Performancing Metrics

Archive for November, 2006

Blog World Expo

Next November, the 8th and 9th to be exact, there is going to be a tradeshow/conference in Las Vegas, Nevada USA called the Blog World & New Media Expo.

Here is some details from their site:

The first and only tradeshow, conference, and media event dedicated to promoting the dynamic industry of blogging and new media. If you are currently blogging, vlogging, podcasting, producing some other form of new media content, thinking about joining the exciting industry of new media or just want to know what this whole blogging phenomena is all about then you need to be at BlogWorld.

The show floor will feature an abundance of products and services designed to help bloggers and new media entrepreneurs improve the look and functionality of their blogs, increase their readership, and monetize their blog. Bloggers will find suppliers like Broadband ISP’s, Web hosting companies, blog publishing software, podcasting services, RSS syndication services, new media advertising networks, news readers, aggregators, computer hardware and software, widgets, badges and plug-ins, Wi-Fi services, affiliate program partners, and much much more!

I am not sure what people are going, or who in the industry is going to be there, but I am hoping to go, as it gives me tons of time to plan my way down there, and save up. If the people in the industry back it, I don’t see any reason why it couldn’t be a really fun gathering.

Hope to see you all there, and if anyone has more details that what is currently plastered on the site, I’d love to know more.

Categories: General

Blogging: Education or Experience?

No one goes into school thinking they are going to become a full time blogger, but that doesn’t mean their schooling does not correlate with what they are doing in the blogging world. I went to school for Computer Networking, and ended up being a technology blogger. It really isn’t that much of a stretch for me, as I have a strong passion for technology.

I didn’t really have any writing experience before I started, other than a short stint in the College I attended’s newspaper, but I was entrusted with writing for Darren Rowse on his Laptop blog. The guest position with Darren then led me to being able to write for Jacob at the Bloggy Network.

The question though I have in my mind now is about education and experience. I know with traditional jobs, the more education and experience you have, the more you get paid, but that isn’t always true in blogging.

Some bloggers with almost no education in writing and publishing or experience in blogging have come out of the woodwork to make far more money and gain more secondary benefits than I am. Some bloggers with far more blogging experience and a higher level of education than I have, are making less than I am, but still do it for the enjoyment, and have someone or something else to make up for the lower level of income.

Blogging seems to be one of the great equalizers. Those with an opinion and a will to share their thoughts, knowledge, ideas and experience seem to do well with their blog, and due to the low barrier to enter the arena, there is a sea of new bloggers every day. So how do you differentiate yourself? How do those looking to become a problogger monetize their education and/or experience? Which, an educational background, or previous writing experience is more important for a career problogger?

These are questions that have been racking my brain lately, as I talk to many great people online and struggle with the holiday finances.

In earlier articles I tried to come to grips with paying bloggers, and how that works, and what kind of payment methods I like and which ones I don’t. I realized though that I have been living off blogging for over a year now, and while certain things are moving forward and changing, others aren’t. I have accomplished many of my main goals in blogging though, as I have written more than three thousand posts in the last year alone, met some great people, and been able to pay most of my bills. But what’s next?

I find that the experience I am gaining seems to be teaching me that getting into blogging now, might not be as easily sustainable as it used to be, and that the writing has to be done more and more for the enjoyment and secondary benefits of writing. Meeting people, being interviewed, speaking at conferences, helping pen a book, being part of a new media enterprise, or getting employment in a secondary career like programming or graphic design. Thus falling back on my original education rather than the experience I have gained.

Aaron Brazell, Technology Manager for b5media, said to me today that bloggers should be using their blogs more for secondary pursuits than paying bills directly off a blog. It is hard for me to argue with him when that is how he became the Technology Manager of b5media, but at the same time, would he say the same to the dozens of bloggers employed part-time or full time by b5media?

So I pose the question to you, the readers. Do you think blogging is really only useful as a stepping stone or promotion tool for secondary jobs, or do you believe that someone can really make a comfortable living off purely blogging for say five or ten years (if the industry stayed the way it is now)?

If this post seems a little all over the place, I hope it goes to prove that even someone with over a year of problogging experience does not know where the whole new media wave is going, nor the position he holds in it. The excitement of being on the cutting edge can be negated by the feeling of a lack of job security.

Categories: General

Bloggers Boycott Technorati

Found via 901am, a post on Information Architects talks about a recent deal between Technorati and the number one PR firm Edelman.

