29 December 2010

Embed easily forum in your blog with Tal.ki

If you plan to bring more interactive communication to your blog, you may be interesting in embeddable free forum offered by Tal.ki , so your visitors can have discussions right in your site.

Main Advantages
  • No account registration needed. Your forum will be integrated with Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other services so members can skip registration.
  • Engage your website's visitors. Turn passive blog and content readers into participating members, contributing content.
  • Make your website stickier. Forums tend to keep people on a website longer and have them visit 50% more pages.
  • Seamlessly blends into your website. Tal.ki detects the colors of your website, the layout, and the fonts and automatically styles itself to blend it with your site.
  • Easy to use Admin Tools. Configure the privacy settings for each forum to choose who has access, from guests to moderators.


AppVita Review

Tal.ki is an application that lets users embed forums into their websites just like they would a YouTube video. If you can copy and paste, then you have the skills necessary to create a fully functional online forum where the readers of your blog or website can interact with each other and discuss the day’s latest events. Much more than just a souped-up commenting feature, Tal.ki forums put the control in your readers’ hands by letting them create new discussions centered around the topics that matter to them most.

Multiple Tal.ki pricing options let you select the plan that fits best; depending on the number of visitors you expect to have using the forums on your site. After signing up, Tal.ki will give you a line of HTML code to embed in your website just like you would embed a YouTube video clip. Paste the code wherever you like, and within an instant you’ve got a functioning forum where your readers can sound off. Individual Tal.ki forums can be run across multiple pages of your website, allowing people to check out the forums no matter what page they’re on. Even better, your readers don’t have to sign up for an account with Tal.ki before they get started posting. Instead, they just need to log in with a Google, Facebook, Yahoo, or Twitter account and they’re ready to go.

Like other online forums, Tal.ki forums feature multiple categories and sticky posts, and let users subscribe to certain threads to find out when new content has been added. And because the forum is located on your site, you’ll always remain the key administrator in charge of determining who is and isn’t allowed to post what types of content. For bloggers and developers who need a better way to increase the amount of time users spend on their sites, Tal.ki forums are an obvious solution that can ramp up user interaction on any website or blog.

Practical Uses:
  • Create a forum on your blog where readers can chat with each other
  • Get to know your fans by communicating in your own forum
  • Find out what readers would like to read more about on your site
  • Encourage your website readers to spend more time on your site
Insider Tips:
  • Users can log in to post with a Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, or Open ID account
  • Forum users can change their display name to whatever they want
  • Hide your member list from the view of others at any time
  • Allow members to include photos with their forum posts
What we liked:
  • Adding a Tal.ki forum to a website is as simple as clicking copy and paste
  • Admin panel is easy to understand and use
  • Tal.ki offers plugins for increased integration with WordPress and Google sites
  • Forums are a great way to get to know your readers

What we didn’t like:
  • The Tal.ki forums design might not blend in seamlessly with all websites
  • Free account with limited features
  • Pro account is $9.95/month
  • Platinum account is $59/month
  • Max account is $249/month

Website: http://tal.ki/

14 December 2010

3 Laws of Blogging

I am blogging for 3 years. Is that a lot? Yes and no.

Did I reach the goals I setup for myself in 2007? Yes and no.

But no matter, if my financial expectations were real or not, I am not leaving. Because, I like blogging. I do not expect immediate results anymore, I set the realistic expectations, and I enjoy every bit of success.

And what about you?

I found the article on VA4buisness useful for those, who started blogging, but are not happy with their results. Presenting below…

Many people start blogging with a big hope, but a lot of them fail to convert that hope into real excitement. And a lot many say quit, just after a couple of months of blogging. I have personally witness the sad exist of many talented blogger. They would have done better, if they had persisted and factored in the elements I am going to talk in this article.

I personally do not like the idea of quitting, and seeing countless many people failing, I decided to pen down 3 laws of blogging which should never be broken or overlooked — come what may. These laws are there since always and they have been talked about many times, but still people are not applying them. I hope this article will help them put things in order.

Clean design

Design is the first thing anyone notices on your website, and when I said anyone I meant search engine spiders as well. Yes, they too care about the design and how well your website is laid out. Still many people do not seem to care about this, and they end up choosing a poorly laid theme for their blogs.

A poorly laid theme could be of two kinds: one that looks sleek to human, but the codes are not well written, such themes appears messy to search bots, and the another type could be the one that appears messy and cluttered to human as well.

You should choose a theme that looks clutter free, and whose code is optimized for search bots. Any blogging theme that comes from a reliable designer meets these criteria. Themes created by armatures do fail to meet either of the two criteria I talked about above.

Creative content

Although the design of a blog is what people notice at first, it is not “the thing” for which they come to your blog, with a possible exception of blogs that are known for their WOW (read creative) design.

Content of a blog is more important than the design, and it should always be top quality. Do not ever use syndicated content. I know, upon reading this, a lot many eye brows must be raised, but this will not change the fact that they are not “top quality” content. Search engine may not penalize the use of syndicated content, but human does. No one likes to waste time reading crappy article, which is available everywhere else.

You should stay clear of duplicate content as well because even search engines do not like this. I must add here that syndicated content is classified as duplicate content by search engine or not is a debated issue, and the winner of the debate is yet to be decided.

Do not use any PLR content or spun articles on your blog. This will not only push your visitors away, but it will also push the search engines to raise red flag, which may lead to banishment from the search world. And no website or blog would like to be “search untouchable”.

Constant promotion

Promotion is akin to going on rooftop with a loudspeaker in your hand and shouting at top of your voice. This may sound heinous — blame it on the description of promotion I gave above — but we need to do that only. You may not want to do that in your neighborhood, but up here on the Internet, you do not have any other option. If you do not do that, no one will know about your blog.

The Internet is an overly crowded world, and it is getting even more crowded after every passing second. Just being different or even the best will not cut it for you here. You will have to outspoken about the services you offer.

Do not shy away from promotion. This is the only marketing tool we have to inform our visitors about the work we do. Talking about you and your work is not a shameful activity. Be as enthusiastic about promotion as you can be.

Do not break any law

The laws of blogging that I have talked about above are not like traffic laws in your city, which by design is stupid and senseless. These laws have their foot in reality and consumer psyche. Breaking any of the above given three unbreakable laws of blogging will put your blog at risk.

My comment

So, what am I doing? Why I am intentionally breaking one of the unbreakable laws and posting non-original content? It might look illogical in content that I absolutely agree with author that duplicate content is not well-accepted by search engines? Simply say – because I respect the reader and if I find the content and explanation useful, there is no point to re-write it just to please crawlers. How reasonable that is? I deem that a reasonable approach, but admit that it can be questionable.

And what is your opinion? 

02 December 2010

HTTrack Website Copier

This Thanksgiving Holidays brought me an unpleasant surprise. Coming home from the long and cold weekend, I have found out that my Blogger account was completely blocked and all 18 blogs, I am managing, were disabled. Luckily, the account restoration was smooth, and the blogs reappear immediately after my credentials were confirmed. All blogs, but one, which was claimed to be a splog (spam blog). Even though I am absolutely confident that there was mistake in the spider definition, I cannot be sure that it error is going to be corrected, and the blog is going to be restored. That is one of the major drawbacks of using overly nice, convenient, and free Blogger platform. But even thou I have appealed twice for additional review, the blog can be gone forever.

So, what could I do differently to avoid such situation? Follow the rules? I followed them. Be careful with posted content? I am confident, there was no violation. But, I missed one important step: I failed to backup the blogs. Indeed, if I would have a backup of the blocked blog on my hard drive, I could more or less easy transfer the posts to a different location, another blogging or hosting platform.

Essentially, I started looking for good solution to backup the remaining blogs. While there are several online services available for blogs backup (like Blog Backupr, for example), I decided to shoot for completely independent solution and choose the software, which will allow downloading the entire blog with text, pictures, and comments to my Hard Drive). And I would like to share the utility, I am going to use from now on. Hope you may find it useful as well.

HTTrack is a free (GPL) and easy-to-use offline browser utility. It is able to operate with any website on the Web, including blogs. Software allows you to download a World Wide Web site from the Internet to a local directory, building recursively all directories, getting HTML, images, and other files from the server to your computer. HTTrack arranges the original site's relative link-structure.

Simply open a page of the "mirrored" website in your browser, and you can browse the site from link to link, as if you were viewing it online. HTTrack can also update an existing mirrored site, and resume interrupted downloads. HTTrack is fully configurable, and has an integrated help system.

The software has many configuration options for advanced users, but it can be used “out-of-the-box” right away without making any changes to the default settings.

WinHTTrack is the Windows 2000/XP/Vista/Seven release of HTTrack, and WebHTTrack the Linux/Unix/BSD release. Portable version is available, so you do not need to install the utility on your Hard Drive.

Developers Website: http://www.httrack.com/


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