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Friday, July 27, 2007...
Contest Time! [-]
I am very proud to announce the commencement of voting for "Bestest Blog of the Year.". Not only is this a huge deal for anyone who has followed this site, but it will symbolically mark the transition from Bestest Blog to Blankest Blank!

The process is super simple. There are 105 blogs in the running. Go here and vote for them on a scale from 1 to 5 (1 is the worst, 5 is the best). If you want to make your vote count 3 times as much, be sure to register first. Voting will end 2 weeks from today, August 6th (which also happens to be my 2 year wedding anniversary) and winners will be announced on August 7th.

The winner will receive (at least) a $50 cash prize! They will also have a link to their blog featured on the Blankest Blank Home Page for the next year (until the next blog of the year is decided).

The overall top 10 blogs (including the winner) will have their link featured here at Bestest Blog (replacing the Blog of the Month and Featured Blog in the top left) as well as have their links replace the blog of the year voting page. Results for blogs ranked 11 and up will be available from a link on the voting page as well.

If your blog is in the running, here are some tips to increase your chances of winning:
1. Go vote for yourself (duh!)
2. Encourage others to vote for you. Here is the URL: http://www.blankestblank.com/bestest/blog-of-the-year/. You might also be interested in including this cool banner on your blog, here is the code:

3. Encourage others to register before voting. Registered users votes count 3 times more than guests.
4. Keep up the great blogging that got you here in the first place. People are going to be stopping by your blog before voting, and if you have some great, new content, that'll surely increase your vote.

Again, congratulations and good luck! And if you're interested in winning another "blog of the day" award and get in the running for next year's award, check out the new "Blankest Blank Blog Directory." Questions? Please feel free to email me or drop by the forum.
posted by Bobby Griffin @ 11:51 PM   9 comments [-]
Thursday, July 26, 2007...
Registration is a go! [-]
Wow, that was surprising painless! You can now register for BlankestBlank.com. Currently there's not really any reason to other than to help me make sure it is working. But VERY SOON (we're talking hopefully today) the votes of registered users will count 3x as much as guests. So if you want your own site to win, registering is your best best!

Let me know what you guys think! I keep adding new stuff all the time, and I love whatever feedback I can get!
posted by Bobby Griffin @ 4:19 PM   1 comments [-]
Wednesday, July 25, 2007...
The New Directory! [-]
Well, I am very happy to announce that the project I've been toiling at for about a week seems to be in working order. May I present to you The Blankest Blank Blog Directory. This is a link exchange directory kinda like the one here but with a bunch of new features. Let me tell you about them.

Automatically Add Your Link: This directory is completely automated, once you fill out the necessary form your link will appear IMMEDIATELY. No more waiting a week for me to add it by hand.

Best Blog of the Day: After we finish the contest for "Bestest Blog of the Year," anyone who has joined (or joins afterwards) the directory will automatically be in the running for "Best Blog of the Day" from here on out. Instead of me and guest bloggers choosing them, winners will be chosen democratically by whoever has the best score! Winners of this award will have a special link on the Blankest Blank home page, a special icon next to their link in the directory, and the chance to go on to win "Best Blog of the Week," of the month, of the year, etc.

Randomly appear up front: I am building a script that will randomly be taking 5 blogs from the directory and displaying them on the home page. So even if someone doesn't check out the directory, your link may still have a chance to be clicked.

Directory with a Twist: Instead of just having the anchor text for your link be your blog's name, all links will be of the form "The _____est Blog." For example, "The Most Frequently Updated Blog" or "The Best Philadelphia Eagles Football Blog" or "The Yummiest Blog."

I had a few reasons for setting it up like this. First of all, I wanted this directory to be different from all the cookie cutter directories out there. More importantly was a closer look at the value of anchor text.

The anchor text of external links to your site is very important for determining your search engine results. For example one of my favorite blogs, "Flip This Body," a weight loss blog, already appears at #1 for Google searches of the term flip this body. This is because the majority of links pointing to Julie's site have this anchor text. But in my directory Julie's link could look something like this: The Thinnest Blog. Notice how the name of her blog still appears when you highlight the link. Also, having an important weight-loss word like "thinnest" in the anchor text, could help out future searches with that term.

