This is a guest post by Leo Dimilo who has been an online marketer for over a decade and has quietly been earning a living online.
I am a marketer that also happens to blog. I guess you could call me a “cross-over” hybrid because I want you to know that there is a huge difference between being a blogger and being an internet marketer.
Bloggers blog, Internet Marketers make money online. We use the same tools, for the most part, but the big difference is that online marketers make money more easily with less traffic and less work.
In this article, I am going to show you some tips on how to implement common marketing strategies for those of you who aspire to blog for a living. But first, let’s look at the differences between digital marketing and blogging.
- Focus primarily on search engine traffic. In other words, a lot of what they do and their success depends primarily on how good they are at digging deep into long tail keywords that have some traffic volume and still are somewhat “untapped”, competition wise. They take these long tails and build pages or websites and funnel the traffic to their offer.
- They are also not concerned with volumes of traffic, they want conversions and sales This goes hand in hand with keyword research. Most marketers realize that there are some conversations or keywords that will convert and others that won’t convert at all within the market. Their success hinges on finding those that do. Think highly targeted keywords and conversations that are there solely to drive a certain type of visitor.
- The page that visitors land on have one directive (usually). – This is typically joining a list or a product. The link or form is usually above the fold and in a place where it gets noticed first. I say usually because in some cases, marketers will use a “review” type page in which they review several products.
- They typically don’t go after the social market because the “need” or “want” can’t clearly be defined. This is a biggie that defines the difference between a blogger and a marketer and explains why making money online blogging is so difficult to the casual blogger even when they are getting a lot of traffic.
- Focus on primarily social traffic. Traffic from other blogs within the niche….traffic from social bookmarking sites and other Web 2.0 properties. Usually, the traffic is reciprocated by other blogs whom the blogger commented on. The traffic they get (as well as relatively meaningless metrics like RSS numbers) is targeted in the most general of ways, making monetization a challenge.
- When monetization happens, it is usually regulated to the sidebar. I am not talking about Adsense (although I will explain why Adsense on a social blog is NOT a good thing later). I am talking about the typical ad boxes you see on the site in which the blogger promotes hosting/membership sites/opt-in boxes, etc.
- Most bloggers treat SEO as an afterthought. Keyword research tends to get in the way for most bloggers because they are more writers than anything else. Plus, considering that most bloggers spend hours writing and visiting similar blogs, they simply don’t have time to do it.
Those are the most basic differences between an online marketer and a blogger. So how can YOU, blogger hoping to make money through writing, use these things to you benefit?
Social Traffic doesn’t convert well, but it does convert sometimes.
The problem with social traffic is that in a way, your “readers” are going to develop ad blindness eventually and are usually reading your blog without a buying intention. That is a problem and something that can be addressed.
The issue of course, is how do you monetize pages without aggravating or alienating your readership?
And how do you decide which pages to monetize?
Let’s tackle the first issue. If you fear that you will alienate your readership with overt advertising, you can always choose pages that have fallen off your recent posts. In other words, the deeper pages will have a better chance of ranking anyway and less of a chance to bothering your readers.
As far as which pages, the answer is equally simple. The pages that are currently driving traffic to your website via the search engines. This can be done simply by doing a little analytical assessment to see which pages are getting found in search and what they are doing when they get there.
Match a product with the page. Make it above show above the fold and if it is an image, make it clickable. It will affect your overall bounce rate, but in the case of organic search visitors, most aren’t looking to join a readership. Most are looking for an answer to their problems.
Let’s address monetization methods.
Let’s face the facts here. That site wide sidebar in which you advertise across your entire network of posts is simply not effective.
Let’s look at placing opt-in forms on the sidebar. The average sign-up for something free via a list is under 1%. Compare this to 20+% for a capture page in which there was no other distractions on the page and you can see the reason why most internet marketers use them versus opt-in forms on the sidebar.
Now, I am not saying that you shouldn’t if you are building a list. What I am saying is that there are more effective ways to market your opt-in form.
Now, for the site wide ads. While it may seem like a good thing (more “eyes” on the pages to see your offer), there is a reason why you aren’t making sales….or at least the sales you should be making.
