The Fine Line Between Blogging For Money And Fun
Ever since the beginning of time, blog monetization has been a confusing subject. As marketers we use our blogs to make money. Depending on what we do, we either use them to increase sales/customers in our businesses, to sell our own information products or to make money by promoting other people’s stuff.
What I wanted to talk about was blogging for money and the fine line between money and fun. A lot of us start off as recreational bloggers and do it just for fun of it. Maybe we intend on starting a blog to grow our business, but end up blogging daily with no thoughts of monetization. Believe it or not, it happens all the time.
Really… I wanted to talk about how a few minor tweaks to your blog can literally take you from rags to riches. Anyway, since I started this blog… I’ve made A LOT of changes! I probably tweak it once a week just to see if I can increase my lead flow, traffic and or sales. The result? A massive increase in everything… (traffic, leads & sales)
Most bloggers think slapping on some code and getting paid for displaying ads is a good way to monetize a blog. The truth is that like 80% of bloggers use programs like Google Adsense to make money. To me it’s just madness. Spending all that time writing quality content only to redirect your visitors elsewhere.
After I realized just how stupid that stuff was, I thought about creating my own products to sell, recommending others and building an email list.
So here’s a list of things that will dramatically improve the results you get from blogging. Doing this stuff will turn your blog into a cash producing, business building power house. I know a lot of you are running blogs, but you’re not quite making the most of them. Doing the below will enable you to not only use your blog to build your businesses, but use them for cash flow too.
- Start by welcoming new visitors & attempt to convince them to follow you. (On social networks)
- Create a navigation system for your visitors to easily browse through your blog.
- Convince readers to opt in to your email list.
- Welcome people to your list & give away something for free.
- Follow up & convince subscribers and readers to buy something off of you.
- Encourage repeat visitors.
- Build enough trust so readers buy recommended products through your affiliate link.
- Train readers for multiple purchases.
I’ll explain some of the above concepts as they really are effective. Once you do/setup all of the above, your blog will become an income spitting, customer getting, lead generating monster! So here are the facts to back up what some of you might think is theory…
Most blogs don’t welcome their visitors. By simply adding a sort of welcome/what my blog is all about video to your sidebar, you’ll see a boost in average time spent on your blog. This also works with an audio and picture of you. Same concept applies, if you welcome your visitors and encourage them to read your posts, they will. I don’t know why people are afraid of telling people what to do.
You have to remember that humans are generally indoctrinated from birth. Indoctrinated to accept and do whatever they’re told. The law enforces this belief and so does the public school system. So this means if we tell people to do something in a certain way, they generally will. Also, it helps to put a face to your words. Especially when they hear your voice. This way, in your reader’s minds they’ll be playing your voice whilst reading your content.
Also if you encourage readers to follow you on Twitter or like your Facebook fan page, it builds up a “virtual relationship”. On top of all that, people love to interact with your blog! It’s basic human nature. For the same reason babies enjoy pushing buttons, people will play your videos, checkout your pages and click on your banners.
Creating a navigation system is also a really good idea that increased my page views dramatically. If there’s an easy to use navigation system on your blog, people are far more likely to checkout multiple pages. Resulting in higher chances of opt ins, sales and repeat visitors.
Next is the really obvious one, encouraging readers to join your email list. There are countless ways to do this, but I like to take a strategic approach. By adding a popup, an opt in form in my sidebar and one below blog posts. On this blog I don’t have an opt in form below blog posts, but I’ve proven it to work very well. Just a few Jedi ninja mind tricks again…
Your readers will make a decision on joining your list every time they’re presented with an opt in form. This doesn’t mean you should shove opt in boxes everywhere, but 1 or 2 excluding the popup is cool. Just make sure you present your readers with an irresistible offer before and after they read your content.
Of course, you should welcome new subscribers to your list and you should give away some really cool information. Once on your list, follow up, provide great information and encourage repeat blog visitors. You do this by emailing your list whenever you post excellent content on your blog. Never email your list with average every day content. Just share the good stuff with your list. Also, share the stuff that will make you money.
Lastly, you need to encourage readers to buy products you recommend. You also need to train them to become repeat buyers. Seriously, people will buy anything through your affiliate links if you nicely recommend stuff. Why do people have hang ups about directly promoting products in their blog posts? The way I see it, if you’ve personally used a product that’s worked for you, why not share it with your readers?… and why shouldn’t you get credit for recommending an awesome tool, service, system or course of some kind?
The truth is that your readers will buy a crap load of stuff through your links if you nicely recommend them. There really is no need to be a douche bag about it. In fact, I was checking out this guy’s blog earlier, and he’s been pocketing a cool $20,000+ a month simply by recommending products through his blog posts. A great example that was pretty staggering… he’s banking between $5000 and $10,000 every month by recommending a hosting service! As we all need hosting right? The thing is that he never comes across as pushy, he just says you need hosting and here’s the provider I use…
How do you nicely sell? A resources page! Yah, if you simply list a few products that you use in your business, people will buy them. You can literally number them and say here are the top 20 tools, courses and software’s I personally use. It’s like saying, “look… I use these tools to make a lot of money from them; they work and if you think you could benefit from them, buy them through my affiliate link”. Wanna know the best part?… People will buy them and a lot of the time they bookmark your page, come back to it and buy multiple products!
The other option is to “sneak” affiliate links throughout your blog posts. I generally don’t do this, but it obviously works for other bloggers. You just get a sort of dirty look for doing this. Then again, I think if people need something and you can recommend a product, by all means use an affiliate link. One last example… I know a guy who runs a blog and has a page on exactly how to setup a WordPress blog. He could literally package the information up and sell it as an Ebook, but he gives it all away for free. The massive value he gives away allows him to sell stuff through his content.
Here’s what he does… He uses a tutorial type writing style to sell multiple products in 1 post. He basically says “step 1, get a domain name”. Step 2, “go here, setup a hosting account and get your domain online”. What happens? Like 10% of readers follow through and purchase everything through his affiliate links. The cool thing is that over 10,000 people start a blog every day. His post ranks for a term like “how to setup a blog” which results in 1000+ targeted daily visitors following his tutorial. Anyway, I think you get the picture and I hope you understand how powerful the strategy is.
Recommending products also trains visitors to become repeat buyers resulting in a massive customer base who will buy anything you send their way. Including your core product and or business opportunity. So I hope you got a ton of value from this overly long post, it took me far too long to write!
P.S. Feel free to leave your thoughts, comments and questions in the box below. For more blogging tips, tricks and secrets, put your email in the form on the right.