Making money from your blog was covered by Jennifer Slegg.
As Jen said, a lot of people want to know, “How can I make money from my blog?”
+ Why it can be difficult to monetize blogs
– Ad Choices
+ Best Practices for monetizing from affiliate links
+ General discussion topics
+ Blog reviews for ad placement suggestions
People report that they get backlash from their readers. Jen asked people to share what kind of negative feedback they’ve had.
Asha of parenthacks said she got the reaction “you’re a sell out”. She responded to all the comments she got, but it hurt her feelings initially.
People tell Jen that they fear the backlash. In this session, she will tell us how to combat it.
Another challenge is that many blogs are ill-fitted for affiliate ads or lack targeted contextual ads that pay well. You see ads that are not for the right the target audience that seem like they might make you money. If the ads look “spammy”, readers will not like it. Affiliate links can appear this way.
- Google Ad Sense
- Yahoo Publisher Network
- FM Media
- BlogHer Ad Network
- Affiliate ads and CPA networks: Commission Junction, Azoogle, Linkshare, Shareasale,
- Adteractive, Clickbank
- Remove blog-related keywords on your blog to avoid blog ads
- Use section targeting with AdSense and avoid comment area as well as blog related keywords. You can isolate just the post so that the context is pulled just from the post, and not from the blog related words such as “comments” “forums”.
- Blend the ad units with your blog. Remove the borders and make them blend with your content. This will improve your CTR (click thru rate)
- When people sign up for your feed and read it in a viewer, a contextually based ad can append to the end of your RSS feed. Ad Sense and Yahoo! both offer this. It’s mapped to the content of each individual entry.
Pheedo and Feedburner offer this as well. If any site syndicates your content or scrapes it (without your permission) the ad will be with it, too, and you will earn revenue from any clickthroughs.
- Only include ads when offering the full entry in RSS, not when you only offer a snippet. If you put an ad with a snippet, you may anger your readers.
- Expect low CTR
You can DMCA someone to get them kicked off of scraping your feed. They will be removed from Google or wherever you found it. (Google the term DMCA to learn more.)
These programs such as Commission Junction approve your blog and then allow you to look at all their advertisers. Ebay is one of their advertisers. You’ll find things in your content area to ad to your site.
Q: How is this different than the Amazon Associates program?
A: You get paid for clicks, not just for conversions, which is what Amazon pays you for.
Advice: You must match the overall theme of the blog to the topic of each entry. Avoid placing unmatched affiliate links simply because they have a high payout. For example, mortgage-related ads pay very well, but on a mommy blogger site, it’s going to look bad and won’t convert.
Avoid “try this cool/free/awesome product” and using your affiliate link. Too frequent product pushing can result in lost readership. If you give a sincere review with reasons you love the product, you are more likely to be successful with this.
TIP: Mask your affiliate links in order to make the most money. People see Commission Junction ads or Amazon ads and don’t want to buy it for the bloggers credit. Mask the links by writing a meta-redirect from a dedicated page on your blog. So your product will appear on www.yourblog.com/productname. Then, on that page, put the product with a meta-redirect. Search on this term to learn more.
How to Avoid Alienating Your Readership
1 Introduce advertising with small ad units (125×125) and an unobstrusive placement. Then you can gradually move to larger ad units. In your footer is a good placement, just above the copyright info.
2 Consider leaving out affiliate links until the entries are 3-7 days old, then add links for search referral traffic. Then your regular readers won’t see the ads on your home page, but search traffic will find them. Check your logs and see what your top archive pages are. Work on monetizing those pages.
3 Offer two RSS feeds: an ad supported RSS feed that includes the entire entry AND an ad-free feed that only includes a snippet
4 Only sell text links that match your blog theme.
Very Mom told a story about selling text links. She allowed someone to rent her subdomain and got dropped from Google. Don’t do this. You don’t want anything on your site linking to link farms.
Jen covered best practices for Ad Placements. There is a diagram that you’ll need to see to get the full effect. The takeaways are:
- Include an ad after each entry on index page
- Search box, or use it to display a recommended product or book, small affiliate ad
- AdSense Ad Links work well placed right above footer
On a post page, consider imbedding ad in the content. These produce a better CTR. (But this is a user experience issue.)
Best Practices for Ad Units
- Remove borders and make them less obtrusive to reduce “banner blindness”
- Leave your title similar to traditional hyperlink blue OR the same link color you use on your blog
- Matching fonts to ad units will increase CTR
Last, Jen looked at a few individual blogs and made recommendations on improving them for monetization purposes.