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Archive for March, 2008

Thomas Baekdal Hates AdSense

Recently, I stumbled onto a post that I really enjoyed. Thomas Baekdal broke down the type of ads he’s found on sites thanks to Google AdSense that are either irrelevant, spam or adult related, and he notes that they are increasing in frequency.

You might think that I am exaggerating the problem, but I found that spam, scam, phishing and adult ads accounts for a staggering 36% of all the ads on this site. The irrelevant (but non-spam) ads account for a further 7%. And, a single company accounted for 18% of all the spam ads.

Spam and spyware ads are bad enough, but I am absolutely annoyed by the adult ads.

He includes a variety of screenshots to prove his point, and just to drive it home for those that still don’t agree with him, he’s included some text from others with the same complaints.

The best part though is the fact that AdSense is still in the far right hand side of his site. So the question becomes, even if AdSense did become the home of only “junk” ads, would we still plaster it on our sites to make a dime or two here and there?

Categories: Advertising

20 Types of Pages that Every Blogger Should Consider

If you are using most modern blogging software, I am sure you can create pages, and you should be. Darren recently wrote a post on the types of pages that every blogger should consider adding to their sites, as they help, inform, and promote the site.

He lists things like the about, contact, disclaimer, subscribe, advertise, and one that I don’t think bloggers use enough: series central page.

9. Series Page – Central Page – the other approach to managing a series of posts with a ‘page’ is to use one as a ‘central links page’ that you update with a link to each post in your series over time. This is what I did in my 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Series last August. The beauty of this approach over the ‘compilation page’ is that it can drive a lot more page views as readers are ’sneezed’ in multiple directions into your blog. It’s also good because it allows readers to be more selective about which posts in a series they want to read rather than reading the full thing.

The post is very well thought out, and very interesting to read. If you are using WordPress, maybe you should take the time today and click Write Page rather than Write Post, and get some of these suggestions out of the way.

I have written about creating the perfect about page before, and I suggest that you check it out if you are looking for ideas.

Categories: Blogging Tips

WordPress 2.5 Making Waves?

So far, I haven’t heard many big complaints about WordPress 2.5. There are lots of confused people out there trying to get a handle on all of the changes, and many errors they are having are of their own creation, but theme, plugin and other major errors seem to be relatively low for a release of this magnitude. Some broken plugins, sure, but other than that, I am very impressed.

It looks to me like the extra time was well spent. The next big area of concern for most people are plugins. I know many people are working on updating their plugins for WordPress 2.5, and hopefully most of the major plugins will be updated in a short amount of time so that everyone can bask in the newness of the WordPress 2.5 administration panel.

My best advice is to throw money at problematic plugin authors to make it worth their while to get their new release out today, rather than “when they can”.

Let me know if you come across any major WordPress 2.5 errors. Keep checking the WordPress Forum as well for support.

Categories: WordPress News

WordPress 2.5 and New WordPress.org Website

It looks like WordPress 2.5 “Brecker” is making the WordCamp Dallas release date that many people were hoping it would make as the WordPress.org website gets a fresh design that reminds me of the WordPress 2.5 administration panel interface.

Not yet on the development blog, but oddly shown on the front page:

WordPress 2.5, the culmination of six months of work by the WordPress community, people just like you. The improvements in 2.5 are numerous, and almost entirely a result of your feedback: multi-file uploading, one-click plugin upgrades, built-in galleries, customizable dashboard

I am excited to get moving on using the new version and I love the new WordPress.org website. I think it is all a strong improvement. Kudos to everyone involved.

Check out the forums before downloading WordPres 2.5, to see if anyone is having major problems.

Categories: WordPress News

Problogger’s Group Video Project

Darren has announced that he wants to do a video version of his group writing projects. I couldn’t be more excited to see what people come up with. The subject for the first one is “Why I Blog”.

One of the things I am most excited about is seeing what everyone produces so that I can figure out what is the best way to produce a video blog. Having the masses all come together and create their own videos could provide us all with the chance to see which service has the best quality, interface, and speed. It could also give us information on which equipment setups work well, which software works well, and much more beyond just the answer to the question Darren has posed.

My hope with this project is that it’ll be fun, drive a little traffic back to your blogs, that it’ll help us each learn more from one another about the video medium and that it’ll evangelize blogging a little in the process and shed some light on why and how people are using blogging.

We have only until April 1st to upload and link to our video in his comments to join in on the fun, so check out the post on Problogger and get shooting.

Categories: General

WordPress Themes: Live Wire Series

Adii has released three new themes under the Live Wire name. We have Live Wire 2.0, Live Wire Edition and Live Wire Style. Very much a magazine theme, the Live Wire themes are still very usable without needing to have your own magazine blog.

Starting at $99.95 for a single license, $149.95 for a three pack, which contains all three themes, and two licenses, or $249.95 for the developer license which allows you to use the themes on an unlimited number of blogs, the features help speak for the pricing.

