Monday, October 31, 2005 

More Blog-Visitor Tracking Tools - Link Logging: BlogFlux Adds A "Where Are My Visitors Going" Tool

UPDATE: To anyone who read this post already, I got it all wrong. Ahmed from BlogFlux set me straight. Just having one of those days I guess. A corrected post is given below.

My favourite blog-visitor tracking service, BlogFlux has added yet another free tool to their repertoire. This one, called Link Logging, shows you a time-breakdown of links away from your blog site, as well as how many clicks for each outgoing link were recorded.

For those of you that do not have any sort of stats package analyzing your blog visitor logs, this is a nice, simple way of finding out how your visitors are leaving your website. I believe this also means that you can track which advertiser links your readers are using.

The Link Logging tool gives a break down of outgoing links over the selected period. Unlike BlogFlux's Mapstats tool (for tracking pageviews and the approximate geographic location of incoming visitors), there is no 80x15 button icon nor any maps. But like Mapstats, Link Logging simply requires you to insert a small piece of javascript into your blog page template.

I've just activated link logging on BlogFlux for some of my blogs and will report on my experiences in a couple of weeks.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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Saturday, October 29, 2005 

Professional Blogging - A Review Part II - Time Is One Your Side

(This is part II. Here is part I.)

Essentially, if you want to eventually succeed in blogging, you have to love writing, have to want to do it, regardless of how you feel about your current writing and incoming traffic. If you write often and regularly, preferably daily, your writing will improve - provided you follow the time-honoured processes of becoming a better writer. But without the passion, that's all unlikely.

As for traffic, all of my research to date suggests that achieving a "critical mass" of content will make the difference in receiving search engine referrals. Of course, you can a lead a horse to a search engine results page, but you can't make him click. So use descriptive post/article titles, and if at all possible, use the title to form the page's filename. (This is automatic in many blogging platforms.)

Substantial traffic does take time. I've been tracking my multiple blogs' statistics as a whole and my overall traffic is in fact steadily rising. Of course, I have conscientiously been employing a number of SEO (search engine optimization) techniques, in addition to writing numerous posts daily - well, most of the time anyway. [And when I'm sure that what I'm doing pays off, I'll blog about it.]

The rise in my traffic does in fact match what proven, historical statistical techniques suggest is the typical behaviour of natural, human-related phenomena. Many studies have been done in analyzing human traffic in business. The graphs of these studies are comparable to the graphs I've been getting. I'm at the early stages of the behavioural patterns, and the rest is supposedly mathematically predictable. All this is substantial validation and thus motivation for continuing. Analyse your blog traffic and see where you are at. (More details in an upcoming post.) This analytical feedback could fuel your passion for blogging, once you see that it's simply a matter of time before your blog starts to accumulate serious traffic.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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Professional Blogging - A Review Part I - Don't Give Up

(Warning: This post contains alternate musings about topics I've very recently already discussed. There is some overlap. I'm presenting this post in two parts.)

About a month ago, I read a blog in which the blogger decided to throw in the towel after only a few months. In fact, a few bloggers had given up and decided it wasn't worth the time. The unfortunate thing was that these bloggers were good writers with interesting posts.

The great irony about blog ad revenue is that the more information you provide in your posts, quite possibly you reduce the chances of a reader "needing" to click on some of your ads. If you are providing the content they seek, why would they follow outside hyperlinks?

I'm only speculating, but sites with shorter posts that do not provide all the information that readers are looking for might be likely to induce readers to click on links, particularly ad links. I'm hoping this isn't true, as I tend to write longer, hopefully informative posts and loathe publishing a blog site where every post is a summary of someone else's blog post or article.

Keep in mind, though, that if you write such posts, you must balance them with longer, more informative posts - else you run the risk that new readers will not return. (On the other hand, with attention spans being what they are these days, if your visitors don't want to read longer posts, then they may not return either.)

As I've no doubt said numerous times, I have no plans to throw in the towel, regardless of weeks like this one where I missed a few days of posts for technical reasons. I'm also weeks overdue posting to several of my technical blogs, as I'm still reorganizing and redesigning them. But you do what you have to do, in the time that you have available - or else you quit and find something more satisfying to you.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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Friday, October 28, 2005 - More Tools For Blog and Website Publishers: Building Social Networking Applications

Genius Marc Andreesen, who was credited with the creation of the first Netscape browser, has launched his, which allows creative types to create social networking software by cloning and tweaking and small selection of "atomic" applications. You simply sign up at, then request a developer account. It took 3-4 days before I got my account, but I've already started sketching out several applications.

