Author Topic: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?  (Read 25982 times)

Syonyk

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #100 on: January 09, 2017, 11:45:14 AM »
From our conversation, I would say that blogging is a way for them to occupy some time while caring for their son, and Jeremy has only in the past year or so worked to monetize the blog.  Notice all of the content since GCCJr was born.. gotta do something while your kid is taking a nap!

Yeah... I started mine on paternity leave because I was bored to death too.

Txtriathlete

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #101 on: January 09, 2017, 06:38:10 PM »

How important is it to have an email group for the blog?
What do we email to the group every week?
How do we vet/manage the comment section?
How do we stop spamming and such?
We have an option for a contacts email, how hard is that to manage?

What other hints, tips and techniques from the group on making it pay (lessons learned)?

Wouldn't it be amazing if there were blogs that focus on how to make money blogging, and might have answers to these questions and more? I hear Michelle at Sense of Cents does that ;)

Are you being snarky to me or Michelle?
Either way not helpful.
Fail.

Zero snark. You'll find answers to your questions on blogs that focus on how to make money blogging.

Michelle seems nice and would probably answer your questions, but the tone of this thread said she wasn't welcome here.

http://forprofitblogging.com is a "not Michelle" source.

Or J Money consults with bloggers, and has a zillion years of collective blogging experience.
http://jmoney.biz/

There are many others.

Ah. My misunderstanding, I apologize.

Yes, no doubt there are sites that are value add buts it's pretty challenging to separate the wheat from chaff. I'll investigate the two you recommend. 

It would be nice to find a "here's what I did" with lessons learned at a granular level.  We are past the bluehost and wordpress setup stage.


Txtriathlete

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #102 on: January 09, 2017, 07:09:46 PM »
Say what all of you will about the blogs.

I'm a stay at home spouse who is disabled (dyspraxia and autism spectrum/anxiety issues). I would LOVE to know how to monetize a blog, do the amazon link thing, and somehow make $20k a year on a blog.

If anyone would like to help/ advise me, I'd LOVE that. An extra few to 20k a year would be AMAZING, and a self-esteem booster.

What I've learned (so far):

Find a topic you know a lot about that is interesting to a bunch of people. It helps if it can continue evolving. For example this site, while full of wonderful info, kind of loses steam after you get past "don't buy shit, save like crazy".  There's lots of fun and interesting stuff on MMM and I like the way Pete writes, but most of the financial stuff is some deriviative of the above.

Figure out what you will sell on your site.  Adsense and similar are ok but they pay very poorly. If you can use that ad space for your own products the margin is much, much higher. 

Open a small business if you don't have one already.

Practice writing 400-500 word stories about your topic in a funny/catchy/interesting/controversial style. Save everything in a logical file construct. Decide on a standardized naming convention for blog posts.

Pick a catchy URL.

Buy your URL and negotiate a web hosting agreeement (bluehost is fine, there are many others, some not good).

Set up a wordpress, blogspot or similar account.

Install the wordpress ad widget or equivalent.

Format your ads or set up your Adsense, amazon, etc. accounts.

Set up the comments, contacts and subscription items.

Publish a blog post.

Tell everyone you know and encourage them to tell everyone they know.


What I need to know now:

How to set up the ecommerce widget for wordpress (which one to use, fees, ease of use, deposits, etc.).
How to incentivize readers to follow the blog and um, buy stuff.
How to monetize an email subscriber list without selling email addresses.
How to set up/negotiate affiliate agreements (we have some that have NEVER done something like this and others that have their own widgets and boilerplate agreeements).
And all the other stuff I don't even know that I don't know yet; like security, scalability, etc.

Syonyk

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #103 on: January 09, 2017, 08:25:51 PM »
Figure out what you will sell on your site.  Adsense and similar are ok but they pay very poorly. If you can use that ad space for your own products the margin is much, much higher.

However, AdSense does pay per impression (in addition to per click).  Affiliate links don't do a thing unless someone clicks and buys.  It depends on your content and how you intend to get traffic - specific followers, or organic search.

For me, an awful lot of my traffic comes from organic search (I'm on the first page of Google results for an oddly large number of searches related to my content), and "Wow, look at this piece of junk!" is not something that drives much affiliate traffic.

Quote
Pick a catchy URL.

Matters perhaps more if you're going for daily followers, for organic search driven traffic, doesn't matter as much.

Quote
How to set up the ecommerce widget for wordpress (which one to use, fees, ease of use, deposits, etc.).

WooCommerce is pretty good for Wordpress-integrated commerce stuff.  I can't say anything particularly good or bad about it as I don't sell items, but people who use it seem happy enough with it.

