September 27, 2016

How to Monetize Your Blog – Ideas to Earn Money Blogging

15 Ideas to Earn Money Blogging, Part 1

Our recent Meetup group focused on blog monetization.  There are some obvious ideas and some that are a little different.  I always like to say that there are many keys to a successful website, but the two that are most important are getting traffic to the site and then converting them.  Conversion can be many things, including building awareness for a non-profit organization or cause, promoting ideas, a candidate or legislation, distributing materials via audio, video, text or photos.

How to Monetize Your Blog

Most people are looking to raise revenues, and that’s usually a goal to sell their own products or services, and that’s the first of my ideas on how to monetize your blog:

  1. Image of Shakespeare asking, "To blog or not to blog."Sell your own products and services. This can be a photographer selling wedding photos or someone who builds birdfeeders to sell online or at a local fair.  Blogs devoted to a specific product are not uncommon and are especially prevalent in the affiliate marketing space. (See below)
  2. Adsense ads.  This is one of the most common blog monetization tactics.  Google has a program where you can show ads on your site and advertisers have the ability to have their ads shown on the Google Content Network in niches that make sense.  Every time someone clicks on an ad on your site, you get paid a small fee.  Usually, blogs write content about a very specific topic and try to rank high for it.  As people find the content, they see the ads, resulting in you earning money with your blog!
  3. Affiliate products. As with Adwords, highly focused blogs are used to attract an audience looking for a specific solution that can be fulfilled by products you sell that are provided by others.  Most often affiliates join networks such as Shareasale or Commission Junction, which represents products of just about every niche you can imagine, from apparel to industrial equipment to furniture to holiday stuff.  This is similar to selling your own products listed above, but one benefit is that fulfillment, such as shipping and product support are handled by the merchants.  Amazon (see below) is a huge supplier of products to affiliate marketers.
  4. Membership programs.  Setting up a free membership site is a great way to attract and retain people who might be interested in you or your products and services.  That can evolve into a paid version where you charge participants monthly or annually for regular content, which may include a regular teleseminar or webinar.  You can take that a step further by adding another level to the membership level.  An example might be to have a $27 monthly membership that includes a newsletter access to archived information.  Next you could add a monthly or weekly teleseminar/webinar for a total of $47/mo.  Kick it up another notch by adding 20 or 30 minutes of one-on-one coaching for $77 or maybe even $97/mo.  I’ve seen layered membership sites go up to $500 or even $2,000 per month!
  5. Amazon.  Amazon is one of the largest affiliate marketers, but they no longer sell products thru publishers based in sales tax nexus states, such as Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois and New York.  (That will change when a national online sales tax is created – and you know it will!)  One of the cool thing about Amazon is that you can promote a product on your blog, but also get a commission if your reader browses around and finds something else!  For those who do promote books, music movies and anything sold by Amazon, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Buy.com can often buy from themselves and get a commission for items they’d buy elsewhere.
  6. Sell eBooks.  You can write and produce an eBook using Word and turning it into a PDF, sell it on you blog using PayPal or something similar.  More eBooks are sold today than traditional books and you can get yours in the Amazon marketplace and sell it on your blog and in Amazon.  Once your buyer pays for your book, they are sent to a page where they can download it.
  7. Self-publish your book.  You can sell a self-published book on Amazon, B&N and any number of other places.  Use your blog to promote it and link to it.

People who have come to know you, like you and trust you will buy from you!

Next, we’ll have 8 more ideas on how to monetize your blog!

What ideas do you have?

What challenges have you faced trying to earn money with a blog?

What questions?

 

5 Questions with Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry Website ROI

Look up the definition of super affiliate in the dictionary and you find a picture of Lynn Terry.

5 Questions with Lynn Terry

I have a world of respect for Lynn Terry as a person and marketer and if you investigate, you’ll find she has a huge group of fans.  It’s easy to know why, she gives alot of her time, she knows what she talks about and she is a very successful marketer or “super affiliate.”

She’s big in the affiliate marketing niche and an expert blogger (sometimes those go together nicely, well, maybe all the time!) But her insights on Search Engine Optimization and the ways of  building successful web properties make her one of the core people you should follow. She’s well respected by the experts in the Internet Marketing world.  She’s a presenter at both of the annual Niche Affiliate Marketing Systems (AffLink) conferences in Atlanta and other events around the world.

She was gracious to answer 5 Questions in this interview.  This is part of my new “5 Questions” interview series.

