By now you probably know that simply plastering ads all over your pages and prominent donation links don’t really work. There really are no get-rich-quick schemes in blogging; turning your blog into a reliable income generator requires hard work, experimentation, and patience. Those are three aspects common among the five methods I share in this post.
- Image via Wikipedia
Optimum Ad Placement
Like it or not, your average visitor has learned to ignore parts of your website that seem like ads—even elements that really aren’t ads! The kneejerk reaction to this reality is an in-your-face approach towards ad layout, sacrificing readability for the sake of ensuring your ads are front and center.
If you’re committed to building a long-term quality audience however, you’ll need to find a good balance between content and ad visibility. The best way to do this is to seamlessly integrate your ads into your content. WpRecipes is a good example of this: each post page features a half-leaderboard that immediately follows the lead.
This is a great way to tap a large audience who has identified with your online brand. What geek would pass on a chance to buy an official Penny Arcade t-shirt? Or a Dilbert Mug?
Granted, merchandising only has the potential for success if enough people give a damn and are passionate about your website. But it’s a great way to reward yourself for all the hard work you put into creating such a following.
Affiliate marketing—which involves receiving a commission for successfully getting visitors to perform a particular action—has been around for quite a while. Yet I see that not that many bloggers are aware of its potential.
Whether the action (called a conversion) involves a purchase, or signing up for a service, the broad strokes of affiliate marketing in blogs are easy to follow: concentrate on a niche, sign up for related affiliate marketing programs, and write blog posts designed to convince readers to convert.
Lifehacker’s recent post on building a Hackintosh machine running Snow Leopard has great potential to generate a lot of affiliate marketing income. The post liberally links to NewEgg, an online computer hardware retailer, through a checklist of computer components to buy. The powerful premise here is, if you buy the listed parts, you’ll be able to have pretty powerful PC running the latest version of Mac OS X for around $900. Lifehacker gets paid for every buyer it refers to NewEgg.
Signing up for the NewEgg affiliate marketing program requires creating an account at Commission Junction, a popular online advertising company that also handles other large-scale retailers like Amazon and Dell.com.
You know you’ve got unique talents that help clients achieve their goals. A great way to showcase this expertise is blog regularly about the industry your work in, how you contribute to that industry, and your insights and perspectives on relevant trends. This attracts potential clients, creating new career advancement and income opportunities.
A high-profile example is Seth Godin. Thanks to frequent, insightful, and useful updates on his blog, Mr. Godin has established himself as a prominent marketing expert, proving an understanding of the latest market realties, and a willingness to adapt and maximize them. It’s easy to see why at least one magazine has labeled Godin “America’s Greatest Marketer”, and his online presence is strong enough for me to hold him up as an example, helping his profile grow even more.
A mash-up of Affiliate Marketing and Expertise Showcase, lead generation involves convincing readers to do what you want, to take actions that benefit you and your business directly, not a third-party willing to reward you for success. It gets visitors to convert to your advantage, with an emphasis more on your services and less on your profile.
The people behind the Conversion Squirrel exemplify this approach, giving away useful information—101 ways to improve your website’s profit—for free as an incentive to sign up for their newsletter. The newsletter costs subscribers nothing and is easy to opt-out of, but it represents one foot in the door. That’s all the access these marketers need to regularly send persuasive emails that make paying good money for Conversion Squirrel’s help look more appealing with every installment.
Do you have your own special way of turbo charging your blog’s monetization? Feel free to share the wealth below.