Iconize Your TextLinks Via CSS

I came across this nifty CSS trick today on Pooliestudios.com that adds an icon to the end of a link to let you know what sort of link it represents. For instance, if you link to a PDF file, a small adobe PDF icon will appear at the end of the link. Or, lets say you link to a .TXT file. A small TXT icon appears at the end of the link.

Icons At The End Of Links

According to the directions you’re supposed to:

Download the .zip file, upload the CSS and the icons to your webspace and integrate the CSS in your Website, Blog or whatever. Done. You can easily replace the icons or add more extensions and sites. Enjoy!

If adding icons to the end of links would help YOU out in terms of reading this blog, let me know and I’ll be glad to implement this into the site.

URLAO Another Pretty URL Shortener

UrlLao Logo

I know what you’re thinking. We have enough URL shortener’s already, right? Despite that fact, URLAO has come along looking to introduce some new features into the mix. urlao pronounced (“earlao“), is a project that was created by pooliestudios.

Under The Hood:

urlao works like any other url shortener service. They give you a box to place your ugly URL in, and out comes a beautiful looking url. However, there are some useful features hidden underneath the ADVANCED link.

Advanced Link For More Options

In this example, I used the following ugly URL;

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&saddr=Cupertino,+Santa+Clara, +California,+United+States&daddr=new+york,+ny&sll=37.0625,-95.677071&sspn= 52.152749,73.300781&ie=UTF8&cd=1&ll=39.571822,-98.085937&spn=50.61825, 73.300781&z=4&om=1

Without using any of the advanced features, URLAO spits out http://urlao.com/5sqm6 which if you ask me, is pretty, but far from what I’d like to see. Now let’s dig into the advanced features using the same URL I provided above.

The advanced options give you the ability to customize the URL output, password protect the redirect, cloaking the URL which only shows the shortened URL text within the address bar of a user’s browser and finally, a url preview function. When someone clicks on your shortened link, the user will be shown the redirect and will be asked to click a link to confirm their destination.

Advanced Options Area

In my opinion, for a preview feature, why couldn’t it be automatic by simply copying the Title text of the webpage being linked to into the “ALT” attribute for the shortened link. This would allow me to hover over a shortened link with my mouse cursor and at a glance, preview the destination. Seems pretty simple to me yet, none of the URL shortening services that I know of do it.

Becoming A Verified Owner:

Once you create and save your shortened URL, you become a verified owner for that link. This means you can log into URLAO to check on the total amount of hits for a specific URL, or you can change any of the settings for that URL in case you change your mind or the URL that you linked to has changed.

Conclusion:

I like how URLAO has added in features that I haven’t seen in TinyURL or URLtea. If these guys could implement my idea of making the links automatically descriptive via the “ALT” attribute within a link so that all anyone has to do to preview a link is to hover over it, then you’ve got yourself a URL Shortener service that is damn worthy of using. All of the other bells and whistles of URLAO make it a viable alternative to URLTea and TinyURL.

If you happen to use the service, be sure to chime in your thoughts below.

Blogs – A Lifestream Of Links

It wasn’t too long ago when my poll asking if blogging was dying concluded with an astounding NO. BookTwo.org recently published an article highlighting a change that is taking place within the blogosphere.

I’ve noticed a trend in longtime bloggers, which I’m certainly a part of. Blogging less, linking more, generally winding down the straight blog in favour of a more distributed presence via Twitter, Delicious, videoblog apps like Seesmic. Some of these may be fed through the blog, like Booktwo’s RSS links, but it’s all getting a bit bitty. “I think RSS is one of the main reasons for this (perceived) decline in blogging. We don’t visit each others’ sites, so it’s less obvious when the frequency declines. As more small social apps like Twitter, and larger ones like Facebook, increase their reach, we don’t need blogs as our home pages either.

“It’s good to have a place to put these things, thoughts, articles &c. But I think it’s time, and I think it’s happening, that the delivery mechanism was stripped down. RSS might be the answer: people are starting to have ‘lifefeeds’ more and more, which aggregate everything they’re doing.

Unfortunately, BookTwo is on to something. What’s also interesting to note, is that this article falls in line with Steve Spaldings take on where blogging is heading.

Microblogging will be the critical change in the way we write in Web 3.0. Imagine a world where your mobile phone, your email, and you television could all produce feedback that could easily be pushed to any or all blogging platforms. If you take a picture from your smart-phone, it would be automatically tagged, bagged and forwarded to your “lifestream”. If you rated a television show that you were watching, your review would be forwarded into the stream.

This is the type of seamless integration that will finally bring the concept of blogging to the masses. Posts will become shorter and more topical, the world of rehashing the meme will be replaced by one where life and news generation go hand in hand. Blogging won’t be a hobby reserved for internet enthusiasts, but a past time for the MySpace generation.

