Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Vertical Banner Ads

After retooling some of my other blogs this week, I wanted to mention how much better (I think) large vertical banner ads work in place of smaller rectangle ads. Granted, you're never going to get rich via Adsense, there is no reason you shouldn't be able to cover your hosting fees. I just feel like people are more likely to click an attractive and colorful image as opposed to a random text link about diet pills or something.

After working with some other folks on their Adsense ads, I have found that not only do they change often, two people can be looking at the same ad and have something entirely different on each of their screens. For example, I was viewing a large vertical banner image ad of Barack Obama while my friend was viewing the same page but a different ad in the banner in question. Personally, I thought that was pretty strange, I always thought (hoped) it was streamlined. 

Here is the advertisement in question on the blog Sanktastic;

BillQuick For Your Business

If you have been running a small business, you know the difficulty in utilizing countless applications to manage your business. Well, BQE Software Inc. has released their streamlining software BillQuick that will allow users to access multiple applications, including time management, billing and multiple management functions, from one application. Imagine being able to access nearly every aspect of your business via one application. That means, one password, one window instead of accessing multiple programs with multiple passwords to run your business.

In addition to all of the great aforementioned applications, BillQuick currently has a 30-Day Free Trial offer. If that isn't enough for you to give BillQuick a try, the developers even offer a free ROI Calculator to measure your business or personal investments to gauge how they are working for you/your business. In addition to streamlining your business, BillQuick also functions seamlessly with other popular applications and tools such as Intuit, QuickBooks and Palm Pilots etc. If you have been considering streamlining your business applications you should give BillQuick a look.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Firefox Extensions

Seeing as though Google Chrome has yet to release the inevitable mass of extensions, users ought to consider utilizing the stockpile that Firefox has available. In addition to their great Web Developer Toolbar, Firefox has a lot of other great extensions Chrome users might like to use in the meantime (and who know maybe even continue using long afterward).

Here is the extension information posted by Website Magazine;

YSlow: With over 8,500 downloads each week, YSlow is an immensely popular tool to help developers (and designers) analyze web page load times, letting them know why they are slow based on Yahoo's rules for high performance websites. Those using the extension can see a performance overview, HTTP/HTML summary, a list of components on the page and includes tools such as JSLint.

Server Switcher: An excellent extension for developers, Server Switcher is a navigational help tool. That means users can switch between sites on their development (platform hosting the temporary version you are currently working on) and live servers, so that changes can be immediately seen. I use this tool regularly at home. Features include support for subdirectories (as well as different ports and local files), multiple projects can be created, and the whole app can be launched with a keyboard shortcut.

SQL Injection: With all the fear surrounding SQL attacks the past few months, this extension might help to allay some fears. The component transforms checkboxes, radio buttons, and select elements in form fields to an input text, providing the ability to disable elements from the forms. This makes it much easier to test and identify SQL injection vulnerabilities.

Bugg.gd Error Search: bug.gd is the global error search engine. Everyone helps grow the database by providing their solutions to unsolved errors they run into. The goal is to ensure that no human ever has to research an error that has already been solved. Simply copy an error message and click a couple of buttons to start searching for a solution - you can't get much easier than that. Drastically reduced the number of network calls required, using the new XML-based bug.gd API.

Firebug 1.2.1: Firebug integrates with Firefox to put a wealth of development tools at your fingertips while you browse. You can edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page.

Poster: A developer tool for interacting with web services and other web resources, Poster lets users make HTTP requests, set the entity body, and content type so you can interact with web services and inspect the results. Features include the ability to set request parameters, and save preferences for an individual session or permanently.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Shout Boxes

If you've been utilizing social networking sites, you are undoubtedly familiar with the shout box or chat-room style formats that many social networking sites offer. These tools can be a great way to advertise your blogs and websites via conversation. The reason I say conversation is due to the fact that many people spam the chat rooms and shout boxes via copying and pasting their link into the text. This is spammy, do not do it!

If you are taking advantage of these tools you can sell your site to people vis good conversation and content to back it up. I mean, do you really want to generate traffic for a website that has bad content? No, you probably don't. Besides if that is the case you will likely tarnish the image of your site via the network. 

There are a lot of great social networking tools out there and you can increase your traffic and social networking skills via these sites and tools, just remember not to be spammy.

Friday, October 17, 2008

URL Submission

A common mistake when beginning to market a blog is failure to submit your blog to a variety of search engines. Oftentimes, bloggers obsess over Google and Google Page Rank that they forget about the other major search engines that employ spiders that would be just as happy to crawl your blog or site. 

As I mentioned, Google is only one of the main search engines that would love to index your site and send traffic in your general direction. The other two that I would highly recommend submitting your URL to are Yahoo and MSN

The submission process is quite simple and will only take a moment or two. You will not see instant results, but if you are generating good content, link exchanges and are taking quality care of your blog or site then the results will come in time. 

