Blogging Hero

How to Make Money with Your Blog

Getting Started: Types of Ads to Use on Your Blog


Lately we’ve been focusing a lot on promoting your blog. Blog promotion is great for building traffic, but to make money blogging you will need to do more than just promote your blog.

The more traffic, the more money you will make, but… you’ll need a way to translate that traffic into dollars.

How can you do this? Advertising.

Most bloggers make money through advertising, although there are definitely other methods, like selling your own product and establishing premium sections of your site.  But advertising is by far the most common method used to make money online.

Here are the most common forms of advertising that bloggers use:

Banner Ads

Chances are you’ve already seen these types of ads on sites you’ve visited.  Banner ads are basically pictures, often animated, that are links to another website.  They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but usually you’ll see the small square buttons on side bars or a long horizontal in the coveted top of the blog.

Common shapes and sizes:

  • 125×125 – a small square “button” that you usually see in sidebars
  • 728×90 – that long thin horizontal ad banner you’ll usually see at the top of a site and/or at the bottom
  • 120×600 – the tall skinny rectangle; you may see this in sidebars as well

Advertisers will probably pay more for more visibility. Meaning – you’ll want to put your banner ad near the top of your site and definitely “above the fold”.

(Vocab lesson: “above the fold” means whatever is visible on the screen without having to scroll down to read more).

To use these ads, you will need to know how to create a picture link.  This is quite simple

Pay Per Click Ads, Pay Per Action, & Pay Per Mille Ads

These are ads for which you get paid based on certain criteria.

Pay Per Click: paid based on how many visitors click the ad on your blog

Pay Per Action: paid based on the actions that a reader takes on the advertiser website.

For example, if you have PPA ad on your website, to get paid your reader needs to:

  • Click on the ad & go to the advertiser’s website
  • Sign up for their website / sign up for their newsletter / complete a form / etc

Pay Per Mille: paid based on the number of times the ad is displayed or viewed on your site.

These ads will often use banners for the link to the advertiser’s website.

These ads especially show how important it is to have traffic flowing to your blog.

Paid Reviews

Many bloggers get paid to write reviews of products and websites.  How much they get paid often depends on the advertiser, how many links are required, how nice the blog is and so on.  The highest paying ads will typically go to blogs that have a lot of unique and original content and higher amounts of traffic and higher page rank.

If you decide to use paid reviews, you should be careful and make sure that your blog doesn’t become spammy. Remember that your reviews should be relevant to your readers and you should always give an honest opinion of the product or website.

You can use any or all 3 of these methods to make money with your blog.  The main thing to remember when you decide to monetize your site is that you should always keep your audience in mind.  Use ads that you think are pertinent and helpful to your readers.  Stay focused on creating original content, as well.  This will make you more successful in the long run and help you attract better paying advertisers.

posted under Monetization | 1 Comment »

How Fewer Ads can Make you More Successful


We all know the story of the tortoise and the hare.  The hare, overly eager to win the race, rushes ahead, but then becomes so confident in his ability, that he decides to take a nap.  Meanwhile, the tortoise pushes ahead at a steady pace, eventually surpassing the hare and winning.

How does this relate to blogging?

I’ve come across a few blogs recently where the front page was completely monopolized by paid per click ads, paid reviews, and banner ads.  Every single post was clearly paid.  I know that many people blog for money, but I think when you’re that overloaded with advertisements, you probably won’t make as much.

These bloggers are like the hare.  They are eager to make money from blogging, and so they “rush” to take put ads on their sites (whatever it is – banner ads, PPC ads, reviews, etc – they’ll put anything and everything up).  Like the hare abandons the race to take a nap, they’ve abandoned the true purpose of blogging: to write and create original content.

To understand why flooding blogs with ads is bad, let’s take a look at three different perspectives.

The Advertiser’s Perspective

Are they going to want to advertise on your site when they have little chance of standing out? Many good (read: higher paying) advertisers look for blogs that have unique and original content, and that have a large following or high page rank.  A blog covered in ads is unappealing to an advertiser who might pay more money.

Search Engines’ Perspective

If every post on your blog has paid links in it, if your side bar is flooded with paid links and banner ads, then you might lose credibility with the search engines. When they crawl your site, the spiders will see all the links, and you might lose your page rank.  Then you’re back to the advertiser – many advertisers prefer blogs with higher page ranks, because this is a way of measuring how popular your site is.

