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Archive for September, 2009

Market your blog efficiently with Tweet Whistle

You can do all of the hard work researching topics and writing content for your blog but all of your hard work is worthless if no one will actually visit your blog and read your well thought out posts.

All blog owners should not only improve their writing and research skills, they should also develop their internet marketing skills. They should learn how to market their blogs so that they can entice people to visit their blog and continue reading the posts they make. A properly marketed blog is also a great source of income. Imagine getting more money from the ads that you put in your blog? That’s a benefit I’d love to get from my blogs.

The problem is that internet marketing is a subject that intimidates a lot of people. Personally, I don’t think that this should be a source of fear. Internet marketing is not really that hard especially if you have the tools to help make things easier for you. For example, Twitter is quite easy to use. The popular microblogging platform is now widely used as an internet marketing tool. Its popularity makes it an obvious choice to implement marketing efforts because of the number of people that can be reached by the marketing message. Because of its effectiveness as a marketing tool, it’s also a natural progression that independent tools are developed to further mine the capabilities of Twitter.

Tweet Whistle | Twitter Marketing Solution | FAQ_1254239014763Tweet Whistle is one of these tools that have unleashed the power of Twitter. Tweet Whistle is a marketing tool that allows you to market your blog in Twitter more easily by automating Twitter’s functions. With this application you can automatically target followers and even automate your Twitter posts. What’s more, Tweet Whistle is the most affordable Twitter marketing application you will find on the net. You can see for yourself how useful Tweet Whistle is by trying the trial demo, which you can download at http://www.tweetwhistle.com/.

But if you want the opportunity of using the full version of Tweet Whistle for free, you can join Tweet Whistle’s contest, wherein the winner will get a licensed copy of Tweet Whistle and a $25 cash prize to be paid through PayPal. To join the contest just do the following:
1.    Follow @thetoolsmith on Twitter

2.    Just tweet the message below:

Just enter to win $25.00 and a free copy of “Tweet Whistle” Just follow @thetoolsmith and Retweet http://tweetwhistle.com

Categories: Blog Software, Blogging Tools, Microblogging
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WeblogTools Plugin Competition Winners Announced

WeblogTools Collection has just recently announced the winners of their WordPress Plugin Competition for the year 2009.

The grand prize was awarded to Godfrey Chan for his “Section Widget” plugin. The plugin provides a way to display widgets on specific pages with an easy to use interface. It also comes with a feature that lets users create tabbed section widgets, as well as shortcode support for easy code placement.

Taking up the runner-up positions are Ron Rennick with the “Advanced Export for WP and WPMU” plugin, which provides WordPress users the ability to break up their exports into multiple files, and Chris Northwood with his entry, “Live Blogging”, a plugin that provides a live “micro-blogging” functionality for WordPress blogs.

Winners of the contest were chosen through a panel of judges and by votes from the readers of WeblogTools Collection.

The grand prize winner receives a cash prize of $2000, while each runner-up gets $500.

Congratulations to the winners! Looking forward another batch of cool plugins next year!

Categories: WordPress Plugins

LiveJournal Owners Can Now Earn Money Through their Blogs

livejournal-logo2

LiveJournal has just launched a joint program with Google Adsense called “Your Journal – Your Money” last September 22, 2009, which gives LiveJournal owners a chance to earn cash through their blogs by displaying Google ads on their pages.

“This project allows millions of LiveJournal users to work with Google to earn money from doing what they already love to do on LiveJournal. The Google AdSense program is successfully used by many bloggers across the globe, and I am delighted that LiveJournal users are now going to be able to share in this success.” says Vladimir Dolgov, country manager for Google Russia, during a press release.

According to the LiveJournal Inc. Blog, this feature is only available to all paid and permanent account holders. Before they could enter the program, users are asked to have their own Google Adsense account.

Once signed up, users can specify where their ads would appear on their pages. Furthermore, advertisements are fully customizable, allowing users to choose the color, size, and format of the ads.

The amount that bloggers can earn on the program depends on different factors like the cost of the ads and the number of views that the ad receives.  Blog owners will get most of their earnings, with only a small percentage going to Google. LiveJournal, on the other hand, will not directly receive any share of the advertising revenue.

Interested parties can learn more about the “Your Journal – Your Money” program here.

Categories: Blogging News

Movable Type Monday: New MT5 Beta, Single Sign-On, Easy Install Video, and Theme Tips

Happy Monday, folks! Movable Type Monday took a break for a couple of weeks, but now we’re back with the latest from the MT community.

