Accepting Advertising On Your Blog – Wonders And Dangers

With the first post of 2017 I thought I would talk a little bit about something bloggers can do to make money on their blogs. That would be accepting advertisements. If your blog is popular it can be quite wonderful and lucrative, but it can also be dangerous and bad for your blog. Let’s try to take these one step at a time, since there are many things to consider.

advertising
pretty blatant advertising!

The first is their relevance to the content of your blog. For instance, there’s a local bakery in town called Harrison Bakery and I happen to like some of their products… a lot! If I went to them and said “Hey, would you like to advertise on my blog”, and I was talking about this blog, I might have some issues with search engines (y’all know who I’m talking about lol).

The reason I would have problems with search engines is that this blog has nothing to do with food or baking and that could be seen as someone buying paid ads on the blog. Obviously that’s what it would be, and that’s what all advertising is, but because there’s no relevance to the content on this blog then that would be problematic. I know the dangers in that because back in 2009, Google took away my page rank (anyone remember that?) because of the text link ads I was accepting, which were paying me a lot of money, and once that was taken away the advertisers stopped coming, I stopped making money, and put through a request to get my page rank back… which took 6 months.

Of course it’s not that I couldn’t link to the bakery anyway, but let’s look at this in a different way.

I actually have a local blog, and since the bakery is local, in general that type of thing should be legitimate for advertising purposes. Unfortunately, the search engines would have no idea that my blog is specifically a local blog (even though I’ve been optimizing it in that way for years), and they wouldn’t pick up on the relationship between the local business and that particular blog. That means I would have to add nofollow tags to the link or banner ad, which wouldn’t surprise me one bit, but if the advertiser was savvy it might make them a bit reluctant to advertise with me.

However, I did link to them in this post; kind of. I linked to their Google Plus page, which is allowed by all search engines and probably ignored as well. I could have linked to their site if I’d added the rel=nofollow tag, but I decided to go through the other route; I couldn’t tell you why now.

cake!

The rules by the Federal Trade Commission, which we have to deal with here in the United States, says that if we have any kind of affiliation with a business, or if someone sends us something free, and we write about them and it’s favorable, that it must be disclosed up front, especially if we get paid. I’ve always disclosed when someone has given me something free, although in my case it’s always some kind of book, of which the last one I reviewed that I got for free came from my friend Rasheed Hooda called Life: It’s A Trip.

On my local blog because I write about places and events all the time, but I tend to make all links nofollow to avoid issues with the search engines. Since none of those businesses don’t know I write about them at the time, and since I’m not always nice, legally I’m fine and the search engines can’t bother me.

What if it’s your own product you’re advertising? For instance, 4 of those things over on the left are products of mine, and I advertise something on 4 of my blogs and my business website. Do the search engines know they’re all related to me? Could I get in trouble?

It turns out they do! I’ve registered all my sites under my name via Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. I also attached all those properties to my two Google Plus accounts because I didn’t want to take any chances, and I’ve done the same thing for both of my YouTube channels. You know what else? Since I have all of my sites on the same account via my hosting company, they all share the same IP address; winning! 🙂

Next, let’s talk about those folks who want to write guest posts for you and link to another company; should you accept those posts, especially when they don’t want the links to be nofollow? That answer is “no”, but it comes with some caveats.

GREATNESS BEYOND THE GRIDIRON: 143D ESC UNITE FANS AT FLORIDA CLASSIC
Creative Commons License 143d ESC via Compfight

For instance, if you have “sponsored post” in the title then you’re probably good because you’re disclosing that there’s some kind of relationship. If you ask me my opinion on that, I believe you should be getting some kind of payment for it… while still putting “sponsored post” in the title.

This is different than people who want to write a guest post for you with the intention of sending traffic back to their site. Accepting guest posts can help build up the traffic on your site and if you’re up for the editing it can become a win-win for both parties. In that case you might want to weigh whether or not you want those posts to have the nofollow tag or not, but if the website isn’t overly prominent and is a blog instead of a website, you could get away with adding a link without any further attribution. That’s because there’s no money involved and no trading of services.

If it’s an actual website and it’s not related to your blog’s subject… well, that could end up being pretty dicey, and either you or they risk being penalized somewhere down the line (y’all remember all those letters asking you to remove links from your blog?).

