Speedlinking – 14/10/2006

Just thought it's about time I start sharing some of the useful posts I come across during my week.


Here are a few for the past week: 

Rajesh Setty from Life Beyond Code has written a very good article: 10 things they didn't tell you about blogging. Some of the points he made are simply brilliant, for example this one:

You can't get rich blogging.

Again, there are exceptions. Then, you don't include Las Vegas and Lottery in your growth strategy. Do you?

It did make me laugh. Surely, there is a different "rich" definition for every one of us, but in general he's right. It takes a lot of effort and time to get so good in blogging that it pays you enough to live off it. 

It's easy to start but hard to maintain.

In fact, it is VERY hard to maintain. Since most bloggers are not depending on blogging for their living, it is walking an extra mile almost everyday. Plus, how do you motivate yourself to do something that does not have a short-term return?

Again, a very common problem. You've got to be really passionate about your blog's topic, otherwise you will not be able to stay motivated for long enough to see it gain traffic and your readers start commenting and motivate you to write more. 

A few days later, Rajesh had posted another 10 things they didn't tell you about blogging, sharing some more of his experience with us:

Don't write if you don't have anything to write

You know – writers block affects bloggers too. It is REALLY OK to not post anything if you don't have anything valuable to post. Weak posts bring down the average value of your posts. Why take that risk?

The reason that you write should not be because you have a blog but because you have something valuable to contribute.

I totally agree on this one. I'm constantly struggling with myself over days of quietness on my blogs – whenever I don't have enough time to share an idea or some knowledge in a quality article. At first you feel really compelled to post ANYTHING, because your blogs have to appear dynamic and regularly updated. But when you realize that a weak post will have a much more negative impact than no post at all, you eventually learn to be patient.


Chris Pearson shared his observations after his website had finally got out of the Google Sandbox (congratulations!), and compiled a Graphical Look at the Effects of the Google Sandbox:

It really is amazing how powerful Google is in terms of pushing traffic all over the Web. I have literally been wowed by the rate at which my traffic and other metrics have increased over the last two months, which is basically the time frame in which I crawled out of the Google sandbox.

If you're interested in learning more about Google sandbox and ways to get out of it, I have previously posted an article about it, so please have a look: Simple Ways To Get Out Of Google Sandbox.


And last, but certainly not the least, is Paul Scrivens, explaining to some of us Why Your Web App Sucks with well-known examples. And excellent read with some links to other interesting articles from the same Wisdump site:

The reason it is so hard to make a great web application is because it is so easy to make it suck. The greatest ideas do not always translate into the greatest applications because of poor execution.


That should make 10 minutes of your reading today worthwhile. Enjoy!

Linkbaiting Roundup

Linkbaiting seems to become a hot topic once again. Having enjoyed reading quite a number of really interesting posts on the topic in the last few days, I thought you would benefit from looking through them.


So here it is, the linkbaiting roundup for you: 


This should be enough to get you started, and if you come across another useful article or two, please let me know! In the meantime, I'll probably get busy creating a Blogging Glossary entry for linkbaiting.

Blogger Jobs at ProBlogger

Excellent! I've just read an announcement that Darren Rowse has opened up a new service on his ProBlogger website.

This time, it's a job board service, where you'll be able to offer or find a job in blogging. Knowing how popular ProBlogger is, I have no doubts this board will be a success.

Performancing Exchange Launch

Just got an email from Nick Wilson announcing the official launch of Performancing Exchange – a free classifieds-style marketplace for the professional blogging community.

Performancing Exchange is free for now, and so far it has the following classifieds categories (seeing how dynamic Performancing.com community is, I have no doubt this list will grown):

  • Bloggers for hire
  • Bloggers wanted
  • Blogs for sale
  • Services offered
  • Services wanted
  • Micellaneous

Exchange has its own voting system, so worthy posts would be voted for and brought to the top of the Performancing Exchange homepage. Only logged in Performancing users can vote for the moment.

User profiles have been extended to include your professional skills now – you can specify your primary blog name and URL, and list your professional skills. There is also an option to flag whether you're currently available for hire or not.

I like the whole idea a lot! I believe it has great future, and it's definitely going to be an interesting resource to visit, whether you're looking for a job in blogging or simply want to know what the latest trends are. Not being a very active Performancing community member just yet, I'm still very proud to be a part of it.

Google Analytics is Finally Open

Great news!


Starting yesterday, new users can get an instant registration with Google Analytics service. Previously users had to submit their request and wait for the Google Analytics team to get back to them with an approval of the registration and a special invitation code.

According to the official blog, from now on the Google Analytics service is fully open to the public and you can get started in a matter of minutes.


I'm working on a Google Analytics page in the Blogging Tools section of PerfectBlogger, and I'll be sure to let you all know as soon as I update this page.   

5 Reasons Why AdSense Link Units Work So Well

I've recently discovered link units for myself, and having tried them out on a couple of my blogs, I highly recommend you give them a try. If you still don't know what link units are, please visit this page: https://www.google.com/adsense/adformats.

In fact, now that I look back at the half a year of my AdSense experiments, I don't understand how I could start with something else and not link units – they're so simple to add and integrate into your blog design, yet so effective that they're bound to make any page with a decent content earn you some money!


Imagine yourself as your website visitor 

The reason I never tried link units originally is because I couldn't understand why someone would want to click them. As all the webmasters and usability experts say, you've got to look at your website with the eyes of a visitor. Not only you should do this, but it is also recommended to imagine yourself both a random and a targeted visitor – cause they really are two quite different flows of traffic for your website.

So doing such an analysis and trying out all kinds of visitors in my imagination, I just could not understand why I would like clicking the link units. It would make so much more sense to me to click a text ad which shows you the URL and gives you a short description of the website you're about to get to. So it made no sense to me, and having spent few hours over the course of a week or two thinking about link units, I did eventually give the idea up.

Few months later though, having tried few other AdSense formats, I've decided to give link units another go simply out of interest. I was pretty amazed to see that quite a number of my visitors DID click link units and not only that, but also followed up and clicked some of the links provided by Google when you click on a keyword in a link unit.

Now I believe I've finally figured out why link units work. This is because of the number of factors:


  1. Link units look promising
    Indeed, most of link units look like some kind of a menu. Some websites integrate them so well, that they completely blend in with the rest of menus – so that visitors click link units as easily as they click any other menu item.

    It had been noticed that using a Link Unit closer to the top page makes it look like a menu bar so much that it greatly improves the click rate, while if you were to place the same Link Unit closer to the middle of your page, it may have no impact and attract no clicks at all.

  2. Link units are neat and compact

    Link units are probably the easiest AdSense ads to integrate into your website design. There's quite a number of formats for these units, so make up your mind and start experimenting

  3. Link units deliver results

    Essentially, link units are keywords – the most relevant ones to the current content, according to Google. And clicking on any of these keywords will bring you to more relevant results to click on. Visitors see the keywords and they immediately get an idea of what kinds of links they're going to get when they click link units.

  4. Link units are not overloaded with URL descriptions

    This is probably one of the most important things to understand about AdSense link units. I believe I haven't tried link units before exactly because of this reason. I did not understand why visitors would click on some keywords that they might have an idea about but no exact knowledge of what results they're going to get. But then I had realised that this also serves as an additional attraction – visitors click on link units EXACTLY because they don't know how good or bad results they're going to get. In contrast, when they see a full-scale text ad, they read the description of a link, and they may immediately decide not to follow the link because they don't want to visit a particular site. But with link units, they have to click to get the list of URLs with their descriptions

  5. Link units are different

    When users click link units, they get a page with relevant ads in a form of Google search results. This list of URLs does not look like an ad at all – it's in a form of a list of potentially useful resources which your visitor might find helpful. I believe there's something psychological behind this representation of ads, because users seem to be more willingly clicking such ads compared to how standard AdSense ads perform.


That's all for today. Good luck with your AdSense experiments, and be sure to let me know how you progress!

Challenges Facing Blogs

Darren Rowse at ProBlogger posted a list of Challenges Facing Young and Older Blogs today,  and I just wanted to point you to his post and also add some thoughts of my own.

I think, Disillusionment with a Niche is as big and as serious a problem for new bloggers as it is for older ones.

Recently, I see far too many bloggers starting new blogs in search of a quick passive income opportunity – they misjudge the niche and raise their expectations too high. Not only are they hoping to earn top dollar starting with the day one, but they also expect it to happen almost automatically, assuming they're going to rank high in the niche.

The reality is though, that it takes a fairly long time to establish a reputation and get regular visitors for any project. Even if you're a gifted writer with incredibly interesting and relevant ideas, it might take you few month to get regular traffic, firstly because of the Google indexing delay (your pages are indexed almost instantly, but they usually are not shown in Google search results for a month or two), and secondly is because traffic brings traffic. So if you have major resources pointing to your new project, you'll grow pretty quick.

Of course, the irony is that usually you have to write lots of useful content, earn the trust and respect, and get some initial traffic before any of the major projects out there will notice you and start linking to you :)

ProBlogger: A Very Useful Blog

The more time I spend reading Darren Rowse's ProBlogger blog, the more I realize there's so much learning to be done!

I like ProBlogger a lot. It's one of these resources you know you'll find something useful on, so I sometimes just start reading through a series or a category of posts, and it's incredible how much stuff I've been thinking or worrying about is already explained and covered on ProBlogger's pages!

I can hardly find a blogging-related topic which isn't covered there (although this probably means I'm very new to the blogging and simply have tons of stuff to learn): general blogging tips, SEO, WordPress customization, AdSense – you name it! It's like a book (hey, that's an idea! It'll be a bestseller for sure!).

For some blogs, you enjoy the reading so much that you feel almost scared as you dig deeper and deeper into archives, because you know that someday you're going to reach the bottom of the posts archive, and that will the end. But with Darren's resource it's much better – not only it is a very comprehensive guide, but it's also a very dynamic one, so there is lots of useful and relevant information added daily.

I think I'm a fan of ProBlogger. After all, it is such a pleasure to learn from someone who grew knowledgeable in the field simply by trying all the steps you've already taken plus hunders more which you're only planning to take.

Ever More Videos from Matt Cutts

Apparently, Matt Cutts has just posted 2 more videos with his answers to readers' questions about Google.

So here they are:

SEO answers from Matt Cutts

Matt Cutts has just posted 3 more videos with all kinds of useful information on SEO. 

I strongly suggest you watch them, as it always helps when someone with internal knowledge of a company (Matt works for Google) speaks confidently about things you've always been wondering about.

Video sessions are made in a form of giving answers to questions asked by Matt's readers, and they make a perfect learning material for a blogger of any level.


SEO answers Matt has so far: