|Blogging, RSS & Feeds|
Email, Instant Messaging, Blogs, RSS, Forums and Listservs: What's Next?
How do we keep Internet communication simple? Let's start by taking a look at the different methods used to communicate on the web. It is important to understand the nuances and benefits of the different forms.
This is the most popular communication method. Users typically use desktop software to receive, read and respond to messages. Some users use web-based mail and manage messages in a web browser like Internet Explorer. The downfall to email communication is that anyone can send email messages to anyone else if they have (or guess) the correct email address. This system's Achilles heel is its simplicity and universal popularity.
Email accounts are often burdened by spam or unsolicited email. Despite software developers having created complex spam filters and legislators having introduced new anti-spam legislation, the problem persists and spam continues to burden email as a messaging medium.
Email Clients - http://www.messaging-software.net/e-mail-client-software.htm Spam Software - http://www.email-software.org/spam-filter-software.htm
Instant Messaging Instant messaging allows users to "chat" in real time. Users can send text messages to anyone online and receive instant replies if the user is also online. The "instant" fad gave way to parental fears as children made "friends" online. With no way to confirm if "friends" are who they represent themselves to be, and multiple security holes, instant messaging has taken a back seat in internet communication.
Instant Messaging - http://www.instant-messaging-software.com
Blogs Online journals and daily diaries have taken hold. Some blogs are interactive, allowing users to respond and comment on posts. Locating topic-specific blogs that provide relevant and interesting content on a daily basis can be a challenge. The nature of a blog is to contain fresh public content. As our lives become more complicated blogs are often abandoned, as they require constant updating.
Blog Connections - http://www.blog-connection.com
RSS RSS is the latest messaging medium and shows genuine promise as a means to communicate. RSS files are produced as XML files and are designed to provide content summaries of news or information. The biggest benefit to RSS is that it does not have the spam issues inherent to email; users opt-in to the RSS feeds that interest them.
RSS Specifications - http://www.rss-specifications.com
Forums / Newsgroups A forum is an online discussion group. Forums can be newsgroups, or they can be web-based discussion groups. Forums have proven themselves as valuable business resources - often creating communities of customers helping customers. Without moderation and oversight they can potentially create an unfriendly environment.
Message Board Software - http://www.messaging-software.net/message-board-software.htm
Listservs Liststervs are mailing list programs for communicating with other people who have subscribed to the same list. Using e-mail, you can participate in listservs pertaining to your topics of interest. When you submit a message to the server, your message is relayed to all on the listserv. You receive messages from other participants via e-mail.
Yahoo Groups - http://www.yahoogroups.com
What's Next? Internet communication is intrinsically tied to the hardware options available. Wireless technology has accelerated the development of messaging software, opening the market to a dizzying array of devices for web access. Where we were once tied to a keyboard and mouse, we will soon be navigating the web with our voices from a moving automobile, or browsing via screens in our eyewear, with tiny cameras reading our eye movements to move the cursor and make selections. Our interactive conversations will include more and more participants at once. Evaluating the many options and choosing what works best for you is the first step to effectively communicating on the web.
About the Author: Sharon Housley manages marketing for NotePage, Inc. http://www.notepage.net a company specializing in alphanumeric paging, SMS and wireless messaging software solutions. Other sites by Sharon can be found at http://www.feedforall.com , http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com , and http://www.small-business-software.net
A Basic Introduction to Blogging
Web logging first appeared on the net in the mid-1990s. The term "web log" was initially coined refer to a server's log file and then expanded to include the meaning of online personal journaling. Later on, to avoid confusion, the word "blog" was adopted to refer to personal journaling. Today a blog is defined as an online publication where an author puts his or her personal thoughts and opinions from the most intimate to corporate ideas, concerns or events, in chronological order on the net.
RSS & How to Use It (part 1)
Have you ever read an article, intended to explain RSS in simple terms that, begins well, but soon descends into confusing jargon or information overload?
10 Reasons to Put RSS on Your Site!
RSS and Blogs are the topics of the moment. Seems like everyone is talking about it. Granted, there is too much hype about RSS and Blogs.
