Categories
Blogging Updates WordPress

Fall in love with WordPress again with WordPress 4.0

Hello!

So as I said, hello! I wanted to make an entrance, since it has been 7 weeks since I wrote an article!

I also wanted to show off how brilliant WordPress 4.0 is, by adding a YouTube video. I literally just added the URL to the post and voilà, the video appears then and there in WordPress as I am writing this article. No need to preview the post or wait for it to go live, I add the URL and the video is there straight away!

Why that video though? Well I am back, and WordPress has just been given a bit of rejig with the release of 4.0 – named Benny.

So, we are going to save the world and their will be a good dose of cool cars, gadgets and weapons, mixed with a bit of humour along the way.

Alright, this is quite tenuous, maybe I just wanted to put the video in because I could. I did because I could.

It’s all well and good being serious with this blogging malarkey, but one needs to let ones hair down once in a while, and a funky friendly post is a good way to do that. Probably.

WordPress is fantastic. In my humble opinion, no other blogging platform comes close, let alone another free, open source one!

This is a bit of a non-post of ramblings, but trust me, there is better stuff to come.

You are still reading anyway, aren’t you?

Categories
Blogging

Writing frequency

Today I pose a question: is it possible to blog on a daily basis?

It is easy to ‘scrape’ content on a daily basis, but can you write and publish a really good post every day? Jonny seems to have publishing weekly down to a tee, every week we get something new and thought provoking. 4 to 5 posts each month, every month.

I have a more erratic style of publishing, 2 posts in January, 5 in December, 1 in November, 3 in October, 5 in September, none in August – you get the picture.

I like to spend a lot of time on articles. I usually do a lot of research and background reading to try and put together an interesting, factually sound piece of work. I am a little bit of a perfectionist, which is sometimes really good, but it can be annoying. If I care about something, I like to put a lot of work into it. I care for this blog, so I want every post to be really good. Not every post I publish has or will be really good. I need to face the facts.

So, I as I am writing this I am setting myself a challenge. Write an article at least once a week and hit publish. No faffing around, just write a post and publish it every Monday.

A blog needs posts. I need to be consistent.

See you next Monday.

Over and out.

Categories
Updates

Technology Bloggers turns 2!

Today, Technology Bloggers turns 2!

Happy Birthday Technology BloggersMany blogs get abandoned within the first year, blogs that last more than a year are rare. Blogging is said to have died and been reborn so many times, with millions of blogs, big and small falling by the wayside. But we haven’t!

Amazing growth, a growing social influence, and ranked in the top 275 technology blogs on the internet by Technorati, Technology Bloggers has had an amazing two years; and there is loads more to come!

Always striving to improve, every day we are becoming a bigger name in the technology industry.

Lets have a look at what’s happened in the last year…

Traffic

The blog has undoubtedly grown in popularity since last year. Here are some interesting visitor statistics which show the extent of our growth.

  • In year two (2012/2013) we had 65,000 unique visitors, 20k more than in year one (2011/2012)
  • Overall the number of visits were up 88% year on year
  • Year one saw 70,000 pageviews, whilst year 2 saw a staggering 64% increase to 115,000!
  • On average people spend 100 seconds (1 minute and 40 seconds) when visiting the blog

Social

Our presence on social media has significantly grown in the last year. We now post every article (title, excerpt and link) to Twitter and Facebook, as well as interesting things we find across the net, and developments – like my recent visit to the Gadget Show Live – more to come on that soon.

  • Our Facebook page has gained 246 new likes, which is a 473% increase in the last year
  • We now have 275 followers on Twitter, which is 299% up on the year 2011/2012
  • Since last year we have joined Google+ and now have 33 followers

Want to join our followers? If you subscribe you can get updates from the feed. We will only ever post something additional if we think it will interest you.

