Apr 16, 2014

Grow your business with Google Analytics part 1 of 6

One key piece of growing your site is understanding your users and their interaction on your pages. Google Analytics is a powerful tool that can help you uncover these insights by giving you a complete picture of your audience and their needs. To help you build a loyal and engaged audience, we're rolling out a blog series focused on helping AdSense publishers like you pull key insights out of your Analytics reports.

This week, we'll focus on getting started with Analytics. Next we'll share tips on how to learn more about your mobile users. Then we'll move on to more advanced topics like engagement and loyalty analysis to help you improve your content strategy. Check out the following steps to get started.

1. Link your AdSense and Analytics accounts for richer insights
The first step is to link your AdSense account to a new or existing Analytics account. From here, you're on your way to accessing new information that can help you identify opportunities to monetize your content more effectively. Keep in mind that you can only link one AdSense account to one Analytics account, and that the AdSense login must be an 'Administrator' on the Analytics account.

2. Set your site goals and conduct experiments to improve them
Think about what you want users to do on your site. Once you know these intended actions, you can map them to goals and conversion actions in Analytics to track how your site is performing. A goal is either a visit to a specific page of your site, or a specific action completed on your site. Once you've devised your goals, you can use Experiments to test how well different versions of your pages work in getting your visitors to accomplish these goals. For example, growing your AdSense revenue can be set up as a Content Experiment Goal. 

3. Create custom dashboards / reports  for quick access to insights
The next thing you'll want to do is to start accessing the broad range of insights that Analytics offers. Analytics dashboards provide a performance overview by displaying summaries of different reports on a single page. Custom reports allow you to customize the dimensions  (City and Browser, for example) and metrics (Visits, Pageviews, and Bounce Rate, for example) in a report to gain insights into your user visits and behavior. To help you get started with your AdSense data in Analytics and show you some relevant information at a glance, we've created this easy-to-use dashboard. Select one of your profiles to import, and you'll be able to quickly see and customize the reports which matter most to you. You can access this dashboard any time by clicking 'Dashboards' under the Reporting tab in your Analytics account. You can also visit the solutions gallery to download ready-to-use custom dashboards and reports that will be most helpful for your site. Alternatively you can create/edit your own dashboards and reports.

Once you've completed these three steps, we also encourage you to opt in to the Account specialist data sharing setting and our customized help and performance suggestion emails in your AdSense email preferences. You'll be eligible for targeted optimization tips from our marketing and sales specialists.

If you have any questions about the topics covered in this blog post, share them with us by filling out this form. At the end of this series, we'll record a video with answers to the most frequently asked questions and share it on Google+ on February 26th. See you back here next Wednesday when we'll take a closer look at how you can optimize your mobile presence with Google Analytics.

New Ad review center features help save you time and offer improved controls

Having the right information on the ads displayed on your site and being able to control them, is a big ask we hear from publishers. Many of you are already using the Ad review center to review and control these ads. From today, enjoy more choice with new updates designed to save you time and give you more control in the review process. 

Save time by not having to review the same ad twice. Now you can see which ads you've already reviewed by selecting the 'Show reviewed ads' checkbox in the top right corner of the Ad review center.

Show reviewed ads feature

You'll also have more choice when reviewing ads with our new ad size widget. Using the widget, you can review ads according to their size. If you want to review only the banner ads on your page for example, they'll be quick and easy to find. We're still fine-tuning this feature meaning it's possible that not every single ad of a particular size will be captured right away, but it will capture the majority of them.

New ad size widget

You'll now also have more control with new enhancements to our related ads feature. Over the next few days, related ads will start to identify ads containing the same logo. It'll then group together different ads containing that logo and give you the option to allow or block them running on your site. This feature will also cover ads containing the same video.

Finally, we've given the Ad review center a new look with a brand new user interface designed for quick and simple navigation. Try out these new features today. We're continuously looking for new ways to make this a valuable tool for you - please tell us what else you'd like to see over on our AdSense+ page.

Apr 14, 2014

Total Race revs up their success using Google AdSense

Time sure does fly - we've now reached the end of our '20(14) publisher stories' blog series. Thanks for following the series and for sharing your own stories. Read on to meet this week's featured publisher and check back soon for more publisher stories.

Total Race was created by five friends and racing enthusiasts. Covering Formula 1, stock car racing and IndyCar, the site receives 135,000 monthly visitors  and employs a team of 15 editors and reporters.

