8 Keys to Blogging Success
Are you considering starting a blog? Maybe your blog isn’t working for you? Blogging is one of the hottest ways to build business online.
It’s changed considerably from the early days of “dear diary” and
“angry conspiracy theorist” blogs. Even Time Magazine has started honoring their “Best Blogs” of the year.
Here are eight questions to ask–keys if you will to blogging success.
#1: Are You Passionate?
In The New Rules of Marketing & PR, David Meerman Scott urges would-be bloggers to “be passionate about and want the world to know about” their subject. If you need copy written for a corporate blog and you don’t have a fire in your belly for the subject matter, delegate to or hire someone who does.
Even if your business is extremely traditional, readers expect some degree of humanity. They want to know that these posts aren’t generated by a soulless office drone trapped in a cubicle who also writes for 12 other blogs, and gets confused.
#2: Are You Patient?
The saying “If you build it… they will come” only worked for the Field of Dreams movie. People don’t just migrate to interesting and well-designed blogs. Bloggers have to network, repurpose their content in as many places as possible and comment frequently elsewhere online, such as other people’s blogs and LinkedIn discussion groups. Give people a reason to want to know what you’re talking about.
“If you build it… they will come” doesn’t work for blogs!
#3: Are You Clear?
What’s wrong with this?
It’s critical for your blog, as a value-added proposition, to go forward, push the envelope, and sociably grab the low-hanging fruit via a second-to-none, seamless integration. At the end of the day, bloggers must hit the ground running, think outside the box and bring a lot of value to the table for their readers.
Did that mean anything to you? Avoid “business-speak.” It’s a turn-off to potential readers because it’s so overused and vague. Seth Godin created a fun business cliché rating system that’s worth a look.
Some things are better left unsaid.
#4: Are You Brave?
Saying what you really think can be difficult, even when you’ve thoroughly researched your subject. Having an opinion and being able to share some of yourself as you defend it are crucial to building trust with your audience.
The other part of being brave is dealing with confrontational commenters. If you’re putting yourself out there with an opinion, odds are good that people who disagree will respond.
Responding to these people fairly and gracefully takes mettle and humility sometimes. They might have fascinating points that you didn’t consider.
This has to be done to foster honest and real thought development on a subject. We bounce thoughts and ideas off of one another, and while it’s usually invigorating, sometimes it can be scary!
Blogging isn’t for chickens!
#5: Are You Seasoned?
Do you understand your subject matter well enough to discuss it in your own terms? Chefs learn the basics before they go on to create their own mind-blowing recipes. You should too. Beginner’s luck is highly overrated.
Read as much as possible and take classes from the very best resources in your business. As you build a better framework of understanding you’ll be able to offer your readers much more than warmed-up leftovers from somebody else’s blog.
This also builds trust with your audience when you have the integrity to voice your own thoughts instead of ripping off someone else’s. If you love what somebody else is saying on your beloved topic, then please do quote and link, give attribution, celebrate his or her savvy, but don’t quietly copy. Get seasoned and say something of your own.
#6: Are You Helpful?
Via the Third Tribe, Chris Brogan once told me that the heart of good blogging is addressing people’s pain. Most of us are familiar with the saying “People don’t Google aspirin; they Google headache.”
Are you the kind of person who really enjoys helping people? This will be hugely helpful in writing posts that more people want to read.
Social Media Examiner is a phenomenal success story because it reliably publishes detailed posts that help people navigate social media.
Are you eager to help people with the “brain itch” that afflicts them in your subject area? If you want to blog about organic gardening, are you excited about dealing with all the “brain itch” questions that will inevitably come if you’re popular? It’s necessary to WANT to explore these issues as they arise. It will inspire your content.
#7: Are You Organized?
Blogging doesn’t require a spotless desk or a rigid daily schedule, thanks to the ability to schedule posts. Some people write them in advance when they know they’re going to be out of town or busier than usual.
