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How to Monitor the Quality of StumbleUpon Advertising Campaigns

In a guest post Neil Matthews of ClickQualityConsultant.com writes about how we can monitor the quality of paid visits from a StumbleUpon advertising campaigns.

Darren advocates using paid advertising from StumbleUpon in his post Run a StumbleUpon Advertising campaign for your blog, as a way to build your blog’s audience. In this post I would like to expand on this and talk about how to monitor the click quality of your paid Stumbles to see if this type advertising is the correct fit for your blog.

What do I mean by click quality? I mean that the clicks are bringing a return on the advertising investment you make. This will vary from blog to blog. You may be after an increase in subscribers, for people to click more often on ASsense ads or that they contact you for consulting services. If you are spending money on StumbleUpon clicks you need to know how the campaign is performing and if this type of advertising works for your blog.

Firstly a quick recap on StumbleUpon (SU). I like to think of SU as TV channel surfing for the net. The Stumbler installs a toolbar into their browser, sets the type of site they are interested in and begins to stumble. SU selects a site at random from their database which matches your likes and sends it to your browser for your surfing pleasure. If the site is of interest you, you may engage and begin reading more deeply, you can then grant a thumbs up or down to the site to show if you approve of the content of not. The other option is just to skip past the site surfing for a new channel.

Running a paid SU advertising campaign, you pay 5 cents per display to have your site presented to the Stumblers in the demographic group you select. Your daily cost is set by the number of displays you want per day. For example 500 displays per day will cost 25 USD.

Stumblers are notoriously fickle, and if you are paying for clicks, it is important to check if the campaign is producing quality clicks, or are people just clicking away from your site. SU has its own quality check, it shows how many people have given you the thumbs up or down, this is reliant on the visitor, we need more quantifiable analytics to see if this form of advertising is bringing you any return on your investment.

The first thing to do is to highlight which referrals from SU are paid and which are organic. To do this, I amend the landing page of my campaign by adding a parameter to the end of the landing page URL for example:

http://www.clickqualityconsultant.com/?source=su

Note that I use su rather than stumbleupon. Using the term stubleupon in paid ads is against their editorial policy and your ad will be rejected.

Next I analyse that traffic with an analytics package. For the purpose of this post I am using Google Analytics, it is free and very simple to use. Installing GA is relatively simple. To collect metrics you will need to create an account and then install a piece of JavaScript code onto every page you want to monitor. I have the code installed into the footer of my wordpress theme so that every page is monitored. Please refer to the Analytics site for details on installation.

Once my SU ad is running and I have collected a decent enough number of clicks for statistical analysis (a couple of hundred should suffice) I move onto the process of identifying the quality of those clicks.

From the analytics package I can get an overview of the landing pages on my site, as we can see from the screen dump I received 179 clicks from StumbleUpon

stumbleupon-advertising.jpeg

Drilling down into this metrics I am presented with the behaviour of the visitors from the stumble upon source

stumbleupon-advertising-2.jpeg

This give me good and bad news, only 12.35% of the visitors are bouncing away from my site immediately, there is a certain level of stickiness about the page and people on average are spending 41 seconds on my landing page. I am getting the engagement I was looking for, the disappointing side of this campaign is that nearly 90% of the visitors are reading one page and then leaving, there is no depth to their visit. That is the area I would focus on improving.

I think my problem is that I am sending Stumblers to my home page rather than to a specific landing post which can draw readers in more deeply.

Do I think I was getting good quality clicks from SU? Not really, the action I want is for visitors to move from the content into my consulting page. I would probably be better served sending traffic directly to that page rather than the home page.

Using this information I could the split test another landing page with a different source parameter and see how the two stack up against one another.

How do you decide if SU works for you? I would say the following metrics need to be analysed for your campaign:

  • Bounce rate – are visitors staying or moving on straight away. A sub 50% bounce rate is good
  • Length of visit – How long are people engaging on your sit, if it is only a second or two, less than the time it takes to read you posts, this is a bad sign?
  • Depth of visit – Are people reading more than one posts, have you caught the readers attention?
  • Goals – Google analytics has the option which allows you to set goals, in this example the goal was to move from the landing page to my consulting page. My research suggests that a 1% conversion rate of visits to goals is the minimum you should look for.

