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The More you Give Away, the More you Sell

B.L. Ochman has a good piece on Seth Godin which is worth a read with a few interesting observations about the way Seth goes about his business:

‘Pointer: The More You Give Away, the More You Sell

“This is the ironic part,” he says. “The less I try to make money, the more I give away, the less I try to sell, the better I do.” He has no business plans for the blogs, doesn’t know how many readers he has or how many subscribe to his RSS feeds. He reads trackbacks on his blogs “because it helps me evolve ideas to the next level.”

“What I’m really trying to do is almost through trial and error discover ideas that want to spread and offer those ideas packaged in ways people will want to buy them. This varies from free idea that is one paragraph long to ideas that cost money because I have to get on a plane and deliver them.” Currently, he says, he’s debating whether or not he should just write e-books and not bother selling printed books any more.’

I love this concept – it taps right into some of my own recent thinking on the way profitable blogging often comes out of those times when you give something away. I guess this is what sparked my building blogging relationships series.

Gawker’s Oddjack

Gawker Media has launched another new entrepreneurial blog – Oddjack - the gambling blog. It has categories on Event Betting, Politics, NBA Playoff Lines etc.

Whilst Adsense won’t be an option for this blog (they don’t like gambling sites) there is plenty of opportunity for affiliate programs and other advertising and I suspect it’ll generate some good income.

Seeking One Good Digital Photography Blogger

I’ve decided to open one more position up for Guest Blogging on Digital Photography Blog.

There are already two bloggers who will be working on it – but I’d like one more blogger to help lighten the load on them.

Ideally you would have an understanding of digital cameras and have some experience of blogging (as this is my main blog).

You would be posting mainly news items (I can give you some RSS feeds to watch) and would be welcome to submit digital photography tips or reviews of digital imaging products.

Ideally I’d love you to post one post per day or more.

Once again you’ll be getting a link back from each post you do (it’s a site with a page rank of 7). These positions are not paid positions but as with other ones I’m open to evaluating how it goes at the end with the view of adding a few bloggers on a revenue share model.

If you’re interested please contact me asap. All applicants will be considered but I’ll be looking for the right person – so it’s not a first in best dressed scenario.

The importance of Blog Taglines

Steven is doing another interesting experiment over at Vaspers the Grate and is looking at Blog Taglines. He’s put 59 blogs with their titles and taglines side by side and is asking for comment on them. He writes:

‘I strongly urge every blogger to use a tagline on your blog. It can give your blog that little extra edge of clarification or intrigue that could prevent a first-time reader from leaving your site, due to not seeing any personal relevance.’

I agree with this statment by Steven completely – a tagline can be a very powerful part of your blog on a number of levels.

Firstly it can convey a strong message to your reader about the content that they’ll find if they decide to explore your blog. We know that readers make very quick decisions about whether they will stay or leave a page and so any way that you can quickly communicate them the benefits of your blog is important to put some thought into.

Secondly your tagline is often one of the first things that search engine spiders look at on your site because it’s usually at the top. We know that words at the top of a site have more weight than words at the bottom in terms of search engine optimization – so if you have a text tagline it might be worth including some keywords in it.

So the take home advice is to see your tagline as an onsite advertisement for your blog. You’re advertising the benefits of them staying to go deeper inside and perhaps even become loyal readers. As a result you want to capture their attention, communicate a message and include some keywords to help the search engines index you well.

Protecting RSS Feeds from Theft

Paul has come up with a cool way to put off those wanting to rip off your content by republishing your full RSS feed – he’s found a way for WordPress bloggers to insert a copyright notice into the feed so that it appears on any site using your content.

‘Anyway, for other bloggers using WordPress who want to throw a scare into the scrapemasters who swipe their stuff and use it as spam, I took the liberty of modifying the wp-rss2.php file so it includes a visible copyright notice in every post in the feed.

First thing your (RSS) readers will see is your excerpt from your post followed by a horisontal line and this underneath:

“© 2005 YOUR-BLOG-URL.com This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you’re not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you’re looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact YOUR-CONTACT-DETAILS so we can take legal action immediately.”’

Read more at Stop Stealing My Stuff | BlogLogic.net

When Blogs Grow Too Quickly

There is a great post over at The Return of Design that shows the danger in your site becoming too big to quickly in the eyes of Search Engines. James Archer reflects upon the rise massive popularity of Forty Media when it first launched and the consequences:

‘There’s a catch, though. We were a new site with a new domain name, and within weeks we had thousands of incoming links from keyword-rich sites. We initially thought that it would be great for our search engine rankings, but there was one critical point we had failed to consider:

Sudden movements make Google nervous.

The great success that our marketing effort, from the perspective of the objective mathematical formulas that run the Google search engine, probably looked a whole lot like search engine spam.’

The tips that James gives at the end of this article are well worth listening to. The message is to build a site slow and steady where you have some control over it. This is a lesson I’ve had to learn on a number of my blogs of late – including this one here at ProBlogger.net.

I’ve been amazed by the amount of links that have been pointed at this blog since moving it to this domain in February this year – however the downside of this is as James says being seen as a suspicious site by Google for getting too popular too quickly.

Life goes on however and if you’ve been ‘sandboxed’ like this have patience – keep blogging and in time you’ll find things change (as they gradually are here).

Building Blogging Relationships – Blog Projects and Memes

In continuing my building blogging relationships series I now want to turn our attention to blog projects and memes.

As I look back over my 2.5 years of blogging to some of the most interactive periods in my blogs – I realize that many of the key relationships have developed out of working on shared projects – both those initiated by others and myself.

Back in 2003 on my personal blog I started a project called Celebrating the Underblog where I invited bloggers to submit blogs that they thought were underrated and deserved more publicity. That year we uncovered 100 blogs. In 2004 I ran the project again and we uncovered over 500 blogs. This year I moved the project to problogger.net and refocussed it upon business blogs - the response was smaller but still worthwhile. [Read more...]

Blog Layout Continued – The Perfect Number of Columns?

Peter Flaschner has a great post on The Perfect Number of Columns which I think bounces off my post on Blog Layout (I say ‘I think’ because he doesn’t link to it – but was part of the discussion here in my post so I’ll take some credit! :-) ). He writes:

‘How many columns is the perfect number? I’ve seen passionate opinions voiced in favor of 1, 2, and 3 columns. People seem to have very definite opinions about which is best. I’m here to tell them they’re all wrong.

There is no perfect solution. The right number of columns is determined by two things: your site’s raison d’etre, and your audience. Asking “what’s the right number of columns” is like asking “what’s the best colour”. The answer in both cases is it depends.’

Peter then goes on to talk about some factors to consider when choosing your blog’s layout, in particular your own needs and those of your audience. It’s a great post if you’re thinking through blog design issues.

Less = More with Adsense

Scrivs gives and insightful update on his decluttered design approach to adsense – the results speak for themselves:

‘Ever since I made the changes to the design of many of my sites to the extra minimalist style I have seen my eCPM increase anywhere from 50%-100%. My CTR has increased over 100%-200%, but this also has to do with the fact that I added an inline ad on FG for extended entries.’