Bravisa – Another Online Shop

Bravisa LogoIn the last 12 months there has been a lot of activity in the online shop space. We’ve seen Chitika’s Shoplincs, Zlio and Amazon’s aStore.

I’ve personally used each of the three and have only had any real success with Shoplincs.

So today when another shop service came onto my radar – Bravisa – I wasn’t overly excited. But to be fair they are a little different (or seem to be) from the others above in that they seem to have direct links with manufacturers of products.

I’m yet to test Bravisa (how many shops can a blogger use!) but they seem to offer a nice range of products in a range of areas (from Pet Products, to Health and Beauty to Clothing) and could therefore be a good fit for some niche blogs who are struggling to find a monetization stream that fits with their topic.

The revenue model is similar to retail – the manufacturer names their price – you add a markup and Bravisa takes a 10% commission from your markup for providing you with the shop and back end (they handle all the payment system etc).

All looks good with Bravisa – however I’m probably not going to test it personally because of my previous experience with shops (and the fact that I’m happy with the one that’s working for me). However if you try it – give us a shout with a review in comments below to let us know how you find the service and features.

Giving Underperforming Posts a Second Chance with Updates

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again….

Have you ever written a post that you thought would hit the spot with your readers, generate lots of interest and/or stimulate a great conversation and then find it fell flat on it’s face?

I have – in fact it happens all the time for a variety of reasons:

  • Sometimes your posts fall over because other stories break in the blogosphere and hog all the attention
  • Perhaps you just had some bad luck and the right influential blogger didn’t happen to see your post (and spread the word)
  • At other times its because you posted on the wrong day of the week
  • Or perhaps you wrote the post in the early days of your blog before you really had any readers to read it
  • Alternatively it can be simply that your post wasn’t good enough

Many of these unsuccessful posts slide off the front page of a blog never to be seen or thought about again (by your readers or by you) – however, perhaps in time, they deserve a second chance. After all, you’ve put work into researching and writing them and with a second chance in the spotlight they could actually reach their potential and become more fruitful and rewarding to you as a blogger.

Over the last few weeks I’ve experimented on a number of occasions with giving old posts that I felt hadn’t lived up to their potential a second chance. I’ve done this in a few different ways with varying degrees of success but wanted to share the method that was most successful for me (as well as a few others at the end of this post).

Reposted Update

The most successful of my experiments with giving old posts a second chance have been reposting them on the front page of a blog with updates.

I did this a few days back with a post on DPS on Slow Sync Flash. The previous version of the post had been posted back in January when my readership was considerably smaller than it currently is (ie most of my current readers wouldn’t have seen it before) and while it had been moderately successful in terms of generating comments I was never completely satisfied with the post (in terms of what I’d written and/or the traffic it got).

So I updated the post with a few tweaks that made it more useful, attractive and relevant and reposted it at the top of my blog (simply by changing the posting date in WordPress). I also included a note that it was an updated post at the end of the post.

IMPORTANT NOTE – I am able to do this at DPS because I have a permalink structure that does not include dates (ie it is just the BlogName/PostName not BlogName/Date/PostName as it is here at ProBlogger. if you have dates in your permalink structure you shouldn’t use this method as you’ll end up with a new URL for the post which can mean you lose any SEO ranking your previous version of the post had.

The results of this updated repost were significant with a front page appearance on Digg, large StumbleUpon traffic, being featured on the front page of Delicious and link ups from many blogs including a few authoritative ones.

The advantage of this method is that the post not only gets a second chance in the spotlight – but because it’s an established post with some Search Engine Ranking – the combination of the content being updated and new comments being added (SE’s like fresh content), the appearance on your front page and the extra links that the post might generate means that the post will build it’s SEO authority.

The danger of this approach is that if you do it too often with posts that most of your readers will have seen before you run the risk of them becoming disillusioned with you. I don’t have a problem with updating old posts to make them more relevant and useful – but some of your readers might get a bit sick of reading the same old stuff if you do it too often.

