Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ten ways to protect your google adsense account

  1. Never ever click on your own ads on your website or blog. Google will identify and categorize these clicks as fraud clicks.
  2. Never encourage your friends and family to click on the ads on your website or blog. Google will sniff those clicks and tag them as fraud clicks.
  3. Do not tell your family and friends about Adsense on your website. Chances are they may start clicking on them to help you make money without you knowing it.
  4. You may want to consider disabling ads for your own IP address and local geographic area. This will certainly prevent accidents and will not make Google mistake another user as you.
  5. Sign up for a click tracking software, which will be able to show you the click out rate and details. This way, you can be the first to identify any abnormal ad clicking activity on your website and report your finding to Google Adsense before they discover it themselves.
  6. Honesty is the best policy. Be truthful and confess to Google about times when you might have clicked on your own ads, whether accidentally or intentionally. Or the times when you have done something that is against the Terms of Service that they are implementing. Be honest about anything that you may have done that is wrong. Confessing is way better than Google learning about it eventually. Confessing might save your Google Adsense account from being terminated.
  7. Read the Google Adsense Terms Of Service over and over again until you are extremely clear about what to do and what NOT TO DO.
  8. When in doubt, drop them an email. The support center is really helpful and efficient, they will reply your email within a couple of days.
  9. Never join any click exchange programs or use an automatic program to click on your ads. These will result in your account being terminated in no time.
  10. Finally, study your Adsense Reports regularly. If you notice a high Click Through Rate (CTR), start investigating because that might be due to some fraudulent activity that you are unaware of.

Five best adsense plugins for wordpress.

Having been an avid AdSense user over the past few years, naturally I’ve looked for different ways to get the most out of the program as I’ve grown accustomed to the many ways of WordPress. Each time you think you’ve run out of ways to utilize AdSense or AdSense statistics on your blog, out comes another bad-ass plugin.

So here are the top five I’ve used in a concise list.

  1. AdSense Deluxe - This has been, by far, the most useful plugin I’ve ever used as far as AdSense is concerned (thus its placement on this list). If you want to place AdSense ads in your blog posts but you’ve been getting screwed up results, try this bad boy. You can do so from a nice little control panel. Want to make global changes to a specific ad set? No problem, edit it from the panel! Want to see how the ads will look on your blog? No problem, use the preview tool!
  2. AdSense Widget for WordPress Sidebar - Now this plugin requires the Wordpress Sidebar plugin but makes adding AdSense ad blocks to WordPress a peice of cake. Not only is it easy to install, but it’s also very customizable — colors, size and h2 tags are all modifiable.
  3. AdSense Sharing Revenue & Earnings System - Because I also use WordPress Mu to host bloggers with a friend of mine (, it is excellent to have a plugin that handles revenue sharing for all users. Although I did have to modify the plugin myself to make it partner-friendly, it made the actual revenue sharing portion a breeze. If you want to do AdSense sharing on a WordPress Mu site of your own, I highly recommend this plugin.
  4. Author AdSense - Here is a similar plugin to the AdSense Sharing Revenue & Earnings System. You can do basically the same thing with this plugin, except the interface is a bit different. It works as it says it does though, so I felt it mention-worthy.
  5. Google AdSense Earnings - For those of you who use WordPress but don’t have FireFox and can’t use the awesome and fantastic Adsense Notifier add-on — you’re in luck. The plugin allows you to put your username and password in for Google AdSense and get your current statistics. Not only that, but you can also display your stats to the public! Be careful, don’t display too much or Google will end you.

Freshapps:A blog for the bloggers

Freshapps is a new site which offers good articles for the bloggers.

Promote your site or blog (1)

In chess, promotion occurs when a pawn reaches the eighth square. At that point, your opponent is challenged because this simple pawn takes on all the powers of a Queen—the deadliest piece on the board. Of course, the pawn may be promoted to bishop, rook, or any other piece but why? This only clues the other player in to your secret plans. That being said, however, promotions to knight can often be strategically useful depending on the situation.

What the beelzebub am I talking about? Let's not get too lost in metaphor. Suffice to say, the circuitous game of promoting one's blog in the blogosphere (without the proper armament) can often seem as difficult and unrewarding as a day-long chess match that ends in a draw. If you play your game right, however, that pawn can hit the big time. Ideally, the simple act of blogging in and of itself would attract enough traffic to please the author but there are cases in which more is better. Whether you are participating in AdSense for Bloggers and would like to see a spike in your profits, or you just want more comments on your posts, increasing hit-count is beneficial.

