Friday, 30 November 2012

Tips and Ways of Getting More Likes on Your Facebook Page

A lot of businesses – big and small – are using Facebook to market their products and services, and it is quite understandable why. Facebook provides organization of all kinds with a unique platform to not only market their products, but also get more exposure and drive traffic to their blogs and websites (the latter is something that a lot of bloggers will particularly be interested in doing).

An essential part of being successful with a Facebook page is to get a large number of people to ‘like’ your page. Normally, this takes time, and/or a serious effort on your part, however here are a few tips that you can use to boost the number of likes on your Facebook page:

1. Content is king! Yes, that not only applies to your blog, it is equally applicable to your Facebook page as well! Share unique, interesting, informative, thought-provoking, and the best-possible content on Facebook, and it will tend to get a large amount of ‘likes’ as well as shares. When people share you updates on Facebook, it appears on their wall, and is put up on their newsfeed for their friends to see, maximizing your exposure and providing you with more fans. If your content is good, it may end up getting a large amount of likes and shares. My recommendation would be to use a combination of text and images.

2. Always interact with your fans. In my opinion, this is the golden rule for being successful on Facebook. The best (successful) pages on Facebook are those that promote interaction between the organization and its fans/followers (as well as among the fans and followers). Make sure that all contributors and publishers on your blog – or people in your organization, whichever’s applicable – spend a few minutes daily to speak with their Facebook fan, respond to questions, take part in the discussions, etc.

3. Network with other page owners. Once again, this is similar to networking and building strong relationships, as a blogger, with other bloggers. You should seek and look up Facebook page owners with pages related to, or similar as yours and try finding mutually-beneficial ways of promoting each other’s pages. For instance if you have a blog on tech, you might want to get in touch with other technology page-owners, to show an interest in sharing their posts on your page, and in return, ask them to do the same with yours.

4. Put the address of your Facebook page on all your products, services and any other places where your customers will be able to see it. After your page reaches a certain amount of likes (25, last time I checked), you can go into the admin panel of the page and create a custom URL (something like Put this up on all your products, services, business cards, advertisements, outlets, email signatures and any other place(s) where people will see it.

5. Add a Facebook Like Box on your blog as well as your website. You can get one for your blog here. Simply customize it – add the URL of your page and change the width, height, etc. (you’ll get a preview of the box in real-time), and add it to the sidebar of your blog. This gives you a lot of exposure, and whenever someone visits your blog/website, they’ll be able to easily go to your page in order to become a fan.

6. Promote your page through a contest. What kind of contest it is really depends on the kind of page it is. For instance a Facebook page for a photography blog could ask its fans to submit interesting photos through the page, and the best 3 entries get a prize (cash, the new Nikon lens, etc.). A computer tech page on my Facebook ran an interesting contest a few days back: all you had to do was to ‘like’ their page, and share one of their posts on your wall, and you would become eligible to win a gift worth $500! This gave them a large number of ‘likes’ and shares, instantly maximizing their exposure and bringing a lot of new fans on their page. PS. Remember that with a contest, the prize has to be valuable enough for the people in your niche.

7. Use your Facebook page! One of the best ways of getting the word out is to actually use your Facebook page like you would use your personal profile. Use the page to ‘like’ and comment on other pages’ walls, or on their updates. Make it a point to log into your page at least a couple of times every day, and comment on interesting stories in your new feed, participate in a conversation, and so on.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

How to Make Your Blog Attractive for Potential Advertisers

Ads and accepting advertisements is just one more way of monetizing your blog, however if done right, it can be one of the most effective ways of making some money online.

In order to do so, you need to turn your blog into an attractive-enough prospect for potential advertisers. This includes a number of different steps, such as letting them know that you accept ads, building a reputation and a large, growing base of visitors through your content, and so on.

Your blog needs to be worth their investment. But above all, your blog should be such an attractive prospect; advertisers should seek you, rather than the other way around.

The following set of points illustrate how you can do just this.

Choose a Niche

As far as blogging goes, make sure that you identify and start off with a niche, which your blog operates in. All your posts need to be related to this particular area of interest. Doing so will make your blog more appealing to a certain specific group of readers. Depending on the niche, this could allow you to attract a fairly large group of readers. From an advertiser’s perspective, your blog now represents a ‘market’ where people who share a similar interest come together. Any ad that goes up on your blog will be extremely targeted and will be seen by visitors who will be interested in it. For instance if your niche is sports, or soccer, you might attract ads by advertisers such as Nike or Adidas. Similarly, tech blogs might attract advertisers such as Intel, Microsoft, Apple, or Google, for instance. It all starts off with the niche that you choose. And in addition, it is also important to stick to your niche, as one thing that advertisers love is targeted traffic!

