Did you know that WordPress.com has its own blog? And they have just announced a tutorial on blogging that is available in printed form as well as online.
Learn WordPress.com is a step-by-step tutorial that includes lessons on how to start a blog, customize your site, and connect with other bloggers in the WordPress.com community. It’s a great resource to help you remember what you learned in class. Check it out!
Short video on how to create a custom header.
Tell your story with pictures! Here is a link to the WordPress.com support page for images which contains background information on what kind of image you should upload, what the various options mean, and that it is the same for a post (on the blog) or a page (on the navigation). The most important way is to simply upload the image from your computer.
On your WordPress.com blog, you can only post videos from YouTube and VideoPress ($60/year upgrade). No private videos on WordPress.com, only publicly posted videos.
Do you like the smiling bioharzard symbol in the address bar? This is often called a favicon, short for “favorites icon” because when you save a link to your bookmarks or favorites, the favicon shows. WordPress.com calls it a Blavatar for “Blog Avatar” but refers to it on the dashboard as Blog Picture / Icon. You can have one too.
On the Dashboard, go to Settings (at the bottom of the left column), click on General. Follow the directions to upload a .jpg or .png file. Don’t bother trying to upload an .ico file or a .gif file. You can upload a normal Web-sized image and WordPress will prompt you to crop the image to a square.
Wait a few minutes for it to percolate through the system. For more information, see this.
Are sitemaps important for WordPress Websites the way they are for other Websites? Yes, sitemaps are crucial if you want your blog to be discovered by search engines. The WordPress.com page on sitemaps says
Your blog is enabled with just about everything you need to be super-searchable. This includes an XML sitemap, which you can access at yourblogname.wordpress.com/sitemap.xml. No need to do anything extra on your end. The sitemap file included with your blog is available to every search engine that supports the protocol, including Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Ask.com, and others. WordPress.com automatically sends updates to search engines every time you update or delete a page or post.
With WordPress.ORG websites (the kind you install yourself at your hosting provider) look at the Plugin Directory for Google XML sitemaps This is the plugin I use on my website at aNetGain.com
Do you ever wonder if this stuff works? Here’s a fun way to test it. Set up a Google Alert for something specific, like your name. Put it in quotes, like “Anet Dunne,” then post something with those words (your name usually shows on a post). Other examples would be using your company name or your trademarked product name. Then see how long it takes before you get a Google alert with your post.
Remember this will only work with blogs that are “public.” If you have blocked your blog from search engines in your Settings, this won’t work. 😉
Posted in Settings
Ever wonder how people get their pictures next to their comments? They use a Gravitar (graphic avatar). Last Thanksgiving, few people knew what an avatar was. Thanks to James Cameron, now everyone knows. You, too, can have a Gravitar, not only on your website but also on every WordPress site where you post a comment. How?
First: the e-mail address you used to set up your WordPress.com blog is the e-mail address you will use to create a Gravitar. The Gravitar will be linked to the e-mail address.
Second: select an image on your hard drive, flash drive, or on the Web. You will be able to crop it during the Gravitar set up.
Third: Dashboard left column, Users -> Your Profile
Follow the prompts to upload and crop the image to be attached to your login e-mail address. Wait a few minutes for it to percolate through the system. You can also find Gravitar under Appearance -> Widgets -> Gravitar. You can be playful — WordPress allows PG-rated Gravitars and you set your own rating. Remember, people can turn you in for bad behavior if you grade yourself too leniently. 🙂
Do you want to attract new visitors to your blog? Do you want them to find your blog through Google? Google favors websites with fresh content with high page rank. Blogs are updated frequently, and it looks like Google is starting to give higher rank to websites with pages that are updated frequently.
Brandon Leibowitz of Pandia Search Engine News writes “Google loves to see fresh, new, original, updated content on web pages.” Important information should be available to your visitors in one click. It should appear on your navigation so that people can get details on your product or services immediately, without having to plow through the blog.
Blogging is important, but it is just one element in good Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Posted in Settings
Tagged pages, SEO
Starting a new blog can be a challenge, so this class will help. You want to create a blog that will attract visitors, and will engage them so that they comment. You need to stand out from the crowd of millions of bloggers, so here are some simple tips to help you look good as you learn:
- Post regularly, make it interesting, short is okay, dull is not.
- Stick with only a few specific genres to talk about.
- If you want to look like a beginner, put ‘subscribe’ and ‘vote me’ links all over the front page.
- Clean and simple themes are the latest fashion. Personalize with your own images.
- Enjoy, blog for fun, comment on other peoples’ blogs (as they normally visit back).