April 29, 2006

How to Leave a Cheesy Comment

Some bloggers who have been around for years leave cheesy comments like

  • “I just blogged this on my site too LINK”
  • “This is relevant also LINK”

Worse yet, now there are meme tracker tools that track conversations and similar posts, and if you leave the cheesedick check out my site here comment on a couple blogs it looks tacky.

There are enough people doing automated comments that you really want to stand out as a signal of quality in a field of muck. If a blog has great reach then many people will eventually see your comments. I probably left a number of cheesy comments in the past, but on the whole I wouldn’t recommend doing it nowadays.

When blogs were new being relevant with your comment was enough, but as the amount of noise continues to grow and spam and ad networks make more and more things seem relevant good blog comments not only need to be relevant but also interesting and/or useful.

If your comments are good enough then eventually the other bloggers read your stuff and / or give you natural citations that are going to be hard to duplicate. If you just link drop eventually you piss people off.

SethF consistently whines about being a Z lister, but it is the cheesy comment link drops that makes him hard to like.

January 26, 2006

New Blog Designs / Finding a Blog Designer

So I was looking around for some blog designers and was a bit surprised by the search results. It took a good bit of effort to look around and find someone I thought was really cool.

A while ago Darren recommended Cre8d, but I thought I would hunt around to see if I could find a few more I liked.

For Christmas I ordered my step dad a design for his Home Security Blog from Elegant Webscapes. They took a bit longer than I liked, but their rates were exceptionally affordable and I think they did a great job on that template.

DianeV is a cool cat and looks as though she offers blog design services. I may end up bugging her down the road.

The Hugh Page also has a list of blog designers. Some look killer good, and some of them looked like I designed their clients sites, and generally I think that is bad since I usually stick to the buy a logo and color match some defaultish template to it school-of-design. Hard to do quality control on Wikis unless you have a large userbase, or exceptionally limited reach & commercial interest, or are absolutely devoted to quality control. It is even harder with blog design resources though since with blogs beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Some great blogs have designed by links on them which are helpful for finding a designer, but many of the better blogs do not. Who are your favorite blog designers?

January 1, 2006

Blogs and Press Releases

Some topics are so spammy that likely over 95% of the news in those fields is composed of spam. While uncertain of what to write about some new bloggers may post about press releases as much as interesting news because until you really learn the web and learn your subject well it is a bit hard to distinguish the good from the bad.

If you are new to blogging or are building a blog network based on scale and low costs a few tips worth noting off the start are:

  • Most press releases are spam.
  • Most information is spam.
  • In highly commercial categories almost all information is spam.
  • Blogs do well because they are not like press releases. Instead of giving you just the spin and junk marketing messages most good bloggers sort through good and bad information and highlight the best information.
  • When in doubt it is almost always better to reference a media site over a press release.
  • If what you are doing can be done by an algorithm then there is little point in doing it manually. Learn how to program and set your program loose.

Even if your blog is entirely commercially oriented it is still possible to provide interesting information if you hunt long enough. Good bloggers save their readers time or help them find new perspectives, deals, and relevant topical information.

December 29, 2005

Around the Blogosphere…

Is Blogging a fireable offense? Yes. If bloggers could better monetize their marketshare then perhaps it would not matter.

FineFools network hits a rough patch. Cool to see how open they are with content, but at the same time I am not sure how much business sense that policy makes longterm. Also the openness of the network – the lack of structure in picking topics around which great value may be created – may be one of its greatest problems. If people want to blog to be read networks offer that. If people want to blog to make serious bankroll most blog networks do not offer that.

Photo company under heat changes their name. Totally stupid move. A company threw away their search profile and started from scratch after coming under heat. Bloggers quickly cross referenced the new and old companies. Now that makes them look even shadier. If you play your cards right with bloggers hate stories can be flipped into good link popularity and smart viral marketing. Running away from the problem works not so good.

Technorati adds trending graphs and other features.

December 21, 2005

Performancing for Firefox

Zoom…automation 🙂

NickW and co created a Firefox extension that allows you to sync up all your blog accounts and edit or post to them from the browser.

At first I did not really understand it’s purpose, thinking it was sorta a solution looking for a problem, but then I became a bit of an unidiot and saw how it interfaced with all the blogging platforms. It pulls in the category data from each platform as well.

