SEO secret – how to rank high

Best website secret

Do you want to want have a successful website?  The secret to having a successful website:

  • Do not perceive yourself but the business owner.
  • Do not perceive yourself as a blogger.
  • Do not perceive yourself as somebody who does  SEO or has a pretty blog.
  • Do perceive yourself as a writer.  That is the secret to content.  That is self perception.

The secret to ranking high on the Internet is to imagine yourself as a writer not a website owner. Content not WordPress coding or design will get the attention of search engines.

Blogging and CMS is designed for content

Many people ask me how do they rank high on the Internet.  The answer is be a writer, tell yourself you are a writer.  Think of  yourself as a professional writer. You will become what you think you are and how you see yourself.  If you see your job as a creator of content, and not a WordPress blog owner, your actions will start to support this.

You can even buy writing books and hang out with writers, read writing blogs and stop reading techy blogs. However, my recommendation is be a practical writer, rather

than an abstract writer, because most people on the web are searching for information about something useful.

The reason is the Internet is still primarily a text-based tool.  Search engines analyze text.  If you don’t have content on your WordPress blog or website,

then you will not rank high.

What is good website Content?

I believe two things determine good content. The first thing is use natural writing.  The second thing is quantity.  Many people will disagree with me on this.  I have to admit that writing efficiently can be effective, however, writing about many things in great detail and with the purpose of being a value to others, in addition to efficiency is the best combination.

Let me tell you a story. When I was in high school I read a book on how to take an essay test.  One of the main points of the book was during an essay test you should write as much as possible.

We would all like to believe that quality is better than quantity, however when it comes to test taking, quantity is important. I tested this theory myself and the exams which I wrote at great length in detail and supported my thesis that quantity matter.  The  performance was significantly better than on  the exams I tried to be simply efficient and straight to the point. I think if you are to short you assume too much from the reader.

Web content theory was tested on my blogs

The same thing I tested on the Web.  Content that was rich with support and detail and well thought out in structure ranked high.  However, Short posts were general

did not rank at all. Test it yourself.  Write two posts, one rich in content lets say over 1000 words and one about 250 words.  Tell me which WordPress content will rank higher.

I am not saying you should add filler or junk to your content.  I’m saying be efficient in your initial opening statement, then backed up your argument with detail

support and explanation.

The main thing is stopping thinking you are an Internet person and start thinking and seeing yourself as a writer.  Tell you so you are a writer.  Tell your friends that you are a writer. This is what you do for work, you write.

As a writer you have a responsibility to others who have held this title of writer to write in a creative way, a valuable way and an interesting way. If you do this people will come to website.

Blog content that is well written will not need any special SEO to rank high.

Why? Search engines rank new content high for a very short time.  If people like it and stay on your page the search engines will rank it high in the long run.  They look at user behavior.

If you have an Internet shop, write about your products in great detail that is of value. Do not just name the product, tell its good and weak points to help people make fair choices.  This is good WordPress content.

It does not matter that your objective is to market something or sell, what matters is you surround your product with content.  If you are a successful writer than, the text on your site will attract search engines and people. Your reward will be they will come back and visit again.

The way search engines will be in the future is focused on natural language. The objective of a search engine is to replicate human behavior on the web. People will basically think and act the same way as search engines and visa-versa. Right now it is governed by user behavior in relation to text.

Therefore, stop focusing on SEO and become a good writer. Stop reading too much about SEO and changing your website and write content for your  blog.

Most people say to me “I want to rank high for these Google keywords“.  They ask me, can I get them in the top ten in Google, maybe 1 or 2.”  “I ask them why does your e-commerce site deserve to be number 1 in Google?  What have you done to deserve this?” And further, to get lots of traffic, in you need to rank high for like 50 keywords not one.  I tell them this yet still, often people who have these e-commerce sites want me to make them rank high in Google for something like a keyword ‘iphones’.  I charge 10,000 usd a month and then maybe I will not be motivated to do it.  Really.   But for the 69 USD I will tell you how to do it yourself. But you have to work if you want good rankings in any search engine.  Why? There is no way I will make some one else rich, and do all the work, and study for years to learn how to do it, and just do it for you.  And I can promise you any outsource cheap firm will not do it for you either and they do not have the SEO skills I have. If you want to get traffic to your site you need to get your hands dirty and work.

WordPress SEO – Rank high in Search engines

If you want to SEO your WordPress blog – use few plugins and write interesting content

I am sorry but all that secret SEO sauce is not that secret. All the big websites that make a living off of WordPress SEO should be teaching how to write better and not how to hack WP. This is all you need to do.

  • Install WordPress with a good theme – I can recommend the best for on-site search engine optimization factors
  • Use site map and related post plugins
  • Write good content

There is nothing more you have to do.

From Matt Mullenweg of WordPress to Matt Cutts of Google

The fact, Matt the guy who is behind WordPress has a good relationship with Matt the guy who is behind Google’s quality control. I think Matt Mullenweg takes hints from Matt Cutts. Nothing that Matt Cutts does not tell the rest of the world, but Matt Mullenweg simply looks to the future when it comes to the functionality of WordPress. Therefore, the functionality or WP, right out of the box is pretty up to date.

Both Matt’s have a similar philosophy that content is king. That people should not focus on optimization, but rather good writing. At least this is my interpretation of their philosophy. I agree. SEO is about good writing. You can focus a lot of energy on finding that right WordPress extends in terms of themes and plugins, but every minute you do takes one minute away from you building content for your blog.

Further, when functionality of a plugin becomes noted and important, Automattic integrates it into core system of WP and the plugins becomes obsolete. An example is the automatic updates plugin, it was once a plugin now comes with the system.

Too many WordPress plugins are not good

However, whatever your strategy for WP SEO is, my recommendation is do not overload your blog with every plugin under the sun. What might happen is errors or conflicts or sluggish functioning from bloated code. I try to limit my plugins to less then ten.

If you can find the top ten best plugins for you then this is all you need for SEO. The best plugins in the Platinum all in one SEO pack. After that you might use some site map plugin and related post type plugin for better navigation.
Avoid the best WordPress plugin lists that are dated

Another thing to avoid is reading an outdated list of the best plugins. This list is dated I would say about a year after publication because WordPress is evolving.

