Archive for March, 2013

Louis Vuitton World Tour: Asia Bound

S T O P O V E R       N ˚ 19 
 

ASIA BOUND

 

New Delhi, Agra, Calcutta,
Mumbai, Hong Kong, Macau,
Beijing, Shanghai,
Bangkok, Saigon, Angkor,
Singapore, Java,
Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka

 

In the early 20th century, travelers who entered the bar at Raffles Hotel in Singapore were practically certain of coming across hunting enthusiasts sipping their cocktails or playing a game of pool, reminiscing about an unforgettable tiger hunt. At the time, inveterate travelers dreamed of the Far East, of adventures in the humid depths of Burmese jungles, of drinks among friends in some colonial bar in a newly opened hotel in Singapore, Vietnam — in Annam — or Malaysia. The Asian legend had huge appeal, and travelers fond of distant destina- tions would see themselves braving all sorts of dangers in the heart of impenetrable forests, wearing their colonial helmets and white twill suits. It was the time of great expeditions, of Citroën’s Croisière Jaune from Beirut to Peking via unexplored routes, of epic journeys that sparked vocations and incited countries to build luxury hotels, where an adventurer could recover and boast about his exploits.

Louis Vuitton World Tour Asia Bound Hotel Labels 1 Louis Vuitton World Tour: Asia BoundIn around 1915, the Chinese bartender of Raffles, Mr. Ngiam Tong Boon, invented the Singapore Sling (originally composed of gin, Cherry Heering, Bénédictine, and pineapple juice). He was far from imagining that his cocktail would later be mixed by barmen all over the world. The Long Bar was the obligatory stop-off for all the great travelers who passed through Singapore. It was more or less inaugurated by Joseph Conrad, one of the first travel writers on the hotel’s long list. People came to enjoy the shade of the verandah, dance in the ballroom, and, when they weren’t at the hotel, cross town in a rickshaw, winding through the patchwork crowds of Chinese, Malays, Armenian, Jews, and Bengalis, among others. In 1921, the hotel was already so well known that it published its own travel guides. Sophisticated adventurers could also be seen in the very Victorian-style Strand Hotel opened in Yangon, Burma, in 1901, considered one of the most elegant establishments of Asia; or at Peach Hotel in Shanghai, where Noël Coward had just finished writing his play Private Lives. In Cambodia, the Grand Hotel in Angkor offered all sorts of eccentrics, lady travelers, local notables, fortune hunters, pleasure seekers, and writers an extraordinary place to stay during their journey, near the Khmer temples that were almost engulfed by the jungle. Among the first to inaugurate these favorite stopovers were Rudyard Kipling, Joseph Conrad, and Somerset Maugham, who recounted his journey in his usual caustic manner in The Gentleman in the Parlour: A Record of a Journey from Rangoon to Haiphong.

In Japan, many writers found inspiration in the traditional ryokans. Kawabata Yasunari was fond of Kyoto’s Hiiragiya, open since 1818, a haven of Japanese refinement and culture with its stepping-stone garden, kaiseki meals, tea ceremony, and fantastic baths. Travelers visited Hakone and Kamakura, on the Izu peninsula, nicknamed the “Japanese Riviera,” and relaxed in the hot water springs of Unzen, an extremely popular tourist desti- nation since 1910.

Louis Vuitton World Tour Asia Bound Hotel Labels 2 Louis Vuitton World Tour: Asia Bound

 

About World Tour

Louis Vuitton and Editions Xavier Barral published an original travel book: World Tour, a genuine journey around the world in twenty-one stopovers with 1,000 hotel labels from the collection constituted by Gaston-Louis Vuitton. Formerly stuck to the luggage of travelers, these small posters tell us their fabulous adventure and inspire an initiatory journey, a Grand Tour back to the mythical past of the Art of travel.

This fascinating volume by well-known travel writer Francisca Mattéoli draws on his collection to pay tribute to the most famous hotels of the world, evoking 21 world destinations through texts, illustrations, archive documents and quotations from famous travelers.

