September 19, 2009

5 Design Tweaks to Improve Your Blog Conversion Rates

Blogging success boils down to two things:

1. Get traffic

2. Convert it

“Convert it” means “get people to do what you want them to do,” which is usually clicking an ad, subscribing to your blog/newsletter, or buying something. (Or linking to your blog, or telling their grandma how awesome you are, etc.)

If you’ve been blogging for a while, you probably have a fairly constant stream of traffic flowing to your blog from one or more sources – search engines, social networking websites, online directories, and so forth.

But are you converting it as well as you can? read more

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September 18, 2009

Variety Doesn’t Want Your Links

Variety is a potentially great source of information for entertainment bloggers, especially if they cover less celebrities and more business so to speak. That is about to change however, because PaidContent have confirmed that the site will put most of its online content behind a paywall.

How do you link that? Or rather, why would you link that?

You wouldn’t, obviously, since most of your readers wouldn’t be able to read the actual content. Paywalls always clash with the rest of the web. When news outlets that might get links from outside sites put up paywalls, they are not only killing the possibility of free links, they are also effectively killing the search engine benefits of quality links from blogs. So while you might understand why a niche news outlet does this, it is definitely beyond me when it comes to wider types of content like what Variety offers.

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September 16, 2009

Dooce Starts MFA Subpage

Heather Armstrong, better known as Dooce, has announced the launch of her MFA subpages Monetizing the Hate.

And I’m sitting there feeding Marlo, my abdomen wrapped in a bandage SO THAT I DON’T GIVE HER CHICKEN POX, and I’m reading an anonymous comment calling me an asshead, and suddenly I remember that conversation I had with Heather. And I’m like, you know what? I’m going to let that anonymous comment help pay for the therapy that Leta is so desperately going to need once she finds out what awful things I’ve said about her on my website.

Internet, let me introduce you to Monetizing The Hate.

Here I will be posting all the hate mail I get in my inbox and all the hateful anonymous and not-so-anonymous comments left on this website. And let me tell you, it is a hoot! And the money? OH THE MONEY! I am going to roll around naked in all that money! Because that’s what assheads do!

And as the title, Monetizing the Hate promises, the page is full of ads. Although I can see the irony or fun in the concept, Dooce might be pushing things just a little too far here.

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September 15, 2009

Committee to Protect Bloggers: An Interview

The Committee to Protect Bloggers is an important blog that focuses on bloggers in peril across the world. They broke the story on the Iranian blogger who died in prison some time ago, and they have been doing their very best to keep a watchful eye on the state of the blogosphere in parts of the world where blogging is actually dangerous.

That’s why it was such a shame when Curt Hopkins announced its closure, and such a good thing when Andrew Ford Lyons picked up the reins again. So let’s here what he has to say about Committee to Protect Bloggers and the future. read more

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September 14, 2009

JS-Kit Echo: The Good and Bad

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In late August, shortly after comment hosting companyJS-Kit announced the public launch of their Echo service, I forked over my credit card and paid $12 for one year’s worth of service.

With commenting becoming more and more fragmented, taking place increasingly on sites like Twitter and FriendFeed, Echo appeared to be an interesting way to unify all of these references and create one giant world-wide conversation out of the feedback. Though JS-Kit said that that ECHO would be “death to commenting” they had found a seemingly innovative way to keep the conversation alive.

The idea seemed simple and powerful and, with the 30-day money-back guarantee, it also seemed to be worth a shot. However, as I jumped into the system, I found it to be more of a mixed bag, a strange combination of really great features and big ideas but also of frustrations and headaches.

Though there is clearly a lot of potential for ECHO, there’s also a lot that needs fixing. There’s no doubt they have a good thing going, but the devil truly is in the details. read more

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UK Media Still Fails To Attribute Sources

skysportsFor bloggers it can be a long and difficult road to reach success and occasionally come close to your subjects and conduct an interview with them. It was great to see that UK Manchester United blog Red Rants had the opportunity to run an exclusive interview with world star Nemanja Vidic. This would be the ultimate dream for many a sports blogger but things aren’t always as nice as they seem. Content theft often is an issue, especially when exclusive entries, interviews are scored.

Red Rants was no exception to this rule. Only some later, today, two main stream UK media outlets used the interview without attribution. Both published quotes of the interview without referring to the source. The Skysports article consist of more than 50% quotes. Surprisingly Skysports Terms and Conditions do NOT allow reproduction and even don’t mention Fair Use. read more

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Swedish fashion bloggers could appear in department store newspaper ad campaign

Filed as News with 2 comments

There’s an interesting article on a Swedish online new site which suggests that fashion bloggers — seen as an increasingly influential group — could see themselves used as models in newspaper advertising campaigns by Kfem, a prominent Stockholm department store.

Firstly, various departments in the store will have a dedicated “digital dressing room” where shoppers can have their pictures taken in various clothing and have it put online immediately. It’s not clear whether this will be published on the store’s web site or if a customer can specify their own social media space/blog to have it uploaded to. read more

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China’s Censorship Equilibrium

Filed as Features with 2 comments

For as long as I’ve been paying attention Chinese internet censorship has always seems to fluctuate around an equilibrium, typically dependent on the social climate.

When there are times of unrest unflattering to China’s global ‘face,’ or even times when there is merely the threat of unrest (i.e. during important anniversaries like the recent 20th anniversary of the Tian’anmen massacre), websites get blocked. When all is relatively well in society, all is well on the internet. read more

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Duncan Riley’s The Inquisitr Launches New Design

Duncan Riley talks about the recent refresh of his news site The Inquisitr and it is interesting to see how he views the site more and more as a traditional news outlet. Besides the obvious visual changes and enhancements, Riley talks about the syndication deals we’ve reported on previously.

I’ve only touched on this side briefly, but we started syndicating content a couple of months back. We started with Bang Celebrity content, and started playing with AHN. As of two weeks ago we expanded our AHN deal so we take on much more of their content now. We don’t post all of it, and we’re trying to work around content that might be interesting. At the same time though, the mere fact that we’re syndicating content makes us more traditional news site every day; both deals are like signing on with AP or Reuters to a degree, and I’d hope it’s the start of something better again for us.

Be sure to read his post on the fourth Inquisitr refresh, and check out the new look. It is a step in the right direction says the designer in me…

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September 13, 2009

Sunday Morning SEO: Copying Your Competitors’ Links

Filed as Features with 5 comments

Well, I’m back to continue the Sunday Morning SEO series. I took a little break of three months because I was busy with client work. I’m creating backup posts beforehand so I won’t have to take a break next time.

Anyways, today let’s look at one of my favorite link building tactics. It’s a powerful tactic that involves competitive analysis.

read more

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