Welcome to The Blog Report

I'm so glad you stopped by and hope you find this blog an interesting read. I've been blogging since April of 2006, currently the author of six public and two private blogs. In the beginning I knew absolutely nothing about blogging. Over the years through trial and error, frustration and elation, and a few tears I've learned a lot. However, the learning process when it comes to blogging continues to evolve. Here you will find a hodge podge of my blogging experiences, useful codes and how-tos, sprinkled liberally with my opinions. Enjoy!

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Monday, February 28, 2011

MyBlogLog is No More

MyBlogLog was a blogging community acquired by Yahoo in early 2007 for $10 million.  At one time there were 45,000 blogs in the system but it succumbed toother social networking services like Twitter and Facebook.  Rumours are that next on Yahoo's chopping block witll be Delicious but nothing has been announced yet.  If you have MyBlogLog links on your blog now is the time to remove them so they aren't pointing to dead links that will drain your PR.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Blogger Plugins

It wasn't long after I started blogging that I suffered from plugin envy.  I chose Blogger as my blogging platform and still like it but kept getting the Wordpress plugin envy that it would be nice to do that with Blogger.  Well, I finally found a Blogger Plugins site.  This site offers templates, widgets and tutorials for the Blogger platform.  This really is a must visit site if you want to customize your blog on Blogger!


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Free Website Hit Counters

Like many bloggers I use a hit counter on my blogs.  A hit counter really is a slap on the back, touchy feel good thing.  As the number increases it makes you feel good but at the same time it sends the message to readers that the blog is popular.  The higher the hit counter number the higher perception of popularity. There are a lot of options for hit counters but if you want something a little different I found these free website hit counters.  There are several unique counters there so something for anyone.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Should Your Blogs Be Connected to Social Networking?

Over the past couple of years social networking has become the norm.  The question remains is "should you connect your blog to your social networking?"  The answer to this is a surprising "yes, no, I don't know".  Why?  In my opinion a lot of the social networks fill certain niches that may or may not be helpful in blog promotion.  Here is how I see things:

  • Digg, Stumbleupon, and etc. - These social networks really are about getting the word out to members of that community about your blog posts so in this case yes you should use them for your blogs.  It is helpful to have a button on your blog to make this easy for readers who may be members of one or more of these social networks.  One well placed stumble or digg could easily see your blog getting traffic well over 1,000 visitors a day.  
  • Twitter - Twitter is a more personalized but real time social networking.   Friends on Twitter tend to be other bloggers and those acquaintences you have dealt with at arm's length.  It is true that good relationships can develop using Twitter as well.  Your blog should be set up to automatically deliver the newest post via twitterfeed.com using your RSS feed.  In addition to your feed, you can make reference to your blog even tweeting about certain archived posts but it is very, very important that you do a fair amount of tweeting and retweeting in between so you are not seen as a spammer but you can use it fairly agressively to promote your blog.  Last year I did a Twitter experiment.  Active participation gained me about 4 readers daily on one of my blogs.  I really think that participation will gain you acquaintences and if they like what you are saying they will visit your blog.
  • Facebook - Facebook is considerably more personalized than Twitter.  In general friends tend to be family and friends you have a close and personal relationship with.  In this case most of them likely know you blog so you really don't need to promote your own blog there.  From time to time someone may discover your blog and share it with their friends on Facebook but that's just a nice bonus.  At the same time though some blogs have their own personal Facebook pages set up simply for promotion.  The bottom line is do minimal blog promotion on your personal Facebook account.  If you want to promote your blog on Facebook set up a separate account.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Bit of Blogger's Block

Last Friday night I took out my leg in a rather fluke accident.  The end result is my leg looking as if I have a second knee over my tibia about 3 - inches down from my actual knee with me hobbling about on crutches because it is too painful to put pressure on it.  So looking on the bright side I figured I could use this time to get a bit of blogging done.  Being confined at my desk with my leg elevated, icing every two hours and only up on crutches for a few minutes at a time should have given me plenty of time to get some serious blogging done.  The problem is the accident seems to have triggered bloggers block.  Dash my luck!  I seriously just do not feel like writing.  Adding to this is knowing I have to do a bit of cooking for a couple of posts coming up on my cooking blog.  Quite frankly cooking is not going to be happening for a couple more days if not longer!

