New Feedburner Stats Will Help Track Content Thieves

TechCrunch reports that Feedburner are about to roll out new statistics that will take their service into some interesting new directions. What interests me most about what they are doing is that they are adding a service that will identify where your feed is being used.

This will help to track those people who are republishing RSS feeds automatically, including both those who might be doing it legitimately with your permission – but also those who are not and who are writing spam blogs and infringing copyright. This is a killer app as far as I’m concerned and if it works will remove my main barrier to publishing full feeds on my blog. Here’s how Dick Costolo describes this aspect of the update:

‘Uncommon uses. We track 200k feeds and so we see everywhere feeds are used regularly. When we see someplace a feed is referenced or clicked that we don’t recognize as a common reference, we highlight it here in the dashboard and on the detailed uncommon uses page. Could be a cool little newfilter somebody wrote, could be a blog somebody assembled from feeds, could be a cool little web-based aggregator we’ve never heard of, could be blog spam. Whatever it is, we’ve found that publishers love to see these unique uses and references and that it’s very helpful to have something like feedburner that can leverage a broad base of common references to point out the uncommon ones. You can then “whitelist” or “hide” references you already know about (note that your own site will be an uncommon reference, whitelist that one right away), and you’ll never be Alerted to whitelisted domains on your dashboard again.’

Read about the other updates at TechCrunch » New Feedburner Stats and Features

What’s Right with Blogging?

Earlier in the month we had an ‘open mike’ discussion on the top of What’s Wrong with Blogging? which brought up some interesting things about blogging that perhaps we don’t talk about too much.

At the time I’d planned on a second post on the topic of ‘What’s Right with Blogging?’ – but in the business of my life at that time I got a little distracted.

But it’s never too late so I thought it’d be a fun discussion to have now.

What do you like about blogging? What makes it something that you invest time into to? What makes it better than other types of websites?

Only positive comments about blogging will be allowed here – if you’ve got something to moan about with regards to blogging you’re welcome to share them here.

Speed Linking – 28 Feb 2006

  • Sean has done some in depth analysis of his blog readership’s habits
  • Richard writes a thoughtful post on Full Feeds (and I value his opinion as he’s someone who has a large feed readership if his feedburner button is anything to go by
  • Aaron writes a clever Blogging Parable – A Tale of Three Bloggers

Publisher Uses Multiple AdSense Accounts to Increase Earnings

A number of months ago it was revealed that if you use AdSense on multiple sites all from one AdSense account that the performance of one blog can impact the way AdSense converts on another blog. Up until this point it was thought that ‘Smart Pricing’ was on a site by site (or even page by page) basis but this news caused quite a stir.

Here were the main points from that previous post (NB: This part of that post was actually a quote from this post by Jen from Jensense):

  • “Smart pricing affects an entire account. It is not on a per page or per site basis.
  • One poorly converting site can result in smart pricing impacting an entire account, even sites completely unrelated to the poorly converting one.
  • Smart pricing is evaluated each week. So removing ads from sites you suspect are converting poorly could result in seeing an adjustment to a higher smart pricing percent in as little as a week.
  • Smart pricing is tracked with a 30 day cookie, so you could be rewarded for new conversions that saw the initial click from your site up to 29 days earlier.”

One of the implications of this news was that a number of bloggers that I have contact with decided to set up multiple AdSense accounts – one to run their more highly converting blogs and others to run their poorer sites.

Today I received an email from a ProBlogger reader who did just this. In it he reports the results of this strategy. I’ve republished part of his email below (with permission and removing his name). The results of his experiment are VERY interesting:

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Sticky Posts

Stephan Spencer adds another SEO for blogs tip to his growing collection with his post Make “sticky” posts:

‘Why would you ever want to make a post sticky? Because it’s an easy way to improve the keyword prominence on a category page or tag page. If you’re not familiar with the concept of keyword prominence, it’s simply this: the higher up on the page your targeted keyword is, the better you’ll rank. So, having keyword-rich intro copy that consistently appears at the top of a category page or a tag page will give you good keyword prominence and help you maintain a stable keyword theme for the page even when old posts fall off the page and new posts appear.’

