October 25, 2005

WHAT BLOGS COST AMERICAN BUSINESS

from WHAT BLOGS COST AMERICAN BUSINESS

Time spent in the office on non-work blogs this year will take up the equivalent of 2.3 million jobs. Forget lunch breaks — bloggers essentially take a daily 40-minute blog break.

One of the myths of productivity is that people need to be doing something productive all the time. It limits the speed at which workers come up with better ideas and increases the time required to complete a task. Slack is good.

Andy Sernovitz, CEO of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, said blogs have become the favored diversion for β€œoffice goof-off time,” though he notes it’s hard to segregate blog time since blogs often bounce readers to professional media sites.

As if only well edited media biased from larger more corporate perspectives has any value…

October 21, 2005

Getting People to Ask Questions

A sign of a good blog is heavy high level commenting.

Another sign of quality may be heavy link citation.

In some cases though much of your potential audience may overlap with other channels that they prefer to discuss issues at, and you really only need one or two citations to make whatever you wrote matter.

Even if few comments occur on your blog you will still do well if you write things that lead to people asking related questions.

Google’s Adam Bosworth on Religion vs Reason & Faith vs Facts

fear not to speak, says Adam Bosworth:

It is time to speak up. It is time to say that facts are what matter, not faith, that human progress is accomplished through unfettered use of reason and inquiry and tolerance and discussion and debate, not through intolerant and irrational acts of terror or edicts. For all of our children and for the future, speak up against this wave of intolerance and irrationalism washing over the world.

It is easy to sell stuff to people who base their actions on faith, but it is also a shame to profit from or promote things you do not believe in.

For a long time I have gave my SEO Book to religious institutions. I think if I am to be honest with myself, and not live in shame for promoting things I think hurt the world far more than they help it I should only attempt to help spread non-denominational religious institutions.

My roommate tells me that he thinks I am the most anti Christian person he knows, but I don’t think that is the case. I think the same power structure flaws that place selfish or corrupt people in government also place them in high religious posts. Anything that teaches people to choose faith over science doesn’t make the world a better place, especially if zealots are indignant toward people with other faiths.

The solution? Only help or promote those who accept that it is ok to have a different faith than their own.

Nice personal voice post there Adam πŸ™‚

While on the same whinge, Seth has a good post about fear:

Today’s Globe & Mail reports that over the last 12 years, the number of armed conflicts in the world has gone down by 40% and the number of extremely deadly conflicts (more than 1,000 battle-related deaths) is down by more than 80%.

Today, bad news anywhere in the world shows up in your browser in seconds. Second, there are people making a full time living (and increasing their power) by scaring us

October 19, 2005

Jakob Nielson on Blog Usability

I don’t think Jakob even has a blog, but he knows the common usability errors found in blogs like this one. My guess is that most of them are pretty spot on, but I don’t agree with the following:

7. Irregular Publishing Frequency

You should publish somewhat frequently so people remember to visit your site, but trying to be too rigid with frequency could mean that you end up sacrificing quality for quantity.

Said another way, sometimes there is lots of news and stuff to talk about, other days their are nothing. If there is no news there is not a great benefit to make stuff up or post inferior stuff just to have something to post about.

9. Forgetting That You Write for Your Future Boss

I have absolutely ignored that line of thinking. Some sites will be more inclined to link at sites that post well thought out polished stuff. Other people will like sites for their lack of polish.

Some writers are good at writing. Others are good at being raw.

Balance what you are good at with audience expectations. If what you say is consistantly interesting I think using a natural voice is far more important than trying to do good for some future boss that may never find or hire you because your blog was too boring and conservative.

This comes from a person who has no formal training and knew nothing about the web a few years ago. In the last couple days I have:

  • Spoke to a marketing MBA class about SEO.
  • Had a major book publisher make a book publishing offer.

Those opportunities may have never found me if I errored on the side of safety, wrote with consistant frequency, and wrote for a future boss.

