Tag Archives: advertising

Facebook advertising on a shoestring

You’ve got an interesting project to advertise but your advertising budget is, nil, nada, nothing. An empty box of air is worth more than you can spend on getting the word out.

That’s sort of what Frank said when he asked me (and I presume a number of his friends, the Facebook email is generic) to help get the word out about the new play in the Granary Theatre, They Never Froze Walt Disney.

I was wondering if you would help me out with an experiment… you may have noticed I am trying to get the word out about ‘They Never Froze Walt Disney’ – and I would love your help!

Would you mind changing your status on Facebook to read:

<your name> is letting people know about They Never Froze Walt Disney. See theatremakers. net for more details!

Always eager to help friends if I can, I updated my Facebook status. Will it help? Does anyone look at my profile? I doubt it, but it can’t hurt.

The latest teaser trailer is really, err, strange. Can’t we see a bit more please? TBH, it looks depressing!

Here’s what Frank said before the original production last year in the summer:

Funny and poignant, dark and yet light hearted, the writing is really tight and the story unfolds beautifully. Also the two performers (Jody O’Neill and John McCarthy) are excellent actors, and though I personally haven’t seen Jack Healy direct before he is extremely well known in the Cork theatre scene, and I have a lot of respect for him from acting with him and attending his workshops.

Check out my photos from one of Frank’s previous shows, The Importance of Being Earnest. We really enjoyed that show, but getting out to the theatre is a little harder to do these days with a small baby around!

They Never Froze Walt Disney
The Granary Theatre, Cork
8th-12th January at 8pm (preview January 7th)
Bookings & Info: 021 490 4275

Life after Text Link Ads

Hi, my name is Donncha and I used to have text-link-ads on my blog. They’re gone now but only after Google slapped me into submission and reduced my page rank to 4. Initially I felt angry and shocked that this happened but I have no excuse, I heard it from the horses mouth, I knew it was coming. I was one of those evil unscrupulous demons who manipulated the pagerank of other sites for money. My guilty conscience is somewhat alleviated by the fact that I refused to show a text link ad for a Viagra spammer yesterday morning. Oh well.
Google’s own advertising, Adsense, is still running here, as is Kontera, (leave a comment and you’ll never see them, isn’t that nice?) and the competitive ad filter advice I gave out a few days ago really makes a difference to your bottom line. Just ask Justin!

What’s in store for the future? Keep an eye on this blog. WordPress MU 1.3 is coming real soon now. There are going to be lots more free and GPLed WordPress plugins, including a pretty cool digg proof cache that also works in WordPress MU. Think of it as WP-Cache on afterburner! A couple of sites are already testing it with positive results. I’m watching the access_log roll by on a server as a digg is happening now. Load average is hovering around 1 and the page loads quickly. Sweet.

Friends don't let friends see adverts

This post has been a long time in the writing. Ever since I started advertising on my blogs my strategies have been tweaked continuously so consider this post a snapshot description of what I’m doing with Adsense advertising now. This is a long post, but read through it. The plugin I use to do most of this stuff is linked near the end.

Last year at the IT@Cork Web 2.0 conference, Gavin mentioned that he earns enough off his blogs to pay for his hosting, and I thought to myself that it would be handy to have an extra bit of cash to do likewise. I didn’t do anything about it until July when I signed up for an Adsense account and put some ads on the site. Things were slow that month but they’ve steadily improved to the point that it’s a reasonable second income now.

At last year’s WordCamp in San Francisco, one of the talks was about monetizing your blog. It was a fascinating talk with a great discussion afterwards and I brought home some good ideas:

  • Don’t show adverts to your friends. They are the people who visit your blog and leave comments. They’re not going to click the ads anyway.
  • Position matters. Right underneath the post title and above the content is the best place on a blog to put an advert. (Thanks Matt!)
  • Go as wide as you can.
  • Experiment with ad colours, borders and sizes. Don’t accept the Google defaults. Blend your ads or make them stick out. It all depends on your blog.

Since then I’ve developed my ad serving strategies further:

  • I love when people comment, and I’m honoured when people subscribe to my blog. Therefore I won’t show my RSS or email readers adverts. If you like what I do enough to subscribe I won’t burden you with advertising. You’re my friend.
  • Don’t show adverts on the homepage.
  • Adsense Injection is great for putting adverts directly into posts.
  • Monetize your archive. Any post older than a month gets adverts.
  • Don’t show adverts to Digg, Delicious and Stumbleupon visitors.
  • Identify where most of your “just passing through” traffic is coming from and show them adverts, except for social bookmarking websites of course.
  • If my blog showed you adverts, I’ll tell you “Don’t like adverts? Leave a comment and they disappear.” below the comments form. At least one person has commented favourably about that.
  • Fill the competitive ad filter with low paying URLs. If you’re still showing ads from helium.com then you’re missing out. If your daily eCPM isn’t at least $5 you’re not making the most of your advertising. Subscribe to notspam.org to see which MFA and low paying sites go into my competitive ad filter. I’ll talk about the competitive ad filter in more detail in a future post.
  • Set an hour long cookie for users from search engines. Blogs have a notoriously low attention span for most visitors but if they click to the front page, show them a few more ads.
  • I use Kontera too but the returns from that have been very disappointing. One of my posts has an AuctionAds unit in it. You’ll see that no matter what because I’m testing it for a few weeks and the post in question is almost always only hit by visitors from Google.