Build Authority

Advertisers would want to associate themselves with top blogs in a certain niche or industry. They would want their ads to go on blogs that are considered to be the leaders in their niche; a blog that has been able to build authority, a strong (and growing) base of loyal readers and is a respected source of news and information. If you’re able to build such a blog, advertisers will be not only approach you themselves, but will be willing to pay to be seen on it (unfortunately, the same cannot be said about small blogs). Building authority takes time, and the best way to do it is through content marketing! But once you have an authority blog, advertisers in your niche will notice you, and approach you.

Build Traffic

Advertisers will look into the some of the vital stats of your blog, most notably traffic, page views, subscribers, activity (comments), social activity and the like. If an advertiser had the option to choose one blog from a list of 10, they would most certainly go for one which had the most impressive stats, especially in terms of traffic, page views and visitors. More traffic, quite simply, equals more exposure, and an advertiser would want a potentially large amount of people to see their ad. Therefore, in order to be an attractive-enough prospect for organizations and advertisers, you need to have a lot of traffic, it is as simple as that.

Getting the Word Out

Potential advertisers won’t know you’re open to putting up ads on your blog, unless you make it explicitly clear that you are! Let people know that you are ready to sell ads or advertisement space. Announce it on your blog – through a blog post, a ‘sticky’ announcement, a banner or something else that says ‘Advertise With Us’. Make it very obvious for potential advertisers to know that you are interested in selling an ad space. Even if it’s a small blog, that doesn’t get a lot of traffic, doing so might attract small advertisers looking to give you enough money that covers your hosting costs. I would even go as far as recommending a separate ‘advertising page’ in order to attract advertisers. This page would list down the different ad spaces available on your blog, the kind of ad it is (CPC, CPM, CPA, etc) as well as the price for each. It will also be a good idea to put up your traffic stats, Google PR and Alexa Rank here.


One of the “4 Essential P’s” of marketing is placement. Advertisers will look at the placement of ads on your blog in order to see if it suits them. Advertisers will want their ads to be seen without any need of page scroll (aka. above the fold), therefore the most valuable real-estate on your blog lies above the fold, i.e. that banner area. This part of your blog is essentially the first thing a visitors looks at when he/she visits it. In addition, any ad placed here will be eye-catching and easily-viewable (not to mention more expensive for the advertisers!). If possible, make sure you offer some ad space above the fold. However the area will only be suitable for horizontal ads; for vertical ad-space, the sidebar makes for an ideal location.


Another one of the famous 4 P’s of Marketing, letting advertisers know your costing methods is essential. Split costs according to ad-space, as well as ad types (CPA, CPM, CPC). Be open to reasonable negotiations. Use the Advertise Here page to put this information up.


Make sure that you have developed a set of conditions for advertisers and any ads that go on your blog – stuff like dimensions/size, allowable formats, file size of the ads, text/image/animation ads (or a combination of these), and any other requirements you might feel would be appropriate. Send this document in if/when a potential advertiser gets in touch with you.

Provide Incentives

…to keep your current business, as well as attract more potential advertisers. For instance you could give advertisers a one-week/month free-of-cost ad placement on your blog, write a free review – or just a few good words in one of your posts – for their product, or send out an email to your list about them. Furthermore, make sure that you try your best to keep current customers happy, and concentrate on developing long-term business; for this purpose, for instance, it could be a good idea to provide them with a discount for signing up for a longer term. However after all’s said and done, the best way of getting and keeping business is by doing what your blog ought to do – provide its users with high-quality content and build and grow is visitor-base!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Tips for Effective Niche Blogging

If you’re a niche blogger, here are some tips that would help increase your effectiveness and productivity:

1. Choose the Right Niche
Choose a niche that you have an interest in, and are passionate about. This is essential because you will be spending a lot of your time creating content for this particular niche, and unless you have a deep interest in the said field, you will struggle to produce content (or rather quality content) on a regular basis. In addition, having a deep interest in the niche will also allow you to become an authority figure in it.

2. Define Your Niche
Or, more specifically, clearly define your niche. If there’s one thing that is essential for effective blogging or being an effective blogger, it is defining your niche! I cannot stress how important it is to do this for any and every blogger out there. Doing so allows you to identify the focus, and define the limits of your blog, and stay within the limits that you have defined. Niche blogs are ‘specialty’ blogs, and hence need to have a much more focused definition.

3. Choose to Write for an Audience
Instead of choosing a topic, choose the people that you’ll be writing for. Successful niche blogs are aimed at writing for a specific type of people, not for a specific topic. Instead of writing on ‘technology’, write for people looking for reviews of the latest gadgets, or people who want the latest news on tech. Instead of blogging on photography, write for beginner or new photographers. Topics can be extremely broad, and can encompass a large amount of sub-topics; but most importantly, making this mistake will leave you in the dark as to who you’re writing for. Identifying your target market is critical, and necessary to write well for them.

4. Have a USP
USP is short for Unique Selling Proposition (Wikipedia). It is a business term that refers to offering something that is so unique and so different from others, that people are inclined to come to you, rather than going to your competition. The same business concept can also be applied to blogs. You have to give people in your niche a reason to come to you, rather than a more well-established blog in your niche. It makes you stand-out, and sets you apart from the others. And ‘it’ could be anything – from the user-friendly interface of your blog, to its ability to provide readers with useful information, to offering a cheap alternative to a product/service at a low price, or perhaps you could simply add your own twist to things…the sky’s the limit! Remember that with niche blogs, you’re always going to be competing with others for the attention of a fairly small number of people; you have to give them a solid reason to come to you. (Additional read about USP here)

5. Define Short- and Long-term Goals
Knowing what you want your blog to achieve in a months’ time is great, but knowing where you would want your niche blog to be in a years’ time is even more important. Like any other business, your success (or your failure) will be directly related to your short-term and long-term vision. Think in terms of the content, the visitors/traffic, the design and other tangible elements. Think of where you would want your blog to be in a year’s time – would you want to establish it as an authority blog, or try selling themes, plugins or eBooks on it, or maybe even offer some kind of a service on it later on. It is important to have achievable goals that lead you to success.

6. Keyword Research if Your Friend
Keywords are the life and soul of niche blogs. Use keyword research in order to come up with a set of keywords relevant to your niche and be able to drive targeted traffic through the use of these. However don’t expect to be able to compete with the big boys when it comes to these keywords. You will certainly need to use long-tail keywords – so instead of targeting the keyword ‘iPhone’, you should be targeting phrases such as ‘restart an iPhone’ or ‘jailbreak an iPhone’ or ‘iPhone 5 specifications’, to name a few. These long-tail phrases should be closely related to your blog’s content, and will let you get targeted traffic and compete with blogs with deep pockets easily. 

7. Always Strive for Improvement
And this goes for pretty much every blog out there, but especially for niche blogs. Always look for ways through which you can improve various different elements of your blog. How can you improve your content? How can you diversify into another sub-niche? How can you cater in a better manner to the growing amount of visitors on your blog? How can you improve you blog’s design? How can you add to your roster of writers? How can you connect with your audience in a better way? (For niche blogs with a specific focus, connecting with audience is essential, and easy to do because your traffic is made up of visitors who share the same interests as you!)

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

List of Best Google AdSense Alternatives

Google’s online content monetization service known as AdSense is widely considered to be the best of its kind. It gives bloggers and online publishers the simplest entry-point towards making money from their blogs and/or websites. It does so by serving different types of text, image and various rich-media ads that are relevant to the content of the site. It offers the best payout rate, gives publishers perhaps the largest selection of ads to choose from, and allows them to monetize global traffic.

But I digress, and you can read more about how AdSense functions on their support page. The point of this article is to list down just some of the best Google AdSense alternatives out there. Yes, as far as monetizing your content is concerned, there’s life beyond AdSense. In fact, there are some pretty great alternatives present that allow you to earn money from off your website or blog. So without further ado…

1. AdBrite

One of the biggest, best and the closest alternatives to AdSense right now is AdBrite. It is a PPC (pay-per-click) based service, that offers conventional banner-based advertisements, full-page ads, as well as inline page links with a great CTR.  Their payout rates are quite competitive, and in some cases, even more than other services, like AdSense. The reason behind this is that the revenues is split 75/25 between the publisher and AdBrite; one of the highest in the industry. AdBrite is also understood to be much more lenient when it comes to acceptance into the program, which is ideal for small bloggers.

2. Chitika

Chitika also functions in a way that is similar to AdSense. It displays CPC-based ads (contextual-only), and all are ads are relevant to the content and subject of your website. The ads can be customized. Chitika is understood to be a good service for blogs in the product reviews or the sales niches. Like AdSense, Chitika offers search-targeted ads, mobile ads, and local ads. The payout rate is just $10, and payments are made through PayPal or via cheque (payout for cheques is $50). Besides the ads, Chitika also offers a great referral program that allows you to rake in 10% of what the referred person earns! Chitika can be used alongside AdSense without violating any rules or terms of agreement, so if you’re already using AdSense, you can also use Chitika (just make sure that the link color is different for both). Unlike AdSense, Chitika is best-suitable (read: most-profitable) for websites getting traffic from UK or the US.

3. Clicksor

Clicksor is another popular AdSense alternative that offers a whole host of interesting features for webmasters and online publishers from all niches. Clicksor offers text, image, flash, animarion, banner, pop-up/under-based ads, as well as other unconventional ad types including interstitial and DHTML ads types. Clicksor’s minimum payout rate is $50, and the service allows publishers to take home as much as 85% of the ad income, which is not only very competitive, but leaves its competition in the dust! All payments are made through PayPal, wire transfer or cheques after every 15 days. Like Chitika, Clicksor also offers an affiliate program that bags you 10% of your referrer’s income!

4. Infolinks

Infolinks is an extremely well-known in-line text-ad network that displays ads related to the content of your website. It is one of the biggest AdSense alternatives, widely-regarded to be more suitable to websites with a high amount of traffic. What the service does is convert keywords present in the content on your website into ad links, and you get money for each click made on those links/ads. The revenue is shared 70/30 in your favor, which is pretty good, and payments are made through the usual channels (PayPal, Cheque, Bank/Wire Transfer, etc) after the payout rate of $50 is reached. If you have a website that gets a fairly large amount of traffic and page views, it might be worth it to explore Infolinks; the approval process doesn’t take more than a day.

5. Kontera

Kontera is pretty similar to Infolinks in many respects. Like Infolinks, Kontera serves text-based ads. The links to these ads are added within your content, based on certain keywords present in the text, showing double-underlined text and pop-up ads. While Infolinks is more suited for high-traffic websites, Kontera is much more lenient and flexible in terms of its acceptance criteria, as it also accepts low-traffic websites into its network. The program, like many others on this list, is PPC-based, and hence your earnings will be directly proportional to your CTR. Payout limit starts at $50, and payment options include cheque or PayPal.

6. BuySellAds

BuySellAds, as the name implies, allows you to buy ads as a publishers, or sell them as an advertiser. From a publisher’s perspective, you simply go on their website, and essentially buy ads from the website, or in other words, sell ad-space to advertisers. So the BuySellAds website essentially acts as marketplace that brings publishers and advertisers at one place. If, for instance you have an ad space on your blog, you can put it up on the website and advertisers interested in putting an ad on your website will be able to get in touch with you. BuySellAds gives 75% of the revenue to the publisher (payout rate is $50), however you need to have a large amount of traffic and visitors on your website in order to be an attractive-enough prospect for potential advertisers. Mind you, getting approved is not as easy as some of the other websites listed here.

7. Amazon Affiliate Program

While not a CPM or PPC-based ‘content monetization service’, Amazon Affiliate (also referred to as Amazon Associates) is a brilliant solution to earn money for product and review-based blogs. Amazon, as I’m sure you know, is one of the largest online stores out there, and earning money through their affiliate program is as simple as joining up, advertising their products on your website, and earning a percentage of the sale (aka. commission) every time someone uses your link to buy something off their website. Amazon allows you to put image-based as well as text-based ads of products of your choice anywhere on your blog. The commission rate is as much as 10% (it varies with products), which means that you get 10% of everything sold through your marketing efforts. So it all depends on what kind of sales you make; a single sale worth $2000 could potentially put $200 in your pocket! And yes, it can be used alongside AdSense.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Wordpress vs Joomla vs Drupal: The Best CMS

If you’re looking to build a high-end website or a blog from the ground-up, one of the first things you’ll need to do is choose a CMS – short for a Content Management System. You’ve bought a domain and hosting for yourself, now the only thing that’s stopping you from setting stuff up and start putting content on your blog is a CMS.

A CMS, to put it simply, can be referred to as an ‘interface’ that lets you publish and edit content on your blog, as well as manage and run many different aspects of it, such as the interface. 

