Tag Archives: blogging

I’m Creating A Product For Bloggers To Track Their Advertisements

As part of my goal of creating $10,000 in new income during 2013, I have developed an idea for a business that I think is useful, sustainable, and profitable. I will be documenting the process of creating, launching, and building this new business.

While on my honeymoon in Cancun, I read The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau and absolutely loved it. For all you entrepreneurs out there who just need a little motivation, go pick up his book today and start reading. You don’t need big money to do big things.

Over the past year, I’ve developed a system for keeping track of my advertisers, advertisements, and expenses. I used to use spreadsheets to track all of the data, but things would fall through the cracks and there was no easy way to organize all the information I had. Now, with the click of a button, I am able to generate reports of my sales, fees, expenses, and net income for the month or year. Plus, in an instant, I can see which advertisers should be contacted and what their history is. No lead becomes dead anymore, even if they don’t follow up to my initial response.

To say that my new system has saved me time is an understatement. Instead of calculating all of my sales, fees, and expenses by hand each month or quarter (with the risk of human error), I click one button and the reports generate instantly. I immediately see a breakdown of all the important figures for each of my websites. Also, I don’t have to dig through hundreds of emails to find conversations with advertisers who never closed on a deal.

More importantly, the system has directly led to more sales. My system has led to at least 7 sales that would not otherwise have happened totaling over $2,000. It has also helped me avoid letting expired deals run without being paid for it. I click on my handy “expiring soon” view in the system and it tells me everything that will be expiring in the next month. Just fire off a couple emails and hope that the advertisers are interested in renewing!

There is clearly value in the product, so the next step was ironing out the details. Most of this was done in my head while I was at the beach reading or listening to podcasts while Lauren tanned, and when I got back to the room, I would take notes about my ideas. I needed to build a site that was easy for users to navigate, intuitive, and provided them with all the features a blogger needs to track their advertisers, advertisements, and expenses. I had the idea, so the next step was the technical details.

As soon as I got home, I created a project on Elance, where providers bid on the job I posted. I described everything I wanted and needed for the site as well as the backend databases, and the proposals started to flow in. I got some responses from people who could do the job for $1,000, some for $500, and some for as low as $300. In the end, I picked someone who promised the site would be done within a week for $375. I accepted their proposal and they got to work. However, 3 days later, when I expected the front-end of the site to be complete, I asked for update and didn’t hear back. After a few more days, I cancelled the project. I never released any funds, so there was no harm done. But I had to find someone new.

And I did. The new provider was very responsive, cost $400, and had even build a similar system for someone else in the past, and I liked what they showed me. We started to work together and every 2 days they would send me an update and I would give my feedback on the changes they made. There was a lot of back and forth and I made lots of seemingly small requests to make sure the site looked and functioned the way I wanted.

The site is not perfect, but it has all the essentials and then some. It is a one-stop shop for all bloggers to record their sales and expenses, and once the advertiser data is recorded, there’s no need for reminders until it comes time to follow up as indicated. Once I launch the product and get some feedback, I’ll be adding some other features that I think users will enjoy.

Oh, and if you want to check out the site, here it is: BlogBookkeeper.com. Please let me know what you think! I look forward to sharing more of my story and hopefully I’ll have something nice to report soon! I’m planning on officially launching the site to new users soon!

What I Learned in 3 Years of Blogging

Wow, I cannot believe I’ve been blogging for so long. When I started my site 3 years ago on Blogger.com, I just wanted to express my views and weigh in on some personal finance issues. I had no idea it would spiral into something much bigger. I had no idea I could make money from it, and I had no idea I had this entrepreneurial spirit in me.

I’ve learned a lot about myself, and I’ve learned even more about blogging. Here’s what I’ve learned:

I Love Money

Sure, everyone wants to have more cash, but I think more than having it, I like making it. Whether it’s negotiating with advertisers or thinking of new ways to monetize, I like the chase way more than I like it sitting in my bank. Constantly working to build a second or third income stream is exhilarating.

