Blogging Your Way to Profit!
Brought to you by Ryan Sawyer (www.Ryansawyer.com)
Legal Notice:- The author and publisher of this Ebook and the accompanying materials have used their best efforts in preparing this Ebook. The author and publisher make no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of the contents of this Ebook. The information contained in this Ebook is strictly for educational purposes. Therefore, if you wish to apply ideas contained in this Ebook, you are taking full responsibility for your actions.
As always, the advice of a competent legal, tax, accounting or other professional should be sought. The author and publisher do not warrant the performance, effectiveness or applicability of any sites listed or linked to in this Ebook. All links are for information purposes only and are not warranted for content, accuracy or any other implied or explicit purpose.
Chapter 2 – What on Earth is Blogging?……………………………………….5
Chapter 3 – Ways to Optimize Your Blog for Maximum Traffic…………9
Chapter 4 – Putting Your Posts to Work………………………………………14
Chapter 5 – Selling Blog Branded Merchandise……………………………20
Chapter 6 – Cash in on eBook Mania………………………………………….22
Chapter 7 – The Power of Ad Space…………………………………………..24
Chapter 9 – Look For Sponsorship…………………………………………….27
Chapter 10 – Don’t be Afraid to Ask and Conclusion…………………….28
When blogging first began becoming popular among businesses I was slow to notice the change. It seemed to me as though more and more of my competitors were shutting down their traditional websites and replacing them with well designed blogs. Other competitors kept their existing websites up, but added links to their websites that sent surfers to there companies newly created blogs. I decided to start learning more about blogging, but I didn’t want to change my entire website format until I was sure blogging was right for me and my business.
I played around with a few different blogging platforms on a personal level trying to find out what all the fuss was about. I set up a small personal blog on Blogger and later a weight loss blog on Typepad. After trying out all of the major blogging platforms I realized that using a blog platform to power my site rather than the current html design could do wonders for my business. In addition to being able to make my blogs look, and feel, professional with little design knowledge, I was also able to easily add photo and text content to these personal blogs with no assistance. This was something I would never have been able to manage on my traditional site.
While any of these discovers would have inspired me to turn my existing site into a blog, the deciding factor for me was a confrontation with my website designer. I needed my site updated to promote an upcoming concert my business was affiliated with but the designer would not be available to complete the update until
Being able to take charge of how, and when, information was posted on my new blog site immediately increased my sales, site traffic, and general interest in my domain. Clients no longer felt that the site would always contain the same, stale information. They knew that in order to catch my latest promotions they would have to subscribe to my blog or bookmark my site to return to it often in order to avoid missing anything important.
I invested a great deal of time in setting up my initial blog posts and interacting with my clients. In many cases my posts for the entire week were prepared by Monday and published on the blog at set intervals throughout the week. Each and every time someone commented on a blog post I did my best to respond to, or acknowledge these comments. Even if it was just to say ‘thank you for commenting’.
These comments can also serve as an unofficial Frequently Asked Questions section. Often surfers are more likely to read the comments on posts that relate to a question or problem they may be experiencing than they are to visit your sites FAQ. By making it possible for clients to post comments publicly, and answering comments publicly, you might keep someone else from asking the same question. This will cut down on the amount of emails you have to answer and phone calls you might otherwise receive.
Also, answering these comments and communicating with the comment makers (saying thank you) shows readers and clients how you and your company treat customers.
I can not tell you how many times a client, or potential client, has posted a comment to one of my blogs telling me that they found an answer to a question they were planning to ask by reading comments left by other users. On a few occasions, clients of competitors have left comments saying that they were searching on the internet for a resolution to their own issue with another site, and found the answer thanks to my blog. This is extremely gratifying and tells me that my blog is providing more information than those of my competitors.
Please keep in mind that if you are allowing readers to comment on blog posts you need to take steps to monitor the content of these posts. While there is software available to help prevent comment spam there are always times when some spam will slip through the cracks. Manually monitoring comments will avoid embarrassing situations of inappropriate comments being published on your blogs.
If you are someone that has an existing site, establishing and maintaining a blog is going to drastically increase your traffic to that site. Many blog readers are attracted to a blog site by one, or more, posts on a specific subject. Once the reader is at that blog post they will more than likely explore other products and services they might not have otherwise shown an interest in. If there is a link to your previously established traditional site in your blog, chances are readers will visit that site as well which increases its traffic.
This also creates an opportunity for free publicity and advertising. Many blog readers are often trying to find news and content for their own blog site. Your existing traditional site might be just what they were looking for. There have been many times when I have been checking my backlinks and found out that the blog of one of my readers, or past clients, has a link to my blog promoting a certain interesting post or product.
Even if you do not have a specific product to sell, or message to spread, it doesn’t mean that you can’t earn revenue from blogging. Many profitable blog owners are those who started their blogs to use as a personal diary and began doing little things to earn income. First adding ads to the blog and then doing other things to capitalize on traffic and make a profit.
