blogging

Why Blogs?

Yep…

Blogs are — or at least were — different. They are an individual’s place for speaking out loud, but the relationships that form around them were based on links among posts, not social networks that link among people. I’m all for social networks, but we also need networks of ideas.

via Joho the Blog » The Blogosphere lives!.

Blogging Still Matters in a Social Media World

One of the main things I want to do more in 2014 is post on my blog. It’s a daily fight with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc.

However, this has been my web home for over ten years now an I need to start treating it better.

Great post by Matt…

Blogging is harder than it used to be. We’ve gotten better at counting and worse at paying attention to what really counts. Every time I press Publish the post is publicized to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Path, and Google+, each with their own mechanisms for enumerating how much people like it.

via The Intrinsic Value of Blogging | Matt Mullenweg.

Blogging Isn’t Dead

I’d have to disagree with this…

Blogging is Dead – But Long Live the Blogosphere – exploreB2B: “While the thought process remains the same today (‘Here is what I think, read my blog’) – the effect is minimal, if anything at all. A viewer may read an article on your blog, maybe even find it interesting, but then never return. Memory of the author, ideas in the post (and certainly the URL), are long forgotten amongst the array of activity online.”

The main reason I would disagree with the sentiment that “blogging is dead” is because it isn’t. Sure, the concept, tools, and way we write our blogs today have changed since the inception of blogging back in the late 90s and early 2000s, but blogging is far from dead.

Even though people aren’t doing the type of hyper-personal blogging which they were doing back in the late 90s and early 2000s anymore, blogging as a medium is still very valid and a great way to carve out your own space on the web. Blogging is a key part of what we consider the open web since it uses “old-school” components like RSS and a blog isn’t a walled garden you have to log into. The type of trade-offs you have with walled gardens such as Facebook are nonexistent when you start your own site given that you run it on your own server, etc. It’s a geeky process and takes a little bit of heavy lifting here and there, but it’s worth it considering that you keep control over what you do.

I started my first blog (and I still write there) on a whim back in July 2011 and I can honestly say it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done on the web. The magnificent thing about writing your own site is that you can learn so much from others and yourself. You practice and become a better writer and as you devote a little more time to it here and there, you learn about a few other things too (like design, SEO, moving things around on a server, and what you should and shouldn’t put on a site). Looking back at some posts I wrote in 2011 and last year, I have to cringe and scratch my head a great deal, but that’s part of the learning process that comes with anything on the web.

I’ve learned a ton and continue to learn from writing my own site and writing here on MarketingTrends. I’ve blogged elsewhere in the past, but there’s something about writing your own blog that’s so satisfying and in a way, fulfilling to yourself as a writer and user of the internet. While folks who say that blogging is dead have a point because the way we view blogs and publishing in 2013 has changed and adapted a lot over the years, declaring blogging “dead” isn’t justified. Blogging, while old-school (also see email marketing and RSS, neither of which are “dead”), is still one of the best ways to build a solid reputation and name for yourself on the web.

I’d say the feeds that I’m subscribed to in my RSS reader of choice (currently ReadKit) are a solid 50/50 split between bigger sites and smaller blogs written by folks in the industry or just people whose stuff I enjoy reading.

One of the first things I tell anyone looking to go beyond the walled garden principle on the web is for them to go buy a domain name. It’s dead simple and pretty inexpensive. If they want to go beyond that, I’d tell them to go get their hands dirty with a hosted solution first (Tumblr is great for this and I also love Shareist) and eventually move their stuff over to a self-hosted WordPress site (or Movable Type if you’re into that). With all the things we have at hand in 2013 (Squarespace, WordPress, etc), there’s no excuse for why you shouldn’t have your own space on the web.

“And if your words are good, people will read them.”

Thanks for reading our blog.