The last consideration is traffic… but it’s not always a lot of traffic, and if you’re savvy you might figure out a way to get around the search engines and still make a good amount of money. For instance, in my post last year when I was talking about going to the Blogging While Brown conference, I linked to one particular fashion blog of one of the presenters at the conference.

Based on traffic numbers, the blog might be considered a failure by many regular bloggers. However, they gear it towards their particular local audience, they do almost all of the modeling, and they get out into the community and market themselves to the extent that they’ve become fashion consultants and make most of their money off that than with the products they market. Even if the search engines de-listed them, they’d be doing just fine because they’re not as reliant on social media as the rest of us might be, thus they can break the rules and not have anything to worry about; that’s kind of cool, right? Then again, though they have advertising on their blog, they rarely add links to those folks, so once again they’re getting away with murder, and looking good while doing it. 😉

One of my considerations for this year is making a better income via all the blogging I do. I only make money off one of my blogs at this juncture, and not all that much. It’s not as easy as the “experts” make it out to be, and one of the most honest and revealing articles about this was written by Ana Hoffman of Traffic Generation Cafe, which I recommend you read, because no one knows more about generating blog traffic than she does.

My plan is to do more writing, more promoting, and contacting more potential suitors for my services in 2017. As an independent business, it’s all on me to decide how I’m going to generate income and how much, and I can’t tell y’all anything if I’m not doing anything.

Take into the account the things I wrote about above and give it some serious thought. Then get out there and make 2017 your most successful year ever!
 

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Making Money By Blogging – Let’s Talk

I tend to violate some rules that those who say they make a lot of money from blogging believe are essential. This is one of those times, but I’ll get back to the main subject in a minute. First, the latest progress from my offer on being available for doing an interview has led to two new posts elsewhere. The first is an interview I did with Olawale Daniel on his blog TechAtLast blog. The second is a guest post I wrote for Mitchell Allen of Morpho Designs titled “70’s Music – The Last Days Of Innocence“. I hope you check them out and thanks to both of you.


via Flickr

In previous interviews I’ve done, I’ve been asked this question about making money by blogging a few times. I used to always say that it was never really my intention to try to make money by blogging, and lived by that, even though, before this year, I always popped in an affiliate ad, just in case someone saw something they liked and decided to check it out. I can easy say that was NOT been successful, which is why I dropped it. I still run some banner ads here, but I’m sure they’re being missed by almost everyone as well.

I now have to modify my statements from back then a little bit. I still don’t try to make money off “all” my blogs, but I do try to make money specifically off one blog, and encourage others to help my income on others. It’s time for a breakdown because I’m going to be the one to tell you an amazing truth about making money online, but especially with blogging; it’s not going to happen the way you think it will.

I have earned a few dollars here and there from this blog over the years, but very little. I’ve sold a couple of affiliate programs, know I sold one of my books (up there to the top left) from this blog, and made, I believe, a whopping $1.35 from Adsense before it was pulled from this blog. That’s it; almost nothing. I’ve made nothing whatsoever from two of my blogs, those being my Syracuse blog and my SEO blog. The first has no advertising on it so far, and the second is just past 3 months old.

My main business blog, Mitch’s Blog has made more money than the other 3 blogs, but not how you’d think. What it’s done is helped me get a speaking engagement and a presentation to a company that both paid fairly well. I have also sold a couple of books on management and one of my CD series from that blog, but the first two things I mentioned makes it my biggest money maker by far, if not my most consistent. See, the purpose of the business blog is to show authority in my fields of business, and it worked well enough to get me two projects that paid nicely. So, I can say I made money online, even if it was for offline projects.

My finance blog, Top Finance Blog, is my most consistent money maker, and in some ways more in line with how some people might think of making money online; sort of. I make almost all of my money on that blog through paid advertising. Companies pay me to put banner ads on the site. They pay me to add their links to previous posts, and some pay me to put a post on there that they wrote. Some even pay me to write a special post for them, knowing it’s going to cost them more because y’all know me, I’m going to write what I want to write about when I want to write it unless I’m getting paid. Even though I have a couple of products on that page and my own banner ads, they don’t generate anything close to the advertising.

