January 28, 2005

The importance of providing content, and the best time to do it

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Duncan Riley> I’ve been playing a bit lately with the time of day and the amount I post (although admittedly it depends on the amount of blog news I can find), and following a post at the Radiant Marketing Group, the folks behind the Professsional Bloggers Association on the importance of posting, its time to share some traffic knowledge with the Blogosphere.

1. Post often
This is probably a known given in the blogosphere, but for those who are unaware, the theory goes like this
More Posts = More Traffic
Your amount of posts is relative to your amount of traffic.
But I will qualify the statement. Post about rubbish and they won’t come for long, and if no one knows where your blog is, you won’t get the traffic either. The theory is based on your ability to promote your blog through the regular channels, which include ping services, blog search engines, and RSS readers, whilst providing “sticky” content. Write to your target audience and never take them for fools. You should always be assessing the quality of your work as well as the quantity, but the reality is, quantity also counts.

2. Post time
The time of day your post appears also helps your traffic drive. The main audience of the Blog Herald is the United States and Canada. I’m +8 GMT whilst the West Coast is -6GMT, 14 hours difference. By accident, I’ve found if I post between 7am and 12 noon my time (5pm and 10pm US WST) my traffic increases for the day, and I’d note that my stats are based on US EST where the server is, and the Google Adsense stats in US WST. This means that my updates are hitting my main market after working hours where the majority of bloggers are online. Whether through RSS reader, or other tool, posting in this time frame boosts stats. If I post later in the day (this post is being written for example at 7:45pm +8GMT) its not going to be immediately picked up in the US and Canadian markets until later on, and then only if well received, which I always hope for :-)

3. Post headline
Always look at maximising your return on your post headline. Yes, I tend to be a little sensationalistic, but the headline often helps in search engines to increase traffic. In January the most visited post at the Blog Herald was a small post pointing to a story from Defamer on a potential Jennifer Aniston Blog. Although not by purpose, the wording of the headline was a hit on Google and search for “Jennifer Aniston Blogging” on Google will bring the Blog Herald up at No.1 and its delivered me about 1,000 views for the month. I’d note that its also provided the highest number of exit pages, but only 75% exit. 25% explore more, click on adds, or take an interest in something else on the site. Basically 250 new readers from one small tale. I’m not suggesting by any means to fib in your title, lie and your lose your credibility overnight, but keeping honest and original in your headings can provide increased traffic and revenue.

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Blog to Examine International Anti-American Sentiment

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Students at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism are setting up a blog to take an in-depth look at anti-American sentiment across the globe, aiming to examine the way the United States is perceived on an international level by tracking both pro- and anti-American attitudes in selected countries.

Francis Pisani, who launched the project, said the perception of the United States in other countries is still largely under-reported in the United States media.

Reports indicate that the blog should be up and running in the next couple of weeks.

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Denton scores 7 nominations for Bloggies

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The 2005 Bloggies, the blogosphere’s oldest blogging awards have annouced their nominees for this year, with Nick Denton’s Gawker Media leading the field with 7 nominations, with Wonkette scoring three nominations including Best American Weblog, Best Weblog about Politics and Weblog of the Year, Defamer scoring nominations for Best New Weblog and Best Entertainment Weblog, and Gawker and Gizmodo rounding out the list with nominations for Weblog of the Year and Best Computer or Technology Weblog.

Amongst other nominations from the world for blogging for business include WeblogsInc’s Engadget, with a nomination for Best Computer or Technology Weblog, Canadian company Ludicorp’s Flickr photo sharing service with nominations for Best Meme and Best Web Application for Weblogs, andSixApart’s Movable Type blogging software for Best Web Application for Weblogs.

Perinial blogging favourites Boing Boing featured with nominations for Best Group Weblog and Weblog of the Year, and Slashdot with nominations for Best Computers or Technology Weblog and Best Community Weblog.

The biggest shock in the nominations was the overlooking of any number of very high profile political blogs by the panel, with notables such as Times Blog of the Year Powerline and The Daily Kos missing out on nominations to the fairly low profile Low Culture, which is more satirical and gossip that politics, 3 way political blog WatchBlog, Pandagon and 1115.org

Past winner and MovableType refugee Scriptygoddess, now high priestess of WordPress plugins is up for another year with a nomination for Best Web Development Weblog.

A number of web pioneers have been overlooked again this year, notably Dave Winer, with Tom Coates from Plastic Bag and Derek Powazek lining up as favourites for the Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Voting will close at 10:00 PM US Eastern Standard Time on 3 February 2005, with The Weblog Award ceremony will be held at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas on Monday, 14 March 14 at 12:30 PM.

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January 27, 2005

The Blog’s New Role in Crisis Communications

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FastCompany reports that blogs play an important role in crisis communications, particularly in the disemination of the message directly to your clients

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St. Louis Mayoral candidate ponders suicide on blog

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STLToday reports that St Louis Mayoral Candidate Bill Haas says in post to his blog that loneliness, depression and financial problems have led him to consider suicide.

In the post he states that it is “a little bit of a cry for help, and a lot just coming to peace with my passing, and sort of a last note.” It goes on to provide extensive details about Haas’ life, his bouts with depression and his money troubles. It says his “last day” may come sometime this spring or early summer after he euthanizes his three-legged cat and other pets.

