Saturday, 31 December 2011

Adobe Reader 9!

Recently I wrote a blog entry about bloated software, and how much better Foxit PDF reader was than Adobe Reader. But I was using Adobe Reader 8. Little did I know how much superior version 9 would be.

For starters, version 8 was a 22 MB download. Version 9 is a mere 33 MB — a whole major version up, and not even twice as big. The default download includes a 19 MB eBay Desktop program, for all your “faster searching, smarter bidding” needs. So tempting … but I opted out.

On my cable connection, it took about 5 minutes to download, nicely allowing me enough time to brew a decent cup of coffee while I waited.

But it wasn’t just a simple, ordinary download. First Adobe told me to download a Firefox plugin. I assumed the plugin would help me read PDFs in my browser. But oh no, this was a special plugin, an Adobe Reader Download Manager (TM) — a plugin specially designed to help Firefox download Adobe’s powerful PDF viewer.

After the plugin was installed and Firefox restarted, the download began. I couldn’t wait to try Adobe’s MUCH FASTER and SMARTER product.

Download done, I double-clicked the installer. It spent a long time unpacking and validating the installer, which gave me warm fuzzies about Adobe’s good grasp of stability, security, and enterprisey robustness.

After the unpacking, the install process itself took 10 minutes. I could only thank Adobe’s engineers, presuming they were filling up my hard drive with yummy icons, tasty DLLs, and amazing 3D JavaScript add-ons. No matter — the 210 MB it required was there to be used.

I had just slurped down the dregs of my coffee when the installer finished. I was so thankful when it told me I needed to restart my computer, welcoming the extra time to drink coffee, as well as the pure delight I knew I’d get from starting all my applications again.

I could finally try out this new software. I was impressed. It started in a minuscule 13 seconds, plus the time it took me to skim their poetic and beneficent license agreement.

Ah, the joy of using a new product. Unlike Microsoft products, Adobe’s new, bigger Reader behaves exactly the same as the old one. In fact, it’s so compatible I can’t even tell the difference! Boy, I know good release management when I see it …

Thank you, Adobe, for version 9 of your free PDF Reader. You even thought to put a nice link to on my Start Menu!

5 Blogging Ideas that Spark Engagement

If you blog for business, you’ll know that every once in a while you run dry on ideas to share with your audience. I’m not the first to admit that it’s a shared challenge among professional bloggers as well as bloggers who are just getting started.

To help generate traffic and interest, here are five ideas to spark meaningful discussion and engagement on your blog.
Tell a meaningful story that people can identify with.
People follow blogs not just for their bullet points and fancy layouts. Tell a story that your audience can relate to and can tell that piece was written especially for them.

Share a personal experience that has a point.
Blogs do more than generate leads; they instill trust and loyalty among its readers. Share an emphatic story with personal convictions. It could be about customers, industry, or something that you observed over the weekend.

Respond to buzz and discussion in your industry.
Blogs are a great way for people to gain perspective on an industry. In a time when a person’s Twitter stream is filled with non-stop links and minimal conversation, author an informative and balanced perspective on recent news and events in your industry.

Engage your inactive readers with a unique contest.
A blog is a great place to host a contest because it gives you freedom to choose the purpose of the contest, qualifications and even more ideas to write about later. Consider asking people to share their feedback and award a contributor with a new iPad, gift card or other hot item that sparks interest from inactive subscribers.

Make a controversial point that begs others to think (and respond).
If you want to get attention (traffic), it doesn’t hurt to stir up some controversy. If it makes readers think, “Did they really say that?!” you’ll find yourself usually on the receiving end of a number of very passionate comments for (or against) your point. You don’t want to do this too often, otherwise your corporate blog could be dismissed as sensational and lose credibility.

These blogging ideas will help you be a more successful blogger. The point here is to share more of your personality, your views and be heard in your industry. Do you have any additional ideas to help bloggers generate more interest in their blogs? Suggest them in the comments below!

Useful Google Talk Bots That You Must Add as Friends

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You can do lot of interesting stuff with Google Talk like get alert notifications, save bookmarks to delicious, manage web calendars, set reminders, write blogs, and so much more.

Such features can be easily integrated into Google Talk through 'bots' which, in simple English, are like virtual friends who are online 24x7 and will always respond with a smile to your questions or requests.

Here are the eleven most useful 'bots' that transform Google Talk into a more useful program:

1. - Add this IM Feeds bot as your Google Talk buddy and you'll be able to read any blog or website that syndicates content via RSS feeds.

To subscribe to a website in GTalk, simply send a new IM message that says "sub" where is the site address that you want to read inside Google Talk.

2. - This secret bot lets you post to FriendFeed from Google Talk. You may submit either hyperlinks or text messages.

3. - This imified bot turns Google Talk into a real powerhouse.

You can post bookmarks to delicious, send messages to Twitter, submit blog entries to WordPress, Tumblr or Blogger, manage events in Google Calendar, shorten long URLs, run whois and so on.

4. - Like IM Feeds, iNezha bot helps you read feeds inside Google Talk but this is slightly more versatile. For instance, you can simply say "digg" and it will show a list of all feeds that match that search term so you don't have to type (or copy-paste) feed addresses.

5. Translation - This is a free service from Google that helps you translate words from a foreign language into your native language. Just add the relevant bot (e.g. for Hindi to English or for English to Hindi) as your buddy, send him a message and it will get translated instantly.

6. Use Google Talk with Twitter - Invite to become your friend in Google Talk and verify your account. Now whenever you IM this new friend, the message will automatically publish on your twitter account.

7. Set Task Reminders - If you need to remember something important, Google Talk can send you reminders for that event.

Just add timer to your Twitter friend's list and then add to your buddy list in Gtalk. Now if you want to get a reminder after 50 minutes, send a direct message to twitter like "d timer 50 pick kids from school" and a reminder will automatically pop up in your Google Talk after 50 minutes.

8. Transliteration - If you want to chat in your mother tongue (like Hindi or Tamil) but feel more comfortable using the English keyboard, Google Transliteration bot will come in handy.

For instance, add to you friend's list in GTalk and all messages you type in English will get transliterated in the language of your choice. Available only for a few Indian languages.

9. Xpenser - With xpenser, you can record travel expenses via email, SMS or even Google talk. Add as your buddy and send a message like "lunch 33.2 with Bill Gates" and that will be added as an expense to your online spreadsheet that can be accessed from anywhere.

10. - Like Imified, is one of the most useful Google bots out there especially if you are a social networking or micro-blogging addict.

Add to Gtalk and you can communicate with twitter, jaiku, wordpress,, facebook, myspace, bebo, friendfeed, linkedin, tumblr, plaxo, friendster, delicious and more.

11. Meshly - Add as your friend and you'll be able to post web link to your Meshly account via Google Talk. You can also add tags, categories and description to your hyperlink via Gtalk itself.

Will Your Blog Be Big? Or Great?

This guest post is by Marjorie Clayman of Clayman Advertising.

Recently, it was announced that Richard Thompson was going to be awarded the OBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. Your response, in any order, might be, “Who cares?” and “Who is Richard Thompson?”

Richard Thompson has a career in music that spans 40 years. He is a brilliant lyricist, but even more, he may be one of the best living guitarists out there. He was a member of folk rock super group Fairport Convention and he partnered with his ex-wife Linda in the 70s to make some fantastic albums. He wasn’t much of a vocalist back then, but now, even his vocal stylings are outstanding. And yet, Thompson plays small theatres and “intimate” concerts, and has a hard time enticing record labels to keep him on.

Richard Thompson is great, but he is not big.
Big? Or great?

Over the years, at any moment, Richard Thompson probably could have chucked his own particular style and his own particular skills out the window. He could have promised himself and his fans that it was for just one album, so that he could get his name out there. Then he’d come back to being himself.

So it is with blogging. You bring your own particular voice to your blog. You bring your own unique experiences and skills to your readers. But at any moment, you could say that honing your skills is not nearly as important as getting a lot of traffic. It’s so easy to think that aiming for “big” may be better than aiming for “great.”

Let’s face it—it’s probably easier to achieve “big” in comparison to becoming great in this competitive space. Write a few posts attacking big names, offer link bait, be controversial—you’ve seen all of those tricks in action. But are those bloggers great? Will you remember them in 40 years?
Aiming for greatness

If you want to aim for greatness instead of trying to be big, here are some tactics you could try.
Look at how you can improve. Richard Thompson probably realized that his vocal work needed improvement. Instead of resting on his laurels, he worked hard, and it paid off. Look at your posts from the last month. What would you do to improve each post just a little bit?
Blog outside your comfort zone. Stretch your limits. Attack new areas that will enrich your experience and that of your readers.
Look at the content of the comments you receive, not the number. Are people saying that you helped them out or helped them see things in a new perspective, or are they just saying, “nice post”?
Track your subscribers. Although this can be a metric for size as well, subscribing is an action people take when they are confident every post you write will be of interest to them (though they won’t read every single one). Are people placing that much confidence in you?
Become a cult classic. While Richard Thompson may not be “big,” his followers are about as loyal as they come. Look at your readers. Do you have people who are not just reading your posts but gushing about them to their followers and their community?
You can be big and great

This is not to say that everyone has to be like Richard Thompson, toiling away in the genius room while only the Queen of England cares. But becoming “big” is often a function of elements that are out of your control.

If folk rock had really become popular, Richard Thompson might well have become king of the world. The Beatles became as big as they did in part because they caught a new sound just as it was growing.

But aiming for great? That’s entirely under your control. It is defined by you, it is measured by you, and it is something you do from the heart. It’s important to remember that greatness can help pave the way for getting big. Getting big does not promise greatness.

Have you been concentrating on getting big lately or have you been working on honing your craft? Which do you value more? I’d love to discuss it with you in the comments section.

Marjorie Clayman is Director of Client Development at Clayman Advertising, a full service marketing communications firm located in Akron, OH.

Blog Tips

Hi guys i am most interested in blogging than any other activity i indulge in.I am not that good at chatting or interacting with a group of guys for a function or a meeting though am not afraid or shy.A day in office with lots of talking and meeting will be like a day under blazing sun.All i am comfortable is blogging.So i can give you some cool blogging tips.Try to follow this and make use of this tips for better blogging.

Simple and clean design : The first impression is the best.The look and feel of your theme will appeal the visitor to stay on your page.I always recommend white background with black contents and dont go for the alternate option of black background with white font.

