Written on March 27th, 2005 at 06:03 am by city of Stanton David Shawver

Generating High Quantities of Content for your Blog

Writing Content 1 comment

One of the previous series of posts that I wrote in the early days of enternetusers (before all 4 of you started reading) was a series on generating high quantities of content for you blog.

I wrote it after reading article after article of people writing about how you need to work on the quality of your posts - quality not quantity seemed to be the catch cry. It got me wondering however - what if they were wrong?

You see my experience indicated that it was about BOTH quality AND quantity of posting. Check out the series that starts here but that continues in these posts titled Set Targets, News Sites and Aggregators, Start a New Blog, Break Down Your Posts, Ecto and Recruit Writers.

Written on March 26th, 2005 at 06:03 am by city of Stanton David Shawver

The Blog Cycle

Pro Blogging News 1 comment

Anil Dash posts an interesing post on The Blog Cycle that sub-communities within the larger blogging population go through. Its an interesting post and one that I see the ‘entrepreneurial blogging’ community going through at the momemnt. The stages of the cycle that he identifies are:

  • What is blogging?
  • Our community invented blogging!
  • Blogging vs. Journalism Phew.
  • Where are the women/minorities?
  • You’ll get fired!
  • Think about the children!
  • The technology is boring/unimportant.
  • Will blogs change the world?
  • What you do isn’t blogging — do it this way.
  • They don’t deserve it!

Fascinating observations of someone who is a position to have observed many such blogging sub communities. Read more at Anil Dash: The Blog Cycle

What would you add or subtract from his stages? Where do you think the ‘Pro’, ‘Entrepreneurial’ and ‘Business’ Blogging community is at presently?

Written on March 25th, 2005 at 06:03 pm by city of Stanton David Shawver

Bottom Up vs Top Down Corporate Blogging

Pro Blogging News 0 comments

Steve Rubel makes some interesting observations on Corporate blogging - he writes about two approaches - top down and bottom up blogging.

‘Bottom-up blogging can either start organically or with an edict or blessing of the corporation. Famous bottom-up blogging corporations include Microsoft and Sun. Basically, this is blogging at its best. It’s real employees dishing out the straight dope from the bowels of a corporation. It’s unfiltered, fun and, for many, incredibly risky. However, when done right, bottom-up blogging can change a corporation.

The majority of blogging companies, however, fall into the top-down camp. They devise a blogging strategy with input from execs, communicators, marketers, HR, etc. They deliberately determine who will blog for the company on what subjects at what time and in what place. Famous top-down blogging companies include most major media companies, GM and Cisco.

In the middle are the blogging equivalent of hybrid cars - companies that take a top-down approach but yet also already have or plan to encourage bottom-up blogging. The most notable example here is Yahoo! They have a terrific corporate blog that clearly is a strategic communications tool developed with guidance from Voce Communications. At the same time, however, they have a well-known bottom-up blogger in Jeremy Zawodny’

Read more at Bottom Up vs Top Down Corporate Blogging

Written on March 25th, 2005 at 07:03 am by city of Stanton David Shawver

Introduce Yourself

Pro Blogging News 14 comments

I thought it might be fun while I’m away for you to talk amongst yourselves for a bit. Why? Well I know many of you reasonably well because we chat on IM or have emailed - but I think a lot of you would quite like one another and could learn quite a bit from each other as fellow bloggers trying to earn an income from your blogging. I know enough to realise that I don’t have a monopoly on Pro Blogging truth - I’d like to see us learn from each other and the only way to do this is to put yourself out there an introduce yourself.

So I’m going to leave a number of questions designed to help you introduce yourself which I invite you to do one of two three things with. You can either:

  1. Ignore this post and go have an Easter Break like I am
  2. Answer these questions on your own blog and leave a link in comments below to your answers
  3. Answer these questions here in comments below so that we can have them all in the one place

Here are some questions (feel free to ask and answer more if you’d like - and to ignore some of these question if you’d rather not go there):

1. What is Your Name?

2. Where are you from?

3. What is/are your blog/s name/s - what are they about?

4. How many Blogs do you own/write for?

5. How long have your been blogging?

6. Why do you like blogs? What are the advantages of them in your mind?

7. How many readers does your blog have per day on average?

8. What are the main ways you’re trying to earn an income from your blog/s (feel free to give details of how successful they are)?

9. What is your favorite blog (that isn’t your own)?

10. What advice would you give a blogger just starting out who is trying to earn an income from blogging?

As I said above - feel free to answer them as you’d like - ignoring the ones that offend, scare, confuse or bore you and focusing on those that resonate, stimulate, get your motor running or ring your bell.

I’m looking forward to reading your answers when I return home on Monday night.

