These tips are based on the “Make Money Blogging” course I was planning to teach at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Vancouver. The course didn’t run because of low enrolment.
Why waste good information? These tips will help you monetize your site effectively.
“One problem that I see a lot of bloggers…do is simply writing what everyone else is writing about on their blog – and doing it in the same way everyone else is,” says professional blogger Darren Rowse, of Problogger. “The term ‘echo chamber’ comes to mind.”
It’s like writing a book in an overcrowded niche: you set yourself apart by finding your writer’s voice and writing the book you’d like to read. And blogging, like writing a book, requires you to commit yourself for the long haul.
To learn more about making money blogging from Rowse, read ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income.
And, here are my ten tips for making money blogging…
10 Tips for Making Money Blogging
1. Write solid content in a specific niche. Step out of Rowse’s “echo chamber” by not blogging about your year of cooking with Julia Child or your decade of doing everything Oprah Winfrey says. Instead, find a topic or niche that interests you, learn about it, and share what you learn in a unique, creative way. Solve problems, using your writer’s voice! Remember that making money as a blogger is a long-term process, and the money you earn grows slowly, like compound investment.
2. Be patient – but proactive – as your blog traffic s-l-o-w-l-y increases. Different bloggers find different ways to build traffic effective; what works for the blogger next door may not work for you! For instance, I find the usual “most popular ways to increase your blog readership” tips too time-consuming. Posting comments on forums, commenting on other blogs, staying active on StumbleUpon, participating in comment exchanges, and writing guest posts just doesn’t work for me! Instead, I focus on Search Engine Optimization, Twitter, and Yahoo Shine.
3. Find advertisements that appeal to your readers. What search terms do your readers use to find your blog? For example, readers often find Quips and Tips for Successful Writers by searching for “feature article ideas”, “how to end an article”, and “magazine writing tips.” So, my advertisements should focus on freelance writing, magazine articles, and writing tips. I also feature books, books, and more books because I love books! Plus, I like being an Amazon affiliate (read 5 Tips for Advertising Amazon Products on Your Blogs for specific info).
4. Explore the different types of affiliate advertising networks. The only way to find the best affiliate advertising network for your blog (eg, Commission Junction, LinkShare, AdBrite, Chikita, Google Affiliate Network, Kontera, ClickBank, etc) is to experiment with different ones! I just introduced ClickBank to Quips and Tips for Achieving Your Goals, and one eBook in particular is earning me hundreds of dollars a month. I earn $26 a pop, and sell about five a week. And, Mort Fertel’s MarriageMax is a profitable ad for my Quips and Tips for Love Relationships blog. It takes time to figure out what the best ads are – and whether they represent reputable, worthwhile products. But if you want to make money blogging, you need to put in the time.
5. Approach companies directly about becoming an affiliate. I advertised PregnancyTests.org products on my Quips and Tips for Couples Coping With Infertility blog, until I realized they’re a middleman for a bigger pregnancy website! I applied to be a direct affiliate for that bigger website, and now earn more money when a reader buys a product. If you can cut out the middleman (an affiliate advertising network), do it. You’ll make make more money blogging this way.
6. Apply to different types of advertising networks. Two of my blogs are with the BlogHer advertising network – I applied a few months before they actually accepted me (they had a waitlist). BlogHer isn’t my biggest source of income, but I like being part of the network. Monetizing your site isn’t just about slapping up some Google Adsense ads and putting big banners everywhere; it’s also about finding quality advertising that you’re proud to be a part of.
7. Experiment with different types and sizes of ads. So many choices! Banner ads, product images, text ads, in-text link ads, pixel/favicon ads, contextual links, eBook ads, exit ads, lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Start with the ad types and sizes that you dislike the least, let them run for a couple of months, and see if you make money. Keep in mind that you probably need over 1,000 page views a day before you earn $100 or even $50 a day with your blog. It depends on your niche and products.
8. Experiment with ad placement. The experts at Google Adsense say that the most profitable ads are “above the fold” and within the post itself. Find a balance between making your ads obvious, but not too distracting or annoying. I don’t love advertising in the middle of my articles, but I want to earn more than $50,000 this year from my blogs…so the ads stay where they are.
9. Branch out into private ad sales. Advertisers have asked me for my “rate card” (a summary of how much different ad spaces sell for on Quips and Tips). I created one, but haven’t taken the time to pursue selling ad space. Many bloggers sell a 125×125 spot on their blog for X dollars per month (the “X” depends on how much traffic the blog gets, the type of blog it is, the number of pages it runs on, etc). Some bloggers also sell ad space in their newsletters.
10. Pay attention to your readers, and to Google Analytics. I created my fifth blog — Quips and Tips for Money and Love — because so many readers on Quips and Tips for Achieving Your Goals were asking about marriage, infidelity, breaking up, making up, etc. My readers told me what the needed: a whole separate blog about love! When you’re monetizing your blog, listen to what your readers want. And, install and learn how to read Google Analytics.
More Tips for Making Money Blogging:
- Learn the lingo, such as PPC, CPC, CPM, EPC, scrubbing, shaving, cookie durations, etc.
- Sell your own products or services, such as eBooks.
- Monetize your blog feeds
- Treat your blogging like a job. For instance, post your articles consistently (for example, I post to Successful Writers every Tuesday and Thursday – unless there’s a special occasion like today, when I’m working on course content for a “make money blogging” class that I know my readers would benefit from!).
- Put all your advertisements in one section of your blog? This is new to me – I tend to sprinkle ads all over my blog – and I’d love to know what you think!
How do you monetize your blog? I welcome your thoughts and questions below…
For more tips, read 75 Ways to Make (More) Money Blogging.
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