Invitation to comment: dofollow

no nofollow = dofollow (sort off)Last Friday Steven of Some Minor Issues asked how he could increase the number of comments on his blog. I jokingly replied he should install the NoFollow Free WordPress plugin. Jokingly, because common blogging-sense claims that nofollow prevents people that are just looking for pagerank from posting irrelevant comments on your blog(*).
But then I began to wonder; why should I be afraid of not having “nofollow”? WordPress has  great spam-detection (Akismet) and I don’t allow comments to be published automatically anyway. Why not give people who contribute some pagerank-juice in return? So yesterday I installed NoFollow Free and configured it to remove nofollow for commentators who have 2 or more published (i.e. relevant, approved by me) comments.
So that’s that, this now is a dofollow blog. Now let those comments start pooring in! 😉
(*) The ranking of your site in search-results depends amongst other things on the number of links to your URL. That implies that if you’re able to “seed” your own link in blog-comments, Google will like you more. To prevent this from happening, nofollow (which is a value of the “rel”-attribute of the “a”-tag) tells Google not to consider a link. If  Google ignores links in blog-comments, people who are only trying to get Google to like their site, will not bother with commenting any more. That’s why rel=”nofollow” has become default in WordPress (and other blog software) ages ago.

Put your WordPress-categories back in the tagcloud

When blogging, tags and/or categories allow you to classify your posts. The taxonomy you create that way, allows searchbots (and human readers) to better understand what the post is about and to find related posts.
category cloud widget config screenshotEver since the release of WordPress 2.3 (in sept. 2007), you can specify both categories and tags for your posts. More or less following the ideas put forward by Lorelle-on-WordPress, I use categories as the main classification-method (putting posts in a hierarchical, directory-like structure) and add one-off keywords as tags. The only disadvantage: as tags are one-offs, the default tagcloud-widget in WordPress generates a dense put useless heatmap.
If you’re in the same situation, you might benefit from this little WordPress-plugin I wrote (well, …copy/pasted, actually, 80% is code straight from the original WP-tagcloud widget) to solve my tagcloud-woes. Once unzipped in your plugins-folder, “category cloud” will provide you with a widget which can not only generate a “tagcloud” or a “catcloud”, but also a “cat-and-tagcloud”. And because the default “general”-category might skew your catcloud-results or because you might prefer to have that NSFW-tag not show up, you can exclude tags and categories from being shown as well by entering their ID in the appropriate input box.