Tag Archives: WordPress

The lesson of a Dakota Pinnacle Birch: Why blogs, tags, and linking continue to rule for search engine results

I became a member of the Board of Minnesota Offroad Cyclists (MORC) back in January. At a meeting last weekend, a couple of board members who are avid mountain bikers told me that whenever they Google themselves, the search results return blog posts and photos from my blog, Mountain Bike Geezer

A few days later, I got an email from a Northfield area webmaster wondering what my secret was here on Locally Grown Northfield, as he noticed that search results for Northfield-related issues and people seemed to frequently link to blog posts and images here.

I told them that it’s partly because I use lots of relevant tag word and phrases in my blog posts, including first and last names. And I also take the time to label/tag photos.  But I also include a lot of links in my blog posts. Not only do Google and other search engines love links, but so do the people I link to — and they increases the likelihood that others will at some point link back to something here on LoGro. Search results are still largely dependent on having other sites link to you.  The more the better. And the higher the PageRank of those who link to you, the better. PageRank is partly why Google’s Larry Page is a billionaire.

Knecht's Nurseries and LandscapingI was explaining this to Deb Knecht this weekend, since Knecht’s Nurseries and Landscaping has been a longtime client and I’ve been helping them revamp their WordPress-based site to make it Responsive, something that all websites these days need to be since so much web traffic comes from a variety of mobile devices (tablets, smartphones, etc).

I’m also working with Deb to spruce up (heh) their archive of nearly 1,000 blog posts dating back to Feb. of 2004. While most of their blog posts have been assigned Categories, most need the addition of Tag words and phrases. Categories help when browsing a blog; Tags help with both browsing and searching. Here on LoGro we have a few dozen Categories but over 3,000 Tag words and phrases.

wordpress permalinksWhile reading up about search engine optimization (SEO) strategies recently, I learned that permalinks (the URL of a blog post) are more search engine friendly if they use words from the title of the blog post rather than a number with a generic term like ‘post’ or ‘article.’

So I’ve been converting a few of my own blogs over to this permalink naming convention.  A blog post I authored yesterday is titled Mountain biking’s sweet spot for seniors: high impact for bone density, low impact for joints and if you hover your cursor over that link, you’ll see the permalink is a long URL: http://mountainbikegeezer.com/mountain-bikings-sweet-spot-for-seniors-high-impact-bone-density-low-impact-joints/. Previously, the URL might have been http://mountainbikegeezer.com/?p=4821 or other variation using ‘blog’ or ‘archives’ or ‘post’ with a number like I’ve been using here on LoGro for years.

Dakota Pinnacle Birch

At Knecht’s, we’ve been using permalinks with the naming convention /weblog/post/# which is an indication of how old their blog is. Back in 2004, ‘weblog’ was a commonly used term.  Not any more. So when I was revamping their site a month or so ago, I changed the permalink names to search engine friendly names, assuming the WordPress database would automatically redirect anyone who tried to link to a old permalink URL to the updated one. Doing this on my mountain bike blog worked, so full steam ahead! Wrong. It only works for the default permalink, not others.  I should have used a special plugin. Ouch.  The bounce rate has skyrocketed and search engine results for popular trees and plants have plummeted.

But rather than going back to the old permalink style, we’re sticking with the change, and updating the blog posts with tags.  So for example, back in October of 2010, Leif Knecht blogged about a popular shade tree called a Dakota Pinnacle Birch.  There’ve been other posts about the tree, too, so we’ve tagged them all, which means all the posts can be retrieved with the URL http://knechts.net/tag/dakota-pinnacle-birch/ and from there, you can click on the blog post headlines or titles of each for more.

My upcoming task for LoGro will be to convert all 4,000+ blog posts to a new permalink structure. Gulp. In the meantime, however, Google will have to live with http://locallygrownnorthfield.org/post/29632.

Registrations now open for both WordPress for Noobs courses: 1) Online only or 2) Face-to-Face in Northfield

Tim FreelandI’m teaming up with fellow Northfielder Tim Freeland of Freeland Web Design to teach the WordPress for Noobs course. Tim’s been working with many area organizations on their WordPress-based websites. I’ve gotten to know him from his many years of community engagement, some of which he chronicles on his personal blog.

We’re now open for registrations.

The content for both courses is the same. Participants in the face-to-face course will have access to the online screencasts, webinars, and web forum.

Got questions? Contact me.

Here’s my promo screencast/video from when I last did the course in 2011:

Free live text chat: WordPress Q&A on Tuesday, June 28, 10 am

Got a question about WordPress, either the .com or .org versions?

Join me for a free live text chat here on LoGro, Tuesday, June 28, 10-11 am and I’ll answer as many WordPress-related questions as possible.

