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Tubetorial Launches – First Impression Review

Tubetorial-1I’ve been waiting the launch of tubetorial for the past few weeks since hearing about it from Brian from Copyblogger (one of the gang behind tubetorial).

Tubetorial is a video based tutorial site which will focus upon web development and internet marketing.

It’s launched with three videos:

The topics are excellent and I’m looking forward to future episodes of each series.

First Impressions

I’m not sure what I was expecting from tubetorial but here are a few first impressions:

  • Helpful Topics - as a blogger I obviously found the topics appealing. They’re obviously starting with some fairly basic level topics, but they are all practical and helpful.
  • Well Designed - Chris is a great designer and it’s reflected in the layout and design of the site.
  • Good Presentation – the first three presentations are all well thought through and scripted. I did feel at times like I was listening to someone reading a script (I’m much more used to presentations that are free flowing and spontaneous – its just my personal preference. I’m sure they’ll get a little more natural over time though as they become more used to making the videos). The visual elements provided interest. I liked that it was more than just a dull screencast and incorporated talking heads (in one of them), flowcharts, pictures, screen grabs etc.
  • Usefulness – the actual content is useful. It’s early days of course as they are only 3 videos in, but so far I can see that a lot of bloggers (especially those towards the beginning of their journey) will find tubetorial helpful.

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Technorati Tag Link Generator

Blake writes a post on Technorati Tags and has developed a little Technorati Tag Link Generator tool that may be of some use to some of you who don’t have the functionality built into your blogging tools already (like some blog desktop publishers do).

Here’s some tags I just used with the tool:

Lessons from Steve Irwin the Crocodile Hunter

Steve-IrwinA few readers have emailed me today to ask if I’m going to post about the tragic death of Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter.

While I’m a proud Australian and have been saddened by his passing, I’d not really seen the need for a post here to mark the occasion as it’s not really relevant to the topic at hand (even though I did once blog about why the Crocodile Hunter Needs a Blog)

However today as I’ve watched the news reports of Steve’s death and have watched the reaction of my fellow Australians (it’s been quite remarkable) I’ve been asking myself why the reaction has been so strong to his death?

It’s obviously in watching the reports that this was a guy who was not only very successful at what he did – but that he was someone who was influential and that had a lasting impact on those he met (and those beyond that).

As bloggers perhaps there are some lessons that we can learn from Steve Irwin.

A number of things spring to mind:

1. Passion – perhaps the biggest observation that virtually every person interviewed about Steve is making is that he was an incredibly passionate man. Passionate about animals, Australia, conservation and people.

While I’m sure a lot of us laughed at many of his over the top antics, there’s something about watching someone who so obviously loves what he’s doing and who throws himself into it (quite literally) that is very attractive.

2. Focused on Others - of course I don’t really know what Steve was like as I never met the guy myself but I saw a number of interviews with people today that left me with the impression that he had a way of making others feel incredibly valued and empowered.

One interview particularly stood out – it was with the cameraman who was with him at his death who told the story of how hours before dying Steve had seen the cameraman on the phone to his son. He grabbed the phone and talked to the guy’s son for 45 minutes, encouraging him and giving him a real thrill. After the call the cameraman thanked Steve for what he’d done and Steve turned things around and genuinely thanked the cameraman for sharing his life with Steve. The camera guy was obviously impacted by Steve in just the few days that he’d known him.

3. Individuality – the footage that is being played on news today highlights again and again just what an individual he was. His ‘Crikey’ catch cry, his khaki clothes, his vivacious energy, his exaggerated Aussie mannerisms etc – all of these things added together to create something quite unique – something that people latched onto and were drawn to.

4. Optimism – while some conservationists use fear and negativity to guilt trip us into looking after the environment, Steve Irwin came across as a very optimistic person who had a way painting a positive picture of the way things could be if we looked after the world we lived in. This had a way of drawing people to him and his causes that was incredibly influential.

A quote from Steve Irwin to wrap this up:

I believe that education is all about being excited about something. Seeing passion and enthusiasm helps push an educational message.”

