Tumblr Curated Topics

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Image via CrunchBase

Tumblr recently launched a new feature based on their post tagging. They are experimenting with three topics, news, fashion and long reads. It’s an interesting idea. You essentially end up with a kind of curated blog edited by other bloggers. Tumblr assigns qualified people as editors for a certain tag, and they highlight the best stuff on tumblr.com/tagged/tagname.

Just like individual people and their blogs, you can follow curated tags as well as regular un-edited ones. I’ll be interested to see how Tumblr continues to evolve this into a more prominent part of their service. I think it will help them to further differentiate themselves from other self-publishing platforms as a more community driven site rather than a service that feels much more individual such as WordPress.

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Blogger’s New Template Editor, Where Blogging Stands

Blogger was one of the first and biggest services that helped build blogging into the huge thing it is today. Back when it started, most people who were savvy online would have a kind of static web page and not a diary or blog. Blogger allowed people the opportunity to post their thoughts, observations and experiences online in a way that didn’t require any real technical knowledge.

In the probably too social web we have today, practically everyone has a blog of some description. While blogging is technically a website of your own where you post reasonably long articles and other content such as photos and videos, anything from Facebook status updates to tweets are technically a form of blogging, and everyone’s doing it. I don’t think the traditional blog is under threat though by any means, but I’ve written about this topic before so I’ll move on to the main topic of this post.

I mentioned that Blogger helped to ignite the blogging revolution over 10 years ago now. However, I feel it has been partly stagnating for the last several years and I think the design templates were looking very dated when compared to WordPress who have been pushing the envelope of design and features for many years and have surpassed Blogger a long time ago in those areas.

Recently though, Google have been working hard to improve and now have a brand new design tool which allows you to fully customise the templates in a very simple and stylish way. The templates themselves are very stylish to begin with but you can customise every aspect, change the column layout, colour scheme,  width and even apply custom CSS if you’re so inclined in that respect. You can also add custom gadgets and HTML which allows you to add almost anything you want including gadgets from social sites.

It’s a big and very much needed step forward for Blogger and I think it helps them to really close the gap to WordPress. Blogger also have support for advertising through adsense which isn’t offered on WordPress.com as they have a total ban on advertising unless you self-host WordPress. More importantly to me though, they have very affordable domain registrations through GoDaddy which seem to be priced cheaper than going through GoDaddy’s own website. Not only this, but the domain you buy is automatically configured to work with Google Apps such as Mail, Docs, Calendar and more. This is a very nice feature and even though WP do offer this, it takes some manual setting changes to set-up Google Apps using WP.com.

Overall I think the blogging industry is very strong as everyone naturally has things they want to share with friends and the rest of the world, or just document their lives. These updates will get me to recommend Blogger for new people looking to start their own blog now, or even people who have been for a while.

Personally I’m happy with WordPress and Tumblr for my two blogs but Blogger is definitely a more viable option than it has been for a very long time.

I’m currently moving everything from my…

I’m currently moving everything from my current web host which I’m letting expire, over to wordpress.com and using my domain name which I’ve just transferred over to godaddy. That way I can finally have all my domains in one place which is nice.

So far so good, I’m just waiting for the domain servers to refresh and point 3DGalaxy.net to the right place, and then it should be back to normal.

I should also point out that I don’t hate bluehost or anything. They’ve been fantastic for the past 4 years I’ve used them. The thing is now, that I don’t use any of the advanced things that I pay for, so it’s really throwing money away when wordpress.com is cheaper and possibly a little bit more reliable.

Update: It’s now finished and everything is back up and running. You probably won’t even be able to tell the difference which I think Is a good thing.

WP 2.9 and P2 Update

A few weeks ago WordPress.com launched the new P2 theme along with the equivalent of WordPress 2.9 for self hosted blogs. I played around with the new P2 on my backup blog on wordpress.com and liked the changes.

I tried to upgrade P2 with the older version of WP and ended up having to delete it and search for the original P2 online because it wouldn’t work properly. I failed to notice that you need at least the beta of 2.9 to run it.

I’ve been waiting since and now that it’s available, I do appreciate the new additions and refinements. Instead of going into all those new things, I’ll just suggest you upgrade and get P2. It’s in my opinion the best WP theme around. It looks stylish, is feature rich and is easy to use. Plus, because it’s developed by Automattic themselves, it is guarunteed to work flawlessly with all aspects of WordPress, which is something a lot of themes can’t boast.