Sunday, January 18, 2009

Make Money with your Blog

Someone asked on LinkedIn: "If I wanted to have a successful blog that potentially made money, what would I do?"

First thing's first, after figuring out what it is you're going to write about and designing the blog and hosting it somewhere (I would suggest purchasing a keyword-rich domain name rather than hosting it free on Blogger or some other blog site), the most valuable thing you can do is add buttons and links to your blog to allow users to subscribe to it in as many different ways as possible. Some people use services like Bloglines, some people use an RSS app, some people use Firefox live bookmarks, but not all of these people are savvy enough to know how to subscribe to a blog without a specific sub-to-this-blog link for their preferred RSS reader. A great resource to help you make these different links is Feedburner also allows you to design email signatures with animated headlines from your blog, and many other different ways to publicize and monetize your blog. Plus, it lets you watch the traffic and subscription trends for your blog's feed.

Next, you want to research keywords to find a keyword that relates to your subject matter that people actually search for, so that if you find yourself in the top ten rankings on Google for said keyword, you will actually get traffic from it. An awesome tool to help you figure this out is Wordtracker GTrends which is here:

Once you find your keyword or key phrase, you want to make sure your blog's code is search engine friendly. You want to make sure your meta tags are within search engine guidelines, that your keyword density is appropriate for your subject matter, and that all of your titles have your keyword or key phrase in it. A good way to get a head start on this is to have your blog's backend hosted by Blogger, while the blog itself is published on your own domain. I say this because Google owns blogger and as such, the new version of blogger features extremely Google-friendly code.

After this, you need to get some links pointing to your site from good, Google recognized sites that relate to your subject matter. The best way to do this is to search on Google for your keywords or key phrase and ask the top ten ranking web sites to link to your blog. You may have to be creative about this, using what we like to call link bait. This can be anything that entices another web site owner to link to your site. Because your site will be new and most top ten ranking sites know a thing or two about search engine optimization, you probably won't be able to just get a link exchange - no one wants to link to a brand new blog for two reasons, one is that new bloggers have a tendency to lose interest after a while and you find yourself linking to a blog that never gets updated, and two is because the site has no Google PageRank. If you offer your potential linkers something else, you may have more success. For example, I once ran a campaign for a client that swapped links for a discount on my client's products. Whatever it is you swap for a link is up to you, be creative.

You want to add your web site to blog directories and blog resources such as Technorati. If you haven't spent literally a week straight doing this, you haven't found nearly all of them. There are so many! Your best bet is to search Google for a list of blog directories.

Ask your friends or colleagues to Digg each of your blog posts using

Add links to the bottom of every post that will allow readers to add to delicious, post to facebook, myspace, stumble upon, etc. Use as much 2.0 power as you possibly can. Get a Twitter account and tweet as much as you can, follow as many users as you can. Make sure every profile you've ever made for yourself or your business on any site, has a link to your blog. Make sure your blog address is everywhere, when you comment on others' blogs, when you talk in forums, etc.

You want to make sure you have an advertising policy available on your web site for potential advertisers to read, and as many different ways for them to contact you.

When all of this is set up and ready, it's time to send out a Press Release. Make sure it is enticing and boldly underlines how this blog is different and why people will want to read it. Submit your press release to as many press release distributors as possible. Again, just search on Google and you'll find a ton. Some cost money, some are free.

Now it's time to post. Make sure your posts have personality. No one wants to read a dry technical blog. You want to make sure your own personality comes out in each and every post. Also, the more controversy, the better. A controversial post will entice readers to send the link to their friends and family in either horror or pride - both are equally as good! It will also encourage comments and repeat visits when something heated has been posted to the comments and the poster wants to come back to check the responses. It will also encourage repeat commenters and some will be compelled to subscribe to your blog. Make it controversial enough and you may even hit the mainstream news, such as Michelle Malkin did recently when she objected to the scarf Rachael Ray was wearing in a Dunkin' Donuts ad.

Submit all of your article length posts to article databases utilizing the author's bio as a spot for a link back to your blog. Hopefully people will syndicate these on their own sites keeping the bio in tact and thus, creating more links to your blog.

Some people use traffic exchanges such as BlogExplosion or Blog Soldiers and while it does actually increase your traffic, most of that traffic is useless. The only one I have ever found that actually results in real readers, is These sites are not entirely useless, however, as they do have directories that your blog is submitted to when you join. And there are no obligations after joining, so I would suggest doing so just to get into the directories as they are even more links to your blog.

Make sure you blog regularly, but not too much. Many people subscribe to RSS feeds as a much faster way to get their daily reading in. Blogs with a lot of daily headlines, generally get skimmed and sometimes just deleted when there's no time. But blogs that only have a post a week, can tend to be forgotten about. My suggestion is to keep it to once daily, and at the very least, 3 or 4 times per week. If you are going to be unable to post for a period of time, vacation or something, post and let your readers know so that they don't think it's just another blog gone stale.

In the meantime, add Google Adsense to your blog, perhaps Amazon a-store and any high-quality affiliate programs that can relate to your blog's subject matter.

If you keep all of this up, you will have advertising revenue. The key though, is patience. Keep at it and don't get discouraged. Publicizing any web site can take months upon months before you see results. But once you do, it's highly worth it. You may even want to design and sell your own merchandise for further revenue.

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