Friday, December 31, 2004

Posting Errors and Save As Draft

If you ever get errors when posting to a blog what do you do?
In my case I call my techie - the long suffering Rohan!
The is the exact error I got.

In this case as the Spy Journal Websites are hosted on one of his servers he needed to find out what was going on.
Apparently it's the authentication in cpanel, the server management software we use.
This article couldn't be published til it was fixed, so I used the Save As Draft feature til it was fixed and then published.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Comments on Blogger or Haloscan

Blogger has had an inbuilt commenting system for a while.
However if you enable it then users must be logged into blogger to leave details (other than as anonymous)
I use Haloscan for a number of reasons. It is one of the largest commenting systems, is fairly simply modified and customised, is free for the basic version (a donation of $US10 gets you access to the extended features like turning off ads etc) and anybody can comment with or without leaving details.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Web Counters

I have for some time been thinking that the web counter I use on my web sites Site Meter was not accurate.
This turns out to be true, though I think that it really can't be expected to be accurate becuase of the way site counters work.

I am not 100% certain of this but I think that the Site meter (for which I have some Java Script embedded on each page) sends data about the browser for each visitor back to their databases. From there they generate the stats including the number shown on the site.
I started this site with a base value of 10,000 which was the number of hits I received on the old site before transferring it to (though I note it is now up to 11,826).

However the reason for my thinking this wasn't accurate was by looking at the Webalizer stats on my server. These represent actual traffic in and out of the server and I was able to ascertain that my actual traffic was around 4,000 per month not 1,100 or so as indicated by the Site Meter. Even this won't be accurate for reasons I will explain shortly. My total traffic includes RSS readers, spiders and search bots.

Traffic analysis will never be truly accurate because of the way the web works. Files are cached in local machines, local ISPs servers, and local domain servers. Thus it is possible that two users in the same area who connect fairly close together will register only one hit as the first person downloads files to the cache. The second person's browser will connect to the company server, shared ISP or local domain server that is common to both users and locate the required files in the cache there. Thus no second request for the pages will ever hit my server.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Closed for Christmas

Closed for Christmas!
Normal programming will resume shortly.
Have a safe and Merry Christmas.

Hint - Do NOT leave the 3 yr old unsupervised with the 6 tear old's paints she got for Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

What makes a great blog?

Macvaysia has a very good post called " There are no bad blogs, but maybe there are some great ones." Within his post he notes that every blog has value to at least one person so there can be no bad blogs.

What makes a good blog? You see, every blog has value, to at least one person. ... it has immense value, sentimental or otherwise (simply as an outlet, perhaps) to the person who created it...
He goes on to list numerous blog awards and some words about each. Worth a read
djuggler's personal blog is Reality Me

Monday, December 20, 2004

Blog Explosion Members

And here are links to some of the people who have linked to Blog Explosion using my link and are now generating traffic for themselves.

Shouting into the void
American Black
Phantom Observer
Welchie's Photoblog
belle on her toes
Sanity Adrift
Quality Control
86 Tips
Environmental Health and Safety

Blog Explosion

Blog Explosion is continuing to drive traffic to my site - and it appears at least some of them are returning. If you haven't already checked it out then follow the link, get signed up and start generating traffic!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Adding members to Blogs

You can add additional members to blogs. These are listed as contributors to the site.
There are two levels of priviledges that can be provided. A member can post articles and edit only the articles they have posted.
A admin has full control over the blog and can post, edit all posts, make system setting changes and add or delete other members.
Only the blog owner cannot be deleted.

Why add members?
Read the Blogger help article on team blogs.
Members can assist your by writing additional content and help you build community. For example Doug is a member of this blog and also Tech Tips and contributes regularly.

The other reason to add a member is if you are new and you need help setting up your blog. Both Doug and I are happy to be a member of your blog temporarily to assist you in tweaking your settings and template designs and showing you how to modify them yourselves. As blog owner you can delete us at any time.

How do I add members?
In your dashboard click on the blue cog next to the blog you want to add members to.
This will take you to the settings section.
Click on the Members Link
Now click on the Add Members (bright orange) button
Simply type email addresses in the new user box and any additional message you want in the bottom section.
Once they have accepted the invitation (via an link sent to them in an email (and joined blogger if they havent already)) they will show up in your list of members.

How do I give admin access?
Once you have a member in your list you can give them admin access as per the instructions in this Blogger help article.

I used these instructions to invite Doug to join the createablogblog blog.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Server Outage

Sorry for not posting last couple of days.
Transferring servers for this site followed by a lightning strike taking out my ADSL router on my other server are my excuses. I haven't had connectivity for 2 days (felt like I was blind!)
Back online now!