Passion, Individuality, Optimism and the ability to genuinely enter the lives of those around him and make them feel valued and important is something that Steve shares with a lot of other successful and influential people. I suspect that they’d both be worthwhile characteristics to build into one’s blogging practices (and lives) also.

Relational Blogging

Today I spent a little more time reading Darby Checkett’s ‘Leverage‘ (aff) and was drawn to a chapter titled ‘The Best Investment You’ll Ever Make’.

Darby’s book is about how to achieve ‘tipping points’ through different leverages and this chapter focusses upon Relationships as one of those leverages.

Early in this chapter he refers to all the other leverages that he’s talked about as being ‘personal power factors’ and goes on to identify relationships as having ‘the multiplier effect’ (sounds like something out of a bad Si-Fi movie or something). Let me hand over to Darby for a quote (from page 97):

‘The minute you involve others in your vision, the minute your desire impact others, all your personal power factors will benefit from the multiplier effect. This is real leverage. it is obvious that, when you alone hold a visioin, you speak with one small voice. When you recruit others to the cause, you speak with a high fidelity, mega-watt sound system.’

Ultimately Darby isn’t saying anything new in this quote (or chapter) but he does put his finger on an incredibly powerful factor that I think most successful bloggers have stumbled upon (sometimes intentionally and something by accident).

Relational Blogging

One of the reasons for the viral like growth of the whole blogosphere is that it’s relational in its very nature (having comments, interlinking, conversational style) – but if you look at many individual successful blogs you’ll find that they often take this relational focus to the next level with significant impact (the more voices spreading the ‘message’ the further it will go).

They do this through many techniques including:

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How much money is a blog Worth?

Simon at Bloggasm has been asking himself a question that I hear increasing debate over ‘how much money is a blog worth?’

Simon’s seen attempt to put values at blogs which seem overblown (for example the one that Dane came up with at Business Opportunities which was based upon the WeblogsInc sale to AOL and how many inbound links they had. Simon rightly points out that the values that system gives are somewhat inaccurate (problogger is currently worth $2.45M!). I don’t think anyone ever took the Business Opportunities measure as a seriously accurate measure (for many reasons) – however Simon’s pushed on to see if he could come up with a formulae for calculating a blog’s worth.

You can read his methodology and calculations here (problogger is worth $151,457 under this system).

Of course, no formulae will ever be able to give you an accurate figure for what a blog is worth because there are so many factors to consider. Simon’s methodology breaks down because it is based upon Adbrite and BlogAds (ad systems that work well in some niches but terribly in others). To show it’s inaccuracy I look at my own blogs and can see that while ProBlogger is worth $151K in this measure I have a blog that earns 10 times as much that is worth just around $10K.

Having said that – it’s nice to see someone attempting to get their head around the question and I think Simon’s done some reasonable work.

Ultimately a blog is worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it – a figure that is based upon many things including it’s income (current and projected), it’s influence, it’s dependancy upon the blogger (and whether they’ll continue once it’s sold), it’s incoming links and SE ranking, it’s longevity, type of readership (ie search engine, loyal readers, RSS) the blog’s growth curve, domain name value, traffic, the topic etc.

Some of these factors can be measured but many can not.

Would you sell your blog? How would you value it?

112 Days until Christmas – Is Your Blog Ready?

Christmas-1September has arrived at last and entrepreneurial bloggers and web-masters everywhere are rejoicing!

Why?

I’ll give you a hint…. Yesterday I was in one of my city’s big department stores and I saw something that shocked me a little – they’d begun putting up their Christmas decorations!

Traditionally August is a bit of a downer for many publishers attempting to make money online as it’s at the peak of when many people in the northern hemisphere take a holiday. I remember this time last year traveling through parts of Europe only to find some cities almost like ghost towns as large percentages of their populations migrate to the coast for August. There are similarities in North America over the summer.

I guess web surfing isn’t quite as high on the list of things to do when the sun is shining outdoors (go figure)!

Most web-masters look to the Labor Day Long weekend in the US as a point where things begin to pick up again in the lead up to the end of the year and Christmas (just 112 days to go) and the other holidays.

