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WordPress.com Announces WordAds for Making Money with Your Blog


Back in October, WordPress.com and Federated Media announced a partnership to help bloggers make money from advertising revenue on their blog. They’re ready to open up the doors and announced today their service called WordAds.

It’s taken WordPress quite awhile to make something like this available and they say it’s because what they had seen as far as advertising, wasn’t very tasteful. And while it seemed Google AdSense was state-of-the-art (at the time), WordPress says “you deserve better than AdSense”.

WordAds won’t be open to everyone. It’s open only by application and to publicly visible blogs with custom domains. Selection for WordAds will be based on traffic levels, engagement, type of content and language used on the blog.

To apply for WordAds, fill out this form.

For those of you who use WordPress.com, will you apply for WordAds?


7 Secrets About Using Blogs to Promote Services


I get asked to write blog posts for a lot of clients, particularly service providers who want to attract new clients of their own. Over the years, I’ve noticed a few things that can make a world of difference in how well a blog can promote a service — secrets that aren’t immediately obvious but that are pretty easy to implement once you think about them.

  1. Blogs make readers feel like they know you: When we read blogs, we’re reading about someone very real to us, even if we’ve never met that person and never will. Make yourself as real as possible to your readers and they’ll feel much more comfortable hiring you, despite the fact that you might really just be another stranger on the internet.
  2. You have tons of ready made content, in the form of case studies: A blog promoting a service is one of the easiest to write because you know exactly what you’ve done for individual clients in the past and how they’ve benefited. So write up a case study of every past client you can and get it up on your blog. And, by the way, prospective clients love case studies.
  3. As a service provider, you have to be an expert: It’s your blog and you’re the expert, so write like it. Don’t hedge your bets with ‘I think’ or ‘I expect.’ It’s tempting to run a blog as a newbie exploring a topic, but that doesn’t help you make sales. Focus on the expertise you already have.
  4. You can’t compete on search engine traffic, and that’s okay: It’s particularly hard to rank for keywords like ‘freelancer’ or ‘consultant,’ because there are so many service providers with websites already. But you can be very competitive for prominence within a niche — you can get plenty of traffic from other sites promoting you, especially if you write posts that everyone wants to link to. That can be a benefit, letting you specialize within that niche.
  5. You have to write in advance for your blog: Every service provider I know has hills and valleys, in terms of their work loads. When you’ve got plenty of client work, you don’t want to take any time away from it to write for your blog. You shouldn’t force it, considering that your client work needs to be top-notch. But you should make the effort to stockpile posts during the slow times in your business.
  6. The threshold is low, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to wow readers. There are some incredibly bad blogs out there, ran by freelancers and other service providers. It’s like there’s a checklist somewhere telling people that they have to have a blog, so they throw some site together that has lots of broken pieces, typos and the like. That can make you think that as long as you avoid being that bad, you’re doing good. But you really need to wow your readers, not just beat the particularly bad blogs.
  7. Don’t track subscribers on your blog, if your goal is to get clients. First of all, it’s the wrong metric to determine success for your blog — you want to track conversions to tell how you’re actually doing. Second, odds are good that you’re dealing with an audience who won’t subscribe that often. Instead, they’ll find you through a link or a search, read a whole bunch of posts in one day and either contact you immediately or bookmark you as someone to work with at a later date.

There are differences between every type of blog. If you’re using your blog to promote your services, you need to know those differences and act on them.

Infographic: What is Google AdWords?


I’ve experimented with Google AdWords over the 8+ years I’ve been working online and it has definitely seemed like a little bit of a mystery to me. I remember receiving a bill a time or two and thinking “Wow, did this help my ranking or web traffic at all?”

If you’re new to the world of AdWords (or even if you’ve been around for awhile), you might be wondering how it all works and how you can get the best bang for your buck.

WordStream has put together an infographic titled “What Is Google AdWords? How the AdWords Auction Works”. It’s a good resource for companies who would like to know how to cut costs and get better rankings.

It walks you through how Google decides what ads to show and how much you pay, as well as some alternative bidding methods. (Click on the picture to see it in its entirety.)

What is Google AdWords? [ infographic ]

© 2011 WordStream – a certified AdWords partner.

Have you used Google AdWords successfully before? If yes, what’s your secret?

How to Avoid Scaring Advertisers Away


See what I did with the title? Because it’s Halloween??? I’m so clever…

Advertising isn’t the right profit route for every blog. In fact, if you’re selling products and services of your own, adding advertising to your sidebar or posts can actually take away from your income potential. But for some bloggers, it’s a great choice. I regularly sell $500+ per month in advertising on my anonymous blog, even though I’m not actively looking for sponsors. I know bloggers who make thousands by selling banner ads – and you don’t have to have millions of hits to make it happen. Here are a few tips to help you become more attractive to advertisers – and how to avoid scaring them away:

  • Pick a niche and stick to it.

Having a clear niche helps you more easily define your audience, and advertisers really love to know stats about your readers. Having a specific audience helps you find niche-specific advertisers. For example, if you write a blog about bird-watching, a great potential advertiser is a company that sells binoculars. If you just write a blog about your life in general, they wouldn’t be as relevant to your readers, even if some of them are bird-watchers. The more niche-y you are, the easier it is to find smaller, specific companies who are a perfect fit for your readership.

  • Be prepared with stats.

It scares potential new advertisers to not know your stats. Every company has to justify how they spend their advertising money, and not everyone has the money (or time or ambition) to do a few months of testing. Be prepared with stats from a trusted source (like Google Analytics). Your Alexa rating matters, but the more you can tell potential advertisers, the better.

  • Offer discounts.

Long-term advertising especially worries companies, since they can’t foresee the future. So, sweeten the pot a little. I offer a pretty good discount for advertisers who pay a year in advance – and probably half of them take me up on that offer. It can calm the nerves a little because not only are they taking less of a financial risk, but it also shows that you’re confident that you’ll still be around 12 months from now. Blogs tend to come and go pretty quickly, so offering the year contract for advertisers tells them you’re serious about the continued success of your blog.

If you’re not willing to offer a discount, at least offer multiple price options. That way, if

  • Load your site with testimonials.

Of course you’re going to say that advertising on your site is a good idea. It’s your site. Testimonials can help strengthen your case. If others are willing to speak out about how good their results were with an advertisement on your site, the move is less risky for potential advertisers. Often, if you’re willing to ask, advertisers who are happy with their results are more than willing to provide you with testimonials.

I don’t have tons of experience working with advertisers. So, I hope that if you do work with them or are an advertiser yourself, leave a comment with some tips of your own!

Three Books Written For Bloggers by Bloggers


I’ve really been into reading books about blogging lately and have snatched up some good ones I think you should know about. Two are geared specifically for mom bloggers and one is for anyone who blogs.

As bloggers, I truly believe we should continually be educating ourselves about this ever-changing industry. Allison gives us some fantastic blogging tips here and there are several blogs I follow on a weekly basis that give me ideas and insight into the blogging industry.

There are also some great books out there that I believe are a must-read. Here’s my list of three books written by bloggers for bloggers:

1. ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income – by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett

I devoured Darren and Chris‘s first Problogger book when it came out in 2008. I had only been blogging for about 3 years and knew I had so much more to learn. I still remember fixing myself a cup of coffee, turning off the TV and computer and snuggling up on the couch for a good read. I am so glad I invested the money and the time in this book.

And now they have the updated version of ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income that came out in April of 2010. Yes, I bought that one as well.

If you’re fairly new to blogging, I would recommend picking up a copy of this book. It lays a good foundation for you and walks you through the steps of turning your blogging hobby, into a full-time career. Which is exactly what the authors of the book have done.

2. Mom Blogging for Dummies by Wendy Piersall, Foreward by Heather Armstrong

Obviously the title gives it away that this is for mom bloggers. Mom Blogging for Dummies was written by Wendy Piersall, who is a brilliant blogger and has turned it into a career. The book came out in July of this year, so it’s very up-to-date (although blogging seems to change everyday doesn’t it?).

Whether you are ready to start your very first mom blog or you need some help taking your existing one to the next level, this book is for you. I’ve been blogging since 2005 and gained so much by reading Wendy’s book.

My favorite part was definitely the 10 examples of successful mom bloggers that she gave. It was interesting to read about their stories and how they got to where they are today. Some make money from their blogs and some make money as a direct result of their blog. It goes to show blogging isn’t a cookie cutter industry.

Wendy takes you through topics such as choosing a business model, writing a blog post people will want to read, how to be brand friendly and how to think like an entrepreneur.

3. The Digital Mom Handbook: How to Blog, Vlog, Tweet, and Facebook Your Way to a Dream Career at Home by Audrey McClelland and Colleen Padilla

The Digital Mom Handbook to me was very inspirational. It also was recently released in July of this year. Audrey and Colleen told their stories of how they got to where they are now – both top mom bloggers and making a fantastic living at it. They also talk about juggling the role as mom and business woman, something a lot of moms struggle with on a daily basis.

Here are their seven basic steps to success given in the book:

1. Find your passion.
2. Hang a digital “shingle” and start typing.
3. Find your tribe.
4. Make opportunity knock and learn how to answer that door.
5. Manage the Benjamins.
6. Don’t forget the children!
7. Live happily ever after by living your values.

A great read for any mom who has found herself, by accident or on purpose, in the world of blogging and trying to turn it into a living.

All of these books do have one common theme – find your passion and write about it. Don’t do what Deal Debbie is doing just because it seems to be working for her. Find a topic you love and go for it!

Are there any books on blogging you have read and would recommend?

Federated Media Publishing More Focused on Quality of Blog Than Numbers


A couple of weeks after acquiring Lijit Network, Federated Media Publishing is opening their ad network to more bloggers. FM and Automattic reached an agreement to provide advertising representation rights to the WordPress.com community, which consists of 24 million blogs.

WordPress.com bloggers will now have the option to opt-in to the Federated Media advertising program. This partnership is huge for both FM and the brands trying to target the right audience. This gives brands direct access “on the largest, most powerful independent online platform in existence today, effectively letting them reach the most passionate communities on the Independent Web”.

These content driven campaigns will include marketing solutions such as:

  • Content-Curation
  • Sponsored Posts
  • Conversation Targeting

In an email a FM spokesperson said, “Anyone creating high quality, brand-safe content will be considered for the program. The focus initially is on the long tail, so we are more focused on quality of blog, not number of users or page views.”

Quality of the blog. That’s music to a blogger’s ears.

Creating Culture In A Virtual Business


Session: How to Not Do Everything Yourself
Speaker: Laura Roeder

In my talk at BlogWorld LA, How Not To Do Everything Yourself I’ll be discussing how an online business can move from being a one-man show to creating a team of dedicated, proactive people that you love to work with.

One of the most important ways to bring in great people is to have a stellar culture. When you’re the best person to work for, you’ll naturally attract the best and brightest people to work for you.

But most online businesses see “culture” as something reserved for brick and mortars – it usually refers to free snacks, company picnics, or memberships to the local gym. What does it mean when people are working remotely, or when your “company” is just you and one virtual assistant?

Here are three easy ways to build your unique culture at a small, online business:

– Use yammer as your water cooler

My team loves yammer, a free online tool that serves as an internal twitter for companies. We use it to keep each other updated on what we’re doing, but also to give praise and link to a youtube joke or two.

– Mail small gifts

When I read a business book that I love, I make sure to send out a copy to my entire team. (Amazon makes this quick and painless.) Just because you don’t have a physical library doesn’t mean you can’t share learning with your team, and books also make a great token of appreciation.

– Use skype to get face-to-face

There are many subtleties that are lost in the written word and even on the phone – luckily we have video skype to keep us all connected. Every month I have scheduled one-on-one time with each person on my team via a video skype chat. This means we have time set aside to catch up, work through issues, and brainstorm on how to improve. I also use video skype for phone calls as much as I can. (And if you’re like me, your company culture will also include a “pajamas-acceptable” dress code for those skype calls!)

For more strategies on building a stress-relieving team, come see my talk on Monetization: “How to NOT Do Everything Yourself” at BlogWorld LA on Thursday November 3rd at 2:45 p.m. And in the meantime, here what Laura has to say about the track and why she attends BlogWorld:

Watch more videos and see why other speakers are attending BlogWorld LA. See all Speakers here.

Laura Roeder focuses on helping small businesses with training programs such as Your Backstage Pass to Twitter, Creating Fame and her book, Facebook Fame: The Facebook Marketing Bible for The Small Business.


Ten Simple (but Costly) Blog Mistakes


Sometimes, the difference between a profitable blog and a blog that doesn’t make any money isn’t major. In fact, it can boil down to just a few simple mistakes. Of course, every blog is going to be different, with different goals and meeting different reader needs, so not every tip is right for every person. But in general, here are ten really simple mistakes to fix that could be the difference between financial success and failure:

1) Filling Prime Real Estate with Other People’s Ads

In my high school graphic design class, I learned something that I still carry with me – a person’s eye naturally moves like a giant “S” across a page. That means that you’re prime real estate is at the top right. Online, anything “above the fold” (aka, the space you can see without scrolling) is also good. What do you have filling these spaces? I see a lot of people with ads in this space. Unless the most important thing for you is to get clicks on your ads (like if your main monetization strategy is a PPC program), why are you just giving this real estate away? Fill the top right with ads for your own products or affiliate products. Sales will jump. Or, use it for mailing list sign-ups, which you can use to drive sales in the future.

Another high-value place? The very end of your posts. When people are done reading, give them something valuable to do, like sign up for your mailing list or check out your product.

2) Not Including a Search Option

If there’s no search option on your blog, people can find stuff on Google instead, right? Right…but will you be #1 in the search results? Let’s say that I remember you reviewing a product but can’t easily find the post. I can search on Google, but what might pop up is someone else’s product review or someone else mentioning that you reviewed that product.

Even for your own products, you might not come up first on Google. One of your affiliates with awesome SEO can easily beat you out, simply by optimizing their posts. While this will still sell your products, you’ll have to pay an affiliate fee whereas on your own site, it’s pure profit. Don’t risk it. Just include a search bar on your blog and you don’t have to worry about it.

3) Avoiding Affiliate Links

If you talk about products often, why would you not sign up to be an affiliate? You don’t have to link everything you mention, but Amazon affiliate links can be easily added when you mention something in a post. Share a Sale and Commission Junction are also two great places where you can find product affiliate links – I’ve used both with success, and usually these affiliate programs give a better commission than Amazon. People are taking your recommendations when purchasing a product. Why shouldn’t you earn a bit of a commission.

When someone approaches you to ask for a review, this is definitely something you should ask as well. Most people have affiliate programs for their products, and if you’re doing them the favor of reviewing their product, the least they can do is allow you to earn a commission for anything you sell.

4) Underestimating the Eagerness of Your Readers to Buy

A few months ago, I was reading a blog that I really enjoyed, so I signed up for the blogger’s mailing list. I got several emails per week from this blogger, and while they were all interesting, not a single one tried to sell me anything. So I asked the blogger…why? His response was that he didn’t want to turn off readers with sales. Now, I definitely think that some people overdo it, but your readers are your fans – they want to buy the things you recommend or products from you. It’s silly to never sell, in my opinion.

The blogger took my advice and added in a sales email about once a month (so, one every 10 – 15 emails) and is now making a boatload of money that way. To date, he’s had no one complain and sees no greater unsubscribe numbers than with non-sales emails.

5) Paying Too Much for Hosting

Shop around. Are you getting the best deal? You want to avoid a shoddy hosting plan to save money, but some companies are waaaay overpriced. Ask your connections on Twitter or Facebook. People can recommend some great hosts that might be better AND cheaper than the host you chose at random.

Even look at the hosting plans offered by your company – do you need the plan they sold you or is their a cheaper plan that would serve your needs? Companies love to upsell you, and you might be paying for stuff you don’t use. It takes about ten minutes to check out the hosting plans available and you could save a lot of money every year that way, especially if you have multiple sites.

6) Not Including Clear Contact Information

If I want to purchase an ad on your site, how do I get in touch? If I can’t find your email address or a contact form in about 20 seconds, I’m gone. Make a contact page and put it somewhere very easy to see on your site. Don’t hide it on your about page. Don’t put it half-way down your sidebar in a small font that’s lost between ads and navigation tools. I don’t understand why bloggers don’t make it easy to be contacted…unless, I guess, they don’t want to be contacted? The best blogs, in my opinion, make it idiot-proof, listing contact information in multiple easy-to-see places.

Personally, I like it even more when I see an actual advertising page for potential sponsors to learn more. Creating an advertising page on your site that’s clearly listed in the top navigation bar or footer (the two places advertisers typically check first) will tell them that you’re open to selling ad space, that you’ve actually thought about your prices (so you’re a professional), and that they’re likely to hear back quickly.

7) Being Too Humble About Your Products

Dude. You’re awesome! Your readers won’t be reading your posts or following your tweets or subscribed to your emails if they didn’t like you. Don’t be afraid to tell people about your products.

In fact, your products should be front and center! Not only that, but when you talk about your products, don’t be humble. Talk about the advantages of your product and, although you should be clear and honest if there are people who won’t benefit from the purchase, make sure you sell it. If you’re not comfortable with sales, let your fans speak for you by posting testimonials. I’m always willing to give away a free copy of my book if someone (especially someone known in my industry) is willing to write a testimonial.

8 ) Crazy Long Sales Letters with No Buy Button until the End

Long sales letters drive me nuts. I understand that they work, otherwise people wouldn’t use them. But just because they work in their current long form doesn’t mean they couldn’t be better. Don’t confuse the fact that you’re making sales with success. If you sell 1000 products on launch day, you might be jumping for joy…but what if I told you that you had the potential to make 10,000 sales? Not so exciting anymore, is it?

I’ll be one of those people who hits the back button, in many cases, if you don’t have a “buy” button near the top. I certainly want to read a little about your product, but I’m there for a blurb, not a book report, and other readers probably feel the same way. So keep your long sales letter with the buy button at the end, but put one closer to the top too for those of us who are sold already.

9) Lack of Formats

This one is specifically for those who create informational products, which is a lot of readers. If I could do one thing differently with my last product launch, it would be to offer not just a downloadable PDF file, but also multiple other formats. Some people still like print. Others will jump on board if you offer a kindle version. Heck, some people even want content broken up and sent via email over time.

If your products are expensive, I think it also make sense to offer different payment structures. Give a discount for those who can afford to buy your product outright, but make it possible to pay in small chunks for readers on a budget. You don’t want to offer so many options that things are overwhelming, but a few choices will help get your product in the hands of more readers, and it doesn’t take much effort to offer multiple options.

10) No Affiliate Program for Your Products

If you’re selling stuff, are you offering an affiliate program? If not…why not? You’ll have a virtual sales team that are only paid when they sell something if you set up even a low-payout affiliate program! I have to love beyond love a product to write a review if I’m not getting a commission. Even then, if it’s a busy week, I might not make time for it. If you have a great affiliate program, though, you’ll see a major boost in your sales, and most of those buyers will be people you never would have reached otherwise, so it’s not like you’re losing money by paying affiliates, at least most of the time. The benefits greatly outweigh the disadvantages, and best of all, it only takes a few seconds to set up an affiliate program through a company like E-junkie.

It’s your turn – what changes have you made on your blog that resulted in big jumps in profit?

Stop Thinking Like A Blogger In Order To Make Money


… by David Risley (BlogWorld LA Monetization track leader)

The blogger mindset is one which I like to affectionately call “the blogger hamster wheel”. It goes something like this…

Write some stuff. Then write some more stuff. Check your traffic. Send some tweets. Write more stuff. Read some other blogs and post comments. Figure out what the heck you’re gonna write. Write it. Maybe.


One thing you notice in there (hopefully) is this: NOWHERE in there is any money being made.

You might think the golden ticket is found simply by writing more and increasing volume, but it isn’t. The problem is compounded, too, because all those OTHER bloggers out there think the same thing. Which means there is an insane amount of written content being produced out in the blogosphere. And, in case you hadn’t noticed, it is harder than ever to get noticed.

So, what’s a blogger to do?

The “trick”, if you want to call it that, is to stop thinking like a blogger. Broaden your paradigm and start doing things that most bloggers either don’t want to do, are too lazy to do, or have some other weird reason why they won’t.

The Business Reality of Blogging

Blogging doesnt make money. But, you know what does? BUSINESS.

Businesses sell things. They have things to sell. They don’t just talk about it… they DO it.

So, what are YOU selling? The answer better be something along the line of info products related to your niche or affiliate marketing. It can be your own product (best) or it can be somebody else’s (almost as good). Either way, you should be selling something on your blog. And your content should be designed to attract the attention of targeted prospects and then route them into those things that you sell.

In other words, your blog is a marketing platform. Nothing more.

How To Break The Mold

Now that you’re going to be in the business of selling things related to your niche, it is time to figure out a more efficient way to get and hold people’s attention rather than just more written blog posts.

One think you may notice is that many of the successful guys out there don’t stay in a mold. They produce content, just not always written content.

So, consider the following things that most bloggers just don’t do:

  1. Videos. This is somewhat common, but I find a lot of bloggers are scared of doing it for some reason. Why? Youtube gets some MAJOR traffic. Plus, a video holds attention better than written text.
  2. Webinars. I can’t even BEGIN to overstate just how awesome webinars are. If you’re delivering good content, you’ve got people paying attention to your stuff for an hour or so. Beats the CRAP out of a written blog post. Not to mention you can sell things on a webinar (even affiliate products) and it typically converts seriously well.
  3. Live Video. Engage your audience using something like UStream.tv.
  4. Email. Many of us say “build a list”, but the truth is a lot of people don’t do it. Why, I have no idea. Its STUPID not to have a mailing list.

You might be noticing a trend there on how to break the mold.

Get out of your shell, stop focusing on written stuff all the time, get on camera, deliver awesome value, and sell things.

What Now?

I would ask you not to simply read this post and move on – doing nothing. We all know that’s what you usually do.

If you’re serious about making money with your blog, then what I just wrote in this post is a huge part of the way forward. So, stop and figure out your next move to put this stuff into action. Make a video. Find some things to sell and sell them.

Oh, and stop by the monetization track at Blogworld Expo in LA. I’ve lined up some great speakers who “get it”. If you want to engage in REAL online business, pay attention to the awesome folks in LA. You’re gonna dig it. 🙂

To get the plain-spoken truth on making money blogging, visit my blog at DavidRisley.com. Connect on Facebook.

A Beginner’s Guide to Blog Monetization Basics


I’ve already written A Beginner’s Guide to Twitter Basics and A Beginner’s Guide to SEO Basics, and someone much smarter than me wrote about podcasting basics, so today I wanted ton continue this theme and write about monetization. Now, there are people who write entire blogs about monetization, so believe me when I say that this is a quick overview. If you’re new to blogging, though, this post can help you figure out how to make money from your blog.

Monetization Methods

Bloggers who want to make money from their blogs have five main choices for monetization. Under each of these categories, you have multiple options as well, so I’m going to list as many as I can. The great thing about blogging is that bloggers are always finding new and innovative ways to make money!

  • Advertising

First and foremost, you can monetize your blog with advertising. Advertising comes in two main forms: selling ads directly for a flat fee and PPC ads where you’re paid a very small amount every time someone clicks on the ad. You can also add advertising to videos and podcasts with commercials, the same way a TV show or radio show sells advertisement time.

Advertising is also available in the form of posts. Someone can pay you to sponsor a post or even write an entire post on your site, though FTC rules mean you have to disclose when you’re paid for something like this. If the post isn’t high quality, it can also hurt you blog, so take this into consideration.

  • Selling Stuff

You can use your blog to convince your readers to buy stuff. Working as an affiliate is the easiest way to get started doing this – basically, you’re selling other people’s products, and in exchange, you’ll get a cut of the money. Amazon is my favorite affiliate program for general stuff since they have just about everything, but you can also be an affiliate for an individual product, such as the latest ebook your favorite blogger releases. If you can’t find affiliate program information on their website, just shoot them an email and ask if one is available.

To make more money, you can sell your own products. Informational products (like ebooks and courses) are most popular for bloggers since you can create them with little overhead cost, but you can also sell products like t-shirts and mugs.

  • Membership Sites

If you create great content, you might want to charge people to read it. To do this, you’ll sell a membership to the site, where people will pay on a monthly basis to access your content. Another form of a “membership site” is a subscription to content via email. Membership sites often focus on the community aspect and include forums, profiles, and more.

  • Using your Blog as a Platform

This is a more indirect way to monetize your blog. Instead of actually getting money from your readers, you use your blog as a platform to make money. For example, you could use your blog to land a book deal or become a paid public speaker. You can also use it to find clients. For example, if you’re a financial professional, you could advertise your services on your free blog.

  • Reviews

Product reviews are a bit controversial in the blogging world, since some bloggers think you deserve more than free products for the work you do to review a product. The choice is up to you, though. I think it depends on what you’re reviewing. If someone is willing to give you a car, for example, I think that’s a pretty sweet deal! A company that send you free potato chips? Maybe not so much. It also depends if you want to support the company because you have a personal connection or because you think your readers need to know about a product.

Some companies will not only send you free stuff to review, but will also pay you a set amount to write the review, so it’s kind of like a paid post. Remember that you have to disclose everything if you’re reviewing a product that you received for free or were paid to review.

Setting Your Advertising Prices

One of the questions I hear over and over again is this: how much should I charge? It’s not a question that can easily be answered, unfortunately. Heck, even big companies have trouble setting prices. Just look at Netflix if you want an example of a company having a hard time feeling out their market.

Let’s start by talking about advertising. I think the key here is finding a price that is fair for those buying from you without being so cheap that you cheat yourself out of the money you could be making. Basically, you want to set advertising prices based on traffic. So, it depends on how big you are – and don’t be afraid to raise your rates as you grow.

In my opinion, no one can say it better than what Daniel Scocco has said in his guest post for the Problogger blog. Whenever someone asks me how much to charge, I said them to that post. It’s also how I set my own advertising prices.

Monetization Mistakes

Every blogger goes about monetizing in a different way, and that’s one of the best things about blogging; there are no right or wrong methods! Well, almost. There are a few things I think almost all bloggers should avoid when monetizing. Don’t make these mistakes!

  • Giving top billing to your ads: Unless there’s a reason (like the advertising is paying extra), banner ads shouldn’t be on the prime real estate of your blog. Reserve that spot for your own stuff, like a sign-up box for your mailing list, an ad for your own products, or buttons to subscribe to your RSS feed.
  • Not disclosing when you’ve been paid: This isn’t just shady – it’s illegal. If something is an affiliate link or you’ve been paid to write it, the FTC requires that you let your readers know. How I understand the law (and I’m not a lawyer), this also includes your social media updates (tweets, status updates, etc). When you use an affiliate link, mark it as such! Don’t try to trick your readers. It’s just not cool.
  • Sending readers to your competitors: We like to think there are no competitors in blogger, but if you’re using your blog as a platform, there are other sites you just don’t want to advertise. For example, if you’re a writer and looking for clients, you don’t want to advertise for other writers on your blog sidebar! Be careful when you use advertising services such as the one offered by Google – block ads that drive potential money away.

Like I said, there are entire blogs just about how to make money with your blog. This isn’t in the least the end-all post about the topic. But for beginners out there, I hope this will get you started.

And I hope you’ll share a link to your favorite blog about making money online! My favorite resource is David Risley’s blog (hey, there’s a reason he’s BlogWorld’s monetization track leader!) – what are your favorites?

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