Tutorials + Blogging Tips - DEARSILLYBLOG
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24 May 2015

How-To: Use WD Elements Disk on Mac and PC

Owning an external disk is definitely a great perk, especially if you're someone who owns a wide range of information. In my case, I can't stick to watching movies online so I need to have them stored somewhere, hence I bought an external disk by WB Elements.

The only problem with external disks, however, is that some of them can't be used with both Mac and Windows unless you format them in the right way for doing so. Owning a MacBook Pro and a desktop PC, this wasn't good news for me.

Fortunately I found out how this specific formatting is done and I'll tell you how to do it!

The following process will delete all the data on your disk, so make sure to back it up before you start formatting it.

  • Step 1: Plug your external disk into your Mac.
  • Step 2: Go to Finder and open Applications.
  • Step 3: Scroll down and open the Utilities folder. Look for Disk Utility and open it.
  • Step 4: On the sidebar, click on your disk's name. Then click on the Erase tab.
  • Step 5: Next to Format, choose MS-DOS (FAT) from the dropdown menu.
    You can name your disk if you want, but it's not mandatory.
  • Step 6: Now click on Erase... and confirm.

  • Step 1: Plus your disk into your PC.
  • Step 2: Right-click on the Start menu and choose Disk Management.

    Got an older Windows version? You can access Disk Management through Control Panel. Just go to System > Administrative Tools > Computer Management.
  • Step 3: On Disk Management, right-click on your disk's name and choose Format....

  • Step 4: A small windows will pop up. Under File System, choose exFAT and click on OK.

And that's it! Your disk should now be formatted and ready to be used, both on Mac and Windows.
There are many ways of doing this but I found this one to be the easiest and fastest way to get it done.

22 May 2015

How-To: Find a PayPal Transaction ID

The arrival of PayPal into our lives has made online shopping a lot easier for everyone. I still remember when there was no such thing and the only way to buy something online would be through transferring money to the seller's account - great bummer!

To help buyers and sellers, each transaction has its unique ID so that people can keep a better track of what happens with their shopping or sales.
Many people don't know how to find these IDs, so I'm going to tell you how to do it.

Finding a Transaction ID on PayPal

  • Step 1: Login to your PayPal account.
  • Step 2: From the homepage of your account, click on Details on the transaction you want the ID of.

  • Step 3: Now you'll have the transaction's information. There you'll find its ID!

And that's all it takes to find your transactions' IDs! Hope I helped. :)

20 May 2015

How-To: Redirect Pages on Blogger

Maybe it's never occurred to you, but maybe it would be a nice trick if you used 303 Redirect on your site. What's 303 Redirect, you ask? Well, it's nothing more than a little trick that will lead your readers from an old link to another. Why is it useful? Picture this...

  • You have a certain topic which you blog about quite often. Example: Latest Spring Fashion Trends.
  • You know you're going to be writing about this often, updating the information and all. So why not redirect your readers to the newest post when they click on the old link?

  • Basically, redirects work just by, well, redirecting readers to posts when they click on another posts' link. So here's how to setup redirects on Blogger.

    Setting Up 303 Redirects on Blogger

    • Step 1: Go to your blog's Settings.
    • Step 2: Click on Search Preferences.
    • Step 3: Next to Custom Redirects, click on Edit.
    • Step 4: Now click on New Redirect.
    • Step 5: The old URL goes on From. The new URL goes on To. Then just set it as a permanent redirection or not, depending on what you want.
    • Step 6: Just save the changes when you're done.

    You can change anything you want on the redirections you make, so nothing is really "permanent" unless you want it to be.

    And that's it! This is all it takes to set a 303 Redirect on Blogger and lead your readers from one old URL to a new one!

    04 March 2015

    19 Must-Do's To Have More Visitors on Your Blog

    If you're reading this you obviously have a blog and you obviously want more visitors. The question is how? Well, it's actually not that hard! You just have to do things right and you'll see that results will start showing up on your stats.

    The "problem" about this is, it doesn't only take sharing your content throughout social media to generate traffic. You need to use search engines too! But how do people find you through search engines? Keywords! But there are more sites too! What if they don't find you? You need to work on the ranking of your blog.

    Traffic generated from search engines is organic and is most likely to be consistent and permanent. It brings you visitors, it spreads your content, it earns you fans and subscribers.

    But this doesn't come along on its own. You can't simply sit back and wait for the results to come to you, you need to WORK for it. But how? You ask. That's exactly what I'll tell you.

