Sunday, May 31, 2009

May Results

May was good. The charts below show an improvement over the previous months. Traffic is up, page views are up, although the length of time spent on the site is significantly down (gulp!) Most of the activity was from April 30 to May 18 and then the graph lapses. Search Engine traffic also weak. All this once again underscores the value of fresh content.

I also made a little bit of money in May:

Google Adsense: $5.31
Nitro Marketing (affiliate) $118.18
Total: $123.49

Most read posts to date

#1. Rock Stars at Frank Kern's Mass Control
#2. How to Monetize Your Blog
#3. Ed Dale Launches Intro to Pre-Season 30 Day Challenge

This blog does not convert well for Adsense. Caroline Middlebrook who also writes a similar blog and from whom I swiped the idea for this one concurs that she also does not get much Adsense conversion on her blog on blogging so much so that she has taken it off.

The beginning of the month always seems to have good traffic. I got a very nice boost midmonth from Dawn Hunt the mystery shopping diva. She facilitated a teleconference on Blogging for Money and I got to speak on the subject and field a few questions during the one hour conference. It was a great experience. I’ll be scoping out the possibility of more.

I had promised a report on Blogging for Money to all who registered for the call. What started out as a 17 – 20 page report turned out to be a full blown of 46 pages. At the time of the conference call on May 14 the ebook was far from finished – it took another week before it was published in very much a “beta” form. I finally had to take control and stared down the temptation to edit, re-edit, and edit again. I decided that it was what it was and it was time to send it on its way.

The next step was to make the ebook available to the readers of this blog. The techie part of internet marketing is not my strength but I am a firm believer of at least learning the bones and understanding the basics. My goal was simple: design a banner that visitors could click on for their free copy. Here are the steps that I had to take:

1. Design the Banner
2. Put up an Opt-in page
3. Program the autoresponder to send an email with a link to download the ebook
4. Thank you page

I spent more hours on this exercise than I care to fess up to. Finally was talking with my mentor Brandon Roe and he helped me out with new graphics and some techie details. I think they are so cool. They are both my new front page and the banner. The next time you visit this page there will be a neat banner for ABC’s of Blogging for Money.

I work in time blocks. The Blog Along blocks were taken up with the above activities … that is my excuse for lack of fresh content during that time and the cost of that is a lazy graph for the second half of May. This also reflects in the low search engine results as well – no new content, no google visits! This is still a very young blog and requires fresh content and marketing for the continuous flow of traffic. Caroline Middlebrook is at that stage of her blog where she gets over 2000 (be still my heart)visitors daily without adding much fresh content - she is busy developing a software program so her posts are further apart.

So what’s in store for June?

- Publish fresh content twice weekly
- Repurpose content into articles
- Publish articles in article directories
- Promote ABC’s of Blogging for Money
- Take the 30 Day Challenge (more on that later)

I am off to Seattle for a few days – it will be a mini-holiday so am leaving the laptop at home. Stay tuned throughout the month for announcements, "next steps" in blogging, progress in “satellite” sites spawned from this one and the occasional juicy tidbit from the internet world.

Till next time ……….

Happy Blogging!


PS. Where the heck is the cheese?

Quick Links
Caroline Middlebrook
Dawn Hunt
Rock Stars at Frank Kern's Mass Control
How to Monetize Your Blog
Ed Dale Announces Pre-Season ;30 Day Challenge

Sunday, May 17, 2009

How to Monetize Your Blog

Been absent from posting here as am focused on my on blogging for money.

Here is what happened. An online colleague asked me to be a guest speaker on her teleconference call on blogging. Of course I accepted and thought it would be great to sweeten the invite with a free report to all who registered. Well, that report on blogging is now a full blown, and could be the draft for something more substantial. If you would like to get a copy of the "beta" version, contact me via the email option on this page. No cost. Feedback appreciated.

During the Q & A I was asked just exactly how does one monetize a blog and where does one find these advertisers. Duh! But of course! If you are blogging for money then you have to monetize your blog! I thought that would be a good thing to post on this blog as well. Listed below is a beginner's list but I feel that it will keep you well "affiliated" and monetized for a long time.

Google Adsense. You do need to have a published site in order to get accepted. So here is what you need to do.