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Achievements

As a blog we have achieved far more than traffic and a strong social presence, here are some of our other great achievements:

  • Almost 4,000 comments have been posted by around 500 different commenters
  • We have 175 feed subscribers 63 of whom subscribe via email
  • We are ranked in the top 300 technology blogs in the world by Technorati (we are currently ranked 261, which is in the top 0.6% of all technology blogs in their index)
  • We were awarded British Gas’s blog of the month last April
  • We have a Google PageRank of 4 (although this doesn’t really mean very much)
  • The blog has attracted 71 different writers 24 of whom have written more than one post
  • Of our writers, 4 of them have 10 posts or more and 2 authors who have written more than 50 articles
  • Many of our writers are now claiming Google Authorship, strengthening the names behind the content on our blog

Community Awards

In the last two years, we have awarded 12 community awards in total. These awards have been given to 7 different people, with notable award winners including: Alan Tay winner of two awards; Peter Lee also winner of two awards; myself, (Christopher Roberts) winner of two awards; and Jonny Hankins who has won three awards.

2012 Community Award WinnersWinners of Technology Bloggers Community Awards - 2011

The Future

Our current growth seems to be showing no signs of slowing down, everything is just accelerating at the moment – which can be hard to manage!

In the pipeline for next year there is already a series, a competition, and loads of ideas for new posts!

Thank You

As always, thanks for playing your part in the community. Without you we couldn’t operate. Read, write or comment, everyone is important and everyone is part of the community.

Thank you everyone, here’s to another great year 🙂

By the way, this is our 400th post!

Categories
Fun Internet News

Best internet April Fools 2013

Monday (April the 1st) saw hundreds of high profile April Fools’ Day jokes hit the internet, but which were the top April Fools spoofs online?

7. Virgin

At number 7 this year, is Virgin Atlantic’s glass floor planes. On his blog, Richard Branson posted on how Virgin Atlantic Airlines (in which he owns a 51% stake) are planning on launching a glass-bottomed plane. Branson commented on how he was “thrilled to announce that Virgin has created another world-first with the introduction of the technology required to produce the world’s first glass-bottomed plane.

Glass-bottomed planesVirgin Atlantic also posted the jape on its official blog, stating that thanks to private funding from Richard Branson, the technology had now been developed to give passengers the experience of a transparent floor.

The floor of a plane couldn’t really feasibly be made transparent though; the luggage and engine have to go somewhere!

6. Metro

One of the first articles I came across this April Fools’ Day was the Metro’s April Fools’ Day 2013 round-up. The Metro had taken screenshots of all the top April Fools this year, including Goolge’s, Facebook’s, YouTube’s, Tesco’s, The BBC’s and more.

I only realised when I got to the end of the post that they were all spoofs! The Metro’s April Fool was to Photoshop loads of fake April Fools. Tesco’s 3D food printer, YouTube’s $1,000,000 giveaway and the BBC’s story of how Curiosity rover had joined Twitter, were all very well designed, believable, and well worth a read!

5. The White House

As we the above pranks show, April Fools’ jokes aren’t just limited to a personal level, companies and the media like to play them too, but what about government? Well the US government tried to fool its Twitter followers this year, posting a ‘special video from the president’ – watch it below.

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4. Technology Bloggers

Okay, my post on Monday which informed readers how the Higgs boson has been found  wasn’t true. The Higgs is thought to hold the key (or at least part of it) to help us better understand the origins of the universe. I did also mention in the post how the particle could potentially make time travel viable, and also be the key to ultimate power, enabling us to use nuclear fusion as a power source.

Last month scientists thought they were closer than ever to identifying the Higgs particle, and this is true. However it is still yet to be proved to exist, and it might not be the miracle particle that I made out it could be. Most of my post was made up, as an April Fool – I hope nobody minded.

April Fools from Technology Bloggers! 🙂

3. Google

Google is becoming famous for its April Fools. This year they played several. The most high profile was probably Google Nose, which had the strapline “Smelling is believing.” This April Fool claimed that Google could bring uses the smell of things they were searching for, by “intersecting photons with infrasound waves” they can “temporarily align molecules” to make your screen smell like what you are searching for. Clever stuff – if it were real!

