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“This is the best thing that’s ever happened to me!” says Brian Clark on Page Rank Decreases

An Interview with Brian Clark

Yesterday when I posted that the new Teaching Sells resource has just launched I mentioned that I would have an interview with one of it’s founders Brian Clark from Copyblogger. Brian has understandably had a pretty hectic few days – but was generous enough to give us some time to explore a little more of what Teaching Sells is about.

Brian-Clark

Where does blogging fit into your own personal overall online business strategy?

Well, it would be silly to say that blogging isn’t an important part of everything I’ve been doing. I’ve spent over 18 months blogging at Copyblogger, trying to get better and better every week and attract more subscribers. I guess the key word in my blogging strategy is “attract,” though. Once you have a relationship with readers, that opens up whole new opportunities to have a direct financial relationship with them, rather than selling them to advertisers.

But it’s also crucial to remember that there are ways to make money without blogging and with very little free content. And that’s all tied to having something to sell.

Why did you start the course?

This project came together like most do for me. I rarely do anything on my own—I’ll either partner up with someone for marketing purposes, or I’ll partner with someone to do a project, or I’ll put together a team, like a producer does.

In this case, Tony Clark and I came to realize that we both had wildly succeeded with educational marketing and training approaches to paid content. It just took off from there.

What do you say to people who say ‘can’t people get this all for free elsewhere?’

I’d say first that it’s a rare breed of person who will actually do that. People who are online-savvy are not like the vast majority of people, but they make the mistake that others are like them. These people often never make any money, because they fail to realize that they have skills that “normal” people don’t.

What we teach, however, goes beyond that. When you position your paid content in a unique way, no one can really say they can get it free elsewhere. A unique perspective is not freely available, and it’s often a unique perspective that truly gets through to people.

So is it fair to say that those who have been blogging haven’t been wasting time, but rather creating a launching pad for bigger and better things?

Absolutely. Listen – I’ve been told by more than one Internet marketing “guru” that I’m wasting my time with an audience of bloggers. That they’ll never buy anything.

That’s crazy. Bloggers have done something that most people who buy Internet marketing “dream” materials have never done—they’ve taken action. They’ve actually done something, and that’s huge.

A blog to me is like an aircraft carrier… it’s the platform that you launch everything else off of. It’s the spoke in the wheel, and there are $100-million-dollar-a-year email publishing business models that follow the same strategy.

Just be smart about your free content, and have something to sell. That’s what’s worked for me for the last 10 years.

How practical do you get in Teaching Sells? Is it just theory or do you show people how to do it?

That’s the great thing about the interactive training format we use and teach. It’s to get beyond theory and to have people actually building sites. We do spend time telling people “why” they’re doing things, because that’s important. But the focus is on the how, and an approach that gets people excited about taking action.

How did you feel about the whole Google PageRank Fiasco?

Call me crazy, but I woke up, saw all the frenzy, and thought “This is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” I’ve been warning people about relying on Google, and here comes proof-I follow all the rules, and still I get dinged.

The fact that this happened on the day I was launching a training program that shows people how to get away from relying on Google? That was a gift.

Thanks to Brian for answering my questions. I should add that I’m really enjoying participating in Teaching Sells. There are already some cool things happening among those that have joined. There is a forum area where people are encouraged to team up and work together on projects – I have a feeling that we’re going to see some great collaborations emerge out of that as people apply the principles being taught.

WordCamp Melbourne – Speakers and Sponsors Locked In

Picture 6-6WordCamp Melbourne (17 November) is shaping up to be a pretty cool event. James just announced that there’s already a sponsor and that there’s a program shaping up with Alex Shiels from Automatic, Christine Davis, James Farmer, Alister Cameron and myself already confirmed.

It’s going to be a great afternoon – and there’s even door prizes! RSVP here.

See the full details at We’ve got a program – and a supporter!

PageRank/AdSense Clarification – I’m not Funny

A quick clarification. In my post announcing that I’d taken a PageRank hit last night I mentioned that perhaps it was because I’d taken AdSense off my blog. I included a little smiley face next to that because it was something that I said – not believing was true for a second. There’s no chance that this is the reason.

I thought it was obvious that I was joking and not serious – but unfortunately I assumed incorrectly that people would see this and today have seen 10 or so bloggers reporting that this is what I think.

I’ve since updated that post to remove the smiley face and include a ‘joking’ comment. Sorry for the confusion – I think I’ll leave the jokes for others in future.

Teaching Sells – 12 Weeks of Training in the Future of Paid Content

Teaching SellsRegular readers of ProBlogger will have already heard about the free Teaching Sells report from Brian Clark and Tony Clark. Brian and Tony released this report just over a week ago and have released update reports since.

Today they have just announced the followup teaching course to the report. Actually it’s multiple (5) courses because they’re offering 3 months of teaching to Charter members.

The courses cover these areas:

  1. How to Create Content That Sells
  2. How to Effectively Market Interactive Learning Environments
  3. How to Create Killer Multimedia Content with Quick and Easy Tools
  4. Seven Profitable Business Models for Interactive Content Developers
  5. Your Blueprint for Building Membership Sites with Open Source and Low-Cost Software

I’ve just taken a work through the first course and it’s really good. It includes a mixture of articles, visual presentations, audio files, assignments/quizzes and discussion areas for members to interact with one another.

