A Geek Goes SEO

April 17, 2010

Marketing, Technology

I am a geek.  And I’ve been a geek for many decades.  I was playing with computers when I was fifteen.  That doesn’t sound like much to adults today.  But I was fifteen in 1976.  I was introduced to computer technology by a math teacher who was responsible for entering teacher’s time sheets into the Montgomery County school system.  I’ve been hooked on tech ever since.

In the ensuing decades, I’ve been a programmer, a security specialist, a capacity planner, an infrastructure technologist, an enterprise architect and a lot of management positions in between.  But in every job, I’ve been a geek.  I’ve always loved the technology.  And I’ve never gotten tired of the thrill that I get when I conquer something new.

So it is with a great deal of joy that I’ve tackled the most recent challenge given to me by my wife.   She is a marketing and communications specialist.  But she has found herself “displaced” in the recent economic turmoil.  So while she is seeking a permanent gig, she is doing some piecework.  She has been doing some new blog startups and some site development for an informal network that she has nurtured over the years.  And she needed someone to help her with site testing.  That’s where I come in.

She needs a place to “test” some of the site designs she is working on.  And so I’ve decided to set up a platform within the house.  When she launches sites, we ultimately go to hosting services that are appropriate for each client.  But during development of sites and concepts, she wants to test sites and test WordPress plugins (esp. SEO type add-ons).

So I’ve decided to leverage open source technology throughout the platform.  Here are the components thus far:

– I am using XAMPP as a distribution package for Apache, MySQL, PHP and Perl.  I’ve also decided to include Tomcat – just in case she decides to leverage any lightweight Java packages.

– I am using WordPress as the blog site manager.  [Note: There is a very good primer on setup of this platform here.]  I’ve used WordPress for quite some time.  But I’ve either used the WordPress.com site for lightweight hosting or I’ve contracted with a hosting provider.  But in this case, I’m running it myself.  The cool thing about doing it this way is that I finally get to play with WP plugins.  And there are some exceptional plugins for WordPress sites.

– There are quite a few sites that tell you what plugins you should use for SEO tweaks.  I wouldn’t dream of recommending one over another as I am so new to all of this.  So what I did was use Google to compare SEO plugins.  I figure that someone who knows SEO would be able to “goose” their posts on the subject.  So I did an informal survey of multiple blog posts to see which plugins were recommended most often.  Given a fifteen minute analysis window, I decided that the “Top 5” analysis done by PCDrome seemed quite sound.  So I am beginning to test this on my lab setup.  I’ll let everyone know how it turns out.

Obviously, this platform is evolving.  But I do have one takeaway from all of this: don’t just trust someone who claims SEO knowledge; verify their competence by looking at the sites and successes that they have had.

-Roo

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  1. WordPress Wonderland | Roo-minations - November 28, 2010

    […] learning all about hosting my own WordPress site.  This isn’t new either.  I’ve had a test site for quite some time.  But my initial dabblings were with all of the plugins that SEO folks use. […]

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