Webmaster Tools with Hosted WordPress

I just noticed that in the Tools section of the administration pages on my hosted WordPress blog (this one), I can insert the metadata tags which the big sites’ Webmaster tools require to verify a site.  By doing this verification, you can improve your readership and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your blog.

If you’re interested in doing this, the page where you enter the metadata tags is:

https://[your blog URL]/wp-admin/tools.php

At the bottom of the page is a section entitled: Webmaster Tools Verification.  If you’re not sure how to go about getting the right metadata tags, check out the support information.  The capability is currently provided for Google Webmaster Tools, Yahoo! Site Explorer, and Bing Webmaster Center.


Building a Non-SharePoint Site for a Change – Part Deux

I’ve had a few more thoughts from working on my wife’s Web site (now publicly available at http://koochiku.com).  Being a Webmaster should not be dismissed as a pedestrian task!


Not all sites have to be fully accessible as defined by the various regulations and guidelines that exist out there.  (Section 508 and WCAG 1.0 Priority 2 and 3 in the US, etc.).  That doesn’t mean that you should totally ignore the rules.  It’s worth doing a quick scan to see where your site might have issues.  One good scanner is freely available from Hi Software at http://www.cynthiasays.com/.  You can decide which rules you want to pay attention to.  Keep in mind that things like alt tags for images aren’t just useful for screen readers, but also for regular users who want to get some sort of descriptive text for the image to understand what you’re showing them.  Some of these rules have a lot of common sense behind them as well as the accessibility goals.

Search Engine Optimization

I had a “what a bonehead” moment when I went to create a Sitemap for Google for the site.  I had written this neato little JavaScript menu generator for the site (mainly because I thought it would be fun – there are umpteen of these things out there for free).  When I used one of the free Sitemap generator sites (http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/), I realized that, by putting all of the logic into JavaScript, the search engines weren’t going to “see” most of the pages.  Oops.  I backed off on my neato menu generator and instead embedded the HTML in the pages.  Whiz, bang, the next scan went just the way I wanted it to, “seeing” all of the pages that I wanted the search engines to index.

And speaking of SEO, I’ve posted before about some steps that you can take to get your blog noticed.  The same steps work for pretty much any site.  Here are a few of the links you’ll definitely want to visit:

Once you have your Sitemap in place, you can also submit your URL to Ask.com by going to this URL:

http://submissions.ask.com/ping?sitemap=http%3A//[site name]/

And by no means should you fall for the “We’ll get your site indexed by Google and others in 7 days for $29.99/month” trap.  The search engines are going to do their thing regardless – it’s what they are out there for.  If you submit your site to the links above, you’ll give yourself a leg up, maybe accelerating the process a tad, and it won’t cost you a dime.

Optimize Your Blog: Dead Links and SEO

Having recently moved my blog here to WordPress from Live Spaces, I’ve been cleaning things up, repointing internal links, retagging, etc.  I’ve found a couple of things that are useful and I wanted to pass them along.

One of the things that I wanted to do is to see if I had any dead links in any of my posts.  I found this nice tool: http://www.dead-links.com.  Free and easy!  It’s not perfect — it showed me that quite a few links lead to 404 errors when they were just fine — but it’s a great, quick way to see if anything you consider important isn’t working right.  If you find something missing in someone else’s site and even the search engine caches are dead, consider trying the Way Back Machine to see if you can find an earlier version to link to or copy content from (not forgetting attribution, of course).

Another goal is to increase visibility and traffic to my blog (Search Engine Optimization or SEO), and Joel Olsen’s post entitled Ranking Your Blog – Managing and Gaining Popularity has great step by step tips on how to get the major (and many of the minor) search engines to notice your blog faster and more often.