Blogging Nostalgia

I started blogging on WordPress back in the summer of 2008. I managed to keep it going through until January 2011, which is quite an achievement in itself. Then, for whatever reason (laziness) it just kind of fizzled out. This was all on my previous site, chris-smith-web.com. I was struggling for a domain name. Can you tell? Don’t bother visiting – it just redirects back here these days.

I started up again on this site, chrissmith.xyz, in late 2014 and am still going in January 2017. Go me!

When 2 Become 1

You’ve guessed where this is going. I recently had the idea of closing down the old site and importing all the blog posts into this site. Everything in the one place, less maintenance. Easy win. And surprisingly easy to do. Good job, WordPress! When I publish this post it will be my 89th in all. Zoiks! Let’s try to hit the ton.

When I Were a Lad

I’ve found it fascinating looking back at some of the things I wrote about in the early days. Cue harp music and wobbly faces. It goes to show how fast things move. Here are some of the topics I covered:

Web 2.0 – what version are we on now? (Aug 2008)

In the past websites were a one-way read only process, an online brochure which people visited to get information. Now, with the whole concept of Web 2.0, it’s all a two-way interactive process with customers or fans playing an active part in a website.

Gold.


Chrome, when it was Google Chrome and still in BETA (Sep 2008)

Having another browser on the scene, and with a big name like Google behind it you know it’s going to have a lot of users, means more testing and increases my chances of having to recode.

Hmm. Didn’t imagine it would be quite so good.


Link exchanges, when that was a thing (Sep 2008)

Don’t listen to anyone, not even me.

Excellent advice.


Responsive design, kind of, whatever, I’m claiming it (Sep 2008)

The majority of users in the UK use a Windows PC with Internet Explorer 7 and a screen resolution of 1024×768 pixels.

Ouch.


Although a lot has changed there’s actually a lot of good stuff in there that still holds true. I’m quite impressed. Now I just need to get some other people to read it.

The new language of Social Media

Social Media SpeakAs a linguist I find the evolution of language fascinating. The concept of Web 2.0 seems to have brought with it a whole new vocabulary, some new words and some new meanings for existing words. I’ve listed a few here. If you can think of any more I’ve missed please feel free to comment and add to it.

Application
An application is a program which runs on a social network. Applications can easily be shared and published.

Avatar
A picture or graphic used online to represent a person’s identity. This could be a photo, a cartoon or often just an amusing graphic.

Blog
Blog is short for weblog. A blog is like an online diary. It’s a series of articles or posts, with the date marked, generally updated quite regularly. These articles can be categorised, searched, tagged and consumed as RSS feeds.

Blogspace
A network of blogs and all their interconnections.

Blogosphere
See blogspace.

Comment
It’s common now for articles or blogs to allow their readers to interact with the content by posting a comment. These are usually found directly below the article or post. Some sites require you to create an account to comment, others simply that you provide your email address. Similarly, some comments have to be approved before they will appear, others don’t.

Consume
This is often used with feeds. Feeds can be consumed. This means that the feed content is reused and reposted elsewhere on the web.

Fan
Becoming a fan of another user or a page means you receive notifications of their activity.

Feed
A feed, also called a newsfeed or RSS feed, is a small portable file which shares a summary list of a website’s content. For example, a news site might make its headlines available for sharing. Feeds are often denoted by an orange button with white markings like this: RSS Feed

Feed Reader
A feed reader is a piece of software which consumes a feed, interprets the data contained in the feed and makes it available to read in a user friendly form.

Friend
A friend is somebody with whom you have a network connection on a social media site. Unlike the traditional sense of the word a friend in Web 2.0 can be someone you’ve never met and never intend to.

Like
You can show that you like content on social media sites by clicking a like link. Some sites use a thumbs up icon to represent the same idea.

Mashup (sometimes written “mash-up” or “mash up”)
A mashup is the combining of content from different sources to create a new entity.

Newsfeed
See feed.

Ping
A notification from a website, usually about updated content.