Toward that end, I spent my Labor Day snooping around the blogosphere. While I should have been eating potato salad and lounging by someone's pool, I was slaving over my laptop pulling together a bevy of accepted methods for growing the readership base of your blog. I hope you'll find them useful. In practice, the procedures fall into three basic categories involving settings, techniques, and actual marketing tricks. Some are very obvious and others, more subtle. It appears that many bloggers have found success with these solutions—I've tried a few and found that they do in fact increase traffic.

Blogger Application Settings

Blogger itself has an array of settings, many of which work to your advantage in this endeavor. This first grouping is quite simple and just requires that you sign in to your Blogger account and flip a few switches.

Set your blog to ping is a blog update notification service that many individuals and services use to track blog changes. When this setting is activated, Blogger will notify that you have updated your blog. That means your blog will be included in various "recently updated" lists on the web as well as other blog-related services.

Activate Your Navbar. I did this and watched my traffic go up on the very first day (and continue to climb). The Blogger Navbar replaced mandatory ads a few weeks ago. One of the features on the Navbar is a button called NextBlog—click it to visit the next Navbar-enabled blog. It turns out this couch-potato like way of flipping through blogs is very appealing. As a result, the next blog button gets a lot of attention. So turn your Navbar on and catch some of that wave.

Install Email This Post. News sites like The New York Times Online have had a feature like this for years, it allows people to simply forward an article to a friend via email. If you use Email This Post on your blog, people will be able to forward your posts to friends. This may not have an immediate impact on your site stats but it enables others to publicize your blog for you. That's good stuff.

Turn on Post Pages. If you're still only archiving by day, week, or month you are living in the past man. You've got to make sure you are publishing every post as its very own web page with Post Pages. That makes your entries way more link-able and more attractive to search engines. Links to your blog means traffic to your blog. This is an easy setting in Blogger.

Turn on your site feed. When people subscribe to your site feed in their newsreaders, it means they are definitely going to read your post. The folks who subscribe to site feeds are the type of people Malcolm Gladwell calls "mavens" in his book, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. Long story short: these people will help you get more traffic so turn on your site feed.

Add your blog to Blogger's listings. This is a really obvious one but at some point during the blog creation process there's a chance many of you initially thought "Oh, I'm not sure I want to be public just yet. I'll mark that as 'no.'" Go back in there and mark it "yes." When you add your blog to our listings then it shows up in Nextblog, Recently Updated, and other places. It's like opting-in to traffic. Do it.

Blogging Technique Suggestions

This part of the traffic-grabbing techniques is a little more persnickety and not as readily activated. The basic gist of this section of methods is "If you build it well they will come." You'll need to incorporate the other aspects of self-promotion, but it's true that writing a great blog goes a long way towards repeat visitors and word of mouth blog.

Write quality content and do it well. Jen Garrett demands that you use proper punctuation, capitalize letters when appropriate, and don't overuse the ellipsis. She's being a bit of a grammar bitch, but she has a point. If your "style" is bad writing, worse grammar, no punctuation, and an ugly design, that might be okay for a niche crowd. But the idea here is to get a big crowd so fix yourself up a bit, pull it together man, have some respect for your readers, and discover a style that shines brightly through good blogging.

Publish regular updates. Danah Boyd once told me that she intentionally wanted to lower the traffic to her blog and she found the easiest way to do it was to stop posting so frequently. (Danah is an odd one, that's why we love her.) The reverse of her experiment is also true: the more you blog, the more traffic you will get. You've got to think about it like watering a plant—do it every day and the plant will grow. Hopefully your blog is not like the plant in The Little Shop of Horrors. That would be bad.

Think of your audience. A good way to build an audience is to cultivate one. When you keep your audience in mind, you are focusing your writing. This helps you develop a stronger voice and is instrumental in creating the brand that is you as put forth through your blog. Again, this is more of an overarching, long-term technique for building traffic and won't have immediate results. Nevertheless, focus goes a long way toward repeat visitors.

