Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What is the Point of Traffic Exchanges?

If you have a blog or a website then you will know that actually getting people to visit can be a constant obsession. After all if no-one visits, then what's the point? This is particularly the case when your site is new when it can be quite frustrating after your hard work in putting together your blog/website only to find that hardly anyone ever visits! So when traffic exchanges promise to provide you with a flood of targeted traffic to your site it can be tempting to believe that they will solve your traffic issues for you.

What is a Traffic Exchange?

Traffic exchanges come in various forms, some come in the form of a banner exchange, i.e. you display a banner for someone else's site on the proviso that another site participating in the program displays yours. Most traffic exchanges, however, depend on a model of accumulating credits or rating through you visiting other sites participating in the program.

And therein lies the problem - all people participating in the program have their own site to promote, so that when they visit their site, they will do so primarily with the intention to gain credits so that their site can gain greater exposure rather than actually spend much time looking at your site.


Entrecard is a traffic exchange exclusively for blogs. Some committed Entrecarders might not be too keen on referring to it as a traffic exchange, but that essentially is what it is. How it works is that once you have registered with Entrecard you place a widget on the sidebar of your blog where other Entrecard bloggers can "buy" an ad from you with credits. Likewise you can buy an ad for your blog on other blogs. You earn credits when someone buys an ad from you (their ad will be on your widget for 24 hours) or through visiting another Entrecard blog and "dropping" on it (i.e. clicking on their Entrecard widget.

I have participated in Entrecard for a little while now and it has generated some traffic for me, although it has to be said, the bounce rate from Entrecard generated visits is very high. I personally find it useful for finding other blogs related to mine which I have learned from.

Link Referral

Link Referral is another traffic exchange, but this caters for all websites, including referral pages, Squidoo lenses, HubPages, etc. The premise with Link Referral is that the higher your site's ranking the more likely other people will find your site and pay it is visit. You earn ranking by visiting other sites registered with Link Referral (up to 30 per day), reviewing them (up to 5 per day) and favouring them (1 per day). The review feature does at least mean that people stay long enough at your site to write a reasonably sensible review. The problem I find with this though is that you can't really expect to receive constructive criticism as it would appear that most people only feel inclined to write positive reviews, presumably because they believe that a negative review would only result in a negative review being left on their site in return. This might be good for the ego, but it does not provide an accurate indication of the quality of the site. There are some pretty poor sites on Link Referral that still receive positive reviews.

Again, Link Referral has provided me with some traffic during those periods when I have been active with it, but the bounce rate is very high.

Is it Worth Participating in Traffic Exchanges?

The answer to that question depends on what you are looking for. Traffic exchanges will provide you with quantity, but not quality of traffic. So you are unlikely to gain any visitors that generate any money, if that is what you are looking for. Personally, I think that they are worth participating in to some extent, provided you are realistic about what they will provide you with. I think they are useful in giving your traffic a bit of kick start and help to get your website or blog noticed, but they are certainly not a substitute for good quality content and patient link building so that people will ultimately find you through search engines. This, unfortunately, takes time and patience.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Review of Ipoints Rewards

Ipoints is a rewards program that allows you to earn points through a number of means which you can then spend for a huge variety of goods, including gift vouchers. The great thing about Ipoints
is that is a variety of ways in which you can earn points. You can earn points by:
  • Cashback shopping on the Ipoints site - this includes signing up for free offers to earn points.
  • Clicking on Reward Mail
  • Completing Ipoints surveys.
  • Completing surveys with and Consumer Link
The variety of ways in which you can earn points means that you can accumulate them quite quickly. The downside of Ipoints is that cash is not available as a reward.

Ipoints operates solely in the UK.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Squidoo Alternatives #4 - Bukisa

Bukisa is another site where you can post your own content and earn money. In this instance your content can be text, or slides, or video, or audio. You can add text to your audio or video uploads, but the expectation is that this will simply be a transcript. The interface is extremely easy to use. In terms of text articles it is pretty basic: text, pictures, links and that is it, although there is the option of using HTML.

You can use links within the content that you submit, so it can be part of a strategy to promote your website, blog, Squidoo page, or whatever else you want to promote. What you can't do is include affiliate or referral links, which obviously reduces your options.

In terms of earning money, it is very simple: you get paid according to how many times your pages are viewed. The rate you are paid at depends on how well Bukisa advertising has performed (this is indicated by the Bukisa index on the site). As a general indication, at the time of writing I have 4 articles which have received 107 visits and my account stands at $0.43. This may not be much, but these articles have assisted with traffic to my various projects and I have done nothing whatsoever to promote my Bukisa articles. Payout threshold is $50 and is paid by Paypal.

Bukisa is still in Beta and has been suffering a few glitches over the last couple of weeks, so if you are submitting articles you might be better off writing it in Word or Notepad first, just to be safe!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Squidoo Alternatives #3 - Oondi

Continuing my series of Squidoo alternatives, Oondi is another site where you can publish your own content, link to your own site/blog and earn money. Similarly to Knol there are no affiliate modules, or any other modules come to that (as there are with Squidoo and HubPages). You are basically provided with a blank page to work with. The interface is pretty basic - the emphasis is writing content rather than incorporating fancy gadgets, so no YouTube videos or other gadgets here. You can write about pretty much anything you like provided that you do not submit duplicate content.

There is, of course, the opportunity to link to your own site/blog if you want to which may help with traffic to some extent. Other links are also permitted.

Opportunities for making money are primarily via Adsense and unlike some other sites you receive 100% of revenue (with HubPages you receive income from 60% of impressions). You can, of course, add any affiliate links you like, so you could use an Oondi page as a landing page for an affiliate campaign in the absence of your own website.

