Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Imperial monetization methods for your blog

From  the past one year I have come across thousands of blogs, each getting over 70,000 visitors every month. I have a habit of checking out the ad rates of other blog and calculating their maximum revenue potential, to my surprise most of those blogs earn less than $200 a month. This is because they use the traditional banners and links to monetize their sites. First of all the banners and links can generate good income, but it can't generate a six figure income, which can make you an imperial blogger. The money you earn doesn't depend on your traffic, number of subscribers or the number of comments you get, it depends on your monetization strategy, people who make most money online have it well optimized knowingly or unknowingly. Today bloggers use two types of revenue models traditional and imperial, but there are thousands of what I call as the monetization strategy. This post gives different methods of imperial monetization, but its up to you to create, optimize and implement these methods according to your strategy.

A short note on traditional monetization 
The traditional monetization way is the method used by most of the people today, it is really good for beginners, but when your blogs traffic touches 20000 visitors, you no longer need to use the traditional way, but to my surprise bloggers with more than 100,000 monthly visitors still put up Adsense and sell banners, they will definitely make money, but they don't realize that their blogs have a bigger revenue potential.

But why doesn't this type of monetization not work? Just imagine, a blog has 12 different ad spots, and it gets 100,000 visitors a month, it sells those ads at $100 a month, leading to a total of $1200 every month, now even if that blog's traffic grows by 40% you cannot increase your ad rates because you can do so only your advertiser demands increase, this is one of the many disadvantages of traditional monetization.

So now just imagine your selling a product on your site, it takes one post and a banner on your homepage and it keeps generating revenue everyday and the only thing that matters is your traffic. This doesn't mean you'll earn $100 extra everyday, your going to definitely more than and after sometime thats going to become your top revenue.

Selling an E-book
This the new growing trend on the internet, because of its environment friendly and economic price, I'm sure has real growth and high revenue potential. Darren Rowse made $72000 a week when he first launched his ebook, and truly don't think he invested much. He only promoted his ebook within his blog and used its traffic for promotion and sales. When your selling an ebook the most important aspects are your reputation, good content and your blogs traffic, if your blog doesn't get enough traffic then you should be ready to invest money on your own for exposure. For tips to launch your ebook visit - How to successfully launch an online product?

Action Plan

  1. Set up a landing page
  2. Set up an affiliate program with ready made banners
  3. Post sample articles on your blog, for giving users a feel of your product.
  4. Promote it on forums, social networks and buy advertisements
  5. Send inside traffic from your blog using banners and links.
    Sell an hardcover book

    Ebooks are toys of the near future, as today hardcover books are comparatively profitable, this because it can be sold both online through your blog, as well as offline through mainstreet publishers. Same as above, content is always first, then is what you call as marketing.

    Marketing a hardcover book is pretty tough and expensive, you'll have to use both offline and online advertising, you need an high traffic blog to sell your book, if you advertise on other blogs and if you are successful in creating a buzz online, some mainstream publications may cover your product.

    Many successful bloggers and journalists have made fortunes selling hardcover books, some examples include Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki and Malcolm Gladwell.

    Action plan
    1. Set up a landing page on your blog
    2. Send traffic towards the landing page
    3. Try to create a buzz
    4. Get some media contacts with some small publications
    5. Use some self publishing services such as Lulu, Iuniverse, WorldClay and Self Publishing.

      Membership sites

      Another highly profitable revenue model is setting up a membership website, this is more profitable than an ebook as your customers are not just one time buyers, they keep buying if they feel its worth their money. Most membership blogs charge their users on a monthly basis, their price ranges from somewhere around $2 to thousands of dollars.

      The tactic most people use when it comes to membership sites is to keep a free version of their service or an initial free version, then the pricing is usually kept low and is increased according to your traffic, this is what i meant by imperial monetization.

      There are certain tools and plugins commonly used while creating membership sites, some include Aweber, PHPautoresponder, Amember, WishlistMember.

      Selling templates and themes

      These days every company and every individual wants to have an online presence, to do it well most people buy an expensive host, good content and one thing which they are very serious about is its template and design. Most webmasters don't mind spending a bit of money on a hot ready made theme. This does have a problem because it depends on your audience and the percentage of it interested in themes.

