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SXSW BlogNetworkCamp

If you’re going to SXSW in a couple of weeks and want to get together with some other bloggers to talk blog networks you might be interested in the BlogNetworkCamp meetup that b5media is hosting.

Topics under discussion:

  • Better ways to pay bloggers
  • Infrastructure requirements of a growing blog network
  • How to sell ads in today’s online ad environment
  • Challenges of 2007
  • Ways to collaborate (or not)

I won’t be there but Jeremy and a few other b5′ers will be and I’m sure they’d be happy to have you along no matter what size your blog network (or potential one) is.

How to Find a Guest Blogger for your Blog

Aditya makes a good point, bouncing off my post yesterday on guest bloggers.

The main point made is that it can be easier to find a guest blogger when you have an established or popular blog.

They write:

Some good points – but it certainly is much easier to get a guest blogger when you have a very popular blog, right?

Now i think you’ll get the idea. Guest bloggers can be useful especially if you’re running a popular blog on the blogosphere and of course they also lining up to write on your blog even if you are not asking for it.”

Aditya does make a good point and it is something I should have included in yesterday’s post. It is easier to find people to fill in when you have an established readership.

However just because you might have a small blog doesn’t mean guest bloggers are out of the equation for you. In fact I first started finding guest bloggers for my blogs in the first few months of blogging.

Here are six ways to find guest bloggers:

1. Look in Your Comments Section - perhaps the best place to find guest bloggers is in your comments section. It is there that you’ll find readers who’ve taken a step towards active participation on your blog already (a good sign that they want to interact with you). Look for repeat comment leavers and those with something worthwhile to share. Even in the early days of a blog those who are commenting can be great contacts to deepen connections with.

2. Aim High – ‘you’ll never know unless you ask’ is a saying I utter a fair bit. While most well known bloggers are probably unlikely to say yes to blogging on a blog that they’ve not heard of – you might just be surprised. I’ve asked most ‘A-listers’ from time to time to come post something for me at ProBlogger – and some of them even took me up on the offer.

3. Aim ‘Low’ – ‘low’ is the wrong word and I don’t mean to cast any judgments – but sometimes the most willing guest bloggers are those just starting out who are attempting to make a name for themselves in your niche (or a related one).

[Read more...]

The Rise of the Multi Blogger Blog – Outsourcing Content Creation

There’s something in the air today – everyone seems to be talking about outsourcing your blogging (or elements of it).

Daniel is writing about it from a perspective of outsourcing some of your non core blogging activities (like design, blog maintenance, marketing and even content creation) and Yaro is talking about his journey of outsourcing his own blog’s content creation and management.

It’s an interesting topic for discussion and something that a lot of blogs are moving more towards with numerous large blogs around the wider community moving to a group blogging model. To some extent I’ve even done it a little here at ProBlogger with the invitation to a couple of fellow bloggers (Tony and Glen) to submit articles every week or two.

I’ve also tinkered with it over at DPS where I’ve been using more and more reader submissions (from semi-regular contributers mainly).

Why would you want to outsource elements of your blogging (particularly content creation) by adding new authors to your blog? Well there are numerous advantages that immediately leap to mind:

  • fresh ideas
  • new styles/voices
  • less reliance upon you personally to drive the brand
  • introduce new skills, opinions, experiences and expertise into the mix
  • potentially increase posting frequency
  • having people in different time zones to keep things well maintained
  • gives you a break or allows you to focus on new projects

Of course for every upside there’s usually a downside to accompany it and some of the negatives of outsourcing through adding new bloggers can include:

  • more time spent on managing others and the issues that they can bring
  • motivational issues for bloggers
  • potential dilution of your own personal brand
  • risk of lower quality content
  • new voices can disenfranchise some loyal readers
  • compensation challenges – finding the right model and administering it
  • recruiting – how do you find the right person with the right ‘fit’?

I certainly don’t have all the answers to any of these issues and like most others at this stage am still finding my way with it. My own ‘outsourcing’ has been largely out of wanting to free up a little more time and a desire to add a few new voices into the mix – but I suspect we’ll see more and more blogs going the multi-blogger direction in the coming months.

What makes you unsubscribe from a blog’s RSS feed?

In my recent call for questions from readers Barry asked:

“What makes you unsubscribe from a blog’s RSS feed?”

It’s a good question and one worthy of some discussion as an ‘Open Mic’ discussion. Perhaps the result will be that we’ll all learn a thing or two NOT to do in our blogging.

So what makes you unsubscribe from a blog’s RSS feed? What makes you ‘un-bookmark it’ or stop visiting via some other method?

Is it to do with the style of blogging, the frequency of posting, the feed itself (whether it be full/partial feed, whether they include other links, ads etc), the topic, the attitude of the blogger or some other factor?

Enjoying the discussion below? Digg it Here

Why Guest Bloggers are Great for a Blog

Matt Coddington has written a guest post over at John Chow’s blog on the topic of guest blogging and makes the point that it’s something that is really a win win win situation.

