Thursday, June 21, 2007

Adsense Ready Wordpress Theme

The easiest way to incorporate Adsense into your site is an Adsense Ready Wordpress Theme. The Ultimate List Of Adsense Ready Wordpress Themes lists down 24 such Adsense ready themes.

I decided to use AdsMinded Adsense Theme - Wide Version for my RubyLearning.com blog. The features I liked of this theme were:

  1. High CTR AdSense layout
  2. Search Engine Friendly
  3. Advertisement Sequence
  4. Better Ads Targeting

Warning:

  • There seems to be no activity (blog posts, comments, upgrades related to this theme) by the author of the theme since October 2006.
  • The author does not answer your emails. I sincerely hope he does find time from his busy schedule and replies.
  • One can't post comments on the theme's site as there are some database errors.
  • Even after activating the 6 plugins; they don't work for the wide theme on my site, though it does on the theme's site.
  • The site does not validate for XHTML 1.0
  • Modifying the php files to incorporate your own Adsense and Chitika code is quite cumbersome.
  • You need to edit header.php and add the relevant meta tags.
  • The author requests a link exchange with bloggers using his theme. However, the link exchange link does not work.

In spite of the above mentioned drawbacks, the theme is optimized for Adsense and over the days you should see an increase in your CTR.

I have been able to make all the relevant changes so that the site validates and also incorporate the relevant meta tags, Adsense and Chitika code. If you are interested, I can send you the corrected zip file of this theme. Let me know.


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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

New Adsense Ad?

I was working on adding an opt in list to my Ruby Study Notes Download page, when I saw a New Adsense ad. The ad says - View ads about and then shows a search box below it. This is the first time I have seen such an Adsense ad. Anyone else has had a similar experience? I want to check it out but can't on my own site!

Update: A discussion on this topic at Digital Point says that - A search box instead of adsense links only unit is shown if there is no actual ads for that particular page to display. Adsense unit text + links shows public service ads; unit with links only show this search box. There is no setting in adsense setup to get this to show permanently (not sure anyone would want that though).


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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

5 Google Analytics Metrics I Use

The new Google Analytics (GA) website states that:

GA makes it easy to improve your results online. Write better ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives, and create higher-converting websites. Google Analytics is free to all advertisers, publishers, and site owners.

The current problem with GA is that it's:

  • 'too big a beast',
  • there is 'data overload' (who needs so much information, apart from the ones who actively use AdWords?) and
  • there are no user-friendly, online tutorials on GA.

It's only recently that I have started making use of GA. Nevertheless, here are the 5 Google Analytics Metrics I Use.

Take note For all the metrics mentioned below, login to your GA account and select the View Reports - New Beta for your site. On the Dashboard, select the date range you want (I made changes to my site RubyLearning.com - the site teaches Ruby programming language - around 1st May 2007 and therefore the data I am using here is from 1st May to 31st May 2007). For Analysis, I am also using Pareto's Law of 80:20 (The Pareto law, in its generalized form, states that 80% of the objectives - or more generally the effects - are achieved with 20% of the means).

  1. New or Old Visitors: In the left navigation panel, click on Visitors and then on New vs Returning. The reports shows that 75% of my visitors are new and 25% are returning. For new visitors maybe adding a mailing list / newsletter sign up is important. Now click on New Visitor below the graph on the Dashboard. It shows me a Bounce Rate of 68% and Avg. Time on Site of 00:2:21 which is pretty decent. Bounce Rate means that a visitor comes to my site, views that particular page and leaves without looking around at other pages. Also a good Avg. Time on Site means that the visitor is spending more time on your page.
  2. Visitors' Language Preferences: In the left navigation panel, click on Visitors and then on Languages. The report says that 12,038 visits used 68 languages. Using Pareto's law I find that the top 20% visits used English, but French and German also figures high in the list. Knowing which languages your site visitors prefer to speak and read can dramatically increase customer satisfaction and increase return visits. Maybe, I should translate my site into French and German OR maybe just have a separate landing page tailored to these specific languages? Food for thought!
  3. Where do my Visitors Live?: In the left navigation panel, click on Visitors. The Visitors Overview graph you get a trend of the Visitors to the site but you can also get all your key metrics in one "page view". Now click on Map Overlay. For me it shows that 12,038 visits came from 6 continents and that from Americas there were 5,525 visitors. I can drill down from Continents to Regions to Countries to States to Cities. How could I use this information? Below each graph there is a Segment option. You could choose what you want to analyze from the Segment drop-down. The possibilities are endless.
  4. Screen Resolution: In the left navigation panel, click on Visitors. Under the Visitors Overview graph and under Visitor Segmentation, click on screen resolutions. For me it says that 80% of my visitors used 1024x768, 1280x1024 and 1280x800 screen resolution. Check whether your site/blog looks okay in all these resolutions. Maybe you need to change your site to a fluid layout?
  5. Source of Traffic: In the left navigation panel, click on Traffic Sources. Check out your top traffic sources.

