Posts Tagged ‘consulting’

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)!

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