Personal Finance Bloggers Are The Best

There are some awesome bloggers out there, and I’m really glad I get to interact with them on a daily basis. I also am really lucky to have found a ballin’ business partner, and thinking back to our first business conversation about how we were going to make money, it’s hilarious how bad we were at actually doing it back then. Having people to bounce ideas off of is a great thing.

You Can Learn Anything

I was never a writer until I started blogging. I had never been much of a reader, either, excluding the 3rd grade book-a-thon. But I now do a ton of reading and clearly a bunch of writing, too. I also learned more than I care to admit about blogging and wordpress. If you care enough and put the time in, it doesn’t feel like learning because you’re working toward a goal.

I’m Crazy Lucky

This blogging thing sort of fell into my lap. I happened to have a lot of free time at my first job. Then, I met someone who offered to help monitize my site. Then, I started making money from my site. That was never the goal, and it took me about a year to realize that you could earn a decent side income just from writing. I didn’t know that all the time spent blogging and networking would pay off, so it was very lucky that this adventure turned into what it did.

Revisiting the Personal Finance Blog Rankings

6 months ago, I ranked the different personal finance rankings. I reviewed WiseBread’s Top Personal Finance Blogs, Money Crashers Top Personal Finance Blogs, the Technorati Finance Rankings, and the Yakezie Personal Finance Blog Network.

We had several different takeaways:

  • Page Rank is not updated often enough, but that it’s an extremely useful tool for advertisers.
  • MozRank is updated more frequently than Page Rank and is gaining more trust by some advertisers.
  • Compete statistics don’t accurately portray traffic stats by itself, but it may be a decent comparison tool because it gets the relative amount of traffic right most of the time (when comparing two sites, for example, it typically knows which gets more traffic even if the prediction it makes is off).
  • Klout is an excellent metric that measures social influence.

We also got some great feedback from Gyutae from Money Crashers, Will from WiseBread, and Financial Samurai of the Yakezie, all of whom helped gain some valuable insight into their process!

So let’s revisit and see what changes have been made!

WiseBread came out with new rankings on June 1st that update weekly, and I think they do a great job of deciding which blogs are at the top of their list. There has been a lot of movement, but the biggest development is that they removed Page Rank! That’s a huge change because it has now become a list that appeals more to users instead of one that relies too heavily on a possibly outdated metric.

I understand that we shouldn’t be using a metric that doesn’t reflect reality, but advertisers often base their campaigns off of Page Rank exclusively, so doesn’t it have some place in there?

My solution to the Page Rank issue is to include it on the list but not have it factor into rankings. I think WiseBread put a real focus on users which is fantastic, but adding Page Rank back to the metrics while giving it no weight would be ideal so advertisers would still use it as their go-to tool.

The Money Crashers list is much more comprehensive in that it includes corporate blogs, which isn’t included on any of the other lists. We have to decide whether that makes the list more or less relevant, but my opinion is that the personal finance rankings should be non-corporate blogs. Another issue with the rankings is that they doesn’t include Klout in their rankings, which makes me sad.

One plus for the Money Crashers rankings (that WiseBread doesn’t have) is that they include an RSS link next to each blog so you can click over and sign up for updates quickly.

The Technorati rankings have not changed much. It’s still a nice list, but with few features. I have slipped in these rankings, which is a good thing, but looking at the ranking of some blogs makes me want to cry foul.

The Yakezie rankings, which update daily (some information updates weekly), also include a link to the RSS feed for easy access. It also shows a true level of involvement in the community using the Belts of Honor system, whereby half a user’s scored is determine based on the number of comments a user has since inception.

The drawback to the Yakezie is that it’s exclusive. The list only contains 76 names, which is low compared to the thousands of Technorati blogs, the nearly 800 blogs listed in the WiseBread rankings, and the approximately 450 in the Money Crashers list.

Now that you know the positives and negatives, the recent changes along with the recurring issues, which ranking system is your favorite? Which is the most useful for consumers and which is the best for advertisers?