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BlogWorld NY 2011

How To Make Money on a Blog Without Banner Ads

Author:

Speakers: Zac Johnson, John Chow, Syed Balkhi
Session: Monetizing Your Blog Beyond the Banner Ads
Date: Wednesday, May 25
Time: 3:45PM
Location: Jacob Javits Center 1A17

… by John Chow

Many bloggers don’t like the idea of putting banner ads on their blogs. They are still stuck with the idea that a blog is just a communications medium and making money from it is somehow evil. Others think putting banner ads on a blog cheapens the look or makes them look like a sellout. I’m not going to debate whether you should have banners ads on your blog or not. What I want to show you is how you can make money from your blog (and a lot of it) even if you have zero banners ads.

Banner Ads Are Not My Blog’s Main Income Source

Many people look at the amount of banner ads on John Chow dot Com and assume that’s how it makes money. The fact is the banner ads account for less than a third of the blog’s monthly income. If I were to become an ad free blog, it would still make five figure every month. How is that possible?

The Real Money Is In The Backend

The majority of my blog’s income does not come from the front end advertising that you see. It comes from the hidden backend sales system. This system is invisible to the reader and doesn’t reveal itself until he subscribes to the blog. And that is the key to majority of the blog’s income.

When a new reader subscribes to my blog, he is pushed through what is know as an auto responder sales funnel. The funnel is designed to do three things:

  1. Build a one on one relationship
  2. Establish my brand and authority
  3. Recommend product that solves the reader’s problems

All this is done with the email auto responder feature of Aweber. When a reader subscribes to my blog, he is sent a series of emails that are custom written to achieve the three points listed above.

The income is made when a reader buys any of the products that I recommend. Because the relationship and trust has been formed, the reader is much more receptive to any solution that I recommend. A good sales funnel can easily make you $1 per subscriber per month.

By using a backend sales funnel that is hidden from the average reader, it is possible to have an ad free blog that makes more money than a blog littered with banner ads. To learn how to create your own auto responder sales funnel, read this post.

The Money Really Is In The List

In my post on How To Make 2011 Your Best Blogging Year, I said you must set up a mailing list if you don’t already have one. Well, this is the reason. Most of my blog income is generated by the mailing list.

Way too many bloggers concentrate on their blog front end banner advertising when in reality, that’s not where the money is. The money is in the list and the sooner you start one, the faster you’ll be in the money. If you don’t have a list, you are potentially losing thousands of dollars every month. Get started TODAY.

Wendy Piersall Talks Monetization Strategies & Mistakes

Author:

Speakers: Jennifer James, Heather Solos, Janice Croze, Wendy Piersall
Session: How to Make Real Money From Your Blog
Date: Wednesday, May 25th
Time: 9:00AM

Wendy Piersall is truly a veteran of the blogosphere. She has successfully launched and sold blogs. I was excited to pick her brain about her session at Blogworld on advanced monetization strategies. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Insights from 5 Years of Blogging
  • Wendy’s Accidental Entry Into Blogging
  • Why Staying the Course is Key to Being a Successful Blogger
  • A Brief Discussion on Advanced Monetization Strategies
  • The Struggles of Becoming a Successful Blogger
  • Key Mistakes that Wendy Made as a Blogger
  • Monetization Mistakes that Bloggers Make
  • A Preview of the Multiple Monetization Strategies that Will Be Discussed in This Session

If You’re a Blogger, You Need a Business Plan

Author:

Speakers: Thursday Bram
Session: Business Plans for Bloggers
Date: Thursday, May 26
Time: 2:30PM
Location: Jacob Javits Center 1A14

It takes a matter of minutes to set up a blog — seconds if you’re not worried about hosting it yourself. But it can take years to actually see a dime from your blog if you aren’t thinking about it in terms of a business.

It’s easy enough to start writing and even to stick with putting together a post on a regular basis. But it’s just as easy to tell yourself that you’ll get around to putting up advertising later or to flounder a bit when thinking about you might sell from your blog.