Learn more about Louis Vuitton’s World Tour.

 
Other Excerpts:
> Stopover N˚6: Paris, City of Lights
> Stopover N˚14: La Dolce Vita

Images via Louis Vuitton


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Louis Vuitton Damier Ikat Scarf

Damier Ikat Scarf Louis Vuitton Damier Ikat Scarf

For the nautical-inspired Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2013 Men’s collection, accessories played a vital role. Playful elements of holiday and beach debris adorned the clothes – ring-pulls made precious in gold, silver and mother-of-pearl with coral, anchor and seahorse motifs added another genial twist. Textiles were also emphasized, one of which is the Damier Ikat Scarf.

Taking inspiration from the vivid Balinese ikat fabric, the Damier Ikat silk twill scarf combines the decorative South-East Asian dyeing techniques with Louis Vuitton’s classic Damier pattern. The scarf has this elegant diamond shape which gives it that maritime appeal and would look perfect when worn closely to the neck.

Damier Ikat Scarf measures 50.4″ x 16.9″ and comes in two colors: Blue and White, recalling the collection’s sense of freedom and summer. Available at Louis Vuitton stores for US$360.

Louis Vuitton Damier Ikat Scarf White Blue Louis Vuitton Damier Ikat Scarf

Images via Louis Vuitton


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Louis Vuitton Noé, Petit Noé and Noé BB

In strict chronological terms, the Noé is the second oldest Louis Vuitton bag. Its birth date of 1932 places itself at the start of an exceptional decade that saw the creation of other Louis Vuitton icons: the Speedy, the Alma and the Keepall. In spirit, however, the Noé is as young as any bag around, still tinged with the carefree air of those newly liberated women who wore short skirts, shorter hair and carried it – just so – swinging from their shoulder.

The story of its creation is the stuff of legend. Looking for a stylish way to transport his valuable vintages, a champagne producer placed a special order with Gaston-Louis Vuitton. He designed a timelessly simple bucket shape, which could hold four bottles upright and a fifth upside down, secured with a supple leather drawstring. He called the bag Noé – in reference, it is said, to the biblical hero who, when he left the Ark after the Flood, planted vines on the mountains of Ararat.

The original Noé was crafted from natural leather, pale gold like the champagne it was destined to carry, and light as its exuberant ribbons of bubbles. Since then, Noé has appeared in many guises – most famously, of course, Louis Vuitton’s emblematic Monogram canvas, which by the 1960s could at last be made supple enough to do justice to the bag’s generous forms. Today, Noé and its cousin Petit Noé can be found in a myriad incarnations, from Damier Azur to colourful Epi leather – each time different, yet still, somehow, the same.

And now there is a new version of the Noé: Noé BB. Irresistibly cute, unmistakeably contemporary, a diminutive reproduction of the original which comes with its own innovation: an extra-long shoulder strap that enables it to be slung casually across the body. In Monogram or Damier Azur canvas and candy-bright Epi, Noé BB is just waiting to be discovered by a new generation. Will it, one day, like its larger namesake, be handed down from mother to daughter, its distinctive drawstring symbolic of an enduring bond of elegance?

Noé, Petit Noé, Noé BB. The legend lives on.

 
Louis Vuitton Noe Bags Louis Vuitton Noé, Petit Noé and Noé BBLouis Vuitton Petit Noe BB 1 Louis Vuitton Noé, Petit Noé and Noé BBLouis Vuitton Petit Noe BB 2 Louis Vuitton Noé, Petit Noé and Noé BBLouis Vuitton Petit Noe BB 3 Louis Vuitton Noé, Petit Noé and Noé BBLouis Vuitton Petit Noe BB 4 Louis Vuitton Noé, Petit Noé and Noé BB

Images via Louis Vuitton


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Coachella 2013 Fashion, Jewelry and Accessories Tips

Coachella2013FashionIdeas

You and your group of BFF’s are headed to Coachella 2013 to see Tribal Seeds, Aesop Rock, Modest Mouse, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. But looking good is as important as the music if you want to truly enjoy the experience.  Here are some Coachella 2013 fashion tips:

1) Be Comfortable: Typical Coachella newbie mistake is bringing those really cute pair of new shoes, but hobbling around with band aids on your blisters after day one.