This approach works best on evergreen or timeless posts – particularly ‘how to’ or ‘tips’ posts.

Other ways of updating content and giving it a second chance

The reposted update is something that has worked very well for me on a number of occasions. However there are other ways to give an older post a second chance including:

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Blog Bash 07 – More details of New York Bloggers Day

I’m happy to announce some further details of the ProBlogger/b5media Blog Training Day and Meetup in New York that I’ve previously mentioned.

Name – ‘Blog Bash 07’
Date – 9 June
Times – 10am – 4.30pm for training and from 7pm til late for a Networking Meetup
Price – $100 USD or $75 early bird discount (includes the party) – We need to confirm a price for those wanting to just come for the Party.
Place – DoubleTree Metropolitan Hotel (569 Lexington Ave NY)

The day’s events are shaping up to be pretty fun and informative. Here’s more on what’s happening, what’s included in the price, who will benefit from coming, why we’ve priced it this way and more.

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Top 5 – Group Writing Project Day 3

Today’s Submissions to this week’s ProBlogger Group Writing Project have again blown me away (and proved to be quite a distraction for blogging, eating…. and getting out of my PJs!). In today’s batch there were 222 taking total participants in the project up to 596!

There’s still time to enter the project – with around 24 hours until your time is up (I’ll cut off acceptance of entries when the clock strikes midnight in Honalulu (which I think is pretty close to being the last place to see the day). To be included in the last day’s submissions and go in the running for the $1001 cash prize simply follow the process outlined in this post.

Why Chitika Rocks #3

Continuing my mini series on why Chitika, our sponsor of this project, rocks today I want to talk about another of their products – their new free BlogBash ebook. This is a collection of blog tips from 30 blog experts written over the month of April.

Submissions in this free resource are on a wide range of topics and contain some really excellent advice from bloggers like Chris Pirillo, Monolo, Joel Comm, Jeremy Wright, Neil Patel, Aaron Wall, Andy Merrett, Liz Strauss, Wendy Piersall and even one from me.

It’s well worth a look.

Day 3 Submissions

Once again you’ll want to equip yourself with some snacks and a drink to tackle this list. Having already surfed most of it today I can tell you that there are all kinds of posts in the list. I laughed, I shook my head, I nodded in agreement, I shook my head in wonder and I added a few blogs to my RSS reader (and once or twice did all of that on the one blog).

I hope you enjoy today’s submissions as much as I have. Don’t forget to link up to them, leave comments, subscribe to feeds and do a little bookmarking with those posts that resonate with you the most.
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Melbourne Bloggers Meetup – 23 May

Melbourne Bloggers – you’re invited to come out for an evening of fun and networking at the Melbourne Bloggers Meetup.

Follow that link for full details and to RSVP and come have a drink with me on Wednesday 23 May at the Horse Bazaar Bar in Melbourne’s CBD.

Pass on the invitation to anyone you think might be interested.

PS: for New York Bloggers – stay tuned for an announcement tomorrow with more details of the NY event that we’re planning for 9 June.

5 Ways to Enhance Your Creativity

This week I’ve been exploring the topic of Creativity and how to be a more creative blogger (see the previous posts on the creative process and attitudes of creative people). The first part explored methods of creativity, yesterday I shared some attitudes of creative people and today I’d like to get a little more practical and will share a few ways that I one might bring a little extra creativity into their lives.

How to Enhance Creativity

1. Stimulate Yourself

Most of us know the theory of ‘what goes in determines what comes out’ pretty well when it comes to our physical bodies – however the same principle applies when it comes to our minds.

I find that the more I stimulate myself with a variety of new sounds, sights, ideas, conversations, tastes, people etc the more creative ideas that seem to come out. I’m no scientist but am assured by friends who study this type of thing that stimulating your mind with ‘new’ things is very good for it.

So you hereby have permission to take yourself to see a movie, to read a book, treat yourself to a magazine, to make a new friend, to buy yourself a new CD, to try a new radio station and even to take a trip and visit a new culture!

