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The Other Side Of ProBlogging: Making Real Money Right From The Start Of Your Blogging Career

In this post Ali Hale from the Office Diet shares some tips on how to make money from blogging by being a ‘Staff Blogger’. Learn more about Ali in the footer of this post.

You started a blog with the dream of making a living from writing about something you love. A month, or six months, or two years down the line, you’ve got a handful of subscribers, a few pennies accumulating in Google AdSense, and a growing sense of frustration. The gurus touted blogging as an “easy” way to make money: frankly, digging ditches is starting to look more appealing.

Even if you are willing to put in those early months of unpaid hard graft before you find an audience, you might just not have the time. In the current economy, you might need your blogging to start paying off now – not in two or three years.

I’ve got good news for you. Instead of struggling your way to an audience, you can start with a ready-made crowd of 50,000+ readers. Instead of watching those AdSense pennies trickle in, you can receive a fixed sum per post.

Staff Blogging – The Other Side Of ProBlogging

You might have noticed that ProBlogger has job boards. You might even have applied for a few jobs through them. This is just the tip of the iceberg of a blogging industry out there, where writers are hired and paid good money to write posts for large blogs.

If you love writing – and dislike the process of marketing, building traffic and doing techy things – you’ll find that staff blogging lets you have all the great bits of blogging without the tedious ones.

It’s not just about the money; it is also a lot of fun, especially if you enjoy writing and variety.

(Chris Garrett, ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six Figure Income, p124)

So what exactly is staff blogging? It’s sometimes called “freelance blogging”, but bloggers often use that phrase to talk about traditional ProBlogging too – writing for themselves and making money through ads.

Staff blogging is writing regular posts for a blog (anything from several per day to one per month), and receiving a set fee per post.

Can You Really Make Money Like That?

Yes, you really can – and good money, at that. I’m paying my rent and bills purely from my staff blogging work, and I live in London in the UK – hardly the cheapest place in the world!

There are numerous blogs which pay writers a decent rate (I wouldn’t advise blogging for less than $20 per post, unless the posts are extremely short). Big names in the blogging industry advise high-powered bloggers to “outsource” the writing of content – and in many cases, the editing of the blog.

If you have cash to spare (err…invest) then paying for blog content is a great way to motivate people. If you are serious about building a blog network then you better be serious about rewarding your writers very well. (Yaro Starak, How To Grow A Great Blog Without Writing It Yourself)

How Do You Find Well-Paying Blogging Jobs?

Whenever I talk about staff blogging, this is what everyone wants to know: where are the well paid jobs, and how do you get them?

First, be proactive. Don’t sit around hoping that your dream job will appear on the ProBlogger boards: instead, look at the blogs which you read and see if any use multiple writers. If they do, there’s a good chance that they pay. Hunt around for pages like these:

Send a guest post to blogs which look promising, and mention that you’d be interested in becoming a regular, paid writer. Be a good guest blogger and don’t make careless mistakes that spoil your chances of success.

I’ve found all my best jobs through contacting editors personally in this way – not through trawling job boards. In a couple of cases, I didn’t even ask for a job: my guest post had landed in an editor’s inbox at just the right time, and I was offered a paid position:

I first met Ali Hale via a guest post submission. She sent an article to be published on Daily Writing Tips, and it was so good that I offered her the chance of becoming a paid staff writer on the blog. (Daniel Scocco, Daily Blog Tips Interview With Ali Hale)

Even if you’re applying speculatively, take the time to write a good email, to follow any guidelines (blogs may request guest posts or speculative posts in a certain format), and to behave as professionally as you would if you were applying to a blogging position listed on a jobs board.

Do I Need To Be A Great Writer?

One thing that worries a lot of potential staff bloggers is whether their writing is good enough. Of course, you need to have a good grasp of the English language – but you definitely don’t need to be the next Shakespeare. Blog readers want posts that are written in a clear, straightforward and engaging manner – and editors like to give their readers what they want!