Can we trust the hub for independent bloggers after they hook up with the biggest corporate opinion maker? Why a 260 Million Dollar PR agency is actively engaging at the core of the free media is quite clear, but why Technorati shook hands with Edelman stays obscure.

I see this as a big conflict of interests for Technorati, and I think this might be the opportunity that other services and sites have been waiting for. A mistake that if not handled well, could slowly unravel all that is Technorati. I might be going a bit over the top here, but I don’t want to have a PR firm using the information that Technorati gets on a daily basis as a tool to advertise and promote things on the web.

Categories: General

BloggerTalks Interviews Darren Rowse

Over on BloggerTalks there is a great interview up with Problogger.net’s Darren Rowse. One of the heads of the b5media blog network, and known for his SixFigureBlogging course.

Being a professional blogger that is trying to educate the masses, what’s the most common mistake you see bloggers doing out there?
The first thing that comes to mind is that I see many bloggers with incredibly potential who give up way too quickly. Building a blog with an income stream takes significant work over a substantial period of time.

While blogging can be quite lucrative, when you look at those that are doing well you generally find that they’ve been at it for at least two years and that they post numerous posts per day (some as many as 20 or so). While I don’t believe you need to post this many times a day to build a successful blog it does give you a hint at the level of commitment and work a successful blog needs.

Many bloggers don’t consider this up front and give up after just a few months.

Another great interview by the BloggerTalks folks, and one with some decent advice to those looking to become the next Darren Rowse.

Categories: Interview

Link to a Coconut Contest

A very strange, but interesting contest is currently going on at the Blogtown Press Blog Network called the Link to a Coconut Contest.

As we said on our very first post on our Blogtown Press Blog Network Blog we are going to give back to the readers that make our network what it is. Since we are currently headquartered out of the great state of Hawaii we are going to be enabling you, our readers, to win a little piece of paradise!

That’s right we you have the chance to win a genuine Hawaiian Coconut, straight from a Coconut tree on the shores of Oahu, dried in the Hawaii sun, and shipped directly to you, plastered with Hawaii themed stamps!

How do I win?
Winning is easy. Blogtown Press currently has 12 blogs that are participating in the Link to a Coconut Contest. All of these blogs are active and have anywhere from 20 posts to a few hundred posts. All you have to do is link to a post on anyone of those blogs and if you link to the correct post you win a coconut. We currently have 3 coconuts to give away so that means we will randomly choose 3 posts within the network that will be the “winner” posts. These could be on any of the 12 blogs so you’ll have to hunt around for what you think is the right post.

They have already had one winner of their contest. It seems like a great way to get inbound links for the Blogtown Press blogs, and an interesting prize to be sure.

Categories: General

Aaron Brazell Reviews Feedburner

Aaron Brazell is the Technology Manager for b5media. He gets to deal with all the technology that runs the blogging network, and has put up a post on his personal blog, Technosailor, about his experiences with Feedburner, an RSS tool that b5media recently switched their feeds to as it allows tracking and statistics.

one of our biggest fears in moving to Feedburner was that we would be locked into feedburner branded feeds. Feedburner branded feeds aren’t so bad except for two things. One, we lose our ability to brand the URLs. Two, if we ever went to a competitor, we couldn’t take our feeds (and thus our subscribers) with us. Fortunately, we worked it out that our standard WordPress feeds (click on the Subscribe Link above) redirect to feeds.b5media.com Feedburner feeds. Excellent. Should we ever decide to go to Joe’s Feed Kitchen instead, we can redirect feeds.b5media.com over to Joey and not lose our subscriber base.

For the most part their experiences have been good, though Aaron spends most of the article talking about the negative points in using Feedburner for a blogging network like b5media. In the end though, sometimes criticism can be better than keeping your mouth shut and giving a thumbs up.

Considering Aaron says that Rick Klau, Vice President of Publisher Services at FeedBurner, said that it was okay for Mr. Brazell to post the article, I am assuming they know of the problems b5media has been experiencing and no doubt are trying to work on a way to fix the hiccups and make everything “golden”.

Categories: General

Bob Parsons: Be the Best at What You Do

Bob Parsons, GoDaddy’s founder and CEO, has put up a post talking about how he got to where he is today. I think it covers some very interesting details including how he spent two years basically as a poor man, just to get his first real company Parsons Technology off the ground.

He also recounts how GoDaddy.com began and how people warned him to stay away from being a domain registrar, as the market was too crowded. (Sound familiar to any of you wannabe probloggers?)

