Amazon aStore First Impressions Review

Astore-Beta-Logo-AnnouncemeAmazon have in the last day released a new beta test for their associates to try out – aStore.

Put most simply – this is a way to add a shop to your blog (similar to Chitika’s shoplinc – the main difference being that Shoplincs are CPC (cost per click – you get paid if someone clicks) and aStores are CPA (cost per action – you get paid if someone buys something) The payment amounts and methods are the same as normal for Amazon associates.

The other difference is that you can host shoplinc’s on your own domain and aStores are on Amazon’s.

Here’s one I quickly set up a few minutes ago as a ProBlogger bookstore. It took me three minutes to make (I’ll need to customize it so don’t be too harsh) so it’s obviously a very quick and easy set up. There are options for different templates and customizations as well as the ability to include virtually any product in Amazon’s database.

There’s the ability to add different categories and pages to your blog and a variety of widgets that you can add to make it more your own.

First Impressions

My first impression is that it’s pretty good. Very simple to set up, nice to look at, easy to navigate and not too hard to integrate into the rest of your blog in terms of how it looks.

It’d be great to be able to run it on your own domain name (I haven’t seen any ability to do this mentioned) and to have even more control over the look of your page (as I’m sure once everyone has one that they’ll look a little common.

Also I’d love to be able to have multiple aStores per affiliate account so that those of us with multiple sites could have multiple aStores.

Lastly I’d love to be able to choose products in categories and sub category pages. While you do have some control over this by picking keywords there’s no way of selecting specific products on these pages like you can on your front/featured page. This means you could be seen to be recommending products that you might not want to promote.

I suspect it’s early days for aStore. Hopefully they’ll continue to develop it. It is only in beta so I guess it’s not too bad for a start from Amazon.

Speedlinking – 21 August 2006

How to Set Up WordPress – Step by Step Video Tutorial

Rachel’s posted a great video titled WordPress Quickstart Screencast Tutorial which is well worth looking at if you’re at the start of your WordPress journey. She covers:

1. Installing a free FTP program and connecting to your website
2. Creating a database for WordPress.
3. Installing WordPress.
4. Configuring WordPress settings.
5. Setting up permalinks.
6. Writing and editing a post.
7. Uploading images.
8. Creating a blog roll (list of links).
9. Setting up an about page.
10. Installing a plugin.
11. Setting up a contact page with a contact form.


A little weekend fun….

What do you think of the likeness?

Even the ‘Big Boys’ Call It Quits At Times

I was just doing my rounds of other digital photography blogs and discovered Weblogs Inc’s offering in the niche has closed up shop (although it hasn’t been moved to their ‘retired’ section of their network list yet).

I have to say I’m not too surprised by the move – from what I’ve seen the blog never really found it’s place in the wider niche and looking at their stats the seven months that the blog has been active haven’t put it among the most trafficked blogs at WIN (although ironically this month will be their biggest).

It was always a blog that wrote good quality content but that never really stood out as being terribly unique or ground breaking.

The blogger from the blog, Andrew Barrow, reports in comments that it could have been to do with the lack of response in their numerous calls for new bloggers.

I generally advise bloggers to go a little longer than 7 months to see how a blog goes (particularly in terms of Search Enginge rankings which can take 12 months to really settle) – but I guess in the scheme of things at WIN an underperforming blog is more trouble than it’s worth to maintain (sometimes it just comes down to business sense which I can understand having retired some of my own poorly performing blogs).

I wonder also if it’s difficult having a related blog living in the shadow of a blog like Engadget which has such a presence in the tech blog scene.

As usual with their retired blogs WIN are keeping this one live as an archive (and it’s archive will continue to generate some income for as long as it remains online via SE traffic).