As of December 2007 over 112 million blogs with readers could be found online with new ones being created each and everyday. No longer is the world of blogging dominated by opinionated individuals with web knowledge, now many publications, entertainment companies, and miscellaneous businesses operate their own blogs.
Current major corporations that publish blogs on their business websites include, but aren’t limited to:
Blogging has helped these companies to establish more client/corporate interaction since many customers, and random surfers, will happily utilize a blogs comment features to share feedback on their experiences or ask questions. Blogs have often helped some major corporations with damage control. Blogs can let companies quickly, and publicly, make statements that will be read by millions.
A variety of blogging platforms exist to help individuals and businesses establish, and run, their own blogs. Some of these blogging platforms are on sites totally dedicated to blogging and others are part of social networking and content management programs. The most well known blogging platforms are:
B2evolution: http://www. b2evolution.net
Boast Machine: http://www.boastology.com
Blog Drive: http://www.blogdrive.com
Expression Engine: http://expressionengine.com
Movable Type: http://www.movabletype.com
Type Pad: http://www.typepad.com
The first blogging platform I ever tried was Blogger (http://www.blogger.com). I chose Blogger because it was easy to set up and many people I knew had active, highly trafficked, bloggers accounts. A few businesses I knew of had even set up Blogger accounts, registered domain names, and then redirected their domain traffic to their Blogger accounts.
The cons for me were that other than Google Adsense Blogger doesn’t offer many revenue generating opportunities. Also it was a little bit too common. It seemed as though everyone with an interest in blogging had a Blogger account and chances were they were using the same, or similar, template as I was.
The bad points of the Blogger platform apply to almost all of the blogging platforms that allow users to sign up for free and then provide a free sub domain on their site. A lot of the available templates are so heavily used that is nearly impossible for you to distinguish your message, business, or product from other bloggers on the same platform. Also there are only so many revenue sharing options.
There is also a matter of competition. Most free blog hosts and platforms encourage visitors to browse blogs that contain similar content as your own. The host will also include links to their own affiliates and sponsors on your blog. This means that you could easily loose most of the traffic that you have generated for your own business or site to a competitor.
With that said, if you are truly interested in earning a profit with your blog you are going to have to invest some money. Having your own domain name (this is assuming that you don’t already have one) will increase your credibility and make your blog eligible for more revenue earning opportunities that are not offered to those hosting their blogs on free sites. Also you will have more control over your blogs design, content, and availability. No more fear of losing traffic or business because the free blog host has gone down or is under going maintenance for several hours.
If you are a new blog owner and apprehensive about investing in a domain name and hosting set your mind at ease. Once your blog is up, running, and established you will be able to easily earn back the money spent on a domain name on hosting. Most domain registrations range from $1.99 to $10.99 and hosting is often between $4.95 and $10.95 monthly for a basic hosting account.
There are many web hosting companies that offer new sign up’s one free domain name registration when they establish an account. Two companies that do this are Dreamhost (http://www.dreamhost.com) and Blue Host (http://www.bluehost.com). These companies give new sign ups a free domain registration when their account is set up and also offer easy, one click, solutions to help get your blog up and running quickly.
Before starting any aggressive advertising campaigns it is important to make sure your blog is search engine optimized. There are plenty of companies that will charge you a pretty penny to make these changes for you, but it is easier (and naturally cheaper) to do things yourself. Meta tags must be included in your blog in order to catch any random search engine traffic that might stumble your way, and to make sure your site is indexed to appear in a search engine in the first place.
Two free tools that will generate quality meta tags for your site are the Submit Express Meta Tag Generator (http://www.submitexpress.com/metatag.html) and the Submit Corner Meta Tag Generator (http://www.submitcorner.com/Tools/Meta). I have used both of these tools to generate meta tags for all of my existing blogs. This helps ensure that my blogs get indexed and that I can receive traffic from search engine results that display my blog. Both of these tools are completely free and only require the user to answer a few questions and fill in a few blanks (site description, keywords, etc.). When you are done both tools can be used to analyze your newly created meta tags and give suggestions on how to optimize them (make them shorter or longer).
Depending on your blogging platform your newly created meta tags might have to go in different parts of your blog. Using WordPress I usually place my meta tags in the header and main index page of my blog layout. If you are not sure where to place the meta tags consult your blog platforms Frequently Asked Questions or search for a help forum dedicated to your specific blogging platform.
Once your meta tags are created and in place you can now start submitting your blog to major search engines. There are plenty of companies that offer to submit your domain to search engines, for a fee, and I recommend against using them. If you have some time at the beginning of each month to submit your domains manually it will be just as effective and save you money. I usually use Submit Express (http://www.submitexpress.com) to submit my blog to the search engines. Also, because of the constant updating, blogs get indexed faster (and stay indexed longer) than traditional websites. This fact alone makes me a blog supporter and promoter.
