Saturday, October 30, 2004

Business Blogging Site

Business Blogging Consulting is a site devoted to demonstrating how effective weblogs can be for communicating with customers and marketing to new customer prospects.

This is where I have started to cast my eyes and is the main reason I will be researching Drupal once I get the chance.
I have already considered developing some content management systems for a client using Drupal.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Improving Search Engine Rankings

I had a online conversation with Doug from Reality Me about how to improve his search enging rankings. Some of these things I have already pointed out in previous posts, 10 ways to generate traffic and getting your blog site found in search engines.

I have since then submitted my blogs to a number of the Top 55 RSS Sites from Robin Good.

However some of the other things I have found that are working are these as discussed with Doug. (Edited slightly and spelling fixed!)

Need Kava says:
so have you always hosted your blogs yourself or have you ever hosted on blogger? Does one way give you better ranking in google than another?
Need Kava says:
Any idea why gets ranked first and second on msn and yahoo (for "TN Lottery") while the blog doesn't appear in google under any circumstances.
Jethro the excel guru says:
ok heres what i have learned and its starting to work
Need Kava says:
Its fugly
Jethro the excel guru says:
use keywords metadata in your header and then use those same keywords in the title of your posts
Jethro the excel guru says:
if possible then link to related sites - you do that well but maybe your title posts need work and i haven't looked at your metadata keywords
Jethro the excel guru says:
im already getting stacks of hits for CBR1100 and some other words
Jethro the excel guru says:
heres a web site you can track your rankings in google on - you choose the keywords and site and it will rank them and then track the changes (Note - you will need to create a Google API key for this - they lead you through the process fairly painlessly)
Need Kava says:
very cool. I shall have to commit some time to making the site right
Jethro the excel guru says:
also once you find keywords that turn up often in google searches then try and use them again and again - the additional traffic may convert to readers and repeat visitors.
Jethro the excel guru says:
i get hit for Tramol - a pain killer I used when I broke my collar bone - all the time
Need Kava says:
hehe. I remember that
Jethro the excel guru says:
i also get hit looking for the xray of my broken collar bone
Jethro the excel guru says:
to answer your original question - i only ever hosted my blogs on my own server - don't know if that is different to hosting on blogspot. You would think that Google would automatically spider blogspot blogs seeing as they own Blogger.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Feedfire is a way of generating a RSS feed for any web page. At least every web page I tried it with worked. Some of these were blogs without existing RSS feeds and some were traditional web pages. There were some false posts (eg adverts) for the non blog pages, but the remainder of articles and updates seem to be working fine
A valuable resource recommended by Robin Good.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Drupal info

Norm Roulet has indicated that he is using Drupal to build a large multicommunity deployment. He suggested a review of Drupal which is extensive and very interesting.

I think I am going to have to experiment with Drupal as a possble use for business blogging, primarily because it has a pretty good looking CMS (Content Management System) and document workflow. I have some clients that I may be able to convince to let me try this on a reduced cost basis as I learn how it works.

New Blogging Software Drupal

I just came across a new blogging software called Drupal. I know its not new - but its new to me.
Anybody else come across this before?
I would be interested in finding out how easy it is to use in a corporate or multi user environment.

10 ways to generate traffic to your blog

How do you generate more traffic to your blog?

There has been a lot written about this recently.
Robin Good gave his Top 55 blog submission sites
Darren Rowse has linked to an article by Corey Rudl thats lists 10 ways to generate traffic (no cost). This article is pretty in depth and has some great methods, including viral marketing, business networking, tell a friend, interaction with visitors, link swapping, free giveaways, search engine optimisation, email promotions and using affiliates.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Colour Matching CSS Code

Ever wanted to change the colours of your blog site?
If you want to know what colours go with what, and dynamically locate the CSS code for each colour then use Wellstyled's online Colour Scheme Generator. I produced the colour schemes for the Spy Journal web sites, Personal, Excel Tips, Tech Tips and Blog Tips using this tool.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Choose the best RSS aggregator for you has an article that lists the top RSS Feed Readers / News Aggregators with a short description about each one. The link will take you to a heading page with 3 choices, Linux, Mac and Windows Feed Readers.
Take your pick!

