to me that anyone who can write can also rewrite.  So smart bloggers are not duplicating content and having content in  article directories, etc. out place their blog content in the SERPs

    3.   Reputable blog directories do not allow duplicate content sites to be registered. If and when they do slip in under the radar and are reported to site Admin they will delete the site from their directory.

    4.   When RSS syndicating content, create different versions of the same article that you want to syndicate,  rather than posting the same article everywhere.

    Further reading: Six Easy Ways to Eliminate Pesky Duplicate Content

    Plagiarism checkers:

    There are many free plagiarism checkers you can use online. Copyscape is a free plagiarism checker. The software lets you detect duplicate content and check if  articles are original.

    plagium (beta) – Track plagiarism by pasting your original text.

    Conclusion:

    I require the use of search engines to do research for my contracted work and  prior to creating and publishing blog posts. And, I resent going through screen after screen of duplicated content results presented to me in the SERPs. I think it is a good strategy for search engines to penalize those sites with duplicate content by omitting them from the search results.   Google’s algorithm will continue to be adjusted over time to fit one simple goal:  return the most relevant, helpful pages for any particular search.  Really?  Then  why Google isn’t doing a better job?  Duplicate Content in the SERPs Sucks!

    Update:  Google Webmaster Central: Duplicate content summit at SMX Advanced.

    WordPress.com: How to add more photos to a slideshow

    One of the ways to enhance the way you present information on your blog is by creative use of images. WordPress.com slideshows are simple and straightforward. Upload your photos as a gallery, then click the “Insert slideshow” button, or use the shortcode. The slideshow automatically adjusts its dimensions to fit your blog’s theme. You can create a quick and easy slideshow for your WordPress.com blog on either a post or page by following the illustrated instructions in the support documentation. Or you can by following instructions on How To – Using slidehows on WordPress.com blogs on WordPressTV

    “I couldn’t find any instructions from WP Help on how to add photos to an existing slideshow, so thought I’d pass it along. Hope it helps someone out there, as others’ bread crumbs have helped me numerous times.” — Steve Eichenberger, Ceramic Sculptor Artist , Oregon.

    How can I add more photos to a slideshow? If that’s your question, here’s the solution:

    1. Open the post where you want to add photos to a slideshow
    2. Select Edit
    3. Delete the slideshow from your post (highlight , hit delete on your keyboard)
    4. Now, with the post still open, upload additional photo(s) from your computer. They will automatically be added to the Gallery for that post.
    5. Click the Upload/Insert Add an Image icon
    6. Select Gallery tab
    7. Your newly uploaded photos should now be at the top of the list, un-numbered
    8. Drag them to where you want them in the slide sequence
    9. Be sure to hit Save All Changes to lock in the sequence
    10. Now click on Insert Slideshow

    That should do it!

    If your slides are in the wrong sequence, you probably forgot to Save All Changes in step 9, so delete again, and re-do steps 5 – 10. Source

    Please note that if you are experiencing difficulty with the Gallery function this is the place to go to > gammagirl -Not the Official WordPress.com Gallery FAQ.

    Links: No-Follow and Do-Follow

    pagerank imageIn the beginning all links were do-follow.  However, it didn’t take long before blogs were being inundated by those who left insincere comments lacking in value just so they could get a backlink, so the original reason for the introduction of no-follow links was spam.

    Do-follow comment links do pass on PageRank. No-follow comment links do NOT pass on PageRank. If you need more information on link juice and  how it is passed please read The rel=nofollow debate: Let’s Try and Get To Grips With It

    Today many blogs and content management systems, including WordPress,  Blogger (Blogspot blogs), Typepad and most of the main blogging platforms have no-follow links enabled by default on comments and to change the links to do-follow links that pass PageRank action must be taken. On WordPress installs  a plugin must be installed. On  Blogger (Blogspot blogs) you have to download your blog template’s HTML source code and remove the rel=”nofollow” in the comments area.

    How different search engines treat do-follow and no-follow links

    Different search engines interpret and treat no-follow and do-follow links in different ways.
    • Google follows no-follow links but does not pass on PageRank  to outbound links.
    • Yahoo follows no-follow links but excludes the link from all ranking calculations.
    • Bing may or may not follow a no-follow link,s but it does exclude it from ranking calculations.
    • Ask.com does not adhere to no-follow.

