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 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 cashkeywords.com, 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 yourname.wordpress.com 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.
The 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! 🙂