How to make money from blogging

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photo credit: jo.sau

It’s dream most of us probably have had from time to time and wouldn’t it be great if something you loved doing made you money in the process too?

Three of the most common ways of making money from blogging are:

  • Advertising (adsense, selling advert spots directly)
  • Affiliate schemes (writing articles about products and linking to them earning a percentage of sales)
  • Selling products (eBooks are pretty big right now, and perhaps you could write one and sell it?)

Of course these don’t work with any blog or website, the thing you need is visitors, and specifically visitors that are interested in what you have to say. Getting visitors relies on many factors, such as keywords, trends, content, backlinks, etc and even if you are an seo guru it still won’t guarantee the amount of visitors you need to make a decent living from your blog.

I’ve been reading quite a lot into this subject and if this is something that you are interested in then you might want to check out these blogs from people that are actually blogging for a living:

  • Viperchill
  • Blog Tyrant
  • Problogger

The above bloggers are the exception in that they make huge amounts of money from blogging, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a bit of the action.

If you want more info on this subject then here is a great article that further explains ‘How Bloggers Make Money From Blogs‘.

June 2011 Income Report

I’m happy to be writing this report for June as my niche website has been running for a complete month having only started in mid May and so last month’s income report only provided a partial picture.

It’s been a really exciting month and I had hoped to be reporting back with news of a new niche site but in the end I had enough to do with niche site P and couldn’t commit to properly creating a new one but as you will see from the results below it didn’t really matter. I had an amazing month!

What did I do?

Most of the hard work was done on the site in May but I still managed to write 10 very short pages of content which kept Google happy and increased the amount of keywords for visitors to find. Apart from that is was just a matter of letting people find the site and hopefully click on the AdSense.

Amount of Visits

Visits have increased and have reached a steady level which I expect them to remain at for the immediate future. In doing my research into the niche I know how many searches there are per month for my keyword so I’m not expecting this to suddenly increase, but in adding more content I’m increasing the chances of visitors through other keywords and searches, but let’s be honest, I’m not going to get thousands of searches a day for my site as there simply aren’t that amount of people looking for what is my niche. I am happy to say though that I am ranking at #5 on Google for my keyword which is great news.

You will notice a rather large jump in traffic around 6th June and this was because I managed to get a free AdWords voucher for which I was able to buy some PPC (Pay Per Click) adverts to promote my site. These would’ve appeared as AdSense adverts on other people’s sites and did manage to attract people to my site. This was artificial traffic and not something I intend to do in the future, but it was nice to increase the hits and also increase my AdSense revenue for that period.

All the other stats have gone up too though with Pages/Visit going up from 4.31 last month to 4.65 this month and the average time on the site went up from 5:00mins to 5:12mins. All this shows that the content is still relevant and useful and had lead to a drop in the bounce rate from 35.14% down to 31.52 this month.

Revenue

So here’s the juicy bit. In the month of June I made £237.74 from niche site P! An absolutely amazing figure that I could never have dreamed of. I was hoping to break the £100 barrier and ended up smashing it! This shows I’ve chosen my niche well both in regards to getting visitors through good quality content but also attracting well paying adverts my readers want to click.

Clicks

I am so so happy with these figures and if I was able to replicate this every month then it would make a real impact on my finances. In the chart below you can see the big peak from the AdWords campaign. I won’t have that for July so we’ll see what effect that has, but if I average £7.65 a day then I will reach that total next month so that’s what I need to aim for.

What Now?

Six weeks still isn’t conclusive evidence that the traffic and income will remain at these levels so I will be monitoring the stats and doing what I can to keep them at this level. This will include some more content, although only maybe 3 articles, and also getting more backlinks. July is looking to be a very busy month for me with Stag weekends, weddings, etc and so I’ll have to see how much I can commit to the site. If I can get anywhere near the income of June then I’ll be very happy.

Finally

I wanted to say a big thank you to Ryan at Covering the Rent who gave a lot of advice and inspiration towards getting the niche site to succeed. If you want to get into niche sites then visit his website and read through all the posts.

