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.
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.
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.
Lately I’ve found myself looking at this blog an thinking, god Rob you moaning whinging whining minnie.
I want to say something positive and talk about opportunities that exist for people who like to blah blah blah.
Everyone already knows about Google Adsense, so I’m not going to talk about them or any other program too specifically but I may include a link or two to a couple of others that I use and have found to be ok.
This post isn’t for you uber smart folks who are already doing this stuff, it’s more a general dumbing down thing for everyone else who might happen to think that this stuff is in some way hard or difficult, as you know already it isn’t it’s piss easy. All you need is half a brain an opinion and a blog.
So you want to be a blogger on the world wide web?
First off, lets just say that in an ideal world you’d take some time out to actually think about what you were going to do and how you were going to do it. I’m going to lay it all out in steps and give my idealised approach followed by a not so idealised approach, you can then do whatever it is you want to do with it. Don’t expect me to finish it all today, I’m going to start the piece and write til I think Ive said enough for part one and carry on another day.
Why Blogging and making money – a state the obvious perspective? First off, it’s a state the obvious perspective as I really don’t understand why someone wouldn’t want to at least try and passively monetise whatever it is they are sharing.If you are writing online for somebody else then you might as well write for yourself. There are exceptions of course, but generally I don’t see why anyone would want to write for anybody else and not get paid for their efforts.
People just don’t realise that if a search engine is spidering their content, then like it or not, they are already monetising your content! If you are writing on a blog platform that is privately owned then again whilst it may not be obvious, you can bet your bottom dollar that your content is adding value to them and their bottom line somewhere down the line.
There are already 1000’s upon 1000’s of people writing online making other people money and they don’t even realise it.They are caught up in this oooh lovely idea around the ‘coolness’ factor of being able to communicate ‘online’ they really don’t see that whilst they may well be loving every minute of what they do, that they could also do the very same thing and earn a few extra pennies too, with minimum effort and minimal cost.
You really don’t have to make the same mistake as them and if you already are, then perhaps this little piece might help you to break out and start monetising your own works too.
Getting the ball rolling
Get an idea – The hardest part in all this might be deciding what you want to blog about.
I’d love to say that you should start off by picking a niche that is going to make you a lot of money and todo that all you need to do is do x y and z and you’ll find the current top paying PPC keywords and all of that, but I’m not going to. Why? Because most people struggling with jobs and bills and day to day activities just simply won’t have the focus and determination to talk about or monetise stuff that they just aren’t really interested in, far better in my opinion to write about stuff that you know and have a bit of an interest in.
Brainstorm an idea – Start out by getting a pen and paper or open up notepad and write down a few things that pop into your head, things that you enjoy and have a passion about.
Write about stuff you like – There’s no point blogging about some old crap that you aren’t interested in, write about things that get your juices flowing, tell people what you think or feel about something and why. By getting that mesage across with passion and verve, you’ll find it easier to build a little following and get people reading you.
People are different but the same – Some people like to blog about random stuff that enters their heads.
This is perfectly ok, even if you are a certified loon, someone somewhere might just enjoy what you have to say. People aren’t as dissimilar as we like to think we are. We all like to eat nice food, talk about things that make us smile and laugh, sometimes cry. We like to talk about our hopes and fears and aspirations, our kids, our friends, TV shows, politics, films, music, sex and our vices, clothes and fashion, shops we like, stores that are offering special offers, places to avoid, hotels that we’ve stayed in, resorts we’ve visited, airlines we used to get there, the people we encountered. Some of us are great advisors having an ability to problem solve and help others, some of us are just funny and like to make people smile and laugh, some of us are ranty sons of bitches, some of us are sensual horny mudder fudder, some of us are loudmothed opinionated know all know nothings, whatever we may be, we all have something to say and we will always find someone somewhere who’ll be inspired/depressed/irritated/amused/aroused by what we say.
Ok where next? So you have your idea, you’ve been around the block a couple of times and researched what it is you are going to write about. You’ve checked out a few other blogs and websites and made a note or two of the kind of stuff that’s already out there, you’ve even wrote up a few pieces in word documents, you may already have stuff on 43things or Bebo or facebook you are just unsure as to where to go next. The whole idea of getting a webhost account and installing a wordpress blog for example just fills you with dread and is kinda scary. Have no fear, it is really easy you have nothing to worry about.
For me the self hosted route is the best option- People seem daunted by the idea of setting it all up for themselves yet if they look into it they’ll find that all they needis a hosting account and a domain name a blog install and they are off Those links referenced offer hosting with a free domain name, eg yourblogname.com for just $6.95 per month and offer great customer support on set up issues. Once you have that done you are good to go.
Just login to your blog control panel with your username and password, activate your theme or choose from the 1000’s of free ones out there and start writing.
There are 100’s of tutorials out there for those looking to fine tune and hone their installs, but that’s a topic for another day.
I’ m done for now (I’ ve a problem with my space bar which is driving me nuts) but in the next blog on this topic I’ll talk a little more about the basics around blogging and some of the ways you can monetise what you do. Meantime, have a great day or night or whatever and thanks for reading. If you have any specific thoughts or suggestions of topics you’d like to see covered then do feel free to drop something in the comments box.
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.