Website Tips from Blogging Pro

Jacob gives his most important website tips over at Website Tips – Part 1. He focuses upon domain names, having a tableless design, simple design, search engine friendly URLs and keyword rich titles. He writes good, easy to grasp information on each topic.

I wish I knew some of these lessons when I first started blogging!

But wait there’s more. Also read Part II of this series.

How to Get Indexed by Google

I’ve had a few readers write to let me know that they’re having trouble getting indexed by Google and asking for advice.

There are a lot of different theories on how to get into Google’s search returns but by far the simplest way to do it that I’ve found is to simply get a link from another site that has already been indexed by Google that Google sends it’s bots to regularly.

Of course you can also submit your site to Google to be ranked or use a search engine submission program to do it – but I find the link option works pretty well in most cases for me. It might take a few days, or even a week or so in some cases, but in most cases it works reasonably quickly.

As bloggers the best way to do this is to write quality content that other bloggers will link to and to interact with other bloggers on their blogs (genuinely) via their comments. This is all it should really take to get indexed by Google. Of course then you have the challenge of getting to the top of the list for the keywords that you’re wanting to target. This is another story and is not quite so simple and some people spend their lives working on this task. Again there are many theories out there.

My advice in climbing the rankings is similar to getting indexed. In order to climb the rankings you again need other sites to link to you. In my mind this is the most important aspect of good SEO (search engine optimization). There are of course other factors, but what it largely comes down to in my experience is inbound links from other sites (relevant, highly ranked ones using the keywords you want to rank for to link to you ideally).

Does anyone else have any other tips for those exploring this? Feel free to add yours below so we can all learn.

Blogging for fun and profit – The Australian

The Australian Newspaper’s IT section today has an article on Blogging for fun and profit by Angus Kidman and Ian Cuthbertson. It features quite a few quotes from yours truly and some other good Aussie bloggers reflecting on Australian blogging, blogging for money, general blog tips and more.

Thanks to Angus (who blogs here) for giving me the chance to add my two cents worth.

Earning Milestones

Today was a mini milestone day for me in my blogging.

I went to the PO Box this morning to grab my mail and found my monthly cheque from Google’s Adsense had arrived for earnings in the month of May. May was my biggest earning month since I started blogging (June was a little lower due to me being away for the full four weeks).

The cheque was the biggest cheque I’ve ever held onto (well the biggest I’ve held onto that has my name on it). The amazing thing is that in the month of May I earned more than I earned in a whole year in 2003 from a ‘real job’ (of course at the time I was only working a 3 day week while I studied part time) and well over half as much as I earned from Adsense in the whole of 2004.

It predominately came from two or three blogs which worries me a little (the worry is that if just one or two of them fell over it would have significant income. However on the up side the past couple of months have seen a number of my other blogs experiencing significant growth in traffic which points to plenty of potential for the future.

If you’d told me I’d be doing what I’m doing 2 or 3 years ago (and that it would be earning me a good living) I would never have believed you. I sometimes think it’s all just a dream – if it is please don’t pinch me, I’m not ready to wake up.

I’m quite amazed and am enjoying every moment while it lasts (because on the web you never quite know how long it will). Here’s to as good a second half of the year as the first!

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Update: For those readers coming to this post via Slashdot – welcome. I’ve posted a few points here that answer some of the many comments that are being made at Slashdot about me and my blogging here. I try to clear up some of the misconceptions. I hope it is helpful.

If you’re interested in Adsense you might be interested in Joel Comm’s What Google Never Told You About Making Money with Adsense – otherwise take a surf through my own Adsense category to read my own tips.

If you want to see some of my other blogs you can check out my Digital Camera Review Blog, my Camera Phone Blog and Laptop Review blog as just a few of those I work on.

MSN Search Update in Progress?

I’ve noticed quite a few people in Search Engine forums over the past day commenting on changes that they are experiencing in MSN Search results for their sites. It looks like they have an update of some sort in progress.

I noticed earlier today significant shifts (mainly downward) in my MSN results in checking Digital Point’s Keyword Tracker. These updates sometimes take a few days to settle so I’ll be watching with interest.

Has anyone else noticed any changes?

Premium Publishers Have Negotiation Power

Jensense has a good post about the benefits of being a premium publisher in Google’s Adsense program (premium publishers must have at least 20 million monthly impressions). She particularly pulls out a couple of quotes form the Webinar Transcript which indicate that premium publishers have the ability to negotiate revenue share percentages with Google. Adsense team member Phoebe Ho was asked about this by an attender:

‘So I’m assuming that it’s just a custom rev share contract? It changes the revenue. It would make a different amount of money than with regular AdSense because with regular AdSense we don’t control the percentage of the rev share. So premium AdSense, from what I’m understanding from your answer, premium AdSense allows rev share negotiation?’

