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What to Do With Your Blog Over the Holidays

Blog-Vacation
Image by SummachPhoto

Today I had a good discussion with my Twitter followers about what they were doing with their blogs over the Christmas break later this week.

Most of the answers came down to the strategies that I mention in this old post here at ProBlogger – 7 Things to Do with Your Blog when you take a Vacation.

What are you doing with your blog these holidays?

How Much Money Did You Earn from Blogging in October 2008?

It’s time for another annual poll here at ProBlogger – this one asking readers how much they earned in October 2008? I’ve run this poll a number of times over the last couple of years and the results are always interesting.

Just to qualify it – I’m asking about ALL blogging revenue that you can tie to your actual blog. Advertising, affiliate revenue, revenue that your blog might have brought in in terms of consulting etc. As long as you feel your blog drew the money in then I’m happy for it to be included.

In October, How Much Did You Earn from Blogging?
View Results


Looking forward to seeing your results.

How Bloggers Make Money Online without Blogging [POLL RESULTS]

Last month I ran a poll here at ProBlogger which asked readers if they make money online from sources other than blogging.

The result was almost completely split with 1022 of the 2053 people who responded saying Yes and 1031 saying no.

make-money-non-blogging-sources.png

Some of the comments on the launch post of this poll revealed some of the ways people are making money online from sources other than blogging. They include:

  • Website Design
  • Flipping (selling) Websites
  • Selling ebooks
  • Youtube Partnership program
  • Freelance writing, graphic design
  • Teaching and Consulting
  • Owning other types of websites (directories, forums etc)
  • Business Documentation site
  • Developing web applications
  • Online Surveys
  • Paid to Click Sites
  • Selling Products and Merchandise
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Writing on User Generated Content (Revenue Sharing) Sites
  • Make Online Games
  • Online Store – Selling Products
  • eBay
  • Selling Art
  • Business Referrals
  • Market Research
  • Software Development
  • Working as a Transcriptionist
  • Membership Sites
  • Generating Sales for Off-line Business from Websites

Lots of good ideas there and a nice reminder that there’s plenty to explore outside of blogging.

My own list of online money making sources that are not directly blogging include running a forum (advertising revenue), newsletter lists (affiliate marketing and some advertising), consulting (limited), selling a course, job boards, working at b5media (very part time)… and that’s about all I can think of.

Do You Sell Text Links on Your Blog? [POLL]

Do You Sell Text Links on Your Blog?

Warning – Before answering this question in comments you might want to consider doing so anonymously and without a link to your blog – particularly if your answer is YES. It could hurt you to identify yourself if you say yes publicly.

It is time for another poll here at ProBlogger – this one on the topic of selling text links.

A year or so back selling text links was the #1 income source for many bloggers. The practice was common and all done out in the open. Advertisers wanted to buy text links from blogs and websites that had been around for a while and had established decent page rank in Google. They were doing this to increase their own search engine authority. Bloggers saw the practice as relatively easy money – payments were recurring on a monthly basis and with services like TextLinkAds that emerged there was very little work in finding advertisers or collecting payments.

However the Text Link Ad selling industry came crashing down (to some extent) late in 2007 when Google took the step of penalizing many websites and blogs (some quite high profile ones) for the practice of selling text links. They see selling of text links as people trying to game or manipulate their ranking system and if they find people doing it – issue penalties which can hurt your search engine ranking.

As a result of this action many bloggers stopped selling text links. I had personally stopped selling them before Googles action (although was hit with a page rank penalty for a few days before Google corrected it).

The practice of selling text links continues today – however it’s done a lot less publicly than previously. Services still exist to arrange the buying and selling of links but it seems that it has gone much more underground with many deals being done directly between advertisers and bloggers and with advertisers less interested in site wide text links and more interested in buying them within content on individual pages.

While many bloggers have stopped doing it – quite a few continue to sell them either not aware of the risks or willing to take the risk for the income it provides.

The point of this poll is to find out just how many bloggers still sell text links.

As I mentioned above – if you want to comment on this poll below and you do sell text links you might want to do it anonymously or with a pseudonym as it wouldn’t be hard for Google to hit you with a penalty. Voting yes in the poll without commenting is anonymous however.

So it’s over to you – here’s the poll (it’s also in my sidebar):

Do You Sell Text Links on Your Blog
Total Votes: 1806 Started: 10/27/2008 Back to Vote Screen


I’m looking forward to seeing the results on this one!

Why Do We Blog?

Today in response to an article that Andrew Sullivan published that was titled ‘Why I Blog‘ I asked my Twitter followers and Facebook friends to tell me why they blog. The responses were so good that felt it was a pity to just see them myself and not share them.

Here are the first 100 (or so) responses that came in over the next hour.

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Thanks to everyone for participating!

Why Do YOU Blog?

I’d love to read your answers below or on your blog. If you choose to blog or tweet your response please leave a URL in comments below so we can read it.

PS: For me it is a complex question to answer, particularly when you only have 140 characters to do it in but for me it boils down to:

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Types of Blogs – Can we Categorize Them?

I just received the following question about categorizing blogs from Ann Handley (from MarketingProfs) that I thought would make a good discussion starter.

“A few weeks ago, Chris Brogan (writing on Shannon Paul’s blog) talked about the importance of being consistent on your blog.

Some blogs, like my personal blog Annarchy are “craft blogs,” Chris wrote. While others, like Brian Solis’s — and this one at ProBlogger — require regular and consistent updating, a constant “pulse” of information.

Which made me wonder, what are the types of blogs?

Can we categorize blogs by type of content they consistently produce — for example, news (like Drudge or Huffington), commentary and opinion, essay or “craft,” and the like? What say you?”

Over to you!

Should Blogs Have Comments?

Should blogs have comments?

It is a question that comes up fairly regularly in blogging circles and one that different bloggers take different approaches to.

  • Most bloggers have them – they’re on by default when they set their blog up and they never switch them off. They see the comments as adding a lot to the blog – making it a place of shared learning, interactivity and dynamic conversation.
  • Other bloggers decide not to have them. Their reasons vary from not having time to moderate them to being frustrated by comment spam.

Between these views other bloggers take a variety of other approaches ranging from:

  • having comments on some posts but not others
  • switching comments off over a certain amount of time (to protect from comment spam)
  • to not having comments in the early days of a blog and switching them on later once there is a big enough audience to justify them (this is what I did on DPS).
  • to requiring membership for comments (thereby effectively switching them off to the general public and reserving the privilege to comment for those willing to sign up).

There are many options – but I thought it’d be interesting to open it up for some discussion.

  • Do you have comments on your blog? Why or Why Not?
  • Do you think a blog is a blog without comments?
  • What are the advantages of having or not having them?

Interested to see where this discussion leads us.

Further Reading on Comments on Blogs:

Winner of the Reader Review Competition

Last week we ran a ‘reader review‘ competition where we gave you a link to a blog – Girls Just Wanna Have Funds – and asked you to leave a ‘review’ to help the blog improve.

Chitika came to the party and offered a Tomtom One LE GPS unit to the comment that Ginger (the owner of the blog) found to be most helpful.

Thanks also to the great advertising network – Chitika – for donating the prize. Do check out the range of advertising units that they have available for bloggers at the moment – their new premium ad unit is a great option for many bloggers.

51 people left comments and some of them were quite amazing both in terms of the quality and depth that you went into. In fact it’s one of the longest collections of comments I’ve seen on Problogger (almost 17,000 words between the 51 comments).

So Ginger has chosen her winner and has asked if she can also say a few words about the process of having her blog reviewed. In it she talks about some of the changes she’s going to be making to her blog and announces the winner (last paragraph).

Thanks to everyone for entering and Ginger for letting us review her blog! Now – over to Ginger.

From Ginger

Thank you to everyone who took the time to comb through my site and give me honest, constructive and most of all detailed feedback. I received many comments through my contact page in addition to the 50+ comments here at Problogger. I appreciate the time you all took to give me your feedback around the changes I need to make to the site.

