Performancing Metrics

Archive for August, 2006

The Cost of High Quantities of Posts

Darren Rowse posted recently on Problogger.net about bloggers thinking that large quantities of content on their blog will create value. He mentioned how wrong they are in this view, and I totally agree with him.

Does the quantity of content that you post to your blog add value to or devalue your blog?

I suspect that there are many bloggers who think that by adding large quantities of content to their blog that they are adding value to it however in many cases constantly pouring new posts into their blog and increasing the size of their archives can actually devaluing it by forcing readers to wade through vast quantities of posts to find the ‘gold’ that they are looking for.

I try to post as much “gold” on this site as I can, which is one of the reasons that I have slowed down in my posts about WordPress themes and plugins. I think there are many great ones out there, and I hope to continue to feature them, but there are some great repositories for plugins, and especially themes and so I don’t need to feature every single theme that comes along. I get to feature more of the ones I like and I think you will all like (unless its a slow news day of course).

Great post by Darren, and I think something we bloggers really need to start considering more, so we don’t just end up being frustrated that our hundred posts a month are not making us rich.

Categories: Blogging Tips

Using the “Read More” Feature: Good or Bad?

A reader asked Darren Rowse, Problogger.net, what his take on using the “read more” rather than posting full texts on the front page of the blog.

I have never really thought about how this could effect a blog or its readers. Long content gets a “read more” link, and shorter content doesn’t need it. I usually don’t use the extended entry feature, as I don’t want to force my readers to click any more than they have to.

Darren has a slightly different take, as he uses it in many places.

The reason I use the extended entry feature is not to increase my earnings but rather to keep some order to the front page of my blogs.

I like readers who come to my blog to be able to quickly be able to see titles to the last two or three entries that I’ve made. I publish a lot of longer posts on many of my blogs and to have them appear in full on the front page of my blogs would mean that there would be a lot of scrolling down needed to view the last few entries.

The thing of it is, that if people liked these truncated entries, then why is there all this hype about partial versus full feeds. Will we see a smaller battle for partial versus full content on the actual blog pages? Or does the feed war have more to do with being able to syndicate the content or read it offline?

Categories: Blogging Tips

WordPress.com Adds Custom CSS

For the longest time, modifying your blog on WordPress.com to make it custom has been a pipe dream. There have been many advances over the past few months, but nothing as big as today’s. Now you can edit the CSS file. This will allow people to go much farther than they ever have before in customizing their WordPress.com blog.

Unlike some of the other amazing releases and updates from the WordPress.com crew, being able to customize your CSS file is a paid upgrade. The good thing about this is it really seperates those that just want a custom header, which is free, and those that want basically full control over the look and feel of their blog.

The Custom CSS upgrade is set at 15 credits, where $1 USD is 1 credit. So that makes being able to edit your CSS file for a year, $15 USD.

From WordPress.com:

With the release of the Sandbox theme, you have a clean slate with some of the best markup ever generated by WordPress. Add to that our new Custom CSS, our first paid upgrade, and you are on your way to creating a blog like no other.

The Sandbox theme’s skins can help you get started by providing flexible layout options; it comes with one-, two- and three-column themes with sidebars on either side. Or you can select No Stylesheet and do it all yourself. Additional skins will be provided as we develop them.

Currently, it looks like you won’t have access to the CSS files of all the popular themes out there, just the Sandbox theme, but for many, that should be good enough. I think that at $15 for a year of being able to edit my CSS file, I would want to be able to edit the CSS file of any theme, as changing their Sandbox theme, might be more difficult for those that are used to another WordPress theme’s code. Looks like I was way off base on this. The team at Automattic are one step ahead of me. It is all themes CSS that you can edit. It is going to be fun!

Darren Rowse, of Problogger.net, chimes in with his two cents on the new additions.

Looking at the ‘upgrades’ page it seems like this is probably the first of numerous upgrades that will be made available to users.

I think this is a pretty good way to go for WP in attempting to find a way to monetize WP.

Many of us have used their platform for free for a long time and hopefully some of their 287,000 blogs will purchase the upgrade and help inject some money back into the system so that they can continue to develop this great product.

I totally agree with him that this is a great way to monetize the WordPress.com audience, I just worry that people are quickly going to get sick of paying $1 here, $15 there to get features for their WordPress.com blog that are 100% free with WordPress.org.

For $15 USD, I could get a domain name, and a month of hosting. While that does not seem like much, having your own domain name can be a pretty powe

Update: You can use Custom CSS to improve on any theme on WordPress.com.

Categories: WordPress News

WordPress.com Adds Private Blogs

If you have been thinking of using WordPress.com to write down some thoughts, like a journal or a book you are working on, and don’t want the world to see, WordPress.com has now got you covered with their Private Blogs feature.

For a while now we’ve enabled privacy options for your blog because we understand that not everyone wants everything out there. Tonight, we’ve decided to take that a step further.

If you go to your Dashboard, click Options and then Privacy, you will see a new set of options. You used to just be able request for your blog to be unlisted in search engines and such. Now you can also choose to protect your blog so only WordPress.com members you choose can have access to it.

What this means is that you can have a list of friends or trusted readers that can see your blog, but no one else can. This is a very interesting twist for the service, and I think it will give people the added security they have wanted for publishing more personal things.

I still think that if you don’t want the whole world to see it, you should keep it on your computer, or send it to people via e-mail or some other service, rather than publishing pages of content on a web service, but that’s just me.

Check out all the details on the WordPress.com Blog.

