5 tips for making your website more discoverable in 2021

Note: This post mainly refers to users using wordpress.com. However general advice is also mentioned in this post for users of Blogger/ Wix etc.

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So you want more visitors to your website or blog. Yes I get it, you spend a month designing your website and then when you launch it you expect traffic to start flowing by, but you don’t see any traffic. Don’t be alarmed, there is a simple remedy for that! In this post we will concentrate on setting up your site so that Google indexes it and making your site more search engine friendly or more commonly known as Search Engine Optimization.

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Computer image Astar Blogs
Source: Pexels

5 Tips for making your website more discoverable in 2021

  • Setting up Google Search Console (With instructions for wordpress.com users)
  • Selecting a suitable name for your website
  • Using a custom domain
  • Using links
  • Setting Tags

Setting up Google Search Console

What is Google Search Console?

Basically Google Search Console is a tool for you to use to optimize your visibility on Google and check your website indexing status. It was formerly known as Webmaster Tools. (Don’t worry, it’s free)

Why do you need Google Search Console?

Google and other search engines need to be told that your website is actually on the internet and so you must index your website. Now wordpress.com and other CMS services do say that your site is automatically sent to search engines. But the hard truth is that unless you actually add your website to your Google Search Console, it will literally never turn up. Now there are other tools for Bing, Yahoo etc but Google is the most popular search engine out there and you by not being on it you risk losing a lot of valuable traffic.

Now you may argue that your CMS does send your website for indexing but the hard fact is that the website tends to end up on the third or fourth page of Google and be honest, if you were searching for something, are you really gonna keep going on searching for 10 pages or are you going to go for the first five results that you get?

We set up a test

So we have two websites, one with added to the Search Console and one not added. Now see for yourself,

This is with this site added to the Search Console
This is with this site not added to the Search Console

Add your wordpress.com website to Google Search Console

Non wordpress.com user or allready done this? Then skip to the next step.

  • Make a Google Account.
  • Search for “Search Console” and login.
  • Click “Add Property”
  • In the Select property type window, select URL prefix. Using the Domain option will not work.
  • Enter your WordPress.com Site Address (including https://) and click Continue.
  • On the next screen, in the Verify ownership pop up, scroll down to “Other verification methods” and click on HTML Tag.
  • Next, you’ll see a line of HTML code that resembles this:
1<meta name="google-site-verification" content="rc2RXSkjV5rz9P2s2hTwdDsnwTu4tD-gmruKUrqBGjs" />
  • Copy the entire code given to you by Google using the Copy button.
  • In a new browser tab or window, open your WordPress.com account and go to My Site(s) → Tools → Marketing → Traffic.
  • Scroll down to the Site Verification Services section, and paste the code you copied from Google’s HTML tag section into the Google section.
  • Click Save Settings.
  • Return to the Google Search Console verification page and click Verify

Note that it may take upto 72 hours for verification.

Upload the sitemap

For other Search Engines visit the official help centre.

Selecting a suitable name for your website

Selecting a proper name is really important if you are on a free plan on wordpress.com or blogspot or wix. The thing is every CMS service registers you in a subdomain that doesn’t have a great impact on your SEO. So if you choose a name that is similar to a well known business or a blog, that could mean trouble for your website.

Now there are certain steps that you can take to make sure that the name of your website isn’t closely represented by another website. All you have to do is Google and see wether someone else has a similar name. If they do have a similar name to your website don’t hesitate to change the name early. Changing the name after you’ve got some traffic can lead to you loosing good and potential visitors to your website.

Choosing a custom domian

The hard truth is this. Even if you do manage to get your site ranked up on top of Google and you have a unique site name, if you go with a subdomain of wordpress or wix or blgspot, you may run the chance of your website not appearing looking professional. Also your potential customer needs to type in something like http://www.abcd.wordpress.com. Now if you have a short name thats fine but what if you have a long name?

Its easier to type in http://www.yourgroovysite.com rather that http://www.yourgroovysite.wordpress.com. Also some themes add a part like Your website name – WordPress.com on Google. It may be okay for some people but if you were running a business, you may want to change that and have only your name.

Using Links

Links Post Astar Blogs
Source: Pexels.com

I mentioned this in my post Tips and Tricks to writing a blog post in wordpress.com. Now this doesn’t only mean links to other websites but it also means you need to include links into your own website. You can include links to your previous blog posts once you have enough or links to your biography. Also don’t forget to leave links on other websites as well. You can set up your Gravatar profile to include the websites you are a part of and when you comment on other’s websites, there will be a discreet link. If the website owner has kept a “website” tab for you to fill, go ahead and fill it.

