September 26, 2008

Blog Navigation Innovations

Innovations in blog design are now pretty few and far between. Blog design has pretty much settled into conventions that work. It’s one of the reasons I can be so happy with settling on just the Thesis WordPress theme and why I love it so much.

Every now and then though someone still manages to come out with a tweak or idea that makes me smile. read more

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The US Presidential Election on Twitter

This is pretty cool. Twitter has launched a mashup page that crawls people’s tweets, and pushes out the ones relevant to the election. I especially like the auto update feature, something that really should be on every user’s page as well. Check out the Election on Twitter page, and read more about it on the Twitter Blog.

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Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler Sues Bloggers

Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler has sued one or several bloggers who have impersonated him online, seeking an injunction to stop the offenders from doing so in the future. NME knows why:

The blogs, posted on Blogspot.com, made reference to Tyler’s late mother, with the singer singling them out as the “most hurtful” in the lawsuit.

Fair enough, I guess. Apparently Google removed the blogs at Tyler’s request.

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Digg Raises Money, Plans International Expansion

Digg has raised $28.7 million in Series C funding, which means bigger offices, a bunch of new job openings, and a more aggressive expansion. The latter will include international support, since almost half of Digg’s user hail from outside the US. This means localized versions, starting to appear in early 2009. My guess is that German, Spanish, and French versions are prioritized, for obvious reasons.

Om Malik reports a rumor that founder Kevin Rose got a chance to cash in, and took it:

The rumor I heard is that Digg founder Kevin Rose got to a sell a nice chunk of his shares in the company, a trend that has become quite fashionable among the Web 2.0 set. Several founders have taken money off the table as their companies wait for a bigger payday.

Good for Rose, of course, an probably not something to be upset about. I’d be more worried about the fact that 1% of the users generates 32% of the visits (stats from GigaOM). What happens if/when they get bored with Digg? That Facebook partnership might be crucial, but it might also prove just how hard it is to move from the tech savvy crowd, to the mainstream. And the former usually abandon ship when the latter gets in on the action. Digg is in for a bumpy ride.

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September 25, 2008

Monetizing Twitter?

A few weeks ago, Jeff Chandler reviewed Adjix on Performancing. Adjix lets Twitter users (or perhaps other microblogging services) monetize their accounts by shrinking URLs a-la tinyurl, but then puts up ads on the resulting page.

Based on the comment thread and the one on the follow-up post detailing an interview with Adjix’s CEO, readers mostly had negative impressions. Many were appalled at the thought of monetizing Twitter readership in this way. It was tantamout to facilitating spam, they say, and this would most likely result in loss of credibility. Others have commented that Adjix is impractical because of its use of frames rather than redirects, which effectively makes bookmarking difficult. read more

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September 24, 2008

Hiring Bloggers: Know Your Performance Numbers

Blogging JobsWhile attending the How to Hire a Professional Blogger For Your Business session at Blog World Expo, it was very interesting to learn that you have to know your performance numbers and how they work in order to really understand what it takes to make money as a hired blogger.

As part of this series on what you need to know about hiring a professional blogger and being hired, let’s look at what the pros had to say about performance numbers and metrics and what you need to know before you go pro.

Gregory Go of About.com Guide to Online Business made it clear to the crowded room about how the numbers drive payment and drives success when it comes to paying a blogger. “If you are looking to make money blogging for a company or blog network, you have to understand the metrics.”

Gregory listed three key web analytics that should be used to set a price for paying a blogger.

  1. Consistency – Word Count Metric: Number of posts per week or month published with a minimum word count per post.
  2. Internal Metrics: Numbers based upon direct interaction and actions such as comment count, feed or newsletter subscribers, and direct sales generated.
  3. External Metrics: Performance compared to the general Internet/blogosphere metrics. This includes page view counts and referrer or inbound links.

While few pay solely based upon one of these three metrics, most blogs and blog networks compensate bloggers based upon a combination of these numbers. read more

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Hiring Bloggers: Let Your Blog Speak Well of You

Blogging JobsOne of the topics covered in the How to Hire a Professional Blogger For Your Business session at Blog World Expo dealt with how important it is that your blog set an example if you want to be hired as a blogger. It was interesting to hear the speakers also add that if you want to hire bloggers, you better clean house as well.

