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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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Why Blogging is Like Having a Child

Jennifer Rice over at What’s Your Brand Mantra? posts a good article on her Link Policy and Building Traffic that is worth a read. The phrase that got my attention though was this – ‘Maintaining a blog is a lot like having a child’. She qualifies it by stating that she doesn’t have one (a child guess – cause she definitely has a blog – sorry, I couldn’t resist). Its an interesting analogy and one that has triggered a whole thought process for me!

A whole number of images came to my mind when letting my brain get a little creative with her statement. Here are a few (this could get ugly):

– ‘It takes a lot of time, nurturing and care.’ This was Jennifer’s one but I concur! Building a blog takes time, energy, sweat, tears and dedication. I’ve heard all that helps with children too. You don’t just suddenly have a fully developed child who can speak, walk, pay its own way and live as an adult – all of these things take time. Don’t expect your new blog to suddenly be everything you dream it to be – let it evolve and grow up in its own time. Sure you can encourage it along the way – but give it space to grow. I see it like gardening – Gardeners don’t actually make plants grow – they create an environment that is conducive to growth. No matter what you do you can’t make your blog grow – but you can create an environment that gives it every chance possible for it to happen. I guess in many ways thats what this blog is about – I’m hoping to provide bloggers with some techniques that help create futile blogging ground.

Pregnancy – before I start a new blog I often feel like I’ve got something growing inside of me that just wants to get out. It can all happen very quickly or it can take quite a bit of time – but the ideas percolate away, developing and growing til that day when the time comes to actually do something with them.

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Blog Money Experiment

There is an interesting blog being developed over at the Blog Money Experiment where an anonymous blogger (referring to himself as ‘the blog experimenter’) is keeping a behind the scenes diary of his quest to earn a few dollars from their blogging.

They have started another blog which they refer to as ‘the money blog’ (which is at an undisclosed URL to guard from it being swamped by people from the behind the scenes blog) which they are doing the experiment on. Hmmm – sounds more complicated than it is but it will be an interesting experiment to follow. ‘The Blog Experimenter’ writes:

‘Can an online amateur make money with a blog? This is the online diary of one guy’s attempt to generate extra cash by blogging. Follow, advise and criticize a newbie as he tracks his “blogging for bucks” adventures, step by step. This is not “the money blog,” it’s the behind-the-scenes story…’

He’s set himself some guidelines for the experiment and has already earned enough for a coke. Good luck ‘the blog experimenter’ (I can imagine him sitting in front of his computer with a phantom of the opera type mask blogging away….can’t you?).

Positioning your Adsense Ads II

Once again the response to my post yesterday to Positioning your Adsense Ads has been quite amazing as people have emailed and left comments asking for further details of what the ‘secret position’ is to place ads on a blog that will magically double earnings overnight.

Perhaps I’ve created a monster in the past week or so here in telling people how much I earn. Since then I’ve been quite overwhelmed by the attention – emails, comments, instant messaging – all on levels I’ve not experienced before from a post. I guess people want to make money from their blogs! I can’t blame them I guess – I’m obviously interested in that too.

So what is the magical, secret position to put your Adsense ads? Someone even emailed me tonight offering to pay me to reveal the secret. Hmmmm – maybe i should hold an Ebay auction and offer the information to the highest bidder!

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Positioning your Adsense Ads

The amazing thing about the Adsense advertising system is how one simple change in positioning of your ads can have a profound impact upon the earnings you receive from it. I still remember a fateful night about 8 months ago when I learnt this lesson and doubled my income overnight (no this isn’t one of those posts where I’m selling something – relax).

It was 10.30pm and I was about to head to bed when on a whim I decided to shift my Adsense ads from the position that I’d always had them at the top (banner position) of the blog I was working on at the time. I shifted the ad to a new position and then got distracted with something else and forgot about it.

A few hours later (I got very distracted) I again was thinking of bed but decided to check my Adsense stats for one last time before shutting down my powerbook – imagine my surprise when I found that my click through rate was 40% higher than normal (and so was the earnings for that time of night)!? At first I thought I was dreaming, then I considered that maybe Google had made a mistake, then I panicked that someone had been randomly clicking all my ads – and then I remembered the repositioning of ads that I’d done a few hours before.

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Weblogs, Inc. – Focus Ads

Comment-Advert

Weblogs Inc are taking blog advertising in a new direction with their Focus Ads which invite their readers to leave a comment on advertisers (you can see one here). Its an interesting concept that they are promoting as adding to their transparency in advertising. Here’s what they say about it.

‘Weblogs, Inc. Focus Ads are meant to create transparency in advertising — helping our readers to gain insight and helping our advertisers to create a better product or service. Our advertisers participate because they believe in their brands and are willing to improve them through the feedback of enthusiasts.’

So far the concept on the Grifffin technologies feedback page seems to be pretty positive but I guess time will tell whether advertisers actually want the feedback and whether readers can be bothered giving it.

blo.gs for sale

Blo.GsI just spotted that blo.gs is for sale. They don’t really have an asking price so make them an offer. The sale includes sale of:

  • the blo.gs domain name (and all subdomains)
  • the weblo.gs domain name
  • the database of blogs (and related databases)
  • all rights to the blo.gs software

The owner writes: ‘I don’t have a price in mind, so don’t ask. cash-flow wise, the site has cost approximately $3500 to date (mostly for hosting), and has earned less than $750 (mostly from google adsense ads).’

So it doesn’t really sound like a hugely profitable venture that you’d be buying – rather its a ‘renovators delight’ type project.

Duplicate Posting and Free Articles = Duplicate Content

I’ve noticed a growing trend among bloggers who have multiple blogs to post the same post numerous times in different places.

I can see why such a practice might seem tempting:

  • it cuts down the work you have to do (two for the energy of one)
  • it increases the chance of your post being read by readers
  • if you’re making money from your blogs it double’s the chance of earning a dollar from your work

For these very reasons I’ve entered into duplicate posting in the past also. It just seems to make sense to get your material out there in as many places as possible doesn’t it?

Unfortunately whilst duplicate posting might have some of the above benefits it is also worth counting the cost of such a strategy. Duplicated posting might double the chances of your work being read, but it also runs the risk of getting you in trouble with Google. You see they don’t like duplicate content – content that appears in different places in the same basic form. They warn about this in their guidelines to webmasters.

‘Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.’

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