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Interview with Michael Moncur

Moncur
Michael Moncur is one of those web entrepreneurs that you talk to and realize that you’re just a baby when it comes to making money online.

A few months ago Michael left a comment on one of my posts and I knew instantly that this was a guy with some real wisdom when it comes to this career that many of us are in. I asked him a few questions about his experience and an email came back that got me really excited. In it Michael outlined his history of creating profitable websites over the past 10 years. Since then I’ve been an avid reader of his blog Figby.com and quite often go to him for advice and to bounce ideas around. He’s not only wise but he’s also willing to help out a newbie like myself and I’m really grateful for the time he’s put aside to be interviewed here. I hope you enjoy what he has to say.

ProBlogger – Michael thanks so much for your time – can you briefly tell us a little about yourself – give us a quick sketch of your life.

Michael – I started out working in IT and technical support for a couple of local firms in the early 90s. At some point I was recruited to write a book about Novell NetWare 3.x. I had always enjoyed writing and since then I’ve written books on the MCSE program, JavaScript, DHTML, and MySQL. In 1998 I quit my last “real” job to work on freelance writing full time.

Meanwhile, I started a web site in 1994, and ten years later my web sites have started to take more of my time, and make more money, than books. Recently I’ve been happily converging these two careers by doing most of my writing online.

I’m an old-timer by Internet standards, which means over 30. I’ve watched the Web grow from a wacky, obscure geek thing (I told everyone it would never work) to the world-crushing phenomenon it is today, and it blows my mind to think about that.

I live in Salt Lake City, Utah with my wife, a dog, and two cats.

ProBlogger – You’ve been writing your website ‘The Quotations Page‘ since 1994 – can you tell us a little about how you started it? How has it evolved? When did you start monetizing the site? What are the main methods of generating an income from it that you use?

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Yahoo! 360 Reviewed

Steve at Micro Persuasion reviews Yahoo! 360 – it looks like an interesting tool but if Steve is right it probably wont be too useful for ProBloggers and Business Bloggers. Steve writes:

‘As compelling as Yahoo! 360 is for newbies, it has virtually zero application as a professional/business blogging tool. It’s far too simple. You can’t easily turn features on or off and it lacks trackbacks and customization. I guess we can’t expect it do everything that the big platforms do.’

Finding Readers with Headlines

Blog World has a good post on how to Attract Readers With Headlines.

‘Headlines matter. Actually for blogs, headlines or post titles are crucial. Survey after survey shows that people only scan what they read on the net and you have to grab their attention quickly. Not only that, but if the person is using an RSS reader they may only see that headline. Similarly if your page comes up in a search engine, the first thing people are going to see is the headline.’

Their tips include to:

  • write strong headlines
  • summarize don’t tease
  • use important words first

Exponential Blogging – Part II

EarningsWhy is Blogging naturally suited to Exponential growth of earnings using the adsense program?

In my previous post I shared some of my story as a blogger who has seen exponential growth in my Adsense earnings over the past 18 months of blogging (the blue graph to the left is an illustration of my Adsense earnings). Whilst at times there are some disruptions to this growth (usually external ones) I believe that the types of blogs that I run should naturally experience this type of increase in earnings for some of the following reasons (which are both byproducts of committed regular blogging but which can also be worked on to maximise growth).

Increased Readership

TrafficThe main reason my earnings have increased since starting to blog with Adsense is simply that the readership of my blogs has grown. In fact if you compare the earnings graph above with the traffic graph (right) you’ll see the direct correlation. Increase the traffic to your blogs you increase the amount of impressions of ads served which (all other things being equal) will increase your earnings.
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9rules Network Invites You to Join Them

Paul over at Work Boxers is inviting bloggers to Join the 9rules Network. He goes into details of what is involved in his post but all in all it looks a pretty good deal in comparison to some of the other blog networks that i’ve seen out there – might be a good way to get your fledgeling blog exposed to a few more readers – if you’re willing to share a little of your earnings with the 9 Rules Network team.

Are full-feeds killing comments?

Tris writes a good post that wonders if publishing full post feeds in RSS might be responsible for killing comments on posts as a result of less people actually surfing into actual blogs. Interesting theory – pop over and tell Tris what you think of his theory.

Making Your Adsense Earnings Grow – Exponential Blogging

EarningsI’ve had a number of emails from readers in the last few days who are disillusioned with their earnings with Adsense. I can perhaps take some of the blame for their mood having posted my reality check post last week and by publishing the poll that we have running that highlights that the majority of bloggers using Adsense are only making a dollar (or three) per day.

So I thought I’d offer some words of encouragement to combat the gloom that is going around at present.

I can relate to the depression about lack of results from Adsense – my early days on the system were similarly gloomy to say the least. Growth in daily earnings from month to month was pretty insignificant. I remember looking at my Adsense statistics numerous times over the first 6 months and wondering if it was worth all the hard work for the few dollars that came in each day.

You’ll notice the graph above (click to enlarge) which graphs my earnings from Adsense (without actual figures included) since October 2003. Notice the first few months earnings – hardly a discernible rise and something that got me down a little and led me to consider stopping my use of Adsense.

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Google Withholding Taxes from AdSense Checks

Reports are surfacing that in the latest payment period of Adsense that Google are withholding tax from US publishers.

Read about it at Google Withholding Taxes from AdSense Checks and Webmaster World – Tax Withholding

Update: JenSense has more information on this as well as information on a new look for Adsense checks this month.

Webinars as Blog Income Streams

Jennifer Rice from Brand Mantra is exploring a new (for her) way of adding an income stream to her blog – by running ‘Webinars‘ on topics that she specializes in. She reveals her hopes for this new direction:

‘My master plan is to serve as a social-technology education platform for businesses. Included in social technologies are blogs, wikis, community forums, etc. I’ll be leading some of the seminars on big-picture issues, brand strategy implications, etc. and inviting specialists to co-host other sessions. At this point, future sessions will include Creating Community (co-hosted with Jake McKee, the Community Guy) and Business Blogging 101 (co-hosted with Jeremy Wright and Darren Barefoot from InsideBlogging).’

Jennifer is limiting seats in her webinars to between 15 and 30 and is charging between $150 to $300 per session which I think it pretty reasonable for someone of her caliber. I guess time will tell whether others think its a reasonable amount and if people are willing to pay for such a service – but I suspect its a model of adding an income stream to blogs that we’ll see more and more of in coming months.

I’ll be watching on with interest as to how it goes for Jennifer as I see some real possibilities with the model.

Read more at What’s Your Brand Mantra?: Brand Humanity Webinar Series

Google SEO Tips

If you want to spend some time this week optimizing your blog for Google then you might want to check out some of these articles on SEO for Google that came up in my RSS feeds this morning. They are good solid tips for people wanting to learn some SEO basics:

- Google Optimization Secrets From The Trenches
- How to get top placement on Google
- How Image Links Can Help Build a Better User and Search Experience