Make your own microblogging service like “Twitter”

There are numerous twitter like clones available on the net, most of them having the same methodology as twitter. How would it be if you had the option to start your own microblogging site just like Twitter ? Here are two services that may help.

#1  Yonkly

Yonkly has a neat user interface and lets you create a community in less than a minute. YonklyYour new community’s address will be of the form “www.yourcommunity.yonkly.com“. Yonkly  has three subscription plans and they provide a 60 day free trial for the each of them. You will have the option of changing from yonkly’s domain to your custom domain, full control of ads on your network and also you can remove the yonkly branding logo completely and make it look like your own site.Check out the demo here.

# 2  Shout’em

shout'emShout’Em is platform on which you can easily start co-branded microbloging social networking service. Since they are in beta phase they provide all the premium features free of cost. Even after their beta testing you will have the option of using all the premium features like private network, ads management, file sharing, etc for a month of trial period. They call this concept “Ning for Twitters”. Check out the demo here.

Links: Yonkly | Shout’em | Twitter | What is twitter? | Demo1 | Demo2

Sriganesh

Traffic Stats and Analysis of 2008

Year 2008, has been amazing year for Devils Workshop. It started with around 200,000 visitors count on sitemeter and out of the blue a thought crossed my mind – Can I make sitemeter counter cross 1 million visitor count!

Surprisingly, at the end of year we were very close to 1 million mark… 970,585! We fell short by just 30K or in positive words, 1 million mark will be crossed in second week of Jan, hopefully!

Considering little downtime and my own unavailability for around 2 months, I must say Devils Workshop met its traffic goal for 2008, and credit goes to our more than 20 co-bloggers, 3000+ readers and of course our more than 700,000+ visitors!

So its time to do in-depth analysis of traffic so that we can cater to right audience using right-platforms next year!

Total Traffic…

Below is graph of traffic for year 2008 tracked by sitemeter

Sitemeter Stats for Devils Workshop - Year 2008

Unique Visitors and Page Views

Devils Workshop received 744905 unique visitors in year 2008 according to sitemeter. Figures are slightly different as per Google Analytics which are 742,208 unique visitors and 1,339,403 page views.

Feed Subscribers

Devils Workshop had around 500 subscribers when year 2008 started. At the end of year, we have 3200+ subscribers in total from 3 feeds we offered at Devils Workshop. We do not track authors, categories and other feeds offered by WordPress and used by some readers.

Traffic Sources

Below is pie-chart displaying breakdown of traffic sources for entire year…

Traffic Sources for Devils Workshop in Year 2008

Google Search

Like most tech-blogs, Devils Workshop too gets maximum of its traffic via Google Search. Dear Google sent 498,144 visitors which made 67.12% of our total visitors! An acknowledgement for my SEO efforts! ;-)

StumbleUpon…

Although I stopped spending much time on social-bookmarking sites like Digg, StumbleUopn, etc, our one post reviewing Top 5 Torrent Search Engine, received a lot of love of love from StumbleUpon community making it #1 referral site for direct traffic. We received 26,078 visitors from StumbleUpon which is 3.51% of total visitors.

Other Referrals

Next comes userscripts.org where we host greasemonkey scripts developed by us, my old blog rb286.blogspot.com from where I still get consist traffic because of my own wordpress plugin developed to maintain permalinks while moving from blogger to wordpress, followed by Orkut which is our favorite topic for blogging!

Just for info, we love Orkut so much that we just launched a dedicated blog for Orkut – Orkut Diary!

Traffic Goals for 2009!

Last year, we almost met goals we haven’t setup seriously! Lets see what happens this year when we are seriously setting up goal to cross 3 million count for visitors and 10000 count for subscribers!

Well getting 2 million visitors seems easier than gaining 7000 subscribers. But with your support, we can hope to meet our goal! :-)

By the way, use Google Analytics for must to track your traffic. No other free tracking service comes even close to Google Analytics!

Recommended: Check Orkut Diary – our newly launched blog for Orkut!

Best Image Search Engines Available Online

search-engines As a blogger, always I need to keep searching good images to be used on my posts. As said in one of my earlier post, all the time I prefer using atleast one related image in every posts that I publish, as its been said “A picture is worth a thousand words”. ;)

Earlier, I used only Google Image Search and Flickr to search for related images, but recently I stumbled upon this article on Quickonline tips where the author have compiled a list of around 15 best image search engines available online.  So, if you too keep searching for images over the web, then do not forget to have a look on this wonderful article at quickonlinetips. :-)

Thanks Quickonline tips! :-)

Link: 15 Best Image Search Engines

(Image Credits: Technical-itch)

5 WordPress MySQL Queries For Year Ending Summary Posts & Cleanup

Wordpress Logo Love Below I am posting some MySql queries for power WordPress bloggers. This queries will come handy if you are planning to write annual summary and analysis posts like most bloggers do at the end of year.

All queries are direct SQL and assumes standard table prefix ‘wp_’ for tables. If you are using different table prefix, please modify queries accordingly.

We strongly suggest you to back up your database as we will not be responsible for any loss or damage caused by using our code directly or indirectly. I also assume you know PhpMyAdmin or any other interface to execute MySql queries, because if you send me any question like how to use following MySql queries, I will simply reply – “Google it!” ;-)

I guess I have scared you enough by now, so enjoy real stuff before you make your mind to go away…

Yearly Stats…

To get number of posts published in entire year…

SELECT * FROM `wp_posts` WHERE `post_date` <= '2008-12-31 23:59:59' AND `post_date` >= '2008-01-01 00:00:00' AND `post_status` = 'publish'

To get number of comments approved in entire year…

SELECT * FROM `wp_comments`  WHERE `comment_date` <= '2008-12-31 23:59:59' AND  `comment_date` >= '2008-01-01 00:00:00' AND `comment_approved` = 1 AND `comment_type` = ''

Change comment_type equal to ‘pingback’ or ‘trackback’ to get number of pingbacks and trackback respectively.

To get number of users registered in entire year…

SELECT * FROM `wp_users`  WHERE `user_registered` <= '2008-12-31 23:59:59' AND  `user_registered` >= '2008-01-01 00:00:00'

This is useful for only blogs who allows user to register, like Devils Workshop!

WARNING: Following query performs WRITE operation on database!

Cleanup Time!

Starting from WordPress 2.5, a revision featured was introduced which eats up lots of space in database. In case you want to perform some clean-up which is good idea, you can shoot following query!

To Delete Post Revision from WordPress Database…

DELETE FROM `wp_posts` WHERE `post_type` = ‘revision’ AND `post_date` <= '2008-12-20 23:59:59'

This will delete all post revisions created before December 21, 2008. This is to retain revisions created in last 10 days. If you remove AND `post_date` <= ‘2008-12-20 23:59:59′ from above query it will delete all revisions.

On executing this query, it removed 758 revisions from our database. I forgot to calculate how much space it freed, but its always good to have unwanted data out of database.

To Delete All Comments awaiting moderation…

Yes, this may sound crazy, but if for some reason your blog has been hit by comment spam, just when you forgot to put anti-spam measures in place, you must be needing something like. Its really good idea delete all unmoderated comment for one-time so you can start-over again… :-)

DELETE from `wp_comments` WHERE `comment_approved` = '0';

You can also add DATE range to above query, in case you have idea about when comment spam hit your blog.

Thats All! If you want any particular MySQL query, please send details via following comments. :-)

Related: WordPress Plugin Series – Reviews of Top WordPress Plugins

(image credit: Design Simply)

SEO Tips for Webmasters from Google

seo ‘Search Engine Optimization’ (Also called SEO) as the name goes, helps webmasters to optimize their website or blog to get focused or ranked in search engines. Just a couple of days ago, I was searching for some good tips to easily drive a high amount of traffic into my blog and at that point of time I came to know that Google have released its own handbook on SEO for webmasters.

As of now, after following the guidelines, I did not notice a high amount of growth in my blog’s traffic but I am still optimist as these tips are provided by Google. :-) So if you are also a Google’s fan and want to those Google handbook on SEO then you can get it from here. :-)

Links: Download

(Via Quickonlinetips) (Image Credits – Sharkspace)

New Features in Windows Live Writer 2009

Approximately a week ago, the beta release of Windows Live Writer (WLW) 2009 was released. Since then, I wanted to upgrade my current version of WLW, but because of my scheduled life, I found Christmas holidays to be only opportunity to upgrade WLW and other applications of my system. ;) After posting some topics, I found this upgrade worthy, and considered writing a review on it, here it goes.

The first change I noticed after upgrading to WLW 2009 was its new looks and interface.

WLW start screen

WLW_border

WLW 4Apart from this, another thing I liked on WLW 2009 as of now, was more border options to be used while inserting images. As you can see on the image here, new border options like Instant Photo, Reflection, Rounded corner, etc are being added into the existing options. Personally speaking, among all the border options, I liked ‘Rounded Corners’ the most. Also, as compared to the earlier version, there are more options for wrapping text around images. Apart from these, there are some minor changes and improvements, like image cropping & water-mark in WLW 2009 as far image insertion is concerned.