    You will learn how to...
    • 1. Be an awesome content provider. I'll give you tips for you to know how to write the best content online.
    • 2. Optimize your content properly. This is very important. There are things out there that might shut your blog down if you don't know what you're doing!
    • 3. Improve your blog performance. Tips on how you can make your blog even more appealing to your readers and new audience.
    • 4. Become an authority. Let's face it, nobody gets anywhere without credibility.
    • 5. Get found. Things you probably didn't know about how to get your blog found - without using social media.

    This post is not about how to attract people, it's about how to make search engines like your blog enough to give it relevance over others.
    Note that results will take some time to be visible, but if you keep consistent with these 19 tips, you'll get the best results ever!

    I. Be an Awesome Content Provider.

    1. Create awesome content consistently.

    You blog is made of content, so logically what will drive more traffic to you will be the content you publish.
    You need to make sure that your stuff is well-written, original, and useful if you want that traffic to keep flowing. But how to do this?
    • a. Be unique. The sad truth is, hardly anything is original nowadays. You can't have content that no one else does, so what can you do? You sure can present it like no other! Gather ideas and use them on your own blog. But careful! Copying other people's stuff is NOT the way to go!
    • b. Be useful. A great way for you to know whether your content is useful or not, is asking yourself if you find it useful. Would you appreciate your own content if you needed it? If not, why do you publish it? Try to see things from your readers' perspective.
    • c. Stay relevant. Writing content that's not related to your niche is fine, but try to keep relevant to what your blog is about. Write more about your niche's topic so that you catch more people's attention.
    • d. Be consistent. Make a planner and organize yourself. Make sure that you keep your blog updated with fresh content so that people don't think your blog has been forgotten.

    2. Speak how your readers speak.

    If you wanna reach people, you need to know what words they type to find what they need. For example, if I'm writing for bloggers, I'm going to use blog instead of website. Makes sense, right? That's what you have to do.

    Here are some ways to find out how your readers speak:
    • Check your competitors. By competitors I mean other blogs who publish to the same niche you do. Check how they type and what kind of words they're using. Checking the comments on their posts is also a great way to go!
    • Use social media. People are all over social media, and you have to be there too. Check different networks to know what people are looking for and what keywords they're using.
    • Use forums. Using forums within your niche is another great way to get this done efficiently. Check people's conversations there and note what they're saying.

    3. Make content related to your top search queries.

    To do this, you're gonna need a stats tracker that gives you the keywords people use to find your blog. The best - and free - tracker that does this is Google Analytics.

    You need to check the top keywords being used to arrive to your blog. These keywords are the ones you wanna focus on on your future articles, since they're what people are looking for the most.
    Make sure to check these keywords often, because trends change and people might start looking for something else completely different from one moment to another. Keep updated!

    II. Optimize Your Content

    4. Use keywords wisely.

    Many people ignore keywords as they think they're not that important to drive traffic to their blog. Well, they're wrong!
    However, you gotta know how to use those keywords wisely or they won't be effictive. Here's where you should use them:
    • Main Heading (H1). The best keywords should be placed here. Make sure to use the <h1> tag only once per page.
    • Subheadings (H2, H3, H4). As the name suggests, these keywords should be used to better describe the content you're writing. Use these tags for short but descriptive keywords to rank better on search engines.
    • Highlights (bold, italics, underline). If your paragraphs have important keywords, make sure to emphasize them.
    You must always balance your keyword density (quantity of keywords used vs quantity of total words included within an article) or it will look spammy and unnatural. It might lower your credibility and your blog's ranking on search engines!

    5. Optimize meta data.

    This is yet another thing that most - inexperienced - bloggers ignore: the meta data. Truth is, having neat and efficient meta data won't skyrocket your blog's ranking on search engines, but it does give it a very useful push. Meta data helps search engines know what your blog is about so that they can connect it to a wider range of keywords, therefore, taking your blog to a wider range of audience depending on what they're looking for.
    • Title tags. Be creative and write awesome titles that are also descriptive of your content. Aim for up to 65 characters including spaces.
    • Description tags. Description tags shouldn't be more than 155 characters. These tags will give you a higher click-through rate on search engines, meaning more traffic! Make sure to make it short and appealing.
    Remember to use keywords wisely. Do not abuse them.

    6. Optimize your URL.

    Even though they might pass a little unnoticed on search engines, the quality of your URLs is very important as well. You should always keep them short and descriptive of your content.
    Google recommends the use of hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_) to space words on your URLs.

