Archive for January, 2007
Ryan Boren has pointed out something I didn’t realize. It looks like WordPress is going to be upping their MySQL requirements over the next few versions.
WordPress 2.1 will have a requirement of MySQL 4.0 and 2.2 will probably need MySQL 4.1. For those of you that are concerned about this, you can rest easy as the Automattic team have said they will continue to support the 2.0.x branch and its MySQL 3.23.23 requirement.
He does make a good point though that we should be mentioning to our hosts to upgrade if they haven’t already.
There are still a number of hosts running 4.0, however, so we decided to postpone bumping to 4.1 until WordPress 2.2 comes out. Hopefully this will give everyone sufficient notice to upgrade their installations. Since MySQL AB has discontinued support for 4.0, upgrading seems like a good idea regardless of what WordPress requires.
Check out the full post on Boren.nu.
I don’t know where I have been, or how I missed this, but Feed Rinse is now completely free. I didn’t try out the service before because I have become spoiled by Google and all its free services, but now that Feed Rinse is free, I am definitely thinking of giving it a go.
What is Feed Rinse?
Feed Rinse is an easy to use tool that lets you automatically filter out syndicated content that you aren’t interested in. It’s like a spam filter for your RSS subscriptions.
More than that though, you can have it filter out “posts you don’t care about”. While some bloggers might not like this idea, I think it can be pretty useful, especially if you are following specific niches. When I was writing about digital cameras every day, I had to wade through hundreds of posts from popular gadget sites on other devices. This would allow me to slowly filter out everything except digital camera related posts. A very interesting idea.
Check out Feed Rinse. It’s free now.
Over at gapingvoid a great post is up called “Random Notes on Blogging”, where Hugh Macleod has put up around fourty of his thoughts in relation to blogging.
The first five being:
1. The First Rule of Blogging: â€œBlogs donâ€™t write themselves.â€ Itâ€™s the hardest and most frustrating part of professionally helping others to blog.
2. Most bloggers I have met I would describe as smart, decent, passionate people. This includes bloggers that I don’t particularly like on a personal level. I have yet to meet a blogger who I would describe as a “Thoroughbred Scumbag”.
3. Blogging is an art, same as any other method of self-expression. Some are better at it than others.
4. Stay as honest as you can, for as long as you can. Once you cross the line itâ€™s hard to go back.
5. A lot of serious bloggers became so because frankly, they had too much time on their hands. And often there were good reasons for that.
My favourite one though is number 41, but I will make you check out the list to read that one.
Dan Grossman has released a review plug-in that allows you to collect reviews or ratings on just about anything. A pretty cool and powerful little plug-in system.
The DG Review Site (DGRS) plugin for WordPress allows you to turn your blog into a powerful review engine. Itâ€™s flexible in design and presentation so you could use it as an additional interaction feature for your blog to collect reviews of your posts, or to drive a product/service review site where your users contribute the reviews.
Some of the features include being able to collect ratings on posts with comments, define what categories you want to collect ratings for, and display them in pretty much any way you want to.
If you are looking at finding out what your readership likes or doesn’t like in regards to the content or opinions on your blog, this might be a plug-in to check out.
BlogCatalog is one of the biggest and best known blog directories around, and currently is a Bloggy Network property, at least for now. Some lucky person is going to have the chance to add this site as one of their own as it has been listed on Sitepoint as being for sale
What is BlogCatalog?
BlogCatalog is a directory listing of blogs, but more than that, it is one of the few that are well established. The site was originally created in mid-2004 and has since been added to DMOZ, Yahoo Directory, and has been linked to by many sites. It has had a consistant Google PageRank of 7 for over a year now, and comes in as number one in searches for “blog directory”.
Why is it for sale?
With an ever increasing blog network, BlogCatalog has become the odd-man, and so it needs a loving home where it can continue to get the love and attention it deserves.
What else can you tell me about it?
The design was created by a high end design firm, FortyMedia.com, the advertising revenue from the site comes to around $1700 a month, and Yahoo Site Explorer says the site has over 1,000,000 backlinks.
This isn’t a property that Bloggy Network really wanted to let go of, but with the sale of one property, time and energy to start and develop new things becomes available. If you are looking for a powerful site, that has been around for a while, has some great Page Rank and some great search result positioning, you will want to jump on over to the Sitepoint auction.
Update: Sold for buy it now price. Great stuff! Another showing of how the market currently is.
Tony Hung did amazing in his stint as the writer of Problogger.net and one of his final posts was entitled “A Few Last Lessons On Blogging” where he listed some amazing thoughts that all bloggers should read, from starting out, to the highly advanced, you can never know too much.
The post was a great self reflection moment for me as I thought back to my beginnings in blogging and those that helped me out, which is why I am going to share with everyone my favourite point in Tony’s post:
3. Network like your life depended on it
Scary business, as Iâ€™m sure many of you are the introverted type who donâ€™t cotton well to approaching strangers and striking up a conversation. Heck, I know I am to certain extent. Iâ€™m not sure how to say this other than to say â€œget over itâ€. Youâ€™ll accelerate your success if you find a mentor, or someone who has experience who is willing to be a good friend, and youâ€™ll also accelerate your success if you just plain olâ€™ have more online â€œfriendsâ€ period, and I donâ€™t mean people you forward jokes to. I mean people who have a strategic worth to your blog and your blogging career. Sure, it sounds mercenary, but again, the benefit of a strong network is absolutely huge in blogging. A good network of contacts wil provide you with leads to stories, new blogging jobs, a foot-in-the-door to blog networks, introduce you to bigger and better bloggers, in addition to things like mentions and link-backs in their posts, potential interview subjects, more participation in YOUR blog and so on. So, how do you network?
