As published on Hybrid Mom
Let’s be honest, it’s hard to make money off of a blog, but it is possible! There are a large group of people who have successfully done so. Generally, if you have a blog attached to your business website you won’t be blogging for profit (that’s more about driving traffic IN, not out). If you’re blogging for profit, you’ll want the traffic that comes to your site to leave it to go to where your paycheck is. I recently blogged about blogging for your website, and now present the alternative: personal blogs or mommy/social blogging. As you venture out to the world wide web and begin to market yourself, I’ll share with you some things that I’ve found that may help you on your way.
Let’s start with a disclaimer (or is it a confession): I personally have not made a brag-able profit from blogging. I do it more because I love it and my blogging goal is to drive traffic in (not out) since I have an online boy store to market. But, I do gain a little (ok, tiny) bit of revenue from blogging and I have figured out some ways to potentially make more if that were my goal. I’ve been fortunate to gain enough credibility from my blog that I am occasionally approached to do reviews and giveaways. First and foremost, I think you need to keep it honest. I’ve turned down things that didn’t fit in with my style (mommy blogger) and I will only provide honest reviews. I’d actually prefer to tell you about something that I already have and enjoy than a strange new product that I haven’t had enough time to properly evaluate and judge. I will also not give glowing reviews for a product for which I’ve formed a low opinion–given the choice, I’d just rather not write about it.
Keep in mind that without popularity (visible popularity, I’ll get back to this later) it is VERY difficult, if not impossible, to make money from your blog. Your first step is getting an audience. You have to start that process by coming up with subjects that appeal to your potential audience. Your next step is to find someone to read what you write! One of the most effective ways to do this is to visit and comment on other blogs in order to get your link out there and hopefully gain some followers.
Gaining an audience can be tricky. You’ve got to have a niche.. something that makes people want to return. Maybe you’re offering information, product reviews, giveaways or maybe you’re a really funny writer. Your blog doesn’t need to stick to one theme, you may have the ability to offer that entire diverse set of niche’s. Visit other blogs that align with your niche. The loose etiquette of “you comment on mine and I’ll comment on yours” may be just the key you need to begin getting noticed but it does take time.
Finding more followers
There are also many sites that are designed specifically for getting bloggers together. Some that you can join for free are:
Technorati – exposes your blog on an international level. Your blog feeds (once you join and set it up) will automatically deliver your blog posts for a wide audience. The readers have an option to rate your blog.
Mom Bloggers Club – Meet other mom bloggers. You can interact with others, have your blog feed straight into your profile and often you can become aware of opportunities to review products or participate on other blogs. I actually found Hybrid Mom from Mom Bloggers Club.
BlogCatalog – is a very large blog catalog where you can meet other bloggers as well as market yourself and maybe find a few followers yourself!
FriendFeed – keeps track of your social networking status’s updates (such as Facebook and Twitter) that you like to (and should) use. People can also keep track of what you’re doing in this same way. To learn more about social networking, please refer to my previous article Does Social Media Work?.
Revenue generating programs
Affiliate Programs – I know there are many more out there but these are the only ones about which I can offer a personal opinion:
Amazon Associates- you can display a widget of your favorite products that you’ve purchased and used from Amazon. Writing a review about it will assist people in determing if they need that item also and when they click on your link and buy that product, you get a percentage of the sale.
LinkShare – this is a program similar to Amazon’s except that it deals with individual businesses. Find the companies that you like and use and would love to recommend to others and apply to be their affiliate. It’s free to apply and use and if you’re generating traffic and interest you can make percentages off of sales that came from your website to theirs.
Project Wonderful - this is useful for both generating revenue and for advertising your site. It’s set up in an auction like environment. You state how much you’re willing to pay for advertisement on other sites as well as place code on your site to display ads from other sites. Other sites will then bid on how much they’re willing to pay you in order for you to display their ad. One of the nicest features is you can determine on which sites you want to advertise based on their content/niche, and also you can approve or disapprove those wanting to advertise on your site. Click-throughs from your site generate money into your account.
Google Adwords – This is popular enough to probably not need much explanation. In a nutshell, you can place Google Ads on your site that will interest your readers based on the content that Google has established is relevant from your articles.
When I spoke earlier about a “visible popularity”, make sure you’re keeping track of your stats by using something like StatCounter, W3 Counter or Crazy Egg. These services will allow you to follow your hits, unique visitors and the path your visitors took to get to you. These tools will also help you determine what advertisements are actually working for you. Not only can you tell how someone came in, but where they exited. These are also stats that potential advertisers or affiliates will want to know about your site.
FeedBurner (or other feed hosting services) – is a great place to host your RSS feed and offers you ways to display how many people are following your blog. This is a must! People need to be able to subscribe to your blog in order for you to visibly show your popularity.
As with any business endeavor, blogging requires a lot of patience and work but it’s not an impossible dream. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, you should blog because you want to…. passion for blogging will show in your writing and from that alone, you’ll gain followers (once they find you!). Good luck and happy blogging to you!