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Posts Tagged ‘blogging basics’

How Can I Make Money From My Blog?

This has to be one of the most often asked questions by rookie bloggers. There are several ways to monetize a website, but the most critical factor in earning money is having visitors. Once you’ve gotten that down, the rest is simple. My recommendation is to study all you can about search marketing and social media marketing. This will get you on the right track to generating traffic to your blog (or website) and then you can decide how to monetize your website.

Here are 5 great ways to monetize your blog:

1. Sell a Product or Service. The most obvious way to make money from a blog is to have a product or a service. I encourage clients to establish themselves as a voice in their industry, which in turn builds consumer confidence and should result in business.

2. Selling Ads. Ads are often sold based on “x” per thousand monthly visits to a website, listed as CPM where $5 CPM would be equal to $5 per thousand monthly visitors. If you don’t have traffic, this will not be an effective means of monetization.

3. Affiliate Marketing.
There is a goldmine in affiliate marketing in my opinion. I have been an affiliate marketer since around 1998, and have monetized several blogs and websites by selling affiliate products. If you want to learn how to do this effectively, I strongly recommend reading the Super Affiliate Handbook.

4. Contextual Ads. These are ads that are served on your blog based on it’s content. Google AdSense is the most popular of these type of programs, but rather than recreating what already exists, here is a pretty comprehensive list of contextual ad networks.

5. Donations. You can put your hand out and just ask people to donate, or make it creative (i.e. buy me a drink). Amazon actually has a widget you can use to accept donations, but one of the newest “donation sensations” is Scratchback which is a widget that allows people to donate to your blog and in exchange post an ad on your site (you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours). You can list the ad for up to a month and can request whatever amount you think people will pay you as long as it is at least $1.00. I recently added the widget to this site, so if you want to make a donation, you can get listed here for the next 30 days (shameless plug).

If you learned something and it makes money for you, please come back and donate :-)

If you want to keep up with these online business development tips, please use the email box to the left or one of the RSS feeds to subscribe to my blog.


My 16 tips for becoming a blogger worth following

I’ve got ADD and my mind goes a 100 miles per second in multiple directions. So while this is a great list, it is not in any particular order. Here are several steps to take your from being an average blogger to a blogger worthy of following and eventually an A-List blogger.

1. Focus. Many of us have mutiple blogs and as I set my goals for 2008, I decided to list all of the blogs that I contribute to regularly (or attempt to), those that are (or were) on the cusp of launching, and those that were visions or dreams. I decided that I was not happy with any of my progress for last year, granted I had good excuses (taking care of my wife who had some health challenges, switching companies, and moving cross country), but the bottom line is that if I had been more focused and didnt get side tracked by things like a lame blog contest, I would have had found the time and had much better results than what I had for 2007. It’s not like I had no down time at all, I just didn’t prepare and wasn’t focused enough. If you have more than one blog, you might reconsider putting some aside to focus on building your brand in a niche with one blog before moving on.

2. Set goals. Like anything else, you have to know what you are shooting for. Most people don’t aim at anything, so they don’t know if they succeeded or not, or at least not in a quantifiable way. Look at your stats – do you want more visitors? subscribers? readers? in bound links? Social Media involvement? Do you want to post more frequently? Solicit more comments? Whatever your goals are have to start with the benchmarks of where you are, and a game plan to get where you want to go.

3. Find resources outside of yourself. Perhaps you are a writer, but not a technical person, or perhaps you are a technical person but you are not a writer, perhaps you are not organized, or perhaps you just need more contributing authors (i.e. guest bloggers). Reach out in the blogging community or in your field of expertise and you will surely find the resources that you need. Keep in mind that when you find the right people, you can end up with synergy, where the sum of the combined efforts is greater than the effort of the individuals separately.

4. Check your passion meter. I will admit, I almost shut down one of my blogs, not because I lacked passion, but because I lacked resources. I realized that it was because of my passion for that market that I wanted to keep blogging in that particular niche. People can recognize a passionate blogger.

5. Make News. Interview someone in your industry, attend an event and “live blog” it. Then get it out to your network of colleagues and fellow bloggers as well as social media network(s). Before long, you will be on the cutting edge of blogging.

6. Keep your ears open. Many times when I am sitting in a meeting, people will think I am taking notes about the meeting, but what is really happening is that I am developing ideas for a blog. Most blogging comes from real life. When one of those ideas hits you, WRITE IT DOWN, or use a pocket recorder, text it to yourself, email it to yourself, or whatever method of communication you have available so you don’t forget your ideas.

7. Reflect on your day. If you find yourself running out of content, assuming you blog on an industry you are involved in, take 15 minutes in a quiet place (no cell phone) and just think of all of the happenings of the day related to your topic. Next think of a spin for the story, and go for it.

