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 on: 2012 Feb 09, 03:32:40 pm 
Started by MarMatthias - Last post by MarMatthias
In my last post, I described and defined active traffic. This post will be on passive traffic. Passive traffic is my preferred method of traffic generation. So let's start by defining what passive traffic is.

Passive traffic is any means of referral and organic traffic, except paid advertising, that does not require the blog owner to constantly participate.

AFTR is a passive traffic method as is BlogUpp (This is not an endorsement, merely mentioning a recognizable passive system). Once you sign up and put the widget of your blog, you no longer need to do anything (separate from updating your blog) to get traffic.

Did you notice in my definition of passive traffic that I mentioned organic (search engine) traffic? That's right, passive traffic also includes traffic from search engines. For most people, search engine traffic is the most prevalent type of traffic a blog will receive. All the work of search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) would be meaningless without the constant inflow of search engine traffic. Search engine traffic is so important that an entire market revolves around it and its no wonder when you realize that ninety percent of most blog traffic is from search engines.

I see passive traffic methods working for you, not against you. Good examples of passive traffic are viral videos. I have seen many people put up a video and receive one or two million visits just in a single week and they bring traffic years later with no effort or action from their owner.

While there are many advantages to passive traffic, they can take significantly longer to grow and mature. This single disadvantage of passive traffic makes it difficult to use, especially if you have an online business with bill to pay. Typically, passive traffic methods can easily take three to five years to mature and begin showing a profit and some passive methods simply never mature.

This problem is why so many people turn to and use active methods and often get scammed by the lure of "instant traffic". As I said in my last post, there are many good active traffic methods, but none of them are instant. I'm sure by now you're wondering why I prefer passive traffic methods with the growth and maturity issues...

The answer is simple - I only have so much time in a given day and there is only so much I can do. By leveraging which passive traffic systems I use, I can simply put them on my blog and forget about them. Like grass in a field, once a few seeds are planted, it grows by itself without me constantly looking over it. That leaves me free to pick and choose which active methods, like Twitter or Facebook to name a few, will work well for my blog.

Passive traffic is a great way to build a traffic stream that takes care of itself and there are many different programs and methods available on the internet to pick and choose from. Not all passive traffic services work for all blogs, but with such a wide choice to look at and evaluate, its fairly easy to find one that will doing well for your blog.

Stay tuned for part 3, a side by side comparison...

 on: 2012 Feb 07, 07:11:31 am 
Started by MarMatthias - Last post by MarMatthias
Anyone who has spent any amount of time running a blog or a web site knows just how hard getting good traffic really is. Google has many definitions on what referral traffic is and a clear definition of what will get your blog banned both from its search engine and from AdSense. This really leads to questioning what type of referral traffic is safe as opposed to traffic that could potentially get your blog banned.

Referral traffic is actually broken up into two categories - active and passive. It is important also to note that some active traffic is direct traffic, but my focus here is referral traffic. Anyone that knows me, knows that I prefer passive traffic methods and do not advocate very many active ones as I have personally seen what happen when search engines bare their fangs on active traffic generating methods. Knowing the difference is keeping your reputation clean and your revenue stream going.

Let's start be defining what each traffic method is and examples of each type.

First up - active traffic generating methods. Simply put, anything you have to work at and continually do can be considered part of this category. Even though I actively promote passive traffic methods, there are some very important active ones I use and rely on. Active traffic methods are a very important part of getting traffic to your blog, however, not all traffic is good. This is where the problems begin and Google's blind rage tends to troll - the shadows of internet traffic.

Many companies on the internet say they are advertisers, when in actuality, they are traffic exchanges by the definition as set by Google and other common places. The best place to start would be to define exactly what a traffic exchange is.

A traffic exchange is any program or method where the entire premise of its operations is: "If you visit my site, I'll visit your's".

