Starting a New Blog? Pick Popular Keywords

Whenever I’m about to launch a new blog, I always try to do a little research first. I’ve learned from experience that I need to have some interest in the blog’s subject matter, or else I won’t spend enough time on it to truly make it worth my while. The other thing I always factor in is whether or not people are searching for the keywords I plan to use. You’ll probably have more competition, but there is also a lot more traffic to go around.

I’ve always found the best way to find high traffic keywords is to track Google’s rising search terms list that they release regularly. By going after rising search terms, you are more likely to find a decent keyword-rich domain that is still available, rather than established ones that have been picked clean.

Center Networks recently posted a list of Google’s Top 10 Rising Keyword Search Terms for both the United States and worldwide. Unsurprisingly, you will find the iPhone topping both lists. You’ll also find the keywords you’d expect to find, such as YouTube, Facebook, and MySpace. Some other popular terms include Webkinz and Second Life.   If you want to set yourself up for success, using one of these keywords is a great way to set yourself up.

When you go to launch a new blog, what research do you do first?  How do you pick the blogs subject matter?

Best Facebook Applications

Facebook’s popularity went through the roof after making there service available to anyone, but it wasn’t until they opened up Facebook by making available the Facebook platform, which allows anyone to create Facebook applications for their popular social service. Last time I checked, there were over 10,000 free Facebook Applications available to users, and the number is continuing to grow with each passing day.

Unfortunately, with so many applications, it can be tough to weed through them all trying to find the ones that have any value. This resource was created as a way to collect the best Facebook Applications in one spot for easy reference. I have broken them down into individual categories to make navigation a little easier.

Blogging/Feeds

  • Flog – Helps you display your blog’s feed.
  • Google Reader – Displays your Google Reader feeds.
  • MyRSS – Allows you to display any feeds in your blog.

Calendar

Entertainment

  • Pets – Allows you to create and maintain a pet.
  • Super Poke – Allows you to send enhanced pokes to your friends.

Facebook Wall

  • Advanced Wall – Simple application that adds a more advanced wall to your profile.
  • Funwall – Allows additional wall features, plus tagging photos and YouTube videos.
  • Super Wall – Improves the Facebook wall. Allows for videos and photos.

Friends

  • Top Friends – Allows you to display your best friends.

Games

  • Blackjack – Allows you to play Blackjack.
  • Chess – Allows you to play Chess.
  • Nintendo Games – Play NES Nintendo games on your profile page (is this legal?)
  • Poker – Allows you to play Texas Hold’Em.
  • Scrabulous – Turn based word game.
  • Tetris – Adds Tetris to your Facebook page.
  • Warcrafter – Displays your World of Warcraft (WoW) characters.

Media

  • iLike – Add videos and music to your profile. You can dedicate songs and see what concerts friends are attending.
  • Netflix – Displays your Netflix queue.

Miscelleanous

  • Are You Interested? – Allows you to ask friends that question. No idea why this application is so popular with Facebook users.
  • Bumper Sticker – Create a bumper sticker and add to friends profile.
  • ChipIn – Assists you in collecting donations from friends.
  • E-mail – Allows you to e-mail people from your Facebook page.
  • Hot or Not – Rate and meet other Facebook users.
  • Paypal – Manage your Paypal account.
  • Mobile – Allows you to add photos and more from your mobile phone.
  • Polls -Display a poll for readers to participate in.
  • Resume – Allows you to display your resume.
  • Simple Stock Quotes – Allows you to get stock quotes.
  • To-Do – Allows you to add, categorize, and prioritize your tasks.

Social/Web 2.0

  • Del.icio.us – Display your Del.icio.us bookmarks.
  • Digg – Displays your most recent 5 Diggs.
  • eBay Auctions -Make wishlists, display your auctions, and browse other auctions.
  • My Flickr – Displays your Flickr photos.
  • Powncer – Shows your most recent public displays from your Pownce account.
  • SkypeMe – Allows you to make Skype calls from your Facebook page.
  • Twitter – Update your Twitter status from your Facebook page.
  • Wikipedia – Allows you to search Wikipedia from your profile.

Storage

  • Files – Integrates Box.net storage on to your profile page.

Video

  • Flixster Video – Allows you to see what other friends like and compare videos with other users.
  • Video – Adds video and gives you the option to record from a webcam.
  • YouTube Skins – Allows you to display and share YouTube videos with your friends.

