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ProBlogger turns 33

I just turned 33 – that must put me in the upper age range of ProBloggers many of whom seem to be in their 20s.

Any suggestions on how I should celebrate when I wake up in the morning?

Tips for Generating Effective Web Content

Search Engine Guide has 7 Tips for Generating Effective Web Content which might help those wanting to improve their quality of content:

  1. Write customer focused content that appeals to your audience.
  2. If performing SEO – Focus on writing for the human reader first and search engines second.
  3. Find out what your target audience’s are really searching for.
  4. Tips for triggering idea generation
  5. Creating content that speaks to a specific audience
  6. Remember to include strong calls to action
  7. Search engine optimization the stress free approach

It is pretty basic stuff – but I’d echo the advice given in most points. I’m a particular believer in getting in the shoes of your blog’s readership. Start with your readership in mind instead of the search engine robots and you’ll not only end up ranking well but will help some people along the way.

Talk to your readers and find out what makes them tick – and as you do you’ll begin to see your subject matter from their perspective. What are their challenges, problems, questions – make these the basis of your posting and you’ll build a successful and popular blog.

How to make money from your blog: 5 tips

Jeff Wuorio has a good basic introductory article on How to make money from your blog with five starting points:

  1. Sell advertising.
  2. Help sell others’ products (affiliate programs).
  3. Solicit contributions.
  4. Market your services in your blog.
  5. Use a blog to deepen your existing customer relationships.

It is a similar piece to my Blogging for Dollars post.

ProBlogger WordPress Upgrade Underway

Just a warning to readers that we’re currently upgrading WordPress for this blog to version 1.5 so there may be a few bugs for the next few hours. I’ll let you know when its complete so you can start letting me know if there are any issues.

I appreciate your patience as we improve ProBlogger.

Also I just sent out a ProBlogger Newsletter (week 2). If you didn’t get it you might need to re-subscribe. Let me know if you want me to email the last one to you if you missed it.

Update: The upgrade (from WP 1.2) is complete. It wasn’t a redesign – simply an upgrade of versions. Please let me know if you see any bugs – thanks.

Google AdSense in RSS Feeds

Google have developed the technology for putting adsense ads in RSS Feeds. This is the news we’ve all been waiting for as publishers. Longhornblogs.com is one of the first testers of this this new RSS ad system (check the ads out in their RSS feed).

I’m surprised that its taken this long to get a system like this up – but I’m very happy that they have. There is no official word yet from Google on this – somtimes it takes a while for testing like this to get out of beta – but it can’t be too far off. The big question is – where do I sign up!? I wonder how you get on the testing list for this.

Source: Google AdSense in RSS! (Chris Pirillo)

More of Google’s Adsense Changes

Google are now communicating to Adsense publishers about the new changes to their contextual ad system that I’ve been posting about for the past 24 hours. They are taking the line that it will bring more advertising dollars into the network which will of course benefit publishers.

CPM ads – One of the biggest changes for publishers will of course be the CPM (cost per impression) based bidding that advertisers will now be able to engage in which means we won’t just be paid on a per click basis but for some advertisers we’ll be paid whether clicks are registered or not.

Things could get a little complicated with this introduction as CPC (cost per click) ads and CPM ads will compete with each other – the highest value ad will be shown. So if a CPC ad worth 20 cents is available and a CPM ad worth 19 cents is available the CPC one will get served first.

Expanded text ads – another new feature is ads that can take over the full banner or skyscraper ad in an ad block. So instead of seeing 4 ads in an adblock you might start seeing 1 ad in it. Again these ads will only show if the value of that ad is worth more than the other 4 ads added together. The ads will fit with the color scheme that you’ve previously chosen for your text ads.

More Image ads – publishers will also see more image ads on Google (if you have enabled them in your Adsense code). You might also notice the introduction of a small number of flash and animated ads which are currently being tested.

Site targeted ads – as previously mentioned advertisers will soon be able to specifically target (and block) your blog for advertising.

All in all these changes are going to shake things up a little for advertisers and publishers alike. I’m sure we’ll see a short period with some fluctuating results for publishers as advertisers test the new features – hopefully things will settle and we’ll see the changes open up the market for advertisers even more. One would hope that Google’s spin on it is right and that we’ll see these new freedoms for advertisers increase the numbers of those willing to advertise (which in turn should build the competition for the ad space we have available). Time will tell.

