Unearthing the Hidden Secrets of Blog Monetization
We got your attention, didn’t we?
The good news is that these secrets are open and public, yet very few bloggers use them. The bad news is that it could demand more than just your blood, sweat, money, and life to make sure that you get the best out of your blog monetization.
As for what tools you’ll need to setup your blog, how to set up your blog, the core CMS you’ll need to use for your blog, and how to generate traffic –among many other aspects of blogging – there’s plenty of information out there. Bloggers still struggle with monetizing their blogs. There’s the issue of the work involved, the timing as to when to start monetizing, and a host of other problems associated with optimizing your blog to earn better revenue for you.
Blog monetizing isn’t so much about tools to use, platforms to base your blog on, ad networks you need to sign up with, and affiliate programs you have to signup for. Think of these tasks as part of “operations”.
But where, if we might ask, is the strategy? Here are a few aspects you should remember when it comes to monetizing your blog and a few “open secrets” you should know about:
Earn power, trust, and traction
Blog monetization is important for bloggers but that’s not even the destination; it’s more like a moving target. What’s more important is how you get anywhere close to this moving target to get a decent shot.
It takes a tremendous amount of hard work, uncountable pieces of great content (read blog posts), a continuous (almost insane) level of social media engagement, and countless ways to market or promote your blog to get anywhere close to a situation where you can make that blog monetization count.
This isn’t a secret. But the apparent difficulty in getting to this stage in blogging gives it a much coveted, restricted access to a few who are willing to put in the work, make the sacrifices, and let themselves bleed to death.
Much like startup entrepreneurship, this kind of blogging demands working for nothing. Putting in years of craftsmanship, skill, and hustle before even asking for a sale. Furthermore, none of this has any hope of funding, venture capitalist backing, and other kinds of support. Sure, there are communities and plenty of fellow bloggers to rest your shoulders on.
Ad placement, volumes, clicks, and impressions don’t matter; it’s about optimization
Most bloggers fuss over registration with affiliate programs, third-party advertising powerhouses such as Google AdSense, Clicksor, and Bidvertiser. You can fuss all you want but if you don’t know how your ads perform in various placements, positions, and situations, you’ll never find the Holy Grail.
To get to the best possible ad positions, formats, and the highest performing ad units, you’ll need to experiment. Google Analytics already has a way to help you experiment with your content. Tools like Unbounce.com allow you to experiment with your landing pages. Optimizely.com allows you to experiment with pages, with landing pages, and even with product pages on ecommerce sites.
Using sites such as Adpushup (for publishers), for instance, you can work with optimization of your ad placements. Using these tools, work on finding the best possible ad positions, ad slots, ad formats, and ad units that make money for you.
Digital marketing is all about marketing with numbers on the dashboard. Unlike traditional marketing that zooms into dark tunnels, you have numbers and performance reports available for every aspect of digital marketing.
Leverage that knowledge to maximize the ad revenue from your blog.
It’s not about traffic; it’s about conversion
Bloggers – and most others online – are obsessed with traffic.
While there’s nothing wrong with the obsession, the alarming focus going towards generating traffic (any traffic, whatsoever) is a worrying trend. Profitability has a lot to do with relevance. “Any” traffic won’t do your blog any good. It’ll suck you of your efforts, energy, time, and cash but won’t get you anything in return.
You’ll need highly interested, niche, relevant, and enthusiastic visitors to your blog who care about what you blog about. They will need fire in their collective belly to match with your own fiery ambitions. When you are blogging, you are creating a community in essence. Communities don’t form based on a casual matching of interests. It’s more like a collective match of strong similarities, interests, values, and beliefs.
Getting relevant traffic is the first step. The next thing to focus on is “conversions”– another science altogether. The conversion goal here begins with anything from an ad click to an affiliate sale or sale of your own product.You’ll dig into micro-aspects of your blog at this stage worrying about the color of the ad text, the positioning and size of the ad units, your copy, the quality of the offer, the authenticity of your products, social proof, and a lot more, depending upon how you are monetizing your blog.
If you had to work on anything at all, work on generating relevant traffic and then dig deep into getting this relevant traffic to convert.
The secret of aligned, focused content and making offers
Bloggers mistake content to “fill up the pages”. Sure, content will inform, educate, and even motivate, but all of that content is for what exactly? Look at some of the best examples in content marketing for inspiration. The folks at Moz.com blog relentlessly on search engine best practices.
Every piece of content, blog post, and video (including their Whiteboard Friday series) works to generate trust and is in-line with their ultimate offer: membership or access to their Moz Analytics tool. Hubspot.com offers tools and CMS solutions designed and built for “Inbound marketing” and every blog post, whitepaper, report, or even their free giveaways are in sync with their offer.
That’s the secret, right there: create content which is broad enough to deliver value for your readers but focused enough to be in line with the offers you make – the kinds of offers that are hard for your readers to refuse what with all that content that’s been drummed into their psyche for years.
It’s still marketing, all right, except that it’s now done with trust and engagement in mind and not eyeballs and “Spray and pray” techniques.
Are you putting your soul into work related “blog operations” or are you taking the smart route with focus on “blog strategy?”
Give us your input.