Good Content : Content is king as i always say, write quality articles about topics that are expected by your visitors.As a blogger you need to have clear idea about what you are going to provide for your readers.You must be specific on any of the points listed below

* Try to solve their problems

* Educate readers with subject in which you are strong

* Entertain readers with your articles

Format your articles with sub headings : Sub headings are very important factor in an article as most users take a look at subheadings to get a clear idea about what you explained in detail.

Reduce your bounce rate : Try to figure out the reason for bounce rate on your blog.In a recent survey, most blog readers in America are aged old group retired from their work.They will easily move away from your blog even without taking a look at your content if your text is too small to read.Make your text visible to reduce bounce rate to good extend.Try this for better results.

Set your goal : Set in mind that nothing is going to stop you from blogging.Dont get disappointed that you are not getting money or visitors for your blog.There will be many stages you will certainly think of stop blogging.Dont even think of that,keep motivated and belive that you are a good blogger and move towards your goal.The road to success is not easy so keep working hard.

Blog commenting : Blog commenting is the best way to tell other bloggers that am also here along with you.Lets have a friendly match.Start posting meaningful comments and get more traffic and backlink to your blog.Dont worry much about pagerank in beginning stages.i will be writing an article on page rank soon.

Guest blogging : Show your potential as an author to gain more traffic to your blog by writing articles to other famous blogs.Many visitors and bloggers will find that article and knock your door to see what you have in stock for the world.So start writing good articles of diffrent niches.

Choosing the headline : The most important factor for a blogger to make an impression is through his headline.A good headline can easily get the attention of the visitor as well as communicate a short bio of your post to audience and makes the audience to read your post.

You can assign diffrent types of headlines to your post

* Direct headlines is what comes on your mind staright about your post

* Indirect headline takes a little clever approach by making the reader thinking a bit about your headline

* How to headline is something you can see a lot in many diffrent blogs.If you are providing a solution that solves your readers problem the use howto to frame a headline

* A Question headline can be used to ask a queation to the reader.Its a brilliant approach because an answer will be there in users mind before reading your article.

Post with readable headlines : The standout factor of your blog post needs to be your heading.There is no use in writing a attractive and meaningful heading in small size,make it clear and visible.I recommend using <h1> tag and use css to make it
look slightly smaller than normal <h1>.This heading will be clearly visible to visitor and search engines.For the above reason dont make it too big.

Do not publish content of poor quality : A post with poor content or selfish content without proper knowledge on subject will always help you in getting bad name.Always focus to write contents on topics that your reader wants or try to solve your readers problem with your contents.

Use quality images : A quality post with good images will make it a great post among your readers.You are better advised not using images than adding a bad image to your post.provide quality images whereever necessary through out your post and makesure you just published a post with good text ratio with images in the sense you dont used many images and make your post overloaded with images.

About Page : Visitors always wants to know about you as well as your blog so provide them with an about page.I strongly assure you that your about page will be with list of page on your analytics with lot of page views.About page always help you in reaching out more to users by saying them what you are providing and what to expect from you in coming days.

You wil be on your way..Happy blogging!!

How to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines

So you’re looking to increase the profitability of your blog for the Christmas period (and beyond). You’ve optimized your AdSense, Chitika and Affiliate programs, you’ve even written a little seasonal content…. but there’s one missing element…. Traffic.

Unless you actually have people viewing your blog it is very difficult to actually earn anything from it.

So how do you drive traffic to your blog?

I’ve written quite a bit of this previously in a number of posts (for example here) but want to spend a little time talking today about Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Why SEO?

When you are looking online for information on a topic where do you go first?

While I’m sure there will be a variety of answers given to that question – the majority of average web users would answer with one word – ‘Google’.

Every day Search Engines like Google send many millions of web users to websites in their index. While there are plenty of Web 2.0 web indexing services around that are increasing in popularity – the fact is that search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN are still the biggest source of traffic to websites on the web.

As a result – learning how to be indexed and ranked well by them seems like a no brainer.

Writing for Search Engines and Humans

Some bloggers have a problem with the idea of optimizing a blog for search engines. They argue that rather than writing for search engines a blogger’s sole focus should be that they write quality content for humans.

I personally don’t see that writing for humans and search engines have to be mutually exclusive things – in my opinion both can be achieved without compromising either.

Some bloggers argue that if you write for humans that SEO looks after itself. To some extent I agree with that – if you do write quality content that others like you will find that they link up to your site (a key in SEO) – however I would argue that incoming links from other sites is just one part of climbing the rankings in Search Engines (an important part but not the only one).

There are other factors that come into play also and I believe that by knowing them and naturally incorporating them into your blogging you can increase your chances of being found by readers in Google, Yahoo and MSN.

Of course – some people become a little obsessed with SEO and forget the human reader, don’t fall for this trap and keep a balanced approach and you’ll benefit both from traffic from the search engines as well as a loyal readership who keeps coming back for more quality content.

Basic SEO tips for Bloggers

I’ve written previously on this topic so rather than writing the same thing again in a slightly different way will republish some of my previous tips below. I hope you find them useful.

