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NBA Blogger Sells His Blog to ESPN

True-HoopAnother story of a blogger selling their blog surfaced today with the announcement by basketball blogger Henrry Abbott from TrueHoop that he’s sold his blog to ESPN.

There’s no details of how much the sale was for – but Henry will be an employee of ESPN as part of the deal and seems pretty happy with the whole deal as it will open up new opportunities for him to travel and network in NBA circles. Congratulations Henry!

found via Chris

Zlio Review – Add a Shop to Your Blog

ZlioOver the last week or so I’ve been playing around with ZLio (aff) – a service that enables you to add a a shop to your blog or website. The most similar thing I’ve seen previously is Amazon’s aStore and Chitika’s Shoplinc program.

ZLio’s service is a very professional looking set up with some great features. It has previously been released in France and it’s only more recently been launched out of the US (they tell me there is a UK version on the way). You can tell that they’ve developed their product for some time now as it is quite advanced in how it can be used.

The best way to fully grasp the features of Zlio shops is to start one and start experimenting – before you do let me spit out some features and first impressions for you below.

While you read them feel free to check out the ProBlogger Bookshop Zlio that I whipped up (it took me about 15 minutes once I added all my products – they mainly come from my essential books for bloggers list). I’m yet to do any customization or personalization of it but you’ll get the idea of what can be achieved hopefully. [Read more...]

Selling Blogs

Lorelle has written a comprehensive post (does she write any other kind) on Selling Your Blog: What Are Blog Buyers Looking For? which explores questions like:

  • When is the Right Time to Sell Your Blog?
  • How Much is Your Blog Really Worth?
  • Selling Points for Selling Your Blog

I agree with everything she says but would simply add that ultimately a blog is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. There are many factors that different buyers and sellers will use to determine value (Lorelle outlines most of those that I can think of) – but in the end it is like selling anything – it is about demand and supply.

I’ve seen some blogs sell in the last year that had selling prices well above what I’d have paid personally for them – however the buyers had their own agendas in mind. At other times I’ve seen blogs sell for ‘bargains’ where the sellers had their own motivations for choosing the buyer that they did.

It’s a funny business we’re in – and I’m pretty sure we’ll see a lot more of this buying and selling of blogs in the coming months!

Pheedo launch RSS Powered Ads

Heather Green has posted that this week Pheedo will be releasing an RSS Powered Ads product.

No it’s not an ad product to put in your RSS feeds – but one to promote your RSS feeds with.

Heather explains:

“Pheedo pulls the RSS feeds from marketers, retailers, and publishers into a skyscraper ad that is distributed across sites on in Pheedo’s network or other ad networks. Within the ad itself, you can subscribe to a feed, email an item, or submit the item to Digg, Del.icio.us, and other aggregators.”

Sounds similar to what BlogAds released a few weeks back and what Techmeme has been doing for a while now.

You can see examples of these ads in action on Pheedo’s home page.

AdSense Confirm Google Checkout Icons on Ads – What do You Think of Them?

The AdSense blog today confirms what we’ve all been noticing for a while now – they’ve started including a little Google Checkout icons on advertisers who use it (see below).

I’m interested to hear from publishers on whether they like it or not.

On one hand it does add something a little more eye catching to the ad which might increase CTR. Some publishers like them for this reason.

However I’m hearing from a few publishers that they feel a little used by Google with these icons – like they’re helping Google promoting their checkout system with no real reward. Some would like the ability to switch them off.

One or two have even suggested that Google need to make the icon a referral link that pays publishers a commission if someone new signs up for Google Checkout as a result of clicking on the ad.

What do you think of them?

Here’s how the icon will appear on ads on publisher’s sites (see the second ad).

Checkout Laptopads

They’re doing it in Google search results also with much less subtle icon which I’m glad they’re not imposing upon AdSense publishers (see it below).

New Checkout Badge

11 Ways to Find New RSS Subscribers for Your Blog

RssThis past two weeks I’ve been talking about how to make your RSS feed ‘Pop’ – to stand out from the crowd a little – however covering this topic has caused a few readers to ask RSS related questions that don’t necessarily relate to improving your feed but which are worth covering.

One of the questions I’ve been asked numerous times this week is:

How do I get People to Subscribe to my RSS feed?

It’s a good question and one that I have a few ideas on (but which it’d be great to get some discussion going on in comments). Of course the first question I ask people saying they want more subscribers is ‘do you have content worth subscribing to?’ Without something worthwhile on your blog the rest of this post will be meaningless. But once you are pumping out quality content here are a few tips on how to get more subscribers for it.

1. Promote Your Feed Prominently

Copyblogger-RssOne mistake that some blogs make is have their RSS feed link appearing too far down in the footer of the design.

As with anything you want to promote (ads, key posts, contact form, about posts etc) the higher on the page you have it the more attention it will have.

Check out how Copyblogger does it for a great example. He has he two buttons pictured to the left right at the top of his sidebar. As a result his feed counter has steadily grown over the past year.

2. Promote Your Feed with an Image

Similarly promoting your feed with something a little more eye catching than a text link tends to get it more noticed.

Rss-Buttons

The little testing that I’ve done shows that the feedburner counter/button can work well, as can the orange RSS button that many bloggers use. You have just a few seconds when a reader first hits your blog to convince them to come back again – RSS is an ideal way to get them coming back – so you’ll want to do everything you can to get their eyes on a way of subscribing.

