WordPress and Blogging


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WordPress and Blogging

  1. 1. Blogging and WordPress March 18, 2010 [WEB 2.0 PROJECT, INTERACTION, NOMA.] What is a blog? The word “blog” is short for weblog. The activity of updating a blog is “blogging” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger.” Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog. Postings on a blog are almost always arranged in chronological order with the most recent additions featured most prominently. In the “old” days (just a few years ago actually) a lot of people used blogs as a type of online journal where they could write down whatever happened in their lives, and share it with their friends and family. And this still happens today. But, nowadays, blogs are the most popular type of website on the internet — for both people, as well as for search engines. People now use blogs to publish content related to any and every topic you could imagine, ranging from how to raise kids to internet marketing to personal development — in fact, almost any topic that you can conceive of. A blog is really just a special kind of website that lets you easily publish content whenever you want and allowing other people to interact with your content in the form of writing comments in response to whatever you published. Whenever you visit a blog, you can read the original post by the author of the blog, and then you can also submit a comment expressing your own thoughts on what the blog post was about. When other people join the "conversation", things can get very interesting, and you could end up with a very exciting collection of thoughts from people from all over the world. So, it's quite different from the old “static” websites that do not change their content as a general rule of thumb. Blogs are a lot more fluid and interactive than the normal “old school” websites. Today a blog is usually comprised of text, hypertext, images, and sometimes video, audio and other files that can be viewed in an HTML browser. Blogs are typical feature of what has been called Web 2.0 in the development of the world wide web. What is WordPress? Which blog system should I use? This is one of the first questions new bloggers ask. TypePad http://www.typepad.com, Blogger http://www.blogger.com, Blog Harbor http://www.blogharbor.com or WordPress http://www.wordpress.org? These are some of 1 | Johnny Lund-Hansen, Saikou Marong & Gudmundur Sigurfreyr
  2. 2. March 18, 2010 [WEB 2.0 PROJECT, INTERACTION, NOMA.] the most popular blogging platforms and while we think they all have their advantages there is one clear winner: WordPress. WordPress has many pluses. Our particular favorite features include: It's free, very powerful and runs of a MySQL database, so it's quick. It has a very easy installation procedure. There are hundreds of free themes you can download and install allowing you to change the look of your blog. There are hundreds of plugins that provide extra functionality. All of the above benefits are available because the WordPress system is Open Source Software, which means anyone can look at the code and modify the program. Consequently there are hundreds of programmers working to make WordPress the best blogging system and they do it for free — just for the good of the software. WordPress is the world’s most popular blogging platform, used by a about 202 million websites. As simple or as complex as you want it to be, WordPress can be used to transform a standard blog into anything you could possibly desire. Besides blogs, WordPress can be used as a straightforward content management system (CMS) to power anything from an e-commerce site to a social network. WordPress has a templating system, which includes widgets that can be rearranged without editing PHP or HTML code. The PHP, CSS and HTML code in themes can also be edited for more advanced customizations. WordPress also features integrated link management; a search engine- friendly, clean permalink structure; the ability to assign nested, multiple categories to articles; and support for tagging of posts and articles. In order to learn the basic steps on how to use WordPress in becoming a blogger we highly recommend the website www.becomeablogger.com by Gideon Shalwick and Yaro Starak. They have created 10 complimentary videos that show you exactly how to set up your very own blog using the very popular and powerful WordPress blogging platform. You want to check them out also when it comes to tips on how to turn blogging into a business. The first steps in becoming a successful blogger! A good and successful blog can never be better that it´s content. While design and user interface is queen content is certainly king. The key here is selecting a topic that you love doing. A topic where you enjoy the process of getting engaged in it as opposed to the result. Of course, the ideal is to get enjoyment out of both the process and the result. When you can achieve that, you'll be on a winning streak. Some of the best blog subjects were discovered by people who immersed themselves in a specific field, worked in it for a while, and then figured out all the ins and outs about that topic. Before long 2 / | Johnny Lund-Hansen, Saikou Marong & Gudmundur Sigurfreyr
