Got a blog? Got bills? Want some money to pay for hosting and maybe a nice new MacBook? And maybe an aircon unit to go with it?
Why not start to monetize your blog? All you need is a little vision, a commitment to write content and good monetization. Let’s have a look at how you can take your money-losing blog and turn it into something that will actually benefit your bank account.
CPC Ad Networks
Google AdSense is probably the best known and most widely used way of monetizing a blog. It is very simple to setup, offers ads relevant to your content from a large number of trusted advertisers, pays about 60% of the click to you and pays out reliably. Sounds great doesn’t it? Well, AdSense does have some downsides. You can be ‘Smartpriced’ and your revenue per click can drop dramatically overnight. As well as this, there is the possibility that your readers have become AdSense-blind, having been exposed to similar ads on other sites they frequent. But if you want to monetize a very niche-oriented blog, AdSense would be right up there at the top of my list of revenue generators.
Last year Yahoo! opened their contextual ad network, called Yahoo! Publisher Network, to beta testers based in the USA only. It has since become the main alternative CPC network to Google AdSense. People who have used YPN have said that they earn more per click when compared to AdSense revenue generated from the same site. While this sounds encouraging, there have been serious issues with YPN in terms of targeting accuracy. Payment is also reliable, offering the choice of payment via check or direct deposit. However, if you run a very topic-specific blog, YPN would not be my first choice CPC program.
Chitika is a new slant on CPC that has really taken off in the last year. Basically Chitika will contextually pick a product and display a price, image and short description. Payout is reliable and can be sent straight to your PayPal account, something which is sure to attract many. While there have been varying tales of success and woeful performance, Chitika is most suited to commercial blogs. If you blog on a topic such as iPods, PSP, gaming, electrical accessories you will more than likely find Chitika generates a good revenue stream. But the one single benefit offered by Chitika is that it is AdSense-compatible. When you generate your code in the Chitika admin panel, simply turn off the contextual mode and enter a string of keywords such as ‘ipod’ or ‘sony vaio’. Chitika will then serve ads based on your keywords. There are numerous plugins available that will automatically insert a keyword string based on your title tag, making this a very worthwhile program to sign up to.
CPA and Affiliate Networks
AzoogleAds is a Cost Per Acquisition network, which certain people have major success with. Let’s say you have a blog about mobile phones, then you could offer a free ringtone download that would then pay out a few bucks once the customer downloads the ringtones. AzoogleAds have an excellent reputation in terms of their customer care and revenue share, you’ll find that they pay out more than any other affiliate network. On the downside, AzoogleAds do not have the widest range of offers, but if you are in the auto / finance / tech sector you’ll be well catered for.
These guys have been around for ages and have an absolutely gigantic number of affiliate programs to sign up to. If you have a blog that reviews products, chances are you will be able to find a suitable affiliate program in the CJ network and make money from your affiliate referrals. Your cut of each sale is not constant though, so make sure and check what % you get from each advertiser you sign up with.
If you have a high traffic blog and some room in your sidebar, then I would highly recommend signing up for AdBrite. This is a marketplace where advertisers can browse for sites and pay for their textual advertisement to appear. It isn’t contextual and can be used alongside AdSense and YPN. The cost for a link on your blog is worked out by your traffic and sector. So the more traffic you have, the more you make. Get writing!
This network is run by Andy Hagans and Patrick Gavan. Originally it was a one way street, Text-Link-Ads were the brokers between the advertiser and a select number of large websites such as Answers and How Stuff Works. Now you can apply to have your blog included in their marketplace so that advertisers can pay for their static text link on your site. Most of the buyers using this network are doing so because they want the benefit of the link from your site, but luckily you can choose who gets to appear. Implementing Text-Link-Ads on your site is quick and easy, with code available for RoR, PHP, Drual, Serendipidy. Check out their calculator and see how much you could be earning!
- Under-The-Radar Paid Links
Some would argue that having a paid link on your site can actually affect your ranking. If you are concerned, go under-the-radar. The easiest way to do this is to post availability on popular forums such as Digital Point and SitePoint. You will have complete control over how the text links are implemented, making them look much more natural and hence reducing your liability.
- Presell Pages
if you have a blog that covers a particular niche (let’s say … your local area) then you can arrange presell pages. You would contact advertisers and inform them that they could have a page on your site where they can write whatever they link, and link back to their site. Again, this is a clean and easy way for you to generate revenue without much effort. However, getting the most out of this type of revenue generation requires decent PR.
I’ve never tried this one, but apparently it works. Having said that, you would need a big chunk of loyal readers and a lot of very good content (updated regularly) before anyone will even consider dropping you a cent. Not the best way of generating revenue, but you can give it a try. PayPal is the best option of receiving funds. Or you could set up an Amazon gift list.