Category Archives: RentABlogger

Upgrading Your Blogs to Wordpress 3.2? We can Help.

If you have a Wordpress blog and want to upgrade it to the version 3.2 but do not want to fiddle with the intricacies of the job, we can help for a nominal sum of $25 per blog. You will be able to take advantage of the shiny new interface and all the security updates. If you feel like doing it yourself, you should still upgrade your blog. The latest version (as of now) can be downloaded here.

When you assign your blog upgrades to us, you just sit back and relax while we do all the tedious work. This is 100% risk-free. If your blog cannot be successfully upgraded for any reason, we will refund your payment 100%. Email ebizindia AT gmail DOT com.

Make Your Blog Load Faster

How fast does your blog load? If it loads too slow, you may lose visitors because they might not be patient enough. Search engines like Google have openly declared they treat the site loading speed as a factor in the ranking process.

Here are some tips to improve the rendering speed of your blog. This is mainly based on Wordpress based blogs but most of the blogs built with other platforms can also benefit with similar changes:

  • Show fewer number of posts on the home page. Many bloggers show a large number of posts (even 20) on the home page hoping  to entice the readers with at least one post. This works to their disadvantage because loading too many posts can really slow down the home page rendering. I recommend between 5 and 10 posts depending on their length.
  • Put fewer images per blog post. Unless you are demonstrating a process which requires showing many screen-shots, you should not use more than 102 images per post.
  • Crop and resize the images. Don’t upload large size images and make the blog software resize them on the fly. This causes the full image to be downloaded resulting in delay. Try to crop the image so that only important part of the image is shown.
  • You may also like to reduce the pixels per inch of the image to 72 by saving in the web-friendly format. This really trims down the image.
  • Install a caching plugin like WP Super Cache. These plugins save an HTML copy of the page which can be sent to all the users till the time content of the page is changed. This reduces the number of database queries by a huge number and may be the biggest factor your blog may survive a mention on Digg or any similar burst o traffic. Too many blogs go down when they are mentioned on a popular site like Techcrunch or Digg.
  • Activate Gzip or Deflate based compression on your server if you are hosting on an Apache based server. This mode compresses the html output as well as CSS and JS files at the server end and the browser decompresses the files before rendering the page. This can save a large amount of data traffic and can help render the page much faster. Contact the folks at www.webmaintain.co.uk if you are not sure about implementing this on your site.
  • Deactivate the plugins that you don’t use. Having a large number of plugins that do nothing can slow down your blog.
  • Consider using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) like Cachefly if you are expecting a good amount of traffic coming from a wider geographical distribution.

Applying some or all of these suggestions can make you blog load faster and deliver a much better user experience resulting in more page views per person. Feel free to suggest your tips in the comments below.

Blog access from Mobiles

So you have a cool blog with a sizeable readership. Excellent! Have you thought about the ever-growing number of people with smartphones who want to read your blog? It is quite easy to make your blog available to them.

You can install the wptouch plugin that will add a new theme to your blog, making it look like and work like an iPhone application. This enables  the iPhone, Blackberry, Android and other mobile phones users to consume your blog posts easily, while on the go. Check this mobile web site design blog (www.webile.co.uk/blog/) from your phone to see an example.

If you are hesitating to tinker with your blog, we can install and activate the plugin for you for a nominal $25 per blog. Get started by just giving us a few quick details in the form on the right.

Short URLs with Semiologic – easily!

If you have a Semiologic blog, you don’t have to use a short-url service like TinyURL where you can’t change the destination later. This is also great for the control freaks who are very scared to use a 3rd party service.

The redirect feature on a Semiologic blog is quite simple and works very nicely if you don’t have a long blog address. Here is how I created a redirect to my reference link for Semiologic:

  1. I verified that the redirect manager plugin was activated. You can activate it if it is not activated.
  2. Then I added a new page. I gave it a short and direct name – Semiologic.
  3. I entered nothing in the content area and scrolled down to the lower side where there was a box for the redirect URL. Here I entered the destination URL.
  4. Saved the post.

