Basic Blog Tips for New Bloggers

After one year I started BASIC BLOG TIPS!My anniversary gift is Basic Blog Tips!

Today is the one year anniversary of Ms. Ileane Speaks! The year went by quickly and it seems like I spent a great deal of it learning how to blog.  The first road block came with the realization that WordPress and WordPress.com are NOT the same thing.  Since I’m using WordPress.com here at Ms. Ileane Speaks, I constantly struggle to find tutorials strictly for WordPress.com!

Lynda.com To The Rescue

Lucky for me, I gained access to a 30-day free pass to the Lynda.com online learning library. Right away I completed the module called WordPress.com 2.7 Essential Training and wrote the post 5 WordPress Secrets You Need To Know. But more importantly, a seed was planted and I felt the need to share what I learned.

Blogger vs. WordPress.com

I soon discovered that Google offers free blogging software that rivals WordPress.com so I established Ms. Ileane’s Blog. It started out as a challenge from my friend Kissie to prove the superiority of WP, yet I was surprised to learn that arguments can be made on both sides. First and foremost, I was able to easily access TONS of tutorials, tips, themes and hacks dedicated to using Blog Engage Vote ButtonBlogger.

Basic Blog Tips

Basic Blog Tips Logo

After one year of learning the ropes of using free blogging software I decided to acquire a domain and hosting provider as a gift to myself.

I’m super excited to tell you that Basic Blog Tips is now open for business!

The goal of Basic Blog Tips is to provide one central location to find tips, tutorials and resources for WordPress.com AND Blogger users. I want this site to be the one I was looking for this time last year.  Happy Blogging Anniversary to me!

But Basic Blog Tips is  also my gift – to you.

UPDATE: Currently the most popular post on Basic Blog Tips by far includes a video tutorial and it’s called Install CommentLuv on Blogger

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ALL IN A DAY’S WORK

JustKissieThis is the second guest post from a prolific blogger and my dearest personal friend Kissie. Her blog is JustKissie and you can also follow Kissie on Twitter.
How often we complain on Sunday nights or Monday mornings aboutBlog Engage Vote Button returning to work after a couple days off. We should be happy to be earning a living and most of us are in jobs that we wanted – at some point. So, I’ve come up with a way for you to get more joy out of going to work, CREATE FUN CHARACTERS out of the characters you work and interact with and enjoy the daily show. Here are some of the people who help to make my days exciting and give me something to blog about, see if you find any similarities in your place of business.

Recent American Citizen– The person who goes on and on about a LONG story, that they’ve already told you more than once with the heaviest accent while you’re trying to determine how much more is left in the story before they shut up!

Super Sensitive –The person who will tell you any flaw they see in you but will cry at the tiniest insignificant thing you say to them. For instance, I was walking down the hall minding my business trying to avoid running into the Recent Citizen, when Super Sensitive asks me if I’m still wearing the Body Magic. It’s obvious I wasn’t wearing it if I looked like the Pillsbury Dough Boy around the middle.

The Yes Man – No specific gender here but you don’t want this person around when you’re in an argument or debate. They will agree with both parties and you’ll never get a partial view from them because they don’t have the heart to give their true opinion.

Lonely Lady – Not that this person has a lot of cats and no family at home; because as you know we can be with and around other people and yet experience loneliness. This person is longing for ANYONE to listen to them. So without you inquiring about their weekend, they will voluntarily tell you all you don’t care to hear. Well, that’s not altogether true, it’s likely you just don’t want to hear all of the minor details but that’s what the lonely one does. They will tell you more than you want to know and keep you longer than you want to stay.

Gift Giver – Yeah you think this is nice, don’t ya? It’s not so nice if you have to hear about how much or what they’ve done for you, the department, or others. Whatever you do, do not forget any special occasion in this person’s life or they will become super sensitive.

Experienced – Have you ever met the person that’s been working for the company since the beginning and hate all new people with new ideas and ways? Oh my, how do we relay that just because you’ve been doing it for more than 20 years doesn’t mean you’ve been doing it right? Just leave ‘em alone, become a Yes Man to them and remember management keeps them around for sentimental reasons only.

Idiot in Charge – This is when you combine experience with super sensitive. Please don’t misunderstand, this could be one of the brightest people in the organization but not too much the kindest. A lot of times, this person is one dimensional and cannot understand why you just don’t get it!

Wanderer – Oh you know you know this one; this is the person that always causes you to wonder what it is that they really do. You see them everywhere and anywhere at all times. You suspect they may have been involved in some sort of cloning experience. They usually have none of the issues that the others suffer from and they are quite sweet but do they know they are EARNING an income and not winning one?

Activist Andy – Some may accuse me of this but I never attempt to impose my beliefs and preferences on anyone. If you care to hear about my relationship as a believer in Jesus Christ, I will share whatever you request to know. If you ask me why and for details regarding my vegan/raw foods diet, I’d be more than happy to share. However, you will NOT find me condemning you or reprimanding you for your choices….especially in the workplace! Good grief, people, there is a time and a place to make your point and I don’t come to work to hear it.

