Welcome Mentor with Mari attendees! I hope you enjoyed my hour on blogging to help build your personal and professional brand. Please feel free to contact me at any time via my contact form, email, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn if you have any questions during your blogging adventure! Also, for those interested in guest posting, this is the page for my guest post guidelines. 🙂
The following are the websites and resources I mentioned throughout the session!
Why Choose WordPress?
- SEO for Bloggers – Matt Cutts’ presentation on blogging and SEO. See slide 12/50 about WordPress!
Recommended WordPress Plugins
- Akismet – Typically included on most WordPress installations, this plugin will help you moderate spam comments. Signup for an API key at Akismet.com. Search aksimet in your dashboard under Plugins > Add New.
- All in One SEO Pack – If you are not using a theme with built-in SEO options, this plugin will allow you to optimize SEO for your homepage, posts, and pages. Search all in one seo pack in your dashboard under Plugins > Add New. If you want SEO suggestions for your content, try Scribe SEO.
- CommentLuv – CommentLuv is a free plugin that allows commenters to leave a link to their latest post on with their comments. It’s a great way to develop community and help you get to know your commenters better. Search commentluv in your dashboard under Plugins > Add New.
- Compact Archives – This plugin creates a compact calendar for date based archives for your archives page. Search compact archives in your dashboard under Plugins > Add New.
- Configurable Tag Cloud – This plugin allows you to create a customized tag cloud for tag archives for your archives page. Search configurable tag cloud in your dashboard under Plugins > Add New.
- Contact Form 7 – Contact Form 7 is a simple and free contact form for WordPress. Search contact form 7 in your dashboard under Plugins > Add New. If you need something more robust, try Gravity Forms.
- GoogleCards – Places a badge on your blog for your Google+ profile. Search googlecards in your dashboard under Plugins > Add New. This will be good to use until the official badges by Google+ are developed.
- Growmap Anti-Spambot Plugin – G.A.S.P. allows you to add a checkbox as a simple captcha to your comment form. In conjunction with Akismet, it will help reduce the amount of spam comments to your blog. Search gasp in your dashboard under Plugins > Add New.
- Redirection – This plugin allows you to create simple 301 redirects within your WordPress dashboard as well as monitor the number of clicks that are redirected from old pages to new ones. Search redirection in your dashboard under Plugins > Add New.
- Subscribe to Comments – This plugin will add a checkbox to your comment form allowing commenters to opt-in to receiving updates for the latest comments on a post. You can see who subscribes to comments and which posts are most popular in your dashboard under Tools > Subscriptions. Search subscribe to comments in your dashboard under Plugins > Add New.
- WP Super Cache – This plugin will help cache pages for your blog to help increase site speed and load times. It is recommended by most hosting companies. Search wp super cache in your dashboard under Plugins > Add New.
- WordPress Database Backup – This plugin will backup your main WordPress database tables on demand to your server, desktop download, or email. You can also schedule regular backups to be sent to your email address. Search wp-db-backup in your dashboard under Plugins > Add New. Please note this plugin only backs up your database – not theme files, uploaded files, plugins, or other items on your server – those will need to be backed up manually via FTP. If you need something more robust, try VaultPress which will backup your database, themes, uploads, plugins, and other WordPress related files.
- Feedburner – Set up your RSS feeds with Feedburner to see stats including subscribers and click through rates. Feedblitz is an alternative.
Essential Pages – Inspiration
- 40 Examples of About Me Page Designs
- 21 Creative Blogger Bio Pages
- Top 10 Hire Me Webpages
- 12 Hire Me Pages for Bloggers Offering Services
- 17 Blog Archive Examples
- 60 Creative 404 Error Pages (some NSFW)
- 25 Examples of Well Designed Contact Pages
- Topic Ideas – This simple spreadsheet will help you organize topic ideas by category for future reference.
- Blog Growth Statistics – This spreadsheet will help you keep track of your blog’s growth including social media, traffic, SEO, and more.
If you are signed into your Google account, simply use the File > Save option to save this spreadsheet to your documents and start filling it in with your information.
Excel and Open Office Versions
If you donâ€™t have Google Docs, or would prefer to save it on your local machine, go to the Google Docs version and use the File > Download As to save it as your desired file type. Iâ€™d suggest Open Office or Excel if possible for functionality.
- Google AdWords Keyword Tool – Login to your AdWords account (if possible) to get the most results.
- Professional Answer Sites: Quora and LinkedIn Answers
- Social Bookmarking Sites to Find Best Topics: Social Media, StumbleUpon
- PostRank – Use the search box to look for more topics and blogs for ideas.
- Google Reader – Subscribe to industry blogs and use the search box to curate content on a particular topic.
Blog Growth Statistics Sites
- Twitter Counter – Allows you to track the growth of your Twitter followers and following.
- Klout – Allows you to track the growth of your social media influence. You can also use PeerIndex as an additional scoring of influence or alternative.
- PageRank Checker – Allows you to check your Google PageRank. You can also use the Chrome extension SEO Site Tools and load your website to see your PageRank.
- Open Site Explorer – Allows you to see your domain authority, backlinks, and linking root domains.
- Free Google Monitor – Allows you to check your keyword rankings. You can also create a free account at Authority Labs to monitor your rankings for 10 keywords on one domain.
Images for Posts
- Flickr Advanced Search – Search specifically for Creative Commons images and link back to them in your content for proper accreditation.
Chrome Extensions for Blogging
- SEO Site Tools – This extension allows you to see the SEO elements of any webpage you are viewing including meta description, keywords, etc.
- PostRank – This extension works with Google Reader to show you the social engagement score of posts within an RSS subscription.
- Klout – This extension allows you to see the Klout scores of anyone on Twitter through the timeline.
- Thesis vs. Genesis – These are my two favorite premium themes for WordPress. This post illustrates the differences between the two. I use Thesis on Kikolani.