Archive for August, 2006
I have been working with some WordPress Themes. Looking at graphics, styles, plugins, and other WordPress Theme Tutorials. I decided it wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t hurt to pass along a few of the tutorials that have helped me. So hereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a short list:
For the most part these are easy to read, step-by-step, and have plenty of graphics to follow.
Born to Blog,
I read a press release last week that came from Template Monster and thought it was worth passing along.
“For a limited time only, we’re offering you 1 full year of Web hosting absolutely free through Globat.com”. Get a year of Web hosting free just for buying a new template! Please don’t let this offer pass you by! Visit Template Monster today!”
Freebies are always good to know about. Especially if your new on the web or your webpage is a trial project.
Just Ahead of the Curve,
Webpage Templates are increasingly popular in several types of websites. The hottest area of the web, weblogging, gets thousands of new writers, visitors, and designers everyday. Many of these bloggers have joined with one of the dominant forces in weblogging – WordPress. Why WordPress? It’s simple to use, yet has a good range of features, and it’s fully supported not only by wordpress.org but by a large segment of the blogging community as well.
Blogging is concerned with many points-of-view; some bloggers make very personal expressions, other bloggers are commercially motivated, while others have a technical or philosophical viewpoint to share. As blogging has increased, it is natural to see that the demand for more unique blog appearances has grown. And, because most bloggers have little if any experience in website design, the demand for variety in an affordable theme has skyrocketed. Many bloggers are content to add text to a standard skin that is shared by the majority of new bloggers and the less aesthetically bent bloggers. But after a time even these bloggers usually look to make their blog a more attractive experience for visitors.
I have studied what has been made available in WordPress Templates – both free and for sale. After a lot of looking I decided to present the highlights of my findings -œ Free vs Sold WordPress Themes.
In the category of Free WordPress Themes my favorite list has 960 WordPress Templates and is found at Emily Robbins’ Blog. Emily has done a great job here. Her website has been around for a while so all of the 960 available themes are still being downloaded.
While I was searching for Free WordPress themes I found two other websites that offer some variety. WordPress itself offers 444 different blog templates at no charge at themes.wordpress.net. Good designs with an array of colors and features are available.”Green Earth” is my favorite, but they’ve had 352,130 downloads of their 638 various themes to date.
Another excellent website is AlexKing.org. This site published 135 free, new WordPress themes some time ago in a competition and they have proven to be very popular with numerous downloads for the blogging crowd. Prize winners are named in several categories, and all 135 blog templates may be downloaded there. My favorite in the competition is titled “Chocolate Candy”.
As for finding a unique, or more exclusive, WP theme you will have to hire a designer or buy a template for a one time download (or at least for a limited number of downloads). For commercial blogging, or for anyone who wants a distinctive look, an exclusive skin may be the best solution. New designers or experienced designers with budget or schedule constraints can get one of these templates and be operational in a hurry. Three WordPress template sellers that have validated templates at a good price are www.TemplateMonster.com, www.HyperTemplates.com and www.Perfectory.com
Weblogging will continue to grow, and many of today’s bloggers will eventually move up to websites for ecommerce, or marketing of their own local, small business.
Setting up Your Ping List
What’s a keyword without a Ping list? Let’s think about it a minute. Okay, time’s up.
To set up your Ping List within WordPress, go to “Options”, and then click “Writing”. When you scroll to the bottom, you will see a box that will allow you to add your very own ping list. Within this list, you will want to add all of the social bookmark sites that accept and crawl blog posts. For a complete list, go to http://3spots.blogspot.com/2006/01/all-social-that-can-bookmark.html .
There is no sense in creating all of your tag URLs by hand. If you are using WordPress, you can set your blog to do this automatically. You can do this using SimpleTags. SimpleTags is a WordPress plugin that allows you to easily generate Technorati tags at the bottom of your blog entries.
To be truly successful in the social bookmarking community, you need to be an active participant, not just a bystander. So, be sure and bookmark other sites as well, wherever you use a tag and ping strategy.
Predictions for the Future
Some people believe that tag and ping will lose it’s effectiveness because of abuse that will inevitably happen in the system. But there are strong reasons for it to succeed, maybe getting stronger. While people that abuse the system will certainly start to see diminished returns, I believe that those people who use this system correctly will be able to benefit for many years to come.
Social bookmarking is most likely not a short-term trend. With major competitors like Yahoo joining in it is going to be around and possibly improved. And when used effectively, social bookmarking will bring you one-way backlinks, free traffic, increased exposure, and eventually sales from a long-term effort.
Just like your search engine optimization, you should take a natural approach to social bookmarking. This technique goes way beyond getting traffic. This is a long-term strategy that can help you to acquire quality inbound links and gain high search engine rankings when used appropriately.
