Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How to Monetize a Blog

Let's suppose that you've been blogging for a while.  Maybe it's just a personal blog, or maybe you've been blogging about one of your hobbies.  Maybe you're blogging for your job, or to promote a product-based website.

Maybe you're just starting a blog, and have only posted your first bits of pillar content.  Maybe you've even just put up an introductory entry or two.

Let's talk about how to set it up to Make Money!

Now, I'm not talking about simply clicking into Blogger.com and clicking the "Monetize" tab.  Yes, that will set you up to start showing Google ads, which can potentially make you some money, once you get the traffic.  I'm talking about a deeper process which will set your blog up for success, rather than just getting a few hits and trickles of money from time to time.

Step One: Identify Your Audience

Who are you writing to?  A lot of this will entail deciding what you're writing about.  If your blog flits from idea to idea like a social networking butterfly, you'll find that you don't have a clear audience, and you'll have few consistent readers, and no money.

A large part of identifying your audience is identifying the keywords that they're searching for.  This goes back to the keyword research that has been taught many times before.  Using tools like Trellian's Free Keyword Discover Tool, or Google's AdWords Keyword Tool can help you determine the demand for your keywords.

Also, read other blogs and see what others in your niche are talking about.  These will help you to identify areas that your audience is interested in.

Step Two: Get in Front of Them

This step comes in two parts:  First of all, providing some great content that interests them, rich in those keywords they're looking for, is a great way to get your blog discovered.  Ultimately, the writing is the stuff that's going to bring people to your blog anyway. 

The other part of it is to discover other places on the web where your audience likes to hang out.  Are they in Facebook?  Or, an even better question would be, "Where can I find them on Facebook?", because they're probably already there!  They're probably reading other similar bloggers.  They're probably participating in forums.  Go find them, and join in with them.  Comment on their Facebook profiles, and join the discussion on the blogs and forums.  Mention your own blog.  Join the community and be active in it.

Step Three: Offer Them Something They Want

Now let's talk about making money off of this audience you have.  Now that you've gotten to know them, and they've gotten to know you, you can start recommending products to them. 

Ask yourself:  What are they wanting?  What do they need?  Find affiliates that are selling those items and sign up with them.  That's not as difficult as it might sound.  There are so many sources for affiliate products. Try some of these:

  • Clickbank.com - Good information products, electronically deliverable.  Some of the highest payout percentages in all of affiliatedom
  • Amazon.com - No matter what your niche or who your audience is, chances are, Amazon has a book about it.  They've also got a lot of other relevant products.  Plus, your can set up your affiliate link to click directly to individual products.
  • The Google Affiliate Network - This source can connect you with hundreds of affiliate companies.
  • A Product-based Dropshipping Website - Don't forget that product website that you're setting up, either!  Link to your site, and directly to products that you're blogging about!

Remember that monetizing a blog is much, much more than just putting ad codes into your site.  It's about the core of your blogging.  It's about developing a connection, a relationship to your audience.  Then, they'll trust your recommendations!

Mark is currently in the curriculum Department of an internet and SEO training company. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including Mark's Black Pot - Dutch Oven Recipes, MarkHansenMusic.com and his MoBoy blog.

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