Quote
How to incentivize readers to follow the blog and um, buy stuff.

Content? :)

It turns out that I have at least a few people who follow my blog or have it in their Google feed, because this last post I tossed up was a throwaway "Sorry, internet has been down for half a week, my ISP is run by a bunch of baboons..." post with zero promotion (not even my normal Google Plus and Facebook posts), and it has 100 views.

Quote
And all the other stuff I don't even know that I don't know yet; like security, scalability, etc.

Security: Don't run Wordpress yourself.  I've heard security folks joke that Wordpress is a remote administration tool operating under the cover of a blogging platform, based on how often either Wordpress or the plugins have remotely exploitable vulnerabilities.

Scaling: Don't run your own servers unless you really, really like that stuff.

If you want to go with Wordpress, I would strongly suggest WPEngine or something like that - https://wpengine.com/

They handle the security, they handle the scaling, and it costs about as much as your own small instance.

If you're not tied to Wordpress and as much control, I'm insanely happy with Blogspot/Blogger - Google run services.  I suspect this may have something to do with how rapidly my stuff appears in search, and the scaling and security are excellent.  I normally get a few hundred views a day.  I had a very, very popular post that front paged Reddit and drove about half a million views in a single day.  A small server, suited to my normal daily traffic, would have fallen over in a heartbeat with that kind of traffic (and I'd probably have paid a ton in bandwidth fees).  Blogger?  I doubt anyone even noticed.  It worked perfectly.  WPEngine will do that for Wordpress installs as well.

Thanks for the list.  How many posts should you have prepared before you hit the go button?  I have read that most readers will check your site but if they get any indication that you do not post regularly they will quickly exit stage right.

"Get over yourself thinking you're going to be a big shot from day one and just start posting."  I doubt it matters for the first year or two, but you should post regularly - pick a schedule and stick to it.  Weekly, twice a week, whatever.  Do it at the same time of week as well.

Txtriathlete

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #104 on: January 09, 2017, 08:54:02 PM »
Figure out what you will sell on your site.  Adsense and similar are ok but they pay very poorly. If you can use that ad space for your own products the margin is much, much higher.

However, AdSense does pay per impression (in addition to per click).  Affiliate links don't do a thing unless someone clicks and buys.  It depends on your content and how you intend to get traffic - specific followers, or organic search.

For me, an awful lot of my traffic comes from organic search (I'm on the first page of Google results for an oddly large number of searches related to my content), and "Wow, look at this piece of junk!" is not something that drives much affiliate traffic.

Quote
Pick a catchy URL.

Matters perhaps more if you're going for daily followers, for organic search driven traffic, doesn't matter as much.

Quote
How to set up the ecommerce widget for wordpress (which one to use, fees, ease of use, deposits, etc.).

WooCommerce is pretty good for Wordpress-integrated commerce stuff.  I can't say anything particularly good or bad about it as I don't sell items, but people who use it seem happy enough with it.

Quote
How to incentivize readers to follow the blog and um, buy stuff.

Content? :)

It turns out that I have at least a few people who follow my blog or have it in their Google feed, because this last post I tossed up was a throwaway "Sorry, internet has been down for half a week, my ISP is run by a bunch of baboons..." post with zero promotion (not even my normal Google Plus and Facebook posts), and it has 100 views.

Quote
And all the other stuff I don't even know that I don't know yet; like security, scalability, etc.

Security: Don't run Wordpress yourself.  I've heard security folks joke that Wordpress is a remote administration tool operating under the cover of a blogging platform, based on how often either Wordpress or the plugins have remotely exploitable vulnerabilities.

Scaling: Don't run your own servers unless you really, really like that stuff.

If you want to go with Wordpress, I would strongly suggest WPEngine or something like that - https://wpengine.com/

They handle the security, they handle the scaling, and it costs about as much as your own small instance.

If you're not tied to Wordpress and as much control, I'm insanely happy with Blogspot/Blogger - Google run services.  I suspect this may have something to do with how rapidly my stuff appears in search, and the scaling and security are excellent.  I normally get a few hundred views a day.  I had a very, very popular post that front paged Reddit and drove about half a million views in a single day.  A small server, suited to my normal daily traffic, would have fallen over in a heartbeat with that kind of traffic (and I'd probably have paid a ton in bandwidth fees).  Blogger?  I doubt anyone even noticed.  It worked perfectly.  WPEngine will do that for Wordpress installs as well.

Thanks for the list.  How many posts should you have prepared before you hit the go button?  I have read that most readers will check your site but if they get any indication that you do not post regularly they will quickly exit stage right.

"Get over yourself thinking you're going to be a big shot from day one and just start posting."  I doubt it matters for the first year or two, but you should post regularly - pick a schedule and stick to it.  Weekly, twice a week, whatever.  Do it at the same time of week as well.

