Monday, October 27, 2008

A little business

Actually, that's commonly pronounced "bidness" here in beautiful Arkansas.

"I started my own bidness last year, so now I am a bidnessman," someone might say.

"School was rough today," you might hear a child say. "Man, the other kids were really giving me the bidness!"

Enough of that. Every now and again, it's important to take care of a little housecleaning here at The Natural State Hawg. So, I'll do that now. Don't worry -- it should be relatively painless and there's even an audience participation part of this post, so stay tuned.

The Super Blogger Award!

Theresa over at A Bumpy Path was handing out awards, and I couldn't resist the urge up one of the little darlings. So, I'm now the proud owner of the Super Blogger award. To be honest, Theresa's instructions on this award are fairly vague -- "If you're a regular visitor, help yourself."

So, I have helped myself to this award and I'm inviting all you regular readers (you know who you are) to do the same. I like that method of giving out awards as there are more than a few of them out there that have a lot of strings attached.

That's fine with me, of course, but I always appreciate a no-hassle award, and that's exactly what The Super Blogger award is. We have approached an award on another blog in which I'm heavily involved, The All Arkie Army, the same way. Handing someone an award and saying "good job" is a wonderful thing -- it's a sincere honor.

By the way, Theresa is one of the nicest bloggers out there. She is a member of the All Arkie Army and is one of those people who gave me a lot of encouragement, advice and technical tips when I started blogging about three months ago. Check out her blogs if you haven't already done so -- she runs A Bumpy Path and Eyebald.

Paid posts?

Now, here's the audience participation part I mentioned earlier. I've been thinking about writing more paid posts, something I haven't done just a whole lot of in the past. Why? I spend a hell of a lot of time writing for and promoting this blog and the aforementioned All Arkie Army. It would be nice to make a little cash here and there.

Initially, I thought some passive advertising was the way to go, but Google AdSense simply isn't getting the job done. I mention Google AdSense because that's the only service that has actually made me any money (the rest of them have been duds).

Here's the breakdown on how rotten that service has been. I started running AdSense three months ago and, during that time, have recorded 40,899 page impressions (those ads have popped up on my blogs that many times), yet have only gotten 207 clicks. To date, then, I have made $79.49 -- I haven't even hit that $100 mark yet and I can't cash out until I do.

And, that's the most lucrative service I've tried. Here's the problem -- no one wants to click on the AdSense ads. I can't say I blame them. I rarely click on them, either, unless I'm dealing with a blogger that I really like and that individual has put up a fantastic post (kind of like a tip, see). Usually, however, I just ignore those ads and I'm sure that is what's happening on my blog.

So, my question to you good people is this -- does it seem cheap and mercenary to get more paid posts? Would that discourage people from visiting my blog? Are there better alternatives to making a little cash here and there than paid posts?

I'd love to hear some honest responses to those questions. I get a lot of traffic over here and I'd like that to continue. People stop in and comment and that makes blogging worthwhile.

A sort of apology to Entrecard visitors

If you want more traffic and don't have an Entrecard account, click right here and get one. Don't ask questions. Just do it. The amount of traffic you'll get will amaze you.

One thing about Entrecard is that you can only drop cards on 300 blogs per day. I've been passing 300 visitors through Entrecard lately, so I've not been able to reciprocate on some blogs. I do apologize for that. I've been a reciprocal dropper since I started at Entrecard, but the site has worked so well for me that I've not been able to return visits as often as I'd like.

If I don't pay your blog a visit, then, it's not because I don't like your blog -- I simply can't keep up with everyone right now.

Digg kind of sucks

I'm going to scale back on my participation in Digg as the site requires a lot of work for very little reward. These days, I get about 100 shouts from people wanting me to Digg their stuff. In return, I get about 20 to 30 Diggs (on a good day!) on my articles.

I'd rather use Entrecard for social marketing. It seems to work much better. If you put in some time on Entrecard, you will be rewarded with a lot of traffic. That's pretty well guaranteed.