So, that's that. I'm really excited for this Blog Directory. I hope you guys will check it out and let me know what you think. There's a free link in it for ya!
posted by Bobby Griffin @ 9:57 PM   2 comments [-]
Unproductive Weekend [-]
Well, maybe I mis-titled. I had a great weekend, but didn't have much time to work on the site. In case there was any doubt, I have successfully made it so that registered users have their votes counted 3 times more than guests. That way the casual visitor can just wander through without the hassle of registering while the dedicated visitor can register and make a little more out of their voting. Just over the weekend I already got 15 new registrants which is pretty awesome!

I hope to have the "Bestest Blog of the Year" contest (details a few posts down) done within the next week. I've set myself the deadline of August 1st, which I'll absolutely meet, but I hope to have it done well before then. In any case, no matter when it starts you'll have plenty of time to vote.

Also, today I started a new category up: the most fun game. All these games are free and a lot of fun. WARNING: do not attempt to vote for games unless you have some free time on your hands. If you have some favorite games of your own, I'd be honored if you'd nominate them.

This site has been a blast to make so far and I've had some really good feedback so far. If you have any opinions I'd love to here em, either in the comments below or in the Blankest Blank Forum. Thanks!
posted by Bobby Griffin @ 7:35 PM   2 comments [-]
Friday, July 13, 2007...
Registered Users [-]
Well, today I finally found what I was looking for. A great PHP login script to use on my site. There's the link if anyone is interested. I knew something like this had to be out there, and I was right. It is a preprogrammed system where users can register, login, retrieve forgotten passwords, etc.

If this site ever gets really big (cross your fingers), I may require people to register before they are allowed to nominate or vote at all. In the mean time though, I plan on enticing people to register by making registered users votes count 3x as much as a guest. In the long run, you'll also be able to make your vote count even more by consistently voting for winners, nominating eventual winners, and another contests and activities.

I wanted to make sure I got this implemented before the big contest (see below) starts. That way if your blog is in the running, you can register, and make sure your vote counts extra!
posted by Bobby Griffin @ 12:03 PM   0 comments [-]
Thursday, July 12, 2007...
Another top 10 update and big contest on the horizon [-]
Ok, so I thought it'd be fun to take another look at the Top 10 in the voting for best blog over at my new site. The #1 blog at the last update got about 50 clicks in 3 days out of the deal, so let's see who's on top this time:
1. Flip This Body: 3.33
2. Blog About Your Blog: 3.17
3. Here Comes a Storm: 3.13
4. Doctor Anonymous: 3.11
5. Peggy, as she is: 3.08
6. Random Acts of Kindness: 3.05
7. Shoe Money: 3.04
8. Skittles' Place: 3.03
9. Critique My Blog: 3.02
10. It's a Blog Eat Blog World: 2.93

I'd have to agree with this list to the large part. I gave every blog on this list a vote of "5" myself. By the way, if you've already voted for best blog, know that you can vote again. I reorganized my database a bit, and as a result, I had to erase the database that kept track of who already voted.

Also, I mentioned a few posts ago that I'd be having a competition to find out who is the "Bestest Blog of the Year." Well, today, I took several steps toward setting that up today. First of all, I went through my entire blog and found all the blogs that qualify to run for the award: former "bestest blogs of the day" that have been updated at least once in the last 30 days. If this describes your blog, then no worries. You're already entered...no need to go submit your blog or anything like that. All in all, this worked out to be 105 totally awesome blogs (though it was sad to check out some of the great blogs that have gone inactive).

I was also working on the specifics of what the winners will get. The top 10 of those 105 blogs will have a permament spot in my sidebar here at Bestest Blog (replacing the "blog of the month" and "featured blog" in the top left). Complete results of the voting will be shown on the "Blankest Blank" category page, with 1-10 on the main page and 11+ on a second supplementary page. Also, the #1 voted blog will hold a prominent spot on the "Blankest Blank" HOME page for the next year (until we crown a new winner). So, lots of exposure for the top 10 and even more for #1.

I'm also working out the details of a CA$$$$$$$$$H prize for the overall winner. I am thinking that I will be donating $0.01 for each vote that is cast for the winner, with a max of $50.00 (5,000 votes). So if 1 person went and voted for each blog (105 of them like I said), that would already be $1.05 towards the winner.

