Archive for the ‘WordPress’ Category

Good Backups Make Happy IT People

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Backups are such a pain. Mostly because you don’t ever need them until you need them and then you just hope that they work. Of course, they also hit you at a time when you’re least expecting them. You can be completely consistent checking and verifying your backups and then the week you decide to not test it (or just plain get busy and don’t do it) is the week that you end up needing it for real.

Luckily, I’m writing this post without an experience to share in this regard. Although, I am in an evening where I’m going through and adding some more backups to my various blogs. I’d say I do a reasonably good job with backups considering the data that I’m working with, but I could always do better.

The good part for bloggers is that there are a lot of plugins out there to help you with your backup needs. wp-db-backup is my favorite. Simple and just straight up works. It doesn’t get the files which is annoying on some sites, but most of my sites are content anyway, so for me it’s all about the DB backup.

Add the email backup it provides with gmail’s filters and space and it’s a pretty sweet backup solution.

Monetizing My Blogs

Friday, September 10th, 2010

On a forum I recently started participating in, someone asked me a question about how I monetize my blogs such that I can be a full time blogger. Here’s the question in it’s full form and my response:

“Mind telling us what you blog about and what your revenue stream is
(advertising, affiliates, etc.)? I’d be interested in hearing about
it.

Aaron”

I mostly blog about 2 main topic areas: Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and TV Shows. You can see my full list of blogs: http://www.crashutah.com/about/

I have 3 main revenue streams:

  1. Direct Sale Ads – I have 20-30 ads for my blogs that I’ve sold directly to advertisers. My first ads came from people interested in getting some SEO value of having an ad on my site. Over time my traffic has increased that they get a number of benefits including SEO and click throughs. I haven’t really solicited too many advertisers. I just posted an image on my site that said “Advertise Here” and that linked to a page with some details. Although, I do occasionally find an advertiser from someone I’ve met.
  2. PayPerClick (PPC) – My strongest source of revenue for this is Google Ads. It took me a month to get my first $100 check. 3 years to get my second $100 check. Then, I found the right niche and how to scale up traffic and it’s done very well for me. I also do some text link ads which provide some revenue, but not a significant amount. I’ve also been trying to diversify this revenue stream by trying adbrite and others. Can anyone get me into the Microsoft ad network?
  3. Affiliate – This is an interesting part since my EMR sites sale $1000 scanners which make a nice commission, but obviously I don’t sell that many of them. My TV sites have a niche around the music from TV shows and so I sell iTunes music like hot cakes, but at $1 a song it takes the volume to really add up. I also do pretty well with Ticketmaster tickets that are kind of the middle of the road between those 2 extremes. Amazon affiliate has been decent for me too. I was sad that eBay partnered with another site for tour/concert ticket sales and killed that revenue stream for me.

I do a couple other minor things with a job board and other affiliate things, but those are my major sources of blog revenue which let me work for myself full time.

I have a different focus than many other people who make money through advertising/affiliate. Many people that do it create a zillion websites about things they know nothing about and just drive the traffic like crazy to these things and make a commission on the traffic. Often they’re paying for lower cost Google Adwords in order to convert either higher paying Google Adsense or higher paying affiliates. Personally I don’t feel comfortable doing that.

Instead, I build a website that’s chock full of content that provides value to the readers (at least that’s the goal). I spend $0 on marketing (so far) and instead use free online marketing methods and great content to build the traffic and community. Then, I monetize that traffic using the above methods.

Anyway, this is probably more than you wanted, but take it for what it’s worth. I’ll be telling more of my experience becoming a full time blogger at WordCamp Las Vegas.

Izea at BlogWorld New Media Expo

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Many of you probably don’t know about my history with a company called Izea (previously known at PayPerPost). Turns out that Izea is really the key to me being able to live my dream as a full time blogger and internet entrepreneur today. Without Izea I’d still be working the 9 to 5 and submitting resumes looking for a job. Instead, I’m working from home, working whatever hours I want and never changing out of my pajamas. It’s an awesome life. In fact, if you want to hear more of my story come to WordCamp Las Vegas where I’ll be sharing more details about becoming a full time blogger.

All of this intro is really just my way of saying that Izea should hook me up with a free pass to the BlogWorld New Media Expo in the lovely Las Vegas. You can learn more about the contest here.

As Blogger 61 in the Izea blogger family, I feel that I’m in a unique position to tell stories about Ted (CEO of Izea). Don’t believe me? Check out this blog post I made up back in 2006 about Ted really being a guy named Willie trying to hook up with Colleen. Although my favorite story about Ted was probably the Big Green Monster and eating a large pizza. Ask him about that one!

I can’t make any promises about what will happen during BlogWorld Expo with Ted and the Izea team. However, I can’t make any promises about what won’t happen either. Just don’t be surprised if we find Ted swimming in a big sheet cake at the end of the night while 3 Izea ladies massage his back with the icing.