Semantic latent content and SEO

How not to write content.  Stuff your posts and headers with keywords. How to write content.  Write in a natural way as if there was not such thing as search engine optimization.

However, do achieve proper keyword relevance for your target term using a few keyword and more important semantically related terms.  Use synonyms of keywords not just the keywords.  For example if you are writing about “writing” use words like “composition” in your post also.

Google’s Semantic latent content tool

Google has a tool to help you see which words it considers synonyms in a search.  In the Google search box type ~yourkeywords.  This will give you hints on how to construct true semantic content. For this post I should use words like latent semantic,LSI, latent semantic indexing or even the word semantically.  This type of writing will help search engines determine if the writer is human.

How to rank high in Google with WordPress SEO

Use WordPress, write something of value, use a good theme and organizes it without too much clutter and use a couple SEO plugins. That is it. Do not spend 1000s on  SEO consulting.

This is the real trick.  Many people have WordPress blogs.  Further, a lot of people use WordPress as the back end for their regular site.  I use WP on most of my sites even my none blogs website.  I believe in WP.  How do you rank high with search engines and do it honestly and ethically? Well Matt Cutt’s has written something that I have been saying all along.

Three SEO steps

1)Install WP and this will increase your chances of a good site ranking – Basically there is nothing new under the sun, and Matt’s post might be straight from Google but it has nothing ground braking in it.  Matt Cutt’s ideas is that WordPress does the SEO coding for you.  WP has people have been working on the back end, day and night improving it and it is for free.

WordPress people improve WordPress not for money but because they are passionate about this platform, it is not even work, it is fun for them.  Use this blogging platform and use it with a few plugins. Then you know your code will be pretty well SEO -ed.

2)Rank high in Google with compelling content – The next step, and it is the hard part, is to be creative.  I will write another
post about this.  But basically, the Internet is the largest recycle bin in the Cosmos.  Use your imagination.  This is how you will get traffic.  Imagination applied to your content, not to ways of spamming or tricking Google.  I like creating an educational resource part of my website, such as an online series of quizzes and educational help guides. But also interesting blog posts do not hurt. Some people like crazy funny videos, it is whatever you are good at, this will attract visits and increase user experience and time on the site. Make the content something that people will spend their time on. That is a hint.

3)The last step to ranking high is marketing (Guest Posting) –  I will also go into this in another post. But it is basically connected with theme optimization and plugins. I think guest posting is the best way right now to market your site. Get the buzz out there by writing quality content on another visible blog and people might visit your site and subscribe to your RSS.  What if you did 50 guest posts? Can you imagine how powerful your site would be.

If you follow these three steps your sites will take off and you will rank high in Google with your WordPress  and SEO applied, if you want more specific advise read my WP consulting page. I can guide you, but I think most of what you need to know about SEO can be found online. However, I can coach you and give you more specific advise. I have paid for advice before and in every case it help me get more traffic.

Therefore, in conclusion, your strategy for WP blog should be less is more. Let me know what you think about this WordPress plugin strategy or which are the best for WordPress SEO. You should focus on writing not code.

BuddyPress Vs. Mingle

The purpose of this post is to compare BuddyPress to Mingle for creating a WordPress social networking site. The reason I think this is an important post for anyone considering creating a community is both are long run investments in terms of time. Further, the success of your site will largely depend on a positive user experience. At the end I give my personal recommendation which one to choose. If you are serious about starting a social site, take my recommendation.

Therefore, I will look at three things:

  • The pros and cons of both WordPress platforms for a social networking blog or website.
  • I also want to address the set up and installation issues with WordPress MU and the WordPress Mingle plugin which runs on a standard install.
  • Examples of BuddyPress and Mingle WordPress and also a how set up Mingle tutorial.  With these I think you can make a better informed decision which one to use.

What is my experience with WP? I have been using various Automattic platforms for eighteen of my websites (many are test sites) for five years now. Therefore, I have kicked a lot of tires to check the various functionality and flexibility of core features and extends. I also write my own software, so I am somewhat technical.

reenactors social networking
Social networks are about like minded people congregating. I give a concrete recommendation on which software I would use.

BuddyPress and Mingles features and drawbacks

Mingle

Pros:.

  • The most important difference between WordPress Mingle and BuddyPress – I see WP Mingle as more of an extension of an existing blog or website. It is an add-on. In contrast, BuddyPress is a whole site design. Read my lips, it is very hard to start a social network site. Every guy out there wants to and has an idea, even me and I have many successful website.  The best way to have a successful social networking website is to take an existing website that has traffic and community via WordPress comments and extend this. Mingle can be useful for this extension. If you start with BuddyPress on a new website nothing will happen. Facebook was the first and lucky. It does not work this way now. Ask me about this in the comments if you do not understand, it is important so you do not waste your time.
  • I like Mingle because it works on my theme and feels more flexible in style and look than BuddyPress, which has a more blocky Facebook style.
  • Users can create profile pages.
  • Friends lists
  • The core part is a profile page and contact with other members though an extended Gravatar plugin.
  • Users can comment on and post on friend pages – Mingle is all about friends and interaction of friends.
  • Member directory and recent (or random) users displayed on sidebar
  • Email notifications
  • Very easy to use and simple to understand
  • I have not experienced any plugin or theme conflicts – for me this is the biggest point. With BuddyPress it does not work with my favorite theme, in contrast WordPress Mingle does.
  • You can use Mingle with a standard WP installation. This is the best feature. You can also use it with WPMU if you want, but you might as well use BuddyPress if you go through the trouble of installing it on your server
  • Actively being developed with an enthusiastic team/community, it could surpass BuddyPress in terms of functionality.

Cons:

  • Not been updated in years. The creator should just make it an open source project. Obsecenece is a huge neative. He has been focusing on something called memberpress.  Member press is a a plugin that allows you to accept payment for a membership or content site. Maybe this will go hand in hand with a new Mingle development kick but I am not holding my breath.
  • I am always afraid Blair Williams might some day lose interest in the project and not develop it as much, whereas, BuddyPress is supported by WP. I have no seen it updated in a while in fact. I have started to look at another alternative WP Symposium if the lag in development continues.
  • At this time little documentation. – Update getting better, I installed in the other day and it is fairly self explanatory.
  • This is not an official Automattic.com tool, so its development depends on Blair Williams the creator (this could be pro actually depends on how you look at it).