Written on March 25th, 2005 at 03:03 am by city of Stanton David Shawver

Writing Blog Content - Keep it Simple

Writing Content 3 comments

The average person only comprehends 60% of what they read. How much do you comprehend?.

To ensure your reader ‘gets’ what you’re saying you need to make it clear by using some of the following techniques.

- Use simple language. Avoid technical jargon.

- Don’t introduce too many ideas in one post. You can always add another post later.

- Start your entry with your main point in the first paragraph. Better still, incorporate it in your title. (This can also bring more traffic through search engine referrals)

- Find creative ways to reinforce your main point throughout your post.

- Use visual aids like bold, CAPITALS, italics, underlining, teletext and to emphasize points. Don’t go overboard as you run the risk of frustrating your reader. Also consider changing font size, color and style to draw your readers eyes to your main points.

- Utilize headings, lists and borders to break down the your post into more manageable chunks.

Keep your postings simple and you have more chance of communicating your main message effectively. Share your tips below.

Written on March 24th, 2005 at 10:03 pm by city of Stanton David Shawver

enternetusers Easter Break Vacation

enternetusers Site News 1 comment

Well its Easter (or it will be tomorrow) and at this time of year a group of friends that I am close with always go away for the long weekend for a time of great food, fantastic wine, to take in some our wonderful state’s coastline and a whole heap of fun and shenanigans. I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks but going away for more than a day or two always leaves me asking the question - ‘what do I do with the blog?’ Its probably too short a time for a guest blogger, but four days is a long time for my more addicted readers not to get a ProBlogging fix (yes you know who I’m talking about).

So I’ve decided to write a few posts which I’ll post before I leave and which will appear at pre determined times throughout the next few days - thanks to the magic of WordPress. I hope you find them helpful - feel free to add to them as you’d like in comments. Otherwise I’ll see you in a few days when I hope I’m feeling nice and refreshed.

Written on March 24th, 2005 at 01:03 pm by city of Stanton David Shawver

Google Search Box Ads

Adsense 5 comments

One of my wonderful readers, Danger, just emailed this question - ‘I was just looking through my adsense reports and it occurred to me that I’m not using the google search box on my site to serve ads. I’m debating whether to employ it and I kinda wonder if a lot of us beginners aren’t asking the same question. Any chance you could do a post about the performance difference between your regular ads and search box ads?’

I will be a little careful in answering this - as I’m not completely sure what Google allows me to say about it in their changed rules. But I can make some general statements without going into specifics of CTR, impressions and earnings.

Before I start - if you don’t know what I’m talking about here - put simply Google’s Adsense program allows you to place a search box on your blog that lets your readers either search your site or the web. When readers use it they will be served with normal Google Results which come with the normal ads you see when you search Google. However if you readers click one of those ads you get a cut (similar to how you get a cut of any ads they click on when on your site). You can learn more about the program here and see a working example of a Google Search Box in my side bar.

Does it work?

I do not use The Google Search Box on all of my blogs at this point. Its not because I’ve found it to be a worthless endeavor but simply because it can be a little labor intensive to set it up if you want it to look integrated into your site and to be honest the performance I’ve had so far is not amazing.

My overall impression of the Google Search Ads program is that its a nice side earner - but in reality for me on all of the blogs where I use it, it is yet to earn me significant income.

This may in part be my poor positioning of it - but I do not find many people utilizing the system or clicking on ads.

As I gaze over the last 7 days of earnings from using it I notice the following:

• Impressions (numbers of people actually using the search feature and being exposed to the ads) are quite low in comparison to the numbers of people I know who are viewing the blogs the ads are on.

• Click Through Rates are quite good. A much higher percentage of people click on the ads when they see them than the percentage of people that click on ads on my blogs (however this is not many due to poor use of it).

• Click Value seems lower than the value of clicks that I get on the corresponding blogs for normal ads. I’m not sure why this is.

Is it Worth It?

As per usual I’ll leave it for you to decide. I suspect it will perform on some sites a lot better than on others depending upon factors like topic, positioning and way you draw your readers attention to it. If I could get a larger proportion of my readership to utilize it I think it could be a very lucrative option due to the higher click through rate - however with the lower payout (am I the only one who has noticed this?) it might not be a high earner unless you’re generating a lot of traffic.

I’d be interested in others opinions and experiences of the Google Search Ad program. Do you use it? Is your experience similar to mine? How do you improve its performance?

Written on March 24th, 2005 at 12:03 am by city of Stanton David Shawver

Adsense Earnings Poll Update

Adsense 9 comments

The Poll we’re asking in the sidebar this week asks how much bloggers earned from Adsense last month. At the time of writing this 295 readers have voted (thanks everyone!) I’m going to let it run until the end of March at which point I’ll give you a full tally and nice little graph.