Experimenting with niche sites

I’ve been experimenting with niche sites and the whole idea of passive income through Google Adsense. Lost yet? Basically you need to find an area where there is not much info but plenty of demand, then create a website, monetise it (through adsense), and then watch the money roll in…

That’s the idea anyway but the hardest part is finding an area to focus on that hasn’t already been written about and that doesn’t already have high rankings in Google., If you do find an area though then you have to create a website, create good content, establish links and authority, and then work to get more visitors to your site and boost your ranking in search engines. If you can get to #1 for your keywords, and get lots of visitors, then by association a percentage of them will click on your Adsense banners and earn you money.

It sounds oh so simple doesn’t it? So far I’ve made my site, written lots of content, and am already getting visitors and clicks, but now I need to focus on increasing the authority of my site.

At some stage I’ll let you know what the site is and hopefully by that time it will be established enough to earn me some sort of income (passively) and I can let you know what the figures are like.

To truly earn larger amounts via Adsense you either need a mega-huge site, or need to have many smaller sites running at the same time and collectively earning you revenue. At this point I have only focused on the one site but am now researching more areas to add to my Adsense portfolio.

Hope you’re all fine and dandy icon_smile-4499652

Addicted to Adsense

As you will know I’ve been playing around with niche sites and trying to increase my passive income (please excuse the buzz phrases) and a sideline of this is that I’ve become slightly addicted to checking my Google AdSense income. AdSense is my main revenue stream (see my May Income Report) and I’m only a few clicks away from seeing if my sites have earned me any money. We’re not even talking a huge amount but in my mind I’m thinking ‘How much have I earned for free today?’ and can’t help myself.

What has made it worse is that at the start I had some pretty successful days but a lack of effort on my behalf and also a drop in advertisers has meant that I’ve usually been disappointed this month when I’ve had a look. I also used a free AdWords coupon to boost my traffic so saw some increase in that but now it’s dropped down again. I really can’t complain though and knew that this was always the case.

The solution is and has always been to continue to write new content and also to create more sites to strengthen my position so that I’m not relying on one niche site, one set of visitors, and one set of advertisers who, through Google, wish to appeal to visitors searching for my site.

I’m happy to say I’ve got some more content written for my 2nd niche site and feel ready to start getting some backlinks for it and getting it listed on directories. We will then have to see what impact that has and hopefully I’ll be able to give you some figures for my June Income Report.

Niche site update

Half of August has already gone and yet again I haven’t been putting the effort into my niche sites and so I know that unless something drastic happens then I won’t be reaching the targets set by last month’s total income of £351.85 which is a shame. I suppose after the little work I did on them last month I believed I could leave them again and they would still be earning the same revenue but alas that isn’t the case.

My Google Analytics stats show that visitor numbers haven’t dropped that much but it can’t help that I’ve done nothing and so this evening I’ve been creating backlinks and have decided to go through my content and see if I can spruce it up a bit and improve the SEO on the site. I’ve also chosen a new niche site and will hopefully get that going later this week. Niche site P is my major earner but I think it is going to be hard to just make another site that earns me £340 a month as evidenced by Niche Site F which only earnt me £8.33 last month, but if I can get a few more sites earning even £10 a month then they will pay for themselves and every little bit counts in my pursuit of passive income.

I’ve only been creating the sites since May and so there’s plenty more experimenting to do and who know what extra factors count towards visitors and earnings? Once thing for sure is that when the weather is hot and sunny I earn less money so could I see an increase once summer is over?

What I’ve learned after getting punished by Google

My AdSense earnings for the beginning of the month were great, for the first few days they were amazing, but then something happened and they dropped down to only a couple of quid a day. What happened? The answer is that niche site P which had been ranking at #1 in Google for my main keyword had dropped down the search rankings in amazing fashion and was now languishing around the 7th page on Google which as you know is nowhere. To say I was disappointed is understating it as I’ve been happy to have been able to increase my earnings month on month but what started out as a month with great potential is now one where I will take a big drop in my passive earnings.

In my previous Income Report I wrote

The way I look at it is that I’ve earned over £1000 from my sites in less than 4 months and if I didn’t earn anymore then it was great fun whilst it lasted.

and it looks like that’s what going to happen for the moment. I’m still earning a little but nothing like before.