Get more of her at Clicknewz.com and Facebook.

So here are 5 Questions with Lynn Terry…

1) Let’s talk about SEO. You’re well known for your abilities in organic ranking and have taught extensively on effective keyword research, on-site linking and other tactics. What are your top 3 recommendations for achieving page one results in any niche?

SEO is actually quite simple. Unfortunately, it’s often made out to be complicated or difficult – which is not the case at all. There are really only two things you need to do, though I’ll throw in a third which is newer but very helpful:

1. Optimize your page or blog post. Choose your keyword phrase and use it in the title of the page/post, within the content area, and in the URL of the page/post.

2. Get inbound links to that page or post, using your keyword phrase in the anchor text. You want some variety to the anchor text, and to the type and source of inbound links. Variety meaning links from article marketing, bookmarking, social media, other blogs/pages, etc. You never want all of your inbound links to have the exact same anchor text, or come from the exact same type of source.

3. Get social media action. This means Retweets on Twitter, Likes on Facebook, and even the new “+1” option on Google. The easiest way to do this is to just write awesome content that people want to like, share and vote up – and be active on Facebook & Twitter so that they’ll see it and share it.

To give you a live example, I recently wrote a blog post about Online Jobs Work From Home. The text I just linked to is called Anchor Text. It tells the search engines what the link is about. That text is also my keyword phrase, the phrase I want that post to rank well for in the major search engines. It’s what you call a “long tail keyword phrase” and actually includes more than one keyword phrase.

If you look at the post carefully you’ll see that I used that long tail keyword phrase in the title, and throughout the post. Since it’s an awkward phrase (people search for things in the strangest ways sometimes! lol) I used punctuation to make it read more naturally. You’ll see a comma or even a period that breaks up the phrase. Which is fine, because Google doesn’t count the punctuation.

Website ROI tips

Lynn & me at NAMS3

2) You’re a prolific (and terrific) blogger, could you please point us to your best posts on your recommendations? That way we can get even more insight.

Sure – and thank you! I *love* blogging and I love sharing what I learn with my readers. 🙂

Ways to Increase Traffic To Your Site – Free

Using Keyword Modifiers to Qualify Your Visitors

Long Tail Keywords: Using Phrases That Make Sales!

3) Besides website optimization, linking and SEO in general, what’s your next favorite online marketing tactic?

I would have to say Guest Blogging. And while it’s part of my SEO strategy, it’s also a stand-alone marketing strategy. Writing guest blog posts for other bloggers in your niche, or even doing interviews like this one, puts you in front of an active readership.

When you are just starting out, you won’t have traffic and readers of your own. So guest blogging allows you to leverage the hard work of others who have gone before you in your niche. While you may mistakenly look at them as competitors… the truth is, they can be your partners.

The one thing every blogger needs is great new content. Constantly. It can be exhausting for *any* blogger, so most welcome a guest post now and then to keep their readers engaged.

Done right, this will not only bring you exposure and traffic from the readers of that blog, but it will also give you a permanent inbound link to one of your posts or pages – which will help that post/page rank higher in the search engines. So it’s a double incentive!

Lynn Terry NAMS

Lynn teaching at NAMS6

4) Getting traffic to a website is one thing, converting the desired action is another. What do you say about conversion?

The biggest mistake I see people make is *not* including a call-to-action. Each web page (or blog post) should stand alone, and lead the visitor to the next best click. For every page you create, ask yourself what ONE thing you want the visitor to do when they land on that page. Then make that action obvious by telling them or asking them – very clearly.

In addition to making that next best click obvious, you need a strong message-to-market-match. That means target the exact person that would be most interested in your offer by choosing the right keyword phrases. Give people what they are looking for, specifically.

If someone is searching for a product to buy, show them the product and where to buy it. They don’t want to read a 800 word article, they want to buy a product. If someone is searching for information on a topic or product, don’t try to sell them a product without giving them the information they requested.

A keyword phrase is a conversation starter. They are asking a question. Your job is to answer it.

5) You talk a lot about keeping things simple and that you don’t use many tools. What are the few tools that you find indispensable as an Internet marketer?

That’s true. I run very little software on my computers, and no toolbars at all. It’s just distracting and unnecessary in my opinion. That said, there are a few things I use daily and couldn’t live without at this point, including:

– WordTracker for Keyword Research
– My smart phone, which lets me practically run my online business from my back pocket – anywhere, anytime
– Aweber for mailing list management

I also recommend a word processor that lets you convert documents into PDF files. You can use openoffice.org which is free, and works very nicely. No reason to spend too much, or have too much clutter, to run a successful online business! 😉

That’s something else I like about Lynn.  She’s very successful without paying for alot of tools.  That helps you increase Website ROI.