Read more about Google’s Changes here. Scrivs posts about how this might impact Publishers.

How-To Get Slashdotted

Nicholas Roussos has a good post on How-To Get Slashdotted. His method is a slightly less direct method than you might think – ie it’s about getting your link on Slashdot in the byline of the person who submitted the article rather than having a post you’ve written directly linked to.

‘The secret lies in submitting stories. Slashdot relies on readers to send in stories. A lot of sites work like this. If you send in the story, they’ll throw you a link in the write up. Bam, you’re on Slashdot. Sure, it’s not as high profile as it would be if the write up was about your site, but it’s better than nothing. Plus, if your site has an article of interest, what better way to make sure you get referred to than to write the story itself.’

Nicholas is onto something here – whilst you might not end up with a deluge of traffic from this type of Slashdot link – there are other benefits – the main one being that it gives you a link from a highly ranked website (Slashdot currently has a PR of 9). I’ve used this method before and it does work (its all about picking the right story), it does bring a trickle of traffic and you can slip in links to your own blog (if they’re relevant to the story).

So if you want to get linked to on Slashdot – check out Nicholas’s post which includes the steps he uses and a useful submission guide as an update.

BlogKits Blogger Survey on Advertising

Head over to BlogKits and fill in the survey there if you’re interested in helping them research what blogger think about ads on their blogs. The survey is easy to use and quick (took me 5 minutes) and will help to create a blog ad system that is useful and profitable for bloggers.

Site Targeted Ads Will Bring Innovative Advertising

I’ve been pondering the new Site Targeted Ads from Google that I mentioned in the last post and have been thinking about all the interesting implications that this might have on those advertising on blogs.

I suspect that with the advent of these ads that we’ll also see some pretty innovative advertising that targets publishers sites – especially blogs. For example I suspect we’ll see:

Ads Targeting Competitors – Imagine being able to have ads that come up on competitors blogs enticing them to come across to yours – even making disparaging remarks about the blog they appear on (until they get blocked).

Conversational ads – Ads that add to the conversation happening on a particular blog.

What other types of ads do you think we’ll see – leave your ideas in comments below.

Google to Let Advertisers Target Sites – Adwords Site Targeted Ads

Google is beta testing a new feature for AdWords that will allow advertisers to choose which sites their ads will appear on – Site-Targeted Ads. They explain the program with the following statements:

‘Since Google first introduced AdWords, advertisers have asked us for the ability to run their ads on specific websites. Site targeting gives our users that ability, while also allowing their ads to compete for ranking with traditional keyword-targeted AdWords ads. It’s one more tool that AdWords advertisers can use to bring their message to highly-targeted groups of web users.

Site targeting isn’t available yet. We’re currently running a beta test of site-targeted campaigns with just a few advertisers. We expect to make site targeting available to all AdWords advertisers in the near future.’

So for instance if you wanted to specifically expose your blogging related product (or blog) on my blog here at ProBlogger you could specify that as an advertiser and ensure it only appears here. Advertisers will be charged on a CPM basis (per 1000 impressions at a minimum of $2 per 1000 – and not a CPC basis. Also animated banner ads look like they’ll become available to all Adwords Advertisers and not just some.

How will this impact publishers?

I guess this is yet to be seen and will vary from site to site – however if you have a quality site that is in high demand by advertisers wanting to get their ads seen on it you should see an increase in your click value. It could be a dream come true for some higher profile sites who have advertisers engage in something of a bidding war over them.

Sounds good – however the New York Times which has an an article on Site-Targeted Ads writes:

‘Google will abandon rules that require advertisements to be directly relevant to the pages on which they appear; it will now place a motor oil ad on a wine site if the refiner outbids the cheesemonger.’

If this is true then publishers should be a little concerned as it means you could end up with some pretty non relevant ads appearing on your site. Of course the non relevant ads might pay more than your other ads (the highest bids appear) – however non relevant ads get clicked on a lot less than relevant ads. It will be interesting to see how this works itself out.

Jensense sums up the changes by saying it’ll be good for publishers as well as advertisers – as long as they are good advertisers (with good content). She writes:

‘Overall, this is a great move for Google to make and should pay off for publishers with solid quality content. However, the effect on publishers with less-than-stellar content could be significant, if advertisers begin monitoring their content conversion rates and begin excluding sites they feel are not up to par.’

Read more on Site-Targeted Ads at: