Quite a few people have asked how they can put a red cross donate now button on their blog like the one that I have in the upper right hand corner. You can simply do so by following the instructions on Brian Alvey’s Weblog.
Found via Jason
One of the most common questions I get asked when people hear about my blogging earnings is ‘how long has it taken’ to get as far as I have?
The short answer is that it’s taken a considerable amount of time. I’ve been blogging since November 2002 and started to experiment with Adsense in September of 2003 – two years ago.
You can see from the following graph (of my monthly Adsense earnings since September 2003) that the growth has been pretty steady with a couple of blips along the way. The first ten or so months were very slow going but the growth since then become quite exponential as I’ve been able to dedicate more and more time to blogging and have learned more about how to get the most out of Adsense.
The motto of the story is that it takes time. As I often say – if you’re not in it for the long haul you’ll probably never see significant earnings.
PS: every time I use a graph like this people ask how I made it – the answer is Keynote – an Apple Presentation tool like Powerpoint.
Spring has Sprung here in Melbourne and so it’s an appropriate time for Spring Cleaning for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere. Duncan is extending his Spring Cleaning to his blog at Quick spring cleaning tips for your blog which includes a variety of ways to freshen up a blog:
‘Its the first day of Spring here today in Australia, and although its still fairly cool, September in my neck of the woods means that the 6 months it rains here will soon come to an end, it will be warm soon, and I’ll be a whole much more happier person (mainly because I hate winter). So what better time to write a quick spring cleaning list for blogs, but don’t despair if your North of the equator, because spring cleaning your blog(s) can be done at any time of the year: indeed I find it helps me particularly if I get into a rut, and as they say sometimes a change is as good as a holiday!’
Continue reading Quick spring cleaning tips for your blog
For example – my Digital Camera site is one of my bigger blogs – yet in comparison to some of the biggest digicam website our there it’s very small. This doesn’t mean I can’t occasionally beat the big sites at their own game though. Today is an example of this.
This afternoon I had an email from a reader with ‘connections’ who gave me information on a digital camera (the Nikon D200) which has been rumored to be coming out for 12 months now. It’s a camera that everyone has hypothesized about but which there have been few firm details on. So when I got a picture and specifications (still unconfirmed but looking pretty solid) as well as a few other facts that indicate the information is reliable I posted about it on a Nikon D200 page.
The cool thing about this is that because I’m a smaller site and am not seen as a major player by the major digital camera manufacturers I do not have any of the non disclosure agreements with them that most of the other bigger sites have. I know that most of these sites will have information on this new camera days before it’s announced – but that legally they are bound not to mention it on their sites until the official release date (rumored to be 1 September).
“Your blog will only ever be as good as it’s weakest component.”
Warning: Tangent Ahead
Imagine you’ve been given a task of hauling water from one place to another (over a long distance) – but that all you’ve been given to do the job is a rusty old bucket which has multiple holes in it. There are holes both low and high on the bucket which make transporting water a real challenge.
You’re given materials to patch some but not all of the holes in the bucket. Which one’s would you fix?
There are a number of ways of approaching this problem – you could attempt to patch the biggest holes first, you could patch those which are most prominent on the bucket etc…
But perhaps the smartest thing to do would be to make the priority of your repair work those holes which are lowest on the bucket.
The reasoning for this approach is that over time your bucket will only be able to hold as much water as the lowest hole on the bucket. Common sense really and a principle I want to suggest bloggers think about on their blogs.
Peter has another worthwhile post at Ads On Blog on the topic of Optimum Placement of Google Ads where he suggests that bloggers consider five questions when they decide how to place ads on their blog. Here are the first three which I think are key:
’1. What is a user trying to accomplish by visiting my site?
2. What do they do when viewing a specific page?
3. Where is the focus of their attention likely to be?’
One of the traps that many bloggers fall into when placing Adsense ads is to just put them where everyone else does – but I think these sorts of questions are a better starting place. Understanding the thought processes and habits of your readers is actually a very helpful thing.
How do you do this? I have done a number of things to try to get inside the minds of some of my readers. Here’s a few suggestions:
Rob Hof over at Business Week has stumbled upon one of the secrets of growing interactivity on a blog - it’s about not knowing all the answers. He notices that the posts with most comments on his blog are where he asks for help.
‘The tough thing for journalists, I think, is that we’re supposed to provide answers, not just pose questions. So what makes a really good story–insight into an issue or person or company, wrapped up in a tidy, complete package–is precisely what doesn’t work on a blog. People are more interested in responding to questions. Provide just answers, and, well, there’s nothing more to say….’
This is so true yet I’d not write off posts that provide answers altogether.
What I’ve discovered over the last couple of years is that people want a mixture of expertise but also room to speak from their own experience. I’ve tried in the past few months to create this type of space in the way I blog here at Problogger – blending posts that are are quite ‘How To’ in nature (with lots of tips and answers) with plenty of opportunities for readers to share their own expertise.
In a sense this was my motivation behind the 31 Day Project and my invitation for readers to submit their blog tip posts. The result is quite spectacular with around 160 reader submissions already in addition to my own 45 or so ‘expert’ pieces.
‘The Maven is a person who knows everything about something. Ask them a question about that topic and they’ll give you more information that you care to know. They are, according to Gladwell, information brokers who have the knowledge and social skills to start epidemics.’
Paul points out a few Maven bloggers and how being one (or becoming one) is a great blogging strategy and an excellent way to build blogging traffic. He’s spot on the money with this observation.
The great thing is that because blogging is so global you don’t necessarily have to be a maven of some mega popular topic in order to be successful. Recently I’ve had contact with a number of bloggers that have come to dominate (in a nice way) the tiny niches that they write in and in doing so have become quite prominent.
A number of them are readers of this blog so I thought it might be interesting to open up the comments in this post for people to talk about either:
1. Blogging Mavens that we know of (ie people who are becoming or who have become experts in a niche through their blogging on it)
2. The Niches that we are trying to become mavens in – tell us about your journey to become an expert in your field. How are you doing it, how’s it going, what has worked and what hasn’t? What have been the benefits of this approach? Don’t be shy or modest – feel free to just share it like it is….
Here is a quote from Paul Allen that I should be tattooed to the foreheads of all bloggers hoping to make it rich via their blogging efforts:
‘My brother Curt, founder of Folio Corp, former CEO of MyFamily.com, and current CEO of Agilix, a venture-backed company, is fond of saying telling how his company was going to be an overnight success…after 10 years of hard work.
I believe that the single most important key to success in an online venture is doing the little things day after day for years and years until you magically reach the tipping point and everyone seems to have heard of you. In other words, persistence is required for most successful ventures.’
Last night I had just finished posting on 15 new digital cameras and printers that had been announced by Canon – it was 2am – and I was just about to close my laptop when my instant messenger beeped – signaling someone wanted a chat. 2am is not my favorite time of the day to start IM conversations but my curiosity got the better of me and I opened the window to find out who it was. It turned out to be a journalist from a pretty major online publication wanting an interview (glad I checked).