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5 Free and Random Tips for Bloggers You Probably Didn’t Know—My 100th Post!

5 Free and Random Tips for Bloggers You Probably Didn’t Know—My 100th Post!

By Pat Flynn on

Yep, this is officially my 100th post on the Smart Passive Income Blog! It’s come so much faster than I thought it would, and I think that’s because I’m having a lot of fun writing for all of you. Your kind comments and frequent questions keep me motivated to provide you with interesting and helpful posts, so keep ’em coming!

Since I know most of you are current or future bloggers, I thought I’d give you 5 free and random tips that I’ve learned since I started this blog 100 posts ago. You may know some of these already, but if not – all the better. Enjoy!

Free Tip #1: How to Shorten, Hide and Track Clicks for Your Affiliate Links

My new favorite tool is from a website called Budurl. You may recognize budurl links from other websites or from twitter too.

At budurl, you can shorten any website address AND track how many clicks it gets. You can also create notes for each link, so you can remember where you placed the link. Here’s how this can help you:

Say you have a super long link:

With budurl, it turns into this:

You can then keep track on your budurl account homepage, seen here:


If you had another website, you could create another budurl for the same link, put a different note on it, and test to see which one performs better. The power behind this is enourmous – testing different placings and ad copy to help maximize your clickage and earnings. Awesome.

Another cool think about this is that it “hides” the link. Looking at the super long link from above, you can tell it’s an affiliate link from the numbers at the end, and sometimes this turns people off because they think you’re just trying to earn an extra buck from them.

Oh, and it’s free. (There is an option to pay to get more data, which seems interesting too…)

Editor’s Note, July 2016: I now use the free WordPress plugin Pretty Links for short links.

Free Tip #2: See Who Is Linking To Your Website

I’m always curious to see who is linking to my websites, and I’m sure you’re no different. There’s an easy way to check your “backlinks” using a service from

Just type in your website url and it spits out every website that links to you. It’s nice because it feeds you urls that you can easily click on so you can check out your link on those pages. Pretty cool!

Backlinks are important because they do help your search engine rankings. This is why it’s vital that you fill out the text field that asks for your website url when you’re commenting on other people’s blogs. They do count as backlinks most of the time, and will show up in your backlinkwatch report.

Editor’s Note, July 2016: For my most up-to-date information on backlinking, check out this epic post.

Again, it’s free.

Free Tip #3: Don’t Be “This” Guy

Who am I talking about? This guy:


…or in the case of this website, this thing:


Where is this found? In the comments section of lots of blogs, including this one. If you leave comments and you’ve never set up a Gravatar, these are the usual default pictures that come up next to your name.

It may not be a big deal to you, but a cool or professional looking Gravatar could earn you some more clicks to your blog and it adds a little more personality to your comments too.

If you don’t have one setup, don’t worry – it’s easy and free. Just go to the Gravatar website, link a picture to your email address, and you’re all set. Everytime you leave a comment that uses Gravatars, you’ll no longer be considered a Newb…hehe!

Free Tip # 4: A Small Thing To Upgrade Your Website, Bigtime

Have you ever heard of a favicon? It’s the little icon that appears on your web browser, sometimes right next to the web address or on the tab of the webpages you have open:


If you don’t have a favicon for your website, it will just look like this:


Having a favicon is a quick and easy way to make your website look much more professional.

So, how do you make one? It’s easy. You can create one by going to my favorite favicon generator, and playing around with the drawing template or by uploading your own picture. It may take a bit of practice before you get one that looks good to you, but just follow the instructions and in no time, your website icon is no longer a blank piece of paper.

Free Tip # 5: Free Pictures!

It’s by personal preference, but I choose to put pictures onto every post on SPI. I use stockphoto from, which you have to pay for, but you can get quality pictures for free by utilizing the creative commons license.

Flickr has a cool section that will show you which pictures you can use freely, based on how you will use them. You can check out the Flickr Creative Commons page to search photos and read about the different licenses, which I’ll show you below. You will have to credit each photo that you use, which is the least you can do as a thanks for using other people’s photos.



I just wanted to say thanks to all of you for your support. Here’s to another 100 posts! Cheers!

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