Finally, most importantly, the Reader’s Perspective

What reader is going to stick around to read a blog covered in ads?  If every post is selling them something, they won’t keep coming back. Readers want to read rich content.  If you’re going to use ads, you also need to make sure that they’re relevant to your readers. Make sure that you have original and engaging content between paid posts, make sure that any sites you do link to are helpful resources for your readers.  Only link to companies that are relevant and that you think your readers will be interested in.

It’s very important that you make sure you write original content constantly, and do not overload your side bar with banner ads and PPC ads.  Evaluate how much money you’re really making with these things.  It’s especially important if your blog is relatively new, and you are still trying to build up a following.  This can be difficult to do if your blog is overloaded with ads.  (This is not to say you can’t have any ads at all, but rather to be careful about the quantity, quality and relevancy of the ads you are posting).

If you plod along like the turtle, and post ads sparingly, in the end you will probably find yourself making more money with higher paying ads. So in the end, we see that it’s really the patient turtle the wins the race, not the over enthusiastic hare.

Monetize Your Blog: Sell Your Own Product


There is a multitude of ways to make money online, and most bloggers know about only a few of them.  In order of greatest popularity (at least from what I’ve seen), there are Google AdSense ads, banner ads, PPC ads, and paid reviews… you’ll notice that all of these have something in common: they’re all ads.

Ads are a great way to monetize your blog and they’re probably the easiest option for you. Some people can probably make a good amount off of ads alone.  But there are plenty of other ways to make money as well.  Here are a few of them:

Create a premium content section

Have users sign up and pay a fee to see a particular section of your site.  The best way to do this would be to have a good portion of your site that’s free.  This will help visitors get a feeling for the kind of content that you provide.   Consider it like an appetizer.  Entice them to see your premium section by showing off your expertise in the free section.

Of course, you will have to make sure you deliver.  Your premium section should enhance the content that you provide for free.  It should be “better” in some way than what you do offer for free.  Perhaps in the free section you offer basics and fundamentals, while your premium section provides more advanced knowledge.

Write a book

You can compile your posts and publish a book.  You can write something new, related to your blog topic that those readers would want, that they’ve never seen before.  You could do a mix of both.  Whatever you do, you can write a book – and you should probably make it an eBook as well – and then promote and sell it from your website.

Provide a product

You can provide your users with anything… a knitting blog can sell scarves, sweaters, hats, and cooking blog can sell customized oven mitts, a recipe book, or maybe a box of chocolates.  Don’t confuse this with an affiliate or giveaway program, although you can try those as well.  What I mean is that you can actually create something yourself and sell it.

In some ways this could be harder for you then just selling ad space, but for other people it might be a more ideal business model.  The point is that there are other ways of making money online instead of relying on ads… so brainstorm and think outside the box!

More Tips for Pay Per Click Links


Having trouble getting your readers to click on your pay per click links?

As discussed in a previous post, there are a few ways to get your readers to click PPC links by mentioning them on your blog. In that post we briefly discussed how you can use design to help readers notice your ads and therefore click them.  For example, you can post your link at the top of the page so its visible right away, and you can make it stand out by surrounding it with blank space.

Here are 2 design tips you can use that follows along those lines of making your ad “Stand Out”.

Avoid distracting widgets

You might have a number of links, pictures and widgets in your side bar.  All of these things can distract your reader from clicking on the ad.  Simplicity will help you here.  If there are less things to divide your reader’s attention, chances are they will be more likely to click your PPC ad.

A lot of the time, when readers see a mess of “things” on a side bar, their eyes my just skip over it entirely and they won’t even bother looking there.

Direct your readers’ eyes to the ad

It is a way to help things stand out on a page.  Often, blogs will have distinct elements or sections of a page.  For example, you have the top banner, then you have the content, then you have the side bar.  The sidebar itself is often divided into neat little boxes.

This “boxy” type layout may help you get your PPC ads noticed.  To get it noticed, you can have it stick out a little bit, outside the “boxes” on your page.  You can also use a different font color, a different background color, a different font face, a different font size, a different font style, etc.

By making your ad different, you can draw your visitors’ eyes to that section of your blog.

(Of course you can also use this to attract your visitors’ eyes to other things – not just your PPC ads.  You might want to use this for your content as well.  If you have one article that you think is really good, post the title in a different font color, use a different background – etc, all the same things mentioned before.  Then if a reader comes to your page, they will be drawn to that article.

Drawing a reader to a particular article may give them something to focus on, whereas otherwise they might feel overwhelmed or unsure about where to begin.)

The key to making this strategy work is to make sure you don’t go crazy and over do it.  If you want to make an article stand out, you can only make one (maybe two… a small number) stand out.  Overall, the layout design should be simple and organized – it should be neat, with the exception of that one item, your PPC ad or your article (you could probably do both).

