Search Privacy is Making it Difficult to Judge What Web Visitors Want
Wordpress is still the top blogging platform
The information was fairly new, published around mid of 2013. Information was compiled from Technorati top 100 blogs annual study. Looking at the pie chart, Wordpress has a whopping 52% usage as compared with other blogging platform be it self-hosted or from the Wordpress.com website.
Panda and Penguin, very potent web traffic killer
Google Penguin Anti-Webspam update again causing website traffic drop
Google Panda update info graphic and Google Venice update
So far I have tried to clean up whatever I can, but I have not seen any re-bounce to the website traffic that I had earlier. Perhaps my site still contained a lot of negative points which are deemed less useful and thus not worthy of inclusion into the better ranking on the search term.
On the other hand some sites owners seemed to have good inkling as to what Google wants and has managed to take steps to rectify their site and get better results. But with so many tweaking done by Google, chances are it is a long uphill climb to the former higher traffic for most of us hit hard by changes. I guess there are many points to fixing the Google Panda update penalty.
Rank and Pillage - giving this monetizing a try
So how I end up signing up with this Rank and Pillage program? Well the sales copy look sincere enough, and one of the backers own the free website hosting called Blinkweb which I gave it a try. So it seems there is some possibility of workability in their system. Plus I didn't have to pay all upfront first for their program, just USD5 then a week later if I feel their program is ok, can pay the balance of USD72.
And so far running through the PDF file and some of their videos (the videos a bit difficult to run through with the crappy streamyx broadband, but still manage to watch some of it with all the stop and go... sigh!), the ideas seemed sound enough.
Bluehost giving me the blues, looking for new web hosting
Another down point is that Bluehost is one of the few web hosting companies that throttle your bandwidth, that means if a certain increase load to their servers due to higher website traffic, it would mean your web site will start to slow. Searching online, I found a review where a user who was a teacher, complained that her Wordpress website slowed to a crawl when many of her students were accessing her web site simultaneously. And I bet that the number isn't very high considering that a classroom full of student accessing her website requires throttling?
Turned down an ad offer
Although it is good to get some extra pocket money from my personal blog, however sometimes I will have to turn down offers for ad placement on my website. Personal blogs may be as good when it comes to adsense income, but one should not be so desperate as to accept any offer for ad placement if the terms are unfavorable.
I have received some good ones and acceptable ones, but the most recent on the offer was just pushing beyond any sanity.
The requested offer was for several links sitewide and lifetime. I think that is asking for the moon and the stars!. Most ad links are usually one or two links on one page for one year. The payout wasn't very great either, I could have just done it, pocketed the dough for Christmas and that be the end of it. But I decided I didn't want to spoil the market.
Besides I would lose out in the long run, 5 links for lifetime would mean losing my Google PR juice from every web page of mine for such a small return.
No way hosay! Bad SEO I would say. The extra doough is nice but I'm not that desperate. I would prefer a long term partnership than a small short term returns with a long term loss.
Sure my personal blog may not have so good website traffic, what else do you think it would be? It is after all a personal blog with random ramblings with more misses than hits on topic wise. Most personal blogs do not have good website traffic. If I do focus and narrow down my topic focus I'm sure I will get better website traffic, alas this personal blogs is for my random writings that don't fit to my other websites.
Anyway, I have my reasons to accept or reject an ad placement offer. So if you guys out there are finding it difficult to earn from your blog and desperate enough, these people may come around and well, up it is up to you to take up their lopsided offer.
Facebook wants to start email?
This is intriguing. And apparently their target is Google Gmail coz they name their project Gmail killer. I might just give Facebook email a try once they launch it, but don't bet on anything just yet. Being long supporter of Gmail, I found Gmail has many feature not even Yahoo mail nor Microsoft Hotmail could offer. Will just to wait and when FB launches the email system on Monday.
Just a quick update on this quick post which I happened to bump into. I've already got my facebook mail, but it was not all as hot as it should be. It just provided an alternate way to message your friends. Instead of having to log into Facebook, you could just email to your friends Facebook email account and it would pop up in their Facebook messenger inbox list.
So it was not really an email per se, but sort of an alternative communication method to your Facebook friends. If you don't know their email address, or they didn't switch on this feature, it won't work.
I think the biggest contender to the webmail against Google Gmail would come from Microsoft newly redesigned Hotmail Outlook Live MSN webmail. Now giving this new look a spin and so far I kinda like it. So Gmail would have to work harder to maintain their webmail market share (although they recently surpass Microsoft Hotmail users). The recent Gmail re-design on the composing function was rather not so user friendly compared to their old one. Since it was an on-going process, I hope they would improve it and make more user friendly rather than just trying to make it look nice but became less functional.
Bluehost down time again?
In case you choose something not so well known, do note that some project actually died! So don't choose a less well known project for your main or major blog website. Because when it loses support, you won't get the needed updates especially to clog up any vulnerabilities against pesky hackers attempting to break into your website and deface your contents!
The most basic concept that I learned was from the SBI system. Using the long time tested C-P-T-M idea it has nevered failed and works just as well on a non-SBI hosted website. Although it may missed some amout of automation process I still get interesting results.
So learn the SBI system for making website. It sure works and gets good returns!
Make website to scout for business
Make a website for your own personal career success. If the company you work for are run by timid managers who are afraid of this and that, better look for another dynamic company unless you find the work is relaxing or no other place to go. Or else think out of the box make your own website to promote your products and service indirectly selling your company products. I think it should work too.
Using blogger layout
I finally came around to switch my CH website blog to the new layout system and it took me the better part of a day to get the look and feel similar to the previous template.
I could try making it 99% similar looking it would take too much work. I guess an 80% similarity is good enough. The color theme still matches as per the nav menu. I opt for a wider right side bar after all quick blogs tend to be short so a narrow body might be better suited. Besides it is using a fluid width template so it doesn't matter if my right takes up more space.
The Blogger new layout is a little tougher to get working but I was able to do it much faster than before by using this go blog layout template and modify from here. Just a matter of changing colours and alignment adjustment and there you have it!
Always updating stuffs
Just like now I'm thinking how to use Google Blogger new layout, so how do I port over the old tabled web page design to the CSS tableless template? This might require some thinking about, and there may be some layout that may not fit. But as long as the general look and feel is there, I should be able to cobble up a web page template that should look similar to the previous one.
If I managed it, my SBI site would probably start using the tableless CSS template too. But I probably be unlikely to update my 250+ pages one by one like I did previously. Just way too much work!
And why should I port over? To take advantage of Blogger's new features not available in the older HTML template style. And ya, it may be a pain to code XML style, but it would certainly be worth it to gain the additional features!
Thank goodness! Bluehost managed to resolve this issue quickly! My domain was not down at all. Bluehost is not too bad when it comes to customer service.
Bluehost prices has been increasing lately. Probably cost has increased. For example if you take a yearly web hosting service, it is now $8.95/mo, up from previous $7.95/mo. And if you want to take up their $6.95/mo offer, it used to be for a 2-years period, now it is 3-years. Well, since I'm going to be with them for a long while, I went for the 3-years webhosting and save some money.
And they use to give whois privacy for free, now it is chargeable, just like godaddy, exabytes, etc. Oh, well, this service is nice, but not necessary. Just use a stonger anti-spam for that public email.
If you want to build a free website using Wordpress, you can get one at Wordpress.com and sign up for an account there. However using a free website in Wordpress.com may not be the best option. Ok, ok, I should be supporting Wordpress, after all they do provide free download of their software to be installed into your paid hosted website.
And for those who don't want to pay for anything and still like to use Wordpress as their blogging platform, they can build a free website by signing up with them.
But as your needs grow, you will find the free offering is not as versatile as say Google's Blogger/Blogspot in that you can't place any advertisement into your Wordpress blog account. However Wordpress do provide some premium offering to increase your requirement. It took me a while to finally find out the price. Wordpress did not display their premium pricing publicly and I only found out about the pricing after deciding to explore their free Wordpress blog by signing up.
The premium offering can be cost effective as you are just picking up what you want as your needs grow. However in the long run if you are adding up each premium offering, you may end up paying a lot more than just going straight into a paid hosting with a Wordpress installation.
All the offerings are on a per year basis. And if your needs is not a lot, perhaps you just need to add a domain and Custom CSS that comes to about $29.94 per year.
And that was just what my friend did. He got a domain from GoDaddy and pointed it to Wordpress.com and used the mapping functionality which cost $9.97 and bought the Custom CSS for $14.97 so that he could modify the them to include some Google Adsense in his Wordpress blog.
So he has just plunk in his money for nothing. Although there is a refund policy of 30 days, but I think he may have exceeded the days after trying it for some time.
