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TypePad and Blogger Compared

CNET has a comparative review of the TypePad and Blogger blog platforms. I think they made the right decision with their ratings.

‘We looked at the two top blogging services. Best known, and free, is Google Blogger. But you get what you pay for: Blogger is a basic blogging service that won’t overpower beginners with too many options or choices. For a small monthly fee, however, Six Apart TypePad provides the services we’d like to see offered within Blogger, such as mixed-media templates, built-in photo uploading, and guest accounts. Ironically, Blogger makes it much easier to host your blogs on your own domain; TypePad allows it but also requires a little extra work between you and your ISP.’

Introducing AllPosters and LinkShare

Regular readers will notice I’ve added two small banner ads at the top of this blog – one for AllPosters and the other for LinkShare.

I do this for two reasons which I will share with you:

1. I have used both of these programs to help monetize a number of my blogs. They are affiliate programs that can be quite effective depending upon the topic of your blog.

2. The banner ads above are affiliate links themselves for these programs and will earn me a small commission if you follow them, sign up and start using the programs.

There is no pressure for you to use the programs but if you do I hope they are as successful for you as they have been for me (and more).

Each one is suitable for different topics of sites. They will not be suitable for every blog.

The AllPosters affiliate program is excellent for blogs on people and personalities, its quite good for blogs on sport, music, movies, tv shows etc. I’ve only started using the program this past month but already am seeing that its one of the better performing affiliate programs that I’ve experimented with.

The LinkShare program has a pretty wide range of affiliate programs involved in it which would suit many of the topics that I know readers of this site write about. They have literally hundreds (if not thousands) of partners that offer a range of different products and services for you to link to.

Working at Home

Jeremy writes a post on Working @ Home that got me thinking about my own home office set up and some of the advantages and disadvantages of choosing to do so.

An opportunity came up for me to move out of home into an office with three other micro business owners – it was very tempting for a lot of reasons:

  1. the social interaction it would bring – blogging can be a lonely business
  2. the potential cross pollination of our businesses and opportunities it might bring
  3. social stigma attached to working at home – also the ability to bring a client to an office without worrying that they think you’re a two-bit substandard consultant working out of home because you can’t afford anything else
  4. he ability to have better boundaries between work and home life
  5. less distractions and the ability to concentrate more upon work without TVs, video games, kids etc
  6. shared resources/office equipment etc

Of course on the other side of things there are some distinct advantages of working at home like I do

  1. lower overhead costs
  2. less risk in working for self rather than having to worry if the other businesses would fall over
  3. being able to work from bed in boxer shorts til 2pm in the afternoon
  4. being more present in family life (I’m amazed how many dads now work at home and are present in the lives of their kids these days – this is very attractive to me – or will be when we try to start a family).

I have a love hate relationship with working from home and was tempted to move out and may still do it one day – however in the short term I think I’d rather put the money of hiring office space into buying a new house and other ventures.

Also read Tris on the same topic.

Why Google is Syndication Shy

Steve Rubel has a great post asking why Google is Syndication Shy – something I’ve often wondered. In comparison to Yahoo! and MSN they seem somewhat behind the eight-ball. Steve writes:

‘Google views syndication drastically differently than its competitors. On the Web Google is all about driving people away from their sites. Once they’ve shown them an Adwords ad they had their opportunity to collect a dollar, so why not give the users what they need and send them on their way. However, when it comes to syndicated feeds they use it as a tool to drive users to their services and that’s why they are syndication shy. Remember Autolinking? I rest my case.

Feeds may be Google’s greatest enemy. If Google did offer feeds that connected users with the information they are looking for from the Web they would miss the opportunity to advertise to them. What will remedy this? Google will incorporate contextual Adwords ads into these kinds of feeds, much like Overture has done. What’s taking so long? Beats me.’

I think Steve is correct in saying that contextual ads in RSS feeds will probably be the time that Google starts to be a bit more generous with syndication of services like Google News – but like Steve I’m also a little surprised by the length of time its taking to get such a system in place.