  3. 3. March 18, 2010 [WEB 2.0 PROJECT, INTERACTION, NOMA.] they’d stumble upon some “gaps” in that topic, normally in the form of problems that do not have solutions, and then make a business out of providing a solution to that problem. You can also do a search on http://www.technorati.com for blogs dealing with your area of interest. Searching for other blogs on Technorati is a particularly useful technique for finding out what kind of competition is out there and it could aid you greatly in forming your own ideas of what you could be blogging about in the near future. After you have decided what your niche will be and what you will blog about there are three basic steps for setting up your blog. Step 1) Create your own domain name. This is very important since it will support your authority as a blogger and make it easier for your readers to find you on the web. Step 2) Set up a host that is user friendly when it comes to installing WordPress and other CMS (i.e. Joomla, Drupal, e-commerce, a forum etc.). These you might want to use in the future as your blogging develops and your following increases. What is most important in this context is that the host service you choose provides you with the software services Fantastico De Luxe or Simple Scripts. If so you can install with only click of the mouse different blogs, forums, photo gallerys, content management systems, e-commerce systems etc. These services also give you a notice when a new version of WordPress has been issued and you can then upgrade it with the click of the mouse. Very helpful and user friendly feature. We recommend Bluehost http://bluehost.com in this respect though you will probably find many other similiar good host services. Step 3) Choose a theme of your liking and install all the right plugins to increase functionality and to prepare your blog for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Even though Wordpress.org is fond of saying that it´s users don´t need any prior knowlegde in PHP, CSS or XHTML this might be true for amateurs but does certainly not apply to multi media designers. Even though you can find great themes on the web for free it is always better to have the basic knowledge to be able to customize it to your own style or personality. Then Anni’s drilling on CSS and XHTML certainly comes in handy. It is also important to know the basic of PHP codeing (unless it goes against your religous principles ). Since WordPress was orginally developed as a journal (with blog-style structure) but is increasingly used as CMS (page-based structure) many of it’s standard features don´t apply. One example. It is very common to see: ”Posted by admin April 4th 2010”. When you see this again and again for each new post in a blog written by one and the same person it becomes rather pointless. In order to change this you will need to do it in the php files and be able to recognize the right code. This applys specially to Danish, Icelandic and other nationals who would like to use their custom date. In Icelandic it would for example look like: ”4. apríl 2010”. 3 The first steps in becoming a successful blogger! | Johnny Lund-Hansen, Saikou Marong & Gudmundur Sigurfreyr
  4. 4. March 18, 2010 [WEB 2.0 PROJECT, INTERACTION, NOMA.] Important plugins for your WordPress blog/website When it comes to installing plugins it is important to do some research and not over do it. Install and use only the plugins that you really need since too much of a good thing can drag the performance of your WordPress blog site down. Here are few that we consider important and helpful. Akismet Spam or ,,sblog” as it is called in blog logy is quite common. Usually with links to some sleazy product’s website. Akismet plugin is a perfect spam catcher. It has an option to “Automatically discard spam comments on posts older than a month” which means that spam comments for the early posts won’t even be added to the Spam section of blog comments, they will be deleted automatically. Google Analytics for WordPress A simple plugin that adds Google Analytics to your blog pages so you can enjoy a variety of tracking options available at Google Analytics account. Once you upload and activate the plugin go 4 | Johnny Lund-Hansen, Saikou Marong & Gudmundur Sigurfreyr