If you have a look on the website, you'll only see 7 basic starter apps. But honestly, it's all you'll need for starters. When you have a look at each app and understand its underlying structure, you'll see how you can build new apps on top of those simple 7 apps. provides the ground work for some very cool applications that can supplement your blog content. I have a few ideas up my sleeve that I'll write about on one of my blogs when I've got them working. As I am a digital mapping nut, all of my apps are likely to use maps. Keep an eye out in these pages, or my main site, Chameleon Integration Systems, for links to new projects.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005 

Google AdSense E-Book Review

In my quest to be a knowledgeable and successful blogger and online publisher, I've been scouring websites, forums, and e-newsletters about earning advertising revenue - in particular, via Google AdSense. About a month ago, several of the e-newsletters I was subscribing to then strongly suggested Joel Comm's expanded second edition e-book, "What Google Never Told You About Making Money With AdSense: 3 Steps to Higher AdSense Income".

So I forked over US$97, eagerly devoured it, then found myself very disappointed. Let me clarify. Joel's book is actually extremely valuable, full of great information. But his claim that it is an "advanced" book on AdSense is no longer true. It may have been, when the book first came out. But nearly everything in his book - unfortunately for him - has been covered by numerous free e-newsletters. Still, some of his readers, in testimonials, have said that it took them 2 or 3 reads of the ebook to absorb all Joel's tips on about AdSense.

That said, I plan to read his book a couple more times. I did email Joel, saying pretty much what I'm saying here. Aside from his spam-blocking auto-responder emails, he very promptly responded. Here's a brief excerpt:

"I'm sorry you did not derive benefit from the ebook... I look at it this way. If I can find one piece of gold in each resource I purchase, it is worth the investment for me."

I did find one tip, on my first go-round, that I think will be worth the purchase, and which I am currently setting up. What's more, his AdSense forum ( is worth visiting to find out what tips other publishers have.

Joel did offer me a refund, if I didn't think the the book was worth it. However, I feel that, with a bit more digging, and another reading, I should be able to recoup the costs of the book.

In summary, if you are very new to AdSense, or know nothing at all about it, this book is well-organized and will save you the many hours and months of hunting that I did to find a lot of the same information (albeit for free).

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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Monday, October 24, 2005 

Increasing Your Search Engine Referrals Through Bad Spelling

After writing several posts over the past few months screaming about bad spelling and bad grammar, I'm doing an about face. All evidence in my research to date suggests that enough search engine queries use mispelled words that it's actually worthwhile spelling your keywords incorrectly at least once early in your posts.

Why? Many search engines only index a fragment of a web page. Some index the first few hundred words; others index some words at the beginning of a web page and then some at the end. Each engine varies. But all engines index at least a portion of the start of a we page.

What does that mean? Here's an example. In one of my cooking blogs, I posted an entry that spelled the word "vegetarian" as "vegatarian". I'm usually anal retentive about my spelling and grammar, but this word slipped by me. However, the result wast that I actually received a considerably high percentage of search engine referrals because of it.

This concept also applies to compound words. For example, out of old habit, I often spell "website" as "web site". Similarly, if you use a hyphenated phrase, such as "e-mail", try also using "email", if the hyphenation is appropriate.

The key thing to remember for your blog posts is, don't over do the spelling variations, and make sure it seems natural.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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Saturday, October 22, 2005 

Update on Qumana Blogging Client and AdGenta Ad Network

A few days ago, I wrote a brief "first impressions" review ( of the new Qumana blogging client and the corresponding ad network. Since then, Arieanna Foley, Senior Blog Marketing Specialist at Qumana contacted me to let me know all the great things they have planned. She's given me permission to excerpt her email to me:

"I can happily report to you that we're going to give you all the features you want!

1. ads. The version 2.0 that came out on the 12th [October 2005] inserted the ad at post time, although you can use the preview tool. We've now improved this so you will see them at insertion. Slightly different methodology, but improves what you were seeing. What you were getting were cached ads, not the live version. Now, the best way to go about getting ads is to use the banner designer (the one shaped like a rectangle button not the dollars and cents one) and preview the ads before you insert them. Simply enter keywords and hit refresh. download the new version and you'll be set.

2. I really suggest using 1 keyword or 1 keyphrase at a time. Multiple keywords are not being handled correctly and end up confusing the system.

3. Choosing keywords is a learning process. Product related and technology related ads are easy to find. If you have an abstract blog, like one on communication, try things that would be technology enhancers to communication - like netmeeting or microsoft or skype. First, start with general words in categories. But, also play with exact product names, as this does produce results. AdGenta has stock for just about every topic, so you'll be set! Playing with keywords, you'll always get the highest performing ad in that keyword to appear.

4. the "new" Qumana which is still hush hush is being built from scratch and will have an elaborate blog manager to show you that draft/published stuff. :)"

Thanks to Arieanna, for the update. Armed with this new knowledge, I have a plan to give both the Qumana blogging client and the AdGenta ad network another go on one of my newer blogs. Even if I decide to stick with Zoundry's ( Blog Writer blogging client, it appears that the AdGenta ad network is more suitable to my blogs than I thought. (Arieanna provided me with a partial list, which I've not shared here, of some sample ads that matched some of my keywords on the blog I used to evaluate Qumana and AdGenta.)

