Brainstorming an Out-of-the-Box Approach to Blog Monetization

This Guest Post was written by Wendy Piersall from eMoms at Home.

Last March I attended Elite Retreat – a rather exclusive conference with a small number of participants and 7 big name presenters who taught us much of what they know (including Darren himself!). One of the biggest eye openers I had at the conference was that I had been a bit too hyper-focused on sticky blog content creation. I know – it sounds counter-intuitive! But when you create really good content, your blog readers don’t want to click ads. They stick around to read your stuff and then usually leave the site via a link to other great content.

So it was one of those “DUH” moments when I realized that I had better re-think my monetization strategy on my non-product blog.

A New Advertising Strategy

For blogs that are focused on creating compelling content, AdSense and other CPC (Cost Per Click) ads aren’t the way to go. My blog was building my brand, so it made sense that I shift to an advertising strategy that would build the brands of advertisers as well. This meant a shift into selling advertising directly and charging on a CPM (Cost Per Impression) basis. That way the site would make money based on page views rather than clicks.

Since I started selling advertising on my site (with Darren’s and Yaro’s help), revenue has increased substantially and next month I expect to make over $1000 just from CPM based ads. Because of this I have been able to spend more time writing and driving traffic instead of optimizing ad placements.
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A Word From Our Sponsors

Behind the scenes here at ProBloggere there are a number of changes in development that you’ll see more of in the coming months – but one has been the seeking out of some premium sponsor partnerships.

These partners are currently being highlighted on the ProBlogger sidebar as 125 x 125 pixel ads and in the coming weeks will be featured in a more prominent position on the blog (yes, one of the changes coming soon is a new design).

The current sponsors of ProBlogger are:

  • Blue Organizer – a Firefox extension to help you to connect to sites and services faster with built in shortcuts, personalize your browser and power a smarter Web when you put SmartLinks in your blog posts, sidebars and profiles.
  • Profit from the News – a free source of news content available to embed or mash onto your blog or website.
  • – a quick way to invoice your clients, track and collect payment. They have a free trial option.

Thanks to each of them for their support.

If you’d like to explore sponsorship of ProBlogger please contact our advertising sales team via our Advertisers Page.

Telling Your Story With Words and Images

The following is a guest post by .

Words tell their own story. They bring forth rhyme and reason, color attitudes, and move people. Combining the power of the verbal image with the visual can either enhance your story or overpower it. Finding that happy medium is the challenge facing every writer using images with their writing.

Compass and Map, Photography Copyright Not for Use Without Permission by Brent VanFossenBloggers often use a combination of words and images to convey a message. Some use more words and less images, others use more images and less words, while others struggle to find the way to get the message across equally with words and images.

Like words, a photograph tells a story. It can tell the whole story or part of the story. It’s up to the photographer, like the writer, to determine how much of the story is told by the image and how much is told in words.

When the blog post is a photography essay, where the images tell part of the story and the words tell the rest, how do you choose the images to go with the words? How do you combine written and visual media to form complete picture in your blog post?

When planning your photographic essay consider the following:

  1. What are you trying to say?
  2. What is the point of this picture?
  3. Does it add to the story?
  4. Does it subtract from the story?
  5. Is the point really evident?

As you develop your blog post and examine the words and images you want to use, ask these questions of each image and paragraph as you struggle to find the right combination and balance for your message.
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New Blogger Jobs

There’s been some good activity on the ProBlogger Blog Job Boards over the past week with 10 or so new Blog Jobs advertised from a variety of advertisers. Here’s the latest blogger jobs to apply for:

To get blog jobs like these delivered to your RSS feed as they go up on the job boards subscribe to the RSS feed.

Thanks to those advertisers who are regularly using the job boards. I’ve had a number of really positive feedback emails in the last few weeks and will be working on a testimonials page in the coming few weeks.

How to Get a Six Figure Book Deal From Your Blog

This post has been submitted by Penelope Trunk – columnist at the Boston Glob and Yahoo! Finance, blogger at and author of Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success.