A treasure map of the world
The world, as viewed through Google Treasure Maps

The search giant also created a treasure map version of Google Maps. Google claimed it had found some old treasure maps which once belonged to an infamous pirate Captain Kidd, and it had scanned them and added them to its online mapping service.

Another April Fools joke that Google played was seen in the launch Gmail Blue. Gmail wasn’t blue enough, so they made it all blue, because blue is better! It doesn’t make any sense, but is very comedic – watch the video below for more.

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On Monday, when checking Technology Bloggers Analtyics, it turned out that we had 41 visitors from the International Space Station. I took a screenshot, this is no joke!

ISS traffic stats
We had 41 visitors from the International Space Station!

Okay, maybe it was a joke, yet another Google April Fool.

These are just a few of Google’s 2013 April Fools jokes.

2. Twitter

In third place is Twitter. Twitter’s fool was to trick users into believing that they would soon have to pay for vowels!

It was a half believable story that the social network published on its blog, and it did show innovative ways that people were trying to get around having to pay the five dollar a month fee so you can “use our premium “Twitter” service which also includes vowels” as opposed to having to use the free version: Twttr. Some people substituted o’s (owes) for 0’s (zeroes) whilst in an example in the blogpost, Joan Rivers used the partial/semi vowel ‘y’ to replace all vowels!

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Personally I am not sure that twttr.com would ever really have taken off. Wh-t 1s thy p01nt 0f – Tw1ttyr w1th n0 v0wyls? 😉

1. YouTube

This year, I think that YouTube had the best April Fools’ joke. YouTube claimed, in a video post, that the website was no longer accepting submissions. That’s right, submissions, like entries. This is because the website was simply a massive competition; who could submit the best video?

YouTube logoThat’s right, the competition of YouTube is over, and over the next ten years, the winner will be decided, and on April the 1st 2023, the site will relaunch with just one video on it. The best video. The winner of YouTube’s 8 year video contents!

A pretty good April Fool, but that isn’t why it wins this year. The reason YouTube is number one, is because of the time and effort they put into their April Fool.

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The video above shows the initial video YouTube put out for the April Fool, but what many people never saw was the 12 hour live stream they did! That’s right, YouTube got two presenters to stand in front of a camera and read out video after video, videos which have been posted on the site and are ‘up for nomination’ to be the ‘winner’ of the YouTube contest. Click on this link to see the video, and check out this link to read more on the official YouTube blog.

Which was you favourite April Fools’ Day joke this year? Was it one you played, or had played on you? Do you think that smaller April Fools’ like putting salt in the sugar are no longer that significant, when companies like Google, (who own YouTube) Virgin and Twitter are playing jokes on millions – maybe billions?

Categories
Blogging Updates

One blog, two perspectives

Technology Bloggers has two types of community members, those who read and those who write – some people do both.

For a long time now, those who contribute articles to the blog, and those who read those contributions, have seen the blog in the same way.

Not anymore.

Thanks to a clever bit of coding and a plugin or two, logged in users, now see a different blog to those who are logged out.

One of the major differences is advertisements. As you know we sometimes host advertisements on the sidebar or in the footer of the blog, in order to help fund the maintenance of the blog – someone has to pay the bills!

Logged in users still see sponsored editorials and writers personal AdSense units, however they no longer see sidebar/footer promotions. Also, logged in users get ‘behind the scenes’ information an updates that normal users don’t need to see.

For an example, see the image below.

Logged in vs standard users footer view
What Technology Bloggers homepage footer currently looks like for normal readers and logged in users.

For search engine optimisation reasons, I have been trying to remove links from the blog’s design (specifically sidebar and footer) as too many links can look spammy, and throw PageRank in all directions. Fewer links means those pages that are linked to (both internal and external) carry greater authority.

