No paid ads, no paid links, just blog monetisation

There’s more than one route to the chip shop

Against the backdrop of a bunch of negative posts about bloggers and Google and their general anti blogger behaviour, I thought it might be useful to just touch on a method or two that I’ve not discussed here so much that might just help fill the void for those worried about any further actions from the Google monster down the line.

If you are worried about getting hit more than you already have, then this could be a post for you.

Before the meat and potatoes though, I just wanted to add a few words on some of the nonsense and hypocrisy on all of this. The bottom line is do what is right for you and your blog. Don’t get too caught up in safe theories. Weigh it all up and decide what is right for you and go for it.

It is my opinion that the next stage of the Google actions could possibly be a dumping of ranking ability or a removal from their index of bloggers who promote advertisers via the use of advertorials with KW rich anchor text.

I don’t think that it really matters if a company invents a new metric and calls it something new as ultimately savvy advertisers will know that at the end of the day, a good dofollow link is still a good dofollow link.

The creation of new metrics as a buy in tool does virtually nothing to reduce the impact on any text link dependent algorithm of 10’s of 1000’s of bloggers writing about 1000’s of different topics so IMO, I can’t really see how Google or any other company dependent in this way can publicly stand by and do nothing…well it could, but I think it unlikely, especially when word gets round that advertisers using this method are seeing a good ROI. Google will not only be exposed to arguments that say that their algorithmic index is corrupted by paid advertising, they will also see a potential loss of income as advertising dollars are diverted to alternative more cost effective streams.

Yet in the same breath, it’s kinda funny that when you think that virtually every single page in any competitive KW SERP is in some way there by virtue of a paid leg up from some tech savvy SEO, then you do begin to smile and see the inconstancies of any defence.

The perceived distinction between their algorithmic results and their paid ads is as important today as it was when they first started, if that perception is diluted, and their SERPs actually become more relevant into the bargain, then the urge to click those ads might just diminish too.

Google like to insist with their mantra that so long as it is of quality and of use to their users, then ultimately they are happy to send traffic to people in search of good on topic stuff. I’ll leave you to work out why the same can’t be said for bloggers being paid to write about on topic services and products for companies. It seems like it’s ok for a company to use an SEO or SEO methods to boost themselves up the SERPs, yet not ok for individual bloggers to enagage in actions that help do the same.

Be they paid blogger or paid SEO, both have the same outcome, potentially. The only difference is that someone somewhere decided that the paid blogger route had a greater potential for loss of advertising income.

Where to go to next for your blogging pennies and dollars?

So, you’ve tried adsense, you saw that it sucked for your blog, you’ve looked at Kontera and Bidvertiser and Adbrite and Ebay and all the other bunch of stuff out there that’s vaunted as a good way of earning money and found that without adequate traffic levels it just hasn’t paid, what next? Where to go?

Niche affiliate blogging

In this blog here I talked about how we all have our interests in life, every single one of us. In virtually every area of life there is a product or service that could be of benefit in some way. It’s how we humans work, we like to do stuff and we like to have tools and things to help us do it. Be it food, clothing, transport, love, toys…you get the picture I’m sure.

There are a literally 1000’s of affiliate programs out there today, with millions of products looking to be bought dissected and discussed, millions.

All you have to do is identify the products that interest you, or that you have a little knowledge about and write about them.

How you do that is entirely up to you. The trick is to be able to write about things in such a way that your visitors and readers will be inspired sufficiently to want to buy the product or use the service. What you want also, is for people to find your reviews in search engines too, write good stuff and people will link to it, it’s that simple. By getting  people in ‘buy’ mode, you’ll be getting visitors  who are actively seeking product reviews or the products themselves in the search engines. Search engines have no problem with affiliates, provided that they add value. An affiliate review or discussion of a service or product is one such way of adding value. You can do this via all manner of ways too, the only real block is the limits of your imagination.

Finding the right kinds of products and services

You could just go into your favourite search engine and type ‘product keyword’ affiliate program. You might get lucky too. You could also type into a search engine affiliate programs and take a chance with those you find, alternatively you could just sign up with one of the great ones that you know others have used and are reliable. I guess this is where I come in and get to recommend 2 that I’ve used that not only have a fantastic range of items, but have actually paid out too. In other words, they are a safe bet.

Commission junction being one and Tradedoubler another.

It’s very simple, both offer a similar route. In short, you search for a product or brand that you wish to discuss, apply to the program, and wait to see if you are accepted. Once accepted, you can choose from their inventories and discuss whatever product it is you wish to write about. In most cases you are paid if a visitor from your page clicks through to their page and performs a pay trigger action. A pay trigger action could take the form of a sign up, a lead generation or a sale.

You get a choice in terms of what you put on your pages.

You can use plain text links generated from vanilla html or if you don’t want to do that, javascript, or where they exist you can also use product imagery or banner type ads within your content as provided by the companies in the program.Subject to individual policies there’s nothing to stop you getting a little imaginative and doing some creative creation of your own.

