February 29, 2008

Connect With Readers Over the Phone

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While certainly not the first free Web-based conference call system, Rondee might be an ideal tool for bloggers and podcasters.

The site takes the expense and equipment out of conference calling, making it available to the everyday, financially challenged blogger. Your only expense is a long distance call (though, that could be quite high for folks not in America. the area code you need to dial is based in San Diego, CA).

Anyone with a telephone can teleconference. All you have to do is schedule your call, send out e-mail invitations to each invitee, dial 619-2-RONDEE, enter the pin # you’ve been issued, and chat it up.

Potential uses: Bloggers can set up conferences with readers; blog networks can coordinate with writers scattered around the world; podcasters can conduct telephone interview.

If the organizer chooses to record a call, all participants will be notified and the audio will be made available in GSM, which can be converted to a WAV file.

With no software to download, Rondee could be nice alternative to Skype or TalkShoe.

The question is, do bloggers want to take their relationship with readers off the Web?

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The Pressure to Perform

Pretty much everyone I talk to thinks my job is pretty easy. I sit around and write about all my favourite things all day. There is so much they don’t realize about my job. There is a high amount of stress related to performance, and high expectations when it comes to my job.

The blogging world is very results oriented, and blog networks are always looking to grow larger, get noticed more, and make more money. While content is king, there are so many secondary elements that bring attention to the content I write, and if you don’t take the time to deal with the secondary stuff, the blog won’t grow very fast making it look almost stagnant.

I have worked more sixteen hour days as a blogger than I have in any other job I have ever done. Blogging sometimes consumes my life where I wasn’t taking care of myself, or even my family obligations. I was working harder, faster, and better in hopes of building up my personal brand and value so that I could make more money, and eventually slow down. The funny thing is, the more work I did, the harder it became to keep up the same pace.

Even worse, I was trying to do everything. From supporting WordPress, converting templates into WordPress themes, writing thousands of posts, and networking with a variety of people. I was keeping up to date on marketing and advertising trends, as well as the key players in the various niches I wrote content on. I was in a constant state of information overload. I was finding the job more like a chore than a hobby I once enjoyed. And when you change all of your hobbies into work, what else is there to do?

After a while I started feeling depressed when the RSS subscribers went down, or traffic lowered. I really wanted to do well, even though I wasn’t enjoying the job anymore, I knew it was still the best job I ever had.

I was suffering from blogger burnout. I had to take a week off without blogs, blogging, RSS, e-mails and just focus on the last hobbies I had: reading and writing science fiction.

So many people that make it to the full time level with a network or on their own, don’t realize the amount of work required to continue to grow and you can’t rest on your laurels as others are pushing hard to get to the top spot as well. You either continue to grow faster than the rest, or you fall behind, and eventually have to get an office job.

With every job there is a pressure to perform, but it seems to me like anything that touches technology then has to perform at the same rate as the continued evolution of technology, and I don’t think everyone can always keep up.

Make sure you take the time to focus on yourself, and just because you love a subject, doesn’t mean you should change it into a blog, especially if it is your only hobby. I have definitely learned my lesson.

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What Are Your Blog Resources?

Starting next week on , I will be sharing my blog resources with my readers. Your blog resources are the sites you visit frequently that help you blog. They are the bookmarks in your browser. The feeds in your feed reader.

While preparing my huge list of blog resources, I made some interesting discoveries about how I blog, what I blog about, and what resources I return to regularly for inspiration and fact checking.

I’ve been blogging for 14 years and have accumulated a huge wealth of resources. Over the years, the list has changed as some sites have come and gone, or new and improved resources replaced them on my lists. Some have stayed on the list, which is also surprising, considering how fast things change on the web.
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Lies, Damn Lies, SEO and PR

Steve Rubel would like to think that it is SEO practitioners who are the dirty social media manipulators and “most in the PR business take a clean approach to social media”.

Unfortunately Steve, nobody believes you, not even journalists, despite your assertion on your blog that “every journalist would take issue with that statement”.

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February 28, 2008

TV Show About Blogger Tanks

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There’s a very good chance that you did not watch the premier of quarterlife on NBC last night. The show, which centers around a young female blogger, drew in a measly 3.86 million viewers. That’s less than enough to qualify the show as an official out-of-the-gate bomb.

Originally debuted on MySpace last year, NBC acquired the rights to the show in a Hail Mary attempt during the writer’s strike.

It is possible that the show recovers, but the more interesting question is the impact this will have on content creators who aspire to move their products off the Web to the small (or big) screen.

It should be noted that the show was placed in an unfortunate time slot (Wednesday at 10pm ET vs. Jericho and Primetime). However, the microscopic-sized audience might also be attributable to the fact that the show was already slipping – as far as viewers – before it left the Web.

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FireFox Bravely Battles On in the Browser Wars

According to W3 Schools Statistics, FireFox is gaining rapidly over Internet Explorer.

For the first time, FireFox has surpassed Internet Explorer on their visitor stats. W3Schools admits in their statistics notes that they get an eclectic group of visitors to their site, especially those eager to learn CSS and HTML to design their web pages and blogs. This group is more likely to be using a web browser friendly to web designers, but I think it speaks to a growing change in web browser usage overall.
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Instant Messaging Makes Move On Commenting

Is the Google Talk chatback widget/badge/gizmo a taste of things to come? Commenting is something that lots of people think is necessary on a blog, for it to be a blog. However, IM is something everybody understands, and isn’t that a preferred way to communicate with the blogger who’s post you just read and find widely entertaining/offensive, or just easy to react to?

- IM him then. Tell him off.
- He’s not on my list!
- Do it on his blog.
- How?
- With the Google Talk badge, stupid!

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February 27, 2008

WordPress Wednesday News: WordPress 2.5 in Two Weeks, New Hot Media Library, Instant Upgrades, Theme Designers Lack Inspiration, More Plugin Vulnerabilities Found

WordPress 2.5 prepares for release March 10. The new Media Library image and file uploader is looking hot. Improvements to “instant” upgrades for WordPress and Plugins. The new WordPress Administration Panels interface is nearly done. Are you ready for WordPress 2.5? As a user and Plugin or Theme developer? Is your Plugin or Theme ready? WordPress Theme designers get bashed for their lack of imagination and creativity. More Plugins found with security vulnerabilities. WordCamp Dallas a month away. And did someone say something about reformatting WordPress?
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Domain Name Disputes On the Rise

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One of the most popular pieces of advice dished out when a person is looking to start a blog is to buy the domain name. While this is certainly a solid tip, the part that is often left out is the old ‘Caveat emptor,’ or ‘buyer beware.’

According to the The National Arbitration Forum, a dispute resolution service used by the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the number of domain name disputes are on the rise, totaling close to 2,000 in 2007.

Often what happens is that a domain name is registered and then abused by a party who cannot claim legitimate rights to it.

As you can imagine, the majority of cases revolved around .com, ,net and .org domain names.

The National Arbitration Forum has been around since 1999, and since then, they’ve heard close to 10,000 domain name complaints. Among the cases they’ve been involved with include Disney, Hershey’s Kisses, Jimmy Buffett and Univision, to name a few.

Click here to file a claim. It might be a headache, but anything is better than the time and expense of the court system.

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The Joy of Interviews

The other day I posted up another interview over at Performancing, this time with an expert affiliate, “Sugarrae”. Check it out, it’s really good.

Someone just asked if I will be doing more. Of course!

I’m a big fan of interviewing people. Interviews are amongst my favorite type of blog post.

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