Lid of Blogwell has written a very good intro/primer to the basics of HTML in HTML for Bloggers.  The topic is tackled from the angle of a novice blogger so I am sure many people will find it useful. 

10 Photoshop Techniques You Can’t Work Without has some great productivity tips

As Usual Brusheezy has a number of new free photoshop brushes. 

There is also great slate texture pack from High Resolution Textures 

The Stroke Panel is a good tutorial for anyone starting out with Adobe Illustrator CS3. Published by a new blogger klethegr8 this tutorial is well explained and illustrated with step by step screenshots. The corners of objects and aligning the stroke are two topics that are particularly well covered. Dont let the teen-ish name of klethegr8 put you off it’s a good blog and well worth exloring further.

There are numerous excellent “blogging tips” sites such as Daily blog Tips and  Blog well. If you are a beginner there are sites like Blogging Basics 101. Also don’t over look the blog tips that the blog monetizing sites such as Problogger and as these often offer great advice on promoting and developing your blog which you can apply even if you do not want monetize it.  There are also blogs about blogging such as Copyblogger, and Lorelle on WordPress and others such as Chris Brogan on using social media.

Blogs for artists, designers and crafters offer tips on selling your art online, such as Art Biz Blog or Art Print Issues and there is is Original Impulse too. For more general information take a look at the new FreshBlogTips

Danny Dover of SEOmoz has examined The Internet’s Top Blogs in order to learn from their success. His graphs say much and in looking for recurring themes Danny Dover has produced some interesting a useful research about what successful blog have in common.
Also the spreadsheets are available from the site, so you can pour over them yourself, see patterns and make correlations

Darren Rowse of ProBlogger has written Is Writing Great Content Enough to Build a Successful Blog? This is a timely  article I think many of my students will find interesting as they have all been writing thier blog and are now thinking of building readership.

After Mondays class 2 articles students might also find useful  to read are Blog Hosting Recommendations – Who Hosts Yours? and Darren’s pointer on Blog Hosting – Which Hosts Top Blogs Use

In fact although ProBlogger is about monetising your blog it is also packed full of useful blogging tips, advice and thought provoking posts about blogging.

Website Promotion

Standard suggestions to market and promote your site are:

Use relevant META tags for keywords and description

Update your site often to encourage visitors to return.

Add your URL in your email signature and your business card.

To be listed by Google Search go to their Add your URL to Google page.

Submit your site to Yahoo

How to suggest your site to the Open Directory

Submit Express will register your website with other search engines and directories for free

For instance the website promotion tutorial as this covers some of the basics.

Of particular interest to artists is Ivan of Creative bits has shown us how to optimize your site for Google image search. There are some particularly useful tips here. The only jarring point for me is his advice to leave

“The alt tag should be used for a short description such as alt=”turtle” in case the image doesn’t appear for any reason and because most likely Google uses it to index the images as well. It should however be empty if the image is used purely for decorative purposes.”

If you want your site to meet W3C Accessibility guidelines you need to use Alt tgs for all images. Their handy check list points out that even if an image is used for decorative purposes state why it is there as screen readers interpret these tags and read them.

Another way to be listed by Google and raise your PageRank, is to have other sites link to you. Obviously this is where “content is king” because the argument goes if you have interesting content people will link to you.

Find out who links to you by using Google. Open Google and type in the word link, followed by a colon ant then your URL. So for my site I would type in link:

The search will return a list of people who have linked to you.

People build their careers on researching, developing methods and providing services on Search Engine Optimization. It is a huge topic but you can keep informed by reading such sites as SEOCentro subscribing to newsletters and following blogs such as Search Engine Watch is a site that discusses SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

Students may like to read Avoiding the 5 Most Common SEO Mistakes by Johnathon Smith. Note the 5th point, poor grammar and spelling.

Also take a look at Smart Webby Website Promotion Guide

Blog promotion tips

A little note about blog promotion of any sort.

Don’t promote an empty totally undeveloped blog. Make sure your site gives readers a reason to return. In other words, have some posts written before you spend valuable time on promotion.

Comment on other blogs in your niche and email readers who comment to say “thank you” in other words be active in the community online.

Check your Stats and follow your referrers. Thank them for the link.

One way to promote your blog is to submit it it to blog directories. Obviously some directories are better than others.

When judging a directory see how well it is organised. I work with the assumption that if I cant make sense of it, others will have the same problem. I also browse the site for a while and if I find it stuffed with splogs (spam blogs) and generally difficult to get around I figure others will have the same experience.

When you submit your blog to a directory make sure you place the listing in a logical category and describe the blog honestly. Don’t big note yourself promising the biggest and best etc when you can not make good on that promise. Unless you are the best or the highest ranking don’t say so. It makes you sound like a silly adolescent and frankly if you were ranked so highly I don’t think you would listing yourself in blog directories.

Blog Catalog Blogs are verified as being genuine before entering the directory which reduces the amount of splogs housed there. The categories are well defined and the site houses discussion forums and groups.

Technorati of course is a huge site of blogs

You can browse by title, topic or location on the Globe of Blogs directory site. To be listed you simply register your blog and linking back is optional. It is a great directory if you like browsing by geographical location and their topic areas are not so broad to be useless as well. Blogs are verified as being genuine before entering the directory so it takes a little time to be listed

Blogpulse is not a directory that you submit your blog to as such but it is a service that tracks trends and activity ie buzz around a particular topic or issue. It is also a blog search engine and the profiles allows users to find more information about a specific blog or blogger.

Vandelay Design has written 99 ways to promote your blog and  produced this list of Blog Directories and Search engines

Blog promotion tips from others

Mani Karthik’s Top 5 mistakes I did when I started blogging . Personally I think point 3 and 4 are great points. Interacting with, and linking to other bloggers is something that is constantly mentioned by bloggers that are experienced but those new to the genre often take a long time to really understand this point.

101 Blog Tips I learned in 2006 and  Daily blog tips best of 2007 are both worth reading

I am always scouting about reading tutorials. In part it is because I teach and like to point students to resources but in part I just enjoy discovering good well written and illustrated tutorials. I recently added to my reader as they constantly dig out good tutorials. They describe themselves as being dedicated to web development and design, but have a look at Photoshop tutorials category and their most popular posts for a bit of reading.

When I encountered SocialRank I once again had my attention directed to the importance of being linked to as this service “monitors thousands of blogs in popular categories and identifies the hottest stories and bloggers every day. We do this democratically by measuring what stories users link to, talk about and pay attention to.”

This video clearly explains what it is and you will find a list of topic areas if you scroll further down their index page.

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