21 Reasons Why Self Hosting WordPress Will Improve Your Blog [with InfoGraphic]

Whether you opt to use WordPress.com (“Hosted”) or WordPress.org (“Self Hosted”) is entirely a choice of your own preference, but I genuinely believe that Self Hosting is always better and as such I always self host. Here’s a list of 21 top reasons why based on lists from 17 other websites.

21reasons

Please feel free to include this infographic on your website  by using the code below:
<a href=”http://www.13weekchallenge.co.uk/21reasonshosted”><img src=”http://www.13weekchallenge.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/21reasons.png” alt=”21 reasons to use WordPress.com” width=”100%” />

1. Thousands of free and paid themes.
When you use the hosted version you are limited to a relative handful of themes. With the self hosted version you have thousands of themes and if you, or someone you know, is handy with HTML / CSS then you can write your own. Almost all of the sites surveyed mentioned this as an advantage.

2. Your Own Advertising
If you want to display adverts then you can (you can’t display most with the hosted version). You can choose where to take them from – whether that be Google Adsense or advertising your own connections. Three quarters of the sites mentioned this.

3. Plugins to extend the site
Over half the sites surveyed liked the fact that with the self hosted version you can install a huge variety of plugins, including security, social networking, stats and many more!

4.Customisation
Being able to make your own changes to the source code was also mentioned by over half the sites. Whether that’s a major rewrite or just a simple tweak to remove something from the theme that you aren’t happy with, you are in control.

5. Own domain name
This is possible, but as an “extra” on the hosted version. But with wordpress.org you always use whatever domain name you want to use. You register it, you won it and you control it fully! A third of the sites suggested this.

6. Total freedom
It is possible to trip up on the hosted version by accidentally crossing a line and not sticking to a T&C. When you host it yourself, as long as you are legal you can do whatever you want.

7. Analytics
Because you can install plugins (or if you prefer you can do it through the code itself) you can install any type of analytics tool you want, including Google Analytics. You can monitor anything and everything about the traffic on your blog.  4 sites including janefriedman.com gave this as a good reason.

8. Reputation
Using your own domain name rather than a subdomain and being on obviously free hosting makes your blog look better. A different 4 sites to the previous suggestion recommended this, including blogging.org like this

9. Can’t be closed
As long as it’s all legal and above board you won’t find one day that your blog has vanished and everything been deleted without there being anything you can do about it just because you didn’t appreciate something in the terms, such as no advertising. This was raised by wpfreesetup.com, seedpod.com and boostblogtraffic.com.

10. No hidden fees
Free isn’t always free, but when you pay for your hosting you have an agreement as to what is provided. You avoid suddenly being hit with the prospect of paying for more bandwidth, more space, ability to upload media, removing adverts… boostblogtraffic.com and tsohost.com pointed this out.

11. SEO advantages
Because you can customise the code and use plugins you get the chance to search engine optimise your site better. You can also choose from themes that are written for search engines etc. shoutmeloud.com and tsohost.com liked this feature.

12. Scaleability
If your blog grows that so can your hosting, very easily. Both wpmudev.com and tsohost.com came up with this as a valid reason for self hosting.

13. Emails
If you own and manage your domain name then you can create email addresses within that domain name, brilliant for newsletters, contact addresses, setting up social media accounts, contacting other bloggers etc. boostblogtraffic.com and tsohost.com pointed this advantage out,

14. Unlimited space
No emails telling you you are 95% full and then having to work out what you can delete. You just buy the space that you need and go for it. Both wpfreesetup.com and bloggingbasics101.com came up with this suggestion.

15. No unwanted ads
Free isn’t free without something in return and here it normally means third party advertising. And it’s advertising in which you get no revenue! Plus you don’t have to pay to get rid of these adverts. This was suggested by both inkthemes.com and and diythemes.com

16. Web store
If you want to sell a product you can do so. Either use a plugin to create a site that’s a web store, or just have odd items for sale (e.g. an Ebook) throughout the site. Two sites suggested this – slbloggersupport.com and michaelhyatt,com

17. Your own data
You own it all, everything that you create whether it’s media or text. No-one else decides it’s not suitable and it’s up to you if you ever want to move or delete it. wpbeginner.com were the only site to mention this.