2) Be Warm:  Bring a scarf or cardigan because it gets cold in the desert valley at night.

3) Don’t Bring Heirlooms:  Don’t bring anything nice that you’d be upset if it got ruined. Anything you wear can get dusty and dirty at Coachella.

 4) Stand Out: Being comfortable doesn’t mean looking dull.  Coachella fashion musts: cute bathing suits, dresses and high waisted shorts, with accessories and fashion jewelry to make you stand out. The right accessories can draw attention to the beautiful you.

Here is what I’m wearing for Coachella.

Day 1: Coachella 2013 Fashion Rocker Glam

Flowy crop top with a pair of floral jean shorts, which says Spring is Here!  Spike necklace adds a pop of color which evokes a girly feel to an otherwise punk accessory. The matching mint colored bracelet and gold bangles go perfectly without taking any attention away from the necklace. You never want to have too much jewelry, so focus on one statement piece and complement it.  This outfit is not only cute but super comfortable.

Coachella-2013-Fashion-Rocker-Glam

Coachella 2013 Fashion Rocker Glam with Gold Bangles

Day 2: Hippie Chic

While accessorizing this cut out dress I wanted items that would dress it down rather than making it look more formal. Remember you’re going to Coachella, not the Opera! Crosses are very trendy right now, so I made the cross pendant my center piece. I added statement earrings in the shape of a leaf to give it a hippie vibe. The bangles are very simple but add some bling to your wrist.

Coachella2013FashionHippieBoho

Coachella 2013 Fashion Hippie Boho with Spiked Necklace

Day 3: Boho Rocker

For the last day look I focused on a turquoise statement necklace inspired by the aztecs. This necklace is very busy, so I did not want to over accessorize beyond it. I paired it with a white lace halter that has a vintage bohemian feel and simple friendship bracelets. Since the top is a crop top I paired it with my favorite pair of high waisted shorts.

Coachella 2013 Hippie Rocker

Coachella 2013 Hippie Rocker Look with Bracelets

Coachella isn’t a race, its a marathon. Don’t go too hard on the first day because there are two more coming. Enjoy Coachella 2013 fashion. Always look beautiful!

 

The post Coachella 2013 Fashion, Jewelry and Accessories Tips appeared first on blog.outfitadditions.com.


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Stylish Luck of the Irish

When you think of Ireland, you instantly think open fields sprinkled with woolly sheep, cloudy skies above, a rainbow flung across it and a pot of gold at the end. Ireland these days isn’t all about its leprechauns and pots of gold as fashion dominating the upbeat streets of the Clover land is typically what they call “less is more”. With giant apparel retailers hitting the fashion industry in Dublin, it’s no surprise Ireland offers what the rest of the fashion forward world is wearing.

Here are some of the top picks for an Irish look in spring/summer 2013:

Suedes and Floral combos

Even though in a city, there’s no harm in dressing up for a stroll out in the pastures. Put on a light shade floral skirt with a cheese cloth top. Wanting to give it a little dairy maid look? Slip into a suede camel vest and suede boots. The lighter colors will look great for this season along with softer materials.

hair done up

You can glam the look with a tinge of dark eye makeup and your hair done up or hanging in loose curls. Chunky gold embellishment looks best with softer shades, so spark up your evening look with a metallic wrist band or a thick gold chain.

Tribal jackets

Tribal jackets look great on most occasions, while not over or under doing your look, but making it just right. For some of you who always take off the last thing they put on, you won’t be doing it in this case.

