I’m trialing a new wp plugin called simple forum. Its pretty cool, I see lots of uses for it on quite a few blogs that I’m running.
You can see it in action over at my Blog Forum page 😀
Read gems like
I don’t really have the user base here yet to really see this thing fly here, but its good to kick around and experiment with.
If you play with it at all let me know what you think.
Maybe you’d like to see specific forums added, or maybe you just want to go in there and make a little noise and cause a rumpus 😉 .
Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear your views.
Blogging for profit?
Ok, not everyone wants to monetise their blog – some people equate money and blogging as some kind of dirty word almost. Some people still like to write for the hell of it and couldn’t really give a rats arse for any kind of monetary payback. Their payback is the reward that comes from getting people involved or simply venting their spleen on a topic near and dear to them.
Its not for me to pour scorn on any money hating anti capitalistic mindset, we can all rant and rave about market inequalities and the evils of money until the cows come home, yet nothing changes the reality of life, which is, we all need the stuff and to have a productive life, we tend to get out and find ways of acquiring it. The easier that task the better no? why work for the man, when you don’t have to, or at least not as hard maybe.
Earning yourself a passive income stream
Blogging and monetising that writing is an excellent way of creating passive streams of income. Passive streams of income are like bank accounts with lots of dosh in them. You get interest monthly and you don’t have to do very much for it.
Getting affiliate cheques every month is quite a pleasant feeling, trust me. 😀
Blogging for profit isn’t like traditional methods of selling ones labour. You can actually own the means of production, which is you, yourself and sell yourself as that product. Decide upon how much you charge, how much you are paid, when you take your breaks. IOW, it really has the potential to free you from traditional forms of work. Your traffic and authority levels can truly give you what you need. All you have to do is do the leg work and build something of value.
Blog Optimisation Experimentation and Cultivating your Niche
So, having tentatively established that there isn’t anything really evil about making money from your blog/s I just wanted to share some of the programs Ive used and see if I could get a little feedback from people with regard to their own experiences.
We all know that there are lots of ways of monetising ones blog. I’ve blogged on quite a few programs and have shared some of my experiences and gave opinions too. I’ve dabbled with paid reviews, and have recently added the buy me a beer plugin too, just to see if anyone actually uses the thing. After all it cost me $0.00 and took me 22 seconds to install. If I get one beer bought for me, I’m quids in 😀
It is very much early days for me. Many of my past web monetisation efforts have been in affiliate market sectors outside of the blogosphere. This is kinda cool though really, because Ive learnt a great deal about what it takes to get traffic and getting people to click through to stuff and funneling them along various paths which is absolutely central to any monetisation aim. I’m continually experimenting with the blogs I use and the methods I employ too, you have to, why wouldn’t you even, call it BO (Blog Optimisation) without any stink.
It’s a well known fact that some markets are definitely more lucrative than others. People also tend to guard their niches with their lives, as a saturated niche becomes that much harder to play in and compete with.
Every niche is different. Different people interact in different ways dependant upon what they are after. If you can ID those behaviours and tap them in to what you do and how and why you do it, then that’s a very good start in understanding what they are all about; as obvious as it is to say, it needs to be said nonetheless knowing your readership and giving them what they want is a key component in successfully monetising your blogging efforts. Sure, you can’t be all things to all men, but you can certainly be the populist and appeal to your greatest constituency.
Blog Monetization feedback
I put up a little poll recently and some of my readers have clicked on the ‘other’ option. Perhaps I should have added other options that covered the various sponsored blog type options that exist. Sponsored Reviews , Pay Per Post, ReviewMe then there is the buy-me-a beer thing that seems to have gotten people chin wagging all over the shop, ebay and Amazon, auctionAds, Azoogle and a few more I’ve probably forgotten about already.
I don’t have one to hand, but it would be kind of useful to have a list of all the various programs out there today and hear of peoples experiences with them. None of those check out my affiliate link type posts please, I’ll delete those in a heartbeat, but if you do have some experience of a program that you’ve used and are really happy with or sad with even! Then I’d love to hear all about it.
Maybe a quick Pros and Cons type comment even.
This is a sponsored review of the bidvertiser advertising program. It contains affiliate links to the bidvertiser program.
I signed up with bidvertiser after reading Andy Beard’s Bidvertiser Review I even blogged on it myself too.
