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10 Ways to get Fit WHILE Blogging

I was recently chatting to Sahar from Fat Fighter TV about blogging and asked if she could come up with some ways for us bloggers (read that as ME) to keep fit. Sahar went beyond what I expected and came back with 10 exercises for us to do WHILE STILL BLOGGING!

get-fit-blogging.jpg

As bloggers, we tend to do a lot of sitting as we write, Tweet, Stumble, etc. By the end of the day it’s easy to feel tense, sore and sedentary. But since this is just so unhealthy, I’ve come up with some things we can all do to help us get fit as we blog – exercises to get our heart rate up, help us tone up and de-stress. All at the comfort of our blogging desk… or close by.

1. Cyber Squats – Who says you have to sit when you’re online? Set your chair aside for a few minutes and instead do squats as you write your next blog post, comment, or when you cruise around the Web. I’m squatting as I write this post – ouch!

2. RSS Raises – As you’re sitting at your desk, straighten your knees and lift your legs out in front of you. Do this as you catch up on your favorite blogs on your RSS reader.

3. 10 Minute Move it! Break #1 – Alternate jogging in place with jumping jacks – do a minute of each and repeat 5 times.

4. Twitter Tummy Tone – Tighten your abs for 30 seconds and then release. Do this as you tweet.

5. Social Squeezes – Tighten your glutes for 30 seconds and then release. (Good thing noone can see you at this social, right?) Repeat as you Stumble, Digg, or Friend on Facebook.

6. 10 Minute Move it! Break #2 – Grab a step stool and climb up and down – get creative if you like and alternate knee lifts at the top of the step.

7. Inbox Incline – While you’re sitting with your feet on the floor, raise your heels so you are on the balls of your feet and lower them. make sure you can feel it in your calves. Do this as you read and reply to your emails.

8. 10 Minute Move it! Break #3 – Do walking lunges around the house. Want to make it more challenging? Add some weights and do bicep curls at the same time.

9. Blogger Breather – Grab a quick minute to just close your eyes and focus on your breath. Count to 10 as you slowly inhale through your nose, thinking positive thoughts. Exhale through your mouth, again counting to 10. This time release all the tension and stress out of your body. Repeat if you have a few more seconds.

10. Sign Off Stretches – Your neck and shoulders can get pretty tense when you sit at a computer too long. So loosen them up throughout the day with:

  • Shoulder shrugs – with your head at your chest, shrug your shoulders up and down.
  • Neck Rolls – relax your shoulders and let your head roll forward. Slowly rotate your head in a circle. Repeat five times.

Do these exercises throughout the day to avoid blogger booty! You’ll feel better which could help you blog better.

Anyone else have some blogger exercises to share?

Read more of Sahar’s work at  Fat Fighter TV.

A Freelance Writer is Always Full of Ideas

writing.jpgRunning out of ideas to write about? If so – Sean Platt from Writer Dad and Ghost Writer Dad has some words of encouragement and advice for you.

The demands of running an online business or blog can be daunting. The writing requirements are easy enough at first, as our passion is inflamed and mental stamina untested. Soon enough our spirits are tested and we hit that invisible retaining wall that every blogger eventually finds themselves colliding against.

What on earth will I write about today? Our dashboard grows suddenly daunting and we wonder if we will ever pull another original thought from inside us. There isn’t any need to worry, for that is a well that has no bottom.

There are no limits to our thoughts, they are as endless as the breath we draw from the air that constantly swirls around us. In the past year, I’ve written the rough draft of a novel, a couple dozen children’s books, a manuscript for a young adult book, a few e-books, more than three hundred articles and archives of emails I could probably only count with a calculator.

At first, these articles were either written for my main site, Writer Dad, or guest posts related in some way. Once I entered the world of freelance, I was game to tap the keys over just about anything. In the last few months I’ve authored articles on everything from Alzheimer’s to zoology.

Do I ever run out of things to say?