What do you want to know about blogging?

Do you have specific questions about blogging?
Is your blogging software causing you a problem?
Do you want to know how to use Haloscan or some other commenting system?
Do you know how to modify your template?
Dop you know what RSS and XML are and how to use them?

Please take the time to request answers to your specific questions about blogging in the comments. I will endeavour to asnwer them or find the answers for you.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Want to write a novel? Use Blogger to do it.

Blogger have just announced the NaNoBlogMo project as part of the NaNoWriMe project. It kicks off 1st November 2004.

Since 1999 over 6,000 people have participated and written a novel in 30 days. Do you have a novel inside you? Then head off to the Blogger site to register and get started.

Afraid to start blogging?

Scobleizer has written a lengthy article explaining why blogging is taking off as a legitimate marketing channel for businesses. Yet at the same time its the lack of marketing spin that makes the channel so effective.
Read the full article or peruse the salient bits here.

Word of mouth networks are more efficient at distributing information than traditional marketing channels. Viral networks such as blogging communities are even more efficient.

Getting information about your company and products onto a blog are a way of helping customers connect with you. Puts a face on your business.

Allowing customers feedback on a blog assists you in gauging their reactions to your public face. Basically people generally mistrust faceless corporations. Individual employees talking openly and honestly without corporate marketing spin are far more believeable.

Blogs are a great way of getting instant exposure to the world, and getting linked to on one of the major sites such as Engadget or Slashdot will almost guarantee massive exposure.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Blog Explosion and Other Traffic Tips

You already have a blog and you want to get more people coming to it.
The best way is by word of mouth. Viral marketing concepts work exceptionally well in a non contiguous envirnoment like the internet.
One good method is to use Blog Explosion. This is a way of getting traffic coming your way, and at the same time finding some other great websites to read.

The old tried and true method is still one of the best. Visit other blogs, comment on them and if you like them, then link to them in your blogroll.
The more you comment and link, the more they will link back to you and the traffic increases exponentially.

Word of warning, don't go overboard with links. Most people will never believe that you read 250 blogs regularly. Just link your favorite ones and make sure you visit them often. What goes around comes around.

Later I will talk about how to find out who is linking to you.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Getting your blog site found in Search Engines.

This is a subject that there has been a lot written on the internet about.

I wil list a couple of reources that I have found very helpful to me.

These are Robin Good's RSSTop55 - Best Blog Directory And RSS Submission Sites and Darren Rowse's Search Engine Optimization Archives

I would suggest taking the time to read though these pages and then follow the links they provide to the submissions sites and start submitting your blog.

Be careful what keywords you use in your descriptions. Try and make them words that you think people will search on to find your content. Then add these keywords to Metatags in your web page template. More on how to do this in another post.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Picasa is not Hello

Google bought Picasa and now offers Picasa for free. Picasa is similar to ACDSee in that they are both designed to help you categorize, organise and edit your digital picture collections. Picasa I found to be unintuitive. As a programmer I am usually pretty quick to understand even the strangest interfaces. I found it difficult to get new pictures into Picasa. However, Picasa made it easier than ACDSee to hide those embarassing family pictures but still keep them in searchable albums.

Hello is another instant messaging program. Just like the popular instant messengers, you add contacts and when they are online you can chat. The big difference is that Hello is designed to easily send pictures between contacts. Google has taken advantage of this to create Bloggerbot. Bloggerbot is a contact within Hello that you send your pictures you want to appear on your blog. Bloggerbot automatically posts the picture and your comment to your Blogger blog. Hello automatically resizes your picture for viewing in your post and makes the picture clickable to view the original size. For Blogspot (Blogger) users storage is absolutely free. Hello will also upload pictures to your server if you host your own blog.

