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Speedlinking – 13 February 2007

5 Pick Up Lines to Get You the Girl – and Why Opening Lines Matter

RssPick Up Lines to get you the girl….

  1. Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by again?
  2. If you stood in front of a mirror and held up 11 roses, you would see 12 of the most beautiful things in the world.
  3. If I could rewrite the alphabet, I would put U and I together.
  4. I’m sure glad I brought my library card, ’cause I’m checking you out!
  5. Inheriting eighty million bucks doesn’t mean much when you have a weak heart.

Ok – these pick up lines (opening lines) will never get you the girl – but in the same way that great titles are vital when it comes to getting the attention of RSS feed readersthe opening lines of your blog posts DO matter - a lot!

The Purpose of Opening Lines

A recurring theme of David Ogilvy’s Ogilvy on Advertising is:

  • the purpose of a title is to get potential readers to read the first line of your content
  • the purpose of the first line is to get people to read the second one
  • the purpose of the second line is to get people to read the third one….

How to Use Opening Lines

Readers will make a judgment upon whether your full post is worth reading based upon how it starts and they will continue reading IF you succeed in connecting with them on one of a number of levels:

  • Does it interest them or pique their curiosity?
  • Does it hook them into the topic?
  • Does it create a need for them to read more?
  • Does it promise a benefit of reading your post?
  • Does it promise to entertain them? etc

You don’t need to do all of these things in the opening sentence of each post you write – but if you want your readers to reach the bottom of your posts and to be persuaded by what you write you’ll need to work hard early on at hooking them on some level.

This is especially important for those bloggers using ‘excerpt feeds’ that don’t give readers a full post to read in their RSS readers. In order to get them to click through to your actual blog you’ll need to give them a reason – and all you’ve got to do it is a title and a few opening words.

Opening lines matter.

Speedlinking – 10 February 2007

MyBlogLog Co-Branded Communities

I just noticed that TechCrunch’s MyBlogLog community page is different to other MyBlogLog communities.

It’s actually been like this for a month or two (I’m not a regular visitor to their MBL page) and is part of MBL’s Co-Branded Communities alpha test.

What are the differences between Co-Branded and Normal MyBlog Logs?

I’m still waiting on an official response from MyBlogLog but here’s how they look different from standard MyBlogLog communities (here are some screen caps of TechCrunch’s community page and ProBlogger’s to compare – click to enlarge).

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ad Tech Sydney – Day 2

Adtech-Sydney
After a full day on the first day of adTech in Sydney I was looking forward to another good day.

I should say that I did finish day 1 off with a bloggers meet up where I met some great people – some of whom I’m sure I’ll continue to keep in touch with and hopefully even work with.

Day 2 of the conference was not as great from my perspective as the preceding day. While there were a few interesting sessions I came away from them feeling a little flat. I suspect that this was partly due to being worn out from a 19 hour day the day before (I had to get up early to make it to Sydney in time for the start) and partly because I’m not really the adTech audience target.

Having said that – I did get some one on one time with a couple of the Australian AdSense team which was really valuable. One of them went through some of the blogs that I’m working with at present and gave some great advice. Even as a 3 year veteran with AdSense there’s always something that can be learnt – most of it was just the result of a fresh pair of eyes looking at things that I stare at everyday.

Absence of the ‘Practical’?
One of the disappointments of the day for me was the way in which some presenters seemed to use their time simply to show attendees why they should engage the services of someone in their area of expertise. The SEO session was an example of this. While no one overtly said ‘hire us’ it was a session where the experts talked a lot about what not to do and the consequences of doing the wrong thing – but talked very little about what people should do.

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Use Titles with Bling – RSS Feeds that POP

RssHere’s the next part of the How to Make Your RSS Feed POP series.

Much has been written about the importance of titles of posts in blogging (I have written about it here, here and here for example) – but in your RSS feed title’s power is most notable.

News Aggregators make the title of your posts stand out in larger (and often more colorful) fonts – this makes them the most prominent feature on the screen of those viewing news feeds – their eyes are drawn to this point above all others, but they won’t linger there long. People make a snap decision based upon these few words as to whether to read on – so you’d better make your titles count.

This becomes all the more important with those readers who choose to view their feeds by title only – for these readers titles are everything!

As a result the title becomes a pivotal point that helps readers decide whether they’ll actually read your post or not.

Titles-1

Different bloggers will take different approaches with the titles of their blog posts.

A few random ‘title techniques’ you might like to try include:

Stating the Obvious

Sometimes the most appropriate title is one that states the bleeding obvious. These titles sum up the main point of your post in a concise statement. This is the strategy that many newspapers use when reporting news. The beauty of this approach is that readers know what they are getting and if they are interested in your topic they’ll immediately know that your post is for them.

Shock and Awe

One way of standing out from the many thousands of posts written each day is to shock or surprise those scanning your feeds with a title that pushes the boundaries of what they might normally expect to see in their news aggregator. Of course there is a fine line here somewhere and it can be easy to overstep the line from ‘shocking’ readers to ‘offending’ them.

Humor

I still remember driving along a street in Adelaide a few years back and seeing a sign out the front of a pet store with it’s name – ‘Heavy Petting’. It got my attention (a little of the ‘shock’ tactic and made me giggle – to the point that despite not being in the market for a pet I parked my car and went to see what the store would be like. Humor in titles can work great – if you’re actually funny. On the other hand it could come off as a little cheesy – use with caution.

Intrigue and Tease

Some bloggers have the ability write titles that give enough information about what their post is about to get people interested, but which leave enough to the imagination to hook them into actually reading the post because they want to know how it will end.

How To

The classic ‘how to’ post is popular with many. Sometimes these post actually start with ‘how to….’ and at other times they are might be in the format of ’5 techniques for…’ or ‘A Guide to….’. These titles work because they give a reader a reason (or benefit) for reading a post.