BuddyPress

Pros:

  • If you like Facebook.com or Linkedin.com or Vkontаkte.ru, you can have this with BuddyPress.  It has the same look and feel. Many large sites running off of BuddyPress, tried and tested.
  • Very professional clean look. The look and features are a like any major social networking site. I am confident using BP that there is strong support and everything will work now and in the future.
  • BuddyPress is a offical Automattic.com platform (it was a purchase).
  • Good support
  • Will most likely get easier with development as Andy Peatling is committed to the project.
  • Now a 5 minute install with a plugin.
  •  BuddyPress  MU or SU has come a long way. I use SU as it is easiest.

Cons:

  • Slight learning curve.
  • New themes and plugins.
  • WPMU with BuddyPress is an uncontrollable amount of spam. I have done every anti-spam method known and still robots find and know it is a WPMU BuddyPress site and I have moderate it unlike the standard install. I scraped my site and changed it to a standard install. Works great but no traffic. This is why I recommend INgle on existing themes and sites and not try to be a Mark Zuckerberg, Matt Mullenweg is a better web role model because he is organic and has developed his web presences and reputation over time.
  • If you have 1and1.com as a server you will get a error 500 unless you add this to the top of your .htaccess
AddType x-mapp-php5 .php AddHandler x-mapp-php5 .php

Mingle and WPMU installation issues

There are no installation issues with the Mingle plugin. You just go to add new plugin and install.  Once you are installed it guides you though the set up page.

Below is a basically all you need to set up. It is a simple drop down menu set up.

The BuddyPress can work with a standard WordPress install and a plugin.   It could be set up in just over 5 minutes.   It is now “out of the box” like other WordPress installs and takes databases.   Therefore, both Mingle and BuddyPress are very easy to install with a plugin.

The question is which one to use for social networking your site?  They both are very good and at this juncture of their development are very close in functionality.

I recommend Mingle if you want to extend an existing website with traffic to include a forum or social aspect. I recommend BuddyPress if you want to develop a large social networking website.

  • thepioneerwoman.com – is the best example of a BuddyPress website
  • WordPress Mingle is the best example of a mingle run website.

Here are two quotes from the developers:

Paul Cater (Mingle) was kind enough to reply to my e-mail and wrote me a comparison (summarized a bit):

WordPress MU is a multi-blog system (and can be used with a standard WordPress blog).  Mingle will let you turn your regular WordPress install into a social networking site similar to Facebook or MySpace with a single plugin (also). Mingle could be a simple, nice replacement, however, BuddyPress offers a few more features currently, but Mingle is well on its way to being a heavy contender.

Andy Peatling (BuddyPress) wrote:

BuddyPress  works on standard WordPress, it does not require WordPress MU. In fact, you can install BuddyPress in less than two minutes via the plugin installer. It’s really quite simple.

BuddyPress does not require special plugins or themes, many WordPress plugins work out of the box and there are now more than 125 BuddyPress specific plugins that will add new features to the platform. You can use your existing WordPress theme using the super easy BuddyPress template pack.

John Jacobs Jacoby is now in the development (also the bbPress developer). bbPress is also another option for creating a social site by the way.

BuddyPress and Mingle tutorials and examples

My review of WP social plugin and recommendation

  • Here is my recommendation. Use BuddyPress until Mingle development is turned open source or shows signs of life.  Or alternatively use wpsymposium.com which is being actively developed. WP symposium works.  You do not want to be stuck up with a huge site based on Mingle than years latter, that for some reason does not work if there is a conflict with WP development and your social plugin. You want to use BuddyPress. If you can not handle the design part hire someone off of elance there are a million programmers out there to help you design it. The main thing is creating a social site is easy, getting it with the critial number of participates interacting is the real trick.

I hope this post has been of some value to you.  Please give your feedback and any of your ideas or experiences regarding using BuddyPress compared to Mingle on your blog.

BuddyPress
offers a few more features currently but Mingle is well on it's way to
being a heavy contender.

bbPress plugin – forum for your WordPress blog

Good news for bbPress  is now a plugin. John James Jacoby has developed an official plugin for WordPress. This is different from the stand alone forum that exists.

The reason you want a forum is users create content for your website. That means instead of you getting up every morning and thinking up a new blog post. Community. It is one of the best things you can do for SEO and making money on your website. If you have a non-commercial site it is good for users to exchange ideas.

How does this forum software work?

  • plug it in
  • use it in your Admin control panel
  • define forums
  • moderate users
  • drive traffic to your website with user-generated content.

bbPress developement

I have been a big fan or WordPress’s forum software called bbPress. The reason I like it is, it is very light weight and easy to use.  However, a few people have been upset as the project has not taken top priority at Automattic. I take another point of view. I have had a small forum run on it for a while now and it has worked fine.

I am grateful towards Matt Mullenweg dedicating his time to great open source software to use.

The main problem has been, it has been very slow to develop. A major release has taken forever, because of the project has gone through some growing pains with the developers and I think the final goals was to wait for WP 3.0 MU to be developed before energy was channeled to this project.

Why get excited about bbPress plugin

I think there is a reason to be excited about bbPress. That is developers are taking it to the next level and integrating it fully as a bbPress plugin for WordPress. This is much like BBpress has become a simple plugin for  WordPress.These means you can run bbPress from your control panel. For free forum software it will be part of the WordPress CMS. Why is this important to you?

If you have a website it is all about content. Content is king and user generated content is the best as you do less of the work. The community will always create more than you ever could. Perhaps you direct the flow of content but if you have a good forum or social community, you are all set.

Your goal should not be hiring an SEO firm or outsourcing company to do all your work for you, your goal should be to develop an active community. I take part on forums and I have no problem leaving comments and making contributions to other people’s websites. If there is something of value, people will do this also. This is an ancient forum – bbPress plugin will integrate with WordPress so your forum will not fall to ruins

Build it and they will come with bbPress forums

If you think you can build a forum and people will rush to join thing again. However, if you have a website and it has reasonable value people will start to check back and maybe comment. If they like other commentators on your site, they will sign up and register (the big huddle for forum owners) and come back.

