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Fastclick Launch Text Ads

An email was just sent out to Fastclick Publishers announcing that their new Text Ad program has just gone live.

We have exciting news to announce – we launched our new Text Ads ad format today! Text Ads are the perfect supplement to your current display advertising, using unobtrusive text with customizable formatting to fit your site-specific needs and generate additional revenue.

This is different to Google’s Adsense due to ads not being contextual in nature. This should mean that both ads can be shown on the same page as long as the Fastclick ads do not look too similar to Adsense ones (I guess this is open for interpretation – but I’d advice being careful).

Get more details on what this new program involves at their official press release.

Google Adsense Local Currency Payments are Here

Just went down to my PO Box – and my first local currency cheque arrived from Google. Very exciting. Normally when I get a cheque from Google it takes another 6 WEEKS to get it cleared. Today when I go to the bank it should be a few days at the most before the money hits my account.

It comes at a good time – we settle on our new house this week!

Content Blogs versus Syndicate Blogs?

Scrivs takes a look at whether its best to write an original content blog or a syndicated (linking to others articles) blog. It is a good question that is well worth thinking through for each of your blogs.

My advice is similar to Paul’s – for me it comes down to a number of factors which will vary from blog to blog. These factors include:

  • Time – it takes more time to write original content than to syndicate others content. I’m not saying syndication is ‘easy’ – it does take time to find quality articles to link to – but I find once you’re in a rhythm you can do it reasonably quickly.
  • Inbound Links – if you want to get a lot of people linking to your blog you might want to consider some original content. You might get a few links by doing syndication but they’ll usually be scattered ‘hat tip’ type links of people acknowledging you as a source of their own syndication rather than a link that will bring you traffic.
  • Quantity – if you’re wanting to get a lot of content up quickly then syndication is probably your best option as its easier to post larger numbers of posts if you’re not having to come up with all the ideas yourself and then write them up.
  • Community – as Scrivs writes in his post – content sites tend to build more community than syndication sites. This is the case in most of my blogs – however there are always exceptions. For example the Michael Jackson Trial Blog gets a lot more comments than most of my other blogs – yet the content is largely syndicated.
  • Writing and Creative Skills – are you able to write well? Some of us are better at writing than others and may be more suited to a content blog. Whilst writing skills are still important with syndication sites however when you’re translating original thought into content the they especially come into play.

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Blogging as Farming – How to Grow a Bumper Blogging Crop

Famer-D

On the weekend I was speaking with a friend, Alex, who is a Farmer about blogging and the more we talked the more we realized that there is a lot of similarities between what we do. I thought I’d rehash some of the main points from our conversation here:

Taking Time – One of the most frustrating parts of farming for Alex is the length of time it takes from the time of sowing to that of harvest. From the day he plants a crop to the day its safely on the way to be sold can be a nerve wracking period of months. There is a lot of hard work and money that goes into the initial time of planting and no income until quite a long period later (and sometimes not even then).

Blogging takes time also. Building up a blog to the point where it earns a good income can take months, if not years. No one starts a profitable blog and makes a fortune straight away – you have to build up archives, build up a reputation in your niche, build up your ranking in Search Engines, build up relationships with other bloggers – these things take time. I worked for 18 months on my blogs outside of my normal jobs before I was able to pull enough income from them to justify going full time.

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Blog Networks and Blog Ownership

I’ve been following on with interest and fascination at John Battelle’s emerging FMPublishing project. John is attempting to build a publishing company that focusses upon high quality content (nothing too different so far) that attempts to keep the ownership of that content in the hands of the authors writing for it. It is a very hands off approach that I quite like.

One of the balancing acts that I’m seeing many blog networks grappling with is over this question of ownership and equity of the blog. Most people can see the benefit of a publishing network – but there is no obvious, tried and tested model at this stage that presents a win win situation for both publisher and author/editor.

Many of the issues I’m seeing authors and network owners struggling with revolve around ownership.

