Written on February 14th, surf Active Apparel website Sell Homemade Video zone.at 11:02 pm by Darren Rowse

Gizmodo Starts Using Amazon Affiliate Program

Affiliate Programs 8 comments


Perhaps I’m a little slow on the update here and they’ve been doing it a while but today I noticed for the first time that Gizmodo have started linking to products in Amazon with their affiliate ID (see screen cap left) - obviously trying out the Amazon Associates Program.

I’d actually wondered why they hadn’t done this previously as it seems such a logical move to make. They are constantly featuring gadgets that are in the Amazon range so it makes sense to add this income stream to their numerous advertising options.

My own experience with affiliate links like these is that they are nowhere near as lucrative as contextual advertising in terms of conversion but when you have a critical mass of visitors to your blog the income derived does add up. The key is to make the links as relevant to the content as possible - ie this is what Gizmodo is doing in only linking to products in Amazon that match with the actual product that they are writing about.

This method does take a little extra work to set up (ie finding the product and adding the link) but it’s been worth the investment of time for me over the last year or so.

Written on February 14th, surf Active Apparel website Sell Homemade Video zone.at 08:02 pm by Darren Rowse

What’s a Blog Post Worth?

Blogging for Dollars 18 comments

Wired News has a mini interview with Harold Davis from Googleplex (which doesn’t seem to have any content on it today for some reason) which has some good basic information on making a living from blogging.

Interestingly he puts a dollar value on a per page basis(over a year) to blogging:

‘As for money, people who are really in the business of making a living off content pages say they average about $10 a page per year. That would be a pretty good average. Usually, it’s not enough to make a living on, but it’s a good supplement.’

I’d actually not considered measuring income in terms of a per page basis. I’m not sure it’s a terribly good measure because it would vary so much depending upon the level of traffic that you get to your page per year and the topic of the page (and the resulting click value in AdSense) but it’s an interesting one to calculate.

Here at enternetusers I’d say that my figures are well and truly under the $10 per year per post figure (they are probably a third of it) but on some of my other blogs they are much higher. In fact overall my blogs I’d say it’d be a conservative estimate.

Written on February 14th, surf Active Apparel website Sell Homemade Video zone.at 05:02 pm by Darren Rowse

Test 3Bubbles on their Blog

Blogging Tools and Services 9 comments

The 3bubbles real time chat/comments for blogs that I mentioned a few days ago are up and running for us to play with on the 3bubbles blog (why they launched with a templated design is anybodies guess). Just go to the little Live Chat link at the end of posts to test it. Let me know what you think in comments below.

found via Techcrunch (who has linked to it and has thereby ensured there are plenty of people testing it on their most recent post as I write this).

Written on February 14th, surf Active Apparel website Sell Homemade Video zone.at 05:02 pm by Darren Rowse

Jason Calacanis Gives Advice

Miscellaneous Blog Tips 5 comments

John Evans over at Syntagma has just posted a short Interview with Jason Calacanis of Weblogs Inc (well done John - Jason is a hard man to tie down for an interview of any length - I gave up a year ago :-) ).

John asked Jason ‘what’s the single most effective monetization step for a blog network?’ Jason answers:

‘Create world-class content every day for a year. Folks get one to three months into blogging and they’re like “I don’t have an audience.” Uhhh…. well, it’s only been three months.

If you’re going to make it in blogging today you have really be willing to invest a decent amount of time (or money).’

Read the full interview here.

Written on February 14th, surf Active Apparel website Sell Homemade Video zone.at 01:02 pm by Darren Rowse

Blogs to Riches - New York Magazine

Pro Blogging News 6 comments

The New York Magazine has posted a pretty long article titled Blogs to Riches - The Haves and Have-Nots of the Blogging Boom.

The title is pretty descriptive of what the article sets out to do.

I found the section on Peter Rojas of Engadget mildly interesting as a story of a blogger who has ridden the wave pretty well and who says that he ‘doesn’t need to work anymore’ as a result. Of course he is - working 80 hours weeks illustrating one of my mantras - ‘ProBlogging is a lot of hard work’.

They take a look at different models/approaches to blogging for an income:

  • The Accidental Tourist - ‘A lone writer who starts a blog as a mere hobby but then wakes up one day to realize his audience is now as big as a small city newspaper.’ (example - Boing Boing)
  • The Record Label Approach - ‘Crank out dozens and dozens of sites and hope that one or two will become hits.’ (example - WIN)
  • Boutique Approach - ‘a publisher who crafts individual blogs the way Condé Nast crafts magazines—each one carefully aimed at some ineffable, deluxe readership.’ (example - Gawker)

The article is rounded out with a look at the concept of the ‘A-list’ and the way blogs quickly come and go from it….. yadayadayada…

I got bored with the article by this point :-)

Overall it’s an article that I’m sure will get some people talking and a lot of incoming links - but I didn’t find much in it that we’ve not already talked to death already.

found via Steve Rubel

Written on February 14th, surf Active Apparel website Sell Homemade Video zone.at 09:02 am by Darren Rowse

23 Questions for Prospective Bloggers - Is a Blog Right for You?

Miscellaneous Blog Tips 58 comments

Before launching further into the Blogging for Beginners series I would like to take a step back from some of the practicalities of setting up a new blog and ask potential bloggers a question…

Is a Blog the Right type of Web Site for you?

While I’m a big fan of blogging as a way to get content online - I’ve seen it built up by some bloggers over the years as being the ultimate way of having a web presence.

In my opinion this is just not true.

While Blogs are great (in my experience) they are not the ultimate type of website. They do not have all of the answers and they do not suit every application or situation.

It may be that after analysing your needs, personality, hopes, experiences and style that you find blogging does fit well for your purposes - but it may also be other web applications fit better with where you’re at. Don’t just rush into blogging and expect the world.

There are probably other people who are much better at selling you some of the other types of web applications out there (look into wikis, static websites, forums etc) so I’ll leave you to do your own research - but here is a list of 23 questions (written in no particular order except that it is the order they came out of my head in) that you might want to ponder before leaping into blogging. I’ve put a few brief comments next to each to get you going.

Please note that these questions are in essence a list of qualities of successful bloggers that I’ve come across over the last few years. If you don’t have some of these qualities it’s not the end of your blogging dreams. The list is idealistic and the questions are there to help potential bloggers enter into blogging with open eyes and making good decisions about whether a blog is right for them. It also might help potential bloggers to think about what type of blog they might start and what type of skills they might need to develop:

Without further ado - here’s my 23 questions:

