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The Blog Cycle

Anil Dash posts an interesing post on The Blog Cycle that sub-communities within the larger blogging population go through. Its an interesting post and one that I see the ‘entrepreneurial blogging’ community going through at the momemnt. The stages of the cycle that he identifies are:

  • What is blogging?
  • Our community invented blogging!
  • Blogging vs. Journalism Phew.
  • Where are the women/minorities?
  • You’ll get fired!
  • Think about the children!
  • The technology is boring/unimportant.
  • Will blogs change the world?
  • What you do isn’t blogging — do it this way.
  • They don’t deserve it!

Fascinating observations of someone who is a position to have observed many such blogging sub communities. Read more at Anil Dash: The Blog Cycle

What would you add or subtract from his stages? Where do you think the ‘Pro’, ‘Entrepreneurial’ and ‘Business’ Blogging community is at presently?

Bottom Up vs Top Down Corporate Blogging

Steve Rubel makes some interesting observations on Corporate blogging – he writes about two approaches – top down and bottom up blogging.

‘Bottom-up blogging can either start organically or with an edict or blessing of the corporation. Famous bottom-up blogging corporations include Microsoft and Sun. Basically, this is blogging at its best. It’s real employees dishing out the straight dope from the bowels of a corporation. It’s unfiltered, fun and, for many, incredibly risky. However, when done right, bottom-up blogging can change a corporation.

The majority of blogging companies, however, fall into the top-down camp. They devise a blogging strategy with input from execs, communicators, marketers, HR, etc. They deliberately determine who will blog for the company on what subjects at what time and in what place. Famous top-down blogging companies include most major media companies, GM and Cisco.

In the middle are the blogging equivalent of hybrid cars – companies that take a top-down approach but yet also already have or plan to encourage bottom-up blogging. The most notable example here is Yahoo! They have a terrific corporate blog that clearly is a strategic communications tool developed with guidance from Voce Communications. At the same time, however, they have a well-known bottom-up blogger in Jeremy Zawodny’

Read more at Bottom Up vs Top Down Corporate Blogging

Introduce Yourself

I thought it might be fun while I’m away for you to talk amongst yourselves for a bit. Why? Well I know many of you reasonably well because we chat on IM or have emailed – but I think a lot of you would quite like one another and could learn quite a bit from each other as fellow bloggers trying to earn an income from your blogging. I know enough to realise that I don’t have a monopoly on Pro Blogging truth – I’d like to see us learn from each other and the only way to do this is to put yourself out there an introduce yourself.

So I’m going to leave a number of questions designed to help you introduce yourself which I invite you to do one of two three things with. You can either:

  1. Ignore this post and go have an Easter Break like I am
  2. Answer these questions on your own blog and leave a link in comments below to your answers
  3. Answer these questions here in comments below so that we can have them all in the one place

Here are some questions (feel free to ask and answer more if you’d like – and to ignore some of these question if you’d rather not go there):

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Writing Blog Content – Keep it Simple

The average person only comprehends 60% of what they read. How much do you comprehend?.

To ensure your reader ‘gets’ what you’re saying you need to make it clear by using some of the following techniques.

- Use simple language. Avoid technical jargon.

- Don’t introduce too many ideas in one post. You can always add another post later.

- Start your entry with your main point in the first paragraph. Better still, incorporate it in your title. (This can also bring more traffic through search engine referrals)

- Find creative ways to reinforce your main point throughout your post.

- Use visual aids like 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.

- Utilize headings, lists and borders to break down the your post into more manageable chunks.

Keep your postings simple and you have more chance of communicating your main message effectively. Share your tips below.

ProBlogger Easter Break Vacation

Well its Easter (or it will be tomorrow) and at this time of year a group of friends that I am close with always go away for the long weekend for a time of great food, fantastic wine, to take in some our wonderful state’s coastline and a whole heap of fun and shenanigans. I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks but going away for more than a day or two always leaves me asking the question – ‘what do I do with the blog?’ Its probably too short a time for a guest blogger, but four days is a long time for my more addicted readers not to get a ProBlogging fix (yes you know who I’m talking about).

So I’ve decided to write a few posts which I’ll post before I leave and which will appear at pre determined times throughout the next few days – thanks to the magic of WordPress. I hope you find them helpful – feel free to add to them as you’d like in comments. Otherwise I’ll see you in a few days when I hope I’m feeling nice and refreshed.

Google Search Box Ads

One of my wonderful readers, Danger, just emailed this question – ‘I was just looking through my adsense reports and it occurred to me that I’m not using the google search box on my site to serve ads. I’m debating whether to employ it and I kinda wonder if a lot of us beginners aren’t asking the same question. Any chance you could do a post about the performance difference between your regular ads and search box ads?’

I will be a little careful in answering this – as I’m not completely sure what Google allows me to say about it in their changed rules. But I can make some general statements without going into specifics of CTR, impressions and earnings.

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Adsense Earnings Poll Update

The Poll we’re asking in the sidebar this week asks how much bloggers earned from Adsense last month. At the time of writing this 295 readers have voted (thanks everyone!) I’m going to let it run until the end of March at which point I’ll give you a full tally and nice little graph.

It is pretty obvious that a distinct pattern is emerging – over half of ProBlogger reading bloggers earn less than $3 per day from Adsense. A further 14% don’t use the system at all.

These are the sorts of results that I was expecting – the anecdotal evidence I had been collecting through conversations with bloggers over the past months made it clear that very few bloggers using Adsense were making more than a few dollars per day from it. However these results also show that a few bloggers are actually making significant money from their blogging (9% over $1,000 per month and 2% over $10,000).

Its my goal to bring some change to these figures – I’d like to see more ProBlogger readers getting their monthly earnings into triple and quadruple figures in the coming months.

Update: In addition to the numbers you’ve already indicated that you earn – I’d also be interested if readers would give some indication in comments below (anonymously if you’d like) at the percentage rises or falls that you’ve seen in your monthly earnings over the past few months.

I’ll be writing a post in the next few days that will draw on this information and I’ll share a few more of my own earnings figures – but in the mean time am interested in hearing how your earnings from Adsense have changed over the past few months if you’re willing to share.

Random Blog Tip – Contact Options

Related to my previous post about About pages I’d also like to make mention of another personal preference that I have – the inclusion of the ability for readers to contact you privately.

There are many ways of doing this – but I’m surprised by just how many blogs give no option for getting in touch with their author, editor or owner. Some may argue that having the ability to make comments is a way of letting your readers get in touch with you – however I don’t find this to be an appropriate way of communication on some topics as it does not ensure privacy for your readers.

I can think of a number of times over the past week where I’ve wanted to make contact with a blogger only to be confronted with the choice of the whole world being able to read my message or to refrain from making any contact at all. In the end I refrained from interacting with the blogger concerned and am unlikely to go back to the blog.

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Ambush Podcasting – Screen Your Skype Calls

Watch out Jeremy Wright is Ambushing Business Bloggers.

You might like to screen your Skype calls or you might get asked questions like ‘How do you justify your Existence’.

His Ambushees included:

Nice format actually – which could be adapted quite nicely to different Business Blogging topics.

Wikis and Wikipedia

There is a good article over at Wired on Wikis and in particular – Wikipedia. I’m a regular Wikipedia user and often wondered how it got going – now I know.

thanks to Rachel for the tip