Post Meta Values Automatically Deleted in WordPress?

I use a lot of custom meta fields in WordPress posts for several reasons. They allow me to manipulate multiple posts without having to write code for a specific conditions.

WordPress Logo

However, of late, I came across a very annoying problem where custom meta fields were automatically deleted for some reason that was unknown to me. It was annoying me to no end because I had to manually go in and add those custom fields for the posts over and over again.

I didn’t have much time to figure out what is wrong and left in some debug code which would allow me to later on see how things were disappearing. Today, I checked those logs and found out the problem with the disappearing custom meta fields.

The problem was that, WordPress processes hooks for the edit_post, publish_post and save_post not just for editing the posts but also various other functions like while approving comments too, but the code in question always tried to find the $_POST variables and delete them if they didn’t exist. This was the mystery behind those disappearing post custom meta fields.

Solution For The Problem?

If you are not a developer, you are better off disabling those plugins and adding those fields manually using WordPress write interface. However, if you use a plugin you might lose additional functionality it provides. You could always send an email to the plugin developer asking them to make the appropriate changes.

If you are a developer, Mark Jaquith has a post which talks about avoiding such problems. You can read the post here and modify your plugin or theme to fix this issue.

Google Testing Google Analytics 5; Faster UI, Widgets and More

is one of the most used analytics software. Many websites use their analytics tool to learn more about their visitors, check their AdSense payments and more.

google_analytics

Google Analytics provides a comprehensive set of tools including heatmaps to check user clicks, ability to drill down AdSense payments by country and ability to track outbound links among other things.

The interface for Google Analytics is overwhelming for many users, and it has almost remained stagnant for the past few years. However, Google is now testing out a new version of Analytics, dubbed Google Analytics 5, which adds some much need features to the Analytics software.

According to an early beta tester AJ, Google Analytics 5 has some new features, which include but are not limited to:

  • New Home Section
  • New Dashboard
  • Widgets
  • Updated Custom Reporting Tool
  • New Admin Section
  • World Cloud Visualization
  • Goals as Events

I am pretty excited to see Widgets support in this version as it would allow me to add relevant sections of the reports and view them with a quick glance, rather than having to click on multiple links.

Google Analytics 5

I was able to get  a screenshot (click to enlarge) of the new analytics tool, courtesy @RonakBhagdev from http://www.greatestdesigns.net. As you can see from the screenshot above, the new interface is sleeker and add more widgets to the dashboard. Users will also be able to customize these widgets.

You can sign up to become a Beta tester of the new Google Analytics by visiting this page. Watch the video of the Google Analytics 5 in action in below. Click here if you can’t see it.

Facebook Comments Plugin Could Deprive Your Site Of Google SEO Juice

recently launched a new commenting system for websites and blogs which allowed website owners to add a commenting system to their blog posts.

No SEO Facebook Comments

The idea is very good considering that Facebook now has around 600 million users on the web and it would allow a user to comment with ease while allow them to also post those comments to Facebook itself. Facebook comments plugins also has a lot of other nice features like automatic plugin ratings based on likes and comments among other things.

However, the new Facebook commenting system also comes with a catch. The comments are only accessible to Facebook and cannot be indexed by Google or any other search engines for that matter.

Facebook Comments Bad for SEO and Webmasters

Commenting plays a big part on any blog allowing users to discuss a topic or add their own opinions to one. However, in addition to that comments are also a important part of SEO for a website, because they add value to it and Google often uses them while rating a webpage in their search results.

A very insightful post on Blind Five Year Old discusses this issue in depth and talks about how users comments are owned by Facebook. In fact I don’t think that even a webmaster has a way to export their comments from Facebook and integrate it in your own backend. This is a definite put-off for me since I would like to have control over data for my site.

Of course Facebook will more likely than not address these issues in the future, but it might take time. As of now, I feel that the Facebook comment plugin makes more sense on static websites which do not have a commenting system. I would definitely have loved to have tried out the Facebook comment plugins on the site, but these two pitfalls seem to be too big to ignore.

Do you use the Facebook comment plugin? Would you use it in future considering that you might lose out on Google rankings as well or not be able to re-import the comments to your blog? Do let me know through your comments.

