How Hot Is Your Blog? Lukewarm? Cold?

Hot blog or a 'blog' of ice?

Have you ever wondered why your "just hot from the oven" blog is not that sizzling hot after all over a period of time?

If you're looking for ways to retain your readership, keep them coming back and gain more readers, maybe you need to step back and take another real, good look at your blog.

We know that building readership is a damn tough task, especially for nascent bloggers. Unless you have no compunction about taking the link farm route which is not advisable in the first place, what else can you do to improve your blog's standing or popularity?

I know what I'm saying is nothing fresh from the oven, it's just that Modern Life, a UK information blog about the World Wide Web, has this latest post: What's Wrong With My Blog?

Without further much ado, let's dig into all the reasons that Modern Life has listed for nascent bloggers. They tagline it as "A guide to common pitfalls, mistakes & faux pas in blogging."

Here's the list:

  • Ensure you have enough content
  • Clarify your blog's topic - diversify or focus on a niche if necessary
  • Accept that some topics are just too marginal
  • Controversy doesn't wash well
  • Don't use a default theme if you can avoid it
  • Consider your blog's brand
  • Update often, but don't let quality suffer
  • Ensure linkability
  • Don't over-monetize
  • Make sure your SEO is up to scratch
  • Patience, patience, patience!
That's right. According to Modern Life, patience is "the most important piece of advice for new bloggers...It isn't going to happen overnight." To get to the details of the above list, you can visit their site and digest all you need to know.

However, I would like to add here that I may not agree to a couple of their wisdom thoughts but this I'll keep to myself. A thousand apologies!

Meanwhile, Problogger has picked up this one, too!

Over at Problogger, Darren Rowse has posted this question: What's Wrong With Your Blog? With reference links to a question that's not that new after all on his blog. If you check it out, there are tons of comments out there.

Being one of the top ranking blogs has its advantages. With due respect to Problogger, my honest take is that a top ranking blog can touch on any topic and the majority of the blogging world will rush in to make comments. Some constructive, some are just ingratiating themselves, others just spam and cleverly disguised. Go to any "big-time blogs" and you'll always see the usual suspects rushing in to supply their regular quotas of such comments.

Remember the days of the Cold War? It was a joke then among the publishing fraternity that when Soviet Union President Leonid Brezhnev coughed or when China's Mao Tse-tung coughed, the whole world shook!!!

I guess this analogy can apply to present-day so-called "big-time bloggers" as well. We all know who the rest are. So when they coughed (aka write a post of great relevancy or otherwise), the whole blogging world shook (aka the usual suspects and nascent bloggers start to flock at their gates).

Normally I don't drop by just to leave a comment unless it's a blog where I have developed a kind of rapport. But I do drop in, even at Darren's blog now and then, when I feel an urge to find out what's new over there. Same with the rest. Well, it all depends on the post topic, I guess.

Allow me to quote this comment coming from Mary-Helen Ward, an Australian woman who has a blog mainly about knitting. She posted her comment in Problogger's blog regarding the above topic:

BlockquoteI think that one of the downsides of blogs is the advent of celebrity bloggers. Within various parts of the blogosphere, a few bloggers who are mediocre writers with nothing much to say have somehow attracted huge followings, attracting hundreds of hits a day and adoring commenters. This hasn't happened to me (yet), so it may be that I am just jealous. :)"

If I'm a top problogger and write a post like this, can you imagine how many comments will appear here? Go figure.


Social Networking: Tailing The Long Tail

The proliferation of blogging communities is amazing since "social networking" and "social media" became catchphrases after Rupert Murdoch snatched up MySpace.

The signs are everywhere that these two catchphrases are the next big thing in online communications, if not, they are already here.

A recent iProspect study reveals that "social networking users are growing at an accelerated rate."

The study says: "One in four Internet users visits a social site at least once a month, and that figure only looks to increase over the next several years. The Internet is shifting from a medium of information to one of participation..."

So, it's no surprise by now that more and more bloggety kind of communities are sprouting. MyBlogLog is a good example. There are others like StumbleUpon, FuelMyBlog, BumpZee, SpicyPage, Bloggst and a host of other sites working along the same line with some variations.

Not because they want you and I to sign up and start posting ourselves silly in forums, but there's the potential of business benefits down the pipeline. Shades of Yahoo buying up MyBlogLog and Google gobbling up YouTube.

