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Why the Virtual Ticket Will Feel “Even Closer to Being There Live” This Year

Author:

As the guy in charge of BlogWorld’s Virtual Ticket program (which allows people who can’t make it to the live event to “attend” on their own timetable from their home or office), I’ve been given a very interesting puzzle to solve.

Here are the two questions I keep asking myself:

  1. How can we most effectively bring the content and experience of BlogWorld to people who want to go to New York to attend…but can’t?
  2. How can we make an online conference as much like being there in person as possible?

See, BlogWorld is HUGE. There are over 140 speakers, and at the live event, ten sessions will be happening at once…pretty much all the time. Even if it were feasible to live-stream the entire conference to our virtual attendees, we wouldn’t want to.

Why?

Because if we did, then virtual attendees would face the same problem that live attendees face: They’d have to choose one session to watch at a time and would, hence, be physically unable to view 90% of the conference due to most people’s pesky inability to be in ten places at once.

The content in the Virtual Ticket isn’t live. You wouldn’t want it to be live. In fact, a huge number of people who sign up for the Virtual Ticket are people who will be there at the actual event. They get the Virtual Ticket to fill the gaps in their live conference experience, so that after they come home from BlogWorld, they can watch that 90+% of the content that they missed.

(NOTE: If you already signed up to attend BlogWorld in New York and would like to add the Virtual Ticket to your registration, you can do so for only $97. Just email us and ask us to add the VT to your registration. If you haven’t yet signed up for the live event, you can add the VT during the registration process.)

But because the Virtual Ticket’s main content is 100+ hours of non-live video recordings (and the accompanying MP3 downloads), that dilemma comes right back at us. How can we best convey the BlogWorld experience? How can we make it “almost like being there live” for people who can’t be there live if most of our Virtual Ticket content is not live?

And the answer, of course, is that we can’t. But we can come close.

See, there’s nothing like attending a conference. If you’re actually there in person, you’ll get the networking and handshaking and hanging out and the strange “inspiration osmosis” that comes from being in the live atmosphere. We can’t replace that, and it’d be insulting to suggest that we could.

But I asked myself…what would be close? What would help simulate an in-person experience as much as possible?

And the solution came back loud and clear: Provide daily content.

The recordings — which you can play, pause, and replay at will for a full six months on the website (or forever if you download them) — will show up about a week after BlogWorld ends. For the Los Angeles 2011 Virtual Ticket, we did a bunch of video interviews — behind the scenes stuff, intended to give that “at the conference feel” — and we provided those about a week after the event, too. And that was cool.

But this year, in addition to all of that (and with an upgrade in video and audio quality for the bonus interviews), we’re going to give Virtual Ticketholders content every day.

There’s something different about daily updates. If you get daily updates, then you can learn about Day 1 stuff while it’s still Day 1. And if you learn about something on Day 1, then you can see what happens with it on Day 2 and follow along.

In other words, daily content gets you immersed in the experience so you don’t feel like you’re just watching from the sidelines.

So, in addition to the 100+ recorded sessions, in addition to the bonus video interviews that are exclusive to the Virtual Ticket, and in addition to our prolific social media activity and picture-sharing from the conference floor, we’re adding two things to this year’s Virtual Ticket:

  1. Every day, we’re going to record a handful of audio interviews and behind-the-scenes segments. And every evening, we’re going to post those files on the Virtual Ticket site for attendees to listen to.
  2. Every evening, we’re going to write up a daily recap. We’ll tell VT attendees who we captured on video that they’ll be able to watch later, we’ll tell them about big happenings, and we’ll tell them if we spot The Bloggess eating a burrito for lunch. (Or if she brought her giant metal chicken “Beyonce” with her.)

Will this content make the Virtual Ticket “just like being in New York”? Of course not. But will it bring Virtual Ticketholders into the fold, finally making them a PART of BlogWorld as it unfolds instead of sitting on the sidelines, waiting patiently for the event to end and for the session content to be delivered to the private Virtual Ticket website.

If you can’t make it to New York this year, check out this year’s BlogWorld Virtual Ticket if you haven’t done so already. The price is only $347, and you won’t have to book a flight or a hotel room. Good luck finding this insane amount of content for that price anywhere else.

And if you’re attending live in New York, definitely consider adding the Virtual Ticket when you register for BlogWorld so that you can go back after the event and review the huge amount of content you missed while you were there live. It’s only $97, and will be the best conference bang-for-your-buck you ever spend. (NOTE: If you’ve already registered and want to add the VT now, you can’t do that through the website. Please email us and let us know you want to add the VT and we’ll add it for you.)

Reclaiming Your Traffic And Monetization After The Panda Update

Author:

Speakers: Shane Ketterman
Session: How To Build, Grow, and Monetize Your Own Blogging Empire
Date: Thursday, May 26
Time: 2:30PM
Location: Jacob Javits Center 1A14

Was your blog or site affected by the latest roll-out of Google’s Panda algorithm update? Mine was. And I want to share this story with you so you can understand a little of what I am doing right now. Additionally I want to share this with you if you are a site who lost revenue due to the lower traffic numbers.

On April 11, 2011, I was blissfully going through the day excited that the night before I had taken in my largest adsense day and my weekly Amazon affiliate sales were skyrocketing.

I was able to take a recent event, write a bunch of articles, and drive traffic. A lot of it.

After about 2 weeks of this, I felt good. I felt like I was really getting somewhere and I felt like Google was my new BFF (best friend forever), because it was bringing me traffic and that traffic clicked ads. And those clicked ads gave me money.

But at 4pm on April 11th, that friendship took a detour. Google and I had different ideas about the quality of my recent traffic-driving posts. And as I learned, Google wins.

Each day I would check my “impressions” on my site and it was just amazing to me at how it was going up and up. Come to think of it – it felt like 2006 when real estate values were increasing in the double-digits.

Lesson #1: When something is increasing at a rapid rate, be very aware.

So at around 4pm, I was checking my impressions and I nearly choked on my sandwich. It wasn’t the peppers. It was the traffic. “Where had it gone?” I surmised that it must just be a Monday dip.

But it wasn’t. I had been affected by the latest Google Algorithm change called Panda, or the Farmer update.

But I wasn’t an article farm. I was just blogging. I was…..well it doesn’t matter what I was or wasn’t, the fact is Google decided to get me off that pedestal a bit and show me how much power they have with their algorithms.

So I could have got angry. I could have quit and deleted the mysql database of all my posts. I could have just been complacent and ignore it.

But if you are one that blogs and depends on Adsense or other affiliate sales that are all driven by organic search traffic then you see that money literally disappear before your eyes.

Lesson #2: Do not depend purely on organic search as your sole sense of income.

So now you know what happened but now I want to help you understand what I’m doing about it because this is about not giving up and it’s about an income from a blog.

First things first. Do not panic. Do not get angry (it won’t help). Don’t do anything irrational and feel like a failure. An algorithm update hits millions of sites. So you are not the only one.

Now it’s time to get practical. When and if this happens to you, head over to the Google Webmaster forum to see what kind of messages they are posting. Read with care. Watch for articles from trusted SEO resources like the following:

SEOMoz
Search Engine Land

Step 1. Try to see what the veterans in SEO are finding and do not follow everyone’s advice until the dust has settled. I know you will feel an urgent need to fix this but you have to be careful and make sure you are doing it right.

Step 2. Read the Google Webmaster Quality Guidelines. Believe it or not, they really do tell you exactly what Google considers quality.

Step 3.
Read what the update affected (from Google) and try to understand how this might have applied to ANY page on your blog/site. One low quality page can bring down your domain’s standing in the SERPS. Panda in particular targeted:

  • Sites and pages plastered with ads “above the fold” or ones that have a high ad to content ratio.
  • Shallow, or thin content pages that generally do not add any value
  • Pages with poorly written (grammar, spelling) content
  • Duplicate content (copying from other sites intentionally or unintentionally)
  • Add value and something unique to your articles if it is one that is covered elsewhere
  • Sites with low-quality backlinks

There are more issues that Panda targeted but you get the idea. It’s about the quality and uniqueness and in Google’s eyes, they are trying to deliver the absolute best experience that they can for searchers.

Step 4. Get into your Analytics and use the great comparison feature. When you are looking at your dashboard, you can select the dates you want to view and there is a checkbox for “compare to past” which allows you to do a great comparison.

Compare your traffic for one week prior to your loss in traffic to a week after and take note which pages took the most hits.

Step 5. Determine if you are going to get rid of those pages, update them or just put a noindex, nofollow on them. Either way, dig through and make a decision on what you are going to do with low-quality pages.