Tribal Jackets Tribal Jackets

For the Stylin Irish look, go with a green, white and brown tribal jacket. Wear it over any colored jeans; even the grey tights compliment the jacket so well. Make sure the bottoms are plain monochrome; otherwise with the tribal print and the multi colored pants, you’ll look what my Granny would call a jigsaw puzzle. You could even wear it on top of a white or mint green dress.

Embellish your look with a thick brown waist belt and matching foot wear; sandals or boots, whatever your feet feel like slipping into.

Printed Pants

Printed pants are walking the fashion streets this season. With temperatures rising, try on ankle high printed pants and compliment these with a plain light shade button down shirt or go classic white with the look. A T-strap peep toe would look great on the ankle high pants.

The Irish would cherish a cream and brown combination with a tinge of green; you just can’t look Irish without the green. Try out beige pants and a cream top, and lime green shoes along with a belt. Take liberty with the hand bag lass, but there’s no harm in going with a beige satchel.

Clover Jewelry

I chanced to hop over to a hip pub on St. Pat’s day a few weeks ago; love the spirit with everyone all loyally displaying the clover. It got me thinking that the clover is the perfect cherry on the cream top of your appearance.

Wear it as a pendent or studded earring, even a brooch looks great on practically everything. If you’re unsure, check out the fashion forwards peeps strutting to work and college with clovers on their briefcases and their book satchels; they look fantastic.

Overall, keep it simple, keep it natural and keep it green. The Irish in you will jump out instinctively.

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A Look at Photographers with Portfolios

If you missed Michelle’s announcement about the launch of WordPress.com/portfolios, or Cheri’s  round-up of WP.com Painters with Portfolios, you might still be in the dark about the range of portfolio themes we have on offer for visual artists and bloggers.

Today I want to take a look at a small handful of the hundreds of amazing photographers using WordPress.com, and the design choices they’ve made to best show off their talent:

artborghi

artborghi is the home of Italian-abroad, freelance photographer Lorenzo Borghi‘s work, which has appeared in the likes of National Geographic Traveller, among other places. Leafing through his portfolio, it’s easy to see why. Lorenzo makes use of the premium Photography theme for his site, showcasing some of his most beautiful work right on the theme’s custom home page carousel (learn how to achieve the same effect here):

Artborghi

Digging deeper into his portfolio, we find a classic grid layout, gathering Lorenzo’s photographs thematically, and giving the visitor to his site the chance to explore his various photo series. Choosing one of these in turn takes us to Photography theme‘s showcase feature, a lightbox style slide show that allows the user to browse intuitively through a selection of photographs, size-optimized for the screen you’re viewing on:

Artborghi Slideshow

More portfolios using the Photography theme

The following portfolios, which all make varied use of the Photography theme, are well worth your time, too:

  • Wild Places makes great use of the simplicity of the theme’s grid layout and slideshow features to show off a truly incredible range of unmissable travel and landscape photography.
  • James Duong‘s work spans from beautiful, street level photo-journalism, to glossy, studio-lit fashion and lingerie work, and the Photography theme gives the new arrival a nice, simple grid from which to explore his various photo sets.
  • Gustavo Semeghini makes great use of Photography’s alternate light color scheme to complement his beautiful wedding and even photography.
  • Gerganara also uses the theme’s lighter color scheme to share some beautiful, candid, artful photography with the world.

Kasia Marcinkiewicz

Kasia Marcinkiewicz is a Polish professional photographer, specializing in pictures of children, families, reportage, and portrait photography. Letting the work speak for itself right from the start (but for great use of a custom header to brand the portfolio), Kasia puts the clean lines, crisp grid layout, and infinite scrolling of the free Hatch theme to work. The result is that we’re instantly in touch with the photographs, free to explore those that attract our eye. It’s a wholeheartedly visual experience that allows the photography to draw the site visitor in, rather than trying to sell the idea with lengthy paragraphs of text:

KasiaM

Those interested can then dig in deeper, via the custom menu, to see specific subcategories of Kasia’s portfolio, previous clients, or information (in Polish) about the various photographic sessions and services on offer. It speaks to the ability to build your entire photography business here on WordPress.com — you don’t need to draw the line at just showing off your work. The addition of a contact page, blog section, or pages of information about the work you’re offering clients, can help you run the whole show right from one site.