Put another way, people who like you when act as yourself are probably going to be more inclined to work with you and better work partners than those who are attracted to your ability to conform & be consistantly normal.

October 13, 2005

What Makes a Blog Important?

Only the Top Blogs Matter?

“Blogging is the fastest growing form of content on the Web,” said Jim Lanzone, senior vice president of search at AskJeeves, a unit of IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and a major Web search site. “But the number of sites that really matter is narrow.”

“The rest of the sites are like a tree falling in the forest,” he said.

Wait a week and you will be hearing about the long tail of blogging.

As I stated before, I don’t think the number of subscribers is a relevant measure of a blog’s power. Why?

  • Some people prefer to actually visit the sites because of the rich content they contain in the comments.
  • In niche fields there are going to be a limited number of potential subscribers.

The real measure of a blog is it’s attention & influence. The number of sources and link volume are a far better proxy of that than the number of subscribers, but to be honest, so long as your blog is above the fold – or seen by at least one or two well known bloggers who like you or comment on what you write, if they feel your story has merit it will spread. And stuff changes quickly. I got sued out of nowhere and had about 40,000 new visitors appear on one of my sites.

Syndicated sites that “really matter” — classified as sites that have at least 20 other sites linking to them — number 36,930, according to September data from Bloglines.

I don’t think this is true. Even my narcissistic personal rant / whinge blog has 5 subscribers, and that site is not intended for human consumption

Sites “that matter” — defined as having at least one link from another site — number nearly 1.4 million sites.

It’s so easy to get one rubbish link.

I think placing things in a box to count them has little value, other than marketing the counting product. Why do you think pedometer’s want you to walk 10,000 steps a day instead of jogging for a half hour?

Blogging a Linkbait

If I blog stuff that is just plain wrong all the time that will turn my credibility to shit. Sometimes I blog stuff that I am uncertain about, and guess about the cause in ways that are more inclined to be linkable. I don’t think that’s a crime. πŸ˜‰

NickW (of Threadwatch) frequently takes a variety of interesting positions which make people feel the need to comment on his site or link to it. Whether they think he is right or wrong they add to his content or link popularity.

I am not as good at posting linkbaits as some people are, but one example I can think of was Google Hand Editing “Search Engine Optimization” for PPC?.

Sites that ranked for search engine marketing started ranking for search engine optimization because Google got better at understanding phrase relationships. I quickly figured out the cause after I posted.

Google stresses that they do not hand tweak their search results, so a claim that they may be doing that is something that would be easy to reference. The title of the post was easy to link at, and I garnered a few links prior to figuring out exactly what it wrong.

There is just as much to be said for long posts that take their time and deeply cover a space, like my post on keyword research tools, but if you are good at the snappy short posts they are far more efficient & people are far more likely to read what you write.

Some people are exceptional at the short posts and some are better at the long in depth stuff .

Don’t underestimate the value of mixing up the format, and trying to drop the occassional linkbait. If others are talking about you or your perspective they are building your brand.

October 11, 2005

The Non Profit Blog…No Such Thing!

NickW on creating Threadwatch:

None of this would have come about without TW, the social currency, and the raising of my personal profile doing that site has helped me make some cool connections with some very interesting people, so those that scoff at the total lack of business model on that site (at least for now) take note, it may well pay off in the end, albeit indirectly πŸ™‚

All websites are for profit sites. Profit is not always in terms of dollars though. Even when it is sometimes they flow best indirectly.

Yahoo! News Integrates Blogs

If I post something interesting on my other blog generally (with a few exceptions) it gets no news coverage. If a friend pastes the same post to his blog then it ends up on Moreover, Yahoo! News, and Google News. To be honest, I could do a much better job of editing and do not fault them for not including me in news results, but the times they are a changing…

Today Yahoo! took quite the plunge, and added blogs to their news search results. Jeremy Zawodny explained why:

Seriously, aside from all the stuff you might read, look at it from an insider’s point of view. Tasked with figuring out how to expose the growing mass of blog content in our index, we figured there were two options.

