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New AdSense Support Site Pages

JenSense has noticed some new pages in the Adsense rabbit warren of support pages. Now they have a News and Case Studies page and a News Page (which only has links to four old-ish news articles) in addition to their older case studies page.

Here is a tip for our Google Adsense friends – how about an official Adsense Blog – or at least an RSS feed for your updates of Adsense support pages?!

I’m sure it’d be an incredibly popular site with publishers – I’d practically camp out there. In fact perhaps you need a ProBlogger type blogger to run such a blog for you!?

It just strikes me that giving publishers more information and education on Adsense would not only make bloggers more loyal to the program but that it would help them earn more money for themselves and Google. I have always wondered why they don’t pay more attention to Adsense publishers and hope that some of the recent changes are a signal that they are getting serious about taking the program to the next level.

Google AdSense offers personal optimization

If you’re an Adsense publisher you might notice a message like the following one on your Reports page after the next time you log in.

‘Learn how to improve the performance of your Google ads with our new optimization tips page! To be considered for personalized optimization tips, email us at [email protected] with “Optimization Request” in the subject line.’

It looks like they are starting to roll out a system of giving advice for not only the top ‘premium’ publishers but the rest of us too. This is a smart move for all concerned and another example of how Google are offering new features in the lead up to Yahoo! entering the contextual advertising market.

I’ve emailed them requesting personal optimization tips and will let you know what I find.

Ecto Problems

I’ve been having some real frustrations with Ecto over the past day or two. I’m unsure if its just the latest version or whether my recent server updates have caused issues – or both.

Some of the issues include the inability to upload photos via ecto, posting as drafts rather than published posts and the losing of categories (reverting to default category rather than the selected one). The confusing part is that different blogs seem to be having different issues – some work perfectly others won’t post at all.

As I say – it might not be an ecto problem – but its starting to get very frustrating and is slowing down my posting considerably.

Are any other ecto users having problems?

Update – Adrian – the brain behind Ecto – has gotten in touch with me and has been incredibly helpful. The problem looks to be two fold.

1. WP’s latest build has an issue that stops categories working with ecto.
2. I think my latest server update has caused a little issue with communication between server and ecto. Looking into it.

Blogs as Brands

One of my favorite bloggers, Toby Bloomberg from diva marketing, has been interviewed over at Robert Scoble and Shel Israel’s book blog – Naked Conversations: Interview: Toby Bloomberg.

Here’s a snippet that got my attention – Toby talking about how blogging has impacted her business:

‘Surprisingly, blogging has done something else for my business. Within a very short period and on very little capital, it has positioned Diva Marketing Blog as a brand unto itself. I’ve been referred to many times as “the marketing diva,” a wonderful compliment.’

Interestingly this resonates with my own experience here at ProBlogger.net. I’m not in Toby’s league – but have been interested the way in which this blog has not only lifted my own profile as a blogger over the past few months – but the way in which ‘ProBlogger’ has been referred to by a number of other bloggers as a brand of its own.

To be honest I’m not sure what this really means or what to do with it – but would like to explore it more in the months ahead.

I’m very aware that there are some smart marketing, branding, PR types who read this blog – and would love to hear your opinions on how you’d build Problogger.net as a brand (if indeed you think it is or potentially could be one).

Update – Peter has a great post about blogs and brands here.

Selling Blogs Risky

Jacob writes an interesting piece on Selling Blogs as someone who has been on the buying end of things in his purchase of CSS Vault:

‘A blog in my opinion is groomed and gets its personality from the author/creator. How can this atmosphere be recreated when the site is no longer being run by that person? Sure you could get someone to imitate, but never perfectly recreate the same atmosphere that was there before. The blog just wouldn’t be the same without the original owner. Deals can be worked out to keep the original author on for a certain amount of time, but you’ve got to think that deal will come to an end some day….

If you do ever plan to sell your blog, I recommend that you put on a few extra coats of skin. A blog is something that is part of that person….’

Wise words from Jacob. Many blogs revolve around a person or personality – to buy one of these without a deal for the authorship to continue would not be a wise move.

Other blogs however are less about the author and more about the the topic and might be more suitable for selling. I look over my stable of blogs and would say that ProBlogger is probably one of two quite personal blogs – (it’d be hard to sell for this reason) but that many of my other blogs could easily be transferred to a new owner and/or author without anyone really caring too much.

Google Opens Up Beta of AdSense for Feeds

It seems that Google is Opening Up its Beta of AdSense for RSS Feeds for everyone to participate in:

‘After testing AdSense contextual ad distribution in a handful of RSS feeds over the past few weeks, Google is opening up the beta program to all of its publisher partners. The company made the announcement at the Syndicate conference in Manhattan Tuesday.

“We really want to nurture this market,” said Shuman Ghosemajumder, business product manager for AdSense. As we’re “getting the business model right for media on the Web in general, it’s imperative that advertising be integrated into feeds properly.”‘

No official word has come through to publishers yet from Google but it can’t be far off.

