Seattle WordPress Event: Business Websites, WordPress 3.0 and SEO for WordPress

On Tuesday, May 11 in Bellevue (Seattle), Washington, you can hear me (Mark McLaren) and two other WordPress experts talk about 1) WordPress for Business Websites, 2) the latest version of WordPress (3.0), and 3) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for WordPress. It’s an evening event at Bellevue College, with plenty of time for Q & A and networking.

Anyone who wants to learn WordPress, or learn more about WordPress – definitely check it out!

I will be doing the WordPress Search Engine Optimization presentation. You’ll get all you need to take your WordPress website from the basic default level of search optimization to a truly optimized level using the “All in One SEO Pack” plugin for WordPress. The SEO techniques I’ll talk about work on any website. I’ll just be showing you how to apply them quickly and easily to your WordPress site.

To sign up now, visit the Seattle WordPress seminar website.

The event is called “Explode the WordPress Learning Curve: An Evening with the Experts”. Here are the highlights of this awesome WordPress seminar:

After An Evening with WordPress Experts, you’ll understand:

  • why so may businesses are choosing WordPress for their websites and blogs
  • how to leverage the power and flexibility of a WordPress website to increase sales
  • how easy it is to make the move to WordPress
  • 5 techniques for optimizing your WordPress pages for better search engine rankings
  • the key features of 3.0, the newest version of WordPress

What’s Included in this Event:

  • 3 “mini-seminars” from WordPress experts
  • 15-minute break with time for networking as well as time before and after the event
  • Extended Q & A panel discussion with the experts: Get your questions answered
  • Opportunity to meet the experts at the conclusion of the event
  • Time to visit the presenters’ tables and exchange information
  • Copies of all presentations
  • Additional information on useful tips, plugin’s, themes and resources for WordPress users

Feel free to contact me with questions about the event. For tickets and more information, visit the Seattle WordPress seminar website.

Business Blogging 101 — Free WordPress Tutorials — New to This Site? Start Here:

Welcome to Free WordPress Tutorials – Business Blogging 101! This video is an introduction to the Business Blogging 101 website, a site dedicated to free tutorials and support for WordPress created by Mark McLaren of McBuzz Communications.

Free, Easy WordPress Tutorials

These are all easy WordPress tutorials and they are all free! Whether you have a WordPress blog or a WordPress website, most of the tutorials are for beginners, but there are intermediate-level tutorials and discussion about advanced techniques for WordPress including how to customize a WordPress theme, recommendations about the best WordPress plugins and themes, hacks and workarounds for WordPress using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), PHP and HTML – and much, much more! 😉

There are a few advanced tutorials. The tutorials’ degree of difficulty is determined by the amount of skill and experience you need with HTML, CSS and in some cases PHP code. If you don’t have experience with these, don’t worry! That’s the beauty of WordPress.

On this site, you will learn about WordPress, Blogging and Online Marketing, including Search Engine Optimization. Ask questions, comment and connect with other WordPress users.

You can use the video player control bar buttons to watch in HD and to watch in full screen mode.

You can become a fan of Business Blogging 101 on Facebook. And follow Mark McLaren and McBuzz on Twitter.

WordPress HTML Editing Window – Can I Have More Control Over My Pages and Posts?

A reader offered the following comment/question today about the WordPress HTML Editing Window.

I’m frustrated with the WP editor. I’m used to Dreamweaver and having lots of html coding available to me, along with design view. I find that the html view of WP jumps around, doesn’t take me to where I was in the design view, is limiting on features, increases or decreases spacing between lines on me once posted, and is generally frustrating. It won’t even underline properly.

Do you have any suggestions about an outside editor for WP??

Here’s my answer:

@energeticnutrition
Thanks for your question. It’s something that I’m hearing more often these days. In general, it’s the idea that people want more control over their pages and posts.

Bloggers in the traditional sense are not the ones calling for this. It’s usually businesses, independent consultants and professionals that are using WordPress for full-blown websites.

What most people seem to want is a WYSIWYG editor that will allow them to do more with layout and styling using the Visual editing window. For that, there are several solutions. The most popular is TinyMCE Advanced WordPress Plugin.

But what you are asking for is more control over the HTML. This is tricky.

On the one hand, you have just about as much control as your HTML and CSS skills allow, but practically speaking it’s a pain. You can paste all kinds of code into the HTML window. For this, I usually use an external HTML editor. Dreamweaver works fine. There’s a free editor on the Business Blogging 101 Resources page. You can’t preview your work in Dreamweaver, however, unless you go through some other technical setup. Not worth it, imo. You can paste the HTML into the WP editor and save the changes, then view the page. The more complicated your HTML, the more tedious it gets!

The other thing you have to contend with is that your WordPress theme may conflict with the CSS you use in your hand-coded HTML. My guess is that the problem you cite with underlining is due to such a conflict. If the conflicts are very disruptive or they don’t allow you to do what you want at all, you may need to edit your style.css or other CSS files.

If you want to simplify the editing process and see how things work when you edit your page using HTML without having to constantly paste your changes into WordPress to preview them, you might try this:

In a web browser, View the Source Code for the page or post you are working on. Select All. Copy and Paste the code into the Code/HTML window of Dreamweaver. Now save that page somewhere, and you should be able to open it in a browser – or maybe view it in Dreamweaver’s visual window – that is, you should be able to view it from your desktop, so that you don’t have to keep saving changes into the WordPress editor to see how they look.

