Can You Still Make Money Blogging?

There are two major types of business models that entrepreneurs use to make money blogging. The first and most common way to turn a blog into a profit making machine is to sell advertising to different companies and brands who want to reach that blog’s readers. The second kind of money making blog is one that helps a single brand improve its image by creating positive associations between the blog and the product in the mind of consumers. Both kinds of blogs can make a lot of money, especially if the creator has a keen mind for marketing.

There are two major types of business models that entrepreneurs use to make money blogging. The first and most common way to turn a blog into a profit making machine is to sell advertising to different companies and brands who want to reach that blog’s readers. The second kind of money making blog is one that helps a single brand improve its image by creating positive associations between the blog and the product in the mind of consumers. Both kinds of blogs can make a lot of money, especially if the creator has a keen mind for marketing.

If you are blogging with the goal of selling advertising, there are two basic ways that you can go about recruiting sponsors who want to put ads on your site; you can let someone else do all of the legwork, or you can do the work yourself and keep all of the revenue. Within the first group, many people make money blogging by selling space through Google’s AdSense program. The advantages of this program are numerous, as it requires very little effort on the part of the blogger or webmaster to begin raking in profits. However, most people discover that they make less money through this method than they had hoped that their blog would earn.

Selling advertising directly to companies who want to put banner ads or sponsored links on your blog can take quite a bit of time, but it is often fairly lucrative. If you have a lot of contacts in industries that are related to the topic of your blog, you may want to try to go this route. People who have a strong background in sales and are experienced at pitching proposals can make quite a bit of money by renting blog space to interested companies. The most serious problem with this model is that you often have to build quite a sizable readership before you can attract advertisers, which can mean that you have to do several months of work before you start to make money blogging.

As blogging becomes a more and more lucrative business, a lot of established companies are considering how they can get into the action. One way that companies are capitalizing on the blog movement is by having blogs that provide a kind of friendly face for their corporation. Often, a company will employ an established blogger to create a weblog designed specifically to appeal to that company’s customers and to create positive associations with the brand in consumers’ minds. More than one writer who never even dreamed that he or she could make money blogging has been approached by a company and offered quite a pretty penny for this kind of gig.

Web Designer Secrets tip 1: picking a domain name

The domain name you choose can have a major impact on the success of your site.

Web Designer Secrets, Free Ebook

In my ebook Web Designer Secrets I mentioned that picking a domain name that is relevant to your business is important

What name to choose

Many people decide to register a domain name that corresponds to their business name, and you should certainly do that. So if your company name is ABC and Sons you register abcsons.com.au  (say) – makes sense right? Even if it’s only to protect your business name this is worth doing.

But…

Do a google search for anything and look at the result listings. The word or words you used in the search are highlighted where ever they appear – they are bold. Notice that?

So if our mythical ABC and Sons are , say, solicitors then a better domain name for them would be ABCsolicitors.com.au. A better one still would be SolictorsMelbourne.com.au – provided they are located in Melbourne of course

Why your domain name matters

Why is this important anyway? Two reasons..

1. Because the search words used which are also in your domain name are would highlighted. This is a chance to draw more attention to your listing. And a better chance of catching the attention of the person doing the search as they scan the results page.

2. It MAY have some influence in the ranking of the site. It certainly makes it clearer what the site is about. I have no clear cut proof to say it does but it would make sense..

As with all things keep it sensible. It using your main keywords means a domain name that is too long then compromise is required

Register more than one domain- carefully

You can also register more than one domain name and point them all to the same site.

So ABCsons.com.au and MelbourneSolicitors.com.au both lead to the website for ABC and Sons.

But a word of caution here – pick oneas your main domain and redirect the others to it using 301 permanent redirects. Otherwise google will see them as duplicate sites and duplicate content. Google doesn’t like duplicate content!

If that last paragraph didn’t make any sense to you then best to get your web designer to do it for you.

How much should I pay for a domain

If you want to DIY it you can get a com.au domain for about $40 for 2 years. Expect to pay a little more if you want your web designer to do it for you. This is often worth it as once you have a domain name you need to set it to point to the server where your site is located.  The web designer can do this for you without you worrying about nameservers, passwords or any such thing.

Things to watch out for

  1. Paying too much! Some domain registration companies charge $140 for a com.au domain for 2 years! Far too expensive
  2. Make sure you have access to the domain even though you might never need it. If you get someone else to register the domain on your behalf be sure and get the access details (username and password). You might need to move servers someday and you’ll need to access the domain name and update it when you do. If you don’t have access to the domain name then you have to jump through a few hoops before the domain registrar will let you access it.

