Tagged: blog

A solid, well-written Ohio blog

If you haven’t done so already, drop by the Columbus-based blog The Open End, where you’ll find a team of good writers working in undeserved obscurity. They’re not in lockstep with each other, so you’ll sometimes find a sharp yet courteous debate going on. However, liberal nuttiness gets a cheerful skewering every day, especially if it involves political correctness at The Ohio State University (a little inside Buckeye joke, there).

ABC hunts for war dead on Inauguration Day

Courtesy of Captain’s Quarters, a bold attempt by ABC News to throw mud on President Bush’s Inauguration … discovered on their website by bloggers:

For a possible Inauguration Day story on ABC News, we are trying to find out if there any military funerals for Iraq war casualties scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 20.
If you know of a funeral and whether the family might be willing to talk to ABC News, please fill out the form below[.]

Disgusting. Any spin trying to downplay this is demolished by the fact that ABC deleted the web page once they’d been exposed. Captain’s Quarters cached a copy before ABC could destroy the evidence.

“In Good Company” trailer

Based on a blurb I heard on the Hugh Hewitt show, I decided to try out the whole blogging-as-more-than-a-hobby thing. Specifically, bloggers who mention a certain movie get goodies, and I checked it out. I sent an e-mail to the publicist and got this reply:

There�s been overwhelming response from bloggers responding to the offer for free tickets to an advance screening of IN GOOD COMPANY.
So Universal Pictures and Grace Hill Media wants to respond to that enthusiasm by upping the ante: any blogger who signs up for the free tickets and then posts this offer and a link to the IN GOOD COMPANY trailer on their site will be automatically entered in a contest to win their very own private screening of IN GOOD COMPANY in their town. The winner can either fill the screening with their friends and family, or see the film alone with that special someone � it�s entirely up to them. One lucky blogger here in the US will win. Sign up at info@gracehillmedia.com and send us your link. And of course, all the non-winners will still be eligible to attend an advance screening in their area.

Want to know what my biggest surprise was? Based on the trailer, this looks like an interesting movie that I might actually go see, even if I were paying for the ticket. I’ll let you know if it lives up to its billing.

Give Blog a chance

Rumors continued to circulate today, suggesting that a nationally syndicated talk radio host and would-be bestselling author had infiltrated the crowd at an anti-war rally in Key West recently. ProtestWarrior denied any involvement in the stunt, seen here in a photograph e-mailed to Brain Shavings by a very reliable source.

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Tired of blogging without being noticed?

Ah, the vagaries of unrecognized blogging brilliance. So you’ve taken Hugh’s advice and started a blog, and nobody’s noticed you? Welcome to the club. Almost all of us start at the bottom, unless we’re already well-established authors or pundits or somesuch.
Being an unremarkable fourth-tier blogger myself, I’ve thought about traffic often. I’m no blogging stud; I average around 250 hits per day, with occasional big spikes of 500-1000 when some big name blogger links to me, or if a flood of search engine queries about a hot news event turns up one of my posts on the results page. I’ve been blogging since March, and though my own writing hasn’t brought me fame and fortune, I’ve picked up a few tips on how to legitimately increase my blog’s visibility in the blogosphere. Most of it’s covered by well-spoken folks like Wizbang and Bad Example, but I’ll add a baker’s dozen of pointers that have served me well so far.

  1. Have something interesting to say. The web’s already clogged with millions of blogs that do little more than link to what everybody else is talking about, adding nothing more to the conversation than a “hey, check this out.” There’s only one blog that gets away with one-word comments, and you’re not going to replace him. Be an occasional Thinker, not just a Linker, or some blend of both. You don’t need to create bloviating dissertations of 10,000 words, but do write about what you know and what interests you. Find your own way of saying things, and put your own spin on it. In time you’ll find you’ve developed a style all your own, and like-minded readers will find you.
  2. Link freely to other blogs, especially lesser-known ones and blogs you disagree with. Leave pertinent comments on their posts, and contribute to the discussion. They’ll notice, and might reciprocate if you follow Rule #1 above.
  3. Learn how to tweak your stylesheet, to make your blog appealing and easy to navigate. More is not always better.
  4. Be sure your blog is generating an RSS feed. Check your blogging software’s documentation to be sure. If you can’t generate an RSS feed, switch software. Trust me.
  5. When drafting a new post on your Movable Type blog, you can help search engines like Google find your blog posts by filling in some pertinent terms in the box marked “Keywords” … terms which you might use to search for web pages related to the topic of your post. Be sure that the following HTML code is in the template for your Individual Entry Archive, between the <HEAD> and </HEAD> tags:
     

    <meta name=”robots” content=”index,follow,archive” />
    <meta name=”description” content=”<$MTEntryExcerpt$>” />
    <meta name=”keywords” content=”<$MTEntryKeywords$>” />

    This code uses META tags to talk to search engines and let them know you exist. It won’t bring you lots of traffic, but it’ll put you on an even footing with other entry-level bloggers. It’s like hanging out a sign when you start your business; it’s no guarantee of success, but you’d be a fool not to.

  6. If you’re using Movable Type to blog, go to the Configuration menu, click on the link marked “preferences”, and scroll down until you see “Publicity / Remote Interfaces / TrackBack” … then check the boxes for blo.gs and weblogs.com, and paste the following text into the “Others” box:
     
    http://api.my.yahoo.com/RPC2
    http://bulkfeeds.net/rpc
    http://ping.feedburner.com
    http://rpc.blogrolling.com/pinger/
    http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping
    http://xping.pubsub.com/ping/
    http://www.blogshares.com/rpc.php

    Doing this will ping (notify) several tracking services whenever you update your blog, and they’ll send a spider program to come index your new entry. If you get error messages during the pinging process, it may mean you need to go sign up with one or more of the services. Don’t fret, they’re free.

  7. Join a blogging alliance (here’s a good one … and another), join a web ring, or start your own (I did). As long as you abide by the membership rules, you’ll usually find yourself on several blogrolls in no time.
  8. Learn about comment spam and trackback spam. Don’t harbor it.
  9. Be a polite blogger when you send a trackback.
  10. Learn some basic shop talk to avoid embarassing yourself.
  11. Don’t obsess over links and traffic. It’ll suck the joy right out of the whole effort if you’re blogging for fun. If you’re blogging for profit, then you’re seeking advice from the wrong fella. See Rule #12.
  12. Buy this book.
  13. Read Rule #1 a couple more times.

Blogging’s fun. Have at it.

UPDATE: Joe Carter has more good advice at Evangelical Outpost, in six parts (IIIIIIIVVVI).

UPDATE 2: Some progressive Christians look to be putting a blog alliance together. Here’s their aggregator page. Nice move!

The business of news is changing

Go buy Hugh Hewitt’s new book …

Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World

… or you’ll be left behind in the dust, wondering why your friends are laughing as you read your “early edition” of the New York Times.
C’mon, I told you about this three weeks ago. What’re you waiting for?

Welcome, Hugh Hewitt readers

I just tracked down the reason for the sudden and steady flow of visitors from HughHewitt.com: I’m his Blog of the Month for December. That’s quite an honor, so I’ll do my best to fill the shoes of my very impressive predecessors. Thanks, Hugh!
Be sure to take a look at the rest of the Buckeye Bloggers, a bunch of Ohio conservatives striving to make a purple state redder.
While you’re here, why not pre-order this book …

Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World

… as a Christmas gift to yourself? I figure a little bit of cross-promotion’s the least I can do as a “thank you.” Heck, I ordered one yesterday.

UPDATE: If you’re wondering what I write about here, scan the categories on the rightmost column of the home page. Here are a few posts I was proud of when I wrote them:

Just say the magic word

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been getting spammed by a fancy restaurant in Miami. Mind you, this isn’t my Yahoo inbox I’m talking about. I expect to be spammed there. This fine establishment somehow found out my private e-mail address, the one my friends and family use. I never, ever enter it on a form online, so up ’til now it’s been almost completely spam-free.
I knew better than to click the handy “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of the message. Doing so alerts the spammer to the presence of a human being at the other end of the spam pipeline, making one’s e-mail address much more valuable. Clicking “unsubscribe” guarantees that your address will be sold to every spammer known to man, and the tidal wave of penis enlargement and home mortgage refinancing will hit your inbox quicker than you can say “yes, I’ll help you hide your ill-gotten Nigerian gains.”
Being a semi-cagey netizen, I instead looked up the restaurant in the phone book to verify that the place actually existed. No sense in calling a phone number on the spam message if the whole thing’s a complete scam, right? I found that the restaurant actually existed, and I verified things by finding several reviews written by local newspapers.
I called to complain, and the runaround began. Every time Chez Fancypants spammed me, I called to politely complain. Every time, they told me that the person in charge of e-mail marketing was unavailable, had left for the day, hadn’t arrived yet, was busy, or had perished in a tragic blimp accident.
Today, Chez Fancypants excreted spam number nineteen into my nice clean inbox, so I decided to up the ante. Again I called the oh-so-smarmy maitre d’, and discovered that the Spammer-in-Chief was off on a pilgrimage to Yemen. I asked to be removed from the spamvertising hotlist, and again I heard the blasé brush-off beneath the pleasant response.
Ah, the power of the word “blogger.”
When I casually mentioned that I’m a blogger who’s well aware of how tenuous a good business reputation can be, and when I reminded the maitre d’ of what happened to Dan Rather, his tone immediately changed from oily condescension to palpable fear. These days, the spectre of Mike Wallace at the door pales in comparison to “John Hinderaker just sent you an e-mail.”
Said my new best friend, “I’ll get on the phone to our Marketing Director and I’ll send a fax to the e-mail marketing company we use, and tell them to remove your address from the list. What is it, sir, so I can send you confirmation of my success?”
I guess there’s a red phone to Yemen in the kitchen after all.

UPDATE: Just imagine the damage that Wizbang’s Jay Tea could do.

Buckeye Bloggers

Buckeye BloggersHey, fellow conservative bloggers from Ohio! How about forming a blog alliance from the state that pushed President Bush across the finish line this year? Heaven knows we can’t just sit here and let The Northern Alliance keep hogging all the glory.
We could start by putting together a web site that aggregates our most recent posts, kind of like what RNCBloggers did. These blogs strike me as promising charter members:
Buckeye Bloggers
Brain Shavings
The Open End
The Conservative Revolution
Wizblog
Ohio for Bush
Buckeye Ex-pats
Hugh Hewitt
Belly of the Beast
Whaddaya think?