Monthly Archives: June 2015

blog - rss

Should I Syndicate My Blog’s Content?

blog-rss-01This is a question many bloggers ask. Syndicating your content will almost certainly bring more visitors to your site, which subsequently results in more sales/conversions, but there are both pros AND cons associated with this technique. So before you make a hastily decision to syndicate your blog’s content, you should read the following.

What is Content Syndication?

The term “syndication” is used to describe the duplication and reuse of content on web properties other than the original source.  I know what you’re probably thinking: why would I publish my blog’s content on other websites? One of the most notable benefits of content syndication is the simple fact that you can reach a larger, broader audience, many of whom would otherwise never see, let alone read, your blog. Readers will see your syndicated content and visit your blog to learn more.

Content syndication can also be used to generate backlinks, as most syndication sites include a link pointing back to the source of the content. While there’s still some debate regarding the search engine optimization (SEO) value of such links, the general belief is that it will help, not hurt, your ranking.

What About Duplicate Content?

Of course, there are some potential disadvantages associated with content syndication, one of which is the potential for duplicate content. Conventional wisdom should lead you to believe that any content you syndicate will be considered duplicate in the eyes of the search engines. According to Google, however, small amounts of duplicate content won’t cause any issues. It only causes problems when content is duplicated for the purpose of manipulating Google’s search results.

However, in some cases, content is deliberately duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or win more traffic. Deceptive practices like this can result in a poor user experience, when a visitor sees substantially the same content repeated within a set of search results,” wrote Google in an article about duplicate content.

WordPress RSS Settings

If your blog is currently running the WordPress content management system (CMS), there’s a simple way to reduce duplicate content. Log into your blog’s dashboard and choose Settings > Reading > and choose “Summary” for the option labeled “For each article in a feed, show.” This prevents syndication sites from showing your full post content. Instead, they’ll show an excerpt or summary of the post, enticing readers to visit your blog to read the rest.

Keep Syndication To a Minimum

The key thing to remember when syndicating your blog’s content is to keep it to a minimum. In other words, don’t focus the bulk of your marketing and SEO efforts on content syndication. Sure, it’s an effective way to generate traffic and drive sales, but aggressive syndication techniques could be construed as an attempt to manipulate Google’s search results — and that could negate all of the benefits it offers. Syndication should be a small part in your overall marketing strategy.

What are your thoughts on content syndication? Let us know in the comments section below!

Essential Browser Add-Ons For Bloggers

Still using the default, “vanilla’ version of your preferred web browser? Whether it’s Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari or Microsoft Internet Explorer, there are hundreds of excellent add-ons that can improve its functionality. This is particularly helpful for bloggers, as the right add-ons can boost your productivity while enhancing your overall blogging experience. But with so many different add-ons available, how do you know which ones to choose?

What Font

What Font lives up to its namesake by revealing the font names, families, font sizes, HTML color code, line height and more of any web-based text. You might be wondering how this can benefit you as a blogger. Well, it’s not uncommon for bloggers to come across an article with the perfect settings, so they try to mimic it on their blog. Using What Font, you can find out exactly what type of font the article is using, at which point you can duplicate the settings on your blog. It’s a free, simple-to-use add-on that can help you find the perfect text design.

WhatFont is built to support both Typekit and Google Font API. Furthermore, the app’s developers have included a click-to-tweet function, meaning you can tweet the font information directly from your Twitter account. WhatFont is a pretty cool app that’s definitely worth checking out!

Lazarus Form Recovery

Have you ever spent an hour (or longer) crafting the perfect post for your blog, but when you click the “Save” or “Publish” button, it takes you to an error page? I think every blogger has found him or herself in this scenario before. If your Internet goes out while you are writing a blog post and you attempt to publish it, chances are it won’t be saved. It’s discouraging to say the least when you lose an hour’s worth of work, but Lazarus Form Recovery can prevent such heartache from occurring.

Lazarus Form Recovery is designed to store all blog posts, articles, social media postings, forms, and any other web-based content locally to prevent loss of data. In the event that your Internet goes out and you accidentally attempt to publish a new blog post, the content will be saved in your web browser. So when your Internet is back up and running, you can simply re-publish the post and voila, everything is still there. This makes Lazarus Form Recovery a must-have browser add-on for every blogger.

