WordPress For Business Bloggers

WordPress is the most popular web software used for content management today. One of the reasons for this is the low barrier to getting started. WordPress is not only free, but it is easy to use and there are tons of resources available for theming and WordPress 3 For Business Bloggers book and eBookexpanding a website. But, that ease of use and over abundance of resources can also work against the new user. While the first blog is quick to setup, where do you go from there? How do you make the site your site? How do you get people to visit, engage them once they are there, and get them to come back? And how do you even know about all this? These questions are what Paul Thewlis tries to answer in his book WordPress 3 For Business Bloggers. Note that this is a new and updated edition of his book that was published in 2008.

The publishers, Packt Publishing, sent me a copy of the book for review, and it had the honor of being the first book I read on my new Kindle. One of the things I really like about books from Packt is that they are available in multiple formats including print, PDF, ePUB, and Amazon’s MOBI format.  But, back to the book itself.

WordPress 3 For Business Bloggers is well suited as an introduction to what can be done with a WordPress blog for most people. It succeeds in taking the new user beyond the initial install into the world of plug-ins and theme customization. While I am not really fond of the chapter on HTML and altering themes, I can see the necessity of familiarizing yourself with it. I just think that it is too much for most people and too prone to error. Seriously, you are better either in the hands of a real designer or finding a theme that doesn’t need behind the scenes tweaking.

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Essentials of Website Development

Palmetto Technology HubThis Monday, December 19th, I will be conducting a training session for the Palmetto Technology Hub on the essentials of website development.

No matter if you are doing your own web design or overseeing the production of that work; no matter if you are using WordPress, Drupal, DotNetNuk or a hand coded site, there are certain best practices that should be followed to get the best results possible. In this training we will cover things such as page flow, hot positions, usability, and accessibility. What we discuss will impact both your search engine results and customer satisfaction. Additionally, what we will be going over can be used for any platform with any web tools.

For more information on this training session, please check out the Palmetto Technology Hub’s event calendar.

Times They Are A Changing

Yes, the election is tomorrow and that is bringing some real change. I am not talking about which candidate gets elected or if this referendum or that one passes. No, I am talking about search engine traffic. As we have gotten down into the last few days before the election, I noticed that the search terms used to find my site have been subtly altering. A week or two ago the leading phrase that brought people to my site was “free Obama sticker.” This was closely followed in popularity by “free Obama button.” The interesting thing is that I have only written one post on each of those two topics. By the search engine traffic though you would think that free election paraphernalia was all my site is about.

But now the tides are turning. The elections are upon us so there really isn’t time for people to get buttons or stickers. If you haven’t adorned your car yet you are just too late. With that the traffic is starting to return to the real topics of the blog. You know, things like me, cars, religion and anger. Not so sure about that last one, but it is right there in the statistical log.

So the question remains, when everyone is done searching for election freebies and finished fighting over the candidates, what will become of all that time they were spending on the web? Will you go back to spending time with your family and pets? Will you pick up a hobby like knitting or gardening? Or will you move on to the next web craze and start generating searches and traffic for that? Maybe my next big search topic will be “how to get tickets to the inauguration” or “free presidential inauguration passes”. What do you think?

Testing The Waters

What motivates the traffic to a site? A friend of mine just wrote a blog post and some twitter entries that seemed, on the surface of things, to have increased his traffic suddenly. Does it work that way? Can the simple mention of the bible, pornography, and a porn star in the same article really bump traffic that noticeably? Especially when those subjects are not the normal thrust of your blog?

Jason Bradford, also known as ToneBox, wrote a post about a new movie called “Undersold“. Chrissy Moran stars in the film. She is a former porn star… and a famous and attractive one to boot. Jason says of his friend, “Chrissy’s story has some parallels to the original Bible story and she lives the part daily. That is where Grace comes in. Thankfully Grace is available to all of us no matter the road we’ve been down or are heading.”

So, this article serves a two fold purpose. The first is to get the word out about this movie and one of the great people in it. I think Chrissy Moran’s tale of moving from pornography to religious media is an interesting and compelling one. The second purpose is to try and prove or disprove Jason’s theory that his traffic spiked just because he mentioned the Bible and porno in the same post.

What do you think? Was that the reason his traffic jumped? Or was it a coincidence?