18. Affiliate links
No affiliate links allowed when you are hosted, but go for it if you are self hosted and see if you can make a living through your blog if you wish. Both inkthemes.com and boostblogtraffic.com suggested this reason.

19. Extra features
There are loads of extra features that are only available to self hosted bloggers, some of which might be relevant to you. Both yoexpert.com and wpinterns.com recommended this.

20. Free / cheap
Ironically, given all of the extras you might end up paying for on the hosted version the self hosted version could be cheaper when paired with a domain for a few pounds / dollars and basic hosting. wpbeginner.com & yoexpert.com suggested this.

21. Sell your blog
Not many will do this but if the site really takes off someone might want to buy the blog – url & content – from you. I have done this myself and it can be very profitable. But it’s only possible when you are self hosting. However, only shoutmeloud.com suggested this reason.

Sites referenced:

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Hackers Want Your Blog – But Have You Ever Watched Just How Many?

It’s absolutely frightening how many attempts are being made to break into blogs. Even this blog, which is just 2 months old, is under frequent attacks. But, are you aware of the scale of the problem and what are you doing about it?

This site is new. There’s no Google Reputation to worry about and it’s only just starting to get traffic. But hackers have found it and are taking an interest.

In the last 90 minutes I’ve been watching my blog as it is under attack from what looks to be several hackers. Why, I have no idea. Most likely because I have made posts about how to increase blog security. Maybe they want to stop me from telling other people how to protect themselves.

I’m recording all of the failed attempts to watch what they are doing and there’s around 100 failed attempts in those 90 minutes. However, by watching these failed attempts it’s quite easy to see that they are very basic and the first level of security is working – use a difficult to guess username.

On top of that the passwords are all very basic. You can see the list that I’ve collected so far here. They certainly are poor passwords to use and demonstrate that you really do need strong passwords that do not have any predictable sequences in them.

Another level of security that I do apply is being avoided here. The attackers are managing to use a whole array of ip addresses, so I’m guessing that they could be employing computers that have been taken over by viruses to ensure they hit me from different IP addresses.

Normally, from such a huge amount of attempts Limit Login Attempts would do it’s job and lock them out. However, they are skipping around so much that it’s job becomes far harder. Also, just for the “fun of it”, whilst I’m monitoring the site I’ve set the lockout limit much higher so that I can continue to watch what the attackers try.

What have I learned so far?

  1. Use a complex userid. The attempts are coming in triplets, each trying the same password, from a different IP address and these 3 userid: admin, administrator, 13weekchallenge.co (obviously created from a bot that hasn’t realised that .co is part of the URL suffix!)
  2. A complex password is required. Write it down if needs be, or store it somewhere secure. But anything with a regular pattern might be guessed. e.g., some attempts are qazwsx and 159753. Look on the keyboard (a numeric keyboard for the second one) to see why they might be popular.
  3. Monitoring attempted break-ins is essential. In fact I’m also monitoring successful logins. If it looks like a hacker might have guessed your username or password then you might just have time to change it before they guess the other half of the pairing.

However, I’ve now had enough of compiling my “useless passwords list” and so have increased the security on this blog once more, adding in a new plugin to my favourite security plugins list.  Now I’m limiting logins to the admin system to people in the UK only.

They won’t give up and I’ll still be recording the attempts, it’s just another layer of security to protect the blog with. Should they guess the combination, this extra plugin will stop them from actually getting logged on!

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The Worst Possible Passwords

Struggling to think of a password to protect your admin system. Well, here’s a list of passwords that you certainly do not want to be using! All of these have been gathered from recording what hackers are using when trying to get access to this blog!

All of these have been attempted using the user id “Admin”, “Administrator” or “13weekchallenge.co”. So, it spells out how vital it is not to use an obvious userid for your signon. Make both of these difficult to guess and you should have made you site far safer. Have a look over my other blog security best practices and if you want to know how I’ve gathered this list, just see the previous post (security plugins).

Some of these listed below have been tried by different hackers on 3 occasions in the last few nights. If my security plugins didn’t block them out then I might just find an even bigger list of attempted break-ins but if your passwords follow any obvious patterns such as the below change them now!