More portfolios using the Hatch theme

The photographers among you seem to really get on well with the Hatch theme. Here are some more sites you might want to check out that make use of the theme in showcasing a really nice range of photographic subjects and styles:

  • Imagination Photography use Hatch to beautifully minimalist effect to showcase a nice selection of light, romantic professional portraiture.
  • Pramudiya brings a fresh twist to the clean, simple good looks of Hatch with a beautiful custom header, a great introduction to a diverse body of work.
  • Mr Beady marries the stark simplicity of Hatch with that of his evocative photography of abandoned buildings in the North of England.
  • Anne’s Imagery demonstrates how something as simple as a change of background color and the use of a custom font can create an entirely different mood, in this beautiful portfolio of professional, creative photography.
  • Clare Cecilia Photo, on the other hand, lets the sans-serif and grid get out of the way to let her powerful travel, wedding, and commercial photography shine.

Zac & Kaitlin Photography

While there are plenty of themes that show off your photos in a grid or carousel for new visitors to check out, another approach is to make use of good, old-fashioned infinite scrolling and a theme that gets out of the way of your work. Zac & Kaitlin Photography makes use of the premium Portfolio theme to this effect, and the results are both beautiful and personal thanks to some bold blog branding. This results in a portfolio that puts the work center stage, while also leaving you in no doubt as to whose portfolio you’ve landed on throughout the experience of checking out their work:

Z&Khome

When you land on the site, you’re taken to the classic reverse-chronological blog layout, so that you can see the latest work that Zac & Kaitlin have worked on. If you’re then interested in digging in to a particular type of photo, the custom menu will take you to individual, per-topic pages which make great use of linked images as a custom visual “menu” system:

ZK_home

It makes for a really personal visual design that further compounds the beautiful, but simple, visual branding of the logo up top. Again, thanks to Portfolio theme the photography is stage-center, but the little details remind us where we are and what whose work we’re enjoying.

More themes!

If you’re looking for a great way to showcase your photos and one of the themes mentioned above didn’t grab you, bear in mind that WordPress.com has no less than thirty free and premium themes that were born to make photos look awesome. Whether you’re all about colour-responsive backgrounds, dark or light showcases, or gridtacular layouts, you’ll likely find one that you can customize to make your own among the selection on offer.

More photographers!

Want more photo inspiration? Jump in to the tagged topics for wedding photography, street photography, landscape photography, portrait photography, or, you know, just plain old photography right in your WordPress.com Reader. And if you have or know of a beautiful photo portfolio you’d like to share, let us know about it in the comments.


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ILVOELV Giveaway: Gaston-Louis Vuitton V Sérigraphié iPhone Wallpaper

GLV 2 ILVOELV Giveaway: Gaston Louis Vuitton V Sérigraphié iPhone Wallpaper

This iPhone wallpaper giveaway features the most traditional and the most personal of all the logos in the classic “V”. It originally came from the steamer bag of Gaston-Louis Vuitton, one of the Maison’s very own iconic world travelers. The V Sérigraphié made a comeback in 2005, and again in 2012. And now, you can have it in your iPhone!

The download is in .zip format and includes 1 wallpaper ready to be synced into your device. Download the wallpaper below:

DOWNLOAD

V Sérigraphie © Louis Vuitton, rendered by Robert Padbury. Image via ILVOELV


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Louis Vuitton Damier Facette Collection

For Spring/Summer 2013, Louis Vuitton’s historic Damier pattern takes the spotlight. It is rendered in various ways – from tuffetage to embroidered paillettes – proving its versatility. And one of these renditions is the Damier Facette. Glazed calf leather in colors Crème, Yellow, and Camel is embossed with the Damier pattern creating a surface with a impression of shiny and matt textures: one of the fundamental dualities that underpinned the Spring/Summer 2013 collection.

 

Leather Goods

 
Damier Facette Card Holder Louis Vuitton Damier Facette Collection
Damier Facette Card Holder
Size:
2.8″ x 4.3″
Colors: Crème, Yellow, Camel
Price: US$250

This chic card holder has three slots – large one in the center and two smaller outside slots – can hold business, credit or transport cards. It features a cream calf leather lining, hotstamped in silver with the Spring/Summer 2013 collection signature.

 
Damier Facette Zippy Coin Purse Creme Louis Vuitton Damier Facette Collection
Damier Facette Zippy Coin Purse
Size:
3.1″ x 4.3″
Colors: Crème, Yellow, Camel
Price: US$500

This smart and practical Zippy Coin Purse in Damier Facette features a wide zippered opening in shiny metallic silver brass hardware for easy access. Inside, there are four credit card slots, a business card or folded bill compartment, and two coin compartments.

 
Damier Facette Zippy Wallet Louis Vuitton Damier Facette Collection
Damier Facette Zippy Coin Purse
Size:
3.9″ x 7.5″
Colors: Crème, Yellow, Camel
Price: US$920

Smart and versatile, the Damier Facette Zippy Wallet features an all-around zipper closure in shiny silver brass metallic pieces and an array of practical interior compartments – eight credit card slots, an open compartment for banknotes, zippered compartment for coins, three large compartments for papers and passport, and two interior patch pockets.

 
Damier Facette Speedy Cube PM Creme Louis Vuitton Damier Facette Collection
Damier Facette Speedy Cube PM
Colors:
Crème, Yellow
Size: 5.9″ x 8.7″ x 7.9″
Price: US$1750

Damier Facette Speedy Cube MM Camel Louis Vuitton Damier Facette Collection
Damier Facette Speedy Cube MM
Colors:
Crème, Camel
Size: 7.1″ x 10.6″ x 9.4″
Price: US$2050

Revisited in the geometric spirit of Louis Vuitton’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection, the iconic Speedy bag becomes the Speedy Cube in Damier Facette. In brushed shiny calf leather embossed with the historic Damier pattern and structured by an English frame, Speedy Cube makes a strong style statement yet is versatile enough to accomplany a wide range of looks. The bags features two-way zipper with leather loop and padlock, removable cross-body strap, shiny silver brass metallic pieces, cream microfiber lining, interior pocket, and protective bottom studs.

Shoes

 
Damier Facette Mimetic Ballerina Yellow Louis Vuitton Damier Facette Collection
Damier Facette Mimetic Ballerina
Color:
Yellow
Price: US$745

 
Damier Facette Mimetic Low Pump Creme Louis Vuitton Damier Facette Collection
Damier Facette Mimetic Low Pump
Heel Height:
2.2″
Color: Crème
Price: US$805

 
Damier Facette Mimetic Pump Camel Louis Vuitton Damier Facette Collection
Damier Facette Mimetic Pump
Heel Height:
3.6″
Color: Crème, Camel
Price: US$805

Images via Louis Vuitton


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All About SEO on WordPress.com

We get a lot of questions about SEO here on WordPress.com, and no wonder — you work hard on your site and want to get the word out! SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO recommendations are intended to help your site rank higher and more accurately in search engines, like Google. Say you write a blog about sailboats. When someone Googles “sailboats,” how many pages of results do they have to scroll through before they see a link to your blog? The goal behind having good SEO is to increase your website’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page) ranking.

many sailboats

On the busy internet, it can be tough to make your “sailboat” stand out from all the others.

Ideally, you want your link to be on the first page of results. The best ways to accomplish this are:

  • consistently publish useful, original posts about sailboats; and
  • promote your blog in intelligent ways to people who are looking for information about your topic.

The more traffic your blog receives for sailboat-related searches, the higher it will climb in Google’s results. No mystery to that, right? But if you look around the internet, you’ll find dubious advice about how to increase your blog’s SERP ranking. Some of the suggestions you’ll find are just extra busywork, but some can actually end up hurting you with Google.

