Create a Blogger Wiki to Promote Your Content

Note: This was originally written for HubPages and the writers there.

When you write content on a site like HubPages you want it to be found by people interested in reading about your topic (niche/ genre/ subject matter). But, it can feel like you’re alone in a vast ocean, standing on a rock, jumping up and down, waving and waving without anyone noticing you at all. So, you need to build a platform which rises you a little higher and makes you easier to find.

The established ways to do this are to use social media, backlinks, and other worthy and less worthy ideas which people lump into SEO (search engine optimization). The problem with some of these tactics is the difference between attracting human readers versus attracting search engine bots which don’t actually read your content. Search engines won’t read your content, won’t link to your content and won’t refer friends and followers to your content. A search engine will only list your content for the real people to find. It does not endorse your content the way a referral from a real person can.

So, you need to do something more to bring people to your content. Keywords are not enough. Too many keywords will detract from your content because no one really wants to read that promotional content which is directed to SEO and not human readers. Too many keywords make your writing dull and bland.

Use Google Blogger to Create a Wiki Resource

Try opening a Google Blogger blog, pick a name which suits your content.

Write an introduction post and an about page.

Look for other content such as content curation feeds and RSS feeds relevant to your main topic.Some of them, like Scoop.it, will have widgets which display the content feed. Plus, this is another place you can suggest your own links to as you write new posts. So you will see your HubPages post appear in the feed on the widget you have displayed. This is especially nice because people reading your wiki will see you as an authority beyond the content you have created yourself. It’s like making yourself famous.

Create a few links to sites which you know are excellent references for your topic. You can ask for a link exchange with these sites – once your wiki is established, aged and seasoned a bit.

Now the part where your own content comes in.

Begin to post links to your HubPages posts/ content. Do not repost the content, just create an index. Sort your posts into subtopics branching from the main theme or genre which you write about. (If you write about several topics set up a fresh Blogger account and repeat the steps above for each topic).

Use your subtopics as post headers (titles) and add your links relevant to each subtopic in your topic/ genre. Check your links, make sure they are all going where they should be going – it is not too hard to miss something when you are cutting and pasting several links this way.

In your blog sidebar, over the links to outside reference sites, post links to each of the posts you have just created (the subtopics). Like building an index to your own subtopics in the sidebar.

In this way you are creating a wiki for your content which focuses on your HubPages content but not exclusively. A wiki is a personally created resource about one topic. Traditionally, a wiki is not run by just one person but several contributors sharing knowledge and resources. You can gather others to join you too. However, then you are sharing some of the limelight but building a wiki community is a great way to share your links among the community you create. So it is a trade off and something you can consider.

This idea does not work as well on WordPress.com because Blogger.com is Google’s own appendage blog site. So, it gets some preference.

It does take extra time and energy to create this kind of index to your HubPages content, but it will bring you to the attention of the Google and other search engines. Also, extra Adsense (which you can easily load on Blogger too).

Don’t let your wiki stagnate.

Maintain the blog, add your fresh HubPages content to the subtopics which you have set up.

Add new outside links as you find really good sites to refer people to.

Create an actual post for the blog once in awhile, monthly is fine. The post doesn’t have to be labour intensive. An update about the work you are doing to research your topic is a good post. Or, something you heard/ read in the news relevant to the topic. The point of keeping a monthly post is to show the site is active, at least once a month.

Link to this blog in each of your posts on HubPages. Just add it to the links with a note about it being your wiki or reference site for people who would like more information, etc.

Share the wiki.

The link to your Blogger wiki is one more link you can promote to social media, content feeds, and all the other routine places and ways you promote your content.

Creating the wiki is giving your content (on HubPages or any other sites you write for) an extra boost, another way to be found in the great, big ocean.

Participate Outside of HubPages

If you aren’t already involved in forums and other online communities within your topic make sure you get involved now. Join a relevant forum and be active. Daily is nice but not very practical. Aim for at least weekly and then read as many posts in the forum as you can and contribute. Of course, you can create a signature to use in the form with at least one link to your wiki or your HubPages link, both if possible.

From the comments on the original post:

 

That Grrl  Hub Author

@prarieprincess I got the idea as I was replying to someone else in the forum who was complaining about Google and traffic and etc, the same old stuff. I have never been overly reliant on Google for traffic. I like to look for my own ideas to bring in traffic/ readers.

One thing people writing here don’t quite understand is that HubPages is not buying your content/ articles. If they were there would be copyrights involved. HubPages is buying your social media skills and whatever else you do that works to bring in readers (traffic) to the site. HubPages sells ads which appear with your articles. We get a percent of that. So, in reality the whole thing is not about your content but aobut the traffic you generate here.

Knowing this it is a really good plan to focus on bringing readers from outside of HubPages into HubPages without focusing on Google. This is because once you are in the database at Google you will either rise or stay about the same. There isn’t a lot of point in putting all your eggs in that basket.

So, generating traffic in other ways is the key. I got the idea of the Blogger wiki because I had been looking at wiki sites that week and it popped into my mind that I already have all my old Blogger sites from when I began online ages ago. Why not use them for more than just leaving a trail of links. I know they still get traffic even though I have done nothing but ignore them for years.

Thus the Blogger wiki idea was formed. I added more ideas to what I could do with it as I went along. I don’t have a finished example yet. I’ve got so many projects I’m working on that I am hoping to get my nephew out sometime to help me move stuff along.

 

That Grrl  Hub Author

I have my own blogs with domains and paid hosting. But, you don’t have to go that way. I didn’t start out that way. I’ve been online more than ten years. I was online several years before making the commitment to paying for web hosting. So don’t feel you need to rush into it. A Blogger blog is still free for software and hosting and that will do just fine. More than that is just vanity – which is how they call it a vanity URL/ domain.

I would do both. There is no reason you can’t have an index of all your HubPages post in the sidebar of the blog. Then create individual posts with summaries and links at the end for each post too. This blog is your space to bring your content to the foreground, show it off and get it found. People are using the term ‘discoverable’ lately. and that is just what you are doing.

The only thing you should not do is copy your post and create the dreaded duplicate content. However, unlike at HubPages, on your own site you can have all the links you want. (HubPages gives you a notice if you link to the same domain more than twice).

Have fun with the blog, decorate it. Add widgets for social media which you use and of course highlight your posts here. Then do post the blog link around – use it for your signature in online forums and communities. Get the link around so people can find your content. This is how Google search bots will also find your content and consider it as important because there are links to it in a source outside of HubPages. Also, the link back from your posts on HubPages will keep the bots looking at your links and finding more of your content. They used to call them spiders because they follow links from one starting point to other directions, branching out from the starting point, spidering out.

Turn Your Words into Link Bait

It’s all about offering extras, those little things that make one blog stand out from another. Give people something extra.

Take the information you want to write about and present it in a unique and interesting way.

  • Use a quiz as part of your post. Highlight information and confirm your message.
  • Give a widget with your RSS feed.
  • An infographic (becoming a trend) can give your information in a visual way.
  • A hand drawn post. Write it long hand, add some lettering, illustrations, etc and take a photograph you post to your blog.
  • A web comic is visual and uses humour.
  • Start a blog tour. Invite others to join and set a date for the tour.
  • Try a blogging marathon. Set up how often and how long you will post for.
  • Create avatars for readers based on their blogging personality.
  • Audio like a podcast people can listen to.
  • Video posts (though I’m not a fan of anything in a big, clunky file).
  • Turn your blog into the focal point of a community for people in your niche. Bring everyone together to talk.
  • An ebook. Turn your post into something that can be downloaded and read offline.
  • A mini directory post. Pull together all the great resources you can find and turn them into a directory of information.
  • A social web application or blog plugin, etc. For those who have (or get) the know how.
  • Create a (WordPress or other CMS) blog theme/ template and offer it for free.
  • Go with a little controversy. Debate the less popular side of a pro versus con.
  • Start an event. Like ProBlogger’s 31 Days to a Better Blog.
  • Create a seasonal/ holiday web graphic (add text with best wishes/ seasons greetings) free for the taking.
  • Interview a popular blogger, someone well respected in your niche.
  • Run a contest. Make sure you have a prize worth winning and you get our winner to confirm they did get it.
  • Give out awards. Pick the ‘best of’ in your niche and create an award they can take from your site.
  • Promote another blogger, someone who inspired you or had valuable information.
  • Write a yearly round up with the best, most inspiring, etc. blog posts you’ve read in your niche.
  • Ask for information. Ask your readers to ask their friends/ readers/ followers too.
  • Write about how you solved a problem, step-by-step. Use illustrations.
  • Run a survey. Ask for feedback and opinions about your own site or the topic you write about.
  • Create an index of authorities in your niche and give links to each of them plus their Twitter  and RSS feed links.
  • Review a book or other product available. Pick something useful/ new to your readers.
  • Thank someone. Write a post thanking another blogger for something. Don’t stop at just one.

