Written on February 11th, 2005 at 11:02 am by Darren Rowse

Outward Links - Good for Blogs?

Search Engine Optimization 5 comments

Wayne at Blog Business World writes a good article on the value of outbound links in Search Engine Optimization. As he observes there are both pros and cons in linking to other sites from your blog that are worth considering as you think about SEO. I personally come down on the side of the argument that is pro outbound link. I don’t have the technological knowledge Wayne has to argue my case but from anecdotal evidence I’ve found the strategy has really helped my blogs to rise through the Search Engine Rankings.

Of course there are non SEO reasons for linking to others also which for me are more important - for me its more acknowledging that I am not an expert in every area relevant to this blog. I’m not going to pretend that I know everything there is to know - there are a lot of smarter bloggers out there and I want to point my readers in their direction. Make your links useful and relevant to the topic and you take another step to producing the kind of blog people will come back to on a daily basis. In the process you might just make a friend or two with those you link up to which is another side benefit of the strategy.

Anyway - let me link up to Wayne again and recommend that you head over there and check out his great post on Linking out is seeing the light for blogs.

Written on February 11th, 2005 at 09:02 am by Darren Rowse

Weblogs Inc earns $600 a day from Adsense

Adsense 10 comments

Weblogs Inc is said to earn $600 per day from Adsense. PaidContent writes:

Weblogs Inc., described as the largest publisher of professional blogs, was offered as an example of how AdSense benfits online publishers. According to the slide, Weblogs is averaging $600 a day in AdSense revenue and made $45,000 in the first four months; the blogging company added AdSense in late August 2004.’

At first I was actually a little surprised by the $600 figure - with 70 blogs (an average of $8.50 per day per blog) who do a total of 20 million monthly page views (they therefore earn 0.0009 cents per impressions. From my experience with the program I would have thought the figure would have been significantly higher than that.

However it is also worth noting that Adsense is not their main source of income. For example look at Engadget and you’ll see that the prime position ads are all private ads and Adsense advertising does not appear above the fold. I deduce (guess) that these ads are paying better than the Adsense ads would in those positions.

The strategy that I use in placing ads on my site is that I put the highest paying ads in the prime position. If an advertiser wants to pay more than Adsense can earn in a position I am willing to sell them that space and move Adsense to another spot - I presume that this is how Weblogs Inc operates also so we can guess that the $600 per day from Adsense is perhaps only the minority of their earnings.

Written on February 11th, 2005 at 01:02 am by Darren Rowse

About.com For Sale

enternetusers Site News 3 comments

Internet news reports on a NYT announcement that megablog, About.com, is for sale. The asking price is anything between $350-$500 million. Key bidders could include Google, Yahoo, AOL and Ask Jeeves.

‘About.com, the eight-year-old guide to the Web, is up for sale, according to the New York Times, with bids due on Tuesday….

About.com was founded in 1997 as The Mining Company on the original Yahoo model of a human-edited Web directory. About.com took the human bit a bit further, by installing “Guides” who were subject experts as hosts of approximately 700 different topic areas. It was renamed in 1999, and acquired by Primedia, a publisher of niche interest magazines, in 2000.

Primedia touts About.com as “the Internet’s largest creator of original content,” with over 1 million links and 250,00 articles — each one a potential vehicle for ads.’

Read more at About.com on The Block

Written on February 10th, 2005 at 04:02 pm by Darren Rowse

When Money Motivates Blogging

Adsense 4 comments

Michael Buffington writes that he’s just started a new blog on the topic of Asbestos. He’s doing so not because he’s interested in it but largely because it pays good money. This type of blogging is becoming more and more popular as people realize the amount of money that Adsense ads can pay out if you create a quality site on certain topics and can generate good traffic levels. Michael writes:

‘The subject matter, while weighty and all that, is of little importance to me. It’s not that I don’t have opinions on asbestos and asbestos reform, because I do. The whole point of the site is to experiment with an idea. I built a tool that helps me aggregate topical news with the help of Google’s Alert system. So far it works wonderfully.

But there’s a second motive as well. Right now asbestos reform and asbestos related litigation is on fire. Lawyers are paying anywhere from $15-100 per click through on Google ads. The second part of this big experiment is to see if I can capture some of that click through revenue while still providing a somewhat valid service to people who might arrive by search results.’