I will also be accepting some sponsors if anyone is interested. Sponsored links will appear ABOVE the Adsense on the voting/results page. 100% of all sponsored money will go straight to the winner. Please email me if you are interested in being a sponsor.

So, voting is not going on yet, but we're getting close. I need to do a little extra checking to make sure the voting is tamper-proof (or at least tamper-resistant) before we get underway. If anyone has any questions as to extra which 105 blogs were automatically entered, please leave a comment. Thanks!
posted by Bobby Griffin @ 1:55 PM   2 comments [-]
Tuesday, July 10, 2007...
New category: Funniest Video [-]
Well, this morning I opened up a 3rd category over at Blankest Blank. That is the category of funniest video. I've already nominated about 10 of my own recent favorites from StumbleUpon, so let the funniest video voting begin. If you have a favorite of your own, please feel free to nominate it, whether it's hosted on YouTube, or embedded in your blog, it doesn't matter, so long as at least YOU think it's funny! Enjoy!
posted by Bobby Griffin @ 9:22 AM   2 comments [-]
Monday, July 09, 2007...
Some early results [-]
I just thought some of you might be interested in the early results of voting for the best blog. When voting ends, there will be an official results page, but I just thought you might be interested in seeing things so far. I'll just do the top 10 so far.

1. Boing Boing, score is 3.44
2. Blog About Your Blog, 3.40
3. Flip This Body, 3.29
4. Micro Image, 3.27
5. Here Comes a Storm, 3.24
6. Doctor Anonymous, 3.19
7. Critique My Blog, 3.14
8. Shoe Money, 3.07
9. Peggy, As She Is, 3.06
10. The Ordinary Adventures of Tomas, 2.95

So congrats to the early leaders, all of these are very good blogs if you are interested. This is the top 10 out of the 69 submissions I've received so far!

Otherwise, things are coming along. I am still working on that directory, as well as a login script and other things. The voting pages are looking very nice and would love to hear some opinions on that. The Blankest Blank Forum has a couple of threads going and is picking up steam. I'll keep ya updated!
posted by Bobby Griffin @ 4:41 PM   8 comments [-]
Thursday, July 05, 2007...
One submission per URL (and other changes) [-]
Well, one of my regular readers R2K helped me out with a bug even if he didn't mean to. Well, R2K submitted his blog multiple times into the running for Best Blog. Although I'm sure he didn't mean to, this is an obvious no-no, but it needs to be prevented on my end. Once a blog is submitted its submitted, if it is submitted again (even if by a different user), there needs to be an error message that pops up stating such. This is a very easy fix, it's more tedious then anything, and first on my agenda today.

The one vote per IP address concept came out very nicely. If you want to see a really nice addition to the site that I made, you'll have to vote through ALLLL of the funniest jokes or best blogs (currently about 20 and 60 of each respectively). After you check em all out, it makes it REALLLY easy to go back and give an extra look to the ones you liked the post. If I could get a couple of people to check out this feature and report back to me, it'd be really helpful.

I am still working on the automatic link exchange directory. I think I should be able to have that done today, I think this feature might really help boost this site and everyone who contributes.

On the visual side of things, my friend and partner has a pretty good design in the works, but it'll be another couple of days before this design is integrated into the actual site. After which I'll definitely need some feedback (no worries, it'll be much prettier than my blog looks now!)

I guess the only other thing to mention is that we got approved for Adsense and you'll now see that on the page. Oh and the Adsense takes up 160px, but then the entire rest of the width is devoted to the thing you're voting on. It used to have a static 800px width, but now it stretches to fit the page.

Any comments/questions would be very helpful. You can leave em here or in the Blankest Blank Forum. Thanks!
posted by Bobby Griffin @ 11:36 AM   4 comments [-]
Tuesday, July 03, 2007...
What I'm working on today... [-]
Blankest Blank dot com
Well, I decided to keep the updates coming on this site because the number of submissions and votes seems to be growing as I do. If you are just checking in, be sure to read the previous couple posts before this one.