Common myths about SEO

Myth: I need a plugin for SEO.

Fact: WordPress.com has great SEO right out of the box — you don’t have to do anything extra. In fact, WordPress takes care of 80-90 percent of the mechanics of SEO for you, according to Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team. All of our themes are optimized for search engines, which means they are designed to make it easy for the Googlebot (and other search engines) to crawl through them and discover all the content.

Myth: I need to regularly submit Sitemaps to Google so it knows I’m blogging regularly.

Fact: Every WordPress.com blog has an XML Sitemap. To view your Sitemap, type yourblogname.wordpress.com/sitemap.xml in your browser’s address bar. What you see there is code, so it’s not meant to be easily readable by us. For the Googlebot, however, it’s a “what’s hot” guide to the latest and greatest on your site. WordPress.com also automatically sends notifications to Google every time you publish or update a post or page. This is similar to how your subscribers get email updates. Every time you post, you’re telling Google, “Hey! Check this out.”

XML Sitemap

Here’s how this blog’s XML Sitemap looks in Chrome.

Myth: The more tags and categories I use for a post, the better it is for Google.

Fact: Using a bunch of tags and categories that have little to do with your posts won’t increase your site’s visibility. Actually, Google doesn’t rely on tags or categories — it can tell what your post is about from its content (or it should be able to), as Matt Cutts explains here. Plus, any post on WordPress.com with too many categories and tags will be excluded from the Reader Topics pages. It’s best to use only a few, carefully selected categories and tags for each post — those that are most relevant to what the post is about. Likewise, avoid overly broad tags: “catamaran” is a better tag than “boat.”

Myth: Creating several identical sites about sailboats and making frequent use of sailboat-related terminology in my posts will help me get a lot of sailboat-related traffic.

Fact: Google frowns on duplicate content, and if you have multiple identical sites, your search ranking will suffer for it. Also, while it’s a good idea to use accurate keywords in your posts and post titles, going overboard with so-called “keyword stuffing” will hurt your SERP rank. Strive for clear, natural-sounding writing that reads like it was intended for human ears, not search engine crawlers.

SEO DOs and DON’Ts

Do:
  • Regularly publish original content.
  • Use a few precise categories and tags.
  • Write for human ears.
  • Build your traffic in smart, organic ways.
  • Choose simple, meaningful post slugs.
  • Create a descriptive tagline.
  • Include keywords selectively.
Don’t:
  • Start duplicate sites.
  • “Stuff” your site with irrelevant, broad categories, tags, or buzzwords.
  • Write with search engines in mind.
  • Purchase or exchange meaningless “backlinks.”
  • Buy into SEO fads.
  • Worry too much about SEO at the expense of writing good content!

Myth: One effective way to improve my blog’s SERP rank is to purchase or exchange links (sometimes known as “backlinks”) with as many bloggers as possible, so that there’s a lot of traffic going to my blog.

Fact: If you blog about sailboats, the more sailboat-focused sites and articles that organically link to your blog as a fantastic source of sailboat info, the better. On the other hand, Google won’t be impressed if it sees a ton of links to your sailboat blog from blogs about, say, marketing, basketry, lipstick, electronics, or SEO tactics.

Think of it this way: Google wants people to use its search engine as much as you want them to visit your website, so its goal is to return the most useful results for any given query. The more tactics bloggers come up with to fool Google into ranking their sites higher than they deserve to be, the more Google corrects its search algorithms to screen out such bad behavior.

Paying for backlinks is a case in point: in April 2012, Google introduced its controversial Penguin algorithm that improved screening for this bad practice, and many bloggers with excessive backlinks found that their SERP rank plummeted. The moral of this story is that while SEO fads might bump your site artificially for a bit, in the long run, they won’t work.

Myth: SEO requires a strategy and possibly an expert.

