Monetizer Needs a Moneymaking Makeover!

Halloween 2007 Today is Halloween, and the theme of the day is dressing up as ghouls, goblins and ghosts (as well as celebrities, politicians, Tom from Myspace and countless other cool costumes). For this blog, the theme is the cool character you all know and love, The Monetizer (Halloween costume coming in the near future!). Monetizer discovered a cool contest being run over on JohnCow.com, the Monetizer realized why not go for a new look. A moneymaking makeover is just what this blog might need to carry it to that "next level". So it's about time the Monetizer got all dressed up!

This blog is still in its infancy and slowly building up to hopefully, one day something great. The plan for now is to help anyone who might stop by with tips, tricks and tidbits devoted to better blogging, and making money online. Design hasn't been emphasized all that much yet, because the blog is still on the free source known as Blogspot. But hey if someone wants to upgrade the design for free, why not? The blog right now has a rather simplistic look and theme (taken from the free Blogspot offerings) which definitely could benefit from pimping. The layout could be improved upon greatly and the header might even need a little more pizazz to go with the Monetizer character. But the character stays, there's no arguing on that one ;) Monetizer would love a new look that would make other bloggers “green with envy”. So that's a hint that maybe a nice green theme could be used here.

Some technical design expertise from guys who make that their day job is always welcome. As mentioned before you really need to either be a “jack of all trades” in this business or have someone else do the stuff you can't or don't have the time to do. Design takes a lot of time and effort, whether you're a beginner or even higher up, and that's a fact. Monetizer has only so much time between writing for this blog, other blogs and promoting, plus the rest of life... So please, John Cow & Weborithm, Pimp My Blog!

JohnChow's "Let Us Pimp Your Blog" contest seems to be the way to go. The prize will be provided by weborithm and they will give your blog a nice little makeover worth $49, should you win (hopefully The Monetizer wins first). Today, Halloween, is the final day you can enter so get to writing about why your blog needs to be pimped! Head over to JohnChow.com and check it out.

As for treats today, the Monetizer can only give you The Monetizer's Recommended MoneyMakers and all the other posts here so far. Also, feel free to drop a comment (with blog URL), and as a treat Monetizer will stop by your blog and subscribe to the RSS feed to help boost your subscriber number...

Happy Halloween! Stay safe while trick or treating and remember to take money over Paydays!

Google Loves Monetizer, PR3 in Effect!

Sometimes we need to toot our own horns...

A few posts ago the Monetizer discussed how Google's latest Page Rank drama didn't hurt this blog. Monetizer's Page Rank was a big fat "Not Applicable". Well now it seems the page is ranked, as Google has given the Monetizer a 3 of 10 PR which they can drop at their discretion! Thank You Google Gods!

It's a tough dilemma here, because it's cool to see a decent page rank after this blog's only been up about 3 months. It took very little work to achieve it seems, other than posting, and some traffic strategies here or there. Heck, Monetizer hasn't even started to submit to search engine directories and all that jazz!

On the flipside, this blog continues to remain on free Blogspot hosting, which everyone knows isn't the ideal way to go. Many say free blogger blogs will get indexed well in Google's search engine, but that won't be the emphasis here. Having your own site is especially true if you're going to branch out, start branding and building a HUGE audience of fans. So the Monetizer is being very very careful with strategy from here out as to not rush what could be a good thing. Again this is fully experimental, some money has been made, but more can be done, albeit carefully.

Upon checking several other blogs that the Monetizer maintains, they also now have Page Ranks. Several of the blogs have just a PR1. A blog which has had a TON more traffic over the course of about a year is also a 3 of 10. It has a better Alexa rank than this blog for sure. Now the Monetizer must strategize about which programs to carefully target. It's been discussed all around the Blogosphere that Text-Link-Ads may not be looked upon favorably by Google. The Monetizer has belonged to this for months, and may tread carefully when re-investigating options there!

So as we know, Google has a lot of power (that we may give them) to really affect how we see our blog products. However, as many have mentioned, using the proper strategies with Page Rank can really benefit your money making online and say Page Rank doesn't matter so much!

Page Rank is basically GOogle's view of how important your site is (to them). While I won't launch into the full discussion of how Page Rank works, it's best to try to get your site or blog link on other sites with good PR's. Here's some other Monetizer entries you may be able to use for submitting your site and increasing your Page Rank.

5 Must Have Free Blog Tools

A Review of Directory Submitter

Blog Promotion Items You Need


4 Moneymaking Lessons Rappers Teach Us

The Monetizer is a fan of rap and hip-hop, and thinks it's funny how the music often gets a "bad rap" (no pun intended). Sometimes it seems as if society, Bill O'Reilly and other individuals label the music as the root of all evil. Despite all the controversy and drama we see in the headlines though, rap stars can teach us money making bloggers and online monetizers a lot. Stars like Outkast, 50 Cent, Jay-Z and The Game all have taken successful rap careers and turned them into so much more, and seem to emphasize some common concepts which can be used when you think about blogging or creating online moneymaking ventures.

1) Rappers have money on their minds - Monetizer isn't generalizing here, but there's more than a few rap songs that mention the importance of money. Some people put it before all else. While this isn't the best way to live your life, if you're trying to make money online it should be your attitude online towards your blog, site or product. There are some who suggest when blogging just do it out of your passion for the topic and the rest will follow. However money won't be made without some strategies, analysis and implementation of ways to improve on what you're doing. Many rappers have this "I Get Money" mentality which keeps them adding income.

2) Rappers brand themselves or their group/record label - A rapper basically turns him or herself into a product, so when you hear the name 50 Cent or Jay-Z you start to not only associate it to music but their other items. Once the rapper has that "brandability" they become more valuable to advertisers. From there they can negotiate deals to pitch products or even launch their own. They don't just sell rap music and records, they create lines of clothing, their own energy drinks, go into acting, even have their own comic books, action figures and cartoons! How can you use this? With your blog you can build it into a brand. Once you have a "popular brand" it will become attractive to advertisers. You can begin to sell ad spaces on your blog to those wanting to advertise. You can also branch your brand out into a full website with more than just the blog. Think about adding a forum, sales pages of your personally branded items (T-shirts, buttons and other memorabilia), podcasting, etc. You can start with just the blog or site, but as you start to improve in terms of RSS subscribers, Alexa rank and Page rank you will want to find ways to expand your business/product.

3) Rappers diversify their income streams - Similar to #2, but this involves the idea that once a rapper has that brand recognition, they can turn it into a clothing line, record label or night club. This is one of the big lessons in online moneymaking and money blogs, to have multiple income sources. Rappers often go into producing as well and begin to build their own record label, and a stable of new artists, meaning more moneymkaers. Running just Adsense won't get you rich, unless you're doing it on many many sites and really working your butt off. To give you more of a chance at building online wealth, you'll need to implement several moneymakers. Another valuable part of the lesson here is that the more income streams you use on a blog or site, the more chance for higher profits returned.

4) Rappers often are helped by controversy - This is not to say you should go out and do a drive-by shooting to get your blog in the news, but you can take a page here from rap stars. Often there are rappers whose album sales are assisted due to their controversy. Kanye West is one example of a guy who hasn't commit a crime, yet has been able to engage in controversy. He spoke his mind about George Bush's involvement or lack thereof during a Hurricane Katrina fundraiser. He continues to be amongst the more popular selling musicians. Speaking your mind about controversial issues or blogging about something in a controversial fashion will often get you more attention. More attention often brings more comments, more readers, more traffic and more subscribers. Another example, pictured here was the big record battle between Kanye West and 50 Cent. Both of them released albums on September 11, 2007 in a sort of "contest" to see who could sell more. Sounds a lot like the John Chow vs. Shoemoney RSS subscriber battle that has gone on through October which surely has helped both guys out.

Some people believe that rap music is evil and rots the brain, however the Monetizer says we can learn a lot from it. Now this mindset and set of concepts doesn't just apply to rap stars, but it shows the mentality several rappers have used to create a great deal of wealth. There are professional athletes, business people and regular people all over the world who employ these sorts of creative ideas and make money. Start thinking this way with your online moneymaking ventures and you will adopt an entrepreneur's mindset towards your online moneymaking ventures.

...In the end it's like 50 Cent says though, we all "Get Rich or Die Tryin'".


A Review of Directory Submitter

In terms of promotion of your blog or website one of the most tedious and monotonous processes will be submitting your site to search engines and directories. As mentioned in a few previous posts here it's a good idea to have a text or Word document prepared with certain info about your blog or site, because many sites will ask for that same info. Despite having that info available, manually submitting your blog or site to directories can be quite a chore.

There's a great free product available, Directory Submitter Standard, which you can use to submit your blog or website to as many as 350 Directories/Search Engines. What's cool is this program lets you set up a "Project" which basically corresponds with all the info on your blog or site you want to submit. For your project, you fill in info corresponding to your blog or website (Your Name, blog URL, keywords, description, etc) and save it as a specific project (for example: Joe's Baseball Blog). Basically you're entering all the bits of info Monetizer said to keep handy in a text document. From there, you can go click on any of the 350 search engines that this program lists. The program will auto-fill most of these directory sites' "Submit sections" with your website/blog info. What's also great is it allows you to sort these directory sites by Page Rank and Alexa Rank. That way you can target those higher ranking directories right out of the gates.

Pictured Above: Directory Submitter Standard's window setup. Top window lists the directory sites you can submit your site to as well as the Page Rank and Alexa rank. Bottom Window is a web browser which takes you to the site you are submitting your info to.

The Monetizer decided to give this product a spin and delve into a little more promotion to get a blog listed in more directories. Being diligent, Monetizer submitted a blog to about 50 directories in 1-2 hours. You'll have to click on each one separately and it usually fills in most of your info when you get to the Submit section. Some sites still required info to be filled in it seemed, such as the keyword sections and of course those lovely CAPCHA codes that sites use to make sure you're a human, not a robot.

A few things of note when submitting your site with Directory Submitter:

1) Directories/search engine sites each have their own quirks - Be prepared as some directories don't want symbols in your blog title or some don't want comma-separated keywords. Some want descriptions of your blog to be under 200 words, others want as many as 500 words describing your blog or site. Some don't even accept blogs or free-hosted sites (blogspot, freewebs, etc). Some want your email address to match the domain of the site your submitting. (example: www.mikemacpherson.com / some directories want the email address to be: johndoe@mikemacpherson.com)

2) You have options for free, paid or reciprocal link submissions - There's more than a few of these site directories looking to make a buck. They do so by offering you a paid premium listing on their site for $1-5 or more per month or year, etc. Some allow you to submit free URL's then require you to put HTML code into your blog or site, linking back to them. Going for the plain, old "free" option is a good idea and cost effective, but many sites say it takes MUCH longer for your site to be listed (possibly a 3 month wait)!

3) Figure out a few different categories for your blog/site - The directory sites can all differ in the way they categorize sites. Some require you to find the most specific category and subcategory for your site to be listed under. Others provide very broad categorical listings. Keep this in mind when submitting, you may have to search around under various categories to find a good place to list your site. An example would be some sites have a "Sports" category with as many as 30 subcategories (baseball, football, hockey, etc). Some directory sites have a "Recreations and Hobbies" category, etc. You may have to poke around to find the best spot to list your blog or site.

4) Think carefully about the site title you provide - For example, you may want to use your current blog or site title when submitting to these directories, but why not add a few more keywords in? For example if your site is "Priscilla's Photo Galleries" consider adding a few more words after that such as "Priscilla's Photo Galleries - digital photography site". Be aware that again some sites only allow titles of up to 30 characters, some allow more. Implementing a few more keywords into your site title may help your site rank in Google or other search engines for those extra terms or phrases. This would also apply to the keywords you are supplying. Choose them carefully, as they can help your site get discovered.

Overall, this appears to be a great free way to manually add your blog or site to a few hundred directories. There were some broken directory sites, directory sites with expired domains, sites that no longer accept submissions, and those that only accept paid submissions. You may also need to check your email that you provide as some directories want you to verify your site submission via email. But if you want to get your blog or site noticed more, give Directory Submitter a try and at least submit to the higher PR or Alexa ranking directories as a start. Make yourself a goal of 15-20 or more submissions a day. Some directories take over 4-6 weeks to even start listing you, so keep this in mind for your overall promotional plan. There is also the option to purchase their Premium version of the program, which gives you about 2,000 sites to submit to. 350 for free isn't a bad start at all.


10 Lessons Learned From Online Moneymaking

Monetizer Money Making Lessons Making money with a blog or website should be seen as an ongoing process, where you are constantly working, learning and tweaking what you to do, to improve your success. What the Monetizer notices amongst many "rookie" blogs is the addition of things like Adsense in a way that makes the ads stick out like a sore thumb. The main focus should always be on integrating your ads into your blog or site, so that the design flows, and the blog's content itself stands out. While some may argue this concept saying you want ads to be more visible and stand out, the key to converting PPC ads is always going to be traffic rates for your site and targeting the right audience for your content.

That is just one of many things the Monetizer has learned from online money making endeavors. Here's 10 more lessons I have learned...

1) Laziness doesn't translate to moneymaking - It's just like the real world, you're going to need to put time and effort into what you do to make money online. While "Get Rich Quick" seems to be a major pitch online, don't be fooled. You need to work hard, constantly study and tweak your blog or site to see what gets the best results.

This will definitely mean...

2) You need to be an internet "jack of all trades" - Not everyone's a graphic designer, a web coder, a writer, a photographer, web marketer, or an expert in SEO. You'll either need to really beef up on each of these and more areas as you go forth, or have others help you along the way (paid or not paid). If you can do it all great, but that is one easy way to burn out.
Of course turning to people for help is a good way to do it, but keep in mind...

3) There's a lot of "evil" in online Money Making - Not everyone is really in the "online money making" field to help you. Let's be honest friends, everyone in the world wants money because it pays the bills and advances our quality of life. You'll have to be careful, because not every "money making blog" is trying to help the little guy. Even John Chow himself admits to being an evil-doer from time to time, despite the fact he gives back too. This is not to say the majority of money making blogs are bad, just to be wary of those who only want to sell their ad space to you or make you join whatever they promote. By learning to sift through all of that though, you can find a great wealth of info online (see #8).

You'll also realize...

4) The little things can set you apart - Does your blog have a favicon? (the little image that appears next to its URL in the web browser). Do you offer RSS subscriptions, popular posts, site searches? Do you have a Contact or About this Site page? It's these little things which we may consider common on blogs or sites and overlook. However these are integral parts of your site that can help you gain fans and subscribers.

Of course to get subscribers, you'll need to know...

5) Constant promotion = increased traffic - This goes back to #1, because as noted it's a lot of work to build up a fanbase for your blog or site. You can try to get Stumbled or Dugg and cross your fingers, but you really will need to put in the work to promote your efforts. Even with Digg or StumbleUpon those usually involve a good degree of work in creating something worth Digging or building a friend network to Digg you. Promoting your "product" is an ongoing process, but one that is well worth it in terms of building your subscribers and traffic. Using free social media sites is probably one of the best ways to get target audiences for your content. Myspace, Facebook and BlogCatalog are just 3 great free places to represent your site or blog. Once you gain more readers though, they will want to weigh in on your blog opinions and writings. You will need to remember...

6) You can't let comments get to you - A lot of us take our work very seriously, making us a little less open to those who are overly critical or in some cases seemingly rude. It's something we deal with everywhere though, from jobs to our friends to even money making online. The internet provides people a major way to communicate amongst themselves and it won't always be pretty. Take it in stride and don't let it influence your work. Often times you can even use a negative comment to your advantage, such as making it a blog topic.

Negative comments shouldn't stop you from your goals though. You're also going to need to learn to..

