News For Chat Catcher Plugin Users

Chat Catcher, which has a plugin for WordPress users allows bloggers to install their free service and add a “reaction” like in Disqus or trackback entries from Twitter, FriendFeed, and identi.ca, along with various url-shortening services.

Here is what Shannon Whitley, the creator of Chat Catcher said in an email I received for Chat Catcher users:


Greetings,

I’d like to make everyone aware of an issue we are having in processing your comments. The bit.ly url shortening service temporarily blocked Chat Catcher and we were not able to expand bit.ly urls. This has prevented us from linking comments back to your blog if bit.ly was used to shorten the url. Links from other url shortening services were not affected.

This was a temporary situation due to routine maintenance at the bit.ly site. I have been in contact with support staff at bit.ly and we are working on the issue. At this time, you should begin to see comments again.

For some posts, Chat Catcher will go back and retrieve comments that were missed during this period. There are some limitations around historical searches and it’s probably best to assume that most of your missing comments will not be retrieved.

I apologize to those people who have missed comments. As a user of the service, I’m disappointed as well. I am doing everything I can to make sure Chat Catcher runs smoothly and will post any updates to the @ChatCatcher account on Twitter.

Thank you for your support.

Best,

Shannon Whitley
Whitley Media
swhitley AT whitleymedia DOT com

By the way, separated the email address so Shannon would not have any extra spammage.

So, basically until Bit.ly is fixed, Chat Catcher cannot process urls with Bit.ly. However, they will be able to go back and catch up from skipped tweets once they are back up.

Blogging 101: Advertising

For those who are seeking a lot of traffic, whether because of selling a product or just to push your content, advertising might come to mind. These days there are text links, full page advertisements, a various assortment of banners. Of course, there are many programs out there too that offer to help webmasters advertise as well as publish ads on their site.

A few sites that do this:
Adbrite
BuySellAds
Google Adsense
Yahoo! Publisher Network
Text Link Ads
Project Wonderful

Of course there are more and you are welcome to mention any when leaving a comment.

The problem is choosing the best place for your advertisements. If you choose the wrong place, you may not get the exposure you need and overall – waste your money. Here are a few tips:

1. While it may be ideal to choose the site with the most traffic listed, it may not attract who you would like to be seeing your site/ product. You want your ads to be seen by the people you are focusing on – your target audience.

2. Make sure your ads are above the fold – or seen in most browsers, at least 800x 600 resolution, so no one has to scroll. People are not always willing to pay for their ad to be placed at the bottom of the site, nor will people look at those first as they will be focusing on the content of your page.

3. It is important to make sure your ads are effective. If you are vague in what you say on your banner, even a small micro banner ( 88×31 pixels) then you might not even attract anyone.

These are just a few tips. Rather than list more, I would love to hear more from you. :) So, what other tips can you suggest?

Google Webmaster Tool Benefits

Google Webmaster Tools is a way for webmasters to get their site properly web index by Google. There are also other features that this tool offers that make this a hub for any webmaster.

Getting a site indexed is important. What is web indexing?

Indexing is as:
“collects, parses, and stores data to facilitate fast and accurate information retrieval”

from Wikipedia on Index(search engines

Simply creating a page and leaving it ‘as is’ will not index a site. It deals with several factors like content, design, and using resources to direct a search engine to recognize a website easier.

The tools Google uses address these factors and allow a webmaster to see what they see when they find and crawl your site.

1. Content: They list a section generalizing the spread of a site’s files whether are images, or even text.
2. Keywords/ Resources: Google lists keywords from both the site’s content and what is being searched in the search engine itself. This is a nice attribute as it will allow the webmaster to see exactly what is searched in regards to their website.
3. Design: The design of a site is important, including the hiearchy structure. A website that is easily to surf is one that gives the visitor a way to go from one page and page without getting lost. A sitemap is an excellent addition to any site that lists the content of a site and its navigational structure.

Check it out an try the tools. Google offers it for free and it offers a lot of information for webmasters to be able to get the traffic they need. This will also allow any webmaster to develop any site and watch its progress while tweaking and applying new and unqiue content.

Do you use Google Webmaster tools?

To Ping Or Not To Ping Your Own Blog

Recently Weblog Tools Collection published an article called Pinging Your Own Blog Posts? Good or Bad? Basically, it is arguing the side that pinging your own blog is bad.

According to Wikipedia:

A pingback is one of three types of linkbacks, methods for Web authors to request notification when somebody links to one of their documents. This enables authors to keep track of who is linking to, or referring to their articles.

That means, you write a post and possibly use a link in reference to another post whether within your blog or to another blog – also known as an internal link or external link. Pinging your own links is not necessarily a bad thing unless your posts are already filled with spam, and linked to other posts with spam within in it. As already mentioned in my article Crossposting: Pros, Cons, and Etiquette, Google penalizes for spam, not penalizing internal linking or duplicate content, so Weblog Tools was not entirely according to Google’s policy changes. Though duplicate content and internal linking is not the same, the principle is. It also makes sense that this is okay as bloggers use some type of related post plugin for their blog, which links to 3 similar topics, not necessarily the one you may have internally linked within your blog.

Though pingbacks really do not deliver any content other than to notify that your post has been referenced either internally or externally as according to the WordPress Codex’s description of a pingback, it can be a great tool to help your readers learn more, especially when your site may contain valuable information that is of interest to anyone (ex – related posts plugin or internal link.)

