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Google Testing Feature that Adds Site Search to Google Toolbar

I wish I could get a screen capture of this but I think Google just added a new little feature to the AdSense for Search search field that I’m using here on ProBlogger in my sidebar.

Here’s what happened:

  • I was searching for something on ProBlogger and as I type in my search request a little popup appeared over the search field.
  • I don’t remember the exact wording of the the popup but it asked me if I wanted to add the ability to search ProBlogger to my Google toolbar
  • I was given the option to say yes, no and to say that I never wanted to be asked that again
  • I selected yes (I’m a curious fellow) and now when I hit the ‘search’ tab in my Google toolbar I see this (look for third from the bottom)

Google Toolbar

I can’t replicate this on any of my other sites at this point so it could just be a test that they are throwing at random users – but it could be a feature that publishers can offer their readers to help them search for content on their blogs a little easier.

Perhaps this has been available for a while – but it’s the first time I’ve seen it and I use my own search function daily.

Do you think it’s a useful feature?

‘m also interested to see if others see the pop up when they use my search field? (I’m presuming it’ll only work with Google Toolbar users).

Speedlinking – 2 May 2007

A few links and a video today:

The video is an interview with Guy Kawasaki which I found via Valleywag. In the interview Guy’s asked about growing a blog. He has a few good things to say (and shows his obsession with Technorati as he’s known to do).

Perhaps the key quote from the video is:

“The key to evangelize a blog is that it has to be gold. It’s very easy to evangelize a blog that has high content, high purpose and high entertainment value – it’s very hard to evangelize a blog that’s a piece of crap.

It’s not about what you do to evangelize something – it’s what are you starting with. If it’s something great I could make a case that you just need to get out of the way.”

How to Choose Bloggers to Work With on Projects

On a recent post a reader (Mindful Entrepreneur (Jason)) asked:

“I know you talk a lot about being ‘relational’. I’m wondering if you can offer some specific suggestions for upcoming information marketers and/or bloggers to that end.

What are some strategies that worked for you? How were you able to identify potential partnerships quickly? What was your best approach in these situations?”

Thanks Jason – Let me tackle each part one at a time.

What are some strategies that worked for you? – in terms of being ‘relational’ and finding potential partnerships – perhaps the best tip I can give you is to think carefully about the way in which you write.

My personal approach is to write in a style that both builds a perception of expertise (ie people will only want to partner with you if they believe you know what you’re talking about) but which is also relational, humble and accessible (ie people won’t want to work with you if you come across as a know it all, arrogant ‘git’).

Get this blend between expertise and approachability right and you’ll find people will want to connect with you (both normal readers and potential partners). Of course this is just my own personal style and I’m sure other styles will worth for others – but I know when I’m looking for someone to partner with that this is the type of person I look for.

How were you able to identify potential partnerships quickly? – actually I’m not sure it was a quick process. I’d been blogging for a couple of years before I first started working in a more formal partnership with another blogger.

My style in connecting with others to work with is generally pretty slow. There have been one or two snap decisions but I think if you talk to most of those that I’ve ended up working with that I’ve actually taken my time (annoyingly so probably for the others) because I want to ‘know’ the other person as much as possible before entering into any agreement with them – particularly because in each situation I had never met the other before in ‘real life’.
What was your best approach in these situations? – Here’s some of the questions that I’d recommend people ask when thinking about potential partnerships:

  1. How long have they been blogging? – sometimes seeing that another person’s stuck at blogging for a while can be an indication as to whether they have stickability
  2. What have they done before? How has it gone? – past records can tell you a lot
  3. Are they consistent? - try look at their previous work – are they just on their best behavior at present or are you seeing their true colors?
  4. Do they follow through on what they say that they’ll do? – reliability is key
  5. What do others say about them? – do a little digging around – what do others think about them? Check their references
  6. What are their skills? – do they compliment yours?
  7. Do they have time? - many people just don’t have the time to take on new projects (and you’ll end up doing all the work if they are too busy)
  8. Do you have a relationship with them already? – I don’t enter into big partnerships these days unless I’ve already done smaller ones with people
  9. Do you know others who know them? - sometimes this can help – it keeps everyone more accountable
  10. What does your Gut say? – I’m a pretty intuitive sort of guy so my ‘gut’ helps me a lot

I’m not sure if I’ve really answered your questions Jason – but I hope something in this is helpful.

Technorati Top 100 Most Favorites List Disappears

Just a quick note to note that it seems like Technorati are making some changes to their Top 100 Most Favorited List – changes as in…. it’s not there.

Technorati-Most-Favorited

I’m not sure it’s a permanent change or whether it could be a glitch – but in light of recent conversations perhaps we’re seeing them respond?

update: and it’s back.

Google Blog Search ads Auto Add Feature to Link to Google Reader

Kevin’s picked up a new feature that Google have added to their blog search service in a post Google ads auto-link to add search to Google Reader.

If you’re a user of both Google Reader and Google Blog Search then you’re going to find this one useful.

Do a search on Google Blog Search for a topic and then scroll to the end of the search results page where you’ll see an option to ‘Subscribe to a blog search feed for blogging in Google Reader’.

In actual fact you could do this already by manually subscribing to the RSS feed associated with any search you did in their Blog Search so the new feature is just a one click way to do it – however it’s a nice new tweak to what they’re offering.

More on Technorati Favorite Swapping

Well it does seem that my post expressing my opinion on Technorati Favorite Swapping has caused quite a stir among some bloggers engaging in the practice (I link to many of them at the end of this post).

I don’t want to be drawn into a long, heated, personal and angry debate on this so I’m not going to respond to some of the personal jibes made my a handful of people – but wanted to briefly reiterate my main points in the hope of being a little clearer about what my post was trying to achieve.

The reason for my previous post was simply to respond to the question that I was getting asked frequently – ‘what do you think of swapping Technorati Favorites’.

I was getting asked that question and being asked to swap favorites so often that it became smarter to write a post about it than to respond to each request individually.

My hope was not to start a flame war or for the discussion to become heated or personal. This is why I didn’t link to anyone who I saw swapping favorites – unfortunately with a small group of commenters, other bloggers and emailers things have gone into the personal realm – and the heat has been turned up. I have deleted and edited a few of the harsher comments left on my previous post because of the language used.

ProBlogger a blog about helping bloggers to improve their blogs. As a result I feel that I have some level of responsibility to give my opinion on whether I think different strategies are worthwhile endeavors to improve a blog.

One of the most common mistakes that I see bloggers making (and one of the mistakes that I’ve made) is becoming obsessed with one aspect of their blog. This happens in lots of ways, some become so obsessed with design that they don’t actually write much content, others write so much content that they never interact with their readers, others get so into SEO that they forget about connecting with other bloggers and so become so obsessed with monetizing their blogs that they do so at the expense of their blog’s design.

Over the last few weeks I’ve increasingly seen bloggers obsessing about getting into and climbing the the Most Favorited List on Technorati. Along side this increased interest in climbing ‘the list’ we’re now starting to see tools and services spring up to make it easier to add thousands of favorites at once and keep track on whether they are being reciprocated or not.

While most bloggers who are swapping favorites are not ‘obsessed’ – some are and I began to worry that perhaps things were getting a little out of hand.

The point of my post was to bring a little perspective to it – both as someone who is already high on the list but also as someone who has at different times in my blogging journey become obsessed with different elements of my blogs – to the point that they suffered.

The main points of my post was:

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How to Find Untapped Audiences Offline – By Letting Others Republish Your Content

One of the increasingly common emails that I’m getting from my Digital Photography School blog is along the lines of:

‘can I republish and article from your blog in my periodical/newsletter/magazine?’

It is an interesting question and one that I’ve had a change of heart on over the past few years.

Previously I was much more protective of my content and would rarely allow it to be republished (with or without permission) in any form unless there was some very tangible benefit from doing so (ie either payment or a very large readership of the other publication).

However over the last year I’ve begun to see the benefits of allowing my content to be republished – particularly in offline publications.

My reasoning in this thinking is simply that it opens up new audiences and potential reader relationships that you might previously have not had.

One of the challenges that many bloggers face is that after a year or two of running that they often hit a ceiling in terms of readership. Every other blog in their niche knows about them and has already linked up and as a result most active blog readers in the niche have already made a decision about whether they’ll follow you or not.

The main way that you can then grow traffic is to break into untapped and un-reached audiences. There are a number of ways to do this that include:

  • build your SEO ranking and find new readers searching for information on search engines
  • break into a related niche by expanding the topics that you write about and appealing to other blogs on related topics
  • finding new offline sources of traffic

It is this last point that allowing the republishing content can help you with.

Let me offer just one example (of many from the last months):
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