Monday, 22 December 2008

Using Photosynth To Enhance Your Blog

I've recently started using Photosynth, which is an application by Microsoft whereby you can create a "cinematic" effect with your flat photos.

The process itself is quite simple - you take lots of photos from all angles of the desired object, landscape etc and then upload them to Photosynth, which sorts them out and creates the 3D image. However, it does take quite a bit of practice to get the right photos and make sure you've covered all the angles. There is a useful tutorial video on the site, but I've found you need to spend time practising.

You can take a look at one of my first efforts on my other blog Corfu Chronicles, where I've posted a view of a Corfu landscape.

Can Photosynth enhance your blog? Well, I think it could be useful to certain types of blogs - nature, travel, art etc - and could perhaps generate more interest in a post than an ordinary flat photo would, but I think it needs to be done sparingly to be more effective. And I'm not sure that I like the Photosynth frame that the image appears in on the post.

The thing is that you need to spend time on it and take a lot of photos. Anything less than about 40 or so (depending on the 'size' of what you're photographing) is really not going to produce a 'synthy' image, as they call it. For the one I did on Corfu Chronicles, I took 115 photos!

So I don't think it's really what you would call a 'blogging tool', though I think that it can enhance certain types of blogs and posts as long as you don't overdo it.

It's fun though!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

A Blogger's Christmas Stocking!

My sister wants to get me something from Amazon for Christmas and she asked me for some ideas. I had a bit of a search and in true blogging spirit - :-) - I came up with the three following books about Blogging! I don't know which of these she will get me - I've left a little room for surprise!

Each of them have the Look Inside facility, so I was able to browse through a few pages of each.

The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging
The Huffington Post is listed at No. 1 at Technorati, so I guess they know a thing or two about blogging!

ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income
I have a lot of respect for the authors Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett and am a subscriber to both of their newsletters.

Blogging Heroes: Interviews with 30 of the World's Top Bloggers
The title really says it all here. 30 of the world's top bloggers give their own experience and advice. You can see the list of who they are at Amazon, as well as getting a peek at some of the pages.

As I said, I've left it to be a surprise which one I get (maybe I'll get them all!!), though I think I lean towards the Huffington one as the most desirable.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

I Won A Month's Free Advertising At Adgitize!

Following my post about the Adgitize competition to win a month's free advertising, I'm following up to say I was the lucky winner!

I now have a month's free advertising for my blog Authentic Greek Recipes. Already over the last few days I've seen a lot of traffic coming from these ads. I also received my first payment as a publisher for the month of November.

Just a reminder that at Adgitize as a publisher you get points for visiting the other blogs, and for the articles you write on your blog(s). These points are translated into cash at the end of each month. You also get a one-off $5 for each advertiser you refer as well as $1 per month as long as they keep advertising.

As an advertiser you get all of the above plus extra points as an advertiser (again translated into cash at the end of the month) plus, of course, the traffic from your ads - which are very reasonably priced - which I have witnessed first-hand from the visits to my free ad!


Adgitize your web site.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Selling Online

Another way to make money is by selling online. A lot of people are doing very well with this, and I just want to mention a few of the ways - other than eBay - in which you can do this.

If you are talented and make your own handcraft products, then Etsy is probably the best way to showcase and sell them. I've been seeing more and more bloggers who have their own Etsy stores and, quite honestly most of the their products are terrific.

For those who aren't handcrafters, but have artistic and design talent, then perhaps either Cafe Press or Zazzle is the best choice. At these sites there is a wide variety of products available - from clothing to mugs and notebooks - and you choose which ones you want to sell and put your own design on to them. With Cafe Press you also have the option to pay for an upgrade, where you can design a much more attractive store.

If you are not in any way creative (like me!) but you have products to sell, then a couple of sites you might want to take a look at are eCrater and buyitsellit. At these 2 free sites you can buld your own online store with whatever products you want.

Last, but certainly not least, if you are neither creative nor have anything to sell (again, like me!) then there is Zlio.

Zlio allows you to build up to 50 stores and you can choose which market you want to aim at - USA, UK, France or Germany. The idea is to try and choose some kind of a theme for your online store, choose the products you'd like to sell from the merchants affiliated to Zlio and earn commission from the sales. You don't need to worry about the quality of the products, as the merchants include a lot of "heavyweights" - Adidas, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble etc, and there are over 3 million items to choose from. The shipping and delivery is also handled by Zlio, so you don't have to worry about that either.

Now, in addition to the earnings from products you sell, you can also have Google AdSense on your store site. Zlio themselves keep 40% of earnings from there and you keep 60%. There is also a referral programme, where you get 10% of commissions made by people referred by you plus 5% on the second level.

I, myself am looking seriously at Zlio, and need to decide what would be an appropriate theme for the store and whether I have the time and energy to commit to it.

Zlio.com

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Win 1 Month's Free Advertising at Adgitize

I published an earlier post about Adgitize. Adgitize has been going for less than a month and has reached 422795 ad views (at the time of writing) - views of the ads that member advertisers have placed on member blogs. You can see the current number of ad views at the bottom of this post.

Now, Adgitize have just announced that they are holding a competition to guess when they will reach 700000 ad views! The person who comes closest will win 1 month's free advertising on Adgitize plus one other person who has participated will be drawn at random to get 1 month's free advertising as well.

To take part in the contest, you need to have signed up at Adgitize - which is free. As I mentioned in previous post, the benefits of joining Adgitize are -

For Bloggers

You get points for your posts on your blogs (which you would have written anyway), for the number of views of Adgitize ads on your blog, for clicking on ads on other members' blogs. Depending on the number of points you have a accumulated, you get a share of the income each month.

You also get $5 for each person who signs up through you and becomes an advertiser, plus $1 per month for as long as they remain advertisers.

For Advertisers

All of the above benefits plus advertising at very, very reasonable rates on an ever-increasing number of blogs, bringing more traffic to your own blog.


It's a very simple system, and you can generate some more money and traffic for your site. I've already made $15 this month.

I would definitely recommend signing up. As I said, it's free. Click on the banner below for more details.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Hey, What Are You Doing Here? All The Gang's Over At SlogBite!

Sorry about the post title! I just wanted to post something about the new blog directory SlogBite. It's in pre-launch at the moment, but what makes it different is the fact that it focusses on the participation of the member blogs.

I know that I get a bit tired of directories and networks that don't pay attention to the needs and wants of the bloggers - who are, after all, what makes their business function - and even treating trhem disrespectfully, so I hope there is going to be a trend where bloggers can become more involved in a real way in these networks. SlogBite not only promises that, but is actually building itself up to launch based on the ideas and participation of the blogs.

For those of you on Entrecard, there is a page with all the EC members of SlogBite, to make your dropping a little easier. Come on over! I've seen a lot of good blogs already signed up there.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Friday, 14 November 2008

Superimposing One Image On Another

I wanted to create an image for my post Money, Money Everywhere And Not A Cent To Spend over at my other blog Corfu Chronicles. The idea I had in my head was to have a picture of lots of banknotes falling through the air and an image superimposed at the bottom of someone who was obviously poor.

Well, I'm neither technically nor creatively inclined (to say the least!) so I found two pieces of free clip art - banknotes falling through the air and a poor person with his empty pockets showing - and then had to find a way of superimposing the one on the other.

Now I know there's lots of software out there, but I wanted something that was free (I am half Scottish, after all!). With Photo Bucket you can do some editing, but you can't superimpose. Well, I found FotoFlexer. It was just the job. It's free - you just need to register - and I was able to use it easily to superimpose the one image on top of the other, making the parts of the top image that I didn't want to show, transparent. I found the short explanatory videos really clear and helpful and it didn't take me long to create the image I wanted.

I love these free tools! They make me feel like such a techie!

Monday, 10 November 2008

I Won $150 from BlogNet Awards!

Great news! I just won $150 from BlogNet Awards!

Each month they have contests for the best blogs in various categories and they also have a contest for nominating, voting and commenting. The winners in the latter contest are selected randomly, so the more you nominate, vote and/or comment, the more chances you have of winning a cash prize like I did.

For more details, visit the BlogNet Awards site.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Adgitize

I have just signed up at Adgitize, a brand new blogger's advertiser network that pays real money for their affiliate program. $5 a sale on the initial sale and then $1 per month as long as the advertiser runs an ad. They have a great payout program at only $10.

You can see one of their banners above and a couple of 125 x 125 ads below on the left sidebar.

The thing with this company is that it is brand new. They just started earlier this month, so it's a chance to be part of it right from the beginning. It costs nothing to join and the signup is quick and easy.

They are offering some great rates for those who want to advertise and are offering rebates to advertisers that also act as publishers.

Blogs that want to be publishers get points for the following -

- Adgitize Ad Views on your blog
- Total page views
- Writing any kind of post (one per day ) on your blog. (i.e. what you do anyway)
- Clicking on some of the ads and visiting other members in the network.

These points all translate into money!

Anyway, I've been busy collecting my points and , with the low $10 pay out level, it shouldn't be long before I'm collecting some dosh!

Adgitize your web site.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Add Favicon to Blogger

Well, I've just added a favicon to some of my blogs - and it was easy, peasy! Just as well, really, as I'm such a non-techie! A favicon, in case you don't know, is the little icon that you see next to the URL address at the top of the page (short for Favourite Icon).

I use Blogger, so I can let you know how to do it if you have a Blogger blog.

It is best if the image you want to use is square (mine was 125 x 125). Go to Dynamic Favicon for Blogger and Webmaster, who will convert your image and host it for you. Their service is completely free and you don' t even need to register. At the top of the page there is a box where you can browse and upload the image you want to use. Once you upload it, they convert it and host it and take you to another page, where you can get the code under Host It at IconJ.com: (Direct Link).

Copy the code and go to the Layout page for your blog, go to Edit HTML, Expand Widgets and then scroll down to where you will see -

]] >< /b:skin>

Paste the code immediately after this and before the next line, which is -

< / head >

And that's it! You may need to refresh your blog page before it shows up and I also found that it shows up more quickly on Firefox than IE.

I feel great when I can do something like that so easily!

Friday, 31 October 2008

The Website Owner Zone

Many thanks to Jenny Fletcher from My Greetings To You for recommending this network to me!

It's the Website Owner Zone, and it has gathered over 700 members in less than 2 months- which can't be bad - and, more important, it seems to be active. The membership is made up of website owners - as the name would imply - whether they be blogs or not, who network to help each other become more successful with what they are doing.

