Sunday, May 15, 2005

Google is not the only way - alternative ways to find solutions, RSS readers and Blogrolling

Online Marketing Blog: RSS - A non-technical introduction - Daily Search Marketing News:
"I use Sage RSS reader as part of my FireFox web browser. It's free and works on both Mac and PC." Lee Odden

I am in many ways so glad I started my Blogging now and not a few years ago.

Multiple times over the last few days I have said to myself "There must be an easier way...".

Then it is time to search for an easier way, rather than continue struggling with the tools you already have.

It happened to me 2 more times today, but finding the answers often involves a different kind of logic to normal "finding something on the internet".

I am now almost preconditioned - if I want to find something, I search for it on Google. If I don't find it, I try another search tool.

The problem is that sometimes there are so many services that offer something similar to what you are looking for, but just don't live up to your expectations.

The 2 problems that were nagging me

1. Reading Blogs

This might be something that many old time Bloggers will laugh at, but I might be typical of the unwashed masses. Up until today, the only way I found Blogs was through Google, and the only way I was reading them was in Firefox.
Now I wasn't subscribing to a feed. The default "Live feed" option I had found totally unworkable, both when adding a new bookmark, and reading it later.


I wanted a nice tool for managing bookmarks on my blog. Now if you search for "bookmark managers" on Google, you get 100s. Everyone is doing it. So I visited maybe 30 bookmark manager sites, 10 bookmark manager review sites, and signed up to join 4 sites to really see what the interface was like, and how flexible the output would be.
I didn't find the tool I wanted to use. I found a couple I might have experimented with, but they were not my "killer application".

Real Solutions at the Drop of a Hat

Suffering from insomnia, I decide to have a look at a few community blogs.

As one of my subjects is "Internet Marketing", I typed "Blog Marketing" in Google, and top of the list was Lee Oden's "Online Marketing Blog".

I glanced down the page and "Bang!"

Solution No.1 - Reading Blogs

RSS - A non-technical introduction

Most of the article is all about the Sage RSS reader he uses, which is an extension of Firefox.

I had honestly overlooked it, because it is probably the tool with the lowest amount of downloads in the "Extensions" section of the Firefox site. A typical "not on the first 2 pages" searching phenomenon.

It meets my requirements exactly. Tools don't have to be complicated to be a "killer application". They just have to function in a truely logical manner.
Sage is exactly how I believe Firefox should have RSS reading built in by default.

I have only found one fault, the hotkey function when opening the Sage Sidebar doesn't work if you have a list of bookmarks in your sidebar (well at least on Windows 98SE/ Firefox 1.0.4).
Now obviously there are features you could add to it to improve the experience, but for what it is, it does the job very well.

Solution No.2 Bookmark managing

Now the day before I had heard about people being "Blogrolled"

So I searched for "Blogrolled" on Google (naturally).

I found loads of sites. Many were complaining about it. Some were taking advantaged of the popularity of the search term.

After 2 or 3 search pages with nothing "hiting me in the face" saying "read me, I am the answer", I moved onto something else.

RSS - A non-technical introduction

Here we go, Lee Oden's Blog again

I noticed in the sidebar "Blogroll Me!"

I was a little undecided whether to click it.

You see I already knew how to "trackback". Some of the sites I had been to were complaining about people being "Blogrolled" and geting a huge (unnatural?)explosion in traffic and link popularity. I was already assuming being "Blogrolled" was a lot to do with trackback.

So anyway I clicked the link and "Bang!"

Now in hindsite, if you type in "Blogroll", "Blog Roll" or "Blog Rolling" the first search result in Google is

They seem to have missed out "Blogrolled" as a target word.

They offer a bookmarking service that is exactly what I was looking for as a free user, with some attractive upgrade features.

Basically they will allow me to manage my whole sidebar without messing with templates.

For someone hosting their blog on Blogger servers, they are ideal.

They are not quite my killer application, because they do not own the rest of the infrastructure needed to make it perfect.

Ken Evoy's service Site Build It! is about the only service positioned to be able to give me my ultimate killer niche marketing system. They already have the most efficient and tightly integrated service for building profitable websites. Even for such a good service, my wish list is extensive.