Tag Archives: Blogging

How to Display a FeedBurner Average

Tired of ever-fluctuating FeedBurner counts being displayed on your blog? Why don’t you just display a weekly average? Cats Who Blog has a tutorial that shows you how you can retrieve the numbers via the FeedBurner API, average them, and display a rounded figure.

Why do the stats fluctuate in the first place? In addition to the occasional FeedBurner flakiness, the service measures the number of feed aggregators that have pinged the feed in a single day. Stats, of both RSS and website page views, tend to be lower on weekends than weekdays, for example.

How to get a more relevant Feedburner count [Cats Who Blog]

Twitter to Create Embeddable Tweet Quotes

Have you ever tried to quote a Twitter post on your blog? The easiest way to do it is to just copy and paste the text into a blockquote and move on. However, it doesn’t look as good as if you take a screenshot of the permalink page, which is a little bit more time consuming. (It also has the disadvantage of being an image rather than plain text, which has usability and SEO implications.)

Twitter may have the answer. A new post on their Twitter Media blog mentions the possibility of embeddable plain-HTML tweets that you could put in your blog posts.

Oddly enough, I had thought of a similar idea when I was planning my Tweetable plugin. I’d thought it would be neat to have a shortcode that could be used to pull a tweet via the API and style it in the post. You would put something like [twquote]13300180803[/twquote] in your post, and it would be replaced with the text of the message and the username/avatar. I decided not to include it in the first release, and I never really got around to implementing it later. It’s nice to see that Twitter is working on something similar.

Tweets are the new quotes [Twitter Media]

Edit: An early form of the tool, called “Blackbird Pie” is now available for use. It still has some rough edges, like a monstrously large mess of inline HTML elements for an embed code, but it should work fine.

Gizmodo and the iPhone 4G: An Example of Unethical Journalism

On April 19th, 2010, the popular tech blog Gizmodo (owned by Gawker Media) published an article, complete with a photo gallery, detailing the specs of the iPhone 4G. The phone Apple is said to release this summer. The one that’s supposed to be a secret, in order to create a whirlwind of hype and anticipation over the next couple of months.

How did Gizmodo get photos of the device, including the internals? Apparently an Apple employee accidentally left it at a bar, and it eventually made it into the tech blog’s hands. (Gizmodo’s account of what happened can be found here.)

The phone, which a few have described as looking “ugly,” is likely a prototype lacking the case the end product will have. Its two metal volume buttons, rather than a single plastic rocker switch, is just one indicator of that. It is incontrovertibly an Apple device, seeing as it has an Apple-made processor, iPhone OS 4.0 and a plastic case designed to disguise it as an iPhone 3G. John Gruber, of Daring Fireball, made some calls and confirmed that Apple was missing a unit. Also, it was remotely erased.

Did Gizmodo do the right thing and return the device to Apple? No. Instead, they posted pictures and other details in an effort to bring in the usual massive traffic spike that an exclusive Apple story guarantees. I’m pretty sure that would be considered theft, as well as leaking trade secrets.

Because of this leak, Apple lost the element of surprise. Their competitors now know what the next iPhone will feature, and they can make plans for their own competing phones. Gizmodo has just painted a big legal target on their collective backs, and I imagine Apple will be launching their missiles any day now.

I really can’t see how Gizmodo is justified in their actions. Did we all want to know what the iPhone 4G would be like? Yes. Did we need to know? No. Did we have a right to know? Absolutely not.

Not only has Apple taken a blow as a result, but an Apple employee could conceivably lose his job. Gizmodo crossed the line separating ethical reporting from unconscionable profit-seeking.

The Death of the Boring Blog Post

Don’t miss this amazing Smashing Magazine article: The Death of the Boring Blog Post.

The Death of the Boring Blog Post

What if bloggers published less articles, but spent a lot more time on them? This is something that has been recommended by blogging legends such as Vitaly Friedman and Darren Rowse for quite some time now. But what if they did more than just write? What if they learned from magazines and changed up their designs a bit, bringing concepts from print design into the digital realm? That’s the whole idea of the post.

SubHeading Plugin for WordPress

Have you ever wished for an easy way to add a smaller secondary title, a subheading, under your blog posts’ main titles? That’s exactly what the SubHeading plugin does. It adds a subheading field to the Write screen in the WordPress Admin, and a template tag to put in your theme where you want them displayed.

Subheadings in WordPress

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Twitter: The RSS Reader for the Masses

I have about twice the number of Twitter followers as I do RSS subscribers.Twitter/RSS

RSS is an open standard built from the ground up to serve-up new content as it is released. It excells at delivering information and making it readable in a quick and efficient manner. Yet it is still, for the most part, confined to the realms of geekdom.

Despite the strengths of RSS, it hasn’t been adopted by the general public, while Twitter, a proprietary social networking site, has. It’s a bit harder to understand RSS over Twitter, and subscribing to feeds isn’t the easiest thing in the world.

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10 Ways to Launch a New Blog with a “Bang”

Starting a new blog? It sure can be frustrating to be writing to an empty audience. Web Designer Depot has the solution: Launch a New Blog with a “Bang.”

Ten things. If you do one or more of them, you’ll have readers in no time. The first suggestion is one that is easy, and works well: Write a couple posts before you start trying to publicize the blog.

Do you want a guaranteed way to launch with a bang? Prepare amazing content before you launch. I am not talking about a quick general post, I want you to take the time of your life to create the most astounding post you have ever come across.

Another suggestion is to create some sort of freebie to give away. Icon sets and eBooks are suggested, and I’ve had success with WordPress plugins.

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Blogs.mu – DIY Blog Networks and Communities

A new service called Blogs.mu sprang-up recently. It’s kind of like “WordPress MU in a box.” With a very WordPress.com-like setup, you register to become your own blog provider. So you can setup a topical blog community.


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When Did You Update Your “About” Page Last?

Remember when you started your blog, you put a short bio on a page title “About,” or something similar? Maybe you wrote about yourself, your blog, or both. When was the last time you updated that page?

When someone comes accross a new blog, they often click over to your About page to learn a little about the site and the author(s). What kind of impression would you give them if that page had outdated information? They may not notice at first, but they might be a little confused later on when you mention that you live in San Francisco in a post, while your About page says you live in Chicago. (Or something like that.)

Every few months, it’s probably a good idea to give the page a good look and see if there’s anything you could change. I just made some minor changes to mine. Apparently it said that I was still saving up for a MacBook…while I’ve had one since spring 2008. So I fixed that, and made some other fixes here and there.

Further Reading

The Problem With Selling Blogs…

Blogs generally require a sizable time commitment, much more than websites that are less focused on frequently-added content. It’s not at all uncommon for a blogger to get tired of updating his or her website and auction it off, handing the responsibility to someone else and making a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Sadly, the new owners of the blogs don’t always end up putting the required effort into their acquisitions, and the sites languish. I don’t like seeing a great blog with a large community fall apart when the creator leaves, but it happens too often.

I’ve subscribed to a few blogs in the past that have had this happen. I have come to dread the words “This blog is up for sale.”

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