I have used this method across a number of different platforms including Facebook social ads, and when I buy advertising banner space. Monitoring and testing the quality of your paid advertising is the key to a good return on investment. If you don’t get the quality you need from that advertising source, drop the campaign and spend your money on quality clicks. If SU is poor consider Adwords, Yahoo, Facebook, MySpace or one of the many other paid internet marketing programmes.

Can I add a caveat to close this post? You may be tempted to use this method to reconcile the number of clicks paid for to the number of clicks received, but I would say that Google Analytics data can be wrong due to people running their browser with JavaScript disabled. If the code on you page is not activated, then no visit data will be captured. Click fraud investigations require log file analysis tools to ensure the validity of your claims.

Test your quality, make incremental changes and test again. This is the way to get the best bang for your buck.

Amazon Video Widgets – Earn Money From the Amazon Affiliate Program and Video

Amazon have launched a new handy Video Widget that will interest many bloggers wanting to combine the use of video and the Amazon Affiliate program.

The widget allows you to make a video and then upload it to Amazon to be hosted where you can add little pop-up product links and pictures that appear throughout the video.

You can choose which products appear and then time the product appearances to the moment in the video that you mention the product you’re talking about.

This video widget will be most effective when you’re reviewing products and I think could convert well.

Here’s a quick video that I just made – excuse the quality of the video (it’s jumpy and out of sync). It’s not Amazon’s hosting but is my fault as my laptop was doing too many things at once as I recorded it.

The video was shot in 1 minute and it only took me 3 minutes to upload and a further 2 to add the products. Not bad for 6 minutes work.

I’m on BlogTalkRadio Today

At 5pm Pacific time today (10am Melbourne time) I’m being interviewed by Wayne Hurlbert (his blog) on Blog Talk Radio.

If you’re around and have the time it should be a fun interview. I’m told there will be downloadable recording of it in the coming days also and I’ll post the link to it as I get it.

PS: Wayne has been kind enough to do a review of the ProBlogger book.

Why I Use Aweber To Deliver My Newsletters

Yesterday I announced the re-launch of the ProBlogger Newsletter (there have been 500+ new subscribers added to the list from last time bringing it to a total of around 16,000 – the first newsletter will come out next week) and since doing so I’ve had a number of questions about why I use newsletters, ‘how’ I deliver newsletter (AWeber), why I’ve chosen the tool that I have and why I have chosen a service that isn’t free.

Rather that responding to each person individually I thought it’d make a useful post for others considering adding a newsletter to their blog.

Why Do I Use Newsletters?

This is a common question and one that understandably puzzles some bloggers. Afterall – we’re all told that RSS is the best technology and email is dying…. or is it?

Back in 2005 I wrote a post titled Why Email Newsletters Can Improve Your Blog – I don’t tend to link back to posts that are three years old but my reasons for starting to use newsletters are still valid today:

  • Increased Readership
  • Promotion of Posts
  • Build Community
  • Improve Your Blog
  • Drive Sales
  • Email is familiar and Easy to Use

All I’ll really add to the list is that on the days that I send out my photography newsletters my blog comes alive with extra visitors, many more comments than normal, participation in polls, ad performance, affiliate sales and more.

If I happen to miss sending an email one week (or I’m late) the activity is not there and I get emails from readers asking where it is.

Which Tool Do I Use?

Let me start with the easy question – which tool do I use?

AWeber

I’ve been using AWeber to deliver my photography newsletters since last year.

Why AWeber?

Regular readers know my painful story of having to switch from a free newsletter service to AWeber so I won’t rehash it all here (you can read the full version here) – but the long and short of it is that I invested a lot of time and energy into building my newsletter list up over years with a free service only to find that it became unreliable and ended up suspending it’s service – leaving me with no way to get my newsletters out. At this time I began to investigate other services and after the recommendation of many friends and readers decided to switch to a paid service.

In addition to being convinced by the recommendation of others it was the feature list that attracted me to AWeber. Since signing up they’ve upgraded their service and feature list a couple of times – it’s always a good sign to see a company improving and developing.

Some of the features that I enjoy:

Unlimited lists in the one account – some providers charge per list. So I have a photography list (two actually) and a problogger list.

Unlimited emails – some services charge per email that you send. I can send as many as I want each month to as many lists as I want.

Autoresponders – put together a sequence of emails that you want to send readers so that when they sign up for a mini course they get them sent out in an order and timing that you choose. For example on my photography site I’m going to put together a 10 part free mini-course on the basics of photography that will get sent out to readers once a week over 10 weeks. It’s a great way to connect people into your course and add value for readers.