  5. 5. March 18, 2010 [WEB 2.0 PROJECT, INTERACTION, NOMA.] to the Settings section in the main menu and look for Google Analytics. Here’s the place where you can make a Google Analytics WordPress Configuration. All you have to do is enter your Analytics Account ID and click on save. Now you can go to your Google Analytics account and track visitors, traffic sources, search keywords and most popular articles. Yet Another Related Post Plugin (YARPP) It is highly important to keep blog visitors on the website as long as possible, especially if you are selling ads and are going to earn something from them. This is where Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) comes on arena. It allows you to show links to related posts at the end of the article, and you can set this relatedness by a number of options, such as keywords in the text, titles, tags, categories etc. You can define the number of links to show and the period of time to check on related articles from your previous posts. You will find related posts section under the main Sections menu of the blog admin area. SocioFluid Social media distribution is a very important factor in getting your message across to other people online. Sociofluid adds keen social network icons below the post that get bigger on roll-over. SocioFluid settings can be found under the main Sections menu of the blog admin area. There are 20 bookmarking site you can choose from (including the most popular Twitter, Facebook, Digg and StumbleUpon) and you can also choose from the several icons sizes. You can define 5 Important plugins for your WordPress blog/website | Johnny Lund-Hansen, Saikou Marong & Gudmundur Sigurfreyr
  6. 6. March 18, 2010 [WEB 2.0 PROJECT, INTERACTION, NOMA.] whether to display SocioFluid Bar for posts in home page or browse pages, to show it on the top of the page or after the article, whether the icons should open in the new window or not. All in One SEO Pack All in One SEO Pack plugin allows you to enhance your blog in terms of search engines friendliness. There is a direct link to options configuration panel right from the plugins section and you don’t have to dive into the settings and check where they could have been added. All in One SEO Pack allows you to set the titles structure of blog pages, use noindex attributes for the sections you’d like to close from the search engines and set meta title and meta description for the blog main page without going into the blog code. SEO is a very important factor in all web development and we recommend you study the reference list here below on SEO in order to learn more about this important factor. It’s all about getting the attention of God Codestyling Localization When it comes to customzing WordPress, your theme or different plugins to your own language Codesstyling Localization plugin is very helpful. You can manage and edit all gettext translation files (.po/.mo) directly out of your WordPress Admin Center without any need of an external editor. It automatically detects the gettext ready components (like WordPress itself or any plugin / theme supporting gettext), and is able to scan the related source files. Before this plugin became available developers used the external editor PoEdit to translate PHP strings. They would download PoEdit translation software (a cross-platform gettext catalogs editing tool) to their computer and translate the .po file “outside” WordPress so to speak, and then upload it back to the languages folder in their particular theme. If the Codesstyling Localization plugin versionthat is available is not compatible to the WordPress version you use (as sometimes happens when plugin developers stop upgrading their plugins) PoEdit is a good and safe alternative. The X-Factor to Your Blog! This sounds all really fine and cozy you might say. ,,But why bother, nobody will ever read my blog anyway!” ,,They have literally millions of blogs out there, why should they read mine?”  Life sucks, doesn´t it? 6 / | Johnny Lund-Hansen, Saikou Marong & Gudmundur Sigurfreyr
  7. 7. March 18, 2010 [WEB 2.0 PROJECT, INTERACTION, NOMA.] Well, there is a little bit truth in this. The massive numbers of blogs on the web, that is. According to Technorati http://www.technorati.com around 2 new blogs are created every 3 seconds! That’s 7.4 MILLION blogs in the last 120 days! BUT this doesn´t mean you can´t be a player, remember the most popular bloggers today started as you, with not a single reader. And most of them only few years or even months ago! What is their secret? Nothing really mysterious. What they do is: 1. Create extraordinary content represented within good layout and design, 2. Generate traffic, 3. And build a following ... in that order. This you can also do if you take the time to research the subject and collect and learn how to use the tools (or software) to do this. The X-Factor to your blog, that will help it stand out and reach greater number of people is multimedia blogging and social media distribution. Multimedia blogging is what happens when you take the normal method of communication with blogs, that is text, and supplement it with multimedia content such as images, audio, online video and other interactive online technologies. Social media distribution, on the other hand, is the emergence of a totally new way of getting your message across to other people online. Social media are internet-based tools for sharing and discussing information among people on the world wide web. Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Digg and LinkedIn are all example of social media that have become increasingly important in online marketing. 6 6 6 6 6 First we recommend you you use your blog to start creating your email list. To do this, the first thing you need is an email auto-responder service such as Aweber http://www.aweber.com or MailChimp http://www.mailchimp.com to send the email messages and collect people’s details. A great way to build your emailing list, is to create an email course or report (in pdf format) where you give away premium content related to your blog topic. A simple 7-part series FREE email course could do the trick as well — or something similar. 7 The X-Factor to Your Blog! | Johnny Lund-Hansen, Saikou Marong & Gudmundur Sigurfreyr
  8. 8. March 18, 2010 [WEB 2.0 PROJECT, INTERACTION, NOMA.] Another important factor in this respect is to use RSS (Real Simple Syndicate) feed to collect subsribers to your blog. RSS is a web feed format used to publish frequently updated works such as blog entries or news headlines in a standardized format. An RSS document (which is called a "feed" or "web feed") includes full or summarized text, plus metadata such as publishing dates and authorship. Web feeds benefit bloggers by letting them syndicate content automatically. They benefit readers who want to subscribe to timely updates from favored blogs or collect feeds from many websites into one place. FeedBurner is a good web feed management provider for this purpose. FeedBurner provides custom RSS feeds and management tools to bloggers, podcasters, and other web-based content publishers. Another important bonus of using RSS and FeedBurner is the fact that it provides the basic format that makes developing a mobile or podcasters application for blog easy. Basically all that is needed is simple XHTML, CSS and web feed with RSS. Since it has been estimated that in few years around 50% of internet users population will access the web through podcasters and mobile phones this is a very important factor. Building your email list becomes critical to your success later on, since it will become the main medium you use to communicate with your followers about special product and affiliate promotions (if you want to make money from your blog). So the sooner you start building your list, the better. Here are some multimedia tools to make your blog stand out! Tools for Audio Creating audio for your blog can add a whole new dimension to your blog. A really easy way to create audio for your blog is to do interviews with experts in your niche. You can do this very easily using software like Skype for the interview:http://www.skype.com. You can use Pamela Recording software to record the call with: http://www.pamela.biz/. If you're on Mac, we suggest you use a neat little program called Call Recorder for recording your calls: http://www.ecamm.com/mac/callrecorder/. Of course, you don't have to interview people to create audio content. You can also record your own voice using recording software on your computer, like Audacity for example (see here below). 8 Here are some multimedia tools to make your blog stand out! | Johnny Lund-Hansen, Saikou Marong & Gudmundur Sigurfreyr
  9. 9. March 18, 2010 [WEB 2.0 PROJECT, INTERACTION, NOMA.] Editing Tools For Audio To edit your recordings, you can use one of the following programs (they are both free). For PC users, you can use Audacity: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/. And if you're on Mac, you can use Garageband: http://www.apple.com/ilife/garageband/. Here are two great tools to add another extra feature to your blog: 1. Use the Audio Player WordPress Plugin to help stream the audio straight from your blog: http://www.1pixelout.net/code/audio-player-wordpress-plugin/. Just make sure you export your final audio production to an mp3 file format for this to work. 2. And if you want to get real fancy, use the Odiogo plugin to automatically turn your text posts into podcasts (this is really neat if you like listening to computer generated voices): http://www.odiogo.com/. Tools for Video If you're new to online video, the first thing we recommend you to do, is to go to this online video training site where you can learn the basics of video production (again, zero cost): http://getyourvideoonline.com/ On the above site, you will learn about a number of really great tools you can use for creating your own videos that you can add to your blog. Editing Tools For Video If you're on PC, the best entry level editing program you'll find at the moment is Sony Vegas. http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/products/vegasfamily.asp If you don't like spending money, you can always just use Windows Movie Maker, which comes with all Microsoft Windows installations. If you're on Mac, you can do some pretty cool editing with the program that just comes with the operating software, iMovie. If you want to make your video content ”go the extra mile”, here are some great tools you could use. First up is LinkedTube and Overlay.tv. Both these services allow you to add clickable links inside your videos. All you have to do, is upload your videos to YouTube as you normally would do, and then use one or both of these services to add clickable links inside your videos. This can be great for adding affiliate links inside your videos or for driving people to a specific web page, for example a sales page for your new product. 9 Here are some multimedia tools to make your blog stand out! | Johnny Lund-Hansen, Saikou Marong & Gudmundur Sigurfreyr
