Someone who doesn’t want his name published asked me this question -
What are different ways to earn with different type of advertisements for an average blogger, and would like to know what are other sources of income for an average blogger other than advertisements.
Average blogger here means who does not have large amount of traffic coming on his site and also who is not popular.
This sounds very interesting to me. I was wondering why he wouldn’t google down the information. Because there are already thousands of blogs on “making money online”. Well, I did the same and found that all the information on the web is not really helping the “average blogger” as he puts it. An average blogger is someone who doesn’t have loads of traffic and doesn’t enjoy a “guru status”.
So every money making guru us speaking of monetizing using affilate ads, adsense and image ads, but how effective is it on a blog with less than 100 uniques a day? The guys who advice this is probably enjoying a thousand uniques a day and it makes all sense for them to put up a chitika minimall ads or an ebay affiliate ad, but not for an average blogger.
So let’s get down to the facts.
First off, a little clarification on the “money making theory” and the “buy a Ferrari with your website” dreams.
There are two models of monetization models available as I see it. (let me known if you have more.)
Create a website that’s targeted to the search engine traffic.
Create a brand, that will get you popular with the knowledge you share.
Create a combo of both. Brand and search engine traffic.
Plan A – works well and helps you make loads of money if you get the basics right.
It works like this –
Phase 1 (Reaping Traffic)
Do extensive keyword research => Find out the best high paying keywords and the top searched ones related to your niche => Write great articles on them => SE optimize your site that it get’s on top of SERPs for the targeted keyword => Get the traffic
Phase 2 (Content hook)
Once the heavy traffic is around, you got to make sure that it converts in to clicks (money) and page views (retention).
For this a hook is required on the content. Make sure you write more reviews. Make sure that you give less links on the content, so that people get attracted to the ad links. Also, give directive information, not an extensive one like the wikipedia, but one where the information is available, but it will leave the reader looking for more of it.
The idea is that the search engine traffic are predominantly “information seekers”. And they are on the lookout for finding the thing they want from all around the web. And they are the perfect target for you.
- They are likely to click on links.
- They like product/service reviews.
- They like shorter articles.
- All the AdSense gimmicks like above the fold, blending ads etc works on them provided they aren’t ad-blind.
The problem with this model is that they may not give you “value traffic”, there will be higher bounce rates and less subscriptions. You can curb that by providing “out of the normal” delightful content, and standing out from the rest, like Labnol. But sometimes it’s also possible that if you don’t SE optimize the site, you end up having a website that’s not attractive to the search engines as well as genuine readers.
This is a much more relaxed environment where the focus is not on money but content and knowledge sharing. The author or the admin focuses more on delivering quality content and this itself becomes the marketing pitch for the blog. You may not get loads of traffic from the search engines because you are not writing about the gadget that was released yesterday, but you are writing about something you are comfortable with and you have expertise on.
Here, you may not get great CTR on the ads, but the following will be loyal and if you are selling a service or product, it’s easier to sell your services.
Now, having discussed about the two models – Let’s see how a low traffic blog can monetize it.
Honestly speaking, traffic is good. If you can manage traffic somehow, it makes sense for the advertiser to advertise on the blog. But this is not always possible, and you have to go through a phase where you are building traffic, and is not really up there, but still you need some sort of advertising.
Traffic and subscriptions are related but subscriptions are more valuable and appealing than traffic to advertisers. Subscriptions means that there are people following you and they value your ideas. So if they recommend a product/service those many people following you would be trying out the product. So getting a good number of subscribers is a good idea to woo in advertisers.
2. AdSense Ads
AdSense is the friend of everyone. Since they don’t take into consideration your traffic details for approval, anyone can use them. Now the problem is that, if you don’t know how to utilize it, you better not use it. So if you don’t have heavy traffic, you might want to focus on high pay out ads that give more money on lesser clicks and lesser impressions. You will have to find out ads related to those niches, and blog about them. This is totally your call because it might piss off your already existing reader base, so you may want to do it elsewhere, it’s up to you. But they key is to get more money from less traffic.
3. Image Ads
If you are an expert on your niche, then chances are that even if you don’t have heavy traffic, there might be advertisers interested to advertise their product/services on your blog. This is just because whatever little traffic you have, it is loyal, which is attractive to the advertiser. Small ads with the 125×125 pixel do well these days, and they are much sought after too.
4. Product and Service Reviews
If you have a good following and some authority on the topic you are blogging about, there is the option of paid reviews where you can review products and services. It is not good to offer links for paid reviews as Google does not entertain it. But if you can “nofollow” the links and do honest reviews, both your readers and your advertisers will be happy about it and you can make some good money. The basic idea is that you should have some authority in the field, whatever it is.
5. Offer a service
Many people want quick money with no or less efforts and for the same reason this is an often neglected method. But I very much recommend it. Find out what you can do for others like for instance if you are good at writing, write blog posts, if you are good at social networking , try to build a good network that you can sell off. The idea is to find your USP and sell it online through your blog. There are professional guest bloggers, professional Digg specialists and Stumble Upon traffic generators available and they are paid well for doing what they are good at. Think about it.
So essentially, these are the main branches of methods to make money online, there are lot more available but all that makes sense only if you have a decent amount of traffic. Though I believe that there is scope for making money with less traffic, it is suggested that your efforts be to make your blog unique with rich content and unique followers, because if a blog stays without traffic for a long time, I don’t think anyone would be interested in it.