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April 17, 2010

AdSense Tip – Attract New Advertisers to your Site

Google AdSense is an auction based advertising system so your advertising revenue (or CPMs) will automatically go up if more advertisers choose to target your website.

The system, in simple English, works like eBay. You (the website owner) are selling ad space and the buyers (in this case, advertisers) are competing against each other to grab that space. The bid amount will therefore increase as more buyers enter the auction process thus benefiting the seller (you).

Increase your Site’s Visibility on the Google Ad Network

Advertisers are using tools like DoubleClick Ad Planner to determine which websites on the Google Ad Network they should target and you therefore need to ensure that your website is both visible and discoverable in these tools.

For instance, here’s a public listing of my blog on Ad Planner. This report is like a marketing brochure that you are handing out to an unknown number of prospective clients daily through Google and therefore it always should have updated information.

Advertisers can see the type of ads that are accepted on the site, the traffic details (pulled from Google Analytics), the topics that are covered by the site (categories) and other information that will help them quickly decide whether or not they should include the site in their campaigns.

In this video, Vijay Vachani of the AdSense team will walk you through the steps that are required to add your website to Google Ad Planner.

Step 1. If you have not added your website to Google Webmaster Tools yet, do that first. Sign-in to Webmaster Tools using your Google Account and add the site URL.

Step 2. Once your site is verified, go to the Publisher Center of Google Ad Planner and include the site** to your Ad Planner profile. If you have just added your site to Webmaster Tools, it may not immediately show up in Ad Planner.

Step 3. Finally, click the “Edit Site Info” link to assign a good description and relevant categories to your site. Google will automatically present a rough estimate of your site’s traffic to advertisers but you can give them a more accurate picture by allowing Ad Planner to use data* from your Google Analytics account.

In addition to creating your own Ad Planner Profile, you may also want to implement these three simple yet effective suggestions by Lauren Weitzman to attract advertisers:

  • Always allow text and image ads on your site.
  • Create channels for placement targeting so advertisers can target specific slots on your site (see #16).
  • Always put the main ad unit above the fold.

[*] When you share Google Analytics data with DoubleClick Ad Planner, the same data may also be displayed in Google Trends for Websites.

[**] You might want to use Chrome or Firefox when using Google Ad Planner because some of the features of the site don’t work in IE.

April 15, 2010

How To Extract SWF Flash From Excel or Word

 

Besides watching Flash videos (FLV files), you should have seen or played some Flash animation game as well (SWF files, a.k.a. Shockwave flash).
And most of the time, you received SWF Flash animation in Microsoft Office document. Very likely, the SWF animation file is embedded in Office Excel.
The reason of embedding SWF animation file in Office document is probably that majority of users is running on Windows / MS Office, and MS Office can serve as a container to run or play the SWF file.
(If you received an un-embedded SWF file, you might able to open and play the SWF animation in web browser that installed with Shockwave Flash add-on)
While the SWF flash appears as an embedded file in Office Excel or Word, you might want to extract or retrieve the embedded SWF flash for your blog.
However, there is no intrinsic or built-in function to extract / retrieve embedded SWF Flash animation from Microsoft Office document files. This is definitely true, that you won’t able to find this wanted feature in Office 2007 as well!
So, how could you do that in case you’re really wanted to do so? OK, here we go:
How to extract SWF Flash animation from Office Excel?
A simple VBA program (a.k.a Visual Basic for Applications) can extract the embedded SWF Flash animation file in less than a minute or so.
The VBA / guide has been tested in Office 2003 Professional, and it should be working perfectly in any Office versions / editions too (e.g. the latest Office 2007), provided the Office system has installed the VBA components.

  1. Open a new Microsoft Excel document,
  2. Click the Tools menu, Marco, Visual Basic Editor. You can also press the ALT+ F11 hotkey to bring up the VBA editor,
  3. While in MS Visual Basic editor, click the View Code icon on the upper-left panel,
    VBA program to extract or retrieve embedded SWF Flash animation in Excel.
  4. Copy the VBA program source code at below here and paste it onto the VBA source code editor,
  5. Press F5 to execute the VBA source code,
  6. An Open File dialog box prompts you to select the Office Excel document that embed the SWF Flash animation file,
  7. A message box appears shortly after the Excel file is selected, with a message that says where the extracted SWF Flash animation file is saved in local hard disk!

The extracted SWF Flash animation file ended with SWF file extension, and it can be open/play in a web browser with Shockwave Flash addon (e.g. Flash9e.ocx in IE7).
The VBA source code used to extract or retrieve SWF Flash animation files that embedded in Microsoft Office Excel or Word:
Sub ExtractFlash()

Dim tmpFileName As String
Dim FileNumber As Integer
Dim myFileId As Long
Dim MyFileLen As Long
Dim myIndex As Long
Dim swfFileLen As Long
Dim i As Long
Dim swfArr() As Byte
Dim myArr() As Byte

tmpFileName = Application.GetOpenFilename("MS Office File (*.doc;*.xls), *.doc;*.xls", , "Open MS Office file")

If tmpFileName = "False" Then Exit Sub

myFileId = FreeFile

Open tmpFileName For Binary As #myFileId

MyFileLen = LOF(myFileId)

ReDim myArr(MyFileLen - 1)

Get myFileId, , myArr()

Close myFileId

Application.ScreenUpdating = False

i = 0

Do While i < MyFileLen

If myArr(i) = &H46 Then

If myArr(i + 1) = &H57 And myArr(i + 2) = &H53 Then

swfFileLen = CLng(&H1000000) * myArr(i + 7) + CLng(&H10000) * myArr(i + 6) + CLng(&H100) * myArr(i + 5) + myArr(i + 4)

ReDim swfArr(swfFileLen - 1)

For myIndex = 0 To swfFileLen - 1
swfArr(myIndex) = myArr(i + myIndex)
Next myIndex
Exit Do

Else
i = i + 3
End If

Else
i = i + 1
End If

Loop

myFileId = FreeFile

tmpFileName = Left(tmpFileName, Len(tmpFileName) - 4) & ".swf"

Open tmpFileName For Binary As #myFileId

Put #myFileId, , swfArr

Close myFileId

MsgBox "Save the extracted SWF Flash as [ " & tmpFileName & " ]"

End Sub