Adsense Smart Pricing Explained

A few days ago I attempted to explain Adsense Ad Click Value Variations (or why sometimes clicks are worth a lot and other times they are not). A number of readers emailed or instant messaged to say that I’d forgotten to mention ‘Smart Pricing’ which many believe is another factor that impacts Adsense click values.

Smart Pricing is an attempt by Google to give Advertisers value for money and to guard against click fraud. One of the dangers of Adsense is that publishers set up temporary, trashy and/or un-authoritative pages of content on topics that they know attract high paying ads. Clicks on such pages (whether fraudulent or not) are not really good value for advertisers.

Smart Pricing sets a click value for each ad clicked based upon a variety of factors – none of which have been made public. There has been much speculation by publishers about what these factors might include – guesses as to what is included that I’ve seen in forums include: [Read more…]

Movable Type 3.16 Released

Six Apart has just released an upgrade to Movable Type – Movable Type 3.16.

The upgrade includes:

[Read more…]

Which Blogging Platform is Best?

Dave (a ProBlogger reader) asks:

I am trying to decide what software to use for a new blog. I have a little experience with blogger, but have looked a lot at WordPress and Moveable Type. But, I sure would appreciate what you think are the pros and cons and even a recommendation on the various blogging formats.

I thought I’d open it up for some discussion. What tool do you recommend and why?

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One Blog Many Categories or Many Blogs?

William (a reader of ProBlogger) asks:

‘I have so many diverse hobbies and interests that I want to start a blog about, plus I’d also like to make some $ through AdSense & the likes…. Am I better off having one blog site with multiple categories or multiple blog sites highlighting specific interests?’

Great question William and one that I think more ProBloggers would do well to think through.

One of the common ways that many bloggers start out in their entrepreneurial blogging is through a personal and very general blog that covers many topics of interest. It makes sense in many ways – it’s simpler to have it all in one place, to manage one set of statistics, one design, one set of readers etc. Most blogging platforms seem pretty well set up for this as they allow categories to be created for each topic being covered.

Whilst it might seem easier to manage one blog on many topics it doesn’t always make good business sense to do so.

After a year of blogging in this way myself I began to notice a number of things that made me consider a new approach:

  • Some readers became disillusioned with the blog – My blog had four main themes and different readers resonated differently with each one. A few readers shared my diverse interests in all four areas, but most came to my blog to read about one of the (or at the most a couple of) topics. A number of regular loyal readers became disillusioned with my eclectic approach to blogging and gave up coming.
  • I felt guilty about the variety of topics – I’m a pretty impulsive guy who tends to get into something for a while in a big way and then move onto something else. As a result my personal/general blog would go through identifiable stages. For a while the posting would focus upon the topic of politics, then there would be a burst of writing on the topic of blogging, then there would be a few weeks of reflections on spirituality etc. Knowing that my readers were disillusioned by this approach I began to feel more and more guilty about my impulsive bursts of activity on topics. As a result I’d o out of my way to post on things just to keep some balance, even if I didn’t really want to write about certain things.

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DIY Blog Advertising

Duncan has a great post on DIY Blog Advertising which is well worth the read for anyone who is contemplating finding advertisers for the blogs. In it Duncan cuts through some of the terminology and gives some valuable tips (some of which I’d known a few months ago).

I particularly like Duncan’s advice on setting the price for your advertising:

‘Setting a charge for your advertising is often the hardest part of the process. Everone thinks their blogs is worth millions, and I can tell you that some try to charge that way. There is, however I fine line between charging a premium amount and an amount that it too low.

Last year I was approached by an advertiser who wanted to sponsor the Blog Herald and wanted a whole lot of advertising in return. Massive banners 728×90 banners, exclusive run of site the whole thing. I put forward an offer and I was basically laughed at it. The response was that they could get $1 CPM elsewhere for a similar deal and why would should they pay more here, this despite them being the ones approaching me. Suffice to say it was an interesting lesson, both in that advertising wasn’t worth as much as I’d expected (particularly when you’re talking exclusive rights) and that advertisers can be fickle.’

