Blogging takes courage

Like anything you do in the public eye, blogging takes courage.

Blogging for yourself or your organization is risky. From discussing an unpopular view, to libel issues, it takes courage to embrace the blog concept and steer readers down your preferred blogging path.

The best bloggers take a stand on something and defend it. Whether popular or not, I respect bloggers who can speak their mind and defend their arguments. )Probably comes from my Political Science background) I may not agree with your point, but I respect your right to make it.

Choosing Blog software

http://www.ojr.org/ojr/images/blog_software_comparison.cfm Have any thoughts to add? ]]>

Frequently I’m asked by clients which blogging software I recommend.  Although, I’ve gone through a variety of flavors of blogging software over the past few years, I’ll admit I’m far from knowing every option.  Which blog software people choose should be based on what their goals are and web skills.

Here are my top tips when considering business blogging software:
-Hosting
Decide whether you want to use a service provider to host your blog (web page) or if you will do it yourself.  Note: While a hosted solution gives you less control over changing the software, it also saves you all the server setup and administration headaches. If you want to get started quickly, you can always start on a hosted solution and then export the content to your own down the road.

-Design
How your blog will look can be accomplished in multiple ways.  Many hosted solutions have wizard-based layouts that can be tailored somewhat–great to get started.

The next stage of design is custom CSS.  This is where you would start using background images and make other layout adjustments. This is a good option if you are looking to still use wizards and to control some basic design elements.

For the most control over layouts you can use full custom templates (html knowledge needed) and the time to test the code.

For some good side-by-side comparisons of popular blog platforms check this out

http://www.ojr.org/ojr/images/blog_software_comparison.cfm

Have any thoughts to add?

Comment syndication

Although most people talk about RSS and blog syndication, it usually has to do with the content.  Rarely, do you read about syndicating the comments.  Someone is missing the boat.

If you’ve ever posted a comment to a blog, you would get the importance to being able to add that specific topic to your blog reader.  That way you could keep up on the conversation without ever having to remember to visit the site again (something you have to admit we rarely do).  Unfortunately, few blogs seem to know of or promote “comment RSS”.

“Comment RSS” was one of my reasons to move from the free blogger framework to the current blog surroundings.  If you notice over on the top right corner, you get the option of adding the regular site content RSS feed to your reader or the comment feed.  It’s not only an added perk for readers but for the blog maintainer (like me).  I can see and respond to comments immediately or kill blog spam in the same span of time.

As blogging grows, I believe you will see more and more of these features.  Why? Blogging is all about networking and communication.  It’s also about simplicity and saving time.  Something that Comment RSS seems to thrive on.

A good way to kill time

go -Standing room only proposed for airlines…go (maybe those tight seats aren’t so bad after all) -TSA horror stories…go -Hole opens in home and swallows man…go (Looks like the Amityville Horror has moved to California) Head on over to BoingBoing. You can find plenty more. Otherwise, back to work! Sam]]>

Wish you had one place to go for all the strange and unusual information you could stand?

Well, then, here you go– http://www.boingboing.net

Just today I found:
-lizard attacks girls wearing meat hats…go
-Standing room only proposed for airlines…go
(maybe those tight seats aren’t so bad after all)
-TSA horror stories…go
-Hole opens in home and swallows man…go
(Looks like the Amityville Horror has moved to California)

Head on over to BoingBoing.  You can find plenty more. Otherwise, back to work!

Paid vs. Free

Is a free blog really worth it? In my eyes, no. For the past year and a half I have tested numerous types of blog software and services. From free services such as blogger and MSN spaces to pay for hosting and set up like plog or Typepad. In the beginning, the free one’s really seem fantastic. They are fast, free, and easy to start and get going on. It’s only after you work with them for awhile that you start to realize that “free” may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Here’s a quick review of my problems with the “free” blogs: -many have hidden extra fees that pop up when you least expect them. i.e. you start using too much of their server space. -many have no easy way to upload images, voice, or video. Or, if they do, you will need to pay extra. -the bells and whistles in the free blogs such as the RSS get outdated fast and there is little development going on to fix broken whistles. You get stuck with something that has problems with little choice of what to do about it. -there are NO back-ups. I know, who cares about back-ups? Well, we all do when we realize all the thoughts, comments, images, and time we spent working on our blogs disappear. -there is NO easy way to get your information out of the free blog’s. It took weeks of copying and pasting info from the free blogs when I decided to leave. Talk about being held hostage! -invasion of ads. Free blogs are inundated with advertising. Nothing like having a “get bigger breasts” ad next to a smiling picture of your child. Is there a place for free blogs? Yes. They are great to get people started and great for personal musings. However, if you actually plan to keep up your blog over the long haul or are a business person looking for the marketing value that blogs can offer, cough up the few dollars. You’ll be much happier in the long run.]]>

Is a free blog really worth it?

