Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - Good Content Brings Good Backlinks

I recently wrote about the benefits (and necessity) of having good content on your site. A good follow-up for the interested would be to read this bit on Using Google's Love Affair with Quality Content to Garner Links. Enjoy.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Everybody Loves to Search!

Every once in a while, a break-through study will come out and tell the world something new and interesting. The Pew Internet & American Life Project Report: Search engine use is not one of those studies.

Instead of something cool, this study reports the fact that more people are searching online. It also notes that "search" is now the second most popular "activity" online, coming in after "email". In fact, the release states that "the use of search engines is edging up on email as a primary internet activity on any given day".

This strikes me as odd, since "searching" isn't really the same sort of "activity" as email. Email is an end, while search is more of a means to an end. When someone searches it is only because they are trying to do one of the real most popular internet activities which are:

#1 - Look at stuff (words, pictures, movies)
#2 - Click on stuff (mostly links)
#3 - Type stuff (forms, blogs, etc)

While some may dabble in the area of recreational search, I seriously doubt that such an activity is becoming mainstream (though I did show my wife the Google Snake game recently).

In other news, close monitoring of my online behavior indicates that the use of sarcasm is likely to increase on this blog by about 14-18% in the next 3-6 months.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Fame, Fortune and Good Content

In the world of internet marketing, and especially SEO, the words 'good content' often come up. They usually appear in a sentence like "the secret to attracting and keeping visitors is good content (and lots of it)." Sound familiar? Of course it does (and if it doesn’t, it should. What have you been doing anyway?).

The problem with 'good content' is that it can be difficult to produce. In fact, I would be willing to say that if it was not at least a little bit difficult, it is probably not very good content (a fine example of this is reality TV). Now, writing is currently the standard way to produce most of the 'content' we see on the web, but not everyone is a gifted writer. In fact, most of us aren't. However, that does not stop us from wanting to make an absurd amount of money online.

So what can you, the non-gifted-writer, do to solve this problem?

I have some suggestions:

A. Learn to write better. Though time consuming, this can pay dividends in the long run. Sometimes a little practice and proofreading can go a long way (and a spellchecker). If that’s not going to cut it, you might consider some kind of writing course or book or something (or just read things that you find interesting and then think about what it was that made you like it).

B. Get a partner who can write well and make them do the writing. Sharing the workload in this manner means that you will not only get better content for your site, but you will also do less work. The drawback here is that your partner may want a share of your earnings.

C. Pay someone to write for you. To find that sort of talent you might try or Both are good resources for this sort of thing. This will definitely cost money, so be prepared for that.

D. Skip the writing thing and make some other type of content. If you have a nice, soothing voice you might consider podcasting. If you are not a weird looking geek, video may be an option for you. And we must not forget that there is always the Flash Cartoon option.

As you can see, there is plenty of hope for the non-gifted-writer. Your dreams of internet wealth should not be dashed; Good content is within your reach. If you have any other suggestions that do not involve spam, feel free to post them here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

GOOG Gives Good Gifts

Google Analytics. It used to be Urchin and it was expensive and very cool. As of Monday it's still one of the best analytics tools that a webmaster could have, but now it's free. Yeah. Free.

Google Base. In case you weren't aware, Google Base allows you to submit your "information" directly to Google to be stored in their database (which means it could be listed in the main index or Froogle or wherever). By the way, "information" means pretty much anything from a recipe to a classified ad. If the category you want isn't there already, you can make your own.

Fun stuff.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Podcasting for Fun and Profit

So, podcasting is growing in popularity. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s mainstream, but it just might get there someday soon. That seems more and more likely with companies like Apple and Yahoo rolling out support for the whole thing. Of course, Apple really didn’t have much choice since the ‘pod’ part is pretty much their fault (and I’m sure they’re quite pleased about that).

Despite their popularity, it seems like not very many people have been able to make podcasting into a profitable endeavor. That’s partly due to the fact that advertisers can’t accurately track listenership. Of course, downloads are trackable, so I’m not entirely certain why that’s such a big deal (and that’s a topic for another day).

I mean, let’s say 5,000 people download your podcast. If 80% actually listen to it then you’ve reached 4,000 people. That’s worth paying for isn’t it? And since people pick and choose the podcasts that they want to listen to, I think it’s safe to assume that 80% is a conservative estimate (especially if you ad comes within the first ten seconds of the podcast and is very brief).

With that in mind, there’s a site called Fruitcast which was founded on that concept. I haven’t used it yet, since I don’t have a podcast (currently), but it really got my attention. Through Fruitcast, podcasters can sign up to receive ads and advertisers can sign up to place them. Ads are billed per download with advertisers bidding for placement (bids start at $0.10 per download). Each 10-15 second blurb is, apparently, automatically added to the front and or end of the podcast mp3.

If this thing works out, some podcasters could make this into a profitable hobby. If this thing really takes off, it could make a few lucky podcasters rich. Just think: Your podcast is really popular and 50,000 people download it every week. Advertisers get wind of it and you end up getting $1.00 per download. That’s $200,000 a month. Of course, it’s more likely that you’ll get 500 downloads a month at $.10 a piece. $50 won’t buy a yacht, but it might pay for your hosting (and that’s always nice).

Anyway, if people like to listen to you and you have something interesting to say, maybe you should check into this. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, Fruitcast has some good information and resources on the topic.