AdSpace Conference in San Francisco Next Week

The AdSpace conference is going on next week in San Francisco. This looks like its going to be a great event to attend for small publishers who use contextual advertising like AdSense.

If you are interested in going but haven’t registered yet, ShoeMoney is giving away tickets.

The conference features several sessions from AdSense employees, so it will be a good opportuniuty to get some questions answered. In addition there will be some great people like Jennifer Slegg and Jeremy Schoemaker to rub elbows with. I’ll be there as well.

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Reminder: Update Privacy Policy for AdSense By April 8

Since AdSense introduced their new interest based ad targeting, they are requiring AdSense publishers to have new privacy policies in place by April 8. That leaves just 5 days to get these in place.

Since I run mostly WordPress sites, I have started using Eric Giguere’s Privacy Policy Plugin for WordPress. This seems to do a pretty good job, and hopefully if there are more updates to the AdSense privacy policy requirements, it will be a simple update. You can check out AdMoolah’s privacy policy to see a sample of what it generates.

JenSense also just came up with a good sample privacy policy that you can use with any site.

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MicroSoft PubCenter Beta Shows Promise

Techcrunch is reporting that publisher are having some good, early success with MicroSoft AdSense competitor, called PubCenter.

Some quotes from the article:

Our tipster says that he receiving from four times more in revenue Microsoft than Google AdSense. And the money isn’t the only advantage PubCenter has over AdSense. The advertisement themselves are are higher quality than Google’s ads, he says, and equally as targeted towards the content.

We also heard that Microsoft is allowing publishers to get creative with ads by allowing them to set background images. Google AdSense only allows publishers to change the color of the ads.

This could be great news for current AdSense publishers. We need a serious competitor. Yahoo has been trying with its Yahoo Publisher program (which has been languishing in beta since 2005), but most people report being very disappointed by the earnings..

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Google Adds Favicons to Ads

Here is an interesting Google test I came across today. It looks like they are testing putting small icons beside the URL in some ads. Here is a screen shot:

Google Favicon Ads

Google is always testing changes like these to a limited set of users to see what affect they have. My guess is that these icons will increase the click-through-rate on these ads. There have been some other reports from people seeing these as well, but my screen shot is the first I’ve heard of a US based search showing these results.

I’m sure if these icons do increase click-through-rates, publishers will like the addition!

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Getting Related Terms from Google

One of the most important activities to undertake when starting to think about SEO or PPC is keyword research. One important step to do is coming up with a list of related keywords. If you start a site about mortgages, what other related keywords are there? Wouldn’t it be nice to know what keywords Google’s algorithm’s thought were related? I went to a Google AdWords Seminar last week (taught by Brad Geddes from bgTheory) where I learned a cool new technique for this.

Do a search for anything related to your keyword in Google (using the ~ operator) while also using the keyword as a negative term in the search (using the – operator). Then look for any bolded words in the results. These bolded words are what Google considers related. To get even more words, run the search again using all of the words you found as negative keywords.

So for example, if you want to find any words related to “mortgage” use the following search:

~mortgage -mortgage

When you run this you will notice that the words “finance”, “refinance”, “lending” and “bank” are are bolded. So Google considers these words related to “mortgage”. Now run the search again using the new words as negative keywords, like this:

~mortgage -mortgage -finance -refinance -lending -bank

This results in some new related words: “financial”, “interest” and “corp”. You can keep adding these to the negative keyword list until Google stops finding words.

You now have a new list of words that you might consider as keywords in a PPC campaign or for using as keywords in SEO.

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A New Way to Deal with Duplicate Content

One of the biggest worries of a lot of webmasters is duplicate content issues. On-site duplicate content issues occur when there are two URLs on a site that show the same (or very similar) content. This always brings up a lot of questions for webmasters: How will the search engines know which page on my site is the “right” version; Will I get penalized for having two pages with the same content?

Today Google, Yahoo and Microsoft announced a solution to this problem: a new way to use the HTML link element. The link element is used to specify a relationship between two pages. It can be used to specify things like a stylesheet or rss feed for a page.

Now there is a new standard “canonical” value for the rel attribute of the tag. The HTML will look something like this:

<a rel=”canonical” href=””/>

Place this tag in the head section of the HTML of any of the pages that have duplicate content and your done.

For example, all of these following pages might have the same content:

If all three of these pages have the same content then the same canonical link tag should be on each of them.

This should be a good way to ease webmasters worry about duplicate content issues. You can get more information from Yahoo’s announcement,d Google’s announcement and Microsoft’s announcement.

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Las Vegas Bound: WordCamp and Affiliate Summit West

I am off to Vegas in a few days to go to WordCamp Las Vegas and Affiliate Summit West.

The combination WordCamp and Affiliate Summit was too good to pass up. Las Vegas is a great place for me to go to conferences, because its close enough to drive and there always great deals on hotels, so the costs are minimal. Registration fees were minimal this time too because WordCamp is only $20 and I managed to snag a free ASW silver pass thanks to ShoeMoney.

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Switching Web Hosts For WordPress and Other Sites

Over the course of many years I have gone through quite a few different web hosts, and was never very happy with any of them. About two and a half years ago I switched my main sites to DreamHost, and I finally found a host I was happy with. I have never noticed any downtime, and I get a ton of disk space and bandwidth for a very reasonable price. Right now I get an unlimited number of domains hosted, 378.18 GB of disk space and 7.33 TB of bandwidth for less than $100 a year. I highly recommend them. (Use coupon code ADMOOLAH50 to save $50 if you sign up.)

So now I am in the process of moving all the rest of my websites to my DreamHost account. This is something I should have done a long time ago, but never got around to. Since I’m repeating the same steps over and over, I thought I’d come up with a check list of steps to do when switching hosts to make sure I don’t forget things as I go along. Here is that list, with some comments.

Most of the sites I have are WordPress sites, so I have some specific details about that, but these steps can be generalized for any type of site. Obviously, if you don’t have a database, some of the steps don’t apply.

1. Download all files from old server via FTP

2. Export Database(s) in SQL format using PHP Admin

  • It is a good idea to delete spam using the WordPress admin console before exporting to reduce the file size.
  • Do not use the WordPress export feature to transfer your database. If you do, then you won’t be able to import the new files until your Name Servers have properly switched, and your users may experience downtime.

3. Create domain on new host

4. Create database on new host

5. Import the SQL data from step 2 using PHP Admin of the new host

6 Change the information in configuration files to match the new DB setting

  • For WordPress make sure you change wp-config.php

7. Upload (via FTP) the WordPress files from step 1

8. Set up any required mailboxes at the new domain

  • Lately I’ve been setting up GMail for all my domain, which Dreamhost provides automatically

9. Switch Name Servers at domain registrar

10. Wait for the change to take place

  • This could take anywhere from an hour to a day
  • To check when the switch has happened, look at your access logs. When you see activity, some traffic is reaching the new server, however, you may not yet be able to get to your new server using the domain name, it just depends how the domain name information propagates.

Hopefully it can save you some headaches if you decide to switch hosts in the future.

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WordPress 2.7 is Released

Just this afternoon I blogged about WordPress 2.7 RC2, and now WordPress 2.7 is offically released.

Ii used the automatic upgrade feature to do the upgrade and it looks like everything worked fine!

Go and download the latest version now. You’ll be glad you.

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WordPress 2.7RC2

Yesterday, WordPress released Release Candidate 2 of 2.7, which is a major upgrade to the administrative interface. I’ve installed the new release on a couple of blogs (including this one), and I think it’s a great improvement.

Some of the things I like about it:

  • It seems easier to navigate around. There are a lot of nice ajax-y widgets that let you get to almost any administration screen without refreshing the page.
  • The left side bars makes better use of screen real estate
  • There is a one-click update to updating to new versions of WordPress. That should be a great time-saver for me

The upgrade went really smoothly and I highly recommend it.

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