Top 10 Heritage Perennials  

Posted by T ZAMAN in ,

2007 was the final year for the Top 10 Heritage Perennials program. We’re building something completely new for this part of the website, featuring all NEW perennials. It’s coming soon! 

In the meantime, gardeners may like to know which plants we featured in the past as our Top 10 picks, so the archive will remain here for your interest. They are still great selections and most of them are widely available. Enjoy! 



Top 10 Archives 

If you'd like to view our Top 10 selections from previous years, we've archived them below.

Hope you enjoy!

2007 Top 10 Heritage Perennials 
2006 Top 10 Heritage Perennials 
2005 Top 10 Heritage Perennials 
2004 Top 10 Heritage Perennials 
2003 Top 10 Heritage Perennials 
2002 Top 10 Heritage Perennials 
2001 Top 10 Heritage Perennials 
2000 Top 10 Heritage Perennials 
1999 Top 10 Heritage Perennials



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Google Adsense Tips, Tricks, and Secrets- PART 2/2  

Posted by T ZAMAN in , , ,

Site Design and Integration


Once you know you are going to put adsense on your website you’re going to have to consider where to put it. If this is new site it’s easier, if it’s an existing site it’s more difficult. While there are some people who will be able to do it, in most cases I’d say if you just slap the adsense code in, you’ll end up with a frankensite monster (props to Tedster of WMW for the buzzword). While every website is different, Google has published some heat maps showing the optimal locations. No surprise that the best spots are middle of the page and left hand side. Now I’ve done really well by placing it on the right, but you should know why you’re doing it that way before hand, and be prepared to change it if it doesn’t work out.




Google has also has published a list of the highest performing ad sizes:

  • 336×280 large rectangle

  • 300×250 inline rectangle

  • 160×600 wide skyscraper

From the sites that I run, I do really well with the 336 rectangle and 160 skyscraper. My next best performing ad size is the 728 leaderboard, I don’t really use the 300 inline rectangle too often. So really it depends on how well you integrate these into your site. Placement can have a dramatic effect on performance. TIP: When working on a new site or new layout you may want to give each location it’s own channel for a little while until you understand the users behavior.

Another ‘trick’ that can increase your CTR is by blending your adsense into your body copy. For example if your body copy is black, remove the adsense border and make the title, text, and URL black.TIP: Try changing all of your page hyperlinks to a high contrast color (like dark red or a bold blue) then change the adsense title to the same color.

The one area where I’ve found blended ads don’t perform as well is forums, especially ones with a high volume of repeat members. Regular visitors develop banner blindness pretty quickly. One ‘trick’ to keep the ads from being ignored is to randomize the color and even the placement. As with any of the decisions about location, placement and color it’s a trade off. How much do you emphasize the ads without annoying your visitors. Remember it’s better to have a 1% CTR with 500 regular visitors as opposed to a 5% CTR with 50 visitors. TIP: For forums try placing the adsense ads directly above or below the the first forum thread.

Using Images

One of the latest ’secrets’ to make the rounds is using images placed directly above or below an adsense leaderboard. This has been used for a while but came out in a digital point forum thread where a member talked about quadrupling their CTR. Basically you set up the adsense code in a table with four images that line up directly with the ads. Whether or not this is deceptive is fuzzy and very subjective. Obviously four blinking arrows would be ‘enticing people to click’ and be against the adsense TOS. However placing pictures of 4 laptops over laptops ads isn’t, so use your best judgment here and look at it from the advertiser or Google’s perspective. If you have a question as to your implementation being ‘over the line’ write to adsense and ask them to take a look.

As far as using the images, I’ve done it and can tell you it definitely works. You get the best results when the images ‘complete the story the ads are telling’. For example if you have ads about apple pies, use pictures of freshly baked apple pies, instead of granny smith, Macintosh, pink lady, and braeburn apples. TIP: Don’t limit yourself to using images only on that size ad unit, it works just as well with the other sizes, like the 336 rectangle.

Added:
I got a little criticizm for this and rightly so, as I wasn’t specific as I could have been. Do not use very identifiable brand name or products for your images. Use generic non-specific stock images whenever possible and appropriate.

Multiple Ad Units

Another way to increase ad revenue is to use multiple ad units. According to Google’s TOS you are allowed to post up to three ad units per page. Similar to standard search results the highest paying ad units will be served first and the lowest being served last. If there is enough of an ad inventory, place all three ad units. However you should pay attention to the payouts. Current assumption is you get 60% of the revenue (on a $0.05 click you get $0.03). So if a click from the third ad unit is only paying between 3 to 5 cents you may want to omit it from your page. This is one are where giving your ad units channels does have value. If one ad unit is getting a higher percentage of click throughs you’ll want to make sure the highest paying ads are being served there. TIP:Use CSS positioning to get your highest paying ads serving in the location with the highest CTR.

Adsense in RSS

With the growth of blogs and RSS feeds you’re starting to see adsense included in the feeds now. IMHO this doesn’t work, and here’s why:

  • You only get to place one ad unit.

  • You have no control over finding the ’sweet spot’ for the ad unit.

  • The ads are usually poorly targeted (this is getting better).

  • People develop ‘banner blindness’.

I know people like being able to read full postings in their feed reader, and there are at least a dozen other reasons for full posts from pleasing your users to mobile offline computing, all of which are completely valid. However if your website depends on generating adsense revenue to survive, then bring them to the site and show them the ads there.

Affiliate Sites

Placing Adsense on affiliate sites is tricky. Are you giving up a $10, $20, or $30 sale for a $1 click? This is something you have to test on your own to figure out. If you aren’t converting now it’s definitely worth a try. I like to use adsense on my article pages. For example let’s say you had an affiliate website where you sold shoes. You’re going to need some related articles to ‘flesh out’ the site. Things like ‘getting a shoe shine’ or ‘finding a shoe repair shop’ these are excellent spots for adsense. While you won’t get rich, they will usually provide a small steady income and cover things like hosting costs.TIP: If you find you have pages getting more than 50 clicks per month add more pages about this topic, and link the pages together. Mine you logs for the search terms used.

PPC Arbitrage

This is a dicey subject so I’m going to steer clear of precise examples. Basically you bid on low volume uber niche terms at a very low cost. You set up landing page that contains high payout ads for the related general topic. You are looking for terms with a large gap between the price you are bidding on adwords and the price you are getting on Adsense. If you pay $0.10 a click and get $1.00 a click you make $0.90 each click. To get your adsense ad approved you will need to ‘add some value’ along the way. You can make a killing or get taken to the cleaners with this one, so make sure you know what you are doing before you try it.


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