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Is Contextual Advertising Viable on a Blog?

There has been an increasing amount of debate recently over both the ethics and viability of blogging commercially. The focus of this post is not to enter into the question of ‘should bloggers add income streams to their blogs’ – rather I want to examine whether it is a financially viable alternative.

I know of many bloggers who have added contextual ads to their blogs expecting to make a fortune only to discover that it can be a lot harder than it looks – on the other hand I suspect there are a lot of bloggers out there who could actually make some reasonable money from their blogging without too many modifications if they just tried. Let me show you how….
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InsideBlogging – The Blog Inside InsideBlogging

Insidebloggingweb

Bloggers Darren Barefoot and Jeremy Wright have joined forces in a blogging consultancy relationship going by the name of ‘Inside Blogging’. Of course all good blog consultants can never have enough blogs so they’ve stared an InsideBlogging Blog to give readers the inside word on their new venture. Should be an interesting read – especially if they keep up their high quality linking policy (I found it because they referred to Problogger).

Another blog goes on the old News Aggregator!

2005 Australian Blogging Conference – more details released

The 2005 Australian Blogging Conference website has updated a few more details of the event to be held in Melbourne on either 18 or 25 February at a venue still to be confirmed.

The cost will be $150 for a full day including lunch and refreshments. Its a bit more than I was expecting but I guess if they are flying in a guest speaker they have some big costs to cover.

The schedule of the day covers the basic topics you’d expect – I was expecting a few electives or workshops to choose between but that is probably a bit optimistic if its just a small crowd coming. I’d of course like to see a session on blogging for dollars with some discussion around models for making money from blogs – but perhaps I’ll have to save up and go to one of the US conferences next year to get that kind of topic.

Still not sure if I’ll be going to the Aussie conference – I think its a good idea but I guess I’ll wait and see if the content/speakers are worth the $150 cost.

Should You Use Targeted Keywords in URLs

‘Should You Use Targeted Keywords In URLs?’ – This is actually a question I’ve been asked on numerous occassions by bloggers wanting to optimize their blogs for Search Engines. The theory is that if you are writing a blog about matchsticks that your ranking will be higher if you domain name has ‘matchsticks’ in the URL.

Nice theory – but does it work? Has anyone tested it?

It seems that now we can back the theory up with a test run by WebProNews who found that at least in the case of the major search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN that keywords in URL do help.

So how does this impact the way we blog? In my mind there are a number of take home messages in this:

1. Pick your domain name wisely when starting up a blog. I learned this the hard way with one of my blogs which I started on the run one day and later changed the focus of. I now have a blog with a domain name that barely relates to my site – DOH!

2. Try to configure your blog so that keywords of individual posts feature in the permalinks of each page. For example you’ll see that this blog uses the title of each individual post in the URL. When I swapped to this method of setting up my URLs I noticed a 30% increase in traffic inside of a week to my blogs – it really does work.

3. Keywords in URLs are not the be all and end all. I mentioned in point 1 that I have a blog that doesn’t have appropriate keywords in its URL – I should also mention here that that blog is my most highly visited blog and earns more than all of my other blogs put together. The message therefore is to take a balanced approach to Search Engine Optimization. Keywords in URLs are just one of many (some say hundreds) of factors in getting your blog ranked highly on google.

Web Design in 2005 – Predictions

I’ve been very aware since starting this blog that the design I’ve got here is terrible. One knows by looking at it that whilst I might make a living from blogging that my skills do not lie in the design area (I usually get someone else to do it). However this blog was started purely as an experiment and on the spur of the moment. As a result of the growing readership here I’ve decided that I’m going to do a design update in the month ahead – any volunteers wanting some free publicity for their design work are free to submit their ideas – but in the mean time I might check out this article from Forty Media that has a great article making some predictions about Web Design in 2005.

Some of the predictions they make include:

- Minimalism is out; detail is in.

- Retro/Swiss/Euro is out

- The pure 5-piece website (header, menu, sidebar, content, footer) has worn out its welcome; designers are more willing to vary from the standard.

- Color of the year – Brown. Lots of bold colors this year (maybe my color choice is ok after all?)

- Arial dominates as the body text typeface for the year; despite much disdain for this overused font, it provides some needed relief from the overuse of Verdana.

- The chronological aspect of blogs is downplayed; new ways to search content become popular.

Eight worst search optimization techniques

SEO Chat has another good article today outlining eight of the worst SEO techniques:

‘Some webmasters and SEO companies will use any means they can think of to get a high rank in search engine listings. That’s not always a good idea. Krissi Danielsson gives a detailed list of eight search engine optimization techniques you shouldn’t use, and why you shouldn’t use them.’



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Who is Your Blog’s Customer?

I have a business coach who is helping me think through my blogging business. Its actually been very helpful so far even though he has very little experience of blogging. Part of the process has been me teaching him about the medium so that he’s able to help me structure what I do for maximum profit.

Last time we caught up he asked me a question that to this day I’ve not been able to fully answer.

‘Who is your customer?’



If we are to treat blogging as a business this is a question worth pondering. Who is your blog’s customer?

There are a number of ways of answering this question – and it may be that all are partially true….

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Google Testing Animated Ads

Yesterday I missed another change to Adsense – it seems they will be testing animated image ads – here is what they say on their site:

‘We’ll be accepting animated GIFs from a small test group of advertisers, and you’ll be able to display these ads on your pages! The new ads will still adhere to the 50KB size limit…’

Blogger Idol

Blogger IdolEarlier in the year I ran a blogging experiment by the name of Blogger Idol on one of my other blogs. It was a fun way of connect bloggers together to all write on a common theme each week. Over 150 bloggers signed up for weekly emails with a suggested theme. It took a bit of energy and time for me to run it but it was well worth it as I met some great new bloggers from around the globe.

The benefits of participating in the Blogger Idol experiment were numerous.

- A free and easy way to promote your blog

- Builds page ranking as your blog is listed on the Blogger Idol weekly pages as well as other bloggers pages if they vote for you

- Discover other quality bloggers

- Stimulation for post topics (sometimes we all get bloggers block and need a starting point).

Participating bloggers ranged from personal blogs, to business blogs, to photologs and even a couple of political blogs.

We took a break from the project a few months back but have decided to get it going again as of today. This time it will all run on its own domain/blog so as not to dominate this one. If you’re interested in joining the project head over to Blogger Idol and join in on week 1′s topic of ‘All I want for Christmas….‘ Entries can be anything from stories, photos, essays, rants, poems, quotes – whatever. Creativity is encouraged.

You can also submit a topic for future weeks and sign up for the weekly emails announcing new themes.

The Cancer Blog – Weblogs Inc

Weblogs Inc have launched yet another blog this time focusing upon health care. It is the Cancer Blog. it is an interesting move by the team at Weblogs Inc to move in this direction.

Leading the charge as the editor of the blog is a medical resident, Leonardo Faoro – so there is someone at the helm who should have at least some good knowledge on the topic which is reassuring – the legal issues of blogging on medical topics are ones to keep in mind when setting out in this direction and I would suspect that they will have to walk a fine line between reporting news and giving advice or endorsing treatments.

I think this is a good move by Weblogs Inc (and it will provide a valuable service) although I do not think that it is being done all because they want to educate people on the topic – it is worth keeping in mind that different forms of cancer are some of the highest paying keywords on Adsense (whose ads this site is heavily using) and that this is a commercial venture also.