You are visiting Performancing.com because you either are or want to be a professional blogger right? So how do you move from being a hobbyist to a pro, and how do you make your blog pay? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
It seems most bloggers right now haven’t cracked making their blogs profitable yet, which is a shame. Let’s put that right.
I don’t like the word but it seems to be the one everyone uses! The ways of earning from your blog are only limited by your creativity. Well, also what people are willing to pay for I guess. In leiu of “micropayments” arriving any time soon, the easiest methods to get started with are types of advertising.
Google Adsense is the most popular right now but of late Chitika has been getting a lot of buzz. Nick has a big list of alternatives here.
The key thing to remember with advertising is these systems are made so easy that most people just dump the code into their templates. Test test test. Change the colours, change the layout, move the ads to the top, bottom, left, in the content, around the content. Do read blogs and forums advice but see what works FOR YOU. Nobody else has your audience so only you can judge what works on your blog. Just by tweaking I increased my adsense clicks by double over night and it increases every month.
If you have the traffic and a good prominent blog then people might be willing to advertise direct or go through a broker. This is another reason (as if I needed to add more reasons) to get a very good trustworthy statistics package. You need to be able to bring up your stats when requested. Text link ads, CPM banners and sponsorships are great to have so it’s worth putting some effort into getting them, especially long term deals.
Unfortunately, it only gets harder from here.
Pro bloggers have a love-hate relationship with affiliate marketing. OK, most bloggers have toyed with sticking Amazon associate links into their pages when mentioning books (many removing them just as quickly). As mentioned elsewhere you need to have a light touch with affiliate links as you are crossing the line between advertising (already a touchy subject) and sales. Some blogs were pretty much destined to go this way, many product blogs for example, others should shove the affiliate stuff to the fringes if at all. Only you can decide. I will tell you though I know people who make a ton of cash out of affiliate schemes and there are affiliate programs for every product imaginable!
To get started, visit one of the larger affiliate networks such as Commission Junction or your local regional network if that suits your audience better. Sign up and browse. I find mentioning the products in the post works better than using their supplied banners. Make sure if the network has the facility you use the tracking variables so you know which blog and post the sales came from.
As with Adsense, there is a massive amount of information (lots of it bogus) about affiliate marketing but in the end, trust your own experience and if you get that weird feeling in your belly you know you have crossed the line. Don’t go snake oil.
If you are blogging regularly then it ought to mean you have expertise. People are willing to pay for expertise and pay well. What form this selling of expertise takes is up to you but it usually begins with one of two things. Articles and ebooks.
Article writing is as simple as having a good idea and pitching it to an editor. It pays reasonably well and you by now should have a decent set of example writing to show you are capable. The only downside for a blogger is you are under the watchful gaze of an editor when you are used to doing whatever the hell you like, plus you usually do not get to reproduce your writing on your blog. The upside is it can help get traffic to your blog and a name for yourself, which would lead to other things.
Ebooks are a popular way of either extending your blog out into products or repurposing your content as a product. While it is tempting to simply compile a best of and stick a cover on it, my advice would be to add some value and go into more detail. People print out ebooks and are looking for something in depth so let them have something great. If they like it they will tell others. I will leave it to your discretion of you put affiliate links into your ebook but I have heard it either works great or not at all. Many give away their ebooks because the affiliate income is so good. One good ebook can lead to another..
You might think it odd that I do not propose writing books. Well I would recommend writing for book publication for one reason only, exposure. Being a published book author opens doors but that is all. It pays really poorly and takes a looong time to do properly. If you have a successful ebook look to self publishing but I would never write a book for the income.
Once you have a name for yourself you will be invited or have the opportunity to promote yourself as a speaker, trainer and consultant. Lots of bloggers speak on the topic of blogging! If you are training then it seems it is almost a law that you should have a CD/tape set.
Seriously though, the tape set or training manual (or even those cheesy conference calls) do have value. People like them and a lot of this stuff is a numbers game, unless you are giving training at a super bowl stadium you will be able to reach a far greater market by packaging up your expertise than giving it in person.
I hope I have given you some ideas but if there are any tactics I have missed, please do share!