Archives for January 2008

Welcome to the Future Home of Slick Domains!

Welcome to Slick Domains! This site will serve as a domaining blog, as well as a medium for buying and selling domain names.

We plan to begin posting as soon as this weekend. In the meantime, why don’t you check out our domains for sale (coming soon!) and subscribe to our feed!

Blogging Discussion: How Often Should You Post?

No matter how much you read about blogging, there are some things that can only be learned from experience.  One of these things that seems to vary by niche is how often you need to post to retain an audience.

In my experience, content is always king and if your content is good enough, people will keep coming back for more.  With that said, I’ve found that if you write a lot of long and detailed posts, you can get away with only a couple posts a week, while blogs that write a lot of short posts will probably need to post more often to keep the readers attention.   This is especially true for news-type sites that don’t write much original content.

Darren at ProBlogger recently did a single question interview with several high profile blogging to try to figure out how long posts need to be.   In looking for the responses, it seems that many of these bloggers have felt that “Less is More” and writing detailed posts less often seems to be the optimal way to post.

Most of my readers are bloggers, so I figured this would be a great opportunity to get a discussion going.   In your experience, does less equal more?  Or have you had more success with a lot of small posts?

Best of: Wikipedia Greasemonkey Scripts

Unless you’ve been living a very sheltered life offline over the past five years, you’ve probably heard of and even visited Wikipedia at some point. 

Wikipedia is an online open source reference site that anyone can edit.  While the existance of such a site requires some trust and has a few problems, overall the information you get off Wikipedia is pretty accurate and helpful.  

I’ve found Wikipedia very useful on several occasions, but there is definitely some room for improvement.  If you have the Greasemonkey extension installed on your Firefox web browser, you can use Greasemonkey scripts to help improve the behavior of Wikipedia.   Here are a collection of my favorite Wikipedia Greasemonkey scripts.

Wikipedia Greasemonkey Scripts

  • Google Search Sidebar – Adds a sidebar with search results from, Wikipedia, Flickr, and Youtube. Please report any bugs.
  • The Movie Dude – Cross-links movie sites so you don’t have to.
  • WikEd – A full-featured in-browser editor for Wikipedia and other MediaWikis.
  • Wikify – Adds a Wikify button to Gmail.
  • Wikipedia Auto-Login – Automatically logs you into Wikipedia if Firefox is set to remember your password.
  • Wikipedia Clean and Professional –  Changes Wikipedia’s layout to be more clean and professional.
  • Wikipedia Image Link Fix – On image pages, removes the link to the image if no larger version is available.
  • Wikipedia Inline Article Viewer – Adds an icon next to links to other articles on Wikipedia pages. When clicked, the linked article is opened inside a inline frame without leaving the original article.
  • Wikipedia Modified Warning – Shows a warning if an English Wikipedia page has been modified within the last X minutes (default is 5).
  • Wiki Sidebar Tweak – Keep the sidebar of Wiki’s always on top and keep the languages you know on top in the ‘other languages’-box.

Know of a useful one I missed?  Let me know in the comments below!

How To: Finding Success With Blogging

It seems to me that most people start out blogging with the idea of getting rich quickly.  Heck, if you are familiar with the make money online niche, you can see that an entire niche has been thriving because of this mindset. 

What I’ve learned in my two years of blogging is that set obtainable goals and patience is the most important skill you can have.   You will have to put a lot of work in early on to develop the readership you are looking for and that is often without any monetary compensation.   Once you meet a few of your goals, readers will come and the money will follow. 

Today I came across a quote that I felt kind of sums up the whole idea of finding success with obtainable goals.   It may seem a little lame, but if you step back and think about it, it really does describe finding success in anything:

By Mac Anderson, Simple Truths

When I was a freshman in college I learned an unforgettable lesson.
I was having a rough week when there was a lot to do and very little
time to do it. I was overwhelmed. I panicked.