Not to be discouraged I added my blogs to a couple of directories, did a bit of pinging, wrote a couple of short blog posts and basically diddled my time amusing myself finding old friends on Facebook.  I decided to play a couple of games on Facebook as well.  You will be happy to know I have top score in Bejewelled for my team which isn't bad for a three man team with only one member active.  I'm just saying ;) 


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Facebook vs Twitter

Oh my gosh with being out of commission for a few days I decided to check out Facebook.  Despite having  a Facebook account I saw no real need to use it all that much especially with the privacy controversy.  I have been rather active on Twitter so saw no real need to add to my social networking.  Gosh, I was in some respects wrong.  Twitter and Facebook are both social networks but they differ significantly.  Twitter in many ways is a lot more public and less intimate than Facebook is.  It is a great tool for promoting your blog to those who have an arm's length relationship with you like other bloggers you've met through blog advertising networks and forums.  Facebook on the other hand is all about friends and family, those that you have a relationship with on a one to one basis in real life.  In that respect Facebook has a narrower circle of influence but in many ways a stronger one.  Family and close friends will tend to read your blog a lot quicker than those who are acquaintences.  In this respect I see Facebook giving a higher quality of blog traffic than Twitter but time will tell.


Monday, February 21, 2011

An Increase in Spam Comments

It would appear since discussing the problems with comment spam that some reading this blog want to test the waters to see if I mean what I say.  The bottom line is I do follow through.  So how are your comments making out?  I'm just curious as I'll be it took a bit long for you to right them then it did for me to hit the delete key.  I'm just saying...

Garden Gnome


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Allowing Comments

The whole topic of blog comments is a rather complex one.  A blogger has many decisions to make regarding how comments will be treated on their blogs.  The first decision is to whether or not to allow comments followed by whether to restrict comments on certain posts on an individual basis.  Not allowing comments on an individual post basis may be desirable for controversial posts.  Blogger maked this easy by using three choices in the edit posts/post options setting.  So if you normally allow comments it is possible to toggle comments off for that post only.

I was recently reading in the forums that some readers are not leaving comments because they don't want to jump through hoops to leave comments.  Some really don't like the way Blogger is set up for comments but is really is rather straight forward.  The settings/comments allows toggling one of four options as to who may comment.  I prefer the anyone setting which allows anyone in the next two groups as well as those wanting to use name/url then use comment moderation to prevent comment spam.

  • Anyone - includes Anonymous Users
  • Registered Users - includes OpenID
  • Users with Google Accounts
  • Only members of this blog
The problem arises when some using Blogger set to allow only those readers using OpenID or users with Google Accounts.  Forcing a reader to sign-in using a third party is a hoop many readers don't want to do.  This brings in the problem of other blogs that now want you to sign-in with your Facebook or Twitter sign-in information.  Apparently one of the most disliked third party sign-in system is with Disqus.  I personally will not use third party sign-in to comment on any blog.

The final issue that comes up with respect to comments is making the reader fill in a capitcha (word verification).  Initially this feature was introduced to help curb comment spam.  This is a way to ensure those leaving comments are humans and not bots.  The main problem is the vast majority of readers don't like using capitcha.  If you have comments set to moderation, unless comment spam is a huge problem as in multiple daily posts via bots then there really is no need to use capitcha.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Facebook

I have had a Facebook account for a couple of years not but didn't use it.  One of the biggest issues I had concerns about was the controversy surrounding privacy problems with Facebook.  Yesterday I decided to take the plunge to start using my Facebook account.  Our kids and a lot of our family and friends keep in touch that way so it will be a good way to avoid long distance phone calls.  I don't know how it will affect my blogs but should increase traffic a bit. 