Google Analytics March 15 Traffic Drop? Not a Farmer Update Issue

As I was looking through my stats for yesterday, I saw a huge drop in traffic. Though most of the other statistics tool I use reported proper numbers.

Google Analytics March 15 Traffic Drop

I sent out an update on and @Blogsdna responded back that he is seeing similar issues with the Analytics for yesterday. It looks like Google Analytics has had some issues with traffic reporting for several blogs from yesterday.

If you see a huge drop in traffic for Google Analytics for March 15, 2011, it is not because you are hit with a farmer update penalty algorithm rolled out by Google recently. It is because of a glitch in the Analytics reporting software.

However, if you are seeing a long term traffic drop you might have been penalized. I had written up some instructions on how to find if you have been penalized by Google. Do check it out if you are seeing a consistent drop.

I have reached out to Google for a statement regarding this and will update this post.

Update: Google responded back and said that it was a known issue. The Analytics Dashboard page has more information about this.

WordPress Introduces WordPress.com to WordPress.org Guided Transfer Service

Many of us start blogging as a hobby and then move into more professional mode. Starting out with blogging is very easy and you can create a free blog at sites like WordPress.com or blogger.com.

WordPress Guided Transfers

However, it becomes a bit of a hassle when you decide to get your own domain name, because you have to move all your posts and comments to your new domain.

There are several services out there which provide users with options to make this move easy and it looks like WordPress has now officially jumped into the game. Today, WordPress introduced a new service called "Guided Transfers" which will allow you to move your WordPress.com blog to your own personal domain running WordPress.org.

The service ensures error free transfers and will cost users $99 to move. The Guided Transfers service includes the following features:

  • Install the WordPress software at the recommended host of your choice.
  • Transfer over your entire WordPress.com site.
  • Install and configure Jetpack and a few other plugins to provide features that you have been using on WordPress.com.
  • Configure and test permissions so that you’ll be able to have one-click installs and upgrades.
  • Switch your domain(s) over.
  • Provide full support for you on your new WordPress installation for a two week period.

Earlier this week, WordPress had also launched a new service called JetPack which brought all the WordPress.com goodies to your self-hosted domain. In addition to that, WordPress also has a blog backup service called VaultPress which backs up your blog database and files.

Top Paying Best CPM Advertising Networks To Make Money From Your Website

This is a part of a series of which I will be writing in order to help people to learn from my experiences and use those on their own websites.

CPM or cost per thousand is a good way to make additional income from your website based on the number of users who visit your site. Unlike , CPM ads do not require users to click on your ads for you to make money and only ad impressions do fine.

CPM Ad networks can also be used as an alternative to Google AdSense. Though they might not work as well as AdSense, they will still help to make revenue from your website.

However, CPM ad networks also employ a quality check based on the number of clicks the ads get to make sure that they display the best possible and highest CPM ads on your website. For more information about this you can read my earlier post about Making more money from CPM ads.

In the past 5 years, I have used several ad networks which have often made me money and have sometime missed the mark. In this post, I will list out some of the best CPM ad networks that you can use today. You have to understand that my experiences may not help you always, so make sure to pick and choose the best one which works for you.

In addition to reviewing the CPM networks I have used, I will also post links to other networks which you can use, however, since I won’t be able to review them as I haven’t used them.

Tribal Fusion

Tribal Fusion has so far been the best performing ad network for me. Getting into the network is not that easy, but the dividends it pays to get in is definitely good.

Tribal Fusion

Over the past few years, Tribal Fusion has been the second highest earner for me. It has continued to grow CPM wise and earnings wise. Though I won’t disclose the earnings or CPM explicitly, I can tell you that you will earn $1+ if you tweak it accordingly. More tips on tweaking it will be coming up in a future article.

That said, I have definitely had a very smooth and pleasant experience with Tribal Fusion. Their ads are top notch and the support is top notch too. I once had to block certain ads, and even though they had this feature in their interface, their support staff did it for me.

