Posts Tagged ‘Making Money Blogging’

Learning to Blog – True Slow and Steady Entrepreneurship

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

I always love when people ask me what I do. I use to give all sorts of convoluted answers, but now I just simply say I’m a blogger. After they close their gaping mouth, they then start trying to ask questions which basically ask the question, How do you do that?

Of course, the real issue is that most people don’t understand the type of blogging I do. Most of them just think of their wife’s blog or a family blog that they might know about. They don’t realize that blogs have an amazing power outside of just sharing stories about your family.

The other assumption that people make is that as a blogger I JUST write stuff. While I guess at it’s core, writing blog posts are essential to blogging, there’s so much more to creating a successful blog.

I’ve been pondering on how to share the knowledge I have with other people that want to do what I do. At first I considered teaching a summer course, but finding a location and the right pricing model made it so I never did it. A few recent happenings have prompted me to basically create a new premium blog that will teach someone how to blog.

It will probably take me a few months to create, but here’s an off the top of my head outline of the topics I want to cover:

-Choosing the Right Blog Topic (Passion)
-Key Points to Setting Up a Blog (plugins, hosting, platform, etc)
-Creating Great Content
-Marketing the Content
-Monetizing the Content

There are a whole lot of sub-topics under the above topics, but you get the idea. I think it shows the real core of what you need to be a successful blogger.

My approach is different than many other people. I won’t be claiming any get rich quick scheme. In fact, I’ll do quite the opposite. Blogging is the epitome of slow and steady entrepreneurship. However, done consistently over time it can have amazing rewards!

I just wanted to put this out there. More details to come in the future. If this interests you, let me know in the comments.

Types of Blog Content

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

If you remember from my previous post about the 3 steps to blogging success, the first step in the simple process is to generate content. Sounds like a simple thing to do, but it turns out that there is a lot more to it than most people think. The key is that not all content is created equal.

I’d say there are least 4 levels or categories of content. All of them have their place in blogging, but it’s important to know what type of content you’re creating since it will drastically effect the other two keys to blogging. 

One category of content is really premium content. This is the type of content that you could get people to pay for. It usually takes the author a lot of time to create this content, but the payoff is that everyone that reads it wants to tell their friends about it. In fact, it’s the type of content that people talk about with their friends offline because it is just that good.

We all wish we could create this kind of content. Turns out that some people can churn out this type of beautiful content at amazing speeds. Most people can’t though and so the cost for them to regularly create this content is too high for them to later monetize it very well. Usually this means their only able to post once a week. In many of these bloggers cases they aren’t trying to monetize this content. Instead they use this premium content to build their credibility in a certain space.  This can be fantastic, but I believe it’s hard to monetize this content. Just ask newspapers.

A second type of content is shorter form, but thoughtful content. This type of content is generally created very quickly. It rarely tries to cover every angle of a topic. Instead this content is more about bringing up an interesting topic or thought and then encouraging others to comment and engage in a discussion around this topic.

Another type of content is the breaking news content. This is the type of content that journalists bend over backwards to get. Once they’ve had the taste of breaking news, then they want to have that same feeling again and again. I must admit that it’s pretty exciting to share news about something no one else knows about. Plus, of course readers love to read breaking news.

A fourth type of content is aggregation of other people’s content. This often is considered spam and is generally frowned upon. However, there are some models where this can work. Often it depends on how you plan to market and monetize this content.

Each of theses types of content have pros and cons. Some of them cost a lot more (time or money) to create.  Others cost very little to create. However, the type of content you create can really influence the type of readers you get and whether they become a long time reader or not.

Personally I generally prefer the second type of content.  It hits that perfect spot of easy and efficient content that people want to read and keep coming back to read more. Plus, in this short attention span “YouTube” generation, the shorter form content is sommething that readers find very attractive.

You do just absolutely have to be sure to create content that is interesting, useful or entertaining. If it doesn’t meet one of these things, then length or quality of the writing doesn’t matter.

Plus, there’s definitely nothing wrong with mixing it up sometimes. Just if you want to retain readers, know the type of content your readers expect and be sure to deliver it. Not to mention that knowing the type of content you create will significantly influence the type of reader you get and how you should market to and monetize that reader.

Next up is a look at different ways to market the content you create.

Small Google Adsense Tweaks

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

I’m a pretty big fan of Google Adsense. I know a lot of people hate it. Certainly there are things I hate about it too, but generally it’s been good to me. It brought me income when no one else would advertise. It still cuts me a nice check (electronic deposit) every month and so I’m thankful for that.

I think the thing I like most about Google Adsense as compared with directly selling ads myself is that the pressure is off me. I don’t have to have any relationship with the advertiser. I don’t have to worry about delivering quality results. Google mostly takes care of that. See my previous post about the pressure of making money blogging.

Certainly there’s still some pressure associated with Google Ads. You want to make sure that the ads are still monetizing well. You have to make sure you are still generating quality pageviews cause if that drops, your Google Adsense income will drop too. Of course, there’s also a bit of worry that the advertisers using Google Adwords will stop paying for ads that go on your site. Or to put it more bluntly…ads that were paying $5 eCPM will starting paying $0.50 eCPM. From my experience using Google Ads (about 8-9 years I think) the eCPM has almost always gone up and not down. Although for the most part it’s been stable for the niches I do. Other niches might be different.

