Advertising makes the world go around, and the world of online blogging is no different. People search for answers all day long, every single day. They go to Google and type in their questions, and those sites with the best answers (and most carefully chosen keywords) are displayed on the first page of Google’s search results. Google’s first page is every blogger’s goal, because your chance of getting visitors is much better than anywhere else.
Here are the blogging basics you should know, including how you go about generating a good income with your blog, and how to test run your own for free before making a commitment.
What should you blog about?
Any topic you can imagine, there are people out there searching for it. You should pick a topic that you have some knowledge of, or are otherwise interested in. You’ll be writing for people who are also interested in your chosen subject, so your knowledge and/or passion on the subject should shine through and be contagious.
So if, for example, you’re a big fan of ferrets, and the entire idea of ferrets just fascinates you, then that’s something you could successfully blog about. You don’t have to be a ferret expert. You’ll likely be doing a lot of research on the subject in order to write your blog posts, so ultimately you will become an expert on the subject.
But how can you make money with a blog about ferrets?
Generating Income with a Blog
Websites without actual products for sale, otherwise known as “blogs”, make their money with different forms of advertising. But advertising only has a chance to work if there is an audience there to see it. And most bloggers don’t get too much traffic if their posts are stuck on page 5 the search results.
Google’s “Page-One, Position-One” is the average blogger’s ultimate goal. Get to page one on Google, desirably in that first spot, and you get the best possible number of visitors to your site. If you have visitors on your site, you have better chances for advertisements on your page being clicked.
It usually takes a few months of steady, productive activity on your site before your articles are allowed to be promoted to that first page. Google wants to deliver fresh, new helpful content to searchers, and they need you to prove yourself. Once you’re there, any efforts at generating an income with your blog will start to pay off.
While there are many different ways to make money with advertising on a blog, the most commonly used are affiliate marketing and pay-per-click advertising.
There is a great all-in-one Affiliate Content Publishing lesson at Udemy. These are paid lessons, and this one costs about $15, but you can use coupon code: JAN15 to get 65% off, making it less $5.25 (good through 1/31/15)
Affiliate marketing with articles..
Also called content marketing.. You, as a blogger, write helpful pages, posts, articles, about your chosen niche or topic, answering questions that people have and are actively searching for. You will have many opportunities to include products or services for sale in these articles, and get a commission when people make a purchase based on your article. You’re creating a partnership agreement with these businesses–you are their “affiliate” when you send referrals their way and they pay you for it.
To generate affiliate income with a blog about ferrets (going back to our previous example), you would likely want to seek out businesses who sell any ferret products or services. A quick search for exotic pet-related affiliate programs gave me PETCO, who offers 8-11% commission for any sale made to a customer referred by your website.
So, say you write a helpful article on your blog about fancy ferrets cages, with a link to PETCO.com where they can see some of these awesome three-story cages for sale. Your visitor clicks on that link, and ends up making a purchase at PETCO for the cage (or anything else while they’re there).. You get paid 8-11% of the total that customer spent.
Amazon has a great affiliate program that many, many people profit from. Amazon has products on its site that could essentially be promoted on any type of blog with any subject. They pay 4-15% for total sales referred by your blog site, even if it’s not the actual product you were initially promoting that they purchased..
Clickbank, Shareasale, & AsSeenonPC
There are also affiliate hubs– websites where you can sign into your account and choose from among many different affiliate programs right there in one spot. You’ll essentially get paid from one site, instead of many. Some of these sites include Clickbank, Shareasale, and AsSeenonPC. The site itself expects a small commission from your earned commissions, but it can make the entire process a lot easier for newbies.
ZipNadaZilch & Multi-level Marketing Programs
There are also companies you can join that pay out the big commissions for getting others to join. These are usually considered multi-level marketing companies–they pay their members to do their advertising for them. There’s good potential here, if you find one that you like. A lot of them are scams, or just otherwise unethical in their business practices. A good risk-free business in this category is ZipNadaZilch-it is free to join, and free to promote. You get $20 for each person you refer who signs up, at the very least. Depending on which ZNZ department you choose to promote, you can get paid up to $130 per person.
