This is a guest post by Paul B.
I suppose I could have chosen a more positive title like 7 great new ways to make money from your site, but something in my psyche is always looking to the negative, oh well. Thereâ€™s a practical side to it too though.
I see so many bloggers and webmasters making crazy assumptions about getting rich from the internet. Without pointing out the obvious problems I donâ€™t see how you can fix anything, I could send you to some amazing affiliate program but if your site is fundamentally flawed youâ€™re never going to make money from it.
â€œDefine your visitors â€“ will they ever make you money?â€
Thereâ€™s one point I do have to define from the start though and itâ€™s that lots of readers/traffic does not automatically equal lots of money. I know this could be strange concept for some given the main drive for most bloggers is to get more visitors but I want to get across the concept that quality traffic beats quantity every time.
For example letâ€™s look at YouTube. The reason it wasn’t making money (before Google took it over) was simple – 90% of the traffic they get is untargeted and untargeted traffic is every advertiserâ€™s worst nightmare. Yes there may be a few thousand people watching that funny video of the cat playing the piano every day but how exactly is any advertiser expected to make money from that?
The point Iâ€™m making is that visitor intent is everything because no-one who lands on that page is thinking about anything even remotely related to making a purchase, they just want to see the cat. Of course, now that Google has made it a point to include a nice little ad based on your recent interests (mine shows a coupon for Google Adwords), they are getting that monetization back on track for every topic imaginable.
â€œPicking the right market and finding a path to cash.â€
Now letâ€™s look at the opposite scenario. A friend of mine recently started a blog about vacations in this small Greek Island he lives on. So while on the blog he may cover different topics from where to eat to where to stay itâ€™s all still related to the island, in short, all his traffic is targeted.
The Island is a tourist attraction but itâ€™s by no means the most popular place to visit in the Mediterranean and there is not actually that many people finding his blog on a daily basis, maybe 200 a day. However my friend is earning a lot of money from his little blog.
For starters, he lists all the latest hotel deals at the top of his homepage for which he receives a commission every time someone books. He also knows a few things about SEO. Heâ€™s managed to rank his site on Google for â€œrestaurants in Kefaloniaâ€ too, so now he has every place you can buy a Greek salad paying for advertising at the side of the blog.
Advertisers know when they are getting results, and the restaurants and hotels on his blog definitely are. The reason this blog makes money when many bloggers with ten times the readers donâ€™t is that he has targeted visitors who quite often have a need to spend money, itâ€™s that easy.
Now I donâ€™t want to make it as simplistic as general traffic = bad traffic because the mark of any great blog is diversity. But the problem I see with many bloggers is there isnâ€™t even the slightest link between some posts, one article may be on why they hate their ex-girlfriend, and the next is on how the 4G Phone Samsung Exhibit is the best ever.
Donâ€™t get me wrong if your blogging for fun itâ€™s great to just speak your mind but if you actually want to make money from this business at some point then you need to have a specific theme that youâ€™re working on. Sometimes I think bloggers donâ€™t know what to give their readers so they decide to give them everything!
â€œWrite what you know, but find the monetization within it.â€
Another problem bloggers face is finding that subject which they are actually interested that will earn revenue too. Itâ€™s not easy because most of us have been taught to â€œwrite what you knowâ€ and we find it hard to divert even one degree from that course.
However it is worth trying to have just a little commercial awareness when choosing a subject and overall theme for your blog. For example say you want to start a blog on general computer and technology news, writing about everything from hard-drives to USB flash-lights (I bought one but donâ€™t know why).
Technology and computers as a market is huge so you will end up trying to cover everything and essentially appealing to no-one. Instead why not start a site all about computers you can buy for under $300? Itâ€™s a niche for sure, but I can assure you thereâ€™s a lot of people out there who would be interested in what you have to say, especially if you can become an expert in the subject. Anytime a new machine comes on the market you could be the first with an in-depth review, and also an affiliate link to buy the system (if you recommend it) at the bottom.
So hopefully Iâ€™ve managed to get across my point on how quality of traffic and the subject of your blog can make a huge difference to your earnings. I donâ€™t want to put anyone off from writing about their passion but I do think that with just a little thought and targeting writing about what you love can be your living instead of just your hobby.