Interesting post today in James Farmer’s online learning blog Incorporated Subversion: E-mail updates update. Back on August 2 he asked his readers whether he should keep offering e-mail updates along with his RSS-format webfeed. Based on the response (or rather, lack thereof), he intends to stop offering e-mail announcements for every posting.
Here’s what Farmer had to say…
Yesterday, Paul Chaney of Radiant Marketing sent me an intriguing question, which I paraphrase here:
Is it possible or feasible for a professional writer to ghostwrite a weblog? Is that a potential new career path for content professionals?
My short answer is: Possible, yes. Feasible? Probably not. I think ghostwritten weblogs, if people try them, are likely to backfire. However, I do think there are viable options to employ professional writers to write blog content on behalf of others which would not constitute conventional ghostwriting…
Check out the latest entry in the weblog of Radiant Marketing Group: The Future of Blogging, In Their Own Words, Part 3. It features speculations by myself and Steve Rubel on the future of blogging. The entire series has been excellent! Well worth reading.
Thanks to Paul Chaney of Radiant Marketing Group for inviting me to comment. I’m honored to be included in such a distinguished group. (In addition to Steve Rubel, the series also features comments by Seth Godin, Rick Bruner, three of the four Cluetrain Manifesto authors, and others.)
It appears that the nickname “webfeed,” coined via a CONTENTIOUS contest earlier this year, is starting to stick in the mainstream media
My fellow blogger Steve Rubel was kind enough to point out over the weekend (while I was camping) that an Aug. 14 article by Reuters reporter Eric Auchard, Livewire: All-You-Can-Eat Headlines Served Online, features a prominent use of “webfeed.”
Here’s the relevant excerpt…
I’ve been contemplating this move for awhile now, but Wired News beat me to the big announcement today.
AMY’S NEW RULE: From now on, as of this entry, CONTENTIOUS will no longer capitalize the words web, net, or internet.
Here’s an interesting thing I’ve learned through long experience with online publishing (Web sites, blogs, e-mail publishing, more): Content that covers the basics tends to be extremely popular, over long periods of time.
“The basics” generally means explanations, introductions, and backgrounders of basic concepts, key issues, and terminology for any topic area. People love this stuff, especially online where everyone is forever playing catch-up.
A good backgrounder never goes out of style. If you offer simple, clear, and relevant backgrounder or intro-style content, that content probably will attract a lot of incoming links, and also references from blogs and other venues not just when you first publish it, but over time. This not only exposes your site to new audiences, it also can boost your search engine page ranking important if your site relies on advertising revenue.
This kind of on-target, high-quality content can yield better results with more staying power than most of the search engine optimization strategies I’ve tried or seen.
Here’s an example of a good backgrounder in action…
(NOTE: This is the final part in a series. Parts 1, 2, and 3 are also available online.)
So what’s the bottom line? What makes content good – or not? Although this is a practically infinite topic, it can be broken down.
Here are a few practical and philosophical guidelines that seem to apply pretty much across the board, regardless of the type of online venue or content…
Yet another list of interesting content from around the Web that I’d like to share.
TOP OF THIS LIST: UK Guardian political commentaries by Terry Jones, formerly of Monty Python. His latest, published July 7: In Iraq, it’s already July 9th. Here, Jones observes, “…Perhaps the most important lesson to be learnt from the handover of sovereignty ceremony in Iraq is that on no account should any ceremony actually mean anything.” Also, content professionals are especially likely to appreciate First Bomb the Language, Then the Iraqis.
Regardless of which part of the political spectrum you prefer, you have to admit wouldn’t it be fabulous if more political commentators had the skill and guts to make such poignant, pointed, and genuinely funny remarks? One of the great advantages of humor is that it helps us back away from the inflexibility of deadpan seriousness and thus open us up to seeing the bigger picture.
Find commentaries by Terry Jones by searching the archives of The Guardian and Counterpunch for “Terry Jones” (include the quote marks).
Here’s the rest of this list…
Continuing on a theme here, another buzzword that sometimes makes me cringe (although not quite as predictably as “best practices“) is search engine optimization (SEO).
A July 27 post by blogger Anil Dash (who managed to deftly win a high-profile SEO contest – to the consternation of many SEO professionals) nailed down for me what bugs me about much that I’ve seen regarding the practice, and sometimes the principles, of the SEO field.
In Optimizing Search Engine Optimization Dash points out the obvious: SEO should be a byproduct of excellent content. Good search engine placement should not determine which content is considered excellent.
I couldn’t make those points any better than Dash did, so please read his article. However, here’s an additional point he didn’t cover…
The business world is definitely hooked on “best practices.” Companies and other organizations are hungry for examples of how to do anything right from manufacturing to security to firing people and more.
I must admit, I am a bit bugged by the prevailing obsession with finding examples to follow like sewing patterns…