How not to get Banned from AdSense

Good post over at Jen’s again on How to ensure your AdSense account will not be cancelled where she bounces of a page at Google on the same topic which lists 10 things you can do as an adsense publisher NOT to be banned from the program. They are pretty much common sense – but unfortunately they do need to be said. Even these first two points I see broken regularly!

‘Don’t click your own ads

I have been saying this ever since AdSense launched. It is amazing how many people don’t realize this is a problem even if they are “truly interested” in what is being advertised.

Don’t ask others to click on Google ads

Again, you’d think this was obvious, but not the the publisher I saw a few months ago with a huge 250×500 pixel image reminding visitors to click at least three ads a day, or else their free access to the site might be gone the following day.’

Four Australian Bloggers make the Top 500 in the world

Here’s a news release that some Aussie bloggers (including myself) are putting around today in the hope of raising the profile of blogging here in Australia:

Four Australian bloggers have been named amongst the Top 500 blogs in the world according to a new list published by leading US blog search firm Feedster (

The new list comes after a recent debate amongst United States based bloggers as to the best ways in which to measure influence amongst blogs.

The four Australian bloggers and their blogs making the list in order:

#123 Cameron Reilly, Melbourne & Mick Stanic, Sydney – The Podcast Network Blog

#140 Arthur Chrenkoff, Brisbane – Chrenkoff

#157 Duncan Riley, Bunbury (WA) – The Blog Herald

#203 Darren Rowse, Melbourne – Problogger

[Read more…]

When is it time to ‘Go Pro’ as a Blogger?

Instant Messaging Conversation with Reader (used with permission – name changed to protect the innocent)

Rex – ‘Darren Darren Darren….I’ve decided to become a Professional Blogger!!!!’
Darren – ‘Wow that’s exciting Rex!’
Rex – ‘yeah I’m writing my letter of resignation as we speak….’
Rex – ‘I can’t wait to see my boss’s face when he sees it! :-)’
Darren – ‘that’s great…. but before you resign can I ask you a couple of questions?’
Rex – ‘sure’
Darren – ‘how long have you been blogging?’
Rex – ‘3 months’
Darren – ‘how many blogs do you have?’
Rex – ‘just one’
Darren – ‘and if you don’t mind me asking how much does it earn each day?’
Rex – ‘…around $1.50’
Darren – ‘do you have any savings to live off for the next year?’
Rex – ‘………..’

This is a real conversation and one that I seem to have about once per month – bloggers who are excited by the potential that blogging has to pay them an income – who are so eager to ‘Go Pro’ that all sensibility goes out the window.

Most people would make sure they have another job to go to before resigning from a current one (or at least they’d make sure they had a way to survive in the short term) – why wouldn’t they do the same with blogging?

I’ve written about this before at Monkey Bar Blogging (a public service announcement that I wrote for bloggers a few months back) – it’s a post that I’d highly recommend anyone considering ‘Going Pro’ has a read. What I write below is similar I guess and my latest thinking on the topic.

So when should a blogger ‘Go Pro’?

Let me start answering this question by saying there is no one way to enter into blogging on a professional level. I know quite a few bloggers who have gone full time into blogging and with virtually every one there is a different variation on the story of how they did it.

Below is some of the advice I give to bloggers with aspirations to full time blogging:

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ProBlogger T-Shirt Competition in Final Days

Don’t forget that the ProBlogger T-Shirt Competition is four days away from being finalized with a winner being chosen by you the readers of ProBlogger. To vote head over to the ProBlogger shop and make a purchase (there are T-Shirts, Mugs, Mouse Pads, BBQ Aprons and more available – see below for a few examples).

The design that sells the most wins the designer $100 at Amazon, some blog consulting from me, a free T-Shirt etc.

So far there is one design that is edging ahead of the others – but really any one of the five is within a few sales of being crowned the winner.

Here’s a selection of what’s on offer…

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Writing Blog Content – Make it Scannable

Only 16% of people read web sites word for word. Source

The average person only comprehends 60% of what they read. Source

Knowing this – how should bloggers who want to communicate effectively write?

Is your Blog Scannable ?

Most people read online by scanning the page for individual words or phrases, headings and other visual cues. Studies have shown that reading from a screen is more tiring and therefore about 25% slower than reading from paper – hence scanning becomes a technique that most employ.

Is your Blog Scannable? It’s a pretty simple thing to test. Ask a friend who is not familiar with your site to take a quick look at a few of your recent posts. Give them 15 to 30 seconds on each post, at the end of which you ask them what the post was about. You’ll quickly get a sense of how they’ve interacted with your blog.

