Written on November 28th, 2005 at 08:11 am by Darren Rowse

enternetusers Iconized

Pro Blogging News 26 comments

Darren Icon

After seeing the caricature that they did of Steve Rubel I decided to surf over to iconizeme.com to order my own one.

It’s a bit self indulgent but yesterday was my 3 year anniversary of blogging and I thought I deserved a little treat - so I placed my order.

This morning it came in and here it is. I think it’s a pretty good likeness - ‘V’ cracked up when she saw it this morning but I think it’s cool Perhaps my lips are slightly lady like - but it’s a bit of fun and I can think of a few uses for it.

Written on November 28th, 2005 at 01:11 am by Darren Rowse

Use Your Archives as Inspiration

Writing Content 8 comments

Blog Tip 15. Read your Archives

After you’ve been writing on a topic for a year or more it’s normal to get to a point where you feel like you’ve said everything that needs to be said on a topic.

While you might have covered your topic fairly comprehensively it’s worth remembering that most of your readers will not have read everything that you’ve previously written - and if they have they are unlikely to remember it all. I’m constantly being asked by readers about topics that I’ve already covered which proves this point.

There’s no rules against having two or more posts on your blog on the same general topic.

Go back over some older posts and tackle some of the topics you’ve written about previously again.

One way of doing this is simply to write a new post on the same topic - another way that some bloggers use is to update an old post and then to change the post day to be the most recent one on your blog. The good thing about this is that it means your archives don’t become quite as dated as they could otherwise - especially useful if you are giving tips on an industry that is changing quickly.

Of course you can only write on the same topic so many times so be a little careful about using this technique too much or you run the risk of disillusioning your readership.

Bounce off Yourself - Another technique that I notice some bloggers use is to write posts that bounce off previous posts like you might bounce off another blogger’s posts. To do this pick an old post that you’ve written and write something that extends what you previously wrote. For example:

  • take a list of tips you’ve previously written and add a second post with some new points
  • take an old opinion piece and tell readers why you don’t agree with what you once wrote (bloggers are allowed to change you mind)
  • look back on a post you wrote ‘this date last year’ and reflect upon how things have changed
  • look at a ‘prediction’ post you wrote earlier in the year and see how much of it came to be

Looking back on what you’ve previously written is a fascinating exercise on so many levels - do it regularly and you might be surprised with what you find.

Read the rest of the Bloggers Blog Series

Written on November 27th, 2005 at 08:11 pm by Darren Rowse

Use Comments as Inspiration - Battling Bloggers Block

Writing Content 6 comments

Blog Tip 14. Use Comments as Inspiration

Comment on Others Blogs - Have you ever started commenting on someone else’s blog and found that your comment turns into quite an epic!? You get to the end of it and you realize that you’ve been so inspired that you’ve virtually written a blog post? Maybe you have.

I quite often use the comments that I leave on other people’s blogs as the starting point for my own posts.

Of course I always link to the place I left the comment to acknowledge the blog that got my juices flowing - but reading and commenting upon other bloggers ideas is often a great way to break through bloggers block. Similarly participating in online forums that focus on the niche of your blog can help get you going. I quite often use what I write in forums as the basis for posts.

In the same way you can always mine (as in dig for gold) the Comments Section on Your Blog.

The comments section on your own blog can be a fertile ground for ideas for new posts. I’m often inspired by the comments left by readers here at enternetusers and use them as the starting points for many of my new posts.

This is tip 14 of the Bloggers Blog Series

Written on November 27th, 2005 at 08:11 am by Darren Rowse

Google AdSense Animated Ads

Adsense 19 comments

Threadwatch, Search Engine Journal and Jensense all are talking about another new type of ad that Adsense has been testing at Search Engine Roundtable - Animated background ads. It looks like a format that they’re offering premium publishers (and other testing publishers) who have special permission to try new things in conjunction with Adsense - either that or SE Roundtable has been playing with his ad code - a bit of a no no.

The ads have an animated arrow in the background that is obviously there to draw the eye of a site’s reader (as follows):

Seroundtablebackground-2

It’s an interesting move - a good one I’m sure in terms of CTR - but I’m starting to wonder if in a bid to combat ad blindness whether Adsense will start providing ads that are more and more in your face. One of the things I love about adsense is that they are pretty subtle - but animated background ads do take things in a different direction. I’m not sure I’d want these ads on most of my sites as I think they could be seen as a bit cheap and nasty….

