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Australian AdSense Publishers Get Direct Debit Payments

Good news for Aussies today with AdSense notifyig them that they can now be paid by direct deposit! Here’s an excerpt from the email sent:

‘We have recently added a new payment option for Australia and wish to invite you to sign up to receive payments directly to your bank account.

I’m not sure if this is just an Australian thing or whether other countries have now been upgraded to EFT payments also but I know a few other Aussies that will be happy about this one.

Mark Pilgrim Gets Back in the Game

Mark Pilgrim is back. Mark Pilgrim was actually one of the early shapers of my philosophy on blogging and left me somewhat disappointed when he left the game a few years ago. It looks like he’s back though, based on his entertaining (as a parent) entry on bath time with his child, one cannot be sure what shape his blogging will take this time around.

Hat Tip: Blog Herald

Tips for Probloggers from Getting Real – the new e-book by 37 Signals

Rachel CunliffeHi! This is Rachel Cunliffe. I’m a blog designer from New Zealand and I thought I’d share with you some problogger tips from 37 Signals’ new e-book, “Getting Real” (which is selling very well).

If you haven’t come across 37 Signals’ products such as Basecamp, Backpack, Tada, Writeboard and most recently, campfire, it’s worth your time to find out what they offer. I’m finding Basecamp invaluable for managing my blog design clients.

As I read the e-book I realised that there’s also a lot of insight, encouragement and tips for (pro)bloggers. In fact, 37 Signals recommend their book for anyone who is an entrepreneur, designer, programmer or marketer working on a big idea. Their thoughts echo many of Darren’s posts here at Problogger too.

Here are 10 tips from the book along with some comments. [Read more...]

Introduction to Advertising Optimization – Traffic

To round out the Blogging for Beginners section on blogging for an income I want to touch on a few introductory principles for optimising advertising on blogs over the next few posts.

There are many different direct income earning methods (as outlined previously) and each will have it’s own ways of being optimised – but the following are principles that many bloggers find across different forms of advertising programs (for the sake of this post I’ll mainly use blogs using AdSense as examples – but much of what I write can be applied to different ad systems).

The basic factors that I’ll be covering in the following posts are:

  1. Traffic
  2. Ad Position
  3. Ad Design
  4. Ad Relevancy
  5. High Paying Ads

I believe that all five elements are important to running profitable ads on a blog. Take any one of them out of the picture and you decrease the overall earning potential that you have. ie a blog with high traffic but with ads that no one see’s is never going to earn much. Likewise a highly trafficked blog with well positioned ads that are completely irrelevant to the topic of the blog are less likely to perform to their potential… you get the point. Each element should be considered and worked on simultaneously.

I’ll start briefly with the first one in this post and will follow in the next day or two with a post on each of the following four:

Principle 1 – Traffic

The frustrating thing about blogging for an income is that you can have perfectly positioned, designed and relevant ads that would pay a fortune but still be not making any money at all because your blog has no traffic. So while I encourage publishers to work on design, placement and ad relevancy, it’s worth remembering that you shouldn’t do any of it at the expense of developing a quality blog that people will come and read.

This isn’t the post for talking about traffic building strategies (try here and here for some strategies on that) – but a holistic approach to building an online income will definitely factor traffic building as a primary objective.

Speaking from personal experience – I know how easy it is to get sidetracked by the other factors mentioned – but if you simultaneously work on building a readership you’ll build a much more profitable blog.

Next in this series we’ll examine Positioning Ads

Qumana – First Impression Review

Well rather than procrastinating I thought I’d download Qumana straight away and am writing this post from it as a first impression review.

Downloading was simple (is it ever not on a Mac?) with the file only 8.7MB. Installation was a breeze as was configuring Qumana to blog to ProBlogger. It, like other desktop editors, has an auto set up where it will search for your blog and settings once you type in it’s URL. I was ready to post within 30 seconds.

My first impression of the layout of the tool is that it looks pretty professional and at a glance seems to have all the features I’m used to using my normal desktop editor ecto. There are also a few extra buttons and features that I’m not used to including the ‘insert Ad’ button which is the interface that Qumana has with Adgenta ads (an ad network run by the same people). Following is a screen shot of the post window that I’m currently looking at

Qumana

Inserting an image like that is a drag and drop deal and resizing the image can be done either by right clicking it and entering the ‘image properties’ option or by clicking on the image and resizing it by dragging it in a similar way to the way you’d do it in a Word Document.

I’m unsure if this image will appear as a thumbnail in my actual post (I use thumbnails a lot via ecto) and cannot see a ‘preview’ option which is something else I’m used to. update: as it turned out there were problems uploading the pictures so I’ve uploaded the image using another method and have made it a thumbnail. I’m not sure what the problem with the images was – it could have been at my end or theirs.

[Read more...]

How to Get Your Blog to 100,000 Visitors and Beyond

This post has been submitted by ‘FMF’ from Free Money Finance. It’s actually the first post in a series he’s going to start on FMF in the coming week by the same title.