1. Open your blog account with the platform of your choice.

2 If you are going with Blogger go into your admin area, click on settings and write something in the “description” part of your template. A similar option is available with other blog platforms and their templates.

3. Publish your fist post. When you are completing the application for Adsense with Google, the URL is your blog address: It can take up to two weeks for Google to approve your submission. Don’t let that stop you from working on your blog and making posts.

Adbrite: This is an advertising service similar to Adsense. I just recently discovered it and what I like about it is that it can sit alongside your Google Adsense and will kick in its ads if the clicks will pay more than the Adsense ones. You can actually set a minimum per click pay once you have historical data to refer to from Adsense. For now, just set it up. I also like that you do not have to wait till you reach a minimum of $100 for a payout.

Amazon: Open your account. Select products that are compatible with your blog topic. Amazon will pay up to 15% on sales. If you opted for WordPress and have static pages this is a good place to populate them with your selection from Amazon.

Clickbank: Clickbank is a directory of suppliers of information that offer affiliate programs. Typically this means products such as downloadable courses, training manuals, how to videos, subscriptions to newsletters and so on. Commissions can be as high as 75%. When you are looking at the affiliate offers in your category, look not only at the commission rate but also at the conversion rate. You want something that converts well. After selecting my affiliates, I like to go to their sites and register through their sites (they will redirect you to clickbank). The reason being that you will then be given a password to log on with and get valuable banners that you can put up on your site.

Commission Junction: This is another affiliate directory but unlike Clickbank offers physical products as well. To register from the home page, click on the “publishers” tab and select “application” from the drop down menu

The above should be enough to get you started. There are many other sources of affiliates. To find more options Google “affiliate marketing programs” but honestly, I think the above will keep you busy for quite a while.

You will find that each offers good tutorials on how to best optimize your efforts in promoting these affiliates. Be sure to read them. It's a great way to pump up your blogging muscles.

Here’s to Blogging for Money.

PS… OK… what kind of cheese are we talking about?

Google Adsense
Commission Junction:

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ed Dale Launches intro to 2009 Pre-Season 30 Day Challenge

It's started!

The legendary Ed Dale has just kicked off the Pre-Season to the equally legendary 30 Day Challenge for this year. The material for 2009 isn't up yet, but the broadcasts have started.

A little bit of background.

Every year in the month of August, Ed Dale runs his 30-day Challenge. This is an awesome FREE course that gives you the nuts and bolts, the squeaks and tweets, the niggledy piggledy of launching your internet marketing career. There are no holds barred. Completely transparent, all details delivered, and tons of free product including some software programs. This is beyond blogging --- but you'll learn a lot about blogging as well.

Ed has run the 30 Day Challenge for 5 years now. Each year is better than the last and listening to Ed tonight, the 2009 version will literally blow your socks off.

Watch this space for the sign up ... shouldn't be much longer ... the Pre-Season prepares you for the August launch, kind of like limbering up your muscles.

The legendary Ed Dale and me at Frank Kern's San Diego Mass Control

Monday, May 4, 2009

Twitter - Social Media Rockstar

Social Media is all the rage now. Sites are sprouting everywhere. Its like the old days of blogging, except the growth rate is on steroids! Like it or not, social media is here to stay, and if you want to make bank on the internet, then you need to become a member of the hottest social media sites and to understand - or at least begin to.

The new kid on the block and gaining rockstar status is Twitter. I signed up some time ago, only because I was told I HAD to. Had no idea why. In fact, when I first logged on to read the "tweets", I honestly did not see the point of it. I mean, what do I care if John had bacon and eggs for breakfast or that Jane was just putting on her sneakers to go for a jog?

A while ago I got a niggling feeling that I should pay attention to social media in general and especially to Twitter.

First, I attended a webinar with Brent Leary and posted on it here Social Media - There's a Whole Lotta Tweetin' Goin' On
Then I attended Frank Kern's Mass Control in San Diego, which was an awesome seminar oninternet marketing. Several speakers included information on social media - all of them agreed that the big kahuna of this genre is Twitter.

WHY? And why is Google trying to buy it?

Both those "WHY'S" can be answered in one short answer: Real Time Leverage.

