Evergreen versus Time Related Posts

I finally got around to listening to the last third of the Business Blog Roundtable and was struck with one of the comments that Stephan Spencer (I think it was his voice) said about evergreen versus time related posts.

I’d not actually thought of my blogs and the posts in them in these terms before but on reflection find the classification very helpful.

Evergreen posts are ones that don’t lose their relevancy over time. You write them today and they will be as helpful to readers in a few months (or even years) time – for example my Adsense for Bloggers series is one of these – the first incarnation of these posts was over 12 months ago but they remain among the most popular posts on this site.

Time related posts tend to be more news related – or are often tied to an event in time. For example a couple of days ago I posted that Weblogs Inc. are testing Google’s RSS ads in their feeds. This post was relevant the day I wrote it and generated a little traffic, however in a week it will be ‘old news’.

So which is best? The obvious answer to this question is that it depends upon the topic or strategy of your blog. Both types of posts (and a combination of them) can be very powerful (and profitable) in different contexts and there are different pros and cons of each one.

Let’s tease this out a little more and make a few observations about each type of post:

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Wanted: Gadget/ tech geek blogger

Duncan over at The Blog Herald has just posted that he’s looking for a Gadget/ tech geek blogger to work with him on a new gadget oriented blog. He’s offering a 60/40 split (with the author taking 60%). He’s also going to cover hosting fees out of his 40%. This is a pretty bold move as he’s taking on the big boys who already inhabit the ‘gadget pond’. I suspect there is room for one more however as the market is pretty big.

Also exciting is that this new blog is going to be the first blog on his new network of blogs.

April – Record Blogging Earnings

2005-So-FarApril has been a rather good month for my blogging business.

This graph plots my Adsense earnings (from all my blogs) since 1 January to today (without specific figures). As you’ll see, the last two days have been record breaking days. I’m not sure how long this growth can last – but April’s daily average is 40% higher than last month – for the first time I’ve broken into the five figures for a month zone from Adsense.

The amazing thing is that when you get to these sorts of figures a rise in earnings of something like 40% can be a pretty significant thing on overall earnings.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not in some virtual blogging dream. Its quite staggering to think that 2.5 years ago I started my first blog with absolutely no idea of what was ahead. The idea of sustaining even that blog would have been laughable for me back then – let alone the thought that blogging would be my full time job.

Today someone asked me ‘how does it feel to be a full time blogger?’ – to be honest its starting to all feel a little bit surreal and a touch frightening. What is this thing I’ve created and where is it all headed?

Pajamas Media – New Blog Advertising Network

Roger L. Simon has just posted anOpen Letter to All Bloggers announcing that he and a couple of others are going to start a corporate advertising service which will sell ads to advertisers ‘en masse’ . There are not too many details but it sounds like an interesting project. He’s doing the project with Charles Johnson (of LGF) and Marc Danziger (of Winds of Change). If the email for more information is anything to go by the new projects come under the name of Pajamas Media. He writes:

‘Charles Johnson, Marc Danziger and I have been sneaking around over the last few months, trying to turn blogs into a business. We have enlisted some others with names familiar to you with the intention of working in two areas – aggregating blogs to increase corporate advertising and creating our own professional news service.

With respect to advertising, we do not wish to go into competition with Henry Copeland’s BlogAds, which we fully support. (Some of us even have them!) We are working on another model that will sell ads en masse, not blog-by-blog. We expect this model to go live within a few weeks.’

It will be interesting to see what they come up with – as these are some guys who have some serious reach within blogging (two of them were in the top 30 I reviewed a few days ago).

Fun Money Blog Interview

Jacob, the author of Fun Money Blog and owner of numerous other online projects like cssvault has just posted an Interview with me (update: link removed as the interview is no longer there). In it he asks all kinds of questions including about:

  • how many people I think can make a living from blogging
  • what my daily goals are as a blogger
  • how my blogging has changed since I first started

Its a normal style Darren interview – where I ramble on for a fair bit on each of these (and other questions) – stop over there for a look if you want another glimpse at my bizarre little brain’s workings.

Yahoo! testing Dynamic Image Ads

In a big week of changes to contextual advertising Jen posts that Yahoo! are now adding dynamic image ads to their contextual advertising line (original source of information). Things are certainly hotting up in terms of competition between Yahoo and Google in advertising – hopefully publishers will be the winners).

Adsense Workshop – Gizmodo

A couple of days ago I looked at How the Most Highly Visited Blogs Earn Money and then yesterday I reflected upon why only 8 of the 30 I analysed use Adsense as an income stream.

Over the next few days I’m going to take a quick look at some of the 8 highly visited blogs that do use Adsense and reflect upon what I think they do well and how I’d improve their approach.

You see as I analyzed the use of Adsense in these popular blogs I have to say I felt quite uninspired by the strategies employed – perhaps they could do with a little consulting to boost their earnings.

I hope the owners of these sites don’t take offense by this series of posts – that isn’t my intention – rather I’m hoping we all learn a thing or two about Adsense Optimization – and perhaps I say something that might help improve their earnings. Lets start with Gizmodo.

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How Frequently Should You Post?

There is a great podcast over at View from the Isle – The Inaugral Business Blog Roundtable – on the topic of ‘how frequently should you post’ on your blog.

It think its a great idea for a Pocast – in a sense its taking the idea of niche blogging (one theme – Business Blogs) and breaking it down into niche topics (posting frequency) and really fleshing it out with some quality business bloggers and consultants.

This week’s participants are Tris Hussey, Toby Bloomberg, Stephan Spencer, Wayne Hurlbert and Paul Chaney – all of whom would be worth talking to one on one – but whom when you put their heads together spark some interesting conversation.

Here are a few paraphrased comments that stuck out to me as I listened in:

  • Tris Hussey – has an editorial calendar to set targets/schedult of what he’s posting on which blog each day
  • Wayne Hurlbert – recommends 3 posts per week as a starting schedule and once a rhythm is established up it to 4 or 5 times per week
  • Stephan Spencer – too many posts can overwhelm your reader and create an unfocussed blog
  • Toby Bloomberg – encourages clients to break up the length of the posts that they are doing – a short post one day, longer one the next
  • Paul Chaney – How frequently do you want people to visit your blog? If its once a week – post once per week – if its every day post every day.
  • Wayne Hurlbert – posts once per day but experimented with more than that and found his traffic doubled over night
  • Stephan Spencer – series of posts are good but don’t break them up into too many short pieces because the Search Engines need more than a paragraph to index it properly (they decided that 250 or so is a good length for a post).

I’m sure there is more wisdom in it than that – but I’m only three quarters of the way through it and its time for bed! Will check out the rest later on. Well done Tris – great podcast – looking forward to more like this.

So what’s the answer? How often is often enough for posting on your blog?

Text Link Pricing Criteria

Search Engine Journal has a good post on how to work out how much to charge for text ads on your blog. It comes at a perfect time for me as I’ve had a number of emails recently from webmasters asking how much I charge for links. The article suggests the following criteria might be helfpul to keep in mind as you consider how much to charge:

1. PageRank of Site (poor measurement, but probably still worthwhile)
2. PageRank of Page
3. Site Position in Top 50 Results for Primary Term (TLD)
4. Page Position in Top 50 Results for Primary Term (Page specific)
5. Number of External Links on Page
6. Site Flavor from Google (shows theme)
7. Date of Cached Snapshot of Page (shows spidering frequency)
8. Primary Topic of Page Extracted via Yahoo! API (Then conduct C-Index with target term)
9. Alexa Rank (again, poor measurement, but probably worthwhile)
10. External Links to Site (Using Yahoo! LinkDomain Search)
11. External Links to Page (Using Yahoo! Link Search)
12. Internal Links to Page vs. # of Internal Pages
13. Type of Link (customizable text, directory listing, banner/image, etc.)
14. Location of Link (content section, advertising section, navigation area, footer, etc.)

Read more at Text Link Pricing Criteria

Where’s the Content?

Search-Engine-BlogSometimes its easy to get so carried away with earning money on your blog that your content can become secondary to everything else.

I’ve had (and probably fallen for) this kind of temptation myself – but think its probably the blog and your readers who suffer most for it.

I was just surfing by this blog and was struck by the layout there (screen capture above – click to enlarge).

The screen capture is of an individual archive page that I surfed into from an RSS feed. When I got to the actual site I found myself asking ‘where’s the content?’ (it reminded me of one of those ‘Where’s Wally/Waldo books’). Perhaps its just my screen size (15 inch) but as you’ll see from my screen capture the content’s heading was the only part of the content to show above the fold – the rest of the page was almost completely affiliate links (hidden as recommended reading), cross promotion to other parts of the network and ads.

Once again – I too feel the temptation to smother some of my blogs in ads and on some of them could be accused of similar tactics – but I wonder what it does for building a loyal repeat readership? To be honest coming to a page like this doesn’t inspire me to come back – not because of the content (they often have good stuff there) but simply because it is so hidden amongst the rest of what the page has.

My recommendation to bloggers is always to work on content – provide relevant and useful information for your readers – put it in a clearly identifiable and easily found position and don’t fall for the temptation of the quick easy buck.