Writing

  • MyLists – Allows you to create lists and share them with others.
  • Zoho – Gives you the ability to create and edit your Zoho documents from your Facebook page.

If you’re unable to find ones you are looking for, this list will be updated regularly as more useful applications are created or existing ones are improved and warrant a spot on this list.

Best Facebook Tools, Extensions, and Scripts

Over the past year, Facebook’s popularity has continued to increase to the point where it almost rivals MySpace. As a result, I decided it was a good time to get around to compiling a list of the best tools and resources available for Facebook users.

In this list you’ll find all sorts of tools, including Firefox extensions and Greasemonkey scripts that were designed to improve your Facebook experience. If you are looking for a compilation of the best Facebook applications, those will be available here shortly.

Facebook Firefox Extensions

  • Auto Slideshow – Displays current page images in a slideshow.
  • Boost for Facebook – Adds Facebook-specific features to Firefox, including skins, notifications, auto-poke, auto-login, friends in your sidebar and much more.
  • Facebar – Facebook toolbar with automatic login, search and quick links.
  • Facebook HugBack – All our pokes display as “hugs”.  This is visible only to you, not any of your friends.
  • Facebook Photo Album Downloader – Download entire albums from Facebook with a single click.
  • Firefox Toolbar – Adds Facebook search and activity notifications to Firefox. Also view friends and share content without visiting Facebook itself.
  • Firefox Universal Uploader – Tool to upload and download images to Facebook.
  • Notre Dame Facebook Style – Custom “University of Notre Dame” style that adds a custom header and theme to all Facebook pages.

Facebook Greasemonkey Scripts

Facebook Desktop Applications

  • BeepMe – Stay logged in, but not have the site open. Configure what you want to be notified of, and this sits in your start tray letting you know when you have received new items.
  • Dashboard Widget – For use with Mac OS X, notifies you of messages and more.
  • fbquick – Desktop application to notify you of wall posts, pokes, messages, events, photo tags, friend requests, group invites, and shares.
  • fbTrayNotify – Shows popup balloons to notify you of events on Facebook such as messages and pokes.
  • Simple Photo Uploader – Allows you to bulk upload photos to your albums.
  • The SocialBar –Internet Explorer Toolbar for FB – A Facebook toolbar for use with Internet Explorer.

Facebook Generators

  • Facebook Blast – Has a large collection of Facebook generators available.

Facebook Tools

  • TagSnag – Free tool that allows you to download and save to your computer all of the pictures other people have tagged of you on Facebook. This prevents you from tediously having to save the pictures one by one.

Technology Talk – 11/25/2007

I would say this has definitely been a slow week with the holiday here in the United States, but there was still some great stuff being written. Here are a few posts that caught my attention this week throughout the blogosphere:

Technology Talk – 10/21/2007

Wow, another busy week has gone by and a lot of interesting stuff has been talked about. Here are a few of my favorite posts over the past week:

Is Facebook the Next Google?

If you look back to the late 1990’s, the internet looked a lot different than it does today. Microsoft was the dominant company, Yahoo! was just getting started, and Google was just getting ready to be created. In the years since, Microsoft became content with their role in the world of internet/software and shifted their focus to growing their presence in other areas (Xbox, Zune, etc.). While they were off exploring new territory, Yahoo! thrived and Google swooped in and took over the internet.

Now Google seems to be untouchable in many of the same ways as Microsoft did close to a decade ago. But is it possible that history will yet again repeat itself? Who is going to step in and take over the internet?

If you look at the roots of Google starting out in a garage, you can probably see many similarities with another company that is just now starting to gain some steam. That company is Facebook, and I’m telling you they are here to stay. They’ve got the humble beginnings, they have the sexy product that has the potential to generate a lot of income, and apparently they are also a great company to work for.

Recently there has been a trend of Google employees leaving for greener pastures with Facebook, and these employees aren’t being quiet on their way out the door. Among the many comments have been made by these employees making the switch is this telling comment from ex-Google employee Justin Rosenstein:

“A couple of months ago, after three years as a Google product manager, I decided to leave for Facebook. I am writing this note to spread Good News to all the friends I haven’t already overwhelmed with my enthusiasm: Facebook really is That company. Which company? That one. That company that shows up once in a very long while — the Google of yesterday, the Microsoft of long ago. (…) That company that’s on the cusp of Changing The World, that’s still small enough where each employee has a huge impact on the organization, where you think about working now and again, and where you know you’ll kick yourself in three years if you don’t jump on the bandwagon now, even after someone had told you that it was rolling toward the promised land.”

