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Archive for October, 2006

Bloggy Network Looking for Passionate Bloggers

The time has come though to add a few more great bloggers to the mix. I have been working for the Bloggy Network for over a year now, and I really enjoy it.

So, if you are passionate about AJAX, TV Shows, Automobiles, or Finance/Money Management, Bloggy Network is looking for you. We have positions open in each of these subjects currently, and are looking for some great writers.

We don’t pay per post (but at minimum 1 post every weekday will be required).

We pay for quality. We are not looking for someone to just post the news (although posting the latest news is okay), we are looking for someone that has original thoughts and ideas. We want high quality, original content whether it’s writing an in-depth guide to something or posting original thoughts and commentary on the latest breaking news.

Contact jumpbug{at}gmail.com to apply with links to your previous work or include a sample or two in the body of the e-mail.

Don’t forget to specify which of the topics you are interested in blogging on. If you are passionate about a topic not already covered in the Bloggy Network, feel free to drop us a line to let us know your interests, and maybe we could work something out.

Categories: BloggingPro News

How to End Your Post With Style

Over at Copyblogger, there is a great post analyzing how you should end an article. Many people, especially Brian, from Copyblogger, concentrate on starting a post, as well as the main content, but people should also give the ending a fair amount of thought because many times, the ending is what people remember the most, or what they act/re-act on.

He gives some ideas on ending an article:
1. Summarize
2. Call to action
3. Inspire
4. Post Script
5. Cliffhanger

Of course he goes over in detail what each of these mean, and how they can help you “close like a champ” as he puts it, so you will have to check out his article at Copyblogger.

Categories: Blogging Tips

Don’t Just Depend on Akismet

Many of use stopped using our anti-comment spam tools when Automattic, the WordPress folks, came out with their service, Akismet. It works well, it seems to learn how to defend our blogs against new types of spam comments, and has been stopping millions of spam for those using it.

The problem is, we have really put all of our eggs in one basket, and sometimes things don’t work as well as they should.

Even here at BloggingPro we still get a fair bit of comment spam, and really I shake my head, realizing that it is because when the service is down or not working decently we are left open to problems.

From the Akismet blog:

Load-wise we’ve been fine, but there has been some reduced effectiveness the past week, especially with the “nonsense spam” of random characters and domains.

But realistically, we should understand that no service can be 100%, and we should be prepared for such problems, interruptions in service, or just someone spamming in a way that Akismet does not defend from.

So don’t leave yourself open to spam, get some other tools to cover what Akismet misses. I think many people would suggest giving Bad Behavior 2 a try, but I can’t say for certain how good or bad it is, as I have never used it.

Categories: Blogging Tips, WordPress Tips

What You Need to Get into Blogging

If you are looking to join the blogging world, it probably can’t get much easier than it is today. There are so many choices, that picking what is right for you is the hardest part.

The first choice you have to make is deciding how much control you want over your blog. If you are looking to control every detail, getting web hosting, a domain, and downloading some blogging software is probably the best way to go.

For hosting, I usually go with Hostgator or eMaxhosting. Their service is cheap, easy to use, and I have had very little problems, and prompt service with both.

I currently grab my domains over at Godaddy [Ed. Boo for godaddy! Use NameCheap], partially because finding 10% codes is pretty easy and also I don’t have positive experience with other domain registrars, but I recommend asking a friend who is web knowledgeable which domain registrar he/she uses, so that when you need help, he or she can walk you through the process.

As for the blogging software, I doubt anyone will be surprised when I say that I recommend WordPress. It has a wide array of features, and has a great community backing it. Millions of themes and plugins make it easily extendable, and personalization is simple.

On the other hand, If you are only interested in writing, there are many hosted blogging services.

The one I think has the most potential, and will even let you get a domain rather than being just another subdomain on their servers is WordPress.com. They are always adding more services and features, and allows thousands to just blog without worrying about hosting or server uptime or traffic. Best of all, WordPress.com is free, and does not require you to put advertisements on your blog.

For either route into the blogosphere, the main thing you need to get into blogging is a passion to express your thoughts and opinions, everything else is secondary.

Categories: Blogging Tips

AdSense Widget in Blogger beta

If you are one of the few people that is currently using Bloggers new beta version, you can now add Adsense ads to your blog easily using the AdSense widget.

1. First, log into the new version of Blogger with your Google Account. Click on the Layout link next to the blog where you’d like to feature Google ads.

