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The Single-Page AdSense site

Eric’s written an interesting post today on The Single-Page AdSense site which might be of interest to bloggers.

It’s a different strategy to how most bloggers use AdSense (blogs tend to be very much about a linked site with loads of outbound links and options for readers to click on other than just ads) but I’ve seen some blogs that use the principles he suggests by having individual post pages that have few links to the rest of their blog or other blogs.

For instance Scrivs wrote last year about how giving readers less options for clicks means more CTR on your ads (Of course since that time he’s changed his very minimalist design on WorkBoxers to one that now has outbound links to other blogs in his network as well as other bloggers).

I guess it all comes back to your goals and strategies for blogging. While a page with few (or no) outbound links has some advantages in terms of CTR of ads it has disadvantages in terms of the interaction you might have with other bloggers.

Generating Ideas for your Blog

Liz has a nice post on being an Idea Magnet today that I’m sure many will enjoy.

As she writes – one of the most difficult parts of blogging for many is coming up with ideas that are fresh and engaging. I know after three years of blogging I have days when I get up and wonder if there is anything else to cover! To this point I’ve not run out of ideas (although have had lean patches which I think are a normal part of the the blogging cycle).

If you’re stretched for ideas at present read Liz’s post – and if you’re still out of inspiration you might also find my battling bloggers block series of some help.

Introduction to Advertising Optimization – Ad Position

Perhaps one of the most common mistakes that I see bloggers making with the positioning of advertising is with regards to position. In fact this is not a unique thing for blogs or even just online advertising as effective advertising relies upon positioning in all of it’s forms. This is why ads at Prime Time on TV, in the front pages of magazines and on the big billboards at busy intersections are in high demand (and are at a premium price).

The theory is pretty simple (and logical) really – if you increase the number of people who see an ad you increase it’s chances of converting (note that position isn’t the only factor, as we’ll explore later).

A good question to ask yourself as you consider ad placement on your blog is ‘where are people looking?’ Some of the factors to keep in mind when answering this question include:

Above The ‘fold’

When you look at the front page of ProBlogger you will notice that only part of the page is showing. This is because I have more content than can fit on the screen (unless you have a massive screen of course). The only way you can see everything on the page is to scroll down.

If you were to draw an imaginary line across Problogger’s front page at the point where you had to start scrolling this line is known in web circles as ‘the fold’.

Research shows us that elements of a website below the fold are seen by significantly less readers than elements above the fold. Of course it doesn’t take a genius to realise that in general (and there are some exceptions which I’ll outline below) this will mean a lower conversion for your ads.

[Read more...]

Introduction to Advertising Optimization – Traffic

To round out the Blogging for Beginners section on blogging for an income I want to touch on a few introductory principles for optimising advertising on blogs over the next few posts.

There are many different direct income earning methods (as outlined previously) and each will have it’s own ways of being optimised – but the following are principles that many bloggers find across different forms of advertising programs (for the sake of this post I’ll mainly use blogs using AdSense as examples – but much of what I write can be applied to different ad systems).

The basic factors that I’ll be covering in the following posts are:

  1. Traffic
  2. Ad Position
  3. Ad Design
  4. Ad Relevancy
  5. High Paying Ads

I believe that all five elements are important to running profitable ads on a blog. Take any one of them out of the picture and you decrease the overall earning potential that you have. ie a blog with high traffic but with ads that no one see’s is never going to earn much. Likewise a highly trafficked blog with well positioned ads that are completely irrelevant to the topic of the blog are less likely to perform to their potential… you get the point. Each element should be considered and worked on simultaneously.

I’ll start briefly with the first one in this post and will follow in the next day or two with a post on each of the following four:

Principle 1 – Traffic

The frustrating thing about blogging for an income is that you can have perfectly positioned, designed and relevant ads that would pay a fortune but still be not making any money at all because your blog has no traffic. So while I encourage publishers to work on design, placement and ad relevancy, it’s worth remembering that you shouldn’t do any of it at the expense of developing a quality blog that people will come and read.

This isn’t the post for talking about traffic building strategies (try here and here for some strategies on that) – but a holistic approach to building an online income will definitely factor traffic building as a primary objective.

Speaking from personal experience – I know how easy it is to get sidetracked by the other factors mentioned – but if you simultaneously work on building a readership you’ll build a much more profitable blog.

Next in this series we’ll examine Positioning Ads

How to Check if a Site has been Banned from AdSense

Jensense has been a little quiet lately as a result of speaking at and attending different conferences but today she’s posted a very helpful guide to Safeguarding yourself when purchasing a site for AdSense.

I’ve heard of a number of blogs being bought in the hope of adding AdSense ads to them only to find that for one reason or another those blogs have been banned by the program. Jen gives some helpful tips for avoiding this if you’re in the market for a new site.

Seth Godin speaks at Google – Video

If you like Seth Godin you might enjoy this video of him presenting at Google.

Penis Enlargements and the Problem with Comment Subscriptions

A few months back I installed a WordPress plugin that allowed readers to tick a box when leaving a comment to be notified via email when more comments on that post came in.

The idea behind the plugin is a great one – it extends the conversation on posts beyond their normal period of time (usually as long as the post appears on the front page of the blog).

The only problem with the plugin is that it reports to anyone who subscribes to the comment thread not only legitimate comments but any comment spam that you might get.

I have pretty good comment spam filters that pick up the vast majority of spam at ProBlogger, but I have an ongoing problem with Penis Enlargement comment spam. It is not a large problem (no pun intended) as only the occasional comment gets through – but every time they do get through I find myself wondering how many readers who might have subscribed to that thread are getting notified that my blog is being spammed (complete with a title that doesn’t really help my blog’s reputation).

I’m unsure what to do at this stage – I’ve only had a couple of readers mention it so far in passing (in fact I’m unsure how many are using the subscription plugin at all) but it’s not really too good for business.

Speed Linking – 5 March 2006

SEO for Product Reviews

Graywolf is writing a useful series of posts on the topic of SEO for Product Reviews:

‘About 18 to 24 months ago Google started giving pages with “keyword review” or “keyword reviews” favorable rankings in it’s algorthym for “keyword” searches. It’s hard to say whether they are devaluing on page factors like “add to cart”, “buy now” or “purchase now” in text, alt text, or image names, or if Google is giving a higher score to pages with more unique content, which consumer reviews would be. While I haven’t tested extensively to isolate the two factors, I can say I get better results on websites with reviews than websites without….’