Touting Today’s Top Tech Triumph, Toluu Tackles Tagging!

Toluu’s tags, totally tremendous!  Today’s timesink: tagging Toluu totality!  Ok, enough of that, this really is great news.

Caleb Elston, Toluu’s founder, tells us that tagging was the most requested feature for Toluu.  I’m very impressed with the implementation as tagging really permeates the site now, it’s feels like a true integration, not a hacked together add on.   When adding tags, the auto-complete will cut down on typos.  Along with tagging you’ll see better sorting options on many pages.

A word of warning, if you reimport your OPML you will lose your exsisting tags so you’re gonna want to sync everything before you get started and then use the bookmarklet (or single add) to add new feeds to your Toluu account.

Let’s take a look at some screen shots:

Top Used Tags for a users now on their Profile

Top Used Tags for a user now on their Profile

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You can click Top Tags to see all of a user's tags, notice the sort options

You can click Top Tags to see all of a user's tags. Notice the new sort options.

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Click a tag to see all feeds a users has tagged with it

Click a tag to see all feeds that user has tagged with it

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Quickly add tags from My Feeds, hover to get add button, click for tag dialog

Quickly add tags from My Feeds, hover to get add button, click for tag dialog

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Click a tag and see all the feeds with that tag

Click a tag and see all the feeds with that tag

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Click a feed and goto it's tab menu for all sorts of tagging goodness, including suggestions

Click a feed and go to it's tab menu for all sorts of tagging goodness, including similar feeds to check out

I’m sure I missed some things but that’s a good rundown of some of the most important additions.  This is a big upgrade in usability for Toluu but it relies on Toluu users taking the time to tag their feeds, something that provides only a small amount of additional functionality for themselves.  As people use the tagging system you’ll see Toluu making changes to get the most bang out of it.  I’ll go ahead and predict that grouping of tags that are similar except for extraneous characters and plurals will be added.   Enough of me, go play with it yourself and get tagging – I need to find some new podcasts!

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KillerStartups Killed?

*Please note the important update at the end of this post

One way that a new blogger can get story ideas and make a name for themselves is to report on new and interesting startups, the problem has been how do you find out about a startup early enough to get the scoop? The main service that I was aware of was KillerStartups.com, they saw the need, the niche, and acted with great success.  The problem that appeared was the sheer amount of new startups interested in the publicity made it impossible for detailed coverage of any of them.  The cookiecutter information that became the standard fare on KillerStartups, while still useful, left open a door for competition that could do a better job providing coverage.

TechCrunch’s Crunchbase has been steadily gaining users in this arena and with the recent addition of an API and KillerStartups’ decline, has taken the lead according to Google Trends (it’s recent integration into Zemanta means you’ll see more of it from me):

Google Trends Data for Startup Info

Google Trends Data for Startup Info

Still, it’s hard to scoop TechCrunch with their own database, so other startups have entered the field, two that I’ve used and think are notable are TradeVibes and YouNoodle.  If you check out the Alexa data you can see that YouNoodle is enjoying a spike in traffic among Alexa users.  And while Alexa data is generally considered less than ideal, in this case it might be a better indicator of where web-savy users are getting their information:

Page Views by Alexa Users

Page Views by Alexa Users

The Alexa data also seems to show some hope for KillerStartups, but the Google Trends data is showing a clear flatline.   So, we get back to the title of this post, does the way KillerStartups delivers information still have a place?  Can they bounce back or has KillerStartups been killed?

*Update! – Please be sure to take a look at the comments and note that the Quantcast directly measured results back up what the Alexa results show, a significant bounce back up in traffic and a hefty lead in readership over Crunchbase.

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Toluu Pops It’s Collar With New Popup Tooltip

Toluu has a added a small new feature to your Activity Page that turns out to be a big usability enhancement, here’s what Caleb, Toluu’s founder had to say about it:

I found that many times I had no idea what a feed was about but, I didn’t want to click on it and then have to click back if I wasn’t interested I wanted a really quick way to get some more info so that is how the tooltip came to be it shows the 5 most recent post titles from the feed and you can click a title and go directly to the source

With this new enhancement the Activity page has just gotten much more useful, and it’s good news for bloggers as well.  Those of us who are total marketing geniuses and not only put 2 silent Ks in their blog name, but also give no context clues about the content, can now rest easier.  All you would have to do is hover over ‘The Knight Knetwork’ and you’d see my 5 latest posts, giving you a chance to visit a post with an interesting title and see what you really think about my writing and subject matter.  Here’s an idea of what you’ll see:

Toluu\'s new Tooltip popup

Kudos again to Toluu for adding enhancements that really increase the usabillity of the site, and don’t forget to Toluu ‘The Knight Knetwork’, those silent Ks actually speak volumes.

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Recommending a Page and a Product Together?

Does Amazon‘s new Page Recommendation and Product Reccomendation in one widget make sense?  I see the logic from the programmer’s point of view, both processes have the same first steps – scan the text and check for relevance with another data source.  As a blogger and reader I’m not as sure there’s a connection at all.  This is a common programming pitfall.  When you are deciding on features and design you have to remove yourself from the backend of the program as much as possible and focus on what makes sense from the users perspective.  This may mean separating features that have a lot in common programmatically into different parts of the interface.

I’ve installed the widget and we’ll see if it adds value or not, having the ability to tweak the results would be nice as I can certainly see the value in recommending books with a similar subject matter.  If the widget trys to sell me some Roomba filters and printer ink then it won’t be adding value to my site, it’ll just be trying to sell something and what does that have to do with page recommendations?

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Disqus SEO Looks Good From Here

I was a little hesitant to install the Disqus comment system, but I took the plunge to see how I liked it and I find many of the features so helpful and superior to WordPress‘s native comment system that I’ve decided to make the switch permanent. The Disqus dashboard, the universal login for all other sites using Disqus, and the ability to reply and delete comments by responding to the notification e-mail are all major reasons that I’ve decided to stick with the switch. There were two concerns that I had that almost had me hit the uninstall:

1. SEO - I’m not an expert in SEO but I have explored the basics and have seen the value that comments on a post can add to your search ranking, so I was concerned about losing that traffic source. In looking into the subject this issue was one that many bloggers had expressed and is one that Disqus is taking seriously. For WordPress users, the Disqus plugin uses their API and there doesn’t seem to be a problem. I did a little experiment to make sure that the Disqus comments are being indexed correctly, and while I can’t say they have the same value as a WordPress comments, what I see is good enough for me:

WordPress comment w/ #1 rank from my post helping people having trouble opening files with an .efw extension:

#1 Google rank from WordPress Comment

Disqus comment w/ #1 rank from my interview with Profy VP, Svetlana Gladkova:

#1 Google Ranking from Disqus comment

Obviously not heavily searched terms, but it’s what I could quickly pull from my existing comments, I encourage you to try the same thing for yourself. You’ll also note that there is no duplicate content from Disqus showing in the searches.

2. Not Hosting Comments – The problems with not hosting your own comments were made clear this past week as a database error at Disqus made all comments unavailable for a short time. Hopefully this point will be moot in a month or so as Disqus implements the export to WordPress feature that’s in the works. If Disqus goes down, you’ll still have all the data. It will be a huge reduction in risk and should help sway those bloggers who aren’t quite sure about making the change.

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