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.
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