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Launch of a new Website

Launch of a new Website

Over 17 years after my first website was launched on tinet (or Telecom Internet) which later became Eircom.net and which I then moved to shanemcdonald.org, I have started to port the site over to the new domain of shanemcdonald.ie which I feel is a timely move. I chose the .ie domain as I felt .com and .org did not describe the fact that I was Irish.

I am currently redesigning the site and trying to firstly make it mobile friendly, as my original site for shanemcdonald.org was all coded by hand between 2001 and 2011 during a time when mobile was not an issue. As soon as mobile started to have an impact, I added some mobile-friendly code but I felt it wasn’t enough and here we are today with shanemcdonald.ie up and running and almost finished.

There is still a bit to do in redirecting the old site using .htaccess files and some PHP redirects, plus I still have to redirect the Queen site to this domain (that’s work for another day)

I hope to add more to the site in the coming weeks and hopefully, it will be 100% finished and moved by the end of May or early June.

ShaneMcDonald.ie 2019 Update

This blog post was uploaded in May 2016 and since then I have moved the Queen Site and also updated the PHP settings. I have also removed some blog posts which were not converting. It’s best to remove content which might be damaging the SEO effectiveness of the site. In late 2018 I also added an SSL certificate to shanemcdonald.ie as I felt it was important and made the site look a bit more professional.

So far in 2019, the first 4 months has resulted in 80,000 visitors and I’m projecting to his 230,000 visitors by the end of the year (at least). That traffic volume is up 50% on 2018 which itself was up just under 50% on the previous year. Onwards and upwards, more to come on the site very soon.

WordPress SEO – Some Simple Tips for better SEO

WordPress SEO – Some Simple Tips for better SEO

WordPress & SEO

I just learned of something WordPress SEO related which might be hampering your attempts to get good levels of traffic to your site if you are using WordPress. This is a great WordPress SEO tip.

One of the best things about WordPress is that you can add a category or two to your post. It turns out that listing your blog post under more than one category might be considered as duplicate content in Googles eyes and your site may be penalised.

I will be posting under only 1 category for a while to see if this helps with the site traffic / SEO on the site.

Any comments – please add them below to discuss the search tricks you use for WordPress SEO. I am trying this on this site, shanemcdonald.ie and hopefully, it will help my SEO efforts.

Also, if you are adding Tags to your site and you have tags which only have one or two posts this could cause issues also. Consider this, your site has 300 posts and you have a blog post with a recipe and a WordPress tag called ‘recipe’. If this tag has never been used on your site apart from this one time, then this tag remains with 1 post attached to it. This doesn’t really have any real impact on your site’s SEO. Perhaps a better approach might be to add this into a tag such as ‘Lifestyle’ or ‘Food’ which might have a higher post count.

If you are working on your WordPress sites SEO then you should also consider SEO plugins such as Yoast or the All in One SEO plugin. I have used both plugins but I can tell you that Yoast works a bit better for my 3 sites. Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress also connects to Google Search Console. As a result, your WordPress SEO can benefit from things like Google and Bing Authentication and also notifications about soft 404 errors and much more.

One final SEO tip for WordPress users is to install caching and speed optimisation plugins. Take a read of this blog post ‘How to setup WordPress caching and image optimisation your website‘.  I saw an improvement in Bounce Rate reduction and also organic SEO visits. Search Engine Optimisation is an ongoing thing for bloggers and website owners and WordPress has many features to take the pain out of this for you.

If you have any comments on website or WordPress SEO Tips please leave a comment below. 

Photo of Ghostly Pair of Legs – Is this a Photo of a Ghost ?

Photo of Ghostly Pair of Legs – Is this a Photo of a Ghost ?

In the past 3 days I have being getting a lot of traffic from a site called Unexplained-Mysteries.com (http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=214475) and their reference to a ghostly pair of legs which I took a ghostly photo of in Prague about 10 years ago. (see ghost photo above)

I decided to go onto the Unexplained-Mysteries.com site and have a read about what was being discussed. Most people seem to think the photo was a long exposure however the camera I had at the time was a ultra basic Olympus which not capable of any advanced photography. Also, I went into the histogram and saw that the setting was 1/2 s not really the circumstances for a long exposure for faking a ghost photo. Could this be a photo of a ghost?

