Guest Post by Shaun Connell
Having a blog is one thing; making money with the blog is another. Just about anyone can set up a blog in a matter of minutes, and write about whatever they wish. It takes some time, effort, and strategy to turn a blog into a moneymaking venture. If this is what you have in mind, here are some tips to help you get started.
At the heart of any blog is the subject matter. The fact is that unless your blog appeals to enough people, there will never be enough traffic coming to your site to generate any real income. For this reason, you need to research topics before settling on one for your blog. Spend some time online, and find out what people are searching for online, then pick one of those core topics and make it the subject of your writing.
For example, I have websites about both gold coins and financial advice -- either of these is a fantastic choice for building a website on, in that there is a lot of competition for the visitors -- hence, advertising revenue.
Once you have settled on the topic for your blog, learn how to write the content to best effect. This means learning how to incorporate keywords and keyword phrases that people use often as they search for information online. Make sure that when you include these keywords in your blog posts, they make sense. Today, many search engines frown upon the random use of phrases in order to obtain higher rankings in searches; but if you use those phrases in context and in a manner that seems natural, there is a good chance those same search engines will smile on your efforts and bump your site a little higher in the results.
Keep in mind that along with the quality of the content you post on the blog, you also will need to make sure the appearance of your blog is appealing. Part of this is to make sure the pages are configured so they load with relative ease. No one likes to wait forever as the elements of a page load. This is particularly important if the readers you want to reach are more likely to live in areas where dial-up services is the only way to establish a connection to the Internet. Select colors, graphics, and images with care, and make sure the entire page looks great and loads within a reasonable amount of time. Doing this will insure that you will make money online.
With your blog up and running, you also need to address how to go about earning money from the site. If you sell products of your own, the obvious answer is to make sure there are links to your online store included on each page. For people who do not have an online retail business, partnering with an ad service is a great way to make money. Essentially, every time someone visits your site and clicks on one of those ads, there is a chance to make some money off the blog.
Keep in mind that how those ads make you money varies. With some, you will receive a small amount each time anyone clicks on those ads and is redirected to another site. This is known as a pay per click ad. Other ad programs are configured so that you only earn money if the activity results in a sale, also known as pay per sale. Make sure you know how any ad partner you consider will pay you, if there are any minimum earnings you must accumulate before receiving a payment, and how much control you have over the ads displayed on your site. Ideally, you want liberal payment terms and the ability to veto an ad that you think is not in keeping with the content of your site.
Even with all these elements in place, there is still one more important thing you must do if you want your site to make money: advertise. This can include such strategies as including a link to the blog in your email signature, creating accounts on social networking sites and actively promoting the blog, and making use of link exchanges to spread the word about what you have to offer. Don’t downplay the potential of word of mouth to friends and family to spread the word about your blog. Even printing business cards with the blog URL included and leaving them around as you visit restaurants, airport terminals, and other public places can help you pick up some additional traffic over time.
Good blogs that earn money over time don’t always turn a quick profit. Assuming you’ve done your homework and you can see incremental increases from week to week in your site statistics, the money will come. Exercise patience, always be open to new ways to make the blog more attractive and inviting to potential visitors, and never assume that the blog is as good as it can ever get. As with any business, blogging takes effort and commitment if it is to become anything other than a hobby.
Shaun Connell loves writing and publishing blogs, and manages websites dealing with things from financial advice to gold coins. He's also an economics and philosophy undergrad at Lyon College.