Anyway that’s it for tip 1: hope it helped

regards

Ronald Sayegh
Affordable Web Design
Get a free Web Design Quote Here

Free SEO book – SEO Made Easy – from Brad Callen

Brad Callen is one of those SEO experts you see often mentioned and quoted in forums, blogs and throughout the internet. He has sent me a SEO book that I can give away. Apparently it’s valued at $80. Download it here.

Hi

Just a quick post.

Brad Callen is one of those SEO experts you see often mentioned and quoted in forums, blogs and throughout the internet

I am on his mailing list and he has sent me a SEO book that I can give away. Apparently it’s valued at $80.

I have had a read through it and it looks to me like it was maybe written a year or two ago. So some of the data is a bit “old” .

For example it gives examples of keywords research using overture rather than google keyword tool. Plus Brad, being the marketing guru he is,  book throws in plenty of references to his SEO Elite software. So basically there’s a bit of a sales pitch woven into this book as well.

Having said that it’s pretty good. Actually it’s very good.

 The basics of SEO haven’t changed too much since it was written and this book certainly covers them well. Plus I have used SEO elite in the past and it’s actually quite good. So if you need SEO software then this is worth looking at.

Plus it’s free !

I’ll be upfront though, if you do buy SEO Elite through a link in this PDF/ Ebook I get a commission. That’s not why I am giving it away. But I thought I’d be open about just incase you thought it was.

So download the SEO ebook SEO Made Easy

And if you do buy the software make sure you go through the many video tutorials so you know what to do with it

regards,

Ronald Sayegh
Affordable Web Design

Doing SEO the right way – gets traffic

Even though my number of top ten listings in the search engines has dropped but my traffic is up. Way up. That’s because I did SEO the right way. Here’s what I did

I have written a few post about this already over the past few months so please forgive the repetition.

It’s about search engine optimisation (or is that optimization ) and getting a high ranking in google, yahoo and MSN.

My New SEO Skillset

I have recently completed an online refresher course with some of the top SEO experts, purchased and got myself familiar with some nice new SEO software and practiced my newly found skills on my own site (!)

The results have been interesting to say the least.

In May 09 I used an external SEO company and sure enough in April 09 I had added 74 top ten positions to the 70 or so I already had.
Nice .. or so i thought. I was sitting at around the 140-150 top ten listings for my site. Only I wasn’t getting any more traffic!!!

When I looked closely at what they actually did I saw I was in page one for many many terms that no-one searches for. They delivered what they promised that’s for sure. Only it was a complete waste of time! And Money

3 months on and guess what… I think have lost nearly of those 74 positions I gained. I dont even bother checking them now…

BUT remember the refresher course I mentioned. Well last month, armed with some correct SEO actions to take I started doing it myself for real. Using my own site as the guinea pig.

And one month on the good news is my unqiue vistors traffic stats for the end of June are 40% UP on those from May.

My number of inquiries from visitors who found me via the search engines is also up.

But number of top ten listed pages is massively down. I dont even want to say how many as it looks pathetic compared to the 150 I had before.

The point is fewer listings not only give more traffic, the traffic is more QUALIFIED.

And all because I have shifted my focus to target the correct outcome I need. ie more qualified traffic.

So at the start of the process I had 150 top ten listings for search terms no-one was looking for. What’s the use in that! I went back to basics

I really nailed the keywords I need to focus on to start with
I picked 20 main phrases and tweaked my site pages to focus on them more exactly. Comfortiingly these were for the most part phrases I already was targeting, just not very well! But I also found a few holes that I was missing altogether!

Then adding a blog, and actively building backlinks to deep within my site rather than just the home page gave my site that extra authority required.

Now one of my pages – and not the home page – ranks in the top 10 for a very competive terms AND brings me a steady flow of qualified inquiries. This page was barely even indexed before.

And it will only get better as I link deep into my site to bring the rest of the pages up to the top.

Quality SEO v/s Quantity SEO

Now as I look at the various SEO companies that a typical small business can afford I can see that they all offer the same thing
Quantity not quality

They may well be able to get you 100, 200 or even 400 top ten rankings means – chances are it will be for 400 phrases that bring little or no traffic.

Then looking at the quality SEO experts around I see they work on a different strategy altogether. My new strategy is takes from them
and it actually quite simple.

My SEO Strategy

I plan to take the handful of high traffic terms I now know to work for my site and go deep rather than wide.

Refine these terms to catch all variations and make sure I mine that keyword vein all the way

Then start all over again with the next most popular terms and new ones that I will ave uncovered

That builds stable traffic.

