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Innovative Blog Comment Systems

Wow – look at the innovations that are happening in comments systems at the moment – Peter from Almost Cool pointed me over to the beautifully designed snook.ca’s beautiful blog with its wonderful comments system. It has live preview of comments with yellow fade. Peter also points to the relational comments system over at 1976design.com which enables commenters to relationally link their comments to others in a visual way.

Looking at blogs like these with such wonderful design and innovative ideas just oozing out of them makes my mouth water some days – I can’t wait to see what they come up with next (and for them to roll out some of these systems for the rest of us!).

Blogging in Formation – Lessons from a Goose

Canadian-Goose

“Two Heads are better than one”…. or so the old saying goes.

I’ve been reflecting this week about the importance of relationships in blogging.

I met up with an old university friend this week for the first time since we studied marketing together – catching up stimulated me to begin thinking about the style of business we were taught. Whilst its a little fuzzy (we did spend a bit too much time in the pub) I do seem to remember sitting through lecturers that talked about competition and the ways to ‘beat your competitors’. The main thrust of a lot of what we were taught was to get ahead of the competition by developing the best products, getting the best people and accumulating the best information. The only interaction you’d have with competitors was when you were laying the boot into them (figuratively speaking). The motto was to win at all costs – me first – others second.

Blogging has reminded me of another way of doing business – an ancient way of actually connecting with others in your field and working together for the mutual good of both parties.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from blogging over the past year is that often its when I give something away that I gain the most. It is when I’ve linked to others, provided a way of highlighting the projects of fellow bloggers, when I’ve spent a couple of hours giving free advice to a new blogger or when I’ve shared my biggest secrets – these are the moments that often I end up in a time of real growth on my blogs.

A wise guy once said - ‘Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor.’

Warning: Tangent Ahead – Lessons from a Goose

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Yahoo! Publisher’s Guide to RSS

Yahoo! have just released a helpful Publisher’s Guide to RSS which has comprehensive sections on Submitting RSS Feeds, promoting RSS feeds, Tracking Success and Monetizing RSS Feeds.

On the money side of things the page is just a place holder/teaser of what is to come. They write:

‘Yahoo! plans to introduce new products and services to support online publishers, including new publishing tools and advertising products.’

This is a good example of how Yahoo! are really embracing RSS where as other search engines seem to be lagging.

If you haven’t already Submitted your RSS feeds to yahoo I’d do it today – it’s definitely worth doing.

Adwords Blog Launched

In my last post (written last night) I suggested that Google Adsense start a blog. This morning I wake up and check in with Jen only to find that Adwords (the advertisers side of Adsense) has started a blog – Inside Adwords. Whilst on the advertising side of Adwords this is a feed I’ll be following closely as I’m certain it will enhance my use of Adsense as a publisher.

There are only three posts there so far but the concept is a good one – already they are sharing tips and giving advice on system outages.

This is exactly what I was thinking last night when I wrote about the need for an Adsense blog – bring it on Google!

New AdSense Support Site Pages

JenSense has noticed some new pages in the Adsense rabbit warren of support pages. Now they have a News and Case Studies page and a News Page (which only has links to four old-ish news articles) in addition to their older case studies page.

Here is a tip for our Google Adsense friends – how about an official Adsense Blog – or at least an RSS feed for your updates of Adsense support pages?!

I’m sure it’d be an incredibly popular site with publishers – I’d practically camp out there. In fact perhaps you need a ProBlogger type blogger to run such a blog for you!?

It just strikes me that giving publishers more information and education on Adsense would not only make bloggers more loyal to the program but that it would help them earn more money for themselves and Google. I have always wondered why they don’t pay more attention to Adsense publishers and hope that some of the recent changes are a signal that they are getting serious about taking the program to the next level.

Google AdSense offers personal optimization

If you’re an Adsense publisher you might notice a message like the following one on your Reports page after the next time you log in.

‘Learn how to improve the performance of your Google ads with our new optimization tips page! To be considered for personalized optimization tips, email us at [email protected] with “Optimization Request” in the subject line.’

It looks like they are starting to roll out a system of giving advice for not only the top ‘premium’ publishers but the rest of us too. This is a smart move for all concerned and another example of how Google are offering new features in the lead up to Yahoo! entering the contextual advertising market.