I hope you enjoyed my Lynn Terry interview.  Do you have any questions for Lynn on successful website strategy, affiliate marketing, Internet marketing tools, SEO or being a super affiliate?  Please ask in the comment box below.

 

Why I Attend Meetups and Why You Should Too

Jason Rubacky Affiliate Summit Meetup Chicago

Jason Rubacky

If you haven’t attended a Meetup, you’re missing an opportunity to learn some things that are important to your career or business, network with like-minded people and have some fun! Meetup.com is where you begin and you can look for a Meetup based on location and/or interest. Many Meetups are free and some have a modest fee to cover food or beverages.  Play around with Meetup.com, you may find some interesting opportunities!

I belong to several Internet Marketing or Web Development Meetup groups. I recently attended 2 Meetups that are part of the Affiliate Summit Conference, one in Chicago where I live and one in Orlando where I was on business.  (Note: Affiliate Summit is moving to Facebook Groups from Meetup)

At the Chicago Affiliate Summit Meetup, I was talking with Jason Rubacky, the Affiliate Development Manager from Shareasale, who told me that he could rank in the Top 10 for any image, usually in the Top 3, within a week or 10 days. That’s powerful stuff! His technique is not that much different than anything an SEO with a little experience doesn’t already know, but what is intriguing is the WHY it works so well for Jason. He thinks many of the leaders in image search rankings are by people who don’t really optimize well – they just sort of lucked into a high ranking.

Affiliate Summit Meetup Chicago #meetmeaffsumI believe it!  And that presents an opportunity for you!

Jason shares his optimizing images technique on the Shareasale Blog, but the highlights are to use an exact match strategy for the “File name,’ “Title,” “Alt Text,” and “Description” of the image.

At the Orlando Meetup, Missy Ward, Michael Nunez and Brett Burky  all made made great presentations.  Missy (@MissyWard) presented “Monetizing Your Blog Using Affiliate Marketing.”

Missy Ward #meetmeaffsum

Missy Ward

Tip #1: Video – Including using TubeMogul for easy distribution and tracking for top social media and video sharing sites.  Also, how to use Google Adwords Video Ads

Tip #2: Email – Use Feedburner email subscription on your blog – it’s free.  Use AWeber (aff link) for subscriber opt-in and sending weekly automated newsletters using a template

Tip #3: Photos – Use plugins to rotate images on your blog

Tip #4: Twitter & Facebook – Build relationships by being relevant and genuine.  Make sure you’re transparent and offer full disclosure.  Use automation plugins and consider Facebook advertising.

Tip #5: Podcasting – Missy recommends that you syndicate podcasts to iTunes and AudiblePodcast.com

Michael Nunez from AffiliateManager.com continued with: Automated Commissionable Links.  Michael introduced his Bouncelinks.com program and using it on blogs, forums and social networks. I was impressed and want to investigate it some more!

Affiliate Summit Picture #meetmeaffsumBrett Burky (@BrettBurky) presented on Leveraging OPA. What if you could legally steal traffic from successful websites? You can do this with making frequent comments on blogs & forums, using trackbacks, guest posting and participating in social media, including Twitter, Fan Pages and LinkedIn Groups.  He shared some of the tools he uses to stay on top: Google Readers, Comment Sniper, Google Alerts and Hootsuite.

So, between the two Meetups, I probably invested 3-4 hours of my time.  What I’ve shared with you in this post is only a small portion of what I learned, not to mention the value of the relationships I’ve made.  Participating in Meetups is an efficient way to learn and network and that all helps build your ROI!

Affiliate Summit Orlando MeetupOne other point: I was talking about Meetups yesterday with someone who had looked at them and dismissed them.  Upon further review, she learned that the organizer of a local Meetup she might be interested in is also the Executive Director of an association she’s interested in!  Talk about multiple opportunities to connect!

Click for more Kurt Scholle photos on Flickr of the Chicago & Orlando Meetups

It was just announced that Affiliate Summit Meetups are moving to Facebook Events.  You can look for Meetups in your area, but to attend one of the dozens of Affiliate Summit Meetups Meetings, you need to find them on Facebook.

#meetmeaffsum