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Since I call this “your blogging classroom on the web”, I decided it was time we talk about homework; or that behind the scenes stuff we often put off.

Today’s Lesson

As many of you have noticed, I decorated my blog for the holidays.

Since I use a theme which has the “custom header feature”, adding the photo was simple. For the RSS widgets I searched for “holiday icons” and then recoded my widgets.

Listed below are a few new (to me) plugins I am testing.

  1. First is Sexy Bookmarks by Josh Jones and Norman Yung which is visible at the bottom of each post.

    The Sexy Bookmarks plugin is easily customizable, looks good, doesn’t take up too much space and is positioned so readers will be reminded to Tweet, Digg, or use StumbleUpon, etc. to share a post.

  2. The “Follow Me” plugin by WP Burn.com can be seen on the right of the page.

    This plugin is to remind our readers they can follow us on Twitter. The customization includes using different colors as well as different Twitter birds images.

  3. The Wibiya toolbar can be seen at the bottom of the page.

    What I like about this toolbar is if you don’t want to clutter up your sidebars with an RSS feed, recent posts, etc., you can include them in the toolbar.This isn’t a plugin, but more of an add-on which requires an invitation. Just go to the Wibiya site and follow the instructions. In a matter of days you should receive an email from them and at that time you can set up an account and customize your toolbar.

  4. Thanks to the suggestions from both Internet Strategist @ GrowMap and Betsy at Passing Thru I added Zemanta and Apture.

    In a nutshell, these two applications which work for all blogging platforms* make blogging easier and faster by suggesting photos, links, related articles, etc. for our posts. (Disclaimer: I’ve only tested them on WordPress.)

    Zemanta adds a interface to your dashboard from which you can drag and drop photos and/or links into your post as you’re writing it.

    Image representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...
    Image via CrunchBase

    Apture adds icons which when clicked on, does the same.

    Zemanta also adds a “reblog” feature at the bottom of the post which makes cutting and pasting quotes much easier, plus and an option to add links to other posts which may be beneficial to our readers.

Thus far, the only downside I see to using some of the above applications is they do slow down the page load time.

Today’s Assignment

What are your favorite plugins or applications?

Care to share?

signature for blog post.

Footnote: When using Zemanta on a self hosted blog, the Zemanta plugin must be used. For WordPress, the plugin can be downloaded here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


Today as I was digging through my archives, I found many posts I had forgotten about.

Here’s a recap of my favorites in no particular order.

Today’s Lesson In Self Promotion

Funniest Picture In A Post: “Do You Walk Your Talk Or Are You Just Blowing Smoke?”

Most Controversial PostL (Created motivation for other bloggers to write their own posts on freedom of speech) Blog Losses Massive Traffic Due To Profanity

Highly Visited Post: (according to statistics) “Blogging Etiquette – The Unwritten Rules”

Post Receiving The Most Comments (105): :Four Day Open Mic 8/21 to 8/24/08

My Corniest Post (it’s a poem):“I Love To Blog”

My First Post: My Blog Had A Baby”

Most Misleading Title: “Blogger Exposes Herself, Traffic Soars”

Most Gratifying Post: Join Me In Helping A Fellow Blogger

Post With The Most Links: : 1066 Links, Lessons or Tips For Bloggers

Most Educational Series: Interview With Lorelle VanFossen – Part 9 – A Recap Plus A Bonus

Today’s Assignment

Knowing our archives are often forgotten, how do you self promote ensuring your previous articles get more attention?

Photo Credit: sh0dan’s photostream

Remember when I wrote “Psssst, Your Blog Is Showing”? We all took a second look at our blogs to see was what was showing above the fold. Some of us will make changes, others liked what they saw, and still others aren’t sure what to do.

In the comments, Al (of 7P Productions,) reminded us we also have to consider our audience. That’s true. Without readers, what do we have? An online journal?

Keep in mind, many of our readers are NOT other bloggers. They are people from the “outside world” who don’t know how to dig through our archives, our “Articles” page, or to click on “keep looking”.

Today’s Lesson

Blogs could be compared to a large fancy candy store with lots of choices that are inviting and intriguing.

Let’s enter.

In a big candy store, we often don’t know where to start. Customers grab their sacks, go from bin to bin picking out the candy they like, and with scoops, fill their bags. Some will take their time, read the ingredients, carefully weighing each bag, and then double check one last time, before leaving the store. They don’t want to miss a thing.

Many blog visitors do the same.

They land on our blog, look around, may read our current post, and then look around for more.

A problem arises if our current post is the only thing they can find. What happens if they can’t identify with the subject of our current post? Then what? Will we ever see them again? Maybe not.

We need to ask, are we giving them “eye” candy? Recent posts? Popular articles? Related and/or random posts?

Or, are we limiting their choices?

Today’s Assignment

Are you giving your visitors an assortment of eye candy, or just one choice?

When a visitor lands on your blog, how easy can they find previous posts of yours?

How much time would they have to spend digging?

Still not sure, have a friend or fellow blogger test this theory.

Photo Credit: -Sunny- *away till August 17th*’s photostream

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