Month: October 2007

Blogging and making money – a state the obvious perspective part one

Lately I’ve found myself looking at this blog an thinking, god Rob you moaning whinging whining minnie.

I want to say something positive and talk about opportunities that exist for people who like to blah blah blah.

Everyone already knows about Google Adsense, so I’m not going to talk about them or any other program too specifically but I may include a link or two to a couple of others that I use and have found to be ok.

This post isn’t for you uber smart folks who are already doing this stuff, it’s more a general dumbing down thing for everyone else who might happen to think that this stuff is in some way hard or difficult, as you know already it isn’t it’s piss easy. All you need is half a brain an opinion and a blog.

So you want to be a blogger on the world wide web?

First off, lets just say that in an ideal world you’d take some time out to actually think about what you were going to do and how you were going to do it. I’m going to lay it all out in steps and give my idealised approach followed by a not so idealised approach, you can then do whatever it is you want to do with it. Don’t expect me to finish it all today, I’m going to start the piece and write til I think Ive said enough for part one and carry on another day.

Why Blogging and making money – a state the obvious perspective? First off, it’s a state the obvious perspective as I really don’t understand why someone wouldn’t want to at least try and passively monetise whatever it is they are sharing.If you are writing online for somebody else then you might as well write for yourself. There are exceptions of course, but generally I don’t see why anyone would want to write for anybody else and not get paid for their efforts.

People just don’t realise that if a search engine is spidering their content, then like it or not, they are already monetising your content! If you are writing on a blog platform that is privately owned then again whilst it may not be obvious, you can bet your bottom dollar that your content is adding value to them and their bottom line somewhere down the line.

There are already 1000’s upon 1000’s of people writing online making other people money and they don’t even realise it.They are caught up in this oooh lovely idea around the ‘coolness’ factor of being able to communicate ‘online’ they really don’t see that whilst they may well be loving every minute of what they do, that they could also do the very same thing and earn a few extra pennies too, with minimum effort and minimal cost.

You really don’t have to make the same mistake as them and if you already are, then perhaps this little piece might help you to break out and start monetising your own works too.

Getting the ball rolling

Get an idea – The hardest part in all this might be deciding what you want to blog about.

I’d love to say that you should start off by picking a niche that is going to make you a lot of money and todo that all you need to do is do x y and z and you’ll find the current top paying PPC keywords and all of that, but I’m not going to. Why? Because most people struggling with jobs and bills and day to day activities just simply won’t have the focus and determination to talk about or monetise stuff that they just aren’t really interested in, far better in my opinion to write about stuff that you know and have a bit of an interest in.

Brainstorm an idea – Start out by getting a pen and paper or open up notepad and write down a few things that pop into your head, things that you enjoy and have a passion about.

Write about stuff you like – There’s no point blogging about some old crap that you aren’t interested in, write about things that get your juices flowing, tell people what you think or feel about something and why. By getting that mesage across with passion and verve, you’ll find it easier to build a little following and get people reading you.

People are different but the same – Some people like to blog about random stuff that enters their heads.

This is perfectly ok, even if you are a certified loon, someone somewhere might just enjoy what you have to say. People aren’t as dissimilar as we like to think we are. We all like to eat nice food, talk about things that make us smile and laugh, sometimes cry. We like to talk about our hopes and fears and aspirations, our kids, our friends, TV shows, politics, films, music, sex and our vices, clothes and fashion, shops we like, stores that are offering special offers, places to avoid, hotels that we’ve stayed in, resorts we’ve visited, airlines we used to get there, the people we encountered. Some of us are great advisors having an ability to problem solve and help others, some of us are just funny and like to make people smile and laugh, some of us are ranty sons of bitches, some of us are sensual horny mudder fudder, some of us are loudmothed opinionated know all know nothings, whatever we may be, we all have something to say and we will always find someone somewhere who’ll be inspired/depressed/irritated/amused/aroused by what we say.

Ok where next? So you have your idea, you’ve been around the block a couple of times and researched what it is you are going to write about. You’ve checked out a few other blogs and websites and made a note or two of the kind of stuff that’s already out there, you’ve even wrote up a few pieces in word documents, you may already have stuff on 43things or Bebo or facebook you are just unsure as to where to go next. The whole idea of getting a webhost account and installing a wordpress blog for example just fills you with dread and is kinda scary. Have no fear, it is really easy you have nothing to worry about.

For me the self hosted route is the best option- People seem daunted by the idea of setting it all up for themselves yet if they look into it they’ll find that all they needis a hosting account and a domain name a blog install and they are off Those links referenced offer hosting with a free domain name, eg for just $6.95 per month and offer great customer support on set up issues. Once you have that done you are good to go.

Just login to your blog control panel with your username and password, activate your theme or choose from the 1000’s of free ones out there and start writing.

There are 100’s of tutorials out there for those looking to fine tune and hone their installs, but that’s a topic for another day.

I’ m done for now (I’ ve a problem with my space bar which is driving me nuts) but in the next blog on this topic I’ll talk a little more about the basics around blogging and some of the ways you can monetise what you do. Meantime, have a great day or night or whatever and thanks for reading. If you have any specific thoughts or suggestions of topics you’d like to see covered then do feel free to drop something in the comments box.

Techy problems behind the scenes

As some of  you may have noticed, I’ve been having database problems. If I’m not ‘here’ then you know where I’ve gone. To say it sucks is an understatement.  I’m able to login in at the moment but for how long is another issue entirely.

Adding images to your blog posts with Flickr

Some of you might have heard of a website named Flickr. I like flickr its a cool little place to share your photos or store them online, anyhow…did you know that you can also access these pictures and add them to your blog posts?

The code below will show all images that have been tagged sunny

<p id=”flickr_badge_wrapper” align=”center”>
<script src=”
display=latest&size=s&layout=h&source=all_tag&tag=sunny” type=”text/javascript”></script></p>

This how it looks when outputted to the blogpost 5 small horizontal images.

You can specify,horizontal,vertical by picture size and number too.

Here is the same keyword but larger and with only one image specified.

All you need to do is play with the variables size=s gives you small size=m gives you medium and size=l gives you large. Count specifies the number eg count=4 would show 4 images.

The downside is that it’s a little random, but if you want to show images from people who have ok’ed public distribution then it’s a handy little way of adding an extra dimension to your blog posts or pages.

Ifyou you’d like the images to look like those above then you’ll need to add the code below  to your stylesheet or head of your post but do make sure to include the <style></style> tags if going via the head option.

#flickr_badge_source_txt {padding:0; font: 11px Arial, Helvetica, Sans serif; color:#666666;}
#flickr_badge_icon {display:block !important; margin:0 !important; border: 1px solid rgb(0, 0, 0) !important;}
#flickr_icon_td {padding:0 5px 0 0 !important;}
.flickr_badge_image {text-align:center !important;}
.flickr_badge_image img {border: 1px solid black !important;}
#flickr_www {display:block; padding:0 10px 0 10px !important; font: 11px Arial, Helvetica, Sans serif !important; color:#3993ff !important;}
#flickr_badge_uber_wrapper a:hover,
#flickr_badge_uber_wrapper a:link,
#flickr_badge_uber_wrapper a:active,
#flickr_badge_uber_wrapper a:visited {text-decoration:none !important; background:inherit !important;color:#3993ff;}
#flickr_badge_wrapper {}
#flickr_badge_source {padding:0 !important; font: 11px Arial, Helvetica, Sans serif !important; color:#666666 !important;}

SEO blogger to SEO evil link selling bad ass spammer bastard

Luigi the Blacksmith

I’m reminded of a joke that talks about a blacksmith named Luigi who lived in the Welsh Valleys. Luigi was complaing about a nickname he had acquired and how his reputation had been damaged. All his long life he had worked hard as a blacksmith, fitting new shoes, looking after the horses of the farmers and the gentry, he really thought it unfair that he should be labelled in the way that he had. “20 years a blacksmith, I’m Luigi the Blacksmith, 2 minutes with a sheep and I’m Luigi the sheep shagger”

Reputation hits hurt

The serious point is that for whatever reason, this blog like many others appears to have taken a visible greenbar hit. The greenbar representation does not equate to this blogs link profile.