Taking No Prisoners
Yes. I know “tag and ping” sounds foolish, like a child’s game? So, get over it. Because today you are going to set up “tag and ping”.
Setting up Tag and Ping
Once you have completed your keyword research – and chosen those magical words about your website pages and contents, it is time for you to start tagging and pinging. AND, you can set up your blog to tag and ping your blog posts automatically.
WordPress is the best tool for tagging and pinging. And WordPress Themes are “tag and ping” friendly. Here is an overview on using tag and ping in WordPress:
1. Create your blog post.
2. Add relevant “tags” at the end of your blog post.
3. Publish your blog post.
4. Ping social bookmarking sites.
5. Because many of the social bookmarking sites are heavily spidered, your pages will be quickly spidered simply by being present in the index.
6. When you have finished, the social bookmarking sites will then crawl your blog post and index it under the tags that you have specified.
That’s the general overview, let’s reexamine in depth.(You can do it!!!)
Tags are simply links that have been formatted in such a way that the social bookmarking spiders can recognize them as tags. Whenever the social bookmarking sites see these tags, they immediately start crawling the content to index it on their site.
Technorati.com gives complete instructions on how to set up tags. The [tagname] can be any word, but it should be descriptive. Only use tags that are relevant to your content. You don’t need to include the brackets, just the descriptive keyword for your post. And make sure to include rel=”tag”. You can link to any web page that ends in a tag. In fact, if your blog supports categories, you can even link to your own blog. The social bookmarking sites will pick up and index your blog post even if you don’t link back to them. The key is simply knowing how to set this up. To do this, you will need to create tags for your blog.
Note: Any tag that is two words or longer should have a “+” symbol in between the words (e.g. love+connection). Never include spaces when creating tags.
For this example to work, you must create blog categories for each tag. Categories for this article could include “social bookmarking”, “tag and ping”, and “web 2.0”. For each of these categories that you have set up within your blog, you can automatically create the tag for them when you create your post – just by assigning that particular post to that category.
Once submitted, you will see a number of categories at the bottom of the post to indicate which categories your entry has been posted to. These are your “tags” and they will be indexed by any social bookmarking site that you add to your ping list. – – Your Ping List will be done on Monday’s installment of “Social Bookmarking.”
Running You Ragged,
What can social bookmarking get you? 1) One-way backlinks 2) Free web traffic.
Let’s do the Research!
Before you begin submitting your website to the social bookmarking sites, there is some preliminary work that you need to do. You must research popular tags within your target market. Like optimizing for the search engines, the keywords that you choose to tag can make a dramatic difference in the amount of traffic you receive. Technorati is one of the best places to do tag (keyword) research to determine what tags you should use with your content.
1) Just go to Technorati.com, click on the “more top tags” button and then do a search for your keyword (tag). Technorati will then give you a list of related tags (keywords) that you can use to categorize your web page.
2) Now check out ClipMarks. Clipmarks allows you to search the most popular tags in addition to related tags. Simply type your keyword into the search box and you will be given a list of related terms that are being searched.
3) The third place to do this deed is at Yahoo’s My Web 2.0. On the bottom-left hand side of the page you will see a list of the most popular tags. At the bottom of this list you can click on “view more” to see an expanded list. I like to sort the list by popularity , and now you can search through hundreds of the top keyword tags.
Don’t be a slacker – you’re gonna need this research for tomorrow’s installment of Social Bookmarking.
Keepin’ ‘Em Honest,
So how about the alternative to SEO – “Social Networks”. Is it for you?
Check this example: A saleswoman at a big tech manufacturer might discover that a co-worker at a different branch office is married to the brother of the information-technology chief at a potential customer. The saleswoman could ask her co-worker for an introduction Ã¢â‚¬â€? leading to a possible sale. Same scenario goes geometric on the web.
One recent change online has been termed “Web 2.0”. One of the biggest changes to define Web 2.0 is social bookmarking: a system that allows Internet users to bookmark a site without storing it on their local computer. Thousands of people are embracing this new way of finding information. Unlike the big, impersonal search engines that currently dominate the search engine market, social bookmarking sites provide a friendly, interactive community.
Yahoo expects social bookmarking to be a long-term trend. They launched an interactive community called My Web 2.0. Ebay is expanding their own community with the recent launch of the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s largest commercial wiki. Digg and Furl have based their entire business around the concept of social bookmarking.
Social bookmarking is the process of using a web service to keep track of your personal bookmarks. This bookmark is “tagged” with keywords that the user decides are relevant to the content of the bookmark. Once tagged, it becomes publicly available for others to tag and explore.
