- #PRdebate: Can PR step up to the digital challenge? – If by ‘the PR industry’ you mean traditional agencies or ‘the dinosaurs that run PR who don’t get the significance of digital’, as James Warren put it, then i agree PR has already lost. But if we’re talking about the growing band of smart new agencies and the intelligent approach of the larger agencies of which a few were represented last night, then no. These sorts of comms professionals know they still have a lot to learn, but they are building digital skill sets by hiring in experienced individuals or looking beyond the boundaries of what would traditionally be PR. Yes, the social media specific agencies and digital agencies have a lead in understanding the environment, but they also need to skill up in terms of comms strategy and delivery.
- The Great Online PR Debate (#PRdebate): PR Agencies are Losing the Right to Learn – The skills required in the Online world are very different to those practised in Media Relations. What clients need in the Online domain is a set of direct service offerings. They need direct management of reputations amongst communities and forums. They care for direct, bottom line events like sales and bookings conversions, and other direct, tangible outcomes like traffic acquisition. This involves a specific set of direct Online skills: Online people talking directly to lots of other Online people (customers, partners, influencers, stakeholders, etc), not people talking through people (the media). These aren’t Media Relations activities and I don’t think that a traditional Media Relations agency can carry them with any level of assurance. More to the point, most traditional PR firms aren’t comfortable with this kind of work.
- Ignore Twitter? Major brands learn they’d better respond — and quick – Los Angeles Times – “Our social media marketing approach is that we want to be everywhere our consumers are,” said Michael Donnelly, Coke’s director of global interactive marketing. “There’s significant risk in being perceived the wrong way.”
- Difference between PR and publicity – Regis McKenna was great at PR. Yes, he got Steve Jobs and the Mac on the cover of more than 30 magazines in the year it launched. That was just publicity. The real insight was crafting the story of the Mac (and yes, the story of Steve Jobs).
- How to Demo Twitter – One of the great challenges for anyone who loves Twitter is to show other people why they should love it too. You can start off by showing how businesses use Twitter. For example, AmazonDeals increases Amazon’s revenue, and ComcastCares provides support to Comcast customers. Zappos promotes the caring brand image of the company because its CEO, Tony Hsieh, is doing the tweeting.
- How to create a hosted Wordpress blog – a step by step guide from booking the domain to getting your blog seen – Everything you need to know to create a blog, seo it, and promote it well. This has a step-by-step guide and dozens of resource links.
Archive for the ‘WordPress’ tag
How to create a hosted Wordpress blog – a step by step guide from booking the domain to getting your blog seen
However, when it comes to creating a blog that you want to host on your own space, or promoting your blogs during the initial few months, most people tend to get confused. Worry not. It happens to most of us.
At least that’s what I mentioned to a good colleague of mine, who wanted to start blogging, when I wrote her a detailed mail recently. Soon there were other colleagues who were asking me the same thing, and I forwarded that mail to them. Then I though why not just post the mail online and maybe it might help someone else as well. So here it is – though a bit modified.
Before you go ahead, remember there are many blog CMS, web hosting companies, blog designs, and a number of blog promotion advice you can get easily searching on the web. What I am writing is based on what I have used and learnt. Nothing more.
Booking a domain, webspace, and creating your blog
1. Check for a free domain name (like Bella.com) – Type the domain name you want in the search box in this site – Domainsbot and wait. It will tell you which domains are free and which are not. You have to use other domain checking tools in case you want check for the country specific domains like the .in and .co.in variety. Or you can go for unconventional domain names.
2. Once you found your desired and free domain name, you need to register it and buy some space on the web for your domain. There are many domain registrars available. I used 1and1 for this site and others because I find it better and cheaper. On 1and1, go to the Linux hosting from the left hand side and choose the Beginner package. (Or choose any other package or web host if you prefer.)
3. Once you have done the payment and you are ready to roll, and the 1and1 site or your web host admin dashboard is showing your domain name and how to edit details and stuff, set up your MySQL database, this is how you can do it in 1and1. Copy the MySQL set up details on a notepad and keep it safe.
4. After this, you need to copy your ftp username and password from your webhost and also copy it in a notepad and keep it safe. On 1and1, this is how you can get your ftp details.
3. Download the Wordpress CMS on your system (remember this is from Wordpress.org, not Wordpress.com) (dare I say Wordpress is the most advanced of the lot, has one of the largest communities and is the most popular blogging software today.)
4. Extract the Wordpress files from the zipped folder and follow the instructions. For those who used 1and1 as their web host, here is the FAQ. Don’t get scared if it gets too technical. Read it slowly and you will come out fine. Remember the only thing that needs to be done is to open the file called ‘wp-config-sample.php’ using a notepad and fill in your database details that you have saved earlier. Then, save and rename the file as ‘wp-config.php’. You are done editing it. Simple.
