4 Ways to Make Your Blog Audience Grow

So you've started a blog or been doing one for a while, but don't seem to be getting noticed. Let's face it, you can write all the creative and clever content in the world on your blog and stick a few advertisements on it here or there, but without a good amount of traffic, your blog won't ever make much money. Luckily, the web has all sorts of ways in which you can begin to increase your audience base for your blog. It takes some time and effort, but with enough strategy you can start to realize more visitors and build up your audience. With most of these ideas, you won't be spending money, just time and effort. The Monetizer has been taking notes of what various money makers suggest and has also used many of these for his own ventures.

Here's 4 Ways to Make Your Blog Audience Grow:

1) Submit your blog to blog directories, RSS Feed directories and use PING.

Do a Google search on "Blog directories". You'll find listings for quite a few free directories to submit your blog URL to. MyBlogLog.com, Blogcatalog.com, TopRankBlog and Blogorama are just 4, but there's plenty more. Keep in mind some of these sites may require you to add small bits of tracking code to your blog HTML, and or display small buttons on your blog which link back to their sites. Masternewmedia.com offers a great list of directories to submit your RSS feed to as well. The more directories your blog and RSS feed are a part of, the greater the chances that people will find out about your blog and the entries you've written.

Right now you should also head over to Pingomatic.com or Pingoat.com. These are free sites that allow you to enter your blog URL and RSS feed. You then choose various blog directories to "Ping". A Ping notifies the various directories that you have done a new entry in your blog, so that the new blog page is quickly indexed in their directory search results. Even though Blogger and other blogsites do automatic pings, doing the Ping yourself after a new entry will get it listed in directories even quicker. You can bookmark the Ping site after you're done, and simply return to that bookmark anytime you post a new blog entry. It will automatically ping without the need to re-enter your blog info each time. (Note: If you don't know your blog's RSS Feed URL, it's highly recommended you head over to Feedburner.com and get your RSS feed).

2) Start using social media much, much more. There are a TON of Social media sites on the web today and at least 3 of them rank in the Alexa top 10 for daily visits and traffic. Examples of top social media sites are Myspace, Facebook and Orkut (run by Google).

But there's even more sites such as:
Hi5, Friendster, Twitter, Squidoo, Yuwie, 43 Things and Gather.

Those are just 7 sites, and there's many more social media, bookmarking and web 2.0 sites that are free to join and include your link on. In fact, the Monetizer downloaded a great free PDF about them called "Social Media Daily" by Michelle MacPhearson. This free E-book gives you a checklist of sites to start joining and putting your blog or site link on. You can also use these sites to network and brainstorm new ideas for your blog, so they offer many benefits. Being a member of these sites can only increase the chances you will get noticed and receive new visitors (if you are promoting your blog link on them). Becoming active on the sites themselves and connecting with others who are interested in your blog topic helps even more. Additionally, some of these above sites just may get you found a lot faster in search engines.

Note: Two social bookmarking sites which get mentioned alot for bringing traffic are StumbleUpon.com and Digg.com. Join both of those and begin to build a networks of friends with interests related to your blog. Getting noticed on these sites can bring a LOAD of traffic your way.

3) Become active in forums related to your blog content. The Social Media PDF mentioned above has one item which suggests you join the top 5 forums related to your blog or site topic. Then you register with those 5 forums, and create a signature link (which includes your Blog title as a link to your blog). Leave 10 comments to various posts on each of those forums, and you've just left 50 URL links leading to your site (they get included every time you post on a forum). It helps bring possible visitors and increase your page rankings. You can also network with others posting on the forums and discover new material for your blog articles. They may even blog about your blog, ask you to guest blog for them or link to you. Figure out what topics best relate to your blog and then search for forums to join. Most forums are free of charge. Remember as always not to Spam or you could be kicked off the forum.

4) Promote your blog using offline strategies. This one could involve some more work and money, depending on how you work it. Examples of offline promotions include making up promotional T-shirts that display your blog URL (with a cool or controversial pic/message), printing up personal business cards with your blog URL, or running news ad campaigns. One cost-effective or free method is to get onto the news or a radio program, where you or they can plug your site. Or you could just go to televised events and be wearing your T-shirt or holding up a creative sign which displays your blog URL. Just don't go psycho with getting yourself onto TV (even though many people state that controversy can help to promote things). Pin up small posters for your blog on a bulletin board somewhere that might receive a lot of "real life traffic". It takes some creativity but offline marketing and promotion still hold some positive benefits to getting noticed. Many times a catchy ad or picture which peaks curiosity will encourage people to check out the site.

Another way to increase your site traffic and readers include the previously mentioned idea of Running a contest on your blog. You would need to be able to pull enough readers in to get this to work, so the social media, forums and other sites can help you find people who might want to enter. Just remember not to spam the sites because that could get you banned, and end up wasting your time. Start trying to implement at least the first 3 ideas above online and see just how much your audience can grow. Remember it takes hard work and effort, but the end results can be your blog getting recognized by more people & search engines, which brings you more traffic, visitors, fans and more revenue generated from your blog.

Also see: BlogRush Widget Brings Your Blog More Traffic

Make Money With Amazon Associates

Once you're running one advertising program on your blog or website, it's a smart idea to find a few others that might add to your income. Amazon Associates is a free program you can sign up for to earn a referral free on Amazon.com sales. The thought process is that you select products relevant to your site material and then get code from Amazon Associates to display product ads on your blog/site. If one of your site visitors happens to click on your product ad/text link, they are taken to the item's Amazon page. Even better, if they buy any product at Amazon once they get there, you earn a referral fee for their purchase(s).

Here's the explanation from Amazon on how you earn referral fees:

"You earn referral fees whenever a visitor follows a link from your Web site to Amazon.com and makes a purchase. Under the Classic Plan, you earn 4% for both Amazon and third-party items; under the Performance Plan, you earn from 4% to 8.5%, depending on your shipped items volume for both Amazon and third-party items. You can earn a maximum of $25 in referral fees on personal computers--for all other product groups, referral fees are unlimited."

4% might seem like a very low rate, especially if you are pitching products that will only bring a few dollars to you. However, Monetizer has read about various mastermind salespeople online who have implemented Amazon Associates to sell big ticket items, such as a $700 42" Ed Plasma Monitor, a $1000 or so Variation Parent: NIkon D80 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera, or a $1,275 Yard Machines 358cc Riding Lawn Mower #13A1762F700. A 4% commission on those items isn't too shabby. And even if they end up purchasing something less expensive, you still earn a referral fee.

Depending on what your blog's about, you can write up reviews of relevant books, DVD's and CD's or other related products that you've checked out. When you refer to the item, simply go to your Amazon Associates account and "Build Link". Amazon makes it easy to build text links, you just type in the name of your item in the search box, and then select a category. For example, you would type in "Blades of Glory (Widescreen Edition)" and then select DVD from the drop down. Amazon gives you results for your search term and you should see the DVD listed among the top. You then can choose what type of display you want for your item, whether its just a picture of the DVD, a picture with text, or a regular text link (preferred for Blogger blogs). But that's not the only way to pitch Amazon products.

Amazon Associates offers a multitude of other ways to refer customers to relevant products on the Amazon.com site. such as building an "astore" which is a standalone webpage you can integrate into your site containing various products of your choice.

Most recently, Amazon Associates has started to offer a great selection of cool, customizable widgets. These include everything from small video players that link to streaming videos for purchase (see image to left), as well as widgets that display your Amazon wishlist or favorite Amazon items. Build an archive on Amazon of your favorite items related to your blog topic and then use the Favorites widget in your sidebar. Another cool new widget is the "Quick Linker". Adding this to your blog, Amazon will automatically recognize keywords in your blog entries and include custom HTML links to products. These links will take the customer to an Amazon page full of items related to the keywords in your blog entry.

While many bloggers and site owners seem to frown upon Amazon Associates for the low payout rate and lack of sales generated, it does offer some potential value and may be worth including as another option for you to make money. The key with most monetization ideas on your blog or site is getting enough traffic. With enough traffic, having that Amazon product link might just pay off and give you some extra revenue.

And best of all, it's free to join Amazon Associates.

You also may be interested in one of the best books around about implementing and profiting from Google Adsense: The AdSense Code: What Google Never Told You About Making Money with AdSense

BlogRush: New Flavors to Feed On

If you're a blogger and not using Blogrush yet, you might want to give it a try. It can bring potential visitors and subscribers to your blog, creating more traffic and more of an audience. The Monetizer covered BlogRush and what it's all about in a previous entry, BlogRush Widget Brings You More Traffic.

One thing that was noticeable early on about BlogRush was that you could only choose one type of widget to display on your blog, and it was a simple black and white color scheme. It didn't offer bloggers any room to match it to their unique blog colors. However, John Reese, the man behind the BlogRush concept, has now announced that BlogRush is introducing new "flavors" of the widget in about 12 or 13 different color choices. This should make the widget integrate into your blog better, as it can now match your blog's current color scheme. The widgets are slated to be released a few days from now.

In the mean time, if you haven't signed up yet, sign up for BlogRush here. Then you can add your blog details and add the curent black widget or wait for a few days and select the flavor you feel works best!

Here's a look at how stats are going for Monetizer:

That seems to be about the standard for what most bloggers report, 1 or 2 visits from every 1000 times one of your headlines displays. Although the Monetizer has noticed other blogs complaining about the widget, Monetizer suggests to stay positive and look at every new visitor you get as a potential new fan of your material. A few new visitors and possible subscribers can help build a bigger audience. BlogRush has also vowed they are working hard on ways to improve the click through rate. They have been good about email updates about their progress, so with a little patience this little BlogRush widget could really help your blog out!

The Monetizer"s Latest

Tools of the Trade