So, if you are a writer, check out your sidebar and footer, as it is different to when you are not logged in. Even if you don’t have an account, take a look at the sidebar and footer, as there is some really interesting stuff which you might find useful there!

On a slightly different note, our prodigy (well he did win the 2012 ‘Rising Star’ community award) Jonny Hankins is currently learning more about our commenting systems, via Technology Bloggers Progression Academy – a new initiative I am developing – with the aim to have him modifying comments, and therefore being promoted to the status of Editor (Level 1), in the very near future.

Hopefully we can get more writers moderating their own comments too soon. Technology Bloggers Progression Academy material is currently being tested on our guinea pig – also Mr Hankins!

Categories
Blogging

Quality vs quantity – the blogging dilemma

When I write, I want to write quality articles; articles which interest, amaze and inspire. Mediocre content annoy me. If ever I write something which I consider of low quality, I never publish it – I will either review it or scrap it.

A Wordle of blogging wordsI want to make a difference in the world, be it a small or big difference (I would prefer big) I have to start on a personal scale. If I can improve your life by changing the way you think and feel (for the better), and enriching your knowledge and understanding, then I am doing my job.

I love reading Jonny’s posts every week, they always interest me and many have inspired me to make (usually small) changes in my life and have often caused me to write something myself. Jonny posts once a week, on a Thursday – with the odd exception. Would he be able to post such great content if he posted twice a week? What about three times? I don’t know.

I am not meaning to pick on Jonny, once a week is just great and very appreciated. One day Jonny will stop writing as often, and one day he will stop writing all together. I hope that day is a long way off, and by that time I have no doubt that we will have other writers writing the quality and quantity of content that he writes.

The same goes for me. I get a lot from blogging at the moment, I love the researching and crafting process that goes into making an article, and I also love the responses. But one day I shall probably stop too.

Think about your favourite TV show, how often does it air? Usually (with exceptions) the best shows/series take months to produce and don’t launch every day/week of the year.

Blogging is the same. I want us to post 6 great articles a week. Jonny gives us one of those posts. I am usually able to provide another, and we often get the third from another writer – like Steve, Ron, Alan or another writer. Usually we only post 4 or 5 articles a week, and that’s fine. I would like to post 6, but would rather post 4 quality articles than 6 mediocre ones.

Blogs that post less often, usually don’t have such a great readership. It’s a fact. There are exceptions of course. What would a news site be, if it only published once a week?

If I was able to monetise Technology Bloggers so that I could run it as a business, then I could dedicate more time to it, as it would become a job, not just a hobby. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we do host the odd bit of sponsored content, to help pay the hosting bills, and fund competitions, but this site is never going to make millions. I am not sure I would still want to blog, if it was solely for money though, so I don’t want to monetise the site.

So, here is the dilemma I have: produce okay content, daily; or produce quality content, less often.

I want to post 6 articles a week, only 3 are provided, who plugs the gap? Usually me. If I don’t I feel bad, as I don’t feel I have fulfilled my duty to the site. If I post the extra posts needed, but they aren’t quite as good as content I have produced before, I am angry that I let the posts go live.

There is a very fine balance which needs to be struck, and I am not sure I am there just yet.

Would you prefer to read 5 star articles once a week, 4 star articles twice a week, or 2 star articles daily?

The reason I am writing this is because I feel we had a great 2012, I had a great 2012 as a blogger, especially in the last few weeks. That said, I know my diary for 2013 is already looking pretty full. Friends, family, education, work and recreation all take a lot of our time, and rightly so. However other commitments I have, do mean that I will have less time to write in 2013.

Rest assured, I am not throwing in the towel and am going to continue to do my best to keep us up and running at full capacity, but there is a lot to do.

If you want to help, I am more than happy to accept suggestions. I would love to promote more users to author status, and give everyone more control.

Categories
Charity Media News Social Media

The power of the social networks and the media

Many people take a very negative view of the media. In the UK, there has recently been a press standards enquiry, which looked into the unethical practices some media organisations (specifically newspapers) were using.

