Tag Archives: Website

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Is It Okay to Blog on a Subdomain?

One of the first steps in launching a new blog is to decide whether you want it on a dedicated, new domain, or as a subdomain of an existing website that you own. Subdomains are essentially websites that are prefixed to the URL of another domain name, such as blog.yourwebsite.com. The hosted version of WordPress allows users to create blogs for free, assuming they use their subdomain (e.g. yourblog.wordpress.com). This begs the question, however: is it okay to blog on a subdomain?

Benefits of Blogging on a Subdomain

Let’s first talk about the benefits of blogging on a subdomain. For starters, using a subdomain eliminates the need to buy/register a new domain na me. Domain names aren’t necessarily expensive, but they will still set you back about $12-$20 bucks per year. Rather than footing the bill for a new domain, you can launch a blog on an existing domain that you own, saving you a little bit of cash in the process. Subdomains may also prove beneficial in cases where it is attached to a popular, established website. While Google has said that it treats subdomains as independent websites, many SEO experts argue that there’s some correlation between the subdomain and domain on which it is attached. In other words, setting up a blog on a popular website may yield higher search rankings for the blog.

Disadvantages of Blogging on a Subdomain

But there are also some potential disadvantages of blogging on a subdomain. Subdomains are incredibly difficult for visitors to remember, which means fewer returning visits. If a user wanted to visit a blog on a subdomain, he or she would have to type in the full URL in their web browser — this includes both the prefix blog name, as well as the main domain. If the user only types one or other, they won’t be able to access the blog. Subdomains also rely on the web hosting of the original domain. If the hosting for your primary domain goes down (it’s bound to happen sooner or later), so will your blog. With a dedicated domain, you can set up a separate web hosting service for your blog.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, there are both advantages and disadvantages associated with blogging on a subdomain. Setting up your blog on a subdomain is cheaper, and some people would argue that it’s easier, but doing so may have a negative impact on the number of return visits it receives. If you are serious about blogging and willing to invest the necessary time and resources into it, you should probably stick with a dedicated domain. More returning visits means greater engagement, and that often yields higher search rankings. Don’t take my word for it, though. Perform a side-by-side test of two separate blogs, one on a dedicated domain and another on a subdomain, to see which one outperforms the other. Click to learn more information about the differences between domains and subdomains. What are your thoughts on subdomains for blogs? Let us know in the comments section below! Image attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/india_7/

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WordPress Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

How Do I Set a Static Page as My Site’s Homepage?

The default WordPress settings display a feed of your most recent posts on the homepage, which is preferred by most bloggers. But if you are trying to build a non-blog website, a static page would probably work best. You can assign a static page to your site’s homepage by logging into your dashboard and clicking Settings > Reading > and clicking the “Static page” button next to the option titled “Front page displays.”

Is WordPress Secure?

WordPress gets a bad rap regarding security, with many webmasters viewing it as a target for hackers. The truth, however, is that most attacks on WordPress websites are the result of outdated software, poor username/password combinations, or the use of dubious third-party plugins or other software. Developers have made great strides to create a secure environment for WordPress, and as long as you take basic preventive measures to protect your site, it shouldn’t become a victim of hackers.

If you are worried your site will become the target of hackers, check out our previous blog post here for more tips on how to secure a WordPress website.

How to I Find The Page ID?

Unless you have your site set up to use the page ID in URLs, you may have trouble locating this information. However, certain plugins require users to input page IDs. You can find the page ID by clicking the Posts or Pages button and hovering over the post/page from which you would like to obtain the ID. In the status bar you will see something along the lines of “post=123,” with the number being the page ID.

Should I Use Hosted or Self-Hosted WordPress?

There’s really no easy answer to this question, as both hosted and self-hosted versions of WordPress have their own strengths and weaknesses. Hosted is great if you’re looking for a fast and easy way to get started. With that said, self-hosted offers far more features and customization options than its counterpart. For these reasons, we recommend using self-hosted WordPress if you are serious about creating a successful blog or website.

How Do I Use a Plugin?

One of that many reasons why WordPress is the leading content management system (CMS) is because it supports the use of plugins. But how exactly do you use a plugin? There are a couple of ways to accomplish this, one of which is by using the platform’s built-in plugin search tool. From within the WordPress dashboard, access Plugins > Add New > and search for the plugin that you wish to use. Next, click “Install Now,” at which point the plugin will download to your site’s plugin directory. Last but not least, go to your plugins and click the “Activate button,” at which point it should be ready to go!

Have any other questions about WordPress that we didn’t answer? Let us know in the comments section below!

Image attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/transkamp/

Things To Consider When Choosing a WordPress Theme

web-design-pitfallsOne of the perks of using WordPress as your content management system (CMS) is the ability to change your site’s design with the click of button. Rather than building a new template from scratch, you can simply download and active a “theme.” There are literally tens of thousands of different WordPress themes available, ranging in all styles, colors and designs. But with such an enormous selection, how do you know which one to choose?