Success is Not Hit or Miss

Whether you’re a big name blogger or you’re just starting out, your blog can earn money. But you have to be willing to treat it like a business. That means thinking about your blog’s future, setting goals for it and planning how you’ll reach them. For many business owners, the simplest approach to handling goals and plans is to create a straight-forward business plan.

It’s a business plan that can make the difference for a blogger, not getting on the front page of Digg or sending a guest post out to every site you’ve ever heard of.

The Right Business Plan for Your Blog

Business plans aren’t exactly a new concept — there are thousands of templates you can follow, books you can read and so on. But the part that many bloggers seem to struggle with is translating all of the information that is available on planning and operating a business into a plan that will actually work for an individual blog.

Part of the problem is that a blog isn’t exactly a typical business that someone might write a business plan for: many of those templates are focused on helping a new business owner communicate the details of her business to someone else, such as a bank offering business loans or an investor interested in getting involved. The startup costs of a new blog are such that those aren’t likely scenarios.

Rather, a blogger’s business plan has to focus on what you need to put into your site to get out the sorts of returns you want. Doing the necessary research to figure out what your target audience actually wants to see — and what they’ll buy or click on — is the most important part of your business plan. After all, if you can answer the question of how you’re planning to make money from your blog, everything else is downhill from there.

Thursday Bram has written for such sites as CNET, Lifehack and OpenForum. Her personal blog is at ThursdayBram.com

Reclaiming Your Traffic And Monetization After The Panda Update

Author:

Speakers: Shane Ketterman
Session: How To Build, Grow, and Monetize Your Own Blogging Empire
Date: Thursday, May 26
Time: 2:30PM
Location: Jacob Javits Center 1A14

Was your blog or site affected by the latest roll-out of Google’s Panda algorithm update? Mine was. And I want to share this story with you so you can understand a little of what I am doing right now. Additionally I want to share this with you if you are a site who lost revenue due to the lower traffic numbers.

On April 11, 2011, I was blissfully going through the day excited that the night before I had taken in my largest adsense day and my weekly Amazon affiliate sales were skyrocketing.

I was able to take a recent event, write a bunch of articles, and drive traffic. A lot of it.

After about 2 weeks of this, I felt good. I felt like I was really getting somewhere and I felt like Google was my new BFF (best friend forever), because it was bringing me traffic and that traffic clicked ads. And those clicked ads gave me money.

But at 4pm on April 11th, that friendship took a detour. Google and I had different ideas about the quality of my recent traffic-driving posts. And as I learned, Google wins.

Each day I would check my “impressions” on my site and it was just amazing to me at how it was going up and up. Come to think of it – it felt like 2006 when real estate values were increasing in the double-digits.

Lesson #1: When something is increasing at a rapid rate, be very aware.

So at around 4pm, I was checking my impressions and I nearly choked on my sandwich. It wasn’t the peppers. It was the traffic. “Where had it gone?” I surmised that it must just be a Monday dip.

But it wasn’t. I had been affected by the latest Google Algorithm change called Panda, or the Farmer update.

But I wasn’t an article farm. I was just blogging. I was…..well it doesn’t matter what I was or wasn’t, the fact is Google decided to get me off that pedestal a bit and show me how much power they have with their algorithms.

So I could have got angry. I could have quit and deleted the mysql database of all my posts. I could have just been complacent and ignore it.

But if you are one that blogs and depends on Adsense or other affiliate sales that are all driven by organic search traffic then you see that money literally disappear before your eyes.

Lesson #2: Do not depend purely on organic search as your sole sense of income.

So now you know what happened but now I want to help you understand what I’m doing about it because this is about not giving up and it’s about an income from a blog.

First things first. Do not panic. Do not get angry (it won’t help). Don’t do anything irrational and feel like a failure. An algorithm update hits millions of sites. So you are not the only one.

