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6 figure blogging 3
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1. Six Figure BloggingSix Figure Blogging Call 3 Transcript Andy: So today we are talking AdSense, right? Darren: That’s right. It’s my favorite. I’ve been preparing for this one for weeks now. Andy: You’ve been a-bubble all week, I know! Darren: We’ve got two hours of content that we’ve got to squeeze into one hour so we are going to have to push. Andy: So Darren, tell us about your AdSense knowledge. AdSense Basics Darren: Wow, it’s quite an overwhelming topic. I think we could go for two or three hours today. There are probably a hundred to two hundred tips that I can give you. I am trying to give you a brief overview. We’ll try and get a little bit more specific as we go along but we’ll start with the basics. I know a few people on this call who have never used AdSense before and some who still have not signed up for an account. They are not convinced yet. We’ll give you a brief overview of that. What is a Contextual Ad? Darren: Basically, the way I explain AdSense is that if you go to Google.com and you do a search for any particular word or keyword, you’ll find ads come up for that keyword that relate to what you’ve written. That is the way that I describe AdSense to people. Those particular ads are the same ads that you can put on your blog. They are contextual ads. So what you write about on your blog triggers particular ads on particular topics. The way you get paid is when someone comes to your blog and they see an ad that they are interested in, if they click on that ad,© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 72All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging you get a small payment for that. I say small because usually it is small but those payment levels vary quite considerably depending upon what that ad is for. Behind the scenes there is another system called AdWords which is what the advertisers sign up for and it may be on a particular keyword. Some keywords, you might get one cent per click; some people think you get less than one cent; other words you might have heard of people getting up to fifty dollars for a click. That is very rare and I haven’t heard that happening too much recently. They do vary quite a bit. How AdSense Makes You Money Darren: Basically, Google adds up all those clicks. At the end of the month, if your total income gets to a hundred dollars, they’ll send you a check. They’ll send it to you in US dollars or they’ll send it to you in Australian dollars, and depending on what country you are in, and whether they are able to pay in different currencies, they’ll send you a check. In some countries, they’ll transfer it straight into your account as well. If your total for the month gets to thirty dollars, you won’t get a check that month but those thirty dollars gets added to the next month and eventually, you’ll get a check once you go over the one hundred dollar mark. The Difference Between Google AdSense and Google AdWords Andy: So just to review, the AdSense is from our perspective as the publisher of the website and the AdWords is from the advertiser’s perspective? Darren: That is right. Andy: We can view both sides. Like you said last week, we can join AdWords so then we can see what the advertisers are going to see when they are putting ads in to the Google system.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 73All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging Darren: Exactly. I find it quite useful. Once you are accustomed to AdSense and you are feeling comfortable with that, actually join AdWords. It doesn’t cost you that much. I think it might cost you five dollars. Just have a play with that and see what the advertisers are doing as well because it does add to your experience to AdSense. Payment Terms and Schedule Participant: May I ask a quick question, Darren? Darren: Yes sure. Participant: Is the hundred dollars per blog site or per blogger? So if you have two or three sites. Darren: It’s per blogger. You can run from the one account on a variety of different blogs. I have one AdSense account but I have twenty something blogs. It all goes into one pool. I’ll talk a little bit later, if we got time, about channels and how you can track and see how each blog performs. It all comes in under the one account, which makes it a lot easier to make it to that one hundred dollar mark. Participant: Excellent thank you. Useful AdSense Links and Resources Darren: So we’ll go to that AdSense useful links page. We won’t go through them one by one but there are a variety of links there. The pro ones are all official Google AdSense pages. If you go to the AdSense terms of service, it is pretty hard to read the terms of service but I really suggest you get into the AdSense policies page. It is really important to have a good grasp of some of the rules. It is not a free for all. They have some boundaries to what you can and can’t do. We’ll talk about some of those but we haven’t got time to go through them all. The other few pages are quite good. The format page we’ll come back to later. You may want to open that up in another window and have it sitting there. That gives© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 74All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging you the variety of different size ads and types of ads you can get on AdSense. The optimization tips page is probably the bible and we’ll come back to that later too. Particularly, there is a heat map on that page, which is really quite important. We’ll talk about that a bit later. There are some case studies there which I’ve learned a lot from with people telling their experience. The AdSense help page is not very well organized, but there is a lot of useful information there. Then I’ve just given you a few links of things that I’ve written on Problogger and a couple of other resources down at the bottom. Jen Vince is a blogger (at www.jensense.com). She is brilliant on AdSense and contextual advertising and I really recommend you get to her. I’ve given you a link, down at the bottom there to an ebook, which some of you may be interested in if you are at the beginnings of your AdSense earnings. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone [but it is for bloggers] who are a bit advanced on it. So there are some useful links which hopefully will help you as we go on today. I’ll refer to some of those so you may want to keep that page open if you can. Is Your Blog Suitable for AdSense? Darren: We are going to talk about blog suitability. Is your blog suitable for AdSense? A lot of bloggers just think, “I’ve got a blog and my blog will be great with AdSense.” They don’t do any critical thinking about the system. It is not perfect for every blog. Where it’s great is for blogs are about products. That seems to be where it performs at its peak. I’ve given you five different points. Probably the key point is about products. If you’ve got a specific product or a service, something that people would buy, and something that people would be researching in an active way. They are not interested in it as a hobby. They actually want to take some action it. They seem to be the topics that perform best on AdSense. That doesn’t mean that you can’t do a blog about a news thing, for instance, and use AdSense. You can do it but it won’t perform as well.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 75All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging So for me, my digital camera site, that is my highest performing one, people come to that site from search engines looking for information so they can make a purchase. So when they see an ad, it offers them that product. They are more likely to click on that particular ad when people are in a buying mood, when people are researching, and when people are interested in other things and not just your content. Searchers Engine Traffic Performs Best; Regular Readers Not So Much Darren: I guess the other point, which is really quite profound, is that pages that don’t have regular readers seem to do best. So pages that have a lot of search engine visitors tend to do better than pages that have a lot of regular readers. For example, on my Problogger site, that site is read by the same people everyday. A few people come in from search engines but not many. The people that come in everyday, they may have noticed the ads when they first came in but the second time, they are less likely to see them. Then every time they come back, they are even less likely again. Really, regular readers are great for blogs but they don’t pay too well. So there are blogs that are suitable for AdSense: product ones, search engine visitors. The Problem with Political and Religious Blogs Darren: I’ve listed a few different types of blogs which may not be quite suited. You can run ads on some of them but they are not suited: political blogs. The problem with political blogs is that AdSense doesn’t know what side of politics you are writing about. It could give you something in politics that you are quite opposed about. Religious blogs, the same problem.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 76All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging AdSense Performance with Other Blog Topics Darren: Celebrity and gossip blogs. The problem with those is, they can get a lot of traffic but AdSense for one, doesn’t seem to know what you are writing about, quite often and two, the ads just aren’t worth much at all. We had a Michael Jackson trial blog. We got a lot of traffic on it, but really the ads they use, weren’t that great. We ended up putting in impression-based ads on that which we talked about in week one. It may be a lot better than AdSense. Sports blogs, depending on the sport, you might do well out of ads on that that actually sell products for that particular sport. In general, they don’t pay as well. Sometimes, we get relevancy problems on sport blogs as well. So there are some of the things that you might want to keep in mind. I have run AdSense on all of those types of blogs and made a bit of money from them but they don’t do as well as product based blogs. Banned Topics with AdSense Darren: Then I’ve listed blogs that you just can’t use AdSense on: porn blogs, explicit language, gambling, blogs where you don’t own the copyright. These are some of the rules. I’ve expanded the list of those. On the policy page are things you shouldn’t put AdSense on. You’ll risk being banned from the system. Other Considerations and Summary Andy: To summarize all this up, a big part of it is that when people are going to these pages, they are searching for something. The regular readers, they are there to read the content, they know that you got some ads and they know that might not be applicable to what they are looking for. If you have people who are actively searching, which I remember when the first demographics came out about who reads blogs; blogs readers are people looking© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 77All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging for stuff; they are researching purchasing decisions; they are not scared of ecommerce or using online technology to buy stuff. If you can think about getting that alignment of people looking for stuff, looking for answers, looking for product reviews and resources and then bringing those up, that is the marriage that you are talking about. Darren: That’s right. It makes sense. In my own mind, I take a lot more notice of advertisements on television or in newspaper when I am looking for a product and I am about to make a purchase. It is the same with blogs. When I am reading the newspaper just because I am reading the newspaper, and not wanting to make a purchase, it just becomes blah, blah, blah, blah in the background. It is just noise. It’s just amazing when you suddenly start to notice ads when you are looking for stuff. That is the principle that I work on. It seems to work pretty well. Shall we move on to the formula? The Six Figure Blogging Formula Darren: I wrote an article, probably about two years ago now, maybe a year and a half on this formula. It is a little bit outdated but I’ve updated it for you today. If you look on my blog, you’ll see a different version of this. The formula of this is there are four different aspects of doing better with AdSense. There are four different things that you can work on. I think if you work on any one individual one of these a week, it will help a bit. When you work on them all together, it is quite amazing how it comes together. They do work best. If you leave one of these elements out, your AdSense equation suffers quite considerably. Formula Ingredient #1: Traffic Levels and Overview Darren: The formula for this is traffic levels. Obviously with all parts of advertising the more people that you expose an ad to, the more chance of an effect that it has. If you increase your traffic, you’ll significantly increase the earning capacity of your blog.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 78All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging Number two is high paying ads. As I mentioned before, different ads for different products will pay different amounts of money depending on what advertisers are willing to pay for it. The third part is relevant ads. There are things that you can do to make your ads more relevant to others. If you are writing a blog on scuba diving, someone is writing a blog on that and you see ads on coffee mugs, chances are someone is not going to click on those ads. But if I see an ad on scuba diving equipment, there is increase likelihood on that. We want to work on the relevancy of our ads. There are some strategies that I am going to give you in a few minutes on that. We’ve got optimally positioned and design ads. We’ll break that up into two parts today. But the position of your ads on your page can significantly increase the rates that people click on those ads. I remember the night where I discovered this for the first time. I moved my ad from the banner position right up to the top of my blog, which I thought was a great position. I moved it down inside the content, just under the heading and my click through rate, within a couple hours had doubled. The position of your ads has incredible power. The design of your ad also. We’ll talk about some different design principles that you might want to work through. When these things come together, things really work. I’ve written a post there, I linked it the holistic AdSense development. When those things come together, you do best. So don’t just work on one of them but let’s be working on all four of those. Formula Ingredient #2: High-Paying Ads, Example: PVRBlog Darren: We’ll start with high paying ads and we might stop at the end of this section for some more questions. High paying ads, it’s pretty obvious.