WordPress.com Versus WordPress.org – which should you pick?

About the WordPress Content Management System

WordPress is a world leading Content Management System (CMS) – but confusingly it comes in two flavours – WordPress.com (hosted by the WordPress guys) or WordPress.org (you take responsibility for hosting it/use an alternative provider that hosts it for you).

So Should I choose WordPress.com or WordPress.org?

That depends on your requirements, level of skill, money and time commitment. Broadly speaking WordPress.com is cheaper (free at the most basic level), easier and quicker to set up whereas WordPress.org is more flexible, complicated and slightly more time consuming. Though I would note this last point is only because it has so many options that it’s down to what you want to put into it.

The advantages of picking WordPress.com

What’s great about WordPress.com:

  • Free for the basic package
  • Very little technical knowledge required
  • No need to install
  • No need to manage hosting
  • No need to buy a domain (though you can if you want)

What you can do with WordPress.org

With WordPress.org you get:

  • Plugins to extend the functionality
  • More theme customisation
  • Access to the underlying file system & database (may vary depending on hosting provider)
  • Complete control over your website – themes, plugins, functionality – everything
  • Typically you’ll be attaching this to a custom domain you own – rather than being a subdomain of wordpress.com

Which is right for you?

If you’ve got the time, skill and knowledge go for WordPress.org any time – it’s much more powerful and customisable.

If you want to just get going and have less technical knowledge/money go for WordPress.com.

What is a Fan Page on Facebook?

What is a Fan Page on Facebook?

A Facebook Fan Page is your outlet for directly targeting your fans/audience/customers – as an area distinct on the social network from personal profiles. So even if you are a ‘personality’ you still get a fan page, rather than using your personal profile for promotion.

Think ‘microsite’

Think of your Facebook Fan Page as a microsite. You get a publicly addressable space with a few distinct pages (helpful for SEO) in which to put your contact details, updates, images, location, opening hours, branding etc. You can also choose to enable ads – this is where you have the option to pay to reach a wider audience. This depends on your business and your budget – something we can help you manage when establishing your social presence.

The benefits

Well, we don’t need to tell you the crazy usage stats behind Facebook – it’s a pretty much unparalleled success at what it does. But how can that benefit you and your business?

The benefits of a Facebook microsite:

  • Establish yourself amongst the dominant social network – a huge potential audience
  • Separate your personal activities from your business ones
  • Interact directly with your customers
  • Another result that can show up when people search for you on Google
  • Analytics for your page
  • Advertising to boost your reach

So the conclusion is: it’s a great way to socially interact with, market to and learn about your customers. When your customers like and interact with you – their friends see it too, so you have a chance to grow your brand.

How do I start one?

You can simply contact EBS Marketing and we’ll help you establish a high quality Facebook Microsite so you can comment, like and advertise under your own branding. We have plenty of experience in creating them, so you’re in very safe hands.

What’s the future of SEO?

No-one knows for certain where things will go – but we can make some educated guesses. It looks like Google will continue to dominate people’s SEO concerns, but that doesn’t mean it will always be that way. Remember Alta Vista in 1996 (soon to defunct) or Yahoo! in 1999? The mighty can and do fall. For now though we can say with a reasonable degree of certainty that Google’s domination will continue for the near to mid-term future.

Algorithm

The search engine algorithms are massive mathematical constructions that are intended to determine the relevancy of websites to a searcher’s query. These used to be simpler and hence easier to manipulate – invisible text, link spam, bait and switch etc all used to fool search engines. Not any more! The algorithms continue to increase in complexity and the search engines are known to switch parts in and out, change the weightings of specific aspects etc – so whilst some SEO tool providers can approximate the algorithm it’s highly unlikely that anyone would ever crack it completely. Even if they did – it would just change again.

The distant future? Could the algorithm ever reach perfection? It’s possible, but distant. Would it make SEO redundant – I don’t think so, but it would make manipulation and blackhat obsolete.

