Blogging

The Real Blogosphere

I was talking to a friend this week about who I consider to be the core target audience of Performancing, the people that really matter to us, and the people that define who we are. I like to think of this group as “the real blogosphere”.

It’s not about a small group of noisey people in palo alto that think they’re at the center of the universe. It’s not about big media houses jumping on bandwagons. It’s about real people, quietly getting on with the business of blogging. It’s about people from all over the world striving to write about subjects they’re passionate about, using tools that help make their lives easier and wanting to earn money from their weblogs.

It’s about you, and it’s about me.

It’s about real people.

One thing that came up is how quickly Performancing has grown. With well over 12,000 members now, our combined influence is not inconsiderable right? We got there by ignoring (mostly) the blog snobs and the pretenders, and focusing on the real blogosphere, by promoting our members and their interests and by listening to the community.

Now though, it’s time for some more direction.

With work on the upcoming ad network going well, I wanted to find out what more we might do to help the community. What features, services or products we should look at developing.

One thing that came up a little while ago, suggested by Ahmed I think, was a forum for commercial exchanges. People looking to buy/sell service and start/join blog networks for example.

Let us know what you think, and what you’d like to see eh?

powered by performancing firefox

Author: nickw

43 thoughts on “The Real Blogosphere

  1. Just wanted to bring that subject “Performancing greatest hits” (see the latest comments) up front again.

    As we only have forum categories and the search it might be the right time to add some most viewed list or some rating or some tags … you know what I mean.

  2. I think we could probably just judge these by hand, it would take some time, but we could create index pages by topic wtih lists of the best titles on a theme…

  3. Not necessarily the most popular, Raj, but the kind of stuff you’d put in a FAQ or how-to book. Obviously this is subjective and could be tweaked if people think something is missing or doesn’t belong.

  4. most useful, most relevant to the motto “helping bloggers succeed”, most page views, most activity (comments), most links…

    lots of ways to judge it. I suppose it will be in the end a mix of objective and subjective analysis.

  5. How do you define best in this case? By number of page views? If so, that info is probably already in the Performancing databases. If not, then what’s the definition?

  6. best of performancing – excellent idea – shouldnt be *that* hard to set up, especially if someone had a free weekend…

  7. Good points paula, you should be able to get rss for categories, but a best of would be a great addition…

  8. How about a Performancing greatest hits for newcomers and regulars who want to refresh their knowledge? This could be done as an RSS feed and also as a growing document or index. Sort of an FAQ on steriods, perhaps with running commentary that ties the hits together and puts them in context.

  9. With reference to handling archives (as well as current posts), this one should be easy to implement: separate RSS feeds for different topics. One for monetizing in general, one for AdSense specifically, one for handling one’s community, technical issues, etc.

  10. I think tag clouds are a very intuitive tool to use. I have just published Intuitive navigation with tag clouds because I don’t want to open another sub-thread here.

    Please have a look and tell what you think about tag clouds as a possible solution for that ‘drilling deeper’ problem.

  11. I’ll try and keep an eye for it Search by topic/theme/category/keyword/date…I like the idea of offering choice and easy ways to find things fast, which is badly needed in blogs. Related to this are finding new ways of re-running popular posts for newcomers that won’t interfere with the regular visitor’s experience. Blogs, as a medium, have lots of room to grow and keep their edge, IMHO.

  12. As I’ve found reading some older blogs (and Performancing), search isn’t always enough. You can find specific strings of characters fast, but you cannot find related concepts. One of my fave blogs, which is very high profile, very popular, and profitable is a downright pain to find any concepts in articles beyond the last 7 or 8 posts. Searching does not help.

    The blogger in question is a tremendous, highly-acclaimed writer, but his blog navigation stinks because it doesn’t even have “recent posts”. He does, however, have a “related posts” list at the bottom of each post. (But there are only 5 links, so for older sites, it’s still hard to find older posts.)

    This, I believe, is what Darren Rowse does. And Kim, it doesn’t take up much space. It doesn’t even live in the navigation sidebar. Alternately, you could write your new posts to refer to relevant older posts. Darren’s written about this technique several times.

