||Many people who write blogs today
simply want to share their opinion on something. But then there are
the business-minded folks, who have found a way to use blogs, or Web
logs, to bring in a little extra cash too.
If you're interested in taking it
further -- blogging for bucks, if you will -- here are five
strategies that could turn your blog into a money-maker.
1. Sell advertising.
This is likely the most common means of
leveraging a blog to generate income. If yours happens to become a
well-known blogs, or one that is well-received in a particular niche, it's
always possible to sell ad apace on your own. For Bing Blogs and services
such as Google's AdSense or BlogAds, bloggers can establish as programs.
AdSense's -- which let you select several ads that are consistent with the
content of your blog -- pays you based on how many readers click on the ads
for further information. Even better, its free. BlogAds, on the other hand,
hooks bloggers up with would-be advertisers and levies a commission in
return for any ad placements that result. "The nice thing, too, is that the
ads are relatively unobtrusive," says Scott Allen, co-author of The Virtual
Handshake: Opening Doors and Closing Deals Online.
2. Help sell other's products.
Here is another click-through opportunity. Affiliate programs enable your
blog to serve as a conduit between readers and online sites offering various
goods and services. One popular choice is Amazon.com. If, for instance, you
offer book reviews or even just mention a book in passing in your blog, and
affiliate program provides a means for your readers to click directly from
your blog to Amazon to obtain further information about the book. If they
break out the cheque book or charge card, you get paid as well.
3. Solicit contributions.
Not every blog-related income opportunity
involves hawking goods or services. As Blanche DuBois said in A Streetcar
Named Desire, consider relying on the kindness of strangers. Ask for
contributions. If, for instance, your small business blog supports a
cause or issue in some fashion -- say you repeatedly mention tax reform,
health care or some other topic -- you can always ask for reader support.
Even if you've attracted a group of regular followers who simply enjoy
reading what you have to say, they may be willing to underwrite their
loyalty with a little financial help. Programs such as PayPal make it easy
to establish a simple on-site contribution collection button. "There are
lots of worthy 'cause' blogs that would qualify for donations from grateful
members of the blog community," says Las Vegas communications consultant Ned
4. Market your services in your
Many people associate blogs exclusively
with a cyberspace-based soapbox -- a place to shout your opinions and little
more than that. Granted, blogs are an ideal venue to share your thoughts
with others, but don't overlook their capacity to generate new business as
well. When appropriate, work in references to what you do and, in turn, what
you may be able to offer and would-be client or customer who may be reading
your blog. That can spread your opinion and your business moxie at the same
time. "Instead of short commentaries that begin a dialogue with readers, as
many blogs do, I write the equivalent of journal articles that demonstrate
my abilities, strategies and perspectives on specific issues," Barnett says.
"When it resonates, it means money. Since starting this approach, I have
generated three new paying clients and brought in about $10,000 on revenue
-- directly attributable to specific blogs."
5. Use a blog to deepen your
existing customer relations.
Nor does any marketing material inserted
in blog content have to be limited to bringing in completely new business.
By using a blog to regularly communicate with existing clients as well as
other readers, you can take advantage of the full scope of your products or
services. "My blog has helped existing clients determine the range of my
skills and services," says Ted Demopoulos of Demopoulos Associates, a
Durham, N. H. consulting and training concern. "One client who had used me
for training in the past was surprised at my range of expertise and is now
using me for a consulting project. Another who only used me on technical
projects is now considering me for a more business-oriented project."