July 30, 2008

ScribeFire’s New “Publishing Options” Dialog

Filed under: Feature, How-To, ScribeFire -- Christopher Finke @ 09:00am

In ScribeFire 2.3, we’ve reworked the way that you tell ScribeFire whether your post is a draft, an edit, a page, or a new entry. We think that this will solve quite a few problems related to the confusion surrounding exactly how to configure these settings.

  1. After you have created an entry in ScribeFire and would like to send it to your blog, click the “Publish to ‘My Blog’” button:

    Publish to My Blog

    This is the first step for publishing a new post, saving a draft, creating a new page, or editing an existing page. If you want to send content to your blog in any form, click this button.

  2. After you click the “Publish…” button, a dialog will appear with options for the post:

    Publishing options

  3. Select what kind of post you’re saving here, and click OK to send it to your blog.

We hope that this new workflow will clean up the layout of the editor and make it easier to understand exactly what you’re sending to your blog. Feel free to comment below with any criticism or suggestions on this topic.

July 29, 2008

ScribeFire 2.3 Released

Filed under: Releases, ScribeFire -- Christopher Finke @ 06:48pm

We are pleased to announce the release of ScribeFire 2.3. We recommend that all users upgrade to this version, and you can install it at Mozilla Add-ons.

New Features

  • Added “Live Preview” feature: see how your post will look on your blog before you publish it.
  • Added support for scheduling posts to Blogger
  • New “Publish” dialog to remove some confusion about publishing as edit/draft/page/etc.
  • Source editor now uses fixed-width font.
  • Added a “Preview” button next to the “Publish” button.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed bug related to categories with commas in their names
  • Fixed a bug related to categories with ampersands in their names
  • Fixed bug where Quickblogging toolbar cannot be recovered
  • Fixed bug in File Upload that was restricting upload to images only.
  • Pressing “Tab” while in the source editor now inserts a tab.

Other

  • Fixed an incorrect translation of “Post as edit” in the German locale
  • Wrote new installations scripts for SeaMonkey to fix a bug related to upgrading.

Once again, you can either install this update at Mozilla Add-ons, or you can wait for Firefox to automatically notify you of the update.

July 28, 2008

5 Tips for Finding That Perfect Blog Template

Filed under: Blogging Tips -- Jennifer Slegg @ 11:38am

If you have been blogging on the default blog template, or one of the first free templates you found, chances are good that your current template isn’t doing the job it should to enhance your blog. And unfortunately many blogs are using templates that actually detract from the user experience on your blog, whether due to a mismatch of template to blog theme or simply a theme that isn’t really presenting itself in the best possible way to your readers.

A good blog template will truly enhance what you present rather than detract from it, which a poorly chosen blog template can do. If you are one of those bloggers that put little time and effort into finding that perfect blog template for your blog, it is definitely time to find that killer blog template that is more suited to your style and content.

Where to find

WordPress theme templates seem to be much more prevalent that themes for other blogging platforms, but no matter what type of platform you are using, do a search for “free WordPress templates” changing it to match the platform you are using. There are so many people releasing templates today that you are sure to find something. If you have a particular theme in mind, add a couple keywords about that and see what turns up. The same goes for color. If you have your heart set on a purple template, throw the word purple into your keyword search.

Finding one that fits

If your blog is about white water rafting but the blog template you ended up choosing originally has a picture of a subway station in the header, it is a complete mismatch between design and content. So you want to make sure that what you present visually matches what the content of what people are reading.

Swap images

You might find that perfect template, but it is a mismatch like the subway station one. So instead, look to find an image that you could swap out for the subway picture. Maybe you have a picture from one of your white water rafting trips that would match perfectly or you can find one on Flickr under creative commons. So don’t completely eliminate templates simply because the header image isn’t quite what you have in mind.

Find a few

Sometimes that seemingly perfect template just doesn’t seem to do your blog justice once you actually upload it and install it. So as you find various templates, save them and upload them. Then you have a few different ones to try out and once, so you can easily compare then, check for any odd bugs, and pick the one you think compliments your blog the most. Don’t forget, you can always remove the ones you don’t ultimately end up with if you want, so download all those “maybe” templates too, it wouldn’t be the first time that a “maybe” template actually ends up being the perfect fit after it is tried out on the actual blog, instead of viewing a screenshot of it in action.

Still can’t find the perfect template?

Do what I do, and that is find a template that is “almost” and then go code diving and make the tweaks yourself. Often, you can change the code to make some of the changes yourself. Perhaps you want an ad block in the sidebar or a slightly larger or smaller design width. Or perhaps you just need to add your own custom logo to make it yours. You may discover tweaking it is easier than you realize, or you can call in a favor from a coding friend if the changes will take someone inexperienced just a short amount of time to do.

Many people don’t realize how important having a suitable template for a blog is, especially when the current one you have just seems completely inappropriate for the type of blog entries you are writing. If you are using a blog template, take the time to look closely at it and see if it really is a template that suits your blog, and if not, take the time to search for that perfect blog template that is clean, presentable and most importantly, goes with the theme of your blog.

July 16, 2008

The Power of Personal Contact and Invitations to Action on a Blog

Filed under: Blogging Tips -- Darren Rowse @ 10:09pm

This week I learnt two things about blogging:

  1. Getting your readers to DO something on your blog is a powerful thing.
  2. Personal contact with readers makes a real impact

Last week i ran a quick and small competition on ProBlogger to promote the ProBlogger Book.

The competition was simple – leave a comment on the competition post that told me why you wanted the book in 250 words or less.

The competition ran for 24 hours and at the end of that time there were 193 entries (more than I expected). The entries were so good that I felt bad just giving one book away so selected three submissions to get a copy of it.

At this point in running competitions I usually send the prizes, make a quick post announcing the winners and then do nothing else – but this time I decided to do something different.

I felt bad that so many had missed out on the book after going to the trouble of entering so on the spur of the moment I emailed each of the 190 entrants who didn’t win. It took me a while to pull all their emails into an email but I wanted them to know that I appreciated the effort that they’d gone to.

The email thanked them for their comment and told them that I was said that there couldn’t be more winners. I also pointed out that the book was on special at Amazon and said that I hope they’d be able to get a copy at some point.

I was a little hesitant to mention the book on sale as I didn’t want it to come off as a sales technique (the primary purpose of the email was to thank them) but decided to do it on the spur of the moment.

I sent the email.

What happened next was surprising.

I started getting emails from the 190 that I’d sent my email out to. Over the next 24 hours I had 70 emails!

There were two main themes in the emails:

1. They appreciated and were surprised by the personal contact - quite a few readers emailed that they’d been taken aback by the follow up email.

2. They’d bought the book – most of those who emailed said that they’d just bought the book (or were about to). Whether they all did or not I’m not sure but the book’s ranking on Amazon leapt up that day by 600 spots – so something happened.

In the days since my competition I’ve noticed a third flow-on effect of my email.

3. More Reader Interaction – a number of the people that I’d emailed had never commented before on ProBlogger before the competition – they’d been lurking but never active on the blog. However in the last few days they’ve been commenting like crazy.

Take Home Lessons

I’ve been reflecting upon this experience over the last couple of days and two ‘lessons’ have struck me.

  1. Getting your readers to DO something on your blog is a powerful thing – this hit home on two levels. Firstly the act of getting readers to write why they wanted the book to play a big part in them actually buying it. I guess when you invest a few minutes into thinking about why you want something and then go to the trouble of writing those reasons up you ‘sell’ yourself on actually buying it. Secondly – the act of making a first comment on a blog can often be enough to make a lurking reader an active reader. I’ve noticed this before – people often feel shy about commenting but once they take the step to do so they open the flood gates.

    2. Personal contact with readers makes a real impact – this is something I’ve known for a long time but have had to re-learn many times. It can be difficult to interact with all of your blog’s readers but when you do it can really impact them and help them to become more loyal to your blog.

Read more tips like this from Darren Rowse at ProBlogger Blog Tips

July 14, 2008

Introducing ScribeFire Notes

Filed under: Releases, ScribeFire, ScribeFire Notes -- Christopher Finke @ 06:25pm

By popular demand, we have created a lite version of ScribeFire, called ScribeFire Notes. It uses the main ScribeFire tool as a base, but removes all of the blog-specific bits and leaves only the editor and notes features intact. It is intended for users who only wish to easily take notes and use the WYSIWYG editor without needing the ability to post to a specific blog.