That’s all. Now if I type www.rentablogger.com/blog/semiologic, it gets redirected to my reference link for Semiologic blogging system. This is a 301 redirect, comes with my blog URL and therefore promotes my brand instead of the URL-shortening service’s brand.

If I ever had to change the target URL, I can easily do so from my site.

Semiologic URL redirect options to tickNote: If you don’t want to have this page included in the Sitemap, you should tick on the options shown here.

How to Avoid Duplicate Content Penalty on Your Blog

Are you worried about search engines like Google slapping a duplicate content penalty on your blog? Did you know that your blog posts can be accessed through multiple URLs which Google can consider as duplicate pages? Why not give them a subtle advise on which are your favorite URLs to get your content indexed?

For example, check this URL for this blog post:
http://www.rentablogger.com/blog/2009/03/12/avoid-duplicate-penalty-on-blogs/

Now someone may link to this post with his affiliate URL:
http://www.rentablogger.com/blog/2009/03/12/avoid-duplicate-penalty-on-blogs/?affid=”A02″

And if Google discovers both the pages, they will think we have duplicate content here and at will, index one URL and ignore the other.

Webmasters and blog owners have been stuck with this issue for long. However the big 3 search engines (Google, Yahoo and MSN) recently agreed on the specs for a special meta-tag that will help them them identify the real URL. You can specify this in the head section (I shortened the URL to fit the window):

<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.rentablogger...on-blogs/" />

This is a message to the search engine that we prefer to get this page listed under this URL. Please note that you are not ordering them to do so. They may act otherwise if they see a large number of places linking otherwise. Also you cannot point the engines to URLs under a different domain.

You can get a simple plugin to tackle the canonical URL problem here (courtesy – Joost de Valk)

Google Analytics: Spot Search Trends

Add Google Analytics for insights into your traffic patternYou should integrate Google Analytics on your blog to get an insight into the traffic sources and update the settings and posts accordingly.

While this does not directly help in SEO of your blog, once you get to know which keywords people are using to land up on your blog, which search engines are sending you the traffic and other such information, you can make a plan to make suitable posts to serve these people.

I personally look at the bounce rate of the various pages on a high priority. If some pages have a high bounce rate, I check that to see if I can introduce some hooks to get people to stay longer on that page. You can add the related posts plugin to add some stickiness.

Don’t forget that your home page may have a high bounce rate because the repeat visitors will just read your latest post and go away.

Home Page Title for SEO on Semiologic Blogs

If you use Semiologic as your blogging software (I call it Wordpress on steroids), make sure you enter a keyword rich and attractive title for the home page. The blog generally defaults to displaying your blog description as the title of the home page, which is not such a great idea.

In admin section, you can click on Settings and then choose SEO to enter a title and some other parameters for the home page. I have got a nice improvement in rankings of some of my client blogs by this change alone.

We Upgrade Your Wordpress Blogs for $25 each

We upgrade your Wordpress blogs for $25Do you have a Wordpress blog that needs to be updgraded to the latest version? Are you aware that you should keep your Wordpress based blogs upgraded to take advantage of the latest features and also to avoid the risk of people exploiting the security bugs that some of the earlier versions have?

While wordpress is a great content management system and the most popular blogging platform, a large number of users find it very cumbersome to upgrade their blogs. If you are a techno-shy user or just don’t have the time for these upgrades, we can upgrade your blogs at a nominal $25 per blog per upgrade.

Just send us the FTP details (preferably the control panel details so that we can back up before the upgrade) and your payment by Paypal to arun AT ebizindia DOT com. I highly recommend you to take a backup of your blog – we take all precautions before and during the upgrade but it never hurt to take preventive measures.

Moving a Wordpress blog from a sub-directory to the root directory

This is a case study of a blog I recently moved from a sub-directory (/wordpress) to the root directory (/). You can get some interesting tips by reading this or better still, assign the move to us at a nominal cost and save yourself all the hair-pulling 🙂

Step 1: The site was on Cpanel, so I took a full backup of the site to avoid chances of a major disaster happening if something went wrong (you know the Murphy’s laws, don’t you?).

Step 2: I upgraded the current blog (at /wordpress) to the latest version so that the database structure will be up to date.

