Should I Switch from Blogger to WordPress?

http://adamyamada.com/files/2013/11/switch-from-blogger-to-wordpres

I recently got asked, “Should I switch from Blogger to WordPress?”  The short answer to this often asked question I get is, “Yes” you definitely should.  WordPress is a superior and much better blogging platform and content management system than Blogger.  There are a lot more features and 3rd party supported plugins which make the functionality of WordPress 1000 times better than Blogger probably ever will be.  Honestly I could go on for a long time listing reasons why you should switch from Blogger to WordPress.

Even if WordPress is a better blog software to use I don't' necessarily see a reason for everyone to make the migration over to WordPress.  It sort of depends on your needs and goals with your blog.

Most people use Blogger for their blogs since they just wanted something quick and easy.  Since Blogger integrates with Google and all of their products it definitely is simple to use.  A lot of Blogger blogs are mainly for sharing family photos, updates, and happenings privately with a family and friends.  Or it was something that was just needed for a short time period of time and it wasn't worth it to register a domain name to use and buy web hosting.  Other examples would be classes, soccer teams, school projects community bulletins, etc.  In my opinion if this is what you are using Blogger for you may not want to hassle with switching from Blogger to WordPress.

Blogger also runs in a cloud environment which makes it a stable software and secure blog platform.  (WordPress.com does as but self hosted WordPress blogs depend on what host you are using.)  While it definitely doesn't have as much functionality and there are not as much 3rd party development going on with Blogger it is still a great platform for those that want something simple.

If you've landed on this article I am going to assume you are considering switching from Blogger to WordPress and you've probably read about Google's changed Terms of Service.  Google's changed ToS basically states you may not own the content you make, which some people don't really like.  Even Matt Cutts, Google's head of WebSpam, uses WordPress over Blogger.  I wouldn't be surprised if Google's ToS was one of the reasons.

Also if keeping up a blog and your website is taking up more of your time and you looking for ways to monetize it, than you definitely are going to have to switch.  WordPress has a lot of plugin options and greater flexibility for you to try different ways to make money blogging.  Blogger has Google AdSense for monetizing a blog and that's about it except for getting private banner ads.  Keep in mind your theme would need to be able to handle placing them.

If you do want to switch from Blogger to WordPress Automattic, the company that developed and maintains WordPress, makes the process pretty straightforward and easy.  There is a Blogger Importer plugin which should work without a hitch (most of the time.)  There are a few issues I've had when helping clients switch over to WordPress to be aware of though.  For instance high quality images can be a bit of a pain especially if the person is picked a bad web host.  (Most of the time HostGator or an EIG company.)  Usually even with a lot of images and posts there are a few plugins for grabbing images and pulling them which make the process easier.

If you are happy with Blogger and it fits your needs for a personal or family blog and you are happy with it I don't see a reason to spend time switching to WordPress.  If you want greater functionality and flexibility a switch from Blogger to WordPress is probably in the cards for you.

I'd love to hear from my audience. Have any of my readers made the switch?  Was it hard or easy for you?  Have you switched a blog or website over from other CMS platforms?  Let me know in the comments below.

Paid Links, one of Blogging’s Dirty Secrets

paid links

A few weeks ago I was reading a few successful and highly trafficked blogs.  I was quickly looking through what I thought was a well written article when all of a sudden the article flow came to a halt and I noticed something interesting but not unusual… paid links in the article.

Was I surprised?  No, not really since paid links are one of the dirty little secrets in blogging and the SEO (search engine optimization) industry that nobody really likes to talk about.  However, I will since I am not afraid of touching on taboo internet marketing topics I will.

What are Paid Links?

Paid Links are pretty self-explanatory and sound exactly like what you think they are.  It's when a site owner or blogger agrees to place a link on their website in exchange for cash.  The link is mostly always a DoFollow link which passes pagerank onto the other site.  Sometimes the SEO company gives you the article content and other times they'd rather a blogger work the link into an article so it makes sense.

The amount of money a company has to pay is usually determined by a site's pagerank, age of the domain, authority of the site, amount of traffic, and the authority of the blogger.  I've seen some people charge as much as $1,500+ per year for a link.  Sounds like a lot but when you hear what some SEO agencies charge, some bloggers should be asking for more.

In case of of the big time blogger I was reading she probably charged a lot for the link since it was for freezing women's eggs (embryos).  More importantly her demographic seems to be women 22-40 years old.  The medical company was aiming for wealthy women 20-30 years old probably.  (Although the article and blog is not entirely aimed at women.)  Most people know that health (and fitness) is a very profitable internet vertical.  If you are in fertility and cord blood and can manage to get paid for a link for it, that's some serious money.

What does Google think of Paid Links?

Google frowns upon companies and people paying for links and it is against their Webmaster guidelines.  (It would be good to read them if you haven't by the way.)  However, few people that engage in paid link schemes get caught.

