Category Archives: Blogs

Ads Free or Self Hosted

WordPress.com Ads Free Upgrade or Self Hosted WordPress

You don’t like the ads placed by WordPress.com on your blog. Should you take the Ads Free upgrade option, or instead choose to self host your WordPress blog?

ads free or self hosting thumbnail imageWhich is the better option to choose? The decision is subjective depending largely on what you want to achieve from your blog. Self hosting a WordPress blog provides a lot of options not available to WordPress.com users e.g. a wider choice of themes, whatever plugins and customisations you want, your own Google ads campaign.

But maybe you don’t need any of these options, you only want to have a blog free from advertising. Then the decision comes down to a few things only…

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Do You Use the Reader

How Often Do You Use the WordPress.com Reader

do you use reader featured imageI must admit, I hardly ever use the WordPress.com Reader. I used to go through the old Readomatic listings almost daily, sometimes more than once. I found lot’s of posts I enjoyed reading, and visited a lot of blogs. Since the demise of Readomatic, I hardly ever get to read other blogs.

Which is a great pity. The reader is actually very nice. With “Freshly Pressed” You can choose a grid of thumbnails, or a list of post teasers. It’s easy to select topics for articles posted with those tags.

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Slow Time

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It’s The Slow Time for Blogs and Websites

slow time snoopy iconChristmas is here, and most bloggers and website owners will see reduced traffic for the next few weeks. People are on leave, kids on school breaks and this is the time of year to spend time with family. Businesses close in many parts of the world (at home in South Africa the 16 December is the traditional time staff get leave in all but consumer retail business).

As we know, most visitors to our blogs come during working hours. For those of us with business sites, potential new and regular customers are away from their offices. Even many on-line shop sites will see reduced volumes of traffic and sales at this time of the year. Christmas is a time people want to go to physical stores to select gifts, and all the other things to buy for the festivities.

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The Best Thing About WordPress

What is the Best Thing About WordPress

Where to start to find the single best thing about WordPress. There are so many really great things about WordPress it can be hard to choose any single reason.

Some Great Things About WordPress

  1. WordPress is a really excellent blogging platform, if not the very best blogging tool available.
  2. Then there’s the ease of use for end users. This feature alone is one of the best things about WordPress.
  3. WordPress is also a pretty darn good CMS for a website. Granted it may need some additions (plugins) to really shine as a CMS, but then what CMS provides all the requirements in its basic format. Drupal doesn’t, Joomla doesn’t. And WordPress as a CMS gets better monthly, weekly, may I venture to say daily?
  4. It’s Open Source. What more can I say. It’s free to use, free to modify, free to customise. The source code is not hidden or protected by volumes of legal documentation and restrictions.
  5. There are thousands of ways to modify WordPress. Plugins to extend functions and themes to present your content to audiences in the way you want.
  6. WordPress can even be used as a source of income. Developers, administrators, themers, supporters, instructors can all make a living from WordPress – isn’t that a great feature too!
  7. And let’s not forget WordPress.com which is the best blogging platform available for everyone. Easy to use, hosted on really excellent servers (just look at the time it takes google-bot to load an average page – around 500 ms – i.e. 0.5 of a second), and just consider how many blogs are hosted on WordPress.com, how busy the site is. And then look at how well WordPres.com blogs can do in Google SERP. With a 10/10 domain authority it only takes good quality content to get onto page 1.

Any one of these factors could be chosen for the best thing about WordPress, but for me the best thing about WordPress is:

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Links to Website Not Working

Website Links Show a Blank Page

wordpress broken iconThe feeling of horror after installing a new WordPress plugin or updating an existing plugin when suddenly all pages on the website or blog disappear, and a blank page is seen in the browser. The first instinct is to panic, especially when the site is a business site. What happened, what went wrong? I know it’s an awful feeling. Web developers like myself are used to this happening. We sometimes break our sites when fiddling with code and things. A cry for help with this problem was posted twelve hours ago on a WordPress.org plugin forum after a Jetpack plugin update resulted in a broken site.

The first thing to do is delete the last plugin installed or updated. To do this you have to use FTP or server file manager. Deleting the plugin is the standard way to fix a WordPress (and other CMS) site broken by an update or new addition. But it doesn’t always work…

Deleting the Plugin Didn’t Help – What Next?

