Monday, June 30, 2008

The Summer Adsense Earnings Dip is Here

Every year internet advertising across the board takes a bit of a dip in the summer time and this is no different with Adsense.

Things usually are their worst in July when people are on vacation, outside and spending less time online looking (or clicking) on advertisements.

I have seen the slow down first hand come in over the last week or two and it probably will not relent until the back to school sales kick in towards the end of the summer.

In the meantime, you would almost think that I was offering up bodystockings advertisements on a religious site.  The ad revenues have dissipated significantly, but they will be back, and usually come back stronger than ever.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Internet is About to Get Less Crowded

Space has been a bit of an issue on the internet lately as domain names fill up, especially in the .com and .net areas, but even in .org.

The ICANN agency agreed today to finally open up a number of new domain suffixes and ease the process for approving others that might enable new extensions such as .bank or .post for industries like banks and postal services to sell postage tape online with their own domain extension (like the existing ones don't work already!)

Similarly, there could be area based domains like .nyc that might soon be on the internet.

One big change will include the entrance of domain names that are not written with any english words at all.  This last item is probably where the real substance of this decision rests as many non-english speaking countries have sought this ability for sometime and it has definitely held back development of the internet in some areas.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Blog Yourself Around the World

When I first started blogging, I really didn't know what I was getting myself into.  I thought I'd just experiment around, do a little writing and maybe learn something about web design and the internet along the way.  I even thought I might make some money from Adsense too!

Well, I have accomplished all of those things and then some, but it is starting to look like I could pick up an assignment that will actually take me out of this country, blogging in foreign lands.  I'm not sure if that will happen yet, but it does look more and more likely.

So as I prepare to become and international blogger, I guess I'll have to figure out how to blog abroad.  I'll need lots of electric and wireless adapters, a passport, and who knows what else.

Probably have to brush up on my foreign language skills as well.  My Korean and French are both very rusty.  I might even try and boost my Spanish and Italian while I'm at it.  Anyway, will see what happens next!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Connection Interrupted Error with Firefox 3.0

I have noticed that since upgrading to Firefox 3.0 I continue to get this particular error.  This is not like a time out error, but seems to be Firefox getting genuinely confused.  It happens sometimes opening up pages, sometimes when I upload information, files, etc. I will receive the same confusing error.

The nasty thing about this error, is that hitting the back button doesn't necessarily fix things.  I should also point out that I am not losing any internet connectivity.  The browser's other tabs and sites work just fine.  I'm curious if anyone else has run into this problem in recent memory or if they have found either a cause or a cure for the problem.


Google Adsense Notifier Works with FireFox 3.0

adsense-notifier-firefox-3-0 If you utilize the Firefox add-on called Google Adsense notifier, it is now compatible with Firefox 3.0.  Plus Google just updated the Google toolbar and it is now also compatible with Firefox 3.0.

For me these are two of the three primary Firefox add-ons that I use on a regular basis, and I was starting to mess the ability to rapidly check my Adsense statistics as well as I definitely miss the ability to check Google News at the push of a button.  (I also rely heavily on a webmaster analysis add on and sometimes on a best buy tracking add on that helps me keep track of the latest deals.)

You can find the Adsense Notifier add-on for firefox at Mozilla.

Google Protects Self and Opens the Door for Blog Advertising

I recently read an article with an interview from Matt Cutts famous for being put in charge of search engine publicity for Google.

In the article Matt Cutts commends the folks at PayPerPost, today known as Izea, for making their advertising system more compliant with Google Webmasters terms of service.

Essentially, Google has forced this company to adopt the standards that Google requires in order to keep its search engine monopoly running.  They took this action after receiving many shots across the Bow from Google and ultimately after Google nuked a number of websites around the United States and around the world, compliance became very important.

Now that the advertising companies have stepped up to protect Google, Google is taken a couple steps off of its self-righteous horse to accept the advertising methodologies that once attacked thus proving that Google was mostly just trying to protect its own search engine and didn't really care about people that read websites or blogs.

So now that the monopoly challenge has ended it could be saved for many webmasters to enter back into the world of this type of Internet advertising.

So while the rest of the world gets back to what was already business as normal, Google can now smugly sit back and continue to gleam profits from the search engine pump without any threat to its core business, internet advertising via search.  The lesson to be learned here is that the 800 lb gorilla does not like to have its stock, its cash flow and probably not even the wine in its office wine refrigerators threatened by start ups or small content publishers.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Benchmarking Your Blog - What Are Readers Complaining About on the Other Side of the Fence

There is nothing wrong with benchmarking your blog to compare it against other blogs or even websites that cover similar topics or categories. You may already read some of your competitors material, and I'm not suggesting that you should copy or steal anything.  That's not the point at all.

However, you can look at their designs and layouts and get a better understanding of what works, how it works, why it works and how you might be able to improve your site with that knowledge.

In fact don't forget to consider what does not work, and what people are complaining about in comments or forums!  That might point the way to an easy opportunity for you, and something that your competition can't even tackle or prioritize.

We all get caught up in day to day issues and that includes your competitor.  They might have their readers wishes somewhere on their plans for improvement, but if you see that readers are looking for something, maybe you have some spare time and you can deploy that solution now!

For example, maybe their site is running a little slow and people are complaining.  They might respond to those complaints saying that their host is to blame as they are using processors that are maxxing out or maybe the ram on their servers is peaking at certain times.  You can then seize the opportunity to insure that your site is running on the fastest machine you can afford (hopefully faster than the competition) then encourage people to test it for themselves.  Offer up the comparison.  "We're faster than the other guy!  See for yourself." 

Seize their nuggets of opportunity and run with it and you might be able to leap frog ahead.  It might not keep you in front, so be prepared to do more later, but it can help you build momentum.

Increasing Advertiser Competition on Your Site with the Ban Option

Creating more compelling content and improving the convertibility of your website are key actions that you can take to control the growth and success of your website.

There is another step you can take as well, which is more defensive.  You can block and ban advertisers from your site.  Advertisers will jockey for position on your website, and some advertisers will attempt to use your site for arbitrage purposes.  They will attempt to get fire sale rate placements of their ads on your site.

Sometimes these ads will run next to better paying ads, and the fire sale rated ads might even convert better.

Essentially, you will be giving more converting traffic to lower paying advertisers at the expense of your better paying advertisers.  You can tackle this problem by reviewing the ads on your site on a regular basis and blocking or banning some of the domains that are using your site for arbitrage. 

You can then monitor, and improve the results of your sites and their monetary performance, as your Adsense earnings improve and your savings account grow.

Got Video? Convert Video and Image Ads better with Video

The title pretty much says it all, but there is a point to this statement.  Consumers have been conditioned through the likes of YouTube to click the play button and trust the result.

If you are looking to establish a site that converts traffic into ad clickers legitimately, you should aim to focus on including a large number of embedded video players regularly throughout your site.  Plus, your site should be designed to place ads of a similar nature (video or image ads, possibly with images that look like players) in a relatively close area.

This design is not about tricking people into click, but in capturing their attention in a medium and format that they have grown to trust and use regularly.  When you deploy it, your results will definitely improve.

If you run a video showing a tour of Napa valley and a wine tasting session, you might try and structure your ad placements to include a video ad of a wine racks or even of a champagne cork popping and shooting through your site, just to capture attention.

Getting Advertisers to Fight over Adsense Placement on Your Site

There was a time in the past when one of the keys to making money through Adsense was to work like the dickens (never seen a dickens work, but I hear they work very hard) to increase your traffic.  Way back when, Adsense content placements used to pay on a CPM basis more than on a CPC basis.

This inspired a large number content site owners to travel a path of least resistance and generate traffic through unsavory methods, while simultaneously running Adsense ads below the fold or out of site on a website.

Over the last couple of years the times have changed.  Advertisers first stopped paying for non-converting content sites ad traffic and then Google changed the rules a bit to place the incentive with PPC sites that truly convert people to click.

That meant that sites focusing on Adsense revenues had to learn how to structure their sites to convert visitors as opposed to bringing in thousands of non-converting visitors. 

Now today advertisers are even starting to duke it out with sites that are designed well to convert.  I'm not talking about tricking someone into clicking, I'm talking about attracting people to the site and convincing them to take an action and actually even buy.

For this solution or result advertisers will and do engage in something akin to a bidding war for top placement on adsense positions within a site.  This may not happen on every site out there that wants to sell the latest supplement or coffee tables and other furniture but for top converting competitive words on sites that convert well, there can be money to be made and the beauty of this is that the ecosystem is improving in a way that rewards people that actually ad value to the transaction.