Sunday, July 25, 2010

Open Your Blog Post with a KICK


What’s the second most important part of your blog post after the title?

Professional bloggers like Eugene Schwartz often spent an entire week on the first 50 words of a sales piece — the headline and the opening paragraph.

Just imagine how disappointed you’d be after crafting a killer headline for your post, only to lose readers with an opening that failed to carry the momentum. A great headline mixed with a lame opening is like inviting someone into your house, only to slam the door in their face as they approach.

So, here are 6 ways to open your post that will capture the reader’s imagination and pull them deeper into your content.

1.    Ask a Question

You might have noticed I asked you a question with starting of this post. Opening your post with a question is a rhetorical device (hence, the “rhetorical question”) that creates curiosity and gets the reader thinking. Thinking equals active engagement with your writing, and that’s a very good thing.

2.    Share an Anecdote or Quote

Anecdotes are quick stories that can make people laugh or immediately establish the main point of your post. A nice quote from a recognizable authority or famous person can also work wonders when holding attention in those crucial opening seconds. This makes your reader feel that the post is really interesting.

3.    Invoke the Mind’s Eye

Producing a mental image in a reader’s mind is one of the most powerful things you can ever do as a writer, so expressly engaging the imagination is a powerful opening technique. Activate the mind’s eye of the reader by using words like “imagine,” “picture this,” “do you remember when,” etc.

4.    Use an Analogy, Metaphor or Simile

Analogies, metaphors and similes are some of the most powerful devices available when it comes to telling a story in a single sentence. This is a great way to capture a reader’s attention and also acts to provoke mental imagery that allows readers to tell a story to themselves.

5.    Cite a Shocking Statistic

Starting off with an interesting factoid is also a great technique. People love being provided with interesting data, but only if it is unique, startling, or even shocking. The statistic should also be directly relevant to the point of your post as well.

So, here I have discussed 5 points. What are you going to add?

Bonus tip: The third most important part of your blog post is the closing. A great way to close is to tie back into your opening.

So, which of the 5 techniques did I NOT use in the opening to this post?
                                                                                                    source: copyblogger.com

Saturday, July 24, 2010

4 Tips to Help You Stay Focused on Your Blog


Most people who blog also have a full time job or occupation (i.e., school), not to mention other personal activities (e.g., friends and family), so balancing everything can become tricky indeed.

In fact if you don’t plan well your blog is probably the one that is going to suffer first. That is, when things get messy or overwhelming, most people just abandon their blogs.

I think this is a mistake, because a blog is a great marketing tool for anyone. It helps you improve your writing, it expands your network of contacts, it builds an audience for your ideas, it allows you to establish expertise in your field and so on.

That is why I decide to write a post with 4 tips that will help you stay focused on your blog, even if your personal life is taking most of your time.

1. Focus on the core activities

Writing blog posts, promoting blog posts, building links, creating social bookmarking profiles, promoting on Twitter, creating Facebook fan pages, experimenting with PPC ads, reading RSS feeds, creating eBooks, etc.

Trying to do everything I mentioned above would be possible, and it could help your blog, but it would also burn you out quickly.

If you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to your blog, focus on the core activities only. The main one is writing content. If you only have time for one task, use it to write content. If in one day you happen to have some extra time, use it to promote your best posts.

That is it. If you write great content and promote it slightly your blog will grow naturally, and you’ll keep your sanity.

2. Have fun with it

You need to have fun with your blog, else you’ll lose the motivation to keep it alive it very quickly.

The first step to achieve this is to choose a niche you are interested in. If you pick a niche only to make money you’ll find it painful to write the content no matter what.

Second, you need to make a compromise between what you like to write and what your readers like to read. Go too much with the former and your audience will go away. Go too much with the latter and you’ll lose motivation to write.

3. Set milestones

You can’t improve what you can’t measure, and you can’t get motivated if you don’t think something is improving.

That is why milestones are important. They allow you to track the progress of your blog, and once you see things are getting better, you’ll get motivated to keep working on the blog.

Examples of milestones you could set:

•to reach 1,000 daily page views
•to reach 1,000 RSS subscribers
•to write a post that will receive 20 comments
•to reach an Alexa rank of 100,000

4. Monetize it

Like it or not, money is a very strong motivator. If you are not monetizing your blog yet, and are losing motivation to keep working at it, maybe you should put some ads or affiliate links around.

Don’t expect to get rich overnight, but I am sure that even $100 monthly would give you an extra incentive to write on your blog.

Apart from the immediate results you’ll also see potential there. You’ll realize that your blog can produce real money, and that the better the content you put there, the more money you’ll make.

It becomes a virtuous cycle, where you write more and better content to make more money, and the more money you make the more motivated you become to write more and better content.

Hope this article was helpful to you. Please do give your feedbacks. I love to hear from your side.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Kick Your Blog's Navbar


A lot of people who host their blogs on Blogger (just like me!) complain about the inability to remove the blogger navigation bar via their elements page. Indeed, if that's where you are looking, the only thing you'll be able to do from there is change the color to one of several pre-determined selections.

Today I am going to be little technical. If you really want to remove the blogger navigation bar, you need to access your HTML template. Before I tell you how to do that, however, I'd like to first talk about why you may or may not want to remove the nav bar from your blogspot blog.

Reasons to remove it

·         It looks more professional without it: Depending on what your purpose for blogging is, you may choose to remove the blogger navbar because having one makes a blog look more like a free-hosted blog and less like a professional site worth taking seriously.

·         It gives you more space at the top of your page: This may not seem significant, but not having the navbar there does give you a bit more space for graphics. I have found this space to be quite useful when designing my own blogs.

Reasons to keep it

·         It makes editing a little bit easier: You can login directly from the blog itself, and don't have to worry about logging into blogger. You can also edit capsules from the main page, without having to go into elements.

·         You get a teeny bit of traffic from the "next blog" button: And I do mean teeny. I can't even recall the last time I saw traffic from it.

How to remove it!
It’s very simple to remove the navbar of the blogger. We just need to paste the code given below to the “header” section.

Here goes the code: body{ margin-top:0px; position: relative; top: -40; }

Know what? I just made it simpler doing a podcast on the issue. Just watch the video tutorial below:



Did you like it? Please do give your comments.


Monday, July 19, 2010

How To Build a Popular Blog


If you just started blogging chances are you don't have many readers, if any at all.

Why is it that some bloggers have all the traffic and others are lucky if they have about 10 visitors per day?

You may write regular content for your blog but because no one reads it, you feel like you are wasting your time.

All blogs are not created equal. Guy Kawasaki started a blog and a few weeks after launching he had over 4,000 daily readers. So what made him different? Guy is a famous author and business speaker so he had the benefit of lots of other bloggers and media spreading the word about his blog for him.

Chances are you don't have the same advantage as Guy. I didn't, I had to earn my blog traffic the hard way.

DO YOU KNOW HOW TO MARKET?
Blogging is like starting your own print newsletter or "fanzine". First you put the hard work in, gather a collection of articles, images and other content and launch your new publication.

Once the first issue is ready it's time to get out there and show it to everyone.
You won't have a marketing budget or the benefits of a public relations officer drumming up free publicity for you. You have to do all this for yourself. You wear all the hats for your blog - author, publisher, marketer and public relations.

This is why a lot of bloggers fail. You produce good content but you don't know how to MARKET your blog.

Most bloggers do not know where the best places are to drum up traffic and instead use "shotgun" tactics - haphazardly shooting for traffic all over the place using as many random methods as possible with no thought into exactly what is the smart way to get traffic.
No methodology. No process.

START AT THE BEGINNING
The first step to build blog traffic is accepting the fact that you will have to "work" for your traffic. No one is going to do it for you. No one is going to help you. Your blog is your baby and you are a single parent, solely responsible for its growth.

