Blogging For Money

Blogging PyramidThere are only two ways to earn money – by providing a service or by providing a product – every method of earning money honestly can be ascribed to one or the other. Blogging has become popular in the last few years – and is a very accessible way for the average person to provide a product which has many advantages. Here’s why:

Information has many tremendous advantages over hard goods:

  1. No cost other than initial production.
  2. Can sell the same product over and over.
  3. No shipping costs.
  4. No warehousing costs.
  5. Value is not predefined by the market (compare with a bar of soap – you know how much it’s worth!)

When it comes to earning money on the Internet – the advantages of selling information is tremendously obvious!  The methods of selling information are precisely two – either sell the information initially, or use the information to draw traffic which can then be monetized by creating a subscriber list, and marketing affiliate products to them.

Blogging obviously utilizes the secondary method – by drawing traffic, and then monetizing that traffic in different ways. (Of course, if your Blog becomes popular enough, you can even sell ‘advanced alerts’, or ‘membership only’ posts)  While blogging for money can be extremely lucrative – the only major problem for most would-be bloggers is the time issue.

Blogging not only takes time to do – it also takes months, sometimes years, before you are compensated for it.  Most bloggers close up shop and stop long before their efforts could become financially profitable. Organic traffic – the necessity for a financially successful blog – will only come about when you have perhaps a hundred solid, lengthy posts or more. (And an equally reasonable number of links)

How many people can work for weeks, months, even a year with no immediate prospect of getting paid for it?

Yet this is precisely what you must do if you’d like to earn money with a blog. You must start a blog with only a distant hope of being financially successful with it. But you can ensure success if you follow some simple rules:

  1. Topic: The topic you pick must have a wide enough interest that you can draw a reasonable amount of traffic to it. (No blogs on “Condom Tin Collecting” are going to be hugely successful!) It must be a topic that you’re personally interested in, or can easily research. The best topic is one you’re personally interested in.
  2. Hosting: You cannot utilize a free blogging service – you don’t control your own blog, and can be shut down for any reason at all. You must purchase hosting (although to begin with, you can purchase extremely cheap hosting – and only upgrade to better service when your blog is drawing traffic)
  3. Domain Name: The domain name you choose must be simple, easy to remember, and generic enough so that your topic isn’t an extremely specific one. Although it’s been preferable in the past to get keywords in your domain name – that’s becoming less needed with the advent of creating Authority Blogging Sites – I prefer to simply use my name as a domain name.
  4. Website Script: The CMS you use should be one that is well suited to your Blog – WordPress is pretty much the defacto standard in this field. If you choose another CMS, make sure that you well understand the reasons you did. Unless you’re truly an expert in the field of website construction – just stick with WordPress.
  5. Posting Effort: Constant work is required, one article a day is exceptional, and no less than one new article a week is an absolute necessity. A good compromise is 2-4 new articles each week.
  6. SEO Work: Much of your time is going to obviously be spent writing new material for your blog – but an equal amount of time must be spent, at least for the first few months or year, on developing traffic & backlinks to your site – forum posting & website commenting is the main method here. Posting 10 forum posts a day on related forums is a good goal to set.

Some of you may have noticed a rather glaring omission from the list… locating the keywords you want to use. While this is something you’ll do to an extent when creating backlinks – using keywords as anchor text – I personally think that far too much emphasis is placed on researching keywords & keyword phrases prior to starting a blog.

Let’s face it – Your keywords are usually going to be particularly obvious once you’ve selected your topic – and you will end up being quite surprised at some of the phrases you end up achieving high SERPs for. You’ll get traffic from people searching for phrases and words that you would have never expected in advance, so there’s no particular reason, in my opinion, to try to find them in advance.

The search engines will do it for you. Simply post articles, the longer the better, but certainly longer than a few paragraphs, and you’ll find traffic coming to you regardless of your previous searches for what your keywords ‘should be.’ I always try to shoot for between 750-2,000 words. I’m never really happy unless a post has passed the 1,000 word mark.

Sometimes I simply can’t do it – the topic I’m posting about is just too narrow focused – but I always make the attempt, because I’m shooting for unknown and unknowable key phrases that will drive traffic.

Rather than tailor your posts to rank high for a particular long-tailed keyphrase – as is necessary with smaller niche sites, what I recommend here is developing an ‘Authority Blogging Site’ – one that helps people with some problem they need answers for.

BenHolmesOnline aims to be the premier site to help beginners get their own blog up and running.

Rather than tailoring the website to the search engines – and spending time to get lots of backlinks to fool Google into ranking your site high – it’s become far more preferable to simply give Google what it’s looking for… the best website on the topic on the Internet.

This isn’t as difficult as it might seem – because in writing long and detailed unique posts – you’re certainly going to end up saying things that aren’t duplicated elsewhere online – and by getting initial traffic to flow to your site with forum posts & website comments – you’ll end up with natural organic traffic.

Search engines will determine what to rank on based on my content.  But my content will drive traffic based on key phrases that I would never have located in advance.  I’m speaking from experience here, as another website I own is number one in virtually every search engine for the topic of the site – and I review the logs occasionally, and see for myself just what key words & phrases are being used to send traffic to the site.  Based on that experience, I believe it’s more important to post good (and preferably long) content – the search engines will work it out.

Please understand this concept – if you put together a simple 5-10 page niche site, then you absolutely must optimize every post you write to rank for specific keyword phrases.

On the other hand, if you spend the time to write 750-2,000 word posts, going into great detail on a specific topic – you’ll end up ranking for phrases you never even thought of! This allows you to concentrate on your visitors, instead of trying to please search engines that are constantly shifting and changing their algorithms. Good unique content will always do well in the search engines regardless of future changes.

My recommendation that you concentrate your efforts to build an authority blog site has a number of advantages…

  • Only one site that you need to create backlinks for…
  • Only one site to concentrate your posting efforts.
  • Will eventually dwarf the traffic of smaller niche sites.
  • Less costs in domain names & SEO work.
  • Authority Sites are designed for long term success.
  • No need to rely on Search Engines for traffic like Niche sites.
  • Visitors are far more likely to bookmark you.

I fully realize that there are money-making strategies that do not revolve around this – indeed; good content is not to be desired on some types of websites – as they want their visitors to leave their site as soon as possible, particularly by clicking on an Adsense link.

I’m not interested in Adsense sites – although I realize that some people have done very well by them. As a business model – it relies far too heavily on something you can’t control… Google.

And as search engines get better and better with their algorithms, the better websites will naturally float to the top – and I’d rather plan for the long-term and not short-term profits… what do you think?

Blogging PyramidNow, you may recall this graphic to the left at the beginning of this post – I’d like to go into a little more detail explaining what I mean:

Unique Interesting Content That Helps Answer Problems For People – The base of your Authority site is to help people with some problem they are having in the given topic area. Every post should be designed to answer questions that people have. This is what an Authority Site is all about – helping answer the problems that people have.

Without this base, the rest of the triangle will not work, so spend some time on your posts.

Frequent Blog Post Updates or Active Forum Postings On Site – In order to get repeat visitors, you need to have frequent updating… new posts at least once a week. This is also what search engines want to see – they are trying to provide the best content for their users – and fresh content is good content.

Social Marking and Other Backlinking – I develop Social links with plugins that reward visitors when they bookmark me through Facebook, Google+ or Twitter. My major source of backlinks is merely forum posting – which helps drive traffic. And as search engines see those backlinks – they start ranking my site, and sending traffic as well. I recommend setting a goal of 10 forum posts a day on forums related to your topic. Just make them helpful comments, and let your signature line do all the work. Don’t intentionally try sending people to your site.

SEO & Website Speed – You should spend some time optimizing your site for search engines, and making sure your site is fast. I recommend that you go to Web Page Test and look at problems your site has – and fix ’em. A slow website will lose traffic – if your site doesn’t load in a second or so – people will leave.

Collect Subscribers – Okay, you have traffic – but I guarantee you that they won’t buy an affiliate product you recommend the first time they visit. You need to reach out to them repeatedly, and explain to them why it’s in their best interest to purchase a product and how it will solve their problem. You can’t do this unless you’ve gotten them on your list.

$$$$$ – Do I really need to explain this?

To conclude my thoughts on making money by blogging – you can make more money than you dream possible, but it does take time.  You have to believe that your efforts will be rewarded, and approach this just like any other job – with planning, patience, and actual work. So get started today!

About Ben Holmes

Online since the late '90's, I built my first website in 2001 - coding it on notepad. Times have changed, haven't they? Active on the Warrior's Forum and Facebook - I spend most of my time teaching people how to build their first list - and market to their subscribers. Do you have a list yet?

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