While there are some Web publishers that truly ‘get’ the social Web, it seems that many others–specifically corporate and mainstream media bloggers–aren’t quite there yet.  And, they won’t get it until they understand its raison d’être.

Fundamentally, the Web and the Internet came about to enable linking.

The Internet began because people wanted to link computers. The Web began because Sir Tim Berners Lee wanted to be able to link documents. The social Web is based on linking to the ideas and thoughts of others.

So why do people still hesitate before linking to another site?

  • Fear of people going elsewhere and not returning
  • Fear of low engagement
  • Fear of advertising revenue loss

But guess what? It turns out the fears are unfounded.

In a recent post, Scott Karp examines the Drudge Report, a news site completely made out of links and advertising, and explains how linking to others offers the highest engagement - go have a read.

Interestingly, the folk behind the Cluetrain Manifesto have been saying this for years.

Lesson: Link out and link lots!

Tip: Open new links in the same window; let the user be in control

Must Read: Cluetrain Manifesto

Image Credit: Furious George 81

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If you tried to leave a comment on any of our posts sometime after the 25th of August [2008] until now [17th of September 2008], please accept our apologies for making you stare of at a blank page and ignoring you.

We have fixed the problem, and the developer has to wear a propeller hat for the next week.

Now excuse me whilst I buy one on Amazon.

I will never use $id as a temporary variable in WordPress again
I will never use $id as a temporary variable in WordPress again
I will never use $id as a temporary variable in WordPress again
I will never use $id as a temporary variable in WordPress again
I will never use $id as a temporary variable in WordPress again
I will never use $id as a temporary variable in WordPress again
I will never use $id as a temporary variable in WordPress again
I will never use $id as a temporary variable in WordPress again
I will never use $id as a temporary variable in WordPress again
I will never use $id as a temporary variable in WordPress again
I will never use $id as a temporary variable in WordPress again

Update: Include absolute dates.

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So you want to put an ad or an image in your sidebar. And you want it to link to another site. And you want to do it easily, without having to muck about with the code in the text widget.

While there are many WordPress plugins that offer sophisticated ad management, there are not many that offer a simple solution.

Well, we are pleased to announce a new WordPress Plugin - Simple Image Link.

WP Simple Image Link lets you easily add images to your sidebar, be they advertisements, buttons of support or buttons of protest without the need for any HTML.

Adding Ads: No longer tricky  - Now easy

So instead of having to put all this code in your text widget:

All you have to do is fill in this form:

And Voila! It is easily added to your sidebar:

Naming Your Ads/Images

Also, imagine if you have 8 or more text widgets in your sidebar. It would be hit and miss trying to locate the correct image as they can not be named; was it on the 6th, or the 5th? Nope it was the 7th widget.

So if you include eight Image Link widgets in your sidebar, it is easier to figure out which is which because you can name them:

Pretty simple don’t you think?

You can download WordPress Simple Image Link and read about it in more detail on our download page.

If you can think of any ways to improve this plugin or just have questions, please leave us a note and we’ll get back to you asap.

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If you’re a new blogger, you need to understand the basics of HTML; whether you want to leave a comment on another blog, or you want to include a text widget on your own blog, knowing some basic HTML helps.

To help you do this, we’ve created a basic bloggers HTML cheat sheet for you to download, print up, and refer to.  If you are unfamiliar with HTML, read this post first for a brief overview, or scroll down to the end if you want some online resources to learn more about HTML.

Note: This is by no means a complete guide to HTML, but we’re fairly confident it will give you a good start. If you have any questions, or suggestions, we’d love to hear them.

What is HTML?

HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language; simply put, it’s a language used to create Web pages.   It contains embedded commands called tags that are interpreted by a Web browser; these tags allow you to format your text so it appears as bold, italicized, links, headings, lists etc.

Basic HTML Jargon

Command: A command is what you want the browser to do.  For instance, make something bold, or create a list, or link to another site - you are commanding the browser to do something.

Tags: Tags are where you place your command and are represented by the less than and greater than symbols: < >.

Generally, each command will have two tags; the opening tag [always <>], and the end tag [always </>.   In the space between them is where you put the text you want to manipulate.   Occasionally, you will need to use a single tag; this happens with image and line break commands, but they are more the exception than the rule.

Opening tag: The beginning or opening tag is always represented as

Less than symbol, command, greater than symbol e.g.: <command>

End tags are always represented as:

Less than symbol, forwardslash, command, greater than symbol e.g.: </command>

Note: Most commands require the end tag.  Of all the commands listed in the cheat sheet, only the line break command <br /> requires no end tag.

Attribute: Certain commands can be modified further by using specific ‘attributes.’  For instance, when using the font command (telling the browser which font you want to use), you can further modify it by adding a ‘color’ attribute, which will change the color of the text, or the ’size’ attribute, which will change the size of the font.   A space must always precede the attribute.

Tip: Commands are not case sensitive. However, convention calls for lower case.

