Thursday, 24 December 2009

Clicky - Real Time Web Analytics

I've been using Google Analytics to monitor my statistics, but I heard about Clicky and decided to give it a go. Whereas with Google you have to wait until the following day, Clicky let's you watch what's happening as it's happening - Real time. You can see details of who's online at this moment, what they're looking at, how they got to the site, their geographical location etc.

You can customise the dashboard to get the statistics you want and I've found it really easy and clear to view what's happening - I have to say I'm impressed. You can sign up with Clicky for free - which is what I've done - though there are Pro programmes with different price levels.

You can use it along with Google Analytics, which is what I'm doing at the moment, to see how it goes, but compared to GA and Sitemeter - which I've also used - Clicky has been giving me the clearest picture of what's happening. Click below to check it out.

Clicky Web Analytics

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Bhokta - Get Paid To Write About Whatever You Want

I’ve just signed up at Bhokta, a relatively new site which pays you for articles that you write. You can write about anything that you wish, submit it and after it has been reviewed and checked to see that it hasn’t been copied from anywhere else, it’s published and you receive immediate payment via Paypal.

This is one of the things I like about Bhokta – it pays immediately. There is no waiting until the end of the month or until you have reached a minimum amount. The amount you get paid for each article varies from $1 to $4, depending on the number of words and there is a maximum payout of $100 per week.

Apart from the payment, the other advantages are the links generated to your site from Bhokta plus the chance to increase your traffic. You can also write reviews of Bhokta if you have a site with a Google Page Rank – the amount you get paid depends on the PR.

It seems to me that it’s a good opportunity. Compared to writing paid reviews on your blog, perhaps the amount paid is not the same, but this is far outweighed by the fact that you can write about any subject you wish – you are not constrained in any way, plus you can write as many as you wish and don’t have to wait around for a suitable opportunity to come along.

You don’t need to be an expert for your articles to be published, but I would think that it is better to write about subjects that you have a reasonable amount of knowledge about in order to establish some kind of ‘authority’ and gain quality and repeat traffic.

It’s free to join, so do try it. And what does the word Bhokta mean? Well, apparently it means ‘happiness’ or ‘enjoyment’ in Sanskrit – so now you know!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Free Online Forms For Your Site

I recently needed to have an online form for people to register for next year's cookery classes here and I decided to use EMailMeForm.

It's a free service and offers customizable web forms ( Contact forms, online Questionnaires and Surveys ) and they host it on their server, so it works with any site, regardless of the ability to run scripts. I found it really easy to set up - I'm a non-techie! - and they also use Captcha to block spam.

You set up the fields that you need for your form and then copy the HTML code and paste it onto your site. When people fill it in they don't need to leave the site and they are directed to a page of your choosing which acknowledges that it has been sent and thanks them.

With the one account you can have forms on several sites.

As I said, I found it really easy to set up and ... it's free!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Ciao - Get Paid To Review And Give Advice

I've just signed up at Ciao. This is a multi-million-strong online community that reviews and rates millions of products and services for the benefit of other consumers. In their own words they "combine unbiased consumer reviews and up-to-date price information from hundreds of online merchants to make it the most comprehensive source of shopping intelligence on the web." Apparently more than 38 million consumers visit the site every month, "making it one of the largest shopping portals in Europe."

The good news is that you can make money by writing advice and reviews of products and services as well as through their referral programme. As I said, I've just signed up, so I'm eager to get started and see how it goes. Is there anyone else who has had experience with them?

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Increase Your Traffic With Along For The Ride

I've just started using Along For The Ride (AFTR). This is an interesting approach to increasing traffic to your site. You'll see the widget on the right sidebar of this blog - if you mouse over it, then after 3 seconds a mini-window opens up with the site of another member of AFTR (this is done on a rotational system).

It's as simple as that. If you have the widget on your site, then the visitor doesn't have to leave it to view the other site, nor do they have to click on anything. Your blog is available in the same way on other members' sites.

I've just had it for a few days, but have already noticed a steady increase in traffic. I'd recommend checking it out here.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Advertise On Money From Nothing

If you would like to advertise on Money from Nothing please click on the PayPal button and choose the duration of your ad. Send me, in an email attachment, your 125 x 125 image and URL link. Please send to

Duration of Ad

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Time Management For Blogging

I've found time and time again that I need to keep myself organised in order to get the best possible results from blogging. So many times I find myself just saying ' OK, let's do this now' or ' It's about time I did this,' - just drifting without any clear plan, and not trying to make the best use of my time.

No matter how much time we spend blogging - whether it's full time or just whenever we get the time - we need to manage our time properly in order to make the most efficient use of it.

I've taken the 'tasks' that need to be done and divided them into categories and then decided on the amount of time that I need to devote to each. This is something that can't be generalised as it really depends on the amount of time we spend blogging and what weight we want to give to each.

Briefing - This should probably be done at the start of the day.
  • Checking incoming communications (e-mails, comments etc) and responding to them - some that require more time can be set aside for later on (Socialising & Engaging).
  • Checking on income streams - ads, affiliate programmes etc.
  • Checking on other updates such as number of fans on Facebook, poll results etc - this will be different of each of us.

Ok, not such a sophisticated term, but this refers to the time I spend clicking ads on Adgitize, which helps generate points to make enough to continue advertising on Adgitize. I combine this with clicking on the Entrecard ads which are on most of the Adgitize ads.

Socialising & Engaging
  • Responding to comments and messages from the earlier Briefing.
  • Making comments where appropriate - this can be combined with Clicking (see above).
  • Visiting and participating in appropriate forums.
  • Engaging and developing a greater presence in chosen social networks such as Facebook.
  • Twitter - regularly tweeting and engaging with others. Steadily building up a quality following.

Yes, let's not forget this! We need to organise ourselves in a way that suits us. Maybe we plan a series of posts in advance. Maybe we take each day as it comes. But, for sure we need to make sure that this is not neglected amongst all the other stuff.

For those that do paid posts / reviews, time needs to be spent on identifying opportunities, applying for them and then writing them.

Research & Development
  • Keeping up-to-date with latest developments and ideas. By subscribing to sources such Mashable, ProBlogger and TwiTip, a lot of these will come into your inbox every day and you need to set aside time to take a look at these.
  • Simply looking at what other sites are doing and getting ideas. This can also be combined with Socialising & Engaging (see above).
  • Regularly looking at your blog(s) and seeing what you are happy with and how you can improve it - such design and layout.
  • Reviewing income streams - what is working, what isn't working and why not. Any new potential income streams.
  • Having 'team meetings' with yourself! Perhaps on a weekly basis, sit down and brainstorm - writing down what is going well, what isn't and how you can improve. Planning and then putting those plans into action.

I personally find that this simple analysis of what I need to be doing and then allocating appropriate time slots for each of them has helped to focus me and make better use of my time. Any comments?

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Using Facebook Pages To Increase Traffic

I've just created a Facebook page for one of my blogs in order to see if I can increase traffic. The page is called Authentic Greek Recipes (see below) and links to my blog of the same name. I'm going to regularly update it with posts from the blog with a photo, brief description and link to the original post.

It's been up for a couple of days now and there are just over 100 fans at the time of writing. The good part is that about 20 of them are people who are not my Friends on Facebook, but have become fans following someone else's suggestion. Obviously, when you set up a Page, the first people to invite are your friends but for it to be successful you need to get them referring other people and thus increase traffic through the links. Already I've seen a sharp increase in traffic from Facebook.

Before you go ahead and set up a page, though, I think you need to know if it's genuinely going to interest people. This is why I did it with Greek recipes - people are into food! I wouldn't do it with this blog, for example, as I don't feel it would be offering something different from any number of other Pages.

