The process of setting up ways to generate income from a blog is known as monetization. Some bloggers are not interested in earning money with their blogs; they simply want a way to reach out to their customers and to help them get to know the faces behind the company that the blog was created to promote. This is a perfectly valid reason to blog and will make blog purists, who believe that blogging for money ruins the blogging experience, quite happy. However, it also is perfectly legitimate to try to earn some cash for all of your hard work, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your company’s bottom line.
For a company that is selling products or services of its own, a few ways of monetizing a blog make very little sense. Any advertising options that actually place competitor product information in front of potential buyers can cause you to lose sales. Of course, if your company is an online content provider and does not sell products, these same options can be very profitable.
Reviewing Products with Affiliate Links
Many products that are for sale online offer an affiliate link option. This link is a way for the company selling the product to keep track of which site the customer making the purchase originated from. The site that sent the buyer to the company receives a portion of the money from the sale. While many product sales only generate pennies, some big ticket items can make an affiliate hundreds of dollars with a single sale.
Of course, few people just randomly wander through blogs, click on links and make a purchase. Someone who is a successful affiliate knows how to use well-written product reviews to encourage people to make purchases. To encourage people to click on an affiliate link, you should research the product you will be reviewing. Ideally, you should actually buy and use the product yourself so that you can provide an accurate review. Once your research is complete, write an informative and entertaining review that includes an affiliate link to the product.
If writing reviews isn’t your thing, you can still use affiliate links. In this case, you simply write a blog post about a topic and then include a link to a related affiliate product at the bottom of the post in a recommended resource section.
Putting Adsense on Blogs
Google Adsense is an almost painless way to earn money with a blog. Stick some ad blocks up, adjust the placement of the blocks to maximize your earnings, and get busy writing content. As people read your content and traffic to the site increases, you’ll start to receive ad clicks. A percentage of the ad price per click will go to you and the rest will go to Google. The Adsense program will manage ad sales, statistics and payment from advertisers for you.
Before you decide to apply for an Adsense account, make sure you have a few weeks worth of great posts on your site. Once you begin the application, take the time to carefully read the terms of service. If someone is removed from the program for breaking the terms of service, Google rarely gives a second chance. A few things to pay close attention to are the types of sites that can’t use Adsense and the rules for generating ad clicks. Pay close attention to these “don’ts” to avoid any problems:
- Never click on Adsense ads on your site.
- Never encourage other people to click on your ads, either by asking them to click in person or by using text like “Support this site by clicking on these sponsors” near an ad block.
- Never use more ad blocks than the terms of service say you are allowed to use.
For many content site and blog owners, Adsense is the sole source of revenue. While Adsense and bloggers can have a very profitable and happy partnership, it is always a smart idea to diversify your revenue sources.
Running Your Own Ad Sales Campaigns
As your blog becomes established, you may want to think about cutting out the middleman. Google Adsense gives you a percentage of every click. Affiliate companies give you a percentage of each sale. Often, this percentage is much less than 50 percent. Selling ads directly allows you to keep a much larger percentage of your money.
• Think about the type of ads you want to sell. Be very cautious about selling links on your blog. Search engines feel that links that allow their robots to follow them are evil. If you do sell links, you should clearly state that the links are being sold to increase traffic or sales and will not affect page rank because you only sell “no follow” links. (The code that will turn a regular link into a no follow link is simply rel=”nofollow”.)
• Create a page about ad sales on your blog that includes statistics about your traffic, your reader demographics and other facts that will encourage prospective ad buyers. You may also want to include ad pricing on the page, but some bloggers prefer to have questions about ad costs emailed to them instead.
• Keep track of when ad campaigns have ended so that you are not simply providing free advertising to expired campaigns. If you have a lot of empty space, you may want to fill some of it with ads for a service or product you are offering or an affiliate ad to make your advertising space seem like it is in demand.