    If you use Firefox browser a quick and easy way to find out if blogs have do-follow links is or not is to  use the SearchStatus addon that will highlight all “no-follow” links on a page.  It will also display Google PageRank, Alexa rank, Compete ranking and SEOmoz Linkscape mozRank anywhere in your browser, along with fast keyword density analyser, keyword highlighting, backward/related links, Alexa info and more.

    Expert advice on no-follow and do-follow

    Matt Cutts of Google has provided advice about PageRank and the no-follow attribute. If you are considering changing your links from no-follow to do-follow, then you may find the video below to be helpful.

    Brett from Michigan asks Matt Cutts of Google:
    “Are there negative SEO implications to having a blog with do-follow comments?
    What about commenting on do-follow blogs?”

    Question: Can having do-follow comments on my blog affect its reputation?
    Short answer: Yes.
    Question: Are there negative implications to having a blog with do-follow comments?
    Short Answer: Yes.
    For full answers please watch the video.

    Can having dofollow comments on my blog affect its reputation?

    Last year Matt Cutts also announced that page rank sculpting (the manipulation of no-followed and do-followed links) is no longer effective. Previous to that no-following comments directed more link juice to your other links but that no longer applies. Google has already done the math and has devised a way to stop manipulation.

    The old practice was …
    You have a PR 5 page
    You have  5 links on that page
    Each link gets 1 a bit of PR
    You apply rel=”nofollow” to 4 links
    1 page gets PR 5,  the other 4 get nothing.

    The new practice is …
    You have a PR5 page
    You have 5 links on that page
    Google knows there are 5 links
    If you apply rel=”nofollow” to 4 of those links
    the 1 remaining normal link gets PR of 1

    spam canAdvice when changing from changing from no-follow to do-follow

    Changing your  blog from no-follow to do-follow means you must become more vigilant about the kind of comments you approve and  post. These days there are not only bots leaving comments, there are also humans who are paid to leave bogus comments. That means that you will have to exercise discretion, moderate all comments, and be very careful about screening them. Hence it pays to run a bad neighborhood checks on any links that give you a “hinky” feeling.  The rule of thumb is it looks link a spam comment, it probably is so don’t post it.

    Also keep in mind the reason that no-follow links were introduced. It’s not always a good idea to brag about your blog being do-follow and to promote it as a do-follow blog. Hanging up a “this is a do-follow” blog sign will definitely result in some people making opportunistic comments just so they can get a “juicy” link.  If you are considering changing your links from no-follow to do-follow you may find this article to be helpful: Do You DoFollow?

    Linking ReCap

    1. Write high quality articles that others in your niche will want to backlink to and discuss.
    2. Avoid linking to unrelated sites.
    3. Avoid entering reciprocal link exchanges with unrelated sites.
    4. Link only to related sites in your niche.
    5. Avoid creating “blogrolls” or long lists of links.
    6. Exercise discretion by moderating all comments, trackbacks and pingbacks, and be very careful about screening.
    7. Build authority by leaving quality comments on related blogs.
    8. When it comes to commenting on do-follow blogs, remember do-follow passes PageRank from the linking site to all the other links  so (a) your PageRank 0 blog doesn’t really benefit, and (b) the more (spam/real) comments you get on a blog the less Page Rank there there  is to allocate among the links out anyway.

    Related posts found in this blog:
    Understanding Backlinks
    Understanding Reciprocal and Non-Reciprocal Links
    Natural Linking Strategy for Bloggers
    Getting the Perfect Link
    SEO Basics for on Page Optimization
    Link building strategy: Locating similar sites
    Links: No-Follow and Do-Follow

    Blogroll or Links Page?

    blogrollA Blogroll of  links to the sites you read is a way of acknowledging those sites you value and also recommending relevant content to your readers. The rule of  thumb is: link to the most authoritative related references in your posts, and to the most authoritative sites in your niche in your Blogroll. Continue reading

    Setting up a self-hosted WordPress.org install

    wpstuffThe pros and cons of being free hosted by WordPress.com or self hosting a WordPress.org software install are summed up very well in this support documentation entry –  WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org The first step towards eventualy managing your own WordPress.org install can be purchasing your own domain and domain mapping. You don’t need to leave WordPress.com to do that, and the sooner you do this, the better.  The reasons why acting early is better than waiting are found in my blog posts below:

    Do I need a Domain?
    How and why to get your own domain

    Bloggers Get Your Own Domain
    Self-hosting: What’s Your Hurry?