7) Fail before you succeed - This is a tough lesson in online money making, because we want the money to come easy. When it doesn't come immediately we may become disappointed or frustrated that we put in all the efforts for not much payout. Like The Monetizer keeps stressing it takes hard work to get things going. Also keep in mind nobody just "gives money away" so much besides the lottery which you have low chances of winning. There's usually some degree of work to it. But once you do and begin to learn and profit, it's a beautiful thing. Learn from your mistakes and turn them into strengths. If you are having trouble getting search engine traffic, make it your goal to beef up your knowledge of the SEO world. If you want to profit from affiliate programs, pour your all into learning that. And if you need to buy an e-book do so, but it's not really necessary.

The best part of learning online money making is..

8) The internet provides free knowledge - To think that you need to spend $27, $47 or even $99 for an e-book to make money online is ridiculous. Yes, there are writers who will pitch this book or that as a great product, but why pay for knowledge that can be learned for free online? Monetizer has learned that most questions and problems can be solved through internet research, which only costs your time. Google is free and can be your vast internet library, waiting to teach you just about anything.

However, even though there's so many free resources...

9) You will probably have to spend money to make money - Although you don't need to buy an e-book to do it, most of those in the blogosphere agree, you should host your site. Have a domain name and stand out. Some suggest paying for advertising, blog design and more. Yes, it is true because as previously mentioned, you will have to turn your money making venture into a serious-minded business. Some people are able to succeed using free sources including Blogspot, Craigslist and Squidoo. In the long haul though, if you want to really increase what you're doing, you'll most likely be spending some of what you earn. DoshDosh provides a great article on reinvesting your online income to grow your business.

With all of this said though, there's good news...

10) Money Making is possible online - Don't let any of the above reasons overwhelm you or deter you from making money online. It's a reality check and hard work, but you are basically the key to your own success in this area, nobody else. Your own hard work, passion, knowledge and constant learning will be what translates to money online. While Monetizer enjoys providing tips, resources, money makers and success stories, it's up to you to take the info you get here and everywhere else and go forth with it. Work hard, tweak your blog or site as needed, study continuously and you'll find all the efforts paying off in time.


PageRank Drop Doesn't Hurt The Monetizer

The popular topic of a day or so ago, or for the next few days it seems, is how Google has dropped the PageRank of many top notch bloggers and other sites around the world wide web. It was an unexpected and sudden drop that maybe several weren't expecting, but Google is well known as "masters of the unexpected". The Monetizer is pleased to say this blog is new (under 3 months) on Blogspot and has a Page Rank of "n/a". Google can't drop me below that, but maybe they will develop a reason to.

There's a smattering of articles around the blogosphere discussing the PageRank issue, how it may effect the way you monetize your blog site, and how to work it to your advantage.

DoshDosh's Maki writes Google PageRank Doesn't Matter. Can We Stop Talking about it Now?, discussing how PageRank is a "webmaster fetish", and that complaining about it on a blog isn't the best thing to be doing.

John Chow discusses Turning a Negative into a Positve, by realizing that you, the site owner, control your blog monetization, not Google PageRank. Chow has indicated he has removed the PageRank stat from his advertising page as well.

Courtney Tuttle presents an Alternate Theory for Google PageRank Drops which discusses blog sites selling Text Link Ads as the possible reason for the PageRank drops. Courtney also discusses her thoughts on how PageRank drop may affect popular blog monetizers, ReviewMe and PayPerPost.

Ben Cook at BloggingExperiment.com discusses how to Use the Confusion to Gain an Edge. He discusses the idea of using other blog sites' PageRank drops to sell your own site even more.

Another thing taken into consideration (by Paid review type sites, and ad sales sites) is your site or blog's Alexa Rank, which helps display how traveled a blog or website is. Monetizer highly advises you to download the Alexa toolbar, codename: "Sparky" for your web browser. This toolbar will show you a site's Alexa traffic rank in the bottom lower right corner of your web browser. The lower the number, the more heavily traveled a site or blog is. It's always fun to watch the stat when you visit your own blogs or sites to see how they might be improving in Alexa rank. The little stat can also help you determine great places to set up shop and promote, because you want to be seen in high traffic areas :)


Sites that Payed the Monetizer

Make Money with Cash Crate.com payout check
Pictured Above: 1st check received from Cash Crate (Kingside Media) issued from Wells Fargo bank.

I want to keep folks updated on the pitfalls, perils and pleasures of online money making. As an update, I have received my first Cash Crate check (pictured above), in the amount of $26.45, earned last month (September). While not earth-shattering income, it's still extra income. It could pay for a domain name and hosting or even put into some online advertising investments. The check arrived on the 24th day of October, after being earned in September. Monetizer had noticed the online account indicated a payed date of 10/11/2007 so I began to frantically email them to ensure the check wasn't lost by mail. Luckily, it has arrived. The majority of my income on Cash Crate has come from their surveys, some of which are fun, others which are tedious. Overall though, this is a great program for you to join and promote to others, because of its very laid back nature (no spam, no pressure to participate daily, just at your leisure).

Read Monetizer's How to Use Cash Crate.com article.

Google Adsense has consistently payed by the 26th of the Month after you earn $100, so they are not one to really worry about. Trust me, these guys have the money to pay people so they are pretty good about it, from what Monetizer has seen. There have been grumblings here or there from various publishers, but you never fully know what their situation is. Perhaps one of the most famous pictures of an Adsense check belongs to Shoemoney, seen below.

Read Monetizer's Introduction to Adsense here.

As for Gather.com, while Monetizer has not qualified for their cash program (which requires a lot of time spent commenting in the community during 1 month), Monetizer has received 2 gift cards for points ($20 Borders and a $25 Home Depot). I have a $50 Borders card on the way, it's been maybe 2 weeks since the order was put in for it. Most of my gift cards have arrived in that time frame. This is a social media site that can become quite addictive, but you basically earn points by giving and getting comments and several other actions on the site.

The quickest payer I have found thanks to DayJobNuker.com, has been Associated Content. They pay directly to PayPal. AC has consistently deposited to my PayPal account within 2-3 business days after I have accepted an article payout offer. I highly recommend this program to those who have a lot of spare blog entries that they can upload as articles, or just those who enjoy writing. AC takes content from all types of interests, from how-to's to movies to sports to politics. Most of my "non-exclusive" content has been accepted, but occasionally there are rejections over material not being new enough. Submitting content as "non-exclusive" will ensure that you can republish it or have it published elsewhere already. You also need to set your account to auto-confirm payments, which will speed up receiving them. Monetizer has earned closed to $60 with the site, in under 2 weeks time. For those struggling to meet Google's Adsense threshold would be a nice way to see some online money, as well as link back to your blog or site.

Read Monetizer's Make Money with Associated Content article.

So there you have four online sites I have received actual payouts or items from. I will continue to update readers as more sites give payouts or any problems may occur. Also, this is not to say Monetizer isn't earning with others such as Kontera, Clickbank or Squidoo, those just are yet to meet the payout threshold.

You can read about The Monetizer's recommended online Money Makers here.


GuessNow - MoneyMaking Can Be Fun!

Make Money Online with The Monetizer
In addition to the MoneyMakers already listed by Monetizer, there's always new money makers popping up that are seemingly undiscovered online. Some of these untapped money maker sites can be fun too! The latest discovery by The Monetizer is "Guess Now". So how do you make money there? Yep, you guessed it!

With Guess Now the premise is simple. You can either ask or answer questions which are basically poll style on the site. The object is to guess the correct answer for that particular question. Questions range from "will the US Jobless Rate have changed at the end of the business day" to "will J-Lo reveal she's pregnant by end of the month", to "how many runs will be scored in the World Series". You click off your answer on a question, for example "30-40" for the World Series total runs scored, then you select your confidence level for your answer. It's like point betting basically, and if you're very confident, it's an "All or Nothing" wager. If you're right you'll score big points (Monetizer saw questions worth as much as 800 points). If you're wrong, you get 0. Of course, you can choose anywhere down the line for your confidence level, all the way down to "No Confidence" and still earn points if you're wrong.

So what's the point of the points? Upon quick analysis of FAQ's and how it works, points are determined by yet another algorithmic formula based on total points in the entire community's pot divided by members equals cash value per point, etc etc. Basically, that's the tricky part with a lot of these sites. You never know how much time and effort you need to expend to earn actual money. But according to Guess Now, once your points are equivalent to $25, you can cash out with PayPal. Not too shabby for just guessing stuff right?

The beauty of this site is you will never be penalized for wrong answers. Also, your point total will continue to roll over month to month until you meet their $25 payout threshold. You can then cash out to PayPal once you're at $25 or more. The site offers the added advantage of being able to sort questions based on when they end as some are predictions extending way into next year involving politics and other world events. There is an "expiring soon" link you can click which basically gives you all of the questions ending that day. Basically you could run through these daily, giving random answers or guestimates and say "Very Confident". To experiment with this, The Monetizer has answered 42 questions which are due to expire today, October 24th, 2007. On each, "Very Confident" was selected. The majority of these questions involve stock/finance/business questions with a 1 in 3 chance to be correct.

It does appear there are other ways to drastically improve your points on this site, such as signing up for spammy offers and other registration type deals. The kinda stuff you probably want to avoid, and you can choose to "Skip" those on your Account area. You can also check off whether to receive emails from GuessNow.com, which cuts down on your spam from the site itself. But it seems worth a sign-up as a spare time way to find some big point guessing games. Answer correctly with high confidence and you may be on your way to some easy internet cash!

Monetizer didn't notice any referral program or incentive for signing up friends, so check out GuessNow directly. However if you do want to earn a whole 25 cents, sign up at Cash Crate today as they are paying a shiny quarter to people who sign up for Guess Now! Hey, I said the money making ideas would keep coming ;)

10/25/07 Update Notes: A few updates about GuessNow.com:

1) Monetizer has been stuck at 90 points since earlier Wednesday AM. This may indicate that points are tallied slowly, because it's hard to imagine that all of the 42 guesses made by Monetizer were incorrect!

2) Also, with the site, they want you to verify yourself before paying out. They ask for a photocopy sent of your Driver's license or Passport to prove who you are. It's fair, but sometimes suspect online, because it is personal info. There was a 3rd option to fill out a IRS form as proof, but the form seemed to be a dead link with the IRS site saying it will be back up.


BlogRush Approval and Policies

Well the Monetizer is pleased to announce this blog here passed the rigorous and tough standards set forth by BlogRush. I was just a bit worried after reading a recent blog entry where the Cow was banned from BlogRush. However, BlogRush sent email to say The Monetizer blog met up with their quality control guidelines. Cool deal.

Despite this, recent postings on the BlogRush blog have indicated that BlogRush wants you to place the widget on your blog higher up, if it isn't already. They say if they discover you aren't pulling the "clicks" they want, they will remove you from the program. Hmmmm... While I like the concept of BlogRush, I don't think they should be dictating how their widget is placed or used, because it's being put on someone else's internet real estate. It's obvious that the bigger bloggers are going to get more traffic (ProBlogger, Shoemoney or John Chow). But placing this widget above your "recent posts" or "Archives" on the sidebar doesn't seem idealistic for the smaller blogger who wants people to read and visit their blog.

Hopefully BlogRush won't be too strict with this requirement on behalf of the "little bloggers" of the blogosphere. Also, it's been a long time they have been saying "we're working on a better statistics dashboard". Granted, this is a free widget/service that can benefit the user for free, but the people signing up for it will want to see what it's doing for their blog. Otherwise rolling out this Beta item just looks premature.

This post is just a mini-rant. Monetizer has heard people reporting a bit of extra traffic from the widget so it must be doing something!

Using Google's Free Services

Many people love using Google for its great search engine features. It offers some of the best, fine-tuned and accurate results of all the engines. However, many people may not be aware of the vast amount of great tools Google offers you, all for free. These tools range from blogging platforms, social media sites, to free web page creators and keyword/seo analysis tools.

It's highly recommended to start out by signing up for a free Gmail account. Use your name as the Gmail address or use your unique blog or site name, at Gmail.com. From there you can start to launch into these many other great FREE tools Google offers for bloggers and site owners.

Blogger - This is one most people know about, the free blogging platform of choice for the blog rookie and less-web savvy. Google took this over within the past year or so and Blogger has gone through some nice upgrades making it even easier for the novice to start blogging. Blogger's widget feature makes it easy for a new blogger to add link lists, pictures, html code and Adsense right onto their blog. Not bad for a free blogging platform where you can easily start to make money, without paying any to do so.

Google Adsense - Many people know of this one. A program that's free for site owners and blog owners to use, implement and profit from. Adsense gives you code to put into your site that matches contextual ads to your site's content. You get paid revenue based on ad impressions and clicks. Read Monetizer's "Introduction to Adsense 101" here.

Google Adwords - This is a program you will pay to use, but it can help you advertise your blog, site or product. You'll be buying ads on other sites and have to put in keyword research. The free tool this provides that is very useful to use is the Keyword Tool here as described below.

Google Base - Monetizer learned about this promotional tool in the past few weeks. According to the site: "Google Base is a place where you can easily submit all types of online and offline content, which we'll make searchable on Google (if your content isn't online yet, we'll put it there). You can describe any item you post with attributes, which will help people find it when they do related searches". It's basically yet another place to advertise products and yes even a blog or website. It's free to list your product/site, and there's a Squidoo lens which explains how to do that here. (The lens discusses adding Squidoo pages to Google Base but you can substitute your blog or website in).

Google Analytics - An invaluable tool for all webmasters and bloggers this will track and measure your site traffic, visitor trends, top pages viewed and search engine results that brought you traffic. Very important to integrate this early into your blog or site and then monitor it to make the proper changes to your content and site. At Analytics you will provide your site domain and a few other pieces of info, then insert special Javascript code into your blog or site's HTML. Analytics will go to work soon after tracking your site stats. One tip is to keep an eye on any search engine traffic you might be getting. Focus on coverage of those topics if they tend to be highly searched terms bringing visitors to your site.

Google Reader - One of the better RSS feed readers or aggregators, it will collect all the RSS feeds you subscribe to in one nice, neat location. Makes for easy browsing and reading of all your favorite blogs and sites as they update. A tip here is to make sure you subscribe to your own RSS feed(s) and then you can monitor them as others will see them.

Google Page Creator - create your own free webpages. They will be hosted on the googlepages.com domain, so whatever you choose for the title will precede that. For example you may make a site called ParisHiltonFans, so the site will be http://parishiltonfans.googlepages.com. Despite that lengthy and ackward domain, you can still leverage this to create a website in conjunction with a free blog. It's great for novices who want to have their own site, and the great thing, Google does not place ads on your free pages, but you can do so.

Google Keyword Tool - A great free tool for Search Engine Optimization. Type in a few terms that you consider keywords for your blog or site and then let Keyword Tool go to work. This tool will list out other relevant keywords and phrases you may want to consider implementing in your SEO strategies. DoshDosh has a great post which discusses using this tool with longtail keyword phrase strategies.

Google Suggest - This tool comes from the Google labs and can be very helpful for your SEO strategies as well. As you type into the search box, Google will present suggested search phrases based on their popularity of search. What's neat is that it will show you the number of Google search results for their suggested terms as well. With that you can find good keyword phrases that might have low search results, and then use that to your advantage to rank high for search engine traffic on those terms. For example you may look up Paris Hilton and notice there is a popular Paris Hilton search phrase with only 100-1,000 or low results. Creating a clever blog entry with that phrase in the title just might bring you some nice search engine traffic.

Orkut - This is Google's social media answer to Myspace which many people have probably never heard of. While not as good looking or feature-packed as Facebook or Myspace can be, this site is in the top 10 consistently for Alexa's site traffic rank. It's worth checking out and maybe using as another free social media promotional tool.

Webmaster Tools - More helpful tools for the webmaster and blog owner. Submit your blog or site's sitemap. Analyze errors with the crawling Google does of your site and see how many of your blog or site pages are actually indexed in Google's search engine. Very helpful to make sure your site pages can be discovered in the Google search engines.

What's great about just about everything above, is they are FREE to use, and you can use them in some way to help with your online money making efforts. Why not enjoy the free services Google offers to set up a Blogger blog, cross-promote it with a free webpage on Page creator, and use Google's Webmaster Tools and Analytics to help revise and improve your rankings? It makes a ton of sense to sign up for these services for free and use them to your full advantage ASAP.