No, of course not, but sometimes I find it difficult to stare down the blank page. That first slap of black smeared across the empty is always most difficult. Once I let my mind start to wander, it doesn’t matter if I’m talking green grass or gas grills, I can always settle on a perspective that is truly my own.

No blogger should ever fret for lack of fresh ideas. Running thought to vapor is inherently impossible. Once you hold the basic mechanics of writing, only your ideas need mining. Believe me, like running water you need only turn on the faucet.

When you find yourself deep in an inevitable dearth of good ideas, kick down the temporary wall in front of you. Head outside your blog and breathe the fresh atmosphere of a varied environment. Hop on the phone with a buddy, take a walk around the block; read a book or listen to some tunes. If you feel like staying in, fine, spend fifteen minutes in a favorite forum or tweeting on twitter, but feed your brain as best you can.

Our mind is easily inspired, but we cannot starve it and then expect it to feel fat.

Don’t worry about saying what someone else has said before. Your thoughts will mutate the message into something unique to you. Similar stories have been spread for thousands of years, but it is the voice inside each that makes them worth retelling.

Don’t worry about repeating yourself. We all do it. I’m doing it right now. Deja Vu doesn’t matter, so long as you’re spreading your message in a slightly different way (hopefully better then the last time) to a slightly different audience. Make sure you’re honest, passionate and fully articulate to the best of your ability.

I admit, the only times I find it difficult to fly is when I have next to zero interest in work beyond the paycheck. Even then the solution is simple. When I find myself faced with a subject that does little to light my imagination, I slip in through the back door. A quick Google search will yield a wealth of stories on any given subject. I find one that leaves me inspired, read it, then hit the keys renewed.

Writing is my profession. Like any job, it isn’t always fun. Sometimes it’s necessary to bend my beak to the page and peck away until finished. Even at my most tired, when fear and doubt and worry come to crawl between my ears and worm inside my mind, at least I know a lack of ideas will never suspend my momentum.

Being a writer means my thoughts are always bouncing about with barely any boundaries. Doing it for a living means I need to make sure I grab hold of every one worth writing about.

Sean Platt is a dad and freelance writer. You can grab his feed here.

Five Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

With so many blogs revolving around the theme of “make money online”, John Robinson of JWRmedia focuses on ways you can improve your blog through branding, marketing and optimization which will allow you to establish a name for yourself and gain Internet success.

Why are there so many unsuccessful websites when others continue to flourish? Much of the reason has to do with poor marketing. This article explains five of the most popular marketing mistakes made by new website owners trying promote themselves. Usually with tight time constraints and even tighter budgets, the margin for error is very slim. Keep these points in mind before starting your next marketing campaign and you’re sure to see much better results.

1. A little of this, a little of that

This mistake is often made by those who want to take on the whole world with a tiny budget. They advertise a little bit on one website, a little bit on another, they try a little bit of email marketing and so on. However, with limited budgets, they only accomplish a small presence in each. To maximize results, narrow your choices and regularly run ads that will get noticed on a constant basis. One known marketing illustration is as follows:

The first time people look at an advertisement, they don’t see it. The second time they look at and ad, they don’t notice it. The third time, they become conscious of the ad’s existence. The fourth time, they vaguely remember seeing the ad somewhere before. The tenth time, they think ‘someday I am going to buy that’. The 20th time they see the ad, they finally execute the “call to action”. Establishing a well known presence in just one area will work much better than scattering yourself all over the web.

2. Ignoring statistics

If you’re one of many who dislike mathematics, this can be a hard avenue for you to overcome. However, in any marketing campaign, it is essential that you regularly measure results. Know which aspects of your marketing campaign are working best for you. Where do your visitors come from? How many unique visitors do you receive each day? How many of them are repeat visitors? Which pages on your website are viewed most often? How long does the average visitor stay on your website? On which page do they usually leave your site? What is your conversion rate? Which pages convert the most? Keep a spreadsheet to track this information on a weekly basis, and measure the trends. Doing so will allow you to cut out ineffective marketing efforts and focus more on those that work.