That night a friend stopped by my dorm room. When I told him my problem,
he said, “Mac, I’ll share something with you that my grandmother told
me a few years ago. She said to always remember: ‘Inch by inch, life’s
a cinch. Yard by yard, life is hard.'”

I said, “Bob, here I am drowning in work and your lifeline is a quote
from your grandmother. Come on!”

After he left, however, those twelve little words kept dancing in my
head. I took out a piece of notebook paper and listed all the things
I had to do in the next three days. That night I began knocking them
off one by one.

Three days later I took out that paper and marked through the last
thing on the list. It felt great! And then I took out another piece
of paper and wrote down the words: “Inch by inch, life’s a cinch.
Yard by yard, life is hard.” I then folded the paper and put it in
my wallet. As many of you know, I’ve been collecting quotes ever since.

You see, over the years I’ve learned that success doesn’t come cascading
like Niagara Falls; it comes one drop at a time through short-term,
realistic goals.

Experts on motivation disagree on a lot of things, but one thing they
all agree on is that your levels of motivation are directly tied to
your expected probabilities of success. In other words, if you believe
you can do something (the goals are realistic), you’re likely to be
highly motivated. If, however, you think you can’t (because the goals
are unrealistic) your motivation level falls greatly.

The lesson here is to continue to dream big dreams, but realize that
the short-term goals that take you to the next plateau are the real
keys to success.

I think this applies to just about anything where you have goals, whether it is making money online, losing weight, quiting smoking, or spending more time with family.  

When you start out blogging, set realistic goals, then allow yourself to meet them over time, then create new goals that you can achieve. 

Looking Back Over The Internet in 1996

Oh my, look how far we’ve come!   Back in 1996 I was a junior in high school and about the only time I spent online was in America Online chat rooms or running my Wu Tang Clan eClub.  I also remember trying to find ways to download games for my Texas Instrument calculator.  We all had e-mail addresses, but most people didn’t have personal websites or spend much time surfing online.   They certainly didn’t go there with the intention of finding information, it was more for entertainment.  The popular browser at the time was Netscape Navigator, though Internet Explorer 3 was starting to gain popularity.

Knowing what we know now, it is truly amazing how far the internet has come in only a little over a decade.    A student of Michigan State University recently took a look back at the Internet in 1996 to get an idea of what websites looked like because he was to young to truly remember.   I really enjoyed the post and bet you will also!

What is your favorite memory of being online in the late 1990’s?

Expand Your Blog’s Reach By Increasing User Interaction

When I made my recent domain change, one of the big reasons I cited was the brandability that could be gained with using a “better” domain name.   Using a personal domain not only makes the domain/website difficult to sell, but it also limits the things you can do with it.  

In the past I’ve had a number of projects going on at the same time, which include having several different blogs setup.   While this method works for some people, I’ve felt for awhile now that it is probably better to keep it all under one umbrella, and having a brandable domain name now allows for that opportunity.  Setting up a subdomain or directory will fit much nicer under a brandable domain name and makes things easier to manage for the blogger.  It also saves a lot of the time that would normally be spent developing and branding each individual webpage. 

Along this line of thinking, I enjoyed seeing that Daily Bits has written a post that covers developing a website for user interaction.  In this post, Steven talks about some ways to further develop your website beyond just a blog to help increase the value and to help add more user interaction.   Some ideas mentioned include adding forums, adding quizzes/polls, video blogging, or even adding job boards. 

Some other options I would add are writing an eBook, creating a WordPress theme/plugin, writing a Greasemonkey script or Firefox extension, or even creating a Tumblelog for posting quick and/or random thoughts, links, or whatever else you feel like posting.   Keeping all of this under one domain can increase traffic, improve user interaction, and improve the overall value of your domain/website. 

How Can I Help You?

While I’ve never been a person that bases his success on numbers of blog comments, I have found that comments are a great way to gauge reader interest.  The basic idea is that the posts that receive the most comments are probably written about what people most want to hear about.  I try to keep an eye on the most commented posts so that when I write my next post, I have an idea of what type of stuff to write about. 

