It’s every blogger’s dream – to make a living blogging. But the odds are against the part-time blogger making even the smallest payout from Google adsense their first year (if ever.) So how do you beat the odds? These tips should help
Find Your Own Advertisers
Putting up an advertising space saying “advertise here” is not going to get you anywhere. You may think advertisers should be trampling each other for that above-the-fold 125×125 ad on your homepage, but chances are it will never come. So go to them. If you don’t have a rate card for your the spots you are selling then you better make one fast. An ad for $30/mo. is still $30 more a month you didn’t have.
Find a local angle to the niche your blog is about. If you are writing about “silver lab puppies” seek out a local breeder specializing in that type of dog. Likewise, if you have a more general blog such as “sailboarding” you may not have a sailboarding shop near you, but chances are you might have a local sports or outdoor supply store that sells life jackets.
Just because you have a “national” focus does not mean you can only have national advertisers. I hope you are active in your local blogging and twitter community and follow (and are followed by) other people in your area. They are probably reading your blog regardless of content. There is always a local advertiser you can hit up for some exposure. It’s great if they have a shopping cart and ship nationally or internationally, but even if they don’t – they may be interested in advertising.
Bottom line: don’t wait for advertisers to find you, go out and find some.
Post A Product Review
There must be a product or two on Amazon.com you can promote with an affiliate link. I’m not talking some random product but a product you actually use and would not hesitate to recommend. Look it up on Amazon and lin kto it with your affiliate ID. If you don’t have an amazon affiliate account – get one. Now. Seriously.
Some people do review sites for the sole purpose of making money through affiliate programs. Some are successful, most are not. So if you really love a product, review it. If you tried multiple products that are related, compare and contrast them. Some of the best performing blog posts are comparisons of similar products. An example might be The Flip video camera vs the Kodak Zi8. You aren’t just copying the description from amazon, you are doing an honest-to-goodness comparison you yourself have tried.
THAT is authenticity.
Review Your Adsense Stats
I admit it, I don’t spend nearly enough time figuring out google adsense placements and performance. I log into adsense, check my balance and then look at it again in a few hours. Repeat throughout the day.
But there is a lot of information waiting to be mined. Like everything it takes time and effort. Look at your pages and figure out the best placements for your ads. Maybe all of your ads are in the same place on every page – maybe not. Try testing different placments and sizes. It will take a while to get the relevant stats, but once you hit upon the formula for your site, it can mean the difference of tens or hundreds of dollars a day.
Review A Site or Product for $5
This one is a bit controversial so stay with me. There is a great web site called fiverr.com. On it you can buy (or sell) practically anything for $5. Everything from a phone call impersonating Kermit the Frog, to a picture of your dog posted in the middle of Tokyo’s biggest street.
One of the ways people used to make money on their blogs was through a site called ReviewMe. It’s still around, but you had to be selected by an advertiser based on your traffic, and personally I made about $20 in 2006, then nothing.
But on fiverr, not only can you sell a “review” but you can also just sell a link if you want. Now, if you want to remain reputable you would include the proper attribution such as “Sponsored Post” before your blog post, or s a similar disclaimer letting people know you are getting something in return for reviewing or linking to the site. Go ahead and search fiverr for some other ideas.
The Donation Button
We’ve all seen them, and most of us hate them, but in this day and age, who cares. The old “tip jar” is a viable way for your readers to make a donation to your site. Even Adam Curry supports his podcasts The Daily Source Code and No Agenda through listener donations. Yo may never see the $1,000 donations Adam sometimes sees for his show, but you might make a few dollars a month. PayPal makes an easy Donation button that gives you an embed code you can just copy and then paste into your blog.
Of course the biggest way to make money blogging in 2011…
Keep writing great content. Write regularly, write well, write write write. There is no shortcut for great content. Great rewards come with great work. If you only give a few minutes or hours for blogging a day, then that is what you are going to get out of it. A great blog requires a lot of work. Making a good income with your blog likewise requires a lot of work – but it is possible.
Here’s to a profitable 2011!