More on Posting Schedules

Peter at Almost Cool comments on my series on Blog Apathy – particularly picking up on some of the comments on posting goals and schedules. He rightly observes that with RSS subscribers you’re likely to get readers look at your posts whether you post regularly or irregularly and argues against quantity over quality of posts. This has been a common response to my mention of a posting schedule from a number of readers.

I agree with Peter and others – quality posting is essential to good blogging – but I guess want to argue for balance.

Blogging commercially is a traffic game whether we like it or not. If you want to earn more money one good way to get it is to increase your readership. Quality content is essential but so is quantity. You can write one fantastic post per week and get a bit of exposure but the chances are that unless it’s amazing it will never draw enough traffic to sustain you financially until the next post.

Having a posting schedule or goal is like being a journalist with a deadline. It’s not meant to decrease the quality – but gives an end point when the article needs to be finished so that a new one can be started upon and that a paper/magazine can continue its publishing rhythm.

Perhaps one of the things I should have mentioned some of the following in my initial comments on posting schedules:

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Blogging Goals

Wayne Hurlbert writes a post on Blogging Goals that might be a good follow up for some after my Strategic Blogging series of posts.

31 Days to Building a Better Blog – Day 6

I’ll make this quick as I’ve not been well today. Sorry for the slower posting rate today that I’d hoped for.

Readers have submitted the following blog tips today as part of the 31 days to building a better blog project.

Feel free to let me know about your blog tip type posts and I’ll link up on day 7.

Domain Name Suggestion Tool – DomainBot

I’ve been working on some ideas for new blogs over the past 2 weeks and as part of the exercise I’ve been looking at choosing domain names. Of course looking for a domain name can be a frustrating business – you know what you want but the chances are that it’s already taken as a .com and probably most of the other extensions also.

You can spend endless hours typing random names into domain search tools and come up with very little.

Surely there is a better way?

Luckily a year or so back someone pointed me to DomainsBot which is a domain suggestion tool. You simply type in the key word or words that you want to be in your domain and it comes back to you with a variety of combinations of available domains using that combination of words (and if you like synonyms of the words). The results of this come with a suggested ranking.

I know there are other similar tools out there but for some reason I keep coming back to this one. How have you come up with your blog’s name or domain?

AdSense to Vary Number of Text ads in Ad Units

Jen noticed that Adsense have made another change and now will serve less ads per unit if they feel that it has a better chance of making you (and them) money. Googe’s description of this change is:

‘To increase monetization on your site and improve the relevance of ads, AdSense now varies the number of text ads that appear in a given ad unit. In cases where we determine that increasing the size of the most relevant ads will improve performance, we’ll drop the lowest-performing ad or ads and expand the remaining ones to fill the entire unit. Showing fewer ads works to your advantage, allowing the better-performing ads to draw more user attention and click-throughs. Google AdSense technology will automatically determine the optimal number of ads to display on any page and will only show fewer ads when doing so will make you more money!’

In other Adsense related news – Google are also making changes to Adwords (the Advertisers side of Adsense) and will test longer descriptions on ads (up to 200 characters). Read more about this at Search Engine Journal.

Taughnee’s Start Up Tips

Taughnee Stone continues to write about her experiences of starting a new blog – the Alaska Blog which continues to grow after just 12 days of existence. Interestingly she’s chosen to use Blog Explosion to drive traffic to her site. This is not a method I’ve tried as my initial exposure to it left me feeling it was not a wise move. As Taughnee writes – the traffic that comes is not really interested in your blog – they are directed to it as part of a program to build up their own blog’s traffic. To me this is a rather ’empty’ approach which means the stats you end up with are quite meaningless.

However as I read Taughnee’s post I realized that perhaps in the start up phase of a new blog that this type of traffic might actually have some use. You see Taughnee writes that as a result of this traffic a small number of those who surfed in have linked to her. One would think that a small percentage would become regular loyal readers also. So perhaps it’s not a complete waste of time (although I would still avoid it as I’ve had feedback from a couple of bloggers that it’s a waste of time).

Anyway whilst I would suggest caution with Blog Explosion – Taughnee’s post has some interesting stuff in it from a blogger in start up mode. Hopefully it helps some.

The Dangers of Niche Blogging

There is a helpful article over at on Niche Markets the Entrepreneurial Mind where Jeff Cornwall posts about the dangers of Niche strategy. Of course Jeff is writing in a broad sense for all businesses that target Niches but his theories are particularly relevant for those of us working on niche blogs with tightly focused topics. Jeff’s four main points are:

– Entering a niche requires adaptability in your plan.

– Niches Change. Even if you get the market right in the beginning, niche markets (like any market) will change over time.

– Niches Can Go Away. No market is forever. Niches are the type of market that can dry up, sometimes quite suddenly.

– Niches Can Grow. While significant growth in your market may not sound bad, it can attract more competitors.

He concludes by writing:

‘So is a niche a good place to enter the market? Absolutely. However, change is inevitable and even in a niche market an entrepreneur needs to be able to adapt to survive over the longer-term.’

This is so true for blogging. I often look at my successful blogs and wonder how much longer they will be as profitable as they currently are. Whilst I presently do well in many of the niches that I operate in I’m constantly reminding myself to look out for the next project.

It’s tempting to settle down and to just keep the 15 or so active blogs that I currently have ticking over – but whilst this would be comfortable to do I’m aware that within a year or two many of the niches I’m operating will be a different scene to now. The key is adaptability and the ability to change courses quickly as the opportunity arises.

found via Business Opportunities Weblog

31 Days to Building a Better Blog – Day 5

Well I’ve left this post until the last minutes of day 5 due to it being a rather full day – I hope no one was missing it.

The 31 Days to Building a Better Blog project has definitely been worthwhile so far. Traffic levels have been up the last few days and there has been some rich discussion going on in the comments section of many of the last few posts.

A few readers have submitted more blog tips that they’ve written (although less today – so hopefully there’s more to come – don’t make me do all the writing!). Here’s the two tips submitted today by readers:

Don’t forget to write your own blog tip/s on your blog and let me know about them and I’ll link up to them. Similarly you might want to suggest the best blog tip article you (or someone else) has written previously and I’ll add it to the collection.

Interview with Jason Calacanis

Jen from Jensense has a good Interview with Jason Calacanis about Weblogs Inc’s experience with Adsense. There’s lots covered but here’s Jason’s main piece of advice:

Jen: What is the best piece of advice you have for a publisher brand new to AdSense? What would you have done differently when you started with AdSense, knowing what you do now.

Jason: I would have run four ads per page, taken off the borders, and made the links the same color as the links on the blog. I would have also made channels for each position and blog so I could track things better.’