If all your articles have different colors and font styles etc, then it won’t stand out.  To have something standout, the rest of the page should be mostly uniform.

Monetizing Your Blog – For Beginners


So, you’re relatively new to blogging, and you’re starting to think about monetizing your blog, but you have no idea where to start.

There are many things to consider, once you decide to monetize.  Who do you advertise for?  What do you advertise?  What types of ads should you use?  Where do you put the ads on your blog?  How do you put them on your blog? …but first and foremost is the question of When?

When should you start monetizing your blog?

There are two different points that you can do this.

Some people monetize their blog right away, when it is still new (usually they use Google Adsense).  Others decide to wait until they have a good chunk of content and a few followers.  There are ups and downs to either way, let’s take a look at them.

Monetize at the Beginning

Disadvantage: If you just started your blog yesterday, chances are you probably don’t have that many visitors.  With programs like Google Adsense, you get paid when your readers click on those ads.  So, if you don’t have many visitors… you’re probably not getting paid.

Advantage: However, if you start placing ads in the beginning, the visitors you do get will know what to expect and will be used to it.  Ads will have been on your blog from the beginning, so it’s no big change for your readers.  Some people fear that if you wait until later to monetize your blog, you run the chance of losing dismayed readers.

Monetize Later

Disadvantage: If you wait until you have a lot of readers, and then suddenly spring ads up on your blog, you may risk losing some of your visitors.  Personally, if a reader leaves your site because a few ads pop up some day, they probably weren’t worth your time.

Advantage: When your blog is new, this gives you a chance to focus on writing content and networking with other bloggers.  Some people might think that an ad-free blog is more appealing and attractive, and that it might help you gain more readers in the beginning.

Conclusion: Monetize When it Feels Right

There’s nothing wrong with making money with advertising, and you shouldn’t have to worry about losing readers because of it.  After all, you are working hard on your blog and it’s fair that you get paid for hard work.

It’s okay to start at the beginning.  But if you want to wait, that’s fine too.  You can also slowly integrate ads on your site over time.  Perhaps start with a few small text links, then banner ads, then maybe even some paid reviews (always remember to use a disclaimer).

The main thing to remember: moderation is key.  It’s not the presence of ads that might throw readers off, it’s the amount of ads that might throw readers off.  If your blog is covered with ads, that is what is going to drive readers away.  So as long as you always balance ads with unique and original content, then you shouldn’t have to worry.  If you provide good content, and your blog is easy to navigate and user friendly, then you should be fine.

How to Make Money with Ads and Maintain Reader Loyalty


As a blogger, you want to make money for writing, but at the same time, you might be worried about losing reader loyalty and credibility.  Balancing ads while maintaining credibility is a common concern of bloggers.

How do you incorporate ads onto your blog while still maintaining your readership?

View your blog from the reader’s perspective

Pretend you are a reader coming to your blog for the first time.  What do you see?  If you see more ads than original content, you probably have an issue.

Consider also what YOU like to see when you are reading other blogs.

Use Relevant Ads

You should do reviews that are relevant to your readers, of course.  Link to or review products that you feel will actually be useful or beneficial to your readers.  If you want to write about a product that you are not sure about, write the review as you see it, but encourage your readers to provide their own opinion on it.  This also encourages readers to comment.

Write Interesting and Honest Reviews

If you are doing sponsored posts, then think about how you can incorporate the links in a post that will still be interesting to your readers.  Sometimes, depending on the product, you can write a story.  You should always be honest with your readers and state your true opinions on the product.

Don’t hide the fact that you are doing a paid post.  Be sure to include a disclaimer somewhere on your site (or even within the post itself).  Honesty builds trust.

Chances are your readers will be hesitant to click a random link.  To make PPC and PPA type ads effective, you should convince the reader that it’s worth it for them to click it.  Don’t be pushy, don’t sound salesy.  Just be honest.  Don’t link to websites you don’t like – link to ones that you do, or ones that you think are good and helpful, and then just explain the benefits of that website in a short sentence.

Keep Producing Original Content

Don’t litter your site with ads.  You can still maintain originality and have ads on your blog.  Make sure that you post real posts in between your sponsored posts.

Also it helps to have a personal and original layout or theme.  Don’t just use a default theme, try to find a layout that is unique, that appeals to you and that reflects your personality, likes and interests.

I’ve seen a lot of blogs start making money with paid posts and all of a sudden, that’s all they post on their blog.  You’ll lose readers fast that way.

Use Less Ads to Make More Cash

Sometimes you can make more money by having less.  You might think that to increase the chances of readers clicking pay per click ads, you need to include more ads on your site.  But more ads might mean readers are looking at less.  They see the sections of the layout that contain ads, and just ignore it.  They don’t look at one of them.  However if you have two or three ads surrounded by content, they might be more likely to look at that s-ection of your site and click it.

Ads can be really helpful for bloggers to make money.  If you are just beginning to use ads on  your blog, integrate them gradually into your site.  Start with less and build up.  See what your readers think – if anything.  Many of them are probably used to seeing some type of ads on a blog, which means it won’t be a big deal when they start seeing them on yours.

How to Make the Most with Pay Per Click Ads


Pay per click or pay per action ads can help you make a lot of money over time.  Unlike banner ads, text links, or paid reviews, where you get paid once, even with just one PPC ad, you can make money continuously over time.

Google Adsense is one of the more popular PPC ads.

What is the difference between PPC and PPA?

Pay Per Click

You post a link on your blog’s main page, usually it is a banner.

You get paid whenever one of your readers clicks that link.

Pay Per Action

Similar to a Pay Per Click ad, except, you get paid for every “action” a user takes.

An “action” is something that the user does on a website.  Like fill out a form, give an email address, etc.  So for you to get paid, your reader has to first click the link, and then once they are on the advertiser’s page, they need to do something, whether it’s fill out a form, entering their email address, etc.  The advertiser will tell which action specifically your readers will need to take.

So, how do you convince your readers to click these ads?

Put at it the top of the page

Put it on the top of your blog, so your reader does not have to scroll down to see it.  Let it be one of the first things they see when they come on your page.

Make it stand out

Don’t let your ad get swallowed up by others ads, texts and pictures.  Blank space is your friend – use it to “cushion” the ad, to make sure that your readers’ eyes are drawn to it specifically.  If you cluster a whole bunch of other ads near your PPC or PPA ad, then your readers may not notice it at all or may click on different ads.

Write a blurb next to it

If your ad is a picture, put a caption underneath it explaining to your readers why they should check out the website, things you like about the website, and encourage them to sign up.

Write a post about it

When you first put the ad up, write a blog post about it and direct your readers to where the link is on your blog page.  Explain what the company does, why you like it and what benefit your readers can get from signing up.

Work on your readership

Continue to promote your blog so that you have more traffic.  Higher traffic means more readers, which means higher chances that visitors will click your links.  So do what you can to increase your blog’s readership.

Extra Tips:

For PPA ads: When encouraging your bloggers to go to these websites, make sure you know specifically WHICH action your readers need to take for you to make money.  Then you can encourage your readers to take that specific action.

So for example, if your PPA ad pays every time a reader submits their email address for a mailing list, then encourage your readers to sign up for the mailing list.  Tell your readers about the great content their newsletter has and what they will gain from joining the list.  Don’t make anything up, of course.

posted under Monetization | 1 Comment »

More Tips for Using Ads Effectively on Your Blog


In the last post we talked about avoiding ad clutter.  Here are a few follow up tips to ensure that your ads aren’t so obnoxious that visitors leave your site immediately.  The point of ads is for users to click on them, not for them to run away!

Ads should never interfere with the usability of your site!

Bright, Flashing Ads Are Tacky

It might seem logical for ads to blink at visitors, alerting the reader to its presence.  Yes, it can be difficult to obtain a user’s attention, but users are so familiar with these ads that I think – at least for me – these ads have the opposite effect.  Users might associate these ads with scams.

Instead, lead users to your ads by positioning them in an ideal location on your site.

Sound is Obnoxious

Most people I know surf the web while watching television or listening to their own music, so when websites have music on them – whether it is just on the page or part of the ad – it’s annoying and interferes.  I either turn the sound off (making the effect moot) or leave the page.

The only ads I ever see with sound are those ones that say “You’ve Won!” which I assume is a scam, anyways.

Avoid Video Ads

These are probably the most annoying ads out of all three.  They are like a combination between flashing ads and ads with sound.  It distracts from the content, and instead of reading your blog, users will be frantically searching for the ‘mute’ or ‘pause’ buttons… if they’re not leaving already.

The Most Important Tip: Use Relevant Ads

Use ads that relate to your topic.  These are the ads that your users are interested in, and if your users are interested in the product, they’ll click on it and that will help you make money.  For example, if you are a sports blog, use ads that pertain to sports, ie sports equipment, tickets to games, or sports memorabilia.

