Video Exclusive: Zac Johnson Talks About Facebook Advertising

This is my first in a series of videos I made from my trip to Affiliate Summit West. In this video, super affiliate Zac Johnson talks about Facebook advertising and it’s pros and cons. This video was shot using a Flip Mino HD (video quality needs to be worked with) and was recorded at the Market Leverage affiliate dinner at the Switch restaurant at the Encore Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

More awesome videos coming soon!

Using Heatmap Testing To Improve Conversion

Using Heatmap Testing To Improve Conversion

In today’s uber-competitive online world, people are using every tool in the book to try to improve website conversions. I am going to show you one tool I have been using that has helped me increase my newsletter signups by 136% in one week. Not only that, but this tool also helped me DOUBLE my Adsense earnings from one of my niche sites.

Website Conversions Explained

Before I tell you about heatmap testing, I must explain the purpose of testing: to increase website conversions. Website conversions can mean different things for different web sites. A conversion occurs when a desired action is taken by the visitor. On blogs, for instance, a conversion could be achieved when someone subscribes to your RSS. For an eBook sales page, the conversion might be collecting an email address. On an e-commerce website, the sale of a product is a conversion.

Obviously, the goal of any well planned website is to continuously track and improve conversion. This is done by monitoring how visitors interact with the web site. Google Analytics provides several good tools for tracking conversions, but perhaps one of the best tools I have come across is heatmap testing.

What Is Heatmap Testing?

Heatmap testing is pretty simple. Instead of just explaining it, I will show you also…

heatmapThe image to the right is a heatmap overlay from the WordPress homepage. The “warmer” areas corresponds to more clicks. Clearly, the most number of clicks were made on the login section and the top few blogs under “Hot Blogs Today.”

The point of using a heatmap is to test how a user is interacting with a web site. What links are they clicking on? What advertising layouts produce the most earnings? There are some of the questions any conversion conscious webmaster should be asking.

The heatmap testing I have been using is by a company called Crazy Egg. According to the Crazy Egg website, other possible uses for testing include:

  • Test different versions of a page to see which works better
  • Discover which ad placement gives the best results
  • Find out which design encourages visitors to click deeper
  • Learn which content leads to improved sales

Essentially, by implementing heatmap testing over several days, we can monitor and change around the visual elements to continuously improve our website conversions.

How Heatmap Testing Has Helped Me

I have been using heatmap testing for the past two weeks on several websites including my blog. I first used it on my blog to track what visual elements were receiving the most attention and where readers were generally clicking.

For example, one of my goals is to increase my newsletter signups. When I first started my heatmap testing, it became clear why I wasn’t receiving as many signups as I had hoped — the area around the signup box was receiving very little heat. I did notice, however, that my navigation bar was receiving a ton of heat. After learning this data, I decided to create the 3-column header graphic that shows my popular articles, newsletter signup and recent articles (shown below).

My newsletter signups increased by 136% that week. I would have never made this change if it weren’t for my initial heatmap testing.

Another heatmap test I did was on one of my Adsense sites that receives a ton of traffic. After analyzing where visitors were clicking, I removed two simple elements on the page and my Adsense earnings DOUBLED! Not bad for 5 minutes of work. I will write a post next week about the specific changes I made and a few other tips for improving CTR.


As I mentioned earlier, heatmap testing is certainly one of the better web analytic tools I have come across. I strongly recommend everyone tries it out if for nothing more than seeing how visitors interact with your site. It’s good data to have and I am sure at some point in the future you will be able to put it to use.

Here’s the good news: you can start heatmap testing right now, for free. Crazy Egg has a free version of their tool that allows you to test up to 5000 visitors/month from 4 pages. I went through my 5000 visitors pretty quickly, so I decided to sign up for the Basic plan which allows me to track 10,000 visitors from up to 10 pages. It also includes live reporting and some other advanced tools, only for $9/month. Not a bad investment considering I just used it to double my Adsense income from $25 to $50/day.

This post was sponsored by Create Business Growth.

Private Advertising Is the BEST Advertising

Private Advertising Is the BEST Advertising

Everyone wants to monetize their blogs these days and there are many ways to do so. The popularity of advertising networks such as Google Adsense has made it incredibly easy to start earning money from blogging. Unfortunately, the majority of new bloggers earn little-to-no income from Adsense and other cost-per-click (CPC) advertising programs. Why is that and how can new bloggers make money?