Update - you can apply to be a part of Adsense for RSS feeds here

Update II – get the full story at Jensense.
Update III – for more information on Google Adsense in RSS feeds read:
- Adsense For Feeds Now in Beta (Branscum)
- Google AdSense for Feeds (Google Blogscoped)
- What is Adsense for Feeds? (official Google site)
- What are the best practices for AdSense for feeds? (official Google site)

Blogging and the Art Time Management

Define Blog has a good post on Managing Your Time as a blogger of multiple blogs:

‘If you run several blogs managing your time is highly important. Ideally we would like to take the hours we are awake, divide it by the number of blogs we have and have that be the total amount of time we spend on each one. But this is an impossibility. Do you have a job, do you have friends and family, do you enjoy eating? There are a lot of factors that keep us from working as much as we would like to on our blogs; so finding an effective way to manage your time and input on it is vital….’

I couldn’t agree more with Ryan. Time management becomes a real issue and something that can make or break an entrepreneurial blogger. It isn’t all plain sailing ad the distraction can be paralyzing. I know that there are days where I can spend hours on end doing things that are good things and even related things to blogging – but that are not blogging themselves.

I set myself a 25 posts per day goal to keep my blogs growing – but unless you have some real discipline goals like this can be easily pushed aside. The distractions can be anything from checking your stats, to IM conversations with other bloggers, to ‘tweaking’ design, to reorganizing categories to… you name it. Whilst all of these things are important to a blog – they can also take you away from your core business – providing content.

I’d be interested to hear how others manage their time? Do you have a daily rhythm that helps you stick to your goals or do you find yourself getting distracted (like me)?

The Prelaunch Success Plan for your Blog

Paul has a good post on things to consider before launching your new blog to better the chances of success for your new blog. Rather than coming up with a topic, doing a quick design and a single post before telling the world about your new blog there are a number of things that can help your chances. Like Paul, I know the temptation to rush this process (starting a new blog is fun and exciting) but its worth taking your time.

Paul breaks it down to four aspects:

  1. The Design
  2. The Content
  3. What is it?
  4. The Review

Spot on advice under each topic – check out the full article here.

Blog Coaching – A holistic Approach

JSLogan has a rant about Blog Coaching – The Next Big Rip Off In The Business Blogosphere? – he doesn’t pull any punches and writes passionately about his dislike for the increasing number of blog consultants that promise to revolutionize any and every business with a blog.

‘I don’t disparage anyone making a living (blog consultants), I just think you should be intellectually honest in your approach. Blogs are not for every person or every business. Not every business is suited for a blog, not every business will benefit, not every individual is geared to blog. That said, I like blogs – blogging has helped my business immensely. I just can’t stand the never ending hype and extolling of blogs as the new end of business. Blogs are a means, not an end. Blogs are an available tool of business…nothing more.’

This is the probably the most important paragraph in what he has to say and whilst I’d like to disagree with him and argue that a blog is the perfect solution for every business – I can not – because I agree with him.

Blogs are one solution for some businesses – they are definitely suitable for many businesses needs – however I try to encourage potential clients to really identify their current needs and goals before making any sort of recommendation. The fact is that some businesses would do better with a static page, a forum, a wiki or some other online tool. Others might be better off putting their money into some other communication tool (even, if I dare say it, if that is an offline one!).

I do believe that there is a place for blog consultants – however I believe that a more holistic approach might be a better service to offer. The most effective blog consultants will be those that have more than blogging in their tool belt – those that can pull out a variety of other options that are better suited for the needs of a client.

Of course JS goes on in his post to offer his services as a blog coach – I’ve only just become aware of his blog in more recent times so I can’t recommend him – but he does seem to be on the right track with this post – and might be worth sounding out if you want someone to help you work out if blogging is for your business.

Cash for Comment Blogging

J.Ryan writes an interesting post at guerrilla news network on a strategy USWeb.com is using to promote clients using blogs. In short they are paying bloggers $5 to write nice things about their clients – even suggesting what such posts might include in them. Here’s a taster of a longer post:

‘While searching the online postings at CraigsList, I came across an interesting post, which read, “Get paid for blogging… We will pay you to post to your blog. We pay $5 via PayPal per blog posting. To start earning cash, email me with your name and blog URL. We are looking for people to pay today. If you don’t have a PayPal account, we can also send you a gift certificate for iTunes if you like.”

So I sent off an email requesting further information. The reply email came from Ed Shull ([email protected]) and read, “This is pretty simple. I will provide a subject, you write a short (50 word min.) post, we pay you $5. The first subject is a flower site. You should give a favorable review of the flower site, Dot Flowers.” The rest of the email went on to explain that in the review I must link to the Dot Flowers website using the anchor text “buy flowers online.” It also included a list of things I could write; such as “they have better pricing,” and that their site loads faster than the competitors sites. There was also info about the technical aspects of the site, such as the code used behind the pages and that it’s “error free.” After completing the post, the instructions were simple, “…please send me a URL to the post and your PayPal address. Also, let me know how often you wish to post for us, and we will send over more subjects. Thanks, Ed….”’

Read the rest of this article at Blogging for Dollars

In some ways there is nothing new in this – its been going on for years in all forms of media (there was a scandal here on Australian radio a year or so back on ‘cash for comment’ – what is interesting with this is that this is happening in a pretty public and organized way in blogging – a medium that this type of behavior has the potential to become rife in.

I’m interested in what others think – have your say in comments below.