Blogging for Dollars Experiment Pays Off

Warning: Heart Warming Story Ahead

I was just contacted via IM with a blogger (I’ll call him ‘Geoff’ – not his real name) who owns and blogs at a reasonably popular and established blog (not an A-lister but he runs a nice blog that gets about 3000 visitors per day).

Geoff told me that about two months ago that he’d started to experiment with putting a few income streams on his blog. He did it after seeing something that I’d written here. He said:

‘I did it with the hope of paying for my hosting costs and perhaps even buying myself an Apple ibook to blog on’.

Geoff started out experimenting with Adsense and Amazon and then on seeing some of my success with eMiniMalls added those in the past few weeks.

Around 9 weeks after starting his ‘experiment’ Geoff tells me that he’s just reached the $150 per day mark. His hosting costs for the year are covered and today he placed an order for a powerbook instead of an ibook.

He said:

‘I can not believe that I am on track for earning over $50,000 in the next year for writing on a topic that I would happily write about for free! Why didn’t anyone ever tell me that I could make money from blogging?? :-) ‘

He went on to say:

‘I’m SOOO happy Darren! But I can’t help but think of the opportunity that I missed over the last 2 years of blogging, imagine if I’d put the ads on earlier!!!’

It makes me wonder just how many ‘Geoffs’ there are out there. People who already have built blogs and sites that could quite easily have income streams added to them but who have just never considered it. While I know many bloggers choose not to do the ad thing and that many blogs don’t have the earning potential of Geoff’s (he’s luckily in a good niche – one that he’s keen for me not to mention for fear of copycats) there must be many others in a similar boat.

Engadget and Reader Participation

If you want to see an innovative and highly successful way of enhancing reader participation on a blog you need to check out what Engadget did with their First annual Halloween Costume. Check out the numbers of entries that they generated in these pages. Here’s the winners – and some more – and a few more.

Love them or hate them (as people tend to do) between competitions like this and their reader parties Engadget is at the forefront of drawing their readers into active participation in their blog – it’s no wonder they are one of the more successful blogs going around.

She Knows Best Offers Personalized Help

56427437 09F82Ccf29 M

One of the most amusing but innovative things that I’ve seen on a blog in a while is what Arieanna is doing over at She Knows Best where she’s basically doing makeovers of guys.

Arieanna writes:

‘It doesn’t matter how inane your fashion dilemma, or how little you know about fashion. She Knows Best can help. And don’t worry about guys laughing at you. The reality is that not only does someone, somewhere, know even less, but it’s almost a certainty that other She Knows Best readers are facing the same dilemma as you are.’

William was the first guinea pig volunteer and asked Arieanna about whether, as a red head, he should wear pink. The results are amusing but helpful.

I think this is a cool idea that will grow traffic and hook readers into the site more. I always find that these types of memes are well worth the effort. The beauty of what Arieanna’s doing here is that she’s not only creating fun content that involves a reader – she’s using affiliate links in the process as her examples.

Very clever.

Adsense Optimization Case Study – BuzzMachine

Yesterday I mentioned that Jeff Jarvis has made the decision to add Ads to his Blog (BuzzMachine). After posting this I emailed Jeff to let him know that I’d be happy to give a few free tips on how to get the most out of his Adsense ads. I’m yet to hear back from him (I know he’s a busy guy – so I’m not offended) but as I thought about what I’d suggest to him I thought it might make an interesting case study post here at ProBlogger as part of the 31 Days Project.

So consider this an open letter of advice for Jeff – but also for the many other bloggers who have similar blogs. Jeff uses a fairly standard WordPress template so what I share here might be useful for others too. Feel free to add your suggestions and tips to the comments section below.

The first thing I would recommend that Jeff does is go and have a look at the advice the Adsense team give publishers at their optimization page. Of particular usefulness is the heat map that they give that shows hot zones for the best positioning of ads (see diagram below).

[Read more…]

Blog Case Study – Is it time to Quit?

I just stumbled upon an interesting post by Jack Krupansky who will celebrate his first six months of blogging by quitting his blogging activities (on 18 August). Jack writes:

‘I’ve put a huge amount of work into my FIVE blogs and gotten next to nothing in return. Sure, I’ve made a few good contacts, but I was doing that with email and my five web sites before I even started blogging.

In fact, since I could have been doing things that might have been more productive during the past six months, my lost opportunity cost is quite high.’

Jack will also stop commenting on others blogs and will kill off his blog aggregator and stop monitoring other’s blogs – again because of the unproductiveness of these endeavors.

Since I saw Jack’s post earlier today after a link from Business Week’s blog I’ve been pondering why it is that some blogs do well and others don’t. I’ve got nothing really profound to say and don’t want to come across as knowing anything much about Jack’s blogging (although I’ve followed a couple of them via RSS this past two months). I will make the following observations though about his approach that perhaps might shed a little light on the unproductiveness of his six months.

I want to do so not to attack Jack but in the hope that perhaps it helps us all learn something about blogging on a professional level. I do so respecting his decision to pull out of blogging – I’m never going to argue that people should blog on at all costs – as I’ll say later – there is a time and a place to stop blogging and perhaps for Jack that time has come. However here are a few things I notice about his blogs.

[Read more…]

Alaska Blog

Taughnee Stone writes that she’s starting a new Pro Blog – the Alaska Blog and writes an interesting post about the first four days blogging and the response that she’s had so far. At the bottom of her post are some good reflections of what she’s learned from the experience so far.

1. It’s important to write what you know, and have passion.

2. It’s important to choose a topic that people are interested in. I’ve heard that niche topics are best, but I’m not entirely convinced that’s the only way to do it.

3. It’s important to consider the quality of the keywords that will appear in the AdSense ads, checking the Overture Bid tool has been my guide there. I know which topics are of interest to advertisers, and I can plan accordingly.

4. One blog is probably not enough to make a living at this, unless you happen to win the “blog lottery”—Time, patience, perseverence, hard work and constant research, adaptation and original, quality content development seem to be the key.’

Taughnee’s approach to the Alaska Blog seems pretty solid to me – she’s picked a niche (not as narrow as some – but a good one) that has some real commercial possibilities, both through Adsense but also affiliate programs. Tourism sites can be lucrative if you can climb the rankings (it will take time but it’s possible) so it’s well worth the attempt to do so.

I’m looking forward to following Taughnee’s progress.

Manolo’s Shoe Blog – Turning Columnist

Here’s a blogger success story – anonymous shoe and gossip blogger Manolo has just started up as the Washington Post Express’s newest columnist.

Manolo has always intrigued me as a blogger. For one they write in the third person – secondly they combine two rather odd topics (shoes/fashion and gossip) and thirdly when they started they did so on a very basic blog – from memory it was a blogger blog with one of the standard default templates. Even to this day the blog is very simply designed and quite eccentric in many ways.

Having said this, Manolo has carved a niche and attracts around 4000 daily readers (and a pretty high participation rate looking at comment levels) which brings with it the ability to charge $220 per month for a Blogad Ad.

The blog is definitely one with income potential with many affiliate links deeply linked into the blog. I’m surprised their is no adsense ads on the blog though – perhaps there isn’t many ads for shoes?

I’d say it’s a prime example of how someone can do some amazing things through their blogging and still retain some real uniqueness and individuality.

Cancer NewsWatch

Cary just emailed me to let me know about a new blog he’s set up. We were chatting the other day and he told me the sad news of his wife’s battle with cancer. I suggested he and/or she start a blog to cover the journey and to give them a space to talk out what they learn. I suggested it might also be a good way to connect with others on the journey.

Out of this conversation Cary started the Cancer NewsWatch Blog. He’s written some very nice words about me and his decision to start it here.

Cancer NewsWatch is a commercial blog with Adsense ads. I hope that it not only pays for itself but more importantly provides a place of wholeness and healing for the many people around the world suffering with Cancer. All the best with it Cary.

Weblog Empire launches The Gadget Blog

Weblog Empire is the latest blog network on the block and today it’s officially going live with it’s first new blog – the Gadget Blog – a blog about – you guessed it – gadgets.

The Gadget Blog is edited by Malaysian blogger Colbert Low (also blogging at the sms guide and guest blogging on one of my blogs this month).

This blog will cover all your usual consumer electronic topics, from digital cameras to handhelds to cell phones and MP3 player. It’s currently running Adsense Ads but has plenty of space for other advertising.

Good luck to Colbert and Duncan with this blog – it’s a popular topic for blogging (I follow at least 7 of these gadget blogs in my RSS feeds (plus another 30 or so more tightly focused ones) and know that it’s a highly contested niche – however I suspect there is room for another quality one.