Tuesday, April 28, 2009

When Should I Get Paid? - Workable Policies for Site Owners

Every advertising program has a different system for computing payments and for determining what payments are due. While site owners have little choice with the larger programs, when it comes to dealing with smaller advertisers or advertising brokers, things can be a lot simpler. There are three ways to make things easier: choose a payment system that allows you to track payments, get paid in advance, and get paid by a deadline.

Use a Payment System
For most people, PayPal or similar online payment programs have the kind of tracking system that allows the site owner and the advertiser/broker to resolve any disputes as to what you got paid and when.

Get Paid in Advance
Advertising agreements, especially with smaller companies or individuals, are often a very informal affair, with agreements made by phone or email. The easiest way for a site owner to be protected against problems with the advertiser agreement is to get paid in advance. An owner should only agree to be paid otherwise if the advertiser or broker doesn't offer any other option or if that advertiser or broker can be trusted.

Get Paid by a Deadline
Getting paid by a particular date is an excellent policy when combined with the previous suggestion of getting paid in advance. This reduces the risk for the site owner and encourages the advertiser or broker to maintain a consistent relationship. It also makes it easier to manage the advertising deals on a site, especially if a site owner gets payments from several sources.

Why Have Rules?
Without rules or standards, having advertising on a site can be a hassle that isn't worth the money. It is also difficult to manage multiple advertising deals, especially if you manage multiple sites, without some kind of system. Having a few basic and simple rules for getting paid is the least you should do.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Using Google Alerts to Find Comment Opportunities

There are many ways to use social media to market or promote an online resource like a web site or blog. One of the easiest ways is to leave a comment on another blog or web site. Sometimes major media events that happen to be related to your blog or web site present an easy opportunity to enhance public awareness.

For example, in March 2009, the FAA proposed a rule change that would make it almost impossible for the public to see or analyze the FAA's biggest bird and wildlife strike database. There was heavy media coverage of the event online, in newspapers, and on television. I run several web sites and blogs that deal with bird strikes, so I had a simple three part plan to take advantage of the sudden public attention:

1. Use Google Alerts to find out what news stories were coming out online (I used the search terms [+faa +"bird strike"]).

2. Find the articles with the largest potential audience and either post comments to the article (always mentioning at least one of my bird strike blogs or sites),

3. If an article from a medium to large media organization had contact information for the writer of the story, I'd make a point to contact that person by phone or email and offer to provide information or answer questions.

By letting Google do my research for me, I was able to easily find dozens of opportunities to post comments to articles and use those posts to direct readers to some of my resources. In addition, I also found relevant media contacts that I could help or that could help me later.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Two Useful Resources for Site Owners

The Internet is an evolving universe, and no matter how much I do online, I'm always discovering new and useful resources that help me to manage several web sites, blogs, and many other online activities. Two interesting ones that I came across yesterday were Lifehacker.com and TheSimpleDollar.com. The first site I actually found after coming across the book Upgrade Your Life which was written by the same organization. Basically LifeHacker.com gives you all kinds of advice on how to improve or streamline what you do online. You've probably done a few of these things already, and not all of them will be useful to you, but I'd be surprised if you could not find a few things that would make your time on the site worthwhile.

I found the other site from a link from Lifehacker.com. TheSimpleDoallar.com is run by Trent Hamm, who is also the author of the book 365 Ways to Live Cheap!, and is a wide ranging blog about ways that you can deal with bad spending habits and financial stress. Two articles that caught my eye was a list of 30 free and open source software programs for Windows based computers, and the second is a very good argument for investing in a sturdy file cabinet as well as detailed listing of what kind of documents and other items you should keep in them.

My book Parenting and the Internet had a list of my top 10 recommended free software programs, plus a list of dozens of others. If you subscribe to the Parenting and the Internet mailing list, I'll give you a link to a free PDF download of the entire contents of the book.