Organize Google Reader

Organize

When it comes to promoting your blog online for free I consider blog commenting to be one of the best methods together with link baiting and guest blogging. Earlier on I have told you how I keep track of my comments and today I will talk about how to make the most out of Google Reader.

Google Reader with blog commenting

Since I consider blog commenting to be such a valuable method to promote my blogs and niche sites I have actually scheduled time every week where I go through my blog list and comment on their posts.

Having a simple text file with blogs was a great idea in the beginning but as soon as you continue to build upon it you will have problem remembering which posts you have commented and which posts you should comment.

This is where Google Reader comes into the picture and saves the day. My first step was to include all of my blogs into Google Reader and as you can imagine this did not work for long since I had no idea if I were following a blog just to comment on it or if I really liked the information.

Advantages of organizing

Since it was so difficult to keep track of my subscriptions I thought about how I could make it easier for me. After some thinking I ended up creating several different folders depending on the purpose of my subscription.

I ended up creating one folder for every domain I was promoting. In this folder I listed all the blogs I could comment on to promote my site.

To keep track of these folders I added a simple – before the title so I could be sure they would be in the top when ordering them from A-z. Beneath them I still had my regular niche folders with blogs I’m interested to read.

List interesting blogs on first page

Unfortunately all the posts were shown on the first page. The whole point of organizing Google Reader was to only show these posts when I wanted to promote my sites, so I had to exclude them from my first page.

I solved this by creating an additional folder named “interesting” where I listed all of the blogs I find interesting. Thanks to Google Reader you can list a blog in several folders, which is a great feature.

google-reader-setting

When this was done I simply excluded all folders except the folder “interesting” from my first page by doing this:

  1. Press “Settings” in your upper right hand corner.
  2. Press the drop down list titled “Start page” and choose the folder with interesting blogs. In my case the folder “interesting”.

By doing this I will get all of my interesting subscriptions on the first page.

Google Reader keyboard shortcuts

There are several different keyword shortcuts in Google Reader but I would like to highlight a few of them since organizing is all about saving time.

j/k – Use this to navigate by selecting the next/previous item in the list.

s – Stars or un-stars the selected item.

m – Marks the selected item as read/unread.

If you want to see the complete list you can find it at Google help center.

Subscribe

Now you know how to organize Google Reader and get the most out of it so head over to my RSS and subscribe for my posts.

Get People to Work For Free

work

When it comes to creating niche sites it is important to write about a niche you love or even better write about your own experiences. Besides these two there are actually another alternative where you get someone else to create the content and maintain your niche site for free.

How it works

It is all about finding the right people. Instead of advertising for people to create content for niche sites you decide on a topic within your niche and register a domain. Then you contact people who writes about this topic and ask them if they would like you to create a site for them on your domain.

An example

If you have a network with niche sites about celebrities you can simply visit WordPress.com or a forum like FanForum.com and try to find people who writes a lot about one specific celebrity. In this case Allison Scagliotti.

Then you register a good domain, if possible the name of the celebrity. If that is not possible just add fan or fansite. As soon as you have the domain registered and paid for you should contact everyone you found interesting and tell them that you own this domain and are trying to create a fan site about this specific celebrity. Since the person you contacted wrote a lot about her, she might be interested in writing on the site together with you.

As soon as you have one or more people interested you install WordPress and hook them up with a user account. Help them in the beginning by creating a few posts and have regular contact with them.

After a while when you have some visitors you add advertising and offer to pay her or him a share of it so they will make money of their work. By doing so you will have a growing income without spending a minute on it.

What to think about

Remember there is a difference between helping people without any knowledge about WordPress and taking advantage of them. Make sure they get something in return for all their hard work.

Since it could be difficult to pay salary because of several reasons a good idea for both of you are to have your own advertising. Convince them to register on Google AdSense and then show your ads half of the times and their ads half of the times. By doing so you will truly share the income even.

Make Money on Your Adventures

experience

We all love adventures and every day we come in contact with something new. Because of this I have always asked myself how I can make money on new experiences. It has never been something I have done on purpose but rather a thought in the back of my head.

Then internet came along and people started to make money by creating niche sites targeting small topics. These are often about small uninspiring areas where the author have no interest. It could be about vintage guitars, poker, betting, etc. I have personally tried most of them but didn’t really find my niche before I figured out how to make money on my own experiences.

Why this is a great method

Everyone loves to write about themselves and this is one of the reasons to why fashion blogs have become so popular with younger girls. I could literally spend hours each week writing about my experiences and thoughts.

