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Back in ProBlogging HQ

After a great break away filled with sun, golf, tennis, wine, cheese, food of all kinds and fun with friends I’m back. I hope those of you able to take a break over the Easter period had as refreshing a time as I did – hopefully away from your blogs like I was able to get. Its amazing what a few days break from blogging can do to your mind.

The only problem now is that I have an email box with 903 emails in my inbox and literally thousands of unread articles and posts in my RSS feed to wade through. This could take a while.

A quick question for my WordPress using friends – does anyone know a reliable comment spam prevention plugin for WP 1.2? I’ve got Kitten’s Spaminator installed on all of my blogs and it works perfectly in every case but this blog here at ProBlogger.

Does anyone have any suggestions for WP 1.2 plugins that might help?

Lastly – thanks to all those who’ve been leaving comments on the posts from the last few days – I’m particularly impressed with your answers on the Introduce Yourself Post which helped me discover a few excellent blogs that I’d not known of before.

Thoughts on The Future of WordPress and MovableType

Jeremy Zawodny writes on the Future of WordPress and MovableType and writes:

WordPress will come to be the de-facto choice in the world of self-hosted personal weblogs and low-end webhosting “value added” package. MovableType will be the blogware of choice in the corporate blogging world, both for internal weblogs and those that face the outside world.’

I can’t say I’d made that distinction – I use both on very similar blogs and find they each have their own advantages. I’m probably leaning more towards WP at the moment – but could go either way.

What Do Bloggers Want From An Advertiser?

Jim over at BlogKits writes a good post on What Do Bloggers Want From An Advertiser? and answers the question by telling us what we don’t want. The ‘Do Want’ article will come next week. Looks interesting.

What do YOU want from blog advertisers dear readers (apart from the obvious bucket loads of cash)?

Generating High Quantities of Content for your Blog

One of the previous series of posts that I wrote in the early days of ProBlogger (before all 4 of you started reading) was a series on generating high quantities of content for you blog.

I wrote it after reading article after article of people writing about how you need to work on the quality of your posts – quality not quantity seemed to be the catch cry. It got me wondering however – what if they were wrong?

You see my experience indicated that it was about BOTH quality AND quantity of posting. Check out the series that starts here but that continues in these posts titled Set Targets, News Sites and Aggregators, Start a New Blog, Break Down Your Posts, Ecto and Recruit Writers.

The Blog Cycle

Anil Dash posts an interesing post on The Blog Cycle that sub-communities within the larger blogging population go through. Its an interesting post and one that I see the ‘entrepreneurial blogging’ community going through at the momemnt. The stages of the cycle that he identifies are:

  • What is blogging?
  • Our community invented blogging!
  • Blogging vs. Journalism Phew.
  • Where are the women/minorities?
  • You’ll get fired!
  • Think about the children!
  • The technology is boring/unimportant.
  • Will blogs change the world?
  • What you do isn’t blogging — do it this way.
  • They don’t deserve it!

Fascinating observations of someone who is a position to have observed many such blogging sub communities. Read more at Anil Dash: The Blog Cycle

What would you add or subtract from his stages? Where do you think the ‘Pro’, ‘Entrepreneurial’ and ‘Business’ Blogging community is at presently?

Bottom Up vs Top Down Corporate Blogging

Steve Rubel makes some interesting observations on Corporate blogging – he writes about two approaches – top down and bottom up blogging.

‘Bottom-up blogging can either start organically or with an edict or blessing of the corporation. Famous bottom-up blogging corporations include Microsoft and Sun. Basically, this is blogging at its best. It’s real employees dishing out the straight dope from the bowels of a corporation. It’s unfiltered, fun and, for many, incredibly risky. However, when done right, bottom-up blogging can change a corporation.

The majority of blogging companies, however, fall into the top-down camp. They devise a blogging strategy with input from execs, communicators, marketers, HR, etc. They deliberately determine who will blog for the company on what subjects at what time and in what place. Famous top-down blogging companies include most major media companies, GM and Cisco.

In the middle are the blogging equivalent of hybrid cars – companies that take a top-down approach but yet also already have or plan to encourage bottom-up blogging. The most notable example here is Yahoo! They have a terrific corporate blog that clearly is a strategic communications tool developed with guidance from Voce Communications. At the same time, however, they have a well-known bottom-up blogger in Jeremy Zawodny’

Read more at Bottom Up vs Top Down Corporate Blogging

Introduce Yourself

I thought it might be fun while I’m away for you to talk amongst yourselves for a bit. Why? Well I know many of you reasonably well because we chat on IM or have emailed – but I think a lot of you would quite like one another and could learn quite a bit from each other as fellow bloggers trying to earn an income from your blogging. I know enough to realise that I don’t have a monopoly on Pro Blogging truth – I’d like to see us learn from each other and the only way to do this is to put yourself out there an introduce yourself.

So I’m going to leave a number of questions designed to help you introduce yourself which I invite you to do one of two three things with. You can either:

  1. Ignore this post and go have an Easter Break like I am
  2. Answer these questions on your own blog and leave a link in comments below to your answers
  3. Answer these questions here in comments below so that we can have them all in the one place

Here are some questions (feel free to ask and answer more if you’d like – and to ignore some of these question if you’d rather not go there):

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Writing Blog Content – Keep it Simple

The average person only comprehends 60% of what they read. How much do you comprehend?.

To ensure your reader ‘gets’ what you’re saying you need to make it clear by using some of the following techniques.

- Use simple language. Avoid technical jargon.

- Don’t introduce too many ideas in one post. You can always add another post later.

- Start your entry with your main point in the first paragraph. Better still, incorporate it in your title. (This can also bring more traffic through search engine referrals)

- Find creative ways to reinforce your main point throughout your post.

- Use visual aids like bold, CAPITALS, italics, underlining, teletext and to emphasize points. Don’t go overboard as you run the risk of frustrating your reader. Also consider changing font size, color and style to draw your readers eyes to your main points.

- Utilize headings, lists and borders to break down the your post into more manageable chunks.

Keep your postings simple and you have more chance of communicating your main message effectively. Share your tips below.

ProBlogger Easter Break Vacation

Well its Easter (or it will be tomorrow) and at this time of year a group of friends that I am close with always go away for the long weekend for a time of great food, fantastic wine, to take in some our wonderful state’s coastline and a whole heap of fun and shenanigans. I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks but going away for more than a day or two always leaves me asking the question – ‘what do I do with the blog?’ Its probably too short a time for a guest blogger, but four days is a long time for my more addicted readers not to get a ProBlogging fix (yes you know who I’m talking about).

So I’ve decided to write a few posts which I’ll post before I leave and which will appear at pre determined times throughout the next few days – thanks to the magic of WordPress. I hope you find them helpful – feel free to add to them as you’d like in comments. Otherwise I’ll see you in a few days when I hope I’m feeling nice and refreshed.

Google Search Box Ads

One of my wonderful readers, Danger, just emailed this question – ‘I was just looking through my adsense reports and it occurred to me that I’m not using the google search box on my site to serve ads. I’m debating whether to employ it and I kinda wonder if a lot of us beginners aren’t asking the same question. Any chance you could do a post about the performance difference between your regular ads and search box ads?’

I will be a little careful in answering this – as I’m not completely sure what Google allows me to say about it in their changed rules. But I can make some general statements without going into specifics of CTR, impressions and earnings.

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