Ad revenue not what you hoped? Here are some ways to turn it around.
Trying to earn money from a blog can be a discouraging proposition; many bloggers create quality content with attractive design, but never see the ad revenue they’re anticipating. Thatedeguy has already outlined excellent services to monetize your blog, so we’ll focus on drawing traffic, which will determine your success regardless of the monetization strategy you choose. If you’re not implementing these simple strategies, you’re missing out on easy ad revenue.
Get SpecificYour blog’s niche determines who your competitors are, how big your readership can be, and how much work it will take to get noticed. The idea here is to have as many readers as possible, with as few competitors as possible. Let’s suppose you want to write a generic “car blog”, for instance. If you Google that phrase, you’ll see that your front-page competition is Jalopnik, Autoblog.com, and Car and Driver—big blogs with big SEO budgets, who will make sure your little blog stays in the wasteland of page 12 on the Google rankings for all eternity. Narrow your topic down until the front page results for that topic are small but successful blogs—the kind of competition your blog can handle.
…But not too specific
You want to make sure your niche is something readers care about—so take a look at Google Insights to see who is searching for key phrases related to your blog. If there are only one or two people searching for those phrases in a given day, you might want to consider broadening or even switching your niche altogether. If you’re dead set on covering your chosen topic, recognize that those one or two visitors are the only shot you have at making money, so you’ll have your work cut out for you.
Maintain a consistent content stream
Nothing kills readership like erratic updates, so commit to updating your blog on some kind of regular basis, even if it’s just weekly. Loyal readers (the kind who will share your posts and expand your readership) enjoy the “ritual” of checking for updates, so don’t disappoint. You can undo a lot of hard work with just one or two missed posts.
Keep your content web-friendly
Successful bloggers know that writing online is not like fiction, or school essays, or even print journalism; people read online content differently, so you need to know how to write differently. Attention spans are shorter online, so keep your content clear, concise, and well-organized. A few ideas:
- Unless you’ve got a very dedicated audience, 1000 words should be your ceiling for a single post. If you can’t say what you need to say in that space, consider narrowing your topic or publishing it as a series.
- Clearly subdivide your content. I chose bolding and bullet points for this post, but don’t think your blog is too good for “top ten” or numbered posts—Cracked.com and other heavy hitters have built online empires on that format. It’s easy to read, easy to write, and numbered titles grab the reader’s attention.
- Include visuals. Buying images for every blog post might be prohibitively expensive (and using images that don’t belong to you is a bad idea, obviously), but for a post you’re particularly proud of, seasoning it with a couple great pictures can really help users stick with you.
Don’t try to go it alone
This is probably the biggest mistake that keeps amateur bloggers ‘amateur’. If you want to make money blogging, understand that networking is part of the job. Find successful blogs in a related (but not competitive) field, contact the author, and offer to guest post. Include a link back to your blog in your bio—as I’ve done below—so that their readers can find your blog. This will also help search engines notice that your content is solid and authoritative, which will help your rankings. Never stop building your network, and don’t be afraid to offer your best content—if you want someone besides Mom reading your blog, guest posts are the way to make it happen.
Tiffany Gantt is a staff writer for ApronAddicts.com, a website dedicated to the love of cooking and looking good while you do it! You can often find her getting creative in the kitchen as she whips up something yummy in one of her flirty, color coordinated aprons.