For website owners and bloggers, three of the best, most popular CMS’s or website builders out there (aka. the ‘Big-3’) are Wordpress, Joomla and Drupal. All 3 of these are open-source CMS, and can be used free of cost. We’ll take a look at each one of these in this article, along with a list of pros and cons for each:


As of September 2012, Wordpress is by far and wide the most popular and commonly used CMS in the world, as you can see in the image here. Wordpress was released in 2003, and has since gone on to become the market leader as far as content management systems are concerned; and it is understandable why. It is easy to use, has great developer support, has great 3rd party support – including a large selection of themes and plugins to choose from, has a great cPanel that is easy to use for casual bloggers while being powerful enough from developers, and hence it remains the CMS-of-choice for a large number of  webmasters out there. According to recent numbers, there are as many as 5.1 million websites on the internet using Wordpress – including websites such as NBC Sports and CNN!

- Very easy to install, some hosting service even offer ‘one-click’ installation solutions for Wordpress
- Very easy-to-use; everyday bloggers and non-technical bloggers can easily use it to build and manage their blogs/websites. 
- Has great developer support
- Has a large number of themes and plugins (paid-for as well as free) to choose from.
- Is powerful enough for developers.
- Is extremely SEO-friendly.
- Is very mobile-friendly

- Might not offer the level of flexibility some developers or designers might be looking for.
- Less secure than Joomla or Drupal, many plugins and themes are said to be the cause of security loopholes that hackers have exploited easily (some even being high-profile incidents).


Joomla seems to be a popular choice in many African countries, and several South American, European and Asian countries. Joomla, like Wordpress is also quite easy to use – thanks in particular to some of the recent updates (version 3.0, at the time of writing). And these recent updates also means that Joomla now incorporates all the good things Wordpress and Drupal have to offer – the best of all worlds! It is not as complex or developer-oriented as Drupal, but at the same time it is more powerful, robust and flexible than Wordpress. If numbers on the internet are to be believed, Joomla is currently used by just under 2 million websites out there, including the likes of General Electronics, Harvard University, eBay and Pizza Hut. What many will like about Joomla is that there are in excess of 4000 themes available on the platform!

-  Very customizable and flexible – suitable for both non-technical as well as advanced users.
- More powerful than Wordpress, while being easier to use than Drupal – provides a great middle-ground between the two.
- Easy-to-use UI.
- Has a powerful cPanel/administration-panel.
- Has a pretty great and active developer-support and third-party support community out there.
- Very secure.
- Ideal for ecommerce websites.

- Can be frustrating to use at times, especially from a developer’s point-of-view.
- Not as SEO-friendly as Wordpress.
- Development community not as strong as Wordpress.


Rounding off the list of the top-3 CMS is Drupal. Perhaps a tad surprisingly, Drupal is not the dominant CMS in any one of the regions in the CMS-map we looked at earlier. Its use seems to be more evenly-distributed rather than showing a clear dominance in one single region. Nonetheless, it is the third-most popular CMS in the world, with just under a million websites using it as their CMS (as per numbers on the internet), and is also the oldest CMS on this list, with its initial release dating back to early-2001. Drupal is usually considered to be the most powerful and developer-friendly CMS of the ‘big-3’, and allows users to build complex websites. Non-technical users or casual bloggers might need to hire someone with more expertise if they want to have a website-developed in Drupal. Having said that, Drupal allows you to create advanced, complex and extremely versatile websites, and organize content in a better manner than the other two. Popular website using Drupal include NASA, The White House, and MTV.

- Very powerful and quite flexible; much more so than Drupal or Wordpress
- Very developer-friendly
- Boasts the best developers-base available out there
- Has a great, very active and a reasonably-large development community
- Very secure; best of all 3 in terms of security
- Boasts amazing scalability – you can build large websites with Drupal

- Less user-friendly than any of the other two; Wordpress leaves Drupal in the dust when it comes to user-friendliness
- High learning curve
- Drupal-based websites have high development and maintenance costs
- You’ll need to make your own plugins almost every single time.

Best CMS?

The purpose of this article was to present a fair comparison of all 3 content management systems. The one you use depends on your technical expertise, and the kind of website or blog that you’re looking to build. Casual bloggers should stick with Wordpress, advanced bloggers, developers and designers with the required expertise and looking to build a really versatile website should go for Drupal, while those looking for the best of both worlds might be better of sticking with Joomla.

Ending Words

What is your CMS-of-choice? Leave us a comment in the comments below.