Speedlinking 31 August 2006

  • eMoms at Home writes Top 10 Blogging Lessons Learned on Traffic, Monetization and Life – it’s got some gems in it.
  • Chitika have a new feature called ‘Globe Trot’ that lets you see what people in different countries see of your Chitika eMiniMall ads when they view your blog.
  • Dane shares 6 tips for working at Home with Children (I think i need to digest some of this)
  • Shel Israel writes 9 Random Thoughts about Blogging including ‘Law of Diminishing Share’, ‘The buck’s not there’, ‘Size isn’t relevance’ and ‘Blogging is like an elephant.
  • Stephan has put together a screencast video on how to optimize your blogs and RSS feeds for different search engines including specialist engines (quite long, 58 minutes, but contains useful information if you’re starting out with Search Engine Optimization).

Random vs Planned Blogging

One of the things that I enjoy about blogs is how random they can be.

Within the blogging medium it’s quite acceptable to bring together a collection of seemingly unrelated ideas over the course of a week or more. I guess this comes partly out of the personal blogging scene where it’s not unusually to see a post one day on the blogger’s political views, to see them post a little later reviewing a movie they’ve just seen, posting the next day a link to a fart joke that they just came across and then following it up with a description of last night’s date.

There’s something wonderful about this (it can be a wonderfully surprising ride to read such blogs) however recently I’ve found myself advising quite a few business bloggers and entrepreneurial bloggers to think through their posting a little more.

The Problem with Random Posting

While random posting can be a lot of fun and works well for some blogs (particularly those who build themselves on the back of their weird and wacky approach) it can also be quite frustrating for those readers who come to your blog not to be entertained but because they want to learn something.

Planned Posting

I’ve been asking myself the following question each Monday morning over the past few weeks….
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aStore: Get Link – Associates Central

Ins-Thu-Gl-IframeAmazon have just emailed those testing their aStore to let them know of three ways to integrate it into their website.

1. Link to your aStore as a stand-alone store (this is what they were offering previously and is as simple as having a link (like this) to your aStore.

2. Embed your aStore using an inline frame – where it will appear as though the aStore is a part of your site and they can shop without leaving your shop (as in the picture above/left).

3. Integrate your aStore using a frameset – placing the aStore in one frame and your site’s navigation into another – also making it seem like it’s part of your site (below).

Instructions for each method are in the ‘get link’ section of the aStore menu.

It’s nice to see Amazon taking their stores in this direction – it answers a lot of the concerns expressed by publishers when they were announced.

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How to Eliminate the Echo Chamber and Add New Dimensions to Your Blog

Echo-ChamberOne of the better posts I’ve seen recently is by Chris Pirillo writing about ways to eliminate the ‘echo chamber’. It’s a post that I’m sure many bloggers will find a challenge (I know I did). Here are his main points (in bold) with a few comments of my own (the non bolded stuff) on some of them. I’m not sure I’d be quite as extreme as Chris suggests – but there’s food for thought in the list and I suspect that enacting some of his suggestions from would add new dimensions to a blog (and maybe even help a little with the echo chamber thing too):

1. Don’t live inside your news aggregator

I was actually thinking to myself yesterday that my news aggregator has become way too central in my blogging. While I love the way it helps me to keep my finger on the pulse of many aspects of life I do worry from time to time that it has the potential to suck the creativity out of me as a blogger as it’s very easy to use it as a lead generating machine and allow it to determine much of what you post on your blogs.

2. Say something original at least once a day

– One of the results of living in your news aggregator is that it’s easy to get lazy and to recycle news and ideas from others – at the expense of exercising your own brain power and developing some original ideas of your own. I’ve got nothing against bouncing off others ideas (I’m doing it now) but starting conversations rather than just responding to others or reporting on the conversations that others start can lead bloggers into a fairly one dimensional type of blogging.