Are you okay with that? Do you accept the burdens?

Yes? Good! Okay, let's move forward.

Blog traffic building begins, just like a magazine, by creating something worth reading. You would never go out and hand out copies of your fanzine if it had only one or two articles in it.

Before we even talk about finding readers for your blog you have to ask whether the readers you are chasing will read your blog once they get there.

Is your blog AMAZING? Do you have great content? Do you even know what great content is?

Take a good look at your blog and review whether your starting content is worthy enough to capture and retain the attention of readers.

If you just switched the "on" button for your blog then there is only one thing you need to worry about. Forget about traffic. Sit down, get your writers hat on and start writing articles.

If you haven't done so already, cover at least these topics before properly launching your blog -

1. Your About Page
Who are you? What you are blogging about and why would a person want to read your   blog?  What is in it for them?
Talk about the BENEFITS for your readers, NOT the features of your blog.

2. Your Contact Page
You need a contacts page because you want to make it easy for your readers to get in touch with you. If possible, include a nice smiley picture of your face on your contacts page, to make your blog more personal.

Other possible contact details you might want to include in your contact page:

- Phone number (if you are comfortable with this)
- Mailing address (ditto)
- Skype, MSN Messenger or Google talk contact details
- A link to your Linked-In, Facebook or MySpace profile
- Your Twitter, StumbleUpon or Digg profile

You can place anything you feel comfortable making available to the public on your contact page.

3. Pillar Articles
I'll discuss the concept of "pillar articles" in more depth in an upcoming email newsletter, but for the moment you need to start working on some nice, fat, juicy, meaty...okay, you get the picture - SOLID articles.

Something substantial. Something worth reading that teaches your audience about the subjects relevant to your blog topic. Not just news reports from other websites. This is ORIGINAL content from your mind.

Be creative, be interesting, be inspirational and demonstrate these elements through your blog articles.

To Your Blogging Success!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Quick Google AdSense FAQ's


These are some of the questions we see over on the AdSense Help Forum on a pretty regular basis. In most cases, the answers are mostly simple and can be found in the AdSense Help Center pages by doing a search - a topic which we'll cover in another post.

1)   How long does it take to get an AdSense account?
Although the AdSense sign up pages say that you should receive a notice from them in about 48 hours, over the past year that has changed. While some applications might actually get reviewed as quickly as that, most do not. Currently it can take anywhere from a week to a couple of months.

2)   Why is it taking so long?
This is because the influx of applications has grown tremendously over the last year. The growth of "get rich quick" sites and scam sites using AdSense and Google to further their scam earnings has created an enormous backlog and constant increase in applications for AdSense accounts.

Along with this, the fact that the economy all over the world has taken a nosedive over the last year and half means that individuals who would not have thought about using AdSense previously are all trying to get in on "the money", which many websites tell you is "hundreds" or "thousands" of dollars a week. Which is a very large misrepresentation.

Because of the thousands of applications every week (perhaps even every day), it now can take anywhere from a few days or a weeks, to longer than two months. The wait time is long, and you'll need to have patience.

3)   How old do you have to be to have an AdSense account?
AdSense requires that you be 18 years of age to have an account. This is because in most US states you must be 18 years old to legally enter into a contract. Agreeing to the AdSense Terms of Use is considered entering into a legal contract.

4)   How many times can we click per day?
Yes, we do get questions like that.

The answer is NONE. Publishers are not allowed to click on ads on their own website ever.  
If you are visiting another publisher's website you should only click on an ad if the ad is something that you are looking for or interested in. One click is enough. If you see more than one ad you are interested in, visit the site a little bit later and view the ad then.

5)   Can we use AdSense in my emails?
The answer is NO. AdSense policy does not allow AdSense code to be place in an email.

You can, however, place a simple link to your website in your email signature. You mustn't use this for sending unsolicited mass emails; that would be considered email spam and sending email spam can get your email account disabled.

6)   Can we ask visitors to click ads?
Again, the answer is NO. AdSense publishers must not draw undue attention to their ads in any way.

