4 things I wish WordPress could do for me

There have been several cool features added to WordPress. These include the ‘related article’ and ‘just write’ feature, the ability to send drafts to people and much more. I particularly enjoy my WordPress app. It’s very cool as it enables me type posts on-the-go as well as taking pictures with my iPhone that can be uploaded immediately. Asking for more is perhaps too much to ask but I want more. There are a few things that could UP this technology and frankly, I think it’s not too much to ask for WordPress to:

ONE. Add a feature that allows me to nominate other bloggers’ posts for ‘freshly pressed’. Don’t get me started about the randomness of the current selection process. The Apple website for instance allows users to mark answers/posts as ‘helpful’ or ‘correct’. A similar thing could work here.

On Apple's website, users identify useful posts

How the posts are scored

TWO. Link building is a big plus on the web. So just as I can hyperlink to one of my previous posts with the list provided, I should also see posts that I have ‘liked’ and be able to link back to those too. This feature will make link building seamless and thus easier to do. At the moment, I have to copy and paste links into the window below.

Dear WordPress, I want to see posts I've 'liked' in this window.

THREE. Importing Word documents seems like a no-brainer but I can’t do it on WordPress. Yes, I can copy and paste (Honestly, I’m surprised no one has invented something that replaces cut/copy-paste) but it would be neater to just import the file. Also, I seem to lose all my formatting i.e. paragraphs and fonts when I paste from Word or Pages. Am I missing a trick? I would like to import directly without losing my format.

FOUR. This brings me to my beloved WordPress app. Although I can create a post on my phone, it would be even more impressive if I could export (or send) it as an email such that I can further edit it when I’m in front of a PC. Posts I create on my phone cannot be seen when I logon my desktop because these are saved as ‘local’ posts.

My blogging experience so far has been amazing. I just want more. Always.

Yours sincerely,

The Task Mistress

Top tips on how to climb to the top of Google’s search results

By Guest author, Nancy Dafiewhare, MD Magnifique Media

In my last article, I looked at the ways Google indexes a website during crawling. This article will look at the things you can do to get your website at the top of the search results.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not rocket science but at the same time it’s not easy as pie. A lot of thought, research and planning need to go into any SEO strategy for it to be successful. It’s important that the website owner has an idea of what SEO needs in order for it to be successful. This is especially imperative if the website owner is considering using an SEO agency to do the work. You risk getting a cowboy job done if you blindly hand over your SEO implementation to an agency if you have no clue of what needs to be done or what should be done.

Below are the tips to help your website climb to at the top of the search results.

  1. Website coding: As mentioned in the previous article it is important that your website is built with pure HTML code. Google can crawl html better than any other code. It’s also important that the website is not built in frames but rather in tables. Tables should be simple with no complex nesting.
  2. Site design – images, alt tags, link names: Image and link names used on your website should make sense and have some relationship with the webpage they reside on. If you have a florist website and you have images of red roses on the page, the image should be named something like ‘red roses Interflora’ rather than image 1. The names of images are searchable by Google so bear in mind they need to make sense. Link names are also searchable so if you have a page on roses, then it’s only fair that your web link be named something such as www.interflora.com/roses.com. This will go a long way in getting your ratings up. Alt tags used for image and link names need to make sense as well. This is not only good for Google but for website accessibility and the visually impaired.
  3. Keyword research: You need to research or have an idea of the words or phrases you want your website or webpage found on. Make a list of these words and ensure that you use these on your website. It’s important not to use highly competitive search terms or you will struggle with websites already topping the charts with those keywords.
  4. Meta Title: When you know what keywords/phrases to use on your website, you need to include these on your website title tag. These should be a maximum of 65 characters including spaces. The first 2 words carry the most weight. For example ‘Cheap roses: All colours available at Interflora, buy now!’ The total characters used here is 58.
  5. Meta Description: As with the meta title, you should include the keywords you’ve decided to use on your website. This time round you have a maximum of 150 characters including spaces to play with. For example: ‘50% off red roses at Interflora. We have discounts on all other roses. Free delivery on purchases over £50. Visit our website now!’ The total number of characters used here is 130.
  6. Body content: The body content of your webpage need to contain about 30% density of the keywords you want your website to be found on. Google will look at your meta tags and decide if your website has any correlation with the keywords or phrases used. Please ensure that your use of these keywords within the body content of your web page makes sense to the reader.
  7. External links: It is essential to have good external links pointing to your website. This is like the final piece of the puzzle. After all the hard work done internally to make your website SEO friendly, it is important that you have external recognition to complete the SEO puzzle. As such it is important that you get a good number of reputable websites that link to your own website. You can do this by writing articles for websites and get them to link to your website as part of the article.

It’s important to know that SEO doesn’t happen overnight. We’re at Google bot’s mercy in terms of the number of times it crawls a website. Your website can be indexed anywhere from one day to a week or even weeks. Larger websites take longer to crawl. It is important to note that if your website contains secure pages hidden behind logins, Google cannot access these pages. As such valuable content should not be hidden behind these pages as they will never be indexed by search engines.