You’ll need to identify the section of the HTML page that is the chuck of code you will paste into the WordPress HTML editing window when you get things looking the way you want. (Try demarcating it with <!– HTML comments –>.) This doesn’t always work, but if you want more control over your pages, this is the easiest way to do it.

Changing Permalinks and Categories Retroactively (on a WordPress site with lots of posts)

A new aquaintance asked me about changing permalinks. He has a successful blog with lots of posts, and he wants to be sure to keep all the link juice associated with the old URLs for those posts.

His site had a kind of default permalink structure that did not use English language words in the URLs. He wanted to change this so that it would use English words, like Business Blogging 101 does.

There’s a plugin for that called WordPress Redirection.

He also wanted to change his category names, since he had been using only one “general” category for all his posts. Here’s my advice on that point.

I’m not sure of all the implications of changing categories retroactively. I know that it’s possible to simply create new categories and assign them to old posts. You can delete an old category and, if that’s the only one assigned to a post, WordPress will ask which category you want to replace it.

Before going further with any of this, be sure to back up your database and also use Tools > Export to export an .xml file of your site. You should back up files in the wp-content directory regularly as well (although that’s not directly affected by these changes).

Some people choose to exclude categories from Google using noindex to avoid duplicate content issues. IMO, I don’t think you need to worry about this. Google has gotten much better at ignoring duplicate content.

If you are very keen on increasing search optimization using categories, you can remove the “general” cat and replace it with more specific cats on each post. I favor using only one category per post. You can use tags for any other keywords you want to associate with posts.

If you have lots of “general” posts, I would not worry about going back to do this. Leave the general category. Create new, more specific categories, and use those going forward. The most important thing for blog SEO is that you keep producing good content on a consistent basis and get lots of comments from readers like you are doing. That will also lead to more people linking to you. The SEO significance of categories on older posts is not nearly as great as these things.

Lorelle VanFossen is a great WordPress resource, in general, and about categories and tags among other things.

New Features in WordPress 2.8

Over at the McBuzz Communications website, I have posted a nice video overview of the new features in WordPress 2.8, and a short description of one of the coolest new features: the ability to insert more than one instance of the same widget into one – or more – of your sidebars. This gives you a powerful new way to customize the link menus in your sidebars. If you have a theme that allows you to have different sidebars on different pages, you can now have custom links on every page – without having to hack the PHP code for the theme!

Make a Survey or Poll in WordPress – Now It’s Easy!

When I talk to people about starting a blog, one of the most frequent questions I hear is, “Can I do surveys on my blog and show the results?” In other words, Can I take a poll?

True to form, and their dream of making blogging easy and accessible to everyone, Matt Mullenweg and the team at Automattic have just integrated survey / polling capability into WordPress – at the click of a button. It’s now so easy to create a poll on a WordPress.com site, you hardly need a tutorial!

You can display the results of your poll – or not – as you like. The poll creation and admin user interface absolutely rocks. And there are a bunch of cool display designs to choose from.

Here’s my very first poll on Business Blogging 101 – created in about 2 minutes!

To get started making your own surveys and polls, see the introduction to poll creation using PollDaddy and WordPress.

And send me a comment below to let me know what you think!

Mark McLaren

Does Your WordPress Theme Allow Comments on Pages as Well as Posts?

Today Business Blogging 101 received a really nice comment from a reader who likes the tutorials and took the time to let me know about it. Not only that, but she plans to write a post about Business Blogging 101 on her own blog. Pretty cool!

Something else of note: This is the first time someone has used the comment form on a Page — as opposed to commenting on a Post. It makes sense. Most “Contact Us” pages have “Contact” forms. And anyone who wants to contact me is right to assume that the Contact Us page is the best place to do so. However, this blog’s theme is provided by wordpress.com hosting, and the “form” in this case is the same one that appears on pages for single Posts. (If you are wondering what the difference between a Page and a Post is, you are not alone. See the WordPress tutorial How to Make a Static Page Your Home Page.)

I’m pointing this out mainly because it occurred to me that it might be nice to have an actual Contact form on the Business Blogging 101 Contact Us page. But I’m not sure that’s possible on a wordpress.com-hosted blog — because you can’t add your own plugins. (Incidentally, there is a very good contact form plugin available for WordPress, called the Secure Form Mailer Plugin for WordPress by Dagon Design.)

Most themes do not — or should not, in my opinion — have comment forms on their Pages. They all have comment forms on single Post pages unless comments have been disabled. The purpose of a Page is to present information in a traditional website sense: relatively static material that you want site visitors to be able to access quickly from anywhere on your site, like an About page or a Contact Us page. I don’t really want people commenting on my About page, but the comment form is there by default and I don’t think there’s anything I can do to remove it. That’s one good reason to host your blog/website on third party hosting where you can tweak the theme to your heart’s content.

But, unlike an About page, the Contact Us page is a special case, and until a Contact form widget or plugin or some such is available for wordpress.com blogs, a comment form on that page is certainly better than nothing at all.

What do you think? On the home page, click on the “[#] Comments” link below — kinda hard to see unless you know what you are looking for. Or scroll down until you see the “Leave a Reply” comments box.

Here’s a quick update to the Comments versus Contact Form issue on WordPress.com-hosted blogsites: WordPress.com does provide a way to insert a simple Contact Form into a page.

%d bloggers like this: