Has WordPress Jumped the Shark?

I think WordPress is in danger of “jumping the shark”, becoming too complicated and loaded with too many features. Google has mostly forgotten all about Blogger, but it may become a better alternative for a lot of people who just want a simple business site. WordPress seems to be something for people who want to spend time and money on a fancy site with a lot of features. How many businesses really need all of that? Not many.

As someone who has kept sites for many years and used WordPress most of the time, I’m not planning to use a lot of customized posts. I don’t need them. I want to focus on content, not spend a lot of time on formatting.

I will add that if people are building a site to function as a web directory, job board, or any of a hundred other things – WordPress isn’t an essential element. It may even be a hindrance. WordPress is still a customized blog at heart.

Note: I posted this as a comment on WPTavern. The post there was about new custom formatting for WordPress posts. It got me thinking about how WordPress is used, who uses it and whether it is really still sustainable for the general blog user – people who are not web developers and may not want to spend that kind of time or money on a site for their business, or hobby, etc. Most of us have a limited budget. How important is it to have a fancy site with a lot of features versus just having a site up and functioning?

Is WordPress still a good option for putting up a site? Or, do you need to be (or pay) a web designer/ developer to work with WordPress?

WordPress Calendar Plugins

I wanted a holiday calendar. I did not find anything which really did what I wanted. (Just a simple way to keep track of holidays and all those odd international and national days for odd, but interesting and sometimes relevant, things). But, today I found a new list of reviews. Quite sure I have already looked at most of them, but there might be something new.

Chronosly looks good but it has a lot of features I don’t need and that could make it complicated to work with when I just want something simple.

I’d recommend The Events Calendar (Pro, or not) for most people who want a way to list or track events. The developers were quick to write back when I had a question when I tried the plugin earlier. It has good features and I might try it again. Last time it wasn’t quite right for me but I know it hasn’t been left to stagnate in the mean time.

Premium Calendar Plugins

  • Events Calendar Pro
  • Community Events
  • Facebook Events
  • Event Calendar WD
  • EventOn WordPress Event Calendar
  • Business Calendar – WordPress Internal Calendar
  • WordPress Pro Event Calendar
  • Sugar Event Calendar
  • StacheThemes Event Calendar

Free Calendar Plugins

  • Google Calendar Events
  • The Events Calendar
  • Chronosly Events Calendar
  • All-in-One Event Calendar
  • My Calendar

List via  wpmayor.com – Best Calendar Plugins for WordPress (2016).

Blogger Auto Poster did not Work

This one did not work. Set up was not right some how. But, not a loss because I do have Open Live Writer which does work to post to all my Blogger Blogspot sites. Not an auto poster, but I can build a post, keep it in draft and then publish it to Blogger without opening another window to the Blogger blog/ site.

Do you do anything with old (or current) Blogger blogs?


Source: Blogger auto poster – Home

Build “Near Me” Search

Smartphones link to all kinds of local information. Terms like “near me” “closest” and “nearby” are rapidly growing into the most popular search terms

Source: Build Your Business with “Near Me” Search

Not all of us have a brick and mortar business to apply a physical address to for this “near me” search idea. However, it can still work for you and your site.

Consider your content as a resource. First, the topic. It may be a physical object like electronics, fashion, etc. Or, an idea, hobby, like collecting stamps, help for hoarders, etc. The “near me” plan will still work for your site, and you.

Think about the resource you can build for readers who want local content and resources. Not just location but topic too. What other relevant or related topics could people be searching for in your niche?

If your site is about an idea or hobby find all the local resources and list them. Local to you is the easiest and most relevant list you can make. Not only can you find resources via Google search but you can talk to people in the community and find resources Google hasn’t found or not available online.

If you are writing about fashion, electronics or another niche topic you can also build up a list of resources for local search/ readers. Promote your resource as location based. Even if you just make it a page on your site, or a post, rather than turning your site into a local resource – you can still catch the “near me” searchers – and give them what they are looking for.

Bookmarks are Reader Testimonials

You can hear the nay-sayers when it comes to web bookmarks and blogrolls. Not everything from the old, retro Internet has become obsolete.

Source: Modern SEO: The end of social bookmarking websites – BloggingConsult

But… are they right? Is keeping a list of your favourite links, the links you still visit to actually read, a bad idea? I don’t think so.

Of course, I try not to blog for SEO and Google in general. The very idea of doing all of this for a mindless machine is unappealing. Even if I don’t have many readers, or get feedback in comments or make fame and fortune through my sites… at least I’m doing something I really care about, my own way.

Back to the bookmarks!

People used to work at getting links from other sites. There were link exchanges, web rings and assorted other plans and schemes. Now Google put the scare into most people… duplicated content, too many links. etc. Google scares people because they want to be scared. In fact, Google works for us, the readers of blogs. Google wants us to find good content because then Google can sell more ads based on the people using Google and finding what they were looking for.

If we each keep a list of sites were really do like and find useful, we help our readers and we even help Google.

Each bookmark and blogroll link is a testimonial, a recommendation, from readers (real people, not machines).

I still look for a list of resources and links when I visit other sites. Isn’t that the point of visiting a niche site especially? You want to find information, resources and new ideas. Other resources are important.

Even if you have found a niche topic and you are the only resource there are still sideline resources, like supplies, maintenance and so on. Sidelines are great opportunities for you to run affiliate links for Amazon (for example) products/ books/ etc which you don’t offer yourself. Sidelines are a way to show readers you really know what you are writing about too. You can offer a complete package to readers of your site and keep them on your site by giving them all the information they need. Google will like you for it too.

Don’t think you can’t link to your competition either. You show confidence in doing so. Plus, you make yourself part of that group of well done, successful and popular sites in your topic or niche. Send a note to the other sites. Do not ask for a link exchange, be smart and offer them something they need: content and ideas. Interview them and post it to your site. Guest post (but make sure you have a great idea they really will want).

