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Blog count commercial contributions

A little bleg to the Pro-blogosphere. I’ve called for contributions for the next Blog Herald blog count for July here, but I need your help. What I also need is user figures for commercial services. Now I’m going to personally ask leading services for their figures, but I don’t think that alone some may give them to me (particularly SixApart). Why are blogging figures important you may well ask? well its important for all of us to know as “Pro” bloggers exactly how large our marketplace is. Only yesterday I read a report in the US Newspaper that quoted the number of blogs out there is 4 million. The more common figure is 10 million. The real truth is that it’s closer to 60 million. Compiling figures based on user numbers based on service and country helps us all to spread the word that blogging is a serious force on the internet, and that’s to the benefit of us all. The bigger we can prove we are the more advertisers will take an interest and the better the blog advertising marketplace will be for us all. The next blog count is so big that I’m probably going to have to put together a PDF with it all because it will be too much for a post, but what I desperately need is up to date commercial figures. So what I need you to do: email SixApart, Blogger, Spaces and other commercial services world wide and ask them for their user numbers, particularly if they can provide them by geographic area, and even if they can’t, the total number. By all means post them on your blog, but let me know in the mean time so I can include them in the next blog count. I know number counting is a bit old fashioned but being able to prove a bigger market place is for the net benifit of us all, and the report will be available to all.

Is Blogger the worst free blogging service?

I’ve got an interesting thread started at Blog Herald on an interesting topic that should be of interest to Probloggers: Is Blogger the worst free blogging service? that some readers might like to contribute to, but I’d like to add a little here. As a “Problogger” I’ve got to say that I’d NEVER set up a serious blog on a free service. Why? it’s a matter of control. If you are serious about blogging you’ll want to be sure that forever more you’ll have 100% control over your blog and will not be dependent on Google for your hosting. Every time I see a commercial or “Pro” blog launched that uses Blogger I cringe. Don’t get me wrong, personally I’ve always thought highly of Blogger and there is no argument that the service has played an important role in popularising blogs. But in business I wouldn’t risk my time and money on a third party where I’ve got no control over the hosting and future direction of a site, particularly if your site was on a blogspot.com domain. Using a free blogging service, even with Google behind it, is always a risk. I’ve got mixed responses on the actual service, as you’ll see from the post at the Blog Herald, but my advice: if you are serious about blogging you won’t host your blog on a free service.

BlogSpot Spam Blogs

Geektronica makes a few observations about the growing fat of BlogSpot:

I’ve been cruising the Blogspot world lately looking for cool stuff that the bigger geeklogs might have missed (and I found some cool knitting sites as a result last time I did this). What I’ve found, though, is that a large percentage (maybe up to a third) of all Blogspot blogs are spam-logs – sites created to increase the Google ranking of some other site (which is itself usually a Google-spamming site). The ultimate purpose of these spamlogs is usually to drive traffic to a commission-paying pharmacy, pr0n, or casino site.

I can’t wait until they start creating spam podcasts. Though I’m sure it is already underway. Idiots.

15 Common AdSense Mistakes

From Quick Online Tips: 15 Common Mistakes by Google Adsense Publishers that Violate Terms of Service

Cool Little Tool

My last post asked the question of how you build blog and website traffic. Tim left a comment that caught my interest regarding the syndication of one blog’s headlines to other websites he has an interest in – an effort to create stickiness at the website and drive visitors to the originating blog.

I’ve taken Tim’s example to heart and have done the same thing.

I found a cool little tool – free – that converts RSS to JavaScripts. The service name is simply RSS-to-JavaScript.

Have you been noticing the growing popularity of RSS, RDF and ATOM feeds? Would you like to easily add them to your web-site to create sticky content that’s always updated? Then you’ve come to the right place, RSS-to-JavaScript.com was designed to easily convert any valid RSS, RDF or ATOM feed into easy to implement Javascript. No XML or programming experience is necessary.

Use our 100% free tool to easily insert dynamically updated RSS, RDF and ATOM feeds into any web page, blog or content management system.