Arieanna, by the way, is a pro blogger writing close to 20 blogs (on last count) including Blogging Help ( and a couple of blogs at the new B5 Media ( blog network launched by Mr. himself, Darren Rowse, as well as other blogging professionals including Duncan Riley of BlogHerald (, Jeremy Wright (who has already sold two blogs), and others.

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Friday, October 21, 2005 

Can You Earn An Honest Living on the Internet Part III - Information: Just the Facts, Please

To answer the question in the post title, I say "yes".

Bloggers like Darren Rowse ( have proven it, with solid content and a very generous, helpful spirit that results in high advertising revenue for him. Not to put him on a pedestal, because I doubt he'd like it, but he is living proof that earning a living on the Internet can be done honestly. Jason Calacanis, founder of the hugely successful (now sold for about US$25 million), also showed the potential for blog revenue. However, I don't use his blog network as an example because Jason needed 100+ bloggers (originally working at $4/post, although their payment model has now been modified) to get to his ad revenue levels (pro-rated at close to $1 million/year).

Darren, on the other hand, has reached his level of about US$15,000/month ad revenue on his own, through three years of hard work. Although, don't misunderstand me, as I am not at all saying that Jason didn't earn an honest living through his blog network - just not on his own, which is my writing focus. (There are others like Darren, but he is the one most in the limelight lately.)

But blogging isn't the only way to earning a decent, honest living on the Internet, although it is difficult to find other legitimate opportunities.

I've made it my business to find real internet opportunities for different types of people - philosophers, entrepreneurs, artistic types, etc. It's an on-going process for me. My conclusion to date, although I have no figures to back me up, is that the following products seem to sell well on the Internet: hosting services, web page templates, web-design-in-a-box, scams to teach you how to "make as much as you want", workshops to teach you something you'll probably never do, and more products and services that most people likely aren't interested in.

It's not all negative, though. Information in general can sell well. People use the Internet to find both products and information. The Internet makes it easy to distribute information to niche audiences and make it profitable - something that's always easy with traditional print publishing. Find the right niches and you can earn a decent living. In fact, there are rumours that some people are quietly earning five-figure incomes per month. That's per month; and they're only putting in a regular work week.

However, these people aren't working 3 or 4 hours a day. Anyone who believes they can make 5- or 6-figure incomes on the Internet with just a few hours of work a week deserves to be tricked. Sure, that might happen after a year or two of solid sweat equity to get started. But most people get mighty bored with free time and if they are earning good money from their hard work, they are more than likely to start new projects to earn even more money. It appears to be like an addiction for these people.

They start a few websites, build them up to a point where these sites enjoy a steady income. And then, seeing their hard work pays off, they move on to new projects, new websites. Their old projects continue to earn money in the meantime, and probably require no maintenance after some point.

Some of the research I've done on the higher income earners is that they have a target of starting 2 new websites per month. But they work hard to build up each website with real content. When I first started seriously researching Internet Marketing late last year, I read one article mentioning a computer programmer who employs 4 or 5 people to build and promote his websites. I don't remember the exact details, but his business pulls in something like US$180,000/month. You read that right. But apparently this guy runs over 100 websites to generate such income. (Sorry, but I also don't know the quality of his content.)

Some Internet publishers believe it's a numbers game. What's easier earnings-wise? To run one website that consistently earns $2000/month, or to run 10 websites that consistently earn $200/month each? I suppose the latter, if you do the initial hard work. Or cheat. Where is the information they are publishing coming from? Can a human being generate that much real content? Is the information they're publishing of any value beyond tricking people to visiting their websites? (I'm hoping to answer these questions for you long-term, as I keep incubating other people's blog projects.)

For the opportunities I'm talking about, the information has to benefit someone. If your website is auto-generated and has 1000s of pages of useless content, you are still going to rank high in the search engines from volume and keywords alone. But this does not qualify in my books as an honest endeavour because it breaks the cardinal rule of the universe and of prosperity: every transaction must be win-win-win (win for you, win for the person on the other end of the transaction, and a win for the world/universe in some manner, however nebulous the means).

That said, I think that the greatest potential for honest income on the Internet comes from teaching, from passing on your knowledge, whether it's via blog posts, ezine articles, or e-books. There used to be good money designing websites or selling Internet software, but that's more for organizations (ad agencies, software publishers) than individual entrepreneurs. And even that is changing, with all the free templates and free CMS (Content Management System) software that lets non-technical, non-designer bloggers create and maintain passable, even attractive websites with minimal effort.

If you are reading this blog, you are likely looking for Internet opportunities and for a career, or just a way to supplement your earnings. If you plan to publish information, keep in mind that some topics are more valuable than others. However, in times of transition and indecision, I always try to live by the advice of Dr. Marsha Sinetar, from her book "Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow" - a book I read over again every few years.

Please feel free to refute what I'm saying. Or suggest some more ways to earn an honest, decent living on the Internet. This is an open-ended invitation.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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Changing Blogging Platforms From To WordPress

It's one thing to move your blog from one domain to another - a relatively easy process that I'll be covering soon in a mini-series of posts - and quite another to change blogging platforms altogether. In trying to merge my 4 cooking blogs into a single WordPress blog, I discovered that little tiny things can trip you up and cause you to waste a few days of frustration.

Let me clarify. About a month ago, I set up several WordPress blogs, both on my laptop locally, as well as live on my Chameleon Integration domain. I had no problems with WordPress whatsoever. In fact, I loved it so much, I had serious plans to move many of clusters of blogs to WordPress (using topic categories to distinguish posts). So why did I have such a problem on my new Curry Elvis domain?

Well, it boiled down to the fact that the Chameleon Integration domain uses one host internet host provider ( and the second domain uses another ( Each domain uses a Linux server, but they're configured differently - which I have no control over. What really is an incredibly simple process in general, became a nuisance for the Curry Elvis domain because of the way FTP (File Transfer Protocol) path is defined.

Due to internet connection problems, I already wasted a whole day trying to FTP my files up to my webserver. I also wasted a few hours today monkeying around with the Curry Elvis WordPress blog configuration until I finally got frustrated and did what my instincts told me would work. Voila. It worked.

Now all I have to do is spend some time tweaking the page template colours, inserting links and ads, and generally making sure that it all works. Doing this in WordPress is generally as simple as doing it in, say, a platform like

In summary, of all the free blog-based CMS (Content Management System) packages I've properly evaluated this year, WordPress is the simplest to install and one of the most sophisticated in terms of available plugins. The setup really only took me less than a minute, once I uploaded all of the WordPress directories and files to my web server.

It's also generally easy to change the look and feel, as there are dozens of templates available free. In WordPress, you just select the template you want, view it, then save the settings. Then you can go into the template files and tweak the CSS and/or HTML code to customize the look of your blog. [If you feel intimidated, just go slow and change a few settings at a time until you're happy with your customization.]

If you're planning to setup WordPress on your own domain, you will at least need to know how to use FTP software and know how to interpret the FTP path for your domain so that you don't run into the same problems I did - or at least so you'll know how to fix it. Alternately, you might consider a hosting plan that offers WordPress already set up on your domain.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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Thursday, October 20, 2005 

Can You Earn An Honest Living on the Internet Pt II - Writing E-Books

Note: I know I'm only glossing over the topics in this mini-series. Any new topics that I gloss over initially, in any of my posts, are likely to be covered in more detail in future posts.

Blogging isn't the only way to make money writing on/for the Internet. If you can write intelligently and clearly about popular topics, you may be able to make more money offering an e-book on that topic than if you tried to get a deal with a traditional print publisher, especially if you're writing about a niche topic. Print publishers have a specific agenda: sell at least X copies of book Y. My experience and discussions with publishers and editors is that a lot of good books never get published because of the commercial agenda.

Fortunately, ebooks don't have the same overhead as a print book. You may only make a few thousand dollars on an ebook, but if you can sustain writing for longer pieces, you might consider writing a series of inexpensive e-books on related topics. (People will be paying for your e-book. Do them a favour and research your topic before you write about it; even if you are already an expert. In fact, if you are already an expert, get up-to-date with your field, and make sure you write at the level of your target audience, not your peers.)

Let's do some quick math on potential ebook revenue. If you can put together a decent e-book in a month - possibly based on your blogging topics - and know exactly who the target audience is, you might charge anywhere from US$47-147 for the book/package, depending on the value of the information. [Obviously, the more popular the topic, the more you might charge for it.] If you sell 100 copies at US$47, that's US$4700 dollars that is all yours.

When I designed and co-wrote a PHP book on back-end web programming, I received a total of US$5000 in royalties. But as the company went under and the new owners of the imprint aren't republishing, I'll never make any more money on my content. Now the only reason I received that much was that we estimated a certain number of copies would sell. I was receiving a fraction of a dollar per book sold. If the book sold only 100 copies, do you think the publisher would have bothered? Of course not.

Another approach, if your book is very long, is to split it up into a series of ebooklets and charge only US$17-37 per volume. This way, readers can buy just the volumes they are interested in. This is the approach that Rok Hrastnik ( suggested we take for a set of 100 case studies we're working for RSS/Atom/web content syndication marketing and development. Why? Because no matter how much value is being offered, very few people want to buy an ebook at more than $147, which you might be inclined to charge for 600-900 pages of content.

Now while I am working on several ebooks and ebooklets myself, I am not an expert on pricing. This is simply what I've noticed the market charging for ebooks, with US$47 and US$97 being the most common. Trial and error may have to be part of your marketing plan. Many ebook authors sell initial copies, then later (1-3 yrs afterwards) give away an ebook as an incentive to sell a newer ebook.

