Making Money With A Blog

There’s a lot of information out there about making money with a blog. And a lot of hype. For example, this article reports of blogs making $15,000 a month! Imagine that. There’s no doubt that you can make money from blogging. The blog your are reading does, in fact, make us money. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you missed it, here’s a series of articles that we did on setting up a simple blog business.

However, I thought it is important to write something of a ‘reality check’ concerning making money with blogs, especially in Kenya.

So, you want to make money blogging? Welcome to the club! Thousands have gone before you and many have succeeded but the sad fact is that the overwhelming majority of bloggers make little money or, most likely, nothing at all. I’m not trying to discourage you, just telling you as it is ๐Ÿ™‚

Many bloggers that I know of start off with the idea that they’ll make money from advertising. This is cool – thousands of blogs survive and thrive on this, especially with Google’s Adsense program. But, and it is a big but, the truth is that advertising may not be your best option. In fact, many of the blogs that fail were started with this general plan: Start a blog – write many cool and interesting and fun articles – get lots and lots of visitors over time – make money. This may very well fail in today’s internet. Why? Well, it is very difficult to make substantial amounts of money off advertising alone – especially with Google Adsense. Yes, Adsense is wonderful and it supports thousands and thousands of blogs to make money but it does not work unless you are getting large numbers of visitors to your site. If you don’t get at least a thousand visitors a day then Adsense will very much disappoint you. That’s the truth. So don’t base your whole plan on advertising alone.

The good news is that there is a world of options for blog owners. For example, Kenya Buzz (which is not a blog), managed to get some advertisers on their site even when their visitor numbers were pretty low. I’m not sure how much they charge but it’s got to be something worthwhile. If you can get such advertising deals for your young blog then go for it, by all means. This brings me to another important point, unless you have very high visitor numbers, ‘self service’ advertising works better than advertising platforms such as Google Adsense. By this, I mean that it would be better to try and find your own advertisers at your own rates than relying solely on programs such as Adsense. For one thing, you can make more money even if you don’t have the visitors – depends on how you structure your deal and market it.

Of course advertising is not the only way to make money using blogs. Problogger has a huge list of ways to make money using blogs. There are, indeed, many other ways. We have to keep in mind that, at its core, a blog is very much part of ‘social media’ and web 2.0. A blog is a tool that you can very easily use to build a community of like-minded people. This is why, when it comes to blog monetization, I favour the techniques that use blogs to build or enhance a business. What I mean is that you do not actually make money ‘from’ the blog, but because of it. For example, Wambere does make money with Like Chapaa but not from it – she uses it to get clients for her other business. It works very well. So, for instance, if you are a photographer, you definitely want to set up a blog but not so that you can make money off advertisements or other ‘direct’ means – the blog helps you build a community of readers; it further helps you engage those readers and nurtures their interest in you, and your work. Selling your photography services to them then becomes much easier – and every new reader is a potential client who will love your blog, engage with it and, finally, buy your services. A blog is perfect for this. Blogs work very well for businesses that have a long sales cycle – businesses in which buyers take time before deciding to buy from a particular person/business. I hope I’m clear. In my experience, this is the best way to make money using blogs in Kenya.

So, before you rush out to your blogs, here’s some more thoughts:

  • You just have to pick a niche. Do not write a general blog, it gets you nowhere and will not build a very good, single minded, community. For heaven’s sake do pick a topic that you really love. There are many months of cold nights ahead and if you don’t love what your blog is about, then it will start to feel like a “chore” and then your blog will die a slow, miserable and penniless death.
  • Think clearly and rationally about the content of your blog. Remember that your content and style of writing will attract a very specific type of person. You want to avoid attracting people who will not end up being your customers because then you’ll be wasting time with the blog, ama? For instance, if you are a freelance writer, it may be very natural to write a blog about “how to write well” or “how to make it as a freelancer”. You will be surprised at how many people do this. The question is, who are your readers going to be? If you are a writer, and your readers are other writers, do you think they will pay money for you to write for them? No? Then don’t do it! Write about something like photography, so that you attract photographers who may then, possibly, need your writing services.
  • Blogging is hard work and it takes a pretty long time before it starts paying off. It may take months to years, even if you write daily. There are millions of blogs out there and every potential reader of your blog already has tons and tons of other things to do with their time. Please only do this if you are prepared to go “long term.”
  • As you work on your blog, you will notice that as time passes, you become more successful. If you picked a good niche and write quality stuff, then you will succeed, after a while. Just keep at it and have a clear picture of what you want from the blog so that you keep yourself motivated. Thinking long term is better.
  • Blogging money can be the best money you ever make! Most bloggers just love writing (because they picked a topic that they enjoy) for their blogs and when this starts making them money, it is pure bliss!
  • If you already have a web presence for your business, or if you are already into ecommerce, then you just must have a blog. It is priceless in terms of marketing and enhancing your online presence. For one thing, a blog does wonders to any site’s SEO (search engine optimisation). You’ll want to think clearly and deeply about the ‘tone’ that your blog will take. Make sure it goes well with the rest of what you do. Creativity is key, though.

