Posts from June 2009
Last week was the final week of the "Green by Design" contest and we'd like to thank you all for your creative and inspiring submissions.
Our Week Four winner is Dave Morgan. Congratulations Dave!!
And our Week Four Runner-Up is José Ferreira.
Thank you to everyone who submitted a badge to the Green by Design contest and to everyone who added a Green Badge to your blog in support of the One Million Acts of Green campaign.
Remember: When the Green Badges receive a million impressions across the blogosphere,
Six Apart will donate $1000 to The Climate Project.
Here are just a few of the designs to choose from:
Each badge links to the One Million Acts of Green brought to you by Cisco website. One Million Acts of Green is a collaborative environmental campaign encouraging everyone to go green. One act at a time. The goal? One million acts of green!
Visit the One Million Acts of Green website today to record your Acts of Green!
Lighten Up Bikes' motto is "biking is fun. fun is good." which I totally agree with. The latest cool project they're doing is helping George, an Atlanta local who collects cans to supplement his social security income, to get a bike made specifically for that purpose. George is a 62 year old Vietnam vet, and in the words of the blog:
"This is George. George lives in SW Atlanta. He collects cans by the roadside and hauls his load on this bicycle. Last night, I received an email from my friend Ken that simply said "we gotta get George a Mundo". To which I replied, "Who the hell is George?". To which Ken replied, "dude george the guy who hauls all the cans on his bike up and down murphy". One dollar for George was born."
They're not telling George that they're raising money for his new bike - they're just hoping to get him one, one dollar at a time - and it takes about 100 cans to get $1. Do you have a dollar for George's new bike?
Visit One Dollar for George.
We've been really busy the past few weeks, so here's a wrap-up of some of the work we've done, plus an update on yesterday's release.
Question of the Day is now in TypePad! One of your favorite features from our sister service, Vox, is now on your TypePad dashboard. You can post from the QotD module in TypePad, straight to your blog. If you haven't tried it yet, give it a shot - and we want your input to make this a feature you love in TypePad, too – so let us know what you think would make it even better.
We had a slew of great new themes for your blog from our friends in the Toyko office.Thanks to everyone for your feedback on those, like widening the main column layout.
We announced the opening of our small business center, which can help your business get a professional, effective web presence built while still being mindful of cost.
Fixes and features for Guest authors:
- guest author billing should be sorted out now - there was a temporary bug asking guest authors for credit card information. This is fixed now.
- Loads and loads of admin flow fixes that our Pro, Premium and Business Class bloggers have been asking for forever. This may have changed the way some guest authors schedule draft posts, so we're working on a way to more easily manage and publish draft posts.
Fixes and features for TypePad Connect and people previewing the new TypePad:
- If you're previewing the new design, you can now edit comments! Thanks to everyone on our Get Satisfaction forums who let us know this was important.
- The number of comments shown at the bottom of each post now will tally with the actual number of comments.
- Editing a comment no longer shows the email address of the commenter.
- Managing comments in the new TypePad is easier now - thanks to your feedback, we're working on how the flow works - for instance, if I'm on page 2 of comments, and delete one, now, I stay on page 2, rather than being taken back to page 1.
- "View comment" opens in a new window.
- along with a ton of other comment moderation improvements.
We fixed a lot of individual customers' issues, too. If you still need help, just let us know by opening up a trouble ticket with our support team.
What we're really excited about is getting things ready around here for more people being able to preview the new TypePad. There's more to come soon!
Updated: We've heard loud and clear in the comments that these themes should be wider, so we're updaing them in just a couple of weeks.
You've been asking for new themes for your blog, and we heard you loud and clear. Our Japan team, also known around the office as SAKK, has some really sleek, fun, and kawaii themes with an international flair and we thought you'd like to see these on your blogs. Check 'em out!
I'm really excited about the diversity of the design options available. Since a picture's worth a thousand words, I thought I'd put up some of my favorites.
Try these new themes: just click to your "design" tab - click "themes" and "new".
I'm totally digging the LinkWithin widget that points readers to related posts for each entry. Here's a video:
- Go to http://www.linkwithin.com/
- Fill out the form in the lower right and click Get Widget. A page of instructions displays.
- Click on Install Widget. Youu'll then be sent into TypePad to choose the blog you want to add the widget to.
- Check the blog you want to add the widget to and click Add Widget.
- Within an hour, LinkWithin will have indexed and your blog and started adding suggested reading for each post.
Before we announce this week's winner, we wanted to take a moment to remind you that when the Green Badges receive one million impressions across the blogosphere, Six Apart will give $1000 to The Climate Project.
There are still a few days to enter the contest! Get all the details about how to do so here.
And now... drumroll please...
The Week Three Winner is:
Week Three Runner-Up:
Congratulations Kitty and Joe!
Sometimes it's the little things we don't think much of that can make a blog pop. A well-designed banner can tell your visitors in a single glance what your blog is about or show that you have a funky, fun, or romantic personality. A simple, clean layout can showcase your post content by allowing it to speak for itself without the distraction of other items fighting for visibility. Beautiful photographs can catch the eye, compelling visitors to stay a while to appreciate the hard work that went into them.
That much-requested horizontal navigation bar, which sits between your banner and post content, is loaded with potential. Since the navigation bar is a new feature, you may not have thought much about how you can spruce it up. "It's just a list of links," you say. "Let it just do its job," you plead. To which I have to ask, "what if it could do more for you?"