Some will see success while others may drop out by the wayside. The multitude of bloggers will decide who are the eventual winners and losers.

There's so much going-on in this so-called Blogosphere that Internet marketers like e-book and e-mail merchants, and other "old school" practitioners are looking at themselves and asking the question: "Is this the death of Internet marketing?"

The heat is on.

Niches are where the action is...right down the Long Tail. As expounded by author Chris Anderson in his book, there are three driving forces that represent a new set of opportunities in the emerging Long Tail marketplace.

They are:
  • Democratize Production
  • Democratize Distribution
  • Connect Supply and Demand

What sparked blogging in the first place? According to Anderson in his book, democratized tools started it with "the arrival of simple, cheap software and services that made publishing online so easy that anyone could do it."

E-business is definitely evolving and the key factor is the increasingly important role played by the Blogosphere. For sure, as one expert puts it: "It's a virtual hotbed of information dissemination."

It has opened up a free, democratic market for all and sundry to grab a piece of the action. Anderson writes in The Long Tail that "amateur blogs are sharing attention with mainstream media, small-time bands are releasing music online without a record label, and fellow consumers dominate online reviewing."

And the iProspect study on how social networks have changed the way consumers respond to marketing messages indicates that although it's still early days for social networking, "one out of three Internet users is already taking advantage of a site containing user-generated content to help make a decision to buy, or not to buy something."

"This bodes well for the future of these sites that take advantage of our human nature to trust the recommendations (and warnings) of fellow consumers more than we do the claims and 'marketing-speak' of professional marketers," says the study.

Alas, in a nutshell, individual bloggers can set up sites, publish content, drive traffic and establish links to move up the ranking ladder. And, thereby, put themselves in a position to monetize their blogs like landing ads and qualifying for better sponsored reviews payment and so forth.

You, the blogger, now has a voice that can be heard. Innovative and creative ideas are being generated...and they are evolving. Who knows? The next most talk-about business model may be just around the corner.

*BlogView by Mark Khoo*


Newsline: Aussie-Based Zookoda Joins PayPerPost

Well, this is the news that many bloggers, especially PayPerPost posties, are keen to hear...the acquisition of Australia-based Zookoda on Tuesday.

Zookoda who? If you're still hopping around with kangaroos in the Australian Outback, then it's time you get to know that Zookoda is a technology company that pioneers blog broadcasting services.

Unlike FeedBurner and FeedBlitz, Zookoda don't just provide FREE "rss-to-email" delivery services but also offers bloggers a total solution to email marketing.

Launched on March 13 last year, Zookoda has reported "great success" with more than 10,000 users around the world adopting its technology as their blog marketing tool of choice.

According to Alexa, the Zookoda site is ranked in the top one per cent of URLs across the Internet with a rolling three month average ranking of around 21,000.

PayPerPost CEO Ted Murphy says in a PPP blog post:

BlockquoteZookoda has developed a powerful suite of services to help bloggers increase their online visibility. The huge success Zookoda has had in its short history proves its value to the blogosphere. We're confident Zookoda's capabilities will be of great help to our family of PayPerPost bloggers."

Zookoda may be targetted at the blogging fraternity, but content providers can also reap benefits from it with rss and atom feeds.

If you're thinking of pushing content and drawing visitors to your site, Zookoda seems to have what it takes to do the job. Its technology fits into the plethora of wish-lists that many bloggers want such as...

  • ability to creat eye-catching templates
  • real-time, open, bounce, click and unsubscribe reporting
  • mobile email capability
  • automatic subscription forms, incorporating validation and verification functions
  • allow readers to easily opt-in to a blogger's email newsletter

According to PPP, present Zookoda users will see no disruption in their service. The acquisition is complete and the platform has been transferred to PPP infrastructure.

With this acquisition, what's the next big thing coming from PPP?

For starter, it's obvious that PPP are taking their products and services review operation to the next level. Posties who are eagerly rubbing their hands to see better-paying assignments will just have to wait a while and see what explodes next.

Meantime, play that didgeridoo!


Condolences To Families Who Lost Loved Ones

In view of the horrible and tragic shooting incident at Virginia Tech campus, I'm calling off my participation in the Technorati Traffic Exchange project.

To me, it's not the time to be doing this. The tragic losses and sufferings imposed on the victims' families are hard to bear. If we are not there with them, as least we are with them in our prayers and thoughts.