3. If warranted, quote an “unknown” source

Chris is spot on with this. It’s easy to only read the A-lister and use them as the source of a story, but the fact is that there are many other talented bloggers who are saying similar things that also deserve attention. This is of course a challenge (as are all other 9 points) as it can be difficult to find the quality ‘unknown source’ partly because no one is linking to them (hence they are unknown). I guess what I’m saying is that sometimes it takes a little work to find them – but it’s worth it when you do.
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Microsoft adCenter Start Inviting Advertisers to Join Pilot – Glimmer of Hope for Publishers

Jennifer has posted that Microsoft have just sent out invitations to selected advertisers for adCenter – their contextual advertising program’s pilot program in the coming months.

She notes that the invitation indicates that ads will be primarily places upon MSN sites but that in using that word there is a chance that they might make it available for other publishers to run the ads (similar to AdSense and YPN).

This is one of the few indications to publishers that there is a chance of Microsoft heading in this direction sooner than later.

How to Apply for a Blog Job

So you want a blog job……

Well some of you seem to if the amount of traffic and subscribers to the feed at the Job Boards are anything to go by.

I’ve just been chatting to a number of the advertisers who have listed jobs and there have been three resounding pieces of feedback:

  1. They have had a lot of applicants.
  2. They’ve had some amazing quality applicants.
  3. They’ve also had some applicants who are not doing themselves any favors in the way they’ve applied for positions.

It’s this last point that I’d like to address in this post.

The fact is that there are significantly more people looking for blog jobs than there are jobs on the market at present. This is definitely changing as more businesses and networks emerge – however for the time being, if you are a blogger looking for work, you need to think quite carefully about how you apply for blogging jobs.

Here are 11 tips to keep in mind as you apply:

1. Act Quickly

Jobs are going quickly. Just a day after opening the boards I’d heard back from numerous advertisers that they thought they’d already found someone for their jobs. While I’d encourage applicants not to rush the process (and come across as not having thought it through) I would suggest that you need to act reasonably quickly when applying for a blog job or you could miss out. 24 hours is a long time in blogging – take any longer than that to express your interest in a job and you might miss out on it.

2. Follow the Instructions

Many of those advertising ask for specific things to be included in their applications. Some ask for examples of writing, others ask for links to your blogs, others ask you to answer a question and all ask you to apply in a certain way (generally via email to a certain email address). A consistent piece of feedback from advertisers has been that many applicants fail to apply in a way that is consistent with the instructions. Failing to show that you can follow steps outlined in a job advertisement isn’t a good first impression to a prospective employer.

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Chitika allow Embedding of ShopLinc via iFrames

Chitika have posted on their blog that their Shoplincs can now be embedded in iframes on your site (if you’ve been accepted into the program).

You can see their article on how to do it in their knowledge base.

ProBlogger Hack Update

For an hour or two in the early hours of this morning (my time) the server that ProBlogger is hosted on was hacked by someone with a political message.

They targeted index pages on a number of sites including ProBlogger, ProBlogger’s Job Boards, Digital Photography Blog and a number of other blogs that I’m associated with.

Thank you to everyone who has emailed to let me know (I have an inbox with well over 100 emails with the word ‘hacked’ in it. I do appreciate everyones concern and offers of assistance.

Thanks to my great server guy Regan who was on the case very quickly we’re gradually coming back up online on the sites that were effected. Both PB and PBJB are now back up and running and my other blogs (including DPB) will be back to normal later in the day.

Using Stories in Blogging

Story-1Last week I spoke on the topic of Business Blogging at a Melbourne gathering of the Australian Interactive Media Association with Cameron and Ben.

I enjoyed the presentation times but particularly enjoyed a number of the interactions I had afterwards over drinks.

Three of those that I chatted to for a while were Gabrielle, Yamini and Lyn from a company called One Thousand and One. They grabbed my attention within seconds of telling me what they do as a business – they are into ‘Organisational Storytelling’.

To be honest I’d not heard of Organisational Storytelling previously but even on hearing the phrase for the first time I knew that it was something that could be quite powerful and something that I could immediately see connecting points with blogging.

As a small part of my presentation on Business Blogging I had mentioned that some of the more effective business blogs that I’d come across integrated ‘story’ into their content.

Stories engage people in a completely different way to any other form of communication that I’ve come across and on blogs I find that they can be particularly powerful.

Rather than blogs degenerating into ‘spin’ machines I encouraged people to think about injecting personality into them by sharing stories on a number of levels:
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