Posted on Leave a comment

Is Your Blog Mobile Friendly?

You might or might not have seen the news about Google changing the algorithm to add mobile friendliness to the mix.

Some won’t care, but for most of us, where we land in the search rankings tends to make a difference in how many visitors the great Google sends along to us through natural search terms.

Search terms are what people use to find content they want to read.  If those words come up in a post, then you can easily find yourself on page 1 of Google for those particular words, but the new changes coming into force this week means that if your website isn’t already mobile friendly, ie, if it doesn’t read well on mobile devices, then you could find your website suddenly plummeting down the search engine rankings pages.

Most of us bloggers already know that Google Page Rank will never be updated again (unless Google has a change of heart) so making sure your content is mobile ready is pretty important nowadays.  None of us want to be sent into obscurity for the lack of responsive pages.

Is Your Website Mobile Friendly?

You can find out if your website is Google friendly by checking this link to the Google Mobile Friendly Test.  This is what you want to see, with the text showing that your site is awesome for being mobile friendly.

Google Moibile Responsive

Being mobile friendly is more important than simply the Google recommendations, it’s a way that very large proportions of people now access online content.  You want to make sure they can access yours properly, which includes being able to read the size of text on their screens.

It’s a good idea to check yourself.  A quick look on your Apple iPhone, iPad, or Android Samsung Galaxy, Note, or whatever phone you do have, might give you a good idea of what other people find if they’re taken to your website by a search engine.

Look carefully for whether your text is readable or not and if your website resizes with the different sizes of gadgets that people use.

How Many People Read Your Website Using Google Analytics

If you use Google Analytics, you can go to your dashboard to find out just how many people access your content using mobile devices.  It’s worth looking at.  The simply truth is that from today, if your site doesn’t have mobile optimization, then you’ll lose readers and page views.

You’ll get an idea there about how many people read your website by using mobile devices, but it is worth remembering that if your reader count is low for mobile devices, it could simply be because your website isn’t actually mobile responsive yet and you’re losing potential readers.

Make Website Responsive Suggestions

  • On WordPress, it’s easy if you don’t have a mobile responsive theme already.  You can use the Jetpack plugin and activate mobile responsive in the options.  This option is quick, but you will have the same styling and format as every other blog or website out there that uses this option to go mobile friendly.  It’s not the best idea for being an individual in a crowded webspace, but it does work instantly.
  • Choose a theme that is already mobile responsive.
  • Create a mobile specific website for your website.
  • Have a developer create a responsive theme for you.

Gary Schwartz says that as our pages go mobile friendly, they’ll be recognised by Google when they pick up on it, so if you’re struggling to find a way round it, going page by page is an option.

The easiest way is to use your blog platform options if you’re desperate, but in reality, the best way to have your own individual styling on mobile pages is to have a theme that is already mobile optimized.

Good luck and I hope you’re all mobile friendly going forward.


Posted on 5 Comments

Check Your Credit Card Transactions NOW

I think as bloggers, we are often at risk of more online potentially threatening situations, just by the way that we make transactions online and often use credit cards to pay for things on our blogs.

I’ve been targeted, and it’s possible that the attack and interception of details came from, but it’s not 100%.

There is just the same chance that my details went missing from somewhere else.  Woo have said there are about 300 people who have reported in so far.

Credit Card Fraud

From the 5th of May, some fraudulent transactions started showing up.  It’s not easy to sort things like this out, as I suspect they always start from a position of “the customer may be lying.

My card hasn’t been out of my sight and nobody else knows the pin.  Actually, I don’t even know the pin anymore so I haven’t been using it at all for over a year.

A few days ago, I called and cancelled my card.  The card as far as I was aware, could only access funds in the account and not elsewhere.  Despite that, three days after cancelling the card, another payment went through, which took up the remaining balance on that account.

I know now that the payments were made online, so whoever made them, has my security number from the back of my card.

At the same time, Woo Themes sent out an e-mail today notifying customers that there is a problem and some customers have reported fraudulent transactions on their credit cards.  You can read it for yourself here.  It also made me sigh with relief to know there is a likely candidate for where details went missing.

It could have been so much worse if I had not known transactions were being taken.

Check your credit and debit card payments regularly.  You just never know when it might be you.


Posted on 29 Comments

Are your photos being hotlinked from another website?

Hotlinks are where other websites link directly to your image so that it shows up on their website.  It’s bandwidth theft as they use a part of your webspace to show the image on their website and could also have copyright issues.  I’ve written about using images on blogs before so I am not going to go into that again, but you can read it here if you like.

Hotlinks can be malicious.  I found one that said “Here They Are My Frightful Kids.” about an image with my three kids in halloween masks.  It seems to have come from China so I am not keen to upset them and have just deleted the picture from my blog altogether.

Another hotlinked image was one I bought, and was linked to a s_e_x site, but showed up as a catering site.  It refreshed to a s_e_x site when I checked the visit link option, which worried me a fair bit.  I’ve deleted that one too.

I could have chosen to change the image to one that said “this image was stolen,” but I’m not keen to deal with those types of websites.  I may very well have replaced the image with another one if it was to another blogger who didn’t remove it when I asked them to.  If you’re wondering why the _ in the s_e_x word, it’s to stop it being flagged up in Google as a search term 🙂

How to find hotlinks to your website.

Google Image Search is here:

The magic term to search on is: 

Click the magnifying glass to search for images hotlinked to your blog. (Change the site title to yours obviously)  Good luck and I hope none of you find any like mine.

Google Image Search

You may have to click the image to open it so that you can click “Visit Page” to see where it really goes.  ps, you may wish to install McAfee SiteAdvisor in your browser so that it can warn you if it is a risky website that you might end up going to.

Google Image Search 2

Posted on 8 Comments

What does “Favouriting Tweets” mean to you?

Twitter Like - DislikeA few days ago, I saw a tweet that was retweeted and I followed a link to an article about favouriting tweets.

I opened my surprised eyes as it talked about things that seemed more fitting as terms from fiction riding under the radar of legality.

I chuckled as it talked about hate-faves, fist bumps and too hot to handles.  I really can’t repeat any more or I might spit out my coffee.

I honestly didn’t think people used the “favourite” function for anything other than bookmarking tweets.  Perhaps I’m niave and perhaps function is the operative word as if I choke on my coffee any more, I might need my bodily functions mopped up.

It made me giggle a fair bit actually.  Is this making any sense to you?  Honestly, it took me a while to get my grey matter around it.

I found out that wonder of wonders – people are actually favouriting tweets to say thank you, I hate you and much more.

This Twitter Revelation Began Simply:

@QHSEman1 Tweeted this link…

It seems to me that people could use a favourite to keep note of a Twitter id, to be able to refer to a tweet somewhere down the line and they could even favourite so that they remember to come back later on an anonymous account and rip me to shreds.   I guess that’s a hate-fav.  I’ve had a few of those.  Perhaps a bit of ESP is in my future so I can tell the ones that like me from the ones that don’t.  In all reality, I’d really like to know.

The revelation also led me to imagine what secret messages people are trying to convey to Google or Yahoo, or even Jeeves.  Favouriting a website on your browser could mean you want to have its babies.

Joking aside, it seems it’s actually a very real issue and lots of different people use them for lots of different things.

If favouriting a tweet was with the intention of a favourite back, or a follow, or to show approval or “like” of a tweet, it might not be interpreted as that by other people.

There are several reasons for not using a favourite as anything other than simply bookmarking a tweet for later:

  • Most people will have no idea why you are favouriting their tweets.
  • Other people may use favourites very differently from you.
  • It is most disconcerting to have tweets that are in effect non-tweets be favourited.  I often wonder if I have a new troll if someone favourites a tweet that is simply a statement of gibberish or nonsense.
  • Replies and mentions mean everyone knows what you mean and there is no wondering why.
  • Lots of people have notifications turned off and don’t even use the e-mail address they sign up to social media.
  • Favourites don’t show up in rankings, stats or anything else in my Twitter App of choice, so are pretty much pointless as kudos givers – especially if they may never be seen.
  • There’s nothing wrong with using DM’s.  That’s why there are there.  Say thank you privately if you want to, and the tweeter will know exactly what you mean.  Abusing DM’s is a completely different thing.

I did a quick trawl of the Internet and could only come to the following conclusion in answer to the original article which asked “what are you really saying when you favourite a tweet?”

“I’m either bookmarking it, or I’m in spy mode as only I know why I decided to favourite a tweet that you might or might know whether I liked or not and might or might not even ever find out about.”

Confused?  I am.