Snap a Picture

Looking for a way to make your blog more appealing? Before using tools to cram traffic into your site, step back and take a hard look at it. Is your site visually appealing?

We all are not designers but there are several people that cater to creating templates for bloggers. Some provide their services for free to generate traffic to their sites and others charge. You can also buy premade templates from sites such as SIDesigns. But that is a discussion for another time.

 Posted by HelloRight now, without changing your template or layout and with no coding required, you can make your site more eye appealing simply by adding photos. With digital cameras dirt cheap and traditional photo processing offering "photo cds" anyone can now take pictures and easily upload them to the Internet. If you use Blogger you can use a program called Hello to upload your pictures to a free space hosted by Blogger. The program automatically resizes the photo, inserts it into your blog, and makes it clickable so that your views can see the larger original.

In October we discussed two tools for managing photos in the post Picasa is not Hello. Picasa is a tool for organizing your photos while Hello is a chat program designed for sending photos to other people. Since Google owns both of these as well as Blogger they are freely available and integrated with Blogger.

Make a more pleasureable reading experience for your readers with pictures!

djuggler's personal blog is Reality Me

Friday, December 10, 2004

New Blogging Tools

Two new tools mentioned on the blogger website are Molly Holzschlag's Learning Blogger (including a video) and Tony Pierce's book "How to Blog".
Check them out - useful resources.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Tech writers wanted

Jeremy over at Ensight is looking for tech writers to write content for a new site.
Feel free to go over and sign up if you want. There is no money paid for the content but the pages are being served to 1M plus viewers so expect some traffic to filter back to your site.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Kinja and bLards

No I haven't started talking funny.
These are two new blogging services I discovered courtesy of Kristyk.
Kinja is a blog digest where you can store your favorite reading for others to peruse or youself. Sort of like a RSS web site only different.
bLards is a variant on the trading cards scheme - blogger trading cards.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Adsense Optimisation

Thnks to Darren at ProBlogger for the link to Brainy Betty who has provided the following information about her lessons learned from Adsense.
Here's the tips she provides to make Adsense work more efficiently for you.

'A year and a half later with AdSense and still going strong - here are my lessons learned: (What are yours?)

1. Graphic design: Provide clean pages and lots of them with a simple, 1 color (non-tiled, generally) background

2. Meta Tags: Use them! Make sure you don't have 90 bijillion keywords. The fewer and more targeted the better. Put the title tag up on top first.

3. Content: Provide useful, necessary content. Get feedback from your visitors to find out what they are looking for; what they want, and create pages accordingly. The more descriptive text on each individual page, the better.

4. Ad Settings: Change them about once a month or so. Make large banners smaller; use verticals in some places, definitely change colors so people notice - especially repeat visitors who have 'turned off' the ads in their heads if they see them in the same place with the same colors and formats all the time...'

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Share the word - give a blog for Christmas

Blogging is a booming industry. And that is because the take up of the blogging products by the consumer out there is growing at massive rates as the Social Twister and Clickz report.

So help someone you know into blogging by creating a blog for them as a great Christmas present.
Use my createablogblog for step by step instructions on how to do this.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Microsoft Enters the Blog Market

Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Internet division late Wednesday debuted a preliminary version of MSN Spaces. Spaces is free and intended to make it easy for users to create web journals or blogs. Robert Scoble, a Microsoft employee known in blogging circles for his daily Microsoft blog, wrote that "Spaces isn't the blogging service for me." Others were more favorable. Blogger Greg Hughes called Spaces "pretty darn cool" and "a fairly complete blogging tool."

This summary from The Boston Herald.

Spaces claims to make blogging and sending pictures from a cell phone easy.

Other publishings:

djuggler's personal blog is Reality Me

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Understanding CSS - a beginners guide

I am the best qualified person to write a beginner's guide; I am one!

In my basic understanding CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is simply using HTML elements to structure a web page. I like to compare it to (probably erroneously) to the format styles in a word document.

Most of what I have learned and used to create these websites and several others I have developed for numerous other people and clients I have learnt by looking how someone else did something cool and then tweaking it. One of the great things about the web is nothing is secret. All the code is visible.
So you can right click a page and view source. Then as you start reading through the code you can identify what different parts of the code do.
HTML works on a hierarchy. The closest tags to an item on the web page will control its behaviour and appearance.

When I get stuck there are some pretty cool resources and tools to turn to. I have listed a few here.
CSS & Webdesign Workshop
Brian Wilsons CSS Syntax
WebRef (resource site)

Doug has also posted some great articles on specific HTML and CSS examples. He learns a lot from Terreus.