I hope those I've connected in this project will understand and appreciate my action. Always remember there'll be another time. Yes, there's a time and place for each one of us.

For those whom I've faved to Technorati Favorites, the links will remain there as long as this blog is running. Please be informed that I'll delete the previous post after posting this one. May the good karma be with us all.

Latest: A united message of love - Remember this date April 30, 2007:

See who is writing about this: http://www.technorati.com/search/www.onedayblogsilence.com


One Day Blog Silence


How To Shoot Yourself In The Foot!

It's good to know that there's a growing list of personal blogs that have shown wisdom and great insights in the ways of blogging. These are blogs that understand the ethical aspects of good blogging.

Short of touching on the "code of conduct" that's being debated elsewhere, blogging conduct in a social networking community like MyBlogLog has been highlighted recently.

For example, there's this good news that animated avatars are going to be history soon in MBL.

Now John at Finding The Money blog has come up with a brilliant list of things that a blogger can do if he or she has great intention to shoot himself or herself in the foot!

Kudos to John's post for highlighting "How To Annoy The Blogosphere."


What's The Beef About Blogger Blogs?

Coming across remarks on blogs that say a Blogger blog is "amateurish and ugly" says a lot about the owner of those words.

No doubt, every blogger has the right to do what he/she thinks fit for his/her own blogging space. But to deride another party with caustic, dismissive statement without weighing the argument in a rational manner is certainly unwarranted.

Looking at the bigger picture in blogging, what impression would a newbie get when he/she reads this kind of crap? If not for free blogs, many would not be able to afford to blog at all. The blogosphere would be much poorer for it.

Thanks to Blogger, Wordpress and other blogging platforms for providing and encouraging free blogging. For some of us, we'll upgrade when we feel it's time to have a hosted blog. Not because some one tells you so.

If you go by looks alone, then there's no substance in the blog. We're talking about readable blogs. About editorial content that a visiting blogger would want to read.

Does it matter whether it's a Blogger blog, hosted or free? If the content is worth reading, then it's worth visiting. That's your prerogative.

What kind of criteria is it to conclude that a three-column blog is better in every way than a two-column one? Each has its own function, needs and virtue.

Given the view that blogs should have good if not unique content and be well-designed with the right use of typography and colors, there are many of them out there in blogosphere.

Well-designed blogs can be found on different platforms - Wordpress, Typepad, Blogger, etc. - you name it. And some have great content to boot.

In the same breath, there are just as many bad-looking blogs and crappy content on all the platforms.

So what's the beef about one blogging platform being better than the other one?


Sound Out: Is Your Band Getting The Buzz?

If you're just coming out of the woodwork to make your musical presence felt, you'll find it's a goddamn tough battle to get into the spotlight.

You need more than luck to make the breakthrough. You need a platform where you'll get the right exposure to move on.

Here's the buzz for any new Indie band or solo artist that's looking for an opportunity to be discovered. Unsigned.com, a website that was launched recently, is the new voice for independent artists.

They are looking for new talents -
Ska Bands, rock, hip hop, grunge, metal , jazz, country and more. What's your musical genre?

This Beta release of Unsigned.com will provide new Indie artists unparalleled choices to showcase their music. Unsigned bands and artists can post bios and music samples to get online exposure.

There's an ever-growing base of fans and listeners who are hungry for the next big sound. Do you think your band has got what it takes to knock them dead?


Precious Metals, Precious Memories

If blogging turned out to be unproductive in terms of money earned online, maybe you should take a good look at US gold coins and other precious metals as another form of investment that would eventually put money on the table.

You see the US dollar's value has been going south in recent years and that means the greenbuck is worth less and less.

Remember the good old days when you could go down to the gas station and buy four gallons for a buck. That was real money, man. Oh yes, that was one more dollar for the road!

Silver and gold were real money then. Today, you should realize that gas, food and everything else don't get any dearer than before, it's the greenbuck that's losing its shine, and it takes more and more of them to buy the same goods and services.

If you're an investor looking for a financial safety net, look at tangible assets that can hold their value. Consider buying into tangible assets such as gold, silver, platinum bullion and bullion coins, that's the advice of experts.

Portfolio diversification is the strategy that one should follow. Investment experts are recommending a 10% to 20% of an investor's assets to be devoted to these tangible assets.

As one of the country's oldest, largest and most experienced investment firms specializing in precious metals, Monex is well qualified to serve the needs of US investors.

