Why WordPress is great for SEO

Why WordPress is great for SEO

I’ve run a number of websites in my time. Some, like AppCritic, are still alive today. But one thing I struggled with in the early years was SEO.

After working hard to craft unique and informative copy, I often found myself disappointed with the traffic I was getting. I spent hours looking for the latest hints or tips to get more hits, desperate to improve the situation.

The problem I soon found is that SEO isn’t an exact science. There’s no quick route to the top of Google’s page rankings, although using a CMS can certainly help.

I initially tried Joomla and Drupal but didn’t get on with them for various reasons. After further trial and error I found WordPress – either the wordpress.com or wordpress.org versions – to be the best CMS for SEO.

And here’s why:

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Texting: stop and think about what you’re saying

I’ve been getting into TED talks a lot recently, and today this particular talk from John McWhorter caught my attention.

At 5:01 John says, “texting is very loose in its structure. No one thinks about capital letters or punctuation when one texts.” He then goes on to describe texting as “fingered speech”, exploring the idea of writing in the way we talk.

Yet I think about capital letters when texting. I also think about full stops, short sentences and avoiding repeated words. In fact, when it comes to texting, I go the whole nine yards.

And I do the same thing with Twitter.

Texting, Twitter and other forms of instant communication have made speed the focus point. Unlike a letter or even an email, a conversation can be had almost in real time. Technology has made that possible. It’s a great thing.

But people forget the power of words. Without due care and attention, words can be misconstrued. An ill thought out and quickly constructed text could insult or upset someone without meaning to. It could even cause severe repercussions. That’s unlikely, of course, but not completely implausible.

In today’s hyper-connected world, a message can go viral in minutes. For that reason, contrary to what John’s saying in an otherwise very entertaining and engaging talk, I think people should be more critical when hamming out a text message, IM or tweet.

What do you think?

Brand friendships and you

“If you’re a good friend then you’ll be a good social marketer.”

Brands big and small have  capitalised on social media, using various platforms to engage with consumers, attempt to drive awareness and build relationships.

The jury’s still out on whether customers actually want to be all friendly with brands. But in the meantime there’s an interesting post on Jon Silk’s blog comparing real relationships with brand relationships. Take a look.

Digital media: perfecting the press release

The press release has always been a key cog in the PR machine. It can take many forms, go through countless revisions, and ultimately be pushed back several times before being distributed. But even in today’s hyper-connected, social media-led age, the press release is still an important news sharing tool.

Yet the growth of digital media has shifted the goal posts. It’s now more important than ever to be focused, concise and targeted.

These are just a few of the recommendations made by Tom May, Associate Editor at Creative Blog. He’s put together a 10-point guide to writing a press release for digital media. And it makes for great reading.

Take a look at the blog post here: http://itstommay.tumblr.com/post/50238782877/how-to-write-a-press-release-for-digital-media

Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable

“If you want something you don’t already have, you have to do something you haven’t already done.”

That’s quite clever, isn’t it? These words come from Marcus Taylor, who, according to his LinkedIn profile, is a bit of a social media and marketing whiz. He’s about the same age as me and has already accomplished a number of great things. Quite an inspirational guy, don’t you think?

He took part in a TEDx talk last year in Melbourne and discussed the direct correlation between the amount of money you earn versus the number of times you step outside your comfort zone. The video’s only five minutes long and is well worth a watch.

Do we need another mobile OS?

This time last week I was in less-than-sunny Barcelona, attending MWC with the rest of the Babel PR team.

Being at the centre of the mobile universe led me to think about the future of mobile operating systems, and whether we actually need another contender in this heavily crowded space. I penned the following as a result.

The mobile arena is already awash with competition. We’ve already got Android, iOS and Windows Mobile. The launch of BlackBerry 10 has given the ageing smartphone manufacturer a new degree of credibility, and there are still lots of Symbian devices out there. But with a number of new contenders stepping up to the plate this year, 2013 looks set to host the battle of the mobile OS. 

