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How to Improve Your Blog By Partnering Up

Reader-Quick-TipsScot Longyear from Worshipplus sent in this reader ‘quick tip’:

The old adage that two heads are better than one hold true in blogging. Here are a few advantages:

1. More eyes for proofreading. The more looks you can get before you post, the better your content and clarity.

2. Web scanning. We will send each other links that might make for great future articles for each other’s blogs.

3. Motivation. We are each other’s cheerleaders (minus the back flips and splits).

4. Accountability. We share a Google calendar where we write our tasks as an event. One quick look and we know what the other is supposed to be working on.

Blogging can be a lonely sport. The most valuable tool I have is a blogging partner. Our productivity is more than five times what it would be otherwise. What are you waiting for? Blogging (like life) is much better when it is shared.

Writing Seasonal Content for Christmas

christmasWith the end of the year approaching the web surfing habits of the average web user changes. The way you position yourself now in the weeks leading up to this period can mean you’re ready to capitalize on some of these changes.

I noticed this last year particularly when analyzing how people arrived at my sites via my statistics – particularly when looking at the keywords that people used to arrive at my sites.

Without giving away all my secrets (a guy is entitled to a few) it doesn’t take a genius to work out the type of words people typed into Google when searching for gifts for friends and family.

Here’s an exercise – think about your blog’s niche. In the next couple of months what seasonal things might be searching for that relate to your topic? Brainstorm a list of topics and words that people will use – then write some content that fits with this.

For example I once had a client who had (and has now sold) a website for holiday houses here in Australia. At this time of the year (summer here) he wanted to position himself for summer vacationers. As a result I encouraged him to start writing posts that related to searches like ‘summer holiday houses’. He wrote a series of tips posts on how to find a summer holiday house, the best locations for summer holidays etc etc etc.

Other examples

  • a friend of mine last year wrote a series of posts on ‘how to buy an MP3 player’ which did exceptionally well at getting readers into his site in the lead up to Christmas.
  • my post on halloween photography did really well in the lead up to Halloween
  • I wrote a post earlier in the year on the ideal Digital Camera for a Mothers Day Gift which did well

This was the final part of the How to Fine Tune your Blog for Christmas Series.

How to Write Your “About Me” Page

What-Is-Rss-1-1Want to learn more about how to make money blogging? Subscribe to ProBlogger today for free.

How do you write an About Me page?

There are four main questions that readers want answered on your About Me page:

  1. who you are…
  2. your expertise and how it addresses…
  3. their problem or goal, and how they can…
  4. contact you

Here is a sample “About Me” page that answers these questions:

Hi, I’m Jane Smith and I write TransitionMomBlog (who Jane is) to help women make the transition from full-time mom to successful entrepreneur (the reader’s problem or goal). I started TransitionMomBlog in 2004 (Jane’s expertise – shows she has been blogging for two years) to help other women deal with the sometimes overwhelming prospect of starting a new business while still running a household (how Jane helps them overcome their problem or achieve their goal). Prior to raising my family, I spent over ten years as a teacher, corporate trainer and workshop leader (Jane’s expertise, both as a mom and a business person). To contact me, please email XXX (how to contact Jane).

Other posts on About Me Pages include:

Also check out our popular Blogging Tips for Beginners page.

This reader quick tip was submitted by Barbra Sundquist from Home Business Wiz.

How to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines

christmas
So you’re looking to increase the profitability of your blog for the Christmas period (and beyond). You’ve optimized your AdSense, Chitika and Affiliate programs, you’ve even written a little seasonal content…. but there’s one missing element…. Traffic.

Unless you actually have people viewing your blog it is very difficult to actually earn anything from it.

So how do you drive traffic to your blog?

I’ve written quite a bit of this previously in a number of posts (for example here) but want to spend a little time talking today about Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Why SEO?

When you are looking online for information on a topic where do you go first?

While I’m sure there will be a variety of answers given to that question – the majority of average web users would answer with one word – ‘Google’.

Every day Search Engines like Google send many millions of web users to websites in their index. While there are plenty of Web 2.0 web indexing services around that are increasing in popularity – the fact is that search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN are still the biggest source of traffic to websites on the web.

As a result – learning how to be indexed and ranked well by them seems like a no brainer.

Writing for Search Engines and Humans

Some bloggers have a problem with the idea of optimizing a blog for search engines. They argue that rather than writing for search engines a blogger’s sole focus should be that they write quality content for humans.

I personally don’t see that writing for humans and search engines have to be mutually exclusive things – in my opinion both can be achieved without compromising either.

Some bloggers argue that if you write for humans that SEO looks after itself. To some extent I agree with that – if you do write quality content that others like you will find that they link up to your site (a key in SEO) – however I would argue that incoming links from other sites is just one part of climbing the rankings in Search Engines (an important part but not the only one).

There are other factors that come into play also and I believe that by knowing them and naturally incorporating them into your blogging you can increase your chances of being found by readers in Google, Yahoo and MSN.

Of course – some people become a little obsessed with SEO and forget the human reader, don’t fall for this trap and keep a balanced approach and you’ll benefit both from traffic from the search engines as well as a loyal readership who keeps coming back for more quality content.

Basic SEO tips for Bloggers

I’ve written previously on this topic so rather than writing the same thing again in a slightly different way will republish some of my previous tips below. I hope you find them useful.

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How to Drive Traffic to Your Affiliate Programs

christmasOne key to affiliate programs succeeding is that you have enough traffic that actually sees your affiliate links. There is little point in actually deep linking to products on pages that no one actually visits. So how can you increase the chances of people seeing and potentially clicking your affiliate links?