Matt cuts talks about PageRank sculpting talks more about letting links flow, whether internally or externally. It is up to the webmaster to make some type of balance, meaning that you as the blogger will have to make sure to reference outside sources more (which is great for you and the person you are linking), while also linking internally to posts that are of similar interest and carrying on the topic so readers looking for more information will either stay or go to the sources that you are referencing. So, in using the Nofollow method within your own blog, you are basically saying that you do not vouch for your own posts, right? That does not sound like a confident blogger at all.

Do you use pingbacks? What are your views on using pingbacks?

DandyID Releases More Services For Your Social Identities

I blogged back in March 2009 about DandyID Plugin for WordPress. DandyID allows user to share their social network identities on their blog, Facebook, and other places by simply applying their code or widget. This eliminates the issues of manually coding each social identity you have online and placing it in your blog’s sidebar.

Recently, DandyID rolled out a new feature. With their article New Feature: Control the Visibility of Your Identities, you can now select what features you wish to display to your visitors. Along with this feature, they have also come up with a premium plan for users who would like to know how their visitors are connecting. So you can now track what social networks most of your users are coming from when they visit or where they leave. It is a great way to try to understand what your visitors are looking for when they come to your site and where you should work more on your site to attract other visitors from the social networking communities.

I actually am using DandyID on Blondish.net. It is on the sidebar.

Are you using DandyID? If so, how do you like it and what other features would you suggest. If not, are you manually inserting your social identity links or using a different plugin?

Tumblr: Should You Have An Account With Them?

Tumblr seems to be a nice little system that you can sign up and blog, share your twitter tweets, and import posts from other services. I recently signed up and perhaps it is because of their recent infastructure work on September 14th, the site loaded slowly, and frankly when it did load, I would have turned people to WordPress.com’s free blog accounts.

I have always expressed spreading out and signing up for different social handles online, but I believe it best that if you have a full blog, to just import your posts to your Tumblr account rather than use it religiously. I found it not as user friendly as I would have liked to see, and that is something I look forward too, not the fact that I was running in circles trying to find out why the places I am importing there did not start posting after the hour that Tumblr tells its users to wait. I got faster cross-posting with my Dreamwidth.org account.

I am sure I will blog more about Tumblr in the near future, but right now, especially for bloggers who are active, it is just better to use as an extra place to spread your blog posts and social network streams.

Have you used Tumblr? What do you think of it? What do you use it for?

P2: “Like Twitter In A Box”

A couple of months ago, P2 was mentioned at WordCamp Chicago (and I am sure it was mentioned at a few other WordCamps before that by Matt Mullenweg.

It is a way to integrate microblogging and regular blogging. Or you can use it by itself. For those who are regular bloggers, this is an extra way you can harness your blog’s power. How? Well, for example, you might come across something interesting, but only have a brief thought to share with your readers. You can not only engage your readers in checking out what you were reading, but encourage them to join in and share their own thoughts.

It gives more of the dynamic of group blogging in a way that not many would really think about doing. Below is the video describing P2′s features. I recommend taking a look.

P2 was announced in March 2009 as P2: The New Prologue as Prologue was introduced a little over a year before. Although it is not like Twitter, it has real time capabilities, but with comment threading, RSS feeds, and many other great features.

Do you use P2 already? What do you think about it if you do? If not, do you think P2 might be something that you might want to use?

10 Free WordPress Themes That are Simple and Sleek

Sometimes simple is the way to go, especially when you are a person not into all the frilly graphics that could bog down your site’s load time. Below I am listing 10 layouts that I found in the WordPress Theme Directory that are simple and sleek, worthy for those who are trying to find the perfect layout for their simple preferences.

iNove theme
The iNove theme is very sleek and contains a nicely designed navigation reminiscent of Mac. The layout has a very Web 2.0 feel too.

Carrington Blog
Carrington Blog theme is by Alex King has a great code. The layout is very clean, and set up with a great navigation that goes by hierarchy and works almost like a drop-down.

simpleX theme
The simpleX theme is an extremely basic two-column layout with tabbed navigation. This layout has a lot of potential for those who like to work with a basic theme and adapt it with their own design. This layout also has a drop-down hierarchy like the Carringtion Blog.

Titan theme
The Titan theme has a lot of clean lines and whitespace to balance out a site. Even attention to the image boards leave this layout as something anyone might want to use.

StudioPress theme
The StudioPress theme is a simple three-column layout that has a tabbed navigation. The rounded corners throughout the layout making this layout very charming.

Tropicala theme
The Tropicala theme is a very lightweight blog that contains a parent and a subparent navigation. The lines are crisp and you can either keep or interchange the main graphic for your own.

Red Time theme
The Red Time theme has a few interesting elements like a place to either put an introductory paragraph or put a featured topic and even has the courtesy of including a cute Twitter bird so people can click to follow you.

Stardust theme
The Stardust theme boasts that it is handcoded for accessibility. Its simple gradient graphics make it very clean and sleek.

Librio theme
Librio theme definitely does remind me a bit of the Mac OS X Leopard.

TweetmeBlue theme
TweetMeBlue theme is made by the same creator of Red Times. It contains a clean navigation and even makes room for those wanting to use the WP-PageNavi plugin. This layout offers a small place at the top of the site for featuring posts.

Are there other layouts you think that should be on this list that you think are simple and sleek…and of course… free?