I’ve emailed them requesting personal optimization tips and will let you know what I find.

Ecto Problems

I’ve been having some real frustrations with Ecto over the past day or two. I’m unsure if its just the latest version or whether my recent server updates have caused issues – or both.

Some of the issues include the inability to upload photos via ecto, posting as drafts rather than published posts and the losing of categories (reverting to default category rather than the selected one). The confusing part is that different blogs seem to be having different issues – some work perfectly others won’t post at all.

As I say – it might not be an ecto problem – but its starting to get very frustrating and is slowing down my posting considerably.

Are any other ecto users having problems?

Update – Adrian – the brain behind Ecto – has gotten in touch with me and has been incredibly helpful. The problem looks to be two fold.

1. WP’s latest build has an issue that stops categories working with ecto.
2. I think my latest server update has caused a little issue with communication between server and ecto. Looking into it.

Blogs as Brands

One of my favorite bloggers, Toby Bloomberg from diva marketing, has been interviewed over at Robert Scoble and Shel Israel’s book blog – Naked Conversations: Interview: Toby Bloomberg.

Here’s a snippet that got my attention – Toby talking about how blogging has impacted her business:

‘Surprisingly, blogging has done something else for my business. Within a very short period and on very little capital, it has positioned Diva Marketing Blog as a brand unto itself. I’ve been referred to many times as “the marketing diva,” a wonderful compliment.’

Interestingly this resonates with my own experience here at ProBlogger.net. I’m not in Toby’s league – but have been interested the way in which this blog has not only lifted my own profile as a blogger over the past few months – but the way in which ‘ProBlogger’ has been referred to by a number of other bloggers as a brand of its own.

To be honest I’m not sure what this really means or what to do with it – but would like to explore it more in the months ahead.

I’m very aware that there are some smart marketing, branding, PR types who read this blog – and would love to hear your opinions on how you’d build Problogger.net as a brand (if indeed you think it is or potentially could be one).

Update – Peter has a great post about blogs and brands here.

Selling Blogs Risky

Jacob writes an interesting piece on Selling Blogs as someone who has been on the buying end of things in his purchase of CSS Vault:

‘A blog in my opinion is groomed and gets its personality from the author/creator. How can this atmosphere be recreated when the site is no longer being run by that person? Sure you could get someone to imitate, but never perfectly recreate the same atmosphere that was there before. The blog just wouldn’t be the same without the original owner. Deals can be worked out to keep the original author on for a certain amount of time, but you’ve got to think that deal will come to an end some day….

If you do ever plan to sell your blog, I recommend that you put on a few extra coats of skin. A blog is something that is part of that person….’

Wise words from Jacob. Many blogs revolve around a person or personality – to buy one of these without a deal for the authorship to continue would not be a wise move.

Other blogs however are less about the author and more about the the topic and might be more suitable for selling. I look over my stable of blogs and would say that ProBlogger is probably one of two quite personal blogs – (it’d be hard to sell for this reason) but that many of my other blogs could easily be transferred to a new owner and/or author without anyone really caring too much.

Google Opens Up Beta of AdSense for Feeds

It seems that Google is Opening Up its Beta of AdSense for RSS Feeds for everyone to participate in:

‘After testing AdSense contextual ad distribution in a handful of RSS feeds over the past few weeks, Google is opening up the beta program to all of its publisher partners. The company made the announcement at the Syndicate conference in Manhattan Tuesday.

“We really want to nurture this market,” said Shuman Ghosemajumder, business product manager for AdSense. As we’re “getting the business model right for media on the Web in general, it’s imperative that advertising be integrated into feeds properly.”‘

No official word has come through to publishers yet from Google but it can’t be far off.

Update - you can apply to be a part of Adsense for RSS feeds here

Update II – get the full story at Jensense.
Update III – for more information on Google Adsense in RSS feeds read:
- Adsense For Feeds Now in Beta (Branscum)
- Google AdSense for Feeds (Google Blogscoped)
- What is Adsense for Feeds? (official Google site)
- What are the best practices for AdSense for feeds? (official Google site)