A Couple of Ideas to Improve Your AdSense Income

A couple of months ago Google made some significant changes to their AdSense program when they re-did the clickable area, which caused a lot of people to lose money. I know personally that my AdSense income dropped by at least $70.00 a month as a result of this change, and I’ve heard from several others that are have had the same problem.

Anytime there is a change, it is only natural we take the time to step back and look over the situation in the hope of finding a way to improve it. One post I ran across recently was written by Josh titled 10 Ways to Increase Your AdSense Income. In his post, Josh covers a bunch of methods people should consider when trying to maximize their clicks.

Two important tips:

2. Target competitive niches! I don’t care what anyone says about MFA sites, they work! I’m not talking about spam sites, I’m talking about high-quality, informative sites that are in a high paying market! Some of these niche sites can bring in $5-$10/day after only a couple days. When you’re making over a $1 per click you don’t need much traffic to make money.

3. If a site has a CTR of 1% or less, remove it from your site. Although there is some controversy as to whether or not CTR causes “smart pricing” to kick in, it’s just not worth risking. At least remove Adsense for a few weeks and see if your overall adsense income rises. If so, you were probably hit with Google’s Smart Pricing. If that site in particular was causing smart-pricing to kick in, consider a different monetization model.

And one tip I’m not so sure about:

8. Do not go by Google’s heat map. It’s a good visual aid for some layouts, but there are just too many variables. The effectiveness of any layout will be determined by color, style, niche etc. so testing is always your best bet!

Click over to check out the rest of the list!

Where Do You Backorder Most Of Your Domains?

In order to be a successful domainer, it seems that you truly need to have to devote some time to backordering domain names.  This is a great way to find some diamonds in the rough and truly make some money, or get some quality domains to hang on to for awhile now.

Today while I was browsing through a few back order lists I began to wonder out loud about backordering domains.   Where do you do most of your back orders?  I regularly find domain names that I would love to own, but some I wouldn’t pay the minimum $60.00+ on, and the others get bid up really high.

For many part-time domainers it can be tough to spend that kind of money regularly on domain names, which creates a significant advantage for full-time domainers with deep pockets to snatch up any domains that might have a long term value.

Where do you have the most success back ordering domains?

Do You Still Use Facebook?

Today I noticed an interesting post over at Webware, which talks about a planned face lift for Facebook.  In looking at the screenshots provided, I really don’t see a major difference in the look of the site, but it will be nice to have the wall in its own tab.

While looking over the photos, I realized that I haven’t logged into Facebook in awhile.   I’ve probably logged in twice in the past 2 months, mostly for maintenance purposes (approve friends, check wall, etc.).  Do you find that you still use Facebook?  Or has it lost most of it’s appeal?

DNJournal Updates Reported Domain Sales

After skipping a week due to T.R.A.F.F.I.C, but it looks like DNJournal has finally updated their domain sales page with the latest sales figures.

Only one domain that broke the 100k mark, which was Unet.com.   A couple others went much higher than I would have expected, but I consider that to be a good thing, because it means our industry is healthy and demand is higher than supply.   Those domainers with the one word generics are doing quite well.

Any names that surprised you?

Tips For Picking a Popular Niche For A New Blog

Whenever you start a new blog, it is extremely important to spend a little time researching before purchasing a domain name, picking a design, and launching the blog.   Before getting started, you’ll first need to find the right niche for your blog.   This is often easier said than done.  Even if you know what you want to talk about, sometimes you are better off looking for a more focused keyword within the same niche.

If you are interested in learning more about how to research your niche, Copyblogger has posted some great tips on niche keyword research and provides some examples of a keyword hunt that was recently done.  This is probably one of the better write ups covering niche keyword strategy.

How much research do you do before launching a new blog?

New Information About Mozilla Thunderbird 3.0

I’m a big fan of the Mozilla Thunderbird software.  I generally use a mixture of Thunderbird 2.0 and Microsoft Outlook 2003 to manage my 15+ e-mail accounts via POP3 and have no real complaints.   After looking at what is in store for Thunderbird users, I will be considering making the permanent switch to Thunderbird once version 3.0 comes out.

For more information about Thunderbird 3.0, I recommend you check out this post over at Webware.   Among the things we can expect are better searches, a built-in calendar (this is huge for me), and some new technology that is designed to take message beyond e-mail (IM integration, etc.).

Anyone else looking forward to Thunderbird 3.0?

Google Now Manually Monitoring Search Results?

With the size of the world wide web, it seems impossible to think that Google could manually monitor their search results, but a recent post over at SEOBook.com titled Mom and Pop Websites?  Is Your Brand Big Enough? really got me thinking about whether this is possible or not, and how this will effect small sites designed to snipe certain keywords.

In Aaron’s post, he mentions that someone he knows was banned from Google because his blog used the default WordPress template.   This got my attention.   Even though I’ve never used the Kubrick theme or a variation of it on any of my sites, I think the fact that Google looks at things like this makes me wonder what else they would look at if they are human editing their search results.

Apparently human editing will be more common in 2008 and here are the signs that Aaron recommends you make sure your site does NOT exhibit to help it look authentic:

  • has a default WordPress design
  • has multiple hyphens in the domain name
  • exclusively monetizes via Google AdSense, placed top and to the left in the content area of the page
  • does not have a clear way to contact you
  • lacks an about us section
  • is registered with fake whois

For keyword snipers, this is something to pay attention to.   Where are your ads positioned?  Do you have an About/Contact page?

Are You Afraid to Experiment?

In my offline life, I’ve always been someone who is afraid to experiment or take to many risks.   I love familiarity and it has always held me back all my life.  I need to know that I have a guaranteed paycheck each month and that my kids have medical insurance coverage.  That is just how I’ve always been.

When I started blogging in early 2006, I decided that this was not something that will hold me back when I moved online.   I started blogging because I enjoyed doing so, and I’ve always pushed myself to experiment and try new things to see what works and what doesn’t work.  Any time you find success, in addition to the successes, you’re going to find some failure.   I’ve found my share of both, but even in situations where I’ve failed, I have found that I learn a lot from each failed experiment.   The second time I may get it right, or I’ll use what I learned from that experiment in something else I’m working on.

Recently Dosh Dosh wrote an inspirational post titled Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment, which I recommend all bloggers read.  Its pretty short, so it will only take a minute, but it will hopefully get the creative juices flowing a little bit.  I truly believe that in order to be successful, it is important to continually try new things and see what works/what doesn’t work.

Are you actively experimenting on your blog(s)?   Add forums, try a new style, new type of post, add pictures to your posts, etc.?  It is impossible to know what works until you’ve properly experimented.

The Mindset of Being a Keyword Sniper

Yesterday I wrote a fairly detailed post about the basics of keyword sniping.   In the past I’ve also touched a bit on keyword sniping in a few of my posts, as well as pointed you to an excellent resource of keyword sniping over at CourtneyTuttle.com.

For those unfamiliar with the term keyword sniping, this is the process of using tools such as Micro Niche Finder to locate under represented keywords and creating a website to fill this void.  If done properly and monetized correctly, you can take a little traffic and convert it into a lot of income.

What I wanted to touch on today is the mindset you need to have when attempting to snipe a keyword because it is quite a bit different from the mindset needed as a blogger or as a domainer.

As a blogger you probably have many goals, including developing a reader base, increasing your subscriber count, and growing your brand and authority within your niche. Domainers have a slightly different mindset, as there focus is primarily on finding domains that are brandable and have strong keyword combinations so that they hold resale value (or receive enough natural traffic to monetize directly).

In order to complete a successful keyword snipe, it is important to take a completely different approach to creating your website. The first thing you’ll want to do is throw out everything you have learned as a blogger. The only parallel is that you are after search engine traffic. Gone are the days where you care about feed subscribers or readership. You’ll be writing 10-20 posts when you launch the blog, then probably nothing after that (though I’ve found it best to add one or two posts a month if possible). Not only do you not care about subscribers, you actually don’t want your content to be relevant. The goal as a keyword sniper is to generate search engine traffic to your blog, then have them not find what they are looking for. This simply means that your content needs to be relevant to the search engines, but not to readers. If people come to your site and find what they are looking for, they won’t click anything.  If people come to your site looking for something specific and don’t find it, they will either hit the back button on their browser, or click on an advertisement/affiliate link. You want a large percentage of them to click the advertisement/affiliate link.

If you go into keyword sniping with this mindset and a lot of patience, you should find some success.  As long as your CTR is above 3%, you’re doing things right and will just need to work on increasing traffic.   To do this, you’ll just need to periodically research and adjust site keywords to figure out what works and what doesn’t work.   If your site isn’t at 3% CTR or higher after a year, then you’ll either want to make some changes to your setup or not renew your domain and go after a new keyword.

Any questions? Let me know in the comments below!

The Basics of Keyword Sniping

Keyword sniping is something I’ve been doing for close to a year now, but only recently has it truly turned profitable. Therefore, I figure I’ve finally got enough experience doing this to be comfortable sharing what I’ve learned about it over this year with my readers.

For those unfamiliar with the term “keyword sniping“, this is one of a few terms used by webmasters who create a website or blog specifically to fill a void left by an under-represented search engine keyword. In order for it to be truly effective, you’ll want to find situations where there are 2,000 or more searches a month and only a small amount of competition for that specific keyword you are targeting.

Find a Good Keyword to Target

When attempting to find a new keyword to snipe, you’ll need to use a tool to figure out which keyword you intend to target. You’ll need to try to find a keyword that is really specific, and preferably receives 2,000+ searches a month, while having only a small amount of competition (usually 400,000 or less search results). There are several tools that help you accomplish this, but you are probably going to have to invest a little money up front. When I’m doing this, I use Micro Niche Finder to locate under-represented keywords.

Getting A Good Domain Name

Once you’ve found the keyword you are going to go after, the next step is to find the best domain available for that keyword. Some people get caught up in old habits and spend time trying to find a good dot com domain. Remember that your site will not be after natural traffic, so any top-level domain will work just as well. I personally will buy dot info domains because they are only $3.00 right now at GoDaddy for the first year. If it doesn’t work out after a year, I’m only out the $3.00. If you insist upon having a dot com domain, you’ll want to grab domains with hyphens in them as this helps search engines separate keywords. If your domain is blogtips.com, search engines don’t know if this is supposed to be “blo gtips”, “b logtips”, or “blog tips.” You get the idea. Having a domain like blog-tips.com tells search engines exactly what your keywords are for your website. [Read more…]