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What’s Your Call to Action?


One of the most popular stories from SmartBrief on Social Media this past week was 5 Signs Your Call-to-Action Needs a Makeover from Hubspot Blog. The author made some really good points about why your call to action might be failing and what you can do about it better monetize your blog. Something basic and important not covered in this article at all, though?

Many bloggers don’t have a call to action.

Before I start dishing out advice, I’d like to mention again that if you run a hobby blog or journal, none of this is relevant. Having somewhere to go to write can be a great thing. Even if you only want more readers, though (i.e., you don’t care about making money with your blog), not having a call to action is definitely holding back your site from growing. I’ve talked extensively in the past about having a ultimate goal for your blog, but that goal means little if your readers are in the dark about it.

What is a Call to Action anyway?

When I first started blogging, I had no idea what a call to action was or why I should care about having one on my blog. I saw all these bloggers, some even in the same niches as me, succeeding to the point where they could quit their day jobs and just blog full time. I wanted that. I love freelance writing, but being able to support yourself through a blog is pretty awesome. I knew that they were making a lot of money from advertising, affiliate ads, and the like, so I thought I could just post content, add some links, and start watching the money roll in. What I didn’t have was any kind of call to action.

A call to action, sometimes referred to as a CTA, is exactly what it sounds like – encouragement for your readers to do something. This can be at the end of your post, within your post, in a pop-up, or even just on the sidebar. The most direct monetization technique is a CTA for someone to buy your product. Usually, this involved a landing page of some sort or a store front. But a CTA can be something different instead. It depends on the goal of your blog. For example, if your goal right now is to build readership, your CTA might be to like your page on Facebook, become your friend on Twitter, or sign up for your mailing list. If your goal is to foster community, your CTA might be to leave comments or join the forums. If your goal is loyalty, your CTA might be to get people to subscribe to your RSS feed.

Your CTA can be the same language or image at the end of every blog post, or it can change from post to post to fit your unique content. You can also have more than one CTA with every post, though keep in mind that the more actions you ask a person to take, the more diluted your encouragement will be. If you ask someone to do one thing, they’ll probably do it. Ask them to do five things and they might leaving without doing any.

Why You Need a Call to Action

Readers who come to your site likely do so for one reason – they want to enjoy your content. Some sites have the added benefit of a community of readers who are extremely active, but for the most part, your blog posts, podcasts, videos, etc. are the main draw to your site. They aren’t thinking about your goals for your site.

And very rarely does someone put two and two together without you telling them what you want. Once they know what you want, they’re happy to support, seeing as they love your content, but they have to be encouraged. They have to be told to act.

Think about this – if you read a random blog post that you enjoy from a blogger you’ve not come across in the past, how likely are you to subscribe to their RSS feed? You might, if you truly love the content, but most of us will just click the back button and the site will pretty much disappear from the face of the earth. But what if the site has a prominent header encourage you to subscribe? Or, what if at the end of the post there’s a note that you can subscribe to the RSS feed by following a certain link. Because you’ve been reminded, you’re much more likely to actually take the step and subscribe. At least, I am.

The Half-Assed Call to Action

You might be thinking to yourself, “But I have a call to action on my site, even though I didn’t really realize that’s what it was. Why am I not a blogging millionaire yet???”

Simple. You have a CTA by accident. It’s a half-assed CTA, and your readers probably don’t even notice it.

For example, let’s say that, like the above example, your ultimate goal is to gain more loyal readers, and to do that you’ve realized that it is important to have RSS feed subscribers. That’s all fine and well, but an RSS button on your sidebar isn’t a CTA. It’s actually white noise for most readers. Readers will only notice your RSS button if 1) they are actively looking for it because they’ve decide on their own that they need to subscribe to your feed or 2) it’s extremely creative in some way (exampe: on a gaming website I once owned, we had an RSS button that looked like Yoshi). Otherwise, you have to point it out.

Your CTA has to be the focus of your blog if you want actually see results. No, that doesn’t mean that you have to compromise with the quality of your blog posts, but you have to think about how each post connects with the reader and highlights whatever it is you want them to do. Don’t expect the reader to just figure it out.

The bottom line? Some people post incredible content and suddenly the money starts to flow. I have one word for those people: lucky. For the vast majority of bloggers, you have to actually conceptualize marking/branding and monetization strategies.

If you want to learn more about getting your readers to take action, definitely check out the upcoming blogging track at NMX. We have sessions for beginners, as well as intermediate and advanced bloggers. Learn more here.

The Financial Vacuum (Or, How I Almost Had to Cancel My BlogWorld Trip)


It’s hard for me to admit when I’ve made a bone-headed mistake. For me, that means my life is hard several times every day, but recently I’ve made a bone-headed mistake to top all bone-headed mistakes.

Actually, it was a mistake I’ve been making over the course of several months. I call the mistake Allison’s Financial Vacuum or, more appropriately perhaps, how I almost had to cancel my BlogWorld trip.

Let me start at the beginning.

Back when I started blogging in oh..2005? 2006? (I can’t even remember at this point)…I did it for clients as a way to make money as a freelance writer. I’m still doing that today here at BlogWorld and also at a few other client-owned blogs, but I run my own sites as well. As purely a client-paid blogger back in the dark ages, as I like to call them, I made some horrible decisions by taking jobs that didn’t pay well. I was treated like crap, scammed out of money, and given bad blogging advice. I was also just graduating from college, so my “living in the real world” expenses were adding up pretty quickly. Point is, I didn’t have much money, and my bank account was dwindling every day.

I figured it out. I got through it. I’m by no means rich, but the amount of debt I’ve paid off in the last three years is pretty impressive. I’ve always made pretty smart financial decisions, which I attribute to the fact that my parents had to pinch pennies when raising me. Seriously, my mom is the queen of coupon clipping and mail-in-rebates, and I bow down to her for that.

But I digress. What I’m trying to say is that I’ve made some smart financial decisions that have allowed me to stay on top of bills and pay off some of my massive debt. Part of that has to do with the fact that I run my own blogs now, as well as the fact that I no longer take crappy blogging jobs where I’m paid next to nothing.

Back in June, BlogWorld was approaching and I began to save for this trip. I wanted to be able to actually enjoy Vegas, since I’ve never been there, so I planed to spend about a week and a half in town, part of which would be at the expo. I did some restaurant and show research and even gave myself a goal of saving up enough money for some guided tours and gambling, even though neither of those are really my thing, so to speak.

Then, the Financial Vacuum happened.

Like many most all people, I found myself with unexpected bills that could not be avoided, which I talked about on my writing blog. It was like my bank account was a spaceship and someone opened the door – all my hard-earned cash for BlogWorld got sucked away into the void. I went from being super excited about the event and my mini-vacation to feeling sick to my stomach. I’m going to have to cancel. My roommate can attest to the fact that I was pacing around my house with tears in my eyes, not just because I was sad to miss the event but because I was embarrassed at my financial situation. I didn’t want to have to explain to Rick, Dave, and everyone else who makes BlogWorld happen that I was apparently too stupid to manage my finances. I didn’t want to have to cancel the interviews I’d set up, because those people were counting on me. I felt like a total failure. I still do, at least a little.

Everyone has financial bumps in the road. I understand that. The mistake I made was not in having unexpected bills arise. That’s not really a mistake; that’s just a fact of life. No, the mistake I made was in not putting away part of my blogging money every money in an emergency fund.

I have to wonder, what would have happened had I not been saving up for BlogWorld? That money would have been frittered away over the months, spent on things like an extra glass of wine while out at dinner or a new video game release that I had to have, even though I barely have time to play. It would have gone to that pair of jeans I wear once or twice a year, that fondue pot that would be super cool to pull out at the occasional dinner part, and that new set of bedsheets with a higher thread count than the just-fine bedsheets I already own.

For the first time in a long time, I was no longer having trouble paying bills…but I wasn’t putting any of my blogging money into a savings account. I’d pay my bills for the month, then pretty much drain my bank account on entertainment and the like. Yes, I could save up for BlogWorld by cutting back on some of my spending, but I should have also been saving up for a rainy day. I wasn’t. Are you?

Every month, we should all be putting away a little money that doesn’t get touched. That way, when life happens and you need the money, you don’t have to dip into other funds, like my BlogWorld fund. Or, heaven forbid, you don’t get caught with your pants down, unable to pay your bills at all because you don’t have any kind of special fund your were using to pay for something in the future.

So what’s going to happen to me? Well, I’m going to make it to BlogWorld. Some amazing people, the BlogWorld crew included, have stepped up to help cover some of the costs. I’m still worried about paying bills when I get home. This isn’t a short-term money vacuum. But, I will make it to Vegas, though just for the event, not for any kind of vacation. I foresee some sleepless nights of worry in my future, but it could be worse. It could be much worse.

More importantly, though, is that this situation has been a wake up call. I need to be more frugal. It’s possible – back in the dark ages, I got by on much less money every month, and I was fine. Just because I make more money now doesn’t mean that I have to spend it.

It’s a hard lesson for any blogger to learn. It certainly was/is a hard mistake to make. As bloggers, though, we’re not financially stable. The most popular blog in the world today could fall out of favor tomorrow. You can’t take for granted that you’ll always be able to make money with your blog, even if you make six figures. Plan for the worst, hope for the best. If you blog suddenly has to shut down tomorrow, would you have enough emergency money to survive for a few months?

I hope that something good has come of my mistake in that I’ve inspired you to be more diligent about savings. If you’ve scrimping and saving just to make ends meet right now, I get it. I’ve been there. I am there. You don’t have to save much at first. Even a few dollars is a start. Six-figure bloggers out there, though? This is for you too. All all need to be smart when it comes to financial planning. Otherwise, all the monetization work in the world won’t save you.

Overheard on #Blogchat: Advice from @copyblogger


Do you participate in #blogchat? Every week, this weekly discussion on Twitter focuses on a specific topic and bloggers everywhere are invited to join in. Because I often have more to say than what will fit in 140 characters, every Sunday night, I post about some of the most interesting #blogchat tweets. Join the conversation by commenting below.

(Still confused? Read more about #blogchat here.)

This week’s theme: How to Create Compelling Content For Your Blog

The #blogchat community got a real treat this week, as the discussion was co-hosted with Mack by Brian Clark (@copyblogger) from Copyblogger. As is usually the case, tweets hit on a huge spectrum of topics, this week including things like using keywords for SEO purposes, writing headlines, and the best blogger tools and themes.

Straight from the horse’s mouth*, though, this was by far the best advice of the evening:

@copyblogger: First, what are you trying to accomplish ultimately? What business are you trying to build, who are you trying to influence?

@copyblogger: Never lose site of your ultimate goals.

@copyblogger: From there, focus on 3 things relentlessly – 1. Links. 2. Subscribers. 3. Action (what do you want people to do?)

What I want to touch on tonight with my own commentary is the first point that before you even start focusing on links, subscribers, and action (and anything else dealing with monetizing your blog), you need to sit down and determine your blog’s ultimate goal.

I feel like this is where so many bloggers fall short. It’s not hard to gain a following, no matter what your niche, as long as you’re helpful and engaging. But I see so many bloggers struggling with how to build up readership after they’ve plateaued and how to make money once they have the community. Often, an inability to do so comes from the lack of an ultimate goal.

Start with a broad understand of your blog’s goal. For many of us, that goal is to make money. For some, it may be simply to express a certain point of few and gain followers, and money doesn’t matter, as might be the case with a non-profit blog. For others, it may be to raise brand awareness for a product that you don’t actually sell on the blog. I talked last week about another common blog goal – the blog resume, and you can also have the goal of just enjoying writing online, having a place to rant and rave and journal about your life.

