I'm not going to go into too much detail here, but today I hit a milestone: $2000 for the month of June from one of my blogs (if you know me and what I've been promoting lately, you may know which one I'm talking about). It's in the business niche. I don't blog because I expect them to be big earners... I earn the majority of my income through my PR firm. But I have been trying to take time away from freelance writing clients this year to focus more on earning from my own websites, blogs, and other content-oriented projects, and this is the first serious progress as far as blog monetization goes. Here's a little bit about how it evolved:
1. The site wasn't always a blog.
It used to be a small niche content network, with four key sites. I later moved it to WordPress in blog form, and increased the topic count to 20. It was launched a little less than a year ago.
2. The blog isn't heavily promoted.
And the traffic isn't anything phenomenal (I have practically non-earning sites that bring in more traffic actually). I don't write specifically for SEO. I don't make any big link-building efforts (like directory submissions, article marketing, etc.). Most of the promotion has simply been in the form of writing content of a high enough quality that people seem to link to it naturally (including a few pretty significant related sites that found it entirely on their own).
3. Those natural backlinks led to an increase in Google pagerank (PR6 right now), making it more attractive to private advertisers.
I was previously using Adsense almost exclusively to monetize the site (low $xxx per month most recently). I've removed the vast majority of adsense ads, and replaced them with privately sold ads. I've also looked to other options than the monthly ads, such as sponsored posts and paid links within existing posts (which are made to appear differently than normal links so it's no secret to readers). This is the first full month that I've been using all three of these methods combined. Here's the breakdown:
- Monthly Private Ads - $625
- Sponsored Posts - $240
- Sponsored Links in Existing Posts - $1140
- Adsense - $11.02 (from just the header ad that's been left over and not replaced yet)
I have to say, I'm happy with the results with this being the first month with a big push towards monetizing. I'm working on a content strategy right now to keep the blog updated at least once per day in July; preferably a few times per day, and I'm going to be at least a tiny bit more proactive in my link-building efforts, although I refuse to get into any kind of mass submission-style links so popular in SEO these days. I'll mostly get more involved in other business blogs through commenting (more to drive traffic and network anyway), and I'll probably be doing more reviews and interviews (which are amazing natural link builders). And of course, I'll be releasing a few press releases (when I have something even remotely newsworthy to say). I'm also thinking about releasing a short free e-book or report to help build links and spread the word a little bit.
So anyway, I just wanted to share in the good news a little bit, and show that you can in fact earn a decent amount running your own sites without having to invest years, and only having to put a part-time effort in for a few hours per week. I have enough interest right now in the one-time link options (between links and sponsored posts) on top of the monthly subscriptions, that at a minimum (assuming no other promotion on those one-time options) July should show around $1300-1500. All I can say is that it's nice to see something "on the side" paying off reasonably well. So if you've started a content site or blog that you're trying to monetize, here are a few things to take away:
- Don't stop creating content.
- Don't jump on the "everyone is doing it" train as far as how you promote your site.
- Don't just settle for things where they are.... Keep testing new promotion and monetization methods for your site. What works for one won't work for everyone else.