How to Get Your Blog to 100,000 Visitors and Beyond – Step 1: Pick the Right Topic

I’ve had a lot of requests to detail how I got 100,000 visitors (now past 150k as I write this) to Free Money Finance. While the topic is not clearly in the subject area of personal finances, it can be part of how you increase your income (and thus improve your net worth), so I’ll cover it. Plus, this will serve to help out other bloggers as well as remind me of what else I need to do to grow this blog. If this isn’t your cup of tea, simply ignore these posts. I post frequently enough that a new, money-related post is not far behind this one.

I’ll over this topic in a series of “steps”, each one presenting a simple, unique step I took to get to 100,000 visitors. I’ll also try to keep the steps in the order I did them, though several happened simultaneously, so that won’t be easy.

That said, here we go.

Step 1 to getting to 100,000 visitors and beyond: Pick the right topic.

This might seem to be a simple step (and maybe even counter blogging — can’t I just blog about what I want?), but it’s critical. To me, the right topic is one that:

You’re passionate about — If you’re not passionate about it, you won’t post regularly, you’ll lose interest, and your readers will be able to tell your heart isn’t really in it (and they’ll go away). If you are, your readers will identify with you and get to “love” your personality. And they’ll come back. And tell their friends to stop by.

You’re knowledgeable about — You don’t have to be an expert on the topic, but you need to know more than most people to get a lot of people to your site. Otherwise, why would they stop by (or come back)?

Is it popular — Let’s face it, if you want to write about the exercise habits of your hamster, not many people are likely to visit your blog. You have to have a topic that many, many people want to read about if you want to get to 100k. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t write about your hamster (or anything else a large group wouldn’t want to read about). If you blog for your own pleasure, then go for it — make Hammy a star. But if you want to get to 100,000 visitors, you need a topic (like personal finances) that many people what to know more about.

Watch out for the rest of FMF’s series later in the week at Free Money Finance.

Performancing Firefox Extension Launches

Congratulations to Nick and Jed over at Performancing for completing their Firefox extension which enables you to blog directly from within Firefox in a split screen way.

While I’m an addicted ecto for Mac Fan I can see how this extension will be very handy for many bloggers (especially non Mac users) as it enables an integrated system that means you never have to leave your browser and the pages you’re surfing.

I’ll be sticking to ecto for the time being but in testing the extension (I’m writing this post on it right now as the following screen cap will show – click to enlarge) I’m certain it’ll be a winner for many. Get the extension here.

Congratulations Performancing.

Performancing-Firefox

update: I’m not quite sure what went wrong with this post but the image didn’t get uploaded (I’ve now added to manually). The rest seems to have come across nicely although with a bit different formatting to how I’m used to with ecto. All in all – it’s a tool with promise that is sure to improve as it comes out of beta.

Amazon ProductWiki

Amazonwiki

There has been quite a bit of talk in the past couple of days about Amazon starting a wiki – Church of the Customer started it all but the interesting thing is that no one that I can see (including Church of the Customer) seems to have a link to it anywhere. Some say it’s something that only some people can view – but even still I would have expected links it it.

The wiki is called ProductWiki but most people don’t seem to be able to find out where it comes from. Business Week does have a link to a help page explaining what a wiki is but it doesn’t really refer to an Amazon wiki as such.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/wiki/ currently points to an error page for me – but it’s not a ‘this page doesn’t exist’ type error but one that says they are having problems processing the request. So maybe that’s where it is.

Product-Wiki

Interestingly (and maybe it is connected – and maybe it’s not) if you go to http://www.productwiki.com/ you’ll find a ‘coming soon’ message – in fact whatever is there is coming very soon – midnight tonight in fact. Perhaps this is the new home for Amazon’s ProductWiki or perhaps someone else is capitalizing on what they see Amazon doing.

The page design doesn’t look very Amazon-ish and they tend to keep everything on the one domain so I’m not sure it’s officially Amazon or not but time will tell.

update: a whois on the www.productwiki.com site has no obvious connection to Amazon. It’s registered to Amanie Ismail from Canada. Probably a dead end to that lead.

update II: I’ve just had an IM from Tim Flight who says he can see Wiki links on normal Amazon pages. They also have a description as follows:

You can create Wikis about a many different things on Amazon. For example, you might create a Wiki to describe a particular opera recording. Within that Wiki you could create links to Wiki entries defining words such as “soprano” and “coloratura”.

You can view how a particular Wiki entry has changed over time, to see who has contributed what and when, and you can subscribe to be notified by email of any future updates to Wikis you are interested in.

A list of Wikis you have contributed to appears on your Your Amazon Home and Profile pages.

Interesting. Obviously I’m living in the wrong part of the world (again) to participate in it but it looks like an interesting interaction with customers by Amazon.

Web Moments That Changed The World

The Webby Awards have come out with their 10 Web Moments That Changed The World – many of which were revolutionary to blogging also.

Hat tip to Dave Johnston who has written a post bouncing off the Webby Awards list and adding his own comments.