Posted on 3 Comments

Guest Post: Dealing with Link Requests / Sponsored Posts as a Blogger

This guest post comes from Hannah who blogs at Mummy Macaroni and is also an online marketer who knows what she’s talking about.



Most bloggers will be familiar with receiving link requests from other websites. Usually link requests are emails from PRs or SEOs who represent their client in that they are trying to gain exposure for their clients business, or more specifically, their clients website. If you’re not sure whether you’ve come across an SEO, they usually send an email along the lines of:

“Dear blogger,

I am contacting you on behalf of my client, “” who specialises in children’s products.  I’d like to provide you with a guest blog post about the benefits of children’s products, which would be completely unique and add value to your readers.  I’m happy to make a payment for this post being published, all that I would ask in exchange is for you to include a link from the words “children’s products” from the post to my client’s site which is how my client will benefit.”

Now I think it only fair to explain who I am and why I am writing this post for Scottish Mum. I am, what is known as “an SEO”.

I prefer to be known as an online marketer as SEOs often get a bad name, particularly SEOs who send emails like the one above.

Why am I writing this post for Scottish Mum?

The reason I’ve got an interest in writing for this blog is because I have recently become a “mummy blogger” in my spare time as I’m currently 7 months pregnant and when I came across this blog, I was pleased to come across someone who is keen to provide blogging advice to other mummy bloggers and help educate the community about things like PageRank and other SEO related topics because I feel it important for both bloggers and SEOs to understand each other if they’re going to work together.

Whether you started blogging because you love writing, are passionate about your subject or are keen to make money from advertising, I’m sure that most of you who care about the quality of your blog and what your readers think won’t even entertain an email like the example above, and why would you?

Purely for cash?

If that’s your sole aim then great – you’re attracting requests from people willing to pay.  Ideal right?

On the other hand, what if you are keen to make a bit of money from your blog but feel a bit uncomfortable about posting an article that is poorly written, too promotional or written in a style completely different to your own writing style that has gained you a good following of readers whose respect you don’t want to lose by publishing such as piece?

Well for one, if the content sent to you is of this poor quality, this is more likely to come from an SEO who sends an email like the above, the ones that give SEO a bad name within the blogging community.  Not all SEOs are “bad” though, and there’s lots that bloggers can gain from working with them, whether that be money, more traffic to your site or more followers.

The good news is, that these things can still be gained without simply publishing a poor post they’ve sent you.

Here’s my tips on ensuring you benefit from working with SEOs without having to jeopardise the quality of your blog.

1. Be picky about the companies you collaborate with.
You might be approached by some SEOs representing random companies who have no relation to the topic of your blog or who you don’t feel comfortable mentioning on your blog due to their reputation or products they sell. For example, as a mummy blogger, I probably wouldn’t want to collaborate with an estate agent, as I don’t think they could offer me something that would benefit my readers.  Keep the content on your blog relevant to your readers and only work with companies that are related.

2. Establish what the brand really wants to gain from you.
Sometimes an email approaching you for a guest post, or a sponsored link or product review can be unclear in stating exactly what the brand want to achieve through your blog. If you’re approached by a PR, they may be looking to build brand awareness through getting in front of your readership and followers, or they may want to promote the benefits of a new product with the help of your influence and opinion.

SEOs are more likely to want a “follow link” to their brand’s site to help that website rank higher in Google.  The best thing to do is ask them what they want – they’ll realise that you’re not just a naive blogger and will more likely respect the fact that you care about the quality of your site which in turn makes you more valuable to them.

3. Understand your options.
Once you’ve established what the PR or SEO wants from you, you need to think about how you’re going to give them that. If you’re going to accept payment for publishing an article that links to the company, or you’re accepting a product in exchange for reviewing it then you should state that the post is sponsored to make it clear that you have been paid or asked to do so. You also need to make sure any links in such posts are “no follow” if you don’t want to risk breaking Google’s guidelines.

Brands who are looking for increased exposure or brand awareness through your readers should be happy with this and you’ll be happier being honest with your readers and complying with disclosure laws.  SEOs however, are after follow links, so they won’t want you to add the no follow tag or label the article as ‘sponsored’. It’s up to you whether you publish the post as sponsored without adding the no follow link – you won’t be breaking any disclosure laws but you will risk losing PageRank on your site. Losing PageRank shouldn’t affect your site’s rankings in Google but it will likely make your site less attractive to other SEOs who are willing to pay you for a link as this is one of the factors they look at when looking for potential sites to get links from.