Closing thought: I have barely scratched the surface of GA and there are many other metrics (metrics like Keywords, Browsers, Landing pages to name a few) that I need to monitor. As I get familiar with GA, I would list down some more metrics one should use. If any of you use any other metrics, I would appreciate if you would comment here about that particular metric(s) and why they are useful to you.

Take note For those who are seriously interested in using Google Analytics you can purchase Avinash Kaushik's book - Web Analytics An Hour A Day. Kaushik wrote to me saying that the pdf version of this book would be available by end July 2007.

Resources:


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Monday, June 18, 2007

Adsense Blogs I Read

What's Adsense?

Google AdSense matches ads to your site's content, and you earn money whenever your visitors click on them.

Why read Adsense Blogs?

As mentioned earlier, the purpose of using Adsense is to earn money and obviously the reason for reading someone else's Adsense Blogs is to gather tips and knowledge on how to earn more with Adsense!.

My List

  1. Inside Adsense - The official Adsense blog from Google. A must read.
  2. ProBlogger - AdSense Tips for Bloggers. Darren Rowse the guy behind ProBlogger is a legend and writes on many subjects related to blogging. Again, a must read.
  3. Make Easy Money with Google and Adsense - Eric Giguere's blog that discusses AdSense and other Contextual Advertising Systems. A must read.
  4. Quick Online Tips - Again a good read with invaluable tips on Adsense.
  5. JenSense - Jennifer Slegg's blog gives a good insight into Adsense.
  6. UTheGuru.com - Subscribe to it in your blog reader (I use Bloglines). Does give some tips or the other wrt Adsense.

Please do post a comment wrt the Adsense Blogs you read and why?



Update: Some readers have emailed me some URL's related to Adsense. However, these blogs/sites have not been reviewed and most of them are writing about various other topics, Adsense being one of them. Have a look:

And while you are making your moolah, it's good to have a laugh once in a while!

Probably the Hardest Way to Make Money Online


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Increasing Google Page Rank

I have been busy building and promoting my RubyLearning website that helps beginners in programming, learn the Ruby programming language.

Recently, I have been using HitTail the only product that reveals in real time which keywords people use to find your website. When acted on, they can increase the natural search traffic to your website. Using HitTail I have also been monitoring my incoming links from 'Social Bookmarking' sites and I find that from a Developer's perspective, DZone, del.icio.us and StumbleUpon (in that order) are the best to use along with Search engine optimization to make a website visible.

If people like your site or blog post and bookmark it on these sites, with time, your Google Page Rank will also increase.

What has been your experience? I'd definitely like to hear.


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Sunday, June 17, 2007

PhpLD and the importance of Directory Submissions

Backlinks play a very important role in determining your ranking position on Google, Yahoo and MSN. Obtaining quality inbounds link will influence your search engine rank immensely. One of the most used ways to obtain back links is to submit your link to web directories. Online directories exist for the sole purpose of providing quality links to web users to various sites categorized under relevant categories. "Directory submission" is a Search engine optimization strategy that no website owner should ignore.

The most widely used directory script is phpLD with over 20,000 directories; the script was produced to be able to work in nearly all PHP hosting environments. One of the most important advantages of phpLD is the number of pre-made templates and mods available. There are hundreds of sites devoted to PhpLD mods and templates. In addition to the official PhpLd website, you can find lots of helpful information elsewhere too. Also the Phpld community is available to help new webmasters. There is also a very active support forum where people are able to get help, discuss features, request mods, or release mods.

So if you have a site or a blog, it will definitely help you to submit your site/blog to such directories.

Here is a list of directories running the Php link directory Script:

http://www.agoradirectory.net
http://www.alphadirectory.net
http://www.alphalinks.info
http://www.awesome-directory.com
http://www.big-directory.net
http://www.boostdirectory.org
http://www.cutewebsites.info
http://www.deepodirectory.com
http://www.digitaldirectory.biz
http://www.directoripedia.com
http://www.directoryengine.net
http://www.directoryforce.net
http://www.directoryvalley.com
http://www.domainsdirectory.org
http://www.elegant-links.com
http://www.webodirectory.net
http://www.eliradirectory.com
http://www.findbestsites.info
http://www.globatdirectory.com
http://www.hotdirectory.biz
http://www.indexpedia.net
http://www.jojodirectory.com
http://www.jubblo.com
http://www.linkspimp.net
http://www.luxdirectory.net
http://www.massivedirectory.net
http://www.masterdirectory.org
http://www.maxidirectory.net
http://www.maxilinks.net
http://www.maxiwebsites.com
http://www.originaldirectory.org
http://www.pimpodirectory.com
http://www.preniumdirectory.com
http://www.pro-directory.net
http://www.promodirectory.net
http://www.qualitydirectory.net
http://www.seek-directory.com
http://www.seekdirectory.biz
http://www.seeko-directory.com
http://www.seekona.com
http://www.silverdirectory.net
http://www.spiderdirectory.net
http://www.vikiz.com
http://www.webo-directory.com
http://www.websitescentral.org
http://www.webworlddirectory.net
http://www.wihoha.com
http://www.wikidirectory.info
http://www.VictoryDirectory.com
http://www.Immensedirectory.com
http://www.PowDirectory.com
http://www.Robustdirectory.com
http://www.Gorgeousdirectory.com
http://www.Famous-directory.com
http://www.Giganticdirectory.com
http://www.Modern-directory.com
http://www.Orange-directory.com
http://www.Triumph-directory.com

This post has been made by a Guest Blogger.


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Friday, June 01, 2007

Increase Adsense CTR with Background Images

Adsense publishers are always looking at ways to increase their Page CTR (CTR stands for 'click through rate'. It's expressed as a percentage of the page impressions that resulted in somebody clicking one of the AdSense ads. So, for example, if you had 1,000 page impressions, and those 1,000 page impressions resulted in 100 clicks on the ads, that is a 10% Page CTR) and their income from Adsense. To this end, I purchased for US$ 7 some Adsense Background Images from Adsense Background Images Store Front. The vendor states:

  • AdSense background images are the hottest new way to boost your AdSense CTR, and
  • Although many believe that it violates the AdSense TOS they are dead wrong. It has been confirmed by Google to be completely safe and compliant with the AdSense TOS. The only pictures they said would violate this is ones that point to the ads or ask for them to be clicked. You will not find any of that trash here though so don't worry.

The code for inserting a background image for your Adsense ads is quite simple. The vendor's code used tables but I changed that to divs. Also, I did not change any of the Adsense ad code. I put up the ads using three of the vendor's background images as seen here, here and here and yes I did see a 300% increase in my CTR and earnings during the period the images were up. I had also written to Adsense support asking them whether these images were okay. Here's Google's response:

The background images used on your site would be considered a violation of our program policies because it could draw unnatural attention to your ads. Publishers are not permitted to encourage users to click on Google ads or bring excessive attention to ad units. For example, you may not use symbols or misleading images that direct attention to the ads on their sites. We ask that you please restore the ads to their intended settings.

We ask that publishers copy and display the ad code exactly as it appears in the 'Your AdSense code' box of your AdSense account without any modifications. Please keep in mind that modifying the ad code or drawing unnatural attention to the ads are against our program policies.

Incidentally, you can also get the Adsense background images from adClustr for free. adClustr also mention that their images are approved by Google. I did use one of their images a post-it note (I checked for the image today and it's no longer available on their site?) and asked for Google's approval. Here's their response:

The rule of thumb is that any image which intentionally or unintentionally draws unnatural attention to your Google ads is probably a policy infringement.

This includes placing ads on shapes like post-it notes, or placing background images behind the ads. Please note that your ads should appear exactly as they look in your account, without any modifications.

One good thing about Adsense support is that no matter how many times you write to them on the same point, they will definitely answer your queries! I now pointed out to Google about a post-it note ad and usage of background images on Karen Cheng's site. Again, here's Google's response:

This background image (post-it) seems OK because the webmaster has clearly separated her ads from the primary content of her page, and it is obvious that they are ads. To be more clear, it all depends on the implementation. User clicks should result from genuine interest in the ads rather than deceptive implementation.

As mentioned above, background images are sometimes OK depending on the implementation. Some background images are deceptive in the way they are designed. Others are not as deceptive, but the placement on the page might trick users into clicking on them.

Finally, can we use Adsense background images?

Here's Google's answer - "Background images are fine so long as the ads are clearly portrayed as ads, and clearly distinguished from the content."


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