26 February 2008

Advanced Trackbacks, Comments, and Rating with Haloscan

One of the limitations of the Blogger platform is inability to send trackbacks when you make a post. A trackback is a simple acknowledgment, sent via a network signal (ping) from the originating site to the receiving site. Trackback requires both sites to be trackback enabled in order to establish this communication. A free service from Haloscan allows a blogger to send trackbacks to other blogs, and also display the trackbacks which have been sent to the blog. Haloscan also puts comments features on the higher level, allowing advanced comments management and enhanced performance. And, finally it offers blog visitors to rate blog entries, merchandise items, services, pictures, or any other objects on the site, based on a 5-star rating scheme.

Membership is absolutely free. Sign in: http://www.haloscan.com/

23 February 2008

Free Blogging Communities on Danga Platform

After the publication, comparing Blogger and WordPost free blogging platforms ( http://blogging4good.blogspot.com/2008/02/blogger-vs-wordpress-review-for-newbie_07.html), I got several questions on the alternative solutions to start free blogs. In this post, I will briefly review blogging opportunities with communities, based on the Danga platform.

Danga Interactive was a Brad Fitzpatrick’s company that started in 1999 a famous community LiveJournal and developed a related operating software. In January 2005, blogging company Six Apart purchased Danga Interactive Company from Fitzpatrick, and in December 2007 sold it to SUP, a Russian media company that had been licensing the LiveJournal brand and software for use in Russia. The Life Journal in Russian is the most popular blogging community in the Russian-speaking countries at the moment. Overall, there are more than 14 millions of members using this platform, and more than 3 millions in USA. As a LiveJournal member, you can write blogs, add friends, start and join communities, and chat with other members. You can create custom layouts for your pages, as LiveJournal allows to paste in custom CSS files, changing overall blog layout. Another nice feature is ability to embed your journal into your own website. This blog service also accepts posts from email enabled mobile phones and from instant messaging services. You can upload video and images as well. With all the mentioned nice features, there are some not so nice disadvantages, as relatively high amount of advertising on the page and lack of the proper guidance from the new members.

The software running LiveJournal is open source and primarily written in Perl. Because of this, several other communities have been designed using the LiveJournal software. Among them:

§ DeadJournal - LiveJournal clone with very relaxed terms and usage conditions. Here you can find some journals that would not be hosted in any other communities.

§ GreatestJournal - community with about 2 million members, offering free voice posts, 1GB of photo hosting, and space for up to 2,000 user icons.

§ InsaneJournal - offers free accounts with heavy advertising, strongly encouraging its member to upgrade for paid accounts.

§ JorunalFen.net - Blogging host directed towards various fans communities restricting its membership for users 18 and older. A free account creation is turned off by default, however new users can still obtain a free blogging account.

§ Blurty - one more host for online journals and communities for people over 18. There are some limitations for a free accounts holders, like amount of characters in the journal name, or total amount of entries.

18 February 2008

Blog Loading Speed Optimization

When you work on your Blog, you do your best to improve it by all means to attract visitor’s attention and to get him or her interested in your content for as long time, as possible. Sometimes, practice of using catchy graphics and beautiful widgets is creating a significant load on the Blog structure, causing significant loading delays, especially for the computers with slow Internet connection. This extended loading time for the site might drive an impatient surfers off, without getting through the loading phase.

To can an objective picture of your site characteristics, you can test your Blog loading speed and optimize your site performance per analysis and recommendations from free comprehensive services provided by Web Page Analyzer (http://www.websiteoptimization.com/services/analyze/).

Simply paste your Blog URL into the assigned box and submit query. The automatically created script will calculated the page size, different elements on the page, and related loading time for different connection rates. Based on these characteristics, the script then offers you recommendations on how your page loading time might be improved, and it is up to you how and if you will follow the friendly script’s advice.

14 February 2008

15 Advices on How to Decrease Danger of Being Banned from AdSense

Note, that I do not propose the magic advices of how avoid AdSense possible ban. Because, there might be reasons beyond Webmaster control or related to the AdSense stuff mistake. However, it is possible to decrease danger of the ban, carefully following the AdSense Team recommendation and common sense.

