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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Increase traffic and enhance reputation via SezWho?

I have been informed that BlogCatalog, a social network for bloggers which claims a membership of over 100,000 bloggers together with SezWho will be providing a system for comment tracking and ranking platform for bloggers. This sounds like good news for me who post comments extensively and most are what I believe to be good, helpful comments based on comments left by grateful bloggers. It will be launched on 31st January 2007 and I will probably be signing up.

BlogCatalog said they will create a network with a searchable directory to connect bloggers with a wider audience and provides a support group for discussion and collective action. It appear to me that this searchable directory may help bring more traffic to my blogs, and to yours too if you decide to sign up like what I intend to do. By doing so, I (and you) will be able to create a personal profile for the network thus creating more exposure for me and other bloggers who sign up for SezWho. If you like avatars, you can create an avatar for the profile. Your profile will get a listing in the blog directory, one more way to get inbound links for your blogs plus greater search engine visibility plus improved PageRank and even possibly direct hits from the directory itself. I am a retired scientist, and perhaps I will chose Albert Einstein, the genius who somehow created hypothesis and theories that are just out of the world and practically incomprehensible for the vast majority of the inhabitants of this physical world, as my avata. See an example of such a profile below:

BlogCatalog SezWho Popup
Screenshot titled "BlogCatalog SezWho Popup" belongs to FutureWorks PR


It seems you can even download a plug-in for their blog, but until SezWho had been officially launched, I do not know how it works or how useful it may be.

If I do sign up for SezWho Comment Ranking Platform, I hope bloggers who come across comments which they find helpful will rate the comment favorably and thus increase my rating. I was told there will also be comment filtering plus you can view a contributor's commentary across the web. Well, looks like now you can keep track of what I do on the web which can be considered an invasion of privacy but which I welcome as I don't really have much to hide. This may be what you may see in the comment system:

BlogCatalog SezWho Integration
Screenshot of BlogCatalog SezWho Integration by FutureWorks PR


For bloggers who have been providing good and useful content, here is your chance to enhance your reputation in the Blogosphere.

Peter Chen's nice graphic signature

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Essential tools for bloggers

Depending on the topic you blog on, the tools you need will vary. One thing you just cannot do without - a computer.

Computer for bloggers

What kind of computer will also vary depending on your preferences and habits. For me, I do very heavy multi-tasking. Now when I look at my task bar, I see 3 browsers (that is few because it is not infrequent I have 6 browsers) opened with multiple tabs, 2 Excel files, 9 Notepad files and my favorite photo editor, the free Irfanview photo editor. Today is my less busy day and that is considered light multi-tasking. In any case, when my son saw the way I used my old computer, he suggested getting a Core-2 processor computer which he says is better for multi-tasking, and I think he was right. Previously, frequently the computer hang on me, forcing me to either shut down from Task Management (ctrl+alt+delete) or if that failed, I have to keep my finger pressed for a long period of time on the start button of the computer. What do they call that? I think there is a name for that but my 59 year old natural computer have stored in a a place I cannot retrieve at the moment. Now that is no more with my new Core-2 processor computer. Now he is suggesting I get a 4 core (or quad core?) processor computer. Maybe he is eyeing my current Core-2 processor computer. Wait till I get rich.

Anyway, if you are in the market for a new computer for your blogging task, perhaps you should consider Coupon Chief as they have a section Computers and software category.

Computer accessories for bloggers

A computer is only a basic to start off. Dell computers may be one source you may want to consider. You will find discounts like "$230 off" and "50% off", etc.

In truth, once you have set up your blog and if you are satisfied with not too fanciful posts, you can actually continue to blog from a suitable hand phone. But for me, I need computer accessories. Most people think Dell sells only Dell computers, but if you check the above website, you will find stuff like Canon Powershot digital camera, wireless headphone system (at time of publishing) etc.

Less well known source include onsale.com and many others. There you wouldn't see discounts but things like "special offers", "free shipping", "flexible financing", etc. Go check for yourself.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

How to get back lost "blogroll" or Link List after upgrading from old classic template to New Blogger template

Before I even start discussing topic in title, my advice is save a copy of your old classic template before you do anything like upgrading to New Blogger template. Yes, I know, Blogger said they will save a copy for you, but in order to get that old classic template after upgrading, you have to revert to old classic template from your now New Blogger template, which means if you do not follow the advices given in these posts:

Backup New Blogger template PLUS Page Elements and changing to another New Blogger template

How to backup New Blogger Page Elements

you may lose a lot of things when you revert to the old classic template to get that template. By saving a copy, you need not revert to the old classic template to get the previous old classic template before you upgrade. In any case, why only depend on Blogger. Why not keep a copy yourself and be under full control of your own template? It also serve as an extra backup in case anything happen, and there is only good that can come out of such a move.

A further reason why you should do the above is, you can have easy access to whatever customization you may have done in the old classic template which you will lose when you upgrade to New Blogger template.

An example - the "blogroll" or Link List. In the old classic template, it is in the form of HTML for an unordered list plus hyperlink HTML tags. I give an actual example below which uses the title "Blogger Resources" (which, I am an eternal optimist, I hope someone who find blogs like this one helpful, plus wants their visitor to have access to the same kind of information and/or help they get from this/these blogs, will add to their blog, with deletion of whatever they don't want of course:

<h2 class="sidebar-title">Blogger Resources</h2>
<ul>
<li><a href="http://blogger-tricks.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Blogger Tips and Tricks</a></li>
<li><a href="http://bloggerfordummies.blogspot.com" target="_blank">Blogger for Dummies</a></li>
<li><a href="http://testing-blogger-beta.blogspot.com" target="_blank">Testing Blogger Beta</a></li>
<li><a href="http://dummies-guide-to-google-blogger.blogspot.com" target="_blank">Dummies Guide to Google Blogger</a></li>
<li><a href="http://tips-tricks-google-blogger.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Tips and Tricks for Bloggers</a></li>
<li><a href="http://google-pack-components.blogspot.com/" target="_blank?>Google Pack makes your PC more useful</a></li>
<li><a href="http://my-photo-store.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Picasa, the friendly photo organizer and photo editor</a></li>
<li><a href="http://generating-revenue-from-your-site.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Generating Revenue from your Site</a></li>
<li><a href="http://adsense-alert.blogspot.com" target="_blank">AdSense Alert</a></li>
<li><a href="http://firefox-alert.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">FireFox Alert</a></li>
<li><a href="<a href="http://www.shareresults.com/t/url.php/cid/2702/sid/6451" target="_blank">Free Image and Video Hosting</a></li>
</ul>


Preferred method of adding Link List (blogroll) to New Blogger blog

Most less knowledgeable bloggers will use the Link List Page Element to make their "blogroll". My advice is, don't, if you can help it. It is good if you don't want to bother with HTML (which is not difficult to learn, especially if you read sufficient number of posts in my blogs, but that Link List Page Element cannot be backed up. Something happened and you are forced to fall back to your backup template, your Link List is gone, no more. You will have to recreate it from scratch.

Use a HTML/Javascript Page Element to make your "Link List". Now not only you can save it as a backup, you can be very flexible like adding target="_blank" (or target="new") attribute to make the link or links open in new windows, etc.

Note: target="_blank" had been depracated (mainly because of those darn mobile divices like hand phones that can display web pages, etc), and so don't know how long that is going to last.

How to get back "blogroll" or Link List after upgrading to New Blogger template

If the above did not already give you an idea as to how, here are some clearer instruction. Backup your current New Blogger template PLUS any Page Elements that can be backed up. Then revert back to your previous old classic template or open your saved backup old classic template file if you have one. Get the HTML for the "blogroll" or "Link List" from the template (it will like something like the example I gave in the scroll box above). Now you either have the choice of using the URL's from that HTML to add to a Link List Page Element, or use my recommended method of using the HTML/Javascript Page Element instead. The later will be easier and better. You can even just paste the HTML into the HTML/Javascript Page Element "box" itself.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bloggers, digital cameras and pixels

Why bloggers need digital cameras

I don't know about you, but I blog on all kinds of topics from A to Z. I have travel blogs, and for these kind of blogs, a digital camera is essential. Even "political" blogs like Blog for Positive Changes which one may think should be mostly text only content may need photos as you can see from the number of photos in this post - Long March for Justice and Rally for clean and fair elections. A blogger minus a digital camera is like someone confined to a wheelchair - handicapped.

Types of digital cameras

There are various types of digital cameras. Some cheaper ones only have a view finder with an eyepiece for you to peep at the subject but you will not see what is actually going to be photographed. Others have an LCD display which shows exactly what is going to be photographed. Some have fixed lens. Some offer optical zoom. Forget about the digital zoom as it is of no use to you. Some more expensive ones have anti-shake compensation so even if you moved the camera while taking the photo, it will not be blur. The game by digital camera manufacturers is to push huge megapixel digital cameras, of course, at higher prices. You should not fall into their trap and get sucked into buying a huge megapixel and more expensive digital camera than you need. Photographers who need huge megapixel cameras are those who intend to print their photos in large format prints. Most bloggers don't need that as large digital photos uses up lots of storage space and takes a long time to upload and, more important, download. You probably have to resize downward your large format photos with a photo editor like the free Irfanview photo editor before you upload it to your blog.

This is not to say that large format digital photos are useless for bloggers. Often, you may need to crop a small section of the photo especially if the object you want was photographed from far away, and in this case, cropping from a large format photo will help to preserve the size and sharpness of the photo. This is especially useful if you don't have a digital camera with a zoom lens.

SLR digital cameras for bloggers

The best digital cameras you can get are SLR (Single-lens reflex) digital cameras. SLR cameras gives you the ability to use different lens for different occasions. This can be very handy especially if you are blogging about scientific or industrial topics. Now, if you have owned a SLR film camera before, there is a possibility that you can use your old lenses for the new SLR digital camera. This is especially true for digital cameras like Nikon D40. Nikon D40 is cheapest of the Nikon's range of digital SLR cameras. Even more important is the fact that Nikon D40 uses the Nikon F-mount for changing lenses and a huge number of lenses can use the Nikon F-mount, so you will have plenty of choices. Nikon F-mount can be used for not only Nikon lenses, but also include other lens manufacturers like Zeiss, Voigtländer, Schneider, Angénieux, Sigma, Tokina, Tamron, Hartblei, Kiev-Arsenal, Lensbaby, Vivitar, and many others.

Another factor that makes me favor the Nikon D40 digital camera is that it did not join the megapixel race. It is only 6 megapixels and I believe that is sufficient for the fussiest bloggers. If you already have some old lenses suitable for the Nikon F-mount, you can go for the cheaper Nikon D40 Body Only Digital Camera.

If you insist on getting a larger megapixels digital camera, there is the Nikon D40x Digital SLR Camera which is 10 megapixel. The choice and the money is yours.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Peter's Consultation for promoting website selling beauty products using private blog

I had a request from someone to for help to promote her website which sells beauty products and offered good rewards if I do well. So what did I do? I set up a private blog Peter's Consultation where I will be posting secret tips and tricks gained from experience through long hours and hard work. Can't afford to make those secret tips and tricks public you know, for after all, someone has offered to pay for it, and it will not be fair if what I give her is made public available to everyone for free. Plus I still have one son to put through college on my pension.

It is easy to create a private blog. After creating a Blogger account and a blog, go to the LAYOUT, post editor or other pages and click on the SETTINGS tab, then the PERMISSIONS sub-tab. You will get to a page that look like the screenshot below. Change the "Permission" setting by ticking the "Only people I choose" radio button (highlighted by red arrow pointing at it), enter an email which can be your own, click "Invite" and this will make the blog private. Now only those you invite can get to see what is inside the private blog.

private Blogger blog settings

celebrity headbandNow I found a similar website Wholesale Fashion Jewelry. Those too are beauty products. Wonder if website owner or owners may be interested in me help promote their website which sells beauty products like Headbands and Fashion Jewelry plus other dainty stuff like earrings, necklaces, bracelets, etc. It will be like killing 2 birds or more with one stone. After all, I will be putting in some hard work. Why not make it do double or triple duties, or more?

I am pretty sure I can help them. If I contact them and make an offer, wonder if they will bite. No harm trying I suppose. The worst I would get would be a rejection, but that would not kill me.

Peter Chen's nice graphic signature

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Transferring content from one blog to another

Some blogger has asked how to transfer content from one blog to another. For Google Blogger blogs, there is no way to do this automatically. First, you must make a decision. Are you prepared for extra work? That is, are you willing to edit your old post so that it is different from your earlier posts? Reason for this is, many says search engine penalize duplicate content (controversial). I try to avoid duplicate content, so if I want to keep the original post, and start another blog which I would be doing when I can somehow snatch the time to do it properly - replace Blogger Tips and Tricks which is a sub-domain of .blogspot.com to Tips and Tricks for Blogger or "Son of Blogger Tips and Tricks" which will be eventually be a New Blogger custom domain (own property, no more .blogspot.com). That is what I will slowing do. Update the old post in the old blog as a new post (different content) in the new custom domain blog, and probably put a link in the old post in the old blog to the new updated post in the new blog. This takes time and effort which you may not be prepared to put in.

Another alternative is to edit the posts in the old blog in the EDIT HTML mode. This is best done with a web browser with tabbed browsing so that you can be signed into your old blog in one tab and the new blog in another tab, and you can easily go to-and-from blog to blog. In the old blog, edit the posts one by one while in the EDIT HTML mode, highlight the whole content of the old post (click inside the post editor window, press ctrl+A, right-click and select "cut" to transfer the old post content into clipboard), create a new post in the new blog, paste the whole content from clipboard into the new blog post editor (right-click and select "paste" or press ctrl+V). Publish the new post in the new blog. Then get the URL of the new post in the new blog.

Go back to the old post editor of the old blog (which will be in a different tab in the same window if you are using a web browser with tabbed browsing like FireFox which you can get with or without other useful tools from Google Pack for your blogging task. Anyway, when you return to the post editor of the old post in the old blog, the post editor window should be blank by now. What I had done with some of the posts in Malaysia and the rest of the world is to transfer in the manner described above to a new post in Blog for Positive Changes.

To illustrate, look at Long March for Justice. Note the the post is practically bland except for a little bit of content plus a link to the new post, to which the content of the old post in the first blog had been transferred to a new post in the new blog. To make it clearer, the content of what used to be a very long post plus an embedded Youtube video plus lots of photos now have just the content below:


The content of this post has been transferred to

Pray for Malaysia: Long March for Justice


Why did I go to all this trouble and not just delete the old posts? Reason is, often, old posts already have some inbound links in other parts of the web plus there probably are links to the posts in the SERP (Search Engine Result Page) when someone search for something. If you delete the posts, then all those links become dead links (clicking on them will lead to a 404 Page not found error messages). Now by not deleting the old posts, at least you don't end up with dead links all over the web.

A further advantage is your new blog which very likely is yet to be indexed by search engines and probably have no PageRank information (worst than PageRank = 0). Now what you are doing is putting links in an old blog which probably have been indexed by search engines and is regularly crawled, and when the search engines spiders crawl your old blog, they will follow the link to your new blog and thus your new blog can be quickly indexed. Another advantage is your old blog probably have good PageRank, and getting links from websites with PageRank higher than your website is good for the new blog's PageRank.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Label counts for old classic Blogger template

A blogger wanted to know if one will see the number of posts for a certain label when one uses an old classic Blogger template. The only way I can answer is to test it out myself, which was done with a demonstration blog at Eye Care Guide, a blog which uses a classic template. You will see the labels at the bottom left of the posts.

To make it clearer, I will put a screenshot below:

old classic Blogger template labels count

The labels are highlighted by white arrows pointing at them. As you can see, there are no indications of how many posts have been tagged with a particular. In the test, I have made sure that at least one label had been used to tag more than one posts.

Hopefully, this answer the blogger's question. If you use old classic Blogger template, there will be no label count, that is, the label will not have a number beside it to indicate how many posts have been tagged with that label.
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