    If you are an experienced WordPress.com software user, and have the skill sets required to set up and manage your own self hosted WordPress.org install then the instructions for making the move are easy to follow. But if you are not skilled at WordPress.com  blogging, and also lack the skill sets required to self host your own WordPress.org install then acquiring those skills first is recommended.

    Required skill sets for self-hosting a WordPress.org install

    Richard, who answers questions on the WordPress.com support forums as I do,  provides the following advice:

    You will be responsible for all upgrades, installations,  backups and troubleshooting. If you install a theme or a plugin that negatively affects your blog, then you have to figure out what went wrong and fix it. Sometimes it is a conflict with another plugin, sometimes is it is just a poorly written plugin.

    If you install a plugin with a security flaw, and your blog is hacked, you had better have a good, recent backup or you might just lose everything. I cannot stress the importance of frequent backups. I’ve been called into many situations where there were no recent backups (or none at all) and no backups available from the host, and there was nothing left to recover, so in one case, 3 years of postings virtually every day were gone. Only about 15% of them could be recovered by copy and paste from Google cached pages, the rest were simply gone.

    I’m not trying to scare anyone off, just letting them know what is ahead. In the last 3 months, I’ve helped to recover a total of 35 blogs that were “hacked.” Luckily in most cases we were able to recover most of it, but the average cost of recovering one is about $500. Think about that when you ponder if backing up your blog is really that necessary.

    WordPress has done an outstanding job of jumping on security issues and making WordPress as secure as they can right out of the box, but the thing you have no control over is the web hosting company and their server configurations, and some of them are not all that secure.

    For self-hosting figure an average monthly total cost (including cost of a domain name) of about $10 to $25 generally, but that all depends on storage and bandwidth requirements.

    Most bloggers I know that take this route to make money via advertising do not make up for their hosting and domain registration costs, and with literally millions of people downloading and installing  Adblock plus on their Firefox browsers each month, fewer and fewer people are seeing ads. Adblock Plus for Firefox has been downloaded from the mozilla.org site 98,112,095 times as of the end of October 2010. I installed it years ago and have literally seen no ads in that time. If one comes up that it does not block, I simply right click and zap it and never see it again.

    Setting up a self-hosted WordPress.org install

    1.   Purchase a domain and hire a web hosting provider

    Locate the web hosting requirements for WordPress.org installs and the recommended web hosting providers. If you haven’t previously purchased a domain and domain mapping then this is where to begin.  If you want to redirect yourblogname.wordpress.com (as well as all of your permalinks) to your new domain name, then that’s what the Offsite Redirect upgrade does this.  It seamlessly forwards traffic to your new domain.  Expect to pay $6 to $15 per year for the domain name. Many web hosting providers also offer domain purchasing or you can buy your domain separately.

    Once you hire a web host, they will give you the DNS information for your account. You then go into your domain management here and change the DNS records to point to the new web host. It will take 24-72 hours for that change to propagate through all the world-wide internet nameservers and then you can put together the blog on the new web host. Typically the DNS changes will settle down after 12-24 hours, but sometimes it takes longer. It just depends on how busy the internet nameserver system.

    2.   Register a wordpress.org account and locate resources

    Your password will be emailed to the address you provide.  Resources are found in the codex – Getting started with WordPress.org

    Getting More Help

    3.    Download a FTP Client

    FTP is an acronym for File Transfer Protocol. It is used to moves things from your computer’s hard drive to your server.  Using an FTP client is required for uploading themes and plugins in order to customize your site. FTP clients are free and readily available on the internet.  Filezilla Client is one that’s commonly chosen as it’s a fast and reliable cross-platform FTP client with lots of useful features and an intuitive graphical user interface.

    4.   Upload the most recent  self hosting version of wordpress.ORG software into your new site

    Download the most recent version of wordpress.com software.  Upload/install and configure the WordPress software, including creating a MySQL database. Most webhosts have a one-click installer script, but they are not always running the latest version of WordPress in which case you will have to immediately do an upgrade to WordPress. This can get involved if your host does not by default give enough memory to WordPress and sometimes it requires that you create a php.ini file to override the default memory settings so that you can run the upgrade from WordPress. Set up all the different things on WordPress (time offset, permalink structure, etc.)  Resource > First Steps With WordPress

    5.  Select and upload a theme

    Upload a wordpress.org theme – themes directory If you find and install a theme of your liking from the internet (be careful of the source for that theme as there are some bad actors out there that are including malware in theme files).  It’s sad but true.

