Friday, June 24, 2005

More on revenue models

I suppose I could have just posted this in the comments area of the original post. But you know, I don't have to ... and I'd rather get a couple of links to the commenters' -- Mike Linksvayer and I.M. Dedd -- blogs up front where they're more likely to get some clickage goodness.

So, that's taken care of. Now, to the actual comments.

Mike: Your adsense ads are in about the worst possible location according to the adsense heat map ...

Me: Yup. I've messed with the AdSense scripting a bit. For awhile, I had it trying to poke a one-ad unit into the bottom of each post, but it didn't reliably do so. I'd get an ad in one post, and not in another. Never figured out why, but it limited the number of posts I could keep up front, since Google says "three ad units max per page." I may revisit things later and try to figure out a way to more prominently feature the AdSense material.

Then again, I'm honestly happier with BlogAds anyway. The ad content isn't targeted by some algorithm -- people buy BlogAds on my site because they think my readers will dig what they're offering. And with BlogAds, there's a set price, I get that money less the service's commission, and it's done, instead of trying to figure out what the hell Google's formula is for paying (or not paying) me. Even if I keep AdSense, I won't be moving it up above BlogAds any time soon, because there are paid BlogAds showing, and it would be unfair to the people who paid for them to move the BlogAds strip to a less prominent location than they paid for.

AdSense is on probation with me. If I can figure out how to make it work well, and how to make it produce a reliable income stream -- it doesn't have to be a huge income stream, just a reliable one that's worth the trouble and worth making the space for it on my page -- I'll keep it. If not, I won't. I figure I'll know by the end of July whether it stays or goes.

I.M. Dedd: "Adsense and Blogads are going to bring money in based on your current readership, but what are your plans (and any of our plans, for that matter) to increase readership? How do we get this stuff in front of more eyes. More importantly, how to we get our stuff in front of non-blogger eyeballs (i.e., not the B/E and B/C crowd)? That's always my concern."

Me: I get a certain amount of my traffic from exchanges -- especially BlogExplosion -- but I'm trying to make Knappster stand up more and more on its own.

I advertise here and there when it's cheap and looks like it might be effective. I buy banner impressions on sites likely to be read by those whom I think would also like mine, or I buy targeted visitors on the basis of topic. One thing I've noticed, with both advertising and traffic exchanges, is that I tend to get multiple page views from the visitors. That means they like my stuff and want to see more of it, so they're raiding the archive. That's cool ... if I start getting down toward only one page view per reader on average, I know I'm losing my chops and need to get more interesting, fast.

I try to link to other blogs when they have interesting material, and of course take a trackback on those links. Even BlogExplosion is, for me, more of a networking tool than a "click-for-traffic" kind of thing. If you'll recall, it was via BlogExplosion that I happened across Dead Guy. I could have spent 30 seconds on your blog and collected my "half of a visitor." But when I find a blog via BE that is worthwhile, I try to leave a comment, maybe run a link to it. That gets conversations, and links back and forth, going. Last time I looked, Technorati said that something like 111 other blogs that they track link to me. The more links I have, the more traffic I get ... and then it's up to me to be interesting enough to get people to bookmark the blog and come back. It doesn't hurt to get noticed by some of the "mainstream media" outfits. I've been lucky enough to get a few links from non-blogosphere articles. They help. And they're archived, so there's going to be residual traffic, which is cool. [Addendum, added when I realized I had forgotten: When I like a blog at all, I also usually make it a point to click on an ad if they're running any -- hey, they're providing the content for free, it's the least I can do - TLK]

For your site specifically, I have a suggestion: Each week when you do the toon, use one panel out of it as a "teaser link generator." Store that panel on a free media storage site (I use VillagePhotos, and it looks like you do, too, but there are dozens of choices). Store it under the same file name every time, i.e. "deadguyteaser.gif," and replace the image each week. Then ask your readers to stick that image URL in their blog somewhere, linked to your site. That way, you have a single panel of each week's strip showing on a bunch of other blogs, just begging to be clicked on so they can read the whole toon. If you do this, I'll damn well run it in my sidebar. It might cost you a buck or two more in monthly bandwidth, but it should up your traffic considerably.

As far as attracting traffic from outside the blogosphere, make sure your site is search engine optimized. If you aren't familiar with search engine optimization, just punch "search engine optimization" into Google (or, while this post is up on Knappster's front page, take a look at the Google ads -- they'll probably be blazing with links from my use of the phrase).

Anyway, sorry to pontificate so much. I'm working on this stuff myself, and think I'm making some headway. Or maybe not. Time will tell. At least I got those links up there ;-)

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