Iâ€™ve found its most helpful to do it the old fashion way â€” and not much different than finding a mentor. Surf blogs. Read loads of blogs. Email the authors. Start an interaction. Then follow up with other emails that they might find helpful. Keep contact regularly. Donâ€™t let your friends grow stale. Be good to them, and see if theyâ€™re good to you. Again, if theyâ€™re not, donâ€™t take it personally, and move on. But if they do, help them with their own blogging relationships. Introduce them to who you know. Maybe thereâ€™s someone who you know that can help them with their problem. The more you can help your new friends, the more theyâ€™ll find you useful to them, and the easier it will be to ask for favours when needed.
Without the people I have met, and talked to, I would not be where I am today. Connecting with others can be the difference between fading into obscurity and being the number one source on a niche. So, contact your favourite bloggers and say “hello”. Give them a hand with something, ask them to review or look over your blog. You might be surprised what comes from it.
If you are wanting to build your brand, it never hurts to have some method to allow people to become a member.
Coffee shops understand this, and so do some sub and sandwich shops. Creating a membership service allows people to feel like they belong to a club, group or organization, and that there are special benefits attached to that membership.
With your blog, you can provide membership services that will also help your blog and brand continue to grow.
How? Well, through RSS subscriptions, private subscription services, e-mail subscriptions, and member only areas of the blog.
Why would you want to take time to do this? Well, it could help you attain some of the goals with your blog. Do you want to have a thousand people subscribed to your RSS feed? By giving them extra content not found on the blog, you can convert even some casual readers into subscribers.
Do you want to make money off your blog? A paid subscription to premium content might help with that, or by having ads on your feeds and promoting RSS feeds, you might be giving yourself another chance at getting the clicks that will mean the difference between a coffee a month, and ordering a nice supper from your favourite restaurant.
These things take time and energy to do and you really have to understand your audience, but by providing your readers a “group” to be part of, it could end up being the thing you need to bring a community together and really grow your blog. Involving your readership in new and exciting ways will set you apart from the masses.
A trend that I rather enjoy is watching live blogging events unfold. Many of them are surrounding conferences and whatnot, but some are just for fun or personal interest. James Yu, over at Buzz Shout, has written out his thoughts on the Live Blogging trend.
He specifically talks about how different sites dealt with the Macworld keynote, and how one site did it better than another but still managed to be beaten by the bigger name.
During the Macworld keynote, there were dozens of blogs that were engaged in live bloggingâ€“some more successful than others. The two leaders were Engadget and Mac Rumors. Both were providing pictures along with the text, and keeping the post updated at least once every few minutes.
However, there was a key difference between the two. Mac Rumors actually implemented an AJAX refresh that updated the post without needing to send an HTML refresh of the page. This served to reduce the bandwidth needed to push out the information to a large audience, and also to reduce the potential wait time to get the information. This made the Mac Rumors live blogging experience to be more fluid and timely.
An interesting idea for sure, and while Mac Rumors had the better experience, it still didn’t get the superior traffic. I wonder how many sites will impliment such an experience in their next live blogging situation. I think that AJAX refresh idea is a really amazing one.
Ben Yoskovitz of Instigator Blog has a post up called “8 Steps to Growing Your Blog Community One Person At a Time” where he lists some interesting ways at getting people to keep coming back.
- Write to Get More Comments
- Reply to Comments
- Visit Commentersâ€™ Sites
While most of this is very common sense, it takes time and energy, and that has to be something you are willing to put into your respective blogs if you want to see them grow.
It is a great post, and definitely worth checking out, if you haven’t already. Seems like it made it to the front page of Digg. Guess Ben knows what he is talking about.
Yaro Starak, of Entrepreneur’s Journey has posted about what it takes to be a professional blogger. His post, while it doesn’t talk about me, is still full of some great information that those thinking about joining the industry should know.
Things like owning a niche, motivation, organization, and selling blogs.
One of the best tidbits in the post is his assessment of Steve Pavlina.
Steve Pavlina is perhaps one of the best examples of a blogger who could stop writing and currently doesnâ€™t write every day (although he does write some nasty sized articles) and can expect reasonable income – very high income compared to most bloggers and salary workers – for many months and even years to come thanks to his blog archives.
I canâ€™t see Steve losing his traffic since he has so many sources of it. Not just Google and search engines, but the millions of incoming links from blogs, other sites and social networks and all kinds of communication channels both online and offline, and the no doubt the most powerful source – offline word of mouth, to bring in visitors.
As much of a shining success story Steveâ€™s is, most people have to accept they are not like him, they donâ€™t blog in a topic so widely applicable (howâ€™s â€œthe human raceâ€ as a target market!), they donâ€™t have his gift for teaching with words, they havenâ€™t the self awareness raising experience and education to draw from for content. The fact is the quality of his content and the size of the niche he dominates makes him a very rare case – a gifted blogger if you will.
Check out the post before you try to make the leap to Problogging. You might just realize it isn’t what you thought it was.