There are a large number of niche blogs out there that I think would benefit from having their own Page on Facebook and a resultant increase in traffic. But as I said above, the thing is for it to be attractive enough for people who are not your Friends to become fans.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Enhance Your Blog Posts With Apture

I've just started using Apture. It's a way of adding extra material for your readers without their having to leave the page, making your post richer and more interesting. You'll probably have seen this device on a lot of the online newspapers, where a word or phrase will have a small window that opens with more information, photos or video.

I did use Snap for a short while, but this is different. Snap just gave you a snapshot of a particular link and to be honest I found it annoying and it slowed down the page. Apture is not contextual advertising either, you choose which word or phrase you want to expand on and then you choose exactly what you want to show. You can choose a video, photo, text, link to a specific URL or post within your site and even embed a code. In fact, there are supposedly 50+ sources of multimedia.

To give you an example of a text link, this is some text about blogging from Wikipedia. Add an R to Apture and this is the song you get by Blondie.

What Apture does is make your posts much more interesting for visitors and keeps them on your site for longer. I, personally, wouldn't overload it, but that's a choice for each of us to make.

If you're an Amazon affiliate, you can also make some money in this way. This is an example of a link to a book - Problogger - which, by the way, I have constantly found to be a great source of information.

To start using Apture, you need to download - free - the add-on for your particular blogging platform. You can do that here. Once you've downloaded it, you go to your blog and a small dashboard will open up asking you to sign on. Then you just add the sites you want to use it on - for each site you will be given a code to install on the blog. One thing I would like to mention, you will be given the option to Auto-enhance when you add your blog, I would recommend unclicking this option, in order to have complete control over what links you want.

Take a look at this video tutorial produced by Apture. There are many ways of using Apture that I haven't mentioned, and this will give you a better idea.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Kindle Blogs

Earlier this year, Amazon offered bloggers the chance to have their blogs published for
Kindle. I recently tried it out to see how it would go.

The way it works is that people who have the Kindle Wireless Reading Device (6" Display, U.S. Wireless, Latest Generation) can not only read books from Amazon, but also take out a monthly subscription to blogs of their choice to be read on Kindle. There is a 14-day free trial.

You, as publisher get 30% of the subscription, which Amazon determines - either $o.99 or $1.99 per month. If you live in the USA you can receive payment by electronic bank transfer or check, whereas if you live outside the US you only have the check option, with a $50 threshold and $8 fee per check. Unfortunately, they only have the dollar option at the moment - hopefully this will change so that they become like AdSense.

Anyway, despite these disadvantages I decided to give it a go - another potential income stream, after all, without having to do anything extra. I had a think, first of all, about which of my blogs people with Kindle would be more likely to want access to and I decided on my recipe blog and the Daily Joke blog. To be honest, I had more hopes for the latter and this has proved to be correct. I've had a few subscriptions for the Daily Joke blog in the first month, but none yet for the recipe blog.

To get an idea of what the Amazon page for the blogs looks like, you can check out my Daily Joke blog for Kindle here -
Read my blog on Kindle

And the Authentic Greek Recipes blog here -

Read my blog on Kindle

To check it out, just go to Kindle Publishing

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Using Chitika To Complement AdSense

I've just started using Chitika Premium on one of my other blogs Authentic Greek Recipes. The initial indications are good and I find it a great complement to AdSense.

Chitika doesn't contravene the AdSense T&C as it works in a different way. It pays per click, but appears only to those who have come to your site via search engines and shows ads that are related to your search terms. This means that you have to have a decent percentage of your visitors coming through search engines, otherwise it's pretty pointless having it. Also, at the moment it is only for visitors from the USA and Canada. So anybody visiting you from outside of that area doesn't even see the ad box.

So if you have what you would consider a decent number of people visiting your site through search engines and from North America, then I would say it's definitely worth your while signing up at Chitika. They approve (or disapprove) your site pretty quickly and if you have other blogs, you don't need to reapply for each of them - they are automatically included in the initial approval.

Once you have done that, then make sure that you get the optimum size and placement of ad box. I have placed it above the blog posts so that it can be seen immediately on 'arrival'.

Get Chitika Premium

Friday, 16 October 2009

Earn Indirect Income From Your Blog

You can earn direct income from your blog - through ads and becoming an affiliate - but it's also possible to make money indirectly. You can sell a product or service through your blog to your readers.

Now, there are many of these that you can choose from, but I'm going to talk about one in particular in this post - lessons. I decided to try it out with one of my other blogs, Authentic Greek Recipes, and all the indications so far are that it is going to be successful. We are going to organise Greek Cookery Lessons here next summer - see the post.

To get an idea if there was any interest in this, I simply put up a poll on the site to get an indication if it was worth proceeding. So far, out of the 165 responses, 51 (31%) have said Yes and 33 (20%) have said that they would seriously consider it. Now, these are not huge numbers but as we plan just to do small, friendly groups it's more than enough for us to go ahead and organise the lessons.

This is the kind of thing several kinds of blogs could consider doing. Apart from cookery blogs, crafts people and photographers immediately spring to mind. How about arranging a holiday for people to come to you for lessons? It's a good way of using the readership that you have built up, who consider you to be an authority on the subject.

To get an indication of the potential interest, you can set up a poll on your blog - I got mine free from PollDaddy. I wrote a post about it and then left the poll up in the top left corner of the site.

Let me know what you think and if it's something that you could do.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Learning From The Pros 2

This is basically a follow-up to my post about the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. The month-long course run by ProBlogger finished a few days ago and I feel I definitely benefited from it. Some of the points presented I was already aware of, but they helped me focus on learning from them in a clearer and more defined manner.

I have selected 5 particular points that helped me. Obviously I'm not going to just copy here what was said about them, but just mention how I relate to them.

Spend some time on a successful blog in your niche.

When I first started this blog I wrote a post about Learning From Other Blogs, but on this course it defined more clearly how we could learn from the Content, Design, Reader Engagement, Monetisation, Traffic and SEO of a successful blog in whatever our niche is.

Learn From Successful Bloggers.

For this particular lesson we were directed to specific posts from 10 very successful bloggers. Another great way of learning.

Looking at your blog’s statistics/metrics package to see what you can learn from it.

Presumably we all look at our statistics, but this lesson showed us analytically what to look at, why, and what to do with the information. This is something I'm not so familiar with and it was a great help.

Interlinking previously written posts in your archives.

This again was something I wasn't really familiar with. Going to some of your older posts and interlinking between them, thus helping SEO and page views as well as increasing usefulness to your readers. I have been trying more consciously now to create links between posts.

Create a 'sneeze page' for your blog.

I think this is a great idea. Creating a post which includes several links to other posts you have made. One way I found to put this into practice was a post on my Authentic Greek Recipes blog where I created a post - Greek Vegetarian Meal - which put together several recipes previously posted into a recommended full meal. There were links to each of the dishes included in the meal.

All in all, I found it a useful learning opportunity and I need to take as many of these opportunities as possible until I become successful. And even then, I'm sure that the learning never stops.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Creating Your Own Social Network

In previous posts I talked about finding social networks relevant to your niche to help promote yourself and generate traffic. You can see them here and here.

You can also create your own social network for the same reasons plus you will also increase your own profile. With Ning, it couldn't be easier. First, though, I would recommend that you research what networks already exist similar to what you have in mind.

Is there already saturation? This would mean that it will be very difficult for people to be attracted to your network.

Or do you feel that there is room for your network? Go ahead - it doesn't cost anything. Once it starts to take off, as I said, it will help elevate your profile on the web and bring more traffic to your blog(s) as well as giving you the opportunity to network with similar people or people with similar blog(s).

I myself have just started a network for bloggers over 50. I've called it O Fab!! - Over Fifty And Blogging. Fab is very much a word of the sixties, so the initials suit. It's just going to be a relaxed place and I'm just going to see what interest there is and how it goes. I feel that bloggers over 50 - whether they are doing it for money or just as a hobby - have a certain 'maturity' to offer to the world of blogging!