- Too many offers make for too many decisions and even worse, possible ad blindness. I have always said that if you are pushing products from eBay, you should stick to products from eBay and not try to intermingle too many offers. The same applies for the sidebar in which you have 2,3,4+ offers. One directive at a time is better, more measurable and you can actually see what is working and what isn’t.
- The offers aren’t targeted to your market AT THAT PRECISE TIME. While you may think that that hosting offer is perfectly targeted, chances are your social visitors aren’t looking for it at that moment. In other words, you may as well be posting any offer because the chances are the conversions will be the same.
In regards to the pages which are getting search engine traffic. Turn these into a CMS format. This will kill the side bar but will increase the chances of having the visitor click the link (assuming that the product you are offering is targeted enough.
If you are concerned about building a readership through organic search, you can always build a “best reads” section but place it below the fold. The reason is that the visitor who may actually become a fan will take the time to read your post. The visitor who is looking for a solution will more likely spend 5 seconds on your page and either click away or click your offer.
Does that make sense so far?
Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a side bar and advertise through your sidebar. But you need to understand that the reason why most marketers can make a good living on relatively little traffic is that each offer is targeted to meet the needs of the visitor at that precise time.
Blogging and making money with Adsense
I spoke briefly about how I think it is an absolute terrible idea to simply throw up Adsense ads (or any kind of contextual ads) onto your social blog. The reason is the same reason why I think that side wide ads, in most cases, aren’t worth the real estate you are using to display them.
Adsense traffic converts best when that one specific need is addressed at that particular time. This is typically achieved through organic search;
- I have a skin tag….
- I want to know how to remove it….
- I Google how to remove a skin tag….
- I click on a page that gives a hint at how to remove it with a link to an offer…
- I click the link to the offer…
Compare this to a typical social blog that gets relatively small amounts of organic search traffic, so the offer is usually not pertinent to those who read the blog and you can see and understand the conundrum.
Use Adsense IF you are getting organic traffic that serves a particular need in which the payment for placement of the ad make it worth it. Better yet, if the ad are available to affiliates, become an affiliate and cut the middle man out.
Take a 2-3 day vacation from your blog and figure out what your market really wants.
Alright, now to put this plan into action. First up…..stop doing what you are currently doing (which is likely blogging for several hours a day) and figure out what conversations you can infiltrate.
Take a page from internet marketers.
You may THINK you know who your market is and what they want. But the proof (which is measurable) is in search behavior. And keywords (I prefer to call them conversations), will be your guide.
Spend a few days doing keyword research and use what you find to attempt to rank for those keywords.
Notice I say a few days. It is because it is simply not enough to take a look at the first keyword list Google gives you. You have to drill down.
- Copy the keywords to an excel sheet…..
- Drill down to long tail keywords……
- Take a look at your competitors in the market that are ranking and crawl their site for potential keywords…..
- Look at Google suggest to see what they think you may be looking at…..
- Google the keywords and see who the top competitors are…..
- Take note of what Google thinks you are about to type in when you are searching…
Voila! You have a list of keywords that you can start to format your posts around that may have some benefit to your social traffic and actually HAVE benefit to search traffic as well. The best of both worlds.
Visibility, aka getting traffic to your site, is important for both the blogger and the marketer online.
A blogger focuses on social traffic. The internet marketer focuses on search traffic. It is the reason why a marketer can make more money per month with a keyword phrase that gets 100 visitors a day than a blogger can make getting 100,000 visitors per month.
Sounds unbelievable, right? It isn’t.
Once again, not to hammer home the fact that social traffic isn’t responsible for sales, the difference is all in presentation of the offer and need.
So, does that mean that social traffic shouldn’t be monetized for your blog? Well, if you talk to most big businesses trying to wrap their head around social media, they would tell you that the metrics can’t be clearly defined.
But a blog is different. If you are truly building a fan base (and it isn’t just other bloggers reciprocating comments that you made) and if your “readers” respect you, then your social blog can actually make money by making offers.
There is a caveat to this though. One directive, one offer on the page where it is most relevant.
And that is pretty much it. Can a social blog intermingle with internet marketing? I think so. Personally, I think that us internet marketers could learn a lot from bloggers as well.
Tell me your thoughts.
What ways do you incorporate internet marketing strategies with blogging to make money online?