  • website name, with and without the suffix (e.g. 13weekchallenge & 13weekchallenge.co.uk)
  • 111111
  • 111222
  • 121212
  • 123321
  • 1234
  • 1234554321
  • 123456
  • 1234567
  • 12345678
  • 123456789
  • 1234567890
  • 159357
  • 159753 (look at this on a numeric keyboard to see why it might be chosen)
  • 1q2w3e4r5t
  • 1qaz2wsx
  • 55555
  • 654321
  • 666666
  • 7777777
  • 987654321
  • admin
  • admin123
  • adminadmin
  • administrator
  • admadm
  • andrey (no idea on this one!)
  • changeme
  • genius
  • kirill
  • ktutylf
  • maksim
  • nurik
  • password
  • qazwsxedc
  • qwer1234
  • qwert12345
  • qwerty
  • qwerty123456
  • qwertyuiop
  • www
  • ssassa
  • zxcasd
  • zxcvbn
  • zxcvbnm
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My 5 Essential WordPress Security Plugins; Why And How I Use Them

No matter how hard anyone tries I think WordPress will never be 100% secure, simply because of it’s popularity and the way it is used. Therefore, we as users need to put some extra security steps in place. Here are my favourite tips that anyone can install and understand.

stolenadmin

WPS Hide Login (WPServeur) An essential first level of security, enforced upon me really after my blog had suffered a 18 hours of brute force hacking attempts. This one ‘confuses’ hackers. It’s safety through obscurity, which some people argue isn’t a good idea. However, to me if it adds another layer of security it must help.

Download and activate this plugin and then click Settings. At the bottom of the settings page is a new box: “Login url”. Change the name in that box to something that you can remember but isn’t obvious. Hackers will use bots to try to find admin systems, so keep the name obscure.

Now, if anyone tries to access your login or admin pages they see your 404 page instead. Certain logins will still get through, but it should reduce the plague of a brute force attack.

Should you forget your new admin URL, then either use FTP to delete / rename the plugin or access your database and the new name is within the options there.

lockoutsLimit Login Attempts (Johan Eenfeldt). First on the list as it is one of my favourites and one I am never without. Hackers will attempt to take control of your blog by brute force – attempting obvious passwords in bulk using robots. However, these attempts will frequently come from the same IP address.

So this marvellous little plugin simple sits there and watches for failed login attempts. If there are 4 failed attempts in 12 hours (defaults, you can change them) then the IP address is prevented from logging in for 20 minutes. Another set of failed attempts will produce another lockout and after four lockouts it’s full 24 hour lockout.

OK, hackers can switch IP address. But if you have a secure password that’s going to take a million guesses to work out (let’s face it, 1,000,000 passwords can normally be tried in a few hours at just 100 per second) if you are blocking IP addresses after 16 failed attempts then to try 1,000,000 passwords they need access to > 60,000 IP addresses.

The plugin can be set to inform you when users are blocked so if you are on the end of a really bad attack then you can do as I have been known to do and move the wp-admin folder until the hacker goes elsewhere.

failedattemptsPlain view Activity Monitor (Edward Plainview). This one is new to my list, but already I’m a fan. But, you need to be careful on how you use it if you are using it the way I do.

You can set this to record all failed logon attempts (Activity Monitor, Logged Hooks, tick wp_login_failed, select Activate then Apply). However, this could be dangerous and give hackers information that they need so do read on!

With the above set all failed logon attempts are recorded in detail – IP address, attempted userid and attempted password. That’s great, but if you fail to logon as Peter using Password and Pete using Password1 then anyone discovering this could well guess that Peter and Password1 and the desired combination.

So it is vital that after any failed logon attempts of your own you delete them immediately you logon – Activity Monitor from the side bar, select your failed logons, change Bulk Actions to Delete and then Apply.

But now you can see when hackers are about and the userid / passwords they are trying. If they are trying random combinations then you are fine. However, if they start to try whatever you have setup as your Admin userid then you have a warning that it’s been discovered and can change it.

Changing a UserId is difficult in WordPress, but not impossible (more information). Go to Users and create a new user with Administrator permissions, giving it a secure userid and using the same nickname as you have previously used. Sign off and back on again as this new id. Then delete the old user id, or downgrade it to Subscriber.

Be careful if deleting your old userid that you don’t delete it’s posts. Either leave them orphaned or move them to the new userid.