    6.  Select and upload plugins

    Upload plugins of your choice  – plugins directory Heed the warning re: themes above as malware may show up in plugins as well.

    7.  Import your WordPress.com content into your new site

    Export the contents out of your WordPress.com blog out of  it to your desktop and then import them into your new worpress.org install.  The export file will contain your posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, and tags.  Note that you will be given the option to include attachments such as images and pdf files, etc. in the export.
    There are internal file size limits, so if you have a lot of content, you might have to open the export file in a plain text editor and break it up into smaller files so that it will import. You need to read up on this as there are specific parts of the file that have to be in each of the chunks.

    8.  Import your Links (blogroll) into your new site

    Your Links (blogroll) must be separately exported and there are two methods you can choose from.

    9.  Change the visibility of your WordPress.com blog to private

    When your move is completed change the visibility of the WordPress.com blog to “private” so there is no duplicate content issue and keep it as a back-up blog. You can use the export function on your WordPress.org install to periodically export/import an XML file from the new blog to maintain current backup of content.

    Have a blog launch party!   :)

    Discussion:

    Do you have a WordPress.org install
    Have you considered moving your blog to WordPress.org?

    Related posts found in this blog:
    Why I switched from Godaddy (WordPress.org) to WordPress.com
    Become a WordPress.org Blogger: Free Video Tutorials
    Tutorial: Setting up a self-hosted WordPress.org blog
    WordPress Blog Import and Export

    Blogging and Community Building

    handsNew blogs are being created every day by bloggers who assume “build it and they will come” and likewise assume “post it and they will come“.  I’m sorry to say that isn’t the case. There are no shortcuts when it comes to creating a blog centered community by means of creating a flow of organic (unpaid) traffic to your site and encouraging commenting that results in regular readers/commenters/subscribers.

    Never lose site of the fact that it is content that attracts readers to your site and keeps them coming back – high quality, original content.  It’s the blogger’s ability to promote their content that creates traffic flow, and it’s their ability to initiate and sustain discussion that leads to building a blog centered community.

    Those who do not have good writing skills or who are not blogging in their mother tongue but in English will find the tips and links in this article ESL and Blogging to be helpful. Those who wish to improve their spelling, grammar and other writing skills will find some tips and tools in this blog such as:

    Writers Resources for Bloggers
    5 free Grammar Checkers for Bloggers and Writers
    Tips for Organized Blogging
    Top 5 Informative Writing Tips for Bloggers

    To attract an initial traffic inflow of organic traffic that will hopefully convert into regular readers and subscribers, new bloggers, who have good writing skills need to focus on:

    • Learning and understanding SEO (search engine optimization) and applying optimization to blog post titles, sub-titles, keywords, as well as to keywords in the text which naturally occur in any written language.
    • Mastering use of the blogging platform that matches their goals. WordPress.COM support documentation; WordPress.ORG documentation.
    • Choosing a niche and staying with it.
    • Cultivating relationships with other bloggers and particularly with bloggers who have blogs in the same niche.

    There are 10 standard tips to get traffic that you hear over and over again in the blogosphere. Interesting content is an attractor and in blogging content is king but promotion is queen.

    1.    You need to have expertise in a niche and you need to know how to write very well. That includes learning how to write link bait posts that other bloggers will backlink to.

    2.    You need to get a Google webmasters account and verify your blog ownership with the major search engines. Then you need to structure a reader friendly and search engine friendly blog and posts by learning how to apply basic SEO (search engine optimization) techniques.

    3.    You need to build an archive of high quality original content and keep adding to it. By effective use of keywords, keyword phrases, Categories and Tags your content will begin to draw organic traffic from search engines after it has been indexed and made available to potential readers, who are using search engine to locate specific content of interest to them.

    4.    Consider publishing pillar posts AKA flagship content that will showcase you expertise in your niche so you can build authority in that niche. Then you must keep building on that foundation by updating frequently with new posts containing informative and engaging content in order to hold reader interest.

    5.    You need to learn how to promote your content effectively through social media like Twitter, and social networks like Facebook, etc., and on RSS feed sites, thereby encouraging other bloggers to visit your bog, read your posts, comment, and backlink to your posts in posts of their own.

