Tuesday, 7 March 2006

Technorati favorite blogs: benefits for readers of blogs - images with alt

(If you've read my previous post you can ignore this post - here's why I'm posting this extract from the previous post on Technorati favorites. This is another repost without the form but with empty alt attributes for the images, just like for the section which did get picked up)

For blog readers

Technorati favorites is of course designed primarily for the benefit of those who read blogs. I think it's a very neat idea (whereas, for instance, I don't quite follow what's behind Technorati's other newish feature, Technorati Explore - which will be the subject of a separate post).

Previously, people who mainly read blogs (rather than writing them) didn't have much incentive to join Technorati. Membership did have lots of pluses for bloggers, in terms of giving them several more ways to raise the profile of their own blogs (see my post on Technorati membership for more on that). But for the average blog reader, well you could search Technorati without a membership, and that's primarily what you'd want to do, so why bother to sign up?

Now, by introducing Technorati Favorites, Technorati have cleverly made their site a whole lot more attractive to those who follow blogs. Here are some advantages.

View latest posts from your favorite blogs

As a reader who is a Technorati member, you can add up to 50 blogs to your Favorite Blogs, and then you can see all the latest posts from your fave blogs, in order of newest posts first (from whichever blog), on one page - with the ability to see older posts too (though only up to 6 pages' worth in total, see later). That's pretty convenient.

(To see your fave blogs page, either login and go to your Faves page via the Favorites link in the grey bar at the top; or else, which is easier, go to the URL http://technorati.com/faves/YourTechnoratiUserName - you can go to that URL and bookmark it in your browser or on Del.icio.us, etc. So mine is at http://technorati.com/faves/Improbulus.

Now the point could be made that you can do all that already, you can check out your fave blogs via a feed reader e.g. Bloglines. But I think that Technorati still are very smart to make available this new feature available in order to draw in more users and make their site more useful to their existing users. Remember that takeup of feeds is fairly limited so far, I haven't looked up the latest surveys but I recall it was something like less than 5% of Net users actually use feeds (or even know what they are), even with Web-based readers (though I predict that feeds are going to grow exponentially in popularity, it will take a while longer). Making it easy for users to acccess the latest posts from their favorite blogs from anywhere on the Net via a simple Web browser without having to sign in is a great idea.

Plus, you can also view your Favorite Blogs page (or anyone else's) in a feed reader too, if you prefer to do that - see Technorati's blue RSS icon RSS icon at the bottom left of the Favorites page. Or just add to your feed reader this URL (changing YourTechnoratiUserName to your own username or whosever you want):

(Yes, all this is not far off from bookmarking your favorite blogs on Delicious or some social bookmarking service, but this way you see the newest content from your favorite blogs too, all together on one Web page, which is an advance. There are other ways of doing that, e.g. pulling together feeds from different blogs into one place via various tools, but they don't always display very well, and this is an easy and quick way even for beginners to aggregate content from their favourite blogs.)

You'll also notice that your list of favorite blogs will be shown in a box to the right of the faves page, so you see both the latest posts from your fave blogs, and the list, all on the same page.

Sharing your favorite blogs

It's simple to share your favorite blogs list and latest posts from your favorite blogs too, just by sharing or publicising the URL of your faves blog page. For example, My Technorati Favorite Blogs (or a badge like - that was one I made earlier, feel free to use it if you wish! Here's a howto). Or of course you can display on your own blog (or indeed a webpage on your website) the latest posts from your favorite blogs or someone else's via the widget, as mentioned above.

Search just your favorite blogs

Another advantage of Technorati Favorites is that you can (again when logged in) confine your searches of Technorati to just searches of your favorite blogs (your search results page will have a Your Favorites tab to refine your original search just to show results from your fave blogs).

Again, in fact, you don't have to be logged in in order to search just your Technorati Favorite blogs at all. Just type into your browser address bar your search in the format:


Adding or importing your favorite blogs

Technorati have thought about most things here too, like providing a bookmarklet or favelet to add a blog you're viewing in your browser to your Technorati Favorites. (What's a bookmarklet or favorite?), and including a Favorites icon on their site at various places like search results pages, which you can click to add a blog to your favorites.

You can also "favorite" blogs from any lists you might currently have on Bloglines, BlogRolling, Google Reader, NetNewsWire or Typepad's TypeLists by importing a file from your computer. Technorati have produced for instructions on how to do that for each of those services - see the Technorati favorites importing help - and no doubt they'll be adding more.

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