Small packages bring good things. Turn what began as a plain text blog post into a small, contained unit of information like a quiz, infographic, widget, web comic, web graphic or something else small and simple which can easily be shared through social media and links.

Wikipedia: Link Bait

Link bait is any content or feature, within a website, designed specifically to gain attention or encourage others to link to the website. Matt Cutts defines link bait as anything “interesting enough to catch people’s attention.”

Resources:

Blue Glass: Overlooked Linkbait: The Value of Widgets, Quizzes, and Other Interactive Content.

Sam Tilston: How to Write Linkbait

ProBlogger: 20 Linkbaiting Techniques

Smashing Magazine: Golden Rules of Linkbaiting

How Does This Sound?

I applied for a job as a Social Media Assistant for a women’s site in the US.

I can bring experience, creative ideas, ingenuity and pretty great spelling to the New Women’s Guide.

I’ve been working with social media since before it had a name. My own sites have been through many learning lessons, trial and error, with me. I’ve found what works, what does not and what might be worth a try. I enjoy trying something new, I’m often an early adopter for new sites and technology. When I find something that really works I’m loyal to it and glad to pass it along and help a good site grow. The best thing about doing it yourself is making all the mistakes first hand and then learning from them. I began writing online in 1998, I’ve explored, made those mistakes, had a great time doing it all and I learned a lot!

I’m not a social butterfly, using social media just to fill up space or as a secondary RSS feed for blog posts. I’d rather contribute something real, make a difference in someone’s day or at least not seem boring or trivial. My posts are social and have something to say whether I’m sharing an idea, a link to a site or exchanging information and building a community. It’s too easy to feel you are drowning in social media with it’s SEO advice, reposted links and commercialism. While I do use social media to post my own links I also make a point of giving something real of myself and my experience.

My resume is posted to Google Documents: https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1-S4PiKl4t0PJyI-oiIuw2kGhAFZMnDvYWVWeJxprUT8

Are you a Content Curator?

A content curator is more than someone who re-posts links, quotes sources and aggregates content from feeds. A content curator uses their own passion for the topic to filter and give meaning to the content they select. They also add their own information and ideas to the updates.

I have worked as someone who collects content in several ways and methods: web directory editor, topic writer and group moderator. Each requires some aspects of content curating. Online content curators will not only present content but give it their own perspective and priorities. A content curator can shape public opinion with the choices they make, the content they choose to include or pass by.

The Economist: Meet the Curators
You might say that you don’t need to be a journalist to cobble together a list of links. But actually, given the huge proliferation of sources these days, you do. Being able to scan a vast range of material, determine what’s reliable, relevant and sufficiently objective, decide what will actually interest your particular readers and arrange it in a way that they can use are not trivial skills.

Social Media Today: Marketer, Media or Museum: The Content Curator

For Bloggers – A Cure for Writers Block
If you’ve thought about creating a blog but suffer from writer’s block, this concept is great news for you. You don’t necessarily have to become a star journalist overnight. Instead, start as a curator. Read all the blogs you can in your niche market, then sort and prioritize, hand-pick the best, and share them with your readers. A “Top 10 posts” on a particular topic makes a great blog post. Or, find a post that stands out for you and add your voice by sharing your reactions on your own blog (like I’m doing here!). Always link back to the original writer, of course, and invite feedback if you want to make it a dialog.

For Social Media Types – Sharing With Purpose
As a content curator, you don’t just share what seems interesting; you prune through the overload, find what’s most valuable to your audience, and share it – branded with your perspective. Make sure the content you’re sharing is consistent with the brand or image you want to convey — and that it feeds social media followers to related content on your blog or website. The idea is to share the right information at the right time, to the right people.

