I recently attended an interesting Webinar about affiliate selling as a way to make money off your blog. It was put on by successful online business entrepreneur Erica Douglass of Erica.biz. Her guest was $1 million Amazon affiliate-seller Chris Guthrie of MakeMoneyontheInternet.
Chris told a story that reminded me of a simple truth about blogs:
Many blogs go wrong from the very start.
He related that his first website didn’t make any money. Eventually, he unplugged it and started another one.
What was the problem? The site was for fans of the game Halo 2. There was no way to earn from this topic — everyone visiting the site already owned both the popular first-person shooter game and an Xbox.
Readers were happy to come on and chat all day about how much they all loved Halo 2, but what could Chris sell to this crowd? Nothing much.
So he started another site with a broader topic, where he could review and sell many different games to visitors as new games were released. Presto! Big money.
How to put your blog on track to make money
When you want to earn from a blog, the best time to start thinking about how the blog will earn is before you ever push it live. What audience are you going after? What sort of things might that audience be buying already, that you could sell them?
Many bloggers don’t ask this question before they start. They start blogging about whatever catches their fancy, with a dim idea that it would be great if the blog earned money — but no clear idea how. Then, they end up with a blog that’s tough to turn into a money-earner.
Like any other business, a blog should start with a business plan if its mission is to earn income.
If your blog is already going, think about who your readers are. What do they buy in the course of their regular, daily lives, that you could sell them?
Bloggers who just stick up a bunch of random ads often find readers drifting away. But if you can find that sweet spot where you can provide what readers want to buy, readers will feel you are kind and helpful, not sleazy, when you offer those items for sale.