So, that’s it, some random thoughts on making money using blogs. What do you think? We’d love to hear from you. We’re also available for hire, by the way. ๐Ÿ™‚

How To Be Successful

About two months ago, we started a little project to try and work with some of our readers and try help them earn their very first Shilling online. Of course this program is Biashara 30. Well, B30 is now coming to a close and I want to take this opportunity to share the biggest lesson that I learn over the duration fo B30.

First, let me digress. B30 was fairly successful. We only let in 10 people and, unfortunately, some of the people we let in did not find time to participate in B30. The rest were very active, and the B30 training website bears witness to this. By far, the star of B30 was Maria Maina. She came to B30 being a big newbie on the internet but as I write she is launching an ebook shop whose first offering is an ebook that was written by Maria herself. In addition, she is a raging success at online freelancing.

How did she do it? In her own words, “Don’t flake out and everything you do will achieve some success.”

I agree with Maina. If you want to do something, and succeed at it then you have to do it, and do it well. You have to put in the energy, focus and do the work. There is no shortcut, really.

Going back to B30, Maria stood out from the rest – she actually really did everything that we talked about, and flooded our inboxes with questions. What about the rest of the B30 participants? No one put as much effort as Maria……likewise, no one is enjoying the success that Maria is enjoying.

If you want to do something, and succeed at doing it then you simply must work at it. Find time and work at it; and work at it again, and again until you accomplish your goals.

N/B: If you’re looking to get into the next B30 then be warned….everything that you achieve is absolutely up to you and to the amount of time and effort that you put into the project.

‘White People Stole My Car’

Who really stole your car?

Who really stole your car?




‘White people stole my car’ became one of the most searched topics in Google over the past few days. If you are thinking it’s the new hot rock band, you are wrong. So what made this phrase so popular? The result generated by Google on the search was ‘Did you mean: Black people stole my car.’

I know, I know, right now you are probably like ‘whaaaaaat???’ Well, if you spent sometime on Google more than a week ago trying to figure out why this phrase became one of the most searched phrases, you probably came across a lot of unsatisfactory results and got a whole lot of bugs and viruses while at it. I have tried the search severally but haven’t been lucky enough to get the said results either because Google has already fixed it, or it simply never happened. There isn’t really anything out there that fully explains this.

Some say it was just another Internet scheme, some say it really did happen. Either way it has been all over the Internet and generated comments from readers all over the world expressing their disapproval, shaming Google and demanding a public apology. While others have just taken it with a light touch and laughed it off. Weather it was a mistake by Google or some schemer’s plot, it sure has caught a lot of attention.

Here are some comments I came across:

Kevin: Try to Google black people shoot up school or black man chops up his wife and see what the results are smh. LOL
Jay: How is it racist? The search engine generates results based on popularity. More websites have the content โ€œblack people stole my carโ€ than โ€œwhite people stole my carโ€. Statistics are the truthโ€ฆ.not racism.
Flagburner: All black people are criminals, some just hide it better than others.
Brandon: After nosing around a bit, I discovered that devilish lil’ spammers made this oh-too-popular phrase appear on Google Trends and from there, folks were led to Web sites filled with spam and viruses.
Joe: How about this: WET(White Entertainment Television)
now how would that go over? Will blacks be upset? Will you watch?
Mandy: Honestly? Come up to where I live and you’ll see all the blackies acting like we owe them something…
From Canada: Racism is alive and real… Blacks are suffering internationally, even in Africa.. slavery has been replaced by debt and prison systems…It’s worse than the Martin Luther King days, because it’s hidden…I am a successful black, but why did I have to work 3 times harder and be 10 times more aware???
Anon: relax everyone. It’s hilarious! I laughed so hard when I read that… and black people DID probably steal your car. Ha ha ha funny though!
Brik: So you are saying that white folks ain’t thieves? That’s just Bull!!
Jolenr: Ok this is racist but really funny. Like if I Googled “black people can’t dance” and it said “did you mean “white people can’t dance?” we need not to take ourselves so serious and laugh!
Heidi: a joke is something that all or most people can laugh @…even as a white woman this makes me upset. I think to just say “oh its a joke” should not make it okay.

There is also a whole website whitepeoplestolemycar dedicated to helping all our brothers out there find their stolen cars.
So to laugh or frown upon it is up to you.


How To Make Money With A Simple Blog Business

Well, after all the boring stuff – thinking of a topic, researching, setting up a simple blog and promoting it – it is now time to start earning some money out of your new simple blog business!

As said previously, the strategy is to set up a blog and optimise it so that when people search for your topic, they find you. You think make money from Google Adsense when they visit your blog. But what is Adsense? Basically, Adsense is a tool that allows you to place advertisements on your blog. Google uses fancy software to make sure that the advertisements are relevant to your blog. For example, if your blog is about golf, your readers will see golf related adverts. How do you earn? Whenever someone clicks on any adsense advertisement, you get paid. Therefore, the more people who click on your adsense ads, the more you get paid. Nice, eh? Thousands of people earn their money this way.

Integrating adsense into your blogger blog is very very easy. Here’s some excellent reading for beginners:

For best results, I recommend that you set up your adsense “ad blocks” in these three places:

  • The top of your blog, just below the title
  • The sidebar
  • The footer. This works best if you have set your homepage to show only one blog post

By doing the above, you’ll maximise the chances of people clicking on one of your adsense adverts.

How do you get your money?
You are able to check your earnings at any time in your Google Adsense Account. Google will only pay you when you reach a certain minimum limit ($100). It may certainly take you over a month to reach that limit but if you follow the steps I have outlined here and in the other posts of this series, you are guaranteed to get more and more visitors and see your earnings rise and rise. Google will then send you a cheque or transfer the funds electronically.

How much can you earn?
Depending on the topic you are writing about, you’ll make anything from a few (US) pennies to one or two dollars every time someone clicks on your Adsense ads. This can quickly build up if your site has a good number of visitors. The more you blog, the better it gets!

So that’s it – a simple step by step guide to starting a simple blog business. Any questions? You have no excuse – get your own simple blog business.

PS
You can use KeyWordSpy to estimate how much each click pays for the topic you are writing about. The amount that you will earn is approximately half the amount that Keywordspy estimates the click to be worth.

How To Promote Your Simple Blog Business

If you’ve been following the series so far, we’ve managed to have a good thought about what we want to blog about. We then did a little research and finally set up nice new blogs. Before we start making money from our blogs, we need to let the world know about them – or else the will die, painfully.

If you recall, the simple blog business strategy revolves around getting visitors from our blog from search engines. Therefore, when telling the world about our blogs, the best way is by high quality backlinks. If done right, this will give you a high ranking on the search engine results pages and you will start getting visitors. Ideally, you should be spending two or three hours a week doing this. Here are just a few ways to get you started:

Yahoo Answers – This is a pretty simple and effective approach. Just head over to Yahoo answers and answer related open questions, putting your blog as the “resource”. The trick is to make your answers very high quality. It takes only a few minutes to post an answer but if you do this 2 to three times a week, you’ll have lots of great backlinks from an authority site.

Comment On Other Blogs – Most blogs let you comment on each post on the blog. Just find related and interesting blogs and post your comments on the articles you read. Make sure you actually read the posts and leave a meaningful well written comment. Most comments left on blogs will not really help you rank better in the search engines but they will popularise your blog and connect you with other bloggers.

SquidooSquidoo is another effective way of promoting your blog. Set up a squidoo lens and put up a bit of quality content – you can steal this from your site. Make sure you link back to your own site. Also, optimise your squidoo address to be relevant to your blog. For example, get something like: squidoo.com/yourblogname

Your Other Blogs And Sites – Place links to your new blog from other websites or blogs that you own/run. If it is your first blog, create another free blog on WordPress.com and link to yourself from there.

Submit articles to article directories: I’d say the three main directories are EzineArticles, GoArticles and SearchWarp. The articles that you submit should be keyword optimised (just like your blog posts) and should be unique. Make sure you link to your own blog – the author Bio area is perfect for this!

Submit your blog to social aggregation sites like Digg, Netscape, Stumbleupon, etc. Even if your articles don’t get a high rank on these sites, the backlinks you get are very helpful!

Directories – Submit your blog to as many online directories as possible. One particular directory, DMoz, is of note – make sure you submit there. It is hard to get listed (your blog needs to be high quality) but a link from Dmoz is very valuable.

There are probably 100s of ways to promote your blog but the above are some of the most simple and popular. Keep doing this effectively and in 30 days or so you will start seeing consistent and growing numbers of people visiting your blog from search engines. Here are 52 other ways to promote your blog.

PS
To track how many visitors you get and where they come from, use a simple and free tracking tool like StatCounter.

Ok, that’s it for today. Next, we’ll get to the part where we start making money! Do not miss out. ๐Ÿ™‚

How To Start A Simple Blog Business

Okay so we’ve thought about the topic we want to blog about and even did some keyword research. It’s now time to create our simple blog business. The easiest place to create a blog to make money from is www.blogger.com. So go on over there and create your blog in five minutes. Once you have filled in your information and accepted their terms of service, you get to the point where you get to pick the name of your blog. Nice, eh? You’re almost there.

You’re going to base the name of your new blog on the keyword that you selected. Remember? For example, I’d choose “classic cars” so I would want my blog’s name to be:

classiccars.blogspot.com
or
classic-cars.blogspot.com

Those are probably already taken, though. What to do? Simple, let’s add a word infront to make it unique:

flashyclassiccars.blogspot.com
goodclassiccars.blogspot.com
best-classic-cars.blogspot.com

I hope you see that the possibilities are endless. Just pick a name and go on. Don’t get stuck choosing! It doesn’t really matter much whether your name has dashes (-) or not.

Ayayai, we have a spanking new blog. What shall we do first? Write our first blog post, of course! This is the part where most people fail. It is really very easy but it requires consistent work and focus. You need to spend between 2 to 3 hours per week doing this. Is that too much? Yes, it is a little bit of work but it WILL pay off. Just do it and stick with it. If you can consistently write optimised posts for your blog you willl attract the attention of Google and other search engines and you will get visitors to your blog. You will then be able to make money using adsense. (We’ll discuss how in a bit, no worries).

First things first, what type of things do you write on your blog? Remember the keywords? Specifically, the keyword list, like this one:

Google Keyword Tool

Well, you’re going to write a letter two to three times a week related directly to one of those keywords. You can fake your way to a great blog by pretending you’re writing a letter to a friend. Easy? That’s all that blog is, in a nutshell. Assuming you picked a topic that you just love, is writing letters about it that hard? Each letter you write is going to be about one of the keywords that you found. So, for my cars example, I’ll have to write about old cars, used cars, sports cars, etc etc. Get it?

For each of your blog postings:

  1. Should be 100% valuable and interesting to anyone who may read it.
  2. The title should be the exact key word that you are writing about.
  3. Should be between 350 to 500 words long and should contain your exact keywords repeated three to four times.
  4. Should have the exact keywords in the first 50 and last 50 words.

That’s it! Go forth and start blogging ๐Ÿ™‚

If you write 3 or 4 ‘letters’ a week you will start getting visitors to your blog and you will then be able to start earning money from your blog. But you need to start getting those visitors. That’s the subject of the next article in this series. Make sure you don’t miss that!

Keyword Research For A Simple Blog Business

We’ve been thinking about topics that we could be interested in, right? Now it is time to put up a blog around one topic that you are interested in. The basic idea is not to put up just any blog; it is to put up a niche blog to serve an already existing ‘market’. So, first things first, we need to find a market, or a group of people who would be interested in reading your blog.

How can we do this? There are probably many ways but we shall focus on one. A simple way to find out if people are interested in what you write is to use Google (or any search engine). If people are searching for the stuff you want to write about, then people are interested! How do you find out if people are searching for what you want to blog about? Simple, take your topic (e.g. cars) and run it through a free keyword tracking tool such as Google keyword tool or Wordtracker keyword tool. You will find out how many people search for your topic and, more importantly, you will get a list of related topics. For example, this is what you get when you search for cars:

Google Keyword Tool

Let’s assume that you want to start a blog about cars. As you can see above, cars is a very popular topic with more than 151,000,000 searches per month so you’re on to something good. The idea is to find a topic that has a good number of people searching for it. Once you find such a topic, you then set up a blog about that topic and work hard to get your blog in the search results that are displayed when people search for your topic. If your site is displayed on the front page of Google when people search for, say cars, then people will click and visit your site. If many people search for your topic, you get many visitors. In the case of cars, you get millions of visitors ๐Ÿ™‚

Sounds simple, eh? The basic idea is simple but the execution requires hard work, patience and commitment.

Now, getting your site to be listed in the first results page of Google when people search for a word like cars or money, etc is very difficult. Why is it difficult? Because these words are so lucrative that bigger better financed sites are after them and it will be nearly impossible to beat them in the short term. It is always better to try and go a niche deeper. Perhaps ‘sports cars’ or ‘classic cars’. These phrases still get searched a lot but are easier to tackle. Always try and find a niche.

Don’t worry if you cannot find a “good” topic. The important thing is to be able to write several blog entries about it and that your general topic (e.g. cars) has a lot of related topics (e.g. classic cars, old cars, vintage cars, etc). These ‘topics’ are called keywords and you’re going to be writing blog entries on each one of them (more on this later) so make sure there are a lot of them available! Don’t get too caught up in choosing a topic. Pick one and move on; so that you can start earning sooner.

Next we’ll build up our blog and start writing. Make sure you don’t miss that!