There are many buttons that can be used (check out a few at this button maker). While there’s nothing wrong with using more than one (see below) I’d recommend not going too crazy with all the buttons out there as one well placed image link can be just as effective (if not more so) than multiple buttons cluttering your sidebar.
[Read more...]

Speedlinking 13 February 2007

How To Drive Traffic to Your Blog – The Advice of a 12 Year Old

DavidpressRemember 12 year old blogger David Wilkinson from Techzi? David and I have kept in touch with one another since I posted about him last and recently I asked him to consider writing a guest post here at ProBlogger. I thought a 12 year old’s perspective on how to get traffic to your blog might be worth hearing. Here’s his post.

When Darren Rowse comes up to you, and asks you to write a post for ProBlogger.net, it’s not something you can really say ‘no’ to. Not that you’d want to of course, but more the fact that it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. Why should I write, of all people though? Well Darren wanted to hear the methods that I as a young person use to drive traffic to my blog, without spending any money.

Learning the basics

First you need to grasp and understand that the Internet is a big place. Several billion web-pages, and often with very little time available to the end-user, they’ll use several techniques to find what they’re looking for.

SEO

Search? Standard engines like Google, Yahoo and Live are the most popular nowadays, and optimizing your site to be found easily, can be easy and hard based on many factors.

My best advice for someone starting out would be to start by building quality content for somebody to see, then progressing to “The Three Cs”. This way, you’ll get noticed by genuinely interested people, who’ll actively want to play a part in your site’s development, by giving you quality feedback on ways to improve, design and usability.

If you have a blog or a website that’s been going for several weeks, perhaps a month or two, and you’ve done “The Three Cs”, or at least some of them, would be to start focusing on building on your existing content, with fresh, interesting, relevant and unique content. Note I say ‘relevant’ and ‘unique’. This is important. There are so many splogs out there now-a-days, that people can quickly distinguish whether an article has been written by somebody or not, at least the majority of the time. Relevance too, like I said, is a key factor. If you have a very personal blog, then one day write something completely off-topic about a new type of golf club that comes out, people will start to wonder if you and your blog actually have an aim or a purpose, which is yet another vital thing to consider.

If you’re somebody with a very mature blog, that is several months or more old, you can now focus on the technical side of things, which is mainly down to the spiders. If you’ve been blogging this long, then if you’re not on your own domain, or hosting, I recommend it, as it allows for greater flexibility, design and SEO. Search engine optimization? Yep! A Google Sitemap can be stuck on your server for the Google-Bot and metatags can be added, which let you pre-define information about your page automatically, such as the author, a description, keywords and feed information. This also makes usability easier for feed-ready browsers like Firefox and Internet Explorer 7. Tacky pre-set designs become a thing of the past too, and upgrading to WordPress can be a smart move, as the developer community there will help you along the way with every aspect of your blog, from the writing itself, to the advanced functionality like widgets that are available, and the themes that are freely downloadable to customize your blog’s look. Of course you could always give design a go yourself as I did at Techzi.net – though admittedly I enlisted the help of two professional designers as well.So, what are these ‘C’s that I’ve been talking to you so much about anyway? Read on to find out…

[Read more...]

Avoid Clutter in Your RSS Feeds

RssOne trend that I’ve noticed lately among some bloggers is to stuff their RSS feeds with a lot extra information cluttering the end of posts on their RSS feeds.

RSS Extras

This ‘extra’ material can include:

  • Ads – some bloggers are including multiple ads – text links, banner ads, affiliate links and more
  • Feed flares – (services like Feedburner offer a large array of different things including ‘digg this’ links, copyright notices, delicious bookmark links, comment counters, email to a friend links, technorati counters, alexa rankings, feed circulation counters, buttons, stock tickers, trackback counters etc etc – Feedburner have lots of them.)
  • Related Posts – a list of related posts
  • Recent Comments – the latest comments on a post (I’ve only seen this once)

The list could go on and I suspect we’ll see more and more bloggers experimenting with different ‘extras’ to include in their feeds.

I have no problem with bloggers using their feeds for advertising or to leverage traffic back to their blog and I’m also in favor of people pushing the boundaries of how RSS can be used. However, when the ‘extras’ at the bottom of each post are bigger than the actual posts you write – then you’ve got clutter than will annoy many of your subscribers.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Those subscribing to your feeds are generally loyal readers. They’ve made a decision to subscribe because they’ve seen your blog somewhere and are probably familiar with it. While there’s nothing wrong with driving traffic back to your blog from your feed – you probably don’t need to educate them on every aspect of your blog on every post.
  • Also remember that RSS subscribers are going to see your posts every day – variety is the spice of life but seeing the same long list of links at the end of your posts every single day could cause readers to get a little bored.
  • Multiple posts per sessions – some of your subscribers will only read your feed every few days (or less frequently). As a result they might have to scan through 10 or so of your posts in a session – seeing the same long list of ‘extras’ 10 times in a row.

Once again – I’ve got nothing against bloggers experimenting with a few extras (I have a handful myself) – but keep asking yourself whether they add to or detract from your feed. In isolation (or in small numbers) extras can add a lot – but all together they can get a bit much.

One way to tell is to subscribe to your own feed and try to read it objectively. Does the way you’ve set it out frustrate you? If so it could annoy your readers also.