Written on October 28th, 2005 at 11:10 pm by Darren Rowse

Making Money From Blogging Takes Time

Miscellaneous Blog Tips 36 comments

I’ve been reflecting today upon the long term nature of having a business that makes money from blogging.

I am regularly asked by bloggers in their start up phase why they are not earning enough money from their blogs to go full time.

While I usually can find a variety of reasons - in the majority of cases it tends to come back down to the length of time that they’ve been blogging.

Why is length of time in successful entrepreneurial blogging for money so important?

There are a few reasons that come to mind:

  • Quantity of content - I’ve been blogging for almost 3 years (in fact November will see me hit this mark) and in that time I’ve added over 11,000 pages of content. This is 11,000 possible entry points to my blogs in search engines. This quantity of content does not just appear.
  • Search Engine Optimization - It takes significant time to become an authoritative and highly ranked site in the eyes of search engines. While it might be possible to rank highly on lower paying topics - to rise to the top of a competitive area is rarely achieved quickly unless you have a high profile, a lot of cash or get very lucky (or know something I don’t about SEO).
  • Reputation - Building a reputation for yourself in real life takes significant time - the same is true for the online profile of you and/or your blogs. Good reputation builds incoming links, opportunities, bookmarks, RSS subscriptions, advertiser goodwill and loyal readership.
  • Active - Connected with a good reputation comes good relationships and a network of contacts. Two years ago if I had wanted to start a new blogging project with someone else I would have had little chance of convincing anyone to join me - but since that time I’ve worked hard at my relationships with fellow bloggers (and other online and offline contacts) to the point now where my problem is becoming too many opportunities to collaborate.
  • Web Smarts - I shudder when I look back at my first blogging efforts and how naive, ill-informed and poorly run they were. I have a long way to go when it comes to learning about the web, blogs, design, writing etc - but over time my own skills and knowledge in these areas have grown. You can read all the books, blogs and articles you want on blogging (and I’d encourage you to do so) - but so much of what you can learn about blogging for money has to come from on the job experience - which again only comes with time.

So if your goal is to grow a substantial online business - one of my main piece of advice is to take a long term view of it. While a very small percentage of successful online business people do seem to make it big overnight - the examples of this are increasingly becoming fewer and farer between. I believe you can still realistically expect to grow your business (at least to some extent) but think its worth reminding ourselves that like most things - successful blogging comes as a result of hard work, determination, smart decisions and time.

A few quotes to end with:

“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” - Napoleon Hill

“Someone has defined genius as intensity of purpose: the ability to do, the patience to wait… Put these together and you have genius, and you have achievement.” - Leo J. Muir

“Genius is eternal patience.” - Michelangelo

Written on October 28th, 2005 at 09:10 pm by Darren Rowse

Ad Sizes on Blogs

Advertising, Blog Design 8 comments

Duncan has posted A short guide to ad sizes which really is a must read if you’re looking to use advertising on your blog. He takes a look at Ad placement, ad sizes and Chitika just to name some of what he covers:

‘Dont be afraid to experiment with your template as you would with any other aspect of your blog. First and foremost, its fun. For me getting a template to work is like painting a picture for someone else, its nearly like a piece of art that gives you a feeling of gratification once its completed (although in my case 3 months later I’m playing with it again :-) ) Take a stroll across the blogosphere and be inspired by what others are doing.’

What ad sizes and positions are your favorites?

Written on October 28th, 2005 at 07:10 pm by Darren Rowse

Email Newsletters for Bloggers

Miscellaneous Blog Tips 4 comments

Wayne at Blog Business World has a helpful post on email newsletters today. One of his tips is to consider collecting subscribers to your newsletter not only on your site but also from offline sources:

‘Most e-mail newsletter subscriber efforts make the mistake of being entirely online in their marketing focus. Many more good quality names can be added through offline marketing as well. In fact, some of a business’s most profitable customers might arrive from one of many offline sign-up vehicles….

Trade shows create a tremendous newsletter recruitment point for adding subscribers. Many interested people will be delighted to join a company mailing list, especially if they have shown interest in the business’s products and services. Offering a prize, a special pricing discount, or similar incentive will also boost trade show driven e-mail subscription levels. The newsletter can supply much needed followup to trade show attendees, as an article can easily be written about the show itself. ‘

I’ve also written some tips on email newsletters which might be helpful if you’re considering an email newsletter.

Written on October 28th, 2005 at 02:10 pm by Darren Rowse

Solo Tees

Other Income Streams 14 comments

Dane and Tim have started a new venture called Solo Tees which is an online T-Shirt shop with T-Shirts for Entrepreneurs.

They have started off with a number of designs and are open to suggestions for more. Perhaps some of the old enternetusers T-Shirt suggestions might work for them.

I still like some of the suggestions there:

“Click me baby one more time”

“Will blog for food”

“enternetusers: Show me the Money”

“On the Money”

“Google’s Buying me House”

“Occupation: Blogger”

Anyway - here’s some of their first round of T-Shirt designs

Solo-Tees

Written on October 27th, 2005 at 01:10 pm by Darren Rowse

Opinion on Pajamas Media

Pro Blogging News 17 comments

I’ve had quite a few people ask me what I think of the Pajamas Media launch that is approaching.

I don’t really have any comments to make at this stage except to say that it looks like an interesting concept and am looking forward to seeing how it goes. Wired has a feature on it today at Will Pajamas Media Wake Up Blogs?

They obviously have some big political bloggers behind it - however I’m not sure it will have much impact upon the average blogger. If you’re an A-lister blogging on politics you’d probably want to get a gig in it - but I suspect the rest of the wider blogging community will just blog on as usual.