Arguably the largest search engine is Google, but the information that Google digs up when you go searching for a term is archived, that is, it is historical and therefore stale dated. Twitter on the other hand is a search engine that delivers real time data: real data, on real stuff at real time. Marry Google's keyword search ability with Twitter's real time entries and you have a marketing tool that will turn your head into a whirlwind spin.

Twitter is also one of the strongest leverage mechanisms available. Members "tweet" or leave messages for their followers - in fact it is often referred to as a mini-blog, or a written sound bite.

Twitter’s “re-tweet” function is brilliant. Whole groups of followers (they are called tribes in social media) re-tweet a tweet to their group of followers, and those to theirs. If you tweeted something to your followers – even if you have only 10 – and they liked what you tweeted, they then re-tweet to each of their 10 followers, who then re-tweet to their 10. Your message has just gone out to at least 1000 of your tribe. But it doesn’t stop there. A 140 character message can circle the globe several times over between the time you pour your coffee and take your first sip.

Took tons of notes at Mass Control (now, just to be able to read my own writing) at the seminar. Here are just a few nuggets on Twitter

1. Open your Twitter account.
2. Before posting, hang around a bit, get a feel for the culture.
3. Search out the categories you are interested in - that would be your "tribe"
or tribes.
5. Follow people who are active at the time you follow them.
6. Join the conversation before officially following them
7. Best tweeting times: 1 pm to 3 pm and 8 to 11 pm on weekdays. Weekends rule but again the heaviest time is 6 to 8 pm Sunday.
8. Be a valued tweeter (bacon for breakfast is not exactly valued information unless your tribe is in the breakfast business.
9. Feed followers from other social media sites - once your networks are linked together your audience will grow exponentially.

I spoke with Ed Dale of 30 Day Challenge and from the sounds of it there will be a lot more on social media in this year’s challenge.

I follow several blogs. Recently I have noticed that several are carrying a new advertisement: Twitter Rockstar. Checked it out and signed up.

Happy Blogging ... err... that would be, Happy Tweeting!

Follow Valentina on Twitter - oh so cheesy!

Quick Links:
Whole Lotta Tweetin' Goin' On
Frank Kern's Mass Control
Rockstar Twitter

Friday, May 1, 2009

April Results Still Anemic - Shot of Iron Prescribed for May

Results continue to be anemic as evidenced by Google Analytics' screenshot below:

This is the flow of daily traffic. The spikes throughout the month are normal - they are the dates on which I posted on this blog. That statistic supports all that we learn in Blogging 101 - post often. Although there are also some inverted spikes, what I find encouraging is that there appears to be a trend towards an increasing flow of traffic between the spikes which means that traffic is finding its way to this blog not just on publication dates. Now that I have merged rip along and blog along, I see that search engines are once again evident in driving traffic:

Search Engines are delivering 12.75% which is decent if not outstanding. I like that 60.78% are new visits. This is important. While we would all love to have all the traffic that ever lands on our blogs love our blog and its content and return with precision regularity, the reality is that it just does not happen. It takes time to build up a loyal following. When I drill down in my analytics I am super pleased that 16.7% are loyal visitors. In my view, this is the statistic that will be the true measure of this blog's value.

So what's the shot of iron to cure this anemic state?

1. Publishing in Article Directories: The first repurposed article has been submitted. The plan is to publish at least three more in May. The value of these articles is twofold: backlinks (I promise, we'll get to these soon, but basically it means that sites outside of your own blog are pointing to your site); and, viral traffic. This is the sort of marketing that will over time increase the steady flow traffic in between blog posting dates.

2. Teleseminar: An online colleague has invited me to be the guest speaker on a telesimar. The topic will be Blogging For Money.

3. Posting: The backbone of blogging ... post, post, post.

I have mentioned several times on this blog that I have other sites which are not included in these stats. They have been up prior to this project. I will be participating in a launch and a beta from now till September. These are new activities for me. I don't know exactly what we will be engaged in. What I have decided to do is to apply what I learn from these two activities to my dog sites. I know that there will be blogging and social media involved - so it may be that the results for those will be included on this blog in the future (along with appropriate posts).

In the meantime .... Happy Blogging!

PS. Bring home the cheese