There’s plenty more title techniques that people are using (share yours below) but the key is to experiment and see what converts well for your audience. Use a service like feedburner’s stats package and you can see what items people are clicking on to help you work out what people are responding to.

Affiliate Marketing – Speedlinking Special

There’s been quite a bit of chatter around the blogging for money community about affiliate programs in the last few days. So here’s three of what’s being written on that topic:

Don’t know what Affiliate Marketing is? Read What is Affiliate Marketing?

How to Blog With ‘Voice’ and Increase Community and Readership

This post has been submitted by Glen Stansberry.

Most bloggers have a great advantage over traditional media: there’s no stingy editorial process to whittle away at our writing. We can say what we want, however we want. Yet many bloggers fail to take advantage of this fact, afraid to voice an opinion or use an entertaining writing style for whatever reason. If you don’t write with voice or opinion, you’re completely tossing away some of the best aspects of blogging.

Anybody can copy and paste. I’m pretty sure they’ve even trained monkeys to do it. If your blogging style consists of “Michael Arrington wrote about X today” and link to his story, theoretically you’re in the same skill category as the primate. Last time I checked, monkeys are still flinging poo at zoo attendees. You don’t want to be compared with that, do you?

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How I Make Money from Blogs – My Top Earners

Top-Income-StreamsUpdate – I have updated the list of my top income earners from blogging.

It’s been a fair while since I talked specifically about my blogging earnings. I decided a year or so ago that I wasn’t going to put specific dollar figures to my income any more in public – however as I get a lot of questions from readers asking for updates I thought I’d share where my blogging income has been coming from lately.

All I will say in terms of dollar figures is that I am still well and truly earning over six figures per year from the following income streams.

The following is a ranking of my top 9 income streams for the fourth Quarter of 2006. It is a summary of the income from my own personal blogs – ie income from b5media (where I am an employee as well as a shareholder) is not included – either is income from Six Figure Blogging (which continues to sell at a reasonable rate) or any speaking or consulting work that I do (very little these days anyway).

I’ve also included a little information on how I use each of these income streams and which products that they offer work best for me which I hope is helpful for others looking to monetize their blogs or websites. Note – Some of the following links are affiliate links.

1. Chitika

Chitika
While they don’t work on every blog (for example I don’t use them here at ProBlogger) and there is a traffic minimum to be accepted by them Chitika continue to be my highest earner. They offer a variety of ad units and income streams – the top three for me are eMiniMalls, Related Product Units and Shoplincs. They continue to work best on product related sites. Place RPU units at the end of posts (they give a good option for people to click on when they finish reading and experiment with linking directly to products in your shoplinc from product reviews (of the same products) on your blogs. I’ve written plenty of Chitika Optimization tips here and here.

2. AdSense

Adsense
The most popular form of advertising on blogs is AdSense (according to a few studies that I’ve seen) and for me it’s a reliable earner that brings in a significant level of income (just under what Chitika pulls in each month). While I use referrals and their search product on some of my sites I find that normal ad units are producing the best income for me – particularly rectangle (250 x 300 pixels) ones placed close to content with a blended design. For tips on optimizing AdSense on your blog check out this 8 part series.

3. Text Link Ads

Tla
Perhaps the biggest mover for me over the last 12 months in terms of my earnings has come from TLA. While they have a ceiling in what they earn per site they are another good solid earner for me – particularly now that they’ve added feedvertising (RSS ads) which out performs any other type of RSS ad that I’ve tried. I’m hearing from many bloggers that TLA is their biggest earner now. It works best on sites that have been around for a while – you don’t need big traffic to be accepted – but having a page rank and some search engine presence helps.

4. Amazon Associates

Amazon-Logo-1The forth Quarter of each year tends to be a good one for me when it comes to commissions from Amazon. The last quarter is a time that people are in a buying mood in the lead up to Christmas – smart placement (deep linking inside posts) can bring great conversions. The key is picking relevant products to promote. Read more tips on affiliate programs for blogs for a few other tips on optimizing Amazon.

5. Private Ad Deals

I don’t do a lot of private ad deals (it’s something I should focus upon more but there are only so many hours in the day) but when they come in they can be significant (if you have decent traffic). I’ve just signed two deals on my digital photography blog with Apple and Adobe for the next couple of months so I suspect this one will leap up next quarter.

6. Miscellaneous Affiliate Programs

My blogs have a variety of smaller affiliate programs running from them. I try to find quality products that relate to my topics that I can genuinely recommend – often via reviews. Some of the better converting products that I’ve recommended this last quarter included – Digital Photography Secrets (a camera technique series), Pro Photo Secrets (a photoshop product) and SEO Book (Aaron’s legendary resource).

7. ProBlogger Job Boards

Jobboardheader
Not spectacular earnings but growing. I see this more as a service to readers than an income stream at this point – however it does pay for itself and bring in a few hundred dollars each month.

8.Performancing’s Partners Network

The now defunct ad network did bring in a few hundred dollars last quarter. I was sad to see this close as it offered an interesting alternative.

9. BlogAds

Blog-Ads
I don’t use them much these days but they do bring in a little each month. I noticed BlogAds decrease in performance for me around the time they went to the new version. I’m not sure if it’s my problem or theirs but apart from one blog I rarely see any sales these days.

How Much Do I Spend?

A question that I’m regularly asked when I do such posts is ‘how much do you spend’ to earn what you earn?

The answer is ‘very little’.

I do experiment occasionally with using AdWords to promote my blogs – but don’t have the time or patience to get into it heavily (the biggest month I’ve had with AdWords ever is $100 – just over $3 a day). Other than that I don’t do any paid promotional activities and my costs are really just hosting related and the normal ISP and office costs.