Deliverability – this was a big one for me. Using my last free service I was getting very high numbers of bounced emails and emails being labeled as spam. It wasn’t unusual to see 20-30% of my emails not even getting delivered. My last 5 emails with AWeber had between 0.1 and 2.6% of emails undelivered. This means literally thousands of readers are getting emails that previously didn’t.

Text and HTML Emails – I like to send HTML emails to my photography readers as they are a very visual bunch. AWeber just added 27 new templates to the ones they already had. As someone who is not very design capable these save me a lot of time and I’ve had a lot of great feedback from readers. For those readers who can’t get HTML emails there is the option to send a text version too.

Analytics – AWeber has more ways to track the activity of your subscribers use of your newsletter than I’d ever experienced before. Not only can you track which links in your newsletter get clicked (very very handy) it allows you to

  • split test different versions of your newsletter to see which works best
  • to see how different web forms on your blog perform
  • to track what time of day readers open emails and click links
  • to send emails only to certain subscribers (based upon what they’ve clicked previously)
  • to track where on your website readers are going after they click on a link

The list goes on…. and on….

In fact there are so many ways of tracking readers and testing how your emails convert that it takes time to apply them all.

Blog Newsletters – I’ve actually not used this feature yet but it is handy to know that it is there. It allows you to turn your RSS feed into a newsletter. While you can do this with Feedburner (the service I currently use) AWeber gives a lot more control – it allows you to send these updates not only daily but weekly, monthly etc and to have more control over how they look.

Customer Service – Even before I switched to AWeber I was impressed with the support that they offered. They helped me transfer my previous lists across (it was a bit of a process and they do have to have some safeguards in place to stop Spammers using their system – but we got there) and have answered every question I’ve had of them – usually within hours. They have a live customer support instant messaging service which operates most hours which is very helpful.

Free Trial – There are a lot more features that I’ve not mentioned (and to be honest have not even discovered or tested yet) – but you can test them all for yourself. AWeber offers a free month long trial so you can play with them all to your heart’s content. This is how I got a feel for AWeber before signing up.

Why a Paid Service?

I asked this question of my friends who used AWeber and other paid newsletter services for a long time. There are so many free tools out there available to bloggers that I totally understand why we’re wired to ask it – however for me it came down to this:

  • Newsletters are a Core part of my business as a blogger. They’ve become so valuable that I cannot afford not to have them.
  • I cannot afford to have a service that disappears at some point or becomes unreliable in it’s uptime.
  • I cannot afford to have a service that doesn’t deliver a high rate of email.
  • I wanted a service that I could email and say ‘I’m paying for this – so fix it’.
  • I wanted a service that had high standards and that didn’t get taken over my spammers (one of the reasons my last service became unreliable).

For me this meant I went with AWeber. I can understand why others choose not to pay for a service or go with other options – but for me the arguments and my previous experience said it all.

As mentioned above – Aweber’s model is not to charge per email or per list that you have – but it’s based more upon subscriber numbers. For me this made sense. I wanted the flexibility to send as many emails as I want to my multiple lists. I have also found that as my subscribers grow in number that the list becomes more profitable for me – so I can justify the extra expense when I jump up a price bracket.

Have Your Say?

AWeber will not be for everyone. Some have had good experiences of free services, others have chosen different ones and for others a newsletter is not something that they choose to use. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the topic of newsletters as an extra feature on your blog.

Do you do them? What service do you use?

UPDATE: Also check out Get Response – many bloggers I talk to have had great things to say about this service. They’ve got a similar feature set to Aweber and some great new features.

Want $10? Sign Up for the Pepperjam Affiliate Network Today

pepperjam.pngOne of the innovative new affiliate networks to hit the market in the last 6 months is Pepperjam Network – and today they are offering you $10 as a signup bonus for becoming one of their publishers.

If you want to earn money by recommending products from companies like eBay, Cartoon Network, StarTrek.com, Jelly Belly, Sesame Street, Net Shops, SEOMoz, igourmet and many more (they seem to add new ones every day or two) then PepperJam is a network that you’ll want to test run whether you get the signup bonus or not because they are one of the fastest growing online marketing networks going around (according to MarketingSherpa).

To get the $10 signup bonus you just need to

Not bad – PLUS you’ll then have access to a wonderful new range of affiliate programs to promote to help you make more.