Remember: the main reason to avoid flashing ads, ads with sound, and video ads is this: generally, they are not relevant to your content.  If they are related to your content – well, that depends on your readership loyalty.  I don’t think it’s worth it to lose readers over these ads, and there are probably other ads out there that will pay the same amount.

Avoid Ad Clutter: How to Integrate Ads into Your Blog


To make money blogging, many people use ads.  From banner ads to Google Adsense to paid reviews, there are so many different types out there, and some bloggers try to do it all.

There’s nothing wrong with doing all of these, but there is something wrong when your blog is so cluttered with ads that users can’t even see your content.  Who is really going to a website covered in ads?  I’ll bet the bounce rates on these sites are ridiculously high.

You know which blogs I’m talking about.  You’ve seen them before.  You enter their website, and have trouble finding any content.  On the right hand side are google adsense ads; on the left, vertical banners.  Popups invade your screen as soon as you enter.  You skim and scan for content, but all you see are product reviews.

Don’t be that site.  There are ways you can use ads without going overboard.

Integrate the ads in your layout

When you design your layout, think about ad space.  Columns are ideal for ads.  Play around with the column width.  Personally, I would recommend having the content space be larger than the column space.

You’ll have to have some ads at the top, of course, but they don’t all have to be up there.

Blank Space is Your Friend

Remember that blank space is often necessary.  A busy page can be overwhelming to your visitor’s eye, but if you make sure you have empty space, your site will feel more organized and look more pleasing aesthetically.  Eye your design carefully to see if it looks too cluttered.

If you have a three column layout, this is especially tricky.  Try to keep your columns thin so that your content is easily recognizable.

Supplement Ads with Original Content

As advised in last week’s entry about advice for writing paid reviews, try to mix in original content.  Wait a day or two before doing another paid review, and be sure to put original content in between.

You can do this on your side bars too.  For example, have a space for ads at the top of the right column, but perhaps then include an about section underneath, then maybe one ad, then an archive section etc.  Play around with your layout to find what works best for your site.

Moderation is Key

You might think you’ll make more money by including more ads on your website, but don’t be fooled.  You might have numerous ads, but how much are they really paying?

Whereas you might make more money if you clean up your act and start focusing on your readers.  Remember, readers come first.  Blog traffic determines your page rank, and page rank can help you attract advertisers to your site, and they might pay you more if you have a higher page rank.

If you want some feedback about how your page looks, ask your friends to take a look and join a blogging forum. For example, Bloggeries has a forum where you can post your blog for people to look at and provide advice.

posted under Monetization | 1 Comment »

Six Tips to Write High Paying Product Reviews


So now you have a decent popularity and loyal following, and you want to start making money with your blog.  Paid product reviews can be a great way of doing so, but here are a few tips before you dive in.

When you start using these, you may be tempted to write them every day, but watch out! A blog that only has paid reviews will lose readership and interest, and may dissuade higher paying advertisers from using your blog.

Here are some tips to spruce up your review posts.

Space Them Out

Don’t make every entry an advertisement.  Mix them up with real, original posts.  And don’t just do this every other entry… Try to do it maybe every three entries.

Keep them on your home page

More people are going to see your homepage.  What’s the point of writing an advertisement if its buried a few pages in and no one sees it?  If an advertiser knows that his ad is going to be on your home page for longer, it will make your blog more appealing.  There are two ways you can do this.

  1. Don’t update so frequently (like more than once a day)
  2. Have at least 5 recent posts appear on your page.  Even this is rather low.  I would go with at least 10… 15 or 20 would be great.  (yet perhaps a little too high).  Find the right fit for your blog.

Post the whole review

Don’t just put an excerpt.  Unless you write a really creative headline, what do you think the odds of someone reading your post are?  Just try to think of it from the advertiser’s perspective: is he getting what he’s paying for?

Write a quality review

Actually look at the website before writing about it.  Do some research.  You don’t need to go too crazy, don’t spend too much time researching.  Definitely don’t copy and paste, and definitely don’t make anything up.  Honesty will appeal to your readers and gain their trust.  And when you give honest reviews that are good, your readers will be even more convinced.

Do it right the first time

Go over the requirements several times.  Double check to make sure that your links work – and that you have enough links to begin with.  This will ensure smooth sailing.

Don’t link to other advertisers in your ad

I think this speaks for itself.  Now and then I’ll see someone blog a review about one thing, but then include links in the post to competitor websites.  If I was an advertiser and saw this, I wouldn’t be happy.  It also undermines your own credibility.  Why are you telling me to use one thing, but then linking to something else?

posted under Monetization | 1 Comment »
« Older EntriesNewer Entries »