Entries Tagged as 'Blogs and Blogging'

The DoFollow Directory- Why Follow and Add Your Site?

dofollow directory logo
I have been experimenting with easy (- ish) way for sites to build valuable content. On of the tools is using a link directory script to create different types of directories. I have added The DoFollow Directory. The directory is for blogs that follow- blogs that allow links/URLs in comment section of blog to be followed by search engines. By default WordPress and other blog software add nofollow tags to any links contained in a comment. Most bloggers are unaware of this. The function was set up with good intentions- to discourage spam.

However, there are so many sophisticated spam plugins now that it really isn’t necessary.
Blogs that have disabled the nofollow function are called dofollow blogs. If your site allows comments posted by bloggers to have a link back to their site, etc in their post. When you have a dofollow site add your blog to The DoFollow Directory- of course links are followed!

Why be A DoFollow Blog?

You can “reward” bloggers who comment on yor site- adding value to your blog- by allow their link to stand and pass on page rank to their site. Being a dofollow blog will help your traffic. It also is good blogging etiquette.

How Do I become a Dofollow Blog?

Do off the nofollow function in your blog software, It will take you 2 minutes. Download a dofollow plugin, I like this one
Andy Beard has put together a fantastic list of plugins for dofollow sites. He also began a Bumpzee community for dofollow sites and be sure to add you site there.

Let Others Know You Follow

Add your site to The DoFollow Blog Directory
Join the Bumpzee DoFollow community
Add a dofollow logo to your site.
Post about your decision to follow.
Create a page explaining dofollow movement.
Encourage comments.

You spam catchers (m Aksismet, etc )will catch most spammy comments. Dofollow bloggers do not keyword stuff their post. Most likley they will leave an on topic relevant post with a link to their own site in the name/url section.

Links to watch out for will have multiple urls stiffed into their post and the url they have in the name/url field will link to a site something like ringtones/Viagra/xxx site. Just mark them off to spam. The may bit be so obvious so take a quick look at the URL they have submitted.

I am pretty free with allowing comments. I tend to not allow ” nice post!” types comments however as they do not add value to my site and no thought has gone into them. If the post is relevant or adds value to my post and blog I go ahead and allow.

Useful Links:
Join Bumpzee DoFollow Community
Add Your Blog to DoFollow Directory
Do Follow Logo’s by Randa Clay
Andy Beard’s Dofollow List of plugins

What Are the Best WordPress Themes To Use? SEO and Word Press Themes

Best WordPress Themes?

This is a tough one. Some themes START OUT better than others. ALL of them you will constantly adjust and play with. For example, I rarely use the sidebar right of the box and almost always will hard code my sidebar categories, etc. I don’t do it right away bit after a few months I will start ripping apart the themes. Most common problem I see is misuse of header tags. Using h2 tags all over the place.
The header tags are used for semantic layout- the most logical layout choices. Many theme creators think that by adding H2 and H2 tags everywhere it will help in search rankings. It has the opposite effect. The spiders get confused and may abandon your site all together.

SEO’d WordPress Themes

I have re-written a few WordPress Themes for my own purposes and have thought about posting and making available here- however sometimes the wheel has all ready been invented and no need to re-invent.

Best Resources For SEO’d WordPress Themes

A excellent resource is Courtney Tuttle’s Internet Marketing and Strategies Site. Not only does he have some outstanding advice to offer anyone starting to use a web site to make money- he also has a vast database of SEO’d WordPress themes he himself has gone through and optimized.

Courtney has done a superb job on these. I do quibble a bit with the use of h2 tags with Site header title ( I prefer a h1 tag), however no need to split hairs :-)
You will do well with any of his re-worked WordPress themes and Courtney offers such a large variety no need to look elsewhere.

Types of WordPress Themes To Avoid

The them listed below are very popular themes- there are MUCH worse offenders. I chose them because they are popular. My beefs are subjective and in no way mean to offend or insult the designer. All of themes mentioned have excellent structure and designs can be easlily modified.

Avoid Reverse Type

I do prefer some types of themes over others. I am NOT a fan of reverse type. It is very hard to read for anyone. About 3 years ago I lost most of the sight in my left eye. I cringe when I come across a site using reverse type ( i.e white type on black background) “Dust WordPress Theme” is an example. Please avoid these. I don’t mind so much in a header- as long as font is large enough.

