Friday, May 20, 2005

Dear Blogger: a wish list

Fredrik Wacka sums up what all of us have been talking about for about two years (since Google took over Blogger). His open-letter to Google starts out with a statement we have heard over and over again here at Blogger Forum: "I have tried to find ways to switch from Blogger to another publishing system, but there are problems I'd like to avoid. So I figured I could try influencing you to improve Blogger instead."

Here's what Fredrik wants, and it's a short, reasonable list:

1. Categories -- it's standard in almost every other blog publishing system. Now that categories automate Technorati tagging too, I really need them.

2. An integrated TrackBack function -- it's an extra burden to do it manually, and I often skip that part I'm afraid. Give me Pingback too while you're at it. You don't have to be embarrassed that you didn't invent it. Who cares?

3. Comments that are as customizable as the rest of the templates. And please stop asking people to sign up for a Blogger account as your default option. It makes many choose not to comment (I use Haloscan instead).

Speaking of comments, take a look at some of the comments Fredrik's article has received from Blogger users.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Possible Blogger enhancements

Blogger has been quiet for quite some time on what will be next in the world. With the persistent problems in performance, Blogger users would first like to be assured that more effort is being put into developing a more stable and reliable base product.

However, there is talk about other enhancements in the development or "We're thinking about it" stage.

Here are some ideas that Blogger is looking into as reported in Computerworld:

Native image uploading. The ability to upload images directly through a native Blogger interface instead of through indirect methods.

Private groups. Although it is possible to password protect blogs with third-party products, Blogger does not support private blogs or private areas. This would allow Blogger users to control who can view their blogs.

Gmail integration. This would be a natural. However, everyone is a bit fuzzy at this point as to what integration would entail and exactly what benefits this would bring to Blogger and Gmail users.

Mobile Blogger. Google introduced the latest enhancement to Blogger last week, when it launched Blogger Mobile, a feature that lets users create a new blog and post to it from mobile devices. "There's lots of people walking around with little blogging appliances which others may call mobile phones." --Biz Stone

Monday, May 09, 2005

Using a blog for promotion

One of the busiest guys around and an expert at self-promotion is Phil Town. Phil is a motivational speaker and has a new book coming out on investing for the small investor.

Getting a book published is expensive and takes a good bit of time to get up and running. A blog, on the other hand, can be up and running in a day. Then it is just a matter of having something to say.

Phil apparently never has that problem. He is motivated. If you take a look at his site,, you will notice a few things. First, he has a catchy tag-line that lets you know right away what the site is about: "I teach people how to get rich no matter what happens in the market. Rule #1 is: Don't lose money!"

Phil decided to use TypePad as his blog platform. Take a look at his blog and analyze his layout and how he presents information. Use your browser's ability (View, then Source in IE) to drill down to his source code to see how he has headings set up for the search spiders. Phrase-rich statements surrounded by "h2" get more attention from Google and the other engines than just plain text. One of his phrases is "I teach people how to get rich no matter what happens in the market." I have no doubt that within a short time his site will be on the first page of any search for combinations of that phrase.

Take a look at the site. It is rich source for learning how to set up a blog to promote yourself or your business.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Blogger Forum tries out Serendipity

Our own sample blog on Bloggerforum has always been on the platform. However, there are certainly many other platforms out there to choose from. So, how do you make a decision as to the best blog platform to trust your scribblings to?

Obviously you want something dependable, easy to use, and nice-looking. Oh, yes, also with all the bells and whistles chronically lacking with We decided to run the same blog postings here in 3 platforms: Blogger, Serendipity, and the internal "News" module that is part of this site. Actually, the New section is, in essence, a blog and it works quite well.

As to the decision to run Serendipity as the third choice, that was almost a natural. Serendipity is extremely easy to install and run (you need your own server, however). It also has what Blogger lacks: categories, RSS feeds, calendar archives, themes you can change on the fly, plug-ins, etc. etc.

We will be running our sample blog in both Blogger and Serendipity for the immediate future so folks can see a side-by-side comparison. We may add other blog platforms. Also, we will have our "Blog" tab give you a choice of which blog you want to see. Meanwhile, you can see the blog in two places (besides our own News section). Our Blogger based blog, and our Serendipity based blog. Enjoy.