Some things I would like to see in the bbPress plugin for WordPress

I am a fan of bbPress and now its functionality is fine, and a few plugins that help it out. I mean it is a forum, you simply have posts and threads

and check it. However, there are a few things I would love to see as the core part.

  • Automatic moderation, including filtering bad words and chat style. I do not like on my blog when people write ‘u’ for ‘you’ and bad words. Personal attracts could be reduced automatically if you can filter certain words. I think the best community is a clean community. Thing about he city you live,if its clean and safe people want to come and visit.
  • Right now bbPress closes inactive comments after 2 weeks, I would like this open forever. My oldest treads rank the highest.
  • Full integration with your online community including MU. The users on your blog and MU (BuddyPress) seamlessly go between the forum,social network and blog without too many registration hoops.  Maybe this is not important, I am not sure.
  • Controlling outbound links on post and threads. Not with no follow but taking the front off so it leaves the text address and not a link.
  • Language usage control integration for the community users something like ‘after the deadline English grammar and spell check appearing when people leave comments as forums tend to get out of control in terms of language structure.
  • bbPress plugin ideas to use at your own risk – A commenting ability like WordPress, that is someone could just leave a comment and move on with out a registration process. Deactivate registration option I know this would create pure chaos but to get a forum started I think you need commentors, nobody will comment on an empty forum. Most of my wish list is connected with attracting new users by making it simpler for a user to sign up and start posting, maybe I am very wrong about all this, but for a forum to get going you need to get people commenting without too much effort. Basically ways to promote and encourage people to use your forum. There are many forums out there with great ideas but they are empty as no one is into spending time on forums.

The current state of bbPress plugin

I have heard about 2011 there will be a good beta.  I would expect by the end of the fall something more robust will be ready.

The legacy stand alone forum users will be able to export their posts and then import them to the new system. I think if you do not have an active forum today, just wait for the bbPress plugin. I am doing that for one of my sites and advising other people to do the same. So now my big idea for a forum is on hold. And yes I will use bbPress, rather than some pay for or heavy software for forums. I know there are many good ones out there but WordPress has a great community and I am always looking to the future not just the current state with a what can you do for me now attitude.

However I recommend also to start looking at:

  • bbPress plugin – great site for just poking around and seeing what it is all about.
  • Become an active member or at least a watcher of their forum – you will be aware of development issues and ideas so when the bbPress plugin for WordPress does come out, it will be an easy integration.

If you have any questions about forums, how to get a forum going or any user-generated content questions just ask. I mostly have this website as a hobby site.

More on BBpress

What is bbPress?

WordPress forum software is called bbPress. The reason I use bbPress with my forum is it is light, fast, simple and easy to use, as well as free.  At this juncture

there is no way I would use any other forum software other than bbPress the official WordPress forum software.

I know there is VBulletin, phpBB, and other platforms. but why not keep all the engines for your website the same, that is WordPress.  Further, I know a lot of people

like Simple:Press which I think is quite good also. However, again why not just go with an

href=”http://automattic.com/”>Automattic platform for your WordPress forum.

Why have a forum?

What is web 2.0?  It is an interactive, conversational web.  Where in web 1.0 people would make a website and read it and go away.  People in web 2.o participate in

your website.  This is a very basic but radical concept. I also believe Google ranks website on observed user behavior on your website.

Therefore, why would you not have a bbPress WordPress forum. Forums are very interactive and search engines like them because of fresh new content being posted daily.

Some forums have ten thousand posts a year.  Think, how long would it take for you to post ten thousand posts on your blog. Think how much it would cost you to pay

someone to write ten thousand posts.

Of course forum posts are not as focused, nevertheless they have significant value.

Do not take the above comments in the wrong way.  Having a WordPress forum is not about getting people to write for you, it is about creating a fun community on

something that interests you.  I have a forum about and I love it.  It is fun to interact with people there.

The hard part about a WordPress forum

Everyone I know has an idea about some web 2.0 community.  Since Facebook and Twitter, everyone has an idea, even me. However, the hardest part about these types of

sites is to get them going. People think just because you have a forum set up people will go rushing to it.

Setting up a forum or social networking site ( see BuddyPress, that is WordPress MU) is easy, getting people to come is the real trick.

How to get your bbPress forum to rock

The way you get traffic to your forum is invite everyone you know to your forum.  Post actively and reply to every post.  Once you have about one thousand relevant,

interesting useful posts, search engines will start to give it some respect with time. Does this sound like hard work? Well each form post is easier than a blog post,

you will see.  Further, few things in life come easy if you want it to be good.

Therefore, organic search will start to pick up. Organic search is the way you start it and direct traffic is the way you keep your WP forum going.

Value of a bbPress as the WordPress forum

  • Can be integrated with your WP blog
  • If you know WordPress then to work bbPress is very easy.
  • bbPress is not bad with Search engine optimization right out of the box.
  • Many nice bbPress plugins
  • Many nice bbPress  themes
  • Active community.
  • Matt Mullenweg from WordPress has said bbPress is here to stay.
  • It is simple and fast and tested.

If you have any questions about bbPress I can help.  Just drop a comment. However, I think if you are serious about your website,  every WP blog or site owner should use bbPress the WordPress forum platform.

Joomla vs WordPress

WordPress vs Joomla compared

No question WordPress wins hands down compared to Joomla. It is easier to learn WordPress fast as a newbie, better for SEO out of the box and more choice in designs because the community is so active with scores of WordPress evangelists and contributors. The bottom line is  WP can do more things easier compared to Joomla for a beginner. If you are a total beginner it also has a paid server option which takes cares of technical things for you. Therefore, if you are a, hobbiest or a mommy blogger or simple do not want to tinkering too much this is a good option (however, I recommend if you are serious about building an online presences, buy your own domain and server and use wordpress.org download and 5 minute set up). This is how I see Joomla vs WordPress. It is not that Joomla is bad, but rather WP is so easy to use and gives so much more flexibility. Lets look at more specifics and history of these two blogging platforms.