  • Cross Linking - a technique that I use quite a bit on some of my blogs is to cross link between posts. I don’t do it for the sake of it but if I’ve written previously on a topic I’ll link to it – particularly if that page is one that I consider to be a page that will convert well.
  • Highlight Key Posts – identify those pages on your blog that have the highest potential to convert and then highlight them in your menu or sidebar. Also check out TLA’s Feedvertising program that lets you set up advertising to any site (including pages on your own blog) in your own feeds.
  • Advertising – if you have a page that converts particularly well consider actually advertising it using programs like Performancing’s Ad Program, BlogAds (blogads.com) or AdWords.

Fine Tuning Tips

So taking all of the above into consideration – a few take home assignments for you to put into place in the lead up to the end of the year:

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Put Chikita as your AdSense alternate URL

Reader-Quick-TipsThis reader ‘quick tip’ was submitted by Antoine Khater from All Day I Dream About Photography

Wouldn’t be nice to have you Chikita emini-mall or ShopCloud$ (aff) showing up as the Alternate URL of Adsense?

Here is a trick I recently learned on how to do it.

Just set up a BLANK page, completely blank no header no footer nothing, on you blog/site with no content at all but you chikita code then use the URL of this page as the alternate URL in adsense.

Reflections On A Week in Toronto

Img 6197 2-2Well all good things must come to an end and as I write this I find myself at Toronto’s international airport awaiting my flight to LA and then home.

Quite a few people have asked me how I’ve found Canada and particularly how I’ve found meeting some of the b5media gang. Instead of a long series of posts on the different aspects of the trips or a long essay like post on the topic I thought I’d write a list (surprise surprise):

  • While there are some great online tools for collaboration available – meeting face to face is definitely a more productive exercise and adds a completely different dynamic to working relationships. More on this over at Mark’s blog.
  • Online and Offline persona - I’ve had a theory for a few years now that people’s online and offline persona generally match up – this was again confirmed for me. I met 15 or so bloggers and coworkers over the last week and in each case the reality was remarkably similar to what I’d imagined these people to be like.
  • Canadians are a very friendly and generous group of people - Despite their ability to make every sentence sound like a question they are a fun and good natured lot on the whole (or at least those I met).
  • Toronto reminded me a lot of Melbourne – Perhaps it’s to do with the weather which while I was here was either grey and gloomy or stunningly blue skies (although it was a fair bit colder), or perhaps it’s the part of town that I stayed in and the many cafes and restaurants or perhaps it was the people. Can’t quite put my finger on it but while there were obvious differences – there was also a similar ‘vibe’.
  • Jet lag sucks – I thought I was over my jet lag two days into the trip but unfortunately ever second night since arriving I spent most of the time staring at the ceiling. Needless to say that despite the face to face meetings (see point 1) I became less and less productive as the week went along. I hate to think what I’ll be feeling like in 26 hours when I land again in Melbourne (hopefully everything is running on time).
  • Skype Video Rocks – while we didn’t think we would, it turned out that V and I used Skype video calls everyday to keep in touch. It was great to be able to not only hear the voices of her and little X but to see them. Definitely helped a lot with keeping home sickness at bay (although I’m itching to get back now).
  • New Media Opportunities Abound – one of the great things about meeting face to face with some of the b5 gang is that the result of our planning, dreaming and brainstorming was a lot of wonderful possibilities. In fact the challenge for a new media company like ours is not to come up with ideas but is to work out which ones to run with and working out how to implement them. While I obviously can’t speak about specifics of what lies ahead for b5 I’m really excited about our plans that we have as a team but also by the wider blogging space.
  • Is New Media A Global Space? - I’ve been asking this question for a few years ago now. On some levels I would answer yes – blogging in particular has a way of leveling the playing media field and giving people from far flung parts of the globe a voice. However – while there is definitely an global thing going on there are some definite perks of being in a North American locale. The critical mass of people interested in the space is one (going to a three meet-ups in the last meet that would have attracted 250 people illustrated this well for me – at Melbourne meet-ups we’re lucky to get 10 people showing up). As a result of this critical mass people tend to meet each other and are more able to communicate in ‘normal’ business hours and business partnerships tend to flow. I’m still a big believer in the global characteristics of blogging and new media – however at times those of us who find ourselves spread far and wide do face some challenges that others do not (still pondering this one – so forgive my half finished thoughts).

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Amazon Include Gift Certificates in Referral Program

Amazon have just announced that they are now allowing publishers to earn commission when readers that they refer buy a gift certificate in the Amazon store as part of their Associates program. This is only the case up until the end of the year and commissions will be a flat fee of 6%.

To get your Gift Certificate link (aff) simply head to the ‘build links’ section and choose ‘gift certificates’ either in the text link or banner sections.

Increase AdSense Earnings with Competitive Ad Filter

Reader-Quick-TipsLuke Meshios from Webmaster SEO wrote the following reader ‘quick tip’:

Do you ever wonder why it is you get low clicks sometimes? 1 cents – 10 cents?

This is because the Adsense Publishers are offering low amounts. Some times they offer a low amount because they have Adsense on their website too. And they might get 10 cents a click for every 1 cent they pay. These sites are known as “Made For Adsense” Yep, it does suck!. But there is a way around this to increase your earnings.

Go to Adsblacklist, Sign Up, put in your URL and keyword, click generate. You will then get an extensive list of 200 sites to block in your AdSense competitive ad filter.

Now go to your Adsense account, Click on Adsense Setup, Then click on competitive ad filter, copy and paste the websites you were giving from Adsblacklist . Now wait till Adsense blocks those sites.

Sit back and let the earnings roll in.