You don’t always have to go with their suggestions so if you don’t want to publish a guest post without labeling it sponsored then don’t do it, but don’t just turn away the opportunity either. Try asking yourself what you can gain from the collaboration and be creative in suggesting something different.

Ask yourself why you would naturally write about that brand, or naturally link to them. Build a relationship with them, research their products or services and find out if they have something worth linking to. Perhaps the company has experts in child safety for example, and you could provide your readers with some great insight into child safety by interviewing an expert.

Final Thoughts

Working with SEOs and PRs can be rewarding so don’t always be so quick to dismiss their requests.  The most important thing to remember is that you only do what you’re comfortable with.  If someone asks you to publish something and you’re not sure whether you’re allowed or will get into trouble with Google, then run it past someone (like Lesley aka Scottish Mum) who can help keep you right.

Posted on 15 Comments

A Little Bit of Basic SEO Terms


I think lots of us do things very differently when it comes right down to a little SEO.  I guess in simple terms, it really comes down to how we write and manage our blog information and content.

I don’t always get these right (who does), but it’s nice to remind myself how it should really go to maximise those good old search engine results.

What I think it best practice for blog writing SEO.

Unique Content

Search engines love content these days.   The phrase that many come up with is “content is King.”  Whether we like it or not, Google had decided that content is the way to go and who are we to argue with Google.  Good quality content gets better ranking placement which means more readers sent our way.  Try to avoid duplication of content as although it is unlikely to get you banned, it may get your post lowered down the ratings if another website hosting almost the same content is chosen as the one to rank higher.

Be Consistent

If we only post a couple of times a year, we’re not likely to have our websites crawled often for updates in the search engine directories.  If our content isn’t in them, it can’t be found.  Try to build a community of loyal readers who want to keep coming back for more of what you share, and they might even pass it on to their friends.

Social Media

For any blog that wants to be noticed, or wants visitors, sharing on social media is a must.  Many people recommend Addthis, but I found it sadly seemed to slow my WordPress install down so much that I found it frustrating to use, but I would love to have kept it as it was really good.

The WordPress Jetpack share options seem to be working well and it gets our information started on a good many social media platforms.  On social media, it doesn’t just mean broadcasting our wares and hoping people will listen.  It takes time and effort to get to a place where we create online virtual relationships with our mutual follows.  Social media is about trust, reliability and not always likeability.  Who cares which one you prefer most, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google +, Digg, Tumblr, Reddit or any others.  It’s the one you enjoy that you should stick to, unless you are a business as then you need to go where your customers are.

Word Count

This is quite important really.  Some online content networks ask for between 400 – 800 words for a reason.   Anything above about 250 words is acceptable, but go far too far over and few people will stop and read the whole post as the length of the text is just too much for them.  Not too short and not too long should be the order of the day.  As much as you need to get your message across.   This post will be slightly over, but not by much.


Keywords help.  In lots of cases, they are simply common sense, and thinking of what you would search for in Google to look for your topic can make how you craft your content slightly differently.  I once saw a local hairdresser with simply their keywords written into about 4 paragraphs on a page endlessly.  It was horrific to see and read.  Don’t overstuff your keywords.  Using about 3 – 6 in an 800 word post is probably enough.

I’ve noticed some people adding random keywords into their page or post meta descriptions and titles.  Think about what you are doing as Google isn’t silly.  If you add words into your seo descriptions and tags that are not in your content, they’re not going to like it.  You could well be seen as trying to manipulate the reader.


There was a lot of talk a while back about bloggers turning off comments and being unapproachable.  Only the individual blogger can decide if that’s the right route for them.  Google likes to see frequently updated content, and comments work for that too.  It also makes you look approachable and shows interaction with your readers.  It’s also very impolite to never answer your commenters.  I’m not perfect and I miss a few, but I try to catch them all.


If you’re serious about blogging and want to rise and rise and rise, you either have to be very popular, create fantastic content that nobody else does, or build some great links.  Remember that not all links are equal and that some links could do you some harm.  I blog for fun, but if you’re blogging for a future potential business or to turn it into a commercial enterprise, links in are a must.