Before I start - I’ll say that while I do get a lot of SE traffic that I’m not really an SEO expert (it isn’t what I devote most of my time to). If you want to read something by someone who has spent a lot more time and effort on the topic I recommend looking at an e-book by Aaron Wall – SEO Book (aff). I’ve actually been reading through it in the last few weeks (it’s been on my to do list for a long time) and have found it really helpful.

SEO experts tend to divide search engine optimization techniques into off site and on site techniques.
Off Site SEO Techniques

Off site SEO techniques are as the name suggests factors from outside the site itself (ie from other sites) that impact the blog’s ranking in search engines. Many of these factors are outside the blogger’s control – however they are useful to know. The most obvious and probably most powerful offsite factor are Inbound Links (something I’ve already referred to above).

It is generally agreed that the links that point to a website are one of the most powerful way of climbing Search Engines results pages (in fact many argue it is THE most important factor). – To put it most simply – every link to your site is seen by the search engines as being a vote of confidence in your site.

Ideally Speaking – The best inbound links have three main qualities to them:
they are from higher ranked sites than your own
they are relevant to the topic you are writing about
they link to you using relevant keywords to your page

Whilst you may not have complete control over who links to you these are the types of links that you should be dreaming of.

How to generate quality inbound Links?

Of course whilst most of us know this it doesn’t make getting such links any easier – its in the hands of others in many cases. So how do you get such links?
Quality Content – There are all kinds of link generating systems out there but in my opinion the best way to get links to your blog is to write quality content that people will want to read. You can solicit links with others or sign up for different link building programs or even buy text links on other sites but the cheapest and probably safest approach is to build inbound links in a natural organic way as others link to your quality content.
Notify Relevant Bloggers of your content – Whilst I don’t advocate spamming other bloggers and asking for links – I would recommend that if you write a quality post on a topic that you know will interest another blogger that it might be worth shooting them a short and polite email letting them know of your post. Don’t be offended if they don’t link up, but you might just find that they do and that in addition to the direct traffic that the link generates that it helps build your own page rank in the search engines (more on letting other bloggers know of your posts here).
Directories – Another way to generating inbound links is to submit your links to directories. I know of webmasters who swear by the benefits of such a strategy – the first thing that they do when starting a new site is to do the rounds of directories – submitting links to key pages with appropriate keywords in the links. There are loads of directories out there – many of which offer a free submission. Ari Paparo has compiled a list of blog directories that you might want to start with.
Inter-link your Blogs – Increasingly bloggers are starting or joining blog networks to enjoy the benefits of multiple sites and writers working together. One of the advantages of networks of sites is that they usually link to one another. In doing so you have complete control over how your sites are linked to from multiple domains. It is worth noting that you should be careful with this approach – if all your sites are hosted on the one server many think that Search Engines will work out what you’re doing and the impact will be lessened.
Buy Links – Many professional web masters have a budget to purchase links from other highly ranked and and relevant sites. I won’t go into this too much here but you might like to read more about it in my recent post On Buying Text Links.
Swap Links – Similarly many bloggers swap links with other bloggers. Sometimes this happens pretty naturally (you see someone linking to you so you link back) but in many cases the links are strategic ones and formally arranged between site owners. I get daily requests for such reciprocal links (I rarely act on them). Whilst there is some benefit in such link swapping I would again advise caution here as many SEO experts believe that the search engines have methods for tracking such strategies and devaluing the links. Some try to get around this by doing indirect or triangulated links. ie instead of site A and B doign a direct swap they involve other sites. So A links to C in exchange for D (also owned by C) linking to B (also owned by A) – makes your head hurt doesn’t it!?! There are also a variety of systems around that say they’ll take care of such interlinking for you – I know many who use Digital Point’s Free C0-Op Advertising system. Personally I tend to avoid such schemes and have a policy of linking to sites I think are valuable to my readers. If they link back then so be it.

If you’re looking for link exchange/buying/selling programs you might like to look at systems like:

- Link Adage
- Text Link Ads
- Link Worth

On Site SEO Techniques

Having looked at Offsite Search Engine Optimization Techniques I’ll now turn my attention to examining some of the factors you might like to keep in mind as you build your blog – (or Onsite techniques – things you do on your blog that help build a higher ranking). As with all SEO techniques there are many of these and a lot of speculation around all of them so let me touch on as many as I can:

1. Keyword Rich Content – identify a few keywords for your article that you’re hoping will get indexed highly by Google. Don’t pick too many but consider the questions
How do I want people to find this post in Search Engines?
What will they type into Google if they want information on the topic you’re writing?
How would I find information on this topic in the Search Engines?
What results come up when I do plug these keywords into Google?
What other keywords are other sites using?

The answer to these questions will give you a hint as to what words you’ll want to see repeated throughout your article a number of times.

These keywords will need to be the most common words used in your article. Use them in some or all of the following ways:
Keywords in post and page titles (read my post on using keywords in titles)
Keywords in URL of page (blog herald wrote on this a while back)
Keywords in outbound links. Of course you should always link to sources of content as an ethical consideration but the bonus of this is that many SEO experts think that linking to relevant and quality sites on the same topic of your post with good keywords can also add credibility to YOUR post also.
Keywords in bold tags (try do it at least once)
Keywords in heading tags (there is debate over exactly how to use them but it’s generally accepted that h1 tags are important and that h2, h3, h4 etc tags also have an impact. Having said that I’ve seen some pages rank very well in search engines without using heading tags. There are many tutorials online about heading tags – here’s one.)
Keywords in image alt tags (here’s how)
Keywords in the general throughout the text of your post – but especially early on in the first few sentences
Keywords in meta tags (they seem to be less valuable these days but many still believe they are useful with some search engines – here’s a Guide to meta tags)

Of course you can go over the top with keywords in posts and let it destroy your content – but if it fits with what you’ve written tweak it to include the words you are targeting a couple of extra times. Most SEO experts recommend getting your keyword density up to between 5-20% – I think 20% is probably bordering on massacring your content.

One last word of warning and disclaimer on keyword rich content (because I can just hear the comments on this post already) – don’t sacrifice your readers experience of your site just for the sake of SEO. Yes keyword density can be important in climbing the search engine rankings – but more important is that your content and design are user friendly and helpful to readers. There is nothing worse than a site that is stuffed with keywords – these sites come off as cheap, nasty and spammy – don’t fall for the temptation.

Keep in mind keywords that might be specific to the season we are approaching. While during the year there might be less people searching for posts relating to Christmas, gifts, presents, new year sales etc – this time of year will see an increase in these types of searches.

2. Themed sites - One of the growing theories of SEO is that you are more likely to rank well if you have a substantial amount of pages on a similar theme. ie a niche topic blog will probably rank higher than a general one that covers many topics. Build a blog with over 200 pages of content on the same theme and you’ll increase your chances of ranking well as SEs will see you as an authority on the topic. The take home advice here is to keep to some kind of a topic/niche/theme for your blog. It is also probably another argument for categories and tagging posts that relate together strongly.

3. Site Design – Search Engines like well laid out, well coded and easily to navigate sites. Make sure your pages validate (I need to work more on this) and that they are viewable on all major browsers. Search Engines don’t tend to like too much Flash, Frames or Java Script in your site – keep it simple and clean and their robots will index your site a lot faster and more accurately. Also try to keep your blog free from dead links (a challenge for those of us with older blogs with big archives).

4. Interlink your Site – The way Search Engines index your blog is to send little robot crawlers to your site to track what you’ve written and follow the links. Make it easier for them to get around your blog by using internal linking wisely. Most SEO experts recommend that you provide some sort of Site Map that means every page on your blog is just a link or two away from every other one. One way to do this for bloggers is to make sure that your category pages are in your sidebars as I do in this blog. Also make sure every page links back to your main page and any other important pages on your site. If you’re writing on a topic you’ve previously written about consider linking to what you’ve written before or use a ‘other relevant posts’ feature at the base of your article. You’ll see in my menus at the top of the page a number of my key categories and articles. One of the impacts of having them highlighted in this way is that they have become some of the most highly ranked pages on ProBlogger simply because they are linked to from every page of this blog. This is a key point in the lead up to Christmas – if you have a few seasonal posts that you particularly want to do well in the SE’s make sure they are linked to from every page on your blog.

5. Update regularly – The more you update your blog the more often Search Engines will send their crawlers to your site to index it. This will mean your new articles could appear in the index within days or even hours rather than weeks. This is a natural benefit of blogging – make the most of it!

6. Outbound Links – There is debate over how SEs treat outbound links from your blog. I’m in the camp who believe that relevant outbound links enhance your site’s ranking in search engines. I always link out to quality relevant sites that I think my readers will find useful and have a little anecdotal evidence that seems to support the theory that this is healthy for the way SEs index you (check out Waynes article on the topic for more info). Linking to sites outside your own blog does mean you end up sending traffic away from your blog so you need to count the cost of such a strategy. Note that you should always try to link to reputable and relevant sites to your own page. Also keep in mind that too many outbound could have detrimental impact upon your blog. Like in most things in SEO – moderation is the key.

7. Choose your domain name wisely – there are numerous factors to keep in mind when selecting a domain name. For one you might like to include your keyword in it if possible. Secondly you should do a little research to see if someone else has previously used the domain. This could have both positive and negative impact. If it was a quality site with inbound links you might reap some benefits but if it was a banned spam site you could still be banned from Google for a long time. One service you might want to use to check expired domains is Way Back Machine at

8. Register your Domain for a Lengthy Period – a recent patent by Google indicates that it now looks at the length of your domain’s registration in ranking it. It does this because many spam sites have short registrations and a longer one indicates that you’re building a site with substance and are in it for the long haul.

9. One topic per post – the more tightly focused the theme of a page the better when Search Engines come to rank it. Sometimes you might find yourself writing long posts that end up covering a number of different topics. They might relate loosely but if search engine ranking is what you’re after it could be better to break up your post into smaller more focused pieces.

10. Write optimal length posts – there is some thought going around the Search Engine Optimization community that pages that are too short can get passed over for high rankings. I try to keep posts at least 250 words. Of course there are some posts on my blogs that are shorter, but if I’m writing a post that I want to rank well I try to give it some meatiness in terms of length. On the other hand don’t make it too long either – because in doing so you make it difficult to keep your keyword density up and could end up with a less tightly focused page. Research also shows that longer articles can have a pretty steep drop off rate in readers after the text gets below the ‘fold’ or to the end of the first screen of article (looks like this post is in trouble – is anyone still reading?).

11. Avoid Duplicate content – Google warns publishers in its guidelines about having the same content on multiple pages. This goes for both multiple pages that you own but also pages that others own. This is because a tactic of spammers is often to reproduce content on many pages and/or to steel content from other sites. There is some debate over what duplicate content does and doesn’t include (for instance many bloggers use ‘free articles’ as content on their blogs – these articles often appear on hundreds and even thousands of other sites around the web and to me could be seen as duplicate content) – my advice is to be very careful about how many places your content appears. I do republish occasional posts (or parts of them) but try not to do this too much and attempt to add elements that are unique on each occasion that the posts are republished).

12. Ping – services like Pingomatic (there are numerous others too) will ping a variety of websites for you to notify them that you’ve updated. In doing so you’ll also be letting search engines know that you’ve updated which will trigger their robots to come visit your blog. I’d also suggest pinging Google’s blog search tool.

13. Submit your RSS to MyYahoo – submitting your RSS feed to MyYahoo seems to help with getting indexed on Yahoo. Read more about this at Getting Yahoo Traffic for your Blog. Some also think that doing the same thing to Google’s Personalised pages could have a similar impact.

14. Quantities of Content – I always get into trouble when I write about having lots of content – but I think its true that bigger sites tend to rank better than smaller sites – whilst it is possible to rank highly with a small site – it’s probably not the norm.. Search Engines will see your site as more comprehensive the more content you have. You also better your odds of being found in Search Engines if you have more pages. By no means am I saying just to put up random junk content – be careful about this – rather work at building a comprehensive and large site over time.

15. Submit to Search Engines – You can do all the best onsite SEO strategies in the world and still get no where because the Search Engines have not found you to start with. Each search engine has a way of letting it know about your site – submit your URL to be included in the index. Please note that this takes time and perhaps a quicker and more effective way is to get linked to by a site already indexed by the search engine. I’ve written a post about his previously here.

You might also like to tryout some of the services around that offer to submit your sites to search engines for you – I’d be wary of paying for this sort of service though. I never have and seem to do ok.

The Time Factor

One more element that I think is often overlooked in SEO tips posts is that of ‘Time’.

My own experience of blogging is that you can do all of the above things and still not be ranked well in the Search Engines for months and months. Here at ProBlogger it actually took around a year before I started to get significant search engine traffic – despite me doing all the ‘right things’.

This might not be particularly good news for those of you wanting to optimize your site for Christmas this year – but it is yet another reminder that blogging is a long term thing and that it takes considerable time for a blog to become established.

If you’re not ranking well in the search engines – hang in there. Keep posting, keep working on quality content and keep the above factors in mind – as you do this you’ll find that in time your SE traffic will gradually increase.

This post has been a part of the How to Fine Tune your Blog for Christmas Series.

An Introduction to Blogging

A weblog or a blog can be referred to as a personal online diary or a journal maintained by an individual or a group in order to share their thoughts and opinions to the world. Wikipedia defines blog as

“A blog (a contraction of the term “web log“)[1] is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog”

Blog has gained a lot of popularity in recent times and the meaning has broadened from what it was originally created for. Blogs are also one of the earliest forms of social media where user interacted with the readers of his blogs. Everybody has heard of blogs specially now when an online presence for one is must. So what exactly does a blog mean?

What is a Blog?

As already mentioned above a blog is an online diary which could be used to

Credits: fcmdsc

express anything from personal feelings to fact and figures. People use blogs to connect with other people. While a personal blog could be based on someone’s day to day experience or his travel experience, there are many professional blogs ranging from news to technology information. Today blogs have become one of the easiest and fastest sources of information.

Since a blog is frequently updated, the information provided is as up to date as it can get. Blogs are primarily textual with some images. There are also blogs completely focused on pictures, art, photographs, audio, videos etc as well. Blogging itself has given rise to a new form of social media called micro blogging where users share updates in form of short messages. While most blogs are owned by a single author, there are a lots of multi author blogs existing today. The multi author blogs are easier to update as they are many authors contributing to them.

History of Blogging

Blogging became one of the most successful and widely used ways of sharing information among web geeks. What actually started as a passion with a common interest grew to be a cult in itself. It primarily started when people started posting links to interesting information on their websites and added a scope for people to do the same. This gave rise to online discussions over topics and links.

Blogs are said to be originated around 1994 with “”Links from the Underground” by Justin Hall where he wrote about his passion and the blog went down in history to become one of the most legendary blogs on journalism and media.

Who Blogs and Why?

If you have been wondering who are these people behind millions of blogs written ever day? The answer is simple; it could be anyone you see, even you.


Blogging might have started as a hobby among techies and web geeks but now blogging has caught on like a wild fire among anyone and everyone. From personal experiences to detailed product review, you can find a blog by anyone on anything and anyone. Writing a blog doesn’t require any technical knowledge and the reason for the success of this whole phenomenon is the fact that anybody with as little as zero knowledge on computers could be a successful blogger. This has been made possible because of the numerous tools available online.

If you think you have something to express, share, manage, writing a blog is the easiest option. Blogging is just another way of maintaining your diary in the sense that it is much more organized and well maintained. While there are many blogs calling controversy, you can always choose to blog about anything you want.