To help track these statistics on your website, you can use tools such as Google Analytics or Statcounter.

3. Tweaking things that aren’t broken

Here we remember the rule “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”. If you have a web page that ranks well in Google and brings you a fairly decent amount of targeted traffic, don’t go modifying the page contents, images and META tags. Doing so will most likely penalize its search engine ranking. Constantly changing other aspects of your website will also confuse your regular readers and make it much more difficult to build up your “branding”. Find something that works for you and stick with it.

4. Jumping the gun

Many website owners make the mistake of pumping out a massive advertising campaign too soon. Don’t take action just to meet a certain date you have in mind. Be sure everything on your website functions properly and is cross-browser compliant. Nothing screams “unprofessional” more than a broken website. If you require more time than anticipated to have your site up and running, you may have to push your planned release date back a while. Correct the kinks, finish your design, and fully test your website’s functionality before inviting everyone to visit.

Browsershots is a free online utility that will allow you to see how your website appears on dozens of different Internet browsers.

5. “Flying solo”

Without a very hefty advertising budget, it will be next to impossible for you to take on the whole world without any help. Build relationships with other website owners and arrange a way for them to help you promote your site or product. Word of mouth continues to rule as the champion of advertising methods. Generate a buzz amongst the online community about what you have to offer by doing something for other site owners in return. With practically every aspect of business, it’s all about who you know. By creating a strong, positive relationship with others, you can help spread the word about what each of you are offering.

The vast majority of us don’t build our website merely as a hobby- we are usually working toward earning some sort of income online. With careful planning and by giving attention to detail, your time and money can be used to the best of its ability, thereby allowing you to gain the highest return possible.

5 Ways to Make Money Blogging (Once You Have Traffic)

This is the last post in our series of tips for bloggers who have gone through their launch phase and want to grow their blog to the next level. In it we’re going to talk making money from your blog.

Making Money From a Blog – Moving Past AdSense

While it is possible to make some money with a blog of any size – your chances of earning income from a blog do generally increase as you increase your readership numbers.

Many bloggers start out monetizing their blogs using ad networks like AdSense. While ad networks like AdSense can still earn you a nice income as your blog grows (many large blogs use them) – an increased audience will also open new opportunities to you as a blogger.

1. Direct Ad Sales

One thing that becomes possible as your readership grows is that you can begin to attract your own direct advertisers. I’ve written on this topic numerous times before so rather than writing a long tutorial on the topic let me point you to some previous posts:

2. Ad Representation

Many bloggers struggle to sell advertising on their own blogs. Most bloggers are not experienced in the area of ad sales, don’t have contacts in the advertising industry, are unaware of how much to charge or even what technology to use to serve ads. Most of us also are passionate about writing content and building community – the admin of finding and interacting with advertisers can often be a distraction.

One alternative once you have a reasonable amount of traffic is to outsource your ad sales. Some blog networks and ad networks will handle this kind of thing for you once you have enough traffic. Generally you need a fair bit of traffic for them to look at you but in these tough economic times I suspect we’ll see more and more services to do this.

3. Start Your Own Ad Sales Network

One thing that I’ve been hearing more and more bloggers doing is joining together to sell advertising as a collective or network within a niche. You might not have enough traffic to attract a top tier advertiser alone – but what if you joined with 4-5 other medium sized blogs in your niche and approached advertisers together?

4. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing can work on blogs of all sizes but once a blog has an engaged and loyal readership it can really pay off. Readers that have tracked with you for a while are more likely to buy something that you recommend than a one off visitor – so this is a particularly useful strategy if you have built a ‘community’ rather than just a blog that has a lot of search traffic. The key is to find products to promote that are of a high quality that you can genuinely recommend and that have high relevance to your readership.

Further Reading: 5 Tips for Making Money with Affiliate Programs

5. Sell Your Own Product

Another monetization strategy to start thinking about once you start seeing growth in your readership is your own product to sell.