The Q&A is mainly intended for beginning and intermediate level users, including those who are the administrators and editor of their blog sites as well as those who are just authors or contributors.

Use the form below to email yourself a reminder about the event’s date/start time: Tuesday, June 28, 10-11 am.

If you can’t attend the live event:

  • Submit a question ahead of time by attaching a comment below to this blog post
  • Come back anytime after the event is over to read the transcript

The school district unveils a new website, built with WordPress

About a year ago, Northfield Public Schools superintendent Chris Richardson accepted my offer to meet with him so I could explain why the District’s website sucked big time.  He took copious notes, and his eyes did not seem to glaze over. But I seriously doubted anything would come of it.

Heather Kuchinka and Matt HillmanImagine my delighted surprise when two District staffers, Administrative Support Assistant Heather Kuchinka and Matt Hillman, Director of Human Resources and Technology, signed up for my online WordPress for Noobs course. They then revealed that they were about to unveil a new District website, based on WordPress, constructed by Daniel Edwins, WordPress guru at Neuger Communications Group.

Last week,  gave Heather and Matt gave me a preview and during the meeting, Chris stopped by to toss around some lingo, something to the effect of "We’ve got a boatload of RSS feeds and our permalinks are the prettiest around." You rock, Chris!

Northfield School District websiteToday, the District portion of the revamped site is up, and according to this news item (note that pretty permalink), "In the coming months, we will be rolling out new individual school sites in an effort to mirror the updates made at the district level."

They’ve set up a feedback page with a form on it, but I hate that.  I can’t learn from the feedback from anyone else, nor can I read their reaction to the feedback. So if you’re a fan of public feedback and conversation-as-a-path-to-public engagement, post your feedback in a comment here and I’ll see if I can twist their arms to join us.

WordPress for Noobs begins January 10. Get it through Your Thick Skull

In late October, I hosted (with a little help from my friends, Tracy Davis and Sean Hayford O’Leary,) two WordPress Q&A webinars for Northfield area WordPress users. A few days later, I attended my first Minneapolis-St. Paul WordPress User Group meeting. And two weekends ago, I presented two sessions at WordCamp MSP in Richfield.

All of which served to convince me that A) the popularity of WordPress continues to grow; and B) the demand for help in using it continues to grow.

So I decided to create an online course called WordPress for Noobs, and have it be the first course delivered by my new interactive learning platform:

Your Thick Skull

Your Thick Skull; Griff Wigley, instructor

Continue reading WordPress for Noobs begins January 10. Get it through Your Thick Skull

Got questions about using WordPress? Register now to attend your choice of two Webinars on Oct. 26

WordPress webinarMany websites and blogs in the Rice County area are running on the WordPress platform, the most popular content management system in the world.  While WordPress is relatively easy to use, its flexibility and extensibility can be overwhelming.  And some of its advanced features can challenge the technical ability of even savvy webmasters.

So I’m putting on my Wigley and Associates hat and teaming up with two of my longtime colleagues, Tracy Davis and Sean Hayford O’Leary, to offer two free WordPress Q&A Webinars on Tuesday, Oct. 26, one at 11 am and the other at 8 pm.

Sean Hayford O'Leary Tracy Davis Griff Wigley
Sean and Tracy are experienced designers with considerable technical skills.  I can’t design my way out of a paper bag but I have set up many dozen WordPress sites and I’m not half bad as a coach.

The 11 am Webinar will be primarily for intermediate to advanced users with Sean and Tracy featured; the 8 pm webinar will be for beginning to intermediate users with me as the beauty on duty.

If you’re using WordPress and live or work anywhere in Rice County, you’re eligible.  But you must register ahead of time; the sooner the better, as we’re limiting each session to the first 25 registrants.

REGISTER NOW

  • WordPress Q&A Level 2 (intermediate to advanced users, featuring Sean and Tracy): Tuesday, October 26th, 11 am-noon CDT
  • WordPress Q&A Level 1 (beginning to intermediate users, featuring Griff): Tuesday, October 26th, 8-9 pm CDT

Have questions about the webinars?  Attach a comment below or contact me.

WordPress under attack; upgrade ASAP to 2.8.4

wordpress.org logo Many Northfield area blog sites run on WordPress. If your site is one of them, be sure to upgrade to Version 2.8.4 ASAP because there’s a nasty worm making the rounds this weekend:

I wrote to my favorite web host, Tiger Technologies in California, asking them if they knew about it the worm and whether they could tell if any sites had been compromised. The owner, Robert Mathews, wrote me back within a few minutes:

Continue reading WordPress under attack; upgrade ASAP to 2.8.4