Tips On Moving Your Website

As most of you probably remember, I moved this site to a new domain back in January of 2008. Prior to that time, this blog was known as Kyle’s Cove. It has been about 3 months now since the move and everything has settled nicely, with traffic continuing to grow from where it was prior to the move, and I am much happier with this domain name.

For anyone that is considering moving their site to a new domain name, you’ll want to first really think it through and make sure that is what you want to do. Your site will take a hit for a couple months and it can cause some frustration for readers, but it can be worth it in the long run if you do it for the right reasons.

If you’re wanting to move your website, I ran across some great tips from Google to follow when moving your website:

  • Test your processes by moving only one directory or subdomain first. Check to see whether those pages are appearing in Google’s search results before moving your entire site.
  • Don’t just redirect all pages from your old site to the home page of your new site. Try to redirect all pages on your old site to a relevant page on your new site.
  • If you’re thinking about changing your domain and redesigning your site at the same time, consider doing these things separately to minimize the risk of error.
  • Check both external and internal links to pages on your site (which can be done using Google Webmaster Tools) and try asking webmasters to change any links pointing to your site to use the new domain.
  • Don’t allow your old domain to expire until at least 180 days have passed.
  • Add your new site to Google Webmaster Tools, verify you own it and submit an XML sitemap containing all the URLs. Keep your old site too so that you can keep an eye out for any errors.

The bold option above was done by me to emphasize that one, as I felt that was the most important part of the transition.   It helps keep backlinks valid and helps Google’s spiders properly index and replace your posts.

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!

Google AdSense Smart Pricing…Re-Evaluating My AdSense Strategy

If you’ve ever attempted to make money online, you know that it can be very complicated, requires a lot of research, and is always evolving and changing. Last week I posted my December 2007 review and talked about how my overall income dipped for that month, particularly with Google AdSense. I noticed a similar trend on most of the blogs I read, so I originally told myself that it was probably due to the change to the clickable AdSense area.

Last week I ran across a post over at Courtney Tuttle’s blog titled how to get worthless AdSense clicks, which caused me to re-evaluate how I approach trying to make money with Google AdSense. In this post, Court explains Google’s smart pricing, which basically is a system that Google uses to penalize bloggers who get a lot of worthless AdSense clicks. This idea was not a new concept to me, as I’ve heard in the past the theory that having less advertisements per page can result in higher payouts per click. I also remember David of CyberCoder talking a bit about smart pricing in one of his video blogs (though I can’t find the link now).

After reading Court’s post, I decided it was finally time to look into this a little more. It just seemed to be to much of a coincidence that my AdSense income was at an all time high, then I launched a bunch of new blogs that currently aren’t receiving a lot of traffic and my AdSense income dipped from $10.00 a day to $3.00 or less.

The first thing I did was go into my Manage Ads page in the Google AdSense panel (managing all my AdSense code from here saved me a TON of time) and set up some new channels for my various ad blocks, including in-post squares, rectangles ads, link menus, and other places where I had AdSense on my sites. This way I could determine which advertisement blocks were performing the best. After a couple of days doing this, I studied the results and completely removed the under performing advertisements from my sites (anything with less than a 2% CTR). I also removed AdSense completely from some of my newer sites that haven’t received much traffic yet (if you feel your under performing websites need advertisements, you can easily replace your AdSense ads with Yahoo! Publisher Network ads or BidVertiser).

It is unclear how long it takes for AdSense to remove the penalty, but I’ve already seen some progress here over the past day. Unfortunately, it is to early to tell if this is a coincidence or not. If you have more questions about Google’s Smart Pricing penalty, I recommend you click over and read the post. It provides a detailed explanation, tips on fixing it, and also includes a bit about keyword sniping.

Are you a victim of Google’s smart pricing penalty?

[found via EZ-OnlineMoney]

Make Money Online with Google AdSense

Most of us start out blogging for fun, but it’s inevitable that eventually it will be time to take a shot at making money online. Over the past year, I’ve read a lot of great AdSense guides and tried a lot of different things on this site. Some succeeded, while others did not, but each and every one of them has been a good learning experience for me and helped me to optimize my Google AdSense revenue. Here is a compilation of my experiences with Google AdSense so far:

What is Google AdSense? Google AdSense is Google’s advertising service that uses javascript code and Google’s search technology to match up appropriate advertising with the publishers content. This, in theory, will make your advertisements more appealing to your readers. Revenue is then generated on a “Cost-per-Click” basis, with you getting paid each time a reader clicks on your advertisements.

