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DoyleSoft Newsletter
November 6th, 2006

Welcome to Volume 13! We are pleased to announce some Digg clones worth checking out and more information about blogging. Enjoy!
- Brandon Doyle

DoyleSoft Article

Digg Clones Worth Checking Out
by: James Tibbles

Digg.com has become one of the hottest new websites in just this past year. It is largely a user-driven website, with thousands of visitors posting links to 3rd party articles, images, videos, and stories, every single day. The more popular the content, the more �diggs� (or votes) it will get, and the higher it will rank on digg�s homepage. Webpages with very popular content usually receive several thousand hits from digg daily.

Like any other successful enterprise (think of MySpace.com), digg.com has been emulated by many other websites, now collectively termed "digg clones." Some of these clones, however, have been able to stand on their own feet by offering new services or presenting content in new and creative ways. I have compiled here a list of 5 digg clones that have a good chance of succeeding in this relatively new, though already highly competitive, market.

1) Reddit - Reddit.com (http://www.reddit.com) is probably the most successful digg clone to date. Both content posters and readers like Reddit's simplicity in design and function. Unlike digg, you won't find any content descriptions on Reddit's front-page, and all additional options are minimalized such that they do not distract the reader from quickly looking over content headlines. If you want to submit a new story to Reddit, all you have to do is sign up for an account (or login if you have an account), fill out the content's title and url, and that's it - you're done. Submitting a story takes only about 7 seconds of copying and pasting. All material will show up under the "new" section. If it becomes popular then it may show up on Reddit's front-page or under "hot." Users can also vote up or down on the stories, allowing really poor content to be buried deep in the system (yes, stories can get negative votes on Reddit).

2) Shoutwire - Shoutwire.com (http://www.shoutwire.com) is basically digg with a little more style. In essence, it takes digg and goes in the opposite direction from Reddit, which is all about simplicity. Shoutwire is a good-looking site that is obviously designed to rake in money from the start - there are plenty of ads, though they don't really get in the way too much. The rating system is just like digg, except you "shout it" instead of "digg it" to give your vote. Content submitters can add a link back to shoutwire on their content pages, allowing visitors to vote for their material. These buttons can actually be custom made using shoutwire's online button maker, which is really quite cool. One noticeable downside to shoutwire (I have been hearing complaints about this) is that you are forced to view external pages using a frame. This keeps you on the shoutwire site while you view your desired external webpage. Shoutwire has placed a banner on the frame across the top of the screen, which many users will find a bit annoying.

3) Peruzz - Peruzz.com (http://www.peruzz.com) is probably the least known site among the five, but it may just have some potential in its simplicity. Like Reddit, the headlines on the front-page are easy to read, and clicking on the links take you straight to the external webpage with no frames or intermediary description pages. There are also no ads or other obstructions to get in your way. The voting system is basically like digg, but you'll notice that the increase vote arrow is reminiscent of the one on Reddit. There are no technological leaps here, but everything seems to work as planned, which is more than I can say for most digg clones. Despite its simplicity, Peruzz does have a couple cute extra features, like a "bookmark" link under the short story description, allowing you to quickly save the story to del.icio.us, simpy, and yahoo!, or submit it to digg and reddit (I don't see any other digg clones with actual links back to digg!). The "Live Spy" button allows you to see what other users are posting and voting on at that very moment. Also, submitting material takes about as long as it does on digg, with users having to fill out content title, url, description (very short), tags, and category. Category links are displayed on the main page.

4) Blinklist - Blinklist.com (http://www.blinklist.com) is part bookmark site (like del.icio.us) and part digg-like site. The links to content are not found on the main page like digg, but are rather hid under categories you can access from the main page. If you click on a category (like photography), you'll be taken to page that looks much more like digg. The default page shows the most recently submitted links, which is a departure from digg and other sites that list the most popular links first. The site has both votes (shown graphically with stars) and blinks (which are like diggs or shouts). With blinklist you can actually create a blinklist of your favorite links, and share them with friends. Top content submitters get a little picture on the left side of the link list under each category.

5) Wobblog - Wobblog.com (http://www.wobblog.com), like Peruzz.com is based upon the Pligg open source program. It's a fairly popular website offering news and stories largely submitted from blogs around the net. Some of the content is not the best (or very well regulated), but the site does have a reasonable following to work with. Submitting links to wobblog involves basically the same process as Peruzz. Wobblog, however, is lacking some of the extra features found on Peruzz, such as the popular tag cloud, webpage preview image, and bookmark feature.

DoyleSoft Article

Blogging - Developing A Readership
by: Rose DesRochers

You've finally created a blog and you've made your first post. Now how do you get people to actually read what you're blogging about?

Here are some tips on promoting your blog.

1) Quality Content - Interesting content will keep your readership returning. Update your blog regularly.

Googlebot, which is Google's web-crawling robot loves content. The more you update your blog, the more frequent the search engine spiders will return to it.

2) Take part in forums that are related to blogging. Ask other bloggers for their opinion on your blog and take their suggestions to heart.

Ask other bloggers for their opinion on your blog and take their suggestions to heart.

3) Publish an RSS/Atom/XML feed. If you're using Blogger, you can turn on RSS feed by clicking on settings in your dashboard and then clicking on site feed and make sure that your settings are set to yes.

4) Carefully choose your subject titles, taking into consideration what other internet users may be searching for.

Use keywords in your title. I suggest subscribing to Word Tracker. Their report of the most popular searches is published each Tuesday and distributed to over 30,000 subscribers.

Technorati.com , is a blog search engine that also lists the top search words. The more targeted your keywords are, the greater your return in search engines will be.

5) Involve yourself in commenting on other blogs. You can gain a loyal readership just by offering feedback to your fellow bloggers. The comment feature allows you to add a link back to your blog as well.

6) Be sure to include your blog address in forum signatures and in your email signature.

7) Submit your blog to directories.

Submit your blog's url to Technorati, Daypop, Blogdex and Popdex.

8) Write articles. Include a resource box in your article and submit it to article directories such as http://iSnare.com

9) If you're using blogging software such as Blogger, there is an option to notify the central blog update services (such as http://weblogs.com) whenever you've made a new entry to your blog. Make sure that this option is turned on! In blogger, click on publish in your dashboard and make sure that your settings are set to yes under notify weblogs. Alternatively, you can go to http://ping-o-matic.com and send out a ping each time you update your blog. This lets everyone know that you've just updated your blog.

10) Link to other blogs. Use services like blogrolling, which is similar to linking. Blogrolling allows you to maintain an updated list of your favorite blogs. But, don't build a long blog roll of sites that you have no intention of returning to. There is nothing more annoying then visiting a blog that has a humongous blogroll.

Be patient, traffic doesn't happen overnight. The best way that I've found to increase traffic is by getting to know people. Spend what free time that you have, reading blogs, leaving feedback and building friendships. Try to leave comments on the blogs that you visit as often as you can. While you are waiting for the traffic to come, just enjoy blogging. You'll be improving your writing in the process.

Eventually you'll build a network of not just readers, but friends and loyal supporters. Blogging is not just about marketing; it's about creating lasting relationships.

About The Author:
Rose DesRochers is the founder of Blogger Talk Blog Community Bloggertalk.net, a friendly fast growing blogging portal, offering bloggers support, advice, tools, tips and information about blogs and blogging. She is also the administrator of Today's Woman Writing Community todays-woman.net, a supportive online writing community for men and women over 18.

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