The blogger who does the guest spot wins because it exposes them to a new readership and (as Matt does) if you link back to your blog or if you arrange to have a byline with a link in it you can directly draw traffic back to your own blog as a result. Of course if you’re going to include links in your post make them relevant to the post itself.

The blogger who owns the blog wins because they get to take a break and keep their blog ticking over, they get to involve another blogger (remember giving readers jobs can be a great way to increase ownership of your blog by them) and they get a fresh perspective on their topic.

The reader wins because they get to hear about the topic of the blog from a new angle. Someone once told me (I think it was a parent blogger) that one of the lessons that they learned as a mother was the its not just parents who need a break from kids – its kids who sometimes need a break from parents. I think the same thing applies for bloggers and their reader – as much as your readers might love you – they need a break from you just as much as you need a break from them!

Wondering what else you can do with your blog to give yourself a break? Here’s 7 things I’ve done with my blog while taking a holiday.

PS: it’s only 3 weeks to go until I’m off for my US trip. I’ve already started lining up some guest posters who I think you’ll enjoy hearing from.

Read the full Guest Blogging Series at:

WordPress Plugins for Monetizing Your Blog

If you’re a WordPress bloggers and you want to monetize it Lorelle has put together an essential read for you in her post which outlines Monetizing WordPress Plugins.

Lorelle’s put together a whole list of WP plugins which can be used in making money from your blog under the following titles:

  • Adding Adsense Ads to Your WordPress Blogs
  • Amazon.com WordPress Plugins
  • Other Advertising WordPress Plugins For Your WordPress Blog
  • Ad and Banner Rotator WordPress Plugins
  • Shopping Cart WordPress Plugins
  • PayPal Donations WordPress Plugins
  • Adding Ads to Feeds
  • Monitoring Other People’s Money

It’s an excellent resource which I hope you find useful.

What A Bad Museum Exhibit Can Teach You About Blogging

This post has been submitted by Glen Stansberry.

It’s funny what we can learn in our everyday lives that can help us improve our blogging.

I recently went to Kansas City to see the historic Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, and came away with a feeling that the presentation wasn’t quite put together as well as it could have been. Although I’m grateful to see such an amazing piece of history, I think I could have gotten much more out of the experience had some things been organized a little better.

But my loss is your gain. There are still some things that we can glean from a mediocre museum exhibit that can help your blogging.

Organization is Key

Regardless of what you’re presenting, if you don’t organize it well, the entire presentation will suffer. Case in point: I was looking at one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th century! Organization is critical.

Information Overload

For each piece, there was the standard sign above it outlining its significance. But in addition to having to read lots of these signs, visitors were also given a phone-like device that allowed you to listen to many of the items in the collection. Sometimes the information from the signs and the audio overlapped. Needless to say, it was a lot of information to swallow.

[Read more...]

AdSense Testing Another New ‘Related’ Ad Format

Update – Thanks to Amit and siong1987 – this is just the latest version of Google’s Related Links.

Speaking of Google testing new types of AdSense ads – Dave from DaveDevelopment just emailed me to show me a new type of ad that he’s seen Google experimenting with. Here’s how it looks (click to enlarge):

Related

It’s a 728×90 banner ad with pictures inset into the ad next to the text of the ad and with tabs along the top that seems to be titled ‘related’ with some tabs after it under the headings of ‘searches’, ‘web pages’ and ‘video’.

I’m not sure how these ads work as I’ve not seen one live in action – but they seem to be another ad format that lets readers of a site choose what they want to see (similar to Chitika’s eminimalls).

This will be an interesting one to watch!

AdSense testing Italicized Ads

Over the last week I’ve had quite a few readers emailing me about Google AdSense ads that they are seeing with the headings of the ad in italics.

Initially the ads mainly seemed to be appearing on big websites and I thought they were something premium publishers were testing but in the last couple of days it has become clear that they’re testing them more widely and I’ve seen them on my own blogs in quite a few impressions.

here’s how they look:

Adsense-Italics

(You’ll also see the first ad has the google checkout shopping cart which is also relatively new)

Every time there’s a change like this I get the same two responses from publishers.

  1. I think it’s great - this camp thinks that anything Google does that is a bit different to draw attention to the ads is great
  2. I think it’s bad – this camp wants to be able to control such variations themselves as they feel that some of the things Google does with ads can actually work against the overall design of a blog.

My feeling is that this isn’t the most intrusive thing that AdSense are currently testing. One of the other tests currently underway is the ‘G’ image that they’re testing instead of and in conjunction with the ‘Ads by Gooooooogle’ link (see below).

Adsense-Google-Image

My personal feeling is that this goes a little far and cheapens the look of a site. They’re also testing other versions of this and while I know it probably helps their branding and might even help CTR on ads I’d prefer control over whether it appears.

In fact I’d prefer that the Ads by Gooooogle link was a referral link as it links directly to a site where people can sign up to become AdWords advertisers and AdSense publishers. Come on Google – pay us for advertising your programs!?

Thanks to everyone who has been emailing me about the italics ads – feedbuzzard being one.