Monday, 22 December 2008

Using Photosynth To Enhance Your Blog

I've recently started using Photosynth, which is an application by Microsoft whereby you can create a "cinematic" effect with your flat photos.

The process itself is quite simple - you take lots of photos from all angles of the desired object, landscape etc and then upload them to Photosynth, which sorts them out and creates the 3D image. However, it does take quite a bit of practice to get the right photos and make sure you've covered all the angles. There is a useful tutorial video on the site, but I've found you need to spend time practising.

You can take a look at one of my first efforts on my other blog Corfu Chronicles, where I've posted a view of a Corfu landscape.

Can Photosynth enhance your blog? Well, I think it could be useful to certain types of blogs - nature, travel, art etc - and could perhaps generate more interest in a post than an ordinary flat photo would, but I think it needs to be done sparingly to be more effective. And I'm not sure that I like the Photosynth frame that the image appears in on the post.

The thing is that you need to spend time on it and take a lot of photos. Anything less than about 40 or so (depending on the 'size' of what you're photographing) is really not going to produce a 'synthy' image, as they call it. For the one I did on Corfu Chronicles, I took 115 photos!

So I don't think it's really what you would call a 'blogging tool', though I think that it can enhance certain types of blogs and posts as long as you don't overdo it.

It's fun though!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

A Blogger's Christmas Stocking!

My sister wants to get me something from Amazon for Christmas and she asked me for some ideas. I had a bit of a search and in true blogging spirit - :-) - I came up with the three following books about Blogging! I don't know which of these she will get me - I've left a little room for surprise!

Each of them have the Look Inside facility, so I was able to browse through a few pages of each.

The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging
The Huffington Post is listed at No. 1 at Technorati, so I guess they know a thing or two about blogging!

ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income
I have a lot of respect for the authors Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett and am a subscriber to both of their newsletters.

Blogging Heroes: Interviews with 30 of the World's Top Bloggers
The title really says it all here. 30 of the world's top bloggers give their own experience and advice. You can see the list of who they are at Amazon, as well as getting a peek at some of the pages.

As I said, I've left it to be a surprise which one I get (maybe I'll get them all!!), though I think I lean towards the Huffington one as the most desirable.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

I Won A Month's Free Advertising At Adgitize!

Following my post about the Adgitize competition to win a month's free advertising, I'm following up to say I was the lucky winner!

I now have a month's free advertising for my blog Authentic Greek Recipes. Already over the last few days I've seen a lot of traffic coming from these ads. I also received my first payment as a publisher for the month of November.

Just a reminder that at Adgitize as a publisher you get points for visiting the other blogs, and for the articles you write on your blog(s). These points are translated into cash at the end of each month. You also get a one-off $5 for each advertiser you refer as well as $1 per month as long as they keep advertising.

As an advertiser you get all of the above plus extra points as an advertiser (again translated into cash at the end of the month) plus, of course, the traffic from your ads - which are very reasonably priced - which I have witnessed first-hand from the visits to my free ad!

Adgitize your web site.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Selling Online

Another way to make money is by selling online. A lot of people are doing very well with this, and I just want to mention a few of the ways - other than eBay - in which you can do this.

If you are talented and make your own handcraft products, then Etsy is probably the best way to showcase and sell them. I've been seeing more and more bloggers who have their own Etsy stores and, quite honestly most of the their products are terrific.

For those who aren't handcrafters, but have artistic and design talent, then perhaps either Cafe Press or Zazzle is the best choice. At these sites there is a wide variety of products available - from clothing to mugs and notebooks - and you choose which ones you want to sell and put your own design on to them. With Cafe Press you also have the option to pay for an upgrade, where you can design a much more attractive store.

If you are not in any way creative (like me!) but you have products to sell, then a couple of sites you might want to take a look at are eCrater and buyitsellit. At these 2 free sites you can buld your own online store with whatever products you want.

Last, but certainly not least, if you are neither creative nor have anything to sell (again, like me!) then there is Zlio.

Zlio allows you to build up to 50 stores and you can choose which market you want to aim at - USA, UK, France or Germany. The idea is to try and choose some kind of a theme for your online store, choose the products you'd like to sell from the merchants affiliated to Zlio and earn commission from the sales. You don't need to worry about the quality of the products, as the merchants include a lot of "heavyweights" - Adidas, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble etc, and there are over 3 million items to choose from. The shipping and delivery is also handled by Zlio, so you don't have to worry about that either.

Now, in addition to the earnings from products you sell, you can also have Google AdSense on your store site. Zlio themselves keep 40% of earnings from there and you keep 60%. There is also a referral programme, where you get 10% of commissions made by people referred by you plus 5% on the second level.

I, myself am looking seriously at Zlio, and need to decide what would be an appropriate theme for the store and whether I have the time and energy to commit to it.

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