Make money from my blog

Well, I have been reading a few articles about how to monetize my blog which got me all excited about becoming a more dedicated blogger. There are tons of advice out there – I am already following most of them but will try new ones. My guess is that not every advice will work for every blogger.

My ideal job is will have to have these elements: write code, try new software, check out new sites and online services, play with new gadgets, pretty much anything tech-related. If I can do all that, blog about it and generate enough money to pay my bills then I will be a happy camper.

I noticed that some of the more successful blogs out there are the ones that give advice or provide a service for free. So, I am going to blog about all the things I mentioned above and at the same time will blog about my stats, earnings, tweaks, etc… that I am using to improve the earning potential of my blog.

Getting Started

I have been blogging for a while but just as a hobby and as part time and haven’t really written any long posts except for a few. I am not quitting my job yet but I plan to be more pro-active about blogging. I also plan to try and write longer and better posts.

Ok, so let’s get started. In this post, I am going to cover the steps I performed to get started with my blog and hopefully one day make it successful. I will keep updating my stats to let everyone know how successful my methods have been.

Set up my blog

I figured if I want lots of traffic, then I should host my own blog then I thought if I can get others to blog for me then I can get more traffic, so I hosted a multi-user blog site BlogsToGo. First I started using Community Server (CS) but then switch to WordPress Mu (WPMU). I liked CS because it was written in .net and I am a .net developer. But WPMU was a better platform in terms of available themes, plug-ins, community support etc… So I bought myself a PHP book “Beginning PHP and MySQL 5” – pretty good book, installed WAMP on Windows 2k3 server hosted at Rackspace (expensive but the best hosting out there).

Customize my blog

One thing I love about WPMU is its endless customization potential. Of course this can be bad since you can spend hours and days tweaking it (I did and still do). I am going to write a post dedicated to the my customization and will link to it here [to do]. But if you can’t wait, check out this post.

Monetize my blog

Text Link AdsThe obvious one is Google AdSense. AdSense is great and is very easy to setup. Here are some related posts: Adding code to the top of every post in WordPress and Private: Adding stuff to the footer of every page in WordPress that might help you with setting up AdSense. I like their referral program too that lets you refer things like Google Pack, AdWords, Firefox, AdSense and now they have expanded to include third party referral programs.

Amazon.com Affiliate Program – so far this has been a poor performer but it might get better with increased traffic. I use context links and direct links to products. For example the link above to the PHP book contains my associate id, so if you buy it, I will get a percentage (I think 3%). The percentage increases with volume.

I also joined Text Link Ads (TLA) but so far haven’t made any money. I think that will change with traffic – I will report back [to do].

Promote my blog

I have about 400+ blogs (as of July 2007) on BlogsToGo. Most of these blogs, I got by advertising on Google AdWords. You can set a daily budget, set an expiration date for the campaign, assign different click values for different key words and all sort of other customization. But be careful, it can get expensive. I will say it costs me about $5 per blog. Considering that only a small percentage of these blogs are actually active and not spam, the cost is a lot higher. But, I think in the long term it will pay off.

I posted comments in high traffic sites and linked to related comments. One of my favorite sites is LifeHacker.com but for some reason none of my comments ever make it – maybe their spam filter thinks I am a spammer.

I linked to other related blogs and blog posts through pingbacks and trackbacks.

I just joined MyBlogLog a few minutes ago (at the start of this blog) and I already have 2 readers and 8 page views. That’s not bad for a few minutes. I will report back on how successful this becomes [to do].

I submitted my site to several search engines but I think Google, Yahoo, Live and Ask should be enough to cover 95% of the population.

I added a link to my blog in almost everything I do: Email signatures, online profiles, resume, online comments, social book marking sites.

I asked friends and associates with blogs to link to my blog and I linked to theirs.

The longer I keep my readers on my blog, the more likely they will find an interesting ad to click on, so I interlinked to other posts in my blog to get them to read relevant posts and get increased page views.

The most important thing, I think is GOOD CONTENT. So, I am going to try harder to post better content and more frequently. Although, from reading online, I heard that frequency isn’t that important – but that could be wrong.

Track My Blog

So you do all these things and hope everything works. But before you quit your job, you need to track your progress and all your different optimization techniques. I track my sites in several ways which I think might be an overkill. So, if my traffic increases, I might just switch to one or two tracking methods to increase site performance.

I love Google Analytics but it doesn’t work very for tracking per-post-traffic. Here is a sample of my dashboard for June 2007:
image

For per-post-traffic, I use WordPress Stats
image

I also use SiteMeter to track overall site traffic – you can view this site’s traffic at http://www.sitemeter.com/stats.asp?site=s41blogstogo

Then of course, you need to track your earnings. Google AdSense has all sort of reports but I usually just check the homepage to get a quick view of today’s earnings. My earnings for June 2007 are
image

Amazon.com Associates also has a reporting feature – not a good one though.

MyBlogLog has tracking built-in but I don’t know how well it works since I just set it up. I will report back [to do].

I also like to check the value of my domain once in a while. As of July 07, 2007, BlogsToGo.com is worth $920.

My Alexa traffic rank as of July 2007 is 3,113,741 – in case you are wondering, that sucks. You can see the current rank at http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details?url=blogstogo.com

Resources For…

… Starting your blog

… Customizing your blog

…Monetizing your blog

…Promoting your blog

..Tracking your blog

…More (and probably better) advice

Thoughts

Do you like this post? Is it helpful? If so then you can help me by donating money, checking any of my sponsors/affiliates, linking to my post/blog/site or telling your friends.

Feedback

Since, I am constantly trying to improve, let me (and others) know how if you have other tips, recommendations, a better way to do something. Share your feedback as a comment for everyone to see and benefit from.

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