April 10, 2015

Is a blog enough to earn handsomely from blogging?

Two blogger friends have made queries why they are not earning enough from blogs. 

One query is from a new student blogger. His classmate, who has opened an SEO-crammed blog, claims that he would start making at least a thousand dollars a month from the blog within a few months. 

The other is from an old blogger who has tried all tricks on 'reputed' websites that come up on top of Google search pages when you search for making money through blogging, but has failed to make even Rs.70 (about a dollar) a month from AdSense and almost nothing from a host of affiliates. In fact he has tried a number of other things such as being active on forums and link farms, paying money to a techie on the promise of making the blog a money spinner, himself trying monetization tricks on the blog, trying the tips given by bloggers claiming to be making thousands of dollars, selling e-books, comparing products, and giving tips on photography and travel to India. The total that he's got from all these efforts in the last five years is Rs.4500 (about $75) and for this he must have spent no less than 1000 hours and about Rs.1000.

We engaged in email conversation with both the bloggers, did our own research and had discussion with a tech expert who we know has made good money from web operations. The present post is a result of that. Since one post is not enough for the subject, we'd discuss other aspects later.

Blogging does not earn money unless you make it earn for you.

Simply blogging, i.e. composing posts, keeps the blog updated and keeps adding to the wealth of resources but it does not get you dollars. At least not till you have done something more that makes people give you money for it.

What all should I do, you'll ask. We'd discuss it over many posts. In this post, we list the major advertisement types available for bloggers. Done in moderation and with care, these advertisements do not irritate visitors but give the blogger steady streams of income without much effort.

  • Start with AdSense ads.

AdSense is an advertisement service offered by Google. It publishes ads of companies etc to the website/blog and the website owner or blogger earns commission when people click on ads and buy products through those ads.

For availing this free service, go to the AdSense site and apply for an account. Once your account is approved, you can post advertisements on your blog even if it is not on Blogger. If your blog is on Blogger, go to 'Layout' and 'Add a gadget'. Select 'AdSense' and it is done. Customise the ad space if you like. 

For knowing what you have earned out of AdSense ads, go to AdSense website, log in and go to 'Reports'.

The AdSense ads are usually based on the recent searches and browsing that happen on that computer. So, if your blog is on yoga and a person on a laptop has been looking at fashion websites and then opens your blog, chances are that the AdSense gadget on your blog will have more fashion ads than those on yoga.

  • Think of affiliate advertisements.

Affiliate ads are those from some affiliate service that publishes ads on your blog from companies who pay when people buy their products using the ad. The commission is generally higher than that offered by AdSense. 

Here, unlike AdSense, the ads are those on the company's product. Suppose you have a blog on gardening and you opt for affiliate ads of a shoe company, the ads will be of that shoe company only.

Some affiliate networks work better differently in different geographies and for different products, so go for the ones active in your area of work and your country.

If interested, you can look at these major affiliate programs: Amazon, eBay, Clickbank, CJ.

  • Direct ads are the best, but difficult to get

If your blog talks about something that visitors would like to buy, you have a good chance of getting ads directly from sellers. For example, if you review fashion products, you can approach those product makers / sellers to place their ads on your blog; if you give updates on mobile phones, there are chances that you get direct ads from mobile companies (though this market is quite crowded); if you discuss gardening matters, people selling seeds, pesticides and plant nutrients, garden equipment etc might be interested in giving you ads; if your blog is about some city or local tourism, local businesses might be attracted towards your blog; and so on.

Getting direct ads is difficult till the blog is fairly established. In addition, you need to do more than just blogging and working with AdSense or affiliates; you need to talk to the target advertisers (the seller, company PRO, PR agency, etc). 

If you are a food blogger, you may like to see our earlier post on making money from food blogs.

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