Devin

Google’s Matt Cutts on Link Building and Memorable Websites

Matt is right… create an experience and work towards the big picture rather than just make something for the moment…

Link Building Is Not Illegal (or Inherently Bad) with Matt Cutts: “Their goal should really be to make a fantastic website that people love and tell their friends about and link to and want to experience. As a result, your website starts to become stronger and stronger in the rankings.”

Go read the whole interview and pull your own conclusions from it. It’s not a short read, but it’s worth it.

Be unique and do your best work in all that you do.

83 Lines

Trevor Turk put together a WordPress theme using only 83 lines of PHP and 75 lines of CSS. That’s pretty amazing.

And pretty.

I’m using it here as my theme for a very long time to come.

Yes, I love it.

Here We Go Again (Moving to Tumblr)

After Posterous’ non-cool move with affiliate links, I’ve decided to move my blog over here to Tumblr.


I’ve had this blog on WordPress.com then a self-hosted WordPress plan for a long while then over to Posterous, a few static page iterations and now here on Tumblr.


I’m tired of moving it, so let’s hope this one sticks. Based on Tumblr’s past moves, they seem to be in this business for more than just quick bucks or exponential (spammy) growth.


I like that.


So, we’ll see.


Now I just need to figure out how to get all that content off of Posterous and over here. Looks like it might take some API spelunking.

Great Review of @Posterous

Years of building and maintaining my WordPress blog have resulted in my learning a lot about WordPress and getting a lot of grease under my fingernails. Weeks of using Posterous has resulted in a media-rich blog with several posts per week. Tell me which service is more powerful.

via suntimes.com

I started using Posterous primarily as a photo-blog back in September of ’08.

However, it’s transitioned into my full time personal blog as I’ve changed up the samharrelson.com domain into a static landing (pointer) page.

Posterous solves so many problems for me.

Thanks to Andy Ihnatko for the great review affirming my love and thanks to the Posterous team for a fantastic product that has renewed my love of posting.

1,000th Post

“Now, with the blogs, you can share your thoughts with up to 10 people.”

This is my 1,000th (published…a few dozen never saw the light of day, thankfully) post on CostPerNews.

CPN went live on Nov 1, 2006 and I had no idea where it was going (and still don’t). 19 months later (at an average of 52 posts a month), we’ve hit the magic 1k mark.

I knew in October of ’06 that I wanted to have a place where I could write as frequently or infrequently as I wanted and cover the emerging web2.0 space and the connections I was (and still am) seeing with traditional affiliate marketing. I came up with the name while mowing the lawn that Fall and ran inside to register the domain before I forgot. Luckily, I didn’t forget.

I can honestly say that this little blog has been the most important vehicle for my own personal brand and business, helping me to get into doors that wouldn’t have been opened otherwise and helping me to get to know some pretty incredible people along the way. If you’re wondering if you should start a blog, take it from me… yes.

So, thank you for being there and listening to my crazy ramblings about Twitter and Tumblr and RSS and open source over the past couple of years. I’ve sold this blog, quit this blog (twice), re-acquired this blog and redesigned it (at least 10 times). And here we are again.

I’ve grown a lot with this place and I look forward to growing even more with the next thousand posts.

Many thanks all!!

Sam

Disqus Trackbacks

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Yay!

Our long international blogging conundrum is over.

Disqus FTW!

Disqus Blog » New: Enable Support for Trackbacks in Disqus: “Go to the Configure tab and scroll down to General Settings. Check the box and let it do its thing. This is our support for standard Trackbacks. More fun Linkback implementations still to come.”

However, this only works for the JS plugin, not the API plugin. Sorry, Jangro (seriously, head over to Jangro’s blog to see why that matters to some).

What Happened to Affiliate Bloggers?

Last Spring, it seemed as if the world of affiliate marketing would be saturated with bloggers. BUMPzee was riding high and everyone was trading links, trackbacks, comments and bumps.

