Abusing ProBlogger Job Board to Look for Clients

Is this abuse or just stupidity/ carelessness? On the part of the “job” poster, I mean.

I’m not sure about ProBlogger itself. It is possible no one verifies, checks, or cares what gets posted there. I have seen others posting “jobs” which are not jobs at all. Keep in mind, these job postings are paid posts for ProBlogger. Do they just take the money and have no interest in creating a resource for job seekers? ProBlogger is very marketing friendly. User/ reader/ job searcher beware, right?

This isn’t the first fake job post I have seen come up on the boards. I’ve also seen jobs which don’t pay, jobs which are pretty scammy and jobs which ask writers to contribute (work for free) or accept pennies from affiliate links.

Don’t rely on the ProBlogger job boards. Try somewhere else first. Eventually, when the spammers and scammers stop paying for listings, it will just close down and sink like another old shipwreck of the Australian coast.

Fixing The Open Directory Project?

People who think they know how to fix something should make sure they have the experience to understand how it worked before they judge it. I was annoyed to read a post about how to fix the problems with dmoz, The Open Directory Project on DirPopulus today. Here is what I wrote:

I read your Problems & Solutions. Some of what you have written about dmoz is incorrect and based on the viewpoint of someone who did not see how the directory worked in reality. Although I understand your biased point of view, it is annoying to read someone making incorrect assumptions and judging the directory I spent over ten years working on.

Looks like you are using the dmoz software, or something based on it. So, that won’t help me really. I don’t want to deal with that. We had volunteer editors trying to fix that, not staff. AOL decided to dump dmoz because no one there was interested in supporting it. For the last few years dmoz was run entirely by volunteers while the AOL staff forgot the directory existed. In the end they did not find any value in keeping it on their servers but they did feel the domain and the dmoz/ Open Directory name were worth holding onto.

The main directory, with some active editors, is being set up on Curlie. Other projects were started and discussed but that is the one which has the best chance of becoming active again. Most of the volunteers who worked on the old dmoz software went to Curlie and have been working on the updating the software.

As volunteers we did not send out notifications every time we reviewed, edited, or added a site to the directory. We were already running with few active editors so trying to send out notices for every submission would have meant the end of getting any reviews done. Waiting for three editors to approve (while good in some ways) would also mean submitted sites would take ages to be listed.

We did have bots checking links and moving them into unreviewed for volunteers to check the links. Some bots were able to check for things like the new http:// versus https:// so an editor just needed to verify the change and re-list the site. We also had bots which checked for general link rot and expired domains. These doubled the amount of links to be reviewed leaving editors which huge amounts of links waiting for attention. Also, dmoz had a feature giving people a chance to leave a note about their link, letting us know if a correction was needed. This was a very seldom used feature and yet the first thing I would check when I began reviewing links in a category. Often this was abused and suggested changes were about spam, deleting another site’s listing, or some other junk.

Also, we were able to check links with the Wayback Machine and Google’s archived version of the domain/ link. This was a good help in tracking down an old submission/ broken link. I often found broken links, one way or another. It was one of my favourite things to do.

Reviewing submitted links took hours, especially in categories involving businesses and, of those, anything involving marketing became so flooded with junk submissions it was too much for a volunteer editor to want to deal with. When I tried to work on these categories my computer slowed down to a crawl just trying to load the page with all the sites to be reviewed. It was aggravating to work there when most of the submissions were junk – the link was already listed and descriptions were full of keywords, CAPITAL LETTERS and so on. Of course, these are the very people who complained about dmoz and dmoz editors the most. They did not understand we were running as a directory for the public to search, not for businesses to be listed. The priority was not listing every business or service but to have resources for people searching for a business, service or information (with the Regional listings to help people find local resources).

There are duplicate listings for some sites because they fit into more than one place. Also, sites could be double listed in Regional and the topic or business. Once you get into organizing and deciding where sites (you call them resources) should go you will see it is a much more complicated project than it seems from the outside looking in. We had a forum just for ontology issues. Due to many opinions from active and inactive volunteers, making category changes was time consuming and tended to get lost along the way.

I wish you best of luck with your directory. But, you have a lot of years to go before you should judge how another directory was run.

What Kind of Software is WordPress These Days?

WordPress removed the Link Manager which had a simple built in bookmarklet to add links to your site, in existing categories, with tags. It was a nice, simple feature to keep a list of resources (links). But, it was removed from WordPress a few years ago.

I use the Restore Lost Functionality plugin for links now. He added the bookmarklet too. Might do the same for PressThis now that WordPress has decided to remove that function too.

Seems a silly decision when so many sites are using content curation. The bookmarklet made it easy to turn content from other sites into a full post without having to leave your web browser. I use it a lot.

However, I have found PressForward, which does have a working bookmarklet (and extra features) for WordPress content curation. I’ve been using PressForward for about two years now and suggest others take a look.

