Friday, April 30, 2010

How to Make Money From Your Blog

Some people have strong personal feelings towards money with their blogs. If you think commercializing your blog is evil, immoral, unethical, uncool, lame, greedy, hateful, or something along those lines, not to market.

If you have mixed feelings about monetizing your blog, then sort the first feelings. If you think monetizing your site is wonderful, very well. If you think it's wrong, fine. But think before you decide to seriously consider engaging in this way. If you want to succeed you must be in harmony. Generate revenue from your blog is hard enough - you do not want to deal with self-sabotage at the same time.

It should feel genuinely good to earn income from your blog - you should be driven by a healthy ambition to succeed. If your blog provides genuine value, you fully deserve to earn income from it. However, if you are full of doubts about whether this is the right way for you, you can find this article useful: How selfish are you? It's about balancing your needs with the needs of others.

If you decide to generate income from your blog, so do not be shy about it. If you're going to put up ads, then really put ads. Do not just stick a puny ad square in a remote corner somewhere. If you are going to solicit donations, then really request donations.

Do not put up a barely visible "Donate" link and pray for the best. If you sell products, then really sell them. Create or acquire the best quality products, you can, and give your visitors compelling reasons to buy. If you do that, then fully commit to it. Do not approach a half-ass. Either be full-ass or no ass.

You can reasonably expect that when you start marketing a free site, some people complain, depending on how you do. I launched this site in October 2004, and I started placing Google Adsense ads on the site in February 2005. There were some complaints, but I expected - it was really not much. Less than 1 in 5,000 visitors who sent me negative feedback.

Most people who sent feedback were surprisingly favorable. Most complaints have died off in a few weeks, the site has started to generate income almost immediately, although it was quite low - a whopping $ 53 the first month. If you want to see some details, month by month, I posted my 2005 sales figures Adsense earlier this year. Adsense is still my single best source of revenue for this site, although this is certainly not my only source. More on that later ...

Can you make a decent income online?

Yes, absolutely. At the very least, a higher income in five annual figure is certainly an achievable goal for a person working full time at home. If you have a day job, it will take longer to generate a livable income, but it can still be done part time if you're willing to spend a lot of free time to it. I have always done full time.

Can most people do it? No, they can not. Hopefully this does not shock to see a personal development website uses the C-word feared. But I agree with those who say that 99% of people who try to generate serious income from their blogs will fail. The slogan of this site is "Personal Development for Smart People." And unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your Outlook), smart people are a minority on this planet.

Thus, while most people can not earn life this way, I would say that people can more intelligent. How do you know whether or not you are considered smart? Here is a good rule of thumb: If you ask, you're not.

If this last paragraph does not flood my inbox with flames, I do not know what will. OK, actually I do.

This kind of 99-1 ratio is not unique to blogs but. You'll see in any field with relatively few barriers to entry. What percentage of wannabe actors, musicians, athletes or never make enough money from their passions to their needs? It does not take much effort to start a blog these days - almost anyone can do. Talent counts for something, and talent that matters in blogging is intelligence. But it just gets you in the door. You must specifically ask your intelligence to a special talent. And the best words I can think to describe this particular talent: Master the Web.

If you are very savvy web, or you can learn to become very savvy web, then you have a good shot of winning enough money from your blog to cover all your cost of living ... and then some. But if becoming truly web is more sophisticated than your brain can handle, so I'll offer this advice: do not quit your day job.

Web savvy

What I mean by the wisdom web? You do not need to be a programmer, but you need a decent functional understanding of a variety of Web technologies. What technologies are "key" will depend on the nature of your blog and your means of monetization. But generally I list these important elements:

    * The blog publishing software
    * HTML / CSS
    * Comments blog (and comment spam)
    * RSS / Syndication
    * Aggregators
    pings *
    * Trackback
    * Full vs. partial feeds
    * Blog Carnivals (to boost traffic to your blog)
    search engines *
    * The search engine optimization (SEO)
    * Page rank
    * Social Bookmarking
    * Marking
    * Contextual advertising
    Affiliate Programs *
    traffic statistics *
    * E-mail

language options: podcasting, instant messaging, PHP or other web scripts.

I'm sure I missed a few due to familiarity blindness. If scanning of such a list makes you dizzy, I would not recommend trying to earn their living full time from blogging for now. Sure, you can still blog, but you'll be at a disadvantage compared to someone who is more knowledgeable Web, do not expect stellar results until you expand your knowledge base.

If you want to sell downloadable products like ebooks, you can add e-commerce, SSL, digital delivery, fraud prevention, and online databases to the list. Again, you do not need to be a programmer, you just need a basic understanding of these technologies. Even if you hire someone else to manage the implementation of low level, it is important to know what you're getting into. You must be able to trust your strategic decisions, and you will not be able to do that if you're a general who does not know what a gun.

