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Weekly Digest: Guest Bloggers Galore, Theme Spam, Blog Scraping, and Personal Blogging

It’s been a week and a half of fabulous guest bloggers bringing some color and excitement to Lorelle on WordPress. Wow! And some babble about WordPress Themes with link spam and vulnerabilities that must be addressed, and blog scrapers stealing content from WordPress.com Blogs. And one of my guest bloggers begins a series on the art of personal blogging.

And I’ve been blogging on the Blog Herald about the logistics and process of being a guest blogger and having guest bloggers on your blog. A lot is going on in Lorelle on WordPress World.

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What’s Happening with Lorelle on WordPress

WordPress.com 2 year anniversary partyCelebrating Blogging and WordPress: While many think having guest bloggers is a chance to take a vacation, I have to tell you that my two months of celebrating blogging and WordPress with guest bloggers is hard work. It’s exciting, and I’ve had more fun with this than I have in a long time with my blog, but it is challenging. I’m not sure yet if the hard work is the coordination and logistics, or the fact that these brilliant bloggers are setting my mind on fire with all kinds of great blogging ideas and topics I will be bringing you in the future.

I am so honored and humbled by the wealth of information these great bloggers are sharing with me and my readers. Thanks to all. So far, the list includes:

Professional business and life coach, Greg Balanko-Dickson, is familiar to many of you here as he has been the only guest blogger to date on Lorelle on WordPress. He’s making waves again with Top 10 List: Just Say No To SEO, If I was to start writing & blogging today I would…, Observations on The Economics of the Blogosphere, and How to Avoid Mental Gymnastics While Writing Your Blog. If you are thinking of turning your blog into a business, check out his online workshops and programs.

Edrei Zahari of Footsteps in the Mirror brought his expertise in personal blogging to Bringing Personal Blogging To Light and Writing The Picture of a Personal Blog.

Engtech of Internet Duct Tape brought us the news of Sandbox Theme for WordPress Design Competition and Sandbox Design Competition Winners. I’m looking forward to more from this rabble rouser of WordPress, WordPress.com, and web technology. Trust me, WordPress and WordPress.com is better because of Engtech. Doubt me? Check out the amazing Akismet Auntie-Spam Greasemonkey Script for WordPress and Firefox Users. Digging through comment spam was never easier.

Jan of Circular Communication shared Why A Link Post Should Be Like Mingling at a Party, a wonderful look at the community formed by linking.

Daniel Brusilovsky of Apple Universe is a high school sophomore whose created a bit of a sensation with his podcasts and blog on Apple and computer technology. He’s introducing us to podcasting in What is Podcasting? and Issues of Podcasting.

John Pozadzides of One Man’s Blog video taped WordCamp and has started sharing the videos, announcing me to the world with Lorelle Live at WordCamp 2007, my presentation on Kicking Ass Content Connections. You can also see a slideshow of my program notes. He also shared the brilliant Why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is Still Important, a great look at SEO and why it still matters, even though so many are ho-hum about it today. It still counts.

My long time friend, Michael Hampton, of Homeland Stupidity and the powerful comment and referrer spam bouncer, Bad Behavior, whom I have featured many times, gives us a poke in our complacency with Battling Referrer Spam.

Another dear friend, Abhijit Nadgouda, who started out on WordPress.com and has now moved into the “big time” with a full version, brings his unique perspective I so value to Why Blog?, adding a unique point of view with the “because effect”. A software engineer, I think he’s more of a philosopher, so I’m looking forward to hearing more.

Another fellow WordPress.com blogger, J.T Dabbagian of JTDabbagian.com, has been making quite the name for himself with recent popular blog posts on web and WordPress technology. Working on his Masters in Communications Studies, he helped many think about how this blogging process works in Planning your entry: A basic How-to on brainstorming.

Pelf Nyok is still finding her “label”, even though she’s been blogging a while. Sometimes she considers herself a personal blogger, but is willing to tackle some tough technical subjects. Her joy of life is found in every blog post, so it’s delightful to have her blogging here with Almost two years now and what have I learned from blogging? and I’m looking forward to more.

I’ve posted only a few posts over this past week, letting the others shine on my blog. However, two bits of WordPress news were critical to share with my readers.

Are You Risking Your Blog With an Unofficial or Vulnerable WordPress Theme really attracted a lot of thanks and heat. While there is a lot that can be said about this issue, this point made on the Web Talk Forums by einsteinsboi really summed it up:

Thanks for the heads up. I only get themes from the WordPress Theme Viewer for that very reason, I don’t want to get a theme full of backlinks and ads and other stuff that I don’t know about. Unless I know the source is a trusted source, I won’t use the theme. It does help if you know how to go through the code and clean it up, but I don’t plan to spend time doing that unless the theme is exceptionally good.

It isn’t that the WordPress Theme Viewer is the “best” or better than any other provider of WordPress Themes. They’ve gone public with their determination to clean up the nuisance Themes, and are putting terms and checks into place to make sure the Themes are as clean as possible in response to an overwhelming demand from the WordPress Community to not allow spammy Themes on WordPress “official” sites. Hopefully, other Theme providers will make their policies public and live up to their promises for spam-free and ad-free blogs.

WordPress.com Blogs Feeds Scraped was an announcement to the WordPress.com (and WordPress) community about a couple of scrapers taking WordPress.com blog posts and using it as their own, with ads on it (which WordPress.com blogs are not allowed), in China and elsewhere. With a community response, these scrapers can be shut down if we all work together.

Exciting Lorelle on WordPress News

Behind the scenes there are some exciting things happening with me and my blogging, as well as books, programs, and other special events. I’ll have more news on these coming soon.

Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging

Blogging Tips - book cover, copyright Lorelle VanFossenThe reviews have been coming in fast, so fast, I can barely keep up. I’ll be updating the official page for Blogging Tips in the next few days with all the new reviews and kind words.

To order your own copy of the limited first printed edition with a reduced introductory price, order from SplashPress or the new Blog Herald Bookstore. For more information on the book, see the original announcement and a recent update with reviews and other information, as well as the Blogging Tips Book official page. Coming soon will be an ebook version and an audio version. Stay tuned!

Interviews, Features, and Guest Blogging

Stephen Danko of Steve’s Genealogy Blog asks “Who is Lorelle VanFossen?” trying to answer the question people in the Genealogy world and elsewhere are asking about me. I had no idea anyone was asking. I’ve been here all the time. :D He’s done a great job giving a rough bio and summary of what I do, including a review of my Family History blog. Thanks, Stephen. And if you are looking for great genealogy news and resources, check out Steve’s Genealogy Blog. I’m a huge fan!

Other recent interviews and features include:

Most Popular Articles on Lorelle on WordPress

The article in C-Net News on copyright violations has once again brought the popular article, What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content, into the spotlight.

However, there was a battle for most popular between postive thinking and talking about evil. Are You Risking Your Blog With an Unofficial or Vulnerable WordPress Theme and WordPress.com Blogs Feeds Scraped got a lot of attention as the issue of Theme security flaws and vulnerabilities were mixed with the sensitive subject of “sponsored” WordPress Themes, as well as the nasties of having your blog content stolen. Hopefully, people will consider themselves warned and will do something about protecting their blogs when security warnings and issues come out, and WordPress Theme and Plugin authors will work harder to maintaining updates and security fixes so WordPress users don’t have to worry.

On the positive side, a lot of personal bloggers got a burst of energy and reinforcement as long time personal blogger, Edrei Zahari, shared his blogging experiences and expertise in Bringing Personal Blogging To Light and Writing The Picture of a Personal Blog.

The most popular posts on Lorelle on WordPress these past few weeks were:

Linking To and From Lorelle on WordPress

Gaje Master Blogging reported on why excerpts are important, especially when it comes to handling duplicate or supplemental content on your WordPress blog, pointing towards my article on how to change multi-post page views from full content to excerpts, Display Post Excerpts Only in WordPress.

In The Components Of A Successful Blog by Search Engine Optimization Journal, the author used a quote from my article, Blog Success: It’s the Linkable Content, Folks, to make an important point:

If you’re not in it for the long haul, your blog won’t be successful. There are tons of abandoned blogs out there just screaming for attention. Do you want yours to be one of them?

If you want to be one of the screaming masses, putting all your attention into getting attention and not generating content worth paying attention to, then you are on the wrong blog track.

Sharon B’s MindTracks presents “Blogging First Steps” for a class she is teaching, and wasn’t I surprised to find several of my posts included in the class notes: Starting With a Purpose and a Plan, Are You Blogging Your Passion or Blogging to Blog?, and Do You Get to The Point or Ramble to the Point In Your Blog?. When my material is used to educate others about how blogging and WordPress works, it makes it all worthwhile! Thank you.

From the article on CNet about content theft, which has now been published on ZDNet and the New York Times (who knew!), I’ve gotten a lot of trackbacks from some very interesting articles on the issue of content theft.

One that really touched my heart was a conversion by JBot Mania:

I am going to redo ALL of them where I quote the entirety of a source. I will see what the site’s commons license states and if I can’t find one, I’ll use Lorelle’s suggestion above. Before, without a guideline, I erred on the greedy side. I’m an information monger, an addict even. And now that will stop. I’m sure that the four of you out there reading this will appreciate it.

So if you want to support your sources in the truest sense, then drive people to THEIR site. Don’t plagiarize and think a blockquote will make it better.

Here are a few more:

The latest blog challenge, Blog Challenge: Blog Your Passion, is starting to get some interesting responses, including this from Kathy Holmes on “Blog Your Passion”:

Of course, writing is my passion. And blogging lends immediacy to writing – one reason I’m so passionate about blogging.

There is something special for a writer having that immediacy to writing. It turns you from just a writer to a published writer with a click of a blogging button. Very satisfying!

Here are just a few of the sites linking to and from Lorelle on WordPress:

Blasts From the Past

Blog Herald Columns

In honor of the two months of guest bloggers on Lorelle on WordPress, I’m sharing the lessons I’m learning with the guest blogging experience on the in a series called Learning the Art of Guest Blogging:

The last few issues of the WordPress Wednesday News I release each week on the Blog Herald were:

Lorelle’s Linkworthy Links


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10 Comments

  1. Posted August 12, 2007 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    I linked this post into my sidebar blogroll so that anyone can come here to read about blogging. A great article and links. Thanks.

  2. Posted August 12, 2007 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Brian. I appreciate the honor.

  3. sikoop
    Posted August 12, 2007 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I have been continuing to think about copyright since my post and confession on JBot Mania. I was wondering what you think about copyright issues and images. Admittedly, I am almost afraid to ask. It’s next to impossible to reference an image partially (i.e. an excerpt) and like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. How do you handle referencing images and are there any standard limits that you find people are implementing?

  4. Posted August 12, 2007 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Excellent, this was just what I wanted! Thanks Lorelle!

  5. Posted August 12, 2007 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    sikoop: Are you talking about how to copyright images? In the ALT attribute, write “Image Copyright MY Name My Blog”. Make sure that your copyright policy includes referencing images and graphics.

    As for the rest, images are no different from content. They are protected equally. You request their removal, just like content, the same way.

    Is that what you meant?

    If you are using images on that ski blog, without permission of the owner and the blog which hosted the original images, and you haven’t checked their copyright policy on the use of such images, then you could be violating their copyrights.

  6. Posted August 12, 2007 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    All of our images for the ski club are our own. That 15 minutes of fame for the members and to show off the lodge. I was speaking in general about using images from other sources, but your answer works in either case (and reminds me that I should probably copyright those images on the ski club site). You’re saying that with images, just like everything else, you should ask first. The thing that makes the process harder with images is the fact that it IS so cut and dry, it’s all or nothing. As with everything it can be hard to be good but then it wouldn’t matter much if it was easy.

  7. Posted August 12, 2007 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    There is no “excerpt” online for images, though some have gotten away with using a part or portion. Still, we need to recognize ownership with all things on the web, and that means letting the owner decide how they want their work handled. Many decide to give it away without question. That’s wonderful. But it is their decision, not the decision of someone else imposed upon them.

    And thank you so much for caring enough about this issue to not just ask, but to bring it to the attention to others. That means the world to those of us who have to fight so hard to make others understand. It is cut and dried and simple. If it isn’t yours, don’t take it. Ask first.

    If the world only worked entirely on that principle. :D

  8. Posted August 13, 2007 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle

    Many thanks for the link back to my post about Australian copyright, but more importantly for providing such wonderful blogging resources in the first place. I know I’ve spent many an hour here in the past – it’s invaluable :)

  9. Posted August 13, 2007 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the great bio!

  10. Posted August 15, 2007 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Excellent article on blogging. Keep up the good work.


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  1. [...] So far, I’ve written an article, and plan on writing one later today. After she posted a list of all the guest bloggers, I figured it would be nice of me to link them all. After all, you can never have too many links, [...]

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