How to monetize your site was the largest request this time around. In these tight times, I can fully understand that. There are a few ways that I know of to accomplish this. However, I can not and will not guarantee any level of income as a result of the information that I will discuss. I'm not a financial adviser, accountant, or even that good in math.
The results will vary according to not only your efforts, but also that of your readers. One thing to keep in mind with monetizing or any other goals you have for your site/blog... There is no magic "get rich quick" button that we can push. Trust me, I would have used it already. Everything takes time. If you want to produce a quality product (such as a blog that will keep people coming back for more) you have to build it up. This doesn't mean that it has to take forever, but if you are just starting up and have no following or a small following, you can't expect to get hundreds a week, much less a day.
One of the more obvious ways to monetize your blog would be by having ads on your site. If you use Blogger, like me, then you are most likely wanting to take advantage of the features they provide. AdSense is the primary tool that Blogger has.
In order to use AdSense you must meet their qualifications first. You can find out if you're eligible HERE. If you meet their requirements, you can follow their link to apply. By using AdSense you will be able to receive ads on your site that should reflect what you write about. This would appeal to your readers more than random, unrelated ads. This is called content-targeted advertising. You don't select words or categories to choose ads. Google picks up on terms used in your posts and locates the most appropriate ads for you. One of the examples they provide is: if you blog about painting, you might see ads for "Art Supplies."
If you do qualify and your application is approved, you will then need to enable it on your site. You access this on your dashboard under Earnings. When you first log onto your blog, the overview is the default screen. Below the overview is a list of links that you are probably familiar with... even if only vaguely. Earnings is below Stats and above Layout. After you find the Earnings page, you will need to set up your new AdSense Account. If I understand correctly, using AdSense does not mean that you share any earnings with Blogger or anyone else.
While setting up your account, you will be able to set where you want the ads to appear on your blog (in the sidebar and posts and other options) If you want the ads to show between your posts, you must first go to the Layouts tab on your dashboard. When there, click on the Blog Posts and select edit. If you have AdSense you will be able to select the option to show ads between your posts just like you can display the share buttons and your location. You can manage the types of ads as well as other options and settings by signing into the AdSense site. You can also track your income from there.
Once your AdSense ads start appearing, you will earn money when people click on the ads. The system generates reports for you just as it does with your site stats. There are a few terms that you need to know if you don't already.
1. Page views: This will be any time someone views a page displaying ads. It doesn't matter how many ads are on the page, it is still one page view.
2. Clicks: This is the number of times the ads were clicked on.
3. Page CTR(Click-through rate): This gives you the number of ad clicks divided by the page views.
4. CPC(Cost per click): This is the average pay each ad click earns you from the advertisers.
5. Page RPM (Revenue per mille): The revenue per 1,000 page views. The math equation (for those of you who just have to know) is: RPM = (Page views x CTR x CPC) / 1,000
Please keep in mind that I'm not endorsing any site. I have no experience working with any of them yet and must feel them out just like you. I will be doing more research into these and other companies as time and opportunity allows me.
Once you set up any HTML coding, I highly recommend that you preview your page and make sure that it looks the way you want.
You must seek out new readers to grow your site. I am one that believes if you don't grow, you're dying. Every living thing grows and if you want your blog to live on, it must also. You can post and post to your heart's delight, but if no one is reading it... The thing is, they have to know it's there or they won't even look. Most people today that are doing research go straight to their favorite (or at least the available) search engine and punch in the word or phrase of what they want.
You can take advantage of this with some advanced features. The acronym for Search Engine Optimization is SEO. This helps your blog become more visible to your target audience. There are a lot of articles and guides on this. Google has an SEO Starter Guide in .pdf format that will provide the ground-works for taking advantage of this option. This is a great place to start. The options themselves are located under the Settings tab of your dashboard.
By increasing the visibility, you increase the opportunity for more people to see what you have to offer. The pdf guide seems easy to understand and contains graphics to help you locate the features mentioned. It has highlighted terms and links for deeper research and understanding. A feature I found useful and interesting is that at the bottom of each page it holds a glossary for the highlighted terms or list of links that will help with specific issues. It also discusses how to use URL's more effectively and even more productive ways to organize your site itself. After all, if you put all that work into making your blog/site visible, you don't want to chase people away with a sloppy, difficult mess once they get there.
This guide is an extremely informative tool that I'd recommend anyone with a blog or other type of site could benefit from. It's easy to follow and covers topics with a flow that makes sense. The aspects mentioned will help in content, appearance, visibility, and even on how to optimize the ability for the AdSense to work better for you.
No, I'm not getting paid by anyone to review or critique this guide. I happened upon in my research for this workshop and feel like I've uncovered a gem that I can't wait to put to work for my own sites.
Another topic in the guide is Robots.txt. I don't think I've ever heard this term before reading the guide. I've discovered that it refers to controlling what on your site is able to be pulled up by the search engines. I would guess that -- as an example -- if you are reviewing a horror book on dead people or some disgusting ritual, you may not want your blog to pop up in a search on cannibalism, etc. You certainly don't want your latest spotlight on a thriller/murder/mystery type book to show up on a search on bomb making. This is where the robots come in.
So, you have a homework assignment!!! Download the SEO starter guide.pdf and study it!!! Much of this information can apply to any hosting site. Even if you don't have Blogger, I'd still recommend that you review it.