A Ghoulish Collection of Links | This Month In SEO – 10/08

Boo! Did I scare you? I didn’t think so, but today is Halloween so why not dedicate a month’s worth of links to the eve of all hallows. Nothing below should scare you. You may agree with what’s on the other side of the links or you may disagree, but there’s no reason to fear clicking any of them.

Plenty to get to and more at my Delicious, StumbleUpon, and Sphinn profiles.

Now on with the show and if you’re in the U.S. remember to vote on Tuesday.

Social Media

The election here in the U.S. is changing social media. More and more political conversations can be found and more and more mainstream media types are paying attention. Great for us, but that doesn’t help the sites become profitable. Enter Google with open social and some new patents to potentially mine social profiles for better ad targeting. People are paying attention and the money may be coming, but don’t overlook the Achilles heel of different types of social sites.

Micro blogging is still all about Twitter even as sites like Plurk attempt to take the mantle. Twitter is going mainstream and you need to take a look at it. Why? Maybe four months of thoughts from someone who used to think Twitter stupid will convince you.

What? You’re already using Twitter. How about some tools then to make the service more useful. Ok, you’re convinced and have enough tools. So are you conversing or broadcasting? Or are you so advanced in your Twitter skills that you practice mind control?

Digg banned your profile, you say. What kind of karma is that? Are you sure you didn’t do something to deserve it? Maybe you were pushing your commercial site a little too hard. Sorry about the ban, but at least the rest of us can learn something from your troubles. Maybe some who haven’t been banned are feeling a little naughty and looking to boost their profile into that space you just vacated.

Don’t worry about that Digg ban. There’s still StumbleUpon and it’s not too late to learn the most important things to do if you want to have success there. Are three things too much? Then just skip to the most important thing. Self submission isn’t limited to StumbleUpon, but should you do it? It may hurt you if you do. Then again is self submitting really all that bad?

Blogging

If you were starting over as a blogger with a beginner’s mind what advice would you offer your beginning self? Would you offer tips for starting out part time? Would you teach yourself to write better headlines? Could you and your beginner self occupy the same space-time without tearing apart the fabric of the universe?

Do you view your readers as a market or as a community? Think relationships before sales and think community before market. Then look for ways to build your community. It takes a community to build a blog or raise a child or something like that.

Before you begin marketing think strategy. There’s a lot of competition out there and you need to have a plan. With strategy in place you can look to get featured in mass media or drive easy traffic to your blog. Other bloggers will be important to connect with, especially if Microsoft has its way and gives links from blogs a boost.

With strategy and community in place and the New York Times and the blogosphere linking to you, it’s time to make some money advertising. Which ad server will you use? And now that the money is flowing in you can afford a better server. Do you know how to move your blog to its new host?

WordPress

Are you geared up for WordPress 2.7 yet? New look, new features. There’s a lot to like. Even if you’re not geared up for yet another upgrade it’s still a good idea. One reason WP gets a new version is to close holes that have been discovered and to make it more secure. No matter what version you use or will use you’ll probably want to optimize WordPress as best you can.

Ready to build your site completely with WordPress? It can be used as a full CMS you know. You’ll want to design and develop your own theme and consider some of the trends the popular blogs are using. Enhance your design with jQuery, tweak your navigation a bit and you’ll be all set.

Categories or tags, pages or posts. Which should you use? Whatever you decide you may want to show off how many subscribers you have. You can do it without needing FeedBurner’s help. Did you know there are many different ways to display content in WordPress? You can even change what gets displayed under different conditions using context includes. And if you prefer not to do your own coding you can create custom content types with the Flutter plugin.

Design And Development

Dreams can come true again, When everything old is new again. Could be what explains the retro and vintage look in modern design. More likely it’s the reaction against the web 2.0 style. Colorful is still in and can be a good source of inspiration. Art is another great source of inspiration for design. Have a look at some stunning images.

Web design matters. People will start making decisions about you the moment they come in contact with your site or worse in the agonizing moments they wait for your site to load. Logos matter too. They can communicate a lot and speak for your brand. If your site isn’t cutting it or your logo is saying the wrong words it’s time to think about a redesign. Just remember to include the key elements all top sites should have.

At some point your design will likely take a trip through Photoshop. Will your toolbox be ready? Does your toolbox include a color mixer for choosing a color scheme? Have you given any thought to how comments on your blog will look? Do you know how they can look? And there’s no doubt images will play some kind of role in your design. Where will you get those images from?