Whether that product be an e-book, a membership area, a real hard cover book, training (online or real life), consulting, merchandise…. once you’ve got a loyal readership who trusts you and sees you as an expert in your field you’ll find that they are increasingly likely to buy something that you sell.

You’ll also find it easier to get other blogs in your niche to promote your product once you’ve build a blog with profile. I’m seeing more and more bloggers doing this and suspect that as advertising budgets get smaller in the current economic climate that we’ll see more and more of this type of approach (I’ve previously called it ‘indirect income’) by smart bloggers.

Further Reading: Making Money BECAUSE of Your Blog – Indirect Methods.

Do You Attract Readers to Your Blog that Are Like You?

A couple of months ago we ran a reader survey over at my Photography site that asked readers a few demographical questions, a few questions about their photography and a few questions about how they’d like to see the site develop. We had thousands of responses which meant we had a good sample of data to work with which gave us both insight into our readership and how we could serve them better.

Last night I published a post on DPS that gave a few results from the survey (mainly the demographical information). As I was about to hit publish on the post something hit me that I’d not realized at any point over the last two years of developing the site:

“the audience of DPS is…. well remarkably like…. me”

On each section of the survey that asked about people’s demographics or photography habits the most common response was the response I would have given if I’d completed the survey.

Of course there were a lot of people who answered differently – but if I had to describe my readers they’d be people a lot like me.

I’m still processing what this means (if anything) – Neil in the comments on that post suggested that it’s like pet owners and their pets looking like each other – perhaps that’s true.

Perhaps it is also a bit of a learning lesson – develop a blog for yourself, or people like you.

  • meet your own needs (or needs you’ve had)
  • write about things that interest you
  • write about questions that you’ve asked
  • share experiences you’ve had and lessons you’ve learned

Do these kinds of things and you’ll attract people in a similar situation.

I’m going to ponder that some more – but in the mean time I’m interested to hear what other peoples experiences are – have you attracted readers to your blog that are ‘like you’?

How to Expand Your Blog Audience when Traffic Plateaus

This post belongs to a series on how to grow your blog once it gets past launch phase.

Many bloggers that I chat with tell me that their blogs hit plateaus in terms of traffic after around 6 months of blogging.

Blog-Growth-Plateau

They launch with enthusiasm, great content, significant time invested into networking with other bloggers and the results pay off with a steady growth in traffic. However in time the enthusiasm dries up a little, life gets busy, networks don’t seem to produce the results that they once did and traffic levels out.

It can be confronting and depressing to realize that your blog has stopped growing.

If this describes you - then the time might have come to put some time aside in the coming days to put a more concerted effort into trying some new ways to grow your traffic. The time has come to look for opportunities to expand your audience.

Of course growing readership is a task that bloggers of all levels will be wanting to explore but as a blog grows new opportunities do arise due to your blogs profile and loyal reader power.

1. Partnerships and Relationships with other blogs

Look at your niche and work out what others are doing and if there are opportunities to work with them or cross promote each other.

I’m not just talking here about ‘getting to know’ other bloggers in the hope that they might link to you one day – actually attempt to build more strategic partnerships with other blogs – partnerships that are mutually beneficial to both of you. For example:

  • offer to run a banner ad for another blog in an empty ad slot on your blog if they do likewise for you
  • do a guest blog swap once a month with another blogger – where you write on their blog for a day and they write on yours
  • promote each other’s RSS feeds or newsletters in posts

These types of relationships can really take many forms and are only limited by your creativity. They can feel a little weird at first because effectively you are promoting a competitor – but from what I’ve found there is plenty of room in most niches for numerous blogs and to work together can actually mean everyone grows. I personally don’t mind if another blog in my niche doubles their traffic if I do too!

It gets easier to get the attention of other bloggers once you become established so you might want to raise your sights a little and even begin to cultivate relationships with bloggers a little higher on the food chain than yourself.

2. Reader Evangelism

Once your blog has a core readership (even if it is smallish) you have one of the most powerful forces for growing your blog right in front of you – people who already read it.