Keep search engines in mind. Note that sometimes your "audience" is whoever stumbles into your site from a web search. Search is a great way to bring in new visitors and there are a few things you can do to make your blog more search engine friendly. Use post titles and blog page title tags along with your post page archiving. This will automatically give each of your post pages an intelligent name based on the title of your post. Also, try to be descriptive when you blog. A well crafted post about something very specific can end up very near the top results of a search. For example, a Google search for "Book Cover Design" features this blog post by the illustrious Jason Kottke complete with reader comments.

Keep your posts and paragraphs short. Note the brevity of the aforementioned Kottke post. People will come back daily to read your fresh new work but spare them the one thousand word diatribes. Strive for succinct posts that pump pertinent new information into the blogosphere and move on. Keep it short and sweet so visitors can pop in, read up, and click on. Think of you blog as a cumulative effect. This doesn't mean you should never practice some long form writing now and then, it's just something to keep in mind.

Marketing Action Items

The third and final group of promotional techniques are simple actions you can take to publicize your blog. This category is theoretically unlimited. You could build your own blimp and spell out your blogspot subdomain in twinkly holiday lights across the side, that sort of thing. Instead, I've limited these suggestions to more obvious, grounded tactics. (If you do got the blimp route, please: use helium, not hydrogen.)

Put your blog URL in your email signature. Whenever I see a blog url in an email signature, I always click on it to see who I'm dealing with. Especially if it's someone I've never met. Email gets forwarded all the time so even if you only send out a five notes a day to friends, the potential number of people clicking over to your blog is in the thousands. (That is of course completely theoretical, but you get my drift—it's worth it.) I can't give you specific instructions on how to edit your email client's signature because I don't know which one you use, but poke around. It's somewhere in the settings.

Sumbit your address to blog search sites and directories. People look for blog content at Technorati every day, are you on their list? You should be. Submit your blog's url to Technorati, Daypop, Blogdex, Popdex, and any other site of that ilk you come across. With the exception of Technorati, many of these sites are hobby or graduate student projects but they continue to gain visitors looking for interesting blogs to read, bookmark, and revisit. Not all of them have the power to crawl ever blog in existence so you can help them help you by dropping your url in the appropriate field.

Participate in meme games. A meme is an idea transmitted from person to person like a virus. If the flu was a blog, it would get crazy traffic. With all the sickness and disease analogies, blog induced memes are actually fun and can win you some extra traffic. How do they work? Basically a blogger will propose an idea like "Hey, let's post the first sentence of our favorite book!" and it will catch on like crazy with people linking to each other's submissions obsessively until the game dies down. A favorite meme for years was the Friday Five, if you're looking for something new, try The Daily Meme.

Advertise. If keyword advertising were affordable enough, I'd say go for it. For now, free is a good way to go. BlogSnob is a network of free, text-based blog advertisers that you can join right now. Host ads, place ads, it's all traffic. BlogSnob ads blend right into your site and are fully customizable. Bloggers who join the network can place free ads, while sometime in the near future real advertisers will have to dish out to get noticed. It pays to be a blogger.

Link to other blogs. This is a great way to get traffic. Here's what happens when you link to another blogger: she sees you in her referral logs, checks out your blog, and then very likely links back to you or at the very least makes a mental note to do so. Links are the currency of the blogosphere and it takes money to make money so start linking. Don't be shy folks, it's not actually cash. Not yet anyway—who knows what bloggers will come up with.

Install a blogroll. This is similar to linking. Well actually, it's the same but different. Blog posts eventually drop off the front page and get archived. A blogroll is more of personal statement: these are the bloggers I like. Or, this is the crowd I'd like to be associated with. It's a very simple yet effective social networking scheme and it has the same result as a simple link if not stronger: traffic! So if you don't have one yet, sign up for a blogroll and get that link-list going.

Be an active commenter. Try to leave comments on the blogs you read every day. This is in the same vein as linking. Leaving a comment on someone's post can make their day. Nothing beats getting those email notifications that whisper tacitly out at you from the screen, "You're thoughts have struck me dead in my tracks. I simply must acknowledge you and your greatness." (Or something to that effect.) Most comment systems also provide a way for you to leave a link back to your blog which begs a visit at the very least. So if you feel inspired, leave a comment or two in your blog travels. It behooves you.

Pitch your posts via email to other bloggers. This is a touchy technique and should be approached with caution. Blogger Eugene Volokh has published a short treatise on how best to pitch one's blog via email and it's filled with great tips and advice. Assuming your blog is actually worth pitching (of course it is), here are some tips from Volokh.

