Blogging may seem like it's designed for making easy money, but the truth is, it's not that easy at all. It requires time and focus, and it takes the right combination and approach to successfully bring in the dollars.
WebProNews recently spoke with Anita Campbell, founder, CEO, and editor of Small Business Trends, who shared some tips for successfully monetizing your blog.
Be Clear About Your Blog's Goals
On what people are doing wrong, Campbell tells us, "I think mixing montetization styles and monetization goals is one of the key things that I see...If you were using a blog to generate leads for consulting, it's probably not wise to plaster a lot of ads onto your blog because it's going to take away from you and your consulting as being center-place, and that's what you want to have being in center-place."
"Have a clear idea of what it is that you're trying to actually sell or promote with a blog from a business perspective," she adds.
While making money with advertising may be your goal (and it is possible), a better option might be to sell some product or service that is an extension of the content that your provide. Brian Clark of Copyblogger recently elaborated on this in an interview with WebPronews.
"I think it actually is a challenge," says Campbell. "It takes a while to build up traffic to a blog. It takes a while to build up brand recognition and visibility. I think that one of the key things I see is people try too early to monetize. You can't start a blog and expect that tomorrow you're going to make a lot of money from a blog. It takes time. It took me a couple of years before things really started to click into place."
Would You Do Better with a Team?
"When it originally started, I was the only one writing on the blog, but as I like to say today, it's not my blog...I just supply the resources to make it happen...we have over a hundred contributors who have contributed on the blog," she says. "It's really their platform, and you hear a variety of different voices. What that means is it's no longer my voice, so therefore it's not just me talking to the world, but I think it's richer. It's a richer vehicle because there are so many people contributing, and not all of the contributors necessarily agree on everything. One might write things one way and another writes things another way."
"But it's that kind of differing voices and then you hear from the community that they disagree or they agree or they add to it, and it just makes the whole thing so much more powerful I think," she adds.
This is really the kind of thing readers need anyway - differing views. It's better to have a more balanced picture of any set of information than it is to take one person's word. It's similar to why search results are in many cases becoming less effective without a human element or social experience. We discussed that here. Don't underestimate the power of community.
Give it Time (and Effort) to Happen
"Forget about being an overnight success," says Campbell. "There is no such thing in business. It takes everyone time, so don't give up too easily. And you really have to work at getting visibility."
"We had a contribution on the site not too long ago about getting comfortable with self-promotion [by Lisa Barone], and in a way you have to do that, but you have to do it in a way that's not offensive...that is a way that actually gives back to the community, but you do have to be comfortable with that," she adds. "You have to be comfortable getting out there in social media and reaching out to people and talking, and some people just aren't naturally, so you've got to get over that."