Regularly stretch and exercise your brain and you’ll be surprised what it can produce when you call on it to perform.

2. Give Yourself Space

When it comes to physical fitness we know that exercise is a good thing – but so is rest.

I once heard of a study that was done on different groups of people to determine how much work they should do each week to be most productive on an hourly basis.

The finding was that six solid days work and one day with complete rest was the best balance for being productive.

If you’re anything like me, life’s pretty busy and the concept of space or rest can be a challenge – however if you want to be a productive and creative person you need to prioritize it.

I find that the best way to have times of relaxation in my week is to schedule them. Grab your diary and block out time to ‘just be’ over the next few weeks.

I give myself hour long breaks each day (at least one), days off each week and longer breaks off every few months.

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Top 5 – Group Writing Project Day 2

Top-5Today is the first time that I’ve run a Group Writing project where the submissions have come in faster than I am able to read them all (I will read them all though!). You readers have blown me away today by the sheer numbers of you throwing yourselves into this project and by the creativity and diversity of your approaches.

Today we’ve had 242 submissions which on top of yesterdays 132 means we’ve already hit 374 bloggers participating (around 30 more than our previously most popular project – with still 2 days to go).

If you haven’t put your post in yet – there’s only two days to go. To enter and go into the draw for the $1001 prize read the instruction on this post and get your submission in.

The Prize and Why Chitika Rocks – #4

As a little thank you to the sponsor of this Group Writing Project (did I mention they’re putting up $1001?) I’m writing a mini series of comments about the – My Top 5 Reasons that Chitika Rocks. Today we’re counting down to number 4.

RpuOne of the best converting ad units from Chitika that I run on a few of my blogs is the Related Products Unit (RPU). These units simply look at the keywords that you suggest to them (I link them to the headline of my post) and then provide a text link to 3 related products. These are CPC units and they convert brilliantly – especially if you place them at the end of a post about a product (ie these won’t work as well on non product related posts).

Even though these ads appear at the bottom of my posts they convert as well (if not better) than ads I have above the fold. They’re gold! RPUs wont work for everyone (and Chitika do have a few requirements for publishers before they allow them to be used but if they let you into the program I’d highly recommend testing them on a product related blog.

Today’s Submissions

Warning – before tackling this list (and you’ll want to!) you’re going to need some supplies. Grab a coffee or beer (a six pack would probably be enough) as well as a snack (or two). There are some great reads in this list – please surf by as many as you can, comment, link up and spread some group writing project cheer!

Here are today’s submissions (PS: after the list is a list of the most clicked on links from yesterday’s submissions):
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Google Analytics Gets an Upgrade

Users of Google Analytics will be happy to hear that it’s about to get an upgrade. The Google Analytics official blog reports the New Version and says that it includes a redesigned reporting interface, new email and export reports, custom dashboard, trend and over-time graph and more contextual help tips.

This upgrade will be rolled out over the coming weeks and users will have access to the old version for a month.

Search Engine Land has some screenshots of the new version.

update: Speaking of Metrics Packages and Upgrades – Sitemeter users will notice some changes to their stats today also. It largely seems to be a cosmetic at this stage with a new logo and color scheme but it’s definitely easier on the eye. They seem to be rolling this out on their different servers right now.

Blogger Earnings – How Much Money Can Bloggers Earn?

I get the question of ‘How Much Can Bloggers Earn?’ quite a bit.

Paula Neal Mooney has put together an interesting list of Bloggers and the Salaries that they make from their blogging. It’s a list that I suspect has taken her considerable time to put together.

While this type of list is pretty difficult to put together accurately (some bloggers talk about their earnings explicitly while others are a little more general – and I’m sure there are many bloggers not on the list because they don’t disclose earnings at all) it does show the type of money that some bloggers are making.

My own place on the list is one of the more ‘vague’ ones. Paula estimates that I earn between $120,000 and $1,200,000…. she’s right :-)