Monthly Archives: October 2008

WP Review Site Theme/Plugin Set Review

Customers looking for validation of their choice before making a purchase will turn to review sites. It’s a simple fact. You may have searched for and read through countless reviews outlining the pros and cons of – lets say that new laptop you’ve been lusting for – before making that big important buy. And the good news is, with WordPress and a little tweaking with WP Review Site, you can make any site of yours into a powerful review engine.

WP Review Site is one of those plugins that turns WordPress into something more powerful than it already is. Use WP Review Site to turn WordPress into a powerful review site engine. It allows you to easily create niche review sites about anything and everything you want, be it products, computers, gadgets, music, movies, services, websites, restaurants, hotels, credit cards or even beer.

WP Review Site combines has these features:

Add a star rating system to your comment forms – This enables visitors to your WP blog do more than just leave comments: they can write a review and rate it via mousing over star icons. You define the categories, and your visitors can rate between 1 to 5 stars. And WP Review Site is completely customizable to fit your blog’s design; you can display rankings as you see fit, whether you use tables or CSS.

And WP Review Site lets you sort reviews by weighted average rating: you can set it to display reviews by the highest/lowest-rated, and not in chronological order. You can even choose to not show the rating system in some parts of your site. WP Review Site even has various sidebar widgets for you to add a list of top rated items to your site’s sidebar, or a list of recent reviews with the average rating that user left.

And what makes WP Review Site even better for me is that it already comes with seven themes preconfigured to work with the plugin:

  • WP Review Site
  • WPRS: Aqua Featured
  • WPRS: Award Winning Hosts
  • WPRS: Bonus Black
  • WPRS: Double Silver
  • WPRS: Green Featured
  • WPRS: Ocean

And even better, WP Review Site has already got its own affiliate link management system that will let you configure your links easier. Instead of inserting the URL for the same anchor text over and over, you can set your review blog to automatically insert affiliate links.

What I don’t care for, however, is the fact that the customization features of WP Review Site is spread over two options pages. I’d like to have everything in one configuration page.

For $97 dollars, you’d get free upgrades for life along with all the features mentioned above.

Pros:

  • WP Review Site does the work of many different plugins to make WordPress work as a powerful affiliate review site.
  • It comes with seven preconfigured themes
  • Affiliate link management system is powerful

Cons:

  • Too many separate options pages
  • Switching themes would clear the sidebar of widgets

This review was written upon request by the creators of WP Review Site.

iPod Touch as a Blogging Device: Part 3

Since the last time I talked about the iPod touch, I have come to use it much more than I originally intended, and in different ways than I thought I would. The keyboard interface has changed my use of this small portable computer from something I can work on away from home without lugging my laptop to something I just do quick things on, but in doing so, it has saved me a fair bit of time.

My iPod Touch is almost always on standby mode, which means it still eats through the battery with my use if it in a single day, though sometimes much less. Powering the device has become a little bit of a joke for me as I recently took my laptop with me somewhere just so I could make sure my iPod Touch got recharged.

I have started using it for a variety of different things outside of just blogging, but the time savings it has created has made me a bit more productive.

I use the iPod Touch as a watch, constantly checking the time, and comparing it against notes I have made in Notes and To Do’s.

Since the iPod is in standby mode, it is quick to turn on and I can usually check my e-mail faster on the Touch than on waiting for my laptop to boot up, making my boot up time in the morning a bit more productive.

I also use it to check the stock markets and whatnot as I like to keep abreast of what is going on in the economy, especially related to the US to Canadian dollar exchange rate since I am paid in US currency.

I have also been using it as a way to keep active on Twitter, which is something that I didn’t really intend, but the limited typing space for messages makes the iPod Touch a great Twitter interface.

I have also bookmarked various web pages related to my sites statistics and it makes finding out how my sites are doing a one click event, no matter where I am, which has actually let me know about some downtime I had on one of my other sites, long before I would have otherwise realized it.

As for stuff outside of blogging, I have discovered how useful the Touch is for watching videos while on my long walks between my home and a local restaurant where I work sometimes, and I really enjoy lying in bed listing to Last.fm on it, much to my wife’s unhappiness.