Many people also take a negative view of social networks. Twitter has been in the firing line a lot lately, helping to break super injunctions and spread rumours at amazing speed.

I think sometimes we forget that the press and social media can also be a force for good, and so in this article I am going to talk about something positive that only happened thanks to the power of the media and social networks.

The Story

Martha Payne is a nine-year-old girl from Argyll and Bute, (Scotland) who started a blog in May this year called NeverSeconds. On the blog she wrote about her school dinners, under the alias of Veg. She took a camera into school and photographed her school dinner. When she got home, she wrote about it, posted a picture, and then rated each meal.

She gave the food a rating out of ten on her ‘Food-o-meter‘ scale, detailed how many mouthfuls it took her to eat it, what courses it was (i.e. starter and main or main and dessert), how healthy (out of ten) she rated it, the price, and how many pieces of hair she found on it – and yes, one day she did find one!

Martha Payne's first blog
Martha’s first image on her blog – pizza, croquet, sweetcorn and a cake, a meal she rated 6/10 on her food-o-meter

Martha set up a link on her blog to the charity Mary’s Meals, with the aim of raising £7,000 for the charity, through donations from those who read her posts.

All was going well for Martha, until her blog featured in a local newspaper. Here’s what happened in Martha’s words:

“This morning in maths I got taken out of class by my head teacher and taken to her office. I was told that I could not take any more photos of my school dinners because of a headline in a newspaper today.

I only write my blog not newspapers and I am sad I am no longer allowed to take photos. I will miss sharing and rating my school dinners and I’ll miss seeing the dinners you send me too. I don’t think I will be able to finish raising enough money for a kitchen for Mary’s Meals either.

Goodbye,
VEG”

So that was it. Martha Payne, a nine-year-old girl who ran a blog with the aim of raising some money for charity, and developing her language skills through writing about her school dinners, was no longer allowed to blog.

It was actually the local council that had told the school to ban Martha from posting, as they were unhappy with the coverage of the story in the local paper. It was alleged that the article had made catering staff fearful for their jobs.

The publicity generated from the local paper reporting on the blog helped Martha to reach nearly £2,000 in donations for Mary’s Meals, an amazing achievement, which is why it is such a shame that the blog had to be shut down.

A sad end to the blogging career of a little girl with good intentions.

But it didn’t end there.

The news reached the council leader who was unhappy with the action taken, and as a result instructed senior officials to lift the ban.

Martha could blog again!

This was now a big story, and national media organisations were keen to publish their account of events. The Telegraph, The Guardian and BBC news were some of the most notable media organisations to cover the story. Most notable, the BBC article received well over 1,000 comments, and tens of thousands of social shares!

Going Viral

Martha Payne from NeverSeconds
Martha Payne – NeverSeconds Author

First it was just a story. Then it hit the media. Now it was the turn of Facebook and Twitter. Within hours of the BBC publishing their article, tens of thousands of people had shared it, and the NeverSeconds blog hit counter soared from a few thousand views to over a million! Martha was soon trending on Twitter.

The story was so inspirational, many people wanted to pay tribute to Martha’s fantastic work, and did so by donating to the charity she supported – Mary’s Meals. Martha smashed her £7,000 target in a matter of hours, as donations to the charity flooded in. Overnight, Martha became the top fund raiser for Mary’s Meals on the JustGiving website.

By the end of the week, (in just 4 days) donations had topped £50,000! This prompted even more publicity, as the media reported on the remarkable story of the girl who raised tens of thousands for charity, by writing about her school meals.

The NeverSeconds site hit counter now reads in excess of eight million and the donations to Mary’s Meals are over 1750% of Martha’s £7,000 target – currently standing at £123,969.32.

Martha has since been out to Malawi to see one of the projects her fund raising efforts went to help. For more information on her trip, have a read of this BBC news article.

Martha has been named as the Human Rights Young Person of the Year, for her outstanding work, and continues to blog over at NeverSeconds to this day.

The Streisand Effect

This story is a fantastic example of how the media and social networking can be a force for good, and encourage people to think of others. It is also a good example of the Streisand effect in action, the concept whereby attempting to cover something up, thanks to the internet, leads to that very thing getting greater publicity.

Smile today for the story of NeverSeconds 🙂

Categories
Updates

Letting you know about recent updates

As the loyal readers among you may have noticed, there has been a lack of posting in the last week or so, but don’t worry, this trend shall soon be halted, as there are many new and exciting posts written, planned and on the way very soon.

This article is just to keep you in the loop and let you know what is going on.

Usually, I will endeavour to keep people up to date with updates to the blog via our social channels, specifically Facebook and Twitter. I feel the blog is a place for content, whilst notifying you about updating the ‘frills’ that are the design and functionality updates should be the place of social media.

Social Media Updates

Let me start by letting you know how our social side is currently evolving. A few months ago, Facebook stopped feed compatibility, meaning that if you liked us on Facebook, you no longer got updates regarding new posts. Now however I have linked Twitter to Facebook, so every tweet @tecbloggers tweets is also posted on our Facebook page.

UPDATE: We now tweet under the username @TechBloggers.

This means that you can now receive updates of new posts via your Facebook feed.

Some tweeters like to spam you with content every five minutes, likewise, update Facebook statuses practically all the time. I don’t believe in this, and only post/tweet an update should it be something you may want to know. Updates like small site improvements/issues and interesting content are the sort of thing we use our social media channels for.

Occasionally if I find, or someone brings to my attention something interesting that I think is worth sharing to the community, but doesn’t warrant a post, then it may get shared via social media. Don’t worry about getting spammed if you subscribe, we will only be posting stuff you probably want to know about.

I have also recently added a cover photo to our Facebook page, as it was looking a little bland. I didn’t have any great ideas, but I think it works for now 🙂 If you have any suggestions, by all means leave them in the comments below.

Facebook cover photo
Technology Bloggers Facebook cover photo.

In future, I don’t plan on writing as many of these sort of posts, as I feel it is better to keep you informed via social media, of updates as and when they occur.

If you don’t want to miss out on future update news, subscribe now!

Twitter Icon

Facebook Icon

In other news…

Top Writers

For a long time now we have had a top commenters widget at the bottom of every page, however the observant among you may have noticed the appearance of a new widget: a top writers list.

I came across the plugin whilst searching for something else, and thought it was a good idea. This is a community blog, so if we highlight the top commenters, why should writers not be recognised too? Well now they are 🙂

A screenshot of the top commenters and top writers list

The top commenters list excludes administrators and resets every month, the top writers list doesn’t.

Design Updates

Technology Bloggers design is constantly being updated and tweaked. I believe that continuous improvement is important. Most of my time is spent writing and replying to comments, however I do dedicate some time to improving other areas of the site.

One recent update is the removal of the social icons from the sidebar, and the addition of a new set of social buttons to the header. I felt that this area needed a bit more colour, and the buttons bring just that!

More Speed!

A few weeks ago I posted on our social channels:

“Just moved servers in order to speed up the blog 🙂
Do you notice a difference?”

We encountered a few problems, however they were soon sorted out, leading me to later post:

“A few hiccups later, Technology Bloggers is fully functioning and faster than ever!”

The blogs response time was sometimes really quite slow (usually higher than 2000 miliseconds!). I moved the blog to a different server and the response time is now around a quarter of what it was, currently around the 550 ms mark.

That is one reason you may have noticed the blog loading faster, another is because of the relentless efforts that I have been putting into slimming things down and reducing load times.

Google’s Page Speed tools have been very useful, enabling me to see where the site lags, and what can be done to improve it. I think there may be an article on the way soon with more detail on Page Speed, and how I have and am still using the tools to speed up the blog. Watch this space.

Jonny

For a while now, Thursday here on the blog seems to have been Jonny’s day, with him posting a regular feature on a Thursday for more than ten weeks now.