I suspect that Michael will or has already received some criticism for this approach. I’ve not seen too many bloggers admit up front that they have little or no interest in the topic of their blog as explicitly as he does in his post. A friend just emailed me about it and asked my opinion. Here are a few thoughts:

1. On one level I say - Good luck to him! A good percentage of my friends have little or no passion or even interest in the type of jobs that they do - yet they do them to earn an income. In many ways I see this as no different.

2. $100 clicks rumors - Reality Check on Isle 7 please reality check on isle 7 - Michael writes that clicks on these ads can pay $15 - $100 each. Whilst I’m not doubting that this is possible my experience with Adsense indicates something a little different on a number of levels.

a. For starters even if advertisers paid $100 per click the rumors of these high payments fail to take into account that Google takes a cut of any such income. No one really knows how much it is but its generally accepted that its more than 40%. The maximum that Adwords (the advertisers end of Adsense) allow advertisers to spend on ads is $100 - so lets forget about us getting that big a payout shall we.

b. Many Adsense publishers believe that Google pays different amounts for the same ads on different websites depending upon a number of things including the keywords people come searching for or that trigger the ad (ie you can have the same ad appear on two different sites triggered by two words that pay different amounts). Many also theorize that Google does not pay out big amounts per click unless the site has a proven record of being a reliable, relevant and quality site (possibly determined by page rank). So just starting a site targeting the keywords is probably not enough to automatically get the highest possible pay outs. It has been well documented that most people targeting the key words that Michael is targeting do not get paid anywhere near the amounts he’s referring to. Not speaking from personal experience here (I’ve not targeted these words) I would doubt that a new site on this topic would earn more than $1 - $3 per click. If they were lucky (I’m open to being proved wrong).

3. Michael has picked one of the most crowded areas of the internet to compete in. Since rumors started to circulate about high pay outs for words related to asbestos and Mesthelioma tens (hundreds?) of thousands of people have started websites on those topics. Word Tracker found that on MSN search that there were around 550,000 sites competing for the word asbestos and just under 185,000 for Mesthelioma. As a result unless you either have a lot of luck or are the most amazing Search Engine Optimizer in the world you have very little chance of climbing to the top of the results pages on Search Engines.

4. Michael has picked a segment of the market which in proportion to the number of sites competing has very few people searching for the terms he’s targeting. Yes people are searching for asbestos but its no where near the most searched for term on the internet. Word Tracker estimates that IF you could make it to one of the top 10 positions on MSN Search you could expect 258 visitors to your site for the word asbestos in a 24 hour period and 143 visitors for the term mesothelioma. That would actually be ok numbers - but when combines with the 500,000+ competing sites out there it makes things tough.

Word Tracker’s rating of these keywords are 3.349 for asbestos and 3.062 for mesothelioma. They recommend that words with a score under 10 are a poor keyword choice, between 10-100 is a good keyword choice and 400+ is excellent.

So lets pull some of my guesstimates together - even if this site gets in the top 10 (this will take a fairly long time I suspect - say 6 to 12 months if he works very very hard at optimisation) it will get 250 visits a day. With a click through rate of say 2% they might get 5 clicks per day. At an average of maybe $2 a day its looking at perhaps earning around $10 per day - maybe…after a year’s work. Of course my working out here is a complete guesstimate and could be no where near the mark.

I’m not wanting to rain on Michael’s parade - if he can somehow find a way to generate a lot of traffic and if he can convince the Adsense his site is quality and worth the high payouts then good for him. After all someone has to be in the top 10 on Google - it might as well be him. I guess I’m just wanting to warn people of the hard work and obstacles associated with such a tactic.

Whilst it is possible to make money this way - this is the advice I give friends coming to me with this tactic:
- choose a topic that you have some interest or expertise in. Readers are not that likely to be loyal to a site (and link to it) that simply regurgitates news and shows no real knowledge of the topic.
- choose a topic that people are searching for information for.
- choose a topic that there is relatively few other sites competing on.
- choose a topic with decent paying click through rates. They don’t have to be the very high paying ones though as these are often crowded.

