Above the Fold, an EntreCard meme

I’ve been tagged again; this time by Tellin it like it is. This game is pretty easy, and rewards EntreCard users who place their widgets above the fold (visible without scrolling). I’m all for that! Let the love flow!

Entrecard Above The Fold Meme Rules:

  • Create a post on your blog that links back to this post, so people will know where the Meme came from and who tagged you.
  • Tag 8 bloggers not mentioned in this post, but only those that display their Entrecard widget above the fold.
  • Leave a comment on this post with a link to the post you created on your blog.

That’s it! Here are the eight blogs I’m tagging, with a big thanks to them for their great content, and for making their widgets easy to find. 🙂

Take a look at these nice sites and show them some love if you like them!

Does it have to be so big?

big RSS buttonWith the recent blog explosion, I’ve noticed a proliferation of extra-large RSS icons.

I certainly understand people’s desire to attract subscribers. I have my own RSS icons on my blog. See them over there on the right, near the top of the page? Nice little buttons with the familiar — even standard — little curvy line design. Nice, right? You know what they’re for, and you can use them if you want to.

I got them from feedicons.com, if you’re interested.

But what’s with the ginormous feed icons? They remind me of Flavor Flav‘s huge wall clock necklace pendant. Does it have to be so big? Does it tell time better than a normal wristwatch?

Now, it may be that the over-large RSS icon is being used as a design element, which is fine. But as far as function, I think these R.I.O.U.S.s (RSS Icons Of Unusual Size) are a bit excessive. Kind of like an unnecessary and too-long acronym. 😉

I doubt there is a correlation between the size of an RSS icon and the number of subscribers it attracts. Also, there is probably no relationship between the size of the icon and anything else useful. Of course, people can do what they like with their own sites and icons. But isn’t there a size at which the RSS button becomes too big to do its job, and becomes an eyesore, a distraction, or even a deterrent, to would-be subscribers? How about the “World’s Biggest RSS Button“, which is so big, it leaves no room for anything else on the page?

I think the RSS icon should be big enough to be found easily by users who are looking for it, but small enough to be ignored by those who aren’t. That’s just my opinion.

Who Are You Calling “It?”

I was tagged by Peapod Squad Stuff, and although I don’t usually do these, I will this time. I’m a big fan of the aforementioned Squad, and I think this is a good way to share some early Valentine love with some of my bloggy friends.

Rule #1: Copy all the links below and replace a single link under the appropriate letter of the alphabet. If your domain name, or even the title of your blog, starts with an “A,” you’d replace the link under that letter and put the replaced link at the bottom. Also, don’t forget to credit the tagger, or where you got the list from, at the end of the list with a full URL of the post so that a pingback gets generated.

  1. acowboyswife.com
  2. bloggingcents.com
  3. caffeine-overload.com
  4. delusionsofgrandeur.org
  5. everythingandanythingblog.com
  6. forumfinder.net
  7. GeekMomMashup.com
  8. happykeg.com
  9. ipentimento.com
  10. juliesjournal.com
  11. kabalyero.com
  12. ladylike4.com
  13. michaelpark.net
  14. notjustmama.net
  15. originalmx5.net
  16. peapodsquadstuff.com
  17. qweddings.com
  18. rowdigrl.com
  19. shirleysdelight.com
  20. thesocalledme.net
  21. utada-online.net
  22. valmg.com
  23. wickedbabylon.com
  24. xaviermedia.com
  25. yimto.com
  26. zbudapest.com

Replaced link: gothic-peach.net
Previous tagger: http://www.peapodsquadstuff.com/2008/01/tag-im-it.html

Rule #2: You now have to “tag” at least five people and encourage them to participate so that this thing spreads like a virus. Remember, though, that not everyone’s into these kinds of things, so don’t be upset if they don’t participate. Just simply replace your tag. Remember to tag blogs only and no pornographic ones as we do want to keep the integrity as a blogging community. TIP: Tag your frequent EntreCard droppers via its messaging system.

As for me, I will tag the following:

Rule #3: Just like any other “meme” out there, ask a question for your taggees to answer along with your own answer to the previous question. This is optional.

Here’s my question: What do you listen to in the car?