5 Ways to Make People Leave Your Site

Whenever I visit other sites to get news for my blogs or just to read the latest stories, the Monetizer always takes note quickly of website annoyances. These most likely aren't just irking the Monetizer but the majority of visitors and it makes you wonder why the site owners are running a site without thinking of how they want to be seen. Here's a quick list of 5 major annoyances Monetizer has noticed amongst some poorly set up sites.

1) Make it hard to find information -
If the Monetizer was looking for something and visits a site then sees absolutely nothing related, he's leaving. Some people believe in "tricking" the system by loading up on meta keywords unrelated to their site page just to get traffic. Big mistake, play by the rules if you want real traffic. It's understandable if you want to just attract traffic for Adsense, but be realistic about the audience you want continuously visiting your site. This is especially true if you're blogging. The inability to find something a search engine produced isn't always the site's fault though. Google or other search engines may be somewhat to blame in the search results they are returning.

You could add to this tip the concept of "poor site navigation". If someone arrives at your site and can't find their way around in a relatively easy manner, they're probably leaving (which probably goes back to the trick of setting up sites just for Adsense).

2) Use those Dreaded Pop-Up Ads -
Believe it or not, there's some sites (and I won't name names) that still believe in tricking visitors with HUGE pop-up ads. The question becomes do you want people visiting your site or not? When they go to the site to read an article and have a huge wall blocking their view, why would they want to come back again? When their purpose for visiting your site is to read what you have to say and then they have to try to click out of a huge box in their face, is that fair to them? One site I can recall has this happening constantly whenever you try to move to another part of the site. The year is 2007 and it's time to ditch that tactic in lieu of keeping people coming back to your site and allowing them to see what they want.

3) Create Overloaded, slow loading sites -
This works in conjunction with #2 sometimes, but there are some sites that just are set up so poorly it takes forever to finally see some info you want to read. The site keeps loading and loading, because it has a ton of java script ads, pictures and other items installed. The person who designed it thinks they've jammed it full of cool, attractive stuff, but in reality it's a major pain to their visitors. Take some time to research ways to make your site load quickly, then worry about sponsorship ads and java tricks. Also, there are ways to put java code into seperate files versus right into the site's HTML code.

4) Use redirects to unrelated pages -
Again there are some sites that redirect you away from what you clicked on to visit or read. You may have seen a headline, clicked it and then all of a sudden you're taken away from the page you were on or wanted to see. It makes little sense and this will only serve to irritate a visitor and make them "click out" or away from your site because they aren't getting what they came for.

5) Use Fakeness or Copycatting - Monetizer has visited sites with fake headlines at the end of a news story or entry which seem set up just to get people to visit another site. You take the "bait" click on the headline and arrive at a site full of more headlines that are real, but don't see the one you wanted to read about. This is a VERY poor tactic because while it may capture someone's short term interest, it will really irritate a person when they get to a site and find out that info was fake.

You could add to this point the concept that abounds on the internet of people stealing other people's blog entries and copying site design so they can make a fast buck. Very uncool and most likely when you get found out, things will just come crashing down. Avoid it. In keeping with politeness, John Cow has a post written prior to this about 5 Reasons he Stopped Reading Your Blog.

Amazingly, the Monetizer found all 5 of these mistakes listed above on just one website alone. Rest easy though, it was not a "Make Money" or "SEO" blog, but a totally different niche. The lesson here is to always view your site just as you were the customer or reader visiting it. Does it meet your expectations and standards for a site you want to check out further?

Basically if you're running a website the best policy is "do unto others as you would have done to you". It's a simple rule to go by, think about yourself as the reader when visiting a site and what you would really want to tolerate. Would you want to have to click out of Pop Up ads or wait up to 30 seconds or a minute to get the info you want, when you're using high speed internet? It's common consideration but more importantly it's what will keep people returning to your website because you've designed it to be"user friendly".

Blog Promotion Items You Need

When it comes to marketing or promoting your blog or website, it can be a rough road because many sites will require you to provide certain bits of info, over and over and over. Blog and RSS directories for example all differ in what they might ask for. Some may just ask for an RSS feed or your blog's URL, while others will ask for much more detailed info. Here's some tips on what you might keep handy in a folder for your blog or website before you embark upon submitting to directories and listing sites.

- Create a 468x60 banner for your blog or site. Many directories will include your banner when visitors check out your info. This can also be used for your personal signature on many forums as well as on your Myspace or other social media profiles. There are online animated GIF creation programs if you want to get fancy with this too. You could also use the rotating blog headline display that Feedburner provides you, which should fit this size and work well to promote your material.

- Create a 100x100 icon of your blog or self image. Sites like MyBlogLog, BlogCatalog and many many social media sites will ask for an avatar image. This size will be handy and can easily be resized or scaled down for whatever measurements are required. You may consider making a few icons though of different sizes (48x48, 64x64 and 100x100) just to have several on hand.

- Keep a text or word document with all of the following info:

Your blog's title.
Your Blog/Site URL
Your Blog/Site RSS URL
A description of your blog or website (100 words or less)
Your contact email
Keywords separated by commas (just in case)

The above info is very helpful when completing numerous directory submissions. It can be quite tedious to continually have to enter all of that, especially the description of your blog or site. The above will also help with many social media sites because some are allowing for input of your RSS and other info these days.

Keeping all of the above in a folder for your blog will be a great way to stay organized when you go to join social media sites and submit your blog/site to directories. I keep seperate text documents for RSS/URL's for blogs as well as a document of links from blogs, etc. Both are easily accessible for when a copy/paste may be needed. You may consider keeping a text document full of your top blog/site links for when you are commenting other blogs or forums. This can help greatly with "deep linking", a practice which in same cases helps your Google and other search engine status. Be prepared and then begin your quest to start getting your blog or site's name out there!

There's a nice list of blog and RSS directories you can submit to here at TopRankBlog.

Also see Best Blog Directory And RSS Submission Sites.


Miscellaneous Monetizer Mayhem

Friday is always one of the most anticipated days of our week. Here's some random mayhem to check out. Monetizer promises to get back to moneymaking soon :)

TMZ.com has revealed the contestants for "Celebrity Apprentice" run by Mr. Moneybags himself, Donald Trump. Check out the celeb gallery at TMZ. (Hint: contestants include a UFC fighter, a sidelined WWE star, a former boxing champ and a former queen of mean from the Apprentice) You can also read about the cast here.

Also TMZ reveals that the sock from the foot of the paparazzi guy that Britney ran over is up for auction on Ebay. View the auction here, which benefits the Children's Defense Fund. Upon last check the sock was at $1,025.

John Chow and Shoemoney continue their battle over who can get the most RSS subscribers this month. Since Chow was already running a contest with several prizes on his blog, Shoemoney has joined in with a TON of sponsored prizes including cash, free site reviews and much more. Check it out here to find out how to enter. A great lesson to take away here is blog competitions can help your subscriber base, as do prizes..


How to Use Cash Crate.com

The Monetizer is a big fan of Cash Crate for making a bit of extra online money. It provides a laid back system where you can complete free trial offers, take 2 daily surveys or shop online to receive percentage rebates of your purchases.

Here's a more comprehensive look at how to use Cash Crate to earn money online.

1) Sign up for Cash Crate
- Cash Crate is free to sign up for and use. It will ask you for information such as your name and address (to send your check) and email address. You may want to create a special email address just for using Cash Crate. You can create free email address accounts at sites such as inbox.com, myway.com and Google's G-mail.

You can sign up for Cash Crate here.

Once you are a member you'll become familiar with the easy 3 tab system, seen here. Select from Cash Offers, Point Offers, or Daily Surveys.

2) Complete Cash Offers - this is the area you want to exercise caution with. As you can see in the picture below there are plenty of offers to choose from. Some will want a credit card at signup so you may want to avoid those. Also beware of those with fine print at the bottom of their screen saying "complete 3 silver level offers and 2 gold level offers".