Links

Link farming died, buying links died – could links themselves ever die as a search engine signal? Well look at nofollow links – they have no SEO value but people still use them. Why? Because these sorts of links are either a) to deter spammy SEOs or b) for actual human beings to follow, not for a ratings boost. So the search engines could in theory try to determine which nofollow links are honest and of value to humans and paradoxically weight them better than follow ones! It’s odd, but plausible in my opinion. Follow links could become less useful, but I think they’ll still be with us for some time – it’s just that the criteria for getting any sort of effect from them will become stricter.

Social

The increasing importance of social could potentially see it over take links – I imagine it’s a key indicator for sudden increases in links. A massive and sudden increase in links looks like spam – but what if it’s a piece of content that’s gone viral? Then it’s legitimate, but how would you know? The answer is monitoring social signals.

Content

Now I feel I can quite confidently say content won’t go! Good quality content is what people want from the web – it’s what the algorithms are out to find. What might disappear is content marketing – overly promotional content marketing. As the relevancy detection gets better, these items could slip where they don’t aid the searcher in their intent.

So what do you think? What is the future of SEO? Answers in the comments section please!

 

Whatever the future brings, EBS Marketing keep up to date on SEO – contact us for help with anything digital.

Everything in its right place

Give them a map

Google is great at finding things and assessing their relevance to searchers and to other things they are linked or associated with. Even so, you should still blatantly point things out to them where you can. Remove all doubt. They may still make their own minds up but at least you’ve made yours up. Structure/Navigation? Give them a sitemap. Important content feeds – such as news or video? Submit them specifically to Google. Pages moved/moving? Set-up a redirect. Multiple versions of the same content? Tell them which is the original.

Your content is king, but the structure of and access to it are also very important.

Sitemap

Sign-up for Google’s webmaster tools (free!) and submit a sitemap. There’s websites out there that will create one for free (usually up to a certain amount of pages – with the ‘premium’ offering unlocking the full sitemap), a developer may also be able to help you or your CMS (content management systems) may offer it automatically. A wordpress.com blog usually has it at homepage.com/sitemap.xml, for wordpress.org (i.e. self-hosted WordPress) you may need to install a plugin.

Webmaster tools will tell you if your sitemap is ok –vital in checking your navigation. As a bonus, webmaster tools will also hand you lots of other useful SEO troubleshooting information: crawl errors, html issues, basic link information, a selection of search queries etc. You need to use this tool!

Content Feeds

We’ve covered this before in universal search – to get featured in News submit your feed (and remember to comply with their rules and guidelines). Got a lot of video content? Do a video-specific sitemap to submit to Google. Make sure to include all relevant meta-data of course!

Moving pages

If you move a page that’s still relevant to the search engines tell them where it’s gone! There’s two major types of re-direct you can implement to inform search engines of a change. 301 Moved Permanently or 302 Moved Temporarily.

You want to use 301 Moved Permanently. This indicates that the content has moved – and may be more up to date at its new location. This will pass on 90+% of the SEO power the page originally had. A 302 on the other hand will pass on 0%.

You may need a developer to help you configure this – but be warned, a 302 redirect is the default on some systems and to a developer not versed in SEO there is no real functional difference.

Duplicate content

Duplicate content is punished as Google likes originality and freshness – we know this so why would anyone have duplicate content on their sites these days? Unfortunately some CMSs introduce duplicate content down to the way they work. It may be by introducing a session id to the URL string or it may reflect multiple product choice options.

For example:

mysite.com/product.php?sessionid=943325

is really the same page as:

mysite.com/product.php?

Or in the case of products:

mysite.com/product.php?colour=red&size=4&style=vintage

is really the same as the customer choosing the same product via the same options but in a different order.

mysite.com/product.php?size=4&colour=red&style=vintage

Clearly in these situations the duplicate page may be necessary, but you only want one version ranked. In these cases you decide which page will be canonical. You then add tags the other (non-canonical) pages to indicate to Google which you would like it to consider the main one.

rel=”canonical” – put this in a link tag in the <head> section of the duplicate pages

NB: Google may disregard this advice, but at least you’ve shown them that you are not duplicating content for dubious reasons.

For help with this sort of structural SEO, contact EBS Marketing – your friendly Manchester based digital/SEO obsessives.