Note, that getting Google to reconsider the cancellation note is next to impossible, if your site does not accumulate amount of traffic that might get Google sorry for losing you. So the easiest way to handle the situation is not to find yourself in it.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Let’s review some basic recommendation of the safe Google AdSense account ownership:
1. Be sure never click on your own ads. It is the most obvious reason, why the account is banned. If you are interested in the offer, announced in the ad, better type the website address in the browser window. Do not click as your explanations on the click justification will not be later accepted.
2. Do not make any changes in your AdWords code, other than playing with permitted color palettes modification.
3. Do not place AdSense code on Thank You pages, registration pages, or any other pages that do not contain real content.
4. Avoid insertion of AdSense code on your pages containing ads from Google’s competitors as, for example, Yahoo Publishers Network.
5. Do not use “hidden text” techniques on your pages, including tiny text fonts, or text with the same color as background.
6. Do not place your AdSense ads in the close proximity to Macromedia Flash games, pop-ups and download prompts, drop-downs and menu links, as it increases chances of the accidental clicks on the AdSense ads.
7. Avoid placement of too many links on your site. Having a link higher than 100 on a single page will classify you as a link farm.
8. Avoid using doorways - pages loaded with choice keyword ads redirecting visitors to another pages. While you can find many reasons of them being useful, AdSense will not share this point of view.
9. Stay away from running AdSense ads on pages, containing adult or mature images and videos, and racial intolerance and extreme violence exposing posts.
10. It is not recommended to place AdSense ads on pages, involved in unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials.
11. Do not use the shared computer to log in your AdSense account, as your family members might accidentally spoil your situation.
12. Do not make any arrangements with other AdSense users on the clicks exchange. Any unusual traffic pattern is clearly visible the AdSense monitors through IP addresses used.
13. It is also not advised to be part of the traffic exchange networks or programs to boost your traffic, and especially AdSense exchange networks. While amount, involved in the cross-clicking will be higher than one-to-one, it is still will be a limited group of people, creating a statistically visible pattern, that might drew a close look from AdSense inspectors.
14. It is not recommended to utilize auto-surfing programs to boost traffic to your Web Site or Blog. Traffic generated from these programs is not considered as real for AdSense, and might be a reason for the ban.
15. Read all the Google AdSense policies, posted on the site to see whether your page might be somehow considered violating any policies and regulations. Make the necessary modifications as needed.

And...happy moneymaking inside Google AdSense guidelines.

12 February 2008

Showing Labels on Blogger through Drop-Down Menu

For Blogger platform, labels are even more important for post categorization, than for other platforms, since Blogger template does not allow creating Categories. With growing amount of posts on your blog, the amount of related labels will be growing as well. Soon, it might capture a significant amount of the valuable space on your sidebar, and might create a feeling of the misbalance on your blog interface. Amanda Fazani offered a very elegant solution to save the space and still show the labels on your blog. She has created a widget, displaying all the labels in the drop-down menu. Detailed instructions on the Template modification are presented in the following post:
You can see the practical idea implementation on my sidebar. The process will take no more than 5 minutes of your time. All thanks are going to Amanda Fazani!

11 February 2008

One more way to monetize your blog with PPP

Will 2008 bring the new ways to monetize your Blog? Most likely, yes. So, we should keep our eyes open for any new trends and offerings. There is a quickly expanding array of new advertising services and tools for Bloggers that go well beyond the standard pay-per-click text ads or display ads. Not all of them profitable, not all of them will survive the tough competition. "There’s going to be a lot of new business models in 2008 that are geared toward more monetization," predicted Pete Blackshaw, executive vice president of strategic services for Nielsen Online, the Web analysis unit of the Nielsen Co.

The PPP (Pay-Per-Play) might be a next big thing in the Blogging World. Starting Feb. 1, San Diego-based V2P Communications is offering five-second audio ads, called NetAudioAds that will automatically play when a visitor lands on a Blog or Web site. Publishers sign up for the free service and V2P then lines up advertisers, who bid on rates they will pay to have their ads played on a given Blog. PPP audio ads are contextually related to the web page content where the PPP code is placed. The audio ad is only 5 seconds in length and a website visitor will only hear one 5 second advertisement per visit to any specific web page. PPP works on a bid management system similar to Google AdWords and will compensate publishers like Google AdSense but website owners are promised to get their revenue share with no needs for the visitor’s clicks.

The earning scheme is:

  • 25% of what the advertiser spends on PPP ads installed on your Blog.
  • 5% of what the advertiser spends on PPP ads installed on the Blogs you have referred.
  • 5% of what the advertiser spends on PPP ads installed on the second level of your referrals.

You can get more information and sign in through the link: http://voice2page.com/info/gaa.html

Why am I not signing? May be, I am too conservative, but I personally do not distract my visitors by any striking features, and the audio ad is quite striking. But, I respect different approaches and views, and give you this information, as it might fit your Blog style and improve related revenue stream as well.