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Blogging for Dollars Seminar – Seeking Expressions of Interest

Recently I’ve met a number of Melbourne Bloggers who are interested in learning how to make a living from their blogging. I’m excited about this as it’d be nice to have a few local blogging buddies to get together with to share ideas – work together on projects and become friends with.

Most of those who want to get into Entrepreneurial Blogging are personal bloggers or are just starting out with adding Adsense or affiliate programs to their blogs and have been asking for tips and advice.

Rather than meeting each of them one on one or chatting via Instant Messenger I’m toying with the idea of running an introductory evening seminar into Entrepreneurial Blogging – (Blogging for Dollars).

This night would probably run for 2.5 – 3 hours (7pm – 9.30pm for instance) and it would be in a central location (probably in inner northern suburbs).

I would charge a small amount per person to attend to cover my preparation time. The amount of $50(ish) is in my mind for some reason – does that sound reasonable? I believe the content would be worth more than this in a business setting but want to make it accessible to the blogger just starting out who isn’t making much from their blogs yet.

The evening would be for those who already have an understanding of blogging (ie I wouldn’t be explaining the basics of ‘what is a blog’, ‘how do I post a post’ etc) but who are at the beginning of their journey of making money from their blogs.

Topics Covered Would include : [Read more…]

Avoiding Blog Burnout – Advanced Posting and Additional Authors

Duncan has posted on the topic of How to avoid blog burnout in one easy lesson where he suggest taking a break is a good way to sustain your blogging over a longer period of time. In particular he writes that taking a weekend off (or at least having a lighter weekend) might be a way to keep your blogging fire burning.

I agree with Duncan in this – I am a big believer in a day off – in theory anyway.

I remember reading a study into productivity a few years ago in which researchers looked at a variety of different cultures work patterns in order to discover what the most productive people’s work practices were. A number of factors emerged from the study – but the one that rings in my mind years later is that they found the most productive cultural groups were those that worked hard for 6 days per week and rested for one. The day off was devoted to rest, family, relaxation and rejuvination of body, mind and spirit.

I think this is an important approach for any worker – bloggers are no exception. Without taking a break blog boredom and writers block can easily set in.

The challenge for those of us making a living from blogs is that the medium is a 7 day per week, 365 day per year venture. Whilst traffic does tend to go down on weekends (as less people are at work surfing the net when they should be working) the weekend is actually an opportunity for traffic and earnings like any other day and regular posting on the weekends is one way to ensure the traffic keeps coming in.

So what is a Pro Blogger to do?

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Squarespace Review

Richard from Pharma Blawg has a good review of the blogging platform Squarespace and writes:

‘If you want to use all of Squarespace’s offerings, it’ll probably take a bit longer to learn than Typepad and Blogger, but in my view the extra time is well worth it. Equally, if all you want is a good looking blog without adding multiple modules (yes, Squarespace operates a modular system where you add different modules as you please), you’ll be able to get up and running very quickly. ‘

Read more about Squarespace at its official site

Mind Sharer – On Adsense

MindSharer has had some good Adsense related posts in the last few days that some might find helpful.

Adsense – Is the red hot text ad service cooling down?
How to get better targeted ad from Adsense?

Why Google is a Tactic not a Strategy

There is an interesting article over at SEO Chat titled – Why Google is a Tactic not a Strategy – which has some worthwhile advice in it.

‘The long and short of it, folks, is to plan your online marketing strategy so that no one tactic is responsible for supporting your business. The irony of the Web is that a lot of the tactics that don’t revolve around SEO actually help you with search engine positioning. Link placement, press release writing, content syndication and even offline marketing can all contribute to better placement in search engines.’

Wise words – don’t put all your eggs in the one basket – if if that basket has the potential to bring you a lot of goodness.