The day is not a dedicated day to the writings of Mr Hankins, however at the moment, I feel it is good that the regular feature is on a fixed day, as it gives consistency. His articles are very popular, and it is a delight every Thursday looking to see what new and innovative topic he has chosen to cover.

Jonny has been busy travelling of late, meaning that last week he was unable to post. Don’t worry though, he already has an article written and lined up for us for tomorrow 🙂

Competition

Just a quick note about a competition I plan on launching next Monday. Technology Bloggers has teamed up with two other blogs, and hopefully will soon be launching a competition in which anyone bar the three prize donors can enter for a chance to win one of three $50 USD prizes in a $150 competition!

UPDATE: This will now launch on Tuesday.

Until Next Time

That’s about it from me now, so remember, if you want to keep up to date, be sure to subscribe to our social profiles, and stay tuned to the blog to see our exciting future unfold…

Categories
How To Guides Search Engines Social Media

Create a Google +1 button for an entire site

About a week ago, I posted about how Technology Bloggers now supports Google Authorship, so that writers can now claim posts as their own via linking them to their Google + profile. This article is also about the blog integrating further with Google’s growing social network: Google +.

Until recently it was not possible to create a sitewide Google +1 button, so that users could +1 your entire website; before you only used to be able to +1 the exact page you were on. However thanks to one of Google’s recent updates, it is now possible to +1 an entire site!

If you are a website/blog owner, then this article is probably going to be of particular use to you 🙂

I have recently added a sitewide Google +1 button to Technology Bloggers sidebar, which sits on the sidebar, next to our other social widgets.

Social media buttonsTo get a +1 button, you need to visit the Google +1 Button customisation page. There you can choose the style of your button, how big it is and the language used. What most people probably then miss is the ‘Advanced options’ link.

Advanced Options

If you click ‘Advanced options’, you get a whole new set of options drop down. One of these options is URL to +1. Usually when you place a +1 button on your site and a user clicks it, it +1’s that exact page. However if you enter your sites URL into the box and then get the code, when a user clicks your +1 button it +1’s your entire site.

Google +1 ButtonFor more information on the URL +1’d when users click your button, please see Google’s URL configuration explanation.

Sharing

When someone clicks +1, they will also be given the option to share the content/page to their circles. Usually Google will fetch the page title, and choose a selection of text and an image from the page users are currently on, however it is now possible to customise this too by customising the +Snippet.

Scroll down the page and you are able to select the type of page users are on, is it a local business, article, book, organisation, event, review etc.? You can also choose the title, description and image of the share. If you have created a sitewide share button, usually the button will offer users to share the current page, however by customising the +Snippet, you can make it so that your chosen title, text and image are what are shared, not the one Google automatically selects.

To implement the snippets you just have to add a few meta tags or some HTML code to your page.

Problems

One small problem I have come across when implementing this on Technology Bloggers is that you can’t successfully run 2 +1 buttons on the same page. That means that if you want to have a sitewide button, so users can +1 and share your homepage, and a button on every individual page, where users can +1 and share that page, it is not entirely possible.

The code of the button determines the URL to be +1’d, so it is completely possible that you can have 2 buttons, 1 for the page and one for the site, however the problem is with the +Snippet and the sharing, as both buttons inherit the meta data, meaning that when you share the individual page, it doesn’t share data from that page, but your generic sitewide text, image and title.

It isn’t really a major fault, and with a bit of clever scripting (and a lot of time) I am sure I could get it to work the way I want it to. I am sure Google will release an update at some point which allows you to have 2 +1 buttons, one for the site and one for the page, but in the meantime, we will just have to put up with it not working exactly as we would like it to.

UPDATE: I managed to resolve the problem easier than I thought. I added the +Snippet to the theme header, however told it only to appear on the homepage. The button is designed to fetch the +Snippet from the page users are on, unless the button is designed to +1 a specific URL, in which case, it goes to that URL to fetch the +Snipped – the homepage, where the +Snippet for the entire site is.