Every successful blogger is organized enough to put something of value out there on a periodic basis and to respond to every person who is gracious enough to comment, whether it’s confrontational or friendly. Decide how often you will write and stick to it so that you can develop trust with your readers.
Can you blog consistently?
#8: Are You Focused?
Are you able to stay focused on that one subject that keeps you up at night because you’re so eager to tell the world about it? Are you able to hold your course when people start asking about everything from technical reviews of the latest gadget to your opinion on experimental Asian cuisine?
It’s tempting to bunny trail off into whatever people are asking about but it’s a dead end because you probably have to generate excitement for those topics and it derails your blog’s purpose.
Stay true to yourself and to the desperate need to share what you know that started your blog. You’re going to need it to power you up to skip TV programs, get up early, stay up late, do what it takes to create and maintain a good blog.
After reading all of these questions, you’ve probably got a lot better sense of whether you’re going to be happy blogging or not.
30 Ways Make Money from Blogging
1. Pay Per Click Advertising
You can probably guess from the name how you monetize your blog from this method. You get paid for every click a visitor makes on these ads. You sign up to a provider and they give you a code for you to place on your site. The provider will then send contextual ads to your site (either image or text based) that are relevant to the content of your website. Google AdSense is the most widely used provider of this service, but there are many others out there.
Pay Per Click (PPC) ads vary in profitability depending on the amount of traffic your website gets. Only a small percentage of people will click on these ads, so to earn a lot of money from them you will need a lot of traffic.
The click-through rate (CTR) of your visitors depends on the design of your website. Certain parts of your website pages are more valuable than others, so to increase your CTR these PPC ads can be placed there. For example, space at the beginning and end of articles/blog posts are highly visible, so by putting a PPC in these positions may increase the chances of someone clicking on one. If on the other hand you place these ads at the bottom of the page where nobody can see them, then nobody will click on them.
The cost per click (CPC) can also determine how much you are likely to earn from this type of ad. Adverts that display financial products or mortgages will generate you more income due to the higher price of the actual product, compared with perhaps children’s toys. The former may pay you as much as $1+ for every click through by one of your visitors, whereas a click on toys may pay you only a few cents.
Which ads shows up on your site is dependant on the content of your website. After all, it would be daft showing financial products on a website that talks about children’s toys and vice versa.
PPC ads are a good way to easily monetize your blog. However, to make serious money from them you will need lots of traffic.
You can find PPC adverts for your website at these popular sites:
- Google AdSense
2. Cost Per Mile Advertising
Cost per Mile advertising (CPM) is similar to PPC advertising, however instead of getting paid on a per-click basis, you get paid according to the number of impressions (page views) you get. This is worked out for every 1000 impressions that it has. For example, a website that gets 200,000 page views per month that displays a $1 CPM ad will generate you $200 a month!
There are a number of different CPM providers out there that you can get ads from. Each varies on how much they will pay you, generally the better the provider the higher rate you will be paid. This is because the best providers have access to more and better quality advertisers that are willing to pay you more.
Just like PPC, CPM adverts can pay you more depending on where the advert is placed on your website. The higher the ad is placed and the bigger the ad is, will generally make you more money.
CPM adverts are beneficial for websites that have lots of traffic and a high page view per visitor ratio, but it is still a good option to consider when looking to monetize your blog.
3. Text Link Ads
This type of advertising allows you to place text based ads within the text of your articles. For example, if you are writing an article about a certain software, you can place text-link ads within your posts that would refer your viewers to that particular product.
You can’t just link to anything though, you need to sign up to that specific product affiliate advertising scheme (see ‘10. Affiliate Marketing‘ below) or you can sign up to a specialised provider who will automate the service.
Text-Link-Ads are quite good as it offers a non-intrusive way to monetize your blog that won’t put off your readers.
4. In-text Ads
Very similar to the above text link ads, ‘In-text ads’ are adverts that are placed inside your text content such as articles or blog posts. You can sign up to an In-text advertising provider that will place sponsored links within your text. These are double underlined to make them stand out from other links, so that when a user moves the mouse over one of them a small advertising pop-up will appear. The user can then decide if they want to click on it, which will make you a small amount of money.
These types of ads are a bit more obvious than the previous type, which can put some people off. If used properly, they can be a good way to monetize your blog.
5. Advertising Widgets
This method is relatively new on the scene. An increasing amount of people are using widgets on their websites to generate some money. These widgets are designed so that they can be easily placed onto a website without any hassle, which display a mixture of PPC, text link ads and affiliate programs.
6. Advertising Space
You can monetize your blog by selling space on your website for advertisers to display a banner. This can be a very lucrative method as it allows you to cut out the middleman and charge what you want for other people to advertise on your site.
Generally these deals are worked out so that you display an ad for a fixed amount of time for an agreed fee with the advertiser. The downside of this method is that you need to commit time to manage the whole process with the advertiser and that your site needs to have a lot of traffic to be considered by advertisers.
As you can see, I offer advertising space on my website in numerous different forms of banner ads that appear on all of my pages.
No doubt that you have heard of these! Pop-ups are very common online, but they are also very annoying. Many people hate pop-ups and have pop-up blockers installed to stop them. However, if executed in the right way, they can work. Having a single pop-up on your website that only appears to new visitors may work. They grab the attention of the visitor on their first visit and after that they won’t be bothered again by them.
Pop-ups don’t necessarily need to sell products directly. You can use them indirectly to promote aspects of your website, for example PopUp Domination can be used to encourage people to sign up to your email list of tutorial course, or alternatively you can create a lightbox with AWeber.
Pop-ups can work if you make them less annoying to people. The more frequently they appear, the less traffic you will get coming back!
8. Affiliate Marketing
If done right this, Affiliate Marketing is a great way to monetize your blog. Many of the previous methods can be used as affiliate marketing methods, but often a review of a product can work just as well.
For example, if you have a gardening website you could research affiliate programs that contain products related to gardening. Perhaps someone wants people to advertise their new lawnmower product, you could write a blog entry ‘What’s the best lawnmower for my garden?’ and at the end you could promote the affiliate product.
With this type of advertising, you can get a commission with every sale that resulted from your recommendation. You refer viewers from your site via recommendations, banner ads, text link ads, etc., which takes them to the product page. If they buy, then you get a commission. This is often worked out on a percentage of the sale price, maybe 10-20%, sometimes more (I’ve seen products offer 75% commission) depending on the individual product.
Check out these great websites that have links to loads of affiliates:
- Amazon Affiliate
9. Product Reviews
Basically the same as Affiliate Marketing, but more obvious. You can write detailed reviews about products and publish them on your site. Obviously it is better to review products that are related to your website, as you are catering to your target audience. There is no point writing a detailed review about a solar panel for your roof, if your website is about scuba diving.
Many people can build a website solely around product reviews, writing about a variety of subjects such as, hotels, holidays, cars, gadgets, films, etc. If that product has an affiliate program, then you can make quite a bit of money from it.
12. Create & Sell Your Own Product
We are a society of consumers! If you have a product that you have made, then why not sell it on your website. Perhaps you are a software programmer and have designed an app to help people track stocks on their mobile phone. You could let people download it from your website for a small fee. Maybe your hobby is pottery and you want to sell off some of your work, then sell it on a website. If they are popular, there might be a full-time business for them!
The good thing about this is that compared with selling a product in a shop that has a small customer basis, online you have the world to sell your product to.
Check out our ‘Create A Product To Sell Online On Your Own Website‘ post for more details.
10. Write an eBook
Everybody seems to be writing an eBook these days, so why don’t you give it a try. These have become very popular in the last few years with the introduction of commercial eReaders such as the Apple iPad and Amazon Kindle.
You could write an eBook about almost anything. Maybe you are good at DIY, you could write a book about renovating your house that people might find useful. You can then sell it through the Apple iStore or on Amazon.
You can sell it directly on your website as well! This way you get 100% of the sale price and you get traffic to your website. Selling your own eBook can be an excellent way to monetize your blog!