Once you’ve signed up, you may be a little overwhelmed, as there is a lot to learn. Here is a bunch of the most common questions and the answer I would give:

How do I boost my Click-Through-Rate (CTR)? There are two ways to boost your CTR. The first way is to increase traffic; however, for many blogs starting out this is something that will take a lot of time. You need to gain a loyal readership and get a lot of content indexed with the major search engines before this goal can become realistic. The second and easier method is to work on your ad position to maximize the number of clicks you will receive. In the next few sections this will be covered in greater detail.

Where should I place my Adsense ads? There are a few schools of thought on this, but I’ve found two methods to generating a higher click-through-rate that have worked well for me. The first is to make sure your advertisements are placed “above the fold.” This means that they will be seen by the reader without any scrolling involved. This helps to ensure that they will at least be viewed before a web surfer hits the back button and gives you more chances for a click. The second and most important to place advertisements is within your posts. This can be done in a variety of ways. WordPress users can easily add Adsense ads inside their posts using the AdSense Deluxe plugin. I find this is effective for longer posts, but I prefer to have an advertisement placed in every post I do. Jason Drohn of JDs Blog has written a great post on how to integrate Adsense without a plugin. I simply placed the following code on to each page where I want to display them (in my case Main Index and Single Post pages):

<div style="float: right; padding-left: 5px;">
{Paste Adsense Code Here}
</div>

You can float the advertisement to the left by changing right to left and adjust the padding to right. Doing this will allow you to wrap your post’s content around the advertisement and increase the chance of additional clicks. The only thing you need to remember when using this method is that you will need to write a longer opening paragraph for your post to maintain a good appearance to readers. If you write a lot of shorter posts, you may want to use a smaller ad format, or consider placing them just below the title (without wrapping them around text).

Should I blend my ads or make them stand out? I’ve been debating this for awhile now. Some claim to have success both ways, but I’ve found that for this site blending advertisements works better. Making them stand out with a border, different color background, or whatever else will cause them to get noticed, but web surfers are more likely to know they are advertisements this way.

What are the best ad formats? According to Google, the most effective ad formats are the 336×280 large rectangle and the 300×250 medium rectangle. Depending on the layout of your website, using 160×600 advertisements can be very effective as well. As far as my personal experience, I’ve found that the 336×280 large rectangle has given me the most success. This is could be because it’s integrated into my post, but more than likely the real reason is because you will often get Google Video advertisements in place of link advertisements, which readers are more likely to click.

How can I get rid of those annoying AdSense ads that don’t have anything to do with my content? If you’re trying to maximize your AdSense income, targeting high paying keywords and getting rid of advertisements that have nothing to do with your content is a must. The first thing you should do is tell AdSense where to get their keywords. If this isn’t done, they can use information from your sidebar, header, footer, and other places to determine which advertisements to place on your site, which will only hurt your site’s potential income.

To do this, place the following start code at the beginning and the end code at the end of where you want Google to look for keywords:

<- google_ad_section_start -> <- google_ad_section_end ->

Next, go to your sidebar, header, footer, and wherever else you want Google to avoid and enter the following at the beginning of the content:

<- google_ad_section_start(weight=ignore) ->

and this at the end of the content:

<- google_ad_section_end ->

This tells Google AdSense to ignore anything between these tags.

This stuff has been talked about a lot and will do a lot to help get valid advertisements, but there is more you can do. The next step is to monitor your blog for advertisements still showing up that aren’t relevant to your content. Next, write down the URL of the advertisement listed below the advertisement (DO NOT CLICK IT).

Now, once you’ve gotten your list of URL’s together, go to your Google AdSense account and do the following:

  1. Click on AdSense Setup
  2. Click Competitive Ad Filter
  3. Enter the URL of any advertisements you don’t want to show up on your website. To add multiple URL’s, type the URL and hit enter, then type the next, etc.

For example, if you don’t want to see the “Are you Gay” advertisements because your site doesn’t touch that subject, filter out “thegayquiz.com/gay” and that advertisement won’t appear on your site any longer. Repeat this until you’ve added any URL’s you’d like to censor out.

Once you have submitted it, any URL’s you have entered should disappear from your site completely and permanently. I check through a few pages every week on this site at random and try to find any ads that I deem irrelevant to my sites content then filter them out. This will help you receive more relevant advertising on your site and hopefully improve your Click Through Rate (CTR). Also, many of these generic ads that you will want to filter don’t pay much when clicked (some are a penny per click), so your clicks should pay better if you get rid of them.

In order to target keywords, you will want to stick to a particular niche on your site. If you want to branch out more, set up a second blog to cover other topics. This will help Google avoid being confused as to which advertisements to place on your site. You’ll also need to experiment with which keywords pay the most, then target these keywords.

How do I know which Ad formats are working the best? There are two easy ways that I know of. With MyBlogLog’s free metrics service, you can view day old clicks. You’ll want to click the “Ads” option to see which ad formats were clicked. If you use different ad formats in different spots on your blog, you’ll quickly learn which formats are working the best. If you want same day stats, you’ll need to pay a small stipend for instant metrics (I think it’s roughly $3.00 a month).

The second method is to use a free service like Crazy Egg to see where people click on your site. I like the heatmap option, which gives you a picture of your sites homepage and allows you to easily see EXACTLY where people clicked when visiting your site.

What are AdSense Link Units? Adsense link units also targeted advertisements that work similar to normal AdSense ads in that they are Cost-Per-Click, however they actually require two clicks in order for you to get paid. When someone clicks on this on your link unit, it will then take them to a bunch of related links. When those are clicked, that is when you get paid. The nice thing about these link units is they are easy to integrate into your website and they are relatively unobtrusive.

What other publishers features are available with Google AdSense? In addition to getting relevant ads targeted to your website’s specific content, Google AdSense also offers two additional services. They are AdSense for Search and Referrals.

What is AdSense for Search? Google allows you to easily add Google Search to your blog and display AdSense advertisements within these results. When searchers click these ads, it will work the same as if they clicked the advertisement on your webpage.

You have the option of adding a search engine that opens the search results in the same window, in a new window, or even allow you to open the search results within your webpage. If you’re a WordPress user, it may prove difficult to add Google search to your blog. For these people, there is a Google AdSense search plugin available.

How does Google’s referral system work? Google is in the process of rolling out Referrals 2.0, which will offer several referrals, allowing bloggers to find appropriate referrals for their blog’s niche. Each referral has different requirements for you to get paid. For example, Firefox requires someone to simply download Firefox via your referral button and you get paid. The Google AdSense referral, on the other hand, requires the person to sign up and generate at least $5.00 worth of revenue before you will get paid $5.00. ProBlogger offers 5 tips for improving your AdSense referrals.

Overall, having success with Google AdSense requires a lot of individual work, with a focus on ad placement and using proper keywords. It also helps to get a lot of pages out there and indexed with Google. What works for one site, may not work for another website in another niche, but hopefully you can take something from my experiences and generate some additional income with Google AdSense.

Sounds great, how do I sign up for Google AdSense? Google AdSense does not have a minimum traffic requirement, so no matter the size of your blog, if you want any easy way to make money online, you can easily sign up using the link below:


Think I missed something? Let me know in the comments below!

Ultimate Guide to Google's GMail

[Last Updated: June 2, 2008]

Over the past two and a half years since their debut, Google Mail has continued to excite users by providing massive storage space and innovative features, all at no cost to the user. Born on April 1, 2004, GMail is still in beta; however, don’t let that scare you off. The GMail team has been hard at work over those 2.5 years, building what many E-mail users feel is the best web-based E-mail service currently available.

Why would I want a GMail Account? An E-mail account is an E-mail account, right? Well, GMail doesn’t exactly fit into the mold. They have many of the features you’ve come to expect from your E-mail service, but their additional features separate them from the competition. Here are a list of those features:

Grouped Messages – This is probably my favorite feature. Whenever you receive an E-mail, GMail will group it together with all related forwards and replies, allowing you to track the entire conversation together in one E-mail.

Google continues to improve this feature, recently adding two nice enhancements. You can now click Forward All to forward the entire conversation to someone. Google has also helped you avoid sending duplicate replies by adding a pop up window which lets you know if a new E-mail came in related to the conversation you are typing a reply to, so you know to update the conversation before clicking reply.

Labeling System – Instead of the folder system of traditional E-mail systems, Google offers their flexible filing system using Labels. You can label an E-mail, allowing it to work like a folder. The advantage of this method is you can add more than one label to an E-mail, where as you can only put an E-mail in one folder.

Storage Space – Google currently offers more than 2,600 MB of storage space, which was designed to help you avoid needing to constantly delete E-mails. For the average E-mail user, this could be years before you would need to go through and delete out old or unimportant E-mails.