The site has a forum and it also has individual groups covering things like Web Traffic, Link Exchanges, Web Design, Affiliates and so on. There are already 90 separate groups.

I haven't had the chance to get really into it yet, but from cruise around the site it seems to be an active and helpful network.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Blog Content and Traffic

Well, I've been blogging for a few months now and I decided to take some time to take stock. I think it's important to do this regularly - stop and see what you've done, what's gone well, what hasn't gone well and how you can improve.

What I believe is that the 2 most important factors that I need to work on if I am going to make money blogging are Traffic and Content.

Taking content first. I was going to say "quality" content, but that is a very subjective term. I've seen blogs which don't have what I would call quality content and yet are doing very well. The thing is to have what we can perhaps call the "right" content.

Content will help in 2 ways basically - you will get more people coming to your blog plus more subscriptions, and you will attract advertisers, who are the means to generate income. These are not just advertisers who will place an ad on your site, but those who will pay for sponsored posts.

Being able to produce good content is something we really need to think about before we start a blog. The topic of the blog has to be something that we know about and feel comfortable with and also have the motivation or passion, as well as the time, to keep writing about it for a long time!

Traffic will ensure that there are the readers to visit the advertisers' spots and generate income and a high number of visitors will also encourage those advertisers to use your site. Traffic in general is good, but targetted traffic is what we are really looking for.

Search Engine Optimisation is essential and good content will keep the visitors from search engines coming back and will also increase your "authority" in your chosen topic. It is no surprise to me that my best performing blog is Authentic Greek Recipes which aims to establish itself as an authentic and reliable source for good quality, easy Greek recipes that are cooked and eaten in the country by the locals.

I realise that I should be doing more content-wise on my blogs and am now trying to focus on using my time in the optimum way, without neglecting that aspect. I've got a pretty good idea which social networks are worth investing time with and which are not. I don't want to spend too much time trying to identify more and more Affiliate Programmes - it's taking up too much time and energy and has led me to neglect the content of my blogs. I am happy with AdSense, Amazon and Commission Junction basically and now have Kontera working alongside AdSense on Authentic Greek Recipes.

Something else that is taking up a lot of my time is Entrecard dropping. Now, EC is providing me with a lot of traffic - even though most of it is 'drop and run' - plus I get to see a huge variety of blogs. Through EC a lot of people have become genuinely interested in my blogs as have I in theirs. But the thing is, I need to be in a position where I am not relying so heavily on EC and can afford to spend less time dropping and more on writing good content. I also need to redesign my blogs in the not too distant future.

So, I feel like I'm going into the next stage of my blogging 'career' and I must admit I feel pretty excited about it!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Finding Social Networks at Ning

Following on from my previous post about identifying social networks that are in your niche and which you can join and hopefully gain some more targetted traffic.

Ning has hundreds of thousands of networks of all sizes that have been created by people themselves, using the Ning template and support. I have identified several networks that are appropriate to my blogs there and joined them.

You just need to go to the Ning home page and start searching for popular networks. Unfortunately, your task is not simplified by them being categorised into groups, so it's a bit of a haul going through them - but worth it.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Niche Social Networks and Directories

In my previous post I mentioned "specialised" social networks. Social Networks and Directories that are focussed on the theme of your blog can be a good source of targetted visitors, as well as providing you with more back links. For example, people who have joined Food & Recipe groups and directories have obviously indicated that they will have some interest in my blog Authentic Greek Recipes.

The way I went about finding these networks and directories is as follows -

Blogs in the same niche
I spent time visiting other blogs in the same niche and noted which topical networks and directories they were members of. I found that Entrecard was a great help here - I could go to the group that I was interested in and then visit the blogs listed in that group.

Interest groups within general networks & directories
Usually, social networks and directories will have groups within them that are focussed on various topics. I joined these groups, where not only could I find other people with similar interests, but could also participate in the group and so promote my blogs.

I have found BlogCatalog and MyBlogLog especially good for this, but there are also the non-blogger networks such as Facebook and MySpace.

Search Engine search
As well as the 2 methods above, I also did a simple search engine search. For the Authentic Greek Recipes site, this involved typing in Food or Recipe Groups or Networks etc. Most of the results that came up, I had already found, but a few others did come up.

Niche networking has the benefit of creating more back links, increasing traffic to your site(s) and also - because it is targetted - has the potential to add to your income stream.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Search Engine and Social Media Traffic

I was reading a post by one of the top professional bloggers, who was analysing how much of his traffic came from Seme arch Engines and how much from other sources. He divided it up into 4 sources of traffic - Search Engines, Social Media, Other Sites and Direct. His search engine traffic apparently accounts for 33% of the total and he was happy with that.

This made look at the figures for my best performing blog - Authentic Greek Recipes.

Search Engine - 33%
Direct - 14%
Social Media - 50%
Other Sites - 3%

I'm fairly happy with those percentages, but what I need to do is increase the actual numbers. In other words, the total that they are a percentage of!!

I've been gradually learning more and more about Search Engine Optimisation and have been focussing mainly on the SEO Book and Wordtracker to help me.

With social media, I have found that there is what I would call "general" and "specialised" social networks. Specialised social networks are those that are to do specifically with the theme of your blog - in this case, food and recipes. I try as much as possible to join networks that are related to my blogs, as that will bring visitors who are actually interested in what you are writing about (hopefully!). More visitors who are interested in your content brings potentially more revenue.

Entrecard, which I would call a general social network, brings by far my most referral traffic. This is great, because it helps boost your rankings, but Entrecard also exposes you to other blogs who not only want to drop on you to gain credits, but are also actually interested in the content.

So, as I said, I'm happy with the percentages, but I need to increase the actual numbers. An integral part of this, I feel, is producing the kind of content that people will want to keep coming back for.

A combination of all these factors will eventually produce the goods - content, search engine optimisation and keeping myself exposed to the various social media.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

My First Blogging Award!


Yay! I got my first blogging award! Thanks to The Work From Home Mother for the award. You've got a great blog too!

I now have to pass on the award to other bloggers that I love.For those of you I list below you can put this little logo on your blog. Be sure to link back to the person who gave you the reward and pass it on to 7 other bloggers who you follow or love to read on occasion. Once you have completed that list, go to their blogs and post a comment telling them that they have received the award.

And now for my picks..

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Great Little Gadget from The Daily Blog

Do you see the gadget on the right sidebar where it says CHECK OUT THESE BLOGS? It's a neat little gadget that's been produced by The Daily Weblog.

Very simply, you go along to The Daily Weblog, submit the site(s) you want to be included, then click on Add to Blog in order to get the code to upload it onto your blog.

The gadget randomly displays the blogs that have been submitted on all the sites where it has been placed and generates traffic to your site. It won't bring floods of traffic, but in the few`days I've had it on my blogs, I've had more visitors from it than from several other schemes and directories that claim to generate traffic for you.

The image is nice and large, as you can see, and you can also click on the little button to the right to randomly go through other blogs.

Nice little idea! Kudos!

Monday, 13 October 2008

Can You Write?

Apart from blogging, another way to make money online is by writing. If you have the ability to write clearly and well and have knowledge about particular topics, then there are a variety of ways you can use this to make money.

Helium

At Helium you can write articles, enter writing contests and apply for writing jobs that you can find in the Marketplace. Helium also pays you 5% commission on the earnings of writers that you have invited.


Lulu

Here you can publish and sell your books or e-books, as well as calendars, posters and a variety of other materials.

Blogger Jobs

A site which lists lots of writing jobs available to bloggers.

Freelance Writing Jobs

A great blog with all kinds of information and advice about writing.

Writer's Weekly

Lots of tips and information about freelance jobs.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Search Engine Optimisation

I've been really trying to get a handle on Search Engine Optimisation, as I'm not at all a techie and yet I know it's SEO that's going to get the people who are searching for the information that you can provide to come to your site - targetted traffic, in other words - and who are going to be the ones who will generate income.

A while a go I posted about the excellent SEO Book, which I downloaded and which has been a tremendous resource. I have now also discovered SeoChat, which is another resource that I've started to use. It has Chat Forums, where there are a lot of authoritative posts and articles, and a section with SEO Tools. I've been spending quite a bit of time there using the tools to find out the status of my sited and what I can do to improve it.

You can check what spiders see on your site, for example, when they are crawling the internet, you can optimise your keywords, and there are many, many other useful tools.

I feel almost like I've gone back to college, but I know that it's all information and know-how that's absolutely necessary for me to start generating the kind of traffic to my sites that's going to bring in the money!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Get Free Backlinks from the Top Directories

Following my previous post about getting backlinks - Get Free Backlinks, I'd just like to follow up with another site I found which lists the top 50 directories which allow you to submit your site(s) for free.

It's Free Web Submission and they will automatically submit your site(s) to 20 of the directories, though you have to do the submissions to the others manually. It lists the directories clearly and puts their Page Rank nect to them so that you can see which ones you want to submit to.

I don't honestly think that very much actual traffic comes from directories, but having the backlinks helps to increase your own ranking in the search engines, which in turn brings the traffic that you are looking for.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Getting Paid to Search the Internet

I wrote a post recently about using Homepages to search the internet and getting paid. Well, to be honest, I didn't really use it that much after I signed up. But then I started thinking about it and said to myself, "Why not?"

I search on the internet every day, anyway, so why not get some money while I'm doing it? I realised that the only real question is, "Is it a good search engine?"

Well, I started using it and found that using the Yahoo! search engine that Homepages uses, the results were as good as any other engine. So, why not use it?

You're not going to make a fortune, OK, but you're not doing any extra work and getting some money in the meantime. And if you get referrals, then it can become quite a useful little sum.

How much can you make? Well, I'll take the example they give on their website -

If you make an average of 5 searches per day - which is quite a conservative estimate actually - then you make just £1.50 per month and £18.25 per year. However, if you have 10 referrals, who in turn have 10 referrals, who also have 10 referrals (3 levels under you), and each of them makes an average of 5 searches, then you will be making about £48 per month or £584 per year.

The amounts are in British pounds, as the company is based in the UK.

This not a huge sum, obviously, but the essence of the matter as far as I see it, is that it's all extra cash for something you do anyway. You're not putting in any extra effort at all to get it.

So, I now use it regularly every day.

Convinced?

OK, then sign up for Homepages!! It's free, anyway!


Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Promote Your Blog by Creating Your Own Widget

I have just created my own widget for one of my blogs Authentic Greek Recipes - you can see it near the bottom of the left sidebar. This contains the recent posts, along with photos from the blog, and I created it really easily at Widgetbox.

I have placed it on each of my blogs to help bring more traffic to Authentic Greek Recipes. The good thing at Widgetbox is that you can also make your widget a Facebook application, and then invite friends on Facebook. Once you have at least 5 who accept, you can register it in the Facebook Application Directory.

Widgetbox also has its own network, with various Channels, or categories. I have joined the Food group, and this can increase your traffic in 2 ways. Through visitors to the Network Channel itself and also, each member has a Channel widget on their blog with yours on it, so visitors to all these blogs can visit yours from there.

Neat!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Win $15 to your Paypal Account

Here's a chance to win $15 in a competition at the Youth Ministry Ideas blog.

All you have to do is blog about the competition post and then leave a comment. This is another of the Win it Wednesday competitions that are held at the Youth Ministry Ideas blog every ....Wednesday!

Good Luck!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Increase Your AdSense Revenue

The keywords that are used by Google in their Adsense programme have different values, which means that people clicking on some ads will generate more cash for you than on others. So if you can find out which keywords have a greater value, then you can use those that are relevant to your content to help get better returns.

Googlest.com have produced a 13 page document with the Top Paying Google Adsense Keywords which is available to download for only $5.

This is a great aid for those using Adsense, but obviously only keywords that are related to what your blog is about and can be naturally integrated should be used.

You may notice that I have added a new widget on the left sidebar, which is regularly updated with AdSense Tips to help optimise your use of AdSense on your site.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Doubling Your Entrecard Drops in Almost the Same Time

I've recently found a way to double the number of Entrecards I drop on in the same amount of time. This is not just by having a list of the sites with Entrecard that open quickly and dropping on them every day.

What I do is that I go to my Drops Inbox and click on a site there, then when it is open I drop on their card and then click on the site that is advertised on their EC widget. I close the first site - in the meantime, the second is opening up - and go to the next site in the Drops Inbox. While this is opening up, I drop on the site from the first widget, drop on it and close it. This process is repeated for each one.

In this way, you take advantage of the time it takes to close one window and open another to drop on another EC card. As I say, it practically doubles the number of drops in the same amount of time.

As well as saving time and increasing the number of EC credits I get, it also ensures that I am visiting a much wider variety of blogs.

When I am EC dropping, I like to stop and look at blogs that interest me. There are blogs that I know and like, and if they have a new post, I stop and read it. If it is a new blog (to me), I will often take a good look at what they are writing and also how their blog is designed and what they are doing that could be of benefit to my blogs.

Perhaps lots of people on Entrecard are already using this method of dropping and I've just cottoned on to it, but I thought I'd like to share it anyway.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

SEO Book

If you're not an expert - and I'm certainly not - then you need to try and get as much help as you can. I've been wanting to try and work on my search engine optimisation to get increase targetted traffic to my blogs and I downloaded the SEO Book for free.

I'm really starting to get a handle on it now - they provide tools for keyword suggestions and research amongst others and there are free tips, as well as search engine optimisation learning guides and video. After I joined, they also followed up with e-mails about Keywords, Strategy and Link building.

I also found the blog on their site to be especially useful - I've been learning a lot about Tags and Linking!

There is a lot to learn in order to become successful, but thankfully there experts out there - like the authors of SEO Book - to help us.



Saturday, 13 September 2008

How Many Blogs Should You Have?

I was recently reading a post on someone's blog. I can't remember the exact words, but it was something to the effect that if you have more than one blog when you are beginning, then that's a recipe for failure.

I think I would only agree with that if you don't have the time. If you have a full-time job and you blog only in your spare time, then, yes, I don't think you'll have much time to maintain more than one blog at the required standard.

However, if you have the time and if you want to start making money at some point, then I think you should definitely have more than one blog.

The basic thing that you need to see is whether the subject of each blog is something which you can quite comfortably write about continuously for the long-term. I just started a few months ago, and I looked at what there was that I could blog about. I didn't really think about what niche I should get into - pretty much all the niches have been covered as far as I can see, and even if there are some not fully covered, could I comfortably blog about them?

So I decided what I could blog about long-term - even permanently, if necessary - and started.

I have 6 blogs at the moment and there are 2 main reasons for this -
- There is minimal income going to be coming in to begin with, so at least multiply this to make it something more worthwhile.
- I didn't know which of the blogs would be successful, so it's a kind of trial to find out what went well and to build on it.

My Authentic Greek Recipes blog was set up because my wife is an expert cook and we live in Greece. There are loads of cooking blogs out there, but it's something we know about and can develop. I tend to focus more on everyday recipes from here in the country, rather than more"classic" ones. The advantage of this blog is that there are lots of food communities, where you can find targetted traffic, and even in Entrecard with its "flash" traffic, there are many bloggers who are also genuinely interested in the subject.

The blog has just been given a Google Page Rank 3 after a few months and traffic from search engines is about 40% of total traffic.

I live in Corfu, so it was logical to blog about it in some way. I am well-informed about real estate and hotels on the island, so I set up 2 blogs - Corfu Property and Corfu Holiday Accommodation - which are basically information blogs. The positive side of these blogs blogs is that when targetted traffic builds up, the AdSense ads especially are completely geared to what they are looking for. The down side is that they are not really suitable vehicles for PPP type sponsored posts - though my intention is to create sponsored posts and ads directly from local sources once the traffic is up to acceptable levels.