I’m going to tell you how to get a six-figure book deal from your blog.

People ask me this question all the time, and I have been a little hesitant to give people advice because I had only sold one book, and maybe it was luck, because it’s hard to know how to do anything from just doing it once. But now I feel like I know a bit because I just got my second book contract, based on my blog, from Rachel Klayman, the editor who did Barack Obama’s recent book.

Here are ten tips for getting a book deal of your own that is based on that blog you’ve been writing.

1. Solve a problem.
Non-fiction books define a problem and offer a solution. This is what makes the consumer buy the book. A blog can be a fun rant. A book needs to be more than that.

Do the ‘how to be’ test. Can you say, ‘My blog is about how to….’ And finish the sentence? You need to be able to do that to turn your blog into a nonfiction book.

For my book, I said I’m solving the problem that most career advice books are irrelevant to the current market. I did a they say/I say section. For example, they say report sexual harassment/I say don’t. They say don’t lie on your resume/ I say be practical.

2. Have a big idea.
A blog is a big pile of small ideas adding up to a community of people talking about those ideas. A book needs to be more than that. A book needs to add up to a big idea. You get your advance based on how big the idea is. One of the hardest lessons for me was that I thought I would just put a bunch of posts together in to a book. But my editor rejected that when I turned it in. The posts need to be organized in a way that build up into bigger ideas (chapters) into a big, grand idea (the book).

Aside from Seth Godin, who is an industry unto himself (mostly as a public speaker), there is no record of printing out a blog and having a six-figure-worthy book.

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How Long Should a Post Be?

reader-questionsmistergin asks – “I notice most of your blog entries are short. I have a habit of not necessarily being long winded, but very detailed. I want to cover all the bases and make the article “full”.

However, I realize that I start running into posts that scroll through 2 sometimes 3 pages. I keep paragraphs short, try to use to accentuate, and bold/color where possible, but I still can’t help but feeling that while my site is great for content, some folks may not want to read all that.

Any suggestions on the length of my articles? I keep thinking that right now I want to build “pillar articles” as I believe you called them, and then link to them later on. It seems to me that long and detailed articles now will help get me indexed and linked, and then shorter articles may keep the feed readers happy.”

Hmmm – one of the longer questions that I’ve been asked (sorry – couldn’t resist).

Let me answer with six points:

1. Both Can Work

I believe a blog can be successful based around both short and long posts. Check out sites like Engadget or Gizmodo for short post sites (often newsy based ones like short posts) or Read Write Web or Steve Pavlina for longer, deep and/or analytical ones.

I think the key is to develop a rhythm in the style and focus of your blogging so that readers come expecting to get what you offer them.

2. You’ll Attract Readers Who Like Your Style

You’ll probably find that the type of post that you write will attract a certain type of reader also. For example I know with Steve Pavlina that I often hear extreme views expressed about his writing. Some don’t have the patience for his long posts – others thrive on it and wouldn’t have him change at all.

3. Consider the Life Stage of Your Blog

One factor to consider is the age and life stage of your blog. One strategy that many bloggers use in the early days of their blogs is to build up a good number of longer ‘pillar‘ or ‘cornerstone‘ posts on a blog. These can help you to build credibility but will also be articles that link to later on as you blog.

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7 Things That Every Blogger Should Know About Tax

The following post has been submitted by Kelly Phillips Erb from taxgirl. It is based upon US tax laws and may or may not be applicable in different parts of the world.

1. The US Tax Code is based on the idea of ‘worldwide taxation’ which means that, more or less, if you are a US citizen, you are subject to tax on your global income no matter where you are located or no matter the source. So, if you’re a US citizen blogging for, say, a Canadian company, that income is still taxable in the US. And if you’re lucky enough to be a US citizen blogging from some remote garden spot outside of the country, still taxable. Don’t get fooled into believing that you have to live in the US to be subject to US tax.

2. Income is reportable to the IRS no matter what form you receive and what amount you are paid. Forms W-2 are only issued to employees of a company and most bloggers are freelancers, not employees. It’s more likely that you’ll receive a form 1099 but only if your annual income exceeds $600. However, no matter whether you receive a form or not, you must report payments made you as income – even if it’s only pennies for the year.

3. Expenses related to your blogging are deductible so long as they are ‘ordinary and necessary’ and only then to the extent that the expenses are attributable to your blogging. In other words, if you mix business and personal, you must be able to separate out the business use in order to claim a deduction. Examples of potentially deductible expenses for bloggers include internet connections, hosting fees, cell phone connections, back-up tapes and computer software.

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Should I Add Fake Comments to My Blog?

reader-questionsPreston asks – “I started a new blog about a month ago. I got about 40 topics written. But only 2 comments. I’m thinking of faking comments, making a few users and get a nice sample of comments on some of the blog posts I’ve made.

Is this not a good use of my extra time, and i should do something else related to my blog? or spending some time doing this, is a good idea.”

Thanks Preston. Let me share a few thoughts.

Congratulations on your new blog and the 40 posts that you’ve written. 40 posts in two months is a great effort and if you can keep up that level of posting you’ll have a great foundation of content for your blog.

Don’t be too discouraged by the lack of comments to this point. For a month old blog I don’t think it’s too bad an achievement to have 2 comments. While I know you’d want more I’d encourage you to stick with it and be patient. Many month old blogs would probably not even have 2!

Fake comments. Hmmm – I think this one will cause some debate and I’d love to hear how many ProBlogger readers have written them in the starting of their blogs.

I’ll be honest and say that on my first blog I did do a few fake comments in the very very early days. I used them in the same way that you’re suggesting here – to get conversations going and to make the blog look a little more active.

So I understand the temptation to use them – however I can say from my experience of them that they didn’t work very well for me and the conversations that I had on my blogs in the early days that had a more lasting impact were natural ones with real readers. Instead of going with fake comments I’d really recommend that you work on the content on your blog and writing in a way that is engaging (Read more on the topic of generating comments).

A Word of Warning – while I can see why people go with fake comments (my suspicion is that if bloggers were honest that a majority of them probably have done it) there is of course some danger in it if you’re caught. Blogging is built upon transparency and honesty. I’ve seen a handful of bloggers exposed for fake comments and it probably set their blogs back a little.

What else could you do with the time you might put into fake comments?

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Keep Yourself Organized with a Blog Binder

Blog-Binder-2This post on creating a Blog Binder to help you keep organized has been submitted by Julie Bonner from declutter it. I first heard Julie speak about her Blog Binder in passing in a b5media forum discussion and thought it might be something others might find helpful. I asked her if she’d write it up and here it is:

Ever since I started blogging, my mind is always going a mile a minute. I find myself constantly thinking about new article ideas, new monetization models or tips I had heard that I knew would add value to my blog.

Before I knew, it my desk was cluttered sky high with scribble notes and articles I had printed out. I also could not sleep! It was driving me crazy. My mind was so full of ideas that when I would lay down at night, the wheels would keep turning, I felt like I was on a hamster wheel.

It’s ironic that I let my desk and my mind get to this point because I used to help people get organized for a living. That means I’m supposed to be perfect right? Well, I have my weaknesses too, and getting my online businesses “organized” was turning into a real problem for me. I knew I needed a system and quick!

That’s when I came up with what I call My Blog Binder. It’s not a clever title, but hey, it works! Here’s a basic description of what I keep in it and how it helps keep me on track and focused.

My Work Schedule

At the beginning of my binder, I have my work schedule written out. Now for me, this schedule has no times on it, but only subjects. I dedicate each weekday to one subject. For example: Mondays I focus on SEO, Tuesdays I visit new blogs, Wednesdays I focus on building traffic, etc.

These subjects are all separate from the actual blogging. I try to blog everyday.

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