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3% decrease in Keyword Cost in January

Those bloggers utilizing Adsense as an income stream who track their statistics usually notice that the price paid per click fluctuates from month to month. I track my cost per click earnings and it is not unusual to have a 20% drop or rise from one month to the next. Fathom Online tracks this too across many keywords and noticed that in their last period after the holidays that there was significant drops in some kewords and an overall drop of 3%.

‘Most surprising was the 28 percent drop in Telecom-Wireless products and services from $1.09 to $.79, possibly reflecting the trend to give cell phones as a gift during the holidays. Keywords in the Consumer-Retail category also decreased significantly by 11 percent from $.58 to $.52 per keyword, evening out some of the huge gains that category registered early in the fourth quarter 2004 when the frenzy to buy shopping keywords was at its peak.’

This doesn’t surprise me in the least – with the rise in keyword costs in the lead up to Christmas things had to slow down at some point.

Check out their table tracking different keyword categories – the big winner this last month was Finance/Mortgage keywords.

What is a Blog?

So what is a Blog anyway? I am asked every week via emails, conversation and Instant Messaging chats to define: ‘what is a blog’. If you’re reading this you may well be asking the same question.

There are a number of ways I could answer this question ranging from the broad to the highly technical.

Before I define the ‘what is a blog’ question – here are a few definitions from other much wiser people to get us started:

‘A weblog is a hierarchy of text, images, media objects and data, arranged chronologically, that can be viewed in an HTML browser.’ Source

‘A frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts and Web links.’ Source

‘From “Web log.” A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is “blogging” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger.”‘ Source

‘A weblog is kind of a continual tour, with a human guide who you get to know. There are many guides to choose from, each develops an audience, and there’s also comraderie and politics between the people who run weblogs, they point to each other, in all kinds of structures, graphs, loops, etc.’ Source

‘A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is “blogging” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger.” Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog. Postings on a blog are almost always arranged in cronological order with the most recent additions featured most prominantly.’ Source

‘A blog is a website in which items are posted on a regular basis and displayed in reverse chronological order. The term blog is a shortened form of weblog or web log. Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog or adding an article to an existing blog is called “blogging”. Individual articles on a blog are called “blog posts,” “posts” or “entries”. A person who posts these entries is called a “blogger”. A blog comprises text, hypertext, images, and links (to other web pages and to video, audio and other files). Blogs use a conversational style of documentation. Often blogs focus on a particular “area of interest”, such as Washington, D.C.’s political goings-on. Some blogs discuss personal experiences.’ Source.

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Hopes of a Professional Blogger

When I asked readers at for questions for my upcoming interviews with Professional bloggersBobby Masteria asked:

‘Ask long time probloggers what have been their fears, hopes and expectations.’

I’ve written about my expectations and fears and now thought I’d turn to hopes.

1. Internet usage is booming. The statistics show that more and more people around the globe are going online and that it continues to be a medium with incredible potential to communicate with the masses quickly, cheaply and with little fuss. Similarly the statistics show that more and more people are becoming familiar with and readers of blogs. This has to give the average problogger some hope. The more who read blogs the less problem congestion of the blogosphere (see my fears post) becomes.

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SEO Techniques

Tanya at SEO and Affiliate marketing blog is writting a well thought out series of posts on Search engine Optimization which so far has four steps to it.

Step 1 – Picking a domain name

Step 2 – Research your niche or theme

Step 3 – Building your site template

Step 4 – Building a Product Page

It is not really written from a blogging point of view but rather from a pure SEO perspective – but none the less there are some good general points in there that should help bloggers.

Fears of a Professional Blogger

When I asked readers for questions for my upcoming interviews with Professional bloggersBobby Masteria asked:

‘Ask long time probloggers what have been their fears, hopes and expectations.’

I previously answered the expectations part of this question – now I’ll turn to ‘fears’

Fears: I don’t really have too many extreme fears about my blogging. I’m trying to take the approach that everyday that I can earn a living from blogging is one day longer than what I ever thought I’d be able to achieve. Having said that there are a number of concerns that I have that have the potential to end or at least limit what I do….

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Could AdSense direct deposits be around the corner? – JenSense.com

Jen at JenSense observes that the new referal program from Adsense seems to be set up to pay out using direct deposit. She hypothesizes that perhaps this is an indication that direct deposit payments might be coming. This would be a massive relief to many publishers using the system who have to do a lot of messing around to cash their cheques.

Read Jen’s column at Could AdSense direct deposits be around the corner?

Do you start blogs for Passion or Money?

When I asked readers over at ProBlogger what they’d like to ask professional bloggers Hashim asked:

‘Ask them do they choose topics they personally enjoy or just what will make the most money’

Good question – I’ll ask those I interview but will answer for myself here.
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2005 Business Blogging Awards are Back

After some big problems with their voting system the Business Blogging Awards are back up and running. This time around it seems that the voting is working nicely. You can place a vote for my little site here in the Best Overall Blog category if you so desire – although the competition is pretty good from some of my favorite blogs.

Open Mike on Blog Design

I’m going to open up the comments on this post for anyone to say anything they like on the topic of blog design.

I spent half an hour or so today looking through the blogs nominated for this year’s Bloggies awards. I was particularly looking through them with an eye for the way that these blogs were designed. By no means am I a blog designer (as you can no doubt tell from this blog – which is about to receive a facelift) but I do appreciate good design. There were some beautifully designed blogs in the collection – especially some of the photoblogs which I love surf through.

I was particularly surprised when going through the nominated blogs by the number of them that used very basic template designed blogs – particularly of the blogger variety. They were by no means the majority of blogs – (there was around 10) but for some reason it left me a little surprised. Whilst I have nothing against templated blogs I am someone who is drawn to sites which people have made look a little different.

I was left wondering if perhaps I’m a snob – whilst I always talk about how content is the number one thing a person should work on my reaction to templated blogs perhaps exposes a bias. Of course the bias doesn’t stop me reading templated blogs – there are quite a few on my daily RSS feed list (althouth RSS does tend to cut out the design issues).

I was wondering if I’m alone in my blog snobbery? How important is blog design to you in finding quality blogs? Are aesthetics and design something you look at when you go to a new blog or are you someone who is drawn in by content…or something else? Am I a snob? What is good blog design? What is your favorite blog in terms of design? The floor is yours.