Ask a blogger what’s his/her favorite blog platform and the answer is probably whatever one he/she happens to use.
I use WordPress — guess what my favorite is?
Seeing as there are currently in excess of 18 million WordPress bloggers, I’m in good company.
This bountiful user base makes for a nice target audience, so it comes as no surprise that there are plenty of websites devoted to all things WordPress. Some focus on a particular aspect, such as coding, while others are more broad-based.
Here are my favorites — and seeing as I’m a non-geek, most are geared to non-techies:
Might as well start at the source, right? Just Another... is the place for news from WordPress.com and the WordPress Community. You get info straight from the people responsible for this powerful platform, as well as from folks who make apps, and other interested parties.
Lorelle VanFossen calls herself a “blog evangelist” — here she spreads the good word on WordPress. She’s got the inside skinny, and in fact helped write and develop WordPress.org Codex. Aside from being a primo source for WordPress tips and techniques Lorelle offers general blogging advice, and she has her ear to the ground — if there’s a WP alert, Lorelle is on the case.
Looking for a free theme? Be sure to take a gander at this site, which has in excess of 100 selections to choose from. Should you prefer a one-of-a kind deal, the site offers a fee-based custom theme service. There’s also easy to digest step-by-step how-to articles.
We Love WP’s tagline is: “Showcasing WordPress powered sites.” That says it all. The site presents homepages with links to blogs built on the WordPress platform. A super source for design ideas and inspiration.
If you’re new to the game wpbeginner is a goldmine of information on everything you need to know to get up and running with WordPress. Once you’ve figure that out, dig into articles about plugins and peruse a stash of educational posts.
WPCandy contains a deep cache of information on the latest themes and plugins as well as plenty of useful tips and tutorials. The gents behind it have also launched two related sites: WPCoder for developers, and WPInspiration (which like We Love WP, showcases blogs from around the internet).
A design development blog by Alex Denning, who has created a number of WordPress themes. The content runs from beginner to advanced levels while the writing style is friendly and down-to-earth.
A bevy of of how-to advice, presentations, interviews, tutorials and support videos from WordPress.org.
- Deni Kasrel
Do you have a favorite blog devoted to WordPress? What’s missing? Comments welcome.
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Guest post by: Steve Hartkopf | Read his blog
If you blog, then you know that generating traffic takes constant promotion, especially in the beginning. My blog readership is up nicely this year and it isn’t an accident — I work hard.
I believe bloggers earn every one of their readers. That said, I’m always searching for new ways to attract more readers. This post is about how that very common goal led me down an unexpected path.
The path between my pragmatic readership goal and what I’m now calling, The Boob Trial, requires some background.
It’s no surprise, especially to those of you who have teenage boys, that words associated with sex and the female anatomy are highly (Highly!) searched on the Internet. I mixed those two facts and, whammo, The Boob Trial was born.
Joanna Krupa is a famous bikini model and recent contestant on Dancing With The Stars, which is where I was introduced to her. When she was (unjustly) eliminated last week, she handled it with maturity and poise. Her fans, however, did not. They sent emails and posted comments about Joanna’s treatment, they acted like boobs. I took the liberty of naming them, Joanna Krupa’s boobs. My November, 23 blog, “Bloggers, Don’t Act Like Joanna Krupa’s Boobs,” was written to coach my fellow bloggers using Joanna as an example.
I just wanted them to redirect their energies and stop whining about how hard it is to find an audience. If you’re a great writer it may be “unfair” that you can’t generate an audience. Who knows? But whining is not the cure or the solution to your problem. The solution, as it is in most of life, is hard work. OK, so I had a little fun with boobs. Hey, you know what I mean.
The boob test
Good tests have limited variables so I abandoned my usual promotional activities and only posted a few Tweets. I do a lot more promoting for most of my blog entries, but this was my version of a Mammogram, a boob test. The results were probably predictable but hilarious, nonetheless.
To determine the impact of boobs I needed some numbers, so I calculated my average pageviews, bounce rates and visitor duration for the prior three months and they became my baseline, my average day. Here are the results:
- “Boobs” increased my pageviews 331%. 331%!
- My bounce rate, which refers to the number of people who view one page and leave, went up 340%. That’s bad because it means virtually none of my new visitors stuck around to peruse my site. One and done, baby.
- The average length of time spent on my site is about 4:00 minutes but I’ve had visitors hang around for a half an hour. Not Monday. The average visit was under 30 seconds. Apparently my new visitors aren’t big readers. No pics, no sticks.
More than meets the eye?
I’m always very grateful when anyone takes the time to read my blog, leave a comment or send an email. So I want all my loyal readers to know that I don’t ever plan on using such tactics again.
However, if it weren’t for my little experiment, would Deni have asked me to write a guest blog? So maybe suspending my better judgment wasn’t a bad idea? Maybe there’s more here than meets the eye? I wonder what Heidi Klum is up to?
Steve Hartkopf, is the founder and managing partner of Aligned Marketing, LLC a marketing consulting and technology solutions provider. Steve’s insights and clear communication cut through the noise to increase sales, improve profitability and lower costs.
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Many companies are now integrating blogs into their marketing communications mix. But just calling something a blog doesn’t mean it is one.
Or at least not necessarily one that follows best practices for business blogging.
A bleary blog
Exhibit A: The blog for Savings.com, an online discount and coupon service that recently revamped its web site to make it more community oriented.
Posts (on this date) include a story about airline bereavement fares; photos from the Savings.com relaunch party; the top 10 best deals for the week of August 10-16 (this list includes discount offers from Frederick’s of Hollywood and Crabtree & Evelyn); a story about how the recession is affecting baseball teams; an article titled “What to Look for in a New Laptop”; and a “Best Store You Never Heard Of” feature.
Here comes the pitch
Many of the posts are highly sales oriented. The one about buying a laptop is a “shopping advice” informational article where highlighted brands are all companies that market through Savings.com. Likewise, “The Best Store You Never Heard Of” piece is a direct pitch for a vendor that lists offers through Savings.com.
A lot of the links within the different posts lead to deals included elsewhere on the site. And yes, it is called the Savings.com Coupons Blog, but it would be more accurate to just say, “Here’s where we promote the heck out of whoever pays us to advertise their discounts.”
And then there’s just a basic standard that the content should add value to the reader, which, sorry to say, the erratically written post on baseball teams having difficulties selling tickets in our troubled economy, fails to meet.
Kindly do not flog the reader
Ladies and gentlemen, this blog comes dangerously close to being a flog. Meaning it’s a fake blog. The “f” refers to the term flack, which is slang for a public relations/PR person. So it’s a flack blog, get it?
The reason it’s not a full on flog is that flogs are deceptive and hide the fact that they’re just a marketing tool in disguise. With the Savings.com blog it’s pretty clear what the deal is (pun intended). Even so, despite a scattering of stories under the category heading “odds and ends” that may not specifically pertain to site merchants, it’s heavily advertorial—that is, ads dressed up as articles.
A better way to go
A corporate blog can include a promotional aspect. But best practice is that it’s not so heavy handed in this regard. Also, if there is any kind of quid pro quo involved between the company that benefits from being mentioned and the one that does the mentioning, this should be disclosed.
In any case, a good business blog offers useful content that helps the reader better understand a product, service or brand. It might also present the company’s (or a particular employee’s) point of view on issues relating to its industry.
The best blogs are geared to creating a meaningful exchange between the writer/company and the reader, to include obtaining opinion and feedback. Better still, there’s a sense of personality to the posts. The main thing is, it’s not firmly slanted toward making a sale. You can use other areas of a web site for that purpose.
OK, repeat after me: A blog is not an advertisement.
- Deni Kasrel
What do YOU think of blogs that flog? Your comments welcome.
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