Blog Watch Services

Update Service setting in Writing Settings

Update Service Setting

WordPress comes with an automatic update function through pingomatic. This service notifies a number of blog watchservices whenever you create or update posts on your site. You can turn this service off and on in the “writing” settings of your WordPress installation.

Technorati is probably the most well known blog watch service. It is rather like a search engine in that it looks at your blog and looks for what other blogs have linked to your site. It uses that information to rate blogs. There are a number of other blog directories, but I’ll single out Technorati for a closer look at why you’d want to use a blog watch service.

One of the main uses to Technorati is to determine how your site is doing in terms of inbound links. This is one important measure of how authoritative your blog is thought to be in its field. If credibility is important to you, it is a good idea to watch this measure. Of course, the inbound links will also bring traffic to your site so, it is always a good idea to try to increase them.

Technorati is also a research tool. You can find out who else is talking about whatever interests you, what they are saying and how much ‘buzz’ they have created. There really is a network of blogs out there and it a conversation can go on among bloggers. It can be useful if you read other blogs, quote them and link to them. This tends to be reciprocated. Allen Stern talks about these uses of Technorati in his lucid article on Center Networks. I also like Gina Chen’s article on why you should use Technorati.

Technorati Ranking & LinksHere are some other blog directories.

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RSS Feeds for WordPress

English: A highly simplified version of the RS...

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is way for you to get external content for your site. It is also a way to make your blog entries or comment available for uses to subscribe to. An RSS feedis an xml file that is automatically generated for your site. It is used by the subscriber to see what is new on the site.

 

Offering subscriptions to your site:
WordPress automatically generates some URLs for subscribing to RSS feeds for your site. You don’t have to do anything at all to generate these. However, in the default installations, these URLs are not obvious to users.

 

Text Widget containing the Subscribe Buttons

A typical text widget containg RSS subscribe code

Making it easy for Users to Subscribe:

  1. in your administrative dashboard navigate to Appearance->Widgets
  2. drag a text widget into your primary widget area.
  3. Open the text widget if it is not alread open.
  4. Then cut and paste the following into the body of the text widget.:
    <ul>
    <li><a href="?feed=rss2"><img
    src="http://www.mozilla.org/images/feed-icon-14x14.png"> Entries</A>
    <li><a href="?feed=comments-rss2"><img
    src="http://www.mozilla.org/images/feed-icon-14x14.png">Comments
    </ul>
  5. You can make the widget title ‘Subscribe’.
  6. Save the text widget. Now you’ll have RSS subscription links in your
    widget area.

Text Widget for RSS Subscribing

When a subscriber subscribes to RSS feed his or her browser (or RSS feed
handling software) records the URL to your RSS feed. From that URL, an xml
file is generated and sent, on request, to the subscriber. This give the
subscriber a set of link to your latest postings or comments with a text
excerpt from each.

RSS plugins:
You can get RSS plugins that allow you to offer not only the RSS feed for
your whole site or comments, but also feeds specific to your categories,
tags or authors.

Putting external content on your site with RSS:

External RSS feed widget

There is a standard RSS feed reader that comes with wordpress. It allows you
to put automated RSS links to external websites on your website. To find
external RSS feeds, you can browse the site you are interested in and look
for that standard RSS icon or some other link to the RSS feed from that site. That icon or link will lead to a URL, but don’t go there yet.

Instead in another browser tab:

  1. navigate in your admin dashboard to Appearance->widets
    and drag the RSS widget to your primary widget area.
  2. open the RSS widget if it is not already open.
  3. go to the tab that has the icon for your external RSS feed
  4. hover your cursor over the RSS feed icon, right click and choose
    to copy link location.
  5. go back to the tab with your RSS widget opened in it and paste
    the URL into the widget’s URL box.
  6. Give the widget an appropriate title, set the options to taste
    and save it.
  7. Now you have a list of external articles accessible directly from your
    website,

Side Bar with RSS widgets

Side Bar with Subcriber and an External RSS Feed.