Phoebe answered yes.

Nice! Now I’ve just got to find a way to multiply my traffic by 20 or so times per month!

Google AdSense Optimization Webinar Transcript

Adsense publishers might be interested in reading this transcript of Google’s recent AdSense Optimization Webinar which was held a week or so ago by Google for their publishers. It’s pretty basic stuff but might trigger some ideas or remind more experienced bloggers of lessons that they’d forgotten.

Here are a few tidbits:

1. Wider ad formats do better:

‘The next optimization tip that I’d like to focus on is ad format. … You see our best performing ad format. It’s the large rectangle, 336×280. So the wider ad formats are doing better than the other ones and the reason is that they actually take up fewer lines. And so with every additional line, you have a chance of losing that interested user.’

2. Ads that Blend do better:

‘The reason the color palette is so important is because it adds to the content and not separate from the content and what happens is, something that we call ad blindness; so the more you blend in with the site, the less chance that ad blindness will occur.’

Pretty basic stuff – but worth a read especially to look at the case studies that they use to see how others are using Adsense.

Read more at Google AdSense Optimization Webinar

Helping Nellie

I don’t usually do this type of thing (although it’s sort of the second time this week), but a very good friend has pointed me to the blog of a young New Zealand person (Nellie) who has started a fundraising blog to help her get back into high-school so that she can enter university to study to be a psychology.

Nellie has had a bit of a rough time of late and could do with a leg up so if you want to invest into the life of a young person who I’m told has a great heart and real potential please visit her at HELP! Nellie’s Fundraising Blog. She’s also willing to do some graphic design work in return for your donation.

Should Bloggers Forget Adsense?

Jim at Reve News has learned the lesson that most bloggers writing about making money from blogs has learned – Adsense doesn’t pay well on these types of blogs.

‘On ReveNews that is. Let this be a lesson to the other publishers out there. Never try to run Adsense on a site that is read by people who are Adsense experts, let alone a site read by affiliate marketers. Geez, talk about a pathetic click rate. I haven’t seen something fail so badly since Gigli.

Putting Adsense into our content was an experiment by me to see if it could work for us, even though I was pretty sure that it wouldn’t, I had to find out. I’ve learned my lesson and have removed 98% of all the Google ads off of the sit’

If you want to make big money via Adsense I’d pick another topic – readers of such blogs are remarkably blind to Adsense ads and the ads themselves are notoriously poorly paying.

Jim also gives a case study of a ‘typical blogger using adsense’ in his post where he shows how little the average blogger will earn using Adsense. His figures talk hypothetically of a blogger with 1000 impressions per day, with a 10% CTR and a 2 cents per click payment earning $730 per year.

Nothing wrong with the maths – the only problem is that there is such variation between blogs on almost every element of the equation. CTR can vary widely – but 10% is probably an over estimation looking at most of my blogs. 2 cents per click is an estimate that varies widely also (it’s probably an under estimate looking at my blogs).

For example – I’ve got a few blogs that hit the 1000 impressions per day mark. [Read more…]

High Search Engine Ranking – A Blessing and a Curse

One of the beauties of having a highly ranked site that is regularly visited by search engine bots is that you can very quickly rise to the top of search engines on a breaking news story. This can be a wonderful thing – but it can also be something of a curse. Let me illustrate.

My original blog is LivingRoom – a blog that won’t be everyone’s cup of tea because it’s a personal blog that touches topics of personal interest to me including issues of spirituality, culture, the church I’m part of (LivingRoom) weird, wonderful and bizarre links as well as an occasional story from my daily life. In the early days of my blogging this blog it became extremely popular (a long story for another day) that was on the receiving end of many thousands of incoming links. As a result it quickly climbed the rankings in Google and now has a page rank of 6. SE bots visit it daily (sometimes more than once per day) and most posts rank pretty highly on Google for their topic.

For example this week after the London bombing I started blogging about the situation (along with thousands of others). I didn’t do so for any other reason than we were nervous for our family and friends and blogging seemed to be something constructive to do with my time while we waited for news. The post got a few links from other bloggers but at the time didn’t get much attention in the blogosphere – I didn’t mind this as it was not my intention when I posted to do it for such motivation.

[Read more…]