A lack of understanding is a major cause of failure in the field of online revenue generation. For example, if you're unprepared for the search engine optimization (SEO), you'll probably cripple your search engine rankings compared to someone who understands SEO. But you can not consider each technology in isolation. You need to understand the relationships and tradeoffs between them. Monetizing a blog is a balancing act.

You may need to balance the needs of you, your visitors, search engines, those who link to you, social bookmarking sites, advertisers, affiliate programs, and others. seemingly minor decisions, like what the title of a web page are significant. From the title of this article, I must take all these into account potential viewers. I want a title that is attractive to human visitors, traffic is a reasonable search, contextual ads yields, fits the theme of the site, and encourages links and social bookmarking.

And especially I want every product to provide real value to my visitors. I try my best to create titles for my articles that balance between these needs. Often that means abandoning cutesy or clever titles for the benefit of those direct and comprehensible. It's like those little skills that help us to sustainable traffic growth month after month. Missing in all this skill alone is enough to paralyze traffic. And there are dozens of these types of skills that need to be aware Web to understand, respect and implement.

This type of knowledge is what separates the 1% to 99%. The two groups can work as hard, but 1% is much better for their efforts. It usually does not take me 60 more seconds of article title, but many will experience in sixty seconds. You really have everything to learn these ideas once, after which you can apply them systematically.

Whenever you come across a significant web technology you do not understand, look on Google or Wikipedia, and dive into this long enough to acquire a basic understanding of it. To earn money from blogging, it is important to be something of a handyman. Maybe you've heard the expression: "A jack of all trades is a master of nothing." This may be true, but you do not need to master one of these technologies - just to be good enough to use them.

That's the difference between being able to drive a car vs. becoming an auto mechanic. Strive to achieve functional knowledge, and then move on. Even if I am an experienced programmer, I do not know how many web technologies actually work. I do not really care. I can still use them to generate results. In the time I would understand a new technology, I can reach a sufficient level of knowledge functional application of several of them.

Thriving on change

Your biggest risk is not that you will make mistakes that will cost you. Your biggest risk is that you miss opportunities. You need a spirit of enterprise, not a state of mind of employees. Do not be too concerned about the risk of loss - be more concerned about the risk of lost profits. That's what you do not know and what you do not do that will hurt the worst. Blogging is cheap.

Your costs and financial risks should be minimal. Your real concern should be missing opportunities that would have made money very easily. You need to develop antennae that can listen to new opportunities. I highly recommend subscribing to a Problogger to discover new cash-generating opportunities for bloggers.

Blogosphere changes quickly, and change creates opportunity. It takes brains to decipher these opportunities and seize them before they disappear. If you hesitate to capitalize on something new and exciting, you can simply miss out. Many opportunities are temporary. And every day, you do not implement them, you lose the money you earned. And you're also missing opportunities to build traffic, grow your audience, and benefit more people.

It was my habit to be angry by the rapid pace of changes in Web technologies. It is even faster than what I saw when I worked in the computer games industry. And the pace of change accelerates. Almost every week now I learn about some exciting new web service or an idea that could lead to major changes on the road. Making sense of them is a full-time job in itself.

But I learned to love this crazy pace. If I am confused, then everyone is probably too confusing. And people who do part-time will be very confused. If they are not confused, they do not follow. So if I can be a bit faster and understand these technologies a bit earlier, so I can capitalize on opportunities to serious barriers to entry are too high. Even if the confusion is uncomfortable, it's really a good thing for a web entrepreneur.

This creates space for a student to earn $ 1,000,000 online in just a few months with a great idea. Remember that this is not a zero sum game. Do not let someone else's success make you feel diminished or jealous. Be inspired instead.

What is your overall strategy for generating revenue?

I do not want to insult anyone, but most people are completely helpless when it comes to generating income from their blogs. They slap things together randomly without rhyme or reason and hope to generate a lot of money. While I am a strong advocate of the approach ready-fire-aim, this strategy requires that you eventually aim. Ready-fire-fire-fire-fire just create a mess.

Take a moment to formulate a basic strategy to generate revenue for your site. If you're not good at strategy, then comes with a general philosophy of how you will generate revenue. You do not need a full business plan, just a description of how you plan to go from $ 0 per month for whatever your income goal is. An initial target goal I used when I started this site was $ 3,000 per month.

The figure is somewhat arbitrary, but I knew if I could get $ 3,000 a month, I could certainly push higher, and $ 3000 is enough income that it will make a significant difference in my finances. I reached this level 15 months after the launch of the site (December 2005). And since then he has continued to grow well.

Revenue blogs is actually quite easy to maintain. It is much safer than a regular job. Nobody can fire me, and if a source of income dries up, I can always add new ones. We will deal with multiple streams of income soon ...

Will you generate revenue from advertising, affiliate commissions, product sales, donations, or something else? Maybe you want a combination of these things. However you decide to generate income, put your basic strategy for writing. I took 15 minutes to create a synthesis of a half-page of my monetization strategy. I only update about once a year and examine once a month. It is not difficult, but it allows me to stay focused on where I go. It also allows me to say no to opportunities that are incompatible with my plan.

Refer to your monetization strategy (or philosophy) when you need to make design decisions for your website. Even if you have multiple streams of income, decide what type of income will be your main source, and design your site around it. Do you need to direct people to an order form, or will you place ads on this site? Different monetization strategies suggest different design approaches. Think about what specific measures that you want your visitors to eventually generate revenue that will be for you and design your site accordingly.

When preparing your income strategy, do not hesitate to cheat. Do not reinvent the wheel. copy strategy of someone else you're convinced would work for you too. Do not copy the contents of a person for the site (it's copyright infringement), but take note of how they make the money. I decided to monetize this site with the advertising and affiliate income after researching how various successful bloggers generated revenues. Later, I added and donations. It is an effective combo.

Traffic, traffic, traffic.............

Assuming you feel qualified to meet the challenge of generating income from blogging (and I've not been away yet), the three most important things you need to monetize your blog are traffic, traffic and circulation.

Just to throw some figures, last month (April 2006), this site received over 1.1 million visitors and over 2.4 million page views. This is almost triple what it was six months ago.

Why is traffic so important? Because for most methods of generating online revenue, your income is a function of traffic. If you double your traffic, you'll probably double your income (assuming your visitor demographics remain fairly constant). You can screw almost everything else, but if you can generate serious traffic, it is really hard to fail. With traffic is sufficiently realistic worst case that you will eventually be able to monetize your website through trials and errors (as long as you keep your visitors coming).

When I started this blog, I knew that the strengthening of traffic would be my biggest challenge. All my plans hinged on my ability to create traffic. If I could not build traffic, it would be very difficult to succeed. So I did not even try to monetize my site for months.

I focused on building traffic. Even after 19 months, creating traffic is always the most important part of my monetization plan. For my current traffic level, I know I'm undermonetizing my site, but that's OK. At present it is more important for me to continue growing on the site, and I'm optimizing the income generation gradually.

Circulation is the principal fuel for generating online revenue. More visitors means more ad clicks, sales of additional products, affiliate sales, more donations, more consulting leads, in addition to anything that generates income for you. And it also means that you help people more and more.

Regarding traffic, you need to know that in many ways, the rich get richer does. High traffic leads to even more opportunities for movement capabilities that simply are not available for sites with low traffic. On average at least 20 bloggers add new links to my site every day, my articles can easily surge to the top of social bookmarking sites like, and I am receiving more frequent requests for radio interviews . These opportunities are not available to me when I was a beginner. Popular sites are a boon. The more traffic you have, the more you can attract.

If you are intelligent and knowledgeable website, you must also be able, eventually, build a website with heavy traffic. And you can take advantage of that traffic to build even more traffic.

How to build traffic

Now, if the traffic is so important, how do you build to significant levels if you're from the bottom of rock?

I wrote a long article on this subject, I refer you here: How to build a high traffic site (or blog). If you do not have time to read it now, please bookmark or print it for later. This article covers my general philosophy of traffic capacity, which focuses on creating content that offers real value to your visitors. No games or gimmicks.

Blog Carnivals. Enjoy carnival blog when you're a beginner (click the previous link and read the FAQ to learn what are the carnivals if you do not already know). Periodically submit your best posts to carnivals appropriate for your niche. Carnivals are easy ways to get links and traffic, and best of all, they are free. Presentation of a few minutes if you use a submission form multi-carnvival. Do not spam the carnivals with irrelevant content - only submit to the carnivals that are at the height of your content.

In my days of early movement of skills, I'd do carnivals submissions once a week, and it helped a lot to go from zero to about 50,000 visitors per month. You still have to produce content very well, but carnivals give you a kick in the marketing of your blog unknown. OTC is precisely the kind of opportunity you do not want to miss.

Carnivals are like an open-mic night at a comedy club - they give fans the chance to show their stuff. I have to submit to certain carnivals every once in a while, but now, my traffic is so high that relatively speaking they do not make much more difference. Just to increase my traffic by 1% in one month, I need 11,000 new visitors, and even the best carnivals do not push that much traffic. But you can pick up dozens or even hundreds of new subscribers each series of requests for carnival, so it's a good place to start. Plus it is very easy.