Why have I dropped in the Google rankings?

I’m only 4 months into my passive income journey and it’s all a learning curve but I believe I have been penalised due to my backlinking strategy which mostly revolved around using comments on blogs to get a variety of links back to the site. Some people won’t agree with this and will say it’s a bit shady but I will placate them slightly by saying that it wasn’t automated and involved me reading the blogs and leaving unique and relevant comments with my name linking to my niche site. I’ve now learnt that this is not the best way to go about things, but as I said I’m learning and am happy I’ve made these mistakes whilst my sites are still young.

I also focused primarily on one set of keywords and yet again this was a mistake. The Google algorithm is an intelligent thing and things like this stick out like a sore thumb and there is nothing ‘organic’ about it. It looks like you’re trying to cheat the system and I guess that’s what I was trying to do. All the SEO I’m learning is from what I see others doing and so I’m just as guilty and will now review my backlink strategy to something a little more honest.

SEO myths exposed and honest SEO

I came across an article today from Robert Dempsey called In Defense Of Search Engine Optimization which contained quite a lot of relevant information regarding the situation I find myself in. I’ve followed quite a few of the ‘SEO myths’ he mentioned and if you’re involved in SEO, especially if it’s your business, then it’s worth a read. Basically he has dismissed the ways I’ve gone about promoting my niche sites and proposes what actually works in SEO.

How SEO should work in theory and how it actually works

If a site is useful then it should naturally attract visitors and all the links will be organic with very little effort needed from the publisher apart from making sure the article is well written and original. I found Robert’s article useful and I’ve linked to it which is the way it should work on the internet but we all know that isn’t the case and there will always be competition to rank high on Google whilst there is money at stake. I am primarily making my niche sites to make money so I want to rank high on Google but I am now reviewing my strategy and will try and be a bit more ethical in my linkbuilding and how I attract traffic to the site. I could just follow the rat race, and do as others are doing, but Google are getting wise to this, and so I’m going to start being more responsible as I want my sites to be ranking for the long haul and not just a flash in the pan waiting to be punished by Google who provide most of my web traffic.

Link-worthy and Share-worthy content

Right from the beginning we’ve been told that ‘content is king’ and somewhere along the way that switched to ‘AdSense is king’ so the focus for me is ensuring that the people who are reading my websites and articles want to share them and that my sites have the option to to that simply. At the moment they don’t have a ‘share this’ button or anything along the lines so that’s the way to go which should hopefully improve my backlinks and spread the word to get more visitors. I’ll also be going through all my content and ensuring it is well written, unique, and that people actually would want to read them rather than them just being filler content for a site to solely provide me with income.

Where I’ve been going wrong with my affiliate sites

affiliate-question-300x300-6493945All of my niche site income currently comes from Google AdSense, and I have to say that AdSense is one of the easiest ways to monetise a website, but as I’ve mentioned in previous posts I would like to start earning income through affiliate links as there is potential to earn more and also focus on a different way of producing and marketing sites. The problem is that I’v earnt nothing though my affiliate sites.

I have a couple of domains that I was hoping to use for affiliate sites but I’m not too sure if they will work as I probably underestimated the competition in those niches, but the fact is that I’ll keep them going with some content on and see what happens. Luckily I am able to analyse the traffic they do get using free Google Webmaster Tools, and I can see that although I’m not ranking well for the main keyword, a few other keywords have popped up which I’m ranking well for and perhaps this could be an area I could focus on.

Counting my eggs affiliates before they’ve hatched

I guess my main problem with the affiliate sites is that I’m focusing on monetising them and embedding affiliate links before I’ve even done the hard work of getting the sites ranked. I’m sure that if I did things the other way around then more visitors would equal more clicks. It’s simple logic but I guess that eluded me in what is a new concept of niche site. It’s a simple and naive thing to do, just making a site and expecting visitors. So it’s back to basics for my affiliate sites, and a lesson not to get too ahead of myself.

Do you have any tips for making affiliate sites? What works best? Reviews? Articles? Recommendations? What works for you?