Plugins for Windows Live Writer

If you use Windows Live Writer for most of your blogging needs, then you will appreciate these new plugins.

  • DiggThis Badge
  • Twitter Notify
  • Flickr Upload

These are really useful ones.  Read more about the new plugins for Windows Live Writer here.

You can download the latest version of Windows Live Writer here.

Happy Blogging!!

Starting with SEO #5 – Essential SEO Plugins

WordPress is well known for its plugins, when it comes to extensibility. There are many plugins around, especially to make your blog SEO friendly.

Check out this post, on the 9 SEO plugins that every blog should have. It is a nice collection of some very useful plugins.

Thanks, Darren Rowse for sharing the list with us.

Previous Posts in this series:

  • Starting with SEO #1
  • Starting with SEO #2 – Page Titles and Meta Tags
  • Starting with SEO #3 – Anchor text and Images
  • Starting with SEO #4 – Similar Posts

Starting with SEO #4 – Similar Posts

Over a time, any blogger publishes a good number of posts, that are around a similar topic. Generally, the link between posts are derived using the Post Titles, keywords in content, Categories and Tags.

Including Similar posts in your blog have the following two major advantages:

  • Readers can navigate to and read similar posts, with ease
  • Search engines can better identify the related posts, thus increasing the Internal Pagerank

As usual, WordPress bloggers can achieve this using the WordPress Similar Posts plugin. The plugin page has detailed instructions on how to install and get started. However there is a prerequisite of the Post-Plugin library (ZIP), that must be installed. I would better suggest to add the PHP code in the Single Post file, so that each of your post has information on the related posts.

There are quite a few options that can be configured – number of similar posts to show, the matching criteria etc.

In a related note, you can find here an interesting tip related to Similar posts plugin. It suggests a small hack to decouple the Date/Time information from your Similar posts link, so that it makes better sense for the Search engines.

Previous Posts in this series:

  • Starting with SEO #1
  • Starting with SEO #2 – Page Titles and Meta Tags
  • Starting with SEO #3 – Anchor text and Images

Starting with SEO #3 – Anchor text and Images

Anchor text

Anchor text is a clickable text on a HTML page, that takes the user to another HTML pages either within the same site or a different site.  This is usually achieved using the HTML tag.

Better the anchor text is, easier it is for the users to navigate and simpler for the Search engine to understand the page that is being linked.

Some good practices for anchor text as per Google SEO Starter guide:

  • Choose descriptive text – Avoid text like “click here”, “this” etc. for Anchor tags
  • Write concise text – don’t use anchor tags for a complete sentence or a paragraph
  • Format links so that they are easy to spot – avoid CSS styles that make links look like normal text
  • Remember these tips while linking for internal pages too – this will help the Search engine to navigate your site better


Bloggers use images a lot in their posts.  Some of these images do serve as hyperlinks, taking the user to other pages.
A HTML developer definitely knows about an attribute named “alt” in the HTML tag.  The primary purpose of this attribute is to display an alternate text, if the image could not be displayed for any reason.  But with reference to SEO, the “alt” text serves some additional purposes:

  • “alt” text serves the same purpose as a Hyperlink text, if the image is an Hyperlink – This helps the Search Engine to understand the target location
  • Optimizing Image file names and the “alt” text makes it easier for Image search projects like Google Image Search

Again, following is an excerpt from Google SEO Starter guide for good practices with images:

  • Use brief, but descriptive filenames and “alt” text
  • Supply “alt” texts, especially when using images as links
  • Store images in a directory of their own – example,
  • Use commonly supported file types – JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP

Keep watching this space for further tips.

Previous Posts in this series:

  • Starting with SEO – #1
  • Starting with SEO #2 – Page Titles and Meta Tags

WordPress 2.7 is around the corner

WordPress is becoming very popular among the bloggers, especially those who host their own blogs. Official release of WordPress 2.7, for self-hosted blogs is expected around 10 December 2008.   But the release candidate for WordPress 2.7 is available to download, for impatient bloggers.

There are several interesting features that make this an exciting release. Some salient features include:

  • Comment Threading and Paging
  • Closing Comments on older posts
  • Reply to comments from Admin console
  • One-click Plugin install
  • Integrated Plugin Browser
  • “Sticky” posts
  • Dashboard Rearrangement
  • Image Tweaks and much more…

You can read the post on Mashable, for an analysis on the new features with WordPress 2.7

If you are trying out RC1 (zip file) or waiting for the official release, do pass on your feedback after laying hands on it!!

Starting with SEO #2 – Page Titles and Meta Tags

Page Titles

Title tags provide a description on the content of the page, to both search engines and users. Title tags are recommended to be unique for each page and post (in case of blogs). This will highly improve the chances of your posts, making into top search results.

As per Google SEO Starter guide (PDF), following are the recommendations for efficient title tags:

  • Accurately describe page content
  • Create unique title tags for each page
  • Use brief, but descriptive titles

But as a blogger, it is virtually impossible to hand code the tags for each of your pages.  A better solution is to install a plugin like WordPress SEO Title tag plugin.

This plugin provides you with flexibilities to achieve appropriate tags for each pages and posts.  When creating a post, an option exists to provide tags for the Title, using which suitable tags are created.  Otherwise, you can choose to use the Post title as a tag.  In addition, it provides more options, that can be found in the plugin home page.

Meta Tags

As every Web developer might know, tags provide information about information.  With a Search Engine, a page’s description tag gives a summary of what the page is about.  With reference to Google, description tags might be used as snippets for the pages, in search results.

Google Webmaster blog has an informative post on using meta tags to improve page snippets.  This post should give you a better idea on how Meta tag information is used by the Google Search Engine.  For further information, you can refer again to the Google SEO Starter Guide (PDF).

Again, as with tags, it is not possible to customize the tags for each post and pages.  This is where the Add-Meta-Tags WordPress Plugin comes handy.  Once this plugin is installed, you have the following options:

  • Define tags for Home page and other pages
  • Define tags in XHTML format for each of your posts

Hope you found these useful.  Be tuned for further tips and suggestions on making your Blog, SEO friendly.  After all, it is good to learn together!!

Previous posts in this Series:

  • Starting with SEO – #1

Starting with SEO – #1

I have been blogging for quite some time. But only recently I was struck with the buzzword, SEO. For those of you who are unaware of this term but running a blog (and looking to popularize it!), I would like to share my learning through this series of posts.

SEO stands for, Search Engine Optimization. This means, optimizing your web page or blog, so that your pages shows up (possibly at the top!) for any relevant searches using the search engines. (I know this is a crude definition!!)

To start with, you can have a look at the video of a speech given by Stephen Spencer, in the WordPress conference.

Once you appreciate the need for SEO, have a look at the SEO Starter guide compiled by Google. This should help the blogger optimize or fine tune his/her blog, for searches.

Stay tuned and I will share more of my learning through this series. Happy blogging!!