Search Engines work on links and love links. In fact the more you link your site the more connected you become on the internet. You may want to include your featured image on Pinterest with a link to your website. If you have a YouTube Channel go ahead and put a link to your website there. Also don’t forget to fill up the “website” section of yout social media accounts!

Setting Tags

Every CMS has this feature. I’ve mentioned the importance of this in wordpress.com in my article Tips and Tricks to write a blog post on wordpress.com. Tags are basically your organizing tool in your CMS. Not many people do know this but they function like hashtags in Social Media. Read the article above to learn the importance of catergories.

Now when using tags for a blog post, many bloggers agree on certain facts. You must keep your tags to a maximum of 15. Aim for the keywords your potential visitor will type in when they search for your website or blog post. Also don’t include too many keywords in your website blog/ pages or Google will give your website low priority. (This is known as keyword stuffing) If your website isn’t exactly a blog based website don’t underestimate the power of it. Recent blog posts each month or even every two months give your site a fresh look and doesn’t send signals to search engines that your site is inactive or dead.

Do you know any techniques? Do you have any personal experience or did any of these tips help you? Let us know in the comments below

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Abdul Adhl Azeez is the author of The School Detective Gang and the admin of AStar Blogs. He can be found on Twitter @AbdulAdhl

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Author Interview: Winnie Frolik

Originally posted on C.M. Rushi:
Today, I am interviewing debut author, Winnie Frolik. With a love for animals, nature, and baking, Winnie has always been drawn to write on the side no matter her occupation. Read her interview below to learn more about her current works in progress and what makes a good writer.…

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A Star Blogs July Update

At A Star Blogs we continue to strive to improve the experience for our users. In July 2020 the new updates include our Facebook Page, Tumblr Blog, Newsletter and Registration System

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Canva – the best free online photo editor

Many of us want to edit photographs for many different reasons. Be it for Instagram, Facebook or any other service. But its so hard to find a reliable photo editor online. True enough we can use an application that is free like Gimp or paid like Photoshop but the learning curve is really steep for those applications. Enter Canva – The best free online photo editor.

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Canva has two versions like any other service available, free and paid. In this article I will be concentrating on the free version of Canva.

Canva has a very nice looking homepage and many more features and we will discuss the Pros and the Cons of it.


Wide range of options

Canva offers super in built templates for a huge variety of services. I personally haven’t seen any other editing service that provides so much of options. Here are some of the few options Canva has to export your project.

  • YouTube Thumbnail
  • YouTube channel art
  • Instagram Post
  • Facebook Post
  • Instagram Story
  • Logo design
  • Flyer designs
  • Poster designs
  • Letterheads
  • Animated Social Media
  • Facebook Video

Custom Dimensions

If you are not satisfied with the dimensions that Canva offers you simply use your own! This is really handy if you are designing a header or something else.

Easy to manage work area

Canva has the best and easiest to handle work area of any online free photo editing website that I have seen. Your uploaded media, design themes, audio files, video files, backgrounds, text controls etc. are in different places and it is so organized. Also Canva supports drag and drop so using a particular file/preset is really easy. Also there are a lot of different fonts and inbuilt templates you can use. Canva has its own Audio Library as well.

Canva screenshot video library
Canva’s Workspace

Simple Animations

Face it. Have you ever seen any other website that allows you to add a simple animation into your project so easily by the click of a button? Canva does just that. The animations are not very advanced mind you but they do add a little colour to your project.

Wide Range of Formats To Save

You can save the still images as it is in jpeg, png etc. Also you can save your animated projects as a gif or as an mp4 file. This is very handy for wordpress.com users as they can’t upload video files but can upload gif files. Infact, that “New” gif you see at thejust below was done using Canva. You might need to use the animated social media option to do this as this was introduced very recently.

Astar blogs new GIF

Direct Publishing

Yes, you can direct publish to

  • Box
  • Hubspot
  • Typeform
  • Smartmockups
  • Moovely
  • Simplebooklet
  • Gain
  • Pageproof
  • Publer

Mobile Friendly

Canva has a mobile friendly app and even the design environment on the website is mobile friendly. It is probably one of the only websites that I have seen work amazingly on a phone as well as on a PC.

Organize your work

Canva offers you the unique feature to organize your work into “Folders” similar to the way that you organize files on your computer. This is pretty handy if like me you use Canva for a lot of stuff.

Layered Editing

Canav offers Layered editing. That is you have the option the edit different Layers and finally complete the main project by putting all the layes together. This is something that Gimp and Photoshop also have.


  • Canva homepage screenshot
  • Canva screenshot audio library
  • Canva screenshot video library


Sizing Error

This has happened to me only once. When sizing for a YouTube Channel Art eventhough Canva sizing showed the correct size, YouTube cropped the image. I have not faced this problem again anyway.

Free Account Limits

There are a limited free resources inbuilt to Canva you can use. None of the features except the “team collabration” is restricted. However by referring others and by being a referral yourself, you can earn Credit Points that you can use for the Pro option on checkout. In fact use this link to earn your first referral point.


Canva is undoubtedly the best online free photo editor website/app.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

How was your experience with Canva? Have you come across similar websites? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Abdul Adhl Azeez is the author of The School Detective Gang and the admin of AStar Blogs. He can be found on Twitter @AbdulAdhl

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Welcome to AStar Blogs

AStar Blogs is a place where anyone can blog and follow their favourite authors on our network. It’s totally free to join and write blog posts. The main feature is you can blog right from your mobile phone. Note that if you don’t see the blog feature you may need to click the block button […]

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How to add any amount of pictures/videos to your wordpress.com site for free

So you own a wordpress.com site on the free plan and you are worried abouth the 3GB storage space or you are about to start a wordpress.com site and you are concerned about the 3GB storage space? Don’t worry or panic, there is a way to host literally infinite amounts of pictures and videos for free on your site without any plugin or using an “illegal” way.

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A way to host infinite images on your wordpress.com site
Source: Pexels.com

Adding infinite amount of pictures

No, it’s not so complex as you may thing it is. This is one of the most easiest things to do. Are you ready to hear the secret? It’s called embedding.

What is embedding?

Embedding is simply copying an URL and pasting it back into a paragraph block on your wordpress.com website. You don’t even need to know HTML. WordPress does all the heavy lifting for you and embeds it into your site.

Surprised? Click here for the full list of supported embeds.

Embedding Images

For the purposes of including infinite amount of images, think which website allows you to use unlimited uploading?

Was your answer Pintereset? If yes, congradulations! you are on the right path.

Follow the steps below to embed an image to wordpress.com

  • Head over to Pinterest and then create an account.
  • Now upload a “Pin” (Or several “Pins”)
  • Create a “Board” if you want to use several images.
  • Copy the URL from your browser tab and copy/paste on a blank paragraph block in your wordpress.com website.
  • Bingo! the final outcome should look like this.

See? now how simple was that? Also you may want to add your website URL to your Pin so other people can visit your site.

A word of caution……..

Note that you may find millions of images of stuff on Pinterest but that doesn’t mean you can go on using every image that you get. Images may be copyrighted. It is safe however to use a website like Pexels to make sure you stay free of trouble.

Adding videos to your wordpress.com website

Use services such as YouTube to embed videos to your website.
Source: Pexels.com

I wanted to upload a video onto this website and when I finally painfully did the editing and tried to upload it, a rude message told me that I had to upgrade to a plan to use videos. However i figured out an alternative way for this and you guessed it! YouTube

Actually there are many ways to do this but the simplest is YouTube.

All you have to do is sign up for a Google account, create a channel and there you go!

Copy/paste the URL and the video should look something like this.

Now the really amazing thing is wordpress.com supports a huge amount of embeds to allow users to use media not in their media library. You can find a list of it here.

Did your perspective of wordpress.com change? do you know any other tricks in wordpress.com? Let us know in the comments below.

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How to add a forum into your wordpress.com website for Free

So you own a wordpress.com website or blog and you want to add a forum to it? Don’t panic, there is no need to upgrade and use any plugins, you can do it for free! In this article we will look at how to add a forum as well as the pros and cons of doing so.

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Source : Pexels.com

How to add a forum into your wordpress.com site

  1. Head over to tlk.io
  2. Create your channel
  3. Create a new page on your wordpress.com website
  4. Embed the forum using a shortcode
  5. (Optional) Use the forum widget

What is tlk.io?

Tlk.io is an absolutely free website where anyone can create a chat room. It is an amazing way to get people talking about something and the perfect way to have a forum on your site.

Creating your channel

  • Head over to tlk.io
  • You will see a screen like this.
Source : tlk.io screenshot
  • Now go ahead and enter a channel name

Tips for selecting a channel name

When selecting a channel name, I recommend that you select something that you can remember as we will need this later on.

  • Now login with your Facebook/Twitter account to display your avatar against your name.

Embedding your forum on your website

You can either embed the forum onto a new page on your website or you could set it up on your footer/sidebar. We will assume that you create a new page for your website.


Now go ahead and setup your page as you like with a suitable picture etc.

Add a Shortcode block and add this code

[tlkio channel=your channel here height= a suitable height in pixels]

Note that if the height is very large, it might take a longer time to load

Your forum should look like this

Yes, go ahead and chat on it. I will reply to it when I log on again.

Managing your channel

You can find your channel by going to tlk.io/yourchannelname. I recommend that you become the moderator after a day of setting your channel up. If you don’t do this, the messages might not be saved.


It’s totally free of charge

Yes, you don’t need to pay a cent and there are no limitations when it comes to traffic

It can handle a few 1000 visitors at once

Okay, if you had about 10,000 visitors on your blog at any time you wouldn’t be reading this article. But if you do happen to have that amount of traffic, talk.io won’t crash

It’s super easy to setup

You just have to copy a code and it embeds itself. What could be more easier than that?

You can login using Facebook or Twitter

There is no need to upload your profile picture to tlkio, just login using Facebook or Twitter and your profile picture gets embedded.


You can moderate only one chat room

Tlk.io has a security feature inbuilt that any chat without a moderator will have its messages erased within 10 minutes. However, you can only moderate one chat per account, so if you want to have many forums on your site, this will not be possible.

Limited design style

Participants have only four theme colours to choose from.

Was this helpful? How was your experience with tlk.io? Let us know in the comments below. And feel free to use the forum!

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Abdul Adhl Azeez is the author of The School Detective Gang and the admin of AStar Blogs. He can be found on Twitter @AbdulAdhl

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Review of Ian Miller’s Bot War

We rated “Bot War” by Ian Miller 5/5. This truly amazing story by Ian Miller deserves a really high rating. Read on to find out what we thought of this story that grips you in your seat.

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Disclaimer: This Article contains Affiliate Links in which the Author of the article may earn a small commission at no cost to you. Inclusion of this disclaimer is required by the Terms Of Service of A Star Blogs

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Buy Ian Miller’s Bot War on Amazon

Buy Ian Miller’s Bot War on Smashwords


Imagine a future where we might send robots to war! Yes, Ian Miller’s novel “Bot War” as it’s name suggests focuses on a corrupt legal system and a group of terrorist who plot to take control of the United States with….robots!

The Review

Imagine a future where bots are sent for war! Bot War is a really great Sci-Fi novel suitable for all ages that deals with a corrupt government crushing under a terrorist attack.

The unique thing about this book is its simplicity in writing but conveying a really deep message to the reader. The story is well written and there are unexpected plot twists.

Often, authors with a scientific background tend to show their knowledge off in their books by filling them with scientific jargon that makes the reader’s head spin. However Miller, with all his scientific knowledge doesn’t do this and that makes this book really stand out.

When reading books usually, there are some places that readers tend to skip. I didn’t notice any part that I wanted to skip in this book given that it was written in third person omniscient, which many writers mess up by including unwanted scenes.

The degree of reality in this book is amazing. I am sure that in the future when we do have self driving cars available for sale……Miller might be even said to be a time traveller!

The other thing I love about this book is that it is suitable for all ages from a 13 year old to a 60 year old!

Good Luck Ian Miller! May you continue to produce more novels like this!

RECOMMENDED: #Sci-Fi lovers, #Thriller fans, #Fans of Robots Vs Humans books, #Young Adults, Anyone of all ages.

Other Books by Ian Miller

To see all fiction and nonfiction publications by Ian Miller please visit his personal website.

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Tips and Tricks To Write a Blog Post on WordPress.com

So you have a wordpress.com blog and you want to write blog posts? That’s a really great idea. Did you know that there are some tips and tricks to writing a blog post on wordpress.com?

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Tips and Tricks to write a #blog post on #wordpress.com

Source: Pexels Free Photos

Tips and Tricks to write a great wordpress.com blog post

Great Content

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This should come at no surprise. Your blog post should have some valuable content that people would love reading. Don’t copy/paste stuff as this doesn’t work at all. Use your original content.

Your content needs to have value and needs to be relevant to the topic. Remember, the opening lines of your blog post are extremely important.


Think if it like this. Your potential reader reads the opening line of your blog post. If the reader sees your life story instead of the content he/she is looking for they are going to click away real fast. WordPress.com uses the excerpt feature to show an excerpt or a description of your blog post. Do use that and don’t put your bio on the top. If you want to put your bio, we’ll come back to that later.

A Great Featured Image

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What is a Featured Image?

A featured Image is the image that wordpress.com shows on your “blog” or “posts” page and on the WordPress Reader. Furthermore if your theme supports it, the featured image will appear on the header.

Needless to say that it is much more appealing to a potential reader to click on a post that has a super cool image.

When using the featured image make sure it is something relevant to your post. Also I do recommend you use the first image of your blog post as the featured image.

Setting the Featured Image

You can set the Featured Image by tapping the cogwheel or settings icon at the top

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Source: Pexels.com

“Links are really important”. How many times have you heard that? I’m betting you virtually every post that has been written about SEO and visibility on Google has written that. Well I’m going to tell you the same this as well. But do please be careful! Google has an algorithm called “Penguin” that degrades websites using spammy back links.

Link to stuff that your users would want to know about. Also use the “Open in New Tab” Feature to prevent readers forgetting what they originally wanted to read!

Using links properly

How many external links did you see on this blog post up to now? Only one right? Did you stop for a moment to think why I did that?

What looks better to you? (The links don’t work)

“Links are really important”. How many times have you heard that? I’m betting you virtually every post that has been written about SEO and visibility on Google has written that. Well I’m going to tell you the same this as well. But do please be careful! Google has an algorithm called “Penguin” that degrades websites using spammy back links.

Or the paragraph written earlier?

But I see that on Wikipedia!

Well the thing is Google trusts Wikipedia and you can’t just add and remove links as and when you like! The staff or admins check the links really carefully. Anyway Google won’t necessarily trust your site because what is it compared to Wikipedia anyway? Forget using a CMS like Wikipedia! I mean chances that someone else uses your theme as well is pretty high.

So just use one or two links that really provide value to people and be safe!


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What you see as a line is a separator. Use these little guys to present your content properly. You can play around with the colour and style to suit your liking.


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Were you one of those people who accidentally try to add a plugin to your wordpress.com site and realize that you need to upgrade? Don’t worry, Shortcodes can do all those little tricks and amazing stuff. They are in fact known as the “Gems” of wordpress.com

You can find a list of all short codes here.

Categories and Tags

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Imagine your blog as a library. Categories are like the types of books and Tags are like the book titles. You must set up your blog to have a few categories. You can do this by going to Settings>Writing

If you are new to wordpress.com then your default category would be “Uncategorised” you might want to change it to something else.

You can set Categories and Tags by clicking the cogwheel icon at the top of the post

Author Bio

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Well it is important to have an author bio but you must place it at the bottom of your post.


Imagine you clicked on this blog post and instead of seeing the tips and tricks you saw the start of the page like Abdul Adhl Azeez is the Author of the School Detective Gang………and a hundreds words about me, what would you do? Click back right?

The sad truth is no one cares about you until they’ve seen your writing. Once they have done that and they see your bio, they are going to be pretty impressed.

How to Create a Bio on wordpress.com

  • Upload a profile picture to your wordpress.com account.
  • Without logging out go to http://www.gravatar.com and create an account.
  • You can connect your wordpress.com account and Gravatar account.
  • Now head over to the end of your blog post.
  • Add a “Group” block.
  • Use a “Shortcode” block and add this code
[gravatar email="your email here" height="a height in pixels"]

Note that the inverted commas are compulsory

  • Now add a paragraph block
  • Write your bio. Keep it short and sweet
  • Now you are done. Add the separator block to the start and end of the group.
  • Click the group settings (the three dots) make sure it is the group icon and then select “Add to reusable blocks”
  • Give it a name you like, for example “John’s Bio

Tip: If you use a multi blogging system with a lot of authors avoid using “my bio” as the name. Save it with your name

Abdul Adhl Azeez is the author of The School Detective Gang and the admin of AStar Blogs. He can be found on Twitter @AbdulAdhl

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