If somehow the hackers are starting to attempt to break into the site with passwords that look like they are getting close then you must take that as a huge hint that your password is not strong enough and immediately change it. If it was a reasonably secure password and they are guessing it also ask yourself why. Have you been compromised in some way – virus, spyware or whatever?

WordPress Database Backup (Austin Matzko) – a lesson here for me in watching for similarly named plugins as I initially set this blog up with a different plugin, thinking I was getting this one and it wasn’t quite as good.

If all goes wrong on your blog then you need backups. No matter how well you protect the site, if someone still gets in and litters it with junk posts or deletes posts then your backup is where you will fall back to.

However, some backups store the backup on the server. This is great, unless the server itself is hacked. Then what might happen to the backups? I prefer to have the backups emailed to me. For this purpose I create a standalone email address that receives the various backups. Every few weeks I will logon and check that the backups are arriving and delete the oldest copies.

By using a separate email address you don’t clutter your own email with backup files. You do need to remember to logon regularly, but if they were being sent to your own email you’d still need to check they are arriving.

You can set this plugin up to do backups as often as you like – from hourly to twice a month. Extra tables on the database can be included and you can trigger a backup whenever you want to manually.

The files are quite small and email friendly. Hopefully you’ll never need them, but they are always worth having.

spamcomments2WP Captcha Free (iDope). Looking through similar lists other blogs prefer to go into highly technical plugins that move wp-content and so on. However, I believe that part of the protection of your site is protecting the comments.

Akismet is great, but it lets too many spam comments through for my liking. I know when I’ve only used Akismet I’ve seen a stream of junk arriving in my comments folder. Yes, it’s supposed to learn. But you still have to get rid of all of these junk comments.

I think that junk comments are very dangerous to a blog. If just a few get through to a post then it spoils the whole site. Your reputation for not caring is gone. Sometimes it can also be difficult to see if a simple comment is just a simple, but well meaning, compliment or a lazy link build attempt.

That’s where WP Captcha Free excels. There’s no captcha for the comment leaver to use and they probably won’t even realise there’s protection going on in the background. Instead it uses algorithms to protect your site from spammers.

It can differentiate between people who have arrived on your site and read the post before commenting and automated spam robots that are just trying to fill your comments with junk. Best of all, you don’t see these junk comments!

Well, that’s my 5 essential WordPress security plugins. I’m sure other people have their favourites, so why not let me know or share this post so that more people can be protected? There are also other Security Best Practice tips that you should remember when using WordPress, so don’t forget them.

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Trying Old Style Traffic Generation

Whilst most of the ideas I’m experimenting with on this blog are “new”, there are a few traffic ideas from when I used to blog that I’ll be digging up and here’s one.

Expired domains
This is when a website owner for whatever reason does not renew their domain name. This can be because they simply forget and the domain name ‘elapses’, or because they have lost interest in the domain and decide to not bother with the renewal.

However, if that domain name has previously had a large volume of traffic that traffic might still be trying to find the site. Whether that’s search engine listings, links in forums and blog comments or whatever, people will still be accessing the domain.

And where traffic is arriving to an old site it can be redirected to a new site. I suppose it could be looked at as traffic recycling – where traffic is no longer needed moving it to where it can be reused!

The Skills Involved Can Be Beyond Most Of Us

However, buying expired domains requires skill and experience. It’s not something that everyone can easily try and if you buy an exceptional domain the traffic could be huge – not that many blogs would complain at that.

Instead, it is possible to go to websites such as GrowTraffic.com, who can buy these domain names and then direct the visitors that are still trying to find the websites at your site instead.

Genuine Traffic Or Not?

Does it work? Well it’s an idea that has been around for man years.I did resell such traffic myself many years ago (probably about 8 years ago), so it’s not a new idea and if it has kept going that long then there must be a demand for the service.

So I’m giving it a go with the GrowTraffic.com service. With a promise of thousands of visitors over the next month I’ll keep an eye on what happens with not just the hit count, but also looking at what happens with regards Adsense and newsletter subscribers. Either or both of these increasing with the traffic would indicate that the quality of traffic is good and the service is sending genuine visitors who might be interested in the site.

