Firstly you can sign up to all the Problogger’s Webinars here… and really you should do this, you don’t want to miss any of his sage advice – even if you have to stay up most of the night for it!!! These are my notes from this evenings webinar on monetization. I may have skipped a few points and I may have lingered a bit longer on points that interested me… Here they are in all their glory:
Se7en Truths about Monetization:
- 42 % of participants in the webinar have never tried to make money blogging.
- Taken from his survey at the beginning of the year without about 2000 respondents: 75% bloggers earn less than $100 dollars a month. 0.7% earn >$15 000 dollars; 33 % about make $100 a month. So there are a few top of the rangers but most bloggers are actually somewhere in the middle and $100 dollars a month is nothing to be sneezed at. Most people out there are blogging for the love of it!!! Good to know!!!
- Think strategically, about what you want to achieve from your blog and treat it that way today…
- If you want to make money; if you want to launch a book from it; if you want to get a job out of it; then think about steps you can take on your blog to achieve that.
- Three Foundations of a Profitable Blog:
- Content base – something useful;
- Promotion – how can you get out there and be heard;
- Community – where there is some sort of engagement and readers feel they belong.
- Methods to make money from blogging… Have a look at his fabulous mind map: 37 ways to make money from Blogging: Advertising; Affiliate Marketing; Selling Blogs; Continuity Programs; Products; Services/Products; Indirect methods.
- How Problogger makes money: E-books; Ad networks; Affiliates; Continuity: Direct ads; Events/speaking; Job board. Spikes and falls typical with the ebb and flow of internet rhythms.
Case Study: Se7en + 1 Steps to a Money Making Blog – Problogger’s Digital Photography School:
- One Camera review: proved immensely popular and triggered the idea for…
- The Digital Photography Blog: He began by making heaps of mistakes. It wasn’t satisfying, as it mostly gathered reviews from other sites and was little of his own content. And a problem with One-hit-readers … they came looking for a camera, read the reviews got their information and left… it was a camera review site and it needed more to retain readers… this led to…
- Problogger’s Digital Photography School: It began as a really simple “Teach you how to use the camera you had brought” site. As the readers knowledge grew so could the content. Again many mistakes were made!
- 1st two years: Content and Community:
- Content, content, content: Simple, simple tools and beginner articles connected… but foundation for beginners remains. 2-3 articles at first then up to five a week. Writing for his readers but also what he thought would get passed around and promoted around on the web. That would be the “getting out there…”
- Community: Identified where else he could grow a presence… like Flickr, an obvious place to connect with folk needing help with their photography!!! Responding and interacting with readers = participation became important.
Started low-key monetization with: Ad-networks and affiliation.
- Next step: Email Newsletter: Capture contacts… How do readers know how to come back. Email is a huge source of traffic. Readers get to subscribe and helps site to grow – 73 % subscribe via email, 27% RSS!!! Email newsletter means a huge spike in traffic and so spike in Ad-sense ads… and monetization. Lowest traffic on weekends.
- Years 3-5: Invest back in:
- Hire writers for particular topics
- Pay for good and improved design
- Spend more time on social media
More intensive monetization with: Ad networks, direct adds , affiliate marketing, ebooks.
- Ebook #1: Most content from the blog, written already… added one or two new articles, and a couple of interviews. Readers new what they were getting, liked that information was all in one spot and wanted to support the blog they had come to trust. The E-Book library has grown to ten fantastic books that readers know they can trust with material they can expect having seen/tested it out on the blog first.
- Individual and Seasonal Promotions: For other products,through the newsletter. And for example the “12 days of Christmas” – special deal every day.
And the se7en + 1th step:
Heaps of Listener Questions Asked and Answered by the Problogger Himself:
- When do I start monetization? Do you wait until you reach a certain level or from day one? At the start. This is not just a hobby, it is a business and I want it to be sustainable. Sets the expectation for your readers.
- Sponsored Posts and Disclosure? Be transparent about it. If you got something for free or from a sponsor and you write about it then be open. Be honest. If they took you out to breakfast then mention that too!!!
- What About the Amazon Affiliate Program? Some folk say that you get low commissions… Problogger says they convert well. Amazon is popular and well trusted. Most readers will have an account. Also folks buy a couple of things from Amazon – not just the thing they pop over to from your blog, for example one person bought a tractor lawnmower, when they went looking for a camera. (I have had an entire family buy new beds!!! Amazon is well optimized and folks tend to enjoy shopping there. The more links into the site the better.
- What About WordPress.com? Can’t do a heap of things: no affiliates, no promotion of other folks products, Pretty difficult to monetize.
- It Looks Like Blogs That Make Money On-line are Money-Niche Bloggers? Blogs that make money seem to be the ones that write about making money!!! They need credibility and so they are more likely to provide stats and this creates a false impression. Problogger makes far more money from Digital Photography School than his other sites. Australian blogger meet ups demonstrate that bloggers make money from all kinds of topics: Parenting, travel, cooking, even motorcycling!!!
- What About Price Points? How to decide what to charge for an ebook. He knows his readers are willing to pay about $15. a month for photography magazines and so launches at that early-bird price and then their regular price is $20-$30. Longer books or kits range from $30 up. Test your readers and see what others in your niche are charging. What would you pay for it yourself. Listen to your heart.
- Affiliate Marketing, Any Tips? Trust is the key – the more readers trust you the more they will support products that you recommend. Understand your reader’s intent to help build trust… give them the answers to the questions that they have. Key factors for affiliate marketing:
- Relevancy to your reader is important: Folk were looking to buy cameras so were more likely to follow through with camera sales than “how to photography books”.
- Link within a post. In-post promotions have a much better result than just banners.
- Only promote quality products and be honest about the pros and cons. Poor products damage your own brand.
- Genuine recommendations: Talk about products you use.
- Social Proof: Look at what folks are buying on your site – look at your amazon stats… generates your own bestseller list!!!
- Traffic is important – Track your results – see what posts your readers are reading.
- Readers survey;
- Guest posts;
- Launch posts (overview and fast action special);
- Newsletter readers promotion;
Followed by many many thank-you’s and until next time. I have to say, I am one of those bloggers that blogs mostly for the love of it, but I loved the straight answers here and there was lots to think about…
I loved the webinar and then tweets flowing by simultaneously… I love that there is so much to learn about blogging!!! Anyone and everyone can join in – so sign up… to find out when the next Webinar will be.
Not to mention a million thanks to the Problogger for sharing so readily with us!!!
You can catch a recording and the slides from the webinar if you follow this link – Enjoy it!!!