5 Must Have FREE Blog Tools!

Blogging is one of the most cost-effective ways people earn online incomes these days. After setting up a free blog (Blogger or Wordpress), many people can easily integrate various advertising programs such as Google Adsense and AuctionAds. From there it becomes a process of updating your blog regularly and then doing the extra work to get your blog noticed and gain subscribers. The Monetizer has come up with 5 free sites/tools that are a must have for anyone who is blogging. They will help you on your way to increasing traffic, visitors, subscribers and money!

These tools and sites can also be helpful just for trying to build traffic and analyze your site's success, even if you aren't monetizing your blog quite yet.

Five sites you can use to get must have add-ons for your blog:

1) Feedburner.com - Sign up now at Feedburner.com for a free account. Feedburner is a management system for your blog's RSS feed and can bring your blog more traffic. Feedburner can find your feed address pretty easily just by typing in your blog's URL at the main page when you register. From there, Feedburner offers you a host of cool and free options to help people subscribe to your Blog's RSS feed. You can then provide links on your blog so that people can subscribe by email or a feed reader, and you can also design your own widgets to promote your blog headlines (for places like Myspace, etc). One other thing Feedburner will do is "Ping" various blog services, and it does this every 30 minutes. Ping lets these services know you have a new blog entry, and can potentially bring you traffic. If you aren't using Feedburner.com, head over and get signed up so you can benefit from its many great features.


2) Google Analytics - In general, signing up for a free Google account makes sense. You can set up a free Gmail address to use just for your blogging, sign up for Google Adsense program and use many more cool free tools. The Google Analytics tool helps to measure traffic stats for your blog or site, simply by inserting code into your blog template. Analytics then can present data on web search terms that brought your blog/site traffic and tell you daily/monthly visitors, time of visit and even the general geographic locations of your visitors. A powerful tool for measuring you blog's rise or fall in success.


3) BlogRush Widget - This is new and in beta as of right now, but many of the best bloggers in the business are jumping on to use this tool already. It is so popular already that the site has had a temporary slowdown in terms of its features offered because they are working extra heard to improve the user experience. With BlogRush you register your blog and its details, choose the most appropriate category for it, and then insert a piece of code where you want the widget to appear on your blog. The widget (about 200 wide by 400 tall) will display 5 headlines from blogs with related subject matter to yours. Every time your blog gets a visitor, that widget counts it and then displays a recent headline from your blog on someone else's widget (on their blog). This makes sense in that you can capture new visitors, subscribers and readers for your blog.

Sign up now to get your BlogRush Widget installed:

4) MyBlogLog.com - An online community and collection of blogs on every topic imagineable. This is yet another way to bring traffic and also measure stats for your blog. My bloglog provides a snippet of code to insert into your blog and begin tracking traffic and visits. It also provides a cool widget to show the latest readers of your blog (if they are registered with MyBlogLog). You can upload a small icon to represent your blog and it will display if you visit other blogs using the widget. Use an interesting pic to capture attention and you may benefit when you read high traffic blogs. Also, join other blog communities online to start promoting your blog. MyBlogLog currently offers a 3 day free account, and then you are switched to a standard account, or can choose to pay $3 a month for more features. Just for the basic account in 3 days, it can be very worthwhile.


5) The Social Bookmark - Addthis.com - You may not be tremendously familiar with social media sites such as Digg.com, Del.ic.ious and Reddit, but they also can bring your blog new visitors, fans and subscribers. Installing this small bit of code will let you place a "Bookmark this" button on your blog. That button will allow readers to send your blog story to various social media sites should they want to save or share your headlines. Yet another potential way to bring in new readers. In addition, addthis offers a great button for RSS subscribing (first use Feedburner as mentioned above, but this can be a very clean button to use and allows your readers to subscribe by several popular feed readers).


These are 5 definitely free and helpful additions for your blogging needs..Add each of those in today and keep blogging at it. They will help you measure your traffic, increase it and gain new fans and subscribers. That all translates to more money based upon how you choose to monetize your blog!

3 Social Media Sites that Pay

Myspace is technically considered the biggest and baddest amongst the sites in the "Social media and networking" genre of websites today. Although it is so heavily trafficked and used these days, it offers very little incentive for its users other than a free spot to create a profile and keep in touch with friends. Myspace has also become over-ridden by spammers, advertising and Tom trying to promote new bands, music acts and concerts. (Although Myspace can still be a solid way to increase a site's traffic from a target audience). Facebook is starting to gain in popularity with all of Myspace's recent problems. Facebook also does not reward its users. In effect, both Myspace and Facebook use you the member to drive its traffic, page impressions and make them millions of dollars!

Aside from that bit of commentary on Myspace and Facebook, there are several sites where users are being rewarded for their participation and for referring others to the sites. The following 3, are three of the better sites for this on the net.

Here's 3 social media sites that will pay you:

1) Gather - The basis of this site is you earn points for doing several things including:

- giving and receiving comments
- referring new members to the site
- joining groups

The point system and formula for how points are scored is not presented, however the site is legit. With points accumulated you can cash them in for rewards such as gift certificats to Borders and Home Depot. Any member who can earn 3,000 points within 1 calendar month, may be invited to Gather's cash program and starts to earn money rather than points. Not too shabby just for commenting. If you belong to Myspace think of how many comments you may have left for friends. No incentive, but at Gather there is. The Monetizer has already received one $20 Borders gift card and has a $25 Home Depot card on the way. In addition, Monetizer is trying its best to get into the 3000 club for the cash.

Check out and sign up for Gather here.

2) Yuwie - The Monetizer has not fully tested or tried to promote this one as much, but has a good understanding of how it works. With Yuwie, you earn money based on referrals and page impressions. Basically, you have a 10 level referral system and that will help your earnings rise as you refer members and they refer members and so on. In addition, the more page impressions/views your network of referrals earns, the more money you can earn. Obviously, those who got in on this early are the ones benefiting most. The Monetizer has seen reports of people working their butts off and only seeing earnings of under a dollar so far. However, with the proper promotion and marketing you could start referring plenty of members to the site and potentially start to earn some good money here.

Sign up for a free Yuwie account!

3) Squidoo - On Squidoo, the idea is to choose a topic you are knowledgeable and passionate about and then make a Lens page. The Lens offers your unique view and insight/info about that topic. For example you can make a Lens page about Pets, if you feel you can offer great tips, info and advice. Or if you are gifted with art programs like Photoshop, you could present that on Squidoo. You can add all sorts of items to your Lens, such as Polls, comment sections, rss feeds and flickr photos.

The way money is earned is based on Adsense ads being run on your Lenses pages. You receive a share in the earnings, split with Squidoo, based on how many lenses you may have, or how successful and popular your Lens is.

The additional ways to earn money include Amazon Affiliates, where you can show products related to your topic that you recommend and Ebay ads, where you can choose the keywords for the ads. If a visitor to your lens happens to purchase a product from either, you will earn a commission from it. There are several other commission-type items you can add to lenses, including iTunes songs.

The Monetizer has earned a grand total of almost $4 with Squidoo, but feels with more work it probably could earn a good sum. Some say Squidoo Lenses get good search engine listings, which means traffic to your lens. Others say Google has not looked favorably on Squidoo lately.

Create your free lenses at Squidoo!

Of the 3 social media sites profiled above, Monetizer has seen the best results with Gather so far. It seems easy, if you have the time, to leave a large amount of comments, to receive points and translate them into rewards and potentially some extra cash. The 3,000 points in a month seems to take some major work, and if you have time, its possible as well. In addition, it's a spot to potentially market your own endeavors such as blogs, etc. Furthermore, with Gather, if you are a blogger, you could earn rewards such as gift cards and offer them as prizes on your blog to increase readers and traffic.

That's not to discredit the other two sites. With enough work, you could be making mucho dinero on one or on all 3 at once, while promoting other ventures with them! Always make sure to read and respect their TOS rules, because not doing so could result in you losing out on any time and effort you put into these sites.

Easy $20 from Cash Crate

The Monetizer discussed the money earning site known as Cash Crate in a previous blog. While I haven't seen an actual check from Cash Crate yet, I have passed the $10 threshold and am nearing the $20 mark. Checks are sent 20 days after the month ends.

- The majority of earnings has been from surveys, at 80 cents each. You can do up to 2 per day. The surveys can be fun, some might be lengthy, but they won't send you spam or bug you beyond filling them out.

- Referrals help as well. You make 20% of whatever your 1st level referrals earn on Cash Crate and 10% of any second level referrals. In addition, you get a $3 bonus if any of your referrals hit the $10 payout threshold.

- Completing offers. For these, Monetizer stays away from offers asking for physical address or phone number. That way you can't be harassed by junk mail or telemarketers. Here's the deals I did that didnt require this info:

Register for free. $2.00 Payout
SurveyClub Join their free club. $0.60 Payout
ePlay Register for free. $0.50 Payout
100 Tunes Participate in survey. $0.40 Payout
Ipod Video/1000 Songs short survey $0.50 Payout
NPD Online Surveys Complete registration $1.30 Payout

The above offers give you about $5 in payout. It's recommended you get yourself a new email address at a site like Gmail (Google), myway.com or inbox.com and use it just for signing up. That way if those sites start sending Spam your way, you won't be bothered.

The Stamps.com offer also looks good, because it offers a $13 payout if you signup for their free trial. You also get $5 in free postage you can print out and use. All you need to do is cancel your Stamps.com trial before 4 weeks is up, and your credit card isn't charged a dime! Easy money, the monetizer will always love that. If you want to look at it another way, this money can go towards paying down a debt or reinvested in making more money somewhere.

So why wait? Sign up for Cash Crate today for free!

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