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November 2012

Better Blog Pages: Pages to Help You Make More Money (Day Five)

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This post is part of a five-part series about creating better blog pages. You can see all the posts in this series here.

If your blog is monetized, you’re probably always on the lookout for ways to make more money while still keeping content quality high. Creating a few pages with monetization in mind is one of the best uses for your time. On my own blogs, I’ve made thousands of dollars over the course of the last few years with the creation of the following pages:

An Advertising Page

Sometimes, advertisers will simply look at your about page or contact page, but my advertising inquires increased by tenfold when I put an advertising page on my site. This page simply covers some of the most common questions advertisers have, like demographics and pricing.

I really encourage you to list some baseline prices on your advertising page. This helps cut out people who email you and want free link trading or have a very low advertising budget. You don’t have to give specifics, but you can list ranges or your starting prices to give potential advertisers an idea of what they’ll need to spend to work with you.

Even if you have a contact page (which you absolutely should), include your email address on your advertising page as well. You don’t want people to have to work to figure out how to email you about buying advertising!

A Sponsored Post Page

One of the forms of advertising I offer on some of my blogs is a sponsored post. So, I have a separate page just for this, which answers the most common questions and gives pricing information. You might want to simply include this as part of your advertising page; it depends on your niche and how many sponsored posts you want to include on your blog. Before adding a sponsored post page, I would get requests three or four times a year. Now, I get about two every month.

The biggest benefit to having a sponsorship page is that you can talk about the quality you want in a sponsored post. Before, of the few posts I was offered every year, at least half of them were very poor quality—nothing I would publish. Now, most of what I get is on point.

A Resource List

If you make money with affiliate sales, I recommend creating a page with your top resources using your affiliate links. (Of course, include a disclosure that they are affiliate links.)

This isn’t just a way to make money. It’s also a quality resource for your readers. Customize the list for your niche (for example on one of my sites, The PinterTest Kitchen, we have a list of kitchen supplies we like since it’s a food blog). Don’t forget to keep your list updated so it’s always relevant for readers.

I also recommend creating some posts on your blog that are really specific about certain resources. For example, if you have a fashion blog, you could have a page for general resources, but at some point you might create posts like “The Top Ten Shoes Every Girl Needs to Own” or “My Favorite Hair Tools of All Time.” Link to these posts on your general resource page.

A final page that I really recommend every blogger has (if your blog is monetized) is a disclaimer/disclosure page. The FTC requires you to disclose when you have relationships with certain companies you blog about or when links are affiliate links. Having a blanket disclose page helps you comply with these rules. This page can also include other notices and policies, like your comment policy.

Millennials Using Social Media for Social Good

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The adoption of digital technology is one of the major distinctions Millennials have among previous generations. The age group in their late teens to early 30s can create a profile on the latest social network faster than you can say “smartphone.” Many might deem their ubiquitous love affair with social media quite trivial, but don’t discount all the good some of them are already doing with it. Millennials are pioneering ways to give back to their communities, sharing actionable solutions to social issues, and galvanizing others who believe real impact is sometimes only a send button away.

Social Networks Expanding Nonprofits’ Reach

Take IGNITEgood for instance, who has teamed up with The Huffington Post to give away $100,000 to 10 game changing ideas that move humanity forward. The competition dubbed “Millennial Impact Challenge,” will first select five existing nonprofit organizations/businesses that demonstrate scalable impact, viability of getting others involved, and a sense the applicants are uniquely qualified to champion their big idea. The IGNITE Team has corralled an impressive group of–you guessed it–Millennials as the selection committee to pick these winners. The second half of funding is reserved for five startup organizations or companies who get the most “likes” on Facebook during the voting phase. You see, socially-conscious Millennials are using the “like” button for something other than self-esteem boosters and virtual pats on the back.

A Houston darling of a nonprofit is also harnessing the social web to make a difference in their community. Mia’s Closet is barely a year old and is already making established nonprofits take notice with its online presence. Executive Director Chelsea Coffey founded the nonprofit to instill confidence and self-worth in students from kindergarten to high school by providing them with clothing through a personal shopping experience.

Seeing is believing in Coffey’s perspective so she tells the story of her organization through Instagram. The app allows Coffey and crew to showcase the lively atmosphere of pampering, personal styling, and all around family fun. What started out as a small project has blossomed into a steady growth in Facebook and Twitter fans, along with a full-fledged website using the easily-to-learn, WordPress platform. Quite fittingly, the 20-something founder now moonlights as fashion/social media editor for the same magazine that gave Mia’s Closet its early press coverage in March.

