How To Monetize Your Blog – How I Really Make Money From My Website
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How To Make Real Money With Your Blog Right Now!
My post last week: 10 Reasons Why You’re Not Making Any Money Online Yet seems to have struck a raw nerve with many of you. It has been a while since I have had so many people say that a post really got them to take action – so I am very pleased about that.
I have to admit now I was in a bit of a ‘rage’ last week (in a good way) as I meet so many talented people who just don’t seem to get this blogging thing! I woke up and fired off that post very quickly and yes I was at my dyslexic best with lots of spelling and grammar errors – but I just had to RANT, let of steam!
I was speaking to a business coach recently who said that the biggest challenge is not that of getting people to understand what they need to do – but rather to get people to actually do it!
Every post I write is intended to get my readers to take action – clearly I am more successful at that sometimes than others.
Today I want to tackle a big subject:
How I Really Make Money With My Website and How You Can To!
Notice the word: REALLY – that is deliberate as I am sure some people still think I make money in a different way to how I explain it in all my blog posts. I REALLY am telling you as it is – all you need to do is follow and take action.
On first glance of my website, you probably wonder how I even make money from my website as there are no visible adverts like you would see on most other websites. In some cases I even have readers email me to thank me for all the great information and asked if there was any think they could buy of me to thank me. When you’re readers don’t even know your monetizing your blog, you are doing a real good job. Some of the following may be different from what you have been taught in the past, so it’s only right I reassure you with some figures:
I have two websites, both in the same niche, both with the same amount of traffic, one has advertising and the other promotes affiliate offers. The second blog with affiliate offers makes at least 5 times the amount as the other one.
Real quickly, I will tell you why you don’t want to sell advertising:
- Customers are hard work and they blame you for their mistakes
- Constantly adding/editing/deleting advertisers
- Paper work – trying to keep up with them
- Ugly and take away from user experience
- Most importantly… makes you less money!
In most cases I would say traffic is the most important thing for a website, without it you can’t make money – but if you don’t know how to monetize your website, then surely the traffic is pointless?
If you could only take 3 things away from this post, I hope they are:
1. Using a Lightbox optin I was able to significantly increase my daily email opt-in rate (304% +). I wish now I had used one sooner.
2. Test promoting different products, one product I promote out sells all others by at least 20 to 1 and I wouldn’t have know that if I had not switched around promotions on my site.
3. ASK! My conversions and sales continual to increase because I’m always asking my affiliate managers for more, a free trial, coupon codes, different landing pages – if it’s going to make you more sales, it’s going to make them more money and so they should at least make an effort to help you.
Finding Affiliate Programs To Promote
The majority of my income comes from promoting eBooks and online courses. Compared to other things I promote, I don’t sell as many eBooks say compared to services and software, however the commission is much higher, usually between 50% and 75%.
At this point, most “gurus” would tell you to search ClickBank and pick a product to promote on your website but it really isn’t as simple as that, depending on what you pick, your conversion rate will differ. Typically I will pick a product from a sub category such as eMarketing > Blog Marketing and choose a blog marketing eBook (for a blog like this), such as Blogging to the Bank.
From the above picture you will see two things, on the left, the subcategory I chose and on the right, the stats of the top converting product, in this case, Blogging Espionage. When you go to any category or subcategory page, at the top of the page will be the highest selling product, note GRAV (Gravity!)- the higher the number, the more sales it’s making. Also you want to look at ‘future’ in the Stats, because this is the money you can make on top of the Total Sale if people who buy the product you are promoting then go on to buy other products from the seller – for example, they join a membership website. Apart from this, you also want to make sure the product is a good match for your site, would it add to what your offering? Would you buy it yourself? These are questions you should ask yourself, if every box is ticketed then click Promote and you will be given an affiliate link to use. One thing I would also add, is to ask your readers and followers what products they have bought in the past? This has helped me understand better what products interest my readers. (For those of you who are wondering the %/refd: STAT above refers to the percentage of sales that have come from Affiliates – in this case, 89% of the sellers sales have come via affiliates)
Depending on what type of products you want to promote, you may also want to try Commission Junction for services, Amazon Associates Program for physical products and E-Junkie has a few good things to promote, however I never find their sales pages convert as high as the previous mentioned sites.
