Performancing Metrics

Archive for November, 2006

Why Isn’t Internet Access Free For Travelers?

This isn’t one hundred percent blog related, though many of us have probably dealt with the same issue. You are on some trip somewhere, and you pick up a wireless connection. You connect, and after loading up your web browser, it asks you to sign up for some service that costs X amount of dollars before being able to really connect to the Internet.

Over on Somewhat Frank, there is an article, which is basically a rant asking, why isn’t Internet access free for travelers?

I have been traveling quite a bit lately and have had to rely on public Internet access. Much to my dismay I have found that most hotels and airports still do not offer free Internet access. Why isn’t airport and hotel Internet access a standard free feature?

Airport Internet Access
WifiI feel that having to pay for Internet access in airports is unconscionable since travelers are a captive audience and are only in the concourse for a short period of time. I understand it is a business however the price is manifestly unjustice as travelers pay between $5 and $21 for short term access. I would think airports would want to make concourses friendlier to business travelers by offering a complementary service

Read the rest at Somewhat Frank.

This is probably something that drives me absolutely insane, especially after moving cities from one that had free or cheap wireless pretty much everywhere, to a city where there is almost no wireless anywhere, and anywhere there is a wireless signal, its pay to use (not counting residential of course, keep your wardriving comments to yourself).

Some of the businesses where I used to live, even make a point of marketing their free Wi-Fi service, and no doubt travelers use that business a fraction more because of the access. We are used to getting what we want, anywhere we go, and just like our cell phones almost always have a signal, and pretty much every hotel room, and public television has a cable connection, we expect Wireless to become as prevalent.

I would really love to see more business implement free wireless Internet, especially if they are attempting to appeal to travelers or probloggers like myself. There is nothing better than posting a few stories in the morning at a Cafe, or over some greasy Denny’s.

Categories: General

Should Your Small Business Have a Blog?

Lorelle has been asked if a small business really needs to have a blog, and after mentioning Ashley Carr of the The itpr Group’s response, she went on to really answer the question.

If you have the people who can blog, sharing their passion and talent for writing about your business and industry, then have a blog. If you don’t have the staff, expertise, or the money to hire them, then don’t blog. Get yourself a website with information on what you do, how you do it, why you do it, and why we should care, because that is part of today’s core marketing and advertising plan, but skip the blog.

Blogs take energy, passion, and a lot of enthusiasm. They can also take a lot of time. Blogs are consumers, taking energy away you may need to give to your growing business. They require food in the way of frequent posts and information.

I am of the mind that small businesses can actually thrive thanks to blogs, but they really need to have someone with passion, and talent writing. You can’t just flick a light switch and have a blog be a success, and you have to put more than marketing materials on there. A blog is a window into the company, and can be used for promotions, up selling, and creating a user base.

I am currently working with a small business that started recently. They are going into the highly competitive fitness world, and I suggested they think about starting a blog. Both of the owners, a husband and wife team, are very enthusiastic about life changes towards health and while they are worried about giving away too much in the way of pearls of wisdom, a little coaching from yours truly, and they understood the benefit that sharing some of their personality, passion and wisdom online can produce.

Other businesses might not see the same rewards. Like Lorelle and others have said, it takes time, energy and passion. A blog is really no different from the “news” pages of old, except that if done well they can be much more personal, much more interesting and become a pillar for information and cross communication for a potential client.

Categories: Blogging Tips

Marshall Kirkpatrick Shares Work Flow after Leaving TechCrunch

The editor of TechCrunch for the last six months, many people have seen stories that Marshall has posted, and come to know his style, personality, and become jealous of how he is able to find the latest news. After leaving TechCrunch to pursue his own work once again, he decided to release some details on his work flow that helped double the RSS subscribers.

RSS feeds make it possible to consume far more information at a faster pace than would otherwise be possible for the human brain. That said, many people experience a new level of information overload once they begin reading feeds. Here’s an overview of how I read thousands of RSS feeds without breaking a sweat.

He then talks about finding a good start page like Original Signal, PageFlakes or one of my favourites, Popurls, organizing a feed reader program, and making sure the high priority stories are able to find you through RSS to SMS or other such services.