In my eyes, no.  For the past year and a half I have tested numerous types of blog software and services.  From free services such as blogger and MSN spaces to pay for hosting and set up like plog or Typepad.

In the beginning, the free one’s really seem fantastic.  They are fast, free, and easy to start and get going on.  It’s only after you work with them for awhile that you start to realize that “free” may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

Here’s a quick review of my problems with the “free” blogs:
-many have hidden extra fees that pop up when you least expect them.  i.e. you start using too much of their server space.
-many have no easy way to upload images, voice, or video.  Or, if they do, you will need to pay extra.
-the bells and whistles in the free blogs such as the RSS get outdated fast and there is little development going on to fix broken whistles.  You get stuck with something that has problems with little choice of what to do about it.
-there are NO back-ups.  I know, who cares about back-ups?  Well, we all do when we realize all the thoughts, comments, images, and time we spent working on our blogs disappear.
-there is NO easy way to get your information out of the free blog’s.  It took weeks of copying and pasting info from the free blogs when I decided to leave.  Talk about being held hostage!
-invasion of ads.  Free blogs are inundated with advertising.  Nothing like having a “get bigger breasts” ad next to a smiling picture of your child.

Is there a place for free blogs?  Yes.  They are great to get people started and great for personal musings.  However, if you actually plan to keep up your blog over the long haul or are a business person looking for the marketing value that blogs can offer, cough up the few dollars.  You’ll be much happier in the long run.

Finally!

It’s been a painful and long move, but we are finally settled in to our new blog home.

That means I can get back on track ranting, raving, and amusing all three of you that read this blog.  🙂  Just kidding.  I know there’s quite a bit more.  Unfortunately, few ever venture out and leave a comment.  That means most of the time I think I’m writing to myself.

Care to tell me I’m wrong?

Does anyone backup blogs?

So, I wonder, how does one back up a Google blog? Anyone with any ideas? A quick search on the web and I found this response from Blogger: “Blogger does not have an export or download function. However, you can create a single file with all your posts which you may publish and then copy to your own computer for use as desired.” Only 10 “easy” steps (not) and you can have something that resembles War & Peace on one page right on your desktop. Oh, well. The trials and tribulations of being an early adopter…]]>

A recent post made me think more about moving and losing blogs. Which then led me to the thought, “does anyone think to back-up their blog?”

I have to say I’m guilty of not backing up this blog. I guess it’s because Google doesn’t offer it and I can’t say backing things up is on the forefront of my mind. Funny though, everything else I deal with is backed up regularly. My internal network, my other websites, even other blogs. I guess this is one of the things we all must take into consideration when we do something that’s “free”.

So, I wonder, how does one back up a Google blog? Anyone with any ideas?

A quick search on the web and I found this response from Blogger:

“Blogger does not have an export or download function. However, you can create a single file with all your posts which you may publish and then copy to your own computer for use as desired.” Only 10 “easy” steps (not) and you can have something that resembles War & Peace on one page right on your desktop.

Oh, well. The trials and tribulations of being an early adopter…

Time to move

It’s been a good run. I’ve noticed of late that Blogger has let their RSS (really simple syndication) or XML feed fall behind in development. That means if you try to access the feed on this site you will probably get errors. For someone like me, moving my blog is not difficult, just time consuming. You see I have other blog software and can easily move domain names around. For the average person however, I see a big problem looming! What’s that? The average person with a large blog will have a heck of a time moving all their beloved posts. So what options do we all have when we do decide to change providers? -Let the old blog go away? Like this one? -Copy and paste every post into the new software? Then what happens to the comments? So, anyone any ideas?]]>

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a multi-blogger (I have multiple blogs). I set this blog up on Google’s Blogger system as an experiment. Basically to see what kind of functionality it had and if it was worth recommending to others. Plus, I wanted to see if Google gave any special “treatment” to their own software when they were compiling search engine stats. (Yes, I was checking to see if I could get higher on Google’s stats if I used their blog software rather than someone else’s). As far as I can tell-no, you don’t.

It’s been a good run.

I’ve noticed of late that Blogger has let their RSS (really simple syndication) or XML feed fall behind in development. That means if you try to access the feed on this site you will probably get errors.

For someone like me, moving my blog is not difficult, just time consuming. You see I have other blog software and can easily move domain names around. For the average person however, I see a big problem looming!

What’s that?

The average person with a large blog will have a heck of a time moving all their beloved posts. So what options do we all have when we do decide to change providers?
-Let the old blog go away? Like this one?
-Copy and paste every post into the new software? Then what happens to the comments?

So, anyone any ideas?

How a ski area manager blogs

Ski Snowstar Winter Sports Park in Andalusia, IL. He’s a regular fixture at the ski area and has a great sense of humor. Yes, he’s a natural to blog. At first Ed was concerned he’d have nothing to blog about. I recommended that he discuss the trials and tribulations of the “inside workings” at the area. That’s just what he did. I think it almost became therapeutic for him. He’d write about his frustration with the weather, especially at 3am when it wouldn’t cooperate. He wrote about his joy of being able to open the area the earliest ever. Then the heartache of having to close most of January due to unseasonably warm temps. Readers and guests loved it! There’s tons of supportive comments all over Ed’s blog. He even said he’s heard from people all over the country that he hadn’t talked to in years! Talk about a win-win for both sides. So what made Ed’s blog successful? A large part of it is Ed. He was consistent in writing and able to not take the blog or himself too seriously. Want to check out this blog? Click here…]]>

Today I want to take a few minutes to highlight one ski area manager that took up blogging at the start of the 2005/06 ski season.

Ed Meyer is the General Manager of Ski Snowstar Winter Sports Park in Andalusia, IL. He’s a regular fixture at the ski area and has a great sense of humor. Yes, he’s a natural to blog.

At first Ed was concerned he’d have nothing to blog about. I recommended that he discuss the trials and tribulations of the “inside workings” at the area. That’s just what he did. I think it almost became therapeutic for him. He’d write about his frustration with the weather, especially at 3am when it wouldn’t cooperate. He wrote about his joy of being able to open the area the earliest ever. Then the heartache of having to close most of January due to unseasonably warm temps.

Readers and guests loved it! There’s tons of supportive comments all over Ed’s blog. He even said he’s heard from people all over the country that he hadn’t talked to in years! Talk about a win-win for both sides.

So what made Ed’s blog successful?

A large part of it is Ed. He was consistent in writing and able to not take the blog or himself too seriously.

Want to check out this blog? Click here…

Spam eliminated?

Maybe in our dreams… Last night I was reading an article that made a quip about Microsoft and spam. Supposedly just 2 years ago, Microsoft announced that they would eliminate spam in just 2 short years. Really? Well, 2 short years later and spam is still growing exponentially. Now, it’s not only in emails but blogs too. Over the weekend I played cat & mouse with a spammer on one of my other blogs (yes, I’m a multi-blogger). I tried using all the tools that come with my blog banning the IP, marketing certain words as spam, and virtual bad thoughts. The spammer just did not seem to get the message. As fast as I deleted the posts for things I’d never mention here, they were coming back. Not only was it really frustrating, but ticked me off that I had to waste my time on it. My question for the day, what can we all do to make “spam not pay”?]]>

Maybe in our dreams…

Last night I was reading an article that made a quip about Microsoft and spam. Supposedly just 2 years ago, Microsoft announced that they would eliminate spam in just 2 short years.

Really?

Well, 2 short years later and spam is still growing exponentially. Now, it’s not only in emails but blogs too. Over the weekend I played cat & mouse with a spammer on one of my other blogs (yes, I’m a multi-blogger). I tried using all the tools that come with my blog–banning the IP, marketing certain words as spam, and virtual bad thoughts. The spammer just did not seem to get the message. As fast as I deleted the posts for things I’d never mention here, they were coming back. Not only was it really frustrating, but ticked me off that I had to waste my time on it.

My question for the day, what can we all do to make “spam not pay”?

President of nxtConcepts, Ltd

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