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Why are Some Blog Networks So Successful?

Scrivs has waded into the ‘How much should blog networks pay their bloggers?’ conversation by refocussing the question (as he is in the habit of doing):

‘So really should we be asking how writers in these networks should be getting paid? I don’t think so because you can find people to write for you in almost any model. The question you have to ask yourself is what type of model do you need to bring in the talent to help you succeed?’

I’ve been pondering this whole question for a few days now since we launched b5media and I’m coming to a similar position.

The question of ‘how much’ IS important. But I’m wondering what else makes a blog network successful?

I chatted this morning with a blog network owner who told me how he couldn’t believe the response we’d had at b5 from people wanting to be involved – he asked why he’d had little interest from a similar invitation to bloggers to join with what he thought sounded like much more generous terms.

I’ve been wondering ever since why this is the case? With networks being announced every second day (I saw two new ones yesterday alone) – why are some taking off while others seem to disappear so quickly?

My answer to this question is still forming in my mind – but let me attempt to give a glimpse of what I’m coming to by describing what I’ve noticed so far about those wanting to join b5media.

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Search Engine Ranking Factors

Steve Rubel points to a useful resource over at seomoz on Search Engine Ranking Factors which is one of the better descriptions of how Search Engines rank pages that I’ve seen recently. It lists 93 factors to keep in mind. Sounds like a lot to remember – so luckily they’ve arranged them into different levels of importance (only problem is that on all three of my Mac browsers the symbols that tell what is important or not don’t seem to be working at the moment).

Engadget Labs is Coming (and ProBlogger Labs is here!)

I’ve long fantasized about having a blog HQ where I could blog from – with space for designers, writers, reviewers and for me to sit back in a spa sipping champagne watching it all – so when Niall Kennedy reported that Weblogs Inc is launching Engadget Labs I got really jealous.

‘Editors Peter Rojas and Ryan Block will work out of their new office in New York with possibly a few other members of the Weblogs Inc. network. The new office space will include a special podcasting room for interviews with visiting companies as well as the weekly Engadget podcast.’

Ok – it could just be a spare room or two in someone’s apartment – but knowing the way the Weblogs Inc team does things it will be a step up from that! It certainly sounds cool.

Update: Ok – if Engadget can have Labs – so should ProBlogger! Here they are….
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Blogging Stories – How Blogs Change Lives

I just spoke to a reader of ProBlogger on the phone who left a comment on the Chitika Mini-Malls Review that totally knocked me off my feet.

Rachel (not her real name – she is wanting to protect her niche and not go public) has been reading ProBlogger for the past few months and has slowly built her blog earnings up from nothing to $40 per day through Adsense. That was until yesterday when she started using mini-malls. I’ll let her explain in her own words in her comment (used with permission):

‘OH MY GOODNESS!!!

I put these (the mini-malls) on my blog after reading this review a day ago and today I’ve earned just under $150 from them in a day! I know this will probably go down a little when my readers get used to them but it’s amazing!!!

Adsense was only earning me $40 a day previously!

Thankyou SOOO much for this review Darren. You have just changed my life.

I cannot express to you what this means to me. if the $150 per day continues I will be able to go off welfare payments at last and should be able to put my two little kids into some non 2nd hand clothes for the first time in their lives.

I’m a single mum and never considered being able to earn this type of money. I am so grateful to this blog Darren, you were the one who got me up to $40 a day, but this is is unbelievable. I’m trying not to count all my chickens before they hatch, but wow.

thankyou so much Darren’

I’m blown away. Not by the figures – or even by the success of the mini-malls – but by the ability of blogging to have this kind of an impact upon someone’s life. This is one of the main the reasons I started ProBlogger – because I saw potential for ordinary people like myself (and Rachel) to find a voice in an area they learn and talk about and to find ways to build an income stream around it.

