The Inner Workings of the iliveisl Blog

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Ener Hax does a great job blogging on the iliveisl blog in my opinion. The term “blog” is only about ten years old yet there are more than 120 million blogs in the world according to Technorati! Certainly a good deal of these are inactive; either never having been used after setup or having been abandoned.

Blogs have become a mainstay of news and current information for many people and are often seen as being definitive sources. Many of us still view the printed word, even online, as the truth. Even though it is easy for almost anyone to post almost anything online. It is somewhat ingrained in us that these words must have some basis of truth. And a great many blogs do serve up accurate information.

Ener’s blogging embraces what blogs were initially as “web logs” and online diaries often on one particular topic. In the case of the iliveisl blog, that topic is virtual worlds specific to Second Life and OpenSim. Along with Ener Hax are other virtual world enthusiasts acting as contributing authors including Dream Walker, Micheil Merlin, SunnyGirl Whitfield, and yours truly.

This blog is more of a diary sharing the thoughts of some avatars as they journey through the growth and changes in virtual worlds. It is not a news site, it is not a guide – just the thoughts of a few passionate people who find an online voice through their avatars.

The original purpose of this blog was not as an avatar’s soapbox. When Ener started the iliveisl Second Life estate, it was clear that just having a sim was not enough. Even at the height of the media frenzy over Second Life, the chances of anyone finding you in search or bumping into a private estate were slim. Ener asked me for help and as I have been doing search engine optimization since 1999, it was not a big deal to do.

None of this is magic and none of it is hard to do.

You can get a free blog through a number of sites and the iliveisl blog started out as a site. There are advantages in being hosted by a free blogging service and to being self-hosted, which iliveisl now is. Large companies, such as CNN, use sites like rather than being self-hosted to reduce spam and IT overhead.

An advantage to being self-hosted, and why I was asked to write this by Ener, is that you have a greater number of plugins available to use. Ener wanted greater leverage of all posts here and who doesn’t want “easy”. Today we expect “stuff” to just work.

Plugins let you customize how your blog works.

There are many alternatives for most of these, but these have worked well for the iliveisl blog. They are all easily installed via the WordPress dashboard. The name of the plugin is a link to the developer’s website followed by its authors and my notes.

Ad-minister by Henrik Melin and Kal Ström. This was originally installed so that Ener could run affiliate ads for Threadless Tees but has been modified to run a “twitter ad” for this blog because it is basically an HTML editor for the sidebar. You could put any HTML content in it.

Akismet by Automattic is absolutely vital to protect you from spam comments. This blog gets anywhere from an average of 30 spam comments per day to a as many as 173 on one day!

Easy AdSense by Manoj Thulasidas is a Google AdSense plugin which was active for a few months but currently set to inactive by Ener. If you want to run Google ads on your site, this plugin makes it easy and has options for sidebar ads, header ads, and content ads.

Flickr Widget by Donncha O Caoimh has been around for a long time and is a simple, no frills, way to update your sidebar Flickr images anytime you upload new images to Flickr.

Global Translator by Davide Pozza. This robust translator seems to work well. While no automated translator is close to perfect, it does offer more than not having one. The sidebar placement is less obtrusive that using the Google Translate widget but this does use the Google engine as well as Babelfish, FreeTranslations, and Promt.

Kimili Flash Embed by Michael Bester is a neat plugin that allows for Flash content to be placed in blog posts which is not natively supported by WordPress.

Light Social by Alden Torres are the bookmarking and sharing icons at the bottom of each post to make it easier for readers to tag your posts.

List Authors by Matthew Toso shows the authors in the sidebar and allows for sorting of authors posts and subscribing to their posts.

Subscribe Sidebar by gives readers several options to subscribe to your blog including RSS, Atom Feed, Google Reader, My Yahoo!, iTunes, Zune, Twitter, and Facebook.

TTFTitles by John Leavitt creates images for the blog titles so that fonts can be rendered with more control as an image. You can upload almost any font you like and set its size and colour.

TweetMeme Retweet Button by TweetMeme makes it easy for readers to retweet your posts.

Twitter Goodies by Arpit Shah allows you to dynamically display your tweets (or anyone else’s) in a customizable widget in your sidebar.

Twitter Tools by Alex King automatically updates your Twitter stream when you publish a new post.

Twitter Tools Add-ons – URLs, Exclude Category, and Hashtags by Crowd Favorite are installed by Twitter Tools and allow for URL shortening, the exclusion of certain post categories, and the addition of hashtags to maximize your automatic post tweets. These are not currently used by Ener; Twitter will automatically shorten URLs, if needed. Stats by Andy Skelton is vital for obsessive people like Ener (and myself). Apart from showing you unique hits, referring URLs and pingbacks are shown so that you can actively participate with those sending you traffic (thus helping keep the “social” in social networking).

WP Super Cache by Donncha O Caoimh is a plugin designed to help your blog serve up content faster to your readers. This blog displays 15 posts per page and that can be a pretty big page load for readers. WordPress dynamically builds every page request and this helps by creating a cache of pages before the user hits your blog.

That’s it!

They are all easy to install, configure, and you can even edit their CSS to better fit your site. Most are designed to help share your message with those that want to read it. I hope this helps anyone looking at using blogs to share their messages and promote their in-world and online endeavors (*waves at Nickola*).

reposted from the iliveisl blog