Of course, the allure of any individual blog would be much more limited. As the popularity of micro-blogging explodes, more and more basically “unreadable” blog will start to populate the blogosphere. It’s not hard to imagine a world where the vast majority of your posts amount to, “stuck in traffic, ugh…”

That last sentence in Steves take on blogging is the one that concerns me the most. The last thing I want the blogosphere to turn into is a series of links with little substance. I want to see bloggers continue to write their opinions, reporting on things in their own way, and continue to be the driving force behind new media. I want to continue to see quality content written by someone other than big media properties. Continue to blog and if you need to share links, create a link blog as I illustrated how to do in a previous article.

I don’t want to see everyone’s blog turn into a lifestream of links. Do you?

The Truth Behind The Digg Effect

The Digg EffectChris Brogan, a social media maven, has published an article on his blog that goes into detail about his experience with the so called “Digg Effect“. Chris provides a visualization which shows the surge in traffic he received when he reached the Digg front page. What happened as a result? According to Chris, NOTHING. His RSS subscriber base didn’t increase, nor did the initial traffic to his site which is the basis for this post. Bloggers and site owners alike believe that getting on the front page of Digg is like striking gold, unfortunately this is not the case.

I’m not saying that being on the front page of Digg is a bad thing, but there is something you have to realize. The type of traffic that Digg sends is the “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” type of traffic. And while were talking about this sort of traffic, the same thing can be said for Stumbleupon, Sphinn, and Propeller. I’ve read so many blog entries that covered their own surge of traffic and the similarities between all of them are the same. No one sticks around, no one subscribes to the RSS feed, and the site that was once popular ends up returning to the shadows of the web.

A blogger or site owner should be looking to grow their reader base and that won’t happen by getting on the front page of Digg or any other major social bookmarking site. There is the argument where if you appear on these sites multiple times, there is a more likely chance of gaining quality traffic. I wouldn’t consider the digg effect to be called quality traffic, but I do think that by receiving this fly by night traffic, your building brand awareness. Your brand being your site and it’s a golden rule that REPITITIVENESS works.

The gist of what I am trying to say is to not rely on Digg, Stumbleupon or any other website to provide you with traffic. Instead, write good quality content. Good quality content does the job of so many other facets of blogging. Good quality content creates links, conversations, interactivity, spawns relationships, builds your brand and does so many other positive things for you, that if I were to write a book on SEO, it would contain one page. That one page would simply say, WRITE QUALITY CONTENT.

Tell me what you think in regards to this issue. I’d be very interested in your opinion.

BTW. Hello to all of you STUMBLING across this post. Are you here to prove me wrong?

MyBlogLog Buzz Tracker Explained

MyBlogLog LogoThe What’s Hot In My Communities section of your MyBlogLog Profile is an easy way to track buzz worthy info but, how does MBL decide what’s hot and what’s not?

Simply put, the links you see within this area of your user profile represent the most popular links within YOUR MYBLOGLOG COMMUNITIES. If you are seeing links to porn sites or sites you deem unacceptable, the only way to remove them, is to find out which community your apart of that is posting that link, or information related to that link and leave that community.

If your thinking that tracking down the culprits within your large number of communities would be nothing more than a hassle, your in for some great news. MyBlogLog has added an interesting feature to their buzz tracker in the form of a question mark. This question mark will finally give MyBlogLog users the ability to figure out where those buzzworthy links are coming from.

Figure Out Where Those Links Are Coming From

For instance, let’s say you don’t want links such as Fox.com to show up in your list. You would simply click on the (?) and figure out which sites are posting this link and leave their community.

Search And Destroy

According to the question mark, the site Casual Keystrokes, is the culprit behind this link. As an MBL user, you would look for that community within your list of favorites and click on the LEAVE COMMUNITY button.

It’s really neat to see how this all works and it’s nice that Robyn Tippins has finally published an article that easily explains the process. I have to agree that, clicking on these questions marks is half the fun in trying to figure out why they are creating so much buzz. Give it a shot and let me know what you’ve discovered.

Thanks mGarrett For The Link Love

MGarret.com Logo

I just wanted to take this oppurtunity to thank mGarret for linking up to this site. Michael Garret is a contributing editor for Profy.com, a web 2.0 focused blog that seems to be gaining in popularity everyday. Michael is also the Senior Guide for Mahalo, a human powered search engine. As you can already tell, this guy is in the heart of the 2.0 world so if you enjoy the content on my site, be sure to check out his own blog at http://mgarrett.xeroclix.com/

10Links Consumes SPAM Sandwich

10Links.net Logo

10Links.net the site I reviewed a few days ago has temporarily gone under because of the vast amount of spam that was getting into their site queue. This is easily understandable considering their submission form, at the very least, didn’t provide a CAPTCHA image to ensure that human beings were the ones submitting websites.

10Links.net has vowed to keep the archive of links public while informing us that they are currently in the secondary stages of their next project. Don’t ask me what their next project is because they didn’t tell me! Whatever they are working on, I’m sure they will be using some sort of Anti-Spam measure this time around.