For those who write facilely and joyfully, the appeal of earning money from doing what comes naturally is nearly irresistible. Even for those for whom writing is a chore, the lure of getting paid to share hard-won insights, innovative ideas, and whatever else populates their mind, is hard to refuse.
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Bloggers have a number of ways to make an income from blogging, some of them arising from displaying ads in the web page. However, this is a big step, and should be undertaken only when you are ready for it. Let’s look at some of the considerations needed in the decision process.
Some blogging advisors recommend starting the effort to make a blog earn some money, even if the amount is miniscule, right from the start. Their view is that your readers need to get used to paying for your fabulous content, even if only by putting up with ads on your blog page.
This makes a good deal of sense, given the kicking and moaning that has results when bigger scale webpages have begun adding paid promotional material, or charging a fee to readers. Another intriguing advantage that could accrue from having paying ads right from the start is that the income, no matter how tiny, represents a source of inspiration and motivation to keep up the good work and stay on a tight schedule of writing output.
The downside of starting out as a blog with ads is two-fold. You probably already know that an advertising network such as AdSense, from Google, will not even approve you for ads unless you are fully functioning as a website – you need to have your page fully set up. Once you are posting regularly, it is more challenging to attract ads on your page if you do not have masses of traffic yet.
This obstacle cannot be overcome except by getting and keeping reader traffic. The other problem is credibility. Your freedom from sponsorship gives you an air of independence from outside pressure in expressing your untrammeled opinion. Readers like this sort of apparent freedom from external influence on the part of writers.
However, if you can get ads, and want to, for example, through AdSense , or BuySellAds.com , this can be a blessing or a burden. The blessing part is easy to comprehend. Of course, we all would like to have someone paying us. However, keep in mind that advertisers want their ads seen by lots of eyes. You have to prove to them that you can assure that they will get access to those eyes.
Then your blog has to come through consistently with the numbers of visitors that will justify advertisers’ paying for the privilege of appearing on your page.
Making this happen can be a challenge and a stress on you the blogger. You need to be prepared to produce – or acquire – content every day, week, or month, to keep your readers coming back. If you are not up to this task, then you are probably not ready to monetize your blog.
Perhaps one compromise is to announce to your readers early on that this could be in the offing, to alert them that some sort of monetization will be part of their reading experience at some point in the future. Your readers will not feel that you have hoodwinked them if you are successful in attracting ads, obtaining a partner organization in order to publicize their product or service, or begin selling your own product or service.
Some pundits in the blogosphere name the figure 300 as a target for a daily number of visitors to your blog. At three hundred unique visitors a day, your blog is reaching more than your mom, your grandparents, your kids, and your BFFs. This makes some sense. You have traction at that point.
However, note the mention of unique visitors. The raw number of visitors is but one important factor. The type of visitors, and what they do, and where they come from, are also important factors. There are many ways to find out who your readers are.
These include analytics, such as information on your site rankings, and information on where your readers are and what time they are accessing your webpage. but they also include the far more in-depth information that you can obtain about your readers via your interactions with them on social media.
Have you not noticed how much more lively a blog page seems when there is a substantial list of comments and responses from the blogger? It creates a community for the sharing of ideas and innovation, support and encouragement, and inspiration. This sort of interaction is where a blogger finds out what sorts of content will meet the needs of the readers, however few or many. You want to know what interests them, what sites they visit regularly, and how they found out about your blog, for example.
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The needs your readers express in your communication with them via social media can inform your choice of websites on which you might consider trying to be a guest blogger. Writing guest blog posts in other people’s webpages and including links to your blog page is a rather subtle and non-intrusive way of obtaining more visitors.
You can return the favor by hosting some guest blog posts on your own blog page. This is also a way of testing the waters regarding your audience’s willingness to support you even if you display ads, or promote an affiliate product or service.
Thus, you can look for the following markers to signal your readiness to monetize your blog:
- A working blog page
- Good content that bring readers back for more
- Your own preparation to produce original content on a regular basis
- Absolute numbers of at least 300 unique visitors daily
- An emerging pattern of readers referring other people to your blog
- Active engagement between you and your readers
- A clear sense of who your readers are and what they want to see in your blog and perhaps in products you promote
Lay the groundwork early, but hold off until you can be sure of giving both your readers and your advertisers what they want.