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 79All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging I linked there to the PVRBlog and an article to the guy who is behind that blog. It’s a legendary article. It was written in October of 2003. Andy: That is right. Darren: It was one of the first articles out there that got bloggers into AdSense. It was one of the first articles that I saw. One of his keys to his success with the PVRBlog is that the ads, when he first started were very high paying. It was niche topic; it was a high demand topic and the advertisers were going silly in competing with bidding for ads to appear in his blog and other blogs with that topic. In comparison to a blog on say, ‘toothpicks’, I think he used an example there; it is going to pay a lot more. There is a variety of ways to increase or to find high paying keywords. Probably the ultimate one and it is not a very sexy one, it is really just to try it and to track it. Trial and error, this is what ultimately I do on every one of the blogs I started. I start them small. I start them sometimes on free blog software just to test them. You might want to start on blogger.com just give it a few weeks and see what rates the ads come in at. How Many Times Should I Post a Day? Andy: How many times a day are you posting on your trial and error blogs? What is a good rate to say? Darren: I try and get it up to a total of about thirty or forty posts over a couple of weeks. Get some content up there and let it sit there and link to it from a few other blogs and try and get a bit of traffic across and just see what the ad values are. That is probably the ultimate way I would say is to just try it. I’m really happy to hear that some you have picked more than one niche because you are actually are going to be testing these. That is one of the things you will be testing out is what© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 80All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging are the ads worth? Track your results as well and we will talk a bit about how to do that later. Test if there are ads available. Obviously, if there are no ads in the Google system, chances are it won’t be high paying. Go to Google.com and type in your keywords and see what ads come up; see how many ads come up. Just in the search results, you’ll see down the right hand side some ads. If there are a lot of ads there then chances are that at least there are some ads in the system that will come to your blog. You may want to try different words around you niche also there just to see what the supply is like. If there is a lot of supply, you might do a little better. You can buy lists of top paying words. I’ve given you a link there to a service that sells lists of keywords. To be honest, I’ve never bought a list of keywords. I just found the trial and error works a lot better. Some people, they are on a fast track and they want to buy them. Those lists will tell you how much different keywords are paying at the moment. I know a lot of people who do use those lists quite effectively. Keyword Selection Tools Darren: There are some free tools, we mentioned last week, Overture’s tool. Keep in mind with Overture that the amount you get there is what another system not what AdSense pays. It’s an Overture system and takes into account that Overture takes a cut off that as well. What you, as a publisher, get is even less than what they say there. I use that tool a lot just to see what one word compares to another. It is particularly useful to think about what keywords within a niche you will target. It may be that you want to write a blog about phones. You go into Overture and do a search for cell phones and you do a search for mobile phones and you do a search for phones. You’ll find that the keywords actually pay quite differently. That is useful as you think about, “What am I going to call my blog?” Then you pick the© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 81All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging highest keyword to call your blog. Compare the different keywords within your niche. I’ve mentioned AdWords and I’ve given you the link there. You can sign up as an advertiser and have a look at the back-end and see how many people are bidding for words. There are a couple of links there from Seven Search. The first one there is quite a depressing list. Seven Search is another system like AdSense. They got a little bit lower standard in the type of ads that they actually allow. If you click on the first one, you’ll see the top one hundred paying words on their system. It is quite depressing at least to be honest. It is all about gambling and probably pharmaceuticals. It is probably not the most uplifting or helpful at least. The second link I’ve got there is one where you can actually type in. It is like Overture. You can type in the keywords and it will give you what people are paying on their system for those keywords. I would suspect that lots of numbers will be different from AdSense. Again, if you are comparing one word with another word, this would be a useful tool to be thinking about in that one. It’s worth keeping in mind, when you are thinking about high paying keywords, that the highest keywords have highest competitive terms as well. So you pick a term that might be worth ten dollars. The rumor goes around that this word is paying ten dollars. You can bet that there will be millions of other sites out there on that same term. I was talking to someone this week and they said that they have chosen ‘lawnmowers’, ‘riding mowers’ and ‘riding tractors’ as their keywords. There is not much competition on those keywords and it pays ok. It is not a top paying word but it’s not the lowest either. I listened to someone this week who was talking about how he chose the keyword ‘prom dresses’. Again, it is reasonable paying but not that competitive because it is not the top one.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 82All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging Then another guy did one on ‘fridges’ for refrigerators. It is an obscure term and they pay ok but they are not going to have as much competition. Don’t Choose a Niche That is Too Popular Darren: Remember what we were talking about last week with competition: We don’t want to do something that is too popular. So keep that in mind when you are thinking about the use of keywords. Formula Ingredient #3: Relevant Ads Darren: Ok, we’ll continue on. The second part of the formula is relevant. Say you want to be working on getting some relevant ads over to your blog. Again, your first point of call would be to look on Google and check whether there are ads for your system. If there are no ads on your particular niche then it will be hard to find relevancy for your ads. Generally, you’ll find these days that most niches that there are some ads there. Keyword Density Darren: The most important thing to be thinking about is your keyword density on a page. Keyword density is the amount of times that your keywords appear on your page. The best way to get ads on a particular a topic is to write about that topic and to write about it in such a way that the words that you want trigger out numerous times across your blog and across your post. Think about putting those words into the title of your post, into the title of your blog, into the body of your post, into the content itself, and into the picture tags. This will help not only for getting the right ads on your site but it will help with your search engine optimization. In particular, the post titles and page titles are really important with that.