First off, there’s a new MT5 beta. Lots of improvements and bug fixes over the previous beta. But, if you haven’t installed it yet, you might just want to wait: I’ve heard that beta 3 is supposed to be released in the next day or two.

Next, Byrne Reese has a new plugin that implements OpenSSO. This allows you to use an OpenSSO server as a single sign-on solution for your MT installation. For more on OpenSSO, see the documentation from Sun.

Need help installing MT?, Sahas Katta has created a video to walk you through the process. His process includes a shell script that does most of the work for you. Thanks, Sahas!

Finally, Tom McGee wrote a post with several tips for customizing MT blogs. Tom’s tips focus on creating custom themes and modifying banner images in default themes. Good information for those less familiar with MT’s current theme system.

What have you done with MT lately? Let us know in the comments.

Categories: Movable Type News
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No More SimplePie Development

I’ve used SimplePie for a few projects, and so I was sad to find out, via WPTavern, that SimplePie is shutting down development.

From the Blog Post:

So effective immediately, we are ceasing development of SimplePie and shutting down the project. We will shortly be pushing all code to GitHub. The mailing list will continue to serve users for the time being, but my sincerest hope is that someone will take up the charge to fork SimplePie, fix all of its issues, and continue on with this project that’s been such a huge part of my life for the past 5 years.

While I am not sure what this means for the long term use of the code as they are going to give away the final release to whomever wants it via GitHub. It is always interesting to me to see big projects loose steam, despite the sadness that surrounds the demise of an otherwise great project and product.

The question now is: who will continue on helping people parse RSS feeds in the future? WordPress 2.9 was set to use SimplePie version 1.3. What will they use for WordPress 3.0? Only time will tell.

Categories: Blogging News, Interesting

Blogger.com Adds Avatars to Embedded Blog Comments

As a part of their tenth birthday celebration, Blogger.com has recently announced a new feature that displays the profile picture on your Blogger account next to embedded blog comments similar to Gravatars on WordPress.

photosincomments

The feature is automatically enabled on all blogspot blogs. To enable/disable the feature, go to your blogs Settings>Comments page and you’ll find the option labeled “Show profile images on comments?”

bloggercommentavagtarFor those who don’t have a profile photo yet, Blogger has included a form wherein you could upload a photo while in the comment preview page. The next time you comment on a blogger blog, your profile photo will be automatically added next to your comment.

addimage

Additional news: A few weeks ago, Blogger launched another new feature called “jump break“, which is quite similar to WordPress’ “more tag” feature.

Categories: Blogger News

WordPress.com Blogs Now Has New Spell Checker Tool

automatticlogoafterthedeadline

Automattic, the company behind WordPress, has just acquired a new grammar and spell checker tool called “After the Deadline“, last September 8, as a replacement for the old one used by WordPress.com blogs.

After the Deadline helps you write better and spend less time editing. It basically works like your typical grammar and spell checker tools in word processing software, like words or phrases being underlined if the program suspects an error, as well as giving out suggested corrections that the user can choose from.

“When I first tried After the Deadline I was blown away; it was so much better than other checkers I’d used,” said Matt Mullenwag, founder of Automattic.

For more information about After the Deadline, check out the video below.

The new After the Deadline spell checker tool is now enabled on WordPress blogs. Those who have self-hosted blogs can get the plugin here.

Categories: WordPress News, WordPress Plugins

Convert Visitors to Loyal Readers by Making A Good First Impression

Out of the total number of visitors that land on blogs, I found out that only a small percentage actually stay and read posts. This is the problem with first-time blog visitors. You have to completely grab their attention for them to stick around.

Once a visitor lands on a page, we only have a few seconds to get their attention before they scurry away. This is why making a good first impression to our blog visitors is important. If they get intrigued enough with your blog, then it wouldn’t be too difficult to convince them to become loyal readers.


The very first thing that people see when they load your blog is the area above the fold. I’m referring to the general area immediately visible on a visitor’s monitor screen.

Above the fold

We need to make sure that everything found on this area is geared to pique interest. Some factors that could help with this would be:

Your blog’s look and feel

Even if you have the best content, most people won’t go into the trouble of reading it if your site is not visually appealing. Let’s face it. People like a good-looking blog.

Take some time in making your blog look better. Look for a nice-looking theme that would go well with the personality of your blog. If you have money to spare, consider hiring a web designer to give your blog that unique feel.

You don’t know what their blog is about, but looking at their design, you kind of want to find out.

You don’t know what their blog is about, but looking at their design, you kind of want to find out.

Your design doesn’t really need to be a big work of art. Sometimes even a simple design would suffice as long as it is catchy or pleasing to the eye.