Also see:

www.magnifique-media.com/search_engine_marketing

How google search engine spiders work

By Guest author,  Nancy Dafiewhare, MD Magnifique Media
www.magnifique-media.com

Google has become the world’s most famous and most used search engine. It is now common for people to say “I’ll Google it” if they are looking for information about something. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has now become one of the widely used techniques in digital marketing and rightly so. For anyone looking to market or are already marketing their products/services online via a website, SEO is not one to be ignored.

There are a lot of myths surrounding how Google indexes a website. Just like any other trade there are a lot of cowboy SEO techniques out there using black hat tricks to get Google’s attention.  These include stuffing the meta keywords of the webpage with words/phrases the website wishes to be found on.  The Google bot (Google’s search engine spider) has evolved a lot over the years and it continues evolving. It is aware of the black hat tricks and has taken steps to make sure such cheating websites do not get to the top of search engine results. Google no longer looks at the meta keywords in a website as part of the indexing process.

Get to the top of the search (www.freedigitalphotos.net)

The things Google bot looks for in a website when indexing include:

  1. Coding of website:  In order for Google bot to successfully crawl your website, the website coding needs to be pure HTML (Hyper Text Mark-up Language).
  2. Meta title: This is the title of the page Google is crawling (it appears on top your browser telling you what page on a website you’re on for instance ‘About us’ page).
  3. Meta description:  These are a set of phrases or sentences that describes or summarise what the web page is about.
  4. Body content: This is the text content of the page. Google gathers this information together with the first two and decides if your website is genuine portrayal of what it is claiming to be.
  5. Back links: These are the number of external links that point to your page. If you have a good number of reputable websites that link to your own website then Google increases your website score which will help to push your website up on the search engine results.

As easy as it appears, a lot of websites still get these simple basics wrong and miss out on a lot of traffic due to improper indexing of their website. Watch this space for  some tips on how to climb to the top of the ranks!

Winter just got better!

Last week at my daughter’s nursery, I bumped into one of the other mum’s who was wearing a STUNNING black winter coat. I have an eye for these things and I couldn’t keep my eyes off her. I’d never spoken to her before (I’m not in the clique) but I worked up the courage to say, ‘My, my, where did you get that coat?? It’s gorgeous.’ She proceeded to tell me that it was from a store near where she lived and that she had bought the last one. Damn! Fortunately, she was a darling and told me the designer for good measure: Betty Barclay.

I tried really hard to get the image of the coat out of mind. But there was no way, I was hooked! The coat has a wet look to it, a quilted surface and a hood with faux fur. It was glorious (I’m still mesmerised!). Anyway, I started my quest for the coat using the trusting Google.com. I put in ‘Betty Barclay’ and it came up with several web links. Hmm…’I’ll click on this one.’ I thought to myself. Nope, no black wet look coat. The thing is I had never heard of Betty Barclay before this enchanting encounter so I wasn’t sure what to expect. There were a few online stockists but only one actually had the jacket. So, after what felt like hours (it was probably about 20 minutes actually), I stumbled onto TheHouseDesignerWear.co.uk. They had it!!! But wait… I just went from a size 10 to 12 in the last 6 months….They only have it in 10 and 16. Deflated.

Betty Barclay Wet look Faux fur jacket (The House Designer Wear, 2010)

Feeling courageous, I called the contact number on the web site. What a lovely customer service lady! Even though they didn’t have my size, she offered to call another store and call me back after checking for it. She even offered to put it on the website and call me immediately so that I can purchase it. Did I mention that this coat is £260? Extravagant, even for me. Anyway, the coat was completely sold out in size 12 as the nice customer service lady later informed me.

Then the next phase of my search started (thanks to Google again). I started to look for jackets that resembled the Betty Barclay one. I confess that I didn’t have to look far. I found one on asos.com before I could say ‘Black Wet look jacket with hood’! And there it sat, prettier and CHEAPER than I had imagined! Yay!! It was a £100 and looked like it was worth much more. Long live Asos.com :-). Even better, they had it in size 12 (it eased my irritation about gaining weight). The designer is Vero Moda. Alas, it was ‘Add to Cart’ – no questions asked. Excellent!

Front view of a beautiful jacket (Asos.com, 2010)

I got a real buzz from my search. Now I think I might enjoy looking for clothes that resemble big designer brands and buying them at a bargain. LOOK magazine is filled with such grand searches. Hmm, there may even be a small business opportunity. Steady now…. Anyway, it was all in a day’s work (well, a couple of days) and now I am fiercely looking forward to winter. Happy shopping for your winter jackets if you haven’t already done so (remember you can have more than one 😉 ). NEXT and Debenhams also have many great jackets of different styles. Tis the season to be merry……K’s got a new coat (doing silly “bubble n’ shuffle” dance from the 80s)…la-la-la-la-la-la… ;-).

Check out the back (Asos.com, 2010)

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