What is YOUR blog worth?

Darren Rowse of ProBlogger is getting inundated with the news of the 1 Man Blog Sells for $15 Million Dollars

The question at the back of EVERY blogger’s mind when they hear news of a blog sale is, “I wonder how much MY blog would bring?”

For John Wu, the sole author of Bankaholic the answer is a cool $15 Million.

Darren reports:

the blog has an Alexa ranking of 42,168 and averages less than 20 comments per post. The blog does seem to rank very well for a lot of bank terms and I’m sure drives targetted traffic.

That’s the key – TARGETED TRAFFIC.  The blog buyer is Bankrate, which is acting very much like Google in this acquisition.  It’s the old,  “let someone ELSE do the hard work” and then the big guy with deep pockets sweeps in to collect.    John Wu got to perform the hard work – building up the blog over a period of 26 months.  He did the digging and Bankrate gets the gold and John’s labor is being WELL rewarded with a ROI of $576,923 per month for his efforts.

However, I think it’s important to remember that he didn’t launch this blog with this payday in mind. Instead he set out to create a tightly targeted blog focusing on attractive and tightly targeted keywords.  Now a big player wants his blog and is paying handsomely for John’s hard work.  Congratulations John.

Oh, and in a medium where community is everything, this blog is a bit light on that aspect.  Blog posts don’t get a lot of comments, but the blog delivers where it counts and that’s on desirable keywords and targeted traffic!

Oh, and for what it’s worth – Bankaholic is a WordPress blog.

Working in a No Trust Zone

We’re living in an age that is quickly becoming a “No Trust” zone. If you do business on the web, you should be especially concerned by antics occurring on the national stage which are serving to erode trust.

My family, like many others, has Olympic fever. However, you don’t have to be following the games to watch the degradation of trust that is occurring on the international stage.

I’ve written before about the importance of transparency in the world of Web 2.0. The law of transparency applies to every entity whether it’s a business, a country or an individual.

Building trustWeb 2.0 can be great when you’re authentically providing valuable goods, services and information. On the other hand, it can be your worst enemy when you’ve got something to hide.

Trust is hard to earn and easy to lose, especially in these days of Web 2.0 which could be called the “No Trust” Zone.   When trust is abused, it scars us and makes us less vulnerable and less willing to trust.

The problem is, when you’re doing business via the web, you’ve got a HUGE obstacle to overcome in that often you don’t meet your customers and clients face to face. For the throng of people who may visit your website, they have to TRUST that you are who you say you are. They have to TRUST that you can do what you say you can do.

Recently, as I was corresponding with my editor, the issue of trust came up. This is not the same editor I used to edit my book Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results, so this new editor hasn’t had the opportunity to earn my undying trust. He made an innocent comment which, little did he know, set off a multitude of alarms for me.

Fortunately, I was able to communicate with him WHY his comment had set me off. Last year, I hired a virtual assistant. I had spoken with her repeatedly as she did work for one of my clients. Long story short, I signed a contract to pay her $700 per month for a minimum of three months. I gave her a project immediately to which she claimed she was anxious and able to do. In the end, she didn’t have the skills she claimed she had. I ended up paying $2100 for something I could have created in 10 hours because she possessed neither time management skills nor the technical skills to complete the project. (Did I mention that when she finally delivered the product, it was such a mess I couldn’t use it!) She refused to refund my money and instead offered her future services. I haven’t heard from her since.

Ken McCarthy once wrote words of wisdom to which I still cling. He said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “9 out of 10 independent contractors don’t know what they’re doing.” He followed this statement with a story of how he hired a gentleman to create a video for him. The gentleman’s website showed an image of the man holding a high end video camera. That was enough to sell Ken on giving the guy a try. Unfortunately, when the guy showed up to the shoot, it was painfully obvious that posing with the camera was all the guy had done.

Which is why Ken recommends that you “try out” new contractors on unimportant contracts before you give them the assignment of creating something important to your business.

You’re living and working in a No Trust Zone. Your marketing, your blog, your advertising must ALL focus on a single goal: to build trust with your clients or customers. You build trust slowly, through communication. That’s why I adore blogs as marketing tools for independent service providers. A blog allows you to build trust with potential clients and customers because quite honestly, it’s hard to “fake” expertise over the course of a hundred or more posts.

Are you viewing your blog as a trust building vehicle? Do you see evidence of client’s lack of trust? How do you build trust with your potential clients and customers?

Blog Diagnostic Tool – Wordle: Graphic Illustration of Your Blog’s Content

One of the basics of internet marketing is to recognize that keywords play a huge role in internet branding. Use the right keywords, and your blog will find it’s target audience quite easily. Use the wrong keywords and you’ll be left wondering why more people aren’t reading your great blog posts.

With that in mind, here’s a great big SHOUT OUT of thanks to Liz Strauss over at Successful Blog for introducing me to the very cool and very illustrative blog toy er, I mean tool Wordle.

Wordle will take any text you plug in and create a cool graphic of the keywords contained within. You have the option of choosing random text or you can pull text from your blog’s RSS feed.

Wordle To the left is the Wordle created from this blog’s RSS feed.

Not only is a Wordle visually interesting, your blog’s Wordle can also act as a diagnostic tool to answer the question “Why is my blog not working?”

In order for your blog to act as a powerful marketing tool, you must focus your (marketing) message. Focusing on the right keywords is the key to blog marketing success.

For example, you can see in this blog’s Wordle image, that the keywords “marketing” and “credibility” play a HUGE roll in the content on my blog. That’s good because those are the drums I tend to play in my business… so seeing those words appear in “large print” pleased me.

The term troll is a bit more prominent than I’d like… but then again, it’s a recent blog entry AND contained in the title as well. I have to ask myself, what did I expect that particular post to do to my Wordle?

Since I didn’t know about Wordle then, I couldn’t have thought much of it. However, the World of Wordle can help you to get a clear perspective of the role each post plays as you build your blog.

THIS IS A KEY TO SUCCESS AS YOU ARE CREATING AND BUILDING YOUR BLOG!

Often, when we’re blogging, we don’t think of each blog post as a part of the whole. It’s easy to view blog posts as standing on their own – when in fact, they are essential building blocks. Each building block makes a contribution to making up the blog as a whole.

From the looks of my Wordle, I’ve been focusing upon marketing, selling and credibility here. The whole troll reference actually fits into that theme if you read the post. I just should have named it something different to fit better into my Wordle.

So Wordle gave me good news on this blog. On to my other blog holdings.

I have another blog where the focus is EXCLUSIVELY upon using blogs as marketing tools for small businesses. The Wordle for that blog is pictured to the left.

Seeing the Wordle for this blog allows me to see that I’ve been focusing too much on the “blog” aspect of blogs as marketing tools in the content on that blog.

Not exactly good news, but useful news none the less.

With this information, I know that I need to start featuring the “marketing ” aspect of blogs in this blog’s content.

On to my next blog.

I created the Wordle to the right for the blog which I use to promote my book (Beyond Niche Marketing).

Ouch again. It looks like I’ve been focusing a bit too much on that magical marketing word “free” in the content of that blog and there’s not enough focus on the term niche. On the other hand, marketing is playing a nice role on the keyword parade for that site.

Informative and fun. This is great.

Just for kicks and giggles, I ran a Wordle for a client who is complaining that her blog isn’t “working” for her. She’s frustrated and with good reason. So I ran a Wordle for her blog. The image to the right is what Wordle came up with for her blog.

Now, if my client’s business had ANYTHING to do with gardening, then this Wordle would be a good sign. But her business isn’t gardening nor is it focused on kitchens. Her ideal prospective clients wouldn’t use ANY of those words featured prominently on her Wordle to find her business.

Unfortunately for this client, her business is about journaling and writing as a way to achieve spiritual healing. I say unfortunately because it doesn’t appear that is what she’s communicating via her blog.

So I ran a Wordle for another client who specializes in executive training.

To the right is what her site looks like through Wordle’s eyes.

Rosemary will be pleased to see how the posts on Miboso Training are shaping up, thanks to this tool!

Then, just as I was playing with this tool, another client emailed me and was wondering why despite consistent blogging her blog isn’t picking up any readers. So, I ran a Wordle for her blog.

This client’s business is coaching people who want to lose weight. Lose weight is an important keyword for her and is included in her domain name.

Yet, when you look at her Wordle, the word YEARS is by far the most prominent and coach does play a big role too. Weight does make it to the hit parade, but lose doesn’t.

Maybe it takes a bit of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) to build a blog full of the “right” keywords, but I’m really beginning to see a pattern here.

For kicks and giggles, I run Darren Rowse’s Problogger.net site through the amazing Wordle tool.

Hmm… blog, people, community, readers, campaign, advertising… those all look like words that readers of Darren’s ProBlogger.net blog would want to read about.

What I find fascinating is Darren has achieved this ideal “mix” while having guest bloggers write posts for his blog. Now THAT is the sign of a blog with a vision!

Wordle may appear to be a “toy” but in fact it’s a powerful blog diagnostic tool you can use to see the word picture you’re building with your blog’s content.

Take your blog’s content for a Wordle spin and see what you can see. It might be the best blog diagnostic tool yet!

Spotting Marketing Crooks and Liars

My clients are the best people on the planet! They are honest, trustworthy and loyal which are traits which make spotting marketing crooks and liars difficult.

