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 Blogger.
Basic Blog Tips
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!
[tweetmeme source=”Ileane”]From 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.
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.
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:
[tweetmeme source=”ileane”]I have a great blogging tip for you, If you haven’t tried using the Google Chrome Browser, I highly recommend that you do. The free Chrome Browser has a reputation for being the fastest browser available.
Google Chrome and the Diigo extension are two powerful tools for any blogger, educator or student who wants to organize a collection of all the resources they find on the internet. You can learn about the articles relating to using the WordPress.com blogging service in a collection and group called WordPress.com Diigo Group. It’s a great idea to join or start your own Diigo group for your favorite subjects.
Let me know what you think of the new blog theme. The comments section is on the left.
UPDATE: I’m no longer using the Monochrome Theme on this blog. However, I’m using the theme on The Podcast Blogif you would like to take a look. I’m currently experimenting with different themes here, trying to find the “sweet spot” for Ms. Ileane Speaks.
[tweetmeme source=”ileane”]Using free blogging software from WordPress known as WordPress.com, such as I do here on this blog Ms. Ileane Speaks, is a great way to get started with blogging. I discuss the debate about blogging on WordPress.com over other free platforms like Blogger over at Ms. Ileane’s Blog, but using any free blogging software platform has several disadvantages. It’s much better to register a domain name, acquire a web host and download the software for a self-hosted WordPress blog.
I won’t list all of the disadvantages for using WordPress.com here, but one of the primary arguments against having a free blog is the fact that you cannot use plugins or various themes that can improve your SEO and Page Rank with Google, Bing, Yahoo! and other search engines.
For those of us that continue to use the free WordPress.com service you can rest assured, there is still hope. This morning I checked the page rank for this blog using Google Page Rank checker and I was pleased to see a score of 4 out of 10.
This is a pretty good score considering I haven’t applied many SEO strategies. I mentioned previously in Top 5 Blog Topics, that page rank has not been a huge concern for me on this blog.
Developing a quality blog is hard work for some and second nature to others. Yet most bloggers all have one thing in common. We want people to read our blogs. Wether you make money with your blog or have an ad-free WordPress.com blog like myself, it’s nice to know that someone out there is paying your blog some attention and even better if they end up giving it some tender “link” loving care.
[tweetmeme source=”Ileane”]I recently created another blog on Posterous but I wasn’t really sure why I would need it. To fill you in on what Posterous is, the tagline from the homepage: “is the dead simple place to post everything. just email us.” And after all, my tagline and the purpose of this blog states:
I’m here to learn, to teach and to connect!
Therefore, I consider adding another blogging platform to my social media arsenal, as a golden opportunity to share the experience with my readers.
Two features were recently introduced for WordPress.com users. For those of you that don’t know the difference, I’ll just call it FREE WordPress.
The Image Widget
The first feature I’ll talk about is the Image Widget. This widget lets you add a static image to the side bar of your blog. When I looked into this I found out that the image needs to be one found on the web and needs an extention that you typically find for images like .jpeg, .gif, .png etc. I was rather disappointed because I wanted to post an image from my computer, not from the web.
So I gave it some thought and then it dawned on me – I can put this widget to use by adding a Twitter icon which links to my Twitter account.
Follow Ileane on Twitter
Check it out over on the right. Might not look as great as some of the others I’ve seen on PAID WordPress blogs, but it gets the job done. The link has been clicked 5 times since yesterday which is more than the link I’ve had on my Contact Page for over a month. Don’t miss the second tip!
[tweetmeme source=”ileane”]I currently have a 30-day free pass to explore the entire software training library at Lynda.com. If you’ve never heard of Lynda.com, just trust me this is a HUGE deal.
See here’s the thing, the web is over-flowing with a plethora of amazing websites promising to make you richer, smarter, skinnier, closer to God or to simply help manage your tweets. They all seem intriguing enough but unless I find out that the services offered are FREE, I am totally not interested. Like the old saying goes, The Best Things in Life Are Free.
I’ve known about Lynda.com for a few years now, and if you go to the site you’ll see that you can poke around and view a smidgen of content from each module without paying the $25 monthly fee. And now that I have access to view all of the tutorials I am soaking up knowledge like a sponge.
WordPress is intuitive
The first module I viewed on Lynda.com is WordPress.com 2.7 Essential Training with Maria Langer. I’d previously watched WordPress tutorials on YouTube and on WordPress.tv and I find the platform very intuitive and user-friendly. I assumed that viewing this module would reinforce what I already knew and perhaps explain a thing or two that I was curious about. I ended up adding tons of new blogging skills to my arsenal and I’m sure you will also. So without further delay, here’s the list of 5 WordPress Secrets You Need to Know.