Geekalicious Recommends... January 2013

geekalicious recommends, january 2013

Welcome to the first "Geekalicious Recommends..." of 2013.
Here are my favourite geek and tech based posts that I have read this month


I have recently registered with Sharaholic (you may have heard of their social media share buttons) and my blogs are featured in their channels.  These channels are a great way to discover new blogs as they are collated in themes.  The Sharaholic blog is a great source of information and I've chosen to feature their blog design article, How To Get A Professional Looking Blog.  They use the analogy "Don't dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want" which is fabulous advice when thinking about the overall look of your blog.  


I caught some #TwitterTips tweets from @LynnCSchreiber (author of Learn Twitter in 10 Minutes) and one of the recommendations sent me over to the blog of Roger Quimbly.  One feature on his blog explains How To Tweet whereas another tells you How To Do Facebook.  Valuable advice that we should all adhere too.  Let me know if you agree!


At this time of year (the start of a new year) many blog conferences are announced.  With budgets as tight as they are, careful consideration must be made when deciding which to attend - you want value for money, right?  This post on Kommein gives you a quick glimpse behind the scenes and tells you 13 Things You May Not Know About Organising A Conference. So let's give those conference organisers a huge pat on the back for all the planning and hard work that goes into giving us what we want and need.  Are you planning on going to a conference this year?  Let me know which one. 


The New Thing For 2013 is going to be more blogging about blogging.  Well, it is on Geekalicious!  Chris Garrett has written about the 80:20 rule for content which gives an opinion on when you should write, how often, how long your posts should be and whether you should have a schedule.


I know we are a month in to the new year already (time flies!!) but I am LOVING the second calender on the Visualising A Year's Worth Of Time feature on the Visually blog. 


I'd just like to mention that the +Geekalicious page on G+ has now been verified which means that the content on the page has been authenticated and is considered trustworthy by the amazing people at Google Plus.  If you use Blogger as your platform of choice for blogging and you have your Google Plus account linked (recommende) you can link direct to G+ profiles and pages just by typing a + and the profile/page name.  The link is created automatically which I think is a great integrated feature.  Give it a try.


And finally... over on the Six Parallel Lines blog is a feature that lists a number of websites where you can concentrate on killing time - *not* in the Facebook way.  There's a few forgotten favourites in there, especially the Uncylopedia recommendation.


I hope you enjoyed these recommendations.  If you have a blog post that you would like me to include in the next round-up please drop me an email and I'll give it a read through.  I'm always happy to recommend great blogs and find some new blogs to read.

How, when and why to use the 'rel=nofollow' attribute

dofollow, nofollow,
As far as search engines are concerned, when a link is marked as 'nofollow' a command has been given not to register links on the page for inclusion in their search query results.

Search Engine Results

When you use a search engine to conduct a query or search, it is understood that the website(s) at the top of the search research results page are the most relevant to your query; they hold the most authority.  This result is created by the amount of links INTO that website using certain keywords.

On a regular basis, search engines will 'crawl' webpages on the Internet and see which links point to websites  using which wording (example below).  The websites with the most relevant in-links are considered to have the highest authority, hence being at the top of the search results.

Links In, Links Out

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an important part of having a blog or website.  You want your webpages to be seen in search engine query results.  In-links (links in to your blog) are GOOD!  Recommending other webpages (links out to other websites) is GOOD!  All these links should be natural 'dofollow' links.  Three reasons that some links should be tagged as nofollow are:
  • Untrusted content, such as the possiblity of spam links in comments
  • Priority on websites where you are required to sign in or register as a member
  • Paid links such as advertorial content  (as an aside, all paid content should be clearly disclosed to comply with UK law and also for transparency and integrity).

Search Engine Optimization

The need for paid links to be nofollow is to prevent such links influencing the search engine query results.

For example, when linking to Geekalicious within a post, a blogger would normally use the word Geekalicious and hyperlink it using

If I wanted Geekalicious to be recognised for a specific search term - maybe 'blogging tutorials' - then I would ask (or even pay) a number of people to link to the keywords 'blogging tutorials'.  After a short while, every time someone searched for 'blogging tutorials' the link to Geekalicious would appear near the top of the search results if everyone used a dofollow link.

Page Rank

Link Authority is also weighted by Page Rank.  All webpages have a Page Rank ranging from 0 to 10 and this is determined by the number of links into a website.  The higher the Page Rank, the more trusted the website is considered to be.  Blogs generally have a Page Rank (PR) of 2 or 3, some have attained a PR4 and very occasionally a PR5.  You can check your Page Rank here.

Websites with a higher Page Rank, or authority, will push a link recommendation further up search engine rankings, i.e. an in-link from a website with a PR4 is considerably better than an inlink from a website with a PR2, although both are valuable.

Page Authority and Domain Authority

Page Rank is no longer being updated by Google. To measure the performance of a website or blog you can now check your Page Authority and Domain Authority.

Page Authority is a SEO term used to describe the probability that a specific page from your website or blog will be found during an online search (on a logarithmic scale from 0-100).  Domain Authority is the measure of the power of a domain name based on age, popularity and size.

You can check your DA and PA on the Moz Open Site Explorer.  It is worth noting that if you have a .blogspot or address then your Domain Authority will register very high as the results come direction from the subdomain (Blogger/Wordpress).  It may be worth thinking about purchasing a vanity URL in these cases.

How to make a link 'nofollow'  

On Blogger

Using the Compose tab, highlight the text to be linked, hit the "Link" command, insert the full URL that you are linking to and tick the "Add 'rel=nofollow' attribute" box.

On Wordpress 

Install a recommended nofollow plugin and then using the Visual tab, highlight the text to be linked, hit the icon that looks like a chain, insert the full URL that you are linking to and tick the "Add 'rel=nofollow' attribute" box.

rel=nofollow on Wordpress

Using HTML

<a href="" rel="nofollow"><link text></a>

How each search engine reads the 'nofollow' attribute

Each search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask) excludes links that have the rel=nofollow attribute however the interpretation varies between each search engine.  You can read more about this on Wikipedia.

What happens if paid links are marked as 'dofollow'?

Using a dofollow attribution on a paid link isn't against the law but it does contravene search engine guidelines.  You may find that search engines downgrade your website in their searches, it is removed entirely or you lose your Page Rank.  If this happens, there is a process to follow which involves changing the paid links from dofollow to nofollow (or removing them completely) and resubmitting your website to the search engines for consideration.

An Ideal Layout For Your Blog

There is an ongoing discussion about the ideal layout for a blog.  You may have heard of the F-Shaped Pattern which details the "hot spots" that readers automatically navigate to with their eyes when scanning a web page.  Using this theory, the obvious advice is too put your most important information in the hot spots.  But does using this placement technique detract from the main feature of your blog - the content?  Of course you want your reader to enjoy that blog post that you've put an enormous amount of effort into but it is also useful to have an optimum layout that showcases additional information in the best way.   Here I have put together a suggested layout.

ideal blog layout

header needs to showcase the title of your blog and/or your branding as it is the first thing your reader sees.  Static pages and categories are next - this is information that rarely changes and helps the reader to navigate your blog. 

Your content, a way to share the content and the comments should be the main feature of your blog.  

The sidebar should display contact information, your social media channel links, subscription links (you want the reader to be reminded to return when you post) and the all important search bar which is usually a plug-in or a widget but Google provide a custom search engine that you can easily install in just a couple of minutes.  You could also include your archive section here too using a hierarchy display or drop-down menu rather than a flat-list.

All other information and affiliations can be installed further down the sidebar or in the footer.  Labels and tags are useful so your reader can find related content and whilst displaying a copyright statement isn't a requirement it is a recommendation.

Here are some additional hints and tips from established bloggers and brand representatives.

  • Simple and clear with easy access to key info.  Absolutely NOT white text on black background or silly fonts  ~ Jo Middleton, Inside Scoop
  • Categories and tags are important to me and I look in the sidebar first. If I can't see them I use the search bar  ~ Amanda O'Hara, Flying Start Magazine
  • Install a search bar  ~ Sian To, Cybher
  • I like to see content.  I hate it when half my screen is taken up with header  ~ Jax Blunt, Technology Solved
  • Most clients like some concrete, number-focused reason why you are advising them to work with a certain blogger so clear contact details and any ranking info like Klout or Tots100 should be offered  ~ Liz Mercer, Fleishman-Hillard
  • Have your contact information easily accessible  ~ Tara Cain, Sticky Fingers
  • I like my blogs how I like my men.  Simple to navigate and easy on the eye  ~ Super Amazing Mum

What would you add?

What do you like to see on a blog?  What makes you switch off immediately?

Let us know in the comments.

London Underground Geekness

london underground sign

Today the London Underground celebrates its 150th anniversary.  

The Tube combines all my geek thrills of tube journeys, maps and unusual facts and stats all rolled into one.  You can read how I fell in love with the London Underground over on my other blog but first I'd like to share some Tube Geekery with you to mark this auspicious occasion.

If you have a look at the tube map we are all use to looking at - originally styled by Harry Beck in 1931 - we can see how this layout has seen very little change.  Beck wanted to simplify and colour-code the original geographical maps because he believed that users of the service weren't interested in the geographical structure but wanted to know how to actually get from one part of the city to another by the quickest route.

Image Credit : TfL

If you compare this with a geographical map (which you can also see overlaid onto a satellite image here) you can see how Beck's idea made complete sense.  I wonder if Mark Mason (author of Walk The Lines) got the idea for his adventure from this map?

Image Credit : - "TfL silly maps"

Whichever way you look at the London Underground, it's an interesting subject - from the history to the now.  And it's one that I'm not alone in geeking out about.  Have a read of High Tea Cast Sam's recent tour of Aldwych Station and the really interesting website 150 Great Things About The Underground.  You can also browse the fantastically eerie London Underground Lover photoblog for unusual images of the modern network, corridors and platforms.  The two pictures here are ones that I have submitted - you can click on the images to get a closer look on their relevant page.

Westminster Tube StationCharing Cross Tube Station

To me the London Underground is art in motion.  The trains, the sounds, the people who jump on and off at each platform.  It is soaked in history and is also history in the making.  The LUL photoblog previously mentioned shows that you can find moments of calm within the madness, showing the Tube in its true glory.  The stories behind each station and platform, written about many times over, tell a tale that is as complex as the tunnels that connect the network.

What does the London Underground mean to you?

London Underground Google Doodle

The Benefits Of Guest Posting

Geekalicious Guest Post
To link in to a recent guest post by Molly Forbes - How Do You Decide What Your Blog Is Worth - which talked about accepting paid commercial content on your blog it's great to hear from Sam Sparrow of The High Tea Cast talk about guest posting from a different point of view - new audiences and renewed traffic.


The Benefits Of Guest Posting

Whether you blog alone, with friends or as part of a collective, you may have accepted, or been approached about guest posting. You may have even submitted guest posts yourself just as I have here on Geekalicious. Guest posting is great - it allows you to write for other blogs and introduce yourself to a whole new audience (and hopefully new traffic for your own website), and on the flip side, it can score you some great new content in areas that you perhaps don't have expertise. If you want to take your blog to the next level and don't have the time and resources to write fantastic posts all by yourself, opening up your blog for guest posts like we did on The High Tea Cast can be a great way to find new blogging friends, writing partners and increased traffic. It isn't always easy though, so here is how we manage it.

Source new guest posts

A great way of starting off with a guest post on your blog is to approach bloggers directly with a post idea you'd like them to write. Perhaps you run a fashion blog, but there is a particular post on beauty you'd like to include. Or you have read a post from a blogger you've really enjoyed and you think a follow up with them would work really well on your own site. Most bloggers would be really happy to write a post for you, particularly if you include promotion of their post via social media and a link back to their own site or original post. You can also make it known that you are looking for guest posters for more generally. We've put a note on our Contact Us page, and we use social media to advertise for new guest posts. Sometimes we even ask around people we know to help get the word out. This is a great way to find new bloggers that perhaps you don't know yet, but that may be a perfect fit for your audience.

Make your expectations clear

Even if you have openly advertised for guest posters, it is important to make your expectations clear at the outset with what you want. Here are some things you may want to communicate with the guest blogger right from that first agreement to provide a post -
  • Set a deadline - this is really important! As a blogger yourself, you'll know how busy you are and how it is easy to forget things. Set a deadline a little before you'd like the post to go live so you have time to edit, and negotiate this deadline with the blogger so that it works for both of you.
  • Be upfront with your style guidelines. If you have a word count minimum or maximum, or image sizes that you use, make sure you tell them - they aren't psychic! Any formatting rules you use for your blog will help the guest blogger, and of course help you when you come to schedule and edit.
  • Make the topic area distinct - or you could end up with something that doesn't work for you. This is especially true if you are approaching someone directly, so again, help the guest poster by giving clear guidance on what you'd like to write.
  • Let them know you may edit. It is common courtesy to let any guest poster that you reserve the right to edit their posts to make sure it fits with your blog style and format.

Edit and schedule

Once you have received the guest post from your new blogger, you'll want to edit the post in your own blogging platform, and the schedule it. You may have agreed a time to schedule the post in advance, but if not choose a time to post it and set it up. If it this stage you think the post isn't working and can't be fixed by small edits from yourself, contact the blogger as soon as possible - don't ignore it! You know how much time it takes to compose a new post, and you do not want to waste anyone's time. Be honest and open, and try and give some clear guidance on what might need to change. This shouldn't happen if you set the expectations properly, but it still does - and it is best to deal with it head on. If you are sent a finished post out of the blue from someone and it really won't work, contact the blogger and thank them. Explain why it isn't right for your blog, but suggest some others they may like to submit to!

Promote and thank

When your blog is set to be published, thank the blogger - alot! Let them know when the blog will go live, and give them the appropriate link (short link or otherwise) to use so they can shout about it from the rooftops. Check their own social media profiles and give your own to them, and then explain where and when you will promote them and the post. If the guest post gets a lot of comments or sparks discussion, you may want to let the guest poster know so that they can join in! When the whole process is over, make sure you keep in touch. You now have a great new relationship with a blogger - you could offer to guest post for them, or let them know you'd be happy for the to write more if that is the case. Guest posting is great fun - but like anything in both online and offline worlds it requires good communication and a dash of etiquette. Will you be more inclined to accept guest posts now?

The High Tea Cast logo
Sam Sparrow is the editor of The High Tea Cast, a daily digital magazine and podcast featuring girl about town adventure, sex and relationships, music, fashion, food and careers advice.

If you have a non-commercial guest post that you'd like to publish on this blog please get in touch.

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