Of course there are exceptions to this advice. For example if the potential audience is small but the click through values are high and there is no competition you can do well. Likewise if the click through values are low but you can generate a lot of traffic you can do well also.

Thats my experience and advice - I expand it more in my Adsense for Bloggers Series. Share your experiences in comments below.

Written on February 10th, 2005 at 02:02 pm by Darren Rowse

Business Blogging Awards - Mid Race Commentary

Business Blogging 4 comments

There is a week to go in the Business Blogging awards and Darren at Inside Blogging is encouraging us all to give it a bit more of a push.

I thought I’d do so by doing a commentary (horse racing style???). Here we go…

Business bloggers are under starters orders and in the gates waiting for the starters to give the light. There seems to be something of a holdup as one or two of the bloggers are a little restless - technical problems with voting are resolved - bloggers tense, sensing the light is imminent…. AND They’re off!!!

A flurry of posts are made announcing the start of the business blogging awards, bloggers beg, persuade, write nice things about each other hoping it will bring them votes, post buttons and banners on their site pointing readers to the awards and ask everyone they know including their great grandmothers to place a vote…..and a few begin to break away from the pack in some categories….

Best Marketing Blog

Best Marketing Blog is a neck and neck race as the marketers kick their campaigns into overdrive. Three blogs all sit within 3% of one another with the other three ready to make their move back in the pack. LSLogan and Seth’s Blog are both sitting on 28% with What’s Your Brand Mantra only a few votes back. Leading the charge from the rear is the Radiant Marketing Group followed by How to Blog for Fun & Profit and Decker Marketing. This is a race to watch and one I had a lot of trouble voting in as all five are on my daily reads - its like choosing your favorite child….

Peacock Award for Most Self Important Blog

The Peacock Award for Most Self Important Blog also sees a clear leader emerging - and who would have thought, its a Real Estate Agent (who has generated lots of talk as a result of the awards), running out in front followed by Blog Maverick, Catablast Communications and Fifteen Degrees North who all have time to pounce but will need a strong showing in the next 7 days.

Best Tech Blog

Best Tech Blog is another race to keep your eye on and one where you vote is crucial in determining the winner. The competition is hot, I say hot with AppleWatch a nose in front of Security Awareness and a length in front of Scobleizer. John Porcaro rounds out this race. The winner here could be determined by just a few votes so make yours count!

Picasso Award for Best Design

A group of mighty fine fillies and stallions are leaping out of the gates over at the Picasso Award for Best Design. They run with all the style and poise of the most beutiful of blogs and cause all who gaze upon them to drool with envy. Out front is the classically designed Signal vs Noise with a smartly dressed Real Lawyer snapping at its heels. The business Blogging awards site itself with its scary little men in suits logo is running in third followed by the Blog Business Summit and Forget Foo.

Best Leadership Blog

Best Leadership Blog is a prestigious award contested by four upstanding and strong blogs. Clearly Leading this pack of leaders is Leadership Now, followed by the Slack Slacker Manager, who has left himself with some work to do in the last half (a special slacker strategy?), Talking Story and Oestreich Associates.

Best Project Management Blog

Best Project Management Blog is shaping up so far as a bit of a one horse race although has some fine candidates - Way out front is Agile Management who has maneuvered himself into a commanding position. The race for second is hot however with Focused Performance and Reforming Project Management just a few percentage points apart. Still getting some momentum going at the rear of the field are Projectified and ProjectSteps.

Best Financial Industry/Investment Blog

Another tight race is that for the Best Financial Industry/Investment Blog which sees three blogs fighting it out for Gold, Silver and Bronze. Currently 2% up is The Big Picture who leaders from TraderMike and Between the Hedges. Coming in forth and fifth is Random Roger’s Big Picture and Stock Pick Bob’s Advice.

Chris Pirillo Award for Shameless Self Promotion

Over in the Chris Pirillo Award for Shameless Self Promotion the running is full of all kinds of plugs (as one would expect) from some self promotion pros. Namesake of the award Chris Pirillo LEAPS to a commanding lead and is a real front runner despite the best efforts of his competition. Jeremy from Ensight (a master of self promotion) follows behind Chris and will need to snap into a promotional frenzy to close this gap. Two more fine blogs, both worthy of the title (George’s Employment Blog and Barter Blog) round out this field and have work to do in the second lap of the track….