When you have gotten comfortable with blogging, and your chosen platform, it is time to beautify your blog. You want to make sure that your blog stands out in the crowd, and the only way to do that is to have a unique blog theme/template. The worst thing that can happen to you in the world of blogging is for readers and clients to confuse your blog with that of your competitors.
It is also possible to hire a designer to create a completely unique theme/template for your blog for a fee. These services can cost anywhere from $30.00 to $300.00 depending on the designer and the complexity of the design. In most cases you will need to provide images for the designer to work with. These images can be purchased from stock photography sites such as Dreamstime (http://www.dreamstime.com). Dreamstime will also, occasionally, have free images available for use as long as the photographer is credited somewhere in the design.
Some of the best places to find designers who will work for reasonable fees are on Craigslist (http://www.craigslist.org) and deviantART (http://www.deviantart.com). If you are looking on Craigslist for a designer go to the Creative and Computer services section, and perform a search for blog design, blogging, or your platform by name. Be sure you search all major cities to try and find the most affordable designer. When looking on deviantART you can browse the Job Offers forum for designers who are currently accepting projects or register and post your own job opening.
After you’ve found a designer, or before you purchase a pre-made template/theme, be sure you take readability into account. Your reader shouldn’t have to strain to view small text or get headaches because of overly bright colors. I have extremely poor vision and nothing will make me leave a site or blog faster than small font and bad colors.
Take readability into account when you are writing individual posts as well. Make sure that you always use a decent sized font and that you use punctuation when needed. Also include line breaks between paragraphs or statements. Even with decent sized font reading text with no breaks or punctuation can be frustrating, and will cause your blog to lose readers.
Once your blog is beautiful, readable, and you are ready to start posting content, make it easy for people to subscribe to your content. If you are providing content that your readers want to read on a steady basis they shouldn’t have to tear your site apart looking for an RSS feed. Also, offer an alternative to RSS feeds just in case your readership does not like dealing with feeds. Services like Feedblitz (http://www.feedblitz.com) will let readers sign up to receive your latest content right in their email inboxes.
Now that your blog is optimized you have to start maximizing your traffic. A lot of blog income opportunities can only be maximized if your blog is receiving a good amount of traffic. Participating in a pay per impression ad program is useless if only two people visit your site a week. Make sure your blog is listed with as many blog directories and communities as possible so that you can ensure a good amount of traffic. Here is a list
This is one of the largest free directories on the internet. Once your blog is listed on Blogarama users will be able to rank your site, and many users using Blogarama will comment on your posts and refer your blog to other users.
Blog Catalog: http://blogcatalog.com
The Blog Catalog is a directory of blogs around the world. This directory contains high quality, content rich blogs. Having your blog listed on this catalog will increase your blogs popularity and reputation.
My Blog Log: http://www.mybloglog.com
Unique in the sense that this blog directory lets you create your own free widget to display your recent readers and their information. It helps you track traffic and communicate with repeat readers. My blog log also has many communities that are great for networking and establishing link exchanges.
Blog Rush: http://www.blogrush.com
Rather than simply list your blog in a directory, blog rush adds your latest posts to their widget which is seen by thousands of viewers. Your site headlines are shown on blogs with content similar to your own, which means readers that will be interested n your product or news are going to be seeing your headlines. This tool is great for generating massive amounts of traffic to your site. In order to get the most out of Blog Rush keep your post titles short and attention getting to encourage readers to leave the blog their reading in order to visit your blog.
Blog Flux Directory: http://dir.blogflux.com
In addition to letting you add your blog to their directory Blog Flux offers a variety of tools that will help you promote your blog and increase your revenue. Blog Flux offers a button maker, online now codes, advance tracking, and much more.
Blog Universe: http://www.bloguniverse.com
A directory of text blogs, audio blogs (podcasts) and even video blogs (vlogs) that are organized based on subject/content.
Blog Toplist: http://www.blogtoplist.com
This is a toplist just like the name suggests. Blog Toplist has built up year’s worth of fantastic blog traffic and has an excellent reputation. List your blog and benefit from this toplist’s traffic and various advertising campaigns.
Blog Search Engine: http://www.blogsearchengine.com
Finally, a search engine dedicated entirely to blogs and blog related tools. Users visiting this site are only seeking blogs so you don’t have to worry about attracting visitors who are completely uninterested in blogging.
Blog Hop: http://www.bloghop.com
Add your blog to this directory and searchers will be able to find your blog through other blogs with similar content. A great source for targeted traffic.
Blog Sweet: http://www.blogsweet.com
This directory is composed of some of the most popular blogs on the internet. Blogs listed here benefit from higher search engine ranking and usually see a large increase in traffic.
Blog Watch: http://www.blog-watch.com
This service offers a little bit of everything. Inclusion in their search engine, tools for your blog, and even great templates for you to use to make your blog even more unique.