The cost of Teaching Sells is $97 for the three months that these five courses will be rolled out. This is an introductory special price that runs out at midnight on 31st October (must be some sort of Halloween thing). Is it value for money? I look at it as an investment of $8 a week for the 12 weeks of the courses – in my mind that’s value. I’m also comforted by the money back guarantee which gives you 30 days to change your mind.

At the end of the three months you can either continue to be a Teaching Sells member (with more training) or end your membership.

I am really excited by what Brian and Tony have put together and can’t wait to participate in the five courses as they are rolled out. I’m also excited that the affiliate program that they have attached to this (which I’m participating in) is not an open slather one that anyone can participate in. It’s limited to people who’ve actually experienced the course – to participate you have to be a member of it as I am.

The reason what they’re doing excites me is that I’ve long held the belief that while it’s possible to make good money directly from a blog – that there’s also a lot of opportunity in leveraging the profile and traffic that a blog can bring and launching something bigger. The problem most bloggers face though is that they don’t know how to take the next step. This practical course is designed to help us all do this.

Click here to learn more about and enroll in Teaching Sells

Want to know more? To explore the course and the reasons for it more I’ve got an interview with Brian coming up in the next 24 hours – stay tuned.

Are You Prepared for a Worst Case Blogging Scenario?

Today I we had to postpone a family holiday due to our little guy being sick and I got thinking about ‘backup plans’ and being prepared for worst case scenarios.

[Read more...]

ProBlogger – PageRank 4

Wow – this is an interesting one.

ProBlogger’s page rank is currently at a 4 – and so is Digital Photography School.

I’d heard blogs had been penalized in their page rank recently for selling text links – bizarre thing is that neither of these two blogs sell links. I’ve never sold text links at DPS and haven’t on ProBlogger for months now – perhaps I was penalized for taking them off!

Both had page ranks of 6 yesterday and previously ProBlogger was a 7. Even jobs.problogger.net has been hit and it’s on a subdomain. Looks like something’s going on over at the Googleplex – is anyone else noticing changes today or did someone over there take offense at something I said? Maybe they don’t like that I took AdSense off ProBlogger (joking).

PS: just noticed Copyblogger is a 4 now too – hmmmm.

UpdateAndy Beard and Daniel Scocco are compiling lists of blogs and other sites impacted by this PageRank ‘update’.

AdSense Introduce ServerSide Ad Management

ManageadsLate last week I took a call from an AdSense rep asking if I’d like to test a new feature that would enable publishers to make changes to their AdSense ads without having to manually change the code on their sites. She called it ‘Serverside’ ad management.

I said yes and the it became available to me yesterday in my AdSense account. I wasn’t going to mention it (because testing new stuff is confidential) but AdSense just announced that it’s coming soon on their blog with a post Coming soon: Make ad changes without replacing code – so I guess I’m free to talk about it!

This is a very useful feature that many publishers have been asking for (for years).

The only real downside that I can see with it so far is that switching over to this style of ‘managing ads’ does take some effort in that to do it you need to replace your old AdSense ad code over to new code. This takes time – particularly if you have a lot of sites with a lot of different ad units.

Manageads LeaderboardHowever once you’ve done it the upsides are huge in that there’s no more digging around in the back end of your blog’s templates to make changes to ad design – you simply log into your AdSense account and make the changes there and the changes will be instantly reflected on your blog.

Those of you who use WidgetBucks will have seen this type of ad management there as they do the same thing by default.

Publishers who are not part of the beta test won’t be able to see this new feature yet – but it’ll be rolled out over the coming weeks. You’ll find it (when you’re upgraded) under your AdSense Setup tab on a new ‘Manage Ads’ option.

Blogging Harder for the Money – The Fall of the US Dollar

Yesterday I was interviewed by an Australian Financial Review journalist about how the falling US dollar is impacting my business. There’s not much to say except that:

  • 95% of my income comes to me in US dollars.
  • 5 Years ago when I started experimenting with blogging for money the US dollar bought about $1.80 AUD.
  • Yesterday it was buying about $1.11 AUD (approximately a 40% reduction)

Exchange-Rate

I’m no economist – but I know I’m working a lot harder to earn the same amount of money these days.

Chart Source

How to Build a Credible Blog

Credible-BlogBuilding Credibility is something that is well worth working on as a blogger. We live in a world where people are increasingly suspicious of information that they’re presented with (particularly online where there’s a lot of dubious information going around) so when people find a credible source of information they tend to become very loyal to it (and they will pass it on to others).

I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of building credibility as a blogger and last year wrote a six part series on the topic which looked at Longevity, Experience, Expertise, Blog Design and 7 other factors that build blog credibility.

Today I came across a slideshow presentation (below) on building credible websites which I think is well worth taking a few minutes to look through. It picks up on some similar themes (and adds others). Thanks to Ankesh from BlogClout who I found this through.

I particularly liked it’s equation of credibility as being:

Perceived Credibility = Perceived Trustworthiness + Perceived Expertise (two big things to work on working on).

Also useful where the 10 Guidelines for Designing Credible Websites (slides 14-24).

What do you think makes a blog or blogger credible?