Tribal Fusion Hits

  • Ads from top companies
  • High CPM rates
  • Good support staff
  • Timely payments
  • Not much load on website
  • Supports multiple size ads
  • Users can easily block intrusive creative
  • Can be used as an alternative ad-server to display ads from other networks when Tribal Fusion does not have ads to display
  • User can set a base CPM to ensure that ads are only delivered if they are above a certain CPM

Tribal Fusion Misses

  • Reporting is not up-to the mark, lacks country and specific size reports which can help you optimize ads
  • No way to browse inventory and block advertisers unless you see ads
  • No option for PayPal payments
  • Does not support email reports

Overall Rating: 8/10

Minimum payment: $50

Payment terms: Net 45. You will be paid 45 days after your minimum payment has accrued.

Payment methods: Check and NEFT.

Minimum Requirements: 500,000 unique visitors a month. Only top-level domains supported.

Revenue Share: 55% for publisher, 45% for TF.

How To Get In? Send an application to become a publisher at http://www.tribalfusion.com/publishers

Technorati Media

I started using Technorati Media fairly recently, but it has proven to be a good ad-network which can pay you well for displaying their ads. Though the CPM rates for Technorati are not on par with Tribal Fusion, they do run some campaigns in between which are of really high CPM value.

Technorati Media

Getting into Technorati is fairly easy and their traffic requirements are not as high. Once you have been accepted into the network, Technorati will send you ad-codes which you can then insert into your website.

Payment wise, I have never had an issue with Technorati and they have been sending me timely payments.

Technorati Media Hits

  • Good ad network with a large inventory
  • Works great as a default for your main CPM network
  • CPM rates are good
  • Runs targeted campaigns frequently which have very good CPM rates
  • Good reporting interface; Users can drill down reports by size and country among other things
  • Excellent support staff
  • Supports Email reports

Technorati Media Misses

  • Does not perform very well in certain countries, some filler ads are bad
  • No way to browse inventory and block advertisers unless you see ads
  • Does not have an option in their interface to block ads. You have to send a request to get this done

Overall Ratings: 6/10

Minimum payment: $50

Payment terms: Net 60. You will be paid 60 days after your minimum payment has accrued.

Payment methods: PayPal or Check.

Minimum Requirements: Not posted.

Revenue Share: Not Posted.

How To Get In? Send an application to become a publisher at http://www.technoratimedia.com/technorati_media/bloggers-p.html

Burst Media Network

I have been using Burst Media Network since I started out this website. It has been one of the oldest CPM networks I have used. Burst’s performance is also good and does not disappoint.

Burst Media

Over the years, I have seen burst give me CPM rates of around $1, however there are times when it also reaches CPM of $2. In addition to that, Burst also runs direct campaigns on your site which earn high CPM rates.

I have never had any issues with payments from Burst Media and they have always sent the payments on time.

Burst Media Hits

  • Good steady CPM rates
  • Has direct campaigns for websites
  • Supports variety of ad sizes
  • Provides an option to users to block certain ads in the inventory
  • Good inventory for countries like US, Canada and UK
  • Excellent support

Burst Media Misses

  • Does not have good inventory for certain ad sizes and shows unpaid for them
  • No support for email reports
  • Has a 50-50 sharing agreement with publishers
  • Does not work for traffic outside US, Canada and UK

Overall Ratings: 6/10

Minimum payment: $50

Payment terms: Net 45. You will be paid 45 days after your minimum payment has accrued.

Payment methods: EFT (available for US/UK/Canada), PayPal, or check.

Minimum Requirements: Minimum traffic of 25,000 monthly page views or 5,000 monthly unique views

Revenue Share: 50-50. Provides 55-45 terms if you use Burst Media exclusively for a year.

How To Get In? Send an application to become a publisher at http://www.burstmedia.com/publisher/publishers.asp

Adtegrity

I have been using Adtegrity for over a year now and have found it to be pretty decent. The CPM rates for Adtegrity aren’t that great though but you can make decent money from it if you use it as a filler network.

Adtegrity

I use Adtegrity as a filler network for Tribal Fusion and the earnings are not bad at all. My overall experience with them has been good and I have had some great experience with their support staff too.

