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Help ProBlogger Find a Business Model II

I’m quite overwhelmed by the response to my post asking for Help in finding a business model for ProBlogger. There are 29 comments there already from some bloggers that I really admire and respect the opinion of. Thanks to those of you who have left your opinion and who have messaged or emailed your thoughts also. Feel free to continue the discussion (its a useful one to have for more than just my own situation).

Let me re-emphasize that I the issue is not about me making more money. Whilst I’m not opposed to the idea of a higher income from this blog the purpose of what I’m doing here is genuinely about helping the blogging community. The issue at hand is not about my own greed for more cash – rather it is about how I sustain what I do whilst still helping as many people as possible in relevant and effective ways.

I’m now going to spend a little time thinking through my response to the issue with your many comments in mind. I am leaning towards writing a book (the question over whether it should be an e-book or an actual physical book is a question I need to ponder – your opinions would be valued on this too) and would like to further explore the possibility of both forums (although the work involved in maintaining them worries me) and some sort of course/tele-seminar.

In the short term I’m not going to change my approach over consulting – if its basic advice (that won’t take long) you’re after and IF I have the time I’ll attempt to help out where I can – if its more comprehensive than that I’ll probably either simply explain that I’m too busy or that I need to find some way of making a little money for the time I put into it. I’m not going to force anyone to give me a link for my services – but would appreciate this if you feel this blog and the advice I give are worthy of it (It probably won’t hurt your case if you do – but its not a prerequisite).

Thanks again for your support – now lets get back to some blogging!

Google AdSense Changes

Overnight Adsense have released a few new changes to their program. I’m about to run out the door now but the basics from their Google AdSense: What’s New page are posted below. Most importantly (at a first glance) is Real Time Channel Reports – something I’ve been hoping for for a while. This will allow for much quicker tweaking and monitoring of changes! I’ll update more later.

Update – I’m back and have a little more time to look over the new features and whilst they are not major changes – they are helpful ones. The Real Time Channel Reports are great (as I’ve already mentioned) – I use channels extensively to track my results and to be able to make a change to a particular ad and track its results all on the same day will be very helpful to say the least.

The new ‘Remove Channel’ option is a long time overdue – nothing major but helpful.

The ‘Shift-select for channels’ option is a great move – however it doesn’t seem to work in Safari and is therefore pretty useless for Mac users.

The options to count ‘impressions’ either per page or per ad unit is a good move by Google – I’ve often been frustrated by the fact that impressions are per ad unit (which is useful to know but doesn’t give a complete picture. I’ll use both options from time to time to check my stats. [Read more…]

More on Getting Yahoo Traffic for your Blog

A month back I wrote a tip about Getting Yahoo Traffic for your Blog that simply involves a technique where you add your blog’s RSS feed to the customizable MyYahoo headlines feature. I wrote in that post that after one day that I noticed a small increase in Yahoo referrals to my blogs.

I thought I’d give you another update on my Yahoo traffic.

It varies from blog to blog but I am pleased to report that Yahoo referrals have continued to rise since implementing this strategy.

On the majority of my blogs the rise has been reasonably small but with the most recent Yahoo index update in the past few days I’ve noticed a substantial increase in traffic to three of my blogs (blogs that until the last month rarely,if ever got any Yahoo traffic).

These blogs still rely on Google for most of their traffic but the new Yahoo visitors have increased overall blog traffic on these blogs by at least 20% (in one case traffic rose by 70%).

So if you haven’t implemented this simple technique to increase your Yahoo referrals I’d consider doing it today. No promises that the traffic will come flodding in – but it all helps.

Google Sandbox Explained

I hadn’t noticed this post over at Wayne’s on the Google Sandbox which I’m linking to here not only because I think many of you will find it valuable but because I am always getting asked about the Sandbox and this will be a great article to send people to in future to explain it.

‘What is the Google Sandbox?

