Category Archives: Make Money Blogging

(How to) Report Adsense Invalid/Suspicious Click activity to Google?

Click-bombing is described as an unusually high number of clicks on Adsense ads of a publisher (shown in his/her reports). It is almost always a hostile activity done deliberately by a competitor/fellow blogger. Google is very strict over invalid-click activity and repeated clicks from same IP may get your Adsense account banned within no time. Their mechanism of click monitoring is not very sophisticated and thus your adsense account is always at risk of getting banned. In fact Google says that

“Please keep in mind that it’s your responsibility to prevent invalid activity from occurring in your account, and this form does not absolve you of that responsibility.”

So what to do if you suddenly notice extraordinary number of clicks (and earnings) in your Adsense reports? (Some tips to keep Adsense account safe and secure):

(How to) Report Adsense Invalid/Suspicious Click activity to Google?

1. Regularly check your Adsense reports (at least twice a day). This way you will have an idea of average number of clicks and earnings and will notice any deviation (suspicious activity) immediately.

2. If you have a website (other than a blogger blog) then check site’s visitors log and try to find out the IP address of the source culprit. Note down the IP and block it if you can. However blocking an IP is not a sure shot method to solve this problem as there are numerous ways to access a site. Unfortunately there is no way to track visitor’s log in blogger as of now.

3. Immediately inform Google about the suspicious click activity via this contact form (login to your Adsense account to access this page). Give as much detail as available including the suspicious IP address(es).

4. If the click- activity still continues, remove all the Adsense ad units from the site/blog as this is the only way to stop the click-bombing. Insert ad units after some time (1 to 2 days) one by one and monitor whether the activity repeats. Again report to Google if that is the case.

How to show Adsense Ads Inside Blogger Blogposts (inline and wrapped by text)?

It is a proven fact that higher click-through rates (CTR) are achieved when Adsense (or any other ad network) ads are placed close to the content of the post and this placement is the best out of the lot (between post title and body, inline and wrapped by post text). Here is how you can do the above arrangement in your blog:

1. Login to Blogger and Go to “Design/Edit HTML”
2. Check “Expand Widget Templates”
3. Search for ANY of the following lines of code in the template (use “Find” by pressing Ctrl+F)

<div class=”post-body entry-content”>

OR

<data:post.body/>

(variable according to different templates)

4. Add following lines of code

<div style=”float: left; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 10px;”>
YOUR PARSED AD CODE
</div>

Just below

<div class=”post-body entry-content”>

OR

Just above

<data:post.body/>

Replace “YOUR PARSED AD CODE” with your actual Adsense ad code (note that you cannot place the Ad code as such in the blogger template i.e. it must be parsed (made xml compatible) first. Read this post to know how to parse Adsense Ad code for xml templates)
Click “SAVE TEMPLATE” and done.

NOTE:

1. The above arrangement will show ads at home page as well as post pages. If you want to show the ads at post pages only (and not at blog home page) then use the following code (instead of code given in point 4 above):

<div style=”float: left; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 10px;”>
<b:if cond=”data:blog.pageType == &quot;item&quot;”>
YOUR PARSED AD CODE
</div>

2. The above code will align the Ads left to the post text, however you can also change it to right by changing “float:left” to “float:right” in the code. You can also change margin width that suit your template (for example it can be set more than or less than 5px).

Some Uncommon Blog Monetization Strategies

Donations

In addition to or in place of direct sales and advertising revenue, you can also consider asking for donations. However, this is a sensitive issue and should be approached with caution. If you are already making a lot of money from advertising and other visible monetization sources, asking for donations may put off some readers who may find the action to be too greedy. To accept donations, you will have to set up a Paypal account (Donations Option can be accessed under “Merchant Services” tab once you log into your Paypal account) or some other such payment receiving mechanism. Even if you do not want to accept donations, you can still use your site to provide free advertising for your favorite charity and direct your users to donate to that organization.