An upshot is that you can still make money from your blog and you don’t have to be reliant on programs that could jeopardise your blog or content long term through clashing with some search engine monolith.

A downside is that you ‘ll need to take into account that if you are too brand specific then you could find that at some point down the road the brand has left the program or that the product no longer exists. It’s one of the reasons why I’d sugest going with a big provider like those mentioned as both have great tools and a wide segment of markets.

Keeping your readers happy

I think it also needs to be said that you have to think about your readers too. If you suddenly start writing a load of shitty stuff about products that bore the pants off of people then you’ll quickly see a big exodus and lose the very essence of what attracted people to you at the outset. Perhaps a good initial approach would be to allocate say one post per week to a product or service, or a 80/20 split between what you usually say and what you are reviewing.

If you are smart then you should be able to take an idea and put a different spin on it. The last thing you want to do is create some thing that is very little other than some snooze inducing advertorial.

Take this post from a Perfume Gift blog and you’ll see how the writer has injected a little humour and supplemental content to discuss a product called love scent pheromone. It doesn’t just say, ‘buy this love scent pheromone product ‘ expecting the sales to rock on in, no, it attempts to get behind the science and explore the whole phenomenum a little, making it all a little more appealing than it perhaps may be. Laughter and mirth are much underrated selling tools. Another good example of a niche blog is Darren Rowse’s Photography Blog there are lots of others too, I’m sure you’ve encountered them along your travels.

The bottom line is that if you can retain your style and add a new angle adding value into the process, then you can suceed in doing well with this stuff and making yourself some good money online. We live in a world built on commissions and kickbacks and %’s, there’s no reason why you can’t do the same.

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
Posted on: 17th November 2007, by : Rob Watts

9 thoughts on “No paid ads, no paid links, just blog monetisation

  1. The bottom line is do what is right for you and your blog. Don’t get too caught up in safe theories.

    Well said, Rob. Well said.

  2. Thanks David,

    I do wonder sometimes how some of us, me included, tend to get pulled into shoals or swarms and follow blindly in the mistaken belief that there’s this strength in numbers thing and if it’s ok for John and Fred then it’s ok for me too. When the traffic providers behave in inconsistant ways, or remain silent on certain things because they can, then it just muddys everything and creates confusion and chaos. They need to stop that.

  3. Transparency is the best policy, without doubt. Before I received a Google penalty, the information was already there that could’ve prevented it. However, it wasn’t listed in a way that made it easy for me to come across.

    The fact was, I wasn’t looking for it. I was reading information that made it seem fine to use the processes I did.

    I hope you’re enjoying the weekend buddy.

  4. I hear that David, yet at the same time what they ask of us is often different to how they apply things themselves. There is no uniformity, they make scapegoats out of people and generally attack and pour scorn at will, via some scattergun approach of shoot and ask questions later.

    All that do no evil nonsense is being shown for exactly what is. I cant believe that I once bought into it, I must have been similarly insane.

    What they did to you was appalling, granted- they let you back in and I was pleased for you that they did, but really it wasn’t that necessary to do what they did in the way that they did. Christ you were hardly being a JohnChow and saying “hey, look what I do to manipulate google” yet the reality is that they have IMHO developed a bunker mentality that does everything it can to show that it’s really THEY who control the SERPs and not the actions of what someone does or gets others to do on their websites, when the reality is that that is EXACTLY what the case is, it is relatively simple to rank a site in their index, which isnt any poor reflection on them, its just the way it is. The good stuff that gets there is often on topic and relevant, so where’s the harm? They invite people to SEO their stuff, and then kick them in the goolies when through their actions they get there! All SEO is manipulation to a degree, yet they say don’t take actions designed to manipulate our SERPS. It’s insane, really it is. Someone needs to bang them on the side of the head and say, hey nthe games up we all know you know, quit with the pretending that your fab algo is teflon. But they can’t of course, cos to do so would lead to a probable collapse of confidence and see the whole house begin to crumble around its edifice, so…it has no choice other than to continue, with the whole controlly attacky stance it takes.

    They’ve too much power for a private company. The internet is essentially a public utility that they’ve began to monopolise and dictate to the people who make up i’ts constituents. Ive no idea what the solution is, but it’s in need of some redress, be it through governmental control or a drastic overhaul of how their text dependant algorithm works.

  5. Google actions are always giving difficulties to Blog Owners. Content is the key factor but for me, first is the design of your site..to be attractive is the first thing, second is content.

  6. The bottom line is do what is right for you and your blog. Don’t get too caught up in safe theories.

    Could not agree with that more, so many people get so hung up on the ethics and the ifs and buts of all the paid link junk.

    At the end of the day, decide if its worth the risk for you. Some bs niche sites are worth the paid link risk, but you might want to watch your back in a niche with people who know about paid links, because they’ll report you to death.

  7. I agree getting good content is important. But my struggle is getting enough organic traffic to get the clicks. I could us a good lesson on getting organic traffic and then use one of your programs to make money with.

    Thanks for the info!

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