The Google Sandbox is an alleged filter placed on new websites. The result is a site does not receive good rankings for its most important keywords and keyword phrases. Even with good content, abundant incoming links and strong Google PageRank, a site is still adversely affected by the Sandbox effect. The Sandbox acts as a de facto probation for sites, possibly to discourage spam sites from rising quickly, getting banned, and repeating the process.

How would you describe the Google Sandbox in one sentence?

The Google Sandbox is very similar to a new website being placed on probation, and kept lower than expected in searches, prior to being given full value for its incoming links and content.’

Read more at Google sandbox theory validated by search engine giant

Advertisers Sue Google and Yahoo over Click Fraud

Just spotted an article in the Wall Stree Journal that mentions a group of contextual ad advertisers who are suing Google and Yahoo over issues of click fraud – this will be an interesting one to watch as its going to be a big issue for those behind contextual advertising systems and has the potential to have flow on effects to publishers.

‘A group of advertisers quietly filed a lawsuit in February against Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and other Internet companies in a potentially important legal test of those companies’ liability for a form of online-advertising fraud.

The plaintiffs, led by Lane’s Gifts & Collectibles LLC, a Texarkana, Ark., retailer, allege that the Internet companies knowingly overcharged for advertisements they sold and conspired with each other to continue doing so. The plaintiffs are seeking to have their suit, which hasn’t received widespread attention, certified as a class action….’

Read more at WSJ.com – Internet Firms Face Legal Test On Advertising Fees

Help ProBlogger Find a Business Model

I’m hesitant to post this but its something I’ve been pondering for a while now and I’d appreciate your thoughts and ideas.

You see I love writing on this blog – it is the blog I’m most proud of and that I put most time into. I get more feedback and interaction with readers here via comments, IM and email than any other blog in my stable. However for the time I put in its the least rewarding financially. Ads for blogging services pay next to nothing and my readership is not really big enough to attract any big private sponsorships. I’d be lucky if this site pays for my morning coffee most days (and I go to a cheap cafe).

Now before anyone worries that I’m about to either can this blog, or start charging people to read it, or that I’m going to ask for donation – please don’t worry – this is a free blog and I intend to keep it that way. In actual fact I don’t write this blog for the money but because I’m genuinely passionate about blogging as a medium, want to connect with and help others who are also and because I enjoy writing on these topics.

So what am I hesitant about? Let me cut to the chase.

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Scrivs on ProBlogger

Scrivs writes this:

‘If I worked as much as Darren (damn, how many times can I link to him in one week?) or some of the others then I would have much more money, but I also think I wouldn’t be as happy with my life.’

Two responses:

1. Maybe I should start a competition – the winner of the ‘I link to ProBlogger Most’ competition. I could come up with a prize for the most mentions of my blog in a week. Paul could be hard to beat – he’s at 50% of his posts on his front page (thats 3 of 6 posts). However Blogging Help could actually be giving Paul a run for his money – they link to me in 4 of their last 6 posts – sometimes more than once per post. So Scrivs you might have to up your commitment to my blog a touch. Anyone else want to join in?

2. Do I really sound like I’ve got no life as much as Scrivs makes it sound here? I party too…errr…sometimes. Well I’ve been to parties…. ok ok I know people who party….. or at least I’ve been known to blog about people who party….

Is Podcasting Viral?

Darren Barefoot has an interesting take on Podcasting and why he’s ‘Not Smoking the Podcasting Dope‘. He raises some good points which are similar to some of the concerns I’ve written previously. He writes that podcasting has a shorter tail than blogging and that its less accessible to podcasters than blogging is to bloggers (to paraphrase just two of his main points).

I agree (with regret) with a lot of what Darren says but still hope that with time Podcasting will take off – I especially think it does have potential to be a powerful medium in some niches and that it has some fascinating applications especially internally within businesses – but overall I think it going mainstream could be a while off (if ever).

Two of the books that come to mind when I ponder the differences between Podcasting and Blogging are The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell and the Unleashing the Idea Virus by Seth Godin. Both of these books talk about how some ideas spread like viruses whereas others do not. I wonder if some of the principles in these books might add to what Darren Barefoot has written. I guess the question I am asking today is ‘Is Podcasting Virus Like?

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Interview with Chris Pirillo

Chris Pirillo (1)Chris Pirillo is one of those names that you hear as you interact with ProBloggers around the web but for some reason he’s someone that I’d never personally bumped into online until a few weeks ago when on a whim I posted this little post asking if anyone wanted to sponsor me to go to Gnomedex which is a conference that Chris runs. Imagine the surprise the next morning when I checked my inbox to find an email from Chris himself offering to help me out by finding someone who might be able to get me there! I was pretty stunned and of course excited and shot an email straight back.

Unfortunately Gnomedex clashes with a prearranged trip I’m going on to a different part of the world at the same time (and I’m thinking they’re not going to change the dates just for me) so I won’t be able to meet him in person (this year) but I thought I’d take the opportunity of him stopping by ProBlogger to see if he’d grace us with some of his time in a ProBlogger interview because this guy is very well connected and has been blogging professionally for a while now – he’s got a lot of wisdom in him – so lets get some of it out!

I hope you enjoy our interview with Chris Pirillo!

ProBlogger – Chris – thanks for your time. Who is Chris Pirillo? Pretend we’re at a party, we’ve got beer in hand, peanuts (you get the picture) and we’re meeting for the first time – I ask the aged old ‘So what do you do’ question – How do you answer?

Chris – WHAT? OH, I THOUGHT YOU SAID YOU HAD YOUR HAND IN MY NUTS. I DON’T NORMALLY BRING MY NUTS TO PARTIES, BUT ONLY BECAUSE SALT MAKES ME THIRSTY AND I DON’T DRINK SUGARY SODA.

THERE’S NO EASY WAY TO DEBIBE… DESCRIBE MYSELF. SORRY, I GOTTA STOP DRINKING SO MUCH AT THESE PARTY INTERVIEWS. ANYWAY, I’M A CONDUIT MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE THESE DAYS, SHARING INFORMATION WITH OTHER PEOPLE. THROUGH LOCKERGNOME, WE SHARE INFO IN TEXT-FORMAT. THROUGH THE CHRIS PIRILLO SHOW, WE SHARE INFO IN AUDIO-FORMAT. THROUGH GNOMEDEX, WE SHARE INFO IN PEOPLE-FORMAT. THEN, THERE’S MY PERSONAL BLOG, WHICH IS KIND OF A HODGE-PODGE OF EVERYTHING.

ProBlogger – Can you tell us a little about how you first got into developing websites? What was your first one – and how did you to the place you find yourself today with Lockergnome? Do you have other online projects that you’re working on?

Chris – ARE WE STILL AT THE PARTY? LET’S GO INTO THE SIDE ROOM WHERE IT’S JUST A LITTLE LESS NOISY, OKAY? I’M GOING HOARSE.

I started with HTML back when the BLINK tag was en vogue. It was long before commercialism had crept into the Internet, so my first page was a personal one. I had fun scanning photos of myself in the computer lab on campus (the University of Northern Iowa), and stealing animated GIFs from elsewhere on the Web. I understand HTML, but I’d just as soon not develop it anymore. There are far better designers with far better skills than I, and that’s obvious.

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WordPress 1.5 Review

The Blog Herald writes a good review of Word Press 1.5 for those thinking of upgrading or swapping over.

‘WP 1.5 builds on 1.2, which in itself was very good, so I’ve got no complaints. The static pages and spam handling abilities are definite positives, and the templating system is particularly useful for new bloggers or bloggers who’d rather not play with script too much. Would I recommend changing from 1.2 to 1.5, yes, but if you’re happy running 1.2 I wouldn’t rush, the new version isn’t an earth shattering change and I’ll personally only be rolling over my other blogs and those I’ve designed for a few others over the coming months, but I’ll add that I’ve got adequate spam protection on the others. If you’re running WordPress 1.2 and are having big problems with spam, make the move quickly. It won’t stop spam altogether, but the built in tools certainly go along way.’