Supersized Headers

Yikes. HUGE header that take about most of the space above the fold. This *may* work for you if you are going to pop in Google Adsense ads in your header and you will get a good CTR but for the most part I would stay away from them – You don’t need to have the most valuable real estate on your site taken about by giant header. If you love the theme and you are comfortable making changes then you can tweak and make header smaller- by changing font or removing some of the images.
Examples of Giant Header Themes:
Dark City
BlueBird ( I like this LOOK of this one even if it does scream Partridge Family ) Header is larger than I like- but will work on some sites. It was originally designed by Randa Clay ( of the U Comment I Follow fame) and she does wonderful design. Clean, modern and beautiful. She also has some solid tutorials on her site for DIY WordPress Theme Customizations. A good tutorial on playing around with CSS. Don’t be scared to try this! It is a good way to learn. Just copy and keep the original CSS in safe spot.

Avoid Bizarre Colours. Please.
Your themes should suit your niche. You have more freedom with creative type blogs- but people are turned off by jarring colours. Also don;t use heavily feminine colors on a site geared to unisex or male audience- no matter how much you love it.

Some themes that I think are bit over the top ( but may work for you…) :

I don’t know why- I am both attracted and repelled by this theme. Maybe it the 70′s carpet look. OranJuice 1.0 Large header and carpet texture. It IS eye catching. I might use this on a craft type site.
I actually love this theme for certain types of sites, Techdesigns.co.uk 004 It it funky and fab. Great for an artist, fashion,, personal blog, etc. My younger sister is an artist and I recommended this one to her.

Boring Themes.

The is a plethora of white/blue/dark blue or black themes. I guess they make a statement. TAKE ME SERIOUSLY. I just find them boring. I do like the light, CMS style look of them- however keep the structure and jazz up the colours using CSS.
These are nice well thought out themes that are on life support and need infusion of colour:

Blue Pix 1.0.0 Zzzzzzzzzz. Nice design- pop in some of your own colour.

How Many Columns In A WordPress Theme Is Best?
For our purpose- how many columns should you have to make the most money? I like 3 column. My preference is center split. (left sidebar|content|right sidebar) . More flexibility for Adsense Ads when you are starting out, and button ads when you have advertisers. When you start adding Ads to 2-column it looks cluttered. I also feel the same way about 4-columns. I also don’t use fancy calenders and other widgets.

Are Widget-ized Themes Better?

I avoided those for a long time. I prefer to have simple code to change myself. I gave in a while ago and now use widgets on many of my sites. I do find when you start adding tons of widgets and doo-dad to your site site load time suffers and may turn away some visitors- maybe even bots. I tend to aim for lean and mean rather than flashy and splashy. If you are new to blogging widgets are an easy way to personalize you blog and by all means go for it. You DON’T have to use every single widget available however.

Good WordPress Theme Resources

WordPress Theme Viewer Official WordPress Theme Site
Courtney Tuttle’s SEO’d WordPress Themes- Excellent.
Best WordPress Themes to Use for Google Adsense
10 Remarkable (and Free) WordPress Themes
Comment and theme recommendation by internet marketing gurus at Problogger.

Moving Your WordPress Blog from One Host to Another- Keeping the Same Domain Name

When would you need to move your WordPress blog from one domain to another?

-unexpected traffic. Thus may happen out out the blue when a story gets Dugg and your traffic spirals out of control and your cheap hosting pan can’t handle it.
-You hate your hosting company and just want to switch.
- You started your blog as an add-on domain and want to switch it to its own domain.

-Back Up Your Site and WordPress Blog
Follow the directions found here for Backing Up WordPress Blog.

- Change Domain Nameservers. When you have settled on new host, set up your plan and use the domain you are currently using when it prompts for domain name. Most plans will then ask you if you own this domain and offer you choices. I use 1and1.com primarily and they make it pretty easy and its free. Some companies will charge you a transfer fee when moving domain hosting.

You can either KEEP the domain hosting the same and just host the actually site on the new host OR you can transfer domain name to new host as well. I do find the latter easier, but up to you. If you decide to keep the domain with different company then where you are hosting- you will have to change DNS name servers. The host name will “point” to where you host. This is done in the admin panel of your DOMAIN. It may take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to do.

Note: Once you have done this- and the domain is switched over- you will NOT able to “see” site until you have set up new server. You will still have FTP access until you cancel account. The files stay in whatever folder you put them in.

Upload wordpress files, etc as per instructions here Backing Up WordPress Blog.