All great blogs please move to the front of the line
My first priority of the day is to rework the ordering system. Currently, when you log on to the page to vote for different categories, the order the sites are presented in is completely random. Thinking about this, I decided it wasn't completely fair. After all, shouldn't the ones that are voted to have a better score than the others receive more hits? But by the same token, I don't want the best to be first, the 2nd best to be 2nd, etc., because then you are biased as a voter, knowing what others thought of the site. So, I needed to find a way to give preference to the highly voted sites, but still keep it kinda random. So, the way I am working on accomplishing this is by generating a random number from 1 to 100 and then multiplying that by the average score and ordering them that way (from highest to lowest). So, a page with an avg. score of 4 and a random roll of 80 (4*80 = 320) would come before a page with an avg. score of 2 and a random roll of 90 (2*90 = 180), but that page would come before a page with an avg. score of 4 and a random roll of 40 (4*40 = 160). Anyway, sorry to go into so much detail, but hopefully you get the point.

May I get you a link, sir?
The second thing I hope I get to today is building a new link exchange directory. Of course, like everything on this site, it will be COMPLETELY AUTOMATED. That means once you add a link to Blankest Blank, it will AUTOMATICALLY appear in the directory. No more waiting a week (OR MORE!) for me to manually add it. But to give it a Blankest Blank twist, all links will be of the form "the ______est ______ blog," and the actual title of the blog will appear when you hover over the link, for example:
The Most Frequently Updated Blog
So, you get to self-proclaim your blog with a title, you can pick something that will appeal to a crowd that would be interested in your blog. As an added incentive, I am going to make it so that 5 or 10 blogs from the directory randomly appear on the front page at all times. And doing the link exchange will again be the only prerequisite for entering into becoming "Best Blog of the Day."

Plus, in case you didn't know it, the words in a link influence Google's page rating for your site and those terms...so you should pick something that you could envision somebody searching for on Google to arrive on your site.

Also, yesterday I added a forum to the site. Nothing fancy yet, but if you wanna start any convo's over there about this site, feel free.
posted by Bobby Griffin @ 12:17 PM   0 comments [-]
Monday, July 02, 2007...
Another site update and a Happy Anniversary [-]
Well, yesterday was the 1 year anniversary of "Bestest Blog." Yep, it was one year ago today that I featued my very first review. 2000 blogs, over a half million page views, over 100 reviews, and 366 days later this site has fizzled out. While this page was great in its hey-day, it's popularity exceeded my ability to keep up with it. Even with the help of some wonderful guest reviewers, adding over 100 links a week and other site maintenance called for 20+ hours of work a week, on top of my full time job.

So, in my mind, I went back to the drawing board. This blog was doomed from the beginning. Its setup required me to do everything by hand. So, I did some research and figured out that PHP combined with MySQL was the optimal way to make a site like this more user-driven and automatic. Inspired by sites like StumbleUpon, I decided to take it just beyond finding great blogs to read every day, but to find cool images, videos, games, resources, and any other kind of website you can think of.

And so spawned the idea for Blankest Blank. Sure it will have a daily "best blog of the day" feature, but it will have a lot more! I'm really excited for this, and this time I'm thinking big. Almost everything will be automated, so this will give me time to improve and add ideas as opposed to spending all my time keeping the current ideas afloat.

You can already submit your blog into a preliminary vote for "best blog". At this point it is just more or less a test, but those who have submitted their blogs (or had their blogs submitted by me) have seen in the area of 50-100 visits to their site.

I am adding new features every day. Like today I just made it so each user (IP address) could only vote once for each site. This will do wonders as far as preventing abuse and vote tampering down the road. Plus you can easily flag inappropriate sites and there's easy links so you can check out some really great sites in depth. And one of my best friends and partner in this endeavour have gotten the ball rolling on the visuals. He is an expert at making sites look good (and I am not as you can tell by looking at this site).

As I mentioned in the comments section of the previous post, in honor of the 1 year anniversary of Bestest Blog, I plan on having a vote for "Bestest Blog of the Year" through Blankest Blank. Any blog that won blog of the day in the past year will automatically be entered. The winner will receive a prize (maybe like $50 or so) and of course some nice publicity. But before that can happen, I need to get the site a little bit further along. Maybe another week or two at most.

In the mean time, I invite you to check out what the site has to offer, alert me if you find any bugs or any unexpected error messages pop up, maybe submit your favorite joke and rate some other funny ones.
posted by Bobby Griffin @ 3:13 PM   9 comments [-]
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