For Webmasters — Digital Assets That Drive Traffic and Conversions
A comprehensive content marketing strategy should have your company website at its center. A content curator will aggregate your company’s best digital assets for display, much like a museum curator creates a thoughtful exhibit to display historical or artistic artifacts.

Grow: Are Content Curators the power behind social media influence?
The Curators are the greatest consumers of content AND the greatest contributors—including sharing. That makes Curators a hub and the easiest users for marketers to reach. Curators, like me, are actively looking for information to share with others, and actively spreading the word. Content Curators are the best online friend a marketer could have!
In this new world, Curators become a commodity and they have value that will be sought after. Marketers will seek curators in specific topic areas and with specific traits. Marketers will want to know:

  • The topics this person curates. Curators specialize.
  • The networks and communities he/she curates to. Curators who are plugged into niche communities and forums may be even more valuable.
  • The number of connections on those networks. The volume or following always counts.
  • The types of connections the curator has. What’s the quantity of different types of social users following this curator: gamers, social butterflies, shoppers, deal seekers?
  • Reshare value. How many of this curator’s followers reshare the content, and how wide a net do they cast?
  • The click-through-rate for this curator’s content. How often do people open the items this curator shares?
  • The conversion rate resulting from this curator’s content. How often does a recommendation from this person generate sales? How often does a click through on a piece of content from this curator result in a sale?

Trainingwreck: Content Curators

The first skill or change to adapt to is to begin thinking this way from the beginning. As we all go about our day, and we inevitably come into contact with content, knowledge and wisdom that may benefit others, we need to begin thinking in a way that is selfless not selfish. We need to say to ourselves, “who may benefit from this as well?” Let’s think of this as the curate stage.

The second skill or change to adapt to concerns our ability to categorize and thus effectively store the knowledge somewhere. I liken this to an intricately interconnected network of universal personal content management systems. I’m not exactly clear how this can be accomplished, but think ‘dewey decimal system’ only individualized, personalized and capable of much more than surfacing links. It’s certainly supplementary and much more useful than Delicious or other bookmarking sites as well.

The final skill or change to adapt to is our ability to appropriately communicate the knowledge that has been curated and categorized itself. No, I’m not referring to email distribution lists. Whether through some digitally sewn quilt of RSS and other push-communication capabilities, the communication of this now categorized content is incredibly important.

Influential Marketing Blog: The Five Models of Content Curation
Aggregation – Aggregation is the act of curating the most relevant information about a particular topic into a single location. Often taking the form of catalog style blog posts which list “27 Great Resources For Small Business” (or similar aggregations), this is the most common form of content curation.

Distillation – Distillation is the act of curating information into a more simplistic format where only the most important or relevant ideas are shared. As a result, there may be quite a bit of additional content that is lost for the sake of simplicity – however the value comes from the fact that anyone digesting this content no longer has to contend with a high volume of content and can instead consume a more focused view of information.

Elevation – Elevation refers to curation with a mission of identifying a larger trend or insight from smaller daily musings posted online. Encompassing much of what many trend-focused websites do, this can be one of the hardest forms of content curation because it requires more expertise and analytical ability on the part of the person or organization during the curating. The benefit is that it can also be the most powerful in terms of sharing new ideas as well.

Mashup – Mashups are unique curated justapositions where merging existing content is used to create a new point of view. Taking multiple points of view on a particular issue and sharing it in a single location would be one example of this type of behaviour – and could be used to describe the sort of activity that takes place every day on Wikipedia. More broadly, mashups can offer a way of creating something new while still using content curation as a basis for it because you are building on existing content.

Chronology – Creating a Chronology is a form of curation that brings together historical information organized based on time to show an evolving understanding of a particular topic. Most useful when it comes to topics where understanding has shifted over time, this can be a powerful way of retelling history through informational artifacts that exist over time to prove how experiences and understandings have changed.