Along with exchanging visits (by the blog owners) many engage in ad click exchanges (click fraud) as well. While some is deliberate, most of it isn't. Unknowledgeable new users are often taken advantage of and suffer for their lack on knowledge. I know this as I was one of those new users that learnt the hard way. Of course, none of this matters, unless you have AdSense or some other revenue generating advertising on your blog. If you have AdSense or some other advertising method, the risk of invalid clicks or click fraud becomes very crucial.

All traffic exchanges (auto and manual) are "strictly prohibited" from Google AdSense and using them will get you banned as well. AdSense members, you did read that long winded terms of service when you signed up for AdSense didn't you?

Publishers may not click their own ads or use any means to inflate impressions and/or clicks artificially, including manual methods.

Clicks on Google ads must result from genuine user interest. Any method that artificially generates clicks or impressions on your Google ads is strictly prohibited. These prohibited methods include, but are not limited to, repeated manual clicks or impressions, automated click and impression generating tools and the use of robots or deceptive software.

The above is pretty clear about what will get any AdSense account banned. However, Google goes even further in their terms of service:

Traffic sources

Google ads may not be placed on pages receiving traffic from certain sources. For example, publishers may not participate in paid-to-click programs, send unwanted emails or display ads as the result of the action of any software application. Also, publishers using online advertising must ensure that their pages comply with Google's Landing Page Quality Guidelines.

To ensure a positive experience for Internet users and Google advertisers, sites displaying Google ads may not:

  • Use third-party services that generate clicks or impressions such as paid-to-click, paid-to-surf, auto-surf and click-exchange programs.
  • Be promoted through unsolicited mass emails or unwanted advertisements on third-party web-sites.
  • Display Google ads, search boxes or search results as a result of the actions of software applications such as toolbars.
  • Be loaded by any software that can trigger pop-ups, redirect users to unwanted web-sites, modify browser settings or otherwise interfere with site navigation. It is your responsibility to ensure that no ad network or affiliate uses such methods to direct traffic to pages that contain your AdSense code.
  • Receive traffic from online advertising unless the site complies with the spirit of Google's Landing Page Quality Guidelines. For instance, users should easily be able to find what your ad promises.

To think some people say AFTR has too many rules... Sheesh...

I think its safe to assume that everyone understands the "auto click" methods are nothing short of a nuclear bomb to your blog or simply put - the kiss of death. The grey area is the manual click exchanges - this is were some "advertisers" try to deceive unknowledgeable bloggers. Adgitize (now defunct) and EntreCard are gray area "advertisers". Both of them are, by Google's definition, evil traffic exchanges as they both encourage incentive based clicking. EntreCard was heavily slapped down by Google and I have no doubt that once Adgitize hit Google's radar, it would have been too.

With all of the above being laid out, its no wonder why I'm leery of most active traffic methods, but there are some very notable exceptions. Both Twitter and Facebook are excellent active traffic methods. In fact, all social networking sites, that are non-incentivized, are good active methods for getting traffic. RSS feeds, forums, and commenting on other blogs, are just a few other good solid ways that are safe to use.

In conclusion to active traffic methods, using most of these methods can bring huge amounts of traffic, with high risks and great peril. While there are some very good ways, they may not always be obvious. The most important fact you need to take away from this is Google, or any other advertiser, doesn't care about what you were told by some program. As long as its their money, its their rules that count.

Stay tuned for part 2, the passive side of this conversation...

 on: 2012 Feb 07, 06:58:48 am 
Started by EdZee - Last post by MarMatthias
I see some problems with Google's "holier then thou" agenda.  While what they say sounds good on paper, pay close attention to their AdSense preferred placement chart:

Notice that higher paying spots are above the fold.  I think this is yet another attempt by Google to reduce any payout value by reducing the usage of the popularly clicked ad zones.  This would seem to suggest, IMHO, that Google is, yet again, playing favorites with its publishers and advertisers under the worthless guise of "preventing click fraud".