Holly crap! I just learned more in one post than in the three pages preceding it. Thank you. Feel free to correct my stupid wherever it shows.

Syonyk

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #105 on: January 09, 2017, 09:08:25 PM »
I've no idea how to monetize the stuff but I know my way around web platforms...

Which is why I don't do much hosting myself anymore.

CloserToFree

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #106 on: January 10, 2017, 01:38:29 PM »
I have yet to make 6 figures in total over the life of the blog. If I worked at it a little bit maybe I could do it this year, but... priorities. It is sunny today so Jr and I are off for a bike ride.

Jeremy- good for you for keeping priorities in order.  Thanks for chiming in here and for your blog's great content!  I've gotten a ton of useful advice from it and look forward to following your family's adventures in 2017.

frugalsurfer

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #107 on: January 10, 2017, 08:29:13 PM »
A very interesting read and a topic that I've grappled with myself. I have a few blogs that have been active for 3-4 years. They're only now starting to soak up a little bit of traffic, usually 800-1200 visitors a week which is still very minimal. Monetisation? No luck. I've tried a dozen PPC and affiliate programs and have earned an insignificant amount of money from it, not even $100 a year, despite tweaking the settings and layout and continuing to post what I believe is interesting content. I continue to post and pay for the hosting etc because I enjoy the writing and having a web/brand presence, but it would be nice to have some time to really ramp up the profitability while still being ethical and providing genuinely interesting, peronalised content/info for other people to enjoy/help people out.

Ryland

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #108 on: January 11, 2017, 10:28:12 AM »
Best way to do it is to turn it into a software as a service product or another income generating service.

Here's a great website that explains just how to do that: www.thefoundation.com

Syonyk

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #109 on: January 11, 2017, 11:02:56 AM »
Quote
The Foundation Helps Bootstrapped Entrepreneurs Build Businesses To Maximize Their Freedom And Impact On The World.

I see...

I'll let you know when I figure out how to turn random electronic device teardowns into a software-as-a-service offering...

csprof

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #110 on: January 11, 2017, 01:47:03 PM »
Quote
The Foundation Helps Bootstrapped Entrepreneurs Build Businesses To Maximize Their Freedom And Impact On The World.

I see...

I'll let you know when I figure out how to turn random electronic device teardowns into a software-as-a-service offering...

Have you seen John Ward's video series in which he tears-down deathtrap electronics with horrible fail-electrocute modes?  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2uFFhnMKyF82UY2TbXRaNg

Awesome stuff. :-)  But no SaaS there, just sass.

Syonyk

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #111 on: January 11, 2017, 02:00:09 PM »
I hadn't seen his, in particular, but I know that's a thing people watch.

I actually don't like video much at all for communication - most of the stuff I do, I'd rather write up a long text post with photos for.  Because I'm one of few people who does things this way instead of burying content in un-searchable video, I get a lot of traffic from search engines. :)

csprof

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #112 on: January 11, 2017, 03:03:50 PM »
I hadn't seen his, in particular, but I know that's a thing people watch.

I actually don't like video much at all for communication - most of the stuff I do, I'd rather write up a long text post with photos for.  Because I'm one of few people who does things this way instead of burying content in un-searchable video, I get a lot of traffic from search engines. :)

Oh, definitely.  I don't find his series useful as much as fun.  I don't remember how I stumbled across it - I think I was looking at the mechanism for a really cheap hot-steam humidifier that basically passed a current through the water, was horrified by it, and got to one of his videos about an immersion heater that did the same thing, but with no shielding and the water open so you could stick your finger in it.

One thought that comes to mind is a "teardown tools" or "parts" sticky/sidebar in every post that has affiliate links, either to Amazon or some higher-revenue-but-good-for-customers place, linking to both the specific tools you're using and your overall favorite recommendations for people interested in the same.  I doubt McMaster-Carr has an affiliate program, but you could dig.  Newark/element14 does.  thinkgeek used to.  Mouser and digikey don't seem to, though.

Of course, I'm probably not one to listen to.  I've had 1.5k pageviews on my blog today and earned $0.83.  ;)  (Adsense is particularly ineffective for my blog - computer scientists run adblock at a very disproportionate rate.  Less than 1/3 of the visitors to my blog see any ads, and I don't work hard to manufacture embedded affiliate links if it doesn't make sense.  Neither of my last two posts, for example, contained any.)

Syonyk

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Re: What is the real truth about making money from a blog?
« Reply #113 on: January 11, 2017, 06:08:01 PM »
Yeah... page views vs ad impressions is pretty sad on mine as well.