Friday, December 31, 2010

My New Year Wish to All

May the New Year Bring You Health
In All that You Do
In All that You Say
Each and Every Day

Tis Not Spite that Rings in Wealth
But Compassion and Understanding

Let the World Live in Peace
May God Walk at Your Side

As We are All Earthly Tenants
In Search of Our Happiness

FireworksImage via Wikipedia
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Friday, December 24, 2010

The Football & Crystal Christmas Disaster

Beautiful crystal at Frederiksborg Slot. A lar...Image via Wikipedia
I grew up in a small two bedroom apartment along the Canadian border. The harsh New York State winters were ideal for hockey and football players. I couldn't skate, but I loved football. As soon as the fall weather turned cold, I would go outside and pretend I was a professional football quarterback.

For my 8 year birthday, which was on Christmas Day, my parents surprised me with a new football. I was thrilled! And, my Dad surprised my Mom with a new set to crystal stemware, consisting of 12 water, wine, and champagne glasses.

We were having my Aunt and Uncle for dinner, so my Mom arranged her new stemware on the dining room table. Aunt Amber loved them. I in turn, wanted to show off my new football. As the adults were standing around the table, I yelled "Catch" to my Dad and tossed the football to him.

But, he wasn't ready for it. The ball bounced out of his hands and onto the table, knocking over the new crystal glasses. Like bowling pins, each of them fell over and knocked the other ones down. Several rolled onto the hardwood floor.

Before anyone could react, many were broken. My mother was shattered and my dad wanted to kill me! So, after the day was over, my Mom had an 8 set of glasses rather than the 12 that were gifted.

And I learned a valuable lesson:

Never Throw a Football in the House!

Merry Christmas everyone  and remember this story so it doesn't happen to you.
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Blogger Goes Mobile as MyBlogLog Goes Bye-Bye

Image representing Blogger as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase
As an early Christmas present to us, Santa Blogger has released their new Blogger mobile version which is available for users of Blogger in Draft. I learned about this because a little "alert" menu appeared on my Blogger's Dashboard today. To have your blog available on a Mobile device:
  •  You have to go the the "Email & Mobile" menu choice under the Settings tab. Once there, you'll see a "Mobile Template (beta)" section. Simply choose the "Yes On mobile devices, show the mobile version of my template" Option Choice; then press Save Settings at bottom.
  • Note: you have to do this for each blog that you have.

Prior to today, my blogs never loaded on my mobile phone. But, after setting this option, this blog and others were available. Thanks Google and Merry Christmas 2010!

Image representing MyBlogLog as depicted in Cr...Image via CrunchBase
However, yesterday, Yahoo the Scrooge laid off hundreds of its workers. Besides giving these employees the "pink-slip present", they also announced that they are shutting down:

  • MyBlogLog
  • Delicious
  • AltaVista
  • Yahoo! Picks
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • alltheweb
We really shouldn't be too surprised by this move. After all, it was only one year ago that rumors surfaced, saying MyBlogLog was closing.  I haven't seen the official dates for closing, but we should all make New Year's Resolutions to remove all of these Yahoo related products from our blogs. Bah! Humbug.
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Friday, December 10, 2010

Don't Vacuum Up the Christmas Tree Lights

A christmas tree.Image via Wikipedia
This is a true story. Every year, we pack up the car on Christmas Eve and fill up Santa's sled. Then we drive off to Pennsylvania to spend the holiday with the in-laws.

This one year started off the same as others. When we arrived at the country house, we unpacked the car and had lunch. Then we started on our regular chores. The women prepared the food, and I cleaned up the living room.

I started by dusting and vacuuming the rugs. However, when I ran the sweeper around the Christmas tree, I started seeing the ornaments pop off the tree. Then the lights started flickering, popping, and sparks began to fly. Before I knew what happened, half the lights and ornaments were missing. Smoke was coming from the vacuum nozzle.

It was then that I realized that I went too close to the tree and the vacuum caught hold of the lighting wire that was plugged into the wall. The nozzle was coiling up the lighting strands, but it was still plugged in. It was sucking up the lights! I quickly turned off the vacuum sweeper and unplugged the Christmas Tree lights.

Then my mother-in-law rushed into the living room and screamed: "What happened to my tree?" I didn't have to answer as she could see what caused the damage.

Luckily, only very few of the ornaments broke, but we needed to replace 3 strands of lights. Did you ever try to buy lights on Christmas Eve? Well, everyone was sold out of the clear lights. We called everyone, and my brother-in-law offered to bring us his red lights. Grandma didn't want red.  Finally, after calling a few more people, we were able to obtain a few sets that others took off their tree.  We got everything back in order, and then I was told that:

I'll never operate the vacuum cleaner 
at Christmas Time again!

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Why AdSense Revenue Fluctuates

Many people start a blog or website with the simple intention of becoming a millionaire. As we are constantly reminded of those individuals who became extremely rich off of the internet, we are led to believe that that we too can create the next smash hit. Profiteers surround us enticing us to purchase their book or CD and learn the secret to making an easy living on the internet. Money, money, everywhere!

