money
Ha-ha, did I shock you with this post title? Some of you may be wondering – what the heck? what a non-monetized blog can teach us about making money from our blogs? Well, that’s the beauty of having guest writers – they can write on any topic I know nothing or not much about.

Let me introduce you to Lee Robertson from LGR Webmaster Blog – “Search Engine Marketing, Web Design, Web Programming and Ramblings of a Professional Webmaster”. Lee designed his first website in 1994 and has been involved with computers and web development ever since.

Lee has won an honorary final prize from Inspiration Bit during the Reader Appreciation Week in April. His wish for the prize was the “blog swap” – he’ll write a guest post for my blog and I will guest blog on his. I asked Lee to write about blog monetizing, since I know many people are interested in this topic that I myself know very little about. So ask him any questions you have about the business side of blogging.


Written by Lee Robertson.

Making money from your blog is not as difficult as it used to be, but it does take some effort to pick the right ways to make money. Here are the eight ways that you can use to start making money from your blog and start paying yourself for the time you spend on your blog.

1. Pay Per Click/Google AdSense

Google AdSense is probably the most popular pay per click advertising system on the Internet today. It delivers ads that are contextual to your content thanks to Googles ability to index your page and find ads that will match or come close to matching your readers interest.

Google AdSense is also one of the easiest ways to start making money from your blog. Simply sign up, generate your AdSense code and you can be making money in five minutes. AdSense also works with almost any blog on any topic. Make sure you are getting decent traffic levels before you start to use AdSense though, because they do want you to make enough impressions or you risk losing your account.

Links:
Google AdSense
Yahoo Publisher Network
Bidvertiser

2. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing on a blog will work well on niche blogs. If you have a general personal blog it is doubtful you will find the right product that will sell well. If you have a blog about your love of gardening you could do very well with affiliate marketing, by recommending the products that you like to use yourself.

Affiliate marketing is different that a pay per click system like Google AdSense because you usually only get paid when the user clicks through and completes an action such as signing up or buying a product or service. Affiliate marketing can earn much more than pay per click programs but it takes more work to find the right products to promote with your blog and how best to promote them. If you simply put up an ad you will likely not do very well.

Links:
Commission Junction
LinkShare
Shareasale
Amazon

3. Affiliate Marketing Advertising

There has been a trend in the last year of affiliate marketing advertisers starting up. The companies that I categorize as affiliate marketing advertisers include Chitika and the new Auction Ads service. In the case of Chitika it is pay per click advertising that is product oriented. Auction Ads works with the Ebay affiliate program and is a pay per action.

Both systems work well on blogs that are focused on products. Setup for both is straight forward and as easy as Google AdSense. Simply cut and paste the code into your site and you can be up and running in ten minutes. From my experience so far Auction Ads seems to out perform Chitika lately. Chitika was a novelty when they first came out but I suspect people have become slight “ad blind” to the ads. AuctionAds is fairly new so it will be interesting to see in the next few months if they continue to perform well.

Links:
Chitika
AuctionAds

4. Sell Links

There are many ways to sell links on your blog. You can use a marketplace such as Text Link Ads, Adbrite or you can simply create an advertise here page and sell links right from your site. Each method has its advantages.

If you go the Text Link Ads route, you simple have to join up and insert the ad code into your site. They take care of promoting your blog to their marketplace of advertisers and try to sell your space. They take a 50% cut for doing that. It means less work for you but half the money as well.

If you setup your own advertise here page, you can sell the links for as long as you like at whatever price you think you can get and you get all of the money. You can also check out the webmaster forums like DigitalPoint or Sitepoint to advertise your link sale.

Links:
Text Link Ads
Adbrite

5. Paid Reviews

There are some bloggers that make a good money writing paid reviews of products, services, and other websites. There is no doubt that making money by writing reviews can make you some good money if you have a high traffic blog. If you are just starting out I would avoid the paid reviews for awhile. Some bloggers also dislike the idea of paid reviews because it is considered by many to be selling out. If you do get involved in paid reviews make sure you disclose that you are being paid to write the review and don’t make every post a paid review or you will risk losing your readers.

Links:
ReviewMe
PayPerPost

6. RSS Advertising

You will need to have a rather large RSS subscriber base to use RSS advertsing but it is a great way of supplementing your blogs income. Feedburner has a RSS advertising solution but you need to reach a certain number of RSS subscribers before you can even apply. Text Link Ads is another possibility for selling links in your RSS Feed. You need to be using WordPress to sell links in the feed. For smaller publishers Text Link Ads might be a better solution.