I just looked at some of my own traffic stats for the same time last year and on many of my blogs I saw a stead increase over the next four months – culminating in traffic in December over 35% higher than the August figure in most cases.

Of course these traffic trends depend quite a bit on the topic you’re writing on. If you have product related blogs then Christmas can be quite good, but if you have ‘summer related’ topics you could even see a fall in your stats.

Spring Cleaning

Here in Australia September also means that Spring has arrived (a little hard for some of you northern hemisphere types to get your head around I know) and I think the symbolism of a new season with lots of life (blossom on trees, new buds on trees etc) fits well.

Of course Spring means ‘spring cleaning’ so perhaps its time to get your blog in order in preparation for the end of year. Don’t forget that sometimes the changes you make on your blog take a month or two (or longer) to take effect in search engines – so if you’re a blogger wanting to position yourself for the end of year you might want to at least start to think about how you’ll do it.

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Official Problogger Seal

Looking for an official seal for your blog?

No? Neither was I until I found the Official Seal Generator.

This one goes in the ‘weekend distractions’ basket.

found via Presurfer

Seal-2-1

Slander In Comments – What are the Legalities?

I’ve been asked 3 times over the last few weeks what the legal implications of letting people post comments on your blog are and to this point I’ve never been able to point them to a case that I knew of where legal action was taken over comments.

But it seems that there’s a current case that involves Jeremy Schoemaker over at Shoemoney.

Jeremy doesn’t go into great detail (as you’d expect) but it’s a tricky issue (given the global nature of blogging) and one that I’ve been aware of in watching my own comments.

Just yesterday I had to stop a comment from being approved where one commenter accused another of being a pedophile – something that had lawsuit all over it.

Does anyone else know of cases where comments led to legal action?

Why Having a Blog is Like Having a Baby

This Sunday is Fathers Day here in Australia and to celebrate my first one as a Dad I thought I’d do a little post on why having a blog is like having a baby.

Disclaimer – yes I know having a blog is nothing like having a baby – for every reason why they are similar there are 10 why they are not (for instance it’s difficult to put advertising on your baby…. so I’m told….) but I thought I’d have a little fun with it anyway to mark the occassion.

So here are my 8 reasons why having a blog is like having a baby:

Fathers-Day-2

1. Everyone has advice

It’s quite amazing to experience the attention that everyone gives you when you’re pregnant or have a newborn baby.

This attention comes from everyone from family and friends to complete strangers who will walk up to you on the street to ‘ooh and aah’ at your little one. Oh course with every interaction with people comes advice ranging from – ‘I think he might have a little wind’ to ‘don’t let him sleep for more than 2 hours at a time’ to ‘let him sleep as long as he likes’, to ‘have you tried taping his ears back so they don’t stick out’…. etc

Much of the advice you’ll get is well meaning, most of it is conflicting with other advice you receive and in the end you learn to take it with a grain of salt, nod as if you’re going to do exactly what they say and then go home and find your own way.

When it comes to advice about blogging the story is very similar. Every blogger and their dog has a tip on what makes a good blog great and how to do everything from find readers, to climb the search engines, to choose a blog platform, to have a sexy design, to writing compelling content.

Much of the advice out there is good advice from well meaning people – but perhaps the best advice I’ve heard (and passed on) is to be yourself and find your own way. Every blog is different and for every rule or tip you might be given there’s an example of a successful blog that has done well despite breaking that very rule.

2. Short Attention Spans

I saw a really helpful video in one of our pre-natal classes that talked about bonding with a baby. It said that many people say its not until a month or two of age that babies connect with those around them – however they showed a few examples of how even a few minutes after birth a baby will be having short moments of concentrated connection with others. The problem isn’t that the baby doesn’t connect – it’s that the parent doesn’t look for the connections.

I’ve come to value those short moments each day when Xavier and I ‘connect’ with a look, a smile (I refuse to believe it’s just gas) or a touch. The key is to look for these moments and to take advantage of them.

Web readers have notoriously short attention spans also and while they do read longer articles from time to time, mastering the art of writing concise, attention grabbing and compelling posts that worth with the short attention span of readers is important.

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