Although the pic below is blurry, you can see offers are listed on the left hand side, details next, payout and then "SUBMIT" button. Make sure when you go to do an offer to click the offer title. After you are done signing up or completing that offer you return to this panel (below) and click "SUBMIT". Cash Crate will credit your account within several days (if you completed the offer as described).

3)Complete offers for Points - You may decide to pursue points rather than cash rewards. This seems like it would take longer to do, so you may want to stay away from this option. However, this is similar to step #2 in that you are signing up for offers, surveys or completing free trials. Points can be accumulated and redeemed for Amazon, Best Buy, Starbucks, Staples, iTunes and WalMart gift cards or prizes like the iPod, Sony PSP and the Xbox 360. Again use caution here as some offers may ask for a Credit Card at sign-up or your home address/phone number.

4) Complete up to 2 daily surveys - This is the third tab you see on your account, "Daily Surveys". This is probably the safest option for making money on Cash Crate. These won't require you to give your address or phone number or credit card number, but they can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes to do. You have the option to complete up to 2 daily surveys, each worth 80 cents. Make sure you complete 1st survey, then 2nd survey. You will have to prequalify for most surveys, which can test your patience, because often you will answer a few questions then be told "you do not qualify". You can keep trying to "Take Another Survey" though and attempt to qualify for more opportunities. If you were able to complete just 2 surveys a day, you'd rack up a possible $48 per month from Cash Crate.

5) Go Shopping and Earn Rebates - This option obviously involves spending your own money, however it makes sense if you were planning a purchase at any of the sites such as Apple Store, iTunes, or Walmart to make the buy through Cash Crate. To do this you'll need to go to the top menu of your Cash Crate account and select "Go Shopping". The Apple Store option offers you 1 percent return on your purchases, so if you were planning to buy an iPod or computer, etc it makes sense. iTunes offers 5% back, which may not seem like a lot but adds up. There's about 20 total stores to choose from, so it's something to keep in mind as a member of Cash Crate.

Cash Crate

Monetizer racked up close to $30 using Cash Crate last month. The minimum threshold to receive a check by mail is set at $10. You will need to confirm your account by phone once you reach that threshold. This is done by requesting Cash Crate's automated system to call your home and give you a special code. You then enter the code at your account online and you're good to go!

Give Cash Crate a try if you're looking for a bit of extra cash each month. The referral program is also nice as it provides you 20% of whatever your first level referrals make and 10% of whatever your second level referrals earn.


Make Money With Associated Content

Hey folks, I'm back with yet another moneymaker to add to your income stream. Associated Content is "The People's Media Company", a site which publishes high quality content such as member-submitted articles and pictures. The Monetizer had heard rumblings about it from various members of other sites here or there, but never really gave it a second thought. At first, Monetizer hadn't done the homework to check this site out and figured it only payed you money for page views of your content. Then, Monetizer read about it over on DayJobNuker.com and decided to give it a try. What a pleasant surprise this site has been so far!

The Monetizer decided to submit eight old blog entries that seemed high quality enough to present for "upfront payment". This means if the editor approves the article they will make you an immediate offer for it. Six of the eight entries were approved within several days with a payment of about $3.50 each or over $20! Knowing the Monetizer has other blogs with different topics and around 1,000 entries total, it looks like a great idea for a continual money maker.

The best parts of the Associated Content site are:

1) Your published content can be used elsewhere. Therefore, you can take an older blog entry you've done, submit it for approval at Associated Content and profit from it. You will need to select this option when you publish an article (you can choose between articles "exclusive to AC" or articles you "may have published or will publish elsewhere").

2) Payment is alot faster than other moneymakers online. There's no waiting for the following month or for a buildup of your money to a minimum threshold. PayPal payment is typically done within 3-6 business day to your PayPal account. Not a bad deal at all. Fast, easy money straight to your PayPal.

3) Once you accept an offer on the site, the payment doesn't stop there. For every 1,000 views your article gets (by others, not just your IP), you will receive $1.50. It keeps going on and on. Theoretically if you had 100,000 page views of your article, you'd receive $150.

4) Other offers will be presented to you for the taking. For example you may have submitted gardening articles that were accepted. AC may display relevant opportunities for articles with upfront payment. They may want an article about specific gardening practices and will present those opportunities to you for payment should your new article be approved.

5) You don't need a website or blog to make money.
You don't need to be a blogger or own a website to qualify for this free site. Perhaps you enjoy writing or have some material already prepared on your computer. This site is suitable for just joining and providing freshly written content to.

Aside from these benefits, AC offers templates to make your publishing of content even easier. For example there are "How To" and "Town tour" type templates which allow you to publish articles very specific in nature. The site will take a little getting used to and you will need to make sure to provide articles with no spelling errors or poor grammar. Once your articles get accepted though it's money in the bank!

Surely you can see the benefits with using Associated Content's site if you're a blogger. You're using material that you either have blogged about, or will blog about in the future. It's a win-win for you, because you may have 20-100 plus blog entries to choose your article material from. You may need to tailor the piece slightly for the site, but once several of your articles are accepted, you will see new article opportunities. Yet another win for you because many of the opportunities may match your blog topic, giving you new material. The Monetizer quickly took 5 new opportunities worth $4 each and figures why not earn some extra money here? So if you like to write, need blog ideas, or have plenty of past blog entries to choose articles from, give Associated Content a try. A little extra work might provide you a nice extra income!

Head over and check out www.associatedcontent.com to get started.


What Sells on Ebay?

In the Monetizer's recommended reading list there is a book written by Cameron Johnson who began businesses as a kid and eventually became very successful and rich. One of his first businesses involved latching onto the whole "Beanie Babies" craze that was sweeping the nation. He basically set up shop in his parents' home and had boxes of the stuffed animals he ordered in bulk and sold to hungry customers. His parents' lovely home basically became a warehouse for the supply and demand of Beanie Babies and the kid was making serious money from it!

Of course that craze has pretty much died down, with only a few of the stuffed toys really being worth any decent money these days. However, eBay used to be a vehicle many people used to buy and sell them and make good money from. The online auction site is still used very very heavily as well all know for buying and selling all sorts of items, even food items that look like Jesus or Elvis. Now this post won't tell you how to use or sell on eBay, because that could be a 10-20 part blog series on its own. There's a lot involved beyond just uploading a pic and making a catchy description to sell your item. This post is more to talk of one type of item that always seems to sell.

One thing the Monetizer has learned is that "one man's trash is another man's treasure". While working at a previous job as an IT project manager, the bosses wanted to move to a newer and nicer office down the hall. Due to this, a lot of "junk" needed to be liquidated or thrown out in the process. Junk = electronics and computer equipment. Some of that junk was still of value though. So in the process, nearly $5,000 in sales were made on eBay! Now this money didn't go to Monetizer, it went to the bosses, but the lesson here is there is a great market on eBay for used, new and even broken down electronics or computer items and gadgets. Some of the items that sold were really old MAC computer equipment, old video and audio editing equipment and even old cables. It's amazing what other people want to buy these days!

Take a look around your room, your garage, your basement, and your attic. Is there some old piece of electronics you just held onto for the sake of it? Maybe you bought a Palm Pilot because it was the "thing to have" but now its more of a doorstep or dust collector. Maybe you have a shortwave radio, an old mp3 discman or even old stereo equipment. It's stuff you're not using, and it could bring you some money. There seems to be someone out there that wants it and usually it will get snatched up on eBay. Another idea or plan is to hit up the garage and yard sales or even if your neighbor tossed an item out. Don't become a garbage picker, but keep your eyes peeled for electronics. Even a broken iPod or other electronics item can fetch interest from those who like to take things apart or use the parts to build things.

Monetizer won't make any big guarantees here. You need to do your homework. Research the item before you put it up for sale. See if other items of that type or brand or make/model have sold on eBay so you can gauge what yours might sell for. To do that, do an Advanced Search for "Ended listings" of your item only. See what the sales prices have been if the item has sold on eBay. Or try searching for your item new or used online at other sites. Also, don't expect to make thousands off some old PDA or MP3 player, but overall there's money to be made with electronics on eBay. This isn't to say that other items you have won't sell, but if Monetizer had to select one consistent eBay seller, it's been electronics gadgets, devices and accessories in all conditions.