    6.    Next to securing traffic from search engines it is relationships that you create with other bloggers that is where your blog traffic will come from. You need to locate similar blogs to your own by using search utilities in all social media sites, social networking sites, directories and sites that are devoted to that purpose and provide free tools you can use. Then you must read posts on those related blogs in the same niche and comment, comment, comment. Once you have made contact and connected you need to form supportive  relationships with other bloggers in order to create a blog centered community around your own blog, while also helping them to build blog centered communities around their blogs.

    7.    You will need to join online forums and online user groups within your niche in order to expand your contacts and create relationships with an expanding number of fellow bloggers. You need to have enough information, self-confidence, and goodwill to be able to make a valuable contribution to those communities, rather than developing a reputation for dropping signature links, and/or begging for others to visit your site, and/or begging others to include your blog on their blogrolls. In other words, you must be prepared to lurk and learn the territory prior to posting, and then give, give, give before you expect to receive.

    8.    You will need to encourage your readers to comment on your posts by the way you structure them and you must respond to comments received ASAP after approving them. Then you will need to carry through by visiting the blogs of those who honored yours with a comment by doing the same for them. You will also need to pay close attention to what your blogging friends publish, so you can backlink to their content when it’s related to the content in your new posts.

    9.    You need to consider participating in blog challenges in your niche, consider setting up micro-blogs aimed at directing interested readers to your main blog, without creating duplicate content.

    10.   When invited to do so, you need to consider becoming a guest blogger on blogs with a higher PageRank then your own blog has.

    Learn WordPress.com Tutorial

    There are as many different blogs as there are bloggers, and when it comes to kinds of blogs and their contents, WordPress.com bloggers are limited only by their imagination, and the types of blogs allowed and what’s not allowed on WordPress.com blogs, including some restricted code.

    If you are a business blogger it’s important to note that WordPress.com blogs cannot be equiped for ecommerce transactions.  WordPress.com bloggers selling their own creations  (not retailing or reselling the creations of others) may use contact forms, and Paypal donation buttons can be used on WordPress.com blogs. If you want to monetize a blog then your best bet is to hire a web host and get a free software install from WordPress.org.

    The Learn WordPress.com Tutorial

    If you are new to WordPress.com or if you are interested in supplementing your knowledge  I can recommend a comprehensive tutorial. The Learn WordPress.com  tutorial is divided into progressive levels and presented as a series:

    1. Get Started –  Get your own WordPress.com user account. Choose a unique username that will identify you in the WordPress.com community, and register your blog. Set up your Dashboard and your General Settings.
    2. Get Focused – Tips for deciding what type of blog you will create, and which niche your blog will be in by determining what subject matter you’re going to blog about.
    3. Get Customized – Guidance and advice about choosing a theme, adding widgets, a blogroll of links,  and creating a unique personal design for your blog.
    4. Get Published – Creating and publishing your first blog post, using the Visual editor, creating and publishing an About Me page and learning the differences between posts and pages.
    5. Get Flashy – How to upload photos and media to your blog including  creating an image gallery, adding videos, and slide shows too.
    6. Get Connected – Use to tips for using resources that the WordPress.com community has. assistance with locating  your own community of bloggers using the global tagging pages, and making your own content easy to locate by assigning relevant categories and tags to your posts, and promoting your blog in the WordPress.com community, as well as where  to locate help and support when you need it.
    7. Get Famous – All about  comments, links, social media, blog subscriptions, polls and stats.
    8. Get Mobile – How to use your mobile phone, to capture images,  record video, and either create and publish a post from your mobile’s WordPress.com app, or to email it into your blog via mobile blogging.
    9. Get Heroic – The conclusion of the series inviting feedback by email to editor@wordpress.com.

    Related posts found in this blog:

    Blogging: Attracting More Readers

    attractionWithout doubt content is the key to bringing traffic to your site. The more fresh,  useful and interesting content your site has the more successful it will be.  Content that sparks lively discussion is key to creating regular readers who become subscribers.  Social networking is a means to reach a larger audience and let them know you would  welcome their discussion on your new content.

