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ecto for Windows 1.5

For all you Windows users – can I suggest you check out the new version of ecto for Windows 1.5. I won’t rave on about ecto again because I have many times before – but I would highly recommend it. If its anywhere near as good as the Mac version that I use it will save you a lot of time and make your blogging a lot more professional. In short – ecto is a way of publishing content to your blog that you can do without actually logging onto your blog’s back end. Check out its feature list here.

‘After a longer than anticipated development and testing period, here is the new version 1.5. Most of the bugs have been caught and fixed, including those from the previous version 1.0.8.x. The main omissions of this release are Japanese/French localizations for the new features which will be provided in future updates. You can download this new version here, and read the changes and known issues in History.txt file. For existing ecto users, please read the Upgrade.txt file for important information on installing version 1.5 over 1.0.8.’

Read more at ecto blog: ecto for Windows 1.5

How to Write Compelling Blog Posts

There is a good basic post on How to Write Compelling Blog Posts over at Marketing Profs. Nothing particularly new about it but a good place to start if you’re new to blogging and want to have a primer on how to write more effectively. Here is a taster.

‘Writing blog posts and comments on blogs is actually very simple. The basic guidelines: keep your copy lively, factual, tight, clear, short and search engine optimized.

Here are basic blog style guidelines to follow:

Adopt a direct style. Declarative sentences are good. Web readers demand them.

Link like crazy. One thing that distinguishes blog posts from dead-tree journalism is that bloggers link prodigiously….’

Read more at How to Write Compelling Blog Posts

Look what Blogging Bought Me!

ThanksSorry for the last couple of days lighter posting – its the weekend and our focus for the last couple of days has been pretty much upon buying this little house that you see pictured.

Yesterday was the auction and thanks a pretty good deposit from the past six or so months of blogging income we were successful in being the last bidder standing (after a pretty fierce bidding frenzy). I’m thinking of unofficially calling our new home The House that Blogging Built.

So I’d like to take this moment to thank a few people for what has been a pretty amazing year of blogging. I realise that in many ways the purchase of this house is not really about me, its very much been a collective effort. Firstly to my partner ‘V’ who ,for some reason that neither of us really understand, let me dedicate significant amounts of time to blogging, even when in the early days it was only earning a few dollars per day. She initially gave me 6 months to work my butt off on being a full time blogger (before I’d have to go get a ‘real job) to see if we could build it into something substantial. She saw the potential and gave me room to follow my dream.

I’d like to thank the five million or so readers who have read my blogs in the past year or so – without them this would obviously have been impossible. I thank the thousands of bloggers around the world that have linked to my blogs and who have therefore been responsible for these readers.

I’d like to thank Rachel for her great blog design and Regan for his hosting of my blogs – both have gone above and beyond the call for me. Also I’m grateful to a few companies that have been sending me cheques each month. They include Google’s Adsense, Amazon, FastClick, ClickBank, Trade Doubler, AdBrite, BlogAds, Commission Junction and LinkShare. And lastly to the many smaller companies and individuals who have sponsored my blogs with text and banner ads. Its amazing how every bit helps.

Ok – thats the end of my academy award speech – now its time to get back on with some serious blogging – after all its only paid the deposit so far!

Mini Interview with MyBlogLog

I’m still following the stats that MyBlogLog.com after signing up for it last night.

I actually decided to send them an email to ask a few questions and thought I’d share their answers here as they are not addressed on their General Questions page. Eric from MyBlogLog emailed back the following answers very quickly. Thanks for your time Eric!

ProBlogger – Do you track clicks that come from links that are images?

MyBlogLog – We do track image links.

ProBlogger – Are you able to track Google Adsense links?

MyBlogLog – We do not yet track Google Adsense, but we’re working on it.

ProBlogger – Do you have plans to (or the current ability to) track which pages on a blog the clicks are coming from?

MyBlogLog – Tracking which pages the clicks are coming from is definitely in the works. It’s a bigger challenge than just tracking the links, so we didn’t want to hold up the launch for that feature.

ProBlogger – Do you have an affiliate program or some way of paying a commission to bloggers that refer paying customers to you?

MyBlogLog – We will be setting up an affiliate program soon. We didn’t expect this level of enthusiasm so quickly, so a lot of things are coming to a head sooner than expected. So much for a “soft” launch!

MyBlogLog – Track your Outbound Links

Mybloglog

I just signed up with the free service at MyBlogLog (affiliate link) which tracks where people go when they leave your blog. Well it tracks them to a point (its not quite stalking) in that it tracks which links your readers click that take them out of your blog.

They offer two versions – a free one which tracks the last 10 outbound links clicked and a paid Pro version ($3 per month) that gives you real time stats and more than just the last 10.

When you sign up for the free version you get 7 days for free of the pro version. You need a different email address for each blog you sign up for. I’m tracking two blogs – this one and my digital camera one. I’m interested in knowing about the outbound links for a number of reasons:

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Wacky Blogger Wanted

InsideBlogging are looking for a wacky blogger. If you think you fit the bill you should head over and express your interest in the blog that they say has a ‘Fark / CollegeHumour kind of humour’.

Update: Jeremy posts more information on this at his blog and says the applicants need to be in a position to post 3-4 posts per day. Oh and you have to be an ‘oddball’ type.

Google Back Link Update in Progress

Google seems to be doing a back link update at present. I’ve noticed significant changes in some of my blogs back links so far. Traffic changes and SERPs often follow such updates.