So here’s my answer to the question I get so much about which idea to pursue for your own business:

  • Choose something that you love to do.
  • Don’t let crowded markets frighten you.

Then there’s Tony Hawk.
Consider Tony Hawk. He was able to take something that he loved doing — skateboarding — and make a career out of it. In fact, he’s been a professional “skateboarder” for over 24 years now. Try as I might, I can’t name another professional skateboarder, though I’m sure there probably are others. But the point is, Mr. Hawk loved skateboarding so much he has able to make an excellent living at it. To me that says it all.

Read the rest of the inspirational story over at Bob Parson’s blog, Hot Points.

Categories: Blogging Tips

Ranting on WordPress Plugin Development

Justin Shattuck, who is currently working on some plug-ins for WordPress, has released a rant on how many plug-ins are just too complex.

I’ve noticed, recently, plugins are not as simple as I, personally would like to see. Plugins seem to have crazy amounts of options and configuration settings. Multiple tags and some are even extremely difficult to integrate. Even for those of us who are savvy with application development, specifically: PHP, MySQL, Ruby, XHTML and CSS; it can be a pain.

I for one agree with him. I also think that any plug-in that makes me edit files, other than inserting a tag or simple statement in a page is too much work, has not been developed properly, and, really, as such is just a hack job, and not a full plug-in. So while simplicity is key, that doesn’t mean under develop. What it means is making sure that the users of the plug-in can install, implement, and use the tool quickly and easily. I also find that the documentation that goes with plug-ins is horrible. I would love to see plug-in makers taking it upon themselves to spend a bit more time in that respect as well, especially if you are going to have more than just the option of turning the plug-in on or off.

Justin then goes on to ask for people’s thoughts on what directions he should take with an upcoming plug-in, wanting to know how option crazy we want things to be.

Makes me wonder if there should be some sort of limitation on the amount of option menus or sub-options and whatnot that WordPress allows plug-ins. As much as I love to see WordPress extended beyond its original intention, I still think simplicity is key for 99% of the bloggers out there.

Categories: WordPress Plugins

The Five Essential Elements of an Influential Blog

Copyblogger has put up another one of his list posts this time explaining what it takes to be an influential blog, breaking them down into five simple tips, that pretty much everyone can agree with.

1. Simple
2. Unexpected
3. Concrete
4. Credible
5. Story

The last one in my opinion is pretty much the most important one, though you have to follow the others to really make the last one work for you.

Story
Here’s how all of the above is communicated and the emotive element that connects with the reader gets added to the mix. The story of your blog must be simple, have an unexpected hook, reflect concrete benefits and inherently state the credibility of the blog owner, all while triggering an emotional response.

How you say it is important.

But what you say is critical.

Read the details on all the tips as well as a short commentary on it at Copyblogger.

Categories: Blogging Tips

Tips for Recovering from Google Page Rank Drop

Darren Rowse of Problogger.net fame has dealt with Google Page Rank increases, and decreases numerous times, and he has now compiled all his thoughts on the loss of Page Rank into a nice article with some important tips.

1. Don’t Panic
2. Wait
3. Analyze/Research
4. Improve Your Site
5. Diversify
6. Contact Google?
7. Reevaluate

With much more detail, Darren, holds your hand and lets you know that everything will be okay if you just keep working hard. He also gives a great bit of detail on his own drops at the start of the article, which I think is the most calming.

Firstly – I feel your pain
Suffering a major fall in traffic as a result of Google changing their ranking algorithm is not a pleasant thing and when you dig around a little you’ll find that most experienced webmasters have experienced it at one time or another. The first time it happened to me my traffic (and income) plummeted to a third of what it was in December of 2004. It hit me hard and almost knocked me out of blogging for money.

The second major hit that I’ve taken happened earlier this month when within the space of a couple of hours the traffic (and income) on my biggest blogs went to one tenth of normal levels and my blogs completely disappeared from Google’s index. Once again it was a fairly frightening experience (although I’d learnt a lot from last time it happened and have diversified my income quite a bit since).

Anyone that can survive having their major sources of income drop to next to nothing and not blow a gasket with Google, deserves a little extra attention when they write an article like this. While his post doesn’t say anything revolutionary, it is a great reminder, and Darren approaches it with his fatherly tone making everything seem all better.

This is one to hold onto when we experience the next major update sometime in January or February.

Categories: Blogging Tips