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Positioning your Adsense Ads

The amazing thing about the Adsense advertising system is how one simple change in positioning of your ads can have a profound impact upon the earnings you receive from it. I still remember a fateful night about 8 months ago when I learnt this lesson and doubled my income overnight (no this isn’t one of those posts where I’m selling something – relax).

It was 10.30pm and I was about to head to bed when on a whim I decided to shift my Adsense ads from the position that I’d always had them at the top (banner position) of the blog I was working on at the time. I shifted the ad to a new position and then got distracted with something else and forgot about it.

A few hours later (I got very distracted) I again was thinking of bed but decided to check my Adsense stats for one last time before shutting down my powerbook – imagine my surprise when I found that my click through rate was 40% higher than normal (and so was the earnings for that time of night)!? At first I thought I was dreaming, then I considered that maybe Google had made a mistake, then I panicked that someone had been randomly clicking all my ads – and then I remembered the repositioning of ads that I’d done a few hours before.

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Weblogs, Inc. – Focus Ads

Comment-Advert

Weblogs Inc are taking blog advertising in a new direction with their Focus Ads which invite their readers to leave a comment on advertisers (you can see one here). Its an interesting concept that they are promoting as adding to their transparency in advertising. Here’s what they say about it.

‘Weblogs, Inc. Focus Ads are meant to create transparency in advertising — helping our readers to gain insight and helping our advertisers to create a better product or service. Our advertisers participate because they believe in their brands and are willing to improve them through the feedback of enthusiasts.’

So far the concept on the Grifffin technologies feedback page seems to be pretty positive but I guess time will tell whether advertisers actually want the feedback and whether readers can be bothered giving it.

blo.gs for sale

Blo.GsI just spotted that blo.gs is for sale. They don’t really have an asking price so make them an offer. The sale includes sale of:

  • the blo.gs domain name (and all subdomains)
  • the weblo.gs domain name
  • the database of blogs (and related databases)
  • all rights to the blo.gs software

The owner writes: ‘I don’t have a price in mind, so don’t ask. cash-flow wise, the site has cost approximately $3500 to date (mostly for hosting), and has earned less than $750 (mostly from google adsense ads).’

So it doesn’t really sound like a hugely profitable venture that you’d be buying – rather its a ‘renovators delight’ type project.

Duplicate Posting and Free Articles = Duplicate Content

I’ve noticed a growing trend among bloggers who have multiple blogs to post the same post numerous times in different places.

I can see why such a practice might seem tempting:

  • it cuts down the work you have to do (two for the energy of one)
  • it increases the chance of your post being read by readers
  • if you’re making money from your blogs it double’s the chance of earning a dollar from your work

For these very reasons I’ve entered into duplicate posting in the past also. It just seems to make sense to get your material out there in as many places as possible doesn’t it?

Unfortunately whilst duplicate posting might have some of the above benefits it is also worth counting the cost of such a strategy. Duplicated posting might double the chances of your work being read, but it also runs the risk of getting you in trouble with Google. You see they don’t like duplicate content – content that appears in different places in the same basic form. They warn about this in their guidelines to webmasters.

‘Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.’

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Yahoo’s Contextual Ads in testing

Waxy.org things they’ve stumbled upon a new Contextual Ads program from Yahoo for small publishers. They write:

‘Ken Rudman is a product manager at Yahoo-owned Overture, and his blog features contextual Overture ads throughout. His homepage shows the vertical two-ad format, monthly archives show a three-ad horizontal format, and individual entries show another variation of the horizontal format. The ads have decent relevancy, especially considering its early state.

The Javascript that generates the ad IFrame is hosted on Overture’s server. The domain name refers to ypn, which might be an acronym for the ad program… Yahoo Publishing Network, maybe?’

As mentioned on the post it doesn’t seem that the ads are overly relevant now – however in time I’d suspect that more advertisers would come on board and relevancy will improve.

Interestingly the version they are testing has a hover feature – when you hover your curser over the ad you get a little pop up box that tells you more about it. I’m not a big fan of the design options being used on the example above but I’m sure a final version will be pretty customizable. I’ll be watching on with interest to see how this story develops.

Seeking Bloggers Expressions of Interest

Would you like to earn an income from blogging? Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed by tackling it alone? Would you like to work with other experienced bloggers on a niche topic blog?

The Breaking News Blog collective is seeking expressions of interest in new niche blogs – you could be the next to join.

Regular readers of this blog will be aware that one of the projects that I work on is Breaking News Blog – a collective of bloggers (some call us a network) that blog on a variety of topics on the one domain. Blogs in the collective currently range in topic vastly – everything from blogs on technology like VOIP, MP3 Players, Printers, Laptops/Notebooks, PDAs and Robotics through to blogs about People and events, like the Pope, the Michael Jackson Trial, Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson through to Health issues like depression, dieting and mineral supplements.

The concept is simple – we’re building a collective of blogs on a variety (a huge one as you can see) of topics. These blogs share a domain and are interlinked and promoted by one another. Since launching a couple of months ago the collective has steadily built its page rank in Google (most now have a rank of 5 or 6) and is gradually growing readership levels (some are currently averaging thousands of readers per day).

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A Blog Is A Blog Is A Blog? Darren Rants

Clint Dixon over at SEO Chat has written a post titled A Blog Is A Blog Is A Blog which has blogging fairly and squarely in its sites. I get the feeling that Clint doesn’t really like blogs – I also suspect he doesn’t really understand them either. He writes

‘Is a blog a revenue stream? For some, yes I am sure it is. Is it a business model to consider for making money? I would say no. Are blogs the next thing in the Internet world? No they are not. As much as the media and marketing industry tries to put a new spin on its meaning, a blog is a timely ordering of content otherwise known as a Web log, and we all know Web logs are really nothing more than Web pages.’

I can think of a fair few bloggers who would disagree with Clint on this one both individual bloggers and blog network owners who would want to argue that they are building legitimate business models for making money. I think there is growing evidence that bloggers can actually be more than a revenue stream and is a legitimate way of building a business.

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Interview with Susannah Gardner

Me PhotoLast week Susannah Gardner from Buzz Marketing with Blogs posted a two part interview with me so this week she’s agreed to answer a few of my questions in my ProBlogger Interview of the week. Susannah is a web/blog designer through her own business (with her husband Travis Smith) Hop Studios, she’s an author of the soon to be released Buzz Marking with Blogs for Dummies (affiliate link) book and she’s an avid blogger. You can actually download the table of contents and first chapter of her book here. In the following interview I ask Susannah about her upcoming book, about blog design and about the pros and cons of having a blog (plus lots more). Enjoy.

ProBlogger – Thanks for your time Susannah – can you start us off by telling us how you would introduce yourself to a stranger – give a quick sketch of your life.

Susannah – I’m a Web designer, technical book author, blogger, and with all my spare time, I’m working on a master’s degree in public art studies. I love to read and travel. When I say I love to read, I mean it. Even at my busiest I just have to fit a few minutes in every day to make everything right in the world. I’m married to a great guy, Travis Smith, and we live with our annoying but cute cat in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. Together we run Hop Studios, a Web design company. Whenever possible, we like to work on sites that bring together our combined expertise in online publishing, journalism, design and writing.

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ProBlogger Now Seeking Advertisers

Since re-launching ProBlogger on the new domain the interest in what in this site has grown considerably. I’ve been quite amazed by the amount of blogging enthusiasts who are seeking to blog at a professional level are regularly visiting this site and interacting with what I write.

Whilst traffic levels are not as high as some of my other blogs (currently averaging 400 visitors per day) the enthusiasm and participation of readers is high.

Readers of ProBlogger are serious about their blogging and want to improve what they do. They seek blogging tools, news and advice and willing to make sacrifices to get their blogs to the highest quality level. Many ProBlogger readers are themselves influential bloggers who are read by thousands every day.

As a result ProBlogger is an excellent niche blog well worth considering for your advertising needs.

If you want to get your product or service in the face of enthusiast and upwardly mobile bloggers then ProBlogger is worth your time to investigate.

For more information simply email me with you advertising needs and we’ll take the conversation from there.

Why Posting about the Oscars Today is 2 weeks to Late

This morning as I do the rounds of some of my favorite blogs I’ve noticed a theme. Its the Academy Awards – the Oscars. I wonder how many blogs are listing the winners of the 2005 Oscars today – I’ve just seen at least 10.

As I surfed around and saw these entries I asked myself – ‘why are they posting these posts today?’

Ok – most people are posting the Oscar results out of a genuine interest in the Oscars – however I suspect some are doing it because they think people are searching for the information today. I’ve got news for them – you’re two weeks too late with your post.

Why? Well to put it simply – if you are blogging about an event and you want people to find your post via Google or one of the other search engines you need to anticipate what people are searching for in advance and put up a post about it early. Here is what I would have done if I’d have wanted big hits yesterday and today from people searching for the results.

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