How Important are Blog Categories?

Paul Chaney asks if Categories are important to a blog?

‘How important are categories when it comes to blogging? For example, popular blog platform Blogger doesn’t even offer them, something I think is a flaw in their design.

In my opinion, categories are very important and for a number of reasons. First of all,

they’re useful to the reader. Categories serve as the means of navigation on a blog.

Secondly, they are important from a search engine standpoint. uses a folksonomy called “tags” for organizing the way it returns search queries. The site looks at blog categories as tags. Without categories, you’ll have to use a special piece of HTML code – which you may wish to use anyway – for tagging purposes….’

So how important are categories to your blogging strategy?

Google Page Rank Gone?

Discussion forums around the web today are buzzing with talk of major problems (or are they just changes) at Google. Earlier in the day Google’s cache server was down and more recently people have started noticing Page Rank has disappeared on many sites – including Google itself.

Of course this has caused a lot of discussion and rumors – ranging from Google scrapping Page Rank, to Google having some sort of melt down, to changes about to be rolled out to Page Rank.

They say ‘no news is good news’ – but I’m suspecting that changes like these put the SEO industry into a spin as they try to work out what’s going on.

Stay tuned for future reports on this issue as they come to hand.

Update: It’s been over 24 hours now and some are starting to panic. Check out some of the following discussion forums for the latest speculation:

Webmaster World
SEO Chat
Search Engine World
Digital Point
Web Workshop

Update II – PR seems to have returned today over two days after it went away. No news yet as to what the issue was.

ProBlogger Network Guest Blogging Developments

I’ve been quiet today here at ProBlogger because I’ve spent the day getting my blogs ready for me not being around for 4 weeks in June.

As I mentioned a week or so back – I am attempting to put at least one guest blogger on each of my blogs to keep them ticking over whilst I’m away. The response to my call for bloggers has been quite amazing to say the least. There are over 40 bloggers involved across my mini network and they are some wonderful people. I’m actually quite excited by some of the conversations that potentially could emerge during June – not only here at but on all of the blogs – I almost wish I could stay home and read them all…. almost.

There are still a few slots for those of you who missed my initial call for bloggers or for those of you who have been wondering if you should do it. If you’re interested in any of the following blogs please contact me as soon as possible and I’ll add you as an author. I’ll put them in the order of what is more urgent to me.

Printer Blog – one position still available
Camera Phone Zone – one positions still available
Laptop Blog – positions now filled
Robotics Blog – positions now filled
PDA Blog – positions now filled
UAV Blog – one position still available
Pharmaceutical News – positions now filled
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Volvo’s $60,000 Sponsorship of AutoBlog Podcast

Business Week reports that Volvo are buying into a $60,000 sponsorship with Weblogs Inc’s new Autoblog podcast. This sponsorship will be for the first six months of this new podcast and is the biggest podcast sponsorship that I’ve noticed so far.

Should Bloggers Learn about Change Management?

The debate continues over full feeds or excerpt feeds. Robert Scoble is de-listing Chris Pirillo and Chris Pirillo tells him (in an indirect way – along with everyone else who has de-listed him) to kiss his ASCII.

I run 20 blogs which between then have thousands of RSS subscribers – all who’ve signed up to feeds that are unashamedly excerpts (they always have been). In two years I’ve had just a handful of complaints about my excerpt feeds. Today I started to wonder why this is – when others seem to be under attack.

Part of it is probably that Chris has a lot more subscribers than I do – the more there are the more individuals that there are kicking up a stink.

Another reason that I suspect is coming into play here for Chris and others making the switch from full feeds to excerpts is that they’re changing things mid stream. In my experience this is always a problem and is something that needs some change management.

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Adsense ‘Choose Your Own Ad’ Feature Being Tested Further

It looks like Google are testing on a wider level the features I noticed back in October on one of their test bed sites.

1871 Media has noticed ads that allow readers of your blog to change the ads viewed to ones of a new topic.

It’s surprising on some levels that such an approach would ever work – as a web user I’m not sure I’d ever as a site to show me different ads – but obviously they’ve found this approach to be somewhat successful because they’ve been testing it for 8 months now!

I guess this shows that contextual text ads are becoming a more accepted part of the web and that some users are actually proactively using them to find the information that they seek.

In some ways this new feature is an extension of their ‘adlinks’ format which also gives readers an opportunity to choose to see a page full of ads on a topic. I’ve been using this format on most of my blogs for a few months now and have found it to be quite effective on some of my sites – largely depending upon where they are positioned and the topic of the blog.

Marketing Sherpa Readers Choice Blog Awards

Marketing Sherpa is running their 2005 Readers’ Choice Blog Awards with a great selection of marketing, PR type blogs to choose from.

Blogging and podcasting in Australia

Just yesterday I was looking at domain names for a blog about Australian Blogging – I was toying with the idea of inviting a few prominent Australian bloggers together in a group blog to help raise the profile of blogging in Australia (as well as our own).

Today Trevor Cook emails me to tell me about his new blog – Blogging and podcasting in Australia. Looks like being a great blog – Trevor is a wonderful (and prolific) blogger who I’m coming to respect a lot. It’ll be on my daily reading list.

Extreme Niche Blogging

Aussie photographer Pete Walsh has taken niche blogging to a whole new level and has started a blog on one of the narrowest topics that I’ve seen a blogger tackle. His topic – the Epson Stylus Pro 4800 printer. Peter upgraded his printer to this new model and is documenting his experience with it.

This is niche blogging to the extreme and an interesting project – over time he’ll develop the most comprehensive information going around on this printer. I’m not sure how well it’ll go at generating an income through his ads but I’m sure it’ll be useful for anyone out there considering buying this printer.