Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Podcasting and Vlogging the Filipino Way

Last Saturday at the iBlog4 I was teamed up with popular Pinoy vlogger, Coy Caballes, to speak about podcasting and vlogging. Instead of doing it the regular-ala-preso-way Coy and I decided to do a short video about our iBlog4 assignment. We did not use any high-tech equipment to produce this video and hopefully we managed to inspire others to try out podcasting and video blogging.

Here's the bit about podcasting -

And on video blogging -

Read more about iBlog4 at An Apple a Day.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Understanding Google Analytics

Google Analytics I'd say is the best tool there is to track data on your website or blog. A few months ago I wrote a short overview about it, but I've gotten quite a number of requests on how to understand the data provided by Google Analytics.

Looking at stats in Google Analytics is pretty much a walk in a park, however it may seem like a daunting task when you have to submit a report. Aside from piling up information, of course you have to make sure that the stakeholder reading your report should understand it. I had problems in my past job making my report understandable to non-techies. I just got blank face when I mentioned the terms page views, referral sites, user sessions etc. It's also best to have a report that's both qualitative and quantitative. Remember top executives and managers have short attention span and they normally don't go beyond the first page of any report.

When you open Google Analytics you'll get to see a myriad of information. Quite easy to understand, here's an outline you can use when you need to come up with an offline report.

*Always define the period of your report.

Site Usage: Site usage provides an overview to the overall traffic of your website. Key among the stats provided in this section are the Page Views and the visitor's Average Time on Site (also known as user session) because this indicates whether the site visitor is looking through your content aside from your home page. The longer your visitors stay in your site, the better.

Page Views
Pages per Visit
Bounce Rate
Ave. Time on Site
% of New Visits
*it would also be great if you could include graph of your traffic

Visitors Overview: It is also important to know how many visitors your site is getting. Always remind your stakeholder that the reach of one's website is incomparable to traditional media. Bear in mind that those visiting your site are people who need your product/info (your target market). Any marketer would tell you that it's more expensive to acquire new users versus maintaining loyal customers. Content is key to keep your users coming back (it's called site stickiness). The map overlay basically shows you where your visitors are coming from.

Absolute Unique Visitors
New vs. Returning
Map Overlay (countries/territories)

Traffic Sources: This indicates how your visitors found your website. If you have an offline advertising campaign, getting direct traffic may indicate that your visitors may have seen or heard about your website through this campaign. Getting traffic from search engines is important since it indicates that your site is relevant and people are looking for you! Use the Google Website Optimizer to help you make your website more search engine friendly.

Source (search engines, referral sites or direct)

Top Content: This indicates which of your pages are being read by your site's visitors. You can perhaps list the top 10 to 20 pages being visited. This helps marketers find out which of their products/services are important to them. This will also help marketers determine which products need more push/promos.

Tech Stats: Google Analytics also provides a lot of statistics that would be helpful to your website manager. It's useful as well for doing usability studies. Some key points include: browser profile, connection speed, navigation analysis and click patterns.

View this for a sample format.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Earning from Blogging

I have at least 4-digits in revenue from blogging. In US dollars.


4 digits per month!!!

Yup, you read it right. Four digits with a dot in between the second and the third number.


I couldn't help but make a pun about it since it's April Fools Day. I have yet to get a check from my blogs, but it's no biggie. It would make me happy, but I see it just as passive income. I enjoy blogging because I like to write and I've lately been enjoying vlogging as well because I want to learn how to edit videos.

Anyway, I've been feeling a bit disturbed for a few weeks now over a conversation between two bloggers I overheard. One is an undergrad taking up engineering and another works for a government institution as a developer. They started off by talking about topics that draw traffic to ones blog, where to get keywords and how to utilize the info to increase traffic and then they started talking about niche blogs that they could create in order to earn more money from blogging.

"I'd be very happy if I get 10,000 pesos per month."

Eveything else was drowned out after I heard one of them say that and the other was pretty much excited about it too. I don't know if they mentioned if they wanted to earn more, but that line stuck and I zoned out then. It seemed to me that they wanted to put in all their efforts in earning from blogging (and that translates as well to doing a number of tricks to get traffic).

I honestly wanted to bonk them in the head.

I know there are a number of successful bloggers who earn a good keep from blogging. And that made me think - can a person live off his/her blog? I asked my pro-blogger friends about it and they said that they all HAVE OTHER sources of income and they said it has to be that way because they don't think that blogging alone would be sustainable.

I was disturbed with the boys because they are both very talented young people who I think should their time in garnering real-world experience before they settle in earning their keep through blogging. They might be surprised on how much easier it would be to earn 10,000 if they really do well using their talents.

Earning from one's blog is no easy feat and I salute those who do. It takes time and effort though to do so. I've been getting a number of requests to do talks about making money from one's blog. I'm sorry, but I'm no expert in that department. There are quite a number of respectable Filipino bloggers who talk about blogging for money and I'd suggest reading Manuel and Ely.