Websites are parts of a foundation for communities and governments. Whether you own a personal page or operate an eCommerce business, the worldwide web plays an affluent part in every day life. What if a person found a web hosting company that offers better deals or superior services? Luckily, it’s not all that difficult to transfer your website from one host to another. [Read more…]
Want to help out your website’s bottom line? One phrase will help you get there – ‘organic, positive traffic.’ But, as with many things, that’s easier said than done. Especially since the ideas of organic and positive are changing with the times.
Even with that, though, five ways that will immediately come to mind include hooking up your web development process with a clean reviews section, easy to find contact pages, chap options for clients and browsers, a way to open up social conversations, and the desire to update your content regularly. With those actions in place, there’s nowhere to go but up! [Read more…]
Having been a serial adulterer to my own blog over the last months, I have learned many things when it comes to guest blogging or blogging on other sites. As a beginning guest or network blogger sometimes it can be hard to feel at home and come up with killer content. Conversion of guest blogging is not always visible and can sometimes feel rather disappointing.
Here are some tips to increase the chance to gain new readers, to show authority when you guest blog on another blog.
The blog is yours for one day!
Don’t be shy, don’t feel uncomfortable, guest bloggers generally are very well welcomed. There’s no reason to doubt yourself, to feel a stranger for a day, if your regular content weren’t great already, you would never have been asked to guest blog.
This is your chance to create killer content!
Many times the blog you’re invited to write for, has a bigger readership than your own blog. This is your chance to show real authority and create genuine killer content. This is the moment to write that stumble/digg article.
Guest entries are a great business card opportunity. One killer entry will bring you lots of new visitors, many links to your blog and sometimes even new orders! You really have to put up your best content right now.
Don’t try to imitate the voice of the resident blogger, to write in their style, to voice their opinions. Voice your own strong opinion, showing guts while guest blogging can have a great ROI and boost the number of visits to your own blog.
If the blog hoster didn’t respect your voice, you would never have been offered the opportunity to post an entry on THEIR blog.
Continue the visual style of the blog.
Check how the regular entries are visually written and try to continue this style. If the resident blogger uses headings and subheadings, use them too. Most readers are conditioned and expect easily skimmable entries when they are used to find them at that blog. No one wants to read 400 word paragraphs at Copyblogger or anywhere else actually.
Create a compelling intro or entry footer signature.
With every guest entry you’ll get a small intro or the occasion to use an article footer with a link to your own blog. Make this one of the most compelling parts of your guest post. Many serial feed subscribers will only skim the headers/subheaders and read the conclusion. If they find an interesting entry footer, instead of the conclusion to the entry, they might be compelled to visit your site or actually read the whole entry. Same applies to your intro.
Don’t feel afraid to set expectations in your intro. This is your chance, everyone reads you! Grab the attention.
Don’t forget your most erotic picture to spice up the entry!
Start your guest entry today!
When you are asked to guest blog, you almost always have several days to prepare your entry. Unless you’re a serial deadline addict, you might want to prepare your entry today already! Set yourself the deadline one day early. You don’t want to be caught by the ‘must get it ready now fever’. Only deadline freaks write better under that pressure. Don’t hesitate to ask the blog host’s opinion!
Know the blog you write on
Guest blogging is the hardest way to show authority, but a great chance to feature yourself! The chance is yours, grab it!
Dig through the archives, read the comments and ask the blog hoster what the regulars/subscribers like, what their level is. Demographics are irrelevant, but try to understand the audience of the blog. Write on their level.
Of course those tips also apply when you’re asked to write on a multi-author blog, more even because together with your regular great content the whole team will grow!
As Movable Type is preparing the Gold release of the new MT4 version, one can only wonder if the once dominating blog platform the power has to make a comeback en force, based on the power of an open-source GPL license and thanks to the community. The Movable Type community is working hard at another package, based upon MT4 and licensed under the GPL. Movable Type Open Source (MTOS) will be released later this year in Q3.
Right now not much can be said about the features of MTOS, but the upcoming release of MT4 might give us an idea of what we can expect.
Are the new features in MT4 exciting enough to catch attention?
The new dashboard is very modernly styled and almost completely customizable, thanks to the MT template tags. It seems as if this feature will rather be used by the real coding, designing geek than Joe Average, but expect many dashboard mods to be released by the MT community.
The nicest features for the user who doesn’t like to customize the dashboard structure, are IMO the standard activity log and graphics for entries and comments, but I can’t really say those are groundbreaking reasons to switch to MT.