Total Race partners, Ivan and Erick, were already familiar with Google AdSense and using it as a monetization solution for their other web projects. The decision to also choose it for totalrace.com.br was an easy one says Erick and today "AdSense earnings represent around 70% of our total advertising income".

(Don't forget to enable english captions using the Captions button under the YouTube video)

The team also partnered with DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) Small Business to manage their advertising and save them time. Erick is pleased with this decision stating "the process from start to finish is very fast and easy to use. I'd highly recommend this tool for publishers seeking more detail and control of their advertising campaigns".

According to Erick, these products have been fundamental in the growth of the site. With the structure they bring, he's ready to focus further on taking his passion for racing to an even wider audience.

Watch the Total Race story.

Apr 13, 2014

Five Great Places to Find Your Next Blog Post Title

Do you struggle to come up with titles for your blog posts? You might not be short of topic ideas … but somehow, the actual titles end up sounding boring and bland.

Here are six great places to find the title for your next blog post:

1: Other Blogs

This often works well with blogs outside your own niche (as then their title can’t work for you without some changes).

Let’s say you want to use a title from DailyBlogTips for inspiration. Hey, why not have the title of this post? Here are a few possible twists on it.

Six Great Places to Find Your Next Blog Post Title (original title)

Six Great Places to Find Your Next Short Story Idea (creative writing blog)

Ten Great Places to Find Amazing Images for Your Website (blogging / online marketing blog)

Five Great Ways to Find Unusual but Delicious Recipes to Try Out (cooking blog)

2: Magazines

To stay profitable, magazines have to come up with great, interesting titles – and they’ll print the best of these on the front cover.

If you glance over a rack of magazines, you’ll notice that they often:

Use numbers (e.g. “100 Best Gadgets Ever!” from Stuff magazine)
Ask questions (e.g. “Could a mentor change your life?” from Psychologies magazine).
Use emotionally-charged words (e.g. “Lose your last 10 pounds! 1 secret inside” from Health magazine).
Grab any magazine that you have lying around the house, or head to the shops to see plenty of great examples. Grab a notebook and jot down any title ideas they inspire.

3: Books

While some books might, like magazines, simply provide you with a good title idea, really well-known books can be a great way to tap into a framework that readers already have (and even borrow a bit of authority).

For instance, my post 7 Habits of Serious Writers draws on Stephen Covey’s famous book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

Obviously, you’ll want to pick books that your readers are likely to have heard of. (It doesn’t matter if they’ve not read them.)

Another option is to pick an idea from a book – e.g. Dante’s nine circles of hell, or

Note: While titles themselves aren’t copyright, part or all of the title may well be trademarked. You may prefer to use works that are out of copyright.

4: Jon Morrow’s “52 Headline Hacks”

In this great, free ebook, Jon Morrow gives you 52 templates – plus examples – of all sorts of different headline (which, in this context, is just another world for “blog post title”).

This is a handy resource when you’re brainstorming, as you can simply work through the list and come up with headlines that would suit your blog. You’ll probably find that not all the different categories work for your style and audience, but you’ll definitely get a great list of posts to write.

You do need to sign up for Jon’s email list to get the ebook (you’ll get an email whenever he publishes a new blog post, and occasionally when he’s running a webinar or similar). Of course you can unsubscribe once you have the ebook, but I’d advise against it: Jon’s posts are always well worth reading.

5: Comments on Your Blog

Sometimes, readers may leave a brilliant idea in a comment. Perhaps a particular phrase they use is one that you realise rings true for your audience as a  whole – and you could use that phrase in a title, or even as the whole title.

One of my most popular posts, 7 Habits of Serious Writers (which I mentioned above) was a title that a reader suggested to me in a comment. I actually thought it was a bit of an uninspiring title but went with it anyway and I’m very glad I did!

It’s always powerful to use the language your audience uses: it strengthens your connection with them, and it can even boost your search engine traffic, as the words you use match up better with the ones they use when searching.

Apr 9, 2014

Three Simple Ways to Encourage More Comments on Your Blog

Do you have post after post with zero comments … and perhaps a handful with one or two comments each?

If you’ve got subscribers and traffic, you might wonder what you’re doing wrong. You know people are reading — but they’re just not commenting.