While they say What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas, that’s just not possible at a blogging conference. I’ll have the camera and the Flip video ready to make sure it doesn’t.

Adding Feedburner Feeds to Digg Automatically Immediately

Monday, August 30th, 2010

The new Digg website has been seen as very controversial lately. I think they call it the Digg Revolt. They even suggest that it’s going to be easier for Big Blog publishers to make it to the front page of Digg (which means LOTS of traffic). I think this has always been generally the case, but I think it also opens up the opportunities for smaller publishers to get more Digg traffic too.

Time will tell, but I know I’m excited to see what the new Digg Import Feeds function will mean for my blogs. I just added all of my blogs to Digg and I’ll be watching to see what kind of traffic it generates. I expect it will be significant compared to the cost of me adding my feeds.

In fact, here’s how simple it is to get your feed added to the Import Feeds section of Digg.

1. After logging into Digg, go to: http://digg.com/settings/feeds
2. Add your RSS feed URL to the box and click Add Feed
3. Now the little bit tricky part. You have to copy a verification code to your blog. You can copy it into your RSS feed (not usually easy) or add it to your next blog post. Personally I didn’t want to wait for my next blog post. I wanted to have my feed pulled in by Digg immediately. I didn’t want to have to remember to add the code on each of my blogs the next time I posted. Here’s the trick:
-Add the HTML code they provide to your most recently published blog post. Click save and make sure it finishes saving.
4. Assuming you’re using Feedburner for your Feeds (like I am), you want Feedburner to update your feed with the code, but you don’t want to wait for it to update since it does it every 30 minutes or so. So, go to http://www.feedburner.com/fb/a/ping and you can manually paste in your Feedburner Feed and have it update it.
5. Now you can click the Verify Now button in Digg and your feed will start pulling into Digg automatically.

I’ll report back on how much traffic this actually generates on my various blogs.

BuddyPress Presentation at WordCamp Utah

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

The following is my presentation on “Why BuddyPress Rocks” at WordCamp Utah. Feel free to leave any questions you have about my presentation. Feedback is also appreciated.

The Value of Local Events

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

I’ll be the first to admit that I absolutely LOVE the internet. I love the power of technology. It’s always amazing to me to think about what one little guy in Las Vegas can do of influence on the internet. I love when people ask me if I’ve met the various writers on my network of TV blogs. I usually start laughing and then say, No. Does it matter if I meet them in person? It would be fun to do one day, but is it really necessary.

With this said, today I attended a local Las Vegas technology event sponsored by TBAN. The speaker was interesting, but the real value was in the networking. Sometimes I forget about the real value of meeting people face to face. Plus, these local events are interesting since they often bring together a group of people with a broad variety of backgrounds. I always find it enlightening to meet people who don’t live on the internet like I do.

I guess that’s why I’m also excited to be attending a couple WordCamps. WordCamp actually is a great place to meet a variety of people as well. At one WordCamp, I met someone who worked for the PBS documentary film company that produces some of my favorite PBS shows.

It’s always good to get out and meet people in person. Even if I still love to come back to my computer and enjoy my online world too.

Attending WordCamp Utah and WordCamp Las Vegas

Monday, August 16th, 2010

I’m really excited to be attending both WordCamp Utah and WordCamp Las Vegas in the next couple months. I’ve attended WordCamp Las Vegas in the past and enjoyed it thoroughly. I’ve always wanted to present at a WordCamp and so I’ll actually be presenting at both WordCamp conferences.

WordCamp Utah
At WordCamp Utah, I’m going to be presenting on “Why BuddyPress Rocks!” I think it’s going to be a fun session where I can talk about all the different ways that BuddyPress can be used. I can discuss where the development of BuddyPress is headed and how I’m using BuddyPress on my new sports fundraising website. This should be a lot of fun since I pretty much work on BuddyPress all day now.

Plus, hopefully I’ll be able to share how cool it is to be a member of a small niche community like BuddyPress. There are thousands of them online and it’s really fun to be part of one. Plus, hopefully I can connect with some other BuddyPress and WordPress developers that I can work with in the future. If I grow GivingSports.com and GivingSquare.com the way I’d like, I’m going to definitely need some good WordPress/BuddyPress development help soon.

WordCamp Las Vegas
I was planning to present on BuddyPress at WordCamp Las Vegas as well, but another guy was interested in presenting on that topic too. Not a big deal for me. I’m just glad that BuddyPress will be talked about at the WordCamp. Plus, I have 6 other blogs that basically feed my family so there are plenty of other blogging related topics that I could present on.

I’m going to be presenting at WordCamp Las Vegas on “From Hobby to Full Time Blogger: Lessons Learned from 5 Years of Blogging” I’ve wanted the chance to tell my story of blogging for a while, so I’m excited to be given the opportunity. Hopefully those that attend will find it interesting and useful. I’ve learned a lot about blogging over the past 5 years and I’m really happy to call myself a full time blogger.

If any of you are planning to attend these events, I look forward to meeting you there.