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Part Three Of A Blogging Masterclass

Jun 8, 2008
More Traffic Sources

Getting links from other websites is not the only way to attract visitors to visit your blog. This time, we are going to explore alternative methods to attract high quality traffic with both free and paid methods.

The first thing you can do to generate traffic is to recycle all the content you have written on your blog. What I really mean is to turn your blog posts into little "manuals" or articles that help people solve their problems or offer valuable information and submit them to article directories. These article directories are like aggregators that collect articles of similar themes together in one place, so they receive thousands and thousands of qualified visitors every day.

When you submit your articles to these directories, you are exposing your name to the thousands of pairs of eyes visiting them for free! On most article directories, you are also permitted to include a "resource box" where you can include your contact details, a simple biography and so on. This is where you can truly leverage the traffic of the said article directories.

Some good article directories to get you started are www.eZineArticles.com, www.ultimatearticledirectory.com and www.submityourarticle.com.

Another excellent way to gain traffic is to join internet forums that is based on your niche. To find these kind of forums, just go to any search engine and enter " +forum", without the quotes. You would want the most focused forum with a substantial number of active members, and preferably always bustling with activity. Just check the dates of the threads posted on the forum.

When you join active forums that focus on your field of discussion and post very useful and valuable posts, your peers will start noticing you and paying attention to what you have to say. In most forums, you are also allowed to append a link to your site in the signature line, which is under every post you make on the forums. People will click and visit your blog if they find your posts helpful and informative. This way, your credibility is built even before they land on your blog, so traffic from the forums would be easier to turn into profits if your blog is selling your own products or recommending others' as an affilliate since they are already convinced you're an "expert" in the field.

The strategy we'll discuss is word of mouth. Let's say you already have a daily visitor count of 100. What if you compiled a small report or gift and posted it on your blog, saying that if a certain visitor can refer three of his/her friends to visit your blog the gift will be his/hers for free? If your small report or gift is lucrative enough, it will generate a small buzz among your blog readers and they will surely refer their friends to this blog that they frequent!

You can also utilize the "blog and ping" technique that everyone's talking about. Basically, when you update your blog, you can let blog portals such as www.technorati.com know by pinging them. You can ping a lot of portals at once by using the free www.pingomatic.com.

Besides the techniques described here, there are also paid methods like buying links from high-ranking pages or buying banner advertisement space. A thing to keep in mind when buying paid traffic is to always weigh your profits generated from the paid ads. If your profits do no offset the expense, you will end up losing money, so choose wisely.

Monetizing Your Blog

You have been working hard to produce good-quality, original content on your blog and you have attracted a decent amount of traffic by doing so. However, money is not going to appear out of thin air just because you have traffic. You have to turn your traffic into money.

There are several ways to generate profits from the visitors of your blog, and Google's Adsense programme allows you to do so with ultimate ease. First, visit their website at http://adsense.google.com/. You'll find out more about their advertising programme there, but here are some extra bits I'd like to tell you.

First, Google's Adsense programme is a really useful way to monetize your blog because when users finish reading your newest post, chances are they want to leave your blog because they have nothing else to do on your blog. If your Adsense advertisement block is visible on your blog, they might see advertisements relevant to them and click on them to exit your blog. Ka-ching! You've just cashed in on your first virtual cents!

But yes, your profits will only be cents if you don't "do it right". This involves placing your Google ads in the right places and ensuring they blend in to your site so that they appear more like links rather than advertisements to your visitors. Consult the page https://www.google.com/support/adsense/bin/static.py?page=tips.html to see the "heat map" of your blog. The "hotter" a certain area, the greater the chances of someone looking at your blog.

Once you get a Google Adsense account, you can change the colour of your advertisement text and links. You will want them to match the colours on your blog. If your blog's text is black and the links are red, do the same for the ad blocks too! It's that simple.

Another way to earn profits from your blog is to recommend products to your readers. When your visitors buy from the merchants you recommend, you get to keep a little commission too. This is known as affiliate marketing and it is very easy to start because you don't have to create your own products or services.

Anyway, let's refer back to our technological gadgets blog example. Let's say you discover this Gadget X on a merchant's website, and they offer an affilliate programme. What you would do is to create a post in your blog and do a mini-review on this Gadget X. Rip it apart and point out its benefits and bad points, if any, and include a link (which is given by the merchant) for the visitor to purchase the Gadget X online.

If your visitor clicks and purchases the gadget, the merchant will track from the link that the purchase is referred by you, so they will send you your share of the profits. Imagine if 1 out of every 100 visitors you get purchases this product, and you earn $27.00 commission from each purchase! If you get 10,000 visitors in a month that would be a $2,700.00 paycheque for you just for writing about ONE product.

Now, affiliate programmes are very nice ways to generate profit, but how do you find affiliate programmes that are related to your blog's theme? Easy, just go to Google and search for +"affiliate programmes". Another slightly better way is to go to http://www.associateprograms.com/search to look for affiliate programmes in your niche. The two ways mentioned above are basic ways to generate profits from your blog. We'll be discussing other great, profitable ways, so keep your eyes peeled!

