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<ul><li> Six Figure BloggingSix Figure Blogging Class 5Transcript Time Warner/Weblogs, Inc. Buyout Andy: Darren, have we done the class since the big AOL Time Warner news, the big AOL Web Blog buy out? Darren: No. I think that happened this week Andy: Yes, that was the big news. I dont know if anybody has heard but AOL bought the Weblogs, Inc. blog network for how much Darren? Was it twenty million? Darren: The rumor is about twenty-five million. Which I think is not bad for a two year old company. Andy: Not at all. I think they were saying that they have about eighty blogs but really thirty of them are live. Darren: That is right and there was one or two that werent included in that deal that is because, it came out yesterday [that those blogs posted] lots of rumors on them and AOL didnt want to get sued. Andy: Right, with all the liability. I am curious to see how this is all shakes out because I want to see what kind of deals the writers are going to get. Darren: Yes, I think there are no promises at this stage. I saw an email saying that they are not promising any extra payments at this stage but they are changing their conditions of copy write so the bloggers can keep the copyright to what they write Andy: That is surprising. 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 141http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0 </li> <li> Six Figure Blogging Darren: Yes, they can use it in any way that is not online, I think. So they can write books out of their content or do speaking tours or that kind of stuff so there are some increased conditions to that regard and there was allusions to that fact that there would be more money in the network but havent given any specifics to my knowledge yet on that. Andy: I am so surprised that a large company like AOL would give up content rights. That really surprises me. Darren: Yes. I guess AOL is an online company so they just want to [have the] online rights to it. Andy: Maybe that is how they can justify not paying people as much because they say, You own your content. Darren: Yes, exactly. Google Launches RSS Reader Andy: The other big blogging news was that Google launched an RSS reader which you can look at reader.Google.com. I just posted a flash demo on how to do it over at andywibbels.com. It is in the notes for tonight and Yahoo just launched a podcast search engine over at podcast.yahoo.com. So there has been a lot of activity. Darren, there was some other big money buy out thing. What was that? Verisign Buys Weblogs.com Darren: Yes, VeriSign bought out weblogs.com which was a pinging service. Andy: Right so if you guys have ever heard of weblogs.com, which is a pinging service which is a clearing house for updated weblogs all over the place. That got bought by Verisign who was owned by Dave Winer, right? 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 142http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0 </li> <li> Six Figure Blogging Darren: That is right. It was a multimillion dollar deal. I cant remember the exact figures. I think it might have been five or something. Andy: It is wild because that is really just a pinging server. I mean, yes, it has a lot of traffic but it is pretty much a one-trick-pony type site. Darren: That is right. Andy: I am fascinated to see in a year what we are talking about in regards to all these buyouts they just have the capacity to. Darren: That is right. I guess it just goes to show how a simple idea can actually work out for massive results in an incredibly short time with blogging. Andy: Yes, so now they are all saying that this is the blogging bubble. It is the internet bubble 2.0 and the usual rumor-mongering and the hate- mongering and gossip is awash over the blogosphere. It is always fun to tune into that because people get really protective of themselves. Introduction to Metrics Andy: Today we really want to get down to brass tacks about metrics and traffic and writing content. I really love the metrics side of things because it is something you can hold on to, you can analyze it, you can play with it if you are obsessed with numbers. You can be a total Microsoft Excel dork and sit there and run charts and figure out where everything is coming from. Metrics are really what is going to get you certain about the results that your blog is getting. Darren: That is right. I was just thinking this morning, I used to work in a supermarket and we used to do this thing where wed follow customers around and wed make a little map of where they went in the store, what shelves they were looking at, what products they compared with other 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 143http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0 </li> <li> Six Figure Blogging products, and those sorts of thing. Then we did an exit poll of them at the end. That information was then used in the design of that supermarket. Really I guess what we are talking about today is that type of thing where we are looking at who our readers are, where they are coming in, and where theyre looking, what they are doing, and how they leave. In the same regard, I guess, we actually can use that information to design our sites and I guess increase the profitability of what we are doing. Andy: Yes, if you want to read about that behavior study, there is a really good book out called WhyWe Buy. It is a guy who is an anthropologist that actually hires people to follow customers in malls, restaurants, and shops. They do this whole study. It is a fascinating book and he also does some work online. He just published a new book about peoples attraction to malls. I forgot the guys name but his one book is called Why We Buy. Traffic as a Stream Andy: When I think of traffic, Id like to think of a stream. It is important to analyze each visitor and where each individual could be going, might be going, and what they might be looking for. You can get a lot more information if you think about your traffic as a stream. You are standing next to a stream and you want to dip your blog in there. You want to get as much water as possible. Think about when you are at the ocean and you are trying to catch guppies. You have your half-liter bottle; youve cut it in half and its empty. You catch some fish and they always swim out of the water as you are scooping it up. It is the idea where you want to get this flow. I think of this big pipeline. I want to divert it from the internet on to my blog. Then I want to get those clicks to people on to my site. Every click tells you something about what that persons looking for. I really didnt 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 144http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0 </li> <li> Six Figure Blogging start thinking