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ProBlogger Blog Case Study – Digital Photography School

Last week’s experiment with Vidcasting brought a lot of positive feedback so I’ve decided to make it a regular thing. This week I’m testing blip.tv (still in beta) to host my video. Let me know what you think in comments.

In this week’s vidcast (6 minutes and 23 seconds) I walk you through my latest ‘blog’ Digital Photography School. It’s an experiment on numerous levels and I talk you through some of the theories that I’m testing there.

By no means is this new project finished (it’ll take years to get to where I want to go) – I’m not satisfied with many aspects of it yet but as I say it’s more of an experiment than anything else and I’ll use it as a blog case study both in this vidcast but also in the coming months as I continue to develop it. In this way I hope to give a practical example from startup through to maturity (hopefully) on how I set up a new blog. I’m taking a long term view of this process so settle in for the ride.

Hopefully it will also be a useful blog for some of you who are interested in improving your digital camera technique – if that’s you you might wish to subscribe to it’s weekly email newsletter or RSS feed.

Of course any link love that you can give it will be much appreciated!

Here’s the Vidcast.


Drupal 4.7.0 Released

Drupal (a blogging platform) users will be excited today to see Drupal 4.7.0 has been released. New features include:

  • Multiple Block Regions: Were you feeling constrained by only two choices for block placement? You can now dynamically specify as many block placement locations as you want.
  • ‘Offline for Maintenance’ Configuration: You can now easily configure your site to display a friendly notice to visitors when you have to take down your site for maintenance.
  • Free Tagging Support: Free tagging functionality is now built into the taxonomy system.
  • Site-Wide Contact Form: You can now easily enable a contact form page that will let you easily collect feedback from your site visitors.
  • Author Information Block: There is now a block you can enable that will display author information alongside posts.
  • Public/Private Profile Fields: You can now specify permissions for profiles on a per-field basis.
  • Block by IPs/Hostname: It is now possible to block users by their IP address or Hostnames. Good bye trolls!
  • Aggregator now Supports Atom: It is now finally possible to aggregate Atom formatted feeds like those created by Blogger.
  • Aggregator Generates RSS Feeds: It’s now easier than ever to use Drupal to power ‘Planet’ like sites.
  • RSS Feed Settings You can now configure how much content and how many items to publish in your RSS feed.
  • Better Search Index: The search module indexer is now smarter and more robust
  • Advanced Search Operators: You can now search by advanced search operators (e.g. phrase, node type, etc.)
  • Custom Search Results Ranking: The search module now lets you weight search results by keyword relevance, date of post, number of comments, and number of views.

found via an IM from Regan

BlogBurst Officially Launch

BlogburstI’m seeing a bit of buzz around today about BlogBurst
TechCrunch advises that BlogBurst officially launches today.

BlogBurst is a service that syndicates blogger’s content to mainstream media. The publishers using the content pay a CPM based fee to BlogBurst for the content and the blogger gets free exposure and a link back to their blog (they don’t get paid for it).

Since I mentioned BlogBurst a number of months ago I’ve heard from quite a few readers who say that they’ve been approached by them to become publishers. Quite a few have signed up already.

I’d be keen to hear from bloggers in comments below (anonymously if you’d prefer) if you’ve been approached and to hear about how you made the decision either to join or to stay out of it. If you’ve had articles published already I’d love to hear how that went also.

Technorati Top 100 Through the Eyes of Google

Philip Lenssen has put together an alternative Technorati Top 100 list, based upon Google Backlinks. The results are a significantly different for quite a few blogs with Instapundit climbing from 7th to 1st, Talking Points Memo by Joshua Micah Marshall climbing from 35th to 2nd and Daily Kos going up a notch from 4th to 3rd.

The actual Technorati Top 100 is based upon unique links over the last 6 months and therefor measures blog popularity based upon a more recent history whereas Philip’s new list is less time specific.

Doesn’t really mean anything except to illustrate why longevity in blogging pays off when thinking about your blog’s value in the eyes of Google.

Optimizing PBS’s AdSense Ads

Paid Content had an interesting piece last week on a move by PBS to start running AdSense ads on 2% of the the pages on their site. It caused a bit of a stir in some circles about whether it was within their charter to run ads on their site like this (something I don’t know enough about to comment on).

What DID interest me about the announcement was not an analyisis on WHY they’ve done it or whether it’s right or wrong – but rather an analysis of HOW PBS have positioned their ads.

Here’s an example of a page with the ads in which you’ll see them positioned towards the top right of the page (as below – click to enlarge). Here’s another one.

Pbs-Adsense

PBS is obviously wanting to make their ads quite distinct from their content by clearly labeling them ‘Sponsored Links’ and by designing them to have a white background and with colors that don’t really match anything else on their page at all. I completely understand why they have done this but it’s worth saying that the results that they will get from these ad’s performance will almost definitely mean a lower earning capacity.

While I doubt they’ll do anything to make the ads a little more subtle the following are a number of suggestions that I’d make to increase performance of these ads:

[Read more...]

Non English Posts make up over Two Thirds of Total Blog Posting

What is the most common language used by bloggers?

It might surprise some to know that it’s not English but Japanese according to David Sifry. English comes in second with Chinese third.

Slide0013-Tm

The interesting thing is that Japanese is on the rise in the last six or so months. In November 05 it made up 31% of posts, in January 06 it made up 32% and now it’s up to 37%. English makes up under a third of total posts.

Of course this measures total numbers of posts in these languages and not numbers of bloggers – perhaps Japanese write a lot more posts per day than English speaking bloggers but I suspect it says more about the international state of the blogosphere – something that doesn’t get a whole heap of attention.

Anyone want to translate ProBlogger into Japanese?

Animated AdSense Ads

I just saw my first animated AdSense ad on one of my blogs.

I can’t get the ad to show again to show you screen caps but it was a rectangle sized ad that was a series of three images that rotated for the first 20 or so seconds that I was on the page. This was the first image in the series.

Animated-Adsense

I’ve heard that animated ads were coming (it’s been months since it was announced) but hadn’t seen any to this point. I’d be interested to know how they convert income wise as they are quite imposing ads on a page.

More Blog Tools

Just a quick note to say that I’ve added another 12 tools to the Blog Tools list. We’re up to 67 tools now.

I’ve had to be a little selective with some of the suggestions people have made. Just a note – I’m not listing hosting services and am not listing fairly general ‘organizational’ tools (well not any more) and am trying to keep the list pretty focused. Hope it’s useful.

How NOT to “Keep Up”

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by ‘reading’?

Sometimes I get to the end of a day and look at all the unread items in my life (email, RSS feeds, books, magazines, newspapers, articles) and feel quite ill. I have great intentions of reading them all but with only 24 hours in a day and with a family life, social life, work life etc it’s just not possible to ‘keep up’ with it all.

If you feel like this Creating Passionate Users has a good post which you might like to read on The myth of “keeping up”.

While the post is probably more about reading ‘hardcopy’ (ie books, manuals, magazines etc) I think that it’s easily applied to ‘e-copy’ which many bloggers become overwhelmed by in their quest to keep their blog up to date and to keep their head around the niche that they write in. Here are a few of the headings that Kathy writes about that might help us tackle the ‘keeping up’ addiction that many of us face:

  • Find the best aggregators
  • Get summaries
  • Cut the redundancy!
  • Unsubscribe to as many things as possible
  • Recognize that gossip and celebrity entertainment are black holes
  • Pick the categories you want for a balanced perspective, and include some from OUTSIDE your main field of interest
  • Be a LOT more realistic about what you’re likely to get to, and throw the rest out