Update: Others are seeing it too

Update II : Sorry for my lack of explanation here – I’ve had two emails, a comment and two instant messages asking for clarification as to ‘backl inks’. I was in a rush to post the information and am about to dash off now – but put simply (or as simply as I know how), a ‘back link’ is simply another site linking to your blog.

Every month or two Google does an update to the number of other sites that it finds linking to your blog (and the posts within it). The amount of links pointing at your blog has an important part to play as to how highly they rank your site. No one really knows just how they rank sites, but we do know that backlinks play a major part in it. So when they do these periodic updates webmasters all over the web hold their breath to see what it will reveal and what impact it might have.

For example – problogger.net had no recorded back links to it two days ago because it was a brand new domain (only a month or so old). A few minutes ago I checked and found that Google now sees 2080 backlinks pointing to it (probably mainly from my old domain – but also from many of my wonderful readers who changed the links on their sites to the new domain). This should help me increase my readership in the coming weeks and months.

Note: Backlink Updates take time to take full effect. Google has many data centres and it takes time for them all to come into line (if they ever completely do). If you check your back links now they could well be different tomorrow (or in 10 minutes) – it takes a while for Google to stop dancing.

How do you check your back link numbers I hear you ask? There are a number of ways. You can use a number of online tools – I use Digital Point’s Back Link Tracker which is a free service. To get the most of it and track your back links over time you have to check it every day or two. otherwise you’ll just see how many back links you have on any given day rather than the changes in your back links over time. It will also track your page rank, how many pages Google indexes and other things like your ranking on particular key words.

You can also use the ‘link:’ command in Google. ie type in link:www.yourdomainname.com into the search field on Google. It will come back to you with sites that it finds linking to your site. Note: if you use this method your results probably won’t reveal all links to your site – I know doing it for me now the results omit ‘duplicate results’. But if you do this over time you’ll see changes. There are plenty of other tools out there for this type of thing also – my suggestion is that if you’re going to track it choose one tool and stick to it so that you can track your results consistently over time.

Positioning your Adsense Ads III

In a previous post in this series I asked the questions:

‘can you have too many adsense ads on a post?’ and ‘when does more actually = less with adsense?’

There are probably two main ways of answering these questions. The first one is from the point of view of aesthetics and the second is about cold hard cash and whether it will earn you more money to have more ads or less.

1. Aesthetics – probably the most common complaint I hear against Adsense (and other types of ads) is that advertising is an eyesore and ruins the design of a page. I’ve read post after post of people complaining that they do not want to be exposed with ads and especially offensive to their sensitivities are pages that have ads all over them.

I have some sympathy for this view and its something that always weighs heavily on my mind as a blogger – how many ads are too many ads? The beauty (probably the wrong work in a paragraph about aesthetics) of Adsense is that it is customizable and ads can be made to blend into or contrast the design of a page. Even so, the more ads you put on your page the higher the chance you have of offending the those who are advertorially (I know its not a word – I’m being post-modern) sensitive.

Related to this is the theme of your blog. I have some blogs that I only serve one ad per page (or even no ads) simply because I don’t feel its appropriate to commercialize the blog at all.

2. Financial Considerations – believe it or not – but having more Adsense ads on your site can actually mean you earn less income from them! I know this sounds stupid and some of you think I’ve finally lost it – but its true, I found out for myself last week. Let me tell you the story.

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Blog Articles and Stickiness

Just spotted two worthwhile posts on a couple of my favourite blogs:

- Articles Build Blog Readership‘As you place a number of articles on several websites, you will accomplish more than one goal.

You will obviously receive a few more visitors to your blog, as a result of your incoming link. The extra traffic will be from people who are already interested in your blog’s subject matter.

You will establish yourself as an expert in your field, and other people will call upon your ideas and information. The recognition of others, who are interested in the same topics and site themes as yourself, could lead to some paying business in other ways.’

- Making your blog sticky and keeping Casual Viewers‘The moral for bloggers is simple: making your blog sticky keeps viewers longer. Look at moral ways (by this I mean without popups etc) of getting casual visitors to explore your blog further, it may well increase repeat visits, and potentially improves your stats and your advertising revenue opportunities. Including a link to recent posts at the end of individual posts is one way of doing it, but there may be others.’

2005 Business Underblogger Awards

UnderbloggerDo you know of (or run) a quality ‘Entrepreneurial’ or ‘Business’ Blog that deserves a bit of extra attention? Do you read one that you wish others knew about? Nominate it now in the 2005 Business Underblogger Awards! Read on to find out how!

Now that the 2005 Business Blogging Awards are out of the way and that some of the higher profile business blogs have had their recognition, I want to propose that we hold the ’2005 Business UNDERblogger Awards’.

Huh?!? What’s an ‘Underblogger’ you ask?

Well it all started a couple of years ago when on my personal blog I wrote a post asking people to nominate quality blogs that they knew of that didn’t have the exposure that they deserved. They are Underblogs – as in they fly under the radar despite the fact that perhaps they deserve to join the select few that tend to get nominated for mainstream blogging awards.

I was amazed by the response that I got when I opened the first ‘Celebrating the Underblog’ awards in 2003 – 100 nominations in all. In 2004 I did it again and ended up with around 500. It was a massive response and whilst in the process a lot of blogs were nominated that I personally didn’t enjoy the exercise did unearth some amazing blogs that I continue to read to this day. I had a lot of feedback from bloggers thanking me for the exposure but also for helping them to discover new quality blogs.

So I got to thinking the other day after the Business Blogging Awards that whilst the project did unearth some great blogs that I’d not heard of before – that there MUST be more out there that didn’t receive a nomination that deserve some recognition.

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