How to turn WordPress into a Social Network Site

WordPress offers a fascinatingly wide range of options: thanks to the power and the creativity of the open source community, the world’s most popular CMS has developed from a “blog-only” product into a multifaceted platform. Hundreds of plugins are waiting to cater almost every web publisher’s needs. These days, two new plugins take WordPress to the next level by integrated elaborate social network features. BuddyPress is now available at version 1.2 which plays along well with standard WP-installations; the previous version required WP multiuser edition. And then there’s Mingle, a new brilliant extension by Blair Williams, author of the (genius!) PrettyLink plugin.

Even though both plugins offer similar functionalities, they take a completely different approach at turning WordPress into a social network. While BuddyPress aims at running a stand-alone social network site, Mingle extends the community capabilities of nay existing blog. I installed it here on datadirt yesterday. Curious for a test-drive? Just click the new link Profile in the main menu! In the following posting I’ll explain why extending a blog with social network features is generally a smart idea. Read more

WordPress 2.9.1 – Minor Updates, Simple Tags Hack

WordPress 2.9 is still quite fresh, but today the team released a new version including some minor bug fixes. WordPress 2.9.1 fixes scheduling-errors which occurred on some hosts. The update can either be triggered via the admin or you can upload the files via ftp, no database update necessary this time.

But there’s another plugin-related issue: since the upgrade to 2.9, many WordPress bloggers miss Simple Tags: the tag management plugin just stopped to work, but worry not: it’s just a hard-coded version check, a simple hack makes the plugin work again. Read more

News on FastBlogFinder: Version 3.0 available next week

I started using Fast Blogfinder almost exactly one year ago. And I’ve used this genius dofollow-recherche tool quite intensely as no other SEO software helps me generate hi-quality dofollow links that fast. (Check my in-depth review). Automated commenting system are nothing but spam tools – at best, they don’t damage your Google ranking. FBL however does not post any comments, but it’s an effective tool to identify related postings in your topical niche, but the commenting itself is done manually. The new version 3.0 will be available on 10th of December and I got some first-hand details.

Also, working with FBL does have some highly welcome side-effects: I constantly discover interesting postings – and every time I run a search I always find a lot of input for my own articles. FBL 2.6 worked very well, but the upcoming version is adding even more precision – and some crowd wisdom:

Fast Blog Finder v3.0 has a new engine which recognizes new blog platforms and finds much more DoFollow blogs than the earlier version. When developing the v3.0 we spent many hours for manually verifying hundreds of blogs to ensure that the program determined the blog type correctly.
Despite this, we don’t expect the program to be 100% accurate in analyzing the blogs. So, we added the “Report Wrong Blog Type” option to the program. Using this option you can send us the URL of the blog that was determined incorrectly by Fast Blog Finder. We’ll check it out and make improvements in the program engine.

Julia did an in-depth comparison of version 3 – and the results are very convincing. Here’s a screenshot of the new version:

Fast Blogfinder 3.0 Screenshot

How much does the upgrade cost?

As soon as I twittered the news, some of my contacts inquired the upgrade-price for existing users. I believe the pricing model is really fair:

  • New customers who haven’t been using FBL before pay $99 for Fast Blogfinder Version 3.
  • Users who bought their existing license within a 90-day timeframe before the release of the version get the upgrade for free
  • Existing users with an older license pay $25 for the upgrade until Christmas holidays, after that the upgrade costs $44,50.

If you like to try before you buy, download the trial version – but I guess no pro-blogger can afford not to use FBL these days! :mrgreen:

Fast Blogfinder trial version [*.exe file, 150kB)
Buy Fast Blogfinder (If you buy the current version now, you get the update to 3.0 for free next week)

Recommended Extensions: travelling into the future with Firefox

The orange-blue fox is our favorite browser, no doubt – and one of the reasons is the incredible number of plug-ins available. In FF-lingo, they’re called “extensions” and they cater virtually every need: whether it’s a webmaster checking his page for errors, a SEO looking for those juicy follow-Links or Mr. average surfer looking for more comfort: almost every need is catered. Recently, MacStories has compiled an interesting postings that saves power-foxers a lot of time.

10 Best Firefox Extensions, 2009 Edition #1: turn Firefox into NOW. is all about extensions which make daily web life easier, faster, more efficient. Some of them are all about gathering of additional information, some of them are about re-grouping contents and some dig deep into the code-structure of webpages. Even though I knew some of those plug-ins, a couple of them were completely new to me.