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 83All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging Meta Tags Darren: Related to that is looking at your site’s meta tags. This might be a little technical to some, but meta tags are descriptive tags that appear in your page source code. Meta tags, these days, don’t have much impact upon search engine optimization or how well you’re ranking search engines. They do have an impact upon your AdSense ads. If in your meta tag description have the word ‘scuba diving’ on your scuba diving site, you’ll more likely to get more relevant ads for that particular topic. There is a variety of different tutorials around the web on how to change meta tags on your blog. We are not going into the technical aspect of that. You should be able to do it through your template on your blog if you got a blog that have template systems. It is not too hard to do but you might want to check with someone before you go messing around with your templates too much. It is one of the first things I look at when someone asks me to look at their blog is what does the meta tags say. Avoiding the Word ‘Blog’ Darren: Avoid the word ‘blog’ as much as possible. It seems to be this magical word that if you mentioned it once or twice on your site even though you might mention other keys words millions of times, Blogads come up as ads. Blogads don’t pay very well particularly when your blog is about scuba diving or some other topic. Unless your topic is about blogging, try to get rid of that word as much as possible. It is worse for some blogs than others but that is a common problem that I see with relevancy. A lot of bloggers get blogging ads. Andy: You mean ads about blogging and not the service Blogads. Darren: Yes, sorry, it is confusing there but you’ll see on Problogger, for instance, we get a lot of ads for blogging. That is cool. I am happy about that© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 84All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging because that is what I write about. You can see those same ads on a lot of other blogs going around as well. How Long Does it Take for Google to Index My Blog? Darren: Number five there, it takes time especially when you are starting a new blog as many of you are. It can take a couple of weeks to get relevant ads up on that blog. Google claims that it takes a couple of hours. My experience is a little bit different to that. It maybe partly because you don’t have much content on your blog yet so give it a week or two before you start making too many changes. Just see, after a couple of weeks what is coming up as ads on your particular blog. Don’t get too panicky at the start if you are seeing lots of blog ads even though you don’t have the word blog. Sometimes, Google just sees that you are a blog and decides to put those ads up there. So it takes a little bit of time for it to work through the system. One Topic Per Page Darren: Number six is a really important one. It is picking one topic per page. We talked already about how we want one topic per blog. Within a blogs’ niche, there are lots of sub-niches and lots of sub-topics so just pick one of them per post. Don’t just talk about your topic in general terms. Think about what products could I talk about? What aspect of my niche could I talk about today? You’ll find that that helps to give relevancy to your ads. AdSense is not confused about what topic you’re writing about. They can see it and they’ll stick to it with the ads. On my digital camera one, you’ll see that I have a different page for each one of the cameras that I write about. Each camera has that page so I get quite relevant ads quite often to those specific models of cameras. Importance of Sidebars Darren: Look at your side bars is number seven. It’s not just your content that AdSense looks at to determine what ads to serve you. It looks at your side bar, it© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 85All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging looks at your menus, it looks at your header, and it looks at your footer. So all the words that are in those can have an impact upon what sort of ads that you are getting. If you’ve got a relevant words in those spaces, it can have an impact. It doesn’t always but it can. Blocking Useless Ads Darren: Number eight is you have the ability within AdSense to block certain URLs. If you are seeing an ad that is totally irrelevant to your site and it keeps appearing, you can add it to the filter system that AdSense has in there and you’ll see that fairly clearly within AdSense is to where to add those things. I mentioned in week one, the problem with the filter is that you can only ever see what ads are being targeted to your part of the world. The ads I see here in Australia on your site will be different from the ones that you see in your part of the world. So it will be very difficult for you to block the ads that I am seeing unless I tell you about them. So the filtering is ok but it doesn’t help that much in my mind. Checking Your Source Code Darren: Number nine is look at your source code. It is a technical thing and it comes in the meta tag that I’ve mentioned before. Depending on what web browser you are using, if you go up in your web browser to View menu, usually there is something that says, ‘view page source’. I don’t know what it says on your browser but for me, if I do ‘view source page’, it will open up another little window. It will show you the code that is behind your blog. It is interesting when AdSense sends its little robot over to scan your site to see what to put your ads for, it doesn’t see your beautiful graphics. It doesn’t see your wonderful design; all it sees is your code. It is the code that determines what comes up on your site. Look through that code and see what words are there. It may be that in your source code is the word, ‘blog’. I know a few blog designers actually include the word ‘blog’ in their template codes.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 86All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging You want to be thinking that and look in your source code. One of the things is to look at where the AdSense code is in your source code. Generally AdSense code that is towards the top of the code performs better than AdSense code that is towards the bottom. AdSense that is near your content in your page, source code often does better because it is closer to the content that you wanted to draw and contextually. I may have been too technical here for some of you. Maybe this is something down the track that you want to think about. Down the track, if you are uncomfortable with source code templates, then you might want to begin to look at some of that. Section Targeting Darren: Number ten is section targeting. This is a new feature that AdSense has included in the last few months which gives you the ability to say to AdSense, “Look at this bit of my blog and determine from looking at this particular section of my blog what ads to serve.” They give you a little start and end tags to wrap around your content or your title. It is a little bit technical and it is something you might not want to do up front but I am happy to help people with that if you want to see me an email, I’ll give you a tutorial on how to do that. Asking for Help Darren: Number eleven is simply just to ask AdSense for help. If you are getting irrelevant ads consistently after a month of blogging, send them an email. I know a number of people who have sent Google emails and they have found that Google has done something at their end at AdSense to change the relevancy of ads on your blog. I suspect from reading between the lines and talking to AdSense people recently that they’ll probably release a system in the next few months that allows you to target specific topics. I know that Yahoo’s publishing system allows you to do this now. I suspect Google will do that as well so that should help with the relevancy too.