Thursday, February 17, 2011

JavaScript Kit

Years before I was blogging I was authoring websites that meant leaning HTML.  I found that knowledge to be a valuable tool with respect to tweaking my blogs.  Sometimes if you want the right results doing it at the coding level is the way to go.  JavaScript is a type of coding that adds functionality to your blogs.  This type of script can work behind the scenes where it really isn't noticed or it can do things like generate a popup amongst other things.  A useful site I have found is JavaScript Kit.  There you will be able to find just about any JavaScript you will need for blogging.  Have fun with it :)


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Few Blogger Problems

A couple of days ago I noticed that my blog traffic was down.  The following day while doing my Adgitize I came across a blog that complained about all Blogger blogs being down that day.  Well that explained why my traffic was down but I didn't get any complaints.  Blogger has been having a few glitches lately.  I'm not sure what is going on but have noticed a problem.  I often have my main editing window open then one or more other Blogger windows open in my browser.  Today any extra Blogger windows insisted on me signing in again.  It was a rather fun bit of nonsense.  Still there appears to be a few ongoing problems with Blogger.  Here's hoping they settle down quickly.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dealing With an Online Stalker

I have had the great pleasure of dealing with an online stalker for almost two years now.  At first it was a bit of a 'flip off' thing but the reality is online stalkers can and do take things from online to real life as mine has done.  When this happens tracking the stalker's ISP is a good line of first defense as this is good evidence for the police.  It's also a good idea to get your  ISP and Blog host involved as this will help immensely.  In my particular case I decided to have no direct contact with this nutcase which means any email is bounced, any blog comments are deleted without posting, and ISP blocking is in place.  Well, the ISP blocking works nicely unil the skuzzy stalker decided to use hide my arse, an anonymous proxy.  So that has been fun.  Now the nice thing is Canada takes these issues seriously so a few well place complaints have been rather effective too.  It is just a matter of time before said stalker is looking at a few legal problems.  At this point the only thing twinkletoes can do is read my blogs if lucky enough to get through to them.  I've seriously thought of setting my blogs to private but then she wins. 

Here's the thing, I'm aready looking at moving my blogs to their own domains.  One benefit will be a domain change but if I want to keep PR I need a redirect which still is a problem.  The biggest bonus is having access to the .htaccess file and being able to tweak PHP.  I am going to so tighten up the blocks to the point my stalker aka little miss twinkletoes will have no choice but to move on to stalk someone else. 


Monday, February 14, 2011

Oh My Talk About De Je Vu

Talk about de je vu or karma's a bitch!  My most popular blog is my cooking blog so being on the naive side I sent in pictures of my food to three different  sites that feature food pictures with links back to your site.  At no time did any of them mention you had to be a professional food photographer!  All they said is you have to be a food blogger.  I don't have fancy photo equipment but the pictures I take of the food I make are real, down to earth and not staged.  I think they are rather good especially for an amateur.  So I got reject afer reject to the point I silently gave them the finger that says they are number one in my book then moved on.  Well a couple of days ago I got a comment on one of the posts with and your aren't going to believe this the url being directed back to one of these sites that are so handy with the reject button.  It does appear that my food is getting their attention at least enough to leave comment spam.  I took the high road by stripping the url and allowing the comment.  They are not going to get a free ride off of the hard work I do and they certainly are not going to feed off of my PR!  Since I still feel the same way towards them as I did before I gave them another one finger sallute with a bit of a sadistic chuckle!  Then I blogged about it :)

Garden Gnome


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Should Blog Posts Be Edited Once They Have Been Posted?

As a new blogger it did not take me long to realize that anything I blogged about, any post could easily be edited quite some time after it had been posted.  Unlike other forms of publication, editing a blog post after it has been posted is very easy to do.  The question really become should you edit a blog post after it has been posted.  My answer to this is yes!  Why?

Blogging is still a new medium for expression and communication.  It continues to grow and evolve so just when you think you have figured out the rules they change.  That means in some cases you need to go back and add missing alt="" tags to images you used or correct the anchor text or even correct the information you presented because it has been shown to be wrong.  Additional labels may be needed on some posts as well.  Some even suggest that older blog posts should be edited from time to time just to get them back up higher into the SERPs.  By all means edit those posts!