Too Busy – Finally, I won’t name names but this is the person who has all of the time in the world for social media networking but get so very annoyed when you disturb them for REAL WORK. It’s difficult to write a guest post while others think their questions can’t wait!

Gotta go now, bye!

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My Favorite Chrome Extensions

This is a guest post from Sharon Hurley Hall. She’s a writing consultant and professional blogger. Find more of her work on Get Paid To Write Online, Blogging Tips and the Location Independent network of sites. Follow Sharon on Twitter.

Sharon Hurley Hall

Sharon Hurley Hall


I love Google Chrome which became my browser of choice once the Firefox bloat became too much to bear.  Once Chrome got extension support, my happiness was complete, and I’d like to share with you the extensions that make my life much easier.

Feedly

Top of the list of extensions I use every day is Feedly, which was the extension I missed most when I transitioned from Firefox to Chrome. Feedly puts a magazine like interface on your Google Reader subscriptions and once you sign in with your Google Account, it needs very little customization. I only ever use the native Google Reader interface for adding subscriptions; otherwise I just use Feedly.

Among it’s useful features are:

  • an unread notification in the browser bar
  • the ability to share  items on Buzz with one click
  • the ability to share with comments quickly on Twitter and Facebook
  • in-line post reading

There’s a lot more, too, such as seeing how your tweets have been shared.

IE Tab

Next on my list is IE Tab.  I really don’t like Internet Explorer, but some sites still run better in it, so I use IETab to avoid having to load IE separately. It works pretty well and it’s an extension I use a couple of times a week. It’s also useful for when you need to have two instances of the same site open, though a Chrome incognito window works just as well.

Rapportive

Rapportive is a CRM extension that puts social networking information about my contacts right in my Gmail window. I love the fact that I can easily see if my contacts have Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn accounts, as well as their most recent tweets. While Gist for Google Apps offers similar functionality, Rapportive doesn’t slow down my email load times and gives only the most relevant information.

Nested Twitter Replies

Nested Twitter Replies is a Greasemonkey script which improves Twitter by giving you an easy view of Twitter conversations. Of course, there are plenty of Twitter tools that do this too, but it’s useful for the times when you are using the main Twitter interface and need to track what’s being said. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help you with replying to the tweets that originated the conversation. You will still have to click on that separately; but it works well as a viewing tool.

View Thru

View Thru also works with Twitter and other sites and allows you to see the full URL instead of shortened URLs.

Wise Stamp

I love WiseStamp because it provides an easy way to insert HTML signatures in Gmail and Google Apps. It has a number of built in options, making it simple to link to your key social media and social networking accounts. I now have a synced signature for all my email and can change it with a single click.

StumbleUpon

Last but not least is the StumbleUpon extension which has restored my beloved StumbleUpon toolbar. There’s not much more to say about this, other than that I can stumble and share content simply by clicking a button.

Other Extensions

Those are 7 of the 12 extensions I have installed. I also occasionally use FastestChrome (a FasterFox port, I believe), though the only feature that interests me is the endless scrolling;  Clip to Evernote, for storing pages that interest me; Readability, to make pages easier to read; Chrome SEO, for an easy way to find SEO data for any page; and Readness, which keeps track of the news sources I read. I’m testing Readness, and am not sure yet if I will keep it.

So that’s my grab bag of Chrome extensions; what’s in yours?

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SEO for WordPress via Stephan Spencer on WordPress.tv

SEO Help for WordPress

Blog Engage Vote ButtonFrom the start, I’d like to commend Automattic for being open to the dissection of the SEO strategies used on the WordPress.com home page. It’s quite brave of them to feature this critique during a public session of  WordCamp San Diego. Yet keep in mind, I am certain forward-thinking Matt Mullenweg and his WordPress team consider this tutorial to be one that each of us will benefit from.

Next, I’d like to speak to the authority of the presenter, Stephan Spenser. It’s not too often that I like to use the term “expert” when describing someone, especially in the realm of SEO, but given the fact the Stephan has co-authored a highly regarded book on the topic he’s a rare exception to that rule. The Art of SEO is published by O’Reillly and includes insights from Stephan along with collaborators Eric Enge, Jessie Stricchiola and Rand Fishkin.

Stephan’s first challenge for the WordPress.com webmasters is aimed at the poorly optimized navigation of the site. Although text links appear at the bottom he quickly points out how the abundance footer links get “somewhat discounted”. Then in what I find a surprising move he compares the site to the Yahoo! home page pointing to Yahoo’s strong navigation links which lead to high positioning on Google search results.Wordpress.com site

Stephan demonstrates the use of Google Adwords Keywords Tool which is also favored in the Lynda.com tutorial on “Performing Keyword Research”. He show how optimal results from the Google Adwords Keyword Tool can be achieved by changing the match type to “exact” which is another crucial tactic stressed by both Stephan and Jill Whalen in the Lynda.com SEO training series. In the case of WordPress.com, Stephan suggests that the sought after keyword should be “blog” rather than “free blog”.

