Google currency converter

Why didn’t anyone tell me about Google’s ability to do currency conversions before? I just learned about it at Geeky Info and think it’s a feature I’ll be using lots.

All you have to do is enter an amount that you want to convert into a normal Google search field and it’ll do a current conversion for you.

So to find out what one US dollar equals in Australian dollars (down to 8 decimal points!) you just enter:

1 USD in AUD

and here’s what you get when you ‘search’

Don’t know the country code? No problem try entering:

currency of Britain in Australian money

or 5 British pounds in Australian money

Handy stuff for a blogger wanting to convert their earnings into a local currency.

Google Page Rank Explained?

Many of readers are reporting in comments significant changes in their blog’s Google Page Rankings in this latest update. Those sites that are reporting the largest changes tend to be new sites (which is understandable) with older more mature blogs reporting only minor (if any) changes.

Every time Google updates like this I find my email inbox full of questions about Page Rank – questions like”

  • what is Page Rank?
  • why is it important?
  • how do I improve my blog’s Page Rank?
  • why isn’t my Page Rank changing?
  • how do I check my blog’s Page Rank?
  • why has my blog’s Page Rank gone down?
  • is Page Rank still relevant?

The questions are many and varied so I thought I’d attempt to answer a few (keeping in mind that on many of these questions no one (outside of Google’s inner circle) really knows the answer to some of them).

[Read more…]

T-Shirt Design Competition – Prize Review

I’ve decided that the $100 at Amazon first prize in my ‘design me a T-Shirt’ competition is just not good enough. So here’s what I’m going to do:

1. You’ll still get your $100 (USD) worth of products from Amazon
2. You’ll get the very first T-Shirt free (worth around $20)
3. I’ll offer you 1 hour of blog consultation free for your blog – you choose what you want me to work on (worth $60+)
4. I’ll link to your blog on my side bar for free for 1 month after the prize is announced (priceless – well not worthless)
5. I’ll highlight your blog in a ‘winners’ post (another not worthless give away)
6. I’ll add your blog to be the number one blog on my RSS feed which will mean I’ll check it multiple times per day and become your blog’s number 1 fan! (ok it’s not worth much – but you’ll get yourself a new dedicated reader)

So get your butt into gear, put your creative hat on and design me a T-Shirt! If you can’t do one yourself tell someone who can and split the prize with them.

I’ve had a few good entries so far, but I just know there are more creative design genius types out there. Show me what you’re made of. If you’re short on inspiration – head to the t-shirt page at for some ideas of what other T-shirts are popular.

Google is Page Rank Update – July 05

Forums are reporting that Google is doing a Toolbar Page Rank update – I’m yet to notice any significant changes but have chatted to a few bloggers who noticed big leaps and falls in their blogs. Is it impacting you yet? As per usual it’s too early to tell where everything will settle – but share your initial observations if you’d like in comments below.

Living high on the blog

Today’s online edition (I don’t think it’s in the print editions) of the Sydney Morning Herald and Age newspapers have featured an article of me Living high on the blog (also here). In it they largely talk about how I came to earn a living from blogging and have a rather large photo (left) of me reclining on the stairs in our last house.

The article highlights as well as a couple of my other blogs – so welcome to those of you who’ve surfed across to check this site out. If you’re interested in blogging and/or making a living from it, please feel free to surf around.

Most of the articles on this blog (there are 1300 pages in all) are hidden away in the categories archives which can be accessed through the menus at the top of the page and through the menu at the bottom of the left side bar (Archives).

Also helpful are the pages About ProBlogger and About Darren. Lastly you may wish to subscribe to a weekly email newsletter which gives a summary of what I write about here.

I hope you enjoy your stay at ProBlogger – if you need any more information please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Google AdSense Changes

Reports Pages Redesign – Google Publishers will notice major changes to their reports pages when logging on today. I first logged on at a bleary eyed 7am and thought I’d gone to the wrong page.

The log in page now is a quick view report which gives an overview of the day’s figures (both Adsense for content and Adsense for search on the same page – good move Google). These can be viewed as ‘today, yesterday, last 7 days, this month and last month which can be changed via a drop down menu.

Users are then given the ability to narrow these figures down to show the top performing channels for the period selected at the click of a button.

Underneath these figures are the options for a variety of quick reports which allow publishers to check their figures in a variety of reports. Options include ‘this month by day’, ‘this month by channel and day’, ‘last month by day’ and ‘last month by channel and day’. Each of these allows you to download a CSV report next to them.