Option one is to build Yet Another Blog Search Vertical (Technorati, Feedster, Google Blog Search, etc.) that most people would never see.

Option two is to integrate the results somewhere that millions of people could see them in context.

There are some good ways to track buzz for free. With the added exposure Yahoo! News is offering bloggers you can expect a ton of automated posts about today’s top news, and expect that every day. πŸ™‚

In a Forbes.com article Yahoo! stated the blog relevancy rankings may be due in part to the number of My Yahoo! subscribers.

How will Yahoo! determine which search results to display in its blogs column? That’s a closely guarded secret. Yahoo! is loath to give content providers the tools that might help them game the system for better visibility. The company won’t discuss specifics but says that blog-search results are based in part on the popularity of the blogs within MyYahoo, as measured by a computer algorithm.

You can try their news search with blogs on to the side, or search through blogs

Interesting to note that some are turned off by how they place blog content near where they normally place ads. In a bid to make advertising seem more appealing search engines may continue adding content to typical ad space.

This blog is all of 3 days old, and only has maybe a half dozen backlinks. This morning it was not in the Yahoo! Search index yet, and I subscribed to it via My Yahoo! at 930 am Eastern. I will mention when I see it in the news results.

Bloggers are Journalists? or No?

Are bloggers journalists? The debate spins on. But does it matter?

Shield Law Sponsor: Bloggers ‘Probably Not’ Considered Journos :

Bloggers would “probably not” be considered journalists under the proposed federal shield law, the bill’s co-sponsor, U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar (R.-Ind.), told the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) Monday afternoon.

What is so important or defining about being a real journalist? I understand the concepts that their right to report things, and how they report things, are both fundamental to the illusion of democracy, but the noise and chatter at the bottom often leads to the big stories, which frequently end up getting spun for political manipulation by biased pundits in the mainstream media anyhow.

Squashing public dissent is common to American corporate culture. Stories from bottoms up pieces of the non real journalism get picked up by big media & generally make silencing critics backfire badly. But it all works together as pieces of machinery. To separate it out is to miss the bigger picture of how it all works.

What happens if a blogger also wrote a book? What happens if they are a journalist and a blogger in their spare time? Does it really matter how you make your money?

What makes a person not a journalist just because they chose to use a blog to publish their thoughts? Lets say that blogs are classified as non journalism. What does that really mean? It doesn’t mean they get any less exposure than official media sites.

When I was recently mentioned on both Atrios.blogspot.com and News.com the Atrios blog sent me over 100 times the traffic News.com did.

Some journalists do not like the idea of defining journalists:

A key reason some journalists oppose the popular federal shield proposal is fear that giving Congress the power to define who is and isn’t a journalist could lead effectively to the licensing of journalists.

Licensing journalists wouldn’t make the profession any cleaner, better, or more honest IMHO. Good journalism is still going to look for stories wherever the conversations are. The best journalists are going to have to earn their credibility and trust with their readers and sources.

Ultimately how people are classified probably does not matter as much as what influence they have on the world around them. I will take uncertified person with reach over qualified without exposure any day. So long as the courts are willing to protect citizens rights then I am fine just being a blogger πŸ™‚

Meanwhile, the unedited bloggers continue to gain new distribution channels.

October 10, 2005

Blogger: Sex Blogs Can F*@K Right Off

[Warning: adult content link] It appears many adult oriented Blogger blogs are disappearing. The solution? Create many more in a far more automated way, host them remotely, or use a different blog service.

Understandible if they are pure spamblogs, but imagine if you were a blogger who just like writing about sex related topics. You do it for a few years and then out of nowhere your linkage profile, site history, and site vanish. A good example of why it is always best to keep control of your own data.

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