December 13, 2005

Blog Networks & Splog Networks

Blog Network List ranked by perceived value. Some of the values might be a bit off because they don’t factor in niche, monetization methods, or share of voice within local markets.

Daniel Pink writes on splogs:

What’s the answer? Part of it is technological – search engines and blogging tools that are more difficult to manipulate. But part is also Newtonian. In the ever-reacting online world, just as spam begat junk filters, splogs are begetting splog monitors like SplogSpot and SplogReporter. These sites compile lists of fake blogs and serve as consumer watchdogs for the blogosphere. Unless, of course, they turn out to be splogs themselves.

A good start to killing the splog problem would be the day Google started policing their own content network, but until then the best we can hope for is interviews from Matt Cutts.

December 1, 2005

Typepad Down Again, Suggests Faketypepad.com?

I typically like to keep my stuff out of networks. A friend of mine who goes by the nickname Lots0 pointed out many times how he was once burned by being part of a network.

Sure sometimes your host will have problems, but if you pick hosts based on reliability then odds are pretty good your host will be up more often then most distributed system.

Blogger has the following issues

  • huge splog problem
  • lack of portability of link popularity
  • makes your blogs seem less professional by being hosted there
  • occassionally down for extended periods of time

TypePad has the following problems

  • if you dynamically remap your hosting some of the registrar partners (such as GoDaddy) place an ad page at the root non www. version of your URL
  • some people use their default URLs, but I do not like the lack of portability of link popularity
  • last month their hosting was down so much that they let users decide how much free hosting they wanted to receive to make up for it
  • this morning I am not sure if they had something wrong with their servers, but the sorry faketypepad.com unavailable messages this morning did not make me feel the service is all that trustworthy

Having said all of that I recently set up a number of blogs on Typepad and am wondering if I screwed the pooch. Should I have just put WordPress on a wide variety of domains?

A few minutes here and there don’t mean much, but they do start to add up if you are building out a large network.

November 24, 2005

Learning to Blog Guides

A few years back I read a few books about blogging. I have read a large number of books since then, but here are a few mini reviews:

The Why of Blogging:
The Weblog Handbook – Rebecca Blood’s guide to blogging. Talks about the ideas associated with what is important in blogging. Things like using an authentic voice, why people would want to blog, etc. It is a book more about ideas than a how to guide. Hard to define or describe exactly, but somewhere around the same timeframe I also read David Weinberger’s Small Pieces Loosely Joined and Rebecca’s book reminded me of being a bit like that.

If you read a ton of blogs for a long time you will probably already get much of what Rebecca is talking about, but if you are new to blogs it is a great book to read.

The How of Blogging:
Blogging: Genius Strategies for Instant Web Content is Biz Stone’s book about blogging. Short reviews of the various platforms and a few tips on using HTML. A few years dated, but still decent info. Geared more toward beginners.

While he reviews a number of platforms if you want to use a blog to make profit from it is important to keep control of your own data. I would probably recommend buying a domain and using WordPress on it. Free, fast, and easy to use.

The ? of Blogging:
AdSense and other contextual programs like Chitika have made it easy for anyone who writes original content to make a few dollars off their blogs. Recently I noticed that there are starting to be more how to blog products advertised across various websites on how to make fat cash with blogs. Some of them are a bit questionable though.

Yesterday I saw an ad for a guide to blogging from a site that looked like it copied it’s design from Blogger and had a comming soon page for the blog on their site. Why advertise a site before it is even put together? I mean it only takes a few minutes to make an intro post…especially for a site selling something about blogging.

I think I am going to read and review a few more books. I always learning from the perspectives of a wide number of other people.

Linkbait, Marketshare, and Monetization

Gary Stein noticed some anti blog advertising logo linkbait.

It is a bit of a bitch to monetize certain audiences. That is why you see some successful entrepreneurs running a number of for profit sites away from their main blog channels. The blog channels give you credibility that can be leveraged elsewhere, but when you combine the business model right into the blog sometimes that can cost you links, especially if people think you make large profits from it and / or if you have a web savvy group of site visitors.

As you get more successful your time has more value, and some of the best websites outright suck on the profit per unit time. Some jackasses send bogus lawsuits that can cost 10′s of thousands of dollars. With society the way it is you have to look out on the financial front or you may end up getting crushed by some greedy arbitrary assholes who should rot in hell (although I am not naming names there hehehe).

When you have no boss and a broad array of interests and are more interested in learning than making money it is exceptionally easy getting pulled a bit thin running too many channels. Hard to know when it is time to consolidate, take time off, kill a channel, or what to do. Especially when you consider the effects current and future search algorithms and monetization methods may offer.

The blog space is ripe to be tapped for large profits, and I think if I put the same effort into it as I did my SeoBook.com website I could probably make 7 figures a year within 2 years. Not that I am all about money, but it is nice to know that if anyone ever tries to screw you over that you could make it hurt them far more than they could ever hurt you. My lawyers and this whole recent lawsuit deal taught me some valuable lesson about honesty and how that sometimes does not play an active role in the business space.

As the algorithms advance my SEO site’s time requirements increase logarithmically and people may not see that just by reading some of the day to day posts.

After you get mildly successful it is too easy to hold on thinking it will stay that way, but it never does. I need to be more effectively leveraging the stuff I have learned.

Hard to know when to let go, switch trains, or ante up all in. It’s not time for drastic changes yet, but I may look at some other stuff too.

November 22, 2005

Press Release Gets Blogger Media Coverage

Some stories are easy to sell and easy to print. This press release got this blogger the top Google News result for Bloggers and 3 interviews with local media stations.

Solid $30 investment. Great job Eric!

Do Blog Comments Matter?

Engadget to have comments no more. 37Signals just did the same.

If you are fairly well established in a niche with little competition there is no need to deal with or prune comments, but if you are in a fairly competitive field like tech reviews, removing the user feedback means that readers just go elsewhere.

I think the idea of only selectively turning comments on may make people more inclined to give feedback when you really want it, but with all the various niche electronics review blogs I am fairly certain most of the posts are not done by people who review all the goods, and throwing away user feedback throws away much of the value.

If you view reader feedback as a cost then maybe you need to look at your longterm goals and think of how quickly more open competitors will jump into the market.

[found on TW]

November 21, 2005

Product Packaging Matters…

In Price as Signal Joel states how intermediaries want to control pricing to leverage their market positions.

now when a musician gets uppity, all the recording industry has to do is threaten to release their next single straight into the $0.99 category, which will kill it dead no matter how good it is.

Seth thinks much media is sold one price fits all because of industry tradition.

13 Tips on Asking other Bloggers for Links and Link Baiting for Fun and Profit are both link building tip posts.

Rand offers the following advice in his post:

Don’t ask for a link – bloggers hate that (even I hate it). Ask for their advice, tell them you respect their opinion and like their blog (if you don’t, find someone whose opinions you do respect) and are hoping their feedback can help you improve. 99.99% of the time, if you implement some small changes they ask for and email them back saying you’ve made them, they’ll write about it in public.

That is really the key to actually getting good links. Make people think you care about the subject and you value their opinions. Make it seem like the link is unnecessary or an afterthought. If you do that quality links flow naturally.

In the same way that price sends a signal the method or reasoning behind contacting another person helps guide how they will react to it.

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 “office 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.

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.

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