Selling the blog

blog for sale

Selling the blog is one option that many bloggers don’t even think of. Unlike other businesses, a blog is a very personal experience and there will be a lot of emotional attachment. However, circumstances may require that you seriously consider this option. There are many reasons for selling a blog: you may have started a blog and build a user base but find that you no longer have the time or energy to continue giving it the attention it deserves. Whatever maybe the reason, keep in mind that a blog is like a business. Once you have brought it up to a certain level of traffic and revenue (equivalent to paying customers in a regular business), it becomes an attractive target for acquisition. Even without a revenue stream, some blogs maybe attractive to buyers because of the content and the established user base. For the buyer this would mean that they do not have to put any effort in acquiring new users and the blog would already have gained a reputation as a trustworthy source of information for the topic area. There are many online marketplaces where you can list your blog for sale. Flippa is a trusted site to buy/sell blogs.

Make Money Blogging Tips – Bloggers For Hire & Blog Networks

Blogging for others (Freelance Writing)

If you find that running your own blog is too much hard work but you still want to become a professional blogger consider blogging for other people or organizations. Realizing the power of blogging, many companies, individuals and blogging networks are always on the lookout for fresh writing talent. Many businesses are starting to maintain blogs. Usually these are maintained by employees but a significant number are looking to hire specialist bloggers who can provide the necessary writing talent. These blogs will require writers who can understand the company’s business and product lines and present these to the blog visitors.

Blogging networks are sites devoted to blogging with dedicated paid writers. While the larger networks (e.g. lifehacker.com) will be difficult to break into initially, you can search for smaller networks that are just starting out and build a writing reputation there. One thing that you cannot get out of is, putting up written content that will serve as your resume. Most people looking to hire bloggers will definitely request details on your blogging experience and ask to see samples of your previous writing.

To find opportunities to be a paid blogger, take a look at these sites:

Blogger Jobs (bloggerjobs.biz)

Bloggers for Hire (bloggersforhire.com)

Freelancer (freelancer.com)

Fiverr (fiverr.com)

Make Money Blogging – Product sale and merchandising

Product sale and merchandising

If your blog is limited to a particular business model or for a specific product range, you may consider offering your products for sale through your Web site and blog. This would mean that you would need to invest in setting up the relevant technology and business systems to cater to your customers. This could include: a shopping cart system, a secure payment acceptance and refund process, a fulfillment and shipping system, a merchant account, digital certificates, a digital download (FTP) facility and so on.

Digital Products

If you are an expert in your area of blogging interest and you have high quality content either in your blog or elsewhere, you may consider packaging and selling it as an eBook download. One such example is Blogger Buster (A famous and my favorite blog on blogger resources), which offer many useful e-books (Free though in this case), compiled from previously published posts. This can be further expanded to include other information products like videos and DVDs or even printed books.

Physical products

If you have actual physical products that you wish to sell through your blog you may need to pay attention to filtering out competitor’s advertisements too. Other than the physical products that you may have direct access to, you can also create merchandizing products like mugs and T-Shirts with the logo of your blog emblazoned on it. This can be easily stocked in and sold through various webstores.

Look at the following sites to give you an idea of the different options possible –

Café Press: (http://cafepress.com)
Lulu: (http://lulu.com)
Ebooks: (http://ebooks.com)

Make Money Blogging – Affiliate Programs and Feed Advertising

Affiliate Programs

An affiliate is a blogger/site owner who promotes a company’s (or an advertising network’s) product(s)/service(s) at his blog/site/social media channels. By this definition, all ad networks use affiliate programs to sell different ad products including contextual and display advertising. The distinction between affiliate programs and other types of ad programs is in the revenue model. In an affiliate program, the revenue (earned money) is usually measured in terms of CPA—Cost Per Action as against CPC – Cost per Click or CPM -Cost per thousand impressions. That is, the advertiser will pay for a specific action from the user. This could be something as simple as registering for free on a Web site or more complicated like buying a product. This affiliate CPA model is less popular in comparison to other monetizing strategies described in earlier posts. Some of the top affiliate programs include:

Amazon Associates (affiliate-program.amazon.com)

Shareasale (shareasale.com)

Bravenet (www.bravenet.com/webtools/affiliate/index.php)

Clickbank (www.clickbank.com/promote_products.html)

