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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.

RSS ads in Boing Boing

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One of the biggest blogs going around, Boing Boing, has decided to experiment with RSS ads in their feeds. They publish their full content in RSS and have placed ads on every third ad using the contextual ad service being tested by Feedburner and Overture (not available to the public yet). Feedburner currently only allow most bloggers to display amazon ads using their service but contextual RSS feed advertising is sure to follow on a wider scale in the months ahead.

Does Frequent Posting Boost Traffic?

Susannah is tracking if her blog’s traffic levels correlate with her levels of posting and writes:

‘Generally speaking, it looks like the theory of more posts = more traffic holds true, but of course what the logs don’t tell you is that on the days I was posting a lot I was at a blogging conference and the blog URL was up on the projector between every session. Nor does looking at this graph reflect the posts that were controversial. That first spike is accompanied by a barely significant increase in post numbers, but was on a topic that caught a lot of interest.’

This is something I’ve done a little research into on my own blogs also. What I’ve found (although I don’t have as nice a graph as Susannah) is that my overall traffic does tend to increase on days that I post more – however there are a couple of further observations that are worth making.

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3% decrease in Keyword Cost in January

Those bloggers utilizing Adsense as an income stream who track their statistics usually notice that the price paid per click fluctuates from month to month. I track my cost per click earnings and it is not unusual to have a 20% drop or rise from one month to the next. Fathom Online tracks this too across many keywords and noticed that in their last period after the holidays that there was significant drops in some kewords and an overall drop of 3%.

‘Most surprising was the 28 percent drop in Telecom-Wireless products and services from $1.09 to $.79, possibly reflecting the trend to give cell phones as a gift during the holidays. Keywords in the Consumer-Retail category also decreased significantly by 11 percent from $.58 to $.52 per keyword, evening out some of the huge gains that category registered early in the fourth quarter 2004 when the frenzy to buy shopping keywords was at its peak.’

This doesn’t surprise me in the least – with the rise in keyword costs in the lead up to Christmas things had to slow down at some point.

Check out their table tracking different keyword categories – the big winner this last month was Finance/Mortgage keywords.

What is a Blog?

So what is a Blog anyway? I am asked every week via emails, conversation and Instant Messaging chats to define: ‘what is a blog’. If you’re reading this you may well be asking the same question.

There are a number of ways I could answer this question ranging from the broad to the highly technical.

Before I define the ‘what is a blog’ question – here are a few definitions from other much wiser people to get us started:

‘A weblog is a hierarchy of text, images, media objects and data, arranged chronologically, that can be viewed in an HTML browser.’ Source

‘A frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts and Web links.’ Source

‘From “Web log.” A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is “blogging” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger.”‘ Source

‘A weblog is kind of a continual tour, with a human guide who you get to know. There are many guides to choose from, each develops an audience, and there’s also comraderie and politics between the people who run weblogs, they point to each other, in all kinds of structures, graphs, loops, etc.’ Source

‘A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is “blogging” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger.” Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog. Postings on a blog are almost always arranged in cronological order with the most recent additions featured most prominantly.’ Source

‘A blog is a website in which items are posted on a regular basis and displayed in reverse chronological order. The term blog is a shortened form of weblog or web log. Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog or adding an article to an existing blog is called “blogging”. Individual articles on a blog are called “blog posts,” “posts” or “entries”. A person who posts these entries is called a “blogger”. A blog comprises text, hypertext, images, and links (to other web pages and to video, audio and other files). Blogs use a conversational style of documentation. Often blogs focus on a particular “area of interest”, such as Washington, D.C.’s political goings-on. Some blogs discuss personal experiences.’ Source.

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Hopes of a Professional Blogger

When I asked readers at for questions for my upcoming interviews with Professional bloggersBobby Masteria asked:

‘Ask long time probloggers what have been their fears, hopes and expectations.’

I’ve written about my expectations and fears and now thought I’d turn to hopes.

1. Internet usage is booming. The statistics show that more and more people around the globe are going online and that it continues to be a medium with incredible potential to communicate with the masses quickly, cheaply and with little fuss. Similarly the statistics show that more and more people are becoming familiar with and readers of blogs. This has to give the average problogger some hope. The more who read blogs the less problem congestion of the blogosphere (see my fears post) becomes.

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SEO Techniques

Tanya at SEO and Affiliate marketing blog is writting a well thought out series of posts on Search engine Optimization which so far has four steps to it.

Step 1 – Picking a domain name

Step 2 – Research your niche or theme

Step 3 – Building your site template

Step 4 – Building a Product Page

It is not really written from a blogging point of view but rather from a pure SEO perspective – but none the less there are some good general points in there that should help bloggers.

Fears of a Professional Blogger

When I asked readers for questions for my upcoming interviews with Professional bloggersBobby Masteria asked:

‘Ask long time probloggers what have been their fears, hopes and expectations.’

I previously answered the expectations part of this question – now I’ll turn to ‘fears’

Fears: I don’t really have too many extreme fears about my blogging. I’m trying to take the approach that everyday that I can earn a living from blogging is one day longer than what I ever thought I’d be able to achieve. Having said that there are a number of concerns that I have that have the potential to end or at least limit what I do….

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Could AdSense direct deposits be around the corner? – JenSense.com

Jen at JenSense observes that the new referal program from Adsense seems to be set up to pay out using direct deposit. She hypothesizes that perhaps this is an indication that direct deposit payments might be coming. This would be a massive relief to many publishers using the system who have to do a lot of messing around to cash their cheques.

Read Jen’s column at Could AdSense direct deposits be around the corner?