It is the simple tips and reminders that can sometimes be the most helpful, so check out the article on Marshall Kirkpatrick’s site.

Categories: Blogger News

7 Tricks to Viral Web Marketing

Baekdal.com has a post up in relation to viral video marketing, but I think even articles and blog posts can be somewhat viral, and thus fall under many of the same rules.

Things like:

1: Make people feel something
2: Do something unexpected.
3: Do not try to make advertisements (that sucks)
4: Make sequels
5: Allow Sharing, downloading and embedding
6: Connect with comments
7: Never restrict access!

As you can see, I only really had to remove one thing from the list, as it didn’t fit with blogs. The rest I totally agree with. I think the biggest one though is doing something unexpected, at least if you want it to go viral. It doesn’t have to be crazy, though that is how many of them seem to end being. Writing something different, thought provoking, or interesting can be difficult, but when it spreads to the front page of many social news sites, I am sure a big smile will stretch across your face. At least until your hosting server goes down from the flood of traffic.

Categories: Blogging Tips

Interview with Marco Jardim

Marco JardimBeing part of a blog network, there are some people I work with everyday that are constantly writing some of my favourite things to read, and Marco, of ForeverGeek is one of those people. I got him talking blogging, and next thing you know, an interview was born.

David: Thanks Marco for talking with me today. Thankfully it seems I have caught you right in the middle of a writers block, but hopefully you’ll have some stuff to say on the questions I have for you.

First off, tell me a little bit about yourself. You aren’t in North America, the UK or Australia, better known as the “normal place” for probloggers right?

Marco: My name is Marco Jardim, although I’m more commonly known as Griffith on the Internet (Griffith, by the way, is the name of one of my favorite Manga characters, from Berserk, by Kentaro Miura). I’m 22 years old and currently I’m a college student and a professional blogger for ForeverGeek.

I have more than 2 years of experience in Web Design and Development for a local company called InforQuali, and I also had a short experience in computer tutoring in another local company called Arquimedes. After almost two years of working with InforQuali, and with my former employers’ support, I decided to take a Computer Engineering course in the only College that had it on my island.

My “passions” are my girlfriend (obviously), computer gadgets (I always seem to find another one that I need want), and web design and development, which were my areas of expertise in InforQuali. I also have a strong interest for oriental cultures, from their history and food to their music and art.

That’s correct about where I live. I am in one of the places of the world where you wouldn’t expect to find a problogger: Madeira Island. A very small island that you can drive around in less than 4 hours. It is situated southwest from Portugal (Europe) in the Atlantic Ocean.

David: Strange place to hail from. Must be hard sometimes as it can’t be known for getting technology first?

Marco: Actually, I get technology last, or on a similar date to some less developed countries. Not only because I live in Europe, but also because I live on an island, therefore I only get the newest gadgets 3, or more, weeks after they’re released in Europe. And sometimes there’s a really long delay between a Japan/American release and a European one.

I guess that that delay is due to the large number of different languages we speak.

Here’s a recent example. Nokia, which is a European-based company, announced that they would be releasing a new N Series phone, the N73, during July. Only recently did it start to be commercialized in my country, and not all cellphone providers have it yet.

In short, the delay is very long.

David: You have been a writer on Forever Geek for quite some time. Can you tell me how you got into that and how long have you been writing on there?

Marco: Ah… my history on ForeverGeek. It’s a very interesting one, or ironic, to say the least. Back in 2004 when Paul Scrivens, from the 9rules network, owned ForeverGeek, he made an article inviting people to join the site as editors. I, with no blogging experience whatsoever, decided to try my luck and sent him an e-mail. And, surprisingly, I got accepted.

At that time, I didn’t have a fixed number of articles I had to write, I was free to write as many as I liked. My payment would come from the revenue earned from those articles, however, since I didn’t consider myself on-par with the other editors’ posts, and I still had much to learn, I decided to let Paul keep my revenues (although, when he sold ForeverGeek, he asked me for my PayPal address so he could transfer my earnings, but I politely declined, for the same reasons as before).