How you announce the existence of your e-book is the subject of a series I'll be writing for one of my other blogs. (I plan to write each and every entry before posting a single one, so it'll be a while.) Watch this blog for an announcement. Hint #1: announce it in your blog. Hint #2: Write an ezine article, then announce your ebook in your byline. Just make sure you've already written and edited it before announcing it.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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Page Rank Changes - Did Your Google Page Rank Change?

For months, I've been researching madly and trying to improve my websites and blogs in the hopes that at least one of them would achieve some sort of Google page rank. Well, Google recently updated pagerank on their database of websites, and I guess I lucked out. Almost all of my blogs and websites (except the newest ones, which I'm still working on) received a PR of between 3 and 5 (compared to no rank at all).

Now you'd think I'd be happy with this, but nooooooooo (apologies to comedian Steve Martin). I'm actually confused and now quite anxious because I feel like a fraud. Sorry but I know that some of my blogs just don't deserve the page rank. Seriously. They've only got a few posts because I started too many blogs all at once and couldn't maintain them all. I'm trying to remedy this situation by merging many of my blogs - not only to facilitate better management on my part, but to make it easier for readers to find related information. (The fragmentation of related blogs occurred because I didn't want to install a blogging platform like WordPress simply because it requires multiple installs for multiple blogs.)

To make a long story short, I'm only happy with getting a nice PR5 for this blog, BlogSpinner, and a PR4 for my main website,, as that latter is the "hub" of my web operations. I've worked hard on BlogSpinner, trying improving my writing and my topic/content. It's paid off and garnered me a few solid links from high PR sites (thanks to all, I'll return the favor in an appropriate manner). I suspect that BlogSpinner's page rank is the primary reason for the page ranks on my other blogs and on my main site: get one good page-ranked site linked to other sites of yours, and it's like a domino effect.

For my Chameleon Integration site, while I have numerous articles sketched out for the site, I have a lack of content there and need to get on the ball if I am to maintain my page rank. So while I'm happy with the (largely undeserved) page rank, there's no resting on my laurels. Now I just have to see if I can get by on less than the 3-5 hours of sleep daily that I'm getting lately :D

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005 

Can You Earn An Honest Living on the Internet Pt I - A Fool And His Net Dollars Are Soon Parted

For the past year, I've been steadily researching various opportunities for earning an income via the Internet, as well as studying how to increase web traffic. I am far from finished my research, but I have a few conclusions. One conclusion is that the old saying "a fool and his money are soon parted" must hold true on the Internet, or else there wouldn't be so many profitable scams.

Scams aside, however, blogging does appear to be one way to earn an Internet living (, via contextual advertising revenues. I don't want to get too deep into the details, but because of how blog pages are structured (constantly changing main page, plus a dedicated page per posting), blogs have an advantage over regular websites in the search engines. I've had at least a few newsletter emails from "web marketing gurus" saying that this isn't true. But they were unable to explain why. My experience as as search engine webmaster, as well as a "professional blogger", says otherwise.

Remember, though, that a blog has to have good, focused content. Don't waste your time buying software that generates "1000s of web pages in just a few hours" by "scraping" other websites' RSS/Atom "web syndication" feeds. It's a waste of time, and the search engines will penalize you if your pages get posted too rapidly. If you can't/don't want to write, go to a site like EZineArticles ( and use the copyright-free content there. (Longer articles aren't always suitable for blog posts, and you cannot serialize these articles. So if writing isn't your thing, you should probably look for other opportunities.)

But in the interim, while you're waiting for your blog traffic to increase ( so you can earn a living from ad revenue, consider writing an e-book (part II).

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005 

Brief Review of Qumana Blogging Client and AdGenta Ad Network

After reading Darren Rowse's post about the new Qumana blogging client and AdGenta ad network, I thought I'd give them a try. This is only a very brief review which expresses my initial impressions, and supplements what Darren's post says. (He's not using either Qumana or AdGenta, for his own reasons).

Right off the bat, I found Qumana's tour clear and easy to navigate through. Sometimes, but not always, that's an indicator that the software is also easy to use. So I downloaded the software, but waited to use it until after I was approved for AdGenta. Unfortunately, I'm disappointed to say that I'm not impressed with either the software or the ad network.

AdGenta has a shortage of ads for many of the topics I blog about. And I found using the Qumana blogging client to be extremely frustrating, particularly when it came to trying to set up the ads with my own keywords, then trying to change unsatisfactory ads. I'm still a big fan of Zoundry's (free) Blog Writer blogging client, and doubt I'll change from that client for any software with less features.