If simply deleting the plugin didn’t restore the site, something else went wrong. The most likely cause for a blank page is an error written to the .htaccess file preventing URL rewriting, the second possible, but less likely, cause is a corrupted database (especially if you can still access WordPress admin).

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Key Words and Keywords

Confusing the Key Words

graphic image for key wordsWhy is there confusion about key words and what they are? I refer to content key words or terms. Perhaps the cause is the similarity perceived between the key word term for SERP and meta keywords. Possibly we (webmasters and other industry specialists) are to blame – perhaps we should have used a more accurate phrase to describe key words in content. KEY PHRASE or KEY SEARCH TERM is a more accurate identity for the idea of key words.

Key Search Term

Key Search Term perfectly describes the idea behind key words, “a group of words that a searcher will use to find information”.

The idea of using key words is producing an article ‘optimised’ for the best possible results in search engine results for an intended key term. In which case the article must be about the key phrase used, or the key term must be about the SUBJECT of the article. How Should Key Words be Used in Content extends this discussion in more detail.

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Website Disabled – Too Many Backlinks

Website Disabled Because of Too Many Backlinks

Too Many BacklinksThis search term led to my blog this morning. The full term used was “disabled my website because I make too many backlinks”, leading to my post Too Many Backlinks Bad News. No idea where the website referred to was hosted, but a semi-educated guess would suggest WordPress.com or similar service, nor what sort of “too many backlinks” the searcher had created. A further educated guess would suggest these were to products for sale, or so many had been posted the site was considered a link-farm, contravening the terms and conditions of use of whatever platform the author used.

All blog providers and website hosting services have terms and conditions of service; most of them will not permit link farming or spamming!

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Trackback Spam

A Rising Trend – Trackback or Pingback Spam

What is Trackback Spam? Trackback spam is a way for spammers to garner backlinks from your posts to their website. I categorise trackback spam into several groups. Firstly, false trackback spam. Then we find the obscured related article link. Finally mass trackback spam.

False Trackback Spam

trackback spam diagram
Image from Rice University – Computer Security Lab

This is the most insidious, and unethical of the three groups. False trackback spam is when a spammer creates a list of related article links, publishes the post, so a ping is sent to your blog resulting in a trackback (or pingback) that the spammer hopes will get published, either automatically if moderation is not in place, or by a blogger thinking, “how nice of this person to link to my post”.

After the ping has been sent, the spammer then REMOVES the links to your article… This is a trackback spam method I see more often lately.

Obscured Links

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Do You Update Old Posts

Updating Old Blog Posts and Web Pages

The updating of old published posts and pages is a somewhat controversial topic. Some bloggers feel it is wrong to update a published article, others do it regularly. I am one of the group who updates content in posts and pages whenever I find a reason (and the time) to do so.

Updating Old Posts is Good for SERP

Google now looks for “FRESHNESS” as one of the criteria for SERP (Search Engine Results Placement), the position a page or post will get. Fresher content gets favoured over old content. A new post may initially be placed high in their results, then overtime this will drop off, eventually fading into obscurity.

Give your older posts a new life by updating them. Sometimes when I go back to older articles I find the information is out of date, fresh knowledge or developments may need changes to the content to make the information more accurate…

Articles are often posted with unnoticed errors. I don’t mean incorrect information, just the small things like spelling mistakes and grammatical errors – both of which will lose ranking to Google’s algorithm. Even the way we have written an article can often be improved after some time has passed, and we go back and check the content we thought at the time had been so great. With a fresh look at these older posts, we can often see ways to re-write parts (or all) of the content to make it more readable for our visitors.

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Should I use Google Webmaster Tools

Should I use Google Webmaster Tools?

YES, you should! Google Webmaster Tools is a suite of useful utilities to help get your website rocketing. First of all, you can submit a sitemap – or as many sitemaps as you want, confirm Google bot is able to read the file, and there are no errors in the file, e.g. to broken links or missing content. If you don’t use any of the other webmaster tools, sitemap submission is essential.

Then there are other useful tools; You can monitor for Broken Links Google has indexed (broken links will really harm your site ranking if left unattended.) You can ask Google to delete entries from the index. Webmaster Tools can tell you how Google bot crawls your site; if there are access problems for the bot or page load speed issues. You also get Google Plus1 analysis.

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