5. Download a ftp client like Filezilla and install it on your system. Once done, open it and fill in your your host (like bella.com), username and password (the ftp details you copied earlier) in the QuickConnect bar on top and click the QuickConnect button. Filezilla will then connect to your webspace. The left hand window of the client shows the files on your system and once connected, the right hand window will show the files on your webspace. Navigate to your Wordpress folder in your system in the left-hand window (lower one), select all the files in the Wordpress folder, right-click, and use the upload link. That’s all. It will take a while to upload all the files to your webspace depending on your connection speed. You might as well have a cup of tea in the meantime.
6. Once all the files are uploaded, type ‘http://example.com/wp-admin/install.php’ in your browser address bar and follow the installation instructions that follow. (Remember to replace example.com with your domain name) The installation should go smooth and you can now log in to your dashboard.
Designing your blog
1. Now that your blog is up, you might need to design it better and choose a different look than the default theme. For this, you need to either look for some good free themes or buy one.
You can start looking at the links below. Choose one according to what you are going to post in your blog. For example, if you are going to post pictures most of the time, you might want a theme with a wide post area. If you are going to write business stuff, you might do better choosing a theme with less colors and jazz.
- Mashable: Top 12 Stunning Wordpress Themes
- Mashable: Unusual Wordpress Themes
- Mashable: Wordpress 2 Column Themes
- Mashable: Wordpress 1 Column Themes
- Mashable: Wordpress 3 Column Themes
- Mashable: 4 Column Wordpress Themes
- Performancing Wordpress Themes
- Smashing Magazine: 100 Excellent Free and High Quality Wordpress Themes
- Smashing Magazine: 83 Beautiful Wordpress Themes You Probably Haven’t Seen
- The Official Wordpress Themes Directory
2. The next important thing is adding some useful plugins (third party tools that give you extra features). You can go to the Wordpress plugins directory or even check out my collection of Wordpress plugins you can’t just miss. Here is a huge list of 300 Wordpress tools you can check out as well.
3. Of course, you can already start posting.
Promoting your blog
2. A little bit of search engine optimization so that you blog starts appearing in search engines and eventually rank well is necessary. There is no shortcut here nor it is easy but not impossible to do it alone.
In short, there are two type of optimization you can do:
a. Onsite optimization: Make sure you have the meta tags in your site html proper, put good alt tags for images, include relevant keywords in your post without overdoing it. Try the website grader to check how your site scores. Check if the theme you are using is designed properly. Is it W3C compliant? Even if it is not, can you fix some major errors? Here is a basic starter to learn html.
b. Offsite optimization: Google will rank your blog primarily on how many and what type of sites are linking to it. Try to get as many as quality sites and blog as you can to link to your blog. Some people buy links, some request and beg, some exchange links, you decide what you need to do. How you can start is by submitting your sites to directories, bookmarking on (do follow) bookmarking sites, commenting on do follow blogs, and most importantly connecting with other bloggers and writing good content. You will see the phrase ‘content is king’ many times over as you start researching more online.
Submit your site to search engine and directories. Refer the main ones below to start with:
You can use Submit Express’s Free Submission as well to submit it other smaller search engines.
Also, use these tools to analyze your site better:
a. Google Sitemaps: It helps Google index your site better, tells you which page is being indexed by Google, and where are the problem areas.
b. Google Analytics: It tells you details about the site traffic.
c. Yahoo Site Explorer: Webmasters traffic analytics tool by Yahoo.
What about blog directories:
Here is a giant list of blog directories.
3. Network with other bloggers: The blogosphere is a huge network and it’s fun to be connected and it’s beneficial as well. The usual (and correct) advice is read other blogs, comment on their posts, reply to comments on your blog, and send emails once in a while to established bloggers in your niche sharing an interesting post you have written. In short, let other people know you and that your blog exists. Everything doesn’t happen automatically on the blogosphere, even though we would love to think of it like that. The underground blogosphere, which is described as a complex network of bloggers communicating and networking among one another through emails, phones, IMs, etc. to promote and help one another out, is much prevalent.
Some of the best blogging tips are at Problogger, Copyblogger, and Daily Blog Tips. There are more good ones. Check out this directory of bloggers writing on blogging here. There are other directories at Alltop categorized by subject. Choose your niche.
4. Create social networking profiles and promote your blog there. Yes, the social networking sites, where you already so familiar/ or tired of.
Facebook: The biggest social networking site can give you ways to publish your blog’s RSS feed on your profile page, exposing your posts to your friends. You can join groups where you can occasionally share your best posts.
Flickr: Do you plan to use pictures on your posts? You can try creating a Flickr account and uploading your picture there and embedding it to your blog posts. It will save you web space and create an opportunity to network with people there.