WP is really becoming software for developers only. I keep looking at other CMS which are more publisher friendly. WordPress is losing that.

On the other hand, the new function for adding links in posts really irritates me. It gets in the damn way! Why can’t they decide to get rid of that instead?

Is WordPress still the best choice for web publishers? I don’t think so but I have not found another CMS to trade up for, yet. b2evolution is my top pick and I would have kept using it if it handled images differently.  However, the way things are going it could yet be a trade off between WordPress not handling links well and b2 not handling images well. I probably use links more than I do images.

Exploring Outside the Blog

I’m going back to working with text files again and start working with pdf. A webzine, rather than a blog. Well, a webzine as a working name.

Running a blog has become ruined with marketing and pressure to conform. I’ve always liked doing things my own way. Following all the “rules” for bloggers means putting marketing first. I don’t want to do that. Yet, each time I try to get working on my sites again there is all that stuff telling everyone how to do everything better, almost always involving SEO and marketing. I don’t want to live like everything is for sale. I don’t want to blog that way either. So, blogging is out.

Of course, that means deciding what blogging actually is and what I want to do next. Once upon a time it was a web log, keeping dated entries about changes made to your projects on the web. Some personal posts became sprinkled in and next thing you had the personal online journal. Blogs came from that, later. Dated entries were the key to what was a blog and what was not. That is so lost these days, there are blogs which don’t want to post dates at all. They call it evergreen. I call it, not a blog.

I have a lot of old content to merge with something new. Once I take it out of CMS software I won’t have to keep trying to find ways to make it display for software, just the txt or pdf file type. That will be a LOT easier.

I’m keeping something blog-like to post things I find along the way, in niche and topical blogish displays. Likely on Blogger because I can use Open Live Writer to create the post and then filter it to whichever site I want it to show up on. They will be content curation sites, not blogs. I can post links to niche sources in the sidebars, as I find good links. But, dates, marketing, and professional templates won’t be important.

Bookmark Files From Scratch

Several things may be driving you crazy but, if links, text files and bookmarks are one of them, I have some help for you! (Little things help a lot, right?)
After spending a lot of time trying to import my old WordPress bookmarks into Joomla I found the best way was to create a text file with just the links, all code scraped out. Then create a new file with Notepad using the code I have cut and pasted in a screenshot below:
Screenshot from It Still Works.
Cut and pasted the text also, because I’ve seen how easy images disappear, wander off and generally get lost. I want to remember how I finally got this far, no doubt I will need to do the same again with other links from my other sites moving from WordPress to Joomla. 
If you feel confident with HTML, you can create a bookmark file from scratch in Notepad. Begin the document with . Then, enter the title as Bookmarks and the header as

Bookmarks

. Then, begin a list with the

tag. Each item of that list should be denoted by a

tag. Then, describe the link via an tag. For example, if you wished to create a bookmark link to http://www.google.com, your tags after

would look like this:

Google. Finish the file with a closing

tag.

So, maybe this will help you, or you may just wonder why someone would do things this way and spend so much time on links few people will actually look at anyway.
Keep wondering, it’s good for you.

Why I’m Starting My Own Article Directory on My Own Site

The old blog was formatted with posts by date, that was when the freshness of the post mattered. The most recent data was most important. It still works for some sites, like a news feed.

Now, more sites are about content, content curation specifically. The date is still part of that, but not the focus. (Note: I’m not for removing dates from posts because I want to know the post I’m reading isn’t years old or no longer relevant).

It’s time sites were content focused, not date focused.

Put your content first and show your posts in the format of an article directory. Sort them by topic and subtopic. Show them that way on your main site. Save people from searching your site for relevant content, bring it to the top for them instead.

Not every site still adds search and this is a mistake if your posts are organized by date first and category in the sidebar, maybe. You are leaving people to find information from your site in a hit and miss way. Why? Isn’t the point of your site to provide information and resources? Every site should have a claim to fame, tell people who you are and why you are a resource in your niche or topic. Then comes the actual information, or the product you are selling. Make it easy for people to get there. Article directories were on the right track but it’s not about syndicating your content to other sites or bringing in other people to speak for you. Speak up for yourself.

Source: Article Marketing: Why I’m Starting My Own Article Directory . . . and You Should Too | Inkwell Editorial : Inkwell Editorial

There are good points in here, things I have been thinking myself. But, not for an article directory of content from other people but my own.

The best two points from this post (link above) are controlling your own content and how it is shown (if it is shown at all) and showcasing your content to build your own authority in the topic.

Of the two I think building your own authority in your niche is the most important. Share links but stop giving your content away for free.

Make your site content focused by curating your own content.

Content Curation Makes a Better Web Directory

The first two points are the best, I think.

A niche has a better chance these days. Think content curation. Actually, think content curation for the second point too. You should build more than a bundle of links. Content curation is about showcasing great links and adding more to them. Create a whole package presentation around the niche. Don’t stop at listing sites.