Call back in December to see more – follow on Twitter or the newsletter to remember. If you have experience with  GrowTraffic.com or any other similar service then please do drop me a comment below.

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Is StumbleUpon Traffic Work The Effort?

Recently I’ve been reading a lot about how using StumbleUpon can really help your blog traffic. But, is it worth it? Should you get excited when a post gets “Stumbled” a lot or just forget about it?

crowd

How StumbleUpon Works

It took me a while before I investigated StumbleUpon and then it was after reading various headlines about how it can really increase traffic. But there’s a big problem about using it for traffic – people aren’t sure that you can.

There’s a line of thought that says you can’t submit your own content, another that says you can, just not a lot and then another that doesn’t really care. And after a quick look through their Terms, I can’t see anything wrong in submitting your own content.

However, is there a point? StumbleUpon works by the more people that like a certain post the more people that it is shown to. That’s great once you start to “go viral” and get lots of views, but do many posts?

My Hours Of Stumbling…

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 00.12.26I’ve spent a lot of time recently browsing through other posts on their app. I sit there and quickly go through dozens of posts. A quick glance and I decide whether or not I want to read the page. Mostly it falls into the “not” category.

However, it’s a good way of passing a few minutes. And then one day I realised the problem as I sat there, swiping new posts across in time to the ticking of the clock behind me.

My average view time per page was 1 second. Exactly one second probably as I’d fallen into time with the clock. However every one of these views were counting towards my total “Stumbles”. I sat there for 5 minutes, spent up to 30 seconds on each of 2 sites and in the rest of the time I’d stumbled over 200 sites.

That means that 200 blog owners are seeing 1 more visitor to their site. But was it worth it?

What This Means To Your Website Stats

analyticsI started to look at my own website and cross check the stats. The number of times my previous post was “Stumbled” was about 50% higher than the figure I was seeing for visitors on Google Analytics. So I’m guessing that about a third of the people “Stumbling” the post didn’t wait longer than it took for the title to load.

Looking into it further, out of those that visited the site, how long were they there for? The first few seemed to be on the site for a few seconds, but by day 2 of people Stumbling the site (and this was when the figures really grew) the average time on site from Google Analytics was 0:01. Looking at the raw server logs I even found the same person (IP Address) had viewed the post twice in 2 seconds. Probably missed something that was interesting and swiped back through my post. Or maybe swiped back to my post!

The post didn’t go viral and so didn’t produce huge amounts of traffic, but how many posts do?

What else can we measure success by? Google Adsense actually reported even lower page views than Google Analytics with no clicks on an advert at all from that post. This post was unusual in that it has an affiliate link (only the second post to have such links in this blog) to a book about free stock image libraries. That link showed 3 clicks on  Friday, so when traffic went wild on the second Saturday I was hopeful.

So I eagerly checked the statistics on Sunday morning – zero clicks. Looking back through the raw logs again the clicks had come from direct and other visitors, not those arriving through StumbleUpon. Likewise, even though StumbleUpon created the blog’s 2 busiest traffic days ever (and 54% of the traffic for those 2 days), no new subscribers.

It Probably Works, But Not Every Time

Maybe it’s a tool that you can use to support a successful blog where there are loads of people already sharing on social media so a popular post might get liked by many readers and read by millions, but for a start up blog and one without that necessary core of sharing readers I think that the volumes of traffic that might be produced are so low that they really aren’t going to produce that many genuine readers.

Put a Stumble button on your blog to let people like your post, but I don’t think it’s anything that a site owner should be stressed over.

If you have any better experiences than mine or know of a trick or two I’m missing leave a comment. Or, read the previous post and Stumble it and see if it can be revived!

Over the next week I still have a few ideas that I’ve yet to try out on this blog for new traffic so do take the time to follow the blog – Twitter or the newsletter, whichever you find easiest. Hopefully we’ll be back soon with a method that generates huge volumes of traffic!

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Image Copyright And Why You Could Be Next To Be Sued

I have worked as a web developer since 2004 and in that time I have come across the same story many times. Just this week 2 clients have tried to land themselves in the same trap and it continues. And it’s an expensive mistake when you are caught out, potentially landing you with a court summons and a bill for thousands of pounds or dollars.

imagetheftThe issue is images. Photographs, drawings or whatever. Choose a good few images and you can really make your site work well for you. Choose bad ones and it looks dreadful. What do you do?

