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Chitika to Launch ‘Local eMiniMalls’

Chitika have been promising a localized eMiniMalls for a few weeks now and it seems that it’s about to happen. The localized eMiniMalls will find UK ads for UK readers initially and gradually will roll out ads for advertisers in other countries across Europe in the coming weeks. This should lead to more satisfied advertisers (ie UK readers are more likely to buy from UK retailers) and hopefully a higher CTR as readers will see prices in their own currency and online stores that they are more familiar with.

Source – Chitika UK Launches Tomorrow, Europe Follows at Threadwatch.org

Macro and Micro Posting – Battling Bloggers Block

Blog Tip 16. Macro and Micro Posts

Most niches have both big and little picture aspects to them. Good bloggers have a grasp of both and are able to expand upon them in the one blog. For instance in the Pro Blogging niche some big picture issues include topics like How Bloggers Make Money from Blogs (a broad sweeping overview of the blogging for money ‘industry’) where as a micro post might be something like How to Use Keywords in Titles (very focused upon a minute (yet important) aspect of the whole niche).

It’s a worthwhile exercise to surf back through your past few months archives and to analyze what type of posts you predominately focus on. Are you a Macro or Micro posting blogger or something in between?

Don’t beat yourself up about being one or the other – we each have our own personality types and are drawn to different aspects of our niches – it’s OK to be one or the other – all I’m arguing is that to switch over to the area that you don’t normally focus upon can be one way to get past bloggers block.

If you predominantly focus on broad sweeping topics try breaking it down and examining one small part of it at a time – perhaps you could do this as a series of posts over a week or so.

Conversely if you always blog about the details take a step back and consider a post that talks about the whole industry that you are involved with. What is the state of your niche? What are the issues that it is currently facing? Where is it heading as it moves into a new year?

Diversifying your posts in this way can not only help you find new topics to blog about – but it can give your blogging a new dimension and help to show your own diversity of expertise on the field in which you blog as people see you have a broad handle on the topic.

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ProBlogger Iconized

Darren Icon

After seeing the caricature that they did of Steve Rubel I decided to surf over to iconizeme.com to order my own one.

It’s a bit self indulgent but yesterday was my 3 year anniversary of blogging and I thought I deserved a little treat – so I placed my order.

This morning it came in and here it is. I think it’s a pretty good likeness – ‘V’ cracked up when she saw it this morning but I think it’s cool Perhaps my lips are slightly lady like – but it’s a bit of fun and I can think of a few uses for it.

Use Your Archives as Inspiration

Blog Tip 15. Read your Archives

After you’ve been writing on a topic for a year or more it’s normal to get to a point where you feel like you’ve said everything that needs to be said on a topic.

While you might have covered your topic fairly comprehensively it’s worth remembering that most of your readers will not have read everything that you’ve previously written – and if they have they are unlikely to remember it all. I’m constantly being asked by readers about topics that I’ve already covered which proves this point.

There’s no rules against having two or more posts on your blog on the same general topic.

Go back over some older posts and tackle some of the topics you’ve written about previously again.

One way of doing this is simply to write a new post on the same topic – another way that some bloggers use is to update an old post and then to change the post day to be the most recent one on your blog. The good thing about this is that it means your archives don’t become quite as dated as they could otherwise – especially useful if you are giving tips on an industry that is changing quickly.

Of course you can only write on the same topic so many times so be a little careful about using this technique too much or you run the risk of disillusioning your readership.

Bounce off Yourself - Another technique that I notice some bloggers use is to write posts that bounce off previous posts like you might bounce off another blogger’s posts. To do this pick an old post that you’ve written and write something that extends what you previously wrote. For example:

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Use Comments as Inspiration – Battling Bloggers Block

Blog Tip 14. Use Comments as Inspiration

Comment on Others Blogs – Have you ever started commenting on someone else’s blog and found that your comment turns into quite an epic!? You get to the end of it and you realize that you’ve been so inspired that you’ve virtually written a blog post? Maybe you have.

I quite often use the comments that I leave on other people’s blogs as the starting point for my own posts.

Of course I always link to the place I left the comment to acknowledge the blog that got my juices flowing – but reading and commenting upon other bloggers ideas is often a great way to break through bloggers block. Similarly participating in online forums that focus on the niche of your blog can help get you going. I quite often use what I write in forums as the basis for posts.

In the same way you can always mine (as in dig for gold) the Comments Section on Your Blog.

