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Investment Blogging

Nice post by Chris again over at Performancing – Maximise Your Income With Common Sense:

‘Answer this, what is the basic unit of blogging? The blog post. Each post is like an individual worker in your workforce. Some posts might work harder than others. Some attract more attention than others. Each earns you a little revenue, together they are your means of gaining income. So common sense point number one; it makes sense that if you grow your work force, your body of work within your blog, that your income potential will grow.’

I love the ‘posts as workers’ analogy – very cool.

I was talking to someone recently about this very same topic and I used the analogy of each post being like a small deposit into the bank.

When I was a kid my parents would give me 20 cents each week to take up to the teller in the bank (back when banks had humans to serve you) to put into my savings account. They taught me the power of investing from a young age because my 20 cent pieces added up over the years and with the help of some interest and a few gifts from Nana Rowse saved up for that cool dragster bike I’d dreamt of.

20 cents by itself doesn’t get you much but consistent deposits can add up to something quite significant.

The same is true with blogging. Each post by itself might not have much impact in terms of traffic, ad revenue, incoming links (or any other way that you might measure it’s success) but write a few posts a day for a year and you’ll find yourself building something with a higher chance of ‘success’.

Do you find Google Analytics Helpful

Google-AnalyticsIf you’ve been waiting for an Google to reopen it’s doors to Google Analytics users your wait might almost be over with an announcement to that effect on their update page.

‘We’ve added enough capacity that we are re-opening signups on an invitation basis. Many of our users who previously submitted their email address to us will be receiving an invite shortly.’

While there was certainly a massive buzz about Google Analytics when it first launched I’ve heard very few reports of people using it recently. I’d be interested to hear how people are using it?

I’ve had it installed on a couple of my blogs since the day it went live – but realized today that it’s something I’ve not used for about a month.

While I find the tools it contains helpful the main reason I’m not using it is that it’s just not smooth enough for me. It might have improved but loading times were slow and statistics too out of date for the type of information I use regularly. I like to know what’s happening on my sites at a glance with up to the minute figures.

I’ll probably use Analytics on a big picture level when I do monthly or quarterly reviews but I doubt it’ll ever become a part of my daily blogging rhythm.

AdSense Ties your Secret Blogs To You

If you have a blog that you don’t want anyone to know about and you use AdSense be careful about activating the ‘advertise on this site’ feature. Jensense points out that it’s one way that can give away who you are. Of course the other way is to do a source code view of a site and look at the publisher code which is something I’ve done once or twice – I even confirmed one of Jen’s sites was hers once when I saw a site that I thought was in her style using the source code method.

Moral of the story – it’s pretty hard to hide on the web!

Turning your Weaknesses into Strength and Threats into Opportunities

Nice post over at Jason’s blog on Turning your biggest weakness into your greatest strength – in it Jason talks about how Weblogs Inc’s biggest weakness was always servers going down (I hear his pain) but that this past week or so has seen them kicking some goals in that area – especially after CES and MacWorld’s keynote adress when Engadget was getting serving up to 87,000 pages per minute (imagine their CPM figures!).

‘One of the best feelings in business/life is to turn your biggest flaw into your biggest strength. That’s one of the things I love to do… figure out what we really suck at and figure out how to make that the thing we’re best at (I’m going to come up with a term for it). We just did that: three months ago our server skills were the worst in the industry, now our server skills are second to none.’

Jason’s just said something pretty obvious about growing a business, but also something quite profound. Paraphrased tip of the day:

‘Figure out what you really suck at and figure out how to make that the thing you’re best at.’

I don’t remember much of my university days (I studied Marketing) but there is one statement that one of my lecturers said that has run in my ears ever since. It was with reference to SWOT Analysis (where you analyze a businesses Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). The statement was that one of the key things he’d learned in business was to look at Weaknesses as potential Strengths and Threats as potential Opportunities. The point he hammered home was that if you can even just begin to think this way that you’ll begin to see result – if you can actually achieve success in it you’ll grow your business.

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Is ProBlogger an Infomercial Blog

Eric at Subnixus just posted a post titled The Infomercial Blogs which caught my attention tonight for a number of reasons – the main one being that he writes that ProBlogger, Jensense and his own blog are like infomercials. I’ll not do his post justice by paraphrasing it so feel free to go read his post to get the full message – but below are a few quotes with some of my own thoughts (this could get a little long and rant like – bare with me as I think out loud):

‘I had watched sites like Problogger “help bloggers make money” for a while. I thought to myself, “Here was a site that was making money, by telling others how to make money, by explaining how his site was making money”. I couldn’t help but get that infomercial feeling. “If you order my free CD I will teach you how you could be making $10,000 a month on Ebay, all from the comfort of your own home!” Anyone ever seen that one? Well Problogger was the same… come to the site for the “free cd” and leave spending $280 on his “Six Figure Blogging Course”.’