Now it’s time to get practical. When and if this happens to you, head over to the Google Webmaster forum to see what kind of messages they are posting. Read with care. Watch for articles from trusted SEO resources like the following:

SEOMoz
Search Engine Land

Step 1. Try to see what the veterans in SEO are finding and do not follow everyone’s advice until the dust has settled. I know you will feel an urgent need to fix this but you have to be careful and make sure you are doing it right.

Step 2. Read the Google Webmaster Quality Guidelines. Believe it or not, they really do tell you exactly what Google considers quality.

Step 3.
Read what the update affected (from Google) and try to understand how this might have applied to ANY page on your blog/site. One low quality page can bring down your domain’s standing in the SERPS. Panda in particular targeted:

  • Sites and pages plastered with ads “above the fold” or ones that have a high ad to content ratio.
  • Shallow, or thin content pages that generally do not add any value
  • Pages with poorly written (grammar, spelling) content
  • Duplicate content (copying from other sites intentionally or unintentionally)
  • Add value and something unique to your articles if it is one that is covered elsewhere
  • Sites with low-quality backlinks

There are more issues that Panda targeted but you get the idea. It’s about the quality and uniqueness and in Google’s eyes, they are trying to deliver the absolute best experience that they can for searchers.

Step 4. Get into your Analytics and use the great comparison feature. When you are looking at your dashboard, you can select the dates you want to view and there is a checkbox for “compare to past” which allows you to do a great comparison.

Compare your traffic for one week prior to your loss in traffic to a week after and take note which pages took the most hits.

Step 5. Determine if you are going to get rid of those pages, update them or just put a noindex, nofollow on them. Either way, dig through and make a decision on what you are going to do with low-quality pages.

Step 6. Open Google and take the title of one of your articles within quotes and simply search for it. What do you see? Do you see your exact article on the top of the results or do you see other sites copying your content?

I was not even aware but there were 8 sites copying all my posts. Thanks to Derek Halpern of Social Triggers for giving me some pointers on this. This is all duplicate content and it can harm you. File DMCA requests with the site owners or hosting providers and get this removed right now.

There are also plugins you can get for WordPress to help with scrapers as well but it’s my belief that getting it removed entirely is best at first. RSS Footer is one such plugin that you might want to check out.

Step 7. Look at your pages from the perspective of a user. How does it feel? Does it feel spammy? Too many ads in the content? Ask others. Above all, ask the hard questions and be willing to consider some house cleaning to present a higher quality experience. This might mean taking ads out of those areas that get a ton of clicks. It might mean reducing your ads. Or it might be just fine.

Also, look for pages with more internal links than content. I had a few pages where I referenced other content but the links outweighed the actual writing so I added a lot to those pages.

Step 8. Go over to your Google Webmaster Tools page and dig in. Do you have errors? Get them corrected. Do you have duplicates meta tags or title tags? Webmaster Tools will tell you. Get that corrected also. Basically, make sure you square up with Google.

Step 9. Take a break and plan out how you will get rid of your low quality content. I have over 650 articles so It’s not like I am going to sit down and just do this on one sitting. Take it in chunks but above all, begin doing something.

These are some practical steps you can take. There is advice all over the place but there is no better advice than from those of us dealing with it and trying really hard to improve.

Here is the best advice, however, for a site that you are monetizing. Do not depend solely on organic search traffic. Do not get complacent and lazy and start posting anything less than quality and original material. Try to get other forms of traffic such as from YouTube, social media participation, RSS Syndication partners, relevant blog directories in your niche, and the occasional guest post where it fits your audience.

The best news about his is that it will really cause you do grow as a blogger and as one that is monetizing for a living. Now if you want to hear all about how to get the blog started and growing in the first place then you can see my talk at Blog World East on Thursday, May 24th at 2:30 pm. Here I will be showing you in my own unique way how to build, grow and monetize a branded affiliate blog just like I have done – even in a post-panda world.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask and please share your own story especially if you were hit by Panda.

Join Us at the Podcasting Pavillion at BlogWorld NY 2011!

Author:

… by Lynette Young

I wanted to try something new. No, that’s not right, I wanted to bring back something old. You see, podcasting has been in my blood for seven years, but has been slowly replaced by faster and easier forms of online communication. What used to be a difficult process of writing, recording and publishing audio (or video) for on-demand distribution has been whittled down to simply typing 140 characters or less to express an idea or thought. Luckily in the past few years podcasting as become almost that easy, and has been enjoying a revival of sorts – both with producers and with listeners. To me, it’s more important than ever that people that joined ‘social media’ online be introduced to ‘new media’, including podcasting. As BlogWorld & New Media Expo has seen a bit of controversy lately over the lack of podcasting topics (they are still there – just look for digital publishing) I wanted to help bring the podcasting communities back into the social media arena. After a great talk with the staff at Blog World Expo, the idea for the Podcasting Pavilion was born.

The Podcasting Pavilion presented by Social Media Club local chapters hosted at BlogWorld and New Media Expo was created to act as a BoF (Birds of a Feather) discussion and conversation hub for podcasters (and people interested in what podcasting is & it can do). Ever hear that some of the value of attending a conference is in those ‘hallway meetings’ and chance encounters? Well podcasters – that’s what inspired the Podcasting Pavilion! You will get out of the Pavilion what you put into it – so help us make it great! BlogWorld Expo offers a podcasting track (digital publishing) and lots of social media tracks but the Podcasting Pavilion is meant to offer another take on the conference experience.

The entire purpose of the Podcasting Pavilion is to have a ‘homebase’ for podcasters and provide a bit of structure for those chance hallway encounters. The Pavilion is always available to just hang out and meet other podcasters as well as offering new podcasters a place to get questions answered and meet experts and veterans in the industry. Several podcasts will be recorded right at the Pavilion, so if you’ve ever wanted to see what goes into making a podcast hands-on now is your chance! You might even get a chance to get interviewed for a podcast as well.

Rather than speakers the Pavilion will have ‘facilitators’ – knowledgeable podcasting practitioners that know their way around a RSS feed, microphone and video camera. The Pavilion isn’t a place to hide in the audience and send tweets – you can participate as much (or as little) as you’d like. The topics we are going to cover are below, just keep in mind they are guidelines and suggestions than formal agendas. Of course you are more than welcome to create your own podcasting topics at the Pavilion, this is for the podcasters by the podcasters!

  • A to Z Podcasting & Video Podcasting
  • Podcasting for Business (B2C / B2B / B2E)
  • Building A Podcasting Community
  • Podcasting Killed the Radio Star – Music Podcasts
  • Podcasting for Creative Types
  • Making Money Through Podcasting

If you are interested in helping facilitate any of the topics above, feel free to get in touch with Lynette via email or Twitter and let her know what topics you can help out with. See you at the Podcasting Pavilion!

Lynette Young has been a pioneer in social media since she began blogging in 1997. An expert in podcasting and virtual worlds since 2004, she founded Purple Stripe Productions, a social technology and strategy firm, in 2006. She works with companies and organizations to help them have more meaningful conversations with their customers in new and engaging ways. Lynette is a frequent speaker at conferences around the country. She is an organizer for the Podcamp Philly conference, and is the Program Director for Social Media Club Princeton NJ. Lynette was also inducted into the NJ Social Media Hall of Fame.

Blog Monetization Beyond Banner Ads

Author:

Speakers: Zac Johnson, John Chow, Syed Balkhi
Session: Monetizing Your Blog Beyond the Banner Ads
Date: Wednesday, May 25
Time: 3:45PM
Location: Jacob Javits Center 1A17

You did it! You finally made the decision to start your own blog and have finally made it to the point where you feel like you are an authority site, have a ton of great content to share with your readers and your RSS count and newsletter numbers are growing daily. However your revenue numbers have flat lined and you feel like you are blogging just for the sake of blogging. Why is everyone else making money with blogging and you aren’t?