You can sign up as an Advertiser, a Publisher or Both. They also have a referal program where you can earn up to $50 for new publisher sign ups and $25 for new advertiser signup, both of which are conditional upon performance.
Advertising with Bidvertiser
I must confess I haven’t yet used the advertiser product, so can’t really comment on its effectiveness. I’m sure people will be able to find out info on this with a quick Google.
Publishing and Bidvertiser
I wasn’t too impressed with the backend system at bidvertiser. I briefly touched on those here . To elaborate further, my biggest issue was with what for me is just too clunky a system.
As a blogger I just want a quick and easy way of getting ads on my sites and getting paid. When you log in to the publisher backend you are auto opted in to a long list of advertisers. I didn’t enjoy having to go through 240 + advertisers disapproving sites I didn’t really feel were relevant. It was a royal PITA. I think a better system would give me an option to enable myself to opt out of all advertisers and then selectively choose which ones I wanted to allow. Sure, some people might not care what ads they show, probably because they have a broader reach or appeal yet for a tech blog like this I see little value for myself, my readers or potential advertisers in showing links to sites like Russian Brides 4 Marriage’ and ‘Casino’ and ‘Rehab, Drug and Alcohol’ . To make matters worse, once having been through what can only be described as the rigmarole of a disapproval process. I then found I had to go back and constantly tweak and add and disapprove as new advertisers came on board.
I really don’t have time to mess around like that,so for that reason and that reason alone I decided to remove the ad code.
Would I reconsider? Sure, yes of course I would, but before I did they’d have to improve upon how it currently works. I would like to see.
- Catergorised ad channels – would allow me to more specific about the kinds of ad channels I wanted to show. If I run a tech site then I want tech related ads. If I run a drug rehab site then again the same kind of thing applies. I don’t see the point in showing ads to Russian Brides for Marriage websites as in 99.9% of cases very few people who read a tech blog are really that interested in such things. I want to give them ads that are in the very least somewhat related in some way.
- Minimum bid rate options – What is the point in me showing ads from a network that are going to pay me such a base minimum. Niche blogs target all manner of sectors and themes. Different markets have different levels of participation and therefore profitability. A blog that deals with finance or gambling as a subject matter would ideally wish to display adverts of related content. Ads in this sector tend tomore expensive than those of other sectors due in the main to the high returns that can be made from serious program participants. A casino affiliate can earn great commisions, as can casino operators too, simply due to the high level of spend by the average new player. Why would any blogger blogging on the topic of gambling want to show a low bid 0.05c ad to a site talking about unrelated stuff, when a relevant ad could perform so much better. By having a minimum bid option, a site that decided on a benchmark level, could work from that base and if so wished exclude further as appropriate.
- Opt in to advertiser options – I alluded to this above and understand that as a program bidvertiser wants to get their advertisers ads out there in the space, but jees, do please also appreciate that not all of your publishers are that carefree with who they link to or show even. If at least an option existed to automagically opt out of all, then this would be very much the welcome time saver. Publishers could then look at the list and selectively include whomever they saw fit. I’d like to be able to also have a a checkbox that prevented new advertisers from appearing as well as maybe an email alert otion if ‘ads opted in to ‘ fell below a certain threshold.Update:
My bad. I have since noticed that there is an option to manually approve each new ad, and filter out sites you may not wish to publish; such as your competitors. I hadn’t noticed this though as it wasn’t immediately apparent.
They also allow you to contact them and request inclusion in different categories. This domain was assigned to which to me is pretty restrictive Computer & Internet –> Internet Services –> Search Engines I dont get why if this is my classification I had ads for all manner of unrelated areas but hey…
Bidvertiser Referal Program
I think that the referal program has the potential to be a very good thing but feel that it could be improved somewhat. They offer up to $25 for advertiser sign ups and up to $50 for new publisher sign ups.
Whilst the lure of $25 and $50 per new sign up is on the face of things attractive, when you look at it further you do realise that once these thresholds are met, your bucks stop there.
It would be both cool and I’m sure affordable if there was some additional ongoing passive stream. Maybe some tiered bonuses relative to either advertiser spend or publisher income generation.
If bidvertiser are seriously looking to grow their publisher base then IMO they could do far worse then step up to the plate and offer its partners serious ongoing incentives.
On the whole I think bidvertiser has a lot of potential.
With a sufficient publisher and advertiser base it could obviously do very well indeed.
