Necessary evil

January 24, 2013 at 6:19 am | Posted in social media | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Google Evil

Google’s informal (infernal?) motto is ‘Don’t be evil’. Opinions vary as to how well they’re doing.

Though this benevolent dictator has deemed me terminally evil for one purpose (AdSense), I’ve lately found I’m not too evil for another (AdWords).

Like Dante, therefore, I’m qualified to give some morality tips.

Google AdSense comprises ads you permit on your blog or website. When a visitor clicks one, you get a tiny commission. LOTS of clicking makes you modest money.

I was so entranced by this passive income concept, I exhorted friends and family to click themselves numb on the ads assigned to my Surreal Short Stories blog.

This was unwise. It was also prohibited by the Google rules I didn’t read in my excitement.

Revenge was swift and total.

Just as I reached Google’s US$50 revenue payment threshold, my account was cancelled.

For life.

My subsequent confession, apology, blog rework and entreaties for Google mercy came to naught. I was officially evil.

No more would my three years of blog content generate AdSense loot.

Fair enough too! Each time someone from my mob had clicked an ad to glean me a cent or two, some poor AdWords punter had to pay up to several hundred times that amount for the faux visit.

I was most surprised, therefore, when Google approved my AdWords account (and stopped addressing me as Paul ‘Significant Risk’ Hassing in their emails).

AdWords are phrases you ‘bid’ for to make your ad/URL appear prominently in Google searches.

Keen to galvanise sales of my job ad writing ebook, I set bids of up to $1.24 for ‘job ad’, ‘perfect job ad’, ‘can’t find good people’, ‘attract and retain staff’ and many more.

Within an hour, my Google account was reeling from deductions that would take decades of AdSense action to recover.

I paused the campaign to learn that my words were too generic and my bids too high.

I’m now working my way very carefully though the help system and running a very very timid campaign.

I’ve had clicks, but no sales.

I plan to report further findings in a later post.

For now, if you plan to sortie in Google Land, ALWAYS read the instructions.

And if you’ve already been deemed evil, don’t despair.

With Google, it’s better the devil you know!

😐

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

Advertisements

20 Blog tips

November 13, 2012 at 7:19 am | Posted in social media | 3 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Collect the whole set!

Each day I give a blog tip on Twitter.

These have been very well received, as evidenced by many kind comments and retweets.

Now, in true blogging style, I’m folding my first 20 tips into this post.

Repurposing content is smart and fun.

It’s also dead easy.

I haven’t even had breakfast!

Readers who’ve seen a few of my tweets can now view Volume One of the boxed set:

  1. Answer EVERY polite comment swiftly, personally, comprehensively & gratefully.
  2. Collectively, readers know infinitely more than you. Be humble & learn from them.
  3. Most readers prefer external links in separate screens. Don’t ‘boot’ people from the post they’re reading.
  4. External links to further reading show you value readers’ brains, not eyeballs. They’ll reward you by returning.
  5. A post without a pic is like a day without sunshine. Add a caption to tempt weary readers into your tale.
  6. As people are online at different times & days, it’s OK to tweet a post several times. Just don’t do it verbatim.
  7. The more you woo search engines, the less human your words become. Put readers FIRST.
  8. Tired eyes & tiny attention spans demand pithy content. Keep your words, sentences & paragraphs SHORT.
  9. If a sentence is too complicated or long, riddle it with bullets.
  10. My recipe. Topic. True story. Broader context. Further reading. Conclusions. Questions. Comments. Debate. Fun!
  11. A commenter debate can expand your post 5-50 times. More important than the words is the wisdom they contain.
  12. The more of yourself you put in your posts, the more your readers reward you in kind.
  13. If you know your topic, your post will sing. If not, ask your readers, & your debate will sing.
  14. One of the best compliments a reader can give is: ‘You made me laugh out loud!’
  15. If your story is long, do a trilogy of posts over several days. Many readers enjoy serialisation & suspense.
  16. If your loved ones don’t mind featuring, they can become popular characters in your long-term narrative.
  17. Posting at the same time/s each week helps readers find you, get to know you & stick with you.
  18. In the long run, posts ranging from 300 to 600 words are more interesting than 450 words every single time.
  19. For every 100 readers, only 1 will comment. Entice just 1 more person to play & you double your debates.
  20. If you link your post topics to current affairs, more readers will feel confident to comment.

Even better, I have another 20 tips ready to roll.

So next time I’m tired or uninspired, I’ve got a simple path to a high-value blog post.

This is much better than bashing your brain or publishing crud.

I hope you like these blog tips and would LOVE to add yours.

🙂

17 Blog improvement ideas

January 9, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Posted in social media | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Small changes can make a BIG difference. Photo by rwpeary.

A while ago I was asked to critique a blog. While many of my suggestions were client specific, there were some I thought you might find useful.

This list shows the sort of feedback I can give on your blog.

  1. Changing/rotating banner pics are a nice touch. A small explanatory caption for each would be even better. Especially for first-time visitors.
  2. Once you delve into older posts, it can take time to get back to the start. It’d be nice if clicking the banner pic returned readers to the home page.
  3. Captions on post images would satisfy scanning readers, intrigue deeper readers and generally draw more people into each post.
  4. An avatar (profile) pic of unusual dimensions makes it hard to use in other social media applications (which will crop it).
  5. Clicking your avatar should lead to your bio.
  6. Inconsistent capitalisation may distract some readers from your message.
  7. Responding swiftly to comments can elicit others and build readership and community.
  8. Clicking the post photos makes them much bigger than expected (or needed). This could disadvantage readers with slower internet connections.
  9. Given this blog’s many components, a three-column design like this could work better than a two-column design.
  10. ‘Rollover’ comments (which appear when you put your cursor over a link – see my blogroll on the right of this page) let you know what you’re getting into before clicking through. Some people prefer this.
  11. Are you on Twitter? I couldn’t find a way to follow you. How do you announce new posts to the world?
  12. One post had two hyperlinks. One was embedded, the other wasn’t. The former is neater and should be used consistently.
  13. One photo acknowledgement took two lines, where one would suffice.
  14. Abbreviations (it’s, we’re, don’t) would make the tone friendlier (and the writing shorter and easier to read).
  15. Many of the photos are so beautiful, it’s a shame to have them so small. Putting them above the text would solve this problem.
  16. Some posts contain many passive constructions. The active voice is shorter and more ‘up’.
  17. Bullets are great. If you can left align them, they’ll remain distinct without looking cramped or consuming too much white space.

Was any of that useful? You can probably see I’m bringing my copywriting expertise to bear on the content.

And why not? Blogs are just another vehicle for interesting, relevant messages expressed in perfect English.

Did you want anything explained more fully? Just leave a comment; I’d love to hear from you! 🙂


Entries and comments feeds.