Friday, February 11, 2011

The Importance of Choosing Good Anchor Text

When I first started blogging I had no idea what anchor text was or how important it could be.  Anchor text is the clickable text that is highlighted to become the hyperlink.  What I didn't understand and many new bloggers don't understand is anchor text is important when it comes to SERPs.  So I made the exact same mistake many new bloggers make.  For example with posts referring to recipes I had already posted I would choose (recipe here) rather than the name of the recipe as the anchor text.  Recipe here gets the reader to where they want to go but does absolutely nothing for SEO!  The words chosen for the anchor text actually affect how your page ranks in the search engine results so short, natural but descriptive anchor text is considerably more effective than 'recipe here' or 'click here'.

If you made this mistake it is not too late to correct the problem.  Simply go through your archived posts then edit any link without good anchor text to one that is better then republish the post.  The only thing that will change by doing so is the anchor text.  The end result will be better search engine results all the way around meaning more traffic to your blog.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Microworkers

I recently discovered a nice way to make a little money online.  The website is called Microworkers.  What this site does is allow you to make money for completing certain online tasks.  Each available task has a set amount they will pay if you complete the task once completion has been confirmed.  Each task notes the requirements and proof of completion to submit on their form.  Tasks include things like adding a link to your blog, doing essentially a paid post (post and link), signing up for various programs, leaving comments on other blogs, doing a review, following someone on Twitter, writing articles, posting in forums and so on.  It is not a blog specific way to make money like Adsense or Adgitize but there are tasks set up for blogs with the required PR to complete.  So you can make a little money from them via your blog(s).  You are in control of how much money you want to make at any given time determined by the number of tasks you decide to complete.  It's not going to be a get rich thing by any stretch of the imagination but from what I've seen so far you could easily make $5 or more per day just by completing a few of the tasks.  Most tasks only take a few minutes to complete. 


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

More Thoughts On Comments Affecting Page Rank

I for one am a bit upset with Google for deciding not to honor the rel=nofollow tag especially when it comes to comments.  This decision puts a lot more responsibility on the blogger and penalizes those who are not actively monitoring their comments.  Blogger, a Google owned company, by default sets comments to rel=nofollow.  Since Google is no longer honoring this tag it seems a bit strange and yet YouTube (Google owned) and even websites on Google use the rel=nofollow tag.  So are they or are they not honoring this tag? What they say they are doing and what they are actually doing are likely two very different things!

I came across a blog post of Why I Turned Off Blog Comments.  The bottom line is if comments are going to end up causing your blog to be penalized by Google, why allow comments in the first place?  As bloggers realize those comments are costing them PR (if Google really isn't honoring the nofollow) there will be more and more blogs closed to comments.  While this solves the problem of comment spam it effectively shuts down a very fundamental concept in blogging and that is creating a two way method of communication between the blogger and the reader.  While it solves the problem of PR evapouration it shuts down communication.  I really wonder which is worse?  Yes you lose some PR but what your really stand to lose is readers.  In the end losing readers really is the thing that will hurt your blog.

I really disagree with disabling comments.  There has to be a happy medium with being able to accept and reply to comments without it damaging your PR.  With proper management you can control what links are posted if any via manual stripping of the urls.  Set any of your replies to comments to use your blog name and url not your blogger profile link because even your replies to comments will drain your PR if it goes to your blogger profile.  I suppose you could always add some type of disclaimer that says all links are stripped from comments.  It seems to me that Google is really taking a backward step here!  How far bloggers will go to protect their PR remains to be seen.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blog Comments - The Good and The Bad

Over the past couple of weeks I have been doing a bit of research on blogging issues in preparation for moving my blogs to their own domains.  I came across a very interesting read on how blog comments are actually bad for your blog.  We have been told all along that comments are good for your blogs because comments mean interaction with readers that when properly managed attract more readers.  Blogger (owned by Google) announced last year that they were no longer honoring the rel=nofollow tag and hadn't been for a year before the announcement.  Blogger has this tag on blog comments by default.  In essence Google is following any links in comment which can spell bad news for bloggers when it comes to PR.