Step 6. Open Google and take the title of one of your articles within quotes and simply search for it. What do you see? Do you see your exact article on the top of the results or do you see other sites copying your content?

I was not even aware but there were 8 sites copying all my posts. Thanks to Derek Halpern of Social Triggers for giving me some pointers on this. This is all duplicate content and it can harm you. File DMCA requests with the site owners or hosting providers and get this removed right now.

There are also plugins you can get for WordPress to help with scrapers as well but it’s my belief that getting it removed entirely is best at first. RSS Footer is one such plugin that you might want to check out.

Step 7. Look at your pages from the perspective of a user. How does it feel? Does it feel spammy? Too many ads in the content? Ask others. Above all, ask the hard questions and be willing to consider some house cleaning to present a higher quality experience. This might mean taking ads out of those areas that get a ton of clicks. It might mean reducing your ads. Or it might be just fine.

Also, look for pages with more internal links than content. I had a few pages where I referenced other content but the links outweighed the actual writing so I added a lot to those pages.

Step 8. Go over to your Google Webmaster Tools page and dig in. Do you have errors? Get them corrected. Do you have duplicates meta tags or title tags? Webmaster Tools will tell you. Get that corrected also. Basically, make sure you square up with Google.

Step 9. Take a break and plan out how you will get rid of your low quality content. I have over 650 articles so It’s not like I am going to sit down and just do this on one sitting. Take it in chunks but above all, begin doing something.

These are some practical steps you can take. There is advice all over the place but there is no better advice than from those of us dealing with it and trying really hard to improve.

Here is the best advice, however, for a site that you are monetizing. Do not depend solely on organic search traffic. Do not get complacent and lazy and start posting anything less than quality and original material. Try to get other forms of traffic such as from YouTube, social media participation, RSS Syndication partners, relevant blog directories in your niche, and the occasional guest post where it fits your audience.

The best news about his is that it will really cause you do grow as a blogger and as one that is monetizing for a living. Now if you want to hear all about how to get the blog started and growing in the first place then you can see my talk at Blog World East on Thursday, May 24th at 2:30 pm. Here I will be showing you in my own unique way how to build, grow and monetize a branded affiliate blog just like I have done – even in a post-panda world.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask and please share your own story especially if you were hit by Panda.

Blog Monetization Beyond Banner Ads

Author:

Speakers: Zac Johnson, John Chow, Syed Balkhi
Session: Monetizing Your Blog Beyond the Banner Ads
Date: Wednesday, May 25
Time: 3:45PM
Location: Jacob Javits Center 1A17

You did it! You finally made the decision to start your own blog and have finally made it to the point where you feel like you are an authority site, have a ton of great content to share with your readers and your RSS count and newsletter numbers are growing daily. However your revenue numbers have flat lined and you feel like you are blogging just for the sake of blogging. Why is everyone else making money with blogging and you aren’t?

Let’s cover three quick monetization methods you can use to take your established web site from hobby to potential full time job!

Create Your Own Product

You’ve already built a successfully blog ton of original content, why not expand on the same concept but with premium content or a learning course. Creating the perfect product for your web site will vary depending on what niche you are in, but it will also provide you with a completely new source of revenue that will be from something you created and own.

Build a Membership Web Site

If you’ve already created your own ebook or product, then a premium membership might be a great idea for your site. Memberships can be anything from a private forum, to having a members area filled with your best premium content that you don’t offer publicly on your blog. A membership can provide your blog with a nice monthly recurring income.

Sell Advertising & Review Products

If the idea of building your own products or membership programs seems too complex or overwhelming, you always have to option to sell advertising spots on your web site and review products that are related to your blog topic. Selling advertising on your web site is easier than you may think; you can sell directly or outsource to a third party. When promoting or review products or services in your niche, you can do this through affiliate marketing, which will allow you to earn a commission on every referred sale or lead from your web site.

These are just three simple ideas that could drastically expand the growth and revenue of your blog, while still offering a great deal of quality to your blog readers and not tarnishing their web site experience. If you are unsure which path is right for you, are scared of the idea of making money with your blog, feel free to ask you blog audience what they would like to see from the blog and if they would partake in “premium” services.

Learn More About Blog Monetization at Blog World New York

If you would like to learn how you can take your blog to the next level, and will be attending Blog World NY during May 24-26, 2011, please visit my session with John Chow and Syed Balkhi where we will be covering everything from beginner blog mistakes to full blog monetization.

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