Adtegrity Hits

  • Decent network with good ads
  • Provides flat rate CPMs for Unique US Traffic
  • Good reporting interface
  • Good support
  • Timely payments

Adtegrity Misses

  • CPM rates are on the lower side

Overall Ratings: 5/10

Minimum payment: TBD

Payment terms: TBD.

Payment methods: PayPal, or check.

Minimum Requirements: Minimum traffic of 500,000 monthly page views with 50% US traffic.

Revenue Share: TBD.

How To Get In? Send an application to become a publisher at http://www.adtegrity.com/publishers/

ValueClick Media

ValueClick Media is an advertising network which I have used for over a year. The earnings from this network is not something I will brag about, but it definitely acts as a good filler ad network.

ValueClick Media

One of the things I like about Value Click is that it allows you to pick and choose which ads will be displayed on the site. That said, the interface is really clumsy and it takes a lot of time to sit through and sift through all those ads.

The CPM rates are pretty low on this network right now. I would suggest that you use ValueClick media as a default filler network for your higher paying CPM network. I have never faced any issue with the network for payments.

ValueClick Media Hits

  • Provides an interface to view current advertisers and block lower paying ads
  • Good network to fill up your inventory
  • Decent CPM rates, stays around 50 cents or more
  • Provides lot of ad formats including full page ads and popunders

ValueClick Media Misses

  • You have to block a lot of low quality ads
  • No reports for country wise performance
  • CPM rates can be increased but it takes a lot of effort and moderation to sift through and block ads

Overall Ratings: 4.5/10

Minimum payment: $25

Payment terms: Net 25. You will be paid 25 days after your minimum payment has accrued.

Payment methods: PayPal, or check.

Minimum Requirements: Minimum traffic of 3,000 page views per month.

Revenue Share: Not posted.

How To Get In? Send an application to become a publisher at http://www.valueclickmedia.com/publishers

Other CPM Networks

While I listed out some good CPM ad networks out here, there are several more which you can make revenue from. I won’t go into much detail about these since I have either never used them or used them for a short period of time.

CPM Networks for Indian Traffic

If you get a lot of traffic from Indian users, most of the above ad networks won’t work very well. Previously I had written about the Best CPM Network for Indian traffic called Komli. You can sign up with them to monetize your Indian traffic. Additionally you can also try out Tyroo (http://www.tyroo.com/) and Axill Media/Globe 7 (http://www.axill.com/).

Though these networks don’t perform as well as the other CPM advertisers, you will at-least make some money out of it instead of nothing at all. I have found that Tyroo is the worst performer among these three networks.

That’s it, hopefully this post will help you to make more money from your website. I would be interested to know which ad networks you use and how they perform for you. Do feel free to share your thoughts about them with me.

Using Multiple CPM Ad Sizes To Increase Your Earnings

I have been a webmaster for a long time now and understand the nuances of increasing earnings through subtle changes. You might have already read my tips to increase your AdSense income, so today I will try and put some effort into explaining how you can increase your CPM advertising earnings.

CPM Advertising

First of all, CPM earnings are based on per thousand impressions (read Wikipedia definition). This means that you get paid a certain amount of money for every 1000 visitors who see those ads. This is a standard way of looking at CPM ads. However, what many don’t know is that the CPM of ads are also based on the number of clicks those ads get.

Let me make this clear though, you don’t get paid for the clicks on CPM banners, but those clicks help in increasing the CPM rates on your website. It also helps in attracting better advertisers to your website. After all, no one would pay you if the advertisement money they put in does not gain them any customers, would they?

Important Note: Just like , clicking on your own CPM ads or asking someone to do it for you will not help you. Let it happen naturally and you will benefit in the long run.

I would like to now elaborate on the topic this post is about. First of all, IAB (International Advertising Bureau) have certain standard ad sizes which are common to all ad networks. You might be familiar with those ad sizes, let me list it out if you are not.

IAB Ad Sizes

  • 728×90 (Banner)
  • 468×60 (Banner)
  • 120×600 (Leaderboard)
  • 160×600 (Leaderboard)
  • 300×250 (Rectangle)
  • 300×600 (Half Page)

You might have used all these banners on your site at some point or the other. As you can see, some of sizes of the ads are small while some are large. The common misconception among webmasters is that larger the banner the more they will get paid.