I have my blogs set to allow anyone to comment but all comments are moderated.  Each time someone comments using their Blogger profile link my PR is going from my blogs to that profile link which is rather useless all the way around.  Anytime any commentaries' link goes to their link my PR goes along with it.  So if I have a post that has 5 links coming in but because it sparked interest has 30 comments with say 25 links going out I have unintentionally ended up creating a huge hole just by one post.  If there are multiple posts of this nature it can certainly mean a drop in PR!  In some cases if the link leads to a bad neighbourhood it can even result in being banned by Google aka not getting indexed hence no traffic from Google.  With this in mind any commenter could maliciously affect your PR even though it may not look like that is what they are doing.  For example, they can leave several comments all with links pointing to their Blogger profile on one post or they can be a bit more discrete by leaving one comment a day.  Blogger should offer an easy way to deal with this problem but they don't.  Here are a few ways to deal with the problem:

  • don't allow comments - This is a drastic measure and one that many readers won't like but it can quickly plug the PR drain.  I don't recommend this but in some cases not allowing comments might be the best thing for your blog.
  • moderate all comments - This is an absolute must under Googles new rules with respect to comment now affecting PR.
  • strip urls - If the url in the comment points to the commenter's Blogger profile, strip the url manually before allowing the comment.  You can even go back and strip the urls from previously posted comments.  The less links going out to sites like Blogger profile the better.
  • always, always check any url before allowing it to be attached to a comment - Google is now getting stricter over comments, ignoring the rel=nofollow tag and penalizing bloggers with poor quality links.  That really means as a blogger you now have to be more diligent regarding what links you allow in comment.
  • contact Blogger - If you are using the Blogger platform, contact support requesting an easy way to disallow urls in comments.  If they get enough requests they may add this feature.  Use Blogger in draft mode to see and test any new features as Blogger decides what they will or will not be adding with respect to new features.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Above The Fold

I participate is a few blog ad networks as well as having priority advertising on at least one of my blogs.  What I quickly learned is the "above the fold".  Essentially some advertisers including feebies want their ads or widgets shown in the first half of your blog page without having to scroll.  In some ways this becomes quite restrictive to a blog design so unless those making that demand are paying good dollars for that space the real answer becomes take a hike.  

The problem is some of the free blog advertising networks demand you place their widget above the fold.  I've dealt with this several times and trust me unless who ever is making the demand is paying a good monthly income, chances are very good I will just pass them by.  The other day I came across a nice blog badge exchange I thought I would like to participate in.  They demanded in return for a little free traffic to be above the fold.  That's nice.  So I should knock out my high paying advertisers in favour of a free widget that will pay me nothing other than if I'm lucky a bit of traffic AND I would have to seriously do a major overhaul of my blog design to in any way remotely get the widget to fit above the fold. 

The insistence of being above the fold in this manner is just pure arrogance.  I've dealt with a lot of professional advertisers and even they will work with your blog design, not expecting you to do a complete overhaul just to get their ad to fit.  The three top blog advertising networks (Adgitize, CMFAds, Entrecard) none specifiy where the widget can appear on your blog although Adgitize does specify that at least one ad unit must be above the fold to be considered a preferred publisher.  Other than that it can be anywhere.  It is to your advantage to have the widget as close to or above the fold as possible for these advertisers.

Let's think about this.  We bloggers spend hours and hours and hours, designing and writing good content for our blogs.  We work hard!  Then some arrogant widget advertiser comes along that at best will give you a bit of traffic but proceeds to dictate where to put the widget to the point it messes up your blog design.  My question becomes when is it too much.  As bloggers it seems to me we listen to all these outside influences.  Our above the fold space is no longer ours even though we are the ones doing the work.  At some point though the above the fold gets too congested to the point it does drive readers away while cramping your creativity and you can certainly see that on some blogs.

The blog advertising network making this demand was quiety told to flip off.  I removed their widget so in reality the loss is theirs not mine.  And blogging life goes on...