Fact: SEO is mostly common sense. While large organizations might need to hire a specialist to help them reach some very specific SEO goals, bloggers and small business owners can do everything required for good SEO on their own. Google is very transparent about its process — it has a guide for SEO best practices here, and it shares any new changes in its methods on its blog.

So, what can you do to increase your SERP rank? There are some simple steps you can take to make sure your content is properly indexed.

Smart ways to increase your SERP rank

  • Make sure to use short, easy-to-read post slugs that accurately describe what your posts are about. On WordPress.com, the post slug is the last part of your post title, which you can edit to be anything you like. For example, the slug “/buying-sailboats” is better than “/how-to-buy-a-beautiful-inexpensive-sailboat-on-Craigslist” or “/354.”

    post slug

    The post slug for a recent en.blog post.

  • Create a descriptive tagline for your blog that explains what your site is about. For example, a strong tagline for our sailboat site might be “On sailboats, sailing, and sailors. Ahoy!”
  • Use narrow and specific keywords that will help interested readers find your site. If you yourself were looking for information on this subject, what search terms might you try? Be sure to use those terms once or twice in your post, assuming they are relevant. But don’t use them fifty times.
  • Be sure to publish new posts or update your content regularly, even if you have a website. On WordPress.com, most sites are set up in a standard, blog-style format with a reverse chronological list of posts on the front page. However, many of you use WordPress.com for websites consisting mostly of static pages. This type of site is not updated as frequently as a typical blog, so if you do have a website, it’s beneficial to have a blog component that you update more often. Link to that “posts page” from your site’s front page, whether by using a menu tab, or by using the Recent Posts widget in the sidebar of your front page. Because most new visitors land on your front page first, providing an obvious link to your most recent posts will help Google see that your site is current and active.

    website with blog

    An example of a website-style layout, with a blog component and recent posts widget.

  • Focus on building your traffic in smart ways. Seek out other blogs on your topic (or sharing your point of view) and leave substantive comments. Use Publicize to promote your blog to your social media circles. If you’re more of a general interest blogger, involve yourself in the WordPress.com community by participating in the challenges over on The Daily Post.
sailboat

Follow these tips, and it will be smooth sailing for you and your blog!
Image via Cheri Lucas

If you’re ready to get a bit more advanced, you can use webmaster tools (provided by Google and Bing) to collect more data about how visitors find your site. This can help you make decisions about which topics to focus on in future.

In the end, remember that while it’s admittedly a lot easier and less scary to tinker around with SEO than to make yourself sit down and write, there is no shortcut to building a popular site. The surest way to improve your site’s ranking is to regularly publish interesting, creative content that people want to read.


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New Themes: Little Story, Scrollider Express, and Pachyderm

Howdy all! We have a bunch of awesome new themes for you today, so let’s dive right in.

Little Story

First up is Little Story, a premium theme with design elements and inspiration from the talented Laura Amiss.

Little Story supports several post formats in different styles, large featured images on Sticky posts, a mobile-friendly layout (including a collapsible footer widget area), social network icons for Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and an option to add author information after single posts. It’s the perfect choice for a design or craft blog, or for sharing your own stories and tales.

Read more about Little Story on the Theme Showcase, or preview it on your site under Appearance -> Themes!

scrollider-express

Next up is a clean, professional blog theme from the fine folks at WooThemes called Scrollider Express. This theme comes loaded with features including post formats, responsive layout, and featured images. Added to this is a unique header image design that spans the full width of the homepage and presents a bit of a surprise as you scroll down the screen.

Read more about Scrollider Express on the Theme Showcase, or preview it on your site under Appearance → Themes.

Pachyderm

Last but not least, we have Pachyderm, a free theme that supports all post formats, an optional widget area, and what theme wouldn’t be complete without a pink elephant? With its clean, playful design, it would be perfect for a baby or family blog, or for sharing your web finds on a tumblelog.

Read more about Pachyderm on the Theme Showcase, or activate it on your site by going to Appearance -> Themes.


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