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6 figure blogging 5


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6 figure blogging 5

  1. 1. Six Figure BloggingSix Figure Blogging Class 5Transcript Time Warner/Weblogs, Inc. Buyout Andy: Darren, have we done the class since the big AOL Time Warner news, the big AOL Web Blog buy out? Darren: No. I think that happened this week Andy: Yes, that was the big news. I don’t know if anybody has heard but AOL bought the Weblogs, Inc. blog network for how much Darren? Was it twenty million? Darren: The rumor is about twenty-five million. Which I think is not bad for a two year old company. Andy: Not at all. I think they were saying that they have about eighty blogs but really thirty of them are live. Darren: That is right and there was one or two that weren’t included in that deal that is because, it came out yesterday [that those blogs posted] lots of rumors on them and AOL didn’t want to get sued. Andy: Right, with all the liability. I am curious to see how this is all shakes out because I want to see what kind of deals the writers are going to get. Darren: Yes, I think there are no promises at this stage. I saw an email saying that they are not promising any extra payments at this stage but they are changing their conditions of copy write so the bloggers can keep the copyright to what they write Andy: That is surprising.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 141 1.0
  2. 2. Six Figure Blogging Darren: Yes, they can use it in any way that is not online, I think. So they can write books out of their content or do speaking tours or that kind of stuff so there are some increased conditions to that regard and there was allusions to that fact that there would be more money in the network but haven’t given any specifics to my knowledge yet on that. Andy: I am so surprised that a large company like AOL would give up content rights. That really surprises me. Darren: Yes. I guess AOL is an online company so they just want to [have the] online rights to it. Andy: Maybe that is how they can justify not paying people as much because they say, “You own your content.” Darren: Yes, exactly. Google Launches RSS Reader Andy: The other big blogging news was that Google launched an RSS reader which you can look at I just posted a flash demo on how to do it over at It is in the notes for tonight and Yahoo just launched a podcast search engine over at So there has been a lot of activity. Darren, there was some other big money buy out thing. What was that? Verisign Buys Darren: Yes, VeriSign bought out which was a pinging service. Andy: Right so if you guys have ever heard of, which is a pinging service which is a clearing house for updated weblogs all over the place. That got bought by Verisign who was owned by Dave Winer, right?© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 142 1.0
  3. 3. Six Figure Blogging Darren: That is right. It was a multimillion dollar deal. I can’t remember the exact figures. I think it might have been five or something. Andy: It is wild because that is really just a pinging server. I mean, yes, it has a lot of traffic but it is pretty much a one-trick-pony type site. Darren: That is right. Andy: I am fascinated to see in a year what we are talking about in regards to all these buyouts they just have the capacity to. Darren: That is right. I guess it just goes to show how a simple idea can actually work out for massive results in an incredibly short time with blogging. Andy: Yes, so now they are all saying that this is the blogging bubble. It is the internet bubble 2.0 and the usual rumor-mongering and the hate- mongering and gossip is awash over the blogosphere. It is always fun to tune into that because people get really protective of themselves. Introduction to Metrics Andy: Today we really want to get down to brass tacks about metrics and traffic and writing content. I really love the metrics side of things because it is something you can hold on to, you can analyze it, you can play with it if you are obsessed with numbers. You can be a total Microsoft Excel dork and sit there and run charts and figure out where everything is coming from. Metrics are really what is going to get you certain about the results that your blog is getting. Darren: That is right. I was just thinking this morning, I used to work in a supermarket and we used to do this thing where we’d follow customers around and we’d make a little map of where they went in the store, what shelves they were looking at, what products they compared with other© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 143 1.0
  4. 4. Six Figure Blogging products, and those sorts of thing. Then we did an exit poll of them at the end. That information was then used in the design of that supermarket. Really I guess what we are talking about today is that type of thing where we are looking at who our readers are, where they are coming in, and where they’re looking, what they are doing, and how they leave. In the same regard, I guess, we actually can use that information to design our sites and I guess increase the profitability of what we are doing. Andy: Yes, if you want to read about that behavior study, there is a really good book out called WhyWe Buy. It is a guy who is an anthropologist that actually hires people to follow customers in malls, restaurants, and shops. They do this whole study. It is a fascinating book and he also does some work online. He just published a new book about people’s attraction to malls. I forgot the guy’s name but his one book is called Why We Buy. Traffic as a Stream Andy: When I think of traffic, I’d like to think of a stream. It is important to analyze each visitor and where each individual could be going, might be going, and what they might be looking for. You can get a lot more information if you think about your traffic as a stream. You are standing next to a stream and you want to dip your blog in there. You want to get as much water as possible. Think about when you are at the ocean and you are trying to catch guppies. You have your half-liter bottle; you’ve cut it in half and it’s empty. You catch some fish and they always swim out of the water as you are scooping it up. It is the idea where you want to get this flow. I think of this big pipeline. I want to divert it from the internet on to my blog. Then I want to get those clicks to people on to my site. Every click tells you something about what that person’s looking for. I really didn’t© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 144 1.0
  5. 5. Six Figure Blogging start thinking about traffic like that until a couple of years ago where I was really trying to read up on how people think of website traffic. Every click tells you either a person has found something they are looking for, they got interested in something, they gave up and left, or they got diverted into a different topic, or they clicked on an ad. Every single click can tell you a little bit more about what person is doing and what they are looking for. It is important to think of traffic as this overall stream that you can analyze but every once in a while, you can get in there and root around and see what an individual user is doing. Darren: That is right. The other thing that I love about metrics and the statistical packages that we are going to talk about today is that you can analyze things quite often on a click-by-click basis and on an individual user basis. When you pull those statistics together, you actually begin to see some real emerging trends on your blog. What I’d suggest is that people do go into the micro and do look at individual behavior of blog readers but take steps back as well and look at those overarching trends which can reveal some incredible information and open up real opportunities for you as well. What is Your Site’s Most Valuable Click? Andy: The stuff I wanted to add to is the idea of what is your site’s most valuable click? If somebody goes to your site and clicks on something, what gets you the most bang for the buck? What is the highest paying best converting link to an ad? To an affiliate commission? It could be to your own newsletter or an existing product. Do you put those valuable clicks in the hot spots of your templates so that each click not only tells you about the user but can also be an opportunity for income?© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 145 1.0
  6. 6. Six Figure Blogging Darren: That is right. That would make a good basis for your field work this week is asking the question, “What am I trying to get people to click on? What is that most valuable click?” For instance, on Problogger, my most valuable click isn’t my AdSense ads. They are not a big of a deal for me. What I want people to do on Problogger is one of three things. I want them to sign up for my RSS feed; I want them to subscribe to my newsletter, and I’d like them to click on my affiliate links because I know the affiliate links on that page are much better converting when it comes to income than AdSense ads. That is my priority for Problogger which is very different from say the digital camera one where I am much more interested in people clicking on Chitika ads or AdSense ads because I know that they convert pretty well on that particular site. So each blog you have, it is really important to have that in the back of your mind is, “What am I trying to direct people to? How am I trying to divert this stream into ways that 1) Helps the readers that are coming into my site because we want to be creating useful but that 2) that it is helpful to me in my goals?” Basic Vocabulary Andy: Right. Just to do a quick vocabulary, when we talk about conversion rate, we are talking about what percentage of visits to a particular page result in clicking on an ad or an affiliate link. If you say, for example, that my newsletter sign up page usually has about twenty to twenty-five percent conversion, which means of the people that land on the sign up page, at least a fourth of them make the trip to the success page that says, “Thanks for signing up for the newsletter.” Then, I am also able to tell how many of those people then go to download the excerpt from my book.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 146 1.0
  7. 7. Six Figure Blogging So the conversion rate is meaning how many of these random readers are you converting either into a newsletter or a sales pipeline or out to a product or an ad or an affiliate product. Darren: That is right. Really for me, it is all about positioning. I think one of the key positions on your blog to put these things that you want people to do is at the end of posts. We talked last week about how the top left hand corner of the heat map and that can be quite optimal to put something like, “Subscribe for my newsletter for tips like this.” Or “Subscribe to my RSS feed for more information like this.” Add those points in your blog where things end whether it be a post or whether it be a stream of thought that you got going on or whether it be that they just signed up for something and then they are greeted with an empty page. You want to be thinking about those dead spots, those spots where people are stopping and looking for something else to do is to actually be positioning those sorts of next step activities. Andy: Right, very good idea. Along with that, if you are going to think of your clicks in a really cold marketing business school sense, you really want ideally, a site visitor to click on an ad or a product or often to a newsletter or go somewhere else on this site that if you are getting into cold hard marketing terms, you want them to either click out to something that gives me something or stay on the site until you do. Use a Flowchart to Map Traffic Patterns Darren: That is right. I think it is really worthwhile, I haven’t put them in the notes, but it is worthwhile actually to be making a flowchart up of what you think a typical reader does on your site. Track them where they are coming in from and what will they do when they are on my site and actually begin to develop your idea flow of what would you like them to do© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 147 1.0
  8. 8. Six Figure Blogging that can actually give you some steps along the way of actually designing this flow through in a way that converts for you. Observe Test Users Andy: Also if you want to drive yourself crazy, have somebody that doesn’t know your site and watch them use it. There are a few things more awaking than watching non-savvy internet users use a website. So if you ever want to blow your own mind, I use to do interface testing with an old job. Watch people use your site. You will be amazed at what they click on, what they skip over, and what they see as important versus what you or your designer think is important. Darren: It is one of the funniest things you can ever do is doing that but it is really useful. Andy: If you have non-techie parents, get them to use your site because you will learn so much about where their eyes fall, what they perceive as something that is free or something that is useful. It will totally blow your mind. I am telling you; it is really fascinating. Darren: It is quite depressing too. Andy: It is quite depressing. If you want a good book on usability, check out, Don’t Make Me Think. It is a book on web usability. It is really great reading, very approachable. David Krug, I think is the guy’s name. I believe if you go to it will tell you what is going on. That is again outside of the blog realm but knowing some web usability can often help you understand why things aren’t working on your design. Traffic and Measuring Andy: So we covered traffic and measuring and why we measure and how we measure but now we want to get to really the how and the metrics and© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 148 1.0
  9. 9. Six Figure Blogging the measures. What you want to start to notice is where people are coming from? What is the referring link? How did they get there? Who is sending you the most traffic? What domain names send you the most traffic? Where are they going? Once they get to your blog, what do they do next? Do they stay on the blog, go somewhere else, do they check the archives, do they run a search, and do they go out to something that interests them? What were they looking for? If an incoming user or reader is coming from Google or Yahoo or MSN, you can usually see what search keywords they were looking for. You can start to understand what keywords you have to a particular fancy for in the search engines. I remember when they had the tsunami, I posted some tsunami pictures on one of my personal blogs and I was on the second page of tsunami pics results. I was getting a ton of hits a day. Darren: You are the expert on this stuff mate. I am really looking forward to hearing how you actually do it. What tools do you use in your tracking? I use Site Meter; that is the main thing I use. What do you recommend? Andy: I am using a pretty advanced tool that I am not sure if I totally like it yet or not called Mach5. It actually downloads the traffic blogs from your web host. Darren: Ok, so that is a server based thing. Andy: It runs from Windows. It is a Windows application that goes and grabs your logs and then it analyses them. Sometimes, I think it may be too much analysis. I think if you can get where they are coming from and where they were going and if you got TypePad, your stats packages in TypePad also tells you what people are looking for.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 149 1.0
  10. 10. Six Figure Blogging If you get a Google link in TypePad in your stats package or in the traffic area, you can click on that and that will tell you what terms people were looking for. You can actually see the search page that person saw and see where you fall on it because often it won’t be the first result. I’ve gotten good clicks out of being fifth position if the topic is strong enough. Darren: I find that the traffic services that cost, I don’t know what that actually costs, that they are actually really great. You can get most of that information from Site Meter or a free package as well so if you are wanting to start out small. The downside of Site Meter is that it tracks down your last one hundred size of your site. It can give you good information or not. I find myself logging into Site Meter just everyday. I have a folder on Firefox which opens every Site Meter on all my blogs in a click and I can scan through them and just get a feel on what is going on in my blogs just in a couple of minutes. One of the most helpful steps on Site Meter that I use is just the last hour steps. It tells you how many people have been on your site in the last hour. For me this is vitally important because if you get a big link up from a particular site. Last week I got a link from Slashdot. I knew about that within a few minutes of that link coming in just by looking at, “I had a thousand visitor in the last hour. Something unusual is happening there.” To know that information is so powerful because it means that you can go to the page that they are coming in on and actually begin to mold that page, that post into something that not only helps them, the reader but actually helps you as well. I went into that post and I added an affiliate link. I mentioned my RSS feed, my newsletter and the conversion was great. If I hadn’t been tracking© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 150 1.0
  11. 11. Six Figure Blogging those results up to the minute almost, I would have lost the power of thirty or forty thousand people in a few hours coming into my site. It really is vital information. It doesn’t have to cost you anything. Andy: Right and along with what stats can tell you, it can also tell you where pages aren’t being found. Some stats packages will tell you where are the broken links on your site. You may have a broken link that you either move something and it is getting a tone of hits but nobody is able to get to that resource because you moved it. You could do a forwarding page or do some other server magic that then harness that traffic to the old link to where it should be going. Along with knowing where people are coming from, where they are going, and what they are looking for, you can also start to track things by IP address which tell you the geographic location of where that person is in the world which you can also tell you perhaps what languages you might try offering your blog in. I know Darren, we talked about yesterday that Engadget has the gadget blog in multiple languages right? Darren: Yes, They’ve got at least two or three languages now. I know the Gawker News network is going into a lot of European languages at the moment and I suspect that that is because they noticed that a lot of visitors coming in from those countries and they want to provide information that will tap into that market where things are happening for them already. Andy: It is also really cool where you can run that report and see that you are being read all over the world. Besides all the, “Yes, we are making money, “ it is really cool that you are able to reach out and be read by people all over the world.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 151 1.0
  12. 12. Six Figure Blogging Darren: That is right. It is essential if you are going to be running private advertising on your site. I just signed a deal with Ricoh to put some ads on my site. It is Ricoh Australia that wants to put the ads on and the first question they asked was, “How many Australian visitors do you have to your site?” Unless you are tracking that information, you are pulling figures out of nowhere. It is all any evidence but to be able to say, “Here is my stat package. Here are how many Australian visitors are coming in.” They’ll be able to make an informed decision and it is quite attractive to advertisers. It is not just the only information but if you want to go into advertising route, it is essential to be able to have those stats. A lot of them want demographic stats as well which don’t come from stat packages. It is very hard to tell where they are male or female coming in or what age they are. So another thing you might want to consider is running a survey occasionally just to put a finger on the pulse of your blog of who is reading it because that information is very attractive to advertisers as well. Andy: Along with where people are, it is also useful to know how they are coming into the sight and what page they are coming on and when they are leaving. Often, people don’t come to your site through the front page. Darren: That is right. I was looking at my digital camera one this morning and I am just looking at it now. Out of the last one hundred visitors to my site only thirteen hit the front page. So eighty-seven percent of my visitors are coming in through a back door somewhere. It is really useful to know which back door that is. I know just looking at it that about ten percent are coming in by one particular page on my site on a particular digital camera that is rumored to be coming out in the next month or so.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 152 1.0
  13. 13. Six Figure Blogging That is valuable information for me as I begin to think about one, what is on that page already and what opportunities are there on that page? Two, should I be writing more information on that particular camera at the moment because that is hot at the moment? Andy: Right and or should you adjust the ads on that page to maximize the traffic you are receiving too. Darren: Yes, for sure. It might be worth for me putting in another Chitika ad on that. Andy: Just have that whole page be one Chitika ad! Along with where people are going and when they are exiting the site, if there is someplace where people always exit the site, either you are probably linking to a really good resource or it is a really boring page. Darren: That is right. One of the interesting thing about knowing where people are going, in MyBlogLog stats that we kept talking about give you this is that you actually know what other sites are really benefiting from you at the moment which is good for pulling in favors later. I was talking to someone the other day and I said to him, “You know, I noticed I’ve sent you three to four hundred hits over the last twenty-four hours.” They were amazed that I knew that. There is a relationship. I am not going to manipulate them for that information but it is really good to know who is benefiting from my site and how that might come back for me later on. It is really interesting. The other thing I noticed this morning on my digital camera one is that the statistics of where people are entering the site and where people are leaving the site from actually are very similar. So I know that thirteen percent are hitting my site on the front page and thirteen percent are leaving my site from the front page.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 153 1.0
