30 March 2008

New Version of WordPress 2.5 is Released!

There are good news came to the WordPress Blogging Platform fans. New software WordPress 2.5 has been released today, marking significant improvements and bringing new functional features to the bloggers. Among the obvious software enhanced features are multi-file uploading, one-click plug-in upgrades, built-in galleries, customizable dashboard, salted passwords and cookie encryption, media library, a WYSIWYG that doesn’t mess with your code, concurrent post editing protection, full-screen writing, and search that covers posts and pages. One of the biggest changes is related to better appearance of the administration backend, which is described as being a “Cleaner, faster, less cluttered dashboard.” It is now widget friendly, and users can include items such as stats, matching the functionality of MovableType Blogging Platform.

Some User Features Details:

Dashboard Widgets- the dashboard home page includes different widgets, showing fun stats about your posting, latest comments, people linking to you, new and popular plug-ins, and WordPress news. All the widgets are customizable for the administrator’s convenience.

Multi-file upload with progress bar - in the previous software release, uploading large files or multiple files was a long and unreliable process. User could upload just one image at a time. Now you can select a whole of folder images or music or videos at once and software will monitor the progress of each upload.

EXIF extraction - if you upload JPEG files with EXIF metadata (like camera make and model, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, et al.) software will record all the data into custom fields you can use in your template.

Search posts and pages - in the previous version search used to cover just posts, now it includes pages as well, and new themes can style or sort pages differently in presented results.

Tag management - you can now add, rename, delete, and managed your tags from inside WordPress, with no additional plug-ins.

Password strength meter - software reports the strength of your password, helping you to pick a secure one.

Concurrent editing protection - a big improvement achieved in the editing abilities for multi-author blogs. Now if you open a post at the moment when someone else is editing, WordPress locks it and prevents you from saving your changes until the other person is done.

Plug-in upgrades - automatic downloading and installing the upgrade for plug-ins you use. Depending on your host setup, you may, however, be asked for your FTP password.

Visual post editor- Authors express the improvement to the editor by the statement “it doesn’t mess with your code anymore.” Software is now using version 3.0 of TinyMCE, which ensures a better compatibility with Safari, and improves integration and interaction with complex HTML.

Built-in galleries- when you take advantage of multi-file upload to upload a bunch of photos, you can much easier embed picture galleries into your page. It will display all your thumbnails and captions linking each picture to a page where people can comment on the individual photos.

The software downloading link: http://wordpress.org/download/

A brief video tutorial for some of the features:

Brief Overview of WordPress 2.5

Sources and Additional Reading:



25 March 2008

25 Popular Free Image Storage Hosts for Bloggers

With tight competition in the blogosphere for visitors and their attention, bloggers need to consider not just providing a fresh unique and interesting content, but also provide blog posts design to grab visitors’ attention. One of the elements of this post design enhancement is images. There are multiple reasons to use pictures inside the posts. Among them:
  • Visualizing the topic of discussion;
  • Grabbing readers’ attention (great for making your RSS feed readers stop and read);
  • Drawing people’s eye down a post beyond the first few lines;
  • Illustrating examples;
  • Giving your blog a more personal touch;
  • Engaging the emotions and senses of readers;
  • Giving posts more authority.
In most blogging platforms, you can load images directly to your host. However, there are many advantages of posting your images at the special image hosting servers. Among them:
  • Image files, stored on third-party sites (many of them offer free services), can be used anywhere you might need them: blogs, social networking sites, message boards, etc. If you load images, for example, on Blogger, you cannot use them on any other location besides BlogSpot domain.
  • Storing images on offsite account saves disk space from your blog hosting account.
  • Very strong advantage is that it saves your bandwidth from the blog hosting account and uses the third-party bandwidth. So, be sure that you images host allows hot linking; otherwise, it will be useless for you.
  • It is easy because you get various codes that can be used on blogs, forums, message boards, and social communities.
  • Several images hosting sites even are offering you share of the ads-generated income, so by doing what you need to do for your blog design, you get additional passive income from images, stored on the server, exposure.
For your convenience, I have compiled the list of 25 most popular free image hosting sites on RateItAll with brief description, access links, and rating:

Additional Reading:


19 March 2008

Not all the comments are born equal, or how to respect your customer

Continuing a topic of using comments to increase you blog exposure, started in my previous post http://blogging4good.blogspot.com/2008/03/comments-as-source-of-free-traffic-to.html, I want to look on that from other side. Comments, left by your readers on your blog, are even more valuable than the comments you are leaving on other blogs. Why? Very simple. You leave comments to improve your blog exposure, to get more rating and referring links. All that to get more potential visitors. But, reader of your blog, leaving you a comment, has already came. And not just came, but also read your post and is willing to spend his valuable time, sharing his thoughts on the article or asking related question. What might be better than that? Show your respect and appreciation - respond ASAP, giving your feedback and encouraging further communication.

Yesterday, I visited a Web Site ReapMoneyOnline , presenting list of the free High Page Rank Non-reciprocal Directories (directories that do not require link exchanges for posting blogs). I left a comment, asking authors (Jennie and Bong) their opinion, if they recommend submitting a blog to all of 100 presented directories, or there is a minimum PR, where the time investment is justifiable. They feedback was instant and complete: "Webmasters have different views on PR. In fact, a lot will choose hundreds of inbound links over a high PR because they bring in real targeted traffic (we click on a link because we think we can use what we will find at the other end). Some were also able to rank high in the SERPs for their chosen keywords even with a low PR. These are directories, which people also use to find websites related to the information they need (like the SEs). If they provide us dofollow links then we get 2 birds with 1 stone.
However, directory submission is only part of our link-building strategy. But yes, we are trying to get RMO into as many as possible over a period of time (going at a rate of 15-30 directories per week). Unfortunately, we haven’t done any ROI study on our link-building efforts.
The “minimum” PR depends on us and our goals. Some webmasters who flip sites work to get them to PR4 before selling. Others sell at PR7, which definitely takes longer but also fetches a higher price. For us, the higher it is, the better, since we’re pushing RMO as our flagship blog".
As you see, blog owners spent their time and attention to give a very thoughtful answer, converting me as accidental visitor to the devoted visitor. With this attitude, I will be back soon.

Let's highlight what we can learn from this example:

  1. Site has a valuable information, encouraging visitors participation. This is, definitely, a core of the successful blog.
  2. Blog has disabled the nofollow tag, so every comment will result in link to your blog, improving your blog rating. An additional reason for people to visit the blog, read it, and leave feedbacks.
  3. Authors do not passively enjoy incoming traffic, but activity communicate with their visitors, giving informative and instant recommendations. I noticed, that this particular case is not an exception. Every comment receives immediate reply.

As customer support manager in a High Tech company, I know, that it is good to find a new customer, but it is more valuable, if the customer comes to you again and again. Blogging should follow the same marketing rules, where respect for the client will be always appreciated and paid back.

16 March 2008

Comments as source of a free traffic to your blog

In the course of investigation of the possible ways of bringing more traffic to the blog, leaving comments on other people blogs popped out as an acknowledged legitimate way of getting more exposure to your own blog ( http://blogging4good.blogspot.com/2008/01/6-advices-on-blog-posting-techniques.html)

