My New Blogging Strategy

Three Posts for the Price of One: SEO be Damned!

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I find myself in a bit of a self-induced conundrum. My business comes from referrals, but I want people that visit my business page to see that I am a real person who regularly updates and maintains the website. I also have a genuine interest in sharing my techno-messes and (hopefully) consequent techno-victories. I especially love it when someone reads something I wrote and actually responds with a question. The problem is that my business website is not really a place for people to interact with me because it is essentially a glorified business card. On the other hand, using a service like Medium or Tumblr does little to promote my business page.

“Sure,” you say. “Post the same content at multiple sites.”

“But what about those dreaded SEO penalties for posting the same content at multiple places?” I ask. Not to mention the pain of actually posting to multiple sites. Do I even have the time?

Here is my strategy. It is not going to work for everyone entirely (it might not even work for me, in the end), but it is at least a framework from which one might be able adapt to their own needs. The big picture is this: I have a business website built in RapidWeaver, a Tumblr blog, and a Medium publication. I want to be able to write the blog post with the same images and formatting in all three locations. I then want to share the posts through my businesses social media accounts.

Is this even smart? Am I killing my SEO potential by reposting a blog multiple times? All indications as of 2016 is that duplicate content does not have a negative SEO impact, provided the content is original. In fact, if the content is targeted to different groups, as is the case with my three blogging outlets, more people will have the opportunity to review it. This common understanding amongst internet marketers is supported by my own personal experience. But again, I am also not too worried about SEO given that my business is referral based.

So I developed a workflow to get my content at three places (nearly) at once. It all starts with the draft, which I write in Markdown (I use IA Writer, but any default text editor or word processor would do). Markdown is a very efficient means to generate HTML, and it is fully supported by Tumblr. Once I have the text, I look for a new images to add to the project. I consistently name these images with the date and a number and then upload them to a folder on my web host. This way I can easily link back to the images in my document.

(Not to geek out too much, but because I name and store the files consistently, I can use a text expander program to spit out the relevant URL and generate the image name with a shortcut. I use Typinator, but there are plenty of other alternatives out there.)

With my files uploaded to my web server, I can then copy and past my text to Tumblr. Once I post it, I can view the finished product, select and copy it all (including the images) and paste to a new Medium post. I do a little rearranging (move the header image, reclassify the header tags, etc.), but there is very little additional work there.

Two out of three done. For my website, which is designed using RapidWeaver, I use a stack from Joe Workman that automatically imports Tumblr blogs into my website while maintaining my website’s formatting. It took a little work to get the appearance right, but I’m happy with the result.

Now, as far as getting the posts out through social media, I take advantage of Tumblr’s default RSS feed, which I can load to share my posts through my Buffer account. All in, after I’ve drafted my text and found or made any images, it takes me about 5 minutes to post to all three places and schedule the social media posts.

So there you have it - one post done three ways and shared through social media. I know I blew through these steps, but I would be happy to answer any questions or criticisms and expand on any points of interest in a future post.

Goodbye WordPress, Hello Tumblr!

As always, Delcour Solutions receives no compensation for any products or services mentioned in this blog.

For the past month, I have been working to update my website and design a mobile site off of a logo designed for me by my friend, Natalie Daller. Like most creative projects, a simple color switch and code update has turned in to a full on condemnation, teardown, and rebuilding project. Just as I thought I had figured everything out perfectly, a fairly irritating problem arose. I wanted my blog to be readable on both the mobile site and the regular site. I had accomplished this with another site I manage, where I designed a WordPress template to match the rest of the website and then installed the WordPress Mobile Edition plugin which presented the blog in a mobile-friendly format (for the mobile site, I essentially used an i-frame to display the mobile blog within the context of the mobile site). I thought that I could employ a similar tactic for my new website - and that is when it all hit the fan.

First off, I was unable to install the mobile plugin through WordPress without encounter errors. The plugin has not been updated in over two years, so I suppose it is just no longer compatible with current WordPress versions. Regardless, I was not too happy to use an outdated and unsupported technology. I also realized that the whole i-frame solution I used before might not be the best idea because I was using a responsive mobile design, meaning the window adjusts to the size of the screen without changing the size of the text. This makes i-frames more complicated and messy; it seemed like I should find a simpler solution. So, I started searching the WordPress plugins for a different option. As I searched for hours on end, I came back to a conclusion at which I had briefly arrived years ago, just before I got my own WordPress installation to really work the way I wanted: I HATE WORDPRESS.

I know that WordPress is “powerful” and “customizable” but the fact is that proper management requires more time than I am willing to spend. I have too much to learn on a daily basis without overcoming extinct plugins that never worked the way I REALLY wanted. It was a bad relationship - and the time had come to move on. When I had initially designed my website, I had tried a number of blogging services, including Tumblr. Back then, Tumblr was less-tested and I was concerned about it its ultimate viability (also, Blogger was much bigger then, and seemed like a better way to go if I was not going to jump on the WordPress bandwagon). Things have changed, however, and Tumblr has become a creative, well-supported, and highly customizable blogging service; sort of a Twitter for bloggers. The trick would be integrating it in to my website, as, unlike WordPress, Tumblr is hosted elsewhere.