    Ugly URL: http://www.dearsillyblog.com/index.html?id_sezione=932&sid=dfg556123dv33f44

    No Good: http://www.deasillyblog.com/bloggingtips

    GOOD URL: http://www.dearsillyblog.com/blogging-tips

    7. Make your images SEO-friendly.

    Apart from optimizing your images so they load faster, you should also optimize them so that search engines can "read" them. Here's how you can do that:
    • Use ALT attribute. In case you don't know, some devices simply don't load images. So, if people can't see the images, how do they know what they are? This is what ALT attributes do. They add text to an image so that everyone can know what the images are about.
    • Here's a tutorial on how to add these attributes.
    • Use descriptive file names. Instead of using the regular 828462.png file name, use something that describes the image you're using, like blogging-tips.png.

    Use keywords too! Bear in mind that you want to keep these tags short.

    8. Use internal linking.

    This is basically including links from your own blog/website to the page you're working on. Of course, these links have to be related to the content where they've been included.
    Don't add more than 100 links to one page. You can use Submit Express Link Counter to check how many links you have in a page.

    9. Better anchor text.

    Anchor text is nothing more than the words you use on links. Most people use the traditional "click here", but you might want upgrade a little. Use keywords such as "...for more tips on blogging."
    Be careful, though, don't use the same keywords on links too many times in a page or you might get penalized by Google.

    10. Proofread.

    Granting quality writing to your readers is a must if you want them to return to your blog or website. You can use Spellcheck to proofread your posts, and Hemingway App to improve your writing.

    III. Improve Your Site Performance

    11. Speed up your site.

    You sure hate slow internet connection and pages that take eternities to load, right? So, why have a blog that's as slow as a snail?
    Not only do people like fast responding pages, so do search engines! You might need a web-developer to do the job, but there are some things you can do for yourself:

    12. Use a responsive design.

    Google says so, we do as we're told. They want you to improve your readers' experience, and you can't deny that they're right about it! A responsive design is one that adapts to whatever device is used to view your site (smartphones, tablets, etc.).

    Even though most people still use laptops and desktops, there are many people already who use their phones and tablets, and truth is your site will not look the same in smaller screens - possibly, it's going to be rather impossible to even read anything on it if your site is not ready for these smaller devices.
    Use Screenfly to see how your site looks on different devices.

    13. Set your preferred URL domain.

    You should decide between using www or not. I set www.dearsillyblog.com as my preferred domain over dearsillyblog.com (without www), so when you type dearsillyblog.com you'll be redirected to www.dearsillyblog.com.

    Read this tutorial to see how to set your preferred domain.

    14. Fix dead links.

    Dead links are annoying and you know it. So make sure you don't have those around your site, for they not only bother people, they also bother search engines and make them hate you.

    Use BrokenLinkCheck to find and fix any broken links. You can also use Google Webmaster Tools to do this.

    15. Redirecting.

    Moving pages is often a huge slap on your site's face because your readers will always be landing on your old page, which doesn't exist anymore. So you need to use 301 Redirect. This will automatically redirect your readers to your new page when they land on the old one.

    A really nice and useful use for this is also when you tend to write posts that are updates of previous ones. Instead of having two repeated posts with only a few differences, you can redirect your old post to the new and updated one!

  • How-To: Setup 303 Redirect on Blogger
  • Google FAQ on 301 Redirects

  • 16. Have a custom 404 Error page.

    These are really useful too and they can also be very creative. I have one myself!
    Even though these pages are not exactly important for SEO, they're also taken into account by Google. However, do not include this page on your sitemap!

  • How-To: Setup Custom 404 Page
  • More Info About 404 Page by Google

  • 17. Good backlinks.

    Backlinks is basically the secret for a heavier traffic and new-readers-flow into your site. But to earn these, you have to know how to get them.
    • Guest blog. Guest blogging is nothing more than writing blog posts for other bloggers. Usually you even earn some cash from it, depending who you're writing to. This will also drive traffic to your site because you'll be given credit for the post you write, which will certainly catch people's attention and make them want to check some of your work.
    • Get influencers to link you. This might be a tough one. For this to happen you gotta build relationships with the top authorities of your niche, who are usually very credited people and hard to reach. But with some effort and hard work you might get to them, impress them, and have them spread the word about what you do.
    • Improve your social media presence. Keep in mind that social networks are not only for fun and engaging with your friends. Use these tools wisely to skyrocket your site by spreading your work through major social networks, like Facebook and Twitter.
    • Freebies! Everyone loves free stuff, and this method has been proven to increase sites' traffic drastically! Throw a giveaway and don't forget to ask people to share it.

