How To Make Money Blogging, Part 2

I’d written earlier about Pay Per Post, and how you could get paid to write blog posts. In that post I mentioned that your blog had to be online and active for about three months before Pay Per Post would consider you.

There’s one other factor that is important for being able to take advantage of opportunity of Pay Per Post, and that’s your blog’s page rank (PR).

Your blog’s PR is a measure of how popular your blog is, as measured by how many other websites link to it. Just like in high school, the more popular your friends, the more popular you are. So being linked to by a high PR site is better than a low PR site.

To see what the PR of a particular site or web page is, go to Blog Flux’s Page Rank Calculator and enter the address of the site or page. A PR of 3 is more or less normal, a PR of 5 means the site’s fairly popular, and 6 or 7 is yet more popular, up to 10 being the absolute best.

Also just like in high school, if your friends are unpopular, so are you. If you link to a site that is banned by Google for some reason, you’ll get a PR deduction. Generally sites are banned by Google for engaging in underhanded search engine optimization practices.In Pay Per Post, some opportunities will require a certain PR. The highest requirement I’ve seen is 3. You may already be there if you’ve been writing the blog for a while and have other people linking to you.

To book your PR, you need to get links from high PR sites. The easiest ones to get links from are directories. Their reason for being is to link to other web sites. Some directories require reciprocal links (meaning you have to link back to them from your blog). Reciprocal links are not as beneficial to PR as one way links, so stick to the directories that do not require reciprocal links.

In general, you’ll find that directories are PR 5 or 6. Higher level directories do exist, with the Open Directory Project the king with a PR of 9. Here’s a useful list of free and paid directories with good PR. And here’s a list of ultra high PR sites. If you have connections or are creative, you might be able to get a link on one of the biggies.

Now I said that reciprocal links weren’t as good as one way links. But a reciprocal link from a high enough PR site will still help. The Free Site, for example, is a PR 8 site that requires reciprocal links. You won’t get as much benefit from it as a one way link from a PR 8 site, but it’ll probably do more than a one way link from a PR 5 site.

Also try to get links from other websites and blogs that cover topics similar to your blog. Links from relevant high PR sites can boost your PR quite a bit.

Lastly, PR is not updated instantly! Google generally updates PR for sites once a quarter, with the last update having just been in April, 2007. So you have a few months to work on getting links in order to be ready for the next PR update. Or if you haven’t started your blog yet, you can start it now, and after the next PR update you should be ready to sign up with Pay Per Post.

So get out there and get links!

How To Make Money Blogging

I’ve talked a bit before about monetizing a website.

While you can certainly do the same thing with a blog, putting ads on the blog, that often turns people off. A blog is most effective if you provide quality content that makes people want to return to read more. Monetizing a blog can be a bad move, especially at first, when you’re just starting out.

It’s best to start the blog without ads, and build up a relationship with your readers. Give them quality content and make them feel comfortable coming back for more. This is your period of time to promote your blog to build traffic (more on this later). Once you have a readership base, then you can think about making money with your blog.

When you get to that point, there is an alternative to putting advertisements on your blog. Your blog must be three months old and have regular posts to qualify. So if you don’t have a blog yet, go start one and come back in three months.

Back already? Go to, and sign up as a blogger. What will happen is that advertisers will post offers (called “opportunities”) to pay a blogger to write a blog post about a specific topic, and link to the advertiser’s website.

For example, an offer may be to write a review of a particular product, with a link to the company’s website. In exchange for writing the post and putting it on your blog, you get paid a little money. This works best if you only take those offers that match what you’d write about in your blog anyway. After all, you don’t want to suddenly alienate your readership by posting something different than what you’ve been writing about all along.

This isn’t the way to make the most money from your blog, but it’s a little extra for writing the sort of posts you’d have written anyway.

How to Make Your Own Website for Free, Part 3

Okay, so you have your website at and have setup a database for WordPress to use (if you don’t go back and read parts 1 and 2 of this series, then come back here).

Now it’s time to setup WordPress itself. WordPress is what allows you to write web pages and blog posts with little technical knowledge. WordPress is generally acknowledged to be the best of the blogging software, not least because it can be customized nearly beyond recognition. What we’ll get started with is a plain vanilla installation.

Log in to your account and get to the main control panel.

Click on the “Application Installer” icon along the left (circled above). The next page that displays shows a list of the software that can be installed into your website.

Some of these applications are for blogs, some are for online stores, and some are for discussion forums.  There’s quite a range of applications you can use on (not the variety that you get with paid hosts, but they’ve hit all the big applications). 

Click the radio button next to “wordpress” (circled above). You also must provide a target directory…this is the location where your blog will live. Name it whatever you want, but remember that what you enter will show up in the web address of your blog. For example, if I enter an installation directory of blog, then the web address for the blog will be

Once you’ve entered your installation directory, click the “Install Now!” button at the bottom. The next page looks alarmingly like an error message:

Don’t panic! This is just WordPress telling you that it needs some more information before your blog is ready to use.  Click on the link that reads, “create a wp-config.php file through a web interface”.

We’re now into the WordPress setup. As the first page says, it’s going to ask you for your database name, database username, database password, database host, and database prefix. We’ll walk through these one by one. For now, click the “let’s go!” link at the bottom of the page.

On the next page is a form where we can enter the required information.

Database Name: You do remember this from Part 2 of this series, right? This will be something like username_databasename, where username is your user name and databasename is whatever you called your database. If you don’t remember this information, you can go back to the control panel and back into the “Create/delete MySQL database” section to see what it is.

Username: This is the database username, not your username.  This comes from Part 2, and will be of the form username_databaseusername.  If you don’t remember what it is, you can go back to the control panel and back into the “Create/delete MySQL database” section to see what user you created.

Password: This is the exact password you entered when you created the database user in part 2.  If you don’t remember this, you’ll have to go back to the control panel and back into the “Create/delete MySQL database” section, and create a new user with a known password.

Database Host: Leave this as is. It should contain localhost.

Table Prefix: You can leave this as is, too. The idea with this field is that you can run multiple blogs using the same database by using a different table prefix for each blog. So if you start a second blog on the same database, you’d want to change the table prefix for the second installation.  If none of that made sense, don’t worry, because you can safely ignore it.

After you’ve filled in all the fields, click “Submit Now”.  Unless you entered something incorrect, you should see this page:

If you did enter something incorrect, this page should give you an error message that hints at what went wrong.  Typically its because you entered a bad database name, username, or password.  Make sure both the database name and username have your username on the front (e.g. jshaffstall2_blog, jshaffstall2_user). 

Once everything you see the above page, click the “run the install!” link.

We’re not quite done yet, now we need to tell WordPress some basic information about our blog. On the next page that comes up, click the “First Step” link to get to the next page:

The basic information required is the title of the blog and your email. The title you enter here will be displayed across the top of the page like a banner.  The title can be whatever you want (e.g. “My Blog”, “Jay’s Splendiferous Ravings”, etc). 

Enter your title and email and press “Second Step”.  Do not click anything on this next page until you read below.

This page shows two things you need to write down. One is the user name you can use to log into WordPress (should be admin) and the password you will use. The password is randomly generated, so if you do not remember it, you’ll have to go through the entire WordPress install all over again.  Your best bet is to highlight the password and copy and paste it into a Word document for safekeeping for the next few minutes.

With your username and password safely stored somewhere, click on the “wp-login.php” link.

Enter the username and password from the previous page and click the “Login” button.

Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of an Internet blog.

One thing you want to do before you leave your blog is to change your password to something easier to remember. On the WordPress Dashboard (the page that comes up when you log in), click on the “Users” link across the top (circled below):

You’ll get to a page where you can edit your personal information. You will eventually want to fill something out in most of these fields, but for now, scroll down to the “Update Your Password” section.

Type your new password into the two boxes provided, then click the “Update Your Profile” button at the bottom of the page.  Your randomly generated password has now been changed.  Don’t forget what you changed it to!

Since customizing WordPress is the reason to use it, I’ll cover some basic customization in a later post. Enjoy, and write some posts! When you’re ready for visitors, post your link in the comments below.

How To Make Your Own Website For Free, Part 2

Now that we have some space on a website, we need to install software that will allow us to easily write new pages and posts. The software I use is called WordPress, so that’s what I’ll cover installing. WordPress is free, so it fits with our theme of getting a website up and running at no cost.

WordPress stores pages in something called a database. If you’re not familiar with the term, just think of it like a big filing cabinet where all your website’s pages and posts live. Before we can install WordPress, we need to create a database for it to use.

So go to, and type your user name and password into the appropriate spots (circled below) and click Go.

You’ll get to this page, which is your control panel at  From here you can modify aspects of your site.

Click on the icon labeled “Create/delete MySQL database”. You’ll go to a page where you can perform the six most common tasks dealing with databases.  We’ll be doing three of the six.

To start with, we want option one, “Create Database”. You’ll need to name your database. Choose any name you want. Note that your username is in front of the box where you’ll type the database name. That means that whatever name you type in isn’t actually the database name.  The database name will be your username plus the name you type in. So if I type in blogdb and my username is jshaffstall2, then my actual database name is jshaffstall2_blogdb. Type in a database name and click the “Create Database” button. You should see a message saying the requested operation completed successfully, and then it’ll take you back to the database options page.

The next step is to create a user who will use the database we just created. Go to option two, and type a username and a password for the database user. You can pick any username you want, but I’d recommend something different from your username. Again, your username is prepended to what you type in to create the actual user name. So type in a user name, and then the same password in both password boxes, and click the “Create User” button.

Remember the password! We will need it later, and there’s no way to recover it if your forget it.  If you do forget it, just delete that user and create a new one.

Now it’s time for option three. This is where we say that the user we just created can do whatever they want with the database we created earlier. The user we just created should already be showing in the Username menu, and the database we created earlier should be showing in the Database.Table menu. Leave all the boxes checked, and just click the “Assign Privileges” button.

And that’s it for the database.

Click on the Control Panel link across the top of the page to go back to the control panel. In part 3, we’ll see how to install WordPress. If you’re not comfortable with creating databases and users, paying for web hosting will get you access to a program called Fantastico, which installs WordPress and creates databases and users automatically. As I mentioned in the last post, I recommend Site5 and Midphase for paid hosting.

Site5 $5 Hosting Deal

How To Make Your Own Website For Free, Part 1

Update: seems to be not accepting new registrations at the moment…use this tutorial as a guide to the concepts, but register instead with Free Web Host Now! instead of The screenshots will not match, but you should be able to figure out what’s different until I can write new tutorials. The one extra step you must do once you’re into your control panel is create a subdomain for your blog.

While not every way of making money online requires you to have your own website, most of them either do, or your chances are improved by having your own website. So let’s talk about how to set one up. My focus here will be on setting up a website for free but giving you the tools you need to customize it. I’ll avoid the free blog hosts, because most of those don’t give you the customization options you’ll eventually want.

The first step is to sign up at a web host. Most web hosts charge for this service, and if you’re serious about running a website that can handle large amounts of traffic, you’d be better off paying for web hosting. But since our focus is on free, go to

Once you’re there, click Register (circled in the image above).  That’ll get you to where you can put in your information:

You’ll need a valid email address. If you don’t want to use your main email address for this type of thing, I suggest you get a free Google Mail address at This allows you to separate your normal email from your website emails.  Under “How did you find us?”, choose Other and put in “Online Opportunity” (no, I don’t get anything for this). 

Also, keep in mind that your webpage address will be, so pick a username that you don’t mind being in your web address. Something that matches the purpose of your website would be good, and if you’ve done keyword research ahead of time use a good keyword as your username. 

After you register with, you’ll get a confirmation email. Click on the link in that email, and you’ll get to this screen:

Of course, your email and user name will be different.  You can safely ignore phone if you’re not comfortable giving it out.  Extra domain means that you could have a web address different from, but registering a domain costs money.  Since the focus of this post is free, we’ll ignore using a domain name.

Once you submit this information, you now have a website.  Go to, replacing username with your user name, and you’ll see the placeholder site that puts in for you. Notice that they’ve put some Adsense ads on the placeholder site. You don’t get the money for those ads, so we’ll want to put up a real web page.

In Part 2, we’ll look at how to setup a blog very much like this one.

If you already know that you want to have a webhost that will support larger amounts of traffic than and are willing to pay for it, I can recommend both Site5 and Midphase. I’ve had hosting accounts with each, and have been impressed with their level of customer service and have had few technical problems with the web sites. This blog, for example, is hosted at Site5. You can sign up for either using the links below. I think Site5 provides the best value, at more space and bandwidth than you’d really need for only $5 a month, but you won’t go wrong with Midphase, either.

Site5 $5 Hosting Deal