Obviously, I have a lot to say about Google Ads. I guess that happens when you’ve been doing it as long as I have.

Today I spent a bit of time looking over my implementation and I found a couple really good ways to optimize the ads that I already had on my site. I’ve been doing this a little bit here and there for the past couple weeks. I think it started with the suggestion that I start using the standard/suggested ad size formats since supposedly there’s more ad inventory for those sizes. Makes sense that if there are more people with ads (higher demand) that the price would be higher for those clicks.

I made a really simple tweak to one of the ads from the previous standard banner ad size 468×60 (who came up with this size anyway?) and changed it to the 728×90 ad. So, actually it was a bigger ad as well as a switch to one of the IAB (or whatever the abbreviation is) standard size ads.

It’s still early to know the full results, but the reports are already looking promising. So much so that I rolled it out to 5 other sites that have a similar format.

Of course, the real motivation for me to write this is that it’s another reason that I love Google Adsense. I can spend an hour or two optimizing my ads and then I’ll continue to benefit from those small tweaks to the optimization for a long time to come.

In fact, it has the potential to do the opposite of what I mentioned above. It could take me from making $5 eCPM to $10 eCPM with only a couple hours effort. A lot of people don’t see websites as assets, but I do. Little tweaks like this are a great way to leverage the asset.

The Effect of Making Money Blogging

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Blogging is absolutely fantastic. It has opened up so many doors for me to do cool things. Not to mention, it’s liberated me from working for someone else. I can’t tell you how fantastic that’s been for me and for my family. I love my life.

With that said, it’s important for people to realize how blogging changes over time. Most people start blogging just for fun. That’s how I started. I was just playing around with the blogging software. I had no clue what to publish and I definitely didn’t intend to become a full time blogger.

What makes blogging so much fun? There are a ton of reasons. One of the best is that it’s therapeutic and incredibly satisfying to produce some content. Not to mention, it’s pretty cool to think that you could make some money blogging. Whether you actually make much or not doesn’t change the fact that the dream of making money is awesome too.

Blogging is also a great way to show your knowledge and expertise. Plus, you get a great chance to learn from other people. If you get involved with one of the various community of bloggers, it’s amazing how cool it is to be apart of a community. It’s incredibly satisfying.

Once you start getting some readers of the content you created, the blogging satisfaction REALLY kicks in. Seeing a spike in traffic to your blog is an absolutely fantastic sensation. In fact, 5 years into blogging and it’s still satisfying. It’s like an adrenaline rush. Don’t ask me why it is this way. It just is.

At some point if your blog becomes popular, you’re going to have opportunities to make money blogging. In my case, I had people emailing me about advertising on the site. I hadn’t really considered the idea, and so I just pulled some number out of my hat and told them I’d be happy to have them advertise. I must admit that’s pretty cool. Think about it. You’re now getting paid to do something you were already doing for free. That’s not half bad.

The challenge comes when you continue to grow your blogs and start making a bunch of money. I’m talking about when you start relying on that income for all or part of your livelihood. Once this happens, your outlook on blogging changes. I think that Brad Feld described it well in his blog post about his Paid Content Experiment.

His first point really hit home for me, “Strange Pressure to Produce”

It’s hard to describe why this happens, but I tell you it does. My situation is a bit different from his. He had readers pay for content. In my case, it’s my advertisers that expect me to produce a great product. My product is the great content on my blogs. Not to mention that they likely expect consistent great content.

The difference from those first advertisers is that if they advertisers chose not to renew, it didn’t matter because I wasn’t necessarily relying on that income. Even my PPC ads aren’t as big a deal. If I don’t do as much I don’t make as much from my PPC ads (although even that has some pressure if I start relying on it too much). However, with advertisers paying you each month there’s a self imposed expectation that your blogs will continue to deliver what they’re paying you for.

Honestly, I might be making it sound like more than it is. I have confidence in my ability to deliver great content consistently. Plus, it’s pretty satisfying when traffic and what you provide advertisers continues to grow. Not to mention the incredible satisfaction you get when an advertiser on your site continues to renew month after month.

The only problem when this happens is that then you’ll slowly get more and more advertisers. Yes, the more advertisers you get, the more pressure there is to deliver a great product and thus the cycle goes. I guess this is why it’s so important to try and diversify your revenue streams as much as possible. That helps at least partially alleviate the pressure. My other goal is to reach 150% of our “family burn rate.” Having that extra 50% I imagine will really provide that extra leeway in case something happens with your blog revenue. Not to mention then we can start saving more and more for those rainy days as well.

I’m not writing this as a sort of “pity me.” Like I said at the beginning blogging full time is GREAT! I love it and I can’t imagine not blogging. I’m just hoping to share how blogging changes as you start to make and rely on the money your blog makes.

I think that’s also why I blog on this site. I’m not trying to make money on this blog. So, I can enjoy blogging the same way I did when I first started.