How to Monetize Your Blog Like a Pro

Last year, celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton (Mario Lavandeira) earned an astonishing $15,000 in daily income, as his website gained a value of $2.66 million. Tech Crunch, starting out as a blog, has become a viable brand, worth $10.82 million.

Blogging has become an industry in itself. Once upon a time it was a platform for personal journalling, but over the years blogs have gained legitimacy, visibility and power on the web and beyond it. As you can see, one of the changes has been the fact that you can make real money blogging, even without becoming a major information powerhouse.

If you have thought about monetizing your website, here are some tips to help you get started.

Get Your Toolbox in Order

Whichever method (or methods) below you pick, the key is to use the right tools to organize the process well. Here are just a few good ones to consider:

  • Google Analytics is a necessary evil for properly monitoring your traffic sources
  • Register an account at ShareASale. That’s an affiliate marketing network that will connect you to quite a few cool programs
  • If you are going to be creating and selling a product or a service, make sure to use a sales management platform to organize leads properly. Salemate is a good affordable option

salesmate

Don’t Begin Right Away

This is an unpopular opinion with some, but the truth. It might seem like a good idea to immediately start trying to monetize a blog you’ve just started. But in the beginning you won’t have any traffic to drive profit.

The exception to this rule is if you already have a viable brand and are expanding it to include a blog for engagement and social marketing. In which case the traffic will come from your initial site, and monetizing right away makes sense. If not, focus on building that blog before you think about making money from it.

Join AdSense

Google AdSense is an important tool for anyone seeking to monetize their website. They provide both text and image ads, and usually the image ads attract the most attention and lead to the most clicks.

Of course, this is dependent on your traffic, as most people will not click through to ads. But the payout is decent, it adds up over time, and they are a trusted source for such a program. Other ad programs exist, but none come as highly recommended.

Here are some great AdSense plugins that will make the integration easier for you.

Use Affiliate Programs

Affiliates are going to be one of your greatest sources of income. Whether someone is promoting your product, or you are promoting someone elses, even small payouts will lead to a decent payout over time.

The more momentum a program gains, the more passive income you will start to make. You would be surprised by the numbers and the way they build after the first six months, and especially after the first year.

You can also use banners to quickly integrate best-working affiliate programs into your blog. Bannersnack offers a variety of free banner templates you can use for that.

banner templates

You can also offer your blog to companies of products you commonly buy and enjoy. Many will pay several hundred dollars for a solid review on a well established site.

Don’t forget that for both affiliate links and sponsored reviews you should use a proper disclaimer not to lose your readers’ trust and to be in-line with the US laws (and Google).

Optimize Your Search Ranking

You have to come up high in a search if you want to bring in the traffic that will inevitably up your income. Here’s a helpful checklist to get you started.

Since no one goes to the second page of Google, you have to have a good market share on certain keywords, and optimize your blog using that data. Invest in market research to find the best keywords that you can use, both long and short tailed, to improve your SEO.

Open a Shop

Having a shop only works for some people, as often a niche won’t really apply to a product series very well. But even selling mugs to those who might want to help support your site can be beneficial.

Try and create products that relate well to your niche, however, and don’t be afraid to take advantage of inside jokes and references that you have built with your followers over time.

Release an Ebook

Ebooks are big, and they have plenty of uses. They don’t bring in a lot of money, however, which can be a problem unless you have the status in your industry to be able to charge a higher price for a download.

Most people will offer them cheap or free, and use it to improve their visibility and draw people to their blog, thereby improving their other income possibilities. It will ultimately depend on you.

Example: The Lost Girls knew that and wrote an excellent book about their travels that has gotten great reviews. Both ebooks and self publication are potential routes for this goal.

Become a Speaker or Consultant

Are you now fairly well known? Have some street cred in your niche? Then start using your blog as a platform for finding guest speaker or consulting opportunities. You can earn thousands doing this.

Offer Freelancing Services

Your blog can act as a kind of portfolio, showing off your writings skills, nature and passion. That makes it a great opportunity to attract other people who want you to write for them.

