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WordPress 1.5 Gamma – Review

Weblog Tools Collection has a good review of the soon to be released (I hope) WordPress version 1.5. The review is glowing and leaves me hanging to see what it is like for myself. I’ve recently moved a number of my blogs (including this one) to WordPress (1.2) and found it to be a highly effective tool and am hoping version 1.5 launches soon.

You can also read an interview with the guys behind Word Press at The Inside Scoop.

Google to Kill Blog Comment Spam?

Steve Rubel points to a rumored announcement of a system of blocking Google’s bots reading your comments – thereby taking the incentive for comment spammers to leave comments.

‘But since then several bloggers have reported that Winer was testing a new Google linking mechanism that might put an end to blog comment spam by omitting all links from its PageRank calculations that have a rel=”nofollow” attribute tag. This would change the economics behind why people comment spam popular blogs – to boost their Google search rank. If this is true, it would certainly be welcome. Stay tuned.’

I’m all in favor of any such system – but suspect that if it is left up to bloggers to insert the code into their own templates that it will only ever be used by a certain percentage of the blogosphere and as a result there will always be some incentive for comment spammers to continue on their merry spamming ways. Maybe if such a system were to be included in all future releases of the big blogging systems it would help combat the problem more. Bring it on though I say – I’m sick of the morning ritual of cleansing my blogs from the filth.

Of course there will be a cost of blocking Google from Comments also. A cost to legitimate bloggers who interact with other legitimate bloggers. In the same way that spammers comments will no longer promote them in Google – legitimate bloggers will lose backlinks from comments and slip in their Google rankings. Search engine ranking is very dependent upon backlinks to your blog – if many of us were to review our backlinks we’d find that a lot of them come from our own comments. I do not leave comments for this purpose – comments for me are about connecting with other bloggers and exchanging ideas – however a side benefit of doing so is the way it increases profile in Google. I leave around 10 comments per day on others blogs – over two years of blogging this is over 6000 links to my sites. If these were to disappear I wonder what impact it would have. I suspect that if this system were to be implemented on past comments that many bloggers would see a corresponding slip in their SERPs. I guess there is a cost to every gain in life.

Mapping the Readership of your Blog by Location

Due to the tool being profiled in this post being discontinued it has become irrelevant.

However you might find this more recent post on a Mapping Service more helpful.

Choosing Complimentary Colors for your Blog – ColorMatch Tool

Color-Match

Have you ever struggled to select a color scheme for a blog? It’s pretty obviously looking at the disaster that I’ve designed here that I do!

So this ColorMatch tool is going to be very handy!

It is designed to help you select a 6 color palette for your blog. All you have to do is select a main color that you like using the slider and it will do the rest and come up with 5 complimentary colors. What could be easier?

Update: Michael from Figby has just posted a comprehensive list of these sorts of color matching tools for the design impaired. There are 14 in total – quality stuff!

Bloglines Revenue Models – A fine line to walk

I missed this snippet of a post by Bloglines CEO Mark Fletcher late last year where he talks about the business model (income stream) for Bloglines in the future:

‘Eric was interested in the business model behind Bloglines. Not accepting my usual stock answer of “Volume!”, I detailed that we will integrating highly targetted contextual advertising into Bloglines next year, or “Adwords on Steroids” as Eric puts it (I like that description!). To reiterate what I told Eric, when we do start to roll out advertising, we will be very sensitive to user feedback, and we will be looking to our users to help guide us in this area.’

It will be very interesting to watch the rollout of such a system of ads for a number of reasons. Firstly I’ll be fascinated to see how their users (RSS subscribers) react to seeing ads appearing in or around their RSS feeds.

But secondly I’ll be interested to see how publishers react to it.

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:: w.bloggar :: version 4.0 released

Wb-Tools

PC users might be interested in the latest release of :: w.bloggar :: which has just been released.

:: w.bloggar :: acts as an interface between you and your blog, acting as a post and template editor. It allows offline editing (of course you have to connect eventually to update your blog).

The latest version (4.0) supports MovableType advanced post options and new tools like WordPress, SquareSpace, B2evolution etc. Get a full list of the update changes at their What’s New page.

Looks like a good system – but unfortunately I’ll never know as I’m a Mac man and they have not and will not ever release a version for me. Instead I use ecto which supports both Mac and PC users. If w.blogger is anything like ecto I’m sure its a very useful tool!

I’d be interested to hear from w.blogger users – how do you find the new version? – write us a short review of the interface and I’ll gladly publish it here or link to it on your blog.

Word Press – Web Application of the Year

ars tecnica has just announced its awards for 2004 and has named WordPress as Web application of the year.

Let’s face it. Blogs are in fashion, and why not? Vanity knows no bounds, and there are some people who actually do something productive with theirs. From the influence of blogs on the coverage of the US presidential elections to every random teenager who has problems with their partner/parent/teacher/cat, blogs are out there allowing your most intimate feelings to be shared with random people at wifi hotspots. WordPress is the most prominent rising star of weblog software, completely free and with a large and active community. Styles, plugins and hacks are readily available, with problems such as comment spamming being addressed far more rapidly than competing applications.



I have to agree – WP is moving forward very quickly and is a highly useable application for blogging. I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops in 2005.

Keyword Identification Tool – NicheBOT

Nichebot
Thinking of starting a new blog but you don’t know what keywords to target? NicheBot might be a tool worth checking out. Its a very useful tool that helps you to identify keywords that:

1. are being searched for

2. don’t have too many other sites competing for the same keyword

To use it simply enter in a keyword that you’re considering targeting – I’ll choose ‘MP3 Player’ for our example as its something I’m kind of interested in. After a short wait they’ll come back to you with a result page like this which has some very useful information (well it gets me going!) – the results are made up of the following pieces of information which they glean from Google and Word Tracker

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Find Your Future Google PageRank

So we know Google are doing a page rank update – on some data centers the results are not showing yet. Are you impatient and want to know what your blog’s page rank will be? You might find this future page rank predictor tool useful.

Future PageRank from SEO tools looks at a variety of data centers around the globe and checks to see if there is any discrepancies.

For example – this blog is currently showing a page rank of 3 on Google.com – but after checking the tool it seems that a page rank of 6 is on the way which would be a nice thing.

Dpbsts

It seems most of my blogs have had an increase in page rank which is a nice feeling (one even seems headed for a page rank of 7 – up from 6) – however the backlink update of the last two weeks was not so positive and SERPs and traffic have suffered terribly (see attached graph which is an example of the decrease in traffic over the past few weeks on the blog with the page rank of 7).

So whilst the updates don’t seem to be final I’m left in a strange place – page rank is on the improve but traffic levels remain at an abysmal level.

And still we wait – assured by more experienced blog/webmaster friends that time will tell and that things will improve.

In the mean time the Future Page Rank tool will be a handy one.

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