Monday, March 5, 2007

Monetize Your Blog

You're excited. You've begun writing your blog, and the ideas are just flowing off the webpage. You're starting to get a following. Your friends are telling their friends about your blog. They're linking to you. They're quoting you on their own blogs. People are subscribing to your feeds. Maybe your blog has even won an award or two. For the first time you find yourself seriously wondering, "What if I could do this for a living?!"

That's when you panic. You blog because you love to write. You know a little code, sure, but just enough to create some links, maybe a little search engine optimization, how to set up a feed.

When it comes to turning a profit, though, you are completely clueless.

Relax. Believe it or not, the hardest work, bringing in your audience, is behind you. Here's what you do next.

Doing the Prep Work

First of all, you might want to gently phase your regular readers into your plan. You'll find them generally supportive--after all, they already enjoy what you do, and whatever it takes to keep it coming is fine with them. Let them know that the layout of your site will be changing, but the content will still keep its quality. Then keep your word. The worst thing you can do is make your blog all about the money and forget the loyal readers who brought you your success.

Generating Ad Revenue

Google AdSense is the most obvious, and one of the most effective advertising strategies you can use on your site. Everyone knows the Google name, and Google will tailor their ads to complement the topics on your blog. What you may not know is that Google also offers a number of choices, ads available in all different sizes and palettes to blend right into your blog layout. New readers will hardly notice the ads, and your regular followers will not find them obtrusive. People really do click on these ads, and when they make a purchase, you profit. You can click on the green google adsense button on Fuel the Rebellion's homepage (above the blog archive) for a free referral to the Adsense program.

Next to Google, one of the most recognized brand names on the net is Amazon offers an affiliate program that allows you to advertise items from their store on your site, even specific items you choose personally, which is on par with Google Adsense. You can link to items in the Amazon marketplace, and once again they will match the ads to your blog's layout. Linking to Amazon's items earns you credit for every item actually sold via your link; you can choose to receive cash or Amazon gift certificates for you earnings. Amazon Associates Program Free Referral

Another lesser-known but still excellent source of revenue in this category is Adbrite. Perhaps because it is less well-known than Google's Adsense, Adbrite tries harder. They pay you more generously when users click on their links and make a purchase. For that reason, Fuel the Rebellion offers you a free referral to their program as well by clicking on this button:

And a new one the Fuel the Rebellion is giving a test run:
Monetize your Website or Blog with BidVertiser


We all know that the preferred way to pay on ebay is Paypal. It's convenient and worry-free, with top-notch security features built right in. It's possible that you have a worthy cause for your readers to consider: feed the starving blogger. Consider adding a "Donate" button from Paypal to your blog. If you have a Paypal account (and if you don't by now, you should get one), you can do this by signing in to your account and checking underneath the "merchant tools". You can specify a donation amount, but I suggest leaving that up to your readers. Even those that can't afford ten or twenty dollars might surprise you and toss a buck your way now and then.

Pay Per Click

When your blog is well and truly established, and you have moved to your own domain (assuming you started off at a free blog-hosting site), then you can consider the big boys. Be aware that you do need to host your own domain for most of the Pay Per Click services out there. You should also remember that most require at least 30 days, and some as much as 90 days, of operation before a blog is considered. DO be choosy about what services you select. You should target you own blog's niche audience. Remember the caveat: your loyal readers are what brought you success. Do a quick search for "pay per click" on Google to find a service that works for you.

Other suggestions:

If you run a knowledge-based blog, you can always try out your luck on Helium, which will pay you for entries, depending on the ranking your articles receive. Articles need to be fact-based, informative and thoughtful. Popularity counts. With your readers voting for your entries, you might be able to make a little extra coin there, as well.

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