Is Your Blog Template Holding You Back?

This Guest Post was written by Wendy Piersall from eMoms at Home.

In the first few months of blogging, there was SO much to learn. I figured that SEO was one of those battles I would tackle once I was “more established”. But after 9 months or so, I hired a professional designer to develop a custom template for my blog. Quite literally the next day, my search engine traffic doubled. Soon I went from 800 referrals a month to nearly 2400 monthly referrals – just from Google alone.

I realized rather quickly that I had been terribly short sighted on the importance of SEO for a blog. The extra visitors are important, of course, but with more search engine hits came…

  • New readers from outside of the blogging community
  • New advertising opportunities
  • A higher click-through on existing ads
  • Better monetization options for highly ranked posts
  • Mainstream press inquiries

How could a blog template impact search traffic THAT much? My question led me to Chris Pearson of Pearsonified and Sarah Lewis of Blogging Expertise, my template designer. Both of these talented designers know how to put a seriously powerful template together – and I decided to interview them to help you ensure your blog template isn’t holding you back, too.

Interview with Chris Pearson and Sarah Lewis

~Chris, I found a post on your blog in which you had a similar jump in traffic from an SEO perspective. You had recently moved from Movable Type to WordPress – what is it about WordPress that is so search engine friendly? [Read more…]

WordPress Plugins Directory

WordPress have added a Plugins Directory which will be a welcome relief to many WP users.

This is a great development from WP – one of the reasons it is so powerful as a blog platform is the large number of developers adding features to it via plugins – now we can find them!

Screencasts Add Great Content, New Revenue Streams

The following post on Screencasting as a way to add great content and revenue streams to your blog was submitted by Mike Schinkel.

One way to add huge value to your blog is to incorporate screencasts for “how-to” instruction sites “tours” or software products and other blogs and websites.

Take a page from a professional’s playbook

Jon Udell on Windows Live Writer (30 min)

Jon Udell, now at Microsoft but formerly of Infoworld and a god to many in the technology field uses screencasts frequently and keeps a list of screencasts on Screencasts are very helpful for illustrating anything that can be shown on a computer screen such as a tour of a website. For example, ProBlogger’s recent post on iReader could have had a quick screencast showing it in action which would make your point much better than sending readers off to go figure it out on their own. And since a “picture is worth a 1000 words”, screencasts can provide a lot more value than the typical post. Combine their visual aspect with the fact that screencasts are (currently) much rarer than written posts and the result is many people providing inbound links if the screencast is good. After all, it’s all about great content, right?

Screencasting takes effort, but provides great returns

Screencast showing live editing of Greasemonkey scripts

Editing Greasemonkey Scripts (45 sec)

Although creating a screencast takes time, it can be well worth the effort if you cover a topic that of high interest to your readers, especially if you are the first to screencast the topic and yours becomes the definitive presentation. When trying to illustrate something you’ve seen on another site, it can be far more effective than sending your readers off to that other site in blind hope they can recognize what you saw. And those employing guest bloggers can ask their readers to create screencasts for them eliminating the time concern and making it a total no-brainer! What’s more, bloggers with enough traffic can sell splash screen advertising at the end of each screencast, and advertisers in niche markets especially eat that kind of thing up. Something tells me there is more money to be made on a blog from screencast advertising than all the HTML click-thru advertising combined!
[Read more…]

WordPress 2.1.1 Users – Important Update

If you’re a WordPress user and are using version 2.1.1 it is crucial that you upgrade to the latest version (2.1.2) – particularly if you upgraded in the last 3-4 days. The reason is that there has been a hacker compromise that version and add/change code.

For further details see the WordPress Blog

PS: Thanks to the many people who emailed me about this. I did see it first on the WP blog before checking email this morning.

Speedlinking – Reader Edition 17 February 2007

Reader-LinksYesterday when I called for reader submissions for a speedlinking post I had an inkling that I’d wake up to quite a few emails with links in them and my suspicions were correct – 47 in all.

What has been submitted covers a broad spectrum of topics -some of it is high quality, some of it I don’t completely agree with, some of it is a little controversial, some of it will be more useful to some of you than others.

I’d encourage you to surf through the list and to link up to those who you resonate with most. Enjoy.

PS: I’ve included a few comments at the end of the list on how it was compiled.

Now get surfing and link up to what you like! There’s enough there to keep you busy all weekend.

[Read more…]

Speedlinking – 20 January 2007

  • Arieanna is has been pondering around the question of what her niche is. She ends up deciding that it’s about ‘community’. She decides that the description of ‘community activist’ probably describes her best. Probably a good description for many bloggers.
  • WordPress 2.1 is available for download as a release candidate. Be careful if you try it on an existing blog and follow all the warnings and suggestions there. Want to know what 2.1 has in terms of features? Here’s a list.
  • SE Round Table discusses whether 301 or 302 redirects are better when switching domains.
  • Web Worker Daily has a post that I think I might need shortly – How to Manage Kids in the Home Office

WordPress 2.0.6 Upgrade Available

If you’re a WordPress blogger you’ll want to take a look at this post over at WP’s Development blog announcing an upgrade to WordPress 2.0.6. It’s a security upgrade and therefore something to pay attention to.

They also note that this is the last update before the release of WP 2.1 which is now in it’s beta phase.

I’ve had a glimpse of 2.1 and it has some nice features – looking forward to getting it here at PB.

WordPress MU 1.0 Launches

WordPress MU 1.0 has been launched today.

This is a ‘Multi User’ blog platform (it’s what is behind and is designed to run many blogs on the one install rather than just one – something I know many bloggers will be interested in.

It does sound like it is more complicated to set up than a normal WP install but from what I’ve heard it’s pretty stable and should help a lot of bloggers with multiple blogs keep their blogging in better order.

If you give it a go – let us know how you find it.

Introduction to WordPress Resources

I’m sure I’ve seen some good resources on this previously – but has anyone written (or seen anyone else write) a good free and easy to comprehend Introduction to Using WordPress that talks beginners through the basics of things like:

  • Posting
  • Uploading Photos
  • Creating Categories
  • Making Drafts
  • Changing Timestamps
  • Moderating Comments
  • etc etc etc

I’m particularly thinking about the very basic stuff that most of us who’ve been using WordPress for even just a few months don’t give a second thought to.

Obviously WordPress have a great support forum with sections in their Codex for beginners (like this one) but I’d also be interested in seeing any other very beginner oriented learning resources that people can point to.