Joomla started as a true open source content management system vs WP which found its genesis as blogging platform, really a photo blogging system. However, with time WordPress surpassed Joomla because of a more active community.  This point is important. Both are PHP and mysql based., there are pluses and minuses of both, but it was really the users which brought WP to the next level. This was because it has a larger community combined with the fact it was driven by a visionary leader/geek Matt Mullenweg.

Joomla vs WordPress
Both are good but I would choose WordPress any day of Joomla, the about image is just a few of the reasons. My main selling point is you can get WP up and running in about five to ten minutes.

WordPress Matt is a man with a vision and did not want to commercialize his open source projects, but rather always got commited volunteers. For funding he started wordpress.com, but wordpress.org is free.

Specific examples how he has taken it to the next level are  by including integration of such things as a forum, via bbPress plugin and a social networking plugin via BuddyPress. That is right you can create a Facebook like wesbite with BuddyPress if you want.  There are countless other tools which are useful from Afterthedeadline with help you proof your English to Akismit a rock solid anti spam tool. This is why I recommend WordPress over Joomla.

If you want a professional website that could compare to any large website out there use WordPress. Chances are many sites that you visit, professional and large sites are built with WP (I check the source code).

Although  Joomla is a powerful system there is no way that Joomla can do all the things WordPress can do (for a WordPress alternative I think CMSmadesimple is better than Joomla).

But in all fairness to Joomla I am not as familiar with it. I also believe you can make anything work. I mean for a while I was creating sites in notepad and notepad ++ with html, css etc. I had created a few templates in notepad and in a sense was using my own CMS system. I just wrote my posts in notepad and uploaded pages to my server.  So my point is I think with a little web skill you can make anything work.

Plugins for Joomla vs WordPress

Here is a specific reason if for no other I would choose WP. For example, I have tried to find plugins for Joomla for things like:

  • Related posts – For me this is the most important plugin because it allows users to browse your site on related topics. It increases user experience and time on page. It also distributes page rank to related pages.
  • Nice simple sitemaps – real html type sitemaps that can be used as navigation of last resort.
  • Wiki like links  – pages that link into a web automatically. I do not use these as I like to do many things manually, its more natural but many big blogs love this feature.
  • Link to me – Simple plugin that will encourages people to link to your site.
  • Tags – Many webmasters go crazy with this but if you use some basic plugins like simple tags you can really increase your flexibility on your blog and usefulness. You can have related posts.
  • Recent posts – A very standard plugin and everyone has this as a side bar widget.
  • Make the Post tile a link or h1 (can be done in Joomla but harder, in WordPress it is  the default in many themes).

Etc. for Joomla.

Joomla has all these things in some form but no where near as good as WordPress and for example the tag plug in for Joomla you have to pay for. Who wants to pay for a plugin unless it really is stellar. It defeats the purpose of simplify of your platform and allowing you to focus on writing and content. Search engines reward sites with valuable content, that is SEO in a nutshell. WP frees you to spend more time developing your content. Although again I would have to say Joomla is evolving, they might even had these features by the time you read this. However, my point is they WP will even have more as they are really the blogging leader with an Alexa of 94 for WordPress and Jomoola of 255.

There is also more a a learning curve for Joomla. I am not saying Joomla is all that bad, it is good, I just find WP easier to use, more options and more selection of templates.

WordPress is free, has tags build in and even more plugins for free to make it even better. Tagging is a very important part of SEO. WordPress is intelligently designed for SEO almost right out of the box.  Matt Cutts from google recommends WordPress for SEO. Basically people in the know use WordPress.

Joomla vs WordPress SEO and design

People say, Joomla can be used for sites and  WordPress for blogs.  But my sites WordPress sites and you can not tell them apart from a normal site (not this one this is obviously a hobby blog). They do not look like a blogs at all.  So the argument that Joomla is for websites and WordPress is for blogs is wrong.

Further, if anyone can show me an effectively SEO Joomla site I will look at it and show you why WordPress SEO is better. Hands down Joomla vs WordPress SEO use WordPress rather than Joomla for SEO. I have seen very few Joomla site rank as high as WP sites. Maybe it is because WP users are a little more tech savvy or maybe they have more time to write.

If you want to explore WP go here: WordPress compared to Joomla. These are the two sites and you can contrast and look at the pros and cons of each. Again it is not that I have anything against Joomla at all. It is that I really like using WP.

Maybe I have been  little fanatical about WordPress vs. Joomla but you are asking a very partial user of WP. But the reason I am partial is I have had such blogging success with WP and with such ease have been able to use it, why would I not be?

How to explore a city

Exploring a city

Do you think this post is about exploring a foreign city when you travel? Think again. I want to get you lost.  If you get lost you grow. Here is how.

One of my favorite things is to go to a city in a foreign country where I do not speak the language and walk around with no map. Not just go there, but try to get lost. I have traveled to countless countries and cities and I have never gotten in real trouble. I have had many adventures and misadventures though. Therefore, I think the best way to explore a city is to go there and walk around and absorb it from a sensory level.

Exploring a city
Even though I moved to Krakow, I have not stopped exploring it. I have not seen everything after living here seven years.

Why I do not use a city guide-book

The reason I developed the habit on exploring a city without any guidebook is because before the trip I am usually so involved with the logistics of planning and packing of that I have no time to read the important sites to see.  Further, when I’m traveling to the location I am usually a bit stressed out and more focused on just getting from point A to point B.

Therefore, even if I have bought a guidebook I rarely read it.  I think the best value of using a guidebook is reading it on the return trip or when you are home.  This way you’re more relaxed and can relay of your trip and say, yes I was here.  However in my opinion the best part of traveling is the adventure and discovering something on your own rather than relieving somebody else’s experience.

I have found many guidebooks giving opinions and advice about are totally incorrect.  They might review a place to go and it turns out opposite of my opinion.  Further it is a well-known fact that many of the writers of the guidebooks just recycle information and have never been to the actual city themselves.  This is shocking but true.