In this post, I want to review the commenting features and commenting techniques to increase the possible benefits in more details.
  1. Leaving informative comments. Comments leaving technique brings the best outcomes when your comments are informative. Do not simply say “Good post” unless you have nothing else to say and yet you want to complement and encourage the author for the post. Avoid posting unrelated comments, targeting just your own exposure appearance, as it might give you more harm than profit. A thought provoking bloggers reaction or at least a meaningful quality comment only will get you good traffic. However, your controversial post should be justified and expressed politely, like in every intelligent interpersonal communication.
  2. Leaving comments on the blogs with content that is related to your own blog topic of discussion. It is recommended to invest your time in the blog that are related to your own blogs in terms of the placement niche, topics of discussion, or somehow logically connected to your own posts. The reader, impressed be your post in the politics, might want to check your blog for more information about your views and bout yourselves as a person. He follows your link and gets to the blog, related to football. If the visitor is not a football fan, he will leave immediately, and will not be able to enjoy your thoughtful posts, just because he is not interested in football.
  3. Your brand name and popularity. The blogging world is big, but there are popular blogs, popular names, you meet again and again in the blogosphere. Active participation brings your name higher on the reader’s perception lists, definitely, if you post quality, informative, and interesting comments. You get more popularity and your blogs get it too. Eventually, you build the constantly increasing group of followers that are waiting for your posts and when seeing your comment on their own or other blogs, they are drawing to read them just because they see your signature. Popularity does not come overnight, it is result of long, time-consuming, brand marketing strategy, so do not expect immediate returns, applying it.
  4. Direct traffic to your blog. Blogging experts found a direct relationship between amounts of the valuable posts you make on other blogs with numbers of the received comments on your own blogs. So, the simple recommendation is - do invest your time in the commenting marketing technique and you will see immediate return on investment (ROI) through increased traffic you get.
  5. Backlinks. Following straightforward backlinks targeting approach might be considered as artificial by some experts. But, it is fully legitimate and, as you following the appropriate, quality content submission guidelines, it will give you the guarantied automatic traffic. Look through the database of the blogs having the “no follow” link disabled from the comments, which means that if you comment on these sites, you will get an actual link. Excellent D-list with more than 200 applicable blogs can be found through the link: http://courtneytuttle.com/blogs-that-follow/. If you prefer posting your comments strictly on high page rank pages from these blogs, go in Google and type there: site:URL of blog from the list and choose high page rank pages on which you can leave comments.
  6. Virtual personal relationship. By commenting on the blogs, you can create informal virtual personal relationship with the author of the blog. Leaving your comments regularly in famous blogs, you can even form good relationship with the top bloggers. It is not easy to get accepted to the top bloggers circle, but who said that your posts are not worth to be on the top?

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Additional Reading:

12 March 2008

Free Online Multi-Site Blog Pinging Services

In one of my previous articles, related to the methods for traffic rates improvement to your Blog, I have presented the Blog pinging (http://blogging4good.blogspot.com/2008/01/submission-to-search-engines-and.html) as an important approach for the Blog owner to announce the site recent updates to the Search Engines. Instead of pinging each and every Search Engine, that keeps track of weblogs and publishes them, you can use one of the available free online services - automatic multi-engines pinging, giving opportunity to the users updating several Search Engines at once. All you need to do is filling the Blog particulars in the online form for submission. In most cases, the registration is not required, but human presence validation might be needed for submission. The ping signal, usually performed through XML messaging, consisting of the title and URL of your Blog, as well as the date and time of the update, will be instantly sent, notifying on the announced changes. I have revised today the listing on the RateItAll, and currently the Blog Pinging Free Online Services Rating List includes 20 competitive sites.

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Note, that if you use the desktop submission software to post entries to your blog, you might find built-in pinging capabilities in your blogging program. Usually this feature is disabled by defaults, but can be activated by the user.

04 March 2008

BlogSpreading: Spread a word about your Blog

Adding links to your Blog in your email signature is a well-known and well-accepted promotion technique. A small free utility helps to enhance this advertising channel. Blogspreading will automatically append a link to the latest post in your blog to your e-mail signature instead of referring to the standard Blog link, not driving much attention of your message recipients. A good title of your latest post will surely evoke more interest than a blind URL.

This might encourage your friends and colleagues to actually access your Blog through a Hyperlink and eventually become devoted readers and supporters of your Blog. All e-mail clients allow automatic adding of a signature to outgoing message. The signature is stored in an external text file. Blogspreading processes this file in such a way that it always contains link to the latest post. You signature automatically changes after each new post added to your blog: if the recipient didn’t like yesterday’s title, maybe he will be interested in the new one?

Link for downloading: http://blogspreading.com/download-blogspreading/


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