Social networking sites are another great way to drive quality traffic to your blog. Many bloggers rely on MySpace (http://www.myspace.com) for new readers and customers. Setting up a free MySpace profile and participating in groups and forums can attract an entirely new group of people to your site. When networking and promoting on MySpace it is important to remember the Terms and Policies of the site and to avoid sending out bulk messages of any kind.
I have used MySpace as a promotional tool for two years now and have never had a problem. I include a widget to my blog on my MySpace profile page so that all visitors can see my latest blog headlines. I also cross post bits of my blog posts to my MySpace blog linking back to the full post on my own domain.
While MySpace is very strict about posting links to your site in certain forums and groups, there are ways to advertise your domain and blog site without breaking the rules. MySpace allows users to have a headline which appears instead of there name. Many users, including myself, replace that headline with our web address. Also, instead of receiving messages I have all users attempting to send me messages receive an automatic message asking them to send me a message at my website.
Facebook is another good site for promoting your blog and getting the attention of new clients, readers, and even local businesses. Quite a few bloggers have groups set up on Facebook and network with each other. Also they are often helped by friends and relatives who are also on Facebook and who don’t mind sharing news of you blog through word of mouth. Many of the Facebook applications make it easy to add feeds to your blog and to promote your domain or blog without getting into any trouble.
Social bookmarking sites are also a popular way for bloggers to promote their blogs and gain more traffic. Social book marking sites can also be used to increase the number of other blogs and sites that link to your own blog. This linking can increase traffic and, if the sites linking to you are quality sites, PageRank. The popular social book marking sites are:
Blink List: http://www.blinklist.com
Bookmark Sync: http://bookmarksync.com
Feed Marker: http://www.feedmarker.com
Feed Me Links: http://feedmelinks.com/portal
Fuzz Fizz: http://www.fuzzfizz.com
Jump Tags: http://www.jumptags.com
Link Roll: http://www.linkroll.com
My Progs: http://myprogs.net
My Web: http://myweb2.search.yahoo.com
Stumble Upon: http://www.stumbleupon.com
Lastly, but not least, don’t forget the power of the signature. If you participate in any online message board communities that allow posters to have signatures, include a link to your blog. Not only will this increase traffic but it will also increase your backlinks since many of these directories are indexed and listed on major search engines.
Also add a link to your new blog in your email signatures. You would be amazed at how many people who receive your emails will click your link out of curiosity.
Another way to earn money from your blog posts is inline ads. Inline ads highlight specific keywords found within your post and earn you revenue each time a reader clicks the highlight keyword. Companies such as Adbrite (http://www.adbrite.com) offer Inline Ad options to advertisers and more companies, such as Google, are looking for ways to help webmasters maximize their revenue by using inline ads. Some companies are even willing to pay per impression which means you earn money regardless of whether your readers click the keywords or not.
Sponsored review programs, or paid review programs, are another extremely popular way to earn money with your blog posts. I use sponsored review programs to earn money and to get ideas for new, quality, content when writers block creeps up on me. These programs allow blog owners to sign up, register their blog, and then review a variety of websites. Each review usually consists of a neutral, or positive, overview of the website paying for the review, along with up to three links to the sponsors’ website. Some of the most popular paid to review programs are:
Blogger Wave: http://www.bloggerwave.com
Blog Ads: http://bloggingads.com
Blog to Profit: http://www.blogtoprofit.com
Blogger Party: http://bloggerparty.com
Link Worth: http://www.linkworth.com
Linky Love Army: http://www.linkylovearmy.com
Loud Launch: http://www.loudlaunch.com
Pay Per Post: http://www.payperpost.com
Pay U 2Blog: http://www.payu2blog.com/
Review Me: http://www.reviewme.com
These programs are all a great source of revenue paying bloggers anywhere from $5.00 to $500.00 per review. Those blogs that are established with steady traffic are going to make more money per review than a smaller, new bog. This is a great money maker for those blog owners who are only hoping to pay for hosting aka break even. However, you have a great blog and time to post you can make an impressive income with these programs. I make, on average, $100 per week with paid review opportunities.
Currently my favorite programs to use are Payu2Blog, Sponsored Review, and Blogitive. They all offer a steady source of income, especially during certain times of year. During the holiday season I easily made $50.00 per day using these programs, and all of the products and sites being reviewed interested my readers. Essentially I got paid to provide great information.
Payu2Blog is a little bit easier when it comes to blogger and posting requirements. Their posts usually only have to be around 60 words, and the sponsor only needs to be mentioned (linked to) once. The link has to be attached to a keyword the sponsor provides and the keywords are more often than not unobtrusive. The dashboard is easy to use and they let you keep track of your pay periods and pay history. Payment is made every two weeks through Paypal.
Blogitive requires anywhere between 100 to 200 word reviews, and a minimum of three links to the sponsors website. I do not mind this because I am usually asked to review high quality travel sites that appeal to my readers. After you have written a few quality reviews many advertisers will request your blog specifically. While there is no marketplace for you to know this Blogitive staff will often email the blogger to let them know the assigned reviews were specifically requested.
Sponsored Reviews is the highest paying of the sites that I write paid reviews for, but that is because there is often a great deal of effort that goes into creating each review. The advertisers place their requests on the sites marketplace and each reviewer bids for the assignment. Usually the advertiser rejects or accepts the bid in a matter of days. The advertiser show’s what they are willing to pay for the review, which can be anywhere from $5.00 to $200.00. Sponsored Reviews takes a percentage of this payment and sends the rest to the reviewer via Paypal.
The amount each blogger bids is usually determined on their own blogs statistics which include traffic, back links, and overall popularity on the internet. Sponsored Review suggests what you should charge per review after the sign up process is complete. I do
When writing for Sponsored Review they request that you give an in depth analysis of the product or site you are reviewing. All the information and insight must be fresh, you are absolutely not allowed to restate the information that is readily available on the advertiser’s website. Sponsored Review encourages bloggers to include screenshots of the advertiser’s site. They also want reviewers to share any relevant information that will encourage readers to visit the advertisers’ site and perhaps purchase their product or service.
That might seem like a lot of work, but once you get going it isn’t that bad. Be sure that you do take the time to give a detailed review and that you include all information the sponsor has requested. Failure to do so will lead to Sponsored Review banning you from their site.
Before participating in any paid to blog, or sponsored post, programs you must decide whether or not you want to disclose that the post has been paid for. Many bloggers refuse to have anything to do with blogs that have sponsored post because they feel that paying for reviews in unethical. Disclosing that you have been paid for reviews may keep other bloggers from doing link exchanges with you or promoting your blog in the future.
Even if you do not disclose that you are being paid for your post or review there may be consequences. If you are writing for a paid to blog company that requires you post a tracking code that includes a link to their site, or if you mention their site by name, search engines might penalize you. Google is one of the most well known search engine that has been accused of doing this. Many bloggers who have mentioned certain programs, such as Pay Per Post, or who link to paid reviews programs have lost PageRank.
This loss of PageRank can be detrimental to many businesses that use their high page rank as a selling point. Many companies will not advertise on a site with no PageRank since, traditionally, PageRank represents how much traffic a site gets. If you do choose to use paid per review programs I recommend only using the ones that do not require disclosure or reciprocal links.
Another income generator that is often overlooked are companies that will pay you for using their content. One program that I use often on all of my blogs, business and personal, is the Voxant Network (http://www.thenewsroom.com). The Voxant Network is a leading news provider that prides itself on having the most current global headlines.
These headlines cover almost any topic or category that one could imagine. The sites entertainment headlines report the latest movie, television, and music information along with some of the juiciest celebrity gossip. Finance headlines deal with stocks, banking, real estate, and any other industry that is being affected by finances. There are also world news headlines and you can also find your own local news. The Voxant Network gets its news from the following sources:
The Wall Street Journal
These are only a few of the most recognized sources. The network constantly searches for, and screens, quality content so that you don’t have to. Now blog owners don’t have to waste time searching through headlines for relevant, researched, news and information.
Once you find headlines that will appeal to your readers or fit in with your existing blog content you can then choose what format you want to post the content in. I usually use the text player but there are also streaming videos and high quality images. These images are extremely popular on celebrity and entertainment related sites.
The network then pays you, the blogger, for each page impression that their news content receives. That means that each and every time a visitor goes to your site and the voxant content is loaded into their browser you are earning money. The payout varies depending on the content and you are also paid for referrals. The payout schedule is as follows:
Video Feeds: $4.00 CPM
Video Story: $3.00 CPM
Text Story: $1.00 CPM
Image: $1.00 CPM
This might not seem like a lot of money at first, but once you factor in your traffic and the fact that you are essentially getting paid to use free content the value increases.
Another way to earn money through your blog posts is to recycle and, if your willing, share them. There are days when I write really researched, and inspired blog posts that I think can benefit more than just my clients and readers. When I feel that way I will syndicate my content.
The first way is to recycle your content is to submit it to Associated Content (http://www.associatedcontent.com) as a Non-Exclusive article and you will be paid $1.50 per thousand views. Associated Content is a highly recognized source for articles that is free to set up and easy to use. They allow you a link back to your own blog in your profile and within the article. Not only does this help me get even more traffic
I strongly recommend Associated Content to those who are new to writing or syndicating articles. The pay is made on a regular basis through Paypal and it is a nice way to get the most out of your blog posts. I try to submit at least one post a week to Associated Content and it has paid off pretty well. Once you have established a pretty impressive collection of articles with them you can expect to receive a passive, monthly income deposited directly into your Paypal account.
Another site to use when syndicating your posts in article form is Constant Content (http://www.constant-content.com). This site allows you list well written posts for sale at a price you set. Prices vary from $5.00 to $50.00 for non-unique articles and payment is made through Paypal. While the review process can be a bit strict this is a great place to post your well written posts. I usually charge $15.00 for other sites to use my article and in many cases your byline will be included which means you will be gaining a back link.
