Lottery results Sat 2 May

Here are the lottery results for Sat 2 May (allegedly)

10 -17 – 25 – 32 – 34 – 40 + 20 (bonus ball)

These numbers courtesty of lottery.merseyworld.com.  It’s the #1 hit for ‘lottery results sat 2nd may’.  [UPDATE: No, this post now is!]

Why?  Because two hours after this week’s draw the National Lottery site was still showing last week’s result. Doh.

That leaves a two hour gap for bloggers to exploit.

Now, what to do with all that lovely traffic….?

Hello TweetSuite

Hello from TweetSuite plugin for WordPress

This is a post to see how TweetSuite plugin works on our blog.  Install plugin, fill in Twitter details, click check boxes… and post on blog.

Result? This should appear as a tweet.  Leaves me wondering what happens to everything above 160 characters.  Truncated, I presume?

OK – test shows just title and TinyUrl to blog post.  So – it’s all in the title, guys.  Still – neat functionality.

Blogging from your iPhone

How hard is it to blog from you iPhone?

If the last few minutes are anything to go by’ bloody hard. Why? Because the WordPress iPhone App doesn’t work with self-hosted blogs, for starters – forcing you to use the iPhone’s built-in Safari browser and the dinky touch screen keyboard.

Oh – and you have to write using the HTML editor

It’s a labour of love for sure. But if you’re blogging in response to breaking news and looking to pull in that traffic, then you’ll probably be grateful that it can be done at all.

Mind you, I’ve not pressed the ‘publish’ button yet ;-)

Idiot’s guide to WordPress 2.7

Thanks to Dave Coveney at Spectacula for this free idiot’s guide to WP 2.7

In my experience, open source software can suffer from a lack of sensible documentation.  Not surprising.  Would you want to spend day after day writing a big fat manual no-one’s going to pay you for?  Not bleedin’ likely.

Which makes Dave Coveney’s ‘WordPress 2.7 User Guide’ something of a find.

It’s worth downloading this if you’re starting out using WordPress – Dave’s tips will save you some headaches and a bit of time.

Those of us who have found out some of that stuff the hard way – we salute you!

How to get extra traffic to your blog / site

Responding to what’s going on with the right titles is key to driving extra traffic to your site

Would you like hundreds or thousands of extra visitors to your site? It’s not that hard to do. Here’s how:

1) Set up a blog. Either add one as part of your existing site or create your site AS a blog (we did).

2) Keep your eye on what’s going on in the world so you know what people are searching for in Google. Google Trends will tell you the top 100 US searches. Watching TV will give you other clues. Breaking news will create waves of search traffic.

3) Write posts about the things people are searching for – with the keywords upfront in the titles. Make sure you re-iterate those keyphrases / words in a header at the start of your post.

Here’s a real world example.

Late December, someone sent me an invite to a free music streaming service called Spotify. I signed up, downloaded the player and dived into enjoying the music. It was clear that Spotify were marketing this service via ‘invites’. Each new sign-up got 5 or so invites to share with friends.

[ding!] Opportunity [ding!] It was obvious that invitations were limited but as soon as people heard about Spotify, they would be searching Google for invitations.

So I posted here to ‘harness’ that traffic.

To arrive at the keywords/phrases I asked myself what people would be searching for. “How do I get a Spotify invitation?” was my choice of phrase. So that was my title. I followed that with a header: “How do you get a Spotify ‘free account’ invitation?”

The result? Top of Google for that search question. So lots of visitors – including Spotify who gave me loads of invites to give away on their behalf. Benefit to them? I did their marketing for them.

Benefit to me? 2000+ extra music-loving visitors a week.

So that’s the principle. It’s mechanically quite easy. There’s nothing magical about this site or the posts I make. Now you can see that the mysterious – and dreaded – ‘search engine optimisation’ (SEO) simply means putting the right keywords in your post title.

If you’ve got a blog, go away and play. If you haven’t, get one started and play. Spend a few weeks just hooking into Google traffic to see how easy it is.

The next thing we’ll look at is how to use the same technique to get extra traffic from your target market to your site.

Blog comment spam: is it? isn’t it?

How to decide if comments to your blog are spam or not

First of all, expect all comments to be spam. The web exists for trash marketers, not for you and your precious content. Make sure that you have ‘moderate comments’ switched on (so that nothing goes up without your approval) and use some kind of ‘captcha’ system that sorts the humans from the robots by asking a question that only a human could answer.