Write about the niche. This could be interviews with the very people who run the sites you want to list in the directory. How smart is that? Not only are you building your authority, learning more about the niche but you are far more likely to sell links (or make money from ads) if you have something people actually want and can’t find elsewhere.

  1. Start with a Niche – Find a topic you’re seriously passionate about, from birds to routers to online clothing merchants.
  2. Don’t Just Make a Directory – Put great content about your subject on the site: blog posts, articles, tools, resource lists, charts, diagrams, investigative journalism, etc.
  3. Offer to Review Sites in Your Niche – But, for goodness sake, only include them if you’d really, honestly endorse them.
  4. Provide a Reason Why They’re Listed – Imagine a fellow hobbyist or researcher in your topic of interest in real life – if you couldn’t sit down with that person at a table and show them on your laptop why you included a particular site, DON’T include it.
  5. Don’t Offer Gimmicks or Link Juice – Offer listings on a site that real people who are really interested in your topic read and use and enjoy. If you start down the path of selling links for search engine value, you’ve lost your way. It can always be a secret side benefit, and plenty of folks who’ll come to you for links will be thinking about it, but if you want to be truly immune to any future penalties or devaluations, you can’t make it a focus.

Source: What Makes a Good Web Directory, and Why Google Penalized Dozens of Bad Ones – Moz

Bookmarks are Reader Testimonials

You can hear the nay-sayers when it comes to web bookmarks and blogrolls. Not everything from the old, retro Internet has become obsolete.

Source: Modern SEO: The end of social bookmarking websites – BloggingConsult

But… are they right? Is keeping a list of your favourite links, the links you still visit to actually read, a bad idea? I don’t think so.

Of course, I try not to blog for SEO and Google in general. The very idea of doing all of this for a mindless machine is unappealing. Even if I don’t have many readers, or get feedback in comments or make fame and fortune through my sites… at least I’m doing something I really care about, my own way.

Back to the bookmarks!

People used to work at getting links from other sites. There were link exchanges, web rings and assorted other plans and schemes. Now Google put the scare into most people… duplicated content, too many links. etc. Google scares people because they want to be scared. In fact, Google works for us, the readers of blogs. Google wants us to find good content because then Google can sell more ads based on the people using Google and finding what they were looking for.

If we each keep a list of sites were really do like and find useful, we help our readers and we even help Google.

Each bookmark and blogroll link is a testimonial, a recommendation, from readers (real people, not machines).

I still look for a list of resources and links when I visit other sites. Isn’t that the point of visiting a niche site especially? You want to find information, resources and new ideas. Other resources are important.

Even if you have found a niche topic and you are the only resource there are still sideline resources, like supplies, maintenance and so on. Sidelines are great opportunities for you to run affiliate links for Amazon (for example) products/ books/ etc which you don’t offer yourself. Sidelines are a way to show readers you really know what you are writing about too. You can offer a complete package to readers of your site and keep them on your site by giving them all the information they need. Google will like you for it too.

Don’t think you can’t link to your competition either. You show confidence in doing so. Plus, you make yourself part of that group of well done, successful and popular sites in your topic or niche. Send a note to the other sites. Do not ask for a link exchange, be smart and offer them something they need: content and ideas. Interview them and post it to your site. Guest post (but make sure you have a great idea they really will want).

You can build your authority and readership with bookmarks and by having people bookmark you in return. But, the best are those who do it because they want to, not those done as an automated link exchange or some kind of deal about linking back.

Sincere recommendations and testimonials are the word of mouth you want people to hear. Blogrolls and bookmarks are not dead.

Content Curation Works with WordPress (Free Even)

I’m using a few plugins I especially like for content curating in my WordPress sites. I had been working (and still am) with web based content curation but I would rather put all that time and content into my own sites than another. (You never know when one of those sites will make big changes, like closing down entirely). One of the projects I’m working on is to focus and sort my RSS feeds. I had over 1,000 but it is down to almost 300 now. That helps with finding content I want to post more about.

Other than testing RSS feed readers, I’ve been trying every content curation WordPress plugin I can find. Some have been trouble, some just didn’t have enough. But, one has been exceptional!

  • PressForward – A lot of features. Don’t judge by looks – this is a stand alone content curation system for WordPress. It’s also free and I have not found any problems running it several months now. In addition to the bookmarklet for nominating links you can create a post around later – you can collect feeds and read them from your own site and create posts around whatever turns up in the list. I continue to find more ways to use this plugin as I spend time working with it.
  • Link Roundups – A simple form of content curation. Created to collect links for roundup posts but you can use the bookmarklet to save links, add them to a post and do what you like from there.
  • PressThis – You can find this in WordPress. No plugin is needed. But, PressForward has additional features.

I’ve begun trying Curated Search. The features look great but I haven’t given it the test of time yet.

What have you tested and found to be great for content curation in WordPress?

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