In the event that you are not that comfortable posting your articles on Associated Content or Constant Content, or if you would prefer focusing on targeted traffic and backlinks, you might want to consider article directories. There are many free article directories that will allow you to submit your longer posts to their directories. These article directories will let you include a link to your site and byline so that when your article is posted on another blog you will receive an incoming link. Some article directories to check are:
Article Base: http://www.articlesbase.com
Article Rich: http://www.articlerich.com
Article Circle: http://www.articlecircle.com
Article Fever: http://www.articlefever.com
Ezine Articles: http://ezinearticles.com
Go Articles: http://www.goarticles.com
These directories are great for viral marketing and syndication. Your article will be used by blog owners that have content similar to what is on your own blog. This means that they will be advertising your site to a more targeted audience. This is a great, free, way for your blog posts to be put to work earning you traffic.
Even if you don’t have any articles to submit you can put these directories to good use too. Using these free articles will provide you with some additional, free, content for your site to help out during busy seasons when you are not able to write your own
Since many blogs are popping up that do nothing but promote different ad programs using free content some search engines, Google included, are starting to penalize blog owners for having excessively used content. Using your own, unique content, in addition to free content will keep your blog from being targeted. I recommend keeping at least 2/3rds of your content totally original to avoid having your blog penalized.
Custom Ink: http://www.customink.com
Uber Prints: http://www.uberprints.com
Establishing a store on a site like Cafepress or Zazzle not only gives you a chance to make more money thanks to your blog, it also lets you have a free link on a high ranking site which increase your blogs PageRank and traffic. I currently have a store on Zazzle where I sell merchandise (t-shirts and bumper stickers) featuring my domain name and most popular post quotes. During the holiday season I also opened a store on Cafepress to sell a few more specialty items that were not available on Zazzle. I sold a variety of messenger bags, hoodies, mugs, and journals featuring some photography and art work that could only be found on my blog.
Don’t be afraid to open more than one store to get the best quality for each item. Some of the sites listed are known for hoodies, others are known for producing quality shirts, and still others for providing lovely framed prints. Since the sites themselves handle all of the customer service and back end production you will not have to worry about anything after initial set up.
After your item is set up and listed for sale make sure you promote these items on your blog. I occasionally dedicate a blog post to one of my items from Zazzle and then one from Cafepress. One week I will discount the price of the t-shirts that promote my blogs domain name and then other weeks I’ll discount the mugs that promote one of my slogans. This gives me unique content for my blog while promoting my products. I also have a page on my blog dedicated to my shop with pictures of items and direct links to the item at the appropriate store. These products and strategy provide me with a steady weekly income.
These blog owners will use Paypal (http://www.paypal.com) and Google Checkout (http://checkout.google.com) to set up shopping carts. There are even a few shopping cart plug ins/tools for different blog platforms such as WordPress that are designed to make selling through a blog even easier. A few of these more hands on blog owners have even been known to sell autographed prints by contacting a celebrity that appeals to readers requesting (and getting) autographed photos.
If your blog contains a great deal of unique, quality, text content that you feel could have mainstream appeal you might want to look into self publishing. Look at it as article publishing taken to the next step. Several blog owners have self published their most provocative and informative posts and turned them into cash cows.
Publishing your own book will give you access to an entirely new audience, both online and off. that may have never even heard of your blog before. Many people that go online to shop for books have never even thought of visiting a blog, so all the information you recycling is going to be brand new to them. Plus there are bound to be some current readers who would like to have the information you provide in an offline format that they can reference it or give to an interested friend.
A great service to use for this sort of venture is Lulu (http://www.lulu.com). This service will allow you to self publish a book of any size absolutely free of charge. They walk you through the process of putting your book into the proper printing format and allow you to set the prices of your book. After the production costs and the small fee Lulu takes for payment processing you keep all of the profits.
I have used Lulu for a few ventures and have had nothing but positive experiences. They pay royalties on time by check or via Paypal. It is easy to set up account with them and the forum is extremely useful. Customer support is fantastic and you are able to set up, and customize, your own store front that can include a link to your own blog site.
Remember, this is your book so you can shamelessly promote your own blog, or blogs, as much as possible within the book. You might also want to contact affiliates who may want to contribute some quotes or testimonials to use in your book. Once it is complete you can list your book for sale on your blog and watch the news spread.
eBook Compiler: http://www.ebookcompiler.com
eBook Edit: http://www.ebookedit.com
eBook Pack Express: http://www.caislabs.com
eBook Gold: http://www.ebookgold.com
eBook Maestro: http://www.ebookmaestro.com
These programs will let you compile some of your most popular posts into one eBook for resell through your blog or other sites. Lulu (http://www.lulu.com), PayPal, and Click bank (http://www.clickbank.com) can all be used to process payments and manage downloads. I have used all three services to sell eBooks and they all have their good points and bad points.