Remember, Google might be the big fish in the pond, but they aren't the only tasty one.

Friday, October 10, 2008

How To Blog Effectively Utilizing Keywords

Have you ever found yourself pondering how to go about creating a strong blog entry heavily focused on a keyword. There are many different ways to go about creating a quality blog entry doing so. Oftentimes we begin creating an article with a basic premise on mind, but can oftentimes wind up on a tangent that sends a keyword focus spiraling out of control. There are a handful of simple ways to stay on target and turn those tangents into other posts you may wish to link your current post to in the future.

If you are focusing on a broad topic, select a few keywords you would like to remain focused on and generate a strategy to work them in. This process can be as simple as writing the words on a sticky note and placing it up on your monitor to remind you just where you should be heading. Think of it as a GPS for your blog post. I know, this is feeling like English 101, but hey we need to stay on topic, that is a key to better blogging.

Another tip to staying on topic regarding keyword focus is to say to yourself, "Does this blog post maintain the overall focus of my blog, or am I getting off topic?"

If you find yourself consistently running off topic then it might be time to create a different blog for that topic. There is nothing wrong with expanding and taking o new direction, but just don't do it on one blog. If you are concerned with keywords then you should understand the importance of that quite well. 

Lastly, if you are just writing to write, then there is a good chance that your content isn't generating much interest. If you can write in an engaging style that brings in organic traffic who leave comments and feedback then you know your target is on. If your blog is a barren wasteland of copious amounts of text then it might be time to change your blogs focus and direction.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Increase Traffic and Visibility

Lately there has been an increased onus on generating additional traffic through conventional means (not through auto-surf services). There are several ways to generate additional traffic for your blog or website via a strong focus on keywords and alternative services.

Focusing on keywords is a no-brainer. If you are creating a new blog or website and haven't done some keyword research through Google, I strongly recommend you do so before moving any further with your blog or site. Remember, you and your site are at the mercy of Google so run a few searches on targeted keywords to see their availability as well as their frequency. If you are able to find a good keyword that relates to your overall topic, it is time to implement that word into your posts and saturate the search engine with it. This will improve your overall visibility as well as generate organic traffic toward your site.

In addition to keyword targeting, there are a variety of cool services and directories that will help to generate additional interest and traffic. Personally, I enjoy utilizing blog carnivals and a variety of directories due to their saturation of like-minded bloggers and sites. These resources are also a great way to network and utilize blogroll exchanges to help steer and funnel traffic between similar sites. 

Remember to always utilize social networking as well, word of mouth is a powerful tool and social networks like FaceBook, Myspace and Uterli are designed to do just that. Anyway, don't forget to have fun, because if you aren't enjoying yourself then you aren't a blogger.

Building Page Impressions

Page Impressions are one of the determining factors (aside from clicks) that determine revenue on Google's Adsense program. We all know that page impressions are only worth pennies on the dollar a day unless you have about a million or so. There are a few ways to improve your page impression numbers though and potentially increase your revenue ten-fold.

One of the best techniques is to utilize the Adsense Setup menu/tab and generate your own advertisements to place in your blog posts or sidebar. This way you have control to place better related as well as more "click-able" ads onto your page. 

Another decent technique is to increase your posts per page and then add different Adsense advertisements to the bottom of our sidebar thus increasing page impressions and earning a few more pennies. 

Granted, nobody ever got rich off of page impressions through Google Adsense, but there is no reason not to try to get enough to buy a coffee.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Building Links, Building Networks

It is no secret that the more social you are in the blogosphere, the more success you should have with page impressions and back links. Seeing as though Google Page Rank is nearly dead and buried, it is still important to build your networks via links to relevant sites. 

One of the most important aspects of building links is to generate additional traffic therefore generating more ad clicks and page impressions. One of my favorite ways to build up back links is to use different blog surfing services as well as blog carnivals.

Blog surfing networks like BlogExplosion and BlogMad are great for seeing different blogsites and gathering ideas and exploring potential solutions for questions you may have. In addition to offering ideas and solutions, surfing through these networks gives you the ability to network by leaving comments and links. If you have a niche blog, this is a great way to drum up business as well due to entry into a mass market. Remember, your blog will receive page impressions as well as clicks on these surfing networks from people who are like-minded and looking to build their networks as well.

As for blog carnivals, a lot of people are still not too familiar with the concept. Basically, you submit your blog to a "carnival" and they feature an article/post of your choosing and funnel traffic toward it. The carnivals are specialized in terms of content, so if you have a gaming site and submit it to the gaming carnival you are going to receive a lot of traffic. Once again, this increase of traffic will help generate interest in your site as well as more page impressions and clicks. 

With both of these network building solutions, it is important to notify Google Adsense that you are expecting a hike in traffic due to the following reasons. It might not be the best idea to inform Google that you are taking part in auto-surfs, but you definitely should if you are featuring your blog in a blog carnival