The long-standing firm has the expertise and resources. They have served well over one hundred thousand investors by helping them to invest in precious metals since 1967.

How To Succeed Online? Have The Right Focus

What's the biggest contributing factor to success online? Any guesses?
A huge advertising budget? Nah, you don't need it

How about mastery of SEO? Don't waste your time.

Would it help if I have a brother-in-law at Google? I doubt it.

Do I need to butter up some biggie blogs so that success will rub off of me? You can try but you'll soon be disappointed.
Be your own self.

You only need one thing to have success on the Internet. The key word is FOCUS.

Studies have shown that to make it online, you need to have focus. Have a clear-cut direction in what you're going to do...and do it.

There are zillions of sites but many of them lack a single iota of focusing that will make them successful.

The problem with many beginners is that they want to please everyone. And that's a sure way to take a fall eventually.

BlockquoteSuccess is the key that unlocks many doors. And which key unlocks the door to success?"
It's a fact that one of the biggest sellers on the Internet is information.

Yes, information is your key to unlock the door to succeed as a well-informed blogger or as an online entrepreneur. If you don't have it, you're as good as dead in the water.

What if your mind can open up and see the many opportunities right infront of you? Information at your fingertips!

Look at it this way: Information = Knowledge = Power...to know what to do and how to do it.

Taking the homebiz route: We all know that homebiz opportunities are now within the grasp of most people.

According to surveys, millions of people around the world have left the corporate world to take the plunge into their own home-based business.
And I'm sure this is the dream of many who are blogging now.

And yet there are still millions who are left behind by the Internet explosion, especially in Third World countries and even in some developed nations.

Surveys have revealed that they are "still in the dark" where the World Wide Web is concerned.

We can safely say there's a great divide concerning the Internet. There are the haves and the have-nots.
Although Netusers have increased by the millions, there are many more who still believe it's "too complicated and costly" to go online. To them, having a digital identity is just a fad.

If we're talking about the New Economy, how are these people going to cope? What can be done for them? And why the have-nots can't get going? Do we care for some answers?

Photo credit: toughkidcst


Chill Out: Get A Dose Of Slaid Cleaves

Chill Out One More Time: It's been sometime since I did a brief review of singer and songwriter Slaid Cleaves who hailed from Maine and now lives in Austin, Texas. I've always enjoyed his songs which are life stories sung in his own unique style that sounds like a natural blend of folk, country and rock.

Our Texas troubador's early hit album "Broke Down" which was released in 2000, and his 1997 debut album "No Angel Knows" are two of my favourites.

The above video footage is of Slaid Cleaves singing "Cold And Lonely" from his album "Broke Down." This recording was a special project for Slaid, a collection of songs by admired friends and colleagues including Karen Poston, Michael O'Connor and Adam Carroll.

And here's a video clip by swammy05 (aka Steve) presenting a Slaid Cleaves cover of "Broke Down." I mistook him for Cleaves in the original posting and I'd like to thank monette for kindly pointing out this little mis-step of mine. But Steve's unplugged performance is quite cool, so I'm retaining it here for us to enjoy as well.

If you want to know more about Slaid Cleaves, you can visit his website.

So grab a piece of the action, hear him out and let me know what you think of Cleaves. Hey guys, we need to cool it a bit!


Hungry For Some Good Stories?

Writing posts for a blog can be tough at times, but what about writing short stories? As a short story writer, you either have the flair to be a talented one or none at all to save your own skin.

That brings to mind short story essayist Ian Randall Wilson whose latest book "Hunger And Other Stories" is a collection of 14 serious stories that are profoundly moving and gut-wrenching.

The award-winning author writes about family conflicts, human desires and sexual relationships gone bad.

The first tale, "A Wire Man" is an intense story about a father who is full of prejudice and his son who went about trying to prove his own worth and then ran into financial problem. It's an emotional insight into a father and son relationship.

The title story, "Hunger," is a passionate and powerful tale about a man yearning for love. You'll be surprised by the stunning ending.

If you're the type who's not inclined towards dark tales that touch on the human psyche and often depressing, this book may not be your cup of tea. Better to stick to a lightweight like a Harry Potter book.

These are Wilson's first collection of short stories with characters who are often haunted by their pasts and their apprehension of the future.

If anything, his writing style is graceful and poetic without being overbearing in self-indulgence.

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