Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bad blogs and some advice

Swap Blog today offer some good advice to bloggers. I'll give you the gist but encourage you to read the whole article!

  1. Write about what you care about...
  2. Assume that ... your readers are new...
  3. ...we do not need to know ALL about you
  4. Avoid 2000+ word posts...
  5. Don’t mistake quantity for quality
  6. ...allow debate...
  7. Blog consistently...
  8. Stand up for what you believe in...
  9. Don’t use tone on tone color schemes. ...
  10. Don’t forget #1

Team Swap

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Keep those posts coming!

WordPress dashboard showing scheduled posts

I enjoy blogging. I enjoy both the writing side of blogging as well as the reading and interacting side of blogging. I personally think it is more pleasureable to read a blog that has a steady stream of information rather than bursts of quantity followed by silence. I believe that is one aspect of Instapundit that makes Glen Reynolds (and his rumored ghost writers) stand out. Like dead air on the radio, several days or weeks of no posts can cost your blog readership.

I collect links and tidbits as I work. When I'm researching and see something interesting I open a tab in Firefox and hold the link. My goal, of course, is to write something substantial and correlate to other sources and similar tidbits but rather than Pulitzer I often end up with a couple of sentences saying, "check this out!" I also have friends that instant message or email interesting links which go into the pool of possible publishings. And my browser homepage for Firefox is the Geek Crack site while Internet Explorer retains the news portal iWon.

My trick to steady posting is to devote a bit of time each Sunday to making non-time sensitive posts into the future. This was a feature that Blogger lacked. On blogger, posting in the future made the information immediately available but with a future date. As you can see in the picture, Wordpress handles future posts correctly! The screenshot shows my recent posts today but also reveals that I seven scheduled posts already written which will appear whether or not I'm frantically working, or even away from my computer. The next one arrives in 16 hours then another in 20 hours, three post in 2 days, and finally two posts 4 days from now. These non-time sensitive posts come from the links I've collected over the week. The scheduled posts may only be a couple of sentences but if time permits over the week, I can improve the information before their scheduled time (and being what a blog is, I can update them at any time but my style is typically to leave a post alone once it publishes).

By using scheduling features of your blog publishing software, you can have posts appear while you are at the office of a business that has a policy against blogging at work. You can keep your readers satisfied with a steady stream of good writing. By spreading your material out over time, you avoid turning your readers into skimmers because of information overload. Write steady!

Reprinted from Reality Me.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Dad’s Day with Chitika

Chitika offers this fantastic advice for maximising revenue from the minimall ads (as seen on this site) on their blog.

I will be taking some of their advice!

Become your own store by offering some great gifts for dad! Whether your website is about computers, cats, or windows, everyone has fathers day on the brain. Trigger someone’s interest with some hot gift ideas in your own eMiniMalls units.

You don’t have to login to your code panel to update your eMiniMalls unit, simply replace the keywords in your code with new keywords. Be sure to test out the keywords that you wish to use in one of your own eMiniMall units or by using our live demo on

Featured Father’s Day Keywords:
Delphi Satellite Radio
Sony Cyber-Shot 8.1MP Digital Camera
Norelco Smart Touch XL Shaver
George Foreman Grill
Sharp - 13″ Flat-Panel LCD TV
Samsung - MiniDV Digital Camcorder
Chitika sets you free!

The great thing about Chitika is we offer freedom of choice. You can choose to show the ads you want. So why is this a good thing? You know your visitors better than anyone. You know why they come to your site and what they are looking for. They could be readers, shoppers or just faithful friends. Either way, you know what they want to see, not us.

It is important to switch up your ads so that you are showing different products to keep people interested, especially if you have a lot of returning friends. I would recommend rotating between 10 keywords at a time, changing them at least once a month. Or you could pick one of our categories, allowing us to rotate between our selected products in whichever category you choose (you can set this up in your code panel).

Take some time to search for products in your own unit that you think others would want to see & simply edit the keywords in your code (just be careful not to click on your own unit while searching for products).

Another great thing about Chitika is our customer support. We can help you every step of the way when choosing keywords, picking the right size unit or placement for it on your site.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Cool blog and web tools

Technorati - a powerful and well know blog tracking site. I have been using them for a couple of years now.

Google Trends

With Google Trends, you can compare the world's interest in your favorite topics. Enter up to five topics and see how often they've been searched for on Google over time. Google Trends also displays how frequently your topics have appeared in Google News stories, and which geographic regions have searched for them most often.

Session Manager - an extension for Firefox that works even better than the old session saver. The best thing I like is it allows you to recover and remember multiple Firefox windows with multiple tabs open simultaneously. Doug and I often have 2-3 windows open with 20-30 tabs open. - Power surfing!

Drupal announces version patch to 4.6.8 and 4.7.2
How to upgrade Drupal

Vox is a new personal blogging service. It's all about ease of use, privacy control, playing well with other web services, and staying connected to the people you care about.
* Control exactly who gets to see each of your posts and photos.
* See all the posts from your friends and family on one page.
* Bring in content from other web services you already use (Amazon, YouTube, more).
Vox will officially launch later this year.

View your website as a cool chart - with colours and mind mapping like looks

Monday, June 05, 2006

Website Overhaul Plans

I am planning a major overhaul of this website in the near future.

There are a number of reasons for doing this, in no particular order:
Its time for a change - this website is almost 2 years old in its current format
I want to use Drupal
I want to give users better access to archives, search functionality and categorisation and indexing
I want a better image gallery option
I want interactive polls and forums included
I want to allow users the ability to contribute also

However I also want to make sure that I involve my readers - thousands of them - thanks for coming and reading.
To achieve this I want you to assist me with the makeover by having your say about what you like, dislike etc about the site.
I am posting this article on each part of the Spyjournal website.

So email me or comment below this article with some answers please
Do you read by RSS or on the web page? (RSS Readers - please take the time to either email me or comment)
Which browser do you use?
Do you come regularly (book marked) or did you come from a search engine?
Would you like to contribute to this site?
What do you like most?
What do you hate the most?
Anything else you can think of?

Thanks and I will keep you updated. When I have a beta version up I will invite you to review it.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Adsense Tips

Darren from ProBlogger had really been going to town lately with good posts and these two on Adsense are excellent resources.
New AdSense referrals for Google Pack and Picasa
AdSense ads new referral buttons
He also talks about Google Trends - A Useful Blogging Tool

How not to Get Banned from AdSense

How not to Get Banned from AdSense: "Eric has a helpful post on ensuring you don’t get banned from AdSense and advises publishers to take the initiative with AdSense if anything abnormal is happening on their blog that might impact their account: ‘It’s your job as an AdSense publisher to keep your nose clean. Keeping your nose clean means:* If you notice suspicious clicks, report it.* If you accidentally click your own ads (it happens), report it.* If your site is suddenly featured on Slashdot, Digg, or some other high-traffic site, report it.* If you know something (press release, review, etc.) is going to send a lot of traffic your way, report it.* If you’re in doubt about anything, report it.’ I would definitely agree with the first two and the last one but am not so sure about sudden increases in traffic. From my experience with AdSense they are pretty good at working out where your traffic comes from and if it’s a valid or invalid source. I guess to be safe you could shoot them an email but"