A better strategy is simply to go to the city and if you want something written of a small journal and write your own impressions about what you see.  The reality is you’ll get more there any drive facts and figures and dates that might be found in a city information book.

Another thing that is all cities have some sort of tourist information and free literature.  I guess I am cheap.

If you really want to learn more after you are done getting lost in a foreign city, most metropolitan areas have free walking tours in English. Why pay for a guide-book or even a guide when you can do this for free.

What about a foreign language phrase book while traveling? I teach and learn languages and find phrase books useless. Why? The phrases in the books are fine at a for ordering something  a cafe (most waiters speak English of course), but if asked a question, which you always are, you will be lost. Better is to learn about 200 verbs in a foreign language and you will have some level of communication as nouns are often similar.

Exploring a town with a map

Don’t you think it is more interesting to engage your senses and use latent parts of your brain by trying to navigate without a map? I rarely use one, I do not have a cell phone and certainly not a GPS. Why do you need all those things to take away the pleasure of exploration on your intuition?

If you want to take a map, sure, take one.  I have a passion for maps, but that is to look at when I am at home, not on the road. You can print them out form the Internet and put it in my pack just in case.

What if you get lost? Who do you ask?

I ask college age girls. If I speak the language old ladies. The first group is the most likely to speak English and the second (and first group) is the most trustworthy and friendly. If you ask some middle age guy, he might not like you because you are a foreigner and give you wrong directions. This has been my personal experience. I guess I am partial towards the fairer gender.

Good shoes are the most important part of travel

Unless you can not walk, I would not take a cab. I think trams and buses are also only if you really need to. I can think of very few cities you can not walk from top to bottom. If you are only hitting the tourist areas, that is one thing, but the best parts of a city are those you discover on foot or by accident.

The one thing I spend money on is good walking shoes. I buy running shoes as they are the only things that really work for the amount of distance I cover. I do not mind spending over 150 dollars on a pair. If you want to know more about what to pack for a trip read my post on what to pack for a trip.

Oh by the way, if you walk a foreign city you can enjoy more of the food as you will burn more calories. Since I moved to Europe I do not work out and in great shape. My legs are toned and I feel great. If I was not an explorer I think I would be over weight like my friends back home. I was heading in that direction.

What is the point of exploring a city?

If you have made it this far I think you understand my point. I am trying to get you to get lost. I am trying to encourage you to step outside your boundaries when you travel.  I did and it eventually changed my life. I moved to Europe . Taking small risks in life lead to you taking bigger risks. You will learn you can do anything you put your mind to.

I found that travel is one way to start stepping out of your comfort zones and build your self-confidence. If you have any questions about living off the beaten path or at least travelling there, please ask.  I have a lot of experience with travel and live as an expat with dual citizenship and a few languages. I used to be an accountant. No matter what your life situation, you can change it and live your dream.  I have traveled to Asia, South America, Africa, Europe and North America and been lost many times. However, those were always the best days.

Packing for a long trip

Packing for a long trip is something that I have perfected. Learn from my experience, less is more.  The purpose of this post is to tell you how I pack for a trip when I am going overseas.

Why I know how to pack my suitcase?

I would say I am an experienced traveler. I am an American that has lived or traveled to about 3 dozen countries, have a couple of passports and speak a handful of languages.  I now live in Poland.  It is not that I am anyone special. I am not. I just love to travel and have a sense of adventure. And yes I am married and have a family and a job. How do I do it? I make it work some how and my family does not seem to mind. They go along as we are a team.  Am I rich? No, or at least not yet. You can travel the world on a shoe string if you really want to.

How to pack for a long trip
Pack light and you will enjoy your trip more.

What I pack when I pack for a long trip

When I started to travel my packing was based on how much I could put into two suitcases. I remember when I traveled to Russia I even jammed a protein bar with 34 grams of protein for every day I would be there, if I could not get enough to eat. Boy I was a rookie.

travel light
Life is an adventure pack light and your will enjoy your trip

This is what I pack for anything over two weeks. Lets say I could even move to the country I am traveling to if I had to.

  • Laptop
  • Electrical adapter as  modern laptops only need the prong head not a full converter.
  • Copy of all travel documents and credit cards etc. or you can just write the information down on one sheet.
  • About 500 dollars cash and about 50 dollars in the local currency. I also use a bank machine and have not had a problem on the five continents I have traveled to.
  • seven pairs of underwear, that t-short, boxers and socks.
  • one bathing suit – I do not bring gym clothes anymore as when you are travelling you do enough walking and can do push ups and sit ups in your under wear if you really want to in your room.
  • two pairs of jeans, one of which I wear. You can replace this with one pair of shorts if you are going somewhere warm.
  • Digital Camera
  • Vitamins. I think something like the Vitamin shoppe daily 3 is good. Before the trip I take about two weeks worth of probiotic.  I have only taken antibiotics in my once in my whole life and I really did not need it, I wanted to try it. I use probiotic and in emergencies I eat a couple of bulbs of garlic. I would take it, just never needed it, thank God.
  • Sunblock SPF 50+ for my face
  • One bar of natural soap from Whole Foods, something that will last and I can use for my hair and body and it strong but natural.  Since I cleaned up my diet I have not needed deordorant. Really.
  • Dental Floss and tooth-brush and natural tooth paste, nail clippers. If your a woman you need a couple of girly things.
  • One pair of high quality running or hiking shoes, I wear this and do not take a second pair. I would rather spend a few hundred dollars on the best pair and use it all the time then two pairs of discount shoes.
  • A couple of climbing shirts. These are shirts that breath in summer and keep you warm in winter.
  • A real map, not twenty print outs from Google maps or a GPS. Keep it simple a map.
  • Good hat for protection from the sun. And sun glasses if your glasses do not have UV protection.
  • I can not think of anything else
  • packing for a trip
    Pack light and you will have more fun

What I do not bring when traveling

  • Anything you have back home you can buy in your traveling country and at a fraction of the price in many cases so do not worry.
  • Cell phone. Do not need it, I have Skype on my laptop and can call the world. What about in emergencies? No such thing. It is easier to deal with people face to face than try to talk on a cell phone. If you are travelling to meet people, such as if you are single, then OK. But I do not like to be plugged in on vacation.
  • Dress clothes. Jeans and a nice shirt, if you are a man or woman does fine. You can substitute one pair of jeans for a pair of khakis
  • Creams and lotions and beauty stuff that fills my bathroom back home. I think it is good to take a break from your normal routine, even if its three months.
  • Razor, I just do not shave on vacation, its more fun.
  • Books – well maybe one good one, but I prefer to see and experience more than read.
  • Travel guides. A lot are pure junk written by people who sometimes have not been there or at least in years. I live in Krakow and I read reviews on restaurants that do not make sense. When you get there it is a lot more fun to use your wits and brains and figure out and explore by yourself. You can read up on it when you get back home to fill in the gaps.

