WP Plugin: Make your blog’s search strings SEO friendly

Category: Blogging, SEO, Usability -

wp plugin nice searchNice Search is a WP plugin that makes your blog search “SEO friendly”.

It’s in quotes because normally search results won’t get indexed by search engines, because they are dynamic. Unless of course you store them as a static page in a specific folder in your blog.

But the plugin is still very useful, it makes your search strings “nicer” as the name of the plugin says. As you can see from the screenshot, it turns the normal wordpress search string into /search/keyword format, which is a lot more readable.

Plugin page: http://txfx.net/code/wordpress/nice-search/

Write Pillar Articles, but don’t overdo it (please)!

Category: Blogging -

sample pillar articleDon’t you just hate those posts that have too many unnecessary and not important bullet points inside? Writing pillar articles is one thing, but overdoing it is totally opposite.

Writing pillar articles in its true sense will bring you more traffic (Diggs, Stumbles, Reddits, linkbacks), more readers (your blog will be bookmarked more, RSS count will increase) and more advertisers (you will earn more), but overdoing it will have the totally opposite effect. When you overdo it, it sends a message to your readers that you are incompetent and don’t know what you are talking. But before we proceed…

What is Pillar Article?

Pillar articles are complete articles, that start with proper introduction and end with proper conclusion. Body part of the article will contain points, arguments, or sub topics. Usually they are bulleted, numbered, or simply put under separate sub-headings.

It is this part (body) that gets abused. Some bloggers just want to make their article longer, and thus enter all sorts of bullet points, even if the points are insignificant. It’s not the length of the article that counts, it’s the substance, the ingredients of your article that is important. Therefore, do not bother if your article falls short of its intended or desired length. Your article is complete before you add those additional points.

full details »

CSS Tip: Increasing readability of your blog in one easy step

Category: Blogging, Tips, Usability -

One line of CSS code can do so much to improve your blog’s readability. It’s a simple thing to do, yet I see many blogs are not making use of it. It’s the line-height: code in CSS. It defines the space between the lines. Screenshots below show two different pages; one without line-height code and another with line-height set to 20pixels.

As you can see, it’s so much easier to read the second page.

css line height

css line height 20px

Just add: line-height: XXpx; to your main theme in style.css file

Whitespace around images

Another thing that is usually neglected is, not using whitespace around the images (i.e padding). It’s a simple thing to do too. I have blogged about it here, this post teaches you how to specify margins for your images, so that the text around the image won’t stick to the border of the image.

While these things are fairly simple things to implement in blogs (which many of us do not bother to do it), but the result that they produce is: better blog readability and professional looking blog.

Usability: Too fancy texts are ignored as ads

Category: Usability -

It’s a holiday season. So, many websites are offering various promotions on their websites, usually those promotions are placed on the main page (homepage), with the intention that the more people see it, the more clicks will it get. And more people will buy the products.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case with most promotions, (they don’ get clicks, but get ignored instead) especially when those promotions are fancy banners and texts. At least that’s what the usability guru Jakob Nielsen has analyzed.

He made a research on U.S Census Bureau homepage, checking the usability of the population counter (text in red) and how many people actually used that text:

usability too fancy

86% of users failed to find the country’s current population when it was presented in large red numbers. The reason? Users ignored a key area because it resembled a promotion..

Beyond banner blindness, the major reason this homepage failed is that it used made-up terms or branded descriptions rather than plain-spoken words. Terms like “Population Clock,” “Population Finder,” and “QuickFacts” are not as descriptive as a simple line of text that says: Population of the United States: 302,740,627 (as of Aug. 31, 2007)

full details »

The power of repeating your idea (over and over again)

Category: General -

What I learned from the book “The Automatic Millionaire” by David Bach can actually be summarized in one sentence, and that is: “If you want to be rich, automate your savings”.But in this post, I want to talk about something else that I learned from this book.

The things that I learned are not something that is written in the book, but are things that I learned while reading the book. The book talks about how you can be rich (in the long run) if you just start putting away some money ($100) every month, and it suggests that you should make it automatic (so that you don’t feel the pain). In other words, your bank or financial institution will deduct the amount that you decided to save every month automatically from your salary or savings account. It will take it and save it for you in your retirement account. That way, once it’s set up, you won’t have to make an effort to save every month. It will be automatic. And in the long run, you will be a millionaire. And he talks about this for 240+ pages!

Repetition works

Do you wonder why those pages which sell various eBooks and affiliate programs are very long? You scroll and scroll and scroll… for me I have never bought anything from such pages, but the fact is those pages work.

“A lie told often enough becomes truth” Vladimir Lenin

Lenin was correct, when you keep repeating something over and over again, people actually start to believe in it, that, what you are telling is actually the truth. That’s why those ebook pages are so (extremely) long, giving you all kinds of screenshots and facts, that other people who have purchased them already became so successful. And that you should be the next one to purchase it. And that they are giving you 70% discount if you buy now. full details »

Common mistakes of a new blogger

Category: Blogging -

Every blog goes through different stages. First, as a new blog (beginning stage), then a growing stage, then maturity stage (and hopefully no decline stage). It is in beginning stage that many of us make mistakes. In this post, I would like to discuss some of these mistakes that new bloggers make. I will start the list, and hopefully you will complete it by contributing in the comments section.

Display RSS counter too early

Displaying your RSS count too early can have a detrimental effect on your RSS readership growth. Usually people will not subscribe when a blog has 10+ RSS readers. People like to follow the majority, because common sense tells them that, if many people are reading something – it must be interesting! On the other hand, when nobody (or less people) is reading a particular blog, they see no reason to subscribe to its RSS, neither will they visit back in the future.

Therefore in the beginning it’s better not to display your RSS count, it’s better to concentrate on writing good articles instead. When you have at least several hundred RSS readers, then you may put it up.

Display too many ads

Most bloggers want to make money with their blogs, and new bloggers are no different. One of the mistakes that new bloggers make is, putting too many ads on their blog. They think the more ads they put on their blog, the more money they will make. (Wrong!) They might make more money during the first few days, but later their blog will be cannibalized by their ads, thus generating very low income or no income at all.

The blog that have too many ads on it, simply cries out to new readers saying “Go back, and never come back to this blog again!”. full details »