The installation process of Movable Type has become a lot easier, but still isn’t easy enough, compared to other platforms such as WordPress or even Expression Engine.
And honestly, a 40 minutes long upload process (almost 2000 files) might put off users. To have a chance long term, the MT community definitely has to create a Fantastico installation process, because I can’t imagine updating several blogs if I didn’t have shell access to uncompress archives directly on the server.
Except for the world’s smartest template language I really can’t figure out what is innovative among the new features in MT4. Unless it were for the in house support for both Markdown and Textile, which are standard plugins MT4 is shipped with.
A notable mention deserves the easy multiblog setup, but the biggest annoyance about MT has not been solved yet: the slow republishing system when the user opts for statically published template pages. Rebuilding archives still takes ages depending on their size.
The standard implementation of the CatCalendar plugin would have improved MT4 majorly.
Update: Byrne Reese, Product Manager of MT, points out in the comments that the CatCalendar functionality has been intgerated in the core of MT4.
Community Building Services
Community building improvements, such as built-in registration, the integration of OpenID (and other services), rating services and customizable feeds or even reply to comments from the dashboard, don’t really do it to me. I fail to see any innovative factor in those new features — innovative to the blogosphere that is — as most of those features are nothing more than the core implementation of some of the most popular plugins for other systems.
This might be a groundbreaking release for the MT community, but from the view of a WordPress user there is nothing to get really excited about MT4. The success of MT4 will majorly depend on the speed and accuracy of the MT community to release new plugins, already existing popular plugins for other platforms.
MT might have a more stable, better scaling platform for the industrial blogger but right at the moment MT4 (and MTOS) isn’t ready to start eating of WordPress’s cake. MT4 needs to be simplified, simplified for the user, not every blogger is a code freak, wanting to fiddle with templates.
An active and thriving community certainly can make MT more popular and a widespread alternative to WordPress.
The Six Apart Team deserves all merits for having released MT under an open source GPL license!
Disclosure: I recently switched several of my own sites from WP to MT4 RC and the geek in me loves that almost every plugin I was looking for (sitemap, contact form, feed redirect to Feedburner), can be realized with MT templates, but all this could have been solved much easier. Right now I can’t advise anyone without coder’s, designer’s soul to switch from WP to MT.
I predict that personal home storage is going to all but fade away in the next few years. There just won’t be any need for it. Those who still insist on buying portable hard drives and encased gigs to throw next to their machines will be looked at by the young’ns the same way we look at our grandparents who stuff their money into mattresses for fear of trusting the bank.
I understand and respect the risk that many see that comes with trusting all of their data online. But the risk of losing data is going to be faced anyway, whether it’s in your home office or in a server camp in California. In both cases there’s risk, but that doesn’t mean the same pros/cons come with each. For example, with a hosted storage solution you don’t have to worry about
- managing your own space, including environment control and troubleshooting,
- paying the bills to keep it running all the time, or
- worrying that your house will burn down and take your data with it.
Although before storing online you should be concerned with
- securing your information (much like Grandma’s cash in her mattress),
- copyright regulations and user agreement forms, and
- playing nice with Customer Service Reps. Who enjoys that?
So there are some ups and downs to each side. But imagine what the geek world will look like let alone the rest of the world. For one thing you may (sooner than later) be considered a dinosaur for purchasing extra hard drives. I’ve already given a few photographers a weird look when they don’t know about Flickr (before evangelizing them, of course).
Flickr’s a good case study, actually. This is a service that will host your photos, make them manageable and shareable, and do it a hell of a lot better than your computer can. But if RAW is your thing, well, you aren’t storing them on Flickr. So the purist would say “There, you need personal storage for that.” Well, besides the fact that I think the purist would miss the point of the case study, I do agree that internet based storage services have a way to go. But Flickr is nipping at the possibilities; this combined with Google Apps, numerous writing applications, and now presentation services available online, one can’t help but wonder what the use will be for desktop storage (let alone desktop applications) in the time to come.
Imagine all of your data being accessible from anywhere. And it’s easier than navigating your computer’s hard drive. And it can be shared and collaborated on by anyone you choose. And backups are limitless. And it’s free.
The direction the internet is headed, as far as I can tell, is to make the desktop a portal. One of the first things to go has been applications (I can’t remember the last time I used Word if I didn’t need to) and storage is not too far down the list. In some ways, this is an exciting shift that’s happening. In other ways, it may only be the changing of hands (from the big shots now to the little shots who are going to be big shots later). Only time will tell.