The key is to find ways to release and encourage them to promote your blog for you. Here’s something simple that I did last year which worked on my photography blog:

invite-friend.pngI simply added an invitation in my weekly newsletter to pass on the newsletter to a friend.

It sounds incredibly simple – too simple in fact – but it worked. You can see the invitation pictured to the right – notice that I also included an invitation to subscribe for those who got the invitation from a friend.

What I found is that the ‘subscribe’ link got a lot of clicks (you can track this with Aweber) and I started getting emails from new readers who’d had friends recommend that they check out the newsletter and subscriber numbers went up considerably the week I first did it.

There are of course other ways to mobilize readers to help promote your site. Another way that I did it early last year was to run a competition to see who could recruit the most new forum members. I’ve also seen others run competitions where to enter you have to write a post about their blog. Another option is to add an ‘email this to a friend’ link at the bottom of posts.

These competitions and tools do work – but so does simply asking readers to tell their friends about your blog. Of course you need to have a blog worth recommending to a friend for it to really work – the more useful your blog the more likely it’ll be for your readers to pass word of it along to their friends without you asking.

3. Social Media

It can be difficult to have much success on social media sites on a blog that doesn’t have much of a readership – but as it grows a blog can naturally and organically grow in this area as more and more of your readers will be active on these sites.

I wrote a little about this in my post ‘How to Build a Digg Culture on Your Blog‘.

The key at this stage of your blog is to give your readers easy ways to pass your blog on to others. It can also be well worthwhile to do a little familiarization of different social media tools that your readers might find useful (a post about it educating them of the tools) and also be able to promote your blog with.

Then to add social media buttons can also work (although i’d advise just picking a small number that relate to your niche rather than adding every one available).

4. Look a Little Outside Your Niche

There comes a time for some bloggers where they feel like they’ve networked as much as they can within their niche. They know all the other bloggers, they’ve done guest posts on all of the blogs, they have good profile in that niche and there’s not a lot more that they can do to grow their readership through that network.

One of the ways forward out of this situation is to look at surrounding niches and find ways to network and produce content that appeals to those niches.

Example: again, with my photography blog (it’s the one I know best so easiest to pull examples from) I hit a plateau in traffic about 12 months in. At that point I started to think about what connecting points my topic of photography might have with other niches. One that I had some success with was the Mommy Blogger niche by writing a series of posts on How to photograph Children. Writing posts like this and then doing a little promotion to a few key blogs in that niche saw a whole influx of readers from blogs that I would never have previously considered might read my site.

Similarly I had quite good success by pitching some of my posts to sites like Lifehacker and even Gizmodo. These are blogs that were not ‘photography blogs’ but which had some overlap in topic as they were tech focused.

Sometimes lifting your sights a little beyond your immediate niche can have great results and find you a whole new untapped readership.

Add Your Tips

Of course there are many other ways to promote a blog and find new readers. This post could literally go on and on…. and on. I’ve compiled a lot more tips on how to find new readers for your blog here but would love to hear your tips – particularly tips for blogs that have been around before and not just blogs finding their first readers.

AdSense ‘Force’ Expandable Ad Units on Some Publishers and Exclude Others

Update: I’ve updated this post below with an update from AdSense. Please read it.

AdSense have today announced a new type of ad – Expandable Ad Units.

I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen these ads being tested on one of my sites (although bizarrely I am not able to use the ads as I’m not located in a country that they are available for – see below) and they are basically an ad that looks like a normal image ad but which expands when a reader interacts with it (by clicking it).

AdSense say that these ads are served on both a CPC (cost per click) or CPM (cost per impression) basis (advertisers choice). If they are CPC you only get paid if people click the ad and visit the advertiser (I have a bit of a problem with this – see below).Expandable_Ad.PNG

Ads will only be available to publishers meeting all of three criteria:

  • If they’re located in North America or Europe, with a website in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish
  • If they’ve added the AdSense code directly into their site’s source code
  • If they’ve enabled image ads

OK – interesting. On one hand I think this is cool, while AdSense don’t say it I suspect these ads could pay more than normal ads. They’re rich media and in general advertisers wanting to use these sorts of technologies are willing to pay a premium and are generally top tier advertisers with recognizable brands and good budgets.

