Articles Tagged with Blogging

Using Prisma App to ‘Spice Up’ your Blog’s Images

A few days ago I caught a tweet by @tombeardshaw showing a painting-style image of his usual avatar head-shot:

I was really impressed, so I asked him who painted it for him, because I was convinced that he’d commissioned someone to do it for him especially.

But I was wrong – it was made via an iPhone app.

Introducing Prisma

Simply put, Prisma is a modern art filter app, overlaying your photos with different artistic styles. In addition to making photos look like paintings (like the example above), you can make them look like sketches, mosaics and even cubist. There’s about two dozen different filters that you can apply.

Here’s what the interface looks like:

Prisma interface - before & after screenshots
Before on the left / After on the right

I’ve slowly become obsessed with it since discovering it, as have many of the people I’ve seen using it. @cardiffisyours is now using Prisma’ed images for its Twitter profile pic and cover pic:

Prisma on @cardiffisyours screenshot
The Guardian recently published an article showing loads of great examples of recent famous photos that have had the Prisma treatment.

The other day, I realised that it had another really good application: photos for blog posts.

Alternative images for your blog posts

I spend a lot of time finding good accompanying images for blog posts, usually hitting up Flickr’s Creative Commons search. I hate stock photos (as I feel that they’re often very generic and ‘forced’-looking), but finding a good, natural, free-to-use image can really take some time. Ironically I often feel that it takes me longer to find a good image for a post than it does to write the damn thing in the first place…!

For a recent post on SEOno – 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Operate a ‘Minimum DA’ Rule When Building Links – I really struggled to find a good image. I tried Flickr’s CC search for keywords around “authority”, “minimum”, etc. but couldn’t find anything appropriate at all. I realised that all I really wanted was a screenshot of Moz’s Open Site Explorer, the tool that displays the metric that was the primary focus of the post. I tried a screenshot at first, but it looked… boring.

Then I had an idea…

Click to read more!

Guest Blogging? Routinely Check Old Posts for Bad Comments

Little screaming dude image
If you’re doing SEO, you’re probably doing link building, and if you’re doing link building, you might be doing guest blogging as a tactic. Despite Google saying that it’s done as a tactic a while back, I think it’s still a good, viable strategy – if you’re doing it properly, of course.

When it comes to comments sections, the issue with guest blogging is that you’re relying on someone else to manage and administrate the comments for you. On your own blog, you may choose not to have comments on blog posts at all, but if you do, you’ll probably check them and approve/deny them before they go live – and even so, you’d probably get a notification if a new comment is pending. If it’s a guest blog post then you’re leaving that process in the hands of someone else. Some of them actually notify you as the author (e.g. I get notified of comments against my posts on State of Digital), but not always…

I had a heart attack when a client’s guest post had a negative ‘troll’ comment against it. For six months. Neither me, the client nor the blog owner spotted it until I happened to check something on the post and caught it then.

The nightmare moment

Ironically, I discovered the troll comment because I was contacting another blog about a guest posting opportunity and they wanted to see other examples of the writer’s work, so I went onto the site to dig it out. It was only then that I discovered the offending comment (…and obviously I didn’t share it with the person who wanted to see examples – for obvious reasons, heh).

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SEOno is 5

Birthday cake image
This April, SEOno (this very blog) turned 5-years-old.*

Since my very first post on 1st April 2011 – the innovatively titled “My previous posts for other blogs and sites“, which wasn’t an April Fool (despite the date) – I have published 141 posts totalling 144,481 words (whaaat?!), an average of 990 words per post.**

…I need to get out more.

In all seriousness though, I’ve enjoyed running this blog, which I always only ever considered a hobby (I still do), and yet it’s helped me to learn a more about SEO as I work on it, and has even helped me to win clients for Morgan Online Marketing (my SEO freelancing business).

Here’s to another 5 years! 🙂

* Hilariously (to me anyway), I thought my first post was on 30th April 2011, so I was going to post this on Saturday and say “I posted my first post five years ago today!”… only to realise that it was actually 1st April. Oops. So much for that plan. Numpty.

** Kudos to Dashboard Wordcount for that quick little insight.

[Image credit – Andy Eick]

Deconstructing the Worst Article I’ve Ever Seen

"Dear lord..."Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached peak BuzzFeedification.