Lulu is probably one of the easiest to set up and because the site is heavily promoted you will often make sales even if you haven’t lifted a finger to promote your project. They accept a variety of payment options including all major credit cards. The only complaint I have received about Lulu is that they require buyers to sign up for an account which is something that many buyers do not want to do.
Paypal is another good way to sell your eBook. Simply make it available on your site with a Paypal buy now button. After the buyer sends their money to you through PayPal they are given access to an instant download. The only concerns I have ever had with Paypal have been security issues that could sometimes lead to your eBook being downloaded without purchase. A solution to this security issue presented itself with the creation of PayLoadz (https://www.payloadz.com/). Payloadz lets sellers securely sell their digital goods using both Paypal and Google Checkout.
Last, but not least, I have used Clickbank to sell quite a few eBooks. The largest drawback to selling an item using Clickbank is the $49.95 activation fee which must be paid before customers are able to check out using Clickbank. I was hesitant about signing up for the service but the inclusion in the affiliate marketplace decided me. Thousands of affiliates can now sell my eBook for me and we can share the profit. This means increased sale and traffic to the blog that promotes the eBook.
Every time I have released an eBook using Clickbank I have cross promoted the eBook on all of my sites and encouraged readers/surfers to become affiliates. I have also placed links to my blogs on sites that allow users to advertise affiliate programs. Perhaps the greatest success I have ever had was releasing a press release on several
For those who do not have the time or energy to create an eBook with their existing blog content, or who do not want to syndicate their blog content in any way, you can still cash in on the eBook craze. Just like you can make your eBook available in the Clickbank marketplace you can also browse that marketplace for programs to join. It is free for affiliates to sign up and there are a wide variety of eBooks to promote.
If you are going to sell an eBook as an affiliate using Clickbank I recommend taking some time to choose a reasonably priced eBook with a high profit share. Many eBook affiliate programs give the affiliate 75% of the revenues. Most of these programs include detailed information for new affiliates including ways to advertise and eBook covers to use in online promotion efforts.
In addition to Clickbank there are literally thousands of eBooks available on eBay complete with resell rights. These eBooks allow the buyer to resell, redistribute, and reuse the contents of the eBook in any way they wish. When purchasing an eBook to resell make sure that you are getting the Master Resell rights and ask the seller if you are unsure of what you will be able to do with your new eBook.
I have used eBay to purchase literally thousands of eBooks, which I have then redistributed. Most of my eBooks are carefully picked based on the tastes and interests of my readers and the content of my site. Others are purchased because they are unique and might possibly be used to brand an entirely new blog.
Recently I purchased several eBooks on Dreams, Tarot, and Witchcraft. I was then able to take these eBooks, built a blog that focused supernatural events, shows, and articles, then sell these eBooks through that blog. Using Payloadz to manage the transaction I soon turned a tidy profit which more than covered the initial investment and time spent building the blog up.
On another occasion I was able to get several eBooks on wine making, beer making, and wine tasting. I then built another blog using a very unique wine related domain name and sold the eBooks through that site. It was a huge hit and I received several offers to buy the entire site. The highest offer was for a few thousand dollars which was impressive considering the venture cost me less than $50.00.
You don’t always have to sell the eBooks you buy to earn with them. The content of the eBooks can usually be made available on your blog which gives your readers something new to read. In many cases I will let clients, readers, and surfers download a few eBooks absolutely free of charge. This earns free traffic for your blog and a reputation for offering “freebies” which will lead to more subscribers who will watch your blog constantly to make sure they don’t miss out on any other free downloads or deals.
One of the most popular ad programs is Google Adsense (http://www.google.com/adsense). Advertisers pay Google to advertise links to their site, these links are then featured on the sites of Google and their affiliates when certain keywords are present. Google then lets website owners’ sign up for their program and provide these site owners with a code to place on their blog. This code shows Google ads which rotate and are often relevant to the blogs current content.
Code can be customized so that the ads match the blogs color scheme and you, the blog owner, can choose to display text ads or image banner ads of all shapes and sizes.
Whenever a reader visits the link of one of the advertisers being featured on your blog you earn money.
There are many blogs that exist solely to earn Google Adsense revenue. Quite a few are loaded down with Google ads in picture and text form with almost no original content. I personally recommend against doing this since having a blog with too many ads and not enough original content can cause you to be penalized with the search engines. It will also prevent you from listing your blog in many quality blog directories and communities.
Another advertising program that allows you to sell ad space on your blog is Adbrite (http://www.adbrite.com). The features are very similar to Google Adsense but the primary difference is that they allow your blog to be listed in a Marketplace. This allows advertisers to browse sites and blogs in certain categories and buy ad space on a specific blog for the week, month, or on a daily basis. You can set your own rates or Adbrite will set the daily, weekly, and monthly rate based on your traffic stats and overall ranking.