That brings qualified traffic

That brings people who come to my site are looking for something that I actually offer so they are happier too.

Who Can Afford SEO – who can’t!

There is still one problem.

All this is extremely time consuming, exacting and sometimes tedious work.

That’s why a quality SEO guy charges tens of thousands of dollars a year. It’s a big job and a long term commitment.

Not exactly the thing a small business can budget for!

Of course without the traffic and sales they’ll never be able to budget for it.
Catch 22 anyone?

Startup SEO Package

So I have put together a start up SEO package

It  covers all the fundamentals that you will need to get your site ranked well in google and friends

It will involve possible adjustments to your site, keywords, text, images, and structure.

It will also involve getting a fresh batch of quality links to point to your site

In all its about 70-80% of what you need done on a right-now basis. The end result will be many quality listings on page 1 or 2 of google returning a good flow of qualified traffic.

This will give you and your business the boost it needs

Then you can afford that  full time SEO consultant to do last 20%.. and get you into the top 3 position across the boards.

The cost for the SEO start up is $1000
It involves about 20-40 hours of work performed over 3 months
(SEO isn’t an overnight process!)

If you want to know more have a look here search engine optimisation or email me. Or leave a comment :>

Thanks

Ronald Sayegh
Web Design Specialist Australia

Adwords content network – how to use it

I was recently reading some interesting stuff about the content network and set up a new adgroup to re-visit it. As an experiment. Running the exact same text add I use on my search adwords campaign

Here’s what I found….

 

For many years now I automatically disable the google content network when setting up an adwords campaign. I figured its just not worth it having blown a few hundred dollars and gotten no-where

Where as search always gets me a good clickthrough rate and ROI, the content network was harder to use, understand and monitor. Too much effort for too little return

However I was recently reading some interesting stuff about the content network and set up a new adgroup to re-visit it. As an experiment. Running the exact same text add I use on my search adwords campaign

The content network works but only if….

Here’s what I found: it’s much much better than I remember. Maybe I just understand it better now. I was not able to produce the same volume of click throughs as search but the CPC (Cost per click) was 1/3 of search.

Yes 1/3! That’s a BIG saving.

It’s not all good news as the quality of click through varies depending on where your adword listing runs. In my case it was much lower and so the cheaper CPC was not really an advantage – it ended up being much the same return.

I am sure that with a few weeks of monitoring this could be tweaked up.

I even had the idea of writing specific ads referring more closely to the site the ad will appear on. Haven’t tried this yet but say I select my ad to run on sites abc.com.au and cde.com.au why not have a bit in the text of the ad which specifically relates to those sites? That would increase click throughs I am sure.  ( maybe special offer for readers of ABC website )

Like I said I haven’t done this yet and it may possible not be allowed :> If you want to try it go ahead and let me know what happens.

The Adwords Content Network: An Alternative to Banner Ads?

One other thing I did love about content network is I can use it as a banner ad network. See it will display graphic ads as well as text ads. So you can put together a nice banner ad and have it show on the top of some fairly major sites. All for a fraction of the cost that it would be if you approached the site directly and bought banner impressions.

For example: I ran an end of financial year banner (30 June here in Australia) and got a lot of click through at a very low price.  Conversions were not so good – but that’s probably more to do with the ad and the offer than anything else.

As mentioned above some split testing would refine that down.

Final thoughts on Adwords and the Content Network

In summary
  1. Don’t write off the content network option in adwords.  It can be very effective
  2. Be prepared to do some split testing and research as the audience it reaches is much different from search network. This could bring a  much lower CPC and good return
  3. Do you have a banner? Throw it up on the content network. It’s cheaper than buying banner impressions!

In conclusion I am now using the content network to supplement the ads I run in search. As time progresses I’ll refine it down to an add or banner that works well.

But in a small business it is a case of juggling priorities- chances are I’ll have my customers campaigns running well first as part of their website marketing strategies

I’d love to hear anyone elses feedback as findings. Post a comment!
Regards

Ronald Sayegh

for web design you can afford

Using a blog in website marketing

Using a blog in website marketing
A business blog is an effective way to market a traditional website. Infact blogging is one of the fastest ways of promoting your business and driving qualified traffic to your site. Just about any company should look at launching a blog as an add-on to their main website.

A business blog is an effective way to market a traditional website. Infact blogging is one of the fastest ways of promoting your business and driving qualified traffic to your site. Just about any company should look at launching a blog as an add-on to their main website.

Why?

A website and a blog have different functions and complement each other

A website and blog will in all likelihood reach different audiences, have different focuses and have different conversational tones. So it won’t compete directly with your site.

Used properly a blog will reinforce the main website by feeding it traffic.

