Archive for the ‘Make Money Blogging’ Category

BlogThority Re-Launch – A New Beginning

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Hi there, welcome to the re-launch of – the website designed to help bloggers increase their earnings without spending any more time on their blogs.

I’ve been blogging since May 2007 and have been successful in making a decent online income since the beginning of 2009. My main sites are Four Pillars and ABCs of Investing.

The two main challenges I faced when trying to increase the revenue of my sites were:

1) Knowledge – it took me about 18 months to really figure out how to make some decent money. I make no claim to being an “expert” since the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know. However, I hope to pass on some of the lessons I’ve learned since that knowledge would have been helpful to me when I started.

2)  Time – I have a full time job, a wife, 2 little kids and a house.  I can’t just “work harder” since I’m already giving everything I got!  I found that one of the keys to increasing my income was learning to figure out which parts of blogging were making money and focusing more on that.  This meant cutting back on other aspects of blogging in order to increase earnings without spending more time on blogging.

What kind of posts will Blogthority have?

Most of the posts will be either points about how to make more money or blog improvement suggestions.

I would love to say that this material will be helpful to all bloggers but I think the following types of bloggers will benefit the most:

  • Someone who has been blogging for at least 6-12 months and isn’t making very much money. Once you get past the 1 year mark and have a good archive then you are at a point where your blog should have good earning potential. If you aren’t making at least a couple hundred a month then you need to make some changes.
  • Just starting – It is almost impossible to make any meaningful dough in the first 6 months…or more likely 12 months, but knowing how to set your blog up for greater earning potential will pay off down the road.
  • Already making decent dough. This person already has things figured out and I doubt I can add much. However, you are welcome to stick around and add/correct to my information.

I would love to hear from anyone who can apply any info from this site and experiences an income gain (or even if you don’t). I’m not promising huge increases, slow and steady gains are the key to long term earnings growth.

FYI – the material will not be posted in a “course” format (ie sequential). Once I have posted enough material then I’ll create a summary page which I’ll link to in the sidebar which will serve as a guideline to the material.  There won’t be any set posting schedule – just when I have something to publish.

Leveraging your Blog with Paid Content

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

Most personal finance bloggers make money from their sites through advertising. The current next big thing in making money online is to develop paid content and/or consulting income. For personal finance bloggers like me, paid consulting about personal finance is almost impossible. There is already an industry that consults on finance issues — financial planners and independent financial advisors — it quite rightly requires serious study, qualifications and liability insurance. Very few financial advisors are personal finance bloggers (or very few personal finance bloggers are financial advisors), most like me are providing information for entertainment purposes only.

More Than Advertising?

All the above means that if you are a personal finance blogger who wants to extract more income from your site or brand than you can get from advertising, you need to develop paid content. To my mind, there’s nothing wrong with this. Think about the news. I can and do read the news online for free, but not all the content of my favourite newspaper (The Independent) is there. If I want everything I have to pay for it.

Some personal finance bloggers are starting to go down this route. Trent Hamm of The Simple Dollar has written and published a book — what’s in the book is generally along the same lines as some posts in his blog but it isn’t a duplication of blog content. Trent has also collected together some of his blog post series as e-books and charges $2 for them to be downloaded. With the sort of traffic that he gets (approx 40k subs), that’s likely to be a nice little earner since $2 is fairly nominal for a visitor, but the work involved in setting it up is a one off cost.

Paid Content: A Case Study

Ramit Sethi is always looking for a way to do something different with his blog I Will Teach You To Be Rich, and preferably make a little money whilst doing so. His latest idea is a paid subscription to a money saving email. From the description it sounds like you pay $8 a month, and in return you get an email with detailed ideas that will save you large amounts of money. It’s worth stating that Ramit’s audience is typically young and high earning with a high disposable income — I’m sure that the cost of the subscription is pitched at the level that most of his readers wouldn’t even notice.

Ways to Make it Work

Personally, I think one of the key selling points of blogging is that it produces free content. Free content ranks highly in search engines, and is a great stand alone advertising technique. Writing free and focused content as part of your blog should be the core of your blogging strategy — if you’re trying to market content about widgets, people are going to be looking for blog posts about widgets, not blog posts about marketing widgets.

It’s also going to help to deliver your paid-for and free content separately, and differently if you can. This distinguishes the two offerings more easily, and means that you won’t be caught by having information similar to your paid content on other free blogs. Just something as simple as packaging it for easy reading on a kindle, or maybe podcasting, or producing content designed for emailing rather than web display can give your readers and visitors a reason to buy.

4 Approaches to Making Money from Blogging

Monday, January 12th, 2009

So, you’ve heard that people can make money from blogging, but you’re wondering “how exactly does that work, and what approach would suit your blog?”.

Text Links

You have a website which has outgoing links, other websites want to rank with search engines, and one of the main measures for page rank is the number and quality of incoming links. So, there is money to be made from selling links on your site, and the advertiser is generally not that bothered if nobody ever clicks on the link.

This can be a reasonable source of income both from aggregators and private sales, but it doesn’t scale that well — after a certain point, you can’t earn more money as your blog grows. The main downside is that it is not at all popular with search engines and you may find your own ranking in searches is lowered as a result.

Ad Networks

You have a website which has visitors who click on links on your website. Other websites are are willing to pay for visitors. There is money to be made from selling advertising space on your website, you either get paid when someone views an ad, or when they click on it.

Making money this way requires a reasonably sized audience, and search engine traffic is considered to click more on adverts than regular readers or subscribers. Ad network income generally scales very well, and it is possible to make this the cornerstone of a money making strategy reliant on a single blog in the right sort of niche. The downside is that unless your website is very large, you’re unlikely to make private sales and will be reliant on an ad aggregator (e.g. Adsense, ). In practice this means that you will give up a fair amount of control over which ads are shown, and there can be restrictive terms and conditions.

Affiliate Links

You have a website where you mention products and services. Other companies are willing to pay commission for leads, inquiries or sales. There is money to be made by linking to the product or service if your visitors are likely to click on the link and follow up with a purchase.

Affiliate links scale well, and there is the potential for using both aggregators and private arrangements. You generally have complete control over which affiliate links are shown on your blog, and existing readers and subscribers are more likely to click on affiliate links than straight advertising. The downside is that making money from affiliate links depends strongly on the niche you are working in. There needs to be an obvious relationship between the topics you write about, and some products or services. So, for example review blogs do very well from affiliate sales, as can blogs related to expensive hobbies, but if you rarely mention specific products or services then you will probably struggle.

Consulting and Sales

You have some skill or product that you wish to sell. Your blog is strongly related to this skill or products. Other people will pay money for your skill or products.

You need to have genuine skills or a product to sell that people are interested in. Your blog needs to be strongly positioned towards making sales, in fact becomes somewhat of a sideline. You need to research any legal issues thoroughly before offering consulting, and ensure that you have back office systems set up for dealing with clients or completing sales. This works very well with business to business internet sales (e.g. selling WordPress themes, or blog consulting services) and fairly well with anything that can be done remotely, it is much harder to do if your skill requires you to be actually present. The biggest downside is that this is not passive income — you’ll actually have to work for the money, as well as blog.

Issues to Consider

You need to have the right set up in order to make money. Some free blog networks like don’t allow their bloggers to run advertising so check your terms and conditions. It is generally easiest to grow your blog’s income with self-hosted web hosting and your own domain name, but other approaches have worked for some people.

It’s possible to use a mix of approaches to making money, but be careful. If you are selling a product or skill then you might not want to use Adsense for example because the ads that come up are likely to be for competitors. As mentioned, selling text links can have a negative impact on your search engine visitors which are the primary source of income for most of the other forms of advertising.

Invariably, making money means paying taxes on the net income. Check out the regulations in your area, but you can usually make deductions for legitimate business expenses like hosting, domain names and Internet access. If you have a tax advisor or accountant already, you should contact them with your plans, often tax departments have phone lines you can call for advice on issues.

Finally, the standing of your blog is always dependent of having good content, and your credibility can be harmed by having a blog design with intrusive advertising. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by letting your desire to make money overcome your common sense.

Best of luck, and here’s to your first million (or at least hundred)!

Earn More Money With AdSense-Analytics Integration

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Recently Google made AdSense-Analytics integration available for my account.  I only have a few days worth of data, but I am very impressed with the information so far. As I analyze the data, I am beginning to see some potential uses. If you have no idea what I am talking about, you should start with this Inside AdSense’s article: Make a date with data in Google Analytics — make sure you watch the video, which is included below.

Make More Money With AdSense, The Basics

Before I go into more detail about how I am planning to use the data, let’s cover the basics. In short, your AdSense income depends on three key factors:

  1. Clickthrough Rate (CTR) — There are several things you could do to improve clickthrough rate.  This includes experimenting with:
    • Ad size (e.g., Skyscraper, Leaderboard, etc.)
    • Ad type (i.e., text versus image) — In general, I prefer text ads over image ads.
    • Ad placement (i.e., location or locations on the page) — Based on my experience ads below the Post Title perform very well.  Likewise, Skyscraper ad on the left also performs well.
    • Ad format (e.g., color, border, background, etc.) — My general preference is to have title link that matches the color of links on my site, no border, and matching background color.
  2. $ per click (CPC) — This is mainly determined by the topic and keywords of your blog/posts.
  3. Traffic — In general, the more the better.  However, different traffic type can have significant impact on the CTR.  For example, social bookmarking traffic tends to have very low CTR.  On the other hand, traffic via links from mainstream websites and traffic from organic searches tend to have much higher CTR.

    Use Integration Data To Improve Your AdSense Income

    Now that we have the basics covered, I want to go over two specific ideas on how to use the new data.

    High CTR / High $ per click Pages

    The first set of pages prime for optimization are the high CTR / high $ per click pages.  You want to drive more traffic to these pages because they are money makers that just need more traffic.  Here are a few ideas:

    • Link to these pages from your sidebar or from your home page.  For example, you can call these “Featured Articles”.
    • Link to these pages when you are writing new articles.
    • Link to these pages from your high traffic pages.
    • Buy ads that drive traffic to these pages.  This requires some tinkering since you have to figure out how to spend less on the ads than you are earning to keep some profit.

    Low $ per click Pages

    Another idea revolves around low $ per click pages; especially for pages with high traffic and high CTR.  For these pages there are several things you could try:

    • Look at the ads that appear on these pages and try blocking them. Hopefully, this will bring up the $ per click.
    • Tweak the keywords to attract higher paying keywords.
    • Stop showing AdSense and experiment with other types of advertisement — e.g., relevant affiliate ads, CPM ads, etc.  For example, I am doing this with one of my page that has high traffic and high CTR but with $ per click that’s around 5 cents.
    • Another idea is to replace AdSense with links to your other high CTR / high $ per click pages.

      Anyway, this is a relatively new and you may not have statistically significant amount of data to work with. However, it’s worth exploring and sees what you could do to positively impact your earning.  Here’s a good article I found on this topic: 10 Ways To Analyze AdSense Analytics To Make More Money from

      Simple Way to Add AdSense for Feeds to Your FeedBurner Feed

      Thursday, November 6th, 2008

      If you’re like me, you probably have FeedBurner feed all set up for your blog, but want to add AdSense for Feeds for some extra revenue.  And if you have done some research, you probably heard nightmare stories from people who switched entirely from FeedBurner feed to Google feed.  Lucky for you, I have a simple solution!

      Set Up Your AdSense for Feed

      First, log into your AdSense account and set up AdSense for Feed:

      • Click on AdSense Setup
      • Click on AdSense for Feeds
      • This takes you to the main set up screen.
      • Click on burn a new feed (look toward the bottom)

        You’ll get a pop-up box.

        • Enter your non-FeedBurner feed address — i.e.,

          • Click on Next and you’ll see this pop-up box

            • Click on Next again
            • Click on Close

              Now you are back on the main set up screen again.

              • Click on Create new channel
              • Enter a name — i.e., Blogthority.  You can make your feed targetable if you want.
              • Click on Add
              • Set up your ad placement and configuration
              • Copy your AdSense for Feeds feed address – i.e.,
              • Click on Save

                You are done on AdSense side.

                Redirect Your FeedBurner Feed To AdSense Feed

                Now log in to your FeedBurner account.

                • Click on your feed — i.e., Blogthority
                • Click on Edit Feed Details…
                • Change your original feed — i.e., to AdSense Feed — i.e.,
                • Click on Save Feed Details button

                That’s it! You’re done.  You may or may not see the change immediately.  However, you’ll start to see ad Impressions and other statistics rolling in on your AdSense Report.

                Are Paid Reviews Unethical?

                Friday, October 10th, 2008

                The ethical nature of paid reviews is a debatable one.  There are some bloggers that embrace paid reviews as a strategy to monetize their blogs.  There are some that steer clear of paid reviews citing that it would diminish their reputation and damage readers’ trust.  If you asked me a year ago, I would tell you that I belong in the second group of bloggers.  But I am not sure if it’s that black and white anymore.

                What Are Paid Reviews?

                In the traditional sense, paid reviews are articles that you write because someone compensates you for writing them.  For example, someone engages you and offers $50 for you to write a review about his web site or products — that’s a paid review.  Other examples include:

                • Someone gives you a product that you can keep in exchange for a review
                • Working through paid review networks like Pay Per Post or ReviewMe

                But for bloggers who monetize their blog, we make money on articles that we write — i.e., AdSense, CPM ads, Affiliates, etc.  This means that by traditional definition we are engaging in paid reviews in some shapes or forms.

                Ethical Versus Unethical Paid Reviews

                So what really makes good or bad?  In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with making money from your blog or articles.  However, it’s unethical if you do it without honesty and integrity — note that I didn’t include disclosure as a requirement. Let me give you some examples:

                Unethical Paid Reviews

                • Write a favorable review because you got paid for it, or because you are hoping to make money on it.
                • Saying that you are using something, when you’re clearly not.  A lot of bloggers — especially in the Make Money Online niche — are guilty of this one.
                • Recommend something that you would not use yourself.
                • Recommend something that you know is not in the best interest of your readers — i.e., recommend something when you know there’s a better alternative.

                Ethical Paid Reviews

                • Give an honest opinion about a product and service even if it’s a negative one.
                • Don’t recommend something that you are not using, or would not use yourself.
                • Don’t write to maximize your income, instead write you maximize value for your readers.

                I think it’s perfectly fine to write paid reviews, as long as you do it with honesty and integrity.  Whether you disclose the fact to your readers is up to you.  I don’t think it’s necessary to disclose what you make or don’t make money on — in fact, I think it’s silly to do so.

                Here’s what other bloggers are saying:

                A Better Way To Manage Affiliate Links

                Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

                One of the more lucrative monetization methods for a blog is affiliate marketing (or referral marketing). Basically, you set up your blog with an affiliate link (or referral link) and send traffic to your advertiser. For each visitor that completes an action — i.e., subscribe to a service, buy a product, etc. — you’ll get paid a fixed amount or a percentage of the sale as compensation.

                Three Problems With Affiliate Links

                1. Non-Descriptive

                Non-descriptive affiliate links are the ones that don’t tell the user information about the site it is leading to. This is a common problem with program like Commission Junction where a typical affiliate link looks something like this:


                By the way, that’s the affiliate link for Lunarpages web hosting. However, with all the phishing scams, visitors are less inclined to click on a non-descriptive link because they are not sure where they will end up.

                2. Complicated

                Complicated affiliate links are the excessively long ones. For example, this is an affiliate link for a Garmin Nuvi GPS through


                That’s a pretty long affiliate link.

                3. Hard To Update

                As your blog ages, it could contain hundreds or even thousands of affiliate links. This presents a challenge if one of these links needs to be updated. For example, eBay recently left Commission Junction and started its own affiliate program, forcing publishers to update all eBay affiliate links.

                Using PHP Redirect To Manage Affiliate Links

                The three problems above can be addressed with a simple solution if you know a bit of PHP. We will use the Lunarpages link as an example.

                First, you need to create a PHP file that redirects visitors to the affiliate URL when called — let’s call it lunarpages.php. This is how the file would look like:

                header( ‘Location:’ ) ;

                Note the Lunarpages affiliate link.

                Second, upload the lunarpages.php file to your web server. I keep my PHP redirect files in a folder called go. For example:


                Now, I can simply link to this nicer looking link that tells my visitors that it goes to Lunarpages instead of the ugly “” link. Try it:

                A Better Way To Manage Amazon Affiliate Links

                It would be extremely time consuming to manage Amazon affiliate links using the above method — i.e., one PHP file per product. Fortunately, we can use a PHP variable to solve the problem — this way, one PHP file can handle multiple products.

                First, the PHP file. Let’s call it amazon.php. This is what it would look like.

                $asin = htmlspecialchars($_GET[‘asin’]);
                $link = “” . $asin . “?tag=your-affiliate-ID”;

                Note, be sure to replace your-affiliate-ID with your ID. Again, upload the file to your web server. Now, when I need to link to an amazon product, I can do the following:


                This is the equivalent of the long affiliate link in #2 above. Try it:

                If you ever need to update any of these links, all you have to do is update the PHP file — one change and you’re all set!

                How Much Should I Charge For Freelance Blogging?

                Friday, April 11th, 2008

                A couple of weeks ago, I was approached by a blogger whom I greatly respect about a freelance writing position for a software company’s blog. I checked out the company and felt that I could do a good job writing for them, so we started our negotiation process.


                One of the first question that came up was how much do I want (the gig is paid per accepted article). Since I haven’t consulted for a long time, I had to do some homework.

                How Much Should I Charge For Consulting Work?

                Method 1: Base it off my current job

                I could base the freelance blogging rate on my current pay rate, assuming I am happy with the pay rate. However, it’s important not to forget your non-salary benefits, which is usually about 30-50% premium on top of the base pay.

                For instance, if my current pay is $20 an hour, my ideal rate would be $30 an hour (after I factor in the 50% to cover my benefits).

                Method 2: Base it off the amount I should have been paid at work

                Let’s say my current job doesn’t pay me what I think I deserved. I could come up with a freelance blogging rate that I think would be a fair trade for my effort. Then follow the same process above to find out the ideal rate.

                Method 3: Base it off the market rate in the industry

                May be the current job has nothing to do with the freelancing job, as is the case for me. In this scenario, it’s worthwhile to do a little research to identify the market rate. Some places to start include:

                When you find a similar job, make a list and start formulating your rate based on the information you’ve gathered.

                Method 4: Base it off my blog income

                Since I also blog in my spare time, I have an additional option of calculating the consulting fee based on my blogging income. For example, let’s assume I wrote 20 posts last month and earned $500 for my effort. That’s $25 a post, and I could use that as the starting point.

                However, my blog and income level grows from month-to-month, so I could do some kind of projection to make sure that I’ll be paid more from the freelancing gig — at least for a while.

                How Much Should I Ask For?

                How much you should ask for is not the same as your ideal rate. In my opinion, you should add 25%-50% on top of your ideal rate. This way you have some room to negotiate in case your potential employer wants to play that game.

                However, you have to be careful and not go overboard with your asking price…they may never call you back.

                More Freelancing Tips

                Additionally, here are some great tips I found:

                Photo by oooh.oooh via Flickr

                Increase Blog Income With CPM Advertising

                Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

                Many bloggers and webmasters are familiar with AdSense and its potential to generate excellent revenue for blogs and web sites. Unfortunately, many bloggers and webmasters focus too much on AdSense and forget that there are other types of advertising — i.e., CPM advertising — that could help your blog make more money without affecting the existing AdSense income. After all, there’s only so much AdSense optimization that could be done.

                Money Monetization

                Photo by RichSeattle via Flickr

                AdSense is great, but it’s not the only solution for blog monetization

                Although AdSense is a good place to start because there’s no traffic or page views requirement, it shouldn’t be the only blog monetization solution. Once your blog or web site reach a more consistent traffic level (i.e., 5,000 to 10,000 page views a month), you should consider adding CPM advertising to the mix — and I am not talking about AdSense CPM ads.

                Due to AdSense revenue fluctuation and general downward trend in March, I decided to add CPM advertising to my personal finance blog this month — despite many warnings that CPM advertising is dead. I am happy to say that I am seeing positive outcome with minimal negative impact on my AdSense revenue.

                Why is CPM advertising good for your blog monetization?

                I believe the three primary benefits are:

                • CPM advertising provides consistent daily revenue proportionate to your traffic level
                • CPM advertising provides additional daily revenue above and beyond AdSense revenue
                • CPM advertising is great for social media traffic — i.e., Digg, StumbleUpon, etc. — where visitors are unlikely to click on your AdSense ads.

                Which CPM network to choose?

                While there are many CPM networks to choose from, the two networks that I am currently using are ADSDAQ, BURST Media, and ValueClick Media. However, you should do your own research, or you could simply try them all. Here are a list of articles about CPM advertising that I recommend:

                Are You A Blogger Making Money? Tax Deductions You Might Be Able To Take

                Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

                If you are making money from your blog, you are going to have to report it on your tax return. I know, it’s a bummer. But the good news is that you are making money from being a writer! Do you know how many people can say that? Not many, my friend! Depending on your individual situation, adding all that money to your tax return can add a significant amount of tax to your final bill. However, there are ways you might be able to reduce the amount you owe, whether or not you do this professionally or just as a hobby. As with any tax issues, take these up with your tax professional, as they don’t all apply to everyone equally. I am not an accountant or a CPA; just a blogger who makes a decent income from his sites!

                • Web hosting fees
                • Domain name fees
                • Telephone usage
                • Cell phone usage
                • Office supplies
                • Logo creation
                • Trademark filing
                • Corporation creation
                • Fax number/line
                • Business stationary
                • New computers, monitors, etc.
                • Percentage of space your home office takes up, relative to the size of your home
                • Business cards
                • Advertising expenses
                • Conference fees
                • Business gifts
                • Charitable donations in the name of your company
                • Office rent
                • Percentage of your utilities, relative to the size of your home
                • Professional organizations (for example,
                • Search engine optimization
                • Magazine subscriptions in your “industry”
                • Accounting services
                • Tax preparation fees
                • Meals out with potential or existing clients
                • Postage Fees
                • Software
                • Banking Fees
                • Prizes for contests
                • Books
                • Travel expenses related to your job

                As with anything related to taxes, make sure either you or a professional knows what they are doing if you start doing deductions. The IRS does not like people who take advantage of the system, but at the same time, you should not pay more taxes than you need to. And as I said before, please get your tax advice from a tax professional, as they don’t all apply to everyone equally, and maybe not at all. If you have anything to add to the list, let us know in the comments!