Sunday, July 24, 2011

Blog Money

Over the past few years I have received links to making enormous amounts of "passive income" from blogs and websites through Google Ad Sense and affiliate accounts.  While I don't understand how people claim they are earning thousands of dollars a month while sitting at a beach house in the Bahamas, I will give them the benefit of the doubt and say their experiences are better than most people's and if they are not trying to sell me something that requires a subscription, a multi-level marketing scheme or pushing some other product, I'd say they are legit in their claims and know how to make blog money better than anyone else.

Most people's experience with monetizing their blogs maybe more in line with my own than those who are sipping Mai-Tai's and Pina Coladas under a shady palm tree in some tropical location.  You never hear about the other side of the coin (pun intended) but you should if you want to monetize your blog and try to make ends meet. 

Google Ads

You see these in every blog that has a Google Ad Sense account.  These ads can be configured to display something you like or avoid having something you don't like.  

In this particular blog, the only thing I won't tolerate is adult content and I allow Google to decide on the ads content based on what the topic of conversation is.  Since I write mostly about politics, the ads will generally be political in nature, even if I don't endorse or support the organization or politicians depicted in the ad.  For instance, under Politicians Gone Wild: Ron Paul, on the preview page I saw ads for organizations that support him or advertised Ron Paul's Website. However, I don't see what my readers see because Google is a very smart and complex engine that tailors ads to everyone differently, so your view of one of my pages will have different ads than your friend viewing the same article from a different computer or location.

Keep this in mind when you try to monetize your blog or website and read the Google Ad Sense instructions well to make sure you get the right product placement for your blog or website.

Occasionally, there may be an advertisement for a car or a cell phone company and most of the time, the Google wizards will display ads differently to each viewer because they have access to viewing history and cookies people allow sites to collect from their browsers.  Other ads may be targeted based on the IP address or referral links and the ads are adjusted to that particular segment of the viewing/reading population.

The idea is simple: Your readers click one ad on your blog and view the contents. They like something? they buy it. Don't care to do so? They don't. The fact that they clicked on the ad on your blog or website may net you a couple of pennies that will be added to your account and you can cash out whenever the account reaches the total of  $100.  

Sounds easy, right? - Many website owners find that the "passive income" and the colorful drinks with umbrellas in them is nothing more than a dream.  It is more common that people won't click on the ads and simply read the content they came to read in the first place.

If you are looking to monetize your blog, you need to know that the experience you are looking for may not be available to you.  Why? because a lot of it has do with the following:
  • What you write about.
  • How much traffic you get.
  • How many sites refer your article to their readers (back links)
  • The quality of your work.
  • How visually appealing or easy to read and maneuver is your website or blog.
  • How much time and effort you spend on placing keywords throughout your article so search engines can list your blog or website near the top of the search results. Also known as SEO. 
  • How heavily you promote your website or blog on social media.
Note:  There is nothing wrong with promoting your site on social media, you will see the same links over and over from writers to their blogs, or to specific articles they wrote for months on end.  I can't do that but you need to know that the difference between them and me is in the hundreds of dollars a month (to their favor).  I tried it once and could see the difference in earnings, but I just can't justify what seems like "spamming" people who trust me with the same article for years on end.

Topics For Your Blog

Political blogs are fairly common, people who are well known in the political arena as writers, pundits or celebrities will make a substantial amount on a regular basis.  People like you and me, not so much. 

I rely on people wanting to read what I write and don't invest much time on monetizing the content because I write for people, not search engines.  Therefore, I have to rely on my readers (small group so far) on reading, liking it and referring the article to like-minded friends.
If you are new to blogging and would like to appeal to a variety of people and get a ton of traffic to your site, you may have to write about things you don't like to write about, but things that people are eager to read about.  For instance, pick a trendy topic like Justin Bieber, Harry Potter movies or books or merchandise.  Your blog should be updated regularly and kept up to speed with the ever-evolving public taste. 

Warning:  Never, ever, ever... click on your own ads or it will be a breach of contract that will terminate your Ad Sense account with Google permanently.  Read Google's Terms Of Service (TOS) and understand fully what you are doing.  

Affiliate Accounts 

There are various of those, Target and Amazon allow blogs and websites to display products on their pages and for everyone who buys something from them through the web or blog pages, the owner gets a few pennies.  For instance, through a link on these pages, or any other blog that has Amazon ads,  a reader could choose to purchase something entirely different, let's say the reader clicks on an Amazon ad for a pair of pliers, but once on the Amazon pages, he decides to buy a movie at Amazon instead.

If your readers go through the website or blog's link to Amazon, they will still get the movie at the Amazon price, but you, the owner of the blog or website, gets a few pennies or a dollar deposited to your account.  You won't earn a penny if your readers do not purchase anything from going through your link, so don't get your hopes high and start packing up the Bermuda shorts and sunscreen yet. 

Note: The amount you earn through your affiliate accounts is dependent on the amount of purchase and the commission rate that your affiliate account qualifies for.

Sell Your Stuff 

Some blogs and websites have a page or two incorporated into them in which the owner sells personal products, services, advice or has their Ebay store account prominently displayed to attract more customers and get back links from a wider network.

If the Ebay account or services offered are popular, the owner of the website may be well on their way to pack up their bags for a tropical paradise.

If you are new to this, I encourage you to read unbiased accounts of how to make money from your blog that do not try to sell you anything in order to assure your success.  Also, keep the information provided here in the back of your mind and read accounts of people who will honestly share their experiences with you for free.

PEACE - Olivia 


Troutman said...

The whole idea of writing a blog, for me was to try to make a few bucks. I'm not sure if that will happen, because : I have yet to get more than one or two readers.
however most of all i just love to write, whether I'm any good at it or not. I'm passionate about politics, so I can't think of any thing else I would care to write about,other than fishing, wich is my first love.
Since I havn't been able to go fishing in 13 yrs. I'm screwed on that point. Not to mention that I'm 750 miles from my ususal fishing spots..............T

Olivia Emisar said...

For me is the need to write and obviously, try to make a living at it. However, if I had to pay for the space, I would have folded a long time ago.

Now, about fishing.... Just because you can't go fishing does not mean you don't have knowledge and experience to share. Niches that cater to outdoor activities tend to have very loyal follower. You could do a series that inform the novice and guides them towards experience. Your niche is a good one and you might be able to generate both interest and income.

Let me know if you decide to do it and it works well for you.


Olivia Emisar said...

Before I forget. If you leave your blog URL more people could find you and read your stuff.

BlueTrooth said...

I suppose if you really want to make money, you would write about the items or the general category of items that would be displayed in an ad. I think of the tech blogs, but even children's toys or landscape design or so many other possibilities. I'm fairly convinced we're moving toward self-employment becoming much more common with "ad space" being only one of many income streams. "Monetizing yourself" is fast becoming the most viable option. Blogs, Video communities, mobile's what I expect my boys to do to create their lifestyle in the future along with contributing to other individuals and/or aggregate projects. Going "Freelance" will be a new normal. ;)

Olivia Emisar said...

I think you are right about freelancing being the new normal, because middle age individuals will continue to have a much harder time being employed.

As far as catering the blog to the ad category, it falls under the category of writing about topics you may not want to write about. On the other hand, if children's toys and tech stuff is a real passion, I can see the blogger making a decent sum because they associate with people who share those passions.

You always leave great responses to my posts. Thank you.