See, people who are honest tend to view the world through that lens… the lens of honesty and integrity. Even the most “web savvy” are not immune to getting hooked by marketing crooks and liars. (Read the Itty Biz post 7 Home Business Lessons From StomperNet for an in depth explanation from a web savvy business owner who got “caught up” in the game.)

I OFTEN tell my clients that part of the “service” they pay for when they sign up with me is that they don’t have to get “burned” because I’m already heavily scarred from the 3rd degree burns I’ve suffered over the past 12+ years on the web.

After reading the post above, I got a message in my inbox the other day from a client who is toying with the idea of buying a “program” which will teach her the “secrets” to Google Adsense.  She sent me an email that goes like this:

My partner and I were just talking about the possibility of putting Google Adsense on our websites as guaranteed income. Just something we are thinking about. An example of this is on: [blog address that I’m not going to justify with a link]

This guy said that he has a guaranteed income of $15,000 thanks to Google Adsense.

Our question is-can this be done on the type of websites that we have? We are just wondering…

Thanks Kathy!!!

My reply:

Of COURSE you can add Google Adsense code to begin displaying ads on your blogs.

The way you make money with Google Adsense is when people come to your website and click on the ads displayed a.k.a… leave your site to go to another site.

The secret to making money with Google Adsense is traffic… lots and lots of traffic. It also helps to have really CRAPPY content because that way, visitors won’t find what they’re looking for on your site and will click on one of the ads displayed to find a site that does have the information they seek.

So I go to the site she sent me and there’s this guy who has his own typepad blog which is not “domain mapped”. The blog has an alexa ranking in the 1.2 million range. Adspy tells me he has 2 Google Adsense ads, both are running on this blog and he has them positioned in the navigation bar at the bottom. As anyone who makes money with Google Adsense will tell you… put your ads at the bottom of the page… that’s where the REAL money is made with Adsense. (Tongue is planted so firmly in cheek it hurts with that statement!)

However, because my dear, sweet, lovely clients would never lie to get clients, they assume that this guy is also a straight shooter as well.

Google Adsense can be a GREAT way to make money with very little effort from your blog, but it’s a numbers game pure and simple. From my experience with Google Adsense ads, I average about $1 for every 1000 visitors. Since the client who sent me that email gets about 2500 visitors to her blog every month, she can expect to make about $2.50 a month from displaying Google Adsense ads on her blog. Needless to say, that is far short of the promised $15,000 promised by this wannabe marketing guru!

In direct contrast to the idiot I refused to link to who promised guaranteed income of $15K, I’d like to introduce you to Courtney Tuttle. In his post, Smart Farmers Don’t Plant One Seed at a Time (and Neither Do Smart Internet Marketers)

As we’ve taught you more and more about sniping I’ve had a recurring fear for our readers. The fear is that you’ll do a little “case study” of your own, with one site, and after a few months you’ll get that number 1 spot on Google. It will be a big victory, because you’ll feel like you cracked the Google code, you’ve made it, arrived, etc…but then the site won’t make much. Maybe $3 to $5 per day.

Personally I think a $5 per day site is something to be excited about when it’s part of a portfolio of ten similar sites. But if you invest 6 months into getting that one site ranked, and then another month or two watching it get to $5 per day, you’re going to be mad.

Court’s the best… that other guy my client found is the worst.   Learning to tell the difference sometimes means getting burned but if you’ve got a blog, you can at least share your experience with others.  (Thanks Naomi!)

WordPress 2.5: Fix for the “unable to upload files” blues

I love WordPress… really I do. WordPress blogs are great for so many reasons which I’ve covered before here. I’ve got clients who can barely use email who are creating posts on WordPress blogs that are getting GREAT SERPS.

WordPress is DEFINITELY the technically challenged person’s dream application.

Installing WordPress is easy.   Using Fantastico, it’s positively simple.  The devil is in the details.

For example, when WordPress 2.5 is running on a security minded hosting platform… well, let’s just say allowing WordPress 2.5 to upload images or video is NOT viewed as a desired activity.

In order to work around this, you have to rewrite the htaccess file. It’s not a biggie and while I was in there, I found some great suggestions on how to rewrite the htaccess file to keep the “bad bots” out.

With that said, it only takes a misplaced character to screw up your ENTIRE website when you’re messing with your htaccess files. Mistakes were made…. but no clients were injured in the process. <grin>

Here’s a bit of the code that I found on the WordPress.org message boards which fixed the 2.5 image upload file error. Add this to your htaccess file and VIOLA… WordPress 2.5 uploads files, images and videos.

<IfModule mod_security.c>
<Files async-upload.php>
SecFilterEngine Off
SecFilterScanPOST Off
</Files>
</IfModule>

As for my clients… they are ecstatic that this is my job and not theirs.

Unfortunately, as WordPress becomes even more powerful and more popular, it’s becoming less accessible for the technologically challenged.