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Secrets of WP Theming

Those of you who are WordPress users might be interested in Secrets of WP Theming: Part 1 and article by Chris J. Davis.

Google Page Rank Reappears

SEO addicts are breathing a sigh of relief today after the Disappearance of Google Page Rank seemingly being rectified in the last few hours. The green bar on the Google Toolbar has returned.

For the average web surfer and blogger the loss of PR would have had little impact but I know a few SEO experts whose businesses rely upon it who will be very relieved today.

Update: Reading between the lines on what ‘Google Guy’ has to say on the WebMasterWorld forum it looks like this was just an upgrade of infrastructure that was timed to coincide with a holiday weekend in the US. It is not an roll out of ‘Trust Rank’ or even an update of PR. Things should be back to normal by now.

Building Blogging Relationships – Be a Good Host

Another way to Build Blogging Relationships is to be a good host on your blog.

V and I went out to a friend’s home recently for a meal and had one of the best nights we’ve had in a long time simply because of the efforts of our hosts. They went to a lot of trouble to make sure that our night was just perfect on so many levels. Our wine glasses were never empty, they had a wood fire burning, they took genuine interest in us and asked a lot of stimulating questions, they offered us the best seats in their living room, they served some wonderful food and basically spoilt us rotten all night. As I look back on the night I realize that because of all of the little things that they did, V and I went home feeling very special and wanting to return the favor and have these friends over to our home as soon as we could.

As bloggers we have an opportunity to make a similar impression upon our readers as our friends made upon us that night.

Here are a few things that could help in being a good blogging host: [Read more...]

Blog Layout

Jim from Blog Kits shot me an email last week saying that he thought it would be interesting to do a post asking readers what their favorite blog layout was.

So….

What is your favorite blog layout?

Do you prefer 2 columns, 3 columns or some other format? What are the advantages of the different formats that you’ve tried?

I think it depends upon the blog you’re running. Most of mine are a 3 column format mainly because I find 3 columns gives more options for placing advertising, affiliate programs etc. Two columns can make it hard to fit ads, navigation and other blog buttons and features in.

The downside of a 3 column layout is that it can make your blog look quite cluttered.

What do you prefer? Feel free to leave links to blogs that you like (or dislike) the layout of.

Building Blogging Relationships – Be a Good Guest

Connected to my last posts on the building blogging relationships series is the idea that sometimes the best place to build relationships with others is on ‘their’ turf.

As I look at some of my most fruitful blogging relationships I notice that many of the best interactions that we have had have when I’ve been willing to have them on the other blogger’s blog.

As bloggers we have a choice when we read something on another blog that we want to bounce off and interact with. We can either take a quote and write about it on our own blog starting our own conversation on that topic – or we can leave a comment on the blog where the conversation is already happening and interact with the blogger concerned there. In a sense you’re taking the conversation and being a good guest at their blog.

Whilst I have nothing against the first option of continuing a conversation on your own blog (this is part of what makes blogging great) – sometimes I wonder if this can be a little selfish. On occasions I’ve seen this happen in a way where the original blogger has their thread hijacked by a second (often bigger) blogger. There may be a link back to the original idea – but it can be done in a way that virtually ignores and overshadows the original post.

[Read more...]

Arieanna goes Pro

arieanna.jpgArieanna is becoming a ProBlogger this week. She’s put in her resignation and starting out on this new exciting path of blogging and consulting. She writes:

‘So, here is a wrap up of some of what I’ll be doing. I’ll continue to write on all of our blogs, and maybe add a few more to the “Blogaholics Network.” I’m going to ramp up the services offered by our ‘official’ company name: Blogaholics Consulting. Our consulting site will continue to be Blogging Help. Some of the services that I’ll be offering include:

  • blog writing on pretty much any topic
  • blog setup
  • SEO with blogs
  • training sessions (blog intro, blogging basics, listening to the blogosphere)
  • public speaking
  • event blogging
  • media purchases for blogs’

I’ve really admired Arieanna’s approach to blogging in the past few months since discovering her work at Blogaholics and Blogging Help and in the past few weeks have engaged her services Digital Photography Blog to sell me some advertising. So far she’s put together an advertising kit (pdf) that has already found me one potential advertiser.

