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How to Find Your Reader’s Questions and Improve Your Blog

103 bees has added a very useful tool to their search terms analysis system.

Previously they enabled users to track what keywords people were using to arrive at your blog but now they’ve added questions analysis.

They’ve worked out a way to tell if a search term is a question or not. As they write on their blog ‘questions carry a lot more valuable information on what the target audience is looking for than just a few keywords do.’

So at ProBlogger when I check to see what the latest questions are I get this:

Questions-1

How useful is that? In effect just by analyzing these 11 questions that brought people to ProBlogger in the last 2 hours I could quite easily have found 11 new topics to write about in upcoming posts.

You’ll notice the ‘page’ link next to each result. This is a link to the page that the question led the reader to on your blog. This is useful to know as it will help you to analyze what you did well on that page in terms of SEO and might even give you some hints of how you might want to optimize that page to increase your SE ranking for such a question.

The ‘ToDo!’ link allows you to make a note of this question in a to do list so that you can follow up on it later.

The only thing I’d love to see added to this feature is some sort of a compilation of the list to see what questions are asked more than other questions. As you can see by the times on the above list – here at ProBlogger there are ALOT of questions that readers seem to be asking to find the blog – too many in fact to fully digest. To see a list of the top questions would be extremely helpful.

I guess until then I’ll need to put some time aside each week to scan through the latest ones and hope that they are representative.

Australian Financial Review on Microsoft Laptop Saga

Darren-Financial-Review-1The Australian Financial Review has a short piece on me and the computer that Microsoft sent me this week. The article also features a comment from Trevor Cook.

AFR’s website is a little bizarre so I’m not sure how long the article will be up and I can’t copy and paste an excerpt from the article so if you can’t access it I’ll include a screen capture of the first part below (click it to enlarge).

One quick correction on the article. While initially there were ‘no strings attached’ on what I did with the machine Microsoft subsequently asked me to either return it to them or give it away (I was already intending on giving it to a charity). They made this request once the laptop was on its way to me.

Just an update on my feelings on the whole Microsoft laptop story:

I don’t have a problem with what Microsoft have done in giving products away for review – but I do hope they’ve learnt a thing or two about how they do it in future. Like I’ve said previously – I think a better approach would have been for them to initially insist upon disclosure of laptop receipt in reviews (they’ve since asked bloggers to do this) and/or to make the machines loan machines.

I do wonder (and told the reporter of this article) why it was necessary to give laptops away with Vista to reviewers. It does make me wonder about how Vista runs on older and slower machines.

My own review will be a couple of weeks away. I’ve only just received it this Wednesday and next week we’re away for the week (remember Tony Hung will be guest blogging here from Monday) and I won’t be taking the laptop (or any computer) with me.

I also will still give the laptop to a charity at the end of my time reviewing it. I’ve chosen the charity (thanks to the many emails from bloggers saying that they’d like it) but still need to confirm with that charity that they need/want it.

[Read more...]

WordPress 2.0.6 Upgrade Available

If you’re a WordPress blogger you’ll want to take a look at this post over at WP’s Development blog announcing an upgrade to WordPress 2.0.6. It’s a security upgrade and therefore something to pay attention to.

They also note that this is the last update before the release of WP 2.1 which is now in it’s beta phase.

I’ve had a glimpse of 2.1 and it has some nice features – looking forward to getting it here at PB.

Lifehacker – An Example of what Helpful and Positive Blogging Can Do

Logo TextThe Wall Street Journal had a nice piece on Gina Trapani’s Lifehacker yesterday at Lifehacker Draws Visitors With Time-Saving Tech Tips.

Lifehacker is a standout blog in my opinion and a prime example of how blogs can be more than just creating noise and clutter on the web by actually providing useful content to their readers. The quote of the article that sums it all up for me was from Robert Scoble:

“”She focuses on information that’ll make her readers’ lives more productive,” said Robert Scoble, author of the Scobleizer blog and a former Microsoft Corp. blogger. “That’s quite different from other bloggers who share gossip, give opinions or break news.”"

I think news blogs have a place and can be quite successful – but if I were starting a new blog today I’d be focussing more upon a style of blogging that is ‘helpful’ in nature as it’s the type of blog that not only draws people in, but that develops loyalty among it’s readership.

It’s also a much easier style of blog to monetize in some ways either through the development of products to sell readers (loyal readers are much more likely to buy something than one off readers) and also through affiliate products of other people’s quality resources.