  14. 14. Six Figure Blogging Obviously I need to do some work there on retaining visitors because they are coming in and they are leaving from the same page which could be good if they are all clicking on ads but it could be that they are not finding the information that they want. Again, that information is really useful to have. Andy: It’s also good to know what times of the day and or days of the week your site gets more traffic. I was surprised that I get a lot more traffic on Mondays than other days of the week. I was suspecting it would be Tuesday or Wednesday because I would think people go to work on Monday and they spend all day going through emails; maybe that is just me. What you can start to find out is what days you get the most traffic so you should have your most featured content début on that particular day. Darren: Yes, I know on my blog that usually Tuesdays or Wednesdays are the highest days. You’ll noticed on my other blogs that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the days I’ll make announcements so if any are an importance to me, they are the days where I’ll feature new affiliate programs that I got coming in. There is no point of putting them on a Saturday when my stats drop in half. It is great information to have. Andy: Finally, how much time is being spent on your site? Like Darren was saying, if you got thirteen percent of the people getting to the front page and many of those don’t stick around, if he knows how long they stayed on the page, he is able to see if they theoretically read something, did they go, “I didn’t like the site,” and then they are gone within a few seconds. That again can tell you more information about who is reading the page and how long they are taking and spending time on it. Depending on how the content is on the page, if they are perusing it or watching a demo or listening to something, it can tell you more information. Darren: I find that most people don’t spend time on pages for very long. We’ll talk a little bit later on that in writing content. You need to write© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 154 1.0
  15. 15. Six Figure Blogging with that in mind so don’t get too depressed if people are staying in your site for forty seconds. That doesn’t sound like much but actually that is not bad for a lot of sites. The other thing I would say is don’t worry too much about comparing that stat with another site because each site will have its own purpose and its own rhythm. Forty seconds can be fantastic if at the end of that forty seconds they are clicking on the link that you want them to click on. Again six minutes might be great for some sites but they might not be getting any conversions on that. Again, it is not just about lengths of stay but it is about what your goal is ultimately. Traffic Tools Andy: Right. Now I want to get into some of the tools that we use to track all this stuff. Technorati and BlogPulse The first two that I really enjoy using are Technorati and BlogPulse which we’ve talked about before. They are places to finds blogs on a certain topic or a certain keyword or a certain niche. I use Technorati and BlogPulse because they have watchlists where I am able to see where I am being linked to in the blogosphere usually within an hour or so of it happening. So if you want to, you can sign up over at Technocrati. You’ll have to create a user account and assign your blog and go through a little process as well as BlogPulse You can take any URL anywhere and type into BlogPulse and see where that is being linked to in the blogosphere and how many links it is getting. It will even give you a trend chart to show you over the past two weeks or four weeks where the traffic has been spiking and where the interest is.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 155 1.0
  16. 16. Six Figure Blogging Darren: Yes, I use to use them quite a bit but for some reason, I dropped off. I don’t know if I am getting too busy but it is great information to have. Does it cost anything to use the search or the watch list? Andy: No, I think with Technorati, I think you can have up to three watch lists and the BlogPulse is free right now as well. I know that the BlogPulse company, they do that Intelliseek product where it is really mega stats for large corporations. The BlogPulse thing is all free right now. Darren: Great. I may have to get back into them. Andy: You can also subscribe to a feed of these updates for your blog. In my aggregator, I’ve got an Andy Technorati feed so I can see whenever somebody links to my site I get pop-ups that says, “Hey this is here.” So they link to me where they are going. If I know them I can say, “Thanks for sending me traffic.” I can leave a comment on that particular post and say, “Thanks so much for talking about what I am talking about.” It is another way to see where you are being talked about and where you are being mentioned. Darren: Yes, that is very useful information to know that because for me, blogging is really about the relationships not only with your readers but with the source of your readers as well. To know that is quite a powerful thing. MyBlogLog Andy: The next part we want to talk about is MyBlogLog which I just signed up for it yesterday. It is pretty darn cool. It is what Darren has been talking about where it tracks not just incoming traffic but outgoing links. It can tell you where people are coming from but also where they are going.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 156 1.0
  17. 17. Six Figure Blogging I am able to see that I’ve had in the past day, I’ve had about twelve people come through my thank you page and my newsletter. I am able to see where those subscribers are coming from. I can see what links they are coming from and what links they are going to. If they are adding my feed to their site, I can see that as well. Again, it is another way to really start to slice and dice where all this stuff is coming from. MyBlogLog is twenty-five bucks per year, I think per blog, Darren? Darren: Yes, it is per blog which could get a bit expensive if you are running multiple blogs but I think it is definitely worth that information just from where they are going point of view alone. The incoming traffic that it tracks, you can get in any stats package but there is only a few around that track where people are going. Like I’ve said, I think last week or the week before, it actually puts the finger on not only what links are popular but that gives you the power then to analyze what wording in those links seems to be working. So if you’ve got a link that is always popular and it says, “Free beer,” you might have some insight into the fact that your readers are into free beer and the wording I guess of that is really powerful. I think, Ellie, in the ecampus, yesterday I mentioned that she has been using that MyBlogLog and she has realized that most of the outgoing links are images or image links. She’s noticed that the image ones are much more powerful than the text ones which I think is a great analyses to have. Obviously she is going to be using a lot of image links to her affiliate program in the future because they convert so much better. You wouldn’t know that without tracking your outgoing links. Andy: Again, that is all available at Once you register, you can do a free trial but once you are registered, you get a little piece of© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 157 1.0
  18. 18. Six Figure Blogging JavaScript that you add to your templates and that sends a little shout-out to the MyBlogLog server every time there is a page visit or a link clicked on a page. Mint A similar tool is called the Mint. It is at This also tracks both incoming and outgoing stats and it is thirty bucks per site. I think William has been using that tool? Darren: Yes, I don’t know if William is on the call but he said he would post something on the ecampus about his experiences. He was raving about it. The thing I love about Have a Mint is that it is just beautifully designed. Andy: Yes, it is nice. Darren: Yes, it is worth thirty dollars for that alone but it is great. SiteMeter, Hitbox, StatCounter and AWStats Andy: Other tools to look at are Site Meter. Again, these are normal things where you get a little piece of code, you put it on your blog, and it loads a little bitty image that sends out a hit and tracks that particular hit. and and these all operate the same way. You sign up and you get a little piece of code, you add to your blog, and you can then check the reports. Darren: Yes, they are free. You get what you pay for so you won’t be getting any of the really detailed analysis that Andy was talking about at the start. I find them good. I also use the AWStats which I think you’ve got listed down there which is a server based one and that gives a lot more detailed information. It is almost so overwhelming that I don’t use it on a daily basis as much as I use the Site Meter.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 158 1.0
  19. 19. Six Figure Blogging Andy: Yes, AWStats is really for large corporate intranets. It is so much, it really is too much data. It is a really amazing tool but it can give you so much analysis. Something to keep in mind is that when you first get your sites up, it is normal to check your stats every fifteen minute. It’s ok. We’ve all done that when we first put our site where you just check it constantly and you are going to lose your mind. Darren: I don’t know what you are talking about! Andy: Right. Not me, not here. It is very easy to get seduced by tracking your traffic all the times. Maybe make it a day of the week that I am going to check things hourly once a day but I am going to do a more thorough analysis for a half hour maybe once a week and say, “This Friday afternoon, traffic analysis” and write down here is where the stats are coming from, here is where it is going, here is what my comment search terms are and stuff like that.Your stats can drive you crazy if you let it take over your life and it certainly can. Darren: That is right. I tend to do it at the end of each month is the time where I’ll spend a couple of hours to really going through really solid analysis. That is when I’ll get out the big package and track from month to month. I got a bit of a notebook where I keep all my results. I just look at what is happening between months and months. It is great to have that big picture analysis too. Traffic Plugins Andy: Along with that AWStats tool, there are also plug-ins available depending on what blog tool you are using and what blog platform, WordPress, Movable Type both have plug-ins. I think that Textpattern does. I think that most server based blogs have some interface into a tool© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 159 1.0
  20. 20. Six Figure Blogging like AWStats or they have their own states program that it can be graphed into the blog. Darren: Yes, I’ve just started using the WordPress ShortStats plug-in. That is quite good at looking at a glace at what is happening at your site. It is great. I think it does count the robot visits as unique visits though so you just need to be aware some of them have a bit of quirks where there might be some inaccuracies. If you are just comparing it over time, it is a great tool. Andy: Yes, another thing to talk about is not just tracking your hits from your site but you can also use a tool called FeedBurner. This not only takes your site’s feed and converts it into different feed formats but it can also tells you the circulation of how many people are checking your feed with your aggregators, how the traffic is working, and what your click-throughs are so you can see where the popular headlines. It is exiting to go out into the FeedBurner and see that you’ve got a couple hundreds of subscribers. I know Darren, you’ve got a couple of thousand for Problogger. Darren: Yes, I think there are eleven hundred and the thing I love about this is that they do tell you which headlines work. We are going to talk about titles and how important they are later. I was just looking at my Problogger ones and I know that the most popular headlines on my site over the last month, I think it is, is “Nick becomes a five figure blogger.” I know the next one after that is, “The million dollar home page,” and the one after that is, “Another six figure blogger goes public.” So I know the ones where I mentioned money get a lot of click-throughs. So that is useful information to know when I think about my next post. Should I include some reference towards money? That actually seems to work so track those things over time and you’ll see some really interesting patterns.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 160 1.0
  21. 21. Six Figure Blogging Andy: Along with all these stats remember that with most of the affiliate programs like Google AdSense all have their own reporting systems as well. It is easy to get buried into all this data but just take the time to go through it once a week, once a month and pour some coffee or put on a good movie and root around and see where the traffic is happening and what is going on. Darren: Just very really briefly, I know we are over half way in this call but with the AdSense stats, I’d really recommend setting up channels to track different ad units on your blog. The way I do it on each of my blog there is multiple AdSense ads and each one of those ads or each one of those units have a channel assigned to it. There are some tutorials on this in the AdSense help pages if you want to look at them. For instance, it tells me that the ads on the top left hand side bar doesn’t perform as well as the one on the top left hand side bar. So those sorts of information. They’ll tell you which units are making money, which ones are getting high click-through rates, which ones has the highest cost per thousand impressions, and all those sorts of figures. It is really useful information. Again, you can get really bogged down in it and I would recommend you don’t. But use that especially when you are making changes to your site. Never make a change to your site unless you are tracking it first otherwise there is no point in doing that. I think I mentioned a few weeks ago, I have a change log. I always write down the changes that I make and then I have something to look back on as I notice changes in my statistics whether they be traffic changes or earning changes. It is really important to track those things. Andy: You also want to talk about what is a good click-through ratio.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 161 1.0
  22. 22. Six Figure Blogging Darren: Right. This is the question I get asked more than anything else. I’ll start by saying that you can’t talk about exact figures and I am not going to do that here even though it is a closed forum. There are so many variables. It is very difficult to compare from one site to another. I know, even looking at my twenty blogs that the click-through rate can vary so astronomically depending on what the topic is, depending upon the relevancy of the ads that Google is serving, depending on the positioning and the design of the ads, and depending upon the day of the week. I noticed that on week days, my click-through rate is lower than on weekends. More people click on my ads as a percentage on weekends even though the statistics are lower in terms of how many people are visiting. Obviously people on the weekends have a bit more time on their hands to follow ad links. It can vary depending upon whether your readers are web surfing or not. On Problogger, for instance, a lot of people just don’t even see those ads because they know what they are and they are not interested. Whereas other sites that don’t have as many web surf users, they click on them all. It can vary depending upon where the traffic is coming from. So search engine traffic tends to bring in more click-throughs than the loyal readers for instance or people coming in from other sites. All of these are factors that can increase and decrease your click-through rate and also your earnings per thousand impressions. Having said that, probably a normal click-through rate from what I’ve seen in other people’s stats, not what they tell me what they earn or anything, is probably around the two to five percent range. I saw someone yesterday who had twenty-five percent click-through rate. Andy: My god.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 162 1.0
  23. 23. Six Figure Blogging Darren: Which is just amazing. I wouldn’t recommend their design or anything like that. I actually think that they are breaking the rules to get that rate. Again, it can vary quite a bit. So that two to five, I’ve got blogs that do better than that; I’ve got blogs that do much worse from that as well. It is not too great to compare between blogs but really use the click- through rate, use the cost per thousand, earnings per thousand and impression figure to track things overtime. That is where those stats are more useful. Earnings per thousand impressions normal. It is even harder to estimate. Normal is probably anything between ten cents per thousand impressions to thirty or forty dollars per thousand of impressions. I’ve seen quite a few blogs anywhere in that. It really depends upon the click values. If your ads are worth two cents, your earnings per thousand might not be much. If your ads are worth thirty dollars, as they can be, you are going to have pretty high there so it is very hard to estimate that particular figure. Again, it is better to track it over time. Andy: Again, let me just reiterate it: Don’t just track your site but track yourself. Go buy a notebook right now and just keep a track of what changes you make so when you get a big traffic surge, you can figure out why it happened and what is going on. Let’s go ahead and open up for questions before we dwell in the second half of the call. We covered a lot. Maryam: Andy? Andy: Yes, go ahead. Maryam: This is Maryam, I just want to let you know that I am completely behind. I am here as I suspect many of us are but this is a lot of information as you said.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 163 1.0
  24. 24. Six Figure Blogging Andy: It really is, yes. Maryam: And good information too and I am getting so much out of this class you wouldn’t believe. But gee-whiz, I am at least a week behind in all the research so keep your websites coming though. This is filling up my empty time at sitting with my laptop at Starbucks. Andy: Yes, our goal is to take over your entire week. Hopefully we will give you enough content that there will never be a need to think of anything else besides this ever again! Darren: I was talking to someone during the week, who is on the call and they were saying that they are listing to the calls three or four times over the following weeks and just keeping on going through it. I think we are going to make these calls available for you for a long time. I encourage you to keep going into them if you are feeling overwhelmed. Andy: Yes, I’ll even listen to calls where, I’ll sit here and listen to it and watch the thing move across the screen on the player or I’ll clean the house while I’m listening to it. Put it on the background. You’ll never know what is going to sink in while you are not really paying full attention. So remember that the calls are going to be out here for you to listen to. The transcripts are trickling in. I know that there has been some delays on that but this stuff is going to be out there for you to explore later on. But if there are no other questions, Darren. Audri: Actually, I have a comment. This is Audri. Andy: Yes, go ahead. Audri: I just wanted to suggest to people if they do continuous testing of what they are doing because you can really improve your results. When I was watch, say over the last year of how our results have changed just by doing little tests and tracking them in the notebook. Everything that© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 164 1.0
  25. 25. Six Figure Blogging you’ve been saying, you can like every three or six or so months double your results. It can be incredibly powerful. You can increase your every single aspect of it. You can be increasing your click-through rates and so it just takes your earnings go up and up even with the same traffic. I am a very big promoter of testing and I just wanted to let people know that you can really be having enormously effective changes just by slowing improving it every week, every month and you’ll just see unbelievable changes. Andy: Great point. Thank you so much. Participant: Yes, Andy, I’ve got a quick question about Technorati. Can you hear me? Andy: Yes, go ahead. Participant: Somebody told me that if we put tags at the end of a post, Technorati tags, they work like keywords. But they look like they are not there for a real purpose. Have you ever used them? Andy: I use them on my personal blog and my professional one. I don’t get a huge amount of traffic from my tags with Technorati or with BlogPulse that also uses tags but I know some bloggers do. Darren do you use tags? Darren: Yes, I’ve used them from time to time and I have noticed when I do use them that it does bring some traffic. So I’d give them a go. Some people are now not using categories at all on there blogs and are just using tags which is interesting. I probably wouldn’t give up on my categories. I thing Technorati tracks your categories as a tags as well. I am not a big user of them but I again know some people who do very well out of using them. So it is probably worth a try just to see whether the tags that you would use are actually tags the people actually would be using as well.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 165 1.0
  26. 26. Six Figure Blogging John: Hey, Darren, this is John from Scared Monkeys, we are finding that some of the newer sites we are starting that by using tags will generate a bit of traffic especially from Technorati which will get you on the map. It is a pretty good idea if you have a new blog and you don’t have much Google queues or moving up in the Yahoo yet to really try because you can move up quickly in Technorati. Andy: And if people have no idea what we are talking about, tags are more of a free form way to organize content. So instead of having categories, I might have a post that is about this course and I’ll tag it with the words blogs or blogging or AdSense. Those tags, if you go to and click on tags, you’ll see what the top tags are being tracked. It is like categorizing but there is no categorization system. It is whatever people think a piece of content should be kept tagged as, they are going to be tag it as. It is called a folksonomy, which is a really stupid term for it. It is the ideal that the people can tag things in a more free form manner. It is like walking into a library without the dewy decimal system. People just have thrown books in whatever bookcase they think they should go in. Instead of doing the dewy decimal system, of whatever the system is with the index cards. Darren: Yes, I think tags will get bigger and bigger is my prediction. I know Google on their latest blog search that their reader allows you to tag things. If Google is getting into it, it is going to be big. So it is probably worth getting into it. Andy: Right so let’s plow ahead because we are trying to pack the content in and we can always spill over to next week too. Now we want to talk about getting content. Content really is the life blood of your blog. The traffic, I guess is the oxygen.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 166 1.0
