Blog Cleanup Episode 1: Tags – Out!

Cleaning up this blog has been something I’ve always wanted to do… but never got down to doing it. Today, I finally killed my procrastination and got the ball rolling. And man. Its amazing how much JUNK I’ve found in my blog after these years of learning from the experts.

Tags on this Blog

Blogtags are outTags on this blog started in the pre-WordPress-tag era, back in the days when the Ultimate Tag Warrior plugin was the king of plugins – creating tags that linked directly to Technorati, so people doing tag-surfing would pop by your blog and check out what you’re publishing.

(Actually I wasn’t sure whether people actually surf based on tags… but uhm… tagging seems to be HOT those days)

Then, in WordPress 2.3, Matt and his team decided that WordPress should have tags built in! There was a mass migration from UTW’s tags into WordPress tags. At that time, the All in One SEO Pack plugin was either not yet invented, or more possibly, I was still aloof of the fact that the wonderful plugin exists. I was still using my tweaked template to add different meta descriptions and keywords to my posts.

So. Back then, each of my tags led to a page on its own, and since most of my tags were terribly messed up, most tags were used only once… which meant HORRIBLE internal content duplication within my blog! Yikes! (and worst still, erm… I didn’t realise this at that time!)

Luckily, AIO SEO appeared, and with the option to “no index” tag pages, I did so immediately. In fact, I “no index”-ed everything except my main page, pages, single posts, and category pages. Afterall, these pages contained all the information there is on this blog. Any more would risk content duplication if not managed well.

But the tagging continued as part of habit – whenever I blogged, I added tags. And more tags, and MORE tags.

So much so, when I looked at my tag cloud today, what I found was a tag thunderstorm.

Messy Blog Tags

My tags were not used consistently, I had misspellings of the “WordPress”, some tags were hyphenated, some had underscores, and then some had spaces… it was just a huge mess, and I found most of my tags were used only once… which meant that even if you clicked on the tags expecting to find more posts on the same tag, you will probably be disappointed.

So with the consideration that my tags do help me in my search listings today (they were kicked out of the index after I implemented AIO SEO!), I’ve decided to remove tags from all my posts. Yep, tags no more. Never really liked them, wasn’t good with them, and now no more use for them.

I’m not saying tags have no use. When implemented well, tags can essentially replace search. If you able to predict what your visitors search for, then you can create a tag for that, and lump in the posts that are related… and that takes a TON of discipline (which I obviously do not have).

So I’ll stick to my categories. And yes there is a difference between categories and tags.

Are you using your tags correctly? Or should you be cleaning up your blog too?

Learn to Write Better Copy with These 10 Points

Persuasive writing is a skill worth learning and mastering. From the books I’ve read, it feels that writing persuasively is more “science” than “art”. You can follow guidelines, and tick off checklists as you write.

Here’s one checklist you should use.

Over on the Copyblogger blog, Jason Cohen shared his tips on writing more magnetic copy.

This list of 10 points is gold for any blogger or writer who wants to write better copy.

  1. Don’t hedge – You don’t have to please everyone.
  2. Repeat a phrase – Repetition gets things in your readers heads. Why’d think your math teacher asks you to do 100 sums for?
  3. No passive voice – Active voice curbs flabby writing.
  4. Brevity! – Write less.
  5. Use short sentences.
  6. Provoke, don’t solve – Your goal is to get your visitors to respond, not answer all obejections!
  7. Eliminate trash adjectives – See point 4.
  8. Be direct – Why go round in circles?
  9. Tell a story – Stories sell. Period.
  10. Write informally – If you are a human, be a human.

When writing copy, visualise writing to ONE person in your target audience, and focus on getting him to take action on your message.

How else do YOU learn to write better copy?

Working at Home in Singapore: Great Tips from MompreneurAsia

Singapore Work at Home BusinessI’ve been working from home in Singapore for two years, and over this time I realise I have cultivated a few practices that make my home entrepreneurship successful.

Over on the blog, Moon Loh has highlighted a few tips on how to be a successful work at home mum. While she specializes in Work at Home mums, I feel these tips are extremely useful for just about anyone who is looking to work from home in Singapore (or possibily just anywhere in the world).

Here are her tips:

  1. Don’t give up – That’s the golden rule. You can fail, suffer from a burnout, tire yourself out, but NEVER ever give up.
  2. Keep inspiration close by – Quotes work for some people, not for others. Personally, I listen and relisten to motivational seminars as often as I can, and look at photos that tell me why I am working for. This inspires me to get back on my feet.
  3. Find a good example – The fastest way to success is to model after someone and do exactly what he or she does. Success leaves clues, and you need to be vigilant in spotting clues left by successful business owners.
  4. Write down your goals – I have started doing this everyday, have you? Do you have goals in the first place? If not, go take time off and set some goals. My goals help me set priorities in today’s never-ending workday. It tells me what I MUST do today and what not.

These work from home pointers seem common sense but the question is “Are you DOING it?”

What other principles, tricks and tips do you have for work from home entrepreneurs?

Free Adwords Online Course

Are you using Google Adwords to market your website, products and services? You should – it is VERY cost effective. At least, compared to the traditional media like the newspapers… and if you use it correctly.

Over on the Adwords blog today, Google announced the release of a new Free Adwords Online Classroom.

… (The) AdWords Online Classroom provides free online training, delivered by local AdWords experts, to help you achieve long-term advertising success with AdWords. Whether you’re new to AdWords and wish to learn the basics, or you’ve been with AdWords for a while and want to take your account to the next level, we offer a range of topics to suit your needs.

To participate, all you need is a computer with an internet connection and speakers or headphones.

Yes, its FREE. You know. Why pay “gurus” $197 for an ebook that they released 5 years ago, when you can get it free from the horse mouth?

In fact, when I signed up today, these were the courses already available – suitable for both “newbies” and advanced users! Frankly, even after over 2 years of using Adwords to drive traffic to my own clients’ sites, I feel I can still benefit from these courses!

Getting Started

  • Create your account
  • Get to know your account
  • How to build a successful AdWords account
  • Why can’t I see my ad?

Improving Your Account Performance

  • Improve your AdWords performance with key tips
  • Use AdWords data to strategically improve your account

Controlling Your Costs

  • Maximize your advertising ROI with Conversion Optimizer

Analyzing Your AdWords Performance

  1. Track your AdWords ROI using Google Analytics
  2. Set up your Analytics account to track ROI
  3. Track your AdWords ROI using Conversion Tracking
  4. Get the most from your website with Website Optimiser

Expanding Your Reach & Focusing On Your Audience

  1. Improve your Content Network performance
  2. Reach more potential customers through the Google Content Network

Yes, and these are 100% free, and delivered through on demand video streaming! Just like how you watch videos thru YouTube.

In fact, here’s what it looks like.

Google Adwords Course

Looks great isn’t it? What are you waiting for? Head on to the Google Adwords Online Classroom now!

Singapore Web Hosting – Are They Trying Too Hard?

I was searching for an alternative solution for a web hosting server based in Singapore and I found one of the sites listed on the first page having this:

Singapore Hosting Server

This site looks great to average person, but digging further I “accidentally” found these text “hidden” in the header using H1 tags.

Web Hosting in Singapore

And these don’t only appear in the first page, but on almost every page on their site.

Gosh. I know Singapore Web Hosting is a very competitive industry… but are they trying too hard? Hiding text like that is definitely black hat SEO, isn’t it?

Let me know – would you lose trust in a site when you find sneaky text like that?