Performancing Metrics

Archive for August, 2006

CSS Optimization: Make Your Sites Load Faster for Free

While a lot of people are out to optimize their sites/blogs, most everyone seems to skip over CSS.

I have been spending some time looking at CSS Optimization tools today. I wanted something free, online, and easy to use. And of course, something that worked. There are actually quite a few websites that fit the bill, and some of them are easier to use, produce more friendly code, and others are a bit harder to use, but can produce amazing results.

I tested the CSS Optimizer, Icey’s CSS Compressor, Flumpcakes CSS Optimiser, and CleanCSS to see which one could compress some default CSS files from popular websites the best.

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Categories: General

WordPress.com Turns One

Matt forgot about WordPress.com’s birthday. Thankfully Lorelle remembered and wrote up a great post comemorating the event.

It does not feel like they have been around for a year now, doing their WordPress.com thing, but with all that has happened since it first was released, it definetly feels more mature.

Lorelle has some kind words which can’t be beat.

The first three months were definitely shaky. A toddler in diapers, moving from place to place by hanging onto the furniture of the full version of WordPress, WordPress.com lurched its way into the path of bloggers. The server crashed repeatedly, the interface melted, things jumped around, posts were lost, and code flew in every direction. Even loyal WordPress users and abusers were not impressed, turning up their noses – even with “free” signs hanging from every virtual wall. Yet, those who believed lined up behind WordPress.com and pushed and pulled it into the powerful blogging service it is today.

And at the end of Matt’s post, he lists a few interesting facts, and then some stats from the last ten days on WordPress.com.

Created 18,329 blogs
Added 63,198 static pages
Tagged 231,267 tags on posts
Gotten 501,111 comments
Written 416,602 posts
Had 16,621,767 pageviews!

Very cool, keep up the great work Automattic.

Categories: WordPress News

25 Things to Know BEFORE You Write for a Living

Liz Strauss is a very wise woman, and has posted an article called “The Problem with Writing . . . 25 Things to Know BEFORE You Write for a Living“. This article works very well for the topic of blogging as well, as people are trying to get jobs professionally blogging.

I have taken a few from her list and posted them below. I chose the ones that personally effect me the most.

The problem with writing is:

  • that, when you start, no one will believe you are one.
  • that all writing jobs takes longer than folks think they will.
  • that getting to a living wage takes time and boring work.
  • that, when you write well, the finished product looks like it was easy.
  • that no one cares how hard it was.
  • that the lifestyle isn’t glamorous.
  • that the pay can be less glamorous.
  • that when you have finished, there’s no applause.
  • that you have finished, you have to do the same thing all over again.

Check out the full list at Successful Blog.

Categories: Blogging Sense, Blogging Tips

Rules on How to Email a Blogger

Seems that I am late to the game here as Lorelle goes over a list slowly being created on Rules on How to E-mail a Blogger. Kent of Newsome.org started the list with five items, TDavid of Make You Go Hmm added four more rules, and Lorelle added a final rule, rounding out the list to ten.

Those rules include:
1. Develop a relationship with the blogger before you email.
2. Don’t just start sending indiscriminate emails to people who don’t know you.
3. Be brief, kind, and appreciative.
4. State why the post might be of interest to the recipient.
5. Be patient.
6. Contact people the way they prefer to be contacted (not everyone likes email – IM, IRC, blog comment, etc.).
7. Be sure the person hasn’t already written about the same thing.
8. Random selfless acts communicated separately. [Say thank you in a separate email.]
9. Be sure it is among your best stuff and in the blogger’s field of interest.
10. Have No Expectations and Silence Is Not An Answer.

I think these are really great rules, and some of them should be turned into a standard text on contact form pages to let people attempting to contact you know what they should expect.

Something along the lines of:

“Getting to know me first by commenting on my blog is a good way to get your e-mail contact noticed at the top of my list of people to reply to. Please be brief, but informative. Please do not expect an answer right away, as no doubt I am very busy, but I do appreciate that you are trying to get a hold of me and if I have a chance, I will get back to you. Also, feel free to use my search bar to find out if I have already answered your question(s).”

I get contacted all the time, with long e-mails which I skim through and do my best to answer, but what really annoys me is the e-mails where people say “That’s funny, know what I mean?”

To which I have to reply, “Nope…sorry…” As they did not inform me what they were talking about and must have assumed I was tracking their specific movements through my site. I don’t think that people lack communication skills, but instead the patience to make sure they have commented correctly.

Categories: Blogging Tips

Performancing Exchange

I got an email from the Performancing team just today announcing the Performancing Exchange. It’s supposed to be a “FREE marketplace for the professional blogging community.” Nick Wilson also posts on the Performancing blog:

After much discussion with members, we are about to launch the Performancing Exchange (http://performancing.com/exchange). The title above pretty much says it all, you should check it out to get the full details, and if you have questions, just reply to this email (give me a few days though..).

The exchange is FREE for now, and has the following broad categories:

  • Bloggers for hire
  • Bloggers wanted
  • Blogs for sale
  • Services offered
  • Services wanted
  • Micellaneous

Posts can be “voted up” by logged in members — those posts you see that are worthy of greater exposure on the Peformancing homepage, vote for!

That the Exchange is free “for now” gets me worried a bit, with the prospect of the service or at least some premium aspects of it to be for-charge in the near future. But I think any blog or content company worth its salt would be able to afford paying for such, anyway.

Another feature of the Exchange is a DIGG-style voting mechanism (quite a lot of that these days, eh?), where the posts most voted on by the site’s members/users get to appear on the Performancing homepage.