From a job posting for an Online Content Curator:

The ideal candidate:

  • is passionate about being part of the future web
  • has some tech background, including basic web development (but no serious dev chops required)
  • has the proven ability to write a snappy headline and coherent commentary – copy-writing experience a plus
  • is an online media consumer and is familiar with sites like Huffington Post and Daily Beast
  • adapts quickly to data and content management tools and interfaces
  • has some image editing experience
  • is moderately well-informed, from pop culture to global politics, from Kim Kardashian to Kim Jong Il
  • enjoys reading (and possibly writing) high-quality blogs
  • approaches repetitive tasks with “productive zen”
  • thinks about usability in a mobile context… and has an app for that

How to Write a Blog Review

If you’re ready to go forth and fearlessly give an honest review of another blog… you need a list to guide you along the way. It helps to have a plan with points which can guide you through the review. You don’t have to mention each point in your final written review but they keep you on track during the actual review.

Do you want a blog reviewed? Go to UP to the D.L. for a review of your blog by experienced blogging women.

Design

  • Is site navigation simple and natural? Do you have to search for buttons, links or archives?
  • Is there any kind of error, script or advertising that makes the site drag while it loads?
  • Does the site use pop up windows, flash, sound or video files which cause the site to load slowly or freeze up?
  • Is the site cluttered in the posting area, the sidebar or the surrounding space?
  • Is there some whitespace to let the reader’s eye have a break from text and images?
  • If the blog uses a premade theme/ template is it obvious or has the blogger made a few customizations so that it feels unique and interesting?
  • Does the site make use of the footer, include links back to the top of the site, contact information, links to other posts which may be of interest, etc.?
  • Were the comments easy to find and easy to use?
  • Is the overall blog design current (versus outdated looking) engaging, energizing or inviting?
  • Is the title of the site clear and easily read, is it located at the top of the site where people would expect to find it?
  • Is the CSS on the site working or do you see any images or text which are cut off or do not otherwise fit on the screen space or space which they are placed?
  • Do all the links in the navigation bar work and does the blog make good use of a navigation bar under the header or places elsewhere easy found and workable?
  • How many times do you scroll down to reach the bottom of the blog? Is there enough to read or too much?
  • Is there something about the design, the overall look of the blog that you especially like and would comment on in the review?

Navigation

  • Does the blog use breadcrumbs so you can select the category to see related posts or skip to the home page, etc.?
  • Can you get from one post to the next without returning to the home page each time?
  • Do the links, on at least the most recent posts, all work?
  • Does the blog redirect to another site?
  • Is there a link back to the home page in the footer and at the top of the blog which is easily found on any page being viewed?
  • Are categories and/ or tags used well?

Focus

  • Is the focus/ purpose of the site easily understood before you go looking for more information or even read a post?
  • Does the site seem to reach it’s intended audience, is it appealing to the target readers?
  • Does it have relevant and current posts and information on the topic?
  • Does the blog use a subtitle and does it make sense with the content and style of the blog.

Content

  • Do the blog posts attract comments/ reader response?
  • Does the content of the site stand out enough from the rest of the site?
  • Is it easy to read the blog posts, do the colours and fonts work?
  • As you begin reading posts is there a post that you especially enjoy or find useful?
  • Does the writer have a voice or style?
  • How is the site for standard spelling, grammar and punctuation?
  • Does the writer need to spend more time proofreading to catch typos?
  • Are the blog posts proactive, give the reader something to think about or come back for?
  • Does the site bring old posts up or related posts which can be read by readers once they finish the current post?
  • Does the site have any broken image files?
  • When graphics are used in a post are they effective, do they go with the post, make sense in their use?
  • Does the blogger tackle a large topic or idea and push it all into one post? Could they use this as a series or a post continued instead?
  • Does the blogger have enough space between paragraphs and ideas in their posts or when you look at a post is it a solid wall of text and not reader friendly?
  • Is the blog sticking to it’s focus or wandering too far off? Are there niche areas which could be used or have been underexplored so far?
  • Knowing many readers will skim posts, are the posts written in the pyramid/ news format?
  • Does the site mix up the format of posts, do they have some lists, some bullet points, some quotes, a bold line to highlight a point or a subheader, maybe even some coloured text or highlighted text in a post?
  • Do the headlines grab reader attention while also letting the reader know what the post will be about?

Site Admin.

