- Get your Red WordPress T-Shirts – now available.
- Chris G ponders the topic of Short Term Gains vs Long Term Value in blogging and observes some bloggers going for instant gratification – perhaps at the expense of long term benefits.
- One of my favorite blogs, Slacker Manager, has just been sold (to b5media) and it’s old owner (brendon) is looking for a new author. A great opportunity to take over the writing of a very established blog with a sizeable readership (over 8000 RSS subscribers).
- One Man’s Goal asks Does Monetizing Your Blog Cost You Readers?
- Web Worker Daily has a useful post for Firefox users with 6 Firefox Extensions for Web Workers. There’s a couple there that I’m going to try!
- One last question for the day – Scott Karp asks whether Newspapers should become local blog networks?
This post is part of the ‘What we wish I knew when I first started Blogging’ Series. In this post I’ll share readers comments on the topic of Blog Hosting, Domains and Platforms and will share some of my own experiences and advice.
There is always a diversity of opinion over which blogging platform and hosting method is best – but there were some recurring themes in the reader discussion on this particular topic. Let me attempt to summarize the main theme:
The most common regrets seem to have been starting out with some of the free blogging platforms (particularly Blogger.com) and using the free subdomain URL that they provide instead of starting out with one’s own domain and hosting.
While there is some real wisdom in getting a taste for blogging using some of the free platforms my advice to anyone who suspects that they might end up blogging on a serious level it is worth securing a good domain name and getting set up on a platform that you think you’ll stick with for the long term.
In terms of blog platforms – there is no right or wrong answer and while my personal preference is for WordPress the blog platform that one chooses needs to match with the blogger’s own preferences. Try a few out and see which you’re most comfortable with – but be aware that the choices you make early can impact your future blogging. There are import features to migrate from many platforms to others – but it’s easier to choose the right one up front.
My Own Experience with Domains, Platforms and Hosting
- WordPress 2.2 is available for download Download and as always Aaron Brazell is releasing his article – the 10 Things you should know about WordPress 2.2.
- Gili has written a pretty detailed model (and calculator) for valuing blogging ventures – my own philosophy is that a blog is worth what someone’s willing to pay for it – but these calculators can be fun I guess.
- David reports that MyBlogLog is rebranding – about time, I’ve all but given up on them.
- Cory Doctorow writes a piece titled How to Keep Hostile Jerks From Taking Over Your Online Community – well worth a read and relevant for bloggers
One of the most common questions that I get asked around blogging platforms is whether people should go for a hosted blog platform like Blogger, TypePad or WordPress.com or whether they should go for a stand alone platform that you host on your own domain and server like WordPress.org, Drupal or Movable Type.
I’ve talked previously about some of the Pros and Cons of Hosted and Standalone blog platforms – but thought it might make an interesting open mic discussion (or debate).
So what do you think?
- Do you use a hosted or stand alone blog platform? Why?
- Do you wish you’d made a different choice when you started?
- What are the Pros and Cons of the two options?
- What would you recommend to a new blogger?
This Guest Post was written by Wendy Piersall from eMoms at Home.
In the first few months of blogging, there was SO much to learn. I figured that SEO was one of those battles I would tackle once I was “more established”. But after 9 months or so, I hired a professional designer to develop a custom template for my blog. Quite literally the next day, my search engine traffic doubled. Soon I went from 800 referrals a month to nearly 2400 monthly referrals - just from Google alone.
I realized rather quickly that I had been terribly short sighted on the importance of SEO for a blog. The extra visitors are important, of course, but with more search engine hits came…
- New readers from outside of the blogging community
- New advertising opportunities
- A higher click-through on existing ads
- Better monetization options for highly ranked posts
- Mainstream press inquiries
How could a blog template impact search traffic THAT much? My question led me to Chris Pearson of Pearsonified and Sarah Lewis of Blogging Expertise, my template designer. Both of these talented designers know how to put a seriously powerful template together – and I decided to interview them to help you ensure your blog template isn’t holding you back, too.
Interview with Chris Pearson and Sarah Lewis
~Chris, I found a post on your blog in which you had a similar jump in traffic from an SEO perspective. You had recently moved from Movable Type to WordPress – what is it about WordPress that is so search engine friendly? [Read more...]
The following post on Screencasting as a way to add great content and revenue streams to your blog was submitted by Mike Schinkel.
One way to add huge value to your blog is to incorporate screencasts for “how-to” instruction sites “tours” or software products and other blogs and websites.
Take a page from a professional’s playbook
Jon Udell, now at Microsoft but formerly of Infoworld and a god to many in the technology field uses screencasts frequently and keeps a list of screencasts on del.icio.us. Screencasts are very helpful for illustrating anything that can be shown on a computer screen such as a tour of a website. For example, ProBlogger’s recent post on iReader could have had a quick screencast showing it in action which would make your point much better than sending readers off to go figure it out on their own. And since a “picture is worth a 1000 words”, screencasts can provide a lot more value than the typical post. Combine their visual aspect with the fact that screencasts are (currently) much rarer than written posts and the result is many people providing inbound links if the screencast is good. After all, it’s all about great content, right?
Screencasting takes effort, but provides great returns
Although creating a screencast takes time, it can be well worth the effort if you cover a topic that of high interest to your readers, especially if you are the first to screencast the topic and yours becomes the definitive presentation. When trying to illustrate something you’ve seen on another site, it can be far more effective than sending your readers off to that other site in blind hope they can recognize what you saw. And those employing guest bloggers can ask their readers to create screencasts for them eliminating the time concern and making it a total no-brainer! What’s more, bloggers with enough traffic can sell splash screen advertising at the end of each screencast, and advertisers in niche markets especially eat that kind of thing up. Something tells me there is more money to be made on a blog from screencast advertising than all the HTML click-thru advertising combined!
If you’re a WordPress user and are using version 2.1.1 it is crucial that you upgrade to the latest version (2.1.2) – particularly if you upgraded in the last 3-4 days. The reason is that there has been a hacker compromise that version and add/change code.
For further details see the WordPress Blog
PS: Thanks to the many people who emailed me about this. I did see it first on the WP blog before checking email this morning.