Why Blogging is Like Having a Child

Jennifer Rice over at What’s Your Brand Mantra? posts a good article on her Link Policy and Building Traffic that is worth a read. The phrase that got my attention though was this – ‘Maintaining a blog is a lot like having a child’. She qualifies it by stating that she doesn’t have one (a child guess – cause she definitely has a blog – sorry, I couldn’t resist). Its an interesting analogy and one that has triggered a whole thought process for me!

A whole number of images came to my mind when letting my brain get a little creative with her statement. Here are a few (this could get ugly):

– ‘It takes a lot of time, nurturing and care.’ This was Jennifer’s one but I concur! Building a blog takes time, energy, sweat, tears and dedication. I’ve heard all that helps with children too. You don’t just suddenly have a fully developed child who can speak, walk, pay its own way and live as an adult – all of these things take time. Don’t expect your new blog to suddenly be everything you dream it to be – let it evolve and grow up in its own time. Sure you can encourage it along the way – but give it space to grow. I see it like gardening – Gardeners don’t actually make plants grow – they create an environment that is conducive to growth. No matter what you do you can’t make your blog grow – but you can create an environment that gives it every chance possible for it to happen. I guess in many ways thats what this blog is about – I’m hoping to provide bloggers with some techniques that help create futile blogging ground.

Pregnancy – before I start a new blog I often feel like I’ve got something growing inside of me that just wants to get out. It can all happen very quickly or it can take quite a bit of time – but the ideas percolate away, developing and growing til that day when the time comes to actually do something with them.

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Blog Money Experiment

There is an interesting blog being developed over at the Blog Money Experiment where an anonymous blogger (referring to himself as ‘the blog experimenter’) is keeping a behind the scenes diary of his quest to earn a few dollars from their blogging.

They have started another blog which they refer to as ‘the money blog’ (which is at an undisclosed URL to guard from it being swamped by people from the behind the scenes blog) which they are doing the experiment on. Hmmm – sounds more complicated than it is but it will be an interesting experiment to follow. ‘The Blog Experimenter’ writes:

‘Can an online amateur make money with a blog? This is the online diary of one guy’s attempt to generate extra cash by blogging. Follow, advise and criticize a newbie as he tracks his “blogging for bucks” adventures, step by step. This is not “the money blog,” it’s the behind-the-scenes story…’

He’s set himself some guidelines for the experiment and has already earned enough for a coke. Good luck ‘the blog experimenter’ (I can imagine him sitting in front of his computer with a phantom of the opera type mask blogging away….can’t you?).

Positioning your Adsense Ads II

Once again the response to my post yesterday to Positioning your Adsense Ads has been quite amazing as people have emailed and left comments asking for further details of what the ‘secret position’ is to place ads on a blog that will magically double earnings overnight.

Perhaps I’ve created a monster in the past week or so here in telling people how much I earn. Since then I’ve been quite overwhelmed by the attention – emails, comments, instant messaging – all on levels I’ve not experienced before from a post. I guess people want to make money from their blogs! I can’t blame them I guess – I’m obviously interested in that too.

So what is the magical, secret position to put your Adsense ads? Someone even emailed me tonight offering to pay me to reveal the secret. Hmmmm – maybe i should hold an Ebay auction and offer the information to the highest bidder!

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Positioning your Adsense Ads

The amazing thing about the Adsense advertising system is how one simple change in positioning of your ads can have a profound impact upon the earnings you receive from it. I still remember a fateful night about 8 months ago when I learnt this lesson and doubled my income overnight (no this isn’t one of those posts where I’m selling something – relax).

It was 10.30pm and I was about to head to bed when on a whim I decided to shift my Adsense ads from the position that I’d always had them at the top (banner position) of the blog I was working on at the time. I shifted the ad to a new position and then got distracted with something else and forgot about it.

A few hours later (I got very distracted) I again was thinking of bed but decided to check my Adsense stats for one last time before shutting down my powerbook – imagine my surprise when I found that my click through rate was 40% higher than normal (and so was the earnings for that time of night)!? At first I thought I was dreaming, then I considered that maybe Google had made a mistake, then I panicked that someone had been randomly clicking all my ads – and then I remembered the repositioning of ads that I’d done a few hours before.