By creating some simple images and adding them to the navigation bar, those links suddenly stand out more and will attract the attention of your readers. Your visitors’ eyes will be drawn to where you want them to look. Then the navigation bar becomes more than just a list of links - it becomes a design element.
Interested in doing this on your own blog? Great!
Here are the steps to get you started:
- Create, or commission someone to create, some fantastic images for your navigation.
- Upload them to your File Manager at Control Panel > Files (we recommend clicking on your blog's folder name and uploading there in case you want to repeat this for your other blogs!)
- Click on the filename of your images, one-by-one, and copy the URL of each image. (Save these URLs because you'll need them later!)
- Go to Weblogs > Design > Content, and make sure the module box for "navigation bar" is checked.
- Click on the pencil icon in the same module box. A pop-up window will appear.
- Where it says "Home" in the #1 position beneath "Title", delete the text and type in:
- Between the two quotation marks, paste in the URL for the "Home" image you created. The "Title" field will now look similar to:
- Verify that the URL that is in the URL field to the right of your "Home" image code is correct. If it's not, correct it. For example, I would use:
- Repeat the process for the remaining navigation bar images you want to add. It'll look like:
- Save your changes on the pop-up, then again on the Content screen.
The only step left is to reload your blog and enjoy the work you put into sprucing up your navigation bar!
Many small businesses are using TypePad to boost search engine traffic to their websites and raise their profiles as thought leaders in their fields. We know that many of you could benefit from their stories and experiences, so we’ve launched the TypePad small business center, focused on connecting small business owners and experts in blog design, branding, marketing, social media strategies with all of you out there who are looking for inspiration and great ideas.
We recently spoke to J.D Iles of the very successful Signs Never Sleep to get his insights on starting a small business blog.
The flexibility has been key to J.D. Iles’ blogging success. In 2004, he purchased a boutique sign shop in New Hampshire called Lincoln Sign Company, and decided to try blogging as a way to add fresh content the company’s existing website. “I didn’t know any HTML,” J.D. says. “Code was voodoo to me – I’ve since learned a few things, but I don’t ever want to be a coder.”
His Lincoln Sign Company blog soon attracted traffic from around the country, with people from Austin to San Francisco requesting sign quotes. The success was a mixed blessing. “Signage is a very local business,” J.D. explains. “Most sign companies conduct their business within a 30 miles radius, and I couldn’t handle the long-distance requests as affordably or easily as their own local sign company could have,” he says.
J.D. decided to change the focus of his blog from Lincoln Signs to the sign industry at large. He launched Signs Never Sleep on TypePad, based on a recommendation from Seth Godin. “My number one criteria was to find a company that would host my blog,” he says.
Nearly three years later, J.D. is very happy with his choice: “TypePad is more reliable than my car,” he chuckles.
Today, Signs Never Sleep is an online sign magazine for people interested in learning about signs and how to purchase them. “There are four other online sign magazines, but they all address sign makers, not sign buyers,” J.D. says. “The buyers are the demographic I’m after.”
J.D. and his co-blogger Christine cover topics on everything from what you need to know before you buy a sign to great ideas in signage to profiles of top-notch sign makers around the country. “We’re continually working to make the blog better – looking at other blogs, finding ways to improve,” J.D. says. They seem to have found the right formula: the Signs Never Sleep readership has grown from 4,000 page views per month in 2008 to over 24,000 page views in May of 2009.
J.D's advice for small businesses
J.D. offers this advice to small business bloggers: “Search engines re-index the web constantly. For any business that wants to grow, your static website isn’t going to cut it – you need to have a blog.” He recommends TypePad for its reliability and ease of use. “As a small business, you want to choose a blogging company that is accountable and will be there for you.”
He firmly believes that it’s worth the effort: “Once you get started, blogging is tremendously rewarding - if you can spend just a few minutes a day creating content, it can be so beneficial.”
Find out more
We have compiled a whole host of information, including free webinars, case studies and a network of designers, marketers and independent TypePad experts for the small business at the Typepad small business center.
Let us know what you want to find out more about in the comments.
Looking for a way to keep your readers up-to-date on the latest news, while simultaneously attracting new visitors to your blog?
Checkout the Feedzilla News Widget. It's a customizable widget that aggregates and categorizes news stories by topic. The content is collected 24-hours a day, 7-days a week from a handpicked list of the top news sources. There are over 1750 topics to choose from, so whether you write about travel, tech, business or celebrities, the content will align with your blog.
- Enrich your blog's content
- Improve your SEO ranking
- Increase the duration of visits to your blog
- Encourage readers to return to your blog
Woohoo! We've got a full schedule of live events for you in the next 2 months.
If you're new to TypePad, be sure to check out our next intro course:
- July 8 - TypePad Basics is a guided tour on how to get the most out of TypePad
To continue our outreach to small business, we're launching a free webinar series focused on the ins and outs of small business in today's economy.
- July 1 - How Blogging Can Catapult Your Small Business with our chief blogging evangelist Anil Dash
- July 15 - Top 5 Tactics for a Successful Small Business Blog with social media expert Denise Wakeman
- July 29 - Expand Your Small Business Brand to Achieve Global Reach with branding maven Kirsten Dixon
- August 12 - 7 Elements of Professional Looking Blog Design with blog design expert Niya Sisk
- August 26 - Using a Blog for Your Website and Ecommerce with resident TypePad expert Andy Wibbels