So is Facebook the next Google? I think it is still a little early to say yes, but they seem to have the same qualities that attracted people to Google all those years ago. I guess such is the cycle of life……and business.

Add GMail to Facebook with FMail

I’ve spent a fair amount of time talking about Facebook on this blog, especially since Facebook applications were released.  Since Facebook allowed developers to create Facebook applications, there have been some incredible applications created for us to use.   One thing that was always missing was the ability to integrate your e-mail into your Facebook page.

It looks like that is no longer the case for Gmail users, as of the recent release of the Facebook application FMail now lets you check your GMail account from within your Facebook profile page.

Features included are most of the GMail features you’ve come to expect, including tabs for your mailbox actions (Inbox, Stars, Deleted Items, etc.), as well as the ability to compose new e-mails from within your profile page.   If you are happy actually going to GMail to check your mail, I recommend you keep an eye on this application, as other features have been promised in future releases.  I have a feeling this is one of those Facebook applications that will only get better over time.

Friend Organization Coming to Facebook

While checking out Facebook today to see what is new, I noticed a much wanted feature if finally in the works.  That feature is some new friend features that will allow you to sort your friends into groups.

As a blogger, I feel this will be a great new feature to have, as I will be able to separate my online friends from my “real life” friends and family, as well as separate friends that I know from college with friends I know from work, etc.

So, how will this work?  Based off the “in the works” information Facebook has provided, it looks like it is to early to tell.   It will probably be something fairly basic at first that involves something similar to folders, but it definitely will be a step in the right direction for Facebook and shows they are willing to listen to their users.

In the meantime, while we wait for these features to go live, you can add me as a friend on Facebook here.

My Popular Posts for August 2007

Another busy month has gone by here at Kyle’s Cove and a quick glance at the calendar shows that September is already here.  I figured it would be a good time to quickly revisit the month of August and highlight some of the most popular posts for the month:

Thanks to everyone who takes the time to read and leave comments!  You guys keep me motivated to continue writing each month.

How Safe Is Facebook?

I’ve been a member of Facebook since the school restrictions were lifted and have really enjoyed my experience having a Facebook page.  I’ve managed to reunite with several friends from high school and college, keep in touch with distant cousins that I haven’t seen for awhile, and even managed to take several relationships I’ve made on this site to a whole new level by getting to my readers on a more personal level through Facebook. 

One of the great things about the system Facebook uses is how friends work, giving users full control over who has access to their personal information.   The problem is, people seem to treat it like MySpace and accept every invite for friendship.  

Webware recently wrote about a Facebook ID probe that was done by Sophos, where they tried to get a feel of how many people made all their personal information available to people that didn’t even know them.   Here are the results according to Webware:

Sophos created a fake Facebook profile, under the name ‘Freddi Staur’ (‘ID Fraudster’ with the letters rearranged), and randomly requested 200 members to be friends with ‘Freddi.’ Out of those 200, 87 accepted the friend request and 82 of those gave ‘Freddi’ access to “personal information” such as e-mail addresses, dates of birth, addresses and phone numbers, and school or work data. Presumably, the other five had restricted ‘Freddi’ to limited profile access, which many users select for bosses, parents, or people they don’t know in real life.

Its interesting to see that even in today’s world, people still place little effort into protecting their personal information.    A couple things I do:

  1. Take full advantage of the limited profile.   You can go into the settings and establish what information you will reveal, then give people you aren’t really close to access to your limited profile.   This way they can’t view a lot of your information, but they can still leave comments and stuff.
  2. Remove the year from your birthday.  Knowing a birthday isn’t quite the same as a social security number, but it is crucial to someone trying to steal your identity. 
  3. Don’t give your full address or phone number.   Just display your City, State, County, etc.
  4. Don’t use your main e-mail address.  Instead establish a designated e-mail address that you use only for signing up for services. 

If you insist on displaying these things, make sure they are not displayed to people that view your limited profile, then start using the limited profile. 

Do you feel safe on Facebook?