So, if you are over 50 and blogging, do come and join here. I'm neither technical nor artistic, so I'm not particularly happy with the logo at the moment, but when, hopefully, the membership increases I'm going to see if someone would like to design something better (and get full credit for it on the main page, of course).

Visit O FAB!!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009


I recently signed up at Likaholix - a new social network where you can share your likes with other members. This can be anything you have found on the internet - sites, products, books etc. If you have at least 10 likes in a particular category, you become what is called a Tastemaker, which gives more weight to your recommendations.

I've only just recently joined, but it seems like an interesting idea, and was set up by two ex-Google employees. At the moment, joining is by invitation only, so if you're interested I have some invitations (30, I think) if you click here.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Learning From The Pros

If you want to succeed as a blogger, I think it's extremely important that you try and learn from the experts. The ones who really are successful. So, I enlisted in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course, which is run by Darren Rowse at ProBlogger.

Today is the 5th day and we've been mailed a new task, along with tips, every day. I've found that it has helped me focus on what is important and giving me greater clarity. I'm a great admirer of ProBlogger and purchased his book (co-authored with Chris Garret). To see my review of the book, go to my previous post here.

The 31 Days course is completely free and he is still accepting people onto it, even though it has already started. I would recommend it and the link to sign up is here.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

I'm Using TweetDeck Now

Continuing my foray into the world of Twitter, I've now signed up at TweetDeck.

TweetDeck is a great tool that you can download for free here. It is an application that allows you to monitor information from various social media in a single concise view and currently integrates services from Twitter, Twitscoop, 12seconds, Stocktwits and now Facebook. I'm just using it for Twitter at the moment just until I get into the swing of it.

TweetDeck enables you to split your main Twitter feed (All Friends) into columns allowing a broader overview of tweets. It automatically updates and so provides you with an effective and user-friendly dashboard of realtime information.

I've just installed it, so I'm still getting the hang of it but it certainly seems to clear view of friends, tweets and updates.

Has anyone else been using it? What's your experience of it?

Saturday, 4 April 2009

My Earnings At Adgitize Have Quadrupled....Without Doing Anything!

I've posted here before about Adgitize, but I wanted to mention the latest good news. They have changed the payout system so that you can earn more money. This started from April 1st and I wanted to wait and see what difference it would make to my earnings before writing about it. Well, in the first couple of days my daily earnings have quadrupled!

We're not talking huge amounts of money here, but we are talking a steady little earner without really having to do anything for it. Plus traffic from views of your ad(s).

To get the most out of Adgitize, you really need to be an advertiser - it only costs $14 a month to get displayed across the whole network, and you can get more than twice that amount back through your earnings. Plus the increased traffic - I've been getting around 50 visits a day from Adgitize to my Authentic Greek Recipes ad.

So what do you have to do to make money?

Everyone can make up to 500 points a day over 5 categories which have a maximum of 100 points each -

Article Points - you get points if you post on your blog(s).
You do this anyway, so there's no extra work involved here.

Click Points - you get points for clicking on the Adgitize ads.
I combine this with Entrecard dropping, which I do anyway. Not everyone has an EC widget, but I would say that out of the 50 Adgitize sites I visit every day, only about 5 don't have one. Why do I only visit 50 sites? Because, as an advertiser my points are doubled and I get my maximum 100 from visiting just 50 sites.

Ad Views Points - If you display Adgitize ads on your site, you get points for the number of views of those ads every day.

Page Views Points - As above, but these are points for views of pages that have the ads displayed.

Advertisers Points - This is points for being an advertiser.

So where's the extra work? The only thing 'extra' you have to do is visit some blogs, which you're doing anyway if you're in EC, and even if you aren't, how long does it take to visit 50 blogs and click on them? Especially if you're getting paid for it! But even if you don't want to visit blogs and click on the ads, you're still earning points - and money - from the other categories, it's just that you're losing a potential 20% of your earnings.

As I said above, now that the money being paid out has increased, this really is a nice little earner. You can earn as a publisher, without paying anything, but by becoming an advertiser as well, you not only can get your $14 a month back, but also make more on top of it.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

I'm All A-Twitter!

Well, I haven't been posting here for quite a while - I had some paid writing work to do which took up most of my time. Anyway, I'm getting back into it and have decided to give Twitter a shot. I signed up for Twitter quite a while ago, but never got into it, but now I'm going to focus a little bit more on it to see if it can help generate steady traffic.

To help things, I've signed up at Twitterfeed, which automatically posts on Twitter from your blog feeds. In this way I'll have a steady stream of posts on Twitter without any effort and I can then add other Tweets at my leisure, so to speak.

I got my button at Twitterbuttons, which I presume everyone on Twitter knows about - they have quite a comprehensive selection to choose from.

Finally, I also signed up at Twittad, where you can have paid ads on your Twitter profile. Based on your number of followers, they work out a price for advertisers to get placed on your profile - my profile's still pretty cheap at the moment - and there is also an Affiliate Programme.

So, let's see how it goes! Feel free to follow me!


Monday, 16 February 2009

How To Remove Google Ads You Don't Want

If you have Google AdSense on your site, sometimes you see ads there that you don't want. Perhaps you don't want your readers to visit those sites or perhaps you don't think they are appropriate. Whatever your reason, it is possible to prevent them from displaying on your page.

Presumably a lot of you already know how to do this, but for those of you who don't, it's quite simple.

First of all, you need to know the URLs of those sites. Now, according to the Terms of Service for AdSense you aren't allowed to click on the ads on your own page to find out. What you have to do is download the AdSense Preview Tool. This can be done very quickly by going here.

Once you have downloaded and installed the Preview Tool, you go to your page and right-click. Google AdSense Preview Tool will now show up on the menu. Click this and you will see a list of ads.

Check the ads you don't want and then click on Show Selected URLs. This will give you the URLs.

Go to your AdSense account and click on AdSense Setup. Then click on Competitive Ad Filter. Under AdSense for Content filters enter the URls of the ads you want blocked and then click Save Changes.

That's it! It may take a few hours for it to take effect, but those ads will no longer appear on your page.

One thing I would like to point out is that after I had downloaded the Preview Tool, it only showed up using Internet Explorer and not with Firefox. This is something I need to check out, but you should be aware of that.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Should You Write Paid Posts?

When I started blogging, one of the ways I thought I was going to make money was by writing paid posts. There are a lot of bloggers out there who make a regular income - however small it may be - from writing posts about products or services.

Now I'm not so sure. I think it's fine for those that can and want to do it, it's whether I want to do it that I'm not sure about.

Ideally, I would like to write about something that I know and would confidently recommend whether or not I was being paid to do so. It would also need to be relevant to the purpose and content of the blog. I have signed up for most of the middlemen companies that provide opportunities for you to get paid to write about products and services, but quite honestly, I don't feel comfortable about posting about most of the products.

I don't know most of them and I certainly haven't tried them, so how can I write about them? If there was something that I had tried or looked into and I thought it was worth writing about then I would do so, but I don't use diet, pharmaceutical etc products. The other thing is that you get lots of bloggers suddenly blogging about the same things. I remember a short while ago, for example, when so many of the blogs I visited had a picture of a pair of eyeglasses and a write-up about them. How many of them had actually bought a pair of these glasses or at least, knew that they were a good product to recommend?

A while ago I wrote a post about the ProBlogger book. This wasn't a paid post - I will make some money if people buy the book through my post - but I had obtained and read the book and was giving my actual opinion about it.

I know. I know. People are going to say that you are losing a source of regular income if you don't do paid posts, but I feel (and this is just my feeling, I have nothing at all against people who do paid posts - I just won't spend a lot of time reading their posts) that I would prefer to build up a blog in the long run that has the best content that I can produce. This will eventually create a good base of people who are actually interested in your blog.

What do you think?

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

When Should You Start Trying To Make Money From Your Blog?

I have been reading comments and advice from successful bloggers, including the ProBlogger book (see my post about the book here) and one thing that seems to come across is that one should spend time in building one's blog's content and traffic before starting to try and make money. I haven't been blogging very long, but I think I'm beginning to see the sense in what they're saying.

I see so many blogs that are new or fairly new and they are trying to incorporate as many methods of making money on their blog as they can. I did the same when I started, because I thought that's what you did. But I didn't know anything about blogging and I've had to learn through experience - by actually doing it.

Knowing what I know now, if I started again, I would focus on creating a blog or blogs that had good content and gradually build up the traffic. Good content attracts readers and keeps them and a lot of posts help with your Search Engine Optimisation, providing a lot of content for the search engines to find. I think I would only have AdSense to start with.

The thing with trying different affiliate programmes is that you need the traffic coming to your blog(s) in order to generate income. If they're not generating income, you don't know if it's because it's a programme that isn't an income generator - for you, at least - or if it's just because you haven't got enough traffic yet. So you don't want to dump it in case it does generate income once you do have good traffic!

However, if you spend time concentrating on building up a good and interesting blog, and get traffic and subscriptions, then you can start to try out affiliate schemes and other income generators and you'll be able to tell whether they are worthwhile or not. In fact, you'll probably have been able to see them in operation in the blogging world before you even have to try them out yourself.

The difficulty is that if you start blogging with the idea that you want to make money from it - however much - then it's very hard to wait for a year or more while you're building your blog, not to have any means of making money from it, save perhaps AdSense, until you have good traffic. But in all honesty, if I started again today, that's what I would do. I feel I need to think of the long term. Blogging is not the key to instant riches, but in the long term it can provide a steady income, the scale of which depends on our effort and perseverance plus the ability to learn.

I would appreciate comments on this based on your own experience.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Sponsoring Contests

I've decided to be one of the sponsors of a contest, to see if this will help increase exposure and traffic. This is the first time I have done this, so I'll have to wait to see if it is something worth doing. I'm offering 1000 Entrecard credits and a 125 x 125 ad space for a month.

I think this is something I may try more often, but I'll wait to see how it goes this first time. The contest is over at Work At Home Blogging and you get points for writing a blog post about the contest, including all the sponsors; subscribing to the blog's feed; following the blogger on Twitter.

There are a lot of Entrecard credits and ad spaces to be won, so why not check it out. The contest ends on February 27, so I'll post about how successful it was for me as a sponsor after that.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Using Blogger

As you can see from the name of this blog, the idea is to find and discuss ways of making money without spending anything. To be honest, this was the main reason I chose Blogger as the platform for my blogs.

I am also not at all a techie, so I needed a platform that could do as much as possible for me as easily as possible. I have discovered, however, in my short blogging history, that most successful bloggers are spending some money for hosting and usually using Wordpress. So I thought to myself, "Will I have to change to another platform at some point (and spend some money), in order to become successful?" I wanted to check out, which more and more people seem to be using, but couldn't sign up as they told me it isn't available in my region.

There are advantages in having your own domain name and being just dot com (net, org or whatever) rather than being, but I thought I'd check out to see if any blogs had become successful while being blogspot.

So I checked with the Technorati Top 100, which gives a pretty fair indication of the most successful/popular blogs at this time. There are in fact 5 blogs there that are using Blogger. Not very many, and in fact if you discount 2 of them - The Official Google Blog and Google Operating System (The Unofficial Google Blog) - there are only 3. 3 out of 100 is not many, but it still shows that it is possible to have a blogspot address and be popular. One of those blogs is in fact at number 15 (at the time of writing) and has had over 210 million visitors - PostSecret.

So, as far as I'm concerned, the jury is still out. I'm happy with Blogger up to now, but perhaps at some later date when I feel more confident and am more experienced, I will look at the issue again and decide whether to continue with Blogger or have a revamp.

Friday, 23 January 2009

ProBlogger Book Review

Before Christmas I posted about getting a book on blogging and promised to write a review on it. Well, I got the ProBlogger book by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett.

I tried to visualise myself as I had been a few months ago before I started blogging and how helpful this book would have been to me at that time. I think, to be honest, that it is more useful to me now, with several months' blogging experience under my belt, than it would have been then.

What I liked about it was the practical, down to earth attitude of the writers. Underlying everything they wrote there was the clear message that blogging is not a recipe for instant wealth. If you want to make money, then a lot of time and effort is required.

All the relevant information was covered clearly, I found - setting up your blog, writing, income and earning strategies, promotion, networking etc and I found all the chapters were a good consolidation of my own understanding so far, and also gave clear advice about how to continue. The chapter on setting up a blog, though covering all the available platforms available, focussed on Wordpress, which was not so relevant to me as I use Blogger. There is also a chapter on buying and selling blogs, which I found not relevant to me (at this time, anyway!), but it's good that they covered it anyway.

I particularly liked the chapter on Secrets of Successful Blogs, which looked at a variety of blogs of different types which have succeeded and what we can learn from them. The Promotion and Marketing chapter was also useful in that I could compare what I have learnt through my own experience with their own practical tips and advice.

Throughout the book, there are what are called Exercises, which basically give you the chance to take in what has been written and reflect on how you can apply it in your own situation.

To summarise, I would call it a well-written textbook which is most useful for those in their first year or 18 months of blogging. Having had some experience in what works for you and what doesn't, reference to the various chapters can help consolidate what you have learnt and focus you on the best way to go forward.

For those who are about to start blogging, it would be good to read right through the book to get the general picture and then re-read the first chapters on Niche Blogging, Setting Up Your Blog and Blog Writing. Then, once you have started blogging, to continuously refer to the book to get guidance as to how to continue.

The writers are extremely successful bloggers, so we know that what they say has actually worked. I'm definitely glad I got it and have been referring to it frequently.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Sick Of Spam!

Yesterday someone sent a spam comment to all of the posts on this blog! I had to sit down and delete them all.

I know I should have done this earlier, but now all comments have to be moderated before they can appear here and my other blogs. I cannot understand the mentality of someone who would send a long spam comment to all of the posts on a blog!

Take my advice, if you haven't already done so - make sure that comments are moderated on your site.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

My Earnings On Adgitize Pay For A Month's Ads!

I mentioned on a previous post that I won a month's free advertising on Adgitize. Well, I was able to pay for another month's advertising for my blog Authentic Greek Recipes using the income I have made as a member of Adgitize!

I found that I was getting between 50 - 90 clicks daily from the ad and as the number of members increases, so will the exposure, and at $14 a month I think it's a pretty good deal - especially when you're using money you've earned from Adgitize!

As a publisher you get points for ad views and page views of ads on your site, along with points for your blog posts and for the number of times you visit Adgitize ads. On top of this, an advertiser gets extra advertiser points as well as the traffic from their ads. Your monthly points convert into money.

If you refer someone who becomes an advertiser you get $5 plus $1 each month as long as they continue advertising.

So far my experience at Adgitize has been positive and I would definitely recommend it!

Adgitize your web site.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Lemonade Award

I was given the Lemonade Award by Chronicles Of Caelen.

Those who win are to post the award on their blog, give some link love to the person that nominated you and put up their own list of 10 recipients. Don’t forget to post a comment on their blog with a link back to yours, letting them know their blog’s a winner!

I decided to pass on the award to my top 10 Entrecard droppers for December as a way of thanking them for their support.

Thanks again to Chronicles Of Caelen for thinking this blog was noteworthy enough to deserve some lemonade! Her blog is also highly recommended!

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