However, this is a wrong. The banner size does not really determine how much you will get paid , it is based on several factors including the click-through rates of the banners you have.

For example, in some cases a 468×60 banner will pay you more than a 728×90 banner and so on. In many other cases, you will earn more based on how many clicks you earn. However, if you have 10 such banners and don’t get any clicks on most of them you will end up earning 0.01 CPM on them.

Making the calculation as to which banner will pay you more is definitely a hard and tedious process. More often than not you might lose out on earnings because you decided to ignore a higher paying banner because of it’s size.

This is the reason why several ad networks provide users with an option to club multiple banner sizes together. It means that you can club a 728×90 and 468×60 banner together and leave it up to the advertising network to display the best possible ad size with the highest paying CPM.

So it is better to choose ads which serve multiple sized banners based on best CPM rates. For example, most ad providers provide users with either a 728×90 ad or 468×60 ad, a 120×600 ad or 160×600 ad or a 300×250 ad or 300×600 ad.

I would suggest that you use these combinations if you have appropriate ad space on your site, because it would mean that the advertising network will always display the highest paying ad in any of the sizes provided in these combinations. I have always used this mantra to make sure that I don’t have to deal with managing which ad size works best for me and which one pays higher.

If your ad network does not provide you with combination ads, you could always email them to ask them about it. You will always find the best CPM ad networks (coming up shortly) around and use it.

Summarizing

I am pretty upbeat about the tips in this article and can tell you that I am confident enough that they will work. However, there is something I should let you know.

Don’t take anything at face value. It takes a lot of tweaking to get the best performing units for your individual website and more often than not you need to analyze your own performance yourself.

Me saying that these things will work should be taken as a tip, however, you still need to check your statistics to understand whether something is working or not. All ad networks provide you with useful statistics which will help you determine the best performing units. So put an effort to learn and understand your advertising networks performances before you just jump ahead and start searching for the best ways to make more money from your website.

I would definitely be interested in learning your strategy on ad placement and whether or not you find these tips useful. Also, if you haven’t been using these tips make sure to tell me if they work or don’t.

I am planning to do a lot more posts about effectively earning more money from your website and you will find all of those under section, so make sure to keep checking back for more tips and tricks in making your website a success.

Image Credit: masternewmedia.org

Best Google AdSense Placements for Forums

Yesterday, I wrote about Best Google AdSense placements for Blogs and Websites. Now many users also have forums addressing different topics. Though most of the forums are usually free, you can always make money using .

Also Read: Useful Tips and Tricks To Grow Your AdSense Income

Google has created some excellent placement suggestions for AdSense ads in forums, these suggestions are really useful and will allow you to maximize revenue from your AdSense ads. So without further ado here is a summary of best ad placements for your forum.

Google AdSense Placement Tips for Forum Homepage

Google AdSense Best Placement Forum Homepage

For forum homepage Google suggests placing a large 728×90 leaderboard image ad in between the categories above the fold. In addition to that, Google suggests placing a 160×600 wide skyscraper in the sidebar of the post below your site navigation.

You can also use a 468×60 banner on the site if you do not have enough width in the content area.

Google AdSense Placement Tips for Forum Category Page

Google AdSense Best Placement Forum Category Page

For category pages on forums, Google suggests users to place a large 728×90 leader board above the fold while adding another one between the threads list. You can also add another large unit at the bottom of the page.

Google AdSense Placement Tips for Forum Post/Threads Pages

Google AdSense Best Placement Forum Post Page

For post or thread pages, Google suggests using a 468×15 link unit below the navigation bar and above the title of the thread/post. They also suggest placing a 728×90 after the 1st/2nd, 4th/5th and 8th/9th post in the thread.

So these are the tips from Google about placing ads in your forums. Do let me know how it works out for you if you follow these suggestions on your site. It is always best to experiment with new layouts for at-least a week before you make changes to them.

Best Google AdSense Placements for Blogs/Websites

is one of the biggest ad platforms in the world. It is used by millions of users to place advertisements on their websites and earn money from clicks. However, not everyone earns a lot of money from AdSense and the problem may not be with the website you have, but it may be how and where you place your ads on the website.