  • Is there an About page which clearly explains the purpose and/ or niche of the site?
  • Does the About page explain why the blogger is an authority on the topic with their experience and interests listed?
  • Can you find the site archive and is it easy to navigate?
  • Is there at least one way to contact the blogger, other than leaving a comment on a blog post?
  • Is the blog software up to date or a security risk?
  • Does the site use Creative Commons or some form of copyrights on the blog?
  • Is there too much comment moderation, possibly limiting comments being made?
  • Is there a way to search the site for specific content, using a Search or through categories, tags or an index of content?
  • Does the site use meta tags for title, keywords, description, etc.?
  • When images are used do they belong to the blogger or is credit given when they belong to someone else?
  • Does the blogger give link backs/ proper credit to content they cut and paste from other sites/ sources?
  • If guest posts are used or if the site is looking for writers to contribute are there clear guidelines to what is expected and what the writer will get back from it?
  • Does the blogger have an author resource box at the end of each post, introducing the blogger and the site (a good thing when a post is linked from another blog)?
  • Does the blogger have a posting schedule and is it one which they are able to stick to?
  • Is there a blogroll (list of links), if so, is there some order to the links so readers could know what to expect when they click them?

Social Media/ Networking

  • Are you able to connect to the blogger through social media links like Facebook, StumbleUpon and Twitter?
  • Does the site syndicate, use an RSS feed?
  • Does the writer interact with readers in the blog comments?
  • Does the site use other media to interact or connect with readers: forum, podcast, etc.?
  • If the blogger has other sites, activities like contests or regular events like a weekly podcast are these links and promotions found on the site? Do the links work?

Branding

  • Is there a theme with the blog that carries through to different elements and any social media sites the blogger uses?
  • Would you know this was the same blogger if you found them on Twitter or another social media site or network? Does the site use an avatar in comments or elsewhere?

Finally…

  • Did you learn anything while doing the review?
  • Maybe you found a new site, a new plugin or social media?
  • Would you recommend this blog, link to them or follow them on Twitter?
  • Does the blog feel fresh, like it is still growing and evolving or does it fall a bit flat or feel stagnant even?

Not a Follower Nor a Leader Be

I don’t like following someone just because they succeeded, doing it their way. – Me.

After reading (trying to) the discussion for #BlogChat on Twitter, joined by @ProBlogger I felt I had just attended a religious gathering. I didn’t like it.

My overall impression was of information I already know from reading ProBlogger, CopyBlogger and etc. Mostly information I know from my own common sense and experience.

What I realized, at some point, was that mostly everyone there was a follower. Maybe there were a few who kept quiet rather than post the same party line over and over again. I don’t like that feeling of everyone agreeing with someone just because they are seen as an authority, or someone with power. There should be more individual thought than that. I wish.

It’s not that the information about blogging was wrong. It’s just that no one said anything new and most important, no one said anything different. There was no difference of opinion. There was no discussion of other ideas, other options. It felt too much like ProBlogger was god. That bugged me. I posted some disagreement but it was swallowed up. I couldn’t become a total rebel and post something guaranteed to start a disturbance. I’m still a nice Canadian grrl after all. I did post that email newsletters were dinosaurs when ProBlogger posted his link to a post about the great usefulness of email newsletters. He agreed that he finds them only preferable to RSS feeds. (When did you last read an RSS feed or an email newsletter?)

Anyway, at some point in my reading, listening, thinking and clicking the quote that started this post came into my brain. It is true. Very much how I feel. Someone accomplished, successful could be doing things right and well. But, that doesn’t mean everyone should jump into the boat and follow along as if that were the one right way. Maybe in get-rich-quick types this is what they latch onto because they just want to get money and then move on. They build nothing that matters and they care not what they leave behind. Also, they don’t really want to think for themselves, not really. They just want to follow something that worked for someone else and they expect to get the same results. Isn’t that a sign of insanity?

I like my thoughts about this. I want to keep them. To remind myself that I don’t want to be a follower, even if that means I don’t get the success, fame or fortune I’d kind of like to have.

Making Headway with Headway WP Theme

After seeing  April Tara’s blog I was pretty sure I wanted to try Headway. Her blog has some of my favourite things which I was using with the Thesis theme. I spent a couple of hours looking at themes. Before choosing Thesis I spent years looking at free themes and patching together what I wanted for my own blog. So, I expect a lot from a premium (paid) theme.