If you want a more detailed report (for example setting from one date to another) you can still do this by selecting the ‘Advanced Reports’ options at the top of the page.

Page impressions on channels can now be viewed in the two ways that your overall stats have been able to be viewed previously.

Overall the changes seem to be reasonable. It will take a little while to get used to the new format but largely the changes are fairly cosmetic with no real changes to the actual system.

Terms and Conditions Changes – Also new today are some additions to the ‘terms and conditions’ page. Jen at Jensense has a good summary of the changes so rather than rehashing them all here I suggest you take a look at what she has to say. Most of the changes seem minor – some seem to deal with RSS ads.

The one I’m most interested in is that you now have to seek Google’s permission to put two different publisher’s codes on the one page. ie if you want to run ads for two different people on the one page. This will impact the revenue share systems of some blog networks.

New Demos – Lastly they seem to have added some video Demos for beginner Adsense publishers to help them get going.

You can see all the changes to the report pages laid out at the Adsense ‘what’s new’ page.

The Anatomy of a Blog

Paul Chaney has a good post titled Ten Things To Do Before You Blog in which he gives…four… things to do before you start a blog (six more to come in a future post). He’s writing more about business blogs than entrepreneurial blogs like most readers here seem to run – but I particularly like his second tip:

Consider is its core message. What are you going to write about? What topics will be covered? What “tone” will you give the blog? Are you wanting it to be warm and humorous, or more straightforward and informational?

You approach will largely be determined by the audience you’re attempting to target. Obviously, when writing any blog your primary consideration needs to be your readers, at least the readers you hope to attract. They will have the most bearing on the nature of the content and the way it’s presented.’

I think this is crucial in all types of blogs. Too many of the blogs that I follow don’t seem to have a consistent core theme. I’m not arguing that you can’t post on a variety of topics and even go completely off topic from time to time – but I think it’s important to have clear in your mind (and your readers mind) what the vast majority of posts on your blog will be working towards.

With this in mind you can actually begin to build into your blog threads of conversation that build upon and support one another and move your readers towards an objective or goal.

Heart Beat – For example here at the core theme or objective is to help bloggers make money from their blogs. This is the heart beat of my blog.

Skeleton – Once I identified this theme I had something to begin to build towards. Around the them I constructed categories (or sub themes if you like) that I felt would help me expand my overall theme. In a sense my categories are the skeleton which holds everything together. They remind me of my goal and give me a structure to work towards it from.

Muscle and Flesh – With categories mapped out I put flesh and muscle on the skeleton with daily posts. The daily posts break down the categories into bite sized chunks. In them the rubber hits the road and I communicate the practical advice that I’ve found to be helpful in achieving the goal for myself.

Here endeth the anatomy lesson

Productivity Tip #1

I’m having one of those months where I realize I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. What with catching up from a month off, to adding new bloggers to some of my blogs, to interviews with a couple of major newspapers, to working on a two day per week research position, to updating 20 blogs, to deciding this is the week to completely rework my Amazon affiliate links on over 5000 pages of content, to the normal hundreds of emails and IM conversations each day, to trying to run a church (it’s a hobby/passioin), to speaking next week on a four day conference (I really should do some preparation), to trying to start writing a book, to conference calls at all hours of the night….

I’m realizing that I either need to get myself a PA or I need to manage my time a little better.

So today I spent a little time reorganizing an area of my life that takes way too much time – Email.

Here’s Darren’s Productivity Tip #1 (there may never be a #2… I have no time).

Turn down the frequency with which your email platform checks your email.

Until today I had Entourage checking for new email every 4 minutes – all day long. That meant ever four minutes my concentration was broken and a potential distraction from the task at hand entered my life with a lovely chime and pop up on my screen notifying me of the incoming email/s. Due to the volume of email that I get there was usually at least one email every 4 minutes.

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pc4media’s Blog PageRank Wrath

Please remind me not to get on the wrong side of Peter from pc4media who is about to unleash Blog PageRank Wrath! Peter’s discovered the power of Page Rank and he’s about to use it to get back at a couple of people who have done him wrong.

‘Two people have screwed me over this week. Wasted my money. Other people’s money. My time and other people’s time. And they both have soiled my reputation. I am giving them until next week to attempt to right their wrongs. After that, I will be creating posts on my weblog with their names and business names in the title. And these posts will be at the top of the search engines for searches for their names. Thus, their mistakes will be known by anyone doing a simple search for them.’

Read more at pc4media: Blog PageRank Wrath