Category Archives: How To

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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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?

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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Find Fonts on Your Computer

Blog Engage Vote ButtonFinding the right font to use on a project just got a little easier.  This is a quick post to tell you about Flipping Typical.
“A way to explore the popular typefaces you have on your computer”.
Once you are on the Flipping Typical site, at the top of the screen type in the words you want to see and Flipping Typical will generate a display that allows you to preview those words in a sampling of the different typefaces available on your computer. It’s fun to play with this site and it just might come in handy if you want to quickly pick typefaces to use on your email signature, a blog post, logo, banner or advertisement. Here is an example of what my name looks like in some of the fonts I have on my computer. Notice that it is important that I use the correct font because my name starts with an I.
If I use Arial it looks like my name starts with a lower case “L”, but in the Georgia font the capital “I” looks great!

Flipping Typical Screenshot

Check out Flipping Typical and find some fonts to play around with, then stop back here and let me know what you found.

Smooches!

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How To…Keep A Conversation Going on a Blog You Have Commented On!

003/365 - I'm blogging this.

Image by antigone78 via Flickr

This is the third guest post by Karen from Blazing Minds. She’s a recording artist with the Electronica Duo band Remergence and a top-notch blogger. Karen’s blog is DoFollow.

Blog Engage Vote ButtonMost of us who are reading this blog have commented on a lot of blogs and sometimes it can be quite hectic trying to remember where you may of last posted a comment and sometimes you would like to keep an eye on the conversation that you may have started.

My tip for anyone who is new to blogging and even those have blogged for a while is this:

When you are commenting on a blog, look out for tick box that says something in the lines of “email me with follow-up comments” or something along those lines, these are really useful as these are perfect to keep an eye on what is going on the blog post you have commented on.

From the moment you submit your comment, you are now ready to receive followup comments made, there are also other options that you may see on blogs that ask if you want to receive all new comments made on the post you have commented on, I would recommend using these options.

Not only does this bring you more chances of commenting on the blog and the possibility of giving you some more back links from the blog as you reply to comments made to your comment or other comments made on the post.

So don’t lose out when you see these tick boxes on blogs, tick them and don’t just comment and run, never to return again, as a blogger myself I appreciate the constant return of many of the commentators on my blog and I know other bloggers generally feel the same.

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Web Browsers – What’s Yours?

Internet Explorer Mobile

Image via Wikipedia

What’s your favorite web browser?

How often you search the web, and what you’re using the internet for – are most likely the key factors impacting your choice of browser. If you’re a novice, it’s quite possible that you may not even know that different browsers exist. You know enough to easily find the blue icon with the letter “E” and a yellow swoosh around it and you’re quite happy with that. You might even be aware that Internet Explorer is the most popular browser found on home and office PC’s around the world.
Bloggers, designers, developers, webmasters and other more advanced web users eventually explore more savvy browsers including the most popular ones from Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome and Opera. Similarly, cellular phone or mobile users will find “mini”, mobile or android versions of the same popular PC and Mac browser alternatives.

How do I know which web browser to use?Blog Engage Vote Button

The simple answer to the question of which browser to use is – Try them all and pick the one you like. Hey the good thing about browsers is that you can use more than one. Right now I’m using Google Chrome but I also open Internet Explorer to access my work email account from Microsoft’s Webmail service. If you’re a blogger I recommend that you at least give Google Chrome a try.

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A Growing List of Top Google Buzz Tips

Follow Buzz Charts

Once you realize that there is life beyond social networking on Twitter you’ll want toBlog Engage Vote Button explore Google Buzz. This is a list of tips that I started but has been contributed to by members of the Buzz community.  I’ll expand this post with any significant Buzz tips that you have. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD SOMETHING PLEASE LEAVE YOUR SUGGESTED TIP ON BUZZ at:

Essential Tips for Google Buzz newcomers!

  1. Learn how to mute a post! if you don’t every time there’s a new comment it pops back to the top of your stream
  2. Don’t send your Tweets to Buzz!! Buzzers ignore tweets. If we want to see Tweets we open HootSuite (I mean Twitter)
  3. Like posts and leave comments directly on Buzz – unless you don’t really want to meet anyone new….
  4. You can have a conversation on Buzz. I mean a real honest to goodness conversation – not a conversation that gets cut off!
  5. Don’t forget to leave comments on the blog, too, if the Buzz is about a blog post – via @Holly Jahangiri
  6. You can track your Buzz posts AND comments by using this search formula via@Julian Bond
  7. At the top of the Buzz frame you will see Web Clips “they grab stories from a default set of feeds. Under “Settings”, the “Web Clips” tab lets you control what feeds they read from, or turn them off entirely” via @Josh Wills
  8. This tip comes from@Steve Pirk “We call it @’ing or summoning. To make a person a link, Enter this without the spaces – @ gmail-username @gmail.com . This creates a reference to the user and the message goes to gmail inbox.” For example if you want to “summon” me you would type @msileane@gmail.com
  9. If you want people to comment on your Buzz posts, first you have to comment and interact with other user’s Buzzes. via @Robert Sanchez Jr
  10. Search Gooogle profiles to find interesting Buzzers with this link http://www.google.com/profiles?q= via @Joe DeGroff
  11. Customized Buzz charts track individual Buzz usage stats and they are provided by developer @Siegfried Hirsch
  12. You can have a private conversation in Buzz, I saw these instructions posted by @Rob Gordon but he got them from @Steve Pirk
  13. Update your Google Profile with your Profile URL. You can find this at the bottom of the edit profile screen via @Andrew Maxwell
  14. TaggingBuzz is a Chrome extension (see video below) that allows you create Buzz tags and search for them later via @Nori Hamamoto

Verified Name Banner for Google ProfileFor advanced users, Steve Pirk shared a bonus tip for adding VERIFIED NAME to your Google profile. Currently VERIFIED NAME is available for US based users and Steve gives credit for this tip to @LindaLawrey.

