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Monetize your blog or website – Earn money from your passions

Monetize your blog or website – Earn money from your passions

Earning money from your website or blog

This piece isn’t aimed at the uber serious long toothed web marketer, its aimed at people new to it all, people who are just seeking new or different perspectives on monetising their websites.
Adsense – Most of us know what it is, some of us do exceptionally well with it too. The stories about people commonly earning in excess of $10,000 dollars a month really are very true. Trust me, I know, Ive been there and worked with single domain sites that pulled in figures above and beyond,in the right niche its very much achievable.

I’m not going to go into the fine specifics of how its done as there are already lots of little tips and sites out there discussing this.

I like Michael’s videos not only because he knows what he’s talking about but because he presents in a non hyped up way. He also has a great balance between showing the potential that someone using AdSense can earn with it but also making it clear that it’s not ‘easy’ money (ie it takes hard work).

Darren Rowse was refering to Michael Cheneys adsense videos , a product I haven’t looked at personally, but as I trust Darren’s judgement I’m happy to go with what he says on it. I’m not going to purchase them though, because well, besides the bighead view of I doubt it would show me that much more than what I already know, I just don’t have the time right now either, Im too busy blogging and doing other day to day work stuff.

Anyhow, an obvious key componant to doing well with adsense is getting a high CTR. High CTR plus lots of good traffic, on high money keywords equates to good levels of income. Even if they are not high money keywords, you can still do relatively well. Some industries don’t do too good, due in the main to the nature of the audience. Take this blog for example, it uses adsense, but its readership is largely one that is tech savvy and adsense blind. These aren’t the types of people who are going to stumble across a page and blithely click on the first ad they see. They are far too sophisticated for that. Henceforth my CTR for this blog is very very low. If I relied on it to pay my bills, I’d be up shit creek without a paddle pretty quickly.

So whats the trick? Is there one even? Sure there is, but its no trick. Its about careful consideration of what you want to achieve and then setting out a plan for fruition.

If you are serious about earning good coin from adsense or blogging/web publishing generally then there are lots of of things you can do. None of them are really short term, all require hard work and effort.

Dont think short term

Let’s deal with why there are no real short term solutions first shall we?

What do I mean by short term?Shut up I hear you saying, I’m gonna buy a big fat keyword list from cash keywords dot com and build a nice little app and rake it all in.Really? You are huh? Trust me, its not that simple anymore. You’ll earn for a while, but sooner or later you will get popped off and get both your adsense account and your domain banned from the search engines. Not worth it. Not anymore at least, well, not IMO – I’m sure I’ll get the odd contrarian to the view, but hey, piss off even, I’m not interested, the days of the * MFA site are numbered. You’ll get a whole lot more satisfaction and reward from doing something that adds value to the world, splogs and MFA’s do not, think karmic.

* Some people go crazy and set up lots of splogs or plugin databases of keywords and sprinkle them into various words and phrases pulled from various rss feeds – These are often refered to as MFA’s or made for adsense sites. These are the sites you find in the serps that annoy you cos they just contain ads to other sites that you would have found anyways had you clicked on the ads at the search engine
p.s There is nothing wrong with, in fact it really does have its uses for all manner of things, its a great product.

Write about your passions

We all have our passions. I have a few, good beer, good wine, good women, good food, arsenal,football, boxing, nature, painting, cycling, books, psychology, reading, good films,good parenting, PHP, the internet, seo, nice holidays, nice cars, nice clothes, technology, politics, desire to live somewhere warm and sunny, better place to live, good health, travel, financial security, emotional well being, blah blah are just a few that pop into my head. I could if I chose to, (and for some I do already), write about anyone of those and build up a nice little web portfolio. For example, I blogged on my divorce, it helped me wrestle with all the crap; at the time it helped me deal with a crappy time in my life it was a useful way of expressing stuff that for want of a beter word, messed with my head. I’ve since closed the blog, and put ads on it. I now earn a small residual income from it as a result, nothing huge but a steady passive income nonetheless.

Publishing your content

We can’t all be html geeks or PHP knobheads, some of you’s have a life! Some of you’s wouldn’t have a clue about FTP and meta tags and title tags and page structure and whatnot- well, great because you really don’t have to either. You could get a good wordpress CMS like the one i’m using here and after a little bit of reading and familarisation you’ll soon be on the road to creating that all important content.

“But I’m not an expert, what do I know?” I hear you complaining.