(Friendly Monetizer tip #514376: If you don't have an eBay account, consider signing up for CashCrate first. CashCrate has an offer that pays you $8 just to join eBay and place a bid on any item. In effect, you can sign up, make a bid on an item that you won't win (such as a $1.99 iPod) and earn yourself an easy $8!)


October 15= Blog Action Day

Ok just a little bit late, but Monetizer didn't want to forget to mention October 15th was Blog Action Day. The concept involved getting as many bloggers as possible to blog about ways to save and protect our environment and the Earth. The official Blog Action Day blog made mention that at least 5,000 blogs had done so, so let me make it 5,001. The Monetizer would like to present some appropriate sites and articles on these very subjects. Many of these ways which include saving or conserving energy will save you money. Useful tips for bloggers and computer users are to turn your computer off when it's not in use, keep lights and other appliances you don't need off, and do not leave the bathroom faucet running while brushing your teeth. These small things will go a long way if enough people can get into the habit of doing them.

Here's 4 articles to check out as well:

Time Magazine's 51 Ways to Save the Environment

101 Easy Ways to Save Energy

50 Quick, Painless Ways You Can Help the Environment Today

Energy Quest on Saving Energy

The Monetizer encourages other bloggers to make mention of this important cause as we can all do a little bit each day to keep Mother Earth alive and well.


Contests & Prizes Galore!

Ok don't get too excited, this is not about a contest from the Monetizer (yet) but from other people online! That's right, one cool thing Monetizer has noticed is how generous other blog sites like to be in giving away stuff like the iPhone, iPods, Nintendo Wii's, Blog Designs, Cash and more! Some of them even win stuff from one contest, then just turn around and give it away to someone in their own contest..Smart thinking!

RockNRollSolo.com has a win a 16gb iPod touch contest going on until November 12th. The iPod Touch is a pretty nifty piece of technology complete with a you guessed it, a touch screen. You can flip through album covers for your music, watch videos or movies, check out your stored pics, and surf the internet all on a 3.5 inch screen! It has a gift avalue of approximately $399. To enter this one, just head over to win a 16gb ipodtouch at rocknrollsolocom and follow the rules!

There's a big bad blogger battle going on between blog legends, Shoemoney and John Chow. Each guy is trying to outdo the other in terms of getting the most RSS subscribers for his blog before the end of this month. Monetizer previously mentioned John Chow's contest which includes a ton of prizes. Since Chow is giving away prizes, Shoemoney decided he will give away a prize a day because he's been slacking in the contest. Head over to Shoe's blog to sign up for his RSS so you don't miss out!

Beyond those big 3, if you want to check out other contests going on you may want to check out this blog: MyBlogContests.com for more great giveaways!

3 Essential Pages Your Blog Needs

Here's 3 essential pages to include amongst your earliest blog posts/entries. If you're just starting out it's a good idea to start your blog with these and make sure you have them linked to on all of your blog pages, posts or entries (in the top navbar, the sidebar or wherever you may choose).

The 3 Essential pages to have in your blog:

1) About Me Page - This basically could and should be your first ever blog post/entry. It is where you define and set the topic, theme and tone for your blog. Establish its overall theme or topic so that readers can easily discern what you will be blogging about. Tell the reader who you are and what you have to offer here. You may want to list interesting facts about yourself and your background as well as how you became interested in the topic of your blog. Make it creative or humorous. Feel free to use a 10 question Myspace survey as part of it, if that helps give readers insight and ideas about you. The "About Me" helps readers connect with the blog and get to know you more. Pretty much any and every blog has it.

2) Contact Me Page - Make a separate page where you list off your email so readers can contact you with questions, feedback and possibly link exchanges. If you want to get fancy, research how to put a scripted Email form on your contact page, making it easier for someone to message you (works best with a blog you're hosting). Also list off any social media sites, bookmarking sites or blog networks you might belong to that are relevant. Examples include Digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Myspace, Squidoo, Facebook, MyBlogLog, BlogCatalog and anywhere else associated with blog where you want to network. This may help new people who find your blog join your network on these sites and spread the word!

3) RSS Explained - This one makes sense too, although it really is the most optional of the 3 pages here. On this page you want to put into your own words what RSS means exactly and then include the links for people to subscribe to your blog. Best advice is to drop by the Wikipedia on RSS and put the definition into your own words. Not everyone (self included) had or have the slightest clue as to what RSS means and how it can be beneficial. After the explanation, provide links to subscribe to your feed in a reader or via email. Feedburner provides you with copy & paste code for the "Subscribe to RSS feed" and the "Sign up for Email Updates". Having this page can clue people in to the benefits of subscribing to RSS.

Do you currently have the 3 pages above as part of your blog? If not you should strongly consider adding them into the mix. Try to make the posts dated around the time your blog started. This will serve to make it look like you had them since the start and people have benefited from them, so you won't look like too much of a rookie.. :)

Since this is an experimental blog, The Monetizer has added #2 and #3 in recently. Feel free to check out any of the them above to get an idea what they can look like and then make sure you have them on your blog!


Make Friends at BlogCatalog!

The Monetizer found a great tip on the very cool blog dayjobnuker.com which is helpful to those rookie and startup bloggers looking to get some instant traffic, new readers and subscribers. Monetizer mentioned joining mybloglog.com and blogcatalog.com in an earlier post, and dayjobnuker has also recommended it. The cool thing is you can add friends on both of these nice little blog sites daily. MyBlogLog allows a max of 15 friends to be added each day. However, BlogCatalog allows UNLIMITED friend adds on a daily basis. So basically you can head over and join BlogCatalog if you haven't yet. Submit your blog(s) and await their approval because you want them visible when people stop by your profile. While you wait on that, make sure to fill out the profile, including relevant details about you or what your blog's about, as well as the other social sites that you belong to (Digg, BlogLog, etc).

Once you've had your blog(s) approved and they show on your profile, it's time to go click crazy and get a bunch of new friends. Add as many peeps as you can on a daily basis. If you want to make it targeted traffic (relative to your blog topic), look up groups which relate to your topic or keywords and add the people you find in those communities. Many of them should swing by your profile and perhaps your blog, giving you new traffic and possible fans! It makes sense to use this free little tool, which takes a bit of your time. You can also join groups, neighborhoods and communities on the site. Try looking up those that are relevant to your blog topic(s) and join as many as you can. The idea here is the become visible on community pages and to new blogcatalog readers/friends.

Another subject came up while Monetizer was over there at BlogCatalog. On your blogs that you submit, BlogCatalog will display your blog's latest entries or posts based on your RSS feed. This only works if you have the autodiscovery tags in your blog's template code. Make sure you have this code in your blog's template now!

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title=”Blog Title RSS” href=”http://your_rssfeed_here">

You'll need to change 2 things for the above, the "Blog Title" and "http://your_rssfeed_here". Add your unique blog title and RSS feed URL in those spots and put that line of code in the < head > section of your blog's template. You can also consult Feedburner on how to add the code in for your feed to be autodiscovered. (Note: you may already have it setup if you're using Blogger). The idea here is that someone might click on one of your blogs on BlogCatalog and see a headline or blog entry they want to go read on your blog. Autodiscovery will also help other services, directories and readers find your RSS feed easier as well, so it pays to have that piece of code in your blog template.

So head over to BlogCatalog today, sign up, follow the instructions to add your blog(s), and start making friends!


Navigating the Blogosphere

A few points to cover here today for all bloggers and site owners. The main theme here (related to the recent Columbus Day holiday) is navigating the rough waters of blogging and blogs in general.

