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Do you use the Blog Surfer?

  1. It's at Dashboard->Blog Surfer, where you can add fellow blogs at wordpress.com and view their latest posts (in full), in time descending order. It's a centralized, quite convenient way of checking out multiple blogs in one click.
    The only thing is the blogger won't get the hits in their stats when you read them this way.

    I'm just curious how many people use it...

  2. Yes. I use it every day. In essence, using the blog surfer simply amounts to subscribing to the rss feed of another wordpress.com blogger's blog. And as it's on the dashboard it's more convenient to use than my feed readers.

    Also as far as clicking through to the blog goes, it's the same difference whether or not people use feed readers to read whole posts or, to actually click through to the blog or, if they do the same thing using the blog surfer.

    Here's a word to the wise about truncating every post by using a <!--more--> tag. It's used as a prevention tactic when it comes to blog scrapers. It's also used by the obsessive bloggers who do all kinds of gray area dubious things to inflate their stats. I've experimented with this and what it does is drive readers away. They get peeved about having to click through every time to read the whole post and they desert your blog.

    Also if you are using rss feeds to backup your blog, then note that the wherever <!--more--> tag is inserted and/or when "summary feeds" are selected rather than "full" feeds you are not going to get whole posts.

  3. I used to use it daily and found it a "great way to follow my favorite WordPress blogs", but it started becoming like some big bloated chunky memory absorbing overweight self absorbed insatiable thing so I stopped using it because it was just easier to go to my blogroll and click over.

  4. i use it, subscribing to about 10 blogs at the moment.

  5. Timethief, that's interesting on the <!--more--> tag. I mainly saw it as a useful tool to decide if you want to skim or read in detail.

    If I can't get someone's attention with three paragraphs and have them want to read more, then I deserve to lose them.

    I'll have to have a think about this, but I do see your point about some people using it to drive up stats. Hmm...

    Does that also mean that using thumbnails with clickthroughs to the full-size image is also a dubious tool for pushing up stats?

  6. I only use my blogroll and the Next Blog arrow. I like to randomize things.

  7. @stonehead
    IMHO the use of thumbnails in a photoblog is a convenience to readers, especially those who are on dial-up service. So when it comes to thumbnails in photo blogs my answer would be "no" they aren't a dubious tool for pushing up stats.

  8. Hey Timethief...
    I'm interested in what your thoughts are on the 'read more' function... never saw it the way you painted it. I use it, and pretty much on every story. For me, it was just a choice on having my first page a manageable length...
    Most links I get are to the story itself, so that's not an issue - the random visitor IS an issue tho'.
    What to do, what to do?

  9. I think it's entirely appropriate to use the <!--more--> tag on long posts. That is, of course, provided that you have a backup plan in place so, you do have copies of the entire posts on hand in case of disaster.
    Disaster Planning - Backups for bloggers

    I'm aware of the SEO articles that do advise that every post be truncated and I suppose that if you are an A list blogger that folks will click through. But what if you aren't?

    Before you make a change I would suggest that you run a poll on your blog and ask your readers to vote in it. That may give you a better idea of what their preferences are. free polls and surveys for wordpress.com blogs

  10. personally, i hardly ever click on the more button to read the rest of the post unless it's something i think i want to read (usually it turns out i don't). for my own blog, i minimise the number of posts on the front page so it won't be too long. my logic is that if they like something in those first few posts, they wouldn't mind another click on the previous posts link to check out my slightly older stuff. =)

  11. I wouldn't expect me to appear on a 'D' list... let alone an 'A' list! ;)
    I pretty much started doing it merely to make my front page manageable...

  12. Hmmm... making me think, that's for sure.
    Problem is, some of the longer posts can get kinda verbose. My Lakers preview is 1600+ words long...

  13. withmalice, I agree with TT that using the More tag will actually decrease your readership. True A-listers hardly ever use it. With 1600 words I can totally see it, but not with 500 or even 600. Use paragraphs and pictures to break things up and your readership will actually go up, even if your "pageviews" don't. Since we don't have pageview-based advertising models here at WP.com, it won't actually hurt you, and you'll find reader loyalty increasing. People will tend to come back. I, personally, don't tend to click that button, ever. To me it looks like a cynical bid for clicks and I'm prejudiced against it.

  14. Wow...

    Ok, will change that today & see how we go.
    If it's making my page too long, I guess I can cut back the amount of articles on it.

  15. Ok... have changed the ones on my front page - could someone take a peek & tell me what they think? I have 2 stories around 600 words long that I've taken the 'read more' off, and I lengthened the amount of text shown on my Lakers preview before there's the 'read more'...

  16. Looks fine to me. Actually, by contrasting with your link posts it definitely shakes up the look of the page and adds variety.

  17. withmalice: you have a hawt post - nice! =)

  18. coming back to the blog surfer :D

    i like to use the blogroll more. i like "meeting" the persons first-hand :D
    it helps me cos i usually comment when i am blog visiting! to me, visiting and not commenting once in a while doesn't make sense.

    i use tag surfer more than blog surfer!

  19. About More tag, I wrote a post about my thoughts (lots of them :) on it. Basically I think it depends on what type of readers and what kind of content you got in the first 10 posts on the front page at the moment... I explained them in full in my post:

    http://walkingbetween.wordpress.com/2007/10/31/to-read-more-or-not-to-read-more/

    hope this is not considered a spam...

  20. my blogsurfer and that of my friends has stopped working... is this a wordpress.com-wide phenomenon?

  21. what do you mean? details please...

  22. I have three WP blogs I keep up with using Blog Surfer, I actually really like it!

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