A sidebar with the RSS subscriber widget and the RSS external feed widget will typically looklike the picture to the left.

Next week I plan to write about blog watch and update services.

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Writing Voice in blogs

The Internet is not a broadcast.

The Internet is not a Broadcast Station


A personal or professional blog, I believe, needs a particular writing voice. A blog is a part of what we refer to as social media and as such it needs to be more personal than commercial speech but less personally revealing than a therapy session.

People are turned off by the pushiness and manipulativeness that have characterized marketing copy of the past. The Internet is a conversation rather than a personal broadcast station. Even if your main desire is to get customers, you won’t succeed with a Buy Me Cuz I’m the Best approach. This is more like a social gathering where you mingle and contribute your own thoughts and ideas to the conversations at hand. At a social gathering, certainly, you have business cards in your wallet and you can hand them out to those who might have a need you can serve professionally or with your products, but that is not the only thing you do.

The Internet is a Conversation

The Internet is a Conversation


By the same token, there are people who’ve been bitten by being a bit too revealing on the internet. For example, the drunken frat house members who pose for photos by mooning the camera only to find that some prospective employer looking for a responsible employee has googled and found that photo!

So take some risks and don’t hide yourself, and particpate thoughtfully in the conversation, but don’t push people commercially and don’t get into the sort of exhibitionsim that can come back 20 years from now to haunt you.

Writing Voice links:

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LinkBacks: Ping Backs, Track Backs

So, you’ve put up a very smart looking WordPress site with Pages that clearly articulate your mission, give a good sense of what you offer, posts that educate and inspire the reader, all of which contain a clear call to action, but the phone is still not ringing. You check the traffic logs at you Webhosting service and see that you’ve had 390 Unique Visitors for the past month and over 1000 unique page views. You’re thinking, “Wow, 390 different people. That’s a lot and 1000 page views…. well, I’m certainly getting traffic aren’t I?”

No, you are not. If you have less than 10,000 visitors per month, your site is not being found. You can easily get much more traffic. WordPress comes with several ways to help you with this task. In this article, I’m going to talk about PingBacks and trackbacks, but this is only one small part of a suite of marketing tools available to you.

The idea is that referrals from other bloggers and search engines are the primary way that people discover websites of interest. You can advertise your website, if you have deep pockets and it will increase traffic, at least somewhat. You can even buy a TV ad for the Rose Bowl, one of the most expensive ads on the planet. But it will not match that value you get for time spent getting search engines to convey visitors to your site. 95% or more of your traffic will come from search engines.

If someone posts a search with the term that most closely resemble what you do and which you should be appearing, you do not want to appear on the 23rd page of search results. But that’s what happens all the time.

Part of how google determine the order of website to list as the answer to a search is that it weights each possible listing according to how many other sites link to the site in question. The more popular the site, the more of an authority the page is thought to be. There are many other parts of this complex and ever changing ranking formulas, but bloggers have formed networks in order to bring up the numbers of links among themselves with mtrackbacks and pingbacks.

TrackBack is a mechanism first created in 2002 by
Six Apart
, the developers of the “Moveable Type” bloggin software. Basically, Trackback is an acknowledgement sent via a network signal (ping) from the originated site to the receiving site. The receptor often publishes a link back to the originator indicating its worthiness. Both site must be trackback enabled in order to do the.

PingBack is another mechanism for one website to notify another of a link within an article. When you post a blog with pingback enabled, WordPress parses your artcle and for each hyperlink that it finds, it send out a special XML-RPC “ping” to the linked-to site. If that site is pingback enabled, that site will retrieve the article listed in the ping and parse it to verify that is does have the stated link, and (with administrative approval) the a link will be made back to the ping sending site.

References:

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WordPress Workshop for NPOs

Do you need to write for a non-profit organization? Does your organization need a website or a blog?

This workshop aims to bring basic knowledge and skills to get you started with WordPress.

