Whether you’re blogging to ensure your words, thoughts and ideas reach the largest audience, just like the idea of “meeting” new people and making new friends, or just want some cold hard cash, there are some sites you absolutely need to join. You may have heard of, or already belong to some of these sites, but every blogger should really be using all of them on a regular basis.
1) Claim Your Blog at Technorati.
Technorati is essentially the Google of the blogosphere. It currently indexes over 94 million blogs and the vast majority are updated in real time due to bloggers pinging technorati whenever they post. If you’re not yet a member, be sure to claim your blog after you sign up. The process sometimes appears intimidating, but just follow along whichever of the various methods available and I promise it will be painless. Also make sure that your blog software is set to automatically ping http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping whenever you update your blog.
Not only will Technorati help drive traffic to your blog, but it is the ultimate source for finding kindred spirits who blog in your niche as well, regardless of how tiny that niche is. Some advertisers also take yuor Technorati rank or Authority into account when determining the value of a link on your site.
2) Create a seller account at eBay.
This one took me a bit by surprise when I cam across it as well, but it actually makes pretty good sense. Not only can you directly sell text link ads on your site. But eBay can also be used to build traffic for your blog. Check out Michael David Austin’s post on using eBay for viral marketing at Jibber Jabber.
3) Sign Up For Digg.
Digg isn’t just a social bookmarking site, it’s the social bookmarking site. Especially if you blog is related to the technology sector (including video games) or current events. Digg is such a powerful traffic engine that many, many blogs have crashed within minutes of one of their posts hitting the Digg front page. But it’s not only a source of traffic. Digg is also a great place to keep up with topics of interest to you and get you past a bad case of writer’s block as well.
4) Sign Up For Google AdSense.
Even if the purpose of your blog is not to earn money, that’s no reason not to provide your readers with quality, context sensitive ads. Besides, every blogger has bills to pay, so why not let your readers help out a little. If you don’t think you’re familiar with Google AdSense just take a closer look at some of your favorite websites. I’m sure the majority of them are using “Ads by Google”.
5) Bookmark BlogCarnival.com.
A blog carnival is a type of blog event. It is similar to a magazine, in that it is dedicated to a particular topic, and is published on a regular schedule, often weekly or monthly. Each edition of a blog carnival is in the form of a blog article that contains permalinks links to other blog articles on the particular topic. They’re a great way to drive traffic to your site because that traffic is guarantted to already be interested in the topics you’re posting about. Making them more likely to stick around. Blog carnival’s are also a wonderful way to network with other bloggers and find interesting posts on your area of interest.
BlogCarnival.com isn’t the most user-friendly of sites, but it is hiome to more than 2000 different blog carnivals, so you’re all but guaranteed to find one, or more, that fits your blog.
6) Run your RSS feeds through FeedBurner.
FeedBurner has provided custom RSS feeds and management tools to bloggers, podcasters, and other web-based content publishers since 2004. They also provide traffic analysis and an advertising system for content publishers. Not only do the vast majority of bloggers already use FeedBurner (which is a hell of a recommendation), but I’ve never read a single reason not to use FeedBurner, other than personal preference.
7) Join PayPerPost.
I’ve written previously about about The King Of Paid To Blog Networks, PayPerPost. Essentially, they act as a matchmaker between advertisers and bloggers, offering both the best of the other’s world. Advertisers know that a blog post is the ultimate in online “word of mouth” and offers a far better return on their investment than banner or text link advertising. Bloggers appreciate being paid up front for simply doing what they’re already doing: writing about and linking to websites and services.
If you ever review anything on your blog then there’s no reason not to join PayPerPost or one (or more) of the similar programs out there. Not only can these sites help monetize your blog, but they will introduce you to goods and services you may not have discovered otherwise. PayPerPost, in particular is also home to a thriving community of bloggers more than happy to spend a little of their valuable time to help make your blog better.
8 ) Start Using StumbleUpon.
StumbleUpon is kind of a Digg for the masses. Although it reaches a broader audience than the tech-focused Digg it’s not quite as powerful either. Where Digg focuses on visits to its main site, StumbleUpon uses a toolbar in the user’s browser to offer up sites that it believes they will enjoy. So if you blog about the Feeding Habits of European Swallows and register your post with StumbleUpon, then others who are reading about European Swallows can much more easily find and read your post.
Both of these services allow you to track the comments you leave on blogs even if those individual blogs do not have their own subscription services. This is a tremendous aid in networking with other bloggers as some of the most interesting discussions actually occur within the comments. There are also several plugins for both services that will make it easier for your blog visitors to use them as well.
10) Subscribe to ContestBlogger.com.
Regardless of the theme of your blog, or your personal interests, everybody loves to be a winner. And contests are all the rave around the blogosphere these days. Most only require a comment or a post about their contest to enter. Blog contests are a great way to network and generate backlinks to your site, whether you’re hosting the contest or participating in someone else’s. Contest Blogger will keep you up on all the latest blog contests, and don’t forget to submit any contests you decide to host as well.