Fact: EntreCard Credits are like Schrute Bucks

One Schrute BuckBefore I begin, let me say that I enjoy both Dwight Schrute and EntreCard. Now, let me explain my assertion. 🙂

On The Office (US version), Dwight Schrute creates Schrute Bucks as a way to motivate his coworkers to perform well. (If you’re not familiar with Dwight, you should know that he is an insufferable dweeb and suck-up, but he is also excellent at his job. That really has nothing to do with this analogy, but it is a big part of why The Office is so hilarious.) The Schrute Buck is a unit of currency in Dwight’s system, where he gets to decide what a person has to do to earn one.

EntreCard (EC) is a system of free internet advertising that rewards users with Credits, which they can use to purchase ad space on other users’ blogs. Credits are awarded for using the system by “card dropping,” or clicking on other people’s EC widgets.

A-ha! What else do Schrute Bucks and EC Credits have in common? Well, since I am a bit of an insufferable dweeb myself, here is a list …

  • Fact: Both Schrute Bucks and EC Credits are constructed units of currency.
  • Fact: Both Schrute Bucks and EC Credits can be earned only by exhibiting behaviors desired by their creators.
  • Fact: Neither Schrute Bucks nor EC Credits have any real value outside of their respective reward systems.*
  • Fact: Both Schrute Bucks and EC Credits have value only if there is demand for them among users.
  • Question: What is the exchange rate of Schrute Bucks to EC Credits?
  • Answer: It’s the same as the ratio of unicorns to leprechauns.

* I know there has been some talk of selling EC Credits for real money, so we’ll see where that ends up.

I hope you enjoyed this little exercise in silliness. If you’d like to add to the discussion, please do!

You Can’t Buy a Piece of My Heart, but…

You can buy a piece of my sidebar! 😉 Yes, you can now purchase a square (125 x 125) in my sidebar, under the clearly labeled “Paid Adverts” heading. Ads will be auctioned through Project Wonderful. We’ll see how it goes. If you’d like to share your experience with the Project Wonderful system, I’d love to hear your comments. Thanks!

Excellent Service Deserves a Shout Out

I have to give a short update to my previous post on the CommentLuv plugin. I installed CommentLuv to provide an automatic backlink to my commenters, and wanted to make sure it was working properly as a dofollow link.

First of all, the plugin author, Andy Bailey, showed up on his own to test the plugin, by leaving a comment on my blog, as soon as it was installed. And when I had a question about whether the nofollow tag had been removed, I sent him an e-mail. He replied within hours, and helped me figure it out. It turns out you have to install a plugin to turn off the nofollow tag. (I used NoFollow Free.)

Over the course of several e-mails and a couple of test comments, Andy made sure his plugin was working properly, on its own and with NoFollow Free. He was very friendly and good-humored. CommentLuv is a free plugin, and I did not pay for his service. Likewise, neither Andy nor anyone else has paid me for this post. Sadly, it’s becoming rare to receive excellent, personal, human service these days, and I wanted to say a big THANK YOU to Andy. Keep up the great work!

By the way, everything is working perfectly now, and when you leave a comment, you will receive a nofollow-free link back to your latest blog post. Links for everyone! (Unless your comment is spam, in which case it will be deleted.) Cheers!

Five tips to make your blog load faster (and keep more visitors)

I have been looking at dozens of blogs lately, thanks to EntreCard and my obsessive-compulsive disorder. (That’s a whole other post.) I have found some really interesting sites, with great stories and helpful articles. I’m talking with people and making friends. I’m stumbling and subscribing. This is blogging at its best!

However, there are some sites that are so full of “stuff” that I can’t even stick around long enough to see how great the content might be, because I get annoyed waiting for all the widgets and ads to load. I just leave. Maybe I’m too impatient. Perhaps I’m being too critical. What can I say? I’m sorry.

I love a site that loads quickly and is not overburdened with junk! If you want to keep impatient clickers from leaving during loading, try these simple tips.

  1. Keep images to a minimum. If you must include photos on your front page, display a thumbnail or low-resolution image with a link to the real thing.
  2. Say no to auto-play audio/video files. Slow and annoying — not a good combination.
  3. Place the most important widgets above the fold (the portion of the page visible without scrolling down) so people can get right to the good stuff.
  4. Remember that savvy surfers are largely “banner blind.” Don’t fill your page with cumbersome ads that are just going to get ignored anyway.
  5. Resist the temptation to fill every bit of space. Leaving some blank areas is easier on the eyes, and white space takes no time to load.

I’m sure there are many more tips I haven’t included, but those are the ones that came to me just now. Feel free to throw in your two cents!