Social Entrepreneurs are The New Rockstars

From local zines to globally-recognized publications, Millennials are reported on as leaders in the surge of social entrepreneurship. One such brand is Forbes Magazine, which intends to bring these modern enterprises to a new audience. The magazine has publicized its search for 30 Awesome Social Entrepreneurs Under 30. Known for its lists of actors, rockstars, and  business moguls, Forbes is venturing into content that may add cachet to the young do-gooders of the world. Don’t go nominating your buddy who raised a wad of singles and loose change selling lemonade at the local block party, though. The staff is essentially searching for the dream team of altruistic innovators. The noble group who will help define this generation and their impact will most likely be fueled by Web 2.0.

One clear candidate deserving Forbes glory is Tristan Walker, who is adding value to the nonprofit sector via the social highway. The tech wunderkind Linkedin page looks more like Mashable.com’s top stories. Walker has worked for Twitter, JP Morgan, a major Boston-based consulting group and more recently served as Foursquare’s Director of Business Development (a relationship which he initiated with an email to the founders). Working 12 hour days to develop an investment portfolio so he can buy yachts, expensive champagne, and gold-plated toilet seats seem like the next steps for him, right?

On the contrary, the rising figure has opted to tackle a new venture that yields $0 in profits. Yes, Walker recently founded a nonprofit organization that is primed to give minorities a shot at taking on Silicon Valley’s biggest startups. The bold move has backing from some major players in the tech space, philanthropy powerhouses, and venture capital partners. Their inaugural class of fellows earned paid internships and gained insight from the who’s who of tech startups, as well as established companies.

Tammy Tibbetts is another under 30 community organizer crushing it at the intersection of social media and social change. Tibbetts had already scored a coveted job as Social Media Editor for Seventeen Magazine, which she reported as having the fastest growing Twitter presence in the magazine industry in 2011. She has since made the tough decision to leave that dream job to begin another as founder of She’s the First, a non-profit sponsoring girls’ education in developing countries.

Tibbetts takes social media best practices from her previous role to amplify the impact her organization makes. The site features “Map Your Impact” using Google Maps, as well as tweeting, Facebooking, and Tumbling calls-to-action that drive donors to its Razoo page. One of the most surprising, yet promising displays of support comes from its tie-dye cupcakes campaign, which has turned into social media tour de force. The video below is a taste of how sweet it is for college students to raise  thousands of dollars with a few days of baking and selling cupcakes on campus.

[vimeo width=”575″ height=”375″]http://vimeo.com/48242656[/vimeo]

How Millennials Engage With Nonprofits

These new media-friendly founders help contextualize the bigger picture of how Millennials are working toward a greater good.  A valuable reference to these interactions is the often-cited 2012 Millennial Impact Report, which surveys Millennials’ relationships with existing nonprofits.

  • Connecting: The majority of Millennials surveyed stated they prefer to learn about nonprofits through their website and social media. 77% of them own smartphones, and they like having access to what an organization does, how to get involved, and shareable content, right at their fingertips. Nearly 70% of the participants have interacted with a nonprofit via Facebook. A staggering 87% of them follow nonprofits on Twitter, while 60% give compliments and retweet content from nonprofits they follow.
  • Involving: Not surprisingly, 81% of respondents prefer to learn about nonprofit volunteering opportunities through their peers. This finding warrants an added incentive for nonprofit leaders to create content people want to share, and display social network mechanisms for supporters to do so. Coming in at second and third are emails and a nonprofit’s website to learn about volunteer information. By a margin of more than two-to-one, Millennials who volunteer for nonprofits are more likely to make donations. That’s good news for organizations who can effectively engage with their audience via online and offline experiences.
  • Giving: Millennials overwhelmingly prefer to donate through the web, with 70% of respondents having made contributions through a nonprofit’s web page in the last year. This goes back to nonprofits needing to produce and feature inspiring content on their website in order to gain financial support. To encourage consistent giving, nonprofits should make it clear as to how donations will impact the organization, avoid telling donors how much to give, and stray from sending long letters in the mail for support. Millennials like to make contributions with ease and immediacy.