Occasionally you will want to write a free guest blog post to promote your site. But otherwise you can offer your writing for pay, advertising yourself both through your blog and on sites like oDesk.

Start a Class or Series

Want something a little more hands on or creative? Then why not run a class or webinar series from your blog? People will pay good money for a well organized class, and you can offer the world your knowledge while improving your own financial stability. Everyone wins.

Udemy is the perfect place to start an online course and you can sell it through the platform too! Another great tool is Google Helpouts.

It might seem like a heavy task, and too good to be true. But you can genuinely turn your website into a profitable one, even if it takes time. You just need to know how to do it. Here are some tips and tricks for people who have managed to boost their regular traffic and are now looking to capitalize on that growing popularity

To get inspired, see this list of indie blogs that pay for a living.

Have some tips for monetizing your blog? Questions? Let us know in the comments

How to Optimize the SEO of Your Landing Pages to Rank in Google’s Top 10

For the ideal customers, the landing page creates that first impression. It initiates their interactions with your business. Of course, there are several ways visitors can arrive at your landing pages. These include social media, display advertising, product launch direct referrals, and, more importantly, search engines (primarily Google). If you want visitors to take the desired action when they visit your landing page, you have to first make your page visible to search users. The reason why is that the majority of your target audience searches Google for information related to your business. Besides, several studies show that web pages at the first page of Google search results get a higher search traffic. Chitika search result position report % of Google Traffic Unfortunately, only a few web pages make it to the top 10 organic listings (it’s basically a fight between you and your competitors). In fact, most of them get replaced quickly. Why? There are several reasons. Maybe a Google algorithm changed and a previous SEO methodology isn’t working anymore. Or perhaps your website was penalized for trying to manipulate Google’s algorithm. The situation can be very frustrating. In this article, you’re going to learn the right SEO tactics that will allow you to rank your landing page higher on search engine’s results pages.

What Is a Landing Page?

Generally, a landing page is any page on your website that your website’s visitor lands on after clicking on your search results, social media posts, links, or ads. But to be specific, the landing page we are talking about in this context is a standalone landing page. It’s a landing page designed for a specific marketing campaign—for example, a promotional page for your newly released product. Here’s a perfect landing page from Copyblogger’s Authority Program: Copyblogger landing page With that out of the way, here is proven action plan to rank your landing pages in Google’s top 10 organic results.

Step 1: Conduct Proper Keyword Research

When it comes to keyword research, don’t scratch the surface—go all in. According to Nick Eubanks, a contributor at SEMrush:
Keyword research is at the core of the search marketing process. It is the absolute first item you need to address before doing anything else.
In other words, it all starts with keywords. It starts with keywords Sometimes you can guess your keywords—and you don’t have any problems. But if you want to be sure of what you’re doing and somehow predict your end result, guessing will limit you. There are a bunch of keyword research tools you can implement to know exactly what your target audience is using to find your business online. You can use the Google Keyword Planner tool. This resource is one of the best free keyword research tools out there. No matter what industry you’re in or what keyword research approach you use, you will spend most of your time using the Google Keyword Planner tool. If you’re not familiar with keyword research, here’s the step-by-step process: Log into Google Keyword Planner. Then navigate to the tools tab and choose Keyword Planner. The screen below will show up. Click the “Search for new keywords using phrase, website or category” option. Google Adwords Keyword Planner Next, the page should expand to this: Google AdWords Keyword planner expands Go ahead and enter seed keywords or a website URL to begin your research. If you’re targeting a particular location outside the U.S., you can specify that location as well. For example, when I searched for “loans” I found a bunch of keywords I can leverage to rank my loan-related landing pages. Notice the average monthly searches and suggested bids. Remember that if advertisers are bidding higher for a keyword, it definitely means that it’s a valuable keyword. Keyword search traffic for Loan search keywords You want to look at the search volume as well. A high search volume means more people are searching for that keyword per month. Once you’ve found viable keywords to target on your landing pages, it’s time to create long-form content that will answer users’ questions.

