Good mornin’, ladies. How’s it going? Are you glad it’s Saturday? It’s just after 8 a.m. here on my last day in Las Vegas. I’m taking it easy and blogging to you from bed in the hotel, whee! I thought I’d skip the morning keynote at Blog World to tell you about the convention yesterday and share what I learned about a topic that interests a lot of bloggers, monetization, aka Blogging for Benjamins.
Now, most of the 70+ million blogs out there aren’t run as businesses. They’re small personal endeavors or not-for-profit initiatives, but I think some of these tips can be applied to those kinds of blogs as well. For example, if you’re blogging about a local church or charity, consider the tip on using YouTube to drive donations, or the tip on placing your most important messages “above the fold.”
I have A LOT more information from the convention (tips on using video, Twitter, Facebook and more), but some of it will have to wait until I get back home to share.
In the meantime, have a great weekend!
Tip 1: Maintain a regular posting schedule
There are a couple of different reasons for this one, and the first one has to do with Google. Posting on a regular schedule — say once per day or week — actually trains the Google bot (that’s really what they call it), the program that scours the web looking for new content to include in the Google search listings.
The second reason to maintain a regular posting schedule has to do with people. We come to expect and appreciate things that follow a recognizable pattern.
Tip 2: If it’s your business, don’t be shy
Be considerate, but don’t be shy. It’s never easy to talk about money, particularly in a public place (like on a blog), but if you’re hoping to earn more money online, don’t be ashamed to let your readers know.
Tip 3: Diversify revenue streams
The most widespread and common way to earn money from a blog is by placing ads. Google Adsense is the industry standard because of how quick, easy and effective it is. I’m running them here on MBB (below the masthead at the top and in the right sidebar).
But look for additional revenue streams if you’re serious about earning a stable income with your blog. You wouldn’t want a policy change at Google HQ to suddenly cut your earnings in half.
Things to consider: writing and selling a book (or an e-book), incorporating more than one ad network (Kontera is one that was mentioned a lot yesterday), creating a product to sell, joining affiliate programs (Amazon.com, Clickbank, Commission Junction) or creating a paid membership site.
Tip 4: Placing ads above the fold
I’ve always struggled with this one… The experts suggest placing all of your ads right up near the top of the page where visitors will see them as soon as they open the page. The problem with that is it’s kinda annoying to open a webpage and see nothing but ads, right?
My suggestion: Try to balance ad placement “above the fold” (which basically means at/near the top of the page) with a dash of common sense and design appreciation.
The World’s Littlest Showgirl…
Tip 5: Affiliate programs
I mentioned some of these in Tip 3, but the experts yesterday all agreed that affiliate programs can be great ways to earn money from your blog, particularly if you blog about a topic tied to something people actually buy (beauty products, books, clothes, shoes, food, baby products, household supplies, etc.).
One common approach involves including links to products within your blog posts that generate a tiny percentage for you whenever readers click and buy the product.
NOTE: Overusing affiliate links can degrade the experience for your readers, so be careful not to overdo it, and be sure to disclose to your readers when you’re earning money from your affiliate relationships.
Tip 6: YouTube, YouTube, YouTube
Superstar tech blogger and geek extraordinaire Chris Pirillo (just type Chris in Google and he’s the first Chris that comes up, LOL!) calls YouTube his single most effective sales tool. He writes and sells e-books, and when he tells people about them in his YouTube videos, he sees a spike in sales. He says that people just seem to respond better to his video sales efforts than his written ones online.
Just something to keep in mind if you blog and also have a product to sell (I’ll have more tips about creating videos in a later post).
Tip 7: Own your own domain name
Most bloggers (myself included) start blogging with a free/inexpensive service like blogger, typepad or wordpress.com (there’s a wordpress.com AND a wordpress.org). I did (MBB Version 1 circa 2007 was on wordpress.com), but at some point you want to have your own domain name, i.e. www.myblog.com, and the control that comes with it.
There are techie things involved in moving from a free startup blog service to what they call a self-hosted one (like wordpress.org), but if you’re serious about blogging, even if you’re not blogging for money, I think it’s worth the time and effort it takes to figure out.
The credibility that comes with having your own domain name versus one tied to another company is significant. For what it’s worth, WordPress and Godaddy made my move from wordpress.com fairly easy. I purchased my domain name through them (about $7/year), paid for one year of their least expensive shared web hosting (about $72/year), and with their online tools was able to install self-hosted WordPress on my account with the click of a button (well, the clicks of a few buttons).
WHOA! It’s 9:30 already? I lost track of time. I’d better get ready and head over to the convention center.
Oh, guess who I ran into yesterday? Carleen Pruess Coulter of Beauty and Fashion Tech. It was cool bumping into a fellow beauty blogger here, since most of these other bloggers are into tech. We talked about the new MAC release and eye makeup remover (to help a finance blogger girl who overheard us talking about makeup, ha!).
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,