WordPress is the world’s most popular blogging software, but it is in use for many other types of websites like event calendars, online storefronts, photo galleries, online brochures and many other kinds of websites that need to be easy to manage and professional in look, feel and functionality. WordPress is also free.

Randy Wright will host a workshop on WordPress on Tuesday, Jan 17, 2011 in the Conference Room at the Support Center for Non-Profit Management, 305 7th Ave., 11th Floor. Manhattan. The workshop will run from 6:00pm to 9:00pm.

The workshop will cover:
* Installation
* Upgrading the theme
* Adding functionality with plugins
* Creating pages
* Creating posts
* Adding images to you work
* Adding a link to a post
* Tags
* Categories
* Menus
* Widgets

The workshop fee is $75. It is not essential to bring a laptop, though you may.

To learn more about Randy Wright, view http://lrw.net/?page_id=98

To contact Randy Wright, call 917-887-5564

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WP Workshop Slides

WP Workshop Slides

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Workshop Resources: WebHosts

Here’s a list of webhosting services that offer WordPress installers. This is not an exhaustive list and I cannot recommend one over another.

http://www.hostmonster.com/ $5.95/mo (unlimited)
http://ipage.com/ $4.50/mo (unlimited)
http://godaddy.com/ $1.99/mo (10GB)
http://bluehost.com/ $5/99/mo (unlimited)
http://fatcow.com/ $3.15/mo intro – then $8.95/mo (unlimited)
http://www.inmotionhosting.com/ $5.95/mo (unlimited)
http://www.webhostinghub.com/ $5.95/mo (unlimited)
http://greengeeks.com/ $4.95/mo (unlimited)
http://www.justhost.com/ $4.49/mo (unlimited)
http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/webhosting/details $7.95/mo (unlimited)
http://www.ixwebhosting.com/ $3.95/mo (unlimited)
http://hostgator.com/ $3.96/mo (unlimited)

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WordPress Workshop

Are you a small business owner, freelance artist or do you need to write for a non-profit organization? Do you need a website?

This workshop aims to bring basic knowledge and skills to get you started with WordPress.

WordPress is the world’s most popular blogging software, but it is in use for many other types of websites like event calendars, online storefronts, photo galleries, online brochures and many other kinds of websites that need to be easy to manage and professional in look, feel and functionality. WordPress is also free.

Randy Wright will host a workshop on WordPress on Nov 12, 2011 at Cafe Devine, 33 Lower Main St in Callicoon, NY. The workshop will run from 11am to 3pm and includes a lunch of one of those delicious Cafe Devine wraps with coffee or iced tea.

The workshop will cover:
* Installation
* Upgrading the theme
* Adding functionality with plugins
* Creating pages
* Creating posts
* Adding images to your work
* Adding a link to a post
* Tags
* Categories
* Menus
* Widgets

The workshop (including lunch) is $25. For more information contact:
Randy Wright
917-887-5564

WorkShop slides
Some webhosts a offering WordPress installer

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WordPress and Randy Wright

Randy Wright

I’m Randy Wright and have been programming computers since the 1980s. For the past
few years, I’ve increasingly focused on WordPress. WordPress is an open
source blogging and content management system. This site operates on
wordpress. I focus on wordpress because it provides an extremely easy way
for a non-programmer to put up a web presence, whether that presence is a
blog, an online brochure, calendar or an ecommerce operation. It is a social
networking platform and it links well with other social networks.

One of the great things about wordpress is that there are thousands upon
thousands of ways to customize it without programming. You can get all sorts
of themes, that make it look just about any way you want. You can add
modules and widgets that add or change functionalty. This stuff does not
require any programming on your part.
In order to make your wordpress experience even better, I offer some
services. I offer training on installing and managing your blog, calendar
or wordpress store. I offer custom programming to create new functionality
or to modify existing functionality. I also support designers with
programming services. Contact me at 917-887-5564

Here are some sites I’ve worked on:

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