Yahoo’s Contextual Ads in testing things they’ve stumbled upon a new Contextual Ads program from Yahoo for small publishers. They write:

‘Ken Rudman is a product manager at Yahoo-owned Overture, and his blog features contextual Overture ads throughout. His homepage shows the vertical two-ad format, monthly archives show a three-ad horizontal format, and individual entries show another variation of the horizontal format. The ads have decent relevancy, especially considering its early state.

The Javascript that generates the ad IFrame is hosted on Overture’s server. The domain name refers to ypn, which might be an acronym for the ad program… Yahoo Publishing Network, maybe?’

As mentioned on the post it doesn’t seem that the ads are overly relevant now – however in time I’d suspect that more advertisers would come on board and relevancy will improve.

Interestingly the version they are testing has a hover feature – when you hover your curser over the ad you get a little pop up box that tells you more about it. I’m not a big fan of the design options being used on the example above but I’m sure a final version will be pretty customizable. I’ll be watching on with interest to see how this story develops.

Seeking Bloggers Expressions of Interest

Would you like to earn an income from blogging? Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed by tackling it alone? Would you like to work with other experienced bloggers on a niche topic blog?

The Breaking News Blog collective is seeking expressions of interest in new niche blogs – you could be the next to join.

Regular readers of this blog will be aware that one of the projects that I work on is Breaking News Blog – a collective of bloggers (some call us a network) that blog on a variety of topics on the one domain. Blogs in the collective currently range in topic vastly – everything from blogs on technology like VOIP, MP3 Players, Printers, Laptops/Notebooks, PDAs and Robotics through to blogs about People and events, like the Pope, the Michael Jackson Trial, Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson through to Health issues like depression, dieting and mineral supplements.

The concept is simple – we’re building a collective of blogs on a variety (a huge one as you can see) of topics. These blogs share a domain and are interlinked and promoted by one another. Since launching a couple of months ago the collective has steadily built its page rank in Google (most now have a rank of 5 or 6) and is gradually growing readership levels (some are currently averaging thousands of readers per day).

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A Blog Is A Blog Is A Blog? Darren Rants

Clint Dixon over at SEO Chat has written a post titled A Blog Is A Blog Is A Blog which has blogging fairly and squarely in its sites. I get the feeling that Clint doesn’t really like blogs – I also suspect he doesn’t really understand them either. He writes

‘Is a blog a revenue stream? For some, yes I am sure it is. Is it a business model to consider for making money? I would say no. Are blogs the next thing in the Internet world? No they are not. As much as the media and marketing industry tries to put a new spin on its meaning, a blog is a timely ordering of content otherwise known as a Web log, and we all know Web logs are really nothing more than Web pages.’

I can think of a fair few bloggers who would disagree with Clint on this one both individual bloggers and blog network owners who would want to argue that they are building legitimate business models for making money. I think there is growing evidence that bloggers can actually be more than a revenue stream and is a legitimate way of building a business.

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Interview with Susannah Gardner

Me PhotoLast week Susannah Gardner from Buzz Marketing with Blogs posted a two part interview with me so this week she’s agreed to answer a few of my questions in my ProBlogger Interview of the week. Susannah is a web/blog designer through her own business (with her husband Travis Smith) Hop Studios, she’s an author of the soon to be released Buzz Marking with Blogs for Dummies (affiliate link) book and she’s an avid blogger. You can actually download the table of contents and first chapter of her book here. In the following interview I ask Susannah about her upcoming book, about blog design and about the pros and cons of having a blog (plus lots more). Enjoy.

ProBlogger – Thanks for your time Susannah – can you start us off by telling us how you would introduce yourself to a stranger – give a quick sketch of your life.

Susannah – I’m a Web designer, technical book author, blogger, and with all my spare time, I’m working on a master’s degree in public art studies. I love to read and travel. When I say I love to read, I mean it. Even at my busiest I just have to fit a few minutes in every day to make everything right in the world. I’m married to a great guy, Travis Smith, and we live with our annoying but cute cat in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. Together we run Hop Studios, a Web design company. Whenever possible, we like to work on sites that bring together our combined expertise in online publishing, journalism, design and writing.