07 February 2008

Blogger vs WordPress: Review for the Newbie Blogger

I am still a newbie blogger. When I started, somehow I naturally get to the Blogger. However, moving forward, I am trying to define is the Blogger platform right for my purposes. There is a choice, and all the alternative solutions should be investigated. Usually, you can find anything on the Internet, but it appears to be challenging to locate a comparison tables, highlighting vital features of different blogging platforms. The best comparison I found on the Online Journalism Review page. The table updated for the last time on May 18, 2006. For the blogging platforms development, almost two years are ages. So, what is new there? In the PC World top blogging platforms review (January 22, 2007), the only two free platforms presented are Blogger and Wordpress with slight Blogger priority. Based on that post, and in order to limit the spec of this review, I will focus on these platforms comparison.
There are indeed serious differences between platforms that might influence on your informative decision on using one or another. Bear in mind that I am referring to the developer hosted wordpress.com, not the self hosted wordpress.org. So, let’s review several factors on the platforms differences:

  1. Blog Import: In Blogger - limited availability to import and export only in the same blogging platform; in WoordPress - you can import from several other platformd, including from Blogger.
  2. Image Storage: In Blogger - 300 MB; in WordPress - 3 GB.
  3. Static Pages: In Blogger - not available; in WordPress - static pages can be listed in separate menus.
  4. Post by Email: In Blogger - accepted; in WordPress - not.
  5. Categories: In Blogger - not available; in WordPress - arranged with no problem.
  6. File Uploading: In Blogger - not available; in WordPress - files can be uploaded.
  7. Indexing Time: Here Blogger produces far better results, as due to the tight connections with Google, it can appear in the Search Engines very fast.
  8. Blog Monetization: WordPress has serious restrictions on the publishing ads, so if you plan to use AdSense, your preferences will probably lean more to the Blogger.
If you are shooting for the blog monetization, there is no doubt that it is much easier to get started with Google Adsense if you have a Blogger account. In fact you can now apply for Adsense from within a Blogger account. Not entirely surprising considering the fact that both are owned by the same company.

With Wordpress, it can get tricky. The default installation is not enough. You’ll need a couple of plugins and even a better theme to really maximize the Adsense potential. However, this seems to be getting easier and there’s even “Adsense revenue sharing” plugins around that allow you to share ad revenue with other contributors and writers for your blog.

Based on all information available, I would definitely recommend Blogger for all the beginners, while WordPress might be considered preferable for more experienced bloggers.

Additional Reading:

04 February 2008

21 Free Utilities for AdSense Users

Most likely, I do not have to explain to you, what the AdSense program is. Entering this market, Google drastically changed the map. AdSense are Google contextual ads that any Web Site or Blog owner can place on his/her Blog, Search Engine, or Web Site. Google, in return, will share a portion of the revenues generated from these ads. The specific pay rate varies, depending on the keywords on the Web site used to generate the ads.

You can review a brief informative tour at the Google Web Site on the AdSense basics:


If you do not have a Web Site, but you still want to enjoy the piece of the Google’s pie Google, there are multiple opportunities for you as well. Find the list of the Revenue sharing Web Sites, I have created on RateItAll:


Your task mostly to submit content (posts, images, videos, etc.), and your host will do the rest, taking a small share of your AdSense income as reimbursement.

AdSense provides pretty good stats monitoring, giving you ability to track your visitors per artificial or URL channels and other parameters. However, some user pointed out on the certain deficiency of these statistics and inconvenience related to the need to log in to the site to check the trends. Also, there are occasional delays with the stats posting, which can misrepresent the visitors’ response trend for the high-traffic Blogs a Sites owners. To close the gap, several software packages were developed. I have prepared the list of the free applications on RateItAll, as usual, with brief description, rating, and links for download:


Enjoy the release!

03 February 2008

Enhancing Searching Capabilities on your Blog with BlogBar

As you may noticed, I am trying to keep the Blog layout very simple and non-aggressive. Presence of the blinking banners, flashing ads, and pop-up windows might be fascinating at the first glance, but on the long-term, it is taking away your readers' attention from your main content. However, I am constantly searching for the suitable utilities and widgets that can help my readers and myself as well to keep their interest on the Blog.

I am pretty sure, that fills the very important gap on my blog related to the readers' need for additional information advanced search. is a free search engine widget that can simply included in the blog or website template. With , blog visitors are able to performed advanced searches, as:
- Search for an additional information within the Blog (you make easy for your visitors to research your other posts).
- Search the web with the major search engines (Google, Yahoo!, MSN, or all of them together for the same item).
- Search the Blog Search Engines for the needed information (Technorati, Google Blog Search, etc.)
- Search the Social Bookmarking Sites (Digg, Del.icio.us, etc.)
- Search in Wikipedia.
- Search for Images (Google Images, Flickr, etc.)
- Search for Video Clips (YouTube, Google Video, etc.)

Pretty impressive listing! Widget is very small, and the process of its installation will not take more than a minute. You can choose the color of the search box frame to fit the best to your blog layout. To finalize the presentation, the last, but not least reason to install the widget is additional monetization capabilities with it. If you have an AdSense account, simple placement your ID in the widget code will allow to account for all related searches and clicks.