How do you pack for a trip? What does your checklist consist of? Do you think this is packing light? With the above mentioned I can live away from the USA indefinitely. In fact when I came to Poland for my vacation, that is all I had and I have been here for years.

What is the fastest browser

Every year and with every release the question comes up what is the fastest browser on earth? Many websites like Safari or Opera claim this on their home page. However, what is the truth? Everyone has their own opinions and you will see threads of arguments and comparisons and reviews on the web. Also you will see different browsers for different operating systems have different speeds.

  • At this point on my speed tests of just opening pages (nothing objective) Firefox feels that fastest.
  • Firefox has made an effort to increase speed and if you look at browser speed tester (I know it is not the sun spider test etc)  www.speed-battle.com it seems to back this up.
  • There is a derivative of Firefox called Pale moon browser,  this is even faster.

The problem is all the professional testing of speed makes me feel empty. No definite answer on the quickest web browser, just a lot of details on the features and standards and tech jargon, talk about bench marks for browser quickness under different conditions. But what if you’re an average guy running some version of Windows and does not have loads of special needs and you have a reasonable Internet speed and a modern computer, not something from the dark ages like 2001, what is the best browser for speed?

The speed experience

Forget the Sunspider or any other fancy benchmark. Load a heavy page and clock the seconds. This will give you a better indication of load time than anything else. You can run three or for tests.

Clear your cache and try to load large clunky pages like Huffington Post. Pick your favorite three. Time them based on in the lower right hand corner when it stops loading (it says ‘waiting for or looking up or connecting to example.com).

  • Cold start tests are again not as important as most of the day most people are online. It is more about loading a page.
  • Cold restore is just not that important, nor is DOM/CSS.
  • Java Script and Memory usage is important and Firefox wins compared to Opera, Chrome Safari and IE.

Browser speed will depend on:

  1. Browser
  2. Browser version
  3. Configuration, options, preferences
  4. Operating system
  5. Plug-ins
  6. Add ons and tool bars
  7. Skins
  8. Other programs running in the background
  9. Firewalls and Internet connection really does not determine intrinsic speed but rather overall speed.
  10. Download accelerators that are part of the whole experience.

Type of pages you go to:

  1. Imagine rich
  2. Java rich
  3. Text rich
  4. Flash pages

It begs the question, what is speed. Is speed the pieces that load that you want to see or is it when the page stops loading even if they are not relevant parts. The latter I feel Firefox does particularly well.

Therefore, no test will tell you definitively which browser is the fastest as there are too many variables. However, generally Chrome and Firefox in the technical tests are neck and neck but the opening page tests Opera and Firefox seem a little faster. In the old days a few years ago there was a difference. However, at this juncture it is either/or when it comes to noticeable differences.

  •  Text browsers like Dillo of course will be faster but the user experiences is limited.

In the number of speed tests I run I have found a faster experience with Firefox.

I also like Firefox because it is truly free and not tied to a company (even though I respect Google). The plug-ins are richer in FF and the community is more robust.

I have tried most Browsers and tested them on the gamut of different OS. I have a two strong opinions.

  • Although you will not notice any huge difference between the latest and greatest versions of  web browsers as they have all come a long way, one is fastest.  In fact, these tests for me depend on the speed of my Internet that day and exogenous variables from test to test. I tested the browsers and got different speeds so many times that I decided the best way to test it was just see how they feel to me. Come on the differences now are in milliseconds.
  • I have one browser that performs the best for me, and that includes speed.

Here is my ranking of speed tested on my DSL Internet connection. It is a comparison of browsers for speed when you strip off all the plug-ins and add-ons and just run the browser for Google searches.

Fastest browser

  1. Mozilla Firefox – I have  tried to dethrone this but it still is the fastest. Maybe I am emotionally tied to this one but it is fast. Try it yourself.  If I load it with plug-ins and it is a cold start then, it takes more time but Firefox, is the fastest browser. It works best on Linux but on Windows it is still king. It is of course open source free. If you do not use this just try one search and you will see.
  2. Opera – the newest version is fast and free. It is really good. It might be even as fast as Firefox. I have to recheck this again. I would highly recommend a comparison between these two browsers.
  3. Chrome – light weight and uses less resources than even Firefox, somehow I am still on Firefox. I have Google everything already.
  4. Safari – I like it but I think it is best optimized for the Mac and lots of Apple whistles and bells on it.
  5. Internet Explorer – on Windows 7 this runs like the rest of them with the newest release but I am still using Firefox as it seemed faster

There are others like Lunascape (I like the look and speed of this but did not give it enough chance to see if the claims (JavaScript tests) were correct, but on my test Firefox still was faster) and Konquerer (more Linux) that are also good.  Netscape is gone, why do people still talk about it. Therefore, I would give the world’s fastest browser award to Mozilla Firefox, with Opera close behind. I purposely kept this article short as if you are looking for speed, I imagine that you are looking to browse without waiting, you do not want a 3 page article.

I invite you to try this yourself. Try it with your own computer. I use Firefox and in terms of speed there is no comparison. Let me know your thoughts

How to teach English

I have taught English for years. I never really learned to teach ESL other than by experience. If you think experience is the best teacher than you will appreciate this post. It is a quick no-nonsense guide on what you need to know to teach a language. I recommend, if you are a native speaker, you do not go to a ESL teaching school to learn how to teach. It is a waste of money and time.  It would be better if you developed your own teaching style.

You can not teach anyone a language

The biggest mistake teachers make is assuming the responsibility is on them. Wrong. The student has to teach themselves. This is why so many people complain they never learned anything in language classes. They have this expectation that someone will put a language in their brain while they sit back.

You must tell your students this on day one. You must tell them clearly that it is their responsibility alone to learn English or any other foreign language and that it will take patience and work. Also tell them that there is no such person as a language genius. Only people who have an interest in studying.

You are not writing an English language book

Do not feel you have to hand prepare every lesson and print everything you can from the Internet for your special student. Why? There are people who write books for a living, grammar, vocabulary and all. If you think you can do a better job, than you should write a book, but do not waste your energy making special lessons for your students. You are here as their private English tutor and not to create a tutorial with full lesson plans and write a book for them.  I know this sounds hard but I know what I am talking about. Students have huge expectation and will drain you.  First day tell them they have to buy this book.  Make them buy a book.  I like Murphy’s grammar for English language students.

Give lots of homework

If you want students to learn pile on the homework. If they do not do it during class give them a really disappointed look and do it during class. Waste their time because they are wasting yours by not doing what you asked. They all have lame excuses. Simply say do these 3 chapters. During the start of the class do not go over every exercises only the ones they look like they do not understand. After which you must make them explain the rule to you, not you explain the rule to them. Them teaching you is more effective.

If they complain they are not learning, give them more homework. Almost all language students are like to whine. They have to understanding teaching and learning come down to the student studying. Class is just cream and fun where they can practice what they taught themselves.

If they speak advanced or upper intermediate English then teach them like you learned English in high school.  Give them reading and writing assignments from classic literature and have the discuss it in class.

If they need help achieving comprehension make them listen to the radio in English one hour a day. I use to make free English MP3s for download on my website for each student on the words they are learning.  But I do not as the students start to get demanding and needy and expect you to do it. Therefore, I just refer them to a professional disk or the radio. And yes I think radio is better than movies.

Learn English by teaching

You are a native speaker. Do not expect to know every rule. If you do not know the rule ask them to research it. In fact I make my students teach me grammar. They learn by teaching.

English language conversation lessons

Most of your lessons should consist of fun English language conversation. They could pay a non-native speaker to teach them useless things like the perfect tense. You as a native speaker should ask them about 25 questions during your hour with them.  I give my students an hour not some lame 45 minute or 50 minute class. You should just fire them off and let them speak. You should not speak too much, they should.

Speak slowly and clearly and relaxed, not like a NYC fast slangy talker with idioms they will not understand. You want to build their linguistic confidence. You are really a language coach.

Again you are not teaching them, you are having conservation and fun with them and correcting every or almost every mistake they make. They are really looking for practice as they had enough grammar on the perfect tenses in school. Find everything you can from movies to radio programs and video games to get them engaged in learning English. Your role is to build their confidence and make them enjoy learning so they are motivated to do their homework and keep studying with pleasure.

Keys to teaching English

  • tell them they have to teach themselves the English language
  • make them get a book and do homework about 1 to 3 chapters a week
  • class should involve about 20% grammar and 80% fun but corrective conversation
  • make them listen to the radio one hour a night if they need help with pronunciation or comprehension

If you have any questions let me know.  I also wrote this guide if you have not seen it, how to learn English fast. I teach English now only for fun.

Why YouTube is good for learning

In this post I will argue that YouTube is a great resource for learning about how to use for certain things. This post is more conveying my personal experiences with using YouTube as an avenue for learning.

What subject makes a good tutorial on YouTube – languages no, programs yes

I am a language teacher and a tech consultant and teacher. This is my perspective based on my experience.  I think YouTube is great for learning computer software programs. However, YouTube is horrible for learning languages. In fact, it mildly annoys me when someone creates a basic video for say learning French or Spanish. In almost all cases the instructional Spanish video will be basic words and not systematic enough or put in the whole context of the languages. It will not teach you anything and is just for marketing something else to tempt you to get people to go to their website. Therefore, for languages YouTube is not the place to learn, but for techy things it is.

Computer software videos are produced by techies. In the tech world there is a big spirit of open source. Programs from WordPress to Open office are professional programs produced for free. This mentality extends to the tutorial world.  Even me I make tech tutorials for free but I sell language programs.

Cost of learning

I am a techy geek. One of the things about being into technology is you need to constantly keep up to date.  The problem is computer books are usually about 34 dollars, taking a programming class costs about 800 dollars.  In my opinion this is a lot of money. Further, I have a lot of books on programming I have not read. I like the idea of reading compared to the Internet, but it does not seem to happen, I do not read much except for fiction at the end of the evening. Therefore, to learn how to use a new software application or anything, whether it be how to create a iPhone app or something connected to CSS, I usually turn to YouTube to learn most efficiently.

YouTube more interesting than class

The Internet has an addictive quality to it. In theory attending a class or reading a book is the best way to learn, however, most techy geeks are somewhat hooked on the Internet, and to leave this brick and mortar enviroment to learn a new programming language.  I think YouTube is much more interesting than class. Further, you can take breaks whenever you like or skip ahead to parts of tutorials you might already know. You can further go back and play a part over and over.

Searching YouTube videos for learning

One of the biggest issues with YouTube is that it takes time to find a good usable tutorial. Many YouTube videos are very lame, even the ones that are professionally produced often are not well done as they have too long introductions or not enough meat. He is my screening criteria for finding a YouTube programming lesson.

  • Image of the video is my first determinate criteria. In the quality and lighting is anything less than high quality, then I will not consider it.
  • Length of the video. If it is long it is usually good. It sounds to simple but this is my experience. Further you can skip over the parts you do not like. It irritates me when a video is in 14 small parts. I prefer one long quality production.
  • Who does the videos.  People who are not selling anything produce the best videos. They might be selling something very subtle like a service on their website, but not overtly. Also something not produced by a professor, but a common sense useful practical study on your subject by users.

How fast can you learn using videos

I am reviewing two Android developement videos, each about 45 minutes in length. This is enough to get be started on Andriod development. I think with about 90 minutes of any videos on YouTube you have a good introduction to your target subject. In my opinion you could sit in the bath and watch videos in this time and it is one of the most painless methods of learning something fast.