Techniques to Make your Blog Scannable

Good bloggers keep this in mind as they write and will employ a variety of techniques to make their posts easier to read. Some of these techniques include:

  • Lists – Anecdotal evidence here at ProBlogger suggests that its my posts with bullet point lists in them that get linked to ALOT more than similar length posts written in of an essay style.
  • Formatting – Use bold, CAPITALS, italics, underlining, teletext and to emphasize points. Don’t go overboard as you run the risk of frustrating your reader. Also consider changing font size, color and style to draw your readers eyes to your main points.
  • Headings and Sub Headings – Large, Bold words that act as visual cues of what is happening in the content are effective ways of drawing readers further into articles.
  • Pictures – Research shows that readers eyes are drawn down the page by pictures. Place them cleverly by your key points (especially when they closely relate to the content) and you have more of a chance of getting readers to read full articles.
  • Borders/Blockquotes – boxes around quotes and key points can similarly get the attention of readers.
  • Space – don’t feel you have to fill up every inch of your screen – rather create spaces because they help readers not to feel overwhelmed and again tend to draw readers eyes to what is inside such space.
  • Get to the Point – try to be succinct with your points.
  • Don’t Bury your Points – one trap many of us fall into is to bury our main points deep within content where it’s unlikely to be noticed. If you have a key point make sure you say it up front. You can expand upon it later but get your message across in the first few sentences if possible.
  • Find creative ways to reinforce your main point throughout your post.
  • Don’t Introduce too many New Ideas in one post – once again this helps to avoid overwhelming readers with information all at once. If you want to cover many ideas that relate to one another consider a series of posts that link to each other.

If your site and its posts are not easily scannable you run the risk of losing your reader to another blog that is.

AdSense – Fewer Ads, More Money?

Interesting post over at Inside AdSense (the official Adsense blog from Google) that explains what has been going on with them having less ads per ad unit than previously. They explain the move as follows:

‘”When we have a set of highly relevant and useful ads, we give them more of a presence in the ad unit by eliminating other ads. In some cases, if we determine a particular ad performs extremely well on a page, we’ll remove all other ads from the unit and show just this single ad….”

“When we tested this feature, we saw that the increased user attention to these relevant ads resulted in a higher CTR. This means more revenue for publishers.”

They then show one of these ads in action (below).

Whilst I don’t want to disagree with Adsense on this one I’ve been considering a post on it all day with a slightly less positive spin. Here are a few thoughts that have been growing in my mind as I’ve noticed more and more of these ads this week:

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31 Days to Building a Better Blog – Day 18

There have been some interesting patterns in the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Project so far with some big days and small days. Also of interest to me are the themes that have emerged that a number of times have meant similar posts being submitted by different bloggers totally independently of one another.

Today is a smaller day but one on which both submissions pick up legal theme – something that many bloggers avoid talking about but something which will increasingly become important for us to address. As a result I’m really pleased to present these two useful posts for your perusal.

Submit your Blog Tips on ANY topic by writing them up on your own post and letting me know the URL so I can link up tomorrow.

Engadget – 5 Adsense Adblocks Per page

Adrants observes that Engadget is running more than the normally allowed 3 ad blocks per page (I see four plus an ad unit on most individual pages and five on their main page) and wonders if it violates the Adsense TOS. Jason Calacanis answers in comments:

‘I can assure you we are not violating any terms with them.

I can not discuss the issue beyond on that.’

This either means they can do it because they are a premium publisher (because of their size these publishers can negotiate their own deals directly with Adsense on placement, ad sizes, design etc) OR that they are testing something new for Adsense (ie more than 3 adblocks per page). Of course either way they will have signed a NDA.

update – more on this at Dave’s where it gets quite heated and Jason’s where he gives the official line again.

Six Figure Blogging – Affiliate Program

A number of people have asked if the Six Figure Blogging course that Andy and I are running has an affiliate program. The answer is yes. You can earn 25% of the fees that people pay to participate in the course when you refer them to it if you sign up for the affiliate program at Andy’s Blog. It requires PayPal as that’s how you get paid.

So sign up two others and you pay for your own participation in the course.

Inside AdSense Blog Launched

We’ve been predicting an official Adsense blog for a few months now (ever since the URL had a password put on it) and today it’s gone live at Inside AdSense. So far there is nothing much to see – but hopefully the coming months will give us the true inside word on Adsense. It’s RSS Feed is here.