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Random Blog Tips – Big Fish, Small Pond Blogging

I just checked my email and found three requests from readers to have a look over their blogs and offer some tips. I’m happy to do this from time to time for free – but am unable to do it individually for everyone in depth without having to charge a bit of a consulting fee (mainly due to the numbers of requests I get. So I thought without mentioning the blogs who’ve asked for help (I don’t want to cause any offence or embarrassment) I thought over the next few days I’d write a few random tips that come to mind as I’ve surfed each of them.

Define Your Niche

The temptation when you first get into blogging is to write everything that comes into your head whether its about the movies you’re seeing, what you’re reading in the newspaper, your work, your latest techy toy etc. Whilst this might interest you and give you plenty of posting ideas it actually can make it difficult to write a profitable blog for a number of reasons. These include:
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UCC blogads attracting widespread attention

One of the more interesting and controversial uses of the BlogAds system of blog advertising has been a campaign by the United Church of Christ. Today they’ve come out with some statistics that reveal the success of this campaign. One of the keys to their success is that they created an ad that was not only visually stimulating (it is animated) but also one that was controversial and that stimulated the bloggers that ran the ad to comment on it themselves – thereby stimulating even further attention for the ad. We’re starting to see more and more of these types of ads using the BlogAds system as marketers begin to see the potential of ads that become part of the conversation on a blog.

‘After only one week of utilizing online blogads (shown at right) to promote the UCC’s Stillspeaking Initiative, more than 25,000 internet users have clicked through one of 50 purchased blogads to view the church’s online 30-second “bouncer” commercial….

The UCC’s new blogad utilizes a series of still photos from the denomination’s 30-second television commercial – rejected twice as “too controversial” by the major broadcast television networks – to entice blog visitors to “see the ad the networks didn’t want you to see.”‘

Read more at United Church of Christ News: UCC blogads attracting widespread attention

Interview With Henry Copeland From Blogads

John Hawkins has a good interview with BlogAds owner – Henry Copeland over at A Mini-Interview With Henry Copeland From Blogads. Henry is always most insightful and a creative thinker that I respect so when I see him featured in this type of thing I always carefully read it from top to bottom. Here are a few highlights:

John Hawkins: Do you believe the number of advertisers and amount of revenue generated by blogging is going to continue to grow for the rest of this year and into next year?

Henry Copeland: I think the numbers will continue to grow at LEAST until bloggers get 0.1% of the total US annual advertising spend, $250 billion. That may take 3 years or it may take 18, but it is inevitable. Bloggers understand their subjects and their audiences better than anyone else in media AND they’ve got the lowest overheads. After all, pajamas cost much less than suits.

John Hawkins: I want you to play Nostradamus here — don’t worry, everybody understands you’re just speculating — and give me an estimate: How many bloggers do you see reaching the “earning a living” threshold over the next few years?

Henry Copeland: I’d be thrilled to reach 500. But 5000 is possible. And if things go really well 50,000.

John Hawkins: Are you considering branching out into other types of ads like banner ads or text ads?

Henry Copeland: We’re just now adding a pure text unit, something designed to promote more intra-blog communication: 500 characters, no image, no edit, no HTML, no breaks, no bulk buy. Banners and other IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) units are antithetical to the spirit of blogging — there’s no relationship with hyper-literate, hyper-linked conversational blogger way of thinking.’

Read more of this interview at A Mini-Interview With Henry Copeland From Blogads

Poll: How Much Do You Earn From Adsense?

As some readers have already noticed – I’ve just added a poll to the sidebar which asks ‘Last month, how much did you make from Adsense?’

In the last update at Adsense Google have changed their rules to allow disclosure of monthly earnings so I thought it would be interesting to find out what bloggers are making currently with the program. The poll is anonymous and I have no way of telling who has participated or what they’ve indicated as their earnings so your privacy is in tact.
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Where to start at ProBlogger?

Josh, a reader of this ProBlogger just emailed the following question:

‘Hi Darren, I’ve just discovered ProBlogger after seeing your link on another page and I’m really impressed that people are making a living from their blogs. I’d like to be a pro blogger too and was wondering if you can point me in the direction of the best articles on your site to start off reading? Your archives are so full of articles I don’t know where to start!’

Thanks for stopping by ProBlogger Josh – I appreciate your email. Where should you start? I’d try some of the links in the square menus at the start of the page – especially Blogging for Dollars and Adsense for Bloggers (which is the first post of a series of tips on making money with your blog using Adsense. Most of the other links up there are to my main categories.

In addition to that you might want to view some of the following links which are the 10 most viewed articles on this blog over the past month:

Regular readers might like to nominate their own suggestions of helpful articles if they so desire in comments below.