I run advertising on my photoblog, In Photos dot org too but the rules there are a bit different:

  • Each post has a big image, pushing the text description below the fold. That’s not ideal for displaying adverts so I use the left sidebar to show a 600px high Adsense skyscraper unit.
  • Show the sidebar advert even on the homepage. It’s not an ideal location so better give it as much exposure as possible.
  • It’s difficult to attract visitors to a photoblog. I wrote 11 seo tips for your photoblog to outline some of the ways I draw traffic in. The biggest mistake is definitely not writing about your photography. If there is no text, how can the search engines figure out what your blog is about?

I’m not the only one only showing adverts to selective visitors. Recently Ben Gillbanks had a great post on increasing Adsense earnings that says some of the same things I summarised here.

I haven’t tried it yet, but the who sees ads plugin from Ozh does most of the same checks I do. That plugin won the WordPress plugin competition so congratulations to Ozh on winning!

The No Adverts for Friends plugin

Announcing my shiny new, rough as anything No Adverts for Friends plugin! This plugin adds new commands that you can use in your templates. Use them to surround your Google Adsense or other advertising code.

The No Adverts for Friends API:

  • is_regular_user() – returns true if the visitor has left a comment or is logged into your blog.
  • is_whitelisted_site( $url ) – returns true if $url is in a pre-defined list of friend sites like Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon.
  • is_old_post() – returns true if the current post is over a month old.
  • is_searchengine_user() – if a user comes from one of the listed search engines or this is an old post return true.

Each of the API calls depends on the one before it returning a favourable value. For example, is_old_post() won’t return true if is_regular_user() returned true, no matter how old the post is.

Example usage:
<?php if( is_searchengine_user() == false ) { echo "Google adsense code goes here"; }?>
Edit single.php in your current theme and add that code somewhere within the loop. Now either visit an old page on your blog or use a Google search query to bring you to your blog. Hopefully you’ll see the text “Google adsense code goes here”. Replace this text with the Google Adsense Javascript.

Download

Install

  1. Rename both files to .php and place friendsadverts.php in your plugins folder. If you use WP-Cache copy wp-cache-phase1.php into plugins/wp-cache/ overwriting the file already there (make a backup first!)
  2. If you use WP-Cache copy the $nevershowads and $passingthrough arrays from friendsadverts.php into your wp-config.php. They’re needed by WP-Cache which kicks in well before plugins are loaded.
  3. Activate the “No Adverts for Friends” plugin from your plugins page and modify your templates using the new API.

Well, you’ve read this far. If some of the advice in this post helps you, if you like this plugin, if it improves the user experience of your regular visitors and maybe even increases your advertising revenue please consider uncommenting the add_action() command at the start of friendsadverts.php. The donnchas_happy_happy_notice() function prints a message in your blog’s footer saying you use this plugin and links back here.

Thanks John for bugging me to write this up. Hopefully I’ll see you at next year’s WordCamp!

My £30 Adwords Temptation

google adwords voucher

I’m a sucker for vouchers, if they’ll really save me money that is. I generally read the small print just in case I have to “subscribe for 12 months to take advantage of this deal” and it’s a good thing I read the ones attached to this offer from Google. They’ll give me a £30 Google Adwords voucher to try out Adwords, but according to the terms and conditions written in dark grey on light grey below the main body of the email:

The promotional credit will be automatically credited to your new Google Adwords account once you have entered your promotional code and billing preferences. If you choose the post-pay payment method, the account activation fee (currently £5) will be deducted from the promotional credit before this is credited to your account. If you choose the pre-pay payment method, you must make an initial minimum payment (from which the account activation fee will be deducted) to activate the account before the promotional credit can be credited to your account. You will be charged for any advertising charges that exceed the promotional credit, and you are solely responsible for the payment of any taxes incurred.

Still, if I was interested in advertising my blog I’d go for it. I may yet advertise one of my other sites as I have a few months to redeem the voucher. They’ll have me hooked then! Damn you Google! (Raises fist to air in theatrical fashion and shakes it in anger at the burning sun)

Is my competitive ad filter broken?

I have noticed adverts from a particular domain listed in my Adsense competitive ads filter are still appearing. I understand it might take several hours for changes to the filter to become active, but 4 days?

creativeinterview.com has been on my list since the 22nd of December but I still saw it appear on the Love Messages post on my photoblog.

Google, is something broken?

adsense-for-content.jpg

Update! It appears I’m not the only one with this problem.

It works again!

Bah, it happened again on 2006-12-30. An advert for 1helpon.info/filmxfilm appeared on my site despite 1helpon.info being in my competitive ad filter for ages. Grrr.

I want a free house

Cork student Shane Murphy is running iwantafreehouse.com and selling advertising on his homepage in €100 blocks. Unfortunately, it looks like the site is struggling under the load of a free plug on Today FM but I’m sure they’ll sort that out later. He’s also running a simple blog on there so be sure to check back there for updates!

Heh. If I had thought of it I would have tried it when I was a student, but it probably wouldn’t have been such a success 10 years ago..

That Hunkey Dorey Advert?

Ray D’Arcy and co are talking about the Hunkey Dorey advert that displays 3 ladies and asks, “Who would you throw out of bed for eating Hunkey Dorey crisps in bed?”
Has anyone seen it around Cork? For purely research purposes of course, I’d like to see the advert that would keep a line of drivers amused while the traffic lights changed to green and back to red while they stared at it!