Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Increase blog traffic

How to increase blog traffic is the most important thing every blogger is looking for. For increasing blog traffic, bloggers try hard looking for information and ways and spending lot of time on socializing sites, directories, discussion forums etc.

I find lot of sites have come up giving paid services for SEO, SMO, link building etc. Moreover they advertise openly with proofs, testimonials and google search engine policy is against buying and selling of links, buying paid traffic etc. So only google knows what is legitimate and what is not.

As google search engine algorithm has become more smart nowadays, it is not easy to trick the search engine for top ranking. So it is better to follow google webmaster guidelines
and google search engine optimization starter guide.

To increase blog traffic there are already two posts on my blog related to Search engine optimization and building blog traffic published in 2007, so you can go through these articles to begin with.

As in last two years things have changed. There are now more ways to increase blog traffic using different methods and resources.

So I would like to mention few more tips to increase blog traffic.

1) For search engine traffic, do not depend only on google search engine. Please confirm that all your posts / pages are listed in major search engines like search.yahoo.com, bing.com, ask.com, aol.com.

2) You should know basics of SEO to get top ranking in these search engines. Different search engines give different weightage to factors like meta tags, title, etc. You should also know how to get all your posts / pages indexed in bing.com

3) Keep your template SEO friendly. I have seen some templates with missing h1 tag and missing basics of  SEO.

4) Facebook traffic is now almost equal to google so you must use facebook efficiently to drive traffic to your blog or site. You might be having facebook profile and group but creating facebook page and using facebook application is must for this.

5) Learn how to use twitter to get more followers and how to write tweets.

6) Keep commenting on do follow blogs related to your category with genuine comment given after reading their post.

7) There are other high traffic sites, also giving search facility. You should enter your blog information and create a page for your blog on these sites.

8) Write articles related to your subject and submit to good article directory sites which has high traffic and allows you to give link to your blog. Find the list of few article directories here. Do not worry about whether the links given are do follow or no follow. Please read their submission guidelines before submitting the article.

ezinearticles.com - PR 6
articlesbase.com - PR 6
isnare.com - PR 6 (needs 500 words article)
buzzle.com - PR 6
articlesnatch.com - PR 5
sooperarticles.com - PR 5
approvedarticles.com PR 5
goarticles.com - PR 4
abcearticledirectory.com- PR 4
internetwebportal.com - PR 4 (needs original unpublished article)
articledashboard.com - PR 3
articlesss.com - PR 3
amzines.com - PR 3
articlewarehouse.com - PR 3

9) Everybody knows submitting to bookmarking and socializing sites like delicious.com, stumbleupon.com, digg.com etc. But you also need to know efficiently using these services, type of link they give to your blog, how it is indexed in search engines, etc. You also need to find better bookmarking and socializing sites which work better for subject of your blog because some subjects / niche has limited target audience. e.g. for a pregnancy related blog you can find directories and socializing sites specific for mothers.

Please send your comments and share any new traffic source or methods you find out !

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Optimizing google adsense to make more money from blogging

optimizing google adsenseGoogle adsense is one of the most popular programs used to make money from blogging. Billions of bloggers publishing adsense on their blog always wanted to know how to increase their earnings from adsense. Usually the CTR(click through ratio) of adsense is from 0.5% to 2.5% for blogs having 1000 or more page views per day. But if we can increase CTR we can earn more from same no. of page views.

So here I would like to share my ideas and tips on optimizing google adsense i.e. how to increase CTR. Please note that these ideas and tips are based on my own experiments carried out on 20 blogs.

Let us have a look at the tips one by one. (Some of you might be knowing few of these but please read all the tips)

1) The placement of the ad unit – Should be within the post and ideally below the post title and above the post content. Please note that it should be properly aligned in middle of post body. Use <div style='margin: auto 10% auto 10 %'> your adsense code </div> to align the ad unit. (% value can be changed)
In some cases you have to display the ad unit beside the post content i.e. on right hand side of post content.
Also note that whether the ads are in post or sidebar the right half of the blog screen will get more clicks because most of the people use the mouse with their right hand.
Hence 3 column template with post column in between the right and left side bar is better.

2) The colors of the ad unit - The background and border color should match the background color of the post body. The title color can be blue or matching to the blog text color. Other colors you can choose matching to blog theme and for white background, google default palette is fine. You can also try option of selecting Multiple Palettes which keeps on rotating colors, for 48 hours and check whether CTR is increased or not.

3) The size of the ad unit within the post can be 336X280 or 300X250. In some cases where you are displaying the ad unit on right hand side of the post content, the size can be 250x250 or smaller which ever suits your blog. In case of only picture blog, I have used 120x240 size ad unit on right hand side of the posts.

4) The font size of the ad unit should be medium or large and font family should be Arial or Verdana. You can change this by going to Manage Ads>Edit ad settings.

5) There is option of choosing what to display if no relevant ads are available. Out of the three options, you can choose second option and enter URL of your another blog, so that this blog will be displayed within ad units. You should take care that there should be no google ads in top left of this URL. This is a good way of displaying ads of your low traffic blog on a high traffic blog. Or display your affiliate products page or site.

6) The maximum no. of ad units that can be displayed on a page are three but the total no. of ads displayed depends on the size of the ad unit i.e. in 336X280 ad unit, four text ads can be displayed, so three such ad units will display 4x3=12 ads per page. Some of the ad units can display 2 or 3 ads per unit, making total no. of ads 6 or 9 per page. What I have observed is (not always) less the no. of ads per page, more is the CPC (cost per click). So keep watch on no. of ads per page. CPC of ads also depends on other factors, but discussing that will be off the topic.

7) Link units – can be placed 1) below the header 2) in the side bar with the labels (categories) 3) below the post content.
With the colors matching to the blog colors, they also look like links/labels of the blog, creating higher chances of click. Please note that link unit requires two clicks to generate earnings. In ‘Advance report’ option you can find out how many link clicks got converted to earning clicks.
So even after proper color and placement, if they are not giving higher CTR, please remove them.

8) Adsense for search can be placed in header or upper area of blog. Please note that it requires two clicks to earn from this search unit. So one good option is selecting ‘Search type’ as ‘only sites I select’ while generating code for search unit. Enter all your blogs and websites there, so search results will be from those sites only. Check statistics of search unit in advance reports and decide whether to keep it or not. It has not generated much earnings for me.

9) Always create channel for your ad unit and give relevant name to ad unit as well as the channel so that you can view the performance and statistics in ‘Advance Reports’ and find out which ad unit is performing better.
Also add description with better keywords in custom channels and select proper ad location because this will be seen by advertisers as available place to place their ads.

10) Try to increase your blog rss subscribers and use google adsense for feed. Normally CPC is higher for ads in feed than ads on the blog.

11) Download and install google adsense preview tool
You can visit your blog using IE and right click and select google adsense preview tool and find out which ads will get displayed in which country .You can note down the URL and if you do not want them to get displayed on your blog you can block them by going to Adsense Setup> Competitive Ad Filter . Please read google adsense help for this.

12) Go to Adsense Setup>Ad Review Center > Filtered Categories .You will get % of recent earnings and recent impressions. If earnings are less for a particular category (with respect to impressions) please tick mark and filter them so that next time ads of these categories will not get displayed.

13) Visitor tend to exit from your blog using different links so try to study exit links from your visitors statistics and try to remove unwanted outgoing links from your blog. E.g. I removed a link to statcounter.com in visitors counter and created a counter without link.

14) Check whether all your posts are there in major search engines. One of my blog has 650 posts and search engine has indexed only 360 posts. So this will give me less traffic and less clicks. You can use sitemap and google webmaster tools to solve this problem.

15) I have read that one should write on higher paying keywords but this can not be a tip because say higher paying keywords are Lawyer, Insurance….Now if my blog is on Blog traffic tips, how can I write on these topics? So it is true only for few blogs which are writing on any subject. Only thing you can do is try using better keywords related to your post subject, in post title and content.
Another tip I have read is increase blog traffic but this is a different topic and it is not relevant to optimizing google adsense as it does not increase CTR.

16) From visitors statistics you can find from which country you are getting maximum clicks ( generally it is U.S.) so if you are using paid advertising to advertise your blog, select geographical locations from which you are getting more clicks.

Some times there is sudden peak up or drop in CTR which is due to type of ads getting displayed on our blog and we can not control it so I am not discussing it here.

Please try above tips one at a time and apply it for 48 to 72 hours and then check whether CTR has increased or not. Please share your experience and any new tip you find out!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How to change blogger template - update

change blogger templateI receive many visitors on this blog for 'How to change blogger template' post. This post was written in January 2009 i.e. one year back.

Recently the blogger.com as come up with many new and updated features. They have also updated the feature of changing to third party template.

Earlier when we were uploading the third party template the widgets were getting lost , so we need to take backup of this widgets i.e. saving code of each widget.

Now after uploading the new template from PC when we try to save it , it asks whether we want to 'Keep widgets' or 'Delete widgets' as shown in picture below.

So you need to click on 'Keep widgets' and then view your blog. Sometimes it is found that the widgets are not at proper place i.e. sidebar widgets can be in header. So go to 'Layout> Page elements' and drag your widget at appropriate place and then click save. Now again check your blog . It is ready with your new template !

Do not forget to take backup of your original template before going for this template change process by clicking on 'Download Full Template' option as shown in image above and save it on your hard disk. And read my earlier post 'How to change blogger template ' for all other steps.