Monthly Archives: July 2008

Seesmic as a pre-blogging tool

I’ve been increasingly using Seesmic as a ‘pre-blogging’ tool. What does that mean? It means that I invite comments on a question before the blog post is even written. It means I do some of my research in public. It means that, in talking through an issue with my peers, I clarify what it is we’re really talking about in the first place. Continue reading

Wordcampuk – notes on SEO

Second talk: Search Engine Optimisation, here’s the headlines:
Code your website so content is first thing search engines see after meta tags, but not users (e.g. floating divs)
Big corps will steer clear of WordPress due to security concerns.
Get Google webmaster console
Google is all about data acquisition – the more they know about you, the more they can do with you. Never use Google Analytics for commercial data.
If you are getting over 60% of visits from search engines it’s not healthy – you should be getting referrals and directs.
Think about international SEO, which is “soft”, apparently
Get into forums, but ignore directories
“If you’re a web developer, get to know writers”: “journalists are cheap”. They “never ask for enough money” A lot of link builders are journalism students
Google algorithm has around 400 variables; we only know around 200. But Google’s black box is us and what we users do.

Useful links
SEO for wordpress
Google Ranking factors
Google webmaster central blog
Google keyword finder


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Notes from today’s conference:
If you’re using Akismet on a commercial site (or are making over $500 per month) you should be paying for a commercial licence. See
Bad Behaviour plugin also recommended as a pre-Akismet filter to save bandwidth if you get a lot of spam.
If meta tag description is same on all pages (default), Google seems to think they’re all ‘similar pages’ and omits from initial results.
WordPress creates a lot of duplicate content which Google doesn’t like. AllInOne SEO plugin allows you to noindex archives to prevent that.
BackUpWordpress plugin – I should really have backup habits. WPDmanager recommended by some, which includes scheduled backups. The biggest it’s worked for in this room is only 500 posts. I’d need to test on mine (1000 posts). Some web hosts allow you to schedule database backups too.
MaxBlogPress ping optimiser plugin prevents you being classed a ping spammer but asks for email address and sends you junk
cForms plugin allows you to set up more accessible verification processes rather than captcha. Also allows you to set up form with upload functionality.
RoleManager also recommended. Can also deinstall and the customisations remain.


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Lancashire Telegraph and Lancashire Evening Post – more interactive than The Independent?

Blogging recently on Newsquest’s relaunch of its websites, I feel I was a bit harsh on the Lancashire TelegraphContinue reading

TalkTalk competition: £2000 up for grabs for ‘technology related projects’

Here’s another one:

“If you are a UK based not-for-profit organisation or community group looking to extend your work through the use of the Internet you could be eligible for one of 30 cash grants available. Five overall winners will also win technology equipment of their choice and a one-to-one workshop with celebrity Dotcom entrepreneur and co-founder of Martha Lane Fox.” Continue reading

European e-Inclusion Awards – possible funding for journalism ideas?

Journalists looking for ways to fund innovative uses of technology might want to try the inaugural European e-Inclusion Awards. The Awards aim to “celebrate the best and most imaginative uses of Information and Communications Technology to reduce digital and social exclusion.” This may not scream ‘journalism’ but I think there is potential there for some innovative editorial- and community-driven ideas. Continue reading

Music magazine launches ‘Beard Aid’ business model

Independent free music magazine Bearded is launching a curious initiative to try to fund the magazine through reader donations. ‘BeardAid‘ asks readers to “give £2 a month in exchange for exclusive music content, free magazines, discounts and free entry to Bearded gigs as well as a host of freebies.”

So, a music club then? Well, only if you’ve got your Old Media hat on. Because the magazine is explicitly inviting readers to be part of their project, rather than simply paying money. I’ve spoken before about ‘punk capitalism‘ and this seems to me to be another example. Not only that, but it’s another symptom of the disintermediation of the media industry – more on that later. Continue reading

Something for the Weekend #9: create a Facebook app (and widgets) with Dapper

Every week I come across some web-based service that makes it possible to do in a few clicks what a year ago would have required anything from a day of fiddling to months of developer time. Today’s tool is one of a number offered by Dapper, a company which aims to “make it easy and possible for anyone to extract and reuse content from any website.” The tool is the Facebook Appmaker. Continue reading