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Getting Confusing

In my quest to go to self hosting I have run across a couple of problems.  Here's my scenerio:

  • I own two domains through Netfirms that cam with free hosting but I haven't used either.  The size of the free hosting is not big enough for my six blogs so I would have to increase the hosting capacity.
  • In the short term even when changing domains in Blogger the blogs will still be hosted by Blogger and in reality with their own domains leaving them on Blogger may not be a bad thing.  It is always an option to point to my own domain while still using Blogger.  I like Blogger and have no complaints with the service so keeping them as a blog host wouldn't hurt my feelings.  However, I would like to be able to get to PHP for a specific reason.  Maybe they will come up with a paid hosting plan to allow that.  I'll have to keep an eye on draft mode!  I can't help but wonder how many are actually doing this to make it look like they are self hosting but really aren't.
  • I still need to buy 4 more domains.  If I buy them through Netfirms and self host them then I will have to either have to increase the Netfirms hosting or transfer them to another host which costs more money.  Which means if I am going to change to a different host I should buy the new domains through them to avoid any transfer fees.
What started out as a rather easy endeavour has quickly gotten rather complicated.  At any rate I'm now ready to point to my own domains for two of my blogs so will be making that change.  By doing this through Blogger then letting the links settle for a month or so apparently there should be no reduction in ranking.  I'm still trying to figure out what happens as far as links for Alexa and that type of thing.  These likely will all need changing.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Importance of Backing Up

A couple of days ago I had a bit of a scare.  My iMac didn't come out of sleep mode properly so I did a hard reboot.  Now I was used to doing this type of thing with my old Windows based PC and occasionally on my husband's Windows based laptop but not on my iMac.  The beauty of my iMac is how well behaved it is.  Actual computer crashes are not the norm by any stretch of the imagination.  Let me tell you at 6 AM without coffee in my system it was not a pleasant way to greet the day.  While the computer was coming back up I made a coffee then settled back down at the desk to get a bit of serious blogging done but that didn't quite happen.

I keep pictures edited for my blogs on my Lacie external hard drive.  Quite often I will edit several pictures to be used as needed.  I opened up Finder and discovered that Lacie hadn't mounted so I turned it off, disconnected the USB and tried again.  For some reason my iMac was not recognizing my Lacie meaning I had no access to my edited pictures.  Panic turned to practicality.  It was too early to call my kids, the Mac experts so I went to Lacie support.  From there I started troubleshooting including opening up the Lacie to be sure everything inside was still connected.  Despite everything I did, my iMac still wouldn't recognize the Lacie.  When the next piece of advice was to format the Lacie I stopped dead track.  So I powered up my husband's laptop and plugged in the Lacie.  It worked like a charm!  I grabbed a flash drive to get the pictures I needed to use then set the problem of the Lacie aside until I could talk to the kids.

Later that day my husband bought me an 8 G memory stick as a back-up.  He copied all of my blog backup files to the memory stick.  At the same time he found one folder that appeared to be corrupted so we made the executive decision to delete the entire folder from the Lacie.  I plugged in the memory stick and was good to go.  The kids called after they put the kids to bed.  I told them I had a solution so it could wait until they were down next.  One of them suggested plugging the Lacie into another USB port.  All of a sudden the Lacie was alive with full access!  Testing the USB port that it was on showed no problems so I'm still not sure what caused the problem.  At any rate and needless to say, I now have additional back-ups of my blog files on the memory stick and my husband's laptop in addition to the Lacie.  Sometimes a little scare is a good thing.


Friday, February 4, 2011

It's Enough to Give Me a Headache

My gosh!  When it comes to anything to do with Mr. G. it is enough to give me a headache.  I posted a few days ago about adding the rel="nofollow" tag on the links on each of my blogs pointing to the other blogs I author.  In doing the research I found that linking to your own blogs could be viewed as link spamming or view the blogs a pages of the main blog.  The recommendation was to add the nofollow tag to any link that you didn't want Mr. G. to index so that there would be no PR penalty.  Well that was all fine and good so that's what I did.  Apparently that was wrong advice as Mr. G. claims to not be honouring the nofollow tag even though some search engines do.  In short the nofollow tag is basically useless but consider:

