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How to Turn Your Blog Traffic into Money

Over the last three years as an online publisher, my business has undergone a complete transformation in its approach.

Whereas I previously slapped some code from a couple of ad networks into my blogs’ templates and relied upon people clicking those ads to generate income, I’ve increasingly focused my energy upon creating my own products (largely ebooks) to sell.

The change in approach has been gradual and it has been a lot of work, but the results have made it worth doing. Last week the total of ebooks that we’ve sold moved past 62,000 units, with a combined revenue of around $1.1 million (note: that’s not all profit).

The cornerstone of my new approach

Numerous factors have contributed to these results, but one that I’ve recently been focusing on more and more is that of “landing pages.”

A landing page is a page on your site to which you direct traffic with the goal of converting those who land on it to take a specific action. This action can be many things, but might include:

  • convince your reader to buy your ebook (or other product)
  • get your reader to opt in to your email newsletter list
  • convince advertisers to advertise on your blog
  • convince your reader to buy an affiliate product that you’re promoting
  • welcome anyone arriving from a social media account, and convince them to follow you
  • introduce your blog and give new readers a tour of content that’s especially relevant for them
  • thank people for subscribing, and encourage them to confirm their opt in to your list.

The list could go on and on, but the common thing is that these are pages to which you drive traffic, and on which you call readers to take a specific action.

Landing pages have been key in my own approach. I’ve used them in all of these ways, however, using them as sales pages has been the most effective tactic in selling ebooks.

Specifically designed landing pages work better

One of the key progressions in my own use of landing pages was to transition from using the default layout in my WordPress theme, to using specifically designed landing pages.

Previously, I used the default page that came with the theme that my blog used. As a result, landing pages looked pretty much the same as any other page on my blog. The result was good, but not great.

The problem I faced was that readers not only had a call to action to buy my ebook, but also numerous distractions in my sidebars and navigation areas (calls to subscribe, advertising, calls to visit other parts of the site, etc).

Readers were distracted from the main call to action on the page—to buy my ebook. A change of approach was needed, so we designed a landing page that had one single focus, and one call to action only.

You can see an example of this page on our latest product page at Digital Photography School—Going Pro (an ebook for helping photography enthusiasts to make money from their photography).

While the page is consistent in design with our normal dPS theme (in terms of color and branding), it doesn’t have any of the distracting elements of a normal page on the site.

There’s none of the normal navigation to other parts of the site in the header area, and there’s no sidebar. All people can do when they arrive is to read about the product—there are no other options to click or read.

When we switched from using default pages to a specifically designed landing page for the sale of our ebooks, we saw a significant leap in conversions. I don’t have the specific figures but it was in the order of a 30-40% increase—which in time has lead us to many thousands of dollars in extra revenue.

These landing pages were something I knew I should institute for a long time before I actually did it. The reason why it took me so long was simply that, as a technologically-challenged blogger, I consistently put it in the “too-hard basket”. In the end I only did it when we redesigned the blogs and I had my designer create a template specifically for the job. That was a couple of years ago, and about a year after I should have done it.

As a result of that inertia, I lost considerable sales, and I still kick myself about that regularly. That was two years ago—today it would have been a lot less difficult.

Landing pages made easy with Premise

Earlier this year, the team at Copyblogger released software for WordPress that’s all about creating landing pages that convert—it’s called Premise.

I can safely say that if I’d had this plugin when I first started selling my ebooks, my sales numbers would have been a lot higher. It takes the “too hard” part of landing pages, and completely eliminates it.

The idea with Premise is that instead of having to have a designer create a template specifically for each type of landing page for your blog (or having to learn to do it yourself), this plugin helps you create those landing pages yourself.