8. Plan your blog posts. Kind of like a marketing calendar, I recommend planning out your articles. I started keeping a running list of what I want to write, what I have written and what is live in a spreadsheet. You can have a few “any day” type articles for those days where you just don’t have enough to post, and supplement with daily happenings in your industry. Holidays are great events to make news about. Try to find some random fact related to the holiday that you can apply to the needs of your audience.

9. Watch (or listen to, or read) the news to see what is new in your industry. Be first to cover it and let everyone know about your post; then every else covering it will be following you. The more you can do this, the more you will be seen as a thought leader in your field.


10. WOW Them.
Don’t use a standard boring template. I know, I’ve got one, but I always say my saving grace is that it’s the same one that Google’s Matt Cutts uses, so that buys me some time, but I am definitely due for a face lift. I am not a designer, so I am open to offers and will gladly discuss a barter arrangement for whoever want to discuss create some sexy WordPress template for me (you would get some PR and some free SEO services in exchange).

11. Make sure people can sign up for your blog by email. Not everyone likes to subscribe to traditional RSS feeds, not sure why, but I am one of those folks. I will subscribe to a blog by email however and using Feedburner is a great way to add the box that is so familiar to people. In fact, those not familiar with blogging or RSS feeds will think they are just subscribing to a newsletter, and in a sense they are. This isn’t to say not to use RSS feeds – definitely don’t leave them out.

12. Network. This is a key to success in every arena in life. Network with other bloggers in your field. Subscribe to their blogs, read their blogs, interact with their blogs, post comments on their blogs, link to thier blogs, and look for ways to guest blog on their blogs.

13. Get plugged into Social Media Networks. The results can be huge. Don’t just show up, submit your site and expect to see something. It’s like any other relationship; you wouldn’t meet someone at a conference and then ask for a favor – or would you? As you are starting out, try to find people that share common interests, or people in your local area. Check out their sites and rate/review them before asking them to do the same for you. I know many people have written on this topic and I as I was writing this, I decided I would expand it into a later blog post on Social Networking.

14. Use MyBlogLog. Now owned by Yahoo, it is a Social Community exclusively for bloggers and you can meet some great folks there and network with others in your field – including some A List bloggers. Feel free to visit my MyBlogLog page and join my network.

15. Be a real person. Use a picture so people have more of an idea who they are dealing with.

16. Blog OFTEN and consistently.
The more content you produce, the higher likelihood that your articles will attract attention. Also, frequent posting helps generate lots of pages for your blog; which the search engines will like. Don’t forget to use a spell checker :-)

If you are just getting started, this may seem like a lot. Feel free to ask questions, or post a comment and I will reply. IF you have been at it for a while, let me know which suggestions were helpful in getting you to the next level.

Until next time…

Anthony a.k.a. Old School

How to fail at blogging

Well, this isn’t really a difficult post to write because there are so many blogs to look at and see how people are doing them poorly. I wish I had the time to prioritize th points below in order of how badly they affect your site, but again, it would be a subjective list. I will start by saying I visited a site today that had a very pointed message, followed by an annoying message asking me to register to comment. I know lots of people have this feature, but it is a barrier to posting, and that’s not what people are looking for. If it’s an established community, that’s one thing, but if you are just getting started and have little following, it’s not likely to change soon if you make everyone register.

Here are my blogging pet peeves:

1. Not allowing comments. If you don’t allow comments, you can say what you want and the only way people can object is to blog and point to your blog. Isn’t the purpose of blogging to have an interactive voice with your community? If you dont have time to manage comments, then maybe you shouldn’t be blogging.

2. Making you register to comment. (see intro)

3. Infrequent posts. If people like what you say and are inclined to come back, their interest will soom diminish if they see the same post on the home page, or look at your time line and see that it your last post was two years ago (I am not exaggerating, I have seen this).

4. Not using tags. This is one of the best known “secrets” of blogging. The ability to “tag and ping” your blog to maximize your positioning in the search engines.

5. Ignoring Social Media. Ahh, if you don’t know what this means, you need to learn some more blogging basics before you start to blog. Social Media sites have grown significantly and aren’t just for techies anymore. This can be a huge source of traffic to your blog.

6. Ignoring (not using) RSS feeds. If you don’t know how to set this up, go to feedburner.com.

I guess you need to ask yourself why you want a blog anyway. If it’s to make money, then you clearly need to address the above issues, but you will also need to keep these in mind.

1. NEVER use a WordPress hosted blog. End of story. They will shut you down if you get on their bad side. I have seen some people get away with it, but I had a profitable blog shut down by them before. Sure some will tell you it’s the best way to take advantage of their traffic, positioning, taggings, etc, but trust me, that stuff is only good to you if your blog stays live.

2. Learn to monetize your blog. Google’s AdSense is probably the simplest way to do this, but there are a host of sites such as Clickbank or Chitika that can help you monetize your site.

So that’s this Fridays Rant… I will try to do a Friday Rant at least once a month.

Have a great weekend!

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