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Secret Confessions of a Link-A-Holic

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Is it just me or has everyone been becoming a little ‘link obsessed’ lately?

This week I’ve been counting the number of posts I’ve seen written about getting links for your blog – I’m over 40 and still counting.

Posts I’ve seen this week so far have covered:

  • How to ask for links
  • What type of links to ask other bloggers for
  • How to write content that is linkable
  • What type of links are best
  • What type of sites to target for links
  • How to do internal links on your blog
  • How to get .edu links
  • Link building tips
  • Linkbaiting techniques
  • How to get links that increase traffic
  • How to buy links effectively

The list goes on…. and on…..

Not only have I seen a lot of posting about links, this week I’ve had around 40 emails from bloggers ‘asking for link exchanges’ (not including all the emails with suggestions for posts that others have written).

So what’s my problem with all the link building articles and exchanging links? Am I ‘anti link?’

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What do you Want to Know?

Blog-QuestionsDo you have a question that you’d like to see answered or addressed here at ProBlogger?

It’s not that I’ve run out of questions to answer (I get quite a few through my inbox) but every now and again I like to publicly ask for questions to get a gauge on where the wider readership is at and how I can be of more use to you.

I won’t be able to answer all questions but will try to get through as many as I can. If you don’t want your name/blog to be linked to your question feel free to ask it anonymously. Please submit the questions in comments below.

FeedBurner’s State of the Feedosphere

Feedburner has released a report this morning that is well worth reading if you’re interested in RSS metrics and the recent changes in how Google Reader is reporting he numbers of those using their service.

For analysis of the report head over to Aaron Brazell and TechCrunch.

10 (+5) Requisites for Professional Bloggers

Daniel at Daily Blog Tips writes 10 Requisites for Professional Bloggers and has some useful things to say under the following headings:

1. Time
2. Expertise on a topic
3. Passion for the topic
4. Writing skills
5. Technical Knowledge
6. Blogging Knowledge
7. Web Design Skills
8. Business/Marketing Knowledge
9. Creativity and Innovative Ideas
10. Network of contacts

While I think all of these skills and abilities will be an asset to a Professional Blogger – my own strategy has always been to attempt to surround myself with people who are able to compensate for those that are lacking for me.

On the above list I would say that I’m lacking on 5 and 7 especially (and am borderline on a number of others).

Five more requisites that I’d add to the list:

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Google Algorithm Update in Progress?

A number of readers have emailed me today asking if Google is updating it’s algorithm. I’ve noticed some slight shifts on two of my sites – but nothing major. Aaron Wall from SEO Book has noticed some significant shifts though and is reporting that an Algorithm Update / Refresh could well be in progress.

I’m not seeing too much discussion so far in the forums that I follow (not much beyond the usual) – but time will tell.

Have you noticed any shifts?

ProBlogger Readers Meetup – New York

I’m really excited to announce that it looks like there will be a chance for the first ever ProBlogger readers meet up while I’m in New York in late March.

Text Links Ads have aggreed to sponsor the night (cough… free drinks!…. cough) and we’re at a point where we’ve narrowed down the date to 28 March (it’s a Wednesday) for an evening meetup (time to be announced).

I’m staying in the Midtown West kind of area so it’ll probably be not to far from there.

At this stage we’re keen to hear from anyone interested in coming along. Getting an idea of numbers will help us choose an appropriate venue.

If you’re a good chance to come leave a comment below with your name and an email in the email field (it’ll be kept private) so we can keep you in touch with the details as they emerge.

I’ve already heard from a few people that they’re considering flying and driving in for the event which blows me away. If there’s enough interest perhaps we could also have an afternoon time for a little more formal get together (perhaps even a workshop or two before the meetup) – an unconference of sorts. If this interests you also please indicate it below.

update: we’re close to having a venue booked. Keep checking your inbox over the coming days and start thinking about what other bloggers you can invite! :-)

How to Add to Blogging Conversations… And Eliminate the Echo Chamber

One of the criticism that is often leveled at the Blogosphere is that it is an echo chamber – that the same stories get blogged about in the same ways by blog after blog – without anything constructive or unique emerging.

While I think this is a somewhat cynical view, it doesn’t take long when digging around on sites like Technorati or Tech Meme to see that there is some element of truth to it.

Blogging as Conversation

One of the things I love about blogging is that it is (or can be) a conversational medium.

When blogging is at its best it creates threads of conversation – bloggers building upon the thoughts and ideas of other bloggers – where all engaging in the conversation learn something.

This conversational aspect of blogging is what hooked me on it in the first place.

The Lost Art of Conversation

Conversations-3Unfortunately I think the blogosphere (or some sections of it) might be losing the art of conversation.

We ‘talk’ a lot and do a lot of ‘reporting’ – but some days I wonder if we’re all just saying the same things to each other without anyone actually doing the hard work of adding value to to the conversation.

You see reporting news is one thing – but actually going to the next level with it and talking about what it means, how it impacts us and being constructive with it and making it useful I wonder if the echo chamber is increasingly a reality.

How to Add Value to Blog Conversations

Conversation-2I don’t want to be a part of a medium that simply ‘talks’ and ‘reports’. I want to be a part of a community that engages, grows and adds something of value to our world.

I want the blogosphere (myself included) to relearn the art of conversational blogging.

But how do we break the cycle of the echo chamber? How do we become more conversational with our blogging?

I don’t pretend to have all the answers with this and would be keen to hear your thoughts. However here are eleven ideas that come to mind when engaging with what you see other people writing:

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iReader Preview Tool

Ireader4Richard has a nice preview of a tool that some of you will find useful – iReader.

This tool is a little like Snap (which I tried for less than 24 hours here on ProBlogger – but took down after many complaints) but instead of showing you a tiny screen capture of where a link on a website leads – iReader lets you preview it’s content in text and as a little list (and don’t we love a good list).

Here’s what it did when I hovered over one of my recent posts (not the most intuitive of selections from the post – but it’d give readers a sense of what it was about):

Picture 5-4

The difference with iReader and Snap is that iReader is a browser extension – so it’s something that readers determine whether they’ll use – whereas Snap is something you as the website owner install.

As a blogger I can see the usefulness of this type of tool. I’m constantly surfing and to be able to get a quick sense of what a link might offer me could be useful. I wouldn’t use it 24/7 while surfing – but when in research mode it could be useful to have activated.

Performance wise – it runs a little too slow for my liking – in the time that it takes for the popup to appear i could click through and almost load the site – but as Richard says, iReader is in beta and can only improve.

Speedlinking – 21 February 2007

There are lots of good posting being written in the blogging space at the moment – here’s 10 that caught my eye over the last couple of days.