I made a few articles which generated a lot of controversy, and that made a few of the former editors upset. Some of them wanted me out, but, for some reason, Paul decided to keep me on the team, and I learned as much as I could from him, and the rest of team, while he still owned it.

When ForeverGeek was finally sold, most of the former crew left, I was one of the few that stayed. And now, ironically, I’m the editor that writes the most posts-per-day on ForeverGeek. And I hope that I’ll continue to be a part of the team for many years to come.

David: You mentioned learning from Paul Scrivens, which leads to the question of how much of blogging is skill and talent and how much can be learned over time? Do you think you started with skill and talent, or did you learn what you needed to as you went along?

Marco: Good question. As much as some might refute with my opinion, I think that you can only evolve until a certain point without talent. Thankfully, my father was a journalist, and my mother also worked in journalism in advertisements and wrote poems. So I guess you can say I have a writer’s “vein” from both of them. If I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t have always gotten good grades in my mother language classes.

As to how that was influential in my blogging career, I think that you can say that it helped me a lot. Perhaps Paul perceived that I had some talent, and therefore allowed me to stay, perhaps he was just feeling nice, as he usually is. I guess I’ll never know, but I’m glad that things happened the way they did.

Regarding skills, yes, you need a lot of skill in order to become a great writer, and if you’re not particularly great in writing, that is where you have to dedicate most of your time. My father always told me when I was younger to read as much as I could so I could learn how to write better. Regardless of how much talent (you think) you have, it’s not enough to become a good professional.

However, David, I’m afraid that there’s something else that you need to become a great blogger: you need experience. Sure, your skills will come as you gain experience, but if you don’t exercise your freedom of speech, as much as possible, before attempting a blogging career, you might make some dire mistakes.

I’ve been blogging for almost two years now and I still consider myself rather “novice” in some aspects. There are always new things you can learn, and more ways for you to improve yourself. You can apply that to everything you do in life, not just blogging.

David: Most bloggers trying to go “pro” try to spread themselves outwards onto dozens of sites, and though you work for a blog network, you haven’t gone ahead and spread yourself onto multiple blogs (at least as far as I know). Why is that and do you think that is something you would be interested in doing?

Marco: Jacob Gower, the current owner of BloggyNetwork and ForeverGeek, has given me the opportunity to write on other blogs of the network more than once. Every now and then he sends me an e-mail letting me know what he thinks of my work, and asking if I’d like to try writing on some other blogs.

Until now, I have always declined those invitations, because I don’t have much experience in some of the subjects of the other blogs, and therefore I prefer not to step in, before getting well acquainted with them. I am also a bit sympathetic for ForeverGeek, because it was the blog in which I was nurtured. If I started writing too early on other blogs I’d probably grow “home sick” from FG, starting my own blog was already enough of a challenge for me.

Lately I’ve been trying to write some articles about blogging on my personal blog, like “What Chess can teach Blogging” which was recently mentioned here on BP. Therefore I guess you can say that I am trying to spread myself a little, but not abruptly. But who knows, maybe soon enough I’ll start writing on other blogs, maybe it will even be on this one. That depends on how acquainted I become, and how well received my blogging articles are.

David: If you had to give a tip to all the bloggers out there looking to make a few bucks from blogging. What would that tip or those tips be?

Marco: If you are only in the blogging business in order to make money, you should realize that there are more profitable professions out there. Back when my father managed my island’s most popular newspaper, he didn’t earn a good enough payment for the amount of hours he worked for. Right now, blogging is the same.

Most professional bloggers work arduously, sometimes up to 12 hours a day, in order to make enough revenue just to make a living. There are only a select few that make a lot of money.

Some people are more business-oriented than others, others are just more popular, or better writers, or simply more fortunate. I guess that what I’m trying to say is, if you don’t have a love for this profession, a taste for writing and the yearn to discover new things every day, then this might not be the most appropriate profession for you, but if you do, I hope that you have enough perseverance, and luck, to make it.

Categories: Interview

New Ways to Strike it Rich on the Web

SmallBizBlog has a great article, referencing one written by Business 2.0, that quickly covers a new way to really strike out thanks to the internet.

