I'm going to give you 6 quick pointers on how to optimize your blog to drive traffic and hopefully earn some extra Adsense and affiliate income.
One huge benefit of using blogging as a means to create your site vs. trying to build your own is the ability to monetize your content immediately and not have to worry about page layout, graphics, hosting, domain names, and content management. This is a massive time saver when using the free bloggers such as Blogger or Wordpress hosting. The downside is that you cannot fully control the fine tuning of your site for specific optimizations. Nevertheless, you must let go of this desire and focus on your content - which is a very good thing.
So, let's start with the key topics you need to consider when optimizing a blog:
1. The Blogging Service - this is a very important choice because some of the free blogging services do not allow you to place context ad such as AdSense on the free blogging service (they allow it if you host your own blog). Because of this I strongly recommend using Blogger as your free service since it is easy to use and is ad friendly.
2. Layout - since you are using a free service you must get over the desire to control your site. Let go! Most free blogging sites allow you to tweak the layout somewhat. There are some tricks you can use to easily keep your site a blog but at the same time add sections as if you were on your own site. For example, keep one blog entry for all of your favorite external links and descriptions. This is where you can continue your link sharing with other sites and continually add new ones. Now, add a specific link to this article on the sidebar so that there is a direct reference when the article gets archived. That way any readers will always find the links article and not have to search or stumble upon it. (Note, you can use this same technique for additional pages that refer to specific topics so that you have a directory of topics on your sidebars).
3. Links - besides the links I noted in #2 you should always use plenty of linking from within every article you publish. The internet values links and the more you use from your blog entries the better. Other sites pay attention to who's linking to them and when they see a referral in their logs your appreciation level increases. Also, add your favorite affiliate and topic links to your sidebars.
4. Keywords - I cannot stress the importance of this but I'm not going to go into detail on keyword identification other than to say that each blog entry should focus on a SEO keyword phrase or name - especially the title. Be sure to use your titles carefully and use the same keywords in your entry. This will mark the blog entry to the keyword topic (remember, each blog entry is a separate web page that can be indexed). Also, be sure to include the keyword near the end of the blog entry as well.
5. Traffic - don't forget to promote your blog to drive traffic! Use all the means possible to do this - forums, articles, reprint rights, etc. Be sure to post well written comments on other highly ranked blog sites. However, don't make the mistake and write only a quick comment. Always write your responses in a way that is interesting and direct to the point. There's enough free material out there to do this!
6. Site Tricks - another simple technique is to place hard coded links to your favorite blog entries and articles in the bottom of the Blog template. That way it will show up on every page. Eventually you can make this your site map which is very important to the search engines. The last thing you want is your blog links to be archived!!
And, of course, don't forget to add your AdSense sections.
Just by completing these 6 simple tasks you can get your blog monetized in no time at all!