I created Corfu Chronicles to allow myself the "license", if you like, to write about just anything I wanted - whether it be about Corfu itself or something else I'd like to talk about. I felt it was important that I had this kind of outlet.

Daily Joke is really there just to see how it goes.

The last blog I set up was this one - Money From Nothing. I needed the outlet to write about making money online and also a means of getting my own share of the income from the huge community of money-making bloggers out there.

At the moment, I'm trying to think about anything else that I could comfortably blog about, to increase and develop my "stable". If and when I come up with anything, I'll be sure to let you know!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Get Free Back Links

I've just started using SubmitterBot to submit my blogs for free to directories and get back links.

SubmitterBot is what they term a semi-automatic directory submission tool. You just register for free and then add the URLs you want to submit. When you press Start Submitting, you are presented with each of the 446 directories one at a time, you decide whether you want to submit to it or not, then choose the category and submit your site.

It's semi-automatic because you choose which of the directories you want, along with the category in each one. They say it should take about 30 minutes to do it for each of your sites, but I found it actually took a little bit longer - but maybe that was just me.

It's free and it creates new links, so I'm hoping that it's going to be another tool to build up back links, Page Rank and traffic.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Answer Questions and Bring Visitors to your Site

I have just signed up for Yahoo Answers. Here you can gradually establish yourself as an expert in your field by answering questions that people post and direct them to your blog(s). I'm going to be focussing on questions about Greek cooking, to bring traffic to my blog Authentic Greek Recipes and on Corfu and Greece, which will bring them to my blogs Corfu Property, Corfu Chronicles and Corfu Holiday Accommodation.

I'll see how it goes and post about the results later.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Earn Money whilst Searching the Internet

I've just signed up at Homepages, where you can make money whilst searching the web. You just use Homepages to make your normal searches and you get paid for each search. It is powered by Yahoo, so you don't need to worry about the quality of the search results.

In addition to making money from your own searches, you can also make income from referrals. You get a percentage from the searches that your referrals make for up to 3 levels of referrals.

Sign up for free, and get paid to do what you do anyway.





Saturday, 30 August 2008

Traffic! Traffic! Traffic! Part 1

It goes without saying that in order to make money from your blog(s), you need to have people visiting. Now, to maximise income, this really needs to be targetted visitors - people who are actually interested in the content of your site. However, even "untargetted" visitors will help, as they increase the amount of incoming traffic and links, which will raise your positioning in the search engines, which in turn , will bring the targetted visitors.

From what I have learnt, either through personal experience or from other more experienced bloggers, the following are some important ways of increasing traffic. I have called this Part 1 as I will be posting later with more ways.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
This is really the first thing we need to do when we set up a blog. As well as setting myself up on Google and Yahoo, I also used Submit Express , which lists you on a whole lot of Search Engines, as well as having a free Meta Tag generator, which you can use.

Backlinks
Getting incoming links, especially from high-ranking sites, will increase your standing with the search engines, which will again increase your targetted traffic. I have found Backlink Builder a useful tool, where you can just type in your keywords and they will produce a whole list of sites where you can get related backlinks.

Directories
These also create backlinks to your site - sometimes reciprocal, sometimes one-way. You can see some blog directories at the bottom right of this blog. BlogCatalog and MyBlogLog are a combination of directory and social network and can be really helpful in generating traffic to your blog(s).

Another site I found useful is Free Website Directory List where you can find web directories by Page Rank and apply to get listed on them. Remember, the higher the Page Rank of the site you have an incoming link from, the higher the ranking of your own site goes.

Reciprocal Links
It is preferrable to get one-way links for the serch engines to rank you higher, but even if you have reciprocal links, that still means that your blog is listed on other people's sites and visitors to their site will have the chance to come to yours.

Obviously, it is better to have these links with sites whose content is related to yours, and the higher the Page Rank and number of visitors they have, the better.

Commenting
By commenting on other people's posts, you create more links back to your site, as well as getting exposure to visitors to the other sites. Commenting on sites that are Do Follow is better and one way to find them is to go to Google Image Search and type in U Comment I Follow. From the results of the search, you can choose which sites you want to visit and it is obviously better to comment on posts that are related to your blog. No spamming, though!

Social Networks
Joining social networks increases your exposure and so you can promote your blog(s). As well as general social networks such as Facebook and MySpace, it is especially fruitful to join networks that are related to the content of your blog. Remember - targetted visitors!

Part 2 to follow...

Friday, 22 August 2008

Feeling Lucky?

ClixSense have just added another way that you can make some money. They have just started what they call ClixGrid.

This is basically a grid where you can click anywhere you want up to 20 times per day if you are a free member and 50 times a day if you are a Premium member. You have a chance to win between $0.01 - $5 perday. Basically it's something similar to getting 20 free scratchcards every day!

So now there are 3 ways you can make money from
ClixSense, which I have gathered is one of the most reputable Paid to Click companies.

1. Click on ads every day
2. Referrals
3. ClixGrid

The most lucrative of these three is getting a downline of referrals.

Feeling lucky? Join
ClixSense and click on ClixGrid every day, as well as getting paid to click on ads and make referrals.