YouTube: Similarly, you can post your videos on YouTube and embed them on your blog. It can give good exposure to your blog through your videos and friends there.
Twitter: Nowadays, a lot of traffic to my blogs come from Twitter. Twitter is today the cool thing everyone is talking about and the sooner you try it out, the better. You can feed you blog RSS to Twitter using Twitterfeed. There are a number of Twitter Wordpress plugins to do the job as well. My Twitter profiles are here (@palinn and @indiaprblog) and hey I post interesting links often.
Linkedin: You can showcase your blog posts, and share it to groups. I put my other blog, India PR Blog, as a company I am engaged with. So I come out like Founder and Writer, India PR Blog as one of the current job description.
Remember all these sites have their own communities and different ways of engaging within those communities. Learn and adhere to those. If you are not spamming your blog url and are nice to most people, it should be fine.
5. Other methods: You can put your blog url on your email signatures, talk about it to friends, clients, colleagues, pitch to the traditional media, etc. Run a contest on your blog. The possibilities are endless.
This post is intended for those who are new to blogging. Experienced bloggers are also requested to leave their advice and tips in the comments.
Image credit: How to Make a Badass WordPress Logo
Wordpress Automatic Upgrade plugin is such a relief for many considering that Wordpress keeps on coming on with new versions and updates frequently. I had it installed on two of my blogs, this and India PR Blog.
However, of late, wherever I tried to run an upgrade on both the blogs using the plugin, a blank page would appear during the process, between step No. 3 or 4 or somewhere in between. I had to start afresh again many times and weren’t able to figure out what went wrong until recently when I disabled all the plugins before I start the upgrade process. Viola, it worked, on both the blogs.
Although the Automatic Upgrade plugin also has a step as part of the upgrade process, in which it disables all plugins, I guess doing that manually doing it yourself before the process starts was quite worth it. Anyways, you can now select all plugins at once on the Wordpress dashboard and activate/deactivate them all together at once. So there is not much effort required at all.
There are hundreds of Wordpress plugins out there and you can use as many as you want. However, there are some plugins that are must-used for all. This is a list of 11 such plugins that you just can’t live without.
In no particular order…
Akismet – This plugin that seemingly seem to do nothing visible has protected my blogs from over thousands of spam comments. Need I say more.
You need your Wordpress.com API key to activate akismet. You can get it by registering at Wordpress.com and by going to your profile page.
Feedburner Feedsmith – Sooner or later, you are going to burn your blog’s feed on Feedburner, and when you do that, this plugin will make sure all the default Wordpress feeds of your blog points to the Feedburner feed. For example, http://advocable.com/feed will always point to the Feedburner feed – http://feeds.advocable.com/newposts
Google Sitemaps – Ah! Who wouldn’t want to use Google Sitemaps. This plugin creates that necessary sitemap for your Wordpress blog effortlessly.
Wordpress Mobile Editon – Today, people are increasingly using mobile phones to browse the net, and you don’t want your site to look garbled on their handsets. This plugin displays the content of your blog in a mobile phone screen friendly format that is easy to browse and read. this is one of those just-installed-and-forget-it plugins.
Maintenance Mode – When you are fidling with the design and layout of your blog, you don’t want your visitors to see you site all crippled. Right? This plugin will display a simple note to your site visitors saying your blog is currently undergoing scheduled maintenance and so please try back after some time. You, as the admin, can continue to work and see how your site actually looks like on screen.
Subscribe to Comments – When I comment on blog post, I ask questions and give my views on a particular topic and expect the post author or other readers to reply to my comment. Now since I can’t be bookmarking or remembering all the comments that I keep making, I’d love it if the replies are somehow sent to me. This plugin does exactly that by giving me the option of subscribing to the follow-up comments when I am leaving a comment on a blog. For a blogger, this is a good way to keep their readers engaged.
All-in-One SEO Pack – This plugin is no longer supported but is still one of the best out there to ensure that your post titles, descriptions, and keywords are in place, duplicate content are in check, and other on-site SEO optimisation is done.
Similar Posts – You can use this plugin to display a list of 5-10 or more similar posts below your blog posts. This helps in atrracting your readers to other similar content on your blog and perhaps make them stay longer on your site.
Popularity Content – This plugin helps you to display a list of the most popular posts on your blog based on certain criteria you have set. Displaying such list is important as your visitors know what are the best your blog has to offer.
Wordpress Automatic Upgrade - Wordpress keeps updating itself to new versions every now and then, and who would have the time and patience to delete some folders from the server, upload the newer versions, and take care that nothing is wrong in all these deleting and uploading. And plus the reinstallation. You can escape all this by getting this plugin do the upgrading for you automatically.