Premise focuses on three areas:

  1. Creating pages: they let you choose from seven types of landing page styles, and then add graphics and copy to them to create clutter-free and beautifully designed pages.
  2. Creating compelling copy: the design of your page is one thing, but the real magic happens in the copy that you create for the page to convince readers to take the action you’re suggesting. Premise gives advice on how to craft the type of landing page you’re creating, right in the WordPress interface. You also get access to some great copywriting seminars (keep in mind that this is from Copyblogger—the masters of creating compelling content and copy).
  3. Optimization: improve your conversion rate and search rankings with more tools and guidance, including easy split testing and SEO features.

One of the most amazing features of Premise is the graphics library. You could easily pay more than Premise costs just for a set of graphics like this, and it ensures that every landing page you create is unique.

Check out Premise for yourself. Just like I learned, the extra income you earn from quality landing pages will make Premise pay for itself many times over.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Well I agree with the Landing pages concept. Makes it a lot easier too woo the customers or to make them believe that the product works. Though the post is not really detailed, it still might be helpful for some bloggers.

    • Garth Brien says:

      I am looking at linking a Blog into our website to keep up to date current information about our town and products

    • It was helpful to me. I’m a complete beginner trying to create a stable passive income to support my family and document everything that I do.

      Yes, it’s not specific but a concept of a landing page, free of ‘noise’ is very helpful.

      • Patrick says:

        Premise looks interesting. But it seems that with a good theme, making customized and optimized landing pages is pretty easy, even for relative beginners.

        I would like to see some examples and some stats about conversion rates.

  2. Completely agree about having less distractions on a sales page or a page asking for a specific action… I myself have been thinking about having such dedicated sales pages on my blogs, but like you, I too have been postponing them! Thanks for the much needed kick. Am checking out Premise now!

  3. Thanks for the tip on the “wordpress landing pages” plugin. I’m very happy with the financial results of my blog so far, but I’m always looking for more ways to convert readers into $$$ (I’m so selfish :))

    • Wow, you better hope your readers do not find out that you’re only trying to convert them into money. Haha..that’s shameful.

      Just provide value, and the money always follows. Well that what I always say… =]

  4. Vladimir says:

    Amazing post!
    I love the tips and info you provide :)

  5. vicace says:

    yes, i definitely agree with you. focusing on the product that need to be sold on the landing page would increase the chances that the visitor may buy the product. and keep up the good work. :)

  6. Rakesh says:

    @Darren Rowse, this is the first time I visited problogger, before that I heard a lot about it now after coming to this post, I came to know why the blog name is apt to the blogs created. Making someone learn with the basic concepts and products showing just beside that is good way of selling with exact pitch.

    I am really impressed to see how you promoted Premise including it into your instructions section.

  7. Would’ve gotten it if I’m into building blog landing pages. Hmmn. Then again the idea sounds exciting! I’ve heard about Premise back when I keep checking out what Brian’s up to. And geez he’ll never end making things exciting and easier for the blogosphere and the web design community :)

  8. Video Sermon says:

    I am so glad to have found this site. There is some great info here, and hope it will improve my site. I do not use my site to generate an income though, but if it does creat an income, most of it will be put to a good use other than a personal gain. Thank you for all your great info here. God Bless.

  9. Lynn Bruines says:

    Absolutely great post Darren. I definitely agree on having less distractions on a page, even on a sales page. It should be clear and to the point. My site is not in the $$ business yet, but will definitely remember this post. Thank you for sharing!

  10. hashif says:

    Wow! This software is new to me..I am also looking to build a Great landing page.Thanks for the Review..

  11. Well I Completely agree with this lading pages its helps us .thanks allot for the post but how can i promote my site on blog.

  12. Thanks so much Darren :) I do have different landing pages in my blog, one with all the list of articles by different authors, another with the E-Books and other blogs I manage. I have also put up subscription boxes so as to enable users to opt in to my e-mail subscription list. Thanks so much for this article :)

  13. Look forward to implementing all of the suggestions that you are talking about.

    I’m starting from $0 and documenting my way to passive income of $4,000 a month. Today, Aug 1, 2011 is my third day. Curious to see how much money I can generate using your strategies.