Even with a ‘captcha’ system, expect plenty of human comment spammers.

These will be people who write (or paste) some quick, usually vague-sounding comment for the sole purpose of leaving a link to their trash. If the comment looks vague, it’s usually because it’s spam.

There are several things to consider when reviewing a ‘comment’. Does it actually reference anything specific in your post? Does it point to a site selling something? Does it even make sense?

I’ve got a pretty good feel for what’s spam and what isn’t but just to be sure, here are two things to help you decide.

1) Copy the comment (or the first sentence):

“Oooo! This is a point mentioned. I like when everything in place while it is understandable to mere mortals.” (Yeah, right…!)

Paste it into Google in speech marks and search. If you see it appear elsewhere, it’s 100% spam. Delete.

Of course, the fact that you can see this spam comment on those blogs at all is because they either haven’t used ‘comment moderation’ in their blog control panel or they have but they just don’t know comment spam when they see it. Doh!

2) If in doubt, remember this is your blog and always ask yourself this question: “does this comment add value to my site and a readers’ experience of it?”. If the answer is “no”, just delete.

Is blogging dead?

Blogging is dead says Radio 4’s ‘Today Show’, Twitter’s the next thing.. yawn

According to the techies cited on the Today Show, it is.  Why? Because the web is now stuffed full with faceless, automatically generated crap. I totally agree with that bit, though I disagree that blogging is dead.

Interestingly, blogging was discussed only from that egotistical point of view; all ‘me’ telling ‘my’ (hundreds of) friends what ‘I’m’ doing now.  As far as I’m concerned, from that ego point of view, blogging never got born in the first place.

What nobody talked about in any depth was what blogging actually IS: a publishing platform you can use to create and reach an specific audience (if what you say has some use, interest or other value).  Nothing about business, education or politics

Poor old John Humphries didn’t know what blogging was – or Twitter for that matter.  Luckily he was helped out by his guests, a couple of thirty-somethings.  You know that ultra-cool kind  who embrace everything. Unlike teenagers who, like, just embrace the latest thing.

So is blogging dead?

Blogs-as-diaries were dead from the outset as far as I’m concerned.  And blogs that exist just as gobbledegook loaded with AdSense Google ads should be.

Video meets Twitter – Mobatalk

Mobatalk logoMobatalk is a quick and easy way to video blog using Twitter

Mobatalk developer Michael Bailey was the man behind ‘MyChingo’ – a neat little audio comment / message recorder. I remember trying that out last year and being impressed with the quality of the audio it recorded.

‘MyChingo’ used whatever microphone you had on-board your Mac or PC (webcam, plugin, built-in) to record and store audio messages on the MyChingo server. What was especially nice was the widget you could put on your blog to let your visitors leave you messages.

What went wrong? I’m not sure – we didn’t really ever get into using it properly possibly because as fast as we’d found it, Michael put a price tag on it.

Now, there’s Mobatalk. I gave it a quick go and was impressed by how easy it was to record a video clip and get it out as a tweet. And I was also impressed with the quality of the video, too. Go there and click the ‘alpha testing underway’ link and try it out. I had a problem with the Java (the record button didn’t show up in Firefox on Mac) but I switched to Safari and it worked fine there.

Mobatalk is one of those little applications that has great potential – and the link up with Twitter makes good sense. All I can say is that I hope Michael keeps it free. ;-)

What does Google make of my keywords?

A neat idea for testing how Google judges the keywords on your site – courtesy of Adam Stone

Adam StoneHow do you know how Google sees the keywords in your website content?

Register for Adsense and put some Adsense ads on a hidden page in your site – and watch what Google serves up.

If you design blogs and the ads are for blog design services, then you’ll know that Google thinks your copy is about blogging. Success. Your keywords accurately describe your business activity to Google.

If the ads are about something completely different, you’ll know that your copy isn’t communicating to Google successfully that you’re in blogging and you need to look at writing it differently or re-thinking your keywords.

Thanks to Adam Stone of Rokk Media in Exeter for this tip (and others) – and he points out the value of blogs, too ;-) Adam’s a nice guy – the Jeremy Clarkson of web design, don’t you think? (Close your eyes and listen…).

Meantime, we’ll follow Adam’s advice and submit this site to ‘Feedshark’ (hence the link below..)

Feed Shark