Don’t try to use long, ponderous or difficult words in an attempt to impress. Sonia Simone calls this “fancy nancy” writing and warns against it on CopyBlogger, telling bloggers that instead they should just keep things simple and direct:

Write plainly and with vigor. Get your point across directly, with as much grace as you can muster. You can’t make a connection if your reader has no earthly idea what you’re talking about. (Sonia Simone, Are You a Fancy Nancy Writer, CopyBlogger)

If you do want to improve your writing style, these blogs are packed with tips and advice:

  • Daily Writing Tips (especially good if English isn’t your first language, or if you need to brush up on the basics)
  • CopyBlogger (which has a focus on blogging for marketing purposes, but lots of general advice too – good for intermediate and advanced writers)
  • Men With Pens (a mixture of writing and freelancing advice, much of it aimed at bloggers)

These two posts are particularly worth a look for some quick tips:

How Staff Blogging Can Help Traditional ProBloggers

Perhaps you don’t get a thrill just out of writing: you’re motivated by the idea of owning your own Technorati Top 100 blog, like Darren. You might have thought about writing for pay, but it seems like a waste of your time. You may even have been advised not to work for other people’s blogs, with warnings that staff bloggers work for

…a flat one-time fee with no residuals. If such bloggers stop writing, they stop earning. And apparently there’s no shortage of bloggers willing to work for such rates. (Steve Pavlina, How Much Is a Blog Post Worth? Would You Believe $2400 Each?)

Steve goes on to recommend that bloggers stick with writing on their own blogs, citing himself as an example of how this would be financially beneficial – he calculates that each post on his blog has brought in $2400. (This was in 2006, I imagine it’s considerably more by now.)

I’m going to have to disagree with Steve here. Most of us don’t have the writing and business talents that he does, and most of us aren’t anywhere near making $24/post on our own blogs, let alone $2400. Besides, getting some staff blogging experience is hugely beneficial for your own blogs. This could mean:

  1. Improved skills: The more you write for blogs, the better you’ll get at blogging. Writing for several different blogs gives you the chance to try out different styles and voices – this could help you to discover your blogging voice. And having your posts edited can teach you where you’re going wrong: writing for Dumb Little Man taught me to craft more engaging introductions to posts.
  2. Better discipline: Have you ever run out of ideas? Suffered from “blogger’s block”? Have you felt uninspired about your own blog, and lacked the motivation to write? Have you been “too busy” to blog? Getting a staff blogging gig will drive all your excuses away: when an editor’s expecting a post every week, you’ll find that you can write to a deadline.
  3. Traffic for your own blog: Some blogs which I’ve written for (Dumb Little Man is a good example) give me a short bio line as well as paying. This means I get great traffic and exposure.
  4. Google juice for your own blog: Most blogs that use staff writers will have a page listing those writers’ bios and linking to their sites. Since blogs that can afford to pay tend to be long-standing ones that rank well in Google, that link will improve your own Google ranking.

And, on top of that, staff blogging can give you some vital extra cash early on in your journey towards the blogging A-list. You can staff blog and write for your own blog as well: it’s not an either-or decision.

So what are you waiting for? Take a browse through some of the blogs that you love, look to see which have several regular writers, and shoot the editor a great guest post. Follow it up with a polite enquiry about getting paid to write for them, and you may well hit lucky…

Bio: Ali has been paying her rent and bills through staff blogging since September ‘08. She’s just released the “Staff Blogging Course” – a short, self-study ebook course packed with advice, tips and practical exercises and handouts. The course sells for $19, but ProBlogger readers can get a $5 discount by entering the code “ProBlogger” (no quotes, not case sensitive).

Should I Add a Donation Button to My Blog?

Donate.jpgA question that hits my inbox or is sent to me on Twitter from time to time is – ‘Should I Add a Donation Button to My Blog?

When I first started blogging 7 years back it was not uncommon to see bloggers attempting to add an income stream to their blog with some kind of a donation button or invitation on their blog. Often these buttons were tied to a PayPal account that enabled the readers of the blog to send the blogger a little money as a thank you and/or as an encouragement to keep blogging.

Many bloggers tried the reader donation model as a way to make money from blogging but few made it work.

Example of Someone Who Made it Work (For a While)

One of the few who was able to sustain himself completely via donations was Jason Kottke who in 2005 famously quit his job to focus upon his blog solely funded by the generosity of his readers (see his supporter list for 2005 as an example of the large numbers of gifts he received).