On the other hand a couple of concerns come to mind:

1. Why do AdSense keep offering new things to publishers in certain parts of the world?

Come on AdSense – we’re a global economy. While I’m an Aussie my sites are read by less than 4% Australians. The vast majority of my readers are in North America and the rest are largely European. I’ve ranted on this more times than I can remember. I can understand not wanting to run ads on sites where READERS are not in your target markets, but as a publisher whose blog is read by your target market, hosted by your target market and attracts other direct sponsors from your target market I would have thought you’d love to have these ads on my sites. All this does is drive me to put more and more emphasis on cutting you out of the equation and finding my own sponsors directly – something I’m having more and more success with (thanks to Lenovo this month for their sponsorship of DPS).

2. The ads are more interruptive – but don’t always generate revenue.

Some publishers will be annoyed that these ads are more interruptive than normal image ads. While AdSense say that they’ve got strict guidelines in place around what kinds of ads can be shown – when clicked they will cover parts of the publishers website. More than that, a click on the ad might not generate any revenue if the advertiser is using CPC ads. This means that an advertiser gets the benefit of someone noticing their ad and interacting with it (good for their branding) while the publisher has part of the rest of their site covered over…. and gets nothing for that.

3. Opting out of these ads is not easy.

So what if you don’t want expandable ads on your site?

AdSense makes clear in their announcement that there are ways to stop these ads appearing on your site. They give two methods – neither of which are satisfactory in my mind:

  • You can block advertisers using the Competitive Ad Filter – this means going in an blocking advertisers domains from having their ads appear on your blog. This is only effective if you notice the ads and also means you’re blocking any other ads from that advertiser from appearing on your site.
  • You can use the Ad Review Center – this allows you to log into the back end of your AdSense account and view all ads being targeted to your site. OK, this could work, but last time I checked my Ad Review Center (and I rarely do it because of the number of ads and the slowness of using it) to see what ads were being targeted to DPS I saw literally thousands of ads. AdSense say you can narrow it down by just viewing ‘Rich Media’ ads which is helpful – but I just checked my account and still saw hundreds of such ads on my own account. I don’t know how many were there exactly because I had to close down my browser – something about viewing 100 rich media ads on a page didn’t agree with Firefox on my computer).

OK – so my headline is a little exaggerated, you can opt out of them, but at the very least it is a chore and for some sites that get a lot of ads targeted at them it could be impossible to keep them off their site.

Note: there is a 3rd way of opting out of these ads – disable image ads. Of course this means you only will ever get text ads on your site which means less potential income.

Last Thoughts

IF I was a publisher living in one of the ‘lucky lands’ where these ads are relevant for I’d let them show on my blog. While I have some reservations I think they’re a good idea and don’t think my readers would mind them – however I wouldn’t be happy at virtually being forced to show them or for them bringing value to advertisers brands without compensation.

What do you think of them?

If you have a comment – I’d love to see it below but I’m sure the team at AdSense would love to hear it to – they have comments open on the post on their blog and there’s some good feedback for them already appearing there.

Update: I’ve asked AdSense for comment on this post and they have quickly responded with:

“Google AdSense is really excited to launch our new format of expandable ads, and we’re currently clarifying our statement regarding the eligibility for serving expandable ads based on publisher’s location.”

I’m expecting further comment in the coming hours.

Update 2: OK – AdSense have come back to me with a full response. Looks like they made a mistake in their announcement post. I’ve included their full respond below.

====

Thanks for your feedback on AdSense’s new format of Expandable Ads. We’re really excited to launch this new format, as it brings variety and choice in our ad products for users, advertisers, and publishers.