Who owns the blog, which party holds copyright, who has rights to take the content?

Some of the newer blog networks (like 9 Rules and Creative Weblogging) are offering authors ownership of their content and allow them to take what they write with them at the end of any relationship. The bigger networks like Weblogs Inc and Gawker do not – instead treating readers more like employees. Weblog Empire is walking a middle ground and has been talking of shared ownership where both parties take the content away from any relationship.

This is a tricky issue – whoever retains ownership holds considerable power in any relationship. If the publisher owns the blog then they are able to sell it at any point – if the author owns it they are able to walk away from the relationship without warning , taking an income stream away from the network.

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Pajamas Media – Proceed with Caution

Duncan over at the Blog Herald has considered the new blog network being proposed by Pajamas Media (which I linked to a couple of days back). Duncan has taken a look over the documentation that Pajamas Media sent out to interested participants in the program and expresses a number of concerns with what he reads.

It seems that despite some of the concerns that have been raised that many have signed up for the program – Roger posts that over 150 have signed up to be a part of the network.

Duncan questions the legality of the documents sent out by the Pajamas Media team and points out that there is a 3 month exclusivity clause which stops publishers talking to any new advertisers and publishing networks. In a sense what bloggers are being asked to do is take something of a step out into the dark without knowing exactly what conditions Pajamas Media will offer. He goes on to talk about concerns with the secrecy clause in the contract, confusion between the two programs that they seem to be promoting at once and lastly about the right wing political nature of most of the bloggers behind this program and the implications that this might have.

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Creating A Search Engine Copywriting Plan

Karon Thackston wrote a good piece recently over at WebProNews that I’ve been meaning to link to. She breaks down the posting process into 9 elements for writing posts and articles that will rank well in Search Engines. They are good, basic, non technical tips for bloggers wanting a simple starting point for thinking about SEO. It is easy to get caught up in the technicalities of SEO – but if you at least start with these tips you’ll be on the right track.

1) Use Three Keyphrases Per Page
2) Have 250 or More Words of Copy
3) Write In Natural Language
4) Use Keyword Phrases In Headlines and Sub-headlines
5) Use Keyword Phrases Once or Twice Per Paragraph
6) Use Keyword Phrases In Bold, Italic or Bulleted Lists
7) Do NOT Use Keyword Phrases As Substitutes For Generic Terms
8) Use Keyword Phrases As Anchor Text In Links
9) Test and Track

Found via Learning SEO

How Most Visited Blogs Make Money – Visuals

Dutch site Marketing Facts has posted a little table to visualise the post I did on how top traffic blogs are making income.

Businessmodel-Blogs-2

Professional Blogging Frenzy – June 2005

Boy oh Boy do I have a treat for you readers in June when I go away for a month (we’re heading to Turkey for a few weeks and will have a little time in London also – purely holiday apart from one or two meetings in London).

I’ve just emailed some of my favorite bloggers asking them to be guest contributers while I’m away and the replies have just started coming in – so far there are some pretty amazing bloggers who are agreeing to post here over that four week period while I’m taking a bit of a break.

I won’t drop any names yet – but needless to say that these are people I read daily and am excited about having write all in the one place – even if its just for a few weeks. It could be quite the professional blogging frenzy around here in June. More news on who is coming over to ProBlogger to play as we get closer to June.

If there is a Blogger you’d like to see write on Pro Blogging in June – let me know in comments below and I’ll see if they are willing to participate.

Search Engine Marketing Tools

Three tools that you might like to use to analyze how well your blog is going are over at Marketleap. They are:

  • Search Engine Placement Check - gives you a ranking for a particular keyword in 7 search engines.
  • Search Engine Index Check - gives an indication of how well saturated your blog is in different search engines (or how many pages each SE has indexed for your blog).
  • Link Popularity Check - compares how many inbound links your blog has to other sites and blogs. You can enter a number of others to compare yours to and can see how it compares to other popular sites. This one is my favorite (this blog is more popular than coke.com!)