Well, provided you can read a little and write a bit and use a keyboard then it really doesn’t matter. People are interested in people. People want to find out information and perspectives on that information.People duh, learn from each other. What is commonsense to me, might be enlightening for someone else. We can all take and learn a little from each other, it’s what makes the web the marvellous communication medium that it is. In a potential audience of 5 billion people, there’s bound to be someone somewhere who likes what you have to say.

Ok, so you are toying with the idea, but don’t really want to go with the hassle of buying a domain name, setting up some webspace, getting a database up and running, installing a blog only to find that its not really your bag. No problem, why not just experiment then to see how you go with it. I did,as I wasn’t quite sure whether I’d really get into it, so I setup a free wordpress blog, try it yourself just type in in a browser and see what happens. You won’t (currently) be able to use adsense with it, but it’ll give you some insight, and if you decide its your bag you’ll be able to export your stuff later. If you are stuck on how that works, feel free to come back here and ask, if I have a minute I’ll help you, or blog on it even.

Established publishers/website owners/bloggers

You may already be a blogger, blogging on a free template like blogger, or faceparty or myspace or 43things – um…why? Sure, I hear you on the community front and interaction thing, but hey, you can do all that still and get paid for it too, earn a passive residual income that accrues overtime.

Hosting and domain names are so so cheap these days, for less than $100 a year you could be up and running gabbling away to your hearts content, doing paid blog posts or reviews even. Yes thats right, getting paid to talk about products or ideas or websites that you actually have some knowledge or insight into, paid and valued for your opinions! Opinions that you are already expressing. I’ve encoutered some fantastic communicators on the web, I might just send them this link and get them to think about it too.
On the other hand, you may just have an old website kicking around that is say a hobby or enthusiast site. Its your little place on the web where you hack on about your passion and talk about new stuff and trends. Why not convert it? How long would it really take you to cut it all up or insert an extra bit of code here or there. Or failing that, why not just tag on a blog, leave the old content in place and use the options WP enables to help promote your site amongst the ever increasing wealth of diverse community mediums out there.
Contextual advertising and code placement

There are a number of programs out there that you can use. Adsense is the most popular, then there is adbrite and the YPN progam. Most programs operate a system whereby you are paid when a user clicks an advert on your site. Some also offer a CPM option whereby you are paid based on the number of impressions you accrue. All programs are bound by fairly strict terms and conditions, that protect the participating advertisers.


heatmap.jpgThe adsense help pages carry a wealth of advice and information. Their heatmap graphic is a good pointer as to ad placement. It shows where people are likely to be focused and suggests using that knowledge in determining best placement.
By being creative and imaginative with your code placement you can get that all important clickthrough and earn a little income from what you write about.

There are also some excellent wordpress plug ins that can help with this too.

I like Dax Herrera’s adsense injection plugin as it enables for all sorts of different types of placements and configurations and gives you some cool options like randomised placement, thus reducing the so called adsense blindness effect.

Promoting your content

You don’t want to rely completely on search engine traffic. Algorithms change, websites rise and fall. You can help insulate yourself from this by using the myriad of social media networking tools out there. Yahoo have a useful primer into this here but its a fast paced environment that changes quickly. The key is to keep abreast of the changes and look out for new exciting initiatives as they appear.
If you read this and are someone who isn’t currently blogging or monetising their website and subsequently do and have a positive or negative experience as a result, then I’d love to hear about it. I hope you come back and share your experiences at some point! Think long term, don’t expect to get stinking rich from it, and you’ll enjoy it.

Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

Rob Watts
Kickstart your business today - Get an SEO Consultation or just talk to Rob about your online aspirations. With over 20 years experience in building traffic he's pretty much encountered most markets and scenarios

11 thoughts on “Monetize your blog or website – Earn money from your passions

  1. robwatts Post author

    Thanks Mark,

    Its nice to think that someone somewhere will get a little something from what comes out of my head!

    I think its all about adopting the right mindset and getting on with it! Would you agree?

  2. robwatts Post author

    Would be good to read a post about what you do and how you do it Mark. No specifics or niche revelations required or anything like that of course.

    Just a general, I started out here and got to here and did it by doing this.

    I might well do one myself, maybe a “How I got to 10k a month on adsense, only to get kicked in the balls by a minus 31 penalty” 😀

  3. Alex

    Another useful way to publish without having to establish a blog or spend a lot of time is to use a service like where you can publish articles on any subject.

    They will do the publishing, the SEO work and everything else. Users get monthly royalties without having to do anything else. is a similar service although a little less convenient than Triond.