As I have said before the most important thing when it comes to making money online is to love your niche. If you write about yourself you will truly love your niche and this is why it is such a great method to make money.

Case Study

One of my latest examples are a blog where I write about the rehabilitation after my cruciate ligament injury (korsbandsskada). In Sweden there are 3000 people getting surgery for this every year and I’m sure there are twice as many getting the same injury without surgery.

There are almost no competition to mention resulting in me getting thousands of visitors (friends, family, coach, etc.) each year. Then I can simply make money by adding AdSense or sell direct advertising.

Remember to write about what you love.

How to Make Money with Retweet (RT) on Twitter

Twitter

There are a few different methods to make money on Twitter and this is one of the methods I highly deprecate. This post is written mostly as a warning.

When you retweet someone on Twitter you basically republish their message with the letters RT in front of it. By doing so you show others that this is a message you highly recommend. Another reason to why RT have become so popular is that you can get noticed by a user without having to persuade him or her into following you from the beginning.

People use this to send malware

Retweeting have become very common and recently I saw a warning about people publishing fake RT from famous users with a false link to malware.

Malware aka scumware, short for malicious software, is software designed to infiltrate a computer without the owner’s informed consent.

By doing so you may think you are visiting a link from someone famous as Matt Cuts or Chris Brogan when it actually is from someone who are trying to hurt you or steal something from your computer.

How you can make money with Retweet

Now we know that people can use this to send malware, but how do we make money on it? It’s simple. Just signup for an affiliate network that pays you for every visitor who click on your link.

Then you hide your affiliate links and start sending fake retweets mentioning peoples usernames and persuade them into clicking on your newly created affiliate link. If you are good at programming you can actually create a software which does this automatically.

By doing this your account will be removed after a while, but then you can simply create a new one and be up and running within minutes.

Please avoid this method

As I mentioned above this is a popular method to send malware and because of this I decided to write this post as a warning and as usually I added my regular point of view about how to make money with it.

I repeat, do not try this even though it sounds compelling.

This is True Love

When I started this blog I wrote a post on how important it is for you to really love your niche and what you are doing. A few days ago a friend of mine sent me this video showing a man talking about why he started his shop with hundreds of different sodas and I think it is a great example.

This is his story

John Nese is the proprietor of Galcos Soda Pop Stop in LA. His father ran it as a grocery store, and when the time came for John to take charge, he decided to convert it into the ultimate soda-lovers destination.

About 500 pops line the shelves, sourced lovingly by John from around the world. John has made it his mission to keep small soda-makers afloat and help them find their consumers.

The video

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPbh6Ru7VVM

Are you working with the niche you truly love? Tell me more about your niche and how you came up with the idea to work in it.

Find Blogs Writing About You

Tomorrow it is time for my second monthly roundup. My first roundup where a huge success and this time I thought it would be a good idea to give some link love back to all of you who have mentioned me during the month.

During the collection of posts linking to me I realised this could be of interest for more of you, so here you have a post on how to find blogs linking to you.

Why Keep Track

As I mentioned above I collected posts for my monthly roundup but there are actually several more reasons to why you would like to keep track.

1. Express Gratitude – It is always a good idea to leave a nice comment thanking the author for taking the time to not only mentioning you but also giving you some link love.

2. Know What People Think of You – Another good reason to keep track of posts mentioning you is to find out peoples feelings towards you. You may upset a blog owner for some reason and then it would be a great idea to quickly find him and sort it out.

3. Create Roundups – If people take the time to mentioning you the least you can do is to return the favour and give the blog owner a backlink.

Methods to Find Blogs

Most blog owners take advantage of the built in function in WordPress for trackbacks. Even though this is a great method and I recommend everyone to use it there are three reasons  to why it does not always work.

  1. Someone link directly to your homepage and not a post.
  2. The script did not send out a ping for your blog.
  3. Something went wrong.

Because of this I will mention two other methods, Technorati and Google.

Google Blogsearch

I am not using this service only to find blogs linking to me but also to find blogs writing about a specific subject, but more on this in another post.

http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?q=link:domain.com&scoring=d

Copy the URL above. Change domain.com into your own domain and then paste it into your favourite browser.

Technorati

This is a method I started to use recently since a lot of blogs did not ping Technorati before. Maybe it is because I am blogging in English now, because for some reason more English blogs seems to end up there.

http://technorati.com/blogs/domain.com?reactions=&sort=freshness

Copy the URL above. Change domain.com into your own domain and then paste it into your favourite browser.