How To Achieve Your Goals – Hint #1

Friend – ‘Darren, I never seem to reach any of my goals.’
Darren – ‘What are your Goals?’
Friend – ‘…ummm….. ‘
Darren – ‘Do you have any goals?’
Friend – ‘Yes – at the start of the year I worked some out’
Darren – ‘So what are your goals?’
Friend – ‘….ummmm…. I don’t remember them exactly – there was one about making more money…. I think there was another one about going on a trip overseas….’
Darren – ‘Did you keep a record of your goals anywhere?’
Friend – ‘No – I thought I’d remember them.’
Darren – ‘Did you remember them?’
Friend – ‘Sort of…. Not really….’
Darren – ‘Do you think that remembering your goals might help you achieve them?’
Friend – ‘Hmmmm…..’

“Only goal setters who are goal writers are truly goal achievers.”

Quote from Darby Checketts’ Leverage: How to Create Your Own “Tipping Points” in Business And in Life (aff) which I’m currently reading (so far it’s making some sense).

Secrets of eMoms Blogging Success

I just found out that I missed one link in the group writing project that for some reason didn’t make it to my inbox despite it’s blogger sending it to me multiple times. Sorry to Wendy from eMoms at Home for that.

As I looked over the post I realized that it was quite a good one for Problogger anyway so I thought I’d highlight it in a post of its own as it’s worth a read.

It’s called Unsuspecting Secrets to Fast Blogging Success. Wendy’s tips include thoughts on:

  • Search your Soul Before You Start
  • Let the Real You Shine Through
  • Study the Success Stories
  • Add Value in Every Post – Well, Almost Every Post
  • Network Like Crazy
  • Be Passionate about Your Chosen Topic
  • Trust Your Intuition and Your Instincts. Be True to them
  • Do your Homework about blog set up, SEO and site design
  • Be Disciplined
  • Blog with a Higher Purpose in Mind

It’s a great list and she has some good stuff to say in each point.

How to Get Eyeballs on Your Archives

Many bloggers are sitting on a treasure trove and don’t even know it (or don’t know how to use it). The treasure is in their archives – hundreds, if not thousands of posts that they’ve slaved over for hundreds of hours that unfortunately are rarely seen by readers.

This post is about how to release the potential of your archives and get your readers digging into them. I share 8 ways I’ve attempted to get more eyeballs on my archives.

The Challenge

ProBlogger has been running for just under two years and in that time I’ve published over 2600 posts. As I reflect upon that massive amount of content I can largely classify them into two types of posts (for the purposes of this post at least):

1. News Posts – each day I publish what I consider to be ‘newsy posts’ (yep that’s the technical name for them). These point readers to what is happening around the blogosphere in relation to my topic (building better blogs and making money blogging). These posts tend to date very quickly and most are largely irrelevant (except as a record keeping exercise) within days or weeks of me posting them. They do continue draw readers into the blog via search engines as they are often keyword rich – but I doubt that they are really much use to readers who find them.

2. Evergreen – I try to post at least one of these posts each day (each weekday at least) on Problogger. They are posts that have a ‘how to’ focus or which have some element of teaching or inspiration to them. They tend to be posts that do not date very quickly. Some might call them ‘evergreen’ posts as they are often as relevant today as they were when I wrote them some time ago.

Of course there are a few other types of posts in my archives but the vast majority of what I’ve written here fit pretty clearly into one of the other category.

[Read more…]

Washington Post Launches Sponsored Blogroll Ad Network

Picture 11Steve has picked up on the story that the Washington Post has launched a service to help marketers find blogs to advertise on. It’s called Sponsored Blogroll.

They are building a network of bloggers to participate. Marketers can browse bloggers in the network and WP’s sales team will sell ads for you. WP and the blogger splits the revenue (no mention of what the split is).

The additional attraction to joining the network for bloggers however is that those participating get a rotating link to their blog on the WP’s homepage.

They seem to be looking for blogs in the fields of Technology, Business, Health, Automotive and Travel at this point.

It’s definitely an interesting system that goes a little further than most other blog advertising systems that I’ve seen (in that it not only makes you money but potentially sends you traffic) and one I’ll be keen to check out.