New WordPress SEO Blogging Software

 

What a difference 24 hours make.

A few days ago I was honestly prepared to rip a product to shreds. It wasn’t that it was a bad product, but it wasn’t as well prepared as it should have been, and from what I can tell it was due to an honest communication error between a well respected online marketer and his programming team.

But before I talk about the product itself, I am going to give you a little history lesson.

WordPress Elite

A few years ago I purchased a script called WordPress Elite. It was pretty useful, and allowed you to point the software at a server, and create WordPress blogs based on a default configuration plus you could select various parameters.

I even sold a couple of copies as an affiliate.

It didn’t do everything, you still had to log into the WordPress blog and activate the plugins, configure them etc, and at the time I was an SEO newbie… some would say I still am ;)

The marketer however sold the business, and the new owner didn’t do anything with it. He got some new subscribers. He asked the list once for new features, then nothing was released, and the script never really supported 2.x very well.

WordPress Super Installer

I managed to pick this up really cheap when it was first released, and I soon forgot that WordPress Elite was going through some teething problems.
Unfortunately development pretty much stopped at the beginning of 2007.

First, as with any newly released version of software (including wsi) there are bugs and anomalies that need to be worked out before the version is completely stable. I know one bug in particular reported to WordPress about v2.1 is it’s lack of compliance with the xmlrpc standard. Xmlrpc is what most of the blog content auto-posters use to post content to your blogs via remote methods (as apposed to logging in a posting something manually).

Though the newest version of WordPress may have some advantages over the previous versions, I don’t feel for the sake of building blog farms to achieve back links to your money sites that it makes sense to quickly jump on-board a new version, just for the sake of having a new version.

The last update I received from Randy Rhodes (not Randi from Air America) was at the end of July 2007.

WordPress 2.0.x is still maintained because it needs to be for Debian inclusion, thus if you don’t need all the fancy features of WordPress 2.1 or above, it is still a good choice, especially if you are fed up of things breaking all the time, or have tons of WordPress blogs to maintain.

Other Scripts

There are other scripts out there, plus various services that promise to install WordPress on your behalf. I must admit I am not that keen on forking out more money, changing business processes, and then for another script development to grind to a halt.

I would never trust an automated service to install WordPress packages for me. There are a few cropping up again, there have been a few in the past, but why reveal all your niche sites to a 3rd party hiding behind a website, even if you trusted them to do the installation, and have access to your server.

WordPress Packages

If you are not too reliant on 10s of plugins, you can get by just creating WordPress packages. Include a set of standard plugins and themes that you have tweaked, upload, switch on the plugins, and configure them to your liking.
Or you can create a process, and pay someone else to do it for you.

SEO Optimized WordPress Package

Jeff Johnson has just released a special package for WordPress SEO

The installation is painless

Setup your database as always
Edit your config as always
Upload
Enter your blog name and email address
Log in
Select a theme

So what is done for you?

Permalinks
Plugin Activation
Plugin settings (though I am not sure how much they differ from default)
Ping list

Shall we coin a new phrase… the “4 Ps”

The themes are also relatively well optimized, so you have H1s where they should be

Pretty useful?

WordPress SEO Plugins Installed

All In One SEO Pack
Google XML SiteMaps
Sociable (the new official version with nofollow)

also Akismet and Simple Captcha

Why Was I Going To Slam It?

This problem was exasperated by many of the themes Jeff Johnson decided to include in the package, some optimized themes from MyType.com who basically take fairly average WordPress themes, optimized them a little, and then stick 5 spammy links in the footer to various pages on their domain, many seem to be paid client blogs.

(disclaimer: MyType.com currently rank first for WordPress SEO and I have a post blocked by robots.txt ranking on the same page – it is not exactly a competitive search term, doesn’t bring much traffic, but it probably takes 100s of spammy theme links to rank for it now)

In addition Jeff had included a few links on the default blogroll, and a badge in the sidebar.

When you added up the total number of external links per page, and it came to 14 without the WordPress default links etc, it couldn’t really be looked at as a good recommendation for SEO, especially if people download it who are less experienced.

So I emailed Jeff, and within a few hours I had a reply that it was going to be fixed. I think I may have been the only one who was concerned.

It Is Not Perfect

I don’t like some of the sites on the pinglist they use – lots of .jp sites – my personal pinglist for “quality” blogs consists of just one site, Feedburner, and I let them handle the pings to other places.

sidenote: I keep seeing Pingoat listed on ping lists – last time I checked Pingoat hadn’t been accepting pings for 18 months, maybe that is now closer to 2 years. Web pings only. Maybe John Reese when he purchased the site switched that function back on and didn’t tell anyone (such as update the Pingoat blog) – looking at recently updated blogs on Pingoat, it seems like the Poles might be using a script to spam the hell out of it.

I would use a different plugin selection, though I am sure the version of WordPress Jeff provides to his clients has a more comprehensive feature set. That being said, you really want to minimise plugin use if you are hosting a lot of blogs on a single server.

The themes are better than the originals, though you might want to look for replacements.

As they stand, if lots of people use this WordPress version for blog farms and datafeed sites, they have a bit of a heavy footprint. They still have a lot of nofollow links in the footer, plus 2 blogroll links and a banner

It Is A Time Saver

Even as it stands, for an experienced WordPress users it represents a time saver, and for someone less experienced who has problems with the basic steps of setting up plugins, permalinks etc it is a good resource, especially if the package gets improved over time.

Jeff is providing lots of instructional videos on how to install the package, though effectively it is the same as any WP installation. He does recommend using this only for new blogs, though there is a procedure that can be used for existing sites.

It Is Free

Whilst I started off with some real concerns, what concerns remain can be cured with very simple hacking. I expect this to be well maintained.

Thanks Jeff, great value for money – download it here.

p.s. I am not sure how long Jeff will have this available. It is just one of many things he is providing free of charge as part of a product launch, and these bonuses tend to disappear from public display once a launch has completed.
My advise would be to download it and test it on a few spare domains, tweak it for your own use and feed the blogs you create with some content.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    It’s hard to beat free. Still, I am not sure I would want to use these.
    It sounds from your post like the SEO is not any better than some of the other SEO themes. Why not just place your favorite plugins in the folder before FTP? Permalinks, ping list, and plugin activation only take seconds anyway.
    I can see where someone just starting out might be helped, but I think anyone who has created more than one WP blog and done anything would not find anything you listed here as that much of a time saver. Maybe the product launch will have things that would make it more useful?

    • says

      The time saving is in the basic setup

      You can use other SEOed themes, but 90% that claim to be aren’t very special – these at least are fairly well done other than the links at the bottom.

      How much time you save really depends on how many WP blogs you are creating.

      • says

        I really don’t know if promoting such products is in your best interest. Anything that includes any hint of “spamminess” should be given a thumbs down.

        I am talking about the spam links you mentioned in the themes.

        • says

          Well for a few years I promoted WordPress when it was full of spam links… hmm in fact it still is.

          I also still link to people who promote WordPress themes mainly for the SEO benefit. As an example it wouldn’t prevent me linking to Performancing ;)

          Actually the whole package actually has less “live” links with unmodified themes than many Performancing themes, 2 within the default blogroll (less than normal Wordpess) and a banner, where there happens to be instructional content.

          At the end of the day, the links in the themes are the ones placed there by theme authors, or the ones that fixed them to be more SEO friendly, and Jeff has nofollowed them.

          What theme authors should be doing is fixing their themes, and then approaching Jeff to include their themes in his package.
          How many theme authors use nofollow on their designer credit links?

  2. says

    Thanks for this post. I had a disappointing experience with a WordPress installer type package in the past, so I’ll have to try this one out.

    I’m curious though about your issues with Pingoat. I’ve been using it successfully for months to speed up indexing and promote RSS feeds for Squidoo, blogs, and so on. There are a number of fairly high profile marketers that have been recommending its use, and in my testing and that of other people whom I’ve suggested it to, it has worked well.

    Ben Mack did a live conference call a while back, and using Pingoat, the Google alerts showed up in my inbox within minutes. In my experience, a large number of tools in the blogging and Web 2.0 world don’t work right about half the time, but Pingoat has worked well enough for me to keep using it.

    -Kurt Schmitt

    • says

      Kurt I have emailed John to see if he can shed some light on this. I am just going by the official blog on Pingoat.
      Maybe you are using Pingoat manually. That works fine, but using Pingoat as a remote ping server to relay updates as far as I am currently aware doesn’t work, so including the service in Ping lists in WordPress is both pointless and spammy.

      • says

        Andy,

        You are correct! And yes, manual does work fine. The RPC link, however, actually refers you to ipings.com, with a message that they are “optimizing” things.

        Interestingly, the Pingoat RPC link is on Rosalind and Anik’s list, which has begun to circulate.

