Today the integration of Fastclick (and impression based ad system that some bloggers use – my review of it is here) and ValueClick Media was completed. If you go to the Fastclick site you’ll now be forwarded to VC’s site instead where you can log in using the same login details that you previously did.
Wow – I just came home after a few hours out to find that the last couple of hours before the deadline for stories to be submitted for next week’s stories series were certainly busy hours. In the last couple of hours alone there were 15 new stories submitted – bringing it to a total of 40!
Submissions are now closed and I’ll be working out which one’s we’ll use in the period that I’m away over the next few days.
If your story is not chosen don’t dispair – I’ll attempt to use as many as I can over the weeks that follow after my break if the feedback on this series indicates that people found it worthwhile. Thanks for everyone’s efforts – but please, no more stories! :-)
German speaking AdSense publishers might be interested to find that the official AdSense blog now has a German sister site called Das offizielle deutsche AdSense-Blog.
The Official Google Blog was unavailable a couple of days back. This sent loads of rumors around that perhaps Blogger.com had been hacked. The real story was that they deleted their own blog.
If Google can do it – anyone can.
Do you have a blog backup strategy?
Update – Dave Walker put together a cartoon to commemorate the moment :-)
found via SE Journal
Late last night I wrote a post on responding to criticism that has had some good discussion. One of the things that a number of those leaving comments suggested is that sometimes when someone attacks you it is better to ignore them.
I’d agree that ignoring can be a good strategy at times – however I always consider some sort of response even on angry posts because:
1. I’m amazed how quickly some people back down when they know you’re actually reading them. I can think of at least 5 occassions when someone was attacking me either on a blog or discussion forum and when I left a comment calmly pointing out my side of things I would get responses like – ‘oh, sorry…. I didn’t think anyone was reading’ – or ‘oh, sorry, I’m having a bad day – I shouldn’t have attacked you’ etc.
Of course this doesn’t always happen – but there’s something about a personal comment that seems to shake some people up and make them realise that despite them writing about someone they’ve never met in a pretty impersonal medium that they need to be accountable for their words.
2. I think it’s important in terms of reputation to give your perspective - what worries me about the ignore it strategy is that the attack remains online indefinately as a permanent record of the other person’s opinion of you.
It’s amazing what comes up when people search for someone’s name in Google and what impact what is written about you can have upon others. People often believe what they read online without questioning it and so if I think it’s worth writing a short, reasonable response that answers the attack to bring some balance and perspective to a post that has the potential to harm your reputation in the years ahead. ‘Ignore it and it will go away’ is actually a somewhat dangerous philosophy online because what’s written in this medium will never go away once it is archived by archive services – even if the blog in question is deleted.
3. I’m amazed by the power of a reasoned response to a frenzied, angry and attacking post when it comes to finding new readers. I know of many ProBlogger readers who actually found and became regular readers of this blog after reading an attack on me and seeing me respond in a reasonable way. The person attacking you might not change their opinion but they have readers who might. Being attacked isn’t nice – but sometimes the way you respond is an opportunity in itself.
Of course you can’t respond to everything that everyone writes about you. For starters it’s difficult to track it all and secondly, even if you could it could track it all, it can become quite a distraction from your core task of blogging to always be doing so. I would argue though that it is important to monitor what others say about you to at least some extent and to be willing to participate in their conversations.
From time to time in blogging you come across someone who is writing things about you that you don’t particularly agree with. Sometimes they write about you in a constructively critical way and on other occasions they do so in a fairly destructive manner.
If this hasn’t happened to you yet – it will if you blog long enough.
The question is, ‘what should you do about it?’
I’ve written previously on this topic and written a list of 15 things to do when you’re attacked – but over the last few months I’ve found that one method seems to work more than anything else.
All it really involves is joining the conversation in the place where you’re being critiqued.
Even in the last few days I’ve found a few spots where I’d been written about in less than glowing terms and on each occasion I simply joined the comment thread and attempted to state my point of view in as reasonable and level headed case as I could.
I’m not saying that this works in every case (and it’s not always easy to do in each instance) – but I find that people respond pretty well in most instances if you are willing to hear what they have to say and then respond in a reasonable way yourself. There’s something about a calm response to attack that takes the sting out of things.
In each case where I’ve done this recently I’ve either had apologies or a constructive conversation with those who were critiquing me where I felt we both learnt something and came out of it with a stronger relationship as a result.
update: I’ve added to this post and comments below in a a new post on ignoring criticism as a strategy.
Just a quick note to say that there have been some great stories submitted in response to my request for blogging stories to be featured on ProBlogger over the first two weeks of April. The deadline for submissions lasts for another 20 hours so there’s still time to get yours in – just keep in mind to follow the guidelines I set out and submit them via the contact form and not in comments.
So far there have been a good spread of submissions from both experienced and new bloggers and through it I’ve already discovered some blogs I’d not seen or heard of before – I’m looking forward to others interacting with the stories next week.
Also on a related note – a couple of the guest bloggers who will contribute a few posts next week have asked me for ideas of what to write about so I said I’d ask ProBlogger readers. So if you have a blogging question you’d like to ask some of these quite experienced bloggers feel free to do so in comments below.
Lastly – to those who’ve submitted stories so far – thank you. I’ll make a decision on which ones I’ll use once the deadline comes. I do appreciate the time and effort people have put into this. I’m especially impressed by the creativity some of you have written with and the blogs that you have produced.
Ben at Inside Firefox has written a great little post on how to write for Busy People (and lets face – most of us fit the category).
I think the six points they make are great advice for bloggers also. Of course that doesn’t mean you can’t break the ‘rules’ and still have a worthwhile blog – but they are worth keeping in mind.
- Making important points up front
- Clear taxonomy of headings, and lots of them
- Writing clearly and succinctly
- No long, unbroken paragraphs or tracts of text.
- Preferring bulleted lists with clear points to paragraphs.
- Use of emphasis in formatting to make important things clear
I particularly would echo Ben’s sixth point. I know that when I go to a blog and see long unbroken paragraphs that it’s a major turn off. I don’t mind reading long article but am much more likely to do so if I can see it’s well organized, not too overwhelming and if it gives me some hints at a glance as to what it’s about and what I’ll get out of it. First impressions count for a lot.
The only extra hint I’d add to Ben’s list is to think carefully about your main title. He’s mentioned headings which could include this – but I think if a title is designed well it can communicate a lot and be the thing that gets people reading or turns them away from your post.
ProBlogger.net’s blog designer Rachel Cunliffe has started a series of posts that I’m sure many of you who love to play around with your blog’s templates will enjoy. In her post Creating a blog theme from scratch she outlines where she’d headed with it. Her 7 steps are:
- Consulting with the client
- Constructing a wire frame
- Constructing an initial design idea in Fireworks.
- Converting the design into the (WordPress/MovableType) template files
- Tweaking the design to suit
- Re-addressing the blog’s design after it’s been used for a month or two
- Blog maintenance
While I’m no designer (and suspect I never will be) I’m looking forward to reading more on how a pro blog designer does it.