However, I always believe in trying out new software and websites several times in the hopes that my initial assessment was mistaken. I'm going to set up one specific blog (with real content) just for testing Qumana and AdGenta, and will report on it again later. I'm just not yet sure what blog to set up, so it might be a while yet.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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Monday, October 17, 2005 

More on Search Engine Optimization - 5 Steps to Optimizing Your Blog Posts For Higher Search Engine Rankings

What I'm finding is that as my blog posts are rapidly accumulating, the chances of a new reader finding older articles is reduced, even with the available Google search feature in my blogs. Let's assume for a second that my belief that (most of) my posts are fantastically informative is true. So now I'm worried that new readers won't be able to experience the greatness of my old posts because they don't even know certain valuable (to them) posts exist and thus don't know what to search for.

So what to do? (Warning: The rest of this post is based on educated speculation that comes from my experience as both a former search engine webmaster and as a general web programmer and web consultant.)

Over on Search Engine World, there's a great article on how websites can be structured for optimization of multiple keywords and phrases using the concept of a "theme pyramid".

It took me 2-3 reads of the article to absorb the importance of its information. Now here's the thing that the article doesn't say: you CAN use this "theme pyramid" concept for optimizing your blogs for increased search engine referrals. However, what you will need to do is create a hybrid website that serves to organize your blog posts. This means writing some new summary content that leads directly or indirectly to specific blog posts.

Note: Some blogging platforms such as WordPress, MovableType, and Mambo allow you to have both blog pages and website pages. Other platforms such as do not allow this, which means that you need to get your own web domain. The steps below apply to both situations.

Step 1: Start by reading the Theme Pyramid article. Read it 2 or 3 times, if necessary, either the same day or over a couple of days. Once you feel that you've fully grasped its concepts, you can get to work on applying them to your blog posts.

In the meantime, I'll summarize that article's concepts: There are 5 levels to the "theme pyramid". The top level, level 1, is your website home page. It contains the broadest topics, so it's unlikely to get a lot of search engine referrals. Level 2 contains single keywords. As you go down the levels, you use more and more specific keyphrases of 2 or more words). The bottom-most level, level 5, refers to your actual articles - or in this case, your blog posts, in which hopefully you've already written about a single specific topic per post.

Step 2: If your blog posts are not already categorized via some blogging platform such as WordPress or MovableType, then get a big piece of paper and draw a mindmap of the potential categories. Make sure you choose single-word keywords as well as specific phrases for each post. (If you have a blog with many posts, you may need to stretch out this entire exercise out over many days, weeks or months. Start with one or two level 2 keywords and associate them with any relevant posts.) What you have to do is create a hierarchy of categories, topics, and specific keywords and keyphrases, as described in the Theme Pyramid article.

Step 3: Apply the concepts in the Theme Pyramid article to create and optimize web pages for levels 1-4, as described in the article. This means you'll have to write some content for each level that hyperlinks down to the next level. If you are, for example, running a food blog, one branch of your pyramid/hierarchy might be "food: fresh fruit: exotic fruit: dragonfruit". The final level would then hyperlink to one or more of your blogs that talk about dragonfruit. Remember that each hyperlink's text should use your keywords and phrases. That's the whole point of this exercise, as this will improving SE (Search Engine) ranking for your pages, and likely for the pages being linked to - whether the blog posts are on the same domain as the pyramid pages or not.

Step 4: If you don't already host your blog on your own domain, get one. Choose a domain name, register it, and get a hosting plan. If you're in North America, I highly recommend GoDaddy or Dreamhost - although Bluehost appears to have some great deals. I currently have no stake in any of these companies, although I do have clients that use the first two options. The only drawback with GoDaddy is that for the incredibly low hosting price of US$3.95/month, you do not get access to the web server logs. You have to pay an extra monthly fee for that. (I was extremely peeved to find this out AFTER setting up my hosting. But the total monthly cost is still pretty low.)

Step 5: Once you have the level 1-4 web pages set up on your website, link level 4 pages to your individual blog posts. Now submit all level 1-4 URLs to various search engines (but not blog directories, please).

Conclusion: For all but the smallest of blogs, the above exercise is a major undertaking that you shouldn't rush through. Cataloging and categorizing your posts is probably the most time consuming. Apply the principle of kaizen, improvement through slow degrees, one step at a time.

This exercise gives your newer readers an easier method of finding older content through associated concepts. This is especially helpful if they only have a vague idea of what they are looking for. (Your regular blog readers can already easily get their daily dose of blog posts via the blog's main page.) Setting up this pyramid also increases the chances of getting a higher number of search engine referrals, since you now have web pages that cover a broader range of related topics, and which are all hyperlinked together in a hierarchical fashion - which the SEs apparently love.

Addendum: There's a lot more I have to say about these techniques. I will be applying the theme pyramid concepts to my new Curry Elvis website. (It will host my 4 existing cooking blogs, 4 new food, drink and cooking-related blogs, and one promotional mini-site for a friend who is promoting some excellent new French and Italian wines currently unavailable in North America.) I'll be documenting the entire redesign process and blogging about it, eventually, in this blog and on my main website. When I have time, I'll also collect up all the related posts and diagrams and put them into a free e-book on my Chameleon Integration website. Keep an eye out over there for developments in about a month.

