I’m fortunate enough to have not needed to do any advertising yet, but I always like to be prepared so I just got my first set of advertising banners, and I thought I’d share them with you. Warning, there may be lots of flashing!
Banner advertising is still a very popular way of promoting a website/business, and I’m just starting some tests to see how well they convert. Business is great at the moment, but there will be a time I need to promote myself more and testing between banner advertising, Pay-Per-Click advertising and other methods will help me plan in advance.
I used Banners Mall after a recommendation, and was very impressed. Fast turnaround time and unlimited revisions were all done quickly and promptly, so many thanks to Chris and the team there. I paid slightly extra to get the Photoshop versions of the files too so have created an extra design and played around with the timings of the ads.
This is my standard horizontal 468×60:
Three 125×125 to choose from, this format is becoming more and more popular on sites:
The final two ads are a little different in size. These are designed to be more noticeable because of their slightly unusual size:
So what do you think? Is the design OK? Which is your favourite? Are there better ways to advertise?
I often get requests for themes that are free or cheap. Whilst most of us know that custom designs are the best for blogs, it’s often not an option for a new blogger because of cost.
It’s lucky then there are plenty of great free and low priced themes out there. Adrian over at Rubiqube dropped me a line to let me know about his new Corporate Sandbox theme. It’s minimalist and neat, see if it’s to your taste.
For low-priced “premium” themes that are well coded and easier to customise, I always recommend Brian Gardner’s Revolution themes. Even his free themes are a dream to customise compared to lots of other themes! Also take a look at Solostream to see if there’s anything you fancy.
If you know of any other great themes, feel free to leave a comment or send me a note.
I had an excellent response from my newsletter request for questions (to sign up just use the form on the right or below), some of which I’ve responded to personally and some that I thought more could benefit. Two very smart people asked me the same question, essentially what are quick and easy ways to keep people on my blog longer?
“Quick and Easy” is the holy grail of course, and plugins always come to mind, so there are a few things a blogger can do.
Check your stats
If you have a stats/analytics program installed (like the excellent free Google Analytics) you will be able to see some very useful information. Relevant for this question are:
- Bounce rate. This is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page. We can use this to measure visit quality – a high bounce rate generally indicates that site entrance pages aren’t relevant to your visitors.
- Time spent on site. This is simply the amount of time spent on your site divided by the number of visitors. A low tie on site may mean people aren’t finding relevant content, or it’s not interesting enough.
- Where visitors are coming from. A high proportion of visitors from search engine traffic usually means a higher bounce rate and less time on site.
- Search keywords. What words are users searching for that are finding your site. Are they relevant to your site’s content?
These all link into our next point.
Write Relevant Content
You’re probably sick of people telling you to write good unique content. Well it’s still good advice, but it’s also good advice to write articles on the same topic. If a user comes to your site from a search for foreign coins, but finds the rest of your site is about handbags, they’ll not likely to hang around long.
Landing Pages Plugin
This plugin will recognise when a visitor has arrived from a search engine, and suggest other articles on your site based on the term they searched for. This can be downloaded from the Landing Sites plugin page →.
Related Posts Plugin
Similar to the above, but puts related posts at the end of each post, this gives a reader somewhere to go once they have finished reading your post. Related Posts plugin →.
What Would Seth Godin Do? Plugin
Seth Godin is an internet SEO guru who advocates using cookies to distinguish between new and returning visitors to your site. This plugin displays a small box above each post to new visitors containing the words “If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!” After 3 visits the message disappears. What Would Seth Godin Do Plugin →.
If you have any more questions please let me know. For more tips, sign up for my free weekly newsletter, by filling in the form below.
A lot of people love blogging, but not a lot of people get paid a lot for doing it. Some of you may have seen this New York Times article entitled “In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop”.
It’s an interesting look at the growing culture of not only working from home, but the stress and demands that such a lifestyle can cause.
They work long hours, often to exhaustion. Many are paid by the piece — not garments, but blog posts. This is the digital-era sweatshop. You may know it by a different name: home. [Read more here →]
Do you have the right balance for you?
Quick WordPress SEO notes:
– One topic per post, be specific. “What is…”, Top ten posts, best of posts, “How to…” and so on.
– Text in posts should contain keywords, but not keyword stuffing. Bold and italics help a little. Must be natural for the reader!
– Write unique content that’s useful!
– Custom permalinks (your URL): as these are automatically generated (though you can change them using the Post Slug function) it makes you post title even more important, see later.
– Category names: broad categories.
– Tag keywords: specific words.
– Post and page titles: usually 5 -7 words containing your keywords. These will appear in either H1 or H2 tags, which show search engines they’re important.
– Image ALT tags (the description section of image upload): make these descriptive and relevant to the picture and article.
– Also sign up for Google Webmaster tools and opt-in to Google Advanced Images Search.
– All-in-one-SEO plugin
– XML Sitemap plugin
That was a very quick overview of what can be a complex topic, so please contact me for any further questions.
After hearing great things about it, for all those that are interested, Blog Tech Guy is now on twitter. I’d be delighted if you want to follow me here and I can follow you.
Just a quick note, if you use Firefox, there is a new release of a content suggestion plugin for the Write screen in WordPress (and Typepad and Blogger). Note that this is a plugin for Firefox and NOT a WordPress plugin, but does add functionality to WordPress. More info can be found at Zemanta.
It’s an Alpha release which means it is early testing code, but if you want to give it a try, then here’s a demo video below. If you do try it, please let me know what you think!
[Via: Weblog Tools Collection]
It’s been at least, oh I don’t know, maybe three people who have asked me how this can be done.
First, I find it best to resize the image to the size you want it before uploading then it’s easier to work with.
Then to add a caption I usually like to add a CSS class and wrap a div around the photo to style it. If that sounds like gibberish then you could just try something like the following code in the HTML part tab of the visual editor:
After each photo. This makes the text 90% of the standard size, in italics and grey/gray.
If you wanted to do this the CSS way, you would add something like this to your themes style.css
Then in a post would write this:
Caption text here
The text would then be styled as before. Notice the “hard return” before the caption text i.e. it starts on a new line, otherwise the caption text would start next to the photo and not below it. It is possible to automatically wrap text at a certain width, but let’s not confuse matters.
You could of course also set a background colour, float the image right or left and many other things.
Hope that hasn’t confused you too much!
Just in case you haven’t noticed I now have some testimonials on the site from satisfied clients. Hopefully I’ll be getting plenty more soon, I just have to get around to asking for them.
Please take a look on the testimonials page, and contact me if you would like to leave one too 🙂
After working on so many people’s blogs it has become apparent that whilst there are many, many things that can be improved (including on my own) there are a few basics:
1. Don’t monetize too early. Do you see any adverts on my blog? No. Why? Because I don’t have enough traffic to make much money anyway, I don’t want people to be put off by a lot of adverts, it looks more professional and it looks neater. Which leads me onto…
2. Reduce clutter. I’m guilty of this myself, but reducing the number of images (and adverts) and animation on a homepage can make a site look more attractive, and professional.
3. Give someone somewhere to subscribe to your RSS feed via email. Again, I don’t do this on this site (I just offer the RSS at the moment), but I will when I get around to it. Feedburner currently only offers a daily email (though once the Google integration is finished they promise to offer more options), Feedblitz can be configured to be hourly, daily, weekly or monthly for free (ad-supported), and Aweber can also manage this along with other nice email management features for a fee.
4. Write more content. I receive emails all the time asking me “How can I make more money?” and I look at their site that is full of adverts and has a post once every 8 or 9 days. If you blog is aimed at making money by simply being a blog (unlike one like this which is alongside a business), then you need to get more traffic in order to make more money. It’s called the “magazine model” – you make more money the more people who visit you site. In order to get this traffic you need to post quality articles, often. For more information, check out Yaro Starak’s free Blog Profits Blueprint eBook.
There are obviously countless more examples that can be done to improve a website. If you’d like a professional review of your blog or website, please contact me and we can have a chat.