Category: Weblogging (page 1 of 2)

Blog for Love

Dave Winer: “Now I’d like to take you back to a discsussion that was had many years ago that resulted in this conclusion. You don’t make money from this work, but it leads to opportunities where you can make money. Ideas and information make their way to you and if you are so-inclined you can make money by investing in those ideas. No sure things, but some bloggers have made billions, and others have made millions. And others have made a decent living. Not from their blog but because they blog.”

I’ve talked about blogging to people a lot over the past 16 plus years. Some folks don’t understand what it is after you’re done explaining it, others feel they don’t have anything to say, and still others say they don’t know how to make money at it.

Rocking Chair

I always have to stop people that make that last statement. Blogging doesn’t have to be about money. I’ve been doing this since February 2001 and haven’t made any money directly from writing. I’ve described my blog as my front porch on the internet.

I think the most important point to make is this: Own your content. What you write is yours and yours alone. Giving your words to Facebook only helps them. Make sure you own your work.

See also, Why We Blog. I’d also recommend following Dave Rogers if you don’t. I think he’s a great writer.

Six Colors Redesign

Six Colors 6C logoSix Colors: “Anyway, the goal of the design—other than, perhaps, to better reflect the site’s name—was to differentiate between the different kinds of posts we have on this site. There are regular posts, sure, but we found ourselves also posting off-site links, links to work we’ve written on other sites, links to podcasts, and posts from sponsors. Now those are all more clearly defined, and I think the site’s better for it.”

Absolutely beautiful. I love the treatment given to different post types.

The Genius of Daring Fireball

Daring Fireball: “But I see the fact that Daring Fireball’s revenue streams should remain unaffected by Safari content-blocking as affirmation that my choices over the last decade have been correct: that I should put my readers’ interests first, and only publish the sort of ads and sponsorships that I myself would want to be served, even if that means leaving (significant) amounts of money on the table along the way.”

Great content isn’t the only experience Mr. Gruber provides. He created a super brilliant, non-invasive, ad model to support his company. He has ads via The Deck and takes one week RSS feed sponsorships. The sponsor provides promotional content at the beginning of the week, which appears in a blog post, and he thanks the sponsor at the end of the week with a blog post. Nifty.

It took Mr. Gruber a while to figure this stuff out. It didn’t happen over night. Others have adopted this model; Six Colors and The Loop come to mind. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re a small indie publisher it can work quite well, if you have great content. That’s the key. Great content attracts people.

How well? Pretty darned well if you ask me. As of this writing Mr. Gruber’s Daring Fireball fetches $9,750.00 for a one week sponsorship (I believe it’s a progressive scale throughout the year.) That’s some serious cheddar.

Genius.

20 years of zeldman.com

Jeffrey Zeldman: “I launched this site twenty years ago (a year before the Wayback Machine, at least two years before Google) and it was one of the only places you could read and learn about web design. I launched at a tilde address (kids, ask your parents), and did not think to register zeldman.com until 1996, because nobody had ever done anything that crazy. “

Happy Birthday zeldman.com! Jeffrey, thanks for 20 years of web design standards. Yours was one of the first websites I discovered, before I knew it was a weblog. I discovered you, Dave Winer, and Evan Williams around the year 2000 and started my own weblog in 2001 as a result.

One thing I’ve always loved about your site is the use of orange! I know you had that greenish period, but I’m glad you came back to orange. I also appreciate the size of the type. Aging eyes and all.

Here’s to 20 more years of zeldman.com. Long live the independent weblog!

The Loop: The future of WordPress

The Loop: “Do something like Medium or Svbtle that doesn’t have the complicated backend and code. That’s what I want.”

Hello, Dr. Jones.I probably harp on this too much. I’ve been browsing around for a simplified weblogging tool, but WordPress is just too darned good to give up. I would, however, love to see a version of WordPress that would allow me to publish everything as static HTML. Decouple the composition from publishing, make them separate services. I compose a post, save it, when I click “Publish” the site is regenerated and pushed to my domain. That’s it. I would also be nice to have a quick and dirty post editor that doesn’t include all of the administrative functionality, think QuickPress in a standalone web app, or maybe a desktop app (that would be really nice.)

Make sure you read the linked article, The future of WordPress: “By incorporating a RESTful application programming interface (API), current WordPress apps could be supported, as well as mobile apps that use WordPress as a backend.”

This is how all sites, web app type sites, should be constructed. It’s all about services. Create a service, use the same service from the web app and mobile and anything else connected to the internet. Yes, yes, yes!

A Case for Really Simple RSS Readers

I’m old. When RSS was hitting the streets we subscribed from desktop clients and didn’t have multiple computers to keep in sync (I don’t care if my read/unread count is in sync, but that’s another matter.)

It’s nice to see RSS readers popping up, Google Reader disappearing was good for the ecosystem, it revived a stagnant market.

One thing that’s missing from all the clients I’ve tried is a very simple mechanism to sync my OPML subscription file to my Dropbox account. I don’t use a centralized service to fetch the distributed network of RSS feeds I follow. Since I don’t care about read/unread counts it makes sense for me to sync locally. The only thing I’d like to keep in sync are my subscriptions, my OPML file.

I currently use Reeder across Mac, iPad, and iPhone, but as far as I’m aware it doesn’t support saving my subscriptions to a cloud based solution. If all RSS readers supported existing storage services, Dropbox seems the most logical choice, then we could keep our subscriptions in sync without the need of another service.

Dear Automattic

A wonderful bouquet of flowers.Hello.

I’d love to share some feature requests with you.

Static Publishing

Not that I have a popular site being Fireball’d daily, but I like static publishing. Regeneration of a page each time it is loaded seems like a waste of computing power. I’ve been evaluating all kinds of static publishing systems but none of them give me the flexibility to manage them the way WordPress does. I don’t use a lot of fancy stuff on my site, it has always been about the content for me. I know this stuff isn’t easy to do, but it’s something I’d love to see.

Sharing

This is a request for WordPress for iOS. When I’m browsing Blogs I Follow I would love to have the option to create a new post from selected text. Bonus points if I can define a template for the post. Most of my posts follow a simple formula for links to other posts. Site name with a link to the post, followed by a snippet from the post. Having a way to create a template for that would be really helpful. UPDATE: I just discovered the Reblog feature. It seemed natural to tap the share button. The Reblog button was at the bottom of the post and it turns out it doesn’t work the way I’d like it to.

That’s all I can think of for now. Thanks for listening.

Teehan+Lax on Medium

Medium LogoTeehan+Lax Weblog: “There weren’t many traces of our prototype in Medium, but that was pretty understandable—it had evolved into a very different product. Ev explained that he felt there was a need for meaningful writing on the Web. There wasn’t a place for people who wanted to write something more substantive than a tweet. Blogs, while better for long-form, required a certain savviness to get up-and-running. Successful ones required constant care and feeding and typically focussed on a single subject matter. New ones lacked an audience. He went on to say that people sometimes just have one thing to say about a subject, not something every day or week. This is what Medium would solve for.”

Teehan+Lax is a world class design shop, very talented, and Ev Williams is a visionary, put the two together and you get a great experience, you get Medium.

Weblogs are a dime a dozen, like this one, and most of them are pretty bad, like this one. Medium is a new form. It gives real writers a place to create. I like that. I’ve been reading random articles, from random authors, on Medium for a few weeks now and I really enjoy it. I like the writing and I like the design.

I will never have a place on Medium, and that’s ok. It’s a place for real writers and as a reader I very much enjoy it.

Infected WordPress Installation

Zombie GirlWell, it looks like this site has managed to become infected with the “WordPress Pharma Hack” and I can’t seem to get rid of it.

If I can’t get rid of it soon I will abandon WordPress all together. I wish I could figure out why this has happened, but I just cannot see why.

I’ve followed this Pearsonified article on how to remove it, but I couldn’t find anything on my site that matches his recommendations. In the meantime I’ve removed every template and plugin I don’t need. I’m now using the default template, no other templates installed, and I’m down to a small set of plugins. I’m going to disable a bunch and see if that makes any difference.

My Tumblr Wish List

If you don’t wish to read the ravings of a mad, static weblog publishing, fool, just leave now. If you are curious to hear what I’d like to have from Tumblr, stick around. It’s not actually that much.

Hosting

I know I can host my domain at Tumblr, but that’s not what I’d like. I’d like to have Tumblr push content to my domain. Blogger did this for years, and I’m not sure any other, centrally managed, publishing system does this today? Blogger stopped publishing via FTP a couple years back. That’s what prompted me to move to WordPress, I wanted to have the content published at my site. The big downside to WordPress? It’s all dynamic, but we’ll get to that later.

How?

What if I could install a bit of software on my server that Tumblr could use to publish to by box? I’m not sure what the downsides are to FTP publishing, but obviously it’s not such a great thing or Blogger wouldn’t have shut it down, right? What if I could install a REST service, created by Tumblr, that had one simple endpoint, publish. Basically that publish method would accept a payload of an RSS feed, main page, and the archive page. Pretty simple. What’s the downside? I’m not sure, but, I’d imagine, there are some.

Static Publishing (A.K.A. Baked Weblog)

The other thing I’d really love to have is a static publisher, or as Brent Simmons calls it, a Baked Weblog. Why should content always be rendered from the database every time the site is hit, or cached by Tumblr’s hardware? It makes no sense. Why not publish a static HTML file to a location and load that? GASP! The nerve! Static HTML? Yes, static HTML. There’s nothing wrong with it and it would be just fine for my uses.

Upside?

Tumblr gets an enormous number of pageviews per day. Of those how many are actual pageviews for a weblog and not the user’s Dashboard? I’d imagine most of those are for the Dashboard, which could be offloaded by using an RSS reader and creating your own “Dashboard”, but I digress. I’d imagine having weblog content published to another domain could be good for Tumblr’s overall reliability. No more creating a page each time the weblog is hit, no need to update and maintain a cache of the weblog when it’s been updated. I’m not sure how many people would opt for static publishing, but I could imagine quite a few might enjoy it.

You’re Crazy

AHHHHHH!Yeah, I know. This is one of those things I harp on all the time. It’s not something Tumblr would ever be interested in doing because it could potentially decrease their pageviews per day. Why? Because the weblog would no longer be hosted on their hardware. You avoid the middle man, and go right to the source.

But, but, but…

I like Tumblr, I really do, but I’m not sure I’d like to put all my content on their servers. I don’t mind composing and storing it there, as long as I can get it out, but I’d really like to have the final published text on my box. Then again, who knows, I may take that plunge and go whole hog with a Tumblr weblog. Our oldest daughter, Haileigh, has a great Tumblr based weblog, and it’s served her quite well.

There. Nothing will come of it, but at least I got it off my chest.

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