Step 2: Create Compelling Long-Form Content

With your keywords ready, it’s time for you to start creating your content. But you must deliberately create long-form content. Why? You must because Google seems to reward detailed and visually-driven content more than the short-form variations. What’s more, data from Backlinko reveals that long-form content ranks higher in Google’s search results than short-form content. The average word count of a Google first page result is 1,890 words. Content must be 2000+ words to rank in Google’s top pages, according to this exclusive research by SerpIQ. SERPIQ research on average content length to rank in top 10 Unfortunately, I see a lot of landing pages filled with a lot of images and little or no text at all. It’s worth noting that Google’s bot crawls written content easier than it crawls images. According to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines: “Try to use text instead of images to display important names, content, or links. If you must use images for textual content, use the Alt attribute to include a few words of descriptive text.” John Sonmez understands the importance of producing long-form content for his landing page. Interestingly, his landing page is ranking at the first position for the keyword “How to learn a new programming language fast.” The content is not only long but also contains engaging images and testimonials to increase conversions. Google Search Results for How to learn a new programming language fast If you want to enjoy organic rankings, you have to focus on producing long-form content. It plays a vital role in supporting other Google ranking factors—God’s truth.

Step 3: Optimize Your Content for SEO

It’s not enough to create long-form content. If you don’t optimize your content and your landing page, you’ll likely be ranking for the wrong keywords. However, this doesn’t imply that you should stuff the whole page with your target keywords. Use the keywords strategically when and where necessary. Ensure you include your target keywords in your landing page’s metadata (title tag and meta description).

Step 4: Build Links to Your Landing Page

Link building is an age-old SEO tactic that Google loves. Without the right links, you will not rank in Google. After creating your landing page, you need backlinks pointing to it to reinforce and strengthen the keywords. In fact, link building is the most important success factor in your professional SEO strategy. Link Building So how do you go about building links to your landing pages? One effective way to do so is to create persuasive guest posts containing a link to your landing page and submit them to websites with high domain authority (DA) in your niche. I mention websites with high DA because link quality is also an important factor. Not all links are created the same. A link from Entrepreneur will make more impact than a link from a newly created website. With respect to using your network, you can also ask your friends in the same niche to link back to you.

Conclusion

While your email list and PPC ads can generate traffic to your landing page, you will be leaving a lot on the table if you do not optimize your landing page for search engines. The good news is, if you implement the tips that I’ve shared in this post, you could just find your landing page on the first page of Google for your target keywords. And if it doesn’t happen, keep at it. As usual, I’d love to hear from you. Which other techniques do you use to optimize your landing pages in order to achieve a higher Google ranking? Share your thoughts in the comment box.

The Dental SEO Expert Advice Dentists Need

When people search for a product on their mobile phones, 18% of those searches result in a sale somewhere on that very day. Fifty percent of people who use their smartphones for a local search will visit a store that day. The same is true of 34% of users who search locally on their tablets or computers. So if it weren’t already obvious, it should be clear that search engine optimization (SEO) matters if you want to succeed in business. Yet many entrepreneurs do not realize the importance of SEO or are not maximizing their use of it. This is especially true of those in a line of business that might surprise you—the dental industry. Here is what dental marketers need to know about using SEO to its fullest potential.

Why Is SEO for the Dental Industry Tough?

Dental SEO expert Justin Morgan explains that there are several reasons why it’s hard for dentists in particular to be found online. First, dentists tend not to be savvy about how they go about SEO. They don’t invest in the process or go to a dental marketing expert and learn the ins and outs of how it works. Morgan says that, instead, dentists “typically use the ‘pay and pray’ model of SEO, which involves choosing the company that looks most legit for the lowest price possible.” The reality is that it’s highly beneficial for companies to outsource their SEO needs and find a reputable company to help them. Dentists who become proficient in understanding how SEO can benefit their practices see a dramatic rise in their success compared to dentists who take a more apathetic attitude. Those who stand out online have determined to find and pay for the best SEO service available and so have a higher commitment to helping their patients.

Search Engines Love Strong Content

But one of the most important reasons why SEO can be so difficult for dentists is that “dentists’ websites rarely have useful, engaging content that supports what bloggers, journalists and editors are conveying.” Visual content, and video in particular, is the type of content that research shows users enjoy the most. Google and other search engines will like you using video because it demonstrates you are offering information that is compelling and relevant. Further complicating the SEO woes of dentists is the fact that they are not likely to have relationships with online publishers. Not only do dentists typically not have linkable posts but they also don’t know anyone who would link to them if they did. However, as your dental practice routinely puts out content that is pertinent and useful, your site will become a trusted source of information. So an obvious strategy is for you to include a blog on your website that has helpful content for site visitors. Make sure you design your blog in a way that interests the people who visit your website. Write about topics that will remain relevant over time, write catchy titles and, of course, include visuals. Here is an example of practical, evergreen content that a dentist could include on his or her blog.

Getting Started

Depending on your budget, you might decide to tackle SEO yourself instead of hiring an outside agency. But even if you do decide to hire a dental SEO expert, you should still educate yourself on what SEO requires. One reason why self-education is so important is that you want to make sure the SEO company you hire has ethical link building tactics. To someone ignorant about the nature of SEO, the way a company goes about getting links might seem beneficial. But if Google has a problem with that company’s strategies, it could penalize your content, devastating your business. For those just getting started in SEO, digital strategist Marcus Miller has compiled a thorough list of basics starting steps, some of which we’ll outline here. Begin by reading Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Other additional, useful resources are Moz Beginners Guide to SEO, The Art of SEO, and Eric Ward’s Ultimate Guide to Link Building. Next you should register with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. Both will help you to improve your website in the long run.

Google My Business and Other Directories

It is crucial that you list your company on Google My Business. Doing so is free, and the site has a domain authority of 100, which is extremely high. You want to have a credible online presence? Here is a prime opportunity to boost your likelihood of getting found, and it doesn’t cost you a thing. Keep in mind as well that if you don’t claim your business on this platform, you’re leaving an opportunity wide open for someone else to do so. If another person claims your business instead of you, at best that means users will find someone else’s information when they search your company. At worst, it means that this person could destroy your reputation. Be thorough, polished, and accurate when you fill in your information on Google My Business. In addition to claiming your spot on Google My Business, you should research local directories. Do what you can to get your site listed on them. Online databases fuel mobile search. If you are listed in databases and directories, when people search for you on their smartphones, they will be more likely to find you. Being listed in such directories means claiming your spot on major search engines, social media sites, yellow pages sites, business directories, and any community relevant to your industry.

Keyword Research

A major aspect of SEO is keyword research. To do your own keyword research, put yourself in the position of your customers. If you needed to find a dentist in your area and were going to Google to search for one, what terms would you enter? What about if you had a specific problem? What phrases would you search in that case? Start by simply searching these keywords in Google, paying attention to the search suggestions Google offers as you do so. Don’t forget to brainstorm long-tail keywords, which can be highly valuable even though people search for them less often. Use these useful resources to find keyword phrases relevant to your business:
  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Moz
  • Ubersuggest Keyword Tool
Be as thorough as you can when brainstorming, and then organize your keywords into categories. You can use these later to re-evaluate the structure and navigation of your website. As your list grows, it’s wise to organize the keywords into groups based on topics such as geography, search volume, and business value. Note what type of content appears in the results for the keywords for which you desire to rank. Then ask yourself, are you creating similar content that targets those terms? If not, you might want to make some changes. Once you have spent some significant time on keyword research, you can use the information you’ve found to optimize your website.

Don’t Ignore Something All Companies Need

SEO is important for all businesses. It’s just that it’s easier for those in the dental industry to neglect it than it is for people in other fields. If you’re wondering how to increase the number of people your practice helps, consult a dental SEO expert today.
GrowMap
Gail Gardner is the Small Business Marketing Strategist at GrowMap.com