  14. Ayodeji says:

    It’s always hard to get useful products like Premise without having some trusted sources. I’m glad I came here. Thanks for the review.

  15. Thanks Darren. I am trying to take things to the next level with my blog by offering some free materials in exchange for subscriber sign-ups…. I’m not at the point where I want to sell anything per se. What would you recommend for someone like me who isn’t yet looking at making money off of a blog. Stick to default landing pages or upgrade to Premise?

    • D.J.Rony says:

      The idea might not be selling directly. Or what should I say- you can always encourage your visitors to buy from the affiliates you are linked with. Like you trust them and so your readers can trust them too.

      I love this idea of landing page for a particular product that describes the usefulness of it and so your sell increases.

  16. Landing pages is indeed a helpful item on anybody’s list. Thanks for posting it. Encourages me to be more focused on turning into a money-making business. “Blog Traffic into Money” – that’s clever.

  17. Laadi Datta says:

    A Successful Landing Page keeps visitors at your site, facilitates further action (e.g. signing up for promotion or purchasing a product)

    Delivering on these two items may seem simple, but they take time to develop and eventually perfect.

  18. Sanjeev says:

    I was looking something like this to make it easy for my site, Don’t have landing page currently but would be building soon!

  19. Courtney says:

    I am getting started with landing pages now. I have only heard wonders about conversions and such. The landing page for Going Pro looked great!

  20. Dheeraj @ Techreuters says:

    I believe Ads optimization on the Landing page is must to Convert your website/blog visitors into Money and I always find all the tips provided by you really helpful.
    Thanks!!!

  21. Thanks for this tip. I can attest to the power of a distraction-free landing page, but now that many of my sites have been converted to blogs, I wasn’t sure how to do this easily. I’m going to check out premise now.

  22. I’ve recently decided to change my blog to have a landing page – now to figure out how! I’m going to go check out Premise.

  23. Hi Darren,

    As always, great advice. I’ve been thinking for a long time in writing an ebook and selling it and the idea of creating a landing page makes a lot of sense. So far I haven’t created any lading page for any of my Blogs, but I’ll follow your advice and see how things go.

    Thanks for the tip!

  24. Dylan Varian says:

    Very good post Darren, as per usual.

  25. Guy Hardin says:

    I am completely new to the blogging game and as such am soaking up as much info as possible. My intent is to monetize right from the word go. Whether from affiliate programs, setting up fully automated domains for resale or eventually e-books and such, and I can already see how this product will be alot of help.
    Thx,
    Guy

  26. Ahmad Wali says:

    I agree that creating a landing page is vital. However, I have noticed that getting rankings for the landing page is quite difficult. I receive good amount of traffic on my blog, but I mainly rely on adsense (not good). I have put several ads and affiliate marketing products, but they are not converting well. Any suggestions how do I make people to visit the landing page?

  27. Thanks for your post,

    It’s an interesting idea to see things through the perspective of ‘Landing Pages’ lately I have been discovering this pinciple in my blogging, to create blogposts that are somewhat like
    Landing Pages with a specific ‘Call to Action’ besides creating awareness for
    interesting products they can buy, also selling them – links – to other previous posts
    introducing them to other content they can find on my Blog(s).

    All the Best,
    To your Happy - Home Business – Inspiration,
    HP

  28. suraj says:

    i think write more and more contents and optimize your website for search engine.

  29. I hadn´t heard about Premise before, but it seems that saves a lot of time creating landing pages. Thanks!

  30. Thomas says:

    I Think Google hate Pages only build for Seo or Landing and in next Time Panda kill this pages.
    Then there was now earnings and no landing for ever you want. New Content good Unique Content be the best for Seo and Serp’s.

    Greetings
    Thomas

  31. Monica says:

    A very helpful article but ultimately clicks turn into revenue and one is so much at the user’s mercy dat he/she wud click!