You can see the described search form on the borders to the left, and you can verify, that whatever I review, it is all true. You can generate the Widget code through the following link:

01 February 2008

Seven myths about making money from a blog

I rarely repost article. Just in the cases, when I strongly agree, or strongly disagree. In this case, author expressed nicely all my perception of the Art of Blogging. Yes, it should not be all about money. However, creative, artistic, devoted attitude will bring the fruits eventually for those who are patient , dedicated, and hard-working

Friday, February 01, 2008
Reprinted from Here

More and more business people are realizing that a blog can be a viable marketing tool in building readership, attracting traffic and prospects to their websites. But there is a simpler use for blogs: to build and manage standalone and content rich websites.
Marketers call them niche blogging - and using blogs in this way has become very popular in the last year. The business model and purpose behind this blogging application is quite different compared to other blogging applications. For instance, instead of supporting your product or service, you use a blog to generate enough content and interest on a continual basis to get traffic.
And the great thing is that of course, you can do anything you want with the traffic, including monetizing it.
And that’s where this article comes in as we look at Seven Myths regarding making money from a blog, and which will continue next week in an article on how to get started in niche blogging:

1. Blogging is the shortcut to website traffic

I can dump any content I wish to the blog and get some immediate traffic. Ok, I am exaggerating a bit here, but really, people are expecting a shortcut to website traffic as a result from blogging.
The fact is, building readership is a gradual process just like a conventional website. Blogging takes some aspects of them, like syndication, remote notification, interactivity into an easy or almost seamless process.
There are some advantages of using a blog - as we have covered in previous articles - but still the whole process takes time.

2. Making money from blogging is easy
This is another myth popularized by aggressive marketers. Usually they are trying to sell their product to a group of clueless individuals.
It’s true, if you have a lot of time and own some knowledge about researching keywords, building link popularity, do joint venture, and other marketing stuff, you can use a blog to drive traffic to your blog faster, but still it takes some effort. This is true especially if you are building a long term business, not just a blog that will be banned by search engines because of low quality content (spamming).

3. Building a blog is fast
Fast, easy, simple, instant. All of them are strong words that can hypnotize you to buy a product. Don’t expect your weblog to be an instant hit. Most popular blogs have been there actively building content for at least a year. Even those who get a lot buzz usually have a head start, either by the readership they’ve already owned or through some other marketing methods.

4. Blogging requires little to no work
Automatic blog and ping program earns you a million even if you can’t type. Does that sound familiar?
Blog and ping is a critical part of every blog, but only if you have great content that your ping notification won’t be considered spam. Sploggers are harassing the blog infrastructure and giving business a bad name. And remember, blog search engines visitors are turned off by crappy search results, making the whole thing less useful.
Another form of automation: getting as many inbound links as possible with automated programs that defeat blog commenting systems. Many blogs are still using little to no comment spam protection, so it is easy to spam them and build link popularity without effort. Unfortunately many people don’t understand how automatic link popularity builders for blogs work - and they think it is ethically useful. Something that most bloggers would strongly disagree with.

5. Search engines prefer blog posts to other web pages
Wrong. A blog post is simply another web page. The fact that a quality blog post usually invites more inbound links may make it rank higher in SERPs. But remember, a properly promoted web page can exceed a blog post.

6. You don’t need to be able to write
There is tons of content available on the Web ready
for you to use. Which is great, if you can find public domain information, free articles and reprint them on your blog, this can then boost your content. But if you depend just on those without original or well researched content, you can’t expect too many repeat visitors. As your readers gain more expertise, they want to hear what you have to say, or they will run to your competitors who may be providing their own insights.

7. Quantity is what matters
This myth is based on the fact that if you can get thousands of keyword related pages up, some of them hopefully will rank high enough in search engines to get traffic to your blog. That’s why they say the more content you have, the more traffic you’ll get. It’s true to some extent, but again if you want to build a business, this is not the way you can get long term and repeated traffic. I’ve seen Top 100,000 Alexa web site with less than 300 pages of content. Quality drives visitors from search engines, which in turn will stay with you for years to come.

Why all these myths?

Savvy (or should we say unethical ?) marketers take advantage of technology by creating a bunch of blogs in different industries, hoping to secure a group of rabid readers who are interested in products they offer or simply click on contextual advertising to cash in money.
As a side effect, other groups of marketers try to offer products or services that claim to ease the process of creating tens, if not hundreds of niche specific blogs, churning out duplicate content taken from other sites, or worse, spamming the search engines with virtually useless content.
At one time, this tactic worked like champ. But now, I notice it is less effective, largely due to changes in search engine algorithms. Saying all this, it is true that sploggers and spammers in general will find a way to make money - but if you can’t stand jumping from one opportunity to another, may be this is not for you (Note: I’m not supporting splogging and spamming).
So is it still possible to make money from niche blogging? It is, especially as the Web and blogs are here to stay for the long haul. But I’d argue that if you still want to reap benefits from blogging, you should consider seeing it as a business instead of a money maker.


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