All of these goals are fine. The problem comes when you say, “Oh, I don’t really know. I’ll just start writing and see what happens.”

If you do that, you almost certainly will have a hobby blog that essentially becomes your online journal. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you’re OK with not making money, gaining a huge following, or promoting a specific brand. I find many bloggers are not OK with that, which is where the problem lies.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You cannot inconsistently post about a mish mosh of topics that interest you and expect to make money.

That would be like opening a store at the mall and instead of selling items that fit into a certain category, just selling whatever you personally like. If I walked into a store that sold bicycles, peanut brittle, portable air conditioners, high-heel shoes, car batteries, clipboards, scarves, and toasters, I’d think the owner was nuts! Yet, that’s how many people treat their blogs – as a catch all that they expect to magically start making money.

Unless you have an ultimate goal, your blog can’t succeed as a business. Well, I’m sure some blogs have accidentally succeeded that way, but in general, you need to have a clear target in your mind. Even if you love a myriad of things in life, pick one to cover on  your blog or, if you have time, start multiple blogs. Set goals, and then put Brian’s plan into effect – start building your readership and making money.

*Erm. Not that Brian Clark is a horse!

Are You Tracking Your Monetization Efforts?


Early today, I was catching up on my feed reading and I came across “3 Simple Steps To Running Your Blog Like a Business,” a guest post by Srinivas on DavidRisley.com. He makes a number of great points throughout this post, but what I’d like to highlight today is his first point: if you intend to make money with your blog, you need to do quarterly reports on your monetization efforts.

Srinivas’ point was that you should have a way to track what you’re doing on your blog. I’d like to back up for a moment, though. Before you can track anything, monetization or otherwise, you need to set blogging goals.

The Goal Game

Setting goals isn’t as easy as saying “I want to make a ton of money.” Of course you want to make a lot of money. Who doesn’t? What you need is a tangible goal, a specific goal. Your goal has to be something you can achieve. How do you know when you’ve earn “a lot of money”?

The problem with setting goals is that it can be easy to feel like you’re a failure if your goals aren’t realistic. I once set a goal of earning $500 per month with a brand new blog I was developing. That was a totally unrealistic goal for my niche.

On the other hand, in some niches, especially after you’ve been running the blog for a few months, $500 per month is in no way an unrealistic goal. In fact, you might surpass your goal by so much that you don’t develop the blog to its full potential. You feel like you can rest on your laurels because you’re doing so well, when in fact, your blog could be making ten times the amount with a little more effort.

I recommend making your first monetization goal, “I want my blog to support itself.” Pay your hosting. Pay for anything you’ve purchased for the blog, like a header design. Pay for Aweber or whatever email subscription service you use. Pay for prizes that you give away. Make your very first goal to break even. From there, you can more easily set goals that are out of reach right now, but achievable with a little work. You want your goals to always be just a little out of reach so you’re always moving forward.

From Goals to Monetization

Once you have your monetization goals set, it’s time to figure out how to reach them. I think this is where a lot of bloggers fall short. Once you set your goals, how are you going to get there? If you just start throwing ideas out there, seeing what sticks, your success will be as fickle as your methods. If you have a plan, on the other hand, you have a much better chance at actually reaching whatever goal you’ve set.

Think about the different ways you can monetize a blog. Which ones will work best for your blog? Come up with mini-goals for each effort in order to reach your overall dollar amount goal. For example, maybe you make $100 per month with Google ads. Maybe you make $300 per month in sidebar ad sales. Maybe you make $50 per month in affiliate sales. You get it the idea.


Now we get to the real reason I wanted to highlight Srinivas’ post – monetization tracking. Whether you reach your goals or not, it’s important to have a quarterly report so you can see clearly where you’re succeeding and where you’re failing. It’s easy to look at your overall goal and say, “Yes, I’ve made it” or “No, I’ve fallen short,” but unless you analyze why, you’ll never grow as a blogger.

The key is to not get too discouraged when your reports aren’t what you want them to be, especially as a new blogger. It takes time to build a blog. If you aren’t seeing results after several months, you should rethink your approach to blogging. Tracking make it easier to see how you’re failing and why, so reorganizing is much easier if you need to do so.

Not Using AdSense? You Could Be Leaving Money on The Table


Daniel Scocco

BlogWorld 2010 Speaker
New Media Track
Friday October 15, 2010
Islander E/4

Time: 12:15PM to 1:15PM

When bloggers and webmasters start monetizing their websites they usually turn to Google AdSense. Why? Because it is one of the easiest ad networks to get accepted into, the implementation is straight forward, and the earnings are decent.

Over time, however, most people drop AdSense in favor of other monetization methods. Some start selling ad space directly to advertisers, others resort to affiliate marketing, others yet launch their own products. Many also use a combination of these three methods.

This is the route I followed too, and while I think it can be the right one, I found that completely removing AdSense from your monetization strategy can be a mistake. Below you’ll find why.

My Story

As most people, I also started monetizing my sites with Google AdSense. I still remember that first month (November 2005 if I am not wrong), when I made a whooping $15! It wasn’t much, but definitely enough to get me excited.

The earnings kept growing month after month, but once my sites reached a critical mass I changed the monetization strategy. I started selling my ads directly, and affiliate marketing became another important income source. As a result I removed Adsense from most of my sites.

Two years passed by.

Then one day one of my sponsors canceled a banner, and I decided to give AdSense one more chance. The eCPM I got was very high, so I figured that I should try to integrate AdSense into my websites again, along with the existing monetization methods.

Long story short after a couple of months and a lot of tweaking around I started making over $3,000 monthly from AdSense, and that was on top of what I was already making with the other income streams (e.g., selling ads directly, affiliate marketing and selling my own products).

That is why I think removing AdSense completely from the equation is a mistake. Even if you are already making a lot of money with other monetization methods you could still use AdSense as a complementary source.

My Blog World 2010 Presetantion

Obviously you need to know how to optimize Adsense if you want to make decent money with it. Simply dropping units here and there won’t work.

That is what my Blog World 2010 presentation is about. I’ll share the tips and tricks I learned optimizing AdSense on my websites over the years. The presentation will take place Friday, October 15, at 12:15pm.

If you want a quick tip to get started, here we go: Focus on the big AdSense units. Google itself confirmed a while ago that the top performing units are the 336×280 large rectangle, the 300×250 medium rectangle and the 160×600 wide skyscraper. If you want to make decent money with AdSense, you need to be able to use one of more of these units in your website.

I’ll see you in Vegas.

Daniel Scocco started developing blogs and websites in 2005. He is owner of DailyBlogTips.com , which is currently ranked among the top 500 blogs in the world according to Technorati, and among the top 100 marketing blogs in the world according to AdAge.

Analyzing Your Market’s Wallet


I know a lot of people who have a lot of really good ideas. They start blogs. They write great posts. They engage readers on social networking sites.

And they fail.

At least, in terms of making a living as a full-time blogger, they fail, because they never actually make any money from their work. They might have thousands of followers on Twitter and dozens of comments on every blog post, but the best ideas in the world can’t save you from failing is you forget one key step: analyzing your market’s wallet.

When I first started freelance writing, I took a job with a fairly well-known blogging network at the time, which I won’t name here. They had great ideas for blogs – relevant topics that were in popular niches. They hired some great writers and built up a nice little community. The problem? They never actually thought about how they were going to convert pageviews into sales. Sure, they made a little money getting people to click on Google ads, but Adwords alone isn’t going to drive any blog to success.

It comes down to asking yourself two questions:

  1. Who is my average reader?
  2. How does my average reader spend his/her money?

Let’s use some fake blogs I’ve devised as examples. Say I write a cooking blog, where I post recipes and reviews of kitchen products. Here’s how I would answer those questions:

  1. My average reader is female, between the ages of 25 and 50, and likely married with kids or thinking about having kids.
  2. My average reader has to be careful with her money. She spends it first on bills and then on things that will improve her family’s life.

Of course, this blog probably has male readers, retired readers, single readers, etc. We’re going for an overall average here. Now let’s look at a complete different blog. Say I run a site that posts movie reviews and red carpet news. Here’s how I would answer those same questions:

  1. My average reader is likely between the ages of 15 and 35, enjoys celebrity gossip and pop culture, and is single or newly married.
  2. My average reader spends money on entertainment, but is often short on cash. He or she probably has some credit card debt, but will splurge to have fun with friends.

Again, not every reader will fit those descriptions, but we’re going for average here.

The common blogger, whether writing at the cooking blog or the movie blog, tries to make money the same way – posting banner ads. It just doesn’t make sense. Yes, you’ll make some money that way if you build traffic, but you have completely different readers with completely different needs and spending habits. Why would you ever try to make money from those people in the same way? It doesn’t make sense.

Instead, take some time to more closely analyze your market’s wallet.

  • When they make emotional purchases, what do they buy?
  • Do they shop online or at brick-and-mortar businesses?
  • How much spending cash to they have after paying monthly bills?
  • Why problems do they have in life that they would be paying to solve?

That last one is a biggie, because it’s how you can make sales. Going back to my examples, at the cooking blog, one of the problems readers have is not having more time with their families. Would they be willing to pay for a cookbook that taught them how to get kids involved in the kitchen? It’s likely.

You don’t even have to create products at this point if you’re not able to do so yet. Sign up as an affiliate and start selling products on commission. Once you’ve brainstormed the items that your market is purchasing, it’s easy to offer those products and see an immediate jump in profit on your blog.

Analyzing your market’s wallet is easier in some niches that others, but it’s an important step no matter what your blog is about. Unless make a few bucks with Adwords every month is you idea of a decent income, you have to treat your blog more like a business. The best blog idea in the world will only be a hobby if you don’t sell something to your readers.

Why You’re Not Going to Find Conference Sponsorship on Twitter


Are you looking for a sponsor so you can attend BlogWorld? If so, are you asking for sponsors on Twitter? Well stop right there, because chances are it’s not going to happen.

Now, there’s a few different ways to land a sponsorship, but Tweeting out your intentions aren’t going to land you that gig.

  • Because unless a brand is following you on Twitter, they’re not going to see your Tweet.
  • Because it reeks of desperation and that’s a turnoff for a client or brand.
  • Because they want to know more about you and your blog. If your your Tweets and Twitter profile don’t give them enough to go on they’re going to pass.
  • Because, seriously, the person with the funds for sponsorship isn’t going to magically see your Tweet and think, “Oh hey, let me throw money at this guy. He wants to go to BlogWorld.”
  • It’s kind of a lazy approach. Brands want you to pitch to them. They want to know why and how you’re a good fit. That ‘aint gonna happen when you’re working with 140 characters or less. They want you to come to them.

Here are a few other routes to consider:

  • Research a business or brand that you feel is a good fit for your blog and its message. Send them a pitch including a media kit and a list of what you will do in exchange for a sponsorship.
  • Consider finding a job as a professional blogger. Many businesses are happy to send their own bloggers to conferences if it means they’ll learn the tricks of the trade.
  • See if you qualify for a press pass. If you report news on a regular basis, at least the cost of the ticket will be covered.

Also, Before you sign your life away, consider what you will do in exchange for a sponsorship. Is it worth it to be a brand ambassador? There’s more to this than just wearing a t-shirt sometimes. You might have to dive in to a long term commitment. If this is the case, make sure the cost of the conference isn’t less than the amount of time and work being put into promoting said brand. Some bloggers sell their soul for a conference ticket and, while we feel BlogWorld is awesome, it might not be worth the work you’re putting out.

Brands aren’t trolling Twitter for people to send to conferences and it’s very rare they’ll respond to Tweets requesting the same. There are better ways to land a sponsorship.

Here are some posts to help you with that:

Have you landed a sponsorship? How did you do it?

Deb Ng is Conference Director for BlogWorld. When she’s not sending out form letters or stirring up some sort of daily drama, she’s blogging about blogging and social media at Kommein. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @debng.

Monetization and the Parenting Blogger


In the summer of 2008 I was facing a ticking time bomb. Okay, so it wasn’t exactly a time bomb. It was the clock that was ticking telling me that in one year I would need to return to teaching in order to once again supplement my spouse’s income. While there were many things that I loved about teaching – the students, the content, the coworkers – there were also many things that I strongly disliked about teaching – the students, the content, the coworkers. With my four year old filling my days with sunshine and my cuddly two year old in my arms most of the day, I also could not fathom a return to my eleven hour teacher work days that involved weekends of grading papers and would now involve daycare drop-offs and pickups, both occurring in the dark.

Thus I began blogging. While moderating the BlogHer Mindful Monetization panel earlier this month, someone asked if there’s a particular niche blog that tends to make more money than others. I simply answered, “Not parenting blogs,” and turned it over to my fellow speaker who does very well through ad revenue on her beauty site. Of course, no one told me two years ago when I began blogging that starting a parenting blog would not be my road to riches. And in fact, my goal at the time was not to find my fortune through an ad network or affiliate revenue but rather to tap into that writer brain that had long since been silenced by the sound of crying children. I hoped to build an online portfolio of blog posts with the goal of freelance writing and editing jobs, and just enough of them to keep me at home with my children and the bills paid.

Most parenting bloggers have a no dearth of content ideas. Many of us are stay-at-home parents and are surrounded by other parents not only in our day to day lives but also online through social media. Should I ever find myself without a post topic, I need only to tweet, “What parenting issue are you dealing with right now?” and suddenly I have a couple dozen topics to research ranging from potty training a toddler to the potty mouth of a tween. Finding time to create that content is a different story. While bloggers in another niche may have set aside time from their daily work schedule to post, parenting bloggers, stay-at-home moms in particular, post frantically during nap time or in the wee hours of the morning when they themselves should be sleeping.

What does all of this mean for monetization? There are certainly many parenting bloggers who have no desire to monetize….and that’s good because monetization is not easy. While I’ve watched frugal living bloggers rapidly build a fan base that has led them to phenomenal ad revenue through private sales and ad networks, I’ve also watched mom journaling bloggers struggle to secure a ten dollar 125 x 125 button ad. For many parenting bloggers, writing sponsored posts is simply not an option either for the integrity of their blog or simply for lack of offers. This has led many parenting bloggers to seek methods of monetization beyond their blogs. There is certainly no shortage of examples of brands and bloggers working together successfully in spokesperson relationships, through integrated campaigns, and in social media through Twitter events, Facebook campaigns and more. Even with the opportunities available to monetize using their blog as a platform, a means to an end, parenting bloggers still face small budgets and the scrutiny of their readers as well as their community when they choose to monetize.

While I never could have predicted two years ago where I am today thanks to the creation of my own parenting blog, Resourceful Mommy, I’m happy that this is the path I have taken. The problem for other parenting bloggers looking to monetize is not lack of trailblazers, but that no two bloggers seem to find success following the same path. While those of us who are happy with where we have gone can certainly provide guidance to those hoping to move from mommy to monetization, only hard work, time and a healthy dose of luck can move a parenting blogger hoping to find monetary success to where they want to be.

Amy Lupold Bair writes her own parenting blog at http://ResourcefulMommy.com and owns the blog network Global Influence comprised of 1,000+ other bloggers, many of them parents. In her non-parent time she…well, she doesn’t have any of that. Learn more about Amy and what she does at http://resourcefulmommymedia.com

Why Can't You Make Money From Your Ideas? You Can!


It takes a special skill to be able to figure out ways to reap the rewards from your attention-getting ideas you come up with to promote your blog. It’s important to have a plan in place so that you don’t get caught up in a situation where the momentum passes you by.

Step 1 – Research it!
Once you’ve got the idea in your head you first need to figure out if it’s been done before. A quick look on Google can usually help you track down what you need to know. Don’t just stop there though. Do searches on YouTube as well, and other non-Google search engines like Bing, MSN and Yahoo! just to be thorough. If your idea is something that could be considered trademark-able, then you’ll want to do a quick search at the US government trademark site at the Trademark Electronic Search System, or TESS for short.

Just because it doesn’t show up in the online search doesn’t mean the idea is not protected. Consult an attorney and have them conduct a proper search, which will usually run you between $500-$3,000. There’s no sense in spending a lot of time and effort and most importantly, money, pursuing an idea that is someday going to get you in legal trouble. An attorney should also be used when you’re unsure about conducting online contests or using someone else’s name on your product or service.

Of course, just because it’s been done already doesn’t mean you can’t do it better. Competition is a great motivator, and a great starting point for imitation. Chances are that the idea wasn’t done as good as it could have been done, leaving the door open for you to take the reigns and do it even better. Learn from you competitor’s mistakes and figure out what they’re doing, or rather what they’re not doing, that you can improve your idea with.

Step 2 – Act on it!
Wayne Gretsky, probably the world’s most famous, and legendary hockey player once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” He’s right. A great idea is nothing if you don’t take action on it. Ask most every entrepreneur how they got started and you’ll often get the same answer of “I just went and did it” or “It was do or die“. Unfortunately, not everyone is born an entrepreneur and are as open to risk as they are.

Here’s an update for you reading this right now. If you don’t try, you lose. Plain and simple. You will lose. If you have an idea that you think can work, then you HAVE to give it a go. Act on it and see what happens. The downside is you never try and you never succeed. How depressing is that? Very.

Step 3 – Be Interesting!
Actually, you could put this before step 1 if you wanted to. Nobody ever remembers the middle. Human beings react to what’s different, good or bad. What are you doing that is interesting and different, good or bad, that makes people pay attention to your ideas?

For over 15-years, Jim Kukral has helped small businesses and large companies like Fedex, Sherwin Williams, Ernst & Young and Progressive Auto Insurance understand how find success on the Web. Jim is the author of the book, “Attention! This Book Will Make You Money“, as well as a professional speaker, blogger and Web business consultant. Find out more by visiting www.JimKukral.com. You can also follow Jim on Twitter @JimKukral.

How to Recession-Proof Your Blog


Earlier this week, I was explaining what I do for a living to someone I was meeting for the first time, and he asked me an interesting question:

Blogging seems to only be growing. Did you see a dip in income due to the recession? Or would you say this is a fairly recession-proof industry?

I don’t pretend to be an expert in economics. In fact, I know very little about economics. What I do know, however, is that my wallet is a bit lighter, and I don’t think their are as many blogging jobs floating around as their once were. In addition, it is slightly harder to sell products, since consumers have less money to spend. This industry is definitely not recession-proof.

Blogs have failed over the past year because of the recession, though. Good blogs. Great blogs, even. If you work for someone else (like I do for BlogWorld Expo), you could get “laid off” essentially because they don’t have the money to upkeep the blog anymore. Bloggers who work for themselves, running their own blogs, have also had to make tough decisions – blogs have died because the blogger just couldn’t turn a profit, even with great content. Times are tough.

So, I’d like to go over a few ways in which you can recession-proof your blog, especially if you’re thinking about starting a new blog. As an experienced blogger, you might be able to adjust what you’re doing already to keep your blog functional, even when you’re seeing less of an income. Nothing in any industry can be truly recession-proof, but hopefully, these tips will help your blog make it through to the other side. Continue Reading

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