I have tried Picasa and Hello. Although I have not uninstalled Picasa, I choose to use ACDSee instead. Hello I find to be an invaluable tool for posting pictures on my blog.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Long or Short?

Blogging is fun! No doubt! And sometimes we can get on a rant and just type until our fingers fall off. Are longer articles better? I am going to suggest yes and no. As a blogger you are really a publisher. If you were publishing a book you would draft and correct and throw things out and re-draft and proof and correct and write again and so forth until you had the perfect piece for publishing. By sharp contrast, we tend to blog with stream-of-consciousness which unfortunately can lead to disconnected thoughts, bad flow and unnecessary words but it can also lead to some near Pulitzer wonders!

I suggest that you use stream-of-consciousness to type your writings into an editor such as Microsoft Word. Then step away and return later to proof read and edit. Next break the writing into multiple parts and publish the first part only. At the end of that publishing put a note "installment 1 of 9 (whatever your number is) - next release tomorrow at 9am" Choose some better words than that. My stream-of-consciousness has failed me for the moment.

Now you have created a writing that people on the go will be able to read completely where as they might skim a longer posting and think "I'll come back to this" only to never view it again. Additionally, you have given the reader a reason to return to your blog for additional reading. In this way they will read the entire lenghty article over the course of several days rather than skimming it on one day and "coming back to it" later.

Note: Be sure to link all of your related posts.

"Coming soon: Contiguous Thoughts and Topics"

Thursday, October 14, 2004

I use Blogger to run all my blog sites. Why?
Actually by accident to start with. But after looking at most of the blogging software out there I am pretty happy with Blogger. It has all the features I need. But more importantly it is easy to use for newbies and people with no technical internet skills. While some of the more extensive software solutions may produce a better product (in some people eyes) I would recommend Blogger to any new person wanting to start a blog.
Their user interface is very simple and they have a good help system. They also answer support email requests promptly and politely (not in "You dummy" format).

I will provide some hints on how to create a blog with Blogger soon.

If you don't already have a blog the first thing to do is work out what you would use it for. There are blogs that pander to political rants and opinions, photo blogs, humour, family and personal blogs, technical blogs, even sex blogs. For now head on over to Blog Explosion and surf through a great bunch of blogs and check out what other peoiple are doing

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

What is RSS

RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication.
There is absolutely bucketloads of information on the web about RSS and XML.

However to summarise it its best to describe its use to an individual.
Most people are already used to receiving email. They may already be subscribed to email subscription services. These are emails that you signed up for on a web site maybe with a product or software registration. Most people are also used to getting email subscriptions that they don't want - also known as spam.
The control in a email subscription process is in two places. The subscriber must request the email (at least for legitimate sources) and the sender must maintain a database of the email addresses to send to, and then send the mail out periodically. If the user wants to cancel the subscription then there needs to be a mechanism to do this, eg sending a reply with Remove in the subject line, or logging into a web site and deselecting the subscription.

RSS is so simple that it makes the email subscription process look like rocket science in comparison.
In your email program (if configured with the right addin), or in an alternative news reader you can subscribe to a RSS link - like the one on this page in the right hand side bar also here. Everytime this page is updated your news reader will be notified with the updated information.
If you no longer want to subscribe then you delete the feed in your news reader / email.

That simple.

No lists to be put on or taken off, no spam. Your email and details do not have to go to the publisher. You are completely in control and the publisher doesn't have to do anything other than provide the RSS / XML link.

Tomorrow I will talk about RSS readers.

Brand New Blog Tips Blog

The first post for Blog Tips.
This blog will:
- post frequent tips on blogging
- provide technical help on HTML, CSS, Java and other Web languages
- discuss RSS, XML, ATOM and RSS aggregators
- provide links to advertising revenue and tips on how to do it.
- link to and talk about various blogging and web development tools
- talk about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)