He gives a good example of a sticky post at the top of a category page here.

I’ve not used sticky posts to this point on my blogs but do know of bloggers that use them effectively both as an SEO strategy but also (and more importantly in my mind) as ‘introductory’ type posts. I find that they are most effective when they actually add value to your readership by explaining what readers are looking at or how to use the blog in some way.

This can be especially important on blogs because I’ve long suspected that some readers visiting a blog for the first time could be a little disoriented. For instance if a blogger were to enter a blog on a category page (or any other page for that matter) via a search engine they are in effect entering a conversation at a midway point and (depending upon the last post) could be reading something that might not be the best post for them to read first time up on your blog. A sticky post can help with this by briefly putting a little context around the page and by suggesting better starting points for exploring your blog.

Of course some blogging purists are anti sticky posts as they move away from the chronological ordering – but I’d argue if they make the blog more functional for readers then they are worth considering.

Do you agree?

19 (More) Strategies for Finding Readers

Yaro has already kicked us off on this topic of how to find readers for a new blog but I thought I’d pull together a few ideas on the topic also (with a little overlap with Yaro’s ideas). These points come from a variety of older posts I’ve written on the topic – sort of a ‘best of’ kind of thing. I’ve updated some, others are straight extracts from things I’d said before and a few are new:

1. It takes time – It may not be what you want to hear, but it unless you’re a genius, extremely lucky or have an amazing new idea, it takes time to build a readership. So settle in for the long haul and muscle up some patience.

2. Content Content Content – I’ve said this over and over again so will keep it brief but unless you have ‘good’ content you’re unlike to build a readership. What is good content – start by thinking about it in terms of usefulness and uniqueness and I think you’ll be on the right track. Other words that come to mind when it comes to good content might be ‘fresh’, ‘variety’, ‘up to date’ and ‘well written’.

3. Link to others – Perhaps one of the central features of blogging is that they are linked. The intricate web of links and relationships was one of the first things that attracted me to blogging and it’s part of the reason it’s got real viral properties that allow ideas to spread so quickly. Participate in the linking to other blogs and you’ll find that many benefits come. For a start you’ll be participating in the conversation, you’ll be getting the attention of others and your readers will appreciate that you’re interested in helping them find the best content out there.

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10 Techniques for Finding Blog Readers

This post has been submitted by Yaro Starak from two of my daily reads – Entrepreneur’s Journey and Small Business Branding. He’s also working on a new site at Blog Traffic King. I’ve asked Yaro to write an introduction to finding readers for a blog – something which I’ll write more on also in the days ahead.

In every bloggers life comes a special day – the day they first launch a new blog. Now unless you went out and purchased someone else’s blog chances are your blog launched with only one very loyal reader – you. Maybe a few days later you received a few hits when you told your sister, father, girlfriend and best mate about your new blog but that’s about as far you went when it comes to finding readers.

Here are the top 10 techniques new bloggers can use to find readers. These are tips specifically for new bloggers, those people who have next-to-no audience at the moment and want to get the ball rolling.

It helps if you work on this list from top to bottom as each technique builds on the previous step to help you create momentum. Eventually once you establish enough momentum you gain what is called “traction”, which is a large enough audience base (about 500 readers a day is good) that you no longer have to work too hard on finding new readers. Instead your current loyal readers do the work for you through word of mouth.

Top 10 Tips

10. Write at least five major “pillar” articles. A pillar article is usually a tutorial style article aimed to teach your audience something. Generally they are longer than 500 words and have lots of very practical tips or advice. This article you are currently reading could be considered a pillar article since it is very practical and a good “how-to” lesson. This style of article has long term appeal, stays current (it isn’t news or time dependent) and offers real value and insight. The more pillars you have on your blog the better.
[Read more…]

Speed Linking – 27 Feb 2006

Checking in

Just checking in from Coolum where the weather is warm and the company is good. Mark Jones from Filtered has posted a report on the panel session I participated in on the topic of blogging (attended mainly by PR people).

Cameron has been blogging about the conference too and as you can see he’s having a pretty relaxed time.