  1. Do you enjoy writing? - Blogs are predominantly a written medium. If you do not enjoy writing then the chances are you might not enjoy blogging.
  2. What’s your Message? - While there are many applications for blogging, underlying most (if not all) of them is the aim of communicating some sort of message. Do you need/want to communicate something? Do you have a message? Starting a blog just because you want one might be fun, but it might also be a waste of time.
  3. Are you a good communicator? - I don’t believe that only good communicators should have blogs - (they can be a tool for people learning communication skills to improve) but it can be an advantage to have some basic communication skills.
  4. Are you better at writing or speaking? - Most communicators have a preference (or at least have better skills in one form or another). If speaking is more your thing you might want to consider Podcasting or even a Video based web site.
  5. Do you want to be the central voice on your website? - While blogs are good at building community - they generally feature one person (or a smaller group of people) as the central voices in a conversation. Other people have to respond to the voice of others. If you’re after something where anyone can start a conversation then a Forum might be a better medium.
  6. Are you a self starter? - Starting a blog takes a little initiative. While blog software these days makes it simple to start them, they don’t run themselves and take a motivated person to both getting them off the ground.
  7. Are you disciplined? - Similarly blogs require regular attention over time. While daily posting is not essential, it’s probably a good level to aim for. Will you be able to motivate yourself to write something new every day?
  8. Do you have time? - Linked to the need for regular updates is the fact that this takes time. Do you have enough time in your schedule to write daily? Not only that do you have time to moderate comments, respond to reader questions, read other bloggers posts, network with other bloggers etc?
  9. Are you thick skinned? - If you start a blog, the chances are that it will be found and that others will write about you or some aspect of what you’re doing. This is great when the comments of others are positive and in agreement with you - but it’s not much fun when you’re critiqued (sometimes fairly and sometimes not). Do you have the ability to take criticism well?
  10. Are you willing to be in the public spotlight? - Blogging is a public act. Every day you put yourself into the gaze of others. People will analyze your words and lifestyle. Some will want to know more about you and some might even recognize you in public (it’s happened to me a few times). While few bloggers (if any) are ‘celebrities’ - putting yourself ‘out there’ every day is a strange thing to live with and can have it’s consequences. Keep in mind that once you write something online it is very difficult to get it removed. You might be able to delete your blog but archives services (and other bloggers) pick up a lot of what you write and so you could be living in the public splotlight for a lot longer than you’re a blogger.
  11. Do you have any technical ability? - If this were a requirement of blogging I’d have never gotten far, but it is an advantage to have the ability to learn and work on a technical level. You’ll be working on a computer with web based software and at times you’ll need to ‘tweak’ your blog. Knowing how to do it yourself can be very handy. If you’re not this type of person, you might want to make friends with someone who is.
  12. Do you take yourself too Seriously? - One of the characteristic I think bloggers should have is a sense of humor - particularly when it comes to looking at themselves. While there are plenty of examples of bloggers who do take themselves too seriously, most successful bloggers seem to have the ability to laugh at themselves also.
  13. Do you have a blend of humility and Ego? - Coupled with a sense of humor should be humility. While bigheadedness abounds in the blogosphere it’s often the humble blogger who ends up on top. Having said this having a healthy ego and view of your own worth as a person is also a good characteristic to have as there is an element of ’self promotion’ that comes into blogging at times. Getting this balance right is not always easy - but it’s worth working on.
  14. Are you willing to learn? - I like to look at blogging as a journey where everyone knows something but nobody knows everything. This is the case on any topic you want to blog about and the best bloggers are willing to share what they know but seek out and promote what others know also. In this way everyone learns - even the ‘experts’.
  15. Do you enjoy reading? - Being good at writing is very helpful - but so is the ability to read what others are writing. If I were to video tape myself over a day of blogging I suspect I’d find that I spend more time reading each day than writing. For every post I write I would read at least three.
  16. Are you an organized person? - While I’m sure many bloggers are completely chaotic and unorganized - there comes a point in most serious blogger’s lives when they have to get at least a little organized. With incoming emails, following lots of feeds, writing perhaps on multiple topics/blogs and moderating comments all going on at once (plus more) it’s pretty easy for time to slip away without getting much done.
  17. Are you a Social person? - There are many styles of blogging but when it comes down to it most bloggers have some sort of a desire to connect with readers. Some bloggers keep readers at an arms length (they might switch off comments and rarely respond to emails) but it’s probably an advantage to actually engage your readers in someway. If you don’t like people then this might be challenging. Another related question might be ‘are you an approachable person?’
  18. Do you enjoy ‘virtual relationships?’ - Some of the most social people I know are terrible when it comes to online interactions. They just don’t ‘get’ it and are much better face to face than via email, instant messaging or in a forum or comments thread. Being comfortable with speaking to and working with people you’ve never met before is an advantage if you’re a blogger. Connected to this - it’s also important to be what I call ‘virtually intuitive’. One of the dangers of relating to people online is that all can not be as it seems. Developing the ability to work out whether others are who they say they are and of good character is probably a skill to develop.
  19. Are you a creative person? - Once again this is not a ‘must’ - just an advantage. The web is a cluttered place and being able to develop content and community that stands out from the rest and that surprises readers is a big plus.
  20. Do you have Stick-ability? - While some blogs are overnight successes, most are not. In fact many (most) blogs are never as successful as their owners would like. A long term approach is one of the basic pieces of advice that I’d give most bloggers.
  21. Are you Consistent? - One of the common reasons that I see bloggers getting into trouble with their readers or other bloggers is that they change the way they approach their blogging midstream. Bloggers that are constantly changing the topic of their blogs, or who increase their expectations on readers suddenly, or who change the ‘voice’ that their blog is written in can end up losing the respect of their readers. While no one likes a boring blog - people do like to know what to expect to some extent.
  22. Are you honest and transparent? - If you answer no to this one then you can expect to eventually be found out. While in real life it can be reasonably easy to keep secrets or be two faced - the blogosphere has a culture of people keeping an eye upon each other and digging where you don’t want them to dig. While you’ll want to develop boundaries around what you do and don’t blog about, you will need to be willing to disclose conflicts of interest and be willing to be held accountable for the things that you say.
  23. Are you willing to work hard? - The level that you need to work on a blog will be dependant upon your goals and objectives for it - but if you have goals of being the next big thing then you’ll be guaranteed of a lot of hard work. Of course this is the case with any thing in life and not just blogs.

I’m sure there are plenty of other questions worth asking before deciding on whether a blog is right for you (feel free to suggest more below) but these are what comes to mind for me. In reading them back they almost read like a job interview for prospective bloggers!

Keep in mind that I’m coming from a background of blogging as a job and this will be reflected in my advice. As a result the above list might be more aimed at your serious blogger who is getting into blogging either as an entrepreneurial activity or with some sort of business application.

Written on February 14th, surf Active Apparel website Sell Homemade Video zone.at 07:02 am by Darren Rowse

Political Blogs and AdSense

Adsense 23 comments

Tom Watson has an interesting post titled Blogging Snow Job where he talks of his decision to pull out of AdSense and BlogAds - stating that ‘advertising does not work for the average blogger, even the above-average blogger.’

It’s an interesting post and one worth reading.

I don’t know Tom Watson or his blog, I don’t know what kind of traffic he gets (he gets a lot of comments so there must be some level of traffic) and can’t comment upon his ad positioning/design (as he’s taken it off) - but I would respond to his post briefly by remarking that in my experience political and general topic blogs (which I’m suspecting Tom’s blog is looking at his front page) do not traditionally do well out of AdSense. The reasons for this are numerous and include

Advertisers are not willing to pay big dollars for Political Ads on AdSense

AdSense struggles to provide relevant ads for political topics as it doesn’t know which side of politics you’re writing

I’ve found from personal experience that this is similar for blogs about spirituality and faith and other less tangible topics. Once again AdSense struggles with relevancy which will always lead to a low click through rate and quite a bit of frustration for bloggers both as a result of the low income but also the ads which at times can be completely opposite in topic to their content.

AdSense tends to work at it’s best when a blogger targets a narrower niche topic, especially when that topic has some sort of product or service associated with it.

Written on February 14th, surf Active Apparel website Sell Homemade Video zone.at 12:02 am by Darren Rowse

What is a Blog?

Pro Blogging News 41 comments

So what is a Blog anyway?

It’s a good question to ask at the beginning of a Blogging for Beginners Series as it is a question I am asked every week.

There are a number of ways I could answer this question ranging from the broad to the highly technical.

Here are a few definitions from other much wiser people on the ‘what is a blog?’ question to get us started (and once you’ve seen what they have to say on the topic I’ll share my own thoughts):

‘A weblog is a hierarchy of text, images, media objects and data, arranged chronologically, that can be viewed in an HTML browser.’ Source

‘A frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts and Web links.’ Source

‘From “Web log.” A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is “blogging” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger.”‘ Source

‘A weblog is kind of a continual tour, with a human guide who you get to know. There are many guides to choose from, each develops an audience, and there’s also comraderie and politics between the people who run weblogs, they point to each other, in all kinds of structures, graphs, loops, etc.’ Source

‘A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is “blogging” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger.” Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog. Postings on a blog are almost always arranged in cronological order with the most recent additions featured most prominantly.’ Source

‘A blog is a website in which items are posted on a regular basis and displayed in reverse chronological order. The term blog is a shortened form of weblog or web log. Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog or adding an article to an existing blog is called “blogging”. Individual articles on a blog are called “blog posts,” “posts” or “entries”. A person who posts these entries is called a “blogger”. A blog comprises text, hypertext, images, and links (to other web pages and to video, audio and other files). Blogs use a conversational style of documentation. Often blogs focus on a particular “area of interest”, such as Washington, D.C.’s political goings-on. Some blogs discuss personal experiences.’ Source.

Read more of this post - where I personally answer the question of ‘what is a blog?’

Written on February 14th, surf Active Apparel website Sell Homemade Video zone.at 12:02 am by Darren Rowse

Blogging Tips for Beginners

Pro Blogging News 214 comments

Blogging BasicsWelcome to my Blogging for Beginners Series.

Over the next weeks I will be presenting an introduction to blogging that will help PreBloggers and NewBloggers unpack some of the basics of blogging.

The series is based largely upon the questions I regularly receive from newer bloggers.

By no means do I want to come across as the all knowing expert in this series - I’m very aware of my own limitations as a blogger and strongly believe that it is only collectively as a group that we really know anything. As a result I’d encourage everyone (beginners or old hands) to see each post in this series as an invitation to share what you know on the topics we cover. As we all contribute what we know I’m confident that we’ll all learn and create a useful resource for bloggers starting out.

Also before I start - let me point you to an excellent series of videos by Jon Symons which are ideal for beginner bloggers wanting to learn how to register a domain name, set up hosting and set up a WordPress blog on it. They are aimed at the very beginner and run through some of the technical aspects of setting up. The $15 cost of the videos is well worth it in my opinion.

By the way - if you enjoy these posts and want to keep in touch with enternetusers subscribe to our weekly email update and/or track us by our RSS feed.

Blogging for Beginners - The Posts So Far

Introductory Posts

Blog Design

Writing Content

Making Money from Blogs

Blog Networks

Other Beginner Topics

A few readers have approached me to ask if they can submit posts to this series. At this point I’m going to say no - but towards the end of the series I’ll reconsider this when we see what topics we’ve not yet covered.

The series will probably go for 2 weeks with at least one post per day with each listed below on this post (so bookmark this page). Between ‘beginner’ posts will be the normal array of ProBlogging posts. If you’re not a beginner and don’t want to contribute to the back to basics conversations I hope you’ll find that there is plenty of other things to keep you interested.

The series that follows is a combination of types of posts that includes:

  • New Posts on topics I’ve not written about before
  • New Posts on topics I have written about before
  • Re-Posts - older posts that I still feel are relevant for new bloggers
  • Guest Posts from other bloggers who know more about a particular topic than I do.
  • Open Mike Discussions (I’m not sure which topics to do these on yet, but am pretty sure there will be a number of them)

Written on February 13th, surf Active Apparel website Sell Homemade Video zone.at 10:02 pm by Darren Rowse

75% of enternetusers Readers Don’t run Ads in RSS

RSS 9 comments

Last week’s poll asked - ‘Do You Run RSS Ads in any of Your Blog’s Feeds?’

The results:

* Yes: 17% (43)
* No: 75% (190)
* I don’t have a Blog: 8% (19)

Total Votes : 252

Comment on the poll were at this post.

PS: there is no poll this week - well not until I can think of another decent question! Let me know if you have any ideas.

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