Archive for May 2009

Entrecard and Adgitize: Traffic is Traffic

More thoughts on Entrecard and Adgitize.

One criticism of banner exchange programs (such as EC and Adgitize) is that members drop by your blog only to earn click credits.  I do understand this concern.  But here's the way I see it:

*For a brand new (or obscure) blogger, any form of traffic is better than getting just a handful of hits a day.

*If someone visits my blog and has no incentive to stay, that's my fault--something is lacking in my content.

In other words, EC and Adgitize do a pretty decent job of bringing extra traffic to your website.  But high quality content is what will keep readers there, and that is your responsibility.

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Using Forums to Promote Your Blog: Part 4

Using Forums--Part 4:  Staying Involved

Once you've chosen your forums, you'll need to participate and stay active.  Keeping up with several forums can be a bit time consuming, so here are some pointers:

*Keep some kind of schedule:  visit every forum you've joined at least once a week--more if you can.  The more active the forum, the more opportunities you'll have to participate.  Try to follow threads you have posted in.   

*Use Bookmarks:  I use bookmark tabs in my browswer to organize the way I visit forums.

*Email Updates:  Some forums automatically send updates to your email (updates on specific threads you've posted in or a updates from the whole forum).  For this reason, you may want to create a new email account specifically for your forum participation. 


*Quick Links:  Most forums will have a link to new or unread posts along the top (sometimes this is under the "quick links" tab).  This is very useful for finding "fresh" discussions to join.


I think I've covered the basics of using forums.  I'm still learning, so just let me know if you think I've missed something.

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Using Forums to Promote Your Blog: Part 3

Using Forums—Part 3: Links, Signatures, and Moderation

One Problogger article encourages bloggers to “do nothing” when you first join a forum.  I disagree.

Let me explain why:

I’m not going to waste my time on a forum that will not allow any form of link/signature, and I would not advise you to waste yours.  If all links are banned, I want to know fairly quickly.  After all, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of other forums to choose from.

Think about it:  most forums make money from the traffic they create (through adsense, online stores, etc).  If my participation helps the forum make money, why shouldn’t I at least be allowed to have a signature or an occasional link?  A strict, “no links” policy basically causes forum members to invest their time, energy and (in some cases) expertise for free—no fair!   

Here’s more information on my process of finding forums with reasonable moderation policies:

*Some forums require a certain amount of posts before you can have an address in your signature.  No problem—that’s a good way to reduce spam, so I don’t mind earning the privilege.  Just post a few times a day until you've earned the right to have a signature. 

*Sometimes I’ll just send a direct message to a moderator, telling him/her that I’m new to the forum and I’ll probably be putting a link in every once in a while.   That’s a quick way to know how strict the moderation will be (if the moderator likes your blog, he/she will be more likely to allow you to post links). 

*Sometimes I’ll just include a link or signature to a post and see what happens (remember: I am talking about a relevant link to a high quality blog or post).  This my last resort, but I'll do it if I can't figure out the forum's link/signature policy.  If a moderator warns me or removes the link, I’m gone and never coming back.  I’ll just move on to the next forum. 

This strategy is more assertive than the before mentioned “join and do nothing at first” approach.   But I don't think it has hurt my blog's reputation at all. 

Remember:  the key is to participate meaningfully and only post relevant links.  If moderators will not allow any links (or at least a signature with your blog address), then don’t waste your time working for someone else’s profit. 

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Using Forums to Promote Your Blog

Using Forums to Promote Your Blog: Part 2--The Basic Steps

Let me tell you the steps I’ve taken in using forums to promote my blogs:

1. Go to a search engine and type in your keyword, plus the word “forum.”  Let’s say your blog is about archery: you would search, “archery forum.”

2. Visit the forums you find and choose which ones you want to join.  Here are some criteria to consider before joining:

*Relevant discussions: you want to join forums with discussions related to your blog’s topic.

*Posting dates: an active forum should have at least a few new posts every day.  If the latest post was a year ago, you’re obviously on a forum with little activity (and little value to your blog).

*Signatures:  Ideally you want a forum that allows you to put your blog address in your signature.  See if other members have signatures with their website addresses.

*Links/Link Policy:  Look for forums that allow you to insert links in your posts.  Unless it the moderation is very strict, they will allow you to insert links (I'll be talking about this in further detail in part 3).

3. Participate in the forums you’ve joined:

*Respond to a few threads.

*Create your own new thread/discussion.

*If you have a blog post that answers a specific question on the forum, insert a link to that article/post.  But use this privilege wisely—your goal is not to see now many links you can put in the forum, but to put appropriate links when the opportunity arises.   

4.  Repeat this process.  You can continue to join forums you find with step one.  You can also search different keywords to find more related forums.
 
Those are the basic four steps.  Next post I'll give you more details.

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Using Forums: Introduction

Using Forums to Promote Your Blog

Part 1: Introduction

Blogging guru Justin Brooke considers forums “the most underrated traffic strategy of any other free traffic method.”  Darren Rowse also mentioned using forums a recent post at Problogger.net.  Last and least, yours truly wrote about it here on my blog.

Experts (and amateurs like me) agree: forums are a great way to bring traffic to your blog.  They give you access to a concentrated audience who are already interested in your topic (assuming you choose to join appropriate forums).  

The next few posts will explain my process for using forums.  Problogger already has an anonymously written post about this.  It's a pretty good article, but I don't agree with it 100% (I'll tell you why in Part 3 of this series).

Tomorrow I'll explain the four basic steps for using forums (Part 2 of this series). 

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Another Perk to Adgitize: More Entrecard Drops

Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems my Entrecard drops have gone up since I started running Adgitize campaigns.  I think it's because many bloggers like to click both Adgitize and EC (the proverbial two birds with one stone).  Anyone else noticed this?

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My First Adgitize Payment

I've officially received my first payment from Adgitize:


Not huge money, but Adgitize never claims to send big paychecks--it's more of an advertising network with perks. The main benefit to Adgitize is inexpensive banner advertising.

Having said that, it's always nice to earn a few bucks from my blogs--nice to see some of my investment coming back from the very service I advertised with. 

Feel free to try it--just click this banner:

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Entrecard: Random Thoughts

Entrecard is still working pretty well for me.  Some of my ad placements still get a pretty good number of clicks--free traffic is always a good thing.  I also get "organic" traffic (traffic from the EC website itself).

Here are more completely random thoughts on EC:

*I've noticed less paid advertisers since EC went up on their rates.  I wonder if they'll eventually have to go back down a bit.  I'm glad I ran a little campaign back when it was 2 cents per click--that was a steal.

*I've declined a few advertisers, but not that many.  So far I'm fairly pleased with the quality of paid advertisers.

*I really hoping EC will keep buying up credits and get them out of the system.  This should reduce inflation and allow us to keep more of our credits earned through advertising (vs the current system in which 75% of your credits just "disappear" in transactions).

*I still find some pretty neat blogs/bloggers through EC.

*I haven't spent as much time dropping lately.  It doesn't really have much to do with the changes--I just haven't made the time to do it. 

What about you?  How have the changes at EC impacted you?

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