Many people then resort to Google Images. A quick look for  their keyword in Google Images usually turns up dozens of images. Open one and it is easily saved. Bingo, job done these people think.

What exactly is wrong with Google Images for website images?

But stop there. Where did those images come from originally? If that site took the image themselves then they own the copyright for the image. However, if that site, designer or owner paid for the image from a stock photo library then it is likely that someone else owns the copyright and that stock photo library will be on the case, making sure that all uses of their images are licensed.

You can’t get around it. Simply resizing the image, adding a colour fade, merging it in with another image or whatever doesn’t make it your original copyright. If you use an image that someone else has produced it is their copyright. It is then up to them if they allow you to use the image for free.

The safest option is the honest option

The safest way to get around it is to always use stock libraries. There are loads about and with these they keep a record of what you have downloaded and if there’s a problem with the images in the future (for example someone has uploaded copyrighted content) then they deal with it for you.

However, this can be extremely expensive. Some paid stock libraries start off from a couple of dollars per download whilst some can start off at $50. If you need a lot of images, maybe on a daily basis, then this becomes prohibitive.

There are also the free options

There are a lot of free stock libraries out there too. These can be great to use but you must be careful on how you use them. Some are free only to certain types of uses or sites. e.g. if you are a hobby blogger the images are free, but if you are a commercial blogger then they are not.

Also, there’s the issue of ‘attribution’. Here you have to link back to the library in return for the free access to the image. Again it varies from library to library and usage to usage.

Royalty free Verses Free

You have to be very careful searching for ‘free’ images. For example, I’ve just tried ‘free stock photos’ and the 4th result is iStockPhoto – which is a paid directory. What they are offering is not free images but royalty free images. You pay to download them but then don’t have to pay every time that you use them.

It’s a small but subtle difference in the phrase that can mean the difference between a genuinely free image and a costly mistake. And “I didn’t realise” is not a defence. This is something that you are expected to know in the eyes of the libraries. Use their images by mistake and you are in trouble. And I know of people who have received these costly letters.

Finding free libraries

But these free libraries can be very useful, especially to new bloggers. How do you find them? There are directories and lists out there, but there is also a book available by Lysa Wylds (link to her website, not the book) which is called The Ultimate Guide To Free Stock Photos (affiliate link). If you are stuck looking for photos then this 58 page should have some ideas of libraries to look in!

Don’t risk it, just don’t risk it!

But don’t risk downloading images from Google Images. Someone somewhere owns the copyright and if, or probably when, they catch up with you there will be a nasty letter arriving addressed to you with a demand for a lot of cash. It’s not worth the risk.

For the record!

Images on this page sourced from iStockPhoto.com & freevector.com

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Why SEO Is Not Going To Work For Your New Blog

Let’s face it. If you are starting a new blog then Search Engine Optimisation is never going to work for you. Never. If you try it you’re going to spend a lot of time getting frustrated and going nowhere and wrecking your blog. You are better off forgetting the search engines and just looking after your target audience. And here’s why!

problemswithseoHow can I say that? Well several years ago I had a site that was well positioned for some keywords and earned me over £2,000 / month in Google Adsense income, plus a lot in affiliate revenue. However, it was a static site. If I spent an hour per week working on that site to add a new affiliate link or two I’d done a lot of work on it. I spent longer browsing the Adsense reports than I spent developing the site.

I was lucky. I’d flucked two keywords – Compare Mortgage Rates (1st on Google) and Mortgage Rates (3rd on Google). It was a breeze. I had a good income whilst I built the rest of my business.

All Good Things Come To An End

adsensecrashThen one day I was hit by a Google penalty. I’ve no idea what, probably poor links or a manual penalty because the site was not full of relevant content, but the best I could then do was page 7. This meant no traffic and as you can see from the graph a complete crash in income.

And that’s a huge problem with SEO. It’s a risk. You put loads of effort into getting it “right” and are then at risk of being dropped.

But, how do you get it right?

Be honest. What keywords are you hoping to perform well with? You have a couple of choices.

shortvslongtail

You our could choose ‘long tail’ keywords that no-one else is optimising for. But there’s a reason that they aren’t competitive – there’s not that many people search for them.