Google have guidelines for using links that are not illegal, ie taking money for sponsored posts is not illegal, but Google does not like anyone paying or being paid for links that pass any page rank to another website.   Any of us who take the risk, also risk a potential ban from Google.  Building links naturally from relevant other websites that Google approves of is the best way to go forward.  That comes from great content, guest posting, and using social media well.  It is ALWAYS illegal to take money for a post or page and not declare the relationship.

Good luck as building a huge link base is really time consuming.


Tags are just like categories but for the net.  The search engines pull them up and they can be useful for having people sent your way.  A good blog post with some relevant keywords might just not need to put their tags on, and I do sometimes forget, but I think they are useful.

What they do is allow your content to be indexed much more quickly and hence perhaps a higher rank.  I still see people putting invisible text in websites, hoping that search engines will pull them up, but I suspect that would go against you as the text would be classed as hidden.   In fact, hidden text could get your blog de-indexed altogether in Google.

Some people have tag clouds on their front page in the hope that the words will be picked up from there, but I think that it totally unnecessary and a waste of front page space.  Others will disagree with me.   If you look at tags as the same as your keywords, it makes them easier to understand.   They should be made up of up to three word phrases and accurately describe or reflect the post or page that they are attached to.



Posted on 5 Comments

WordPress Brute Force Attack Advice

None of us can sit totally on our laurels and think we’re safe from any hack on any website.

The hackers don’t care if we’re large or small, they just want to use our webspace.   There’s been a lot of talk about what to do to protect ourselves from Brute Force attacks, and while we can do as much as we can, I don’t think it’s possible to protect ourselves from everything.

If we’re attacked by a botnet of about 90,000 addresses to choose from, we do need to try and do something to mitigate the risk to our blogs.

WordPress itself has done a lot of work to help us with this, and Matt Mullenweg who is the creator of WordPress has released a statement that outlines a fix we can all use to help ourselves.

What he said is more of less that WordPress 3 allows us to use custom names when we install our blogs and that we should be changing the default “Admin” username.

He said:

 “Almost 3 years ago we released a version of WordPress (3.0) that allowed you to pick a custom username on installation, which largely ended people using “admin” as their default username. Right now there’s a botnet going around all of the WordPresses it can find trying to login with the “admin” username and a bunch of common passwords, and it has turned into a news story (especially from companies that sell “solutions” to the problem).

Here’s what I would recommend: If you still use “admin” as a username on your blog, change it, use a strong password, if you’re on turn on two-factor authentication, and of course make sure you’re up-to-date on the latest version of WordPress. Do this and you’ll be ahead of 99% of sites out there and probably never have a problem. Most other advice isn’t great — supposedly this botnet has over 90,000 IP addresses, so an IP limiting or login throttling plugin isn’t going to be great (they could try from a different IP a second for 24 hours).”

Looking at his advice, he recommends changing any username from admin to something else and making our passwords stronger.  If Admin is the weak link, then change it we must.   The admin login is set when we set up our blogs, and changing it is actually really easy.

I do have a login limiting plugin with Wordfence which I like, but it clearly isn’t enough on its own.

To Change your Admin username, or make a new one, simply follow the instructions.

Username 1

  1. Login as your Admin User Account.
  2. Make sure your WordPress version is up-to-date.
  3. Click Add New on the User tab in your dashboard.
  4. You will need a new e-mail address to set up a new user.
  5. Choose “Administrator” as the Role.
  6. Don’t choose a username that you are known by elsewhere.  For me, choosing Lesley as a username would be weak as it’s my name and it’s on my blog for anyone to find.
  7. With your password, choose a difficult one with a mix of letters, numbers, symbols and both uppercase and lowercase letters.
  8. Don’t click to send the password by e-mail.  The fewer places it goes online the better.
  9. Click “Add User”.
  10. Logout of your Admin Account and login as your new user.
  11. Go back to your User tab in your dashboard and click “All Users”
  12. Go to the Admin User and Hover above the name.  You will see the option to edit or delete.  Click to delete.
  13. It will give you the option to attribute all posts by the Admin User Account to another username.  Choose your selection.
  14. Click “Confirm Deletion”.

That’s all you have to do to help keep your website a bit more safe from the Brute Force attack.   If your logins are weak or easy to guess, go change them as fast as you can.





Posted on 2 Comments

Facebook Fears


“It’s where we talk to our families, isn’t it?”

Yes, and no.

Although Facebook is one of the most popular social networks in the world, to use it effectively as a business requires a little bit of time and investment in a Facebook business page to stand out from the crowd.  The benefit of a page is that there are no other users posts to trawl through to get to your favourite followers or customers.

What you do have to do, is make sure that your information is going to be interesting and relevant to the people reading it, or they may very well “unlike” your page again and disappear from view forever.

Facebook does take a little hard work and planning, but the biggest problem we face with it, is information overload.

While we’d all love to sit and chat over a cup of tea and a coffee, and find out about Auntie Jeannie, business needs to use the time spent on Facebook wisely.

Using it wisely really means factoring in some time in the day where you can really spend some quality time deciding how you are going to approach Facebook, and how it fits into your marketing plan.

It’s pointless sitting and spending 4 hours a day talking on Facebook, to people from London and further afield if you sell socks on a market stall in Aberdeen City Centre and don’t plan to ever go online.    That’s an extreme example for sure, but unless you want to get to the end of the day with no pennies in your pocket but plenty of gossip under your belt, you get the gist of the idea.

There are success stories galore on Facebook.

  • The Pampered Chef has built themselves a very nice reputation with nearly 450,000 likes.
  • Appliances Online with over 300,000 likes, holds competitions, giveaways and very popular web camera chats with customers.
  • As a store, Toys R Us are a favourite dislike of mine due to a bad customer service experience, but they can’t be faulted on their use of Facebook, with nearly 3 million fans, regular interaction, competition, and even with it’s own blogging circle of parents who repeatedly advertise their company through blogging about their toys as Toyologists.
While we’d all like to end up as Richard Bransonesque successful, small start-ups can’t be guaranteed that kind of success, but we can begin to think about where our target markets are and how we can reach them.  If that includes Facebook, then planning our approach would be a good place to start.

Facebook is the one social media that I just can’t seem to find much time for.  I have a blog account and I have a personal account that really only has close family and adoption contacts on it.  I’d love to find the time to do more on it, but if the time fairies could send me some extra seconds in a day, I’d be forever grateful.

Posted on 25 Comments

Sponsored Posts & Reviews Using Free WordPress Blogs – Not Allowed

I was asked  a question today so I thought I should look up the answer quickly.  It was a simple one and as I’ve never used the free blogging platforms, it’s not one that I had paid any attention to in the past.   All she wanted to know was if it was within Terms and Conditions that she could accept sponsored posts on a blog.

I know there are plenty of people out there who have taken the risk of using freebie blog hosts to take compensation in goods, services or cash for the written word on the blog, but I didn’t know the actual rules for or against.

Checking against TOS, it seems that it is forbidden to actually take any form of paid posts in sidebars, posts or anywhere else.   Looking deeper in, it seems that people who do flout the rules have the potential to have their blog pulled out from under them at no notice.

I am quite surprised at the complete ban on using blogs in this way, but I’d guess it would be so that they are not responsible as a company for being associated with anything advertised on blogs within their network.   It looks like Google Blogger allows sponsored posts and reviews as long as they don’t breach the content policy, but everyone should check that out for themselves.

The WordPress Terms and Conditions on Advertising clearly say that sponsored posts on WordPress . com, (or paid posts) are NOT allowed.  Moderators on their forums have cleared up that payment via goods or services, eg by doing reviews are also part of the prohibition although that doesn’t seem clear in the Advertising Terms and Conditions.

So, pretty much, a lot of parent blogs accepting freebies on the free blog software are doing so against the Terms and Conditions of the hosting companies.

I think I’m glad I took my blog down the self-hosted route when I changed the name to Scottish Mum.  At least I don’t have to worry about my blog disappearing if I upset someone and they report my blog.

In answer to the question I was asked, we’ve shelved the free WordPress option and I’m in the middle of setting my friend up as self-hosted blog.

Being on a free platform might be nice, but the risk is too great for her and we found a great little host that supports the self hosted version of WordPress and will allow sponsored content from the start.  She gets webspace, and WordPress support with her own domain name for about £16 a year.  It’s not an advert for them so I’m not going to post their name here, but if anyone wants to know it – send me a message as it’s been very reliable for my husbands work website.

To be clear, these types of posts are NOT allowed on the FREE WordPress blogging software option.

  1. Ad – Sense Ads Unless Placed by WordPress themselves.
  2. Sponsored or paid posts.
  3. Affiliate or referral links.
  4. Clickthroughs or MLM networking.
  5. Sponsored Content. (I presume this means reviews where a product is the payment)

If you are in any doubt, contact WordPress support to see where you stand.