  • Mr. G. announced that meta tags would have no bearing on search results.  I accidently removed the meta tags on one of my blogs when updating the template.  Traffic from Mr. G. immediately plummeted.  Once I realized and corrected the problem, the very same day Mr. G. started sending me traffic.  Hmm, I thought Mr. G. was not paying any attention to meta tags!
  • Mr. G. owns YouTube.  The nofollow attribute is used on YouTube for a lot of internal links so if Mr. G. is not honouring the nofollow attribute, why are they using it on one of their sites?
  • Mr. G. owns Blogger, the blogging host I'm currently using.  By default comments in Blogger are set to nofollow.  Again, why is Mr. G. using it on their site and by default letting every blogger using their services automatically use it?
Further consider that Mr. G. tends to promote using a particular tool then with very little commentary announce a year later that they will not longer acknowledge that particular tool.  They are constantly changing their minds and yet some of their announcements to changes in the algorithm can be shown to not be exactly as they say (eg. meta tags).  The problem is, Mr. G. is the biggest search engine so you do have to pay attention to them.  It's important not to have links or use bad hat SEO that could get your blog banned from their search engine.  Now if the nofollow tag is no longer being honoured by Mr. G. it becomes even more important to check all links in comments.  If in doubt strip the url from the comment.

Finally, through doing more research apparently the nofollow attribute tells search engines you either don't trust the link or you are not vouching for that link.  The bottom line is this is not the message I want to give any search engine this negative message with respect to my blogs.  Thank goodness I only used it on the links to blogs I author so removing the nofollow attribute wasn't a lot of work.  Once I removed the nofollow attribute I pinged the update so things should be back to normal and hopefully I don't make any more mistakes that Mr. G. doesn't like.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

The More I Learn About Blogging The Less I Know

When I first started blogging in early 2006 I knew virtually nothing about blogging.  The only things I really had going for me was a knowledge of HTML and previous website experience combined with a strong desire to learn and share.  I settled on Blogger because it was owned by Google and was easy to master.  Even still five years later I am still learning about blogging using Blogger just in time to be moving to my own domains complete with private hosting.  The funny thing is through all the ups and downs of blogging for almost five years I still have that same strong desire to learn and share.  Honestly the more I learn about blogging the less I know!  Does that make sense?  I'm serious though.  It seems like I learn something new about blogging, the how-tos and behind the scenes, daily.  Perhaps it is because the world of blogging is growing so much that there is always something to learn!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Behind the Scenes Work

As you know I am prepping my blogs to move from the sub-domain of blogspot.com to their own domains.  I decided to do this for a few reasons and once I made the decision I took it a bit further.  As a result there is what I would consider a fair amount of behind the scenes work involving coding and tweaking that my readers don't even see.  They may notice my blogs have slightly lower loading times and they may notice an element or two changed or missing but for the most part all these behind the scenes tweaking are just that, very much behind the scenes and not noticeable.  Here's a few things I've done across all six blogs:

  • added the rel="nofollow" tag where appropriate
  • removed the label cloud
  • added a grab this badge code
  • checked for dead and broken links
  • modified meta tags
  • fixed the share buttons (coding problem)
  • worked on adding missing alt tags on some photos (need a lot more work here!)
  • removed a few questionable links
  • did a bit of coding clean-up


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Few Thoughts on Page Rank

My six blogs have been doing rather well thanks to a fair amount of hard work so imagine my disappointment when despite doing everything right one of my blogs went from PR 4 to PR 3.  Like many I had a knee-jerk reaction to make a few major changes without really troubleshooting.  The reality is and something many bloggers don't understand is if you get any PR at all with a blog you are doing something good.  Another thing many bloggers don't realize is PR is not static.  It really does change on daily basis so what you see on the PR bar is only a reflection of the PR when it was taken at that time.  The PR bar does not reflect daily fluctuations in your page rank.

Once I calmed down I realized this actually was a good thing since I had been looking for a good time to switch my blogs over to their own domains.  The reality is that a major change like changing domains is going to have an impact on PR.  When done properly the effect should be minimal during the switch-over period then should result is a favourable PR effect later.

According to everything I've read having your own domain is better than using a free sub-domain (eg. xxx.blogspot.com, xxx.wordpress.com) especially when it comes to page rank.  Quite frankly I have seen some rather great blogs with PR 4 using the free sub-domains so I'm a bit confused with respect as to how a paid domain helps gain page rank.  At any rate, I'm changing my blogs over to their own domain not for page rank but for greater control.  If changing them increases my page rank then I will be pleasantly surprised!