CPC Advertising Is Lame For Most Bloggers

There are many other CPC programs, such as Yahoo! Publisher Network and MSN Adcenter. CPC advertising is one of the most popular methods of monetizing a blog, but CPC advertising is also one of the worst ways to monetize a new blog. If you have a new blog that only receives a few hundred visitors a day, you will not earn more than a few dollars a day.

When I first started blogging several months ago, I asked John Chow how many visitors I should average before I placed Adsense on my blog. What was his response? One-thousand pageviews per day. This is far more than most new bloggers receive even after several months of consistent blogging.

You must also remember that CPC ads are annoying and distracting to most readers. In the infancy stage of any blog, you don’t want to risk alienating new readers.

That is why you will not find any Adsense ads on my blog. I said goodbye to CPC advertising several months ago and hello to private advertising; since then I have made more money from my blog than I ever did from Adsense.

Private Advertising Is Where It’s At

Private advertising simply means working directly with your sponsors and advertisers to feature their companies or products on your blog. I receive all my advertising revenue through PayPal. There is no middle man, such as Google or Text-Link-Ads. You also set a fixed price for your advertising, so you never have to worry about being banned from Adsense or YPN for click-fraud.

Private advertisements are also much less visually intruding than other CPC ads. They blend right into the site’s design and layout. You will notice I have one 468×60 advertisement banner at the top of my blog, one 468×60 ad at the bottom, and ten links and another banner on the sidebar. At the current price of my ads, that equates to around $500 a month in private advertising sales. Obviously, I am not blogging to “make money online,” but it is nice to have some extra spending cash from my blog.

If I really wanted to go all out on monetizing my blog (which I don’t), then I would start doing more paid reviews, sponsored posts, and trying to marketing e-books and other affiliate products. My blog, instead, is a great place to network, meet, and help like-minded individuals.

The other great thing about private advertising is the even if your blog is relatively new and not wildly popular, if you offer private advertising, some company or individuals might sponsor your blog just because they especially enjoy your content and see promise in you as a blogger.

If you are a new and growing blog, think about yourself as an investment to any potential advertiser. They might be getting your private ads at great deal if you increase your readership significantly in that time period.

You Don’t Need An Ad Broker To Sell Ads

Many bloggers rely on the services of ad brokers like Text-Link-Ads and Adbrite to sell their blog’s advertising. The fact is that even though these brokers provide a great service by matching up the advertiser and publisher, they are not needed in order to sell your private advertising.

Every ad on my blog I have sold myself and not through a third party agent. The biggest benefit of selling ads myself is that I don’t have to split the ad sale with anyone else – I keep 100% of my ad sales!

If you really market your blog and it’s advertising, you will never need to work with a third party agent. All of my ads are sold out 95% of the time and I spend minimal time trying to sell my ads.

How Do You Start Selling Your Blog’s Advertising?

I wrote an article awhile back about How To Sell Your Blog’s Advertising. I recommend you read it, if you haven’t already.

It is actually quite simple to get started selling your blog’s advertising. The hard part for some people is to set their own prices, but I always believed in first selling below the competition and then slowly raising your rates once your blog starts to experience some growth, success, and a higher PageRank.


Hopefully, through this article and my previous article about how to sell your advertising, you’ll see that you don’t need Adsense, Text-Link-Ads, or any other third party to start monetizing your blog.

Even though Adsense doesn’t work well on relatively new blogs, it’s not completely bad for low traffic sites. Just in the past three months, I have had three sites that have made me over $3,000 from Adsense. That’s a story for a different post though.

My hope is that newer bloggers stay dedicated to blogging even if they aren’t earning very much money in the beginning. In my opinion, earnings is perhaps one of the least important ways of measuring a blog’s success.

How To Sell Your Blog’s Advertising

I believe private advertising is the best way to monetize your blog without sacrificing the user experience. Private advertising is now the only way I am monetizing my blog, as I recently said goodbye to CPC advertising (Adsense and Konterra) because they litter the blog with low-paying and often irrelevant ads.

Over the past month, quite a few people have asked me how I sold most of my blog’s advertising spots without using Text-Link-Ads or any other ad-brokering program. There are many advantages of selling your advertisingly privately, most importantly being that you keep 100% of the income instead of having to split it with a brokering agent.

Think Like an Advertiser

You have to look at how advertisers choose to advertise – generally, it comes down to how popular a blog appears to be. Unless the blog is already receiving several hundred visitors per day, generally, it needs at least a PageRank of 4 to make any decent ad money. I waited until Google updated my PageRank before actively trying to push my advertising.

Advertisers will consider a variety of factors when deciding which blog to advertise with. Things that advertisers take into consideration include:

  • Niche of blog
  • PageRank
  • Alexa ranking
  • Technorati ranking
  • Number of RSS subscribers
  • Number of Backlinks
  • Age of blog
  • Posting frequency
  • Average daily visitors and pageviews
  • Number of comments left by community

Here are a few hints on how to sell your blog’s advertising quickly:

1. Competitively price your ads.
The best way to decide what to charge for your ads is to visit similar blogs in your community that have similar rankings. You can also scour the Link Sales section of forums such as DigitalPoint and see how much other blogs are charging per link.

If you have to, underprice all your ads in order to sell them out initially. You can always raise the prices once you sell out all your ads – that’s the rule of supply and demand.

Generally, if you are just starting to sell your ads, a competitive price for a text link on a PR 4 blog is around $10 per month.

2. Make it clear on your blog you are offering advertising.
This is obvious for most seasoned bloggers, but include a special page on your blog dedicated to your advertising options. Mention all of your rankings (Alexa, PageRank, etc.) and add a contact form to the page.

You might even create “Advertise Here” banners for all the blank spots you are planning to sell.

3. Offer multi-month discounts.
By offering slight multi-month discounts, you are giving your advertisers incentive to stick to a longer term contract. Many advertisers who buy text links would rather do so in three-month spurts, as that is how often Google’s PageRank is updated.

4. Actively seek out advertisers.
I have had great success advertising my advertising on the DigitalPoint Link Sales forum. I copied the text on my Advertising page and mentioned my pricing and discounts. Within a few hours, I had sold half of all my text links.

One thing to note is that in order to post in the DP Link Sales forum, you must have previously made 25 replies or posts in other sections of the forum.

5. Go above and beyond by showing your advertisers you truly value them.
Once a month, I like to write a post thanking both my advertisers and top commentators for their support. Going above and beyond is not something everyone does, so this kind of extra link love really shows that you appreciate their contributions.


Hopefully, by employing these techniques you will start to sell advertising on your blog or web site. I shared some of these secrets with David Wilkinson last night and he sold most of his ad spots within a few hours.

As I mentioned earlier, it is difficult to sell advertising without any PageRank. However, by competitively pricing your ads, you can sell ads on any blog. Don’t be afraid to set your prices low initially, because you can always raise them once your ad spots fill up.

Even though Text-Link-Ads and other brokers provide a great service, you do not need them to effectively monetize your blog.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me.

Goodbye CPC Advertising

I read a great article last night by Mitch Harper about why you shouldn’t monetize your blog too early. He has some great points and it led him to remove all CPC advertising from his blog.

Earlier that day, after reading an article by The Paper Bull about him saying R.I.P. to Konterra, I started thinking about the pros and cons of CPC advertising networks on young blogs…

I’ve been using Konterra for over a week now. My CTR is about 1% and 13 clicks has netted me $0.84. Is it really worth it? I then checked my blog’s Adsense earnings over the past week. My CTR is even lower and I’ve made about $1.50 over the past 7 days. Again, is it really worth it?

The answer is, hell no. Just like Mitch and The Paper Bull, I am not blogging to make money. I blog because I enjoy the community, being inspired by others, and hopefully, inspiring others myself.

Too many people just slap Adsense on their blogs and expect to be rolling in cash like Daddy Chow. It’s never that simple. John Chow, for instance, averages minimum 150,000 unique visitors per month, and that is without traffic surges from social media services.

Us newbie bloggers need to stay focused on pumping out that awesome content again, and again, and again, until we have a large and very dedicated subscriber base. After that, maybe we should start thinking about slapping on a few CPC advertising networks.

I am not saying don’t have advertising on your blog – ReviewMe and private advertising are much better methods of earning well deserved ad revenue, but is it really worth it to annoy readers with Adsense or Konterra for just a few bucks a week? I don’t think so.

From here on out, I will only be selling private ads and eventually sponsored review posts.

Some food for thought, perhaps. By the way, thanks Paper Bull and Mitch for these clarifying and insightful discussions.

What do you guys think? Should newbie blogs stay away from CPC advertising networks?