Vanity Searches – Do You Use Them?

Google AlertsVanity searches is a terrible term. It’s fitting, it’s accurate (in most cases) but it just sounds so… well, vain!

I am subscribed to quite a number of  RSS feeds of Google Alerts for my name (and variations of it) , searches for my mentions of my websites and associated social media pages, feeds of Twitter searches for my name and sites and other things.

The reason I do this is to allow me keep track of an be involved in conversations I might otherwise not be a part of, such as me failing  to see a reply on Twitter or when somebody links to a post I’ve written here but their blog doesn’t send a trackback.

If I’m to be honest there’s also a fair dollop of vanity involved too – I want to know who’s talking about  me.

What tools do you use to keep track of the conversation surrounding you, your product or your sites?

FeedBurner Not Updating Your Feed? Check The Size

FeedBurnerIt can be hard to track down problems with your RSS feed and for the past two days I’ve been trying to figure out why FeedBurner wasn’t updating my feed.

Basically the problem with my feed was that it was too large as I had somehow managed to change the settings in WordPress to include the last 30 posts in the feed.

It was a pain in the ass to track down too, because the raw feed of this blog displayed in IE and could be subscribed to in feed readers without problems, yet tools like Feed Validator and the W3C feed validator insisted that there was no feed or an error.

As with so many things in this world, size is everything and in this case mine (RSS feed) was just too large. The tools mentioned above simply couldn’t handle the size and FeedBurner was so intimidated by it that it simply refused to update.

The fix, in this case, is a little cosmetic surgery to reduce the size. By dropping the number of posts from 30 to 10, everything started working again.

For future reference, if you want FeedBurner to let you on board, you may need to snip the tip a little and reduce your RSS feed file size to below 512K, which is about all it can handle.

Where’s The Damn Subscribe Button?

RSS Subscribe OFlaherty Really I don’t care if you’re not concerned about how many people read your blog. I couldn’t give a monkeys arse about your super minimalist design. I fart in the face of your need for the ultimate in minimalist aesthetics.

If you don’t have a clear and easily located RSS or subscribe button on your blog I won’t be subscribing anytime soon.

I’ve run into this “little issue” twice in the past 24 hours and as a result, two blogs which I feel I really could get to like are each a subscriber short.

Lets be honest here, we all blog because some part of us is an exhibitionist at heart, we want people to read what we write or we wouldn’t go to the trouble of posting it to the internet in the first place. So with that in mind, why make it difficult for people to subscribe?

Podcast: Splogging or Blog Pirating (Part 2)

Happy Hour with Mr. Business Golf – Splogging or Blog Pirating 2

As a follow up to our podcasts about the internet and the problems with social networks (Part 1, 2, 3, 4) Scot Duke and I recorded a segment about splogs, how they affect bloggers and how to deal with them.

This 14 minute show is the second of series of podcasts  (Part 1) to come out of that conversation.

As you remember, I am visiting with Paul O’Flaherty on Sploggers and the issues that surround what they are causing bloggers. In this second part Paul and I get down to the nuts and bolts of the issue on Splogging, what the problems they are causing and Paul offers some great insight into a few possible solutions bloggers should consider to battle Sploggers. I have a feeling you are going to enjoy this segment, so sit back and listen to what Paul and I have to say about Splogging.


Download Podcast MP3: Splogging #02 12.9 Mb 0:14:09

More Posts = More Attention?

Common sense would seem to tell me that the more I post the more readers I will have and the more I’ll be able to attract.

This may be true from a search engine perspective as the more material you have the more likely it is that somebody will click on something but what about retaining the attention of you subscribers.

Do more posts mean that they’ll visit more often or that they’re more likely to click through from their RSS reader and comments


Actually, too many post can have a detrimental effect on you subscriber base leading them to loose interest in your blog and ultimately unsubscribe.

I’ve been looking at my reading trends in Google Reader for the past 30 days and noticed that in general the more items were posted by a particular site the less likely it was that I would read them.

Here’s the stats for the top 40 most prolific posting sites that I’m subscribed to as well as the percentage of posts I actually read:

RSS Feed Items/Day%Read
Robert’s shared items in Google Reader52.15% – Technology51.630%
digg / Technology39.124%
The Register28.821%
Dvorak Uncensored12.236%
digg / Science11.414%
Andy Beal’s Marketing Pilgrim – Internet Marketing Blog & Consultant6.780%
Search Engine Watch Blog5.984%
Scobleizer Microsoft Geek Blogger4.978%
Technically Speaking 4.478% news Feed4.323%
Chris Pirillo3.833%
The Doc Searls Weblog3.791%
John Chow dot Com3.562%
Digital Inspiration3.378%
Web Strategy by Jeremiah2.873%
Google Blogoscoped2.893%
we make money not art2.859%
Google Blog Search: link:
Google Operating System2.468%
Weblog Tools Collection2.384%
All about Microsoft21.83%
VTOR – Virtual TO Reality2.181%
Shoemoney – Skills to pay the bills2.176%
SEO Book.com2.075%
Baron VC2.081%
Hack the Planet1.979%

These percentages are obviously swayed by the fact that I will like some authors more than others and therefore read more of their posts. The same applies to news sources.

My own personal bias’s aside it remains fairly obvious that once you start to get above 9 or 10 posts a day I tend to switch off and not read your feed.

Some of this could be due to duplication as the high output sites listed here tend to be aggregated news sources and there is a high chance of duplicate posts which I tend not to read. 

I find it rather interesting that I read only 5% of what Scoble posts to his link blog but 78% of what he actually blogs himself.

If you think that implies that I’m more interested in Scoble for his editorial commentary than anything else, you would be correct and the same can be said for many blogs that I read.

A quick look (no maths just intuition) shows that the sites posting up to 4 posts a manage to get me to read between 70 and 85% of their stuff, while those posting above 10 see a sharp decline.

2 to 4 posts a day seems to be the sweet spot for keeping my attention.

I wonder how my stats stack up against other Google Reader users?

Oh, here’s a little something for anybody who may be suffering from information overload 😉