I’m curious to find out what additions you would like to see made to Slickmania?   Would you participate in forums or download an eBook?  Will you be reading my Tumblelog?  What else would you like to see?  Any input is appreciated!

Garry Conn Releases Digg Theme

Whether you have little to no HTML knowledge, or whether you consider yourself a web designer, one of the best things you can do is to create a WordPress theme and release it to the WordPress community.   I’ve seen simple themes getting as much use as premium or advanced themes, and this is often because it allows for easier customization.

Yesterday I noticed that Garry Conn has released a new WordPress theme called Digs’em, which was obviously inspired by popular social news site Digg.   He lists it as being search engine friendly as well.   Here is a screenshot:

Digsem Theme

If you are interested in giving it a try, you can download it here.

Best of: iGoogle Greasemonkey Scripts

As more things begin to move online, it has become more important to have a centralized homepage of sorts to access all your information from one spot.  There are a variety of great options out there today, but so far I’ve found that iGoogle, Google’s homepage, has done the best job of filling my needs in this area.  

With that said, there is always room improvement with any product, and Greasemonkey has stepped in to fill that void with a variety of great scripts to change the behavior of iGoogle.   In order to use these, you will first need the Greasemonkey extension and the Firefox web browser installed on your computer.  

iGoogle Greasemonkey Scripts

  • BeautyBlue – Nice blue theme for your iGoogle page.
  • Google IG Max – Maximizes the removal of extra space to save room. Removes headers, footers, along with reducing the size of many elements on this page.
  • More Rounded Corners – Allows you to round the corners of your modules.
  • Remove Extra Space – Removes all the extra space on your iGoogle homepage.
  • Remove the Header – Allows you to remove all module headers. You can also remove the footer with this script.
  • Remove the Plus – Removes the + symbol next to each link within the modules.
  • Replacing the Google Logo – Allows you to put any image where the iGoogle logo is (requires some hard coding).
  • Resizeable Columns – Allows you to resize your homepage’s columns to look how you want.
  • Transparencies – Makes the header image transparent to improve the look of your homepage.

Know of any good ones I’ve missed?  Let me know in the comments below!

Technology Talk – 01/27/2008

It has been a little while since I did a technology talk, so I figured now was as good of time as any!   Here are some recent posts that I’ve really enjoyed:

Introducing the Slickmania Tumblelog!

This is a really minor addition in the overall scheme of things, but I’m happy to say that I finally got around to adding a tumblelog to Slickmania. It is something I’ve seen other bloggers do on their websites and I’ve always really liked the concept of it. What is a tumblelog you say? Lets consult Wikipedia for a definition:

A tumblelog (also known as a tumblog or tlog) is a variation of a blog that favors short-form, mixed-media posts over the longer editorial posts frequently associated with blogging. Common post formats found on tumblelogs include links, photos, quotes, dialogues, and video. Unlike blogs, tumblelogs are frequently used to share the author’s creations, discoveries, or experiences while providing little or no commentary.

If you are familiar with Tumblr, then you probably have the general idea of how a tumblelog works, but it is basically just quick posts where the author doesn’t take the time to do more than post an interesting video, link to an interesting post, etc. I may also borrow an idea from Garry and use my tumblelog to post answers to reader questions there.

As mentioned above, I’ve always loved the idea of a tumblelog, and think it is great that by placing it in a directory, I am able to keep it under the Slickmania umbrella and continue to improve the website. These posts will be indexed by search engines and could bring in additional traffic, but due to the lack of length in the posts I will not be placing advertisements within the posts. People who have purchased a banner on this site will benefit, however, because this potential traffic will in fact see their banners on these pages.

So, what do you think? This is a relatively minor change and I don’t expect it to take off to much, but I think it will be fun. I’ve considered making a separate feed for it. Would you be interested in subscribing if I set up a feed?