Best SEO Blog

Best SEO Blog is a six blog race being clearly dominated by Blog Business World who has so far accumulated 68% of the vote. Online Marketing SEO Blog, Search Engine Watch Blog, Search Engine Blog, Wise SEO Blog and SEO and Affiliate Marketing Blog could be planning a late burst however as it does take a week or so to mount an SEO campaign - watch for a late run.

Best Real Estate Blog

The Best Real Estate Blog race is heating up with lots of jostling for position between the contenders. Tampa Bay’s Inside Real Estate Journal looks to have the field covered but you never do know with Real Estate Agents with Real Estate Marketing Blog within striking distance and some quality blogs lurking behind them in RealBlog, The Mortgages Weblog, Behind the Mortgage and REO News.

Best Media Blog

Best Media Blog has only the four runners with I Love Radio doing well out in front with Fast Company Blog, Worthwhile Magazine and the Media Drop rounding out the competition there. Expect this to heat up as they all are rumored to be announcing national media blitzes this week.

Best Law Blog

Mum always said, ‘never trust a lawyer’ - but then I went and married one. The Best Law Blog is proving to be tighter race than some with the top three all polling pretty well. Sports Law Blog is leading the pack but still in contention are Phosita and Real Lawyers Have Blogs. Laboring Away at the Institute rounds out the field.

Best PR Blog

Best PR Blog showcases some great blogs that are equally matched and very popular. POP! Public Relations popped into first place early but is facing some stiff competition from Media Guerilla, Micro Persuasion and Drew on TechPR.

Best Blog about Small Business

The Best Blog about Small Business is one of the most equal spread of voting around with all blogs polling pretty well. Small Business Trends is showing signs of pulling away from the field with 44% but I wouldn’t rule out any of the others with eBizBlog, The Small Business Blog and Land of Opportunity each doing well.

Best Blog by a Small Business

The Best Blog by a Small Business is being dominated by The Tin Basher Blog leapt out of the gates like no other blog has. Jewelboxing is leading the rest of the field home and surprisingly (cause I think some of them are great examples of business blogs) at the back of the field fighting for third place is Jaguar Julie, Signs Never Sleep and Wool Winders.

Best Personal Finance Blog

The stakes are high in the Best Personal Finance Blog category with the results page eerily listing the competitors in the order that they are polling in - PFBlog, Consumerism Commentary, Byrne’s MarketView, The Budgeting Babe and Simplify My Life. Whether this is the order they finish in is in the hands of the voters.

Best VC/Entrepreneur Blog

The Entrepreneurial types coming in next in the Best VC/Entrepreneur Blog award. Breaking free of the pack is the popular Business Opportunities. Minor placings are a more interesting race at this stage with Venture Blog a little in front of Beyond VC and Bizz Bang Buzz.

Best Overall Blog

Best Overall Blog has been an interesting race so far. Early on it looked like Security Awareness was on a sure thing with Blog Business World and enternetusers tagging along behind but a recent enternetusers has edged in front with How to Save the World, Slacker Manager and Coyote Blog each improving also. The spread of votes is wide and anyone could take this one out. If I wasn’t in the running I’m not sure how I’d vote on this category either.

Written on February 9th, 2005 at 06:02 pm by Darren Rowse

Tsunami Blogging - What did we learn?

Blog News 0 comments

I really enjoyed reading Pete Blackshaw’s Marketing Through the Tsunami Lens article today where he examines some of the lessons learned and trends that have emerged as a result of the mass of blogging that happened around the Tsunami tragedy late last year and in the weeks that followed. He observes 6 key points and then gives key takeaways from each one. Here are some snippets of what he had to say on each point.

The rise of citizen’s media - Our world is becoming more transparent, and the blog-enabled “Web recorder” is archiving real-time consumer/citizen experiences and narratives. This includes experiences with products and services.

Rich media by default - We live in a rich-media, consumer-controlled surveillance culture. Rich media is changing the game. The same factors that historically made TV so persuasive and emotionally engaging are the core building blocks of the blogosphere.

