How do you monetize your blog?

Blog MonetizationIf you have run out of ideas or ways to monetize your blog… or any website in particular, check out InsiderCRM’s 101 Ways to Monetize Your Blog… without irritating your readers! (I think that is important!)

I’ve always believed that it would be an endless list if we were to try to list down how we can monetize a website or blog… and this 101 is a great start!

But if you think about it, it all boils down to 2 ways.

  1. Help in the sales of your own products and services
  2. Help in the sales of other people’s products and services

The bottom line is… from the consumers end, money is paid only when there is a movement of products and services. This money is then spread out into product manufacturing cost, distribution, transportation, advertising… and whatever it is.

So, its just a matter of which part of the loooong distribution and sales process you want to be in. There is money to be made everywhere!

Provide a better user experience by offering better ads

J. Angelo Racoma just commented on a recent post regarding improving Your AdSense Earnings With The Competitive Ad Filter. In his post, he also quoted John Chow’s post on the same topic.

While most of the two posts focuses on increasing your Adsense income, I think from a good-blogging-practise standpoint, it is also important to know what kind of ads you are providing at your site.

John has mentioned in his post,

… PPC Arbitrage, directly affects your AdSense income. It also creates a very poor user experience. A user clicks on an ad expecting to find information, not more ads.

So bloggers out there, please spare some time to check out what kind of ads your blog is offering, and make full use of your competitive ad filter to eradicate those arbitrage sites. To do this, you will need to find the ad URL. The Google Adsense Help Center explains this well.

While Google’s Adsense system does not allow us to directly control what ad will be displayed, I guess this is the best we as content publishers can do. Of course, an alternative is to take out those ads altogether, and put up an affiliate link where you can have full control of all the pictures and words in the ads (most of the time). By being able to really design the exact words on your site, you will be able to provide a better experience for your readers.

Google Adsense versus your love for your blog

I was very impressed by what Robyn found on Adsense Integration. While its true that the site may have pushed the TOS of Google Adsense a little, it is by far the best integration of Adsense I’ve ever seen!

In fact, I was so motivated that I finally decided to do something to my trekking blog to see if I could push the conversion rates up a little. I also found this WordPress plugin called the Adsense Beautifier that comes with the default pictures… but of course, I felt that the default pictures are really too common, so I replaced it with my own photos.

Trekking Blog

It took some time, but I really love the way the leaderboard looks now. It just looks so clickable! Let’s observe and see what happens over the next few days. I also realise that I’ve been updating this blog so often and I’m kinda neglecting the trekking blog – which actually brings in more revenue… so I guess its time to do what I did to back to my trekking blog.

I’ve read a couple of books on maximizing Adsense Revenue, and two of the key ways recommended by the authors is use images to grab attention (which is what Adsense Beautifier does), and to really put your ads at the first fold of the page, simply because most web surfers do not go beyond the first fold!

Well, you might have noticed that I have not been quite as “aggressive” in ramming out my ads, so to speak, for this blog! Why is that so? Hah… frankly, I’d tell you.

I’ve kinda fallen in love with this blog! :mrgreen:

I mean, really, its so exciting! While I’d really love to work on my Adsense revenues, I think (at least for now) I’d prefer to have readers read my posts! And it so nice to see people coming back again and again to drop their thoughts and comments! Awwww… so sweet!

But it may be a bad thing! I’m not getting revenue because my ads are all the way to the bottom… but I guess I’ll find another means when I’ve build a good flow of traffic to this blog… I just love my goodie blog so much, I’d feel bad if I spoil the first fold with ads. 😉

I guess when I start to really work on my trekking blog again, and start to meet fellow bloggers in the same subject, I’ll have to think of a better strategy to keep my ads displayed yet not be too aggressive in displaying my ads. Anyway, its great that at least now the ads come with some nice personal pictures at the side or the top, so they don’t look that bad. :mrgreen:

How much can one earn from blogging?

Singapore's Top Blog Marketing CoachI’ve been asking myself this “How much can I eventually earn from blogging like this everyday?” Because I have been making a couple (read “a lot!”) of sacrifices in terms of rescheduling appointments and deciding not to go for some other possible opportunities out there, just to stay home and find out more about corporate blogging, more about the blogosphere, and about blog marketing, so that I can be the best Singapore Blog Marketing Coach! I’m pursuing my dream lifestyle – one which I can stay at home and work.

So for the past month, and more specifically for the past two weeks, the ONE THING I think about when I wake in the morning is – “What’s happening in the blogosphere and how can I contribute my comments in a new post on” I wake up, just to type “blog marketing” in Technorati and search for fresh articles to feed my mind.

I had a really weird dream last night, and I guess it was because I was watching the neighborhood video shop screening X-Men 2. I dreamt of myself as a mutant, working along with the X-Men. I can’t really remember what happened, but I vividly remember myself saying this:

“Hi, I’m Kian Ann, I’m a mutant, I feed on blogs.”

Its hilarious! I woke up, thinking… WHAT THE HECK? I feed on blogs? Man! Talk about signs of too much blogging! :mrgreen:

Anyway, back to the topic. So how much can one earn from blogging?

So again, I was reading my daily reads, and once again, I’m inspired by ProBlogger Darren Rowse, in his post I’m a six figure blogger. This is way cool. $100K from blogging! Now, as Darren put it, this road is not going to be easy, its not a get rich quick scheme, but its really exciting, and its way what I love to do! Besides, I think blogging is a really awesome way to hone your skills to express yourselves in words, and in critical thinking when leaving your two cents worth about the things going on in the blogosphere.

I must admit, there are lots of experts out there who have been in this line for years… there is much to learn, and I’ll take it in, one blogger bite at a time (thanks Easton from BusinessBlogWire for the nice catchy “blogger bite” phrase!) :mrgreen:

I’m going to post this kind of posts in a new category “My Blogging Journey”… I think it will be fun to look back at everything two years from now.

Blog on!

Is Paid Blogging Ethical?

Sponsored BloggingOne of the articles in WebProNews was discussing about paid blogging and blogosphere ethics.

The content in the blogosphere has a reputation of being personal opinions – true from the heart of the author of the blog. With the use of PayPerPost, ReviewMe and CreamAid, people will start to recommend products for the sake of money – its in a sense like doing affiliate marketing for products you have not even reviewed or heard before.

That’s quite disgusting. It totally destroys the integrity of the blog.

Of course, I feel that the whole situation could be made more ethical in two ways.

1. Disclosure

This is what Joe Lewis, the author of the WebProNews article said:

Disclosure seems to be a key aspect of the ethical stance on paid blogging. PayPerPost does not demand its bloggers to disclose that they are receiving monetary compensation for their blog posts… CreamAid and ReviewMe both require bloggers to give full disclosure concerning the sponsorship status of their blog entries…

In my personal opinion, the blogger must always let its readers know that he is doing sponsored blogging – of course, unless he has really tried the product and sincerely believes in it and really wants to recommend it to his visitors.

2. Honest Reviews

Much linked to disclosure, the blogger can also write the post to recommend a product based on his preception of the product, and not as if he already owns the product. For example, in one of my previous posts, I talked about the WordPress Adsense System and I linked to my clickbank URL for that, but I have told my readers that yes, I haven’t bought the thing myself, but I feel really inspired to buy after reading the copy, and I will invest in it when the time is right. This way of promoting may not be as effective for the advertiser, but at least you are not telling lies or saying things that are actually words from the advertiser’s mouth.

Please do not contaminate the blogosphere! Be honest and talk from your heart, not from your greed. 🙂 Sponsored posts are cool, only when done right.