Last week, I covered some of the key points that J.D. Roth brought up at the Savvy Blogging Summit opening presentation. I couldn’t wait to attend the rest of his workshops after listening to him that first night. Not only that, but I began to feel that maybe I really could take my blog where I’d like to see it go.
I heard a lot of the same ideas reiterated among several of the summit speakers and sponsors, which included getting personal- sharing your story and building community.
So how does a blogger go about building community?
- Know who your readers are. You can do this by conducting a survey, reading their blogs, interacting on a Facebook page and adding an online forum or community to your blog.
- Respond to personal questions and reply to your readers. I try to do this. If you email me, I WILL email back. If you comment on the blog, I try to comment back here, on your blog or shoot you an email.
- Focus on a story and sharing. I guess this is kind of what I do with Field Trip Friday, but on a small scale. I post what we’ve been up to and ask you to link up field trips and outings that you’ve been on with your family. I have a few ideas that I’d like to try in the days to come that would allow each of you to share your stories as well so I can learn from you too.
- Encourage guest posts, ask your readers questions and include links and round-ups to your readers blogs and projects. You’ll also see more of this in the days to come. And, if any of you are interested in guest posting, I’m open to that too!
So, what about monetization? That’s a controversial term here in the blogging world. Some bloggers are making money, some are opposed to making money. Me? I’d love to earn some gas money without turning my blog into an online commercial.
What steps can you take in the quest to earn a dollar? First, you need to think about the big picture. Where do you see your blog down the road? Think in terms of 5-10 years. Where do you want to take it? If you’re going to effectively monetize your site, you need to realize that advertising is not evil but you do need to make some choices.
- Limit your ads. Too many ads will cause confusion and your readers won’t be able to make a choice.
- Determine which of your pages get the most traffic and advertise on those pages. In fact, while you’re finding your top page, figure out your top five pages and monetize them all.
- Find ads and affiliates that are relevant to your site and share your values. If my primary audience is for those interested in family travel, I probably don’t want to advertise Pampers.
- Keep your ads above the fold- the part of the blog that readers can see without scrolling down- for the best results experiment with the size and placement of the ads.
- Share your experience with the product you are trying to “sell”. If you really like it, write about it and include links. Just remember that if you are selling something, per FCC guidelines you are obligated to let your readers know.
For those opposed to ads, there are steps you can take to monetize your blog without the advertising. Here are some other ideas that some of the bloggers at the Savvy Blogging Summit shared:
- You can sell products from your blog.
- Find direct advertisers.
- Sell e-books or offer information products.
- If you have a large number of readers, you could choose to add premium content. This would essentially mean that you would offer those guests, members or readers a service in exchange for x amount of dollars a month, year, etc.
- You can become a brand representative for a specific product or company.
I hope that you’ve learned from some of the ideas I’ve shared with you. I learned so much from the conference and really loved the tips that other bloggers offered.
Do you make money from your blog? What are some ways that have worked for you?