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 87All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging Andy: Something else to throw in there is a lot of stuff is going to apply to the Yahoo Publisher’s Network and Microsoft’s AdCenter. MSN just started their group up this week, right? Darren: Yes, they’ve announced that they’ll probably be about six months before we see anything that we can participate in. That will be coming along soon too. Andy: A lot of this stuff is still going to apply even if it is not just AdSense. Darren: That is right and a lot of it will, especially in the positioning and design stuff that we are about to get into will apply and for affiliate stuff as well which we’ll talk about next week. Test Driving Different Ad Networks Participant: I have a question. Darren: Sure. Participant: I just got accepted into the YPN today, the Yahoo Publisher’s Network but I am a little hesitant to test it out because I get a lot of income from AdSense so, is there a way to ease into it and test it out without cutting off my income stream completely? Darren: How many blogs do you have? You just got one? Participant: Two. One with a lot of traffic. Darren: What I suggest you do is try it on some of your pages. You might want to try on your category pages or your main page and then continue using AdSense on your individual pages. You can use both on the same blog as long as they don’t appear on the same page. That might be one way to ease in. I’ve heard a few people say that Yahoo!’s system is brilliant. The rates are so much higher than AdSense but the relevancy of the ads aren’t quite as good. Depending on what topics you are writing on and depending on what ads they’ve© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 88All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging got, it might actually be beneficial to swap over. Either do it on some pages, if you’ve got the ability on your blog to target different ads on different pages, do that or just try it for a couple of days. You might lose a little bit in the mean time but you’ll soon work out whether it’s going to pay more or less. I would definitely give it a go. I am very jealous. I am non-American and can’t join it yet. I would be interested to see how you go with it. Participant: Sounds good, thanks. Meta Tag Resources Participant: I have a question. I was wondering, when you mentioned the meta tag stuff and it is very technical, could you give us some links to that information? Darren: Ok, I’ll put some information up probably later today. I’ll make a note to myself now. Participant: That would be great. Thank you. Darren: No problem. Formula Ingredient #4: Optimized and Well-Positioned Darren: If you keep going down that page, down the formula, you’ll see another section called ‘positioning ads.’ This is really important. As I’ve mentioned before, it can double your income overnight literally if you’ve got poor positions for your ads now and you change them. The first thing I’ll get you to look at, on that page, I think I posted under the ‘well positioned ad’ section, a heat map from Google. This comes from optimization page which I mentioned earlier which is the bible for AdSense.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 89All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging The Google Heatmap Darren: What you’ll see there is an orange and yellow and grey diagram. What they’ve done there is they are presenting to you what are the hot spots on any web page. They’ve done a lot of research into where people look on sites. This is an eye tracking tool and this is the result of that. You’ll see there the redder the colors get, is the hotter the place that is primary what you’ll want to be focusing. The primary content right there, in the top middle of your primary content, that is the best spot that you can put an ad. It may not be the best spot design wise for your site. You may feel that it takes something away from your sight and you don’t want to use that spot. In my experience, that is the best spot to put an AdSense ad. I’ve given you a link there that says, ‘example’ at the bottom of your ‘well positioned’ ads list that will take you to one of my sites. It will be a page for a Kodak camera. You’ll see there, to the left of the camera picture, I’ve got a rectangle ad. I may have four ads in it. I may just have one or two depending on where you are in the world but that there is my best positioned ad ever. I have that across most of my blog. I’ll have that space in the middle of my content or just to the left of my content or just to the right of my content. Depending on my blog design, that is primary earning position on all of my blogs. You are asking yourself, “Where do people look when they come to your blog?” and try and place ads there. Another primary position you’ll see on the heat map there is on the left hand side towards the top, that seems to be a really good position. One of the things I see bloggers doing is putting skyscraper AdSense down the right hand side, the big long ads, down the right hand side. If you look on that, is probably one of the worse place you can put it. I was really surprised when I saw that. I thought that the right hand side would be good because people go to there for the scroll bar but definitely, on the left hand side of the page that tends to be better than others.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 90All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging Use that heat map and actually experiment with it. The thing that AdSense say in their optimization page is that this doesn’t work on every blog. You’ve got to experiment quite a bit. I find different things happen on different blogs for me. I don’t understand why. It is about experimenting and moving things around. So where do people look? Primarily ads do better with they are ‘above the fold’ so in the top half of your screen. You will see down there, just above the page footer on that diagram that those ads do pretty well. Then at the end of articles is often a good spot because as people get to the end of your article and a certain percentage will, a lot of people don’t get to the end of articles on web but that is often a good spot because as people get to the end of an article, they are looking for something else to do so that is a good spot to put ads down at the bottom. Generally above the fold is better. You can try between the end of a post and before comments on a blog. I find that that is a really great position on a lot of my blogs. Importance of White Space Darren: Use white space so they don’t clutter your blog as much as I have on that page I gave you before. Don’t clutter your blog with too many ads. On most blogs, that won’t work. Those work pretty well on mind but if you put white space around an ad, that is a visual queue that draws people’s eye to the ad. There has been some studies on that. There is a guy who does eye tracking. He had a blog on it a while ago which isn’t live anymore but he use to write about white spaces and how white spaces around ads are brilliant. Be Careful with Placement Similarly, you can use visual queues or pictures. You need to be very careful when using pictures around AdSense because the AdSense people don’t like it. They don’t want you do, in an unfair way, draw people’s eyes to blog ads. Andy: So no blinking arrows?!© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 91All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging Darren: No blinking arrows, no things that say ‘click here’ or anything like that. I’ve experimented with having pictures around my ads or just above them or just below them, not trying to make them look like they are the ads but it does draw people’s eyes to that section of the page. Just think about what else have I got around in that particular ad and will it detract or add to the ad? Andy: Something with the heat map work too is if folks are doing blogs that are making money from your blog as well as because of your blog, you’re going to have to make some decisions. If you got a newsletter, is your blog about guiding people towards your newsletter or is it about getting them to click on an ad? It is not a pure ‘either or’ but you have to start thinking about what is the hierarchy. Do you want to guide people to come into your own business funnel, your sales funnel, or do you want them to click on an ad so you can get the income? Darren: That is right. I guess the other thing I would say is that even if it is purely about making from your blog, there are other things that might be better to put in those prime positions. For instance, on my digital camera one, if you look on the top left hand corner there, I do have a Google ad but underneath that, I’ve got some affiliate programs which actually can pay twenty dollars if someone signs up for that. They do pretty well. I am putting there, in the prime position as much AdSense ads. So depending in what you are trying to sell and what your goals are, you might want to put something other than AdSense ads in the heat map’s position. Do Ads Detract from Sales Copy? Audri: Can I make a comment on this? Darren: Sure. Audri: This is Audri Landford. We have recently signed up for AdSense and have done an enormous amount of research on this and we discovered that even though people feel as if having AdSense would detract from people going into their sales funnels, etc, we’ve discovered that in fact that very rarely ever© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 92All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging happens. It is definitely worth testing. Even on sales pages, we’ve found that it doesn’t decrease sales or it decreases it less than the amount that you made from AdSense. It is definitely something to test. Darren: That is so true. The criticism that I hear from a lot of people is, “It is going to ruin my page.” I actually find that it enhances it. Some of the ads that you get served are actually really useful ads and I think that can look quite classy if you design them all as well. I would completely go with what you are saying Audri. The next point there I got is consider putting more than one ad unit per page. AdSense will allow you to put up to three AdSense text ad units on any page. You’ll find some pages around the web have more than that and a lot of them have permission to do so with AdSense. Without permission, don’t put more than three. Consider putting more than one. You might find that when you go for more than one, you want to think about the ordering of your ads. I’ve talked about page source code before. You’ll find that whatever ad appears first in that page code, not what looks first on your site, but what is first in the page code, that will be the highest paying ads. That is where Google puts the best ads. If for instance, high is in your left hand side bar down in the bottom, that is not the best place for an ad but it will be your best paying ads get served to. You want to be thinking about what would be the impact if we are putting in three ads on the page if the first one in the source code is actually not in a good position, it is the last one. It may be a bit technical but it is worth considering the ordering of things in your source code there. Don’t put ads in frames. I don’t think many people use frames anymore. It screws around with the whole system a fair bit. Put your ads on every page. Like Audrey just said, I put ads on every page in my site that I possible can. Even the ones where I am trying to sell products myself. I find that it doesn’t really detract too much from doing that.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 93All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging Putting Ads on Every Page Darren: Some bloggers, they just think, “I’ll just put them on the main page.” If your blog is anything like mine, it is actually individual pages that get more traffic than your main page. Put them everywhere, not everywhere but on every page that you possibly can on your blog. What are Chitika eMiniMalls? Participant: I have a question. Darren: Sure. Dave: This is Dave and this is my first time that I’ve actually listened to it live and participated so I am glad to be here. I have a question on an example on the Digital Photography Blog. I am sorry to ask this but I can’t help. This really isn’t about AdSense but there is an ad that I see on this page that when I mouse over it, it says that it’s eMiniMalls which is right above your AdSense ad. This is the first time I’ve seen this ad format. I was truly confused when I first looked at the page because what the ad is showing is a different camera than what the page is about. Darren: That’s right. Dave: At first, I was trying to figure out, because the page is largely white, what the page was talking about because I wasn’t reading it, I was listening to you. I was wondering if anybody else has mentioned this. Darren: Yes, with those ones are a beta test from another organization that I am trying at the moment. I am not completely happy with them. The main problem I see with them is that they don’t come up with completely relevant ads all the time. That is what you put your finger on there is that it is about a different camera that is being served. I’ve written about that on that particular page but it is in bata test. I think they’ll improve their relevancy but that is one of the things you want to consider is does the ads actually add to or take away from the page.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 94All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging Unfortunately that system, it is performing really well in some sense but they got a bit of work to do on their relevancy. That is the consideration you want to take into account. The same can happen with AdSense. You can get quite irrelevant ads. If you get that, it may be that you don’t want to go with the system. Dave: Well what blows my mind when I look at this site is I know you make good money on this and I’m really impressed with the degree to which you try things on a bread and butter site. One of the problems I’ve had is that I’ve made money in the past on some of my sites and I was deathly afraid of changing it at times. I just like your relentlessness. Keeping a Change Log Darren: It is risky. One of the tips I was going to come with later is really be careful when you make changes to your site and to make a record of every change that you make. I have a change log, I call it. It is just a document that every time I make a change, if I try something new, I record it so later on, two weeks later when I go back over my AdSense earnings I can go, “Gee everything fell apart two weeks ago today. What did I do that day?” I can go back and I can identify what mistake I made and learn something from that. In the same way, if I do something and suddenly my AdSense goes up, but I haven’t recorded that, I haven’t learnt a lesson. So do try new things but track and record what you learned. It is so important. I really would encourage people to back up their template before making any changes also. If you make a change of the template of your site and you can’t get back to it if you can’t remember what it use to be like. It is really important, if you are going to be trying new things is to work on that stuff. Designing Ads Darren: I think we’ll keep moving forward because we still got a bit of content to cover in the last few minutes. We’ll move on to designing ads. The ultimately thing you can do with the design of your ads and Google allows you when you are© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 95All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging trying to get codes for your ads and try to make changes to the colors and to the size and thing, probably the ultimate thing you can do in designing your ad is to blend them into your content. Blending Ads Into Content Darren: You’ll see there on that page that, I don’t have any borders to my ads. I like the borders white. I make the background white. I make the links of those ads the same colors as link on the rest of my site. I make the text the same colors as the rest of my site. The little URLs, at the bottom there, I try and make them as wide as the AdSense will allow me to make them so that they don’t distract too much. In the blending approach, a