Different kinds of Blogs

A blog can be formal, informal, personal, and corporate and you can choose from vast variety to take the plunge. Let’s see what the various kinds of blogs are:

Personal Blog: These are more like personal diaries maintained online. The topic could be anything you want to write. It mostly involves talking about your own experience and readers take note of your experience to learn from them.

Group Blog: A group blog basically is a multi author blog where many authors contribute on a regular basis. You could get a group of friends together to get this started. This is easiest to maintain since it doesn’t require you alone to update every time.

Product Review Blog: This is basically an informatory blog which talks about your comments and opinions of a product. It could include anything from consumer products to a software technology. These blogs are one of the best ways to get to know about things you want to go and purchase.

News Blog: These blogs are meant to track news and keep people updated. They could range from a certain specific segment (eg Technology, Politics etc) to region or area specific news. To make the blog interesting, you can always add additional information by looking at various online sources and adding you personal thoughts.

Hobby Blogs: If there is a certain interest area that you’d like to particularly talk about or invite discussion on, a hobby blog is what you should opt for. From photographs to laptops, a hobby blog includes news, updates, reviews , launches and so on, on a topic of interest.

How can blogs be used?

A blog is not just your own way of putting your thoughts across; it can be

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really helpful to various people visiting your blog. In more way than one blogs can be great way of educating and entertaining people. Here are few ways in which a blog can benefit others:

Educational: Some blogs can be great source of information from a knowledge point of view. Not only do you get to learn about certain topics, you get firsthand experience about things you wanted to learn. Some blogs can also be used as a source of personal research. You could choose to carry on a research based on a blog you read or you could continue with a research already done by someone.

Various teachers use blogs to share information with their students as well. Discussions over topics are one of the best part about maintain blogs.

Online Journals: With the kind of tools available online, writing an online journal is way better than maintaining that age old diary. You can choose to make a blog public or private. It not only works easier in terms of maintenance and organization, it helps you keep an updated online presence as well.

Blogs work as a great way for connecting with people. When you share your ideas to the world, you are establishing an online connection with others.

In the digital world that exists today, online presence is very important. Blogging goes a long way in creating your online personality and enhancing your social media presence.

Monday, 12 December 2011

22 Ways To Find Advertisers For Your Website

Advertisers For Your Website
Selling advertising deals is one of the most profitable ways to monetize your website. Some time ago I wrote an article titled How to Find Advertisers for Your Website, where I covered the pros and cons of using this method, what you need to have in place before getting started, how much you should charge and so on.

The most difficult part of the process, however, is to actually find the advertisers. I included some places where you can look for in that article, but I felt that it would be useful to have one post listing all the ways you can use to find advertisers for your website. That is what the list below is all about.
Leveraging Your Own Site

Your own website should be the first port when it comes to finding advertisers. Why? Because people who are familiar with your work will be more willing to discuss possible advertising deals.

1. Put an “Advertise” link on the menu bar

If you have a navigation menu bar, you could include an “Advertise” link there, making it point to a page where you describe the advertising options of your site. This link will help you in two different ways. First of all it will allow interested companies to quickly find the page where you display your advertising information. Secondly, it will also let all visitors know that you do accept advertising deals.

2. Use an “Advertise Here” banner as placeholder

If you have unsold ad spots, you could include an “Advertise Here” banner as a placeholder on one of them. This banner will act just like the “Advertise” link on the navigation menu, but it might be more effective because it will show potential advertisers exactly where their ads will be displayed. Just make sure to not use an “Advertise Here” placeholder on all of your unsold spots, as this would send a negative message to advertisers (i.e., no one is buying any ads on your site, so why should they?).

3. Write a post welcoming advertisers

If you have a blog, you could write a post inviting advertisers. This technique works pretty well because it allows you to elaborate your offer. On the post you’ll be able to explain what kind of audience your blog has, what kind of traffic it gets, what are the advertising options available and so on.

4. Email your list

Do you have an email list? Then send the same information that you posted on the blog to these subscribers. The only thing you should not include is the price. Why? Because if you don’t include it interested people will email you asking for that, and this will give you their email addresses and an invite for a conversation, where you’ll have better chances of convincing them.

5. Put a message at the bottom of blog posts

If you post often on your blog you could attach a message at the bottom of every post. Something like “Want to showcase your product to our audience? Then check our advertising options.” Obviously you should include a link to your “Advertise” page on that message. If you are using WordPress, you’ll just need to edit the single.php file to make this message appear on all your blog posts.

6. Put a message at the bottom of your feed

Similarly, you could also put a message at the bottom of your feed. This will make sure that both website visitors and RSS subscribers will see it. If you are using WordPress, you can create easily create a custom message to be displayed at the bottom of you feed with the RSS Footer plugin.

7. Examine who is leaving comments

It is a good idea to examine who is leaving comments on your blog. You are basically looking for people who work at companies that have relevant products to your audience. Once you identify someone who does (either by the link he will leave or by the domain on his email address), you’ll just need to contact him, asking if his company would be interested in becoming a sponsor. This technique works well because the person will already be a member of your community.

8. Examine who is linking to you

Apart from examining who is leaving comments on your blog you should also check the people linking to your blog posts. If you notice a link from a company blog, you could again contact the company asking if it would be interested in becoming a sponsor. If they liked your content enough to link to it, they will certainly consider an advertising deal.