Some of those extensions are Greasemonkey scripts (in case you haven’t installed Greasemonkey yet, you should do that right now. It’s a script library which enables users to change various behaviors of websites: using Greasemonkey, one could color Facebook differently but also do a lot of useful things like improve the usability of various online services.)

There’s no doubt that there are excellent feed extensions out there as well, but since I don’t use Firefox to manage my RSS-Setup, I’m not using any of those. When it comes to reading news I love SnackR, while I use Snarfer, an excellent choice for dealing with large (and I mean: huge) numbers of feeds, for monitoring purposes.

But all hail to vertical browsing: I’m a tab addict, and even though I sport a huge monitor, there’s never enough space for all those tabs. TreeStyleTab is great not only because it puts the tabs in vertical order, but it also comes with handy hierarchy- and grouping functions. And for those of you who want to switch tabs in style, FoxTab 1.1.2 raises the eye-candy factor and saves time.

Another great plug-in which I use is the SEOMoz toolbar which gathers all kinds of marketing-relevant information. And in case you want to surf along undetected from time to time, the Switch Proxy tool comes in handy. Those are my favorites – which extensions do you use to pimp your Firefox?

Fast Blogfinder: Easiest link building ever

easy link buildingBuilding backlinks to leverage your online presence can be a very tedious task – but it doesn’t have to be: thanks to the social web, there are literally thousands of blogs that allow follow-links in their comments. No matter which niche you’re working on, there’s always a couple of matching blogs where one gets strong, free backlinks simply for leaving a comment. But the challenge lies in finding strong deeplinks with nofollow turned off, and that’s where Fast Blog Finder comes in: this brilliant piece of software does automated keyword searches for blogs or other sites which allow comments. The results are grouped into follow- and nofollow-Blogs, all the important parameters like Google Pagerank and the number of outgoing links are presented in a very useful way.

DownloadFast Blog Finder Demo-Version:
*.exe file, 125kB
OS: Windows XP, Vista

Fast Blog Finder is not spamming tool as there is no automated commenting feature. But the program saves every webmaster tons of time, as researching the right backlink-blogs is one of the most time-consuming tasks in online marketing. FBL automates the process up to the point when the actual comment is posted: webmasters need to do this manually anyways (after all, substantial comments have a much higher chance of not getting deleted), but they don’t have to spend any time on backlinks research.

Glock sells the software for about $50,- which is basically gift considering the countless hours you are going to save. I’ve been working with Fast Blog Finder for a couple of weeks now and I’m completely satisfied. To me, this software simply is the best tool for quick and efficient link building: at this low price, even hobby-webmasters interested in driving more visitors to their site might consider buying FBL, but for every professional SEO it’s a must. The manufacturer even offers a free trial version which is limited in its search capabilities, but it gives you a good impression of the software’s immense value.

Fast Blog Finder trial version
Buy Blog Finder

The main screen

The main windows is separated into three sub-windows: the left column lists all your searches, the top middle windows lists the results which are freely sortable and in the bottom windows, an instance of Internet Explorer shows the current sites and enables the user, to leave his comment directly from within the program:

Link building in no time
Fast Blog Finder’s main screen with keyword lists (left pane), active list (top windows) and built-in browser (bottom window).

Every search and user action is stored and there’s an export/import function for result lists which makes customer reporting very easy. All of the feature are self-explanatory, take a look at the trial version and you will find that there’s no quicker and cheaper way to build a large amount of high-quality backlinks.

Advantages of comment link

There’s couple of advantages that qualify Fast Blog Finder for a large range of projects:

  1. FBL is the only link-building software I know which supports different languages. Of course if works perfectly in English, but the user can also switch to French, Italian, German and other indexes: I’m running a couple of sites in the German language, so this a killer feature for me.
  2. Almost any other link building program requires a registration and a monthly fee, which is usually higher than the price of FBL – which is a one-time flat fee and even qualifies you to receive updates of the program. (You’re allowed to install the software on two computers with the standard license.)
  3. The internet offers a couple of free dofollow-Blog lists. But those are static, rarely updated and most importantly, the backlinks are not keyword-related, whereas FBL finds sites, which rank well in Google for an exact keyword (combination).

Still not sure? Try the trial version. I recommended this software to a lot of my colleagues, and I haven’t heard anyone complain. Because after all, time is the most precious resource – and Fast Blog Finder helps you save tons of it.

Fast Blog Finder trial version
Buy Blog Finder