How Many Posts Should You Show On Your Blog’s Front Page?

@tcdzomba (on Twitter) asked me – “Do u have a post up about how many blog posts to keep on the front page of the blog?

It’s not a topic that I’ve written about specifically before so let me write on that topic now for you and open it up for some discussion (looking forward to seeing what others think).

I’ve never put a lot of thought into the number of posts on a blog’s front page before and think that it probably varies a little from blog to blog.

There are two main factors that I like to achieve on a blog’s front page:

1. Highlighting a variety of posts – my personal preference is to have more than one or two posts on the front page so that when new readers come to it they are more likely to find something that interests them to read.

While blogs with just one post on the front page are definitely ‘cleaner’ and can be quite visually pleasing I worry a little that they miss out on connecting with readers who come and don’t find that one post to connect with them.

2. Not too much clutter and length – I find this hard to achieve and it’s a balancing act with point #1 – but I don’t like to have my front page as being too long or too overwhelming.

As a result I try to use ‘excerpts’ on my front page – giving readers the title and a taste (a paragraph or two) of each article and the option to click a link to read more.

While I know some bloggers don’t like these excerpts/extended entries (some believe blogger do it to increase page views) I do it simply so I can highlight more posts on the front page and shorten the length of the overall page.

Another option is to use larger segments of your posts in ‘feature posts’ and to show shorter excerpts from other posts (or even just titles).

It’s a Balancing Act

As with many aspects of blogging – it’s something that you need to balance. Some blogs lend themselves more to featuring full posts on front pages, others can get away with excerpts more. Some blogs have 20-30 posts on the front page while others just have one.

I guess it’s partly personal preference and partly working out what works with your topic and readership.

What’s Your Preference?

How many posts do you have on the front page of your blog?

Do you use excerpts or full posts on the front page?

Why have you made the decision as you have?

The ProBlogger Newsletter is Back

Today I’m pleased to announce that the ProBlogger Newsletter is Back!

Add Your Email Address Here to Subscribe

Early on in the life of ProBlogger I produced a weekly newsletter that ran parallel to this blog.

I did this as a way for readers to keep in touch with the latest information about the blog, get a little exclusive inside information on what I’d been doing, to promote new products and services available to bloggers and to make advance announcements about ProBlogger. The newsletter was well received by readers in the main, I could tell this from the emails I’d receive on those weeks that I didn’t get one out on time as people often emailed to ask where it was (always a good sign).

The service that I was previously using to provide these newsletters became quite unreliable and I also became quite busy and so six or so months ago I brought them to a halt. I regularly get emails from subscribers asking if I plan on bringing the newsletter back so have decided that now is the time to do so. I’ve moved the list of subscribers onto my new newsletter service provider (Aweber) and the first newsletter will go out later this week.

Those of you who were on the newsletter previously will be automatically subscribed. If you no longer wish to get them – simply unsubscribe when you get the first email.

For those of you who were not previously subscribed (or if you can’t remember) you can subscribe using the following form:

Add Your Email Address Here to Subscribe

If you’re not sure if you’re subscribed – subscribe again and it will weed out duplicate emails.

What is this newsletter about?

Frequency: I will aim to produce this newsletter on a weekly basis but reserve the right to scale it back to twice a month.

Content: There will be a similar mix of content to last time and it will include:

  • Recaps on the hot threads of conversation on ProBlogger from the last week
  • Inside information on techniques that I’m trying in my blogging
  • Pointing out tools and services that you might find useful
  • Pre-announcements of new ProBlogger site news (there are a few things coming soon that I’ll let newsletter subscribers test before anyone else)
  • Exclusive newsletter only tips from time to time that won’t go up on the blog (or at least won’t appear on the blog for a few weeks)

If at any point you wish to stop receiving the ProBlogger newsletter simply click the unsubscribe link in every email we send. Your emails will always be kept private and unsubscriptions will always be honored.

Looking forward to connecting with you via the newsletter in the weeks and months ahead.

Achieving “The Package Deal”

Today Chrissy Scivicque from OfficeArrow continues her two part series of posts on Blogging Your Way to a New Career.

Previously, I shared my story with you. I told you all about how my blog was purchased by a start-up website called OfficeArrow. I explained “The Package Deal”, which miraculously changed the direction of my life and career almost overnight. Today, I’m going to share with you a few of the strategies I employed that helped me achieve this. Even if you’re not looking to do this for yourself, these strategies will help build your business. And YES, your blog is a business! If you want to take advantage of any of the opportunities blogging presents, start embracing that concept now.

