WordPress 3.1 Released – My Thoughts on it

WordPress 3.1 was released yesterday with a massive fanfare. The fact it’s now a 3.1 release means that there’s significant new features added, rather than just bug fixes.

What’s New?

Although there’s a full list of updates on WordPress’ website, here’s the features I’m most looking forward to:-

  • Internal Linking - Auto target keywords to get links to your best or most relevant posts. I’m really looking forward to this one! It’s something that WordPress has needed for ages, as internal linking is a crucial yet often ignored part of SEO. This makes it a lot easier to manage.
  • Admin Bar - Browsing your blog as an admin allows you to make quick & simple changes via a black bar along the top of the site. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not, I’ve played with it on You’re Supposed to Be At Home & it blends in with the header navigation too much for my liking. Can you change the colour of it?
  • Post Formats - This is very interesting. Basically, you can have a different style of post depending on what that post is about. A large comment list will display differently from a video. I’m really looking forward to play with this!

Upgrading?

I’ve upgraded (I’m often very cautious and generally wait to x.x.1 release, which spots a few bug fixes & security updates), but noticed that a few people are having problems. Remember to backup before upgrading!

Favourite Parts of the new WordPress?

What’s your favourite parts of the new WordPress? Have you had a play around with Post Formats? If you have, share them in the comments, I’d love to see them!

Book Review: Rework

I was recommended by Shane to have a read of Rework, the business book from the chaps at 37signals. Now, call me a little unprepared but I’ve only read one such self improvement book before (and that was the Highway Code, so that hardly counts), so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

I’m not a great reader, I put down books far too easy and with good reason: many don’t hold my interest. Short sharp paragraphs that are straight to the point & easy to digest are more my style. Luckily, this is the order of the day with Rework.

The book is in 13 sections, each with about 4 or 5 digestible ways of doing something better. Some of these are brilliant and all are a page or two in length. Furthermore, you also get some great illustrative artwork to break up the book further. Seriously, a 10 year old could read this book. However, it doesn’t mean it’s basic, on the contrary, it’s full of simple yet actionable points.

Some of these you are unable to implement until you – say – start hiring staff, but even as an employee, you’ll glean value from this book, particularly if you’re in charge of a small team.

It’s not a taxing read, it took me a couple of hours on a train journey from front to back, but it’s well worth adding to your collection.

Buy Rework from Amazon.co.uk

What’s Good & What’s Bad About Quora?

In the last few weeks, internet marketers (at least in my circle) have been going crazy (or quazy) over Quora. Quora is a website that people ask questions which are answered by other members of the Quora Community – similar to Yahoo Answers or any forum that’s ever existed. What separates Quora from others is the quality of the responses, regualrly people high up in the great & the good of the Internet have posted responses, but aside from getting a response from the head of Company X saying that Company X’s Product Y is good, what’s it like?

I had a bit of a play with it, posting a few questions, and here is what I like & what I dislike about it.

What I Like About Quora

Surprisingly, in a short period of time it’s built up quite a following with a remarkable community. I asked a similar question in relation to a WordPress problem I had on a number of forums, and got the right answer first on Quora. This was helpful & a little surprising.

Furthermore, the interface is quite clean & helpful, which helps as I lead onto the bad points about it.

What I Dislike About Quora

I think it’s a little overwhelming at times. I don’t find anything useful in the profiles & it seems to be more about sharing content from Quora to other services. In fact when you start, you have to turn email notifications all off (weirdly, I couldn’t find an email notification setting from when people answer your own questions). I’d like to syndicate my blog with my Quora profile, not post my Quora questions onto my blog.

Also, and this is not Quora’s fault, occasionally answers you get are a bit self promotional.

With that said, it’s not really worth self promotion. I posted a link in a question to WP Email Capture, and this has been the traffic from Quora to my site last week.

Not great.

Furthermore any links placed on the site are nofollow. It doesn’t even matter as (yet) I don’t think Google would consider it to be an authoritative domain.

Overall

Quora is alright. I can see what they’re trying to do, build up a real community where people will help each other, but I’m not sure how long it’ll last.

The issue is that unless you are a big name, it’s very difficult for people to find out about the people answering the questions. The buttons to promote your twitter & facebook accounts are miniscule, and nowhere to import an RSS feed is bad as well. The site, for a social networking site, doesn’t seem that – well – social.

This is leading to problems as people are self promoting their wares, rather than give good answers, so they see a return on it.

With that said, it does achieve it’s goal of getting questions answered – I did get an answer to my questions – but my questions had more definitive answers, rather than opinion answers. I’d use it for questions that begin with “How do I?” rather than “In your opinion?”.

Furthermore I haven’t built up any sort of connections on the site yet, all of the people I am following are from my Twitter & Facebook. I’d be more likely to do that on a forum dedicated to what I’m after, rather than a generic question site. At least then I can build up connections.

So yes, in conclusion, I doubt I’d continue to use Quora in the long term.