Firefox OS and Ubuntu are two new mobile operating systems gaining a lot of interest. There’s also Tizen – another Linux-based platform that’s growing in the Asian market – and Sailfish, built out of the failed Nokia/Intel OS MeeGo. Like Android, these are all open source, meaning they can be customised and changed by operators to deliver a unique offering for users on their network.

Click here to read the rest over at the Babel PR blog.

Chromebook only: second screen problems

I’d like to apologise. It seems I’ve only been blogging about problems with my Chromebook recently, instead of focusing on the positives. The truth is there are so many benefits to this platform, and Chrome OS does many things so seamlessly, that it’s easy to forget this is not a well-established operating system like OS X or Windows.

However, I think it’s because of how slick Chrome OS feels, despite its junior status, that I’m encountering more problems than initially expected. And it’s also because of this that I’m far less forgiving of said problems – the latest of which relates to using my Chromebook hooked up to a second screen.

When I connect my Chromebook to a second screen (my five-year old Toshiba TV) the image becomes pixelated and zoomed in. Watching iPlayer becomes impossible as I can only seen one third of the picture. I haven’t got another screen to try this with, so I’m not sure if this is an isolated issue.

Unfortunately this is one of the more prominent problems with running a web browser and not a fully-fledged OS. Unlike Windows, I can’t select the screen resolution manually and I have no say over how the image is displayed. Instead I’m forced to work with whatever Chrome OS decides is the ‘optimal’ resolution, which, when it comes to my TV, is far from perfect.

This post suggests activating the developer channel may solve the problem. But I’m not sure I want to head down this route. If I’ve understood things correctly, once you’ve activated developer mode you can’t go back without re-flashing the stable version of the OS onto the Chromebook via USB. And that’s a hassle I could do without.

I also came across this while scouring the internet for a solution. It’s a list of known issues with Chrome OS. Hopefully it’ll prove useful for other Chromebook fans out there.

Chromebook only: random slow downs

I’m not sure what’s going on here. My Chromebook has performed almost flawlessly for over a month, but last week I started experiencing slow downs when viewing certain web pages – particularly Facebook, Google+ and YouTube.

It feels like the CPU is bottlenecking the device. The page content is already loaded, the problem only occurs when I scroll down to see more. It’s also far more frequent if I return to browsing after the Chromebook has been in sleep mode, or use the device on battery.

I’ve often found Google Groups to be helpful when it comes to resolving Chromebook gripes, so this was my first port of call. Here, I found that the Wi-Fi encryption setting on my router could be causing the problem, as apparently Chrome OS doesn’t play nicely with WEP or WPA. My router is set to WPA2, though, so that’s not it.

Another suggestion was to adopt Google’s DNS settings, but I don’t fancy messing about with this just yet. Has anyone else experienced a similar problem? Let me know in the comments below.

Chromebook only: first browser crash

I experienced my first Chromebook crash this afternoon.

Right in the middle of browsing Facebook, the system locked up, the screen went black, and the device rebooted itself. Thanks to the wonders of cloud computing and the Chromebook’s speedy 16GB SSD, I was back online within 10 seconds. However, the lack of visible error reporting concerned me.

There was no pop-up to explain what had happened. No offer to send a bug report to Google. Nothing. Instead, I received a yellow ticker tape warning that Chrome did not shutdown correctly and an offer to reopen the tabs that had been lost as a result.

Mac has hidden errors from the user for a long time. But, as a Windows convert, I’m used to the detailed error report that accompanies any system crash. Google’s Chromebook takes many cues from Apple’s Macbook Air (most notably the design, keyboard and portability benefits) but this is a feature that I’m not a fan of.

According to the following Google group discussion, the crashing problem can be rectified by removing the Adblock extension. And if that doesn’t work, a factory reset is also an option. As I’ve only experienced this problem once, though, I don’t feel the need to try this just yet.

I’ve had my Chromebook almost a month now and this is the first major fault. The rest of the experience has been almost flawless, so I’m hopeful that this was a one-off. That said, I’d feel much happier if error reporting was made more accessible, in case this problem becomes a recurring theme.

Oh, and for those who are interested, the lack of Netflix support is still an issue. Apparently there’s a fix on the way, but it’s still a little while off.