The 4 Secrets to an Effective E-Newsletter

One of the good blogs that I’ve started reading a bit more of lately is Search engine optimization and Online marketing, a group blog written about Affiliate programs, B2B Marketing, Business Blogging, SEO and more. They write an article today that might be helpful to bloggers wanting to explore developing an E-Newsletter to add to their blog and keep readers in touch with their blogging. They write 4 secrets – the first of which is:

Make it Useful. With a business to business newsletter in particular, it’s difficult to get any traction with readers if you don’t give them some kind of actionable “aha” with every issue you send. They are barraged with emails, and eager to click the delete button as often as possible.

Your goal therefore, is to give them pause. To make them live in fear that if they delete your newsletter, they will miss some insight that would have made a significant impact on their success. Useful information rises to the top of the pile, and when your newsletter is on top, you need not worry about how big the pile is….’

Read more of this article at The 4 Secrets to an Effective E-Newsletter

I would recommend starting an Email Newsletter for your blog if you’re interested in developing a more loyal readership. Last year I started one on my Digicam blog that has now been signed up for by 3000 or so readers that have opted into the newsletter which lets me promote my latest posts to them every week. Its really added a new dimension to what I do. Of course if you’re wanting to start such a newsletter make sure you’re willing to actually deliver what you promise to your readership.

How Long Do Your Readers Stay at Your Blog – Length of Stay Statistics

One of the very first investigations that I ever did on blogging was into the idea of ‘length of stay’ on blogs. It was 18 months ago that I began to dig into the topic and got a bit of attention with the following post. I thought I’d repost what I found here on ProBlogger as its been buried away in the archives on one of my other blogs.

Warning – the following ‘research’ is not intended as anything too serious – the statistics generated are pretty loose and there are some serious problems with how I collected them (see below for the shortcomings of these stats) – but they might be helpful in thinking about your blog. Here’s my original post:

How long does the average blog reader stay on a blog on any given visit?

I searched for the statistic on Google but couldn’t find it so I decided to do some of my own investigations.

I headed over to The Truth Laid Bear: Traffic Ranking Page. It lists blogs in order of how much traffic they attract. It is limited to blogs using the Site Meter stats package that have made their statistic public.
I surveyed 350 blogs – 25% of the blogs listed (it took me a few days on my dial up connection) and found the following results.

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Adsense – How much do you earn?

Ever wondered how much people earn using Google Adsense? Can I recommend you head over to the forums at Webmaster World and check out a thread by the name of Adsense – How much do you earn? It’s worth noting that no one that shares their figures say they are bloggers – keep that in mind as you read.

Yes it is a bit of a ‘mine’s bigger than yours’ type thread at times – but it could just be the inspiration that some of you need as to the types of figures that some are earning from the program. The numbers range widely from ‘loose change’ to $78,000 per month from one webmaster (Marcus007) who runs 11 major sites, outlays nothing on advertising and earns another ‘few grand a day from PPC/affiliate stuff). He later hints that industries worth getting into are finance, travel, poker and web cams but understandably doesn’t reveal too many details.

I’d like to extend an invitation to Marcus007 to do an interview with us here on ProBlogger (have emailed him). Lets hope he’s in a mood to share a few tips with some of us.

State of The Blogosphere – Volume of posting Up

Sifry continues his State of The Blogosphere series of posts and looks at volume of posting.

‘On average, Technorati is tracking about 500,000 posts per day, which is about 5.8 posts per second. In October 2004, we were seeing about 400,000 posts per day.’

7 Practical Tactics to Turn Your Blog Into a Sales Machine

Marketing Sherpa has an article with 7 Practical Tactics to Turn Your Blog Into a Sales Machine that might be useful to business bloggers wanting to increase the effectiveness of their blog to drive sales.

‘Call us cynics. Blogs may be hip and trendy, but they don’t do diddly-squat for most people’s businesses. After four years of research, MarketingSherpa reporters estimate only .03% of the 34.5 million existing blogs are driving sales or prospective customers to their bloggers. (That’s less than 1,000 that we’ve been able to find.) Want your blog to be the one that works? Discover seven practical secrets from a real estate blog that gets prospects to raise their hands and beg to be contacted.’

  • Tactic #1. Seed your blog posts with keywords
  • Tactic #2. Report exclusive news and insight
  • Tactic #3. You don’t need to blog daily
  • Tactic #4. Add easy contact links to every single post
  • Tactic #5. Jump on incoming leads super-swiftly
  • Tactic #6. Measure by qualified prospects, not total traffic
  • Tactic #7. Blog elsewhere

Read more details of this article at 7 Practical Tactics to Turn Your Blog Into a Sales Machine