Inside AdSense: Payments information may be delayed

Also on the AdSense blog today is something I’ve been expecting for a few days after emails from a number of readers who have told me about problems with their AdSense payments this month. It’s amazing how nervous people get when there is the hint of a problem with payments (I know the feeling). AdSense expects to have the issues resolved by the end of the week.

They write on the blog:

“This month we experienced a posting delay that might keep some payment information from appearing in your account immediately. While all payments have been sent out as usual, the ‘Payment…’ line might take some extra time to show up on the Payment History page of your account under the My Account tab.

Additionally, if you recently signed up to receive payments by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), or added a new bank account for EFT deposits, it may take a few extra days after you’ve received your test deposit before you can verify your bank account.”

AdSense API beta

AdSense have announced their API beta program today over at their blog.

They are only accepting publishers ‘whose sites receive a minimum of 100,000 daily page views’. I’m a little unclear if this means that the publisher’s total page views need to be over 100,000 or whether each site they want to use the API on have to have over 100,000 page views.

Full details here.

Adsense Sparklines

Sparklines InfostheticsInformation aesthetics has a cool little charting facility that is tracking a blogs daily word count, unique visitors, AdSense earnings and the OS that people are viewing the blog in.

They say it fits within the AdSense TOS but you need to ask permission from them to use it first.

It’s quite interesting to see the top three charts side by side. While unique visitors doesn’t go up and down too much there is some correlation between daily word count (posting frequency related) and AdSense earnings. There’s also probably some significant correlation between the day of the week and earnings also.

I guess the question a blogger would want to ask themselves before using sparklines is why they want to post the information on their blog. I don’t have a problem with those that do but I’m not sure it’d fit within my own blogging goals at this point. It’s definitely got a ‘cool factor’ though that I’m sure many will love.

Thanks to Jeremy for the email tip off.

Blog Polls – Add Interactivity to Your Blog

One tool that many bloggers use to add a level of interactivity to their blogs is to use Polls. You’ll see at the time of writing this post that I currently have a simple poll running asking readers to tell me what gender they are but previously I’ve run a variety of different ones ranging from asking about the blog platforms that readers use, to asking about their opinion on how I should improve this blog (ie I asked if I should move to full RSS feeds or stay with excerpts), to asking about their blog earnings.

Why use Polls?

Polls can bring life to a blog in a number of ways:

  • Discussion starters – The thing I love about polls is the discussion that they often start. I’ll write some techniques for encouraging discussion around a poll later but if you craft a question in the right way people will want to talk about their own (and others) answers.
  • Poll Results can lead to incoming links – I quite often notice that on the day I announce the results to a poll (and sometimes while it’s underway) that I find other bloggers linking up to my blog with posts of their own on the results. Bloggers love statistics and studies and will continue the discussion happening around your poll on your blog on their own blogs also.
  • Research for your writing – The current question around blogger gender is testing a theory that I have. I can see already that there is at least one post exploring the theme of gender and ProBloggers that will come out of what the poll has already found. Some poll questions don’t lend themselves to such posts but the results of others can be rich with starting points for you to explore in future posts.
  • Increases reader participation – If you’re trying to increase the interactivity of your blog or want to give your readers a sense of ownership over it a series of polls can be a very effective technique. I know that when I take part in a poll on other people’s blogs that it means that I’ve given a little something of myself or my opinion to that blog. It might not be much but it can be enough to make me return later or leave a comment – both steps towards becoming a regular and loyal reader.
  • They demonstrate your blog is alive – I find that the percentage of people who leave a comment on a blog is generally quite small in comparison to total readers. A lot of people lurk around a blog and like to be anonymous (for a variety of reasons). A poll will normally get a much higher participation rate and as a result can be a truer reflection to other readers of how many people are reading along. People like to feel that they are a part of something larger than themselves and a poll that shows that they are by the number of other responses can do this.
  • Polls can Help Shape your blog – Polls can also be great for helping you to determine which direction to take your blog in. A prime example of this for me was when I asked people to vote on if I should move to full RSS feeds. Interestingly when I asked for comments on this question in a general post I had a fairly high percentage of respondents tell me that I shouldn’t make the move. The comment thread got a little dominated by this perspective. However when I did the poll I found that most people DID want me to move to full feeds. The comments on the poll backed this up as people felt freer to share their opinion because they knew they were not alone. Getting a vote on what you should do with your blog can be quite effective – but you had better be willing to take the results seriously and follow through on them.
  • Increases visits from RSS – The day I start a new poll on ProBlogger I generally notice an increase in the number of readers coming to the site from my RSS feed. If you run a poll in your sidebar there is no way for RSS readers to either cast their vote or see the results without actually visiting your blog in person.

Tomorrow I’ll share some tips on HOW to use polls on a blog and will then suggest some blog poll tools to try.

WordPress Plugin: Timecapsule

This post was contributed by Aaron Brazell, a regular ProBlogger contributor.

Update: A new version of the plugin has been uploaded.

I accidentally published this early and had to pull it back because it wasn’t ready-for-live yet. RSS subscribers, you got a sneak peek early but I wasn’t ready. Now we’re ready. :-)

Last week I passed my two year birthday as a blogger. Much fun and joyfulness were had by at least three readers. Such milestones tend to make me think about where I’ve come as a blogger and where I’m going. Though I have not always produced wonderfully excellent content, it’s really beneficial to highlight where I’ve been… especially as the really early stuff begins to fade away.

Finding a way to highlight older content adds a new dimension to your blog. Typically, a blog is single dimensional – that is, it is read from top down and unless some creative means are put in place to connect other aspects of your blog, readers may never experience them. Since I hate content to disappear into archive purgatory, I put a feature on my blog a few months ago called “The Timecapsule”.

I don’t know how it is in other parts of the world, but in the United States, folks looking to preserve historical moments and memories, will encase a “time capsule” in the cornerstone of a building when the ground is first broke for building. It’s the symbolic memorializing of “that which once was” which preserves memories for future generations.

As with memories buried inside a building cornerstone, a timecapsule on a blog can reveal to readers “that which once was” and can serve as a wonderful reminder of where you have come as a blogger.

I’ve taken the feature from Technosailor and wrapped it into a single WordPress plugin simply called Timecapsule – of course, notoriously, the first ProBlogger plugin release. :) This plugin was built on WordPress 2.x, but I don’t see any reason why it would not work on earlier versions of WordPress. I just haven’t tested it.

Instructions are really simple:

  1. Download (link fixed) and extract the plugin.
  2. Upload timecapsule.php to your plugins folder.
  3. Login to wp-admin and activate.
  4. Configuration can be made in the Time Capsule submenu under the Manage tab.
  5. Drop <?php timecapsule(); ?> where you want to display the timecapsule.

– Initial Release (1.0.1)
– Bugfix release (1.0.2)
– Fixed Bug with Number of posts displaying incorrectly
– Added ability to customize ‘no posts’ message
– Added ability to turn off ‘no posts’ message