Post amended after comments on Twitter about Google Blogger allowing sponsored content.

Posted on 12 Comments

Using Images on Your Blog and Social Media

This blog post is my opinion only and does not constitute legal advice.  Please consult a solicitor if you need to know more or feel you have been affected by copyright law.

We’re all uploading images to our websites, blogs and social media profiles, but are we all doing it legally?  So many people seem to think it’s okay to take someone else’s picture and use it.

What image thieves don’t seem to know, is that as our technology and software improves, people find more and more ways of finding the images and being able to do something about it.

What is Legal in the UK?

Pictures are valuable, there is no denying that.   Everyone who has a website wants to have highly visual content as it makes our pages look unique, fresh, interesting and draws readers in.

I’ll talk from the blogging point of view since this website is a blog.

If I need a picture, could I just use one I find online?

No – any image is copyright to the owner.  What that means is that any photo that you took yourself, belongs to you.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a photo or a picture you’ve drawn, nobody is allowed to copy it without asking and getting your permission first.

When Can I Use Someone Else’s Images?

  1. You took the picture yourself and it doesn’t belong to an employer, or you bought the copyright.
  2. The License terms specify that you can use it.
  3. Fair Dealing.

What is a License?

In terms of images, a license gives the rights to use images.  If in doubt about an image don’t use it.  Creative commons is a type of license that depends on what the owner wishes to share and how.  If the creative commons license gives you conditions of using an image, follow them.   There are stock photo libraries where you can buy images or use them free with a credit and link back to the author and the website you received it from.  Some licenses might just state for use in news, editorial or non-commercial.

Fair Dealing

As far as our blogs and commercial businesses go, it’s probably safe to presume that fair dealing won’t apply.   These tend to be non-commercial use for research, criticism and review.   The image must be credited to the owner and can’t be used in current event reporting.  As a general rule, I stay away from this type of image use as it’s just too easy to get it wrong.


Photographers can argue all they like about being able to take photos of anyone, anywhere, but in reality, we all need to consider who is in our images.  I only post images I have taken myself, bought, credited, or asked the permission of the people who own them.  We don’t have an automatic right to display all content.  Famous people may be able to sue, but just because Joe the public will find a harder time proving intrusion of privacy, it isn’t an excuse to go free rein and use images of anyone you feel like taking pictures of.

Search Engine Images

Google is a popular image search tool.  You can’t just automatically take an image and use it.  It has to fall within the categories of use.    Where you are allowed to use an image, the owner will usually expect their work to be credited on every page it is used, and on the same page as it appears.

Commissioning a Photographer

When you commission someone to take images for you, they keep the copyright unless they have signed over the rights to you as part of the contract.  That means you do not have automatic right of ownership and it means  they can use the images for you for other things.   Typical functions like weddings, parties and special occasions with a photographer are regularly copyright stamped.  That means you have no right to copy the images, even if you are in them.

Employing a Photographer

If the photographer works directly for you and taking the image is part of their job, then you can keep the rights to those images.


If you link directly to the image on someone else’s website, it is known as hotlinking.   What happens is that you use a link which showcases the image on your website  but you don’t upload it to your server.  The direct link for it means that the image is pulled to your blog from their website directly.    In this case, you are using their bandwidth to load their image on your website.  As well as being against the law, you could also find that the owner replaces the image with something unsavoury to teach you a lesson.

What Could Go Wrong, Who Would Know?

It’s all subjective.  The value of an image can make the deciding factor in any copyright case.  The potential fallout could cover damage to reputation as well as fines.   Damages awards could be quite high depending on the situation, and photographers are very sensitive of their work being stolen by others.  There are plenty free sites which have reasonable costs, so there is no need to steal pictures from other people.

Some software is now able to pick up the copies of an image on other websites, and there are some companies who WILL go after people using their images.  Be warned, they can afford to sue.



Posted on 14 Comments

Google Page Rank. Have you ever wondered where it means you are in the pecking order ?

To put it simply, we all know that Google Page Rank counts for some things, whether we want to admit it or not.  It’s google for heavens sake, and they are the law of he who must be obeyed for good search engine results.  It’s easy to check google page rank, but we need to know roughly where we are so that it actually means something.

An increase of page rank seems to factor as a multiplier, ie it is 10 times more difficult to get move up each step of the ladder from Page Rank 0 to Page Rank 10.  Rumour has it that there are now into the trillions of websites out there, so a little perspective when looking at the numbers helps make us feel a bit better about where we sit in the great Google empire.

We don’t know exactly how Google works it, but going by the guesstimate that it seems to work to, this is a simple way of explaining it.   The even harder thing is that we have no way of knowing at which end of the scale our sites are at.  I’m a 3, so I could be anywhere between ten million and a hundred million.  My next goal is just to slog along to get to that Page Rank of 4.

Google Page Rank 10 – THE top 10 websites in the world.

Google Page Rank 9 –  The top 100 websites.

Google Page Rank 8 –  The top 1000 websites.

Google Page Rank 7 –  The top 10,000 websites

Google Page Rank 6 –  The top 100,000 websites

Google Page Rank 5 –  The top 1,000,000

Google Page Rank 4 –  The top 10,000,000

Google Page Rank 3 –  The top 100,000,000

Google Page Rank 2 –  Low, going by the factor of 10 means within the top 1000,000,000

Google Page Rank 1 –  Low, multiplier added means within the top 10,000,000,000

Google Page Rank 0 –  Very new, or penalised for breaching google webmaster guidelines.

Find out what yours is with a google page rank checker.


Posted on 13 Comments

My Top 5 iPhone Apps for Blogging. How to keep up blogging on the move.

There is only one thing that all bloggers like to do, and that is to write. How we write, how often, and how well is not always something that is planned. For spontaneous moments, our mobile pocket gadgetry and good iPhone apps are very handy indeed.

Having written about the top iPhone apps for cooking over on Yahoo, it’s easy for anyone to see that I am a huge iPhone fan, even though I only have the old style 3GS version. I haven’t felt the need to upgrade yet, although I suspect I might be tempted by the next version which will be due out in a few months.

When I do move over to a newer and better model, there are some fabulously good iPhone apps that I would be making sure I copied over to the new phone.

I love to write, and writing is becoming my passion. As a prolific blogger, the best iPhone apps are going to be ones that I can use day to day to record my life, and any anecdotes or fleeting inspirations which come my way.


An all important app for me to organise my life on the go as a blogger, has to be the WordPress app. There are times when it has worked, and times when it hasn’t. As a rule, it is there to help me to write a quick blog post, or store one as a draft for writing up later on my laptop when I have time.

If I just want to upload a quick picture when I am out and about, it is just snap, click and it’s in my media library on my blog.

Statistics are also important to any blogger, no matter what bloggers say. We all like to have our work recognised, even if we pretend that we don’t. The WordPress app had a pretty nifty section where I can check how many people have read my blog, which words were used in search engines to find my blog, and what posts they read.

The app seems to allow us to add up to 8 WordPress blogs, and they can either be the free blogs, or the self hosted variety.


The photo app that comes with my iPhone is invaluable. If I want snaps to add to my blog posts, then the built in camera does a fabulous job to make sure I have a regular visual material to add to my writing, and ensures that the image is topical, recent and relevant.


The second of the built in apps that I couldn’t be without for blogging, is the simple notes feature. Quickly opening it up and adding a note means that I never forget anything that might pop into my head when I am taking the kids to school, or waiting for them to finish an activity.

Time that would previously have spent idly people watching, now turns into planning, plotting and organising.


If I am doing any updates, or Internet shopping, then my PayPal account is needed. I use it to pay for my blog hosting, stock photos for projects that need them, and for any extras that I decide to buy. I also need it for any payments that I take in for advertising and sponsored posts.

I have found that is far easier, and much quicker for me to use the PayPal app to check my balance or pay blogging bills on the go.


This is my last, but I’d also say the top of the top apps for iPhone for me on my mobile. It is where all my blogging usernames and passwords are. Inside the deceptively simple e-wallet, I can separate private, work, and blogging, into separate categories with their own passwords.

Inside each category, I can choose to assign and give any item a name. I can split into credit card, website, id, username, phone and address details, passwords and much more.

I can also customise the fields to say what I want them to say, and I never lose my passwords. They are updated on my iTunes account so they’ll be on whatever device I want them to be, and the app is no use to anyone else.

I feel a bit safer about the prospect of my personal information being secure, just in case I lose my phone.