Google has devalued its publisher payouts to the point that one should really question why they would want to continue using them.  I have heard many people state that they only earn one penny a day from Google.  ProjectWonderful can easily and clearly generate more revenue then that.

 on: 2012 Feb 06, 04:17:50 pm 
Started by EdZee - Last post by EdZee
Google has announced that it will penalize sites with pages that are top-heavy with ads. The change — called the “page layout algorithm” — takes direct aim at any site with pages where content is buried under tons of ads. The rule applies to static ads in fixed positions on pages themselves and with this development, sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” (the portion of the website that will show when it is opened) can be affected by the change.

How can we tell if we’ve got too many ads above-the-fold? SEO articles I've read about the issue says Google will not provide any type of official tools similar to how it provides tools to tell if your site is too slow (site speed is another ranking signal). Instead, Google is encouraging us to make use of its Google Browser Size tool to understand how much of a page’s content (as opposed to ads) is visible at first glance to visitors under various screen resolutions.

Violating Google's new “page layout algorithm” could result to a blog getting de-indexed meaning it will no longer show in SERPs (search engine results pages). The pages or the website itself will only be re-indexed if it will be corrected to have more contents than ads "above the fold".

You may proceed to read the references posted below and ask your questions, if any, for our discussions.


 on: 2012 Feb 04, 08:54:50 am 
Started by MarMatthias - Last post by MrZee
Thank you for this info. Yes, we need to Right Click >> View Image >> Enlarge to be able to read the useful information bloggers who do SEO on their sites.

 on: 2012 Feb 04, 04:44:16 am 
Started by MarMatthias - Last post by MarMatthias

On some browsers, you'll need to do a right-click and View image to see it larger.

Courtesy of WordPress Hosting SEO.

 on: 2012 Feb 01, 09:34:37 pm 
Started by MrZee - Last post by MrZee
Using online forums is common knowledge for most of us. However, differences in platforms used for online forums vary so there may be a need to lay down some "How To's" so that members can have some convenient references on how to use the various features of our online forum.

Here's some procedures on how to use the AFTR Bloggers' Forum: (You need to register as a member and be logged in to be able use the forum. Non-members can browse the contents of our forum but cannot make any post.)

A) How to start a New Topic
  • Choose the Main Category (General Category or Discussions) where the topic you have in mind belongs and then its Sub-Category (Introductions and Welcome, Suggestions and Recommendations, Earning From Blogging, etc).
  • Click the Sub-Category for your topic and a new window will open
  • Look for New Topic and click it to open the "Start new topic" compose box.
  • Enter the Subject or title of your topic and begin composing your post.
  • After writing what you want to convey or ask, you may click Preview to see how your post will look.
  • Check your post for any error, edit it if needed then click Post.

B) How to Reply to a post
  • When you read a post and you want to comment or ask something about its content right below it, just click Reply to open "Post reply" compose box.
  • Compose your comment or question, click Preview if you wish then Post.
  • If the post you want to comment on is way up (not the last post in the thread), click Quote
  • Delete the portion of the quoted post that you will not comment on if needed.
  • Type your comment, preview and edit as required then click Post

C) How to send Private Message (P.M.)
  • When you see a post by a member and you want to send a P.M. to him/her, click the Personal Message icon to open "New Message" compose box.
  • Put the Subject of your message then compose it.
  • Click Preview to see how your message looks, edit if needed then click Send Message
  • When you are in your New Message page and you want to send a P.M., click Find Members.
  • On the small window that will open type the Name, Username, or Email Address of the member you want to contact then press Enter.
  • Click the member's username and close the window (you must see the username in the "To" bar.
  • Put the Subject of your message then compose it.
  • Click Preview to see how your message looks, edit if needed then click Send Message.

D) How to Reply to a Private Message (P.M.)
  • When a member sends you a P.M., you will receive a notification email with a link that you can click if you want to immediately reply to it.
  • Click the link and the login page will open
  • Login with your username and password and your Inbox will open.
  • Read the message then click Reply and proceed to type your reply in the "New Message" compose box that will open.
  • Preview and edit your reply if necessary then click Send Message.