I doubt Rachel will ever be a millionaire blogger – in fact she has told me that she only wants to do it to a part time level because she wants to spend significant time being a mum to her kids – but the great thing is that she’s taking it to a level that meets some of the dreams she has for her family. She’s someone who a year ago was in a low place and wondering how they’d get by who now has some hope.

I suspect we’ll see more and more stories like this in the coming months and years. They might not be stories that make it into papers or magazines about what the big networks are doing – but they are stories that matter in the lives of individuals and their families.

In my mind they are the stories that really do matter.

I’d love to hear your stories if you have them of how blogging has and is making a difference in your life. Feel free to share them in comments below either with your name attached or anonymously. If you leave an email address it won’t be public but I’ll see it.

Google Electronic Funds Tranfer System Comes out of Beta

Adsense has come out of beta with their Electronic Funds Transfer payment system. It is still only available to those in the lucky 16 countries but at least some of you out there are going to have a nice seamless payment system from now on. Enjoy.

Thanks to IO ERROR for the tip

Fastclick Review

Duncan at Blog Herald has a good review of the adverising system Fastclick over at Blog Herald. It’s a good up to date review which leaves my old one for dead.

I find Fastclick useful on my high traffic sites (the Olympic games was great for it with some massive traffic) but on smaller ones its pretty average performing when compared to other systems. I also find a lot of their ads plain annoying.

Have a read of Duncan’s review though and see if its good for your blog.

Adsense testing ‘Advertise on This Site’ Feature

Google Adsense are testing a new Adsense feature called ‘Advertise on this site’ which you can see in action on some pages at ask the builder. I’ve included this screen capture and have highlighted the link that sends advertisers to this page where they are told about the site and then invited to sign up as an advertiser for it through Adwords.

Advertise On This Site

This is no doubt a strategy for increasing the amount of advertisers in the Adwords system and hopefully will attract advertisers to buy advertising on specific sites. Both of these should benefit Adsense publishers.

It will be an interesting one to watch.

Found via Ask Dave Taylor

update: Read more about this feature at Google’s Adwords Help Section on the topic.

Jason on Blog Networks Revenue Share

Martin has an interesting post on Blog Networks with some comments about B5media especially. Interesting in the comments section are some reflections by Jason Calacanis from WeblogsInc who comments on the idea of revenue sharing as opposed to paying bloggers outright.

While WIN have gone for the paying of bloggers outright after their bloggers reacted against a revenue share/split model – Jason writes that perhaps things have changed now with more bloggers wanting to explore making an income from blogging and as a result an increased number of bloggers willing to do the revenue share thing. He writes:

However, it’s different today – there might be many more people out there to work for a future share of revenue. So, I think B5 and 9rules will both do very well in this space. In fact, it’s the most under serviced space right now, so they have the market all to themselves.

I think that there is some sense in this. What interests me is that despite the criticism of b5′s revenue share model by a few people – we’ve had over 100 bloggers have applied to write for the network – with more pitches arriving in our inboxes every day. These applicants are not your niave, ignorant or inexperienced bloggers either – they know what they are doing and know where they want to blog. Something is going on here.

Also interesting are Jason’s comments about how much their bloggers currently earn:

Today we have over 130 people getting a check every month. The average WIN blogger is doing 80+ blog posts a month (or ~3 day). some folks make a couple of hundreds bucks, some folks a couple of thousand.

The blogging toolkit

Phil at Geeky Info (one of my favorite blogs of late) has an interesting post titled the blogging toolkit where he asks readers to come up with a list of software tools that they use in their blogging workflow:

‘So, I started thinking about the software tools that I use for blogging. I thought I would share them with you and see if anyone had some other suggestions of software tools that help them blog. Your list does not need to be the tools that you would never give up, even if you were on a desert island type scenario but just what you find useful – even if you use the tool only occasionally for blogging.’

Interesting topic – I’m looking forward to seeing what people write. Head over to Geeky Info to leave your list of blogging tools.