Frequency of Updates

Arguably, one of the most important factors that should influence your decision is how often the theme is updated. Being that WordPress is updated several times a month, themes and plugins must also be updated to function and remain secure. If a developer fails to update his or her theme, users may notice broken elements. Make sure your site’s theme is supported by an active developer who constantly releases new updates.

WordPress Theme Library

Themes can be downloaded from the official WordPress theme library or a third-party website/source. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of great themes available on third-party websites, but you have to use caution when downloading them. Since they aren’t hosted directly on the WordPress.org website, there’s a greater risk for the files containing viruses or malware. Therefore, it’s recommended that beginners stick with themes from the official WordPress theme library.

Terms of Use

Pay close attention to the terms of use when choosing a theme for your website.  Some themes are free to use for both personal and commercial purposes, but others may only be used for commercial websites. If a theme says “non-commercial,” you cannot use it on sites that are intended to earn money. Furthermore, many themes have licensing restrictions, meaning you can only use them on X amount of websites. Carefully read through the theme’s terms of use to ensure it’s suitable for your needs.

Responsive or Non-Responsive?

With Google emphasizing the importance of maintaining mobile-friendly websites, it’s a good idea to choose a Responsive theme. Responsive themes use a combination of CSS3 media queries and proportion-based grids to create a universal layout that loads and functions the same, regardless of which device the visitor is using to access your website.

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

Pros and Cons of User-Generated Content

trustrank2Do you struggle to come up with new topic ideas for your blog? If so, you may want to consider allowing user-generated content. Doing so is a great way to regularly  fill your blog with fresh, unique contents. When your blog has unique content, it will usually reap the benefits of a higher search ranking. However, there are both pros and cons to allowing user-generated content, which we’re going to discuss further.

Free Content

Let’s face it, buying content from professional authors and service providers is downright expensive. While many companies sell articles for as a little as 1 cent per word, high-quality, error-free content often costs ten times as much. User-generated content is  free. Each time a user publishes a new article, comment, forum post, etc., it adds value to your blog in the form of free content.

Higher Search Rankings

While Google has yet to reveal its exact formula for ranking websites, we know that content is a prime ranking signal. This means websites that allow user-generated content will usually — but not always — achieve a higher search ranking. New content encourages search engine bots to crawl your blog, at which point they’ll view it as being an authority figure.

Credibility

Allowing user-generated content to be published on your blog helps to build credibility. Visitors will view your blog as being a leader in its niche/industry if it contains helpful information published by other users. Of course, it can have the opposite effect by hurting your blog’s credibility if you allow the wrong type of content to be published.

Security

One of the biggest issues associated with user-generated content is the potential for malware, viruses, spyware or adware being uploaded to your blog. Even if you restrict users to uploading specific file types, hackers and other individuals with malicious intent may bypass these measures by spoofing the file name. Long story short, user-generated content can leave your blog susceptible to viruses and malicious software.

Moderation

Another hurdle faced by blogs with user-generated content is the task of moderation. Unless you want to take a chance your blog will be riddled with low value content, you’ll need to ensure all new user-generated content is reviewed before it’s published. Going through and approving or denying users’ content will ensure only quality, relevant content is published to your blog.

Do you allow user-generated content to be published on your blog? Let us know in the comments section below!

What You Should Do After Publishing a New Blog Post

questionmark13Launching and maintaining a successful blog isn’t an easy task. Among other things, you must learn the workings of your content management system (e.g. WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc.), develop a clear understanding of your target audience, and research and publish new posts on a regular basis. However, you can encourage greater visitor engagement and higher search rankings by following some simple steps after publishing a new post to your blog.

Read It

Even if you think your new blog post is perfect, it’s always a good idea to go back and read it one last time. Perhaps you’ll find an error that you missed the first time, or maybe you’ll think of a better way to word a sentence or phrase.

Update Your Navigation Links

After publishing a new blog post, check your website to make sure it contains a link to the new page. Most CMS automatically update navigation links when a new page is created. However, if your blog is built on a static website, or if you prefer to manually set your navigation links, you’ll have to go back and add a link each time you create a new post or page. Failure to do so may result in neither visitors nor search engines from being able to see it.

Social Media

Assuming you are active on social media (which you should be), you’ll want to promote your new blog post here. Fire up your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts and post a link to your new post URL. Doing so will benefit your blog in two different ways: first, it drives traffic to the new post. Second, it creates backlinks that search engines will crawl and follow, which subsequently helps your blog rank for its target keywords. If logging into your social media accounts each time you create a new blog post sounds like too much of a hassle, you can always use an automated service like HootSuite.

Interlink

Another helpful tip in promoting new blog posts is to go back and interlink the URL from old posts and pages. In other words, search your website for keywords associated with the new post’s topic and create backlinks pointing to the new post URL. This process, known as interlinking, promotes a positive user experience while encouraging search engines to crawl your site.