ScribeFire Notes was originally developed for Engadget, the Web’s most-read blog. The Engadget editors wanted a tool just for taking notes and text-editing; after using ScribeFire Notes, Engadget editor Nilay Patel commented,

“At this point, I can’t imagine working without ScribeFire.”

Due to the success it has seen at Engadget, and based on similiar requests we have received in the past, we have decided to make ScribeFire Notes available to all users. If you do not want to (or cannot) use ScribeFire to publish to your blog, but would still like an easy-to-use in-browser editor with the ability to save notes, ScribeFire Notes is for you.

Click here to install ScribeFire Notes.

ScribeFire Notes

Note that if you are running the standard ScribeFire installation, this will be replaced by ScribeFire Notes, but you can return to ScribeFire at any time by installing it from Mozilla Add-ons. Your blogs and posts will not be affected by installing ScribeFire Notes. ScribeFire Notes does not have any features not found in the full ScribeFire add-on.

July 14, 2008

ScribeFire 2.2.10 Released

Filed under: Releases, ScribeFire -- Christopher Finke @ 05:30pm

ScribeFire 2.2.10 has been released in order to address an issue with keyboard shortcuts and navigation. A Turkish translation has also been added.

You can install this update at Mozilla Add-ons or wait for Firefox to download it automatically.

July 9, 2008

Win a Hot ScribeFire T-Shirt When You Register for QuickAds Beta!

Filed under: Announcements -- Eliana Rosenblatt @ 12:01pm


If you didn’t catch our earlier blog post or the media buzz,
ScribeFire has developed its next big hit…ScribeFire QuickAds. QuickAds
breaks the mold of conventional online advertising with its first-ever
code-free drag and drop ad placement technology. With three clicks of the
mouse, you will make more money off of your blog by serving our optimized,
high-CPM yielding banner advertisements from over 100 top ad networks. Check us out here!

Be among the first and private users to test out the magic that is QuickAds by
registering for ScribeFire QuickAds now, and you’ll also be eligible to win an
awesome T-Shirt. Don’t worry, if you’ve already registered with us, you are
already being included in the pool.

We will be giving out 10 T-Shirts- As there are only about 30 in existence,
these are pretty much collectibles! So hurry up and sign up for ScribeFire
QuickAds today!

July 8, 2008

ScribeFire 2.2.9 Released

Filed under: Releases, ScribeFire -- Christopher Finke @ 01:45pm

ScribeFire 2.2.9 has been released; we recommend that all users upgrade to this version, and you can install it at Mozilla Add-ons.

Changes since version 2.2.8 include:

  • Support for Xanga blogs
  • Fix for image insertion in WYSIWYG mode.

July 4, 2008

New Features You Want To See For ScribeFire?

Filed under: Feedback, ScribeFire -- Patrick Gavin @ 11:28am

ScribeFire users, as you have seen with our QuickAds announcement we are hard at work making monetizing your blog as effortless as possible.  Our goal is to make ScribeFire the ultimate blogging platform that gives you everything you need to make blogging easier, more profitable and more fun all right at your finger tips.

What other services or products do you use today that you would like to see integrated directly into ScribeFire?  Please let me know in the comments below or if you are a provider of such a product or service that you think would be a great tie in for over 150,000 active users of ScribeFire, reach out to me at patrick (at) scribefire.com  Thank you!

July 2, 2008

ScribeFire 2.2.8 Released

Filed under: Releases, ScribeFire -- Christopher Finke @ 11:34am

We are pleased to announce that version 2.2.8 of ScribeFire has been released. We recommend that all users upgrade to this version, and you can install it at Mozilla Add-ons.

Changes since version 2.2.7 include:

  • A fix for the “body of post not published” bug
  • A fix for delicious auto-login
  • A fix for the conflict with the Universal Edit Button extension
  • Display fixes for the Ping Settings section
  • Addition of a preference for limiting image width in posts

Once again, you can either install this update at Mozilla Add-ons, or you can wait for Firefox to automatically notify you of the update.