lot of people use this quite effectively. Most people believe that it’s the best way of designing ads on your site. Some people don’t. Some people go the opposite and put yellow ads with red links. Is that the best performing ad? It may be for their site but I would much rather have something that blends into my site both from esthetics point of view but I also find it most effective. Google says in their optimization page that rectangles work best. The one you see there that is to the left of the camera is a rectangle ad. They tend to pay better for some reason. The skyscrapers sometimes do well. Again, it’s about finding what works best on your particular blog. Rotating Colors You can rotate the colors of your ad. I don’t have time to go into the technicality of that but there is a tutorial in Google. Google has help pages on that. The beauty of rotating the colors of your ads is that if you’ve got a lot of regular reader that come into your site, this helps to combat that blindness that they get from ads. It is like Engadget, which we looked at last week. They rotate the colors on their ads because they have an incredible high loyal readership. So they are trying to© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 96All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging grab the attention of their readers every day. So they constantly are changing how their ads work. I think you can have up to four different types of designs on those particular ads. Don’t Crowd Content Darren: Don’t crowd out your content. I’ve seen a few blogs over the last few weeks that you come to their page and there is absolutely no content above the fold at all. I don’t know how many people would have found those blogs. You’ve got to make some decisions about how you want your blog to look like as well and how useful you want it to be for your people. Varying Different Ad Unit Types Darren: The other thing I would say about design is you’ll see on that example page at the top of the left hand menu there, I have four or five different little link ads by Google. They are a bit different to the other types of ads. They are called ‘ad link unit’. If you were to click on it, don’t click on all my ads because I’ll get in trouble with Google, but if you were to click on those ads it would take you to another page which is just ads. That is a new format that Google has brought in the last few months which I find, in that position, it works quite well. So experiment with that type of thing. AdSense Search Bar Darren: On the other site on the right hand side, you’ll see a little Google search bar. Again that is an AdSense product. If you do a search for a particular product there, it will perform like a normal search bar but it would also serve a few ads at the top of it. It is another way of earning a little bit of an income. I personally don’t find that that works very well on my site. Maybe I’ve got it in the wrong position. Maybe my people who read my site don’t use search, but they don’t work too well for me.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 97All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging Experimenting with Outbound Links Darren: We’ll keep plowing on. I’ve got some miscellaneous tips there. One thing to consider is how many outbound links you’ve got on your site. If you’ve got a site that has got hundreds and hundreds of other options for people to click on to leave your site that will have an impact upon how many people click your ads. I’ve see a few bloggers experiment with pages which has a very few out bounds links on them. It just has contents and ads. If you want to leave the site, you have to click on an ad; there is no other option. They say that that works quite well. I don’t completely subscribe to that because I want to provide my readers with useful content on other sites as well. For me it is not quite as important but it is something to consider as you think about your site. First come first serve, I think I mentioned before in your page source code. The ad that appears first in the source code will be the highest paying ad. If it happens that the first one is at the bottom, you’ll know what to do about that. Using Channels to Track Effectiveness Darren: Track your successes and some failures. AdSense allows you to put channels on your blog. Each ad on my blog, each ad that you see on my example page there, I’ve assigned a different channel. So the one in the content is one channel. The one on the right hand side bar, under the search bar is the second channel. I’ve got another one a bit lower on the page is the third channel. I can track which ad is performing best by that. I know which ones are being paid more. I know which ones are being click on more. When I make changes to them in the positions, I can track which ones are doing best. In conjunction with my change log, I can track which ads are doing well and which ones aren’t. Other Tips Darren: The quantity of content on a page seems to impact on how well ads go as well, so the quantities of content on a blog seem to increase that. So establish© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 98All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging blogs that have thousands and thousands pages of ads. Some people believe that those blogs actually do better. They get a high click rate better than others. This is a guess but that is what some people say. The older your blog is and the bigger and the more authoritative your site gets, you’ll certainly see some improvements over time. I’ve mentioned there some AdSense services, the other one, you’ve got the adlinks and the search one. The other one AdSense now have is RSS ads. Again, I haven’t’ found them really work too effectively but it is something you might want to experiment with. There is plenty of help in the Google help on how to set up those. Don’t Get Obsessed! Darren: One of the big advices that I would give you is just don’t become obsessed with AdSense. I’ve seen so many bloggers who puts so much time and energy into designing their AdSense ads that they forget to write content for their blog and they forget to design well and they forget some of the other basics of blogging. It is exciting AdSense and it is fun but you need to feed your blog with content and develop readers and not become obsessed by AdSense. I know you’ll probably spend a lot of time this week, especially after this call, is tweaking but don’t forget the rest of it. Fieldwork Andy: Yes, we can finish this stuff off for next week. Let’s review the field work and we’ll open up the call for a final call for questions. The field work for this week is to get your ads on your blog as well as continuing to do all of your niche tracking stuff and anything else people should be watching out for Darren? Darren: The best way to learn about AdSense is to do it and if you’ve got any questions during the week, shoot me an email and I’ll either directly answer your question or point you to an article that I’ve written about it or someone else has written about it.