It was the short lived golden age of affiliate blogging.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still some great places to read about affiliate marketing such as Shawn Collin’s AffiliateTip Blog, Scott Jangro’s blog, Linda Buquet’s 5 Star Blog, Mark’s 45n5 blog, Zac Johnson’s blog, ReveNews as well as many others that I’m surely leaving out. There are some great new blogs such as Trisha Lyn’s blog, but things don’t feel the same.

However, last year it wasn’t uncommon to get 10-15 “bumps” on a thought provoking post from BUMPzee that made you feel as if something unique was happening in the affiliate blogging space.

And it wasn’t uncommon to see many new and interesting blogs popping up addressing real affiliate marketing issues. Maybe it was BUMPzee’s influence? Maybe it was the market boom last year?

It just doesn’t feel the same.

What happened?

Magnify Publisher Simplifies Blogging

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Magnify.net is releasing a very exciting new WordPress and MovableType plugin aimed at making it easier for bloggers to find and include images and videos into posts.

Basically, the plugin integrates easily and nicely into either a WordPress or MoveableType install and allows for a blogger to include a keyword relevant image or video to be embedded in a post within a few seconds.

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As most bloggers know, finding relevant images or video content for a post can consume a great deal of time and often lead to frustration. So, the Magnify Publisher program definitely solves a much maligned problem.

Magnify Publisher searches through popular video sources such as YouTube, Metacafe, Veoh, Blip.tv, Google Video, AOL Video, RedLasso and a number of others. At the moment, Flickr is the only available image search source but Magnify CEO Steve Rosenbaum tells me that this will soon be expanded.

Here’s an example of the video search and embedding feature:

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And here’s an example of the image search and embedding feature:

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Perhaps most compelling is the ability to also directly and easily incorporate webcasts into a blog post. So, instead o recording a video on a webcam then uploading that video to YouTube then grabbing the embed code then embedding that code into a WordPress blog, a blogger can simply press a couple of buttons and instantly get their webcam video embedded into a post.

Here’s an example:

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These are very innovative features from the Magnify team and definitely needed improvements to the current paradigm of blogging. When I spoke with Steve Rosenbuam today, he mentioned his ardent belief that popular blogs of the immediate future would be those that best blend the visual, video and text components of content creation rather than those that just focus on one specific medium.

Magnify’s Publisher plugin goes a long way in supporting his idea.

Disqus Now Has Seesmic Integration

Disqus continues to make blogging more enjoyable.

Now, you can enable video comments through Seesmic integration with Disqus. To turn this on, just head to the Configuration tab on the Disqus dashboard:

disqusseesmic.jpg

Give it a go in the comments if you’d like to test it out (you’ll see a “Record Video Comment” option).

I’m still not sold on the general concept of video commenting, but I know that some people prefer firing off a quick video rather than typing out a response. While I’d rather type out comments on most blogs, I do see tremendous value in encouraging people to participate in whatever way they feel comfortable.

Hats off to the Disqus (and Seesmic) team for making blogging fun again.

Angel is the New ReveNews Editor

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Congrats to Angel Djambazov for being named the new Editor in Chief at ReveNews. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have take over the site after my year long tenure.

New Revenews.com Editor-in-Chief | ReveNews: “I have some great news to announce! Angel Djambazov (one of our resident Revenews bloggers) has been appointed as the new Editor-in-Chief for Revenews.com”

Angel is a fantastic journalist and business person and will lead ReveNews to new heights that I couldn’t have imagined!

Are All the New Folks Gone Yet?

OK, good.

Let’s get back to business.

But seriously, I have had offers to buy CPN, offers to blog under my name, offers to roll CPN up into other marketing blogs… but I just can’t pull the trigger.

I’ve been blogging here since October ’06 (around the time I started on Twitter coincidentally). That’s not a good reason to keep anything going, but in this case I can’t leave the place that made me a Z lister.

This blog has been such a constant in my life and I strangely miss it when I take a week or four off.

So, from here on out I’m back to the 3-4 posts a day covering the strange and fascinating world of performance marketing and its intersection with whatever is next.

Thanks for playing along… it will be worth it, I promise.