Tag Archives: Blog

Increasing Your Blog Readership

One of the most challenging aspects of writing a blog is getting people to actually read what you post. Of course, a high level of quality is essential for a blog to acquire a following, but even if someone appreciates what you’re posting, it can be difficult to be sure that you’re letting them know when you’ve posted something new.

The problem is that, quite often, bloggers will continue to generate content for those few who keep up with the blog without actively pursuing new readership. For a business blog especially, this is a huge missed opportunity. If you’re generating quality content, especially if it involves valuable instructions or advice, chances are someone will want to share that advice with someone else… and suddenly you have a large thriving readership!

But it all starts with getting people to read what you post.

As an avid follower of several blogs myself, here are a few of the ways I appreciate blogs keeping in touch (and yes, some of these are going to be pretty basic, please bear with me):

  • Include links to any and all social media your blog is associated with. This means that, if you haven’t already, you’re going to have to join a few of those social media outlets (facebook and twitter at least). It’s a simply a necessity now-a-days to crafting your online presence.
  • Post about your new posts (how redundant, I know) on those social media sites. This allows your followers to see a link to your new post where they already go regularly. This makes for effortless reading on their part, which makes for more readership on your part. (Just try to post a few things besides blog post announcements; you don’t want to seem too inactive.) Also, if people comment on your post posts, their friends (who may not even know your awesome blog exists) can see those links and perhaps they’ll check it out, too! Yay for expanding audiences!
  • Find a way to enable a subscription option on your blog. I’m sure there’s something out there for every blog tool which will at least allow users to subscribe via email. Most of these simply send out your post in the email. How easy is that? However, you will probably encounter some readers who, for whatever reason, don’t like getting their blog updates in emails. Perhaps they subscribe to too many blogs, or maybe you post on your blog too often for it to be convenient. Chances are, these people have found a way to subscribe to your blog via some collective program such as:
  • Google Reader (my personal favorite). While you can add any website or blog to this feed by typing in the URL in the right spot, there’s no reason you can’t make it a bit easier on them by adding a handy little button that can do it for them. Google even supplies it themselves: http://www.google.com/webmasters/add.html.

The trick to gathering a large readership is to make following your blog as effortless as possible. Let’s face it, most people are too busy, forgetful, or just plain lazy to keep up with your blog unless you let them know there’s something new. By proclaiming the existence of a new post far and wide and doing everything but clicking the link for them, you’re bound to increase your readership and generate more interest surrounding your blog. (Just don’t forget about the whole quality posts thing)

🙂

How to Eliminate Spam from WordPress?

eliminate-spam-from-wordpress-blogSpam has overtaken the world, one form, one registration one email at a time. In reality, spam is actually losing the war against those who appose it, but their gorilla efforts still continue. The key is to understand what tools are at your disposal to eliminate spam from your WordPress blog.

If you are anything like me, you despise spam or anything that remotely resembles spam. In my effort to remove it, I will go to great lengths to report a spam email, website or comment on my blogs. As a hosting provider Net Solutions and ProFusion Products also go to great lengths to ensure our clients email is relatively undisturbed by email spam.

That being said, some spam still gets through, and one place I notice a lot of consumers complaining about spam is from their WordPress blog. Most of these claims are due to a lake of education on what can be done to avoid spam on a blog. Once your blog is properly configured you can eliminate spam registrations and comments completely. However, this is done at a cost.

Before we can eliminate spam from your blog, let us first look at the source of spam, and then we can evaluate how to remove it.

  1. The primary source of spam is via comments to your blog posts. Spammers have built automated routines to scour the internet looking for the specific code related to a WordPress comment box. The spam routine then auto-submits a comment typically with a link back to the spam website. Ultimately spam bots go through this effort, to try and generate traffic or links to their parent website.
  2. The other source of spam submissions is during the registration process. Depending on how your blog is configured you may require visitors to register before they can comment on your blog, or before they can become a member. This form can also be discovered by Spam routines, and the spammer can then become a member of your blog.

Both of the above scenarios trigger an email to be sent to the blog administrator indicating a comment has been submitted or a user has registered. Often times the submission is composed of complete gibberish, making the administrator leery that something has gone wrong with the application. In reality, nothing is wrong, the spam routine simply enters gibberish in an effort to see if the submission process works. Often once they know it works, they will return with a second spam bot to complete the process more professionally with more detailed information.

WordPress Blog LogoNow that we understand how spam is caused on a WordPress blog, let us look at what the built in options are for eliminating spam.

  • From the admin panel of your blog, if you go to Settings and then General, you will see a list of options. One of the options is “Membership” with a check box for “Anyone Can Register” by checking this box you allow spam bots and regular users to register on your website.
  • From the admin panel of your blog, if you go to Settings and then Discussion, you will find numerous options that control the hoops people need to jump through to comment on your blog. If you want to lock down the site so no one can comment simply uncheck the box for “Allow people to post comments on new articles”
  • Another option in that same section of the admin panel, is a combination of the two items above. The first option would be to not allow anyone to register, and then in the second screen select “Users must be registered and logged in to comment” This way you can control who can add comments. Now, if you have someone you want to allow to add comments, simply login to the admin panel and add them as a user. This allows you specific control over who can comment on your blog.
  • There are numerous other variations that you can control from the settings > discussion admin section of your blog. Try using them to see if you can configure your blog to meet your website visitors needs while reducing the volume of spam.

Now the important piece to understand when making the adjustments above, is the configurations that eliminate spam also eliminate the ability for your average website visitor to make a comment. So if you want visitors to your website to be able to add comments, then you need to be aware that spam submissions will also come along as an unintended consequence. If you do not want visitors to comment, then you may as well lock it down so that spam bots cannot complete the forms either.

Another option that is available, for the more advanced user of WordPress is to look into third party tools that allow you to add CAPTCHA code to your website. CAPTCHA may mean something to you when you think about that funky security code you have to complete when submitting for something online.
Example CAPTCHA CodeYou can see an example CAPTCHA code in the image to the right.

CAPTCHA is great, because spam bots typically cannot complete it, while your average website visitor can complete the CAPTCHA code. That being said, not everyone is average, nor is CAPTCHA code created equal. Some people simply find CAPTCHA too difficult and quit as soon as they see it, others try to complete it but fail a couple times and then quit. So adding CAPTCHA can lead to a decrease in user comments and registrations.

If you are interested in adding CAPTCHA code to your blog, you need to find a 3rd party plug-in for WordPress or build your own. Keep in mind that each of these plug-ins are developed by a 3rd party, and not supported by WordPress, Net Solutions or ProFusion Products. If you elect to add this code to your site, you are responsible for the outcome, and any support would be provided by the inventor of the 3rd party code.

Two very popular CAPTCHA code options are listed here, with links to the download page where you can acquire the software. If you need help installing the code, or configuring the options please contact your system administrator or website hosting company.

  1. SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam – This is what we use on the Snoitulous Ten blog
  2. Simple CAPTCHA This one is also popular on the internet

Best of luck to you in your effort to eliminate spam!