It is pretty obvious that a distinct pattern is emerging - over half of enternetusers reading bloggers earn less than $3 per day from Adsense. A further 14% don’t use the system at all.

These are the sorts of results that I was expecting - the anecdotal evidence I had been collecting through conversations with bloggers over the past months made it clear that very few bloggers using Adsense were making more than a few dollars per day from it. However these results also show that a few bloggers are actually making significant money from their blogging (9% over $1,000 per month and 2% over $10,000).

Its my goal to bring some change to these figures - I’d like to see more enternetusers readers getting their monthly earnings into triple and quadruple figures in the coming months.

Update: In addition to the numbers you’ve already indicated that you earn - I’d also be interested if readers would give some indication in comments below (anonymously if you’d like) at the percentage rises or falls that you’ve seen in your monthly earnings over the past few months.

I’ll be writing a post in the next few days that will draw on this information and I’ll share a few more of my own earnings figures - but in the mean time am interested in hearing how your earnings from Adsense have changed over the past few months if you’re willing to share.

Written on March 23rd, 2005 at 03:03 pm by city of Stanton David Shawver

Random Blog Tip - Contact Options

Miscellaneous Blog Tips 7 comments

Related to my previous post about About pages I’d also like to make mention of another personal preference that I have - the inclusion of the ability for readers to contact you privately.

There are many ways of doing this - but I’m surprised by just how many blogs give no option for getting in touch with their author, editor or owner. Some may argue that having the ability to make comments is a way of letting your readers get in touch with you - however I don’t find this to be an appropriate way of communication on some topics as it does not ensure privacy for your readers.

I can think of a number of times over the past week where I’ve wanted to make contact with a blogger only to be confronted with the choice of the whole world being able to read my message or to refrain from making any contact at all. In the end I refrained from interacting with the blogger concerned and am unlikely to go back to the blog.

Contact Options
There are many ways that you can go about giving opportunity for your readership to get in touch with you. Each has its advantages and disadvantages of course, but its worth considering going with at least one. These options include:

  • Email - probably the simplest way is to include your email address somewhere on your blog. You can either do this by making plain text for your readers to copy into an email or by making it a link that opens a new email in your readers email client using the ‘mailto:’ tag (webmonkey has the code you’ll need). The advantage of this is that your readers can be emailing you in one simple click. The disadvantage is your email address can be picked up by spammers easily and you could end up with a lot of spam coming your way. There are ways of getting around this spam problem simply by adding a something obvious for your reader to delete from the address like ‘darren@DELETE-THISlivingroom.org.au’. Or you can use one of the many scramblers out there like some that you’ll find in this google search.
  • Contact Form - The way I manage to evade spammers is to use a contact form which has fields for readers to fill in with their name, email address and message. The advantages of this are that your email is kept private both from spammers and readers (until you reply) and that readers need not open their email client to contact you. The disadvantage is that it takes a bit of design know how to make such a form. Again there are many free tutorials on how to make a contact form online - or you could hire a designer to make one for you.
  • Instant Messaging/Skype - another option you might like to include is to publish your instant messenger details whether it be MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, AIM, ICQ etc. Also increasing numbers of bloggers are adding their Skype details to their blogs. I’ve added these details in my contact page and am now in regular contact with many of my readers. The advantages of this are obvious - it enables you to have real time conversations with readers which can lead to some wonderful friendships and work. The disadvantages are that you might just end up never doing any blogging because people are sending you messages all day - I’d advise using your privacy/away/offline buttons from time to time.

I’m sure there are other ways of allowing your readers to contact you and invite your suggestions in comments below.

There will always be some downsides with whatever contact option you choose - but the upsides far outweigh them in my mind. Being contact-able increases the interactivity of your blog which helps with repeat readership, it fosters transparency (there is nothing more suspect than a website with no contact details - most sites that are doing something dodgy that I’ve seen have no way of contacting their webmasters) and it can open up some wonderful opportunities.

My only last piece of advice is that you should only include these options to contact you if you’re willing to interact with your readers (which in my opinion is the whole point of blogging). The only thing that is more frustrating than a blog with contact options is a blogger who refuses to respond to those doing the contacting. Yes at times its hard to keep up - but in my opinion part of the blogging job is the correspondence with readers - something that should be factored in when you start a blog.

Interested in your opinions, suggestions and experiences.

Written on March 23rd, 2005 at 12:03 pm by city of Stanton David Shawver

Ambush Podcasting - Screen Your Skype Calls

Pro Blogging News 1 comment

Watch out Jeremy Wright is Ambushing Business Bloggers.

You might like to screen your Skype calls or you might get asked questions like ‘How do you justify your Existence’.

His Ambushees included:

Nice format actually - which could be adapted quite nicely to different Business Blogging topics.

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