You may not write "please support us and visit the advertisers", "please click the ads to help me" or anything similar.

You also may not write things like "please don't click the ads" because that draws as much attention to the ads as asking someone to click them.

7)   Is there a phone number for AdSense?
I'm sure there must be one, but it's not one that we get to know about.

A simple search for a telephone number for Google or AdSense will get you a phone number, but the phone call would be very short as it's highly unlikely you'd get past the answering receptionist.

There really is no telephone support for AdSense publishers. Many have tried, and many have failed.

8)   What is the email address for AdSense?
The email address to contact AdSense can be found throughout the help pages on the AdSense website. Unfortunately, the only reply you will probably get is one directing you to their help forum, so you might as well start there and save yourself the aggravation of waiting for an email reply.

9)   Can I use other advertisers on my pages with AdSense ads?
Yes, AdSense allows it's publishers to use other advertising and affiliate programs. They do have rules for other ads - these other ads must not be formatted to look like or be confused with Google AdSense ads.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

8 Google AdSense Alternatives


Google AdSense is the current leader in content-sensitive web-based marketing. Webmasters can place Google AdSense JavaScript code on their web pages in order to allow Google's servers to show context sensitive advertisements (Google Adwords). The left hand side of this page shows an example of a Google AdSense skyscraper displaying a text or image ad.

Google's terms and conditions are very strict such that many web publishers cannot use AdSense adverts on their sites. They are either denied from joining the Google AdSense program in the first instance, or in a situation that is becoming more and more common do not wish to do business with Google. A number of publishers are also finding their AdSense accounts are being disabled for reasons that are completely beyond their control. The problem is that most of the alternatives to Google's AdSense are pretty useless.

Has your adsense account been disabled? Then try these top 10 alternatives.

1.    AdBrite
AdBrite, is currently one of the best alternatives there is to Google's AdSense. While they do not offer the same large selection of ad formats that Clicksor and Google AdSense provide you they do offer the most commonly used ones. In addition they offer inline page links with have some great Click through ratios as well as interstitial full page ads which offer an excellent way to monetize all traffic to your site not just traffic that Clicks on your ads. Their payouts are also very competitive. They have more relaxed terms and conditions than AdSense and are much more accepting of smaller publishers including bloggers.

2.    Bidvertiser
Bidvertiser can be a useful alternative to Google and offer some intriguing ad formats including what they refer to as free design. This lets you specify the look and dimensions of your text ads. While a useful feature I have not investigated how well it works but imagine that while it sounds good on paper it could result in lower priced ads being displayed. I.e. most advertisers will probably want to keep control of the layout of their ads and so turn off support for Free design ads.

3.    Infolinks
A relative newcomer to the scene Infolinks specializes in In-Text Advertising. That is it indexes your page looking for keywords and phrases that are not currently links and converts them into advertising links. When a user places their mouse over the link a box opens up showing the ad. If they click on the link you get paid. It is very simple and works very effectively. The nice part is that you can use Infolinks to compliment an existing advertising campaign on your website. For example you can show banner ads with AdBrite or Bidvertiser and show text links with Infolinks. Or you can even show text links with both AdBrite and Infolinks together on the same page to maximize your revenue.
Infolinks claims to be leading the industry with the most relevant in-text advertising links and the highest revenue share - guaranteed. I am not sure how they 'guarantee' this but having used them for several months I can attest that their payouts are indeed good compared to other In-Text advertising options.

4.    Chitika
For advertisers and media buyers, Chitika is a proven channel for targeting on-line consumers and qualified buyers. For all publishers, Chitika is an easy-to-use platform for earning daily ad revenue. If you visit a site showing Chitika's ads from a search engine then the Chitika premium ad unit kicks in showing you ads that are specific to your searching - otherwise you can have it show an alternative ad provider, such as AdSense, or you can just have it collapse away to show nothing.

5.    Clicksor
Clicksor is one of the current leaders of the small publisher AdSense competition. They have payouts up to a market leading 85% and unlike a number of alternatives the cost per click bid values are high enough that you can earn a decent income. They are also, in my experience, much more tolerant than Google. Their terms and conditions suggest that you should only place one copy of their code on a page but as long as you only place a single pop-up or DHTML code on a page they seem happy to let you place many context sensitive ad blocks on a single site.

6.    AdToll
AdToll pays on a CPC basis. Their user interface is great and navigating through the user panel is both easy and pleasant. Payments are available via Cheque, PayPal, ePassporte and Wire/Bank Transfer. It is also possible to use the revenue you earn as a publisher to advertise your website further. Such integration is something that is entirely missing from Google's adsense-adwords.

Yahoo is currently playing catch up to Google and is trying to release their own context sensitive advertising service. This promise to be an excellent alternative to Google AdSense but in reality is likely to be a simple copy with the same restrictive terms and conditions as Google, including $100 minimums on payouts. The system seems to have been in beta test for several years now, perhaps explaining why Yahoo as a company is suffering. Unfortunately while you can visit their site and sign up to register for an account doesn’t expect to actually hear back from them. They are either extremely selective or are simply not accepting new publishers and advertisers, either way they won't even bother to get back to you to let you know this and most applicants won't even receive a reply saying their application has been rejected. Thus until it goes live and it becomes clear what type of website owners Yahoo will be targeting I cannot place it any higher in this list.

  I have covered 7 best alternatives of AdSense, what would you add?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Google AdSense Tips and Tricks


I want to share you some secrets I learned up until now. I am not going to tell you basic stuff like “use channels”. Also, bear with me on the graphics. I’m no designer :)

1.  Blend Your ads. AdSense Color and Font size.
      i.      It’s tested and it works. Use the same color of your page background, for the   border and the background of the ad.


    ii.      Use the same colors used in your page, for the AdSense ad title, text and URL link.


   iii.      If possible use the same font in your page, as the AdSense ads. Since the ads have variable text size and font, according to dimension and type of ad, you can never do this 100% right. But every little bit helps.

    iv.     Try to not separate the ad from the content (like trashing the ad in some remote corner of your website. Integrate it within the content (in, within, next to, above, below etc.).

2.  Placing ads high on a page is good
Position the ads with the highest CTR, as high as possible in the page, in the source’s order (in the image below, notice that the ad appears just below the body tag). The first ads that appear in the pages (in the source’s order) get the most income per click.

3.  Use images. Images and AdSense works together
Use images left or right of the ads. It makes them seen as part of the pages content, and your CTR increases. It doesn’t matter what images you use. Use any plain generic images. If you can, try to correlate those with the niche/domain of your website/blog. Be careful not to write text, point arrows or similar on the images, as that might be seen as click incentives.


4.  Earnings are Variable, based on CTR
With the Smart pricing idea, your income varies a lot, according to each of your channel’s CTR rate.

Now this is very important: It’s account-wide, not channel-wide. So if you have a very good CTR (5%-50%) for one website, and you include it in the same account with a 0.04# CTR website, you will lose money.

Remove all the websites (from your account) that don’t have at least a 5% CTR (or depending on your overall CTR, remove the ones that are really lower than your average), or you’ll affect the income of all the other good converting websites.

5.  Use non-standard types of Ads
We all know that web-savvy (e.g. webmasters or people that use the Internet for so many years, and know all the standards, conventions and so on) users are ad-blind.

Banners like 468×80 have been on the Internet since its creation. Even people who use the Internet vaguely or once a month, are kind of blind to these standard banners.

Instead, use vertical skyscrapers, or boxed ads. They have a much higher click rate. The AdSense team even published a list of their highest performing ad sizes:
  • 336×280 large rectangle
  • 300×250 inline rectangle
  • 160×600 wide skyscraper

End note: I hope these advices help some people. If they did, drop me an e-mail and tell me about it.
                                                                                              Source: seopedia.org