I picked Headway’s WordPress theme as the one I would switch from Thesis for. I am not knocking Thesis, I still find it a great theme, the GPL debate was mostly a good time for me to try a new theme that also looked good. Matt Mullenweg bought Headway for me after his post about paying for a new theme for anyone using Thesis interested in trying a new theme.

I did have a rough start using Headway. I was frustrated. I’m not that frustrated now that I have made some progress. There are still some issues which I would like to change or fix. But, overall, Headway is working for me.

Headway:Visual Editor:

Visual Editor: Leafs:

The first thing you need to know is how to find the drag and drop to manhandle your layout. It is part of the Visual Editor. If you look at Leafs you will see you can enable Arrange and Resize. Be aware it is kind of backwards: if it says “enable” it means it is not going to work until you click the button. If it says “enable” it is actually disabled. When it says “disable” it is enabled. In a future Headway update they might add the “D” to make this clearer.

Leafs is mainly a way to move around your template with your mouse. You can set the dimensions of your columns but be careful, they still have to fit in the wrapper in order to appear side by side. Also, check your site in different sized monitors as it will need to shrink and contract to fit various screens. Keep things fluid so they can suit each screen size without you needing to having to stress out about it too much.

Other than the drag and drop feature Leafs are mainly widgets you can add to the site. They can replace some of the WordPress plugins you may already be using. I haven’t done much with Leafs so far. I did add the About one but may yet change my mind about it as I already have a whole About page which is linked in my header navigation bar.

Visual Editor: Templates:

You can ignore the Templates tab unless you buy another template or skin for Headway. You don’t have to. I think this tab on the Visual Editor should be moved to the bottom of the list. It is an optional thing versus the tabs for Design Editor, Site Configuration, Leafs and Navigation which you will each need.

Visual Editor: Design Editor:

Design Editor is where I spent most of my time. I think it has too many options. It would help to have something that lets you set the font and colours for the whole site/ blog instead of going through each and every littlest option for comments, footers, headers, widgets, etc. A main switch would be nice. Some people may like to have a rainbow of colours and use every font at least once, I prefer to stick to a couple of colours and a couple of fonts.

In the Design Editor go down the list on the Element Selector. This is the best way to make sure you don’t miss something. Once you choose an element you will see a button appear: Call this element out. This is very nice, it highlights which element you will be working on. It’s a guide through your functions so you know which part of your blog theme you are changing before you begin making selections. Almost everything you need is in the Design Editor, just keep working your way through. It is handy to open a Notepad file and paste in your code for the HTML colours you are using. Much easier to paste them in as you go if you remember which one is the main colour for headers and subheaders and which one is background or subtitles.

Visual Editor: Site Configuration:

Site Configuration is where you can make big changes to your header, footer, wrapper and body, basically push around your site width at the top, middle and bottom. After you do you may need to go back to Leafs and fiddle around to get your columns in place again. This is where having fluid elements comes in handy.

WordPress Admin: Headway:

Now, you could do this at the end or you could have started here but last on my list is configuring Headway back in your WordPress Admin. You will leave the Visual Editor and step back into the WordPress screen again.

Headway: General Options:

In General Options you can add Header and Footer stuff. I put in some extra meta tags. (You add your main meta tags for keywords and description to Search Engine Optimization below). I also added stuff to the footer but I have more work to do on that, it looks a mess right now as I want to make a horizontal bar for widgets to be in 3 columns there. So far I have not gotten it to work. General Option is pretty simple, just add your Favicon and feed as directed.

Headway: Posts/ Comments:

If you want short posts in a double row as I have in this blog you tick Enable Small Excerpts in Posts/ Comments. At the bottom of Posts/ Comments you can also change the “Read More” words you use in the excerted posts.

Headway: Search Engine Optimization:

We now come to Search Engine Optimization. Skip down past the navigation title section. (I only changed Posts Page Title so it doesn’t show “Blog | Word Grrls” at the top of my blog). The important section is for your basic meta tags: description and keywords. Write a good description but don’t make it a book and don’t let it be spammy. Describe your site as you would to someone who asked you what your site is about. Make it clear and keep it simple. Don’t go into overkill on keywords. Try to find search terms someone might use to actually find your site. You can use phrases, not just single words.