Links:
FeedBurner
Text Link Ads

7. Pay for Content

This option is only for blogs that have a large following or very specific niche that people are willing to pay for your insights. I
don’t recommend this to everyone, but it can work very well for the right blog. For example I have a client that runs a large established law blog, that is a pay for content based site and it works well. The content is really only interesting to other lawyers and they are willing to pay for access to the site on a monthly basis.

8. Ask for Donations

You can always put out the virtual tip jar and ask for donations. PayPal offers a donation option that is easy to implement. You won’t strike it rich but you might be surprised by your visitors.

Link:
PayPal

Making money from a blog does add to the work that is required to run your blog because it is often a case of constant tweaking to balance the user experience and making the most from your ads. It is also important to remember that your readers come first, continue to provide your readers with high quality content and don’t simply fill your blog with nothing but advertisements. The quickest way to lose your readership is to abandon what brought them there in the first place, your content. The advertising that you implement should somehow provide your readers with some value. Good luck in making the most from your blog.

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9 Insightful Bits in response to “8 Bits On Making Money From Your Blog”

  1. Hey, Vivien, I was not surprised by your title, but I expected something else.
    Lee, I’m glad you published this article here. It contains good information. I can endorse no 2 and 3 with my example: my blog is not product oriented, and I was not able to make a single cent out of affiliate programs, although I tried to pre-sell some products.

  2. For the paid reviews, Andy Beard wrote about his experience with Pay Per Post. It is quite interesting.

    These are some great tips. Should a blog reach a certain threshold of traffic before monetization, or is it never too late or too early?

  3. LGR

    Ronald,
    That is an excellent article on PayPerPost. They just recently released their new PayPerPost Direct and I will have to do some looking in to it.

    Regarding a certain threshold of traffic before monetization, I would say yes if your blog is your only site that you are monetizing. Most, if not all, programs have traffic or other requirements that your site should meet. If your blog is one of several sites that you monetize you can start to monetize your blog sooner. For example, my blog has Google AdSense ads on it, but it is not the only site I run that I monetize so I started using AdSense on it sooner than if it was my only blog. Every program is different and some programs it can be difficult to even find the requirements.

    Google AdSense for example might terminate your account if you have “not generated a sufficient number of valid clicks on Ads or Referral Buttons or valid impressions of Ads (in each case as measured by Google) for a period of two (2) months or more.” The statement of course does not even tell you what the number of valid clicks or impressions of ads are.

    Another example is Text Link Ads. You can join the program, but your site probably will not be accepted to sell links unless it has a Google PageRank of 4. I have never found that written down anywhere officially on the Text Link Ads website, but that has been my experience.

    Regarding paid reviews, I would wait even longer before starting to do them to build up a loyal readership. You need to know your readers in this case. Some do not appreciate paid reviews and will stop coming, others will take it in stride and continue to visit. I think frequency is important. If every other post is a paid review you risk losing your readers no matter how good the reviews are.

  4. Nice article Lee. I love this community building!

    (I also really like your design here. Very neat.)

  5. LGR

    Thanks Rhett. Nice to see you came and checked it out.

  6. Nice article. Out of all these programs, my favourite is Text Link Ads. Though my blog’s still not accepted ;) , I love the concept – Link Trades.

    And I think RSS Ads are not worthy because people subscribe to a blog only to get rid of ads and stuff, and read the content, IMHO :)

  7. LGR

    I agree most people subscribe to RSS to get rid of ads. I have not tried Text Link Ads in an RSS feed yet, personally, but it seems to me that actually might be the better solution for RSS feeds.

  8. Auction Ads has been very successful for my infant blog. It helps that it is in a tightly definable niche. The beauty of Auction Ads to me is I can directly tailor the ads shown to the subject matter of the post.

  9. LGR

    Joey, Your blog is a perfect fit for AuctionAds, exactly the type of site I was talking about. You talk about sports cards and can show ads from AuctionAds that fit the content perfectly. I imagine Google Adsense would not do near as well as AuctionAds.

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Hi, I'm Vivien. Thanks for visiting my Inspiration Bit. I often find myself scouring the internet looking for either answers to many questions I have or websites that inspire me, sites that I can learn from. On what topics you might ask — any topics that interest me, anything from web design to typography and art, from blogging to entrepreneurship, from programming to open source.
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When I'm not blogging, I design web sites, teach, play with my daughter and try to balance family, work, friends and a somewhat active social life on