Grammarly

As the name suggests, Grammarly is a browser add-on that’s designed to help users identify spelling and grammar errors. We all make mistakes from time to time. Heck, even the most prolific blogs on the Internet have grammatical errors. But Grammarly is an otherwise simple plugin that can make a world of difference in the quality of your writing. It automatically underlines spelling and grammar errors, allowing bloggers to see and fix them before the content is published. Oh yeah, did I mention it’s completely free to download and use with no strings attached?

Which browser add-ons do you use? Let us know in the comments section below!

Tips To Speed Up a WordPress Blog

file0001193647297Does your blog suffer from long load times? Forcing visitors to wait just a couple extra seconds may seem harmless enough, but it can have a significant impact on your blog’s functionality. Amazon recently conducted a study in which it found that every 100ms of latency resulted in a 1% decrease of sales. Considering the fact that Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer, that translates into millions of dollars.

But you don’t have to be Amazon to feel the effects of long load times. When visitors are forced to wait five, six, seven seconds or longer, many will click the back button in their browser, never to return. No only does this affect your traffic, but it can also affect your blog’s search ranking, as Google will take note of the high bounce rate and other metrics attributed to long load times.

Caching Plugin

One of the easiest ways to speed up a WordPress blog is to download and install a caching plug. As the name suggests, these plugins are designed to enable caching in visitors’ web browsers. So instead of downloading the necessary files each and every time a visitor accesses a page, they will have it stored in their browser. WP Super Cache is an excellent caching plugin to use on WordPress blogs and sites.  It essentially creates static HTML files from dynamic WordPress sites — HTML files that are later cached into visitors’ web browser.

Resize Images Before Uploading

Why should you resize your images before uploading them to your blog? WordPress has a nifty resizing tool, but the problem with this tool is that it forces visitors to load the original image before the newly resized one. So if you resize a massage image to use in a blog post via this tool, visitors must still load the original, massive image first, which of course takes longer and adds latency to your server.

Choose a Reliable Host

This tip is universal and not limited strictly to WordPress. You want to choose a fast and reliable web host to service your website. Granted, you may save a couple bucks by choosing a shared hosting plan from some reseller, but it will end up costing you more in the long run. Stick with a proven and reliable web host that you can trust.

Have any other speed tips that you would like to share with our readers? Let us know in the comments section below!

Ways To Attract More Followers to Your Blog

social-media-church-01The success of a blog is heavily dependent on the number of followers it has. You can spend countless hours researching and crafting the ‘perfect’ posts, but unless people actually read it, your blog will ultimately fail. When people  begin to follow your blog, however, they’ll share it with their friends, like it on Facebook, and create backlinks pointing to it, all of which boosts its authority in the eyes of search engines. So, how can you attract more readers to your blog?

Display a Prominent RSS Feed Button

Notice the orange-colored RSS button on the right-hand side of our blog? You should! Clicking this button will take you to a special XML page in which our most recent posts are revealed along with a short excerpt. But the real benefit of displaying an RSS button on your blog is the ability for readers to follow it. On the XML feed page is an option to follow the blog, which visitors can click to add the feed to their reader.

Engage With Your Blog’s Readers

Another helpful tip that’s sure to attract more followers is to engage with your blog’s readers. When a reader leaves a comment or question on a particular post, take a moment to write a response. It only takes a couple of minutes to say “thanks for the comment,” but doing so goes a long ways in creating a connection with your readers. And when you develop a strong connection with your readers, they’ll feel more inclined to follow your blog.

Comment on Other Blogs

Many bloggers overlook the value in blog commenting. No, I’m not talking about visitors commenting on your blog; I’m talking about commenting on other blogs. You can attract more readers by submitting comments on blogs related to your blog’s niche. Users will notice your blog’s URL, some of whom will visit it to learn more.

SEO

Of course, another way to get more followers is to optimize your blog for higher search engine rankings. Conventional wisdom should lead you to believe that high-ranking blogs receive more traffic than low-ranking blogs. Search engine optimization (SEO) involves a combination of on-site elements, such as content creation, interlinking, etc., as well as off-site elements like building backlinks and social media networking.

What’s your preferred method for attracting followers? Let us know in the comments section below!