Thats about it. Once you have gotten this far you have covered the basics of working with the Headway theme. I still have a list of things I am working on. One nice thing I discovered in Headway is that you can use the new WordPress 3 Menu feature which is not yet configured with the Thesis theme. The Menu (which is on WordPress, not part of the Headway theme itself) will let you set up the header menu bar with links to your pages, categories or outside (custom) links you want to add.

I am coming to like Headway. But, it does need to build more community support in order to get the extra tutorials, plugins, features, widgets and such which you can find when you use the Thesis theme. Headway needs to grow and I see every chance that it will. I wouldn’t say Headway is a full package yet. If you read my list of things I am working on (below) you may notice a couple of things Headway could add in another upgrade. I’m glad to see a strong community around Headway because this is how things like new features and extras come about.

Other resources:

Headway Beginner

Headway Tips

Headway Demo

Headway Hub

Headway Support – For premium members who have bought the theme.

Headway WP – Headway, as mentioned on Twitter.

Just for fun and human interest, these are the things I have worked on, have fixed or am still working on with this blog and the Headway theme. Some of them are not Headway related but still relevant to the outer workings, the things you can see when you land here. Right now the footer thing is the biggest project. I have tried the Headway Hub plan but it did not work for me. Looking at WordPress options, but no luck on getting this working yet.

  • Footer- need 3 columns for widgets, gadgets, etc. – Would like one long horizontal sidebar or 3 widget columns, whichever is workable.
  • Fluid main content div to fit the page rather than be fixed or float and throw off the alignment. (This seems to be ok, so far).
  • Add header graphic, under the header text and link. (Not able to do this with Headway it seems).
  • About page is missing and navbar seems to be uncoordinated. (Turned out to be user error which I fixed).
  • Background, something new. (Still high on my to-do list).
  • Sidebars, look untidy still. (Done, changed my font, personal taste).
  • Set up e-cards – WordPress thing. (This has been on my to-do list awhile. I keep putting off getting into figuring it all out).
  • Headway saves and then returns to previous settings. Why? (Still a mystery but… it only did it the first day I was working with it).
  • Set standard for all pages. (I am still missing sidebars when you click into a post etc).
  • Lifestream feed and RSS. (Done).
  • Big, gaping space appears at bottom of content, above footer. (This was an odd thing. My div columns were re-setting themselves, one kept becoming very long. Seems to be ok now.)
  • If possible… have a ticker type thing announcing posts which I would like to highlight or feature, running right under the header and navbar. (Have not started this project but expect I can find some kind of WP plugin that will work for my idea).

Geotagging Your Blog

You don’t need to add a geotag to your site or blog. At the moment it is an interesting sidenote more than something practical. However, I can see it evolving and growing as we begin to use the Internet for more than just online socializing. There is offline socializing too, after all. People have been using geotagging on their photos more than on their site itself. One thing to consider is privacy. I would not give out the exact latitude and longitude to your house itself, settle for the town you live in rather than going for an exact location.

Find your location information (latitude and longitude included) at:

Add your geo meta tags to your blog.

Wikipedia: Geotagging

About.com: Web Design: What is Geotagging?

Problogger: Geoblogging – How to Geotag your Blog.

Linux Journal: Geotagging Web Pages and RSS Feeds

The Open Geospatial Consortium “is a non-profit, international, voluntary consensus standards organization that is leading the development of standards for geospatial and location based services.”

W3C: GeoOnion

Objectify Your Front Page

Does your front page guide your reader into your blog? Or do you kind of leave them to fumble their way around?
This is part of a post at ProBlogger for the 31DBBB:

Think about Objectives and Call to Action – one question to ask when looking at your blog’s front page is ‘what are your objectives?’ What do you want people to do when they arrive on your blog for the first time (remember your front page is a logical place for new people to be visiting)? Do you want people to subscribe to an RSS feed or newsletter, click an ad, tell a friend, drive them to your best content, buy a product, hear your story…. what do you want them to do? Once you’ve identified your objective you can then position a call to action in a prime location on your blogs front page.

If I look at my own front page I am not accomplishing my goal as well as I could be. My goal is to have people find my content. But the top post is not always one that really gives the best face forward for my blog. How can any one post really speak for your blog all the time? So I need to find something to stick a selection of my posts in a place where they can easily be seen by first time visitors.

Something else to work on.