Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Total Earnings for March

March has not been a great month in terms of making money online. I have made another Wordpress niche site as an extension of one of my One Week Marketing campaigns. Otherwise, my efforts have been concentrated primarily on increasing traffic to my various projects. My Clickbank sales have been down this month (just two sales) and I have had my first zero payday since November last year. I haven't been very good at keeping up with Ebay listing and I haven't many surveys either, so even these sources of income have been down.

Here are the totals:

Affiliate income: $54.30 (Clickbank)
Ebay: $29.59
Squidoo: $2.27

Total = $86.16

Quite disappointing really! This coming month I intend to work on creating more One Week Marketing campaigns and working getting more traffic to my existing projects. My current aim to create 30 campaigns/niche sites before thinking about trying something else.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

5 Golden Rules of Forum Marketing

 Forums are one of the oldest forms of social networking on the internet and are a great way for like minded people to share thoughts and ideas on particular topics. There are forums on pretty much everything you can think of - simply try typing a random topic and the word "forum" into your search engine and you will probably find several. Some are obviously more established and active than others, but however diverse social networking has become it would appear that forums are here to stay and continue to contain a wealth of useful information about a range of subjects.

Forums are also a great way for people to market a product or promote a website to a targetted group of individuals specifically looking for information. Most forums allow you to put a link into your "signature" at the bottom of each post you make, thereby exposing your link to a large group of people. However, to do this effectively requires treading a fine line between making yourself and your offer visible, or being considered a spammer, upsetting the forum community and possibly being banned. In order to help you along the way of treading this fine line, here are my golden rules which should be followed at all times:

  1. Read the rules of the forum very carefully. These vary hugely with some allowing linking directly to affiliate links, some only allowing linking to your own sites and some do not allow linking at all. Read and digest the rules and make sure you stick to them.
  2. Make your signature obvious, but not too obvious. If the forum allows, use a message that catches people's attention, use bold and color to make your link stand out. However, you will need to guage from the forum that you are using how obvious to make it. Have a good look around the forum and at other people's signatures and get an idea what appears to be considered acceptable.
  3. Participate in the forum in a useful way. The object here is not put out lots of buying messages out there, this is counter productive and will probably get you banned. What you need to do is demonstrate your expertise in the given subject - start new threads, reply to existing threads. Demonstrate that you can be helpful to other members. As you gain respect and visibility in the forum they are more likely to click on your link and, if it points to a product, buy from you.
  4. Post often, but don't try to dominate the forum. Overdoing it will irritate existing members and will just suggest you are trying to take over.
  5. Don't spam other members. Don't PM other members with messages of "come visit my site" or "buy my product", because they probably won't and you only end up irritating people.
Follow these rules to the letter and become a regular participant in the forum and you should see regular clicks through to your link.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How to Increase Adsense Income

For bloggers and webmasters, Google Adsense always feels like an easy way to montize your site. It seems easy - simply insert your code and watch the cash roll in! Or not........ The truth is, often the returns can be rather low, and with a payout threshold of $100 many people never see their money. However, there are steps you can take to increase your Adsense clicks and get you closer to the elusive payout.

Location, Location, Location
Many people will be familiar with the Google Heat Map which gives an indication of the best places to put your ads. Typically they should be towards the top of the screen to catch the reader's attention, and the left of the page tends to work better. The most lucrative spot tends to be under the title - a strategy that works particularly well with blogs.

However, this does need to be balanced with ensuring that your ads do not interfere with the reader's experience. If the location of the ads make your site look cluttered or detract significantly from your content then you should re-consider the position you are using otherwise you risk losing readers fast.

Background Color
Your readers are more likely to click on your ads if they do not stand out and merge with your content. The easiest way of achieving this is to make sure that the ad background matches the color of your page. However, it is important that you do not do anything to disguise the fact that they are ads (for example putting a heading of "Recommended sites" over your ads). Doing so risks getting you banned.