Group Discussion

Do you keep track of blogs mentioning your site? Which sites do you then use and what do you think are the advantages of doing it?

Make Money Online With Sponsored Tweets

This far most of my posts have mostly been about how I make money with niche sites and now it is time for me to mention a few methods on how to make money with Twitter, which is still an relatively unexplored market.

Sponsored Tweets is not the first service to allow you as a user to make money through your tweets but with my knowledge it is probably the one trying to make the best of it with Playmate  Holly Madison and internet celebrities like  Shoemoney and John Chow.

Sponsored Tweets Basics

Signing up for Sponsored Tweets is extremely easy. Just click the “click here to sign up” button and you are basically done. Sponsored Tweets will now send you forward to Twitter where you approve the connection and are being sent back to the service to add your account details.

Account Details

Charge per tweet and click are probably the most important and also difficult settings to set. Personally I started out with $1 per tweet simply to see how it worked and then raised it every time I got a new advertiser.

As soon as you have registered it is time for you to find a offer.

Offer from Advertiser

To be visible in searches to advertisers your Twitter account must be at least 120 days old and have at least 200 followers. If you qualify for this you will hopefully get a offer from one of the advertisers.

Receive Payment

If you accept an offer your account will be credited within 24 hours of your Tweet. When your account reaches $50 you can cash out.

As a Tweeter you will receive all of these money since Sponsored Tweets got their cut directly from the advertiser.

Is Sponsored Tweets Allowed by Twitter?

As long as you clarify the connection between tweeter and advertiser you are fully allowed to post advertising on Twitter. Sponsored Tweets worked together with Twitter during the development to make sure they followed all of their rules and this is what they say on their website:

We comply with FTC regulations that state, “When there exists a connection between the endorser and the seller of the advertised product which might materially affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement (i.e., the connection is not reasonably expected by the audience) such connection must be fully disclosed.”

When making a new tweet you will choose between several different prefix as my sponsor and #ad.

Become Sponsored Tweets Affiliate

As a Tweeter it recently also become possible to be an affiliate. By doing so you will receive 10% of Sponsored Tweets cut. This means that neither the advertiser or the Tweeter lose anything by being referred.

Unfortunately I do not know how much their cut is but I would appreciate if anyone of you could enlighten me.

Become an Affiliate

Sponsored Tweets Celebrities

As I mentioned above this service has a great advantage by being promoted by several popular celebrates as Kendra Wilkinson and Chris Pirillo.

Personally I think this is something that will help SponsoredTweets in the long run since everyone will promote them instead of their competitors.

Will Sponsored Tweets Ruin Twitter?

A lot of people complain this will ruin Twitter in the long term since most of the tweets will become advertising. This is what SponsoredTweets says:

Sponsored Tweets Guidance for Tweeters

It’s up to you, the Tweeter, to pick the Opportunities and Advertisers that best suit you and your Twitter followers. If it doesn’t feel right, if you don’t own the product, or if you feel you can’t be 100% honest we ask you to pass on the Opportunity. We strongly encourage you to only take opportunities that relate to you and to alert us if an Advertiser ever suggests that you be dishonest in any way.

I truly hate bad advertising on products I am not interested in, but if you as a Tweeter can choose the right opportunities I do not really see a problem.

My Conclusion of Sponsored Tweets

If you want to make money by selling tweets I am sure this is the service you should be using simply because they have the chance to attract interesting advertisers thanks to their celebrities.

As a service I do not see this method to make money as a problem, but you do have to think twice before choosing an advertiser.

What is your thoughts on making money with Sponsored Tweets?

Register for Sponsored Tweets

Get the Most Out of Your Old Posts

After publishing a post most people make the mistake of simply letting it go to be forgotten in your large archive which usually no one reads.

These posts are great resources to refer to when you publish new posts and because of this you should maximize the value of them. Beneath you will find my thoughts on how you can improve your old posts.

Why Update Old Blog Posts?

Here are some reasons to why you would like to update your posts.

1. New Facts – Even though something may seem black and white while writing a post, new events may occur and new facts will be revealed. Because of this you may sometimes want to update your posts with new information.

2. Change of Opinion– This is similar to new facts, but a bit more personal. Before writing a post you may have a strong opinion on something but thanks to a helpful comment you change your mind. After doing so you may want to enlighten your visitors about it.

3. Usefulness – Internet is a big graveyard. There are hundred of sites closing down each day and because of this some of your links will eventually be broken. With broken links your posts quickly loses value.

4. Add Value With New Posts – Depending on how many posts you publish each month you will eventually build an archive with interesting content. By updating your old posts you can lead the visitors to your new posts as well while getting more pageviews at the same time.

