It’s been a month since my last Blog Updates post and I’ve made a number of changes and nice improvements over the past few days:
- New Header
- Archives Page
- Exec PHP Plugin
- Top Commenters Plugin
- ExecPHP Plugin
- Sitemap Plugin
- Guest Bloggers
The first new thing you’ve probably noticed is my new header image up top. To my surprise, a number of people expressed their distaste for my previous header. I actually quite liked it, but I think some people felt that the middle ‘Tyler Balboa” image was too unprofessional (I thought it was funny). So, I made the new one you see now. If you look closely though, you can still see a bit of my “Tyler Balboa” image 😉
In any case, I like to update the header once every 5-6 months. It helps to revitalize the look and feel, as well as mark the gradual metamorphasis and evolution of my blog.
My intent when launching the “Review my Blog” post series was always to generate backlinks as well as a bit of buzz for my blog. I had never really thought that I’d receive any helpful or useful suggestions for my blog in the actual reviews.
And for the most case, that’s true. Most people who review my blog just praise it blatantly, but once in a while somebody comes along and suggests something that I end up implenting. I love it when this happens… it only makes my blog better.
In my last batch of reviews, I had linked back to ThePinkC.net. She had made a suggestion in her review that I needed an Archive page. She wasn’t the first person to suggest this, but her comment helped remind me about the other reviewers who had suggested the same thing. It makes sense, too. People who are reviewing my blog want to get a better understanding and overview of what my blog is all about.
I had always felt that my Archive and Category lists on the side of my blog sufficed, but they didn’t break down all of my posts too well.
So, I installed the SRG Clean Archives v4.1 plugin, and added an Archive page which is now linked from the top left menu. I also removed the Archive list from the right side, as it was thus redundant. It was also starting to get a bit too long, since I’ve been blogging now for a while.
The Archives page splits up all my posts by month, linking by post title and displaying the number of comments in parethesis.
Exec PHP Plugin
I had a hard time trying to install the SRG Clean Archives v4.1 plugin at first, but eventually realized that I couldn’t get it to work because WordPress does not execute PHP within pages or posts.
The Exec PHP v3.2 fixes this, simply allowing PHP to be executed…. well… within pages or posts.
Top Commenters Plugin
To replace the Archive list on the side of my blog, I added the Top Commenters Plugin. I had actually thought this was built into, but apparantly I was wrong. I’m using the Show Top Commentators v1.05 plugin which you can view in action at the lower right of my blog.
Thus, there’s now a second way to gain a backlink on my blog. While it’s not permanant like you’d get if you review my blog, it’s a real link as it doesn’t use the “nofollow” attribute which links in the actual comments have.
The way it works is that the top 10 commenters will appear on the list. If they have a website attached to their profile, it will be displayed as a link from their username, otherwise only their username will appear. The list is reset each month, giving new commenters a chance.
This plugin has helped other bloggers improve their comment activity – something I never used to have a problem with. However, when I made users have to register again in order to comment, my number of comments obviously decreased dramatically. Hopefully this new plugin will help entice people to register.
To my dismay, the Top Commenters plugin didn’t work at first. This was because WordPress doesn’t exectute PHP within the side widgets. So, I installed a very simple plugin which allows PHP to be executed within the side widgets. I’m using ExecPHP v1.0, not to be confused with the Exec PHP above of the all-too-similar name. This one doesn’t have a space between, though. See? Different.
I’ve known for a while that I need to submit sitemaps for my sites, but it’s always been on the backburner. However, after installing a sitemap plugin on a couple of my forums, I decided I might as well do so with my blog as well.
So, I installed the popular WordPress plugin Sitemap Generator 2.7.1 which creates and handles the sitemap for you. Hopefully this has some sort of beneficial SEO outcome (boy do I hate things you can’t easily measure or gauge the results of!).
I’m still looking for guest bloggers to occasionally submit posts on my blog, such as ROI_Guy ocassionally does. I’m looking for good writers who can write about internet business, design, or web development and the articles/posts must be written specifically and exclusively for TylerCruz.com.
In return, you’ll have your name attached to each post which can be linked to your own website, which good for backlinks and a bit of exposure, plus you’ll help me out
The way it currently works is the guest blogger submits a draft, and when I don’t have time to write a blog post I then publish the draft into a post on the site.
If you’re interested, please contact me with a sample post or two.