      There are many bloggers using their blogs traffic to sell templates, most of them are in the blogging tips and make money online niche. Your template has to be exceptionally good as there are many average templates out there.

      Examples of some bloggers are Brian Clark, who makes millions every year selling his Wordpress framework and the other guy is CarloCab who uses his high traffic make money online blog to sell his self made wordpress theme.

      Action plan :

      1. Create a professional looking theme or outsource it to a web designer
      2. Create an attractive landing page, with details and pictures of your template. Add a tutorial page and a forum if you can.
      3. Set up an affiliate program with ready made banners.
      4. If you can give away a free version of your theme for free with a link to your blog as part of your promotion strategy.
      5. Buy traffic to your site from related blogs.
        Offer consultancy/related services

        This is a job which takes a lot of planning and hard work. There are many people looking for someone to outsource their work, and your blog, your articles and your traffic will prove your expertise. All you have to do is put up a post listing your services and their prices in detail and then make sure you provide a good quality service. This is not what i like as I believe in generating passive income, but 3 customers a month can generate good income, and you can even hire someone to do this.

        Recently, my friend Sushant of started webmaster services on his blog, he got 4 to 5 clients every month, but his earnings were less as he charged very less, but i kind of felt that the work he did was more, but he also monetizes his blog with banners and text links. Many bloggers use consultancy services as their only source of revenue, one of them include Marko Saric, who runs HowToMakeMyBlog, he listed his services in a separate page named 'Hire Me' and prices were not listed, but now he also has an ebook to monetize his site.

        You will have to be well organized for doing services, if there is some sort misunderstanding between you and your client, both you and your client will loose money. Other than this there are many other problems, so I consider that you hire someone once your business gets a firm hold with long term clients, until then you'll need to take the help of some highly specialized softwares for freelancers, some of them include, Backpack, Webnote and FreshBooks.

        Action plan :

        • Create a page listing your services and their prices, with your contact information.
        • Set some rules and regulations.
        • Tell your customer to pay 20% before starting your work.
        • Sign up with freelancer directories such as Elance, Limeexchange and Freelanceswitch.
        • Use some of the tools I have listed above for quality service.

        Create a job board

        The internet has seen many mainstream job boards, but I'm talking about job boards for freelancers, or small or part time jobs, these kinds of job boards were neglected, but in the past few years there have seen many such job boards and almost all are successfully running. If you have a job board there are many types of revenue models you can use, either you charge for both opportunity and job listing or you can make it free and sell sponsored listings which come on top of every page, but you'll need to have a lot of listings for this, another thing people do is they monetize it with advertisements, but thats not what i call imperial monetization.

        Most of the job boards are mainstream, but there are many which are based on blogs and use their high traffic blog users to sell job out job posts. Some of them include Problogger and Freelanceswitch.

        There are a few plugins that would help you create and run a job board with ease, they are WPJobboard and Job Press.

        Mentoring programs

        Many people feel that free online education is not worth, so there are many people willing to pay for good quality education online, and one more thing is that the education industry is something thats ever growing no matter how market conditions are.

        Its really profitable to start a mentoring program related to your niche, all it takes is good content, structure and promotion. You can deliver information in the form of text, audio or video or you can use all the three. Its advisable give a basic version of the program for free to make users feel your service.

        Mentoring programs are much more profitable than selling ebooks because, in this the user keeps buying for months together, but an ebook is bought once for all.

        Action Plan :

        1. Set up a landing page containing introduction of your program with the table of contents.
        2. Send internal traffic through banners and links from your main site.
        3. Use tools such as Aweber to deliver your information.
        4. Create an affiliate program
        5. Increase the price according to the increase in subscriptions.
        6. Set up a bait (such as freebies and discounts on certain products for subscribers)

           All these are some of the methods which are applicable by small bloggers with up to 20000 monthly visitors, there are many more which make a lot of money, but that would take a lot of man power and initial investment and not possible for sit at home bloggers. The web like all other industries has no long term trend, these are the trends today and are going to exist for the next couple of years, but we will have to keep changing our monetization strategies as web keeps changing.


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