Performancing Metrics – Statistics Package for Bloggers

Nick Wilson over at Performancing has just announced the coming of a new ‘metrics’ tool which they have been alpha testing over the past few months.

I’ve been lucky enough to be one of the alpha testers of it and while I don’t think I’m allowed to say too much about the details of what it can do I will say that it is VERY good.

I need to clarify with Nick what I can and cannot say about it – but will say it is a statistics package that is specifically designed with blogs and bloggers in mind and that (as Nick says in a comment on his post) can partially track AdSense performance.

I’m looking forward to sharing more about it in the coming weeks as it goes towards a public beta.

endo – News Aggregator for Mac users

Endo-IconAdriaan Tijsseling, the guy behind the critically acclaimed ecto (the Apple version of the blog publishing tool) has today announced his latest product – a news aggregator for Mac users called endo.

I’ve just downloaded it to try it for the 21 day trial period and so far I’m really impressed with it.

I’ve always been a user of Bloglines and it will be hard to get me to move on from it as I like it’s browser based nature – but as far as non browser based aggregators go this one seems to have a lot going for it.

For starters it synchs very well with blogging via ecto but it also seems pretty customizable and integrated with the OSX interface (including spotlight).

I’ll give it a bit of a run over the coming days but am pretty sure I’ll get a copy of it – partly because I think it’ll make a great back up to Bloglines, especially when I’m on the road and want to read my news offline and partly simply because Adriaan’s produced some great software for Mac users and I’d like to show him my support in the hope he’ll make more!

Is Submitting Free Articles a Good Strategy for Blog Growth

Yaro has been doing an experiment to see whether writing article to submit to ‘free articles’ directories is a worthwhile way to build your blog (a strategy that quite a few bloggers use) His post is at The Verdict: Is Article Marketing Worth Your Time? The results don’t seem conclusive but I’m sure others would have experiences to add to Yaro’s so head over and have your say.

12 Tips for Increased AdSense Ad Relevancy

Pay per click advertising programs like AdSense, YPN and Chitika do rely heavily upon the positioning and design of their ads when it comes to performance – but another crucial aspect of them is ad relevancy. The principle is simple really – readers come to your blog in search of content on a particular topic – if they see an ad that relates to that topic they are more likely to both notice it and respond to it.

Irrelevant ads will almost always convert poorly so in the same way that publisher work on the design and positioning of ads they should also consider making sure ads are as relevant to the content they are positioned near as possible.

Each ad system will have different methods of getting ads more relevant. With a system like Chitika it takes some work and you need to choose keywords carefully (read a little more on how I recommend optimizing their ads here) where as with AdSense and YPN it has more to do with what you write than anything else as the ads are contextual. The following 12 tips for getting relevant ads are largely aimed at AdSense ads – but some will convert well also with YPN.

[Read more…]

Google Analyst Day AdSense Slides

Derrick from Absolute Value has posted the content from slides from Google’s Eric Schmidt’s Analyst Day presentation which seemingly were posted by mistake on the web and that contained a load of information about many aspects of Google including a couple of slides on AdSense which I’ve included below.

They particularly talk about the coming of MSN and Yahoo’s ad systems and what they will do to develop AdSense. There’s not loads of information that we wouldn’t have guessed or suspected. New ad formats, other types of media etc are all things we’re seeing rolled out – although more options are always going to be welcomed by publishers.

Here are the contents of those slides:

[Read more…]

Do Ugly Blogs Convert Better?

I’ve been meaning to link to and comment on Robert Scoble’s post on The role of anti-marketing design (or how ‘ugly’ designs often do better – especially with AdSense). He refers to ‘‘ as an example of one site that is reportedly making some big dollars from AdSense despite it’s fairly humble design.

My reaction to Robert’s post is twofold:

1. I don’t want to agree – I appreciate good design in all aspects of life. I like blogs and websites that have obviously had some time put into the way that they look. I also find myself reacting against ‘ugly’ on some levels (yep I’m a bit of a snob – but it’s the way I’m wired). That doesn’t mean I ignore or avoid poorly designed sites – I just am not drawn to them as much and they have to have something really worthwhile in terms of content to get me past their look.

I do believe that well designed blogs have some distinct advantages in terms of branding, marketing, creating first impressions, being stickable and with advertising optimization.

2. There’s some truth in the idea that ‘ugly converts well’ with some forms of advertising – I’ve seen many examples of sites that will never win design awards that are very profitable. I’ve also owned a couple of blogs that have proved it to me also.

[Read more…]

Adsense Secrets Version 3 Released

Joel Comm has released yet another version of his AdSense Secrets e-book (aff).

This latest version (v3) is 199 pages of content and has new pages that look at the latest updates released by AdSense since version 2.

I’m yet to review this version but did review version 1 last year which will give you an indication of what it was like before being updated.

My advice in the review was that if you’re new to AdSense then this is a good overview of the system with good solid tips all in the one place. If you’re a more experienced user or have a few days (or weeks) so up your sleeve to do your own research on AdSense in forums and other sites (like ProBlogger) you will probably find that you know most of what is in the book already

I personally won’t be buying the updated version – mainly because I feel my own experience with AdSense is at a level where I wouldn’t learn too much that is new from it – however know of quite a few bloggers who’ve found it to be a helpful purchase in the early days of their blogging.

As a bonus to buying the e-book at the moment you also get 2 months in Joel’s AdSense Coaching Club as well as a variety of other bonuses including some statistics trackers.

If you get this latest version and would like to write a short review of it feel free to leave a comment below.

Introduction to Advertising Optimization – Ad Design

Ad Design

Another factor to consider with many advertising systems is the design that you’ll go with on your ads. While some ad systems do not let you customize the look and feel of your ads (ie many impression based ad systems like Fastclick) a growing number do allow you to not only choose from quite a few different ad sizes but also give the option to change colors of different elements including the text, links, borders and background colors (for example AdSense, Chitika, YPN, AdGenta all give some ability to change the look of your ads etc).

There are as many opinions on ad design as their are on ad positioning – but the trend at the moment amongst most publishers is to go for a blended look with your ads.

One might think that the best performing ads would be ones that stand out from the rest of your page and draw the eye – but most publishers that I speak with have found that such a strategy not only annoys readers but brings about results that underperform when compared to more subtle and blended designs.

In general – to blend an ad using a system like AdSense, YPN or Chitika you’ll want to:

  • make the background and border colors for your ads to match the same color as the background of your blog
  • make the links (title and URL) on your ads the same color (or a similar one) to other links on your blog
  • make the text color in the ad the same as text on your blog

So on a blog that looks like ProBlogger ads might turn out like this: [Read more…]

Six Apart Launches Business Blogging Tools

Six Apart (the creators of TypePad and Movable Type) have today announced two new business oriented blogging products – ‘TypePad Business Class’ (a hosted service aimed at companies with high-traffic Web sites) and ‘Movable Type Enterprise’.

Their press release explains further:

‘According to Six Apart, TypePad Business Class offers advanced customization for layout control, advanced comment and spam controls, unlimited blogger accounts, additional bandwidth allowances and premium technical support.

TypePad Business Class is available immediately, starting at $89.95 per blog per month, for 4GB of storage and 40GB of bandwidth per month.

Movable Type Enterprise extends database support to the Oracle 10g database, integrates with enterprise authentication tools such as LDAP, and offers unlimited blogs.’