His model was simple and worked to at least some level – one month a year he called for people to become micropatrons – he limited these calls for donations to a week long campaign so as not to overdo it with readers over a full year. You can read some reflections on how it went in the first year here – he actually did make enough from the donations to keep his income to a level he could live off but in his reflections admitted that it might not be a feasible model in the long term.

Jason proved that it was possible to make a living from your blog solely on the back of reader gifts – but it is worth noting that these days he has sold advertising on his blog (via the Deck) since 2006 and in his RSS feed.

I’m not completely sure of the reason that Jason switched his model to an ad based one back in 2006 but in chatting to quite a few other bloggers who went down the donation model route I suspect it was a pretty difficult model to sustain – even for a blog with large traffic like Kottke.

Can Donation Buttons Work?

So in answering this question of whether donations ‘can’ work on a blog I guess we’d have to answer with a ‘yes’ – at least in theory. However the reality is that they are not likely to work on the vast majority of blogs.

If they were to work I suspect the blog would have to have some or all of these factors:

  1. a very large readership – a small % will always be willing to donate but to get enough to live off you’d need a large readership
  2. a very loyal readership – obsessed readers who simply couldn’t live without the blog who were willing to dip into their own pockets to keep it running. Of course to get this high loyalty you need to provide readers with something that they can’t live without whether that be some kind of service or fulfillment of a need of some kind.
  3. no other forms of income – I think sites with lots of other income streams (advertising, affiliate programs) would be likely to see a decreased chance of readers contributing as there would be a perception that the blog was already making money

Donations as a supplementary Income

So making a living solely from donations is not likely unless you have a lot of raving fans – but this doesn’t mean it is a model with no merit at all. I do know of a couple of bloggers who are using it as a secondary income source. They know they’ll not make a lot of money from it but are still able to supplement their other non blogging income streams with the donations that their blog brings in.

One of those bloggers just uses a PayPal donations button and another uses a ‘Buy me a Beer’ WordPress plugin under their posts. Neither sees big money but both are happy to let this help earn them some extra dollars instead of running advertising on their blogs.

Adding Value to Supporters

Let me finish by saying that one way that I think donations could work for some bloggers is if they gave extra value to those who made donations. Whether this be by giving away a free ebook with donations, allowing donators to be listed somewhere, giving them larger avatars and a signature in their comments….. etc. This is a model that I’ve seen quite a few forums use successfully. It’s not purely a donation in that the person paying gets something in return but it is a low cost way for those using the site to give something back but also get something to acknowledge their gift.

Have you Ever Asked for or Received Donations on your Blog?

Got some experience to share on this topic? I’d love to hear your story of asking for and/or getting donations on your blog in comments below.

More Full Time Bloggers than Computer Programers? – Thoughts on Making Money Blogging

I’ve had a lot of people email and tweet me today asking for my opinion on a Wall Street Journal article – America’s Newest Profession: Blogging.

In it the journalist writes about how there are almost more people in America making their living from blogging than as lawyers and that bloggers outnumber computer programmers and firefighters.

I’ll let you read and give your feedback on the article but here are a couple of reactions of my own:

Full Time Blogger Numbers Are on the Up

While the stats can be debated (and they are being around the blogosphere) there’s certainly an increase in the numbers of people for whom blogging is their primary source of income.

I’m not sure that the number is as high as the 2% of blogs that the article quotes – but I know that I’m coming across new bloggers that I’d not come across before carving out a full time living from blogging every week.

Most Bloggers Continue to Earn Peanuts

The reality is that while this article is full of impressive figures about what bloggers can earn that most bloggers earn nothing or very little from their blogs.

Note: this is certainly covered in the article – however most of the commentary I’ve seen about the article seems to be focusing upon how much bloggers make and how there are more full time bloggers than computer programers.

Even here on ProBlogger where most of our readers are attempting to earn money from their blogs every time I ask readers about their earnings the vast majority don’t earn much.

Last time I did such a survey 39% of respondents said they didn’t earn anything from their blogs.

Of the 61% who did make money 54% reported making less than $100 a day.

While the same survey also revealed quite a few of or readers are making good money from blogging the take home message is that it’s not a reality for the majority.