  4. Mike

    I’ve been sitting here for the past hour or so going through your articles and this one appealed to me the most. I definitely fit into the mold of blogging about something I’m passionate about, which are my cartoon illustrations. I’m slowly beginning to see a small readership building and the response to my illustrations have been very positive.

    There’s a lot here to take to heart and consider, though I wonder if a program like Adsense would really be profitable for a site like mine? Do you have any insight you could share?

    Also have you ever had any experience/success with selling merchandise based on any of your site’s topics?

    Sorry if I’ve gone a little crazy here writing a novel. I’m just one of the little guys hoping to learn what he can from others 🙂

  5. robwatts Post author

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for stopping by, I prefer long comments to short ones 😀

    Adsense can be a great revenue stream. If integrated in the right way. Provided you have the right sort of traffic, it can be a great passive income stream.

    As you can see, I do use adsense here, the people who read my blog regularly are invariably ‘adsense blind’, that is, they seldom click ads. They are here to read about an opinion or a viewpoint. My CTR (click thru ratio) on this site is very, very low, what I earn in a monetary sense from adsense for this site here, would probably cover the average hosting bill for a site and is nothing to write home about! That said, it cost me 2 minutes of my time to implement the code and I get some useful insights as to what kind of content gets clicks and what doesn’t,what types of integration work best, I can test ad formats and layouts and colouration and all sorts, which i can then apply and play around with elsewhere.

    In terms of your own site (loved those characters) Perhaps you have a readership that is a little arty, or interested in learning about what it takes to draw great stuff. Blogs and articles using adsense might show ads to sites that sell art equipment, a reader might be inclined to click one, and you’d get paid if they did.Maybe they love your music, ads outputted, might link to sites selling music software or hifi equipment, again youd get paid if they clicked. A page about teddy bears, might show ads that sell kids toys or speciality related stuff. You can gain an idea of what type of ads your site would show by using the adsense preview tool It really does depend on your niche Mike, it also depends on ad placement and the type of reader you have. Provided you look on it as an experimental thing that might earn you some bucks, then its all good, it costs you nothing but your time!

    Merchandise on other sites, yes absolutely. Ive ran a number of sites which I supplemented with various affiliate theme related products. The key is to think in terms of what your readership would be looking for and showing them products or options that are related. For example, one site I run deals with specific areas and towns relative to various countries. run an associate program that enables you to specify keywords within a script. You can then output stuff related to that keyword.I supplemented my area content with a feed that displayed related books and travel guides and dvd’s.

    The great thing about these programs is that once the code is there thats it, I needn’t do anything more – as a result I gain another passive income stream.

    Check out affiliate programs like commission junction for some related themes and topics too.Lots of vendors use programs like this to sell their products via publisher websites.

    WordPress have some great affiliate plugins that can help you integrate such stuff.

    Hope that helps

  6. Mike

    Wow, what an awesome reply 😀

    The click ratio was definitely something that I thought about a lot with AdSense and figured with my small reader base right now it probably wasn’t worth messing with, but I totally see your point about just putting it on there and maybe eventually it will pay off, maybe not, but you’re right…it certainly wouldn’t hurt, would it?

    I’ve definitely been thinking about putting together some articles showing some tips how I go about creating my characters and so on. Perhaps something like “learn to draw a lovable alien”. Well okay, that sounds corny, but yeh something like that 😉

    You’ve really supplied me with a lot to think about here. I’m going to be saving your article and follow up so I can read it all over again (at a more reasonable time than 5 and hopefully start to put together a plan.

    Thanks so much. I really appreciate it. I was a little worried ya might reply and say there’s no hope for a site like mine 😛

  7. robwatts Post author

    No worries Mike, glad to help, I think there’s hope for us all! We just gotta do the leg work.Nothing worth having is ever really easy eh?

    I think the article thing is a great idea too. Sounds corny, but build a great resource and people will come and bookmark you and read what you have to say. Drawing tips and things like that are great ways of drawing some attention (pardon the awful pun) to your site.

    Good luck with it, may your dreams be full of marketing ideas 😀

  8. Mike

    So true, so true. If it were easy everyone would be millionaires I suppose ;P

    Hey before I go pass out for the day (yes, I sleep like a vampire) I wanted to mention I tried to subscribe to your feed but I was confronted by a parsing error. Here’s the gist of it:

    “XML Parsing Error: xml declaration not at start of external entity

    BTW, that math question of yours is tricky. I came here twice thinking I can use the same answer, but it keeps changing on me. Very nice ;P

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