If you are going to make money blogging then you need traffic! There are ways that you can get free traffic using the methods we discussed on Friday (guest posts, awards, carnivals, and commenting). There are also ways to get free traffic using some sort of an exchange. You can exchange links or buttons with other sites and you could join an exchange program. Exchange programs give you credit for participating in the network and you use that credit to advertise your own blog.
Link exchanges are tricky. It used to be that they would always benefit your blog. Google would track the number of links into your blog and the more you had the better your own page rank was. Links were votes. Now it is a little more complicated. It is still very beneficial to have links going into your blog, but participating in lots of straight link exchanges may actually hurt your blog.
• if google can tell that you have exchanged links (you each have a link going to one another) than it will not have as much weight as a single link.
• if you just link out to lots of random people then you will be counted as a link farm and it will not give you the page rank you are looking for
• if you have links (and links coming in) to blogs that are not in your niche or are link farms themselves than you run the risk of google also counting you as a link farm
In other words, building up a lot of irrelevant links is no longer beneficial to your blog.
Link out to blogs that you consider a help to your readers in your sidebar. That will increase your page rank. Google will be able to crawl your blog and put you in the right category more easily. Google is looking for blogs that provide helpful information to their readers (including relevant links). Don’t focus on who is linking back to you for this part. If all you have in your sidebar are links that are from an exchange then that looks spammy (your readers may not notice this, google will).
Do most of your linking within posts and try to get post links from others.
• Guest Posts – this was discussed in the free ways to attract traffic post
• Freely linking to other people – When you freely link to others they will notice and start to link back. In post linking does not have the same trouble that sidebar exchanges do. It does not matter if you are both linking to each other. Leave a comment or email the blog owner pointing them to your post that references their site. You can write a post about a specific site or write a great content post, like I did in my 97 ways to save money post. Either way you will probably get a thank you and at the hopefully the blogger you wrote about will start following your site and maybe even write about you!
• Offering relevant content – When you offer great content people can link to it so that their readers may benefit from the information.
Emailing about links. This is tricky and honestly I do not recommend it. If you email about a link then make sure it is about a link that you posted about the blog you are emailing. Link exchange emails are one of my most hated emails. That is simply because I try to answer them; many bloggers will ignore them completely. I constantly get emails asking for a link exchange. I look for a few things if somebody is asking for a link exchange. How often do I see that person on my blog making comments, am I already in the sidebar of the blog that is asking (if you are emailing asking for a link then this is the bare minimum), how many times has that blog linked out to me in their posts, and are they in the same niche as me. If all of those are positive then I look at page rank, alexa rank, and number of followers. If the blog is about the same size, slightly smaller, or larger than me then I will agree.
Every blogger will be different as far as what they look for to agree to a link exchange. Spam and link exchange sites will tell you that you can only positively benefit from emailing because for every 10-20 emails you might get one to agree. This is a risky outlook. Bloggers who spam others with straight link exchange requests might get some bloggers to exchange links, but the other 19 will remember you in a poor light. In a field where cross promotion is everything; you do not want to be frustrating other bloggers in your niche.
If you email a blogger about a link you are much better off if you email them asking if they will accept a guest post or email them letting them know about a post that you wrote.
Another option entirely is to use a button exchange network, like Entrecard. Instead of using money to advertise you use time (which works great for bloggers on a small budget). You get credits for clicking on other blogs which you can use to advertise your own blog. In some systems you do give up the ability to screen your ads though (Entrecard only lets you refuse 50% of the paid ads).
Task – Write a round-up post on your blog that links to at least one other blogger in your niche and let them know that you talked about them on your blog!
Today you can gain an extra entry into the giveaways by following me on twitter and tweeting about the giveaway! “I am learning how to make #money #blogging with @lpwealth
Tomorrow we will talk about attracting traffic using ads.