On one hand I think Eric’s got an element of truth to what he says – I think we’d find if we had heart to heart conversations with them that most bloggers experimenting with ads, affiliate programs, products, donation jars or any other potential income source will at one time or another have grappled a little with the temptation to be a bit infomercialish – but I wouldn’t limit it to blogs that write about making money online – I’d widen it out to most entrepreneurial bloggers and take it a step further and say it’s something most businesses are tempted with.

I caught a 5 minute grab of Dr Phil on TV today as I ate lunch (please don’t tell anyone) and he took a couple through ‘five ways to fix their family’ – all of which were from his latest book. I opened the paper today and saw a helpful article written about how to select a digital camera – of course it was totally surrounded by ads for digital cameras. I was in our local hardware store yesterday and saw the tail end of a free workshop on how to build a mailbox and of course saw the hard sell by the demonstrator who had a range of helpful mailbox building products ready for purchase. I was at a craft market on my recent holiday and saw a guy running a free table for kids to make greeting cards and then selling their parents card making kits. I took a painting course with my wife last year and our teacher tried to upsell us to the next course she was running at the end.

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Blog Platforms – Poll of the Week

This week’s poll is on a topic I’ve been wanting to investigate for a while now. The question is:

What Blog Platform Do You Use Most?

Are you a WordPress fan, MovableType, Drupal, Blogger.com, TypePad or do you prefer one of the other many varieties of ways of getting a blog online.

I’ve added the ability for you to add your own blog platform if the one you use isn’t in the starting list already.

Just to define the question (some people always ask for clarification) – the one you use on more blogs than any other blogging platform. If you only have one blog – the platform that runs it.

I’m also interested to hear the things you like and dislike about your blog platform in comments below.

Update: due to the large numbers of platforms being added this poll might be shortened and ended after the weekend or my sidebar might end up being three times longer than anything else on my pages! :-) So if you’re going to vote – do it soon!

Blog Network Poll Results

The last Poll of the Week (which went for around 3 weeks while I was away) asked the question:

Do you Blog for any Blog Networks?

The results were simple.

Of the 574 respondents – 70% said No and 30% said yes.

Chitika Developing Text Ads Again?

Digital Inspiration has the scoop on Chitika moving back into normal contextual text ads. These are ads that they originally launched Chitika with before developing eMiniMalls but which they put on hold (and many thought scrapped) when eMiniMalls took off. Looks like they are back (or at least it looks like they are beta testing them with some publishers).

Keep in mind before signing up for them (and I don’t think there is a way to publicly do it yet) that they are contextual ads and they look very similar to AdSense and YPN ads. As a result you’ll not be able to use them on the same page as AdSense or YPN ads (unlike eMiniMalls which are non contextual and have a unique look). But if for one reason or another YPN or AdSense don’t put your buttons you might want to give them a go when they go live again. You might also want to try them as alternate ads to the other programs or even rotate them into the mix of ads showing on your blog (as some publishers are doing with YPN and AdSense – ie showing different ad programs every second or third impression).

Domain Competition – 105 minutes to go

My competition for submitting a domain name for my next blog ends in 105 minutes. To be in the running for the $100 (USD) PayPal transfer or Amazon voucher get your entries in according to the details at Help me choose a domain name.

104 minutes now….

Update: Times up friends. You can Stop sending entries.

Thank you for your participation. I’m quite overwhelmed by the numbers of those submitting ideas. While I’m not going to list all the domains submitted (some of those who submitted them said that they’d register them if I don’t) I will say that there were 81 email submissions (a few people sent more than one). Those 81 emails included over 260 URLs for me to consider.

As a result it’s going to take me a little while to sort through them all and make a decision. It’s especially tough as such a large number of them are really great suggestions. At a glance I could go with at least 20 or 30 of them.

Some people sent up to 15 or so suggestions and obviously put a significant amount of time into searching so I want to give this some due consideration and am going to take the list away with me this weekend (we’re doing a mini road trip to yet another wedding I’m conducting) to ponder. I’ll try to make an announcement sometime next week.