Let’s cover three quick monetization methods you can use to take your established web site from hobby to potential full time job!

Create Your Own Product

You’ve already built a successfully blog ton of original content, why not expand on the same concept but with premium content or a learning course. Creating the perfect product for your web site will vary depending on what niche you are in, but it will also provide you with a completely new source of revenue that will be from something you created and own.

Build a Membership Web Site

If you’ve already created your own ebook or product, then a premium membership might be a great idea for your site. Memberships can be anything from a private forum, to having a members area filled with your best premium content that you don’t offer publicly on your blog. A membership can provide your blog with a nice monthly recurring income.

Sell Advertising & Review Products

If the idea of building your own products or membership programs seems too complex or overwhelming, you always have to option to sell advertising spots on your web site and review products that are related to your blog topic. Selling advertising on your web site is easier than you may think; you can sell directly or outsource to a third party. When promoting or review products or services in your niche, you can do this through affiliate marketing, which will allow you to earn a commission on every referred sale or lead from your web site.

These are just three simple ideas that could drastically expand the growth and revenue of your blog, while still offering a great deal of quality to your blog readers and not tarnishing their web site experience. If you are unsure which path is right for you, are scared of the idea of making money with your blog, feel free to ask you blog audience what they would like to see from the blog and if they would partake in “premium” services.

Learn More About Blog Monetization at Blog World New York

If you would like to learn how you can take your blog to the next level, and will be attending Blog World NY during May 24-26, 2011, please visit my session with John Chow and Syed Balkhi where we will be covering everything from beginner blog mistakes to full blog monetization.

Nathalie Lussier Talks About a 50 Year Old Technology that is the Hidden Profit Center Behind Your Blog

Author:

Speaker: Nathalie Lussier
Session: Why This 50 Year Old Technology is The Hidden Profit Center of Your Blog
Date: Wednesday, May 25th
Time: 2:30PM

Nathalie Lussier, pronounced as “regular Natalie” Lucy-ay, is the Raw Foods Witch. She first learned about the concept of raw foods in early 2005. Like most people, she experienced tons of resistance (both internal and external) when trying to go raw. In March 2006, she dove head first and went 100% raw for 30 days. Since her 30-day raw trial, she’s learned what are the best ways to transition to a raw diet – and she can use her wisdom to help you make changes in your diet and in your life!

In this interview Nathalie talks about:

  • Using a 50 Year Old Technology to Make Your Blog Profitable
  • Strategies for Getting Your Blog Right the First Time
  • Why You Shouldn’t Chase the Next Big Thing
  • Key Mistakes Bloggers Make
  • Why Your Hosting/Design Is Really Important
  • Repurposing Your Content for Good Use

Why Harness the Power of Motivation?

Author:

Farnoosh Brock Speaker: Farnoosh Brock
Session: Motivation for the New Media Professional
Date: Thursday, May 26
Time: 11:15AM-12:15PM
Location: Jacob Javits Center 1A17

How much would the world miss out on what we can offer if we stop toiling away at our tasks, projects, passions and dreams right now?

It is impossible to answer this question accurately because we are powerful beyond measure and if we desire it, we can reach heights beyond our wildest imagination with the right determination, single-minded focus, and motivation.

Yet, when everything is poised so perfectly for us to succeed, why can we not rely on motivation to stand its ground and see us through to the end? We can know our own gifts, use our talents, believe in our path, and feel certain that we can make a difference and still, motivation can manage to find a way to run away.

How can we harness our motivation the same way we harness our talents, our gifts and our skills?

The only way to know the power of your own motivation is to know the lack of it. I have known many of those occasions when my massive motivation has deserted me, and with it, I have deserted plans, projects and pursuits.

Without my large dose of daily motivation, my best intentions to accomplish anything come short and my best-laid plans go awry. I believe motivation to be a non-negotiable element in all my pursuits, large or small. Without motivation, my yoga session is missing the inner fire, my writing is missing spirit, and my life is missing color, energy and intensity. With motivation, the dullest and hardest days become worthwhile, the longest hours turn tolerable, and the largest obstacles are removable.

I wanted to speak about Motivation at Blogworld before even knowing whether it would fit the schedule, agenda or the theme of the Blogworld Conference in May. I simply knew that motivation affects us all, be it in the blogging, writing, speaking, or other digital media professional worlds – and I am overjoyed to be speaking on the topic on Thursday, May 26th at 11:15am.

Motivation makes or breaks your success. Motivation holds the key that unlocks your true potential. Motivation enables and empowers you to turn an idea into an action and a dream into a reality.

What price do you put on motivation?

Farnoosh is the founder of Prolific Living, a space about Smart Habits for Rich Living. She talks about turning ideas into actions and fear into motivation. She explores rich living through world travel, yoga, writing, reading, speaking and photography. She is delighted to be speaking at Blogworld in May 2011.

Danny Brown Discusses Bridging the Gap Between Bloggers and Traditional PR

Author:

Speaker: Danny Brown
Session: Common Sense and Collaboration – The Last Stumbling Block for PR and Bloggers
Date: Wednesday, May 25th
Time: 11:30AM

In this very first episode of the Blogworld podcast, I interviewed Danny Brown from Bonsai Interactive. Danny shared some great insights about bridging the gap between tradition PR and Bloggers:

  • What Bloggers Need to Understand about PR
  • What PR Agencies Need to Understand at Bloggers
  • The Benefits of Getting on an Agencies Preferred Blogger List
  • Key Takeaways From Danny’s Blogworld Session

Are You Leveraging Conversation Wherever It Happens?

Author:

Speaker: Srinivas Rao
Session: Leveraging Conversation Wherever it Happens: 365 Days to Turning Your Brand Into a Household Name
Date: Tuesday, May 24
Time: 9:00am-10:00am
Location: Jacob Javits Center 1A10

You’ve no doubt heard phrases like “build a community, create a tribe and participate in the conversation.” Sometimes they seem like broad generalizations and don’t really give us any sense of what exactly they mean. They’re simply buzzwords and if we don’t take the time to understand them, they’re essentially meaningless. Conversation in the online world is dynamic, it evolves and it happens across numerous platforms.

I recently talked about the importance of an intimacy strategy for social media where I dissected how intimate you can get with with every social media tool at your disposal. Many of us get caught in the trap that conversation is limited to our blogs and to twitter. But it’s really going on everywhere. It’s happening on Facebook walls, it’s happening in Skype chats, it’s happening at live events, it’s happening via email. It’s going on 24-7 and until you learn how to leverage it, you’re limiting your potential for growing your blog or business. The days of operating in a vacuum where you only talk to the people who can do something for you or buy your product are over. Today we’re in an age where we’re forced to look beyond our business and think about the value we can provide for those who might not ever be our customers because in conversation is where opportunities open up.

So how do you get started? Here are few basics:

  • Email a Reader: You’ll be amazed at what an email to one of your readers might accomplish. Just a simple note telling them you appreciate their commitment to show up everyday could go a long way. They have thousands of blogs the could read, but they’re reading yours.
  • Get on Skype: If you ask me, skype chats and IM is where real relationships are built and real business gets done. People want to talk to people and these platforms take everything to the next level.
  • Go to Meetup: If you can make it a live event in your town to meet the people you’ve been talking to on Twitter, then do it. Don’t see any live events going on? Then it’s a perfect opportunity for you to plan one.

During my session at Blogworld, I’ll be going into extensive detail about leveraging conversation wherever it happens, where I’ll talk about:

  • Building a Powerful Network with Only 150 Followers
  • Developing Relationships with Other Bloggers
  • Looking Beyond Your Business and the Opportunities that Open Up
  • Getting Over the Guest Posting Hurdle
  • How to Turn Your Readers into a Loyal Tribe
  • Turning Your Brand or Blog into a Household Name in 365 Days

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