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SEO: Using WordPress Categories To Your Advantage

Image used under a Collective Commons License from

Although I have been working with WordPress based sites for a number of years, it only dawned on me recently how best to use Categories and Tags to improve the SEO on your sites.

I think most of us know that it’s essential to organise your posts into Categories and to limit the number of Categories so you can display them in the sidebar. This allows visitors to your site to see a list of the topics that you write about and to easily select all posts in that Category.

However, what many people don’t realise is that many themes these days also allow you to display a description for each Category on the Category pages that are automatically generated for you.

I found that without a description, Google saw that the Category description was the same as the first post in that Category, and therefore either didn’t include it in the search index, or it included it but with a low ranking.

By adding a meaningful, SEO optimised (but not spammy) description of a Category to your page, you are now giving the search engines a reason to index it in it’s own right.

As you continue to add posts in your Categories, the content will change and the search engines will react to this.

It’s definitely been working for me on one of my sites The Laughline, where my page ranking and traffic have improved by about 25% in the last six months, to a large extent due to updating the Category descriptions, as well as reducing the number of Categories to make their display in the sidebar somewhat shorter ans more concise.

Next time, Tags. These can be used just as effectively as Categories to aid in your site navigation and SEO, provided you use them correctly.

Blogging Is Harder Than It Used To Be

I don’t know about you, but I find these days that blogging is harder than it used to be.

There was a time when I could just write what about whatever came into my head, and the words would usually just keep flowing, often faster than I could type.

Now though, it’s not enough to just write from the heart (or from the head, or whatever your inner muse wants you to write). You have to then edit an article to give it a better chance of being seen. There is so much competition theses days, that without a good knowledge of SEO, chances are that you might write a brilliant tale, but it will never be seen.

Then there are the images. Gone are the days when it was enough to just write an article. Now it’s almost mandatory to have to add at least one image to a post. If you have the right image, that’s fine, but if not, you have to search for something that is appropriate, and then make sure that the image has the correct license, allowing you to use it.

The other thing that I find hard is selecting my own images, for example when writing articles about places that we have been. Gone now are the days when I could just download images from the camera and select from those. Now I also have images from my phone, and also from my wife’s phone, and of course that means 3 sequence numbers, so if I place the images in a folder, they are not in time sequence.

It definitely gets harder to write effectively these days, but it’s still very gratifying, especially when you do manage to publish an article that attracts a lot of traffic.

Do you struggle to attract visitors to your articles, or do you have any tips that you would like to share? if so, please leave a comment.

It’s Hard To Keep Up With The Blogs These Days

In times where my full time job takes up a lot of my creative energy, it’s hard to keep up with the blogs these days.

I have so much that I really want to write about, but finding the time to write and the ability to focus on a topic when I do have time is really hard.

Lately I have been trying to catch up on our travels, and have been struggling to persevere with documenting our trip to Lanzarote in February on the site that Debbie and I run, Off The Record. So far I have published 3 articles about the trip, but that really only covers the journey and half of the first day. So a long way to go yet, but a lot of interesting stories and some great scenic views to go.

In some ways I can’t wait for retirement and just hope that I still have my eyesight and the mental capacity to be creative and get back to writing more.

No Gardening This Weekend

Well it looks like no gardening this weekend, as Storm Doris is making it’s way across the UK, bring lots of wind, rain and further north snow as well.

We woke up this morning (and a few times during the night as well) to strong gusts of wind, but so far no reports of damage.

The storm and it’s aftermath are supposed to remain until well into the weekend, so most likely it’s not going to be very nice for being outside, whether it’s gardening or taking a walk. Oh well…

Tackling Our Overgrown Garden

The back garden in our Victorian CottageThis weekend as the weather has warmed up a bit, we decided it was time to start tackling our overgrown garden. We moved house the week before Christmas, and the garden at our new home hasn’t been looked after in a few years, so it’s going to need a lot of work doing on it this year.

The house, an old Victorian Cottage, has a long narrow garden, and used to belong to an old lady, before being rented out, and now it’s our turn to take up residence there.

The garden has what was a nice lawn, but is now a few tufts of grass, a mass of dandelions, and was pretty much used for a couple of dogs to exercise, so that needs a lot of reviving. I think I need to try and get hold of a scarifier, so I can get out all of the moss and other unwanted material, as well as aerating the soil. Then a bit of fertilising and some grass seed, and I think it might be quite nice by the end of the year.

The borders are all overgrown with ivy and brambles, and there are mature shrubs everywhere, some “too mature”, including some fir trees that have got far too tall for such a small garden. So there is a lot of work to do out there.

I really should have taken some photos while we were out working in the garden over the weekend, but our priority was focusing on making a good start on the renovation work, rather than recording our progress, something which I now regret, but over the coming weeks and months we will rectify that.

The photo above is taken from outside the kitchen door, and shows the decking, several of the tall fir trees, and the tall hedge on the right, which will also need a regular trimming during the summer months.

At the end of the day, we want to create a garden that looks nice, but is relatively easy to maintain. If you would like to keep up with our story, don’t forget to follow our blog.

Improve Your Heart Health

Incredibly useful tips on how to lead a healthy lifestyle and to avoid Coronary heart disease (CHD).

Celtic Sanctuary


Every day your heart beats, on average, more than 100,000 times. Unfortunately the more weight you are carrying, the harder that pump has to work.  This will cause health problems over time.

Coronary heart disease (CHD) usually causes chest pain because the heart is not getting enough oxygen.  This pain varies from person to person.

Other types of symptoms can include the feeling of a “heaviness” or like someone is squeezing your heart, pains or numbness in your chest, neck, arms, stomach or upper back, shortness of breath and fatigue with activity as well as general weakness.

CHD is a result of inflammation forming a build-up of plaque that accumulates within the walls of your arteries.  This plaque will cause a reduction in blood flow that can slow down or stop your heart beating.

Inflammation and heart disease symptoms are linked to free radical damage (oxidative stress) and antioxidant levels…

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My How Time Flies When You Lose Your Writing Mojo

I can’t believe it’s been over 3 years since I last wrote anything here. I have been trying to get back into writing, but since the demise of the websites that I used to write on (Squidoo, Yahoo Contributor Network) and the fact that my full time job leaves me fairly brain dead every evening, I have been really struggling to find the time to write, let alone feel the inspiration that I need to get me started.

So, this weekend, a retired friend that I chat to at the gym, has packed up and taken off to travel Spain for the best part of a year. He has started up a blog on here, and just reading the daily posts made me realise how much I miss writing about the things that happen in my life.

Like many other people, my days are often mundane, but they can also be filled with quirky moments, sparks of inspiration, humorous thoughts, and more.

I hope this is just the first of many new posts here, and maybe, just maybe, I can get a following back, both here and on my other personal sites.

So, if the stories, poems, and other interludes you find here interest you, please click on “Follow” and see which way the future posts lead.