Search – What is Google known for? Thats right, internet search. As you’d probably expect, their E-mail search function is second to none. If you know you have an old E-mail you want to view, you can easily search for it. Google will search your All Mail (Archive) tab.

GMail as Other Addresses – You can conveniently manage all your E-mail addresses from GMail. Simply go to the Account tab and enter you various E-mail addresses. Then log in to those E-mail addresses and accept the invitation. Once this is done, you can reply to any E-mails using that E-mail address in the From: section. This is particularly useful when your other E-mail addresses allow forwarding. You can then forward all your E-mail addresses to GMail, then answer them from your GMail account and your response will appear to be from that E-mail account. This is very useful for web masters and business owners.

Mail Fetcher – Similar to the previous feature, many users can find this brand new feature in their accounts tab (eventually everyone will have it). You can set it up to actually fetch your E-mail from other non-Google E-mail accounts. It works just like GMail as other addresses, but does not require E-mail forwarding from the other account. Check out this Google tutorial for How to Set Up Google Mail Fetcher.

GMail POP3 Support – If you prefer to have your E-mail loaded into your Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird desktop software, Google Mail has you covered there as well. Simply visit the Forwarding and POP section of GMail’s settings. You can enable POP3 here and use these instructions to finish setting up your account. While setting up your POP3, I recommend electing to archive GMail’s copy. This will allow you to have a backup copy of your E-mail in the All Mail (Archive) section of GMail for reference from any computer anywhere. Once this is done, E-mail will automatically download into your desktop E-mail software of choice.

Google Services Integration – If your a user of Google’s services, your going to love the integration GMail provides. Google Talk is currently fully integrated. If your E-mail mentions an appointment, GMail will offer to add it to your Google Calendar. There has also been some reports of Google Spreadsheets and Docs integrating with GMail recently.

Mute Conversation – Google has added a new mute conversation feature. This is to be used when a conversation seems to be never ending, which often happens when you are on a mailing list or if you’re included in an E-mail with 20+ people on it.

To see more about GMail’s look and features, I recommend checking out this GMail tour.

How do I get a GMail Account? If your looking for a GMail account, you currently need to do one of two things. Your first option is to locate a GMail user and request an invite. I currently have a few invites left, so feel free to contact me if you would like an invite to GMail. Your second option is to use your mobile phone (requires text messaging).

I Have a GMail Account. Anything Else I Need to Know? If you already have GMail, there are some nice services you need to know about:

  • Google Talk – Google’s instant messenging service can be fully integrated with GMail, and can include notifications when new E-mails are received. You can also send and receive files with Google Talk.
  • GMail Notifier – Sits on your desktop and notifies you when a new E-mail is received.
  • GMail for Mobile – Allows you to read and reply to E-mails from your mobile phone.
  • If your a Firefox or Flock user, another advantage of GMail is it can be built into your web browser. Here are some of the extensions you’ll want to choose from:
    • GMail Manager – Builds GMail into your browser and allows you to manage multiple GMail accounts at one time.
    • GMail Skins – Builds additional features into your GMail account, including adjusting the colors, allowing HTML on your outgoing E-mails, etc.
    • E-Mail Notifier Toolbar – Supports GMail, Yahoo, Hotmail, & any custom POP3 account by placing easy access to them in a toolbar.
    • Greasemonkey users may enjoy the following GMail related scripts:

What are the disadvantages of GMail? I really had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find something to put here. Here is what I could find:

  • Doesn’t offer IMAP (only POP3)
  • Can view HTML, but can’t use it on outgoing E-mail (without GMail Skins extension assistance)

You may also want to check out a few of these useful guides:

Ultimate Guide to Google’s GMail

[Last Updated: June 2, 2008]

Over the past two and a half years since their debut, Google Mail has continued to excite users by providing massive storage space and innovative features, all at no cost to the user. Born on April 1, 2004, GMail is still in beta; however, don’t let that scare you off. The GMail team has been hard at work over those 2.5 years, building what many E-mail users feel is the best web-based E-mail service currently available.

Why would I want a GMail Account? An E-mail account is an E-mail account, right? Well, GMail doesn’t exactly fit into the mold. They have many of the features you’ve come to expect from your E-mail service, but their additional features separate them from the competition. Here are a list of those features:

Grouped Messages – This is probably my favorite feature. Whenever you receive an E-mail, GMail will group it together with all related forwards and replies, allowing you to track the entire conversation together in one E-mail.

Google continues to improve this feature, recently adding two nice enhancements. You can now click Forward All to forward the entire conversation to someone. Google has also helped you avoid sending duplicate replies by adding a pop up window which lets you know if a new E-mail came in related to the conversation you are typing a reply to, so you know to update the conversation before clicking reply.

Labeling System – Instead of the folder system of traditional E-mail systems, Google offers their flexible filing system using Labels. You can label an E-mail, allowing it to work like a folder. The advantage of this method is you can add more than one label to an E-mail, where as you can only put an E-mail in one folder.

Storage Space – Google currently offers more than 2,600 MB of storage space, which was designed to help you avoid needing to constantly delete E-mails. For the average E-mail user, this could be years before you would need to go through and delete out old or unimportant E-mails.

Search – What is Google known for? Thats right, internet search. As you’d probably expect, their E-mail search function is second to none. If you know you have an old E-mail you want to view, you can easily search for it. Google will search your All Mail (Archive) tab.

GMail as Other Addresses – You can conveniently manage all your E-mail addresses from GMail. Simply go to the Account tab and enter you various E-mail addresses. Then log in to those E-mail addresses and accept the invitation. Once this is done, you can reply to any E-mails using that E-mail address in the From: section. This is particularly useful when your other E-mail addresses allow forwarding. You can then forward all your E-mail addresses to GMail, then answer them from your GMail account and your response will appear to be from that E-mail account. This is very useful for web masters and business owners.

Mail Fetcher – Similar to the previous feature, many users can find this brand new feature in their accounts tab (eventually everyone will have it). You can set it up to actually fetch your E-mail from other non-Google E-mail accounts. It works just like GMail as other addresses, but does not require E-mail forwarding from the other account. Check out this Google tutorial for How to Set Up Google Mail Fetcher.

GMail POP3 Support – If you prefer to have your E-mail loaded into your Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird desktop software, Google Mail has you covered there as well. Simply visit the Forwarding and POP section of GMail’s settings. You can enable POP3 here and use these instructions to finish setting up your account. While setting up your POP3, I recommend electing to archive GMail’s copy. This will allow you to have a backup copy of your E-mail in the All Mail (Archive) section of GMail for reference from any computer anywhere. Once this is done, E-mail will automatically download into your desktop E-mail software of choice.

Google Services Integration – If your a user of Google’s services, your going to love the integration GMail provides. Google Talk is currently fully integrated. If your E-mail mentions an appointment, GMail will offer to add it to your Google Calendar. There has also been some reports of Google Spreadsheets and Docs integrating with GMail recently.

Mute Conversation – Google has added a new mute conversation feature. This is to be used when a conversation seems to be never ending, which often happens when you are on a mailing list or if you’re included in an E-mail with 20+ people on it.

To see more about GMail’s look and features, I recommend checking out this GMail tour.

How do I get a GMail Account? If your looking for a GMail account, you currently need to do one of two things. Your first option is to locate a GMail user and request an invite. I currently have a few invites left, so feel free to contact me if you would like an invite to GMail. Your second option is to use your mobile phone (requires text messaging).

I Have a GMail Account. Anything Else I Need to Know? If you already have GMail, there are some nice services you need to know about:

  • Google Talk – Google’s instant messenging service can be fully integrated with GMail, and can include notifications when new E-mails are received. You can also send and receive files with Google Talk.
  • GMail Notifier – Sits on your desktop and notifies you when a new E-mail is received.
  • GMail for Mobile – Allows you to read and reply to E-mails from your mobile phone.
  • If your a Firefox or Flock user, another advantage of GMail is it can be built into your web browser. Here are some of the extensions you’ll want to choose from:
    • GMail Manager – Builds GMail into your browser and allows you to manage multiple GMail accounts at one time.
    • GMail Skins – Builds additional features into your GMail account, including adjusting the colors, allowing HTML on your outgoing E-mails, etc.
    • E-Mail Notifier Toolbar – Supports GMail, Yahoo, Hotmail, & any custom POP3 account by placing easy access to them in a toolbar.
    • Greasemonkey users may enjoy the following GMail related scripts:

What are the disadvantages of GMail? I really had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find something to put here. Here is what I could find:

  • Doesn’t offer IMAP (only POP3)
  • Can view HTML, but can’t use it on outgoing E-mail (without GMail Skins extension assistance)

You may also want to check out a few of these useful guides: