Day: July 12, 2006

RSS the changer!

A recent post about blog architecture by Chris Pearson over on his blog Pearsonified and a look over my stats got me thinking.

On average reader visits three pages on my blog. Something I am pleased with. Of course I would like to see more visitors but so long as those who visit take the time to have a brief look around and perhaps enjoy some posts I am happy.

But Pearson’s post highlights how RSS is changing the way people access information. Even blogs are being changed he argues. To round up what he says in a few words, RSS and feeds mean that listing your information and posts by date is redundant and even worse by doing so you miss a prime opportunity to retain the reader who has visited your blog. Pearson suggests that you offer your best articles and blog posts beside your most recent post rather than a chronological listing. And, to an extent, what he says makes sense to me.

On the other hand I can see how tags and categories could be important to guide readers to content they choose rather than pushing content on them in the way Pearson suggests. Not that there is anything wrong with pushing content or being proud of your own work. It is simply that the variety of searches that result in many of the random/new visitors this site gets would make a concerted attempt by me (or anyone) to predict the interests of a visitor unlikely t succeed and in any case impractical.

I admire Chris and his ideas though and I suspect that in large part his thinking is correct. There is little doubt that the wider adoption of RSS and feeds will change the way we blog and organise our sites and information. It remains to be seen for certain if what Chris suggests is the best way to move with that change.

Google Book Search does book marketing

I have a direct feed for Inside Google Book Search which I think all publishers, writers, editors, readers and booksellers should have too.

Today there was a new post, The best storyteller I ever heard, by Roland Lange, Strategic Partner Development Manager, Book Search. The post is a nice if short review of the work E.B. White, of Charlotte’s Webb fame. It also offers suggestions for reading and links and as you will see in the quote below, suggest buying the books:

If you loved Charlotte’s Web, but haven’t read any other fiction by White, check out The Trumpet of the Swan — you’re in for a treat. For works in the form he’s arguably best known for — essays — you can browse through Essays of E.B. White. They’re crisp and clear, topped with a dollop of wit — in other words, eminently enjoyable. If you’re an E.B. White fan like me and can’t get enough, you might also be interested in books that reference his part in the rise of the great New Yorker magazine. Take a look at the biographies not just of the author himself (E.B. White: A Biography by Scott Elledge), but also of founding editor Harold Ross (James Thurber — another New Yorker legend — has an interesting version called The Years with Ross). And of course, feel free to explore on your own — if you like what you see and want a copy of a book for yourself, the “Buy this Book” links will show you where you can get one.[My emphasis]

Posts like this one could potentially drive traffic to booksellers and authors websites and deliver real sales. I wonder what the traffics for the blog is. certainly it is not huge to date but over time it could become important and as the graph from Alexa.com shows it has had posts that have seen considerable traffic spikes:

This is not the first time Google have highlighted writers. Thought he last time was Shakespeare. I can only see this type of post increasing as it improves the image of Google Book Search and highlights its features while driving publishers sales. Perhaps at some stage it might even be worth buying these type of posts!