So if you need a pro blogger for one of your sites – need some consulting work done – or just want to know what it takes to ‘Go Pro’ Arieanna might be something for you to get to know.

Arguments for getting rid of comments

James has a good post with some Arguments for getting rid of comments (he’s going to do another balancing one tomorrow on why comments are essential features for blogs). I’ve heard each of them before except for this one:

‘The more comments you have the less links you’ll get – Comments lose you ranking

I’m quite serious about this. Do you really think that Dave Winer would get so many links if he allowed comments of his site? To take this down to a smaller (and perhaps more important) level, say there’s a writer who you’re really into who posts some really interesting material but doesn’t allow comments, if you want to respond then you’ve gotta do it on your blog, which gives you more links, a wider audience and…’

It’s an interesting argument and one I’d not really thought about before. There is some sense in it – rather than have the conversation on your own blog – not allowing comments forces people to take it to theirs with links back to you. On the opposing side I think you’d find that a lesser percentage of people would do this than leave comments – thus in taking this approach you might build your own blog’s ranking a little but you kill the potential conversations you might have.

I’m a massive fan of comments and value the learning that I do from interacting with my readers.

Building Blogging Relationships – Availability and Accessibility

Two weeks ago I started a series on Building Blogging Relationships with Blogging in Formation and a post on Attitude – this week I’m going to pick up and finish the series with a few more posts.

I was talking with a friend a few weeks ago about relationships – particularly about his singleness. He’d been in a relationship for 4 years until six months ago when it unfortunately ended. As we chatted he reflected how that in the 4 years of relationship he’d become quite an insular and ‘coupley’ (his word) person. He didn’t go out to places where single people hung out and he’d spent less time with single friends. The challenge he faces is to ‘get out there and meet someone’ (his words). This means going to places that he’s not gone before, getting out of his comfort zone and meeting new people.

It strikes me that in order to build relationships with other bloggers that you need to put yourself in a position where it’ll be possible to meet them. Many of us as bloggers can become quite comfortable in the blogging cliques that we belong to – we know a handful other bloggers that have a similar interest to us and are quite content to let this be our ‘network’.

Whilst this might be fine – I wonder if we limit our potential by such an insular approach – do we run the risk of becoming a little stale? Perhaps meeting some new bloggers might bring a freshness to our blogging?

When I started ProBlogger.net I decided to get out of the rut I was in as a blogger in only interacting with a select group of other bloggers. Here is two things I did to meet some new people: [Read more...]

Choosing a Topic for your Adsense Blog

Do you remember Michael Buffington who back in Febuary started a grand experiment in blogging for dollars by starting the Asbestos Blog – a blog designed for the one intention of making money from a blog with a topic which is always touted as attracting high paying Adsense Ads?

Stephen Baker from Business Week Blog does a follow up post on the grand experiment and tracks how it fared after the initial burst of traffic from those attacking Michael for blatantly using his blog to chase a quick buck. Stephen writes:

‘Check out his site today and you see that the last post was in mid March. Buffington has backburnered it. Turns out that blogging for bucks, he says, “was really hard work.” That might be the most useful lesson his experiment leaves behind. In the initial burst of publicity, he was picked up by Slashdot and traffic rocketed. But as the weeks wore on, he was spending lots and lots of time trying to be the definitive guide to things asbestos, and traffic trailed off.

“There aren’t that many people who want to visit an asbestos site,” he says.’

It’s a good lesson for all Pro Bloggers wanting to explore niche blogging and illustrates that when choosing a topic it’s important to look for high paying keywords.

Also worth considering are factors like:

  • Will you be able to sustain writing on your chosen topic in the long term – are you interested enough in the topic to write on it every day?
  • Is there a market for your content (ie do people search for it?)
  • How many others are writing on the topic? (high paying ads tend to have a lot of competition which makes it hard to get highly ranked in Search Engines.