One solution, of course, is to turn off comments. But many bloggers, especially in the early days, find that the comments they receive are a huge source of encouragement, motivation and ideas.

So here’s what you can do to encourage more of your readers to leave a response to your post.

1: Invite Comments with a Question

Not all readers will immediately think of leaving a comment. A great way to encourage them is by asking a question. This could be as simple as “What do you think?” or “Did I miss anything?” or it could be more specific.

Try to make the question (a) open-ended (rather than yes/no) and (b) easy to answer — something that readers can give their opinion on.
2: Make it Easy to Comment

Some blogs receive next to no comments because they’ve made the commenting process difficult and time-consuming. If readers have to fill in a CAPTCHA, register, or even use the Disqus system, they’re less likely to leave a response.

Unless you’ve got a really strong reason to use a different commenting set up, go with your blog’s default. (The WordPress commenting system is perfectly good as-is.) For more on this, see Diane Urban’s post Why WordPress’s Native Commenting System Beats Disqus or Livefyre.

3: Use the CommentLuv Plugin

CommentLuv is a WordPress plugin (with free and premium versions) that automatically adds a link to a commenter’s most recent blog post — assuming they fill in their URL when leaving a comment, of course.

It’s a nice way to reward commenters, and to help your readers connect with one another, building up a real community around your blog. To find out more, take a look at Kristi Hines’s post 5 Reasons I Still Use CommentLuv.

Social Networks: Should You Go for Quantity or Quality?

If you’ve launched a blog, you’ve got plenty of work to do already – writing regular posts, moderating comments, reading and commenting on other people’s blogs, sending out guest post pitches so how can you find the time to join every social media site going?

Although every network has a slightly different audience, and different possibilities, it’s definitely best not to spread yourself too thin.

Focus on One or Two Networks

There’s no rule that says, as a blogger, you need to have a presence on every single network. Of course there’s nothing stopping you – but you’ll probably find yourself struggling to keep up with them all.

(Yes, there are tools you can use to update and/or manage several social networks from one place, but think about it this way: is anyone going to want to follow you on Facebook and Google+ if you post the exact same things to both networks?)

I’d suggest picking one or two networks to concentrate on. Think about:
  • Where your target audience hang out. What networks are most familiar to them, and where do they tend to engage? If you’re writing for techy 20-somethings, Google+ might be a good choice. If you’re writing for women aged 40 – 60, Facebook will be a better bet.
  • Which networks you personally prefer. Some bloggers love the relative simplicity and to-the-point nature of Twitter; others enjoy using Facebook to connect with family and friends.
By concentrating your efforts on one or two networks that are popular with your audience, you’ll have more time to craft really good updates, build a following, and engage with your readers.

But Register an Account on Other Networks

It’s a good idea to secure your name (or blog / brand name) on networks that you don’t plan to use regularly. You could register on Twitter, for instance, and put up a single tweet directing people to your website.

That way, you’ve got a good account if you do want to use Twitter in the future – and if someone searches for you on Twitter, they can still find you. This doesn’t just apply to Twitter, of course; you can do the same with other networks.

Google+ is a special case here, as you need an account to activate Google Authorship (which we strongly recommend). This adds your name and photo alongside any results from your blog in Google. If you’ve got a Gmail address, you automatically have a Google+ account.

Get ready to share your feedback in our semi-annual publisher survey

We’re always looking to hear your thoughts on how we’re doing and your suggestions on  how we can make Google AdSense and other Google publisher products as useful and impactful as possible for you. Your feedback is important to us and helps shape the future direction of our publisher solutions. Our semi-annual publisher survey will launch on April 23rd and we hope to hear from all of you. 

Every six months, the feedback collected from this survey is closely reviewed to help determine our product roadmap. Based on your feedback and asks last time round, we’ve launched a number of new features to grow your earnings. These include custom ads sizes, easier A/B testing and to get the most from your ad units and the new AdSense homepage giving you quick access to the insights you value most. 

Over the coming weeks, we’ll send the survey by email to a sample of publishers. To participate, please take the following steps as soon as possible:
  • Ensure your contact details are updated.
  • Ensure your email preferences are updated to receive ‘occasional survey’ messages.
Whether you’ve completed this survey before or you’re providing feedback for the first time, we’d like to thank you for taking the time to tell us how we’re doing. We’re looking forward to hearing your feedback.