In my case, I had the perfect solution in the form of a RapidWeaver stack designed by Joe Workman. If you have not designed your website using RapidWeaver, this is not particularly helpful, but perhaps there are other solutions out there to pull in your Tumblr posts onto your blog. Regardless, the stack takes your blog posts and seamlessly integrates them into a RapidWeaver site; Joe’s own site utilizes the stack beautifully. In my case, the stack worked great both in my standard and mobile sites. No need for a plugin on Tumblr’s side or a separate solution for the mobile site. Perfect!

So there is one problem solved. However, a new problem has arisen with regard to how to handle the Tumblr side of things. You see, while I can pull in blog posts to my website, the fact remains that there is a publicly-viewable Tumblr site out there where these blog posts permanently reside. In other words, I need to design the Tumblr-hosted blog to look professional so that when people find it, they would be directed to my actual website. I will not belabor the point, but suffice to say that if you can build a website, you can customize any number of the Tumblr themes to fit within your aesthetic. While my new website is not quite ready for prime time, you can take a look at the Tumblr blog here. Another nice feature with Tumblr is that is someone is viewing your blog through a mobile device, Tumblr automatically sends them to an optimized version of the site.

Another problem that deserves mention is the whole transfer of posts from WordPress to Tumblr. There used to be a plugin that allegedly exported posts to Tumblr from WordPress, but it no longer seems to function. Ultimately, I had to repost everything from MarsEdit, the software I use to write my blogs. It took hours and the posts are still out of order, but it should be smooth sailings from here on out.

At the end of the day, I think that I am getting more with Tumblr because my website has the blog entries seamlessly integrated and I now have an independent blog hosted by Tumblr that can be followed by others easily. I will let you know whether more traffic is being driven to my main site. I also just like having a separate blog site because while I do write this blog to get people interested in my business, I also write because I enjoy writing and enjoy sharing fixes to problems I encounter (like so many others have done for my benefit). I look forward to learning how to make Tumblr work well for me, and I will share my discoveries right here.

Blogging with RapidWeaver: And the Winner Is…WordPress!

This post is about my journey to WordPress as my blogging tool of choice. For the uber-sophicates out there who can easily and seamlessly integrate a WordPress Blog into any website, this article is not for you. This article is for those of you who want to add a blog to your website on your own without the help of a professional web designer. At the end of the day, it does not take an IT professional to create a website and use WordPress to manage a blog. That being said, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me or post a comment below.

When I started Delcour Solutions back in March of 2011, my first task was creating a website. An important part of establishing my presence on the web, per Search Engine Optimization (SEO) principals, was maintaining and updating a blog. At that point, I was an avid iWeb user, so I quickly designed my website and used the included blogging feature. Unfortunately, every time I wanted to add a post, I had to export my entire website and upload the new post to the server. This meant that I could only really post blogs from the one computer that was loaded with iWeb. I was also concerned that my blog was not receiving the kind of visibility it would be getting if I was using an established blogging service. Utilizing a blogging service like WordPress, Blogger, or Tumblr allows you to edit your blogs anywhere and makes your entries easer to find by search engines.

Fortunately, Apple’s planned demise of iWeb sent me over to RapidWeaver, where I quickly redesigned my webpage. Now, RapidWeaver includes its own blogging page, but I wanted something cleaner that did not require me use the web design program to write my blogs. Luckily, a number of plugins had been designed for RapidWeaver that would allow me to write my blogs on a service such that my website would automatically update whenever I made new posts. In other words, I could update the blog section of my website from anywhere without manually adding pages to my blog. I found three viable options, each of which used different blogging services: Joe Workman’s Tumblr Stack, Loghound’s RapidBlog, and Nilrog’s wp-blog. Each of these options takes the blog posts from particular blogging sites and (more or less) seamlessly integrates them into your website; they also are all under $20, which seems pretty reasonable.

While I love Tumblr’s web interface for composing blogs, I found the Tumblr Stack to be unreliable. I would often check my webpage, only to see that “no entries were available.” That was no good for me. I also like Blogger’s web interface, but the RapidBlog plugin created an unattractive result on my webpage. This left WordPress and I absolutely love the result. Unfortunately, getting the blog fully integrated is a bit of a complex process. First and foremost, the RapidWeaver plugin will only work if you are hosting your own WordPress blog. Now, for SEO purposes, this is already a good idea, but implementing it can be a bit daunting. Luckily, I use GoDaddy as my web host, and setting up a WordPress blog through GoDaddy is not too difficult. Once you have WordPress hosted on your website, you can then add your blog page using Nilrog’s wp-blog plugin (instructions come with the download). I would say it took me a couple of hours for everything to work properly, but the results are awesome. I have a blog that is powered by WordPress but fits perfectly in my website. I also love that I can post from the free WordPress app on my iPad. I also love the integration with Twitter, such that my blog posts automatically generate a tweet notifying the world of my newest creation.

The bottom line is that if you have the technical savvy to setup your website using RapidWeaver, you can probably implement a WordPress blog in your website that will increase your page rank and help your business. If you would like to improve your internet marketing but need some assistance, please drop me line and I will be happy to help.

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Technological Simplicity

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