The fight you shouldn’t fight

Lockhart Steele, founder of Eater.com, on how to deal (or rather not deal) with people who can’t understand why you’re doing things a certain way on your own site:

Never complain—so when people are mad at you or people are throwing stones at you, or people are saying things like, Hey, you must be getting paid, you never respond. You never need to. And you never complain about what’s going on. Your work speaks for itself. If a reader can’t figure out what you’re doing, or it upsets them, or they think that it’s really fundamentally stupid that you’re writing about this thing all of the time, great news—they don’t have to read your publication. It’s a free world and our publication is here for those who are amused by it. So we will never explain why we were obsessed with something; it should be self-evident. If it’s not self-evident to you, there are many other food blogs out there, and perhaps Eater’s not the one for you.

I love the idea of it, but after 7 years of blogging, I still can’t help it sometimes. I still have to jump in the comments and explain people the gist of what we do. It’s a mistake though, because it’s an argument you never win, and as MG Siegler puts it, it’s a fight you shouldn’t even fight to begin with.

If you don’t like what I do, just move on to the next Apple blog. There are literally hundreds of them out there.

Ad blockers and the loss of revenue

don't use ad blockers

Writing for Venture Beat, Gerhard Stiene wonders whether ad blocking is theft. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it theft, but it sure one cause of loss of revenue.

Having run a blog for seven years, I’ve always been aware of ad blockers but never realized they were so popular. Considering the savviness of iDB readers, I would even think much more than 27.6% of our readership uses them, which of course is not good news for us since we rely almost exclusively on ad revenue to make a living.

Online advertising is huge. It hit $141.2 billion worldwide in 2014. This is great news for online content creators, and it should be great news for content consumers. As your favorite websites make more money, they can continue to produce more of the articles and videos that you love. Now for the bad news: According to a 2014 study conducted by PageFair, “27.6 percent of U.S. Internet users surveyed said they use ad-blocking software.” This is a problem for content creators.

Yet it seems that with the world going mobile, ad blockers should be the least of my worries. Services like Readability, Pocket, and Instapaper are the new ad blockers. Of course, they provide a better experience for readers, but they prevent us from generating ad revenue.

I won’t lose sleep over it, but it’s something to be aware of, and an additional motivation to try to think outside the box when it comes to monetization.

I personally don’t use ad blockers for two reasons. One, I like to see what kind of ads websites serve me, as well as learn about new formats. Two, I think it’s wrong to take money away from sites that provide me information for free.

Image: Technewscentral.co.uk

Download YouTube videos in MP4

We’re getting ready for a long cross Atlantic flight so I’m loading up the iPad with Chloé’s favorite YouTube cartoons. I found a couple sites that allow you to download YouTube videos in MP4, for easy uploading on the iPad. There are dozens of tools that let you download YouTube videos, but these two are web based and don’t require any software download or any signup. I’m sure there are many more, but these two worked great for me.

With 9 hours of videos saved, we might have just enough to keep Chloé busy all the way to Paris.

Goodbye Netflix

I did it. Again. For the second time in six months, I canceled my Netflix membership.

I initially cancelled last year after Netflix’s ridiculous price increase. It never was about money – I can afford an extra $6/month. It was a matter of principle. You don’t get to increase the price of a service by 60% without bringing any additional value in. So I cancelled, and then a few months later, I signed up again because I missed it.

Then came Chloé, on December 11, 2011. Since having a baby, we have much less time to watch movies. This plus the extremely poor selection of movies available for streaming made it a no-brainer that I should cancel again, for good.

From now on, if I want to watch a movie, I’ll get it directly from iTunes or I’ll just walk my ass to the Red Box at 7 Eleven, a couple hundred yards away from our house. It will be more convenient and cost effective.

The Panda Slap

If you run a website and have basic interest in SEO, you probably heard that Google recently released their so-called Panda update, a change in algorithm aimed at getting rid of the shitty sites such as eHow.com and similar content farms.

The change in the algorithm came in 2 iterations. The first one came out on February 24th, in the US only, affecting about 10% of search queries. The second one was released on April 11th and was rolled out in the rest of English-speaking countries, also making a slight change to the US algo, which supposedly affects an additional 2% of US queries.

On the morning of February 25th, I was glad to see that my iPhone blog had gone through the update and came out unhurt. Even better than that, it seemed I was doing even better in search engines. It was nice to see Google recognizing me as a good resource. Then on April 12, everything changed when I realized the second iteration of the Panda update had slapped me in the face. Big time! (more…)

The Adwords Debacle and How Being On Twitter Saved My Butt

adwords

A couple of months ago I wrote about how Google killed my online business, taking a big chunk out of my monthly revenues, but today I have good news. I have very good news! My Adwords account has been reinstated!

For those of you who didn’t read my previous article about my experience being kicked out of Adwords, let me recap for you. Basically Google suspended my Adwords account because it was violating their landing page guidelines policy. After many email exchanges, Google pretty much told me to F off and that they were done with me, banning my account. Forever. (more…)

How I Make Money Online

make money online

When you meet someone for the first time, there is always a time in the conversation when you’re going to ask each other what you do for a living. When I was working for the man, the answer was easy. I would simply say “I’m the Vice President of Marketing for a web company that offers various services to franchise companies”.

Now that I am self-employed and that I generate 100% of my revenues on the Internet, I find it a bit harder to explain what I do in one short and concise sentence. The best answer would be that I make money online. I’ve found that telling this usually generates about 60 more questions about the possible ways to make a living off a computer and an Internet connection.

In this article, I would like to discuss the various ways I make money online, mostly through blogging, content publishing and projects for clients. (more…)

How to Set Up Your WordPress Blog

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This article is going to show you how to set up a WordPress blog. Before setting up WordPress and starting blogging, you will need to register a domain name and find a hosting plan. That might sound obvious to most of you but I want to make sure to be as clear as possible for beginners.

In my last article, I suggested you use DreamHost for several reasons. I use this hosting company and have been very satisfied with them. For the purpose of this article, I will assume that your domain name is registered with GoDaddy and that your host is DreamHost. If you have a different domain registrar and host, steps would be somewhat similar. (more…)

How to Find A Host For A Blog

hosting

In a previous article, I gave a few tips on how to find and register a domain name. The next step to setting up your own blog is to find a good hosting plan.

People are sometimes confused about what hosting is. Many think the hosting is the domain name. It’s not. A domain name is the “address” of your site (ie. http://www.DomainName.com). A hosting plan is where the actual content of your site will reside online.

Think about it as a hard drive. The hosting company provides a hard drive where your website will be stored and accessible to everyone thanks to the magics of the Internet.

There are tons of information online on how to find a hosting plan and I’m certainly not going to try to reinvent the wheel. I’ve been working with the same host for about 3 years now and I couldn’t be more satisfied with them, so I might be a little partial here… (more…)

How to Find And Register A Good Domain Name

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A good domain name can be a very valuable asset for your business or your online presence. In many cases, it will appear on your business cards, stationery, etc… In short, it is completely part of your branding.

Finding the right domain name is not always easy and can be a decision that will stick to you. This article will give you an overview on how to find, buy, and register a domain name. Before hurrying to register a domain name, make sure you take the following advice into consideration. (more…)