Pick a Niche

Your blog should appeal to a very specific segment of the population. It’s not enough to simply focus on “people who want to be productive”. Get detailed! Know what you’re typical user looks like. Understand what motivates them to read your blog. Research their purchasing habits. Don’t be afraid to really narrow your focus.

For me, I chose Executive Assistants. Sure, much of the content included information that anyone interested in personal or professional development (including EAs) could use. But I also had a lot of laser-focused content just for EAs. I referred to my job often and truly sought to have a tightly focused audience. This hugely increased the value of my audience to the purchaser. Any company or person who buys your blog is, essentially, buying your audience. The more targeted you are, the more valuable you are.

Of course, you need to choose a niche that you’re familiar with and have respect for. The cardinal rule when creating content is that the audience can sniff out insincerity and inaccuracies from a mile away. You’ll lose your audience quickly if you don’t understand their needs and have a desire to help them.

Lastly, select a niche target market that is not saturated already. I started my site for Executive Assistants because there were simply no other sites out there that met my needs as an EA. Any successful business fills a void in the market. Research your competition. If you find that your niche is overwhelmingly saturated, tweak it a bit.

Build a Brand

From the day your website goes live, you’re building a brand – for yourself and the blog. Think carefully about what you want the brand to say about you and your business. You don’t have to spend a ton of time and money creating a logo. You can build a strong brand through your quality of content and the overall look and feel of your site. Keep your brand consistent all over and carry that brand with you in all of your activities around the internet. Create a slogan and add it to the footer of forum posts. Create a persona for yourself. Look at Perez Hilton. He is the definition of his brand! My point is this: you need to be original. Using a standard issue free template doesn’t help build your brand. Minor tweaks (that require minimal technical know-how) will make all the difference in the world.

Develop Your Community

As a blogger, you are nothing without your audience. Don’t take them for granted. Ask them what they want, what they like and don’t like. Utilize polls and other research tools to help engage your readers and get to know more about them. Let them contribute freely by allowing guest posts and encouraging comments. If you have the technical ability, add a forum to facilitate conversation. Give your audience a platform to share their thoughts and build a community. You may be the creator, but you are not always the leader. Let the community lead you.

Create Relationships

Just like in any other business, it’s all about who you know. Nothing helps build recognition like a loyal fan, who happens to be a blogger as well. The very first post I wrote on my blog impressed a man named Jay (of Dumb Little Man) and, thanks to him, I was motivated to continue moving forward with my silly little idea. Throughout my blogging “career”, Jay has been an enormous inspiration and an incredible supporter.

Of course, you shouldn’t wait to be approached by others. Stick your neck out and say hello to your favorite bloggers. Ask for nothing – simply introduce yourself, share a few sincere compliments, and start a dialogue. These are your colleagues. If they’re willing to share advice, listen to them. When they post articles you think you’re readers would enjoy, share them. Reciprocal relationships are one of the most valuable tools in building your business. But they don’t happen overnight.

Create Original Products

A hugely helpful tool for increasing the value and visibility of your blog is the use of original products. Create an e-book, special report or podcast. Sell it or give it away free for people who subscribe. Whatever you do with it, the product helps firmly establish your brand and it proves the interest level of the audience. When I was negotiating my deal, I was able to point to the sale of my e-book and say, “Look. My audience is not afraid to purchase helpful tools. They are actively seeking resources that aren’t available elsewhere.” I was able to show income reports and the value of my blog increased significantly because of that.

My final and most critical piece of advice is to simply remember this: you are not building a blog, you’re building a business. Be thoughtful in your approach. Study and track your numbers consistently – everything from subscribers to pageviews to revenue. If you’re going to pursue any of the options mentioned above, this advice will serve you well.

Chrissy Scivicque is the Senior Content Manager at OfficeArrow.com – the world’s first online community created for office professionals, by office professionals. She writes a wide variety of articles to help people do their jobs more effectively and with less frustration. You can follow her journey by joining the OfficeArrow Community today – membership is free!

Social Media – Should You Use it Or Focus Upon Building Your Own Properties?

Steve Rubel has a thought provoking post today asking the question – should you rent or buy social real estate?

In it he explores the idea of using a service like Twitter (where you ‘rent’ and build up a community on someone else’s property) versus having your own blog on your own domain (buying).