Sooner or later your design is going to ask to be turned into an actual site. Do you really need to use CSS? Can’t you stick with that table-based layout? Sure you can, well, sort of. It’s actually still CSS. And since you’re using CSS how well do you really understand positioning. Do you know your absolutes from your relatives from your fixed? Even if you know, how well do the browsers know. Time to get out those cross browser fixes and tools for testing.

You should be able to get your CSS to display cross browser, but sometimes a little JavaScript is needed to fix those browser headaches. JavaScript can do much more when folded into Ajax. You can add effects like search suggest or full featured shopping carts. And you can’t beat 20 earth-shattering tutorials from one of the best sources for tutorials. Ok, they may not litterally shatter the earth, but they are worth reading.

Link Building

Before you can move on to advanced concepts of link building you need a firm grasp of the fundamentals. With a basic understanding in place you can then develop an overall strategy. Directories might become one tactic in your arsenal and if so you’ll want to know how to identify the good from the bad. And perhaps most importantly you want to understand how to measure the value you’re getting so you can readjust both strategy and tactics.

Follow, nofollow, dofollow, don’t follow, let’s call the whole thing off. Are there benefits to PageRank Sculpting? Is PR Sculpting worth the effort? The answer might depend on whether your site is a Ferrari or a Gremlin. Since a followed link is preferable to one that isn’t followed should you turn your blog into a dofollow blog? Will it increase the quantity of comments on your blog at the expense of quality? No matter which side you lean on the nofollow/dofollow fence, one thing is certain. Internal linking does matter.

Link algorithms change. Today’s best tactics may be useless tomorrow. What works today could hurt tomorrow. Will the link you turn on today return the favor? Will it still return that favor next month?

Do you ask for links in emails? Should you? Is there really anything wrong with the practice or is it simply the implementation that’s awry? When you have control over the anchor text in a link how many words and characters do you use? Might be more important to know the answer than you realize? Maybe you’re tired of all these link building specifics and prefer to let links into your site grow naturally.

SEO

You have 5 goals when optimizing any page on your site. Do you know what they are? If you don’t you could always try a little Q&A with Google directly. Maybe it will help clear things up. Of course Google can’t be entirely up front about everything so myths will often prevail. They may not always be right, but that’s no reason not to learn from your fellow SEOs.

You can never have too much knowledge of keywords. Most any guide that comes your way is probably worth a look, though some guides are more comprehensive than others. Keyword Discovery is not enough. You’ll still need to measure the effectiveness of your keywords and go beyond the research to apply what you’ve learned. You can leverage keywords through older posts and then start the research anew by mining the conversation on social media sites.

How do you know when your SEO is done? Well it’s never done. You need to keep measuring where you are to adjust for where you want to go. You can use a checklist to make sure you’ve covered your bases, use advanced search operators to explore the current situation, and even spy a bit on your competitors without getting into trouble.

Not everyone has the same love of SEO tools of course. Fortunately the community is happy to share it’s opinion. And while tools can tell you where things are now and have been in the past, patents can give you some ideas about where things might be going.

So what should you measure with all the tools you’ve collected? Is PageRank the ultimate measure of online influence or is it a horrible measure of that influence. The reality is probably somewhere in between.

Business And Marketing

What’s step one in starting a business? A sound business plan, of course. It should be obvious, but sadly too many businesses neglect this necessary first step and fail. It’s not the only reason some businesses fail, though. There are at least 5 reasons your affiliate marketing business might not succeed.

Some do succeed so how about some inspirational stories about how they did. And while it may sound counter intuitive sometimes the way to end up with more is to give everything away.

Hand in hand with a solid business plan is market research. Where do you go to learn more about an industry. You might stop off at the magazine stand as part of your research or you might find the top sites in the industry to learn about the market.

There’s a psychology to selling. People make decisions emotionally, sometimes out of a fear of losing something they have. You want to persuade people instead of forcing them to see your point of view. Make them realize the truth on their own instead of telling it to them directly. Stories can be powerful persuaders and if you do everything right you’ll be consistently driving people toward closing the sale.

It’s getting closer to the witching hour. Day has turned to dusk and the night is beginning to fall, bringing with it ghosts and ghouls, witches and goblins. And maybe a few late night trick or treaters. Break out the big kitchen knife and carve up a pumpkin or slice into a piece of pumpkin pie.

Enjoy the weekend and happy reading.

Download a free sample from my book, Design Fundamentals.

11 comments

    • Thanks Dan. I have a lot of these posts with plenty of links. I tried to organize them in a way to make it easy to find what you want.

      Hope you do find some good content through the links here.

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