WLW tag suggestions

The tagging feature in WLW 2009 was appealing too. As you can view in the image, auto suggestions appears as you start typing a tag name. By this, similar tags will not be duplicated.
Now comes, browsing drafts and recently posted items. As you can see in the below screenshot, you can now easily search for pending items in drafts or in recently posted folder.

WLW 3

Apart from the above listed major changes in this upgrade of WLW, there are other many minor changes as well which are listed here:

  • Support for multiple photo insertion in a single go
  • Insert videos and automatically upload them into Youtube
  • Auto text linking
  • Spell check in many other languages
  • Image cropping, tilting, water-marking, etc.
  • Ability to search for Categories, posts in drafts and recently posted items.
  • Auto word count
  • Many great plugins included.

So what else are you looking for?? Unlike me, just go and update to Windows Live Writer 2009 as soon as possible. :-)

Links: Official Release | Download | Suggest more features

Related: More about Windows Live Writer

Get a WordPress Blog Without Any Paid Domain!

Most if us agree that WordPress is the best blogging platform. But to enjoy complete power of wordpress, you should host it on your own. For hosting a WordPress blog you need a good hosting service with PHP and SQL database enabled.  I prefer 000WebHost. So let’s get started with a 5 minute installation

  • Register with 000WebHost
  • Download the latest stable version of WordPress. I prefer you to use the link given here because I had made some changes (deleted unnecessary files).
  • Now create a SQL database and an user and choose your password from your hosting server.
  • Extract the contents to a folder and open wp-config-sample.php in the notepad.

wordpress-database

  • Edit the marked places(4 areas) with your database details.
  • Now save the file as wp-config.php. Dont over write wp-config-sample.php.
  • Now upload the downloaded .zip file to the server and unzip it.
  • Now upload the wp-config.php file.
  • Now, run the file “http://your-site-address/wp-admin/install.php”
  • Now you will receive your admin username and password.

Now the whole process is finished. So start blogging and install your favorite themes and plugins… :-)

If you have any queries use the comment form. Enjoy… :-)

Links : Sign Up with 000WebHost | Download WordPress

Related: Best Free and Paid Web Hosting Service

Suggest New Features to WordPress Team

wordpress logo If you have a WordPress hosted blog, you must be surely aware about the latest release of WordPress version – WordPress 2.7. Though the new version of WordPress is packed with loads of features, but still WordPress team feel that they can still improve and make blogging easy.

So, to get the most out of this blogging tool, WordPress have now set their minds to release version 2.8 and they are seeking help regarding it. Anyone out there can suggest new features to the WordPress team which may be considered to be added or modified in their later releases. For any suggestions in your mind, you just need to complete this short survey. Well, if you are looking to suggest them something, then be sure to fill the form by this year end, as the survey is open upto Dec. 31st 2008 noon UTC.

Links: WordPress | Survey 

(Via WPCandy)

10 Things Bloggers must Check Before Publishing a Post

checklist Many a times, after hitting the ‘publish’ button, I realized what I missed out or what additional things could have been done to attract more visitors. Later on, I realized the need of a checklist that I should make use of before hitting the ‘publish’ button. I discovered that the checklist really helped me out, as such I wanted to write about it, to help budding bloggers and other Co-authors of this blog.

  • Catchy Headline:
    To attract maximum people to read an article, an article must have a good, simple and a catchy headline.
  • Opening Contents:
    You must avoid writing off-the-topic and bogus things on the opening lines of your post, specially in the first paragraph. If you do so, many readers will go away from your blog ultimately affecting your blog and its credibility.
  • Spell Check:
    This is another important aspect, every blogger must practice. If yuo mkae scuh splleing erorrs, agian it mya aeffect yuor bolg. You can imagine how annoying spelling errors are, from the preceding line. ;) So, you must never forget to run spell check before you feel, your post is ready to be published.
  • Grammatical Errors:
    Again, by this point your readers will judge you and your writing skills which ultimately would affect your earnings and revenue. So, after you complete writing the whole article, read it back atleast once to find any grammatical errors.
  • Bullets & Text Formatting:
    Readers usually tend to read the whole articles in brief, as such highlighting important things and making use of bullets should really help.
  • Images:
    There’s a famous saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” and I too feel the same. If you make use of a related image, it will further add stars to your article. Also, do never forget to rename the image relating to the contents of your blog as it is good for SEO.
  • Alignments:
    To make your post look decent and give an appealing look, I strongly feel, you should never publish your post leaving the whole text unaligned. For aligning the article you should prefer ‘Justify’ option. Also, if any images are used you must align them with proper margins and wrapping.
  • Back-Links:
    On the bottom of every post, you must add links of various things your wrote about in the whole article. For example if I am writing an article about ‘Opening a new Gmail account’ then on the bottom of post I should link to related pages like Gmail | Registration | About
  • Sources, Credentials and Related Articles
    Never forget to add links and give credits to those blogs or websites where you basically saw the articles you are writing about. By this your readers may not blame you, upto some extent, if the information you blogged about is false. Also adding up related articles on the bottom of every post is another tactic many pro blogger follow. This way, you can keep your readers stuck to your blog ultimately resulting in increase of your revenue and profits. ;)
  • Categories and Tags:
    Not to mention, this is the most important thing you must look. This will help your blog reader to browser your blog posts category wise and would also be helpful for locating similar articles.

Related: Windows Live Writer – Best Desktop Blogging Client For Offline Blogging

Image Credits: Trianglerentacar

How to Make More Readers and Money This Holiday Season

image In my recent posts, I wrote how Orkut (Google’s social network) and Kontera (in-text advertising network) are planning to cash out coming holiday season! If planned well you can also squeeze some juice for your blogs/websites. :-)

From my more than 2 years experience of blogging, I know few things about these holiday seasons which can be used to make some extra bucks. So here I am posting part of my TO-DO lists, of-course in more organized manner.

Two major changes during holiday season…

  • Traffic: A tech-blog like this gets higher traffic. We are expecting 2-3 time more unique visitor in last week of December. Unless you are blogging about investments or stock markets, you can expect more or little rise in your blogs traffic.
  • Advertising: As more people come online for shopping, advertisers compete more to grab ad-slots. Obvious result is direct increase in revenue. Keep watching your AdSense eCPM over next 2 weeks and you will see the difference!

How to handle rise in traffic!

Its time to put your best foot forward! Find what posts are getting maximum traffic from search engine. When you discover them…

  • Update them to make them more relevant, more readable.
  • Try to stuff links to other posts which you think your visitors will find useful.
  • Also check if you have any unanswered comments. Its better if you answer them.

Above TO-DO list is for individual blog posts. There are things you can do blog-wide…

  • Add prominent email as well as feed subscription options.
  • Make your most popular, favorite posts, etc easily accessible.
  • Use caching plugins/techniques to sustain rise in traffic. WordPress users can go for wp-super-cache plugin!

If you want to analyze your traffic, nothing beats Google Analytics. Even if you don’t use it, its better to start using it right now. You will gather enough data before Christmas and that will help you optimize your website for last week of December, when traffic will be at peak!

How to make those extra bucks…

As its holiday season, you will need some extra bucks to party hard! Thankfully advertisers spend extra on advertising during season as people do a lot of online shopping.

If you are running a travel or products blog you should go for as many affiliate program as possible. Not a single product should be referred for free! ;-)

Try following tricks for AdSense

  • Keep only one single ad-unit on a page, above the fold.
  • Do not surround AdSense block with anything. Not even feed subscription box, etc.
  • No matter how ugly it will make your theme, go for one of rectangle ad-format like 336×280, 300×250.
  • Also follow usual AdSense tips like blending ads with your site, using section-targeting, etc.

There are reason for each of above tactic but I will explain them in detail some other day. For time being note that, above all highlight AdSense block in ways that will attract more clicks! Why???

  • You get more new visitors in holiday season. They are also in hurry!
  • When you visit a site quite often, you develop ad-blindness for it. So you almost never follow ads. But a new visitor, that’s too in hurry, if find himself on wrong site, will give AdSense links a try in attempt to find next direction.
  • You can notice whitespace beside AdSense block on top of post pages which I can reduce by using ad-format 468×80. But that will make AdSense less prominent and will expose main content too early to a visitor. Thou shall never expose more than needed! ;-)

Of course, all of above are based on my personal observations. I am following these things myself. For example, there was a box listing related, most-popular posts & recent posts on top of every post. That was pushing my dear AdSense block little-down. Now I moved that box below the post to give AdSense more room!

Different things works for different blogs. The best way to get best for you is to keep trying! So go on trying and let us know your findings! :-)

Recommended: Get $25 Cash Bonus by Joining Kontera before Jan 15

(Image credit: iStockPhoto)