Add a Community to Your Blog with BlogFrog

Posted by Kat Armstrong.

I recently met with BlogFrog CEO Rustin Banks to discuss adding communities directly to your blog. Your readers want to interact with you and with each other. Adding a customized BlogFrog community to your site allows your readers to ask questions, share photos and chat live with each other – without ever leaving your site.

With comments, your readers can only leave their thoughts about whatever it is YOU have to say. They don’t have an easy way to interact with each other. Your subscribers are obviously like-minded. After all, they are each interested in whatever you are talking about. Using BlogFrog compliments whatever blog comment service you are already using. The comments section is there for people to leave feedback and additional thoughts based on what you have written. Adding the additional components from BlogFrog adds a whole new layer, allowing your readers to talk to each other and spark new discussions.

My first instinct was to ask why we should use BlogFrog. After all, we have sites such as Google+, Facebook and Twitter to discuss things on with other individuals. Rustin was quick to point out that we are limited on these sites. We only have the capability of talking with our followers. We aren’t really giving them a way to talk to each other unless they want to jump through hoops and figure out how and where to follow the other parties on various social sites.

Believe it or not, it won’t cost you anything to use BlogFrog. The beauty is that you will be getting paid to use the service in a manner of speaking. You can enable high-quality advertising and make a higher CPM in most cases than what you will be able to find on your own.

Once you have signed up with the service and chosen your elements, it’s very simple to add BlogFrog to your own site. You’ll basically add a widget to your main page. The components are platform agnostic… install your new community on any template which allows JavaScript.

My assistant Kat is fond of saying that building a community isn’t about connecting people to you – it’s about connecting them to each other. BlogFrog has created the perfect way for you to give your community the tools they need to interact with each other, build upon what they already know and perhaps change the world.

Book publisher blogs impress

You might have remembered that we forced our publisher to start a blog before we’d sign the contract to do Naked Conversations with Wiley. The resulting blog by Joe Wikert has been most impressive over the past year. I saw he linked to Juliana Aldous at Microsoft. She gave me a lot of advice before I started working on the book and I don’t know how I missed her blog for so long. It’s good too. What do these blogs do? They give you a place to start a relationship as an author. Get tips. Learn about how they see the industry. And, if you have an idea for a book you now have two people to talk with.

Any other great book publishers blogging out there? Here’s another one: Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. How about Tim O’Reilly? Gary Cornell of APress? Who is your favorite book publishing blogger?

“What did we do?”

We’re sitting around in the Swiss Chalet and the geeks are wondering just what we did last night. Got a bit of a hangover (we drank a 109-year-old Cognac last night, among other things). Pierre made some awesome raclette cheese — they have a machine where they through half-a-roll of cheese on it and it melts it off. It’s amazing stuff. They are checking in on their email and what happened overnight. Hundreds of requests for access to CoComment. #2 on Memeorandum. And requests from press coming in. Brian Benzinger even wrote a Greasemonkey script overnight. More than 800 people have looked at my Flickr photo from last night. Laurent continues the conversation over on his blog. All for a non-planned release. (They are wondering if they are going to get yelled at by SwissCom team that developed this along with Laurent). This wasn’t a planned release, it just happened cause we bugged Laurent to talk about it.

I think this is going to start a new trend. Wanna release a product? Well, you can either go to Demo (that’s this week and I’m sure it’ll start lots of these kinds of conversations too) and show your stuff off to Chris Shipley and crowd (and that’s after you pay tons of money) or you can throw a killer party in a Swiss Chalet, invite your friends over to hang out in a hot tub and go skiing, and show them all what you’ve been working on.

It was a great demonstration of what we discuss in our book and what I talked about on Friday in my speech to LIFT06. You don’t need to do much more to kick off a movement than to start a simple conversation. Yeah, David Anderson (the agility expert) you get it. Who’s next?

Office 12 NDA news

Why do I read so many feeds? To catch stuff like this (Ed Bott is hearing conflicting information and isn’t sure what to do). There’s some confusion going around about the Office 12 NDA. So, I checked with the folks who know over on Office 12. Here’s the deal:

Press (which include bloggers) are allowed to write about client apps – specifically Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, Publisher, Visio, Project, OneNote and InfoPath. Products still under NDA include Groove and all our server products.

MVPs might be getting other rules, but here’s the person in charge: Sandhya Thodla. sthodla@microsoft.com. Anyone else trying to make NDA rules up should be sent to Sandhya. If you aren’t clear on any of this, please ask Sandhya before writing about Office 12.
Is that clear enough?

By the way, Frank Shaw is president of Waggener Edstrom in charge of the Microsoft account. Translation: if he says something is OK, it’s OK.

UPDATE: February 7, 2006: It turns out that this isn’t quite the case. There are different NDAs given to different groups. Sorry for the confusion, but I need to be a little bit clearer about the Office 12 beta program. If you’re an MVP, in the Technical Beta or on the TAP program you’ll need to comply with the EULA of Beta1, which maintains confidentiality except in cases where the information is already public. If you’re a blogger and want to talk about Office 12 and you’re already on the beta, we recommend you learn what’s public and what’s not BEFORE you disclose anything new.