Wednesday, 26 September 2007 at 19:40, mcrilf wrote...

Is this some kinda joke?

I was studying my analytics today and saw a new referrer to one of my posts. Naturally I visited it to see who it was who was kind enough to send me the traffic.

But then I realised that the site is some kind of (automated? must be?!) content scraping site. All the posts follow an identical format: a brief (but normally ridiculous) introduction; a scrape of someone elses content (mine in this case); and a source with a link back to the original post (no rel="nofollow", interestingly).

Here's the introduction to their post that they scraped from my blog:

"I’ve a passion for Telephones and keep looking for good articles. Today, I checked if I could find more info by entering ‘adsense blogging’ in Google and found this:"

What? Telephones? Adsense blogging? Give me a break. What kind of garbage is this?!

Of course, the site as Google Adsense all over it and is designed to pull visitors in (thanks to other hard-working bloggers' content) and earn from Adsense clicks.

Surely this type of site can't earn the guys running it anything? If it shouldn't! What value is it adding to the world? Despite them sending me traffic and inbound links, I can't help feeling like they're stealing other peoples' content for their own benefit.

What do you think?

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Sunday, 23 September 2007 at 16:57, mcrilf wrote...

Find out who makes $40k per month blogging

So you're trying to earn a crust with your blog, right?'s some inspiration for you!

I just stumbled across Paula Mooney's list of blogger (and webmasters and affiliates) earnings. The figures reported for annual earnings range from the multi-millions at the top to a few tens of dollars at the bottom.

Notable entries are:

  • Kevin Ham. $300,000,000 empire with multiple sites including Interesting this one in that it ( is a keyword-rich site around a niche with pretty much all links being AdSense links. The content draws people in...and the AdSense sends them elsewhere with Mr Ham making a few cents (or more!) in the middle. Also interesting from an SEO perspective is that the title tag of the home page is just 'Homepage'. And there are no META keywords! So he builds sites like that and still makes $300,000,000!?!?! Sheesh.

  • Steve Pavlina who says he makes about $40k per month from his blogging activities

  • The inspirational Darren Rowse of clocking in at around $360,000 per year.

  • Grant from Million Dollar Project who is on his way to reaching the goal implied by his blog's title...reporting annualised income of $981. Go Grant!! Actually, he reports that part of his income has been generated by commenting on Paula's list. (So, yes, I commented too!)

So...even the small guys can get on her list! Of course, the key to earnings is content and targeted traffic through lots of exposure. And as Paula quotes Yaro Starak..."All I can say about this is that it pays to talk about how much money you make online if you want exposure."

In which case, you'll be wondering what I earn from this blog. That's not something that I've calculated yet. No, honestly. But when I have, you'll be the first to know!

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Monday, 17 September 2007 at 20:50, mcrilf wrote...

Using social bookmarks to drive traffic

I'm spending lots of time at the moment reading about driving traffic to your blog. You will of course heard about BlogRush - the traffic driving system that is taking the blogging world by storm (unless you've been asleep over the weekend when it was which case get on to it now!!!).

One of the methods I am testing is using social bookmarking sites and I thought you might like to see the results from a recent test...

I blogged recently about ShrinkMyTunes - a new software product that re-compresses mp3s allowing you to stuff more of them on your iPod. Although SarahG recently commented that you can achieve something similar with iTunes itself, it originally struck me as a piece of software that could fly. After all, how many iPods are out there? And how many people wish they could get more on them?!

Anyway, I wrote the post and submitted it to The results were amazing...and pretty instant. Here's my statcounter graph...

That recent peak is the traffic. A pleasant surprise as you can imagine. Now comes the it quality traffic? I'll have to wait and see on that one. Hopefully, you might have been one of those visitors and will be reading this which case, I guess the answer is "yes"!

Have you had any successes using social bookmarking in this way? Let me know.

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Sunday, 16 September 2007 at 19:28, mcrilf wrote...

New widget drives targeted traffic to your blog

BlogRush Widget - click to get one for your site and increase your own traffic

Without targeted traffic, your blog is nothing. After all, you're writing for a readership - and without the readership, why write at all?

But delivering traffic to your blog can be time consuming. There are a variety of techniques that you can use (I'll cover these in a later post), but a new one that has just been released makes life easy.

It's called BlogRush and it works like this:

  • you sign up for free
  • you put a widget on your blog
  • every time a page on your blog is displayed, you earn a credit
  • for each credit you earn, your blog's content is syndicated across other blogs using BlogRush

The content delivered in the widget is targeted to your blog - so your readership benefits. And by categorising your own blog within BlogRush, your posts appear on similarly targeted blogs, thereby gaining click-thrus from readers of those blogs.

And there's a bonus: for every person who you refer to BlogRush, you earn credits on their credits...and when they refer people you earn credits on those credits too, 10 levels deep.

It sounds like a great way to generate targeted traffic. Try it out here.

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Saturday, 15 September 2007 at 06:51, mcrilf wrote...