Usually the revenue will be dependent on successful sales. For example, the Amazon Associates program pays commissions on books and other products sold through your referral. To extract maximum benefit from this you would need to position your referral links intelligently. Thus, if you refer to a book in your blog post, provide an affiliate link to the book on Amazon.com, if a reader clicks on the link and buys the book at Amazon you will receive a percentage of the sale as commission. Indiscriminately posting affiliate links and images of products on your blog should be avoided. Keep experimenting with the different products and placement plans (there are countless types of Ads to choose from on these sites) to determine if they work. If they do work, focus on how you can improve upon. If they don’t work consider removing them at the earliest. Watch out for more details on how to position your ads in upcoming posts.

RSS/ATOM Feed Advertising

This is the latest trend in which the feeds of the blog contains the ADs. A large number of blog readers prefer to have their content delivered via RSS/Atom feeds. It makes it simple and convenient for them as all their favorite content is delivered in one easily accessible location—their feed reader software or in their e-mail Inbox. This however poses as a slight disadvantage to blog owners who wish to increase their advertising potential by having visitors on their blog site.
Some of the programs which offer Feed Advertising are –

Feedvertising (text-link-ads.com/feedvertising)

Feedburner Ad Network (feedburner.com/fb/a/monetize) – Not working now!

Pheedo (pheedo.com/publishers)

Feedvertising only supports the WordPress blogging platform. Pheedo on the other hand is more flexible.

Make Money Blogging – Targeted Advertising/Direct Ad Selling

This type of advertising is the most lucrative option. Advertisers will directly deal with you offering to pay premium rates for ad spots on your blog. This can either be text based ads or even image or video ads. The revenue from the ad will be all yours. In targeted advertising, the ad is usually displayed for a fixed period at a specific price as in traditional media like newspapers and magazines. CPC and CPM are usually not important. However, unlike newspapers or magazines the price you charge for the ad spot can be at a superlative premium. To reach this position of being able to negotiate such prices, will require a lot of hard work.

Make money blogging

To understand this better, consider the example of perezhilton.com This extremely popular blog keeps track of celebrity news and gossip. It has a daily traffic of over a million unique visitors. A 150×200 pixels ad spot on Perez Hilton may cost you $9000 per week. In comparison an 125×125 pixel ad spot on BoingBoing, another popular site, only costs $350! This is an extreme example but illustrates the importance of traffic to Web site revenue.
Even if you do not have a large traffic base you can still sell targeted ads on your blog if you take a little bit of time and effort. Be patient, as your blog’s authority and traffic increases, advertisers will eventually contact you. Make sure that you follow these steps to attract advertisers –

1. Create and develop a blog that is authority or an expert in a specific topic. This will attract both an audience of visitors who have interest in your subject and also advertisers who want to reach that specific audience.

2. Put up a Media Kit on your blog. A media kit contains information about certain key elements that all advertising customers look for, like for example

a. The type of users that visit your site with some demographic details. If you are not able to give demographics you can get an educated guess by using the demographics prediction tool at Microsoft Ad Center: adlab.msn.com

b. Rates—what will be the rates you charge and whether it is negotiable

c. Types of ads that you will accept and what you will not accept (adult content etc)

d. Testimonials from anyone who has advertised with you describing their experience and satisfaction with the results

e. Contact details where you can be reached

3. Get your blog listed at various blog directories like indiblogger.in, technorati.com, blogadda.com etc so that Advertisers can search you out easily.

4. Increase your social media presence by creating Facebook page, Twitter profile, Pinterest  profile, Linkedin profile etc.

5. Finally you can also reach advertisers yourself. To do it search for the sites/companies related to your blog’s niche and then contact them for advertising opportunities at your blog.

Be ready to discuss and negotiate with advertisers. Offer the first few customers free or very low-cost ad spots so that others can realize that you are open to direct advertising too. Provide statistics and results to your advertisers. You can use Google Analytics (www.google.com/analytics), to manage your campaigns. Seek out smaller companies that cater to your topic area. Working with smaller companies will be much easier as they will be more amenable to work with you than larger companies. Building a solid base of advertisers will be hard work initially but in the end, it will provide with you with a solid source of income

Getting started with Making Money from Blog – Revenue Channels (Part-1)

It is important to note here that initially (Say for example first 6 months or whatever time it takes to build a sizable number of visitors towards the blog) the first priority of you as a new blogger should be to focus on building traffic rather than experimenting with different Ads and other revenue options. It is important because the time one will waste initially on experimenting with Monetizing Strategies can be used in blog promoting activities like surfing other blogs and writing “Excellent” posts etc. This is like a farmer sowing seeds, watering, caring and doing other activities for his crop before harvesting it, same way monetizing or making money from your blog should be the last activity for any blogger. So if you have not build a sizeable traffic still, then first, please read my earlier posts on building traffic guidelines.

Once you have established a decent level of traffic, you can proceed to decide on how you will derive revenue from your site. Depending on how your blog is oriented and positioned, you may be able to use one or more methods of revenue generation. Whichever method you choose, remember that your monetization strategy is about developing multiple revenue streams and sources of income. This will protect you from the risk of any single income source drying up and leaving you with no backup plan.

ADVERTISING

Advertising revenue can itself be categorized into multiple revenue streams and channels. The difficulty then is not in deciding whether advertising will work but on deciding which advertising channels are best suited to your blog. This is largely a trial and error method and you need to keep refining your channel mix to get the maximum possible revenue out of your site. (Note: Some of the advertising networks mentioned below may require you to have your own domain name andor may require you to have a minimum number of visitors or page views per month).

CONTEXTUAL AND DISPLAY ADVERTISING
Contextual advertising enables advertisers to display advertisements that closely match with the text of the content on your Web site or blog. The most famous of these is Google’s AdSense program. You can see Adsense ads on virtually every blog out there (including this one), why? well the reasons are many like it is a Google service (and don’t read if you are thinking Google who???), easy to handle, availability of wide range of Ad formats (Text, image, video and you-guess-what format), high paying eCPM and CPC. I will not delve deeper into setting up Adsense right now. This will be covered in depth later on.

Finally do not blame me if you are not getting what you expected from Adsense as success is not guaranteed and it is advisable to experiment other ad networks also to determine which one works best for you. In my own experience Google guys are very “Miserly” when it comes to giving money per Ad click especially for technology niche. Some of the other contextual advertising ad networks are:

Clicksor (http://www.clicksor.com)
Adsonar (http://quigo.com)

Contextual advertising is useful when your blog is primarily an information only blog. If you are promoting a specific product or a range of products, you will need to be careful with contextual advertising as there might be links to competitor advertisements. This may be detrimental to sales of your own products. Some of the ad networks like AdSense will also allow you give you some amount of control in blocking out competitor ads.

DISPLAY ADVERTISING
Display advertising is the grand old dame of internet advertising. Banner ads, buttons, and animated graphics are the some of the type of ads which were more prevalent in the old days. While contextual advertising yields better revenue, display advertising should be a serious consideration if your contextual ads are not performing. Besides Adsense some of the better known display advertisers are:
AdBrite (www.adbrite.com)
LinkShare (http://linkshare.com)
Commision Junction (http://cj.com)

Some of these networks may also offer interstitial ads—the type that floats in from the side. This type of ad is unpopular, especially with blog visitors due to the high level of irritation caused by having an ad rudely thrust in your face without any warning. Interstitials may also have a negative impact on your site traffic. However nothing is a final word in blogging realm and you may experiment with this format if you feel that this maybe something that will be acceptable to your audience and will also bring you revenue. Currently, there is a minor renaissance in display advertising as animated and video ads are becoming increasingly common.

The one big difference between contextual ads and display ads is the payment mode. In contextual ads the usual payment is on the basis of clicks. That is, advertising revenue is calculated based on each visitor who clicks on the advertisement links and is usually referred to as CPC—cost per click. In contrast, display advertising is usually based on CPM—cost per thousand impressions (M is the Roman numeral for thousand). That is, advertisers will pay on the basis of number of visitors to your site measured in multiples of thousands. Thus if the advertiser is willing to pay $10 CPM and your monthly traffic is about 10,000 visitors your revenue from display advertising would be $100