The World of Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing. Here you will find lessons,tips, news and articles on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Internet Marketing, Advertising and Promotion ,free lessons and tips,useful tools, information and more.Enjoy Yourself!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

10 Essential Blogging Tools

So, you finally decided to take the blog leap. You've heard all about the marketing and search benefits so you stepped up to the plate and signed up for a TypePad, MovableType or WordPress blog software package and now you're a blogger.

Okay, now what? Add the ten essential blogging tools listed below and you will also be well on your way to creating and promoting a blog that is a powerful marketing tool. I'll explain the use of the tool and offer some suggestions, including the tools I use on my own blogs including the DuctTapeMarketing blog.

Feed Reader

The best way to learn about blogs and blogging is to read, or at least scan, lots of blogs. One of the wonders of blogs is that you can have every new post from every blog you want to read delivered to your desktop or to online location via RSS, so you can easily read and scan the posts of many blogs in a very short time. Newsgator is a good online choice for feed reading and also has a version that integrates with Outlook. I use a free online service known as Bloglines.

Subscriber Center

You need to make it easy for your blog visitors to subscribe to your blog's RSS feed – so they can read your blog in their favorite feed reader. The best way to do this is to go to FeedBurner and burn your own RSS feed there and use the tools they provide to set up automatic subscriber links so people who want to use Bloglines, Google Reader, MyYahoo or Pluck, for instance, can click on one button to subscribe. Tech types can figure this out without the buttons but why not make it easy for anyone to figure out.

Side note: Subscribe to each of these yourself and you will force some blog spiders to visit your site.

Email Subscription Option

A lot of people will never get the whole feed thing, but everyone gets email. Create an option for people to subscribe by giving you their email address – they will simply receive your blog posts like an email message. FeedBurner offers this service for free. FeedBlitz is another option or, if you already have an autoresponder email list service they may offer this service. AWeber offers this and helps me integrate these blog email subscribers into my other mailing lists.

Blog and RSS directories

There are hundreds of blog and RSS directories and getting listed in many can be a good thing. I use a piece of software called RSS Submit , but you can also visit Robin Goode's frequently updated list and submit your blog and feed by hand.

Hint: Subscribe to the RSS feed he offers and you will be notified when new directories are added.

Ping Service

Pinging is a term used for letting the various blog and RSS directories know when you have posted new content. Again, FeedBurner offers this as an automatic option called PingShot and you should activate it. PingGoat and Ping O Matic are other options but they require that you visit and update your record each time you post new content. Bookmark Manager

As you surf around the web or hop from blog to blog you may find sites that you want to point out to your readers. Online bookmark managers allow you to bookmark and categorize web and blog pages as you collect them and are a great tool for managing all of the stuff you find on the web. I use but BlinkList does a fine job as well.

Blog Stats

I like to track a few key stats in real time because it shows what other blogs might be linking to you or posting about your blog. A lot of people just like to track this kind of thing for fun and frequently visit sites like Technorati. I like to track it for networking opportunities. I use a tool called MyBlogLog because it allows me to see where traffic is coming from but also tracks what links on my blog visitors are clicking on. It's amazing how this data can help you write more effectively. (MyBlogLog also ranks your links so visitors can see which links on your site are the most popular.)

Desktop Posting

With most blog software you must go online and post using a set of tools provided by the blog software. Many bloggers like to use a desktop application to create and submit their posts as it gives them some extra tools and allows them to more easily integrate content and files on their computer.

I use w.blogger but also like Performancing, Qumana and ecto (apple folks) (w.blogger also doubles as a really simple HTML editor.)

Tell A Friend Script

My blog software (pMachine) has a feature that allows a reader to click a link and send the post to a friend. This tactic brings me lots of readers. You might try looking here for some simple scripts that do that same:

Republish Your Feed Headlines

The ability to republish your blog posts on other web pages, sites you own or sites of strategic partners is a great way to expose folks to your blog content. One more time we turn to FeedBurner for a painless way to republish your blog post to any web page you choose with something they call BuzzBoost

Top 10 AdSense Tricks To Boost Your Commission

Google AdSense - - is fast becoming the preferred way for people to earn an income online. Forget eBay and multiple affiliate programs. Whether you are a work-at-home mom trying to make a little extra cash or an Internet entrepreneur with hundreds of monetized websites, AdSense is truly the easiest way to earn money.

Simply sign up for a free account, grab your ad code and paste it in your site. But here's the amazing thing - no matter how much money AdSense is making for you right now, a few simple tweaks can increase that amount considerably. And I should know, after learning about these tricks, I more than doubled my AdSense commissions!

The self-proclaimed AdSense gurus and experts are sharing this insider knowledge, for a fee.

Editorial Note: Some of the website AdSense examples provided below by the author may have changed since the article was written.

You can learn all these secrets from them, as long as you buy their e-book, sign up for their seminar or purchase their newsletter. But I'm going to share all their AdSense tricks for free. Here they are:

1) Color code your ads to match your web site palette *exactly*. Don't use frames around your ads. Instead, in the AdSense code generation interface, make sure you choose the same color as your page background for the ad frame and the ad background.

When choosing the ad heading colors, match them to the *exact* color of your page headings. Use the exact same ad background shade as your page background. Use the exact same ad text font and color as the text on your pages. You can see an example of this color-matching on my Search Engine Advice Blog - notice the 4 link ad unit at the top and the skyscraper text ad unit on the left hand side under the heading Ads by Google as you scroll down the page? The link and text colors are identical to the color palette used throughout the rest of the page.

Near enough is NOT good enough. If you can't quite get the color matching right, use Google's built in color palette together with the RGB to HEX or vice versa color converter on this page - That handy little tool was a life saver for me.

This is probably the one single tweak that made the most difference to my commission levels.

2) Try not to use the traditional horizontal banner style or leaderboard image ads because people are blind to them.

3) Use Google's own AdSense optimization tips and visual heat map to assist you in deciding where on your page to place your AdSense ad code.

4) Research competitive keywords using a keyword research tool such as Keyword Discovery or grab a list of the most popular keywords from various sources and use them in your web site pages where relevant. This article - - is a good source of frequently searched keywords. Targeting popular keywords should trigger AdSense ads on your pages that utilize those keywords. The more popular the keyword or phrase, the higher AdWords advertisers are generally willing to pay-per-click for it so the higher your commission on those clicks.

5) Incorporate the AdSense code into your page so that the ads look like a regular part of your site. You can see an example on this Internet Dating Stories site - - where link ads are incorporated within the regular left hand navigation of the site under the heading "Sponsor Links".

6) Use Google's new 4 and 5 link ad units wherever possible. They seem to have a much higher Click-Through-Rate (CTR) than regular ad styles. You can view all the AdSense ad formats at

7) Place images next to your ads to attract the eyes. You can see this in place on the search engine article library page at the bottom where 3 images draw your attention to the bottom of the page. But be careful here - the use of arrows or symbols enticing viewers to click are NOT allowed by Google and publishers may NOT label the Google ads with text other than "sponsored links" or "advertisements".

8) Use the full allowance of multiple AdSense ads on each of your pages - 3 regular AdSense ads, plus 1 link unit. Use careful placement of these ads so they blend into your site and don't distract from your content. Clever use of this allowance can be seen on this page about bad Internet dating stories - - where you see:

* 1 horizontal 4 link ad unit towards the top of the page under the first paragraph.
* 1 vertical skyscraper text ad unit about halfway down the left hand side under "Sponsor Links".
* 1 vertical skyscraper image ad unit down the left hand side under "Sponsor Links".
* 1 horizontal text banner unit at the bottom of the page with images above each ad to draw attention to them.

You can also include 1 AdSense referral button in addition to the 3 other units.

9) Tailor your page content to a particular niche or focus. Page content that is tailored towards a specific theme is more likely to trigger AdWords ads that closely match the content and are therefore more likely to interest your visitors and inspire them to click.

Don't create pages merely for the sake of placing AdSense ads. Visitors (and search engines) can see through this ruse in an instant.

10) Use custom Ad Channels for each of your ad placements, for example, "Top 5 Link Unit Blue Palette" or "Left Side Navigation Image Skyscraper" etc. Tweak, track and measure the success of each of these custom channels so you know what gives you the highest CTR. Some ad formats and colors will work better than others, but you won't know which until you test, test and test some more!

Cracking the Google Adsense Code

Google Adsense has empowered web publishers of all shapes and sizes to make money from their web sites. Whether you own a hobby site that gets 100 visitors per day or a popular finance portal that is flooded with millions of visitors per month, you can benefit from the Google Adsense program.

Simply sign up for a free account, grab your Adsense code and paste it up on your website. Well, it sounds good anyway. In reality, that's not the whole story. Maximizing your adsense earnings requires a little more care.

Fortunately, you can quickly increase your earnings by reading every word of this article. I will cover the basic necessities and also reveal advanced tips that you won't find on every digital corner. So, if you're looking to put more money in your pocket with a few tweaks of code, I urge you to read on.

As you are reading, keep in mind that Google is actually one of the best resources for finding information on Adsense optimization. Think it's hard to believe that Google would give good advice? Well, it makes sense when you think about it. The more you make as a publisher, the more they will make. Google has a big incentive to help you perform well. Not to mention, they have tons of data to research what works best.

