January 21, 2008

Weekly Review #3 (and news about the forthcoming ebook!)

Another week, another review of the bloggosphere for you all.

Bur first of all, an apology is due: I've been so busy recently that my review is a little later than scheduled, and my postings have been less frequent than usual. However, I do have some good news for you all regarding the publication of my first ebook!

Blogger Buster news

Although my on-site activity has been a little low this week, I assure you there are good reasons for this. Firstly, I've been taking my time to prepare the posts for the Blogger Template Design series. And secondly I've been preparing my first e-book for release!

Blogger Buster's first ebook

The Blogger Template design series is becoming quite popular, and I decided early on that I would publish each installment as an e-book for easy reference, with a final release of the complete series once the posts are all complete.

Now the first e-book of the series, A Cheats' Guide to Blogger Template Design is almost complete. But unlike the original article, I've enhanced the e-book version with loads of extra information, tutorials for those using stretch templates, and even example templates which you can download and experiment with in your own blogs!

I'm much happier with this version of the "Cheats' Guide" as the format allows me to write more on this subject than could easily be absorbed through the reading of a blog post.

The Cheats' Guide to Blogger Template Design e-book will be available in PDF format, with an optional zip file containing the templates and images used in the demonstration blogs described in the tutorials. Currently the e-book is 35 pages long, and uses different examples from the original post. Upon the final release, this will also contain a table of contents (and possibly an index) for your ease of use.

And before you ask: of course it will be free!

After the final tweaks, this should be available for download in the next couple of days, so be sure to check back and download the e-book soon!

Blogging news

Blogger now available in Hebrew, Persian and Arabic!

This is great news for international bloggers and is almost certain to attract a whole new range of bloggers (and new blog readers too!).

Besides localizing the Blogger interface into these three languages, we have right-to-left templates and have added new toolbar buttons for bi-directional text editing in the post editor. (from the Blogger Buzz blog)

So if anyone else has been wondering about the small changes in alignment code in their default templates, now you know the reason why!

Technorati "gamed" by a Pharmacy blog!

In theory, Technorati should offer us an honest perspective of what's hot in the world of blogging. So as you can imagine, I was rather shocked to see a pharmacy blog had suddenly become the third favorite blog in the popular list!

Somehow, this blog with it's hidden links to various other pharmacy sites has managed to acquire 2378 fans on Technorati, gaming the system to acquire great visibility and a ranking higher than even Engadget! I won't mention the site's URL here, but if you really are interested, you can check it out on Technorati's 'popular' page.

Changes to Google AdSense referrals (and then back again!)

Earlier this week, Google announced changes to their referrals program, effectively prohibiting publishers outside North America, Latin America and Japan from earning anything for their referrals. Thankfully, Google then realized what a mistake it would be to prevent hugely popular sites outside these areas from making referrals. Now publishers outside these areas can still earn some compensation, depending on the location of the referral, rather than the country in which they live.

For full details of these changes, please refer to the Google AdSense blog, or keep an eye on your inbox as no doubt we will all receive confirmation of this change soon enough!

This week's links

Here are some of the best posts and services I've found this week to assist you in your blogging ventures:

  • Fighting scrapers with your left jab! This post is the perfect read for anyone who's suffered at the hands of scrapers: those unwelcome bloggers who can't write for themselves and instead steal others' content to fill out their posts!
  • Peekaboo Blogger Navbar: if you'd prefer to hide your nav-bar from your visitors, but still appreciate the functionality for yourself, then this is the Blogger hack for you! Annie of BlogU shows us exactly how this can be achieved - with ease!
  • Tools for web designers: here's a great list of online generators, optimizers, validators and FireFox extensions for designers. A truly great resource which certainly deserves a bookmark!
  • Tiny URLs: this free service enables you to create a super short, working URL from an extremely long one! So if you're in the habit of posting URLs in your posts, this would be a great asset for you. I've used this for the forthcoming e-book since long URLs would be rather unpleasant in a PDF publication (whereas they work great online!)
  • Dear AdSense, you broke my heart! Yes, I know this post has probably done the rounds by now, but if you haven't read it yet, I assure you the chuckles will be worth it!

If you have any suggestions for blogging news or great links which you would like to see published in next week's review, be sure to leave a comment or send me an email.

As always, your comments and opinions are appreciated, so please feel free to leave me a message below.

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Browse through the Archives

All existing posts are still available to view while I'm working on the site, albeit seen in a much simpler interface. Feel free to browse through the archives to find tutorials, templates and articles to help you build a better blog:

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