So instead you could look at high volume keywords. The sort that everyone in your niche is hoping to be top for. Those that get thousands of daily hits. But these require loads of work to rank well now and as much work going forward to maintain the ranking.

If you do decide on some keywords then you are going to obsess. You are going to write posts about the keywords and maybe stuff them with too many repeats if the words. You aren’t writing for an audience, you are writing for a search engine’s robot.

SEO Causes You To Focus On Keywords, Not Quality

seoupqualitydown

Post quality can take a dive as you target what you think search engines want to see. Reader satisfaction goes out of the window. All you are interested in is where is that post ramked.

You start to write other posts that link to your ‘optimised’ post just to include the search terms in the link. You start blog commenting and article writing not for traffic, but just for links.

You reduce the quality of your blog just to do what you think the search engines want you to do. Yet they want you writing for your readers, not optimising your site.

Then there’s the act of optimising the core code of a website for search  engines  some will try to truck the robots by stuffing titles, headers, alt tags and more with keywords. Google is watching for this.

Others trying to affect the structure of the site for artificial reasons. But search engines are looking for sites that work well on any browser, whether it be mibile or desktop, and no matter how you are accessing it. whether you are fully fit or disabled you should be able to enjoy the site

What search engines want is for us to pretend they are not there and to produce the best unique cintent we are able to produce and make it available to everyone. They want us looking after the real world, not optimising our sites.

Should by fluke you stumble upon the magic formula for the page then it’s a great feeling. But, for how long? Will it be a day, a week or a month before everything changes and you are left languishing on page 7, where there is absolutely no traffic?

I know the feeling all to well. Been there, done it and suffered. Concentrate on building long term traffic plans so that you don’t rely in a source that you have no control over.

If SEO does happen to work for you then feel proud that it’s happ by natural methods and the likely payback is longevity.

But don’t give into your doubts. SEO won’t work. Build a quality site and watch the traffic reward you.

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What Is The Best Blogging Platform?

The best blog platform...If you are wanting to set up a brand new blog then what is the best blogging platform to get started with? In most cases there is only one answer and almost 75,000,000 sites agree!

Look At The Statistics

With almost 75,000,000 users around the world WordPress certainly has a lot of users. And because of the way that it works these sites aren’t all just basic blogs.

Whilst that is a lot, other sites are also prolific. You could try Tumblr or even Twitter, but these are micro blogging rather than full blogging. Google’s Blogger does have a lot of users, however they don’t reveal any statistics.

Hosted or Self Hosted?

Here are two words that you will come across when setting up a blog and they are important to understand. Both are quite different.

Hosted – this is the simplest for of blogging, where the blog provider “hosts” the site for you. Usually they provide a domain name, although there is also the ability to use your own, along with all of the storage space that you will require. Software updates to the core of the blog are also usually handled by them.

Self Hosted – this is where you are responsible for providing the hosting. You will buy space and a domain name and install the blog. A lot of providers make this a lot easier than it once was with “one click” installs, thus avoiding the need for you to get into the realms of databases and FTP.

Which Is The Best Hosting Type?

So, out of these 2 options, which is the best? In my view Self Hosted is best. I like to be in control and to have a domain name that matches what I am blogging about.

However, if you are new to blogging the maybe the Hosted version is easier for you to set up with. However, how about a platform that allows you to move from one method to the other?

How Does WordPress Fit Into This?

To me, and about 75 million blogs, WordPress is undoubtedly the best blogging platform.you can select. You can use it either as Hosted or Self Hosted, with a roughly even split between the 2 for WordPress sites.

Both versions are totally free and there are thousands of add ons that you can employ, which is what adds loads of value to the system. Excellent free designs, which are also mobile friendly, can be installed with just a few clicks and extras, called Plugins, are available for almost any extra features you might need.

The Exception That Makes The Rule

Any good rule has its exceptions and this is true here. In a few circumstances there are specialist platforms that are even better. For example, if you are a runner training for an event, then networks such as Real Buzz have the huge advantage of sharing your blog with other runners. Instant built in readers!

And for many other specialist niches there are also relevant tools to use there.But at the end of the day I think that the self hosted version of WordPress wins the day for me.

 

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