More Monetizing Options

We've discussed about using Google Adsense programme and other merchants' affiliate programmes to generate profits from your blog. However, we have a lot of other options ot monetize your blog, so we're going to look into that today.

The first option we'll be looking at is Chitika (www.chitika.com). Chitika is a very innovative contextual advertising programme because it can serve very detailed advertisements. For example, on your technological gadget blog, Chitika will show advertisements for tech gadgets such as iPods. The way they show it is in different tabs: one for "Best deals", another for "details", another for "reviews" and so on. This way, it is more of an informational section for your visitor rather than an advertisement, and naturally the click-through will be higher. You can apply here: https://chitika.com/application.php?type=mm

You can also be an affiliate for Amazon.com. Amazon offers a wide range of products but its predominant domain is in books. Whatever your niche is about, you can probably find a book about it on Amazon.com. Join their Associate programme here: https://associates.amazon.com/gp/flex/associates/apply-login.html/

Once you join them, you can refer visitors to them and earn up to 10% commission. It's not a lot but if you can manage to refer big volumes of visitors, Amazon is for you. This programme really shines when it comes to the ways you can refer visitors: you can use their predefined templates to pull up recent items that match a certain criteria you set, you can target your ad to show a specific item on sale or you can just simply weave your referral links into your blog posts.

Last but definitely not least, you can sell advertising space on your blog if your blog is truly popular. Just take a look at blogs like http://xiaxue.blogspot.com. That blog receives over 10,000 pageviews every day and naturally merchants will want to strike a deal with the blog's owner to post their advertisements there. If you manage to pull in huge amounts of traffic like that blog, you can definitely get people to buy ad space on your blog for prices from $150/month upwards, depending on your blog popularity. To gauge how much pageviews and visitors you get everyday, just use the free tool available at www.statcounter.com. They have a very detailed setup guide there so I won't go into it.

If your blog has not acquired large amount of visitors yet, you can still sell ad space on your blog on a per click or per impression basis. Just visit sites like www.adbrite.com. For a complete list of these sites, visit http://performancing.com/node/60.

Hopefully, that will help you maximize earnings and profits from your blog!

Interactions Between Blogs

As your blog's content increases, people in your niche will definitely mention you for intelligent or interesting discussions. This is, in a sense, an initiation of an interaction. When people speak of you, you should thank them for the mention and build up the interaction! When you use a traffic tracking script such as the free www.statcounter.com, you can see where traffic comes from. If a large number of visitors come from a certain blog, you can be sure they have mentioned you in their latest post or linked to you from their sidebar or links page.

What you should do is pay them a visit, leave constructive comments on their posts and build up a conversation! As you continue doing this, you will start to gather a lot of friends in your niche. This is helpful later on when you decide to do collaborations such as interviews. In fact, when you're out of ideas for writing on your blog, you can interview other blog owners in your niche! Human beings are curious creatures, so naturally they would like to know more about a person whose writings they read so often.

If you're using Wordpress, Textpattern, MovableType or any other advanced blog engines, you can also post trackback links on your posts. This means you can post an article about what other people have posted! Your particular post will then appear as a link on that post you have written about. This is definitely a great way to get traffic if you post brilliant insights about a post on a very famous blog.

Since the famous blog already has a pre-existing pool of readers, this is like a shortcut to hog their visitors! The only thing you would want to observe is to keep your posts sensible and insightful, or you'll be viewed as a spammer.

On the other hand, if you're using Blogger, you would not be able to use trackback links. However, you can post insightful comments on other people's blogs and subtly include a link back to your blog. You can make it seem like you're pointing to your blog as an extra reference to the subject of discussion. Of course, this technique is not only limited to Blogger users and users of other blog engines can employ this strategy as an additional traffic source.


Is blogging for you or even for everyone? I guess it all depends on how we define blogging. For instance, if we include social network blogging, blogging is indeed for you and for everyone, as a good percentage of Internet users operate some form of social networking blog. Currently, over 60 million people in the United States alone do that with Myspace.

So is blogging for you or everyone? If we consider commercial endeavours, it certainly is not for everyone. Only about 7% of Internet users operate blogs for commercial purposes.

The question of "is blogging for you or everyone?" also applies to entrepreneurs. Blogging can be an excellent tool for an entrepreneur - especially those who are sole proprietors looking for a good and inexpensive venue for promotion, but that doesn't mean that everyone should necessarily do it. In some instances, a private forum will be a better means of recorded, Internet-based communication between a group of people. In other instances, a website will require less maintenance and will be a better stand-alone traffic puller, especially if the would-be blogger does not have the time to constantly update and promote a blog.

However, there definitely are a number of good reasons to blog. One of the best reasons is that it's really easy. Building a good website can take hundreds of hours. This is not so with a blog. With a blog, you can simply open up an account with Blogger and begin posting. No coding or HTML-editing is required. You don't even need to learn how to use WYSIWYG program - or how to upload your uploads to your website.

So is blogging for you or everyone? It isn't for everyone, especially if we're considering commercial blogging; some people don't own businesses, have nothing to promote, and have no interest in starting. But there's a good chance blogging is for you if you want to a low cost means of promoting your business. It's cheap, comparatively easy and quick to start.
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