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Saturday, October 15, 2005 

Occam's Razor Applied - Or Why Is My Blog Traffic and Ad Impression/Pageview Count Down?

Occam's Razor is the concept that, often, the simplest answer for a situation is usually the correct one, and that complex reasons are usually unnecessary. I used to be the sort of personality that would constantly hunt for complex answers and reasons when things went awry. In fact, I spent many years intentionally trying to refute that Occam's Razor truly applied to real life. Eventually, after years of observation, I've found that the simplest answer is in fact usually is the right one.

What's this have to do with blogging? Just this: Many bloggers and website publishers log onto to forums and get frantic when traffic, adsense clickthrough rate, and ad revenue seems to be out of sorts in the short term. Occam's Razor says that there's a simple explanation for this, whether you find the actual answer or not. It might be a holiday in some countries, a time of traditional festivals, or some big movie or sporting event might be taking place that has captured national attention.

Whatever the reason, the answer is usually nothing too complicated or conspiratorial. It's times like this when I turn to my math geek skills and determine how traffic is in both short-term (7, 14, and 28 days) and long-term averages (56 and 112 days). If my charts show that short-term average traffic is down but long-term average traffic is up - or at least steady - I don't worry about it. If both are up, even better, obviously.

If the traffic averages for all sliding windows, long and short, are down, I might do an additional sliding window average of 224 days (32 weeks) and 364 days (52 weeks). If these latter moving averages are also down, then I worry. But ultimately, all you really can do is write and post more optimized content and hope for the best. Or choose a different topic to write about :D.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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Friday, October 14, 2005 

Search Engine Referral Windfall or Natural Course of Events?

I lost the original version of this post this morning, when I was about to run for the bus to get to work. This version is off the top of my head...

A funny thing happened to me on the way to vacation. While I was spending 2 weeks redesigning and relaunching websites and trying to rethink the focus of my blogs, I didn't post a single entry to any of my blogs. And yet, I still managed to get a steady stream of traffic, albeit small, which was nearly as much as I was getting when I was madly writing and posting 5-10 long entries per day, and doing everything else besides. The question on my mind is why?

The short answer is: search engine optimization of my posts. The long answer can be found in a lot of places, including the article 26 Steps to 15k a Day. This is the gist of the article: Post at least once a day, and within one year, you'll have nearly 400 posts and 500-2000 referrals per day.

Now imagine what you'd have with 3-5 posts a day: 1500-10000 referrals per day, if this concept is linear, maybe even more if the payoff is exponential. And what's more, if you cover a range of sub-topics within a particular topic, your referrals will probably increase even further. In fact, I'm getting referrals from the strangest combination of words in search terms - terms that I couldn't possibly have predicted or intentionally optimized for.

The fact that I am a rather verbose writer in many of my posts has actually helped me in terms of engine referrals. And the ultra-popular bloggers that write and post several short summaries (with relevant links) per day have the right of it: you don't have to write original pieces yourself to get high traffic. Personally, I'm unsatisfied doing that; I need and want to write original, longer pieces.

Search engines truly do love content, especially new content. But it takes time for your blog to build a "critical mass" of content, at which point the engine referrals don't stop. I'm not there yet, but I'm finding a higher percentage of engine referrals now than when I started "professional" blogging a few months ago. While I wasn't blogging for 2 weeks, the majority of my traffic was from MSN, Technorati, Google, Yahoo, and others, in decreasing order of referrals per day. I may only have 70 posts on my "biggest" blog, but I do have over 300 pages of content overall in less than 3 months, and once I get back into the swing of things, I'll be posting close to 10 entries a day (except Sundays), and some free classic books.

Digging deeper, I've applied my geek skills to analyze my Google AdSense revenues. While it's probably too soon to be sure, I've noticed a steady increase in revenue. What I've done is applied a statistical technique known as MMAs (Multiple Moving Averages), which are used in the stock market to predict a market upturn or downturn. [I successfully predicted 3 out of 4 North American market changes in 2000 with this method, but haven't applied it since. Unfortunately, I'd lost several thousand the year before in a stupid penny stock purchase, so I didn't have any investments.]

The basic idea is to average up ad revenue over several sliding windows of time. I've used 7 days, 14d, and 28d. I determine the average revenue in each sequence of days and plot it on a chart. I then compare short-term and long-term graphs to see trends. My trends show a steady rise in ALL windows, which typically signals good things. But the blogosphere is not the stock market, and what happens is basically unpredictable, until you have some critical mass.