The hour-long seminar featured Jim Turner of One By One Media Social Media and Professional Blogging Consultants, Gregory Go of About.com Guide to Online Business, Will Chen, editor of Wise Bread | Personal Finance and Frugal Living Forums, and Darren Rowse of . As part of this series on What Do Need to Know About Hiring a Professional Blogger and Being Hired, I want to address the issue of how to ensure your blog sets a good example and speaks well for you to help you be hired as a blogger and if you are interested in hiring bloggers.

Want Bloggers? Show Them You This is a Good Place to Blog

If you are looking to hire bloggers for your blog or blog network, you must set an inviting example.

Your blog or blog network must speak well of itself. It needs to be clean and clear in its content representation, with every element closely tied in with the overall theme and content including design, ads, blogrolls, graphics, pictures, titles, headings, and words. It needs to send a clear message of its purpose and goals.

A blog without a clear purpose sends a lot of messages to potential employees or freelancers. It says that you don’t know what you are doing. You want to send a clear message of your blog’s purpose so the blogger can evaluate the site and determine if they see a place for themselves in your blog. read more

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What Do Need to Know About Hiring a Professional Blogger and Being Hired

Blogging JobsThe How to Hire a Professional Blogger For Your Business session at Blog World Expo this past weekend in Las Vegas was incredible. It featured Jim Turner of One By One Media Social Media and Professional Blogging Consultants, Gregory Go of About.com Guide to Online Business, Will Chen, editor of Wise Bread | Personal Finance and Frugal Living Forums, and Darren Rowse of .

These expert bloggers are also business managers, managing the bloggers on their network and blogs. They have to hire, fire, put out fires, negotiate, guide, instruct, hunt, and deal with bloggers of all skill levels on a daily basis.

Blogging as an industry is still new. Blogging with hired-gun bloggers is also still new and a mine field for both employers and potential employees. There isn’t a lot of concrete information out there. There is a lot of guessing and little history to help both sides understand how this works.

The group conceded quickly that hiring bloggers isn’t the same as hiring writers for a magazine or website. Bloggers are a new group of employees and freelancers requiring special needs and attention as well as guidance.

Over the next few articles, I’m going to break down what they said to complement other articles I’ve written here on the subject of getting paid as a blogger. These include:
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GigaOM, VentureBeat, and ReadWriteWeb Content on NYTimes.com

Giga Omni Media have closed a deal with NYTimes.com, which means that content from the GigaOM network will be available on NYTimes.com come early October. They are not alone in this, but rather a part in redesigning the Technology channel at NYTimes.com. Other heavyweights that inked a deal to have their content available through this are ReadWriteWeb and VentureBeat.

This is the third heavy weight syndication deal for GigaOM, with BusinessWeek and CNNMoney already in the bag. Meanwhile, VentureBeat’s content is available on IDG’s Industry Standard. As far as I know, this is the first syndication deal for ReadWriteWeb though, although I might have missed something. read more

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Envato Launches Creattica Daily, First in Creattica Network

Envato, makers of PSDTUTS and FlashDen, continues to aggressively launch new sites. The latest one is Creattica Daily, a design news blog and the first part in the Creattica network. So far Creattica Daily looks well enough, but I’m more curious about upcoming Creattica Sessions, described by Envato head honcho Collis Ta’eed:

The next site release in the Creattica project is going to be one that I know PSDTUTS readers will enjoy. It’s a sort of Creative TUTS, and will aim to teach different types of design skills with tutorials, articles, community projects and more. It’s an ambitious project, so it’ll be a couple more months of planning before we can release it, but you’ll hear about it here and on Creattica Daily first!

Interesting. There’s a Creattica project landing page for now, and Creattica Daily. It’ll be interesting to follow this one as well, Envato is ever ambitious and offer high quality overall, so I’m certainly curious as to where this will lead.

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