Things to Update in Old Posts

These are not rules as much as suggestions on what I usually update.

1. Quick Fixes – Skim through your old content and look for broken links, spelling errors or grammatical mistakes. With more experience we will find more mistakes in our own writing.

2. Add New Information – A new fact may be revealed or you can feel the urge to update simply because you have learned more within the specific area. Personally I think it is better to update an old post than publish a completely new one with the exact same concept and a few minor changes.

3. Link to New Posts – While updating your old posts, think about what you have done since this specific post. Are there any new content within your site you can link to? By doing so you will not only increase the pageviews but also increase a page link power.

4. Reposting it – If you play your cards right your blog will grow at a tremendous speed resulting in a lot of new readers never getting to see your quality posts the first time. After updating a post your can change the publish date for tomorrow and all of your readers will get the chance to read your high quality content once more.

5. Promote – This is actually more on how you can use your old posts. If you run out of content to publish you can simply gather links to some of your old posts and present it in a new way. For example, 13 methods to get backlinks from forums.

How Often Should You Update?

This is a highly individual question and it depends mostly on what type of posts you write and how many. Personally I always try to spend one hour each Sunday updating my olds posts before revisiting comments.

Share Your Thoughts

Now I would like to hear your opinion on updating old posts. Do you spend time doing it or do you think it is a waste of time? If you update your old posts, how often and what changes do you do?

Build Backlinks With Article Directories

Earlier I’ve told you how to use link exchanges, guest blogging, forum marketing and also link directories to build backlinks. Today I will share my thoughts on a link building technique named article submissions.

What is a Article Directory?

Explanation borrowed from Wikipedia:

Article directories are a form of databases where companies and professional writers submit articles based on a specific niche.

Basically an article directory is a big database where people like you and me can add our articles and in return get a backlink for one of our sites. As a writer we’ll receive link power and visitors, while the article directory will receive visitors and also make some money of them.

My Thoughts

In my point of view I believe article directories are build for people who are able to write long texts on a short amount of time. If this includes you, you’ll be able to build a lot of backlinks through this method.

If you on the other hand prefer to write a bit slower and create pure quality, then I would recommend you to apply for a guest post on a blog instead.

The best thing about using this method is that you can get deeplinks for your small niche sites which no blogger would link to.

Find Content for Article Directories

Since we are mostly after the backlinks it’s important to remember that quality is not as important as quantity. It’s better to publish 4 articles than to publish 2 articles where you’ve spent more time correcting your grammar. With that said you should still think about spelling, etc.

Popular methods are usually to rewrite others content from books, etc., answer questions from visitors on your niche site and also hire a writer.

Popular Article Directories

  • 6 – articlebiz.com
  • 6 – ezinearticles.com
  • 6 – goarticles.com
  • 6 – isnare.com
  • 6 – selfgrowth.com
  • 5 – articlealley.com
  • 5 – articlecity.com
  • 5 – articledashboard.com
  • 5 – articleinsider.com
  • 5 – articlesbase.com
  • 5 – buzzle.com
  • 4 – searchwarp.com
  • 4 – articlesfactory.com

Do you know of an article directory with high PR? Feel free to mention it in the comments below.

Your Thoughts on Article Directories

As I wrote above I think article directories are a good method to build backlinks for your small niche sites, but if you on the other hand want backlinks for your blog I would probably recommend a guest post.

What are your thoughts on using article directories to build backlinks?

How to Make the Most of Your Comments

I recently noticed a poll over at Site Sketch 101 where Nicholas asks his visitors how they promote their site the most. Currently when writing this 50 percent voted on Commenting. I couldn’t agree more and think this is one of the easiest methods to get backlinks and visitors while branding yourself.

A few weeks ago I told you how to keep track of your comments, but the problem is that people usually spends 2-10 minutes reading a post and then only leave one comment to never return again.

Follow up your old comments

I recommended Delicious because you have a trail where you’ve been. At the end of every week you can use this information and spend one hour visiting your old comments to see if someone answered them. By doing so you may end up writing 3-10 comments on one single post which will help you a lot if you want to qualify for the top 5 commenting list.

In Delicious I usually use three different tags for my comments. C (to show it’s a comment), Check (if I leave a question I want to know the answer on) and last Return (comments there might be a response to).

These comments are also a lot easier to respond since they are asking you a direct question. Even though you may not know the answer on their question you have a reason to leave a new comment.

Do you follow up on posts where you’ve left a comment?