2. Next you should be taken to your Template – Page Elements page. Click on one of the Add a Page Element links

3. In the pop-up window, click the blue Add to Blog button underneath the AdSense option.

4. If you already have an AdSense account, simply sign in with your AdSense login; if not, you can create an account directly on this page. After signing in, you can select your preferred color template and ad format. When you’re finished, click on the orange Save Changes button.

5. Now you can easily drag and drop your AdSense ad unit anywhere on your blog’s template — or delete it if you need to make changes. When you’re all done, click the orange ‘Save’ button on the upper right corner and go view your new blog!

I am sure that will make many bloggers using the new service quite happy, and others more excited about the upcoming release.

(I know you can already add AdSense to your blogs, it will just be easier for non-coders)

Source: Inside Adsense

Categories: Advertising, Blogging News, Blogging Sense

9rules Round 5: Nearly 1200 Entrants

It is amazing to see how fast and large blog networks can grow with 9rules only having their submission form open for 24 hours they received 1200 sites that are interested in getting a little leafy logo on their site.

Well it is over and done with and to say our expectations were eclipsed would be a huge understatement. I’m not sure any of us expected 1190 sites and if we did we wouldn’t admit to it. We are excited and very exhausted from what has been going on over the past 24 hours, so we will keep this entry low key and you can expect a more thorough analysis of Round 5 tomorrow. For now we would like to thank everyone that submitted. We know it’s not an easy thing to put your work in front of others for critique, but you took the plunge anyways and for that you deserve our congratulations.

Scrivs and team must be happy with the turnout, while it will take more work for them to process such a large group, I am sure more options to get great sites in the network is never a negative for them. Good luck to all those that submitted. I will be watching eagerly to see who gets in.

Categories: General

Interview With Scotty of Hitch50

Last night I had the lucky opportunity to chat with Scotty of Hitch50.com. Scotty and Fiddy are travelling across the US in fifty days thanks to the miracle of hitchhiking.

Justin, a friend of mine picked them up and let me know they were in his car. I have to admit to not being prepared, but very excited. I posted about their journey on BloggingPro just before they started it. Now they are over two weeks into it and going strong.

Me: Hi Scotty, this is David from BloggingPro. I posted about your mission not too long ago.

Scotty: Kinda caught you off guard being in the car huh?

Me: Yeah, seriously. I figured I would only just keep watching the website. So to start things off, why was 50 consecutive days was chosen? You could have stretched it out to far more… 100 days sounds like even more fun.

Scotty: Maybe so, but it doesn’t have the same edge as 50 days. We figured 100 days would be easy, so we wanted a bigger challenge. Also, 50 in 50 has a nice ring to it.

Me: What about this “Golden Ticket“, other than the fact of maybe getting to go on a trip, why do you think people would want to give you a ride at a chance to party with you? What activities do you have in mind?

Scotty: We’re hoping and planning as much as we can that the final destination is Hawaii. So Hawaii alone is a good time. We’re also hoping this will snowball enough with the media and publicity, so the events may come through the level of exposure we get. If that is never realized we can just hang out on the beach, surf and eat pineapples.

Me: What about money concerns? Is there some corporate sponsor we don’t know about?

Scotty: No, there is no sponsors. We dont want this to be “Yahoo presents Hitch 50″ or something like that. If there’s a corporate bank account behind the project it takes away the feel of it. It would be easy for people to do this if they had a big budget. We’re trying to keep it ‘grassroots’. So we’re taking the risk on ourselves through our credit cards.

Me: Oooh…credit cards. Nice. Have you found it hard to keep up with the blogging? Getting online must be annoying sometimes?

Scotty: Sometimes yeah, we have mobile broadband service so alot of it is done in the back of cars. Also, we are trying to spend as much time with our drivers and hosts as possible, without being burried in our computers. So alot of work is done between 1-4 AM If we take a day off from updating the site we get just burried in work to catch up. Also, we have a short time-frame, with only 50 days to do the project we need to keep the content comming to maximize the exposure.

Me: How have you found the interactions that you have had so far with other bloggers, commenters and the people that pick you up?

Scotty: Almost all comments have been positive and supportive. We get alot of “I wish I thought of that” or “I’m living vicariously through you”. The people who give us rides are thanking us for letting them be a part of the project. So its been so positive. As for bloggers, we’re getting the same support. I’m not sure how many blog links we have now, but we had like 40 in the first day alone. Its the bloggers more than anyone who see the vision of the project. Many of our rides are from other bloggers and we try to link to their sites.

Me: I am one of the people living vicariously through you guys. Infact my fiance is now bugging me to do something similar across Canada now… Thanks a lot…

You have to come through Canada to get to Alaska, any chance you will save a day for British Columbia? I know it is not the USA, but us Canadians are friendly and would probably give you a ride, and B.C. is beautiful.

Scotty: Sure, we’re gonna be in Victoria soon. Oh ya, we’re both from Vancouver so we know what its like.

Thanks to Justin for creating the opportunity and Scotty for being up to it. I really appreciate the time and effort that he put into going back and forth with me in the car on the move.

Scotty also let me know that his buddy that is doing all the great programming and whatnot on the site is going to be releasing some new features soon where you can see the approximate speed they are travelling as well as some geo-tagged photos.

Great stuff, and the best of luck to them from me.

Categories: Interview

Blogging and the Academe

Knowledge@Wharton has an interesting article about how people in the academe view blogs and blogging. Some professors appreciate the value of blogs, citing in particular the community aspect of blogs, the intimacy shared between author and reader, and the immediacy of information sharing. However, some are concerned that the blogosphere is flooded with unverified information and that the signal-to-noise ratio is quite low (meaning there is more nonsense than useful information in the blogosphere).

Here’s a gist of the pros and cons of blogging, as seen by the academic community as represented by Wharton.

Positive

  • Quick publishing. Blogs let the authors publish without much ado. There’s no need for filtering, editing nor censorship.
  • Feedback mechanism. Blogs let readers instantly provide feedback, hence fostering a transparent exchange of information and discussion.
  • Experts exchange. One can get a lot of useful information from experts and knowledgeable people who blog.
  • Wisdom of the crowds. Discussions on the blogosphere can serve as a snapshot of what the world is talking about.

Negative

  • Lack of credibility. Most bloggers don’t verify sources of information, and if there are sources, these might not exactly be credible.
  • More noise than signal. There is a lot more nonsense in the blogosphere compared to the information that’s actually useful.

While most were concerned about the tendency for the blogosphere to be flooded with unverified information and postings that might not be relevant to a general audience, most agree that blogs are a good source of personal opinion, especially where it matters most, such as consumer reviews and the like. Also, there is synergy in the blogosphere–the aggregate is better than the individuals combined.

Don Huesman, senior director of faculty technology at Wharton, concurs that, “In most cases, an individual blog is fairly worthless, but in the aggregate, they can be quite powerful.” Huesman points to the blogging boom in countries like China. “There are so many voices there that it’s impossible to monitor them all. And, ultimately, this will have a profound impact.”

Categories: Blogging Sense

WordPress Theme: Hoofeiv4

Hoofei has released his fouth theme called Hoofeiv4. He is currently using it for his blog, and so you can see a demo of it there.

It is my 4th wordpress theme. Hoofeiv4 is a two columns wordpress theme with colors blue, green and white. It is simple and clear.

The theme requires Gravatar 2, but is not packaged with it. The theme looks really slick, and very web 2.0.

Check it out at Hoofei.com.

NOTE: I have been notified that there are some graphic concerns with this theme. The comment submit button has been stolen from our own DesignDisease, and other graphical elements seem to have a very Fresh look to them. This brings up a good question on theme copyrights and whatnot.

Categories: WordPress Themes

Blog Community Strong in Canada

Let me preface this by letting you know that I am Canadian and as such I have a sweetspot for blogging statistics for my own country.

Over on Canoe.ca, a popular news and information site, they have an article up that takes a look at the popularity of blogging in Canada, and while there are a fair bit of people reading blogs, percentage wise, we are not a big blo writing community.

According to the Environics Research Group, only seven per cent of all the people surveyed have written their own blogs while nine per cent claim they have posted a response to one in the timeframe studied.

Canadian youth appear to be spurring the blogging trend with 51 per cent stating they read blogs on a regular basis. That is more than twice the national average. Nearly one quarter (22 per cent) say they also write their own blogs.

It is interesting to see how low the adoption of writing in a blog is in Canada, and I would be interested to see how this compares to the rest of the world. I am amazed that around fifty-one percent of youner Canadians are reading blogs on a regular basis. That’s not just a geek community activity. I would be interested to see what people consider blogs though because if MySpace pages/blogs count, I hang my head in shame.

Categories: Blog Statistics

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