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ProBlogger Now Seeking Advertisers

Since re-launching ProBlogger on the new domain the interest in what in this site has grown considerably. I’ve been quite amazed by the amount of blogging enthusiasts who are seeking to blog at a professional level are regularly visiting this site and interacting with what I write.

Whilst traffic levels are not as high as some of my other blogs (currently averaging 400 visitors per day) the enthusiasm and participation of readers is high.

Readers of ProBlogger are serious about their blogging and want to improve what they do. They seek blogging tools, news and advice and willing to make sacrifices to get their blogs to the highest quality level. Many ProBlogger readers are themselves influential bloggers who are read by thousands every day.

As a result ProBlogger is an excellent niche blog well worth considering for your advertising needs.

If you want to get your product or service in the face of enthusiast and upwardly mobile bloggers then ProBlogger is worth your time to investigate.

For more information simply email me with you advertising needs and we’ll take the conversation from there.

Why Posting about the Oscars Today is 2 weeks to Late

This morning as I do the rounds of some of my favorite blogs I’ve noticed a theme. Its the Academy Awards – the Oscars. I wonder how many blogs are listing the winners of the 2005 Oscars today – I’ve just seen at least 10.

As I surfed around and saw these entries I asked myself – ‘why are they posting these posts today?’

Ok – most people are posting the Oscar results out of a genuine interest in the Oscars – however I suspect some are doing it because they think people are searching for the information today. I’ve got news for them – you’re two weeks too late with your post.

Why? Well to put it simply – if you are blogging about an event and you want people to find your post via Google or one of the other search engines you need to anticipate what people are searching for in advance and put up a post about it early. Here is what I would have done if I’d have wanted big hits yesterday and today from people searching for the results.

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Adsense Reporting Delays Rectified

Adsense publishers (or at least some of them) have had emails arrive in the last few minutes informing them that for the month of February and January that there have been reporting delays that have meant a certain portion (undisclosed) of clicks being slow to appear on reports. They have emailed to say that they have adjusted these discrepancies on publishers accounts.

How to Keep First Time Readers to your Blog – Part IV

This is the fourth and final post in this series on making first time readers loyal readers. Read previous parts at part I, part II and part III

Promote your RSS Feed – Under my invitation to receive an email newsletter I have an invitation to subscribe to my RSS feed on each post. Again this just gives readers another opportunity to hook themselves into what I write about on a daily basis. Make it easy for them to get involved

Search this site – have a clearly labeled feature that allows readers to search your blog. My readers regularly use my search features to find if I’ve written on specific topics. I tend to use the Google search option that Adsense gives you that allows you to run Adsense ads in your search results. This not only allows your readers to search your site but gives you an other income stream for your blog.
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How to Keep First Time Readers to your Blog – Part III

Here are a few more tips for helping to convert those one off readers that stumble onto your blog into loyal readers. Read part 1, part 2 and part 4 also.

Include a link to other relevant posts – your reader has somehow ended up on your blog because the post you’ve written has gotten their attention either on a search engine or on someone else’s site that has linked to you. Something about the topic you’ve just written on interested them enough to visit your site. A logical way of keeping them on your site is by providing them with more on the same topic. There are a number of ways you can do this:

1. Firstly within your posts link to other things you’ve written that are relevant. For example, if you want to know some of the benefits of internal links in a blog you might also be interested in this post.
2. Some blog tools have plugins that help you point to ‘relevant posts’ at the end of your post. WordPress and Moveable Type have the ability to do this – rather than having to manually find previously written relevant posts they’ll find them for you based upon keywords and title.
3. Include a link to the category you’ve classified the post you are writing in. For example at the bottom of this post will be a link saying ‘More from Blog Promotion’ which will take readers to a page with other articles written on how to promote their blogs.
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Digital Photography Blog welcomes Kodak Sponsorship

I can finally announce today that the sponsorship deal that I’ve been working on and alluding to here for the past few weeks is official and my Digital Photography Blog is now officially sponsored by Kodak. I cannot reveal the details of the agreement’s financially or conditions wise except to say that over the next month a certain percentage of the page impressions on that blog will have Kodak Ads served to them in a banner position.

At the end of this time there is the option to re-negotiate based upon the performance this month.