Interviewing ProBlogger

Just a quick reminder that I’m doing an interview with Andy in a couple of hours time that you’re welcome to listen in on live. Details are at Easy Bake Weblogs; Exclusive Interview: Darren Rowse from Pro Blogger. Drop in and say hi – it could be fun.

Update – We just did the interview – it was FUN! Thanks to Andy and his great listeners/readers. If you want to ask more questions after reading through my archives just let me know in comments below or via my contact form.

Andy tells me that the interview will be posted on his website for your download in the next day or two.

Gawker Launches Sploid

Sploid-1Gawker Media today went live with their latest venture – Sploid – a ‘news site with a tabloid mentality.’

There isn’t much content on Sploid – photos and headlines are pretty much everything – with links to the articles in question. This isn’t the smartest SEO strategy for most bloggers – Search Engines like content and links and pictures are probably not enough to get highly ranked – but when it comes to Gawker they don’t rely upon Search Engines because they have such high loyalty factor of their readers and massive incoming links that push them up in the Search Engines anyway.

As usual they are relying heavily advertising to monetize this site – at the moment most of the ads point to their own sites but in time they’ll attract advertisers who don’t mind exposing their message to an edgy readership.

At the time of writing this they’ve had 50,000 unique readers already – so if nothing else they are pretty good at launching blogs – I suspect they’ll do well with this one longer term too.

Update: Perhaps I should say that I have no financial interest in Gawker after reading the comments on Jeff’s blog after announcing the launch of Sploid.

Blogging Fears – Getting Hacked

What is your Worst Blogging Fear?

This might make me sound a little paranoid – but occasionally I wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat thinking about the things that could go wrong with my little blogging business. In many ways what we do can be pretty fragile and at the whim and mercy of outside forces.

Over the next few days I’m going to write about some of my blogging fears and what I do to try and protect myself from them. I invite you to share your blogging fears and tips in comments.

Getting Hacked – what if someone took over your blog – changed the password, changed content or even worse, deleted it all. This is something I’ve thought about a lot over the past year. I know of one or two cases where its happened and been pretty devastating for the blogger’s in question. All that hard work, those many many hours of writing, editing, designing – gone in a single foul action of someone with too much time on their hands.
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Adbrite Ad Packages

A blogging friend just pointed me at a new strategy that the AdBrite advertising network seem to be employing – selling packages of ads that will appear on multiple sites. Some of the packages are packages of their higher performing sites in the network and others are theme related on sports, gaming, travel etc. My friend pointed me to a blogging package. They describe these packages on their blog as follows:

‘We’ve been hearing from some advertisers that you’re overwhelmed with the number of advertising opportunities on AdBrite. I hope these pre-selected, high-performing ad packages make your life easier. ‘

I think this is a good move for Adbrite – the only hesitation I have is that they don’t reveal what sites they’re putting the ads on. For instance with the blogging package they just say

‘Blogs inform, influence, and entertain the Internet’s taste-makers. Click “add to cart” and we’ll put into your cart 20 of the best-performing blogs in the AdBrite network.’

As an advertiser I think I’d want to know a little more than that and as a publisher – I want to know how to get in on such a package – looks like good money!

Shiney’s BayRaider

Bayraider

Shiny Media is at it again by launching yet another blog – Bayraider – a blog that is centered around another net icon – ebay.

Their Press Release Describes Bayraider as follows:

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On Clicking your Own Adsense Ads

A reader emailed me this question this morning and I feel its important that I respond publicly to it because it is crucial information for anyone using Adsense to monetize their blog. It is basic information but can’t be emphasized enough. He writes:

‘I just started Adsense, and one of its rules is that you shouldn’t click on links on your own site. However, there seems to me to be at least a couple instances when it should be ok to click on ads on your own site, namely:

1) If I’m actually interested in what the ad offers. After all, I’m writing about a specific topic and they are (mostly) serving ads that relate to the topic. So it’s highly likely that the ads will be something I’m interested in.

2) If I see an ad I hate and want to get the URL so I can block the ad.

There may be more instances your readers can come up with.’

I’ll be blunt with my answer – NEVER click your own ads for ANY reason.

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