My little Luigi joke is related to the fact that I have actually made in the 10 months I’ve been blogging here just one sponsored review (which was clearly labelled as such) does this make me some kind of link selling evil seo bastard? Of course not, it’s ridiculous to assert such a thing, yet why else? Why else has this blog seen such a marked drop in its green toolbar PR?

I really wasn’t going to say anymore on this PR thing(plenty has been said already) but I was kinda narked so decided that I just had to pass comment – get it off my chest and be done with it.

I don’t really care that my visible PR has been penalised, but I do care about the reasons behind it, I think it’s an infantile and ridiculous thing to do, the sortof thing some blind cyclops might engage in some cave somewhere.

Last week this blog had a toolbar PR of 4, yesterday it was 3 today it is 2 tommorrow I might be 1.

I don’t sell text links

First off, for the record. I do not sell text links on this website. I’ve discussed things like reviewme and payperpost and TLA and sponsoredreviews because they happened to pertain to what some of what this blog discusses, which so happens to be the monetisation of written content.

Lets take TLA for example, I like many others have a link through to their stuff via some affid banner or text, mine happen to be nofollowed. I nofollowedthese because I’m not a total idiot, I have no desire to stick two fingers up to a company that happens to deliver paying customers every once in a while, that would be silly, that said I still have the right to monetise what I do in any way that I choose to, it’s for me to weigh up the pros and cons of course. Which is why I took the decision to nofollow my PPP and TLA links from the outset.Ithought thatthiswas what people like Mr C had requested. I didn’t like it, but took a broad based decision deciding it was one of those fights for another day.

The reasons were 2 fold.

Reason 1 as I’ve said already I didn’t want to antogonise the 800lb gorilla and reason 2, I didn’t want to leak any juice to stuff that basically already had my tacit support by virtue of me placing their code on my real estate. That action alone was enough, they didn’t merit site wide dofollows too, that would have been like me paying them twice.

No Nofollow blog?

Perhaps they don’t like the fact that by and large this happens to be a dofollow blog. I allow followed links for those who take the time to comment here. Those who are denied are usually done so on the back of a choice taken by me that feels that they are either spamming me or just generally have one of those aint worth sixpence type websites.

Suffice to say that there is not one thing I’ve done on this blog that is outside of any search engine guideline.

Don’t poke the big fat ape

Ive critiscised them a little sure, who hasn’t and why wouldn’t I even. Christ I blog about seo and search engines, lots of others do too. I ask my readers questions I am genuinely interested in what others think, it’s one of the reasons why I post little polls and ask sensitive questions. If that’s a reason (which I doubt) then that’s just a little pathetic. Google have to recognise that criticism comes with the terrority. The feudal lord has raised his tax take,people will complain and criticise, it’s part of the human condition, always has been always will.

Begging forgiveness

Would I consider a reinclusion request and admit to ‘wrong doing’ or ‘badness’ or being evil? Heck no. Their egos are theirs and theirs alone to live with, why the fuck should I go cap in hand confessing like some remorseful sinner for something that is so asinine it’s barely worth geting flummoxed about!

As Andy said in a previous post when he was first slapped. To those who don’t know and view the Pagerank green bar thing as a signal of quality, then it looks like I have a low grade shitty blog. Google is saying this blog is crap and not to be trusted. That really isn’t on.

Whoa whoa calm down…?

Of course…all of this could but be a step back to the days of old where PR updates were a part of the regular landscape.In the absence of any official statement from the Google FUD machine it’s all people can do but speculate.

Lots of people today are reporting fluctuations, some blogs that had seen a toolbar drop the other day have seen a return to form, others (like mine) have seen a worsening.

Andy put together a little list

Domain Starting PR 1st PR Update 2nd PR Update Today’s PR 6 6 4 4 or 6 7 7 5 5 or 7 6 6 4 6 6 6 4 6 or 7 6 6 4 4 or 6 6 6 4 4 or 6 7 6 4 4 or 5 7 7 4 4 or 6 6 5 4 4 or 5 6 6 3 3 or 5 7 7 4 4 or 6 6 6 4 4 or 6 5 4 3 3 4 or 5 6 6 4 4 or 6 7 7 5 4 5 or 6 7 7 5 5 or 7 7 7 5 5 or 7 6 6 3 3 or 5 8 8 5 4 5 or 6 3 3 2 1 or 2 3 2 1 1 2 3 or 4 7 7 5 5 or 7 5 5 3 3 or 5 7 7 5 5 7 or 8 6 6 4 5 4 or 6 6 5 3 3 or 5
The following are site updates which were not hit by a penalty previously for comparison purposes 7 7 7 5 4 4 4 6 7 7 7 7 5 5 5 6 6 6 6 3 or 5
More news and updates available from source Andy Beard – Niche Marketing

I don’t get why Google are getting so hatey with the people who collectively, helped them become as strong and as wealthy as they have. Its like we all created a Frankensteins monster that is just out of control having swigged a bottle of A grade Vodka smashing up the laboratory, trying to get to Dr Frankenstein and wring his neck!

It’s bad bad karma, its arrogant, it’s lots of depressing little things, that for now I’ve already spent far too much of this precious thing called life on.

Have a great day!

Don’t ever bank on free traffic, build on it

Maki wrote a good blog post today that for me spoke about marketing and creating things of value that have the efffect of creating converted users; that’s, people who will buy into whatever it is you do or are trying to achieve.

Be it via a comment, a hit of a subscription button, an add to favourites action , a credit card transaction or a link through to what you wrote or advertised, the bottom line is that without any of these sorts of actions, the likelihood is that you are either writing for yourself or selling something that is overpriced and overvalued or just not worth discussing.

Don’t rely on search engines

Free search engine traffic is great. A most welcome bonus that if used correctly, can help build a following, but that’s where it stops. If you are obsessing about building your rankings then your target sight is off kilter, you are looking at the wrong part of the equation.

Posts like the ones from across the blogosphere today and in the previous weeks regarding PR and paid links should be a wake up call for anyone who is serious about earning a living from a website online. If you remind yourself that your free traffic is very likely to be a transitory thing, if you tell yourself everyday that your free search engine generated traffic is likely to disappear tommorrow, then you’ll be doing yourself a huge favour.

Search Engines are not automated non policed systems, they do employ people to look at certain things and do take actions against people as and when they see fit.

You can complain until the cows come home but at the end of it all, rightly or wrongly they can do whatever the hell they like, when they like and how they like. There is no court of appeal, you can’t storm parliament, go on strike or sit out in the road, neither can you chain yourself to a fence either, if they kill your site and you care about or genuinely need or rely upon the traffic they send to you, then as harsh as it might sound – without a plan or loyal following you might as well just shut up shop, or get used to talking to yourself!

Yeah yeah, so what’s the plan then smarty arse?

Well…but of course there are positives, you don’t have to sit around burying your head in the sand hoping that you are never hit, you can at least try and adopt a meritocratic world view and build real traffic, *your* traffic, people who visit you because others have discussed you in some way because you are doing something or selling something or just saying something that adds value to the world and the playground in which you are kicking your ball around in. Be it via word of mouth or some href piece of html.

Take a look at these blogs here, all of whom have seen a reduction in their visible toolbar PR

Auto Blog




Then look at their webstats and their site metrics, look at their published subscriber numbers. Look at their Alexa, compete and technorati numbers. Look at the people who are commenting on their stuff, look at how well they are linked to and on what sort of terms. Then ask yourself why that is, I tell you what, I’ll save you the bother with the answer, as the answer is simple – All of the above are quality resources with something to say, it really is that simple.

Maki’s right

Google is an factor that is outside of your control. Sure, you can follow their rules or adjust your behavior to fit in but that still doesn’t put Google within your palm. What do good entrepreneurs do with uncontrollable factors? They create what-if contingency plans to accommodate for possible loss

Sigh – I’ll leave you with this little Portishead track, cos it kinda has a few on target lyrics, ‘you don’t get something for nothing, gotta try a little harder’

Does Google have anything to fear from the blogosphere?

Not another paid links post (groan)

The whole paid links are evil for Google idea has been around for some time now. This isn’t a rehash of those. I want to pass comment on how lately that there’s been a lot of Google ill feeling going on, with an increasing number of prominent people speaking out against them. I say ill feeling as hate is too strong a word. Practically all of it is related to the whole paid links and nofollow thing.