I currently use Adbrite on all of my sites and prefer it to Adsense. My payout is usually higher with Adbrite since I am able to get paid per click or page impression revenue thanks to network wide cost per click campaigns some advertisers run. I am also able to sell advertisement space directly to advertisers that want to have a link on my site for a set amount of time. My favorite feature is that I am able to approve each advertiser myself. That means I can deny advertisers who have objectionable content or that are direct competitors. With Google Adsense you never know what link is gong to pop up on your blog.
Adbrite and Adsense are the two advertisement programs that I have used the most but there are many others that have gotten great feedback and can be used to generate income for all types of blogs.
AVN Ads (adult ads): http://www.avnads.com
Black Label Ads (adult ads): http://www.blacklabelads.com
Crisp Ads: http://www.crispads.com
Miva MC: http://www.miva.com/us/content/partners/arx.asp
Revenue Pilot: http://www.revenuepilot.com
Text Ad Links: http://www.text-link-ads.com
Yahoo! Publisher Network: http://publisher.yahoo.com
Value Click: http://www.valueclickmedia.com/Publishers.shtml
The majority of these ad programs can be used together. Many blog owners use multiple ad revenue programs on their blogs in order to get more revenue from a wider variety of sources. While I primarily use Adbrite I have also used the Yahoo Publisher Network and Kanoodle to sell ad space and buy some. Some of these programs will pay you per impression which means you earn money regardless of whether a reader clicks an ad.
My personal favorite way to sell ad space on my site is to sell it directly to the advertiser. I will occasionally make a post on my blog saying that I am accepting new advertisers or running a special on advertising rates to get email inquires. At other times I would create a small banner or button to place in my sidebar that was linked to my email
I run a small blog devoted to tattoos and body arts. Many small tattoo shops and artists who can not afford, or don’t want to manage, their own web presence have paid to have their companies advertised on my tattoo blog. These advertisements are usually in the form of a page within my blog that describes the company in detail and includes contact information (address, phone number, ect.).
Another blog of mine, dedicated to wine making and hosting wine parties, is sponsored by several individuals who also host, and throw, wine tasting parties. These people are not interested in maintaining a permanent web presence and are content to piggy back on my blog. Each time they host an event I am paid to blog about the event and I also have an entire page of my site dedicated to providing the contact information for those that are selling wine making books or materials and who host parties.
Opportunities like this are usually available in your area, it is just a matter of looking for, and making, the right connections. Things are easier if you have a niche site and steady traffic that can benefit a business owner. These sponsors can often be found by word of mouth or through placing ads in your local newspaper. Some of my best sponsors have been found through ads in the newspaper and even through direct advertising campaigns.
These campaigns are pretty small and are focused on those businesses I know do not have a web site and who would benefit from my traffic. Sending out a simple flyer with information about my site, traffic stats, prices, and how they would benefit by advertising online often has good results. Not only was I able to earn income from companies willing to advertise, or at least exchange links, with me but every now and then I was able to generate a local media buzz for my blog.
Being able to show other advertisers that your blog has attracted local press and interest can increase your ways to earn revenue. If you are having advertisers pay you directly to advertise on your blog site showing a review will help to justify your fees. It will also help prove your credibility to clients if you are selling a product or service of any kind.
I’ve noticed that offering free items such as eBooks and syndicating posts on article sites increased my donations enormously. Many readers want to make sure your site stays live so that you can continue providing little treats for free. If you are nervous about placing donation boxes on your site keep this in mind. The donation boxes cost you nothing and the worst your readers can do is not contribute. When it comes to donations the rewards far outweigh the costs. If you have several thousand unique visitors every month and even one quarter of them leave a donation you have cleared a pretty large sum.
Donations can especially come in handy for when you, the blog owner, or your company is in trouble. There are times when business is not going well and all ad revenue has either slowed down or is not earning enough to keep your blog going. In situations such as those don’t be afraid to write a post explaining your situation and ask for a little help.
You’d be surprised at the outcome.
Another blog owner, and blog designer, I know was once on the verge of shutting down her blog permanently. She was extremely quiet about it and I only found out when I was trying to hire her to design a WordPress theme. After speaking with me she, reluctantly, posted to her blog explaining that she would be shutting down her blog site at the end of the month because she could no longer afford the hosting costs. In addition to this we released a press release on several free online press release services.
The response was astounding.
Even though neither the post nor press release directly requested money the offers came flooding in. At the instance of some readers she placed a Paypal donation box on her blog and received hundreds of dollars in donations from fans of her work. This designer had been offering quality, free, WordPress themes for years and this had not gone without notice. Before the week was through she was entirely caught up on her past due hosting bill and was able to prepay for the next year.
The revenue generating ideas outlined in this eBook are really just the beginning. If you have a message, product, or service and a blog to promote them then you can earn an impressive income. With a little work, creativity, and traffic you can turn a hobby or back site into full time income that requires a minimal start up fees. Don’t be afraid to try any of the ideas or methods mentioned in this eBook. They are all tried and true.