If your traffic is not growing, month after month, that means you're doing something wrong? Most likely, you do not do enough things right. Again, making mistakes is not the issue. Is missing opportunities.

The ads put on your site hurt your traffic?

Here is a common fear I hear people who are considering monetizing their websites:

Putting ads on my site cripple my traffic. The ads will drive people away, and they never return.

Well, in my experience this is absolutely, positively, and also completely and totally ... FALSE. It is not true. Guess what happened to my traffic when I put ads on my site. Nothing. Guess what happened to my traffic when I run more ads and donation links. Nothing. I could detect no net effect on my traffic whatsoever. Traffic has continued to grow at the same pace as before there were ads on my site.

In fact, he even helped me a bit because some bloggers actually linked to my site just to point out that they did not like the layout of the ads. I will let you form your own theories on this. This is probably because there are so many online advertising already, even though some people complain when a website offers free ads, if the value of content, they always come back, no matter what they say publicly .

More mature people understand that it is reasonable for a blogger to earn income from work. I think I'm lucky in that my audience tends to be very mature - immature people generally are not interested in personal development. To create an article like this takes serious effort, not to mention the hard-won experience what it takes to write. This article alone took me over 25 hours of writing and publishing.

I think it is perfectly reasonable to derive income from work. If you do not get value, you pay nothing. What's more fair than that? The higher income this blog generates, the more I can put inside. For example, I used some of the revenues to purchase equipment and added a podcasting podcast on the site. I recorded 13 episodes so far. The podcasts are commercial free. I also intend to add additional services to this site in the coming years. More income = better service.

At the time of this writing, my site is very ad-heavy. Some people point out to me as if I am not aware: "You know, Steve. Your website seems to contain an incredible number of advertisements. "Of course I am aware. I'm the one who put an ad there. There's a reason I have this configuration ads. They are effective! People keep clicking on them. If they don ' have not been effective, I delete them right away and try something else.

I do avoid putting ads that I personally find it annoying when I see them on other sites, including pop-ups and interstitials (stuff that flies across your screen). Even if they make me much money, in my opinion, they degrade the visitor experience too.

I also provide two outputs without advertising, so if you really do not like the ads, it says my content without ads. First, I provide an RSS feed in full text, and at least for now it's free advertising. I do however, include a donation request in the bottom of my son.

If you want to see real traffic data, take a look at the list in 2005, the traffic growth. I put ads on the site in February 2005, and although the list does not include traffic growth of pre-February, the growth rate was very similar before. For an independent source, you can also consult my map traffic on Alexa. You can select different options range to go further in time.

Multiple streams of income

You do not need to put all your eggs in one basket. Think multiple streams of income. On this site, I really six different revenue streams. Can you count them? " Here's a list:

   1. Google Adsense ads (pay per click and pay per impression advertising)
   2. Donations (via PayPal or by mail - Yes, some people just mail a check)
   3. Text Link Ads (sold for a fixed amount per month)
   4. Chitika eMiniMalls ads (pay per click)
   5. Affiliate programs like Amazon and LinkShare (commission on products sold, mainly books)
   6. Advertising sold to individual advertisers (three-month campaigns or longer)

Note: If you read this article some time after the date of original publication, this list is subject to change. I often experiment with different flows.

Adsense is my biggest single source of income, but some of the others do well too. All flows generate more than $ 100 per month.

My second stream of income is in fact more donations. My average donation is about $ 10, and I received a number of gifts of $ 100 also. It only took me about an hour to put up with PayPal. So even if your content is free like mine, offer your visitors a way to voluntarily contribute if they wish. It's a win-win. I am very grateful for the support of visitors. It is a form of feedback Nice too, since I see that some articles produced a surge of donations - this tells me I am struck by the brand and give people a real value.

These flows are not my only income so. I have been earning income online since 2005. With my computer games business, I have direct sales, royalty revenues, income from advertising, affiliate income, and donations (for the free items). And if you throw in my wife's income stream, it is really ridiculous advertising, direct book sales, book sales by distributors, consulting revenues affiliated websites, more Adsense income, and probably some sources I forgot.

Suffice it to say that we get a lot of paychecks. Some of them are small, but they add up. It is also extremely low risk - if a source of income until dry, we have developed from existing sources or create new ones. I encourage you to think about your blog as a potential outlet for multiple streams of income that is too.

Text Link Ads Automated income

With the exception of # 6, all of these sources of income are fully automated. I did not do anything to keep them except deposit checks, and in most cases I did not even do that because the money is automatically credited to my bank account.

I love automated income.

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