You can build your authority and readership with bookmarks and by having people bookmark you in return. But, the best are those who do it because they want to, not those done as an automated link exchange or some kind of deal about linking back.

Sincere recommendations and testimonials are the word of mouth you want people to hear. Blogrolls and bookmarks are not dead.

Making your Site Work Globally

The best way to make your site international is to have access to a translation application visible. I don’t do this myself because I keep a translator from Google in my Chrome web browser. A simple solution. People who only know one or few languages should be prepared to encounter other languages. It is then their choice to translate, run away or ignore them. Of course, it depends on how interesting and well put together the site looks, that first impression.

Trying to cater to multiculturalism, global protocols, and international readers is a good thing, in moderation. But, you can’t possibly include everyone.

Instead, identify your own location. Show where you are from and who you are. Some of your readers will be happy to find they have something in common with you (at least geographically) and others will be interested to know more about your culture, history, traditions and point of view.

The advice given with this post (link below) is mainly cosmetic. Design and colours can make your site have more international or global appeal but I don’t think keeping it neutral is really in your best interest. Boldness, drama and colour will do more for your site than becoming neutral or bland.

Source: Think Global: 3 Tips to make your websites Internationalized • Inspired Magazine

Copyright Traps

How could you use a copyright trap in other creative work, like writing and photography? It’s not like a watermark for photos but a way to prove the work is your own from something only you would know was an error.

The more likely story, though, is that Argleton was an example of a copyright trap, which cartographers have long used to catch would-be thieves from stealing their hard work. In this case, either Google was laying the bait for a competitor (hey, Bing?) or the mystery town was inserted in analog form long ago by Tele Atlas, the Netherlands-based company that supplied Google Maps with its initial framework.

Source: D E C E P T O L O G Y: Why digital maps killed the town of Argleton

The Media has Become the Emperor

We live in the days of the Emperor’s New Clothes. The media is our Emperor, the leader, the trend setter, commander, ruler and most of all the judge. How did it change from the days when the media reported the news and kept judgement and opinions out of it?

When I studied writing in college, not so many years ago, I was taught the importance of the media reporting from an unbiased point of view. But, even then, we talked about how psychology, marketing and peer pressure could be used to slant the facts.

What do you think?

What do you really think when no one is listening, tattling on you or judging you? What do you think when you strip away political correctness and public expectations? Do you even know what your real, sincere and genuine opinions are any more? Can you still admit to yourself that some of your opinions aren’t popular in today’s world? Are you intimidated by peer pressure, popular opinion and the media or can you allow yourself to disagree, even just a little?

I think we live in a world where the media is the Emperor and we all tell it how wonderful it’s clothes are, even though we can plainly see the media isn’t wearing anything at all. The problem is the media is the best tool of everyone who wants to start a witch hunt and witch hunts are a great way to become famous, in the media.

Add in Google for social media online and even without offline resources a witch hunter can do quite well for at least a short time. Fame and fortune for the small sacrifice of people having a mind of their own.

The media Emperor thrives on it all. The Internet may shake the print publishing industry but the media itself is thriving on gossip, scandal and witch hunting.

emperor

You can read The Emperor’s New Clothes online if you’ve never heard the story or forget how it goes.

In Defense of Using Ad Blocker

I’ve been coming across more sites which ask me to turn off ad block on my web browser. Most are keeping it friendly, like this request from Guardian (asking for financial support instead of support through ad views). That’s fair enough and I do understand. However… how about changing the ads to something I don’t mind viewing.

Why do people use Ad Block?

The reason I use ad block are the video and other bloated files which automatically open when I visit a site. I don’t especially care that most of them are ads. I don’t want to be stuck with big files opening on my web browser.

I pay for my ISP, bandwidth included. Perhaps there is free , or very cheap,  unlimited Internet service in the US. I don’t have that option here in Ontario. I pay an extra $20 a month to have unlimited bandwidth. Before paying that extra I was spending between $5 and $45 per month for going over the allowed bandwidth for my account. That wasn’t friendly.

If sites ran simple text ads or (at very least) kept bandwidth heavy ads from opening automatically, I would view their ads. Until then… I’m already supporting them by spending $20 a month ($240 a year, plus 15% tax) more to my ISP. See if they can collect it from them because I’m not willing to spend more just to view advertising I have very little real interest in.

How much are you willing to spend to view advertising?

adblockuser
If you want to find ad block for your web browser take a look at the apps and addons available. For Google Chrome there are 5 which I have used at various times. I continue to use more than just one.

Can Reply but Not Comment on YouTube

Most of the fixes I have found for this tell you to change your settings to allow third party cookies in your web browser. Whether or not that works, I’m not willing to enable this. Why should I let more advertisers keep track of what I do online? No thanks!

Last time I could not comment on YouTube I found a fix for it. But, that was about a year ago and there is a new glitch now. (See below).

nowyouseeit

Everything seems fine until I click the screen inside the comment box… For a moment the comment window shows text saying “Opening…” when that is gone so is my ability to comment. My Google+ avatar disappears. The comment post button ghosts (greys) out. I can type in a comment but I can not save or publish it.

nowyoudont

I am logged in to both YouTube and Google. So far I can only comment as a reply to an existing comment. I can not create a comment myself.

  • I have cleared my cache.
  • I have logged out and logged in again.
  • I went in and deleted all my cookies.
  • I changed YouTube settings in my Google+ account, etc.
  • I allowed YouTube to set cookies by changing my AdBlock/ AdKiller filters.

But… I still can not create a comment.

Luckily… my old fix, from last year, fixed the problem again. 

The fix is easy. Click the link above for the explanation.