The other great quote from the article was:

“Ms. Trapani, who manages a staff of three writers, is something of an anomaly among bloggers. She avoids writing about herself and her posts are free of the sarcasm and snarky attitude that other blogs — particularly those on technology — use as calling cards. The former software programmer says she prefers to stay out of the limelight. Any publicity about herself, instead of the site, “makes me want to climb under my desk and hide,” she said. “But that’s just my inner geek.”"

Perhaps this is more of a personal preference than anything but the other reason I am drawn to Lifehacker is the voice that it is written in. It’s a remarkably positive blog and I often come away from it in a slightly better mood than I was in when I got to it. As a result there’s a lot of goodwill towards Lifehacker in it’s readership (and in the wider blogosphere). Also – despite it’s size – it’s one of those few large techie blogs that usually has a positive vibe i it’s comments – this has a lot to do with the way it’s written in my humble opinion as that has a lot to do with the type of reader interaction it attracts.

It’s no wonder that they’ve tripled their readership in the last year.

Speedlinking – 6 January 2007

  • Aaron has started a series of posts titled Podcasting Essentials where he’s going to be unpacking some of the lessons from starting his own podcast.
  • Do you have a Bad Back or Sore neck from all those hours in front of the computer? Web Worker Daily has some exercises that all good ProBloggers need to learn.
  • Graywolf takes a cynical look at Google reader and wonders out loud how much of the data they’re collecting there is impacting their Search algorithms. I have to say I’ve been thinking similar things lately – its just one more reason to work on your RSS subscriber levels.
  • TechCrunch announced the addition of forums today – seems to be something in the air with blogs and forums at the moment.

2007 Bloggies Open for Nominations

The Seventh Annual Weblog Awards is now open for nominations for it’s 2007 awards.

This is one of the bigger annual blog awards with a fairly broad selection of categories so head over and start nominating – but before you do – how about taking a few minutes to run through your RSS feed and nominate a few blogs that are not the ‘usual suspects’. Hopefully in doing so this year’s nominations list will be a touch broader and multi dimensional than in previous years.

Email Newsletter Services – What do You Use?

I’m looking for a new email newsletter solution – does anyone have any recommendations?

I’m looking for a service that will handle multiple newsletters with 15,000 or more subscribers on a weekly basis, that will be reliable, that’s not too expensive (I don’t mind paying something), that is easy to use and that has a nice array of features and tracking capabilities.

Please hit me with your recommendations and experiences!

Performancing and PayPerPost Deal is Off

In news that I suspect will please many Performancing users Nick Wilson is just about to announce that their deal to sell some of their assets to PayPerPost is off.

Nick writes:

“After much discussion, we’ve decided that the deal proposed by PayPerPost just isnt right for us or our community. It’s regrettable that we should part ways as I still feel that Dan and Ted are stand up guys breaking new ground, but in the end, the deal was just not right for them or us.”

Instead – their metrics package will become Open Source which means it will end but become available to the developer community to do with as they please.

While it’s sad that their metrics program will close I think it’s a smart move not to sell to PPP as there have been many bloggers complaining about the deal since it was announced and some have already cancelled their metrics accounts.

Nick suggests that those lookign for a good metrics service try out Feedburners package which has just been launched.

Performancing will continue developing their Parters advertising program, their firefox blog editing tool is still being moved to the new brand and domain – ScribeFire.

More details on a post by Nick that will go live on the performancing blog shortly.

Update: PayPerPost has posted of this announcement on their own blog and I’m interested to see that they’re claiming to have walked away from the deal (where Performancing seemed to indicate in Nick’s statement above that they called it off). PPP write:

‘After much discussion and heartache we have decided to walk away from the Performancing deal. We listened to our Posties and other Metrics users, dug into the Metrics platform and regretfully found that it wasn’t what we were looking for right now.’

Seems like an odd way to go about acquiring an asset – announce it, then do the digging. I wonder what the real story is.

AdBrite InVideo Video Player and Advertising

Logo-Top-NewI just saw the promo page of the new video solution/player that AdBrite are about to launch for bloggers and webmasters who want to use video on their sites and monetize it. It’s called ‘InVideo’ (beta) and it’s got some features that have me interested (if only I used video).

Here’s how they’re promoting it’s features:

  • Fully customizable video player, easy-to-use, and 100% free
  • Brand your videos with your own custom logo “watermark”
  • “Split-screen” ads engage users without interrupting viewing experience
  • Sharing features promote your site when your videos get “viral”
  • Earn money from your videos, even when they’re embedded into other peoples’ Web sites

There’s no word on what they’ll be paying for the ads but it looks like a service well worth testing if you’re using video on your blog.

found via Monetize Traffic