  10. 10. March 18, 2010 [WEB 2.0 PROJECT, INTERACTION, NOMA.] You can find these services here: http://www.linkedtube.com/ http://www.overlay.tv/ Cool Tool for Text There is only one tool we want to mention here for text, and that is the SlideShare application: http://www.slideshare.net/. It's really more a presentation tool than a text tool, but what's great about it is that you can use it to create automatic slide presentations that you can then embed straight on your blog. And even better, when other people see it, they can grab the same embed code and embed the very same slide presentation on their own blogs. It's a bit like YouTube, except that it's only for slide presentations. SlideShare can be a very powerful traffic generation tool when used right, so we encourage you to experiment with it and test it to see what kind of results you get from it. If nothing else, at least you'll have something different on your blog that other people find interesting. Two final tips on how to add extra flavor to your blog! Gravatar When it comes to blogging it is very important to ecourage all visitors of your blog to comment on your post. This can be done by ending your post with a direct questions to your reader. For example: ‚Do you think cocaine should be legal?‘ This way you are more likely to revoke a response to your post and hopefully invoke long and heated discussion. Another way is to encourage your readers to use their own personal avatar. An image of themselves (or their alter ego) that will show up beside their comments. 10 | Johnny Lund-Hansen, Saikou Marong & Gudmundur Sigurfreyr
  11. 11. March 18, 2010 [WEB 2.0 PROJECT, INTERACTION, NOMA.] Gravatar (short for globally recognized avatar) is a service for providing globally-unique avatars. On Gravatar, http://en.gravatar.com/ users can register an account based on their email address, and upload an avatar to be associated with the account. Gravatar plugins are available for popular blogging software; when the user posts a comment on such a blog that requires an e-mail address, the blogging software checks whether that e-mail address has an associated avatar at Gravatar. If so, the Gravatar is shown along with the comment. This gives the blog a more human, personal feel and look. Instead of having for example shadow head box (boring) or non-personal avatar logo, a guest can have his own gravatar. Favicon Another feature you might want to add to your blog is a favicon. A favicon (short for "favorites icon") is an icon associated with a website or webpage intended to be used when you bookmark the web page. Web browsers use them in the URL bar, on tabs, and elsewhere to help identify a website visually. A favicon is typically a graphic 16 x 16 pixels square and is saved as favicon.ico in the root directory of your server. You can use a favicon with any WordPress blog on a web server that allows access to the root directories. For further information on how to do this read: http://codex.wordpress.org/Creating_a_Favicon. Helpful information Blogging as business: Roadmap to Become a Blogger: http://www.becomeablogger.com/roadmap/ Blog Profits Blueprint: http://www.blogmastermind.com/ SEO Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide: http://bit.ly/bAMpFE Setting Up WordPress for SEO: http://bit.ly/duZL8O 10 Important Tips to Optimize WordPress for Search Engines: http://bit.ly/ckDlMW WordPress WordPress Tutorial: http://www.siteground.com/tutorials/wordpress/ WordPress Themes 100 Excellent FREE WordPress Themes: http://bit.ly/cGwwbE 11 | Johnny Lund-Hansen, Saikou Marong & Gudmundur Sigurfreyr
  12. 12. March 18, 2010 [WEB 2.0 PROJECT, INTERACTION, NOMA.] And Finally the Sad Part 10 ways to make Internet Explorer act like a modern browser: http://bit.ly/9kfKV3 12 Helpful information / | Johnny Lund-Hansen, Saikou Marong & Gudmundur Sigurfreyr
  13. 13. March 18, 2010 [WEB 2.0 PROJECT, INTERACTION, NOMA.] 10 ways to make Internet Explorer act like a modern browser: 1) Use Firefox Instead, be amazed 2) Use Chrome Instead, be amazed 3) Use Opera Instead, be amazed 4) Use Safari Instead, be amazed 5) Delete Internet Explorer Links from your desktop 6) Delete Internet Explorer Links from your Quick Launch 7) Delete Internet Explorer Links from your Start Menu 8) Try to forget you ever used that garbage 9) Forgive and forget 10) Live happily ever after. 13 Helpful information / | Johnny Lund-Hansen, Saikou Marong & Gudmundur Sigurfreyr