In conclusion, while Oondi pages do not have all the gadgets available to you with Squidoo and HubPages, it is very easy to use, provides useful links to your website/blog and good way to top up your Adsense account without having to start another website or blog. Oondi is still currently in Beta and Oondi pages currently do not rank that highly on Google. Membership is still quite small, so now might be a good time to join before it becomes monopolized by a few active members.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Paid Blog Posts With Paying Post

As regular readers will know, I am always looking for ways to diversify my income from my blogs and elsewhere. In this continual search I found Paying Post which allows you to get paid to blog! How it works is that there are advertisers out there who have recognized the power of advertising through blogs and looking for bloggers to review their websites or products in order to make them more visible. Unlike some other similar sites, Paying Post usually expect you to disclose the fact that you are being paid for your review, and also they expect your review to be an honest one. Payments vary from one advertiser to another. The threshold for payout is $50 and is paid by Paypal.

There will be some bloggers who will feel a little uneasy putting paid posts on their and may feel that it compromises their integrity. My view is that as long as you have balance between paid and the remainder of your blog then I don't see it as a problem. And of course if you provide good quality content then does it really matter that you are being paid for your content, as long as provide readable and useful information? You need to be careful of course that you do not overdo it and fill up your entire blog with reviews otherwise your readers will desert you and advertisers will quickly loose interest in you as well.

An additional feature of Paying Post is that as well as the opportunities available on the site you have put a Paying Post Direct badge on your blog to allow advertisers and other bloggers to approach you to write reviews on their website or blog. I am offering reviews for just $5 at the moment! So why not request one before I put the price up!!

Hire Me Direct

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What Has Happened to My Template?!

I have been attempting to make some improvements to my template such as adding social bookmarking buttons, making sure the subscribe by e-mail box actually works, etc. But something has gone wrong somewhere because sometimes (not always) it does very strange things. So apologies for that - at least the posts themselves are not affected. I am going to try and put it right over the next few days. I think it will be a case of going back to the original template that I downloaded and starting again! Wish me luck!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Earn Money Blogging With

This month I have begun yet another project. I have started a blog at which is a paid blog network. The way it works is that once you have signed up they pay you for every post and also for visitors to your blog. For the first month you are paid $1 per post and $0.002 per visitor after this the amount you are paid may be adjusted depending on if they think your blog will generate traffic. You are provided with a Wordpress blog - so I am having to get used to using this format as I have been used to using Blogger.

There are a few conditions. You can only have one blog on You cannot put your own Ad Sense code on your blog and cannot insert your own affiliate/referral links - all other links are fine. They say that top bloggers earn $700 per month, but traffic to these blog must be huge! These rules do mean that you are free to concentrate entirely on content and traffic, which is quite liberating really. And although my new blog is only a few days old it is already earning me money.

My new blog is Comments of a Nobody which is general comments on world events. Why not pay a visit and see what you think - although please bear in mind it is early days and very much "work in progress"!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Squidoo Alternatives #2 - Knol

Continuing my series of alternatives to Squidoo, here is my review of Knol. When Knol was launched by Google in mid 2007 there were comparisons with both Squidoo and Wikipedia. The site allows you to post your own content to a web page known as a Knol (unit of knowledge). The content can be about pretty much anything, although for some reason there are a large number of Knols about medical issues. In truth, Knol is quite different from either Wikipedia or Squidoo. Unlike Wikipedia, Google does not take any editorial control over what you post and although you can allow other people to add to your Knol, it is not compulsory.

Unlike Squidoo (or HubPages) there are no modules to help you construct your page. What you have is pretty much a blank page. For users of other Google products, such as Blogger or Page Creator, the interface will feel very familiar. The interface does allow you to incorporate pictures, YouTube videos, spreadsheets, calendar, Picassa Web Slideshow and more. The interface does feel quite basic though.

As it is a Google product, you have the opportunity to incorporate Adsense ads so that your Knols can earn you a little money. You can however, also add whatever affiliate or referral links you like.

As you can incorporate links in your Knol, you can obviously include links to your own website or blog, BUT initially your links within your Knols will be "no-follow" so will not contribute towards your page ranking. In order for your links to become "do-follow" you have to establish yourself as a trusted author on Knol. This is what Google has to say about it:

"When Knol launched we began with all pages marked with a blanket "nofollow" directive. This means that Google and other search engines would not crawl outbound links from knols, and those links would not flow PageRank to the pages to which they point. The advice Google provides webmasters is to make links "nofollow" if they represent untrusted or low quality user contributed content.

We are now at a point where we "trust" a certain fraction of authors and a certain proportion of user contributed links, and so we now use a "follow" directive for links within such knols.

Not all links are "follow". Some links will permanently remain rel="nofollow", including:

  • Links found within comments
  • Our automatically generated links to "similar content on the web".
  • Brand new pages and recently-added authors are liable to remain "nofollow" for a period of time.
Beyond that, the rules determining which links and pages use "follow" vs "nofollow" will change over time as we adjust our policies to find the right balance for users and search engines."

So, in conclusion, Knol is easy to use and there are opportunities to make some money, although in the absence of easy to use affiliate modules, you will need to to be a bit more imaginative. However, in order to gain any page rank benefit from links to your site/blog then you will need to put some time in to establish yourself as a "trusted author".

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My Blog has Reached PR1!

There has been quite a bit a movement in Google rankings over the last few days, some up, some down. After many frustrating months of being stuck on PR0, Extra Cash Challenge has finally reached PR1! I had already set myself the challenge of both of my blogs reaching PR2 by the end of 2009, so this one is some of the way there already. My other blog, A Smallholder's Diary seems to be firmly stuck on PR0 for the moment, so some more work to do there to get that one off the mark. This is the older of the two blogs by a couple of months, so that might have something to do with it.