Since Google is not on the side of bloggers making any real money honestly… fuck them.  They are many ways to monetize a blog but few that pay well enough so you can make a living.  Paid links are one of the best and most profitable solutions if you are someone with an authority blog.  (Of course creating an authority blog nowadays is no easy task.)

The blogger in question will probably never get caught and will not face any Google penalties.  I don't like she was using paid links and misleading her readers, but quite honestly it's not like I don't understand why she was doing it and haven't seen it before.

Keep in mind Google employs engineers that can't read for shit.  Just look at search results for competitive topics like domain names, web hosting, medicine, etc.  Low quality spammy sites still rank 1st or 2nd in a lot of cases.

How Did You Know the article had Paid Links?

It wasn't like the blogger explicitly said, “Hey these are paid links.” but I knew immediately since;

  1. The article lost it's flow at that point.
  2. They were medical related sites for freezing women's eggs.  Which in turn made me say, “WTF is this?”
  3. The keywords used were highly competitive.
  4. It was deep linked URL.

When you add it all up it was clear this blogger's article on, “6 Things to do in your 20s to make your 30s good” had paid links placed in it.  At least that is my “expert” opinion.

Paid Links Conclusion

Next time you are reading one of the millions of blogs out on the internet I encourage my readers to be aware of paid links.  It's good to be aware of how other bloggers monetization and content strategies.  This is why I try to read a wide variety of authors and bloggers.  You get an idea of how they target their content and who they is reading them, especially when you notice paid links.

On this blog I've had plenty of link requests but since it is a personal blog, I do not accept any of them.  I haven't been offered money for this blog yet but if a person or company did, I wouldn't accept it.

What do you think of paid links?  Is it ok for a blogger to use them to cover the costs and time they need to put into a blog?  Should they be upfront with readers?  Have you been offered money for a link on your site?

Link Requests are really Annoying

link requestsRecently I've been getting a lot of Link Requests from various people and content marketing companies.  While I can understand why people do this and why people will ask for a link, sometimes it just gets really annoying and is a waste of my time.

Some people might be wondering “What are Link Requests?”  Essentially a Link Request is when someone asks to place a link on your website.  Most of the time people offer to guest post or blog in exchange for placing a link in the article.  In my opinion this is a perfectly fair practice and Google doesn't have a problem with it.  (As long as the article is reasonable and wasn't written by someone who isn't a native English speaker from some far off Asian country.)

However, what I have a problem with is when I get email Link Requests like this;

Dear Adam,

Hello, my name is Jimmy. I'm the webmaster and editor of
Shitty-Affiliate-Laden-Web-Hosting-Site.com. I'm writing to plug our newest article
on our blog: 101 [Shitty] Google+ Pages for Web Hosting News and Tips. I
thought that you and your site's audience might be interested in having a
look. Check it out:

“Link Goes Here”

I would appreciate if you could link to our article if you find it of
interest. And please feel free to e-mail me with any questions or suggestions
for the list.

Thanks,
Jimmy

What did this guy do wrong?

First it's clear he spent too much time writing his horrible article instead of actually reading or looking at my blog or anything I've worked on.  He doesn't point out any content that I've written that he likes nor does he give me a compelling reason to link to the shitty article.  So he really doesn't know who my audience is.  Second, why the fuck would I send visitors to look at a blog post covering 101 Google+ pages about web hosting on an affiliate laden site?  Seriously, do you people think I haven't been around the block and consequently that I am a idiot?  The site this guy runs offers little value outside of the fact that he makes money on affiliate links.  It's not even like this site posts reviews or offers good web hosting advice on the blog.  He's probably one of those people at Affiliate Summit I would have met and largely ignored.  By the way nobody has the fucking time to look through so many social media pages on a blog post.  In addition a lot of those Google+ pages didn't cover web hosting or only did on occasion.

I've changed around a few things but the email is basically intact.  I did add the URL though, which I thought was a nice touch.  🙂

My reply to this Link Request was, “Not sure why I would link to the article.”  Since the domain name for the website was 4 letters and when I checked the domain history it was clear they had bought it from someone, I casually asked how much they paid for it.  Since it's been several days and have not had a reply, I know I am not getting one.

This didn't surprise me actually as “Jimmy” probably didn't send out the email but had a Virtual Assistant (VA) do it.  Pretty common for ad laden sites and SEO (search engine optimizers) do farm out these emails.  However, if by chance you do get a reply I recommend you reply back.  Not only did they make me annoyed sending the email but they've made me pissed even more since they didn't respond.  Why would I ever work with them in the future?

Let me make this clear to my readers and anyone who is going to send Link Requests my way.  I DO NOT link to sites that are just affiliate link wastelands.   If you contact me straight up asking for a link there better be a good fucking reason or you will get an email that will make Satan happy.