    But beyond the suggestions already made in this thread, I’m not sure anyone has come up with any other magical IA (Info Architecture) scheme in a small footprint to resuscitate older blog posts. That doesn’t mean someone won’t, of course

  13. Just to thow a spanner in the works…

    Ive been writing to a personal blog for a little while, as i feel the need to swear, and generally be much more negative and grumpy than i do at performancing heh…. and i’ve been playing around with some thoughts on navigation for this site.

    My current thought is that tags work well for me, but i want a list a of title links, not title AND description, so i can zip though a tag/category page.

    For really old content, i favor Search.

  14. You could also try what Darren Rowse over at ProBlogger.net does; created linked pages on a specific topic (using a wordpress plugin – dont know which one but he mentions it on his site) and then posts a link to the first post of that series in his sidebar.

    True and thank you for the helpful suggestion. However, my bigger concern is for blogs that are years old. The sidebar is often where revenue generating blogs want to put ads, not mess with archive workarounds that might take up good real estate.

    Tags and categories, as well as topic pages are band-aids and do help, but if bloggers expect to be online making what amounts to thousands of posts, some with muliple themes, then archive workarounds and plug-ins may become a maintenance nuisance. I’m interested in space saving ideas that gel nicely within the overall IA of a blog, ease of use for everybody who wants it (not just techies), can handle growth ….

  15. Nick, you are always welcome to post ten links about “walrus tickling in timbucktoo” … You would be the first one world wide if I can trust Google on that phrase 🙂

  16. I think Ahmed has it pretty much spot on.

    A couple of links are fine, half a dozen is not.

    Let me clarify:

    From a users point of view, outbound links to offsite, authorative sources indicate a knowledge of subject, and an authority on subject. I can write 10 articles about walrus tickling in timbucktoo and link them all together but it doesn’t make me an expert on the subject. Though if i link to a whole bunch of really useful articles and posts and discussion groups etc etc it not only provides value, but gives the user the (hopefully correct) impression that ive done my homework and know what im talking about.

    From a Performancing administrators point of view its simply a hell of a lot easier to gage intent. If i spot 10 links to the authors blogs, all with exceptionally good anchor text, im more inclined to be suspicious of intent than if I see 10 links going out to authority pages on the subject. I’d also worry that once we start publishing posts with a ton a personal links in them, we encourage others to do likewise — where would it end?

    On reprints

    Actually we encourage it. And using PFF makes it very easy to do so. Same rules apply, if it’s homepage worthy it will go out there, if not it wont. Sometimes it depends on what else has gone out during the day but most well written on topic posts make the homepage.

    Hope that clears things up from our point of view….

    Thanks again for the smashing feedback!

  17. Guys….just saying that in my view, you could go ahead and repost your article provided that it had 2-4links and not more. No need to ask the management for everything.

    Markus – pretty late at night – might have mistaken something

  18. … don’t take me so seriously … I just have no idea what link could be useful and I am sure Raj is just waiting for an excuse to flood p.com with embedded video links 🙂

    BTW, did you read my posts in this thread and what I was talking about 🙂

  19. Ahmed, can you please clarify: bashing the system? I love Performancing. I’ve never bashed it and never will. And despite your helpful comments, I’d still rather hear it from Nick or Chris.

  20. Markus and Raj,

    you guys seem to erring on the side of caution here. I figure that a couple of links are allowed, especially if they are very relevant to the discussion. Otherwise, if you’re referencing to 10 posts, that becomes excessive…

    So I’d suggest to stop waiting for Nick and Chris and if you have 2-3 links to your blog posts, just put it up. They’ll stop you when they want to.

    Kim – You could also try what Darren Rowse over at ProBlogger.net does; created linked pages on a specific topic (using a wordpress plugin – dont know which one but he mentions it on his site) and then posts a link to the first post of that series in his sidebar. That helps a lot in giving the archives some structure.

    Instead of bashing the system, if you just take a minute and think about possible workarounds you can come up with quite a few useful solutions…

  21. Reprints on P.com: Nick or Chris should make a statement. As far as I understood it relevant links are allowed.

    P.com reprints somewhere else: I did do some reprints of my p.com articles (i.e. a PFF critic) on one of my blogs and did some editing and added some links to p.com.

    Let’s wait for a statement about the p.com politics 🙂 I admit that it is sometimes pretty hard to write a nice article and to not link to already available relevant examples/information … Update: like in my comment above … I could easily have linked to my site to show Kim examples how I solved the archive problem but Id id not do it because of the guideline to not post self-promotional links.

  22. Markus, thanks, but I know that My issue is twofold. One, do the Performancing boys mind reprints? Two, I interlink to archived posts a lot. Reading the older posts is necessary to the way I write. Because the Performancing site has bloggers with many levels of experience, I cannot assume everyone who reads one of my newer posts will know what I’m saying. Without linking to my older posts, I would have to rewrite the wording of the posts I’m planning to reprint here. I don’t have time to rewrite, and just stripping links will not always suffice.

  23. Raj, reposting without links is something every HTML editor should able to do for you. Strip all or defined HTML tags and you are pretty well done.

    Kim this sounds exactly like somebody made the wrong decision for the wrong system architecture. No joke but using a more advanced system like all the nice CMS-Blog systems around and you have a solution for that out of the box or realized by plugins. You may have a look my favorite ‘Textpattern’ which offers sections and categories. If you add plugins from i.e. http://www.wilshireone.com/textpattern-plugins (look for archive or suparchive) you are almost done. using Blogger is definitely the wrong decision for that problem.

    Nick, I knew ‘a solution to manage advertising assets in one place’ would fit perfectly … but I need it in June’06 🙂

    Nick, another feature request for p.com itself … first is the PMetrics issue thing when creating bug reports … second is a test forum for posting test messages (which should be filtered from recent posts … and third I would love to have an easy recent post filter like ‘all, but PMetrics WP plugin OR test posts’ or maybe an individual possibility to subscribe/see only certain forums in the recent posts list (like the good old BBS subscriber schema).

  24. I’ve just finished writing an article on theme pyramids. I have to put together a diagram, but I’m waiting on Nick’s response to my question before I post the article here

  25. I’ll try and keep an eye for it Search by topic/theme/category/keyword/date…I like the idea of offering choice and easy ways to find things fast, which is badly needed in blogs. Related to this are finding new ways of re-running popular posts for newcomers that won’t interfere with the regular visitor’s experience. Blogs, as a medium, have lots of room to grow and keep their edge, IMHO.

  26. Kim: Might I suggest the idea of a theme pyramid? It requires building a linked set of index pages (not blog posts) to partition a full list of topics, and talk in generalities. The very bottom of your pyramid will link to your archived blog posts. I will be writing a post here at Performancing about theme pyramids very soon.

    Nick: One thing that trips me up from posting more frequently to Performancing is the general ban on outgoing links. I know that it’s a necessity for you, or everyone will be self-promoting, right? Thing is, I have so many blogs to manage and obviously finite time. I write about a lot of stuff that I think would be helpful to newbie bloggers with very little techy background. But I simply don’t have time to rewrite my articles and post them here all that often.

    What I am wondering is your feelings about reprinting? So, if I have an article already posted on one of my blogs, instead linking to it in a summary at Performancing, I would just reprint it here. Only problem is, I tend interlink a great deal to my archived posts, for reference on other concepts. I’m not sure how to get around this, without rewriting the interlinked set of posts. (Time isn’t on my side)

    Any suggestions?

  27. Markus that sounds exactly like the upcoming ad network..

    Ahmed give us a few weeks…

    Kim, totallay agree. Partly (mostly) vendor fault, but also general ignorance. Education would be one way forward….

  28. The last two suggestions would be perfect fodder for the forums to discuss and elaborate on solutions.

    Nick – it’s not simple, but I imagine neither was coming up with Performancing in the first place.

    Btw, do you guys have a tentative timetable for the ad network (and when we can take a sneak peek at it)? You’ve said end of this year somewhere else on Performancing, but surely testing will start much sooner…

  29. I’m interested in finding someone who can make archives more usable. They are a blog nightmare, I think, for long-time blogs with years of archives. All those pages of posts could be little gems of history, links, and information, with ads and text ads on them to bring in revenue. Blogger sorely lacks ways to deal with sorting blog posts for example. Some software offers categories, which is a big help. Most blogs are *immediate* resources which could be changed if there was a way to drill into them deeper.

  30. Nick, what I need at the moment and which is not easy to find is a solution to manage advertising assets in one place. Let me give you an example:

    I have a business plan to sell ads directly to customers on my website. A hotel/restaurant/store is going to book ad space on my site and I want these ads to show up on my pages and in my articles. Now I need some code which triggers the ads to show up. No big deal so far. But I would like to have a central repository where I store the ads, manage their target spaces, manage the statistics, time the ads, get reports for clients … I hope you get the picture.

    The object ‘ad’ is a piece of html code which should be injected by a script.

    I am sure this solution is great for small blogs which can’t afford to integrate a big i.e. PHP solution into their system.

  31. Awesome suggestions, thanks Ahmed.

    Need to think about that, cos it’s not a simple thing you’re talking about but in essense im enthusiastic about what you’re proposing!

  32. Since I mentioned this to Chris and Nick a long while back (when PMetrics was still in alpha), I think I should put my two cents in as well.

    First, some background to this post – I’ve watched Performancing go down as a resource for blogging knowledge ever since I started reading it. Don’t get me wrong, the quality of posts here is great, and you learn a lot, but it’s not like the early days when Nick and Chris would bang out top-notch posts day in and day out.

    Without that momentum, there’s little left of Performancing to talk about other than PFF and PM – if you see the forums, that’s mostly all what they’re talking about.

    Nick, you’ve said it several times – Performancing is supposed to be a community for bloggers (who are interested in making money from blogging). With that in mind, maybe we should do something that has the primary purpose of enabling that community to participate more?

    Ok, now for the ideas:

    Under the “Performancing Marketplace” setup, we can probably do a few things:

    1) Encourage blogging partnerships

    In the space of 2 weeks I hooked up with 5-6 different people at Performancing and while none of those contacts worked out (mostly because I was testing the market and didnt have time to take on new projects), I think there’s a lot of scope in setting up blogging teams. Everybody talks about how so few people get to be at the top of the blogging food chain – for the rest, maybe a good option would be to team up and take on the big boys together.

    The partnerships could extend to all sorts of things – blogging, design, marketing, coding.

    2) Marketplace for assets

    Fancy sounding name, but it’s basically about allowing members to exchange information about domains / blogs that they would want to buy/sell. Nick has mentioned concerns on managing such a venture and spam is one of the major things Performancing will have to deal with.

    I think if you bring in a couple of members from the Performancing community to manage such an operation you can easily cut down on spam efforts. Come to think of it, you guys will definitely need more bodies into the setup if you want to expand on a community level.

    (You can see that I want in on the action, dont you?).

    3) A more vibrant forum

    Nick, you have experience running forums (not least ThreadWatch), so you know what I mean when I say that the Performancing forums arent the same thing for bloggers as the Cre8asite forums or the DP forums are for SEOs and Internet Marketers. I would love to see more and more people talking about their issues in the forums and the community helping them out. I think you might want to get more of those “inactive” members involved, and more to the point bring the forums to the fore as another major feature for Performancing – right now people just think about it as a blog or a stats tracking service (remember how people were saying (right after PM was launched) that they didnt know they could post to their blogs?

    Personal blogs and forums – if you enhance their value, you’ll end up building a much stronger blogging community.

    Hope this helps

  33. Hi Nick, I’ve done that now and stuck it in promotion. Hopefully people will give me a few hints. I’m very interested in how this could all develop, and I’ve no doubt this will be a strong emerging ebusiness for the lower end of the market very soon – hopefully we’ll all catch some of that revenue trickle down (or find our own niche) very soon!

  34. My intent when I started the forum at Blogoplex was exactly what is being discussed here. A place for bloggers to gather and hash out the ins and outs of blogging, swap ideas, etc. Unfortunately, I have had zero participation.

    I’m certainly open to suggestions.

  35. >>performancing marketplace

    I like that.

    There are a few inherent problems though. Not insurmountable im sure, but they do need addressing:

    • Promotion – sure we want people to say “hey, im going to start a network for pig bloggers, who’s interested?”, but we dont want network owners finding excuses to post 3 times a day with promotional stuff right? We also want to know about bloggers selling blogs, but probably not aggregated services for buying and selling. —– where and how, do we draw the line between acceptable and not?
    • Spam – how do we decide what is good and what is just spamming for links?
    • Legalities – are there any potential pitfalls waiting to happen?

    >>12.000 hehe.. if only they were all active
    Im not sure we could rival sitepoint for a buying/selling blogs point of view, or even if we’d want to, but i do like the idea of keeping such things in the family as it were.

    >>So, if Adsense isn’t too good for a site with low numbers, what would you recommend?

    sounds like that would make an excellent topic of its own in the forums, feel free to start it!

    cheers!

  36. So, if Adsense isn’t too good for a site with low numbers, what would you recommend? I’m pretty much in that boat, with a relatively low amount of readers at the moment due to it being a very new site. I’d love some more direction regarding this…

  37. Commercial Exchange
    I like it. For professional bloggers – especially for finding like-minded partners, co-marketing etc., maybe bartering, blog design services, sponsorship placements/offerings. Call it The Performance Marketplace.

    Add to it a place to buy/sell blogs. SitePoint is good but one dedicated to bloggers would be better and would work seeing you’ve got the numbers (12,000 members so far).

    BTW, nothing to say 100-200 readers a day won’t bring in the revenue – all depends how you monetize it. If it’s AdSense, pretty much forget it for those numbers.

    I have a blog/site that brings in 100-150 visitors a week and I sell 6-8 units of a $39 Info Product every week. But those 100-150 are highly targeted (via AdWords). I’ve never had such a good ROI for such low numbers.

    AdSense is a different kettle of fish. My average for another blog of mine is 2000 uniques a week and of those around 4% click thru, and my average is 0.45 a click … The numbers: 4% of 2000 x .45cents = $36 a week. …hope I got the maths right 🙂

    The big difference is keeping 2000+ coming back requires ongoing blogging (research, writing and promotion) and is very time expensive and at $36 a week is a shocking ROI.

  38. I certainly hope our ad network will work towards helping those people struggling to earn income from their blogs.

    What we would like to investigate is, while we will certainly keep working on our firefox extension and the metrics service, are there tools, advice or services that you need in addition to help you blog?

    It could be something related to podcasting for example? Or something as simple as, I don’t know, a searchable directory, that kind of thing.

    Brainstorm away, perhaps ideas we can’t take up for whatever reason will be an inspiration for someone else to run with.

  39. “For people who are never going to have more than 100-200 readers a day, and therefore will never get ad revenue.”

    That just isn’t our audience unfortunately. (though i’d certainly consider them “the real blogosphere”) Other sites may cater for those folks, but we focus on people that want to make revenue.

    Having said that though, 1 – 200 readers a day is enormous for some types of blogs, it just depends who your audience is and what your goals are.

    Let’s focus on things Performancing can do for it’s core audience please, thanks.

  40. I would like to see this blog, as well as other blogs, address subjects in a more realistic manner.

    Like every get-rich-quick endeavor in society, the lure of “making it big” is a constant tease for those who work at it by those who want to sell it. But there is only so much room at the top.

    Only a very few people are going to be sports stars; others will make a living at it. The vast majority won’t, but they keep trying because of the hope and allure of stardom.

    The same goes for the movie business, the online superstore, and the blogosphere.

    Yeah, if you happen to be the one in ten million who first thinks of the paperclip idea, you can shoot to stardom. Yeah, if you happen to be really talented, hard-working, first on the scene, and pretty lucky, you can get into the B-list blogs.

    But many people are not supertalented, or don’t have the ability to make the time investment. Many people are never going to be first or fortunate like that. I’m not saying that people should give up on the hard-work or putting talent into writing. I just don’t want to see people constantly lured into what will be disappointment for the vast majority.

    So what I would like to see is: Problogger tips for non-probloggers. For people who are never going to have more than 100-200 readers a day, and therefore will never get ad revenue. They just want to make the best blog they can, in a way that doesn’t impact negatively on their life, without being told that if they just “do this” they will increase their readership to “this big amount”.

    Maybe it will, still, but I don’t think that blogging has to be about “succeeding”; just about blogging.

    Yehuda

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