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Top 10 Sources of ProBlogger Traffic – Giving Thanks

My Mum always taught me to say thank you – so I thought it was time I did by thanking some of the sites that have sent me traffic in the last 6 months of blogging here at ProBlogger.

So I’ve fired up my stats program and have compiled a list of my 10 Top Blog Referrers since 01 January 2006. Here they are (the following are all blogs – ie I’ve ignored referrals from SE’s, social bookmarking sites, newspapers etc):

  1. LoobyLu
  2. Steve Pavlina
  3. Anne 2.0
  4. Micro Persuasion
  5. A Whole Lotta Nothing
  6. Lifehacker
  7. WorkHappy
  8. AdsTips
  9. Boing Boing
  10. CopyBlogger

Thanks to the above sites for sending quite significant traffic to ProBlogger.

Another lesson my Mum taught me was to take notice of the smaller things in life also. So in addition to thanking some of the bigger traffic senders I also want to thank some of the many other bloggers who’ve sent traffic to ProBlogger over the last 6 months. The following list is not a complete list – but rather is a completely random selection of another 10 blogs that have been kind enough to link up to me in the last 12 months. I acknowledge them as representatives of the wider ProBlogger readership and sincerely thank you all.

What blogs send you traffic? It might be a nice thing to write a post saying thanks. Perhaps we should make this a semi regular event of acknowledging the places that keep our blogs going by providing readers.

Betting Opens on the Technorati Top 100

Sportsbook BetUS.com has started taking bets on which blog will top Technorati’s Top 100 on New Years Eve this year.

It’s a shameless self promotion really but it’s is a novel way of making money blogging so I thought I’d link up.

I doubt anyone will beat Xu Jing Lei at the top (although if Robert Scoble changes announced he was going to work at Boing Boing there could be a challenge) but here are the odds that they are offering (sadly there is no ProBlogger in the list :-) – I think we’d be at least +10,000 despite our current 58th place).

Blog-Betting

Get full details at BetUS at Put Your Money Where Your Blog Is

The Technicalities of Writing a Blog Series

A couple of months back I wrote a post titled 10 Steps to Writing a Successful Series on your Blog which was reasonably well received. Yesterday Lorelle VanFossen wrote a very helpful companion post to it exploring a variety of technical tips on how to publish a series of articles on your blog.

She outlines a variety of options for interlinking your posts over the days that you write your series including this helpful WordPress plugin called In-Series that helps you interlink your series quite nicely (I’m yet to try it – so this is purely a conceptual observation).

Title Tags and SEO

Speaking of SEO – Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been paying attention to the way bloggers (and other websites) use their title tags (title tags are in your source code and are what determines what is shown in the top bar of your browser).

In your source code they are what appears between these title tags – <title> </title>

There are a variety of title tag options available to Bloggers. Here are some of the more common ones with a few comments upon their strengths and weaknesses:

Post Title | Blog Name

The article I referenced in my last post recommended that you should ‘show the title of the current post or page you are currently visiting’ which is great advice. The article that I referenced had it’s title tags set up as ‘Post title | Blog Title’.

This is good because generally the keywords that you’re writing about will appear in your post’s title and Search Engines seem to place a lot of weight on your title tags to determine what your page is about.

It also is good for reemphasizing the blog’s name/brand.

The downside of this approach is that some SEO experts believe blog’s name can actually take something away from the SEO power of the title tags. In the case of this example the blog’s name ‘The Undersigned’ is not a keyword that really relates to the post in any way.

Blog Name | Post Title

Another approach that I see a lot of newspapers take is to swap things around and to make the title tags ‘Blog/Site Title | Post/Article Title’. You can see an example of this at Melbourne’s Herald Sun Newspaper in this article which has the title tags ‘Herald Sun: School doughnut row [22jun06]‘ (note they really have the format of ‘Site Name | Article Name | Date).

[Read more...]

Add Sidenotes to your Blog

Picture 1-11Here’s a cool little tool that enables you to put ‘sidenotes’ on your blog using a mix of Javascript and CSS.

They describe them like this:

“It’s all about tangents. No, not those kinds of tangents. We’re talking about the kind where you’ll be sharing a thought and you sort of, umm, go off elsewhere. Some people call them asides, digressions, departures – you get the idea.

We are of the belief that footnotes – at least the ones worth reading – suck. They suck because they are elsewhere, usually far away from the line-of-sight we’re focused on when we read. It would be nice to be able to optionally just glance over and take that brief little detour if we so choose. It’s footnotes on steroids: sidenotes. ”

You can see them in action here.

I’m intrigued by the possibilities of sidenotes – as someone who regularly goes off in tangents they could well be something that adds a special something to my blogging.