Leave a comment and let me know if you find these Buzz tips are helpful. Remember if you have Buzz tips add them on Buzz.

Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to Google BookmarkAdd to RedditAdd to StumbleUponAdd to Twitter

SEO Site Tools Finds Google Page Rank

Page Rank de Google en image

Vote on Blog EngageWhat is Google page rank and what does it really represent? Sorry, I can’t answer that question although I see many bloggers trying. If you’re like me you’ve read countless blog posts promising to unlock the mysteries of increasing your page rank. Yet each time Google does an update like they did earlier this month, many of those same bloggers wake up to find that have slid down the slippery page rank ladder a notch or two. Go figure!

Well since I admit that the true value of Google page rank has me utterly baffled, the least I can do is introduce you to a little known extension for Google Chrome to help you find your page rank, or for the matter the PR of any site you navigate to.

Favorite Google Chrome extensions

First I must tell you this neat little social media story. For a couple of days I was tweeting a question to my followers asking which Chrome extensions they find useful. I got some great feedback and as a result ended up installing many of the recommendations and creating screencasts for some like DiigoZemanta and Readability. The other great thing that happened was that I was contacted by the developer of the extension that is the subject of my latest screencast tutorial. The developer’s name is Cole Carter and the extension is SEO Site Tools.

The point to this story is to demonstrate the simple power of social networking and how it can be worked to your advantage. I also wanted to let introduce you to Cole because he is looking for user feedback for this tool and he can be contacted if you have questions about the functions.

Why use SEO Site Tools

My favorite feature of SEO Site Tools is how it auto-magically displays the PR for any site you navigate to right on top of the tool icon. This means you can get rid of all those “prchecker” links you have in your favorites, because once you download this extension you will no longer need them. You can be done with going back and forth to find Alexa rankings too! All of the additional ranking information you need is displayed when you click on the tool. Take look at SEO Site Tool Demo – Ms. Ileane Speaks Episode #025.

You can see this tool has many features to help evaluate your site. In the video we had a look at some stats from 2createawebsiteand here’s the link for Lisa Irby’s blog.

SEO resources

Hungry for more SEO tips? The first blog that I would visit to learn about SEO is TimeThief’s One Cool Site Blogging Tips. Her site is packed with sound advice and numerous blogging tips and tutorials. Also check out Kikolani from Kristie Hines and her weekly Fetching Friday resources mashup, which always includes links to SEO resources. And last but certainly not least, follow Ann Smarty on Twitter, she writes for Search Engine Journal and started a fabulous community focused on guest blogging called MyBlogGuest.

Now I’d like to hear from you. Will you give SEO Site Tools a try?  And how you make out with the latest PR update?

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Guest Posting Contest – Will I Be A Winner?

Vote on Blog EngageGuest posting is an excellent way to gain exposure for your brand and promote your blog to a new audience. I’ve done a few guest posts recently and I’ve even hosted guest posts from other bloggers, but for the first time ever I’ve entered a guest blogging contest!FamousBloggers Contest

I briefly mentioned the contest in my last post when I gave a Grand Tour of FamousBloggers.net and that helped me build the confidence to actually enter the guest blogging contest myself. Now I’m really nervous about my chances of winning because the competition is so steep! Take a good look at the prize sponsors from Hesham’s list and you’ll start to get an idea about what I’m going after.

Take a look to our sponsors once again

Ok so now you are going to think that I totally lost my mind because I going to tell you that you can take part in the contest too if you hurry (and I mean right this minute) and contact Hesham on his blog. Full details are available at Guest Blogging Contest. March 31, 2010 was the deadline but I think he will make an exception for you if your nice to him.  When the doors are shut I will edit this post accordingly.

Support fellow bloggers!

Even if you decide that you’re not going to participate, you can make a contribution to the blogging community by visiting these guest posts and leaving valuable comments. My guest post To Buzz or Not To Buzz? That My Friends is a Great Question is one of over 20 that were submitted. And I know you are going to think I’ve lost all common sense now when I say this:

Pick any post from the list that you want to support it doesn’t have to be mine!

Really I haven’t gone “completely” mad. I just realize that the whole point of the contest is to be supportive of one another and to build a strong blogging community. So any post that you want to leave a comment on or Retweet, StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit – even a share on Google Buzz will be appreciated. This will give you a chance to possibly meet a new blogger and find someone interesting to network with.

The Prizes!

We started by giving a way $248 worth prizes, and we have got more then the doubled the prizes thanks to our sponsors, we have raised $712.75 for our five winners!

Unbelievable right? Can’t say I didn’t tell you ahead of time, but I think I really have your attention now. I promise you, this is NO April Fools Joke!

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