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Weblogs, Inc. – Focus Ads

Weblogs Inc are taking blog advertising in a new direction with their Focus Ads which invite their readers to leave a comment on advertisers (you can see one here). Its an interesting concept that they are promoting as adding to their transparency in advertising. Here’s what they say about it.

‘Weblogs, Inc. Focus Ads are meant to create transparency in advertising — helping our readers to gain insight and helping our advertisers to create a better product or service. Our advertisers participate because they believe in their brands and are willing to improve them through the feedback of enthusiasts.’

So far the concept on the Grifffin technologies feedback page seems to be pretty positive but I guess time will tell whether advertisers actually want the feedback and whether readers can be bothered giving it. for sale

I just spotted that is for sale. They don’t really have an asking price so make them an offer. The sale includes sale of:

  • the domain name (and all subdomains)
  • the domain name
  • the database of blogs (and related databases)
  • all rights to the software

The owner writes: ‘I don’t have a price in mind, so don’t ask. cash-flow wise, the site has cost approximately $3500 to date (mostly for hosting), and has earned less than $750 (mostly from google adsense ads).’

So it doesn’t really sound like a hugely profitable venture that you’d be buying – rather its a ‘renovators delight’ type project.

Duplicate Posting and Free Articles = Duplicate Content

I’ve noticed a growing trend among bloggers who have multiple blogs to post the same post numerous times in different places.

I can see why such a practice might seem tempting:

  • it cuts down the work you have to do (two for the energy of one)
  • it increases the chance of your post being read by readers
  • if you’re making money from your blogs it double’s the chance of earning a dollar from your work

For these very reasons I’ve entered into duplicate posting in the past also. It just seems to make sense to get your material out there in as many places as possible doesn’t it?

Unfortunately whilst duplicate posting might have some of the above benefits it is also worth counting the cost of such a strategy. Duplicated posting might double the chances of your work being read, but it also runs the risk of getting you in trouble with Google. You see they don’t like duplicate content – content that appears in different places in the same basic form. They warn about this in their guidelines to webmasters.

‘Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.’

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Yahoo’s Contextual Ads in testing things they’ve stumbled upon a new Contextual Ads program from Yahoo for small publishers. They write:

‘Ken Rudman is a product manager at Yahoo-owned Overture, and his blog features contextual Overture ads throughout. His homepage shows the vertical two-ad format, monthly archives show a three-ad horizontal format, and individual entries show another variation of the horizontal format. The ads have decent relevancy, especially considering its early state.

The Javascript that generates the ad IFrame is hosted on Overture’s server. The domain name refers to ypn, which might be an acronym for the ad program… Yahoo Publishing Network, maybe?’

As mentioned on the post it doesn’t seem that the ads are overly relevant now – however in time I’d suspect that more advertisers would come on board and relevancy will improve.

Interestingly the version they are testing has a hover feature – when you hover your curser over the ad you get a little pop up box that tells you more about it. I’m not a big fan of the design options being used on the example above but I’m sure a final version will be pretty customizable. I’ll be watching on with interest to see how this story develops.

Seeking Bloggers Expressions of Interest

Would you like to earn an income from blogging? Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed by tackling it alone? Would you like to work with other experienced bloggers on a niche topic blog?

The Breaking News Blog collective is seeking expressions of interest in new niche blogs – you could be the next to join.

Regular readers of this blog will be aware that one of the projects that I work on is Breaking News Blog – a collective of bloggers (some call us a network) that blog on a variety of topics on the one domain. Blogs in the collective currently range in topic vastly – everything from blogs on technology like VOIP, MP3 Players, Printers, Laptops/Notebooks, PDAs and Robotics through to blogs about People and events, like the Pope, the Michael Jackson Trial, Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson through to Health issues like depression, dieting and mineral supplements.

The concept is simple – we’re building a collective of blogs on a variety (a huge one as you can see) of topics. These blogs share a domain and are interlinked and promoted by one another. Since launching a couple of months ago the collective has steadily built its page rank in Google (most now have a rank of 5 or 6) and is gradually growing readership levels (some are currently averaging thousands of readers per day).

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