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

Is Your Blog Ready For The Mobile Revolution?

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There’s a growing trend towards the use of smartphones, tablets, electronic wearables, and other mobile devices to access the Internet. In fact, a comScore report found mobile U.S. Internet traffic surpassed desktop traffic for the first time ever earlier this year, and experts predict this trend will continue in the years to come (source). Bloggers who fail to acknowledge the ever-growing demographic of mobile Internet users will get left in the dust by their competitors. So, how do you ensure your blog is ready for the mobile revolution?

Don’t assume that your blog will function as intended on mobile devices just because it does so on desktops. Smartphones and tablet computers have different screen sizes, display ratios, and they often lack plugins/extensions commonly found on desktop browsers. So even if your blog functions properly for desktop users, mobile visitors may experience broken elements, display errors, and other problems.

How To Create a Smartphone-Optimized Blog

Google supports three different configurations for creating smartphone-optimized websites:

  1. Separate mobile domain. This involves creating a dedicated website specifically for the mobile version of your blog.
  2. Dynamically serve different HTML based on user agent. The second configuration consists of serving different HTML to users based on their respective user agent. In other words, your blog will check the user’s browser to determine whether he or she is on a desktop or mobile device. If the latter, your blog will serve mobile-friendly HTML to the user.
  3. Responsive Web Design. The third configuration is known as a Responsive Web Design (RWD). This is the preferred choice by both Google and Bing, so it’s recommended that you use it when creating a smartphone-optimized blog or website. RWD involves the use of proportion-based grids combined with CSS3 media queries to create a universal layout that functions the same across all devices. Whether a visitor is accessing your blog on a desktop, laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc., you can rest assured knowing he or she will have 100% funnctionality.

Mobile Test

Even if you believe your blog is optimized appropriately for mobile traffic, it’s recommended that you test it to ensure it functions as intended. Granted, you can do this by viewing your website on different devices, but this is a tedious, time-consuming process that really doesn’t make much sense. A smarter testing solution is to use the free online tool located at http://mobiletest.me/. Simply click on the device you wish to use, input your blog URL, and it will show how your website looks on the respective device.

Uncovering Money-Making Opportunities For Your Blog

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Blogging for money is something that just about anyone can do. All you need a computer and internet connection. It allows you to to work at your own pace, set your own hours and be your own boss.

One of the decisions you’ll have to make is whether you want to blog on your site or for others. If you wish to blog for others, you’ll have to find someone willing to purchase your blogging services.. Thankfully, this isn’t hard to do, as there are dozens of blogs and third-party websites looking for the talents of skilled writers/bloggers.

You’ll likely find that blogging for your own websites gives you more freedom and will likely make you more money. The downside is that you’ll have to know the technical aspects on setting up and maintaining your blog. This means knowing to register a domain name, buying a hosting service and keeping your website updated. Don’t worry if you’ve never done this before or don’t know how; it’s fairly easy once you get the hang of it and there are plenty of online resource out there to help.

Deciding what to blog about can be frustrating for people of all experience levels. First, you need to come up with an overall theme for blog. Try to think about what you’re good at blogging about and have expertise in. Many beginners fail at blogging for money sites because they try to blog about too many topics or things they don’t know about. Only blogging about things you’re experience or trained in will help captivate and keep your readers attention.

Now that you have your blog up and going, you need to come up with some money making ideas for it. If your blog is receiving a significant amount of traffic, you could offer to sell advertising space. This is a time-tested method of making for making money is easy to do, especially if you’re using a blogging platform such as WordPress. Just install for an ad rotator plugin and upload your images with their respective hyperlinks.

Selling your own product is another way you can make money blogging. One of the easiest ways to do this is by selling digital products, such as e-books, guides or tutorials. For example, if you’re a skilled dog trainer, you could write a .pdf e-book and sell it on your blog. Because it’s a digital product, there’s no overhead or cost of production, meaning you get to keep 100% of the sales.

The possibilities with blogging for money sites are endless. The internet is is only going to expand and grow in the years to come, opening up even more money making opportunities online. If you’re serious about making money blogging, sit down for an hour and educate yourself on the technical part of setting it up, as it will help you in the long run.

Tools for Identifying Niche Vocabulary Words

When you’re planning content for your website, you will want to make sure that the site offers information that’s relevant to what people are searching for. You’ll also want to make sure that the vocabulary that you’re using on the site is consistent with what experts will use when discussing those same topics. Fortunately, there are several tools you can use that will help you pinpoint related keyword ideas and identify niche vocabulary.

Google Values Authoritative Content

Google uses a sophisticated system for identifying whether a site is valuable. It ranks sites according to their authority. In other words, Google will give priority to sites written by experts or providing expert-level information. From the perspective of a user, this makes sense: If you were looking for information on a topic, you would want to know that the information was correct, valuable and not something that you already knew through common sense. To improve the user’s experience while browsing, search engines now place the highest value on authoritative websites.