(Check out this related article: What is ZipNadaZilch?)
You can have multiple affiliate links on your pages, and spread throughout your site, thereby increasing your chances for commissions paid to you. The more helpful your writing is, the better chance you’ll have of landing on Google’s page one. Needless to say, this will increase your traffic as well as your advertising clicks and you’ll get paid more.
With word-of-mouth advertising spreading around the internet like wildfire, most online businesses offer affiliate programs to encourage bloggers and webmasters to talk about their company and their products. So you should have no trouble finding good affiliate partners to work with. Just be sure to always choose an honest and trustworthy company to promote. Your goal should be to help your readers–this means not directing them right into a scam just so you can make money. The honest and trustworthy blogger is always more successful in the long run.
Pay Per Click Advertising..
With pay per click advertising, you’re allowing other people to choose and place the ads on your site. Google AdSense is a free program to join. They’ll give you a short code, and give you step-by-step instructions on how to put it on your site. You get to choose where you want the ads to be and insert the code into that spot. You don’t have to have any technical experience to do this, it’s pretty easy.
With Google AdSense, Google determines what your site is about, and places ads that are relevant to your readers. Obviously, an ad about fishing poles will probably not get too many clicks on a site about ferrets. The more relevant the ads, the higher chance your readers will click on them and you will get paid.
Google AdSense payment per click varies, but it usually ranges about .10-80 cents each time their ad gets clicked on your blog. This isn’t much, but if you focus on great content and get your visitor numbers up, these pennies could really ad up. And you don’t have to do anything–you get paid whether or not there was an actual purchase made.
Most bloggers choose to mix paid-per-click advertising with some type of affiliate marketing advertising on their sites. The amount of posts and pages you accumulate over time allows plenty of space to get creative and try out different methods and programs.
How to try out your own blog for FREE!
If you’re serious about blogging, Wealthy Affiliate is a great way to try out your own blog before committing, to see if you like it.
Here’s how it will go.. When you sign up with Wealthy Affiliate, you’ll get a 7 day free trial. In those 7 days, you’ll get two free websites, and all the lessons you’ll need to know how to create your website and set it up to make money.
And this is so much easier than you think.. I zipped through all my lessons and had my site up and running on the second day. I didn’t have it full of the necessary content yet, but it was a live website, and it was incredibly exciting!
After the 7 day trial period, you are expected to pay $19 for the first month, for Premium level, to which then you are given access to all of your guided instructions you’ll be needing. You’re also expected to purchase your own domain name at this point, which is usually about $10 per year. You don’t have to make this purchase yet, or even at all if you don’t want to. But if you’ve created a great website so far that you’re proud of, you’ll want to move it to a more profitable domain name than the free site you’re given by Wealthy Affiliate.
What I like about it is that you can get a lot done in those 7 days for free–getting your website up and running, designing it, writing your first articles.. By the end of the trial period, you’ll know if it’s for you or not.
If you decide not to continue, you can just quit without ever having to pay anything. If you do decide to stay, you can keep your two free sites, or transfer all the work you’ve done to your new domain.
Wealthy Affiliate taught me most of what I needed to know, but I’m still going back on a daily basis to get answers to big questions. I’m still naive on the technical aspects of running a website, but they really make it so easy. Instead of turning to Google for all these types of questions, I go to the Wealthy Affiliate forum and ask my question there. Usually within 10 minutes I have my answer from experts and other advanced leaders within the group. It is an invaluable resource that I couldn’t live without.
Getting started blogging should be an exciting new adventure.. Every little thing you add or contribute to your new site is your own creation and you’re proud of it. It’s very exciting to see that new people are finding your site and actually reading it. Generating income with a blog is definitely possible and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested.
Have any more questions about blogging? Anything to add? Leave a comment below..