A blog is basically an online journal that you can create and customize to fit your niche. Blogs originally were limited to being text journals, like an online diary, but today they are much more advanced. You can create video blogs, photo blogs, pod cast blogs, what ever type of blog you desire to create. There are a number of website communities for bloggers, which you can join and use to create your own blog; the most popular sites being blogger.com, live journal, and wordpress. You can also create blogs through social communities like myspace.com and blackplanet.com. Although the drawback of having your primary blog on social communities is that you are limited to the design of that community. For example, to ensure that users do not abuse their free member privileges, sites like myspace do not allow users to post their on advertisements, java scripts, or clickable flash videos. However these are all features that you can use through blog specific communities like blogger.com and wordpress. Moreover, these communities give you the option of hosting your blog through their system or hosting your data on your own site (something you can do if you understand web programming, or have a programmer design your blog for you).
Creating a blog is a great way to share your interest with the world and potentially start up a fan base that can turn into a lucrative blog business. Bloggers tend to make money through advertisements. Either they sell ad space by manually soliciting advertisers and putting up their banners. Or they use advertising services like Google Adsense and Adbrite.com. There are a number of affiliate programs created to connect blog publishers to interested advertisers. In addition to the ones I have already mentioned, there are popular sites like:
- Commission Junction
- BlogHer Ad Program
- Glam.com Affiliate Program
- Amazon.com Associates Program
- And many others that you can find through a simple google search
These sites provide bloggers with the ability to earn extra income through their sites, but it is important to keep in mind that Affiliate Programs do not guarantee that you will actually make any money. In order to actually make money from these ads you need to be aware of the following things:
- Viewers click ads. The more viewers you have, the better chance you have of getting your ads clicked.
- Click through ad campaigns range from paying as little as $0.01 and up, which means that you need at least 1,000 viewers daily to give you the probability of getting around 20 clicks a day, which translates into around $5 daily depending on the affiliate program. This is a very rough estimate, but it’s just to give you a sense of what type of traffic you need to bring to your blog in order to guarantee that your affiliate ads get clicked. This is why the more popular blogs tend to make more money.
- It also helps to keep your site content specific when using ad programs like Google Adsense. This particular affiliate program directs ad content to your site based on two things: (1) The most commonly used words and phrases on your site. (2) Your site popularity. Based on your keywords google selects ads that will be most relevant to your site content. And based on your site popularity, these ads may cost more per click or view. So if you have a very popular site that advertisers want to be featured on, you will see a larger return from ads clicked on your site .
- It is very important to keep in mind that relevant advertising is crucial. Websites that feature too many banners, most of which are unrelated with no theme, tend not to get clicked on. When it comes to online advertising the key isn’t really quantity, but the quality of ads that you choose.
- Ad placement is also important. The ads that get clicked most often are generally at the top of the page in the center, left, or right side column.
- High click ads also tend to come within the actually blog content. You can add advertisement banners to your posts, but it’s actually more effective if you turn your post into a promotional banner. For example, if you review a particular product or book and then place an affiliate link to that product in your post, that link has a better chance of being clicked than random links placed on your site.
As I mentioned above, if you are interested in earning money by featuring affiliate ads on your blog, the more readers you have the better. Popular blogs like Black Voices Blogs or Concreteloop.com receive thousands of readers because they consist of the crucial components every great blog must have. For example, unique content that is in high demand tends to generate more online buzz. What is your hook? What is your niche? When you have a clear concept, it is important that you fill your blog with at least 3 – 5 posts a week, the more the better. Sites that are heavy in quality content tend to be looked on more favorably by the Blogging community at large. Moreover, these sites tend to have better traffic rankings on search engines. It is also important to include links to relevant websites or other blogs of interest. Links help not only build content, but exchange traffic between your site and others. What many bloggers fail to realize is that having a good relationship with other bloggers is equally important to building a relationship with your readers. When other bloggers enjoy your posts they tend to feature them in their own blogs, or add your link to their blog list. One way you can begin building relationships with other bloggers is to get in the habit of regularly reading and posting comments on blogs that are relevant to your own. To find bloggers within your niche, join blog communities like:
It is also a good idea to get your blog listed on popular blog link communities. Some of which include:
Many bloggers also allow readers the opportunity to subscribe to their blog and have new posts sent directly to their email inbox. The most popular blog subscriber program online is feedburner.com. In addition to allowing readers to subscribe to your feed, you can also supply them with your own blogs RSS Feed Widget, which they can copy, paste, and add to their site. Widgets are basically web plugins; content that web developers can copy and paste into their site’s layout. You can create your own promotional widgets by using various online providers; one of the most popular is springwidgets.com.
In addition to posting regularly, interacting with other bloggers, and joining at least one blogger community, you should take the time to learn more about your readers. What is your target audience? Is the size of your target audience large enough to bring a large influx of new readers to your site daily? If yes, how do you reach these new readers? If no, how do you work on retaining your loyal readers so that however small that group might be, they regularly visit your site? These are questions that I will continue to bring up, because they are crucial to maintaining a site that is both timely and marketable.
Let’s take a minute to examine a very successful blog. Concreteloop.com is a very popular blog because its niche, Black Celebrity Gossip, is very unique and in high demand. One of the most common online activities aside from checking email or searching for information is reading articles - especially stories about celebrities. Concreteloop.com fills a need that is in great demand and that’s what makes this site so popular. If your niche is specific to a very popular topic then you are both lucky and have a lot of work to do. On one hand, it’s great to have a popular niche because you know people are guaranteed to regularly search for that topic. On the other hand, you have to work very hard to create a page that stands out among your niche competitors. On the flip side, when you create a niche that is not so popular, you have the opportunity to corner a new market on the internet. But at the same time you really have to work at reaching your audience, and building traffic that isn’t readily there.
So how do you get a better understanding of your niche? How do you reach them? To get this process started, you should begin by reviewing the traffic rate and keyword popularity of your topic. Both Yahoo and Google have keyword tools. You can also search online for other keyword programs. Google’s service is listed here: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal. Once you know what key words and phrases are most commonly used by your target audience, integrate these words into your site. Inexperienced web developers tend to place more emphasis on creating an eye catching site, but it’s actually more important to focus on building quality content with keywords that are easily detectable by search engines. Understanding keyword placement is one of the most important components of Search Engine Optimization (S.E.O.).
It is also important to be aware of your competition. Do you have any? If so, how many viewers do they get a day? How do they market and design their sites? To review and compare blogs and websites that are similar to your own, use online statistics services like Quantcast.com and Alexa.com. These sites can help you research competitors in your niche, and also help you better understand your own site traffic and statistics. Another great online program, which also happens to be free, is Google Analytics. Google’s Stat program is highly recommended. It is easy to use and allows you to easily track your traffic and monitor what content / or keywords work best for you. To learn more about creating and marketing your blog visit problogger.net.
-Black Business Women Online