Darren, thank you for choosing my site for the review, this has been on my wish list for a while now so thank you for this awesome opportunity as your readers have been thorough and helpful. Between reading your book and this review I’m certain I know what I need to do moving forward to improve my blog and take it to new heights.

I will be making changes around 85% of the consensus that was held amongst the comments. This includes:

Reducing the amount of Adsense that I use on the page. When reviewing the revenue programs, it turns out that I make more with Essence, Blogher and advertisement contracts and Adsense is last on the list in terms of amount of revenue.

Changing the color scheme: I went back and forth about this but I will work on a theme that is lighter and easier on the eyes. I definitely don’t want to alienate the male readers so I will take this into consideration. All said I love the theme layout and functionality as I think Solostream did a fantastic job with it. So while I may make tweaks to the color and layout, I don’t foresee changing the theme altogether. The jury is still out full posts instead of excerpts on the front page but I will see how it works out when I make changes this weekend.

Site Promotion: This is my top priority as you all gave really awesome ideas around how to do this given my niche. I’ve printed out all comments and highlighted the ones that spoke to this area and will be implementing those very soon, IE connecting with other sites such as Cafe Mom and Work It Mom. I don’t have children so I have often questioned whether or not I could really speak to and connect this audience but I am willing to give it a try.

I’m quite surprised to see that most of the comments liked my writing style, that made me smile as I often think I could do a lot better in this area. I do write from the heart and glad to see that most of you are able to glean some my personality based on what I write.

Special Note: The purpose of Girls Just Wanna Have Funds is for me to be able to write about personal finance from a SINKs (single income no children) perspective. I realize this is different than many of the mom blogs and other personal finance blogs out there but please try to understand that I write about personal finance as it relates to my life. There is no topic that I’ve written about that I havent considered or experienced personally. I will from time to time discuss financial challenges and there are times that I will look to readers for answers because I don’t know it all, so I’m OK with that aspect of the blog even though some commenters did not and thought it made me look as though I don’t have all the answers since I have my own challenges. Well, I do and that is the purpose of the blog, to write about those challenges and keep myself accountable as I move through them.

There was also a comment about my purchasing only organic foods and not writing about buying groceries around sale items. The comment also stated that working moms would just roll their eyes and keep it moving to Safeway. This stood out to me because I now realize that perhaps I haven’t written much to this reader group. However, I purchase organic foods because this is something I value just as other personal finance bloggers value traveling on leisure or collecting comic books. I realize this is something that all women/households aren’t able to do but it is my hope that readers won’t be turned off by this aspect of my finances. I am far from perfect in my quest for financial freedom. I shop way too much around hair and beauty products and let’s not discuss decorating our new home. I’d like for my readers to understand that much if nothing else about what I write. I write from personal experience and articles that hopefully inspire readers to take action. So while I may shop at Trader Joes and Whole Foods, this doesn’t mean that I don’t contend with the struggles of making your budget work with rising food prices.

That said, I will be adding a reader request section and reader questions answered section to make the blog more interactive and inclusive of all perspectives.

The Winner

The comment I chose that was most helpful in overall structure of how the information was presented and content is Ananda Palanisamy (no link left). This comment listed each area of improvement in addition to including more areas/issues to consider advertising and getting more readers. They were also VERY detailed in their response as most comments were, but I felt this comment was most helpful.

Note from Darren: Amanda, I’ll be in touch shortly with details of how to claim your prize.

How Do You Define ‘Great Content’?

Blogging advice articles all seems to include the matra – “create great content”. The theory goes that if you create great content people will come to your blog, link to it, pass it on to friends, bookmark it and your blog will grow.

OK – we’ve heard the ‘write great content’ thing over and over again.

But what is this ‘great content’ thing that we talk about? How do you define it (or can you at all)?

What is Great Content?

I’m interested in how you’d answer this question. Looking forward to seeing what discussion emerges. Feel free to answer as a comment below of if you want to take it up as a post on your blog – please leave a link in comments so we can track what everyone is writing.