NOTE: This is a work in progress but you can already post your questions, if you have any.   

 on: 2012 Feb 01, 08:02:41 am 
Started by MarMatthias - Last post by MarMatthias
"Along for the Ride!" (AFTR) has twenty-four official rules or policies. Why so many rules?

This is a valid and fair question I'll try to answer here. I'll go through all the rules by groups, not necessarily in the order of what's listed on the rules page.

Let's start with the first group.

  • Site must be a blog.
  • RSS feed with date of last update. Description or article contents are NOT required, only the date of the last article or when you last updated the blog. This is used to verify that only blogs updated in the last 7 days are in the rotation.
  • At least 12 articles/posts on the blog
  • All blogs must be in English. The only exception to this is if the blog uses Google or some other Translator and translation is easily and readily available on all pages.

These rules just set the stage for what to expect in AFTR and how the AFTR spider figures out how to rank the blogs listed in it. The 12 blog articles just gives me an idea of content within a given blog. Unfortunately, my brain doesn't do very well with multiple languages and I have to be able to read the content to evaluate it. Thankfully, English seem to be the predominate language in the world. I am so very screwed if this ever changes...

  • No porn, hate, or racism.
  • No nudity. Important note: some sites, like those dealing with abuse, may have adult oriented discussions not suitable for children. These blogs are forced to Class 3 (Mature).
  • Blogs with only scantly clad women will not be accepted.

Bans on porn, hate, and racism are the law of the land in the Unites States, Europe, and just about everywhere else. This is really just proper ethics, good taste, and simple human decency. Nudity isn't porn if its done in an "artistic" way, according to the artists. While artists may wish to express their talents with such openness, not everyone shares that opinion. AFTR has blogs listed from all over the world and "artistic" nudity is no different then porn in many countries. Finally, while pictures of scantly clad women may be "appreciated" in college dormitories and bachelor's apartments, its not so appreciated by the mainstream population. Like nudity, scantly clad women may be considered porn in some counties. Either way, its just poor taste in most cases.

  • Nothing illegal (no warez, virus, malware, guns, drugs, etc...)

I really shouldn't need to state this, but there are those in the world that like to push the boundary of human reason and sanity...

  • No pop-ups or pop-unders of any type or nature.
  • No auto-playing music or videos.
  • No Ads only blogs.

Running a server for ten years has given me a mail box full of complaints from users. These three just seem to be the most annoying to users. Having pop-ups and pop-unders constantly popping up/under the web page you're trying to read. As a web surfer, it absolutely infuriates me having my web browser crash because of pop-up after pop-up over running my computer. Auto-playing music or videos are bad for those who use their computer at work, school, public libraries, or any public place. Not everyone appreciates Led Zeppelin or some very inappropriate video blasting in places quiet enough to hear a pin drop. If a blog has nothing but advertisement on it and no genuine content, what's the point in visiting it?

  • Relatively family safe. Relatively best describes blogs like mine that are 99% safe with the 1% not safe (but with warnings if needed).
  • No MLM (multi-level marketing), pyramid, ponzi or such type schemes.
  • No MMO sites (make money online). Business opportunity blogs are welcomed as long as they are NOT "get rich quick" or scams (ponzi, et al).
  • No blogs promoting software to "game" search engines, AdSense or advertiser (Click) fraud.

Everyone needs to vent once in a while, that just human nature. However general listed blogs need to be somewhat safe. Nobody likes surprises when they have their children sitting on the lap. Multi-level marketing sites are often scams or pyramid schemes. While business opportunities are welcomed, the internet is filled with "make money now", get rich quick", "make money while you sleep", and so on. All these blogs do is hurt legitimate business opportunities and reliable work at home sites. Why anyone thinks defrauding Google or any other advertiser is legal is beyond me, but they do. Defrauding advertisers by "click" exchanges is just not the way to make money.

  • Blogs can NOT break the "Along for the Ride!" frame. This is considered and treated as page hijacking. Offenders will be removed until the hijacking stops. If hijacking becomes repeated, the blog will be banned from AFTR and its directory.
  • Blogs over one year with no new articles will be considered abandoned and removed without warning. Email addresses that are undeliverable will also be considered abandoned.
  • Blogs that have articles older then 7 days will not be listed on the AFTR widget, but will remain in the directory.
  • Blogs that do not have the AFTR widget will be listed in the directory, but will NOT be apart of the traffic sharing system (advertised on the widget).
  • All listings and rankings in the AFTR system revolve around AFTR's revolutionary "low man on the totem" (LoMan) algorithm.

Now we finally get to the actual rules for AFTR. Many sleazy advertisers think having a banner ad redirect to another page (away from the page the visitor wanted) is the perfect way to drive traffic to their page. It isn't and won't be tolerated. While I have complete sympathy for an unsuspecting blog owner, I have no mercy on scum-bag advertisers or blog owners with no morals. Page hijacking is a quick way to send me on a war path.

Unfortunately, life isn't always nice to us and problems happen, things change, or we get burned it. It happens to us all, myself included, but AFTR is not a graveyard for dead blogs. This is where AFTR differs from all other web directories. Old content is filtered out and removed after a period of time. Remember the above rule about the RSS? Here is where is comes into play. The AFTR spider routinely checks your RSS for the most recent article. Blogs older then seven (7) days are not displayed on the AFTR widget. That would be like reading last year's newspaper when you really wanted today's.

Unlike other web directories, AFTR does allow blogs in without a widget or badge, they just won't get front page billing or a DO FOLLOW link. Hey, there has to be some perks for the widget. How ranking are achieved are mostly for information purposes (not so much a rule), but I prefer complete transparency on how AFTR works. I don't like programs that have all sorts of hidden rules you are told about after you sign up.

  • Anyone can submit a blog to this directory as long as it complies with these rules, not just the owner. Note: this system uses a spider to find and add blogs to this directory as well as owner/contributor submissions.
  • You agree to accept periodic emails on updates and other AFTR related news. Your email address will never sold, given out, or shared with anyone else.
  • The owner (of AFTR) may, at any time, edit, reject, refuse, or remove any blog without notice or reason.
  • Rules may change without notice.

This is really the legal rhetoric needed to protect AFTR from the crazies, loons, and malcontents... AFTR is my program, I wrote it, and I pay for the server, bandwidth, and repair bills, but there are those who like to try to take what isn't theirs. These rules are pretty straight forward, but there are those whom lack common sense.

While I rather not have all these rules, most are just common sense or good practice and some are the required legalese. All of these rules serve to keep AFTR fun, friendly and safe with other advertisers (like AdSense) and traffic services on the internet.

 on: 2012 Feb 01, 07:19:10 am 
Started by EdZee - Last post by MarMatthias

My experience (10 years worth of web sites) has been that DMOZ is over rated.  If I'm lucky, I might get one visit a year from them.  One of the biggest issues against DMOZ is the claimed rampant corruption of the DMOZ editors.  Among the flood of accusation of corruption is that DMOZ won't list sites, even if the site follows the rules, if the editor it has been assign to simply doesn't like it for what ever reason.  DMOZ has no second chances and no letters are sent out even informing you one way or the other.

I personally don't bother with them and there are far better systems out there that do work well.

 on: 2012 Feb 01, 07:10:53 am 
Started by EdZee - Last post by MarMatthias

I've thought about this and have come to the conclusion that the 100 link rule only makes sense if it is applied to outbound links.  Applying this rule to internal (within the same domain) links makes absolutely no sense as common features like tags or the archive list that many blogs have would easily go over 100 links for just about any mature blog.

I think Google's intent on this is to weaken link farms to limit content tools like track backs.  Track back on popular topics would completely wreck any page rank juice.  Also all the hype over the NOFOLLOW tag is just that - HYPE.  External links are weakened no matter what type of relation the link is - NOFOLLOW does NOT protect you from losing page rank.

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