about traffic like that until a couple of years ago where I was really trying to read up on how people think of website traffic. Every click tells you either a person has found something they are looking for, they got interested in something, they gave up and left, or they got diverted into a different topic, or they clicked on an ad. Every single click can tell you a little bit more about what person is doing and what they are looking for. It is important to think of traffic as this overall stream that you can analyze but every once in a while, you can get in there and root around and see what an individual user is doing. Darren: That is right. The other thing that I love about metrics and the statistical packages that we are going to talk about today is that you can analyze things quite often on a click-by-click basis and on an individual user basis. When you pull those statistics together, you actually begin to see some real emerging trends on your blog. What Id suggest is that people do go into the micro and do look at individual behavior of blog readers but take steps back as well and look at those overarching trends which can reveal some incredible information and open up real opportunities for you as well. What is Your Sites Most Valuable Click? Andy: The stuff I wanted to add to is the idea of what is your sites most valuable click? If somebody goes to your site and clicks on something, what gets you the most bang for the buck? What is the highest paying best converting link to an ad? To an affiliate commission? It could be to your own newsletter or an existing product. Do you put those valuable clicks in the hot spots of your templates so that each click not only tells you about the user but can also be an opportunity for income? 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 145http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0 </li> <li> Six Figure Blogging Darren: That is right. That would make a good basis for your field work this week is asking the question, What am I trying to get people to click on? What is that most valuable click? For instance, on Problogger, my most valuable click isnt my AdSense ads. They are not a big of a deal for me. What I want people to do on Problogger is one of three things. I want them to sign up for my RSS feed; I want them to subscribe to my newsletter, and Id like them to click on my affiliate links because I know the affiliate links on that page are much better converting when it comes to income than AdSense ads. That is my priority for Problogger which is very different from say the digital camera one where I am much more interested in people clicking on Chitika ads or AdSense ads because I know that they convert pretty well on that particular site. So each blog you have, it is really important to have that in the back of your mind is, What am I trying to direct people to? How am I trying to divert this stream into ways that 1) Helps the readers that are coming into my site because we want to be creating useful but that 2) that it is helpful to me in my goals? Basic Vocabulary Andy: Right. Just to do a quick vocabulary, when we talk about conversion rate, we are talking about what percentage of visits to a particular page result in clicking on an ad or an affiliate link. If you say, for example, that my newsletter sign up page usually has about twenty to twenty-five percent conversion, which means of the people that land on the sign up page, at least a fourth of them make the trip to the success page that says, Thanks for signing up for the newsletter. Then, I am also able to tell how many of those people then go to download the excerpt from my book. 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 146http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0 </li> <li> Six Figure Blogging So the conversion rate is meaning how many of these random readers are you converting either into a newsletter or a sales pipeline or out to a product or an ad or an affiliate product. Darren: That is right. Really for me, it is all about positioning. I think one of the key positions on your blog to put these things that you want people to do is at the end of posts. We talked last week about how the top left hand corner of the heat map and that can be quite optimal to put something like, Subscribe for my newsletter for tips like this. Or Subscribe to my RSS feed for more information like this. Add those points in your blog where things end whether it be a post or whether it be a stream of thought that you got going on or whether it be that they just signed up for something and then they are greeted with an empty page. You want to be thinking about those dead spots, those spots where people are stopping and looking for something else to do is to actually be positioning those sorts of next step activities. Andy: Right, very good idea. Along with that, if you are going to think of your clicks in a really cold marketing business school sense, you really want ideally, a site visitor to click on an ad or a product or often to a newsletter or go somewhere else on this site that if you are getting into cold hard marketing terms, you want them to either click out to something that gives me something or stay on the site until you do. Use a Flowchart to Map Traffic Patterns Darren: That is right. I think it is really worthwhile, I havent put them in the notes, but it is worthwhile actually to be making a flowchart up of what you think a typical reader does on your site. Track them where they are coming in from and what will they do when they are on my site and actually begin to develop your idea flow of what would you like them to do 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 147http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0 </li> <li> Six Figure Blogging that can actually give you some steps along the way of actually designing this flow through in a way that converts for you. Observe Test Users Andy: Also if you want to drive yourself crazy, have somebody that doesnt know your site and watch them use it. There are a few things more awaking than watching non-savvy internet users use a website. So if you ever want to blow your own mind, I use to do interface testing with an old job. Watch people use your site. You will be amazed at what they click on, what they skip over, and what they see as important versus what you or your designer think is important. Darren: It is one of the funniest things you can ever do is doing that but it is really useful. Andy: If you have non-techie parents, get them to use your site because you will learn so much about where their eyes fall, what they perceive as something that is free or something that is useful. It will totally blow your mind. I am telling you; it is really fascinating. Darren: It is quite depressing too....</li></ul>