9. Reply to all press releases and review requests

Once your website gets somewhat popular inside its niche you’ll certainly start receiving many press releases and review requests via the contact form. Instead of sending these to the trash bin, you should reply to all of them, stating that you found their product/service interesting, and that you believe they could benefit from advertising on your site because your audience would be a good match. Then give all the details about the advertising options, and wait to see if they are interested.
Exploring Ad Networks

If you can find companies that are already spending money on online advertising, your job will be halfway done. Advertising networks represent an excellent opportunity to do this.


Just by visiting the homepage of this ad network you’ll be able to see a list of “Sample Advertisers.” Most of those are big online spenders. After that you can also check the publishers listed on the directory. Just click to visit the homepage of each site, and check what companies bought banners there. You’ll be able to find hundreds of potential sponsors.

11. AdBrite

On the navigation menu of this ad network you’ll find a link titled “Site Directory.” It is basically a list of all the websites that accept ads through the network. You’ll just need to browse through them, checking what companies are buying banners there. The interesting thing is that you can also filter the websites by niche, making sure you’ll only contact relevant companies.

12. ClickBank

ClickBank is not an ad network per se, but rather an affiliate marketing one. That being said, you could still signup as an affiliate and browse its marketplace looking for sponsors. Just avoid contacting the top selling products, because those already have hundreds of affiliate promoting them. Focus on the middle range of the marketplace.


Once you signup as a “Blogger” on this ad network you’ll be able to browse its marketplace, which contains a list of companies who are willing to pay bloggers to review their products/services. Guess what? After that it will just be a matter of contacting them.

14. ReviewMe

This network works pretty much like the previous one. You’ll find fewer offers here, but it is still worth a look once in a while. Additionally, if you setup a low review price for your blog you’ll be contacted by interested companies on a regular basis.
Vising other sites in your niche

A very effective way to find advertisers for your website is to visit other sites in your niche, looking for companies advertising there already.

15. Contact the banner advertisers

First of all you’ll want to contact the advertisers who purchased banner spots. Usually these are companies who contacted the site owner directly, so they will be more open to discussing new advertising opportunities with you.

16. Contact the AdSense advertisers

If the site you are visiting uses Google AdSense, you could check the companies that are putting ads there and then contact them . Mention on your email that your saw the company ad on the XYZ site, and that you believe your site would be a good match for their products/services, too.

17. Contact the site owner

If your website is larger than the one you are visiting, you could also contact the site owner to see if he is not interested in purchasing one of your banner spots. This could help him to get more brand awareness and new readers. Secondly, you could also try to establish a partnership, where you refer advertisers to each other.
Using Google

Whenever you need to find something online, Google can help.

18. Search for relevant products and contact the organic results

Companies that sell products or services relevant to your audience will certainly consider the opportunity to advertise on your site. If that is the case, all you need to do is visit Google and start searching for these companies. If you have a site about baseball, for example, go to Google and search for “baseball bats”, “baseball gloves” and so on.

19. Search for relevant keywords and contact the AdWords advertisers

Apart from finding companies on the organic results you can also look for the ones already spending money on Google AdWords. These are the “Sponsored Links” that will appear on top and to the right of the organic search results. Notice that you don’t need to search for products here. Searching any keyword that is related to your niche should already trigger the sponsored links.

20. Search for websites thanking their sponsors/advertisers

Many websites publish periodic posts thanking their sponsors. You could use Google to find these posts, as they will come with a list of companies you can contact. For example, you could search for “thanks sponsors” on Google. Alternatively you can also filter the search to specific websites that are related to your site. If you have a tech blog, for example, you could search for “ sponsors”, which will give you a list of all the posts on that talk about sponsors.
Using Social Networks

Social networks are among the most popular websites on the Internet these days. As such, companies are starting to direct their advertising efforts there, and you could use that to find sponsors for your site.

21. Sponsored Tweets

Twitter created one of the fastest growing online platforms, and many companies started to leverage the “sponsored tweet” idea. They basically pay a certain amount of money for people willing to send a message talking about their products or services. Most of these companies require people to disclose the ads with hashtags. Two popular ones are #ad and #sponsored. If you search for those hashtags on Twitter, you’ll be able to find a huge list of sponsored messages. After that you’ll just need to contact the companies who sponsored them.

22. Facebook Ads

Facebook is the largest social network on the web, and they also have a self-serving ad platform that works similar to Google AdSense. As a result many companies are purchasing ads there, and you could try to find some that are related to your own niche. You just need to browse around the site (while logged in), and the ads should appear on the right sidebar. On some pages you’ll also find a link titled “More Ads,” which will send you to a page with a list of advertisers relevant to your profile.
Bonus Tip

This tip helped me find dozens of advertisers over the years. It is a really simple but very effective one. The tip is: create a folder on the bookmarks of your browser named “Potential Advertisers” or “Potential Sponsors.” After that you’ll just need to pay attention while browsing the web to companies and/or websites that have something related to your website and that could be interested in advertising there. Whenever you come across one, bookmark it. If you use the Internet a lot you’ll find that this bookmark folder will grow very quickly, and it will just be a matter of getting in touch with the companies listed there.