I’ll give them a go in the next few days – what do you think about them?

Let us know if you try them out so we can see how you put them to use.

found via Lifehacker

Google Testing Cost Per Action Ads

Seeking Alpha has the scoop on a new type of income stream that Google are approaching some publishers to test that is on a Cost Per Action (CPA) basis – ie you get paid when someone clicks your ads and then takes some sort of action (ie buys a product, gives an email address for the advertiser to follow up on etc). This is another step by AdSense towards an affiliate program approach (something they’d already explored with their referral system).

The ads do not appear in the same place as your other contextual AdSense text ads – instead you set up another ad unit for them.

What I find interesting is that AdSense are allowing publishers to actively promote these products. Check out this part of their invitation email:

“Since this is a test and these CPA ads are not regular ad units, we are giving you more flexibility in saying things like “I recommend this product” or “Try JetBlue today” next to the CPA ad unit. However, you should still not incite someone to click on the ad, so saying ‘Click Here’ is not ok.”

THAT is quite interesting and I’m sure is something that will cause a stir.

Did you get an invitation? What do you think about Google moving into CPA/Affiliate programs?

Read what publishers think about this new test in the forums at:

AdSense Testing Cost Per Action
AdSense testing CPA Ads

Update: The more I think about this the more I realise that this could significantly change things on many levels for AdSense publishers and AdWorlds advertisers. Here are a few initial thoughts as I rush out the door today (keep in mind I’ve only seen this news 10 minutes ago – hope this makes sense):

  • For example if an advertiser is given an opportunity to pay for a ‘click’ or a ‘sale’ I think quite a few of them will go for the latter option and will be willing to pay for it.
  • This could have two impacts – firstly it might bring new advertisers into the system – good for publishers. Secondly it could see less advertisers using the CPC system (not so good for publishers who focus upon it).
  • I think we’ll see some publishers working on some very convincing sales pages for products – if you’ve got copywriting skills I think you could do quite well out of this. I suspect we’ll start seeing more ‘made for CPC type web pages’ that will be very focussed upon preselling products. We’ll also see the publishers of these pages getting more into driving traffic to them using Adsense/Adwords Arbitrage (ie paying for traffic via CPC in the hope of converting that traffic to bring in higher income via their pre-selling pages).

I get the feeling things are going to change if AdSense pushes this beyond testing.

How to Optimize a WordPress Blog for SEO

Thanks to Jeremy for letting me know about this excellent post on Optimizing WordPress for SEO.

It’s amazing what a few simple tweaks will do to your search engine ranking.

Once you’ve read it you might also be interested in my own post on SEO for blogs.

Do you Advertise Your Blog

Do you advertise your blog?

I’ve noticed quite a few bloggers experimenting with advertising on AdWords, Adbrite (aff), BlogAds and Text Link Ads (aff) over the last few months.

Perhaps it’s a symptom of the massive increases in numbers of blogs out there competing for readers – or perhaps it’s a symptom of the increased focus on blogging with a commercial edge – or perhaps it’s a result of something else.

Whatever it is, it’s happens more and more and I’m interested to hear the experiences of those who are running ads in the hope of bring in traffic.

Here’s a few questions for you to answer (feel free to answer anonymously if you wish and to tackle one or all of them):

  • Why do you advertise your blog?
  • What ad programs do you use?
  • What impact has it had?
  • What tips would you give others wanting to do the same?

My own experience with advertising my blogs is reasonably limited.

I have experimented with using both AdWords and BlogAds – especially in the launch phase of new blogs – but have not had massive success with it to this point.

I’ll write a post in the coming days with a few tips that I’d advise bloggers wanting to advertise their blogs but would be interested to hear the experiences of those who’ve been doing it a little more seriously than I am.

Chitika launches Multi-Product Unit

Chitika have just announced a new ad format – the Multi-Product Unit.

Basically they are the same as single product units in operation except that they highlight 4 products at once. One is more dominant than others but if you scroll over the other products you’ll see them highlighted live in the ad unit.

 Images Multi

Those who are already Chitika Publishers can automatically use them by just logging in and choosing the ’468 x 180 Multi-Product Blog Banner’ unit from the ‘Select eMiniMalls Format’ drop down menu.

At this point they only come in the one size which might make it difficult for some blogs that don’t have an appropriate space but it’ll be useful for others. Hopefully they add some more sizes down the track (although it’d be hard to do small ones with space considerations).

You can test them at Chitika’s Multi-Product Unit.

PS: Links in this post are affiliate links.

Update: I’ve had a lot of emails from people asking me whether Chitika are ‘better’ than they used to be – let me give a quick response. [Read more...]