It’s not just an advertising game

There’s a sense in the article that online advertising is the main way that blogs earn income. While most bloggers I talk to do focus upon this model many blogs are also exploring a variety of other models.

Of course there is also the affiliate/commission type model that many bloggers also do quite well from but a trend I’ve been noticing for a year or so now is to see bloggers releasing their own information products for sale and increasingly leveraging the profile that a blog brings them personally to make an income indirectly from their blogs. Even smaller bloggers are finding success as a result of releasing e-books which they sell from their blogs.

READ THIS:

I’d like to finish this post with a link to another where I answer the question – Can You REALLY Make Money Blogging?

In that post I attempt to give a realistic picture of blogging for money and getting your expectations right as you enter into the field of making money from blogs.

Other Reading:

Update: Penelope Trunk has published a good read in the last day or two – Reality Check: You’re Not Going to Make Money from Your Blog.

Penelope’s put it perhaps a little more bluntly than I would (I actually think that there’s a little more hope than she says) but makes some great points. I particularly think point #3 (supporting yourself with a blog is crazy hard) and point #7 (Blog for better reasons than money) are good.

It is possible to make money from blogs without a background in media (I was working as a minister and putting myself through a Theology degree when I started) or without a background in design or with a web developer partner (My first blog’s design was like an explosion went off in a candy store and I remember one day taking 3 hours to work out how to align an image to the left) and I did get a book deal and a fair bit of speaking work purely from my blog – but it is a lot of work and takes a long time.

Should Legal Blogs Be Monetized – If so…. How?

“Should Legal Blogs Ever Be Monetized?” asked by @chrischeatham on Twitter.

“Should I try to make money on my blog?” is a question I hear a lot from bloggers of many niches and while ultimately the answer will vary from blogger to blogger depending upon their own circumstances and the focus of their blog – there are some topics which present challenges when it comes to monetization.

While I don’t pretend to be an expert in the legal blogging niche I suspect that as a topic it is probably one such niche that is challenging to make money directly from.

Let me share a few disorganized thoughts that perhaps some legal bloggers (and other business bloggers as some of this is relevant to other niches) can expand upon and share their experiences of.

Indirect vs Direct Income

My initial reaction to the question above is that legal blogs are probably better suited for monetization through ‘indirect’ methods than ‘direct’ ones. You can read more on this distinction in my posts on direct and indirect monetization but essentially what I’m thinking is that using direct methods of making money from a blog (like by selling advertising) are probably not going to be as successful as indirect methods. In fact I’d probably steer clear of running ads on a legal blog at all and stick with indirect methods.

Indirect methods that may work might include:

  • selling your own services (consulting, legal advice, speaking, training, events etc)
  • writing and selling an ebook, real book or some other kind of resource
  • membership areas (for example if you had specialized focus that people might be willing to pay to join a community on)
  • classifieds/job board

Once again, I’m not overly familiar with the niche so perhaps some of the above isn’t quite on the mark and perhaps there are other more obvious indirect earners for legal blogs.

Promoting Competitors with Advertising

I did chat with one legal blogger recently who showed me his blog which he was monetizing with AdSense. While the main point of his blog was to build his profile drive business to himself as a lawyer he told me proudly that he was making reasonable money on a per click level from the AdSense ads which he was excited about – however when I viewed his blog I immediately saw ads for other lawyers and companies offering services that this blogger himself offered.

One of the problems of using AdSense as someone trying to ‘sell yourself’ in some way from your blog (and in fact many other types of ads) on a blog is that to make money you are sending people away from your blog – quite often to your own competitors. For this reason I’d probably avoid advertising on a blog through a network where you didn’t have much control over who could target ads for your blog.

The Flip Side of AdSense

Of course for every recommendation there is a flipside and as I mentioned in the above example the blogger was reporting healthy earnings on a per click level with his legal blog. He specialized in a focused area of law (a particular type of personal injury) and as a result AdSense earnings were higher than for some other topics.

IF you were not blogging with the motivation of selling yourself (indirect earnings) then perhaps the AdSense thing could in fact be something to explore as you wouldn’t be sending people to competitors.