Analyzing Blog Metrics Equals Knowledge And Power

I have been reading through an excellent post by Avinash Kaushik on Occam’s Razorin his post, Blog Metrics: Six Recommendations For Measuring Your Success writes one of the most in-depth, thorough and comprehensive articles on blog analytics I have ever seen. The article goes into great detail on what metrics to use and how to analyze in measuring the growth of you blog- whether it is an online diary, personal blog or blog maintained to promote your business.

Metrics can be one of the most intimidating aspect of building your blog- and one of the easiest to avoid figuring out; but he really nails it. Plenty of graphics, diagrams and beautifully communicated concepts in his post.

Why Do I Care? I Hate Numbers…

If you are serious about growing your blog and making decent money by blogging or using your blog to promote and establish your online business presence you need to understand how to look at data and see how to use it.

Looking at traffic stats and checking your AdSense account balance is not enough.

If you have a basic blog that you throw up and use as your own diary and don’t dare if anyone reads it..ever.. then skip all of this.

If you want to make money at blogging- make even MORE money blogging or use your blog to promote and market your business you HAVE to understand what the numbers mean.

Get Some Sort of Analytics Program

A free analytics program that packs a lot of power is Google Analytics.
Anther favorite is Clicktracks they offer a free version . Try them both. I use both and tend to prefer Clicktracks if only because they don’t use javascript on your site. GA is useful because you can look at data quickly anywhere.

What Are Web Analytics?

Analytics are the results of crunching your blogs traffic data. Seeing where your site visitors come from- did they find you in a search engine? Which one? What words did they type in to find you? Or did they come from another referring site? How many came from that site and when or why?

Analytics is Understanding Your Visitors Behavior

Where did they go when they got to your site? How long did they stay? Did they go to other pages or leave right away? Did they buy anything? Email you as a result? Click on an ad? Make a comment?

All that information is available to you and for free neatly laid out in graphs and text . In real time. Knowing where they came and what they did when they came are the most powerful tools you can have when building a successful blog or building a website. Having that information and knowing what to do with separates you from the pack.

Knowledge Is Power

If you know How, What and Why and When of your visitors behavior- you have everything.

See what keywords they use to get to your site. Build on those. Experiment with variations. If you see that you have 50 hits in day for term ” black dog” start writing about grey dogs and white dogs. Try small dogs and big dogs.

If all your “dog” visits are a 1500 hits a month… and then you look closer and see that of those 1500 visits the visitors who came to you via “white dogs” bought something from you 25% of the time and those you came via “black dogs” bought ( or converted ) 10% of the time and the ones who came via “grey dog” not only BOUGHT nothing buy they left your site after 10 seconds- Knowing this is POWER. You can use this information in sooooo many ways.

Look at your stats and see what pages “white dog” people are looking at. You may have written an informative post or talked about a product and linked to it on your site. You may have used text with “call to action” in the post or an image link that took you to product page. See what you did right and duplicate it for other topics. Oprah may have a show on white dogs that month. Get her to do one on grey dogs ? OR – see what kind of dogs are in the news and write about those, too.

Check out “black dog” people. maybe you only have 2 other posts about black dogs on your site and readers think you don’t much about them. Show them they are wrong with a litany of “black dog” posts Maybe the post has spelling errors. See if there is a link to product or whatever a conversion is for your site.
Lift ideas that worked in “white” post.

Look at “grey dogs” path. They bought nothing and left quickly. What page did they visit? Are there broken links? Was it a bad day and not a convincing post? Maybe you had too many links or ads and the post lacked credibility. Did you have lots of picture of white dogs and no grey dogs?

Sometimes looking at other keyword strings can paint a picture for you. If “white dogs” doing well you may see a pattern. Like “best white dogs” . “Top 10 white dogs” “free white dogs”.

Trying to write a “definitive” post on how analytics work is not possible. Some of it is intuition. I can look at my analytics and pick up patterns very quickly. Is that because of my enormous brain? No. This is because I understand them and I look at them frequently. You can’t go check on you stats very 2 months for 5 minutes and check mark “ done.”

If you start early it is a great way to learn. less info will confuse you less and you will see trend more quickly when they happen. It is NEVER to early to start looking at your web stats, they will help you shape your blog and help you write what readers are looking for.

You simply cannot grow your blog without analytics tools. Get them. Learn how to use them and how to “see” what results mean. Take the information and experiment with it. How can you get more traffic and how can you take that traffic and have the visitor behave the way you ant them to. You can only do that by look at past results and duplicating OR by experimenting i.e. t (Which is the title of my next post in series.. “Long Tail Search or Throw Up a Bunch of Stuff And See What Sticks”