Free keyword research guide : WordTracker

When you create content for your website or blog it is vital to include keywords within your content that your readers will use when searching for your content. In other words, you need to optimise your content using the most popular keywords that are appropriate to your product or service.

But how do you know what those magic keywords are? Which ones will make the difference between you appearing at number 1 in Google and number 10. (Research shows that the drop-off in clicks from the number 1 to results further down the page is exponential).

The key to success in building the best, most optimised content is to carry out keyword research before you start writing. There are a number of tools out there that can help, but one of the best is WordTracker. They have a database of over 330 million keywords with statistics on each.

Wordtracker helps website owners and search engine marketers identify keywords and phrases that are relevant to their or their client's business and most likely to be used as queries by search engine visitors.

As well as telling you how many searches are carried out for a bunch of keywords, it will also tell you how competitive a keyword is - allowing you to go after high volume, low competition niche keyword phrases, thereby increasing your chances of appearing higher up the search results pages.

They have a free keyword research tool which you can use to test their service and a free downloadable keyword research guide (PDF).

I've found it a great service. And with more and more competition out there grabbing visitors away from your site, optimising your content for search is vital if you're going to get your product or service in front of the right people.

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Wednesday, 12 September 2007 at 07:39, mcrilf wrote...

Supersize your iPod - get 4 times the tunes on it!

I just heard about this cool new software download called ShrinkMyTunes. It re-compresses any mp3 files so they end up even smaller, allowing you to get more of them on your iPod or other mp3 player...and in tests 88% of people couldn't tell the difference between the original and the shrunk mp3.

They've got some sample mp3s on their site so you can hear the difference.


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Tuesday, 11 September 2007 at 20:09, mcrilf wrote...

Top 10 tips for SEO

Well...11 tips get one extra for free...ok, so they're all free...anyway...

I recently joined Smorty, a blog advertising brokerage, and found this easy guide to SEO on their site which has 11 great tips for search engine optimising your site.

It's nicely written (especially for beginners) and has lots of links to great, practical tools to help you optimise your site such as a keyword density checker (has a nice keyword cloud view), duplicate content checker.

I particularly like their keyword suggestion tool which, given a URL, identifies the theme of the page and then suggests keywords on the same theme, ordered by the volume of searches per month for that keyword. Very nice.

The article is well worth a read. In fact, I wish I'd written it myself!

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Sunday, 9 September 2007 at 20:57, mcrilf wrote...

Got a design...need XHTML template?

At my day job we're always in need of someone to turn our web designs into decent, cross-browser compliant (X)HTML. So I was really interested to stumble across Their claim really caught my eye:

PSD2HTML delivers hand-coded markup to any specification in under 8 hours

Now that's a great promise. And with the prices they quote (around $200 per template) it's gotta be worth a try.

I'll let you know how we get on with them.

Update: We're just about to test these guys out, plus one of their competitors HTMLBlender. I'll post an update when we get some results back.

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Saturday, 8 September 2007 at 09:11, mcrilf wrote...

Shopping cart software

Some time ago I was looking for a shopping cart package to use for a friend's online store I was building (Coochi - they sell baby bathing aprons). I looked at a whole load of packages but none of them really ticked the box as to what I needed, so I ended up building my own.

I'm sure I included Ashop commerce at the time of my review but I recently re-visited them as once again, I was looking at alternative shopping cart software. Back then it didn't grab me, but they must have upgraded since then and I have to say that what they are offering now is impressive.

As well as a shopping cart which is easy to use for the consumer, the admin system is great. It offers everything you'd expect:

  • category management
  • order processing
  • customer management
  • gift certificates
  • custom templates

but also has some great advanced features like:
  • product feeds for submitting your product catalogue to, Google base and others
  • accounting package integration to QuickBooks and MYOB
It's also nice to see that they pay attention to producing a shopping cart that is search engine friendly.

You can see the admin system and a demo store on their website and they also offer a free 10 day trial, so if you're currently on the lookout for a shopping cart, it's well worth a look.

This has been a paid review - and I’ve given my honest opinion about the Ashop commerce service

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Friday, 7 September 2007 at 15:20, mcrilf wrote...

Facebook opens up to Google search

If you’re a Facebook user, you’ll want to be aware that soon they will be opening up your profile to Google search. The BBC reports

The function will initially allow anyone who is not registered with the site to search for a specific person.

More controversially, in a month’s time, the feature will also allow people to track down Facebook members via search engines such as Google.

The public search listing will show the thumbnail picture of a Facebook member from their profile page as well as links allowing people to interact with them.

The default setting is that you will be made available to Google and the like, unless you opt out. Of course, this raises privacy concerns…and I’m sure will cause a number of Facebook users to question how much of their information is freely available.

If you want to opt-out of being publicly searchable, you’ll find a tick-box in the Search Privacy settings of your Facebook account - as shown below.

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Monday, 3 September 2007 at 20:24, mcrilf wrote...

Coffee like you've never seen it!!

Although it's off my normal topics, I just had to share this awesome Coffee art video...

Coffee Art - video powered by Metacafe

Amazing...I'm going to have to practise that!

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