First off, Monetizer mentioned 5 favorite blogs here which deal with Money Making, PPC, affiliate programs, marketing and better blogging. They are inspirational, but shouldn't be consider the ultimate blogs or moneymaking law. There's a ton of blogs out there on the subject of blogging better, SEO, making money, affiliate programs, advertising, etc etc. There's plenty of people out there who are creative and have great unique ideas for you to consider. So don't stop at just a few blogs who may be considered "top in the game", because you may very well find some of the hidden gems on lesser known blogs. Most likely if you blog, you also enjoy reading others' work. Get familiar with as many related blogs as you possibly can, and engage in discussions and comments with the blogs and their authors. This can help yours grow by either receiving link love, comments back, featured posts or new network connections.

Now in terms of your blog's navigation, is your blog up to par? Can you easily find your way around your various categories, various posts, blog topics, contact page, home page, about page and other important spots? Most of the time the answer here is "no" or you could make things easier or better to navigate. Monetizer knows it firsthand. You make blog entry posts and you decide "hmmm.. this one needs another new category". You end up with 100's of categories making it tougher to organize them into concise ways for a reader to find their way around. All is not lost though.

Keep in mind when planning a blog you need to keep it as organized as possible. You want readers to find other posts you've written, so don't keep them hidden. You also want some of your best areas and entries on display. John Chow even discusses why you need a "top posts" or "popular posts" area prominently displayed on your blog. In fact, take a look at the organization of his blog or Darren Rowse's Problogger.net sometime. They've ensured that you're "attacked" from all sides of he blog, top, right side and bottom, with different and popular spots to check out on their blogs.

Put yourself in the reader's chair, assuming if you really enjoyed one post on a blog site, you'll want to poke around for more cool stuff there. One of my favorite ways to provide this is to create a drop down menu on the sidebar. Use it to list out your topics as linked options, list specific pages and more. You can use the EchoEcho.com's link there to create customized code after you input your links and titles for the menu options. The site will give you a piece of Java code and HTML code to use in your template. This will make for a nice, neat way of getting around your blog, and could earn you more page impressions, subscribers, ad money or referral signups.

Another idea I recently thought of implementing is "Last 25 Posts" or "Last 50" or even "Last 100 Posts" section. You could do this by creating a single blog entry page and then adding Feedburner RSS Buzzboost code onto it. Set it up to display 25, 50 or 100 RSS fed headlines on that page by altering the Feedburner code. The "How to" for modifying that Buzzboost feed display is found on the Buzzboost page of your Feedburner account. Make the "Last 25, 50 or 100 Posts" page one of your earlier blog entries, and have it linked to somewhere prominent on all your blog pages. That way you won't have to update the page yourself, and a reader could easily click on this page and select from what they may be interested in and continue to return back to that section for more.

Keep the navigation of your blog always in the forefront of your mind. It's an essential part of blog/site design. A reader may unexpectedly show up and not really like the post they just found. It happens. However, what if another blog entry title captures their eye? You may just gain a new fan from implementing a strategic way of attracting their attention elsewhere, causing them to navigate to a new area.


Don't Spread Yourself Too Thin

A valuable lesson from The Monetizer today about managing your time and projects. Last night was spent updating a blog that has received little to no attention from the Monetizer, because honestly it doesn't receive the traffic or make the money other projects do. In fact, the Monetizer tries to keep up with 6 blogs, which can be quite a task! The noticeable thing in doing this is that you may start to give more attention to one blog or site you run instead of others, losing RSS subscribers and potential fans. You'll also neglect doing the things necessary to build your blog up into a solid brand and could eventually self-destruct in your money making campaign!

The best practice is to have a game plan, and make sure you're giving the necessary attention to each of your projects, whether it be separate blogs, sites or money making ventures. The term "project management" fits well, because you really need to prioritize and decide which of your campaigns and efforts should get the most care. For example, if one blog is doing exceptionally better than others, it's definitely worth your time to give it the most attention and posts. Or if you really believe another blog can do a better job, then maybe devote more passion and time to making it better. For blogs, many experts recommend doing 3-5 posts per week at least. You can imagine how tough that is to do with multiple blogs.

This creates another question, do I need to do more than one blog? Not really, however it does make good sense if you have several interests to get a few going or even if you can branch out your current blog topic into subtopic blogs. The great thing about it, is maybe you do neglect a blog and while it might not get a fanbase or regular readers, someone might StumbleUpon or Digg an older entry you wrote. Once the traffic follows, you could be making money from a monetized blog you just have sitting around, which is the definition of true "passive income". You might also bore of the blog you've been doing, and going back to another project will keep you interested, and posting fresh new material. So having a few blogs in your pocket can't really hurt too much either. Just make sure to not spread yourself way too thin because it will definitely end up showing in your work product.


The Monetizer's Latest Strategies

The Monetizer is going to start giving more and more praise to a recently discovered site by Courtney Tuttle all about Internet Marketing, SEO, blogging and Making Money Online. A post of hers from a few months ago contains this great list of blog sites where you can leave a comment and your URL link will be an active link. Why is this important? Because the more other sites you have linking back to your blog can help things such as your Technorati ranking and possibly your Google/Search engine ranking.

When commenting on blogs, remember for the comment name field to use your blog's unique keyword name or title, not just your own name. For example "Digital Photos Made Great by Ralph" or "Best SEO on the Internet" or whatever keyword/title you are trying to get search engine love with. In the URL field, simply use your blog's URL link (for this blog it is: "http://themonetizer.blogspot.com") You can also use a link from an older post or relevant post you've done to the blog your commenting on's entry. This is the concept of using "deep links" back to your blog. More on that another time, for now a look at the latest strategies being employed and consider by The Monetizer.

The Monetizer's Current Tasks

- Continuing to add 10-15 MyBlogLog friends daily (15 is the limit). The thought process here is building up big networks for your blog or site. On MyBlogLog you can add members who may or may not be interested in what you have to offer and who may see your little picture and swing by your blog.

- Continue to network on Squidoo, commenting relevant and non-relevant Squidoo lens pages. (note: Create yourself a free Squidoo for your blog or site today, it makes a lot of sense and possibly some money)

- Occasional adding of Myspace friends to the Monetizer Myspace Page. The page currently lacks the flashyness the Monetizer would like, but it does the trick of attracting people to the Squidoo page, which does two "tricks" (1 attracts people to this blog, 2 possibly makes revenue or referrals).

- Checking in with BlogRush to see if it's new dashboard is operational. The claim is they are unveiling some great new reporting features in the next week.

- Added the new task of looking at Courtney Tuttle's "D-List" and trying to comment respectfully and intelligently on blogs from that list. The concept here is link love back to Monetizer but may want to hold back a bit on it due to the lack of a web hosted domain name right now. If you have a hosted blog right now on your own payed for domain, might consider giving this a try and see how it helps your Technorati and other rankings.

As you can see the above list might seem like not much, but it takes a little extra work and takes time from other things. Definitely don't want to overdo things with other projects going on as well and the lack of a true domain name hosted somewhere. Remember you have to keep things in perspective, don't go gung ho building up links to a free hosted blog, then lose out on all your efforts when you decide to get your own hosted domain name.

The Monetizer's To Do List:

- Get a domain name. This will be on the Monetizer's list until the best deal can be discovered as far as hosting. There's plenty of choices out there with various storage amounts, and bells and whistles. Monetizer works with Go Daddy on other ventures but wants to explore other hosts a bit more.

- Get approved by PayPerPost. Waiting period for a new blog is 90 days or 3 months. Monetizer removed this blog from their consideration for now and added another just for kicks. That blog meets the 90 day existence requirement and possibly the traffic ranks. There is an automatic first post you can do just to rave about PayPerPost's program and it pays you a nice $20 to your Pay Pal. That could even purchase the domain name ;)

- Get approved for Text Link Ads. This most likely comes with a domain and getting things going with SEO and link love/Technorati rank.

- Tweak and Revamp Blog design. This is always on the Monetizer's mind, because there are some pretty flashy and cool designs out there these days. The idea is to try to bring it all together, great color, style, content, navigation and of course the money makers. Depending on money made, this may go to a payed service or Monetizer may dedicate himself to it.

These are the priorities Monetizer is considering while always striving to learn new ideas, tactics and ways to make money online. You may decide to make yourself a similar checklist of what you are currently doing to get your blog going or more popular as well as what steps you can take to make it even better.

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