The market for problogger classifieds is quite fragmented, in that I don’t see a site really dominating in this area. Performancing’s foray in this domain can be viewed as a fresh take at the blogger jobs clearinghouse business particularly because of the voting aspect.

Categories: Blogging News

Top 10 Ways to Uglify Your Blog

Over on christianmontoya.com, you can find a funny post on the “Top 10 Ways to Uglify Your Blog“. While I don’t agree with everything listed, I find it interesting to see other people’s point of view on what makes a good or bad blog design, especially since I don’t find Christian’s design all that appealing.

He mentions things like:

  • Orange XML/RSS Buttons
  • Long Blogrolls
  • XHTML/CSS Buttons

Check out the list, and let me know what you think makes a nice looking or ugly looking blog. (Please don’t use BloggingPro as an example…unless its for the nice looking side)

Categories: Blogging Tips

Content Specific Comment Spam

Dealing with comment spam is getting harder and harder, even BloggingPro has taken a hit or two lately by various spamming methods, and we use Akismet here.

Lorelle goes over some interesting content specific spam that she has recieved lately.

These new comment spammers look for related keywords and post a vague but specific comment related to the keywords. A careful check of the URL/address of the website shows that it links to a splog or commercial website. So the URL is the only clue that this comment is comment spam.

I had several comments that asked me specifically about how hard WordPress was to install, questions on PHP code on articles with PHP code, and about whether or not they thought they should give WordPress a try compared to other blogging platforms.

These sound legitimate, don’t they. After all, I’ve written extensively about these topics here and on other of my sites. I even responded to two of them before I noticed the URL and checked them out.

One led to a splog with possibly stolen articles (possibly from feeds) with extensive writing on the topic of blogging, which was definitely more technically advanced and aware than the simple question they asked in my comments.

It looks like the battle has just begun, so if you have any ideas on improving anti-spam techniques, create a plugin for WordPress to help us out, or contact the Automattic team and let them know your ideas because we can use all the help we can get to fight this problem.

Categories: Blogging News, WordPress News

WordPress.com: My Comments

The WordPress.com team have released a new sub-menu in the Dashboard for tracking WordPress.com users comments on other WordPress.com blogs. My Comments looks like a very cool feature so that WordPress.com members don’t have to use an external service.

Well we’ve got a little something new for you today. (Free!) In your Dashboard sub-menu you’ll see a new tab called My Comments.

When you click on this, it’ll show the comments you’ve made across WordPress.com, as well as the comment directly before yours and any replies to the post since yours. Posts with the latest replies are at top. If a comment thread gets really long we trim it and only show the latest stuff.

Very cool, but shame that they now have to highlight that it is free, where before it would have been assumed that it was.

Categories: WordPress News

WordPress Plugin Ideas from Chris Pirillo

Chris Pirillo has some thoughts on plugins that should be made, as well as a re-naming of WordPress MU.

He would like to see some plugins that do the following:

  • Take a look at any given Vox blog – when you hover over any given tag, you can view the results for that tag in specific local indices. I’d like for someone to make a WP plugin that passes the tag to selected local AND external tag engines (Technorati, TagJag, Flickr, etc.).
  • I’d also like to see a similar WP plugin for Bookmarking the post in the multitude of social engines (on hover, add to del.icio.us, Digg, Reddit, etc.). I don’t wanna clutter my posts with hundreds of icons, and I believe this is plugin is also within the realm of possibility.
  • I need someone to create an expanded version of the Kramer WordPress plugin, so that it might take in link data from other blog search indices – Yahoo!, Ask, Feedster, Windows Live, Google Blogs, etc. Kramer really beefs up the discussion for any given post, but I really wanna kick that into overdrive.
  • What about a plugin that takes incoming search terms and auto-tags the post based on those terms (with or without moderation)? So, if a user searches for KeywordXYZ on Google and ultimately visits one of the blog entries, that blog entry will have the KeywordXYZ added to its tag list (via UTW or something).
  • I also need a WP tool that recursively goes through my posts which have not already been tagged, then tag the posts with keywords it finds most appropriate (either through the Yahoo! API or internal logic) – almost like how the Related Posts plugin works against the posts database automatically?

If you create any of these, I am sure Chris would promote it, as would I, making it a highly downloaded plugin no doubt. So if you are an enterprising plugin maker. Here are some interesting ideas for you.

Also, he gives a little shout-out to Matt and whomever is running the WordPress MU project saying:

Automattic really needs to rename MUWP to something more human, like “WordPress: Community Edition.” Doesn’t that position it better?

While I agree it could use a better name, I think the name should be revamped once the software works as easily as WordPress does.

Categories: WordPress Plugins

WordPress: Automatically Save Your Drafts

For the longest time, I have been wondering when WordPress was going to save me from myself and my constant crashing of WordPress, and today, just browsing around, I went to the WordPress.com homepage, only to notice a few new blog posts, and one of them was entitled “Automatically Save Your Drafts“. I almost pee’d myself with excitement. I knew this would be a WordPress.com only feature for now, as they always are, but on my arrival I noticed something interesting about the post, which I have highlighted in bold.

Thanks to Robert Deaton, WordPress and WordPress.com now have an autosave feature. While you are working on a draft, your edits are automatically saved every minute. All of this happens in the background; you won’t even notice it except for a small notification message next to the Save button. If your browser crashes while you are editing, simply go back to your Manage page and click on the title of your draft. It will be there waiting for you.

Does that mean if I download WordPress 2.0.4 from WordPress.org, I will get this new autosave feature? Can anyone confirm this? Is it just the nightlies or something? Someone let me know. I am too excited about this.

Categories: WordPress News

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