Thursday, 14 August 2008

RevResponse


I've just started using RevResponse as an affiliate. This is a little bit different from other affiliate companies in that you can make money by letting your readers have FREE content that is relevant and of value to them.

With RevResponse, you can have a widget on your site that contains newsletters, business resources, analysts' reports and downloads that are free for your visitors. You can arrange that the selection on view is relevant to what you feel your readers would be interested in. The free offers are popular with professionals across a range of industries, and you’ll receive commissions on qualified requests from your international traffic as well as your U.S. visitors.

For example, a couple of magazines that qualified readers may like to subscribe to for FREE are:

Website Magazine
Until now, there has not been a magazine that caters exclusively to the business of running a website. Website Magazine has tapped premier talent in the Internet industry for our content and each and every issue will contain practical advice and insights for website owners.

eWeek
eWeek is the essential technology information source for builders of e-business. Through a combination of news, analysis and evaluation, it guides readers in making the best technology decisions for their enterprise. Focusing on e-commerce, communications and Internet-based architecture, eWeek enables readers to successfully evaluate, deploy and leverage new technology solutions for competitive advantage.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Learning from Other Blogs

In one of my previous posts, I talked about Learning from the Masters - in other words, from those who are highly successful at blogging and making money online.

We can also learn a lot from other bloggers in general. I spend a lot of my time - as I'm still fresh to this online world - looking at other people's blogs, usually as I am Entrecard dropping on them. By the way, if you don't know what Entrecard is, then I would highly recommend joining - it's a great way to get a lot of traffic to your blog. I'll talk more about it in another post, but in the meantime, you can just click on Get One on the Featureed Blog at the top right-hand corner.

This is basically market research, and there are several ways in which we can learn from others.

Design and Appearance
Check out the design of their blog and see how you feel about it as a visitor. Is it attractive? Is it clear? Would you like to stay there and read it, or just skip on to another blog? Now, put yourself in the position of a visitor to your blog and see how it would seem to them. I think most serious bloggers spend quite a bit of their time making adjustments to the appearance, so that it can become more "enticing" and less unattractive.

Functionality
Bearing in mind that we want to make money, what are these other blogs doing well that will make as many people as possible click on the ads, join the referral programmes or whatever else will provide them with income?

Widgets
Especially if you are relatively new to blogging, you can check out the widgets that others have and get ideas about what would be appropriate to your blog.

Affiliate Programmes
Again, if you're fairly new to blogging, you can gather information from others as to what affiliate programmes are out there. Pay especial attention to those blogs that are in the same niche or category as yours, as this will help you in deciding which would be most appropriate to you.

Blog Directories and Communities
Once again, pay especial attention to blogs in your niche, and see what directories and communities they are part of. By also joining these, you can substantially increase traffic to your site, and in the case of communities that are specifically for your subject (e.g. Recipes), this can be targetted traffic.

To sum up, I feel we need to be constantly observant as to what is going on and continuously learning from each other, so as to be able to improve what we are doing and consequently increase our earnings.

We need to be especially aware of what blogs in the same niche as us are doing, and primarily those who have a high Page Rank and lots of visitors. What are they doing right? Can we learn from them and be as successful - if not more so - as them?

Monday, 4 August 2008

Get Paid for Life with PerformancingAds

PerformancingAds allows publishers - site owners - to utilise a fully automated self-serve ad system and get paid at the end of the month in which they've earned the money. You can also earn money or credits that will drive traffic to your site and which you can use to have your own ad displayed on other sites.

Make Money With PerformancingAds

Advertisers can promote their products on high quality sites as well as across entire blog networks.

Targeted Blog Advertising With PerformancingAds

There's a great affiliate programme as well, which gives you $10 for each new publisher or advertiser you refer PLUS 5% on all advertiser spending for life!

Definitely sounds worth checking out!

Become an Affiliate

One of the main income streams for most, if not all, money-making blogs is Affiliate Marketing. This basically means that you make a commission by selling other companies' products or services and/or refer people to join as affiliates.

There are a lot of companies out there offering affiliate opportunities, and personally I feel it is too much just to fill up your blog with all, or even most of them. I think it's important to be selective and choose those that you feel would be most suited to your readership. Most companies also give you the option to select products in line with the content of your site.

I'm still at the stage of trying out these companies at my various blogs, to see which ones I should stick with. I can imagine myself at some point in the future, eventually settling down with the most productive.

Some recommendations to become an affiliate are the following -

Amazon

DealDotCom

PayDotCom

Make Money With PerformancingAds

shareasale.com

ShoppingAds

Text Link Ads


Sunday, 3 August 2008

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Getting Paid to Post

Another way of making money from your blog is by being paid to write a post about a specific company, product or service.

For obvious reasons, advertisers won't pay someone who has only just started blogging, and the various intermediary companies who bring together the advertisers and bloggers - or publishers, as they are referred to - usually have an approval system before you are given the opportunity to write sponsored posts.

Usually, they will want the blog to be 2 or 3 months old at least and with a minimum number of total posts and/or monthly posts.

Once you do start writing the paid posts, then I think it's important to maintain the overall quality of the blog by writing about products that are in keeping with the content of the site, and also don't detract from your regular posts. This will, in the long run, produce better results both for yourself and for the sponsors.

Here are some sites where you can apply to write sponsored posts or reviews.

BLOGTOPROFIT

Bloggerwave

Blogsvertise

Pay per Post

PayU2Blog

Review Me

Smorty

Sponsored Reviews

Saturday, 26 July 2008

AdSense Makes Sense

In my previous post I mentioned Google AdSense. This can be a regular and sometimes very good source of income for bloggers.

When you put AdSense on your blog, the ads that appear are automatically related to the context of what is written on the site (Contextual Ads), to make it more likely that visitors will want to click on them and thus generate money for you.

Google are very strict, however, in their Terms of Service and there are 3 points in particular that you would do well to be absolutely clear about, otherwise you run the risk of having your account terminated.

First of all, you can't have any other ads that are also contextual ads. If you want to sign up with another company as well, make sure that this won't be in violation of Google's Terms of Service. You can usually check in the FAQ of the other company to see if they can run alongside other ads but, if in doubt, as someone who is not yet an expert, my policy is to be safe and not do it.

Secondly, you are not allowed to encourage anyone to click on the ads, and finally, you can't click on them yourself.

Now, as far as optimisation of Google Ads is concerned, I think there are 2 main factors. The first is the actual design and placement of them. When you are placing the ads on your site, you can design the colour, size and type that you feel would be most effective. You can however, only have up to a certain number of units on the page - at the moment it is 3.

The second and, I feel, much more important factor is traffic. In other words, the number of people visiting your site. This is actually just common sense - if you don't have people looking at your site, how can they look at the ads?

And not simply traffic, but what is called targetted traffic. Not just people dropping by your site, but people who are actually interested in what is written there. Again, just common sense really.

So, this can help us focus on getting targetted traffic in order to increase our income stream. I will be talking about ways of increasing traffic in another post.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Blogging for Money

It seems that blogging is the main way to make any decent sort of money from the internet. The people that I see on the internet making money are the bloggers whose blog or blogs give them several channels of income.

When I first started reading up about blogging, the first or one of the first things that everyone was saying was to blog about something you know and preferrably care about. I definitely agree with this, because if you are going to keep up a blog, then you are going to have to care enough about it to keep posting regularly, and if you know the subject then obviously you're going to be posting about issues that are within your experience.

There is quite a lot of talk about finding your niche. However, there are so many blogs out there about so many different issues, that I feel you would be hard put to find something that hasn't been covered. So, basically I believe that you should just blog about something you are confident that you can keep going with, and automatically you will bring your own angle to it.

The ways of making money from your blog or blogs are basically as follows -

Contextual Ads: The best known of these is Google AdSense. These are ads placed on your blogs that automatically adjust to the context, so that they are relevant to what people are reading. The amount you get paid depends on the number of times people click on them.




Sponsored Posts: Many advertisers pay bloggers to write posts about their products or services.

Becoming an Affiliate: In other words, you have ads or links on your blog and get paid commission on the sales, leads or referrals that come through them.

Direct Advertising: People or companies pay you to place an ad on your blog.

Direct Selling: You sell your own products or services through your blog.

To me these are the main income generators from your blog and I will be writing separate posts about my experiences with all of them.

Finally, I just want to mention the blogging platform that I have chosen - Blogger. The two main reasons for this are firstly that it is free and secondly I can put Google Ads on it, from which I derive income.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Learning from the masters

The word "apprentice" implies that there is a master or masters. This also applies to working online.

To learn from people who have professional experience and are able to give serious and responsible advice and tips I have tried to find the best in the field. For general money-making I have found Dosh Dosh to have comprehensive and wide-ranging advice, and I use it as a constant point of reference.

More specifically for blogging, I have ProBlogger and John Chow as points of reference. I subscribe to both of these sites as I think it's important, as in any other business, to keep up with stories and advice about what's happening in the world of blogging.

Aside from these 3, I'm trying to learn and pick up things just by looking at whatever I find in other blogs and social networks. I look to see how successful someone is and then just try and understand what they are doing and learn from that, whilst adapting it to my needs and situation. I'm not going to get into that in this post, but will go through stuff that I have learnt and found to be useful in later posts.

What I'm really trying to say here is that we need to find those who are experienced and successful and learn from them. That's one of the wonderful things about the internet - it's possible to find so much information and advice.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Paid to Click

Another way to make money without any expense is with the Pay to Click programmes. When you sign up with one of these programmes, you are given some sites to click on for 30 seconds and you are paid - usually $0.01 per click. Now this is going to make me a fortune, even clicking every day, but you can generate referrals and get percentages from their clicks.

I have read that a lot of these programmes are not so reputable and that people have had problems in getting paid, but there is one that generally seems to get good reviews - ClickSense. I've signed up for it and set aside some time every day for "casual clicking". You can sign up easily here -

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Social Networking for Money

Even if you don't have a website or blog, you can join social networks on the internet and make money. There are many networks you can join, but the with the two I am going to mention in this post you can actually make money from participating.

The first is Yuwie -



Another site that has recently gone online is ZenZuu. I've just joined this, so I don't know yet how things will go, but again the revenue is shared among members and getting referrals is going to be the best way to make some decent amounts of money. They also have listings of business opportunities. Signing up is easy and free -

With both these networks the real money is to be made through referrals. As the levels of referrals below you increase, the amount you earn increases geometrically. Perhaps one good way to get a targetted market for referrals is to refer people from Yuwie (which has a much larger membership) to ZenZuu.
Related Posts with Thumbnails