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 99All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging Just do it and have fun with it. It is good fun. I would look at it like the stock market. I love waking up in the morning and seeing how much I earned while I slept last night. It is fantastic. More on Chitika eMiniMalls Andy: So last minute questions. Participant: Yes, that cute little ad that you’ve got on the top where it’s got a little camera and then it’s got Kodak description of best deals, does that do well because that looks really good? Darren: Yes, if you go to Problogger.net, I’ve written a review on that product in the last few days. They are called eMiniMalls. We were talking about them before. I find that they do well in terms of the click value in them is very high. It is much higher than my Google ads but I get less percentage of people clicking on them. So the click through rate isn’t as high but the click they use is high. I’ve reviewed that on Problogger and I recommend you have a read on that before you go and sign up for it because it won’t suit every blog. It will suit blogs that have products related to them. If you are going to use them in conjunction with AdSense, you need to change the code on it. You can’t have them as contextual ads. AdSense will not allow you to have other contextual advertising systems on the page and that one is one. There are some ways around that in Google and I do them in a certain way. I’ve outlined how to do that on Problogger. Participant: Great, thanks. Darren: No problem. Google Sitemaps Participant: What about Google Sitemaps to increase your hits? Darren: I haven’t experimented with Sitemaps yet but I know a number of people who are. Site maps help Google’s little robot to index your site to get© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 100All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging around your site and I’m not really sure, I haven’t done any experimenting with that to this point. Have you tried them Andy? Andy: I have installed the plugin for WordPress on my two blogs and I haven’t run my stats yet this month to see if it is increasing but I know that it is out there. I also know it is out there. I think that the technology is in beta testing in Google site as well. Copyright, Image Use and Quoting Content Participant: For product based blogs, what is the best approach for using images without doing something wrong? Darren: In terms of copyright? Participant: Yes, exactly. Darren: I generally only use images that are official images from the official sites. I get a lot of press releases sent to me and they often have images in them. If I use an image from another site, I usually ask for permission first and I would always give a link back to the site that the image came from. I have standing agreements with a lot of the other sites now where I say, “You can use my image if you let me use yours.” Participant: So from the manufacturer, it’s ok to go ahead and use those images? Darren: Absolutely because you are using their products. Participant: Thank you. Another Participant: Darren on that topic, what about the actual reviews that you do. Is it ok to just post them exactly? Darren: My policy on that and I think most people would agree is a short excerpt from another person’s work is OK if you give a link back to that person. I© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 101All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging am dead against copying a whole article. I am set against copying more than a paragraph at a time unless you have the permission. You need to give a link back. Always give a link back to your source. If someone says, “Please don’t use my content like that.” I will always remove it. I find that most people, I get emails from other sites all day everyday from people saying, “Please use my content that way.” Most people are finding that. I love it when people do it to me. If people have a problem with it, just don’t do it. Don’t get into that. Can I just say one more tip Andy because we haven’t got on to it but we’ll covered it next week in the ‘do nots’. Have a read on the list of ‘do nots’ because it is really important that you get your head around some of those things like you never click on your own ads. It is just 101, basic stuff. You’ll get into trouble from Google. They track who clicks on the ads so don’t click on your own ads and don’t click on anyone else’s ads too much to help them out. Occasionally if you accidentally do it, that is cool but it is really important or you’ll get booted out of the system pretty quick. Andy: Because Google knows all and they will come and get you! Darren: Yes they will. Andy: Alright, are you ready to wind it up Darren? Darren: I am ready. Andy: Alright. I know that you have been talking like crazy. So everybody, thank you for joining us tonight and we’ll talk to you next week. I’ll get the field work posted up there and have a fantastic week and everybody, thank you so much.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 102All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure BloggingSix Figure Blogging Class 3Worksheets Sign Up for Google AdSense Go Google AdSense and signup for an account. You should already have a blog set up, along with a few postings as they will ask you for your blog or website address. You only need to apply for one AdSense account even if you have multiple blogs. □ I have signed up for my Google AdSense account and have my username and password recorded in a reliable place. Understanding AdSense Requirements To benefit from AdSense, it’s important that you have a clear understanding of their requirements. Please read their guidelines carefully. If you have any questions about implementing AdSense on your blog, email customer support and find out what to do. It is important that you adhere to their policies otherwise you may risk losing access to AdSense altogether. □ I have read and understand the AdSense use requirements. Add AdSense to Your Blogs Add AdSense adds to your blog by following the simple instructions located at Google AdSense and embedding the appropriate HTML code. □ I have added AdSense to my blogs(s). Start a Blog Change Log A change log is a method for recording the changes that you make on your blog. You should keep a detailed diary of the changes that you make, including the date and time you made the change and what change youmade. Then you can measure© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 103All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging your blog statistics during these times and record them as well. This log will help you track what works and what doesn’t. □ I have started a blog change log.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. 104All Rights Reserved. http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/
Six Figure Blogging AdSense / Blog Compatibility Test Analyze your blog(s) to see if they are compatible with AdSense. Certain types of sites are more compatible for use with AdSense than others. Here are some criteria to consider: Sites where users are looking for information on specific products or services that interest them - product, business opportunity, looking to buy tickets, etc. Sites where users are in a buying mood Sites where users are researching ways to spend money Sites with a high percentage of fresh unique visitors (regular visitors tend to ignore ads) Sites where users show an interest to ads, and not just the site’s offeringsEvaluation Blog 1: Blog 2: Blog 3:CriteriaDo visitors come tomy blog to look forinformation and/orspecific products orservices?Does my blog attractreaders who are in abuying mood?Does my blog attracta regular and steadystream of newreaders?© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 105http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
Six Figure BloggingIs my blog orientedtowards political,religious,celebrity/gossip, orsports?While it is notimpossible to makemoney using AdSenseon these types ofblogs, they may beunsuitable unless youare able to draw a lotof traffic.Does my blog contain You cannot use AdSense with these types of blogs.adult content, explicitlanguage or orientedtowards gambling?Does my blog contain You cannot use AdSense with these types of blogs.content for which Idon’t have copyrightcontent?Does my blog contain You cannot use AdSense with these types of blogs.contextual ad systemswhich would competewith AdSense?© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 106http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0