Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Free website builders Hipero and

You can often find good new websites through search engines directly, but that's not the only way. Often a link on one site will direct you to good new sites you'd never heard of before.

Here's an example: I was searching for more information about Lifeyo. One of the results included this site, which was built by a woman who has been trying out a whole host of free website builders.

I already knew of several of these. However two of them were completely new to me. These were Hipero and

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lifeyo looks a lot like Weebly

Just found another drag and drop website builder. It's called Lifeyo. I haven't tried it but it looks very much like Weebly, which is the dominant site in this niche.

Of course there'll be more and more builders like this, since the technology is developing at such a fast rate. To find more sites like Lifeyo, along with a bewildering array of other tools and apps, have a look a this site.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Character blog comments bear SEO fruit, but not in the way intended!

One thing I've found repeatedly is that commenting on other blogs is worth doing because as well as getting a link in the comment thread, it can result in backlinks being given by that blogger, or another blogger who reads the comment thread.

Here's a recent example: As I mentioned below, I've been building and promoting a satirical character blog. The character, Derek Sapphire, is basically a distillation of all the extreme left wing, politically correct and deep green dogma that we are constantly bombarded with and which so many people feel increasingly annoyed by.

I thought a good way of getting him known in the blogosphere was to have him write some comments on some of the more rebellious and provocative right-wing blogs. I knew there was a slight chance that some might be tricked into thinking that he was real (although that was definitely not the intention). But I assumed that most would see that he was a joke and play along with it. Although I wasn't doing this just for backlinks, I thought that maybe some would result from this, which would be a nice bonus.

And yes, that has happened, but it hasn't gone quite as expected! Firstly, posing as Derek, I wrote some comments on this post. The blogger seemed to see it was a joke, and played along with it. So did some of the readers, although I think there was a bit of confusion about whether he was real.

Anyway, one of them posted a guest post that linked back to one of Derek's posts. Playing along with the gag, he facetiously claimed that Derek had made a brilliant sage-like prediction.

I wrote several other comments as Derek, which was a lot of fun. But I think the readers there were starting to tire of him after a while, so I decided to give it a rest. (I will return again, though.)

That seemed to go reasonably well, so I tried it at a few other similar blogs. On one of them, they really thought he was real, and the character got a whole lot of abuse hurled at him in comments. Please note that this blog has some NSFW images before clicking. These are the relevant posts.

As you'll see, some of the readers suspected he was satire, but several didn't. Finally they all came round to the view that it was all a joke.

I almost felt bad about this. I didn't want to fool them. And it's understandable that some people thought he was real. He is actually based on many people I've met. People like him do actually exist, some even more ridiculous and extreme than he is! And even though it says the site is comedy and satire in the meta-description, you don't see that unless you come via search engines.

As well as the links in the comment threads mentioned above, I've just discovered a backlink from another American right-wing, climate skeptic blog. This blogger seems to think the character is genuine, so maybe he saw one of the other comments I'd written as Derek or perhaps read the above mentioned thread very early on? In any case I left a note (as me!) in his comments, because I don't like this idea that people think he's real. Derek Sapphire is a satire, not a hoax.

That said, it still goes to show that comments can result in backlinks. And just to repeat: I wasn't doing this only for backlinks. I wanted to have some fun, give people a laugh and of course promote the character blog. But as you can see it certainly has worked SEO-wise.

Of course the fact that he's such an annoying and colorful character made him stand out. So that's something to remember. It's worth taking some risks when you comment. That will increase the chances of this technique working.

One more thing: By linking to Derek's blog, all those blogs mentioned do also benefit SEO-wise. They're getting one way links from this blog.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Problem installing Disqus comments into Yola blog

I've recently been pretty busy writing posts on a satirical character blog. The site is built using Yola which is just fantastic. The only downside to Yola blogs is that they don't come with a comment system installed already. They have partnered with Disqus, however.

There are instructions for how to install this comment system on Yola, but people seem to have a lot of trouble with it for some reason. Google the subject and you'll see some queries on the Yola help forum.

I had some issues myself. I thought I was doing everything exactly as described. But it turned out that the the window that contains the code you're supposed to put into your Yola site was quite narrow, and only showed the first two lines. I cut and pasted that alone and of course it didn't work.

It was only when I scrolled down through the actual window that I saw all the code I was missing. Of course when I used that, it all worked fine. So, if you are trying to install the code into Yola (or another platform) then keep an eye out for this problem.

Disqus is a really good system, by the way. What I like about it is that you can do a lot of customization, including listing social media references to your blog posts. A lot of the pre-installed comment systems don't have that facility.

Another one like Disqus that is worth considering is IntenseDebate.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Yola SEO

I have been working on a humor and satire site that I built with Yola. It has a character blog attached. I've been posting to this blog frequently lately. It definitely gets indexed pretty quickly, though not immediately. I've ben getting some decent search engine traffic to it, mainly from topical keywords.

My blog doesn't yet have oodles of content up there, although it's about a year old now I think. I also haven't done much link building to it.

Considering these factors it seems that Yola has very good all round SEO. So that's another positive to add to what is surely one of the most elegant and customizable free website builders out there.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Social media and its negative effects on society and relationships

I keep reading and hearing about how social media is affecting society. The general feeling is that while much of its influence is positive, the bulk of it is negative. People are worried mostly about its effects on relationships.

This article expresses some common concerns. I like the last line: "Too much comfort is isolating." It's ironic that all these new ways of making contact with people online seem to contribute to less real social interaction.

I haven't really gotten into social media. I just use Twitter a bit. But I am aware of some people who are into it in a big way. It astounds me just how many Facebook friends and Twitter followers they have, and how many messages they write.

It's the sheer size of these networks that cause the problem. Social media addicts can spend half of every day just maintaining contact with scores, if not hundreds, of people all over the world. So they end up having very little time to meet individuals in person. And even when they do and are having real conversations, they sometimes continue to interact online with others via their Blackberries! That's sad - as well as being annoying for the people they're with.