SEO Best Practice

Stephan continues to address the gaping holes in the SEO strategy of the WordPress.com site, and at the same time he instructs us all, through the use of specific examples which can be easily translated into our own individual SEO best practices. Stephan does a tremendous job of cramming a vast amount of information into this 7 minute lighting session including:

  • Tag and Category links
  • CTR – Click Through Rate
  • Inbound links
  • Yahoo! Site Explorer
  • Link Authority
  • Anchor text
  • Canonical URL’s
  • Duplicate Content

Slides for the presentation are available on SlideShare.

I’m impressed with this episode of WordPress.tv and the SEO strategies that Stephan suggests. What do you think? How can you apply these tactics to your own site?

Introducing WordPress 3.0 (via WordPress.tv)

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Thelonious Has Arrived

The release of WordPress 3.0 is called Thelonious, named after the great jazz musician Thelonious Monk. It’s a game changer in many ways. By far the most impressive aspect of 3.0 is the integration of WP MU or Multi-user, which is no longer a stand-alone download and morphs into – Multi-site. WordPress 3.0 Multi-site will allow multiple sites (or blogs) to run on a single installation of WordPress – including BuddyPress. Watch the video from WordPress.tv for a sampling of the new changes.

Read More

via WordPress.tv

Matt Mullenweg’s Take

In a more detailed video presented by WordPress.tv, Matt Mullenweg (co-founder of WordPress) discusses the past, present and future of WordPress.

The WordPress 3.0 download counter updates to the current number of downloads of Thelonious. To upgrade your current installation of WordPress to 3.0, simply go to your admin panel and click “upgrade”; it’s that simple!

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Top 5 Social Media Extensions for Chrome

Vote on Blog EngageGoogle Chrome is quickly becoming the browser of choice and will most likely dethrone Firefox in terms of user sentiment, speed and security but let’s not forget about the growth of the Chrome extensions library. Although Firefox continues to be favored by webmasters, Chrome is gaining acceptance in the mainstream as users escape the grasp of Internet Explorer and embrace the security of  Google’s sandbox powered browser Chrome.

Paired with the success of Google Buzz, developers are paying close attention and quickly issuing extensions for Chrome that rival Firefox and incorporate quick access to Buzz, Gmail, Google Docs and of even the good old-fashioned social networking tool Twitter.

Tweetmeme

Tweetmeme extension for Chrome is a handy tool for sharing to your Twitter stream. It’s most often used for websites that don’t display the Tweetmeme button or if you simply can’t find the Tweetmeme button on the page. One thing I’d like to suggest to Tweetmeme is that they make it easier to cut or copy the text of the tweet. Most of the time I’d like to paste the tweet into HootSuite and schedule it for another time. By the way, if you have the Tweetmeme plugin running on your blog, check out my Hub Page on how to customize the Tweetmeme plugin settings.

My Shortcuts

I found out about this extension on Madras Geek’s blog and it is quickly gaining in popularity. What I like about My Shortcuts is that you can add custom URLs to gain quick access to your blogs or additional social profiles. The defaults take you to Gmail, Buzz, Contacts, Tasks, Docs, Reader, Voice and include additional options for creating new email and new documents.

Symtica

Symtica provide more comprehensive access to your Google accounts like Gmail and includes Google Analytics, YouTube, Blogger, Picassa and a host of others including your favorite and mine Webmaster tools (just kidding).

I’d like to see Symtica and/or MyShortcuts provide access to my AdWords and AdSense accounts to make the my life just a little simplier.

Google Buzz Button for Shareaholic

This extension is devoted solely to Google Buzz and the Buzz Button for Shareaholic will display the Buzz count of the page you’re visiting.

Google Mail Checker Plus

I first mentioned this extension in Web Browsers – What’s Yours? and it’s become one of  my favorite extension for monitoring Gmail and Buzz. Google Mail Checker Plus displays the count of unopened mail and allows you check and view your inbox without ever opening Gmail. Here’s a quick screencast to demonstrate.

Please follow me on Google Buzz and sign up for blog updates via email.

Now it’s your turn, I’d love to learn what extensions you’re using for easy access to social media? Do you use any blogging extensions for Chrome?

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Buzz Besties – BuzzerList, Bit.ly Quick Tip, Blogger Bon Voyage

Image representing Google Moderator as depicte...

Image via CrunchBase

This post lists a few highlights from Google Buzz from the previous month. The list includes the best buzzes, and buzzers that I found in my Buzz stream during the month.

Now it’s your turn to share  your “Buzz Besties” for the month.Blog Engage Vote Button

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