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Using Bloglines – a Tutorial

I was speaking with someone yesterday via MSN and they asked me about how I could possibly follow so many trains of thought to keep 20 blogs on such a variety of topics updated. My answer was quite simple – Bloglines and the RSS feeds that I track there are one of the keys to my success.

betterdays has a helpful tutorial on Using Bloglines (or How to keep up with dozens of blogs everyday) which should give beginner users of Bloglines some helpful tips on how to use it in keeping up with many sources of information at once. It goes right from the sign up stage through to subscribing to feeds through to integrating it with other services like Flickr and Feedster.

It’s not rocket science – but for those who don’t know where to start with Bloglines this is a great starting place and will teach you the basic skills you’ll need to get the most out of the tool.

Business Week Does Blogging – An Incomplete Picture?

I’ve been looking over the online version of Business Week that this week focusses upon Blogging. The articles that I’ve read are well written, insightful pieces – but I can’t help feeling a little disappointed that they tend to focus largely upon businesses who blog rather than blogs that are businesses. Articles like Blogs will Change your Business, Six Tips for Corporate Bloggers and the case study of Stonyfield Farm’s Blog are all going to help build the overall profile of blogging – but I wonder if an article highlighting how bloggers are using blogs to directly make a living might have given a fuller picture.

The article on Lockhart Steele’s blog Curbed.com was probably the closest to this in the articles they’ve posted online (are there more in the hard copy edition that give a fuller picture?) – however the article wasn’t really explicit or an inspirational piece on the power of entrepreneurial blogging.

Perhaps I’m being a little hard on Business Week and asking for something that was beyond what one edition could possible deliver – but I’d like to see them take another look at blogging at some point and hopefully explore blogging AS business rather than just blogging as a support to business.

What do you think?

Google TrustRank

Search Engine Watch notes a few new trademarks from Google – including one interesting one ‘ TrustRank’ which they speculate that it could be an indication that Google are cooking up some new ranking system (like PageRank?) that is for combatting web spam.

Also trademarked by Good are the terms:

  • ‘Advertise On the Neighborhood World Wide Web’
  • ‘Its All About Results’
  • ‘Picture Simplicity’

More on Google Ads in RSS Feeds

The Blogging community is buzzing with the news yesterday of Google Adsense Ads in RSS feeds. There are a few relevant updates surfacing to this story:

Robert from Longhorn Blogs (the blog that the first Adsense Ads were spotted in the RSS feed of) answers a few questions on their Adsense ads in their RSS feed. He writes:

Q: How are you putting ads in the feeds?
A: I can’t talk at all about implementation yet, because the system is not finalized. It’s just a test to determine how well the current thought process works, the performance bottlenecks, and to discover any barriers to others using it. I CAN tell you that it isn’t using Javascript….

Q: When can I start putting ads in MY feeds?
A: IF Google decides to launch this product, you can expect to see a wider public beta in the next few weeks. I wouldn’t waste my time trying to figure out the current implementation yet. It will most likely change, and your AdSense account won’t have the proper permissions from their servers to display contextual ads anyways.

Also at Feedburner’s Blog you can see that they are mobilising themselves for Google’s Adsense ads – they write:

‘FeedBurner has implemented support for this capability. Google is currently testing this program with just a few publishers, but as the program becomes more widely available, and your Google AdSense id is approved for use with RSS ads, FeedBurner will take care of the rest as part of our suite of services. Google’s AdSense implementation is based on editing your source feed template. FeedBurner makes it simple to implement the AdSense service if you can’t or don’t want to edit your source feed templates, or you just want additional flexibility in determining frequency of ads, ability to prevent ads on short posts and other ad control mechanisms for your feed.’

So it looks like it could be a while before Google comes out of testing for their RSS ads. One would think that their initial testing will go for some time before they’re ready to go into a full beta with the wider publisher public.

ProBlogger turns 33

I just turned 33 – that must put me in the upper age range of ProBloggers many of whom seem to be in their 20s.

Any suggestions on how I should celebrate when I wake up in the morning?

Tips for Generating Effective Web Content

Search Engine Guide has 7 Tips for Generating Effective Web Content which might help those wanting to improve their quality of content:

  1. Write customer focused content that appeals to your audience.
  2. If performing SEO – Focus on writing for the human reader first and search engines second.
  3. Find out what your target audience’s are really searching for.
  4. Tips for triggering idea generation
  5. Creating content that speaks to a specific audience
  6. Remember to include strong calls to action
  7. Search engine optimization the stress free approach

It is pretty basic stuff – but I’d echo the advice given in most points. I’m a particular believer in getting in the shoes of your blog’s readership. Start with your readership in mind instead of the search engine robots and you’ll not only end up ranking well but will help some people along the way.

Talk to your readers and find out what makes them tick – and as you do you’ll begin to see your subject matter from their perspective. What are their challenges, problems, questions – make these the basis of your posting and you’ll build a successful and popular blog.

How to make money from your blog: 5 tips

Jeff Wuorio has a good basic introductory article on How to make money from your blog with five starting points:

  1. Sell advertising.
  2. Help sell others’ products (affiliate programs).
  3. Solicit contributions.
  4. Market your services in your blog.
  5. Use a blog to deepen your existing customer relationships.

It is a similar piece to my Blogging for Dollars post.

ProBlogger WordPress Upgrade Underway

Just a warning to readers that we’re currently upgrading WordPress for this blog to version 1.5 so there may be a few bugs for the next few hours. I’ll let you know when its complete so you can start letting me know if there are any issues.

I appreciate your patience as we improve ProBlogger.

Also I just sent out a ProBlogger Newsletter (week 2). If you didn’t get it you might need to re-subscribe. Let me know if you want me to email the last one to you if you missed it.

Update: The upgrade (from WP 1.2) is complete. It wasn’t a redesign – simply an upgrade of versions. Please let me know if you see any bugs – thanks.

Google AdSense in RSS Feeds

Google have developed the technology for putting adsense ads in RSS Feeds. This is the news we’ve all been waiting for as publishers. Longhornblogs.com is one of the first testers of this this new RSS ad system (check the ads out in their RSS feed).

I’m surprised that its taken this long to get a system like this up – but I’m very happy that they have. There is no official word yet from Google on this – somtimes it takes a while for testing like this to get out of beta – but it can’t be too far off. The big question is – where do I sign up!? I wonder how you get on the testing list for this.

Source: Google AdSense in RSS! (Chris Pirillo)