Categories: WordPress News

Reinvent Your Blog

Darren Rowse went on a bit of a tangent today, but it was a good one where he informed us all how great a few changes can be for your blog.

He lists some of the ways to ‘reinvent’ a blog, which include:

  • Redesign
  • New Visual Tweaks
  • New Features
  • Starting a Series
  • Start a new ‘project’
  • Writing in a New Style
  • Widen your Niche

A very cool article, and something I have been thinking about doing for my personal blog. Though some think I redesign it a bit too often.

Categories: Blogging Tips

Movable Type 3.3 Fixes Many Bugs

For those of you that did not know, Six Apart has released Movable Type 3.3, and I have to admit, it fixes many problems I have experienced with MT. Everything seems to run a bit faster, and easier. They have added integrated tagging finally, and I have to admit, I am pretty impressed. I still don’t like rebuilding pages, or dealing with some of the interesting changes that had to take place due to some hacks that were running tagging before, but they are getting better.

Some say they are just playing catch-up with WordPress, but I have to admit, when dealing with several blogs, nothing beats logging in once to manage them all and have it work, which while there is a Multi-User version of WordPress, it is no where near ready for prime time. (Note: I have not tried it in a long while, it may be much better now, anyone that uses it, will have to let me know)

If you want to get the latest version, just head on over to Six Apart and grab it. If you purchase a licence before August 30th, you get 30% off.

Categories: Movable Type News

Has Blogging and WordPress Become Synonymous

When I first started writing a journal on my site, it was nothing more than an html news page that I kept updated using my favorite text editors. Later, I was introduced to PHP, and wrote some simple scripts that helped me keep my site updated, without worrying about coding html every time I had something to say. Then I started looking into tools that would help make things even easier.

Everyone at the time seemed to be talking about Movable Type and how great it was. I had recently run into a piece of software called WordPress. It was currently only at 0.72, but showed real promise in my opinion, so after running it for a while, I was happy. Now, you can’t go anywhere without seeing a new WordPress blog, be it WordPress.com or WordPress.org.

I don’t know their install base, but I can tell you that it is still quickly rising as corporations start using the software for their blogs, and basic users jump on WordPress.com for their own blogs, WordPress has become one of, if not the most popular software for blogging.

I wonder though if we are getting close to having WordPress and a blogging application be synonymous like with Kleenex and tissues or Coke and colas or Tylenol and pain medication. I have already heard many people use WordPress as a comparison to something they are doing. “I am making a WordPress-like application”, or “You will recognize this feature, as it is similar to WordPress.”

I don’t know if we will ever get to the point where you say “I want a WordPress”, but I don’t think Matt Mullenweg would mind if that ever did happen.

One thing that worries me when it comes to something finally being so well known in the market, is that real development begins to slow down, as the company works towards not losing any of their market. Coke tried to bring out a new version of their popular beverage, but had to bring back their older recipe as the new Coke was not well received. Could there come a day when WordPress tries to be revolutionary only to fall flat on their face? I really hope not, as the tool has become a staple in over two dozen websites I manage, and deal with.

Do you think WordPress has become the de facto blogging application, or do you still prefer Movable Type or Expression Engine, and do you think that WordPress’ popularity will lead to a slow down in development of new features?

Categories: Blogging News, WordPress News

Chitika add New Categories and Ad Sizes

Chitika, an advertising service that Darren Rowse seems to like, has added new categories to their service, as well as new ad sizes.

The new categories are:

Photography Accessories
Cellular Accessories
Computer Games
Computer Speakers
Laptop Accessories
Scanner Accessories
CD and DVD Burners
In Dash Receivers
Small Appliances
Pet Accessories
Xbox Games
Game Boy Advance Games
PlayStation 2 Games
PlayStation 3 Games
Nintendo 64 Games
Dreamcast Games
Video Game Accessories

The new sizes include:
468 x 60
250 x 250
300 x 250
728 x 90

Will the new sizes and categories help them? I am not sure, but I am glad that they are adding new sizes, as it will now fit in more places.

Categories: Blogging Sense

WordPress Plugin: Simple Popup Images

A little old-school, the Simple Popup Images shows images in their own pop-up window. None of that crazy AJAX mess.

The Simple Popup Images plugin allows you to add pop-up images to your WordPress blog. You put a thumbnail image in your post; if a user clicks on it, a larger version appears in a separate window. Want to see it in action? Check out this post.

Features that I think are cool:

  • Plugin’s UI makes it easy to add the image and thumbnail to your post
  • Can automatically make thumbnails from a large image (requires the GD library to be installed)
  • The resulting popup window can, if you like, vanish the moment the user clicks away from it
  • Easy installation

Check it out at Live Granades

Categories: WordPress Plugins

Avalonstar joins Automattic

We can expect excellent designs from the WordPress developers with the addition of Bryan Veloso to the Automattic team.

So, why? Well. WordPress. Akismet. bbPress. Etc. Do you blame me? This was an opportunity I could not miss, to take a pro-active position as a designer and developer of the only blogging software I would ever use.

Bryan was involved in the Shuttle Project (the WordPress admin-interface makeover plugin), and is behind the Flock homepage redesign and the Chaotic Soul WordPress theme, among others. Chaotic Soul is actually based on Avalonstar, which won the Best Blog Design award at SXSW this year.

The Automattic profile page says Bryan is their de-uglifier. Bring on the kick-ass designs, Bryan! The default WordPress admin interface is fine, but if you can come up with something better, then that would be great news to WP fans.

Categories: WordPress News