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.
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