Who Would Use RSS
My previous two articles "What is RSS and Why use RSS" focused on how we can give our customers a better online experience while lessening the hassles for the online marketer. In this article I'm going to offer you another way to look at RSS ? from the standpoint of a new emerging profession: the channelmaster or newsmaster as Robin Good calls it. These are going to be the "Who's Who" of RSS in the coming months and years. I remember when email was the new thing for the average person; everyone was excited about the "new" technology. It had been around for awhile in the tech world but not with the average person. When we all started using email, it was so fascinating to be able to send out a message anywhere and get an answer back the same day!
How to Create an RSS Feed
An RSS news feed can be used to communicate with your target audience. It is an ideal means of notifying people of new content on your website without the need for them to keep on visiting your site. You can send newsletters to your readership without having to use email and risk being accused of spamming. You will be comfortable in the knowledge that people who request your feed are actually interested in it because they have actively subscribed to it. This article will explain just how to create your own RSS news feed. There are a couple of ways to create an RSS file, you can use an editor designed for the purpose or you can create a file using a simple text editor. The latter will require you to learn some XML whilst the former will do the hard part for you. First off I will describe an RSS file, there are several versions and I will be showing you version 2.0, the latest RSS version. An RSS file looks just like an HTML file except it has different tags and the files end in .rss or .xml rather than .html. The file is made up of header information and item information, the item information contains the actual news items. The first section of the file contains the header information. This states that the file is XML and which version, the encoding used and the version of RSS that you are using. This part of the file is mandatory. Next up is the channel tag, this encloses the whole of the rest of the file. This is followed by a title, description and link which explain the what the feed is about and what website it is associated with. The final part of the header is the optional image information. If you use this the software that is used to parse or read your file can display a small picture such as a logo. Please note that in these examples I have used square brackets instead of angled brackets. [?xml version="1.0" encoding="iso-8859-1"?] [rss version="2.0"] [channel] [title]The Widget news feed[/title] [description]The latest news on widgets[/description] [link]http://www.widget.com/[/link] [image] [title]Widget News[/title] [url>http://www.widget.com/widget.gif[/url] [link>http://www.widget.com/[/link] [/image] The body of the file is made up of the news items. Each news item is enclosed in the item tag and comprises of a title, a description and a published date. The date needs to be in the format shown in the example below. [title]Which is the best Widget to?[/title] [description]In this article we discuss the release of several new widgets, but which is the best widget.[/description] [pubDate]Sun, 20 Mar 2005 14:38:50 GMT[/pubDate] [link]http://www.widget.com/the-best-widgets.html[/link] [/item] You can have as many items in the feed as you like but many webmasters just show the 10 most recent items to keep the bandwidth usage down and also so not to overwhelm the end user with too many items. Finally the file is ended with the closing channel tag and a closing RSS tag. [/channel] [/rss] I have covered the basic tags to create an RSS file, there are other tags that can be used and these are explained in the http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss (RSS 2.0) specification. Once you have created your file you will need to verify it is ok, to do this upload the file to your server and then go to this validator to validate the file. Your file is now ready. Now anyone can subscribe to your feed just by pointing their RSS reader to your RSS file. That is the basics covered. I will be covering other areas in future articles as there is far too much information to fit into a single article.
Is Your Site Ready For The Coming RSS Revolution?
Recently, there have been many developments in the RSS arena. Changes that will make RSS a major force on the web and a dominant contributing factor to your computing experience. Online marketers should pay special attention to the RSS wildcard in any future marketing ventures.
Gathered Statistical Data Announces that Blogs will Dominate the Internet in Less than a Few Years
... if not months to come.
