Eight Insider Tips for Turning Your Blog Into a Business – Part 2
This is the second part of a guest post to fill in the gap whilst Im on holiday. This article was written by Anita Campbell, Editor of the award-winning Small Business Trends blog, especially for Blogtrepreneur. Please see Part 1 for points 1 to 5.
(6) Develop multiple revenue streams — Google AdSense is easy, but I have limited luck with AdSense. I’ve never made more than US$150 a month from any single site. Maybe it’s because I am not willing to plaster a site with AdSense at every turn. However, according to my friend Jim Kukral, I don’t think my experience is unusual. AdSense should be part of your revenue mix because of its ease of getting started and the fact that it runs on autopilot, but the payouts are low so don’t rely on it exclusively.
Here are some other revenue sources that I have found particularly promising: Text link ads, which tend to be more lucrative than Google ads; a few carefully-selected affiliate programs; and anything of your own that you sell on your blog.
(7) Chose affiliate programs carefully – Affiliate programs can work well on a blog, but be sure to choose carefully and limit your choices to a few quality programs:
- In my opinion the best programs are ones where the merchant will build you an affiliate site of your own and keep it updated. Once that affiliate site gets indexed in the search engines, you will have a steady flow of traffic and sales. Make sure your merchant allows you to market your own affiliate site. Otherwise, if the merchant ties your hands and won’t allow you to maximize your income, in effect you are just giving away free advertising to them.
- Experiment. It takes trial and error to find affiliate programs that resonate with your audience. I generally have to try 10 affiliate programs just to find one that performs consistently.
- Find products or services that your audience will be thrilled to learn about. For instance, go with products or services that are free to your readers, or that pay them. Think I’m kidding? Nope. In the U.S., where I am located, Cell for Cash pays people who send in their old mobile phones, and the affiliate also gets paid a fee. Programs like this are not easy to find, but they are worth the hunt.
(8) Sell something of your own — Have something of your own to sell on your blog as soon as possible. For instance, write an ebook or create a paid webinar series. Don’t overlook services, either.
Even if you are a young entrepreneur, and feel you don’t have much to sell, you really do. You can sell programming services if you are technically inclined; graphic design services if you are handy with design tools; content creation services if you are a good writer; link building campaigns. Think about it — you have something you can sell. Create a page for the products or services you sell, and link it to your blog. (This is why I love WordPress software, because it makes it so easy to create static pages just for such purposes.)
If you are selling services, every so often write a blog post that describes the kind of services you perform. Write an informative piece that illustrates some project you have done. Don’t sound like a brochure – make it useful content. You want to give people a taste of what you are capable of, with good descriptive copy that will get indexed by the search engines.
Remember, it is harder today to draw an audience to a blog, than it was a year ago. A year from now it probably will be even harder. So, don’t wait to get started. And once you start, stick it out. You need to build for the long haul and if you are going to bail out in six months, then I’ve got a piece of advice: don’t bother getting started, because you will just be wasting your time. But if you look at this as a long-haul business endeavor, you may just be amazed in a year when you look back and see your progress.
Finally – Good luck!
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