Live Wire Edition

Features

  • Automatic Image Resizer
  • Custom Page Templates for Archives, Sitemap & Image Gallery
  • Built-in Gravatar Support for Authors & Comments
  • Author Profiles & Archives
  • Featured news section
  • Video Panel (for use with Flash videos)
  • Navigation Dropdown Menu’s
  • Sidebar Tabbed Box
  • 2 different homepage layouts (featured section)
  • Widgetized sidebars
  • Integrated Banner Ad Management (easily switch this on / off)
  • Integrated Flickr & Feedburner

My favourite is Live Wire Edition, as you can see from the image above. If you want to get your own copy of one of the Live Wire series from Adii, check out his site Premium News Theme.

Giveaway

Even more amazing, if you want to get the Live Wire theme set today, Adii has agreed to give one away to the winner of this contest. Blog about what you would use the Live Wire theme for, which version is your favourite, and link back to both the Live Wire area on Premium News Theme as well as this post on Blogging Pro, and you will be entered into a random draw to get the three themes. This is a $149.95 value.

Posts must be a minimum of two hundred words, and other than that, you have until April 2nd, 2008. Entries will be selected from trackbacks on this post, and I look forward to reading your thoughts on the new Live Wire theme set.

Crowd-funded gadgets, tech, games and other awesome Kickstarter products at the Forevergeek Kickstarter Store

Categories: WordPress Themes

More Professional Blogspot Blog

Download Squad has put up a post that brings you through creating a more professional Blogspot blog, step by step. I am not a big fan of the service, but I do think that if you are a Blogger blogger, you should read this guide and take everything to heart.

It starts with simple things like removing the banner at the top of your blog, to more complex layout and feature changes that you can make to create an enjoyable reading experience for your readers.

But while Google offers a handful of widgets for customizing your blog, if you really want to make your web site your own, you’re going to have to get your hands dirty editing your blog template and adding some HTML and JavaScript code. Fortunately, you don’t have to know much about HTML or CSS to implement the tweaks in this guide. As long as you’re handy with the copy and paste keys, you should be all set.

I implore you, please read this guide if you are on Blogspot.

Categories: Blogger Tools

LiveJournal Removes Ad-Free Account Option

One semi-unique feature that LiveJournal had was its advertising free account option, but as of today it seems that option will no longer be around.

Details from ReadWriteWeb say:

SUP, the Russian company that recently acquired LiveJournal, angered a substantial number of its users last week by instituting the policy before discussing it publicly and going against the advice of at least two members of the company’s new high profile advisory committee.

LJ’s pricing structure has long been unique among major social networks; none of its competitors allow users to avoid ads or pay for an ad-free and feature-rich account. It appears that the company has given up on that unique approach and chosen the ubiquitous ad-centric path to monetization, itself of questionable effectiveness in monetizing some social networking platforms.

Am I surprised that they had to go this route? Not really, as blogging software like LiveJournal is expensive to maintain, service, and update, and the staff deserves decent compensation for their work. I think they would have been better off taking a page from TypePad and WordPress.com by instituting more paid options rather than taking in more ad-supported methods to generating revenue.

What will happen to LiveJournal as it heads down this road? Will accounts already using the free with no ads version be grandfathered, or will they be exposed to ads?

If you are a LiveJournal user, please chime in, as I’d love to hear what you think of these recent developments.

Categories: Blog Software

Full Feeds are Better

Jonathan Bailey has written a great article on why full RSS feeds are better than partial feeds, and I totally agree with him. I have removed all my partial feeds, and continue to do so as I don’t find they provide me with the experience I want, and with so many sources for news and information, I’d rather stick to those that make my day easier by providing full feeds.

Despite these limitations to truncated feeds, there is still a case that they may provide some limited protection of your content. However, that protection comes at an extremely high price.

Survey after survey has shown that users overwhelmingly prefer full feeds. Some have even said that they refuse to subscribe to a short feed and, according to FeedBurner, who manages over 800,000 feeds, there is virtually no difference in the click-through rate for partial vs. full feeds.

In short, truncating your feed will likely cost you a decent percentage of your feed readers and those who remain are no more likely to click through to your site than they were when the feed was full. Your site and your readers will most likely suffer due to your decision.

The bottom line is that any benefit that may be derived from truncating your feed, especially if you currently offer a full one, is vastly outweighed by the drawbacks. Content theft is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with, but it is not one that is worth crippling your site over.

If you are a fan of truncated feeds, check out the post on Blog Herald, and I hope it changes your mind.

Categories: Blogging Tips

Splashpress Welcomes Micropatrons

One thing the readers on the site might have noticed is a new widget in our sidebar. Splashpress has become very interested in Scratchback as a micropayment system for our fans and readers. If you are looking for advertising on Splashpress Media blogs, this is the least expensive way to get a link from us.

We have already discussed our excitement for this advertising platform on Blog Herald and my own blog XFEP.com. Jim Kukral has also mentioned our uptake of the service on the Scratchback blog, which we feel is a testiment of how personal and wonderful the service is.

We can’t wait to see how advertisers and users react to this addition as we continue to add the widget to more and more of our higher level blogs. Some of the places you can already add your tip and link to include the Blog Herald, 901am, Forever Geek, and soon many more.

Categories: Advertising

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