Promoting Affiliate Products On Your Blog
This is where a lot of people go wrong, they simply add a couple affiliate offers to their blog and cross their fingers, hoping someone will buy from them. There is a lot, a lot more to it than that!
Promote Things You Use
This works because people can actively see you using the service or product, for example with IncomeDiary I recommend my hosting company, domain registrar and my designer. This can be used for any niche, for example a Cookery or Restaurant review blog could promote cookware from their favorite celebrity chef via an affiliate link to the Kitchen & Dining store on Amazon. I actually am at the moment transferring my website over to VPS.net because of a recommendation on a sidebar of another blog – I did this because I respected the guys opinion and could see it was working well for him.
Below we have an excellent example from ChrisBrogan.com showing how he is promoting a product (a wordpress theme) that he actually is using himself. If your readers see you using a product then they are more likely to respond to your offer.
Promoting Recommended eBooks
I have found that two things that convert really well – the first being the ‘Offer Box’ below. In the past I have used banners provided by affiliate managers and also had some really snazzy boxes designed however this real clean, simple box with a green stop sign converts the highest.
My Top Converting Offer Box:
The box above is one of my best converting strategies and because of that, I will allow any IncomeDiary reader/fan to use it on their blog, dozens already are! I like to promote two offers in the box, one low priced and one high price. Fortunately for my higher priced offer above, I was able to secure a $1 trial and that has seen conversions go even higher. (Top Tip: If you are promoting a higher priced offer – try and get a special rate or introductory offer to get people interested in taking action. I do this with AWeber also and it works a treat)
The second thing that converts really well is adding a text advert at the top of my list posts, such as on my Top Earning Bloggers post. I add a link saying, “Want to follow in their footsteps? Check out this product”. This works because as the read the post the reader is highly motivated and inspired and wants to see themselves – on this list one day.
Comparison and Resources Page
These pages are usually to reinforce and to monetize other blog posts you have on your site. When you are selling any service or product, there are always other products to compare to and on most occasions these other products have affiliate programs also. I personally promote web hosting, domains etc.. but you could choose anything from computer games to house insurance. (Anyone notice how successful Price Comparison websites are these days? – I am just using the same principle)
You can see my website hosting comparison page here: Website Hosting Comparisons
The goal of the comparison page it to do two things. First to make it clear that the original offer that you mentioned in your post is the best priced and the one they should choose. The other is to increase conversions. It is quite likely that your visitor will want to shop around – it is natural and the right thing to do. You are giving them the opportunity to compare offers without having to go and search Google – and the longer the visitor is on your website the more chance there is you will earn a commission, either with your No 1 recommendation or via some of the comparison offers. Special Note: It is also OK to put in some comparisons that will not earn you any commissions – if you are being authentic and creating trust, which you should be, then your visitors, especially your more ‘internet marketing aware’ visitors will appreciate your ‘impartial’ approach.
Email Marketing Funnel
Getting people to Opt-in is perhaps the most profitable thing you can do with your blog – especially if you then followup with quality information and interesting offers.
If you ask any big internet marketer, one of the main things they would tell you is that they wished they had started to build their list earlier. Done right (which means first delivering quality information — not some load of spammy offers) than email marketing to a Strong List of followers is about as close as it gets online to printing money.
A brief overview of how my funnel works:
1. Opt-in boxes are displayed through out my website – for this I offer a special free gift to entice people into signing up. I also add a well designed eCover to give even more value to this FREE product. I display opt-in box’s in 3 ways, a squeeze page, a sidebar box and the highest converting, a lightbox advert, which increased my conversions by over 200%!