Affiliate Marketing

If developing their own product or resource to sell isn’t something that a legal blogger has time to do then there could be scope to develop an affiliate relationship with someone else who has got some kind of product. The key would be to find a product that you believed in and that was of a high quality (don’t recommend a shoddy product as it’ll impact your reputation) and then find relevant and genuine ways to promote it to your audience.

Premium Advertising/Sponsorship

The last piece of advice that comes to mind is more aimed at legal blogs who might have built up a fairly substantial readership. It involves running advertising with a limited number of high quality and non competing advertisers.

For example I was recently speaking with a blogger in another business field who had just landed a sponsorship deal to run ads on their blog for the premium conference within their niche. They were proud of the sponsorship and were confident that if anything it would enhance their blogs standing in the eyes of their readers rather than anything else.

In this way you have very limited advertising on your blog but it is of a high level (and good earning potential). It also remains relevant to the audience and topic yet not sending people to your competitors.

Personally – if I were a legal blogger I’d still stick to the indirect methods than running advertising on my blog (unless the ads were highly relevant, on topic and from a reputable advertiser) – what about you?

They’re just a few of my thoughts on how to monetize a legal blog – what do you think?

New Blogger Jobs Available (and an Opportunity for those Looking for Bloggers)

Last week I tweeted a question asking my followers how many of them were currently looking for blogging work. The response was overwhelming – literally hundreds of responses within the next hour of people saying that they were in the market for a blogging job either as a full time thing or to supplement their current income.

While not hundreds of blogging jobs there have been quite a few good ones advertised on the Blogger Job Boards in the last week with four new ones in the last 24 hours.

If you’re on the lookout for a blogging job the best thing to do is to subscribe to the Job Board RSS feed and/or my Twitter account – both of which feature all new jobs on the boards.

Looking for a Blogger to Hire?

If you’re in the market to find a blogger to hire you’re in the lucky position to be hiring in a market where there is a lot of choice.

Among the thousands of people subscribed to the ProBlogger Job boards and the 40,000+ people who see them on my Twitter account there are some truly remarkable bloggers.

For just $50 you get the chance to put your job opportunity before them! Place Your Job Here.

5 Ways to Make Money Blogging (Once You Have Traffic)

This is the last post in our series of tips for bloggers who have gone through their launch phase and want to grow their blog to the next level. In it we’re going to talk making money from your blog.

Making Money From a Blog – Moving Past AdSense

While it is possible to make some money with a blog of any size – your chances of earning income from a blog do generally increase as you increase your readership numbers.

Many bloggers start out monetizing their blogs using ad networks like AdSense. While ad networks like AdSense can still earn you a nice income as your blog grows (many large blogs use them) – an increased audience will also open new opportunities to you as a blogger.

1. Direct Ad Sales

One thing that becomes possible as your readership grows is that you can begin to attract your own direct advertisers. I’ve written on this topic numerous times before so rather than writing a long tutorial on the topic let me point you to some previous posts:

2. Ad Representation

Many bloggers struggle to sell advertising on their own blogs. Most bloggers are not experienced in the area of ad sales, don’t have contacts in the advertising industry, are unaware of how much to charge or even what technology to use to serve ads. Most of us also are passionate about writing content and building community – the admin of finding and interacting with advertisers can often be a distraction.

One alternative once you have a reasonable amount of traffic is to outsource your ad sales. Some blog networks and ad networks will handle this kind of thing for you once you have enough traffic. Generally you need a fair bit of traffic for them to look at you but in these tough economic times I suspect we’ll see more and more services to do this.

3. Start Your Own Ad Sales Network

One thing that I’ve been hearing more and more bloggers doing is joining together to sell advertising as a collective or network within a niche. You might not have enough traffic to attract a top tier advertiser alone – but what if you joined with 4-5 other medium sized blogs in your niche and approached advertisers together?

4. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing can work on blogs of all sizes but once a blog has an engaged and loyal readership it can really pay off. Readers that have tracked with you for a while are more likely to buy something that you recommend than a one off visitor – so this is a particularly useful strategy if you have built a ‘community’ rather than just a blog that has a lot of search traffic. The key is to find products to promote that are of a high quality that you can genuinely recommend and that have high relevance to your readership.