More Traffic = More Clicks
OK, so this may be obvious, but the more people you attract to your site the more likely you are to get people who click on your ads. How do you get more traffic? Well that's a post for another day!

Low Value Clicks vs High Value Clicks
The amount of money that you receive is not simply a product of how many clicks your ads receive, but which ads are clicked on. For example, ads about tropical fish supplies are low value, whereas ads about mortgages, loans and credit cards are high value. Being as they are contextual ads, Adsense will display ads that are relevant to your site. Therefore, you indirectly control the ads through your content. If you are intending Adsense to be a primary source of income then you should focus your efforts on writing about those topics that attract high value ads. However, you should bear in mind that these are high value for a reason - i.e. high competition. Therefore, attracting traffic to your site may be more challenging than for lower value subjects.

Use Revenue Sharing
An additional strategy is not to limit yourself to your site, but to make use of revenue sharing sites. For blogs, the easiest way to do this is simply to syndicate your content to YouSayToo. That way you increase the chances of your content being seen and 50% of the impressions there are yours. The advantage of this is that once it is set up there is no effort whatsoever involved.

Another option is to use user generated content sites that use Adsense as their revenue sharing model. Examples of these include HubPages, Info Barrel and Xomba. One option is to re-write some of your existing content and submit to these sites making sure that you include a link back to your site. Therefore, this can be both part of a link building strategy and increasing your Adsense impressions.

Look out for other options for Adsense revenue sharing - preferably options that serve some other useful purpose. For example, some forums (such as Digital Point [Edit: Adsense on Digital Point is currently suspended]) use Adsense revenue sharing. Don't expect these to radically increase your income though, but anything that increases your ad impressions has got to be good.

The important thing is to be realistic about the income you will receive from Adsense. Most people will receive a relatively small amount of money and will take a very long time to reach the payout threshold. However, if you manage to construct sites with high value ads and attract a high volume of traffic then you could make a decent amount of money from Adsense.

If you are interested in making serious money then you should try Making Sense with Google Adsense which could set you on the path to generating a true income from Adsense.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Total Earnings for February

Well another month past and time to reflect on my earnings and what I have achieved. This month one of the things that I have been focusing on is promoting one of my other blogs, A Smallholder's Diary, and this is starting to pay off in terms of increased traffic. I have plenty more to do in this respect though.

I have also got a further niche site up and running, although I could do with doing more to it to improve it. This one is a bit of an experiment for me being as it is focused on physical products sold through Amazon. As the commission is rather smaller than with Clickbank I have focused on higher value products. Not surprisingly as I have not done too much to promote it as yet, traffic is minimal. But it has already made me a sale! Not only that, the person also bought some accessories to go with the item they bought, so that brought me in $20.21! Yay!! I don't expect to make too much more on this yet though, as I really need to do more to promote it.

Also this last month I have started two new blogs. I am really not sure if this was a good idea, but I will give them another couple of months and see how they do before I decide whether to persist with them.

Anyway, to this month's totals. One change for this month is that I have decided to give the figures entirely in USD rather than GBP. Therefore, my monthly target is no longer £300, it is now $500. So here are the figures (bearing in mind I only count what I have actually received):

Surveys: $52.38 (Harris $37.42, Ipoints $14.97)
Affiliate sales: $46.84 (Clickbank $38.68, Other $8.16)
Squidoo: $2.68
Swagbucks: $5.00
Ebay: $31.67

Total = $138.57

Not bad I guess, but still frustratingly short of my target. My affiliate sales are not picking up as much as I would like, although do remain at a steady trickle. This has not been helped this month by my best performing product disappearing for some reason, so I have had to hastily replace all my links with a similar product.

This next month I intend to put more into increasing traffic to my main two blogs (this being one of them), put more into increasing traffic to my existing niche sites, and to build a further niche site using a domain name that I already have and is not doing much for me.

Progress still feels frustratingly slow........