Your blog’s title and Description

Once we have the attention of our visitors, the next thing that they do is to check out what site they are currently on. Displaying your blog header in an easy to spot location would help with this.

Also don’t forget to include a short description about your blog to give your readers a gist of what your blog is. Most people don’t realize how helpful this is. Look at our header. Just by looking at it you’ll immediately know that we are a blog that focuses on news, plugins, and themes for blogging applications. People who have an interest with what we write will be sure to check out our posts.

A welcome or introductory blurb

Some blogs have a section which contains a welcome message aimed at visitors. Try something  personal that would catch a reader’s eye like “Hi there! You’ve reached my blog!” or something similar. The trick is to directly address your message to your visitors.

Some blogs even include a short description explaining to readers what their blog is about.

screen-freelanceswitch

FreelanceSwitch’s introductory section accomplishes both things mentioned above.

Top Posts Section

What better way to make a good impression on your visitors than to show them your best posts?

More and more blogs are now displaying their top featured articles on their pages. This is a proven and effective method especially if you place them above the fold.

By making your best posts immediately visible, their’s a high chance that people would go and read it. Furthermore, tagging them as “top posts” has this effect on people that make them want to read it. Just make sure that what you place there are indeed the best that your blog has to offer, otherwise it might have a negative effect!

If you still don’t have one on your blog yet here are some plugins that can help you set up a top posts section:

Daily Top 10 Posts WordPress plugin by Alleba.com

Popularity Contest WordPress plugin by AlexKing.org


Once you have the attention of your visitors, it’s fairly easy to get them reading your posts. From hereon it’s just a matter of how good your content is. If they liked what you have on your blog, chances are they’ll be happy to come back and become a loyal reader. If not, well at least you tried.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our feeds by clicking here!

Categories: Blogging Tips

3 Unlikely Places to Find Blogging Inspiration

If you ask me, any professional who is required to do a great deal of writing is bound to stumble on a “writer’s block” (Or in this case, “blogger’s block.” ) So how does a blogger beat the block? Well, inspiration is the key.

Finding inspiration is an iffy thing because it’s not automatic. Sometimes that spark happens so easily, but there are times when you have to put yourself through a wringer to extract it. But nonetheless, inspiration does happen. Here are three places to I think are the last place people will look for blogging inspiration:

  • The Mall – People often go though lengths to find a quiet place and wait for that spark. Well, a busy place like the mall can give you a rich place of people to observe, watch trends, and find something interesting to blog about. Just sit in one spot and just try observing people.
  • Talk Radio – Radio may be considered the granddaddy of media, but there’s still some interesting talk happening over there. Talk radio may be a great place to get a feel of what a specific segment is in to these days, like politics and entertainment.
  • Online Forums – Yeah, online forums have been out of the radar for sometime now, with blogs and microblogs hogging the limelight. But some of the more intense debates still happen on forums. Try lurking on some forums and you might find a controversial topic worth writing about.

Just remember, blogging inspiration doesn’t have to come from other people’s blogs.

Categories: Blogging Tips
Tags: ,

No Long Term Support Version of WordPress Planned

One of the things that was discussed on a recent episode of WordPress Weekly Podcast was the idea of bringing back a long term support (LTS) release of WordPress like they did with the 2.0 branch up until recently. This made many companies feel secure in using WordPress on production environments, knowing that they wouldn’t usually have to worry about broken plugins, depreciated functions, administration design changes or security issues.

In a recent developer chat, Jeff brought up a question regarding LTS releases in the future of WordPress, and here are the responses:

jeffr0 – Directed at Mark. Has their been any talk of a new supported legacy branch?

Considering the security stuff earlier this month, some folks have been suggesting that WordPress bring back a supported legacy branch of WordPress. I decided to ask if any talk of this has been ongoing in the inner dev circle and Mark replied that he wasn’t aware of any. In fact, Mark stated he would be extremely opposed to an LTS (Long Term Service) branch. Sivel doesn’t think it is something that they are ready to undertake.

MarkJaquith – I’d rather direct resources to making upgrades smoother and showcasing well-coded plugins that won’t break on upgrade.

westi – The only way a LTS branch is going to exist is if the person that wants it creates it. our resources are better directed elsewhere

So there you have it, there are no plans currently for a new long term support version of WordPress. I think that this would be the perfect opportunity for a WordPress company, or a company with the right programming resources to commit developers to the community to maintain the 3.0 branch as a long term supported version for security patches for a minimum of a year. It would bring good press and attention to that company, and would be a huge contribution to the community and continued success of WordPress. Any company out there interested in doing such a thing?

Read more about the recent developer chat on WPTavern.

Categories: WordPress News

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