So in the end, I advise him to get a paid web hosting. There are many cheap and good web hosting companies around to choose from. It is not always that you need a lot of bandwidth and storage space. So a simple and cheap web hosting account might be all that you need as you are starting out. You can always upgrade later if you need more space and bandwidth transfer.
There are always some pitfalls when trying to build a free website. But if your needs are simple, free is good. But if your website ambition is to blog to promote yourself and your work, it might be better to go for a paid hosting. The upgrade offering from Wordpress.com just didn't suit my friends requirement. And if you planning to go for free now, and then thought perhaps later you want to upgrade to expand your website functionality then you need to think carefully about what you want to do with your website.
If it will tie in with your work and business later. Then don't try to build a free website. Go straight to building one with a paid web hosting company.
And of course if you want to really succeed in building a website, try Sitesell Site Build It. They have the best tools for creating a successful website. And of course, it cost a mint, but it is worth every penny. Scrimping initially won't get you far in the long run. Better to jump headlong into it if you know the direction you are heading.
Wordpress vs Blogger
Anyway, I am using both self hosted Wordpress and Google Blogger/Blogspot. Both has their pros and cons. Sometimes we don't want to rely 100% on the free offering because we may not be able to control what happens to the free hosted blog. However Google is a big and cash rich company so there is some assurance that Blogger/Blogspot will not have a major change in its structure anytime soon.
Wordpress as a free open source software has been improving over the years and it is getting better and better. With better user interface and ease of publishing as well as the many free template offering, one could easily set up on a web hosting company and start blogging or creating a website almost immediately.
However doing a self hosted blog like Wordpress do require some good maintenance. You must always make sure you have hardened it against malicious hackers. Just recently I receive some warning from my Wordpress security that some hacker from Ukraine tried to do SQL injection. They even attempted to guess what kind of plugin that I have and exploit those weaknesses found in those plugin that has not been properly programmed. And before that some Koren hacker also attempted to hack into my Wordpress installation.
I don't know why my Wordpress installation is now the target of malicious hacker nowadays. I never experience any on my other website Wordpress installation. Anyway one could never be careful. So If you are not the kind that like to update your installation and putting up various security to protect your installation, it might be best that you avoid installing Wordpress onto a self hosted web hosting company.
And the alternative? Build a free website using blogger/blogspot. Why didn't I suggest the free alternative at Wordpress.com? Well for one, you can't really customize the theme and if you want to place some banner ads like Google Adsense, you can't at all unless you sign up for their premium service. The idea here now is to build a free website blog.
And of course you want to plug in your domain name to personalize the website, you could only do so with Blogger but not at Wordpress.com
So when it comes to free hosted, Blogger is better than Wordpress. But for self hosted, there isn't any Blogger system around for you to install. So the best option is to use Wordpress but you must put in some effort to maintain it and secure it.
While looking through the software offering in my Bluehost Simple Script list, I noticed they provided some new software under the heading of Social Networking. There were two software listed, Pligg and BuddyPress. Intrigue, I decided to give them a spin.
The Pligg installation went badly, and I decided to chuck it to another day for testing. So that left me with Buddy Press. Like Wordpress, the installation was smooth. The interface was similar with that of Wordpress and it has some interesting features. Not only could you blog just like Wordpress, it has a forum system build into it. And for socializing, it has group function, I think similar to Yahoo groups for posting and sharing information within a group.
However this Buddy Press software is still new and trying to find a nice Buddy Press theme is not so easy at this moment as there are not many choices around to choose from. In the meantime, I think I will not use it for now from the lack of Buddy Press themes as well as from lack of good plugins. The few Buddy Press themes that I tried looked funny and weren't very functional either. Eventually there would be more of these when it becomes more popular.
Good plugins for bbPress
I finally found some good plugins for my bbPress that could do just what I wanted:
1. Weed out bots from humans during the registration phase
2. Mass delete the existing spammers who now number about 5000!
The few plugins that I settled for are:
a. mass delete users
b. recaptcha for bbpress
c. human test
After giving a quick spin after installation it worked flawlessly! So one more up against those pesky web spammers.
If you plan for a lightweight software to build a forum website, bbPress is a very good recommendation with its Akismet spam busting ability and a little help from the plugins above, making it one of the best new free forum website application around!
To get bbPress goto http://bbpress.org
The plugins are in the "Extend" tab.