So there you have it. A look at innovative Millennials using social sites to make meaningful connections and bring change for the undeserved communities they’re passionate about. And a snapshot of overall trends that will ultimately drive new and interesting ways to solve human injustice and inequality. Comment below to share your story or tell us about a person you know who is using social media for social good. Even lemonade stand stories are welcomed here.

 

012 The Podcast Report – Podcast Awards Voting Now Open – NMX Podcasting Month – NaPodPoMo

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Hey everyone, Cliff Ravenscraft here. I’m back with another episode of The Podcast Report with my co-host, Megan Enloe.

In this episode we cover three reasons why November is an exciting month for the podcasting community.

1) The voting for the 8th Annual Podcast Awards has officially opened. You can vote for your favorite podcasts every day, once per day, until November 15th at http://PodcastAwards.com.

2) NMX has announced that November is “Podcasting Month.” You’ll notice that all the channels of communication for the conference will be heavily weighted to highlight and celebrate all things podcasting.

3) We have a conversation with Jennifer Navarrete about Napodpomo and how you can get involved. For more details, check out http://napodpomo.ning.com.

Register For NMX Today!

If you are serious about your podcasting efforts, I highly recommend that you attend the leading podcast industry conference. If you haven’t registered yet, click here to get registered today.

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Better Blog Pages: Pages to Increase Your Pageviews (Day Four)

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This post is part of a five-part series about creating better blog pages. You can see all the posts in this series here.

When someone looks at multiple pages/posts on your blog, they’re more likely to become a regular reader, subscriber, or customer. Google also cares about bounce rate and time on site, so its a no-brainer to include pages on your site that help keep people sticking around. There are three main types of pages that can do this that we’re going to cover today.

Archive/Sitemap

In order to make your blog as easy to navigate as possible (for both humans and search engines), consider including a sitemap or archives page on your blog. People love to find posts that interest them, and when they’re new to your site, an archives page can help.

I recommend doing some testing to find the right format. For example, Glen from ViperChill has an archive of posts via category. You can also auto-create pages with posts listed by date. These are definitely not your only options; how you set up your archives page depends on your niche and your specific content. The point is simply to make everything as easy to find as possible.

“Start Here” Page

When I visit a blog for the first time, I absolutely love when I see a “Start Here” page for newbies. I find this page invaluable because I know it’s going to point me to all the posts I need to read first.

On your “Start Here” page, you want to link to your backstory (whether that’s on your About page or is its own post on your blog). I also like to see a section for beginners in the niche, linking to blog posts that fall into this category, as well as more resources from both your own blog and from others. This page can also include product recommendations, testimonials, or even a video intro.

What would you want to see if you were a new reader coming to your site? Be as helpful as possible on this page.

“Best Of” Page

Even more important than a “Start Here” page, at least to me when I’m visiting a blog for the first time, is a “Best Of” page. As the name implies, on this page, you want to include all of the very best blog posts you’ve written. A good option is to split them into categories and list about five for each.

The reason I like this page is that I know, as a new reader, I can check out the posts listed and determine immediately whether the blog is my cup of tea or not. If I don’t really like the posts the blogger him/herself believe to be the cream of the crop, I’m probably not going to like other posts on the blog either.

Your best of page should be updated regularly. You can still include old posts, but having newer posts on this list is important as well. So, every few months, go through and add new posts, taking away some of the older ones if your lists become too long.

Remember, the stickier your blog is, the better. People can’t become fans of your site if they spend ten seconds on a page and then leave! You have to have good content, but to truly optimize this content, create the above three pages so you’re encouraging people to stick around.

Join us tomorrow for Day Five of our Better Blog Pages series!

November is Podcasting Month at NMX

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November is Podcasting Month here at NMX and we’re excited to salute our podcast community! Here are some of the highlights of our month-long celebration of podcasting:

  • We’ll be hosting podcasting-related topics four times per week on the NMX Facebook page. Stop by and participate in the conversation Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 1:00pm EST/10am PT.
  • NMX blog contributor Daniel M. Clark has been working on a top-secret project that will be unveiled during Podcasting Month! If you want to get on the podcasting bandwagon, stay tuned!

Lastly, for those of you who may not know, this month is #NaPodPoMo (National Podcast Post Month). Podcasters are challenged to podcast every day for 30 days. Will you take the challenge?

Stay tuned to the blog and to our social channels for more about NMX’s Podcasting Month. This November we’re “thankful” for podcasters!

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