    Aside from asking them [readers] to contribute their own ideas, you can spark a conversation by asking a general question about the topic. This will bring opinions into the comment section (which are hopefully positive and/or productive) but even negative opinions can find a place here and make for an interested and light-hearted debate.  — Blogging- the Art of Attraction (and Retention)

    1.    Aside from creating and refreshing an archive full of high quality content,  the best way to attract more readers is to comment, comment, comment on similar blogs in the same niche as your own blog and create blog centered relationships with other bloggers. Backlinks are a reflection of other bloggers ascribing value to your content. So create quality content and accept the fact that you must give, give, give backlinks before expecting to receive.

    2.    Well written and engaging writing sparks discussion.

    • Check your spelling, punctuation and grammar.
    • Kick start conversations by writing compelling blog posts that invite conversation.
    • Ask questions. For example: Ask your readers if they have anything they would like to add; if they have any experiences they would care to share; or if they gave any differences of opinion they would like to express.

    3.    Share valuable information, solve problems, publish tutorials and how to posts prompt questions from readers.

    4.    Be creative. Conduct polls and surveys, sponsor blog carnivals, encourage readers to become guest authors. Invent a meme, create team blogging project, give away prizes and awards, hold competitions.

    5.    Controversy sparks discussion too but if you go this direction then:

    • Be well informed about your subject and conversant with all points of view on your subject;
    • Be honest and do not give into the temptation to distort truth for your own purposes. Do not falsify facts, do not present a few facts as the whole story, do not present tentative findings as firm conclusions.
    • Use sound evidence to explain and support your ideas. When using evidence, be sure not to take quotations out of context, not to juggle numbers or statistics, and not to present unusual cases as representative examples. Use sources of information that are objective and qualified and link to them appropriately.
    • Employ valid reasoning and avoid such fallacies as making hasty generalizations, asserting causal connections where none exist, using invalid analogies, and pandering to passion or prejudice.

    6.    At the end of the day, if you do not use social media and social networks to promote your blog posts and blog, then you will find building a growing readership is more difficult as the audience you reach will be limited. Social networking tremendously expands the audience you can connect with,  so providing  social bookmarking and rating tools for your readers use is important.

    10 Reasons and Cures for Writer’s Block

    writers brain diagramNeurologist Alice W Flaherty, who argues  in her book The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block And The Creative Brain, that literary creativity is a function of specific areas of the brain, and that block may be the result of brain activity being disrupted in those areas.

    “By offering some powerful physiological theories for the creative process, Flaherty debunks the idea that creativity stems from psychological inspiration. A few impenetrable parts notwithstanding, she eloquently translates scientific information into layman’s terms, instilling her narrative with fascinating literary and personal anecdotes and practical advice for writers. Citing skimpy evidence, scientists might take issue with Flaherty’s claims. ” — Bookmarks Magazine

    You may also find this How to Become a Professional Writer : How to Handle Writers’ Block by Rebecca Sato, who is a science and health researcher . Her goal is to teach people to live a long and healthy life.

    How to Handle Writers’ Block

    Related articles found in this blog:
    Blog It! Writing Ideas Checklist
    Blogging Through Writer’s Block
    Writers Block Exists No More

    Blog Titles and Branding Tools

    man with magnifying glassMy new blogger friend Juliana is always positive and tries to add value to the world by being courteous, sincere, and by paying it forward.  Juliana has  a new blog on her own domain and she has asked what the implications of changing her blog title (not the URL) might be. In this post I’m sharing my advice to her with my readers and inviting their feedback as well. Continue reading

    WordPress.com in house blog promotion

    wordpress iconsThe most effective way of promoting a blog within the WordPress.com community is to seek out other blogs in the same niche  and form blog centered relationships with  bloggers who share the same blogging interests.  Forming blog centered relationships is a natural consequence of posting meaningful comments on posts in the blog you locate.  There are several ways to locate blogs in the same niche revealed in this post.

    WordPress.com global tag pages

    Every time we publish a post with categories and tags assigned to it that post will appear in the WordPress.com global tag pages unless we run afoul of the rules. By visting the WordPress.com global tag pages where where posts are displayed in order of the original date/timestamp you will be able to locate blogs by category/tag. Note:  The display of blogs under the most popular tags is randomized as there are so many posts published every minute.

    Provided that your fellow bloggers within the WordPress.com community have assigned relevant categories/tags to their posts then locating similar blogs is quite easily done.

    Freshly Pressed

    Staff  Editors sift through WordPress.com posts each day and selects posts she likes best for featuring on Freshly Pressed.  Traffic — or “hits” or “Page Views”  — play no part in being picked for Freshly Pressed. It is all about the quality of the post itself.   Keeping your eye on these featured posts may help you locate similar blogs.

    Blogs of the Day

    WordPress.COM also features:

    • Top Blogs (The most popular WordPress.com blogs are ranked here according to a special formula.)
    • Top Posts (The most popular WordPress.com posts are ranked here according to a special formula.)
    • Growing Blogs (These WordPress.com blogs gained the most popularity recently.)

    You may spot similar blogs among these BOTD as well.

    Google Search

    The easiest way to locate similar WordPress.COM blogs is to use Google Search. Insert any keyword in the blank ______ and take note that there is no space following the colon [:]

    _______ site:wordpress.com

    Social Media and Social Networking

    At the end of the day, if you do not use social media and social networks to promote your blog posts and blog, then you will find building a growing readership is more difficult as the audience you reach will be limited. Social networking tremendously expands the audience you can connect with.

    Related posts found in this blog
    Blog promotion basics
    Category – blog promotion
    Link building strategy: Locating similar sites
    Learn WordPress.com Tutorial

    Blog Promotion: Legal Adult Content Blogs

    nude plus size modelsThe most effective way of promoting a blog within the WordPress.COM community is to seek out other blogs in the same niche as our own blog and post meaningful comments to posts in them.  However, those who have blogs with legal adult content have far fewer opportunities to locate blogs within the same niche, and promote their blogs within the WordPress.COM community than bloggers with blogs in other niches do.

    Links, Backlinks and PageRank

    Links signify relationships and commenting on blogs in the same niche leads to creating relationships with fellow bloggers that may result in backlinks. Backlinks are incoming links to a website. A backlink is created when another site or a blog links back to your site, and the value of that backlink is related to the PR ( pagerank) of the site linking back to yours. A site with a lot of backlinks implies that many other sites link to that site.

    If you want high search engine rankings so your blog will receive more organic (unpaid) traffic it’s important to have backlinks. Google ranks your site from 0 to 10 based in part on the PR of sites that link to yours. If you have backlinks from high PR sites in the same niche then Google will rank your site higher in search engines results, and as your site gets more backlinks Google will see your site as one of increasing importance. This will be reflected in your blog’s PageRank. The more quality backlinks your site has the higher your Google PageRank rank will be, so understanding backlinking, using all means avalaible to locate other blogs within the same niche, and obtaining backlinks is important.

    Username Links

    back view naked womanLinking your WordPress.COM username to your WordPress.COM blog is the best free advertising you can get. Once your WordPress.COM username is linked to your WordPress.COM blog,  provided that you are signed into WordPress.COM when you post a thread to the forums, or leave a comment in a forum thread, or leave a comment on another WordPress.COM blog, every other member who is also signed on to WordPress.COM will be able to click your WordPress.COM username (which is linked to your blog) and arrive on the front page of your blog.

    Provided you do not have a blog with legal adult content then you can link your username to your blog and can post links to your blog posts in the Support ForumsShowcase Forum and in the Off-Topic Forum.  But if you do have a blog with legal adult content you are not allowed to link it to your username or post  links to the blog in the forums.

    Freshly Pressed, Top Blogs, Recent Posts and Global Tag Listings

    When you publish your posts in our WordPress.COM blogs and assign an appropriate number of relevant Categories and/or Tags to them,  and don’t run afoul of the rules they appear in  in Global Tag Listings under the respective Categories and Tags.  In addition, your posts may be eligible to have your posts and/or blogs selected to appear in Freshly Pressed, Top Blogs, and Recent Posts. However, there is an exception and that exception is WordPress.com blogs legal adult content that have been flagged as “Mature”.

    woman and man

    “Blogs with legal adult content are not removed, so please do not report these as spam or expect us to suspended them. They are flagged as Mature so that they become less visible to general audiences throughout WordPress.com by being excluded from Top Blogs, Recent Posts and Global Tag Listings.”

    Locating  legal adult content blogs within the WordPress.COM community

    The easiest way to locate WordPress.COM legal adult content blogs is to use Google Search. Insert any keyword in the blank ______ and take note that there is no space following the colon [:]

    _______ site:wordpress.com

    Related post found in this blog: Link Building Strategy: Locating Similar Sites