The success of Google, YPN, Adbrite and Kontera to name but a few are a living testament to this. I can’t vouch for the effectiveness of their ads from either an advertiser or publisher perspective. In many ways they look very similar to most of the other players in the marketplace and could certainly do with some additional formatting options. I think there are as witnessed by some of the advertisers who are using them, some excellent opportunities for the arbitragers of this world to come in to programs like this and exploit some of the low cost offerings that are to be had there.
Its obvious to conclude that a successful program of this type has to live up to the aims and expectations of all its constituents and users, with a little bit of work Bidvertiser IMO, could well do this.
If you are new to Search engine marketing , you’ll be forgiven for not knowing where to start. You have a website, you have your own domain, its been out there for a while, but no one is finding you in the search engines, you’ve read a bit about SEO and links but its all a bit overwhelming.
There is a lot you can do to make or break a new domain, people will try and sell you all manner of services, Link building, Link baiting, SEO restructuring, Usability services, Re-design services, Keyword monitoring services… the list is pretty long so I’ll say no more on it for now, other than you might not need any of them, at least not straight off the bat, consider employing an seo consultant before commiting any cold hard cash. A good consultant will be able to advise you on the best strategies. Recommend good people, that kind of thing. For less than the price of a weekend in Brighton you could be well on your way to getting your site up and running to where it needs to be.
If you’ve just had a new site built then IMHO you should have at least been told about some of the fundamentals of how your site was going to be constructed.
If your development company hasn’t factored SEO into your design then, well, I don’t want to depress you or anything but you’ve probably wasted a shed load of cash, needlessly, but that’s a post for a another day.
Getting good backlinks without spending fortunes
So assuming the best, assuming that your site has all the ingredients to do well in the search engine results pages (SERPs) then the next stage in the process would be to get those all important keyworded links for your target sales terms.
How can you get these? Well, you could always buy them, but that could well backfire on you. You could employ some blackhatter to go and spam a zillion blogs for you, but that’ll just create negative karma and come back and bite you on the arse, or you could do something relatively simple and generate things the natural way yourself. How? Simple, install a blog.
Install a blog on your domain
Installing a blog is a breeze. WordPress is a great piece of kit. All it requires is some file space, an ability to edit .htaccess files (check with your host) and a database, usually mysql. There are at least a 1001 templates out there and plenty of good designers who’ll be happy to help you convert your blog to fit in with your existing website or even build you a new one.
Blogs are fantastic tools of communication. Who is the best person to talk about your goods and services? The answer should be you, or the head of your sales and marketing team, but then wait up a minute. What about the rest of your organisation? What about your distribution and purchasing teams, what about your direct sales teams, what about your customer services staff? Aren’t they all expert in what they do? Isn’t there someone within each of these spheres who can add a postive contribution or two?
Why blogging matters to your online promotion mix
Why am I even banging on about this?
Well, its Sunday, its sunny, I’m in a ‘state the obvious’ mindframe, I want to get the message out there that this Internet marketing stuff really can be very simple, its not so complicated you just have to do the right things and work at it a little.
Who promotes you in the offline world? What do you do, how do you do it?
Do you write press releases and hope they get picked up by mainstream media or local news agencies? Do you give your customers great service and after sales back up? Do you have direct lines of communication with past customers? Are you building those all important relationships?
Blogging enables conversations
Bloggers are social creatures, they like to talk about each other and make reference to some of the things that others are saying – search engines too, those leviathans like Google for example are also interested in what bloggers have to say. They like the way in which bloggers link and discuss things. It gives them lots of diverse reference points to object and sites on the web that people like or have found useful, subsequently using this data to inform its SERPs and rank the websites within them, sites just like yours.
By blogging, you’ll link to others and cite good ideas and examples yourself. Others will link back to you, your domains authority will increase, your relevancy for your target terms will increase. Your customers will find you for an increasing number of keyword terms in the SERPs, they will feel reassured that your company is actively discussing and sharing what it is they do, you will be able to communicate your passion, your ethics, your ethos, launch new products and innovations in a heartbeat, create buzz and excitement in your marketplaces.
Why wouldn’t you want to have a blog?
If you run a company and don’t have a blog, then either you aren’t really that serious about your company or you just don’t have a clue, or you just don’t want more sales, or you just…look, I can’t be convinced of any reason why you shouldn’t have a blog.
Just do yourself a huge favour and go and get one today.