You and +1

So what is your opinion on the +1 button, do you use it in the same way/to the same extent the ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ buttons, or is it not as important? If you own a website or blog, will you be adding a +1 button to it, and if so do you think it is better to have a sitewide +1 or a unique URL +1 button – or both!

Categories
Blogging Social Media Updates

Technology Bloggers adopts post authorship

Until recently I haven’t been as aware as I probably should have been of the Google update, which allows authors to claim authorship of their posts in the SERPs.

I was recently talking about the blog in the (Google) Webmaster Central Help Forum, when someone suggested that we should use Google Authorship. I had heard of it before, but wasn’t 100% sure what it meant, or why we should take the time to adopt it.

So after a little research, I am here to present my findings to you 🙂

What is Google Authorship?

Google Authorship is a relatively new part of search results, whereby Google shows the (Google+ profile) avatar of a person next to articles they have written in the SERPs. This means that people know who wrote something, even before they visit the page.

Google will not only give an avatar which it fetches from the writers Google+ profile, but it will also link to that persons profile. It might also provide additional information like how many circles the person is in. See the image below for more of an idea of how it looks.

Examples of authors Google+ profiles in the SERPsHow Can I Claim My Posts?

If you run your own blog, and you are the only person who ever writes on it, it is dead easy. Just add a link to your Google profile page with ?rel=author after it, and with the text being the same name as your Google profile, to your profile, or just every page of the blog.

The code would look something like this:

<a href="https://plus.google.com/114686389155717038852?rel=author" rel="author" title="Christopher Roberts on Google+">Christopher Roberts</a>

What if I Run or Am Part of a Multi-Author Blog?

If you are part of a blog with multiple authors, it can get a bit more complicated. Basically, the admin needs to make sure that there is no sitewide Google+ profile link, as that could mess things up. Each individual author will need to either link to their Google+ profile with the tag rel=”author” on every post they write, or link to their profile page on every page they write with the tag rel=”author” and then on their profile page link to their Google+ profile with rel=”me”.

It may sound a bit complicated, but it does make sense. If you don’t own a site, don’t worry about it. If you do and need some help, ask me in the comments, or send me a message 🙂

How Do I Claim Authorship of My Posts on Technology Bloggers?

Recently I have been very busy tweaking bits of WordPress’s code, in order to make it as easy as possible for you to claim authorship of the posts you write on Technology Bloggers.

There are three really simple tasks you need to complete. The first is to go to your Google+ profile ‘About’ page and under ‘Contributes to’ add Technology Bloggers – http://www.technologybloggers.org. The second step is to copy your Google+ profile URL and paste it into the ‘Google+ Profile URL’ box on your WordPress admin profile page. Finally in the box below (‘Google+ Name’) add your name as it appears on your Google+ profile. That is it! The blog does the rest of the work for you, and adds a link to your Google+ profile to your writer profile page.

Screenshot Technology Bloggers Admin Profile - Google Authorship
A screenshot of the data you need to fill in on your profile, in order to claim authorship of your posts on Technology Bloggers.

If you don’t have a Google+ profile page, your link will just direct to your WordPress profile page. Not sure what I mean? Don’t worry, if you don’t have one, nothing bad will happen!

I have updated the post guidelines to include a section about how to link to your profile, however this article probably has a more detailed explanation!

A Final Word About rel=”author” and rel=”me”

If you are still confused about rel=”author” and rel=”me”, look at it this way: rel=”author” lets search engines know that the URL with that tag in is pointing to your author profile, be that WordPress, Google+, about.me or another; rel=”me” lets search engines that the URL with that tag in is another website/profile/blog etc. that is yours.

To see the Google Authorship in action you will have to wait a while for Google to index the pages and register the authorship. To check that your code is working okay and that Google can find your authorship, try using Google’s Rich Snippets Testing Tool.

For more information on Google Authorship, please check out Google’s help article on it.