Archive for November 2008

Blogging Tip: Four Free Ways to Bring Traffic to your Blog

There are probably people out there who want to read your blog--maybe thousands of them.  How do I know this?  Think about it—at any given moment, there are millions of people online.   Chances are, some of them are interested in what you have to say (or write, or post).  I’m assuming, of course, that you are posting high quality content. 

But what if you have no advertising budget for your blog?  No problem!  Here are some free methods you can use to get more traffic to your blog.   

1. Social Networks:

Most of you are members of social networking sites (such as myspace, facebook, friendster, etc).  If not, you should be.  This is one of the easiest ways to get your core group of readers started.    Just announce your blog or post your updates in shout-outs, bulletins, etc.  Those in your network already have some kind of connection to you (even if they are just “chat mates”), so many will take the time to read your blog.

2. Blog Directories

If you look down on the right side of this blog, you’ll see all of the blog directories I’ve registered with (such as blogcatalog.com).

Blog directories help you in a couple of ways. Your blog will get hits from those searching the directory (especially from other members of the directory).  In addition, adding your link to a directory helps improves your blog’s ranking in search engines (SEO).

Most directories only require a reciprocal link or banner.  The registration takes a few minutes, but it is a worthwhile investment of your time.  Once you get registered and put the banner on your blog, the work is over.  The directory does the rest—most of them will list your recent posts in the directory.


3. Forums/Message Boards

There are multiple online forums for every imaginable topic.  Find a few that are related to your blog’s topic and join.  Many forums allow you to put your blog address in your “signature.”  Many allow you to post links, especially if you post an article that is related to the discussion.  Just be sure to follow the forum’s rules and do not flood it with irrelevant links. 

4. Entrecard

Entrecard is a banner exchange program I’ve mentioned in a previous article. 

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Entrecard Review

Some of you may have noticed the little Entrecard widget that I’ve added to my blog (the “blog of the day” space over on the right). I’ve noticed these widgets on other blogs for quite some time, but only recently have I started using it.

What do I think? Well, I’m still using it, so I’m obviously satisfied with the results so far. Let me explain what Entrecard is and how it works. I’ll also give you my evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages of using it.

Entrecard is basically a banner exchange service. You earn and use credits which are used to buy banner ads on other user’s blogs.

Now, here are the pros and cons of Entrecard:

PROS:


Increased Traffic
This service quickly brings new traffic to your site, which is a major advantage for new bloggers. The traffic comes in three ways:

1. Through advertising your website on other blogs.
2. Through the “drop” system—when another user visits your site and clicks the widget, that user earns one credit and gives you a credit.
3. Through the Entrecard website. Users find your website while browsing places to advertise.


Networking
I’ve found several new blogs/bloggers through Entrecard. I’ve particularly enjoyed finding Christian and Filipino bloggers. This works mutually—other bloggers have found my website.

It’s Free
Once you sign up, Entrecard gives you 250 credits to get going. You can earn more credits by advertising your blog and by dropping/receiving drops. You can also buy credits if you want (through paypal), but it isn’t necessary.

Access to Statistics
You can access fairly detailed information regarding the traffic/hits you are receiving from the system.

CONS:

Time Consuming
You don’t need money to use Entrecard, but you’ll need time. You can earn 300 credits a day through dropping, but I’ve never come close to that—I just don’t have the time (or motivation) to visit that many blogs. I’d rather spend my time on high quality content. 

The Pricing System
The cost of advertising on a blog depends entirely on the number of ads already in that blog’s queue. The more popular the blog, the more expensive and the longer you have to wait to advertise there. It isn’t a complicated system, but there’s one problem—you don’t really know how many hits a particular blog receives. This makes it difficult to know how valuable a blog really is in terms of potential traffic (you can learn after you have advertised, but the credits have been spent by then).  

Conclusion:
If you are willing to invest the time, Entrecard is a good way to increase traffic and network with other bloggers.

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