Sloan points out the example of David Carter of AsbestosSurvey.com. Carter wrote about regulatory changes in his native England by culling data from a government website. He explained what property owners needed to do to comply. He even posted local phone numbers for his “business” in London, Manchester, and Birmingham, each of which was forwarded to an answering service.

When inquiries flooded in, Carter steered them to an acquaintance who really was an asbestos surveyor. The requests were far more than one surveyor could handle, but Carter continued to book new customers. To Carter, there was really only one answer: Become a surveyor himself.

An interesting idea, and probably not one actually done by too many people. I know some friends who have created web related businesses from cutting out a niche and trying to fill it as best they can, but none that I know of have taken it to the next step like the Carter example did, and I really think that is a brilliant idea.

There are always other things that can come from blogging that are completely unexpected, and sometimes those are the best reward from blogging. I doubt Carter expected to become a surveyor, but when the opportunity arose, he jumped at the opportunity. And that is the kind of flexibility and courage we can all be envious of.

Categories: Blogging Tips

BlogMedia now Problogging, Inc.

In a weird shift, it looks like Matt Craven has decided to move away from the BlogMedia name and start Problogging, Inc. The new company will specialize in services for bloggers, rather than creating and maintaining blogs.

Our focus will be on serving the needs of the Professional Blogging community and those who wish to enter that arena.

You’ll soon see some changes here at this site – a new ebook telling the BlogMedia story – and many other tools to help bloggers along their path to establishing a life for themselves as professional bloggers.

Tony Hung, a writer on the Blog Herald, was recently able to get Matt to sit still for an interview about the change over at Deep Jive Interests.

TH: Can you expand a little on what your focus will be on — from a blogging point of view?
MC: We’ll always be covering the blogosphere in some way, shape, or form. We’ll be talking more about professional blogging over at problogging.com – and launching a new podcast only site in the near future.

I think this is an interesting idea. Problogging is a growing niche, and there are some that would be perfect at the job, but are unable to traverse the crazy sea of activity currently going on to find the network, or networks that would best suit their personality, writing style, and abilities.

I am not sure about the long term success of such a venture, and I really hope to see the Problogging.com team step up and really make a strong go of this. I wanted to mention this not only because it is interesting news, but I want to wish Matt and team all the best in their new venture.

Categories: General

Technorati Link Count Widget

Unless you are one of the most talked about bloggers online, this widget might not mean much to you. Techorati has released a widget that will allow you to display the number of links to each on of your posts in more or less real-time.

Imagine if you could display the number of links to each of your posts in real-time — updated live for all your visitors. That’s what you get with the Technorati Link Count Widget. It’s a simple piece of code that lets you make your site or blog more dynamic.

Technorati tracks when other bloggers link to your blog and this widget makes it possible for you to display the number of links on every blog post. We call them “reactions” to encourage readers to follow the conversation. To add the widget, copy and paste the code below into your blog’s template.

With trackbacks and comments already prevalent for bloggers, I don’t know how useful a widget such as Technorati’s Link Count Widget can be. Do I really need to see that a story I have posted has been linked to or mentioned one or two times on Technorati?

Categories: Blogging Tools

Some People Just Don’t Get Problogging

Over on Yugatech there is an article that talks about how people don’t understand problogging or even just the difference between pro and non-pro.

Someone once asked me what’s the difference between pro and non-pro. I said the pro’s get paid to do it. A professional driver gets paid to drive; a professional photographer gets paid to shoot pictures; a professional basketball player gets paid to play hoops; a professional crier gets paid to cry on burials.

In the same sense, a professional blogger gets paid to, you guessed it, blog. So, what’s so damn wrong if professional bloggers are getting paid to blog, except for the fact that the concept is so new to people beyond their 40’s (excuse the pun)?

He then gives some details on the various monetization routes that probloggers take in their endeavors. A great read for those not in the know.

Categories: Blogging Tips

Protection from Commentors

In the US, there has been a court proceeding going on that was making some people a little nervous, but finally the California Supreme Court has ruled. The ruling is in favor of publishers, as they are not to be held liable for the defamatory comments written by others.

The court said those claiming defamation could sue only the original source of the comments, not publishers or distributors, even if the distributor was an individual.

Source: The New York Times

Categories: General