The comments section on your own blog can be a fertile ground for ideas for new posts. I’m often inspired by the comments left by readers here at ProBlogger and use them as the starting points for many of my new posts.

This is tip 14 of the Bloggers Blog Series

Google AdSense Animated Ads

Threadwatch, Search Engine Journal and Jensense all are talking about another new type of ad that Adsense has been testing at Search Engine Roundtable – Animated background ads. It looks like a format that they’re offering premium publishers (and other testing publishers) who have special permission to try new things in conjunction with Adsense – either that or SE Roundtable has been playing with his ad code – a bit of a no no.

The ads have an animated arrow in the background that is obviously there to draw the eye of a site’s reader (as follows):

Seroundtablebackground-2

It’s an interesting move – a good one I’m sure in terms of CTR – but I’m starting to wonder if in a bid to combat ad blindness whether Adsense will start providing ads that are more and more in your face. One of the things I love about adsense is that they are pretty subtle – but animated background ads do take things in a different direction. I’m not sure I’d want these ads on most of my sites as I think they could be seen as a bit cheap and nasty….

I’m also not sure how advertisers would like them either. Chitika’s recent ‘curiosity click’ problem comes to mind and I wonder if the novelty factor of these backgrounds might similarly cause clicks that were more about the animation than the ad itself.

Preparing your Blog for the Silly Season

Duncan has a good post unpacking the Blogging silly season a little. The ‘silly season’ traditionally starts the day of US Thanksgiving and extends into the first few weeks of January. It’s silly because traffic levels can vary incredibly. Every blog has it’s own pattern (depending largely upon it’s topic – ie product blogs tend to explode for the next month and die in January) but it’s a good idea to expect the unexpected.

If you’re an Adsense or YPN publisher you can expect variations not only in your impressions over the coming weeks but also in the CPC (cost per click). Advertisers are often willing to pay a bit more in the lead up to Christmas and in some industries in the first weeks of January (to capitalize on new year sales). Some are predicting that it really gets going this coming Monday – which apparently is becoming known as ‘Cyber Monday‘. If this is the case I can’t see what happens on Monday because yesterday was my biggest day ever in terms of earnings.

As Duncan says – in some ways there isn’t much you can do except let the roller-coaster run it’s course although if you have a product related blog I would recommend that this is the time to think about some of the following (in fact a lot of it you should already have been doing for the past month or so):

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Find Your Golden Hour – Battling Bloggers Block

Blog Tip 13. Find your Golden Hour

I’m a (mid) morning person – 10am until midday are what I call my golden hours. They are when I am at my best in terms of thinking creatively and getting things done.

That’s not to say that I fall in a heap for the rest of my day. All I know is that if I need to be coming up with ideas, writing important posts, run a class (six figure blogging started at 10am Melbourne time) or thinking through the big issues that those are the hours I put aside for this type of work.

Identify those time/s in the day (some of us have a number of golden hours – I often come alive at about 10.30pm also) when you’re at your best and clear those times of the day for your most important and creative work.

Dead Patches – On the flip side of the Golden Hour is that most of us also have dead patches in our daily rhythm. For me it’s 2pm – 4pm. I’m next to useless at this time of day when it comes to productivity – it’s like my brain shifts into siesta mode. So most afternoons at this time you can find me either having an afternoon nap, in the garden, reading a novel or catching up with people.

It’s really about finding your own rhythm as a person and working within it to work to your strengths and weaknesses to get your best results.

Mix it Up – Of course every rule has it’s exceptions and another thing you might want to try is to completely mix things up from time to time. If you always write at the same time each day religiously – try changing it up occasionally as an experiment. Get up early and try writing, stay up late, write in short sessions etc. Mixing up the time of day and/or the lengths of time you assign for writing can cause you to approach the task of writing differently which could bring different results.

What’s your daily rhythm like? Do you have a Golden hour (or more than one)? What do you schedule into these times?

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Blogger Starts ‘Shut Up Jar’

The AFL Player Spectator is having some fun with their readers by offering to stop blogging for a $1000 donation to their ‘shut up jar’.

Yep – many blogs out there have a tip jar where your readers can encourage you to keep writing through a donation – but this blog is flipping that idea and is offering to stop blogging for a donation.

Of course there is a bit of a twist – there is also a tip jar where readers who like the blog can donate – this money offsets the ‘shut up’ jar money…. it’s a little complicated and I’m not sure it’ll make them any money – but it’s a fun idea.

I wonder how much people would pay me to shut up?