  27. 27. Six Figure Blogging So the traffic is the oxygen, your content is the life blood of the blog. You can use tools called news aggregators that can tag the latest updates of any website or blog or news source or pretty much any news sources and roll that up into a customized newspaper and the technology is called Aggregation. If you have heard of RSS, that is what we are talking about here. We’ve got links to aggregators on to your blog lines which is at Bloglines. Google Reader, which I just made a demo for that this morning so you can check that out which is a flash demo walk through. We’ve got a list of other aggregators and those can either be loaded on to your own computer. It is like having a private research assistance. You can sleep at night, get up in the morning and have content on your blog’s topics from all sources from all over the world. You can have a group of feeds for a certain category in your blog. So it is really a great way to have this reservoir of content that you can turn to when you start writing posts for the day or for the week. Darren: Bloglines has changed my life. I know it is probably not the most technical news aggregator out there or it doesn’t have the best features but the fact that I can logged in from any computer in the world and see what is being written on any topic that I am chasing. I’ve got a folder for digital cameras; I’ve got a folder for blogging. I’ve got a folder for virtually every blog I have. These contents are ready to go. Of course I’ll give credit to the places where I’ve got the content but they are inspiration for, like I wake up in the morning and I’m tracking four hundred posts. So I know today, I’ve got two thousand possible things I can write about today. So it takes care of, “What am I going to write about today,” out of the equation. It is just fantastic. I am constantly on Blog Line. I am one of their biggest fans, I’d say.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 167 1.0
  28. 28. Six Figure Blogging Everyone’s got their own news aggregators. I really recommend you find one that suits your system. Andy: A long with the aggregators, there are of course, the online news sources like Google News, Yahoo’s News, there is a site called Topix, that again can track different keywords and different stories and different categories. PR News Wire is a press release service so you can type in your particular niche once a week and see what press releases are coming across their wires as well as their virtual press office. Darren: That is right and those two last ones can actually subscribe to as emails so I get emails sent to me every day which has new camera releases and those sorts of things. They are great. I think with Google News, Yahoo News, and Topix, you can subscribe to by RSS as well. Andy: Right. Darren: So you can search for keywords. The only downside of doing it in all three is that you’ll see the same articles again and again and again and you’ll clutter your box. So you might just want to pick one of those unless you are really are desperate for news on an item. Andy: Again, Technorati, Feedster, BlogPulse, the usual suspects on searches can help you keep a constant flow of content coming in. Google has their Google Alert service. They launched their blog search. There is, which is a share a book marking site. Have you heard of It is like as well. is another site that you can track different keywords and ideas. So don’t just think of subscribing to your niche, but people in your niche, brand names, products, events, ideas, and concepts.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 168 1.0
  29. 29. Six Figure Blogging Don’t forget that you can go by phrase. So if you want digital cameras but you don’t want Sony, you can put quotes around it here and put this symbol over here and you can get only articles with digital cameras without Sony in them. There are so much information and we really have the tools to harness it, to have this constant flow so we have a traffic flow, and we also have information flow coming in. Darren: It is really important not to overwhelm yourself with this. Andy: And it is so easy to. Darren: I am tracking four hundred feeds and if I’ve miss two days, I can log on there and feel quite overwhelmed and feel quite depressed by the whole thing. It is probably worth having some system of priorities. I know if I go away for a week, I just come home and click and I’ll go and read certain folders just because I know it is just too much to get through them all. Just work out the system for you. I’d be interested to hear what other people use in terms of news feeds and those sorts of things as well. Maybe, we haven’t got time now but maybe if you can leave suggestions on the ecampus. It would be great to see what other people’s work flows are like. Maryam: Darren, this is Maryam. I wanted to say along the line of Bloglines. I just got onto Bloglines but I have been using Yahoo! and I’ve just today, starting using Gmail, well Google, Google’s which is a link out of my Gmail account. If you have a Gmail account, look for the link. I have to echo what you just said in that it is completely transformed my life in the sense of I was paying on the average of about two hundred dollars a month to a research assistant that I’ve now more than halved so it is a© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 169 1.0
  30. 30. Six Figure Blogging money saver for us. If you are in any business that requires constant research and I am, it is just awesome. Darren: I remember, when I first started blogging, it would take me hours and hours to find the content that I want and I’d book mark all the sites that I wanted. You had to surf them all individually. Now, I can in five minutes, have all the information that I need for a full day’s posting. It is great. Maryam: Thank you for putting this up because I think it is like, if I can say a single one thing that I’ve got out of the system, it is worth the price of admission has been the aggregation stuff and again, for Andy, thanks. Andy: Sure. Remember just because we can know everything that is on the internet with these tools it doesn’t mean you are suppose to. So again, watch for that overwhelm. I know I’ll sit here and star at the walls rather than check my aggregator if I’ve been gone for a couple of days because I just don’t want to face all that information. Along with all the online sources, there are of course newspapers, magazines, tv, check out shows and newspapers and magazines in your topic. Go buy a magazine that has nothing to do with your niche and see what can you apply. I could go buy a copy of Soldier of Fortune and what is that going to tell me about internet marketing? Go buy Dog Fancy and see how that fits in with digital cameras. Go a little crazy and see what pops up because you never know what is going to wake up your creativity. Darren: It is so true. Just take that notebook that you’ve got everywhere with you because ideas come in all kinds of places.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 170 1.0
  31. 31. Six Figure Blogging Writing Quality Content Andy: Darren, we’ve got five minutes. Do you want to do the writing quality of content for your blog of stuff? Darren: Ok, I’ll race through it. Andy: We don’t have to race through. We can come back to it next week. Darren: We’ll see how far we’ll get. I’ve got a list there of sixteen things and really a lot of them are simple and not rocket science. I just think it is worth reemphasizing, even those who have been blogging for years need a wake up call every now and again in the way you actually think about the style that we write it. Find Your Own Voice Darren: I’ve written there that I think each blog needs to find it’s own voice and rhythm and style and readership. Really these sixteen points, take them in mind, but find your own style. I know bloggers who break every one of these and do really well. It is about finding what works for you. 1. Post Titles Darren: Titles, I was talking to someone yesterday and I was saying what is the one tip you would give someone on how to get into the search engines. I think titles to your posts and titles to your pages are so important. They are important in terms of search engine ranking so a little box that come to visit your site to look at how to rank it, one of the first thing they look at is the title of that page. You need to think about what are the words you are using on that page. Are those words that people will search for on the internet for? If they are not and are some cryptic thing that alludes to something that just© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 171 1.0
  32. 32. Six Figure Blogging intrigues someone, that might help with some of your loyal readers but that won’t help in the search engines. You need to think about the keywords that you are putting into your site. Andy: I think that it is so important. I have to interrupt real quick. I use to write really clever titles for my posts and that means nothing to a search engine. When you can go obvious, I’d choose obvious over clever whenever I can. If you are making a pun, Google does not know puns, so be obvious at all times. Darren: Also consider that your title is one of the few bits of information that someone will see on a search engine when they go searching for something. Whatever is in your title is selling your site to them. It is vital important. The same thing is true in your RSS. The people who subscribe to your blog, your title is what they’ll scan through all the entries and it is your titles that is what’s going to set your entry apart from everyone else’s entry. I am tracking four hundred different blogs from each four or five posts a day. I’ve got to scan through thousands of entries there. It is only the titles, really, that are going to grab my attention. The titles are important for your loyal readers too. Those who bookmark your site and log in regularly, even they scan pages. People don’t read in detail things; they’ll look for titles; they’ll look for things in bold. Your titles are really important. I encourage people to include keywords, be as descriptive as you can in your title and keep it simple. Short titles seem to work better. Grab people’s attention, make it interesting and intriguing so all those things you want to try and put into your titles.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 172 1.0
  33. 33. Six Figure Blogging It is worth giving it a minute or two to think about the title before you actually press publish. It is very important. 2. Get to the Point Darren: Number two is get to the point. People, and we mentioned it before, people stay on blogs for less than a minute on average. That is what some of the research I’ve seen. So you’ve got to get their attention and quickly communicate your message to them in a way that doesn’t bore them. Andy: Yes, I want to mention that you put your conclusion first. I should read the headline and then read first sentence and it should tell me exactly what you are getting to and then I can read and decide if I want to read the whole thing or not. Darren: That is right. People have incredibly short attention spans online, in life in general, but online and I think it is getting shorter so get to the point. 3. Don’t Be Too Brief Darren: Number three, don’t be too short though. You can get to the point so quickly that it is all over before it started. You want to aim for about two hundred words, three hundred words if you want to rank in search engines. They don’t like the one sentence posts that much. At least have some content. You’ll also get into trouble with AdSense if your page is just a page full of ads with just a sentence on them. You need some substantial content there to actually work with AdSense and search engines.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 173 1.0
  34. 34. Six Figure Blogging 4. Make it Scannable Darren: Number four is make it scannable. This plugs into the short attention span of people. I saw some statistics the other day. I think sixteen percent of people read websites word for word. Sixteen percent so keep that in mind. What are people reading when they go to websites? They are looking for headings, they are looking for lists. I wrote a post the other day on eight reasons why lists are good for getting traffic. It is a list post and it is really a powerful way of writing. Think about the formatting of your posts. So use bold, capitals, italics, underlining, other texts, and anything along those lines that will grab people’s attention. Use heading and subheadings. Start with your main point and as Andy said, use pictures. Pictures draw your eyes down the page and break up your page. Use borders and blog quotes. If you look on Problogger, you’ll see I’ve got little yellow blocks around the quotes that I’ve used. They draw people’s eyes. Use white space around things so break up your posts and put space around it. That helps people to draw their eyes to whatever is inside that white space. I’ll leave it at that for that point. I think we’ll going to have to continue this page next week. Participant: You were talking about a minute ago but throughout the course, you keep mentioning a website called Engadget. How do you spell that? Darren: E-n-g-a-d-g-e-t dot-com. Participant: That is a very popular website? Darren: On gadgets.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 174 1.0
  35. 35. Six Figure Blogging Andy: It is like tech toy stuff. It is one of the top blogs. It is about techy toys and palm pilots, cell phones, and things that require charges and batteries. Everybody have a fantastic week.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 175 1.0
  36. 36. Six Figure BloggingSix Figure Blogging Call 5 Worksheets Evaluating Traffic Patterns and ProductivityEvaluation Criteria Blog 1: Blog 2: Blog 3:My Goals:What do I want visitors to do when they visitmy blog?What are visitors actually doing when they visitmy blog?What is my most valuable click in terms ofaffiliate revenue? Where have I physicallypositioned that “click” on my blog?Where is my traffic (readers) coming from?What is my most common entry page fortraffic?What is their IP address / Geographic location?© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 176 1.0
  37. 37. Six Figure BloggingEvaluation Criteria Blog 1: Blog 2: Blog 3:How much time do they spend on my blog?What day of the week and what time of the daydo I receive the most traffic?Where is my traffic (readers) going? Where arethey going when the leave the blog eitherthrough a link or other means?What is my most common exit page for traffic?What is my conversion rate? What percentageof visits to the blog result in a click on an ad oraffiliate link?Best Resources for Blog Content Your content is what draws readers to your blog. It’s not always easy or even best to write all original content. In order to keep up with the latest in your niche, draw upon other resources. There are many different possibilities when it comes to finding good, quality content. Identify some resources – and even other blogs – which can provide you with great information for your readers. If you’re pulling your information from various blogs, you’ll want to obtain a news aggregator like Bloglines in order to track this information more easily. Make sure to consider online as well as offline resources. When you are looking for information keep these things in mind as they relate to your© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 177 1.0
  38. 38. Six Figure Blogging particular niche: keywords, people, brands, products, events, ideas, and concepts. All of these things can be written about on your blog. □ I have signed up for a news aggregator (like Bloglines or Google Reader)Content Resources Blog 1: Blog 2: Blog 3:My Niche TopicResources I can Track for Content for My BlogNews Services, BlogsWebsitesBooksNewspapersMagazines© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 178 1.0
  39. 39. Six Figure BloggingTelevision programsOther© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 179 1.0