Things One of My Blogs Taught Me

| August 8, 2010

I decided to truly analyze one of my blogs that started earning money from the first month of being on the web. That surprised me because it Earn Money Bloggingdoesn’t get a lot of traffic. Since it consistently earns money each month, I decided to see what I had done differently on that blog that I had not done with some of the others.

A few facts about the blog

  1. It provides reviews of a particular type of product.
  2. Blog was created in January of 2009
  3. It currently has 43 blog posts (an average of 2.2 posts per month)
  4. Its written under an assumed name
  5. All comments are closed
  6. Google page rank: 2
  7. Alexa Page Rank: 5,049,715 (far from impressive)
  8. WordPress platform using a basic Thesis theme. No bells whistles or pretty pictures.
  9. Daily traffic averages between 100 and 150 pages views. On a good day I may get close to 200 views, but generally it stays between 100 and 150.
  10. Monetized with Google AdSense and InfoLinks. Earlier on I applied to Text Link Ads but they turned my blog down. I guess it didn’t get enough traffic for them. Who knows, maybe I’ll try applying again in the future.

Things I Noticed

I paid a little attention to where the traffic was coming from and where it was going. I used to insert a lot of links to the product manufacturer’s Earn Money Bloggingwebsite to help my readers continue researching the product. One day, like a bolt, I realized I was linking away my income.

Most of the product manufacturers use Google AdWords and their ads were displaying on my blog. My readers were clicking on my links rather than the manufacturer ad links. Once I realized that, I went back and removed all manufacturer links. Now I will refer to the manufacturer website such as manufacturer.com, but I won’t hyperlink it.

The only hyperlinks in the posts are to other posts on the blog or articles I’ve written elsewhere on the same subject. No more giving away income.

Once I stopped giving away income I noticed the blog started earning more money. I can’t say for sure whether the monthly change in income was because I stopped the outside linking or because one month I wrote 4 posts instead of two, but between May of 2010 and June of 2010 the blog’s monthly income went from $69.97 to $315.20!

The following month the income dropped a little but it still earned $273!

As far as blogs go, I believe it has a nice monetary return per post. Since starting the blog, the posts are averaging $31.88 each (that’s 43 posts divided by the total blog’s income of $1,371.01). The $31.88 is a bit deceiving because during the first year the average earnings per post were $15.12. This year, so far, each post is averaging $54.33. I’d say that’s an improvement.

Lessons Learned

Here are a few things I’ll carry forward when I develop my next blog.

  1. The blog’s topic will be about a product or service. I find those types of blogs offer the best financial return. I’ve got blogs on topics that are dear to my heart, but those are a labor of love because they earn bupkis.
  2. I won’t give away links
  3. I will place ads on the blog from day one. There had been some debate as to whether its good practice to immediately place ads on a brand new blog. Well, if I’m creating a money making blog, it’s difficult to make money without ads, so I put them on immediately. The blog that I refer to above earned $4.32 in the first month. That’s hard to do without ads.
  4. Slowly add content and monitor the traffic. Some folks like to add a lot of content immediately when creating a new blog. I prefer just the opposite. I’ve found that even with a few posts you can tell whether the blog is a winner or not. I’d hate to spend an untold amount of time creating a ton of posts only to find out that it’s not a money maker. I like to work smart, not hard.Earn Money Online
  5. A surprising thing that I’ve learned is that there is life on the second, third or fourth page of Google. I don’t think my blog often ranks on Google’s first page. I’m sure if I put in a lot of time and effort I can make it happen, but I’d rather not work that hard.
  6. I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that choosing the right blog topic and time are the two most important ingredients for a successful money making blog. If you have those two ingredients, your blog will make money.

Tags: , , ,

Category: Advertising, Blog, Earning Money, Google, Internet, Page Rank, Residual Income, SEO, WordPress

About the Author ()

Felicia A. Williams is a freelance writer and blogger. She spends the majority of her time with her family and writing. If she's not writing or commenting on NJFM, she's either outside smelling the roses or writing articles for one of her other sites.

Comments (23)

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  1. Keith says:

    Great site, and super post. I am just starting out, right at the very beginning, and I have already been back to this site a number of times. Every article I read is helpful, and I find it is a very good site for motivation. I can guarantee that I will be a regular viewer.

    Keep up the great work everyone.

