Sep 01, 2011|
Can blogging still generate revenue with a content-saturated world wide web? We spoke to Carl Heaton of Web Courses Bangkok, who provides web training to novices and experts alike. Several of his students have gone on to create their own websites and blogs, many of which generate money. Heaton claims that demand is greater than ever for real, quality content. “No longer is it just enough to have your keywords wrapped around fluff with some pretty pictures. You need compelling, relevant and engaging content,” he says. This means that the internet needs you to write regularly about what you’re passionate about, whether its restaurants, digital photography, caring for a Persian cat, putting together fixie bicycles from scratch or media criticism.
Making money with blogging almost always takes time. The payout is slow and extremely small as most monetizing schemes depend on heavy traffic to your content, which is built over a long period of time and with a commitment to quality, regularity and a few traffic-generating tricks. Still, if you already have a day job and would like to work on online projects that you care about, there are a lot of opportunities out there, like writing your own web courses and, of course, blogging.
Blogging with the intent to make money is a long-term scheme, involving a comprehensive plan to generate a large and regular readership that will read your sponsor ads or click the Google ads running on your sidebars. A passion for your subject aside, you need to consider some ways in which blogging is different from print writing.
“The essence of good blogging is consistency, interesting content and bit-sized chunks. Consistency gives you credibility but also when people pick up on your rhythm of posting you will get regular readers more inclined to purchase that recommended product or click one of your ads. Interesting content comes from being passionate about what you are writing about and seeing what works. When you have your blog keep a close eye on what types of post work best, then just repeat and refine,” says Heaton.
2.) WRITE FOR THE WEB
“An essential skill is writing for the web. It is very different from writing for print. You need to chop all your writing into quick paragraphs that ask a question to lead people in, give quality information and then round things up by telling the reader exactly what to do. A great site to learn about this is copyblogger.com.”
“When you have a readership you can start interjecting reviews about products that have an affiliate link attached to it. For example if you like writing about cooking why not recommend a book from Amazon.com on ‘healthy Thai cooking’ or ‘cooking on a student budget’.”
4.) USE ADSENSE
“You can also add Adsense to your blog. Register for Google Adsense, create the advertising blocks and then copy the code into your blog. Hey presto, you have advertising which makes money with each click.”
Using websites like www.learnable.com and www.udemy.com, you can create a course about a subject of your choice and people can sign up to take it, for a small fee. A quick look at either of these sites reveals courses in Adobe Design, macroeconomics, wine-tasting, memoir writing and more. Prices range from free to about US$250 (B7,500 for an Introduction to Building iPhone Apps for Beginners), but remember, if your course is pricey but not dazzling, you’ll probably get some unhappy students and bad reviews. Most sites will retain a commission on your sales; Udemy keeps 30%.
1.) KNOW YOUR STUFF
“You have to have experience in the field. You need to know the ins and outs of what you are talking about, the quirks and the things to look out for. Experience counts a lot more than a degree. Provide information people can’t find elsewhere,” says Heaton.
2.) MAKE IT JAZZY
“You’ll have to explain things in natural, progressive steps to all types of learners. Some people are very visual learners, like me,“says Heaton. A picture will always tell me more than a worksheet—and a video is the best! Others want to work logically through instructions and respond to detailed explanations.”
3.) BE PASSIONATE
“Have passion for what you are teaching. I think this is one of the most important things. If you sound bored or unsure then your online course will not get the reviews it needs to bring in more customers. Also if you are writing about what you love, you’ll enjoy making the course much more.”
Cash for Clicks: There’s money to be made online. But is it any more fun (or more lucrative) than going to the office?