So, for much of my research, I took quite a few tips from Google. But don't worry, there are also some advanced tips here that Google will probably never reveal to you.

Most Effective Ad Formats

In general, wider ad formats tend to outperform the taller ads. This is because the wider ads are much easier on the eye.

According to Google, the following ad formats result in the highest number of click-throughs:

* 336×280
* 300×250
* 160×600

Tim Carter of increased his revenues by 20 percent after placing the large rectangle (336×280) in the upper left corner, positioned within his articles.

Text links are another ad format that often work well. Using text link ads, you can create Adsense ads that blend in seamlessly with your navigation.

For an example of this, go to

Tim Carter saw an 18 percent increase in his revenues after placing link units in the upper left corner under his site search bar.

Number of Ads

Multiple ad units can sometimes help optimize your performance. This is especially true for pages with lots of text, forums, and message boards.

However, it could possibly lower your revenues as well. When you show more ads, the ads that are placed lower on the page often have lower bid prices than the ones on top. Therefore, you must test the number of ads on a page to see what works best for you.

When using multiple ad units, make sure that the ad unit with the highest click-through rate appears first within your HTML code. This will ensure that your prime real estate is occupied by the highest paying ads. You can use CSS positioning to get your highest paying ads placed in the location with the highest CTR.


Ads that blend in with the colors of your site generate the highest click-through rates. In most cases, it is best to use the exact same color scheme for your ads that you use on your web site. To see some good examples of this, check out:

By using ads without background color or borders, your ads seamlessly integrate with your content.

Keep in mind that blue text links seem to perform best for Google Adsense. Blue is the assumed color of links on the Internet. Therefore, our pyschie expects links to be in blue.

However, you may want to rotate your colors every once in a while to spice things up. This way, your visitors don't get used to your ads, which can cause banner-blindness.

Ad Placement

Just like in real estate, location is the key to success with Adsense. Fortunately, Google provides us with a heat map, showing the best spots for ads.

One of the best places for your Adsense ads are at the top-left of the page. Because people are used to seeing navigation on the left side of the page, the eye naturally gravitates to this section of your web site.

Many studies have been performed to see how the eye travels across a web page. You can see a demonstration at EyeTrack III. Knowing how people view your web site will help immensely when optimizing the placement of your ads.

In addition, you should also place your Adsense ads next to rich content and navigation elements. These ads often do well because users are focused on those areas of a page. You can see examples of this at and

As you can see, these sites have placed their adsense ads next to search boxes and navigation links.

Keep in mind that you shouldn't change the layout of your site to fit the ads, but rather use the ad formats that best fit with your site layout.


Many publishers have started using images around their ads. As a result, many of them have doubled their revenues.

One of the most successful implementations of this techniques is to use the 728×90 leaderboard with 4 thumbnail-sized images above each ad. You can see some good examples at:


Of course, you can't use images of blinking arrows because this would be enticing visitors to click. However, it is perfectly acceptable to place related pictures beside your ads.

For example, if you have a page about laptops, you could place a leaderboard with 4 laptop images above each ad. In this way, you are using images to complete the story.

In fact, Google is currently testing an ad format that would blend images together with related text ads. It seems that even Google thinks that images are a good idea to bring attention to ads. To see an example of the Google ads in beta, go to


If you have a forum, I hope you are monetizing it with Adsense. Many people include Adsense within their web site, but when it comes to their forum, they simply let the ball drop. Forums can definitely be an extra source of income when optimized properly.

To find out about the best placement for Adsense within forums, I went to Google for some advice. To my surprise, they also have a heat map for forums.

One of the best ways to monetize your forum is to place Adsense directly within the threads. To see an example of this, go to Digital Point Forums. Google advises that you place a skyscraper above the fold on the left side of your forum and they also suggest placing a leaderboard directly below the top navigation and below the first post.

If you are looking for additional ad space, you can place a horizontal link unit near the top of the forum, just below the header.

The next Adsense tactic is one that isn't talked about much. However, when used appropriately, it can be extremely powerful.


If you own a newsletter list, then you can easily leverage that list in order to earn more Adsense revenue. Whenever you send out your newsletter, simply link to an article on your site within the email. By doing this, you can draw people to your Adsense pages and easily increase your Adsense revenue.

This is one of the best things about building your own list. You are able to direct traffic to any place at any time.

In the end, the key to increased revenues is testing. Not all sites are the same. You have to experiment to find out what works best for your particular site. What works for one site may not work for another. Only by testing can you find out which styles encourage your visitors to respond.