Pingback
A pingback is a link back to a site that allows an author to see who is linking to his/her document.

Podcast (sometimes written “pod cast”)
Content designed to be played back on personal media players, typically mp3 or video files.

Profile
A page about a person or organisation featuring information, photos, video and applications.

Report
Wherever users are allowed to publish content there is potential for it to be abused. Many sites now offer an option to report inappropriate or abusive content.

Re-tweet (sometimes written “retweet”)
To re-tweet is to reply to a post on social media site Twitter.

RSS Feed
See feed.

Sidebar
A sidebar is a vertical running menu in a blog or web page. These often control the site’s navigation as well as other widgets.

Sping
A sping is a ping or notification from a fake blog or splog.

Splog
A splog is a fake blog, derived from “spam” and “blog”. A splog will use content from another site and have no original content of its own. They exist to drive traffic to other sites or to make money from advertising.

Status
The status is a one line post on what a user is doing. It’s an easy way of keeping other users up to date with what you are doing, thinking or feeling. Other users are free to comment on your status.

Tag
Tagging a document means labelling it or assigning keywords to it. By tagging an article it makes it categorises it by your chosen keyword or tag making it easier to find.

Trackback
A trackback is a link that lets an author know who is linking to their article. It’s really just a reference which the author can see.

Tweet
Tweeting simply means posting content on the social networking site Twitter.

Unlike
Where there are options to say that you like something, there is also the option to “unlike” something. This is different from saying you dislike it, it is merely revoking your “like”.

Unfollow
Some sites such as Twitter allow you to follow another person’s work or blog. To stop following somebody you “Unfollow” them.

Unlist
If you have listed something, e.g. your website in a directory, then you can “unlist” it.

Vlog
A vlog is a video blog, a blog where all the content is in video format.

Vodcast
Vodcasting is podcasting using video.

Wall
An area on a page or profile where people can post. The owner has editorial control.

Widget
A widget is a small program which usually sits in a sidebar.

Wiki
A wiki is a website where the content is created by its users. The biggest and most famous example is Wikipedia.

Links, link exchanges and strategies

There’s so much written about links, linking strategies, link exchanges and so much conflicting advice out there. How do you know who or what to believe?

Well, it’s actually quite simple. Don’t listen to anyone, not even me. When it comes to links and what you should do let’s see what Google has to say. Google has a Webmasters section of their site which gives clear guidelines of what you should and shouldn’t do. Read it. Do it.

On the subject of links this page is a good place to start: Creating a Google-friendly site: Best practices > Link schemes.

Google’s advice: “some webmasters engage in link exchange schemes and build partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. This is in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact your site’s ranking in search results.”

In summary, links are important but it’s about quality not just quantity.

Getting links is difficult. If people like your site’s content they will link to it. The more people link to it, the more people see it and so on in a snowball effect. But… how do you get people to like your content when nobody is viewing it because you don’t have enough incoming links – it’s a vicious circle. How do you get your little snowball started down the hill?

Give it a little push. Here are 3 great ways to get going:

1. Add your site to directories, not any directory going but directories where the theme or content is relevant to your site. Try a Google search for your theme or industry plus the word “directory” or “listing” and see if you can add your site. You could also try “add site” or “submit your site” to see where you can get a free link. Before going too mad creating directory links remember it’s about quality as well as quantity – it’s all quite logical – a link from a site where you’re allowed to add your own links isn’t going to be worth as much as a link that someone else has chosen to add.

2. Get involved in forums or online communities. Find sites relevant to your site where you are allowed to contribute and join in. Don’t be obvious and steam in advertising your site but get involved in discussions, try to help people out and, soon enough, if they’re interested in what you’ve got to say they’ll look at your site.

3. Blog. Write articles or posts, just like this one, and post it on your own site or submit it to a blogging or article site. Be sure to include an interesting headline and some links back to your site. Submit this to the right blog search engines (e.g. Technorati, Digg) and it will be read and passed around gaining you not only links but visitors in the process. Pssst – I know a very good blog designer.