Have you ever gotten annoying Link Requests?  Do you respond or not respond?  Is it good to be nice or make so that these people never want to contact you again?

Google finallly allows people to get a Google Plus Custom URL

Google recently sent out emails to users of Google Plus (Google+), Google's social network, inviting them to setup and create a Google Plus Custom URL, aka vanity URL, for their Google Plus Profiles.  Here is the email I received and if you use Google+ I assume you got a similar email.

google plus custom urlNot everyone is eligible to go and get a Google Plus Custom URL for their Google Plus Profiles though.  In Google's support page they state;

If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can get a custom URL for your Google+ account or page. This means you can choose one of the custom URLs Google preassigns to your Google+ profile or page.

Google says that accounts must be in good standing to be eligible as well you must have 10 or more followers, have an account that is at least 30 days old, and a photo in you Google Plus Profile.  If you got the email I assume you meet all these requirements though.

Some important things to realize is that you can request to change the Google Plus Custom URL if you wish but it may take several days for Google to process and approve the request.  In addition once your Google Plus Custom URL has been approved, you will not be able to change it.  So make sure it is what you want before you click “Confirm” and go through with the process of getting the Google vanity URL.

It's fairly simple to setup the Google vanity URL.  Just follow the prompts in the email you received and it will walk you through it.  Google might ask you for a mobile phone number to request for the custom URL and you will have to wait to receive a text with a code to enter for 2-step verification.  (I am still waiting for that text from Google actually.)

google plus mobile numberGoogle Plus also allows local business pages to get a Google Plus custom URL as well provided it is a verified local business.  In addition Google Plus brand pages can also get a Google vanity URL if they wish but it must be linked to a website.

Overall being able to secure a Google custom URL is great news for users of Google Plus including brands and fanpages.  Not being able to secure a Google vanity URL was one of the biggest complaints about Google's social network.  Virtually ever other social network and bookmarking site allows you to grab a custom URL that is words and not a long string of numbers.

I was surprised that Google didn't roll this feature out when they initially launched Google Plus to be honest.  It makes finding and typing in pages easier.  People have a hard time remembering long strings of numbers.  Well, probably a Google engineer could.

What are your thoughts about being able to get a Google Plus custom URL now?  If you are on Google+ do appreciate this?  If are a still not on Google+ would this change make you want to setup a profile?

Schema Markup removes Google Authorship in SERPS

Recently I've been playing around with adding Schema Markup to enhance certain posts on this blog.  Something I've just noticed and found out is that Schema Markup removes Google Authorship in Google's Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

In this picture you can see a NameCheap Review I posted awhile ago if you do a search for “NameCheap Review” in Google's SERPS.  I wanted to see if implementing Schema markup would improve my Search Engine Optimization (SEO) rankings and give me higher Click-Through-Rates (CTR) to my sites.

schema markup removes google authorship

Indeed the Schema markup I put on the page was being picked up and read by Google but it was no longer showing my Google Authorship picture profile next to the post.  This means Google is cherry picking what Rich Snippet markup they feel is most relevant to show in a search query.  This kind of makes sense but I thought Google wanted to show as much Rich Snippets to a user before they click on a website.  They don't want to show the Schema markup (star ratings) along with the Google Authorship picture?

The fact that Schema Markup removes Google Authorship in the SERPs is just plain annoying and stupid in my opinion.  They make a big friggin deal about implementing Schema but for reviews if it is going to override your Google+ picture, why would put Schema data in a review post?

Since I hadn't ever seen anyone else use Schema data and Google Authorship in the Google's SERPS when doing searches before I guess I shouldn't be surprised it didn't work.  The thing is if it is the choice between Schema markup in a review and having Google display my Google+ Authorship profile, you'd go with the picture everytime.  It creates more trust and I almost guarantee it will give you better CTRs to your websites.

Here is a post in Google's SERPS about Google celebrating 10 Years of Google Adsense.  You can see my Google Authorship markup .

google adsense 10 years

If Google wants to improve search quality and help people find “High quality content” (still trying to figure what the fuck that means  to Google!) they should allow show both Schema data and Google Authorship in review posts.  I am tired of finding this shit out the hard way!

Let's hear from readers of my blog since I know I have some from my analytics.  Since Schema Markup removes Google Authorship would this encourage or discourage you from using it in posts on your blog and sites?  Does Google make you angry sometimes since they are not always clear about these things?

UPDATE: Some people have asked me how to fix Schema data and markup from showing up in Google SERPS for you websites content and posts.  It's simple, just remove all the Schema markup on pages and posts you don't want it showing up on in SERPs.  It might take Google a few days to over a week to update and show your Google+ authorship picture.

I removed Schema markup from this websites as it doesn't make sense to have it here.  If this was a review or ratings site it probably would be a good idea to have Schema data implemented on pages.