What’s particularly interesting for me is how this whole thing seems to have grown legs and started to spread tentacles. It’s almost as if Google needs a new target and that, that target is the blogosphere. Not content with having made it’s SERP’s a tenuous we might kill you at any time place to inhabit, they now seem intent on saying to anyone in their index or who want’s traffic from them, ‘Do as you are told or we will kick your arse’. I won’t rehash any positions that have been expressed previously as these and variations on the theme can be read elsewhere.

History does repeat itself

I think its’s noteworthy to recall that there once was a time when I’d read at WMW and see accounts whereby people had been banned or penalised.

WMW had its constituents of Pro Google – Google is great, Google is great, Google is great brigade all chanting from on high like Sadaam Hussein in some pre Jihadic rant and they too had their opposing voice of anti Googles’, speaking of Google in terms of it being the great Satan and what not. All of which was handled in magnificent form by that omnipresent soother of words GoogleGuy. A curious beast who seldom put a foot wrong, often coming up with double entendre statements that neither denied or confirmed any number of theories. It was ok, a game, a fun one even that I played and enjoyed reding between the lines looking for inconsistencies and clues for what he was trying to debunk versus promote.

A little look at the state of play today and one might be forgiven for thinking that Mr GoogleGuy has been cloned and put out there in the field parroting similiar double speak crap designed to shroud and confuse. Ha! There’s a funny thought, can you imagine a FUD meeting and the discussions arising?

Let’s face facts – Words that could destabilise a multi-billion dollar cash cow are not just going to be left to the whims of one or two individuals playing some fun filled game of lead webmasters up the garden path. There is a strategic approach and right now it’s being executed with stone cold precision.

Has the blogosphere got any balls?

The thing is though, what, if anything can or will the blogosphere do about it? Will everyone just roll over? Will those A-listers getting heaps of nice monetisable Google traffic just keep quiet and say nothing? Or will they take the lead and address the issue for what it is – Which so happens to be a serious and concerted attack on a group of individuals and their right to monetise their works – Heck maybe that great opportunist Calacanis will see a crusadery angle and buy in, or is he too just waiting the Google $ for his Mahalo project?

Why is everyone so scared? Is it really about biting a hand that might feed you, or staving off an attack from something that might kill you? People like Michael Gray and Aaron Wall and John Andrews seem happy enough to tell it like it is, they aren’t too bothered, they don’t stand for the nonsense, why then should any of us?

Harsh – Far fetched a description even?

It’s debatable for sure, you’ve got to choose where to sit in one way or another and if you straddle the fence for too long you’ll be likely to get piles. My “not worth the screen pixels it inhabits maybe” opinion, is that in this instance on this topic, that Google has gone too far and is engaging in behaviour which is reasonable to label as arrogant bullying.

The Google of old would not have come out with guns blazing, nor would it have had the balls to tell people so forcefully, “yes we kicked your arse and we’ll kick it again too if you do that again”.

I was always taught to stand up to bullies. I was taught that if you succumb to their attacks, if you don’t get up there and hit them back smack right hard in the mouth, then they’ll keep on coming back at you, time after time. It might well hurt to do so too, but overtime they’ll get tired of fighting with you and either reconsider their position or move on to different pastures and pick on some easier target.

Maybe some at Google have read too much B F Skinner and decided that a positive reinforcement of the negatives inside the box that is the blogosphere might be one particular way to slay this threat to their income stream.

What is that I hear you say – Paid links are not a threat to their income stream, there really is enough to go around already – they really could have just quietly circumvented the effects without so much brouhaha? Perhaps so, or perhaps they decided that wackamole just isn’t a scalable solution.

Wackamole costs money

Maybe its the whole game of having to filter out the paid effect. Perhaps someone somewhere decided that spending a few million dollars each year on snitches and paid reviewers could be better spent on some big concerted “do it again or do what he did and we’ll kill you” approach. Yet, even if this were the case, they surely can’t be so naive as to think everyone would just say “Oh right, ok then Google, you’re the boss we’ll stop that right now and do what you tell us” Google has to realise that it has no right to a monopoly on making money.

It’s as if there is this obsession within them that seeks at all costs to clamp down hard on anyone who is visibly gaming them. Yet when you look at that whole ‘gaming’ word and look into what could be construed as gaming then you’ll appreciate that the ground becomes very shakey if not like quicksand itself. Where is the line drawn? When do the very creation of properly structured content that uses H tags and relevant keywords, that attracts links from other sites suddenly cross the line? Bah phooey.

Don’t do evil

The recent attack on sites that discuss blog monetisation are one very obvious example. A number of excellent blogs have had their visible PageRank reduced. Interestingly all of these blogs talk about how you can earn money from blogging or how you can best monetise your blog or website. Practically all of them simply observe and comment upon what works and what doesn’t. All of the ones to which I allude have written comprehensive well considered pieces that offer a perspective on how people might like to prosper with their blogs. The message from all is clear – hard work, quality, consistency – anyone who’d suggest that within the grand scheme of the idea of making money online, that these didn’t add considerable value would need to go and get their reality checker fixed. Yet for Google, if their Pagerank meter is adjudged to have any merit or meaning at all, it’s clear that to them at least all of the sites penalised in this way are of low merit or value.

Oh well, I’ve vented my spleen now, and said my bit. I’m kinda tired of railing against the machine, for a machine is what Google has become, a machine that has way too much power and influence that I as an individual can do very little about.

Damn, its 330pm, time to cook that Sunday lunch.


WordPress Pagerank flow considerations

Matt Cutts in a recent interview said that Google does allow PageRank to flow through noindex pages. If you have pages on your wordpress install that add little value to your readers and you’d like to prevent them from being indexed, then you might want to take that into account.

Eric Enge: Can a NoIndex page accumulate PageRank?

Matt Cutts: A NoIndex page can accumulate PageRank, because the links are still followed outwards from a NoIndex page.

Eric Enge: So, it can accumulate and pass PageRank.

Matt Cutts: Right, and it will still accumulate PageRank, but it won’t be showing in our Index. So, I wouldn’t make a NoIndex page that itself is a dead end. You can make a NoIndex page that has links to lots of other pages.

(emphasis mine)

He goes on to talk about sitemaps to illustrate the example, which is very useful as ultimately, if you want search engines to index your stuff, then you probably want them to index the stuff you actually write and talk about rather than some random page that just has lots of links to your stuff.

I’ve done a quick and dirty mod to my head theme using is_archive and is_category wordpress functions as I’m not realy interested in my archives and cats being indexed. It’s my content that I’d like people to read and have the most ranking juice applied to.

Anyhow, if you add this to your header.php file in your WP theme, then it will do the job. You can make it googlebot specific or replace the word googlebot with the word robots. Do bear in mind however, that other search engines may not apply such directives in similar ways, so you might just want to stick with the googlebot approach.

<?php if (is_category() or is_archive()) {?>
<meta name=”googlebot” content=”noindex, follow”>
<? }?>

This says to googlebot, do not index this page but follow the links within it. Just open up your theme and put it after the </title> tag line wich can be found inside the <head> section of the html.

Whats the point in doing all of this?

Why am I doing this? Does it even matter?

In a world where lots of people talk about similar things, it is sometimes the small things that make the difference between getting seen or not. This for me, is one of those small things that might make a difference. It’s an experimental thing too. Currently a search at Google shows a lot of pages for this domain which really just shouldn’t be there, or lets just say add little value in the grand scheme of my world. It’ll be interesting to see in however long a period whether this little tweak makes any difference to referrals or rankings for desired keyterms.

You’ll lose longtail referals

A downside is, that I’ll get less referrals for long tail searches.
If you look at a typical cat or archive page you’ll see that its full of snippets and titles which when read in their whole make little sense. To a bot that saw these as individual pages, it could well return them for obscure queries, simply because of a certain mix of words that is purely accidental. In most cases, I’d question the value to both me and the reader.

From a grab the traffic and do what you can with it perspective, it’s a different thing entirely and if such an approach is important to you then I really wouldn’t do this.

%d bloggers like this: