If you’re not the least bit interested in making money from your blog, that’s your choice, and I respect that; it’s certainly a personal decision. But this is a post for those of you who wouldn’t mind having a couple more dollars, euros, pounds, whatever in your pocket each month. I’m far from an authority on the subject, but hey, you asked!
I imagine I get this question because you can see that I have BlogHer Ads, Google AdSense and an Amazon store. I’m not making a fortune by any means, but I am covering my online operating expenses including web-hosting and my Internet service, so I can’t complain.
There are two aspects to the question of how to make money with a blog; the first involves what kind of advertising opportunities are available for blogs.
[On a side note, search around Darren’s site for *tons* of great advice. Seriously, if you’re interested in making money with your blog, you *need* to subscribe to Darren’s Problogger.]
Since revenue is intricately linked with blog traffic, the next issue becomes how to increase blog readership. There are many ways to increase blog traffic, some which require more time and dedication than others but all likely to get more people reading you and, hopefully, clicking on your ads.
To get you started, here are some helpful articles:
- How to get traffic to your blog (Seth Godin)
- How to build your blog’s readership (Problogger)
- How to Build a High Traffic Website (or Blog) (Steve Pavlina)
- 21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic (SEOmoz.com)
- Tips for Building Blog Traffic (Deb Ng’s Freelance Writing Jobs)
Now here are my 5 ways to increase blog traffic:
1. Decide on what your focus will be and stick with it, more or less.
Anyone who has ever taken a writing class has heard “write what you know.” I’ll see that advice and raise it a “write what you like” when choosing a focus (or foci!) for your blog.
How do you choose a focus? Other than picking a topic you enjoy, if there’s something special about you that you can highlight, use it to your advantage as your “hook.”
You don’t *have* to stay on your topic 100% all the time, but do take cues from your readers (like they’re not coming anymore) if you stray too much.
An example of a hook: I live in Italy, so that’s certainly something that draws a certain number of readers to me. Will they come back to the blog only because I live in Italy? Probably not, which is where the next tip comes in.
2. Write quality content.
My best advice? Write posts that you’d like to read. And then proofread. Please! Provide links to other sources for more information. Use photos, either your own or through sites like iStock, Stock.xchng, Creative Commons, etc.
Many of the posts I listed above have more in-depth content writing advice, so do check them out.
A small tip regarding formatting: use paragraphs, more so than you would in normal writing. Seeing white space every so often is pleasing to the eye. Am I saying that I’ll skip over large blocks of text even if it’s award-winning? Well, yeah. My Internet attention span isn’t the longest, and I’m not likely to keep returning to a site that won’t give my eyes a rest no matter how much I might like what the writer is saying.
3. Visit blogs in your niche and—capital letters here—COMMENT.
How do you find more blogs like yours *and* blogs that have readers that might be interested in reading yours too? Blogrolls and comment sections of other blogs like yours are great places to start. Another tip is to go the Technorati page of blogs like yours or blogs you enjoy and see who has linked to them.
Now, go visit blogs and get your blog name out there by leaving quality, insightful comments (more than just “Great post!” is advised), and people will get curious and come and visit you.
A small tip here: I sign my comments “Bleeding Espresso.” Why? Because if I use “Michelle,” would that make you click over and see my blog? Perhaps, but “Bleeding Espresso” is much more likely to entice someone. Yes, I could also do “Michelle of Bleeding Espresso,” but that’s more typing, and time is money peeps!
*EDITED: I find myself going with “Michelle of Bleeding Espresso” more often; I think it’s better for when commenting on new blogs since it gives people a name to go with the blog name and in most commenting forms, the information is stored anyway, so no typing and retyping (so no time-wasting either).
Now please don’t take this to mean that you should be visiting blogs willy nilly and leaving your mark like a dog. Too graphic? Ahem. Then how about this? Take time to read the posts of your fellow bloggers, carry forward an online conversation, and you will be rewarded with more visits.
4. Enable comments and put a contact form or email address on your blog.
This is a personal preference, and you may feel differently, but here’s my take: I rarely, rarely read blogs that won’t let me comment and/or that don’t give me a way to contact the author.
Ever been around someone who only talks about himself/herself? Blech.
In conjunction with this, respond to comments you receive, messages through your contact form, and emails. I don’t like being ignored, and I don’t think my readers would like it either. You don’t have to respond to every comment, but letting your readers know that their opinions matter will encourage them to return and make your site feel more like a community.
5. Participate in blog events, social bookmarking/networking, etc.
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but it’s true: blogging is a community, and the more you’re involved, the more traffic will come your way. Of course if you’re lucky you’ll also make some great friends along the way like I have.
Participating in blog events like 5 Minutes for Mom’s Ultimate Blog Party and various food events and groups–especially The Foodie Blogroll–have brought me many readers that may not have found me otherwise.
Now it’s your turn:
Is your blog monetized?
What has worked for you in increasing your blog traffic?