New players serving unmet needs - The dynamic, always-on nature of the blogosphere quickly gravitates to unmet needs. That’s at the heart of effective marketing.

New global influencers - The Web accelerates our thinking about global communication. We must think more broadly about the power of global influencers. When we launch new products, for instance, global influencers matter.

Blogs as an organizing principle - Blogs are more than billboards or diaries. They’re a foundation for real-time collaboration — a better, faster, cheaper organizing platform and principle.

Blogs as accountability tools - Bloggers hold us accountable. If we make promises or commitments, they’ll monitor our progress. If we fall short of expectations, they’ll out us. Bloggers are de facto copy cops.’

Read more at Marketing Through the Tsunami Lens

Written on February 9th, 2005 at 02:02 pm by Darren Rowse

The importance of the Scoop in Blogging

Writing Content 0 comments

This week is a very busy week for me. Both in my general life but also my blogging. In particularly the blogging side of things is pretty hectic as there is a trade show happening in Orlando where all the major digital camera manufacturers unveil their newest models for the year ahead. Last year saw 60 or more cameras released in a couple of weeks and the indications are that this year will be similar.

As the editor of a Digital Photography Blog this means life is about to get a little crazy. Press Releases are hitting my inbox every hour or so, I’m scanning the manufacturers sites for pre release information and mistakenly early released information for new cameras and accessories. Of course I’m not alone as all the other digital imaging sites are jostling for position to see who can be the first to post the breaking stories.

You see there is a few reasons why its good to be first.

1. Prestige - its great to be able to say you were first to post information on a new camera or that you broke the news on something that no one else knew about. This actually does your site some good in the PR stakes. Digicam enthusiasts respect you if you’ve got your finger on the pulse - plus it feels good.

2. Links - if you’re the first to post there is an increased chance that you’ll get incoming links from others wanting to link up to your pages. This is very important. A few incoming links to your page can push you to the top of the Search Engine rankings - especially in the early days where there is little competition. Being in the top few for a popular new camera can be very worthwhile.

3. Search Engine Robots - get your post up quickly and you increase the chance of being indexed by the SE robots and appearing in the SE results a lot quicker. I’ve noticed that many of my new pages for digicams can be indexed and bringing in referrals within 24 - 36 hours. This gives you a jump on the competition. Again being the only one listed on SEs can actually bring in more inbound links as other webmasters look for information on the cameras.

So its worth getting in early and being the first to post on a topic. It’ll help your reputation but also can bring in some tangible benefits in terms of traffic.

Written on February 9th, 2005 at 12:02 pm by Darren Rowse

Blog Design Matters

Blog Design 4 comments

Last week I asked the question - ‘Does Blog design Matter?’ I asked it because my own blog’s redesign was just around the corner and I was interested in the impact it would have upon my blog.

A number of people have asked me about the change and the impact that it has had on traffic levels to this blog.

It is probably too early to tell (its only been a few days) but the initial indications are that Blog Design does make a difference - at least it has to this blog. Here are some brief reflections on why:

1. Traffic levels have increased from an average of around 260 unique visitors per day to around 500 unique visitors per day (I’m yet to track this over a full week).

2. RSS feed stats from Feedburner are understandably lower at this point but have risen already to 70 per day.

3. I noticed a maked jump in votes for my site in the Business Blog Awards category that I am nominated for. Before the redesign launch I was tracking at 19% of the vote -today its up as high as 32%. Thanks to those who are voting - appreciate the support especially considering the high quality of others nominated.

4. This past two days has seen 4 potential blog consulting clients approach me completely out of the blue. In a couple of the cases I’m probably not the best person for the job but I have referred them on, but a couple of interested opportunities have arisen already without me doing anything but change design.

As I say its too early to tell the impact of the design, part of the reason for increased traffic is that a number of people linked up to me announcing the changes (thanks so much for that) but the initial response has been very positive in terms of traffic but also perhaps credibility, trust levels and first impressions.

Written on February 8th, 2005 at 05:02 pm by Darren Rowse

How To Make Money With Your Blog Site

Other Income Streams, Advertising, Adsense 2 comments

Robin Good has a good post on How To Make Money With Your Blog Site which outlines 13 or so ways that bloggers can make money from their blogging. His tips range from Google Adsense, to Amazon, to other advertising programs, to donations, through to premium content sponsorships and online guides and e-books.

This is one of the better ‘blogging for dollars’ type articles out there and mentions all the methods that are normally covered in such articles with some good examples and advice.

My similar article on the topic is here.

335X50 enternetusers

Written on February 8th, 2005 at 04:02 am by Darren Rowse

Interview with Joel Johnson

Pro Blogger Interviews 2 comments

I’m pleased to post the following interview with one of the bloggers that I’ve admired for some time - Joel Johnson the editor of the incredibly popular Gawker Media blog, Gizmodo. At the time of posting this interview Gizmodo averages 153,334 unique visitors per day and ranks third on Truth Laid Bare’s traffic monitoring tracker. It is a leader in field of consumer electronics and gadgets and a blog that is widely regarded as one of the most successful money making blogs going around.

Joel recently got a big scoop and interviewed Bill Gates - so now I can say I interviewed a guy who interviewed Bill - which isn’t as impressive as written as it sounded in my head. Anyway - here is my chat with Joel.

enternetusers - Thanks for your time Joel - Can you tell us a little about how and when you first discovered and got into blogging?

Joel - I first discovered blogging in the middle ’90s, when it was called ‘the web.’ I ran a website in the chronological weblog format in… 99? Maybe 2000. It was strikingly similar in format and tone to what I do on Gizmodo today, except that I paid money to write it, instead of being paid to keep it going.

enternetusers - Do you have or have you had involvement in other blogs than Gizmodo?

Joel - I don’t currently write for any other blogs, although I am working on a not-for-profit idea with some friends of mine that should launch this year.

enternetusers - Can you tell us a little about the beginnings of your journey with Gizmodo and the Gawker Media?

Joel - I approached Denton about starting what would eventually launch as Kotaku, are video game site. When the old editor jumped ship (onto another ship, conveniently) they asked me to come in and pinch hit, and I’ve never left.

enternetusers - What is working for Gawker media like? What would you see the advantages and disadvantages of blogging as part of a network/being employed by others to blog as being in comparison to running your own personal blog projects?

Joel - It’s like working at home, with the occasional collective eating of sushi. It’s really not that much different than being self-employed. The advantages of being in a network are, for me, that I don’t have to worry if I’m going to have a job next month, and un-fun things like managing advertisers is delegated to someone much more effective at it than I. The downsides are obvious: at the end of the day, I don’t own Gizmodo or have the final say in the decisions made. In this case, though, it hasn’t been that big of a deal, but it could be for someone working for a Gawker-like network that wasn’t as open to suggestion as Gawker.

enternetusers - What do you see as the potential for blogging? Why do you personally do it? What advantages and disadvantages do you see in it in comparison to other formats of websites.

Joel - In 2005, the first blogger will eat a cheese danish live on the web. By surf Active Apparel website 1cecilia392 zone.all cheese danish bakers will be forced by citizen journalism into a transparent manufacturing process, making their product incredible difficult to locate and eat. Blogging is the web+speed. It’s only a revolution because it took people 10 years to accept individuals on the web as a source of information, not because anything new is actually happening.

I do it because I love the speed of reporting on the web, I love the cheek-to-cheek interaction with the readers, and I love a paycheck. Its advantages are mainly lower quality (but only slightly) due to a lack of editorial process/oversight, but in general the format is built to capitalize on the strengths of the web. To me its the creation that has evolved to most perfectly fit its environment, so its really more a question of ‘why should we do a format *besides* a blog?’ At least when you’re talking about the leading edge of news stories.

enternetusers - What is the main method of monetisation at Gizmodo? Do you see any conflicts/ethical dilemmas in the approach you take in blogging about products and earning an income from it?

Joel - We don’t talk about money details. But we sell ads, like just about everyone else. There’s no mystical formula. I don’t really see any conflicts about our particular niche of reporting. We rarely even accept products for review these days, just because it’s such a pain in the ass to deal with the whole process. Obviously, there is an established mechanism for that in consumer journalism and it’s there for a reason. If we took money to say good things about our sponsors then we’d have a problem, but it’s mostly just common sense stuff. It also helps that I, personally, have love/hate relationships with almost every company I work with, usually in proportionate amounts. I’m not sure if that keeps me from being too sycophantic or just nullifies everything I say.

Now that I read the question again I see that maybe that wasn’t what you were asking. How about I just answer, ‘no.’

enternetusers - What has been the best and worst things about your blogging experience?

Joel - The quiet respect I get from my peers for my commitment to quality cock humor. The hardest thing? Probably a cock. Worst? Running out of cock jokes.

enternetusers " Do you know any non cock jokes? Or are you just a niche cock joke kind of guy?

Joel - Someone once told me one about a mushroom print, but that may be a cock joke, too. I find niches to be the best places for cock jokes, as a rule.

enternetusers - Ok…. What advice would you give someone just starting out with blogging that would like to earn an income from it?

Joel - Make a plan and work towards that plan. I got lucky but most people that succeed at least know what they want to do with their sites. If your goal is to make money, then focus on a successful ad revenue plan and sally forth. Really, though, it all boils down to content, and I guess if I had any advice there for a blog it would be to set a schedule and stick to it, even if you think what you’re writing that day sucks (and it probably does). If you don’t update with a schedule, your blog stops being a news source and starts being your fancy home page of links. That’s fine, but it’s not a good way to start a business.

enternetusers - What is your favourite blogging tool or service?

Joel - I’m really not up-to-date with all the blogging stuff. I was a pretty die-hard MovableType person for the last couple of years, but I’m sure there are plenty of other great systems out there that get the job done.

enternetusers - What are your favourite 5 blogs (daily reads)?

Joel - I have no idea.

enternetusers - What are your hopes and dreams for your blogging? Where would you like to see it take you?

Joel - I hope it continues to pay my rent and lets me write about stuff I like.

enternetusers - What do you think will be the main changes/advances/challenges to blogging in the next 18 months.

Joel - I think people will stop carrying blogs as a revolutionary concept and just start paying attention to good blogs. At least I hope.

enternetusers - What was it like interviewing Bill Gates? What impact did the interview have upon Gizmodo readership levels?

Gizmodo-1Joel - It was a bit surreal, of course, but in general it was pretty normal. If there’s anything I took away from that talk it was that Bill Gates, for all the things we disagree about, is still a fellow nerd who loves technology. When his corporate stormtroopers throw me and my children in a moldy jail, that will be the thought that keeps us warm.

Readership: It helped. Our traffic numbers are public. You can take a look if you like. The long term effect of something like that, though, is difficult to track.

NB: see graph right (click to enlarge) for the bump in traffic over the month of January for Gizmodo. Considering that January is traditionally quiet post Christmas these stats are pretty decent.

enternetusers - What keeps you blogging? Do you ever get sick of it?

Joel - Money helps. Also, the feedback from readers. When we write something that people actually get psyched enough to write us back about it makes me really happy. Sometimes I even write them back, but usually just to ask for more money.

And sure, I get tired of it, but that’s why god made coffee and credit card bills. Usually, I just remind myself that I could be working any other job if I wanted, which leads to the fact that I get to talk to people about the same things I’d be talking to them about if I didn’t run Gizmodo, and then I realize that I love the job.

enternetusers - A lot of people make a big deal about the competition between Gizmodo and Engadget " Jason Calacanis has recently written a couple of posts on how competition can actually strengthen a blogging niche " he writes "Coke needs Pepsi baby" - do you see any truth in this with regards to Engadget starting up and its impact upon Gizmodo?

Joel - While I’d like to take sole credit for the 4-5x jump in readership we’ve had in the last year, I think there’s no question that we owe some of that to the competition. Honestly, I wish the competition wasn’t so pronounced, but what can you do? People like to see drama.

Thanks very much to Joel for taking the time out to answer my questions. I’d now invite readers to respond - you can ask a question or two if you’d like or share what Joel said that resonates with you or not - no guarantees that Joel will answer them all (or any of them) but feel free to have your say. Stay tuned for more interviews like this one with more Pro Bloggers.

335X50 enternetusers

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