Let me tell you a little secret. In this day and age of Text Link Ads monetization, the key to squeezing income out of your blog is setting up discrete partitions.
When I first got started in blogging, I would dedicate a whole domain to a single blog. And often I still do this to get started. But as a long term strategy, I no longer limit each domain to a single entity. Once a domain is established, I utilize its strength to create new monetizable sections.
New monetizable regions of your site can come in the form of:
2. Sub-domain or sub-directory blogs
3. Paid press releases
4. Paid services (e.g. classifieds, rental listings, etc.)
5. Recommended products (affiliate)
And I’m sure there are more. The important thing is to set up your site so that it is structurally optimized for monetization.
Ok. So that’s the theory. Let’s get to some practical examples.
Identifying Potential Regions
Let’s say that you have a moderately successful poker blog that’s pulling in $400/month, but which has plateaued in its income growth. What do you do? Well, for starters, you could start a paid poker directory. The directory would draw income from paid submissions plus be a discrete unit for monetizing via Text Link Ads. No need to start a new blog from scratch, do link building, etc. If your current domain is strong, you’ll have much faster success by sticking with that domain then starting with a new one.
The paradigm shift that I’m asking you to go through here is to not think “one service per domain” but to think “how can I squeeze as many worthwhile services onto the domains I already own.” If you have a blog and you’re chomping at the bit to find ways to earn more monthly income, you should seriously consider capitalizing on the property you’ve already built rather than trying to build a new property from scratch. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, of course. But I find that far too many people think that they need to start something like 50 new websites to make a living wage as a problogger. By maximizing a few domains, you can achieve your immediate goals faster, and build stronger equity at the same time (your property becomes more valuable with more services and more sources of income).
Capitalizing on recent success
One way to capitalize on the success of your blog is to build out your brand by introducing new blogs on sub-domains. In January, my company hired a new writer at PopCrunch. She took the blog from making $3/day to making over $100/day in the matter of a few months. So how did we capitalize? By starting three new blogs as subdomains under the PopCrunch brand (a hiphop site, a style site and a television site). The subdomains we used were “hiphop” “style” and “tv” – each of these sites is now blossoming into success, and the cool thing is that each will eventually be separately monetizable via Text Link Ads.
Another Example: This time from scratch
To see my new philosophy on monetization in action, let’s take a look at the most recent site my company began developing, called OneBigMaine. As a rule, we’ve found that location based travel and real estate sites offer mucho bang for the monetizing buck.
But let’s take a look at our strategy in developing this site (which we’ve not fully implemented yet). In the past, as bloggeres, we might have just thrown up a WordPress blog and cranked out content, hoping to generate a mix of AdSense and TLA income 6 months down the road. That model is quite limited, though. It’s limited by its structure: a single discrete section.
Instead of just throwing up a blog, we’ve decided instead to strategically maximize the site’s earning potential by planning for as many discrete monetizable sections as possible. We’ve identified five:
Region 1 is the main page (i.e. the home directory) and it will serve as an informational guide (i.e. articles) on the state of Maine (property buying, history, vacation info, etc.). Region 2 is a blog about Maine, focusing primarily on Maine related news. Region 3 will be a property and rentals listing section of the site where people will pay an annual fee to list their Maine vacation homes. Region 4 will be a OneBig feed list and will serve a dual function. First, it will be a huge PageRank boost (getting linked in from more than 10 other sites in the OneBig network). Second, it will serve as an informational source showing up to the minute Maine related blog headlines. Region 5 will be a Maine related niche directory.
We haven’t implemented all five of these sections, but you can get a glimpse of our mindset. There is no reason to limit yourself to a lone blog per domain. When you develop your next blog, think about how the blog might fit into a broader, more monetizable context.