I’m also not sure how advertisers would like them either. Chitika’s recent ‘curiosity click’ problem comes to mind and I wonder if the novelty factor of these backgrounds might similarly cause clicks that were more about the animation than the ad itself.

Written on November 26th, 2005 at 02:11 pm by Darren Rowse

Preparing your Blog for the Silly Season

Miscellaneous Blog Tips 11 comments

Duncan has a good post unpacking the Blogging silly season a little. The ’silly season’ traditionally starts the day of US Thanksgiving and extends into the first few weeks of January. It’s silly because traffic levels can vary incredibly. Every blog has it’s own pattern (depending largely upon it’s topic - ie product blogs tend to explode for the next month and die in January) but it’s a good idea to expect the unexpected.

If you’re an Adsense or YPN publisher you can expect variations not only in your impressions over the coming weeks but also in the CPC (cost per click). Advertisers are often willing to pay a bit more in the lead up to Christmas and in some industries in the first weeks of January (to capitalize on new year sales). Some are predicting that it really gets going this coming Monday - which apparently is becoming known as ‘Cyber Monday‘. If this is the case I can’t see what happens on Monday because yesterday was my biggest day ever in terms of earnings.

As Duncan says - in some ways there isn’t much you can do except let the roller-coaster run it’s course although if you have a product related blog I would recommend that this is the time to think about some of the following (in fact a lot of it you should already have been doing for the past month or so):

1. SEO - ask yourself what people will be searching Google and other search engines for in the next month. Optimize your blog for these keywords. Read more about Search Optimization for Blogs.

2. Optimize Hosting - if you don’t have server capacity for big traffic it might be the time to do something about this

3. Work on Read Loyalty - if you get a lot of extra traffic over the next few weeks it’s actually an opportunity to convert some of your new one off readers into regular loyal readers for the coming year.

4. Optimize your ads - people are in ‘buying mode’, they’re on the lookout for gifts for family, friends and (if they are like me) themselves. I found last year that CTR was on the increase in December last year so make sure you are using your ads effectively. I’m particularly interested this year to see how my Chitika eMiniMall ads go and have put them in some of the prime positions on my blogs. This has already paid off with yesterday’s figures going through the roof and hitting record levels for me (almost four times the level of Adsense for the same day). If you want to read more on ad optimization you might like to check out

5. Optimize your Affiliate Links - You might want to consider how you use affiliate links over this period. I find that my Amazon sales triple over this period even without me doing anything extra - but there are ways that you can increase their potential by using deep links, positioning them in the hot zones on your blog etc. I’ve written more tips on using affiliate programs on your blog here.

I’m interested to hear what others are doing to prepare for the silly season.

Written on November 26th, 2005 at 08:11 am by Darren Rowse

Find Your Golden Hour - Battling Bloggers Block

Writing Content 8 comments

Blog Tip 13. Find your Golden Hour

I’m a (mid) morning person - 10am until midday are what I call my golden hours. They are when I am at my best in terms of thinking creatively and getting things done.

That’s not to say that I fall in a heap for the rest of my day. All I know is that if I need to be coming up with ideas, writing important posts, run a class (six figure blogging started at 10am Melbourne time) or thinking through the big issues that those are the hours I put aside for this type of work.

Identify those time/s in the day (some of us have a number of golden hours - I often come alive at about 10.30pm also) when you’re at your best and clear those times of the day for your most important and creative work.

Dead Patches - On the flip side of the Golden Hour is that most of us also have dead patches in our daily rhythm. For me it’s 2pm - 4pm. I’m next to useless at this time of day when it comes to productivity - it’s like my brain shifts into siesta mode. So most afternoons at this time you can find me either having an afternoon nap, in the garden, reading a novel or catching up with people.

It’s really about finding your own rhythm as a person and working within it to work to your strengths and weaknesses to get your best results.

Mix it Up - Of course every rule has it’s exceptions and another thing you might want to try is to completely mix things up from time to time. If you always write at the same time each day religiously - try changing it up occasionally as an experiment. Get up early and try writing, stay up late, write in short sessions etc. Mixing up the time of day and/or the lengths of time you assign for writing can cause you to approach the task of writing differently which could bring different results.

