John Chow recently posted a call to moneymaking British-Columbia bloggers for a newspaper interview in his province. (Too bad it's not about Canadian bloggers, since I'm in Ottawa, Ontario, and I would have loved the extra publicity).
Nevertheless, this is an interesting topic I wanted to cover in this blog because a lot of people are asking about it. In fact, we discussed it on a call with Clayton Makepeace, entitled “Blogging For Dollars.” People raved so much about the call that they've begged Clayton for a second one. (And yes, by popular demand, we're doing one in March, so stay tuned!)
But let me share, however, some of the things we discussed on the call — along with a few tidbits on how you can make money with a blog.
Based on my experience, a blog has one or more of five major goals. Aside from the standard business and personal goals of a blog (like journaling, gaining publicity, connecting with audiences, posting news, etc), the five major goals, in terms of using blogs to make money online, are:
- Creating visitors
- Creating evangelists
- Creating leads
- Creating sales
- Creating businesses
A blog is definitely one of the best SEO machines out there. The Internet (with the word “Internet,” I mean people who are on it, as well as search engines who crawl and serve it) are typically looking for one thing and one thing only. It's not products or businesses. It's not even websites. It's information.
In other words, fresh content.
And the fresher the content, the more important you become in the eyes of the Internet. Blogs, since they are typically known for delivering fresh content as opposed to, say, a static website, are regarded far more favorably by the search engines.
That's why blogs get crawled and ranked faster than most typical websites, whether the blog is search-engine-optimized or not. (Granted, a bit of SEO can also increase your standing even more. Writing SEO-focused copy aside, blogs by themselves have internal processes and extra plugins that can greatly improve their visibility.)
This is the reason why I've converted some of my static websites into blogs — they are not blogs per se, but I'm using the blog as a content delivery and management system. (Take, for instance, my flagship website at The Success Doctor, Inc., which uses WordPress as its guts.)
And the results are pretty impressive. One of the blogs my wife and I have created reached #1 in MSN in only five days and #1 in Google in only nine days — and this, for a specific and popular keyword.
Blogs are fan-creating tools, too. Many blogs have thousands — even hundreds of thousands — of loyal followers. And they do so for three reasons: partly because the blog helps to connect with readers, partly because blogs are more “human” than static websites, and partly because they give control back to the user.
For example, it's easier to subscribe to, and be removed from, RSS feeds. Unlike email, with its plethora of spam, scams and impossible-to-opt-out mailing lists, RSS feeds allow anyone to subscribe only to those websites they prefer. And to visit those websites (most often when a new post is made) when they prefer.
Plus, email comes with its own risks. Spam has forced filtering processes to be more aggressive, and the more aggressive the filters, the greater the incidence of false positives. (I'm sure you've had, at some point, some of your most important emails accidentally fall into your junk folder.)
People don't want to miss their important emails. And they don't want to miss out on important news or notifications. Blogs solve that since RSS feeds are completely controlled by the end-user, and can never be spammed (unless, of course, you're subscribed to the comments RSS, which is a different story altogether).
But nothing stops you from offering your readers to join a mailing list, too. In fact, like this blog, you may have noticed that I also ask people to subscribe to a mailing list in as many locations as possible. I do it on the sidebar, within the content (at the end of my posts), on archived pages, on search pages, and so on.
The opt-in rate for a blog may be a little less than, say, an opt-in page. But the quality of the subscriber who joined a list as a result of visiting or being a reader of a blog is far greater.
Why? Because the beauty of this process is that people can get a taste of who you are and what you offer (and how people react to you, based on their comments as well as their thoughts expounded on social networking sites when your blog is dugged or del.icio.us'ed), which builds awareness, trust, credibility and, above all, relationships with your subscribers.
However, blogs are great for driving sales. Some of them, like John Chow's blog, are practically businesses onto themselves. Just look at some top bloggers out there, like Michael Arrington's TechCrunch.com, Pete Cashmore's Mashable.com, and Darren Rowse's ProBlogger.net. Some bloggers make incomes as high as six figures with their blogs, and they do so in many ways.
Plus, anyone can blog, and anyone can monetize their blogs, too. You can be 93-years old (it's one of my favorite blogs, actually), or as young as 12.
(I also agree with John Chow, in that you shouldn't blog for money. You can make money with blogs, which is different. Blogging strictly for money can make you some money, but it won't make you rich. Your goal, really, is to serve, teach and share with your readers, if not at least entertain them. And in the process, you monetize your efforts.)
Let me share with you how you can make money with blogs, which I do in seven ways (and I've linked to some examples online):
- Ads (for example, I make money with AdSense, Kontera, Clickbank.com, CJ.com, and my own products, like Marketing ESP);
- Products (I promote my own products, from software to information products, including books, CDs, DVDs, ebooks, etc);
- Promotions (I also make additional promotions either through my blog or to my lists, and not just new blog post notifications);
- Links (I use links within my posts, without promoting, such as for references, reviews, recommendations, related products, etc);
- Instructions (for example, I use my blog to teach affiliates, provide proof, launch products, offer incentives, induce referrals, etc);
- Endorsements (I often use my blog to promote affiliate products, services, businesses or offers that are relevant to my readers);
- Donations (such as free reports, courses, samples, software, etc that are ad-supported or promote products in themselves);
(Oh, speaking of donations, and let's not forget tips, which you can do by clicking on the donation button on the right sidebar. If you feel this content is valuable, then go ahead and “buy me a drink.”)
I'm a lover of acronyms, because acronyms are easy to remember. I not only use them as mnemonics but also use them as tools when I teach. You probably know this already, such as with terms like QUEST, OATH, FORCEPS, UPWORDS, FAB, etc.
So let me ask you, can you spot the mnemonic above? In it is the biggest secret to turning this knowledge into money. 😉
Michel Fortin is a senior marketing specialist, renowned copywriter, and digital marketing expert. For the better part of 30 years, he's produced countless successful marketing communications and profitable campaigns that generated in excess of $300 million in sales. He's broken many industry sales records, including being instrumental behind the first ever “million-dollar day” online marketing campaign in 2004. He's worked with thousands of businesses and entrepreneurs around the world in a wide variety of industries on building their businesses, improving their marketing, and increasing their profits. He's a published author and often speaks at industry events. To connect with him, visit his LinkedIn profile where he is most active.