We made a mistake in our blog post regarding publisher eligibility for expandable ads, leading readers to believe that only US and European-based publishers could serve them. We’re glad to inform the ProBlogger readership that all publishers can accept expandable ads regardless of location. However only select US advertisers are testing expandable ads at this time. We hope to be able to extend this offering to advertisers located outside the US in the future. This has been updated on our Inside AdSense blog post.

Publishers generate earnings from a CPC-priced expandable ad when a user visits the advertiser’s landing page, rather than when a user clicks to
expand the ad. Advertisers have different goals, and we encourage them to achieve them on the Content Network with options to bid via a CPC or CPM
model for all rich media formats. Publishers benefit from our auction technology that optimises their yield from our wide range of ads. CPC expandable ads still compete with other ads to automatically maximise your return from AdSense.

We’re also constantly working to improve publisher controls, and between the Competitive Filter and the Ad Review Center, publishers have two comprehensive ways of blocking expandable ads. Google has designed this ad format to enhance the user experience with ads. Users are given complete
control over ad expansion – expandable ads are initiated with a click rather than a mouseover, and users can easily close the ad at any time.
Expandable ads do not interfere with the page’s layout, and if publishers have opted into accepting all ad formats, it takes no extra effort to
accept them. It’s an exciting ad product that will bring mutual benefit to publishers, users, and advertisers.

======

So – the expandable ads will appear on sites owned by publishers from all locations (after the initial test). The CPC issue is still an issue to me but the auction system that Google have in place to decide which ad to show should help to keep ads profitable. If an ad is not converting on a site then it tends not to be shown. I still have some concern with the ways to opt out for those publishers who don’t want them but I guess we have to live with that.

Thanks to the team at AdSense for responding!

Offer Readers New Ways to Connect with Your Blog

Today we continue to look at ways that blogs which have got past the launch phase can take their blogs to the next level.

In this post we look at something that I touched upon two posts back when we looked at building community on your blogexpanding the connecting points that readers can make with your blog.

As a blog grows you will begin to notice that you’ll be connecting with a wider and wider range of people. Some will begin to feed back to you that there are things about your site that they don’t understand or features that they want.

For example – I found I went through a stage on DPS where I got a lot of emails from people asking ‘what is RSS?’ and sharing that despite my best explanations of it that they didn’t ‘get it’ (or didn’t want to get it). I also had people asking for a ‘forum’ area.

What was happening here is that people were expressing to me that they wanted to connect (with the blog, me and each other) in more familiar ways to them. At this point I began to offer RSS to email, developed a forum area as well as starting to produce a weekly email newsletter.

While adding a forum and newsletter meant a lot more work for me and my team (my Aweber newsletter takes a couple of hours a week to write and the forum area has a team of 10 or so moderators working hard on it) the benefits have far outweighed the costs and have enabled me to make ongoing connections with a wider range of people than if I’d just remained as a blog with an RSS feed.

By offering different ways to connect it has made DPS more accessible to people of different levels of tech savviness, personalities, demographics and learning styles.

I’m not arguing that every blog needs a forum and newsletters – however in most blogs there comes a time where your readers will begin to ask for more and want to connect in different ways. Different topics and audience demographics will lend themselves to different tools to use.

For some it might mean starting a Twitter account, for others it’ll mean a group on Facebook, for others it will mean a forum, a chat room, your own in-house social network (using something like Ning) or a newsletter etc.

How have you expanded the ways that readers can connect with your blog?

Further Reading:

Some European AdSense Publishers Can Now Get Reports in Euros

AdSense today have added the ability for publishers located in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain to view AdSense reports in Euros as well as USD. They write:

“If you’re located in one of these five countries and make this update, we’ll convert your earnings to Euros on a daily basis using the prevailing market rate from the previous day. With earnings converted daily, you’ll avoid the risk of currency exchange fluctuations between USD and the Euro. You can still choose to receive payments in either Euros or U.S. Dollars and select from a range of payment methods as well. “

There are some new terms and conditions to go along with these changes that publishers will need to agree to.