The combined effect of the social bookmarking user base becomes extremely effective. Any time that you are looking for relevant information on a particular topic, you can go to any social bookmarking site and do a search using tags (keywords) to find relevant, human-reviewed content. (But are they humans looking for content – or looking for incestuous spider libraries?)
In fact, tagged results are even showing up in the search engines. If you spend much time at all in the major search engines, you have most likely seen some search results from Technorati. Technorati was the number one result on the MSN search engine for the keyword phrase “tag and ping”.
There are a number of ways that you can benefit from this trend. Online marketers are currently using a technique called “tag and ping” to reap a multitude of benefits from the social bookmarking sites. Unfortunately, much like spam within the search engines, a number of people are abusing this technique. There are still huge rewards for those who play the game correctly.
Making Your Day,
I’ve been looking for WordPress Themes again. I found three beauties. These were my favorites from three different websites. But each of the 3 websites offers a lot more WordPress Themes than the ones I’ve posted here.
This WordPress Theme came from WordPress.org, it’s free to download.
This WordPress Theme came from TemplateMonster.com, it costs $58.
This WordPress Theme came from Perfectory.com, it costs $50.
These are the kind of WordPress Themes that make the web a beautiful place to blog.
Off the Chain,
In regard to SEO I believe any large corporation, small internet business, or even a blog must weigh out the benefits and costs of SEO. As I mentioned in the article just before this one, we are at a stage of evolution in Search Engine philosophy and development that the most concise and purposeful websites are overrun by the thousand-page keyword/link/blog/article menageries that have been created as “spider bait”.
Beyond the now ludicrous rewording of endless not-so-original articles and “link-slopping” (did I mean swapping? . . oooops!), we have algorithms checking our neighborhoods and popularity, etc. Let’s not forget “naturalness” (mmmm). So what does “spider nature” bring to the web? – incestuous libraries of vastly superior breeding!! Sort of a ‘Royals’ thing. So how do you get to be a ‘Royal’ if you weren’t born to royals? It’s difficult, time-consuming, expensive, many times immaterial to your real purpose. But let’s say that you really, really, really, want to get to the top of the search engine realm. You do the work, you put in the time (and/or money) to build an incestuous library of spider bait.
What is the result? Check it right in your SERPs – Ooooooh!! You go from #105 to #62. Okay! Okay! maybe #30. Is it worth it? Well, that’s where your real purpose comes in. Did it generate an improved click-through-rate? How much did revenues increase?
What does this mean? What it means to me is I learn to ignore the search listings that show signs of being a “spider library” and if I know I’m looking in a niche area or for a small page I cut to page 4 or 40 of the SERP. It also means I will use a directory more often to find sites in a certain field. I may even click on advertising links to cut down search time (planned?). I believe the current algorithms miss the point on accuracy of keywords in favor of sites with libraries of blab. They also miss another big point, conciseness of the site in general.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not against links, content, keywords, etc. We just need better spiders for quality vs quantity. We need better human reviews of those spiders’ rankings too. What is the point of a human reviewing the Top 10 when the
Top 10 remains full of incestuous library blab, and the keywords are found 2-6 words apart in the listings. Maybe it’s like America, use Big Oil or nothing.
Come on human reviewers wake up! Do search engines become the fossil fuel of the net?
“Keywords” are the “spider bait” of SEO. Live it, or live with it. Search engines have not evolved enough to recognize the value of a concise website that presents exactly what is searched for, no more, no less. Without that next evolutionary step we are forced to dance the popularity/build-a-library/blog/link minuet.
Keywords are the main reason you will get or lose targeted traffic to your website. Any new content or page that you add to your site is likely to have a very specific theme that relates to your overall site theme. If you’re selling “Momma’s Homemade Makeup” online then any article or content that you add to your site should in some way relate to “makeup” and use that word.
The word “makeup” should appear several times throughout your homepage. The more times “makeup” appears, the higher your keyword density. Your goal for content is to include the keyword or keyword phrase enough times to make it prevalent without reducing readability. By doing this you will increase the likelihood that a search on “makeup” will result in your page moving higher in the rankings.
Keywords have more value to readers and search engines when they are bold or in the header. Use the following tags when constructing your page header and emphasized words:
* [ H1 ]: Should appear as the top text line on every page and contain the keyword phrase
* [ strong / b ]: Keyword phrases in the main body of the text should be emphasized, made bold, where it makes sense. You may also consider having a sub-header under the header with a secondary keyword phrase.
Keywords aren’t only important to page content. Opportune and consistent use of keywords should be applied to META Description and Keyword tags as well, and appear on each and every page. Finally, every single page should have a descriptive Title that includes the keyword phrase, preferably in the beginning of the title.
Of course, keywords alone will not gain you top-10 rankings. You’ll need links and articles.
Out of the Envelope,