I also use the iPod Touch for managing money and groceries, with Grocery iQ and Pennies. Both are great applications, though I find myself not sticking to inputting everything into Pennies as often as I should, though I don’t blame the application for that.

So with my enjoyment of having an iPod Touch increasing, would I now say that it is a great blogging device? Well, no… I would still recommend something like one of the many “netbooks” that are out with a decent keyboard, and maybe a 3G card so you can have ubiquitous wireless Internet access.

Did I mention there are some fun games for killing time on the iPod touch? When I don’t have Internet access, I find myself playing Sudoku, Lux Touch, and messing around with AquaForest. They are all fairly interesting, and great for keeping your mind off how long a walk has taken.

Donators

Thanks again to everyone listed below for their help in reaching my goal of getting an iPod touch.

Ryan Caldwell of College Crunch
Mark Wood, My Cousin
Jeff Chandler of Jeffro2pt0
Chris Garrett of Authority Blogger
Yan Fortin of Geeks are Sexy

My Career Time Line

Some people have been wanting me to update my Timeline post with information on what I have done since the summer of 2007, and so I thought I would take a few minutes to do so.

October 2007

Bloggy Network sold some blogs to Splashpress Media and I went with those blogs, as I was posting on around half of them. I was really sad to leave as it was basically a company I helped build up from nothing. I always enjoyed working with Jacob, and the others.

I became the new Head of Marketing, and spent time working on many sites. I also helped work with the advertising sales representative in navigating some of the strange rules of buying and selling advertisements on the web.

The company has acquired many blogs since then, and has evolved nicely. It is still creating many blogging stars, and its main properties are doing quite well.

May 2008

After finding myself feeling rather limited in my job, I decided to move on to an opportunity I found on the Problogger Job Board. I became the Community Manager for PicApp. At the time, this felt more like a public relations job, and I was looking for a community job.

The opportunity was a great one, but at the time, the company, and myself realized that a Community Manager wasn’t really what they needed and I decided to move on from the project.

I still consult with them from time to time and applaud them for all of the amazing moves they have made in making the product more blogger friendly. And with the advances that they have made, I sometimes wish I could go back…

September 2008

There was nothing on CollegeCrunch.org, a domain that Ryan Caldwell had bought to build out. I came in as project manager to provide content, organize content, promote the site, and just be a general nuisance to him (joking of course).

This is the project I am currently working full time on. There are over 600 pages created, with over a third having content in them, with the rest being created just to help me keep organized as I flesh out the site. It is one of those projects that the more work you do on it, the more you realize there is to do.

Economy in Shambles: Blogger Opportunity

Despite the economy not heading in the direct that we would like it to head in, this shift has created many new opportunities for bloggers and web workers in general. While marketing and advertising budgets will be the first to go in many companies, the side effect might be an increasing number of affiliate programs, where bloggers can start promoting the sale of various brand name products for a cut of the proceeds, becoming, in effect, the new marketing and sales team for many companies struggling to maintain a profitable balance sheet.

If you have ideas on how to make money online, your opportunity is at hand. You might have been or be looking at a potential layoff, so why not find some free time and spend it on building a blog, website, affiliate portal, or something that could, eventually, contribute to freeing you from office desk slavery.

With low startup costs, the only thing you have to loose is some time and energy, and the distraction might not be such a bad thing if the economy tumbles further.

Pick your favourite products or services, and contact them about some affiliate deal. Even if they don’t have a system in place yet, they might just say yet, in order to capitalize on the potential skills, energy and intelligence of content producers online.

Win Consulting Time at Blogging Tips

I have thrown my hat into another contest, and hopefully this time it will work out well. Blogging Tips has a forum that they are looking to revitalize, and to do so, they have started up a simple contest.

Basically there are two parts. The first part can be won by being one of the most active participants. The grand prize for that is $200 which will be Paypal transferred into your account. Their are one thousand dollars in cash prizes to be won, so it can definitely be worth it to try you hat if you love being part of forums.

The second set of prizes include books, Premium WordPress themes and plugins, as well as a chance at a two hour consultation with me. To win these prizes, you have to stay active in the forums and each week a question or challenge will be placed on the board for people to take part in. The winner each week will win the prize of that specific week.

If you are interested in a great and easy way to earn yourself some nice prizes, check out Blogging Tips Forum contest.