Blogs that have a loyal following can offer “premium services” to people who are willing to become members or subscribers. A perfect example of a blog that makes money through memberships is the Daring Fireball. One of the ways the blog makes a profit is by offering members a little extra including access to the:
- full-content RSS feed;
- feed for the Linked List; and
- John Gruber’s daily list of links and blurbs related to Mac, web, and design nerdery.
If you notice the perks are not that extraordinary. However, readers that really do enjoy your blog will be willing to fork out a little extra dough to be able to access this feeds and lists. If you feel that you haven’t developed such a loyal fan-base as John Gruber has (which realistically speaking is probably the truth) then you can offer other added features for members such as adding them in the blogroll, giving access to members-only articles, occasional newsletters, etc.
The point is that if you do maintain a worthy blog people will not feel ripped off at all for shelling out money and in fact will be more than willing to help you make sure that finances don’t get in the way so that you can devote ample time for your blog.
Asking for donations is one way that your blog can generate income for you. This method is often not taken that seriously, which is a mistake many bloggers make.
Bloggers often make the assumption that donations will not earn you any real money since no one will really bother giving anything more than a couple of bucks. While it is true that donations will not earn you a really hefty profit the few dollars that each impressed reader shells out still does add to your overall revenue. A business savvy person will realize that revenue from donations should not be disregarded and that every penny counts.
More than the several dollars it will add to your pocket though a major bonus of donations is that it can also serve as a measure of how much people value your blog and your writing. If you really do write that well and your subject matter is deemed relevant and worthy by your readers then more people will be inclined to give you donations so as to encourage you to keep churning out pieces for them to read.
Note though that this type of income stream is something that works best in conjunction with other ways of generating income. Do put a donation button on your blog but do not forget to use other methods if you plan to make lots of money.
Aside from the reputation, commission, costumer base, and statistics other factors that you should consider when joining affiliate programs include:
- Availability of New Products – Some affiliate programs offer a limited number of products. It is more desirable to join a program with a good product line and that updates its product line frequently enough. If the affiliate program you belong to does not offer new products your regular visitors will not have anything new to buy. Looking at the big picture it just won’t work. You might make hefty profit at the outset but your income will peter out towards the end. What you want to join is something that will prove to be sustainable in the long run. Make sure though that they also have very good quality control and that the new products they offer continue to be of good quality.
- Program Reward Schemes – Find out the other ways you can increase you income when you joining that affiliate program. More often than not the good affiliate programs pay you not just the flat commission but added commission for traffic sent by your referrals. Find out how good their referral program is as well.
- Payout Details – Before signing up learn about their payment scheme. How often will they send you money? What are the withdrawal options? How much are the fees associated with these options? How long does it take to process withdrawals?
And last but not the least when it comes to anything about money make sure you always read the fine print. If you miss something important you won’t have anyone to blame but yourself.
These two characteristics are perhaps some of the two most important advantages that a blog can bring to your business.
Ask yourself, why have you jumped into the blogging bandwagon and set up a blog for your own business? Why didnâ€™t you just stick it out with the more traditional means of marketing and advertising your business? I am sure there is a plethora of reasons behind this move but I am also certain that one consideration is speed of getting your message across to as many people as possible, am I right?
Now think about your blog. How many people can access it at the same time? Theoretically, limitless. How fast can these people receive any new information that you have posted on the blog? You might think that if the check the blog daily then they can gain access to new information as soon as the blog is updated. Right. Yet there is an even better way of distributing your information â€“ through RSS and pings.
Thatâ€™s right, with this technology, everyone who is subscribed to your blog will receive the posts each time you put out an update. Recipients of the posts include directories and search engines which you are subscribed to. It is as simple as that â€“ write, post, and distribute. No waiting time, no nothing.
Along these lines, updating your blog is just as easy. As long as you have the necessary information, you merely have to write an entry and then post it. Not considering the writing time, updating can take you less than a minute. Compare that to the traditional press releases and printed newsletters.
Joining affiliate programs was once the most popular way of making an incoming through blogging, until targeted ads came along. Now affiliate ads are still very much widely used as is just as profitable, if you join the right program and get the traffic you need to make a profit.
When choosing an affiliate program to join here are some factors you should always take into consideration:
- Reputation – What is the reputation of the affiliate program you are considering to join? There are plenty of affiliate programs boasting an incredible amount of revenue but if they are not reputable then don’t believe their promises. The amount they are stating is not incredible but incredulous.
- Commission – After weeding out the non-reputable ones it is time to look at the figures. Which program offers a good commission rate? Compare the commission rates and compute how much you are likely to make in each program.
- Costumer Base – Sure the commission rates may be high but if their target customers is different from your readers then more likely than not you won’t be making any money for them or for you. Some affiliate programs have a variety of products and different commission rates depending on the product you help them sell. Compare the commission you get with the kind of readers you have in mind.
- Statistics – Checkout the statistics they provide. Opt for an affiliate program that gives you the actual numbers. Not only will the statistics provide you with more information as to the probability of success with that affiliate program but it also shows that they do know what they are doing.
to be continued…
There are blogs and then there are blogs. In the last post I was talking about meeting the bare minimum and taking things one step further. That is what makes an effective blog â€“ going beyond what is required and reaching out to the people out there.