I’m interested to hear what others think of it - especially those of you who participate in the political blogging arena.

Written on October 27th, 2005 at 11:10 am by Darren Rowse

Comment Spammers Sink to a New Low

Pro Blogging News 24 comments

I just saw something that made my stomach turn. A ‘comment’ left on this blog that read:

Help save the people in katrina! Donate

money to the red cross! :)

-Jakob

The link then went to viagra (no follow tags used).

That has to be one of the lowest examples of comment spam that I’ve come across.

Written on October 27th, 2005 at 11:10 am by Darren Rowse

She Knows Best Offers Personalized Help

Case Studies 7 comments

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One of the most amusing but innovative things that I’ve seen on a blog in a while is what Arieanna is doing over at She Knows Best where she’s basically doing makeovers of guys.

Arieanna writes:

‘It doesn’t matter how inane your fashion dilemma, or how little you know about fashion. She Knows Best can help. And don’t worry about guys laughing at you. The reality is that not only does someone, somewhere, know even less, but it’s almost a certainty that other She Knows Best readers are facing the same dilemma as you are.’

William was the first guinea pig volunteer and asked Arieanna about whether, as a red head, he should wear pink. The results are amusing but helpful.

I think this is a cool idea that will grow traffic and hook readers into the site more. I always find that these types of memes are well worth the effort. The beauty of what Arieanna’s doing here is that she’s not only creating fun content that involves a reader - she’s using affiliate links in the process as her examples.

Very clever.

Written on October 27th, 2005 at 08:10 am by Darren Rowse

Chitika News and Tips

Chitika eMiniMalls 16 comments

Chitika have updated their blog with some interesting tidbits:

- they’ll be releasing referrer buttons shortly

- they’ve pointed to a page that has a range of the types of products that they have stocks of ads for here

Also on Chitika eminimalls news - Alex has been writing some interesting Chitika eMiniMalls tips on his unofficial Chitika site. Two of the interesting ones are:

- Chitika Daily Keyword Rotation - this javascript code rotates different Chitika eMiniMalls keywords on different days of the week

- Chitika Keywords from Visitors’ Searches - this one will serve ads depending upon what people have come to your blog searching for. ie if they arrived on your blog after searching Google for ‘MP3 players’ you should get served ads for MP3 players.

I’ve not tried either of these tips - but they look useful.

Written on October 26th, 2005 at 09:10 pm by Darren Rowse

Google Update Underway - Jagger 2 Update

Search Engine Optimization 11 comments

Matt Cutts reports that another Google update (Jagger 2) is underway.

All the hardcore SEO types are speculating on what it all means over here. Seems to me this one won’t show any changes to your page rank - its all about your SERPs (search engine results pages) rankings.

Written on October 26th, 2005 at 12:10 pm by Darren Rowse

Adsense Dumb Pricing

Adsense 27 comments

Jen has just posted information about Adsense that will be of interest to publishers using it across multiple sites. The crux of it being that Google’s ’smart pricing’ can actually not only impact one of your sites but all of them. In short - if you have just one poorly converting site in your collection of sites it can drag down the performance of your other sites.

Jen reports on a conversation that an Adsense consultant had with a publisher who was considering switching to YPN. The consultant revealed a number of things including:

  • Smart pricing affects an entire account. It is not on a per page or per site basis.
  • One poorly converting site can result in smart pricing impacting an entire account, even sites completely unrelated to the poorly converting one.
  • Smart pricing is evaluated each week. So removing ads from sites you suspect are converting poorly could result in seeing an adjustment to a higher smart pricing percent in as little as a week.
  • Smart pricing is tracked with a 30 day cookie, so you could be rewarded for new conversions that saw the initial click from your site up to 29 days earlier.

I find this information both a bit disturbing (as someone with 20 sites that each perform at different levels) but also illuminating (it could explain why some of my sites seem to perform better and worse than others that I know who blog on similar topics). To me this just seems crazy - while I see the need for smart pricing on a site by site basis - I can’t work out what the sense of it is across different sites which will always perform at different levels in terms of traffic levels and conversions for advertisers for such a variety of reasons.

The frustrating thing that I find with Adsense is the lack of knowledge of what is going on behind the scenes. While I understand that they can’t reveal everything about their algorithms and processes (or they’ll be abused) I find that there are an increasing number of times when I feel completely confused and frustrated by them.

It seems with every new feature that they bring out that their system gets more and more complicated. Every new feature adds another variable that could impact earnings - this is now getting to a point where I find it very difficult to track what impact the changes I make are having. Perhaps this is a result of my adding new blogs to my business which complicates things further - but to hear this news today leaves me incredibly frustrated with the system that is increasingly becoming a mystery to me.

I get the feeling that those in the Adsense team are increasingly frustrated by the system also. I have a number of contacts at Adsense who seem somewhat hamstrung by what they can and can’t tell me. I’ve also had conflicting advice on a couple of occasions recently. For example one person told me that section targeting would help with my ad relevancy - another told me that it could be the reason my ads had been less relevant recently.

All I know is my Adsense performance continues to be significantly lower than it was a few months back, that ad relevancy is very poor and that pricing fluctuates from day to day by up to 20-30% with no changes being made at my end.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing how YPN performs when they finally let non US publishers in on the action and am in the process of deciding whether I might actually give some of my prime Adsense positions over to other ad suppliers like Chitika in the lead up to Christmas which should be a time that Adsense shines - but looks like being a time when Adsense flat-lines, or even worse goes into decline.



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