By “BuzzFeedification” I refer to the recent onslaught of articles that fit BuzzFeed’s style (i.e. full of GIFs and memes) and/or follow the get-as-many-ad-impressions-as-possible model, which has been adopted by many publishers at the moment – more and more by the day, it seems – in an attempt to get that elusive click.

I came across one article that ticked all the usual boxes…

  • Unnecessary multi-page image listicle? Check.
  • Memes? UGH. Check.
  • Goes on for much longer than it needs to in order to try and accrue more ad impressions? Oh god yes check.

…and is simply one of the most frustrating and pointless articles I’ve ever read. The things publishers will do to get you to click and get you to view ads is becoming laughable.

The article and site in question (which I’ve nofollowed because I sure as sh*t don’t want to give them any SEO love)? “A Woman Makes A Shrine Of Her Used Condom Collection” on Rebel Circus.

Let’s take the time to dissect what’s wrong with this absolute sh*tshow:

They’ve turned a simple one-page story into an unnecessary multi-pager

Below the heading and opening summary, there’s a small paragraph about the ‘collection’ and an image of said collection. Below that, there’s a ‘Next Photo’ link:

RC Fail - page 1
Ok, fair enough. So far so good – no harm done.

The inclusion of the ‘Next Photo’ link led me to believe two things:

  1. It’s a multi-page image slideshow article (or whatever the technical term is), but more importantly,
  2. That there’d be more photos of the collection – and more information.

Click onto page 2 and you get this:

RC Fail - page 2
…An image of a record collection? Alrighty then.

Click to read more!

How Blogging Can Help You To Get A Job

This post was originally published on Cardiff Blogs (@cdfblogs/cdfblogs.com) in 2013. Cardiff Blogs’ website went offline a couple of months ago, so they kindly allowed me to republish it here on SEOno. It was written in conjunction with Computer Recruiter, as a sort of guest blog post on behalf of them, too.

Job search imageWhenever I chat to someone who’s struggling on the job front, I think back to my own experience. I graduated in 2007 – around the time that the job market started to go kaput – and for the 18 months that followed, I spent 9 of them unemployed. Looking back, I wish I’d done things differently. I know that I have the benefit of hindsight now, but one of the things I wish I’d done – as daft as it may sound at first – was to start a blog. Therefore, when I chat to someone who’s going through what I’ve previously gone through, depending on what type of career that they want to get into, I usually tell them that they should consider starting a blog.

On the surface, that sounds like daft advice, I admit. Why start a blog when the most important thing that you should be doing is hitting up the job boards and recruitment agencies and working on your CV? Well of course I’m not suggesting that you should be blogging instead of finding a job – but there’s no reason why you can’t do blogging on the side to support your efforts.

…”Support your efforts,” you might be wondering? Here’s what I mean:

It can help you to gain skills and experience in the meantime

The whole catch-22 scenario around experience (whereby employers want you to have experience, but you need experience to get a job) is enough to make your head spin and peeve you off simultaneously. It may not be career experience, but say if you’re looking to get into copywriting or journalism, you can start building up your experience in your own time, on your own blog.

Likewise, if you’re looking to get into web design or graphic design, not only can you use a blog to showcase your work, but the blog itself will also act as a showcase of your work.

It can be a good (but productive) distraction from the job hunt

Constant job hunting with no end in sight is bad for the soul. Trust me, I’ve been there. Somewhat wastefully, I used to break up the monotony of job hunting by watching TV and playing video games. Looking back, I wish I’d used that time more productively, which blogging would have done.

Now admittedly everyone’s different, and we all need to take time to relax and take our mind off things at some point or another, but sometimes (for me anyway!) I find that blogging doesn’t feel like working. It may not be as fun as firing up the PS3, but it’s certainly not in the same field as doing work or job hunting – however, it’s much, much more productive.

LEGO desk image

It can help with networking (which can help with finding a job)

This next point may feel like a slight subtle ad for Cardiff Blogs (it’s not!), but either way, it’s true. While I only joined Cardiff Blogs’ admin team in early 2013, I first started visiting the events back in 2011. I only intended to go along to learn a few new things – as I was fairly new to blogging at the time – and to meet some like-minded folks, yet over the years I’ve made a few great contacts and connections through it.

So once you start your blog, you may find yourself wanting to go to Cardiff Blogs or other local blogging events (whether it’s WordPress Users Wales – which is also in Cardiff – or a local blogger meetup in your town/city) and meet other bloggers. And you never know… You may strike up a conversation with someone who knows about a job that’s available that’d be perfect for you!

Click to read more!