The Arguments – is it a Photo of a Ghost or a Fake / Long Exposure?

  • One person commented it was  a fake created through long exposure – I don’t think 1/2 s is long enough for this, also no deliberate attempt was made to attempt to deceive people or try to create a fake photo of a ghost.( I was simply there taking a photo of my friend coming down the steps.)
  • One person said it is somebody running – how can you run with stiff legs?
  • One person said you would not notice if others were around – the area in question was enclosed and guards were locking-down for the evening (castle gates closed at 10:30pm and the guards would not let us in, which is why we had to take out photos here), plus after the photo was taken and we actually saw the ghostly legs on the camera’s digital view-screen we checked around to see if others were around. Nobody!

The strange thing was that at the time, this image was visible on the cameras digital viewfinder and we had repeated views of it that night, trying to explain what it was, well in advance of the photos being downloaded to the computer.

Do you believe in Ghosts? Do you think this is a photo of a ghost? Have you ever taken something strange like this?…

It remains one of the strangest photos I have ever taken.


What do you think, is this an actual Photo of a Spectre ?

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Optimizing your Website : Organic SEO #2

This is the second post regarding tips and tricks you can use to improve your organic SEO or search engine optimization.

1 – Creating a Useful Web Presence
If you can create a useful web presence then you will be default get some good traffic. More and More, Google is moving towards natural searching patterns, so if an article is written for the audience (people) rather thank being stuffed with keywords aimed at search engines, keeping visitors in mind, then it should do well.

2 – Update your site often
Keep the site well updated, don’t let any content go out of date – this will ensure that your site will not be ignored by the search engines. One trick is to update your site with relevant breaking news or related topics as soon as possible – for example, one email company used Google alerts and on a day when GMail went down, their site was updated within minutes saying “Fed up with GMail Outages – Buy our Email Solution” – this was reflected in their Google AdWords campaigns and showed how an opportunity in their business field was taken advantage of.

3 – The Right Content
Wherever possible try to create sticky content. Sticky Content, or having a sticky site, refers to how longe people will stay on your site. If you can write articles greater than 250 words (some people say 600 words), but which are relevant, well written and “solve the search” for the visitor, then you have ticked off another box for your SEO.
For Example, if you have a Spa website and you are trying to sell Facials, you could list all the facials you currently provide, on your products page. However you could write some articles on why facials are good for the skin, what facials suit certain skin types and perhaps even how to make a homemade facial scrub with oatmeal …. none of this will earn you money though. What you are trying to do is to bring in visitors, this leads to brand awareness and ultimately conversions.
Articles are a great way to supplement your website and enhance what people know about your business.

4 – Making the Site Social
Social Media is a buzzword we now all know. One way to get your website out there is to provide a widget (or button) on your site, which allows people to share your websites link or content. This means your website address, blog post or a snippet of your content, can be sent by email, posted on Facebook or Tweeted on Twitter all for free … and you don’t have to do anything. Just place a button on each page of your site and this can all happen. There are a few major providers, but I found that Add This (www.addthis.com) is best. Visit the site for more information.

5 – Most Important – Don’t try anything stupid
People often try stupid tricks – these are called Black Hat SEO Tricks. These include;
– Keyword stuffing : placing lots of keywords in the text and meta data
– Cloaking : a script which trys to trick the search engines
– Invisible Text : Making the text the same as the background color
– Doorway pages : Invisible pages which try to get the site indexed

SEO requires patience, planning, and monitoring. If you use some SEO keywords and descriptions which bring you a large increase in traffic, you may try to improve on this but changing them further, but a good tip is to retain the old files incase the SEO changes backfire, you can always revert to the last most successful campaign. Try to record your visitor levels and your levels of sales (if you are a business site), in that way you can choose the best SEO combination which produces the best sales from your website.