  32. Srinivas says:

    Conversion is a very important factor for any blog selling products. I will try premise definitely in my medical blog.

  33. Phillip says:

    Hm. I guess the point is that when you have the visitors, you need to direct them to do what you want them to do. Sounds simple, but not many people do it right.

  34. Andrew says:

    Ultimately, I think if you have high quality, relevant traffic, combined with well placed ads, PPC can be a great business model for web publishers.

    With that said, monetising any kind of traffic does require hard work and determination, with many giving up before they even start.

    The strategy outlined in this post is a great way to further maximise your online revenue potential, however, I do believe Google frown upon doorway pages, so tread with caution!

  35. Karan Lugani says:

    Landing pages seems to be a great idea and I am looking forward to work on them . But certainly you need to grab a way to get your visitors sticked even after the landing page. Usually sidebar does who , I’m confused : Will they stick to the blog after Landing Page?

  36. DJ ARIF says:

    By the time I finished reading this post I Prepared myself to use Premise for optimizing my Landing Pages… :mrgreen:

  37. just new to the whole blog world and just trying to get to grips with wordpress. Have been posting a lot of other peoples articles and writing a few posts for other sites.
    there is just so much information to take in – but obviously the landing page seems like a great idea
    declan

  38. Hi Darren,

    I like the concept of limiting what your prospects can do on a landing page. They so often get confused as what you want them to do. I’m going to look into Premise for building my landing pages.It sounds like a great tool.

    Dennis

  39. Justin Dupre says:

    Thanks for sharing the info on Premise. I also create various landing pages and I have too say that landing pages created with Premise looks great.

  40. akil says:

    Great post as this is something all bloggers should look at as ways to optimising and converting on their landing page. This is definitely an area I need to look at more closely. Thanks again for a great post

  41. Edgar says:

    You dont need a special plugin. Since you already running the The Genesis Framework you can do it.

    I too run my wordpress theme using the Genesis framework. and I too sell a an ebook and I too create a landing page like your but the only diffrence I didnt use a special plugin.

    here is the trick. Create a new PAGE, fill in like a sales page and at the bottom below theres an option to change the layout. just choice the one that dose not show the side bar and that it.

    visit my site and click on my ebook page to see it in action.

    Hope that helps.

  42. Good Post!

    The landing pages do look good and it will sertenly convert well I think.

    Landing pages for your ebooks and stuff do get higher conversion rates.

  43. I’m planning to make an ebook for guidance lessons. Thanks for the tips!

  44. Eden says:

    Hey Darren, I’ve recently discovered your site and have been blogging for a few months now, have three niche sites up and a couple of other blogs I’m just getting started on. I like your article and how you incorporated your own product (Premise For WordPress) into that article which was on “How To Turn Blog Traffic Into Money”…lesson learnt my man! Thanks mate

  45. chris says:

    I’m a big fan of premise and it’s ability to build powerful ranking landing pages.

    combine the landing pages with key word rich urls and text along with a compelling message and it’s a sure fire way to attract more traffic or sales to ones website.

  46. Sebastian says:

    Premise seems intreseting. Haven’t tested anything like that yet but it’s time to experiment!

  47. RandomSocialite says:

    Just an FYI – I love your stuff (and we all suffer from typos now & again) but your DPS landing page says “hit” instead of “kit” right in the middle of the page.

  48. Gino Orlandi says:

    Some great tips, removing distractions is essential. Also, if the site is not an established and trusted brand or even if it is, trust building graphics such as secure ordering, sitelock, etc. can really help.

  49. Thanks Rowse,
    I think it is very important to have a landing page even though my blog is just a month old.

  50. Robin Mathis says:

    Thanks for this, Darren.

    I know that landing pages are important, but I really hadn’t thought about how to use them to monetize blog traffic. I’m definitely going to check out Premise.

    Best,

    Robin