This is my first post testing it out, but so far looks cool. A few features I would love to see added are:

  • spell check
  • a tool to sort the blogs quickly for the uber blog overlords, perhaps even making blog
  • categories
  • publish status
  • optional multiple fields…description, title, entry, extended

am sure there are a few other ideas but it is late and I am tired

I am a bit torn on the idea of all the various ways to make publishing quicker and easier. Short term it is great for bloggers because it allows them to work multiple revenue streams quickly. But long term as more people move on the web I wonder if the attention economy will kick in to where the top few voices in any market get the disproportionate share of return for their efforts.

I am trying to start up a blog network or two and also run a couple channels that literally take hours a day to do. Short term I think the network will do better than my high effort channels, but as the fields get more competitive I will have to change the underlying biz models to compensate for increasing competition.

I guess while I am ranting on I am trying to say that it is cool to have one well read high profile site which allows you to leverage that market position into many other channels. The people making serious profits though are probably those who own many uber niche channels. At least for now. This tool helps make the niche channels a quick process.

Combining Ideas in a Post

I have found that combining ideas in a post make sense if it is a structured list…say like 18 Lessons I Learned About Blogging.

I have also found that if it is not easy to structure items together that if you want people to read about them then you are probably best off making individual posts for most items. EGOL likes the stream of conscience blogging stuff, but generally I have found that when I did it I was spending a ton of time reading stuff and then only passing on a bit of what I learned. Few people were commenting on the posts or following most of the links in the posts. Simply giving people too many options and putting too much information in a small space meant that much of it went ignored.

I also have a saying that if what you are doing can be easily reproduced by algorithms then it might be a good idea to mix it up a bit…meaning that if I am just putting together something that looks like a daily links post or is also located on tech.memeorandum.com then I need to spend a bit of time looking for a few other sources, and spend a bit of effort trying to put my personality into whatever I am trying to say…even though I   am   just    typing     and      the       computer          won’t           speak…arg……………..

December 19, 2005

Structured Blogging: the End of Product Placement? Hardly!

Clickz has an article called the end of product placement about structured blogging.

My mom blogs. She uses blogger and likes it because it is easy to use. There is only so much you can structure stuff before the added features make the publishing process less interesting or more confusing. My mom’s site is not going to end up on kritx.com because she does not care about hReview.

If you inherently trust the structure people offer then it fills with spam, and then you just end up with MORE product placement…see splogs for examples. 🙂

There is a lot of money in figuring out the structure of the web, but I think companies like Google and Yahoo! like the fact that there is a certain amount of noise and dishonest proposition created daily because it raises the barrier to competition. Directly or indirectly these large search companies will sponsor the noise necessary to block out competition.

I think advanced algorithms looking across the web graph will solve the problems with structure more than the content management systems will. The money is in aggregation and filtering, and it is doubtful that blogs as a whole will tap into any system that requires them to be a visual center to format the data. Even if data formats help some stuff it is still going to be the algorithms layered over the top that build the value that can be exploited for profit.

Do Bloggers Put in More Effort than Reporters?

Well this is an obviously brilliant linkbait. Mark Cuban posts asking the question Do bloggers put in more effort than reporters do?

As more people learn to reject / question self imposed authority in favor of personally and directly voting I have to think that is a good thing for consumers and democracy.

Yahoo! wants you subscribing to channels and tagging them. Google is making it easy to see what others have to say about something.

I have been interviewed by a number of reporters and have also been profiled on many blogs. I don’t think that on average the reporters did a far better job than the bloggers did. In fact, many of the reporters seemed to have even had their desired response built into many of the questions they asked me, and I frequently had to step back and re frame the question I was answering.

December 18, 2005

Performancing Opens Blogger Forums

Have questions about blogging? Ask at the Performancing forums.

December 16, 2005

Blogspot = Bad…

If you use Blogger to power your blog and plan to make it a serious longterm project make sure you do not use Blogspot as your host. Here’s why:

  • Some people will not take some Blogspot hosted blogs seriously.
  • It is harder to remember (and thus recommend, subscribe, or link at) site.blogspot.com than site.com
  • Blogger has limited features. If you want to add some advanced tools or features to your site tough luck.
  • Search engines tend to trust sites more as they age (this is especially true with Google).
  • If you move your blog away there is no easy way to get the link popularity to flow from Blogspot to your new website.

I would almost always opt for using a self hosted blog solution like WordPress or MovableType.

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