New Book: Search Engine Optimization in PHP

Thanks to Jaimie Sirovich (SEO Egghead), I’ve just received a preview copy of the new book he co-authored with Christian Darie.

I’ve got a few more books to finish before starting this one, but can’t wait to learn from it – SEO and PHP are two of my major interests in blogging, and I’m always keen on discovering new tricks in the field.

I’ll be sure to post a review later on, but just wanted to let you know that the book is already on Amazon, in case you want to have a look and buy one.

Success Story: Get Thousands Subscribers in Just Three Months

Leo from Zen Habits has just posted a great article with some insights of the great success of his blog: 10 Ways I Got 4,700 Subscribers in Three Months.

I’ve been a regular reader of Zen Habits for quite sometime now, and so it gives me pleasure to see someone like Leo become successful. If you’re into personal development, do have a look around after you finish reading the article!

Here are the three most important keys to blogging success in my opinion:

  • useful content, posted regularly
  • thoughtful and catchy headlines
  • interaction with readers and other bloggers

 

For more, please read the full article. Thanks for sharing, Leo!

Must Have Plugins series: Sociable

 

It’s about time I start explaining how to combine great plugins publicly available to get the best results with your blog. Thinking about it, I’ve decided to start a series of posts on the plugins I think you’ll greatly benefit from. Starting today, every week I will talk about some new plugin. At a weekly rate, I think we’ve got at least 2 months of exciting plugins to be discovered! :)

Intro
What is one of the most important things about blogs? Why, sharing the content, of course! If you’re struggling to find an easy way for your visitors to share your posts with others – look no more. Sociable is a great plugin that will help you give your visitors an option of sharing posts through almost any well-known social bookmarking website (61 website is supported as of Sociable 2.0).

Peter Harkins is the developer behind this plugin, although originally Sociable was written by Kirk Montgomery.

How it works
After each post of yours, you will see a toolbar similar to this:

sociable.png

When you hover your mouse pointer over a particular icon, it is shown in vivid colours and you get a pop-up note with the name of the website, like this:

sociable-two.png

When someone clicks one of these icons, a relevant social bookmarking website opens with a standard page for sharing a link to your post with others. If visitor is not logged in in a particular service, then username and password will be asked first. Login and sharing pages vary in their design and complexity, but Sociable takes care of the most important part of sharing links: it automatically generates URLs understood by social bookmarking websites, so that whenever a sharing page opens, it already has the proper URL of your post.

Configuring Sociable
Once you upload plugin into your WordPress plugins directory (Sociable has all its files in a separate directory), simply activate it from the Plugins management panel of your WordPress Admin section. After this, in Admin’s Options you’ll see a Sociable tab with configurable sections:

1) Websites to be represented on Sociable toolbar
Out of a menu of many sites, which looks like this:

sociable-sites.png

… you’ll be able to select only the websites you would like to be offered.

As you can see from this illustration, you can simply tick the websites you like. Also, as the instruction suggests, you can drag-and-drop options to achieve the perfect order of icons to be shown on your Sociable toolbar.

2) Text to introduce the Sociable toolbar.
You can type any phrase you like (and yes, there’s a default one too) – whatever you think will motivate most your visitors to bookmark your posts.

3) Sociable visibility options
This is a group of tickbox options at the bottom of the screen, which allows you to precisely limit the visibility of Sociable plugin. For instance, that’s the place to disable Sociable for your main page or archives pages. My personal preference is to show Sociable toolbar for posts and pages with useful content only, so I disable the front page and archives options:

sociable-tickboxes.png

Conclusion
I think that’s all you need to know about this plugin. It’s definitely one of the must have plugins in my opinion. Give it a try and I’m sure you won’t regret it!

External links:

eMomsAtHome Holds A Birthday Party Contest

Last week, Wendy Piersall from eMomsAtHome blog has started a birthday party contest for what will be the first birthday of her wonderful blog (29th of April).

I’ve been reading this blog for I don’t remember how long now, and it’s one of the blogs I always enjoy. Wendy has a goal of explaining how to start, run and grow your home business and I think she’s very successful at doing just that.

The birthday party contest is about people linking back to her blog for a chance to win some of the great prizes, and this week (it’s been pronounced a SEO Week), is going to be most exciting:

This week the contest heats up as we celebrate SEO Week. We’re up to 5 more prizes, so get your links posted to be eligible to win:

- Aaron Wall’s excellent and #1 ranked SEO Book ($79 value)
- A free year of SoloSEO do-it-yourself keyword optimization and management services from Michael Jensen ($348 value)
- A SEO-optimized custom site redesign by loyal eMoms reader Shazia Mistry. (Value = Lot$!)
- The book Meet and Grow Rich by Joe Vitale and Bill Hibbler
- A $500 Coupon off of a ticket to Elite Retreat donated by the Elite Retreat founders themselves!

So wait no more – go to eMoms website, have a look around and I’m sure you’ll like it! This is also a great chance to win useful prizes and join a great community, so now you know everything :)

PerfectBlogger Website Redesign

Hi everyone, and welcome to our new website!

As some of you can guess, it’s a slight modification of a rather popular Nonzero Red theme. Well, it’s not red anymore – that’s one thing for sure.

I like this new theme much more than previous template, and its flexible design will make adding new features a lot easier.

Please browse around and let me know what you think! If you notice anything strange or wrong, I’ll be sure to fix it as soon as possible.

Upgrade to WordPress 2.1.3

WordPress

Well, it’s been two days since WordPress 2.1.3 and 2.0.10 security updates were released, and I’ve just upgraded the WP engine behind PerfectBlogger. It is recommended that all users of WordPress 2.x apply the relevant update. For WP 2.1, it’s WordPress 2.1.3 release, for 2.0 it’s 2.0.10.

Here’s the usual upgrade scenario:

  1. Download the latest WP version from WordPress downloads page
  2. Make a full backup of the current WordPress directory of your blog
  3. Make a full database backup (you should have such an option in your website hosting panel, or you can backup MySQL database manually if you have shell access to your web server)
  4. Unpack the downloaded WP archive and overwrite files of your blog’s WordPress with the new ones
  5. Verify as much as you can that everything works

It is important to always make backups. Even if you think you know what you’re doing, backup anyway – just in case.

Also, do plan for an immediate verification of the upgrade as it’s better to discover possible errors yourself than wait for your visitors to tell you (that is, if they can tell you given the severity of some upgrade errors – sometimes they can’t open your blog at all, and so won’t be able to submit a feedback form or leave a comment).

If you don’t want to download the whole archive with the latest release of WordPress, you can always follow the example of Mark Jaquith.

Just use the files and lists he generates for almost every WordPress release to only replace what’s really changed between latest WordPress versions. For this round of upgrades, please read Mark’s post on the WordPress 2.1.3 upgrade.

Good luck with your upgrades!