“So what’s this about?” he writes. “In a nutshell, I’m 60 years old, still all alone. … Unless something breaks professionally in the next couple of months, I’m going to be out of money and then I’m going to put the animals to sleep and take my life.”

The report states that Haas confirmed that he made the post and contemplated suicide. “Being out of money and alone are bad things for me,” Haas said in the report. “I’m not going to be on the street and watch my life spiral down.”

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Supersurge launches anti-spam blog

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Search Engine SuperSurge.com, has launched an anti-spam blog and appointed Jenndy Corrales as Master Editor. The new blog aims to educate readers by allowing them to view actual emails and scams, including senders and subject line. SuperSurge has found that sharing this specific information is the ideal way to inform consumers and the public about new internet scams; new posts are welcome and encouraged at www.blog.supersurge.com.

The site is being powered by Squarespace

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Scottish Parliament told blogging is “a paedophile’s dream”

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The BBC reports that the Scottish Parliament has been told that Blogging is “a paedophile’s dream”.

Rachel O’Connell, A forensic psychologist spoke about the dangers of blogs and pictures posted directly online.

“This is just a paedophile’s dream because you have children uploading pictures, giving out details of their everyday life because it’s an online journal.” said O’Connell.

The psychologist, whose research and work with police and other agencies has included posing as a child on internet newsgroups, said predatory adults could use an RSS reader to gain access to any picture when it was added to a blog.

“The parameters of grooming are now about to alter whereby they don’t necessarily have to have contact with the child,” she said.

In what could be regarded as a suggestion of a need for blog regulation, Dr O’Connell said there was “absolutely no internet safety information or guidance whatsoever on most blogging sites as their whole point was about giving out personal information.”

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Grouper Unveils New Features to Help Connect Common Interests

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Grouper Networks, creators of the Grouper application, a private personal file sharing network, today announced that it has released new features to its Beta software that enable people with similar interests to connect to one another. New features include the ability for anyone with a Blog to invite site visitors to join the site owner’s private group in Grouper.

The company also announced today new partnerships with Live365, the world’s largest Internet radio network and HOT or NOT(TM), a leading Internet matchmaking site. Grouper and Live365 have partnered to allow broadcasters to form private groups to connect more deeply with their listeners. The agreement with HOT or NOT enables potential couples become more acquainted with each other within Grouper.

“Grouper has always been about creating an easy way to connect people and their media,” said Josh Felser, CEO, Grouper Networks. “Now we have taken Grouper to the next level — we are enabling people who are already sharing media via the Internet to connect in a more meaningful way. We believe these types of connections provide users with richer, more entertaining experiences.”

Going Beyond the Text

In the most recent version of the Grouper Beta software, the company has added the “Open Invite” feature, which brings bloggers and their readers together in an interactive, rich media environment at no cost. Grouper enables bloggers to go beyond the text and share more information, regardless of file type. Blog audiences can request to join the individual’s private group in Grouper to view videos or files, avoiding hosting or server costs associated with supporting large files. Grouper is the first private file-sharing network to create a more personal and efficient medium for bloggers and broadcasters to connect with their audience. A blogger simply offers a link on their blog inviting audience members to request membership to a private group within Grouper. The blogger can accept or reject the request. Members will be added at the discretion of the leader and will be based on what value the member adds to the group. Once a member has joined the group, he or she can share media files — photos, videos, music, documents and or links related to the blog subject. The Open Invite feature is free and turns each member’s PC into a server or broadcaster. There are no central storage, upload or bandwidth fees.

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Blogs help kill AOL Newsgroups

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News.com is reporting that blogs have helped caused the imminent death of the AOL Newsgroups service

“AOL’s decision to scrap newsgroup support comes as other forms of online community have taken favor, according to company spokeswoman Jaymelina Esmele.

“We are seeing that traffic on newsgroups is pretty minimal at this point,” she said. “With features like message boards, chat rooms and AOL Blogs, the majority of our members are turning to these to engage in topics of interest to them.”

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SYS-CON to Announce “Blog-n-Play,” Branded Blog Community

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SYS-CON Media, a leading i-technology media company, announced today that its first branded blogging community, www.blog-n-play.com, will go beta on February 15, 2005, to coincide with the opening day of the Web Services Edge 2005 East International Web Services Conference & Expo.

SYS-CON will announce the news to its subscribers and registered readers before the beta date, allowing them to pick their blog names. SYS-CON’s new blog-n-play site will offer branded blogs to its 16 leading i-technology magazines. SYS-CON’s fully customized branded blogs will be powered by Blog-City, and directly integrated into SYS-CON’s Web site. Interestingly, the company is planning to publish all of its reader blogs in addition to the columns of its regular contributing writers and editors.

“We recently shared blog-n-play internally with our family of writers and editors with a sign-up count of more than 1,000 new blog sites within the first 24 hours,” said Fuat Kircaali, founder and CEO of SYS-CON Media. “SYS-CON is pleased to introduce the branded blog concept to the i-technology community, and we anticipate the concept of getting published, let’s say on the pages of JDJ will be an attractive blogging option to many of our readers.”

With SYS-CON’s branded blogs, the readers of the company’s 16 leading magazines can now eaily setup their free blogs and start using them within minutes. Many experienced bloggers already started to register aliases at blog-n-play where they mirror the content of their existing blogs to a new SYS-CON branded address. This gives the users of SYS-CON’s branded blogs instant access to up to two million readers per month, which no other blog site can offer.

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