I’m going to do something I very rarely do and post a little update about what’s been going on behind the scenes here at JTPratt’s Blogging Mistakes. Things have been very busy, and time is something I definitely don’t have enough of – it’s a luxury. A few months back I got an email from Forbes.com. I mean, it’s kind of weird – at first you kind of have to question if it’s real or not when you get an email from a large company. In the past I’ve gotten emails from Yahoo and Microsoft and a few other places, but Forbes.com is just weird. In the email they asked me to become part of their new “blogging network”. I had think about this at first, because I didn’t now what “network” meant. I just wanted to make sure that it wasn’t going to be a free for all where anyone who signed up was let on board. You can read the forbes.com blog network official press release here.

It turns out that 400 blogs were hand selected to start the network, and out of 100 million+ blogs on the web, somehow this blog was chosen. In the phone interview I did the day after I got the email I asked a lot of questions, and the woman who sent the email told me that there were lots of blogs on the web that were a lot of fluff but light on content. She said my posts were easy to understand, very resourceful, and she could tell I actually knew what I was talking about. I’ve done a lot of hard work on this blog in the last 6 months and I’d like to think that’s the reason she not only found the blog (in search), but found it resourceful once she read it.

What does all this mean? Well, my posts won’t get featured in Forbes magazine, that’s for sure. I was told that my blog falls within the “business and technology” section of the blog network. I was told that once the network is up and running that my posts (probably excerpts) could be featured on forbes.com alongside their current articles when relevant. Forbes.com gets over a million visits per day. Now this blog network is sounding pretty enticing! Even if I was only featured once or twice per year it would be worth the link love alone. Will this ever happen? I don’t know – only time will tell.

So behind the scenes I’ve been preparing for the network launch. It’s kind of like when you know the relatives are going to come over and you do all that last minute cleaning.’ Even though you live in your house every day, when you know somebody is coming over (especially friends and family) you start seeing dirt in all kinds of places you usually just pass by. So knowing that being part of this new blog network I could get a lot more exposure and visitors is exciting and maddening all a the same time. I immediately began to think of ways to customize my theme, improve the look and feel, better monetize, and improve the overall experience for users. That’s why you’ve been seeing a lot of posts lately about hacking wordpress and creating and customizing your own theme.

So at this point, even if I never get featured or mentioned on forbes.com something good has come out of the relationship since I created my own custom them (which is still evolving), and I’ve written everything up in posts and articles for all my readers to benefit. Also in the last few weeks my RSS subscribers have doubled and so has my daily traffic. The blog network “soft launched” yesterday and they said that if we put up the ads they would be mixed “default” ads advertising the network mixed with some real ads from test sponsors. In addition, we do get paid for any of the test sponsor impressions. The nice thing about this network as well is that it’s CPM based, so you get paid by traffic, not by click. When the Forbes.com blog network fully launches over the next few weeks they are supposed to sell ads for our respective categories, so more relevant ads should be showing up in more frequency (and hopefully I’ll be making more money).

On that note, with all the changes going on with the structure of this blog if you’ve seen freaky things happen, like headers or sidebars disappearing, or pages for poor formatting or huge fonts – that’s why. Just today many hours were spent trying to fix issues with my header, my logo, and the banner, and also my post headings. As it stands now everything is perfect in Firefox, horribly mangled in IE 6, and the banner is somehow missing in IE 7. If you are reading this post in an RSS reader, please visit my main page in your browser a single time for me, and email me with your operating system and browser if the page is screwed up in any way. This will help me iron out the kinks! For any readers that have the time – I would appreciate it, just use my contact form to send me a note, and you can attach a screenshot there as well! For questions or anything to add – please comment now!