The way I use RSS-to-JavaScript is to aggregate posts I write on two other blogs and present them on my maim blog, JSLogan. The thought is to make JSLogan readers more aware of posts I write on other blogs and drive more readers to the other sites.

Thanks for the idea Tim!

Are there any other cool little tools like this you use or have seen in the blogosphere?

Blog Tip: Hire someone for ad sales

The following blog tip has been submitted by Jon Gales – the editor of the wonderful MobileTracker blog. Learn more about Jon from this interview we did with him earlier in the year.



It’s very tempting to try and sell ads yourself—afterall, since you do all of the work why shouldn’t you get all of the ad revenue? Other than DIY programs like Google AdSense, I suggest that you let someone else take care of ad sales. There are a couple of reasons:

  1. If you hire a (good) professional, they are bound to be better at selling ads than you are. You could probably blog circles around them, but they can outsell you with their eyes closed.
  2. Separation of church and state. By this I mean the editor of the site isn’t the one collecting ad dollars. There’s a separation (though a loose one, you still have the final say over advertising deals) between your site’s content and its advertising. You wouldn’t want your newspaper’s writers also selling the ads. No investigative reporting would ever happen!

Since this is a comission business, your representative has it in his/her best interest to sell the highest dollar amount.

Blogs, Links, and SEO

Blogs and links are the perfect couple. Of course, everyone knows that. You don’t have to be a hopeless romantic or some SEO techie type to figure that one out.

Talk about stating the obvious.

As we all know, almost everyone talks about how powerful blogs and their linking power are for search engine optimization (SEO). The reasons for the strength of blog links in achieving high search engine rankings are discussed much less frequently. It’s time to change all of that.

Let’s talk blogs and links and SEO.

Blog links have search engine power for several reasons. One of which is the different types of linking featured on blogs. All blog links are not the same, and that is part of their secret search engine rankings power. Different types of links provide different rankings boosts, in several different ways. In the end, the links add up to your blog being placed highly, for your most important keywords, in Google, Yahoo, and MSN Search.

Links appear on a blog’s home page as links to other blogs. Other blogs link to your blog from home page link lists and blogrolls as well. As the most powerful page on your blog, the home page passes along quite a bit of search engine power. The problem is that home page mojo is divided among many different blogs. The piece of the pie for each one is not that large.

On the other hand, the age and permanence of that link has some real value. The links also get value from arriving from other blogs sharing similar themes and topics. Interlinked blogs on cooking help one another more than a cooking blog and a welding blog. All links have some value, but theme related ones provide even more.

Links also appear in posts. Those are expecially valuable links. When someone links to one of your posts, they often double link to the home page as well. Because of the strong and obvious theme relevance of the post, the search engines give in post links some real power. As such, writing interesting posts that attract natural inbound links, and trigger discussions on other blogs are especially important. Note the value of providing great information to your readers.

Trackbacks provide a bit of link power, but not as much as some bloggers believe. Being open to spamming has reduced their link strength. Links in comments have little if any link power these days as a result of abuse. Trackback links provide their power more indirectly, in attracting discussion links and finding new potential linkers to your blog.

There is some evidence that linking out to other blogs helps gain search rankings for the generous blogger. Instead of being a drain, linking out can result in a net SEO gain. Now beat that for great karma!

Keep in mind that your goal should not be to game or trick the search engines. On the contrary, those sorts of tactics are counterproductive and fail to provide the desired results.

Instead, think of the needs of your readership first. Provide them with good useful and interesting blog posts. Links will arrive naturally, and as a result of your generous linking habits, your blog can rise to the top of the search engine rankings.

What in the World of AdSense

After a couple of non-eventful AdSense weeks earlier this month, the past week or so has seen plenty of new AdSense changes, many coinciding with the WebmasterWorld of Search Conference.

First, Google AdSense engineers were in abundance at the “Meet the Engineers” evening that Google hosted. Set up at several tables, publishers got the opportunity to chat with AdSense engineers and product managers, and ask pretty much anything they wanted. And from what I heard back from publishers, they were open and more than willing to discuss all things AdSense, and write down all the suggestions and feedback that publishers gave. There were very few “no comment” responses (mostly to “what is the revenue split”, I’m sure!) and most publishers felt it was a great experience and a perfect opportunity to voice any concerns or questions in a format other than the Google support form or email.

Gokul Rajaram, one of the AdSense Product Managers, also participated in one of the contextual publishing panels (yours truly was on the other one) and discussed the new features AdSense has rolled out recently, including the new Ad Links formats as well as the new AdSense for Feeds that bloggers (including ProBlogger & JenSense) are currently beta testing.

But the biggest surprise was the announcement Matt Cutts made in the Super Session about spam reporting AdSense sites. Now, if you see a site violating the AdSense terms and policies, click on the “Ads by Google” link, and be sure to include the keyword “spamreport” (one word) in the form, as well as what you believe the violation is. You can keep yourself anonymous, or you can include your email address.

AdSense continues to make great steps forward as we all await the inevitable launch of the Yahoo Publisher Network. It will be interesting to see what YPN does to attempt to dazzle publishers away from AdSense.

What Makes a Good Guest Blogger?

If ProBlogger was a real estate property, it can probably be likened to a snazzy professional suite in a condo. Top floor – latest furnishings and decor — hip, business-like, but with a comfy feel to it — and a nice view of the world around it.

So, when Darren first invited me to become a guest blogger here at ProBlogger, I was honoured and pleased. It felt like being invited in to someone’s home – someone’s personal space – and genuinely telling me to make myself at home.

And, with just a few “house rules” to follow, I can do just about anything else as Darren’s guest. I can sip peach iced tea in the jacuzzi in a red bikini. I can jump up and down on the water bed. And best of all, I can talk to all his friends and colleagues who come by to see him on a regular basis. Many of whom probably don’t give squat about seeing me anyway. They’re not here for me. You’re not here for me.

But, it doesn’t matter. Darren’s just happy to introduce me and to let me in on the fun. And I think that’s nice.

Nice people deserve nice things. That’s why I wanted to be a good house guest. From the beginning, I kept thinking about what makes a good guest blogger. Even though I had guest bloggers on my own blogs, I’ve never been one. And Darren’s post, ProBlogger – Reflections on Guest Blogging – and the comments that followed – made me think even harder about this.

So, I took notes. Based on comments by ProBlogger readers, these are some of the things that make a good guest blogger:

1) Good guests want to give – not get. We should not guest blog because of what we’ll get out of it, but what we can give to our “host” – and everyone else invited. It’s up to the host, the other guests, and everyone else how they’d like to say ‘thank you’ in return. We don’t impose our ‘thank yous’ through blatant self promotion.

2) Good guests follow house rules. Both the official ones – and the unwritten ones.

3) Good guests like to offer fresh entertainment. No one wants to hear the same joke and story repeated more than once.

4) Good guests keep their promises. We should do what we said we’d do.

Hmmm… So, what else do you think make good guests/guest bloggers?

In any case, it’s almost time to pack up and end the month-long party. I really enjoyed my stay. Thanks! It was nice to meet some of you who managed to say hello. I hope you’ll stay in touch.

And, no matter how much fun I had guest blogging here, I’m looking forward to seeing more of Darren around this snazzy place called ProBlogger.

Other Than Search Engines – Where Do You Get New Blog Traffic?

Yesterday was another typical Monday – back to work, back into the routine, another Carnival of the Capitalists. I’ve been participating in the Carnival of the Capitalists (CoTC) for some time, it’s pretty effective at drivng new readers to my blog. I usually pick-up a few new readers each week from CoTC, yesterday was no exception.

Other than CoTC, I routinely pick-up new readers from comments and trackbacks I do on other blogs. Obviously, you can pick-up referer traffic and new audience through trackbacks from your blog and references to your site or a particular post on other sites, but you can’t control those events…they just happen.

I’ve also had some luck in article submissions and noticed some traffic increases from e-zines I’ve given content to. On one ocassion, I even ran a paper direct mail campaign to bring more people to my blog…resulting in about 200 additional readers.

Other than those things I’ve listed above – and excluding search engine traffic – how do you get new readers to your blog? Are there any forums or Carnivals out there that work well for you?