My immediate reaction to the post was that it’s not about renting OR buying but for me has always been about renting AND buying (something I think that Steve really is arguing for also as he embraces both philosophies).

I hear bloggers who argue strongly for only building your own web properties (building a blog on their own domain on their own hosting on a platform that they have complete control over) and while I completely agree with their reasons for taking that approach (ultimately you have complete control and flexibility) I have found a lot of life in building a presence in other ‘rented’ online spaces also.

Twitter would be the primary example of this (and more recently Plurk). While I understand I have less control and flexibility with both of those social messaging services they have been invaluable for me and have helped me achieve things that I’d never have been able to do by solely focussing upon my own online properties.

I’ve talked about some of the benefits of Twitter for Bloggers and some of the features that I like about Plurk so won’t rehash them all here (many of the same benefits apply to FriendFeed also) – but wanted to make a few extra points.

3 Tips for Renting Social Media Properties

I think the main tip that I’d give with exploring any sort of ‘rental’ approach to social media is to enter into it with clear goals, realistic expectations and balance.

1. Goals

I explored the common criticism of Twitter in my post Twitter is a Complete Waste of Time! and shared how unless you work out WHY you’re using it you will often be wasting your time. For me I’ve played with many types of social media and in every situation had little idea what I was doing in the early days. However my goal is always to quickly work out what it’s strengths are and to find ways of using them to achieve my overall goals as a business person.

I guess what I’m saying is that you don’t need to have strict and formal goals written out next to your computer – but don’t just aimlessly wander around social media sites with no purpose. Take the time to identify what you want to achieve and work towards that.

2. Realistic Expectations

It is well worth keeping in mind that there is no perfect medium or platform and that each one has it’s weaknesses. When your expectations are too high for anything that you invest time into you could be setting yourself up for a fall.

Recently I spoke with a blogger who six months ago had quit blogging to put all of his efforts into Twitter. He made a big bet that it would be the next big thing and that he was going to position himself for that. Over the last month or two of Twitters growing problems with their architecture this blogger has come to regret that decision. It’s not that Twitter is bad or finished – it’s just that his expectations of that service were too high.

3. Balance

The retrospective advice of the above mentioned Blogger Twitterer was to not give up on one medium to focus upon another until you’re absolutely sure that the new one will work. He wishes he’d worked hard to build his Twitter presence AND his blog and had used each one to grow the other. I think a lot of bloggers could learn from this – I see many bloggers running from one thing to the next to be a part of the latest big thing. The result is that they really don’t build a presence of substance in any place.

Sure explore different social spaces – but don’t put your eggs all in one basket AND don’t spread yourself too thin (no one said that ‘balance’ is easy).

My approach to using ‘Rental Properties’ to Build My Own

Let me say up front that my approach is not the only one that works – but here’s the way I am using Twitter, Plurk, Facebook and other social spaces:

Steve makes a good point in his post – “Twitter has community built right in.”

The thing with successful social media sites is that they are where people are gathering – in numbers. The numbers are way beyond what most bloggers could hope to interact with on their own blogs.

I’ve written about my philosophy of finding readers for your blog many times. The first three steps in that process are:

  1. Define Your Target Reader
  2. Identify Where and How they Gather
  3. Join their Established Gathering Points

When I do step 1 and 2 on this process when thinking about my blogs I come up with a target audience who are gathering in social media sites like Twitter and Plurk. This leads me to step 3 – joining and participating in those space.

Now this is relevant for my blog but not everyone’s. You see not everyone has a target audience who use social media. However the same principles can apply….

For example – I was chatting with a craft blogger recently who was struggling with growing her readership. I asked her to go through the above three steps and she defined a group of readers who were gathering in craft forums. When I suggested she should go participate in them she asked whether it was a good use of her time to participate in other people’s online properties instead of building her own (sound familiar?). I suggested that she do both – participate where your potential readers are already gathering but also work hard to build your own properties.

Concluding Thoughts

My take home advice is that there’s nothing wrong with rental properties and there’s nothing wrong with buying them. In my own personal experience with actual real estate I’ve done both at different times in my life. In fact I always treated renting as a good stepping stone to getting into the market myself. We found properties that were affordable enough that we could save a deposit for our own place.

Perhaps there’s something in that for us all – participate in the social space and other people’s web properties in a way that gives you a leg up to build your own.