To anyone interested, I'll be reporting the results of my findings regularly over the next year in this blog and in my NetMetrics blog, which will be moving over to the WebGuru multi-topic blog somewhere on my new geekSchool/ MathGurusOnline website sometime very soon.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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Thursday, October 13, 2005 

Blogging As Therapy – When Panic Strikes

Two days ago, just before my return to blogging, panic struck me. I'd taken two weeks "vacation" so that I could spend 16-20 hours a day working on re-launching and launching several websites, amalgamating blogs, creating new ones, and generally planning out my posts. But when it came time to stop drawing new web page designs and start writing, I couldn't do anything. I was frozen. It didn't matter that I'd sketched out nearly 200 blog entries scrawled into several sketchbooks.

I don't normally suffer from writer's block. In fact, it wasn't writer's block, as I already had content handwritten. But I couldn't get myself to sit down and transfer my notebooks full posts to my blog client (I use Zoundry's free Blog Writer almost exclusively). I was fearful that I would fall into the same trap as I had before my so-called vacation: that I would constantly chase my tail writing one entry, posting it, then moving on to the next one, with never a minute to relax.

But when I sat down and wrote this very entry, I realized that the simplest solution was to not post until I had several finished entries typed up and edited - in other words, ready to go. In magazine and newspaper parlance, this is known as "the kitty". I don't know the origins of the term, but it refers to a stockpile of articles that an editor can use if a feature story doesn't get completed or fact-checked on time.

I decided that I would not post again until I had at least 30 complete entries typed up, based on the notes I've scribbled down for the past two weeks. It's my only chance of staying sane from the self-imposed pressure of trying to be a professional blogger and internet publisher.

[NOTE: At posting time, I haven't finished typing and editing 30 complete posts, but I'm closer than when I wrote this entry earlier today.]

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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Back From Vacation

Hello everyone. I'm back from vacation. (Hey, I still worked 16-20 hours a day on my blogs and websites, so it wasn't really a vacation). I apologize for the batch posting of this message to all of my blogs, but I'm still madly reorganizing my blogs and this is the fastest way for me to communicate with readers... (The most current links to most of my blogs and website projects can always be found at my main website,

This is a somewhat lengthy post, but if you read any of my blogs with any frequency, my recommendation is that you read it. Otherwise, just visit keep visiting the blog(s) you're interested in :D.

I have several new websites, including a social awareness site, that I launched during the last two weeks. Some of them are still being tweaked (design and architecture). I'm also in the processing of moving some blogs, amalgamating other blogs, and creating a few new ones. I have nearly 200 blog posts sketched out across all of my blogs, but not all of these posts are in publishable format. So I do have tons of content planned, including some free ebooks, tutorials, and more. I'm just one person doing all of this, so please bear with me while I'm reorganizing.

By the way, I do try to check what people are searching for and then try to write a post relating to such topics (if I don't already have some such posts). I don't consider myself a blog network per se. I'll be straight out honest and say that I want to provide free information about several topics (food, technology, entertainment, and more), and then hope that (legitimate) ad revenue supports my writing and blogging habit. I'm a former print magazine publisher and editor, so blogs are my transition into the digital realm. My experience as a former search engine webmaster and as a programmer rounds my skills out. So blogging and websites are my ideal way to spend the day. So I'm making it my business to write about what you are looking for information on, provided it falls within my areas of interest or expertise. That said, there are a few blogs on my books that I'll be collaborating on with others, including family members, friends, and acquaintances.

So the scope of the "Chameleon Integration Systems" (CIS) blogs is expanding. I just have to keep it manageable so I can increase quality. The blog page templates I'm using will be changing on many of my blogs as I changing blogging platforms. For those that are curious, I currently use, WordPress and MovableType. I'll be trying out Mambo, bMachine, and others as well. Why all the platforms? Well, I have close to a decade of experience evaluating very high end ($500,000-$2,000,000) CMSes (Content Management Systems) for many large companies. Now I'm focusing on OpenSource solutions, specifically on software that can help bloggers set up both blogs and regular websites, plus online shopping. My "Chameleon Integration" motto is "Making the Internet Easy". So I'll be writing about my findings, for those that are interested.

Finally, just a note about blog posting schedules. I will not be posting on Sundays (I live in North America, time zone -0500., same zone as New York and Toronto). Sundays will be a day that I analyze stats, design new web pages, and sketch out the next week's worth of posts, and basically unwind. While I am aiming at posting daily to most blogs, I am still doing a lot of infrastructure work, so I won't be up to speed right away. I'll be posting some entries later today, but I probably won't be posting to every blog (new and old) until next week or the next. So I'll try to keep "current events" information posted at my main website, I hope you'll visit again, and drop off comments about what you'd like to see information on.


raj kumar dash


BlogSpinner-X serves two primary purposes. Firstly, it houses the original version of my Blogspinner blog, and contains the full-text of my older entries. Secondly, the more recent entries are excerpts of the full-text entries posted over on Blogspinner V2.0. In other words, the "X" stands for "eXcerpt".

About Me
I'm a geek/ philosopher/ composer/ artist/ cook/ web programmer/ consultant/ photographer/ blah-blah-blah who is also a published writer and author. This is one of several blogs that I write.

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(c) Copyright: 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,