That’s not how I saw it coming when I started that blog. I always believed that if I wrote in that niche that I would sell all sorts of products and information geared towards it. That’s how it all began with me as well, having all kinds of sales stuff on there. What happened instead is people with business interest in the financial niche wanted to be a part of it as its rankings and position increased. If there was ever anything to be said for the power of finding a niche and sticking within it, this is it for me. I didn’t manifest income in the way I thought I would, but I’ve manifested it all the same. Now, before you run off trying to do the same thing, let me make this point clear; I’m not “yet” making enough to live off on that blog, and unless I totally write only that blog I don’t think I ever will. But it’s a nice income, and though the last 7 days are kind of a fluke, I did make close to $500; I’ll take that for now. 🙂

Can you make money blogging? Yes you can. Do I recommend trying it? Can’t hurt, as long as you know what the realities are. My finance blog will be 3 years old in December, and it’s taken that long to generate enough interest so that it can make money. If you’re looking for a quick hitter it’s rare that it will happen, so don’t hurt yourself trying. If you have the time, you’ll make something.

And now it’ll probably be another 7 to 9 months before I touch this topic again. lol
 

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Product Vs Advertiser Ads

Most blogs these days have ads, and unfortunately, most of us don’t take the time to look at anyone else’s ads because, well, we do have our own. However, I’m someone who does take a look at ads, because I want to see what other people might be marketing and how they might be doing it; learning how to be a good internet affiliate marketer is difficult work, after all.

It’s occurred to me that basically there are two types of ads; product ads and advertiser ads. Product ads are, well, marketing products. For instance, if you look at my blog, you see that along the left side there I’m marketing products, starting with mine, then a couple of books. Some of my blog posts will have specific product ads, such as my last post (and I’m buying those suckers one day soon). Sometimes the product ad looks like an advertiser ad, but it’s a product.

When we get to specific product items, such as computers, jewelry, or items like that, only myself and Sire, of Wassup Blog, seem to have actual items that we market, though his are more consistent than mine, as I have mine rotate on the side via TTZ Media, and within specific posts I decide on a product through Commission Junction and post it here.

Advertiser ads are promoting advertisers, and I’ve noticed that a lot of blogs have those, including mine. For instance, over on the left again, you see advertisements for Buy.com, National Geographic Store, Lapworks, etc, and in some posts, like this one, you see I end the post with an advertiser ad. Those take you to a page where you can look around and buy something.

But those aren’t the only types of advertiser ads. Though I noticed that I don’t have any right now, there are advertiser ads that market the advertisers themselves. For instance, on Caleb’s blog, Market Secrets Blog, he has ads that market Adbrite and Pepperjam network, two that I haven’t tried out yet. On Sire’s blog, he has ads that market Onmarketer, Chitika, and ClixGalore. Yan’s blog Thou Shall Blog, he’s marketing Oiopublisher and Market Leverage. Even on Darren Rowse’s blog, Problogger, even though all of his ads are actually sponsors, he’s marketing Inlinks, LinkWorth, MLTV, and some others.

My question comes in wondering which types of ads for most people actually work for you. For the few of us who own up to our monthly blogging or online income, I don’t see all that many of these ads working all that much for anyone. It’s because of this that our friend John of 21st Century Affiliate Marketing has said that he’s beginning to remove almost all of these types of ads to try something new, which he hopes will help stimulate online sales. Indeed, though I like having lots of different types of ads and products on my site, and other sites, it seems that these items rarely get all that many clicks, let alone sales, and yet I’ve noticed that I have clicked on some of the items listed above as advertiser ads, mainly because I’m thinking about marketing by using them to see how they fare. So, my impetus is purely as a test market, and not necessarily because I’m hoping to buy anything. But I believe that, when I actually decide to sign up via one of these links, if I got there through someone’s site, they get some kind of monetary reimbursement from it.

Anyway, I’m wondering what y’all think of things like this? If our goal is really to make money with our blogs via affiliate marketing, it almost seems that the best way to do it is to write good content, try to jump up in some kind of rankings such as PR or Alexa, which seem to mean something to advertisers, and sell advertising on your site, ala Problogger. Visitors drive advertising, which is why I tried earlier this year to do my RSS subscriber contest, and goes back to a conversation I’ve had lately with our friend Mirjam of Me Myself And I Blog, as we’ve been talking about this issue of massive traffic that we both wrote about. Indeed, trying to obtain that kind of traffic just might be the only reason one may not care as much about targeted traffic.

So, share your thoughts and feelings on this topic, if you will. No, I didn’t get into the contextual ads specifically, but I consider those as product ads, even if the products aren’t always so clearly defined, because they’re not trying to get you to go back to the site itself to help market them.


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