Further Reading: 5 Tips for Making Money with Affiliate Programs

5. Sell Your Own Product

Another monetization strategy to start thinking about once you start seeing growth in your readership is your own product to sell.

Whether that product be an e-book, a membership area, a real hard cover book, training (online or real life), consulting, merchandise…. once you’ve got a loyal readership who trusts you and sees you as an expert in your field you’ll find that they are increasingly likely to buy something that you sell.

You’ll also find it easier to get other blogs in your niche to promote your product once you’ve build a blog with profile. I’m seeing more and more bloggers doing this and suspect that as advertising budgets get smaller in the current economic climate that we’ll see more and more of this type of approach (I’ve previously called it ‘indirect income’) by smart bloggers.

Further Reading: Making Money BECAUSE of Your Blog – Indirect Methods.

Become a Blogger Video Training – Closing Doors to New Members Next Week

become-a-blogger.png

I’ve just had word that the popular Become a Blogger training series for bloggers is closing its doors to new members in 1 week.

On 6 February they’ll stop taking on new members to their program. They already have 800 signed up members so seem to feel its best to close to new members to focus upon the community they’ve already grown.

This largely video based training has been helping a lot of bloggers. I know many ProBlogger readers signed up when it first was released in December and I’ve been getting great reports.

The training is video based (and a closed forum) and is centered around a series of 9 modules over six months (each month you get 8 videos):

  1. Get Your Blog Up And Running Fast And FREE
  2. How To Optimize Your Blog For Maximum Search Engine Performance
  3. How To Use Images On Your Blog To Make You Stand Out From The Crowd
  4. How To Create A Different Dimension To Your Blog By Adding Audio
  5. How To Breathe Life Into Your Blog Using Online Video
  6. How To Create Powerful Content For Your Blog, Consistently and Without Fail
  7. How To Create Multiple Streams of High Quality Traffic To Your Blog
  8. How To Use The “X-Factor” Strategies To Put Your Blog Into Super Drive!
  9. How To Make Money From Your Blog

For a taster check out these 10 free videos and their free Roadmap Report which are great resources on their own and a great way to work out if Yaro and Gideon (the guys behind this training) are your cup of tea.

This is not a course for advanced bloggers but as you can see from the list of topics covered it is geared towards those who are about to start out, who have just started out and who want to up their skill set and knowledge on many of the things you need to be able to do to take a blog to the next level.

If those fit with your situation you should check it out and consider the investment going forward into 2009.

PS: Yaro and Gideon offer a 60 day money back guarantee on this course. I’ve had a lot of interaction with both of them and this is actually a genuine offer. If you’re not satisfied in that time – just ask for your money back.

How Much Money Do Bloggers Make Blogging?

Over the last two months I’ve had a sidebar poll running here at ProBlogger that asked readers to tell us how much their blog earned in October of 2008.

This is an annual poll that we’ve run for a number of years now so it is always interesting to see the results.

As usual – the poll revealed that most bloggers either don’t try to make money blogging or earn very little from their blogs but also that a smaller (but still significant) number of bloggers are making at least a part time living from the medium and a few bloggers beyond what most of us would consider ‘full time’.

Of course this is not a scientific poll and it relies upon people interpreting the question correctly and voting honestly – I’m certain that there are inaccuracies in it (particularly with some voting in the top category just for ‘fun’) but the results are actually quite similar to previous years which does make me think that there is at least some level of truth to them.

Take it or leave it – here are the results of this year’s earning poll:

  • 37% of those who voted said that they do not make money from their blogs. This category would include both those who don’t want to make money blogging, those who didn’t realize that it was possible, those who don’t have a blog and those who have tried but failed to make money blogging.

While this is a significant and important result I’ve removed category from the charts below so that we can concentrate just on those who make at least some money from their blog.

blog-earnings-October-2008.png

  • 1162 people said that they make under $10 a month. This is a total of 29% of those who make money blogging. This category was 26% in 2007 and 30% in 2006.
  • 477 people made between $10-$29 in the month (12%)
  • 505 people made between $30-$99 (12%)
  • 686 made $100 – $499 over the month (17%)

So to this point we can say 70% of those who make money from their blogs make less than $500 a month and 30% make $500 or more.

  • 262 made $500 – $999 (6%)
  • 150 made $1,000 – $1,499 (4%)
  • 128 made $1,500 – $2,499 (3%)
  • 130 made $2,500 – $4,999 (3%)
  • 95 made $5,000 – $9,999 (2%)
  • 45 made $10,000 – $14,999 (1%)
  • 35 made $15,000 – $19,999 (1)
  • 373 made $20,000 or more (9%).

The top category probably has some skewing but has always been in this vicinity (9% in 2007 and 7% in 2006 – although in these years the top category was $15,000+). While I’m sure there is some skewing here it is an open ended category so we could expect it to have people earning not only $20,000 a month but also those earning quite a bit more (of which I’m aware of quite a few).

Here’s another chart with the same information:

Oct-blog earnings-08.png

Once again these figures hammer home to anyone wanting to get into blogging for money that it is not a foregone conclusion that you’ll make a lot of money from the medium. It is possible to make at least a part time income from blogging and for some to make quite a bit of money from it – but over half are earning less than $3 a day (or $100 a month).

For those interested in the comparisons to previous years – let me finish with charts from 2006 and 2007. First here are the 2006 results:

2006-blog-earnings.jpg

And now the 2007 results:

blog-earnings.jpg

As you’ll see the results are remarkably similar from year to year although each year we’ve done it the sample size has grown.

Increase Amazon Sales with Best Seller and Popular Product Lists

This week we’ve been looking at a variety of techniques to help you increase your blogs earnings in the lead up to Christmas.

Today I want to share 2 similar techniques that I’ve used in the last week that is a big part of tripling my Amazon earnings for the month of December – best seller and popular products lists.

These are two techniques that I’ve used semi regularly on my photography tips site – let me explain, with examples, how I do them.

Best Seller Lists

This technique is used in retail stores everywhere. Head into your local bookstore and you’re bound to find a ‘best seller’ list or even a full display showing what the best selling books of the month are.

Books that sell well and get on these lists often go to the next level – simply because they are on the list. People see that they’re popular and so when they are looking for a book – they’re more likely to go for them because obviously others like them. It’s partly about using the wisdom of the crowd to identify quality and make decisions but it is also partly about ‘social proof’.

Here’s an example of how I use this same concept to create my own best seller list on my blog.

You can see the list at my Popular Digital Cameras and Gear page. On this page you’ll see a number of lists of best selling photography books, DSLR cameras, lenses and point and shoot cameras. The lists were compiled simply through my Amazon Affiliate program statistics.

Amazon gives you quite detailed reports of what products have sold through your affiliate links. You can arrange them by the number of items sold and it isn’t hard to take that information and put it into a list of your own.

Of course this works best if you have an audience who has been making purchases – but if you don’t all is not lost. Go to any Amazon category page (for example this Small Business and Entrepreneurship Books page) and you can see the products there arranged in order of ‘best selling’.

There’s your best selling books on that topic. Simply find a category that relates to your topic and you can create a relevant post on your blog that taps into the social proof idea.

Popular Product Lists

Another similar technique that I’ve found to be very effective is to create ‘popular product lists’. This is similar in that it creates a list of products that are popular for your readers to interact with – but the difference is that you don’t use Amazon stats to put the list together – you use your readers own feedback to create the list.

Here’s how it worked for me recently:

The result was really good. The post didn’t generate a lot of comments – but it did generate quite good sales at Amazon over the coming week. Interestingly the post was also very very popular when I linked to it in the following week’s email newsletter – it was the most clicked upon link in that email with over 5000 people viewing the post.

This resulted in some good sales of the lenses mentioned in the post – but also considerably secondary sales of other products when people continued to surf around Amazon.

Again – this technique relies upon your blog having readers and readers who leave comments – but even with a small group of readers I’m sure it could be done.

Good luck creating your best seller and popular products lists!

PS: One more type of List that I’m experimenting with on DPS today is a compilation of reviews that I’ve published on the blog previously. You can see this in action in a post titled 12 Great Digital Photography Books for Your Christmas Stocking.

In short it is a list of books on the topic of photography, with links to Amazon and the reviews that I’ve previously written on the books plus short quotes from those reviews. I’ve not done this type of list before but suspect it’ll do well.