        Another thing is that some of these aggregators are probably doubling up on the secondary sites they ping, so some of these ping lists are probably already a bit spammy. You can mitigate the effect to some degree by using the MaxBlogPress plugin (at least in theory) since it won’t ping the heck out of your list when you edit.

        Thanks!

        Kurt

        • says

          Despite the fact that I know Rosalind reads my blog on occasion and I also read hers, I didn’t mention Blog Classroom in a post.
          Part of it was because of a slight lack of confidence in the information, despite the fact I know both Rosalind and Anik make a huge amount of money and are incredible teachers.
          Ultimately the decision made was that they didn’t quite match my audience.

          The lack of confidence wasn’t so much the ping list, that is one of those self-propagating myths that seems to spread (at least in my opinion)

          It is really hard for me to recommend blogging packages, because I am likely to find holes in all of them

  3. says

    I think a lot of people who read my blog would like to go self-hosted WP but lack the know-how or the time or both. Now I can recommend this free preconfigured WP script to them. Great post.

  4. says

    I am kind of a noob at all of this. I am not ashamed to admit it. I haven’t updated wordpress to the new version yet because I am not sure what it will do to all my plugins and what not. I read the article and I am trying to wrap my brain around it lol. I guess though my question is if I do update will I have to reinstall all my plugins? I have heard some bad things about the wordpress update which is why I have stalled on installing it.
    Just wanted to know what your thoughts were?

    • says

      If you are using the same plugins as Jeff, then after you switch them off to do the installation, it might mess up your settings. The same will be true of permalinks.

      If you have everything (both database and the files on you server) you can’t do anything wrong – you can always restore everything.

      This installation and all the additional training is for people looking to run multiple blogs. If you are just running a single blog, you might as well just use a standard WordPress installation.

  5. says

    Thanks for the tip and recommendation. Your post points out both the flaws and benefits and has made me look into using this script further.

  6. says

    and then stick 5 spammy links in the footer to various pages on their domain, many seem to be paid client blogs.

    Funny, ain’t that black hat SEO? Anyways I love free so I am off to download!

    • says

      You would think it would be, but then WordPress used to use tons of similar spammy links in the default blogroll, and even now there are lots of links in the default blogroll which whilst easy to remove, many don’t.

  7. says

    Hi Andy,

    Great update – The script will eventually help a wordpress blogger on how to better SEOed his/her blog.

    I only use All in One SEO pack – so far, so good.

    Cheers!

  8. says

    If I have a wordpress setup I like, I usually do all the configuration (plugins, ping lists etc), and make sure there are no posts, comments or links I don’t want. Then, I do a SQL export, and a FTP download of all the files. Then, whenever I want to duplicate that site, it’s a simple FTP, run the install script, and then import the SQL file into the database. Pretty simple, and a lot less work.

    • says

      That is a good alternative for doing this as well, though I have known a few plugins that get royally messed up due to poor coding and for some reason including a hard path within the SQL.

  9. says

    I use many plugins for my wordpess, for SEO it’s All in One SEO pack but. More trouble than just having it installed costs me to use it to the fullest. Plugin not used is not needed – so I try to have only important plugins which i really use.

  10. says

    Thanks for the tip and recommendation. Your post points out both the flaws and benefits and has made me look into using this script further.That is a good alternative for doing this as well, it includes All In One SEO and other plug ins which all get installed automatically.

  11. says

    Good morning Andy,

    True I am allot more skilled that the average WordPress user but I just worked off the default version that came with WordPress and went form there.

    First off I replaced the title tag in header.php

    php if(is_home()) { echo ‘HOME PAGE TITLE’; } else { wp_title(”) ;}

    Just replace HOME PAGE TITLE with what you want on the homepage of your blog and it will add the title of the post to all your single pages and not reiterate your blog title.

    Then I replaced the blog post title with tags.

    Then when I write a post I put a subheadline at the top of the textarea with tags.

    Then as I break each section of the post with subheadlines I use tags with more primary and secondary keywords in them.

    Of course I sprinkle keywords throught the text.

    Also after following all the advice you wrote about how google ranks blogs I am doing much better in the results.

    Also I added a bunch of really powerful blogs to my blogroll and now I have deleted them all as a test to see if I move up or down.

    Can I suggest that you add propeller and searchles to your plugin, I love searchles and post most my bookmarks there.

    Cheers – Chris Lang

  12. says

    I only use All-in-one SEO plug-in for SEO. So far, I got reasonable treatment of my blog from search engine. My blog content is not the type of high traffic content. I’m happy with it.

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