  1. Pitch the post, not the blog.
  2. Include the full text and your URL.
  3. Submit only your best posts.
  4. Don't only pitch to high traffic blogs.

Print your blog URL on cards, stickers, etc. Basically, if you plan to have anything printed up, put your blog on it. These days, more and more business cards have blog addresses listed on them along with email and phone number. I wouldn't be surprised if I started seeing bumper stickers with blogspot addresses on them soon. There's a lot of traffic on the 101, that bumper in front of me is prime advertising real estate.

Speaking of the 101, maybe you've spotted the giant orange SUV with the license plate that says BLOGGER while driving south towards San Jose? No, that's not Evan Williams as you would suspect. It is, however, a nice piece of creative publicity. If there's one thing we've learned from my Labor Day investigation of blog promotion it's this: Don't be that guy with the BLOGGER license plate but think like him. That's the kind of take-charge technique you should open your game with. That's how you can turn your pawn into royalty.

Biz Stone works at Google on Blogger and writes books about blogging.

List of blog search engines

Now it will be easy to get traffic to your blog.

In alphabetic order:

Name: 2RSS
Description:RSS Feed Directory
Add your blog here: On front page
Note: Requires RSS Feed

Name: Bligz
Description:Focus on "Metadata"
Add your blog here: On front page
Note: Two step-process where you have to "Ping" site once listed

Name: Blogarama
Description:Small search engine
Add your blog here:

Name: Blogdex
Description: Hot topics listing and search engine
Add your blog here:
Note: Requires email confirmation

Name: Blogdigger
Description: Small search engine
Add your blog here:
Note: Need RSS feed

Name: Bloghop
Description: Small search engine
Add your blog here:

Name: Bloglines
Description: Search and aggregate RSS feeds
Add your blog here: No submission process, users add feeds they wish to track

Name: Blogmatrix
Description: Blog tool provider, offers search as well
Add your blog here:

Name: Blogrunner
Description: Hot topics listing and search engine
Add your blog here:
Note: Some sore of revenue share program going on

Name: Blogsearchengine
Description: Blog search engine
Add your blog here:

Name: Blogstreet
Description: Metasearch
Add your blog here:

Name: Blogtastic
Description: Metasearch
Add your blog here:

Name: Blogvision
Description: Small search engine
Add your blog here: Doesn't appear to be any way to add a site

Name: Blogwise
Description: Categorized Blog search
Add your blog here:

Name: Bloogz
Description: Blog search engine
Add your blog here:

UPDATED! Name: Boogieplay
Description: Blog search engine with audio and video content
Add your blog here: Doesn't appear to be any way to add a blog.

Name: Daypop
Description: News oriented search
Add your blog here:
Note: Requires your site to be "frequently updated"

Name: Eatonweb
Description: Blog search engine
Add your blog here:

Name: Fastbuzz
Description: Search and aggregate RSS feeds
Add your blog here:

Name: Feedster
Description: Blog search engine using RSS feeds
Add your blog here:
Note: Need RSS feed

Name: Get Linked
Description: Small search engine
Add your blog here:

Name: Globeofblogs
Description: Blog search engine
Add your blog here: Click "Register" in upper-right corner of front page
Note: Strange site, requires extensive classification of blogs

URL: ,
Description: Blogs and headlines by geographic region. GeoURL is by lat/longitude while LocalFeeds is by ZIP or country.
Add your blog here: (for both)
Note: Complex instructions, you must edit your blog's meta tags prior to submission.

NEW! Name: Memigo
Description: Customized news portal
Add your blog here:

Name: NewsIsFree
Description: Search for RSS feeds
Add your blog here:

Name: Pepys
Description: Geographically categorized blogs
Add your blog here:

Name: Popdex
Description: Hot topics listing and search engine
Add your blog here:
Note: "Fast Track" if you link to Popdex

Name: RDF Ticker
Description: Search and aggregate RSS feeds
Add your blog here:

Name: Read A Blog
Description: Blog Search Engine
Add your blog here:

Name: Rootblog
Description: RSS Aggregator
Add your blog here: http://
Note: Can also be pinged automatically with every post.

Name: RSSFeedsDirectory
Description: RSS Directory
Add your blog here: Not clear

Name: Search4Blogs
Description: Blog Directory
Add your blog here: WIthin each category
Note: A lot of adult blogs.

Name: Search4RSS
Description: RSS Search Engine
Add your blog here: Not available, must be added by site owners.

Name: Sindic8
Description: Search and aggregate RSS feeds
Add your blog here:
Note: Need RSS feed

Name: Technorati
Description: Index of links between millions of blogs
Add your blog here:

Note: Programmatic interface available as well.

NEW! Name: Waypath
Description: Keyword searches and "find similar" searches
Add your blog here: Automatically adds blogs through a spidering process.

NEW! Name: Zopto
Description: Index of links between millions of blogs
Add your blog here: No submission process, Zopto indexes all pings to into a search engine.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

How to get traffic for your blog

My friend Fred, a talented blogger, asked me for advice the other day. Here's a partial answer, with a few apologies to Swift:
  1. Use lists.
  2. Be topical... write posts that need to be read right now.
  3. Learn enough to become the expert in your field.
  4. Break news.
  5. Be timeless... write posts that will be readable in a year.
  6. Be among the first with a great blog on your topic, then encourage others to blog on the same topic.
  7. Share your expertise generously so people recognize it and depend on you.
  8. Announce news.
  9. Write short, pithy posts.
  10. Encourage your readers to help you manipulate the technorati top blog list.
  11. Don't write about your cat, your boyfriend or your kids.
  12. Write long, definitive posts.
  13. Write about your kids.
  14. Be snarky. Write nearly libelous things about fellow bloggers, daring them to respond (with links back to you) on their blog.
  15. Be sycophantic. Share linklove and expect some back.
  16. Include polls, meters and other eye candy.
  17. Tag your posts. Use
  18. Coin a term or two.
  19. Do email interviews with the well-known.
  20. Answer your email.
  21. Use photos. Salacious ones are best.
  22. Be anonymous.
  23. Encourage your readers to digg your posts. (and to use furl and reddit). Do it with every post.
  24. Post your photos on flickr.
  25. Encourage your readers to subscribe by RSS.
  26. Start at the beginning and take your readers through a months-long education.
  27. Include comments so your blog becomes a virtual water cooler that feeds itself.
  28. Assume that every day is the beginning, because you always have new readers.
  29. Highlight your best posts on your Squidoo lens.
  30. Point to useful but little-known resources.
  31. Write about stuff that appeals to the majority of current blog readers--like gadgets and web 2.0.
  32. Write about Google.
  33. Have relevant ads that are even better than your content.
  34. Don't include comments, people will cross post their responses.
  35. Write posts that each include dozens of trackbacks to dozens of blog posts so that people will notice you.
  36. Run no ads.
  37. Keep tweaking your template to make it include every conceivable bell or whistle.
  38. Write about blogging.
  39. Digest the good ideas of other people, all day, every day.
  40. Invent a whole new kind of art or interaction.
  41. Post on weekdays, because there are more readers.
  42. Write about a never-ending parade of different topics so you don't bore your readers.
  43. Post on weekends, because there are fewer new posts.
  44. Don't interrupt your writing with a lot of links.
  45. Dress your blog (fonts and design) as well as you would dress yourself for a meeting with a stranger.
  46. Edit yourself. Ruthlessly.
  47. Don't promote yourself and your business or your books or your projects at the expense of the reader's attention.
  48. Be patient.
  49. Give credit to those that inspired, it makes your writing more useful.
  50. Ping technorati. Or have someone smarter than me tell you how to do it automatically.
  51. Write about only one thing, in ever-deepening detail, so you become definitive.
  52. Write in English.
  53. Better, write in Chinese.
  54. Write about obscure stuff that appeals to an obsessed minority.
  55. Don't be boring.
  56. Write stuff that people want to read and share.

Add a favicon to your blog.

Old stuff, and explained by many
excellent bloggers and hackers, but usefull all the same. How to add a
small icon to your weblog, that shows up in your browsers favorites?

Well, that little thingy is called a favicon in webspeak. And this is how you add it to your blog.

First, create a icon using a program such as the freeware version of IconArt. Upload this file to the web.

edit your blog template in html-mode, and add the following lines of
code to the head of your template, just below the <head>-tag for

<link href='youriconfile.ico' rel='shortcut icon'/>

<link href='youriconfile.ico' rel='icon'/>

you have already a link in your favorites-bar to your blog, in IE you
will probably NOT see the icon right after adding it to your blog. You
will have to delete the link from your favorites, empty your browser's
cache, close your browser, start it again and add the link again to
make it show up in IE.

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