Marketing A Weblog

Jared Blank writes from his experience of marketing his own blog:

  • The [Google] keyword program worked well for me, but be patient with results and test many different combinations of words. It took me several weeks to understand broad terms worked better for me than specific keywords. You may have completely different results, depending on your industry.

  • I found it was not worth bidding more than a nickel for higher placement in the results page. My best-performing keywords typically ranked fifth in the listings and performed better than other words that placed higher in the results.

  • Contact other bloggers and ask them to place a link to your Weblog on their pages. This will be even more effective if the blogger is writing about a similar industry.

  • Don’t give up on working your house list. Place a link to the Weblog in each of your newsletters and a link to the Weblog in your e-mail signature file.

  • Tech Impact

    A WSJ special report on Technology writes: “Digital technologies are upending the competitive balance across the corporate spectrum.”

    It adds: “Safely profitable niches aren’t secure anymore. Longtime industry leaders are being forced to re-examine their basic ways of doing business. Upstarts are on the rise. And who will emerge victorious is anyone’s guess.”

    A related story on Linux states: “As Linux grows, it not only stands to win lucrative parts of the server market before Microsoft, but it also threatens to lessen the value of the very software that Microsoft has built its empire on: Windows. It’s a challenge that finally has awakened the industry giant.”

    UNeDocs

    InfoWorld: “UNeDocs, or United Nations extensions for aligned electronic trade documents, was started in 2002 by the UN’s Economic Commission for Europe. The aim is to use XML to create an electronic equivalent for paper trade documents based on existing EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) standards, according to the UNeDocs Web site.”

    It is a project we should keep track of.

    WiFi and Flower Boxes

    Boston Globe has an interview with Nicholas Negroponte:

    I think WiFi is exactly like the Internet, it’s exactly the same…There’s not only a precedent, there’s a very strong economic model … flower boxes.

    Think about it. If you put a flower box outside your house, you’re first of all using your own money to buy the flowers. You’re hanging it out there. You’re doing it for your self-esteem, for the beauty of looking out the window and seeing the flowers, of decorating your house and making it look well. But it also, if everyone on the street puts nice flower boxes out, makes the street look nicer. It happens a little bit on Beacon Hill, it happens a lot in European cities.

    Now the theory of flower boxes, if there is such a thing, could be taken to WiFi. I put in a WiFi system in my home for my own use, but it radiates out into the street. There’s no incremental cost for me to let other people use it. There really isn’t. … If everybody does that, then the entire street has broadband. Every park bench has broadband, every convenience store has broadband, and so on.

    So if you take that approach, it’s very much like the Internet. You make these resources available by connecting them. The sum of the parts is just much, much greater. And I think that’s what’s going to happen for a major piece of wireless.

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    Notifications

    Microsoft Research has a paper on Scope, a glanceable notification summarizer. Seems a bit like a Digital Dashboard.

    We have designed this simple information visualization tool to help unify notifications and reduce distractions for the user, thus avoiding notification overload. The Scope allows users to remain aware of notifications from multiple sources of information, including e-mail, instant messaging, information alerts, and appointments. The design employs a circular radar-like screen divided into sectors that group different kinds of notifications. The more urgent a notification is, the more centrally it is placed. Visual emphasis and annotation is used to reveal important properties of notifications. Several natural gestures allow users to zoom in on particular regions and to selectively drill down on items.

    Open Source in Developing Countries

    Linux Journal writes, quoting a report from Finland, that “Free and open-source software are not only a useful and significant tool for the developing countries, but clearly have the potential to help democratization and help find solutions to the most pressing problems faced by the populations of developing countries.”

    Grid Computing

    According to Clay Shirky, grids are not the next big thing as everyone making them out to be.

    Supercomputing on tap won’t live up to to this change-the-world billing, because computation isn’t a terribly important part of what people do with computers. This is a lesson we learned with PCs, and it looks like we will be relearning it with Grids.

    If users needed Grid-like power, the Grid itself wouldn’t work, because the unused cycles the Grid is going to aggregate wouldn’t exist. Of all the patterns supported by decentralization, from file-sharing to real-time collaboration to supercomputing, supercomputing is the least general.

    Networks are most important as ways of linking unevenly distributed resources — I know something you don’t know; you have something I don’t have — and Grid technology will achieve general importance to the degree that it supports those kinds of patterns. The network applications that let us communicate and share in heterogeneous environments, from email to Kazaa, are far more important uses of the network than making all the underlying computers behave as a single supercomputer.

    TECH TALK: Constructing the Memex: Building Blocks: OPML (Part 2)

    A more extended discussion on comes from Dave Winer [1 2]:

    Imagine a new format, like HTML, but for hierarchies. It’s called OPML, an XML-based format I designed in Y2K. You edit OPML files with an outliner. Several of them support the format now, including the one that UserLand includes in Radio. Eventually, I believe (and hope) all outliners and many other kinds of programs, ones that create and understand hierarchies, will support the format.

    You can save OPML files to the Web, just like HTML files, and browse them in lots of interesting waysAnother thing outlines are good for is authoring directories, like Yahoo and DMOZ. Everyone can edit their own outlines.
    Millions of people can [create directories]. It’s not hard. That’s key, because what we want to do is enable people who have deep knowledge of important areas to gather resources, organize them, and reorganize, as the world changes.

    OPML directories can link to other directories, they can even (theoretically) link into other directories [this is called transclusion]. When this happens, the linked-to directory is “included” in the other. At the bottom of the page, the author’s name is different, and the suggest-a-link feature sends an email to the included directory’s author, but most readers won’t notice. It’s almost seamless.

    Now, instead of having two or three all-encompassing directories, anyone with an outliner and some server space can compete to be the authority on any subject.

    There’s no single root of the Web, so why should directories (like Yahoo, DMOZ, Looksmart) have single roots? And therein lies the problem with directories, and why we’re not effectively cataloging the knowledge of our species on the Internet.

    A case in point. Last week I pointed to a great directory of RSS aggregators. So why not also have it available in a format that allows it to be included in other directories? I should be able to include it in the directory I keep for RSS developers. Why should I have to reinvent the wheel? Would he want me to? And maybe it fits into a directory of tools that are useful for librarians, alongside book inventory software; or in a directory for lawyers, alongside legal databases. See the point? There is no single address for a directory, every directory is a sub-directory of something, yet all the directories we build on the Internet try to put everything in exactly one place, which leads to some really ludicrous placements. My Windows software is categorized under Mac software because we were only available on Mac when it was first categorized. This one-category-for-all-information approach is a vestige of paper catalogs, not a limit of computer-managed catalogs.

    I’m burning to get this idea broadly implemented. When we do, the Web will grow by another order of magnitude.

    The challenge: Put all that we know on the Internet and give people the tools to present it in a myriad of ways. Let a thousand flowers bloom. No one owns the keys to knowledge. That’s Jeffersonian software. The Web, of course, was modeled after the printed page, with all its limits. This new Web is modeled after the mind of man.

    Dave Winer also has written about how to implement an OPML Directory Browser.

    Taken together, the ecosystems built around Blogs, RSS and OPML help solve the problem of organising unstructured content.

    Tomorrow: Unstructured Content

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