Cash In Your Blog - 4 Ways to Profit From The Hidden Revenue In Your Blog
Most webmasters and online business owners know that a blog can bring you additional revenue from advertising, and more traffic from search engines. Then there's the additional benefit of having a great way to spark productive dialogue between you and your prospects. But did you know that your blog itself may be worth thousand of dollars to you in its present form? The day I learned that my blog held such hidden treasure was one of those happy accidents that can make life such a fun adventure. All I wanted to do was find out why some of my newsletter subscribers had not crossed over to my blog audience. In an informal poll, I found that many of the fans of my newsletter were overwhelmed with the amount of free information on my site, and felt that they'd never catch up to reading it all. This led to several discoveries about how I could find a way to make the information more accessible to them without disrupting the enjoyment of my feed subscribers. If your blog has export capabilities, you can use any of these techniques to generate revenue from your blog and make both your newsletter and blog subscribers deliriously happy. Method One: Monitor Your Popular Blog Topics as Ideas for Future Products As you begin to monitor which topics have the most responses, you'll be able to see a pattern that tells you what your audience likes the most about your site. These themes often give you clues about what your next product could be. For example, as I continue to cover free Google tools, tips and news in my blog on Tuesdays, I've noticed that this is the day that I tend to have the most subscribers reading every entry. With that information I was able to create a free Christmas gift for my audience that they'll be able to use as a reference guide. Your next best selling software idea, book or tool could come as a result of watching topic popularity, if you learn how to track audience response. Method Two: The Subscription Model When you're blogging daily, sometimes several times a day, and much of the information on your blog continues to be useful months after you publish it, your audience is probably aware of this. Search engines may be doing a fine job of helping your fans find the information they're looking for at your site, but you'll also find that a cross-section of them would rather digest a periodic collection of your posts for use at a later time. Should you find this to be the case, instead of purging your archives, you can create a "Best of" compilation on a weekly or monthly basis, and charge for electronic distribution. Or you could charge advertisers to be featured in these periodicals the same way you would a newsletter, and offer them to your audience at a discounted rate, as a premium version of your present ezine. Method Three: Turn Your Archives into an Ebook With a blog that focuses on a narrow, popular theme, you could be sitting on a gold mine and not even be aware of it. Whether your blog contains tips for newbies in your field, expert advice for veterans, or success strategies that build on each other, you could be in the position to supply a demand for needed information. There are a couple of tricks you'd have to learn to convert your archived blog posts into an ebook, but you'd be surprised about how easy this process can be. Method Four: Make Your Entire Blog Into a Printed Book I know what you're thinking. "Why would anyone pay for my blog as a book when it's free at my site?" Under certain circumstances, you'd be surprised to find how many people would rather have a portable collection of your blog posts when the quality is consistent. The online version of your blog is the ultimate free trial. Many sites have been using this logic long before the web log came along to allow users to preview their services. For example, the sheer volume of the free traffic generation tips on my site was repeatedly described during my informal poll as "overwhelming". It's one thing to try and read 2000 web pages in front of your computer, but it's not as daunting to peruse a 400 page book in the comfort of your home. Converting your blog into a yearly volume may be a viable solution if consuming the amount of data in your archives is a daunting task. And there are ways to accomplish this that have no start-up costs. If you're still not convinced that it's not worth the set-up to convert your blog into a periodical, ebook or printed edition, consider this. On Monday morning I issued a press release regarding the transformation of my blog to a book, as a test to measure interest. It's almost 4 a.m. Pacific time as I write this, and so far it has been read over 23,000 times, resulting in a distinct increase in general traffic, not to mention the best initial sales debut of any product at my site since this past summer. Just imagine what that kind of interest could do for your site - and how much money you may be leaving on the table right now. Making your blog available in other formats is worth a look.
RSS is Not Only for Blogs
Contrary to popular opinion, RSS is not only good for delivering content from your blog, although blogs are what made RSS so popular.
The Key To Marketing With Blogs
I've spent months answering questions from marketers about blogs and blogging and how they fit into the marketing mix. Still, 99% don't understand the power of blogging.
Marketing With Blogs and RSS - The Hot New Tools of 2005
In case you haven't heard, the net is buzzing with talk of blogging and RSS. Once the province strictly of people who got a kick out of publishing online diaries, and later of political and social commentarists, blogs and RSS are being adopted by the internet marketing community.
7 Tips for Successful Blogging
So, you have a blog! Do you have traffic? Do you know how to build traffic to your weblog? There are seven proven methods for building readership of your blog. They start with defining the purpose, or life, of your blog. Then, after you have a blog worth promoting, driving traffic is crucial to your ongoing success at blogging.
How To Create A Blog
Blogs are more permanent than posts to an online discussion list, more dynamic than older-style home pages. They are more personal than traditional journalism, and definitely more public than diaries. A blog is often a mixture of what is happening in a person's life and what is happening on the Web, a kind of hybrid diary site. So, there are as many unique types of blogs as there are people.
Writing Quality Blogs
Writing?Blogs?Blogs are on-line journals where people express themselves through writing. Writing?Writing is the process where one puts down words of a language on a format that others can read. This process has not been around very long, to use one of my writing teacher's favorite sayings, "Writing has only existed for one day in the one year that humanity has existed." Speaking and thinking come much easier than writing. These processes just flow out naturally like a river of consciousness; sometimes we hardly have to think about doing them. Anyone and everyone can write words down on paper but that doesn't mean it's 'good writing', myself included. Like most things in life, our society already takes writing for granted which is proving to expose more of our ignorance. Writing is a new form of expression, and if we want to do it in a way that the masses can connect with our ideas, we have to think much more simply and clearly about this art. Now that was quite a big paragraph, you've got to wonder if I really needed to say as much as I just did to introduce this article on the best way to write your blogs on the Web. I didn't even mention this main idea, and that's what an introduction paragraph is meant to be for. This is a common mistake in many blogs out there. We try to get too many ideas across in one paragraph, sometimes even in one sentence! The key, as in all things in life-is to keep it simple. Simplicity means that readers won't get confused about what your journal entry is actually about. Introduce your main general topic at the start, and use the subsequent paragraphs to discuss separate ideas that relate to this topic. Try to tie everything up in the concluding paragraph, your main argument and the reason why you've written in the first place. Grammar and sentence construction are not easy systems to master, especially if you come from a school system that spent more time telling you about historical battles and quadratic equations than on how to read and write. This is a real problem. When we speak we can get messages across to others easily, but if we put these words down on paper, the writing just isn't interesting and doesn't connect with people's curiosities and fascination. When you write you are not talking to a close friend. You can't use slang and colloquialisms that only your local community can understand. The aim is to connect with all the people in the world, so let's make it crystal clear and enjoyable to read. Your computer has spelling and grammar checks, as well as access to a thesaurus. Use them, but remember that the machine can't decipher all the intricacies of language. Language is a world in itself, and much of its territories are undiscovered by the masses. So, again keep it simple. Short, precise sentences with single ideas are great. Many words in the English language have the same meanings (synonyms). Use the thesaurus so you don't repeat the same word over and over throughout the text. It keeps the story fresh and doesn't turn the reader off. There's nothing more boring than repetition. Using different words can be a lot of fun and a learning experience, just make sure you use a dictionary (also on the computer/Internet) to make absolute sure of the word's definition. Readability?Simplicity?Make your blog accessible by all people. You can even take into consideration that many readers will have learned English as a second language. As I've said in previous articles, keep to the point-don't go on tangents. Stick with the article's topic, and definitely stay within the realms of your blog's main area. If your blog is entitled "Jazz music", people who go there don't want to hear about how your football team won on the weekend! Please be consistent. How irritating is it to visit a blog that hasn't been written on in months or years? I hope these little tips will help you on your quest to producing 'good' writing that brings new friends and acquaintances of similar outlooks into your world. If you want people to read, the aim is to produce an emotional reaction in your reader. Pretend you are writing to another form of yourself, if it were not readable, interesting and fun?would you stick around?
Blogging Your Way To Success Part 4
(Continued from Blogging Your Way To Success Part 3)
Blogging Can Improve Your Search Engine Ranking
Search engines are after one thing ? providing their users with the most relevant and up to date information to match the search term that was used. Search engine results are no good to users when the information doesn't relate to the search term. Nor are the results any good if they are old. People expect the most up to date, fresh information that is relevant to them.
Use RSS to Get Your Sites Indexed Overnight
As you may know, Google has it's very own blogging service called Blogger.com. If you start a blog with them, you'll have your own page on the blogspot.com domain which is currently ranked number 32 of the most visited domains on the planet according to Alexa. What does this mean to you? If your pages are being linked to by a site with that high of a ranking, it will increase your sites ranking. But that's merely a side benefit of using this method. The real benefit of following this guideline is having your pages indexed nearly overnight.
Brief History of Blogs
So where did all these blogs come from? How did they get from an underground geek toy to a mainstream tool that has revolutionized politics, journalism, marketing and the media?
Why I Use Bloglines as My Default RSS Reader
Choosing a decent RSS reader to browse and read your favourite RSS feeds was not a straight forward task. I tried and tested many different windows desktop readers but I ended up uninstalling them for one reason or another. Then I found Bloglines and I am pleased to say I have not yet been disappointed with it.
What is Blogging?
Blogs have been around for many years but have recently become somewhat a new 'craze'. A Blog is short for Web Log is basically an online journal. They can be set up at little to no cost at all, and can be used for a wide variety of things. Some bloggers just blog for the fun of it, while others tend to use their blogs for business reasons.
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