All we have to do is create a blog or website, place AdSense ads and a few affiliate links on our site, and the money will begin to pour in!

But for those of us who followed our dreams, we quickly discovered that earning income from our blog or website is not that easy. Rarely do we receive affiliate commissions and the the Google income is disappointing. We wonder: What am I doing wrong? or What should I do differently?

The purpose of this article is to help aspiring bloggers and site owners understand their revenue stream and to properly set their expectations of success by answering this comment inspired article.

Like Colin of ** SEXY LEGS AND BODY! ** indicated in a recent comment, he is "trying to get his blog to be cost effective and raise good money with ... AdSense", but he has noticed his revenue fluctuating and it is often disappointing. He questioned "What can be the problem?"

To answer this question, it is necessary to describe:
  • How AdSense works,
  • Click-through rates, and
  • The internet competition.

First, deriving income from AdSense is relatively easy. All we have to do is to have an account, and place the snippets of AdSense code on our site or sidebars. Like magic, Google will parse the content of our pages and display appropriately related ads. There are two basic types of ads which Google may display, and we, the publishers, do not get to choose which one.
  • CPM ads which are paid by the number of impressions shown, and
  • PPC ads which are paid whenever an ad is clicked.
Revenue from CPM ads is derived on a display basis. The typical threshold is 1,000 impressions, and each ad has its own payout structure. Some may pay $0.01 per 1K while others may pay $5.00 per 1K (or even more). This is great if you have a large number of daily visitors.

Revenue from PPC ads is obtained only when someone clicks on the ad. It doesn't matter how many times the ad is displayed. Payout for each clicking action can vary from a minimum of $0.01 to $5 or more. For the most part, the majority of ads that Google displays on your site will be the PPC type because it is most advantageous to advertisers.

The amount of money that Google assigns to each ad placement (whether  CPM or PPC) is determined through an auction process.  In general, you will be paid more when both the quality of your website or blog increases and the number of your daily visitors increase.

However, for any given site, the ad revenue will fluctuate on a daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonal basis. This fluctuation is a function of the advertisers, and not you, the publisher. For example, many advertisers establish a daily or monthly budget for their ads. When this threshold is reached, their ad may be replaced with a lesser paying ad. Further, the advertiser may have set geographic, hourly, age or gender based criteria. This means that some visitors will be exposed to higher paying ads while others see lower paying ads. Additionally, the content of your site may be seasonal. If so, you may receive high income during different seasons of the year.

This all means that, aside from the content you display, you will have no control over the revenue that is produced.

Second, click-through rates affect the amount of income you receive. In general, blogs and websites receive different types of click-through traffic.

Websites tend to provide products to consumers who are searching for an individual product or piece of information. Thus, most often, these visitors are directed to websites through site searches. Since the visitor is searching for something, they tend to follow the various link paths displayed, including the advertisements on your site.

Conversely, blogs tend to provide social information: articles, stories, advice and other reading material. Visitors locate your site through other forms of social media like Facebook and advertising networks. Once your site becomes one of their favorites, they will tend to visit repeatedly. The trick here is to create as many network paths to your site as possible.

In general, the average click-through rate for website banner ads is 0.2% - 0.4%. By comparison, the average click-through rate for blogs is only 0.08% (about 3/5 - 4/5 lower).

With such low click-through rates on the internet in general, you cannot expect to receive many clicks on your site. If your blog receives 1,000 visitors a day, you can only expect to earn 1 click per day. Thus, you will either need a lot of time or a lot of visitors to earn a substantial sum of money from AdSense.

Lastly, be aware of the your Internet competition. According to the Netcraft December 2010 Web Survey there are 255 million websites and approximately 100 million of these are active.

Similiarly, today's BlogPulse indicates that there are over 151 million blogs.

So, when you consider the size and vastness of the internet population providers, it is easy to understand that the chances of your individual website of blog becoming influential and highly profitable are extremely small.

Once you understand how AdSense advertisement earnings are allocated, the expected click-through rates, and your competition, you may become disillusioned and frustrated. However, this information is provided to help you set your earning expectations.

Owning a blog or website is fun, but it requires a lot of time and hard work to succeed. To overcome the long odds of failure, you must:
  • Establish a reliable reputation,
  • Provide a unique product,
  • Advertise, and
  • Participate on the net.
Establishing your reputation and product are up to you. You have to update your content often, respond to inquiries, stay focused and positive, verify your sources, and be truthful.

If you have a budget, advertising is a must. If you are allowed, market your site in Google AdWords or Microsoft Advertising.

You can also join various advertising networks. Both Adgitize and CMF Ads provide low cost advertising vehicles in which you can earn profitable income at the same time. Additionally, these are great networks for increasing your daily traffic. Also consider joining theBlogFrog and Facebook. Submit your content to Zemanta. By expanding your social visibility, you can increase visitor count and establish a reliable reputation

Through these measures, your site may become more profitable and your AdSense revenue more stable.

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