The Big Bad Blog World

Joe D

Finding Blogs Worth Visiting

There are thousands of Weblogs, with dozens more being published each day. Within this plethora of views, links, and information, it is a difficult and time consuming task to find the better Weblogs constantly updated with relevant material. Here are a few Weblogs that have caught the attention of many bloggers.

Blogs range across the entire spectrum of interests and views. On the end of the spectrum are sites like Slashdot.org and DrudgeReport.com, which focus on news stories of general interest. Others, such as Librarian.net, are devoted to more specialist topics.

Weblogs maintained by experts in their fields are usually worth bookmarking and reading each day. One of the many long-running sites worth visiting is eJournal published by Dan Gillmore; it provides some of the latest news about Silicon Valley.

www.scripting.com, by Weblog guru Dave Winner, is one of the oldest and most revered expert sites around. Another experienced and interesting Weblog is www.useit.com by Jakob Nielsen, formerly Sun Microsystem's Web usability guru and now a user interface consultant. There are even many blogs about Weblogs. Another interesting observation is how many blogs went down in 2007, many after five year plus successful runs. As we all know, there is a big difference between critical success and financial success.

There are many Weblogs that, while having a general focus, range across a broad area of interests and make interesting and eclectic reading. At his www.obscurestore.com Weblog, Jim Romenesko offers a daily compendium of news-and-gossip newsbytes. Another experienced blogger, Jorn Barger, offers interesting links on art and technology each day at the www.robotwisdom.com, while www.agonist.org is a well-designed news-oriented blog.

Of course news Blogs are everywhere and range from the right to the left of the political spectrum. One of the huge Weblogs for views and links on political and world news is Blog Left.

Other news sites that are worth a visit are Andrew Sullivan’s blog at AndrewSullivan.theAtlantic.com and the excellent and well designed Morning News at TheMorningNews.org. There are a vast range of computer related Weblogs and MacInTouch at www.macintouch.com gives one a taste of one of the better blogs on computer views and links.

These sites provide the viewer with a glimpse of some of the best Weblogs, but we have not yet even touched the surface of the vast range of good Weblogs out there. One of the best ways to find the right Weblogs to suit your interests is to visit Weblog portal sites. There are a number of avenues to the world of Weblogs that often provide categorized listings by Weblog subject category. Eatonweb is one of the best Weblog directories, providing a wide range of categories to search through as well as a search to find specific subject areas, while Blogroots bit the dust. To help you find the best blogs, a list of highly recommended Weblogs can be found at The Guardian site, Guardian.co.uk, and blogs.Guardian.co.uk/index.

It is a good idea to access new aggregators to view the latest Weblogs and news feeds. Apart from recommendations you might find on the Web, it is often best to choose those that suit your personal taste and fields of interest. The best way to do this is to trawl the various news aggregators and Weblog sites. A good one was always Amphetadesk, at Disobey.com/amphetadesk, but it’s a somewhat time-consuming way of finding blogs and news sources and it appears someone is losing interest there. It does, however, have the advantage of being free, but that may also explain the updates. A news aggregator that shows potential is Feedreader and can be downloaded from www.feedreader.com. Another application worth trying is Newsisfree at newsisfree.com.

Better Known News Aggregators

NewsGator [NetNewsWire] (.NET)
AmphetaDesk (Windows, Macintosh, Linux)
BottomFeeder (Windows, Macintosh, Unix)
NewzCrawler (Windows)
Radio UserLand (Windows, Macintosh)
Sharp Reader (.NET)
Syndirella (.NET)

How to Start Blogging

One of the hallmarks of Weblogging and part of the reason for the increase in blogging popularity is how easy it has become to publish your own Weblog. You can of course create your own Web page and submit it to the various Weblog portals and search engines. However things have been made a whole lot simpler. There are numerous services now available on the Internet for potential bloggers. One of the most popular services is www.blogger.com. Simply register at the site and you can immediately start creating your own blog; and it’s free. The entire site is template driven and very user-friendly. Once you have entered the site you can choose to create a new blog and give it a name. There is also the option to use ftp to host the Weblog on your own server. From Blogger you can enter your views and links, and update and edit them at any time. A very useful innovation is the ability to add to your Weblog on the fly while surfing the Web. This is achieved by an additional component called BlogThis, which is installed in your browser, enabling a one-click facility to add Web page references and comments directly from your browser into your blog. There are many other services and applications that provide easy blogging. These include Userland Software Userland.com and Movable Type Movabletype.org.

Of course creating your own Weblog is only the beginning. Once your Weblog is up you now have to advertise it, which can be a lot more difficult than creating the Weblog. And remember adult blogs must generally be stand-alone. A useful start in learning about making your Weblog known can be gleaned from an excellent article on marketing from Clickz entitled Meet the B-Blog at Clickz.com. Further useful blog marketing information can also be found in this great article at Clickz.

A big blog to bite the dust was IT Blog Onlineblog at www.onlineblog.com. Other major declines in the last year include www.alwayson-network.com, www.microcontentnews.com, Tomalak’s Realm Weblog at www.tomalak.org, and directory www.blogroots.com. So if you are starting out or struggling to create some blog ROI, there are plenty of examples of once-greats who for whatever reason are now cast along the roadside. The key is unique content and innovation just as in every other aspect of every industry.

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