Here’s how:

  1. Blogs are active: they can be set to broadcast their content out to the web via RSS every time there is something new.
  2. Blog updates are picked up fast. No waiting for a month for a new update of the google index.
  3. Blogs can build a readership. Set up properly a visitor can to subscribe to a blog feed and receive your postings as they happen. In a way that email marketing can only hope to achieve.
  4. Blogs have new fresh content and google loves that.
  5. Blogs are interactive. Comments can be made easily from each page. Which encourages more people to visit. More than a static site very could.
  6. Blogs have their own network. Some blogs rank well in google. Some don’t. Regardless of that though there is a network of blogs and blog readers independant of the search engines. This is a new market that only a blog can tap into
  7. Blogs are well read and can be opinion leading. According to a Hotwire Ipsos MORI survey “More than half (52%) of Europeans polled said that they were more likely to purchase a product if they had read positive comments from private individuals on the internet.”

All of these factors make a well kept blog a very powerful source of traffic and business for your site.

Is a blog right for your business?

If you can see yourself adding useful content to a blog on a regular basis ( eg weekly) then it a blog will absolutely work for you.

So for example if you sell CDs you can write reviews of new CDS and ask for people to comment. Plus add a link to the actual CD in your shop. Or if you are a club you can post member news, events and tips and again link it to the relevant part of your site

By ( subtly? ) linking your blog posts and updates to items on your site you get a natural flow through of interested people. If your blog become very popular that in itself can be enough to feed your site with all the traffic you could ever need, regardless of how well it ranks in the search engines

Plus because google loves blogs your blog can gain enough authority to help boost your main site up the search engine rankings through links from your blog to your site. 

How to get a blog

That’s the beautiful part. It’s easy. Use wordpress. This site is built on wordpress.

  • – WordPress is a free blog program which is fairly easy to install and relatively simple to run.
  • – WordPress has many very nice themes available free
  • – WordPress has some very nice add ons that make it super SEO friendly too
  • – So with a just little bit of know-how you can have a blog installed on your domain (http://www.yourdomain.com.au/blog ) for little to no cost

I can even do it for you. There will be a small fee to cover my time but this will cover full set up (wordpress install, theme install, an exclusive suite of SEO plug ins install,  feedburner set up)

Contact me to find out more.
http://www.webdesignspecialist.com.au/pages/contact-us.php

regards

Ronald Sayegh
http://www.webdesignspecialist.com.au

Websites: art or ads?

A business website is an ad! So why the obsession about FLASH animation and delicately drawn pictures over ease of use and good copy?

So you’ve got a website. Great ! (if not – stop reading and go here !!)

And how is this pinnacle of marketing genius judged  by friends and family?

By it’s looks! Let’s not be so shallow people!
That’s like judging the best Olympic swimmer by her looks rather than her ability to swim ( oh wait we do that as well!)

I’d just like to say here and now for most people a website is a business tool. It’s job is to inform people of what you sell or do, create a desire for those services or products and then facilitate the getting of these.

A business website is an ad! So why the obsession about FLASH animation and delicately drawn pictures over ease of use and good copy?

Try this experiment:

Recall the best ad you have ever seen on TV?

Got it? Great. Was it funny? Emotional? Catchy?

Now what was it for?

Cant remember?

Most people cant.

Try another one…

Many adverts fail to even mention what product it is they are advertising, never mind telling you how much it is or why and where to get it.

And so people think that this is what an ad is for. To look good or entertain.

It’s my belief that advertising is not all about looking good and being clever or funny and winning awards for “best ad” .

It’s about creating and fulfilling a need.

And if you can do this whilst also looking good or being funny your onto a winner.

A website is no different. It doesn’t have to be ugly – indeed it should have some aesthetic value to it.  But do you think Ebay or Amazon are good looking sites?

So when you get a website built please think function before form. Ask yourself

  1. Is it fast to load?
  2. Is it easy to navigate?
  3. It is clear what its main message is?
  4. Is it easy to maintain and update?
  5. Is there a call to action or some way to take the next step easily?
  6. Is it well optimised for google and friends so that it ranks well in the search engines?
    And finally
  7. Is it pleasing to look at?

And how is this successful website assessed?

Not by its looks but by how well it reaches its target audience and gets them to take a desired action (such as emailing an inquiry, or by sales generated.)

Give me an ugly site that sells over a beautiful award winning graphic masterpiece that sends me broke anyday.

Or come to me and I’ll give you both; a nice looking site that sells !

Rant over!

Ronald Sayegh
Web Design Specialist
http://www.webdesignspecialist.com.au