I am impressed with Reddit, however. Danny over at the Mortgage and More Blog was kind enough to submit this post of mine to Reddit earlier tonight and I got about 90 visitors in around 3 hours. That's phenomenal and it beats the hell out of anything I've ever gotten through Digg. Maybe I should start spending some time over at Reddit.

Over the past couple of days, I've learned that writing about popular topics will absolutely drive search engine traffic to your blog. Over that All Arkie Army, I submitted this post about the tragic death of Anne Pressly, a morning anchor at KATV in Little Rock (you can read about the whole sordid mess by clicking right here and heading to the CNN story about it).

I should point out that I wrote my little blurb simply because Pressly was a very good person who fell victim to the raging crime problem in Little Rock. I didn't go searching for keywords that would drive traffic to the All Arkie Army -- I figured there were enough things floating around on the Internet about Pressly that my little post would get lost in the shuffle, in fact. However, that post did hit the search engines and the Army received a ton of traffic.

That probably won't happen very often as I ramble on about all kinds of random junk and not much of it is exactly popular. Regardless, I was schooled in what some good key words can do for you.

That's all, folks!


Theresa said...

Hawg, thank you for your kind words! I'm glad you picked up the Super Blogger award, because you are one, and got there in such a short time!

On the paid posts, I would say to research it well before you decide. (I've heard that it kills your page ranking.)

I got a lot of hits from writing about our loss of Pressley - quite a bitter/sweet result from paying tribute.

Blog on Super Blogger! Yeah!

crazy working mom said...

Congrats on the award!

As for paid posts, my take on it is that as long as there is quality posts (like you have now) in between, most people will just scroll through them anyhow! I do not do adsense. I've never heard anything good about them. But, I do PayU2blog. They give you a few key words a week to throw in a post. Usually it pays $5 a post. You won't get rich, but it's easy. There's also PayPerPost. You have to fight for your ads there, though but you can make serious money. It just depends on how much time and space you want to devote to advertising.

Have a great week!

lala said...

I don't have a problem with paid posts. Many folks use them sparingly and I think that is the key. But yes, it is supposed to kill your page rank.

By the way, I have been stopping by the All Arkie Army and having a look around. Hopefully, maybe, I can even contribute some stuff of my own soon.

GumbyTheCat said...

If page rank doesn't matter to you I say go for it. The only blogs that do that that irritate me are the blogs that do nothing BUT paid posts... You however do much more than that and I'm sure your regular readers won't care at all.

Danny Thornton said...

Hey, thanks for the kind mention. I have stumbled and did Reddit on this one, let me know how it does for you.

Da Old Man said...

I'm with you 100%. Digg is a waste of time. I automatically delete all Digg requests except for those of a few friends (basically you and some sports blogger buddy and Doc Nicole)
Entrecard seems to be the way to go. I tend to read too much to ever hit 300 in a day, but I'm getting around 200. I do need to look into Reddit. Stumble is crazy. I've had 350 hits in an hour, then gone days with nothing.
As far as clicks, etc. I do try to look around and click if I see something interesting when I'm on a friend's blog. Got to be fair to the advertisers, too.
I don't know if it matters, or even if it's true, but I've heard pay per post affects your page rank.
BTW, that is a lot of page impressions in a short time. Couldn't you almost get a regular banner ad for that? You sure offer a lot of exposure.

Bonnie said...

Congrats on your new award.

Like others Payperpost can kill your page ranking. I do them along with PU2B. I really like the last one since it's very easy and you can write the post about anything but just throw in that link and it's only 60 word posts.

I have never made it a secret that my blogs are to a way for me to make some extra cash. I also really enjoy writing them. I think if you keep up the good posts then the readers won't mind. I also have gotten paid by people for putting up their links in text form. That's another way you could make some cash or put up 125 banners. You could charge $5-10 for a 30 day spot.

I make about $200-300/mo doing the posts. I haven't been doing as many lately but I still made over $200 for this month. My best month was in August where I made well over $300. Good luck.

marly said...

was here checking and reading posts. have a nice day.
in paid posts, i think some paid to blog sites looks at traffic.

JD at I Do Things said...

I definitely agree about Entrecard. Other than StumbleUpon, it's been my best source of traffic -- WELL worth the trouble, although I rarely drop 300 in a day. Plus it's fun! Who doesn't love to click on the little yellow "drop" bar? I've discovered lots of great blogs thru EC, too. Including this one!

JD at I Do Things

The Natural State Hawg said...

Theresa -- Ah, thanks for the endorsement. And I meant every one of those kind words -- you've helped me out a lot, and I appreciate it.

I wonder about that "kills your page ranking" thing -- I'm not going to mess with Pay Per Post, so I'm not going to have their blasted java script stinking up my blog.

How would anyone know?

Crazy Working Mom -- Ah, you flatterer! I tend to think of my posts as being a bit on the ranty side at times, so I'm glad to run into people who don't agree.

PayU2Blog is sounding pretty good. I have no interest in Pay Per Post as I don't like the fact they want me to drop in java script on my page.

Lala -- Thanks for the input and you do need to contribute something over there!

As I recall, you had that dandy Hog "yard gnome" thingie...

Gumby -- Thanks for the input, and I would use those sparingly. No more than, say, 30 a day.

Nah. I kid.

Danny -- Thanks for that and it has been working pretty well today. I'm liking Reddit more and more...

Da Old Man -- Good point, but I don't know how to go about selling banner ads and such. With an Alexa rank of under 90,000 and a PR of 3, that might be a possibility. I'll let it grow a few more months and see what happens.

Bonnie -- That PU2B is sounding better and better...

Marly -- Thanks for stopping in! As for traffic, I suppose I'll see how much they do look at traffic...

JD -- I concur. I found your blog through Entrecard. I still say you've got the best theme on the planet.

Momstart said...

that is amazing that you get so many from ec. i find that difficult. what about tag

and i do about one paid post a week.

Rebecca said...

Congratulations on your awards. You're getting quite a collection.

I do paid posts. I make enough money to feed my family of six. I work very hard and have alot of contacts, though. I really try to make the posts interesting, and fun, like SuperBowl ads or something. Ads can be entertaining. It does destroy your page rank when the Great and Mighty Goog finds out. But you can still make money here and there.

Rebecca said...

P.S. Yeah, Google AdSense is a JOKE! I'd heard that Great and Mighty Goog is thinking of starting up their own affiliate ad system. Some say this is why they are killing pagerank, because they don't want the competititon. Don't know if any of that's true, it's just what I'd heard in some SEO discussions.

All the best!

Toni said...

Yea, not a fan of adsense.

payu2blog is good. The one thing is you have to do all the assignments they give you.

As for other paid post. I find that people just look over them if they are not interested in them...

Of course for me the kicker with PPP is that I finally got a pagerank of 3 so I was getting a lot of post and making some decent money for a stay at home mom, but maybe because I was doing so many paid post my page rank got knocked down to 0. Now, there aren't really any post out there for me.

Anyway, if you actually read through that mess and got to this part - good luck with whatever you decide and congrats on your award!!

Toni said...

Okay, I really should have read your other comments and your reply to them before I posted that before!!!

ImitationAngel said...

I don't know about the page rank rumors but I say go for the paid posts. If it's helping you to bring in extra cash do it. I'm sure people wouldn't mind.

Anonymous said...

As for paid post, be ready to give up your Google PR Rank. As soon as they find out, they will call it breach of contract. They don't like it very much, but then again, it depends on if you want to make more money or not.

Ms. O. D. said...

Congrats on the award! I agree digg kind of sucks, haven't tried reddit yet. The mixx is okay.