    IV. Get Your Site Found

    18. Sitemap.

    Sitemaps, or XML Sitemaps, are little frameworks that we upload to help search engines crawl and index our pages, since sometimes some pages may not be indexed properly, which will affect the traffic driven to them.
    Learn how to create a sitemap. You can also use Sitemap Generator to do this. Then you just have to submit it.

    19. Use Google Places.

    If your site is more of a business, you might want to use Google Places to expose it a little more to the public eye. Check out Google's Places for Business for more info.

    Hope you found this post useful! Feel free to leave a comment below with any other tips you might have!

    Sources and Credits

  • SEO is Dead: Long Live OC/DC
  • Link Building in 2014 is All About Building Your Brand & Reputation
  • Steps to a Google-Friendly Site
  • 18 February 2015

    6 Rules to Create Sizzling Blog Content

    Having a blog with a great design is not enough if your goal is to be successful in the blogging industry.

    People want CONTENT. Content that makes them raise their brows at the surprise and at how much they enjoy reading it. Are you giving people this type of content? If you are, then great! If you're not, check out these 6 rules to creating sizzling blog content that will fire up your traffic and popularity!

    1. Length + Quality

    Length is going to depend on what you blog about. In my blog there are posts that are extremely short, since they're tutorials and sometimes things are just that easy to get done. Though, my blogging posts are way longer and people often find these a lot more interesting than the shorter ones.

    A statistics study has proven that longer posts have a higher level of engagement with the audience. They also tend to be shared a lot more and people use to quote them too. A good tip is for you to write at least 1500 words per post. Longer posts also take the top places in Google searches, which drives a lot more traffic to your blog.

    2. Plan Your Sharing

    You might think that writing a new blog post and throwing it out on Twitter or Facebook is all that it takes to have it noticed. Well, unfortunately it's never that easy.

    It takes a lot more than simply tweeting or sharing a link for it to drive traffic into your blog. If you're on Twitter, learn how to use #hashtags effectively, and schedule your tweets so that your content is always flowing at a steady pace. You should also test the social networks where you share your content. Twitter and Google+ usually have higher engagement rates than Facebook, for example. This means that people will be more likely to read your articles if they're shared in these social networks.

    3. Updating Posts

    Posts that you've written three years ago are probably outdated. The information they have is now inaccurate and people who read them will be deceived or even notice that your content is not exactly what they're looking for.

    Remember that everything you post online, will never vanish. It's always stored somewhere and eventually people will find it again years later. So make sure to update older posts to make them accurate and ready for new readers who might find them interesting.

    Good thing about updating old posts is that they're going to be treated as new content! It's like you're writing a new blog post while you're, in fact, only making your blog even better and more efficient.

    4. Visual is Key

    I've included this on my post about annoying design mistakes and I can never say this enough: VISUAL, VISUAL, VISUAL!

    I'm sure that you don't really enjoy reading an article that is all text with no breaks and nothing to distract your eyes for a while. It's boring, tiring, and only by looking at it, you lose interest and simply close the tab. You don't want people to close your blog's tab, do you? No. I guessed so.

    Including gorgeous and professional blog graphics on your posts is the first thing you should think of before starting to write. The "cover" of your article is what will catch the readers' attention - along with the headline, of course.

    5. Spy on Your Competition

    Obviously, don't take this too literally. Spying is not cool. Though, make sure to check your competition's work! This will help you see how they're doing, gather some ideas and spice up your own work!
    Although, do not tempt yourself to copy other people's stuff. Doing so will crush your credibility and your readers will quickly walk away from your blog.

    6. You Familiar With Mobile?

    It's the 21st century, y'all! Smartphones, tablets... ring a bell? Yes? And is your blog ready for them?

    Most people nowadays don't even bother using a computer to stay updated about new content online. They simply use their smartphone or their tablet. Sounds all really easy until you realize that the way people see your blog on a computer is definitely not how they see it on a tablet or a smartphone.

    Make sure that your blog is mobile friendly, aka responsive, and take over the mobile crowd!
    Bottom line: Keep your content fresh. Keep your blog accessible to everyone, everywhere. Keep yourself updated about new trends!