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Blog Design Matters

Last week I asked the question – ‘Does Blog design Matter?’ I asked it because my own blog’s redesign was just around the corner and I was interested in the impact it would have upon my blog.

A number of people have asked me about the change and the impact that it has had on traffic levels to this blog.

It is probably too early to tell (its only been a few days) but the initial indications are that Blog Design does make a difference – at least it has to this blog. Here are some brief reflections on why:

1. Traffic levels have increased from an average of around 260 unique visitors per day to around 500 unique visitors per day (I’m yet to track this over a full week).

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How To Make Money With Your Blog Site

Robin Good has a good post on How To Make Money With Your Blog Site which outlines 13 or so ways that bloggers can make money from their blogging. His tips range from Google Adsense, to Amazon, to other advertising programs, to donations, through to premium content sponsorships and online guides and e-books.

This is one of the better ‘blogging for dollars’ type articles out there and mentions all the methods that are normally covered in such articles with some good examples and advice.

My similar article on the topic is here.

335X50 Problogger

Interview with Joel Johnson

I’m pleased to post the following interview with one of the bloggers that I’ve admired for some time – Joel Johnson the editor of the incredibly popular Gawker Media blog, Gizmodo. At the time of posting this interview Gizmodo averages 153,334 unique visitors per day and ranks third on Truth Laid Bare’s traffic monitoring tracker. It is a leader in field of consumer electronics and gadgets and a blog that is widely regarded as one of the most successful money making blogs going around.

Joel recently got a big scoop and interviewed Bill Gates – so now I can say I interviewed a guy who interviewed Bill – which isn’t as impressive as written as it sounded in my head. Anyway – here is my chat with Joel.

ProBlogger – Thanks for your time Joel – Can you tell us a little about how and when you first discovered and got into blogging?

Joel – I first discovered blogging in the middle ’90s, when it was called ‘the web.’ I ran a website in the chronological weblog format in… 99? Maybe 2000. It was strikingly similar in format and tone to what I do on Gizmodo today, except that I paid money to write it, instead of being paid to keep it going.

ProBlogger – Do you have or have you had involvement in other blogs than Gizmodo?
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Should Google be the Blogosphere’s Ad Agency?

Jeff Jarvis has an interesting post titled Should Google be the citizens’ ad agency? where he questions whether Google is the best ‘ad agency’ for citizens media and writes:

‘But it makes me wonder whether we’re foolish letting Google be our ad sales agent. For Google undersells the value of citizens’ media: Google sells the coincidence of a word on a page when the real value of citizens’ media is in its conversation, its relationships, its influence.

Mind you, we should bless Google for taking the cooties off of citizens’ media and showing that, indeed, real people have a message and audience worth attention.

But now I think it’s necessary for citizens’ media to find its own path, its own sales agent who can sell its own value.’

Jeff makes some valid points which are worth taking on board – as usual he sees both side of the story. My opinion? It is getting late so let me attempt a few points:

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Are Google paying out less to Adsense Publishers?

Om Malik has an interesting post looking at the record earnings that Google have been reporting (largely due to their earnings from Adwords) but the apparent decreases in payments that they are making to publishers.

‘Intrigued, I looked up some of the SEC filings and discovered that for past four quarters Google has been paying more money every quarter to the affiliates. However, TAC as a percentage of advertising revenues generated by network sites is declining. For instance in quarter ending June 30, 2004, the company had paid out 80% of the revenues generated by its network. In quarter ending Sept 30, 2004, it was down to 79% and now in the December 2004 quarter, that number was down to 77%….’

It is something I have no real opinion about as my statistics over the past 12 months have been so up and down that it is impossible to make any assumptions from it – however if there is truth in them skimming a little more off the top I’d be pretty disappointed in Google.

Read more at Om Malik: Google making more, but dishing out less

ProBlogger Changes

Thank you to all the well wishers who have stopped by in the past 24 hours to check out the new home of ProBlogger.

Many thanks to those of you who have already changed your links to our new URL and RSS feed. I was expecting to loose a certain amount of readership in the short term after the move – however have logged on this morning to find more than normal activity on the site over night. Considering its the weekend still for most of you that is a positive sign.

I’m also taking on board the feedback on the design of the site. A number of people are having trouble with the orange/yellow links and the contrast between them. Let me know your thoughts on that please if you have a moment.

More changes coming: In addition to a new URL and design I’m hoping to make a few more changes to ProBlogger in the next few weeks. The first one will start late today with the publishing of our first interview. I have been talking about doing interviews with ProBloggers for some time now and have three ready to go and a number of others on the way.

Come back later today with the first one – an interview with Joel Johnson – editor of Gizmodo.

If there is a ProBlogger that you’d like to see an interview with please let me know – also you can continue to suggest questions for on ProBlogging – I’ll answer as many as I can but also include some of them in the interviews.

Questions for ProBloggers

Are you starting, or thinking of starting, a commercial blog? Do you have a question that you’ve been trying to figure out around some of the topics of ProBlogging? Feel free to submit your question for ProBloggers in comments below and I’ll try to get back to you with an answer – or at least point you to a previously written article on the topic. Questions might also feature in future interviews with ProBloggers.

Your questions can focus on anything from using Adsense on your blog, to which Blog tools are best, to Affiliate programs, to Search Engine Optimization, to writing content through to business blogs. No question is too stupid to ask. If I don’t know the answer I’ll open it for general discussion and see if our collective knowledge as probloggers can work it out.

Ask Jeeves Buys Bloglines

Napsterization breaks the big news that Ask Jeeves is buying Bloglines! The news will be announced on Monday according to the report. This is pretty big news and is just another example of how blogging and RSS technology is making it to the mainstream.

The interest will now be in how Ask Jeeves uses, adapts and monetizes Bloglines.

Found via Micro Persuasion

WordPress 1.5 Gamma – Review

Weblog Tools Collection has a good review of the soon to be released (I hope) WordPress version 1.5. The review is glowing and leaves me hanging to see what it is like for myself. I’ve recently moved a number of my blogs (including this one) to WordPress (1.2) and found it to be a highly effective tool and am hoping version 1.5 launches soon.

You can also read an interview with the guys behind Word Press at The Inside Scoop.

Welcome to a New Look ProBlogger

Congratulations – you’ve found your way to a new look ProBlogger in its new home at ProBlogger.net.

I started ProBlogger last September as a place to keep a record of the lessons that I learnt from blogging both for myself and for those I knew who were trying to make a living from their blogging. The blog design was primitive and I just tacked it onto the livingroom domain that I used for other blogs.

ProBlogger quickly turned into something bigger than I had anticipated and I soon realised that I would need to consider moving my 500 or so posts to a new permanent home with a more professional design. Rachel over at Cre8d Design was kind enough to take the project on and has put together what you see before you today. I love her designs and would recommend her services as a professional blog designer.

The new design is still new and we are making some final touches. I’m certain there are a few things we’ve overlooked so as you look around and make yourself at home please don’t hesitate to let me know of any problems that you might find. Also give you feedback on the design itself – how does it look in your browser? Any suggestions or critiques (constructive ones preferred) are welcome.

Don’t forget to vote for ProBlogger at the Business Blog awards here.

Lastly – if you have a link to ProBlogger in your blog roll I’d really appreciate you making an adjustment to it with our new domain at problogger.net – also don’t forget to change your RSS feed for this site to this new one.