Note: Stylesheets (CSS) may override some attributes. As we are not talking about CSS coding here, this should not apply to you.

A few things to keep in mind:

Tags Used for Headings are Important for SEO

Headings range from H1 (the largest), to H6 (the smallest).  This is important to know for SEO purposes. If you think something deserves to be a H1 because it is important, Google too sees it as important, and gives it more weight than it would give a H2 or H3.  It is important to remember with H1 tags, that you should only use one per page.

If you want a thorough understanding of heading tags, take a look at Stoney deGeyter’s post: How to use Hx Tags over on the Search Engine Guide blog

Bold vs. Strong Tags, and Italic vs. Emphasized Tags

There is some confusion about which command is best to use when creating italic text and bold text; let’s just clear that up quickly.

Originally, the bold tag was represented as <b>.  A new command has now come along, known as the strong tag <strong>.  While they do much the same thing, the sturdier of the two is <b>, as <strong> does not necessarily work in all browsers yet. To play it safe, use the original <b> for bold.

The same applies to the italic tag.  Originally represented as <i>, the newer command is <em>.  Again, the sturdier is <i> and should be used to ensure your italicized text appears correctly across all browsers.

Useful HTML Online Resources:

Online HTML Tutorial:

W3 Schools offers free tutorials and references relating to web development, from basic to advanced.
Their references cover all Web-building technologies, including W3C standards like HTML, XHTML, CSS, XML as well as other technologies like JavaScript, PHP, ASP, SQL.

Additionally, with their online HTML editor you can edit the examples and experiment with the code as you learn it.

W3Schools HTML Primer
W3Schools HTML Tutorial

Other online HTML Resources:

HTML Basics 101: from The University of South Dakota

WebMonkey: Free public resource for Web workers

Color Lovers : Thousands of colors and their HEX values; searchable.

Cheat Sheets:

Bloggers HTML Cheat Sheet (PDF)

More advanced HTML Cheat Sheet from Added Bytes

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Basic Blogging Tips

This is a guest post by the lovely Kat, from Big Girls Don’t Cry, and talks about her trials and tribulations when it comes to blogging basics.  Take a look at the four main issues she had, and her solutions.

Starting To Blog

When I started blogging a year or so ago, there was much about blogging that confused me.  Here are the main problems I encountered, and my tips; hopefully they’ll help you too.

Choosing the right blogging software

When you start blogging, you first need to address which blogging software to use.  In my case, I use WordPress, (the software and wordpress.com) and Blogger.

For me they are the best, of course, there are many more.  All you have to do is Google ‘blog software’ and sift through to find what suits you.  All three I use are available for free.

What you need to ask yourself is: Do I want a one page blog or a blog that can accommodate many pages, much like a website?  Blogger only allows for one page; WordPress gives you the flexibility to have many pages, which is handy if you are trying to create a website feel/look.

Coming up with content for your blog

When I first started Big Girls Don’t Cry, my content was entirely about the plus size world.  This entailed fashion, discrimination, health, fitness - anything that has to do with being overweight or obese.

You need to decide what you want to write about, and then research it.  I’ve found keeping a note book is really handy, so if you see or read something in a magazine that could potentially be a blog post, you can quickly scribble it down.

If you find it difficult to find something to write about, here is a great resource I found for finding content for your blog.  Lorelle’s blog also offers useful tips about using WordPress.

Putting ads on your blog when you don’t know HTML

For me, this was the most difficult to do because I have no programming or Web knowledge other then doing searches on the web, so putting ads in my sidebar was tricky.  Luckily, when you apply for an affiliate program they will email you the HTML code, and show you what the ad will look like; you simply cut and paste it.

Understanding broken links

While not obvious, when you include links in your posts, you should always check them every couple of months to see if they are still valid (that they actually go to the right place).

It helps you because if your readers can trust your blog to give the correct information, then your community will grow.  No one likes sloppy work, and you should include this practice as part of your blog plan; a good online link checker is available at W3C

Blogging Tip 1: Create several pillar posts

Take a look at this post on why writing well is crucial for new bloggers.  Note: If you’re not familiar with pillar posts, check out the characteristics of pillar posts.

Blogging Tip 2: Include images in your posts

Sometimes a picture tells a thousand words and is extremely eye catching.  I use the creative commons license for images at Flickr to get images for free.  Take a look at Skellie’s post if you’re not sure how to use free images from Flickr.

Blogging Tip 3: Institute an Editorial Calendar

Creating an editorial calendar enables you to organize yourself and stay on task.  For instance, one of my categories is Health, so on Monday’s I could write a post about health; another category is recipes, so on Tuesday, I could include a recipe.  You get the idea.

If you need help, take a look at this post on how to create an editorial calendar, or download this editorial calendar worksheet and just fill in the blanks.

I hope you find all of this information helpful to starting up your own blog.

Happy blogging!


Image source: Flickr: Liewcf

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