Step 3: I downloaded all the files in the root directory to a local folder so that I can replace the overwritten files, if any are required.

Step 4: I then uploaded a full copy of the blog software to the root directory (public_html folder as this was a cpanel site). If there are any special plugins used, you should download the software from the previous location and then upload this in the new location so that the plugin files are also uploaded.

Step 5: I uploaded the wp-config.php fie in the root directory so that Wordpress will refer to the same database.

Step 6: I accessed the database through PHPmyadmin and opened the wp_options table. Updated the values of the site_url and home options to http://www.domain.com by replacing http://www.domain.com/wordpress.

Step 7: Now I accessed the blog through the root URL and it opened fine. However I noticed that the posts were still being linked to www.domain.com/wordpress/postname/id

Step 8: I accessed the admin console and recreated the Permalinks so as to update all the post URLs. 

Now the whole blog was working fine without any issues.

Lastly, I needed to make sure that Google and other search engine would redirect the old indexed /wordpress/post URLs to the new ones. For this, I edited the .htaccess file in the root directory.

Inserted the following code before the # BEGIN WORDPRESS section (if you don’t keep this code out of the WORDPRESS section, Wordpress will remove this when you update Permalinks or do any other act that works with .htaccess file).

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
rewriterule ^wordpress(/.*)? $1 [L,R=301]

This effectively creates a permanent redirect for all files with /wordpress/something name to /something names.

Bingo! The blog is now accessible from the root directory of the domain. You may like to rename the /wordpress directory to /oldwordpress directory and keep it for a few days, then delete it when things have stabilized.

Now you can move your blogs around as and when you wish. However if you are techno-shy or don’t have time to play with all these wordpresses and PHPmyadmins, feel free to assign your “move my blog” cases to us. You can write to me at arun AT ebizindia DOT com (you know how to convert that to a working email address).

10 Reasons Why Ecommerce Etailers Should Blog

I recently got this interesting question from a client: "I have an ecommerce site. Should I blog? If yes, what can I write about?" Here are some interesting tips about blogging for ecommerce etailers:

By now, it is clear that I recommend blogging for people who own ecommerce sites. A client owns multiple blogs which act as the funnel to his main site and he has been very successful in increasing his online sales with blogs. Let us see what you can write about on your blog.

  • You can make a blog post if you have introduced a new range of items on your site. Discuss why you introduced this range (there was a popular demand, customers frequently asked me to carry this range etc), what is the special feature of this range and who can buy and how will they benefit.
  • You can announce your periodic promotions through your blog.
  • You can answer important and frequent customer service questions on your blog. Of course, you should also include them in the FAQ section.
  • You can highlight some recent testimonials received from satisfied customers. This is a powerful social proof (others are liking this range, so it must be good).
  • You can blog about how to use a complicated or uncommon aspect of your products. Some of your customers might not be able to take maximum advantage of your products because they cannot use a particular feature easily. You can create a short video or carry some snap-shots that will show how to use that feature.
  • You can publish important industry news with your take on it. This positions you as an industry expert. You may comment on some government policies affecting your trade. Generally you should add your opinion and not just report the news.
  • The ecommerce sites are quite mechanical generally without much human element. As you might know, "people do business with people and not companies." If you talk about a few key people of your company, post their photographs, highlight some personality traits (don’t get too personal, just talk about how he serves insistent customers with a smile, how he solves complicated service problems in a few minutes), some prospects and customers may find an increased traction towards your company.
  • You can highlight any awards or recognition you got recently. This will increase the brand value and increase customer confidence.
  • People love stories. Why don’t you make some posts about how a customer averted a major crisis in his life (personal or business) by using your products or because you shipped same day despite receiving the order late in the evening?
  • You can run periodic customer surveys and ask them what part of your products and company they like most or use most. You will be surprised at the answers you get – it may not be what you thought and will give you an entirely new aspect to highlight in your marketing.

With a little bit of publicity like a link from your main site home page and submission to some top blog directories, you can stake your claim on another ranking position in the search engine results page. I strongly recommend you to link to your internal and most relevant pages rather than link to the home page always.

If you want to get some help in setting up an optimized blog for your site, please check this out.