What’s your daily rhythm like? Do you have a Golden hour (or more than one)? What do you schedule into these times?


Read the rest of the Battling Bloggers Block Series.

Written on November 26th, 2005 at 04:11 am by Darren Rowse

Blogger Starts ‘Shut Up Jar’

Pro Blogging News 12 comments

The AFL Player Spectator is having some fun with their readers by offering to stop blogging for a $1000 donation to their ’shut up jar’.

Yep - many blogs out there have a tip jar where your readers can encourage you to keep writing through a donation - but this blog is flipping that idea and is offering to stop blogging for a donation.

Of course there is a bit of a twist - there is also a tip jar where readers who like the blog can donate - this money offsets the ’shut up’ jar money…. it’s a little complicated and I’m not sure it’ll make them any money - but it’s a fun idea.

I wonder how much people would pay me to shut up?

Written on November 26th, 2005 at 02:11 am by Darren Rowse

How to Start a Blog

Miscellaneous Blog Tips 1 comment

I quite often get asked by new readers for advice on starting a new blog. Now I’ll point them to the series that Duncan is writing on the topic of Starting a Blog. Part 1 is on ‘What to Blog About‘ - (choosing a topic).

Duncan’s series is for all kinds of bloggers but if you’re working through how to start a blog with an income earning potential you might also be interested in readying Principles of Choosing a Profitable Blog Topic after you’ve read Duncan’s post.

Written on November 25th, 2005 at 07:11 pm by Darren Rowse

Stimulate your Mind - Battling Bloggers Block

Writing Content 7 comments

Blog Tip 12 - Stimulate your Mind

This bloggers block tip is really an extension of the last one on taking breaks - but I guess it’s about what you do on your break that can make it even more powerful for adding to your creativity.

The saying of ‘what goes in comes out’ is true - what you put into your mind has a direct impact upon what comes out of it.

I find that when I’m in a ‘dry patch’ in terms of generating content or coming up with ideas that I’m also often in a dry patch in terms of what I’m doing creatively in the rest of my life.

I purposely listen to music, go to the movies, watching the news, read a variety of books, magazines and newspapers, hang out with creative and innovative people, get out in the vegetable patch, do some photography etc to engage my senses and fill my brain with new ideas. When I do this I generally find that I come up with more interesting ideas and am more productive.

Particularly useful is to do new things - take yourself out of your comfort zone into a completely new experience can shake you out of that numb blocked state.

Written on November 25th, 2005 at 11:11 am by Darren Rowse

Take a Break - Battling Bloggers Block

Writing Content 6 comments

11. Take a Break

It seems an appropriate day (with many of my US readers currently off eating Turkey and being thankful) to talk about having a break from blogging.

Whether it’s a longer holiday, long weekend, day off or even a lunch or coffee break - time off is probably one of the most essential tips I’d give Pro Blogger types. I got sucked into the 7 days per week 12 work life earlier in the year and it’s perhaps the quickest way to deteriorate your effectiveness as a blogger and the quality of your content. It can also be one of the major causes of bloggers block.

It’s just not worth it to work so crazily. I still work very hard at my blogging these days - but time off is essential and is a big part of being productive and building a sustainable blog.

On a personal level I try to build time off into my blogging in a number of ways including:

  • Holidays - this year we’ve gone away for a number of breaks (in June we were away for the whole month).
  • Weekends - in the later half of this year I’ve scaled back my weekend blogging. I still do it but only lightly and as a last priority.
  • Daily breaks - I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I’ve started a vegetable patch - it’s become a way that I regularly break up my day. I also go for walks, photographic expeditions etc during most days.
  • Friendship breaks - I’m regularly using lunch breaks and afternoons (when I’m not productive) to spend time with people. I found that being a solo business person meant I needed to be a bit more pro-Active in my social interactions with people.
  • Breaks from Blogs - recently I’ve been taking days off from specific blogs. One of the challenges of running multiple blogs is that it’s easy to get a little burnt out and bored with some subjects (not ProBlogging of course….). One way to combat this is simply to take an intentional day off from time to time from a specific blog. I often find that when I do this I come back to the blog with a fresh approach and energy for it.

It’s pretty basic stuff really - I’m sure many people don’t struggle with the time off factor like I do but I tend to be something of a workaholic and so this post is probably more for me than anyone else.

I’m off for a coffee….

Read more of the Bloggers Block Series



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