If you are seeing a lesser click through for your websites or blogs, Google has come up with some really good tips which will help you earn more from your website.

Also Read: Useful Tips and Tricks To Grow Your AdSense Income

These tips come from Google themselves who might very well now which kind of placements work and which don’t, so you might want to take a look at some of these placements and work on them to increase your earnings. Here are some of the tips and placements summarized for blogs, news sites, forums, game sites and classified sites.

Google AdSense Placement Tips for Blog Homepage

Google AdSense Best Placement Blog HomepageGoogle AdSense Best Placement Blog Homepage Large Sidebar

Google suggests placing a large 728×90 leaderboard image ad on the home page above the fold for placement targeting. In addition to that they also suggest putting a 728×90 leaderboard ad unit in the middle of the page or at the end of the page.

In addition to that, Google suggests placing a 160×600 wide skyscraper in the sidebar of the post below your site navigation. Of course not all websites will have a design like the one above, so you will have to change certain things to find the best placement.

If you have a wider sidebar Google suggests that you place 2 300×250 ads in the sidebar of your blog as shown in the illustration above.

Google AdSense Placement Tips for Blog Content/Article Pages

Google AdSense Best Placement Blog ArticleGoogle AdSense Best Placement Blog Article Large

The ad placements for the home page and single article pages should be different. According to Google, AdSense ad units should be placed  to the left of the content and should be wrapped around the text. You should also leave a gap of 10 pixels between the content and the ad units.

You can also place the ad unit to the right of the content, but Google suggests that left side ads work better. In addition to the the top ad you can also place another large unit below the article and in the sidebar depending on how large your sidebar is.

Overall, these placements are pretty standard and most of the blogs follow these. One thing I noticed is that Google hasn’t suggested placing ads in between the content, so it might not be working as well.

I’ll be following up this post with more ad placements for Forums, news sites, game sites and classified websites in future posts.

How To Find If Website is Penalized By Google

Recently, Google rolled out new algorithm changes to search which would curb out unoriginal content and low quality content from the search engine and degrade their rankings.

Google Penalized Red Card

As such, many users are reporting huge traffic drops for their websites. But are these traffic drops temporary or has Google really penalized your website? What is the best way to find it out? Well, here are some answers to find out whether your website has been penalized by Google or not and how to find it out.

Check Analytics for Statistics

If you use a analytics software like , you should check your stats for the past few days. If your traffic has dropped from what it was since last couple of days and has remained consistent, your website might have been penalized.

However, there could be various other reasons sudden traffic drops so make sure to analyze whether you still rank higher for your best keywords and haven’t lost traffic on them.

Also make sure to check that you are still getting traffic for those keywords for past few days or not. Another thing worth checking is to see whether you have lost traffic from referring sites like and too.

A thorough check of these things should give you a clear idea on whether or not you have been penalized by Google.

Check Google Webmaster Dashboard

Tools provides a good idea about what traffic is coming to your site and which searches are driving traffic to you. Make sure to analyze the data there to see if there have been any sudden drops on your popular keywords.

Google Webmasters provides users with a good way to track search queries through charts so make sure to use those tools to determine whether you have lost traffic or not.

Use Site Search Feature in Google

Google provides users with a good way to search results from a particular site in their index. The site operator should be used to verify whether your content is being indexed by Google or not.

To use site search, head over to Google and search for site:techie-buzz.com (replace the site URL with your own blog URL). If you see a drop in indexed content it would mean that your site is being penalized. You can also use the “search tools” available in the left hand side menu to see whether the recent content from your site has been indexed or not.

Don’t base your judgment on posts which have been written a few hours ago as Google crawling can be slow sometimes, instead check if your past days content has been indexed or not.

Summarizing

Though it is very difficult to find out whether your site has been penalized by Google or not, these things will help you at-least get close to finding that out. Things should be ok if you haven’t seen a traffic drop yet, but you have to also continue writing quality content so that the site is not penalized in future.

Have you seen a traffic drop recently? Did you use any other way to find out if you are penalized or not? Do let me know through your comments.

(Image Credit: odlee.blogspot.com)