  2. Diana says:

    I try not to use Google Keywords either because then I have to research the topic (if I don’t know it yet) and it becomes like a homework. However, it’s helpful to see what your readers are searching for. Finding a topic that you enjoy is definitely important for the long term.

  3. Oceanside Blogs says:

    Felicia:

    Thank you again for your advice; you truly are inspirational!

    I have recently signed up as a writer for Constant-Content, Demand Studios, Elance, and Bukisa (www.bukisa.com/people/mermaidontherun). Hopefully, the different writing styles required for each site will allow me to perfect my own creative style, while helping me to build my online portfolio. Between these sites, my own blogs, and hopefully my new monetized blog/website, I will be able to enjoy the freedom that freelance writing offers. Thank you again for being such an inspiration!

  4. Oceanside Blogs says:

    Thank you for your reply comment, Felicia. Great advice.

    If I were going to try to incorporate your advice into a new blog, would you suggest creating an “in my opinion” type blog, and then using the Google keyword tool to choose topics to blog my opinion about?

    • Felicia says:

      Oceanside, I would tell you to test the waters. Because domain names are rather inexpensive, you should try a host of different methods to find out what works best for you. Personally, I’ve never used Google keywords to come up with a blog topic. As a matter of fact, I infrequently use Google keywords at all.

      There was a time when I tried to come up with a writing formula using Google keywords and then checking Google search engine to come up with writing topics, but that didn’t work for me. It took too much of the joy out of writing and then I started to feel like I was back on a job. I know for a fact that researching for the proper keywords can be very lucrative, but it’s a step that I don’t bother with.

      What I’m getting at here is that as an online freelance writer, you can do some research to get other writers input and opinion (that’s what I’m giving you here, my opinion), but ultimately its up to you to decide how to move forward. The more you experiment and spread your wings, the better you’ll understand how things work online.

      Don’t fall into the analysis paralysis trap. It sounds like it is time for you to get out there and spread your wings.

  5. Oceanside Blogs says:

    Felicia: Care to expand on Point #6? Great post, and very informative. I currently author 3 blogs, but I’m interested in starting an actual “money making” blog too. Any suggestions of timely topics?

    • Felicia says:

      I’m not sure how to expand on #6. Page rank is something that is calculated by Google. It has something to do with backlinks and a host of other factors. Apparently they calculated my page rank as 2.

      As far as timely topics, I usually blog about what I know or what I’m interested in. Most of the time the topics aren’t timely, but I enjoy blogging about it.

      Edit/Update: Oh, now I see which #6 you were talking about (I looked using my WordPress interface and didn’t scroll down to see the entire blog post).

      Now that I see which #6 you’re talking about, my advice is still the same. I blog about what I know or what I’m interested in. Blogs that promote products/services earn more than topics about what I feel, think or observe. Google keyword tool will tell you that.

      If you want a moneymaker, let the Google keyword tool tell you what to blog about. Although you may make money, you may not enjoy the experience.

  6. Emory says:

    Felicia:

    You stated: “The blog’s topic will be about a product or service.”

    What do you mean by service?

    Thanks.

    • Felicia says:

      Emory, as a mom, the first service that comes to mind is Merry Maids. They offer house cleaning services. There are times that I wish I could hire them to take care of my house. 🙂

  7. Beelissa says:

    Felicia,

    My husband’s main area of expertise is window blinds. That’s what I’m going to focus on first. I may try another home improvement area in the future. But you answer is very helpful, the distinction between a website and a blog. Thanks!
    Beelissa recently posted…Pet Peeves About Other DriversMy Profile

  8. Beelissa says:

    Great post, Felicia.

    I’m wondering — do you think it matters if it’s a blog or a regular website? I’m planning on making a website for my husband’s area of professional expertise, and thought it would work better as a regular website, possibly with a blog attached. I’d be interested in hearing thoughts on this.
    Beelissa recently posted…Pet Peeves About Other DriversMy Profile

    • Felicia says:

      Beelissa, I can’t say for sure. I don’t know your husband’s field of expertise so it’s difficult to say.

      If it helps any, I’ve found that my websites perform better than my blogs. When I started NJFM it was a website and I later converted it to a blog. In its short life as a website, it earned much better than it does as a blog. Just my observations.

  9. Mandi says:

    Hi there! I have been browsing around NJFM for a month or two now, but this is my first comment. First off, thanks for all of the great info!

    There has been some mention of affiliates on this thread. Have you heard anything about VigLink? I haven’t started a professional blog yet, but I’m looking to over the next year or so, and I’m considering giving it a try. You just copy a bit of JavaScript into your template and supposedly, VigLink takes care of the affiliate links for you. They take a small percentage of the affiliate earnings, but that could be well worth the time saved. If I learn anything more about it, I’ll be sure to let you know.

  10. LilyRose says:

    Felicia, I agree with you esp. with product-driven websites. However, a smattering of outbound links does in fact help with page rank. The links have to be to a higher page-ranking, well-known site. This helps with Google ranking. So I wouldn’t discount them altogether if you have a blog that is not product-related.

    • Felicia says:

      Thanks for the info LilyRose.

      I found that I kept the hyperlinks to pages that were beyond the home page on the manufacturer’s website. Sometimes I refer to a particular product or feature that is best linked to directly. I find it unattractive to display links as manufacturer.com/subdirectory/anothersubdirectory/targetpage.htm.

      I guess I should allow a few direct links here and there for the page rank boost.

  11. Angela says:

    Yet another timely post, both in topic and timing! I’ve been considering two other blogs/websites that would have a more focused profit purpose rather than the predominant passion factor that I’m pushing now. I was crafting a few questions to ask you in relation to this, and lo and behold, you answered every one!

    I’m getting goosebumps right now. I can see my future, and it has a nice number of $$$ in it. : D
    Angela recently posted…Love YourselfMy Profile

  12. Grandma says:

    I was thinking that if someone enjoyed reading your work on one blog, they may also be interested is seeing what else you have in the works, even if unrelated. Another thing to raise your Google ranking with linking would be to have a little blurb that basically says “link to this blog…(insert link)”…where people could place a link to your blog(s) on their website.

    Re: affiliate ads – if you are putting up links or ads for manufacturers, go to their website and see if they offer an affiliate program, sign up and put that ad on instead of the one you have to the manufacturer. People will still get to the manufacturer, but then if they buy or return and buy later, you would receive a commission from that sale.

    I never figured out (or took the time to figure out) the affiliate thing either, but I did get a $7.50 commission once when someone purchased a $150 paintball outfit after clicking through to that company via an affiliate ad I had placed on my website. Some people make thousands monthly this way.

    I used to have a website by ecommercetoolbox.com, and it was fabulous and easy to use. You can have up to 3000 ad pages, each individual and sell them individually. One I sold was to a lady who had a haunted house for sale! Fun! Great opportunity, again one that I screwed up by not following through and working at it.

    I’ve always been on the leading edge of ideas, but never worked them out. For example, I was thinking about books on tape/disc before it happened, brochures on disk, etc. All thought and no power. Maybe I need a partner?

  13. That’s a great case study! Continued good luck with that blog and others.
    Julie @ Residual Writer recently posted…eHow Earnings for June and July 2010 and a New Residual Income GoalMy Profile

  14. kidgas says:

    Although I am not yet ready to put up specific product related blogs, I will remember not to give away links. I would not have thought of that but it makes sense that you would rather have readers click on the ad rather than your text link.
    kidgas recently posted…Putting Long Term Thinking Into PerspectiveMy Profile

  15. Fujoshicat says:

    This sounds like the dream of how a niche blog should work out. I love your breakthrough moment about how hyperlinking the manufacturer’s name in your posts was actually taking away income. I’m still new at all of this, and sometimes it looks to me like everyone else has the magic formula and I’m still trying to figure it out… When I start my own niche blogs/websites, I’m sure trial and error will be a big part of my own story.

    I also appreciate your statement on product/service-oriented sites vs. “labor of love” sites. I think both are important. I want to earn passive income, but I also blog because I have things that I want to express. It would be nice if those blogs were the ones that earned a lot of money, but maybe that’s not quite realistic. 😉

    Congrats on your wonderful success with this niche blog, and thanks for the tips.
    Fujoshicat recently posted…A Final Post on the Blogger Comment Posting IssueMy Profile

  16. Grandma says:

    Are you placing affiliate ads on your blog to make money? You get commission for click through sales…you know the routine. Also, do you have references/links to your other blogs on each blog? That might bring in more traffic and up your Google ranking for having the links.

    • Felicia says:

      I don’t interlink all of my blogs because the topics vary so widely. As far as affiliates go, I have a few ads but I’ve never done well with affiliates. Haven’t quite learned how to market/promote them well so I kind of stick with what works. Maybe eventually I’ll learn what to do. 🙂