2. Visitors sign up and confirm their email address.
3. When I find good quality offers related to my niche (for example on Clickbank) I email subscribers. Sometimes I can earn several thousand dollars from just one mailing by doing this.
When it comes down to email marketing and autoresponder software, I believe there is only one you should use and that’s AWeber which is who I use and pretty much all my competitor, if you order today you can have your first month for only $1. Apart from AWeber, you may want to consider iContact.
Content Orientated Blog Posts
This has started to make me more and more money as I test different affiliate offers. Their are 3 main types of blog posts that make me money. They are Interviews, Guides and Reviews.
I shall point out the advantages of each below:
The easiest way to get affiliate sales with blog posts is to find out when a new Clickbank product is being launched, or even an old one for that matter. As long as the sales page converts (view the stats as I pointed out above) – you are going to make money provided it is targeted correctly for your niche / list. Contact the creator of the Clickbank product and email them requesting an interview. I recommend you do the interview over the phone (I use Skype) and record the call and get it transcribed. You then add the call to your site as an MP3 / Podcast and add the transcription for those who prefer to read rather than listen. (The transcription also gives you lots of valuable search engine content). When conducting interviews you can also review the interviewee’s products, ask them questions about it – and then at the end of the interview you can add if you wish your own mini-review of the product and the reasons why visitors should buy it.
Typically your interview will only touch generally on the strategies the interviewee uses but done correctly your listener / reader will be left wanting more. This is when you promote the Interviewee’s product as away for your followers to followup / learn more and grow their own business. Depending on the interviewee and the product, you can easily walk away with dozens of sales and continuous future sales depending on how often future readers find the interview.
Below is an example of the offers I was able to provide to my readers after I interviewed: Adam Horwitz
Another tactic I use is producing “How to’ or Guide Posts – just like this one. You give away great content that really helps your readers and at the same time you promote affiliate products. Visitors can see you using the products so they can decide if it’s for them or not and those who do notice you are promoting an affiliate product don’t mind because you are helping them out for free. Very Important: This is very important – do take the time to produce good content / how to posts. Despite what some gurus try to imply — there is no such thing as Free Money – you need to work at providing real value to your readers — do that and the money will follow via affiliate sales. So often I see bloggers making ‘half efforts’ at producing guides – frankly you may as well not bother if that is what you are going to do. Readers can tell your passion and commitment in your posts!
Review Posts: Just about every post you do can be a partial review post if you are doing it correctly. This is the essential bit here — no one is really going to pay any attention to your review posts unless they respect you, believe in you, have rapport with you. In other words they feel you can be trusted. As mentioned in previous posts this is why pages such as the ABOUT PAGE and the MY STORY PAGE are so essential.
To start building that trust and rapport you must first provide good content, valuable content. So often readers tell me they cannot believe how much good content I give away for free – if you start to get comments like that then you are doing it right. Build rapport and anything your recommend will stand a far better chance of being sold. I don’t do that many purely review only posts – but one recent example is: My Review Post For MarketMeTweet
Increasing Your Conversions
Although the following may seem like small things, the increase in conversions can be as much as 1000% in some cases so do pay attention.
Ask For a Coupon Code
Most companies will have the ability to create custom coupon codes, all you have to do is ask for them. These are great for increasing conversions as the coupon can make a huge difference such as making it a trial offer or get something free.
Ask For a Special Offer
Some of my best converting affiliate links convert so well because of the special offers I am able to offer my readers. For example a $1 Trial or a Bonus offer only available to my readers.
I could go on – but as I said at the beginning, the most important thing to do is TAKE ACTION. I appreciate you reading this of course, but ultimately unless you put these strategies into action they count for nothing.
Take Action Today
And just in case you have not already done it – do check out my Blogging eCourse – it is the Blueprint I followed myself to get where I am today.