So what makes a business blog good? Those characteristics that help give your company a strong presence online.
There is no need to for too much flair â€“ remember, content is what your readers are looking for. They want to find out what you have to offer and this means going straight to the point. Of course, pictures would not hurt either.
The web is dynamic and you have to keep up with it. You cannot rely on old and trusted ideas all the time. Browse the web for other business blogs and see how they do it. Then see if you can adopt some of their principles and make your own blog just as dynamic.
The main purpose of blogging is to deliver fresh content on a regular basis. You cannot just create a blog and then forget about it. People come back to blogs because they want to read something new each time. That is why you should also set time aside for maintaining your business blog. Make sure that you will have something new to offer your readers each and everytime. Otherwise, your web presence might just as well be nil.
It is somewhat ironic that after contextual advertising took off giving businesses an alternative to the traditional way of advertising (renting ad space from websites) it was then that businesses, both large and small, came to realize the power of blogs in advertising and thus became more willing to rent ad space. The difference this time though is that advertisers have become more picky in the websites and blogs they choose to “rent ad space” from.
Renting ad space is really profitable. However, not all blogs will be able to really profit from this scheme. To be able to make a profit after all you need to be able to attract advertisers and prove to them that the space you are offering them will be worth the money they fork out. To be able to do this your blog must be/have:
- Really popular. Big companies (meaning big bucks) will only sponsor blogs that have high volume of traffic. This means that if your blog is really new and you’re still building readership then you’d better forget about this for the moment.
- Updated regularly and frequently. Advertisers want a constant stream of traffic for more ad exposure. While you might have tons of readers, if you only post once a week then your regular readers will only be visiting that frequently as well. Advertisers prefer blogs that are updated daily.
- A very good reputation. Some blogs may be popular but if they’re popular for all the wrong reasons then most advertisers will shy away from being linked to that blog. After all, your blog’s reputation will reflect on theirs.
- A solid theme. Businesses with the same target audience as you will be the ones attracted to your site. Without a solid theme your blog will not be as attractive since the ads might not be as effective.
Profiting through ads is no new concept. When targeted ads entered the scene though ads became a whole lot more profitable both for the advertisers and publishers. What’s even better is that anyone can now become a “publisher”. Bloggers are a prime example of ordinary people cashing in on ads. There are lots of opportunities out there for bloggers but only if you know where to look or at least how to look for them.
To help you get started making cash here are some ad opportunities you might want to check out.
- Google Adsense – They paved the way for contextual ads. Since veryone knows about Google Adsense there really isn’t any need to say more. You can also try Yahoo! Publisher Network and MSN Adcenter, which are both still in Beta.
- BlogAds – BlogAds blggers realy do make money. Right now the average blogger earns $50 a month although there are some that do earn up to $5000 a month! The problem with joining BlogAds is that it is by invite only. Of course, you can squeeze out an invite from one of your online friends.
Consumer Generated Ads
Consumer generated ads are ads made by the bloggers. Instead of depending on the advertiser to make a pitch, YOU will be the one to make the pitch and add a link to the website of the company or product you are promoting. If you are interested in this highly controversial ad technique then the best place to start is PayPerPost. Other consumer generated ad sites include LoudLaunch, Blogitive, and Blogsvertise.
There is no doubt about it, small businesses everywhere are realizing everyday that making their presence felt online is integral to the success of their activities. More and more, you will find small businesses creating web sites of their own just so they can have a form of contact online. This is good news, to say the least. However, the sad part is that many of these small businesses also tend to think that the mere fact that they have established a web site is enough. Many times, the web site is left alone and neglected. Updates are far and few in between. In short, they have done the bare minimum to establish online presence.
What is the bare minimum? To merely have a web site â€“ or even a web page â€“ that lets people know that this business exists. Yet is this enough? Most definitely not! A web site can taken advantage of and used to its fullest potential to make a strong impact online. More so, you can go one step further and set up a business blog. Now this, with its fresh content on a regular basis is more than the bare minimum.
A blog can be designed separately from the web site itself. It has to be visible, pleasing to the eyes, and easy to read. With this set up â€“ both web site and blog working hand in hand, you are bound to establish connections with a wide variety of people and make a name for yourself online.
A picture paints a thousand words â€“ or so the saying goes. Call it clichÃ© but I believe that this saying holds a large amount of truth. Now imagine your business blog. Why does it exist in the first place? There could be many answers to this question, I know, yet one of the main reasons businesses set up a blog of their own is to catch the attention of their customers. They want to gain new customers and retain old ones. I am sure that you donâ€™t think differently.
So back to using pictures for your business blogâ€¦Letâ€™s say that you offer a certain service. Whatever this service is, there might be aspects that you just cannot explain in words. Though words can be powerful, sometimes they are just not enough. What can you do? This is where pictures come in.
If you put photos in your blog detailing the service that you offer, you can present a visual image to your clients. They can see for themselves just exactly what you are offering to them. Sometimes, people need visuals in order to fully understand the message that you want to get across. Take for example a spa service detailing all that they have to offer. Contrast that with a post which has text and this picture:
Do you see what I mean?
Just a note on using pictures for blogging, though. Be careful to represent your product or service as realistically as possible. Sometimes, pictures can be larger than life. If this happens with your blog, then you might be in for customer dissatisfaction.