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What Software do Pro Bloggers need?

Migs Paraz asked me a question that I thought I’d open up for us all to have a go at answering. He writes:

‘I’m a software developer. What tools can I write to help probloggers to be more successful?’

So there’s a question for you. If you could have some software that would make your professional blogging easier, more profitable, less work, more accessible to the masses etc – what would it be? Leave your comments below in comments and hopefully Migs Paraz or some other enterprising software developer will have a go at making our dreams a reality.

Random Blog Tips – Purple Cow Blogging

PurplecowOne of the common mistakes that I see in many blogs is that they are quite simply unremarkable.

We’ve all seen seen these blogs – (and most of us if we’re honest will admit to having written them at some point) – they are the blogs you look at for a few seconds without actually seeing anything before you surf on to some other site.

A couple of days ago I told you that blog readers stay on any given blog for an average of 96 seconds. Its not long so you’ve only got just over one and a half minutes to make an impression – to do something remarkable that will rock your reader’s world a little and shake them out of the web surfing zombie like state that they are probably in.

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Comparing Blogs to John Kerry – An issue of recognition

There has been a bit of commentary around the web this week about the statistics that 48% of Americans have never knowingly read a blog and that only 7% are regular readers. Whilst bloggers might be a little disappointed in such statistics I actually think that they are good. It means that 52% of Americans must have some idea what a blog is (they must have some idea to even answer that question).

It reminds me of an article I read a month before the US presidential election last year – in it the author spoke of a study which found that presidential candidate John Kerry had a name recognition rate of 60% of the American public. I was staggered that 40% of the population didn’t seem to recognize the name of the guy who could be their next president!

I know I’m comparing apples and oranges (or Kerry’s with Blogs) and don’t really have a major scientific point here – but I don’t think these studies really need to be taken too seriously other to say that at this point in the history of blogging that perhaps there is still some room for growth of the industry.

Gnomedex 5.0

Does anyone want to sponsor me to go to Gnomedex 5.0? I’d pay the entry fee but I think the flight to Seattle from Melbourne might be a bit of a killer.

Adsense Publishers Meet with Google

Jen from Jensense writes a great post on an event that she was invited to speak at by Google about the Adsense program. The post is full of all kinds of great information not only on the event but on Adsense itself. I highly recommend you check it out for bits of information like:

  • Many of the people who work on Adsense are also Adsense publishers! (I wonder what their sites are – it would actually be worth finding them to observe how they use the program in their own sites as I suspect they’d be right on the money with its use).
  • One presenter (Dr Cheng Wu of Efunda) suggested blending ads into content is the best way to place ads
  • French Adsense publishers had threatened to boycott the program unless Adsense made changes to payment systems (ie sending cheques in local currency or having direct deposit payments as they’ve just announced).
  • Attendees were given a heatmap showing them where Google had found best placement of ads to be (wouldn’t mind getting my hands on one of those – anyone got one they want to share?)

Sounds like a fascinating event to be at and one that I’d love to see more reporting on with details of what was presented if anyone who was there feels that they’d like to let the rest of us know about. Lets hope they do more of these sorts of meetings.

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.